20 October. 2019
Me with my family.
A couple of weekends ago we went out to eat. It was my husband’s birthday and so we booked a nice restaurant for us and the kids. Going out to eat isn’t something we do that often, in fact over the last few years we haven’t done it at all. I really struggled to go out and be surrounded by other people drinking in the early days after I stopped, but it doesn’t bother me much any more so we are getting back into the habit of it, and it’s nice. There’s six of us, and three of us are old enough to drink, so I always feel a little bit like a restaurant will be disappointed with the fact we are only ordering soft drinks. I know logically that this is a silly thing to think, but I guess I am somewhat sensitive about the issue.
In the summer we went on holiday to Spain. Every evening we ate at a different restaurant and it was a great experience. Doing this really helped me get over my issue with eating out, we tried new foods, went to different places every night and generally enjoyed the food so much more than we would have done if we had been drinking alcohol. It was a real treat, and to keep the cost down we’d often share a big bottle of water between us. We’d sometimes also have a soft drink each too, but that would be it.
Back to Saturday, and our meal out. We ordered our dinner, and looking at the drinks list, checked out our non-alcoholic options. To be clear, if our eldest son, who is 18 wanted to drink I wouldn’t have a problem with it, he just chooses not to when he is with us, and often chooses to drive when out with his friends. We had the choice of Coca Cola, Lemonade or bottled J20 or Appletiser. The prices for the unbottled drinks were for half pints, so we ordered four cokes and a lemonade for me. We were given four pints and my lemonade was a half, which was fine, but was gone quite quickly, and the kids being kids also needed some refills pretty soon. We’d looked at water on the menu but the bottles looked really expensive for the amount you got and it just wasn’t very clear.
We had two drinks each so ten drinks in total between us all evening, and the cost of those was a almost a third of the bill for our entire meal. I couldn’t believe it when checking it back, that almost £40 was spent on ten drinks. That equates to about £4 a glass! I remember when having a soft drink was the affordable option when out. The sad thing is that if it’s cheaper to drink alcohol, then it’s only going to encourage it. It feels like I am being treated unfairly for my choice. It’s sad and makes me cross that we are limited by our choice not to drink, when many pubs and bars run offers to make drinking alcohol cheaper. This might seem like a rant, I just don’t understand how it is okay to charge more for a soft drink than something alcoholic!
Maybe next time I’ll take my refillable bottle and see what they make to that!
Has anyone else experienced this, or did I just have bad luck?
Thanks for reading everyone!
16 October. 2019
Finishing a Half Marathon at The Eden Project last weekend. I can do so much more than I ever thought I could!
Yesterday I was listening to a programme on the Radio about Eliud Kipchoge and his amazing feat of running a sub 2 hour marathon. I was listening to it because my lovely husband heard it, thought I might be interested and text me to tell me to turn it on. With the power of catch up I didn’t miss it. I had only managed to catch bits of the race itself, but from what I did see I was amazed. What an inspiration Kipchoge is, and how lovely to see someone who looks like he is truly enjoying himself while achieving such amazing things.
I couldn’t believe that running the time of 1:59:40 didn’t earn Kipchoge a world record, but I was interested while listening to Jeremy Vine on Radio 2, to find out some of the reasons why. I hadn’t appreciated that a car leading Kipchoge and his pacer team provided a laser target on the road which allowed them to provide a form of wind break for him, allowing him to attain maximum speed without expending excess energy. It’s interesting, as listening I realised I often slide in behind other runners, slip streaming, but when I do, it doesn’t have the same effect!
I know the choice of venue was questioned as Vienna apparently had optimal weather conditions, in that it wasn’t too hot or cold, but also it was dry and relatively wind free. Also, the course seems to be an ideal track for the target time. Again, I can see why he and his team would choose this though, as I know I’d hope or maybe expect to PB on a flat road course over some of the trails I run. Now out of choice given the scenery I love a trail, I love the technicality of it, it keeps my mind focused, but I also love the adrenalin rush of sprinting along a road and achieving a time I wouldn’t be able to elsewhere. Given the choice, I know where I’d choose to run if I want a good time, so surely he was doing the same?
The programme also spoke of another runner who has been close to the previous best time of Kipchoge. It was suggested that if in a true marathon event, the two runners were to both enter, they could provide a welcome challenge for each other, being of similar pace but with a competitive element. Imagine what that race would look like!
What really struck me is the inspiration it gave me. I won’t ever be a professional athlete, but I’m not trying to be. I do think though, that I can be better than I am. Kipchoge, although a professional athlete now, wasn’t always one and in fact only began formal training with a coach at 16. Now, at 34, while not old by any means, he is also not a spring chicken. It makes me question my limitations, or the limitations I put on myself. We all limit ourselves by social expectations of age, gender and ability amongst other things. Perhaps we should instead be thinking like the hash tag #nohumanislimited it gives me a lot of hope.
Thanks for reading!
14 October. 2019
It’s hard to give up something you love. Even when that something isn’t good for you. I know that although I was worried for a long time about the amount I was drinking, it was hard to admit and ask for help because I was terrified that it would be the end for me. I couldn’t imagine a life without wine. We are encouraged by the media, amongst other things, to see alcohol as a reward, and I knew I did. It was always there for me at the end of a hard day, to reward a good day, to relax. There was always a reason. And of course like as was proved yesterday when I ran a half marathon and was given a kids juice as I didn’t want the beer they were offering, all the cool kids drink. So I must be be very boring now! Excuse my sarcasm. I just find the stigma of alcohol as a reward very annoying now I am sober. But like I said, it wasn’t always that way.
I’ve had lots of people ask me for advice and I am more than happy to give it, but to be clear, I am not qualified as a addiction counsellor, I just have my own experiences to share. I hope they help someone. Other people’s experiences were always a help to me.
The first time I managed to stop drinking I convinced myself that moderation was the key. After all, there are so many people out there who drink for fun and seem to be fine. I was wrong. It happens so quickly, one glass becomes two or three. Suddenly you are back where you were or worse. For me moderation just isn’t an option. It takes all the confusion and guilt out of it if I just remove it completely. But that’s just me, I can’t say what would work for you.
I’ve been asked how you stop a loved one who has a problem. Simple answer? You don’t. It might not be nice to hear, but until someone is ready to stop drinking they won’t. If you try to stop someone who isn’t ready, then they will end up resenting you. They might end up feeling more alone than they already do. Dependency is isolating.
It’s a slow process, there is no right or wrong, but I believe when you realise you have a problem and can admit it, you are on the right path. At the beginning of that path though, you find you have a very long way to go. Your whole life needs to be reworked. You can’t just stop drinking and expect things to be fixed. Dependency takes a lot of your hours and you need to find things to fill the void so you don’t slip back. Hobbies, self-care, there is so much you can do, but it’s weird to have the time suddenly. I also found my mind got chaotic. When I stopped drinking I unleashed it from the years I had spent dampening it down with wine. My anxiety was released with a vengeance! Learning to be quiet and still was a challenge, I felt I should always be busy.
I guess what I am trying to say is stick with it. It isn’t easy, but it is so worth it. Amazingly worth it. Just start at day one and remember to be kind to yourself.
Much love and as always, thank you for reading.
13 October. 2019
Celebrating with my kiddie juice after Eden Half!
Today was The Eden Project Half Marathon. I’ve been training for it for a while, it’s my fourth half marathon this year, but nothing could have prepared me for the weather.
It has rained almost constantly down here in Cornwall this week, and it has been proper heavy wet rain. My heart sunk a little each time I checked the forecast. But, I don’t like to give up before I’ve tried something so I went, as did hundreds of other people. We were drenched before we started!
One mile down and we entered the woods. I was grateful to get off the leaf covered lanes, I was so scared of slipping, that is until I saw where we were going. The trail turned into a mud bath for about two miles then, as we ran alongside the river, it was hard to get going and when I did I couldn’t stop!
It was such a fun race. I can’t say I’ve ever had such a good time while running over 13 miles. My time wasn’t the fastest, but under the circumstances I was really pleased with it. It felt such an achievement to be able to run that sort of distance and come out of it smiling, even if I was covered in mud.
When I got back to Eden all the finishers collected their medals, shirts and vouchers for a free pasty and a beer. I was even given some tea bags! When I mentioned to the lady handing things out that I’d prefer the tea she was surprised, so I told her I didn’t drink. She kindly told me I could get a cider instead of a beer! It takes a minute for my brain to catch up with me when I’ve been for a long run, so I just followed the other runners into the queue and waited for my free pasty.
I was lucky though, as I got to the front of the queue I saw that amongst the stacks of cans of beer, there were half a dozen bottles of kids juice. I was so pleased to get a cold drink that it didn’t matter so much that the alcohol free runners seemed to be a bit of an after thought in the eyes of the organisers. It made me laugh, kids juice for those who didn’t want a ‘proper’ drink? What sort of message does that send out?!
All in all though, a great race! I think I’ll be back next year!
How has everyone’s weekend’s been? Who else has been running and where have you been?
12 October. 2019
I bought him his own mat, he still prefers to be on mine with me. Even if I end up squashing him!
I love yoga. I find it refreshing and invigorating. It puts me through my paces and leaves my body feeling strong and my mind feeling clear. It really compliments my running too.
I got out of the habit of going to classes about a year ago, it’s hard to find something that fits in which our schedules, so I can go but also have someone at home to look after the little one. Daytime classes just don’t work for this reason. I normally practice at home but recently happened to see a class advertised at a time I could make, and the bonus was, my daughter wanted to come too. She also really finds yoga beneficial, but doesn’t practice at home. It’s nice for us to have something to do together.
We’ve been going religiously each week, and despite a couple of changes in times, it’s been fine. Last week I had a message to say that the venue we had been using was no longer available. It seemed a terrible shame as the teacher is truly talented and we both really enjoy the classes. I was so pleased to hear not long after that she had found another place to use, until I found out it was in a pub.
Is the idea of yoga in a pub bizarre to everyone or is it just me? I just don’t think I would be comfortable enjoying my yoga practise in such a close vicinity to all that alcohol. Maybe it’s just my background, but being sober now, I don’t particularly want to spend my free time in a pub, especially for something like yoga. I know it doesn’t actually involve drinking, so maybe I’m being over-sensitive? But, for someone who was alcohol dependent the idea of yoga in a place surrounded by alcohol just doesn’t sit well with me.
Anyway, fingers crossed a new space turns up, two weeks without a class is a long time and I might have to find a new class! Until then it’s yoga at home for me, the problem is, that often involves having a two year old on my mat with me!
Thanks for reading everyone!
02 October. 2019
Chilling at the beach with my little man.
As many of you know, I don’t drink. So when I see Go Sober for October adverts, although I see what I think is a good cause, I also see a reminder of something I couldn’t do for a long time, and by that I mean stopping drinking. I signed up for at least two years, knowing full well that I wouldn’t be able to do it. I thought that by signing up, some sort of magic wand would be waved and I’d be able to drink soft drinks for the rest of the month without wanting anything more, and my problem would be fixed. How much easier that would have been than going through recovery!
I recently saw a post from someone excited to start Stoptober, wondering if cutting out alcohol would help make any improvement on their running. I was interested in this too, although I started running after I stopped drinking, so it wouldn’t affect me in the same way. I was really surprised at the amount of different opinions to it! So many people out there don’t drink at all, many having used Stoptober as a stepping stone and then just not started again. Others are more training orientated and use races as a guide to how much or little they should be drinking. Some, clearly happy with where they are at, are just happy to, in the words of one gentleman, ‘crack on’. It isn’t envy I feel any more when I read comments like that, (it used to be, and not so long ago), I’m not sure that it’s pity, but there’s definitely an element of sadness that people would choose to drink to excess. Now I have a clear head, I’d rather keep it. It took a long time to get it and it isn’t always perfect, but it is certainly a lot better without wine. I do understand though that not everyone is the same.
What stood out the most to me was someone questioning the reasoning having a month off. The point was that if someone doesn’t have a problem with drinking then a month is nothing, and shouldn’t need to be celebrated. It makes me wonder just how ingrained alcohol is in our society that it is the norm that ‘everyone’ drinks and so stopping for a month becomes nothing more than a game?
It’s a great cause, all the fundraising helping Macmillan, but I do wonder if drinking wasn’t so much a part of our society, would we need Stoptober, or Dry January? Although maybe they are a helpful excuse to help people recognise when they have a problem? Reading through the website, they promote the benefits of being sober, including clearer head, more energy, better sleep, weight loss, personal achievement and helping those with cancer, but I was so disappointed to read that they offer a ‘Golden Ticket’ that you can buy if you have an occasion where you really need to drink! It seems like a contradiction, to be offered a way out before you start, and a reinforcement of how ‘important’ alcohol is to society! Maybe I’m just over-sensitive when it comes to this subject?
As always, thanks for reading!