Over and over again, when I read people's stories about how they ended up with a major drink issue, I hear them talk about growing up feeling like an outsider. A square peg in a round hole, not fitting in.
They go on to describe how, as a teenager, alcohol made them feel - for the first time - 'whole'. Included. Secure.
This is often quoted as evidence for an alcoholic 'type' - people with a hole in the soul.
But, you know what? I look at my eldest and remember all that teenage stuff - trying to get to grips the world and your place in it, whilst dealing with raging hormones and a body which won't stop changing. And it strikes me that surely ALL teenagers feel like that underneath. How can they not?
I used to tell people frequently that my life changed when I was about twenty five and I stopped caring what people thought of me. Is it a co-incidence that that's the age when I started drinking more and more?
Looking back, I'm not sure that I ever really stopped caring - I just found a way to mask it, not to deal with it.
And when you stop drinking, all the insecurities come back. You can find yourself standing on the outskirts at parties thinking "do people think I'm boring? Am I wearing completely the wrong outfit? Are they talking about me?" in a way you haven't done since you were nineteen.
So, decades later, it's time to learn how to properly cope with teenage angst. And I think I'm getting to the solution....
....you have to remember that everyone else feels the same.
Think back to all the 'insiders', the round pegs in round holes from your teenage years. Do you think now that they really had all the answers? How is that even possible at the age of sixteen or seventeen? I bet if you asked them they'd confess to having been as riddled with as many insecurities as you!
And the same is true of most adults.
How many 'perfect' marriages have you admired, only to find out that both parties secretly hated each other and have been having wild affairs? How many friends do you have with seemingly wonderful lives who you know are struggling terribly with debt, or depression, or similar?
I know from this blog and all the e-mails I receive that no-one's life is what it seems to the onlooker. There's Facebook life, and there's reality, and very little overlap between the two.
Learning to judge yourself by your insides, and not other peoples' outsides is the key to serenity, not a glass of vino.
And who wants to be a standard shaped peg in a standard shaped hole anyway? Who wants to be stuck in a gaggle of identikit followers?
Isn't it better to be on the outside leading the way? Like us.
Love SM x