Friday, March 20, 2015

The problem isn't me. The problem is the alcohol.

Back from a very nice wee trip away. Gave two talks to two lovely women's Dinner Clubs. They all seemed very warm and receptive and interested in my story. I cried BOTH NIGHTS as I was describing my final night of drinking (sculling then hiding a bottle of wine from my husband). I always think I won't but when I'm in the moment I find it hard not to get a bit teary.

That shit is real.

I sometimes find it hard to describe to people why hiding that one bottle that one time was enough to get me to stop drinking. Hiding alcohol is a very common behaviour trait for problem drinkers and a lot of people do it for a very long time, yet I did it once and for me that was enough. Why?

I think it's because I had been very honest with myself in the months leading up to that event, and hyper-aware in my own head that my drinking was a problem and that it was progressing. I wasn't kidding myself. I could see very clearly that I was needing more wine of an evening to feel 'full'. I could see that when we were out socialising I was finding it harder to control my drinking. I could tell I was getting sloppier, more slurry, more heavy & numb. And there was the occasional vomit which at aged 37+ is not pretty.

So I knew without a doubt that this hiding-the-wine action was just another step in the progression of my alcoholism (although I didn't call it that at the time).  It horrified me. Because I had done it.

I bought the wine that night. I drank it. I chose to hide it before my husband returned home. Me.

Yet the me of the following morning was horrified with those decisions and actions.

This is what is so awful about being addicted. You act a certain way (when drinking) then hate those actions. You act, then hate, act, then hate. Make promises then let yourself down time and again. Feel guilty and miserable constantly. Yet you keep acting (drinking) in the way you hate. You are powerless! Although you try hard to be powerful, yet you can't control it. The addiction is in control. The alcohol is powerful. It pulls, it tempts, it lies, it controls.

It's confusing, depressing, misery-making, soul destroying. Slowly night after night after night your self respect, self worth, feelings of strength & control get eroded.

But what happened for me that final morning after the night that I hid the bottle was that I had a very powerful moment. I remember vividly separating out from myself and seeing very clearly two 'me's'. There was the me without alcohol in me. And there was me with alcohol in me. Me sober. Me drinking. Me. Alcohol.

And I had a very clear thought.

The problem isn't me. The problem is the alcohol.

This is huge. Say it out loud if you have to.

The problem isn't me. The problem is the alcohol.

Take the alcohol away and the problem is gone.

So I did. September 6th 2011 I took the alcohol away. I had noooooo idea what I was getting myself into. I had no idea what was to unfold. It was hard bloody work. It was surprising. It was full of revelations and it was ultimately, gloriously rewarding and wonderful.

And I was right. The problem wasn't me. It was me with alcohol in me. And that is why I will never touch shitty alcohol ever again.

Love, Mrs D xxx

23 comments:

  1. Wow! Fantastic post, Mrs D. And it's so true. It was super hard at first, but like you I'm so glad I made that separation. And because I see alcohol as the problem, I never want to go back to it. Thanks for being such a great inspiration and role model. I know I really followed closely along with how you did this, and it helped me immensely! I'm glad your talks went well, and now you're home and happy. Big hug to you! xoxo

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  2. Yes, a really great post--a vivid reminder of the reasons we chose to stop.....Thank you for the inspiration!!

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  3. Mrs D I'm in the middle of your book right now. Thank you so much for writing it. Unfortunately I can relate to so much of what you've written : (. You are such an inspiration to me however .... Hope I can be as strong and do as well as you have. Thanks for sharing your pain and triumphs ...I'm hoping it will help me change my life

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  4. Yes. Yes. Exactly.
    Perfect thoughts.

    Ainsobriety

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  5. Love you Mrs D your words are so true.:)

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  6. Yes, yes triple yes. This is a great way to put it. You are the bomb. Dot com. Power full. xxxooo

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  7. I love this. The alcohol was the #1 problem anyway. #2 was my way of viewing life and handling it's ups and downs. I had to ditch #1 to fix #2.

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  8. Yes, yes and yes!
    Perfect words!
    This is wonderful!
    Thank you,
    Wendy

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  9. Without a doubt, seeing myself as separate from the alcohol was and is incredibly important. Seeing that it didn't define me and in fact was limiting me.

    By taking away the alcohol, however, the problem was not gone. Instead, all those problems and struggles that alcohol was helping me avoid came into BOLD RELIEF. Figuring out how to navigate them, soberly, is my everyday challenge. AA helped me understand how important a Higher Power is. Instead of struggling and fighting against a wave of worries and anxieties and powerlessness, I'm trying to "become one with the wave" and TRUST the Universe. The conversation is my head is changing from "I need a drink" to "I need to let this shit go." This is, of course, a work in progress.

    As always, thank you for such a great post.

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  10. You explained that perfectly. I've hidden many bottles. I've acted and hated many times.

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  11. Just finished the book, only took a day! After waking up in my clothes, not the first time, and asking to be reminded of some of the events of the night before I found the book totally relatable! such an interesting and inspirational read, I'm really hoping it will help be start to sort myself out!

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  12. I relate to so much in this post ... except one thing, which I'll say in a moment.

    The powerlessness - every day I was either not going to drink (rare) or only drink a couple to just take the edge off how I felt. But day after day I started to drink and ... drank more than I wanted to... more than was safe for me and those about me. Every night I felt the guilt about it - tomorrow would be different, but it never was.

    Then increasingly other things happened. I was upset, remorseful again and then I did it again... The drink made the unacceptable acceptable. The drink then was needed to keep that guilt at bay etc. I hated myself.

    The thing I'd slightly disagree with was it wasn't just the booze by the time I stopped. I had hidden from my development as a person for so long I was a messed up person who frankly I thought was a prize a'hole! If I didn't like myself why should anyone else. So I need to get rid of the booze but then I could work on me as just taking the booze away - given I'd tried that a lot in the past (esp my last year of drinking/stopping/controlling cycle) I knew I had to change else I'd simply have to drink again as I couldn't live with a non-drinking old me

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  13. It is definitely alcohol that causes problems. When I am sober I don't say things I say with alcohol in me. I don't do things I do when I am drinking.

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  14. This post shares the fact. Alcohol badly affects on mind and body and causes problems of depression and anxiety.

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  15. Im so scared !! I live in Christchurch NZ and been drinking loads, hell loads of red wine since the Earthquakes in Christchurch 2011, moving way from home ( UK ) 2 years prior to the quakes and 3 kids with extreme Eczema ! I know, you will read this thinking excuses excuses but right now the wine does serve a purpose ! It does help BLOCK those feelings Im not wanting to feel right now as I feel them daily so my evenings are my free time !! Im a good mum of 3 with all activities never being denied. But I also want to STOP !! I wake every day feeling guilty ! Like you, I just read on the daily mail about a 9 year old girl being raped and killed ! I can't deal with my girl wanting and needing to scoot to school daily on her own as she needs independence at 11 knowing this ! So I allow it ( As all her friends do ) but need to have wine to stop me thinking about what I read in the Daily Mail !!!! Im sorry ! Im not here encouraging you all like all the other posts - I'm here with a glass of red writing to you ! And Im not enjoying it !!! At All !!! Im sorry but I had to write as your book as helped me loads but also scared the crap out of me ! I need to do this ! I need to give up alcohol but it seems impossible! Sorry to whom ever reads ! Sorry XX

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    1. Dear anonymous.. will you please go to our website Living Sober (www.livingsober.org.nz) and register to become a member (it's free and you can be anonymous - no one will know who you are) and start talking to people inside the Members Feed. We have a bunch of members who are Chch based who will relate to your situation, and many of us are parents racing around madly trying not to worry, trying to be the best parents we can be... there are so many people who can relate to you in there and many are right now in the process of getting sober. Please will you go there...? There is no need for you to be alone. You CAN get out of this boozy hole you are in... and you will feel so better than you do right now. Hopefully see you there xxxx

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    2. Thank you - and will join ! Scared but will try XXX

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  16. I started writing about all the crap going on in my life, then deleted it as my cat, who has a poorly leg jumped up on me for a cuddle and i thought, u know what, he needs me and wants me. but i still feel I've let him down as his leg hurts !!I really hope Im not that new blogger who bugs u etc but Im really not knowing what to do right now ! I know you are 3 + and probably after your book etc get loads of hopefully's wanting to be well ! But as I said, being from ChCh and relating to you're story, i feel the need to write. But i don't know where to start !!!!

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  17. The problem isn't me its the alcohol. I have tears in my eyes reading this. My boyfriend has been telling me this the past year as we have tried to boy ce back from drunken arguments. I tried to convince myself I was unhappy, tired, needed to eat, drink other things, stressed from work blah blah blah. I am all those things sometimes but as I'm realizing, those things aren't the problem. I am a good person. Alcohol is the problem. That is why I can never drink again. Thank you Mrs D. Looks like I will be reading your book on my boat Memorial Weekend. Sober:)

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  18. You are a very brave being. You saw things from a perspective wherein you are able to realize what is right, despite being in a phase that is quite difficult to deal with. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. All the best!


    Johnnie Smith @ Ranch Creek Recovery

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  19. You've hit the nail on the head. The alcohol is the real problem, not the people. I've been told, like others, to stay away from my old drinking buddies, when I really just need to get them to lay off the sauce around me. Maybe we can start hanging out places that don't serve at all.

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