Life without booze is definitely better than the way I was living before, with the endless round of drinking to the point of passing out, waking with a stinking hangover, dragging myself through the day, swearing I would not drink that night, before repeating the process all over again. An endless loop, which I was trapped in for over a decade. But life is still HARD and sometimes the temptation to go back to old coping strategies is strong. I know that life is no rose garden, and to anyone who is still drinking, I would recommend getting help to quit. But be prepared for ‘life on life’s terms’ as the AA saying goes.
What is it that brings me to write this today? I’m feeling in conflict. I recently had a disagreement with the leader of my alcohol treatment group. He is a professional who has not been addicted to substances, but has worked in the field for 20 years. He has seen a lot of drinkers go through the system. The work I have been doing on myself has led to me becoming more forgiving and understanding, and also compassionate towards myself, recognising what I achieved despite years of alcohol abuse and depression. I am in fact more qualified than the leader of my alcohol group ( I am also a mental health worker and therapist). The disagreement we had was over the fact that he was seemingly insistent on dismissing my skills, achievements and competence, and could only see ‘the problem’. I can see he wanted me to accept my problem for what it was, but to me this seemed to negate me and my other parts.
I also have a friend who is drinking harmfully, and could really do with going to treatment. Part of me thinks he needs some hard and firm boundaries to get him into treatment, but another part of me thinks, he is an adult, and so should be left to find his own way. I can see both sides of the argument, the side of firm boundaries and the side of letting people find their own way to their own conclusions.
When I was drinking, there was part of me that wanted someone to ‘intervene’, to tell me to stop, to drag me to rehab and so on. But knowing now what I know about myself, this would not have worked. A big part of me is anti-authoritarian, and so anyone telling me what to do would have made me do the opposite!
As I write this down, I can see the conflict is mine, and I am externalising it onto others, and that is part of what I meant earlier when I said that life without booze is definitely better, but is now all the more complicated, full of uncertainty and contradictions, and I guess that is partly why I drank in order to cope with the vast complexity that is life.