I’m doing some research on alcohol marketing and came across these gems…
Make mine a sparkling water, thanks!
Happy friday sober peeps.
I’m doing some research on alcohol marketing and came across these gems…
Make mine a sparkling water, thanks!
Happy friday sober peeps.
Sobermummy’s latest post really got me thinking about this topic in earnest.
The issue discussed is that she doesn’t identify with the word alcoholic. She would rather call herself an alcohol addict. A friend of hers pointed out that this may sound like the lesser of two evils.
Let’s think about this for a second…
I don’t particularly identify with the word either. I have gone to AA meetings and said it but I would rather say I am addicted to alcohol. It’s the same thing but in my mind the term ‘alcohol addict’ puts the onus on the drug whereas alcoholic means the drug is fine and I have a disease. (I know my brain pathways have been changed but I still don’t like the word ‘disease’)
This brings me to my second point. There are so many people who are struggling with addiction to alcohol to various degrees. Back in the day the view was that there are 1) normal drinkers 2) alcoholics. These days it is widely accepted that there is wide spectrum in between these two.
The reason people especially women aren’t seeking help for addiction earlier is that the stereotypical idea of an alcoholic is a down and out bum on a park bench. We cant be alcoholics because we are ‘high functioning’ mothers, with jobs and responsibilities.
People aren’t seeking help until they are almost on that park bench due to the stigma and fear of being judged! I have many friends that are still drinking the volumes I used to drink and they won’t classify themselves as alcoholics, they are just having a good time.
Alcohol is a highly addictive drug. This is a fact but its not very well known. Professor nut conducted a study that found that Heroin, crack and crystal meth were deemed worst for individuals, with alcohol, heroin and crack cocaine worst for society, and alcohol worst overall. Read full article here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11660210
Cigarette packets have massive warning labels printed all over them to warn people of the dangers of smoking yet alcohol seems to have a free pass. In the UK we have a massive drinking culture, it permeates through everything we do and you are considered really weird if you don’t drink.
It can takes years of sustained drinking to become addicted to alcohol. Yes some people fall faster down the rabbit hole than other due to a myriad of reasons but make no mistake they are falling if they are regularly drinking to de-stress or to change their emotional state. Factors that contribute to how quickly you become addicted: Your parents, your peers, how old you were when you started drinking, being a non-conformist etc. etc
My recovery really began when I had my ‘moment of realisation’.
This is when I hit the first step of AA hard.
I am also completely and utterly convinced that I can never return to ‘normal drinking’ (whatever that means.)
I have done the steps in my own way, each and every one of them. Not in a formal AA setting mind you and this is what I am questioning.
The steps of AA, the CBT of smart recovery, the community of the sober blogs and Eckhard Tolle & Bryon Katie all have a place in my recovery.
Just because I am not doing this in a formal setting, in other word going to meetings regularly (I’m going every now and then) and using the words like ‘disease’ and ‘God’ and ‘alcoholic’, does that mean I’m doing it wrong?
I am sober and it’s taken me a very long time to get to this point of absolute acceptance. We are multi faceted human beings with different personalities so one method of recovery and one way of talking about addiction, with words that are set in stone surely isn’t helpful but rather harmful.
Shouldn’t this be an inclusive community that embraces all ways to freedom and abstinence? If the conversation and words could be inclusive and embrace the wide range of people stuck in addiction won’t more people be motivated to stop drinking earlier on?
There is a whole new thing happening out there, Annie Grace, Holly Whitaker, Laura Mackowen all paving the way for a new conversation around addiction to booze. I resonate very strongly with these women and what they have to say.
I am sober today and so happy to be, that’s a good result I think!
I was listening to an interview Belle did with BBC Three counties radio, you can listen to it here: http://www.tiredofthinkingaboutdrinking.com/2017/07/15/sp195/
The interview was supposed to be about young people and how there is a trend where they seem to be disenchanted with alcohol. The presenter was a drinker (very much in love with alcohol) and was totally gobsmacked by Belle suggestion that alcohol wasn’t required to have a good time!
How very dare she suggest such an outrageous thing! We need booze to feel good in this culture. We need booze when we feel good and we need booze when we feel bad, which pretty much means that we need booze all the time!
The part of the interview that really got me was when he said: “Surely there is no greater pleasure in life than a gorgeous glass of wine on a sunny afternoon!” Isn’t that a tragic statement?
This was my reality for many years. Alcohol was the easy sparkling route to nirvana. What could be easier than opening a bottle of wine and drinking it to change how you feel? It never in a million years dawned on me that was I was actually enjoying was sitting down at the end of a long day and just chilling out. It didn’t occur to me that this ‘liquid magic’ I was drinking was slowly destroying me and would turn out to be my greatest source of pain.
The term cognitive dissonance is used to describe the feelings of discomfort that result from holding two conflicting beliefs. One of the core beliefs I held was that alcohol was necessary to have a good time. The conflicting evidence that I experienced in my life like horrendous hangovers, drunken fights, blackouts, falling over was pushed to the back to the far recesses of my mind so that I could hold on to my first belief.
We will do anything and everything to protect the precious substance and let ourselves hang out to dry! These days I can have a great time without alcohol in fact I have a better time because I can remember everything. I am free and clear and I truly connect with people when I’m out. I’ve learned to let go and dance sober, which was a massive step for me.
I went to my first sober concert to watch one of my favourite bands Guns and Roses, I had a blast, I sang and danced like a maniac, all sober! Yes sometimes I will leave a party early but the only reason is that when people start repeating themselves it can get quite tedious. I don’t leave early because I am boring now that I am sober. I’m much more outgoing now that I have found my sober feet. Towards the end of my drinking I was the most boring drunk, I would just sit in corner and go all-quiet. Lordy! Do you call that having a good time?
There is no greater pleasure in life than being able to find pleasure and contentment from within and not to be dependant on an outside source/substance.
Drinking has always been a big part of my feminist identity. (Yes I’m a feminist AND I still cook my husband’s dinner, these things can coexist) I am a modern a woman after all and we are allowed to drink now. Thank god! I used to say. We’re not restricted to the side entrances of ‘ladies’ bars anymore. We can go into any establishment and get just as shitfaced as men, we’ve earned the right Goddamnit!
We work, we raise families we balance the budget and whilst doing all of this we are flagellating ourselves for not looking like a 16 year old model on the cover of Vogue who eats one piece of celery per year and then sticks her fingers down her throat afterwards.
I used to think my drunken exploits were a big middle finger to the patriarchal establishment. “Take that!: —As I’m downing garish neon coloured shots. “I’ll show you!”—As I’m getting sick round the side of the club.
However misplaced this notion was, I wasn’t alone in this thinking. I was part of the ‘ladette’ culture and not surprisingly this coincided with alcohol marketing massively pushing towards the female market.
Recent years have seen profound changes in women’s drinking habits. Part of being a modern woman is ‘doing it all’, and part of ‘doing it all’ means WINE. This idea that alcohol is somehow an inevitable part of being an empowered woman is keeping a lot of women stuck in the no mans land of problem drinking.
When I relate this to my own life I can see so clearly that alcohol has been nothing but disempowering. To a painfully awkward and slightly depressed teenager, alcohol was a quick fix to numb out all the anxiety I felt about myself, my body and about life. It helped drown out the critical voices. It helped me be more outgoing.
Of course if you start binge drinking at aged 13 the chances of you experiencing violence and or assault is increased dramatically.
The Centre of Addiction states: “Although drinking does not cause sexual assault, there is evidence that alcohol use creates an environment in which sexual assaults are more likely to occur. Studies show that 50% to 75% of all sexual assaults on college campuses involve alcohol.”
When I became a mother the disempowerment was compounded by the fact that I gave up full time work to look after the children. At the time I didn’t realise how much that choice would influence my sense of self worth. I went from freelancing in London and earning the same amount as my husband to staying/working from home earning a fraction of what I used to.
The drinking escalated at home, being a stay at home mom is NOT for the faint of heart. Nothing can prepare you for the isolation, monotony and relentlessness of it all. The sea of nappies, bottles, tantrums. The PND with both children made it gruelling instead of joyful. I felt guilty for not being the glowy mom you see in the Johnson and Johnson’s ads and so I self medicated with wine. This was a lethal combination. Trying to soothe the guilt you feel over being a shitty mom with alcohol is like pouring a massive can of petrol on a raging fire.
The disempowerment that goes hand and hand with alcohol abuse is far reaching and undoubtedly affected all the areas of my life. Drinking led to a myriad of bad choices, flaky goals and generally just coasting around looking for my next fix.
The most insidious way alcohol disempowers us is that a life fuelled by addiction will most likely lead to many unfulfilled goals and dreams. Passions are put on the back burner in favour drinking. The more the drinking escalates the more you are just playing catch up. You are functioning with a handicap, dealing with drinking time and hangover time. This really doesn’t leave much time for anything else.
Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes about addiction in her book – Women who run with the wolves:
“The instinctual nature tells us when enough is enough. It is prudent and life preserving. A woman cannot make up for a lifetime of betrayal and wounding through the excesses of pleasure, rage or denial.
Sometimes is it difficult for us for us to realise that we are losing our instincts, for it is often an insidious process that does not occur all in one day, but rather over a long period of time. Too, the loss or deadening of instinct is often entirely supported by the surrounding culture, and sometimes even by other women who endure the loss of instinct as a way of achieving belonging in a culture that keeps no nourishing habitat for the natural woman.”
At age 39 I feel like I’m in the driver’s seat for the first time in my life. I am now actively pursuing goals that have been gathering dust for years. Yes, it is scary and sure, I may fail but you know what, I’m doing it anyway.
Taking the power back baby!
Thank you for all the messages and emails. I’m totally blown away that you all took the time to comment and send me such lovely words of support.
It’s very strange for me to think that anyone even reads my blog or that anyone wants to hear what I have to say. (I’m not saying that in a self deprecating way, its just really overwhelming all the love. ) The sober blogosphere is just an awesome place and you are all so amazing, don’t know what I would do without ya’ll.
Yesterday was tough, I was violently hung over and my self esteem in tatters on the floor. So I did what you do when times are hard… I had a little pity party, I listened to Leonard Cohen, I wallowed in misery, I cried, I ate carbs, I ate 2 ice creams and I went to bed early.
This morning I woke up with such excitement. I can’t explain it but I know good things are on the way. No I haven’t lost my mind and I am not still drunk. My problems are still there and yes I drank over them but I know that I’m better than I was a year ago because I was able to look at myself with compassion. I can forgive myself for giving in and for drinking. I can look at what happened and see where I can do better next time.
Every day is day one for an addict. Every day we are faced with a choice to fall into old negative patterns or to choose joy and right action. It really is… one day at a time.
Its easy for me to choose joy and right action when things are going well but when the shit hits the fan it gets really tough because I have years of conditioning to undo.
The good thing is that I know I can’t go back. Going back to drinking is like going back into a burning house like Annie Grace says. I know one thing for sure and that is that I’ve got no business being in that house anymore!
I didn’t feel good when I drank, it felt terrible. My body and soul says no it every time.
Couple of things I am going to look at:
There are more things can’t think of them all right now.
I drank yesterday. After 7 months of sobriety, I fucked up.
I feel defeated and sick to my stomach. The hangover nothing compared to the self-hatred I feel.
My husband has been in a relapse for months now since he got back from Africa. I have found it really hard watching him drink himself into a stupor and having to walk on eggshells around his quick temper and moods due to alcohol. Weekends have been awful because he would start drinking at 12 in the day, sometimes earlier. There has been alcohol in the house (which I swore we would never do).
A couple of weeks ago my mother was diagnosed with Emphazema and I have found it really difficult to be so far away from her during this time. I want to be with her but I cant. I feel stuck, I can’t move back to Africa and she cant move here because in order for me to make that happen I have to prove that she has no other children living there that can look after her.
At lunch yesterday we had a fight because he snapped at me again. I went to my room to try calm down and he came in saying that he’s going out. I just lost all my grounding. When he says he’s going out that means he’s going to drink more and buy weed. I have spent so many night worrying about him when he’s out as he gets so out of it and a drunk/stoned man on his own is a target.
I went downstairs and poured myself a massive whiskey. I sat looking at it for ages. I didn’t want to drink it. I wanted to disappear. I was hoping that he would stop me when he saw it. He didn’t.
I just thought fuck it! Life is always going to be like this and I drank 3 big gulps. I shuddered and felt nauseous and thought to myself you don’t have to do this you can stop now. But the addict part of my brain just said fuck it you’ve broken your sobriety now you may as well just do it properly.
I can’t remember much of the night. I can’t remember putting the kids to bed. I can remember that I got sick.
In the cold light of day I am faced with the aftermath of what I have done. Another fucking day one. Jesus fucking Christ! How could I have been so stupid?
This is self harm to the extreme. I used to cut myself when I was a teenager. When my emotional pain was too much to bear I would cut my wrists to feel better. Yesterday felt like that.
I’m not planning on making the lapse into a full-blown relapse. I hate fucking alcohol. I hate it with everything in me. I’m done with that and I’m done with that life.
I made massive progress this past year, yesterday doesn’t negate that. Maybe it needed to happen to just cement in brain how absolutely shit it is.
I do know that I cannot have alcohol in the house and that I cannot be married to someone who is a drinker. It is too risky and I am not strong enough to handle it.
I spoke to my husband about it. I don’t want to give him an ultimatum; he needs to decide for himself that he wants to stop. Unfortunately I am not strong enough to wait for his rock bottom or moment of revelation.
This is just a really fucking difficult situation and I feel like I’ve been through the ringer.
My son gave me a hug this morning, I felt like I didn’t deserve a hug from such a pure little soul. I felt and still feel polluted, dirty and full of poison.
I think I need to sleep. Will need to put some more plans in place so that this doesn’t ever happen again.
Went to the shops the other day to get some bits and pieces. While I was standing in the checkout line there was middle aged woman that looked really unsteady on her feet. Her face was red and sweaty and she was clutching two bottles of white wine. She was talking to one of the shop assistants a slurry voice when I heard the shop assistant say really loudly: “Are you drunk again, dear?” He gave me a knowing look and a sly smile as if to say: “watch how I humiliate this piece of trash”
I could see this was turning into a scene and just felt so helpless. People were starting to talk in muffled whispers. There was laughing and pointing. When she got to the front of the line she became louder and more animated which of course caused more looks of disdain.
I waited in my car to see if she was ok and also to check that she wasn’t getting into a car and driving! Thankfully someone else was driving the car she go into, she left.
I started crying in the car park. Uncontrollable sadness overtook me. I was heartbroken by people’s reaction to her! I cannot believe how she was treated like absolute shit! Like a second-class citizen. Like a fucking leper. I’m so heartbroken that people don’t know that she isn’t choosing to be that way! She is addicted! That removes your choice and addicts need care and understanding.
I could be that woman! I was that woman! I always sent my husband on last rounds drink runs to the shops before the shops close at 11 so HE was her too!
Our society has such a fucked up view of alcohol/ drugs and addicts. Just because their Facebook/ money/shopping/TV/game/approval addiction isn’t plastered across their face doesnt make them better that the woman in that shop! I commiserate with food addicts so much because they get the same disdain from society; their addiction is obvious for everyone to see. My addiction was easy to hide for a long time but towards the end it wasn’t anymore. My skin, my breath my sweaty face was there for all to see.
My heart goes out to that woman in the shop with her two bottles of Pinot Grigio. There by the grace of God go I.
One of the things that used to rope me back into drinking is the fear of social occasions never being the same again. I was also terrified of the reaction of my friends and acquaintances when I quit. What would they think? I thought that by not drinking I would be the dry drip putting a dampener on the party.
I was scared to let everyone down. I was also scared that they would find out how addicted I had become so my excuses were always flimsy at best.
‘No thanks I’m driving’, ‘I’m on medication’, ‘I have Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo’ (This outlandish one I used to get out of a hen weekend where there was going to be lots of boozing) One of my personal favourites I used very often is ‘I’m on a detox/cleanse’.
Looking back now, I know that I was keeping that back door wide open in case I couldn’t cut it sober. I couldn’t possibly be on a detox or cleanse forever. I tried many times so I was tired of failing and perhaps in my heart of hearts I was hoping that an extended break from alcohol would re-set my software and allow me to drink like a normal person. Of course, no matter how long the break of sobriety was I always eventually returned to my usual level and with each lapse, the consumption revved up a gear.
I was ashamed of being the one that couldn’t drink, the one that wasn’t allowed because ‘she can’t handle it’. Why was I the chosen one that turned into the incredible hulk with an insatiable thirst while everyone else has a fabulous sparkly tipsy time? It wasn’t fair, dammit!
I guess if you have an AA coin and you are ‘out’ this shuts people up much more quickly.
Would you like a drink? No thanks I’m, an alcoholic.
—-Insert crickets chirping, tumbleweeds blowing and a look of panic/sympathy/social awkwardness across the hosts face.—-
Perhaps I will get to that point one day where I can say those words in front of anyone. I am just not ready for that yet.
I also used the words ‘I can’t drink’ in my internal dialogue. When I looked at alcohol I would look at it like an old sexy boyfriend that was bad for me, I would still lust after it.
These days something has shifted massively for me. I know I’ve tried before but there is a knowing in me that wasn’t there previously.
‘I don’t drink’ versus ‘I can’t drink’ are two very different statements. ‘I can’t drink’ implies that I am not allowed; I am being deprived of my choice. ‘I don’t drink’ is a powerful affirmation. It reinforces in my mind that I am not making any sacrifices, that I am making the most positive choice for myself, for my mental and physical health.
You may enjoy this article that explores this in more detail:
When I’m offered a drink these days I just say ‘I don’t drink’. I say it with conviction as if I’ve always been a non-drinker (this takes practice and sometimes you have to fake it till you make it)
By starting off in that frame of mind I can answer the following questions from a powerful place of positive choice instead of being rooted in shame.
This is the way the conversation has gone.
Friend: Would you like a drink?
Me: No thanks I don’t drink anymore.
Me: Like forever? Yes forever.
Friend: Why, we used to have so much fun drinking wine together?
Me: I just don’t like the way it makes me feel anymore. I don’t enjoy it at all.
This is met by a quizzical stare and a rapid change of topic.
Of course, my nearest and dearest know that I am addicted and they know the hell it has caused me. It’s important for the people closest to you to know so that they can support you.
Brene Brown talks about people having to earn the right to your hear your shame story. I don’t feel its necessary to go into so much detail with people I hardly know or people that are fair weather friends I used to party with.
The other point I wanted to make is that not drinking isn’t weird. We weren’t born ‘two drinks below par’. We are perfect and complete. We don’t need to pour alcohol down our throats to fit in.
People aren’t walking around asking a recovering heroin addict if they just want one ‘little bit of smack to take the edge off’ Or asking them why they cant just have the one. (Forgive me, I don’t know the heroin lingo, so I don’t know if you even call it smack.)
The fact is that I am addicted to a highly addictive, socially acceptable legal drug. That doesn’t make me weak or strange or unique even. It’s just the way it is, and I choose not to drink anymore because life is so much better and easier without it.
(poto credit addisonmagazine.com)
I’m sure you’ve heard the quote “One drink is too many and a thousand is never enough”
When I was drinking I never left a party early. I was always the last one at the bar, scared to miss out because I believed there was something wonderful and amazing around the corner, I just had no ‘off switch’.
I was listening to the willpower instinct written by Written by: Kelly McGonigal. In the book, he talks about dopamine and the role it plays in addiction.
Dopamine is the brain’s major reward neurotransmitter pathway. It’s basically the sex, drugs and rock and roll chemical of the brain.
In the past it has been thought of as the brains ‘reward chemical’ however new research has now proved that this isn’t completely accurate.
The firing of dopamine neurons occurs when a pleasurable activity is expected, regardless of whether pleasure actually happens or not.
Dopamine’s role in pleasure and reward is that it’s like a little red flag to your brain, saying “hey, pay attention, this is about to feel good, and you want to remember this so you can do it again.”
By jacking up dopamine levels in your brain, alcohol tricks you into thinking that it’s actually making you feel great (or maybe just better, if you are drinking to get over something emotionally difficult). The effect is that you keep drinking to get more dopamine release, but at the same time you’re altering other brain chemicals that are enhancing feelings of depression.
When you are stuck in this chemical loop there is no way out. I just need to reiterate this, the dopamine doesn’t make you feel good it is telling your brain something great is on the way…this is why when you are drinking you never quite ‘get there’ This is why a thousand will never be enough!
This was a revelation to me in so many ways. It explained so much about why I had the compulsion to keep drinking.
A couple of videos by Annie Grace I’ve found that are related and that you may find interesting:
does alcohol make you happy?
Is drinking a habit?
High from drinking?
Have a lovely sober Sunday! xxx
One year ago today I had my ‘god moment’ of realisation that alcohol was going to kill me if I didn’t stop drinking.
When I woke up that morning still in my clothes from the night before, confused and battered, I knew something major happened.
I realised that this stuff was playing for keeps. This seemingly innocuous substance that you can buy at the corner shop with your milk and bread, is a deadly poison.
Alcohol knows no class or creed. It doesn’t care if you are prince or pauper. It is the great leveler of men and women. It will strip away your confidence your dignity your moral fiber your values your hopes and dreams and it will damage everyone who you come into contact with.
Alcohol is a liar and a thief, a silver tongue liar that promises to be the answer to all your problems. A thief of time not only a thief of the time that you spend being inebriated but also a thief of the time you need to spend hung over and sick from its effects on the body, mind and soul.
Alcohol is also a great teacher of truth. It promises to make you drunk and it delivers on that promise time and time again. We go back to it expecting different results every damn time and are so baffled as to why we just cant ‘get a grip on this’.
Alcohol is overrated! Being drunk stops being fun when you are addicted you don’t get the same high and so you spend your life chasing it, the only satisfaction you get from drinking is relief of the cravings you had.
Alcohol is dangerous. It’s more dangerous than heroin or crack according to an authoritative study: read more here
The amount of misinformation out there about alcohol is mind fucking baffling! A lot of which is perpetuated by AA! The fact that alcohol is highly addictive for human beings in general and not just a small genetically predisposed percentage of society should be common knowledge but it’s not.
Alcohol is a drug. There is no difference! The fact that society has been conditioned to think of these things separately shows how brainwashed we are.
One year ago today I woke up. I woke up out of my addicted sleep where the denial was keeping me soft and warm. I woke up to the cold hard facts that my addiction and my life had become totally unmanageable.
I would love to say that I stopped drinking after that but I had several lapses since then.
I’m 6 months sober and can honestly say that I am so fucking glad to be rid of it.
I have a lot of work to do, I realise that. I obviously have a lot of anger towards the substance and towards myself for allowing this to continue for so long.
One day I would like to get to point of neutrality where alcohol doesn’t phase me at all. I would also like to fart rainbows and poop glitter, don’t know if those things will ever happen.
It’s just too raw still. I need to just be where I am. I am sober, I am alive and I am so fucking grateful to say those words.
Have a lovely weekend my gorgeous sober peeps.
Motherhood, Recovery, and My Hilarious Attempts to Grow Up
When twitter doesn't give you 280 characters....its time to start a blog
An assortment of life's moments: fragmented, colorful and beautiful.
When the pain of staying the same outweighs the pain of change
I used to drink to do life, now I have to figure it out the old fashioned way - dazed and confused, lucky it's hilarious.
Recovering Out Loud
A mom, wife and professional's journey on recovering from addiction
The Online Abode of Writer Robert Crisp
A journey through recovery guided by a broken compass
Putting the right words to work.
“The making of art is no different than prayer.” - Rainn Wilson
Sober woman trying to find the meaning of life-- sooooo original.
Embrace the Journey
Trying to feel better and get things together. Focusing on sobriety and truth.