I knew that as long as I continued to intoxicate myself that the root of the problem would never appear; I would not be able to find resolution; and I would begin to despise myself in my continued pursuit of self destruction.
It is through sobriety that I came to some conclusions. It has cleared my mind, quieted my soul, and has given me the ability of retrospection without fear.
My alcoholism began in my pursuit of “fitting” in. The social scene of my particular circle revolved around the bar, so if I wanted to spend time with my friends then that was where I went. At first the feeling of being intoxicated was rather disturbing, but it did not take long for me to become accustomed to it, and I shortly developed an acquired taste.
I became an entirely different person when I drank. Introversion became outgoing; depression became excitement; sarcasm turned to wit. The alcohol prohibited any inhibitions from asserting themselves. I was free of fear and felt that I could do anything. All my social phobias melted away and for the first time in forever I felt comfortable around people. It felt like I had discovered a whole new world and I rejoiced in it.
It was not long before I began to drink all the time. I had no desire to return to the “old me.” I was tired of being anxious and depressed all the time. I was tired of the fear that was keeping me from living my life. I wanted to be “normal.” These were the ideas behind the mental and emotional growing dependency of my alcoholism. Added to the physical cycle of withdrawal induced craving, I lost all willpower to the drug. It’s hold on me tightened everyday, and even after the “bar” scene began to lose its charm, and the new found me became a repulsive version of my former self, I continued to drink.
I thought I could win it all back; the self esteem; the approval of others; and the friends that had walked away.
I realize now how destructive my thinking was. I thought that by abusing a drug I could create a new identity for myself, but in reality I was only accomplishing more damage to my physical, social, and mental state.
As my alcoholism spiraled out of control the very things that I was trying to change about myself became worse. The anxiety attacks were more prevalent and frequent, I experienced depression for longer periods of time, and my unpredictable behavior began to chase people away. The situation had taken a monstrous life of its own, and I was no longer in any form of control. I realize now the mistakes that I have made, and although I can not “take” them back, I have the opportunity to start over.
Alcoholism Recovery Lasts a Lifetime
Anyone who has ever doubted that alcoholism recovery lasts a lifetime need only talk to a recovering alcoholic. In most cases, the temptation still arises – even if it is infrequent to rely on the old creature comforts from life before alcoholism recovery.
It’s that beer after work to ease the day’s tensions, that glass of wine before bed to help you sleep, or the shot of whiskey before a social event so you can “get your face on.” Then, in no time, the whole case of beer or bottle of wine is gone, or one shot of whiskey has turned into three.
The recovering alcoholic can never be too careful. After relapsing into alcohol addiction, the shame, guilt and sense of failure can be overwhelming. The person may not even want to show their face in alcoholism recovery support group again, much less admit what they’ve done.
This is why it is best for a person to admit from the beginning of alcoholism recovery that it is a lifelong process. To admit anything less is possibly setting oneself up for grave disappointment. The admission that alcoholism recovery is lifelong is an admission of individual weakness and the need to draw strength from another source, both fundamental aspects of the alcoholism recovery process.
Another reason alcoholism recovery lasts a lifetime is because the recovering addict must refrain from associating with the drinking buddies of the olden days. Turning over a new leaf in alcoholism recovery means finding new friends with similar priorities. It could even entail finding a new job or town, away from bad memories and all the people who can’t get past the person’s former, addicted personality. In addition to a change of scenery, reading self-improvement literature, attending support group meetings and volunteering to help others are good ways for a person to stay strong throughout the remainder of their life and renew their commitment to alcoholism recovery.