32. Drizzle

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It is a grey and cold and wet day.

The first of September…. Every year without fail my husband says, ”First of September, it’s like flicking a switch”.  And he is correct.  The day feels colder, shorter and in general more autumnal than yesterday.  We notice the leaves changing colour and falling.  Summer is soon to be a memory.  Sniff sniff.  I do love summer.  But I also love autumn.  I guess too, for me, autumn is a time when there are less obvious drinking occasions.  So that is a good thing.

I have been thinking a lot about the socialising thing.  Possibly because, for me, pre the entry through small -sober-door, it was what I was most afraid of.  The occasions out and about that I could NOT drink at.  Genuinely these were my thoughts….  ”Well if I can’t drink I won’t bother going” obviously not every single time, but often enough.  So here is a way of reframing that.  ”I am not really going for the people, I am going for the drinks.”  Not very cool.   Now, genuinely, I am happy to go out so that I can catch up with people and chat.  I know that I will have all my wits about me and I can really be present when chatting.  Really listen and care about what I hear.   Instead of sniffing about for a refill….

I am in a transition stage in life.  Kids are really noticeably more grown up and will leave full time home living in around 10 days – son and around three weeks – daughter.  My son has effectively already done one year full time away.   With home holidays of course. It will be the first time for my daughter.  My hope is that they go away remember their mom how I have been this last month.  I am so much less tetchy.  Less reactive…. more thoughtful in what I say.  I have time and energy like crazy.  Witness the jam, cookies, brownies, and the AMAZING ginger beer…. All sorts of spin-offs from no booze.  Love it.

Love it.  Love you all.

 

Byeeeeee

 

 

31. Another nice thing….

So I am still collecting nice things…

Yesterday my nice things were …… feeling oneself to be trustworthy, and then realising that one can enjoy social occasions and not drink.

The surprise and third one…. I really thought that I would have nothing to look forward to if I stopped drinking.  So much in my life revolved (and to an extent still does) around what we could do food and drink wise…. I love food.  I love eating out.  I love socialising.  I love Aperol Spritz in Italy, red wine in South Africa… (I am an African for those of you who don’t know me.). I loved going to the UK for the ability to buy New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc… It’s summer so its rosé time.  Its winter so its red wine.  And don’t even get me started on gin and tonic cos that is anytime.  And so with nearly every fun occasion which is planned in the future revolving around the bbb (big bad booze) I really thought that I would have nothing to look forward to.  That life would be a series of dreary social occasions with me grimly gripping my soda water.  But it is not like that!!!  I have bought myself a lovely glass – not expensive – from Zara home.  It is kind of like my special occasion glass and I have a myriad of ideas of what to put in it.  That reminds me.  My ginger beer is brewing very nicely …. I actually put some of the failed batch into the soda stream… not sure that its wise …. and it fizzed like crazy everywhere but then tasted AMAZING.  So much nicer than Stoney Ginger Beer.  So I am taking that glass with me when I go away and when I go to someones BBQ and so on.  I remember everything at social occasions and I wake up feeling like a newborn.  What is not to like?  So surprise number three is that life is NOT BORING….and there is plenty to look forward to….

In November I have planned a trip with my two besties from school.  We have not been together just the three of us, perhaps in 25 years.  It is going to be such a lovely time.  It is an effort for all three of us to carve out the time.  But I cannot wait.  The day I arrive is the 100 days deadline.  So in theory, I started this experiment for 100 days..so I COULD drink…. And of course I am only on day 31 so I won’t jump the gun…. But I am not planning to drink on this little holiday.  I know that the girls will be disappointed in my non drinking status.  But I really don’t care.  Well don’t mind maybe.  They will see that I am just the same just a better version.  With more energy… I have just said to them I am not drinking and the one said, well you had better cancel your trip!  I know she is jesting… And perhaps thinks I am only joking.  More about them and the trip another time.

In the meanwhile.  I am a month in.  And it has not disappointed ;-).  Indeed there are many small knock on effects and I am going to have to do a separate blog on them.  Thanks for reading and thanks for the comments… And hang in there and cruise in your little sober cars.  Love ya’ll

 

Byeeee

30. Just here

It is feeling normal not to drink.

At first I wanted to avoid social occasions, or at least preface them with, “I’m not drinking”.  I am not sure why we think we should not be going somewhere because we are not drinking.  So what?  I will be drinking, but drinking something nice and non boozy.

My reason for this blog was to examine my way along the sober path and see if there was any difference between long term non-drinking and my normal drinking pattern.  I feel so different.  But I do think some of it is in my head.  This feeling of finding myself more trustworthy (to myself and to others) is possibly the nicest feeling.  I can say yes to ANYTHING in the future because my ability to do it will not be shadowed by the ghost of a potential hangover.  I have said yes way into the future about things I would never have bothered to say yes to, knowing I will be absolutely capable.  So nice thing number one is the ”trustworthy” feeling.  

Nice thing number two is realising that I am happy to be at any social occasion and not be drinking.  I really thought it would be boring as hell.  And tbh there will be boring times with pissed people rambling on, but I don’t have to hang out at those… But the normal parties where people drink normally – well it is an absolute pleasure to have my wits about me at those.

What are your nice things?  Please tell me 😉

More nice things tomorrow.

Good night

Byee

29. Lullaby to the Wolf

If you are following me

and I know there my followers are few and far between but have very good taste in blogs….!  If you have been following me you will know that I have a sober coach  called Belle.  She has been sober 6 years plus and has been an alongside person in nearly 3000 peoples’ sober journey (hate the word journey uuurrgh – too earnest)….She statistically studies sobriety….. AND…. So despite what I want to think there is overwhelming evidence as many other people have proved that …. moderation for certain of us is very nearly impossible.

I want to think that in a year I will be ”cured” of my obsession with drinking/not drinking… how much and drive… how much and not hangover…. how much and still wake up and be proud of myself… etc.

SADLY It has been proved with certainty that I will still be that SAME person with the SAME ISSUE.

My point is that the ”wolf” that she refers to – our inner voice that advises us contrary to our highest well being – the wolf wants that for me.  And I want to agree with the ‘wolf’.  Come a year, or maybe more… It is 1 year and 5 months today till my 50th birthday (God willing) and I am thinking ”SURELY I can drink responsibly by then?”  

One night, surely???  It will be fine, I will be careful, I will not get over excited by the occasion (my son’s 21st too) and my family and friends and I will have one or two carefully chosen glasses of something expensive and it will be fine.

In reality.  One night of a party is anything from 5 hours to 9 hours at a push (either 7pm to midnight or if you are going for it …. 7pm till 4am).  If I am to go by past ability to NOT think ” oh wow this is AMAZING WINE… I feel so relaxed and happy and everyone is in a good mood and I am so young and beautiful I MUST have some more!!”  the past ability is ZERO.  I cannot remember ever having thought that sentence and it ending happily – at least not in the last 10 years.  That part in italics and bold is in confusing English.  Sorry.  Basically I always think that thought and carry it through…..

This is wolf territory for me and though I feel that my battle is not right here and now, for I am indeed enjoying the sunshine and roses that comes with 4 whole weeks without booze, my battle is in my mind in the future.

Even contemplating this far off event is thanks to the wolf.  STOP!!!!

To take proper care of myself I need to:

  • Think only about today
  • Treat myself as if I were my own best and treasured friend
  • Do the next right thing ( in this case the washing of sheets and clothes)
  • Keep in touch with the sober world via email, blog and podcast.

So I will continue to write here as often as I can, every day if possible.  Not so that people can read it and I can be famous.  Heheheheh.  So that even if one person is reading it I will feel accompanied on my ”journey” and I will not want to let myself or them down.  I will be accountable and even if it feels like I have got it all under control in the drinking department… I will know that that is what the wolf wants me to think.  Hope you having great days xx

 

Byeeee

 

27. Ticking along and some other stuff

Found this really interesting.  It is from Belle’s daily emails.

shelT: “Really appreciate all the folks who share [that are in your daily emails]. It seems to be absolutely key and ties us all together.

It seems that many of us grew unable to tolerate the normal roller coaster of human emotions. Experiencing them is different and at first, is quite uncomfortable at times. Soon, it becomes clear that this is easier than drowning them and replacing them with anxiety.

In an effort to understand myself and to moderate, I remember struggling to learn what cued drinking for me, but it seemed everything could be a cue. Feel accomplished? Have a drink. Feel bored? Have a drink. Feel overwhelmed? Have a drink. Feel tired, excited, worried, lonely? You know what to do!

I couldn’t figure out how to address drinking at the cue level because it was so prevalent, I didn’t know where to start!

Now I realize that was an indicator of just how intolerant of emotion I had become. It felt normal to want to take the edge off of ANY emotion.

It’s liberating to feel emotions and realize how quickly they pass. And since I don’t drink, I don’t end up feeling regret or worry.

I’m realizing how much of the time I was unconsciously hiding something since I knew I drank too much and was embarrassed about this fault. That seemed to make me think I might be doing everything kinda wrong.  Hugs, ShelT”

It is interesting how drinking does kind of taint everything.  At least it did for me.  I know what she means in the last sentence.  It is kind of like there was a little niggle always at the back of my mind that I was not totally trustworthy ?  Perhaps this is the wrong way of putting it, but its as close as I can get.

Today was hot and I did a gorgeous private wedding ceremony on top of a mountain.  It was beautiful. They all had Champagne and photos and I did think, oh I would love to join in.  Then I want past a friends’ and she had a cold beer and I had a fizzy water with a slice of lemon.  She is a one drink wonder.  Beee-atch. If it had been the old days I would have had a drink with her, and then I would have come home and the thirst would possibly have taken hold.  I would have found an excuse to have another drink, perhaps with my friend down the road, or maybe even coerced my daughter to have one with me.  I would not have necessarily gotten drunk, but I would have had the edge taken off my productivity.  And I would have been fuzzy and irritable.  It is better this way.  No decisions to be made.  I drink soft drinks.  That is me.  I have no wish to return – at the moment ;-).

Love to you xxx

Byeeeee

25. How is this for a quote?

if-you-are-willing-to-look-at-another-persons-behavior-10148567.png

I think I have just learned how to add pictures… By drag and drop….Hahahah all this time.  Don’t however think that you will now be inundated by pictures…

What a brilliant quote above??  I guess this is all that I have to add for today.  Apart from the fact that I went out last night with some brilliant people some of whom I knew well and others who I didn’t know and had a great night on my new favourite drink… cranberry and tonic with slice lime.  Who would have thought?  I did not feel in the slightest bit left out.

Ginger bug is dead I fear.  I am going to have to start again.

I am also going to pin that quote to the wall 😉

Byeeeee

 

 

24. Lovely aside

This is an email to Belle which I liked  ”Tired of thinking about drinking”

i’m the center* of my world …sarahjune: “I totally thought that sober people were forever wishing they could drink. That they were sad, repressed, always wanting. Boy, I could not have been more wrong.
So I ‘came out’ to most of my friends this weekend. My husband and I were at a BBQ with two couple friends of ours (who we’ve known since our booze-soaked college days) and our kids. One of my friends said that he wanted to change his drinking, he hadn’t had a drink in a week and he wanted to stop drinking to cope with parenting-related anger. I was scared shitless, but I chimed in that I was in the same boat as him. I had stopped drinking because I had been drinking too much and it made me feel like crap and made me a shitty parent. And that it was easier for me to cut it out entirely than try to control it. There were a few follow up questions, but nothing major. No one was scandalized; there was no pearl clutching or shouts of, ‘good heavens! Sarah’s sober! Alert the media!’ Logically I knew they wouldn’t really care but you know how it is. This has been such an important issue for me, so emotionally I thought it would be the same for them.
I’m glad I did it. I think maybe I should have a follow up convo with my friend who brought the whole thing up. Do you think I should talk to him first, or wait to see if he asks for advice or something?:

Belle: turns out nobody cares what we do 🙂 and the boozers are sometimes curious, cuz they want to know if they can do it, too. I love the idea of quitting drinking because of parenting related anger. like, could there be a better reason to be sober? and one where nobody would judge you for quitting? well done to you. and for your friend, if he knows you’re sober, that’s enough. he’ll ask for more when he’s ready. people have to reach out (like you did) when they’re ready. its in the act of reaching out that things change.

sarahjune: “Yeah. For sure. It’s hard for me to get over myself and realize that no one actually gives a shit. 🙂 I’m the center of my world, but lately I’ve been trying to think about how I impact the world. For instance, when I get in the car I remind myself to choose kindness, because I feel like it’s really easy for people to be assholes to each other when they’re driving. And not only do I feel like an asshole when I do shitty things while driving, but I take it so personally when people do shitty things go me, and then I feel weighed down by it for a long time. So I’m trying to put more kindness into the world, and trying (really) hard to be patient and forgiving with others. Because there’s enough assholery in the world, and I don’t want to add more into it.
You’re right about my friend. The thing is, when I figure something out for myself, I feel like I need to share it with everyone so I can fix their problems too. I think it’s connected to the issues I have with control. But I know if someone tried to fix me before I got sober I would be offended and angry.  But just being an example of what life is like without alcohol is the better way to approach helping others. God, what would I do without you Belle? You’re like the angel on my shoulder, whispering smart, good things into my ear.”

~
*i used her spelling, from her quote; of course a canadian would spell it ‘centre’, didn’t want you think i was losing my mind …

Back to Barbs

It is day 24 for me.  Thanks for following still if you have been.  It is funny how worried we can be about being the non drinker, and yet really, no one actually cares…. Apart from the bigger boozers who feel just threatened by THEIR OWN VOICES in their heads… And believe me I was someone who was on high alert around a non drinker.  My guilty me would surface to the fore!!!  If you have a glass of liquid of any colour in your hand and you are chatting and sociable I have found that no one cares.  I can really chat to people, I can offer to drive, I can look forward to having dessert because I am not drinking!!!  I am calm for now.  I love in the above how not drinking has had a knock on effect on her personality.  She feels she can be kinder.  It has so many positives….. How are you doing?

I am trying to figure out how to embed pictures!!  So that I can make the blog a tad more personal… Tomorrow… BTW my ginger bug seems to have died.  It was fizzing and is now quiet.  Gutted.  It has had loads of organic ginger and nice brown sugar…. Watch this space…. I am hoping to revive it.  Byee love to you xx

 

 

23. Wine not.

Good days 😉

A random test embedding…..

Never done it before.  Today was good…. The chap in the video passed through our church garden after he had done some singing on his own in the church cos he liked the acoustics…  Just thought it would be a good practice embedding.  He was really cool.

We were in the garden to do a wine tasting.  Yes!!  I was hosting a wine tasting for a visiting sommelier who was doing a little talk and tasting session on Wine and the Bible.  I kid you not.  Me and soberionka sat and listened and enjoyed the smell of… and the look of…. and the feel of…. the wine in the wineglass in our hands, but we did not so much as touch a sip to the lips!!  Funny day.  And I liked the smell of the wine so much.  It was like I was tasting it but I was not even VAGUELY TEMPTED.

I have been asked recently…..as we all are I guess, when we are doing a certain time period….when the last day is…. our 100 days is up on 9th November.  I heard some good advice.  It is forbidden to say that you are giving up forever.  Because if you think that then you will not stop drinking.  If you think, this is it.  Forever starts tomorrow, it will be too hard to do.  So what you do is get a good distance, like 100 days under your belt, and then see how you feel.  If it has been working for you then carry on.  Do another 100 days and see how you feel.  I don’t want to never drink again.  The thought makes me a little sad.  But I can definitely manage the next few days.  So I will just go at it in bite size chunks.

 

It feels so good.  I still am in the buzzy clear fluffy feeling mood 😉 I am so productive – making my brownies… having a little trouble with the ginger bug which has stopped fizzing… despite me feeding it everyday.  (I have not updated you on that as I am waiting for success!) I have been asked to make cookies too, so I have done two batches of gorgeous peanut butter cookies… Its fun!  I picked a whole load of plums from my neighbours’ tree (with permission) and am going to make plum jam.  I am happy.  On my own here at home, with the dog, and no TV just me calm and peaceful.

Another day further from day one, and the little sober car is zooming along.

Love to you

Byeee

 

 

 

22 and the awareness is washing over..

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.

 

Byeeee