Most people have the all-too-common belief that in order to make a change in the right direction, people struggling with bad habits have to hit the proverbial rock bottom first. I admit it… I was no different. And perhaps that is even true… People usually don’t make changes unless they are forced to in some way, shape or form. But what does hitting rock bottom actually mean? That is different for different people. Addiction is baffling and cunning. Very tempting too… And it goes hand in hand with denial.
This afternoon I was doing research on the internet about why women drink more and more and I was stunned. After all these years that I have been drinking wine without even realizing how bad it was for my health, I am truly amazed by the power of alcohol.
I want to keep you out of rehab
Even now, when I started this blog and this whole idea about FabAfterRehab, it was never my intention to ban alcohol completely. I just wanted to make women aware of their drinking habits, so I could keep them out of rehab, which has been such a traumatic experience to me.
Is it still funny?
What I suspected, seems to be the case. Not only in Europe, but definitely also in the US; alcohol (ab)use among women has become a huge problem. The group of women of 40+-50+ and older drink more than their younger sisters! That really means something! We are damaging our older bodies more than we actually realize and all the while we are making jokes about it. Is it already wine o’clock? Five past three – okay, let’s go: that is a five in the hour! There are actually Facebook groups such as “Moms Who Need Wine”, and “OMG I so need a glass of wine or I’m gonna sell my kids”. This may seem funny, but it is not that funny anymore when you read the statistics. And when you read that every glass of wine that you drink above the maximum recommended weekly alcohol intake for women shortens your life by a half hour… Jesus. Not much to laugh about now, is there? I don’t know about you, but I hope to live a long and happy life in good health. And I have taken out a good shunk of that time, if what I read is true.
A lot of us even drink in isolation and are still very functional. And that is the danger. We think nobody will notice. We start with a drink after work, or during lunch with a friend, and find ourselves continuing at home, ditching the empty bottles in the glass container the next morning.
Why do women drink?
There are plenty of reasons why women drink. What started once as a ritual after work, or during social events, becomes a habit to respond to stress, to beat loneliness, to deal with frustration and emotional deprivation in daily life. Let’s face it; we have an awful lot of balls that we’re trying to keep up in the air.
Other reasons can be loss of parents, divorce, children moving out, guilt, shame, humiliation, taking on more roles or losing roles, which is even more stressful.
What is wrong with us? What happened to our self-value, self-worth, self-esteem and self-discovery?
Instead of drinking for any plausible reason, why don’t we work on our emotional and spiritual growth?
My very own rock bottom
I have been in denial for a very long time. Even after spending two months in rehab in Cape Town, I still told myself that I was not an addict. After all… I had not hit rock bottom. Until I was faced with my own version of it.
I had gained a lot of weight in the two years that I had not taken care of myself and wanted to work on that to get back in shape. A friend of mine, who has a program based on orthomolecular treatment (Natural2Byou), was going to help me out. When the results of my blood tests came back, I was in shock. I was developing diabetes, my immune system was damaged, and my liver was in really bad shape. My level of vitamin D was so low that it was a miracle that I could even produce a smile, my friend said.
So there it finally was… my rock bottom.
The start of my permanent abstinence
That was the last time I touched alcohol. From that moment on I promised myself to be nice to my body and to take care of it. That was a good decision. My friend put me on a strict diet and gave me wonderful supplements of the very best quality. I had to drink a lot of water, eat green vegetables and some fish and small portions of meat. Carbs, dairy products and sugar were absolutely forbidden. After a week I already felt better. And grateful. Grateful for this eye-opener and a second chance.
You know… we all have a free will. That is the prerogative of being a human being. The Universe offers us choices and can show us the way, but it is still up to us which way we want to go. And I say: Thank you, Universe, for your guidance. I hear you.