Written by Nicole Mensinger
I used to use alcohol to deal with every emotion in my life. If I was happy, I drank. If I was sad, I drank. If I was depressed, I drank. If I was excited, I drank. It wasn’t a conscious choice at the time, but now that I look back, I can see that I was missing the ability to manage life and its spectrum of emotions. Getting sober really helped me to start the process of growing up, which included facing unpleasant feelings and situations head on. It was not easy, but it was worth it.
I used to blame everyone else for things in my life that were unpleasant: my parents, my siblings, my friends, my teachers, etc. I blamed one family member in particular for their own excessive consumption of alcohol, yet I was so consumed with their actions that I could not see my own lack of control and obsession with the substance. It wasn’t until I started to focus on myself that I started to heal, grow and change. Going to Al-Anon and CoDA meetings and getting support alongside others who struggled helped me keep the focus on myself.
I thought life was never going to be fun again once I got sober. That I would never dance, laugh or be social again. It probably took about a year of withdrawing from the world around me before I felt safe engaging in a new and different way. Today, I do all the things I used to do: dance, laugh and be social, but this time, with no regrets and no hangovers.