Over the last few years I have needed to examine my relationship with alcohol and what it meant for me. In my late teens through to late twenties I had a very tumultuous relationship with alcohol. I would have been what is often affectionately referred to as a ‘heavy drinker’ or a ‘social drinker’. I was a functional member of society, I held down many good jobs and I thought I had my drinking under control. And I did to the outside world but deep down I always knew it was a problem.
I was no different to many of my friends and my family that I socialised with, we drank to excess thinking that was normal. I rarely saw a Sunday morning unless it was as a continuation of the night before and even then it was always as a walk of shame rather than to enjoy the magnificence of a sunrise.
When I had my son in 2001 I could see that alcohol was for me, a crutch that I clung to when I wasn’t coping with life. I would often have an extra drink after a long day with my son or after work, just to take the edge off the feelings of the day. It certainly became a little more of a crutch after having the girls until that is my body decided I really couldn’t drink anymore.
It seems that my body discovered long before I came to terms with it, that I had an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. It has been seven years since I have had a drink, at first for medical reasons and now I have come to understand that alcohol was my coping mechanism. It isn’t easy to accept but I understand the reasons behind my drinking better now and that alcohol was the way that I would numb out life.
I haven’t had a drink since approximately January 2013 – I think, I am not 100% sure in part because of my fun memory issues but I feel pretty confident that it was around then. I am glad that I had need to re-examine my relationship with alcohol. Especially when I did, knowing what came after that had I not given up alcohol when I did things would I am sure eventually become a lot worse.
I am fairly lucky in that I didn’t have too much trouble giving it up mostly because it made me feel violently ill. Not everyone can do that though. This is another blogger I follow who has not long given up drinking it wasn’t as easy for her. You can read Mim’s journey here.
I can show my children that life and all that comes with it can be lived without the need to numb out the feelings. Feelings and sitting with them are all a part of how we experience life. Today if I have a sleep in, it is not because I am sleeping off a hangover but because I am choosing to have a lazy morning enjoying reading the papers or enjoying a slow start to the day. We now spend our Sundays as a family enjoying time together which is a far cry from my heady days when a Sunday was spent sleeping off the night before, only to start again late in the afternoon.
This is the story that I shared on Hello Sunday Morning’s facebook page in May 2018. You can read more stories about people giving up alcohol and sobriety on there. Have you given up alcohol or have you ever had a re-think about how much you drink? I would love to hear your story.