We ex-drinkers get a really bad rap. Which is why so many of us stay in the closet for weeks, if not months or years, after quitting drinking. If you give up smoking you tell the world and everyone pats you on the back. Give up drinking and you mumble apologetically about 'being on antibiotics.' Why?
It's not at all surprising when you look at the image of the ex-drinker. We're seen as weak willed, lacking in self control, abnormal, ill, addicted. Which makes absolutely no sense at all. How can you - Mrs drinker - accuse me of being weak willed, lacking in self control, abnormal, ill and addicted when I haven't had a drink for 16 days (woo hoo!), while you're still downing the best part of a bottle every evening? Who's really the weak willed one? I'm the healthy, normal person - not the lady who is still obsessed by 'wine o'clock' and doing terrible damage to her liver every day.
We are not lacking in self control. We're the ones who've looked hard at our lives and decided to do something about it, despite swimming against the tide of the rest of society. We are bl***y strong, and we should be wearing t-shirts celebrating the fact, not hiding behind 'an important meeting in the morning' or 'got to drive home'.
Okay, maybe in the past we had an eeensy little issue with moderation, but is that such an awful thing? I bet we're not moderate in anything, and on the whole that's laudable.
I may have been hopeless at moderating nicotine (I smoked 30 a day before giving up 13 years ago) and alcohol, but I don't moderate the good stuff either. Anything I do, I do with gusto - the career, friendship, motherhood, marriage - and my drinking buddies were the same.
I met some of the most interesting and wonderful people smoking behind the bike sheds and staying late at the party with an additional bottle. We were the rebels - the ones who loved pushing the boundaries and riling against the rules. And I'm still a rebel at heart, and proud of it. Personally, I would much rather chat to the ex-drinker at a party than the person who's never coloured outside the lines.
We are not bad people, we're people with a massive lust for life who have just realised that we've got to the stage where we need to re-focus our enthusiasm onto something a bit less self-destructive. And whatever we re-focus on we'll do brilliantly.
Now, I'm not ready to come out yet and deal with everyone else's negative perceptions, but I'm sure as hell not going to beat myself up when I'm doing the bravest and best thing I've done in my life to date.
I rock! And so do you! So they can stick that in their oversized wine glass and drink it.
Apologies to my regular readers, but I'm going to have to stop posting every day and post every two or three days instead. I've got to do something about the finished novel languishing in my desk drawer, plus I'm worried about running out of stuff to say. I don't want to start boring you! I will reply to comments daily, though, so please stay in touch. And if you have any topics you'd like me to post on then please let me know.
Have a great, immoderate, day. SM x
Related post: Why Ex-Drinkers Rock! Part 2