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How Sobriety Makes It Difficult for Me to Ask for What I Want

I bought a bottle of de-alcoholised wine to cook with. I want to tell you that is the only reason, but even the smell of de-alcoholised wine soothes me right now, so it just is what it is. The smell of wine triggers this intense calming inside of me I didn’t really know I had been missing.

I have been having some intense desires to resort back to my old ways. I don’t know if it is necessarily because I am unhappy or perhaps maybe because I am safe now in my happiness. No matter the chaos, I am happy in here.

These desires cause me to think things like, “I really wasn’t that bad.”

“Look how much fun they are having.”

“It was so much easier to date men and tell them how I really feel with a little liquid courage.”

And my favorite: “It wasn’t so hard to be honest then.”

Sure, I was honest then. But I never remembered it because 9 times out of 10, I blacked out when I drank. And my honesty was never a balanced scale — it was all or nothing, I was mean brutal and I literally thought everything was about me.

You could call it narcissism but I just call it alcoholism.

I cannot tell you how many times I woke up in some strange place or bed — on the stairs, in the bathroom or beside the toilet, covered in puke with bruises all over — wondering who the hell I was and how the fuck I got there. I cannot even begin to explain the anxiety and overwhelming desire to get away from these feelings — which in the end, only caused me to repeat the cycle every fucking day.

It is of course easy to forget all of this when you feel good and even when you don’t. The smell of wine brings me back to a time when I could escape myself and be whoever the fuck I wanted, say whatever I desired and get everything I asked for.

I have been thinking a lot about this behavior and thought pattern because I believe once I become aware of my patterns, only then can I actually change them. When I drank I got everything I wanted, at a cost of course. But nonetheless, everything I wanted was handed to me, whether I recognized it as this or not.

The only reason I got what I wanted when I drank though, is really as simple as this: I asked for it.

I asked for that guy to buy me a drink or take me home. I asked that girl to help me. I asked for that pit stop at McDonalds. I asked for my friends to dance with me. I asked for that shot, that song. Literally everything I wanted, I was brave enough to ask for.

I just asked for it and usually I received it. If I didn’t get what I wanted, I moved on — sometimes with a temper tantrum, but usually without.

It didn’t hurt me when I drank to be rejected, ridiculed or embarrassed — and I certainly never overthought what I wanted, wondering if I deserved it. I didn’t care. I wanted what I wanted and I usually got it.

Which brings me to now. My biggest problem besides overthinking is I believe somehow I have lost my ability to ask for what I want. Partly because yup, I’m still a little insecure friends. But mostly because sometimes, I still don’t think I deserve what I desire. “Surely, that is too good to be true. I couldn’t possibly deserve this”.

My problem is not that I don’t know what I want. Because trust me when I tell you I have overthought it many of times. I do of course know what I want. It’s all actually very clear to me.

My problem is I do not at all know how to ask for it. Contrary to this writing, I am an insanely private, guarded person. You really don’t know me, unless of course you are one of the four people who do.

I don’t miss drinking right now — I miss asking for what I want bravely without thinking about it so much. I miss seeing what I wanted and believing I could have it. I miss numbing the voice in my mind who still reminds me how I just couldn’t ever be enough.

I miss not feeling so naked and vulnerable.

I miss not worrying if I would get rejected.

I miss those fleeting moments (that I can remember) when nothing and nobody could hurt me.

But I remind myself, when I miss these feelings, I was hurting me.

I was hurting others. I was not who I was meant to be.

If you are here with me thinking about sobriety, or currently in detox and recovery — or perhaps you have a few years under your belt — I know you feel me here. I know you miss giving and receiving without feeling so fucking exposed and vulnerable. But we can do this.

We can ask for what we want, no matter the cost — and that doesn’t even yet feel right to me. The thought of it terrifies me. But we can do this.

We will do this.

I just hope the day comes where I finally ask. But more importantly while asking, I know without a doubt no matter what happens, I do deserve it.

Getty Images: fizkes

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