I suppose I always imagined that when I finally stopped drinking other people would be proud and cheer me on. I expected them to understand what a challenge it was for me, and almost be in awe of this amazing thing I’d achieved. I was wrong, because unless you’ve had a problem with alcohol, how could you possibly understand this sort of addiction? Honestly, how could they understand when they didn’t go through recovery with me? I portrayed such a polished outward appearance, that no one other than those closest to me would even begin to understand what was going on in my mind. The two parts of myself were hard enough for me to reconcile, let alone for someone else.
There are situations even now, that I won’t put myself in. It’s not because I’m afraid I’ll drink again, because I’m not. It’s more that I don’t want to be surrounded by people that do. At times, we’re on separate paths, and that’s okay, it’s like, I wouldn’t go to a gym just to watch people work out, so why would I go to a pub to watch people drink? I’m realising more and more that I’m okay with that.
Before, when I was invited to something, I wouldn’t have been so honest, I would have tried to go, and either got grumpy or stressed out because it wasn’t where I wanted to be. I’m learning it’s okay, that I don’t need to be afraid of upsetting people, because my thoughts and feelings matter too. It’s my choice not to drink, a good one that I stand by, and if I want it to stick, then I have to defend it, and not be ashamed. So that’s what I’m doing. I can’t believe I’ll have been doing it for six years next month. There was a time when six days was impossible.
My advice is to just do you. It will get easier. It will be challenging too, and not everyone will understand, but unless they’ve walked in your shoes, we can’t expect them to. Trust me, those that matter will stay, and in the long run the journey will be so worthwhile.
Take care of yourselves x