Refusal to acknowledge an unacceptable truth or emotion or to admit it into consciousness, used as a defence mechanism. ― Oxford Dictionary.
I lost count of the times I emptied my fridge of beer and wine, then poured it down the sink, but I did it all too often despite telling myself I’d stop.
Truth is, I knew I should probably give up drinking after the second or third blow-out when I was just 18-19 years old. But I didn’t.
On one particular occasion at the end of year college ball, which we’d all been looking forward to going to, I found myself wandering home completely drunk having binged on the aperitifs trying to calm my nerves and instead I lost the plot completely and didn’t manage to stay much past 8pm. I missed a spectacular night.
Why then, did it take me nearly another 15 years to finally admit to myself and recognise that I had a problem? That I should simply quit drinking, knowing that it just isn’t right for me and move on?
My conscience and awareness of what was right and wrong knew that drinking was bringing the absolute worst out of me. When I drank I was aware that everything I stood for went out the window. My behaviour was in complete disharmony and I didn’t like that, not at all.
Reasons to drink
Everyone coming here will have their own reasons for drinking. These though, were mine:
- It’s sociable, I went out and met friends, like everyone
- It’s relaxing, everyone unwinds with a drink, don’t they?
- It’s enjoyable, especially out with friends
- I fit in more, become a better person, (so I think)
It was also down to me being completely in denial. I didn’t have a drink problem, not if I took it easy, or ate a full meal before going out. I wasn’t opening bottles in the morning just to get out of bed. I could take it or leave it, so long as you didn’t ask me to not drink on a Friday or Saturday night!
Denial took years to accept
I was firmly in denial, I couldn’t accept the thought of living but not being able to drink with friends again, ever. I knew I had difficulties with drink, and that I couldn’t drink like my friends could. I’d recognised that fact at least.
Learn from the past
Every time I drank, a little voice kept telling me that I was proving to myself that I couldn’t, till finally my ‘Big Bang’ came and I got so drunk, so quickly and so nearly ruined a new good job (drinking at the Christmas Party), that I found myself at cross roads. That was it, I could not drink again. I had to surrender to it. I was never going to be able to drink normally, so I had to give it up. This was now the only option I faced.
Reasons to stop drinking
I sat down and wrote the following reasons why I should stop now and never drink again:
- The hangovers would stop. I’d have more time on the weekends.
- I could wake and face the world without shame – I would no longer make a fool of me.
- With that, I’d have much greater self-esteem.
- My health would be bound to suffer if I continued.
- If I drunk drove again I could end up hurting someone, or get myself killed, or the ultimate shame – have to go to prison
- I really, really wanted to become a better person
- Lastly, I wanted a family
Right away I could see that there were many more reasons to stop than to continue. The reasons for continuing were shallow and short-term. The reasons for stopping finally pulled me round, and I stopped drinking.
Get rid of temptations
Since that morning after my last blow-out I’ve not touched a drop. I’ve not wanted to, nor have I regretted giving up. I poured everything I had in the house away, down the sink. I vowed as I watch it disappear that this really was the last time.
I am a better person now and I have a family and most of all I have my self-respect and self-esteem that gives me inner happiness on a scale I never imagined existed.
This is the first step
Surrendering to denial was the first step on this process for me. You really can’t get much further if you believe you haven’t got a problem, that is somehow a problem with everything around you. They’re just excuses that you must get passed in order to continue.
Finally accepting that I wasn’t drinking nor behaving like most normal people do when they drink was for sure the hardest step for me. Once I admitted it I began to really start to believe that I could do this and I was willing to accept that sobriety was the only way forward for me.
That was in December 2006, it was as true then as it is today.
Read more now on the next step, Getting Support – Step Two.
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