A Question – To Choose or Not To Choose?

Here is a something I was given in rehab that I would like to share with you.  Ask yourself the question –  “If this were a person would you want, or allow, them into your life”?

I hate anyone who has a Programme and I hate Meetings and Higher Powers.

To all who come into contact with me I wish you death and suffering.  Allow me to introduce myself;  I am the disease of addiction, cunning, baffling, powerful and endlessly patient.  That’s me!  I have killed millions and I am pleased.  I love to catch you with the element of surprise;  I love pretending that I am your friend and lover.

I have given you comfort have I not?  Wasn’t I there when you were lonely?  When you wanted to die, didn’t you call on me and I was there?  I love to make you hurt and I love to make you cry.  Better yet, I love it when I make you so numb you can neither cry nor hurt; you can’t feel anything at all and this is true glory for me.  I will give you instant gratification and all I ask is for  your long term suffering!

I’ve been there for you always, when things were going well in your life you invited me in.  You said you didn’t deserve these good things and I was the only one who agreed with you.  Together we were able to destroy all the good things in your life.

People don’t take me seriously.  They take strokes, heart attacks, diabetes, cancer and aids seriously, fools that they are, but they don’t know that without my help some of these things would not be possible.

I’m such a hated disease and yet I do not come uninvited;  you choose to have me;  so many have chosen me over reality and peace.

Your Programme, your Meetings, your Higher Power all weaken me and I can’t function in the manner I am accustomed to.  Now I must like here quietly, plotting my revenge.  You don’t see me, but I am growing bigger than ever, just biding my time, patiently waiting, waiting to kill you.

When you only exist, I live! When you live I only exist.

But I am here until we meet again —— YOU CHOOSE!

 

COMPLACENCY

This word carries a DANGER warning.

Complacency in recovery is not an attitude alcoholics can afford, it can be extremely dangerous. It can occur gradually and creep up unnoticed.  As time passes we get so used to our sober lives that we can start to put distance between our ‘new’ selves and the ‘old’ ones and the negative experiences of our drinking days.  Potentially, this can lead us to stop doing what we were doing in the beginning to become sober. It is like removing an essential ingredient from a cake recipe, the cake may finish up a disaster.

Don’t take your sober life for granted. Don’t stop doing the things that have been keeping you away from alcohol. Don’t forget how bad things were before recovery. Don’t become overly confident and believe that success at remaining sober is now assured. Alcohol is not a problem that needs fixing and once fixed means we’re cured.

Today I feel confident that I understand my deficits as well as my assets, and will act rationally.  Confident that I have, and aim to continue to build a successful life away from addiction.
This confidence is not complacency, but an attitude that if I continue doing the things that has led me to success so far they will help to keep me on this wonderful path of sobriety. I will not allow my sobriety to become a habit or taken for granted. I will continue to work to maintain it.

There is no cure for a ‘drinking problem’.  Alcohol would love nothing more than to lure you back in to its net.

HOLD ON TIGHT TO THE NOVELTY OF SOBRIETY.  It will forever be a work in progress.

 

 

ALCOHOLIC V CHOCOHOLIC

How can you tell the difference by looking at a group of individuals? You can’t; unless it is clearly obvious.   I googled the definition of both:
Alcoholic – A person addicted to intoxicating drinks.
Chocoholic – Someone who is very fond of eating chocolate.


Why does one term leave a bitter taste in people’s mouths and the other a sweet? Is it because of society’s perception and stereotyping of a alcoholic, as depicted in the image above of the person slumped at the side of the road, (or more usually the homeless person on a park bench)?   Whilst a chocoholic is someone who is fun loving, giggly, and dear I say possibly cuddly!!!

In reality however the majority of alcoholics are professional people attempting to live ‘normally’ (!!!) (Subjective!). A term also used is ‘functioning’, of which I was one; a full time working Mum. ‘Functioning’ makes me chuckle when I look back, as now its blindingly obvious to me how very badly my attempt at functioning was. There are many of my acquaintances who would be surprised to discover that I am an alcoholic.

On its most basic level addiction is an attempt to control and fulfil a desire for happiness.

Common sense should tell us that both ‘olics’ can affect anyone at any moment in their individual lives. I feel very strongly that stereotyping and the judgemental attitude of Mr and Mrs Public needs to be addressed. This, in turn, will help the millions of people who fear the label and stigma attached to their problem drinking. A problem that can vary between individuals, and does not necessarily have to be due to an excessive consumption, but more how your body and personality react to alcohol and the need for it.

Harsh realisation – addiction is not exclusive to gender, race, colour, religion, class.

HONESTY

Boy this is a biggie!
Let’s start with being honest – alcoholics, (or problem drinkers), are all pretty much liars. Not only experts at lying to others but to themselves.
I’d been brought up with certain values, honesty being one of them. However, as my drinking got out of control so did my honesty values. Lies would roll off my tongue with increasing ease. I became so adapt at lying that there were times where I actually believed my own lies. One prime example was when I fell down the stairs, as drunk as a parrot shattering my arm. The story I told everyone was that the stair carpet was old and loose causing me to lose my footing. No way was alcohol to blame – (klaxon sound please) BIG FAT LIE; COLOSSALL!
Today I am firstly honest with myself; about my feelings, defects, strengths and behaviour. At the end of each day I write a diary, thinking of each of these things in turn. It’s usually just a very brief entry, not 2 A4 pages!! Sometimes I find myself writing something that I am not proud of but acknowledging it helps me to improve on my journey the following day.
My honesty with others is also paramount; unless of course, as I’ve been taught, it is harmful to myself or others, usually in this case I’ll write it down in my diary – it’s important to ‘get it out there’ because keeping it buried inside can be self-detrimental.
“The cruellest lies are often told in silence” Robert Louis Stevenson

Gardening

I have neglected our garden for years, particularly during sunny days, not good as it needs alot of tending. There are a couple of reasons for this.

One is we seem to have an abundance of frogs and I am terrified of them; much to the amusement of my family who enjoy tormenting me about it!

The second is that during my drinking days I would spend hours gardening with mug of wine hidden in the bushes. Weed, sip, weed, sip so on and so forth. By the time the family arrived home I would be three sheets to the wind, and wouldn’t be able to remember under which bush I’d hidden the wine. Perennial Pimms O’clock!

But ta-da over the last 2 weeks I have reignited my enjoyment of being in the garden and have set about doing an immense amount of work – without the Pimms pull or Chablis call. It has been wonderful. No anxiety or panic about discovery of my hidings, no collapsing at 7 in a drunken slump, no panic attacks or paranoia the next morning, no frantic searching the next day trying to find where I’d hidden bottles, mugs etc. The horrors of THEN mercifully gone.

The night after my first day of sober gardening I had a drinking dream. I haven’t had a drinking dream for years. I woke up in a real tizzy. What relief I felt knowing it was just a dream is indescribable.

Viva the joy of sober and guilt free gardening……..

Who I Was NOT Who I Am

It is extremely hurtful and bloody annoying when a person/s cannot avoid the temptation of reminding you about an incident that occurred during your darkest drinking days. Not just once but virtually every time you see them.  Why?  It is cruel.

Refuse to be a participant in their game, the game that will usually be the ‘poor me’, ‘look what you put me through’, ‘you should feel guilty about how you made me feel’.

It is important though to acknowledge my feelings, and not suppress them.  This can be self-detrimental.

Remorse will always be present about the past, BUT I AM NO LONGER THAT PERSON……..

Shame is a little whip always carried.  This whip which I am more than capable of stinging myself with, I do not need the help of others.  However, self-acceptance and self-love provides the strength to dump that whip and take control of my own emotions, not allowing others to try and take that control.

I am thankful for difficult people in my life, as they will show me exactly who I do not want to be.

Anyone who limits her vision to memories of yesterday is already dead.  – Lily Langry

HALT

Making time for yourself is so important, especially so in early recover where you are extremely weak and vulnerable. At all costs you want to avoid anything that could potentially lead to relapse.

During the 28 days I spent in rehab I learnt many things about myself.  Some of which I am still developing, for example, self-care and being self-less, (completely different to and often confused with selfish).

However,  there are 4 particular things I now avoid. These are – being hungry, angry, lonely, tired, (H.A.L.T.), four potential triggers that could have me reaching for that first drink, and potential triggers for many people struggling to control their drinking.

Hungry – drop in sugar levels. During my drinking days I would stave off hunger by drinking, regularly replacing meals with booze. When I stopped drinking I developed an incredibly sweet tooth, this is perfectly normal as your body craves the sugar it would normally be getting via alcohol. Therefore, it is extremely important to EAT.   I learnt how important regular food is, sounds silly but alcohol deprives you of more than self-respect, common sense disappears too!  (I usually never leave the house now without a taking a snack and a bottle of water with me!!).

Angry – boy! what an opportunity for feeding emotions, either to quash or fuel it.  My goodness did I drink if I was angry!  In the latter days of my drinking career 99% of the time the drink would fuel my anger to an inferno. Neither is healthy or desirable as those feelings need to be addressed and dealt with. These days if I feel angry I back chain to try to uncover why something has evoked such a negative feeling or reaction in me. I’ve found that if I take enough time and a close enough look I can often find the reason why, and resolve it in a healthy way.  On many occasions I remind myself of the Serenity Prayer – ‘accept the things I cannot change, and the courage to change the things I can’.

Loneliness (isolation) – this is particularly appropriate for me as I did most of my drinking alone and I isolated myself. I have asked my closest friends and family that if they ever notice me isolating myself that this should set their alarm bells ringing. I regularly see my chums, but in sobriety I have also learnt to enjoy my own company in a healthy, fulfilled and rewarding way.

Tired – I used to overcome tiredness by drowning it out with booze. Now if I’m tired I take a nap, (most days!).

No more drowning life out with booze! I now like to make every second count and enjoy life as best as I can, but I am mindful of the fact that it is important not to neglect myself.