We live in a society that makes us believe that “things” make us feel better & make us happy. The adverts make us believe that when we get home after a hard days work we deserve a glass of wine to take the edge off . What does our body think ? – flip I got you though the day now you want to poison me !! The booze adverts are just like the cigarette adverts used to be , before they were banned – the rich & famous enjoying life on their yachts smoking Peter Stuyvesant . The macho Camel man in his land rover , tough & ready , smoking his camel .
How many times as day does something come up on Facebook – about the “joys” of drinking , Mummy’s little helper . We have been brainwashed into thinking its normal to drink , that drinking makes life bearable. That it’s the non drinker that’s weird. Well now , times they are a changing. More people are realising that alcohol is poison to our bodies & there is no logical reason to drink. It took a long while for the majority to realise this applied to smoking , but I am sure that the same will happen with drinking in due course. It Is a drug & very addictive.
The Alcohol manufacturers made it addictive to ensure we kept coming back for more. They target us to keep us drinking. Why some of us get so addicted & others can always manage to keep it under control is not clear. AA has always said it’s a disease which the W.H.O. now agree’s with.
I believe that I have always been an all or nothing person , whether that’s drinking too much , going to the gym at 5am on a cold Winters morning or anything else in my life. The South African saying – go Big or go Home worked for me. For me enough is never enough , no matter what it is. Food , work , alcohol , gym etc I have never been able to moderate . For some people “everything in moderation” works – but it has never worked for me . The same applies to the drive to always be the best. Whoever said it’s not the winning it’s the taking part was obviously a loser . If I cannot be good at something – I don’t do it – simple . I do everything to win or be the best. I tried to moderate ,many, many times. All the usual things – only drink white wine , add soda , no red wine , only drink at weekends etc etc
Well , that’s how I was in my “before Sober” My BS life .
My sober life started on 18th April 2016 . I was 57. I woke up with another hangover & a little voice in my head said “I cant do this anymore”. I was finally at the turning point.
In my new life I do not have to be perfect . Good enough is ok. If I get a good feeling from doing something then that’s fine , I don’t have to be the best anymore. The Wine Witch * does not agree and I have to remind myself of this often. I am only human , therefore I will never be perfect & that’s great. I can only try to improve day by day. I must also forgive myself when I do not always do the right thing & keep on trying.
I was brought up with these mantras firmly implanted in my head by my mother :
“look after number 1” “If you don’t love yourself no one else will” “ God helps those who help themselves”
I had to be the best at everything I did. Failure was not an option. I was always independent , self sufficient , arrogant & controlling. But I did lead a charmed life for a while & I was very successful in the UK I didn’t need anyone . I was not a good daughter, sister , first wife , friend to most people . I have been lucky that some people have stood by me & could always see the real person under the hard shell that I showed to people. I am very grateful for them. I now believe that it was from this disconnection that all else flowed.
As I have learnt & grown in my 1000 days of sobriety , many things have come to mind that are significant and always stayed in my head. One really old friend from when I first arrived in RSA in 1991 , who I am still in touch with today said “ you are trying so hard to be the perfect wife & mother you have lost yourself”
My husband once said “It does not matter where you live you will never be happy”
They were both so right at that time.
Until I stopped drinking I had no idea how far reaching alcohols affect on my life was. I have learnt so much by reading everything I can that is relevant to this journey I am on. This has helped me to understand the how & why of where I ended up. My perfectionism, my craving for that next thing in this materialistic world that would make me happy. My need to control everyone & everything. My frustration that I could not control things & people would not do what I wanted. All of these things led me to seek a way out for a while with alcohol & then it got worse & worse until my whole life was affected.
In the beginning I could not imagine my life never having another glass of wine , at some point , I am not sure when , this changed & I can no longer imagine myself having another glass of wine .
I do not want to drink alcohol
I love my sober life
I love the new opportunities that are coming my way
I love being connected again & sharing what I have learnt with others so that they may also find their way to sobriety
I love the person I am now – most of the time . I am not a saint – The Wine Witch* pops her head up from time to time , but I can handle her now & keep her in her place.
I am now content where I am , with what I have for the first time in my life.
I truly believe that I am exactly where I am supposed to be & the universe has a plan for me. I must just sit back & enjoy the ride.
Life has its ups & downs , and even when things are not going well I remember that a bad day sober is so much better than a good day drinking. And there is nothing so bad that a drink can’t make it worse.
Yours in sobriety
*The Wine Witch – borrowed from The Sober Diaries