abijam

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. 

 

 

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  1. I applaud your efforts but yes you’ve set the bar very high when life is much more complicated than not drinking = success; drinking = failure.

    I want to confess something here… It’s something I have not told anyone and haven’t fully come to terms with. It was only a few nights ago. I hadn’t drunk since January, save for a couple of boozy weekends in April. It’s June now. I’m not a problem drinker or anything – I’m not addicted and never have been, I just decided to stop because I realised alcohol never agreed with me.

    Anyway 6 months down the line and I found myself looking forward to an opportunity when, for once, my boyfriend was due to be staying over at a friend’s for a Saturday night, not to return until he was sober enough to drive back late the following afternoon.

    I don’t know why, but I thought to myself, “I’ll go and have a few drinks on my own tonight” when that Saturday came round. It got late, and I decided to step out, all dolled up and everything. I had two small beers and a couple of big glasses of wine.

    The aim was to enjoy the effect of the alcohol and slowly feel a bit buzzed and mellow. What could go wrong? I wanted to reframe my relationship with alcohol. Boyfriend was out so if I had a hangover he wouldn’t know. If I got back late, I had nothing to be sorry for and no explaining to do. It’s a very safe town so there are hardly any dangers lurking.

    However after what small amount of alcohol I consumed (and the details are a little fuzzy), I started crying. Uncontrollably. On my own. I have no idea what prompted it. I was sitting down having dinner and rioja one minute, the next I was weeping and walking aimlessly around town.

    I thought about a boy from many years ago, someone that I loved but didn’t love me back. That was the catalyst for the tears. It’s a subject that I’ve cried over many times but that was a long time ago. Why now? It makes little sense.

    I popped into a bar near the house and bought cigarettes – I don’t smoke. I smoked one while sitting on a park bench. I smoked another as I approached our house. Then I saw, shock horror I couldn’t believe my eyes. Our car was parked on the road – he was back! I went back to the bar for a cola and even poured it on my fingertips to get rid of the smoky smell. I was panicked. What if he’d seen me smoking? Or drinking? Or crying?

    Anyway that’s my little confession. My boyfriend even asked me that night whether I’d had a beer but I sort of changed the subject. The truth is I was ashamed and embarrassed at being “caught” (I am not sure what he knows), but drinking that night was just something I wanted to do on my own, privately. It doesn’t mean that I’m off the wagon or anything like that.

    I am not tempted to drink again.

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