Something lovely happened last night. I had a long phone call with an old friend who I’ve known since starting college together at sixteen (25 years now, blimey!). We don’t get together that often because we live in different parts of the country but even if it’s been ages, when we get together we just pick up as if we saw each other last week.
During the phone call I told her about not drinking and about some of my recent drinking scenarios and the feelings that they brought up. I even went as far as to tell her I think it was time I admitted I had a problem. I’ve talked to her in the past about my mounting concerns about drinking so it wasn’t really dropping a bombshell but it still felt really huge to actually be saying that to somebody.
She was fantastic. The conversation didn’t skip a beat. There was no awkward silence, no OMG WTF! moment, no ‘you don’t really have a problem’ moment – just total support and acceptance.
We went on to talk about the psychological addiction and how it’s the more ‘hidden’ side of alcoholism rather than the outward measure of how many units are drunk. I told her I recently drank a wine box in two evenings because I somehow had to keep going back for more, because it was there calling to me. She admitted she’s slipped into daily drinking – just one or two – but still, frequently daily. She told me she could so easily slip into a state where she has a problem too and is trying to cut down and find other ways to relax at the end of the working day. We talked about her problems too. She has major self-esteem issues, has had a fairly recent bereavement and a history of codependent behaviour leading to horrendous experiences due to unfortunate choices of husbands or partners.
I felt calm and happy after the conversation. I’m so grateful that I have somebody with whom I can discuss real life shit – warts and all – and be part of a friendship that offers mutual support and acceptance.
She’s a health professional and I have a hunch she may enjoy some of the the secular buddhism podcasts that blend spirituality with psychology and neuroscience approaches. I’m going to find a basic ipod on ebay and load it with this sort of podcasts and post it to her as a gift with the invitation to delete them all and fill it with whatever she feels like if what I send doesn’t resonate. We all have our own paths after all…