So, I am feeling better. The craving has gone, it has passed through me, I rode it out, ignored the voice, shook my head, stamped my feet, had a little cry and I won. I didn’t drink and that is all that matters. It’s a strange feeling. To not act on a thought or be impulsive is a new concept for me. They say that being impulsive and impatient are two very big personality traits of the addictive personality. Well I have those two characteristics down to a fine art! I never really believed in the addictive personality but I do believe that when we stop doing something which has been very self destructive in our lives we have to examine why we did it to begin with.
I have found that in taking away the booze as a coping mechanism and a social crutch in my life, that I have had to get to know myself all over again, or maybe I am really meeting me for the first time. I found in accepting this fact that it’s not so much that I need to change but it’s time to evolve. I am extremely responsible and “grown up” in many areas of my life but looking at it now, so many elements of my growth have perhaps been stunted by the misuse of alcohol on my part. It’s true that without burying myself in a wine glass every evening I have been left alone with myself so to speak more than I have been in all my adult life. I have realised that maybe I am not quite the social butterfly I thought I was and that is okay. I don’t have to be everyone’s best friend and the most popular person at the party. Don’t get me wrong, I have never been one of those “popular” people. I was shy as a girl and before I discovered alcohol I was an absolute disaster around boys and in social situations. I had no confidence and a low self esteem.
It’s no wonder then that when I discovered booze at 15/16, it opened up a whole new world to me. Getting drunk equalled confidence and I found my voice for the first time and could chat easily, make friends, be funny etc. I never really looked back from then on I just accepted that drinking would be a huge part of my life, a companion along the way.
Looking back now, I think that with every major life change or event I stepped my drinking up a level, taking me to where I am now with a drinking problem that is just about under control but was a head wreck most of the time to say the least.
I binge drank my way through college and in my early working years it became a great way to meet new people and even network in my profession. I loved it. I loved going out and getting drunk and feeling part of the whole culture. It was never a problem as everyone was doing it and hangovers were still to come. God, those get so much worse once you hit your 30’s and when you add kids to the mix that should have been enough to turn me off! But it wasn’t..
When I got married and had my first place of my own. I just loved playing house and cooking with wine (sometimes I even added it to the food!) became my new hobby. I couldn’t believe it but cooking gave me the excuse to open a bottle of wine any day of the week. This was a whole new world and I loved it! Of course I didn’t do it every night, my career was important to me and I kept an eye on it while I was climbing my corporate ladder.
When I had my first child and became a stay at home mother, I stepped it up another level still. Buying and drinking wine was the ONE thing that I could do without having to ask someone’s permission. I loved being a mother, but having put my career on hold and I felt exhausted and overwhelmed by it all. As a new Mum you have to get used to not being allowed to move without asking someone else to take over with the kids. I really struggled with this. I couldn’t cope with not being in control of anything in my life anymore. The kids come first and I had to ask permission just to have an hour to myself or go to gym or anything. The selflessness of it all didn’t come easily to me. So, I escaped with wine. No permission needed, perfectly acceptable to have a little something for me at the end of nearly every day. Perfect answer to all my problems. Booze was always there for me, helping me along the way whenever I felt lost or trapped, it was my release. God, I loved drinking wine. Every time I thought about how wrong it all was I couldn’t imagine my life without wine. Panic would set in at the very thought of taking it away or even cutting back.
With every life experience I have stepped up my drinking a little more (sometimes a lot more!) and the one thing with drinking is it is very hard to undo that process. I just needed more and more to cope, to feel normal.
Somewhere along the way I lost normal and I lost touch with myself. This journey is going to be a long process of finding, getting to know and falling in love with me all over again. I know that the cravings come in really big waves when I am out of my comfort zone and while I love my bubble (thank you Bubble Hour ladies!) I know that if I don’t venture into the awkward situations I won’t progress and evolve like I want to.
I need to get used to feeling a little uncomfortable and sometimes awkward, I need to ride it out and know that it’s all part of the bigger journey and that it’s going to be worth it. I am not changing, I am growing.