I didn’t care about myself for way too long. I often remember waking up after a night out drinking and I couldn’t remember how I had got home, what had happened or whether I had done something I would regret. I was usually covered in bruises – standard after a night out, being the particularly clumsy person I am.
Over the years I had far too many ‘accidents’ from nights out drinking (not always caused by me, but not helped by me either) – I’ve fallen in the shower, fallen flat on the pavement, lost a toe nail, had stitches in my foot, had bruises covering large parts of my body and more.
In addition to this I suffered from daily debilitating diarrhoea, I had started taking taxis to and from work in case I had to use the bathroom suddenly. I was overweight, totally uninspired by life and was living a work hard, play hard existence fuelled with alcohol at night and processed foods in the day.
Even now it makes me sad thinking about the point I had got to and what I accepted as my reality.
But I was addicted to the release and escape I found in drinking. I didn’t know how to get out of the life I had created for myself. I felt trapped and powerless to change it. I would try and stop drinking for a few weeks, resume exercising and I would notice some changes – I would start to feel a bit better, perhaps drop a couple of pounds and there would be a glimmer of hope in the distance. Maybe I did like myself a bit, maybe there was hope things could change… But then as soon as this feeling came I would self-sabotage and go right back to drinking and partying, and the light would fade and I’d be back in the vicious cycle I had created for myself.
It was only when a family member who I love dearly got a life-threatening illness that something in me clicked. My instinct told me that in order to help I needed to heal myself. This seemed totally counterintuitive but the feeling was so strong and I so badly wanted to help that this is what I started to do. I stopped drinking the following weekend and cut out all processed foods, I even signed up for a yoga class, which I had been meaning to do for years!
I continued this way for two months and this is when things really started to shift in my life for the first time ever. I started to make small choices in favour of my own self-care like choosing to have a night in instead of a night at the pub, or prioritising a yoga class on the weekend where before I would have been in bed hungover. I stopped feeling like I was missing out and started to tune into what my body and mind wanted and how I was feeling. It was all very new to me. I found the confidence to do a two-day life coaching event, something I never would have done with my whole weekend when I was drinking, and signed up for another course which started me on my path to where I am today. I even started to like my body.
Since then I have gone through phases of reverting to old habits and self-sabotaging on occasion, but never to the extent where I was at for so many years before. That first time of really beginning to care about myself set me on a new path, which meant each time I fell back into an old pattern I pulled myself out of it faster. I know how great life is when I put my self-care first and what radical changes are possible in your life.