Tag Archives: AA

How AA Changed my Life

26 Dec

What a luxury to have time to post! I’m enjoying the space that Christmas brings to think and reflect, and of course, my mind is coming back again and again to how I have got and stayed sober.

Someone who has been following this blog asked for help this morning and as I responded, I found myself writing about what changed for me the final time I put down the drink.

I’ve written about how AA has worked for me previously, but I want to document it again, because its power has, for me, been overwhelming.

When I found the blogging world I rejoiced because all of a sudden, I found people who I could relate to, who drank like I did. I would NEVER have called myself an alcoholic. I was just someone whose drinking had got painful and out of control. I looked around at the women wiring these blog and thought “this is it! there’s a breed of people just like me who aren’t proper alcoholics.”

I confess, whilst finding the blogging world was a godsend on one hand, on the other, it initially turned me off more traditional recovery methods. I saw an undercurrent feeling which defined this kind of sobriety as a (perhaps preferable?) route to living without the drink, a stance of “we don’t fit AA and we’ve found a way to get sober on our own.” This alternative way that wasn’t necessarily anti-AA, but somehow felt like a more Middle Class & intellectual way of getting sober. This approach to getting sober was at first encouraging as I witnessed person after person stopping drinking through their own strength and the help of the blogging community. Writing out and working through my problems as others around me were doing seemed a perfect solution. And yet, when I kept failing to get sober, I saw it somehow as a lack of strength- if these women around me could do it, why couldn’t I?

I remember vividly reading something on Soberistas & their related literature which positioned that community as an AA-alternative, for those who didn’t fit AA or didn’t want to go. Because of my ego and image of myself as an intelligent young woman, I aligned myself more with a community like Soberistas than to AA. And yet it didn’t get me sober. And I suspect, for me, it never would have done.

When I finally dragged myself to an AA meeting through sheer desperation, it felt like Coming Home. I have NEVER in my entire life experienced a sensation like I did that day. I felt an overwhelming sense of relief wash over me as I knew that not only was everything going to be ok, but that I had found my people. People who on the surface came in all shapes, sizes and from all strata of society. But who underneath were just different shades of the same colour that is my essence. From that day onwards, there was a solution for me that actually worked. Almost a year on, ‘the compulsion to drink has been removed’ just as they promise and I have found a great group of friends.

And more than just stopping me from drinking, working through the programme and 12 steps has helped me in ALL aspects of my life. My relationships are improving, my spirituality has grown into an ever-present comfort blanket, the lifetime undercurrent of anxiety I have felt has subsided. Little did I know when I walked into that room that declaring myself an alcoholic would answer a question I’ve had my whole life: ‘why do I feel different?’

I knew from when I was very small that I was a super-sensitive soul, and as I grew into my teenage years, the gaping chasm of nothingness I felt sometimes threatened to topple me. Here, in AA, I had found a group of people who understood these feelings and have found a way to work through them. Therapy hadn’t worked, self help books hadn’t worked, but sitting in a cold room with friendly faces and terrible coffee turned out to be my lifeline.

My sense of a ‘higher power’ is a fluid one. Sometimes it’s a ‘God’ in the more traditional sense, who has a life plan for us. Sometimes it’s a less tangible spirituality that I draw strength from. Whatever form it takes doesn’t matter. Stepping outside myself and believing there’s more to the universe than the strength (or otherwise) of my own will has been transformative.

I hear over and over again people saying they won’t go to AA because of ‘the God stuff.’ I felt the same. And yet here I am, having found great comfort and fortitude in the notion of a higher power

I’m not writing this post to preach or to push AA- one of the traditions of the programme is that its appeal is through “attraction not promotion.’ But I wanted to put pen to paper to articulate the amazing diversion my life has taken since coming in. It has been an overwhelmingly positive experience, and I DID NOT WANT TO GO. I thought it would be the last place that would help me, but it turns out that when I get off my high horse, it’s the place I feel most at home.

Happy Boxing Day to you All

5 months sober

14 Jun

Today is my 5 month soberversary. 

I’m so glad to be here, life is so much easier than it was 5 months ago, when I was caught in the cycle of stop-start-stop drinking. 

I often list what I’ve learnt at key milestones in my sobriety, or the benefits of being off the sauce, but to keep me focused on not taking my sobriety for granted, today I want to write about the challenges:

  • Remembering I have a problem– when I’m going about my daily business and enjoying life, it’s so easy to forget what a hold alcohol had on me. Even as I type that sentence, I catch myself. ‘Did I *really* have a problem or was I being dramatic?’ Recognising these thoughts is so important. If I have any doubt I had a problem, I just read over the early posts of this blog, or go and sit in a room of other alcoholics, all of whom I relate to. I always giggle when I remember my first chair at AA, and how everyone nodded along. If there is any greater confirmation of your alcoholism than a room full of alcoholics relating in many and varied ways, I’d like to see it…
  • Not drinking is easy, life is the hard bit– Now I’m in the habit of not drinking, the daily struggle to avoid booze is no longer there. YES I have thoughts of drinking, YES I wish I could drink, but I don’t have to physically stop myself picking up a bottle of wine any more. The problem is the emotions. The thinking patterns I have. Those are the challenge that I will always have to deal with. Alcohol helped nothing. I am so much better equipped to deal with life now.
  • This is part of who I am– almost daily I wish I wasn’t an alcoholic. I sometimes hate it so much it makes me want to sit down in the middle of the street and weep. But it’s just in my make up. If I had diabetes or a heart condition or asthma I’d have to accept it. This is another medical condition that is unfortunate, but part of my reality now. And really, when I reflect on the past couple of years, alcohol took a hold of me at the best possible time for me to deal with it. I had the space to deal with the problem, and if I continue to deal with it daily, I can continue my new improved life without a self imposed road-block slowing me down. 
  • Not drinking marks me out as different- our culture is so alcohol-centric, not drinking feels really strange sometimes. I wish I could, but I can’t. Most people accept this and if they don’t, then I have to consider my relationship to them. I wish I could join in the drunken fun sometimes, but the truth is, I enjoy myself more sober. Being sober and on a night out is FAB when you’re in the right frame of mind and if you’re not, well, maybe you should just go home and tuck yourself up in bed. I need to do the latter more rather than stoically riding out shitty nights just to please others. I’m trying to OWN my sobriety, wear it with pride and inspire others. Sometimes I feel it, some days I don’t, but if I make it a positive part of my identity rathe than a shameful secret, that will help me long term.
  • Drinking was fun– as lots of very wise bloggers have said, it was fun until it wasn’t fun any more. I remember the brilliant moments more than I remember the shit ones. The destructive drinking I did was almost always alone, but towards the end I’d opt out of the group nights out because I didn’t want to have to control my drinking. That doesn’t sound much fun to me. Consuming 2 bottles of wine alone doesn’t sound much fun. Nor does constantly calling in sick because of hangovers. I need to stop romanticising drinking and recalling the reality rather than memories from a different drinking time.
  • Complacency only causes me problems- some days I forget the importance of begin proactive to stay sober, not reading the blogs as much, not going to meetings. If I prioritise other things, I’ll drink again. Sobriety is an ongoing process, with no end to it. 
  • Not everything is perfect in sobriety– I’m still me with my flaws and problems, if fact I’m MORE me, which is even scarier. But I’d choose scary sobriety over miserable drinking every day.

Happy Saturday!

 

 

Self- Absorption

27 May

I have’t blogged, read blogs, been to a meeting or even thought about drinking for days.

When I realised this, I was conflicted. On the one hand, it means I’m moving on from that OBSESSION with drinking/not drinking that I’ve been held prisoner by the past months (/years?!) but on the other, it could mean I’m not putting my recovery first. I’m so used to it occupying my mind it really shocked me when I’d sort of… forgotten to think about it. 

I had a little panic when I realised this, but upon reflection, I have been active in recovery, just in a different form to the one I’m used to. 

Until this point, my recovery had been very ‘me me me’; what do I think, how do I feel, how is my experience of recovery and how can I protect it. A lot of being inside my own silly head. I’ve often fretted about this, thinking that this means I shall be eternally self obsessed when I’m sober. But actually, as my sponsor has pointed out, recovery is as much about helping others as anything else. That’s how we stay dry. It’s the foundation of the AA programme, and how that amazing organisation keeps doing great work. And without realising it, I’ve been helping others more than I’ve been taking help over the past few days by calling newcomers and checking in with people who I know are struggling.

Just because I wasn’t thinking about me doesn’t mean I’m not being active in recovery. Quelle surprise! I’ve been quite ‘take take take’ and now I’m back onto more solid ground I feel truly able to give. This feels good. Imagine if I could pass on what I’ve learnt and another person actually gets sober and it changes their life?! That’s pretty powerful. I know mine’s changed, through the help of my AA buddies and all the brilliant bloggers who came before me. I suppose even when we’re struggling, our words of pain help others think ‘wow, other people feel like I do’ and we help them. I’ll never forget that first night I sat reading the blogs realising that there were other women out there like me who drank like I drank, feel like I feel.

I’m exhausted and not very articulate today, but I suppose I’m saying that giving feels really good. And being out of my own head is the greatest relief. I’m praying that this marks another corner turned in sobriety, where I stop thinking about myself all the bloody time. I hated that bit of early recovery. And of course it’s even worse when you’re drinking. 

So here I am 133 days sober, crawling down the road of progress and being more grateful than ever for what sobriety is giving me. If you’re struggling in the very early days with the ‘Is it worth it?!?!’ question that plagues us all, I’d say that right now, it truly feels it. The way I feel now in comparison to a few months ago is so dramatically different it takes my breath away. The brain chatter has quietened down. Most of the time at least. 

I’ll file this post under ‘YAY SOBRIETY!’ to refer to in my darker moments 😉

Happy Tuesday all x

Opening Doors

20 May

List articles are all the rage and my Facebook feed is full of LOLZ from Buzzfeed and other similar sites. Apart from the ones about drinking which make my blood boil (30 Hilarious Signs Wine is your BFF or some rubbish like that), they’re generally a fun way to pass a few minutes. 

Someone I really love and admire posted ’30 Things to Start Doing for Yourself’ today and it really got me thinking about our sober toolkits and how this weird thing we call alcoholism has given us some unexpected gifts: http://www.lifebuzz.com/start-doing/#!O4vZ3

All of these points, without exception, I think, are the things we must learn to stay sober. They’re all about authenticity, self-care, helping others, checking in with what we need and desire and tackling the difficult things in our lives. 

Yes, it might be hard and we might not like it sometimes, but sobriety equips us for life with tools that some of us might never have learnt without having a drinking problem. When I look back at my life before drinking got out of hand, I was living so chaotically but paradoxically within a self-imposed straight-jacket of control. I was dishonest with myself in my relationship, what I expected from myself, how I treated my body. I overrode all desire and need for being kind to myself with rigidity and denial. 

Learning all the unexpected lessons that go on around sobriety is an amazing journey to go on, not only because it unlocks new experiences and opportunities in our lives and ultimately (although it may not feel that way sometimes) makes our lives easier, but because it gives us the keys to a door some people never find. Unlocking the door to the raw emotional bits inside and knowing what to do when we get there is one of the bigger gifts of sobriety in my view. We have to do it to stop drinking and if we’re lucky enough to find a sober community to immerse ourselves in, we find spiritual guides, people ahead us on the path who can suggest to us what to do with what we find there.

If we blog or go to recovery meetings, we have a place to articulate our feelings honestly in a safe environment where we not only will we not be judged, we’ll be supported. We have people who will listen to us, soothe us and celebrate with us new milestones in recovery. 

Sometimes, I feel like the recovery community (and AA in particular) is what I’ve unknowingly been searching for my whole life. I’ve always been a person who thinks and talks in emotions much more than your average. This has served me well in forming deep friendships, but I’m often holding back from spending too much time talking about this stuff (let’s face it, it can be boring) which can leave me wanting. And usually, I’m the one listening, so it’s vital I go somewhere to talk. I get the emotional release I need in that room in a way I never have from therapy. Therapy is all about me, which is helpful, but sobriety is about all of us, collectively heaping each other to get better. It’s remarkable, when one thinks about the selfless, loving acts that go on in the sober community. 

So, I suppose my thought today is that as people with drinking problems, we’ve been forced to confront what’s below the surface head on and for that I am grateful. Would I choose again to be an alcoholic in another life? No. This is a disease that kills many and could kill me if I give in. But I AM happy to have been given the change to explore this stuff, because many don’t. 

Daily my sobriety shifts, from the agony of the weekend to feeling like a little precious gift today. We put one foot in front of the other and we grow….

AA: My First Chair

8 May

Thanks to everyone who wished me good luck ahead of my first AA chair yesterday. 

As predicted, it was pretty terrifying but also a wonderful experience. Luckily, I’d been asked to do it at my home group where everyone had seen my come in 16 weeks ago and sob my little heart out. 
 
It’s hard for me to believe that it was that recently that I went to my first meeting and how much my life has changed since then. 
 
Until that day, AA was never an option. I didn’t truly believe I was an alcoholic, didn’t like the sound of what went on there, didn’t have a concept of God and didn’t think I’d fit in with the people I met there. 
 
How wrong I was. 
 
I’ve written about this before, but from the very moment I walked through the door into my first meeting I knew I was at home. Followers of this blog will know that I spent the whole of 2013 trying to get sober and failing repeatedly. I was desperate for something to change, as my life had to very small very quickly. I felt myself eroding away my insides and knew that if I wanted to have the life I desired, drinking had to stop. It was going to kill me, if not physically, certainly emotionally. 
 
Last night when I arrived at the meeting I got so many friendly words of encouragement from fellow members, took up my seat at the front of the room and talked for 13 minutes. It felt like no time at all! I hate speaking publicly and my voice was a bit wobbly with nerves, but I shared my story honestly.
 
It was important to me to convey that for years I had a very benevolent relationship with alcohol, that it was my friend when I wanted to let loose and have a bit of fun. I wanted to share this for the newcomer who was having the battle that I did of ‘am I an alcoholic?!’ which in part was difficult for me because alcohol turned on me so quickly I couldn’t quite get my head round the shift. 
 
I talked about the agony of trying to quit on my own. I spoke about this blog, and how when I started writing to work through my alcohol issues, the internet started to speak back to me. Women all over the world putting their hands up and saying ‘Don’t worry honey. I feel like that too.’ 
 
I didn’t want to tell any drinking horror stories, so focused on how hard it was to quit and how each time I relapsed, my drinking got worse. 
 
Finally, I spoke about how the programme has helped me. For me, AA has been utterly transformative. Alcoholism is just a symptom of something deeper for me that over the years has manifested itself in different ways. I am a chronic relief seeker, always wanting to change the way I feel. I’m a sensitive soul, wounded by others words and actions. The AA programme has not only helped me to stop drinking, but it’s given me the tools to treat what’s underneath. 
 
It was an amazing privilege to have people share back and tell me how they related with my story. There were a few newcomers there who were really encouraged to see someone only slightly ahead of them on the sober path being so content in their sobriety. It took me a long time to get here, but once I got some time under my belt the shift to happiness happened very quickly. 
 
I have so so far to go on my journey through sobriety, but at 114 days sober I know I simply cannot go back. I feel a real sense of calm acceptance that I didn’t feel even just a few weeks ago. I’m gaining SO much more through being sober than I’m losing through not drinking and that’s an amazing place to be.
 
It’s important to me that I don’t suggest that AA is the only answer, as I know many people get sober without it. But it is a very very special place and I’d recommend that everyone who’s struggling to get sober gives it a go. What is there to lose by trying something out before you rule it out? That’s the attitude I took, and here I am happy as happy can be to be a proud member of alcoholics anonymous. Who’da thunk it?

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.

 

Letter to My Drinking Self

4 Apr

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)

I feel better already writing that.

If you had to write a letter from your drinking self to your sober self, what would it say? If you want to write a letter in the comments or email it to me at fitfatfoodblog@gmail.com and I’ll compile them into a blog post so we can all rejoice in how far we’ve come 🙂

 

Addiction

2 Apr

This article by Russell Brand is well known in recovery circles, and its been invaluable to me over the past few weeks: http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2013/mar/09/russell-brand-life-without-drugs

Sometimes when I’m in AA, I feel like the literature is filled with passages from inside my head. I get the precisie same feeling when I read passages of the article.

Russell talks about watching a video of himself taking heroin in a run-down dump in Hackney:

‘…[I felt] envy at witnessing an earlier version of myself unencumbered by the burden of abstinence. I sat in a suite at the Savoy hotel, in privilege, resenting the woeful ratbag I once was, who, for all his problems, had drugs. That is obviously irrational.’

On my down days, I can relate to this so strongly. I envy the version of myself drinking freely before the penny had dropped that I’m an alcoholic, before I was encumbered by the knowledge I can’t drink again. I look at myself in those first few months alcohol really took its grip where all I felt was a sense of naughtiness and abandon. No more. As an AA buddy once said ‘Being in a 12 step programme REALLY f**ks with your drinking.’ I imagine that were I to drink now, every drop of pleasure would be sucked out of it by the knowledge that I’m an addict. That drinking isn’t a choice, but a compulsion.

As the sunshine is out again, my mind turns to thoughts of ice cold pints of beer and dewy glasses of white wine by a pool somewhere exotic. I can sometimes taste it, feel the relief of the drink slipping down my throat and then I remember the wisdom on Monsieur Brand:

‘Even if it began as a timid glass of chardonnay on a ponce’s yacht, it would end with me necking the bottle, swimming to shore and sprinting to Bethnal Green in search of a crack house.’

I love this line so much. When I’m right in the middle of a craving, this is the sentence I turn over and over in my mind. Minus the crack house, this describes my experience of drinking perfectly. That timid glass that seems so appealing is a one way ticket to the land of Doom.

I’m still obsessed with watching people drinking, especially the ones who can have Just One Glass. I find it absolutely baffling that people don’t get overtaken by the same urge to drink more that I do. I was talking the other night to my best friend who I finally told that I’m in recovery. He gets absolutely SMASHED, sometimes for 2-3 nights in a row and in terms of volume, has always drunk more than me. But when I told him about my drinking he said he didn’t relate to it at all: the shame, the sadness, the wanting to stop… He never feels like that.

Once again, Russell sums it up perfectly:

Drugs and alcohol are not my problem, reality is my problem, drugs and alcohol are my solution.

If this seems odd to you it is because you are not an alcoholic or a drug addict. You are likely one of the 90% of people who can drink and use drugs safely. I have friends who can smoke weed, swill gin, even do crack and then merrily get on with their lives. For me, this is not an option.

Oh you wise wise man, THIS IS IT! Most people can get blind drunk, wake up, shake off their hangover and get on with their day. Not me, not ever.

Today’s a flat day. I’ve got a bit of a case of the ‘mehs.’ I’ve had a bit of a sugar binge over the last few weeks and it’s making me feel crappy. My addiction has most definitely transferred- I’m filling the gap alcohol has left with the comfort of sweet things. This needs to stop. I need to go cold turkey I think, as surprise surprise, moderation isn’t an option for me. What would Russell say? “What starts as a timid nibble of a Reeses peanut butter cup turns into me snaffling the entire packet and leaping out of the door in my pajamas to Bethnal Green Tesco to get more. My transformation into Augustus Gloop is complete’  I used to be a paragon of discipline, one of those people who could savour a single square of dark chocolate and be satisfied. Not any more. So this is the next addiction to tackle. I’m doing a marathon on Sunday so will not worry about dietary restriction until after that, but I’ve got to take a hold of it.

 

Appetite for Destruction

21 Mar

As you get further and further from Day 1, the stakes get higher. You have more to lose if you drink.

Right now, that doesn’t bother me. I want to drink. I’m battling a craving of epic proportions, that’s been bubbling up all week.

I have this overwhelming desire for a bit of chaos. I’m not quite sure where it’s coming from, or why, but it’s been incrementally building over a week or so.

Last weekend, I met some lovely fellow sober bloggers, and we sat outside in the sunshine and despite being in lovely sober company, my desire to drink was there. I think the sunshine was a trigger. Ridiculous right? But true. After they departed, I took myself straight off to an AA meeting, and the desire went away. But all week, it’s grown and grown.

I don’t think it’s specifically a craving for alcohol I have, but to do something naughty, to let loose a bit. I think the fact I have a running injury and can’t pound the streets is making things worse, as I’ve got no way to let off steam.

I’ve sent out an SOS call to other AA people and am trying to meet my sponsor later today. I’ve got a cinema trip booked tonight to stop me drinking. I hope it works.

This is my emergency call to you fellow bloggers. I feel as accountable to you all now who read and comment and help me as I do to myself. This is me out-ing myself as a not very sober sober blogger, which is what I am today. I know it will pass. I just have to cling on.

60 Days!

14 Mar

I’m 60 days sober today. It feels amazing.

I’ve had a pretty disasterous week in some senses- lots of unexpected costs that I can’t really afford have been incurred through having my handbag stolen, I’ve developed a stinky cold and a cotton wool head and have been a bit of a hormonal pre-menstrual monster.

And yet, I’m sober.

I’ve started my ‘Step 1’ in AA, where you look at the ways in which you’re powerless over alcohol. I’m so grateful to have this blog to look back on, because there it is in black and white, time and time again. I don’t want to go back to that place, where I describe the desolation of drinking the Wolfie Cocktail or am constantly screaming inside ‘what the FUCK is wrong with me?’

When I’m sober, I feel like a normal person. Someone who’s a perfectionist, an overthinker and a sensitive soul, but very normal. When I was drinking I felt like the most crazy person in the world.

If you’ve read the older posts on this blog, you’ll know that for a year I was trying to string together a decent chunk of sobriety and failing, starting over and over again. I got stuck in this cul-de-sac of only experiencing the rubbish bits of sobriety- the cravings, raw emotions and feeling low. I just wanted to feel better, and sometimes that meant drinking and going back to square 1.

I’d email Belle in despair, asking when sobriety gets easier and better, and she said to me many times ‘somewhere between 30 and 60 days, something will shift.’ And it has. I don’t obsess about drinking now. It crosses my mind, but as a passing thought. It’s just a thought now, not the compulsion to act it once was.

It’s true what everyone who has any length of sober time under their belt says: in early sobriety, you just need to cling on. Don’t worry about weight loss or sugar intake or sleeping insane amounts. Just do what you need to do to make it work for you, to get out of the danger zone.

The sun is shining, it’s Friday and I’m sober. Hurrah to that!

 

Spreading the Word

11 Mar

Today I told another close friend I’m in AA.

That makes 3 in total, all from very different friendship groups. My main motivation for doing it is so that slowly, within all corners of my social circle I have someone who will look out for me and fight me away from a glass of wine if I try and have one.

The friend I told struggled with a drug problem for a long time, so I knew he’d understand the complex nature of addiction we’re battling. He quit on his own, and it was a difficult journey. I met him after he quit so have never seen him when under the influence, but know how important a life change it was for him.

When I tell people, it’s so interesting seeing their reactions. They’re nothing like I assumed. In their eyes I don’t see judgement, but admiration. Everyone has used the word ‘brave.’

It’s funny, how it takes other people to validate an idea for me. I suppose it is brave, going to AA, talking to people about my problem, remaining determined to tackle it, but I don’t always see it that way. At first, I saw it as a moral failure I had to be ashamed of, somehow, or a symptom of weakness that I had this problem that required such drastic action. Now, I’m allowing myself to believe it is brave to do what I’m doing and that this bravery will keep me sober.

I’ll be 8 weeks without a drink tomorrow which I can’t believe. It’s starting to feel like the New Normal. Cravings have almost entirely disappeared, I rarely think about drinking and I feel good most days.

What a relief, to be in this place, finally. I’d fight off dragons to stay here 🙂

Intervention

24 Feb

So, I’ve known over the past few months that  my job isn’t right for me but haven’t done anything about it yet, waiting to get some more sober time under my belt. But today, the universe has intervened and forced my hand to REALLY consider what to do next. 

I’m a freelancer who’s been with the same company for a very long time, so much so I forget I’m not staff there. I found out today the team I work for is changing shape, so my contract will end at the end of next month. This is a big shock to the system. 

I have to decide what to do next. 

I am so so pleased with today, because the following things happened:

  • I got this news out of the blue and didn’t freak out. 
  • I didn’t cry, get anxious or feel wounded.
  • I knew this decision wasn’t about me, but about the company. I recognised they value me rather than thinking it’s all my fault and that they’re forcing me out. 
  • I accepted their offer of help finding another role in a different team. 
  • I didn’t blame my drinking for the ending of this contract- it’s out of my hands. Whilst my drinking definitely had some impact on my work, I accepted my boss’ praise for a job really well done and didn’t get Imposter Syndrome. 
  • I’ve accepted that this is the situation I have to deal with, and am making plans for What to Do Next. Breaking it down into a manageable plan of action. 
  • Most importantly, I DIDN’T DRINK.

Today has been huge in my journey. This is the kind of situation that I would REALLY drink over in the past. But all I thought this afternoon was “Usually on a day like this I’d get smashed, but I don’t want to now” and then moved on.

Thank God for the principles I’ve learnt in AA in the short time I’ve been in there. I feel true serenity today- whatever will happen will happen, but I’ll do the best I can to do what’s within my power to get the outcome that will suit me and my early sobriety.

Yes I’m worried about money, and about what job I choose next (there are a few options on the table already, thankfully) but I’ve been brought to this crossroads and I’m going to work through it without drinking. In some senses, the timing couldn’t be worse- I’m in the process of buying a flat and in the early days of sobriety FFS. I need stability and an income. But in another sense, I think it’s the gift in disguise I’ve been waiting for, speeding up the process of me looking at what I want to do every day. 

I’m going to think hard about how to support myself during these decisions. At least I know one vital thing: I can’t drink. If I drink I won’t get through it in one piece and will truly scupper my chances of giving myself the space and support I need to make the right choice. 

So thanks, Universe, you crafty bugger. 

Let’s see what happens next…

Day by Day

20 Feb

This week has been a bit of a struggle. Not with cravings explicitly, but the niggling feeling that a drink would make everything better. I 100% know that in reality, that wouldn’t be the case.

Now that the booze fog is well and truly out of the way, at 5 weeks sober, other feelings are starting to surface. The uncomfortable nature of clarity. The curious sensation of being able to look into the mirror and examine what you see unfettered by shame. The experience of raw emotions.

It’s so easy to ignore things when you’re drinking. In some ways, it’s a mirror image of the AA principle “one day at a time.” You’re advised to “keep it in the day” rather than thinking about the possibility of never drinking again. So often when you’re fighting a hangover (particularly at work) all you can do is hope to get through the day in one piece. I took my drinking very much one day at a time, choosing to ignore future consequences, the number of days I’d drunk before hand, the effect it would have in the morning.

When you’re in early sobriety, all you want to do is get through the day without a drink. Now, I’m into a sober routine that’s working. I’m dealing with cravings, I’m going to AA regularly, I’m still reading sober blogs daily. Sobriety is slowly becoming part of the fabric of my life, and now my attention is turning to the other things I want to address.

Things are pretty good- I’ve just bought a flat, marathon training is going well and I feel some form of happiness every day. But my job, which I have chosen to ignore as a source of discontent, is becoming more and more of a worry to me.

All the big questions are coming up this week “who am I? Does this career suit me? Can I do this job for the rest of my life? How do I change things up? Am I just being the eternally unsatisfied alcoholic? Have I created a life than is better than I realise?”

Understandably, it’s all a bit overwhelming, and all I can do now is to stay solid and sober and manage the overwhelm. To start to address these questions slowly. Not to rush things. Not to threaten my precarious sobriety.

I asked a lovely lady who’s been vital in my first few weeks of AA to be my sponsor last night, and she said yes! This is a huge weight off my shoulders- I trust her, admire her and think I need to get started on the steps.

I’ll focus on these for now, not my big life questions or my job. Working through the steps will be a journey of self discovery and I think that if I prioritise that, maybe, just maybe, everything else will fall into place. For now, I’ll trust that It will, and that soothes me.

Happy Thursday!

WOAH CRAVING

16 Feb

I have been doing brilliantly this week, happy, feeling very sober, thrilled to be over a month without a drink but WOW today I have been wrestling Mr Wolfie like mad. 

All I want to do is fall face first into a mega glass of wine (you know the goblets that hold pretty much half a bottle? One of those). Why? I have no idea. 

In a bid to make sure I relax a bit and get enough rest after a mad week at work, I’ve been quite isolated this weekend. I think that has something to do with it. I’m also at the point which I’ve learnt, for me, is the classic “I wasn’t that bad really” point- just over a month sober. 

I’ve been to a lot of AA meeting this week, but I haven’t been engaging with the principles of it outside the meetings. So the One Day at A Time approach, which I know works, has gone out of the window. I’ve become a bit obsessed with not being able to share a bottle of wine with an (imaginary) future date, which is not helpful. I don’t even have any prospect of a date any time soon!

I’ve also been watching a lot of House of Cards where there is ALOT of alcohol. Despite one of the characters being an alcoholic which should put me off drinking, the seemingly endless casual glasses of wine portrayed on screen seem really appealing. This is just nonsense, to get triggered by a TV programme, but it’s reminded me how dangerous it is when the seed of drinking is planted. 

I’m staying strong and am leaving for a meeting in the next half an hour, which will buy me one more sober day. I cannot have a Day 1, not now. There is just no point. I know I don’t want to carry on drinking and have to stop, so why ruin my momentum AGAIN. 

Next week I’m going to focus on coming out of my sober bubble a little so I feel less isolated at the weekend, and planning lots of nice sober activities to look forward to.

I’ve settled on a treat that I’m saving up for if I make it to 3 months sober- a set of personal training lessons to start strength training and shake up my exercise routine a bit, which I’m REALLY looking forward to and today, the thought of denying myself that treat has pushed me through. 

Alcohol eh? Cunning, baffling, powerful. 

But I’ll stay sober today. 

Short but Sweet

31 Jan

I’m without a computer at the moment, which means posting is hard- I just can’t type out long blogs on my phone, but miss the act of writing.

This week has been fantastic. My time off work has done me the world of good- I’ve slowed down, slept a lot, run enough but not too much, eaten hot home-cooked meals and been to an AA meeting a day.

I’m feeling grounded and confident in my sobriety. It’s the first time I’ve truly felt like this. Previously around the 2-3 week mark I’ve been crawling the walls.

And just as I was writing my little gratitude list before bed tonight I realised something- in the past 6 months I’ve been in the middle of a run of sobriety more than I’ve been drinking. Not a perfect track record by any means, as readers of my “Hey! It’s Day 1, AGAIN!” posts will know, but better than the 6 months prior to that. Solid progress.

It’s been a learning curve, and lots of things have tripped me up along the way but I’m getting more confident, and more certain in my conviction that I would WAY rather have the temporary pain of saying no to a drink at a party or swerving the wine aisle than I would the agony of starting from scratch.

So here’s a happy post to end a happy week. And everything that has been positive in life this week has been a direct result of being sober. That’s a pretty great thing to reflect on.

Taking time for Me

21 Jan

To try and make this time round a successful sober lifestyle where other attempts have failed, I’m taking some time for me. Slowing down. Not trying to be the best goddamn sober person ever doing it all, having it all, and remaining tee total.

But, I’ve been trying to work out how, exactly, I slow down when I have a hectic full time job, am marathon training, flat-hunting and trying to get to an AA meeting every day.

I realised this morning that I am in a very privileged position- I don’t have children who depend on me, I don’t have a partner who needs my love and attention, it’s just little old me. And (HOPEFULLY!) life won’t be this solitary forever. So maybe now is the time to really take advantage of that and heal myself from the ups and downs of drinking over Christmas and the New Year, from the linger term damage drinking has done. Should I be selfish with the aim of getting to a place (eventually) where I’m sober, balanced and ready to truly love and support others rather than being caught in a drink-relapse cycle?

I’m off work today, and contemplating taking the rest of the week off to focus and relax into sobriety. Every time I’ve tried before I’ve had my Day 1 right in the middle of a manic work week and haven’t ever truly stopped to take stock or recover, despite blogging it out. And foolishly used my Christmas break to drink…

I’m not sure whether taking time off wise, as I don’t want my work to suffer, but equally know I need some more time away to get myself back on track, to attend as many meetings as I can and be still.

I’ll see how the rest of the day goes, but for now, I’m grateful to be able to have a sober day to myself.

To the Streets or a Penthouse

17 Jan

Yesterday, I posted about my anger regarding a conversation I’d had with someone who questioned whether my drinking was a problem. I’d mulled over whether or not to post it, but the one thing I promised myself when I started blogging was that I’d be 100% honest. That I’d be as warts and all as I can about my feelings as a means of a) getting in touch with them and b) keeping track of how my moods and difficult feelings change as I journey through sobriety so I can reflect on what, for me, makes a situation better or worse.

The comments were supportive, and some did challenge my view, which I’m thankful for. What I already knew was reiterated- that I have to take full responsibility for my actions. And I do. But I needed to articulate my frustration at the idea that if you don’t end up in the gutter then you don’t have a problem. It undoes all the positive messages around alcoholism being a problem that anyone can suffer from. As someone put it yesterday in my AA meeting: “it can take you to the streets or it can take you to a posh penthouse, but it’s still destructive, still hell for us who suffer.”

I didn’t intent to place blame or deflect responsibility from myself, but to remind everyone who dispenses support or ‘advice’ that they do so carefully and with sensitivity.

So, today is a new day, my anger has subsided into acceptance- yes I do have a problem, yes it’s not fair, yes I am doing everything in my power to manage it. I’m quite pleased, in a way, that I felt anger, because it’s an emotion I’m not that familiar with, and it felt cathartic to get it onto the page. 

I had plenty of sleep last night, a glorious run in a thunderstorm and am trusting that today, everything will be ok. As long as I sleep, run, eat chocolate and go to AA, all will be well. 

Happy Friday!

 

 

The Complexity of Support

10 Jan

I’ve been blogging A LOT this week, but it really helps me get stuff out of my head so I can get on with my day. 

Last night I had a very interesting therapy session. It’s been 3 weeks since I last saw Therapy Sarah due to the Christmas break. As I told her I’d been drinking again, her eyes filled with tears. It was a reaction that shocked and moved me, because it made me feel she cared. But in her eyes was the look of someone who knew that despite all the work we’ve done together and all the support she gives me, I still was being overpowered by the call of alcohol. And that was a very sad thing for her to witness.

After I’d recounted the events of the last 3 weeks, she said that she was thrilled I’d been to AA, that many of her colleagues won’t treat people with a drink problem unless they also go to Alcoholics Anonymous because “once a week therapy isn’t enough to tackle the scale of that problem.” She said she’d continued to see me despite my strong conviction that AA wasn’t for me because I was clearly determined, had been really proactive in reaching out via blogging and Team 100 with Belle, and seemed committed to sobriety. But now she could see that all of these helping hands hadn’t been enough.

[Carrie Bradshaw voice] And this got me wondering about the incredibly complex nature of support, and how it contributes to our recovery. On the one hand, support is everything. From that first moment of admitting to someone that you have a problem to letting them know you want to drink, it’s a huge relief to know that someone is there, listening to you, guiding you, giving you tips on how to ride the craving. When I first found Belle I thought, “this is it! I’ve found a solution! For 100 days I definitely won’t drink now. I won’t want to let her down.” But I did drink, repeatedly.

I realise that even with all the support in the world, we still tumble and fall, and drink when we know we shouldn’t, and that’s because at the end of it all, we have to do this thing ourselves. No-one picks up a drink for us, and no-one can snatch one from our hands or erase that destructive impulse from our brain. This isn’t rocket science, but it’s easy to forget when we’ve created fantastically valuable support networks, that the mere act of being part of a sober support network doesn’t keep you sober.

My past year has been an absolute struggle for control, willpower and strength, none of which I could consistently rely upon myself to exert when I wanted to fall face first into a bucket of wine. Sometimes I triumphed, but sometimes Mr wolf got me and I was back at square 1.

I’d get myself back up, be honest to those who support me and start again. But then I’d fall again, 4, 20, 40 days later. The number of sober days became irrelevant- it was the slipping AGAIN that was the giveaway that I was in deeper than I’d originally thought with this alcohol lark.

Through taking myself to AA and opening my mind to the higher power notion has shifted the view I have of myself in relation to alcohol and the nature of this journey hugely. Previously, I just saw a lack of strength, conviction and a weakness around alcohol that I was beating myself up for. What was WRONG with me? Why couldn’t I do this stuff when so many have succeeded?

But, walking through that door and trusting that I’d been through these struggles for a reason unlocked an overwhelming new belief in my own abilities. If I didn’t have the strength and courage to kick alcohol, I wouldn’t be picking myself off and dusting myself down time after time. I’d have given up and still be drinking.

I know I can trust myself, that I will do this, and that every failure has been a learning journey that one day will be vital in my long term sobriety. This grey and gloomy Friday, I feel secure in myself. I won’t feel like this every day, but I’m sure as hell better equipped to deal with all the obstacles in the road than I was a year ago. And in treasuring this knowledge, I’m supporting myself. And maybe that’s the best kind of support you can have. 

Happy Friday!

My First AA Meeting

9 Jan

 

So, last night I went to my first AA meeting. I never thought I’d set foot in one, to be honest, but I’m so glad I did.

For the 90 minutes I was there, I cried constantly, sometimes bordering upon hysterically. It was the most incredible feeling of release. Although I sometimes do cry with my therapist, it’s so rare that I actually let everything come out, and I felt like the pent up agony of the past year or so of struggling with this horrible problem was being let go.

The meeting set up was basically a massive cliché. We were sitting in rows on crappy plastic chairs with an outdated tea urn bubbling away in the corner and handed Styrofoam cups of cheap coffee to welcome us.  

As I entered the room I wanted to walk out immediately. There were around 25 people in the room, all men apart from myself, the chair and one other woman who arrived later. I knew that my connections online of people who have struggled with alcohol have been 90% women, but I didn’t expect to be intimidated by the male presence.

I sat down, and when they invited newcomers to make themselves known, I said my name and that it was my first meeting and was welcomed. As the guest speaker’s story was told and the 12 steps recited, I started to open up emotionally and the tears came. It’s REALLY bloody hard to stop hysterical tears in a quiet room and I was a bit of a snivelling mess at the back, snotty nosed and not armed with a tissue. WHY DIDN’T I BRING A TISSUE?!

They tell you to listen for the similarities not the differences you see between yourself and other drinkers when you’re new, and my GOD were there so many similarities.

The main thing I took away from the sharing and the discussions was that everyone in the room has struggled with who they are in some form or another, and that led them both to drink, and to find recovery difficult. There were amazing stories of self-discovery. Some of the points that were made might seem small if I recounted them, but they spoke volumes to me.

There was an overwhelming positivity that I took away- several people talked about things in their life that have happened only because they got sober. These are things that they couldn’t have done before not because they were drunk, but because they didn’t know who they truly were, or that they never had the self-esteem to pursue them. Someone described growing into an adult when he got sober, having lived 40 years as a child.

All of these points made great sense to me and gave me real hope, because I’ve always known that alcohol is making my life smaller than I want it to be, that I could achieve things I never thought possible if I could take the steps to permanently remove it from my life. And that I’m still a child in so many ways, and that’s alcohol is keeping me there.

The other thing that really clicked for me, which is the thing I expected to relate to least, was the ‘higher power’ notion. Everyone who referred to the higher power in their discussions specifically said it didn’t take a religious form to them. I had a HUGE switch click in my head with regards to this idea. I realised two things. The first is that I’ve got a gaping hole left by moving away from the Catholic religion that was such a fundamental part of my life until I was around 20, when I suddenly decided it wasn’t for me. I was shocked to discover last night, that I really missed the idea that there was something outside of myself that I could rely on. I don’t want religion back. Maybe now, my spiritual guide isn’t God, but something that dictates that everything will work out just as it should. Some sort of universal plan that I fit into.

The idea that “maybe everything is just as it’s supposed to be right now” was mentioned to me by my therapist a while ago, and it one of the most helpful ideas I have to get me through the tough times. And maybe this idea is the same thing, for me, as the notion of a Higher Power: the thought that everything I’m going through now is for a reason, and that will make me a stronger person in the long term. You can’t argue with the idea that I’m learning a hell of a lot from this struggle, and placing this in the context of a wider life plan that I’m not completely in control of was a huge relief. It took the great burden away from me and my little corner of the earth a little bit. Made me GET OVER MYSELF a little bit.

This also reiterated my feeling that I also don’t want to rely 100% on myself and tear myself up with endless introspection. I’ve talked about this before, but last night I felt a shift inside myself where I just trusted that everything will be ok. That I can pray or ask or just hope that something outside of me has my best interests at heart. That feels a weird line for me to type, but I believe it.

And the thing that really underlined the “maybe everything is exactly as it’s supposed to be” idea for me was the fact that I feel I walked into that AA room at precisely the right moment for me. I walked in, my brain telling me that maybe I didn’t have an alcohol problem, knowing that just 24 hours before I’d expressed the fear to Carrie that one day, my parents would get a call saying I’d died because of alcohol. That dramatic mindshift in just a day showed me that this disease is real, it’s serious and that it’s got me in the grips of deception.

The second thing that meant that last night was precisely the right time for me to go was it coincided with my true acceptance of this problem. When I reread old posts I’ve made, I remember the hopeless optimism I had that once I stopped and stayed stopped for a while, that would be the end of my journey with alcohol. I’ve realised in the past month or so that stopping drinking is only just the beginning. That I have so much work to do to stay sober. But that that’s ok.

If I’d set foot in that room even 3 months ago I still wouldn’t have believed this would work for me. But all the soul searching I’ve done and the honest approach I’ve repeatedly forced myself to take as I look inwards has meant that I’ve done a lot of ground work on my own, but I know that I need more help than that, from lots of different perspectives. After taking what’s been a pretty lonely road, despite all the online support and occasional meet ups with other sober bloggers, the comfort of simply having a large people group around me to listen to was huge.

As we stood up at the end and joined hands in a circle, I was absolutely crying my eyes out. The two women rushed up to me immediately after and comforted me, gave me their numbers and said lovely reassuring things. One of them was in her mid 30s, and sober for 4 years, the other 26 and had got sober at 21. They were kind and gentle and beautiful and I never wanted them to stop hugging me!

I honestly feel that I’m going to be going to these meetings long term. I think it’s going to really help me, more than I could ever have imagined. I had HUGE preconceptions and misgivings about AA, which I think many of us do, but I knew trying it was important, and I’m over the moon this morning that I plucked up the courage to walk down those stairs, shaking like a leaf, and make myself vulnerable in front of a room of tough looking men.

After last night I feel calm and I know it’s all going to be ok. It’s going to be hard, and I’m still going to have the same struggles, but maybe this new approach I’m trying will truly help me this time. I have the belief radiating from somewhere very deep inside me that it will, and that makes me want to weep with joy.

Pretty powerful stuff eh? I’m more shocked than anyone, but I’m going to stick with it and see where this unexpected journey takes me.

Happy Thursday! 

It’s ALL FINE

8 Jan

Day 2, I slept for 8 or 9 hours last night, I feel like a new person. The fog of hangover has lifted and I’ve got my positivity back. I have even started to think that the last nightmare few days have been an anomaly, a case of me being overdramatic about alcohol. 

How is it that our bodies and minds forget so quickly? 

When I’m sober, I feel like I’m definitely not an alcoholic, and when I drink, I know that I am. 

Today I’m going to my first AA meeting. I have to. I have to make my world about being sober for the next few months. I can’t go back to the place I’ve been stuck in so many times over the past year of weeks on and off alcohol, a constant rollercoaster. 

Here’s the things I know about what to expect about the next few weeks that might make me slip up:

  • My addiction will trick me into thinking life is ok, and that drinking is ok, and just a bit of fun. I know it is not.
  • I will need alot of sleep.
  • I will get anxious as hell, and running will help that.
  • I need to avoid the 4pm desperation at work by getting fresh air at lunchtime and using my SAD lamp to help lift the blues.
  • I will go to my doctor as planned, but may be tempted to scale down the size of my problem. I need to be brave and honest.
  • It will get worse before it gets better. I’m just happy today not to be hungover, it won’t always feel this good. I have other issues I need to work through that I squish with drinking and I need to accept that this will be hard.
  • I shouldn’t try and be The Best Sober Person ever, as Carrie advised me. Last time I was unwilling to sacrifice my parties and social life for sobriety, because I thought being alone sober would make me more likely to drink. While I wasn’t tempted to drink whilst out, and could still dance all night and have tonnes of fun, the December onslaught of nights out with work, friends and family left me utterly exhausted until I cracked. I need to protect my sobriety more carefully. To change my life so that I can change my destructive habits. This will be hard, but is important. 
  • There is no magic cure. I once believed stopping drinking would be easy, and that it with solve all my other problems in life. It isn’t and hasn’t but I choose this path over drunken hell.

I’m looking forward to AA, I think. I’m terrified I won’t actually be able to walk through the door, but I know which meeting I’m planning on going to, and what do I have to lose?

 

 

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

I got sober. Life got big.

Hungry Girl Eats

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

DominantSoul

The Erotic Art of Sensual Domination

Lydia-Bellsprout

Author. Yogi. Sun-chaser. Mental health awareness-raiser.

800 Recovery Hub Blog

Written by people in recovery for people in recovery

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....

A Dappled Path

Kicking the bottle

Good Morning Mercies

Seeking beauty and balance overcoming chronic illness and addictions

We Admitted We Were Powerless

A journey of recovery

Mind-Full Mom-E

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

12 the hard way

ruminations on the twelve steps.

Recovering From Powerlessness

A journey of recovery from everything

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)

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.

Living Free

A fine WordPress.com site

messyarts

lettuce turnip the beet.

Seeing Clear Lee

musings on becoming alcohol-free

Vodka Goggles

No longer seeing the world through vodka colored glasses..

Recovering Life

Age and alcoholism

365reasons2sober

My blog to help me stop drinking.

Kind Copy

Better writing attracts better clients

No Shame in Asking

A Memoir of Sober Living

aglasshalffullofcheer

90 days sober, a look at the problem of drinking