Archive | February, 2014

Uh oh

28 Feb

I’ve packed, I’m sitting amongst boxes and for the last 2 hours I’ve been battling serious cravings.

Packing, apparently, is a trigger. It brings up memories of champagne and the celebration of moving. We have vodka in the house. I opened the bottle and smelt it. It was disgusting.

I was trying to put myself off the idea of taking a drink, but it’s backfired. I want to drink more now.

I’ve text my sponsor who I know is in a meeting, am listening to an episode of the bubble hour and waiting for 8pm when my removal van will arrive.

It just shows how changeable and dangerous my alcoholism is. This morning I felt calm(ish) and stable. Now I’m pretty much crawling the walls.

If I drank now, I would have time to get as drunk as I want to, would sit in the van frustrated and spend my first night in my friend’s house plotting how to drink. I’d awake in my new home feeling shitty. I know that I’d drink tomorrow too, and probably Sunday.

Writing helps. Playing the tape forward helps.

I’m staying here. Praying for the strength to get through.

Moving On

28 Feb

It’s a pretty big day. I’m moving out of the flat I’ve spent the past year in and am going to live with a friend temporarily while my flat sale goes through.

The flat I’m leaving is the one I moved into when I left my ex-boyfriend, the flat I felt lonely and newly single in, where my drinking alone reached its very worst. I’ve had some tough times there, and some bad hangovers, but I leave it with fond memories. When I wake up in the morning and look out of my big sash window, right by my bed, I see the most beautiful view. Since I’ve been sober, this view reminds me of one of my last drinking episodes where I woke up, looked out of it and cursed the sky: ‘why are you so BLUE?!’ It makes me laugh now.

I’ve done a lot of growing in that flat: from negotiating the single life for the first time and getting sober. I feel like I’m leaving it with my head held high and a bright future ahead, rather than desperately hoping for a fresh start without drink which is how I felt when I moved in.

There’s a lot going on over the next few months- I need to find a new job, push the flat sale through and do so whilst essentially living out of a suitcase in my friend’s spare room. It’s going to be quite stressful, but also exciting. I just need to keep myself grounded and balanced, make sure I don’t let the instability get to me too much.

At least I want to be sober more than I want to drink now. I’m at 45 days and it feels bloody brilliant. Drinking isn’t something I crave, or want to do right now. Those cravings may return in the future, but the further I get away from that horrible last drink, the stronger my resolve is to ride the wave and make it through whatever discomfort I’m in.

Mercifully because it’s still winter, my social life has been quite and I’ve been spending a lot of time on my own, only
going to the odd party or work event. I need to start getting out there again socializing again, but to be honest, I don’t really want to yet. One thing I’ve realised since getting sober is that I like spending time alone WAY more than I thought I did. Which is great, but I also need to maintain a social life and have some fun too.

I’m looking forward to this next chapter. Let’s see how it goes…

Intervention

24 Feb

So, I’ve known over the past few months that  my job isn’t right for me but haven’t done anything about it yet, waiting to get some more sober time under my belt. But today, the universe has intervened and forced my hand to REALLY consider what to do next. 

I’m a freelancer who’s been with the same company for a very long time, so much so I forget I’m not staff there. I found out today the team I work for is changing shape, so my contract will end at the end of next month. This is a big shock to the system. 

I have to decide what to do next. 

I am so so pleased with today, because the following things happened:

  • I got this news out of the blue and didn’t freak out. 
  • I didn’t cry, get anxious or feel wounded.
  • I knew this decision wasn’t about me, but about the company. I recognised they value me rather than thinking it’s all my fault and that they’re forcing me out. 
  • I accepted their offer of help finding another role in a different team. 
  • I didn’t blame my drinking for the ending of this contract- it’s out of my hands. Whilst my drinking definitely had some impact on my work, I accepted my boss’ praise for a job really well done and didn’t get Imposter Syndrome. 
  • I’ve accepted that this is the situation I have to deal with, and am making plans for What to Do Next. Breaking it down into a manageable plan of action. 
  • Most importantly, I DIDN’T DRINK.

Today has been huge in my journey. This is the kind of situation that I would REALLY drink over in the past. But all I thought this afternoon was “Usually on a day like this I’d get smashed, but I don’t want to now” and then moved on.

Thank God for the principles I’ve learnt in AA in the short time I’ve been in there. I feel true serenity today- whatever will happen will happen, but I’ll do the best I can to do what’s within my power to get the outcome that will suit me and my early sobriety.

Yes I’m worried about money, and about what job I choose next (there are a few options on the table already, thankfully) but I’ve been brought to this crossroads and I’m going to work through it without drinking. In some senses, the timing couldn’t be worse- I’m in the process of buying a flat and in the early days of sobriety FFS. I need stability and an income. But in another sense, I think it’s the gift in disguise I’ve been waiting for, speeding up the process of me looking at what I want to do every day. 

I’m going to think hard about how to support myself during these decisions. At least I know one vital thing: I can’t drink. If I drink I won’t get through it in one piece and will truly scupper my chances of giving myself the space and support I need to make the right choice. 

So thanks, Universe, you crafty bugger. 

Let’s see what happens next…

Glowing not Sparkling

23 Feb

I’ve had a lovely weekend. I went to 2 gigs ran 20 miles on a beautiful spring day and napped a lot.

On paper, it was fantastic. I really enjoyed it. I felt so grateful to be sober. 

My energy levels are through the roof and JESUS I looked at my nails this afternoon and they are shiny! I never even knew nails could be shiny! I’m the “vision of health”, as a colleague put it, which made me feel pretty great!

BUT. 

But I miss the confidence boost drinking gave me. I went to the gig last night with a man I’ve being seeing for months, a really strange Friends with Benefits situation that has evolved. I enjoy his company, but I’m not 100% relaxed around him. Like so often when we go out, last night I wished I could drink so that the conversation would flow more freely, so I could dance less self consciously. 

And then I realised that I’m not a quiet person around the RIGHT people. Around the right people I’m chatty and bubbly. Around the wrong people (read: wrong men) I get quiet and a little withdrawn and want the artificial boost of booze to make me be more me. A better, shinier sparklier me. 

I know this man isn’t right for a relationship and we enjoy each other’s occasional company without any emotional side effects. I’m happy with things as they are, in part because it’s fulfilling the need for male company and stopping me seeking out a “proper” relationship which I know would be a threat to my sobriety right now. Whilst it’s fun, we both acknowledge we’re each others stop gap people, and that’s probably not very healthy. 

If I’m going to be sober long term, I need to surround myself with people that make me feel whole without the booze. Of course there will always be work/family/friendship situations where you feel a little “less than”, a need for the kind of boost that alcohol gave us. That’s just life and the natural ebbs and flows of confidence that come with it. But I never want to hide behind booze again when getting to know someone new. I want them to like me for who I am, not the Merlot Mask I’m wearing. 

This is all a work in progress. I’ll keep tabs on this man situation and stay in touch with how it’s making me feel. If he needs to go, he needs to go.

40 days sober today. It feels bloody brilliant. 

The Sunny Side

21 Feb

Today, I’m 38 days sober.

The sun is shining in the city, it feels a little like spring.

My clothes are feeling a little looser, and I’ve lost a few pounds.

I’m following a tailored nutrition plan for my marathon training a nutritionist I know designed for a slight calorie deficit so I can lose the weight I want, and I feel fantastic. Plenty of food, no deprivation, heaps of energy, strong running.

I slept for 8.5 hours last night and woke up and like I do every morning now I’m sober and thanked god, my higher power, or whatever is out there, for sleep and another sober day.

I’ve applied for a new job, to remind myself there are other options out there, if and when I want them. I’m not dwelling on it, or going to make any dramatic changes, just trying to feel my way towards what I really want.

I’m going to a gig tonight with a friend who’s never really drunk, and will dance my little socks off sober.

I’m feeling happy to be me. Happy to be on the Sunny Side. Not going back to the place where alcohol sucks all light out of life… Not today.

Happy Friday! 

 

Day by Day

20 Feb

This week has been a bit of a struggle. Not with cravings explicitly, but the niggling feeling that a drink would make everything better. I 100% know that in reality, that wouldn’t be the case.

Now that the booze fog is well and truly out of the way, at 5 weeks sober, other feelings are starting to surface. The uncomfortable nature of clarity. The curious sensation of being able to look into the mirror and examine what you see unfettered by shame. The experience of raw emotions.

It’s so easy to ignore things when you’re drinking. In some ways, it’s a mirror image of the AA principle “one day at a time.” You’re advised to “keep it in the day” rather than thinking about the possibility of never drinking again. So often when you’re fighting a hangover (particularly at work) all you can do is hope to get through the day in one piece. I took my drinking very much one day at a time, choosing to ignore future consequences, the number of days I’d drunk before hand, the effect it would have in the morning.

When you’re in early sobriety, all you want to do is get through the day without a drink. Now, I’m into a sober routine that’s working. I’m dealing with cravings, I’m going to AA regularly, I’m still reading sober blogs daily. Sobriety is slowly becoming part of the fabric of my life, and now my attention is turning to the other things I want to address.

Things are pretty good- I’ve just bought a flat, marathon training is going well and I feel some form of happiness every day. But my job, which I have chosen to ignore as a source of discontent, is becoming more and more of a worry to me.

All the big questions are coming up this week “who am I? Does this career suit me? Can I do this job for the rest of my life? How do I change things up? Am I just being the eternally unsatisfied alcoholic? Have I created a life than is better than I realise?”

Understandably, it’s all a bit overwhelming, and all I can do now is to stay solid and sober and manage the overwhelm. To start to address these questions slowly. Not to rush things. Not to threaten my precarious sobriety.

I asked a lovely lady who’s been vital in my first few weeks of AA to be my sponsor last night, and she said yes! This is a huge weight off my shoulders- I trust her, admire her and think I need to get started on the steps.

I’ll focus on these for now, not my big life questions or my job. Working through the steps will be a journey of self discovery and I think that if I prioritise that, maybe, just maybe, everything else will fall into place. For now, I’ll trust that It will, and that soothes me.

Happy Thursday!

WOAH CRAVING

16 Feb

I have been doing brilliantly this week, happy, feeling very sober, thrilled to be over a month without a drink but WOW today I have been wrestling Mr Wolfie like mad. 

All I want to do is fall face first into a mega glass of wine (you know the goblets that hold pretty much half a bottle? One of those). Why? I have no idea. 

In a bid to make sure I relax a bit and get enough rest after a mad week at work, I’ve been quite isolated this weekend. I think that has something to do with it. I’m also at the point which I’ve learnt, for me, is the classic “I wasn’t that bad really” point- just over a month sober. 

I’ve been to a lot of AA meeting this week, but I haven’t been engaging with the principles of it outside the meetings. So the One Day at A Time approach, which I know works, has gone out of the window. I’ve become a bit obsessed with not being able to share a bottle of wine with an (imaginary) future date, which is not helpful. I don’t even have any prospect of a date any time soon!

I’ve also been watching a lot of House of Cards where there is ALOT of alcohol. Despite one of the characters being an alcoholic which should put me off drinking, the seemingly endless casual glasses of wine portrayed on screen seem really appealing. This is just nonsense, to get triggered by a TV programme, but it’s reminded me how dangerous it is when the seed of drinking is planted. 

I’m staying strong and am leaving for a meeting in the next half an hour, which will buy me one more sober day. I cannot have a Day 1, not now. There is just no point. I know I don’t want to carry on drinking and have to stop, so why ruin my momentum AGAIN. 

Next week I’m going to focus on coming out of my sober bubble a little so I feel less isolated at the weekend, and planning lots of nice sober activities to look forward to.

I’ve settled on a treat that I’m saving up for if I make it to 3 months sober- a set of personal training lessons to start strength training and shake up my exercise routine a bit, which I’m REALLY looking forward to and today, the thought of denying myself that treat has pushed me through. 

Alcohol eh? Cunning, baffling, powerful. 

But I’ll stay sober today. 

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