An article to treasure.

I read this and just thought:  WOW.   So much resonated with me and made me happy.

 

295. And 120 bottles not had.

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Stats.

My app says :  I have not consumed 601 drinks and I have saved £2062 and never mind the calories saved… I can’t count those cos I replaced them with biscuits and cheesecake.  I put in two glasses of white wine a day.  Which is not all that accurate as I had nothing a lot of the time and then two bottles plus two or three gin and tonics, plus plus at dinner parties, or some hectic lunches…. So I have tried to give an average… but anyway it is a startling thing imagining 120 bottle lines up empty waiting to go to the recycling.  That is a lot of fecking wine

It is taking time to get my life into the shape in which I want it.   I am being very aware that overwhelm is something to avoid.  But some of the things that have changed…. signed up and been accepted for a Course that I could only have dreamed of doing…. Started another online diploma in coaching and mentoring.  Subjects that I am passionate about.  Lugged logs and soil and started a vegetable garden.  Getting regular at meditating.  Sorting through my issues and difficult patches with clarity and accepting the hard things and the shit feelings without trying to numb them.  I am able to look myself in the eye and feel like a person of integrity.  I am starting to switch over to the thinking that not drinking is a quiet superpower instead of thinking I am missing out on all the fun.  That I am the social pariah.  I feel like I am there and present and will choose how I go to bed and how I wake up.

I woke up today at 545 naturally without the alarm.  That is early even for me.  I saw the pink tips of the mountains outside my window and the three quarter moon suspended in the blue above them.  I am noticing noticing noticing all the beauty and life in the world. I did before, I am a nature lover, but there is no marring of the beauty by a spiky sick hangover.

I am aware that I can not be complacent.  That one day I might think, oh my god, remember when I gave up drinking for a year… who was that person?  That positive calm person of integrity.  I can honestly see myself doing that if I do not keep treating not drinking with a priority number one.   I need to keep the sober tank full.  It is so easy to say of fuck it and have a drink.  So simple to say ok, just a little taste and open the door right back to square one.  

Thats my ramble for the day.  I need to write this blog too.  It was the second thing I decided to do to be accountable.  It is not exciting or fascinating or full of horror stories of not drinking.  But it is my tentative attempt to log these halcyon days xxxx

293. Whoa gone backwards??

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No I have not!!

I made a mistake the other day and mistook 289 for 299.  I got all excited for 300 days and found out that it was wrong!  Never mind, of course I will get there in a week!

The thing is not in the thing.  This is what I was going to talk of cos it is so useful to think about.  You know when you are craving something because it is nostalgic or makes you feel like a child again… Maybe boiled egg on toast or Marmite soldiers with tea?  Egg on toast is my comfort food.  My mom used to make Marmite toast and tea when we were sick in bed and off school.  Those foods can conjure up a feeling of being cared for, of being comforted and some kind of wholesome cosy feeling.  However, the comforting, cared for cosy feeling is not in the food.  

Just like the ”edge off”, the ”celebration”, the ”commiseration”, the ”sunny holiday lets have fun”, the ”cosy winter fireside huddle”,  the ”I deserve a break” and so on and on, is not in a glass.  The reality is, in the glass is a liquid – tasty or not – which is an addictive anaesthetic.  A liquid which when consumed in certain quantities, is treated by your body like a poison.  A liquid which after a certain quantity starts to work its magic.  Robbing you of your clarity, your resolve, your ability to connect.  It invites you to have more.  Indeed it insists that having just one more is a really good idea.

The hours and hours spent when my kids were little, with friends drinking on a sunny afternoon… We used to say to each other… ohhhh look at what fun the kids are having, isn’t it nice to see them playing so well, oooh we should carry on sitting here drinking so they can finish their games… and we would while away a whole afternoon on the rosé wine.  Going home eventually with tired, hungry kids.  We could not concentrate nicely on supper time and bedtime, and getting grouchier and grouchier with kids who would not go to bed so we could have a night cap and relax.  And then to wake up the next day feeling like a piece of cornflake with no energy and needing to fake a cheery attitude at breakfast so that we could see them off with happiness to school and then flop back into bed to groan into the pillow.

The sunny fun holiday feeling afternoon is not found in a glass.  The comfort is not there.  The courage is not there.  The celebration is not there.  The taking the edge off may be there, but that is a downward spiral.  It is a short cut to de-stressing which makes you fat, poisons your liver, dulls your skin and saps your energy.  Sorry to be a killjoy.

Byeeeeee

299. Happy number.

Hang in there.

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Hello fellow humans:-  drinkers, lurkers, non-drinkers, normals, hopefuls, failures… all of us are one or other of the above and maybe more!

Tomorrow I can type:

It has been:

  • 300 days of waking up really well
  • 300 days of feeling proud of myself at some stage in the day
  • 300 days of no regrets
  • 300 days of being poison free
  • 300 days of no hangover
  • 300 days of having to deal with my emotions really just me
  • 300 days of discovering that actually it is possible that you can live without alcohol

I want to encourage you if you are struggling.  I never IN A MILLION YEARS thought I could type the above.  It is not possible to go into this ‘letting-go thing’ thinking long-term.  It is too frightening, too final, just too much for our brains to cope with.  Hence the one day at a time.  It is not a desperate ”hanging in there” it is a calm fun one… like the picture above 😉

I would be lying if I said I did not fantasise about drinking ONE DAY.  I do think/dream/ruminate upon the idea of going back.  I imagine going back to wine when I am 65.  Then I realise that some of my good friends are 60 soon (you know who you are) and realise that actually it is not that old!!!  So I may extend that to 70!  Or I may drink sooner?  But I do know that without DAILY maintenance on my sober life I will go back.  There is no question.  It is a daily topping up of the sober fuel tank.  If I go a few days without doing that the impression grows slightly that I COULD drink, it would be okay no?  Hmmmm slippery slope.

The thought of going a year without alcohol is no longer this terrifying thought.  It is something I just shrug and say to myself, wow!  I hope I can put up a great before and after picture on the FB page!  TBH my before and afters are not that dramatic… I had a high bottom when I opted out of the booze escalator.  But still, I can see the brightness and steadiness in my eyes.  And I know that I can look in the mirror straight into my eyes and not want to hide.

I am definitely going to explore more, the THING IS NOT IN THE THING.  I will do more blogs, even if it is just for me.  And tbh it is mostly for me, there is not a massive amount of activity on my page!  But if you do tap in, say hi?  I am often surprised at the countries represented!

Hugs to you all

Barbs x

282. Coolest number

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It has been a good while since I posted.  TBH I am quite sure nearly nobody reads these apart from a few friends 😉  This is quite fine with me, as I am a little shy about people I know well reading my life…. I guess that is what governs what I say!

The fact of not drinking has become normal now.  There are times when I think just one half a glass?  It would be so easy, and its so and so’s birthday and there is champagne…. and maybe if I only ever drank champagne – that could be my new rule… Those thoughts zoom so fast through my mind all the above took about quarter of a second to think… The thoughts caused no angst whatsoever.  I recognised them for what they were – the old bargaining with booze voice… but the voice had no power to make me feel left out or sad or missing something.  Because I know the following facts:

  • One drink, one half a glass is SUCH a waste of time for me.  A real not worth it affair.  I would want a few more than that if I was going to drink.
  • I know that I would be mired in regret if I drank.  I know the propensity I have for disappointing myself and I don’t want to go there.  I hate being disappointed in myself.  I love being proud of myself.
  • There are very very very very few people in the world who are good at moderating.  I am talking about people for whom alcohol is important… For people who could genuinely take it or leave it, I cannot say.  But for most of the over-drinkers of the world (more people than we would imagine) the real moderators are rare.  In my time (I spend not waste) on the internet I come across variations of the same theme:

For all of those pondering about having a drink this weekend, thinking they could possibly moderate because they’ve gone so long & they’ve got this – don’t! A month ago I thought the same, a month ago my house was gleaming, today it’s a mess! A month ago I was enjoying my garden, today it’s a jungle! A month ago I was on top of my finances for the first time in years, today my house is littered with unopened letters! Everything is a mess. It’s a fast slippery slope that ruins everything. Sat here with the shakes wondering when I will find my day one again because this is no life
Don’t give in to that wine bitch!
Soul bared

I read this time and time and time and time again.

The only solution is distance from day one.  For me, (obviously I can only speak for myself), so for me:  distance from the last drink re-carves my brain, re -wires it’s pathways neurologically to think in other ways.  Little drinks in-between stopped this re-wiring or halted this re-wiring which was why it was hard when I constantly relapsed.  For me relapsing set me back to square one.  The good done by the re-wiring of new ways of thinking was overwritten again by the drink.  The futility of the action seems underlined.  Why bother when I won’t stay stopped?  Why bother when I just cannot NOT let myself down.  And so the spiral goes.

If you are sick of trying to try then I suggest that you run run run as far away as possible from day one.  Tell yourself you can drink if you have 24 hours solid reflection on the action before you do it.  And then get people around you who will talk some sense into you as much as you really don’t want to hear it.

The fight is real.  But it gets softer and softer.

270. The Thing

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I am nearly three quarters of a year sober.  Good Lord.  Who would have thought.  I have recently been fantasising about future drinking.  Wondering if I should drink around my 50th birthday (and sons’ 21st).  Wondering if I am now a dull socialite now that I am not on the booze.  It is a very tricky thing alcohol.  And I realise that so far in, you can forget how you felt hungover.  You can see the rational people (and the piss heads) you know EASILY and swiftly pouring alcohol into their heads without a thought, without a worry.  And it seems at times like I may have been too drastic.  I have conversations with my treasured child and hear their slight panic over the silent pressure on them that my non drinking exerts.  Drinking is rooted and engrained in our lives to such an extent that I am not sure it will ever be uprooted.  And in my less joyous moments can think, well why should it?

It does not take long, if you stick close to sober supports to remember that it causes carnage and horror in so many lives.  It seems innocent, but then turns and steals.  The reason for this post is that I really want to be honest.  It is not always easy and beautiful to be sober.  You feel sometimes like the outcast, like the boring one.  I need to realise that this is not true.  I choose how I go to bed.  I choose how I wake up.  I have not spent fourteen euros on one gin and tonic!  I absolutely love it.  For me it is good to realise something about THE THING.

Belle recently posted a podcast called the Thing is not in the Thing.  And it really rang true for me.  You see, I can be tricked into thinking that the fun, the celebration, the inclusiveness, the camaraderie we feel is in the actual glass.  We crave fun, celebration, being included and camaraderie.  Those are the things all of us would like.  Unless we are very introverted.  OK, rephrase.  Those are the things I would like.  We have been told by society and advertising (the booze industry needs everyone to agree and believe in this) that this all resides in that glass.  And when we raise it to our lips with our nearest and dearest (and our friends and others) we somehow enter into the bond of fun, camaraderie, inclusiveness and celebration.  Alcohol equals fun, camaraderie, being included, bonding, celebration, fun.

REALLY?

Am I still believing this?  I guess on occasion I do.  I think that it is vital to remember that this is the most lucrative lie of our times.  The truth is…. Alcohol destroys lives.  Ruptures relationships.  At the best it just helps people not to face their issues, helps to gloss over things which, when faced could be life changing in a positive way.

The comfort we need…. the soothing of irritation, the blotting out of misery, the warm calmness we crave…. when we are really really out of sorts for whatever reason…. does not reside in a liquid.  We need to be creative in facing the discomfort and seeing what it has to teach us, however painful that may be.  And we need to be creative in finding soothing things which do not debilitate our minds, bodies and lives.

For me, I need reminding.  I need it hammered home.  I am only one slip away from regret and being back in that space I hated.  I am delighted to be here.  Just so delighted.  It is precious beyond words in so many small ways.

Hope you have a lovely Sunday.