It’s now been almost eight weeks since I had anything to drink. Today the triggers were there, and they were firing on all cylinders.
Lately I’ve made a real effort to recognise when I feel like this and to try and make a mental note of why. This time it was the turn of relationship stress.
Everyone has one of those days where they say or do something that has an unexpected effect on someone else and you end up playing that over in your head and thinking ‘maybe I could have handled that better’ or ‘what if I’d said X?’
The alternative used to be – ‘Yes that was bad but never mind. Now i’ll go home and forget about it with some wine.’
I always used to be of the opinion that I was open and honest and dealt with issues in my life by talking about them. That was of course a convenient fabrication, designed to hide the truth from myself.
This was that whenever I was faced with any kind of pain, upset or stress I hid from the reality of it with alcohol pretty much every time. I did talk about things with close friends, but often hibernated if I felt I had nothing good to say. I also ended up talking about how I felt when I’d had something to drink. Until very recently I hadn’t accepted that this was NOT me dealing with issues. It was self medicating until I was numb enough to pass over the consequences of how things affected me entirely.
This doesn’t mean that I was drunk 24×7 (far from it), but instead that I always knew that a convenient solution wasn’t far away. Before long it became the norm to use it for most situations – including physical as well as emotional pain relief.
Bad day at work? No problem – buy a bottle of wine.
Good day at work? Great – lets celebrate!
Back hurting because you’re overweight? It doesn’t hurt when you’re smashed!
Gathering of friends? Superb – conversations are always better when you are a bit tipsy!
Feeling down about weight? No problemo! Cider to the rescue!
Bored? I know a beer to make time fly!
Wishing you’d turned left instead of right in life? Rum and Coke please!
All of these seem trite and ridiculous when written down, and honestly it makes me feel immensely angry that I didn’t start this written therapy sooner.
Tomorrow I have another meeting with my case worker to see how I’m getting on, and to talk over the ‘self build’ course I start next week.
This is intended to last for four weeks, four days a week, two and a half hours a day – and I have a massive sense of trepidation building.
I’m first and foremost physically scared. I don’t like going to places that I’ve not been to before. Not because I don’t like new things, but I don’t know what the seats will be like or the dimensions of the room. This is a big concern when you’re very heavy as it can destroy any semblance of calm and inner peace if you can’t fit into a chair or are forced to feel uncomfortable for long periods.
I’m secondly worried about the type of people that will be attending. So far I have seen some extreme cases in the waiting room and outside of the premises of the clinic that I’ve been to, and they appear to have been hit far harder than me when it comes to addiction. I’m not worried that I will be attacked or set upon, rather I’m worried that I’ll feel like a charlatan for being there.
My interior monologue is telling me that somehow my problems don’t warrant attention, and that others may be more deserving than me, and recognise me as a fraud.
Finally I’m worried that I will go and feel like its a waste of time or not connect with the themes discussed.
I really hope that what I hear in these sessions will teach me more about myself than I knew previously and help me understand why I do the things that I do. I’m hoping it can enable me to head off prolonged periods where my mood is deflated and without warning I feel I’m worthless.
Really I suppose, like anyone I want to be happy and content. I want to limit the stress in my life and amp up my ability to deal with it when it comes, without reaching for some kind of substance to take the edge off.
Paradoxically there is also a voice inside my head that’s shouting ‘I wish I could wind the clock forward and arrive at the end of this process without having to go through it.’
Is this voice natural? Do other people hear it, or do they just get on with shit when it happens and take it as a learning curve. I assume that its a mix, and everyone is different.
Also of cause for concern is another element of the meetings – assertiveness training.
One thing I know I don’t deal very well with is conflict. I think the root of this may date back to being bullied at school, and to an extent also at home by my mother.
I really hate any kind of it – be it physical or mental, and will passively navigate my way through such situations, often backing down or staying quiet in order to try and find amicable conclusions. Sometimes this can be to my detriment, sometimes it can help. Recently though it’s caused significant tension in family relationships and I’m aware I need to look closer at it.
Ultimately though, despite what I am writing and the worries I have, this is yet another day where I’m choosing to remain sober and deal with what life throws at me before moving on.
When I hit the pillow tonight I hit it with a clear head, and when I wake it will be without a hangover.
I’m taking all this one…. day… at… a…. time…