It can be difficult to understand the meaning of the word denial when you are immersed in it. I was immersed in denial for years without identifying it. When I was punctuating every night with a bottle or two of wine and 10 or 12 cigarettes I would often appease my own sense of doom with one of those standard rationalizations
I’ll die in a car crash before the booze and smokes take me out… might as well enjoy life now !
I’m as likely to get cancer from drinking out of a plastic water bottle and the aluminum in my underarm deodorant, I might as well drink and enjoy life now
But I was not enjoying life.
I would wake up at 3 in the morning full of doubt, and shame, and fear. Doubt in my ability to ever rein it in. Shame that I’d gotten drunk again. Fear that I’d really done it this time, that I’d set the ball rolling and was facing cancer of the liver/pancreases/throat/lungs/breasts …
And then the purge that always followed the binge would begin. I’d get busy on my daily detox … exercise, water, green tea, papaya, avocado, grapefruit, red onions, beet root, garlic, etc etc
Until at around 2 or 3 pm that voice would chime in …
you’re not so bad…
you can handle it…
you deserve/need/want a nice grown up treat …
That dialogue is commonly called denial – I had been proving to myself for many years that I couldn’t control how much I drank or smoked, and while one cigarette and 5 oz of wine each day would most likely have no more adverse health effect then the plastic in my water bottle, the aluminum in my underarm deodorant, or the pollutants in the air I breathe, a bottle or two of wine a night, and a half pack of cigarettes was killing me body and soul.
It’s the soul part that was important to me. While I could keep up to some extent with the physical detox I was lost in a grey cloud of self-doubt while on that daily hamster wheel of denial. My world revolved around justifying the drink that I promised not to take each morning.
I haven’t had a drop of alcohol in over four years and haven’t smoked in over two but that doesn’t mean I won’t get cancer.
What it means is that I wake up every morning with peace of mind, with hope, and with the possibility of genuine joy.
That is priceless.
If this routine sounds familiar to you, drop the denial. Find your truth and hold onto it.
My truth is that I cannot drink and accepting that, set me free.
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Don’t let the shame of the stigma keep you from saying
“I think I have a problem with drinking”
Where will it take you ?
“When you quit drinking you stop waiting.”
― Caroline Knapp, Drinking: A Love Story