Towards the end of last year I gave myself some reminders to try and keep me mentally healthy. One of them being to make sure I write everything out of my mind. So this is what I’m doing.
I’ve had a lot on my mind recently. My second trip back to Australia has worked out a lot better than what I was expecting. I’ve been happy in pretty much every aspect. Work, socially, personally, mentally and physically I have been happy which is something I haven’t felt before.
I had a few rocky moments in my first month or two of being here. These were mostly issues with socialising and alcohol. I have a past with alcohol (which you can read a bit about here) and socialising can be difficult for me. If I am in a social situation (groups I struggle with especially) where there is alcohol I will usually end up drinking more alcohol faster to try and get me to a point where I socially feel comfortable. Half way through my counselling I realised how negatively alcohol impacted me and I completely cut it out but at the same time I was only spending time with L, Z and my family, so I was socialising with people who had known me for years, who knew what was going on and who I trusted so there was no need for me to drink alcohol at all.
When I look back at the relationship I had with alcohol I see it in a very negative way (which it is). I associate it with the person I used to be, which is the person I never want to be again. I can see the pain I was in, the confusion, anger and recklessness. So after my counselling I was adamant to never become that person again.
I slipped back into old habits during my first 6 months of being in Australia. My first month or so at this new job, in this new country with all these new people was amazing. It really was, but it didn’t take me long to see that the socialising was mainly focused around alcohol. The place where I was living was deep in the valley, middle of nowhere so we only really socialised with the people that we worked with and the only thing that seemed to make socialising worth it was the alcohol. A few weeks in and I was back to drinking alcohol (but I had it under control at this point). I had been there for about 4 months and that’s when I noticed things began to change. The big thing for me was I would bring the stresses of the working day home which I then supressed with alcohol (usually everyones go to thing to do after work was to have a drink at home). That’s when I realised I was slipping back into old habits such as drinking because I am in a shit mood. I worked the next 2 months and once I finished I was able to rebalance myself.
Then my second visit to Australia came and I was fully aware of what could potentially happen with work, people and alcohol. I knew that I would begin to drink again, but I was more aware of my warning signs. I had to be aware of who I was drinking with, where I was drinking, what I was drinking and what mood I was in. I faced a few challenges during my first month or so here. Socialising was the biggest one. Everybody at work was great, but being social in work with your work colleagues to being social with your work colleagues out of work are two very different things. There was this one time after work where everyone was having a few drinks (beer is the most common here and I haven’t ever really been much of a beer drinker) and it was nice and chilled but I just sat there in silence. I didn’t have a drink (which was then followed by a shit load of questions) and my social anxiety went through the roof. I sat there in silence, about to burst into tears for easily a solid hour or longer. Eventually when I got home I rang my mum and burst into tears about how I didn’t want to go back to drinking heavily and how difficult socialising was. I was having a bit of a tough time with it all. I had rang my mum a few times about the topic as well as spoken to my housemate about it all. It was good to have people there to listen, but at the end of the day it all came down to my choice. Whether I chose to drink or not to.
About a month or two into my stay here and I had begun to drink more to allow myself to be social. I was enjoying work and I was working with the best bunch of people I have ever worked with before but still at this point, drinking allowed socialising to become easier for me.
It wasn’t long until I was drinking fairly regularly now (every weekend/every other weekend) but I was happy. Work was still going well (which is not what I was expecting at all), I was happy to work and socialise with the same people and I was happy. I was happy at where I was in life and despite the fact that my alcohol intake had increased, I was actually really happy and that’s what confused me. I had always looked back at who I was and associated drinking with my mental struggles, loss of control and all rounded destructiveness. But now, I was drinking because I was enjoying myself, I was happy and content with my life. I wasn’t drinking to supress a thought/emotion because there wasn’t anything to supress.
I have had some amazing nights over the past few months. Nights that I can barely remember but will always cherish but a couple of weeks ago I slipped into an old habit. I got very drunk and I mean VERY drunk. I haven’t been that drunk in many years and the reason why I got so drunk was because I was in a bad mood.
I had been working at the sales, so my work hours had been nearly doubled, people were stressed and the day was constantly busy. The sales and the work gets to everyone. The overall mood around the team was pretty bleak so some of us decided to go out for some food and drinks that evening. We finished work, got ready then went to watch the rest of the yearlings sale on that day. Within the space of 45mins I had drank 2 glasses of wine. I knew this wasn’t good because of how fast I was drinking compared to normal and I could feel the urge to just keep drinking. I suppressed it, I was under the impression that I would 100% know when I was done and it was home time. We all went off to get some food and I was just necking these glasses of wine. The worst thing is, I knew full well what I was doing and how it could all end but I was just losing the self-control to stop. The night ended with a lot (I mean a lot) of vomit. Granted I still had a really fun night and there were a lot of laughs (most of them being the next day) but it was a realisation for me.
After the sales I spent a few days in Sydney on a mini break and then my boss gave me the following week off as work is pretty quiet at the moment. My time off has given me a lot of time to think, reflect and reconnect. I’ll admit the past few months have been crazy (for various reasons) but they’ve also been the most fun and I haven’t been this happy in a while. I had a great end to last year and a great start to this year. My drunken mess of a night was just a reminder. A reminder of why I watch how much I drink and why I cut down on drinking in the first place. I needed this reminder.
Writing helps me in many ways. It can help me make clarity of the jumbled mess that sometimes rotates around my head or it can help get rid of any vocal blockages. Writing can be like therapy for me. If you’re having struggles with talking or making sense of the mumbles that go round in your head, try writing it out. It doesn’t have to make sense, you don’t have to share it with someone (but you can share it even without actually saying the words) and it could benefit you massively.
This has been on the back of my mind for a while now and I just needed to write it out.
Thank you for reading,
Sending my love to you all,