The only way is UP

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Thank you for all the messages and emails. I’m totally blown away that you all took the time to comment and send me such lovely words of support.

It’s very strange for me to think that anyone even reads my blog or that anyone wants to hear what I have to say. (I’m not saying that in a self deprecating way, its just really overwhelming all the love. ) The sober blogosphere is just an awesome place and you are all so amazing, don’t know what I would do without ya’ll.

Yesterday was tough, I was violently hung over and my self esteem in tatters on the floor. So I did what you do when times are hard… I had a little pity party, I listened to Leonard Cohen, I wallowed in misery, I cried, I ate carbs, I ate 2 ice creams and I went to bed early.

This morning I woke up with such excitement. I can’t explain it but I know good things are on the way. No I haven’t lost my mind and I am not still drunk. My problems are still there and yes I drank over them but I know that I’m better than I was a year ago because I was able to look at myself with compassion. I can forgive myself for giving in and for drinking. I can look at what happened and see where I can do better next time.

Every day is day one for an addict. Every day we are faced with a choice to fall into old negative patterns or to choose joy and right action. It really is… one day at a time.

Its easy for me to choose joy and right action when things are going well but when the shit hits the fan it gets really tough because I have years of conditioning to undo.

The good thing is that I know I can’t go back. Going back to drinking is like going back into a burning house like Annie Grace says. I know one thing for sure and that is that I’ve got no business being in that house anymore!

I didn’t feel good when I drank, it felt terrible. My body and soul says no it every time.

Couple of things I am going to look at:

  • Asking for help when I can see I am being overwhelmed. Phoning someone when I feel I’m on the cliff.
  • Making that relapse prevention plan book that postcardsfromrecovery wrote a post about.
  • Trying another meeting
  • Better self care (meditation, sleep, good nutrition)
  • Turning my house into a sober bubble again.
  • Researching co-dependency (bought a book suggested by the lovely saoirsek)
  • Trying Alanon (Lovely Wendy’s suggestion)

There are more things can’t think of them all right now.

xxx

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Day one

I drank yesterday. After 7 months of sobriety, I fucked up.

I feel defeated and sick to my stomach. The hangover nothing compared to the self-hatred I feel.

My husband has been in a relapse for months now since he got back from Africa. I have found it really hard watching him drink himself into a stupor and having to walk on eggshells around his quick temper and moods due to alcohol. Weekends have been awful because he would start drinking at 12 in the day, sometimes earlier. There has been alcohol in the house (which I swore we would never do).

A couple of weeks ago my mother was diagnosed with Emphazema and I have found it really difficult to be so far away from her during this time. I want to be with her but I cant. I feel stuck, I can’t move back to Africa and she cant move here because in order for me to make that happen I have to prove that she has no other children living there that can look after her.

At lunch yesterday we had a fight because he snapped at me again. I went to my room to try calm down and he came in saying that he’s going out. I just lost all my grounding. When he says he’s going out that means he’s going to drink more and buy weed. I have spent so many night worrying about him when he’s out as he gets so out of it and a drunk/stoned man on his own is a target.

I went downstairs and poured myself a massive whiskey. I sat looking at it for ages. I didn’t want to drink it. I wanted to disappear. I was hoping that he would stop me when he saw it. He didn’t.

I just thought fuck it! Life is always going to be like this and I drank 3 big gulps. I shuddered and felt nauseous and thought to myself you don’t have to do this you can stop now. But the addict part of my brain just said fuck it you’ve broken your sobriety now you may as well just do it properly.

I can’t remember much of the night. I can’t remember putting the kids to bed. I can remember that I got sick.

In the cold light of day I am faced with the aftermath of what I have done. Another fucking day one. Jesus fucking Christ! How could I have been so stupid?

This is self harm to the extreme. I used to cut myself when I was a teenager. When my emotional pain was too much to bear I would cut my wrists to feel better. Yesterday felt like that.

I’m not planning on making the lapse into a full-blown relapse. I hate fucking alcohol. I hate it with everything in me. I’m done with that and I’m done with that life.

I made massive progress this past year, yesterday doesn’t negate that. Maybe it needed to happen to just cement in brain how absolutely shit it is.

I do know that I cannot have alcohol in the house and that I cannot be married to someone who is a drinker. It is too risky and I am not strong enough to handle it.

I spoke to my husband about it. I don’t want to give him an ultimatum; he needs to decide for himself that he wants to stop. Unfortunately I am not strong enough to wait for his rock bottom or moment of revelation.

This is just a really fucking difficult situation and I feel like I’ve been through the ringer.

My son gave me a hug this morning, I felt like I didn’t deserve a hug from such a pure little soul. I felt and still feel polluted, dirty and full of poison.

I think I need to sleep. Will need to put some more plans in place so that this doesn’t ever happen again.

 

There by the grace…

Went to the shops the other day to get some bits and pieces. While I was standing in the checkout line there was middle aged woman that looked really unsteady on her feet. Her face was red and sweaty and she was clutching two bottles of white wine.  She was talking to one of the shop assistants a slurry voice when I heard the shop assistant say really loudly: “Are you drunk again, dear?”  He gave me a knowing look and a sly smile as if to say: “watch how I humiliate this piece of trash”

I could see this was turning into a scene and just felt so helpless. People were starting to talk in muffled whispers. There was laughing and pointing. When she got to the front of the line she became louder and more animated which of course caused more looks of disdain.

I waited in my car to see if she was ok and also to check that she wasn’t getting into a car and driving! Thankfully someone else was driving the car she go into, she left.

I started crying in the car park. Uncontrollable sadness overtook me. I was heartbroken by people’s reaction to her! I cannot believe how she was treated like absolute shit! Like a second-class citizen. Like a fucking leper. I’m so heartbroken that people don’t know that she isn’t choosing to be that way! She is addicted! That removes your choice and addicts need care and understanding.

I could be that woman! I was that woman! I always sent my husband on last rounds drink runs to the shops before the shops close at 11 so HE was her too!

Our society has such a fucked up view of alcohol/ drugs and addicts. Just because their Facebook/ money/shopping/TV/game/approval addiction isn’t plastered across their face doesnt make them better that the woman in that shop! I commiserate with food addicts so much because they get the same disdain from society; their addiction is obvious for everyone to see. My addiction was easy to hide for a long time but towards the end it wasn’t anymore. My skin, my breath my sweaty face was there for all to see.

My heart goes out to that woman in the shop with her two bottles of Pinot Grigio. There by the grace of God go I.

I can’t vs. I don’t

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One of the things that used to rope me back into drinking is the fear of social occasions never being the same again. I was also terrified of the reaction of my friends and acquaintances when I quit. What would they think? I thought that by not drinking I would be the dry drip putting a dampener on the party.

I was scared to let everyone down. I was also scared that they would find out how addicted I had become so my excuses were always flimsy at best.

‘No thanks I’m driving’, ‘I’m on medication’, ‘I have Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo’ (This outlandish one I used to get out of a hen weekend where there was going to be lots of boozing) One of my personal favourites I used very often is ‘I’m on a detox/cleanse’.

Looking back now, I know that I was keeping that back door wide open in case I couldn’t cut it sober. I couldn’t possibly be on a detox or cleanse forever. I tried many times so I was tired of failing and perhaps in my heart of hearts I was hoping that an extended break from alcohol would re-set my software and allow me to drink like a normal person. Of course, no matter how long the break of sobriety was I always eventually returned to my usual level and with each lapse, the consumption revved up a gear.

I was ashamed of being the one that couldn’t drink, the one that wasn’t allowed because ‘she can’t handle it’. Why was I the chosen one that turned into the incredible hulk with an insatiable thirst while everyone else has a fabulous sparkly tipsy time? It wasn’t fair, dammit!

I guess if you have an AA coin and you are ‘out’ this shuts people up much more quickly.

Would you like a drink? No thanks I’m, an alcoholic.

—-Insert crickets chirping, tumbleweeds blowing and a look of panic/sympathy/social awkwardness across the hosts face.—-

Perhaps I will get to that point one day where I can say those words in front of anyone. I am just not ready for that yet.

I also used the words ‘I can’t drink’ in my internal dialogue. When I looked at alcohol I would look at it like an old sexy boyfriend that was bad for me, I would still lust after it.

These days something has shifted massively for me. I know I’ve tried before but there is a knowing in me that wasn’t there previously.

‘I don’t drink’ versus ‘I can’t drink’ are two very different statements. ‘I can’t drink’ implies that I am not allowed; I am being deprived of my choice. ‘I don’t drink’ is a powerful affirmation. It reinforces in my mind that I am not making any sacrifices, that I am making the most positive choice for myself, for my mental and physical health.

You may enjoy this article that explores this in more detail:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/heidigranthalvorson/2013/03/14/the-amazing-power-of-i-dont-vs-i-cant/#476f57cbd037

When I’m offered a drink these days I just say ‘I don’t drink’. I say it with conviction as if I’ve always been a non-drinker (this takes practice and sometimes you have to fake it till you make it)

By starting off in that frame of mind I can answer the following questions from a powerful place of positive choice instead of being rooted in shame.

This is the way the conversation has gone.

Friend: Would you like a drink?

Me: No thanks I don’t drink anymore.

Me: Like forever? Yes forever.

Friend: Why, we used to have so much fun drinking wine together?

Me: I just don’t like the way it makes me feel anymore. I don’t enjoy it at all.

This is met by a quizzical stare and a rapid change of topic.

Of course, my nearest and dearest know that I am addicted and they know the hell it has caused me. It’s important for the people closest to you to know so that they can support you.

Brene Brown talks about people having to earn the right to your hear your shame story. I don’t feel its necessary to go into so much detail with people I hardly know or people that are fair weather friends I used to party with.

The other point I wanted to make is that not drinking isn’t weird. We weren’t born ‘two drinks below par’. We are perfect and complete. We don’t need to pour alcohol down our throats to fit in.

People aren’t walking around asking a recovering heroin addict if they just want one ‘little bit of smack to take the edge off’ Or asking them why they cant just have the one. (Forgive me, I don’t know the heroin lingo, so I don’t know if you even call it smack.)

The fact is that I am addicted to a highly addictive, socially acceptable legal drug. That doesn’t make me weak or strange or unique even. It’s just the way it is, and I choose not to drink anymore because life is so much better and easier without it.

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