Saturday, 8 April 2017

11 months (and six days)

I have been on holiday. No data, no wifi. I had countless meals out, countless country pub visits. I was beginning to feel like I was clinging on for dear life. I existed sober. I sat in restaurants realising I simply wished for the night to end so I could get out and get away. I grew sick of watching others drink. I grew sick of Diet Coke and bloody water. I thought the other day that what is the point of all this if all I am doing is marking time, with no enjoyment and no shared pleasure.

I have not drunk alcohol, but I feel like I'm in my first month again. I want to drink but I know I cannot have it. I have enough experience to know this will pass and I will be ok. I know I will be happy. I know I will be grateful that I did not drink. But right now I feel flat, joyless and like I am treading water, waiting for life to happen.

So my aim for the next month is to get the joy back. I hit a year soon and am concern that with a one year sober target achieved I will feel even more shitty and meh!

I have no idea how to get the joy back. I fear that I might need to make some very big changes to my life in order to do this. That frightens me and I think the fear of change has lead to an inertia and the slump of joylessness I find myself in.

I hope all you love sober (or not) sisters are doing well, let me know below xxxxxx

Friday, 3 March 2017

10 months

Well I could not resist marking my 10th month! I forgot until this evening, looking at my diary and was delighted that I forgot. Usually I have a half conscious knowing that
I am approaching a monthly milestone, but this time it crept up on me, until .... TA DA!!!

I have not thought much about drinking. I am an out and out sober at work now. I won a silly type of game recently at work and in front of ALL the staff I was awarded the prize, a bottle of wine. I said there and then, I don't drink, choose another winner.

I think deciding not to blog has helped this. I made it private for a while too, closing of this virtual life for a bit. I stopped thinking about not drinking for a while. It was refreshing and a break I needed.

I realised in doing this that I want to blog about other thing to do with self improvement, self care, not just drinking. So I may use this space to talk about those things too. I guess I am moving on to a new stage in recovery. I think if I read the journey of others who are nearing their year mark, I might find the same dialogue.

So I have no revelations, no major updates to convey. I just have a contentment with my choice to remove alcohol from my life.

10 months seems like a long time I know, if you are new to this and counting days, but it has flown by. Take heart, time moves on and so will you.

If you are reading this and wondering if quitting drink is worth the work, the focus, the care, the caution and the change you must make in yourself. Then take heart. It is worth it. You are worth it. A world of possibilities will open up for you.

Take heart. Have courage. Be brave. Be your beloved.

Love SP

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,


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.