I look back on my own life through breakups, low-self esteem and depression and can clearly say that I used alcohol as a crutch. I understand now that I learned this concept of sadness equaling alcohol from movie, tv and our culture in general. I now have accepted that stress, trauma, and depression will always be there and it's okay to have bad days as these are natural parts of life. I had trained my brain to think drinking alcohol would make me feel happy again. I would go straight to the bar after a stressful day at work and have a few beers, craving a drink by early afternoon hence making plans with friends to go straight to the bar after work for happy hour.

On a daily basis, I would drink alone at home and try to drown myself in self-pity. This never cleared up the problem or made it go away and the majority of times it simply made it worse.

If I would have gone to a doctor or therapist and told them about how much I drank, I would have been sent to AA and would probably still be attending meetings today. But instead, I didn't go to counseling or seek out any type of rehab program. I consciously made a choice that I needed to make a new plan to fix things that had been making me unhappy in the first place. I needed to lose weight, which made me completely miserable and my financials were a wreck from overspending. Living at home with my parents after college was also hindering my happiness, so I made a plan, saw a nutritionist instead of a therapist, worked out after work instead of heading to the bar for beer or martinis and made many other choices that would bring me happiness or something close to it.

It finally clicked one day that feeling sorry for myself was not going to change anything, the change had to come from me, and it would not happen overnight; I had to work hard to get what I wanted. I had to learn to accept failure and move past it and adapt to adversity. Most importantly, I realized I had power and control over my life and everything I did, which included drinking.

I often wonder if I had gone to rehab what my life would be like. Would they have told me I was an addict? Would I have started to believe it? Would I still be attending meetings? The thought of all of it scares me. I know that I was never sick or an addict, but by society's standards, I would have been labeled as one. Today, I drink one or two drinks the entire week and sometimes I don't drink for three weeks. I no longer need a beer to deal with a bad day, so everything I ever learned about healing my sorrows with drinking was a belief and not factual. If I really feel like I want a drink, (bad day or not) I either drink one or use my own self-control to say, no I don't need that today. After all, I'm in control, not the bottle.

Author's Bio: 

Saint Jude Retreats is an educational alternative to alcohol and drug rehab. Learn more about the most effective program for alcohol and drug use, which is supported by world-renowned addiction experts at www.soberforever.net