For as long as I can remember I have been in denial that I am an alcoholic. Perhaps, because I’ve always been highly functioning, I’ve been able to hide behind that. When you hear the words ‘alcoholic‘ or ‘alcoholism‘, you don’t think upper-middle class successful career woman, wife or mother. Those very words seem to dredge up images of men and women sleeping rough cradling a brown paper bag. My first week in AA has introduced me to the 12 steps, and the AA Step 1 is to admit that we were powerless over alcohol.
As I go through my journey, I’m starting to unlock some of the excuses that I have used and society uses to encourage us to drink. I’m not trying to put accountability of my drinking on anyone other than myself, but as an alcoholic, or someone prone to alcoholic, there are so many triggers that can engage us in drinking.
Perhaps it’s The Australian way, but alcohol seems to accompany every single occasion, we drink because our footy team wins, we drink at weddings to celebrate, we drink at funerals to commiserate. We seem to find a reason to drink at every occasion possible. For a bit of context of me, my excuses have varied over the years.
Drinking because a Relationship Ended
When I look back and reflect over my major relationships, whenever they have ended they have always been a trigger for me to consume excesses of alcohol. Instead of grieving the relationship the ‘healthy way’, I’ve always found people to go out with, or people to drink with.
After my last major relationship ended, I did a combination of both, I drank every night at home, but on the weekends I found a girlfriend who was also going through the same thing to go out drinking with. The only night I had off was usually the night after a big night out.
Drinking as social lubricant
For me personally, I do have a naturally outgoing personality, however I am also very shy (go figure). So whenever in a social context, I’ve always needed an extra drink or two in order to get myself a little more free and easy.
Even when I met my husband, we connected straight away and at first I didn’t need to drink, but when we both look back, we both identified that I seemed to try and self-sabotage myself and the relationship. I don’t know why I would do this, because my husband is the most incredible person that I have ever met, and I feel so blessed that I found him because he is my soul mate.
Drinking because Motherhood was hard
This is probably the one that has hit me the hardest. After the birth of my first child, the first thing I asked for was a glass of wine and from there I never stopped. Breastfeeding was never for me. Overall I felt motherhood incredibly lonely, especially with my first child, I had only been living in Melbourne 18 months when we had our first child, so I didn’t have a network down here. So every night I would have more and more wine. On top of that, we also had some challenges with my in-laws which also encouraged me to drink more heavily.
Over the course of my blog I will continue to explore different triggers and experiences for my drinking as I work through the 12 steps for myself. I’m still so early in my journey, and I so badly want to succeed because I have heard so many wonderful stories of life after addiction.