My Not So Secret Diary

Sunday Afternoon Thinking

Sunday Afternoon Thinking me in a tree. Photo taken by Katie Hatwell. My Not So Secret Diary Blog, by Claire Hatwell
I don’t think anyone can understand someone with an addiction unless they’ve been there. It doesn’t matter how kind their intentions or how helpful and supportive they want to be, unless they’ve experienced the feeling you get when you need something to that extent, then I’m not sure how they can be expected to understand.

I found it very difficult to voice my feelings about my relationship with alcohol both before I gave up drinking and also after. It was hard, because I didn’t really know how I felt and how I was going to deal with things. That is something I’m still working on to some extent even now. It’s hard when you’re doing that to listen to other opinions trying to persuade you or encourage you, especially when they haven’t experienced the same things that you have. It’s harder still to have well meaning voices tell you that you are okay, that it isn’t much of a problem, or that you just need to cut down a bit. It’s lovely, but in all honesty, no one else knows how much you drink unless you tell them, and if you’re anything like I was, you may well hide it from even the people you live with. Of course this means most people think you’re okay, because how can they possibly know the truth when you’re so good at covering your tracks? I know I became a wine ninja at home, choosing the moments when my husband had left the room to run to the kitchen to top up my glass and be back before (I hoped) he knew I had left. It meant I could have a couple of extras on the nights when I was pretending I wasn’t. Hiding the recycling was a common thing for me too.

No one else sees it unless you let them, so how can they understand?

I lost touch with some people over the course of my drinking ‘career’. Those closest to me now know that I wasn’t myself then, and those that mean the most are still here. The problem is that some don’t understand, I don’t think they even try. Maybe they think they are better than me? They didn’t ask if I was okay, and had no idea of what was going on for me at the time. How was I supposed to ask for help from them when I was breaking down inside? Arguments that should have been overcome were left to stew and I couldn’t deal with things like that when I was trying to put myself back together. Over time I tried to make amends, but for some it is never enough. For a long time I felt angry about that. I felt like I was wrong because it was ‘my fault’, but I wasn’t well, and to be honest, losing touch with judgemental people who have no understanding of me isn’t such a great loss. They say blood is stronger than water, but I can’t say I always agree. I’m only going to go so far, and if that isn’t good enough, maybe they aren’t good enough for me? It’s taken me a long time to begin to let the hurt go, but gradually I am.

I know I’ve said before about posts online that are meant to be funny, but they really do nothing to help us, instead reinforcing the fact that we are different. Some justify it by saying that we should scroll on by, but why should we? Every one is so keen to make their point but do they really listen to how some things affect others? There are so many of us out there, maybe we should be wondering why others need to prove that they only drink to relax or have fun, maybe they are in a situation similar to the one I was in and just aren’t ready to admit it to themselves yet? It’s just a thought. I know a lot of people are fine with the amount they drink, but I know a lot of others are so sensitive about it, that their need to justify it makes me wonder sometimes.

I’ve found, or at least am finding my place now. I am so lucky to have a wonderful family. My husband and my kids know that I lose the plot sometimes, and rather than judge me, they support me. I have my sober tribe online, that I can chat with when I need to and that includes all the wonderful people who follow and read this blog. It means so much to have your support and to be able to talk to those of you who message me too. Thank you for being here on this journey with me.

Much love,
Claire x