Thursday, 29 October 2015

Irrational v Rational Thoughts (AKA bollocks or not bollocks.)

Rational thinking? Image from Calvin and Hobbes.
I've had a meeting day when I get to SMART and actually listen. The meeting in itself was a bit tiresome. Someone kept leaving the meeting and then coming back in. It wasn't a biggie but for once I just thought just sit the f*ck down. My inner rage often bubbles below the surface it would seem. I do not think this was out of line. It was disruptive but I guess they felt they had to do it.

We talked about irrational thoughts (I deserve a drink, only one, no harm there, I can stop after one) compared with rational (evidence based) thoughts (You won't stop at one, you don't 'deserve a drink', you never stop once you get started). Or as I like to think about them.

Bollocks or NOT Bollocks.

{I'm not trying to be offensive, whilst this word is use for male genitalia, here in the UK it is also used as a noun for expressing displeasure link here. But not a word you would use in polite company or when telling your Grannie that the current government aren't up to the job.}

So here's what I've been challenging myself with.

Is what I'm saying or thinking rational or not - no its bollocks. [irrational]

Is what I think based in evidence, if it is its - NOT bollocks. [it is in fact rational]

I have huge issue with these things. And, as part of my sober journey I'm starting to face up to those things that make me feel rubbish and brew irrational thoughts. Its not easy.

Trying to replace them with evidence based thinking (NOT bollocks) is bloody hard when you've spent your life hiding. Living in irrationalville, Bollocks central.

A bit like this morning routine. Getting up at a fixed time seems to make me feel more grounded. Routines do too. And I'm kind enough to know that a bit of slippage is OK as long as it all gets done.

My usual irrational voice would tell me - look at you, I mean, you can't even GET UP like a normal person. When you start the day like that, your brain shuts down to any sort of rational thinking. Well, at least, I'm beginning to know, mines does and then the self flagellation begins and I descend into 'see you, you're rubbish at life'.

Which is, quite frankly bollocks. But when that's what your morning brain tells your heart, [shouting YOU'RE RUBBISH] your self esteem falls into your boots.

Not clever. And, not true either.

So that's been a bit of a lightbulb moment for me.

The evidence would suggest that as I've always really physically struggled with getting up since I was a freshly hatched child, that I am not lazy or stupid or lax. I wake up like I've been drugged, dragging myself out of sleep, none of this fresh as a daisy stuff for me. Always been the same. Its just who I am and how my body works. Who knows it might be something I can fix. And if I can't then its just how I am.

So armed with my giant sober flash cards which challenge me to think are these thoughts rational or irrational. I can stop and really think of what I'm trying to tell myself, and which card to hold up high. Mostly I think it will be this one.

Yes really, you're OK.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Monday Morning

I only woke up once last night. Not that I'm obsessed about sleeping or anything. Some things are afoot at work and I should hear today what will happen. Its a bit unsettling. But, if I end up at home more, I'm not complaining as the autumn sets itself on chilly and throws itself into winter.

Back in the sober routine today again. Weekends seem to have no routine at all having himself home. Spoke to both the kids yesterday which was nice. Its also good being sober as it doesn't matter when that happens. House is also nice and tidy, I took an hour yesterday to straighten it up. Its not perfect but it does help my mental health if its not a complete pig sty.

A bit of the sober morning routine done today - sets me up for the day. So if I can keep doing it, then i'll be a happy bunny.

I guess I need to set up that review appointment - so I've not achieved everything on my list, so what. I'm sober. A wee look at those goals......

I'm happy to share some of my goals for the next three months. (JULY)

1 - Not Drink. 
2 - Be more open with my partner. (GULP)
3 - Keep attending meetings.
4 - Look into other groups if work commitments change my schedule.
5 - More personal time, which I dictate, not others.
6 - Look into counselling which is right for me.
7 - More open with close friends about my recovery.
8 - Cull some of my social group which are dysfunctional/bad for me.
9 - More time with kids.
10 - Be nice to myself (I added here, in sub-text, and not talk to myself like I'm an idiot).

So where did I get (OCT)

1 - YUP no drinking
2 - A bit more open I'm learning to trust him. Not full disclosure though.
3 - Been a bit crap at this with work.
4 - Didn't bother. Whoops.
5 - Better at this but still let my boundaries become second to others needs.
6 - Did this and now on the list for someone who sounds a bit more up my street.
7 - Not done this - but not had much time with friends.
8 - Have let some invites for coffees slip - its a start.
9 - More time with kids when I can. Getting less scared at touching base and saying hey fancy catching up.
10 - Work in Progress.

See I'm only human after all, some done, some not so I'm clearly human......sober but human.

Happy Monday folks.

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.

Sunday, 25 October 2015


Hey its the weekend - a time for routines to get crazy disrupted. I'm OK with that, its my  day time week time life I'm trying to get a bit more structure in so I can free style it more at the weekends and not give myself a hard time.

Friday night came and went without much more than a takeaway and some telly. Early to bed meant I was awake at 1am and slept around three. I'm not liking this disrupted sleep much.

Yesterday was a very odd day - I went to see one of my family who's broken a leg. I wrapped it up in dropping off a few household things her family would find useful. Expecting to be in and out like a veritable emotionally challenged ninja I was floored when after an hour or so of pleasantaries my sister asked if we'd like to go out for some food. I was expecting to leave. We have little communication and little in common. I bailed at 16 years old out of a life that was just too violent and loud for my delicate soul. Being the oldest I guess I had always felt a bit guilty for leaving them there but sometimes in life, every man for herself is all you can do.

We had a nice day - there I said it, it was nice. Odd, a bit emotional but nice. A bit too much connection with my old life emotionally for me it left me very drained. Most of my family's life is the same as the one I bailed out from. Although the familiarity did little to comfort me. Its left me feeling very fractured and guilty for my own choices. Guilty as in could I have done more, but not enough to have actually done anything it would seem. But I'm here now and its a new day.

Very strange being in a pub - I don't go in them. I had a twinge of 'should I drink to keep her company ??????' more out of needing to fit in than not. But, I just had a tonic and that was fine. No judgement.

What was enraging for me (and pretty enlightening) is that my sibling has a broken leg in two places, just had surgery and is now managing alone in a flat two stories up. She lives alone. Her grown up kids are making sure she's OK. Since she hurt herself I've been touching base a bit with her, and finally got up the courage to go and see her. The fact that my mother hadn't bothered to call or pop over at all after my sister had called and told her she'd broken her leg and needed an operation.

Not even called, not once.

Now I can be livid about that even if I don't know how to react to my mothers treatment of me.

Family feels so fractured. That family anyway. My life is now very different and for that I'm truly grateful. Even if I am a little guilty. I've promised myself as part of my new me, new life, new sober life, I'll try and be a better sibling. Might let me heal a bit too.

Friday, 23 October 2015


Crazy crap nights sleep again. Getting to bed early enough but just disturbed sleep. There's a few things going on at home that have been unsettling. Maybe this is just normal stuff going on? I retreated the spare room, leaving my lovely bed and its snoring contents to itself and listened to Belle for a couple of hours.

I did think about Lucy's comment about the SMART groups routine, I've been struggling to go. I really must be more vigilant. And, I'm also at my 3 month review of my 'action plan' part of which was being more open about being sober, disclosing more. I can honestly say I'm not ready to do that yet and I don't know if I will ever be. And, having thought it through I'm OK with that for now.
Just don't call me sisyphus - Image

No point in pushing rocks up hill if you don't have to. I'm just not ready. I'm more open with husband but aside that this sober stuff is my business. A tad defensive maybe but its a process right?

I had a look back on this time last year. The weather is changing and the stove in the kitchen flickers away in the mornings. It reminds me of the safety of being newly sober and starting to find the sober community. Interesting looking back on the early days.

This time last year.....HERE

Thursday, 22 October 2015


So we made it through the night, only waking at around 5am, no dreams. 

Interesting. Did I need to blurt to the world my hate of routines and scary reoccurring dreams of being bladdered?

I went to bed in curlers, yes curlers. I have crazy long hair and whilst working through a craving last night I thought - curlers you can't buy wine with curlers in. So there we are. I had my pjs on by 9pm and curlers in by 9.30 - and knowing me as you do, I am mainly a tom-boy so it was very amusing for my husband. Mrs D recently wrote a blog about surfing the urge, so I surfed mine in curlers. Keeping busy and not giving into an urge. Its something we learn at SMART at my meeting so it was nice to hear her perspective on it.  Nice one Mrs D! Link to that post here.

So I breezed into work today looking like some kind of mad crazy woman, curls and all but well rested. More crystal tips then Julia Roberts but you get the idea.
Crystal Tips - I've always wanted purple hair.
I took heart this morning and cut myself some slack. The morning routine was helpful. If I'm honest. Having been raised solely by wolves with a serious lack of parenting when little, living in abject sqallour with my parent in bed drinking coffee, smoking and reading romantic fiction, I'm not sure how routines develop. However having made up most of my parenting (non smoking, non bed-sitting, coffee drinking but actually paying attention to my kids) I figure my routines are all out of sink as I've no one to do them for anymore.

A bit like having no reason to be sober as they've left home [insert miserable empty nest]. However, I now realise being sober for me is the only way forward.

So I'll set the alarm for tomorrow and hope for a better nights sleep again. As for the routine, I can almost find myself talking out of doing it in any order as long as it gets done but there is a logic to it.

Of course I had to look online to see what I'd promised as I'd actually not written it down and being a scatterbrain I didn't expect to remember it all anyway. So instantly I logged into your nice comments. Thank you. I'll try again tomorrow.

Probably no curlers tonight, just in case you were wondering. Best not peak too early. 

Sober girl over and out.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015


I've been having the most god awful brain curdling sweaty waking up in the middle of the night dreams about benders. I don't know why. I wake every night, like when I was drinking at around 3-4am in an utter panic, its like living in my own version of a bad B movie. The places change, the faces change but the overriding theme is about drinking, getting drunker than I have ever in my life and then being an utter idiot. Hurting my husband, hurting my family as they all watch and I think they can't see or hear me. Its really got me rattled. Like really fingers in ears frantically reading anything online to get back to sleep rattled. I've even got up and looked for bottles, 'have I hid them well enough', when can I take them away, making all sorts of crazy elaborate plans in my head for making sure that it wasn't this time I was caught.

I'm about demented. I'm NOT drinking, but I'm in a mess. I'm knackered at work, I'm off with my friends and husband and I'm in full 'under a rock mode' nothing to see here, leave me be.

I've also not been writing, not been cleaning, not been really doing anything aside assassinate my character (a job I like to leave for 4am, sweaty and lunatical) and trying to fathom what on earth is going on. I've ditched reading all but one or two blogs.

I'm really not good at routines. Now, I've pondered this at length. And something brought it to light totally non sober related. Totally randomly my dog who's always been OK with feeding on demand had a mini-melt down and advice from those who know was to feed him twice a day at the same time every day. Take the food away after, only leave fresh water. Now that's only TWO things to do. And yet, every single day I've done it but its been a real struggle. I'm just not any good at routines. Even small daily ones. Yes I brush my teeth when I should, but usually enroute to something else, definitely not at the same time everyday and definitely NOT in the same room/doing the same chore, etc.

I just seem to have a 'fuck it' attitude to routines. I don't set an alarm, never have, I'm horrific to wake up so I just go with the 'meh, I'll get up before work when I do, no biggie'.

Recently I tried to do some fly-lady (now don't laugh) she's a house keeping guru from America who has helped lots of folks get rid of the 'chaos' in their homes/minds by small routines which take less than 15 minutes to establish change.  So I started with great gusto as I do, and although I couldn't do everything she suggested I did try and follow it 'MY WAY' - you know as and when I pleased. Which was for me a bit of an eyeopener, a bit like the dog feeding. The one routine she insists on is cleaning your sink every night and putting out a fresh tea towel. Well, I've done that now and again, mostly thinking how crazy it is. But kind of getting it too. I have a demented mind wrestle with myself every evening.

Yes you are still reading a sober blog. Really. And I guess if I'm wrestling about a small routine that isn't drinking, maybe its not that bad.

So to begin with the new shonky do it as you feel like it routines I'd sorted for myself seem to be making a difference but I was still doing them 'FREE STYLE' in my own little ways, as I do. As you can imagine, as time plodded by they've gone to shit as well. I still do some of them but kind of as I please. I do like to rebel.

Until stopping drinking, I'd never really realised how much of my life has no fundamental routine to it. I like to think of myself as free spirited (no pun intended) but in reality I seem to flitter about in my own version of reality doing as I please.

Yes I'll have the good bits please and won't do those tiresome things. THANK YOU. Yup, that's me.

So, the sober stuff has slipped, and whilst I'm still sober - I'm dreaming of that perfect glass of wine before dinner. You know that one that never leads to any more. Doesn't lead to the scenes of the horrific dreams I've been having of major benders in front of the family and the rellies.

I think maybe (and I just get this as I write) my sub-conscious is trying to freak the crap out of me by playing my 'dream bender' over and over again like a warning.

So I'm torn between letting my free spirited self just find her feet or imposing some kind of crazy set an alarm kind of daily routine boot camp. You see the mention of setting a routine and I'm assuming its boot camp. And its not fair and I don't want to do it.

So from tomorrow, and I'm making this up as I type I will set an alarm. I will get up at 7am and I will follow a routine. {I'm already huffing}

7am up
Coffee and Hounds/Chickens 7.15
Dressed 7.30
Internet time - 15 minutes of sober living, blogs, emails/15 minutes of work/15 minutes of leisure
Breakfast 8.15
More internet - as above 8.30 but only half hour (no work) 15/15 leisure/sober
Sort laundry + Do 15 mins of flylady
Walk dogs 9.15
Pack bag for work, gather clobber
Go to work at 9.30

I need to work out a 'get home' routine but I'm too overwhelmed to do that now.

I know perhaps this seems crazy but I need to get this crazy head to stop its crazy stuff. Maybe trying to have a routine will make me start to feel calmer.

Or like a human robot?

You see you get sober and your brain goes bad ass crazy on you pointing out what an utter chaotic soul you really are.

And yes this all really started by trying to clear my sink every night and feed the dog to order, twice a day. And yes despite myself I'm still sober and the house is a bit less chaotic. So something is clearly working, its just not working enough for my brain to switch off at bedtime.

I hereby pledge to do this routine for a week (I'm already groaning) and post everyday.

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, 5 October 2015

Another Monday morning.

Two and a bit weeks ago, perhaps longer, I dropped my phone and it smashed to smithereens.  Ironically it had been on a walk with my husband and I was talking about the phone was really stressing me out and that I wish I didn't have one. The kids are bigger, and largely great alone, if anything its me who likes to get in touch with them, I can do that from home. The universe, it seems, took care of that one for me. Yes I have insurance, no I didn't get it fixed. When I'm at home, it doesn't work. When I'm at work, it doesn't work unless I run up the hill and walk along a bit of a lane and hold it up high. When you're trying to focus and be 'in the moment' at work, its not very useful. However, when I'm driving it sometimes works. And a bit like drinking and driving I always told myself I'd never use my phone when driving. But if that's a time it works, well you can tell how that went. So the feeling of always needing to be connected, ironically was stressing me out completely.

Its like the phone flung itself out of my hands and languished on the tarmac, just to help. If I'm totally honest, I've not missed it. Its driving my husband and my best friend crazy. Kids have adjusted and message me online or phone the land line. Husband is still going crazy. He likes to be in touch at all times, I get that, but I'm not as desk based as he is daily and its a distraction that makes me unfocussed and a bit crazy, you know, just 'checking in'.

The lack of ability to check in on sober lands when working, has been a challenge. And, if I'm totally honest stressful. I know I SHOULD check in daily, I read some sober blogs at breakfast time when munching bran flakes and reading work emails, I do the same at night. If I'm honest at the moment, I've not got much to say, I'm still in 'REBOOT' mode, but I'm imbibing and thinking what others are saying. But, somehow not being connected all day has been crazy stressful for me. So when the phone took my life into its own hands and somersaulted to freedom, I've felt kind of free.

My husband has the work office number if anything really goes wrong.

I've discovered I can check in at lunch for 15 mins on my tablet if I actually take some lunch and sit near the work wifi, which is thankfully not near my own working area. Obsessive compulsive moi, never. And, I don't take my tablet every day, I'm just not that structured.

I've made old fashioned arrangements with folks and said, I'll be there at 1pm, no phone, see you there. And folks have adjusted.

Call the house, I say. I'll be home after 4.30pm. No you can't get me earlier. Or email me.

What I'm beginning to realise is that to be loved, relied on, focussed I don't need to be 'here' for everyone in my life 24hours a day, 7 days a week. That's a biggie for me. Its reducing my stress levels and I'm OK with the quiet. I'm OK with my own company. Sure I love you all, but not being connected endlessly/always is better for me right now. That might change.

I found my diary from a year ago. You see today is my one year and one day minus one day = 366 sober days - minus one glass of wine + a sober day = 365 days. In a year I've not been drunk. I've not spewed nonsense to my husband and family. I've been totally here. Who guessed that could happen.

So a year ago I took to my bed, found sober blogs, moved to the living room sofa bed and just did a 'John and Yoko' and stayed in bed until I could face the world. And I had a few false starts. Story of my life. I started it here, false start and all.

I was tidying up, yes really, the other day and came across a diary from a while's something from one of my million day ones.............

Why do I do it? Here we are again. Started the day as always by hiding the bottles from under the sofa (classy chick) and putting them in the recycling before my daughter sees. Shit two bottles. And it looks like the kitchen has been invaded or I made some kind of midnight snack, god. Spoke to pal last night, man it was late, must text today to see how much of an idiot I made of myself. Lemsip for breakfast, gets the drugs in quicker and a bottle of high energy drink in the car on the way to work. Made myself shower today and use the really smelly conditioner as I really don't want to reek of wine at work I'm teaching at 9am. Oh god who thought teaching at that time was a good idea. Only have to last until lunchtime, then I have a thesis meeting in the afternoon. Bah. Knew today was a big day. Shit.

More later.......

Meeting sucked. They hated my new structure, teaching was OK, but didn't really enjoy it, too early. Why do I do this, drink on a school night?? Daughter texted to say orchestra is on tonight instead of tomorrow she'll need a lift. Bollocks. I'm so bloody tired. I guess it will help not drinking, I'm trying to cut down. Forgot to send my sons stuff to uni, will do it tomorrow or I'll email it later, he'll understand. Whoops.  I don't have anything sorted for dinner, better go shopping before I get home. Anyway its been a really long shitty day, I guess that if I got some wine, I don't have to drink it all, but I'll only get one bottle. I'll go home and have tea, take her in and wait in office, do more work on thesis and try and catch up before I teach again tonight. At least the journey is worthwhile as we're both out.

And later.....

People always want to stay late at my class, grr. I do like teaching but I've got stuff to do. (wine o clock people) Got really grumpy waiting for daughter after orchestra its supposed to be done at 9pm and it went on til 9.30. Snapped a bit. Why can't she ever be out on time? Home in a total grump.  She went up to bed, I went into wine stealth mode (chardonnay in a pretty cup, isn't really that bad). Several missed calls from other half (left phone in car), who's away for work totally forgot to tell him I was going out and he forgot I was teaching tonight. Bah. Texted him late, was too late to phone and I'd already had wine.

And later.....

Slept on the sofa again. forgot to walk dog. Up to bed at gone 4am. Lights on, telly on, phone on, oh god who did I message? Shit, kitchen is a mess. Tidied it before I went up had pain killers and water. No clothes done for tomorrow, sure it will be OK. What a crap day. I'll set the alarm for an hour later, should still get to work ok. No teaching early. I said I'd help a colleague with something but hey, they'll manage I'm sure. I can help later. We didn't say a time. And, we've got drinks after work, so I'll buy her a glass of wine. Must organise a lift home. Monday's are a killer.

Thankfully I'm not in that life any more. I'm struggling in this one but man, I regret the lack of empathy for my students, my partner and my kids. I've always considered I've done my best and above and beyond for all of us. But, reading back some of my diaries, I just swam through the chaos and poured wine on my head which wasn't coping.

Hugs and sober love.

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.