In Her Shoes

It has been an enormous relief to discover how I truly want to live my life. When I drank regularly and heavily I experienced such a strong sense of being unanchored, as if my true personality had become adrift and was floating fruitlessly, aimlessly, amidst a life that wasn’t really mine.

I always imagined that I was a party girl and when out with friends socialising I filled the shoes of the token loudmouth, the hedonist, the one throwing pints or large glasses of Pinot Grigio back whilst smoking heavily and chatting confidently to strangers. I pursued the rock n roll lifestyle and took pride in my wayward streak.

And yet always in the back of my mind was an idea that I hadn’t found ‘it’ yet, I still hadn’t worked life out.

Now that I look back I can see that much of the depression that was once so inherent, together with my longstanding inability to like myself, came about because I was living like a chameleon with no sense of the person who I actually was. Even worse, I didn’t even realise that I was lacking this essential quality, now so glaringly obvious with a sober perspective.

When I look back on it all, it sometimes feels as though I have walked the paths of two people during my lifetime – one who was a cuckoo, albeit a thoroughly unknowing one, and the other the true me who only bobbed up to the surface following my decision to live alcohol-free. Maybe it is similar for those who have shed stones of body weight following years of being morbidly obese; the stretch marks and the memories of being perpetually under pressure to act the part of the ‘bubbly’ one the only things remaining of a discarded life once the fatness has disappeared.

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I’m not shy but I am fairly quiet, especially in front of those who I don’t know very well. I much prefer the company of my family and small group of close friends to being out and about with people who are unfamiliar to me. I hate smoking and I love keeping fit. I enjoy cooking healthy food. I am something of a workaholic, and I’m definitely a perfectionist. I rarely feel stressed. I love listening to loud music especially when running or driving, I can’t get enough of reading or writing, and I enjoy being outdoors in the countryside or in a park. I don’t mind my appearance but I’m not precious about it at all. My happiest moments are those spent with my children and my partner.

None of the above sounds like the old me, although whilst I would never want to be that person I once was again, I am not full of bitterness or animosity towards the memory of her; I simply have an understanding that who I was as a drinker only ever existed because of alcohol. If I had never drunk as I used to, the imaginary woman I used to see in the mirror would never have lived.

Most importantly, I’m convinced I wouldn’t feel the gratitude for life that I feel every single day, had I never walked in somebody else’s shoes. It was a long time coming but I got here in the end.

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4 thoughts on “In Her Shoes

  1. Wow, Lucy. I can totally relate to this. This is something I’ve thought about on so many occasions but never was able to express in words. I was a lot like you in your drinking days. Always the life of the party, acting confidant in my abilities to converse and fit in with anyone. Once sober, I found this whole new side of me – the real me. It was like I had to get to know myself without the alcohol. Such a strange concept, but you understand if you’ve been there – like we have. Thanks for this!

    • Thanks for your comment – it is a strange concept and I regularly surprise myself by being the new version of me in a given situation, and not the nightmare I used to be!! I just thank my lucky stars that I stopped drinking and realised how much easier life is when you allow nature to just ‘be’ without throwing in a mind-altering substance on a nightly basis. Wishing you many happy days getting to know the real you – and thanks for getting in touch. Lucy xx

  2. Amy says:

    Me too, me too! This ‘real’ version of me I am now that I’m sober. Sometimes I look around happily surprised by how much I like my life. Lots more getting to know me to go. I feel sad for the woman I was, and so relieved that I didn’t spend my life being her.

    • Thanks for your comment. Its quite exciting really, getting to know yourself after so many years of living a lie – having said that I also look back on the ‘old me’ with a lot of sadness. At least we got here in the end though! Thanks again, Lucy x

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