11 Nov

Here I am, 10 months sober, and my little sober car has had a breakdown. The exhaust has been making growling noises for a while, the MOT is way overdue, and the miles on the clock are off the scale.

Enough of the bad metaphor. I’m at breaking point. I won’t drink, but my body and mind are screaming at me ‘SLOW DOWN’, but I can’t. Or don’t know how. I’m not sure which.

This year has been non-stop. I’ve bought my first home, taken on the work project of my dreams- something big and high profile and scary and pulled it off, run a marathon, worked all hours god sends, been on umpteen dates, attended countless weddings and funerals, sometimes in the same 48 hour period, become a DIY-er, started my own business and… reached 10 months sober. Walking into AA meeting after AA meeting to declare myself an alcoholic.

It’s because I’m an alcoholic, partly, that I live my life at the pace I do. Constantly seeking new stimulation and achievement. Forgetting to put on the brakes. All this fast living has taken its toll. I sit here blogging for the first time in what feels like a very long time feeling absolutely frazzled. I washed my bedsheets today and the thought of actually putting them on the bed makes me want to weep. My head pulses with the low-level headache that I’ve had almost every day for 6 weeks. I sit in a house that is a building site, so much work to do, no energy or time to do it.

Something has to give. I can’t do what I’m doing anymore. I need to slow the eff down.

My problems are selfish, I know. I’ve created them. I don’t have to juggle family life with work like so many amazing people do. They’re proper #firstworldproblems- ‘oh my wonderful life is too stressful, oh owning my first home is such a trial.’ I annoy myself just typing this. But this is the life I am living, am being an alcoholic and having all of the feelings, I need to make sense of them.

I’m lucky to have freedom, and thus I take advantage of it, but it’s making me come unstuck. It’s like I’m bingeing on the excitement of life, forgetting that I need to nourish myself not stuff myself with experiences. I feel like I just want someone to come and look after me and take all the weight off my shoulders. Someone to just sit down with my and stroke my hair and tell me soothingly it’s all going to be ok.

What’s really scary about the overwhelm I’m feeling is that if I’m brutally, painfully honest with myself, this is all because this is the first year of my life I’ve ever truly lived as an adult. My eating disorder, destructive relationship and alcohol problems all stopped me from facing the Real World. My work has always been much less intense than it is now. Life has been much easier on me, and I’ve either avoided my responsibilities or had someone else there to pick up the pieces. Now I’m sober and alone, I’m facing the realities of what it means to be a proper grown up, yet making that transition so much more difficult for myself by not allowing myself the time or space to actually grow.

I need to step back and slow down. I keep saying this, keep typing the words onto the page but have no idea how to actually do it.

Writing is always the first step for me. Time after time on this blog it’s forced me to look something difficult on this blog and forge a path ahead. Maybe for now, I’ll leave my sober car to recharge its batteries (this car is now an electric car, I’ve decided, FYI). I’ll pop on my little snow boots and shuffle down the path towards winter, taking the slower route rather than hurtling down the road at breakneck speed.

Happy Tuesday bloggers!


25 Responses to “Breakdown”

  1. Tracey November 11, 2014 at 7:37 pm #

    You might want to consider you are feeling this way due to the change of seasons. I have an awful time with it. It is real. Try getting outside in the sun as much as possible or even buy a mood light. This might help.

    • FitFatFood November 11, 2014 at 7:47 pm #

      Good point- thanks Tracey. I have a mood light somewhere- need to dig it out!

  2. lucy2610 November 11, 2014 at 8:04 pm #

    Can you take a holiday? I don’t mean lying on a beach somewhere (although I’m sure that would be nice!) but can you take a couple of paid weeks out from your job? Rest, do a small amount of DIY so house is less building site, more shabby chic for Xmas? Big hugs 🙂 xx

  3. Annie November 11, 2014 at 8:04 pm #

    I’m sorry you’re feeling frazzled and overwhelmed. I also feel like that a lot, but I haven’t been able to keep up my sobriety – unlike you – so I think you’re amazing. Drinking makes me feel even more frazzled so you are wise to try and slow down a bit. I hope that writing your blog helps you to figure out what to do. Sober bloggers often say to me, ‘Be kind to yourself,’ and I am never quite sure what this means, but I think it may apply to you here. Love Annie x

    • FitFatFood November 14, 2014 at 9:30 am #

      Thanks Annie. I don’t know what that means either! Guess well have to travel on the road of discovery…

  4. soberp82 November 11, 2014 at 8:21 pm #

    Jeezo, I started to feel stressed just reading about all the activities and things you have going on in your life! It’s so good you’ve recognised that you can’t keep going like this though. Can you ask a friend or some family to come over at the weekend and help you get things sorted in your home? I think you need to ask for help – there is no shame in it. You’ve achieved amazing things this year – feel proud!

  5. moretomethanthis November 12, 2014 at 9:18 am #

    Hey there FFF, you sound exhausted! Is it like that feeling, when you’ve been frenetically busy for so long and then actually get some time off, you just don’t know what to do with yourself? You can’t actually sit down and relax because it feels too weird? Or have you just not got to the point where you’ve had any time off / free time? If your job is very hectic and deadline-based, is it possible to schedule some quieter time between projects?
    Hope you find some way of slowing down and taking some time out, because it does sound like you really need it. I find if I can get out into the countryside and re-connect with nature that helps to calm the soul and quieten things down, inside, so to speak.
    Take care of yourself, hon. Frantically busy can be done for a bit, but keeping it up for a long time is not good for you. Good luck. And be kind to yourself. Hugs. xx

  6. primrose November 12, 2014 at 9:49 am #

    hey, sweetie. sorry it’s all getting on top of you. and yes I recognise that feeling so well of being a teenager who appears to have been handed all these responsibilities (people, job, property) and who just wants to shout, “but don’t you understand, I’m only fifteen!”

    again and again in my sobriety I have to remind myself of my mooring ropes. the basic things that keep me tethered to the harbour of sanity. which in my case is enough sleep, regular exercise, and keeping on top of the laundry so the kids don’t run out of pants 😉

    this is the line in your post that really hit home for me:

    ‘Now I’m sober and alone, I’m facing the realities of what it means to be a proper grown up, yet making that transition so much more difficult for myself by not allowing myself the time or space to actually grow.’

    was thinking about it while watching David Attenborough with the kids last night – if it’s not on your radar have a look at this section on hermit crabs changing their shells: from 6:30 to 11:10 –

    perhaps you are getting uncomfy because your current shell is too small? finding the next one can be tricky, but we are all in this together and behind you every step of the way! lots of love, Prim xxx

    PS. is IS all going to be ok, by the way 😉

    • FitFatFood November 14, 2014 at 9:29 am #

      That’s it! The shell analogy is brilliant. It’s that funny thing where your capacity to cope grows, but your pressures also grow and you still experience the same overwhelm.

      I’m feeling much better today, I hope I was just having a wibble

      • primrose November 14, 2014 at 1:46 pm #

        glad you are feeling better my lovely 🙂 enjoy your day… hope it’s sunny where you are too! xxxx

  7. Sarah November 12, 2014 at 10:15 am #

    Thanks for sharing this. I struggle with a lot of the same issues and you’ve given me a lot to think about. Juggling too much, trying to do too much. Most of the time I can deal with it – and in fact it makes me very happy that I can deal with so much and get so much done: ‘hey, i’m a really productive person’ – but then you get moments of the perfect storm, which it sounds like you are experiencing right now – when it becomes too much. Literally just one extra thing can push the balance from controlled chaos into overwhelm. Sometimes it is literally there is too much to do in the available time, and/or the build up of low level weariness from operating at 110% all the time.

    Thanks for sharing. You’ve got a lot to get through in the next few weeks. I totally understand the desire for someone just to stroke your hair and help. Cyber hugs & hair stroking from here. Good luck. Sx

    • FitFatFood November 14, 2014 at 9:21 am #

      Thanks for your kind words and I feel better when I know other people feel this too. Sometimes I think I’m just weak- not the case. I’m feeling better thankfully. Now to remain calmer and take on less…

  8. Imperfect Minimalist November 12, 2014 at 11:07 am #

    I just took a “stacation”. I took a whole week off, 10 days, and concentrated on me. Not a day was planned, I just did what came to mind when I got up. I did NONE of my regular work stuff. I read some, cooked some, went on long walks with the pups, played golf twice (have not done that this year), worked on house redecorating stuff, had house powerwashed, had lunch with friends, etc. Just a week of planned nothingness but it was wonderful. At the end of the week, I was refreshed and felt great. It really helped with the overwhelmed feeling. Good luck in whatever you do! Thanks for your blog. You are a wonderful writer.

    • FitFatFood November 14, 2014 at 9:20 am #

      A staycation is the dream right now! I did that when I first got sober (actually, it felt more like checking into rehab because I just made myself do sober stuff all the time) but that’s a good idea. Thank you

  9. yetanotherbusylady November 12, 2014 at 11:08 am #

    Argh, that sounds awful – sorry to hear you’re feeling so frazzled. I can totally relate – I also have my own business, and sometimes all the demands it makes on you are just. too. much. And taking time off is trickier than it sounds when you have to train someone to do a thing so you can have some down time. I hope you can find some time to rest soon – and that you can find time to incorporate self care into your daily life. It all comes back to that bubble hour episode on relapse – self care is the way you keep yourself sober (and sane. That too). Good luck!

    • FitFatFood November 14, 2014 at 9:19 am #

      So nice to hear that people understand this feeling and that I’m not just a big wimp!

      Today is my day to rest

  10. e12p November 12, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

    Slow down, take deep breaths and say NO. You deserve for yourself to just say no sometimes.

    • FitFatFood November 14, 2014 at 9:18 am #

      Thank you- I’ve booked a day off to do just that!

  11. jenisthesoberist November 12, 2014 at 7:52 pm #

    Acknowledging your feelings is a great first step; now you can slow down enough to listen to your heart/intuition/inner grandmother, who can help take care of you by telling you what you need. 🙂 Sending you a hug. I have felt similar recently and it does pass eventually!

    • FitFatFood November 14, 2014 at 9:18 am #

      My inner grandmother would be horrified Jen! Thanks for that image- I like it a lot x

  12. Lilly November 13, 2014 at 5:21 am #

    Just here sending love and hugs. You are doing so great. This is just a minor speed bump, the merest of wobbles. Just keep practicing self love – crank it up where you can – and breathe and try and take it a little easy on yourself for this next little stretch of the road and you’ll be on a pink cloud high celebrating a year in no time. xxx

    • FitFatFood November 14, 2014 at 9:17 am #

      Thanks Lily- I’m focusing on the year as my big goal for now. Don’t want to stop here- it’s too good.

      Happily, it’s not my sobriety that’s causing me grief it’s my lifestyle, and that’s probably easier to address than alcoholism was 🙂

      Great to see you back blogging x

  13. sillymelove November 13, 2014 at 7:49 pm #

    wow hopefully you can find time to relax! I feel your pain, 2013, I had decided to get my SH** to gether, get the divorce that was sitting on the back burner since 2010, sell my land in NY, (which was 4 hours away), build my own house in the country, get my little black lab, help my boy friend renevate his house, and have him move in…. WTF was I thinking! the drinking became so bad that I’m day 70 something sober with Belle!!! Keep strong, try and slow down and enjoy all your accomplishments!!!

    • FitFatFood November 14, 2014 at 9:16 am #

      Thanks! Wow that sounds a lot! Are you superwoman? 🙂

  14. Rachel Black November 15, 2014 at 8:48 pm #

    I saw this post and thought Noooooooo! Don’t do it. This too will pass.Just keep treading water.
    In the short term you need the escapism we normally find at the end of the bottle. Now I find it with a good movie, nice cup of tea, large bar of dairy milk. Dairy milk is the best chocolate in the world (apologies if you don’t live in the UK and can’t get this- any chocolate will do).
    Stay strong. 10 months is HUGE.

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