It’s all relative (guest post)

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

17 Comments
  1. Arianne 5 years ago

    Thank you @freebreezi and @MrsD…..I felt like I was reading about myself too. Constantly comparing to see if my drinking was acceptable…not too out of control. until I finally was ready for the brutal honesty to really listen to my inner voice that was telling me that I needed to stop drinking. Alcohol was doing nothing beneficial for me except the excuse to escape, self medicate, numb. I had to muster up the courage to make that first step, as well as each subsequent baby step day after day. What an amazing decision. how fortunate to finally be treating myself and my entourage the way I, and we all deserve to be treated; with mindful attention, patience, honesty, integrity…no excuses, no distractions. just plain simple straightforward unadulterated life; with all it’s ups and downs, ins and outs, curveballs, fly balls, strike outs and home runs.

    • freebreezi 5 years ago

      Yes!!!

  2. SueK 5 years ago

    Just read this post @Freebreezi and feel like I was reading about myself. It’s so good to have the company of likeminded and like-living people on this journey. x

  3. Anonymous 5 years ago

    Your story is like a parallel to mine – you have written exactly how I have felt but was unable to write down my journey. Thank you for sharing – I am 18 months sober and loving my life and finding out who I am.

  4. jo14 5 years ago

    This post sure hit home for me, thank you for taking the time to share it and for MrsD having it post it here…I somehow missed it the first time. I am having a very emotional time right now…not craving a drink which is a godsend, but oh boy, anything and everything is bringing on the tears. Glad to know I am not the only one…so very grateful for this site, the wisdom, the love, the sense of feeling I am home. Wishing everyone love, peace & joy.

  5. Viatoday 5 years ago

    This is a great post that I really relate to and it gave me a boost today on my Day 164! Thank you!

  6. Anonymous 5 years ago

    Great post. Totally personal journeys. We can all find struggles and behaviours that may seem worse than our own but I was once reminded that we can only say ‘well I haven’t gone there/done that YET!’ Great you could see what was opening up to you before you reached that place and respect to you for your strength and wisdom.

  7. princesstiber 5 years ago

    I can so relate to that too, 112 days for me, its my journey and im doing it for me… And loving it,.

  8. Janet 5 years ago

    Thanx for that share @freebreezi its perfect timing. I just had a rather emotional talk with my partner and he said so what’s different this time? (He is by the way a super amazing human who does not have even a remote drinking problem) I have flirted with stopping drinking in the past. I told him that this time it was for ME, there was no major incident, nothing had happened out of the ordinary, I had just realised that I was sick of being a slave to this drink that I had once so enjoyed and now was indeed becoming a poison to me, in fact I see after reading Aland Carr’s book that it actually always has been a poison I just didn’t see it!. Its so wonderful to here these stories that resonate with so many. Bless x

  9. PJNT 5 years ago

    Fantastic post @freebreezi can so relate

  10. aprilaries 5 years ago

    Thankyou @Freebreezi for so beautifullly and eloquently articulating what I haven’t been able to do for myself.
    “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.”
    I am now 112 days alcohol free and I at times feel like a fraud as I don’t have the ‘real’ struggle like others, yet IS all relative. Thankyou for showing me that.
    Thankyou @MrsD too for this forum xxx

  11. preparedtochange 5 years ago

    I’ve been exploring the concept of relativity this week too, and am finding my own place in this sober space. Lovely post, thank you. I found this quote which I thought was super relevant.
    “We have all heard that no two snowflakes are alike. Each snowflake takes the perfect form for the maximum efficiency and effectiveness for its journey. And while the universal force of gravity gives them a shared destination, the expansive space in the air gives each snowflake the opportunity to take their own path. They are on the same journey, but each takes a different path.” ― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

    • preparedtochange 5 years ago

      Done @Mrs-D. Good idea, thanks for the reminder xx

    • freebreezi 5 years ago

      awesome quote, and so very true for and about us all.

    • Author
      Mrs D 5 years ago

      Hey @preparedtochange can you pop that in the Inspiration Quotes page in the Sober Toolbox as well.. it sure is lovely and a PERFECT way to describe all of us in this big amorphous ever-changing online recovery community. xxx

  12. PKChoosesLife 5 years ago

    Thank you so much @freebreezi and @Mrs-D . I so related to this post – I am sitting here with tears streaming down my face. (Only 6 days so shouldn’t be so emotional yet should I?)

    • Author
      Mrs D 5 years ago

      hi @PKChoosesLife My tears started flowing pretty quickly after I gave up.. they still burst out at odd points in my life…just today when a particular song hit me (have to admit it was Ed Sheeran) I got teary and thought to myself ‘gee I must be feeling raw right now’… I don’t freak any more.. in fact I like it because it’s like my eyes letting me know where I’m at emotionally …. ! (ok that sounded a bit weird but hopefully you know what I mean!) xxx

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