SoberMe

My Not So Secret Diary

The end. And a new beginning…

The end. And a new Beginning
Smile!

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.

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Yoga in a Pub?

Yoga in a Pub
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!

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Other people and public spaces…

Other people and public spaces
Fun in the water with the kids.

To the noisy lady at the swimming pool… I don’t want to hear all about how hard your life is, at top volume while you are changing your child. I’m sure it is challenging, but after the last few weeks I think I’ve heard every detail several times and I think perhaps you are either creating drama for attention, or actually just thrive off a hectic life. That’s fine, but can you keep it away from me? Or maybe try being just a little bit grateful for what you have?

I don’t need the drama to be honest. It’s taken me a long time to be as calm as I am, and it doesn’t take a lot sometimes to tip the balance. I distance myself from drama, whether it is on the TV or in person, I separate myself from people who drain me, it is enough sometimes to keep myself afloat, without propping up others too. Sometimes people and the noise they bring is all a bit overwhelming.

I think this must seem selfish to some, but actually it’s self preservation. Keeping myself in my little bubble helps. My circle is small, my husband, children, close family and work. I’ve read a lot about mental health over the years after struggling with my own. We, as humans are not meant to interact in the way that modern life dictates. We were designed to care about our small circle, our immediate family and our ‘village’. We don’t need to know the intricate details of the happenings all over the world, and yet today we are subjected to it all. We know everything, all the time. We are bombarded and it is too much for some of us to process. There is no reprieve and it is tiring. Our minds are on constant high alert for events which actually may not ever affect us, and that is on top of our daily lives.

Its children I feel for most. I’m glad I think, that I am not a teenager today. When I was young, if I had a falling out I left it at school. With my kids, they are always available. Friends and acquaintances can get to them at all times, and if they choose to put down their phones or leave a chat, then they are suddenly out of the loop. It’s sad, and frightening that a lot of their friendships are superficial. I’m not sure that I’d cope very well with that. To help, I limit my phone to one hour per day of social media, then it cuts off. That can be hard as I manage a page for work too, so it isn’t all personal, but once it’s gone I don’t check in anymore. It gives me a break and sometimes that break is all I need. Sometimes I wonder if life would be easier if I lived in a cabin on a mountain somewhere!

Anyway, thanks again for reading!

Have a great weekend everyone!

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My Thoughts on Go Sober For October

My Thoughts on Go Sober For October
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!
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