Friday, 24 October 2014

Day 19 - The addiction paradox

If I'm absolutely honest with myself and anyone reading, until yesterday at approximately 3.34 pm I didn't believe in addiction. I'm not sure what I believe now. I've always thought I was too lazy and useless to give up wine. Too hedonistic, too pleasure seeking, too self-satisfying, that's me. I'm 'too' much of most things. I'm an excessive kind of person. I don't just eat, I gorge. I don't just parent, I'm like some kind of cape wearing Mary Poppins (in my head), I can't just enjoy something I have to understand it to the very minuscule tiniest of detail, I don't just write or create or cook laxly, I do things ferociously. I'm an over-doer. I always have been.

Until yesterday, I'd always just thought, its me, that's what I do, I'm all or nothing. And its the same with alcohol. No surprise there eh? I drink nothing (seldom) or everything (mostly). I generally set my own standards/obsessions so high that I either never achieve them or die trying. The lows of let downs of ridiculous expectations seem to fuel the drinking that's for sure.

Is my brain defective? I kind of hope so in some ways because I like my brain. Am I am addict, I'm not sure, is my drug of choice wine [insert any other alcoholic beverage here], almost certainly. Having watched a lecture from an addiction specialist yesterday, I'm pretty sure I'm an addict although I'm still on the fence on 'addiction'. But, I sure have an unhealthy relationship with a bottle of Pinot that's for sure. 

I've been wondering why I've stopped now. Stopped drinking, for now. (I'm not at forever yet.) The kids are gone, literally, just gone and off to uni. With no real 'boundaries' of parenting left, job and community engagement gone. I'm in a new place, with no responsibilities and aside a husband home after 7pm out again at 7am, I've nothing or no one taking my time. I've no excuse NOT to drink. In fact aside being 'sober-ish' when he was home, every excuse TO DRINK.  Infact if I only have to be sober from 6-8pm I can drink earlier, sober up a bit, be a bit social and fun, then drink some more. What a fabulous thought, my wine soaked head told me. Even more drinking fab. You don't need a job, you don't need to do anything, just drink. It will be lovely. Just us. He won't notice, just drink. No one needs you anymore. Just drink.

Of course, I've a billion excuses not to drink, a loving family, a nice home, chickens, dogs, flowers, nice grub, beaches, etc etc. The only voice I can hear is that I can drink now, as much as I like and it doesn't matter. That's all I heard.

When drinking becomes the only thing you hear, the only thing you want to do and you've nothing stopping you, and can't think of a reason not to drink aside feeling crap and useless, that's scary. And, sadly for me, it was also very exciting. Nothing to stop me now. I can drink all I like, everyday.

Bring out the wine, bring on the dancing girls. Just make sure they bring their own booze ok, this is MINE. And make sure they don't stay long as I like to drink alone. Its my wine time.

Like I said, I've always been an over-doer.

I dunno what flipped in my brain, but I know I needed to stop, at least for now. A small voice is telling me, probably forever, but we're not quite ready to hear that yet. So for now I'm stopped and hear I am, waffling shite as per usual.

Do I believe in addiction, altered brain chemistry, is it a disease, rather than hedonistic self-indulgence? Well the evidence I'm reading from the neuroscientists (and a clever bunch they are, its quite hard to understand most of it) would suggest its real and its not just my own weak-willed, stupid fault that I drink. So, whilst I'm still confused, I'm engaged and still reading. Don't worry I promise not to decide to gorge myself on too much reading, that on the whole, I really don't understand. I am not a neuroscientist.

If addiction is indeed real, and a disease, however, I should probably apologise to my father, (after I've told him off for giving me some of his genes, if indeed he has). He probably needed my help, he might not have listened rather hearing the song of his whisky bottle. But, at least I could have offered. My anger with him and his drinking has at least abated to contemplation and regret (mine, for me and for him), not for my kids or my family, they didn't need to see him like that. Of course that's why I largely drank when they slept, I got up and I functioned. Not much of a difference in the long run really. Except for now, I've stopped.

Alcohol is indeed a paradox. I don't want it in my life.

Sober girl, lots of reading and thinking, I ventured out to an art launch last night, after wine-o-clock.
Sober mum, dropped off the driving licence in the city yesterday night after event.
Sober wife, gorged at McDonalds on the way home rather than buy wine and (potentially) drink a whole load of it whilst 'near home', yes driving, I know that's insane. So instead of rolling in half-drunk, I rolled in like a beach whale, gorged on a plastic fish sandwich and a fizzy drink. 

Baby steps.

I do waffle on, so thank you for getting this far! If you've something kind or helpful to add or just want to say hello. Please drop a line below. I'd appreciate that. Thank you.


  1. I struggled with this too. I have always been an over achiever.
    It never occurred to me over the years I tried to moderate that I was addicted to alcohol. That I was an alcoholic. It was just a bad habit that I couldn't quite get under control. And why bother? Everyone I knew drank and I had a job and a house and a family. I was fulfilling my duties...

    But I can see now that I was not taking care of me. My soul was crying out for relief. It was drowning and I was so so unhappy. What kind of life is that?

    Whatever it is, life is better alcohol free. Those hard cravings go away for he most part. You will look around one day and see all the things you can do. That you want to do!

    Fast food is a great substitute to a stop at the wine shop.

    You are doing great!

    1. I'm so sorry you were unhappy. I'm glad you take care of you now. I completely hear the 'I'm fulfilling my duties......' Thank you for sharing.

  2. Maybe you just wanted something different for yourself? How we reach these points is sometimes hard to understand - the why now, but like the addiction question, does it matter? Is it better to be right or free? :)

    1. I think as my age keeps going up, I know that I don't want to die at 52 like my dad did. Alone, he lost everything, no one trusted him. I do want something different. It doesn't matter what its called. Part of me thinks if I can just understand more why I do it, it will make it easier somehow, but I'm sure that's not the case. I just need to not drink. Hugs and thanks for that video again, really really changed my perspective. :D