(Gosh I haven’t written a blog since September last year, I hadn’t realised that it has been so long, have been busy living my life!).
“You only live once” is an often repeated phrase. However, I disagree! You only DIE once, but LIVE every day of your life. Therefore, I can’t help but wonder why people on a regular basis willingly consume a toxic, and addictive, substance? Don’t panic I’m not on a crusade to get everyone to live in sobriety, (although the world may be less troublesome), but just to question and think about why they drink and the effect it has, or is having, on their everyday lives. Wasted weekends, lost memories, examples being set to their children, increased sense of anxiety and panic, ill health, loss of working hours…….
A legal poison, cleverly marketed to ‘hook’ the consumer into indulging in its mind altering ability over and over again. Available in ever increasing varieties, taste and flavours to appeal to all palates, disguising its naturally foul taste.
Would ‘normal’ drinkers, (I’m no longer sure if there is such a thing), consume alcoholic beverages if it wasn’t available in a palatable form preferable to them?
How many people enjoy having a hangover, or suffering the after effects of alcohol?
I’m just an ordinary, everyday, middle aged mum, wife, etc etc, who over half a decade ago became overwhelmed by life, depression and anxiety; whereby I gradually became dependent of alcohol to get me through the day. First it was just the reward of a glass of wine at bath time. Over a relatively short period of time of a couple of years, this slowly increased. When I gave up time to become a full time stay at home mum it really escalated out of control. “Wine o’clock” crept earlier and earlier into each day.
Looking back I was mentally and emotionally a complete wreck, and had been for years, holding things together by the thinnest of threads.
My darkest days were spent unable to drag myself out of bed. Wishing I was dead and believing my family would be better off without me.
There were times when I would contemplate driving into a wall, or disappearing without a trace. I would go to bed at night praying that I wouldn’t wake up the next morning.
Drinking became a way of trying to seek oblivion from my obligations, and the ever increasing sense of drowning despair and suffocating panic………..
To all who come into contact with me I wish you death and suffering. I am the disease of addiction – cunning, endlessly patient and bafflingly powerful. I have killed millions and I am delighted. I love pretending that I am your friend.
I’ve given you comfort, was there for you when you were lonely; there for you when you wanted to die. All those times you wanted me I was there for you. I love to make you cry and to upset you.
I’ve always been there for you. When things were going well in your life you invited me to join in. All the good things in your life that you said you didn’t deserve I always agreed with you. Together we were able to destroy all those good things.
But your recovery and sobriety weaken me. However, don’t be fooled as I will lie here quietly, biding my time, waiting, waiting……..
4 Years sobriety, 16th August 2014 I took my last alcoholic drink. 17th August 2014 I entered rehab; a 28 day intensive program in an acute psychiatric hospital, without which I am certain I wouldn’t be where I am today.
My admission notes state “My drinking is out of control, I am self medicating to help an underlying depression. Since stopping work 12 months ago my consumption has increased…my family are a string protective factor for me and my drive to recover and maintain sobriety”.
My journey in rehab not only helped me stop using the drug of my choice, it enabled me to understand the nature of addiction and, how it affected my life. I learnt that life can be fun without alcohol and how to maintain sobriety.
There is in my heart eternal love and gratitude for all those that helped me, stood by me and continued to love, when I despised, loathed, hated myself. From wanting to die to loving life, finding confidence and self esteem seems incredible.
Sobriety is the best gift I have ever given to myself and those around me. It hasn’t always been easy, but my life is better than I ever imagined.
I’m going on an all inclusive holiday next week which I am extremely excited about. However, I am very conscious of the association between alcohol, holidays, relegation and sunshine, particularly where all inclusive is concerned, one that is applauded and expected by many people.
My awareness of the sniper patiently waiting on my shoulder, ready to strike is immense.
Holidays, for Me, in the second year of sobriety was incredibly daunting. (I say second year because in rehab we were advised not to go on holiday during our first year. As with all the advice I was given I followed it to the letter). So, for that first holiday, along with my usual packing, I packed the my sobriety toolbox I had created during my 28 days in rehab and remembered all the things I had been taught. Complacency was NOT packed!
This year I am doing the same. It gives me a feeling of security and calmness.
Instead of enjoying the all inclusive status as society expects I am hoping for a bucket full of ice cream and a room bursting with cheesecake!!
Recently my besties and I went to visit the grave of a very dear and recently lost, friend. This got me reflecting on how fickle I was in regards to my own life during my drinking days. I had complete disregard for how precious my life was, and is. Disregard which stemmed from a very long history of depression and anxiety, a lot of time undiagnosed.
Where mental illness is concerned alcohol has a lot to answer. I was testamount to it. Its supposed calming influence eventually turning sad thoughts into suicidal ones with its use to self medicate attempting to rid myself of the black dog.
This was reinforced this morning when whilst doing a few errands I saw a couple who were clearly alcoholics. The lady had facial bruising and stitches, both held cans of beer in their quivering, slumped bodies. They were shrouded in a cloud of perfume that only alcoholics wear.
I felt terribly terribly sad. It was a stark reminder to me my old ‘alc d’cologne’ I too once wore and of the injuries I drunkenly caused myself; usually in blackout. I have plenty of scars to prove it, mentally and physically.
There before the grace of God….. I am one of the lucky ones.
In life it’s the agony that makes getting to the otherside so marvellous.
Before visiting friends this weekend, friends who we haven’t socialised with since my sobriety, I had slight butterflies. This is unusual for me these days. Although I have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety I am extremely adapt at controlling my anxiety and panic – so what is all this about?? I think it was due to an element of not knowing how they would react to the ‘new’ me. This says more about my own ego and the desire to be liked. The desire to be liked by everyone is something I struggle with and find it hard to come to terms with the fact that not everyone will or does. Any way, in this particular instance I needn’t have worried and we’ve had a splendid weekend.