Learning to love myself again

Swans

Thank you to this swan for sharing her progress.

I had an epic fail which may have ended up in the paper (so far, it hasn’t) and being such a small country town, reporters report on everything and have been known to face book stalk you and make comments in their article. So I deactivated for a bit.

So I’m back. I’ve read a lot of books about people like me/us, and grabbed a lot of different things from every one of them. I haven’t always agreed with everything however. I used to be the bottle of wine per night person, and more on the weekends until nearly two years ago now, my Dr unnecessarily (as I found out later) put the fear of god into myself and I stopped drinking during the week. Which was hard at first, but okay. Which made me re-examine the rest of my drinking and why I did it. It made me think, well I can stop. Even after a bad day – I can stop at one.

I realised why I drank on the weekends – I have crippling social anxiety and lack of self confidence and the weekends are actively social. So I drank before I went out – I needed the confidence boost just to get out the damned door. So, of course, the inevitable. I got wasted, ended up with wrong men and wondering who I needed to apologise to for my behaviour for the night before. At best.

Drinking heavily before has also made me realise the bad choices I made. Maybe not bad, but could have been better. I live with those choices now and am determined to work around them. Surprisingly, there are a few of my friends who realise at our age, we can’t recover like we used to. So no more mad parties, it’s dinners. No more festivals, it’s bbqs and camping. It’s new hobbies like photography (getting up early and taking sunrise pictures) and gardening, to name a few.

So my social scene is evolving. Feel like a baby walking and a wee bit lonely, but evolving. It means shifting from most of my friends now, and truth be told, GOF. It means getting tougher, learning how to stand up for myself. Now I realise how much people were taking the piss out of me. I used to laugh it off. Now, “um no. That stopped being funny about five sarcastic comments ago. I’m not stupid, so stop talking to me like I am.” Before, I just would have laughed it off. If I stopped and thought about it – “ah no. Stop it! Don’t think about it. Have another drink.”

I’ve cried a lot and screamed a lot (literally) I’ve had my set backs but I am not going to hate myself for that. I figure you don’t fail until you quit. Every set back has taught me something different. Ok, fight with husband. You got drunk. Did that fix it? Did the worry go away? No, now you just feel and look like shit, and you can’t remember exactly what he said last night so you can’t discuss it properly when you’re sober.

For me, I’ve learned that this journey is not about being alcohol dependent, it’s learning to love myself again. If I loved myself, I wouldn’t need drink to give me confidence. I would be already.

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Binki

SWAN is a new friendship and support network for people who choose to live without alcohol. Everyone is welcome.

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