My Not So Secret Diary

Why do you drink so much?

Why Do You Drink So Much? with my husband Lee Hatwell at Lands End writing for my sobriety and mental health blog My Not So Secret Diary by Claire Hatwell
It’s a fair question and one I was asked more than a few times, back when I used to drink. I always laughed it off, and more importantly, I always had a good reason. Here’s a few of some of the many reasons I used to use, there were more, but these are the first ones that came to mind.

  • The sun is shining.
  • I want to relax.
  • It’s been a hard day.
  • It’s the weekend.
  • It’s a holiday.
  • We’re going out.
  • We are out.
  • We’ve been out.
  • We’ve got friends coming round.
  • It’s nice to have a few drinks with dinner.
  • It’s nice to have a few drinks after dinner/with a film/in the garden.
  • I want a glass of wine to ‘relax’ with in my bath.

You see, no matter what, I had a reason. The thing is, that these reasons merged together and rolled into one, so it became more about getting a drink in the end, rather than needing a reason to have one. Everything began to revolve around wine, so slowly at first that I didn’t see the addiction creeping up on me. Not until it was too late. Fun times meant a drink, but so did sad times, or busy times, or relaxing times, in fact, it became that there wasn’t a time without a drink in the evening. It was then that I realised I was relying on it, that I no longer wanted it, but needed it, but by then, I didn’t know how I was going to live without it.

When I think back to why I even started drinking in the first place, I think there an element in the beginning, or when I was younger, that I wanted to fit in, and to be cool. I don’t know any of those people now that I wanted to fit in with then, so that was a waste of time!

The thought of trying to live life without wine was a strange concept to me. It seemed like something impossible. I just couldn’t imagine a life completely without it, but cutting down just didn’t work, however many times I tried. I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to have fun or relax, and I’d lost touch in a lot of ways with myself. I remember watching an episode of Grand Designs when I was on one of my attempts at giving up, and I was astounded by the house. It was beautiful, and I for a moment dreamed of living somewhere like it. The problem was, when I envisaged a life in a home like that, cooking dinner involved having wine in my hand, and the moment I couldn’t see that, the dream fizzled away.

Replacing something that has such a hold on you and plays such a leading role in your life is difficult and I found the easiest way to quit was to do it one day at a time. I didn’t want to think about the bigger picture, because I just couldn’t see it. So instead, I just took it slowly and tried not to rush and gradually I got there. But it was like reinventing myself.

I like being responsible for my actions now. I mean, I know I was before, but now, I can’t blame alcohol for a comment I’ve made, and neither can anyone else. I’m more measured in my actions and my reactions and a lot more laid back. Little things don’t escalate in the same way they did before, and I can take a step back and evaluate before rushing in head first and then regretting it. It’s not been an easy road by any means, but it is amazing to think I am coming out the other side of it now, and that things finally are becoming easier.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect, I still get anxious and I still get a little bit of wine glass envy from time to time, but that is all it is now. Soon I remember the need for more, the fuzziness, the headaches, the pretending I was okay when I wasn’t, and all the rest of it and I know that I am in a far better place now.

If you’re on the same path, good luck to you and take care. Remember, things do get easier in the end.

Take care,
Claire x