It’s not just the physical hangovers I don’t miss but also ‘the fears’. This was something that was quoted by many alcoholics on the ward that I used to work as the reason they kept drinking and never sobered up. I never knew what their version of ‘the fears’ were but for me it was that list of things that my inner critic would use to make me feel small and keep me drinking to blot them out. That voice loved nothing more than to rain insults on my head. Nothing I ever did was good enough and even my attempts at stopping drinking were criticised. I was compared to others, found wanting and judged for my shortcomings and any attempts to change behaviours were met with scorn, derision and doubt. Nobody in the external world could say anything that was as mean as the stuff I said to myself.
This has all stopped. Completely.
What I get now first thing in the morning is this gentle kind voice instead. I call it my soul whisper and it says things like ‘be kinder to yourself and others’ and ‘don’t try so hard to be liked’. I have to listen carefully as it is small and could be missed – particularly once my two are up and shouting the odds, but it is definitely there. That first soul whisper that I heard will be my New Years Resolution for 2014 – be kinder to yourself, which naturally leads to greater kindness to others.
There are so many reasons why I don’t want to drink again right now and for me this is one of the other great gifts of a hangover free life. I never dread waking up to how I feel either physically or psychologically. It is a gift every single morning that makes me smile and happy to get out of bed.