Many alcoholics can identify a point at which their drinking became a problem, not just for your friends and family but that you acknowledged it as such also. For me there was no moment when I fell down the proverbial rabbit hole, more of a slow and steady decline over years and years. I remember drinking Sherry with my first boyfriend in our little flat when I was at college. I remember drinking about the same as everyone else at University. I remember that all the times I would drink at home, and drink on my own and I never saw it as a problem. I started to drink more when my first husband left me (God, what a cliche that is!) and really since then it has escalated in small increments so that I could still maintain the facade of normality. Certainly the last six month have been what pushed the issue to the fore, but really my predisposition for an all-or-nothing life has been with me since I was a teenager. The only break that my poor liver had was when I was pregnant- it is amazing how I could stop for the babies inside me, but not for myself once they were born.
Is was a real jolt to realise I was about to throw my life, and probably everything I loved away. I decided that I needed a new direction. As the Cheshire Cat points out, there is no point starting on a journey if you do not know where you want to go. So- let’s make it clear. I want to live a life that is alcohol free. I know that sobriety is not going to be an easy path for me, but it is one that is worth taking. It might make you question if I am quite sane.
To be honest, I don’t question the sanity of recovering alcoholics. I question the society that allows us to think that drinking to excess is normal.
Got a promotion? Drink to celebrate. Feeling nervous? Have a quick one to calm your nerves. Feeling sad or lonely? Drink to forget, to numb yourself.
Alcohol is such an engrained part of our culture that drinking has become normalised. It is certainly only since I stopped drinking that I have been surprised how much other people drink, and how different those who are sober can be made to feel. I find great comfort in being free to make informed and sober choices, and that each time I choose not to pick up a bottle I am another step towards being healthy, and a step away from the shell my life had become.
I have always loved Alice in Wonderland, and so many of the quotes from the book have resonance with me and how in particular I think about recovery. I shall leave you with this, some days we feel amazing, and some days feel impossible. For many giving up alcohol means that you feel the journey is too difficult, but remember: