After a week of being well and truly down in the dumps and struggling with sobriety, last night I decided I needed some positive action.
I went to a dance class, which helped me temporarily forget my inner chatter of doom, and then decided to take a little walk around the city to clear my head.
I think all of us romanticise drinking to some extent when we give it up, and in my head this week it’s felt like in my drinking days it was a companion, a comfort blanket that would soothe my soul for a few hours when I was feeling down, or inject me with the party spirit when I wanted some fun.
What my little walk reminded me is that this is far from the truth. The city I live in is etched with memories from the past 5 years. What struck me last night as I walked around was that if I thought of drinking memories in the pubs and bars I passed, so few of these memories were happy.
I moved into my new flat in February and as I walked home through what still feels like quite a new neighbourhood, a series of memories filled my head:
“This is the pub I had a solitary pint at after work because I was so hungover I couldn’t make the 5 minutes walk to my house without some liquid sustenance. This is the 24 hour shop I’d buy wine from at midnight when one bottle wasn’t enough. Here’s the pub I drank wine alone in at 3pm in the afternoon before a hairdressing appointment one Tuesday afternoon, just because. Here’s the posh wine shop I’d buy my white wine from when I wanted to fill a lonely Sunday night. Here’s the kerb I tripped on, ripped my jeans and scarred my knee when I was running out to get another bottle of wine when I was having a quiet evening in with my housemate, who wasn’t drinking. Here’s the bar I drank mojitos with my best friend the night after one of the biggest drunken nights of my life, drinking to claw back some semblance of feeling normal. Here’s the bin I used to guiltily dump my empty bottle of wine on the way to work because I was too ashamed to put it in the house recycling…”
I realised when doing this that I didn’t have one happy memory related to alcohol in the area I live, not one in 9 months. In fact, when I look back over the past few years, the happy memories I have from drinking are so few and far between it’s saddening.
When I was underweight and drank, I’d get drunk horribly quickly, and often make myself sick to be able to continue socialising or get home. When I drink I get the overwhelming urge to eat lots of food, especially as I’ve usually been depriving myself to ‘save up calories for alcohol.’ For years would waste time and vast amounts of money lurching around from shop to shop buying bits of food to tame the hunger monster that wolfie ignites.
Last night, when I got home I lit candles, tucked myself up on the sofa with a duvet and a cup of tea and just reflected on all these bad moments and how grateful I am that I’m making positive change, no matter how hard it seems.
Carrie said to me a few weeks ago something that another blogger (I think it was Mrs D) had said- “It stopped being fun.” Drinking stopped being fun. It’s the thing that I need to keep repeating over and over if I want to be happy in sobriety. And remembering that what I get from not drinking is so much richer and worth clinging on to.
In other news, I’m on Day 26! This is the longest I’ve gone since I gave up alcohol for Lent in 2002 when I was 15 (!) So every day of sobriety now is a new record. 30 days is within touching distance 🙂