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5 Things I’d Tell My Younger Self (Before the Booze)
Hindsight is 20-20; it’s always easier looking in the rear-view mirror knowing what we know now, right? So if I could go back in time, what would I tell myself? What advice would I hand down to a younger, more gullible version of…me?
If I Could Turn Back Time
Turns out there’s a lot of things I’d like to tell my younger self. But first and foremost, I’d focus on alcohol and the destruction it had on my life.
Here are five things I wish I knew before picking up the bottle all those years ago:
- There’s nothing wrong with being shy.When I was growing up, I was the “shy one.” Don’t get me wrong, I never had a shortage of friends, but around strangers, I was quiet and reserved. It wasn’t until my fifth grade teacher called me out for being an introvert – like there was something seriously wrong with me – that I started questioning who I was. That insecurity stayed with me for years and it wasn’t until I had my first sip of wine years later that my world completely altered.
Alcohol made me more outgoing and less inhibited; someone I thought people would like more. If I had only realized I didn’t need to be someone I wasn’t, I know my life would have taken a different course.
- You’re great just the way you are.
Over the years, I used alcohol as a solution for my problems: my shyness, my constant worrying, my poor body image. I felt wine made me more like-able and attractive; I thought it was boosting my self-esteem. I wish I had known that strength comes from within, not from the bottom of a bottle.
- Drinking and driving is a very serious crime.When I started drinking wine coolers at 17, everyone in high school – including the smart overachievers – drank and drove. In fact, it was such a prevalent problem I never thought twice about doing it. This mentality carried over to my twenties. Since most the people I practiced law with drove while intoxicated, I figured it wasn’t that big of a deal. After all, these were intelligent and (for the most part) law-abiding citizens. Of course, I learned the hard way, experiencing first-hand just how serious drunk driving is and how many lives it affects.
- Don’t be afraid to reach out for help.As the oldest of three girls, I’d always taken pride that my family considered me the “strong one.” But this moniker had negative implications – teaching me to believe that asking for help was a sign of weakness. Now I know, it’s actually a sign of strength.
- Alcohol wrecks your life.If I could’ve seen the destruction alcohol would have on my life, I never would’ve picked up that bottle. Not only did I lose my freedom for several years, I lost everything I worked my entire life for: my reputation, my career, my self-esteem. The consequences have far outweighed any benefits, leading me to this conclusion: alcohol just isn’t worth it.
Additional Reading: Reality Check: Ready to Live Life on Life’s Terms?
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