So recently I caught up with one of my nursing friends who was present at one of my last drunks. We hadn’t seen each other or spoken since then what with lots going on in both of our lives. And to be honest I’ve been ashamed and embarrassed to discuss my stopping drinking with many of my old friends – partly because I have to acknowledge there was a problem and secondly because many of my friends are drinkers and so I don’t want them to think I’m some born again teetotal preacher. She was supportive and kind but I felt shame as I spoke – I’m learning that my armpits tingle when the feeling is upon me!
But it reminded me of another drinking event around the same time of the one where she was present that also was a pivotal moment in the run up to me stopping. I was at a 40th/Halloween party in my old spiritual home of Brighton. I was carousing with all my old alcoholic liver disease ward nursing buddies and it was a party night of drugs, alcohol and fags. It was in a private room of a pub just off the seafront so going outside for a fag was a blowy and cold affair.
I remember going outside to have a fag and was wired from lines of coke and fuzzy from copious g&t’s. And the thought struck me ‘why am I doing this?’. I wasn’t feeling any pleasure from it and it all felt pretty pointless. I’d had my first alcoholic drink when I was sixteen, dropped my first pill at 21 and here I was at 44 still doing the same thing. Over half of my lifetime spent chasing the high of drugs and booze and something needed to change ……
So here I am over 18 months in to the recovery journey and the memory of this thought came back to me tonight. Why it took me so long to figure out that change was needed is beyond me but there is no point lamenting the past as I am where I am. I don’t regret any of it as it made me who am I and I stopped when I was ready to stop. Maybe you’re reading this and this is your moment to stop? As I said to my friend earlier, this is the best decision I’ve ever made. Maybe it will be your best decision too 🙂