Friday, 31 October 2014

Day 26 - Chocolate and the Wolf

He's behind you.
So you have a good day, you walk in the sunshine, you do things that stimulate your brain and yet the wine wolf sits early evening in the car, rattling the keys with the wine-shopping bag in hand. We need wine he cries and you're almost out of chocolate too.

What's that all about? I drown the bastard with vitamin c fizzy pint of water, and whizz up a cocoa and banana milkshake so thick I can probably skate on the top of it. So sitting like a beached whale, I decide that going out to a pub for a writing group meeting, is a bad idea. Apart from anything else, I can barely move and I still want wine. So I'm under house arrest again. I know wine won't help. I'm hiding from Wolfie, again. And, I'm going to keep hiding, you know why?

I'm sleeping better, that's for sure and I'm so tired. Is my body healing or just in hibernation mode? Hungry this morning I stuffed in breakfast like I'd never seen food before. Before even having my morning cuppa. That's new. 

I got out in the garden yesterday for the first time in a while and actually enjoyed being there again. 
I enjoyed work and offered to do some extra things. 

I didn't push it last night when for some reason the wine wolf wanted us to go shopping, I just shut myself down and I hid, I know he's there, behind me, but I'm hiding, I can't see him and I wish he'd shut up.

I'm four weeks sober tomorrow. It feels strange. Will it ever feel normal? I hope so.

More reasons why I'm hiding from my drinking self, that horrible wolf. I'll tell you why, the guilt has gone, the paranoia has gone. 

Sometimes I think a glass won't hurt then read all the stories of folks trying to moderate with limited success. I know if I start to drink again, its only a matter of time before I'm back where I was, or worse. Other people struggle too. 

Its a progressive disease, right? Yes I used the D word. The more reading I do the more I'm slowly coming over to thinking addictions or unhealthy relationships with alcohol/drugs are a disease. Wrong brain wiring, call it what you will, but its not normal to feel about wine/getting wasted the way I do. 

I saw a post on an old forum I use to be on (about drinking) from a girl who's 5 years sober yesterday. 5 years ago I stopped drinking for a few weeks, then slowly moderated. 5 years on, I've now, 5 years later, stopped again for the longest time since. That made me really think.

More visitors due at the weekend, we've asked them to respect that we're booze free house at the mo. Trying to be a bit healthier. That's all we've said. I'm a bit paranoid about it all as I'm known to love my wine. We'll see how that goes and if they do bring booze, I know from last weeks experience I can weather it. But, I'm still nervous about folks thinking about my not drinking. 

Belle's sober podcast yesterday said something along the lines of....

'.....when we quit drinking we think that everyone is looking and us and thinking why and judging us.'

And that's how I was feeling, but she continued to say, folks are kinder, less judgmental and they're not judging you, or why you're not drinking. So ITS NOT TRUE, they don't judge.

So I realised that I'm not the centre of the universe (no really I'm not), and its OK to say we're having a wine/booze free weekend. Its our house, our lives.

My life. 28 days sober tomorrow. Who'd have thought. I should be happy, and excited, a tiny part of me is proud, the bigger part is telling me I'm still rubbish, why is that an achievement? Oh because I'm useless and I'll never really stop for long. 

I'm trying not to listen to that voice, I'm happy I'm sober but I'd like to be proud. Maybe one day eh? For today I'm happy. That'll do.

Sober Mum, wishes my son a lovely happy birthday today where have the 20 years gone.
Sober Wife, up at 6 am seeing himself off the premises with a packed lunch and a smile. A real smile.
Sober Girl, beginning to take care of myself. Waking up with no guilt, no hangover is nice. OK so the wine wolf is still barking and snapping at my heels. He can stay behind me.

Lucky its the season for thick socks and boots to give me a bit of protection from that wee bugger.

Belle's site 'Tired of Thinking about Drinking' is a great one! She supports a shed load of folks on the way to sober with her sober podcasts and blog. Pop over. I'm lucky to have found her too thanks to someones recommendation. 

PS My husband says to me last night. 'This chocolate eating thing has got me freaked out, what's wrong with you'. I shrug, I've no clue. And, let me tell you buying a small bar is not any use, I need big bars and enough in the house to know I've some when I want it.

I've seriously no clue why I'm eating chocolate (I use to hate the stuff), any ideas, is it the sugar that I'm not getting from the wine I'm not drinking? Or has my body just flicked a switch and turned my chocolate gene on? Either way I'm baffled, I've spend 46 years not understanding the whole chocolate eating thing, now I can't get enough........

Hey hello! I do waffle on, so thank you for getting this far! If you've something kind or helpful to add or just want to say hello. Please drop a line below. I'd appreciate that. Thank you.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Day 25 - Small steps to sober

So October is nearly at a close, its one of my least favourite months as the clocks go back and the darkness seeps out of every corner into our lives here in the UK. I stopped drinking at the start of October, decided by Day 3 I could moderate, what was the big deal.

Oh dear girl, you're an idiot. So I've been sober since the wine escapade. But, its been hard. I'm thankful for anyone popping on here, thankful for really helpful sober blogger, sites, communities and all the 'you can do its'. I seriously never believed I could go almost a month without wine. 

Not me, I have a wine radar and a kinda snorkel attachment which hoovers it up. Its not bonnie that's for sure.

So yesterday it took 1 minute and 26 seconds to call my local Drugs and Alcohol unit and ask to make an appointment. Its taken me a week to do this call from picking up the leaflet but I've been thinking of getting SOME help for a while now. I wasn't judged (I thought I would be), I wasn't met with that sooked in breath that makes you feel like shit. All I got was a request for some details and told I'll get some discreet mail soon and an appointment within 3 weeks. I didn't spontaneously combust. I don't have ALKIE tatoo'd on my forehead now. I just need to man up the sober tools I have and keep lobbing them at myself until some of these mad cravings pass. No clue which tools will work, so I'm throwing them all at myself by the bucket load. Aside a pack of sooperdooper multi-vits, my sober tool box has cost me nothing so far, aside a bit of time.

Is it getting easier, yes. Do I miss it, drinking wine, yes. It gets so ingrained into your routine, your coping strategies, your life that before you know it, its leading you, everyday.

So yesterday I also got an email out of the blue, that was nice, I walked the dogs at the beach instead of self-flagellating my lack of money to waste on things like petrol for walking. I told myself, no wine now, you can drive to the beach, you're still quids in. The sunshine warmed my face, the hounds had a hoot swimming in the sea and we talked to a few folks we passed. My head didn't hurt, it wasn't churning, it was a calm and relaxing stomp. With Octobers light being so limited, getting out in the daylight and the sunshine is such a bonus. I need to make more use of the precious daylight!

I'm filling my evenings with things I use to do during the day baths, reading, a bit of work. I'm considering keeping my work to 4-6ish as those are the times I hear the wine gong normally, when I'm absorbed in work, its a good distraction. Like I say trying anything that will work.

And on the subject of how much we all spend on wine Lucy has written a great article here.

Sober mum, pancake recipe required at gone 8pm, my kids know how to live but I was there for them, even if its just via skype.
Sober wife, a decent tea of fish and barley risotto consumed with gallons of water.
Sober girl, walk on the beach, submitted my tax return, popped my Dr's forms in the post and went for a walk. I took care of me yesterday.

I do waffle on, so thank you for getting this far! If you've something kind or helpful to add or just want to say hello. Please drop a line below. I'd appreciate that. Thank you.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Day 24 - The sober sleep in continues

So like I said a while back, I took on advice to change my routine, and maybe I took this too far? I'm still camped out in the lounge on the sofa bed, like a slobby teenager. Yesterday I didn't get up until gone 12pm, there are some luxuries of working from home. And yet, its Wednesday and out of my 7 hours work, I've maybe done an hour. Old habits are hard to break.

I've no intention of moving back through into my bedroom just yet, I'm still in October so I'm still staging a sober yourself up, sitting room sleep in. Aside the folks at the weekend, this living space has been alcohol free. My gullet has been alcohol free. That's surprising. As if there were a queen of the wine in Scotland, the fastest dash to the bottle (s), it would be me. Not this month. Not today. And, today is all I can really think about.

I'm still nearly two stone over weight, well one stone if you count my natural 'chubbiness' does wine put the pounds on your belly and out of your pocket all at the same time, it seems so. 

Alcohol and the snacking, inactivity adds the pounds like applying butter to your thighs. Although the wine pounds I fear don't want to slip off my thighs so readily. I need to start to think about my diet, I've always been quite a healthy eater, I tell myself. But, after wine, I snack on carb-rich crap late at night so the pounds have been piling on. Its a bit like money spent on additional stuff to hide the wine. The food gets shoveled in late on in the evening to counteract the wine I think.

And, I'm tired and grumpy, low and down. Some folks on the forums have suggested vitamins so I'm looking into that. Any tips out there. I've also counted my woe-ful attempts at 'healthy eating'. Whilst you and I know chocolate is derived from a bean, it is not one of our five a day. I counted a measly half a banana, tablespoon of peas, one mandarin yesterday. Not cool. Today it needs to be increased. I'm really struggling with low mood, I think I'm naturally quite prone to wild ups and desperate downs. I'd like to even that out a bit if I can.

I filled in the GP registration form today, and wrote 60+ units on the 'do you drink'. I wrote the truth. I'll hand them in later and if they don't pick up on it, I'll be pointing it out. I also picked up leaflets for a local drugs and alcohol advisory service, will I ring, will I email, I hope I do. I'm new here, I don't know anyone, I can't bump into anyone I know, there's never been a better time for me to actually go and seek some in the flesh help. Nag me please. And, I picked up a 'self help to low moods' brochure. And, one for the local leisure services. 

I must not just bin these. I know only I can change me. But, I know I'm still at the thinking stage. And, I'm reading so much. I'm convinced that moderation isn't for me, I've a really unhealthy relationship with alcohol, but I'm not sure how I process that. So I'm just taking care of today and thinking about taking care of me. Who am I, without the wine?

So for now, I'm still staging a John-and-Yoko with my dear husband, on the sofa bed in the living room. I pack it up everyday, I'm not that much of a slob. 

Sober girl, trying to look at life and say, OK where do I start. A list of all the things I've put off might be good, as might be one of all the things I can do to keep me busy. Its not like the house doesn't need cleaned.

Sober Mum, my daughter is still pretty cold towards me, whether that's just perceived or real, I'm feeling it. I sent her another message yesterday to talk soon, we're supposed to talk every week but she's always an excuse..........I'm stubborn enough to keep nagging. :D

Sober Wife, he asked me last night how the non-wine stuff was going. Told him its hard to change habits you've got stuck into. You'll get there, he said. Hope so, I mumbled from the sleepy nook of the sofabed.

I do waffle on, so thank you for getting this far! If you've something kind or helpful to add or just want to say hello. Please drop a line below. I'd appreciate that. Thank you.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Day 23 - Angry

My drinking buddy left yesterday and whilst it was good to see her, I did get a bit p***d off at her drinking. Maybe it was jealousy who knows. We're OK, we're always OK, but I have to put my hands up and admit I was annoyed. Although I understood, she is drinking and I am not. I'm still acting like a petulant child. People drinking makes me angry. What's that all about, sour milk, jealousy? Who knows, but I'm angry.

I've been reading so much about how you stop focusing on not-drinking eventually. I nearly slipped up last night. Hungry out all day picking up my daughters car, the only thing that stopped me buying wine was the lack of money. There was a tiny voice in my head telling me that it won't make it better, drinking wine. But, I wanted some. I've been aware of how HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired) affects me for a while, SoberChick puts it beautifully here. I'm only two strikes in (Hungry and Angry) so I call my son on Skype and stuffed a sandwich in my face, the minute I'm home.

I told myself I could drink later if I wanted to. Maybe tomorrow if I was really needing to drink.
I had a snack and started dinner.
I skyped my son.
I had a bath, with a candle, hark at me, all taking care of myself.
I washed my hair.
I put on my pjs.
I nearly got dressed again but I didn't.
We ate dinner.
I nearly got dressed again but I didn't.
I scanned some documents for my son to email, had a chat on f/b with a chum.

As I was scanning his documents, a sober friend also emailed, out of the blue asking me some things about work, how I'd managed to work when I was drinking. As I was typing away the stress of the day, the cravings, who knows what they were, evaporated. When you're typing about how you hid your drinking at work, how you managed it, what you did, how you coped it puts it into hard facts. 

I told her, I functioned. I didn't live, I didn't raise hell. I functioned my way through those years and those opportunities. My inner voice is telling me, I could have been so much more. Well, we'll see, todays a new day.

I know this, I don't want to just function anymore. I'm already seeing small changes in my reactions/thoughts about being more involved, engaged in life. That's nice.

Today I'm not stressed as I did manage to get those documents sorted for my son and by chance, luck, good fortune, I saw the sober email and replied, that took me through it all. Let me tell you, I realised this, I have a whole HEAP of stuff I've not done for myself/our house/life that I find too overwhelming and I put off. Maybe if I did some of them rather than put them off, that voice of overwhelm in my head would stop for a bit. Today, I've told myself, I'll write that list. Its raining, so why not. I don't want to just function anymore. I'd like more.

Oh and I've lost 2lbs. As my exercise is limited to a quick dog walk at the moment, surely that's got to be from lack of booze?

Sober girl - got a day bed dismantled (all by herself) and packed up for her friends teenager to take home. Huge hug for my chum too. Her choice to drink, I need to remember that.

Sober wife, lovely dinner on the table, bath waiting, surely I get brownie points for this?

Sober Mum, brought the girls car home no fears about being over the limit the day after. Did some admin for my son and had a good natter.

PS I've also promised myself I'll stop whining and focus on the positives soon! You'll be glad to read that.

I do waffle on, so thank you for getting this far! If you've something kind or helpful to add or just want to say hello. Please drop a line below. I'd appreciate that. Thank you.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Day 22 - I lost the dog

So I wake up on Sunday, to a clattering noise, like banging that use to be in my head. Thankfully despite the wine flowing here last night (of which I touched none, I left that to my guests), it was only the garden gate and the shed doors going crazy in the autumn gales. Having nipped out to do the chooks in PJ's, I hauled one shed door shut, then managed to close the gate after I'd done my chores and I lost the dog. 

No amount of self beration could help this Sunday. I simply lost the dog, calling myself all kinds of stupid. That'll teach you to drink shouted the wolf  (my inner stupid voice) you stupid girl.

Erm, I'm not hungover Wolf, I did not drink, and I have no power over shed doors and gates in gales dear Wolf. So you can't be right about me being stupid because I drank, as I did not drink yesterday.

Mad scabble for clothes (no one really needs to see my in my fluffy dog pjs) and mad calling of the dog. 

Turns out the pesky mutt ran into the shed in search of chicken grub, I locked him in. In itself not a big deal, but up and dressed we headed out for a really early walk. 

So here I am at gone 8am dressed, with husband and bounding up to the local nature reserve.

I'm clearly feeling the better for no hangovers. Although I've been getting bad headaches.

My friend drank all weekend, discreetly but as she left me the recycling, I know how much.

You know what struck me, after 12 units she seemed so 'normal' just a happier version of herself. 

That was weird. My husband is still a bit perplexed/bemused at my not drinking. 'You never got fall down drunk'. 

Nope just slumped on the sofa drunk. 

Her drinking upset me a bit, not that it will affect our friendship, but she kept 'pushing' her 14 year old daughter on me the next morning to 'do things with'. So she could have some quiet time. The selfish part of me was shouting 'what about my quiet time, I didn't get any last night either remember I didn't drink, so I need some quiet time now, I need me time?'  - but I made pancakes with her girl and we had a giggle. My selfishness abated quietly, I'm lucky to be asked to help I told myself.

If I'm totally honest, I can't say I'm looking forward to spending Xmas with them all. But, I know I've got to sort this out because we're great friends who drink. But, we're great friends.

Next weekend we've a houseful again. I'm dreading that too as its husbands rellies on a visit and his Mum is staying too. Its not going to be an easy household, I get stressed around them all. And, there's normally wine. But, next weekend we've told the visitors, no booze please, we're cutting down.

Our house is often a busy one, so I need to work out how to be around so many folks, in our joint space and not open a bottle and slump back into my old habits. Any ideas aside wiring my jaws shut or locking all the doors.

I do waffle on, so thank you for getting this far! If you've something kind or helpful to add or just want to say hello. Please drop a line below. I'd appreciate that. Thank you.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Day 20 & 21 The sober bubble

So this is me. Front and centre, grinning like an idiot. Bestie right by my side as always. She's a star, she even cooked for my wedding. Yes someone lovely is cleaning my boots, it a long story, but that's not normal!
So I'm sitting here, shaking, my guts are all over the place, I feel sick and I'm actually scared. I'm not sick. At least I don't think I am. This is the first of my 'social' weekends since I quit drinking. Last night we ended up out with younger relatives. As the pitchers of cocktails went by in the bar we were in, in town, I had a twinge. Just a glass of wine, I'd like that, just one. But I had such a thurst, I knew for sure I couldn't stop at one. I'm with my husbands young relatives (early 20's) I like these folks, I don't need to be a drunken lass in front of them. Whilst its hard, the moment eventually passes. Conversation is a bit stilted, normally I fill in the gaps with my chatter. Not today. I'm a bit guarded and twitchy. We return home, normally my cue to drink, but I snaffle some chocolate and some winter punch, I feel safer. We say our sober goodbyes and I wake up this morning, the first thought not 'what did I say' but, 'nice evening'. That was nice.

I've never said 'well done' to myself for not drinking. Some of you have, and that's awesome to hear but I feel like a fraud. A sober fraud. I feel broken and unworthy. I don't know why. I guess, for some folks not drinking isn't a big deal, for me its epic. My brains just telling me, other people don't find it hard, why should you. You're broken, that's why you drink, it helps. I'm realising, it doesn't help. So what if I'm broken, wine doesn't help.

But, today, right now, I'm also terrified. My best friend is coming to stay, its been arranged for months. Normally there would be at least a couple bottles of wine and a bottle of gin here. Tomorrow (normally) we'd replenish the wine at least, sometimes also the gin. But, today there's no wine here. There's no gin. Tonight feels like it will be an enormous test. I've (stupidly) told her yesterday, that I didn't mind if she drank here too. She can do what she pleases, I love her enough to allow her the space to drink if she wants to enjoy her weekend away. This trip is her weekend off from stresses and family, so normally we drink. Whilst she's not likely to drink to excess most days, I can. So having her here is a great excuse for me to 'celebrate' with wine, like I do most nights she's not here.

She knows I'm not drinking, she's the only friend who knows how hard this is. It took me a while to tell her as I didn't want to make her feel as if I was making a judgement on her or thinking worse of her for drinking when I'm not. And, I'm not a person who judges anyone, especially her. She also has an 'off' button when it comes to drinking, we both know, I struggle with the 'off' button. She understands and she doesn't judge.

She's a star.

I'm just not ready to come out of my sober bubble yet. She might join me, I guess, there's certainly room for not just me. I like my sober bubble.

And whilst I'm nervous I know she's not going to tip me upside down and put a wine hose down my throat, really, is she?

Now that I've written that sentence, I guess its quite silly to be scared, but I'm nervous of how tonight might go. I just need to be strong and know that, I've not drank for 21 days. And, I'm OK. It might be hard later but I'll get through it.

After all, I got through yesterday, in a bar. I have enough room on my credit card for 100's of bottles of wine, I haven't bought any.

I haven't drunk.

Sober mum, erm well no sober mum action this weekend so far but I'm AVAILABLE.
Sober girl, who's really looking forward to seeing her chum, even if she's a bit nervous.
Sober wife, shopping budget came in at under £22 this week, dinners cooking, house is looking nice. Had a walk after shopping without a throbbing head, without being grumpy. 

PS We've more weekend family staying next weekend, my DH has phoned and said we're a booze free house at the moment, so if that's cool, come and stay. No objections from the rellies, they never batted an eyelid, so you see, I am learning. And, this here, this house, right now, this is my sober bubble.

PPS I dunno why I shared a pic, probably won't do it often, I might even take it down later, I'm not sure, but this is me. I'm a real girl, with a real problem but I'm trying to fix myself.

I do waffle on, so thank you for getting this far! If you've something kind or helpful to add or just want to say hello. Please drop a line below. I'd appreciate that. Thank you.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Day 19 - The addiction paradox

If I'm absolutely honest with myself and anyone reading, until yesterday at approximately 3.34 pm I didn't believe in addiction. I'm not sure what I believe now. I've always thought I was too lazy and useless to give up wine. Too hedonistic, too pleasure seeking, too self-satisfying, that's me. I'm 'too' much of most things. I'm an excessive kind of person. I don't just eat, I gorge. I don't just parent, I'm like some kind of cape wearing Mary Poppins (in my head), I can't just enjoy something I have to understand it to the very minuscule tiniest of detail, I don't just write or create or cook laxly, I do things ferociously. I'm an over-doer. I always have been.

Until yesterday, I'd always just thought, its me, that's what I do, I'm all or nothing. And its the same with alcohol. No surprise there eh? I drink nothing (seldom) or everything (mostly). I generally set my own standards/obsessions so high that I either never achieve them or die trying. The lows of let downs of ridiculous expectations seem to fuel the drinking that's for sure.

Is my brain defective? I kind of hope so in some ways because I like my brain. Am I am addict, I'm not sure, is my drug of choice wine [insert any other alcoholic beverage here], almost certainly. Having watched a lecture from an addiction specialist yesterday, I'm pretty sure I'm an addict although I'm still on the fence on 'addiction'. But, I sure have an unhealthy relationship with a bottle of Pinot that's for sure. 

I've been wondering why I've stopped now. Stopped drinking, for now. (I'm not at forever yet.) The kids are gone, literally, just gone and off to uni. With no real 'boundaries' of parenting left, job and community engagement gone. I'm in a new place, with no responsibilities and aside a husband home after 7pm out again at 7am, I've nothing or no one taking my time. I've no excuse NOT to drink. In fact aside being 'sober-ish' when he was home, every excuse TO DRINK.  Infact if I only have to be sober from 6-8pm I can drink earlier, sober up a bit, be a bit social and fun, then drink some more. What a fabulous thought, my wine soaked head told me. Even more drinking fab. You don't need a job, you don't need to do anything, just drink. It will be lovely. Just us. He won't notice, just drink. No one needs you anymore. Just drink.

Of course, I've a billion excuses not to drink, a loving family, a nice home, chickens, dogs, flowers, nice grub, beaches, etc etc. The only voice I can hear is that I can drink now, as much as I like and it doesn't matter. That's all I heard.

When drinking becomes the only thing you hear, the only thing you want to do and you've nothing stopping you, and can't think of a reason not to drink aside feeling crap and useless, that's scary. And, sadly for me, it was also very exciting. Nothing to stop me now. I can drink all I like, everyday.

Bring out the wine, bring on the dancing girls. Just make sure they bring their own booze ok, this is MINE. And make sure they don't stay long as I like to drink alone. Its my wine time.

Like I said, I've always been an over-doer.

I dunno what flipped in my brain, but I know I needed to stop, at least for now. A small voice is telling me, probably forever, but we're not quite ready to hear that yet. So for now I'm stopped and hear I am, waffling shite as per usual.

Do I believe in addiction, altered brain chemistry, is it a disease, rather than hedonistic self-indulgence? Well the evidence I'm reading from the neuroscientists (and a clever bunch they are, its quite hard to understand most of it) would suggest its real and its not just my own weak-willed, stupid fault that I drink. So, whilst I'm still confused, I'm engaged and still reading. Don't worry I promise not to decide to gorge myself on too much reading, that on the whole, I really don't understand. I am not a neuroscientist.

If addiction is indeed real, and a disease, however, I should probably apologise to my father, (after I've told him off for giving me some of his genes, if indeed he has). He probably needed my help, he might not have listened rather hearing the song of his whisky bottle. But, at least I could have offered. My anger with him and his drinking has at least abated to contemplation and regret (mine, for me and for him), not for my kids or my family, they didn't need to see him like that. Of course that's why I largely drank when they slept, I got up and I functioned. Not much of a difference in the long run really. Except for now, I've stopped.

Alcohol is indeed a paradox. I don't want it in my life.

Sober girl, lots of reading and thinking, I ventured out to an art launch last night, after wine-o-clock.
Sober mum, dropped off the driving licence in the city yesterday night after event.
Sober wife, gorged at McDonalds on the way home rather than buy wine and (potentially) drink a whole load of it whilst 'near home', yes driving, I know that's insane. So instead of rolling in half-drunk, I rolled in like a beach whale, gorged on a plastic fish sandwich and a fizzy drink. 

Baby steps.

I do waffle on, so thank you for getting this far! If you've something kind or helpful to add or just want to say hello. Please drop a line below. I'd appreciate that. Thank you.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Day 18 - A sober hour

So I caught myself smiling today. I need to remind myself of that later, when grumpy. I smiled. I was happy. Come wine-o-clock I'll likely be a grumpy moo again, but for a while there I caught myself being happy. Not grinning from ear to ear like a Cheshire cat, but the corners of my mouth were actually turning upwards......I left the house really early, picked up my car, had breakfast out and went to a lecture on Algae. Plants are my thing, so for once, I got my sorry backside out and attended something, in the morning, not hungover. I collected pine cones for the wood fires at home, I had some 'me' time in a large teaching garden. I'm seeming to find I'm feeling good early, and then I diminish into grumps when the wine monster appears. So, when I'm grumpy later I, with the wine-bells clanging, I thought I'd remind myself of things that are improving. In no particular order......

I'm taking at least an hour, one whole hour for 'sober stuff', its MY time, no interruptions, no distractions and man if I don't get some 'sober thinking time' I'm crabbit. So that time seems to be important. I'm focused and happy in that hour.

There appears to be more money in my purse. OK so I didn't spend much more than £5/day on wine that's still (counts on fingers and toes) £150 ish a month £1800 in a year on booze, that's a holiday and a bloody good one! But its not just THAT money I'm seeing more in my pocket/bank account. Its the money on the 'excuse food' I use to put in the basket rather than just look like I was buying wine. Some nights that be £10-15 maybe more in total in the basket, just to 'hide' the wine purchase. So I'm quids in, of money I didn't have, but hey I'm not spending it.

My waistline and weight has stopped going UP and OUT. OK so its not gone down but Rome wasn't built in a day.

I might be calmer. OK so the inner turmoil is still there, but its maybe 'quieter'.

I have NO paranoia. Aside the usual crap I think about life, no BOOZE PARANOIA.

I've worked productively this week. I'm still doing the minimum, as I've done for ages but I'm not avoiding work. I don't have the avoiding work guilt head on.

I've volunteered this week and engaged with my local community. No paranoia.

I went shopping at wine-o-clock and went to the juice aisle and bought some really lovely cordial, I did not go in the wine aisle. Progress.

I'm there for my kids and my hubby whenever. Not just before 6pm.

I drove in the evening and I'm driving again tonight, I'm going to the opening of an exhibition. I'm not just drinking every night, and turning down invites.

I'm not waking up in the middle of the night sweating and dry mouthed, thumping headache. My sleep is better, if it does take a while, well I know I'll get there eventually.

I've told ONE close friend I've been sober for 19 days. That's a start. She's visiting at the weekend and I've told her I'm NOT drinking. I've told her I CAN'T drink. She's cool with that.

We've visitors for tea tomorrow and I've said we're not drinking in October, so if you want anything alcoholic bring your own. So I'm not buying extra wine for me and them and more for me because I can get away with it. They seemed cool with that too. Is this the start (I hope) of sober socialising?

So when the whiney-wine-o-clock wolf appears later tonight, and he helps me to stick my grumpy pants on me, remind me I wrote this. For now I'm off to enjoy the blogs/forums and audios' which are keeping me going. I've a video to watch from lucy - thank you. I'm liking my 'sober hour', I need it to focus and extend the happiness.

I do waffle on, so thank you for getting this far! If you've something kind or helpful to add or just want to say hello. Please drop a line below. I'd appreciate that. Thank you.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Day 17 - Tea and toenails

Why is it when we know something is bad for us, we want it more? Like wine? For most of yesterday I was trying to make sure I didn't buy wine. Its like I'm pre-programmed like some cyber-wino to seek it out at all instances. Whilst I know I'm better rested, less paranoid and calmer since I've stopped drinking for those days I have been, my head is still seeking out wine. At 10 am whilst the day was starting I was planning how to avoid the stuff later. I had a bath, scrappy toenails looked at me. Must take better care of myself I told the toenails. Give us a good paint and you'll feel better. (Yes I talk to my toenails aside the dogs and the chooks there's not much talking to be done here.) Its work time, I remind them. I forget of course that I'm in the bath during this time. There are some advantages of working at home, and some disadvantages. For me I can often put off work for most of the day, feel like shit and then drink. I forget the work, feel worse the next day with a hangover, tell myself I'll work later. The cycle continues. A seven hour working week can last me the whole week as I feel worse and worse about my procrastination, my wine drinking gets worse.

So, I told my toenails they could wait until later, when it wasn't work time, and to stop sabotaging my day. I'd planned to work in the morning and then at 'bells-o-clock' when the wine shouts the loudest I scheduled a work meeting via phone. That should shut up the wine wolf I told myself.

As it transpired, . I didn't manage to get my work done at bell's-o-clock because we got delayed at the garage dropping off cars. Home late, stove out, no chance of making the meeting, I called and rescheduled the chat for an hour later. My grumps and groans went to full on 'only wine can calm your head'.  I cooked, something a bit more complicated than normal, kept my hands busy.

So, I put myself under house arrest, we have chocolate we don't need wine, I told myself.  I skyped my son. I called the work colleague a little later, she didn't mind. We settled down to dinner, watched some TV and an unexpected visitor turned up, thankfully with no wine, whilst I was through the worst of it, I could easily of caved in. She was driving, which of course is sensible, we live in the middle of nowhere, no public transport, you have to drive. 

So, if I'd been my normal drinking, the meeting would have been cancelled, I'd have asked my son to skype tomorrow. If I'd been drinking normally, I'd have been pretty much half way down if not all the way down the wine bottle before she arrived. And, I'd have cooked, but nothing as nice as we had.

She left after an hour, full of tea and chat. The toenails got my full attention, no nail polish on the rug this time. They quietened down too. I saw the end of a movie. Tidied the kitchen, let the dogs out and settled down to sleep.

I'm enjoying sleep although its hard to get off to sleep still. I guess its about time I found a new book to read. Someone online challenged me to think of the sober me, what's she like.  There's something to ponder.

Is this how smokers feel, constantly wanting cigarettes? I've never had much time for 'addiction' until now I've never really believed it to be true, just lack of discipline or weak nature. Was I wrong?

This isn't easy. I realise I'm pretty weak and undisciplined. But, I'm still not sure about addiction, its me who buys the wine. And, 18 days in, I don't trust myself around it. Evil little f***r. 

I realise I've gone from thinking I won't drink, to I can't. I just can't.

Sober mum, skype support for rent application forms, took the girls car to the garage too. :)
Sober wife made a lovely supper and tucked him in for once when he was snoring.
Sober girl had a nice chat with a chum and did the work she scheduled for the day, even if it was delayed slightly.

I do waffle on, so thank you for getting this far! If you've something kind or helpful to add or just want to say hello. Please drop a line below. I'd appreciate that. Thank you.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Day 16 - The sober anniversary

When we decided to get married, I cut down drinking for a bit, it certainly helped me lose some weight quicker than if I hadn't been drinking. There were comments of course, how did you do it? Stopped the booze for a bit. Well reduced it anyway. So off we went back to the lovely autumnal forest yesterday where we said those special words in front of friends and family. No hangover, sleepy and tired, but no hangover. Nice memories and nice to share them without wondering if I stink of booze. A benefit, there's a benefit I tell myself. I don't stink of booze, or soap rubbed over my skin to mask the smell.

We then headed to the city for a meal, a catch up with the uni-girl. I never drink at dinner, (rarely) so jasmine tea was lovely. I've been trying to change my routine, so usually an early evening in the city would be resented as it encroaches on drinking time. Like I said I'm trying to change my routine. Whilst my head knew it was time for wine, my body was in a restaurant in Edinburgh, needing to drive afterwards I was with my daughter. This was deliberate, Normally I'd do this type of thing in daytime,. We had a car to pick up to take to the garage for her, so I arranged it for tea/night time. Parenting takes no heed of romantic anniversary dinners to be had, or maybe this was self-sabotage, no romantic dinner, no need of wine before or after, as I have to drive. Driving out of Edinburgh late 9pm, it suddenly struck me why was I looking at the shops and at the time. I was doing a mental calculation of the journey time to get home and what time the little stores closed for me to buy wine.

My sub-conscious head was looking for wine and planning how to get some before I got to our destination, as it would be after 10pm and too late to buy any. A cracking day, a visit with the daughter and still my head is shopping for wine. And, I have my purse with me.

Will it ever stop?

Sober wife, happy anniversary husband, I'm 17 days sober and you've no idea how hard I've been trying, but I'm trying for us all.
Sober girl - driving late, who knew that was possible? And no stopping for wine/milk/whatever the excuse to stop for wine. A first.
Sober mum, nice to see the changes in my daughter even if she doesn't understand or want to know how much I miss her. She's happy and I'm glad.

OK so I'm sad and I miss her, but drinking won't change that.

I do waffle on, so thank you for getting this far! If you've something kind or helpful to add or just want to say hello. Please drop a line below. I'd appreciate that. Thank you.

Day 15 - Running away again

There's something to be said for Scottish weather, you find yourself with plan that instantly evaporate, we get use to it. We're use to rain and squall. Sober Sunday morning, how many of those have I ever had. If ever there was an excuse to drink its a Saturday night. Its like it's engrained. But, Saturday was sober, and Sunday morning whilst dull, wasn't throbbing with a hangover. Plans to head to the Isle of Skye scuppered by low cloud, relentless drizzle (the kind that ensures you have a fully clothed shower, its so penetrating and fine). We hunkered in a rather lovely walled garden cafe to ponder a change of plan as the Skye mountains were fully blanketed, no chance of even a remote peak of them so we retrenched.

A wee dram? No thanks, not today.
Eating breakfast sober without the paranoia and the hangover I find myself reflective of my inability to eat an enormous breakfast (was that just the booze needing it?) and the emptiness of my head. Well the head is still all consumed thinking about alcohol, but more avoidance than actual want at this time of day. We decide that we'll head over to the east coast and perhaps pop in on friends. My friend is a distiller for a large whisky company. One of those really lovely malts, they live near Speyside. Again the mind always over to booze, they've a well stocked shelf with lots of booze. 

We contact them over coffee and they're happy to see us. 'Will you stay?' - my husband mouths the words I've dreaded. 'Will you stay with the large wine stash, the spirits and the several bottles of malt all opened on a shelf in the lounge? You know we like you to help yourselves......' its a generous household. The man doesn't drink, albeit occasionally, but his partner is a drinking buddy of mine. A really really lovely drinking buddy, so generous. She's a 'topper--upper' the kind of friend that's got your glass (and hers) refilled within the blink of an eye, when I'm in the mood, I love it, When I'm not, I really dislike not knowing how much I've drunk. And, as it turns out they're on holiday too, just at home.

My inner voice knows its not a good idea this soon to stay. I'd like to see them, I don't feel strong enough to stay. Its a help yourself household and whilst I know I shouldn't, I think given the offer, I might.  Its booze central in my brain. No charge, come on in, pour yourself a large one.

'Just one night wouldn't hurt' says the wolf 'You're only cutting down, you've been so good, think about it, a wee dram, just one'.

We decide to see how it goes. Driving through some spectacular scenery, we talk about vices and drinking and smoking (my partner use to smoke). He's always up for anything, but seems to be able to stop drinking/smoking at the flick of a switch. I asked him how he did that, he told me it was a choice, me or the smoking (yes I'm that cruel, I don't smoke and I didn't want a smoker in my life (sorry smokers, very selfish I know)), as for the drinking and he was such a boozer, he just decided he couldn't anymore and enjoy his life outdoors. Like the Inn Keeper. So he stopped, just like that. He never drank in the house, but he rarely goes to pubs anymore. I asked why, he told me, its too tempting. So he changed his habits. Something to ponder. I've told him I am thinking of cutting down for a while, but I might stop. He says nothing nods, and holds my hand. 'You don't drink much, you never get drunk, just do what's best for you'. I'm ashamed and happy all at once. I'm drunk most nights he's ever known me, clearly I hide it well.

We did meet the lovely friends, we decide to go early and meet in the park and have a long lovely walk, returning home for hot chocolates and soup. Warmed through the bones, they ask us to stay and have some drams, chill out and watch a movie. I'm weak, I want to but I know I just can't Wolfie is in his best tux (?) and is polishing the crystal whisky tumblers in the corner of the room, I swear he's winking at me, in a tux, in my friends living room, right by the 8 bottles of malts, 1 bottle of gin, 3 bottles of red wine and two spirits I can't quite see. If you do an inventory of whats around to drink, surely that's bad. I'm happy there's more than 'enough' for us, I always check out the booze situation when we visit folks and generally have two bottles of wine with me (one for them and one for me, just in case). So, I know, I really need to leave, there's ample booze here and Wolfie is waking up. 

We can't stay I didn't bring any wine Wolfie. 'They've got plenty, they always drink yours at home' says the wine wolf in my head.

They ask again the fire on, a dram, a movie, why not. So I lie (again), 'We'd love too, I'd just like to get home tonight, another time, if that's OK.' The real answer is that I just can't, I'll drink I know I will. We make a plan to meet up later in the year, perhaps at new year as is normal for us. But, they'll come to us this year. I'm nervous but want to see them, I'll figure something out. 'You didn't fancy it?' says the husband as we leave, 'Not tonight (I lie, I'm good at lying) be nice to get home.' (safer at home, run away quickly, just drive before I change my mind and drink them dry)

We head home through misty glens and mountains to our own house. Its late, but its good to be home. I feel oddly safe here. We do have alcohol, but its not mine. There are two bottles of red and three bottles of cider. None of these are mine Wolfie, just saying. I know its probably insane to have some in the house, but these are his. For now they stay, if they start that loud brash karaoke crap, singing from the cupboards, they might need to go, but for now, they're humming softly. Humming I can deal with, for now.

I heat up a non-alcoholic drink, and snuggle up by the fire, we both agree a lovely lovely weekend. My first ever sober one.  I'm glad we didn't stay with the friends and the malts. Don't know if we will again, at least not yet. Easier to keep running away for now. Running works. Lying works.

Lying doesn't usually work like this, it usually ends up in a very happy satisfying drinking session. That's curious. Lying for now, helps me be sober.

I do waffle on, so thank you for getting this far! If you've something kind or helpful to add or just want to say hello. Please drop a line below. I'd appreciate that. Thank you.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Day 14 - The Sober Inn

So today we celebrate 11 and a half years of togetherness and one year of marriage. I am 16 days sober today and have been sober for less than probably a whole month in the last year, actually 29 days, yes I counted. That's some start to a marriage. 

Anyway armed with chocolate and as it transpired no road map, we took ourselves off for a night away over on the remote west coast of Scotland. There's a tiny village, a pocket of around 10 houses and an Inn. The Inn does the most amazing seafood and Scottish produce you'd ever care to eat. You see whilst I love to guzzle wine, my food belly always wins over. I hardly ever drink and eat. Seems counter productive somehow. I'm not saying wine doesn't go beautifully with food, its just its not what I drink wine for, as an accompaniment, I drink it to get drunk. So whilst I enjoy my food, if I've a choice, I'll normally pick a glass of water. The wine, I save for 'afters'.

So we've driven over hours and hours to reach this idyllic wee Inn to have dinner to celebrate our anniversary weekend. I persuaded himself that a 'camping hut' would be more of an adventure than staying at the actual Inn. I don't trust myself not to drink if faced with a wee tip toe up the stairs to bed in the Inn, rather than a 'schlump' up the hill back to the campsite. Not that I've never camped drunk, in fact I've always camped drunk, but there comes a time when its quite nice not to feel crap and not in control when you're off having fun. So sober camping it was and a sober dinner at the Inn.

My husband knows me well enough never to question water with my dinner. But, no drink beforehand, I'd actually got myself in quite a tizz and a mood about it all. I wanted a glass of wine before dinner, I always have one, but today I'm trying not to. He never drinks. Never normally, He drinks tonight and man do I resent it. Why tonight. Why when I'm giving up do you drink now. Just have one says the Wolf on the next table. Just have one says my husband. 

The man who owns the Inn sits down at our table. 'Drinks/Food?' a beaming smile. My husband orders a Guiness, asks if I'll have wine. 'I'm not sure I'm in the mood, maybe just water just now' a small voice inside my head sneaks out of my lips. [Husbands eyebrows go up]. 'Well you know me if I have a glass I'll likely drink a bottle and I'm cutting down!' (why this voice inside my head is speaking I do not know.) The Innkeeper smiles. 'I gave up' he says, '10 years ago, enough was enough, I prefer to be on my bike and living above all this beer, not good for your biking'.  

So I spend the start of my anniversary dinner with the sober Innkeeper and my husband comparing bike stories and injuries. What is it with middle aged men and extreme sport war wounds?

A large jug of water arrives and the moment of wanting finally passes. My husband sooks in his beer, I'm happy for him, genuinely. I really dislike beer, no temptation there. Equisite seafood and fish devoured, happily with water. 'Will we have a drink before we go up the hill?', we thought about it and decided actually we were happy enough to leave with no more, just the bill.

We plod up the muddy hill in the dark, torchlit. Thank god I didn't drink, its a very slippery slope. Who says romance is dead.

As we're settled down, crying wakes our slumber, drunk loud inconsolable crying. For once it isn't me. Whilst I can't sleep easily, I thank the Innkeeper for his arrival and his honesty. And that large jug of water.

Did he throw the wolf out or did I. Maybe he saw him and threw him out for me. I certainly didn't feel strong enough, but I'm glad he did.

I do waffle on, so thank you for getting this far! If you've something kind or helpful to add or just want to say hello. Please drop a line below. I'd appreciate that. Thank you.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Day 13 - Reflection and a trip away.

So I've been thinking lots about my life, my relationships and how I fit into them all, sober or otherwise. Truth is, I'm a bit scared. If I don't really know myself at all, duped by alcohol for years and the effects of it on my own behaviour. How do I fit in my own life. The real me. I'm not maudlin about this all but I'm curious, scared. So I'm reflective. I've also been thinking alot about chocolate. Where has it been missing all my life? Was it hiding behind the Merlot?

Wolfie, that delightful wine o clock reminding monster started his usual crap at t-time yesterday. Friday night is WINE TIME. No its not. I ate some chocolate and drank half a pint of milk. That shut the bugger up.

I caught my reflection today when out, I'm heavy, about time I thought about doing something active about that. I'm almost as wide as I am tall, yup in real life. And, a whole stone heavier this weekend than I was this time last year when I got married. Mostly wine belly increases. That has to stop.

Wolfie can keep the wine flubber. My present to him.

Among all the thinking of course, is real life, I'm off away for the weekend, my first time away 'sober' ever. I'm a bit scared and a bit excited. I know it will be challenging being out and about but, I'll be vigilant. 

I packed an extra pack of chocolates. Wolfie can pick up my stomach on Monday.

Happy Weekend Folks. Not sure if I'll find the time to blog or not but I'll be thinking of you all and the great support you've given me. For that thank you and help yourself to some chocolate.

Sober Mum, giving 'risotto directions' to the young lad, texting the lass about her car.
Sober Wife (of one year), off on an adventure soon to celebrate our anniversary and we'll have our first sober weekend. That's funny and a bit sad to write that.
Sober Girl, reflective saw the end of a movie last night, that never happened very often!

14 days sober today. Wowser. I'm not proud especially, more a bit shellshocked.

I do waffle on, so thank you for getting this far! If you've something kind or helpful to add or just want to say hello. Please drop a line below. I'd appreciate that. Thank you.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Day 12 - New beginnings and earthworms and embracing life

Me, embracing life, a while back.
Well, yesterday was a blast. I ran out the door in frenzy, to a new beginning at a local teaching centre. OK, so its only voluntary work, but I got somewhere by 9am and with no hangover. Amazing. I actually embraced life and learnt some stuff about Darwin and about earthworms. I love nature and learning more about it.

OK, the nerves were still there, but not the  normal paranoia and guilt. That felt nice. I was competent and capable. I also made sure I had breakfast before I went. I've been trying to get this volunteering off the ground since I moved, but my wine induced 'meh' with outside life hadn't let me push for it. So when I decided to stop drinking, I also decided I needed to write some stuff down about what I wanted to improve or gain, if I stopped drinking. The list looked a bit like this. Some of it is internal stuff, some material. That's OK, its my wish list.

Embrace life
A job, part time if possible. One of the ways to get this is to do some voluntary work. It gets my face into the right 'places'and puts me around 'likeminded folks' with similar interests.
Set up my own business (?) will that make me happy? I have confidence issues.
My book moved forward (its been in my head for a while)
Healthier me
Happier me
Engaged with friends and society, community, not looking inward.
To be a good friend
A tidy house
An uncluttered head
A clear face, those lines gone (vanity, but it affects my self confidence)
Pride - I want my family to be proud of me
Less flab :)
Another PhD? I drank my way through the last one quite spectacularly.
Travel more
A radio
A gazebo for the veg garden
A new bed (seen a gorgeous on in Ikea)
A garden bench
A pair of slippers
A new polo neck
A winter coat

Happiness came up a lot in my list. As did some material things, to show myself if I had the money I spent on wine, what I could do with it.

You can't buy happiness. Now I'm not sure if I've always been miserable (inside, I'm a happy person, it jumps out when I write (other stuff, not this whining stuff!). I'm contageously happy outside myself, I'm a positive person, I'm bouncy and happy. But the inside me isnt, never has been. The alone me isn't a happy person. And, for some reason in my head, that's the me I identify with drinking. Because I don't really understand why I drink.

I shouldn't need to. I'm loved, I'm warm, I have food. So am I miserable, or do I drink to keep myself miserable?

Something to ponder.

One of the biggest non-drinking things I'd been dreading was getting my period (sorry if TMI) I run to the hills for red wine and chocolate, once  a month I am a monster of depression (and if you'd read the past few days, you can see where this is going).  So yesterday it arrived. Explains the grry-no wine the night before I guess. And, today I feel fine. Who knew.

No red wine needed. Although I did find the winter punch Lucy mentioned (thanks Lucy!) and I'm armed with chocolate, just in case.

Yesterday a sober girl starting out a new chapter for work. I also went to my fiction writing class, not counting down the time to leave so I could get some wine.

Sober mum, frantic son needing a lab report reviewed, all done, no resentment about the time of night and the deadline. It didn't interfere with my drinking and I was happy to help.

Sober wife, planning a weekend escape with her husband to celebrate our up-coming anniversary this weekend. First sober weekend away for me in 25 years. I'm looking forward to it.

Thanks for reading. I'm two weeks sober tomorrow. £70 quids worth of wine not drunk, who knows how much other money spent on rubbish too. Maybe I should look at something on that silly list I have. New slippers........?

Today I'm not sad, whilst this feeling won't stay forever, I'm not sad deep inside myself. If that's what having no wine will do for me, I think, I must remember that when I'm feeling weak.

Happy Weekend when it comes. If I'm awol, I'll be in the forest where we got married last year, talking to the earthworms and embracing life. I do that a lot, only when sober.

I do waffle on, so thank you for getting this far! If you've something kind or helpful to add or just want to say hello. Please drop a line below. I'd appreciate that. Thank you.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Day 11 - The sober burn

So yesterday, with no 'OMG am I OK to drive' I got in the car in the morning and drove through to a chums. Getting into the car without thinking if I get stopped, am I legally under the limit enough to drive. Its a thought. So I got in the car and met some 'drinking chums' and confidants to meet for the day, have lunch and help them with some gardening. 

They were perky but 'rough' its the holidays and a litre of gin was guzzled last night, which in holiday is pretty normal behaviour for us all. So at lunch the first can of cider was cracked open. Now these are nice, lovely, normal friends. Professional family. I'm not a fan of 'daytime' drinking but if you're off and you're at home, and its your thing then grand.  Too much day to have to drink at lunch I think, but when its dinner time....... I start.

So we cracked on and did some gardening, for once I wasn't sweating, sticky sweat wine induced sweat so that was nice, if a bit unusual. It was a happy time. I love these folks dearly but they're drinking pals, so I wanted somehow for today to be different. I remembered Mrs D's blog about 'Fast Forward'. The last time I stood in this burn (small stream) it was about 3am, we'd had decided we'd have a takeaway and as we were staying over anyway we opened some gin. The kids (16/17) were with me and I said 'OK, just a couple, kids are here'........

Fast forward to a huge chinese meal strewn over the sides, we couldnt' be bothered to tidy it up and the kids did it. Kids retreated, more gin. Kids went to bed amongst a frenzy of sorting (not sorted previously cos we were drinking bedding etc) sleeping for folks. More gin. Everyone goes to bed at 1am. I'm though sleeping in the dining room. More gin, this time just from the bottle. More gin. Eventually I sleep. Then I wake up so incredibly sick, too far to get to the bathroom, out the dining room doors, down the steps to the burn being sick. Seemed sensible at the time to totter down a wooden 'ladder' set of steps into a burn at night, in bare feet to be sick. House disturbed, dogs awake and barking, I'm back in bed oblivious. I left the doors open, woke up the hosts by dogs barking. Woke up daughter being sick.

Told her I must have had a 'dodgy prawn'. Of course, never the drink.

Stopped that fast forward it made me sad. My drinking's never affected my kids or my relationships. No of course not.

Jobs finished a cup of tea and a lot of chat. My chums look tired. Nap time they say, too much gin last night. Need to nip out later for more tonic for tonight.

I love them dearly, but I'm glad to make my excuses and leave. A day time visit for me, right now, is all I have to give. I'm so glad their my friends but I'm sad for the times I've had just 'a couple' and its turned into carnage. Not proud.

Tired and hungry later, I got very angry that I couldn't have any wine last night. I know about being Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired. (HALT) I know that's when I'm vulnerable to drink. Its a late night taking back a washing machine we bought that wasn't working. It was a bit stressful. Dinner didn't get made until gone 9pm, I retreated into my grumpy shell and sulked. (Like a five year old). All of the day's good work, somehow resented.

'I can't believe you didn't stay through and see your friends tonight. I can't believe you didn't have gin tonight with them, they're drinking right now and you're here. Some friend you are'.

Wolfie locked the chocolate in the fridge. 'You don't want it' he grumbled. I contemplated a cider, I didn't have one. I don't know why. 

Bed at home, sulky seemed the only option right now. Another day tomorrow.

Sober mum, chatted to the boy about his uni lab report and we discussed some sciency stuff. 
Sober girl, tired and grumpy but sober, missing and not missing her drinking chums all at once.
Sober wife watched a documentary about the Higgs Boson Collider with my husband.

It gets better, I know it will. I'm mouring my old life for some crazy reason. The sober burn just doesn't seem so welcoming but I know its where I belong.

I do waffle on, so thank you for getting this far! If you've something kind or helpful to add or just want to say hello. Please drop a line below. I'd appreciate that. Thank you.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Day 10 - Is chocolate the new wine?

Good morning. Be warned this sober blog has actually signs of happiness in it. Yes today is good, I have discovered the joy of chocolate. Yes, I'm a girl, but the whole chocolate thing, I've just never got. Until now, and let me tell you its awesome. I'm thinking maybe this is a momentary blow to the head, a bit like my out of character sober-ness. *yes I know this isn't a word, I'm dyslexic as well as a wine head so sometimes I make up words, easier than spelling words I just can't get the hang of. 

I often tell myself I can't be any shape of an alcoholic, as I can't spell it (*attempt number 4 got it right). Always with the excuses......I just like wine, I like drinking.

So yesterday I've pondered the no alcohol life, 'is this it', 'is life really this 'ordinary'', 'is this what I want', no wine escape, no gin buzz, no cava bubbles delishishness. IT SO DULL. Oh man its almost Sloe Gin and Mulled wine season. Man really, you're stopping now. I lolled and languished in self pity for a long while dreaming of fires and red wine and skiing and vin chaude.

The question I then asked myself was does it really matter, at the rate your slurping it back Mrs, you're like, erm, really savouring the taste? Get a grip, you drink like you're a fish, its like you're sucking the life out the bottle. It could be bloody lighter fluid. The ironic part of my brain is always good for a bit of perspective.  Seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness my arse.  Just means its dark early, its cold and you can drink earlier.

So I've been doing lots of reading and I wanted to get a bit more 'perspective' so I signed up for Belles soberpodcasts on Tired of Thinking about Drinking. I'd listened to a couple of them online and her voice just wriggled into my brain like a lovely quirky, comforting, honest, brain worm *sorry Belle* there is of course nothing 'wormy' about you.

Signed up and newly sober, which means I'm paying more attention to the real world than to myself, the small print said something like thanks for being awesome (or something like that) and click here and I'll send you some chocolate. Now I'm not really a chocolate fan, I only eat it rather grudingly, once a month at 'that time', but the thought of someone taking the time to send something to me sparked my inner 'people are really awesome' button.

Fast forward to yesterday lunchtime, I'm eating a healthy lunch (for a change I'm not consuming shitty food and lots of carbs to abait my hangover, my inner comfort food monster and my dodgy guts), I'm making some nice coffee (my stomach is feeling good actually, so I can have real coffee) and the postie comes. Plonk through the door, a bar of chocolate, dark, zesty and the skin is almost ripped off it before its out of the box. My darling, where have you been all my life. Thank you Belle, thank you sober bloggers, thank you sober communities. Chocolate is awesome.

Is chocolate my new wine? I double check the calendar, its not 'quite' that time yet. Bizarre but it makes me so HAPPY. I have two squares and put it away, restraint and want to savour it later.

No 'Wolfie' last night, saited by chocolate I think. Who knew. I know its early days and he's 'here' lurking, sulking, but for yesterday, he shut the fuck up. For that I'm hugely grateful. OK so I was still 'sulky' with no wine but no wine was drunk.

I've joined a few online communities Women For Soberity where I'm pledging each day to have a sober 24 hours and thinking about the various things I can do to help me. A wonderful sober community exists and its free and its private and its anonymous and its safe. Living Sober is another place I've found that also rocks and am hanging out on various blogs reading back articles. I'm reading sober blogs and picking through the ones which resonate with me like Ahangoverfreelife and Soberbia to name but a few. And yes I've decided I totally need help, whether I like it or not. The support out there is breathtakingly amazing. Thank you all. OK, so I'm still sulky at my 'I don't think I can drink' plight, then as if my magic, I read a couple articles by MrsD about cravings and if you can have fun without wine.

That is bullshit (that you need booze to make it all good)

Now I didn't drink at my own wedding, as I wanted to enjoy it with other folks. What does that tell you. I did of course start drinking at 1am after most of the public had gone, til gone 5am, missed my first night 'cuddling' my husband (did I mention he's a patient man). He was cool with it, its what I do (maybe its what I did) I drink well after he's in bed, often alone, sometimes with chums.

This one really hit home. Often I'll just have the one, a couple. Then if you push the fast forward button, I'm pissed, asleep alone on the couch, or in what knows what state, situation, mess, all of my own making. How many times have I hit the fast forward button, stayed over with chums cos I'm too pissed to go home, had arguments about nothing, stormed off, quietly sat on my sofa numbing myself. Too many to even think about and the worst of them, I hardly bear to utter, they're so shameful.

Push the fast forward button (what can/does/might have happenned when you have 'just the one', or more.....)

Suddenly I'm thoughtful, full of chocolate and wondering, if I can actually keep Wolfie at bay, somehow, please, somehow, why on earth I ever have drunk anything. I've very scarily signed up for Belles 100 Day Challenge. Am I insane, probably, but right not I don't hurt and I'm frightened but I don't want to go back to pushing that fast forward button and having Wolfie in my head the whole time. I'm scared to talk to anyone I know about it all, what will I tell them. Right now, I'm happy quietly moving forward. 

I'd never take other recreational drugs. Lose control, me, never. But wine, that's OK, isn't it? That's normal, its not a real drug. (oh but it is)

Ah the irony. As for telling people, not yet. I might never and those drinking buddies I've had so close to my heart, somethings got to change, it might be me, I hope we weather it.

So, without the wine bells, with Wolfie snacking on sober-love-chocolate, I had a sober bath, dyed my sober hair. It struck me, I always dye my hair at night, have I ever been sober? That might explain all the hair dye marks on the floor/walls before we moved and my rather random hair.

I tell myself I'm clumsy. The evidence would suggest I'm generally hammered in charge of hair dye. Surely that's not clever.

Yesterday sober mum (by text), sober girl (got some 'my life admin done', instead of adopting my normal head-up-arse stance) and sober wife. 

[The new chocolate eating thing has 'himself' a bit confused, but we'll take it one day at a time still.]

PS I thought there would be less words today, sorry about that. I'm off out for the day soon, so instead of being succinct, I got up earlier. Now, that's a first. As is today being Day 11.

I do waffle on, so thank you for getting this far! If you've something kind or helpful to add or just want to say hello. Please drop a line below. I'd appreciate that. Thank you.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Day 9 - The longest journey ever

Did I mention I have utterly NO patience. Not a jot, I'm a million miles an hour kinda person. My family laugh that I have two speeds, stop and go. My go is my normal cranked up life speed, my stop happens with wine. And quite spectacularly stop I do. Its my head switch off, its my off switch. Otherwise I keep going and going. Its my pressure switch, my coping switch, its just how I get through the day. So right now I feel like I'm in some weird altered reality. I've taken October 'off' from as much of life as I can. Rather than whine (not the red kind) about having 'nothing to do', I'm sorting myself out. I'd say fix, but lets face it I'm not that amazing. Right now, I'll settle with sorting myself out.

So instead of getting up hungover and punishing myself at breakneck speed, I'm getting up doing a few chores (hens/dogs/fire) and then hopping back into bed for a bit. Like some kind of crazy spinning top, I'm trying to stop winding myself up early and instead try something different. So instead of parking myself in the kitchen, I'm parked on the sofa bed in the living room. We live in a wee cottage, there are bedrooms but for the past couple weeks, I've parked myself (and hubby) in here with the fire, its cosy. So early evening instead of being propped up on my 'end' of the sofa wine in hand, I've been making up the bed, after dinner and we're 'cosy', like camping. Its also too far from the 'bed' to the table to easily reach my wine glass.

And, drinking wine in bed, whilst I've done it, so not cool and not easy to hide. So I'm trying to change/shift even temporarily our routine. 

I'm also working in the room I normally drink in. I generally only come in this room to sit, be cosy and drink. Having read lots about changing routines, I'm trying to 'sober up this room'. Might sound daft but there are rooms I don't associate with drinking. And, I'm largely an 'in the house' drinker. So when folks said shake up your routine a bit, I listened. What am I not doing.....

I'm not shopping anytime after around 3pm because that's the kind of time I buy wine. I never buy wine in the morning, usually still sworn to not drinking ever again before lunch.

I'm not going out in the evenings for 'treats' to the local supermarket, because if I've got through the shopping early, not bought wine, by 5-6pm I'm adamant I'm buying some. So we always go out for excuses like treats and I put enough other shopping in the basket to make the wine look like an additional purchase rather than the sole purpose of the visit.

I'm not going back and forth to the kitchen to drink two glasses of wine in secret for every glass I drink in public. I'm taking a large glass of water through with me after tea.

I'm not going to drink his special wine again, I've moved it from the back of the cupboard to the counter top, in full view, it would be insane to open it in full view. I've replaced two bottles so far and it was bloody expensive and its stealing.

I'm not giving myself a hard time about half the jobs I'm not getting done this month so far. They'll wait. For the first time in my life I'm not doing extra anything, I'm just lazing around, reading.

I'm not paranoid. That's one of the oddest things about trying to get sober. Not being paranoid, did he see the wine bottles, did I say something really stupid, did I talk to the kids, did I text someone and say something stupid, did I eat the entire contents of the fridge because I was drunk. Does anyone know.

OK so there's still some paranoia, will he find out I'm writing this, how many people know or wonder if I have a drinking problem. My face is all red lines, do other people think I look like I drink way too much. Do they know I drink in secret. I guess that paranoia might abait in time.

I'm not worrying (too much) about how much I might have damaged myself. These lines on my face, these veins, do I have cirrhosis? I don't know if I'm brave enough to find out.

I've only told one friend I've stopped for a bit, she knows I get worried about my drinking (we don't drink together) so I said I was going to stop for a bit. My other friends, my drinking friends, I'm not sharing with them yet. One I'm seeing day time tomorrow, normally I'd stay over and soak myself in gin and wine. I've suggested to meet and help them do some landscaping in their garden instead. I'll leave the dogs at home so I can have an excuse to come back. Ok, so they'll complain, but for now, that's all I've got of me to share. The daytime sober me, the gardener, the friend, not the drinker. She's not available right now. If they knew they'd be cross with me, or bitchy. The last time I wasn't drinking I just got a 'What do you want a medal'............'You're not the same when you're not drinking'.....blah blah blah. 

My other lovely friend who's drinking at least as much as me, we had a couple days last week of no wine together. Probably her first days in months. She's sensitive and emotional and whilst I'm proud of both our efforts I don't feel like saying 'Guess what, I've not drunk for 9 days in a row and 11 days this month'. Nope, she's trying to cut down and finding it so hard. I'm not saying that to her. She's staying at the end of the month for a night (maybe two) so somehow I need to find the amour to battle the wolf on those evenings, with someone drinking. I can't ask her not to drink, our house is her escape from her chaotic family life. Its her time, if she wants to drink that's cool. But, I don't want to join her. I've asked her not to bring gin. Spirits and I are a bad combination. They hit the 'drink until you go crazy spot' far quicker than wine. 

No gin for me. No wine for me. This is likely to be the longest journey ever. I'm excited and dreading her visit. We drink, its what we do, its how we've coped with single parenthood, crappy husbands and really dire finances. Wine glass in hand, we cope with the crap life chucks at us. But, now we've both two kids flown the nest, life should be easier. Shouldn't it?

Then I remember I have no job right now, which is OK short term, but I do need one, who knew so much of my self-esteem was wrapped up in working. When I feel stronger I must seriously work on finding a job. I've started volunteering at a local place, helping with teaching. Its a start.

I didn't want to drink last night, yup I thought about it, but I've just told myself not today. 

I wish I could say I'm proud but my inner voice is just bitter and bored, 'Really, is this it, not drinking is a bit dull'.

Sober wife (big style nice dinner and everything), sober mum (no kid action but I posted some letters to them that came), sober girl, even if she is bitter and twisted.

I do waffle on, so thank you for getting this far! If you've something kind or helpful to add or just want to say hello. Please drop a line below. I'd appreciate that. Thank you.

PS I promise myself everyday I'll write less. Sheesh that's not working.