In this week’s guest blog, journalist, writer, and Club Soda member Emma shares her goodbye letter to alcohol…
It’s been a while since we last met. The last time I saw you, it was a sunny June afternoon. I hadn’t planned on meeting up with you (it was a Sunday, not usually a day we hang out) but the sun was shining and damn, you looked tempting all dressed up as cider.
Problem is, you always looked tempting because you seemingly soothed the anxiety I had carried with me since I was a small child; a mash-up of emotion and identity that, on the one hand, called out to be noticed, but on the other, did not want to be seen.
Do you remember our first meeting? I do. It was before a school disco, an illicit meeting. You were in your White Lightening get-up, me and my friends in our 1993 bodysuit-and-jeans garb. At first, I wasn’t sure about you but you convinced me I was hilarious fun. At the disco, I danced like a wally and threw up in front of the teachers. I was taken home to a worried mum who cleaned me up and listened to my garbled nonsense until I fell asleep. Yeah, that wasn’t such hilarious fun.
I was, quite rightly, mortified. My cheeks burned as the entire school year was given an alcohol warning in assembly. But notoriety brought kudos and you, alcohol, gave me what I thought was an identity. So my teenage-self persevered, convincing me of your company. In my 20s and 30s, you were my best pal at weekends, my de-stressing partner in crime.
But for the times I felt sharp and sassy I also increasingly felt doomed, like you weren’t really helping me and were, in fact, eroding my sense of self. I struggled more and more with the black dog of depression you inevitably came with. De-stressing became distressing.
So the day after that bright June day when the world was filled with summer sun, I robustly questioned why I was still entertaining you as my anxiety-fixer. I decided you weren’t worth it, but I most definitely was.
I explored healthier ways to deal with my internal fears. I upped my self-awareness game and examined the root causes in counselling. I told family and close friends of my plans to break away from you and why. I promised myself treats when I reached milestone moments in my new alcohol-free lifestyle. A sober world introduced itself to me with a big wide smile, outstretched arms and enveloped me in a warm, safe cuddle.
I admit: I missed you at times (old habits die hard) but reframing my thinking without you in the picture became exciting, empowering, interesting. I saw little changes that made a big difference: higher quality sleep, more resilience, brighter skin, sharper clarity of thinking.
My choices and actions are the panacea to your placebo. Other people who had told you to ‘do one’ armed me further with extra toolkits, like books and blogs and social networks and support.
You may hate me saying this but socialising is better without you. I still dance like a wally but who cares? Nowadays I don’t end up crashing around, toppling over or waking up with mysterious bruises. I’m richer financially and spend my money on indulging my passions and other things I’ve always wanted to try. Plus, it’s EPIC not having your barking black dog around anymore.
I love life without you so don’t expect to see me anytime soon.
Emma Pearcy is a marketing & communications specialist, writer and journalist. www.devon-maid.co.uk