I used to be addicted to alcohol. Alcoholism is a substance use disorder that I didn’t know anything about. I shouldn’t have been introduced to it as a child but I was. And my mental illnesses were too overpowering to fight. Addiction for me was a disease of compulsion. Of obsession and compulsion to be honest. I would obsess about being drunk, I wanted to drink alone or in a group, I couldn’t say no if offered and I felt like I had to imbibe. I felt powerless to say no.
Today none of that is true. I can go into a liquor store and not buy anything but soda. I’ve trained myself to do this. If I feel overwhelmed by the desire to drink, I trust myself to leave the situation immediately and work on positive coping skills.
I don’t remember when the last time I had a drink was. Because I don’t need it anymore. I don’t need to mask my feelings and give in to those demons. I don’t need to drink something alcoholic in order to deal with grief or mania or sadness. It took me a long time to get to this point and hard work.
Today I tell myself that alcohol is a substance I have no reason to approach. So I don’t have to rely on only my willpower, I can use my religious and spiritual beliefs as a reminder of what not to do.
It’s become easier to say no. I’d love to go to a 12 step meeting now and then to be around my peer group. Meetings are where I find the most support and understanding. But in the end, it’s up to me not to drink.
I know I’ll never touch alcohol again and thankfully, the cravings are gone. But the nostalgia is still here. I now have to work on missing my addiction and missing that feeling of belonging when I drank.
I’m learning to find this elsewhere.