- By girly-d
- On 16/04/2018
- 0 comments
I remember when I first gave up alcohol, feeling the need to have to explain myself to people...mainly about why I, a fully grown woman, was sat alone on a bar stool, in a trendy wine bar, surrounded by drinkers chugging back pints and sipping chateux neuf du pape as though it was going out of fashion whilst I self-conciously sipped from my glass of black-currant cordial.
It was because I was scared.
Scared of what people thought of me. Scared to even be in a bar, considering that my huge, fuck-off addiction to alcohol had recently very nearly killed me, and scared that, in giving up alcohol, that I had also somehow given up 'me'. The lively, 'life and soul of the party' version of me, anyway.
So I wore my sobriety like a dirty little secret.
And it showed.
I felt self-concious and awkward...And so I tried to compensate for that by probably disclosing far too much information than was absolutely necessary back then, by telling pretty much anyone who would listen, about the fact that I was newly in recovery.
To be fair, it worked out quite well. And my new found friends were protective of me. They made sure that no one thought it would be funny to spike me or order me a 'real' drink when they went to the bar for example, but I still felt awkward and quite a lot out of my depth.
The thought of consuming alcohol in any form now petrified me...but I'd lived most of my life around it... I needed to be able to be around it on some level, if I was going to have any kind of semblance of what was (to me anyway), a 'normal' social life.
Plus I hated drinking squash...it made me feel like a child. And so I decided to push my boundaries...by about a million miles.
And I had a can of shandy...
I remember going to a party, and sipping from that can of 0.5% lager for the very first time...and feeling nothing but trepidation. I was relieved that I could blend in finally, but I was also secretly petrified that it might tip me over...and that I would wake the next morning with both body and mind screaming out for a case of fosters for breakfast...
What actually happened was that I enjoyed myself immensely, and no, I didn't go sprinting down to the nearest off-licence the minute that my eyes were open the next day.
What that night did was show me that there were options open to me. Sensible ones. Ones I use in moderation on the rare as rocking horse shit times that I do actually go out now.
Ones that don't involve me looking or feeling as though I am 12 years old.
The damage that alcohol did, and could still do to me if I let it, still scares the shit out of me...so I show it respect. And I have lines which I categorically will never ever cross, no matter who I'm with, or what the situation. I found my compromise and I'm happy with that.
It may not be everyones cup of tea but it works for me and that's all that matters.
Obviously, with hindsight, now I realise that it's actually nobody's business but mine whether I choose to get absolutely shit-faced every night or sit sedately sipping a heineken 0%, but back then it was a difficult time for me... I was in a strange town full of strange people, and I was completely out of my comfort zone...and so me and my recent spell in rehab sat openly on the naughty step for all and sundry to see.
Giving up alcohol was tough. One of the hardest things that I've ever done in fact...by the time the decision was made I was both physically and mentally reliant on it, and so it was a huge, huge deal at the time...but now I've had some time to adjust, I've found that I no longer allow myself to be scrutinised or judged for making the judgement call that ultimately saved my life.
I'm 16 months older and wiser.
Now I embrace my sobriety. I'm proud of it...and if people want to point and speculate these days, well that's their bad, not mine.
Because this 'dirty little secret' of mine is no longer a cloak of shame that I wear whenever I'm out in public. It's a sign of what I'm made of.
Instead of hiding it away, embarrassed and awkward, I've stuck it in a vase and put flowers in it. It's a beautiful thing and it deserves my respect.
It's 11.10am. I've just finished work.
In my old life I would already be wasted. I wouldn't have a job.
But I'm not...and I do.
It's a sign of how far I've come.
I swapped Wetherspoons for writing and changed my life completely.
I don't need or want to get wrecked 24/7 these days.
I manage myself and all of my emotions by doing simple things. Non-destructive things. Things that won't harm me if I do them to excess.
Like hanging out in my caravan. Writing in Wonderland, surrounded by birds and sheep and a crazy little peacock who seems to have moved in too...
I used to want to destroy myself. I tried over and over and over. I was getting really good at it. A few more months and I would have nailed it I think...instead,with literally nothing left to lose, I gave up alcohol and in doing so was given a second chance at life.
And I'm incredibly grateful for that.
In order to keep it, I have just one rule...
Stay sober. So I do.
I live my life un-tipsy.
It's a small price to pay...it's not even a price. It's the decision that ultimately saved my life... and I get to have a peacock...