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.