Acceptance of self might be one of the hardest things to embrace, especially if you feel insecure about what it is you are trying to accept.
Resistance of acceptance almost becomes a gateway to the definition of insanity: doing the same thing and expecting a different result.
Alcohol may not have always been the problem it has become, but if you are questioning whether it is a problem now, or whether you’re able to control it, acceptance can play a key role in changing or eliminating your relationship with alcohol.
When I look back I can say alcohol wasn’t always the problem it became, but that would almost be untrue. When I genuinely dig deep and reflect, I was always 0-100, sure some of the events or evenings were fun, but more often than not I would be “that girl” who had a bit too much. It can get very distorted and disorienting when you believe your identity is “the party girl” because the idea of quitting alcohol/drugs leaves you asking yourself what you bring to the table? That alone can bring forth so many insecurities. Self doubt stands front and centre.
More often than not, instead of eliminating alcohol, we try to control it. When we get to the place where we are “trying to control alcohol,” it is more than likely already controlling us. It is also taking up far too much mental space. The thought of going out or socializing with your group of friends suddenly seems scary because it can become very consuming… “what are people going to think?” The thing is, it truly does not matter what people think, what matters is how you feel and taking control back so you don’t miss out on the moments for the rest of your life. Also the people who love and support you will encourage you to do what is best for you, that is a fact. If people hesitate or resist your decision, understand it is a reflection of them and not you.
Alcohol is an addictive substance and a depressant. It also is NOT your identity. I can pin point the moment when I came to the sudden realization that I knew alcohol only produced negative results for me. I saw what it did to my mom, amongst many others, I always said it wouldn’t be me (ego isn’t as strong as it likes to think it is) and then suddenly a toxic substance was controlling me and not vice versa. After not drinking for a year I chose to drink again because “I believed I could because I wanted to and not because I needed to.” I was told I drank again because there was a positive belief associated with alcohol. If I had just had the best year of my life while living alcohol free, what did I feel I was missing that made me want to drink again? My immediate response was “I believed I could, there was no belief beyond that.” What I did not realize until a few weeks later, was that I had an entirely different set of beliefs that were lingering beneath the surface. I didn’t want to be the girl “who couldn’t/shouldn’t drink.” I also had an insecurity that if I was dating someone, how could they introduce their girlfriend who “doesn’t drink.” Meanwhile, my choice not to drink was never once questioned and it was a story that I came up with entirely on my own. I was insecure and afraid of what it meant, but in my core I knew I was happier, stronger, and a more compassionate version of myself when I was sober. When I drank it wasn’t “yes I’ll just have one,” my brain immediately was already thinking about more. When alcohol hit my system my neurotransmitters were firing off “more, more, more” and the dopamine was saying “this is great, keep going.” Then I would feel shame, regret, embarrassment and crippling anxiety. The kind of anxiety that makes you so incredibly disappointed in yourself and also makes it so that you don’t want to leave your bed. Drinking became all risk and absolutely no reward. This is where acceptance rolls in. Accepting I am happier and healthier without alcohol and that not drinking does not need to be viewed as a flaw, weakness or something to be ashamed of.
Accepting and understanding that I do not feel deprived but I actually feel completely fulfilled while I am sober.
Accepting that “moderation” or “just one” isn’t a feasible option for some people is a game changer. There is so much resistance to the idea of not being able to drink. People often try so hard to control it or be able to “just have one” that they stay stuck in this vicious cycle so much longer than necessary.
No one chooses to have their first drink thinking they may get addicted or wind up having a dependence upon it. Our brains create neural pathways, there is a dopamine release, our neurotransmitters work differently and fire off a different message to keep us drinking. All of this is perfectly okay. Instead of viewing yourself as flawed or weak, understand that there is so much more to it than willpower. On that note, willpower runs out. Also, if you have to constantly battle against yourself to be able to control your drinking, you will more than likely experience mental fatigue and alcohol will still be taking up way too much space in your brain. In my experience 100% abstinence is FAR more simplistic than knocking on the devils door for a drink or two and expecting he doesn’t answer. For some people, one or two is an idealized concept but not a reality. Again, that is perfectly okay, but releasing the idea of ‘one or two’ and accepting that none is better than one, is a very powerful realization. “None and done” is my go-to and I have never woke up wishing I had done things differently.
Accepting our brains respond a certain way allows us to release the idea of being a “normal drinker.” Also when you read books like “This Naked Mind” by Annie Grace or “Alcohol Explained” by William Porter, you’ll understand you are trying to moderate a toxic substance, and perhaps it will help remove some of the romanticizing about being able to “drink like a normal person.” I have never smoked a cigarette in my life and after reading those books, I view alcohol the same way I do cigarettes, I have absolutely 0 interest. I also view alcohol like a toxic ex bf, something many of us are familiar with. Alcohol is full of empty promises, always taking but never giving, it depletes your self worth but you are constantly thinking it will get better and in reality it never does. Break ups can be hard but it is so much better than holding onto something that isn’t meant for you. Sometimes letting go is easier and less damaging than holding on. Acceptance is key and so is self love. Alcohol does not define your worth. You do.
I can promise you it is so much better on the other side and freedom is worth it. Like I said, I’ve never woke up wishing I had drank last night. Acceptance and self love will set you free.
Read books, join groups, lean into the discomfort and push through it.
You are so worth it.