What you cannot hear on that side of the door.
You cannot hear or believe:
- That it is NOT boring this side of the door.
- That is gets easier each day.
- That maybe you will never want to go back to the chains of booze.
- That you can party on down with grapefruit juice.
- That there are other ways to self-soothe, get a HIT, feel amazing etc. without a glass of strong stuff.
- You will be more energetic.
- You will feel more alive.
- You will be more interesting.
- You are caring for yourself like you deserve.
You actually cannot really believe these things while you are still finding excuses to carry on drinking. It is like we are deaf to reason, because the voice that wants us to carry on is very loud. Very convincing and such a big liar!
I cannot believe the simplicity of not drinking – once you have got the first few weeks under your belt I guess…. And how much I was not looking after myself when I drank. I knew that it was hurting me and that it was stealing much more than it was giving, but I just could not let go. It took me months – since April when I read Allan Carr’s How to Control your Drinking – to push the button. Four months. Four months of inner debate which was so draining.
I wish I done this years ago.
This side of the door vs. that side of the door
My main aim of the experiment – for it really helps me not to feel too weird and out of the loop to call it that – my main aim is to see if life without the luscious liquid is better. Obviously you can tell that for me right now, it is so much better this side.
The space freed up in ones’ head allows for energy to blossom. Seriously the ideas and enthusiasm which are starting to grow is quite obvious. I have time, energy and desire to do things which before I may have said…. ‘ummm will I be hungover? Can I be bothered? Avoid this person or that person because I REALLY don’t feel like I have time or energy to deal with them and so on….”.
And I was not hungover every day… Not by a long stretch. It shows me how even a little bit of constant alcohol can suck the life out of you. Life sucking liquid. Why it is this way for some of us and not for others…?? Who knows. I can’t dwell on that now. I just need to accept that FOR THE MOMENT it has been sucking the life out of me and now I am doing something about that.
If you are new on here, and if you are struggling with the first few days or even first week, hang in there. It gets better and better. Distance between you and day one is key. Belle describes that feeling of being a clam with no shell… I think of a snail with no shell. The shell is alcohol – which is a lazy way of scratching our itches. It is the ”go to” lazy solution for stress, sorrow, hurt, irritation and we when we feel we deserve a little pick-me-up or a little treat for whatever reason. Sure it may very temporarily make things ease. But some people like that fix too much. You and me. If you didn’t, you would not be reading this. So you will possibly be feeling frustrated because your usual solution is gone and you may be feeling irritated and vulnerable. But push through. Sober toolkit… google it. Go back to my day one and re read the pledge 😉
So I am noticing my energy for everything is increasing. I am even doing stupid things like taking empty washing powder cartons out of my laundry room – cartons which have lived there for at least four months. I can be bothered to do things. I do hope that you are finding reserves of mental energy expanding. It’s very satisfying.
Off to prepare my grapefruit and tonic supplies for a big 18th birthday party tonight. I have made two huge delicious carrot cakes that I am about to ice. I am delighting in this energy. Have you noticed it in you?
Love to you all
For a few days now I have woken up feeling elated. Weird. But wonderful. I think that putting the whole booze caboodle to one side allows us to get on with what is really important. For the first half (at least) of my experiment, I want to chart how different I felt that side, compared with this side, of the tiny sober door.
(I am fully aware that this may be a rosy period. That I will be faced with days where I want to stamp my foot and say ”fuck it – one won’t hurt”…. And, be my witnesses, that day, those words and my acting on them will be a BIG MISTAKE.)
I digress comme toujours. I think that the relief I feel and the expansiveness in my soul is what is called ”CONSOLATION”. The other side – the hangovers and the shame and the guilt and the wishing it was bed time and the lost items and the lost dignity and the lethargy – is called ”DESOLATION”.
These words are from Ignation Spirituality and they describe two states of mind. One is which we are giving and receiving love and life. ie Consolation and the other which drains and disconnects and depresses – this is called desolation.
In this type of spirituality you look DAILY at what brings life and connected-ness (consolation) AND you look at what drains and disconnects (desolation). You acknowledge BOTH. You don’t ignore desolation. You see it for what it is and you CHASE CONSOLATION. A brilliant piece of advice I read (Landmarks by Margaret Silf if you are interested) is NEVER TURN BACK ON A DECISION MADE IN CONSOLATION.
Make of this what you will. I am experiencing a period of grand consolation and I am relishing it. I will definitely enter periods of desolation. But right now I am going to chase what brings me life. And for me it is pamplemousse and tonic with a slice of lime.
Before and after
I have woken up on day 19 – Sunday morning – feeling alive and full of energy. I feel full of potential and I feel a kind of irrepressible joy. And I realise I am becoming the kind of wholesome-thinking person that I used to find annoying and yet be jealous of!!
It is not as though I was always hungover – but I often was especially during the summer – so why am I feeling so different? I think it has to do with looking forwards into the (near) future and realising that there will be no hangovers and no sluggish shitty days to put the brakes on my productivity.
I wish I could tell anyone who wants to stop drinking just how worthwhile and wonderful it is. But I also realise that whilst I was lurking (on Belle’s site ‘Tired of thinking about drinking”) and DREADING DREADING DREADING day one, I realise that I read those kind of words and really didn’t believe them. ”You don’t know me” I said, ”I am different, I will be bored and boring without booze”. I totally did not believe that life without alcohol would be so MUCH EASIER. And this is EVEN THOUGH I did three months off 6 years ago, and I had THE BEST summer of my life… EVEN THOUGH I had had this experience I was STILL TERRIFIED to push the button. How tricky our brains are. We are often our own worst enemies.
So here’s the thing. All we need to do is face the fear and do it anyway. And when we have squeezed through the door into soberland we will realise it is actually not that scary or that awful this side of the door! We do not need WILLPOWER, we do not need NO EVENTS COMING UP, we do not need ANYTHING at all to start except a JUMP! A JUMP off the booze train, out of the elevator or however you want to see it.
But here is the other thing. We can have been in soberland before and when we go out we can NOT want to go back in!! As I said above, the brain is a tricky thing. We need to be aware and humble that we are all one drink from day one. This post is not about relapse… but about how aware I am of how difficult it is to jump off the train. And people around you who are screaming down the booze highway or sailing down the booze elevator will not like you stopping. And that is not their fault. They cannot help but be scared – as you or I was.
So back to the title…. Before = bloody terrified. After = absolutely delighted. I have made brownies and taken them to the little epicerie down the road, to a lady who sells them in her gorgeous shop. I did that from Day 2 – offered my brownies to her shop and so far I have 140 euros in a little green envelope for something special. I am keeping it to show myself that I can generate something out of my sobriety. I have made the most delicious granola known to man. My daughter and I have almost finished it. I have made my ginger bug to make my ginger beer. I will 100% make other naturally fizzy drinks – I just like the fizz. It makes me happy. I am going to re-read a series of books that I loved as a teenager. Buy them online and read them. Because I can. I have not once put the TV on and have had three nights in a row totally on my own…. I have emailed for an application for a course that starts in September. I read about it and am BEYOND excited to do it. It is tailor-made for me.
Ramble ramble ramble. I don’t blame the new subscribers if they switch off 😉 but I can be evangelical about booze free here and I am SO that!!! So if you know anyone who is afraid, then let them cast an eye on my blog and be encouraged….
I won’t do two blogs every day…
But because I went brave and put my website on the sober facebook pages I just wanted to say hi to princessleah and gillb. Every single one of us is unspeakably precious, and that we have jumped (or considering jumping) out of the booze elevator, or off the booze train makes us more able to realise this fact. Feeling worth someones bother is a big problem for lovers of the vino. I think that because we are (inadvertently) treating ourselves so badly we really do not feel worth the good treatment from others. And this is C.Rap. When I stop to think about my close drinkers and I look at how they struggle to receive kindness without the need to do something in return (and see that in myself) I realise that the self worth is low. And not drinking is a gift to ourselves to show we care about our selves. We are choosing not to drown our sparks out with wine (gin, beer, prosecco and so on). But to keep these little sparks of amazing humanity fully glowing.
So well done to the sobersistas (maybe one of you is a brother?) and thank you for reading. It encourages me enormously and pushes me further down the road of resolve.
Clear head… no silent guilty ghost lying next to me in the mornings covering me in shame. Yeeehi! Have a great weekend.
PS I went to a friends yesterday and she popped a bottle of extremely fizzy homemade GINGER BEER!! Non alcoholic not too sweet delicious ginger beer!! Naturally fizzy without additives!! I will keep you posted as I am making some today!!!
It’s Friday night…
I thought I would do a little extra tonight as I must say I went brave and put my site on FB – obviously not my OWN home page :-). AND did get a lot more hits and two new followers urisk and krizia – hello there and thanks for following!! Whether you are lurkers, newbies, old soberistas or wherever … THANKS. for being with me – it is so encouraging that there are lots of us out there doing this amazing thing. Which it is. Absolutely amazing. And only a drinker will realise how amazing it is and how hard it is.
I think today has brought a slight shift inside me. I can think about a sober Christmas without too much flinching. And I LOVE(D) my wine – as we all do. And my Gin and my beer and my Aperol and prosecco and so on and on. But what I never thought was going to be possible seems like it might be on the horizon of possibility. You know, I have always been a tad jealous of an adult who does not drink. (A tad scathing too. Like …weirdo!) But still jealous and curious. Could I become one?
I met my first non-drinking adult (growing up in Zimbabwe drinking was a national sport) when I was about 21 years old. I was totally shocked and confused and yet curious. I will never forget him. Keith Withers was his name. And I asked him why, and he said that he was tired of viewing his life through an alcoholic haze. It left an impression on me as I boozed my way through my early twenties. I think between 17 and 23 I had barely any days without alcohol. Of course I grew up and it slowed down. I started going to church and that had a little bit of a good influence. But especially as my kids got a little older I have had SO MUCH ALCOHOL it is astounding. I have met other non-drinkers through the years and just thought that it was absolutely unobtainable. I tried. I have had two three months off period one in my thirties and one in my forties!! Big deal. Plus lots of 10 days here and there. I never drink on my own. I am not a bottle a day girl. But boy when I get going in certain company it goes large. I smoke (and I am no longer a smoker – not for years and years), I lose things. Phones, handbags, coats, keys. I STANDARD woke up with boozers guilt. Every single time I drank. Since I was young. I have sporadically kept diaries all my life, and the single constant I have written about is my wish to control my drinking. Drinking has spoilt more times than it has enhanced. It has taken away more from me than it has given.
So basically I guess what I am trying to say, through the rambling, is:
I feel a glimmer of hope that I can be the one with music as my drug of choice, dancing like a fool with an elderflower champagne (non alcoholic) in my flute. The one who is laughing and enjoying and swinging her crystal cut-glass tumbler full of tonic and lime as she joins in the party as a soberista.
I am SO MUCH HAPPIER. My plans ahead are not full of thoughts of ”how much can I get away with drinking and still drive?” or will I be able to say yes to that or will I be too hungover/pissed to cope? That is gone. I am spriting up in the morning. I can safely agree to do things without a shadow of worry. I love this life. It is EASIER not to drink.
Love to you all