Is it your weight? Is it the job you spent a fortune getting a degree(s) in but that causes you a lifetime of stress and sleepless nights? Is it an addiction of alcohol, nicotine, drugs, shopping, or starbucks? Infidelity? Credit card debt? Hoarding? A lie? The wrong relationship- not necessarily a bad one but one that you know deep-down is not the right one for you for whatever reason? Is it a conversation you’ve been avoiding with a relative, spouse or friend? Is it regret?
Denial. You don’t want to read further because you don’t feel ready to face the truth and reading about denial might help you recognize that which you are avoiding. It makes your heart race. It makes you sweat. It might make you cry. It’s too overwhelming. It’s too big to tackle. You aren’t ready and you aren’t sure when or if you ever will be.
Here’s the thing, though; admitting it is actually one of the hardest steps so once you’ve conquered that, you’re already on your way.I read an article today that made my skin crawl simply because it forced me to face a hard truth.
According to this graphic, I am a heavy drinker. Something I never would have labeled myself prior to reading this essay. But there it is. In a week, I typically have more than 7 drinks and like it or not, that is considered “heavy” drinking for women by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse. Sure I can shrug it off and use the following line from the article to validate my use, “. . . alcohol’s effects are highly individual and based on genetics, age, sex, patterns of consumption and general health.” Perhaps I don’t fit the mold this graphic suggest. Perhaps it’s ok for me to have more than 7 a week. Maybe I’ve “earned” it. Maybe it’s socially acceptable. Maybe I don’t get drunk . Maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself considering all of the stress I’m under raising these kids.
Or maybe not.
So, now what?
“One of the biggest problems of alcoholism is denial,” says Dr. Sullivan. “Getting over that is the first step to recovery.”
Ahhhh, denial. I find comfort in your oversized arms, hiding and weighing me down.
If we aren’t careful, our fear slowly but surely dictates our life. We are too afraid to face our truths, so we deny them and march forward hoping that their ill-fated effects won’t catch up to us. But in almost all cases, don’t they always at some point?
Our lack of sleep, our debt, our sorrow, our health, our unhappiness- it can all be helped if only we would get out of our own way.
I’ve caught this behavior early-enough that I still have the willpower to overcome it. As much as I would like to have a drink while I write this essay, I won’t simply to prove to myself that I am still in control of my impulses. But it’s not easy and I am uncomfortable with this new awareness of how much I am drinking. I don’t want to know- isn’t that the point of drinking/smoking/spending/overeating/cheating in the first place? We do these things to forget whatever it is that is really bothering us.
Which is the next step. What truth are we hiding from?
For now, I will work on reducing the amount I drink.
Perhaps then I will have the clarity and strength to focus on what it is that is causing me to drink.
This isn’t going to be easy, but the good things in life never are. And I have a feeling I will feel a lot lighter once I crawl out from Denial’s comfortable confines.
Will you, too?
Beck, M. (2015, December 21). The Effects of Chronic Heavy Drinking on Brain Function are Underdiagnosed. Retrieved from http://www.wsj.com