Living is easy with eyes closed. Misunderstanding all you see.Strawberry Fields Forever – The Beatles
I had a virtual session with my therapist yesterday. We were talking about how society is dealing with the coronavirus, specifically in terms of alcohol. I mentioned in my last blog post that a lot of posts I see on Facebook are all about stocking up on alcohol – constant memes joking about it and real pictures from real people showing their stockpile of bottles of liquor. Liquor stores are considered “essential” businesses and bars are selling alcohol through carry out.
On one level it’s disgusting to me. On another level it’s funny to me because I know sure as I’m writing this that 2 years ago I would be right along with all these people. Facebook memories consistently remind me of my past love for alcohol. As I was lamenting about all of this to my therapist and she mentioned a couple of interesting points. #1 She said while she hopes liquor stores are considered essential to help those who are still dependent on alcohol so they won’t have to go through withdrawl she knows the real root of the matter and driving force is MONEY! It is all about making money and the coronavirus has made that inexplicably clear (not that we didn’t already know that, but we are being slapped in the face with it right now). Again, it is the only drug on the face of the earth that is socially acceptable and encouraged despite the fact that it is an addictive substance that causes an extreme amount of pain and suffering for many yet the ones who abstain for whatever reason are the weird ones?????? Somebody please explain to me why that is!!! Oh, right, a big part of why is MONEY!!! #2 My therapist also mentioned that the coronavirus will be an “aha” moment for some people, it won’t give them a choice, it will force them to look at their relationship to alcohol, it will bring to light who has a problem with alcohol and who doesn’t in the privacy of their own home. The denial will be much more difficult to stifle.
The sad part about all of this is that while liquor stores remain open, AA meetings and in person support groups are shut down because of social distancing. If you are struggling, check out my resources tab, there are links to online forums and online meetings. There are podcasts and book recommendations to keep you focused. Stay strong and stay connected! It’s possible to get through this. If you need someone to talk to, please don’t hesitate to reach out supportive friends and family, your sponsor, your mentor, anyone who can offer you support. Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me through Instagram, I will always offer a listening ear!
The interesting thing about the second point she made was it caused me to think about my “aha” moment. That moment that I realized, maybe drinking alcohol isn’t something I should be doing. Maybe there’s a problem here. The moment that caused the last 2 years of my drinking to be an internal tug of war, a moral conflict, and a true test for myself. It’s why I have said that my drinking really escalated and worsened in that last couple of years. I started to hide my drinking, my lying had escalated to new heights, I was cancelling obligations because I was too hungover, I was becoming more reckless, and I was starting to become more aware.
The thing is, my drinking was, in general, always a problem; a problem that took me a while to realize and once I realized it that’s when things became extremely difficult. When I became aware of the thick, heavy, dark cloud of fog that was covering me and separating me from the rest of the world and from being actively engaged in the present is when things started to scare me. I knew the answer. I knew the only way to get the fog to dissipate was to stop drinking and I hated it. I hated the realization that I had a problem. Part of me wishes that I never had that “aha” moment. That there never came a time where I started to question my drinking. Why? Because it’s easier that way. Sure my mental health, self-respect, and self-esteem were continuing to crumble before my very eyes and my interaction with others and the external world was beginning to fall apart but there was no internal struggle, no moral debate, no questioning my sense of self. I was existing and I was taking the easy way out.
And at the same time, I am so grateful for that “aha” moment. The moment when I started questioning my relationship to alcohol was the moment that saved my life. I have grown leaps and bounds in the last year and a half. My outlook on life and my internal view of myself is something to be proud of and to celebrate. Everything I’ve written about in my blog became possible when I started questioning my relationship to alcohol. And the beautiful thing is the possibilities were there all along. I just had to work for it. Because it’s not easy. I picked myself up, made a left turn off the easy path, and created a new path that I had to clear and pave myself. And it’s something that I have to tend to every single day. I wouldn’t change it for anything.
As the famous John Lennon wrote, living is easy with eyes closed. And he’s right. But easy is mundane. Easy is uninteresting. Easy is stale. Easy is unmotivating. Easy is easy. Easy won’t get you anything in life because…
Nothing worth fighting for is ever easy.