What hundreds of thousands of women in the country are not talking about.
I like to think I’m a unique snowflake. Isn’t that what we all think? Us doing us. Being ourselves because everyone else is taken. I have a quirky sense of style, I’m a bit of a nerd and I have a habit of kicking ass at life. I realised a couple of years ago, however, that one part of my life was not unique to me at all. And this was the fuel I have used to create The Social Rebellion.
So, let me give you the 411 on why you and I are more similar than you think. You see, when I was busy with my career, slaying it on the air, (oh I hosted radio and television shows for a job). I was being fabulous, on billboards and on paper ticking those bucket list items off with my chosen career path in media, wearing my legwarmers OVER my jeans in winter (told you I was quirky). However, there was one part of my kick ass life that I didn’t expose or disclose to anyone really. Mostly because I was kind of sure that I was okay but eventually over time had more and more doubts about how okay I really was. I kept thinking to myself, ‘am I an alcoholic?’ It’s a pretty full on question to ask yourself especially because I was positive I wasn’t but I felt like I was something. I was something that I couldn’t articulate or label or put in a box on a shelf. In hindsight, I was simply not coping with my life! The pressure of a national profile, the stress of a 24 hour-a-day job, no down time, no me time, events, parties, BBQs, travel… sounds fun huh? Sound familiar?
Maybe your stresses in life aren’t the same but the effect is. It’s too much, there is no room to breathe, you can’t have a day off being you because your world would fall apart. That’s how I felt. So, I drank. I drank alcohol to be fun, I drank alcohol to pass the time I should have spent processing my emotions. I went out instead of giving time to nurturing myself, and I numbed the consistent pain and anxiety that comes with some life trauma’s and being successful. I drank a bit too much, a bit too often but it was somehow manageable, it somehow kept me dancing on the edge. It kept me going, running on adrenaline and ethanol. I didn’t hit rock bottom. I didn’t lose my mind or all my money, just my inhibitions occasionally. I didn’t do anything crazy like drive home drunk or hit someone. I just went about my week to week topping up on tipples to cope and engaging in the typical ‘whipping of one’s hair back and forth’ on the d-floor. But for what? And why? I think that was the real head scratcher. Why was I drinking? Why was I unable to engage socially without a drink in my hand? How did this once innocent practise creep slowly into my life and take up more and more room. How did this behaviour have so much power in my life now? I was busy ‘waking up like this’ and being flawless but under the surface I was tired of waking up feeling like crap and I felt so flawed.
So, I decided to take one month off, drinking. I still went to work, I still hung out with friends, I still did the obligatory team meets and presentations that my job required. I still went to gigs, and did all the things I liked doing, I just changed one thing. I decided not to drink.
Was it simple? Yes.
Was it easy? Hell no.
Was it worth it? 110%.
What I realized when I put the shot glasses down is that no-one explained to me there is better way to do things. So, I just got all my compounded complications and tried to survive. No one told me that I had the capacity to do life well or that I possessed the character to deal with my past, forgive my mistakes and to truly thrive. I simply drank alcohol to avoid some pain and get through. Just keep chugging, literally. Do you concur?
Maybe you’re not out at fancy parties with people who might be famous (although you’re not exactly sure but they look famous - welcome to my past life). Maybe you’re at lunch with your girlfriends but the pressure is there. The pressure to have a drink, a glass, a bottle. The social norm is that we get together and we just drink and if you don’t then you’re a bad friend.
Perhaps you are a ‘because’ drinker. You take to the bottle because something happened. A circumstance usually not in your control. You were dumped, or hurt, or you won something, or you had a tough day, or you had a great day or your kids are driving your nuts, because, well they’re children, or you can’t have children.
Perhaps you are the person that people come to because they want a drink because something happened in their life. Not necessarily a major tragedy either, just a speed bump. Just a life thing. That’s inevitable because this is real life.
See how, and no offence, but you’re not that special because you are not alone. This is a common, universal issue for kick ass women. At some point, I just had to say, ‘screw it’ Screw everyone and their expectations of me. Who says I should go and get trolleyed at the work lunch… yes lunch! Who says I should do shots with the boss when we do well at our jobs. Who says I should down champagne because my friend is getting married? Everyone else, that’s who. But guess who gets to live my life? Me and only me and it’s true for you too..
I decided on January 1st, 2015 to rebel against the social norm that had kept me from being my best self and I stopped drinking. Just for a month, it felt achievable. Anything more than that seemed impossible. It’s been three and a half years and I haven’t a drink. I’m not saying you need to stop drinking forever but I think we should all take a cheeky month off and see how your relationship with alcohol looks. If you’re drinking a bit too much or too often, a month away will give you mental clarity to reassess and place healthy boundaries around your drinking habits. That’s what I did. And the benefits are endless. Far beyond what I could comprehend at the time.
The Social Rebellion is the result of my decision to own my choices and make better ones. It’s a guide to help you understand why you drink, how you can change that and live the life you dream of, instead of the One you are trying to forget. Our life experience is made up of our choices, and once we know better, we do better. The Social Rebellion is a movement empowering women to redefine their relationship with alcohol because I know first-hand, true freedom begins with a cheeky month alcohol-free