I am a huge follower of Laura McKowen*. She has this to say when it comes to assessing your life and the choices you make:
The normal question is, “Is this bad enough for me to have to change?”
The question we should be asking is, “Is this good enough for me to stay the same?”
And the real question underneath it all is, “AM I FREE?”
She wrote this a long time ago but it’s become my guidepost, my cornerstone for my alcohol free lifestyle.
Here’s the thing. I didn’t think I was bad enough… Even though I could see my alcohol use was increasing over the years.
I initially used alcohol to “fit in”, or to alleviate my social anxiety (both of which are a crock – you don’t need alcohol for either of these). Over time, this increased to using it for stressful times, bad days, good days, any day, every day…
I was blind to what my alcohol use was doing to my body and my mental health.
I gained weight but that was normal as you got older, right?
My anxiety and depression got worse – I needed more and more alcohol to have the same effect… But no one tells you that on the pretty labels on those eye-catching bottles – no one tells you that’s what addictive substances do (spoiler alert, alcohol is an addictive substance for all humans).
No one tells you what it is doing to your heart (and other vital organs), to your skin, to your bones.
I knew I wasn’t at my healthiest or happiest – but that’s just life isn’t it; another part of getting older?
At one time I landed in hospital for a couple of weeks with pneumonia and while I was there I was diagnosed with an enlarged heart, Diabetes and a bunch of other endocrinological issues (all directly related to my alcohol usage). My potassium levels were so low I nearly died. Potassium? What’s the big deal? It’s just a mineral right? Apparently, the heart needs potassium to function, do its job, like keep it pumping – a key factor needed to stay alive.
Was this enough of a rock bottom for change? Hell no, once I recovered, I thought I could moderate, and I ended up back on the slippery slope. I had slowly gotten my strength back in my physical recovery but over time I just ended up (almost) right back to where I had been. This is when I realised I didn’t have another recovery in me. I could not go through all that again.
So if you’re waiting for “rock bottom”, take it from me – don’t.
Rock bottom is saying “future you” can figure it all out – but wouldn’t you want “future you” to be able to work with the strongest you can be, whatever cards fall your way? Waiting until you’re “sick enough” is giving “future you” an uphill battle.
I wish I hadn’t waited for a rock bottom moment (or two) to finally change. I wasted a lot of years not being the healthiest I could be; not living life to its fullest potential.
You absolutely do not have to wait to be sick enough, weak enough, unhappy enough to make positive changes in your life.
Don’t leave it up to “future you”. Why not live your best life now?