Archive | April, 2014

Fat Loss

28 Apr

So, weight loss has always been a big part of why I wanted to quit drinking. It’s simply not possible to drink like I was and shift the pounds. But, as I blogged last week when I hit 100 days, losing weight in early sobriety isn’t a given. In fact, weight gain is a distinct possibility. 

As I shared last week, much to my surprise, I found when stopping drinking that weight loss is REALLY insignificant in the big picture. I’m sober, I have much better self esteem and my life is slowly changing in a million imperceptible and important ways. 

I say all of this, but of course I am about to tell you how I am going about losing weight and how much time and effort is going into it. Why so contradictory?

More than my size being an issue, I definitely feel my eating was out of control during early sobriety in a way that it never has been before. Nothing was restricted. I ate what I needed to stay sober and sane, and some days that meant ALOT of sugar. There were times, to be honest, where I binged with the out of control feeling I had during my bulimic episodes, but without the volume of food or making myself sick, thank goodness. 

Sugar became addictive for me and unlike a former me who would have a tiny taste of chocolate and then stop, when I started, I didn’t want to stop and it was an EFFORT not to crack open a second bar. Sound familiar?

I felt at times that I was just transferring the addiction to alcohol, but didn’t over analyse and just gave myself time. I knew I had to get the diet thing on lock down, but I needed to wait until I was truly ready to do it. To go cold turkey on sugar. 

Well, as I was approaching Day 100, I decided I did feel ready. I enlisted a nutritionist friend to do me a plan designed for slow, safe fat loss. As someone who has had serious issues around restriction in the past, I needed to be 100% sure what I was embarking on was safe. I also train a lot to keep myself sane, so I knew that would buy me some extra calories, without having the constant fatigue and low level hunger that comes with marathon training. 

I’ve just completed my first 7 days on the plan and I feel FANTASTIC. The diet basically consists of shit loads of good food. It’s low carb, with carbs taken mainly after training sessions to make sure the glycogen stores are replenished. I was very very wary of low carb (does anyone else hear that word and think a) NOOOOOOOOOO and b) Atkins! Yuck?!) but its working brilliantly. My energy levels are steady, my hunger levels are negligible and I’m having zero cravings for sugary stuff.

A typical day’s eating on a workout day looks like this:

  • Interval Training session (fasted, upon waking) 
  • Protein Pancakes (made with oats and banana for carbs)
  • Snack
  • Protein based meal with veg (e.g salmon and broccoli, chicken stir fry)
  • Snack
  • Protein based dinner v similar to lunch. 

On a non exercise day, it would be similar, but without the carby breakfast. 

On paper this looks BLOODY BORING but the recipes my nutritionist has given me are fantastic. I’m enjoying feeling more in control of my food intake by making time to cook and eat good food, and it’s forming part of my self care routine. I’m in a position at the moment where work is quiet and I have the opportunity to form good habits, which I’m seizing before I get crazily busy as is going to happen in a few weeks’ time. 

I’ve lost 4lbs in a week just cutting out sugar and following this plan and although I know a lot of it is water its great to see the scales going in the right direction. But here’s the best thing- SOMETHING INSIDE MUST HAVE CHANGED. This is the first time in years I have not used alcohol or food (eating it or denying myself it) to alter my emotional state. This is big stuff. I have spent a whole 7 days feeling my feelings without blocking them out, stuffing them down or starving them. That’s huge. I hadn’t even realised this until I started writing this post. It’s probably one of the biggest leaps in sobriety yet. 

I went to my first wedding sober last week and I did it on my healthy meal plan, prepping for the evening with my protein rich meal rather than taking the edge off an alcohol craving with chocolate. This must be progress right?!

I still feel shitty about sobriety sometimes, in the past 24 hours alone I’ve been really up and down about it. But I suppose what getting a grip on my eating has shown me is that deep within me in a place I can’t quite locate yet, change is afoot. I’m not sure what or where or how, but its happening. If I drink now, I’ll be back at square one and won’t find out where I’m headed in this crazy journey of my relationship with myself.

100 Days without alcohol

24 Apr

Today I’m celebrating 100 days without alcohol. I can’t quite believe I’ve got here, to be honest. I had so many aborted attempts, so many times of giving up, giving in and resetting to Day 1 I never thought I’d dig in and do it. But I have. And here’s what I’ve learnt:

Never Give Up- no matter how many Day 1s I had, I knew I wanted to give myself the chance to experience life alcohol free. It’s worth every moment of the struggle. It’s bloody hard, some days, but if I’d thrown in the towel I’d just be having to start over again. I want to keep up this sober momentum at all costs.  

I felt the benefits almost immediately– Within 2 weeks of being alcohol free, I was feeling SO much better physically. I was sleeping like a baby, I felt generally happier and I had bags of energy. 

My hair, skin and nails started shining within a month– I just LOOKED so much better within the first 4-5 weeks. People would tell me how great my skin looked, and having always suffered with rosecea, I was thrilled when it finally died down. One of the most frequent search terms that leads people to my blog is, hilariously, about losing a puffy face when you stop drinking. Well if you’re here looking to stop face puffiness, PUT DOWN THE WINE. My face slimming down has made me look like I’ve lost half a stone. I’m quite slim, but my chipmunk swollen face was making me feel really fat. All it took was removing the alcohol. 

Weight loss needs to go out of the window for the first 3 months– this is the bit no-one wants to hear. When I first started this blog, I was all about the weight loss. I knew the sole reason I’d put on weight from previously being super-skinny was drinking and bingeing when drunk, so I thought if I removed the wine and trained for 2 marathons whilst doing it, those pounds would drop off. Not true. I’ve actually gained a few pounds. This is due to an increased sugar intake, and needing to actually start eating dinner in the evening rather than skipping it in favour of wine. Having previously suffered from an eating disorder, I can honestly say my eating is the healthiest and most balanced its ever been. My body is strong from all the marathon training. I’m not 100% happy with how I look, as I know changing up my diet and training will shift some of the extra fat I’m carrying, but that will come in time. I cannot express how difficult it was for me to wrap my head round not losing weight but now I’m in a slightly more stable place with my sobriety, it’s the next thing I’m going to address. I’d rather be sober than skinny. 

Put your sobriety before everything else– Before losing weight, before socialising, hell, before your job if needs be. I got signed off work for a week or so in my first few weeks of early sobriety and it was the best gift I could have given myself. I had the chance to take time for myself, get into a sober routine and not run myself ragged by trying to work AND be sober AND marathon train. I’ve adjusted my social life- I still go to most parties and nights out, but I’ve got better at hearing the warning signals in my own head. If I’m in danger of drinking, I just leave. Out the door, sharpish. I’m so much happier with my social life because I choose how long I want to stay at an event, rather than hanging around just to drink or drinking my way through a boring night.

Find a sober ritual- In very early sobriety, I started doing two things before I went to bed. Lighting a ridiculously overpriced but gorgeous scented candle and writing a gratitude list. I found these two simple things so incredibly soothing as I gave myself time to dwell on the gift of a sober day. There’s nothing lovelier than that moment you’re truly happy to be sober and thanks to this ritual, I have that moment nightly. 

Treat yourself, but not as a direct reward for being sober– Bear with me on this one, this is just my experience and view, but I think it’s an important one to share. A lot of the sober blogging world quite rightly focuses on treats and thinking as you have one ‘this is my reward for being sober.’ I buy into this, great, treat yourself definitely. BUT what I struggled with was the idea that this was instead of treating myself with wine. Thinking ‘this is my treat for getting sober’ made me think ‘well wine would be a more fun treat.’ Classic wolfie voice madness.

When I shifted the notion of treats ever so slightly over to self care, it was transformative for me. Really, they’re exactly the same thing, saying ‘I value myself and I’m going to give myself this pleasurable experience because I deserve pleasure in my life’, but that very subtle shift in thinking for me. It’s helped me break the association of wine = pleasure and think about how the small pleasures I enjoy daily wouldn’t exist if I was pouring wine into my system. 

3 months is at once a lifetime and no time at all- in some senses, 100 days has DRAGGED. I feel like I’ve been sober forever. Battling often, being ecstatic frequently. But I’ve got so so far to go. For me, reaching this target is nice, but in all honesty, I have to learn to live this way forever. I’ve tried moderation, I’ve tried drinking again after a period of abstinence and I’ve found myself right back at where I started. I’ve lost all my sober zen the very second I pick up a drink. What I have is too precious to give up.

It’s hard work– being a grown up and dealing with emotions is HARD. Who knew?! I need to keep working away to learn new ways to cope. As readers of this blog know, I struggle ALOT with being sober, with not jacking it all in. But I’ve stuck with it and I’m feeling a million times better than I did on day 1.

A thought is just a thought– I’ve fantasised about drinking a million times in the past 100 days. I blog here about ‘being close’ to taking a drink. But on reflection, that’s not strictly true. I’ve never actually seriously made any move towards taking a drink. I haven’t had to walk away from a bar where I was about to order or put down a bottle of wine in the supermarket. On the surface, I feel like it’s a constant struggle to stay sober but actually, deep down something has clicked and I know that I’m not in REAL danger. Of course I have to be vigilant. Of course that urge will always be there, but I now know that a thought is not an action, and I keep those niggling ideas that a drink would be just fabulous right now locked up in the confines of my chattering brain.

Try anything once– I thought that AA wasn’t for me. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I can honestly say it’s been the single biggest factor in getting me sober. I’d been blogging for around a year, tried the 100 Day Challenge innumerable times and never been sober for more than 40 days. The moment I walked into my first AA meeting I knew I was in the right place. This was not a feeling I expected to have. AA has become my anchor. No matter how antsy I get, how quickly my mind is running towards a dark place, if I get myself to a meeting I experience the same relief I got from picking up a drink. As a constant relief-seeker, I feel like I’ve struck gold. I go to around 3 meetings a week, more if I need it, and it’s amazing. I feel a real sense of community, joy, laughter and the wealth of experience in those rooms is incredible. Of course some days people share and I want to walk straight out of there, thinking YOU ARE A PROPER ALCOHOLIC I AM NOT, but mostly, I love it. 

Alcoholic is just a word- I believe I am an alcoholic. I couldn’t have said this a few months ago. Because of the stigma surrounding the word, it’s become a dirty thing to say. The friends I’ve told about being in AA have been so shocked at the notion I identify as an alcoholic. But what makes me one, in my eyes is the following: I get caught in a cycle of drinking much more than I want to, once alcohol enters my veins I need more, my drinking increased to dangerous levels, drinking was seriously affecting my mental and physical health yet I could not stop, I maintained a lovely looking life on the outside, knowing alcohol was eroding my inside and the only thing that has got me sober is identifying 100% as an alcoholic. I really like the idea of having an allergy to alcohol. It’s not a moral failure, having a drinking problem, as I once thought. It’s just a socially inconvenient truth I need to get my head round. 

Emotional sobriety is the most important thing for me to learn- I didn’t understand, before AA, why I drank. I didn’t understand that the characteristics I’ve battled with my whole life (being over sensitive, over achieving, people pleasing to name just a few) are at the heart of the addictive personality. Before I started seriously drinking 2 years ago, I had other terrible coping behaviours to get me out of my own head. Starving myself. Running obsessively until my legs could no longer support my weight. Now, I’ve got a set of tools to learn how to cope with being me. In all honesty, if tomorrow I was suddenly granted the gift of moderation and could drink normally, I’d still go to AA. What I learn there is basically How to Be a Human Being. 

Just get through the day– The key to my sobriety so far has been bargaining with myself that I won’t drink today. It’s age old stuff, the ‘one day at a time’ notion, Belle’s ‘Not Today’ idea, but it works. If I can get myself through one tough day, I’m much more likely to get through the next. I never wake up in the morning feeling worse than I went to bed, and I always wake up feeling a million times better. So grateful for being sober. 

So here I am. What next? More of the same, I think. I can see battles ahead, as the initial excitement of getting sober subsides, but I also see great moments of sunshine and light and I cannot wait to see what’s round the corner. 

 

Drinking Dreams

22 Apr

I had the most horrific drinking dream yet last night. 

If there’s one thing that really hammers home why I shouldn’t drink, it’s the way my blood runs cold in the moment I wake up after a drinking dream, followed by the overwhelming relief. I feel like these dreams are a guard against my sobriety. They pop up when I need a kick up the backside and remind me how much my life has changed in the past 3 months. Drinking would not be worth losing all that, going back to the dark place where I’m stuck in a cycle I cannot break, feeling down and shitty until I drink again. THANKS BRAIN FOR GIVING ME DRINKING DREAMS!

I can’t exactly remember what happened in the dream, but I got wrecked and was forced to admit to my mum that I have a problem, which broke her little heart. I’ve been accidentally drunk around my parents quite a few times in the past year. I once got smashed at one of their work events, having consumed a bottle of wine on the train on the way there plus loads more when I arrived, and the shame I felt the next day at seeing them and the people who’d been at the event was horrible. At Christmas, when I drank 2 bottles of wine across a day, including one secretly in the house, I’m sure they must have been able to smell the almighty stench of stale wine in my room the next day. My childhood bedroom, now tainted by the smell of booze. 

I think if I told my parents I had a drinking problem they’d be slightly less surprised than a lot of my friends. They’ve seen me really drunk, know heavy drinking runs in the family and almost without doubt would blame themselves. Part of me wants to tell them to unburden myself by being truthful with them, but I think it would be a selfish thing to do. When I told them I’d been struggling with depression, my dad cried (actually, upon reflection, he was a bit drunk himself…) because my brother has also really struggled with depression, and he said out loud he blames himself for our pain. He worries it stems from the way we were raised, which is utter nonsense because I am lucky to have had, in my eyes, the perfect childhood.

They encourage me to drink, my parents. They have a nightly bottle of wine (often each) and they worry I’m too uptight, too hard on myself and too hard working, never giving myself a break. For them, seeing their little over-achieving daughter flog herself is tricky- on the one hand they’re proud of how I throw myself into everything I do and get the results through hard work and determination, but on the other, they find it hard to watch. Since I started drinking, offering me a glass of wine to help me relax makes sense to them- it’s an easy thing to do, a helping hand to get me to slow down. They’d be horrified if they knew how this action had taken on a life of its own, causing me to get to the difficult place I’m at now. 

I won’t tell them. I have the support I need from my friends who know, but I’ll have to work out how I can tell them I’m not drinking without them worrying about me not relaxing enough (which I know will happen). They’ll take it as a sign I’ve gone back to my old, anxious, restrictive, self, I know they will. I’ve seen them do it before. Thankfully, I’m (mostly) the happiest I’ve been in a long time, so hopefully they’ll see this and accept that I don’t need a drink to calm myself. 

I’m so glad to have had that dream last night, it’s just reminded me of everything about sobriety that I should treasure, and forced me to think about a plan of action for when I go home in a few weeks time.

On a completely different note, shout out to And Everything Afterwards who absolutely NAILED my feelings about drinking vs the reality in her post this morning . If today you think a drink might be a good idea (as I so often do at the moment), I urge you to go and read this. It hits the nail on the head, and will be a post I return to in my darker moments when a glass of wine seems like the solution to all my problems…

Happy Tuesday! 

Video

Swinging from the Chandeliers

20 Apr

In true addictive style, I have been playing this song by the wonderful Sia over and over today. Very apt, as it’s a song about addiction, specifically the cycle of living in the moment when drinking and then having to face the aftermath.

After Friday’s happy, sober contented post, I’ve had a tough weekend of cravings. I stupidly went to a huge street party/rave thing yesterday afternoon, which is NOT the kind of environment I should be putting myself in when I’m feeling like I’m missing out by not drinking.

I was turning over the idea of what would REALLY happen if I nipped into a pub to come out with a plastic glass of slightly warm flat beer when, as if on cue, two people I recognise from AA walked past. Thanks Higher Power, impeccable timing there eh?

It is safe to say I was absolutely crawling the walls yesterday afternoon and have been for most of today. I just want to drink. I do. Surely these cravings should, at 96 days sober, have died down a little?

I’ve got friends coming round for dinner tonight and I’m writing this as a guard against opening the wine that’s in the fridge. I want to dance around my kitchen and cook and feel the effects of wine. I know I’m romanticising it, that it would end with me waking up tomorrow full of regret, but that knowledge doesn’t take the desire away.

Two of the people coming for dinner are the friends I’ve told about being in recovery, so I couldn’t drink tonight if I wanted to, which is really bloody annoying.

I’m trying to just focus on getting my head on the pillow tonight sober, which i know I can do, but what’s really bothering me is the thought of just how much effort this is taking. Week after week I’m battling cravings of epic proportions and it’s pretty exhausting. Yes, I know life is way better sober. Yes, I know when I post about happy sobriety I am I’m bouncing off the walls ecstatic, but when I get these cravings my skin crawls.

Even though I am committed to my sobriety, it’s painful, and I don’t know if I can continue like this forever. Unfortunately, this option is better than the drinking alternative, so for now, my choice is to remain sober. It does get easier, right? I’m praying that the cravings will start to go. I’m my own worst enemy with my thinking, I keep building up drinking in my own head as this wonderful thing I’m missing out on. It’s not. We all know it’s not.

GAHHHHHHHHHH this is hard.

But I’ll do it and tomorrow I will wake up happy.

Progress not Perfection

18 Apr

I’m at the start of a few weeks break before I start my new job. The sun is shining, I slept for 10 hours and made a delicious breakfast and I’m curled up in my living room with some relaxing piano music and my laptop. 

That sentence right there ^^^^ has got SOBER written all over it. The kind of sentence that makes a sober heart sing with joy at the serenity and peace of not being hungover and that the drinking mind thinks ‘booooooooring’ at the  mere sight. 

But it’s not boring, it is, quite frankly, delicious. Every other Good Friday for the past few years I’ve been wallowing in a hangover. I’m not sure what it is about Brits and Bank Holidays, but it makes us go a little crazy and hit the pub HARD. In former years, I would have got smashed last night in an unremarkable way, woken this morning feeling shitty and made it through the rest of the weekend by continuing to drink in the evenings, with a bit of afternoon drinking thrown in if I was *really* struggling. Yesterday was so dramatically different to that. There was champagne opened in honour of my last day at work and I refused it without a pang of resentment I couldn’t drink it. I went to the pub after work for my leaving drinks and had soda water all night, not yearning for a beer like I usually would. One of my colleagues asked ‘Do you think you’ll never drink again? You seem to really enjoy not drinking’ to which I replied ‘I don’t know about forever, but for now, I’m enjoying it’ and he accepted that. 

One of the things that has been fascinating about sobriety is that people REALLY DO NOT GIVE A SHIT. I was worried for so long about peer pressure, particularly around my boss who drinks a lot, but last night not one person tried to persuade me to drink, and my boss bought me soda water all night. I created that barrier to change, the notion that I would be rejected if I didn’t drink. No-one cares. People admire it when you go, have fun and stay sober. They like it when you’re happy to chip in with rounds even though you’re not drinking. In other words, they’re happy to have your company, not to have just another drinking partner.

After my struggles with sobriety last weekend, I’ve been doing a little exercise called ‘Old Post Bingo.’ I get my WordPress app out, scroll up and down through my old posts with my eyes closed and pick one randomly to read. The idea of this was to scare myself into never wanting to drink again by seeing my own despair on the page in black and white, but of course in reality, the exercise has been much more subtle than that. I’ve seen before my eyes the slow march of progress towards a better life. 

This morning’s bingo post was this. The moment that after months of being dissatisfied with my current job, I was forced to go out and find something new. The joy of reading this back with the power of hindsight is that I can see my newly found sobriety glowing strong through my thoughts and actions. I didn’t get wounded or panic but was proactive and found a new job, my dream job in fact, that I’ll start in a few weeks time. What I didn’t know then was that I’d soon be offered another contract at the company I was with, negating the panicky situation. If I’d been drinking, I would have been too hungover to do anything proactive, dragged my feet and eventually found myself with a new contract offer without having to lift a finger. I would have been absolutely fine for a job and money, but drink would be ravaging my body and mind and I’d still have that niggling feeling that there’s a better alternative out there. 

SOBRIETY is that better alternative. Everything good in my life over the past few months has come from sobriety. And whilst I might still have my wobbles and the urge to drink sometimes, it fades, whereas my little sober flame does not. 

Pretty cool huh? I’m looking forward to a weekend of relaxation, calm and above all, sobriety.

Overflowing

16 Apr

When I’m having a great day, I often become aware of why I want to drink. I want to drink to become full to the brim, to be bursting with happiness, or to temper that amazing, nervous excited feeling that comes with being elated.

As I was bouncing down the road to work this morning, I was full of that feeling. Full of joy and elation. Life is bloody good. And for the first time in a very long time, I didn’t want to multiply that feeling by adding booze into the equation. I’m so happy because I’m NOT drinking, of course I am. What an obvious revelation!  

Now that I’ve removed alcohol from the equation I can see that my life is basically pretty brilliant. The period of my life I’m going through at the moment is just brilliant. I’m happy, secure and am privileged to be part of a hobby group that gives me spine-tingling, life affirming experiences week in week out. I’ve got my dream job starting in a few weeks, and I’m leaving my current one on a high.

I basically feel on top of the world.

And yet I let the niggles of the uncomforableness (not a word, I know) not drinking creep in. Maybe what I need is a change of perspective. I’ve been emailing another lovely sober blogger recently and this morning she wrote something to me that was so true. She spoke about the idea that alcohol gives us NOTHING, it only takes away.

Deep down I know this, I’ve experienced it first hand, I’ve steeped myself in the Alan Carr/Jason Vale ideas which are along these lines, but I haven’t yet taken it on board fully.

When I look back on this period of my life, I KNOW I’ll look back on it as a golden one. It’s magic, some of the things that are happening at the moment. And yet, some of the amazing experiences I’m lucky enough to have I’ve been having for years in various forms through my hobby group and my job, and yet these have all been tainted by drink.

Yes I’ve had some hard times, but I’ve also had some brilliant ones. Looking back over experiences that I should remember with a sense of elation, I only remember the tang of shame from drinking. So my idea that alcohol enhances happiness and supersizes experience is UTTER BOLLOCKS. It’s a fictional notion that I’ve tried and tested and found simply not to be true.

So with that thought at the front of my mind, I’m going to skip through this happy patch, savouring every minute.

 

90 Days and Confused

14 Apr

Today I’m 90 days sober. Three whole months. It simultaneously feels a lifetime and no time at all.

In AA, 90 days is one of the magic numbers. They tell you to try and go to 90 meetings in 90 days when coming into recovery (which quite frankly is ridiculous if you have a job and a life…) but I understand that this is a guard against relapse in early recovery. A stabilising phase to get the drink out of your system and build recovery into your daily life.

Tonight I’ll collect my 90 day chip and will treasure it close to my heart. Without this sobriety, I erode myself from the inside out and I need to remember that.

But If I’m really honest, this past weekend I’ve felt the least stable in my sobriety I’ve been since those first few painful weeks. I’m finding it really bloody hard to reconcile myself to the fact I can’t drink. This weekend I was SO close. I had a major case of The Fuck Its and do you know what really scared me? I didn’t reach out to anyone for help. I didn’t want to. I just sat through the urge, white knuckling my way through a weekend of people drinking around me.

It was such an emotional weekend. I’m starting to get scared about sharing too many details about my life, but I spent the weekend at an event that was a non-stop overpouring of emotion everywhere around me. It was 48 hours of love, positivity and joy, and this made me want to drink. To heighten the emotion. To get that drunk high that comes before the fall. I just wanted to feel MORE than I did, feel the booze coursing through my veins and get a bit high on alcohol-enhanced life.

This was exacerbated by having a bit of a love interest enter my life. It’s someone who I, who I met through one of my hobbies for the first time last weekend and we spent the last two days together. I’m having that nervous/excited ‘does he like me? Do I like him? What might happen?!’ first stages of potential romance thing. This is compounded by my sober confusion ‘should I be thinking about a relationship now? Will it make me less stable? Do I really like him or just *think* I like him because I want some excitement in my life?’ No idea. I’ll have to sit tight on this.

We were out drinking two nights in a row and of course I didn’t drink, but I felt if I had, it might have moved things on a bit. One of the things I miss about drinking is that false intimacy it creates. Booze’s ability to smooth over the nerves and let you relax into a night. I’ve become a bit obsessed with dating sober, worrying about how I’ll do it, agonising over how I’ll miss sharing wine over a meal. Getting drunk and silly together. I brought this up with my therapist last week and she said, with a bite of much needed sarcasm and a dollop of tough love: ‘How terrible to have to enter a relationship being the authentic you. What a hardship’. We laughed together about it, but she’s absolutely right. The choices I would make regarding men when drunk are very different to the choices I would make sober. I’m scared to make these kinds of decisions sober, I think, because it means I have time to think harder about what I’m getting myself into, how it will serve me and what my deep down intuition is  telling me. As my therapist would say, how terrible! Poor me for having to think and act in my best interests!

I talked to my flatmate last night about all these feelings I’m having around missing out because of alcohol, and he said something that’s been absolutely revelatory in my sober journey. We have a phrase in Britain that sometimes precedes a compliment: ‘I don’t want to blow smoke up your arse but [insert compliment here]’ which he used and made me giggle. He didn’t want to blow smoke up my arse BUT I’m not one of those people who needs alcohol to socialise. He pointed out that I’m really sociable, have lots of great friends who would do anything for me and have a job that absolutely relies on my social skills. If there’s anyone who can navigate dating sober it’s you, he told me. And I know there’s truth in that.

There’s also truth in the fact that my life is just so much better when I don’t drink. I’m happier, more productive, more emotionally stable (most of the time), I have self-esteem and ambition again. So why the urge?

My flatmate made the very good point that I’m still so early in this journey. It would be worrying if I felt that I had it all worked out by now. The emotional pain of working through every new situation without turning to drink when it gets too tricky is a character building experience and I’ll continue to learn from it, getting stronger  every time I push through.

I’ve come so far from that morning in January when I lay shaking on my couch, knowing that the only thing I could do was surrender completely to AA. That this time, things really did have to be different. I’ve got 3 whole months behind me of waking up so grateful to be sober and even though the self-destructive impulse still comes on strong with alarming frequency, I value myself in a way I didn’t before. I’ve blogged before about how the Higher Power idea of AA really works for me, and since I got sober, so many things have happened that make it seem like the universe is screaming at me: ‘LOOK AT ALL THESE PEOPLE WHO THINK YOU’RE GREAT! LISTEN TO THEM!’ This sounds like I’m blowing smoke up my own arse (!) but in all honesty, in the last months I’ve found myself in situations where on 3 separate occasions people have made public speeches about how much they value me in their lives, how much of an inspiration I am to them. Honestly. And they had no idea I’m in recovery. They just felt the need to say ‘Hey! Well done for being you.’ Wow. This never happens outside the movies. If this isn’t the universe giving me a big sign to stop being so down on myself the whole time, I don’t know what is.

I’ll keep on moving forwards, keep on feeling the uncomfortable feeling of authenticity of being 100% myself and grow through it.

 

The Art of Keeping Going

A blog that's mostly about not drinking.

trufflesfreedom

Starting a life of sobriety and freedom.

waking up, being sober

and trying to make sense of what follows

Off-Dry

Sober girl, loopy world.

Hungry Girl Eats

Notes on the care and feeding of body, mind and spirit.

DominantSoul

The Erotic Art of Sensual Domination

lydia davies

author of 'Raw, the diary of an anorexic'

You Deserve a Donut.

Boo for Eating Disorders.

800 Recovery Hub Blog

Written by people in recovery for people in recovery

My Road To Abstinence

Sober, me? Really?

ainsobriety

Trying to ace sober living

tired of treading water

Ditching the drink and waking up

Shadow. Ash. Spirit. Flame.

Out of Shadow and Ash, Spirit ascends and blazes Light.

The drinking Stops Today

My attempt to quit drinking....

Good Morning Mercies

Seeking beauty and balance overcoming chronic illness and addictions

We Admitted We Were Powerless

A journey of recovery

A Woman Without Wine

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got

Mind-Full Mom-E

Being sober & clear headed with a mind that is full!

12 the hard way

ruminations on the twelve steps.

superbly sober

A girl trying to get sober in a boozy world.

Recovering From Powerlessness

A journey of recovery from everything

soberchoices101

One day at a time

nomorewine's Blog

The greatest WordPress.com site in all the land!

Ditch The Grog Blog

A Quest to Sobriety!

Lucy's New Life

Goodbye booze. Hello clarity, health and happiness.

The Adventures of a Sober Señorita

Follow me as I live la vida loca (but sober)

Party.0

Getting crazy with no consequences!

The Six Year Hangover

A BLOG BY A GAY MAN GETTING SOBER IN NEW YORK CITY.

And Everything Afterwards

How I quit alcohol and discovered the beauty of a sober life

Just A Rock

The trials of a young woman awkwardly trudging her way to happy destiny

Life Unbuzzed

Rowing my sober boat gently down the stream

Alcoholics NON Anonymous

Step 1: POWERLESSNESS is not real.

The Lotus Chronicles

Just like the lotus we too have the ability to rise from the mud, bloom out of the darkness and radiate love and beauty.

Living Free

A fine WordPress.com site

messyarts

lettuce turnip the beet.

Seeing Clear Lee

musings on becoming alcohol-free

Sober at 51

Enough is enough...

The Healing Hobbit

Live life abundantly.