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

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. 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. I have spent so many night worrying about him when he’s out.

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.

 

One year ago…

brave

One year ago today I had my ‘god moment’ of realisation that alcohol was going to kill me if I didn’t stop drinking.

When I woke up that morning still in my clothes from the night before, confused and battered, I knew something major happened.

I realised that this stuff was playing for keeps. This seemingly innocuous substance that you can buy at the corner shop with your milk and bread, is a deadly poison.

Alcohol knows no class or creed. It doesn’t care if you are prince or pauper. It is the great leveler of men and women. It will strip away your confidence your dignity your moral fiber your values your hopes and dreams and it will damage everyone who you come into contact with.

Alcohol is a liar and a thief, a silver tongue liar that promises to be the answer to all your problems. A thief of time not only a thief of the time that you spend being inebriated but also a thief of the time you need to spend hung over and sick from its effects on the body, mind and soul.

Alcohol is also a great teacher of truth. It promises to make you drunk and it delivers on that promise time and time again. We go back to it expecting different results every damn time and are so baffled as to why we just cant ‘get a grip on this’.

Alcohol is overrated! Being drunk stops being fun when you are addicted you don’t get the same high and so you spend your life chasing it, the only satisfaction you get from drinking is relief of the cravings you had.

Alcohol is dangerous. It’s more dangerous than heroin or crack according to an authoritative study: read more here

The amount of misinformation out there about alcohol is mind fucking baffling! A lot of which is perpetuated by AA! The fact that alcohol is highly addictive for human beings in general and not just a small genetically predisposed percentage of society should be common knowledge but it’s not.

Alcohol is a drug. There is no difference! The fact that society has been conditioned to think of these things separately shows how brainwashed we are.

One year ago today I woke up. I woke up out of my addicted sleep where the denial was keeping me soft and warm. I woke up to the cold hard facts that my addiction and my life had become totally unmanageable.

I would love to say that I stopped drinking after that but I had several lapses since then.
I’m 6 months sober and can honestly say that I am so fucking glad to be rid of it.

I have a lot of work to do, I realise that. I obviously have a lot of anger towards the substance and towards myself for allowing this to continue for so long.

One day I would like to get to point of neutrality where alcohol doesn’t phase me at all. I would also like to fart rainbows and poop glitter, don’t know if those things will ever happen.

It’s just too raw still. I need to just be where I am. I am sober, I am alive and I am so fucking grateful to say those words.

Have a lovely  weekend my gorgeous sober peeps.

xxx

Warning lights

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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

What my lapses and relapses have taught me.

This is a post for myself to refer back to if I EVER feel like drinking again. If this helps anyone else that is awesome too.

I had 5 years sobriety in my 20’s but was white knuckling it alone. In my thirties 2 and half years, then another year and half. Then a couple of months at a time (3 to 6 months stretches). I know it seems like I was going backwards in my journey but everytime I went back to drinking I learned something new.

A lapse is one night of drinking followed by getting back on the horse the next day. A relapse is sustained drinking until of course you stop again (if you manage to stop again I should say)

Here is what I learned from all of my lapses/relapses throughout the last couple of years.

  1. It get’s harder and harder to get back on that horse. The longer you relapse for the more shit goes down you are ashamed of and the more you want to drink it away.
  2. Once you’ve realised that you are addicted to alcohol going back to drinking is like going back into a burning house. You know the house is on fire so the cognitive dissonance of the addiction is there all the time.
  3. Alcohol doesn’t silence the inner critic. If you are addicted, the booze stops working the way it ‘used’ to. Even when you are drunk you are still aware of the inner critic voice. And the next morning the voice is screaming not talking.
  4. Alcohol doesnt soothe depression it exasperates it. Alcohol is a depressant. If it did soothe depression why are alcoholics so sad and lonely?
  5. Alcohol does not cure or help loneliness, the addiction isolates you. You can’t hang out with normal people and you can’t truly connect with anyone if you are drunk because you are not present.
  6. Alcohol doesn’t help anxiety. Alcohol changes levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain, which can and does worsen anxiety.
  7. Your brain is permanently changed once you have repeated the addictive behaviour enough times you can never go back to normal drinking. This is not a ‘habit’ it is drug addiction and it’s progressive.
  8. Drinking does not relieve boredom. If you are bored with your life it’s because you’ve been drinking for most of it and there is nothing more boring that getting or being drunk all the time.
  9. Alcohol does not soothe nor help after a trauma. It makes the trauma ten times worse. All it does is press the pause button on what happened and the next day in the cold light of morning you are faced with two devastations, the original trauma which was bad enough and then the fact that you drank.
  10. It makes you sick. You body’s immune system is at an all time low and if you keep going back it’s just going to get sicker and sicker.
  11. Level of alcohol consumption will increase at an alarming rate if you keep doing what you are doing.
  12. The first three weeks are the hardest BUT I’ve also learned that your body needs at least 1 to 2 years of sustained sobriety to fully recover from the damage alcohol did.
  13. Depression is very common in early sobriety because your brain needs to heal and recalibrate. You’ve been messing with the brain’s pleasure centre in the most dangerous way so your brain needs TIME to recover.
  14. This addiction kills people but before it kills you it will take away your dignity and it can do irreparable damage to the people you love the most.
  15. You can’t do it alone and in secret.If you keep that back door open you will use it! You need to be accountable to your nearest and dearest and you need community. This time I have community(ya’ll) and I cannot begin to say how much it’s helping me to know that I’m not alone in this.