Life changes us all. It doesn’t matter what circumstances you are born into, we all have different opportunities, different experiences and they affect us all in very different ways. The things we experience shape us and make us who we are.
I’ve struggled over the years to come to terms with the aftermath of my drinking. It cost me relationships with friends and family, but then it also made me realise who I can rely on and who I can’t or who I shouldn’t. I felt very ashamed for a long time of myself and despite the fact that I’d stopped drinking, I sort of felt like I’d lost myself. I was so lacking in confidence, I felt completely unsure of myself and I didn’t know how to fix it. I wanted a magic wand, but unfortunately there isn’t one, or if there is, I couldn’t find it. Time and patience seem to be the best thing for me. They seem to have gradually built up and so now I am in a far better place than I was when I first quit.
I still don’t advertise my alcohol free life though, it’s not a secret but I just don’t go out of my way to tell people. That might seem strange considering how open I am with you all, but honestly I don’t tell people in the real world that often. I’m still doubtful that people will believe I was really that bad or maybe that they’ll think it is an attention thing. “We are all born equal, but we are not treated equally,” is one of my daughter Katie’s favourite quotes. Whoever we are, and wherever we are from, we are all coloured by our life experiences. We face privilege or discrimination based on other people’s perceptions of us, even down to small things, like whether we are a teenage mum or a boy racer. A lot of people seem to assume the worst of others. My experiences are different to others, and while that often makes me a lot more understanding of other people’s struggles, it isn’t always the first thing I want to explain to everyone.
I sort of thought one day things might just fall into place but of course that only happens in movies. The song “Wear Sunscreen” by Baz Luhrman, was released when I was a teenager. I think everyone has heard it, but although I’ve always liked it, it hasn’t really been until recently that it struck such a chord with me. It made me realise that I am me, whether others like me or approve or not. I can’t and won’t change for anyone else, and I wish I had realised it earlier! There is a part in the song that says something along the lines of, some interesting twenty year olds don’t know what they’re going to do with the rest of their lives, but the most interesting forty year olds still don’t know what they want to do! It makes me feel better when I worry that I haven’t achieved everything I want to have done yet!
Life is a journey. Let’s enjoy it!