Now I’m further away from my last drink, what ‘the wolfie voice’ means to me is slightly different. He’s no longer telling me to neck wine, but operates in more subtle ways, eroding my self esteem with his negative chatter.
One place I thought I was free of negative self talk was running. My running club friends call me ‘smiler’ because no matter how hard the race or bad the weather, I’m always beaming as I run. Not yesterday.
This wasn’t my first marathon, but it was certainly my toughest.
Before Christmas, I’d completed a marathon with a PB I was REALLY proud of and came into this race feeling strong and confident. Surely, all the training plus not drinking for 3 months would mean I could achieve a similar time?
The city I was running in was bathed in glorious sunshine, and I was really excited as the crowds danced to the pre-race music. I had my power playlist ready, checked my sobriety counter and felt a little swell of pride as the pack of runners moved off.
The first 10k was hot, crowded and a little too fast for my liking, so I stopped to take an energy gel and douse myself in cold water. From that moment on, the wolfie voice was in my head the whole race: ‘Look how hard you’re finding this, LAST time you ran a marathon you had the remnants of a 2 day hangover. Sobriety’s not working out so well for you eh?’ (WHAT THE ACTUAL F**K?!) and more general negativity: ‘You’re so weak, so tired, what a failure…’ etc etc
Having 20 miles of that sort of head noise is soul destroying. A fair few tears were shed on the course as I contemplated dropping out. I knew all my running friends were at home checking the race app to follow my split times every 5k and my ego was severely bruised. Should I fake injury and drop out?
All I could turn over in my head between miles 18 and 19 was whether this was a horrific enough experience to warrant a drink. Again, madness. I knew I wouldn’t, but I tortured myself with that thought over and over again.
Some lessons must have been learnt on that course, with wolfie running along beside me, whispering his venom. What those lessons are right now, I’m not sure. I’ve been upset and irritable all day, but I’m trying to remember that completing a marathon is a huge achievement whether it takes you 3 hours or 5 hours and that it’s a privilege to run at all.
Tonight involves a bath, clean sheets and an early night to reward myself for getting through.
Happy Monday lovely sober bloggers!