The Complexity of Support

10 Jan

I’ve been blogging A LOT this week, but it really helps me get stuff out of my head so I can get on with my day. 

Last night I had a very interesting therapy session. It’s been 3 weeks since I last saw Therapy Sarah due to the Christmas break. As I told her I’d been drinking again, her eyes filled with tears. It was a reaction that shocked and moved me, because it made me feel she cared. But in her eyes was the look of someone who knew that despite all the work we’ve done together and all the support she gives me, I still was being overpowered by the call of alcohol. And that was a very sad thing for her to witness.

After I’d recounted the events of the last 3 weeks, she said that she was thrilled I’d been to AA, that many of her colleagues won’t treat people with a drink problem unless they also go to Alcoholics Anonymous because “once a week therapy isn’t enough to tackle the scale of that problem.” She said she’d continued to see me despite my strong conviction that AA wasn’t for me because I was clearly determined, had been really proactive in reaching out via blogging and Team 100 with Belle, and seemed committed to sobriety. But now she could see that all of these helping hands hadn’t been enough.

[Carrie Bradshaw voice] And this got me wondering about the incredibly complex nature of support, and how it contributes to our recovery. On the one hand, support is everything. From that first moment of admitting to someone that you have a problem to letting them know you want to drink, it’s a huge relief to know that someone is there, listening to you, guiding you, giving you tips on how to ride the craving. When I first found Belle I thought, “this is it! I’ve found a solution! For 100 days I definitely won’t drink now. I won’t want to let her down.” But I did drink, repeatedly.

I realise that even with all the support in the world, we still tumble and fall, and drink when we know we shouldn’t, and that’s because at the end of it all, we have to do this thing ourselves. No-one picks up a drink for us, and no-one can snatch one from our hands or erase that destructive impulse from our brain. This isn’t rocket science, but it’s easy to forget when we’ve created fantastically valuable support networks, that the mere act of being part of a sober support network doesn’t keep you sober.

My past year has been an absolute struggle for control, willpower and strength, none of which I could consistently rely upon myself to exert when I wanted to fall face first into a bucket of wine. Sometimes I triumphed, but sometimes Mr wolf got me and I was back at square 1.

I’d get myself back up, be honest to those who support me and start again. But then I’d fall again, 4, 20, 40 days later. The number of sober days became irrelevant- it was the slipping AGAIN that was the giveaway that I was in deeper than I’d originally thought with this alcohol lark.

Through taking myself to AA and opening my mind to the higher power notion has shifted the view I have of myself in relation to alcohol and the nature of this journey hugely. Previously, I just saw a lack of strength, conviction and a weakness around alcohol that I was beating myself up for. What was WRONG with me? Why couldn’t I do this stuff when so many have succeeded?

But, walking through that door and trusting that I’d been through these struggles for a reason unlocked an overwhelming new belief in my own abilities. If I didn’t have the strength and courage to kick alcohol, I wouldn’t be picking myself off and dusting myself down time after time. I’d have given up and still be drinking.

I know I can trust myself, that I will do this, and that every failure has been a learning journey that one day will be vital in my long term sobriety. This grey and gloomy Friday, I feel secure in myself. I won’t feel like this every day, but I’m sure as hell better equipped to deal with all the obstacles in the road than I was a year ago. And in treasuring this knowledge, I’m supporting myself. And maybe that’s the best kind of support you can have. 

Happy Friday!

8 Responses to “The Complexity of Support”

  1. lucy2610 January 10, 2014 at 8:20 pm #

    To do is to be (Descartes). You are doing this and through it you will become what you want to be, whatever that is 🙂

  2. carrythemessage January 10, 2014 at 10:02 pm #

    Everyone has their own journey and path. For some, support – local or online – may do the trick. Some have used that alongside therapy, mental exercises, journaling, behaviour therapy, or just some sort of manner that works for them. And if someone is sober and happy, then rock on. Awesome! But for me, I needed more. I couldn’t, and can’t, just survive on support. Support is wonderful and important, but it doesn’t keep me sober. You are finding this out for yourself…this notion of a higher power, etc. My HP is what keeps me sober, no doubt. Without any doubt, in fact. I know that because I, Paul, have tried countless times to quit using Paul power. And it sucked. Wortheless.

    Opening myself up to that notion is what saved my life. Again, that is just me. But some of us need more than pats on the back and “big hugs your way”. And the lucky ones can go on the love and support of others only. Me, I needed plan B. ha ha.

    Anyway, welcome to this new journey and realization for you recovery and growth.


  3. Roxanne varner January 10, 2014 at 10:57 pm #

    I too am doing the back and forth waltz. It is horrid. Back on Day 1 for the millionth time.

    • FitFatFood January 21, 2014 at 3:39 pm #

      It’s so hard, but every time we fall we learn. I have been told so many times that every successfully sober person has had millions of day 1s, and one day, hopefully we’ll be looking back at these as formative learning experiences that help us stay sober x

  4. Amina C January 11, 2014 at 1:24 am #

    Being open is so important in sobriety. Just being willing to try is too. My last day, my hands were in the air just begging for anything to help me through this. I was willing to do anything. AA and my higher power have saved me. I know when I am weak and broken, my higher power is there. I just have to keep going. We all have different journeys. Thank you for sharing yours.

  5. Lilly January 14, 2014 at 9:59 am #

    Are you ok? What’s going on? Xx

    • FitFatFood January 14, 2014 at 12:06 pm #

      Yes! I’m fine- just been crazy busy at work & offering on a flat!

      Thanks for checking in Lily- much appreciated x

      • Lilly January 15, 2014 at 4:13 am #

        All good, just checking in light of recent events. Have been thinking of you. xo

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