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
We are now here on the first stretch of over two weeks. It is such a strange thing. Going teetotal is something that does not seem to matter at all, but yet matters enormously at the same time. It is hard to explain. I guess if you are a high bottom drinker….. that is not a total alky… just a periodically heavy drinker (a drinker who wishes they drank less when they drank. A drinker who regrets the excess but does not drink on their own or in the day time (unless of course it is lunchtime)).. A high bottom drinker as a opposed to someone with a low bottom (someone whose life is seriously compromised and affected by their drinking)….I digress. As I way saying if you are a high bottom drinker, giving up totally seems pretty drastic. Especially when you have had a good two weeks off and are finding it hard to remember the really bad times. But it is good to pause. To look around and to remember the days when all you could wish for was bedtime. When the voices in your head were loud and accusatory, and when you felt shit shit shit about yourself. I know that I am in the best place I have been in for many a moon. Calm most of the time. Also knowing that I can get up really early every day and take my daughter to her job at the boulangerie. I can get up with a whole heart. I can look her (and myself) in the eye with confidence and know I have no secret shame. I know too that I can be the driver if the kids need me. Any time day or night. I am the reliable adult. The one they can trust to be themselves and not a product of themselves plus a skinful of booze. Which really detracts from ones best self. That is the truth. Alcohol does not enhance us. It degrades us. But it pretends it will enhance us. Make us sexier. Make us funnier. Make us more acceptable. It is not true sadly from this side of the fence.
Blahdi blah. Only two people have my blog name. And I don’t know if it will ever change. I love them two and I know they are doing well. N and I. Hello out there my fellow sobersistas. The world needs me sober. I have much to do and much to see and I am excited.
Catching you up…
It has been a while… I am sorry that I have not blogged daily. I want to also find ways to make this more interesting with pictures etc. Anyway. I had a days of grotty irritation back on day 9 and just was so out of sorts. I was cross with number one husband and he was trying to be nice and I was not interested in his niceness as it felt like he felt sorry for me and I was a bit mean and very mean and shitty. But then I emailed Belle and I listened to some audios and I treated myself to chocolate and stuff and then I woke up and decided to BE NICE. To accept that he does not know exactly how to support me, but he wants to support me. I figured too, that if I was to give up smoking and then sit evening after evening surrounded by a bunch of smokers, buying them cigarettes and opening their packs of fags, and lighting them for them, then clearing their ashtrays and so on, IF I WAS DOING THAT…. it would be hard to give up smoking…. and effectively that is what I have been doing since day 3. And not feeling shitty. But maybe underneath there was resentment boiling up or something… That was silly to expose myself to the drinking so early on. Even though I still feel that I was okay doing it, I perhaps should have taken some time out….
Anyway. I made a decision to not take myself so seriously and to lighten up and be nice. And we have not looked back and he is being so gorgeously supportive and I am cool.
I am away right now. All are the the pub, I think. Earlier I had jealousy over the cold beers that were going round. But …..I have listened to Belle, I have had some chocolate. I am blogging. I will email. I will have a bath. I will pack my lime, lemon and grapefruit slices and go and find them in the pub and order a cocktail. I will obviously order a MOCKTAIL. Then when it gets to the end I will top up with sparkling water and slip in my slice of citrus and just enjoy the evening. And eat a lovely dinner… Treat.
I can only do today. Not a stitch of a point thinking beyond that. I am loving the fact that being long term sober opens up a whole host of possibilities…. work…. projects…. writing… painting…. just a challenge that I need. Something needed to give. I am going to be so productive and I have such potential.
Just for today. So we will gain our momentum in our little sober cars. And I really believe that putting distance between ourselves and day 1 will give us a whole new perspective … It will change. I love my two sober sisters… N and I. And wish them all the love in the world.
Feels like ages…
I have not been able to save what I have written the past few days. I hope this one sticks.
I have much to say and not much time! It is truly a week of socialising that has past for me…. Every single day bar none, since 1st August, have there been drinking occasions. I come from a fairly big drinking family, it would be safe to say, and my mum and her husband have been here staying. It has been surprisingly simple to know what is for me and what is not. I have been sticking to mes choses… and my other drinks of bitter and better for me brands. Once I explained that I cannot hangover – it wastes my life and sends me into a crevasse of self-despising misery – they understood. The initial reaction was…. what a crazy thing to do! Even now everyone seems to think that at day 100 I am going to get so pissed that I cannot stand! My strategy is very strictly sticking to thinking about today only.
I am reprogramming my drinky brain. It has been (with a few tiny pauses) been drinking for 33 years. That is a mighty long time. I love myself without booze. Really really really really love looking the world in the eye without the background of something just ”not right”. Waking up in the night feeling that all is well with my soul.
It comes at price of no hangovers, no shame, no guilt, no gorgeous white wine in the cool summer, and no rich red in the winter and no cold beer on the verandah, and no rose in the spring…. However, I can put something coloured in a wine glass and sip it and feel like I am joining in and it will be fine. The craving lasts all of 5 minutes and it goes. It is weird how one drink can de-rail everything. And I am not an alcoholic …. I certainly didn’t do a bottle a day, any secret drinking, any alone time drinking and so on… and I find it hard to contemplate a future without it…. However, one thing is sure, day by gentle day the brains plasticity reshapes our thinking… I am going to keep on keeping on. Never more than now do I understand ”one day at a time”. The last time I gave up I was holding my breath for three months so that I could get back in the saddle. Not this time. It is different.
Day four seems like day 400 ! It feels like ages ago that I have stopped the booze train and jumped off. I have woken up (on day 5) with a headache like a hangover but none of the associated feeling of an invisible audience in my head tut-tutting and shaking their heads and accusing. So that is great.
If ever there was a period to give up this is both very hard and very brilliant. I have social event after social event and guests staying. Every social event is alcohol centred, or so it seem to me. However, whilst this is hard for a few reasons, it is excellent for others. For instance I am feeling good (apart from headache which goes) good emotionally, and I can look myself and my kids in the eye. Every day. Love it. I have energy to be really present to the people around me.
The thing that I took from the wonderful lessons, which is rumbling around in my head is that this ”sober trial” is like a reboot of the old wiring in the brain. It is like putting a floppy disk in the the brain’s computer and trying to reset it. If I drink I take the floppy disk out and the reset will have to start again (if I want it to of course) and this is not easy….
And I like the picture of a little red sober car with me driving, rolling down a hill gathering momentum. The beginning is meant to be hard. We are going somewhere we are not used to being, and we need some help to show us the way, and to point out pitfalls. And we need some fuel for our little sober cars. Today I am going to buy this artisanal lemonade with some rosemary or herb or thing in it, which I saw in a little expensive organic shop. It costs about €4 – less by a way than a bottle of wine.
I am happy to go another day.