Friday, 4 September 2015

Everything is Relative

I've been haunted by all the photos, on Facebook and in the media, of dead children washed up on the shores of the Greek islands and Turkey.

As a drinker, I was not a very compassionate person.

I think my brain spent far too much of its time thinking about the next drinking opportunity, or recovering from the last one.

And if I did happen to come across a terrible story that hit me hard through the fug, I had a solution for that.....vino. A few glugs and, like magic, not bothered any more.

But today, I'm feeling ashamed. Because there is no doubt that the journey to Alcohol Free is a hard one, but I look at those pictures of the people who are making the treacherous journey from Syria, and countries like it, to Europe and realise that everything is relative.

These people haven't just given up their 'prop', their 'best friend', they've left their homes, their culture, their families and friends, their wealth and possessions. Everything they own....

.....just to survive. Just to keep their children alive. Just to live in a world where you can get an education. Show your bare face, or an ankle. Love whomever you want. Feed and clothe your children. Worship the God you choose.

Yes, it's difficult for us to keep our heads above water sometimes, but I looked at a picture of a mother in the Mediterranean sea, trying desperately to stay alive so that she could keep her baby's head above the water for long enough for the rescue boat to reach her, and realised that I cannot even begin to comprehend how that feels.

I've posted before about the importance of self-compassion. And it is important. We have to be kind to ourselves, to love ourselves and to forgive ourselves if we're ever going to make it to Properly Sober, but I'm worried that along the way I've neglected compassion for others.

So next time the wine witch comes calling, and I'm feeling sorry for myself, I'm going to think of those women on those overcrowded boats with their children. Women who've risked everything for an outcome which is horribly uncertain in countries that welcome them with crossed arms and suspicious faces. Women who don't have a glass of Chablis to take the edge off their terror.

I owe it to women like them, as well as to myself, to make the very best of my life, and to use it to help others.

So here's to women struggling everywhere. However large or small the obstacles.

Courage mes braves.

SM x


  1. How true. Seeing these awful photos really does put everything into perspective. Those poor families. I have quite a stoic attitude to getting/being sober. It's just something I know has to be done and I just have to get on with it. Obviously I can already see the benefits but it is also peeling back the layers of indifference that protected me from things I don't want to deal with. The result is I'm now a bit of an emotional wreck which is fine with me but I definitely am feeling like I have another chance at things. Life was ok before but it's up to me now to make the most of it. I'm still not out of the 'fug' of paws but the situation with these people trying to flee for a better life has really given me a bit of a shake up too. Big reality check. Thanks for posting this. It's important that we realise that other people/women out there have a lot bigger struggles than coping without wine xxx

  2. Amen. After four years of sobriety, some of the wonder and gratefulness I once felt daily is now taken for granted. Shame on me. There is so much pain in the world, we are meant to feel it, because that is the only way change is brought about. Even in my own life, if I could drink away my unhappiness, then I didn't need to change a thing.

  3. My personal belief is that we are all. All interconnected.
    When I find compassion for myself, it adds to the compassion of the world.
    When I understand compassion for myself, I am able to offer true compassion to others.
    I can't feel guilt because I am not them. That is not fair to me. But I also can't shut out the pain with booze.
    But I can do my part to bring love, comfort and peace to those around me.

  4. Getting sober is the first step. Getting into a healthy place allows us to reach out and help others with their struggle. You make a difference every day SM, by posting your blog. It may not seem like you are changing the world or doing enough, but I am coming to believe in a ripple effect....who knows who your blog may reach and help? And who they may go on and help? And so on. xx