350. Ticking on down ….

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The countdown in on in my head.  It is 15 days – two weeks basically – to a YEAR since I stopped drinking alcohol.  I am very happy.  It has been a tough few weeks for me mentally.  I have been dealing with a stressful situation… Caused by alcohol… not by me drinking however, so that is a bonus.

My last blog post about the merry-go-round came out of that stress.  I had been so angry at how alcohol can f*ck up lives and just waste so much time, energy, money, talent and the list goes on.  It is a bollocks waste of everything.  But I need to realise that people can choose to drink, do choose to drink and really I need people to drink…. because it reminds me of why I don’t!!!

Thanks for reading along with me for the year.  I am developing my merry-go-round analogy.  It is, for me, a totally useful way of thinking about the futile round-about that we can get stuck on.  It is useful for me to remember that it is a con.  Yes, there are people for whom alcohol is a take it or leave it thing.  I am not one of those people.  I will drink again (maybe) when I am in my sixties.  But for now, life is unfolding like a flower and I am too busy to be hungover.

Byee and love to you.

Barbs

340. The Merry-Go-Round.

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In every country, every town, and even every village… there is. a merry-go-round.  The music is bewitching, the rides are bright, shiny and beguiling.  It looks like fun and sun and carefree joy!  This merry-go-round has a Ringmaster and Ringmistress… Methyl and Ethyl.  they keep their little animals in tip top condition, really appealing to passersby.  They have prancing ponies, Sauvignon and Merlot.  The Heineken horses leap alongside, the Limoncello Lipazanas.  You have the carthorses, Port and Sherry.  And the little whisky dancers and Frisky and Misty.  There are many other animals on this fairground ride.  Some even as yet to be discovered.

The music is cheery, the crowds swarm in and take their rides.  Day in day out hoisting their bodies into the comfy saddles.  Some come in very early, some only at sundown, and some only at weekends.  But come they do because this is fun at its best.  You see parents calling out to children, come on, get on!!! Join us.  Some friends stand hesitantly at the edges of the ride.  Should they leap on or should they stay off?  And the music winds up, and Ethyl and Methyl take their takings ching ching ching, its not cheap this ride.  The money racks up…  People do not want to get off… They come when they want to celebrate, they come when they want to commiserate, they come for summer, they come for winter, they come because they are lonely, they come because they want to fit in.  They make up reasons to get on there because the ride has them in its clutches.

The sun goes down, the music ramps up, the ride spins faster and faster.  Somewhere by the Heineken horses a couple have started to fight.  She is crying and he is shouting.  By the Shetland pony, ”Shots” a young boy has started to vomit.  The Merlot mares have two people passed out underneath their hooves.  The gaiety is starting to get a hard edge.  The music is no longer enchanting, it is positively hypnotic.  The fights get more frequent, the laughter is no longer warm. It is manic.  The happy scene of earlier is replaced by a debauched panorama.  Someone trying to get off, someone else holding their arm, screaming,  ”But its my birthday, stay and ride!!!”.

This merry-go-round has its patrons by the scruffs of their necks.  After the carnage that occurs night after night many people don’t want to go back.  But by the time the end of the day comes and the music starts once again. The ponies and. horses are washed down and shiny.  Innocent and happy.  They think, oh why not?  It’s sunny today, just for ONE ride……

TO BE CONTINUED.

338. Chugging along

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This is what it feels like at the moment.  I am chugging along.  I go through tunnels occasionally, I go uphill, I go downhill, I go past beaches and boats, past gardens and castles and all over on my adventure.  But I do not run out of steam.  Because I could easily do so.  I need to listen, email, get treats, and just see the general shit that comes out of drinking too much – this hopefully keeps me on track.  Full steam ahead.

WordPress automatically renewed my blog site.   I’m sure I was warned. But now I am going to keep going for another year.  I guess the direction of the writing might change a little.  This is a blog for me, and for accountability.  If you read it from time to time, and I don’t know you, please say hi!

It is hot, it is summer, everyone seems to be drinking and having a general jolly.  It does not matter what is in my glass, I can still join in.

Happy heat!!!

330. All elderflowers and sunshine.

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It is very nearly a year now… I am on countdown.

Yesterday I felt that voice whispering to me….”ooooh wouldn’t it be lovely to sit in town and have an aperol spritz in the sunshine…?”  I know that it is there always that little niggly voice.  And I can do one of two things.  I can stomp and feel grr and irritated – which I have done in the past… or I can just put it out of my mind by doing something else.

My gorgeous young neighbour came over in the radiant heat yesterday at apéro time…   I poured her and my nearest and dearest a beautiful gin and tonic.  With pink peppercorns, lemons slices and mint and ice.  I poured myself the exact same except with Borrago.  It look identical to theirs.  I had it and did not feel left out.

You see, I know that if I had had that drink as a gin and tonic, I would have felt the buzz.  I would have loved the buzz.  I would have invited her to have another quick one.  I would have then really felt the bit between my teeth.  We would have fetched our daughter from the bus (she is home from uni) and we would have had another bottle of wine with our dinner.  I would have felt groggy and grotty.  I would not have wandered around my garden in the hazy dusk, the heat lying in the air like marmalade, and watered my garden in the fading day.  I would not have been arsed to do that because the boozy woozy would have taken its hold.  I would possibly have stopped there, as I could and did often enough.  But still I would have lost the precious sheen off myself.  The clear eyed integrity that I feel.  I would perhaps have encouraged my daughter to drink with us… and she did not even vaguely think of having drink at our little BBQ for three.

You see, I do feel jealous of the initial buzz, that people sitting drinking in the sun, get.  I do want that little edge taken off, that little pep in my step… that little something that comes with a sunny day and a big cold beer.  I want that too.  But I need to remember FOR ME, that along with that comes (most of the time) the heavy thickness in my mind which accompanies my euphoria.  It is not one or the other for me.   I cannot have the buzz without the fuzz.  So I choose to find the buzz in another way.  I am forced to be creative and resilient and strong in my mind.  And it is good for me.  And I am learning new things. ALL. THE. TIME.

Day by day.

Love to you all.

325. Seedlings

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Right now my garden is just bursting into life.  I have grown several little plants from seed.  They have been nurtured and now they are planted and are growing strong.  The life and abundance of nature is bowling me over on a daily basis.  Summer began yesterday here where I live.  I am so happy and excited.  I have eaten lettuce from my garden for lunch three days in a row!  I have all manner of herbs to add to my salad bowl, and in a few weeks there will be tomatoes and peppers and cucumber – I hope.

This makes me think of the year that has been.  I am a little astounded that the change feels so big.   I wanted to make some fundamental shift in my behaviour pattern and knew that stopping drinking was the best way to do it.  I was not (as I have repeatedly said) what I would class, an ”alcoholic”.   But ever since the dawn of my drinking career I have been an over-drinker.  I was possibly worse than some and but also a good deal better than others.  This does not matter, what matters is that it made me feel shit.

But, back to the seedlings, I feel like when I stopped drinking, a little seed of hope and happiness was planted deep in my soul.  It is sprouting and growing and bearing fruit and flowers in the most unexpected of ways.  I have this ENERGY to do things that I have not been bothered to do before.  I want to plant and weed and seed and cut the lawn and make the effort with my garden.  I did always love to garden, but now I have amazing energy to get up early and check out my garden and my plants….

I am also waking up early to meditate because I am never hungover.  Bliss.  I have read tonnes about mediation and always been very sporadic in my practice thereof, but since being energetic and enthusiastic in the early mornings I have put this new discipline in!  It is a discipline.  And there are days when I have to do it last thing at night.. but I will not miss a day.  Mainly because the app is tracking my consecutive days and I don’t want to bugger it up, but whatever the reason, I am doing it.  It is bearing fruit.  All kinds of surprising calmness, wisdom and general clarity in huge measures.  What a gift.

So I am going to do all I can to nurture this new life growing in me.  It is the biggest gift I have ever given myself.

Byeeee

321. Grateful

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It keeps getting better.

Not sure where this blog is going 😉   I am reading such a lot of amazing inspirational stuff and feel that this is my teeny tiny contribution out in the sober world.  There are the gorgeous giants out there like Clare Pooley and Catherine Gray, who just day in day out inspire me to realising that this is the bees knees this non-drinking life.   I am ever grateful that there are cool people out there who are ahead and beating a trail.   I hope that this can be a trail light for even one person 😉

I went to Greece for a little break with my nearest and dearest.  It was a fabulous place.  A windsurf Mecca full of cool people – cool women too – all gorgeous young tanned fit sporty and having fun.  I think in my drinking days I would have felt deeply inadequate as I do not fit in with the windsurf crowd – not one iota.  But now in my deeply peaceful state of serenity due to no boozy nightmares…. I felt absolutely great.  I could lie on my sunbed and read and watch others do something that filled their boots… while doing something that filled mine.  Reading and lying down – both first class hobbies that I practice when on holiday.

I was saying to Sister of Gorgeousness that one morning I woke up and saw on my bedside table, a pair of sparkly funny sunglasses that a friend had bought me the night before.  In the old days the ”night before” props that lay around the place would have stared accusingly at me the next day.  The strewn clothes and the mascara pillows and the fancy dress items may have brought on the attack of ”oh no I overdid it last night….” HUNGADINGDONG.  Horrible feelings.  But instead I wake with a lightness and happiness day after day after day after day.  Never regretting a thing.  Always choosing when to go to bed… HOW to go to bed and waking up like a happy daisy.  It does not get old, this feeling.

The thing about not drinking is that it feels like the future opens up like a flower.  The promise and potential of life seems to have quadrupled!  I am learning so much about things!  Learning that gratefulness is the key to keeping on track.  I think I may have to start in earnest about what I am grateful for!  10 things a day – eek!

So mine today are:

  • Grateful that I saw a rainbow
  • Grateful that I saw my friends and had lunch with them
  • Grateful I have a new bike
  • Grateful that I am all alone and peaceful tonight
  • Grateful that I saw the baby coots
  • Grateful that my friends took over the lunch arrangements
  • Grateful that my plants are growing so beautifully
  • Grateful that can get an early night
  • Grateful that I had a slow evening walk with the dog and saw tonnes of flowers
  • Laughed that the dog nipped into his usual garage and stole a tennis ball.  It makes me chuckle.

Night night all… hope your days are great 😉

312. Solution in liquid form

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I was walking downstairs the other day into my ”dungeon” and saw lined up in my garage….  I bought, this winter, in anticipation of summer… about 18 bottles of birra Moretti Zero.  I can only find them in Italy and they are the only AF beer that I can face.  While I looked at them, it occurred to me that I am not fussed about drinking them.  I may take them out if I go to a BBQ, but chances are they will be calorifically carbohydrated-up to the eyeballs, and great fizzy water does IT for me these days.

AND on the back of that it dawned on me that I am no longer seeking comfort from a bottle.  Or from a glass of liquid.  I am no longer looking at a wine or beer for some sort of damping down of emotion, no longer looking at liquids as something to solve my stress.  It may seem obvious to everyone else, but I really didn’t notice the extent to which I sought an ”answer”, a comfort, a hit, a buzz, a ”something”, je ne sais quoi, from a substance!!!  I have spent YEARS thinking that the solution to

  • irritability,
  • stress,
  • happiness,
  • sadness,
  • overwhelm,
  • celebration,
  • boredom,

was in a liquid.

How bizarre.