I’ll always remember the ‘horrible’ realisation I had – and the dawning of understanding I also had – when I discovered the moving house didn’t help me stop my over-drinking habits.
A Fresh Start
At the time of writing, it is almost 9 years ago that we moved to the home we currently live in. I remember so clearly the high hopes I had for myself! With the fresh start and new surrounds, I was going to be able to renovate the house, get a dog for the Boys, enjoy the fresher air in the hills and – finally – be able to be happier and leave my over-drinking habits behind.
Alas – I took myself with me.
I didn’t understand it at the time. I do, now, many years later!
A Cumulation of Stresses
We’d recently had our third beautiful son. I was working in a vocation that challenged me, with fun people and in an industry I enjoyed. We had such high hopes for our future! Life was good.
Yes, I was challenged by some combination of anxiety and post-natal depression and had to work on that pretty closely. But I had good people around me and a loving, supportive husband. I also had a steady stream of loving, supportive wine bottles. And it was them I was trying to reduce the flow of! When I had a few drinks, the anxiety subsided. Unfortunately, when I had a few drinks, other issues arose.
Not Everything is as it Appears
How much did I drink? More than some, not as much as others. Too much for my own good. Not so much that I couldn’t function.
I rarely to never had ‘hangovers’ that prevented me from being a good mother. I could always drive the children to school. I believe, safely, but I was never breathalized, so – who knows? I never stayed in bed, I never omitted to do anything I had to do.
I simply felt headache-y, parched, woosy, guilty, ashamed and unhappy on far too many mornings. I wondered if other mums doing school drop off could tell how horrible I felt on those mornings I felt that way. It wasn’t every morning, and it can’t even have been most mornings, as I’m sure we didn’t bring so much alcohol into the house that I drank as much as that. But, how much is too much?
How Much is Too Much?
If you go by the government guidelines, a couple of glasses is too much. If you go by common sense, even a glass is too much. Because, alcohol is a poison and also a known carcinogen. Why would we drink it? Another topic for another day…
In the ‘Thick’ of Things
This time was probably the ‘thick’ of the problem for me. I had been introduced to drinking at a young age. It was part of our culture. In Australia, people drink. Not everyone, I’m sure, but it’s a generally accepted social custom and many people do. And, many people drink a lot. So, as I grew into my teens, I was allowed a drink of wine when adults had a drink of wine.
What most people don’t know is it is a fact that the younger a person is when they are introduced to alcohol, the more likely it is they would develop an addiction to it. Of course, I didn’t know this at the time, either, and I have no proof that this has anything to do with the problem I developed. All the same, one of my main motivators for stopping drinking altogether – when I eventually did – was my awareness that I had three gorgeous, innocent, impressionable young sons observing my every move.
Self-Medicating for Anxiety
Although anxiety had been my constant companion for much of my life, it became exacerbated when I became a mother. To my absolute dismay, I developed worse anxiety, which was put down to post-natal depression. I’m sure that’s a ‘catch all’ term. I can’t claim to ever have been depressed, which I’m thankful for. My heart aches for those who suffer from depression.
Unfortunately, the only way I really knew to ‘keep calm’ was a few drinks in the evening. Medication helps, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) helps, but alcohol really helps.
And then it causes other issues. Bigger issues. Much, bigger issues. Like, not being able to control, reduce or manage the amount or frequency we drink. Too much alcohol is very bad for health. I knew I would likely be causing myself damage. If not in the immediate term, in the longer term, it could not be good.
Soccer Balls, Boys and Small Back Yards
We were living in a lovely suburban home, with a smallish (by Australian standards) backyard. However, as soon as we had our third son, we felt the need to move somewhere with a bit more space. We wanted somewhere for our Boys to run, to kick a soccer ball, to have a pet dog. So we found an acreage suburb on the edge of city boundaries, with lovely neighbours and a house that needed some tender loving care. Renovation is another of my passions, besides my Sons and Husband!
This was to be my fresh start! This time, I would be able to drink less. I would not drink so much. Life would be better and I would be happier and it would be easier to control the amount I drank. I was rather deluded in this respect, unfortuately. (See our article here about why willpower alone is not enough.)
I Started Off Well!
Well, I started off okay! I can’t recall how long I felt better, less anxious, and more in control of my alcohol intake. Probably for as long as the novelty and excitement of the move lasted. Once we were settled in, the newness became normal, and new-life became everyday-life. Then, the old me also returned.
That’s the problem with an alcohol problem. Until the reason for drinking is dealt with, it’s near impossible for the drinking to stop. Willpower will not work, because it’s not about conscious decisions. Addiction to a substance like alcohol has multiple factors supporting it. They all ‘gang up’ on we poor, unsuspecting victims and take us hostage! Curses!
Not Our Fault
I will state that the inability to get on top of an alcohol dependence/addiction/habit (whatever you want to call it – the name is irrelevant to me) is not our fault. I will also state that – once the issue is recognised – it absolutely is our responsibility to do something about it.
If you would like to try out our online course to assist with getting the upper hand on alcohol, and putting it where it belongs in your life (ideally, out of it!), then here are the details, below.
Help to Stop Drinking
And you can try it out for only $1 for the first month!