Blame It On The Booze
How many times have you heard someone use, "I was drunk," as an excuse or blame "the alcohol" on their bad behavior? Carrie Underwood sings about getting 'served a little too much of that poison' and doing things she's not proud of in her song, Last Name. Katy Perry sings about it in her song, Last Friday Night...'Trying to connect the dots. Don't know what to tell my boss. Think the city towed my car. Chandelier is on the floor. Ripped my favourite party dress. Warrants out for my arrest. Think I need a ginger ale. That was such an epic fail.'
Well, that's cute for a top 40 hit, but not so cute when it's your reality. You can only blame it on the cuervo so many times before you've exhausted that as an excuse. I most certainly had. I had come to believe that the sum of all the bad decisions, choices and things I had made and done while I was drinking, had become who I was. I let it define me as a person.
My behavior when I was drinking conflicted with my values. I knew I wasn't a bad person, so why did I constantly find my self in bad situations. I had lost interest in anything that didn't involve drinking. I didn't take pride in anything anymore. Morning after morning, I would sit at my vanity to get ready for work, look at myself hungover in the mirror, thinking, what happened? how did I get to this point? Get it together, Allison. Who are you? I was not a fan of the person staring back at me. As the alcohol became more and more important to me, everything else became less. My friends and family can attest that I was completely unreliable. I didn't commit to anything. Most of my actions were irresponsible and dishonest. I've hurt a number of people..people that I care about. I so desperately did not want to be the person that was looking back at me in the mirror. I didn't recognize that person anymore. The more bad choices I made, the more I wanted to drink to forget. And so, the cycle continued. Alcoholism took away my self-worth. It left me physically, mentally and spiritually void. The way you treat others is a direct reflection on how you feel about yourself. It's hard to see the good in others, when you don't see any good in yourself. It's hard to care about others when you really don't care about yourself.
So, when my counselor in rehab told me that I didn't have to continue to be the person sober that I had become as a result of alcoholism, it was like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. She said something to the fact that, defects of character and behavior are symptoms of the disease of alcoholism, but if I continued these behaviors once in recovery, then they are part of my character. Now, please don't misunderstand me. Being an alcoholic doesn't give you a pass on your past. The 12 Step work takes care of that, and I still have a long way to go. But, what it did was confirm that I wasn't a bad person...I had just made some bad decisions and done some bad things. I didn't have to let the past define who I was.
Today, I like the person I am becoming. I'm not at constant war with my mind. I have a relationship with God. I am physically healthy. I have respect for myself and others. I've regained my confidence. I pride myself on doing a good job at work. I show up for family events...sober! I am there if a friend needs me. I no longer let my past define who I am. I have accepted it, learned from it, and move forward making decisions that am proud of.
Being sober inspires and motivates me to be better. The director at rehab would always say, "if you want to have esteem, do esteem-able things." And it really is that simple. So, that's what I strive to do. Alcoholism took a lot away from me, but it doesn't compare to what I've gained in recovery.
This is a long process and doesn't happen over night, but it does start with making just ONE good decision.