In The Beginning
I didn’t write in the beginning. I wanted to, and I had so many ideas, so many thoughts and feelings but I just couldn’t bring myself to put pen to paper. Whatever I wrote, I felt was too much. Nothing made sense to me, from the way I felt to the way I reacted to things. Without wine in my life everything felt different. I didn’t like to write anything down, even when I wanted to, because I was scared it would make it more real, or worse, that someone would read it. I felt terrible about myself already and I was scared that if I admitted my honest thoughts, that it would be too much.
I wasn’t sure of anything for a long time after I stopped drinking. I felt nervous and shaky all the time. It was exhausting. My anxiety had hit an all time high and I was always on edge. I felt panicky at the best of times. The tiniest thing would set me off. I’d stopped going out much and when I did, I went by myself because it was easier than explaining my worries to anyone else. If I panicked I could run away home without having to tell anyone else. I worried that people were looking at me, talking about me or judging me. I was terrified of getting things wrong or looking like a fool. I knew my worries were out of proportion, but knowing that didn’t make them go away.
I know now that for me my mental health and my addiction to alcohol are completely intertwined. They’ve both been there a long time, each masking the other and making it far harder to really notice and to deal with. Using one to cover and cope with the other just made them both worse.
My anxiety was so bad that it had affected my self-confidence and the way I felt about myself. I was on edge all the time, except if I was drinking. So it was hard to see how it would be without wine and I couldn’t imagine life without it. I didn’t eat much towards the end. I could feel my tummy bubbling with nerves all the time, and I got more and more anxious about ‘normal’ things. The more anxious I got, the worse my nerves were. It was difficult to make myself do anything that I really couldn’t get out of. It was so hard to go out or to see anyone, to push myself out of my comfort zone. So I didn’t.
When I look back now, I feel like I’ve lost time. There are moments that are gone forever because I would rather have had a drink or because I was lost in my worries. I can’t get those times back, but having had them, I know I’d rather do anything than go back to where I was. I found the times so hard that I didn’t write. Looking back now I do sort of wish I had, but I don’t think it would have been very pleasant reading.
Recovery is hard, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It might not happen on the first go, or the second, but when it does, when you stay sober, you’ll realise how worthwhile that battle is. Stick with it if you can, and be kind to yourselves.