30 August 2020
Drinking often starts off as fun, as a release, a reward or a past-time but for many, it becomes a need, a desire, a thirst and one that can’t ever quite be quenched.
I’ve recently read The Wine O’clock Myth, the most recent book by the lovely Lotta Dann, (I love her books). In it she says, “If we try to numb and disconnect from one thing, we numb and disconnect from everything - good and bad”. She’s right. I know I didn’t intentionally try to drown out the world, it just became a habit for me. I didn’t even realise that it was more than that for a long time, all I really considered was the way it made me relax. It gave me a respite from my crazy busy mind and it helped me stop ruminating on my thoughts.
Eventually though, if we drink enough, we replace honest connections with the idea of a drink and that only serves in the long run to isolate us more in our thoughts and feelings. It reinforces the need we have for what is increasingly becoming our only release. When you hit the point where the need is that great, it is almost impossible to see the wood for the trees. There’s no easy way out and if you’re like me, you’ll begin to resent the thing you’ve love and have come to rely on. But, that resentment doesn’t mean you can suddenly live without it, just that you’ll be more confused than ever, and will probably feel like you’ve let yourself down.
Losing who you are is a common theme with those of us who’ve been or are dependent on alcohol. We’ve spent so long avoiding feelings, numbing thoughts and drinking our way through situations that it’s like a new person you don’t completely know is emerging from the ashes. And that makes it harder in many ways, because everything is new and different. I slept a lot in the early days. Everything I did felt like such a challenge, I over analysed everything I did, even my own reactions to those things. It was exhausting. But, I carried on going, and things got better.
At this point, things were bad, but I felt I had no choice but to continue. I hated myself for drinking and the things I said and did when I had a drink, and yet living without it was a challenge that almost didn’t seem possible at the time. At least not possible for me. All I knew for certain was that I had to try, I knew I couldn’t stay where I was. Now, I know that I won’t go back.
Time is a wonderful healer. I can’t change the way things were, but they have shaped me into the person I am now, and for that I am grateful.
Take care and thanks as always for reading.
Even now, after all this time, I find myself questioning if I was really ever that bad… It’s funny because as I’ve said before, I don’t miss drinking, but, that doesn’t mean I don’t still remember.
Sometimes it seems that romantic idea or attachment is still there. I think because one of my sons has recently started working at a restaurant and often helps out on the bar, we’ve been talking more about drinking in the house. It’s not a conscious thing, just discussing his shift, and what he did. He’s been learning the different drinks and even brought home a wine list which he was showing me, it’s strange how much it brings things back.
I’m not longing for a glass of wine by any means, and I’m not sitting here wishing I had a glass of wine in my hand, (it’s late evening and I’m enjoying a lovely cup of tea), but I have caught myself absentmindedly thinking about it. For something I haven’t drunk in a long time, it’s weird how clearly I can remember the smell. Oddly, I find that more alluring than the taste. I reckon I’d be surprised now at how acidic it tastes. Not that I’m going to try.
I remember when I was young and wanting to drink to be cool, because that’s what people did. My first thoughts were that it was pretty disgusting, but I persevered, because I wanted to fit in. I pushed through the bad taste and convinced myself I liked it, in a way that I couldn’t with coffee, even though I wanted to like that too, mostly because they all drank it on ‘Friends’. Funnily enough, I don’t drink coffee now either, but I wasn’t ever addicted to it and I don’t ever catch myself guiltily thinking about it at odd times. I suppose that is what years of ingrained behaviour will do for you.
The thing is, that now, while I might remember how that glass felt in my hand, the smell and the idea of it, I know that isn’t where it would stop. I know that one ‘little’ sip wouldn’t be enough, and a small glass wouldn’t either.
Maybe it’s because it’s coming up to my ‘soberversary’ that I’m much more aware of how far I’ve come. It’s almost like it’s made me more aware, but still, it is different from before because although I have memories, I don’t actually want to drink anymore, and that is a big change.
Anyway, I might have had a few random thoughts of wine sniffing, but as for wine tasting, I’m not going to go there. I think that being more aware of drinking probably serves to make me more mindful that I don’t get complacent, and slip up, which is great because recovery is not a battle I want to have again.
I’ve already drunk more than a lifetime supply of wine, so I think I’ll leave it there.
Thank you as always for reading.