As I continue on the path away from alcohol I come more and more to realise that all the siren promises held out by it are just empty lies.
Any relaxation, reward, escape derived from it are mere illusions. The problem is that you cannot see that until you get some distance away. It’s like one of those stereogram images where at the correct focal length you suddenly see, “Ah ha, it’s a dolphin!” and after that you can’t believe you couldn’t see it all the time.
The problem is that alcohol promises an instant solution to the natural human need to relax, reward and escape. Far more readily available than, say, an hour’s walk in the countryside, for which you need (a) an hour (b) appropriate clothing (c) appropriate weather. Far easier to slip that bottle in with the shopping on the way home from work, twist the top off while cooking dinner, and glug away.
When Belle wrote a post late last year (sorry, too idle to go back and check for link) on listing your possible rewards, I really, really struggled with the concept. I had became so dissociated from any possible reward, incentive or treat other than wine. I had taken my life and put it on the one way tram system which is booze, when I could have been a bird soaring free above green hills and valleys.
It has taken focus, thought and energy to see that the promise held out by the snake oil salesman is empty. Most of all, it has taken time. I have always been so reassured by Carrie’s assertion that time heals. I’m going to quote a part of that post which has been particularly helpful to me:
‘By far the biggest thing that I have put into my sobriety is time. There is something about crossing off days, clocking up time, digging in and just waiting for it to pass that counts beyond belief towards feeling better about being sober. Sometimes it goes quickly and easily other times it seems like a painfully slow, endless road to nowhere. But sticking with it, hanging in there, just being…heals. From six to eight months, I felt I’d taken giant leaps in my sobriety and again from eight to ten months it’s happened again. I can only explain this feeling (which is wonderful) to be down to time alone. It really does heal. Sobriety feels fantastic, like I’ve found the key to making my life work. I’m exploring who I am and have started to create a whole new life for myself. New routines, hobbies, interests and a more enthusiastic approach to my career are just a few of things I have embraced in the last few months.’
If you are reading this in the earlier days of sobriety I really hope that this holds out the same hope for you as it did for me. Those days are so tough and sometimes the snake oil salesman’s lines sound incredibly tempting.
Give yourself time. It will all be worth it.