The stigma that comes with getting sober can be very overwhelming at times. Overwhelming because a lot of people do not understand you. In an era where unlimited information is at our fingertips some people still refuse to learn about something they know nothing about. Sobriety is a tough journey, you realize very fast that you might have to embark on this journey alone. People don’t really care. If you have people who genuinely care about your sobriety, are happy for you, celebrate your milestones with you, cherish it, because, not everyone is blessed to have individuals like that in their life.
I remember telling people I needed to get sober and almost everyone told me that I didn’t have a drinking problem, I just needed to cut back. The hardest thing about this is accepting the fact that your loved ones aren’t really listening to you and not taking your feelings into consideration. I tried to cut back like 10 times in 2016 alone until I finally got it right by cutting alcohol out of my life completely.
People have this misconception that in order for you to have a drinking problem you have to lose it all. According to tv, alcoholics lose their families, jobs, and homes. Those are very severe cases of alcoholism, but please do not belittle someone’s alcohol problem just because they seem to have it all together. I remember one friend of mine telling me that I didn’t have a problem. She told me that all I needed to do was cut back and drink socially. I spoke to her about my drinking over and over again, and, she never took my feelings into consideration, constantly referring to other alcoholics and addicts that didn’t have much, telling me I wasn’t that bad. That was one friendship that I had to let go. What she didn’t see was that I was tired of living, I would get drunk and then go home and cry myself to sleep. I felt so useless, my life had no purpose, I lost hope. I didn’t see a way out. Yet, I had no one close to me that had my back. No one to tell me that it was going to be okay. It was one of the hardest moments, but, in that moment I realized that the only one I had to rely on was, God.
The other misconception about alcoholism is that you drink all day, every day. Alcoholism doesn’t just come in extreme cases. You don’t have to be addicted to alcohol physically to have an alcohol problem. In 2015, I had an experience where my body was withdrawing. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever went through. I was throwing up, I couldn’t stop shaking, I was cold, but, I was sweating. My arms started going numb and that’s when I went to the ER. I thought that would be the last time I touched alcohol, but , NOPE. I kept drinking.
The hardest reality to accept is that you have an alcohol problem. People don’t grow up wanting to be alcoholics. It just happens. It’s not a truth that a lot of people are willing to accept. So much shame and guilt comes from losing control. Why do you think the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem? Because, it is one of the hardest things to do. No one wants to face that truth. It’s one of the hardest truths to accept, but, also one of the best if you are ready for a new life.
For the next year I tried cutting back. I tried to only drink socially. None of it worked. My finances were in shambles. I wasn’t paying my bills on time. I was depressed. Every time I would even think of cutting alcohol out I would panic and get anxiety. It was a scary process. A process a lot of people don’t see. People don’t see how bad you want to stop drinking and get your life together. People don’t see the fear that paralyzes you from taking that step. People don’t know that addictions can really have a stronghold on you, psychologically. It’s not about cutting back. It’s not about “not drinking”. It’s so much deeper than that. How can I just cut back when my whole life I depended on this one thing to get me through life? How can I cut back when I just buried all my problems and issues within the bottle? How can I cut back when the minute I stop drinking I have to face reality? The sole purpose of my drinking was to not face reality. IT’S NOT THAT SIMPLE.
No, I can’t just cut back. So before you go and tell someone to “just cut back” , educate yourself on all aspects of addiction. If someone comes to you about a drinking problem, they trust you. They want your help. It takes A LOT for someone to ask for help, so please do not make them feel less than. 1 in 7 adults in America have a drinking problem. That’s A LOT. You don’t have to live like this. There is freedom in Christ. I relapsed in 2014 after 10 months of sobriety, I never thought I would be sober again. It was hard and it still gets tough, but, I keep going. You have to keep going.
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF! Amazing things happen when you believe in yourself.
Happy 5 month Soberversary to me. 151 whole days without a drink! #blessed