Looking in the mirror used to be so hard, I had no idea who that person was looking back at me. I just didn’t recognise her. She seemed like a separate entity, that image I had in my mind was so different to the face that was looking back at me.
My addict has created so many personas that I had totally lost sight of who I was. I believed that I was a bad person, I was thoughtless, pathetic and didn’t deserve anything. Then the petulant child could also take over and throw tantrums demanding things, especially a drink as of course I deserved it.
There was a turbulent war over who was good and bad in my head, I believed the lies my brain would tell me and then wouldn’t believe the compliments. I was unlovable and therefore couldn’t love in return. I functioned and as such tried to fill my life with material gains, I would buy clothes, phones etc… all the latest “gear” so that on the outside I appeared to have it all.
I worked hard to have a good job but was ashamed of my small house. I wanted the nice car the prestige thinking that would give me the happiness I was looking for. I lived in a world of fantasy and daydreams expecting to be rescued (normally by a man).
My sober persona was one of fake confidence, anger and frustration. Drunk me could be filled with hurt, shame and pathetic self-loathing. One minute I would be so angry that I would lash out at anyone and everyone, the next minute I would be crying desperate for love and to be loved.
People and things were disposable, I could throw them away and replace them with something new and shiny in the fake hope that that would be the one thing to save me.
New friendships were exciting, especially when they drank like me. I hadn’t caused any damage yet so could use them to fulfil my addict needs and justify my behaviour. After all, if they drank like me then it couldn’t be that bad, even though deep down I always knew there was something not right in my behaviour.
For years I battled with these multiple personas I had created, it was exhausting and although I never realised it at the time having a drink was a release. It stopped my brain and shut me down. But the next day always came with a thumping hangover and deep regret, or fear as I very rarely remembered what I had done or said.
Finding recovery has allowed me to unravel all the lies that I had created in my mind. It was hard but each morning I would look in the mirror and say hello to Nicola. I put an identity to the person facing me and would look in the mirror just long enough, so it was uncomfortable. Month to month it got easier and easier and after a while I realised that the person looking back at me was Nicola.
I came to realise that the face I saw was me, not ugly not angry not sad not lonely not anything but just me. I stopped looking at my nose that I thought was too big, my eyes that were tired and bloodshot and my thin lips. I stopped looking for all my flaws and failure I just looked for me.
For the last few years I have been working on my relationship with myself and who I am. I have learned my different personality traits (I don’t like saying defects of character as they are all what makes me whole). Essentially, I am a good person who sometimes gets it wrong, but my intentions are never evil, but they can be a little selfish sometimes.
I’m also not looking to be fixed anymore, I’m not reaching out for men to make my life better, as that never works. I don’t need rescued or saved because I am fine as I am. I don’t need more “stuff” and only want the people in my life who want to be in my life.
My friendships are about who I want to spend time with, not what I can get from them. It’s a two-way balanced relationship and I don’t put myself out for someone to look good, I do it because it’s the right thing to do for them.
Write sizing my feelings and needs has made my life simple and calm, and I am happier than I have ever been. By dealing with the turmoil in my head I am learning to be happy with me and ultimately to love who I am (remember its progress, not perfection).
The end goal of all this is about being happy with who I am and what I have in my life, and not feeling the need to drink. One day at a time I do not want to pick up as I have no concept of social drinking, my drinking leads to pain and hurt and that is not good for anyone especially me.