Rock bottom

I’m writing a reply to Bryan B on my recent Day 1 post, in which I tell him I had no terrible rock bottom, and after I finish that, I’m afterwards thinking to myself, “Really? No drastic rock bottom?”

Every awful thing that “happened to me” or that I ever did, pretty much involved alcohol or some other addiction, such as wanting admiration or just to be liked.

Yes, I did a lot of lovely things while drinking, too, which I like to think included helping others… but how helpful were they really? I could just as well have done those sober, if I’d known how or had the courage to, without the ego-inflation-or-relaxant of booze.

I want my kids to grow up with a sober toolkit. One of the best ways to do this is to simply model cheerful and successful sobriety. I know other sober parents have said they expect their kids to drink. Everyone’s different and I understand that concept or expectation. And of course I will understand if/when my kids drink. But my wish for them is that they begin with awareness of why they will want to, some day, and that they will know there are alternatives.

I want them to know (and I do talk to them about this a lot, often making an example of myself and my own toxic addictions) that while we all have addictive tendencies, if we’re aware of them, we can choose to get addicted to higher-level, creative things. Wouldn’t an addiction to playing music, wood-working or knitting be more beneficial than an addiction to sitting around in basements, parking lots or bars getting drunk? Certainly more rewarding… though definitely not as easy.

And if you answered, in your heart of hearts, “No, if I’m honest, it doesn’t seem more beneficial or rewarding… not really…” as I certainly would have, if I’d answered truthfully and honestly, at around age 15… maybe it is time to wonder if you are in fact an alcoholic. No matter how much you don’t want to be. And even if the way you drink seems “normal,” in the crowd you hang out with.

These days (or at least until Covid) the slogan is or was, all about “Dream Big.” If I were to say anything to my 15-year old self, or better yet my 13-year-old self, actually, I’d say: if you want to achieve your dreams, stop dreaming while drinking (or taking other drugs)… start practicing what you want to be like.

Lots of love,

xoxox Nadine

p.s. Thanks Bryan B!! :)))

22 thoughts on “Rock bottom

  1. I know three people who never took up drinking, two as they had alcoholics in their family and one for religious reasons. They still went to all the parties. Everyone knew they didn’t drink. What they cultivated was a terrific sense of humour, which is something you need to have to enjoy yourself in a room full of drunk people! No one thought they were weird or boring. So you can take confidence that there are alternatives from the story presented in all the teen movies about what young people are “supposed” to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, so often there was the non-drinker at the party that was actually *the* person to talk to or hang out with. Or who was playing music. Awesome and inspiring comment. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your sentiments here. I too, want more for my children than the choices I’ve made and now that they are teenagers we have open, honest discussions about it. I also love that you are broadening the categories here, acknowledging that one can be addicted to any number of things, not just substances. I’m reading In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Mate, and he talks about the difference between addictions vs passions, acknowledging that they are very much alike. He says, among other things, “The difference between passion and addiction is that between a divine spark and a flame that incinerates. …Passion is divine fire: it enlivens and makes holy; it gives light and yields inspiration. Passion is generous because it’s not ego-driven; addiction is self-centred.” I loved this when I read it. I feel like what you are describing as a want for them to have different addictions, such as music or wood-working really translates into you wanting them to have things in their life that they are passionate about. Because addiction has the component of continuing the behavior despite negative consequences. The component of ego-driven self-centeredness that makes us all cringe when we recollect our behavior. But hell yes, I want my children to have passions that spark a flame of creativity and generosity. I want them to dream big! Sending lots of love your way! Xx

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you Colette, reframing positive “addictions/obsessions” as passions makes so much sense. On this blog I have linked to Matés book as well as an article of his before, but though I’d read the article, and am familiar with the hungry ghost concept, I haven’t yet read the book. I love the way you so eloquently sum up a key concept here. Thank you!

      Like

  3. Nice post Nadine! I often think I’m addicted to horses but I like Colette’s reframe as a passion – albeit one that drains my finances! My girls grew up in a culture of adults using substances to manage their lives – albeit outwardly functional and successful. They both drink and party but not in the way I did though at one time I worried my eldest girl was drinking far too much when she did drink but I think she’s over that now she is fulfilled at work and in a good relationship. They have other passions and don’t let alcohol or drugs take centre stage – I hope me getting sober will help them stay that way! 😘😘

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Louise. I can relate to this a bit, as one of my parents had/has some substance abuse (or at least, overuse) issues. I agree that parents stopping can hugely help kids, at any age. I once told my dad (while we were both having a great time drinking and talking, after the kids were in bed, when he came to visit one summer) that I believed he was an alcoholic and that I might be as well. He stopped drinking after that. I hugely respect it. Thanks again for your comment :)) xoxoxo

      Like

  4. Right now, I am addicted to phone games.
    Ugh.
    Terrible!
    When I am spending time writing poems, or taking nature photos, I am very happy!
    I would have told my 35 to 40 year old self to stop drinking, and start another hobby!
    xo
    Wendy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! My dad is too! Word games, and sidoku, he’s completely obsessed. I can understand it though, they are fun to do. :))
      And I’m with you! Nature and poetry, taking photos and writing make me very happy too. Thank you Wendy :)) xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I consider myself a no-rock-bottom alcoholic. There wasn’t any obvious event that drove me from alcohol, but I had plenty of rock bottoms 30 years ago. Really crazy shit. Alcohol was *the most important thing* in my life for a really long time. In college I told my pot-head roommates that I was giving up weed cuz it interfered with my drinking. I think I needed to wait for the maturity to love other activities before I was ready to give up alcohol. Now there are dozens of things that meet that criteria. When talking to others about it, it would be much easier if there was one event I could point to why I quit.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. If I’m honest I knew alcohol was going to be a problem for me by the time I was 15.
    I loved to drink and it let me be reckless.
    Of course, I always did excellent in school and complied with all of society’s expectations, so I felt I was justified in my binge drinking. I kept it fairly manageable and didn’t drink and drive, etc.

    It wasn’t until my late 30s that I knew things were bad. I was compulsive. I started hiding booze (from my also heard drinking husband). I occasionally called in sick Monday because I drank Sunday. I was filled with Guilt and I swore I would quit Monday, then drink again Friday. My daughter asked me to quit and I couldn’t. I was obviously also severely depressed and slightly anorexic and no one noticed.

    Once I did quit, it did not take too much sober time to realize my life was much less beautiful than it looked. I was brittle and unhappy.

    Dealing with my mental health and staying sober was a 180. I saw possibility that I hadn’t in YEARS. I was happy.

    Being happy has been sufficient to stay sober. I believe in my heart that alcohol is only self destructive for me. I like myself too much to do that to me.

    I expect my kids to drink. One smokes some weed, and I’m fine with that. He is very smart and gets everything done. He will be “legal” in 2 months (18 in Canada). He knows both his parents are sober and is aware.

    My other kid is almost 16. She is very anti alcohol, but is already investigating psychedelics for mental health, lol. She is also aware.

    They have to forge their own paths.

    Anne

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Such a beautiful, insightful and helpful share, Anne. Huge thanks to you.
      Your teen years sound similar to mine. And you sound like an amazing mom by the way, but no surprise there. 💛

      Like

  7. I too have been binge drinking since I was 15 years old. I binge drank on the weekends ( Fridays/Saturdays only ) Sunday was a chill out day for me. I never missed work and my mind was easily content on only drinking those nights. I stopped drinking easily when I wanted to have kinds in my later 20’s. Had my two girls which are 18 months apart and breastfed them. After that only really drank with my hubby on a Saturday night. My girls are now 16&18. I’d say maybe the last 5 years I started drinking more. Added in Friday nights and Sundays. Then I added in weekdays. Weekdays I still went to work and did all I needed to do, but I felt so yucky at work on the nights that I had drank beforehand. I’m not sure how only within the last 5 years my brain then wanted alcohol daily. I had so many years that easily I could separate weekend drinking and weekday not drinking. My brain craved tea and a snack on weekday nights. I can’t really decipher when/why my brain turned to wanting it every night. It’s quite frustrating! However I do see how by adding in Friday nights, then Sunday during the day, it just kept adding up and now I am where I’m at now. I’m still in my Limbo land post but had to fight real hard to get here and I see as time goes on the fight gets easier, but it never leaves. So now that I have typed all I don’t really have a point. 😂 But I’m going to hit send and get another cup of morning coffee. Have a great day, Nadine!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Your comments are always so awesome Jackie, thank you so, so much, as always, for your amazing contribution here. 💗 Our drinking histories sound nearly the same. I really, really noticed that urge to drink increase as the kids grew older, and as I entered middle age. Before kids, my having fun “partying” was not a big deal to me, since it was just me to worry about and I managed life just fine. And after having kids, the urge mostly faded away, until a few years ago, when they’d all weaned and started school. Then the urge to drink grew stronger, in a gradual way just like you say. And yet the anxious feelings afterward, even if nothing much happened, worsened. I wonder if it has to do with menopause or just general getting older, and our natural survival instincts are kicking in for our own health.
      For me the trick now is to make my choice in the morning, not to drink that one day (like they say in AA). Hugs, thank you again :)) xoxox

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I never thought to each morning making that choice for the day. I love my mornings and spend time with my coffee and well just me time. I’m going to put that in my mornings thoughts. ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

    2. My belief is we are all on our way to alcohol abuse.
      It’s not genes.
      Those of us who find alcohol a coping mechanism are ok until we end up spending so much time coping and so little time living.

      At that point, there’s no going back. Alcohol is no longer helpful and I know I needed to learn better emotional regulation and self compassion to manage.

      I see many women who are similar. The pressures of career, family, doing it all in a Pinterest sort of way and possible with a less than helpful husband, smothers us.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. “My belief is we are all on our way to alcohol abuse.” I feel the same, that it’s not specific to a few faulty folks among us. It’s an addictive drug, each person is more or less able to control its attraction or hold over us. For me counting on a positive, all-loving, encouraging and helpful/benevolent energy (i.e. not just my own flickering self-will) is the absolute key to sobriety.

        Love your comments Anne. Thank you so much.

        Liked by 1 person

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