I’m 40 and officially old AF!

fabulous

I have been alive on planet earth for 40 years(14600 days). That seems like a really fucking long time! I honestly didn’t think I would live past 27 so I must say it’s a really nice surprise to have made it this far.

Given the amount of abuse I put my body through and the dangerous situations I have been in  I don’t think its an exaggeration to say that it’s a modern miracle that I am still alive.

This birthday seems different. I feel like I am part of the special over 40’s club, which gives me some gravitas. I sort of feel like I need to make a speech about the things I’ve learned or something.   Instead of making a speech I’ll just do a bullet list, saves time and we all know how much I love lists:)

Things I’ve learned in my 40 years on planet earth…

1) Alcohol is shit. Don’t drink it no matter what!
Seriously though, it makes you do stupid things, it makes you hate yourself and it makes you sick. It’s actually mind-boggling why the rest of world are still insisting on drinking the stuff!

2) Being in recovery is bad ass. Once you get over the shame and the guilt and all of the things you start realising that being in recovery is actually something to really be proud of. Its fucking awesome!

3) You are not your addiction or the things you did in active addiction. You are a divine being worthy of love.

4) Love yourself! Life is too short to carry on hating yourself, it hasn’t worked so far so try something different. Work on your feelings of worthiness, love and belonging and EVERYTHING will change.

5) Yoga is awesome  – Get high on your own supply people! Pranayama, Kundalini or a hard core rocket class can get you out of your mind NATURALLY with no side effects:)

6) Don’t take yourself or life too seriously. It’s meant to be a dance!  Try to go with the flow…life will have its’ way…try to laugh more, even through the shit times, it helps!

7) When you buy foil there are little perforated indents in the side of the box, when push them in the roll stays put. Cant believe I only found that out last year. You can thank me later:)

8) Music heals. Listen to music, make music, sing and dance!!! its your god given right and don’t stop doing it just because you are sober.

9) Guard your natural instincts and creativity with a veracity of a tigress! Don’t let the  culture we live in permeate into your subconscious. Make time for being creative and for other nurturing pursuits. Put it on the top of your list.

10) You are enough! Just as you are! Be your own Mark Darcy and remind yourself of this every day. You don’t have to lose that last 5 kilos or achieve massive success at work first! You are enough JUST THE WAY YOU ARE!

Lots of love sober peeps.

xxxx

Tears, tantrums, Ikea and cigarettes…

Warning: Bah humbug post.

Today consisted of massive marital tension, Mr Hurrah has been a knobhead of note the last few days.

As if that weren’t bad enough we had to go to IKEA (had to buy a loft bed) which exasperated the tension to epic heights. Just as I thought it couldn’t get any worse, I realised we have to now build the frikkin flat pack bed we bought for my son.

Building flat pack furniture is enough to send a happy and content couple into rages so you can just imagine how much festive fun we were having!

Anyway to cut a long story short. I was of course gasping for wine. Then I remembered Sober mummy’s quote.

“I truly believe that there is no problem in life that cannot be made worse by alcohol.

When the s**t hits the fan, you need a clear head, not one befuddled by booze, or hijacked by a hangover.”

So yes, clear head but she didnt say anything about clear lungs. Bought cigarettes:( BUT on the plus side bypassed the wine isle!

I’m not promoting smoking by the way but I figured the lesser of two evil will do for tonight. Small victory.

Still sober! Fistbump one and all:)

 

Wine glasses

When I went to a Halloween party last weekend I poured my coke zero into a wine glass. I did the same thing in Venice  when my husband and I went out for a fancy dinner.

Big deal, right?

I think it might be a big deal because it’s been troubling me quite a lot. I saw a photo of me holding a wine glass with coke zero in and it just felt wrong!

In Venice I just thought it looked more glamorous to drink out of a wine glass.

At the Halloween party I did it to make everyone else comfortable, or maybe to make myself less conspicuous. I didn’t want everyone asking me if I wanted a drink.

The reason this is bugging me is that by putting my soft drink in a wine glass I am subliminally telling myself I am making a sacrifice. I am reinforcing the idea that I am missing out on something marvelous by choosing not to drink.

I’ve quit drinking, and wine glasses in my world are not JUST glasses.

They are a reminder of my old life. A reminder of an addiction that was destroying me and my family. A reminder of ethanol, an addictive poisonous substance that very nearly cost me my life.

So no more wine glasses, Im chucking them into the bin today!

Need to keep an eye on the brainwashing that booze is cool, fun an glamorous. It creeps in when you’re not looking.

 

 

 

Warning sign?

OK so my husband and I went on this romantic mini break to Venice and it was absolutely amazeballs! We aced sober air travel and romantic dinners with no red wine in sight. All was well but…

When we were at the airport my husband said something that worried me. I brushed it off and hoped that it would go away but it’s gnawing at me. He said that he’s been toying with the idea of drinking but only when we are not in England. In other words, limiting our drinking to holidays only.

I dismissed it straight away as being silly and explained how much better off we are not drinking at all.

I have no desire of urge to even entertain this idea because I know how this deal works. First you limit it to only holidays abroad, then it becomes all holidays, then it becomes weekends and before you know it you are back on 2 bottles of wine a night.

What worries me is that he is thinking about it.

We have always been on par in our excesses. We’ve also tried to get sober together, many many times. Almost every time he started drinking again and I joined him soon after in lengthy relapses.

I’m not blaming him for my choices I fully own my decisions however I’ve always known in my heart of hearts that I wouldn’t be able to stay married if my partner wasnt also abstinent.

I’m in this for the long haul, I do not want to start the drinking roller coaster again so I am slightly apprehensive that if he’s playing with these ideas it could spell trouble on the horizon…

 

 

 

 

How do you know if you are drinking too much?

I’ve been thinking about this question that plagued me for the best part of a decade. I completed all the quizzes that were available online. I’ve always found the question of units perplexing.

All of the tests said I was possibly drinking at harmful levels but it was never really clear…Allow me to simplify this little conundrum.

So how much is too much?

You know you are drinking too much when:

  1. You obsess about drinking
  2. You can’t have fun without alcohol
  3. You need alcohol to de-stress

THE END!

 

 

Music

I’ve noticed that Music is a big trigger for me.

I absolutely love music, love bands, gigs, festivals and I love to dance! In the last couple of months sober I have noticed that music automatically makes me think of drinking. It’s not so much that I’m craving alcohol while listening to the funky soul sounds of James Brown. It’s more a like fond memory of being drunk and enjoying myself to that particular song.

The two memories are so entwined it’s exceedingly difficult to differentiate one from the other.

I listen to music frequently, I listen to it when I run, when I work and when I’m in the car. This means I am being bombarded ever so subtly by ‘happy’ drunk party memories on a daily basis.

Warning signs are going up for me considering I have been very prone to relapsing in the past. If I am to make this a lasting change I need to find a way to reverse these thoughts or reframe them in a new way.

‘This Naked Mind’ by Annie Grace and Allan Car’s the Easyway to control alcohol have provided me with a method I base my recovery on.

The premise for these books is that there is no true pleasure inherent in the consumption of alcohol. The ‘perceived’ pleasure is a combination of a couple of things:

  1. The dopamine lie – Dopamine is released in the brain promising something amazing is on the way and makes you excited to get it.
  2. The relief you feel when you allow yourself to do something you’ve been denying yourself.
  3. The relief of the physical alcohol withdrawal if you’ve reached that point down the rabbit hole.
  4. The social situation you find yourself in when alcohol in being consumed that is truly pleasurable in and of itself, being at a concert with friends, camping at a music festival, dancing and partying the night away with your mates.

Reframing the memories and remembering the event or song itself rather that the drunkenness, perhaps trying to  remebering the outcome of the night which was inevitably chaotic, or recalling the black outs.

I don’t want to unneccesarily obsess and demonise the memories so much that it becomes a ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ moral thing in my head because I know for a fact that this leads to relapse for me. My ‘willpower’ eventually runs out and doing the ‘right’ thing very quickly becomes ‘Fuck It!’

Maybe its more about making new memories and having those on tap too.

In the words of Jame Brown:  “Get up offa that thing, and dance ’till you feel better!”

 

Taking the roots out of a tree

I watched the Louis Theroux documentary Drinking to Oblivion last night, where he spent time at King’s College Hospital in London. He interviewed  patients whose alcoholism has put them in A&E and some who ended up in the specialist liver centre.

One of the people he interviewed was a Cameroonian lady called Aurelie who lives in a council flat in Brixton.

She is 43 years old and drinks on average 5 to 10 K Cider a day. (Scarily this did not seem like such a massive amount to me.)

Her eyes were the sorrowful, testament to the tough life she’s lived so far. She was shacked up with this guy that said he was her boyfriend but treated her like absolute shit. Louis asked her why she stayed with him and she said that no one else would want to have her as a partner because she was worth nothing.

The most poignant part of the interview was when Louis asked her if she thinks she can at least try to stop drinking for the sake of her health. She thought for a bit and said “No, I don’t think so, because it would be like taking the roots out of a tree.”

Let that sink in for a minute…

The roots out of a tree.

The two main functions of roots are to deliver water and nutrients to the plant or tree and provide an anchor that keeps the plant or tree in the soil.  Without the roots the tree can’t live.

This is the dark place down the rabbit hole where alcohol is your only coping mechanism for all your emotions. Sad, angry, disappointed, scared, anxious, disillusioned, depressed, irritated  – DRINK

Alcohol has been at the core of my life for years. I’ve taken it away and it feels really scary! It feels Naked, exposed and really raw. I have to learn how to cope with everyday emotions all over again. To be honest I don’t think I ever actually knew how to cope with my emotions at any point of my life because I started drinking at 14.

I will not let alcohol be my root anymore. I will replace it with things that are truly nourishing and grounding. Exercise, healthy food, walks, ‘the work’ by Byron Katie. It feels a bit overwhelming but I know that if I don’t, I’ll may be joining Moroly at the liver unit at King’s College Hospital sooner rather than later.

Actually come to think of it there is something that is way more frightening than ending up in the liver unit of some hospital. The fear of a life half lived. That is what alcohol addiction guarantees and has been delivering on its promise to me for years.

It will take away all your curiosity, your natural awe and wonder for life and replace it with a homogenous dazed existence where all you are doing is either coping with a hangover, planning when you can next take a drink or getting wasted. A life where the authentic joy and splendour of life is replaced with a dangerous chemical that hijacks your brain.

That is way scarier than the liver unit or feeling my emotions in all their raw intensity! So what if i cry over everything these days? I think I’m going to make it.

 

 

 

Being sick without booze

Been ill with chest infection this weekend.

I used to dose myself up with medicine as well as generous amounts of whiskey if I was feeling like this. That would account for the cravings I felt this weekend. I’m not used to feeling the full extent of illness as I’ve always just drank it away.

It’s weird to feel and be aware of everything. It actually feels quite trippy.

I have never allowed myself to feel uncomfortable or sad or happy or shitty or much of anything because I drank it all away. Never really felt life fully, just a dulled version of it.

So this time I was sick and felt shit without plying myself with alcohol and it wasnt great but I survived it. At least I didn’t have hangovers to contend with and woke up in a good place mentally.

Alcohol was truly medicinal for me. It soothed me if I was sad, it dulled the pain of my despair. It ‘seemed’ to soothe the depression which it was actually causing.

Very insidious and dangerous substance this ethanol stuff!

 

Bridget Jones

I went to see Bridget Jones’s baby last night and it was side splitting hilarious, mostly. It got me thinking about a couple of things. Why aren’t women allowing themselves to age? Have we lost touch with reality to such an extent that youthful good looks IS the  ultimate achievement, the holy grail.  Surely there is more to life than looking good!

In the book Mark Darcy dies and the story starts when she’s done grieving and ready to start dating again. Why didn’t they put that in the movie? Are we ‘poor’ females so sensitive, so inept at watching something with real depth that we have to be protected from anything remotely realistic? I know its a rom com and the producers probably wanted to keep it ‘light’ but can’t we handle anything other than a Disney Princess story for fuck sake?

Dont get me wrong, I loved the movie and laughed untill i cried. The scene with Mark Darcy carrying an enormously pregnant Bridget over the bridge to the beat of disco music is etched in my memory forever.
I just wonder if we aren’t selling ourselves short. This ‘culture’ or ‘milieu’ we find ourselves in, indeed the milieu we are co-creating is adding to the constant consumption of booze to soften the world that has become too much for us to handle.

Are we not stronger than that?