Tag Archives: alcohol

Gifts of Sobriety

7 Dec

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After a shocker of a week where my emotions have been all over the place, today I feel unbelieveably calm. In this sober journey, it seems my emotions are shifting much more quickly between extremes. 

Today, as I inch towards a month sober, I’ve become very aware of all the gifts of sobriety that I’ve encountered over the past month. 

It’s list time! IlLove a good list to reflect back on when I’m feeling like I want to dive face first into a vat of wine…

1) The notion of being kind to yourself has been a lifesaver. I honestly think that in my 27 years I have never, ever practised being kind to myself. Life has been a constant exercise in achievement and self improvement, and never just doing what serves me. I’ve started to do this and OH MY GOD IT’S AMAZING. Life is just so much simpler when you listen to your own wants and needs. It’s been critical to my recovery and might be the biggest lesson I get out of this whole sobriety lark. 

2) Time– when you don’t drink you get huge lumps of time back, which at first are scary, but if you use them wisely are so amazing. For one thing, I no longer turn down invitations at the weekend because I’m not scheduling hungover time. HUNGOVER TIME?! What madness was that?! I actually used to account for it in my plans as if it was a legitimate use of time. I’ve done so much this month, despite the off days, the battles and the white-knuckling it moments. 

3) Passions– I’ve rediscovered things I love doing, outside drinking and running- before, if I wasn’t doing one you could be damn sure I’d be doing the other. I feel in touch with my former self, before emotional drinking got in the way. 

4) Eating– I’ve been strictly observing the HALT rules and I realised that I haven’t fed myself properly or responded to hunger for the best part of 10 years. Yes I’ve unleashed the sugar monster and have some new work to do on my diet to get it to be balanced again, but the feeling of (mainly) nourishing my body rather than merely repairing it after alcohol abuse is foreign and bloody brilliant. 

5) Autumn– I’m so glad I’m doing my first month sober in Autumn. Autumn is my spring- every year I take stock at this time of year, relish the changing colours and the cold weather. I have created my little sober cocoon in the room I drank so much in and feel genuinely content in the low light and candles, nice and cosy, drinking my tea or soda water. 

6) Sleep– who knew I could get so much sleep?! I’ve been sleeping 7-8 hours every night which is unheard of. I can tune into my natural rhythms and recognise being tired and deal with that, rather than drinking through it. HU-RAH for sleep. 

7) Socialising- I’ve had so much fun when I’ve been socialising sober, and rocking the sober tiara makes me feel amazing. The triumph of getting through a party until 4am last weekend has not only reminded me I have loads of fun sober, it’s also reminded me socialising sober is preferable- you remember things people have told you, have meaningful conversations! What novelty! What fun!

8) Support- I am so grateful for the support network I have found in this journey, everyone has been amazing in their wisdom and patience. When I was struggling with questioning my alcohol issues alone, I always came to the conclusion that I was fine, and should drink through the worry. It’s such a comfort and help that we’re not alone in this weird struggle that has become such a big part of our lives. 

9) My body– I have abused my body in so many ways over the years. On that last day of drinking when I felt my liver hurt I knew that something really had to change. I’ve really focused on listening to my body which encompasses so many of the positive lessons I’ve learnt above, and my body is thanking me. My eyes, which were yellow, are white again. The redness of my face has calmed. My puffy face has slimmed down. I have more energy and get the warning signs when I’m too tired. Weight loss hasn’t come yet, but it’s more important at the moment for me to biff wolfie on the nose by deploying my Secret Sobriety Weapon (a Cadbury’s Twirl) than it is to lose weight. Weight loss will come if I continue on this path and learn to listen to my body. I had an amazing realisation this morning that chocolate aside, I naturally eat healthily and do alot of exercise- at some point, my body will get to the weight it’s supposed to be, whether it’s my shape now, thinner or even a bit heavier. And I’m ok with that. I’ve had enough of keeping my weight artificially low, of suppressing my emotions with alcohol, and at 27 days sober, I feel ready to be authentically me, warts and all. 

Pretty bloody exciting eh?

What’s your biggest gift sobriety has given? I’m so excited about what might happen over the next weeks and months I’d love to hear your stories…

 

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Lessons in Sobriety

10 Nov

As I pull myself back to staying sober after some pretty epic crashes and burns over the past few weeks, here’s some things I’ve learnt about what tips me (and so many of us on this journey, I suspect) over the edge. 

Forgetting that one never means one– each time I’ve fallen off the sober wagon recently, `I can see the moment as clear as crystal when I took that choice to say ‘yes’ to a drink, be it with others or alone. That little ‘yes’ usually leads to 4 or 5 days of drinking every night, at least a bottle of wine every one. 

Just because I have a thought, it doesn’t mean it’s a craving– I don’t really fall victim to a craving, I fall victim to a thought. When I’m not kicking wolfie’s arse, that thought has been a signal to me of the inevitable. But taking a drink isn’t inevitable. It’s a choice. A tug of war with wolfie. I have the power to win that struggle and I forget that all too often.

Rome wasn’t built in a day– I keep beating myself up about drinking again, but I have learnt SO MANY lessons these past few failed attempts, I know that I can’t wave a magic wand and be sober. I have to work at it, one day at a time- that classic old AA maxim is true.

Alcoholism is subjective– I’ve done alot of thinking about whether or not I consider myself to be an alcoholic and the conclusion I’ve come to is that it doesn’t matter one bit if I am or aren’t, if others are worse than me or drink less and still consider themselves to be alcoholic. The truth is this: it is having an effect on my life that is unsustainable, that I know is becoming a health problem and a battle that I keep losing. That’s all the sign I need. 

Don’t try to be superwoman– I can’t change everything at once. I want to loose the weight that drinking has made me pile on, but that needs to wait for tomorrow. If eating a chocolate bar will help curb that craving or a sugary cappucino will soothe my soul, so be it. It would take a big blowout to take in the number of calories as a bottle of wine, so I should stop making excuses. 

Stay busy– In early sobriety, I get exhausted. It’s much more beneficial to me to push through that and make myself have company and do something because my biggest trigger to drink seems to be a heady mix of loneliness and tiredness, which is why I drink for nights and nights in a row. 

I feel fine– AHA! I’m a few days into sobriety and quite frankly, I feel fantastic. I have my energy back, my lust for life back, wasn’t it funny that I was so last week? I am FINE? All that blogging I did about getting sober, what a drama queen! I don’t have a problem with alcohol. I just gave it up for 5 days, but I really fancy a drink, so I’ll just have one or two tonight and will be fine… NO. This dialogue has happened so many times. The better I feel, the more susceptible I am to drink.

People just don’t understand– modern Britain is set up to facilitate problem drinking, it’s become such an ingrained behaviour that we don’t even question it, until someone challenges the norm and opts out. I’m still building up my resources on how to deal with this, but the brilliant Carrie suggested something this week that will hopefully shut people up. I’ve always played the health kick card as part of my marathon training, which not only makes people feel guilty about not drinking, but it also makes them feel bad about being non-exercisers. Instead, I’m going to “make them feel sorry for me” as Carrie put it. I’m going to say that I’ve been getting really depressed after drinking, or that it makes me really anxious, so I’m just laying off for a while to see if that helps. No-one can argue with that, surely? Even my pushy boss who loves buying alcohol for the team. Because I’m so chirpy and happy at work, people can’t argue with alcohol being the problem if they don’t see me being depressed day to day, or at least I hope they can’t. 

So here we go again, another Monday, another day 1. I read over my “Strong Women” post earlier and I can’t wait to be that person again, that person who is so happy being sober with a few days under her belt. 

This list is going to be my first port of call when I’m forgetting all the reasons why drinking isn’t an option for me.

Wish me luck! 

 

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