Tuesday, 30 December 2014

My sober week (late, blame the visitors, I do)

Please note this post contains probably more prolific swearing than your ears might wish to hear so if it offends then please pop by tomorrow when its out of my system. Hugs x
So once a week, when I get one minute to myself (here starts the bitching) I like to reflect on my week and think about what I've done, where I've come from, what I've learnt and where I am this week. So here goes. Xmas kinda came and went we had a houseful of visitors and my BF's kids. Whilst I enjoyed the kids, my husband and the dogs, the other visiting adults, I have to say were inconsiderate drunken, planning on drinking, buying drinks, or hungover lazy MF bastards.
I consoled myself with lots of pretty twigs and wooden decorations and have found one of my sober treats appears to be setting fire to things. So I set myself a lovely fire before everyone arrived and enjoyed the peace before the onslaught. All very Scandinavian and festive. Please note all fires happen in real fireplaces, not in the middle of the kitchen table. Honest.
I managed to go out for a fair few walks, mostly with my friends kids because no one else could be arsed. Like even on Xmas day my best friend said, she was having the day off of her family. So I bundled me, husband and the kids and mutts off regularly for a few walks and good old chats whilst the others scoffed wine. I'm not bitter about the drinking. I'd kinda hoped to spend some time with my best friend, I was very sad she didn't come and share our walk. Sometimes I don't understand folks. And, I'm sorry if I sound moany. However, having time with her kids was utterly awesome as I miss my own, so for a while I guess I played mother to two spectacular girls. I'm so grateful for that.
The dogs chased squirrels and birds and without a hope of catching anything they enjoyed the fresh air, we all did. Xmas day dinner was chicken. Not turkey, so the girls in the garden were not happy. Fear not we didn't eat them, they are not those kind of chickens but they rewarded me with 2 eggs on xmas day so they got extra treats. I'm glad I've got space to have them and their company is comedic. 
We were blessed with lots of walks and sunshine and being the only folks in our house, who could actually legally drive this festive break, we took advantage of the days and got out regularly.  Their loss. Everyday folks started drinking in the morning. If I'd done Belle's advice of going to bed after folks were on their third drink, I'd have been in bed by 1.25 pm most days. I know its xmas but even so. I am grateful I'm sober and no longer relying on my poor husband to do all the driving.
The sun's still up and down quickly here so the light changes the views by the second. The view from our local beer garden/outdoor cafe, pub closed, the quiet was breathtaking. Although there were lots of folks stomping off their Xmas dinner so we shouted lots of merry xmases. I'm so grateful we live in a bonnie place. I'm a bit ashamed to say our visitors ONLY saw the wine aisle in the local supermarket when they ran out.  Their loss. I really enjoyed the time with their girls. And I bought not a drop of wine or any other spirit this xmas. That's a first for me. We'd warned them. 
I'm grateful that for once I made a pudding at xmas that I like. I made trifle, with dream topping and hundreds and thousands and ate 9/10ths of it. Yes I have a food baby now. But it was worth it. Our dinner was nice, we had an apple fizzy toast on our table and told our guests to bring their own wine if they wanted it. So they did. We banned spirits. Too much of a trigger for me, I love gin. So none was allowed over the threshold. I'd mentioned banning wine too but was met with considerable resistance. This time, we found a compromise, no spirits. Next time I think we might be a sober house. I'm pondering that one.
Lots and lots and lots of yummy non-alc drinks were consumed. And the last bottle of home made elderflower cordial was taken from its hiding place last June and presented to my husband for his present. He was in heaven. Clever me to have thought to save him some, such a taste of summer. In return I got a boiler suit. Its all I asked for so I was too in heaven. I'm grateful my husband gets my daft ways.
I did have a bit of a tantrum during the holidays. I have to confess. I'd saved my last glassful in my last bottle of my lovely mulled punch to have by the fire having walked my friends kids all day. When I returned to find the last of it drunk by my guests before they started on the 'proper stuff' I have to say, I had a melt down. Privately obviously I am after all British. As the nearest bottle to replace it was 18 miles away, I was a little 'vexed' to say the least. He was lucky it was dark and my wood axe was in the shed. (Honestly I'm more vindictive than violent).
So being a thoughtful sort, I accidentally poured a rather splendid looking 1/2 full bottle of very expensive red wine doon the sink when everyone else was 'relaxing' in front of the fire. Whoops. I told them I thought it was cooking wine and added it to next weeks roast lamb prep. And served up, cold cuts, cheese and biscuits for tea (without the wine) as we all know revenge is a dish best served cold. When asked where the last of the wine was in the larder, I shrugged and said sorry you must have drunk it. Not that I'm bitter or anything. But I certainly didn't nor did I offer to get more at gone 9pm, so that was that, I told them I was too tired to drive and snuck off for a lovely and my only sober bath of the holidays.
So, lots of days of walking, limited time to myself, but lots of time with the kids. And lots of time with the mutts and lots of exploring for some of us. 
Wild Haggis in action.
Unfortunately for me, my temper is rather close to the surface at the moment, so I'm trying to walk that off and try to be more mindful and thoughtful. It was only last year that our new year was like this for my other half. A house full of drinkers and only him able to drive.  My friendships have me a bit confused and thoughtful. I'm not quite sure if my BF and I can weather this one. I might have to have a sober house and see if she decides to accept my change. I know that's a lot for her. I understand her stresses and pain, but I can't go back myself. Its making me sad for me and sad for her kids. She's back up in two weeks. Then she's coming on skiing holiday with us in January (without kids), I need to think about how we move forward. We've talked about trying to doing DryJanuary together, but she wants to take the holiday week off!!!!!!!!! None of us will be drinking on our trip, we've two youngsters with us too. Man, there's a conversation there to be had isn't there. I know its not my issue but I'm not having alcohol in our chalet over the holiday. No way.

Anyway, back to December!!! We finished their trip by a trip to the local chrstmas market. The local city has a huge continental style market over the holidays so we (hubby and I) took the kids for a day trip.
Needless to say, all I was interested in was the food. I'd finished the trifle by then. And whilst I love a mulled wine, I prefer my mulled punch. Thanks to Lucy for introducing it to me.
So that was Xmas. Lots of walking, eating and drinking. Lots of chats with teenage girls, some skype conversations with my own kids, some very cool presents and lots of activities. Some tantrums, some tears, but lots of love. Sober Xmas, done. Even if there were tantrums. Right now I can be very grateful for that. And, all the support I've been given from you all. I thank you so much for that.

Sorry my post is late but I hope you're all good. Hugs and more from me later.
And if I don't see you before, Happy 2015.

PS We've pinky-sweared that we're never ever doing Xmas like this again. Like ever.

Train rides

10.17 train to Edinburgh to meet a sober friend for a coffee. I'm nervous but excited. 

Manny (a scottish man) drinks bottle Buckie (buck fast fortified wine) For his breakfast. Google it you'll be scared. 
It's potent stuff. I've never had it but its hot s fierce reputation.

Drinking from the bottle train Full of Bairns and families. Sad. Poor fella before I'd have felt odd, now I feel so sad
For him.

I chatted to him about life, the weather, nothing really. We shared a table seemed rude not to talk to him. He was jovial but bitter. Loud but not offensive. A fair few eyebrows raised. A few bairns moved to inside seats.

A man in the opposite seat offered to swap with me if I wanted a different view, I declined but thanked him for his kindness. 

The drunk man kept chatting and swigging. I'm not judging don't think I am. He's lost his family, his job, he's sofa surfing. There but for a moment, our lives intermingled. I thought to myself I'm probably not too different to you. I just got off my downward drinking spiral earlier.

I offered to recycle the empty bottle for him. Hardly a help but all I could do. Explaining to my husband why I have an empty bottle of Buckie in my rucksack, a whole other story. It came home with me, no recycling in town that I saw easily.

I'm so glad I'm Sober 87 days. That could have been me. Maybe that's why I wanted to recycle the bottle. Who knows what goes on in my crazy mind.

Hugs, back soon folks.

Pop over to Lucy to read more stuff about scots and booze. It's shocking.


Friday, 26 December 2014

Day 84 boxing day

Finally made it to the bathroom and got some sober time! Yay.

Sober day today bit a bit squabbly and full of extra visitors. Aside the squabbles not bad.

Miss my kids but that's normal.

Tired and an early night. Folks asked to stay an extra day. 

Had a bit if a hankering for wine to guzzle tonight but as my visitors are the hard core kind that count the wine in for themselves, there's no extra around. So firstly there never would have been enough, secondly I'm 85 days tomorrow and thirdly it would be back to square one. Big style.

One thing I can say hand on heart is my need to get minced isn't about moderation. It's about getting rat arsed and dealing with stress.

My mother turned up today, by brother wanted to visit and she was the only way to get him here. She stayed for 1/2 hour enough time for tea and for a quick exit. No chat about anything aside the traffic, she just doesn't do people especially daughters. 

I will confess I needed a Valium (low dose prescribed) to get through that one. But beats downing a vat of vodka. So brother stayed unexpectedly but he's easy. 

Later, Sober relaxing bath did the trick once she'd gone Bubble magic.

Half way through visitors, my tolerance for bullshit is zero. My tolerance for hangover management is also zero. What a waste of a holiday for these folks.

I asked my husband if he often felt like this over holidays with visitors and my drinking with them until stupid o clock.  Any excuse to get bladdered.

Yes. He hated it. Poor man.

At least we are on the same team now.

Hugs folks definitely a two person escape for sober Xmas next year!!

I cannae wait until Hogmanay (new year) next week. When it's new visitors, but like revolving beds here.

New Years resolution?  

A Sober House?

(Ps having probs with blog comments, bear with me please) x

Monday, 22 December 2014

Day 78 - Festive planning.

Hey its Monday. Hope that's going well for you. So last night we took the bull by the horns and got some of the festive decks out. I like to think that even with 8 people here over the next week, I'm going to keep my sober cool. 

Remind me I said that.

I've my bestest booziest friend coming to stay, well one of them, I have a few. And, its going to be difficult she's also bringing her entire family with her, including another big time boozer. I've primed her to know that I'm not drinking right now. I have my own reasons and I've shared as much as I'm comfy with.  I'm not really very comfortable with drink being here, but I got told in no uncertain terms, we have to drink when we're here. We can't not drink (the we is the visitors not me). Yes, I could have cancelled. But like so many things this has been arranged BS (before sober) and whilst I am nervous, I'd feel even shittier if we cancelled. We've all had a lot of family stuff go on this year, a lot of changes and despite the plonk, I'd really not like to let them/us down. So whilst I feel like a shit friend for not wanting anyone in particular to be here, I've not cancelled and that's my responsibility.

Remind me I said that.

So in with the festive planning I've done a shed load of shopping for so many different types of posh juice. We've even corked fizzy apple for the table on Xmas day. So my sober slurping is sorted out. I've got wee can's of mocktails (I know I can make them, but this is first aid mocktails) for when the witching hour strikes and we decide its time for a wee slurp. I've no-alochol wine (rose) as well. Some might think this is cheating, but, I don't its quite nice and the two drinkers are on red or white, so there's not a cats chance in hell that this stuff will get muddled up. I chose pink for a reason. We've also lots of treats and nibbles in, lots of nuts and bits and bobs. And if all else fails I'll gorge on rice cakes. They fill me up nicely like a bean bag.

I know that being sober means I can escape the madness in the car and there's no limit to that. I can walk the dogs after meals, before meals or just sit in the car at the end of the lane with a mars bar and the radio on. I can escape, but living in the middle of nowhere means I need to be sober to do this. So being sober and my sober car, is important to keep safe for escaping. I mean where would batman be without the bat mobile.

We've also two kids coming of teenage years, so I've looked out a shed load of dvd's, games and the Wii so we can have a bit of a giggle whilst the adults get sloshed. I've also created a few sitting spots around the house. I've not bought one bottle of wine, and I'm determined I wont. I've told them to bring their own, not very festive of me but quite honestly I don't care. I've spent all my money on juice, flowers and bubble bath. I'm determined not to get stressed. As essentially xmas dinner is a roast dinner with presents, what's to stress about that (aside the people)?

With 8 bodies in this wee cottage a bit of planning has been required. Initially I was going to put us on a sofa bed nearest the kitchen, but having had a good virtual sober slap from Belle, I'm keeping my bedroom. I need a calm cosy sanctuary, a sober cave to run to. And here's where I need your help. I've upped the treats and the sober slurps in the kitchen. What do I need in my sober cave?

So far I've replenshed the flowers with a huge bunch of lilies from my son. I've got the bedding ready, my favourite and my favourite cover. I'm hiding my favourite towel in here. I think I might blow a gasket if I see my friends dad all fluffed up and wearing my sober towel. So that's in here too. I've a couple magazines, my phone charger, my ipad and charger. I was going to download a kindle app and put some books on there I've been wanting to read like Mrs D goes without. I've rescue remedy if needed, I've bubble bath for escape baths, we do have a spare telly I might bring that through although I hate tv's in bedrooms. I've even downloaded an app which lets me text from the house, as we've no signal here. So a sober text can even save the day. I'm keeping Living Sober and sober blogs loaded and will listen to Belle's sober podcasts. Hmmm,

What else could I need in my sober cave? Any clues? 

Escape tools - car keys, dogs for walking, books, podcasts, baths, bed, magazines, quiet sober cave, sober slurpy juice, mocktails, rescue remedy, ipad, kindle, sober pals to text or call.

What's in your sober arsenal over xmas? Please do let me know. Whilst I'm on Day 80 tomorrow, Day 83 on xmas day, I'm really dreading this. I know I could have cancelled but even if I did we'd likely have ended up doing something with someone else out of my control. Better the devil you know, eh?

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Seven Days Sober

This weeks been a miserable one, [feel free to leave now!] the weathers been mostly like this drizzly and damp, dark and cold. Not a lot of fun and I'm afraid its mirrored my mood. Its been a bleak, dark week, some family stuff going on and a fair bit of anxiety over that. Sunday I really wanted to just drown it all in wine. I confessed this to my husband, who said we both know it won't help. He's very clever sometimes. I'm being more open with him these days and its really helping. He's making me strong and listening to me, so I'm being more honest. I find it hard to trust people, so for me this is a new growing aspect of our relationship. Sober benefit. And phone calls with new sober friends, listening and helping so much, thank you lovely you know who you are.

I'm also gearing up to a Xmas at home with boozy chums staying so that's got me a bit rattled. I'd emailed Belle, my sober penpal on the 100 day sober challenge, and told her I was a bit wobbly. She talked a lot of sense and also suggested I join in on her festive photo round up. Whilst there was NOTHING festive happening here, I'd a mind to make a wreath for the door so a couple hours with the loppers, some string and a wooden hanging later, as if by magic a wreath appeared with holly and ivy from the garden. (Don't peer into the messy kitchen, it needs a tidy!)
Truth be told I was quite chuffed with it. And, it distracted me out of my sullen mood.  
I had my therapy session this week and after I managed to have a half hour walk in the park where a cherry tree was blossoming far too early, whilst only a smatter of flowers, a bright light in the grey day. A fair bit of reflection, a few tears, these things take time. Both kids are now off to their fathers for Xmas, whilst this is normal in our lives, for me its a time I've always found difficult and isolated. I need to work through these feelings and find light and love with them, however the distance.
I took a trip on a train this week, visit a friend from my old life who's near. It was such a lovely change of scene and instead of driving, the train was a real relaxing time. Usually I weigh up petrol v train ticket money. This time I weighed up driving v reading time. I opted for the latter. A bit of a change for me.
A wee bit of time on beaches trying to make the noises in my head stop. Trying to calm the panic and stress that normally leads to drinking.  Overwhelm and upset often lead me to find solace and comfort in a bottle of wine (or two), but this week, as suggested I've tried to ride through the emotional turmoil. I use to think I never was a person who cried. Since getting sober this is certainly not the case. Tears are frequent and often. My skin is raw, prickly, shrinks to the sense of the slightest touch.  I'm desperately trying not the retreat, but its hard.
I'm never great at this time of year. Short days spoil my mood. I'm so looking forward to tomorrow when the shortest day is gone and from now on the days lengthen.  And, hopefully with it more light in my life and a lighter heart maybe.

Now, I know as a very new sober person, to be vigilant for stray glasses of wine trying to get through my sober superhero protective suit. So when faced with our local works 'doo' I side stepped the mulled wine, the sparkling wine, the beer, the cider, the spiced cider and found a wee jug of sober juice to sup from. Safe I thought. No, brandy in the pate, wine in the stew, I carefully avoided. Well done me out of danger. But, but, but, no I didn't expect, at a 'Festive Brunch' to find myself choking on a chocolate pudding.
Not a sixpence hiding in this (as sometimes at Xmas puddings can hide silver), but in these 'brunch' puddings it tasted like a gallon of whisky had been added. If you asked me if I'd be sitting in a large glass house dodging alcohol from every angle, including the chocolate pot puddings, I'd have thought you mad. Its daytime, people are driving (?) we're in a glass house, its 11am in the morning and its riddled with booze. I deftly (and quite unlike a LADY, that I assure you that I am) scraped the pudding back out of my mouth. A bit like a kid eating something disgusting. Firstly I'm driving and secondly it was rank, I hate booze in food, its vile. I'm sure if I tried to set a match to it, it would have flambayed itself. Begone Wolfie and your cunning xmas tricks, hiding booze in everything. You didn't get me you bugger. Almost though.
Date night, a couple of bottles of super posh soda from M&S whilst he perferred the raspberry, I perferred the lemon and mint. We had a sober carpet picnic, curled up and watched a film. I have to say I'm spending more time with my husband than a bottle of Merlot. Its nicer. And a nice way to start the weekend. No hangover this morning.
Today we went and picked our xmas tree, I love this tradition of bringing evergreen tree and light into the house. The smell is intoxicating. I also saw this wee penguin and knew that it would make us smile. In free floating splendour wonderful little penguin.  So that's was my week in photos. Some dark days, full of emotion, compelling to drink to forget or dull the pain. But, depsite the odds we got there.  Fecking hard this sober stuff sometimes. Some days lighter with friends, sober treats and love.

Whilst I'm nervous about xmas and having a boozy chum and her family to stay, I'm going to keep upping my sober tool kit, bling up the sober treats big style and make time for me and my sober self. And try not to go mad. Best Xmas present a girl can have eh? Sober Santa.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Day 76 - date night!

How times change! Raspberry and lemon posh soda!
Happy weekend folks.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Day 74 - The sober bridge

Firth of Forth road and rail bridges
So yesterday I was up with the larks and out the door before my eyes were awake. My husband drove to his work and I then carried on to my sons old flat which was needing emptied. Happy girl doing some family stuff even if he's over in sunny climes whilst I'm hot and dusty. Has given me a good chance to review the things he 'borrowed' for university and take a few things home. Well that will teach him won't it. I now have my favourite mug back, but not my favourite bed, well because I'm not that mean.

There is a big road bridge over the firth of Forth which I needed to cross in my journey. Now, there are two bridges actually one for road and one for rail. Each one I've used a million times. But what struck me in the sunrise strewn sky was the construction of the new road bridge beside the old one, its really coming on well. 

As I looked at it new and in process of being erected I wondered about the path I'm on today. This sober path. And, bear with me, remember it was really early so my brain was probably addled. So this new bridge crosses the river to Edinburgh in a similar place to the others. But, its slightly further up stream and in a slightly different position. Whilst I am very familiar with the other bridges, this bridge is new. It fulfills the same purpose getting me on my journey to the same destinations. I might only ever travel over this new bridge sober. 
New bridge in Forth of Firth being constructed to support future travel between the central belt and the north of  Scotland

Same destination, slightly different views. Still under construction. Is this bridge a potential mirror for my sobriety. 

Its taken a long time in the planning. Its foundations have taken a considerable amount of time. Its only now becoming really visible to the public. It still offers the same confidence and destination choices, but its newer, shinier and likely to stand the test of time a lot longer than the old bridge. More reliable maybe, better constructed and much more likely to last the distance.

Well that's what my sleep head was saying to me yesterday. Sober bridges indeed, what next eh!

I'm beginning to think that I think and work at sober harder than I did at drinking. Same topic (drinking), different perspective (sober), different thoughts (how to maintain abstinence and look after me).

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, 16 December 2014

Day 73 - Sober balance

So mostly, I don't know about all of you my life feels sometimes I a bit like this. Kinda balanced but fucked if it all goes wrong. Like big time buggered.

For me the relationships around me, like many of us, the folks I love, folks I care about, folks in general, to me, are hugely important. Getting sober has made me see I do far more precarious balancing with my own feeling, time, life and emotions than is possibly good for me. That's been a hard lesson to learn. Don't get me wrong, I'm not an utter wonder-lass martyr, I mean I use Auntie Bessies roast tatties on occasion just like any other person. But, I'm beginning to see that my balancing act was well held up by this fella and his well known sister chardonnay. 

Again its been a challenging week with one of my kids (the female one, if you were wondering). I'm bordering between speechless and hysterical at some of the treatment I've been getting.  Fear not I'm silently hysterical, no one knows if they've hurt me. I don't know why. I guess I don't trust enough to share these type of emotions freely.

Yes I realise that I need to let go, but honestly mothers have feelings too sweetheart. We are but people who are genetically disposed to caring for your well being, despite the crap you lob at us. We have crap resistant skin, clothes and a good washing machine.

And here what I realised in the grocery shop today snivelling after a therapy session in which I was told 'this seems to be causing you a lot of emotional pain'. Yup, I guess the snot gave it away, eh? I'm not being obtuse I promise. I wanted to say 'no shit sherlock'. I'm angry and raw. But, I'm not rude. But, yes, I agreed, this (relationship) right now, today, is causing me a lot of pain. A lot. Yes I want to pour wine on my head. Yes. Even now. But, I didn't. And, I won't. Not today.

Later, after the session, as I strolled around sainsbugs looking like someone in the height of a severe hayfever fit, I was hit by an epiphany so many conflicting up and down thoughts. Thoughts, firing at me quicker, and as elastic as the threads holding the the ups and downs of a decent tarts knickers, it suddenly hit me. 

No one is worth losing my sober over.  Not even, (and in some way's I'm ashamed to say this) not even, and especially NOT, emotional turmoils and ups and downs. Not even hot searing, confusing, tearful emotions due to the actions of the people around me, not even by my own daughter. Yes I need balance, yes I need to find a way to deal with these raw, hurtful, worthless, (sometimes) angry feelings. But I can only do that sober.
Like this big pile of rocks I found on the beach a while back, I need a balance. And, I need to protect my emotional self now that its not balanced on a bottle of wine (or two).

No one, even the deepest souls in my heart is worth losing my sober for. I'm worth so much more than hurtful words or actions that make me feel worthless. I have to protect myself and my sober. I'm worth caring for and saving. I'm worth kind words and loving thoughts.

So there. I matter. ME, that's right ME.

And yes, I'm just realising this, age 46 and a half and a bit.
I need to set boundaries, or, dear hearts, they won't get it. And, practise what I preach.

Thanks for listening!

Monday, 15 December 2014

Day 72 - sober carbon footprint

'Experts estimate that a 750ml bottle of wine at 190g CO2 per glass equates roughly to the carbon emissions released by a three-mile car journey.' So says the Guardian please remember other calculations are available, some equate it to a five mile car journey.

Here's when I get my fingers and toes out to work out 72 days sober average 1 bottle wine a night (conservative), equivalent to saving carbon 1984 miles or 82,080 g  or 82 kg CO

So I could have driven nearly 2000 miles instead of drink wine and be in the same place carbon wise but think of the adventures........

I've saved the equivalent green house gas emissions of 0.29 tonnes of landfill. Crikey

Or if I'd planted 21 wee trees I'd have saved the same amount of carbon in ten years.

So by NOT drinking I'm officially greener than when I started. I'm always keen to see interesting ways in which behaviour change effects things like carbon, cos, well, I'm weird like that. [I'm a secret scientist, which is a bit like secret santa, but not nearly so cool.]

So NOT drinking is helping me and our planet. Goes off to shine green tree huggers badge.

Hug yourself and a tree, being sober really does save the planet.
That's made me smile today. Then again I've always been a tree hugger.

PS Thank you for all your kind comments yesterday. For me this is a huge journey and sharing my feelings even the darker ones is essential for me to learn to move past the wine. Lucy recommended I looked to the serenity prayer and I did and I found comfort in it. So thank you all, without expression, I'd be drowning myself in an endless vat of despair called merlot.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Day 71 - letting go

Tonight has been one of the hardest not to just stop and grab the nearest bottle of wine, throw off the top and guzzle until it just stops hurting. I might be sounding melodramatic, salty tears fall down my face frequently today. Why is it so hard. What can I do to make it better.

I meet my daughter for a pre-christmas catch up. We arrive an hour before we're due to see her, she arrives late. Teenage time keeping. We swap pleasant enough conversation. The kind that is familiar yet, newly crackling with egg shells underfoot. Dare I ask for more I think, dare I ask for more than dribbles shared with the likes of the milk man? No says the voice, don't scare her away. The dance of the teenager newly left home and the mother who's not quite sure why it has to be so hard.

We share food, talking about nothing.

We shop for a few xmas presents and a brief glimmer of the girl I know peeks out, only for a second, then she's gone.

And, as quick as the conversation turns from hats to travel, she decides its time to leave. Merry Xmas and safe travels I say. Of course she says. Bye.

I don't quite know when it got to a couple of hours and goodbyes. I don't quite know when that became enough. She's well and truly out of my life at the moment and the pain in searing.

My children have always gone to their fathers for the holidays, I did the daily stuff. That's OK. We do the occasional holiday. But now, with university the day job for both kids, I'm still left with the kids going to their fathers for all of the holidays. Suddenly I feel like I'm left with nothing but a 2 hour lunch/shop trip and conversation that a stranger would do better. I don't disturb too much during term time mindful of study and friends. So I'm left with this. It feels like a cruel joke. It feels empty.

My life/child/parent/life balance is all out of kilter and it makes the tears run down my face like rivers.

Of course I dream of reaching for the bottle to soothe and block out the pain.

I mutter that I might like a glass of wine. My lovely husband, not the father of my children, squeezes my hand and tells me gently that whilst it might help for a while, it changes nothing. Through tear filled eyes I nod. He loves me.

I can't sleep, the ideas to make the future more cohesive for me and my offspring. We're still a family my mind screams. What now.

What indeed.

So rather than drink a bottle or two or three of red wine, here I am, nestled in the sofa (can't sleep), wrapped in a duvet. Writing. Not drinking.

Single parenting, remarrying and new families all round, whilst happier, filled with adventures. Sometimes sucks. Especially in the holidays, where no balance is yet found.

Catch you tomorrow lovelies. Sober. That's something eh.

Right now I feel like drinking, so badly. My brains wrecking itself to find the answer, find the balance of why another family should enjoy mine. Selfish I know. 

I need to find a way to move forward that doesn't involve drinking and constantly letting other peoples happiness, come before my own. And balance in my new sober life.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

My sober seven days

So the great excitement for this week has been reaching another milestone, 70 days, 10 whole weeks sober. I never thought that might happen. Never in my wildest dreams. Here's a peek at what I've found to be grateful for in my week leading to today.
The garden starts to slumber and as it does its brought to life after frosts and flurries of snow with robins, blue-tits, thrushes, blackbirds, starlings, sparrows and its so busy. I laden the bird table every morning and take time to watch them chatter and hop around. Garden ornaments long forgotten from summer begin to take on a new life, a dart of colour in the grey. They are beautiful and like this heart remind me of my son swinging under it in the hammock as I hung it. This makes me smile.
The days are shorter to precious time is spent walking the dogs on local beaches. Devoid of tourists at this time of year we have them, frequently all to ourselves. Icy winds steady our pace. Whilst returning home the chores await! 
Fires need stoked with logs and sticks, my job. Everyday this is a job I love, I don't know why but the gathering, chopping, drying and stacking of wood has always been my favourite. I fill the fires grateful we'll be warm and cosy later. All done before it gets dark.
Meanwhile the chickens watch on, hungry in the morning for their breakfasts, always so impatient. Rewards of eggs are few at this time of year but they add to the food to the table. I love their wee faces and chatter. These were rescue hens and now in full plumage I'm very grateful I took them in rather than the easier options around, they've been great companions and wonderful for me watching them slowly come back to health in our garden. 
Out feeding the hens gives me time to stroll around a bitterly cold garden, if I'd been indoors I'd have missed the last few roses on the bush, I picked them for my bedside. A reminder of summer and nicer days. I like the routine of the chickens needing fed it gets me out and appreciating the space around me. As does walking the dogs. It gives me fresh air and time to think, and this week, time to watch our local wee friend through the branches of the hedge now bare.
This wee fella lives but a minute from my door. I'm so lucky to live in the middle of the countryside where I can walk from my front door up to the woods, or down to the shore. A vocal wee chap he kept us company for part of our walk! Getting out everyday even for a swift walk has been good for my sobriety, fresh air and gentle exercise seem to help me hugely.
A bonnie sight! The village phone box, this always makes me smile, so old fashioned and yet, a life line in our village if needed, standing proud. And snuck in behind it a wee white cottage, all of our own. This week my son landed safely in New Zealand, without skype and the internet his distance would seem so far away, we talk or text most days, he feels close, I like that. Luckily for me, these methods of communication make us close and keep me smiling. So I'm grateful, SO grateful for this technology (and old fashioned phoneboxes) which can keep us in touch with those we love and for sober friends and forums, without which I'd feel so alone.
Everyday I have the companionship of my trusty hounds, chickens, partner and virtual sober friends. Friendship, for me, has always been hugely important. Being sober and being able to share this journey in less virtual isolation has been a real help to me. So I thank you for being out there sober rock stars all of you. I also have my SMART group on Wednesdays, helping me connect with others for a while, which is so helpful. I'm glad I found the courage to go. Really glad.
I leave gentle reminders of my sobriety and saying 'NO' to wine around my house. They make me smile and know they're a reminder for times when I feel weak.  A walk around the village today with my recycling today (we have communal recycling in our village), I spot the last flowers of summer hanging on in there. Like me, trying so hard to keep going, despite circumstances which sometimes challenge me!
Their beauty a reminder of taking time to stop and look at the smaller things in life and smile at their wonder. And, as for the trip to the recycling this week - ta da!
Its not often you'd catch me in broad daylight taking out the recycling in one hand, this weeks glass. One bottle of alcohol free wine, one soy sauce. This has been a busy week! No more sneaking out at night for late night 'drop off', in the dark so no one can see!! No more shame. No more secret drinks, no more bottles to hide. A quick drop off a the recycling whilst actually taking time to enjoy a wee stroll round the village. 
 Party last night. I offered to drive, for once he had a few beers, he's not a drinker really, seldom do I see him with a glass in his hand. But for once no moaning about who's driving, no middering and forcing him to drive. No drinking before the party, having a bottle for home after the party. No gulping down the drinks quickly as i can when I get there. No resentful silences in the car when we leave late but way before I want to. No pushing him off to bed when we're home so I can keep drinking when I'm back. No late nights on the sofa drinking alone, trying to sate myself even after a party.  Not last night. Last night I drove, he had a few beers, we left at just around 10pm, I happily drove us home, we chatted, so different to the old drinking ways.
And, finally today. Chores done, messages bought, a quick stomp on the beach with Mr Me before the light goes. 

'You seem happier' he tells me. 

I feel happier, I think to myself, yes I do.

'Thank you, do you know its around 10 weeks today since I had wine.' I smile.
'You're not missing the wine then?' He asks as he holds my hand.
'Nope, I feel so much better for staying off it for a while, my head's a bit less noisy!' I say with honesty.
'Suits you.' He beams.
[We kiss, enough said for now.]

And, for tonight, a mini-celebration with a mocktail. Well, why not. Its not every day you're 70 days sober. Mocktails all round I say.

So that's been my week, lots to be grateful for, lots to quietly celebrate. Thank you for being with me on this journey. Sobriety, feels right now, so special. I don't want to break it. I'm more scared of drinking right now than I am of not drinking. 

More hard work ahead I'm sure!