203 days by midnight.

Just intriguing how similar we all are….

I am just sharing this from a penpal of Belle – I could have written it too once upon a time. Or anytime really…. You have to see it through for more than 100 days.  Otherwise that voice will convince you.

Badass (penpal #2781): “These past few days have shown me that I really don’t want to be a non-drinker – I do however want to be a “normal/weekend only” drinker – so I am going to try the moderation thing again – but this time with 100% willpower – I know this is a tough route to take, but it’s one I’m going to have to give another go as cutting things out of my life that I enjoy is just not an option for me.”

me: hi you, if we could be normal drinkers, we’d be doing it already. that we’re online looking for help to quit drinking is the truth. the rest is wolfie and I’ll agree, the addictive voice is very convincing. but it is lying to you 😦 and I think you know it, which is why you email to share with me. you know what I’ll say – I’ll say *not a good idea, try being sober for 100 days first and then decide.* hugs from me

Badass: “I know what you’re saying. The issue I have is this – I tried not drinking for 90 days and ended up a binge drinking mess the following 3 months – having tried the sober thing – I know it’s not for me. I also know I can’t continue drinking at the same rate and quantity as I have been doing. I am going to have to make willpower/controlled drinking work somehow… one thing I am sticking to right now is not drinking Sunday through Thursday – I’ll start there and see what happens.”

… a few days later…..

Badass: “My determined resolve to remain sober Sunday through Thursday … of course a couple turned into nearly a bottle and waking up with 3am fear – nightmares and feeling like my head is full of frogs today. I’m SO ANGRY – I don’t know what to do with myself.  I feel like crawling under my duvet but I have SO MUCH to do today and I knew that last night – I’m such a mess – why do I keep self sabotaging. I can’t be sober forever – not realistic – and I know you’ll say “it’s not forever, it’s just for now” but we both really know it’s meant to be a forever commitment eventually.  Uggghhhhhhhh – sorry for the rant. Every time I relapse I feel like a naughty school girl coming back to you for forgiveness and a part of me thinks – I don’t need sober support – I stopped drinking for two months on my own last time and found you in my third month – so I’m confused as to whether I do better stopping on my own or with extra help. I feel more empowered when I stop on my own – but not sure it works for long periods. Sorry for the rant – you are awesome – I’m just in bad place today. Sick of thinking about it ALL the time.”

 

202. Energy ball

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I am writing more often, as I see there are more subscribers 😉  The posts are not possibly very interesting.  It would help to read from the beginning to get the gist – if you can be bothered…

Which brings me to being bothered.  One of the side effects of not drinking (and there are many many many small side effects… ) is that when you are bothered and upset by things, it is easier now to stand back, look at where you might be oversensitive, at fault, silly, feeding your sorrow and so on.  Before, the default position for me was to feel hurt, sorrowful, and then tell myself that I was miserable and then act miserable.  Like as if my thoughts were reality.  Being without the (not everyday) fug of alcohol smudging things there is much more mental energy available to me to sort out my head.  Instead of it being TOO HARD to sort out I can reflect.  Instead of thinking I am naturally at fault cos I overdrank, I can feel guilt free and take a realistic reality check on situations.

I am finding it difficult to see the youth whom I love,  embarking with glee on their drinking careers.  They are by no means the same as me, and by no means will they turn out to have this love hate relationship with alcohol that I do… I can remember that.  I would do well to remember that.  It helps me not to feel dismal.  I think that they think (already on dangerous territory here) that they are inwardly rolling their eyes with a ”mother just does not get it” kind of thought.  I think that they think that I am now boring.    Instead of believing these thoughts – or assumptions – of mine are true, I can look with clarity on and say HANG ON A MINUTE…. For a start you don’t really know what anyone thinks…..  You don’t know how people are going to turn out….. You have to let them make their own way…. You have to stop worrying about other people and take care of yourself.

Much healthier in the head.  I need my sober supports (podcasts, emails, friends in the same position and treats) to keep reminding me that what I am doing is THE HARDEST THING socially and emotionally.  But it is far and away the BEST thing for myself and for my close community – no matter what they think.

Man up (woman up) and face the toxic thoughts with reality and kill them before they start taking root and spoiling your day.  With no booze there is an energy ball to do that…..

Have a great Monday xx

 

201. Who would have thought?

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Quick check in.

Spent a lovely weekend up in Scotland with family.  At a wonderful hotel called the Open Arms Hotel, Dirleton.  We came downstairs the first evening and in the drinks menu was a selection of non-alcholic drinks including a Seedlip and FeverTree tonic of ones choice. I was very cheered with this.  It is odd to go somewhere with people with whom you have always had drinks.  My in-laws, husband, and his step brother and wife.  Very lovely people… all.  This time, all the kids were drinking too as they are al(most)l 18 and above.  So I was the only non drinker, again.  There was one youngster who hardly drank, but other than that it was just me.  So seeing the gorgeous selection of NA drinks in the menu made me feel someone cared.  I was very happy.  It was a lovely night and I know that if I had been drinking I would not have had the same type of weekend.  Drinking tends to stimulate my personality, whipping me up into an excited mood.  I would have smoked with my niece who rolls her own and would have generally felt a little jaded and odd and skulky all weekend.

This is the right thing for me.  It feels like I am doing something that is going to make a difference in the young people around me…. Especially my children.  I think that they can see that we can still have fun and not drink.

Im off out in Newcastle now, to a bar, and then to the Holy Hobo for dinner with my kids.  Me not boozing.  Happy.

 

 

199. Landmark days.

Treated with care

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Just checking in.  I am in UK, seeing the babes who are at uni here.  We all went out last night and the three of them all had a pint.  The bar where we were had this beautiful barmaid called Emma.  I asked her for a soda in a nice glass with some mint and so on.  She looked quizzically at me.  Then she shook my glass with ice, poured out the ice, carefully poured the soda water, put in more ice… sliced some cucumber on the diagonal, added some blackberries.  All after some careful thought.  She was so kind.  I felt like I had a special drink and I did not feel left out of the fun get together reunion we were having.  And she gave me the mint and some fresh blackberries to take away with me to our restaurant to tart up my next soda water!!!  It made such a difference to me that she treated me with care.  That she bothered with a non drinker.  I felt special.

I am very happy.  So many times I have been away to a family reunion (like we are heading off to now) and some of the times have been marred by hangovers, slight guilt, fatigue due to excess and so on.  Not this time.  I am looking forward to seeing each single person there.  I am looking forward to having conversations and connecting with people on a genuine level.  Looking forward to paying attention to the countryside, the beautiful coast, the hotel and so on.

Life has toned down ten notches.  I am much less touchy as I feel better about myself.  So many of our reactions to the world around us are influenced by how we feel about ourselves.  I feel proud of myself.  I can be more loving to others because I like myself more.  This is good.

So to you out there who are thinking about not drinking, or who have started not drinking, or who have failed with not drinking, just pick yourself up and carry on carrying on not drinking 😉

It is sunny in England.  I have my family around me.  Life is good.

Byeeeeee

Nearing 200 days.

FEEL FREE

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Thanks to Iona for this image…. And I guess it is so striking because it is so simple.  And it describes so perfectly how I feel since I have stopped drinking.

It is hard to count the amount of times in my past that I have wanted to stop drinking.  I remember being 35 and half way through the year, so when I was 35.5 I think I gave up for a few months…. Because I wanted the second half of my life (assuming we had 70 years) to be different from the first half.   I have waited until I am nearly fifty to give giving up a proper try.  I guess I hope to live to 100.

Thing is…. SO often I wanted some magical change which would give me a huge kick up the ass.  A kick that would make me into the person I was jealous of… The fresh, motivated, calm, inspired, productive person that I was not.  The kick has been administered duly…. on 1 August 2018.  And I feel like I am on my way.  To being truly free to be this person (as above).

Not much else to say.  I am going to the spa now with my husband.  I am so happy.  Happy every single morning that i don’t drink.  As the days pass further and further from day one, the voice is quieter.  I am not jealous of the drinkers.  I don’t feel left out and grumpy.  I am free.

 

 

 

191. I had to look it up! Random thoughts.

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You don’t have to be an alcoholic to give up drinking.

If you think that you will be better off without drinking, then you should try not drinking.  

Just say quitting drinking does nothing except:

  • Better relationship with kids/friends
  • More productive
  • More money
  • Lose weight
  • Other hobbies
  • Feel proud of you
  • Live more authentically
  • Sleep better
  • Clear mind 
  • More energy
  • Better relationship with husband/wife
  • Wake up happy – that is not me above, but I have that duvet cover…..

If there was a pill selling the above then it would fly off the shelves.  For me this ”pill” is cutting out the wine, gin, prosecco and champagne.  The benefits are immense.  Incredible.  I don’t really know why they seem so out of proportionally good compared to just doing that one thing.  

For me, as I go along thinking about the good things about not drinking… the main thing that strikes me is that EVERY SINGLE DAY I wake up and I am happy that I didn’t drink.  That is, for the last 191 days, I have woken up feeling a surge of positivity.  A surge of pride in myself.  A surge of hope.  How great is that.  

Everything that was stressing me out, irritating me, making me depressed, making me anxious has gone down twenty notches.  Just by stopping drinking.  The calmness level has stepped up.  Wow.  

For example, if we were drinking and I felt like my husband was being tetchy with me, I would be double triple tetchy back.  If I felt ”got at” by anyone, it was multiplied.

When I was drinking – and I don’t even mean everyday – I had this taint over everything of feeling-a-little-bit-shit-about-myself.

 Just a little.  Just enough to colour how I felt about myself in relation to all other things.  For example.  If I was going out for a dinner with friends and had an early appointment the next day, I would worry – sometimes even subconsciously – that I was going to feel hungover.  Because when I am hungover my mental energy is very skewed.  I feel really crap about myself.  Shameful.  Then facing the early appointment would have been hard.  Fake.  Urrrrgh.  Now I can look into the future with not an ounce of concern about how I will wake up feeling, and what I have to do every day because my mental energy is really high.  I can look at the things I have to deal with and face them with clarity and sense.  This is a priceless gift.  

Because, for me, this is how an evening may go…. me:  ”Okay, I am going to be really good tonight.  Have to be fresh tomorrow and so only one or two glasses and that is it. ”  And then out we would go, and the first drink didn’t count cos it was an apero, gin and tonic or something.  Then there would be wine with dinner, and someone would keep topping me up and greedy me would not say no, and before I knew it I would be definitely taking the night bus home, and over the limit to drive and though maybe not pissed pissed, just enough to wake up feeling crap.  I cannot tell you how much deal making went on in my head, how much managing of quantities.  How many small rules for myself that I would keep for a while, then break. It is SO MUCH easier just going NOPE.  THIS IS NOT FOR ME.

 IT IS LIKE THIS.  It’s hard at first, because your brain is so used to taking the LAZY way through.  Reaching for the vino is just a lazy shortcut to feeling good.  And on the way it robs you of clarity, adds extra touchiness, offended-ness, can add hilarity, but takes away common sense.  Gives you super powers you don’t really have… Makes you think you are something you really are not!  In short, it is a false friend.  You are not funnier, more relaxed, giving yourself a well earned treat.  None of that.  You are more boring in the long run, acutely sensitive and why would you treat your body with a known poison?  Sorry to sound like a boring old fart, but that is the fact of it.  We are conned.  Conned by the money making machine of the drinks industry.  Conned by society and for me, I am not falling for it any longer.  

Enough random wonderings.  Have a great day xxx

Six months tomorrow.

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Wowsers.

I have to just run through a thing or two in my head.  Personally now, this is so much easier and feels like I am doing what is best for me, for my family and my life in general.  But I am aware how close to the edge I walk.  I was having a Birthday Eve drink with my husband in a local bar… he had a pint and I had a Perrier tranche (slice of lemon and fizzy water) (just sounds better like that…) and he said – on the eve of my 49th birthday…. so you are not even going to have some champagne on your fiftieth?  Now given that is a year away – who knows???  But this is how my thinking went.

”No I’m not”…. ”actually a glass would not hurt”.  (Have you ever realised how simple the action is to drink a glass of something?  It is like doing nothing at all).  Then I carried on thinking….. well IF I am in South Africa for my birthday and I have a glass of champagne, I might as well have wine that night too.  And then cos I am there, where I love the vineyards and the sunshine (January is summer there) and I love the Sauvignon Blanc… maybe I should just give myself the holiday off.  Actually maybe I should only drink when I am on holiday?”  

And before I knew it… I was back bargaining with my brain.  Now Belle the coach calls that voice Wolfie.  I know some of you don’t like that name…. But whatever you want to call it it is part of you (me) and it is called your ”addictive voice”.  Giving it a name and acting like it is a separate part of you is called AVR…. Addictive voice recognition.  ANYTIME WE BARGAIN with ourselves, we are engaging with that addictive voice.  Whether it is for …… too much junk food, too much rubbish TV, exercise, porn… WHATEVER we are drawn to that we know does not serve us.

It got me thinking.  I have to be on my guard.  My ”AV” was very very reasonable.  Very seductive.  Very easy to listen to.  Very convincing.

I am joing Club 365 today with my Belle coach.   Pledging to carry on till 1 August this year.  I need to be accountable.  That voice is too clever.