My Not So Secret Diary


If you’d asked me a while back what bravery meant to me, I would probably have told you it was a physical thing. Maybe the ability to push yourself to do something physically challenging, or you to save someone like a firefighter or similar does. If you asked me now, I’d tell you it was more than just that, although of course those things are very brave too. It’s also very different for every single person, because we are all so different and coloured by our life experiences and challenges.

For me, rather than something strength related, I feel my bravery comes with overcoming an addiction. For doing something that scared me. I know I’m not the only one that would apply to. Before I challenged that part of myself I would have said it was easy to do your own thing and stand up for what you feel, but it’s surprisingly hard. Especially when it’s something like going against the grain with regard to drinking, but that is mainly because drinking alcohol is such a part of our British culture. I’ve found people assume that you’re either driving, ill or pregnant if you don’t drink, and yet, there are many other reasons for it. Including the fact that you just don’t want to anymore. Or that you really want to, but have decided that it really isn’t good for you.

It’s said that alcohol is more addictive than heroin, but still it’s so readily available that instead of being supported for not drinking, it is often assumed that there is something wrong with those of us who are alcohol free or that we are missing out on something. For me it took a lot of bravery to stand up to that common misconception and to say actually, for a long time, I relied on wine, and now I don’t want to anymore. It isn’t good for me, and it put me in a dark place. I don’t want to be there anymore and so I’m not. I don’t need to rely on it anymore for anything, but it was bloody hard work to get to where I am now, as anyone else who has gone through recovery will understand. It’s challenging, and to be faced with a culture that drinks as a main form of relaxation, fun and reward, it’s even more challenging. But we can do it. I’m proof of that - with three years, seven and a half months alcohol free.

For me bravery means -
  • Having the courage to face your problems and do something about them. (Rather than bury your head in the sand like I did for years!)
  • Asking for help when it terrifies you.
  • Having the courage to say no to a drink even when you think you want one or when it would be easier to say yes, than to have to explain yourself.
  • Telling the people you care about that actually you’re not as perfect as you’d like them to think you are.
  • Accepting yourself, all the good bits and all the bad bits.
  • Standing up for what you believe in, regardless of what it is and whether others agree with you or not. (Unless it’s something really bad!)

I’m not sure that there is any easy way to define it, but I thought I’d have a go. I’ve probably missed other really important things, but it’s hard isn’t it? What about you, what does bravery mean to you?

Take care, and thanks for reading.
Claire x