Archive | February, 2015

The Addict Inside

23 Feb

So I ate some cheesecake.

Yep, an unashamed rebellion against my self-imposed sugar ban. And what was i rebelling against? My feelings.

I had a long weekend away for a family members birthday and there was drinking constantly and cake everywhere. I spent the weekend feeling fairly stable, fielding questions about the non drinking and comments on my general abstemiousness. Slowly and slowly it wore me away. I ignored my tools and felt annoyed at myself, them and my alcoholism.

I was packed off with a huge slab of cheesecake that I intended to give to my flatmate when I got home. He loves cake and it seemed the natural thing to do. And yet the knowledge it was there on the drive home was driving me crazy.

When I got home to discover he was out, I paced around deciding what to do, and then the addict voice struck. I ate it.

Now eating sugar in itself isn’t the end of the world, even given my now broken pledge to stop for Lent. What scared me was the place that that action came from. Sometimes my “wolfie” drinking voice felt separate from my brain and that was my experience in that moment. And of course as soon as I had started I wanted more.

In intend to get back on the sugar-free wagon as it was suiting me; when things were going well, I was finding it easier to cut it out 100% than to try and have a constant dialogue with myself about what I wouldn’t eat- removing the choice of sugar, just like 100% abstinence from alcohol, suited me well. And the white stuff does me no favours which is why I wanted to stop in the first place.

And yet I’m back at square 1 because I couldn’t cope with ze feelings. I’m starting to feel like a 2 year old. Am I really that emotionally immature? Or am I being too harsh, forgetting that recovery is a long process and in sobriety I am but an infant?

I don’t know, but as ever, I wanted to ‘fess up on this blog, write it all out of my system and ask for help and advice. All views and guidance welcome.

Love, FFF x

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Already It Hurts

19 Feb

So here’s why I know the sugar detox is essential for my long term wellbeing: I can already see the parallels with early sobriety.

Yesterday was a breeze, but today… Oh dear.

I’ve had a shitty day, and know I can’t soothe myself using my numb-er of choice is making me at once sad and panicky: what if I did eat some chocolate, nobody would ever know! I could start over tomorrow, or, even better, I could start in 8 days time and do a 30 day stint, that’s a nice round number, right?!

And so the mad thoughts start. I said in my post the other day that this is not about weight loss, or even health, to be honest. This is about getting to know myself better as I enter my second year of sobriety.

My sponsor recently stated an obvious but very important point about sobriety (the obvious ones are always the ones we miss ourselves, right?!). She said that an important part of our journey is learning to sit with uncomfortable feelings. And that’s what I’m learning I’m terrible at doing. I want everything to be better NOW. I want something external to come along and make me feel whole again.

Today was one of those days where a million little things go wrong and you think, how on earth am I going to live my life as a functioning adult, for, like, EVER.

But as keeps being proved to me over and over, those days pass and things get sunny and shiny again very quickly.

What I’m most grateful for in today’s struggle is it reminds me that I’m an addict. I get addicted to things and can’t give them up easily and it bloody hurts. Feeling as I feel today and how difficult it is to resist the sugar I crave, I’m so thankful that I don’t have to go through that experience with alcohol today. That’s why I treasure my sobriety. That’s why I must work at all of this stuff, to protect what has been so hard won.

Happy grey Thursday bloggers x

Bingeing

18 Feb

This is a post I really didn’t want to write, but if I’m going to be as open, committed and honest in my 40 day no sugar challenge as I was in my journey to getting sober, I need to write it.

Sugar binges have become a normal part of my sobriety. I have no idea how I have let this happen. When I was younger and before I started drinking, I was Ms Moderation. I’d nibble a tiny square of dark chocolate slowly and declare “mmm, that’s enough for me” in what I can only imagine was an infuriatingly Paltrow-esque display of discipline over what entered into my mouth. But it was true. I was satisfied.

Me starting drinking coincided with my stopping eating (not a great combo, unsurprisingly) and the thinner I got, the more out of control I became. I would drink and then have grubby food binges, throwing up whatever I could manage. When I was seeing my doctor, I told them this and they thought I was a classic bulimic. Not true. I was an alcoholic who was going out of her mind depriving herself food.

Since I’ve got sober, my relationship with food has entirely normalised during the daylight hours. I eat healthily, I eat what I enjoy and I feel good about my body. But at night. Oh dear. The sugar monster is unleashed.

I’ve got into this terrible habit of having sugar binges when I’m in transit. I travel a lot with work and when I’m on the long journeys home I secretly buy sugary foods to eat, savouring the idea that soon I’ll be alone with my comfort blanket of sugar. There goes the addict klaxon…

I can’t moderate. It’s become impossible. Where once I needed a little, now I need a lot.

It sounds depressingly familiar, doesn’t it?

I need to work out what will happen if I take this crutch away. How I’ll cope. What I’ll discover and what I’m suppressing. Unsurprisingly, I’ve been here before. In August I tried a 21 day no chocolate challenge that lasted about 9 days and then I caved. Like with alcohol, I need to be absolute about this. No sugar, no giving in, no letting myself off the hook.

If this sounds unnecessarily harsh in the climate of self care we rightly exist in in the sober community, I apologise. But here’s the thing: what started as self care, allowing myself a sweet treat,
has turned into self abuse. I need to make changes or it will continue to make me unhappy.

And here’s the other thing: this is not a weight loss programme. I’m doing it purely for my emotional health. I’m happy with my weight as it is and I’m not trying to desperately drop pounds, so this feels, for the first time in my life, an eating plan that is coming from the right place.

Bingeing is a dirty, uncomfortable word and yet it has trapped me. The past few days, ahead of knowing I was doing this challenge I have eaten way more sugar than I would normally, just as I once drank more consumed by the fearful knowledge that one day I would have to give it up… The parallels are many and that’s why I really want to try and address this problem.

Today is about nourishment- I’m going to try to feed my body nice, happy foods to ease it into the sugar-free desert ahead…

Happy Wednesday!

No Sugar Challenge

16 Feb

One of the most common battles we sober ladies seem to face when we get sober is sugar. “Be kind to yourself” we hear “eat chocolate to beat cravings” and “don’t expect to lose weight in early sobriety.”

All great advice. But what happens, 13 months into sobriety, if you’re using sugar the way you once used alcohol: to soothe, to numb, to lose control.

Since I’ve stopped drinking I’ve (eventually) lost weight, but there’s no denying my sugar habit has got bad. I’ve had brief attempts at keeping it at bay but they haven’t gone to plan- a stressful year has given me lots of excuses as to why isn’t the right moment. And my flatmate is an amateur baking extraordinaire- he always has an array of weekend treats
to derail me.

So I’m going to to try and go sugar free for Lent. 40 days of none of the White stuff. Like drinking, doing a half committed approach to ditching sugar hasn’t worked- it looks like I need to cold turkey to break bad habits and force myself out of the comfort blanket of sweet relief.

I’ve tried challenges like this before and stopped blogging about them when I’ve fallen off the wagon. I want to try and keep myself accountable this time and will try to post here if I’m wrestling a giant craving or having a stand off with a Bounty bar.

Anyone fancy joining me?

Happy Monday!

If You Need A Reason For Gratitude

14 Feb

Some Saturday food for thought.
Today I feel ground down, like I don’t have the will or energy to write. Like the universe is forcing me to slow down by putting unanticipated barriers in my path. It feels hard work, and not part of “the plan” I’ve blindly been trying to career ahead with.

So today, reading this has helped me say thank you for the glorious life I have:

If you have freedom – the power in choice. It’s easy to feel trapped by certain pressures of life; you have to go to work. But at the end of the day, if you wanted to up and leave and never return, you could. There would be consequences, but they would be consequences of your choosing– and they wouldn’t be exile or death.

If your phone battery sucks but you have a phone; if the damn Wi-Fi isn’t working on the airplane but you’re flying somewhere; if your meal was mediocre but you had the money to buy it; if you’re in a fight with your friend and it’s weighing on you because that relationship matters

If your dreams still elude your grasp, and you’re not yet be all you want to be, but you have those dreams; if your circumstances allow you the mental space to stretch beyond your current situation. Hold on to that – be enriched by the vast expanse of your mind, and its ability to take you to places you’ve not yet been.

In the worst moments, who do you turn to first? To whom do you confide your secrets? Who reminds you to forgive your flaws when you feel condemned by them? Think of those people; more importantly, tell them they matter to you; most importantly, treat them that way.

If you can escape into your favorite song; if you can feel raindrops on your skin, taste them as they roll over your lips, blink them out of your eyes, and smell the dampness in the air when the storm passes; if you are nervous, angry, fearful, excited, renewed, or anxious because you are completely engaged in your life and its mishaps and new experiences and humiliations and redemptions and milestones and unexpected train wrecks and triumphs. If you are dying of thirst and have access to water, ravenous and have access to food; if you laugh and better yet if you laugh with good company; if you have warmth to escape to in the cold; if you have people that wish you happy birthday, if you have people whose birthdays you get to help celebrate; if you have ever been extended a kindness from a stranger, or if you’ve been the stranger doing so; if you cut yourself while chopping peppers for dinner and eventually the wound healed; if you fell in the street and people saw and it was embarrassing but then it stopped mattering 10 minutes later; if your plight is temporary, and time is ultimately your friend.

Thought Catalog

Flickr / JanineFlickr / Janine

It is exceptionally easy to take so much for granted; we do it as subconsciously as breathing. In every minute, in every element and layer and forgotten fold of existence, there’s something we fail to appreciate – something someone else doesn’t have and longs for every moment, acutely aware of the void left in its absence.

Most of the time, we’re distracted by what we don’t have, what isn’t working, what falls short. It’s kind of a shame that that’s what we’re more inclined to notice. But that’s human nature, so appreciation has to be a deliberate act – and maybe eventually it melts into habit.

Sometimes you have to stop what you’re doing and give credit to the unsung heroes – the silently functional, unobtrusively wonderful, behind-the-scenes exquisite elements of life that go unnoticed and never ask for praise or recognition. I honestly believe it’s like…

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The Winds of Change

5 Feb

In sobriety the thing that never ceases to amaze me is just how quickly my feelings can change. I’ve gone from feeling pretty desperate earlier this week to (sort of) my old happy self back in the matter of days.

When I was drinking, those black holes were much harder to climb out of. It was like I was knocking myself down over and over again and every time I started to feel better I’d drink again, starting the downward spiral once more.

Now, even when I’m in a bit of a funk, it doesn’t take too long to get out of it. Earlier this week I was really stressed about some financial issues and I tried to remember the key pillars of the Setentity Prayer, doing what I could do change my situation and knowing the elements that were outside my control would resolve themselves.

That’s not to say I’m not still finding life difficult at the moment, unable to shake a very flat feeling, but it’s getting much easier to stay calm as the week goes on.

Ever since starting this blog I’ve tried to chart the highs and lows of sobriety so I can look back on them. When I look back at the intensity of some of the lows from that wonderful vantage point that is hindsight, it helps soothe my soul because it acts as a reminder that everything is transient; as the good times pass, so do the bad.

Any moment now I’m going to burst into song with a bit of Elton *It’s the ciiiiiirrrrrcle of liiiiiiiiiiffeeeeeeee*

So I’ll leave it there… Happy Thursday!

The Climb

3 Feb

I’ve been struggling quite a bit since I last posted. And I can’t quite work out why. It’s a non-specific struggle, a pit of snakes in my stomach, a desire to self medicate and just take that feeling away.

I don’t imagine that a milestone like finally reaching a year of sobriety can pass without some sort of internal recalibration. But I thought it would, that I’d skip off into the sober sunset and never look back. Alas, no.

Unsurprisingly, I’ve been forced to think about the next turn of the wheel in my sober journey, and that’s felt like a struggle. I’ve been blaming my internal unrest on my sobriety, rather than my tendency to get down and agitated. I’ve resisted doing the things that are good for me (going to meetings, having an active social life to remind myself I’m a social creature) and have wallowed, a little, if I’m honest.

I’ve started to resent having to go to AA and have (gasp) started looking at some of the people around me there with disdain. That’s not like me, and I don’t like it.

In my regular meeting last week, my sponsor’s sponsor, a wise old soul, talked about a phase where you “move from being a consumer of recovery to a provider of recovery” and I think that’s where the change needs to happen. I need to get out of my own head again and help people newer to the programme than I. I need to stop trying so hard to try and be the architect of my own destiny and controlling ever last detail of my life and start praying more. When I pray and release some of that control, life feels easier, and yet I resist.

The good news is, I’ve got enough sober time under my belt to know what works, and that sobriety is like traversing a hilly valley. Sometimes you have the discomfort of a climb, but when you get there you can enjoy the beautiful view at the top. And then comes the descent where everything is just a bit easier.

Sobriety isn’t linear. We laugh, we cry, we grow, we hurt. This discomfort is part of the journey and I’m trying to embrace it as necessary.

It’s snowing here in the UK, so it’s a cosy Happy Tuesday to you all from me! 🙂

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