Even after all these years of being sober, using common sense and logic, facing the world without the aid of any enhancing drugs or medicines that take away the rough edges, I still have yet to come to terms with the immature streak that is in me.
Many therapists, me included, realise that we coped throughout our life with any kind of emotional situation whether euphoric or catastrophic with a drink. Thus negating any reason for facing those emotions in real time. So I emotionally froze in about 1973, pickled in aspic, or in my case gin and wine.
I lost my Father when I was 13, and vividly remember the wake, it was a sea of comfort drinks. From that I suppose it seemed quite natural to go with flow of needing a drink to de-stress. But of course therein lies the difference between a drink and several bottles. As the years progressed I also used my inner child to get what I wanted. Sulky, belligerent with the odd temper tantrum thrown in. It worked. And if I was told no, because of the emotional detachment I could just move on, leaving a mass of devastation and loss in my wake.
And still that child screams inside me. I control it, but when things are not going according to plan, I can feel that lack of understanding of life ebbing up and I feel cheated. I never learnt to ‘deal with it’ as the saying goes. I hate the pain and I hate the slowness of feeling better.
Alcohol just gave me an instant escape route. It was such a cop out. Learning to be a grown up at 40 something is more than surreal and baffling, but I understand that it was more than worthwhile. For now, the lows make the highs so much better, and I am grateful for a more moderate view on life.
It is perhaps one of the biggest hurdles for an ex alcoholic to face life head on. But until we do we are not whole. Many that give up the booze still feel they need a buffer usually from prescription drugs. I hear on a daily basis that clients even though they have admitted to having a problem with drink, being prescribed anti depressants, when they are totally unnecessary. The drink is the depressant, take that away and the dark clouds start to move away and show some light. But as ever, if the doctor prescribed it then it must be right. Such a shame the cause is not addressed with as much fervour as smoking and obesity. The symptoms of drink ARE the disease, and if GP’s were to look more closely at these, then they would perhaps understand what treatment was needed. That, more often than not, does not come in a blister pack, on repeat.
I still find it hard to find the dirty grey between the black and white, between the rights and wrongs, but have learnt to accept situations for what they are, and not scream inside for a happy ending all of the time.