When I stopped drinking alcohol I acknowledge that I spent a few weeks, if not months, in recovery. By this I mean that I invested a fair bit of energy in dealing with a newly discovered concept – emotions. Previously, I had poured vast amounts of Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay down my throat whenever I split up with a boyfriend, was not successful in a job interview/promotion, got rained on, received a large and unexpected bill, graduated, had a birthday, received some surprising and happy news, and so on…basically, I was not accustomed to listening to my feelings and subsequently I was not familiar with acting upon them in a positive and helpful way.
It wasn’t particularly pleasant at times, all that ‘getting to know myself’ stuff, and there were many occasions when I felt like throwing the towel in, marching up the road to my local and getting stuck into a nice bottle of their finest dry white and a packet of 20 Marlboro Lights. But I didn’t.
A little voice inside, quiet but impossible to ignore, told me that if I gave in now I would be undoing all of my good work and propelling myself back to square one, where I would have to begin the whole sorry business of ‘recovery’ once again. And so I persevered.
After several months I stopped experiencing any negative thoughts about living alcohol-free and instead, adopted a thoroughly different mind-set; one which made me see that I am, in fact, a chooser – and being someone who has the freedom to choose a lifestyle that is so positive and good for the soul is an empowering and wonderful thing. At that point, I ceased to regard myself as being ‘in recovery’ and realised that I was RECOVERED and could now get on with the business of living.
I will always be a person who cannot simply have ‘one for the road’ or ‘a sneaky tea-time pint’ – for me alcohol was, and forever will be, an all-or-nothing substance. But I most certainly do not consider that this makes me an alcoholic forever, or in recovery forever – not at all. I made a choice to stop drinking, and I continue to practice that choice every day because I am A CHOOSER. This is what I choose;
I choose to wake up energised and with no regrets every morning.
I choose to be the best parent I can be without ever jeopardising my children’s safety or emotional security.
I choose to invest all my time and energy into worthwhile people, projects and activities.
I choose to maintain a good level of health and physical fitness, thus optimising my chances of not dying prematurely of cancer, liver failure or heart disease.
I choose to spend my money on things that I need and which add value to my life or to that of my family’s.
I choose to not poison my body with toxins that depress my central nervous system, making me anxious and prone to dark moods.
I choose to not spend hours of each week agonising over whether or not I can have a drink of alcohol or not.
I choose to get to know myself, free of any external and false influences – I give myself the chance to be me.
I choose not to ingest mind-altering substances that make me say or do things that I will regret and which will fill me with shame and self-hatred.
I choose to give myself the best possible chance at happiness.