I will be six years alcohol-free in December – but I’m certainly not an expert on addiction. I’m just someone who used alcohol to cope with life. I allowed it to take control until I took the control back.
My brain and emotions took years to adjust to an alcohol-free life with all its ups and downs. They’re still adjusting even after so long. Alcohol is “everywhere” isn’t it?
I go for months doing really well and then I sort of go a bit ‘wonky’ and ‘anxious’ and ‘down’ for a short period. I was a bit shocked when that first happened but I realised it didn’t kill me. Sometimes it was because I was overtired and sometimes for no reason I could think of. I accepted it would happen and got used to it happening from time to time. I just plodded on. I looked after myself more when that happened and I still do.
That’s why I suppose I find it hard when people think they are ‘cured’ of wanting alcohol after a few months or even a year without drinking. Maybe they even say “I don’t need the site or community support anymore.” I probably worry about them needlessly. But I don’t think there is a “quick fix.”
Don’t let that last sentence make it sound as if that’s a bad thing – it’s a slow methodical progress if you do it right. And nothing beats the feeling every day you wake and know you’re another day AF. That you’re back in control.
I love my life now.
COMMUNITY SUPPORT CAN HELP YOU MAKE A DECISION
I think that when you first come to a site like this by reading the posts and getting support and encouragement it can help you make a choice. Sometimes a choice you’ve never believed you had the strength to make.
I’ve seen many a person who floundered for months until they threw themselves into becoming AF and stuck at it. For some, the decision does not come immediately but after reading and learning and self-teaching and getting support. It’s a very slow process and we must never forget that a site like this gave many of us the support that enabled us to stagger through the first few hours, days, months and years AF.
But if you’re doing this you need to commit in order to succeed.
There is no doubt that without that commitment of ‘not drinking whatever happens’ our life will stay the same. Whether we proclaim our ‘problem’ to others in our ‘real world’ is a personal choice. For some that proclamation would cause anxiety and stress – the very thing some of us need to address in order to stay AF. For others the ‘opening up’ to others is life-changing. I have chosen to discuss only with people of my choosing.
No one has the right answer for all. The path that works for one may not for another. In accepting you are going to tackle your problems you have to tread the path that’s right for YOU.
This is an individual recovery and no two people can have the same story, the same lives, the same demons. We are all unique with our own specific problems whether they be emotional, mental or physical. Our family dynamics and relationships differ. Our strengths and weaknesses all individual to who we are. Our mental health is formed and caused by many factors and is often the reason why an addiction was so appealing.
It can take years to unpeel and process. How we do that can take many forms. Therapy and counseling may help for some and it may not for others.
This is a very slow process and if you truly want to be alcohol-free you have to stay strong – even though you may feel weak at first – in order to grow.
But now you know you’re not alone.
But there’s always more challenges to come for us all. Normal life with all its ups and downs is full of challenges. But life is so much easier without alcohol. I sometimes wish I’d realised that a bit sooner and let go of the drinking years before I finally did.
Looking back I think it took me living AF ( alcohol-free) through all the different seasons (each season has their own ‘triggers’) for at least 2 years before I could say I was really truly ‘getting this.’
This changing your habit of drinking alcohol and adapting your life takes time. This is a hard thing some of us are doing but the positives are worth every negative. And I never get over how lovely it is that we’ve all ‘met’ on a wonderful site like this.
So many of us – and more and more joining every day.
Alcohol huh? Society pushes it towards us as a perfectly acceptable drink. You’re seen as odd by some if you don’t drink it. Then when you find the drug alcohol causes you problems you feel ashamed. But you come on here and realise you shouldn’t feel shame.
There are too many of us being affected negatively by alcohol. Now that we are being ‘open’ with each other we can see that alcohol is causing pain and disruption for so many. If it was introduced now it would probably be classed as the drug it really is.
And times are changing. People’s eyes slowly opening to the truth. There are so many articles, magazines and newspapers discussing the negatives of alcohol nowadays.
For everyone on here – well our eyes are already open. They were the moment you pushed the ‘join button’ on the BOOM site. We are questioning where alcohol fits into our lives. We can be very proud about that.
In talking together on the site and in the giving of support to each other we can help each other get to where we want to be.
Just by commenting on someone’s post can help them change their life.
There is no quick fix. It’s about reaching out and reaching back. Community is the Cure.
More From this author here
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