For me, regularly drinking alcohol generated terrible feelings of being worthless and inferior to everyone else I ever came into contact with. In addition, this destructive assault on my self-belief always came to the fore simultaneously with a hefty dose of what can only be described as Negative Mental Attitude.
It was the world’s fault that I did not achieve what I wanted in life, that my marriage had ended in its infancy, that I hated my job, that I was struggling financially – there was always someone else to blame and never me.
One of the greatest gifts of sobriety is the joyful return to living in the Real World. Occasionally there are difficult patches which must be navigated through and not drinking certainly does not make life a guaranteed bed of roses; what living alcohol-free does provide, however, is a reality check and a realisation that whilst things may not always be quite how you would choose you are equipped with all the tools required to make the best of your hand.
Instead of enduring a crippling dose of internal criticism whenever I meet a person who I deem to be superior in some respect to me, I now recognise their plus points as nice qualities which I admire rather than an emotional hand grenade to hurl at my fragile sense of self; so if someone is very pretty I consider them as, well, being pretty; as in ‘She’s pretty – wow, what gorgeous hair/eyes/cheekbones.’ This is infinitely healthier than the old alternative of ‘Oh my God, she is so beautiful. Look at me in comparison; I am fat, ugly, with horrible hair, awful clothes and generally hideous. I must run home at once and hide away until I forget that I ever had the misfortune to stand near this stunning creature.’
Nowadays I recognise that whilst I have my plus points and am neither hideously ugly nor out-of-this-world beautiful, I am just fine the way I am. If I meet people who are prettier/cleverer/wittier/more interesting than I am then it’s a pleasure being in their company and enjoying their special qualities. I have come to understand that there will always be someone who is doing something or looking better than I will ever be able to, and people who have amazing physiques that I will probably never attain, and people who are fortunate enough to have long, flowing, glossy tresses which I know I will never be able to grow.
But that’s ok, because they will never have what I have either.
Not drinking stops the endless cycle of self-loathing and negativity caused by depression and alcohol-induced shame. Living alcohol-free allows you to come forth like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon and to subsequently realise all your qualities that have previously been smothered by alcohol for so long.
Give yourself a chance; stop drinking and spread your wings.