Hang in There

11 May
I’m on a train, which means I want to write. Writing and trains go together like toast and jam, bangers and mash, gin and ton… Nevermind. 
 
For the first time in sobriety, I have nothing new to write about. Up until now, every day has been a new lesson or given me a new sober experience that I’ve wanted to shout from the rooftops about. Not today, or yesterday, or the day before that. 
 
This is excellent news. It means that I’ve finally settled into sobriety. It’s no longer a battle not to drink. I don’t get the cravings very often and if I do, I know how to quickly and painlessly deal with them. I don’t worry about being envious of other people drinking, as I value what I have in sobriety far too highly. 
 
When I was in my first 90 days, I felt like I had a little man running round in my head going ‘THIS IS SO HARD, WHEN DOES IT GET EASIER?!’
 
Belle told me that somewhere between 30 & 60 days of sobriety something would shift. She was right, but it was still very hard. At 60+ days sober, I worried that I wasn’t ‘getting it’- as far as I was concerned, this sober lark was still hard work. I really wanted to drink quite often. I met some lovely sober bloggers and we sat outside on one of the first sunny days of the year drinking coffee and talking about sobriety. The whole time I was there I felt a niggling urge to drink. Even when these brilliant ladies, with more sobriety under their belts than I had, were telling me how great it was further down the road. Oh alcohol…Cunning, baffling, powerful. 
 
At around 90 days I was thrilled to have made it that far, but I was hugely resentful of everyone else around me who seemed to be able to drink and just enjoy it. WHY ME? My inner Kevin piped up (moody teenager from 90s Brit culture: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7NQro3lpCck5-xphZWnZkQ) and I threw a bit of an inward strop about poor little old me not being able to get drunk over a sunny bank holiday weekend like everyone else. 
 
Well, I’m on 116 days today and I feel not the slightest desire to drink. It’s not a battle anymore, it’s just a new and delightful way of living. I was thinking of all the things I’ve done in sobriety: first sober holiday, wedding, leaving do (mine), endless drinks after work, birthday parties, first sober clubbing night, first gig, first sober train journey (I used to drink ALOT on trains… for shame…) and they have all unquestionably been more enjoyable because I’ve been sober.
 
NOT ONCE have I woken up and thought “my GOD I wish I’d had a drink last night..!”
 
I’m not quite sure what I set out to say in this post, but I think my message is this: if you’re in early sobriety, hang in there, it really does get better. Trust the process. Trust the discomfort and feeling of helplessness and the sneaking suspicion that the pain might not be worth it. It is. I promise. The pain is a necessary part of the transition to something better.
 
The lesson I learnt last year is that for sobriety to really work, it has to be continuous. I laboured under the misapprehension that if I drank again after a period of sobriety it would all be ok and that I could pick up my sobriety again where I left off. Not true. You can’t ‘have a break’ from sobriety in my experience. It has to be an ongoing process. Every Day 1 I had set me right back to Square 1 with each drinking experience being more horrific than the last. Funnily enough, I never had terrible drinking experiences until I started trying to get sober. I had the strong sense that I was drinking too much and the depression that accompanied bad hangovers, but the nights where I publicly did something stupid were almost unheard of. When I started drinking again after periods of sobriety, it was truly horrible and embarrassing. I simply could not control my intake. It’s like the fabled ‘Wine Witch’ had laid dormant, building up an insatiable hunger for booze that was unleashed when I took the first drop. This was when I knew that breaks from drinking weren’t enough. I had to abstain completely. 
 
It’s good to remind myself of this, at this point where I’m feeling pretty secure in not drinking. One thing that experience has taught me is just how easy it is to forget the extent to which I have a problem. I’m going to an event tonight where there will be wine galore, forced into my hand. All I need to do is remember not to take it. Then I’m safe. But if I take that drink, all bets are off. 
 
So today I’m grateful for the gift of contented sobriety. I raise my elderflower cordial to THAT! Cheers and Happy Sunday 🙂
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21 Responses to “Hang in There”

  1. Rebecca A. Watson May 11, 2014 at 11:48 am #

    What a great feeling, secure in sobriety 🙂 so happy you’re there. And yes! Writing and trains. You simply MUST write something. Thanks for sharing this encouraging post.

    • FitFatFood May 11, 2014 at 12:03 pm #

      Much better than drinking and writing on trains which was my preferred activity of old! Thank you x

  2. primrosep May 11, 2014 at 12:25 pm #

    Cracking post FFF, so pleased to read this! and you managed the difficult trick of not sounding smug, too 🙂 now, don’t talk to any strange men on the train and NEVER stick your head out of the window 🙂 🙂 xxx

  3. momma bee May 11, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

    This is a wonderful post….. Especially because I have been following you since the early days and I can see from across the pond how you have changed and grown. I think we all travel the road we are intended and with a little help from out inner self, higher power etc we can make it. So happy for you. Hugs

    • FitFatFood May 11, 2014 at 5:47 pm #

      Ahhh thanks momma, you remember the struggles! Took a lot to get here but it’s been worth it x

  4. soberlearning May 11, 2014 at 12:35 pm #

    Comfortable sobriety, that is fantastic. I am at 160+ days, and I still have times of discomfort, and twinges. I figure, eventually it will all subside. I also tell myself to hang in there and see when how many days it is when I actually finally feel totally comfortable.

    • FitFatFood May 11, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

      I have cravings, or thoughts of drinking, but what I mean by “comfortable” is that I know that actually picking up a drink is far from my mind. Comfortable, to me, means wanting to be sober more than I want to drink and that’s an amazing feeling.

      You’re doing amazingly and have come so so far in 160 days so sure it will get easier and better x

  5. carrythemessage May 11, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

    It’s wonderful when we settle in and not every day / minute is a struggle. Things aren’t as immanent and panicky. We are learning to feel comfortable in our skin (for once!)

    Have a wonderful day 🙂

    Paul

    • FitFatFood May 11, 2014 at 5:13 pm #

      What a relief eh? The struggles will come again in different ways, but for today, I’m happy and secure.

  6. Binki May 11, 2014 at 2:35 pm #

    You have worked hard for this new place and deserve every moment of the happiness sobriety brings xxx

  7. wheatism May 11, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

    Thanks for giving me hope 🙂 I am 13 days sober….let alone 30, or 60 or 90. Just knowing that one day, some day, any day; it will not feel like this is so very encouraging, on a sunny Sunday when everyone else is out drinking in the sunshine; except me. This post is good to read. So maybe you didn’t think you had a lesson to post about today; well you just gave one to me. Thanks x

    • FitFatFood May 11, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

      So glad it’s helped. This stuff is hard, it’s helpful to know there’s light at the end of the tunnel x

  8. lucy2610 May 11, 2014 at 4:16 pm #

    So sorry not to have pulled off meeting last night. 10,000 runners made the task difficult! To coffee and sober chats in the sunshine again soon 🙂 xx

    • pp May 11, 2014 at 4:56 pm #

      Great post. I’m someone who keeps restarting day ones, though having a clear head is wonderful. I’m currently on day 8 and what you wrote is truthful and encouraging,

      • FitFatFood May 11, 2014 at 5:11 pm #

        Glad to heaR it. I got so stuck in the cycle of only experiencing the tough bits of early sobriety up to 40 days but usually around a couple of weeks. I never got to the good bit and didn’t believe it existed, but here I am and it definitely does! Keep putting one foot in front of the other x x

    • FitFatFood May 11, 2014 at 5:09 pm #

      Twas a veritable sea of green! I loved your post about it- cringed at the nando’s loading though 😉 well done:)

  9. Vodka Goggles May 12, 2014 at 12:49 am #

    “Not once have I woken up and thought, “My God I wish I’d had a drink last night..!”

    What a brilliant and true statement!! It’s amazing to wake up with a clear head every single day. Thanks for putting it this way.

  10. Lulu May 13, 2014 at 11:50 pm #

    Fantastic, congratulations and wow am I inspired! I too was frequently visited by the depression demons the day after and one of the best things about all of this is not dealing with that anymore. Its amazing how quickly it lets up. I’m so happy for you. How did the event go?

    • FitFatFood May 14, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

      It was fine Lulu, really enjoyed it! Phew!

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