abijam

Archive for May, 2014|Monthly archive page

Raising the bar

In Uncategorized on May 8, 2014 at 9:30 pm

Something that has got me thinking and I’m sure it is the case for lots of people who have their own struggles to deal with; I set the bar too high for myself so that failure is almost certain.

In my case it’s always; I’m never drinking again, I have to live up to my successful family, I have to earn more money, I need to be independent, I will try and cope with everything, try to look good, keep fit, be happy and the list goes on…but as a result of failing to be perfect I have learnt that you can’t always cope and you are going to struggle and you will sometimes depend on people or things. 

I told my dad on the weekend that I had made the decision to not drink again (last attempt was two months last winter) and as always, he was sceptical; not because he doesn’t think I won’t be able to do it, but because he doesn’t fully agree with it.

‘Why do you always feel the need to set unrealistic expectations of yourself? I think you are getting sucked into the drama of “defeating your demons”‘

In some ways he is right; I can see how you can get wrapped up in the drama of sobriety…

But I would like to just be dramatic and self congratulate for one tiny moment, because it’s not very often I have had the opportunity to. Allot of my life I have been my own worst enemy; allot of what I have done has been criticised by myself or those around me. I am an extreme self critic to a crushing degree.

This time I have set another ridiculously high standard; to not drink and to change my life and to stop hanging off everyone else’s word and opinion, including those closest to me but this time I feel very differently about it.

The act of not drinking is a physical abstinence. Physically we are capable of anything we want; we can physically buy the alcohol, physically pour it, physically bring it to our lips and physically act out drunken antics. But mentally we have to try very hard, we have to ignore voices, memories, peer pressure and cultural traditions. We have to battle constantly on a mental level; which is harder than anything I have physically encountered.

By not drinking and talking about it we have achieved something that some people never face up to; we are brave enough to admit to a problem and we are willing and committed enough to try to change. We are going against the grain, swimming against the current, flying against a jet stream culture that tells us without alcohol we aren’t good enough.

Alcohol is that sexy woman you could be in the bar, alcohol is that cool cocktail you can drink at a beach bar and alcohol is that expensive, luxurious champagne that makes your birthday / wedding / occasion the event of the year. 

I don’t want a medal or a big deal made of me but I wouldn’t mind a little recognition or acknowledgment from someone (family, if I’m being honest.) I yearn for that tiny bit of acceptance still… but I already feel that part of me fading and the more control I gain, the less negativity I hear, see and feel. 

 

 

Advertisements

It runs in the family

In Uncategorized on May 5, 2014 at 8:14 pm

In my addiction counselling; ironically the same day I caved in to alcohol, I was asked the question ‘is there a history of addiction in the family?’

Umm…yes, actually.

It’s only once you are asked this question and you have to start categorising your relatives, you realise maybe you are not the only one to have gone through this.

Our family don’t like labels such as ‘alcoholic’ ‘binge drinker’ ‘gambler’ ‘workaholic’ we tend to prefer the terms like ‘stubborn’ ‘loose cannon’ ‘liked to party’

Turns out when you start putting labels on behaviours displayed by my relatives we have some family history of alcoholism, gambling addiction and workaholics. 

I only started to uncover, or realise these things by remembering certain conversations I had heard growing and putting together the pieces. 

My grandad is someone who particularly resonates with me. He is very eccentric, quite sociable but has tendencies to over think…and over drink.

He was born in South Africa where there was a culture during his teenage years to go out and drink heavily and thats exactly what he did through to his early adult life. The family then moved to UK because of his dual british passport. Shortly before he moved he had attempted to cut down on his drinking and found that a lot of his friends were only interested in getting on the beers. On moving to England he drank less and started a business, which is still running successfully today.

Today I hung out with my grandparents and I told them I was cutting back on my drinking again but explained the difficulties because of social pressure. I used the phrase ‘I am a yes person, and therefore I struggle moderating myself’ I also said that it has been noted that when I drink I drink about 5 times quicker than everyone else without realising it.

‘We’re more similar than you realise, Abi’ was my grandads response. 

I told my nan that I was worried about the fact that next weekend I was going to a social event revolving around getting pissed and that I was worried and maybe should have some drinking rules in place. 

‘I think it is best you don’t drink’ was my nan’s very direct response. I know she is right but for some crazy reason I needed someone to confirm this for me.

Today I haven’t drank and even though this weekend didn’t get crazy, I am grateful and relieved it didn’t. I don’t want to get out of control. I don’t want to be that girl anymore. And thats a good enough reason to stop completely. I shouldn’t be influenced by others who don’t understand what this feels like. I should listen to my relatives who have more in common with me than I realised but most of all I should listen to myself. Not drinking means I don’t risk progress. Not drinking means so much more than giving into peer pressure or being called boring. 

Today is day 1 of no drinking. Again. Baby steps.

 

Weakness

In Alcohol, Drink, Drinking, health, mental health, Sobriety, Uncategorized on May 4, 2014 at 8:09 pm

Well, this weekend I caved in, in so many ways.

I havent drank to excess, but I have drank.

Now that I have ‘relapsed’ my brain isn’t sure what to do because it didn’t go wrong…this time.

Im getting the same ideas about continuing to drink but limiting myself to weaker drinks or just three drinks in one go. I have a big social event next Saturday and I know there will be so much pressure to drink. How or why will I say no?

I am confused as to how to repair myself or in which way I should continue to live my life?

The reason I caved was this; an old old friend was drunk and decided to get in contact at 1am. We used to be very close but then he moved away and started a family. This weekend he came back and got drunk with some other people. He rang me at 1am for me to pick him up because he didn’t want to stay at our other friends house, he wanted to see me and chat.

I was wide awake and decided to see him. 

He got to my house and asked me for a drink; i had amaretto for baking in my baking cupboard. He poured a couple of glasses and asked me to drink with him. He told me about his troubles and we chatted for four hours.

I had work the next day and I felt horrendously tired all day. 

He also flicked his cigarettes into the next doors garden which burnt a whole in their trampoline. I feel very guilty.

I tried to help him, but I put him before me; seems to be a common theme. I end up paying for it too.

I wish I could assert myself all the time but I worry about the wrong peoples feelings instead of my own.

I have no idea why I should continue drinking but in the back of my head I think I would only drink to please others which is crazy but other people have that power over me.

I need to pull it together but I am struggling with my own weakness.

Rock Bottom

In Alcohol, Drink, Drinking, health, mental health, Sobriety, Uncategorized on May 1, 2014 at 6:53 pm

I think most people reading this blog with some understanding of problematic drinking will have reached a place called ‘Rock Bottom’.

Rock Bottom is not the trip of a life time and it’s not somewhere you want to hurry back to.

Although, if you are anything like me and you have issues with drinking, drugs etc. you have been there several times (probably about twenty!)

‘Never again’

‘I’m too old for this shit’

‘I’m gonna die’

‘Don’t tell me what I did, I don’t want to know’

Over and over again until that turns into;

‘I hate myself’

‘what the fuck happened to me’

‘I’m disgusting’

‘I cant do this anymore’

‘I think I have a problem’

You get to a point when you realise that your trips to Rock Bottom are running out. How many times can you go there and come back again? How long will it be until you eliminate the possibility of going there again?

How many things have to go wrong before you stop? How lonely do you have to become? How bad can you physically feel?

Day 11 of no drinking and I am still feeling strong. I have finally retired from sliding down the slippery slope.

For some strange reason though, I feel sort of a compulsion to share my experiences of rock bottom. I want to relive, through writing, the experiences that have lead me to deciding to quit.

I have done my fair share of research on binge drinking and alcoholism, but I crave to read peoples actual experiences and feelings. How does everyone else feel in these situations? Does anyone else long to be anyone else but themselves at their lowest points? Does anyone else wonder why a chemical that makes other people foot loose and fancy free can turn them into a ticking time bomb ready to explode into a violent bombshell or a sexual deviant? How can alcohol have the power to make me a completely different person?

I want to write a post that will be an in depth account of how it is when I drink. I don’t even need to ask the question anymore ‘is it a problem?’ I 100% know I have a problem, and perhaps by exposing my truth, people who also have problems but may not know or have accepted that yet, perhaps it could help them or make them feel less alone?

I think half of my problem was that I was ready to accept I had a problem from the age of 19 but my family and peers weren’t. I think that is the case with a lot of young people with a problem; there is a taboo factor and also because its normal for young people to get fucked up.

From the age of 14, when I first tried vodka, the pattern was this and still is this; I am always the most drunk person at that party, that bar, that club. I am always the person who kissed the wrong guy, danced provocatively, punched someone, ran away, injured somebody, embarrassed themselves, got kicked out, thought I was somewhere else, forgot who I was, lost all their belongings and upset people. That pattern of destruction is hard to ignore and eventually you wind up in Rock Bottom with nobody but yourself to deal with.