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

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A wee trip away...

I've been practicing my talks for next week. I'm going down to the South Island to talk to a couple of women's Dinner Clubs about my recovery. Really looking forward to it. I do have a tendency to hide behind my computer for much of my recovery work (blogging, writing or being interviewed for articles, communicating with people on Living Sober). I have a few local sober friends that I connect with in person, but it will be really good for me to go and meet a bunch of new people face-to-face.

There may be people in the crowd who are secretly worried about their own drinking, or maybe not! There may be people in the crowd who are worried about a loved ones drinking. Or maybe the crowd will just be full of people who are interested in hearing stories of others lives.

Any or all of that is fine by me. I just want to go and be honest about my drinking and my journey in sobriety. I want to be honest about how low my self-worth & self-respect was when I was drinking, and how improved it is now. I want to explain how being trapped inside my drinkers brain had me feeling miserable, confused, and very alone. And I want to explain how all of those negative feelings slowly turned around when I took the booze away.

I just want to lay it all out. No lies. No embellishments. Just the raw honest truth. And, knowing me, the odd swearword!

The wonderful Jean from Unpicked Blog posted this video on her Facebook page the other day. It's a man called Bill White who is an addiction expert in the states. In this video he talks about the need to break down the stigmas and stereotypes surrounding addicts and people who are in recovery. He is calling for a "vanguard of people in who are recovery to step forward. People who are temperamentally suited for that role, and whose personal and family circumstances allow them to take on part of that public role, to simply step forward and put a face and voice on recovery. And as soon as we begin to get this vanguard to step forward those stereotypes can't be sustained any longer."

I liked this a whole lot! It made me feel a little more brave and a little more proud about putting myself forward as a visible person in recovery.

And it's always nice to get a wee break away from my domestic routine....

Love, Mrs D xxx

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Sometimes the benefits take a long time to emerge...

I've been emailing with a friend this week about big things that are going on in our lives - things that we don't share about in detail online - things to do with people around us.

I ended our last email with the line: "Only good things come when we get sober.. but they do take a long time sometimes"

It got me thinking ... and so yesterday I wrote this post at Living Sober.

(This is a reminder that Living Sober is where I am doing most of my writing on sobriety nowadays).

Love, Mrs D xxx