Archive | October, 2013

Strong Women

29 Oct

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Today I’m feeling really strong. REALLY strong. 

Something has changed in the last week, since I last got drunk and started on Day 1 again. When I’ve stopped drinking before, I’ve either not truly believed I can do it, or not really wanted to, or felt a victim. Something has shifted inside me, something that makes me believe I will see this 100 days through this time. 

As you may guess from the title, when I set up this blog, I intended it to be about my love for fitness, for healthy food recipes and for blogging through feeling fatter (read: recovering from anorexia). Well, it turned into a revelatory experience that has led me to conclude that I’m an alcoholic. I display all the signs of someone who has become addicted to alcohol, it has just been a very slow process realising this. 

The bloggers I used to follow were athletes, weight lifters, strong women who inspired me to better myself, push harder and marvel at the brilliant physical sports my body can do. With the unexpected journey this blog has taken, I have found a whole new set of women online whose success in completing Belle’s 100 Day Challenge, in making a commitment to sobriety and sticking to it through thick and thin, have inspired me. 

Thank you to all the strong women out there blogging, commenting and supporting others at the start of this journey. For the first time I feel that one day, I might just become one of you. 

 

 

Day 3

28 Oct
Again. Once again here. I just had to reach out to someone for extra help. I can’t do this alone. 
 
I had a great sober week or so after I last potsed. had a fantastic time doing it and then drank for 5 days solid secretly and painfully when on holiday in an all inclusive hotel. 
 
I’ve got to stop. The last few times I’ve tried, I have had half a mind that it’s something that would be good to do, but not entirely necessary.  That I can cope with drinking. I pretend I enjoy it. This time, I didn’t I did it purely and solely to escape. 
 
After looking back on the past year of trying and failing I know the only option is to fully commit to this 100 days, when I’ll get a clearer picture of what life could be lift if I kick this horrible habit.
 
The last week’s drinking was so isolating and lonely. I went on holiday with 1 other friend, avoided him wherever possible to go to the bar, raid the mini bar and get it replaced when I knew he wasn’t going to be in the room. When we were by the pool, I secretly topped up diet coke  with red wine. I know one night at dinner I was slurring badly when he was stone cold sober and one night he had to carry me to bed. 
 
I just cannot drink. I remember when I met Carrie on Sober and Belle from Team 100 and we talked about not knowing when the switch had flipped from me being a normal drinker to a destructive one, and Carrie wisely said “Once the switch has flipped, it doesn’t flip back.” Now I know this. I feel it with every bone in my body. Hell, I feel it in my liver, which aches. 
 
I am more determined than every to stop. Just for today, then for tomorrow, until I get to 100. I no longer care this 100 days encompasses the work Christmas party, Christmas with my family of big drinkers, New Years Eve. I just want to stop now. 
 
I was up until 5am last night reading this  and I have never related more to reflections on alcoholism. I clearly am one. I know this now. I’m embracing it as the truth. Even though it feels completely at odds with who I thought I was, and every area of my life, it’s become the truth. I have a huge drinking problem.
 
I’m feeling angry and determined. Being in the grips of alcohol wasn’t how my life was supposed to turn out, but it somehow has, and I’m so determined to conquer it this time. I’m not letting fucking wolfie do the dance of seduction which lures me into the false sense of security that it’s fine. 
 
This time it’s for 100 days. I promise. 

An observation

14 Oct

After yesterday’s meeting with Belle & Team 100, I’ve been doing alot of thinking about drinking, spent alot of time reading blogs and have been over all my last few posts. 

What’s become apparent is that there’s big periods of time between my posts. I start off with resolve, optimism, sometimes get as far as pink clouds, then I disappear. I crash. 

I come back to blog and reflect on what I already know. The lessons I haven’t learnt.

One thing I do know is that I love writing, and that writing more on the blog might keep me on track. Reading over what has been nearly a year’s worth of posts has certainly helped, because it’s reinforced what I already knew- that this really is a problem, and no matter how much in Friday’s post I insisted I get immense pleasure out of it, clearly, on balance, it causes me more harm than good.

I’m going to try and post more regularly, post when I feel the urge, post when I just want to put something out there.

Now, I’m about to head to work drinks, and have scoped out the options. I know this evening will be fine. I know my meal out on Wednesday will be fine. I worry about my pre-holiday Thursday night alone and the post-marathon holiday in Mexico, but for now, I’ll just focus on tonight. 

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Coffee & Love

14 Oct

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Yesterday was quite a remarkable day in this whole trying to stay sober thing.

For the first time, out loud, I met people who are having the same problem. I finally met the wonderful Belle and other lovely Team 100ers to have tea and cinnamon buns, and talk.
It was so important to me for so many reasons.
The first, was the realisation that I’m really not alone in having been crept up on by wolfie. That wolfie catches all sorts of together-looking, kind, bright, wonderful women. That these women have all struggled in their own way to beat the problem, have stumbled, fallen and got back up again. That several of them have stuck to the challenge, been through its ups and downs and got far beyond 100 days.
The experience was really valuable to me, but a strange thing happened while I was there, in that warm, beautiful smelling café with all these wonderful women. In the back of my mind, I had a voice almost the whole time I was there, an urge telling me that after this meeting, I would go to the pub and drink a cold pint, or warming glass of red. That I needed that final warm embrace of alcohol before I gave up for good. That this time, it would be my last.

I had the inevitable sense of feeling you’ve failed before the drinking incident has happened. There’s something about drinking where the second it enters my head to have a drink, I know I’ll do it, and I’ll drink the whole bottle.

I left the café really conflicted. On the one hand, it would be an insult to the women I’d spent the past couple of hours with, but on the other, it would mean I got once last chance to say goodbye. I was tired, emotionally vulnerable, and just really really wanted a drink.

I decided to eat some chocolate, to try and give myself a lift. That helped. Then I remembered all the “last time” drinks I’ve had over the past year. The last bottles.

I promised myself a bath and a cup of Pukka love tea when I got home. I promised myself a take away if I wanted one (I never eat take away, but I had the urge for something comforting and a bit naughty). I knew I had fresh bed sheets waiting for me at home.

And I resisted. I refound the skill that I had lost after going back to drinking. The skill that got me through my first block of sobriety: the ability to cling on to anything that will stop me drinking during my dark 2 hours where the urge is overwhelming. To stop me drinking until I can have a meal, which always crushes the urge.

Yesterday was important in so many ways, and I just want to thank Belle and her amazing team 100 supporters for their company and their words of encouragement, their wisdom on stopping.

Here I am with one more day sober (admittedly, I was still drinking until last week), one day feeling like this whole thing might actually be within my grasp.

Crawling Back

11 Oct

It’s been a very long while since I posted. You can guess why.

My big falling off the wagon was almost 2 months ago (yikes!) and apart from a 10 day break when I was so ill I could barely move (included a hospital visit, I was THAT ill), I have been drinking.

The thing is, I have enjoyed it. I have really enjoyed it.

I read alot of sober blogs, and I hear about the extent of people’s drinking, and I simply think “That’s not me.”

My problem isn’t the volume of my drinking, or the things I do when I’m drunk. Most people would say I’m a sensible drunk, that it helps me relax and I’m fun to be around. The horrible incident I described in my last post was because I went from 0-60mph in drinking terms in a very short space of time. It was a simple equation of:Period of sobriety + letting loose far too quickly = DISASTER.

My problem is that once I start, it carries on nightly for days.

I have drunk pretty much consistently every night for 2 weeks, and alot in the preceding 6 weeks before that, on & off.

I know the reasons I drink, and how my patterns go. I drink in company because I enjoy it. The taste, the ritual, the sense of relaxation that comes with it. That’s fine. If that were it, I’d have my 3 drinks with friends or colleagues and call a night of it.

The problem is, whereas for the past 10 years of my drinking career, those nights with friends would come, I’d have a couple of drinks, stop drinking mid-way through the evening, and go home happy.

Things have changed.

It’s been an insidious creep.

When going through a very tough time in my personal life, going through severe anxiety, combined with an eating disorder,  the only nights of relief where I would relax, or feel comfortable eating, was when I drank.

I remember seeing my CBT therapist and she asked whether I had a problem with drinking. No, I said. She asked how much I drank and I said 2 bottles of wine a week. It was true.

I remember the weekend my boyfriend (now ex, thank God) moving away for 6 months. I was having a terrible time with him emotionally abusing me, my obsession with being an unhealthily low weight and being bullied at work. The last night we had together before he moved away, I got so horrifically drunk on the drinks trolley at work I wasn’t home until 11pm, when I was supposed to be home for dinner by 7pm. I could barely hold a conversation.

Two nights later,  the first Sunday night he was gone,  I vividly remember drinking 2/3 of a bottle of wine, getting accidentally very drunk watching Homeland, and thinking “This is dangerous, I shouldn’t do this.”

With him away, who had controlled me for so long, and drinking making me feel so much better, why the hell shouldn’t I drink?!

Despite feeling somewhat liberated, my anxiety and depression was so bad over this period, after years of resisting, I agreed to go on anti-depressants. This was the best and worst thing I ever did. The best, because finally that horrible chemical imbalance that had warped my brain and thinking for years was restored to some sort of normality, as was I, but the worst because it made me relax.

It made me RELAX. About drinking, it made me relax about not performing my best at work. About putting on weight. About coming back after a normal, unstressful, unremarkable day at work clutching a bottle of red. About drinking it all. About calling in sick.

After years of being so deprived, so uptight, I deserved it, right?!

The 18 months that have happened since then have seen me kick 2 abusive relationships into touch (I’ve said it before on this blog, but I say it again to remind myself): my horrible job and my terrible boyfriend. Yet now I continue to abuse myself with alcohol, despite being stronger in so many ways than I’ve ever been.

I’m in a real transitional period, where I’m accepting myself for who I am, or at least who I have learnt myself to be so far, yet I drink.

I love drinking, and yet I know my life would be fuller without it.

Every set of therapy I’ve had (and I’m now on my 3rd therapist, and someone who finally I respect and trust) has identified my drinking as a “companion”, someone or something I turn to to fill a void. At first I vehemently disagreed- it was a relaxant, something that helped me get away from my stupid, uptight, anxious self. Now, I know it’s a companion. Now, living alone for the first time in my adult life, (therefore my ENTIRE life!) and being single, I feel the empty space, the lack of contact acutely. Both physically and emotionally.

When I had my period of sobriety in August (it lasted 26 or 27 days, the longest since I gave up alcohol for lent when I was 16 years old- yes i started drinking when I was 14…) I began to learn things about how my new single, confident-yet-confused adult life is panning out.

Those lessons were so valuable. I felt I could take on the world. Now, I feel back to lacking energy, vivaciousness and crucially, clarity to continue.

I have spent 8 months of this year drinking quite heavily. At the risk of sounding hugely arrogant, (which I am not usually , promise!) I have excelled at my new job:  I was told yesterday I am operating at the level of someone 10 years my senior. I completed a triathlon this year. I couldn’t swim last year. Next week, I am running a marathon. My friends and family love me and admire me. I got an Oxbridge education, am fun to be around and a good friend.

IMAGINE WHAT I COULD DO IF I DIDN’T DRINK?

I want to try and have an extended period of sobriety to see. I want to try and find who I am without filling the gap of loneliness with alcohol. I want to try and get back to my best health so my running (which I put huge amounts of time into) reflects my work, and isn’t hindered by boozy periods.

I want to learn to be comfortable with empty time.

I’m very sorry for the ridiculously long blog post, but it was important for me to write this, right now.

If you read this, please leave a comment, however short. Every word of support or knowing I’m not shouting at the stars gives me huge strength and I appreciate every word.

Here’s to the journey ahead.

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