Giving wings to this burden

“So what is it about drinking that makes you not want to stop?” asked my mental health nurse, today.

I had to think about it for awhile.

“I have no sense of time”, I replied.
“When I’m boozed, every moment is just that: a moment. Every booze night is nothing but a series of NOW with no thought about the future. I don’t get sick, I don’t get tired. I can drink beer for 20 hours and never throw up, never pass out. My body doesn’t know it should stop, my mind certainly doesn’t want to stop, and before I know it, the sun is up, I’m incoherent and the world crashes in on me again, taking me away from what is basically a magical place of No Worrying, hurling me into a place of pure self-hatred and regret”.

I lose days to drinking. The 12 – 18 hours of the drinking, plus the day or two hangover and comedown that sees me unable to move from the couch, crying at the drop of a hat.

I can’t do it any more. If I want a future, a life that is fulfilling, I just have to face the fact that it cannot involve alcohol.

I’ve made this decision on numerous occasions, but for the first time, it’s a relief. It isn’t something I feel I have to do to please others, this decision is solely for me, this time. It isn’t something I feel conflicted about. I am not sad that I will never share another wine with my mother, or drunk karaoke sing with my friends. Sure, I will miss those moments and I will struggle with them, but I’ve finally reached that place where all of that comes second to giving myself the very best chance that I have to live the life I dream about.

With any luck, my GP will prescribe me the magic no-booze pills that will help me to stay on track. If not, well, I’ll have to smack myself up the face every time I think about having a drink. I want one with every fibre of my being, but that feeling will pass. The self-hatred and disappointment of a binge is what stays with me forever.

It’s been a long and shitty road, but I’m so incredibly happy to be done with it. You cannot imagine the weight that has been lifted from my shoulders.

Onwards and upwards, amigos!

89 thoughts on “Giving wings to this burden

    • Thank you Jeremy,

      I’ve found that keeping it all to myself only results in an even worse outcome – misunderstandings between myself and loved ones because I am keeping a secret.

      To be honest, it sometimes feels kind of selfish for me to unburden myself so.

      If it helps others in any way, it’s all very much worth it.

  1. “Every booze night is nothing but a series of NOW with no thought about the future.”

    I love this! And share the feeling… thanks for clarifying this thought.
    Best of luck with this change – I read somewhere that it takes roughly 21 days for the human body to kick a habit. Keep busy and time will fly by!

    http://newsnoprose.wordpress.com

  2. Oh yes I can imagine the feeling of that yoke being lifted. My addiction wasn’t alcohol it was cocaine and meth and never did I think i could or even wanted to be drug free.I don’t know if you are a religious person or not , I wasn’t particularly , but I got to the point where I said God I can’t do this anymore!I’m done!Whatever happens is up to You. It felt so good to give up the responsibility to someone else.It wasn’t and hasn’t been easy but it has been seven years. YOU CAN DO IT!!

    • I’m not a religious person and unfortunately for me, I have been avoiding responsibility for many years… I think it’s time for me to take full responsibility for my life.

      I don’t think it matters how people get healthy, so long as they do!

      Congratulations on your sobriety. Two of the most difficult substances to escape. You are amazing!

      Thank you, I totally can do it!

  3. I had the same compulsion to drink alcohol. I stopped drinking for similar reasons to you…because I knew deep down that there was more to life and that I had more to give life. I found strength in numbers (people) and through opportunities to be useful. I got sober with AA. There are many ways to approach getting and maintaining sobriety and you’ll find what works for you…you may try different things (rehab, AA, medication) and you may “fall off the wagon” many times. Don’t lose heart and try not to isolate yourself. What I have experienced and understand about alcoholism is that it is an illness that will relentlessly tell me that it doesn’t exist (bit of a head f**k really).

    I have been living sober (not always happily :-)) but authentically, for almost 10 years. Hard to believe really..I’m also still relatively young and have just had my first baby – a life beyond my wildest dreams!

    Btw, the only requirement for AA membership (and that doesn’t mean that you have to sign up to anything or pay any money or be beholden to anyone or anything. Remember its a place that is full of people that think the same as you and will not be told what to do!) is the DESIRE to STOP drinking. That’s it. I haven’t actually been to a meeting for a few years now and as I’m writing I’m being teleported back to the days when I used to go to meetings, sometimes 3 times a week. Wherever I am in the world, I will always be welcome at an AA meeting! That gladens my heart.

    Listen, good luck with everything and be willing to accept help when it comes along.

    Namaste

    • Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment and for sharing your own story. It’s really heartening to see that someone who knows exactly where I am right now has made it to the shining light at the end of this tunnel.

      Congratulations. I admire your strength and lust for life.

  4. Good luck. There is no more important or essential choice than the one you have made, for many reasons. My mother, now in a nursing home at 76, her dementia certainly somewhat alcohol related, ruined her life and mine by choosing a bottle filled with liquor over the love and affection and respect she could have otherwise enjoyed.

    You are young enough to have a great life ahead of you without the crutch of alcohol and drunken stupors. You will find people who adore you for who you are, not the drunk/buzzed/hungover/irresponsible you. It will be hard as hell at first, and you may need to find new friends who value the “new” you. I really admire you for trying.

    • Thank you so much for your words.

      I realised the other day that my biggest fear in the world is that I would never be able to have children… and my second biggest fear is that I would – and I would destroy them with the selfish self-destruction that comes from my drinking. I’m sorry that alcohol stole your life without your consent.

      Your comment has strengthened my resolve. I know I can do this, I don’t need to be this person any more.

  5. Thank you for sharing about the “why”. I have never drank alcohol and sincerely (and hopefully non-judgementally) wonder what keeps people going back to it. Your simple explanation about yourself made sense to me and perhaps you knowing what it was, made you want to do something different.

    • I definitely don’t find it judgemental for you to wonder why people go back to alcohol – I ask myself that same question every time.

      Some people drink because they enjoy the taste, and many people are in control of their drinking.

      For people like me, I obtained a lot of my confidence from drinking. Or should I say that my anxieties melted away a few glasses in…

      I am desperately looking forward to enjoying the simple pleasures of life without alcohol’s influence.

  6. Well written and honest post! I have been there! When I was younger I drank to live in that happy place and forget about all the problems life hurled at me when I was sober! I pray that you will continue on the road to wholeness and healing because it is so worth it!! When I was in an outpatient therapy it wasn’t the just out of college teeny bopper therapist that had her cheerleading pics up of all her college friends… I laughed inside and thought.. You know she is out partying it up every weekend and then coming to work and pouring her “heart” out on us poor alcoholics that didn’t know when enough was enough…. No it definitely wasnt her who helped me!! It was my group counselor who was actually the director of the program and…. imagine this… a former alcoholic himself!! He was the one that told us one night… Find 2 people in your life that are 5 years older than you… one that is using and one thats not…. Which life do you want?! Because the 5 years are going to fly by before you know it and its gonna be your life… so choose.

    Hope this helps and wish you the best!

    • Thank you so much, that really did help.

      Ever since alcohol took hold of me in this way, I haven’t moved too far forward in life. I’ve certainly taken steps, and with the help of wonderfully supportive friends, family and colleagues am not afraid to change the things I need to… but I was going around in circles, years slipping by with very little to show for it.

      I’m really excited about a safe and healthy future now.

      • Congrats hon!! I am so excited to follow where this road will take you! If you ever need encouragement or just someone to be supportive let me know! I had to totally change my friends and environment to make an effective change.. I know it won’t be easy but like I mentioned before… it will be SOOOO worth it! I hope you don’t mind me asking but for me I drank as a numbing mechanism for a lot of the painful things in my past… it only made it worse because it led to more bad decisions and compromising situations. But have you dealt with the underlying reasons that you chose alcohol to “self-medicate”? If you don’t deal with the underlying past hurts and process through those it is hard to resist when those triggers come up in your life.

      • I drank for the very same reason, I think. To numb pain, or to find an escape from it.
        I’ve been seeing a psychologist with a view to seeing a psychiatrist in time.
        I am actually beginning to notice all of that baggage beginning to slough away. It doesn’t control me any longer. I still have a long way to go, but for the first time in my life, I feel as though I’m the one in control – not my past, not my emotions and not the alcohol.
        Thank you for your generous offer of support. The same goes to you, if you need it for any reason.
        I am so thankful to this post being Freshly Pressed as it’s given me the opportunity to meet and befriend so many new and truly inspirational people.

  7. Addiction is a very powerful thing and habits are very hard to break. I applaud you for making this commitment to yourself and recognizing (as only you can really do) when it’s time to finally choose a different (sober) way of dealing with things. I feel for you and wish you all the best now & in the years to come. Be strong.

    • Addiction is not the disease of the poor or the weak, it’s the disease of the world… anyone can become an addict, and when it happens to you, and you realise it… it’s an emotional whirlwind.

      I think I’ve exhausted all the emotions now, except the one that makes me determined to see an end to this cycle.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it :)

  8. I wish you luck on your journey. It is a brave and powerful thing – your openness and willingness to bare your soul. I am sure others are encouraged – and may your resolve remain strong. I’ve not had an issue with alcohol, but we each choose our own poison, I believe.

    • I completely agree – addiction comes in so many forms.

      Thank you for the well wishes. It’s been overwhelming to read such supportive words, but certainly strengthens my resolve to keep at it, one day at a time!

  9. Wow Congratulations…Trust in God to free you from this addiction…It sounds like you already have and He is carrying you thru this….I recently (7 wks ago) quit smoking after 35 yrs…I have tried on many occasions and always started again…This time God freed me from the addition….It has been so wonderful to be free of this burden…I am praying for your continued success…Blessing upon you…

  10. I really admire that you were able to realize that you can still share with your mom and your friends without alcohol. The social pressures and sentimental thoughts are often the hardest to overcome. It’s clear that you have a lot of support, so I know you can do it.

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed. This post deserves the recognition.

    Best,

    lindseytorma.wordpress.com/

    jocelyntorma.com

    • Thank you so much.

      I jumped on to check my stats this morning as I do every day after I post and almost fell off my chair!

      It has given me even more motivation to stay sober.

      You are all such thoughtful people to share your comments with me. They are so greatly appreciated.

  11. Don’t give in. Keep reminding yourself of how good it feels to feel clear-headed and in control. CONTROL:-)
    Been there, done that, threw away the T-shirt!
    AND, NEVER COUNTED DAYS SINCE I STOPPED DRINKING. I didn’t find it important.
    You can do it for someone who craves your love: YOU :-) !

    • I agree, Pippa.

      It’s the sense of being in control that has me so elated.
      I don’t think I will count days either, I prefer to keep looking forward, rather than constantly reminding myself of where I began.
      The number of days sober don’t really matter, it’s what I do with those days.
      Thank you for your comment :)

  12. Congrats on being FP. The strength you displayed by writing this post will help others facing similar struggles with those oh-so-human, self-destructive tendencies (whatever their particular flavor may be). We’re all rooting for you. As I’m sure you know, like life in general, it’s a day-at-a-time challenge to be self-affirming and not self-defeating in thought and action. Take good care.

    • Thank you for your kind words.

      I’ve found that the comments I’ve received on this post have helped me with my struggle – there’s so much support out there, as well as similar stories that I feel even more determined, and that it isn’t quite as insurmountable as it occasionally seems.

  13. Wow….fantastic post very touching and inspiring. All the best of luck on the rest of your journey. I used to drink a lot but only to escape for a while. I was always too scared of letting anything take control of me to do it for too long. :) :) :)

  14. I admire your ability to reflect and share your struggles with the blogging community. It was very brave and must speak to lots of people going through similar situations, as well as, in my case, family members of people suffering from alcoholism who are trying to understand what goes on in the minds of those struggling with addiction. Thank you.

    • Thank you Talia.

      If I can help anyone with my experiences, then it doesn’t seem so much like time wasted as experience gained.

      People who have been given no choice but to live a life infected with addiction, such as family members, are in my opinion the real heroes.

      I wrote about addiction a very long time ago, on a very old blog of mine, following the passing of an old friend. Essentially, it’s much easier to see the disease than the person behind it. Those who still see the person are the strong ones and the biggest victims of addiction. It’s their strength that is most admirable, I believe.

    • Thank you Calvin,

      I suppose we all have those struggles of discovering our limits, and I think that alcohol education needs to be as severe and honest as the anti-smoking campaigns I’ve seen in my country over the past ten years.

      When you live in a place like Australia, where alcohol is not just celebrated but revered, and getting shitfaced is the norm, it’s very easy to not even notice that you are pushing your limits, until the substance has its claws in you.

      that is true for all addictions, but when your poison is not just socially acceptable but encouraged, despite the reasons you give for your protest, it makes it very difficult to stay strong.

      Good luck with your own struggle. I hope you find your limits before you lose them altogether. That’s the slippery slope!

  15. You are brave for sharing this, and I hope that you find peace and love in a life without alcohol. The world may seem heavy and terrifying at times, but it is a beautiful place and life is a gift you deserve to experience in a loving reality. Bon Voyage!

    • Thank you, those are my sentiments exactly!

      I don’t get to see the beauty of the world because too many of my days are spent depressed in an alcohol comedown.

      It’s time for that to stop. I want to experience life for what it is – the ups and the downs, without them clouded by my self-inflicted depression.

      Thank you for your kind words.

    • I’m already surprising myself!

      I think pushing myself is the best thing I can do. Up until now, all I’ve really done is passively allow life to flow around me.

      Time to get in the thick of it :)

  16. Well written, heartfelt post, thank you very much for sharing. You sound brave and determined. I sense you will manage to set yourself free, for no other reason than you sound ready. Please be gentle to yourself on the road of this new life you have chosen for yourself. I hope you will travel far.
    On a more personal note, I find it sad that addiction stories so often revolve around alcohol (a very challenging substance) and less often around equally horrific street drugs. Your post makes it clear that addiction is the issue. Whether one is fighting vodka or crack cocaine should be entirely irrelevant.

    • Addiction is a disease, the substance really doesn’t matter, although others carry greater risks than alcohol, sometimes.

      In the end, it’s not really the substance that kills a person, but the way that addiction steals peoples’ own strength – the substance is all that matters. It becomes a need, not a want.

      I think alcohol addiction is so prevalent purely because it is so readily available and accepted by society.

      I will be gentle with myself but I think you are right – I am ready now. I know that I want life so much more than I want the temporary release that I get from a drink.

      Thank you.

  17. Thanks for expressing this in a way that is so real. Everyone can say they ‘want’ to quit (insert x addiction) but it is also important to be ready, to be at a place where you are no longer scared of letting go of the addiction being a part of you. Well perhaps you/we are still scared, but the desire to be healthy is greater than the fear. Best of luck in taking good care of yourself.

    • I think that’s exactly it – the desire to be free of this incredibly debilitating disease is so much stronger than any other feeling I have about my drinking.

      I am so unbelievably excited about leading a healthy and safe lifestyle – for myself and the people who share my world.

  18. Thanks for sharing. Sobriety is hard work!
    Stay positive. And keep sharing… if every story only helps one person, it’s worth telling it!!!

    • Thanks for the encouragement.
      I was overwhelmed that so many have found this post to be helpful.

      I was really only writing it to update my followers on where I’m at, haha!

      So glad that someone may find it helpful to them in their own struggle.

    • I’ve been blogging for 13 years, most of it really quite personal. I do it to make sense of myself, not necessarily to share it with the world – the reason I make it public is because of this result – a big conversation that brings about so many different perspectives and opinions.

      I don’t feel brave. I feel a bit like I’m cheating when people say that, haha! I can’t help writing these things, even if there’s no audience to read it.

      I hope that makes sense and doesn’t sound like I am ungrateful for your comment – I guess I just never considered it as being brave :)

  19. Hats off to you! Your courage for sharing a piece of your life is admirable and so is your decision to change your lifestyle. I’m glad you feel that way about writing. It really does wonders not just to yourself but also to others out there who may be having the same challenges you’re bravely facing.

    • Thank you!

      It’s also helping to reinforce my determination.
      The more I talk about the positives of quitting, or my reasons for it, the stronger I am against temptation.

      Thank you for sharing it all with me!

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