This morning I opened my Sober Tracker and the motivational quote read: “The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.” Very true. I once read that Tony Robbins said: “Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” That one has stuck with me through the years.
Someone asked me recently what the difference was between the time a couple years ago that I took 2 months off alcohol, and now. As I’d mentioned this time was much easier. I don’t really know the answer except that a few of the factors are different:
- My social life is a bit more quiet due to COVID restrictions and the fact that it’s August and most of my friends are out of town
- I’m not traveling for work and normally I’m on the road every week
- I’m reading – a LOT. Books, blogs, online articles, instagram posts, etc etc.
- I want to do this…deep inside of me something is telling me this is important, and I’m listening to that voice
I think number 4 is ultimately what makes it easiest…but if numbers 1, 2 and 3 weren’t also factoring in, it would be much harder. The social interaction….especially the professional ones that can’t be put aside, make it harder to make the right choice. And the fact that there are so many people out there, sharing their experiences…is a huge help. I don’t related to all of them, as this kind of issue is such a spectrum and everyone has their own journey. I do though, relate to some and that makes a huge difference!
When I look back at times when my Dad tried to quit drinking, it was all very hush-hush. I remember a month or so where we weren’t allowed in our basement because our Uncle was downstairs, detoxing. We knew he had a problem – and Dad was helping him. What we didn’t know what that Dad was on that same path. We knew he drank too much….but we didn’t know until we were older what the situation really was. So any attempts to stop drinking while we were younger were either (a) not there; or (b) completely hidden.
I remember him going to rehab once or twice…but by that point I had already left high school I think. And my parents had already separated. I know that the CEO of one of the companies he worked for, when he fired him for his drinking, offered to guarantee him his job back if he went to rehab. But he didn’t want to go.
When I watched Mad Men this past winter, it opened my eyes to a lot of what work/family life must have been like for my parents. The drinking culture and everyone joining in until suddenly they had a ‘problem’ and then became ostracized. There is so much help out there right now for people that want it. And although I only remember once or twice that my Dad finally admitted he had a problem and wanted help, I wonder….what if he’d had the help that’s out there now? What if he’d had access to all the resources, and the lack of shame around drinking problems, that is there now, and the sober communities online? Back then, AA was the only option. I remember going to Al Anon as a teen with my sister and neither of us liked it, nor could we relate to what the other people were talking about about as our stories were so different. Perhaps if there was the amount of visibility in online groups that there is now, we’d have found our group of random people around the world that we could relate to.
So I wonder….what if Dad had had the luxury of having the amount of help that is available now? Maybe he wouldn’t have wanted it and still would have pushed back with the “Tiff, if I have to live without alcohol then I have nothing to live for” (yes, he actually said that to me). But maybe…maybe he would have found the type of help that resonated with him. Maybe he would have been able to get himself out of it all sooner before it became just too much for him to bear.
Maybe….maybe his story would have played out differently.