“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” (Oscar Wilde). This is amongst one of my favourite quotes, as it symbolises reaching for the stars, taking action and aiming to improve yourself and strive for something more. For a long time now, I have struggled with self confidence and a lot of negative and criticising self talk. My life was a continuous repetitive pattern of trying to better myself through giving up alcohol and cigarettes, eating healthy for one or two weeks, and then making up for it by taking out drinking and smoking and not looking after myself for another two. It looped for months, maybe even years. I had always found different reasons to explain it, I hated my job, I was not achieving what I wanted which made me a failure, I wasn’t good enough, the list is endless. All this made me reach for alcohol in an attempt to have a break from exhausting repetitive and invading thoughts. I was caught in a self perpetuating cycle of hate, anxiety, pain- both emotion and physical. I could not break the cycle. I tried many times, which resulted in failure, leading to self loathing, shame and disappointment in myself. People often spoke of and complemented me on my good points, but I was yet to see them. I constantly was trying to aim for the stars, but always falling short.
I did not realise all along I had it wrong. While alcohol seemed to soothe my wounds, and make me feel more confident about myself, I did not know that I had been caught in such a cycle whereby the alcohol was the main thing contributing to the stress. The job I did not like became much more difficult because I was hungover, tired and agitated. The interviews I went to in an attempt to leave the job were not fully prepared for because I was tired from nights out during the week, and in one instance I was hungover for the interview. I did not realise my creeping depression which led me to have a lot of suicidal thoughts (which I never acted upon) was a result of drinking, and drinking was not the break from my negative thoughts like I thought it was. It prevented me from learning how to deal with stressful situations because it numbed the feelings at the time, but the thing about numbing feelings is that it will eventually take more and more alcohol to do the trick. The feelings will always find a way to come to the surface regardless and will find a way to cause hurt and pain. It’s difficult to face up to some of life’s harsh realities and the feelings connected to them.
I had not realised I had surrounded myself with people who were doing the exact same things as me, which makes it very difficult to admit or even realise you have a problem. Looking back at all the blackouts, the falls when drunk, the rows with my boyfriend, the cancelled appointments and commitments, the late days and sick days at work, the misery of a hangover and the upset stomach- that often prevented me from eating the next day- I can see it so clearly now, that drink was becoming a problem. I guess for a long time I knew. I often tried to better myself, abstain for a week here and there, but it never lasted. I knew it was a problem, but yet as Homer Simpson says, “Alcohol the cause and solution to all of life’s problems,” this was definitely where I was at.
I waited until things hit rock bottom, I wish I had of had the confidence to ask for help before it got to that. I had started to become out of control, my actions embarrassed me. Now, I didn’t drink everyday, rarely at home, nor first thing when I got out of bed. But when I did have the first drink and I told myself I’d go home shortly, I rarely knew when to stop. I didn’t want to stop. Most of my money, time and energy went into nights out. Nights out that I was often bored during, but I proceeded to go on regardless.
When I was faced with the reality that I was uncertain if I had lost my job,my boyfriend and where I was living due to alcohol I had to take action. I phoned Lifeline because at the time I did not want to live any longer, I did not know why I felt this way or what led me to here but I knew action was needed. I have to say the Lifeline phone call was nerve wracking, I really do not like phone calls. But when I did it, everything poured out, the lady on the phone was fantastic and thankfully she helped pave the way to a brighter future. I received some immediate Counselling from them which proved to be very useful. I am now receiving alcohol counselling and my life has changed for the better. I’m hoping that by blogging I may reach someone else who is struggling and needs help. There is a way out, and while it may seem like support is impossible now, it does exist. It can be found. Reach for those stars, and if you try and fail, don’t beat yourself up. Pick yourself up and try again, and keep trying. And if you realise you can’t do it alone, ask for help, do not hesitate. If the first person you go to is not supportive, don’t give up. There is more to life, and it can be achieved. It is so difficult in our society for anyone to acknowledge the damage alcohol is doing because it is such a part of our culture, it is everywhere. Be brave, and most importantly, do it for you.
Good luck xx
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