I was an alcoholic waiting to happen. The pre-alcoholic stage, for me, I believe, began before I even started drinking when the seeds of addiction were planted. I did not feel like I fit in anywhere. I was the shy, insecure little girl on the playground who hid behind the trees so I didn’t have to play and interact with the other kids during recess. When I had my first drink, it was like medicine. Completely life altering… and then…. I fit in… just fine.
But then, as time goes on, the hangover got worse. The blackouts more frequent. The drinking sprees shorter in between. And the mornings filled with that horrible guilt and remorse that only an alcoholic, I’m sure, understands.
Not everyone experiences addiction the same, but it is fairly predictable in what it takes. The list is lengthy because, eventually, it will take everything as it takes over more and more of your life. There are some common targets it takes along the way.
When a person is an alcoholic, their entire world revolves around drinking and the drinking lifestyle. It is like a full-time job centered around actively seeking, getting, and using alcohol and other drugs and leaves very little time in the day for much else.
Drinking chips away at our most cherished relationships. The hurts, broken promises, and disappointments – well, things just keep adding up. Even when I was physically present somewhere, I was off in my head thinking about drinking.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and those of other people. Pretty important stuff! But with our brain swimming in a sea of alcohol, we sabotage our emotions and they remain stuck. When I first got sober, I was that scared little girl on the playground whose emotional development stopped when she started drinking, and instead of hiding in the playground, I found myself hiding in corners at meetings so I wouldn’t get asked to share.
Research reports that stigma and shame are the number one barriers AROUND THE WORLD for women who struggle with addiction. When you feel you must keep private to protect yourself - when you feel you must keep parts of yourself a secret, as we do with addiction and other areas of our lives where we feel shame - we are experiencing the effects of stigma.
Alienation is a form of hopelessness that occurs when you believe you are different from other people. When you experience alienation you don’t feel like you fit in anywhere. This then leads into believing you are unworthy of love.
Perhaps in the earlier stages, you can keep it somewhat under control, but eventually, the only choice is the next drink, and then the next, and who knows what will happen next. Not taking that first drink is where your true power lies. Not in trying to control your drinking. You will never be able to control your drinking. Not if you are an alcoholic.
Addiction hijacks our brain and rewires the pleasure centers of our brain, making you feel stressed out and anxious when you are not drinking. At this stage, you are drinking to stop feeling bad rather than the pleasurable effect you experienced when you first started drinking.
Stopping drinking anytime stops this cycle in its tracks. Like, this minute. You may be thinking, “I can’t do this.” But oh, my dear friend, you can! You have a power inside you that you haven’t tapped into yet. You are a capable woman, and you can do this with some guidance and support.
So, how do you quit drinking?
The first step is admitting that you have a problem, followed by a deep desire to want a different life, and a willingness not to take the next first drink. It is the first drink that got me into trouble every time.
If you are thinking about quitting and have been drinking large quantities of alcohol for a significant time, withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening. Please talk to your doctor and seek medical care as you go through the detox process. It is important to note that addiction may also mask mental health disorders that someone is drinking to self-medicate, such as depression or anxiety.
If you resonate with the article, what else does addiction take? I love hearing from you. Please let me know in the comments section below.
Are you looking for help to deal with an addiction to alcohol or other drugs? If you struggle, please get help before 20 years pass by as I did. My GendHer® program can help you create the life you desire and deserve. Click here for more information on my next course.
Keep me updated