Did you fear a monster under your bed when you were younger? Things that go bump in the night? How frightening it is to realize that the real monsters lurk within us in broad daylight. Lacey shares how she slayed the alcohol monster once and for all in her My Naked Life story.
When I finished TNM in July last year I felt elated, excited and…almost free. I felt in the passage about not yet being ready to ‘commit’ to not drinking, like you were reading my mind!
In the months that have passed since then I have truly experienced all the things you talked about..and now, now I am ready to share my ‘story’.
Slaying The Alcohol Monster The First Time
11 years ago, I joined Alcoholics Anonymous. At 25, I was broke, lonely and had just woken up in hospital after (another) feeble ‘suicide’ attempt. I hadn’t tried to kill myself, I pathetically scratched my arms with a safety razor, laid in a bath to make it look like more blood then called myself an ambulance. My father was by my side at that hospital bed, I overheard him talking to one of my siblings on the phone about where he was ‘just the usual’ were his words. ‘Just the usual’. Ouch, that struck me. That was the ‘rock bottom’ I needed to get myself help.
Climbing Out Of Rock Bottom
AA was literally a life saver. For one year I diligently went to meetings, listened to people as lost and afraid as I was. Listening to stories of hope and meeting people who claimed to be happy. I bore my soul, I cried, I stood up and admitted to being an alcoholic. Diligently, I prayed for sobriety and peace. Paying off debts, applying to university and rebuilding my self respect. Don’t get me wrong, I was making mistakes. Inappropriate relationships were still my specialty. There was a family party in my honour to celebrate my one year anniversary, and I was waved off to uni with smiles and good wishes.
At any rate, I moved away. University meant studying, finding a gym, finding meetings…and meeting new people. I met a fella-who drank. Not with me. He seemed to find my alcoholism surprising, but was not put off. I introduced him to coffee! As I got happier I started to find AA a drag. I no longer felt at home there. My sponsor wanted me to go to more meetings, to ‘work the steps’.
I wanted to be normal.
I wanted to be part of my new boyfriends’ nights out, not just a designated driver.
The first time I drank with my fella, I got so drunk I ended up being punched in the face, getting carried out of a nightclub and losing my wallet (in a cruel irony it contained my 12 month chip). This didn’t perturb me. I was embarrassed but laughed it off as being the result of abstaining so long. After that, I continued to experiment. My relationship blossomed, we married in Vegas and I graduated with a good degree. I got a job, and since then we have bought a home and have two wonderful children.
Alcohol was a regular feature but it didn’t cause me any ‘problems’. My family and friends who knew me before gradually accepted me drinking again and stopped worrying about it. I didn’t worry about it either, I have been incredibly happy. No self harm, no attention seeking. No loneliness. I began to believe that my ‘alcoholism’ had been the temporary result of deep rooted unhappiness. And now I was happy, alcohol was no problem right?
To this day, I believe that I was suffering from mental health problems in my teens and early twenties.. but that didn’t make me addicted to alcohol…drinking did.
The Alcohol Monster Returns
Slowly, slowly over this past decade, in spite of my happiness, I have once again started to feel controlled by alcohol. While I was pregnant I thought about alcohol nearly every day. I didn’t drink it (ok, that’s a lie. I had one glass of wine, on several occasions during both pregnancies).
I felt deprived, miserable and like I would never be ‘free’ again.
Now that I reflect I think what I meant was ‘I’ll never be free to drink again’. This continued after the birth of my son. I had post natal depression, all I wanted to do was drink and I was restricted by responsibility..and by God did I resent it. I recovered from the depression but I won’t lie to you, the early years of motherhood were overshadowed by a feeling of unease..that I now recognize as the feeling of anxiety related to the inability to satisfy ones need for alcohol.
The Eye Opener
My boys are now 3 and 5. By last summer, I was drinking most days, not getting plastered you understand. But drinking. A bottle of wine of an evening, a few drinks with hubby on a Friday night, and Saturday night, then wine with Sunday lunch.
One Saturday I asked my eldest what he would like to do that day, do you know what he said? ‘Mummy can we go to the pub?’
That was the moment. I knew I had to stop drinking. Suddenly it all seemed so clear, I realized what I had been doing, normalizing weekend trips to the pub -‘it’s ok, we are here to eat’ or ‘there is a playground here, it’s for the boys really’. Plying them with ice cream and crisps so we could fit in another half before we had to leave for fear of judgement by other patrons. Stopping at the garage for bottles so we could carry on drinking in the back garden, ‘with a BBQ! That’s perfectly fine!’
Slaying The Alcohol Monster
I didn’t want to go back to AA though. Don’t get me wrong, I have a huge respect and gratitude for all the people I met there but I ‘m not ‘diseased’. I did need support though, so I joined an online forum. It did not take long before someone suggested reading a book by a certain Annie Grace-it changed my life.
While I was reading it we went away for the weekend, and I didn’t drink. It was the most peaceful, present and glorious weekend I had had in a really long time.
Read This Naked Mind for yourself and see the change it can make!
Since then, I have drunk. Out of approximately 240 days since that Saturday last July I reckon I have drank on 30 occasions. Unbelievably, that includes several ‘sips’ which resulted in me pouring a drink away. The rest happened in December over a few weeks. The cultural conditioning is everywhere, I notice it all the time.
I no longer feel defective, I am just a person who has had an addiction to alcohol.
Each time I have (or haven’t) drank in the past seven months I have learned something about life, alcohol and the power that society has to condition us to this liquid torment. Without the desire to drink I am happy, I am consistent-I am free. No longer do I fear the responsibility of being a mother. I relish it. I am taking joy in being able to get up in the night to sooth my child’s nightmares, in taking them to the playground or to the woods with a flask of homemade soup or hot chocolate on weekends instead of a pub garden.
Share Your Story
And it’s thanks to you Annie… I don’t know yet if the alcohol monster is yet at his ‘final death’ but the bugger is definitely on his last few breaths. I can feel it. If you have a story of how you slayed your alcohol monster, we’d love to hear it! Share your story with us today!