In 5 days I’ll be one year sober. ONE WHOLE YEAR!
Rewind to the beginning of 2019, I was struggling to be one day sober. I’d start my days thinking I’d be strong, I’d wake up ‘knowing’, I wasn’t going to drink tonight! Then at some point in the day, as if some magnetic force was pulling me in, I’d yield to temptation and drive to a bottle shop, usually a different one to the previous night. I had shame – not enough to stop me but enough to not want strangers knowing my drinking habits. Beer, wine, vodka, scotch, cider – something, anything, a combination of everything. I wasn’t fussy when it came to the type of poison I’d ingest. Deluded, thinking somehow I needed alcohol, that it was a necessary part of my day. Convinced that it was providing me something, somehow helping me be me. Sobriety has taught me that I’d rather be my authentic self than to search for some heightened version of myself in the bottom of a bottle.
Alcohol is addictive! It doesn’t matter how strong we are – if we decide to imbibe we risk being at its’ mercy. The strength is in not succumbing, not letting it pass our lips and swirl through our system. Once we taste the first drop we are prey to the addictive cravings – more, more, more! Alcohol has the power to take us if we let it. After that first drink our defences are down, we’ve already had one, another won’t hurt, then another and another. Breaking out of that cycle takes great strength. To do it successfully we need to devalue alcohol. To acknowledge that in spite of the strong pro-alcohol argument we are fed, often subliminally through powerful alcohol advertising, we do not need it. We need to be aware of the false reality we are being sold. The ads never show the downside of alcohol – the messy crash if we overindulge – just the elated buzz. Yet the very nature of an addictive substance means that most of us will overindulge – searching for a dream state but sometimes ending up in a nightmare. Maybe we wind up in a drunken stupor where we do things we wouldn’t dream of doing, act in ways we would never act, or say things we would never say if we were sober. Or maybe we just wake up with a terrible hangover where we feel like our head could possibly implode. Either way, this is generally not what any of us are searching for when we set out. If we can learn that we don’t need alcohol to have fun, nights out would most likely be a lot more fun, memorable and real! Unfortunately there is little money to be made in selling us that dream. We have to create the dream and sell it to ourselves.
One important thing I have learned in this past year is that we are in charge of our own lives. We choose! We can wander along blindly gliding through life, allowing ourselves to be brainwashed – or we can stand tall, throw on the brakes and steer into a whole new reality.
360 days ago I chose to steer toward a different reality – I couldn’t be happier about fighting to change the direction my life was headed!