Looking back in anger

There’s a pink box with a combination lock on it hidden at the back of my wardrobe. I bought it years ago to make sure a few valuables and private documents stayed safe. These days it’s home to a rather odd collection of bits and pieces. I was having a tidy up yesterday and tried to sort through it all.

I decided a burglar would be pretty disappointed with the contents. And I’d be mortified if anyone saw inside.  

I found several revealing pages from a diary I decided to shred. There’s a half-naked picture of a much younger me, taken for a boyfriend I think. There’s a (fully clothed) picture of me drinking with friends after my last exam at uni. There’s a nice note from my Mum, scrawled on an old post-it. There’s a note I wrote to myself that says “people who aren’t alcoholics do not lie in bed wondering if they’re alcoholics”. By far the weirdest thing in there is a topless picture of Magnús Scheving (the guy who plays Sportacus in the kids tv show LazyTown). How did that get in there? Maybe I realised it was the kind of crush you shouldn’t tell other people about ….

Also in the box is a book called “Overcoming Problem Drinking – A self-help guide using cognitive behavioural techniques”. Seeing this makes me feel a bit sad. I can clearly remember buying it. It took me so long to get the courage to go to the till, the security guard started following me around. That must have been in 2009. Or was it 2008? I’d started a new job in a different part of the country and I was really struggling to make friends. I was lonely at the weekends. To kill time, I would drink myself into black out every Friday night. When I woke up at 3am I’d carry on drinking. I’d spend the rest of the weekend sleeping, recovering and feeling sorry for myself, and in no time at all it’d be Monday morning again. I was also bingeing once or twice during the week, even though I had to be at work at 5am.  

It suddenly struck me that I bought that book FOUR years ago. So I’ve been worried about my drinking for four, maybe five years. I’d not really thought about that before. Why has this gone on for so long? Why didn’t I stop sooner? If the last four years had been full of carefree, boozy benders then that would be one thing. At least I would have enjoyed them. But it wasn’t like that. I spent those years drinking and worrying. Drinking and feeling guilty. Drinking and filling out “Am I an alcoholic?” quizzes. All that time, wasted. Wasted.

I want to scream with frustration sometimes.

But at least I’m doing something about it now, I suppose that’s what matters. Getting angry isn’t going to change the past. I want to end this slightly ranty post on a positive note – I am three weeks and one day sober! This last week has gone by very quickly indeed.

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10 thoughts on “Looking back in anger

  1. Anonymous April 28, 2013 at 5:09 pm Reply

    I could have written that post… in fact it was eerie… I had to check a few details to make sure it wasn’t me!! I also have books stashed all over the place and my foray into trying to stop the madness goes back even further. But I don’t worry about that at all. It’s almost like getting a divorce. It took me 8 years to leave my first husband even though all the signs were there but somehow I had to get all my ducks in a row before I made the big leap. I bought books on preparing to leave, why does he treat me this way, the emotionally abused woman, and on it went. Maybe I can make this work (can I drink moderately), Is there something wrong with me? (am I an alcoholic), what will my life look like if I leave (if I don’t drink)… the parallels are similar. So in the end, I believe it just takes time to know about the situation (really know it), try all the alternatives – perhaps we will separate for a bit (try moderate drinking), separate and then go back and try it again (stop drinking for a few months and then decide that it wasn’t really that bad and drink only a little until it gets out of hand again). It has also taken me about 5 or more years to finally stop this madness of booze. I would stop for 10 days, 3 months, 6 months and now finally I am at 45 days and will never go back. Just like I left my husband and signed the divorce papers. I have signed a new contract with myself – one that looks after me and my health and there is no place for booze in this one. Once we set our intentions and set ourselves free, good things show up. I now have a wonderful new husband who thinks the world of me and supports me emotionally like I never dreamed possible. He is not an alcoholic – he drinks if I do but can take it or leave it. We have both decided to leave it. Anyways, thanks for posting and I look forward to following your daily blog through this journey. Best wishes for your recovery.

    • soberjournalist April 28, 2013 at 8:27 pm Reply

      Hey thank you for your comment – I love the idea of drawing up a new contract with yourself, that really sums up how i feel about everything at the moment. It’s great to hear things have worked out so well for you, its very motivating!

  2. Mrs D April 28, 2013 at 8:42 pm Reply

    It’s takes a while to build up to that final decision.. it feels so momentous like ‘who actually does that? removes alcohol completely?’ but you have done it, you are doing it!!! Yay for you!!! There’s lots of other people who just continue on their merry drinking way.. don’t forget that. So great to read this unfolding for you….loving following your journey – thanks for sharing xxxx

    • soberjournalist April 29, 2013 at 5:09 am Reply

      Ah thanks for your kind comments, I’m glad you decided not to disappear from the sober blogosphere x

  3. jarredkeaneyeah April 29, 2013 at 1:27 am Reply

    I can relate to that all too well. But I’m still not sure why we shouldn’t look back in anger? I don’t want to blame alcohol, i want to think of it as a tool I used too much and carelessly. At least you went and bought a book to get some perspective on changing something

    • soberjournalist April 29, 2013 at 5:19 am Reply

      I think you’re right, getting angry isn’t necessarily a bad thing – I just look back now and wish I’d done something sooner!

  4. carrythemessage April 29, 2013 at 5:19 am Reply

    In my short experience, I have learned that it’s futile for me to look back and wallow in the “what-if”‘s. I would drive myself mad. Even if I had a time machine and could go back and tell my younger, drunker self what a mess things would become, I still wouldn’t listen to myself. What it boils down to is that I wasn’t ready to stop drinking. Period. I still had it my mind that I could drink like a normal person, contrary to the facts and problems in my life attributed to booze. We stop when we need to stop. We stop when we have had enough pain. We stop when the fear of continuing to drink outweighs the fear of not drinking.

    So I totally understand what you are talking about. I drank for 25 years. I was 40 when I got off the merry-go-round. I used to think about what wicked jobs I would have had, or how much money I would have now, or how much happier i would have been if I quite sooner, etc. but they are moot points, as they didn’t happen. What I do get out of this kind of thing is that my 25 years of drinking experience is not wasted. When I speak to others, or write or respond, or sit with others or talk at meetings, I am able to carry a message of depth and weight, because I have certain experiences that others can relate to. And you have your own experiences that by blogging here, no doubt help others. Just because people don’t comment doesn’t mean people don’t read. And you wouldn’t be able to help or reach out to others unless you had your experience. So it’s not wasted. It’s was the prep work to being where you are now.



    • soberjournalist April 29, 2013 at 5:46 am Reply

      I’m definitely finding it easy to get sucked in to the ‘what if’ game. But as you say, it drives you mad in the end… Thanks for your advice Paul, great points as always. K

  5. khaireideerslayers April 29, 2013 at 7:59 am Reply

    Congratulations on your three weeks and what i guess is three (…?)days now!
    Wow time seems to have gone quickly for me as well as I remember reading your first post! Really happy for you, and looking forward to reading more xx

    • soberjournalist April 29, 2013 at 7:49 pm Reply

      Ah thanks. The first two weeks went sooo slowly, I kept checking my sobriety app and was always surprised it hadn’t moved along further! I think you’ve got a few weeks on me, so big congrats to you too! X

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