Archive | April, 2016

Letter to my drinking self

3 Apr

I’m doing a little reflecting on sobriety this week, more than usual. I don’t know if it’s the slow dawn of Spring or the fact I’m a little more emotionally exposed than usual, but looking back and seeing progress is helping me huge amounts.

I also feel a huge connection to the people I know and communicate with who are struggling on a daily basis to get sober time under their belt. Seeing their struggles I remember my own quite viscerally.

I don’t know whether the below will be of help to those still struggling, but I wondered whether writing a letter to your future sober selves might be a nice exercise: what do you want from sobriety. What will it taste and feel like? What will you have then that you do not now, physically and emotionally?

Here’s my letter to myself when I was around 90 days sober, looking back to a time when I just couldn’t get it.

Happy Sunday x
Original post: Letter to My Drinking Self

I’ve been having a bit of a down week. Nothing in particular has triggered it, and I’ve really been enjoying my work, so I’m not sure what’s up. I’m feeling fat, unattractive and a little bit lonely. I’ve thrown myself into AA and that’s great, but it means I’ve withdrawn from my normal social circles a bit. I’m also feeling the pain of being single- sometimes all you need at the end of a long day is someone to cuddle with.
I’ve just generally been a bit down on my sobriety- I love being sober, but I keep thinking to myself that I’ve been dramatic about the whole thing. You know, the wolfie voice…’ I wasn’t that bad, why am I making such a big deal out of it, sobriety is selfish…’ Blah blah.
So as a bit of an arse kicking exercise ahead of Sunday’s marathon, I thought I’d do myself a little kind thing for myself. You know those ‘Letters to my teenage self’ that you see occasionally online? Well I’m writing one to myself today, from myself 6 months ago. Does that make sense? Writing it I had to jump between me now and former me, so I hope it’d not too confusing to read!
Dear FFF (2014 edition),
Look at you, guuuuurrrl! You’re 80 days sober today. That’s 11 weeks. That is AWESOME. You’ve never strung together more than 42 days, and getting there was hell. You’re doing this sober thing right now- you’re right in the middle of it. You haven’t been this sober since you were 13! Think on that a moment.
Sitting where I am, I want what you have. I’m a failure. I can’t stay sober, it’s too hard. I can’t stop drinking. I want to numb more than I do to be sober. What the fuck is wrong with me? You can do it, I’m watching you. Why can’t I do it NOW?
You’ve learnt from all my mistakes. Every mistake I’m making I can see is helping you equip your sober toolbox, one tool at a time. This makes me feel better about all the stupid stumbles I’m making. Maybe one day all my pain really will be worth it.
You feel fat. I feel fat too. But look at you! Your skin is glowing, your nails are so shiny, your eye bags are gone and your drinkers puffy face has disappeared. Trust me when I say you look the best you have in years. Stop thinking back fondly to The Skinny Days. You were ill, remember? You never ate any food that wasn’t salad. You hated yourself then, and guess what? You felt fat then too.
You’re doing so well. Don’t let a silly idea of what your weight should be drag you down- you’re worth more than that.
And your job! You were so frustrated, knew something had to change. Right now, I’m stuck in a cycle of exhaustion, drinking to get over it and moving nowhere fast. I’ve had so many sick days when hungover. I feel like the biggest fraud in the world- work think I’m fabulous but I know I’m just treading water. I wonder what I could achieve if I just removed alcohol from my life? You’ve shown me what can be done. You got sober and found the job of your dreams. You know there’s a challenging road ahead, and that the job will be physically and emotionally draining. BUT you have always been driven by scary challenges, ever since you were little. Drinking just dulled that inherent drive in you for a few years. And I can feel that first hand…All I’m driven by at the moment is the will to get through the day.
I can’t believe you had the courage to go to AA. It was so brave to walk into that room of scary looking men and sit and weep. To go back into that room again after drinking just a few days after your first meeting, feeling a fraud and a failure. To walk through scary, unknown doors all around the city day after day, humbling yourself and saying the words ‘I’m FFF and I’m an alcoholic.’
Nobody wants to grow up to be an alcoholic, and if they do they certainly don’t want to accept it. You have. You’ve put the work in and it’s paying off. From where I’m standing, where you are looks pretty damn amazing.
You’ve come so far. Don’t let a little low mood and some negative self talk get you down. Run round that marathon on Sunday head held high, feeling proud. You’ve earnt everything you have. And if sobriety gets easier with time, your exciting journey is only just beginning.
Yours with love,
FFF (September 2013 Edition)

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The First Meeting.

2 Apr

Love love love this.

Infactorium

Your first AA meeting is almost always scary. I felt, and most of us feel, humiliated. We’re in one of the darkest places of our lives, usually the darkest of them all. We’ve fucked everything up, and we don’t know how to fix it. We’re lost, terrified, ashamed, and befuddled. In my case, I was taken to my first meeting by a rehab. Some are ordered there by a judge. Most find their own way in.

We had a man in my men’s meeting Wednesday evening who was at his first ever meeting. He’d had a personal loss, and gone off the rails. For nearly a year, he’d been drinking and gambling as hard as he could. He came to his first meeting and was obviously humiliated and afraid. I hope we did right by him. We all gave him our numbers, and I talked to him after the meeting…

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A Case of the Fuck Its

1 Apr

My no added sugar plan is going well. I’ve eaten enough at meals and made sure I don’t cut out fruit. I feel fine, and not deprived or tempted (yet). 

There have been a couple of moments that took me right back to the early days of quitting drinking. On Tuesday, I was happily going about my business at work when the colleague sits next to me opened a box of high-quality dark chocolate truffles and offered me one. I started to reach for one and remembered I can’t. My brain starts a shouty dialogue:

“Just one is fine!”

But it’s breaking the no chocolate rule”

“But these are good quality and dark! They’re basically a health food!”

“They are chocolate. You committed to no sweet things.”

“But I’m only 3 days in! I can start again, right?!”

And so I was back in my early days of sobriety, when I felt I had so little to lose that The Fuck Its would take over. 3 days sober was a time when I drank again and again, because I could start over. I used to peek at my sobriety app and think about how easy it would be to reset that counter.

Nobody got anywhere without weathering the difficult times and pushing through discomfort. With sobriety I had to push through that craving again and again until I had so many days on my sobriety app and so much momentum I knew it was too precious to lose in a moment of bad judgement. For me, that day was day 50 and I’ve never looked back.

This week has been really good in exercising my self control muscle, reminding me that I’m good at doing that when i put my mind to it. It’s interesting because it’s made me reflect on a bit of a trend in society and the “self acceptance” movement of late. I’ve been continuing with a behaviour I know is negative for me and hearing the messages of “nobody should be depriving themselves- live your life! Eat the damn cake!” and that people with a history of eating disorders shouldn’t restrict food. The thing is, I have an “everything in moderation except moderation” streak that needs to be managed. Yes it may be deprivation, yes it may make my inner Twirl loving child throw a tantrum, but the truth I’ve discovered this week is this: the second I took the decision making away from myself, the burden of agonising over what to do lifted. Just like drinking.

I don’t think it will be plain sailing from here, but very quickly I’ve learnt a lot. It’s like many many experiences I’ve had since quitting booze: those “sober muscles” you develop apply to many areas of life and give you insight and strength that makes everything a little easier.

Here’s to continuing to learn and grow and work those sexy sobriety muscles! 

Happy Friday 

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