The Passage of Time and an Altered Perspective


I was listening to Oasis a couple of days ago, driving through the Peak District with the sun casting shadows over the moorland and my toddler sleeping in the back of the car, her angel face the picture of innocence.

higgor

In my late teens/early twenties I was a huge fan of Oasis. Hearing those songs again that so acutely defined a particular period in my life pulled me into a reverie, and I thought for a long time about the person I was back then, and how the passage of time has dramatically altered my perception on the world.

That noticeably underweight, cocky girl, who thought nothing of walking alone into her favourite pub, ordering a pint of Boddingtons at 2 o’clock on a weekday afternoon, picking up a pool cue and challenging  whoever was loitering at the bar to a game – smoking, drinking, music on the jukebox, a session emerging, boundaries blurred and personalities changed. As the day wore on, the pub would fill slowly with climbers, students and a variety of left-leaning types; alcohol was a broad leveller that drew everyone together, helped get them acquainted.

It seems to me now that I was incredibly naïve back then, even though I was frequently immersed in a dark world where the people I associated with had little self-control and did not operate within the parameters of normal society, the law, or common decency. Many times, neither did I. Instant gratification and a relentless desire to get completely out of it were the order of the day. On the surface we may have appeared to be a group of young people having a good time, but right there beneath the cheerful veneer was a tangled mess of lies, drunkenness and danger.

As time went on, I learnt that people can hurt each other – physically and mentally. I got hurt, and I did my best to handle that. What I didn’t understand in my twenties was quite how ferociously I would come to hurt myself; how low self-esteem and a destructive streak can combine to breed a malignant set of behaviours that feed off each other, nurturing a powerful desire to wipe one’s self out. And as the black thoughts worked away, striving to prevent a better way of life, I failed to recognise that things simply didn’t need to be that bad. For a long time, I just accepted that that was my lot – the hand I’d been dealt.

I am a reasonably private person these days, much quieter, far less cocky. I still enjoy the music of my youth – songs that make me smile when I recall the good times I had listening to them, when a blind faith that everything would work out OK despite my being hell bent on ruining all my chances of happiness, somehow got me through the really shit times.

The major difference in my outlook today is that whereas back then I thought good things would eventually just land on my doorstep, I know now that I control my destiny; every action, word spoken, the care I afford myself, choosing to not drink alcohol or take any other drugs, focusing on positivity, and seeking to discover the good in situations and people, wherever possible, are the things that determine my path. And I worked out that hurtling through life at a million miles an hour, always looking for the easy way out and a good time, is not a recipe for contentment.

I slowed it right down, and concentrated on the positives. I thought more about other people, less about my own insecurities. I worked on my weaknesses. I created a life that would make me happy. And I quit drinking.

roc4

Advertisements

13 thoughts on “The Passage of Time and an Altered Perspective

  1. Hi Lucy.

    Thanks for the post. I identified strongly with the Peak District, as I grew up there and recently visited to scatter my Dad’s ashes at his favourite spot near Bakewell.

    I also share your love of 1990s music. Apparently I was in a Britpop band at the time (Sleeper) although I can’t remember most of that period, for obvious reasons, but I have seen the photos and it sure looks like me.

    Anyway, I’m a big fan of Soberistas and other online alternatives to traditional forms of recovery. I think the internet offers a new paradigm for this kind of thing. I’ve heard it called the sober-sphere.

    I was a low bottom alcoholic, but recently left AA after 14 years in the fellowship. I blog about my experience “Leaving AA, Staying Sober” at jonsleeper.wordpress.com

    Hopefully I’ll be back up north again some time in the New Year as I’m scheduling a series of appearances at various “Skeptics in the Pub” meetings.

    I’m now a lecturer on cultural studies, and am putting together a presentation that discusses my experiences in AA and explores the possibilities for more rational approaches to recovery.

    So I’d be interested to talk to you about your own experience setting up Soberistas as I’m also conducting some academic research on the subject. No rush on this. I’m sure you’re busy.

    Best wishes, Jon S.
    “Leaving AA, Staying Sober”
    jonsleeper.wordpress.com

    • Hi jonsleeper,
      Thanks a lot for your message and I will check your blog out. I do remember Sleeper! I’d be more than happy to talk to you for your research, and my email address is lucy@soberistas.com – just drop me a line when you are ready and we can discuss.
      Best Wishes
      Lucy

  2. Sue Boyle says:

    Such a great article Lucy. After working on my own transformation, I can really relate to your comments about making changes and deciding to make our lives what we want them to be. Thank you. 🙂

  3. Hi Lucy, Ditto, beautiful post! It takes me back to my college days as well, and I can identify so many parallels. Giving up drinking was for sure the best thing I’ve done in life to date.

    Thanks, James

  4. poppydaissum says:

    Hi Lucy, I’ve been following Soberistas since near on the beginning and have noticed a stage of calmness and reflection in you and that’s the loveliest picture of you! X

  5. This personal essay was simply marvelous. I’m American (don’t hold it against me) living in Edinburgh during Oasis hayday; lived in Birmingham in the early 90s. The UK is were I learned to drink. Oasis brings me back to those times, but you know, I was more of a Blur girl. ☺ @jonsleeper, I was a Sleeper fan too. Your blog sounds interesting; looking fowl Rd to checking it out.

    • Thanks Violet. I love Americans, actually it’s almost a fetish, and spent a lot of time after Sleeper in Pasadena with my then partner who was from the Midwest. We had a great time touring with Blur on the Parklife tour. That really helped the profile of the band, although I obviously can’t remember much of it. Thanks for the follow. Hope you like the blog. JS

    • Thanks violet626, I’m so pleased that you like my post. The UK is definitely a good school for learning to drink heavily!! I hope you don’t hold that against us too much :-). However, there are now a growing army of us flying the flag for sobriety which is a much more positive thing in my mind. I also loved Blur, still do, and I’m pleased I seem to have now moved on to a place where I can listen to all that Britpop music without feeling overwhelmed with regret about my drinking days. Take care, and thanks again. Lucy x

  6. Like @poppydaissum said, your calmness is evident in this piece.

    So often I find myself remembering my drinking days with so much anger. All those questions about, “How could I let myself do that? How could I think that was helping?” leave me so frustrated. But it’s important to remember that we were just doing the only thing we were able to do at the time. We’re different people now and that’s good. We don’t have to be so vehemently bitter it took us this long to get here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s