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It's all relative

October 19th, 2014 Guest Posts

Member @freebreezi posted this in an update in the Members Feed last week and I was really struck by it. I think it’s marvellous and she’s kindly let me re-post it here. 

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I’ve just read a blog on this women’s journey from her alcoholism to her recovery. It’s a pretty raw, honest summary and involves usually always being drunk, anger, black outs, jail time, courts and so on. Pretty much what I associated with alcoholic behaviour and alcoholism.

And I gave sincere grateful thanks that I was not and am not that person. But could I have been??? I don’t know.

I drank 3, maybe 4, bottles of wine a week, I loved drinking wine and it was always exciting to discover a new label. I drank the different wines out of specific wine glasses so I guess maybe I was a wine connoisseur in the making. I wasn’t often drunk though tipsy and giggly were frequent states. So not sounding so bad really.

So why blog about giving up alcohol? Why belong to an online support community that I regularly check in on?? Sometimes I feel like a bit of a fraud, clearly some of those people had seriously unhealthy relationships with alcohol and their journeys are riddled with such sadness, despair, challenge and recovery. And I honestly believe I wasn’t that bad.

But here’s the thing, it really is all relative to the individual. Because how I was drinking was causing me concern, I was loving it too much. I was progressing with an unhealthy relationship with alcohol and staring down a barrel that didn’t spell a happy ending.

* Not working and being home all day meant I could start a little earlier.

* I couldn’t go a day without a drink.

* I broke all my resolves to not drink or to moderate. I simply couldn’t do it. As for just one, yeah..nah. Not a happening thing.

* I would wake up in the wee hours hating myself for my lack of self control, filled with self loathing and flowing with promises to do better and be better. Promises that in the light of day I just couldn’t keep.

So maybe I wasn’t drinking that much compared to some and maybe my behaviour wasn’t that big a deal or anything to warrant negative attention, after all I was just a typical kiwi having a good time. In comparison to some my drinking does seem fairly minor, but to me it was becoming an issue that I could no longer pretend didn’t exist.

And yes, some people’s stories are way worse than mine  But I was doing ‘worried’ and ‘concern’ and ‘fear’ at what was going on. I didn’t like what I saw and I knew I had to make a change. Lets face it there is no way I would have wanted to admit to my Doctor let alone anyone else just how much I was drinking. It was my secret shame.
If I felt bad about it, if I was doing shame and fear then it was a problem. A big problem for me. Comparing to someone else’s situation bears no significant relevance to my situation. It was of no constructive use what so ever. What I felt about my situation was what was important to note and this is what I had to base what I did next on.

I had a problem with alcohol. I was aware of it, I had indentified it and I made a choice to change. Was it easy? Sure it was! I just stopped. That was it, no more alcohol. Easy.

What wasn’t so easy was staying stopped. My wino loving brain was a strong advocate of starting up again with very compelling arguments on why I should, completing the pro-wine campaign with journeys through the memories of wonderful fun and celebratory occasions.

I did fear and anxiety over never ever ever drinking again. I did in part stop drinking because I desperately wanted to lose weight and I knew that the amount I was drinking was not conducive to weight loss. But deeper down in the pit of my being I knew! I knew I had to make it about more than that. I had to make stopping drinking about me. About what I wanted from my life. I had to make it about loving me and I had to be there for me because I needed me.

That old saying is so true. If it looks like a dog and barks like a dog you can be pretty sure it’s a dog. So if it looks like a problem and feels like a problem then baby – it’s a problem.

And I’ve done it, I am 108 days alcohol free. Yes, I have done struggle and I have made my way through it. Hopefully stronger for it. Do I still hanker after a drink? For sure I do. And mostly I’m okay with it, sometimes I don’t feel strong enough to stand up to it but I make it though with no open wounds or permanent scaring. Mostly I know it’s residual wino brain memories and I choose to love that part of me.

Weird aye, never thought I would say that. That I love that part of me but I do. I’ve come through my struggles, maybe it’s been way easier than yours and maybe someone thinks theirs isn’t that bad. Really it’s all relative. I’ve come through and ultimately it’s my journey and mine alone and I’ve come through. I am a stronger better person. The positive ramifications of not having alcohol are ones I had not foreseen. I am becoming a far more kinder, compassionate, tolerant and patient person. Wonderfully to myself but equally wonderfully to others also.

It hit me yesterday how far I have come in the past 6 months. From resigning my job, to moving up here, to being on my own 3-4 days a week, to discovering just what I am capable of, to giving up alcohol, and to discovering I’m kind of a neat person with a lot to offer if I just take time to believe it. I am really opening up spiritually and that for me is such a huge benefit.

To quote Mrs D I love being sober. I love it love it love it!

I am a success simply because I took myself in hand and rose to the challenge. I stopped drinking alcohol. I did it for me. It was all about me and I’m okay with that. Sometimes making it all about just us is an amazing gift to give ourselves , we benefit for sure and by flow on effect so do others.

My journey excites me. Where to next? Who knows… but I’m up for it.

@freebreezi

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