ALCOHOL PART 1
Over many years I was slowly sucked into papering over the thoughts in my head and the cracks in my life with the thought changing drug called alcohol.
My growing dependence on my crutch was so subtle and so insidious that by the time I realised I was seriously trapped I couldn’t see a way out.
– How could I stop drinking alcohol when I believed it made me feel better, for a few wonderful hours made my thoughts happier, filled in the hole in my soul and covered over all of the parts of my life that I didn’t like?
But here was the irony – the doubled edged sword –
– The longer I relied on alcohol to ‘fix things’ the less I knew which parts of my life I liked and which parts I didn’t.
I spent too much of my time covering up and denying – even to myself – how much alcohol I was drinking and hiding the subsequent after effects.
If I didn’t drink alcohol for a while I congratulated myself on being ‘ok’ – told myself I didn’t have a problem and when I felt ‘down’ subsequently ruined any steps forward by drinking it again.
I had burrowed myself so deeply down the rabbit hole I was completely in the dark – I couldn’t see clearly. It was impossible for me to have rational thoughts and feelings about what I was doing to myself.
Deep down I knew that my life should be easier than this.
Much much easier than this…….
I had to come out of the darkness in order to see again.
Open my eyes wide and see why I needed alcohol, to see past the fear of letting alcohol go from my life.
I was using alcohol recklessly in the false belief that it made my life easier.
But the true reality was that it was making my life harder……I was allowing it to take control of me.
Alcohol hadn’t tricked me – sure I told myself that it had – but I had chosen this lifestyle….. and far from being my ‘friend’ alcohol had now become my enemy.
I needed to change my lifestyle if I wanted to have a happier life.
ALCOHOL PART 2
When you’re making a decision of whether or not to cut alcohol from your life it’s a bit of a catch 22 situation.
Confused? Yep so was I……until I realised I was caught up in Catch 22.
Here are 2 examples of my Catch 22 Hell –
I was prevented from knowing I could cope with my life without alcohol until I stopped drinking alcohol – but I couldn’t stop drinking alcohol because I didn’t know if I could cope with my life if I stopped drinking it.
I was prevented from learning that I could be happy living my life without alcohol until I stopped drinking alcohol – but I couldn’t stop drinking alcohol because I didn’t know whether my life would be happy without it.
You know the effects from alcohol you think you need and you’ve grown to love?
Well I thought I needed them too…..
That warm fuzzy feeling and the World becomes a wonderful place and all worries faded into oblivion.
But over the years that fake warm cosy feeling becomes so much harder to achieve – needing more and more alcohol to get it.
I worked harder and harder and harder to obtain that feeling………so that meant me drinking more……..and when I did manage to get the warm cosy feeling it progressively lasted shorter and shorter a period of time than it used to.
So now I found myself in the position of the positive effects of alcohol lasting a shorter length of time and more alcohol needed to get the same effects. Then the awful after effects lasting much much longer.
😢 By now the hangovers and repercussions of drinking too much alcohol were absolutely savage….. 😢
Pretty shitty huh??
But it got worse….
Alcohol was also taking away my memories.
– When you have no recollection of the things you did or said the night before – then you know you’re in big trouble.
It’s a drug. I couldn’t think logically – why would it ever change it’s effect? It’s like why did I not care that I’d get a hangover? You can’t drink alcohol and ever feel normal the next day – and of course if I hadn’t drunk for a while and then drank – the comedown was spectacularly worse.
At the beginning of my AF ( alcohol-free) life I had no idea what I was doing – but I did know why I had to do it. If I carried on drinking alcohol my life would never change – it would always stay just the same. So although I didn’t have a clue what I was doing I just kept stumbling on.
I found that the most important thing for me to do was to write posts. The posts told my story..
You write out your thoughts and feelings – no sugar coating! – and you find that you’re talking to yourself in your posts.
You may find that in much of your life the things you do are for others. That somewhere along the way YOU got lost. That amongst all of the things you do for others there’s nothing left for you.
If so that has to change because when you decide to become AF it’s the “YOU that’s got lost somewhere along the way” that you need to concentrate on.
ALCOHOL PART 3
When I first became Alcohol free (AF) it was a bit of a puzzle because I didn’t actually know what made me drink it.
I was trying really hard to NOT think about drinking alcohol – and the exact opposite happened.
To my misery and dismay all I could think about was alcohol !!
I was like – “What’s this all about” ???
At the beginning of being AF I put my trust in the ones on the site that had gone before me. They told me to aim for my goal and stay committed to being AF no matter what happened in my life.
This was the very hard but also very clever bit.
– Instead of panicking and dreading triggers and hating it when I got urges to drink they told me to embrace them.
– Yep I know…..I was like – “what??!!”
So this is how it works.
You are plodding along trying to stay calm and some ugly little critter of a ‘reason to drink’ pops its head up in your ‘trying to be sober’ life.
But you try not to panic – because this is REALLY important information. It’s the reasons we choose to drink.
– The reasons we use to give ourselves ‘permission’ to drink alcohol.
We have to face the reasons and learn other ways to deal with them.
So when these ugly critters popped up I had to isolate those little fcukers and try to observe them from afar.
– Study them to work out what trigger it was (what happened) that made them appear.
Why did this person/situation do this to me? How was it linked to making me want to drink?
Then I used to write it all out in a post and get feedback about ways I could possibly use to overcome them. 😊
ALCOHOL PART 4
Once you kick alcohol out of your life you get clarity and you get all your feelings back – and that’s pretty farking scary.
Some days all you want to do is to to bury your head in a pillow and stick your bum in the air – according to my 20 months old grandson that makes you invisible…
You may ask whether right from day one AF did I feel better and a trillion times happier without alcohol?
Well – NO, not at first – at first I was way out of my comfort zone.
But I was happy that at long last I was changing my life – and I’d wanted – and NEEDED – to do that for a very very long time.
At the beginning I was “WINGING IT” …… better known as “FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT”
Over time you can slowly find things that make you happier.
I don’t mean today…..and I don’t mean tomorrow….and I definitely don’t mean you’ll wake up one day and “find something” and with the flick of a switch you’ll be happy forever.
No – if that ever happens and every single day of your life you’re happy, joyful, singing and smiling all the time you’ll be in La La Land – because real life isn’t like that. Real life results in mood swings and ups and downs.
My mission was not to be happy and content every single second, minute or hour of every day. My goal was to find ways of living through all the lovely ups and all the shitty downs life throws at me – without grabbing the nearest bottle, can or box of alcohol and downing it in one.
When I first chose to become AF I had never realised just how complex this process is.
It wasn’t just a matter of days, months or years and I never thought of drinking alcohol again.
Because for me I realised that it wasn’t the alcohol that was problem.
– It was the way I allowed myself to justify using alcohol in reaction to situations I found myself in.
I didn’t think it was ok for me to feel sad and unsettled.
I thought it was perfectly acceptable for me to change my thoughts and enhance or block my feelings by filling up my body with a toxic poison whenever I wanted to.
When the negative feelings built up I didn’t think about myself or my husband or my family – and I wasn’t being selfish – I just wanted/needed the thoughts and feelings to go away.
I used alcohol to ‘change thoughts’ or to ‘checkout’ and to take away my uncomfortable feelings – instead of allowing myself to live through them.
Hell – at the beginning I didn’t even know what to do instead of drinking – because at the time alcohol was my hobby, my biggest time consumer.
Some days I couldn’t even clear my mind or sit still long enough to read a book or watch a film or series on TV.
As time went by I felt better, more excited about life. I started adding things in like walks, exercise, knitting crappy scarves on huge knitting needles with really thick wool.
I remember we had adult colouring book competitions on the site. I’m smiling at that – It didn’t matter how bad your colouring was the site members cooed and fussed over your attempts no matter how bad they were 🤣. The connections on the site – they blew me away. Made me smile, made me determined
Please don’t look at me and think I’m “cured.” – I was never ill. I’m still me and the thoughts in my head can still get a bit confused at times.
I was however using the completely wrong method (alcohol) to cope with my life.
I’m still open to learning different ways of how to relax, how to ‘let things go’ and how to slow down my thoughts if they go wild.
I have good days and I have very good days and I have great days!!
But I also sometimes have bad days. I still have negative thoughts sometimes. I still have ‘down’ days for perfectly acceptable reasons – and sometimes for no particular reason.
The difference now is that I make sure that I look after ‘ME’ in healthy ways – by better self care.
Just because I have a partner and a family doesn’t mean I don’t count. I now don’t assume I have to take on everybody’s problems all the time or hide the fact that I suffer from anxiety at times. Or that I sometimes need ‘me’ time. – I accept myself for who I am.
The difference now is that I live through my emotions – whether they be good, bad or indifference.
I “Face And Embrace” all aspects of my life head on without alcohol.
There’s no comparison to the HELL of me thinking I needed to drink alcohol in order to cope.
I can’t put into words how much happier I am now I don’t allow alcohol to mess with my head.
This post was written by Zoo. You’ll find more of her writing on Boozemusings here :
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