I read a lot of articles, quotes, and people’s thoughts and ideas around alcohol and addiction, and something I read today really struck a chord in me and got me thinking. It went something like this: “It’s not the drink, it’s not the drugs, it’s not the substance, and never was”.
It’s not the drink, it’s not the drugs, it’s not the substance, and never was
That’s a BIG one for me, because I’ve had many thoughts over the years around why I drank, what caused me to do it, and why I behaved sometimes so appallingly, or outrageously, when drunk. I spent a lot of my life convincing myself and others that I was actually allergic to certain kinds of alcohol and I wouldn’t know which one till I drank it. I also believed for a long while that, because my mother was a destructive drinker, it was hereditary. My mother was in AA for many years, and she relayed to me that anyone who drank excessively was an alcoholic and that alcoholism is a disease : I never quite believed this, was never 100% convinced. But the reason I would give most frequently was “I don’ have a drink problem, I just drink when I’ve got problems”.
I’m into my third year of being sober, and I’ve spent a LOT of time contemplating why I drank, and why alcohol had such an impact on my thinking, my emotions, and my reactions to things and people, and I think I’ve cracked it (well, broken the surface at least), and I know now that it’s true….it wasn’t the booze – it was me. It was me all along, or should I say the lack of me; the lack of confidence, the lack of self-esteem, the lack of self-worth and self-love, the lack of feeling secure in my skin and my life, the lack of being able to face life head on, and the lack of any teaching or life-training to do so. I was so inadequate in all areas of life that equip us with the tools we need to survive in the adult world that I would go to pieces in almost every situation that required adult action and reactions. I had had such a dysfunctional and disjointed childhood that I knew nothing about growing into a rational teenager – I was in fact what they call a ‘tearaway’, ‘a rebel’, I was ‘off the rails’, and all the other terms and labels you can think of. And instead of any adult taking responsibility for my being this way, they stood on the side lines and judged me. At 13 I was sniffing glue. At 14 I had my first suicide attempt. At 18 I discovered alcohol, and the path was paved.
Alcohol gave me all the skills I naturally lacked : confidence, bravado, communication, bravery. But of course, non of it was real, for most of the time I had no idea what the hell I was doing, and no one really knew who I was. The sober me was nowhere near the brave, outgoing, shocking, courageous drunk me, who seemed to not be afraid of anything or anyone. Of course, the exact opposite was true…I was afraid of everything and everyone, and I was the only one who knew it.
But, over the years the cracks started to show and I could no longer hide behind the alcohol. My behaviour became more and more erratic and antisocial the older I got, and the more I drank (There’ll be more on that in the My Story section, and in future Blogs), until eventually I stopped. I couldn’t lie to myself, or to the world, any more, and the truth is now quite clear to me… It wasn’t the alcohol, it was Me.
In sobriety I’m learning all about Me. I’m learning that I have a multitude of fears and anxieties, I have suffered a lack of self confidence for most of my life, and I have never felt ‘good enough’ for anyone or anything.
In Sobriety I’m learning all about Me
But you know what? These are completely natural feelings, and everyone has them – absolutely everyone has an insecure feeling now and again, everyone has their anxieties, everyone feels let down, a little lost, afraid of the future : you name the feeling and simply everyone has felt it…but it’s how we deal with it that counts. I dealt with these feelings by drowning in alcohol instead of facing them, acknowledging them, working through them, maybe even sharing them (finding my humility, showing my vulnerable side) with a friend or loved one…and it went on like this for years and years: The bigger the problem, the more I drank.
The Bigger the Problem, the More I Drank
Thankfully this is no longer the case. Thankfully I now know that when any of those emotions or feelings come up, or feel like they’re going to overwhelm me, I can reach out and turn to a handful of good and trusted friends, or the partner I’ve built a solid, loving, trusting relationship with, and I can talk things through till I see a way ahead. I no longer drown myself and my problems in alcohol – and I’m so, so thankful for that.
Today, I am ……more confident, more relaxed, more self-assured, more in Love, and more Loved.