Sunday, 12 February 2017

Dependency and taking a break

I have a friend, I think we all have one like this, who posts cryptic poor me me me messages on facebook and otherwise picture perfect family snaps. Think Cath Kidston on acid.

The posts are generally about, but not confined to:

What a general waste of space her husband is and how she has to do EVERYTHING.
How she is ill (never serious).
How she is tired because she (chooses to be) is super mum.
How hard done by she is by some other mums who do not appreciate her offspring
+67 images of a walk in the woods/party/craft activity all in matching Boden jumpers.

Most posts are followed by multiply exclamation marks!!!! And are passive aggressive in nature, eg "lucky I always wanted to be a single mum!!!!! #not #whydoihavetodoeverythingarounghere" "AWESOME FAMILY WALK!!!!!! #lovemyhubbyeventhoughIplannedallthiswithnohelpasusuallolnot"

I don't follow her but do remain friends. She is delightful in real life.

The comments that ensue are the usual "*hugs* hun xoxoxoxo"

And I always wonder what everybody really thinks. I wonder about the complicit nature of feeding this self absorbed attention seeking. How it feeds a culture of believing we are special, different, unique, entitled.

I don't think we are any of those things. I thought I'd expect my mother to be the sole benefactor of those beliefs about me, but I am a mother, and I don't think those things about my daughter.

I suppose she does it to provide validation for her choices and behaviour. I think she may suffers with low self esteem so compensates with Peter perfect Facebook family life snaps. She lives the life she wishes she could have, via FB.

Most of us of course do all of the above too, to a greater or lesser degree. I enjoy likes, comments, love hearts lighting up when I engage in social media. I also find I get annoyed, angry, compulsive in using it. This is to the detriment of the great book I am half way through, or the conversation with my husband I half pay attention to, whilst gazing at a glowing screen.

I transfer dependence. From drinking, to chocolate, to social media. I have decided I need to take a break from this virtual world and spend more time in my real world. I'm taking a break from blogging. For how long I'm not sure, but I need to stop composing the next post in my head when I should be composing a conversation with my friends and my family. I need to live in real life and see how sobriety is without my blog as a crutch. I know I won't drink. I may find I need this space and spring back soon. Who knows. But for now,

anon

Thursday, 2 February 2017

New Normal - 9 months

Well here I am at 9 months.

When I first quit I used to read other blogs that said stuff like that and think "9 months, that's fucking mental HOW DO THEY DO THAT?!?!?" and be in awe of those superhuman skills of willpower employed to stay dry all that time. Of course the reality is not like that and there are no superhuman skills, it's just tiny choices, tiny adjustments, tiny pauses, tiny steps, every day, that add up, until you take a look back, and see how far you have come.

I find that my life is a new normal.

Last week I was sitting in my car on Monday morning at 6.30 am starting my commute to work when I found myself going through the mental checklist of my day, the things I planned, what I needed to do, what I was looking forward to, noting the energy I had, and realised HOLY SHIT it's MONDAY at 6.30am! WHO HAVE YOU BECOME?! You are feeling grrrreeeat! This is now normal for me. What was exceptional on the rare non hungover day, what was astonishing when I was in early sobriety,  and exhilarating as I clocked up the sober days, has become just how it is almost every day. It is my new normal.

This is clearly a good state of affairs but requires consciousness and appreciation in order that I don't fuck it up.

I must not be complacent and forget how super I feel now compared to how utterly shit I used to feel. That includes physically utterly shit. Mentally utterly shit, emotionally utterly shit.

I am now so used to feeling grrrreeat!, that I forget how great this feeling is. Even when I am annoyed, upset, angry, drained, bored, contrary, all these times are so much better than before. So much better sober.

Mirrors someone talked about (sober mummy?) and that is a zinger of a truth. As a drinker I would wake every morning, look in the mirror, and feel shame and disgust at myself. Now my normal is to look, and like myself. I am proud of who I am becoming. I am proud of my achievements. (My husband is proud of me too!)

I can look in the mirror and like myself. I can look in the mirror everyday and remind myself how far I have come, and how truly great this new normal is.*

I like myself.  How great it that?!

*plus obvs. in a self absorbed, vain idiot manner check out my bloody great sober skin and shiny eyes and think "looking good for a middle aged broad!"

High five ladies!

SP xx

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Day 270 just watching the wheels

Hello! I haven't posted for over three weeks. No particular reason really, work got busy, I have been occupied with all that, and have had less time to pause and think about stuff of any consequence, EXCEPT THAT FUCKING LUNATIC TRUMP.

I have been fluffy and air heady. I am seeking out the perfect eye shadow colour, and fussing about my hair. Doing skincare regimes and all that. Self care I understand it is called. I call it fiddling while America Rome burns.

I haven't thought much about the old drinky drinks. I have commented on blogs and had a read around but I have not thought much about drinking. I did pour myself a tonic water and ice the other day and had a minor panic as I realised how easy it would be to pour gin in too. The bottle of gin was right there. It has been right there since I quit. NOBODY ELSE IN THIS HOUSE EVEN THINKS ABOUT DRINKING IT. Why not you fuckers? I silently and calmly think. There is gin, you are allowed to drink it. So drink it. When I was a drinker I could not bear there to be booze around that was not being drunk. Now I am remarkably fine in a house full of it. I very occasionally quietly remove the full bottle of white wine from the fridge (which my husband puts there in case we have a guest pop in) and put it back in the wine rack. An ice cold bottle of white is too pretty and perfect and my drink of choice to sit there for days seducing me every time I open the fridge door.

I tell people at work I don't drink now. They say what never? I say well I used to but I have stopped and choose to remain fully sober. I say things like it didn't agree with me any more. Or it made me ill so I could not cope with it anymore. I talk in euphemisms and know that this is ok. It is the stopping that matters.

I am nervous about a weekend house party coming up soon though. It is with our booziest of boozy friends. It is a house in the country where we will all pitch up, eat, drink and be merry. I am not nervous about me drinking. I know I won't. But I am nervous about if I will like it. I do not like sitting in people's houses anymore when everyone else is drinking a lot. I don't like the drunk who inevitable goads me about not drinking as if I am in the wrong. I don't like the bit where everyone is too drunk to have a conversation but instead talks at me, without listening or showing interest in what I might contribute. I will take a book and find a hiding place. I will be brave.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Marketing go home, you're drunk

I've missed swearing on here recently so I have written this gratuitously sweary post in an epic feat of procrastination because I should be working on grown up things.

Here are some things I have seen with my own eyes this/last year during my shopping about town and/or online.

Serious fuckwittery. I laugh at all this shit, then do a pause *think bubble* about the insidious normalising of alcohol to the point we can namecheck it is sweets, lip balm, crisps and candles (WTF?!), and then I despair.

Here we go:

1. Prosecco Gummy Bears. Fuck the fuck off. 


2. Marks and Spencer Winter Berries and Prosecco Flavour Crisps.  This also has sparkles in apparently. Off you fuck.


3. Aldi Gin and Tonic Flavour Crisps. Get the fuck out of here.



4. That fucking stupid wine bottle with a glass at the top, that is so funny on all the Facebook posts. Unfriended you fucker.


5. Clementine and Prosecco Candle. Light in the toilet to make your toilet smell of, er, piss. Fuckwits.



6. Gin and Tonic Lip Balm. Fuck off you fucker.



I might write something more serious about the marketing of alcohol (especially to young women) at some point. I might also write about how the fuck we got to the stage where we seem to be surrounded by 'funny' parent blogs which consists of pseudo-collusive naughty mums all going "oh its wine-o-clock! Lets have 'mummy juice'!". Since when did we begin to believe the lie that celebrating inebriation is a positive parenting practice?

But for now, Marketing, seriously, GO FUCK YOURSELF.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Happy 1st birthday to my blog!

One year ago today I started this blog.

It's not my first blog, I have a litter of deleted ones, given up and cast aside when I fell off the wagon, countless times. I wish I had kept those old diaries now. It is rewarding to look back, to see how far you have come. 

I almost discarded this one when I started drinking again back in March last year, but instead held it in aspic, preserved, until I hopped on the wagon in May 2016.

In reading my entry from a year ago I find this statement about my drinking most significant:

"most of my social behaviour is to fit in with others, to the point I jeopardise what I want to please them."

If I were to try and crystallise my progress on this sober journey to one thing, I would say it is that I have worked hard on, and focused on, stopping this codependent behaviour. 

I have been quite difficult at times I imagine. It has been quite difficult for me at times. I have refused to attend social events. I have left events early and alone, leaving my partner or friends behind. I have set the agenda for socialising to avoid situations where drinking occurs. I have spent time with newer friends, who do not know about my drinking past. I have seen very little of some previously close friends: in removing the glue of alcohol between us, we find there is really very little to say, to hold us together. I have found this sad, and I have felt very lonely sometimes.

Importantly, in the past few days I have finally simply said to those around me that I don't drink anymore. 

All of the above has been absolutely worth it. 

I start this new year happier and more content than I could ever have imagined. There is all the same minutiae of life to deal with, but with sober at my back, I find I can do anything I set my mind to. I can cope with all life has to offer and all that life has to throw at me. 

I am sure there will be tricky times ahead, and there will be wonderful times ahead. All I know right now it that living sober is the best possible life for me to live. 


Saturday, 31 December 2016

Day 242

New Year's Eve and day 242!

I am at the end of 2016. I don't hold with all the mawkishness of the year. I am not emotional or sentimental about celebrity deaths. I do not think Armageddon is around the corner, however fucked off I am at Brexit, and that wanker Farage. However slack jawed I am, from this side of the pond, gazing at Trump.

For me 2016 has been awesome.

I got sober.

For 10 of these past 12 months I have been sober. I have spent two months this year, March and April, drinking. Drinking too much, always drinking too much, fearing life, fearing me, fearing my future. When I wasn't drinking, I was thinking ahout drinking. How much? When? Where? Who with? A life controlled by alcohol. That's no way to live.

From May 3rd onward, one foot in front of the other, often in joy, sometimes in despair, I have ploughed my own sober path. Here I am, still sober. I don't think my tender and scared May 3rd self would believe it, after countless failed attempts. But each time I failed, I learned, and I got a bit better at quitting.

Beckett was right after all:

"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better."

Or almost right. For I like to think the last page surely says "Fail better, finally succeed."

I'll be out tonight. At midnight I will hug, and cheer along with everyone one else.

I'll also raise my (non alcoholic) glass to all of you in this sobersphere. I will say a silent, sober, sincere and eternally grateful thank you.

You, out there, with your kindness, understanding, and support are what has made my better fail a success.

Wishing you all love for 2017.

SP.  xx

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Fear of failure

A short interview with Nadia Sawalha and Mark Adderley that I recommend you watch.

The clip is here.

Nadia is an actress and TV presenter, I'm not sure she is known internationally. This is a really good interview with them both discussing Mark's alcoholism.

He refers to the feeling of failure when drinking gets out of control, and this is so resonant with me. I have failed to manage a relationship with alcohol. I have allowed it to get out of hand, I have been unable to control my drinking. I have failed. I have failed and so have had to stop completely.

You see, I don't fail at things. I don't ask for help. I don't accept I cannot do things. I am successful. I always succeed. When things go wrong I retreat into myself, deal with it privately, do not discuss it, do not ask for help.

I have realised, just now watching this clip, that the reason I cannot discuss publicly my reasons for not drinking, is that this would mean I have to say, publicly, "I have failed." I cannot do this. I need to learn how to do this.

I don't know what else to write right now. I might come back to this post and carry on later. This is a huge revelation for me.

So I'm back. The other thing that strikes me is that I don't quite see my quitting the booze as a success. I have not been outwardly proud of it in the same way as I was when I quit smoking 15 years ago. I have squirmed, and muttered and changed the subject and made excuses for quitting drinking.

Inside me, mentally, I am enormously proud of my (nearly) 8 months of sobriety.

So I have an issue with failure. I see an inability to control drinking as a failure. I cannot share the success of my quit with the outside world. This is all a bit fucked up.

It is especially fucked up when I say truthfully, that now I am free of the booze I am happier than I have been for years, decades maybe.

I was wondering about New Years resolutions recently. I'm a sucker for all that. Of course I'll be renewing my drive to quit sugar, eat healthy, lose some fat, blah, blah, blah.

However I now know what my resolutions for 2017 need to be.

Tell people publicly and proudly that I have quit drinking, for good.
Tell people, when asked, that I could no longer control my relationship with alcohol, I therefore had to quit.
See this act and choice of sobriety as a success, and an enabler to lead the life I love, with the people I love.

Be brave, be me.