My Not So Secret Diary

Coming Out (as an alcoholic)

Coming Out (As an alcoholic) walking and recovering from alcohol addiction and writing for my blog on sobriety and mental health called My Not So Secret Diary by Claire Hatwell
Feeling better about myself than I have in a long time!

It’s hard to admit you’re not quite who people think you are. At least I found it hard. For years I had constructed an outer shell that looked strong. It did it’s job well. It hid my low self esteem and my lack of confidence. To all that knew me, including many of my family I looked like I had things under control. I think that is one of the reasons I struggled for so long to admit things to myself, but especially to others. I didn’t want to let people down or have them change their perception of me.

I didn’t tell anyone to start with that I had a drinking problem, besides my husband Lee that is. Anyone I had tried to speak to hadn’t really understood. I felt like they might think I was making something out of nothing and blowing it out of proportion. I wasn’t, but unless you spend time in someone’s head, you really have no idea of what’s going on in there.

Many of my friends and acquaintances knew I ‘liked a drink’ so I didn’t want to talk about it with them. It felt like I was failing somehow or letting myself down, although in reality, facing up to my problem was one of the strongest things I have done. I felt scared to admit the truth, and unsure of what reaction I would get if I did. For a long time I felt like I was missing out by not drinking, and so I didn’t want to do anything that gave me any reminders. Instead, I hibernated. I stayed at home as often as I could and rediscovered myself, however soppy that sounds.

When you spend many years drinking, it’s hard just to ‘be’ without that thing you rely on. So slowly I relearned. I found new things I liked that replaced the alcohol and slowly I found I liked myself more than I’d done in a long time.

I still didn’t advertise my non-drinking lifestyle, it’s not that I wasn’t proud of it, but I was apprehensive of what others might thing of me. That they’d look down on me or stay away. I didn’t want to feel any worse about myself and I was afraid that well meaning comments or otherwise could affect me negatively.

I’ve found since I started writing this blog and being more open with my thoughts and feelings that I can relax and be myself more than I had done in a long time. It makes me see that if I didn’t go through the hard times, I wouldn’t be who I am now. It’s a relief to be able to accept myself honestly and authentically, the good bits and the bad bits. Although like everyone, some days are harder than others.

I love the freedom I have now, the fact that I don’t have a constant need for a drink regardless of whether I’m thirsty or not. I don’t ever wake up with a hangover, I never have to try to remember things from the night before. It’s a weight off my shoulders. For a long time I couldn’t imagine a life without wine. I wondered what it would be like, but now I know. It’s great, and that isn’t something I ever thought I’d be able to say!

Take care and thank you for reading.
Claire x