73. So, this is the thing.

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a little summing up of the situation.

Some people like me, drink more than they want to.  They may not be an alcoholic – I am not.  But AT TIMES they over drink and they feel so so so shit the next day.  Or in the middle of the night.  In the shit days you tell yourself that you are going to make a plan, you are going to do this or that to drink less.  You are going to get your life together and make it work.  You are going to drink on weekends, or alternate with a glass of water and then a drink, or you are going to only drink vodka or only beer or only red wine and so on and so forth.  This may last for a while but sooner or later there comes the night when you wake up with the shit feeling and you roll over and look at yourself in the mirror and are not proud.

Then you summon up all your freaking courage and you shut the voice up which tells you to wait till after this event, that event, Christmas, birthdays and so on, and you just STOP.   IT IS BLISS.

But, as time goes by when you STOP drinking you forget those days.  You think that actually you are not that bad and that you should start again.  But you don’t.  Just for today.  Because it is nice here.  It is proper and sanctified and beautiful to be sober.

But I know my tricky brain.  it is always looking for a reason to justify starting to drink.  There are many good reasons it says… all that amazing wine out there, wasn’t made for no reason.  all those vineyards in the sun how can they be bad for you?  The only way to stay in this sober holy gorgeous place, for me, is to EVERY SINGLE DAY use my sober supports.

My sober supports are these.  A podcast, an email, a phone call, a treat,  exercise,  no overwhelm.  These are my things that I have to do every day to keep in this space.  If I stop.  My brain will tell me I am okay to drink.  I need to con my own brain.  I tell it that I will drink at 100 days.  Then I pledge to go 180 and at 178 days I pledge to go 270 days and so on.  I want to do a year.  I want to show that I can go round the sun living on this planet, at least once as an adult, and not drink a drop of booze and STILL HAVE A GOOD LIFE.

This is an experiment in sobriety.  So far being sober longer term is suiting me very well.

Any comments?

Byeeee

71. Seems long but is not really

Home alone!

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Nice looking rosemary and grapefruit and soda mocktails no?  I am home alone properly for the first time ever.  Usually I would have a child home from school but today marks the first day when no one will come home.  And you know what?  It is not half as bad as I thought it would be.  I am feeling even and calm.  I have been doing some behind the scenes head work which would NOT have HAPPENED had I been using the boozing to numb my feelings.  I have had to face a few things head on and deal with them.  Nothing major, just my idiosyncrasies, and I have come to a place of stability.

I am going to be having many treats this rest of the year.  I am going away lots and I did have a moment or two this past week when I thought, fuck it.  I am going to be 100 days sober when I 1) go on holiday with my two old friends for the first time in 30 years – besties from school days.  Just the three of us going on holiday.  2) When I go to London with my family and see a show or so 3) Go to New York as a treat with my husband just after.  Then I go to SA to see my family for three weeks.  LOTS AND LOTS of drinking opportunities and I will have passed my 100 day challenge and pledge.  Eeeeek.  I know that this is how I am going to have to face these things….

  1. listen daily to Belle and her podcasts.  I have spent money on 100 podcasts and can listen to them more than once.  There is very little like listening to a podcast to put me back on the straight and narrow.
  2. Take it all one day at a time.  I will not drink just for today.  And I will say that every day.
  3. I am going to pledge to find the best mocktails wherever I go.  Like a treasure hunt for jewels that look lovely and will make me feel like I am treating myself.  I will post the pictures here on my quest.
  4. I know that if I don’t cave I will be so so so so (x100000) proud of myself.  I know that if I do cave I will not be pleased with myself.
  5. I am happy in this pleasant space of no booze that I am carving out for me.  I love it.  I feel like each day is a benediction.  So why would I leave it?
  6. Learn to realise that I will think… Oh come on, you’ve done so well, you deserve a little break, a little me time, it won’t get out of hand and so on and so forth.  But that is the wolfie within and it is a lie.

I do hope there are  still some of you reading this, and even if there is no one, then I am still going to blog away.  Next time I will talk about self care a little more.  I think this is a vital topic.

Love and hugs

Byeeeeee

64. Will you still need me….

Will you still feed me? When I’m 64 ….

Here is a story that kind of made my hair stand on end…. It’s from belle’s daily emails …. to her then to us…

L: “So ashamefully I had a relapse. I got to over 600 days sober, I stopped counting, then I thought I could have a couple of drinks. Then Saturday night went out, free bar, made a complete idiot of myself and can’t remember much more. Worst than that it was a work night out and I only went to get on with everyone as I’m on maternity leave and I look like a mad woman who can’t handle her drink – I have no off switch. Hopefully things will blow over but I feel like an idiot. I’m gutted I feel terrible, ashamed and embarrassed. I’ve been ignoring support and emails and sober tools. I want to be sober again so after the mother of Armageddon hangovers yesterday I have to say I’m on day 2 and today. Please reset my clock I feel like a complete loser, I’ve fallen out with my husband and feel like a fuck up and a failure.”

What the f**k?  I thought by 600 days… that is nearly two years… that one would be so under control.  But obviously not.  Dear God alive, I do not want to get to that point and go back to that old CRAP CRAP CRAP.  I know me and a free bar too!!!  I love(d) a free bar.   So gutting for her.  I feel her pain.  I am ten times less sober in time than she is ….. just goes to show that we are never invincible.

I am enjoying golden autumn days.  I have my darling family staying with me.  My sister is joining me in the journey and we are so happy both of us.  For our own different reasons, but also for our similar reasons.  If we had been shedded last night, hungover today and lacking in energy the whole holiday would have a different feel.  She says she would be low (to put it mildly) in patience with her two precious boys, I would be feeling sick and grotty and low in mood.  It would not be nearly as lovely with a hangover.  I love having them, and not drinking with one of my oldest drinking buddies has not been an ounce of an issue.  I know she would agree xxx

Love to you all

Byyeeeee

 

62. 1st of October

Sober joys

I have just encountered the beginning of the life change I referred to in the very first stages of this blog.  I knew that I was going to have my daughter leave home.  My son already left last year and yesterday it was time to leave my favourite daughter in the UK. We live in France and we have lived in the same town (village) her whole life.  No traffic lights, some of the same kids in her class since she was three years old.  Very safe and small.  It has been a treasure of a summer (for the most part) knowing that we were having some ”last moment” things and just enjoying having her here (and her brother of course).

If I had been drinking, even a little, this whole experience would be vastly different.  The subtle change is hard to describe.  When I drink I can absolutely have a few and then stop.  Sometimes.  But if there is any hint of emotional unease, needing of tension release etc.  then my drinking goes up and I go over a limit and then I have a SHIT SHIT day the next day.  Certainly being in the UK dropping her off would have fallen into this category.  Our ”last night” curry and drinks in a few bars in Durham would have led to me going (even slightly) overboard.  I know it.  Excuse to have nice nice wine.  Family drinking with me.  Fun fun fun.  And then the whole process would have been tainted with a fuzzy head.  A sense of profound loss, not proud of myself like I am as a ”clear” person, and so on and so forth.

On Friday night when we arrived in UK, I had a grrrr feeling of being left out.   All around us were people laughing and boozing and dressed up.  Then as the night wore on people our age and older – really dolled up – were lolling around pissed, not walking straight and generally looking shabby and mutton dressed up as lamb and grotty.  The next day – after a ginger ale and soda to drink on Friday night – my daughter and I got up really early and walked watching the pink sunrise.  We walked all around Durham, looking at the cathedral and the beautiful tiny city waking up.  Fresh.  No ”hat of heaviness” on my head.  Clear as a crystal.  Irreplaceable memories and times of togetherness.  Why would I give that up for a few spontaneous numbing boozy drinks the night before?  Never.

I am on day 62.  The grrr feelings are less and less.  I am so used to it now.  Thanks to the busy social life that goes on around me.  Everyone who I see knows and last night my friends gave me a lovely tonic with ice, lime and pomegranate seeds!  What a treat.  I watched them all supping Chardonnay and Malbec and all my favourite wines, without a hint of jealousy.  I was comfortable and calm and peaceful about my decision.  I joined in fully and had a lovely night!  The tiny spin offs are so important. I won’t go into detail right now, but there are lots and lots of them.

I would not be feeling this calm and non-anxious about empty nesting with the addition of hangover, fuzzy heads and the general way over drinking made me feel.  Slightly ashamed in a nebulous way.  Not comfortable in my own skin.  Not a person of full integrity and so on.  Instead I feel just smooth and calm.  It is priceless.  I love it.  Phew.

I am not losing major weight which is a little disappointing but not unexpected.  But my face is less puffy and much brighter.  A small side benefit.

Hope you are okay my very small crowd!!!

Love to you

Byeeeee

 

58. Is anyone still out there?

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So far so good.

I am just streaming along at the moment.  Very very content to be off the booze wagon.  The thing which I guess is most obvious at the moment is that feeling of being able to look myself in the eye.  To be proud of myself and not skulking ashamedly inside about x or y thing that happened.  TBH I have not done anything outrageous for a good while.  I had been roughly okay drinking wise.  But still if I had gone even a little overboard, I would wake up in the middle of the night with a nagging horrible feeling of being in a crevasse of self dislike.   Why some people can have a boozy night and then brush it off as all good fun, and others are plagued with a sense of grottiness is beyond me.  I wonder it the day will come when I decide I have had enough of this gorgeous feeling of being just undiluted me, and then going on a alcohol experiment and seeing if I can feel okay after a boozy night… The following post encourages me not to…. From Club Soda.

I thought long and hard about whether to post this. I know that when you are at the beginning of your journey, long term sobriety may seem to be an impossible dream. It’s easy to believe that it is something that other people can do, but maybe they don’t have the stress and strain that you have in your life. Maybe they are those amazing people with willpower, who just set their mind to do something and they do it. Well that’s not me.

I am an overweight 47 year old who has no willpower. I loved wine. I would drink it every day. If I was stressed it calmed me, if I was happy it helped me to celebrate, if I was sad it comforted me and if I was hurting it numbed me. I could not imagine a life that didn’t have alcohol in it. I was the party girl. First on the dance floor and the last one to leave.

Then that changed. I’d had enough of feeling rubbish and lethargic. I’d had enough of waking up with shame and regret about the night before, but I often couldn’t remember why. I’d had enough of making a show of myself when I went out, because I just didn’t know when I had had enough. I changed my mindset and I changed my life.

I am so grateful to the many friends that I have met in Club Soda along the way. You helped me to change my life. I still have heartache and personal issues. In fact at the moment I am going through tough times…..but I treasure my sobriety. It gives me strength, it gives me hope and it gives me freedom.

Today could be the day that you say….enough. Do it….you’ll never regret it….I promise x

I feel like she could be describing me.  And she is on day 1000 which is 2 Years, 8 Months, 3 Weeks, 5 Days.  Can I do that?  Not sure…. but why would I leave this sacred space?

If you are out there give me a nudge…

Byeeeee

 

54. Tick.

Checking in.

I am here and so so so so happy to be here!  I have more than survived so many social occasions now.  The bar in which I drink most often has the most amazing gingerbeer which I have with soda to lessen the sweetness.  My friend the bar maid knows now that I am not drinking and she pops the drink into a huge bowl of a wineglass with lots of lime wedges and it is totally and utterly fine.

I read this from Belle the babe:

You might feel like you’re the sort of person
who has to experience something for yourself
before you believe it,
before you know it’s true for you.

You might say:
“I’d would like to be sober for 100 days
but then I’m going to experiment with moderation
because even though you tell me it doesn’t work,
I need to find out for myself.
I need to experience it.”

And I’ll say
we’re all a bit like this,
wanting to see for ourselves.

But the truth is
there are other things
that we don’t play with:
— Heroin
— LSD.
I just wouldn’t do them, even if offered.
I don’t need to see for myself

I don’t have to find out what third-degree burns are like either.

And booze is the same thing.

I don’t know anyone who feels great after a relapse.
Those stories just don’t exist.
And if you have a brain that thinks:
“Well, maybe…”
that’s an indication of Wolfie in there talking nonsense.

Imagine he was saying:
“Well, maybe we can have just one glass of gasoline.”

You’d be like: 
“No, none.
I don’t need to know what happens if I have one.
I can live without that knowledge.”

It is a tough one. Nearly everyone is saying well just 46 more days then…. And I am going to be on a long haul flight around day 100.  With free Champagne and gorgeous wine on offer.  Flying to two of my best friends for a little reunion.  How about the irony of that?  I can’t moderate.  Not this year.  And maybe not next year.  And maybe never.  Thing is I am not even going to try it out.  Thank you I have won these 54 days hard.  I am going nowhere.

Hope you are all well.  What are your thoughts?

Byeeee

 

50. Freaking fifty.

I am Mrs. Happy

It is with no surprise to myself that I am here.  I pledged not to drink for 100 days and nothing will make me do it.  So I was determined.  But really the big thing is getting that distance from day 1.   The longer away you get, the less you are itching for a drink.  I am not itching whatsoever.  I will surely itch again but I know what to do about those itches!!!

You see one of the benefits for me is this…. I often had a nagging feeling that I was wasting my time, talents and life.  Whenever we had a whole weekend of boozing, day and night I would curl up inside a little and think…. 1) our kids are watching and this is how they are going to think normal socialising is done.  Around a drink – only.  No other options.  2) I am wasting precious time.  I could be doing something else with my life.

Now it is not so much that ALL my time was spent wastefully drinking … not at all.  I obviously have done other stuff and achieved other things.  But the drinking culture which was/is so familiar to me gives a TONE to ones life which is not the tone I want for my life.  Drinking loads robs everyone of good things.  I could have learned another language, instrument, painted 100 pictures, written 40 poems or baked millions of cookies in all the time I have spent drinking and hungover.

This side of the booze door, I have not done anything major, but that feeling of wasted days has gone away.  I’m loving this life.  I am loving this feeling of no guilt re kids, friends, church…. I am eating a bit too much, but hey ho!  It will go!  And I am not afraid of future events…. Woo hoo.

I send love to everyone out there who is reading this and trying to decide to stop.  Try it.  Just for 100 days.  Go back to the beginning of this and read the pledge I made to not drink for those 100 days… It made such a difference that I am accountable to Belle, and to this blog.  It cost me money to go with Belle, and money to start this blog… But so much more money would have been spent on vino.  And I am worth the blog and the coach.  Because the world needs me sober.  And the world needs you sober!!!

Love to y’all

Byeeeee