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.

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

Sad/Mad today

I feel really sad today. I was looking through old photos of the kids on Facebook. You know the disingenuous FB posts where it says. “Here at Facebook we care about your memories look at this post from 3 years ago!”

Looking through the photos I was remembering the mother I was. I was SO fucking tired, I didn’t know what I was doing half the time and I was drinking to ease the depression.

I’m so sad for her! I want to give her a hug and tell her that it’s going to be ok and that she will get out of the fucking pit of despair that is alcohol addiction.

As I was scrolling through the posts on Facebook I came across several posts (my own) that made me angry.

Post like these
Image result for jokes about wine and moms
Image result for jokes about wine
wine1Image result for jokes about wine

These posts help normalise my drinking, made me feel like I didn’t have a problem because I got so many likes, laughs, comments and re-shares.

It occurred to me that I might have quit sooner if I didn’t live in this permissive enviroment where everyone is using alcohol to self medicate.

This culture we live in has a lot to anser for. It’s not fucking normal.

Sorry about the rant. I’m off for a run to recalibrate.

Save

Save

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.

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?

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’