The last few days I’ve been reading lots of sober blogs to help myself focused on why I want this, recognise my own drinking patterns in those of others who have considered them problematic enough to stop and get inspiration.
Yesterday I came across Mrs D’s blog and have been working my way through her posts month by month. The emotional rollercoaster ahead is what terrifies me most, and Mrs D articulately and brilliantly documents her own journey.
Today this line really spoke to me:
“[I] thought about how my life is like a pencil drawing. Now all sharp edges and clear. Before with wine it was like something had been smudged all over the top of it.”
I’ve been smudging away for years to numb emotional pain. Yesterday I started to feel emotions very acutely and for the first time in what feels like a *very* long time, recognise what they are and embrace them. Yesterday afternoon I was writing a long creative document at work and felt simultaneously a cosy happiness and melancholy. It was the first time in YEARS I have felt that particular cocktail of emotions, and it reminded me of the hours I’d spend holed up at university, writing away, feeling a strange satisfying sadness that I get when I’m in the flow of writing. I really enjoyed it.
Emboldened by my new ability to Feel Stuff, last night I brought up a conversation that I’ve been putting off with a new man I’ve been seeing about the nature of our relationship. Again, as I spoke, I had a real clarity about my emotions. I knew what I wanted to say, exactly how I felt when he responded and a satisfaction as I drifted off to sleep that I’d articulated these. I woke up feeling calm and fantastic.
I keep spotting so many things that are different about this time and other attempts at sobriety that buoy my confidence that I can do this bloody thing. The last time I started the 100 Day Challenge, I did so with such a monumental hangover it took me about 3 days to feel even vaguely normal physically and the emotions I battled through in those first 2-3 weeks swung between denial, anger, sadness and contentment. I knew not drinking was benefiting me, but I hadn’t 100% embraced the idea that this wasn’t a short term fix, that it is in fact something that is absolutely critical to commit to long term if I’m going to have a happy life.
All the working and thinking and failing I’ve been doing over these past few months seems to have planted seeds both mentally and emotionally that have fast tracked me to a point where I feel I’m longer sober than I actually am. It’s been 4 days, for Christssake! But I’ve got a real calm and clarity that I hope I can maintain even when the emotions get tough. Emotions are not a reason to drink, they are a natural part of being human and you know what? I want to start feeling them and embracing both the good and the bad.
Tonight is my first social event where I’ll only know one person and the drinks will be flowing. Whereas usually I’d head to the pub after work to get some ‘pre-drinks’ in and spend the night glugging red wine, my plan of action is to head home before the event and cook a good meal. Eating really helps quash the desire to drink. Then, my drink of choice tonight will be lime and soda. I’ve tried tonic water in the past, but for now, it makes me just want gin so I’ll avoid it.
I’ll check in here tomorrow to let you all know how it goes. Thank you for reading and helping me know I have people who want me to succeed in this.