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.

 

176. Four days till six months

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This is the story

See that door?  It is a door that looks impossibly mini to enter.  Tiny.  I am way too big, have way too much stuff.  It is just IMPOSSIBLE.  That was what the door to the sober world seemed like to me.

If you read from the beginning of my EXCITING blog, you will see that I felt like going through the door to a non drinking life was impossible.  Firstly of course, I did not want to GIVE UP DRINKING FOREVER.  Who does?  None of us really!

You need a big dose of courage and a great guide into the land beyond.  With that you should enter.  So I screwed up my eyes and jumped into the new world (that I was planning to inhabit for 100 days ONLY).  With a great tour guide, I found my way around and realised that this land was not as dreadful as I had anticipated.  Little by little, sticking close to the tour guide, rewarding myself for not running back through the door, touching base with some of the other inhabitants who were wanting to stay there, I find that it is rather wonderful through here.  Little by little I extend my stay.  Little by little I find it suits me here.  Little by little I get to know the lay of the land.  Going back to the other side seems like a very unattractive option.

What do I miss about the other side?  It has been the question on my mind.  I do miss the first glow of well being that enters the body after about a minute of the first big sip of wine/gin/vodka.  I liked that glow.  I liked the feeling of being young and beautiful.  I liked the feeling of being funny and interesting when I was drinking.  But let us look more closely.  The glow?  What comes with the glow?  It wears off.  Quickly.  So you need to augment the drink to get that glow back.  So you have another.  It wears off.  So you need another.  And so on.  So with the glow came the endless chase of an ethereal state which does not actually last.  But also with the glow, came a thirst for more of what gave me the glow.  And then that thirst just carried on.

I may have been funny, young and beautiful (all of which are doubtful – except maybe the funny).  Funny after 4 glasses of wine is not the same funny the next day when you are waking up and wondering if everyone was laughing with you or maybe at you?

You know, I can get the glow in other ways.  I get the glow just looking people in the eye with a clear mind and a free heart.  I get the funny too, but it is natural funny, not funny buoyed up by booze.

So what do I really miss?  Nothing.  The benefits of no booze far far far outweigh the missing of the temporary glow.  The temporary young and beautiful feeling.  The funny – well the funny is still there!

What surprises me is that I feel so good.  Out of proportion from the change that I have made.  I did not drink everyday.  I did not drink on my own.  But I think that I was always a little on my guard.  Always wondering if I could make this or that event, or drive here or there or commit to this or that occasion.  Thinking will I be hungover, will I be drinking, will I be bothered at all?  And I guess that it is a small (ish) change with a huge implication.  Anything now seems possible.

I never in a million years expected it to feel this good.

174. What do I miss?

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It is still January and there are still dry January-ers out there.

I had a comment from a friend who is doing a 2 weeks off trial…. ”x days down and 4 to go, I really cannot wait to have a drink, I don’t know how you do it”…  And I see their point.  If you are only two weeks down the line from having your last drink then you will still be close enough to day one for the real benefits not to have REALLY started.

The thing is… you either want to stop drinking for a long (more than three months) period or you want to moderate…. The friend just wants a small break for weight and health reasons.  That is fine.  Stopping for a long period is not for everyone.  But if you are someone who does want to curb their drinking then stopping for short intervals really will not show you the true benefits.  The happiness that comes after a prolonged period can only come after a prolonged period.  It is odd but it is true.  If you are within a month of day one I guarantee you will want to drink more than you don’t want to drink.

There is only one way to really feel the massive natural high that comes from stopping drinking and that is to get past (I would say) 40 days.  I am going to go back and check this blog, but I think that the real joyful bubble starts then.  The pink fluffy clouds.

I would NEVER judge a boozer, given that, at any time, it could be me right back to where I was.  I would say 100% that you need to push past a long enough period to say that alcohol free is not for you.  My friend saying that it was not for him, after 13 days, really has no proper perspective.  And perhaps he does not want to leave alcohol behind at all, and that is absolutely his choice and fine by me of course.  But it is a shame to say it doesn’t work for you if you have not given it a really good chance.

There is not one person I know who has had a long period off alcohol who says, geez I miss the camaraderie of booze.  There is a false camaraderie with booze.  It is a warm fuzzy temporary in love-ness with all and sundry that is a booze happiness.  I do not miss this.  I have a fabulous sober connection with people.  The one I had while boozing may have been funny and so on at the time, but the next day, the juice was never worth the squeeze, and I was still alone with my hangover.

There is not one person I know who says that they would rather wake up feeling like a dogs’ spat out cornflake than miss out on a few short glasses of vino.  There is nothing on earth like waking up feeling like a daisy.  It cannot be priced … it is irreplaceable.

There is not one person I know who wakes up and says, geez I wish I had drank more last night!!

So what do I miss?  I guess I will give this some serious thought for the next blog instalment, but right now, nothing.  A gorgeous glass of something bubbly and a clear head at a party is just the best thing for me.  It suits me.  I trust myself.  I can look myself in the eye.  I am reliable.  I like that feeling.

166. Not getting tired of it.

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I will not get bored of this….

Jumping out of bed this morning, I was greeted by PILES and I mean PILES of snow.  Overnight at least 100cm of snow had sprinkled itself into my garden.  I jumped up and started shovelling, and have been doing a little to keep on top of it ever since.  I had a deep snowshoe until my dog got so full of snowballs that he could barely walk, and then came home.

I feel springy and fresh.  I am sleeping like a dream.  I wake up feeling proud of myself.  I can look myself in the eye.  I can agree on things way into the future without thinking… will I be hungover?  I feel a simmering of joy fairly constantly.  The future seems brimming with possibility because I am free of anything that is making me feel physically and mentally drained.  Now I know this won’t always be true.  That troubles will come my way and that I will have to deal with feeling mizzzerable sometimes, but the underlying knowledge that I am my own self untarnished and facing life, this is worth everything to me.

I wasn’t drinking every day…. I wasn’t drinking on my own.  But I, over the years, could not shake that feeling that I was wasting my hours with a glass of wine.  Wasting my days.  I have wasted too much time.  I have things to do and places to go.  If I was to go back to trying to moderate it would be a nightmare.  I have no desire WHATSOEVER to go back…. And that is not how this blog started.  I was trying to do 100 days.  Then 180 days (which comes up on 28th January, the day before my birthday) and maybe at a huge stretch 360 days.  But now, I am relishing getting to 720 days!!

Some wisdom from Insta.

  • at first : Impossible
  • Then:  difficult
  • Then: strange
  • Then: normal
  • Finally:  i wouldn’t have it any other way.

Bye to you all (all few of you hehehehehe)

B xx