Sleep!

Sleep is the magic ingredient. I’ve been running around like a headless chicken, trying to squeeze in full-time hours, children’s school runs and christmas preparations for the in-laws.

I’ve been getting on average 5 hours of sleep a night and yesterday had the first craving in weeks. I heard my husband open a can of coke zero and my brain just went – BEER! Beer will help me! Beer will make me feel better.

Went to bed early. This morning I feel like a new woman!

I need to find a way especially in these early months to avoid ‘overwhelm’ one of the biggest causes of relapse.

That means more sleep and prioritising the $@£^$% out of my to do lists!

 

 

Lapses, relapse and does all sober time count?

rain

I’m feeling really low because after being sober for well over 100 days I drank again last Saturday. The wind is out of my sails. My momentum has fallen flat on its face. My little gorgeous pink cloud has turned into a shitty little rain cloud that is just floating above me and no one else.

All of this counting malarkey is driving me nuts. What’s the deal with the ‘consecutive day’ dogmatic thing? This is making it harder for me and must be for other people too.

I have been drinking most of my adult life. I think with any massive change its to be expected that there will be a couple of bumps in the road. I know alcohol isn’t doing me any favours but it has been my coping mechanism for the best part of 23 odd years.

It’s to be expected that I reached for it in a time of intense turmoil. I learned from last weekend that it doesn’t help and all it does it delays the pain till the following day.

This is one of the things that used to get me back into drinking. I’d get some sober time under my belt then I would lapse. I’d think fuck it, this is too damn hard and besides I was never that bad.

This time around I don’t have the luxury of the second part of the sentence to allow me to continue to drink and make it a full blown relapse. I know I WAS that bad and drinking again is not an option. Besides I don’t want to drink again. I’ve had a couple of fleeting cravings my I think that was the alcohol leaving my system.

Annie Grace has a video on this exact topic and it has helped me not to go down the self loathing path.

Instead I choose to follow the route of percentages!

So, I made the decision to quit on the 27th of May this year.

I had 3 lapses which puts me at a 70% success rate! I think that’s progress and just by writing this I am feeling better already.

Save

So, how bad did it really get?

I need to fully explore and put this into words so that I can refer back to it when I need to. If my history with alcohol has taught me anything is that after a couple of months of sobriety the rosy glow fades. There will come a time when the voice, lets call him “Jack” pops up and says (In the voice of a sleazy salesman):

“Hey girl! You’ve been so good, been sober for x amount of time and you haven’t slipped up once! You’ve shown that you can control it and besides honey, you were never THAT bad! There are so many people in a worse of state with booze than you, I mean you hardly drank during the week! Everyone drinks! Come on, we all deserve to cut loose sometimes, cut yourself some slack. You’re too much of a perfectionist that’s your problem. Have a glass of wine, GO ON HONEY YOU DESERVE IT!

So, how bad was I?

Its true I allowed myself to drink one night of the working week. So I was sober 3 days. This didn’t apply to holidays of course when I was permanently sloshed. The other 4 days of the week I drank as much as I wanted to which was quite a bit. I would say one and half to two bottles of wine on average and then more on weekend and parties, it really all depended how long the drinking session lasted. One weekend I specifically remember I finished almost 1 liter of Gin on a Saturday! We were just having a barbecue at home, stated drinking at 12 and carried on till the early hours of the morning.

Blackouts started happening very regularly I was blacking out almost every time I drank no matter the amount, this scared the shit out of me. I was losing half of my life to a world of which I have to recollection. It was like leading a double life.

From time to time I would get reddish blotchy skin rashes when I drank like I was allergic to alcohol. Rosacea I think it’s called?

I was really paranoid around people in the morning.

Needed to secretly drink when my father in law was here for Christmas. He’s a teetotal and my husband all of a sudden developed an ability to only have one glass of wine?!
So I had to improvise and drank my wine in the shed in the garden.

At social gatherings when everyone was drinking very little or too slowly I’d sneak into the kitchen and take a couple of swigs from whatever bottle was open.

I drank most of my hangovers away with the exception of the Monday hangover wich was complete and utter hell to get through.

Couldn’t stand people who didn’t drink or that drank very little! I thought they were ‘holier than thou’ boring idiots.

I was in a constant state of stress because I was withdrawing from the last binge so I was dog tired.

I was obsessed with drinking to the detriment of everything and everyone else around me. I was either recovering from my hangover or planning my next session. My life really did revolve around it.

I used to wake up with bruises, didn’t know how I got them.

I’m sure there’s more, I’ll add it as and when I remember it.

Effects of alchohol on your appearance

True Activist published a new article today about the effect that alcohol has on your appearance, to read it click here

It begins with: “Drinking alcohol might seem like the normal or ‘hip’ thing to do, but consuming it in excess over time can take a toll on one’s health.”

I am so impressed that they used the words “might seem normal”.

Ok, I know this is ‘True Activist’  an anti media news site that “exposes  the truth one lie at a time” so it’s not exactly mainstream, but the message is getting out there that consuming alcohol at least in excess is not normal.

The before and after photos are very inspirational. Most of them are of young-ish I would say 20-30 somethings that obviously partied too much. The main difference in the before and after photos is their weight and also their skin tone.

This is all very encouraging but that got me thinking about weight. One of the biggest and most coveted benefits of stopping drinking is usually listed as losing weight.

The trouble is that if you have an unhealty relationship with food on top of an alcohol addiction the chances are you won’t lose any weight when you first stop drinking. In fact since I stopped drinking 3 months ago I’ve put on 5 kilograms. The 5kg might have a little something to do with the truckloads of Magnum ice cream I devoured whilst re-watching the desperate housewives boxset (you do what you gotta do during those first months to stay away from booze.)

My many previous attempts to stop drinking had not necessarily hinged on the weight thing but it was a massive motivating factor to stop. If I didn’t lose a stone in the first 3 months my resolve was significantly weakened.

I would tell myself things like: “I’m being so good by not drinking, at least I should have the benefits of looking like on of those bikini clad yoga bunnies on Instagram to make up for the sacrifice, damn it!”
This time I know its different for me. I can pick up another stone in weight and I will still stay stopped.

This time It’s not the weight, or the clear skin or the extra money or even the liver health. This time it’s about self-compassion, self-love and self-respect.

I’ve just realised as i’m typing this that I have been lost in a cycle of self-hatred, self harm and self loathing for the best part of 24 years.

No more. Enough now.

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…

 

 

 

 

Romantic getaway, sans red vino

Sober firsts.

There are few things to make me feel so exposed and naked as sober first events. It’s like I’m terrified of what I might do to ruin it or that it will prove that life sucks without the boozy haze.

Airports used to be a very boozy affair. We would have our first couple of drinks to celebrate the fact that we managed to pack our suitcases before the taxi even picked us up.

Then tipsy, tipsy through bag check and passport control. We’d manage to get to a restaurant just in time to top up the alcohol level whilst checking the gate information.

On the plane we’d get as much down the hatch as the air hostess would allow, then sleep. We’d buy a bottle of something at duty-free just to make sure we were stocked and onwards drunkety-drunk to our destination.

This time we had a far less chaotic journey. We drove to the airport ourselves, we were early. Had loads of time and everything felt calmer. Except for this exposed feeling, except for all these cues telling us to DRINK. Caviar House, Pubs, Duty-Free temples to alcohol.

I practiced ‘reversing the brainwashing’ as Annie Grace recommends in her book. When I saw people drinking I just reminded myself that they were drinking a poisonous substance called ethanol that almost destroyed my life.

The feeling of deprivation subsided and made way for a feeling of intense gratitude that I get to not drink, I get the second chance at a life fully lived not in the grips of addiction.

The mood lighted and my husband and I started joking around like we usually do, he made me laugh so much I was gasping for air. We were fun without booze we never needed it to be exciting, we were spontaneous and fun without it.

It felt weird and awkward to begin with but I hope that the more we do things sober the easier it will get. It will become the new norm and I’m creating a bank of ‘sober’ memories to replace the alcohol soaked ones.

 

 

Rage & craving

OK, I knew everything was going too well.

Yesterday my husband and I had a fight. I had forgotten to do something and he said some pretty hurtful things. I completely lost the plot. I screamed at him in front of the children.

When we got home I went into the kitchen to wash the dishes and make dinner. I was seething with rage. I don’t mean anger, I mean blind rage that wants to annihilate everything in its path. Everything came bubbling to the surface. All the unresolved fights we’ve had, all the passive aggressive things he did and the insults that I’ve had to swallow.

I wanted to drink, I wanted wine on such a visceral level my body was absolutely aching for it. I needed oblivion and out of this intense emotion. The rawness felt like it was going to swallow me up if I didn’t do something about it. My fight or flight response was full throttle, I was trembling and breathing really quickly. Through all of this I kept washing the dishes , dish by dish, over and over.

By some miracle a voice in my head said : “If you drink tonight, you are going to be in a pile of self loathing tomorrow, do you have the strength for another day one?

I didn’t and don’t have the strength for another day one. I can’t do that to myself again. I’ve done it too many times.

So I kept washing dishes. I made dinner. I laid on the couch and text my old friends who made me laugh and forget about all of it for a while.

This morning I don’t have a hangover. My husband’s apologised but I’m still angry. I will spend time today and do a worksheet (Byron Katie) on the issue. Have a feeling this might need 2 or 3 worksheets.

I survived the rage, it didn’t swallow me up. Still here, day 81!

 

Yes I know the blog title sounds familiar…

I hope ‘Hurrah for Gin’ will forgive me.

That’s how it all started for me…Hurrah for Gin! Thank God for alcohol! My friend, my smoother of the rough edges. The magic juice that makes everything ok, lulls me, comforts me, makes me funny, makes me sexy, makes me happy. Makes me sing Que sera, sera into the sunset. And then one day it doesn’t do any of those things, all that’s left is craving so desperately for relief from the hangover from last night’s binge. Ethanol makes me sad, lonely, confused and depressed.

So this is my first blog post about becoming sober. It has been almost two months since I last had a drink. God that sounds like such a serious confession! This ain’t my first rodeo around getting sober either. I’ve tried to stop drinking multiple times before or maybe one could say I’ve been relapsing in and out of sobriety for the last 12 years. I hope to God this is the last time but hey, if it isn’t I’ll just try again.

What else can I do? I can’t go back to drinking normally, if there is such a thing. I can’t go back into denial because I’ve lived there for so long and its fucking painful! It’s the cognitive dissonance toward the end of your addiction that is enough to drive you to suicide. The desperate state where you wish you didnt have to drink but need to drink to ‘survive the day’