Archive | December, 2013

Reaching Out

30 Dec

The last 48 hours has involved a lot of reaching out. 

I told my parents and key friends how much I’ve been struggling with depression, which is one of the key causes of my drinking, and should have told them years ago. They all reacted perfectly, with understanding and support. 

The fact I no longer have to keep up a brave face will help me a lot. I can be honest about when I need help rather than internalising it all, sending myself crazy and ultimately reaching for a drink. 

I also registered with a GP (I haven’t been registered since I moved flat earlier this year) and am booking an appointment asap where I’ll be honest about my drinking and my concerns about my liver. I need to move into 2014 giving myself the best possible chance of succeeding at being sober, with the aim of being happy. Happiness will never come without sobriety for me, it just won’t. I know that is an incontestable truth.

I hate drinking so much. SO much. And yet on the way home from the doctor’s I had to will myself to put down a bottle of wine I picked up in the supermarket when buying toilet paper. MADNESS. 

In the morning I’m going somewhere beautiful for 5 days with my lovely friends where I will run, read, relax and see it as my restorative rehab break. I was very specific with my friends about under no circumstances letting me drink.

I want to get back in the new year with the first week of sobriety and all the shitty physical symptoms of withdrawing. I see a pink cloud just a few days away. 

Happy 2014 all!

 

Support

29 Dec

I’m about to go away with friends for 5 days, and I wrote an email so stupidly honest, it made me weep.

And it turns out they love me: + depression – booze. Still. 

I am lucky. 

Wolfie Cocktail

29 Dec

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It’s taken days for the fog of drinking to lift. DAYS. Last night I had the first good night’s sleep in ages, and am starting to feel the benefits of being sober again. I feel an aching in my liver, still, which came back straight away. That scares me more than anything. Either it’s psychological, or I’ve awoken some old damage. What’s even more scary is that if you added up what I typically drank in terms of units, there would be many many members of my friends and family who drink the same. They just don’t identify it as a problem in the way I know it was for me. 
 
But, onto recovery. When I’m next struggling with wanting to take a drink, I’ll think of the Wolfie Cocktail, my new ‘playing the tape to the end.’  
 
Just so you can all share in it’s lethal intoxicating effects…
 
Recipe:
 
1 parts mild buzz 
1.5 parts shame
3 parts depression
 
Best served over crushed self-esteem. 
 
Serving Suggestions:
 
Start with sipping at the buzz, which hits the back of your throat immediately. Slowly this flavour will fade, being replaced by the tang of shame and the creep of depression through your veins, Keep sipping until the buzz is overpowered by the other flavours. Repeat.
 
Alan Carr and Jason Vale say there’s no benefits to drinking alcohol whatsoever, and it’s true, for me, now. Because even when drinking in a social setting rather than alone, I can’t get the buzz I want, but get all the bad side effects. I had so many good feelings and experiences, I truly felt positive emotions whereas drinking dulls all of that.
 
I honestly don’t think I’ll actually pick up a drink again, after what I’ve learnt in the past few days, but I’ll always have the image of the Wolfie Cocktail to remind me why not.
 
Happy Sunday! 
 

The Headspace Challenge

27 Dec

I think for many of us, we drink for emotional reasons that it’s hard to come to terms with when we get sober.

I’ve had some very dark days of very low mood and anxiety since quitting drinking, which has got worse since I slipped up earlier this week. 

So, I’m trying meditation to help me learn to sit with my feelings and avoid squishing them with drink. 

I have experimented with meditation in the past, and this approach really helped me: http://www.getsomeheadspace.com/how-to-meditate.aspx

The challenge is simple- sign up for the ‘Take 10’ course for free by signing up, and dedicate 10 mins day to meditation for 10 days. 

I meditated last night when in an emotional storm, and it helped me so much. I’m going to continue with this.

Who’s with me? 🙂

 

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Allowing myself to be happy, or, the balance between “should” and “want”

26 Dec

This post from Drunky Drunk Girl just summed up everything I feel at the moment, and the constant struggle that causes me so many problems. I wanted to reblog it to remind myself that I’m not alone in my struggles and that so many of us have issues that stem from the desire to be awesome, which makes us constantly strive for more, and ultimately, that helps us quit the destructive cycle of drinking.

Allowing myself to be happy, or, the balance between \”should\” and \”want\”.

via Allowing myself to be happy, or, the balance between “should” and “want”.

Sober Marathon

26 Dec

Alot of posting at the moment, and it’s helping.

Today’s thought’s are on the parallels between running and sobriety, which strike me so frequently.

This morning I’ve realised that that through slipping up and drinking, I haven’t failed, or lost, I’ve just had a blip. I’m a little Sober-Tiara-Wearing-Badass-In-Training, working towards a sober marathon.

When I first started running 8 years ago, did I lace up my shoes and knock out 26 miles, just like that? NO. I struggled along, one mile at a time, taking years to build up my fitness and courage to tackle the big distance. Today I ran up a hill near my parents house that used to terrify me, but it fact, it’s more of a slight incline than a hill. My perspective on the size of that “hill” has changed through persistence and practice, doing the same thing over and over again: putting one foot in front of another.

And when you do that, you make great progress. This year, I ran a marathon in San Francisco which is, excuse my French, a hilly fucker. Achieved something I never thought was possible. And I did it because I’ve kept my running consistent and worked towards a big goal, taking confidence from my training and previous races.

It feels like this year has been a series of short distance sobriety sprints. I did a 10k in August (25 days), a 5k in September (12 days) and a half marathon in November and December (41 days) with lots of training sober sprints in between. Even though I’ve slipped up, I haven’t unlearnt what I learnt then about sobriety, about how to practice self care and how brilliant sobriety is.

Like with running, I’m working towards a bigger better goal every time I lace up my sober sneakers. Sober marathon here I come 🙂

Things Wolfie Says

25 Dec

A list of things wolfie says to make me remember what triggering thoughts I have. I’ve done alot of thinking and writing this evening and it’s really helping me feel better, more proactive and less miserable.

So:

You deserve it- The old classic. We all know this voice. You’ve been sober for (what feels like) ages so GO ON! Have a drink. A treat. You deserve it.

You were never that bad– you never blacked out, did anything truly embarrassing other than some enthusiastic dancing and a bit of staggering around. You don’t drink like alocholics do. You are just a young girl, having fun! Right wolfie, what about drinking alone in my room night after night, mindlessly surfing the internet, achieving nothing. Drinking mini-bottles of wine in the toilet at work to ease a hangover? Yep, totally normal.

These feelings are unbearable– you need to drink, wine is the only way. Wine makes these feeling worse, Wolfie mate. Shush. 

You’ve slipped up before, and learnt from it– why not slip up some more? Learn some new things? It’s all part of the process. FUCK OFF.

You don’t have a drinking problems, you just have a problematic mind- I do have both- I have problems handling things, but they’ve driven me to a drinking problem and I can’t go back to drinking normally now. Take a long walk off a short cliff, wolfie. 

This will never get easier– it will, it will, it will, right?

So all together now in festive chorus FUCK YOU WOLFIE! 

Unhappy Christmas

25 Dec

Christmas would have been so different if I hadn’t drank. I feel down, anxious and helpless. Today would have been day 45, I would have gone on my annual Christmas run with joy in my heart. Once I drink, the negative effects last for days. I ran this morning and derived no pleasure from it, I felt ashamed, self loathing and deep rooted sadness. I wanted to sit down in the middle of the street and cry.

My family are big drinkers and watching them do it today is making me even sadder. My brother suffers from depression and has just got out of a spell in prison, and just looking at him drinking bottle after bottle of beer makes me want to weep.

But, every day is a new start, and tomorrow I’m hoping the post-drinking blues abate and that I start to get some of my sober clarity and peace back. 

This time next year when I post on Christmas day, I want to do so with a year of sobriety under my belt. I want to re-read this and remember the pain and discomfort that drinking has brought back so quickly. I want to have worked through how to cope with my low moods and be a stronger person for it. I want to be 100% sober and comfortable with a new lifestyle. Drinking ruins so much, it’s just not worth it. I’ve written it time after time on here this year and keep slipping. One day, I’ll no longer slip, I’ll wobble along sober but will no longer fall.

This post is like a little message in a bottle for what I hope the next year will bring. It will be my 2014 Christmas Day treat to read how far I’ll have come. I can do this, I know it’s within me to. I just need to keep the faith in myself, which I currently don’t have back, but  with a few sober days under my belt, it will come. 

Here’s to ending 2013 sober and starting 2014 on the right foot. 

Lessons Learnt

24 Dec

While the slip up is fresh in my mind, i want to get down on paper all the things I’ve learnt.

Drinking sucks- it wasn’t fun, or enjoyable, but depressing and lonely. I went out clubbing at the weekend, sober, and know I had a ball because I wasn’t drinking. I was dancing away, and had a wave of joy hit me, which reminded me of the joy I got when I was 15 and first started going out and dancing fuelled by vodka and cokes. How things come full circle. Now, sober highs are so much better than drunk ones. I can’t actually remember the last time I had a drunk high. 

Changing environments requires extra sober tools- Both times I’ve slipped up on a sober streak I’ve been in a new environment. The first time I was away with work, the second back at home. I get used to my sober routine and how to handle certain situations and when I’m out of that, I need to be super vigilant. 

Hangovers are the worst- with so many glorious sober days under my belt, I’ve become used to feeling fresh, energetic and happy. Today has been miserable- napping and feeling ill. I don’t want any more of these. What a waste of Christmas eve.

Alcohol makes me depressed– I get down anyway, but my God does drinking make it worse. I feel simultaneously terrible and numb at the same time. I feel lonely today, a deep-seated lonliness that being around my family hasn’t been able to shake.

Moderation isn’t an option– when I accidentally drank the champagne on Sunday, I thought that was that. I was annoyed, but had consciously stopped there and thought I could just carry on being sober. WRONG. That one drink wasn’t enough, and the desire for more festered quietly for 24 hours until I snapped and ordered a glass of wine while out Christmas shopping. Then carried on all day and night. 

I look like shit- all the clear-skinned, glowing effects of sobriety have been undone already. I look terrible. 

I don’t want to drink. I am not a dry drunk when I’m not drinking- I love being sober. I hate dealing with my feelings, but that will take time, and I’m slowly learning through therapy and self care. When I’m drinking I hate drinking so much. So what’s the issue with staying stopped?

If anyone thinks this is a bad idea, I’d love to hear it, but I’m considering not counting days this time round. I felt like every day was passing so slowly, and that I was just waiting to get to some future point, with a niggling feeling I wasn’t living fully. I wonder whether just deciding that I’m AF might work better. No counting, no negotiating that if I can make it to 100 days then maybe I could try moderation, just making an absolute and unwavering lifestyle choice. 

I met Lucy from Soberistas yesterday (I am aware of the irony of relapsing on this day, when we’d spent so long talking about the joys of sober life) and she said something very interesting. She’s not a fan of counting days, because she thinks that it tricks our minds into thinking there’s an end point. For her, she liked just deciding that she didn’t drink alcohol anymore, and sticking to it through determination and bloody mindedness. 

It might not work, because the pull of alcohol is evidently scarily strong, but I’m interested to see how I can best get myself back on track and make a commitment forever. Maybe I should try this approach. 

Moving On

24 Dec

After yesterday’s drinking, I do feel terrible. My body isn’t used to it now. 

BUT, as I was doing it I didn’t enjoy it, I was already thinking ahead to staying sober for good.

I’ve slipped up quite a few times this year, but every time I do it just reminds me how brilliant being sober is. I love it! And I don’t love being drunk. Or hungover. Or guilty. 

I don’t know exactly what happened yesterday, to be honest, I think being home at my parents for Christmas and in what I thought was a safe environment threw me. I’m not used to having to use my sober toolkit here, because my drinking issues are relatively recent and (usually) confined to my life away from home. 

Anyway, I slipped, once again I’ve learnt and I’m coming back to the sober side immediately 🙂 What a rollercoaster this whole thing is!

I’m Drinking

24 Dec

If I’m going to do this blog and get the support I am lucky enough to get from people who read this, I have to be honest.

I’m drinking right now.

Yesterday I slipped up- I accepted a glass of champagne at a baby shower and drank it. I wasn’t vigilant about sobriety and sort of forgot I don’t drink any more. 

I messaged Carrie telling her, but I was so sure it was just a momentary thing. I was so proud of myself because I stopped at that one glass. 

Alcohol is a fucker, yesterday I stopped drinking when I could have carried on, but got the taste for it again. Today I’ve had 4 glasses of wine, a nap, a bottle of cava, a bottle of beer and a gin and tonic. I am typing, a bit drunk, to make myself accountable. 

I have done so much work this past  6 weeks, SO much, and don’t want to go back to drinking regularly, but F**K, I can’t believe I’m here again. I changed my environment and let my guard down and wolfie has bitten me.

I just re-read what I’ve drunk. That’s a lot.  I hope documenting it helps me when I re-read this post and reminds me why I shouldn’t drink.

Ugh tomorrow is a starting over day. Now I remember that truly one is never one. If I stop drinking after one drink on one day, the desire to drink is ignited nevertheless and I drink shitloads the next. 

I’m listening to this song on repeat, all about Starting Over: http://vimeo.com/61666335

I don’t want to go through the pain again :/ But I have no choice. 

Sober Lessons Part I

19 Dec

I’m the happiest I’ve been to be sober in ages. I read back some old posts last night when I was struggling and feel like it’s been a LONG time since I saw that pink cloud. This week has been so difficult. SO difficult. 

Well the storm might have cleared… Pink cloud, I see ya peeking at me from behind the grey ones! 

Thanks to all the amazing support and suggestions I got last night, I’ve learnt some new sober lessons that have been invaluable:

  • Ask for help– if you say it out loud, that you want to drink, either by blogging or by contacting a sober friend, you’ll get all the support and reasons you need not to drink. A particularly strongly worded message by Carrie last night really helped me as I told Wolfie where to go. I sort of knew this before, but last night I realised that the second I type the words ‘I want to drink’, I know I won’t. Just telling someone is enough to remind myself why I shouldn’t. 
  • Do what works- for me, that’s been eating dinner. As soon as I’ve eaten, drinking would be ‘pointless’- it’s only worth drinking on an empty stomach, according to my alcoholic brain. So when I crave alcohol, I eat something and then it goes. This is a huge revelation to me, because I never used to eat dinner. Ever. So the very act of eating in the evening feels like a treat in itself and it helps me avoid booze. Win win!
  • Pinpoint what’s bothering you– Last night alot of people recommended listening to The Bubble Hour, which has been helping me alot this attempt at sobriety. But, last night I started listening to one about rehab which doesn’t feel relevant to me and my type of drinking. I was frustrated- this is one of my sober tools, why isn’t it working?! And then I sat back, thought about why I was toying with drinking, and realised it was the fact I was pissed off with needing to stay sober, with how much work  it’s taken to get here. So I dug out one of the Bubble Hour podcasts entitled ‘Accepting Acceptance.’ It was just what I needed at that moment, and has made me think about sobriety in lots of new ways. So, pick your tool wisely- choose the one that best responds to your particular feeling that’s driving the desire to drink. Trial and error works- keep trying until you find one or the desire to drink goes.
  • Tot up your victories- Last night I was sick of feeling the way I was feeling, constantly fighting the desire to drink. Then I realised that I’d felt just like this lots of times in the past month or so, and not given in. 38 nights of not giving in, and never once regretting it. So one more night wouldn’t kill me. That worked. And today has been so much better.

Yesterday might have been about the struggle, but today has been all about counting the blessings.

A quick inventory of what I’m grateful for in sobriety today: sleeping well, feeling more focused, feeling more motivated, feeling slimmer, having a less puffy face (I found a picture of myself in my last week or so of drinking and I look like a chipmunk from my swollen cheeks!), feeling I can achieve pretty much anything I want to if I put my mind to it, feeling sobriety is worth it, feeling I am giving myself a gift that will just keep paying dividends, and learning things about myself that I’d never have learnt without taking this crazy, difficult and frustrating journey. That’s quite the list eh?

My therapist introduced me to the idea of maybe things are “exactly as they’re supposed to be, right now.” I think she might be right. This struggle is hard, but it’s proving worth it. That’s a pretty brilliant feeling to close the day with. 

Quicksand

18 Dec

After yesterday’s very near miss, I’ve continued to think a lot about sobriety and relapse.

More than any other type of work I’ve done on improving my life and how I respond to my emotions, sobriety is a matter of black and white. Food is of course tricky when you have issues with it as you need to eat it every day, as are other negative coping behaviours such as unhelpful self-talk which stem from deep-rooted judgements and beliefs we hold about ourselves. But drinking is all or nothing for me- I’m either doing it or not doing it. For a couple of years there hasn’t really been any sense of moderation. 

I’ve learnt so much this year about drinking, but I cannot escape the feeling that a relapse is just round the corner. I can feel it sneaking up on me. My mind is telling me that I shouldn’t be so black and white about drinking, that even if I did slip up, I’d be learning something.

If anyone has any links to any helpful blogs, podcasts or tools I could use I would be so grateful. I worked through the desire to drink last night, and I don’t have it today, but I feel like I’m on the edge of a valley of quicksand, staring at it, mesmerised and about to step in.

I’m on 38 days. I like where I am, mostly. But I am on the brink of stepping out. How can I avoid the quicksand? I honesty don’t know. 

CLOSE CALL

17 Dec

This afternoon, I wrote about relapse. 

This evening I was THAT CLOSE to drinking. I was almost resigned to it. I was far from home with no phone to send an SOS message to my supportive sober friends and feeling absolutely shit. The mere act of writing about relapsing made the thought get stuck in my head and even seem like a good idea. An experiment in whether my relationship to alcohol has changed. 

I didn’t do it, but I wanted to so much. I still do a little. 

Why is this so hard?! Or perhaps a more appropriate question is: why do I have so many feelings I want to squish?!

Tomorrow is another day. 

Relapse

17 Dec

Today I’ve read several tales of relapse, two including people at similar stages to me in sobriety, and it’s been incredibly helpful to me to read them. 

No matter how much better I feel from not drinking, I still have it in my head that at some future point I will drink again. I try not to dwell on this thought, because it’s hugely unhelpful, and all my focus is going on getting through the 100 day challenge. I pray that when I’ve got that chunk of time under my belt, I won’t ever want to go back. But that’s a decision for tomorrow.

Today’s focus is remembering that drinking was never as good as wolfie wants me to think it was. I build up this delicious moment in my head of drinking, and sometimes turn it over in my mind, but force myself to ‘play the tape to the end’ to remember why I don’t want to go there.

But the relapse stories I’ve read today have shown me it’s not worth it.

Here’s Girl on the Lean’s story, who drank at just before 30 days:

“The first glass was, in that moment, the most crisp and delicious thing I thought I’d ever tasted.  That momentary pleasure, though, seemed fleeting.  I felt guilty for a moment.  As people arrived I let myself just not worry about it.  I had as much wine as I wanted.  I didn’t keep track.  I did make sure I drank water throughout the night.  I didn’t really get drunk.  I did get tired.  I felt heavy.  I felt a bit irritable toward the end of the night and was surprised that I felt unable to let go and really enjoy myself despite the alcohol.”

That doesn’t sound like a fireworks moment, does it? An explosion of ecstasy?

Nor does this,that Belle posted from one of her readers:

“I’m on day 1. Had I not slipped up, it would have been 30 days today.  😦 

It really, truly, was not worth it.  Maybe I needed to experience that, though… to test the waters. It was just so… anticlimatic. 

I’m reading “Parched” by Heather King right now and she talks about how drinking is never actually fun, but it always feels like you are about to have fun in 15 minutes.

My drinking was never about glass one, but about the end of glass 2. That was my pleasure point. But at the end of glass 2, you reallllly want glass 3 and that’s where it all goes wrong. 

And this from Sober Jessie:

“..as I think more and more about it, as I have let my sobriety go, I have also stopped taking care of myself in other ways. Gym? Not much. Healthy eating? Hardly. Relationship with hubby? Not great. When I toe the line with my sobriety, everything else falls into place. When I don’t, I’m a hot mess.”

So the relief from the effort of sobriety is relieved, but so much is lost. I wish these women well who have slipped up- they all sound strong in their posts and have, crucially, learnt from their relapses. Sometimes, I think, relapse is a necessary evil as part of the sobriety journey- last time I broke my sober streak it was so horrible it confirmed why I don’t drink. Wow, I just typed “I don’t drink” like a decisive statement that I believe and am committed to rather than something I’m gingerly trying out. That has a shelf life. The ultimate aspiration is that when someone offers me alcohol I say “I don’t drink”, something that I will only feel secure in after 6 months or more of sobriety.

To get there, I need to stay focused. Currently, the main thing stopping me drinking again is truly the thought of another day 1. Time has moved so slowly since I stopped drinking. I have barely reached 40 days and it feels a lifetime. Resetting that clock would be too dangerous- I can see myself so clearly struggling again to string together more than 4 sober days.

If I can just stick to reaching 100, I hope my perspective will, shift, that I’ll be happier booze free, that I’ll romanticise it less. That may not happen, so I need to keep in mind why I should stay on the path I’m on. 

Setting an Example

16 Dec

One of my biggest worries when stopping drinking was peer pressure from others. So much of my sober toolkit has been ways of fooling people into thinking I was drinking, to avoid any hassle.

In the past 5 weeks of being sober which has encompassed endless social gatherings, parties and Christmas work do’s, not one person has pressured me to drink.

When people have asked why I’m not drinking, I’ve given a variety of reasons depending on who they are and how well I know them. These have ranged from “I had a heavy weekend so I’m having a night off” (after work drinks in week 1) to “drinking has been making me a bit depressed, to be honest, so I’m taking a break” (my party a few weeks ago) to “I haven’t had a drink for a month or so now and I’m really enjoying it so I’m going to carry on for a while” (work Christmas party).

All of these reasons were met with acceptance and, increasingly, admiration.

I often assume that the people who I observe drinking don’t have a problem like I did, or that alcohol doesn’t affect their lives. But as soon as you offer a genuine reason for not drinking (it was making me feel shit and life is better without it) people start to open up about their own drinking. They say they hate hangovers, and wish they could me more abstemious “like me.”  They say they’re broke and are spending all their cash on booze because of hectic social calendars.

Usually people skirt around the negative facets of drinking through the stories of others, as no-one wants to admit that they have a problem- they’d rather recount anecdotes. I’ve heard stories of people whose friends have given up drinking and say it’s transformed their life, young professionals who have had to have stints in rehab and people with depression who have given up alcohol who have seen dramatic improvements to their mental health.

People tell me these stories, tell me they admire me for making a decision and sticking to it but still coming to events, even 8 hour all-day drinking sessions. They then say they’re definitely doing Dry January, and want me to help them. The fact I haven’t drunk for just 5 short weeks is viewed as some sort of Herculean feat.

People express envy for me, that I can stop drinking with such ease (ha!) and still have so much fun. It seems they think I woke up one day, decided I’d have a break from drinking and just got on with it. What they don’t realise is the amount of self-discipline, self-care, reflection, talking and support from others that has gone into it. The reaching out in crisis moments. The hours upon hours reading sober blogs.

Yes I did have a problem, which was evident in how I drank alone, but on the outside and socially, I looked like a normal drinker. I have no idea what’s going on in the lives of people who are taking baby steps in confronting their relationships with alcohol by admitting to me they’re not happy with it.

The thing about giving up alcohol, whether you’re an alcoholic or not, is that it is HARD. Society wants you to drink, other drinkers pressure you to drink, drinking is the lynchpin of our social activities, and so many people are at a loss for what to do without it. People don’t realise the way they use alcohol to deal with emotional issues, either, and don’t realise the importance of a sober toolkit.

 I’m trying to think of a way to do something to help my peers reflect on their relationship with alcohol- I hugely admire what Hello Sunday Morning has achieved in Australia, and would love to do something, however small, to help my friends and colleagues who have expressed the desire to stop drinking for a while.  

If I didn’t have the support of this online community, I would have slipped up weeks ago, like I did for months when a Day 1 would follow a Day 3 every time. How can we share our brilliant experiences of being sober without scaring people off by talking about drinking problems and alcoholism? I really want to try and make something happen, a seed of an idea is there, but it needs more sober time to grow…

Video

Things only Sober People recognise

15 Dec

http://www.buzzfeed.com/video/lizziesam/party-moments-only-sober-people-will-understand

Today I’m wiped from too much sober socialising. I’ve absolutely powered through the December madness so far, but I’ve learnt a big lesson- 3 parties in one week is just TOO MUCH.

I feel a bit shitty and down, but this video made me giggle. Hurrah for being the sober one, as knackering as it is.

5 weeks sober today 🙂

Pride

12 Dec

Today I’ve had a great day. The grey clouds have cleared, I’m feeling radiant and healthy, I’m on 32 days sober and I fancy a drink.

This time, I want to drink because I’m proud of something that happened at work. Something I’ve been working on for a long time came to fruition in a brilliant moment and I’m high as a kite. I feel really proud not only because of what I did, but also that managed to pull it off mostly during my drinking days.

That means that I’m ok with alcohol right?! That I can still function at work just fine when I’m hungover. So I might as well drink tonight, to celebrate. RIGHT?

Wrong.

I need to remember how far I’ve come this past month and what I’d be giving up.

I’ve been really low this month and haven’t yet had to deal with the desire to drink when I’m ecstatically happy. I used to drink on a high a lot, and love it. Until the next day. And the day after that when I was still drinking through the hangovers.

I’ve had so many conversations with myself tonight about how I NEED to relapse to remember why drinking is a bad idea. WHAT MADNESS IS THAT WOLFIE?!

So here’s what I’m going to do:

I’m going to go home, buy some bottles of 0% beer on the way home so I have the ritual of popping the top of a fizzy treat, have some nice food and go to bed.

I can’t risk going out to a bar with colleagues or letting myself get any hungrier.

Action stations- I’m about to kick wolfie’s arse.

1 month

10 Dec

Today I’m 30 days sober.

I honestly never thought I could get to this point, but with some hard work, bloody mindedness and amazing support, I’ve got here and feel I can just keep on going.

It makes SENSE for me to be sober now- I get so much pleasure from it (most of the time), socialise better, respect and trust myself more and have more fun.

Last night was my work Christmas party which I’ve been dreading. I work in a boozy industry with boozy colleagues and was terrified of how I might be pressured to drink, so had all my excuses and sneaky tactics to hide the fact I wasn’t drinking ready.

A couple of things I wasn’t expecting happened. Firstly, half my office was ill, which meant the pre-party spirit was subdued, which meant I was in for an easier ride than I expected.

Secondly, I noticed that I was the only person with a non-alcoholic drink in hand, but that people who were drinking had such different behaviour to how I remembered people behaving around me when I was drinking- my drinking seems to have distorted my view of what other people were doing. They were drinking so much less than I thought they were…

What you realise when you stop is the way other people drink, and you can spot the alcoholics (although they may not know it yet) and the normies. I’ll say it again. People drink so much less than you think they do. I can’t believe how I used to knock back glasses of wine faster than the men drinking bottled beer.

I had a few “is this forever?!” moments when I caught the sweet smell of champagne, and decided that I’m not ready to think about forever, but I am ready to accept that right now, this is the best possible thing I could do for myself.

A very happy 30 day milestone for me and a few big challenges navigated.

Happy Tuesday!

Gifts of Sobriety

7 Dec

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After a shocker of a week where my emotions have been all over the place, today I feel unbelieveably calm. In this sober journey, it seems my emotions are shifting much more quickly between extremes. 

Today, as I inch towards a month sober, I’ve become very aware of all the gifts of sobriety that I’ve encountered over the past month. 

It’s list time! IlLove a good list to reflect back on when I’m feeling like I want to dive face first into a vat of wine…

1) The notion of being kind to yourself has been a lifesaver. I honestly think that in my 27 years I have never, ever practised being kind to myself. Life has been a constant exercise in achievement and self improvement, and never just doing what serves me. I’ve started to do this and OH MY GOD IT’S AMAZING. Life is just so much simpler when you listen to your own wants and needs. It’s been critical to my recovery and might be the biggest lesson I get out of this whole sobriety lark. 

2) Time– when you don’t drink you get huge lumps of time back, which at first are scary, but if you use them wisely are so amazing. For one thing, I no longer turn down invitations at the weekend because I’m not scheduling hungover time. HUNGOVER TIME?! What madness was that?! I actually used to account for it in my plans as if it was a legitimate use of time. I’ve done so much this month, despite the off days, the battles and the white-knuckling it moments. 

3) Passions– I’ve rediscovered things I love doing, outside drinking and running- before, if I wasn’t doing one you could be damn sure I’d be doing the other. I feel in touch with my former self, before emotional drinking got in the way. 

4) Eating– I’ve been strictly observing the HALT rules and I realised that I haven’t fed myself properly or responded to hunger for the best part of 10 years. Yes I’ve unleashed the sugar monster and have some new work to do on my diet to get it to be balanced again, but the feeling of (mainly) nourishing my body rather than merely repairing it after alcohol abuse is foreign and bloody brilliant. 

5) Autumn– I’m so glad I’m doing my first month sober in Autumn. Autumn is my spring- every year I take stock at this time of year, relish the changing colours and the cold weather. I have created my little sober cocoon in the room I drank so much in and feel genuinely content in the low light and candles, nice and cosy, drinking my tea or soda water. 

6) Sleep– who knew I could get so much sleep?! I’ve been sleeping 7-8 hours every night which is unheard of. I can tune into my natural rhythms and recognise being tired and deal with that, rather than drinking through it. HU-RAH for sleep. 

7) Socialising- I’ve had so much fun when I’ve been socialising sober, and rocking the sober tiara makes me feel amazing. The triumph of getting through a party until 4am last weekend has not only reminded me I have loads of fun sober, it’s also reminded me socialising sober is preferable- you remember things people have told you, have meaningful conversations! What novelty! What fun!

8) Support- I am so grateful for the support network I have found in this journey, everyone has been amazing in their wisdom and patience. When I was struggling with questioning my alcohol issues alone, I always came to the conclusion that I was fine, and should drink through the worry. It’s such a comfort and help that we’re not alone in this weird struggle that has become such a big part of our lives. 

9) My body– I have abused my body in so many ways over the years. On that last day of drinking when I felt my liver hurt I knew that something really had to change. I’ve really focused on listening to my body which encompasses so many of the positive lessons I’ve learnt above, and my body is thanking me. My eyes, which were yellow, are white again. The redness of my face has calmed. My puffy face has slimmed down. I have more energy and get the warning signs when I’m too tired. Weight loss hasn’t come yet, but it’s more important at the moment for me to biff wolfie on the nose by deploying my Secret Sobriety Weapon (a Cadbury’s Twirl) than it is to lose weight. Weight loss will come if I continue on this path and learn to listen to my body. I had an amazing realisation this morning that chocolate aside, I naturally eat healthily and do alot of exercise- at some point, my body will get to the weight it’s supposed to be, whether it’s my shape now, thinner or even a bit heavier. And I’m ok with that. I’ve had enough of keeping my weight artificially low, of suppressing my emotions with alcohol, and at 27 days sober, I feel ready to be authentically me, warts and all. 

Pretty bloody exciting eh?

What’s your biggest gift sobriety has given? I’m so excited about what might happen over the next weeks and months I’d love to hear your stories…

 

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