Sunday, 20 August 2017

I got me back

I don't post as often anymore. Simply because I just am sober. I have some distance behind me now and so my normal day to day life doesn't feature drink and doesn't, now, feature me thinking about drink.

When I go out, less now than I used to, I notice I'm usually not the only abstainer. People who I used to hold the bar up with, now drink less, or don't drink at all. My 3am procecco girl no longer drinks more than half a glass all evening. My university wing girl, she of many unspeakable debauch nights, often drinks sparkly juices, not coping with the hangover now. Others just "don't feel like it" tonight. Another friend has started to read the usual books on not drinking.

Yet more old timers and booze buddies still drink, but less, and are no longer proud of the gargantuan volumes they neck, but are rather conscious of the tick tock of the booze bomb and go on about knowing they need to cut back. They ask me how and why I did it, through genuine interest rather than lining me up for a takedown.

When I am thinking about drinking now, this puts a stop to any further thoughts .... everyone around me is slowing down, cutting back, acknowledging their excesses as negatives, or simply quitting. If I started back up again, I would have found my friends have moved on.

Just because you've always done something, doesn't mean you always have to.

My friends are moving on and I am too. I am about to change my career. This new job move is a big change. A risk and an unknown. One I feel confident about though. You see I quit drink and I got a life back. I got choice back, and I got bravery back. I got me back, and as long as I've got me by my side, I can do anything.

Monday, 24 July 2017

63,000 people

I'm on holiday floating in the Mediterranean, lazing in the sun, turning brown and slow in the heat. It's times like this I gaze at the people around me and think I want what they have. I think I want the ruby red Campari, the ice cold beer, the glass of chilled white wine, the limoncello at the end of the meal.

I don't really want it though. I want to be like them. I want to be the kind of normal that just sips her one glass of white wine with dinner, or has a single Campari, not needing more. All I need to do to put myself off these fleeting alcohol desires is to remind myself of the reality of my drinking behaviour.

Oh and this timely report today in the Guardian. The silent health crisis of liver disease. I am so happy I actually was able to read this. In my drinking days I would have skimmed over and been too scared for myself to read about the 63,000 who are predicted to die. You can read the article by clicking here.

In the mean time I'll be very thankful that I created a life for myself where I can say make mine an agua, and be grateful for that.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Check in 14+ months

hello all!

Just having a check in to blog my thoughts. I've been busy working and being out and about and haven't been spending too much time in the sober sphere recently.

I am feeling very happy to be alive at the moment. I am enjoying very simple things, nature, being outdoors, walking, riding my bike etc.

I am learning that being an introvert is not something I have to apologise for. I realise that my need to be alone sometimes, or my struggle with socialising a lot is not a failing or a weakness. It is how I am, it is who I am, and it is ok.

I have never thought much about introvertion before. I have been called shy when younger, but I am not shy, I am just not interested in engaging with others sometimes, so I stay quiet or stay away. I can only 'small talk' in small quantities, then I wish to exit. I realise alcohol helped me do the socialising and the small talking and I have found attempts to do this to the same extent sober very challenging. I am now ready to accept that I do not need to carry on the way I was drunk, now I am sober. I can chose what I do.

I feel more whole and I have flashes that this is enough. What I mean is that I am enough, just as I am. I suppose it is contentment with myself. I am not content with a lot of other things though!

I loved Michelle's post about humans wanting to get high, and alcohol being the only "legitimate" way to do this. It's so true, and just marketing BS.  I still think the people I know who think it's funny to get really drunk are fucking idiots and I cannot believe I used to behave like that and believe the hype about booze being great fun.

I saw a gin scented room spray in a gift shop this week, and gin hand cream. I have been offered wine every day this week at events I have attended. I have been assured by strangers that "not to worry, after the day you've had, you can treat yourself to a big glass of wine." I have mentally silently yelled "fuck the fuck off you fucking bores. Can't you think of anything more interesting to offer or say?" Before I introvert again and realise all that matters is how I behave, not how others choose to.

Love SP

Friday, 2 June 2017

Hello, I'm here! Again FFS.

Just read sober mummy's post and thought I'd say hello. I'm still here!

Second time around the block now. I am over a year and I am like meh! Done that already, you mean I have to do it again, but without the fanfare and pat on the back of being sober?!

Eg I went to the annual fancy lunch with hats, and toasts, and Lord Mayor of London and all the things yesterday. LAST year I was all LOOK AT ME FUCKERS I CAN DO THIS SOBER, HELL YESSSS!!!! Well done me etc etc etc.

Now it's like oh I STILL have to do this sober? Ok right, look at me, anyone? Anyone?

The abnormal is becoming normal.

I think year two is about dealing with THAT.

All the same shit, but sober.

Quitting drink makes nothing go away. In fact it makes everything rush up at you in your face, it won't fuck the fuck off, it sticks around now you don't have your booze stick to beat it away.

On balance I like dealing with all this and feeling stronger and wiser (!), but when I feel low or fragile I hate it and want my mummy and a cuddle and all that.

Now I'm off. I have to go and be sober somewhere, again! FFS.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Learning #2 - Codependency

When I started this journey I did not know what the word codependent meant. I know now that I maintained a number of codependent relationships. I have (had?) friendships which were fuelled by drinking. I have (had?) friends where we encouraged in each other alcohol abuse, bingeing, drunkeness and celebrated this as just a grand night out.

I have been in positions where despite my protests I have been criticised for not drinking, encouraged to drink, had drink pushed on me and many, many times over I have caved and taken that drink and fallen back into my destructive relationship with alcohol.

It was a chance listen to a bubble hour episode about coping with the holidays (I think) where I first heard the word codependent. I first heard women talk about doing anything it took to maintain sobriety. I heard women talk about walking out on events, or not taking part in social occasions. I was in awe of them. I also knew right then that this is what I had to do. It took me about another five months to do it, but I knew I had to deal with this codependency and knew I had to reject the damaging relationships which held me in alcohol's thrall.

I avoided social situations. I refused invitations. I left events early. I rearranged catch ups to coffee time not drinking time. I slowly said "nope still not drinking", I slowly felt able to put up with the constant nosiness of those around me.

I have lost closeness with some friends. But realise perhaps we lost closeness long before I quit drink. My codependent drinking buddies and I created a faux intimacy born from silently colluding to prop up each other's drinking habit. I am in reality losing certain friendships that I should have outgrown years ago. Alcohol stunted my growth and held me back.

I will never again let myself be influenced to behave in a destructive way. I will not collude with others to enable abusive behaviours. I celebrate choosing a better path for my body and my mind.

I know what is good for me. I know what nourishes me. I know it can by hard to choose a different path. I know one can feel alone in this. But it feels so good to stand proud on this path, to love what you are becoming, and to feel brave, powerful and strong.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Learning #1 - loving it

The last sentence of my last post about hitting one year reads: I love it.

I wasn't sure about typing that when I wrote the post because sometimes I am like "I fucking hate this, I want a G and T and I want ice cold white wine and I want a big ballsy red to follow and I want and I want and I want!"

But what I have learned is that I don't want the drink. What I want is:

To relieve stress
To signal relaxation
To occupy myself
To fit in with the crowd
To not have to answer all those stupid fucking "still not drinking?!?" questions
To be "normal" and not a weirdo around drink

I have achieved one year away from a 20 year abusive relationship with drink and so the old associations with booze can remain and pop up when least expected.

I genuinely love sobriety. What I hate is not quite yet having the right tools all the time to deal with the above situation of stress, relaxation, crowds at parties and other people grilling me.

So I have learned that I love sobriety. I have learned that the perceived craving for drink is not a craving for the drink, but a craving for a fix for the stresses, pressure and ups and downs of life.

To be successful in sobriety I think we need to work on alternatives to fix the stresses and strains of our lives. This is why I suppose it is so common for us sober crew to do meditation, or yoga, or snaffle chocolate. We are seeking the fix.  I am finding my fix, I've used becks blue, virgin marys, walking, chocolate, haribos, exercise and yoga so far. I have learned that a craving does not mean I want a drink but that I want relief from a difficult situation. As for sobriety? I love it.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

One Year


I am delighted. I am delighted that I have achieved something I thought I would never be able to do. I have reached a target, a goal, a waypoint in my journey. I am a non drinker. I do not drink. I am tee total. I am dry. But what else am I?

I have been for some time seeking to improve myself more holistically. I have been more mindful of what I eat. I have stopped abusing myself with sugar and do not inhale chocolate and sweets and all that shit. I have been more mindful about my body. How it feels, listening to it, noting the comfort and the discomfort. I have been finding out what I can do with this body, and how I can do more.

I have taken up yoga which I simultaneously love and hate. I hate it because I am shit at it, and I love it because there is so much to learn. Every class I find myself doing things I never thought I could, moving my limbs in such ways as I thought impossible. I am finding it is a form of meditation too. I concentrate on each pose. My mind focuses on the tiny adjustments required to improve. I love that, and it feels like the way I progressed with sobriety. Focus, care, time and tiny adjustments each day. I also swear a lot in my head when I am trying to do yoga, "fucking downward facing dog, ugh!" etc. which I have also done throughout my sober practice, "fuck you alcohol you motherfucker go fuck yourself." etc.

I am enjoying this new yoga/mental challenge and know I need to have a personal challenge in my life. I need a project. I need a problem to solve. For over 20 years my project, my hobby, my pal of choice, my love, was drinking. Unraveling this takes time. I am slowly developing new activities and I am determined to make these healthy for body and mind. I am discovering a whole world of people who do not rely on drink for their kicks and I am still astonished by this. HOW HAVE YOU DONE THIS YOUR WHOLE LIFE?? I want to ask. Instead I now say "yeah I don't drink, such a waste of time right" like some naughty fraud who is just a non complicated non drinker. I now have friends who have never seen me drink, never known me as a drinker and have only known me as a non drinker. FUCKING HELL. TELL THE OLD SOBER PURSUITS THIS, PLEASE! She needed to know this when she was scared and lonely and struggling. She needed to know it would be OK. She needed to know life would be good. She needed to know that she could be happy and liberated and joyful. She needed to know this.

I know without a doubt that my sober work is far from done. I suspect I will always need a consciousness of the dangers of drinking for me. I will always have to play it forward. I will always have to recall the dark and soul destroying drinking years. Sometimes this knowledge feels very tiring and I feel sad that I am burdened with this challenge. 

However most of the time I am ecstatic that I am free. So free to live a life full of endless possibilities. Sobriety has given me freedom. I love it.