The word sober…
Yes the word sober is an odd one indeed. It is the opposite of many things – it’s the opposite of very very drunk and passed out. It’s the opposite of ramping up with wine and getting merrier and merrier …. it’s the opposite of tipsy and so on and so forth …
but it’s NOT the opposite of fun, hilarity, laughing, dancing and general party-ness …. it’s all those without the additional ingredient of the mind altering hydrocarbon that we call booze.
The temptation to think I’ll just have a couple of glasses tonight… (it’s Christmas… my mom in law is here… my kids are home … whatever) …the temptation hovers gently in the background … it’s nowhere near as bothersome as I thought it would be.
I know I could. Genuinely know I could have a couple of wines … gins or whatever … but then – for me – I’m cracking the door open … it is a substance that makes my brain scramble. I just do not trust my brain mixed with booze. The upsides are brilliant. Fun, inclusiveness, camaraderie etc but the downsides are not brilliant. A chattering voice in my head… a sense of self dislike, a loss of clarity and a loss of connection … too many losses to make it worthwhile.
So I’m not including the substance in my head this Christmas… all around me may do as they wish 😂 and I’m sure they will … I’ll be sober and have fun, laugh, dance, and hilaritise my Christmas without the addition thereof!
Sober does not equal dull. What’s dull is hitching a lift home at 2am and waking up with a stonking hangover. And cringing over things said and done… that’s dull ….
MERRY CHRISTMAS run up to you 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
On holiday …. having first proper long holiday without wine, gin etc.
I put on FB the other day to someone, that it is my first ”sober” Christmas in 33 years or so… and my mom was horrified. She thought I meant that I was rat-arsed every Christmas. Which is not true. Though certainly a few have been. I feel I need to qualify…. to anyone who cares…. Sober just means no alcohol in contrast with little or lots of alcohol. That is what it means to me anyway.
I am in my land of favourite wine. South Africa. I have been fine for the most part. My sister is with me on day 128. Cheers Nic! I have not entertained any ideas of any drinking. Its just squashed and not followed up by the brain.
When I have not been with the partner in crime (my sister)…I have had a few jealous moments and a couple of stampy foot moments…. Actually just one really. Where I did feel just plain left out and etc. No one noticed. It was just me.
But on the other hand…. I have had pin sharp early mornings, a few runs on the beach, a few swims in the sea and lots of gorgeous African fresh air and sunshine. I am re reading a brilliant book, that I absolutely loved about a family settling near Salisbury, Rhodesia, in the 1930’s. I have finished Love Warrior… very worth a read. Another sober babe. And in general had a spoily time with my family. Very very precious times. I am very lucky.
I read this from mothermocktail as a comment she posted on a picture of the sea in Wales….. she’s an instagrammer:
The sun, sky, wind, water and sand – all so powerful and beautiful. This makes me think of the intense feeling of warmth and joy within me when I find myself in a social situation surrounded by drinkers. I feel so free, liberated and powerful… in such a beautiful way. I have no need for what they need. My needs are met simply by being there. If I am offered a nice AF drink then I am even happier but if not, it really doesn’t matter. I can deal with it. I would never have felt this way before or even said this before sobriety. Drinks had to be had. It was a necessity, like treating and eating. What chains I had around and within myself! What punishment I was putting myself through. It is all over. I have found my freedom and I am keeping it…..
Lovely encouraging inspiring words. Thank you mothermocktail…
Have a lovely Thursday evening wherever you are, whoever you are and
Byeeee from me.
PS let me know if you are out there.
But there are ordinary times too.
My days are good. They still start with the superb feeling of waking up booze free. And the wee in the middle of the night superb feeling of not having drunk anything! If you never over drank you will not understand this.
I still sometimes feel: SHIT this is drastic. But then I get onto my podcasts and remember why I am doing this. Because I much more often than not, drink more than I would like to. I am doing this to see if I can last a year round the sun having nothing to drink on every occasion.
My daughter is now at university. I am an empty nester, and to be honest, it is rather lovely. I feel very relaxed and happy. I know there will be ups and downs, but if I was drinking now I would possibly be a bit of a mess. Because it is a cycle for me…
Drinking a bit too much takes off the edge…. and I would probably need a few edges off right now. BUT Drinking too much makes me detest myself. And having a low level of self detestation long term is very hard to live with. I especially see that now from the other side. So I would be feeling ”empty nest-ish”, drink to take the edge off, then possibly overdrink and then feel deeply shit. Drink again to cover up the deeply shit feeling and so on and so forth. So I am very happy to take the edge of in other ways. Walking, writing, eating 😉 exercise classes, reading…. lots of ways.
So this is not a wildly interesting post. It is just to say that life is much better and more balanced this side of the sober door. I am going away a good deal the rest of this year. I have my first phone call with the sober coach booked for next week. It comes with my package, so I might as well use it…. The 100 day mark looms and I want to make an agreement with her to carry on. I have a few fun things coming up when I may get the fuck it I want a drink feeling and I need to be prepared for this.
I hope you are well. Thanks for reading.
How is this for inspiring..? From Tired of Thinking about drinking website…thanks Belle.
Lara (day 100): ““I’ve done 100 days sober, eaten a LOT of chocolate and gained some weight and had horrendous 14 year old pubescent acne break outs and STILL I know my life is better. Much better. So much better I want another 80 days. It’s not always easy, no ma’am, but I am moving in the right direction. I am not sinking into my past every second, beating myself up. I’m not moping and crying and sulking over what happened before. I am feeling strong. Like I have a bullet proof vest on. Like I have a secret magic power and laser beams in my eyes. I am seeing things for what they really are. I am cleaning up messes and picking up slack. I am dusting out my own cobwebs and opening up spaces in my head that I never knew existed. I have hope, not just glimmers but big bright firework explosions of hope. I’d like to continue going in that direction. And I’d like to see what happens next, because I have a feeling it involves a very sparkly future with glitter lights included. I will not drink for 180 days, not even if my husband/partner/daughter drinks, not if I need surgery, nor if there is a zombie apocalypse, especially if there is a zombie apocalypse. Everyone knows you need good aim to take those suckers down. Not drinking. No matter what. Because I want to see what happens next. And because for the first time in a very very long time, I feel free.” [update: she’s on day 1624 today]
Imagine being on day 1624??! Golly. I have done the 180 day pledge as above. I am absolutely certain that I will not break it. But never say never. I am going away tomorrow. I am off to my land of SA in Cape Town, the place where my family lives and where I have drunk many a happy bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. My saving grace is that my sister who lives there is also doing the Sober Experiment. Phew. My mother and her hub are NOT. But I think that they are on board… they like a drink, so I will have to be a little creative. I am picturing all the things I will be doing without alcohol… including another long haul flight… with my lovely OH. I feel absolutely 100% okay about it all. I aim to do lots of walking, running and maybe a bit of golf. Getting up early to watch sunrise, swimming, playing with my nephews and generally enjoying my family. I hope that you are all doing okay out there.
I will check in from over the seas
Pink fluffy clouds.
I am still here, not posting so much, as I don’t want to bore the pants off you all!!!
Not drinking is mostly pink fluffy clouds, but not always and I find I need reminding of why I am even doing this.
If you are me or if you are new to trying… here are a few things that I have found out.
- I could be on day one again despite having a blog and a sober coach and etc. There is a voice that says that I am not that bad. That I can just have one or two drinks and maybe even just drink when I am with my husband only. And maybe my sister, and then it will say well maybe only this time with x, y or z. I need to be on my guard and vigilant. I need to stay with my supports.
- You need supports. You need to read lots of quit lit. Listen to lots of podcasts (www.tired thinkingaboutdrinking.com is my drug of choice). You need to give yourself treats for not drinking. You need great replacement drinks and ideas.
- You need to realise that you just do what works. I have tried moderating, It didn’t work. I have tried drinking. It wasn’t adding to my life. I have tried not drinking and it is bloody amazing (most of the time). That works. So I need to STAY HERE.
Also realise that there are going to be days when it is not pink fluffy clouds. It is just boring and you will want a little zesty edge-taker-off-er. You will want to blunt the reality that is irritating, saddening, hurting, boring you. But that those feelings will pass.
Even if you are not that bad, if you ever drink more than you want to, or regularly drink more than you want to, it is not going to go away on its own. Very unlikely. Just do an experiment. And keep extending it.
Love you all (all?!?!?)
Our Mac went t*ts up sorry for the break…
Here I am at day 111. I feel very calm and collected about it. There are many things to catch up on. Day 100 saw me with my two oldest friends in South Africa. I had taken a flight out from London to Johannesburg and the captain had come up to say that he would send me down a glass of Champagne as I was corralled in a mid row seat down in economy. Believe me, from the perspective of a jump seat this was luxury and I was very happy. I told the captain I did not drink, so not to worry I was absolutely fine…. The chief stewardess came down presently and knelt near my seat and we started chatting…long story short, she was had heard of Belle, and done, if I am not mistaken four days. She was an angel in disguise for me. She does not know it, but I felt so reassured and comforted that I was on the right path. I usually knock myself out a little with as much wine or gin as I can lay my hands on in economy so that I can sleep. I did not sleep a wink but because I was not hungover it did not matter. I then had my friends reactions to contend with, which were fine. They are both very normal drinkers. The one drank approx half a glass of wine two of the four nights…. and the other drank a little more, but did not finish a bottle of wine that we bought of the four days and drank nearly all of a tiny half jack of Malawi gin. So in my books, the sum total of nothing. HAD I been on the sauce for that trip…. the scenario would have been very different. I LOVE South African Sauvignon Blanc, particularly ”Life from Stone” from a certain vineyard in the Cape. I would have had at least a bottle a night with my friend. No question. The excitement of being together and the excitement of SA wine and relative single freedom would have pushed my buttons to drink as a celebration and so on. As it was I woke up before 5am every day, went for a run the one day, followed by ten lengths in the pool, and walks and seaswims the other days. How about that. I loved it.
I am now in part three of my nice ”year end” trips…. In New York, with my beautiful OH. I was lucky enough to have a very spoilt seat on the plane out. The crew were pressing me to have champagne, and I did not. I had a bitter lemon and a soda with the three course meal. Warm cinnamon doughnuts with creme anglaise for dessert. OK OK I am still treating with food!!! Then I slept for five hours and woke up on landing. Very good.
I was worried about coming to NY as whenever we have been here together I enjoy the ragingly strong bloody Mary’s that they pour here. Full of spice and horseradish… Deeelish. So I had some virgin Mary’s and sodas with lime and I am ABSOLUTELY FINE. I have had a couple of little moments of ”oh a little disappointing” that I am not partaking. Seeing the people with their sparkling glasses of Champagne on the plane did give me a little pang. But it soon passed.
Whilst I have been having a break I read ” the unexpected joy of being sober” and I can highly recommend it. Very helpful as to understanding why one struggles to moderate. More about that later.
Last aside. We went to London too on the this trip. I am having a very spoily year end. I was meeting up with my mom in law, who is a great partner in crime when it comes to drinking. She was absolutely fine about my non drinking. I had ginger beer ready in the apartment thanks to lovely OH. And arrived to the clinking glass of ginger beer and ice. Such a love. She was very interested. She read Belle the whole way to Edinburgh from London and wants to sign up.
So that is my catch up. If you listen, or read, please send me and little message so I know who is out there still. I hope that the lovely stewardess is somewhere reading, and I send my particular love to her. She was a memorable part of my journey.
Hello huuuge audience – of maybe 1 person 🙂
Just a quick note to say I made it and I’m carrying on to day 180!!!
I’ll post some funny adventure stories when I’m back … I’m at a beach in South Africa with my two oldest friends – cheers ❤️❤️❤️