I used to drink a lot. I thought I could handle it. I did handle it. Sort of. I would drink just enough to forget why I was drinking but not so much that it would disrupt the next day. Even living by the sea in Spain didn’t inspire me to take it easy when the weekend came around. I would obliterate all of my misery as quickly as possible on Friday and Saturday evenings so that I could lie around all weekend telling myself I deserved the ‘treat’.
I realise now that I drank to stop myself from having to deal with the all of things that made me feel uncomfortable about who I was. I had been lonely for years. A relationship I thought was ‘the one’ had ended unexpectedly so it took me a long time to get over it. Of course, I drank to get over it which made getting over it impossible.
I drank to obliterate all of the dark thoughts I regularly had about what a useless person I was. I had a list of crimes that I had committed:
- I had travelled in Asia for 6 years but was still fat and miserable.
- I was a terrible mother and drank far too much when my kids were young
- I had qualified as a yoga teacher but never taught it.
- I got a crappy 2:2 degree in IT.
- My career as an IT Manager was littered with stress and failure.
- I met ‘the one’ but he rejected me.
On and on, if I was left to my own devices, I would go over and over all of the bad decisions I had made in my life so that I could tell myself how crap I was. Of course, I didn’t like being left to my own devices, so vodka became the easy escape from the hamster wheel thoughts that rattled around my mind.
In May 2017 I stopped drinking and my life was transformed.
A Shifted Perspective
On this wonderful journey, I have discovered something about myself that has changed my life. My perspective on who I am has completely changed, and it’s changed in a way that enables me to see myself in the same way that those who love me, see me.
- At the age of 49, I was courageous enough to sell everything I owned and travel and work in India, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Spain for amazing 6 years.
- Despite being a single parent for a very long time, I participated in raising two wonderful kids who I now have great relationships with.
- I travelled to India alone and stayed in an ashram for an entire month while I learned so many wonderful things that have become the basis of my spirituality.
- I was the first person in my family to get a degree and I achieved it as a single parent.
- I was stretched and tested so much in my IT career that I became a great people manager and had some pretty impressive achievements.
- The man who ended our relationship let me down and obviously, wasn’t ‘the one’.
I am now able to see myself entirely clearly, rationally and with a loving kindness that bolsters my own self-confidence and ensures that I can do anything I set my mind to and do it well. It is quite difficult to describe the depth of the impact this has had on me. I could never have seen these things about myself while I drank.
Why Do You Drink?
We all drink for the same and different reasons. Some of you drink to drown out an old trauma you aren’t ready or have the tools to face. Some of you drink because you lack self-esteem and need the false confidence that alcohol gives you. Some of you drink because you are in a relationship that is not good for you but dealing with it is just too big a thing to contemplate. And some of you drink because it started out as a fun thing to do but now you have the habit and don’t know how to stop even though you know it’s making you miserable.
If one or more of those reasons above apply to you, then you have my love and compassion because I know how you feel.
But the one reason we drink that we don’t often talk about is that we drink because we drink.
Alcohol is a depressant and causes anxiety. It inflates all of the bad in you and makes you think that anything good you might feel about yourself is just you being egotistical.
Yes, drinking might temporarily take away those dark thoughts about your old trauma but it never allows you to deal with it once and for all and be free of it. Yes, you will get that quick boost of self-esteem when you drink but it never allows you to become your own, beautiful, authentic self.
Yes, drinking will enable you to avoid dealing with your relationship problems because that stuff is hard, but it will never allow you to be free to live a life where you are truly happy. And yes, drinking can help you to have fun, but it will never let you experience the true joy of spending time with those you love, to focus and connect with them, to deepen your relationships.
The more you drink, the more you drink and the worse you feel about yourself. Its as if, in drinking alcohol, you are deliberately drowning out the loveliness in you, the happiness in you, the joy in your relationships, your wonderful achievements.
You Are In There
I know you are in there somewhere. That beautiful, feisty, outrageous woman who has talents in abundance, who loves unconditionally, who is unfailingly kind and who knows who she is – inside and out.
You know you are in there somewhere too, otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this. You know that there is a version of yourself that is pushing to be seen in the world and loved for exactly who she is. She is going to be so easy to find the moment you decide to stop drinking.
When you think about why you drink you also need to think about why you want to stop. What is it that you will feel, be, or do when you release alcohol from your life? Who is that you, desperate to be set free, who wants to show the world how brave and amazing you are?
Set Yourself Free
I know that contemplating an alcohol-free life can be a bit like looking into a void. If you have never had a period of sobriety before it can be difficult to imagine what your life would be like without your evening relaxer, your fab nights out with the girls or your favourite wine on date night with your partner. It might be hard to believe right now that life could be better, but so many Sobersistas who have achieved sobriety will tell you life is so much better than they could ever have imagined.
The liberation you feel when you give up and get through those first few months of adjustment is second to none. It puts you in a position of being able to live life 100% on your own terms. You will have the stamina, courage and clarity to finally pursue those dreams you felt could never come true.
There is often incongruence between your drinking self and your authentic self that is one of the key causes of your drinking. Alcohol robs you of who you are so you don’t feel like yourself so you drink to blot out the discomfort of not being yourself. I drank to be something I thought I should be, but the sober reality of myself is a much better version.
Getting Ready For The New You
Most of us don’t like change and often we resist it until smacks us in the face and gives us no choice. If you have been avoiding giving up it’s important to acknowledge that becoming sober is a significant change to your life. But – it doesn’t necessarily need to be a bad one.
There is nothing bad in sobriety. Nothing at all. Your relationships will improve, you will look better and feel better. You will have more energy, more patience and more clarity.
Yes, those early few weeks may be a little challenging while you detox but the rewards you will receive in abundance once that short period is over will be so worth it. Yes, sometimes the amount of change you need to deal with may feel overwhelming, but your Sobersistas will be there every step of the way to support you and give you the love and advice you need.
A Different You
Before too long you will realise that your sobriety will never let you down, and you will never let yourself down again. No more shame, blame and disgust at last nights antics. Just clear-headed mornings filled with early, productive starts and positive memories of the night before.
As women we often put ourselves last while we care for everyone around us first. Choosing sobriety is the ultimate act of self-care and succeeding at it means that not only will you be happy to nurture yourself but you will be able to continue to care for your loved ones with a renewed passion, free of any doubt or resentment.
This, perhaps is the hardest aspect of giving up. Trusting in your own wisdom and strength can feel challenging but I know you can do it. I know you can achieve this easy thing called sobriety, I know this because I have done it and you and I are not that different from each other.