A quiet spell.

It’s been a very long time since I last updated my blog. Mostly because I couldn’t remember my password but also because I wanted some time to develop my non drinking self.

It’s been hard, I won’t lie and pretend that sobriety is easy. I’ve passed through two full summers and been to concerts, barbeques and get togethers where alcohol has flowed – though not into my cup. I’ve been really angry at the world for dealing me this shitty hand of addiction and I needed some time to wait for the anger to evaporate.

However, by far the hardest thing I’ve had to do in these last two years, is to forgive myself. I was just reading over my entries early on in sobriety and there are a few to do with shameful flashbacks. Well those sodding flashbacks lasted a good few months, and boy oh boy, did I have some guilt to deal with. Eventually, I forgave myself for my past mistakes and gradually the flashbacks faded. I still have the odd one but I don’t feel terrible and hate myself anymore. I think also because an element of self obsession over my past has faded, those awful decision making moments are no longer pivotal to who I am and who I’ve become. The last two years of good decision making has begun to erase the pain and the shame, just as many people assured me it would.

It’s good to read over my early posts and see how far I’ve come. I’ve never ceased to be as proud of myself as I am for stopping drinking. I hope everyone on this path feels the same way about themselves.

Six months sober.

Tomorrow I will have been sober for six months. What a six months indeed. I feel like a completely different person. Oh wait, that’s because I am. Some observations of my journey to find my freedom so far:

1. Some days my feelings don’t seem to stay put but rush around and around searching for the sneaky voice to catch them and then hook me back to blotting them out with booze. I will never let that evil back into my life.

2. Just when I least expect it, a memory will surface from a long ago supressed place sending cold shivers of shame through me until the new me, the real me, faces it and accepts the pain and shame for what it is, allowing myself to heal a little bit more.

3. Mornings are my new favourite thing because there is nothing like slowly waking up to crystal clear sobriety.

4. Coffee tastes that little bit better because I no longer need it to jumpstart the day.

5. Guilt is a thing of the past. It no longer haunts me, scares me or controls me. I have made amends with those I needed to. It wasn’t easy but I am proud that I did.

6. Acceptance has become part of who I am. I cannot control my addiction and so I choose to accept it and abstain. This is a good choice.

Each day brings challenges but I will face them with my lovely friend, sobriety.

How do I deal with the shame of the past?

I’ve been sober for four months now. It’s amazing and I feel like I am going from strength to strength. But, every now and again, I’ll have a flashback of a really shitty shameful drunken episode. On one hand, I try to tell myself that it’s massively exaggerated in my mind but on the other hand, I’m keenly aware of the numerous times that I put myself in danger as well as being inconsiderate and a pain in the butt to my friends.

So, here’s the big question. How do I deal with the shame that engulfs me? I know that I have to forgive myself but how? I have this nagging feeling that I need to make amends but I don’t know how to go about this. Any ideas, tips and advice is gratefully welcomed xxx

Another awesome evening

Woohoo!! I went to a colleague’s dinner party on Saturday night and stopped on route to get some drinks. I bypassed the booze and got my beloved pear and feijoa fizz then tootled off to the party. When I arrived, I was offered wine and beer but declined, opening one of my fizzes, “I don’t drink” I explained. HECK! I said it out loud, without even thinking it just popped out of my mouth. “Cool,” my colleague replied, “Good on you.”

The dinner party was great and for the FIRST TIME EVER, I wasn’t even aware that I wasn’t drinking alcohol. I didn’t fixate on other people’s glasses, I didn’t want one and I didn’t feel  like I was missing out on anything.

I drove home with pride knowing that when Monday morning rolled around, I wouldn’t have that old sense of dread, what had I said? Did I make a fool of myself? What must people think….

I am free and it’s wonderful.

Just when you least expect it…

Day 100 arrived and I bounced out of bed, full of beans. By pure luck, it was a public holiday here – Queen’s birthday and my sister stopped by and offered to look after the kids so that me and hubby could go out for the afternoon. I think she was still talking as the car drove out of the garage 😉

We went to Briscoes – a nationwide houseware store that always has a sale on – to stock up on towels and sheets. As we browsed the glassware, I turned a corner to be confronted by pint glasses. I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. Tears welled as I ached with nostalgia for lazy afternoons in a London pub, fun times with friends, the hedonism of my youth. A quick note to add that my nostalgia did not stretch to include the latter part of these afternoons and evenings which always ended in slurring drunkenness… Anyway, these feelings came totally out of left field and I was nearly floored by them. I fled to the other side of the shop and looked at the mops, blinking back tears and trying not to hyperventilate.

A while later we were at the supermarket and I walked past the wine knowing that the past is in the past and that the way I live my life is what it is. I guess I get a bit overwhelmed at what used to be. The shame and pain still lurks and even though I feel strong and in control, sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever be okay with why I’ve ended up here. One day I’ll forgive myself – hopefully sooner rather than later.

Further note to add that after the supermarket, I treated myself to a very nice and very big ice cream.

One week to the big 100!

The days are flying by in a blur. Every now and again, I surface and take time to breath and reflect. I’m still sober and still so very very proud. I’ve been out to dinner with friends, been to a rugby match and enjoyed every minute sober – mainly because the relief of climbing into bed with clean teeth and that nugget of knowledge that there’ll be no hangover tomorrow is priceless.

Every so often though, I have to revisit the start of this blog. Just to remind myself of the utter panic that I felt after my last binge. I am definitely finding the little booze devil is leaving me alone but I can’t forget and I absolutely mustn’t waver from this new path.

Love to everyone seeking this path, it really is worth it.

Sobriety rules!

I have been sober for 75 days. I have never been so proud of myself! Admittedly, I have avoided a couple of potentially difficult situations such as after work drinks but that’s what I’ve got to do at the moment.

I am very aware that I have had a total shift in my perception of drinking. I am finding that when a moment of stress arises, I’m no longer immediately thinking of drinking. Instead, I deal with things and realise later that I didn’t think about a drink. Pretty darn cool.

Queen’s birthday weekend will present a difficulty as I’ve friends coming down to my town and they are organising a big booze up. But I’ve managed this situation before and I have absolutely no intention of drinking again. I’m enjoying being sober too much.

Painful truths

Today one of my students gave a speech about how she escaped her abusive alcoholic mother. She was proud and determined as she spoke. She does not want to be pitied, she simply wants to tell her story. She kept referring to her mother clutching her ‘poison’ and how this demon took her mother away and left someone who just wanted to die. Her words brought back the memory of feeling the iron fingers of alcohol clutching around my freedom.

I have cried so much today. I have cried for my courageous and inspirational student, for her poor mother who is still battling with her terrible disease and has lost her children, and with utter total gratefulness for being sober.

Thank you sober community, everyday is precious and I will never forget to be grateful.

Ducks in a row.

My dad has always said that you need to have all of your ducks lined up in a row before you can achieve something. I told some more friends about stopping drinking and it feels a bit like my ducks are all lining up.

I haven’t had a drink for 61 days. This is the longest that I have ever had without a drink since I started drinking regularly which was about 18 years ago. The crazy thing is that right now, I don’t want a drink; the thought of getting drunk and having a hangover fills me with cold dread. And because I’ve had a relapse by slipping into the net of thinking that I can moderate and realising that I most definitely can’t, I am absolutely okay with the knowledge that I can’t have ‘just one drink’.

I never ever thought that I would be thinking this way. I have found my freedom and I am damn well hanging on to it tooth and nail.

Telling people

Yesterday I told my best friend that I’d stopped drinking. It’s taken me eight weeks to work up the courage to do this. This is the woman who has carried me home many a time, held my hair while I vomited and even had to call an ambulance following a particularly over excited jump off the bed incident which resulted in me headbutting the wardrobe and knocking myself out. I have been very worried that she would think I was being over emotional and poo poo my sober decision. I know this sounds utterly ridiculous but it’s the truth and part of my sobriety commitment is to the truth.

Of course though, she was fabulous and listened to me explain that I felt that I wasn’t entirely in control of alcohol and so therefore it was time to stop. She said that it was a great decision and she was really impressed that I had taken this step.

I am too.