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!