At school there were endless opportunities to bag yourself an award. Stickers, merits, house points, badges, medals and certificates including my favourite, star of the week awards which if you were really lucky, would involve a certificate and a sticker or two.
I liked school and I liked awards. I would work hard to earn praise and approval and if I got a sticker or a certificate in acknowledgment, so much the better. Having something physical to evidence hard work or good behaviour gave me reassurance that I was doing OK. Even more important, it confirmed that other people thought so. Then as now, it was what other people thought that mattered most to me.
I haven’t told many people I have given up drinking. Of those I have told, none of them know how bad things got. I have drip fed more details to some than to others but I still don’t think anyone really gets it. A few days ago a close friend said “I’m sure you’ll be able to have one or two drinks again”. When I replied that I couldn’t ever limit myself to one drink, she looked completely baffled.
The problem with only a few people knowing I am no longer drinking and none of them having any idea of how much of a big deal it is, is that I don’t get any awards. When I went to Weightwatchers to shift the last stubborn stone or so of baby weight, I got a sticker when I lost 5lbs and more and more stickers as my weight lost continued. Eventually, when I hit my target weight I got a certificate and a key ring and a round of applause ! I couldn’t stop smiling.
I haven’t had any awards for not drinking. I’ve bought myself treats and I have had lots of lovely supportive comments on this blog which have made a huge difference. But the child in me would like an award – a certificate I can put on the mantelpiece or a medal I can wear round my neck. Even a modest sticker would do – especially if it was glittery. And I would like someone else to give it to me.
I think I need to try to work on my need for reassurance and approval from others. I feel good about what I have achieved so far. I need to reach a point where feeling good about myself is enough.