Maybe an eating disorder of some description, poor relationship with drugs, alcohol, relationships, sex or body image? Or life itself.Just a bad relationship with life?
I have a way you may be able to positively change the course of your life if you’re ready to throw yourself into something that may just scare the shit out of you.
Here’s why, and how.
I was the interviewee for an amazing woman, Rebecca Weller, who has created a program called Sexy Sobriety. She wanted to chat about my journey and history with alcohol to be a part of a program shared with women looking to jump off the party bandwagon and into a more connected path with themselves.
Rebecca asked me two questions same that many people ask me. ‘Why did you stop drinking?’ and ‘How did you stop drinking?’.
I stopped drinking because I couldn’t gain control over it in social situations and hadn’t been able to for more than half my life, the way I did it has always been a little harder to explain, and I’ve been heard saying ‘I just stopped’. Which is none-too-helpful for many. Though I think I’m closer to understanding.
I was listening to one of my favourite podcasts this morning while I walked (the best time to listen to podcasts I think because you’ve got nothing to do but listen). Tim Ferriss was interviewing Margaret Cho. Margaret is an actor, comedian, author and writer (amongst other cool things) and in the podcast she shares some information about her addiction to prescription painkillers and medication.
Tim asks Margaret “…how did you end up kicking it?”
And Margaret replies “… I threw everything away and I told everybody around me. I was talking about it onstage (in her role as a comedian). I made it very clear that this was a problem I was going through, and I stopped making it a secret… I wasn’t hiding it. When I talked about it, it resolved the situation and I was able to just walk away. …Afterwards I didn’t have a need to go back to it. It wasn’t like I went to rehab, or sought treatment, but I was able to escape.”
I was hit with a recognition at my own life when Margaret spoke these words. This was exactly how I felt about drinking. The day I stopped it was simple. I didn’t have a desire to drink again since. I’ haven’t come close to picking up a drink and I am happy to be surrounded by people drinking alcohol without any issue. I wasn’t a prescription medication addict but I was a bad-relationship addict and I had issues with eating and alcohol.
Although I had tried many different things in complete secrecy to try to heal myself (none had been successful), it was only when I started to share the information about this in a public forum that I began to release myself from my disorders.
There have numerous times I have been shaking before pressing publish on this site – my parents, my in-laws, my friends and my husbands friends read this website, and when you speak openly about the types of things I do, it can be really fucking scary to think about these people reading it. There have been times where that fear has almost suffocated me… until I shared.
As soon as the secrecy and the holding in of the ‘thing’ was out there, I find myself free. I’m able to detach from the problem and move forward simply by the act of releasing it.
I’ve spoken to a lot of people about all sorts of addictions, disordered relationships and dependancies, and the biggest thing that stands out is how alone many of us feel when we’re raging this internal battle of secrecy and self-loathing. I remember even secretly going to a few AA meetings without telling my boyfriend because I was afraid that sharing it would be declaring the problem, and once I did I was done for.
I was frightened that I would find myself in a downward spiral of humiliation, or that I would be exposed and judged poorly by those whose opinion I most cared about.
I remember when I had an article about the history of alcoholism in my family was published on Mamamia and over 100 women wrote to me, some very long emails. Over 100 of them. The majority of these women wrote ‘You are telling my story’ or ‘this is me’, or ‘this could have been me writing this down’.
Most of them went on to write to me about their own fear about sharing their secret battles in public, and what I find interesting now, going back over those emails (I kept), is that by the end paragraphs of these emails there is a lightness to them. These woman had shared and felt listened to and they weren’t judged and it was out there and it was a release.
I believe what needs to happen is a continuation of that expressing and sharing and removing the doors and secrecy from ‘it’, and I feel this is where those 100 women may have struggled after pressing ‘send’.
There are addictions that rage that writing, or speaking about cannot solve on it’s own and so I am not playing Dr, psychologist psychiatrist or martyr here (and if you feel you need to I recommend speaking to a professional), however I do recommend that if this post connects with you in any way, that you consider finding that release through sharing what is holding you back in a public forum. Either by speaking to your friends and family about it, or like I did, finding it easier to first share with the whole world.
How does this sound to you?