I've been writing for years on and off although it wasn’t until this blog that I let anyone else read anything. Even then I thought I’d post secretly, that I wouldn’t let people know it was me, I wouldn’t give myself away in my profile picture or put my name on it. It gave me more freedom to write without worry. But then one of my posts got shared and people I knew saw it. It was both scary and such a relief, all at the same time. I’d not ever felt comfortable admitting I had a drinking problem and yet here I was, opening up and telling people, most of whom I had never met, all about it. It’s bizarre if you think about it, and yet for me, it works. Writing helps me work through my thoughts and feelings. It helps me process and make sense of things. I have a habit of circling on things otherwise, but if I write them down I can let them go.
Talking to this wonderful and diverse online community made me feel understood, accepted and myself in a way I hadn’t done for a long time. It’s hard to change when everyone knows you or you’re stuck in a rut and have almost forgotten who you are. Being part of a community again, albeit an online one made me feel that I wasn’t alone. It’s isolating thinking you are different to others and for a long time I felt a lot of shame about my drinking. Isolation feeds addictions of any sort. Being able to connect with others made me feel that I wasn’t odd, that instead, I was one of many. There are so many women (and men) out there like me, who have families and jobs and interests and also have a drinking problem. Connecting with people with the same sort of experiences as me made it much easier. It didn’t fix anything but it helped me on my way.
Talking helps, but I didn’t want to talk, so instead I wrote. I wrote on chat groups, in my journal and I wrote on my blog. I didn’t want to post everything, sometimes I wrote a post and deleted it again, but it made me work through my thoughts and unpick them. It helped me to understand myself. Of course once I was brave enough to start posting, people started to comment, and talk to me directly and that was wonderful, although nerve wracking in itself. If I got a notification or a comment, I had to check it straightaway (I still do!) - feeling scared that it might be negative. My mind always jumps to the worst conclusion first. And yet, it wasn’t negative, it was good and it was encouraging. It is lovely to share my successes and hear of those also winning in their battles.
Not every one of my posts is about drinking (or not drinking in my case), but my life is more than just that. I am more than that now. Of course, my battle with addiction is a part of me, but it is only one part. It has changed who I am, but that isn’t necessarily the bad thing I thought it might be, and there are lots of other parts of me too. As with most of us, there is more to us than meets the eye. I know that I’m enjoying this process of discovery and uncovering new things about myself. We’re stuck in an unusual time at the moment, but who knows what a bit of introspection might help us all find?
Thank you for reading.