728. Two days till two years.

 

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If two years is 730 days.  I have gone back – and if you can be bothered you should too – to two years ago on this blog!  I was gearing up, with much trepidation and fear, to plunge into my 100 day challenge….I wanted to

  • reset my balance
  • see if I could go one rotation round the sun without a drink
  • see if my life was significantly improved without booze
  • and drink like a normal person and never have a hangover

Those were my goals.

Now nearly two years down the line I can honestly say that yes, I have reset my balance – but not like I thought I would.  I thought I would reset and then drink moderately if I am honest.  I did go one rotation round the sun, and now almost two… My life has way way out of proportion improved without booze.  And well, I have no desire to drink at all because I just don’t drink like a normal person.  I never will.  It is 10 000 times easier not to drink at all than to juggle.

What I think.  Drinking is like a fun loving child, skipping along full of the joys… What you don’t know is that a mean scowling cruel person is holding their hand – a package deal.  The fun comes with a cost.  The fun is not unattached.  The fun is indelibly linked to nothing good.  Nothing.

An expensive, unhealthy, unproductive, bad decision making, violent (in some cases), sexually assaulting, (or maybe unwise sexual choosing), mentally draining, anxiety inducing entity is hanging onto the hand of the fun child… One does not come without the other.  Yes, maybe it is not always a bad thing, a few drinks, of course… I am not all doom and gloom, and killjoy, but rarely did I wake up and wish I had drank a little more the night before.

What I think.  I wake up every single day of my life with a zest for the day.  I don’t surface in a foggy, groggy, miserable heart sinking mood.  I don’t go, okay was out the last three nights, I am knackered….going out tonight…. I’ll take it easy.  Get there, the wine is cold, it is decent, the company is fun, and I’m ”fuck it” and I then don’t take it easy and end up drinking for days on end, burning myself out, being grumpy with my family, getting fat and bloated and feeling SHIT.  There is no planning, no worrying about how to get home, I can always pick up kids if needed every single day.  I am just a boss.

COUNT DOWN TO TWO YEARS….

Happiest girl in the world.

 

 

709. Just popping in.

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I think I am still amazed at how I, the lover extraordinaire of wine…. got to 709 days without it.  In fact, the lover of gin, the lover of aperol spritz, the odd beer, and on and on.  It really is possible for anyone.  I am grateful and delighted that I squeezed through that sober door, with massive reluctance and terror nearly two years ago.  Not in a million years would I dream this would be me.

To those of you out there who read this, and who are still teetering on the edge of giving up….The Door.  The door between the worlds is scary.  But the view from the other side is so different.  You need to give it 100 days.  For the proper benefits to sink in.  Why would I give up this life I have now for that old life of feeling shit.  Of just thinking about how little or much or when and what and who with I could drink …and so on and on.

I did struggle recently.  I was on holiday in Italy and  I was around power drinkers (only from my perspective you understand) glugging back what was my favourite wine… night after night after night after night.  I needed to go into that situation with more support.  And I will either not ever go into it again, or be certain I am in a position to escape if I need to.

I would not give up what I have now for one little night of blurring the edges.  No way José.  I am utterly free.  I love it.

Give it a go if you have not already.  And I will be happy to support you by email x

694. But I love drinking….

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Don’t we all?  I loved drinking.  I loved the feeling of being awesome, young, beautiful, witty, and so on and so on…Drinking really is not the problem.

The aftermath is the problem.  Either one of the following scenarios could happen when I drank…. I could say, right, that’s it, I am off to bed.  Pour the rest of my wine down the sink and go to bed.  That did happen.  Or I could go (depending on mood) let’s open another …. and then carry on drinking.  Then perhaps sharp words and entrenched opinions would arise.  Or I would feel offended by a perceived slight by ones’ husband whilst doing the dishes… and go to bed muttering….Or I would go home mid afternoon and have a snooze (that is with a lunchtime rosé) and then feel groggy and flat the rest of the day.  Sometimes I would go to bed and take off the make up… that was a really good drinking night.  If I did not take off the make up… well that was not so good.

With the bad ones, the next morning would invariably be misery.  A slow burbling up to the surface of reality, and thick head, and crappy tasting mouth… the invisible audience in my head having a field day indicting me of war crimes…  The wondering if you’d upset so and so… or cringing at the memory of bumming ciggies off the kids friends…. eek. Or wishing you had not had the Deep Meaningful with so and so.  On and on it goes.  THIS IS THE TROUBLE WITH DRINKING.  Not the fun and imbibition at the start!  Nothing good ever comes after three glasses of wine.  Nothing.

Trouble is, as the third glass is draining down your throat your honestly think it is a great fun idea to carry on.  it is that stage in the evening…. where those ”what you think you look like vs reality” memes come alive!!

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Heheheh…. ever been in the ladies and peered at your drunk self in the mirror and seen your hectic red wine lips and teeth??  Yeah?  Well that doesn’t happen to me any more…

So the upshot of this little post.

  1.  Never ever in a million years thought I would be nearly 700 days without a drink.
  2. Never in a million years thought it would be so nice to be 700 days without a drink.
  3. It was not the drinking that was the problem.  That was easy.
  4. It was what happened after…. and then after after

Love to you all xx

 

686. Learning leanings

 

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Today a few of us non-boozers, and wannabe non-boozers met together just to see where were at after lockdown and so on.  We are a little group of woman (at the moment) and we have this lovely thing going.  There is no judgement, no shock, and just a sharing of ideas and experiences.  What strikes me is that wherever you are on the overdrinking spectrum – you a place in the not drinking group.  Some of us are over a year sober, some still about to try to get sober.  The goal is the same.  To go as many consecutive days as possible without drinking.

You can be hard at it or just unhappy with your little ”over-doing it” days, we are all equal.   It is so much easier knowing there are a few of us struggling with the same thing… and great to hear what helps each person.  It is an injection of encouragement to meet together.

Today I was reminded particularly about how hard the leap is to take.  The difference between the two sides of the ”fence”.  Drinking side, and non drinking side… it seems that there is such a massive gulf to cross.  And yet when you do… you realise that it is SO MUCH BETTER THIS SIDE than the drinking side.  And it does not turn out to be half as terrifying as one thinks.

It is immensely good to know there is a bunch of friends out there with the same goal.  Thanks to the handful of you.  I am so grateful.

678. Romanticising.

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It has to be said that I have been guilty of this very thing.  Summer is coming, and you have an ice cold Marlbourgh Sauvignon Blanc on your verandah… you are sitting in a pavement cafe in Paris, sipping a piscine of Rosé…. maybe at the Italian Lakes with an Aperol Spritz dangling from your hand as a you throw back your head laughing at the gorgeous dark haired man sitting next to you!  Cold beers at a picnic… Nice bottle of red next to the fire, and so on and so on ad infinitum.

These are all plucked from our brains, says clever Catherine Gray, and not from the reality of drinking.  How true this is.  What is the reality of drinking?  It goes t*ts up most of the time… a clinking glass of sparkling prosecco can rapidly lead to a fuzzy head, more prosecco, depleted energy, fake relations…no connection… The booze lies to you that you are massively attractive (well possibly) and funny, that you have very important and witty things to say, that you need to delve into the persons’ issues and help them to solve them… and so on and so on ad infinitum.

Let us remember as summer approaches and the romantic ideas of boozing start rooting themselves in our heads, that it is not a fairy tale that ends well.  Look, some people can stop at one or two.  But not many people.  It is never as pretty as it seems in your overblown wishful imagination.

Sparkle can come in elderflower and San Pellegrino.  And that ends MUUUUCH better 😉

 

674. Silence and noise

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I am at the moment quite captivated by how the deliberate silence that I am introducing into my life has changed and shaped me.  There is nothing more to it than being deliberate.  By making sure I turn up every day and sit with myself quietly for 20 minutes.  This quote has sort of sealed it for me.  ”Indeed silence does more than just tiptoe through the house.  Silence moves through all sound like water through netting.  The deeper our own interior silence, the more we take on its gracious way of opening up the tight mind that clenches its teeth around what it wants and spits out what it doesn’t want”. and in the same book this quote by RS Thomas, after which the author continues… he asks that silence may work on us ”so those closed porches be opened once more…for better ventilating the atmosphere of the closed mind”.  Silence circulates through the open porches of the mind.  But to the mind unventilated by silence, there is only what we like and what we dislike coming at us from all sides, day after day, indeed decade after decade.”  (Laird, Martin (2011) Sunlit absence – silence, awareness and contemplation).

If we can indeed ventilate our minds, and actually NOT have ”tight minds with clenched teeth around what we want and spitting out what we don’t,” and if we can NOT ONLY have what we like and dislike coming at us from all sides… THEN I WANT THAT!  I would like that option with all the sides please.  (And extra sauce.  Easy over, rye bread.  The works.)

I now pause to notice that I do have a larger interior space than before.  I have an actual peaceful scene deep inside me where I can sit and be still.  Where I meet with my deepest, most honest, most loving me.  Where I can be totally myself.  Then from THAT place I can choose to react.  I have changed subtly.  And also had periods of NOT going to that peaceful place and reacting from there….where I get all twisted and growly and I act out of inferiority, loneliness, jealousy, fatigue and so on.  But I am remembering more often, not to immediately take offence.  Not to immediately defend myself.  To wait and see if perhaps the people annoying me have a point!  I can go to my place to be steadied, to draw on love and to look into the mirror of reality as it is and accept that place and what it has to teach me.

The same chapter talks about a buzz saw in a workshop next to a retreat centre.  It looks at two reactions (real ones) to this regular buzz saw noise.  And both are real and right for the reactor… One chap got irritated with it, spoke to his retreat guide, and used the noise to connect to reality, to focus and be still and one chap eventually ran over to the workshop and pulled the plug on the saw.  For me, learning to be still and accepting in certain situations in absolutely vital.  There is however a place for more reaction, like pulling the plug.  We need discernment.

To live without the numbing, clouding effects of alcohol goes a long way (for me) to be able to access this still place.

Hope this makes sense.  I am hoping to ignite you with what is lighting me up right now!

Byeeee

662. Which way?

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It is a lazy Sunday.  I was out last night with very good friends, all drinking loads.  You should see the dinner tables around which I sit!  It is lovely at times, and not so at others, and I think that the outcome starts and finishes with me and my state of mind.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself, laughed and joined in as if I was just drinking along with them.  The hostess had a nice sober drink prepared for me.  Good start.  Good nibbles… good company and I was away.  I felt included right from the beginning, but not only that, I was happy in my skin when I went there.

Not drinking just suits me.  I watched as the evening melted down (not in a bad way) into raucous funniness and I laughed along with all, but knew that in the morning my head would be clear and fresh, and I would have not a single regret, and that I would be full of integrity and able to look myself in the eye.

If I ever EVER think that drinking just a good glass of wine – just one – with dinner …. if I EVER think that is a good idea for me then I hope that I will have the good sense to wait 24 hours before I decide and that I will email Belle and warn her that I am going to… because I will want to be talked out of it.  ONE GLASS??? Come on.  I get more and more excited … not less and less keen … as the drink goes down.  That is just me.  And probably thousands of others, but for me it is ME that counts.

I have changed direction.  And I am going in the direction that I want to!  Thank God.

Talking of change of direction… I am thinking that maybe this blog is going to start to focus less on not drinking and more on what MY CUP OF TEA IS!  Focus on the things that make me tick.  On the things that I can now do and want to get excited about because my battery is not half drained from a big night even once a week.

So friends, and you are few… watch this space.  Give me ideas and we can explore together…

 

Love to you  x

654. Wanderings and ponderings.

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It has been a time of strangeness this enforced isolation with our families.  I kind of miss it a little.  But obviously I am so glad that I am able to go out without a little piece of paper and a guilty conscience.

I had one obvious flash of drinking-related ire during the time.  I wrote about it last time, and then went onto my post and deleted half of it, afraid that I may alert people to my unstable mind and I got cold feet about being quite so ”out there”.

I have had a chance to reflect on this reaction.  I was over the top.  I realise that when I start to feel antsy and triggered then I need to remove myself from the situation.  Do a reality check and then re-think.  I guess this goes for most tricky situations face, drinking related or not.  I often times find myself emotional about not drinking.  I know that Belle will say, and has said, that I am drifting from my supports 1)  If I feel left out 2) If I feel jealous of the drinkers and 3) If I feel cross that I ”cannot” drink.  I think all three things are related and basically boil down to the same thing.  I want to drink with them.  And if I feel that then I am adrift from my supports.  And this is okay.  What is not okay is not realising that one is adrift.

What I really know deep down is that I do not want to go back to the days when I woke up feeling shaky and horrible.  The days when I just wanted bedtime to come.  If I start to drink wine or whatever it will only be a matter of time and I will be experiencing those feelings again.  That is the reality check.  Then bolster up the sober supports.  There are trillions of people who are sober and really cool and having a really fun life.  Find this online.  Give yourself sober treats.  Take reality checks often.  Find a sober gang.

I watched this.  Just brilliant.

It made my day.  Paid my child money to watch it with me.  Even though afterwards he did not want the money!  He liked it too!

So meltdown rules:

  1. Remove oneself from situation
  2. Take a reality check
  3. Bolster up your supports.

I love with all my heart the integrity, hope, calmness, opening up ness of life and all the good that has come with not being in the booze trap. I will not be giving it up!

Bye

PS I have lots of views from very far flung places.  Please email or message me at anytime.  I will always answer.

640. Odd bod.

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Are you still there?  Hanging in.  I must admit I have found it a breeze most of the time, during this shutdown.  I have had no triggers to drink, no one is drinking in my house.  I have a momentary stab of oddness when I think of the ”release” and all the promises of parties and the only mention being of drink drink drink.

I am very pleased I don’t drink.  As well you know if you have followed this blog in all its 640 days!  But at times I get a very lonely feeling when all are drinking around me, and I feel like a bit of an odd creep who is misunderstood, and cannot explain herself.  Happened recently, and it stings.  It stings because I should be over that shouldn’t I?  I should be grateful and pleased that I am making choices which are good for me.  Good for my mental health.  And believe me, I am!  But it does not mean that there are times when I really do feel like a pariah.

632. Unified

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A short thought for this Friday…. I have been ruminating on this drinking thing.  Surrounded by photos, stories and memes of alcohol…either what is being done with it during lockdown, how it is getting people through, or how the shortage of it is causing major hassles…  And also, in my family, who are largely not drinking during lockdown… what they will do when lockdown is over.  And exams, and finals of university and so… It is very ….. there in your face, and if I am not careful, I can want to join in.

So I keep myself in touch with Belle, my sober penpal, with my other sober friends, with books and not so often, but still, with my blog.  All these things help me to stay focussed.  And the thought that came to me yesterday was this.  When I was drinking it was like I had a splintered soul.  It was divided against itself if you like.  I was doing something that made me deeply mentally down, yet I could not for the life of me just stop doing it.  I bargained, I tried moderating, I had rules… and yet I (not so often in the end but often enough) always went that little step over.  It was SUCH a good idea to open that last bottle or just to have ONE for the road.  And those were the ones that sent me into a spiral of despair the next day… So instead of being a gathered focussed me, I was a split and splintered person inside.  That is the only way I can describe it.  For me, alcohol just did something inside my head/heart/soul which scratched me, drove me deep into dark places in my mind.  Why it does that to some people and not others I do not know.

But now, without it, life is not perfect… but it is whole.  I am operating in one sense, in co-operation with my soul, with me deepest self.  Wholeness.  Not splintered.

Love to you all.

B x

 

Mags Blackie

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