My love affair began with alcohol when I was 16. I was going out with a boy and his parents were getting divorced. He introduced me to cider and told me it made him less sad about his parents fighting when he drank it. At the time I didn't feel like I needed something to make me less sad about life but I copied him. And then staying at a friend's house her mother said to me, "Help yourself to white wine in the fridge, it makes you feel better about yourself." The second time this message was imprinted onto me by someone that I respected. Alcohol makes you feel better about yourself. I was hooked.
Alcohol made me less nervous in social situations, I felt like I was fun with it, I could relax, let go and "be myself". The trouble was I couldn't stop when I started. I would have conversations with my friends about how they knew when to stop and why they stopped. For me it was a huge effort, I wanted to drink more and more and more. Momentous occasions passed in a drunken haze, my 21st, my Dad's 70th. Getting drunk stopped being fun and started to become a necessity. Shame piled upon shame as I continued, relationships began with men that I didn't even like because I was too drunk when we hooked up and too ashamed to admit that and stop them. My whole life became one big pretence. My work suffered, I hated the job that I was doing and so I had no motivation to even stop destroying my career, coupled with the fact that drinking was part of the job, Friday afternoon drinks in the office or after work every night. There was always someone to support my habit.
No-one really said anything to me about my drinking, even though I was obviously suffering. I took countless online quizzes to find out if I might have a drinking problem but still they managed to persuade me that I was normal, everyone was doing it, I didn't have a problem.
So why am I telling you this story? To illustrate the power that alcohol had over me and my whole network of friends and family. We were all brainwashed into believing that alcohol is harmless and just a bit of fun. No-one could see how I was suffering and if they could they didn't approach me about it, not because they didn't care but because they didn't know what to say. Addiction is becoming more and more of an issue in today's society and so the better equipped we become in dealing with this issue the more we can help ourselves and the people close to us.
I wanted to share with you some thoughts that have helped me in my decision to get and stay sober. Use them in whatever way you wish - if you are struggling with your own relationship to alcohol I hope they begin to help you, if you are an influencer perhaps you can begin to use this information to inform your teachings or if you know someone who is struggling with their relationship to alcohol perhaps you can begin to use some of this information to have a conversation with them instead of leaving them to hopelessly continue their own self destruction.
Here goes -
Alcohol is a dangerous drug for many people, it is not harmless and can be extremely addictive yet advertising companies, the media and influencers have all led us to believe that there is something wrong with us if we don't drink alcohol.
Many people are addicted to alcohol without even knowing about it. Once you know you are addicted you are in a position to do something about it.
Stop the brainwash. Alcohol isn't cool, it doesn't make you funnier, sexier, more confident or relaxed. It alters your perception of situations and you actually become less yourself.
Alcohol is a depressant and the brief high that you feel has to be replaced by a low.
If you are questioning yourself about how much you are drinking, obsessing about your consumption of alcoholic units then please talk about it with someone.
It is not normal to drink a lot of alcohol, it is detrimental to your mental and physical health. Therefore stop trying to be "normal" and be able to drink. I spent so many years trying so hard to just be normal, it was such a relief to give myself permission to stop.
Sober is sexy.
Alcoholics tend to stick together to perpetuate their drinking, you might want to think about who your group of friends are, I had to find a whole new group!
I wasted a lot of time drinking, I had to find new interests that replaced the time that I spent drinking and in doing so I learnt so more about myself.
Alcohol keeps you compliant and easier to control. You have less creative thoughts and moreover less power when you drink.
Yoga really helps addiction, it calms the brain, stops the cravings and gives the person something more positive to focus on and even get addicted to. Replace the negative addiction with a positive one.
I am not here to condemn you, if you do drink alcohol and you are able to do this consciously and enjoy yourself then I am in no way judging you as we all have our own personal choice and I respect that.