Am I an alcoholic?

mshanaganLaura Mckowen has written an article that everyone who has ever asked this question needs to read: http://www.lauramckowen.com/blog/2017/4/15/am-i-an-alcoholic

This is one of those pieces where whilst reading it I shout halleluiah, amen and testifyyyyyyy at the the top of my lungs. Yip I am the crazy lady alone in the house shouting at her computer.

Do yourself a favour and read it. I fucking love it.

xxxx

Shame and vulnerability

shame

I visited a friend today, one of the mums that I used to drink with at play-dates. It’s all the rage now, play-dates sozzled in wine. This seems to be socially acceptable… in the circles I moved in at least. Since I got sober I’ve realised that my circles may have been limited to people that like to get plastered all the time, addicts like hanging out with other addicts, who would have thought? We used to crack open the Prosecco after the school run on a Friday and thought nothing of drinking the night away.

This is the friend that inadvertently helped me reach my rock bottom moment so in a way she sort of saved my life. This may sound melodramatic but I wholeheartedly believe it to be true. Our friendship was for the most part based on the mutual love of getting drunk. I knew in my heart of hearts that the dynamic would change and that the friendship would probably just fizzle out on it’s own. The thing is I didn’t want her to feel as though I was rejecting her because she is addicted to booze. I also wanted to keep channels of communication open so that if she ever felt like talking to someone about her problem she can talk to me. I never had anyone to talk to in real life because I don’t know anyone that is in recovery from addiction.

Back to my friend… She asked me to go around for coffee today. The atmosphere was strained and I didn’t really feel like we connected. She kept asking me if I’m STILL not drinking and also seemed quite uninterested in my answers as she kept looking at her phone.

She started telling me about an incident where she got really drunk and was talking about ‘the switch’. I think most folks with a drink problem will instantly know what ‘the switch’ means. That’s where something clicks in your brain and you aren’t there anymore, usually this is where things go south and you black out. I was saying that I had experienced it many times when she replied under her breath…”I know, at least I was never as bad as you. I mean I’ve been bad but never THAT bad.”

And there it was. The shame. I felt like I was punched in the stomach. The blood drained from my face and my heart sank right into my feet. The fucking intense shame that I thought I had dealt with in the last year just morphed into little fire ants scratching and scurrying around my skull. I was gobsmacked, she thought I was worse than her!?

I made an excuse and left very quickly. I cried all the way home.

After I calmed down I realised that she is obviously in really deep denial and is looking to justify herself by calling me out as the delinquent alcoholic.

Brene Brown calls shame the most powerful master emotion; she says it’s down to the fear that we are not good enough.

The shame is what keeps us stuck in our addiction and I recognise that my friend was trying to protect herself by calling me the one with the problem. I was in deep denial too and hated hanging out with people that threatened my lifestyle. People that didn’t drink enough or didn’t drink like I did made me feel shame about how I drank, because my conscience knew I was self-harming with alcohol.

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ~Brené Brown

Who drank the most is actually irrelevant. There is always someone worse off than us when it comes to alcohol; this is the trouble with the stinky man on park bench alcoholic stereotype. The one who stops is the alcoholic while the one who carries on drinking to oblivion just likes to have a good time…until they are the stinky man on a park bench.

Well, I’m calling bullshit on all of that. I’m also calling bullshit on the shame I felt today, fuck that. I’m not drinking anymore and that is something to be proud of.

As for my friend, my door will be open if she ever wants to talk. I’m going to look after myself and keep clear. Like Byron Katie says “Staying in my own business is a full-time job.”

Save

Happy F!

fword

Thank you for all the lovely messages and support. I am relieved and happy to report that I am still sober!

It was touch and go there for a while I won’t lie. One day after a disagreement with hubs I drove to the shop in a rage. I stormed in and got to the wine aisle and froze. I just stood there for what felt like an eternity when one of the assistants touched my arm and asked if they can help me. I quickly said no thank you and walked to the cashier fully intending to buy a pack of cigarettes and instead walked out the shop with some extra chewing gum. I think Aspartame is the lesser of three evils, no?

I don’t want to drink anymore, it’s a bullshit coping mechanism that threatened to destroy my family. These days I can actually look at myself in mirror without despising what I see and I’ll be damned if I throw that away just because I’ve had a stressful couple of months. In fact, I am much more capable of coping with all of this sober than I ever was when I was drinking.

So onwards and upward sober peeps. Happy sober weekend!!!

 

 

Warning lights

far_side_cartoon

The cravings are coming thick and fast these days. I’m seriously having an uphill battle here. I feel really irritable, tired and want to curl up in sleep in a darkened room. I don’t want to see people, I hate everyone. Most people around me aggravate me and basically humanity as a whole sucks. As you can tell I am a regular ray of sunshine lately and it must be truly amazing to be in my presence. There is no farting glitter or pooping rainbows at casa Hurrah these days, just big, irksome rainclouds that won’t stop raining. My poor family are just patiently suffering through it. We had a meet up with friends yesterday and it just turned out to be ‘another thing to get done’ before I can rest.

I’ve also been feeling very uncomfortable in my own skin recently. I’ve picked up weight and feel like my skin is crawling with all the sugar and excess coffee. I can’t really stand to look in the mirror at all so I run past them like a mad person. During this stressful time of working so much and little sleep I really haven’t been paying attention to my nutrition, exercise or rest. These crucial things have all been on the back burner in favour of surviving because work and money has taken up all my time in the last two months. My word for the year is self-care and yes I stopped smoking and yes I’m not drinking but I am NOT taking good care of myself at all.

As you may or may not know I have been prone to relapse in the past, I’ve seriously lost count of the amount of times I started drinking again after making a solemn vow I’ll never do it again. I could call myself the ‘relapse queen’ but I won’t because I would like to stay stopped this time and don’t fancy being remembered as that.

Basically, I can feel myself slipping, so I’ve done a bit of research about relapses. This is my new thing now, I’m documenting my sober journey like an annoying little detective. (Sorry, but I’m seriously irritating myself to no end)

A relapse doesn’t happen all of a sudden. It just feels like it does, every time I’ve relapsed it felt like waking up out of a dream and not knowing how it happened. Like I had no say in it, it felt like my conscious choice was non-existent and my addicted mind took over my body. It felt very similar to the fight of flight response when your reptile brain is left in charge while your prefrontal cortex is taking a little holiday.

A relapse is a process,  not an event. It can start weeks or months before you actually pick up a drink.

The three stages of relapse:

Emotional relapse
You are not thinking about drinking but your emotions and behaviors are setting you up.
· Anxiety · Intolerance · Anger · Isolation · Not asking for help · Poor eating habits · Poor sleep habits – Not making recovery a daily priority

Mental relapse
You’ve started entertaining the idea of drinking, and the tug of war starts. You glamorise drinking and pine for the ‘good ol’ days’

Physical relapse 
It’s difficult to stop a relapse when it get’s to this point. (not impossible but much harder)

It appears as though there is a substantial amount of time prior to the relapse that gives you the opportunity to turn it around which is great news.

This is one of the reasons why AA’s maxim ‘one day at a time’ works so well. Staying sober is a daily practice of self-care, self-love, self-reflection.

This is not an easy thing for an addict to do. We tend to be all or nothing, go big or go home kinda people so the slow and steady, small steps every day is very foreign to me. I get obsessed so when I work that’s all I do, there is no balance!

I’m off to take a walk and then early to bed.

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
— Buddha

Craaaaving

angel
So yesterday I had one of the strongest cravings I’ve had since I quit. I was at my desk working, listening to some music and it just hit me out of nowhere. “Wine! I need wine, I need to drink wine, I need relief, I need to let go!”

I have been going through a really stressful time. Working all the hours God sends, looking after kids on my own while hubs was on hols. Of course, when he came back he admitted that he drank on the trip.

This hamster wheel of sobriety/drinking that we’ve been on in the last 10 years, when he started drinking again I started right back there with him.

Not this time baby! Aint no way I’m going there again.

I didn’t engage with the thought. I didn’t rationalise or even deny.  This is where I usually would start having a conversation in my head that would go like this:

Alcohol voice: I need wine.

Voice of logic: You can’t have wine, you are addicted. This never ends well for you.

Alcohol voice: But I’ve had such a stressful time and I deserve some relief, the ONLY thing that will give me the relief is wine.

Voice of logic: No! You want to be sober, it’s better for you. You love your sober self and your sober life.

Alcohol voice: If hubs is going to get plastered you have the right to get plastered too! He can’t have fun without you. Why does he get to drink and I can’t?

Voice of logic: You really shouldn’t it’s bad for you. You are addicted and you can’t control it.

Alcohol voice: Fuck it! Fuck it all! Life’s short, you deserve a break. This whole thing is in your head, you are totally fine, everyone drinks!

Voice of logic: Now that you put it like that, I have been very stressed and everyone around us drinks. Yes fuck it! Bring ALL THE BOOZE YOU HAVE.

This would trigger a relapse that could last for months or even years.

Instead of having a conversation with the craving I just accepted it, breathed and waited for it to go. The thought got smaller and smaller and disappeared. It took about 15 minutes for it to go away completely.

Still sober baby!

xoxox