These are some thoughts about deciding if you may have a problem with alcohol. because I believe everyone has addictions, what addiction we may have is rather unimportant. The change can only come after accepting that there is a problem.
1. From Mrs D is Going Without: “So Happy and Profoundly Grateful“:
I am SO HAPPY to be out of the daily drinking grind. I am SO HAPPY to be living free from my addiction. I am SO HAPPY that I am living my life 100% in the raw. I am SO happy to be sober.
I love the challenge of sober living. It is the ultimate challenge – never ever escaping from any tough or uncomfortable emotion. Stress comes, so does anger and sadness and disappointment and frustration (etc etc).. but I deal with it now – it’s there for a reason! – and then it passes.
I don’t have a knee-jerk reaction to reach for something to make it go away. I am much, much, much better now at letting those emotions be and then letting them pass by. I just AM stressed and then I’m not.
Sometimes I do get really stressed!! For goodness sake I have 3 young boys who are noisy and demanding and argumentative (and gorgeous of course!) and they can really push me to the limit at times. I also have a busy job and a house and husband and PUPPY to look after… so of course I get stressed.
I’m also a 44-year-old woman with complex emotions and a busy brain.. but now I live connected to myself in ways that I have never been ever before in my life. I am much more firmly rooted in my body and on the earth that holds me up.
I know how to focus on my breath and the sensations in my body to bring me out of my mind and down into the present moment. I know how to do this because I have worked on it since I got sober.
I wouldn’t be like this if I was still drinking daily. I wouldn’t be like this if I was still drunk all the time.
I wouldn’t have such a healthy relationship with my thoughts (in that I don’t believe them as facts or let them control me) if I was still blurring my brain with alcohol daily like I used to. I’d have messed up body chemistry and unfocused thoughts.
I know I’ve said it before and I’m sorry that I’m being repetitive and that this is a waffly post but I need to say this because I feel it so keenly right now.
I am so utterly completely profoundly grateful to be sober.
Love, Mrs D xxx
2. From Dr24hours (Infactorium): “Marshmallows and Lies”:
I never developed a more nuanced relationship with alcohol. No matter what lies I learned to tell myself. And I never lost that tiny schism. That little voice saying: you know this isn’t true. When I began to drink as an adult, from the time I was about 22, I always had that wrinkle of dismay in the far corner of my mind. I knew. I knew from nearly the beginning. But I always found a way to shrug off the terrible consequence of the truth, in order to keep getting what I needed.
But truth has a way of revealing itself. And when it comes to addiction, the truth can manifest in many unpleasant ways. So often, the truth of addiction is a corpse. The addict’s. A bystander’s. For the lucky ones, like me, it was a crushing revelation that my substance no longer shielded me from the things I didn’t want to feel. The things I didn’t want to know. It was the light in the darkroom that I was not, would never be, the man I had imagined myself to be in my head. The lie that I told myself about who I was. I didn’t have the strength to believe my own inventions anymore.
In sobriety, I’ve had to forge a new relationship to the truth. I’ve had to pivot. I always thought of myself as an honest person, because you could leave me alone in a room full of money and not fear I’d help myself to any. But the lies I told were the most insidious of all. I told myself that I was a good man despite my drinking, and I fought with bone and breath to believe it.
We say that AA’s program is a program of rigorous honesty. And we work very hard at that. I haven’t been honest every day since I’ve been sober. I’ve even told a few lies that were blatantly self-serving. I’m not perfect. I never will be. Perfection isn’t my goal. I only hope to progress. Where I’ve been dishonest, I’ve apologized and made amends. Mostly. More will come.
Today, I try to see the world as it is. I try to accept my faults as they are. I try to improve what I can. I try not to measure myself against that is expected of me, but against what I am capable of. I often find myself wanting. So I try to do a little better the next day. And I try to keep my relationship to the truth on solid ground. I’ve found that means I have to say, “I don’t know” a lot. And that’s ok. I’m not afraid of not knowing things anymore. I used to be so afraid of unknown things that I’d make things up to replace the gaps in my knowledge.
3. From The Act of Returning to Normal: “In Hiding”:
Anyway. It looks like we’ll be moving cities (and country) again to go back to California. I feel a deep sense of love & hate about this move. I will be happy to leave snow and winter behind. I will be sad to leave the mountains. I guess that’s it. I’m not sure what I’m doing. It brings back so many memories that were unhappy for me. It takes me back to the lack of work-life balance and to the stress of racing to keep up. I’m hopeful that I will be able to find some kind of balance, now that I know more than I did then.
Part of the fear comes from the many moves we made when I was growing up. I can clearly remember one of the last moves we made as a family. My dad was drinking heavily at the time and my parents were both in the bar most nights, leaving me home alone with my brothers. I was twelve. I didn’t want to move. My (alcoholic) uncle told me the move would be a good thing, because it would mean less stress for my dad. His drinking would improve. The move came on the heels of at least two dui’s and my dad’s downward spiral at work. I didn’t believe my uncle. And I was right. My dad drank more (if possible) after the move than he’d done before. Our home life spiraled out of control as my parents brought their drinking home with them.
I fear this move for the same reason. I don’t want to be stuck out there in a new city without any support, living on a visa, trapped if my husband decides to start drinking again. That said, I know he could start here too. I know we only ever get today. I know that this is probably the right move for me anyway, independent of anything else – more opportunity for a better job, especially, but it still terrifies the hell out of me.
Hitting publish to get rid of the dead air space up there.