The biggest fights I have ever had have been with myself 

Those fights I have had in my own head have been wild. The things I have said to myself, the things I have called myself. Awful. Just awful. I would never speak to anyone else like that.  

The worst ones were when I wanted to stop drinking, but did not know how. The cycle of drinking and then hating myself for doing it and promising myself I would not do it again, only to do it again. That argument went on and on, on repeat for a very, very long time. 

The worst part is that shame and secrecy just grow off each other. They lift each other up and fuel each other’s fire. 

There is a real sense of pain in repeating the same behaviour and then berating yourself in secret over it. Feeling like there is no one to talk to, no one to tell.  You are on your own, in your own head. And the noise is loud. I wondered how I would ever make that noise stop

That was until I realised I was not alone. The day I found a community blew my world apart.  I joined One Year No Beer and for ages I never posted a word, I just did the lessons and read the posts and I could not believe what I was reading. It was like someone, like loads of people were reading my mind. They were saying the same, thinking the same, doing the same as me. I wasn’t alone.

There were loads of people, just like me, struggling like me, wanting more and better like me. They had made the same mistakes as me and they felt the same shame as me. I did not do or say a word. I just read and realised I was not alone, I was not the problem, I was not at fault. All these people were the same. We were all the same! The relief. I felt the sigh leave my body.  

They say a problem shared is a problem halved. Well, find a community with a shared problem and it smashes it into a million pieces.

Realising you are not alone is one of the greatest things you will ever do on a journey towards becoming alcohol free. Lifting the shame and secrecy off your own experience sheds light on your thoughts. And, just like I said at the beginning, I would not talk to a friend the way I was talking to myself, I soon realised I would never talk to any of these people like that either.

I could try (not easy, I will give you that) and stop talking so badly to myself. I could start trying to cheer myself on, supporting myself just like I was cheering on all these people I had never actually met before. As I started to encourage and cheer on the new community I was becoming part of, I started to encourage and cheer on myself and that is where the change really started happening.

I switched up the fight I was having. Instead of having it with myself, I started having it with alcohol.

But now I knew it wasn’t just me fighting the fight, I was fighting it with a whole group of teammates. Teammates I had never met, but who were all on my side. So, get a team!  Get a tribe! Get a community. Find people who want to win the right fight, the real fight with alcohol and not the one you are trying to have on your own.  

Communities are everywhere. If you can talk to a friend. If not, get a sober Instagram page, it can be anonymous. Or even better join a group, a tribe where you can actually engage with people. Talk to people – you might even meet some brand new friends. I know I have.  Friends for life! Whatever you do, just do not do this alone. It is an uphill battle when it can actually turn out to be a whole lot easier and way more fun. 

If you want someone on your team, check out our online community.

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