Remember that song that went like this – ‘I’m a bitch, I’m a mother, I’m a child, I’m a lover, I’m a sinner, I’m a saint, I do not feel ashamed’?
I was reminded of it earlier when I was thinking of all the different roles we play in our lives and how our minds frequently jump about like grasshoppers, lurching from one thought to the next. One minute we can be so fixed on a particular goal – ‘I will definitely stop eating sugary foods, that’s it, I’m on it!’ – and then a couple of hours later we’re standing in Costa faced with a piece of Rocky Road and all those good intentions waft out of the window like a puff of smoke.
Alcohol is a bitch for exacerbating this mental swapping and changing. Which of our personas is the real one? Is it the sensible one who knows we really do have to get this drinking business under control, or is it the life and soul of the party version who persuades us (usually as the weekend approaches) that one little glass won’t do any harm and that life without booze would be a dreary existence not worth living?
And when we wake up after a heavy night, filled with remorse and bursting with solid intentions of never touching the evil stuff ever again, we cannot conceive of those thoughts and feelings disappearing; it seems impossible that in just a few hours we will be throwing caution to the wind and deciding that perhaps, after all, we don’t have a ‘drink problem’. But for me, once upon a time, and for countless others, this is exactly what happens and it’s why it can take decades to crack an alcohol dependency.
Through all our alternative identities and with the never-ending stream of ideas and desires that float about our minds every day, it’s essential to latch on to one very good reason why you should stop drinking – and one that will survive your fluctuating mind sets as each day passes. That reason needs to be the deal-breaker with regards to your relationship with alcohol. There are many negative consequences of heavy drinking, and if you’ve ever written a list to help motivate you to quit you may have included things like weight loss, clearer skin, less depression and saving money.
But when your mood alters, it’s easy to ignore these positive benefits of an alcohol-free life and choose to listen to the devil on your shoulder. That’s why it’s important to find your deal-breaker; for me, it was that alcohol eventually put me in A&E and I thought I would probably die if I carried on pursuing my wine habit. But there are many, many others – if you’re a parent it may be that you don’t want to let your kids down. If you have fallen into money troubles then it could be that you want to escape a spiral of debt. If you have had a worrying liver function test, it might be that you are terrified of developing cirrhosis.
Whatever that deal-breaker is, it must be able to stand up to the whispering Wine Witch. No matter how tempted you are, or how harmless one small Prosecco might appear at a given moment, that reason must be able to hold its own. It has to silence the internal booze chatter. It needs to be non-negotiable. Seek out that reason, and use it to help you fight the cravings – no matter which role in your life you are playing.