“I’m not going to drink tonight,” was always one of the first things on my mind in the morning. I’ve said before that I didn’t drink in the day, but the fact that it was often at the forefront of my mind should have given me warning bells.
I didn’t see my addiction creep up on me you see. Many people don’t. It’s just a habit we get into. It’s so ingrained in our culture, in our society, that we often seem more strange for not drinking, than for drinking. It’s a sad state of affairs and it’s one of the reasons that so many people with addictions struggle to get help. I’ve read that alcohol is more addictive than heroin. I’ve also heard that if alcohol was invented now, it would be illegal. Who knows? We can’t change these things, but we do have to face up to the way it’s used in our lives and that it actually doesn’t have to be.
In so many houses across the country there is a certain time of day when if you listen carefully, you could possibly hear the sound of bottles opening and glasses being filled. This witching hour was certainly the hardest time for me both when I was trying to cut down and when I had cut wine completely out of my life. If I could distract myself to get through the early evening, things were often a little easier for me. Not easy, but easier.
It’s funny, but after three years and nine months of sobriety wine o’clock still catches me out sometimes. It isn’t there so often, but every once in a while I might be driving home from work and I think, “Ah, that’ll be nice”, and then I remember that it won’t be. I don’t miss drinking at all now and that is the honest truth. It wasn’t like that at the beginning but it is certainly true now. However, that habit, it’s still there as a memory in the back of my mind, and sometimes it pops out. It’s always innocent, like maybe my husband telling me he’ll be late home which causes me to think I’ll sit down with a glass of wine and watch a film. Except, I don’t want to drink now, so that memory is more annoying than anything else.
I hate that I was stuck in that rut, of thinking I needed to reward myself at the end of a day. I also hate that so many other people are still stuck in it, although that shouldn’t be for me to worry about really! I just know what a hard place it is to be and it makes me cross that it is reinforced in so many different places. It doesn’t matter whether you are online or in a shop, there are so many gifts available to remind us that it’s time for ‘Mummy’s Wine’ or something similar. I hope one day this changes and that we are all able to see alcohol for what it is, something that can be enjoyed, but that shouldn’t be relied on. Life without alcohol is too good to continue drowning ourselves in it.
I suppose what I’d like to say is that it’s hard in our culture to begin a life of sobriety as we are almost expected to drink to be accepted. It shouldn’t be that way and it doesn’t have to be. So remember that, especially if you’re beginning a sober journey. There will always be reminders, but that is all they need to be. Drinking was a big part of my life for a long time, but now it’s a part of my history. It helped make me who I am, but I don’t need or want it anymore. Good luck to you if you are struggling, and remember it really does get easier. It really is worth it.