I've been getting a few 'was I really that bad?' thoughts lately. And I know there will be people who think I can't have been that bad because it seems like it's all been 'too easy'. I know that people will feel that because I found this comment about my blog on the UK website "Mumsnet" (on a great discussion thread that is full of brave women supporting each other with their issues around booze)...
"I gave up on that MrsD blog - she made it seem too easy! I only read a couple of months, but basically she quit drinking - cold turkey - without any outside help. Friends and family were supportive but hadn't been in her situation. Husband continued to drink around her. She didn't go to AA or get advice from her GP.
The books she read were unhelpful, and she didn't mention any tactics like One Day At A Time or HALT. And she never fell off or had any serious cravings! Doesn't sound at all like any of us! I thought she had got in the habit because of her situation (lots of parties and barbecues) but she didn't have that strong an actual addiction and was able to overcome it fairly easily."
Here's the thing. I never touch alcohol now - ever. I don't touch it when celebrating. I don't touch it when dealing with disappointment. I don't touch it when stressed or hurt or tired or emotional. I never ever touch alcohol.
I used to touch it on all of those occasions and most other days as well. Alcohol was a constant companion in my life from the age of 15 to the age of 39. I was a steady, heavy, habitual wine drinker and my drinking habit/problem was progressing rapidly in the final years so that I found it nearly impossible to stop once I started if there was any more alcohol in the house. And often I'd go out to find more. If I was ever out in public (rare due to mothering lifestyle) I would get sloppy, slurry and often embarrassed about my behavior the morning after.
No I never drank in the morning and yes I held down a seemingly successful life but make no mistake, I was addicted to alcohol and my addiction was progressing rapidly. The 'cold turkey' point at which I stopped came after months and months of angst and research and trying to control and moderate my drinking, phoning helplines and getting sent information and educating myself about alcohol and my own dependence on it.
Yes Mr D still drinks around me and yes I haven't been to AA or gotten advice from my GP. But don't think for one second that I haven't had strong cravings and don't think for one second that because I never 'fell off' (relapsed) I haven't had to do some serious mental gymnastics to fight my addictive thoughts and learn how to live sober. Raw and sober.
So I'm sorry if you can't relate to my particular set of circumstances regarding my addiction and my recovery. But I do respect anyone's right to express an honest opinion. What I hope if nothing else is that from my blog you can clearly see that living life without alcohol is not only entirely possible, but also great. And maybe you can gain some strength from that.
Whatever your level of addiction, or the extent of your dependence, or your chosen path in attempting to live sober, know this - you can live without it. Regardless of what the liquor industry wants us to believe, we can live without alcohol - it is not a necessary part of life. Get whatever help you need. Find whatever support you need. Do whatever you need to do, but get rid of it. We can live without it. We can.
Love, Mrs D xxx