Convincing other people we have a problem…

two people chatting

It's hard sometimes to convince other people that we have a problem with booze. They might see us have the occasional bender at a wedding or party, or know that we like to crack a bottle of wine open when visitors arrive... but for them that doesn't necessarily spell 'big problem'. Especially if we are managing to hold down our lives and achieve most things we need to achieve on a day-to-day basis.

I know most of my friends and family were shocked when I announced I had a problem with alcohol and was giving up drinking forever. They knew I was fond of my wines, but they had no idea I was waging an intense internal battle with myself about alcohol.

This wasn't the fault of the people around me. Of course they relied on outward signs of trouble to know there was a problem. Otherwise how would they know! I was running my life very well, looking after our kids and keeping the household ticking over. I was working part-time, studying to do my Masters, even going to the gym semi-regularly. High functioning to the max! Why would anyone suspect I was an alcoholic?

Because they weren't in my brain.

They weren't inside my head at 3am when I woke time and again feeling hungover, guilty and miserable.

They weren't in my head at 10am when I was beating myself up for over-indulging yet again the night before.

They weren't in my head at 12pm when I was beginning to convince myself that maybe I wasn't that bad.

They weren't in my head at 3pm when I was making the decision to buy more wine.

They weren't in my head at 5pm when I started fizzing as the alcohol hit my brain.

They weren't in my head at 9pm when I was inebriated, zoned out and numb.

And they weren't in my head when I woke up at 3am hungover, guilty and miserable again.

They weren't in my head when I went through this 24-hour cycle over and over and over and over many thousands of times.

No-one was in my head but me.

So frankly, convincing others that I had problem wasn't a priority for me. Sorting out my own head was.

Even now I've been sober for over 11 years, I still sometimes have this crazy notion that I need to prove my alcoholic credentials. I can do this by trotting out vomiting stories, highlighting just how much wine I would drink week after week, pointing out exactly how obsessed I was with drinking, ramming home how stifled my whole experience of life was... but frankly it's just dumb that I feel the need to do this.

I don't need to convince others that I had a problem. It is a complete side issue to the main issue which is me needing to sort my own shit out. I have to keep my eye on that prize. My sobriety is about my relationship with myself, and my relationship with alcohol. My recovery is, although often carried out in public, deeply personal and intimate.

It's about what I know, and what I feel. And what I know is that I feel one million trillion percent happier, healthier, calmer and more proud now that I am not necking wine like it's going out of fashion.

I'm convinced of that.

Love, Mrs D xxx

13 Comments
  1. Izzey 8 months ago

    “My sobriety is about my relationship with myself, and my relationship with alcohol. My recovery is, although often carried out in public, deeply personal and intimate.” I really love that, so true! The more we delve in to our relationship with Alcohol the more we realise its about coming to terms with whats beneath the addiction is where the real work and growth is. Thank you xx

  2. Sydney28 10 months ago

    Thank you for this I can 100% relate to this…you have made me stronger just knowing that there are other people going through this…my one year is just around the corner & I couldn’t have done it without this website…thank you again for being there for all of us on this journey xx

  3. soberlynn 10 months ago

    Your story could be my story (except for the part about getting your masters). That and being alcohol free for 11 years. But I’m determined to make it happen and thank you from the bottom of my heart for starting LS all this years ago and giving us a safe place to go. You are a hero. ❤️

  4. Nightingale 10 months ago

    I relate to this post all too much. I work in hospitality and there is a big drinking culture here. I have tried to give up so many times and every time I do I get offered free booze again and again. When I would say “no thanks” it would be responded with “why?” And “but you don’t have a problem!” I’m confused as to why I need to explain but also the shame that comes with the re-telling of events. This is so well written and I love the parallels you draw. I’m only beginning my journey (again) but I’m seeking professional and free resources to aid me this time.

  5. Maggie73 10 months ago

    Completely relatable!!

  6. Crusaderred 10 months ago

    I can totally relate to this after 7 and a half years sober.
    I particularly like the part when you say;
    Even now I’ve been sober for over 11 years, I still sometimes have this crazy notion that I need to prove my alcoholic credentials. I can do this by trotting out vomiting stories, highlighting just how much wine I would drink week after week, pointing out exactly how obsessed I was with drinking, ramming home how stifled my whole experience of life was… but frankly it’s just dumb that I feel the need to do this.

    I also sometimes feel the need to talk about the days when I was hammered and played up like a second hand chainsaw. Almost like justifying how good a pisshead I was. In reality I am embarrassed by my behaviour and the way I carried on. Nothing to be proud of.
    Fortunately I saw the light and moved away from the grog totally.

  7. ojala 10 months ago

    This is all so familiar. Now that I’m into my third year, most people have no idea that I don’t drink. They would be very surprised to hear I ever had a problem but like you said, “ They weren’t inside my head!” It was a very depressing place to live! Thanks so much for being the source of my soul support. I know I would never have arrived at this wonderful place in my life without this group!

  8. kazoorose 10 months ago

    This is perfect. I am 2 weeks and this is exactly why.

  9. JM 10 months ago

    I love this post @Mrs-D!! Yes, it’s an ‘inside job’. Hope all good in your world. xo

  10. Frances34 10 months ago

    Thank you: I really relate to this post.

  11. Anonymous 10 months ago

    I wouldnt worry about it, i know what you mean, but you and i know the truth.

  12. PeterM 10 months ago

    Almost two years into the journey I don’t feel that I have to convince anybody. Even friends and family who initially didn’t understand and were surprised soon accepted where I was at and it’s no longer a thing. What I feel I do need to do regularly is remind myself why I gave up drinking. Remember the control it had over me and the damage it caused. It’s part of my toolbox to keep myself on the right track.

  13. Rosieoutlook 10 months ago

    Nearly 9 years without those battles in my head. It’s the best feel ever and has been one of my proudest achievements. Xx

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