Drinking alcohol & my lack of self-worth

Drinking alcohol & my lack of self-worth

Drinking alcohol & my lack of self-worth

I can remember my last hangover like it was yesterday (even though it was 11 years ago): I can smell the alcohol seeping out of my pores, the tightness in my face like my skin had shrunk, I can taste the foulness of my breath, I can feel the shaking of my hands, the ache all over my head. The whole hangover lasted for five days… a constant feeling of pain in my entire body. My last hangover felt exactly the same as my first hangover, yet I drank consistently for 19 years.

Hmmm . . . gotta ask the question: why would I do that to myself? I am not alone in knowing what a hangover feels like; alcohol is poison to the body and there are all manner of potions and cocktails available to try and relieve the symptoms of a hangover. So what underlies this ‘recreational’ activity of consuming alcohol, that even if you only have one glass or two, it leaves an impact on you the next day – a slight lack of precision, a lack of clarity? And if you drink more, the impact is much greater . . .

I would suggest that it has something to do with self-worth.

At the base of a lack of self-worth for me was an emptiness, a feeling of ‘I am not worth very much’, that it would be better if I was different, prettier, smarter, more clever, richer or tidier but altogether different to how I was. So to avoid feeling any of that, I focussed on having ‘fun’ with others who were also wanting to have ‘fun’. Is that why we joke about our hangovers and how funny it is that we are so written off?

No one EVER says: “Wow you drank way too much, are you ok, is there something going on for you that you drank so much?” No, they would always laugh and knowingly joke and tease about how awful it feels to be hungover and it is worn as a badge of honour. Some major collusion going on, methinks!

I came to a point where I had really slowed down my alcohol consumption and I had been starting to question why it was that I would drink. This was inspired by having some Sacred Esoteric Healing sessions where I felt so amazing in my body, I felt an expansion and ease of being in my body that I hadn’t felt before – better than any drug or drink I had ever had and ‘all’ that was happening was an Esoteric Practitioner was placing their hands on me with love and respect. As stated, it felt amazing!

From these continued experiences of the healings I gradually built a feeling of self-worth and even love in my own body and started to take better care of myself with the food I ate and how I slept and eventually how I had ‘FUN’. This was no longer in ways that were self-destructive, like drinking alcohol, but in ways that were loving and caring for me, building that feeling of love in my body.

One day when relatives were visiting, that old familiar feeling of wanting to fit in and not stand out came up and I chose to drink with them. My hangover lasted a week and as a result it was plain to me I would never drink again because the pain my body felt was simply unacceptable . . . the momentary and false sense of joining in and having ‘fun’ was not in any way worth the pain it had caused my body. This was because the more I had built my body to feel at ease, to have a lightness, to feel steady emotionally, not up and down so much, the easier it was to get to the point of never drinking again.

What I learnt was that I was worth staying with, staying present within my body – my body felt good and I felt less like I needed to be different or better than I already was. I slowly came to accept that I was ok and now I can even say – 12 years on – that I feel better than I have ever felt in my body and within myself. I would say I feel awesome – that’s one of the those words that gets easily bandied about and usually comes with a big ‘rah-rah’ of trying to be bigger, or more, but I truly feel that I bring something unique that no one else does.

This something is a feeling of solidness in knowing truth and love; that I bring a lightness and humour that breaks through the heavy ways of living ingrained patterns, along with a sweetness at the core of me that is really divine to be around, and this is simply what I bring. Others bring something equally as ‘awesome’ and when we are able to express the whole love that we are all from, that's when life is magical . . .

Now that is better than any drink I have ever drunk or any ‘fun’ I have ever had.


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  • By Vanessa McHardy, MA Integrative Child Psychotherapist

    Vanessa loves to help young people and adults to have an understanding of how they learn and how they can express all of themselves in all areas of their lives. True learning is at the heart of Vanessa’s life in all ways.