My Not So Secret Diary


After an evening race at the beach.

I think the title of my blog and Facebook page might give away the fact that I’m a little cautious about sharing what I write. I know I’ve posted online, but I’d mistakenly thought I could do it somewhat anonymously! I’d always intended to share with others who I am, but just not yet, my anxious self needed a little reassurance first that what I’ve written is okay to share. I’m often afraid that I’ll upset, offend or give too much away and embarrass myself. Before I go on, I want to thank everyone who took the time to like, comment or DM me about that post. It means so much to me that you all read it and I really enjoyed talking to everyone. I hope I didn’t miss anyone and I hope it helps!

I’m proud to be part of The Lonely Goat Running Club (Go goats!). We are an inclusive group who don’t always meet or run together, but instead chat online. It is a super supportive group and people (goats) share a lot in our chat, always without judgement, I’ve never known such a diverse group to be so united in their support of each other. We were featured in Runners World a few months ago and since then our group has grown to over 12,000! Anyway, I digress. Last night I shared my most recent blog post with the goats. I felt that if I asked for honest opinions, that I’d either realise my writing is rubbish and stop, or I’d get a few comments that made me feel I could continue. I wasn’t expecting what I got! Last night (and this morning) I have received such a huge out pouring of love from so many people. It means so much to me that my words might give hope to people out there going through experiences similar to mine.

Writing is a challenge, as it means I am admitting to a lot of things. It means letting people in, and allowing them to know me. That’s not something I am good at. In my darkest place, I realised that a lot of the people who ‘knew’ me really didn’t, the friends I thought I had disappeared and some took advantage of my vulnerability. It made me shut myself off, I don’t like being vulnerable, or at least admitting to it, and keeping everyone (except those closest to me) at arms length made it easier to deal with. It feels now, like I’ve admitted everything, that a weight has been lifted. Believe me, I didn’t intend for my post to be shared so far and wide last night, but maybe it is a good thing. Maybe it needed to happen.

Gratitude plays such a big part of my life now. Every night, I make sure I find time to find things to be grateful for throughout the previous day. Sometimes they are big things, sometimes they are small, but even on the most rotten of days there are things! I think that this habit makes me really notice the positives in life, for example the weather, I love the changes in weather, recently running across the cliffs one evening while the wind blew made me feel so alive! Such a small thing, but so special. Obviously I am grateful for my family, and my health, something that a few years ago I might not have had. There are many things I could add to it, but last night I added everyone that I spoke to about my writing. It made me feel very special, so thank you.

Thanks for reading!

Bear with me, it's a long one...

Bear with me, it's a long one
It's been a hard few years, but I think the worst is over now.

About six years ago, I wondered if I had a drink problem. I knew I drank a lot, but my husband also enjoyed a beer in the evening and it seemed normal to have one or two drinks in the evening to relax after a long day at work and stress with the kids. The thing was, I had a good job and a tidy house, I had happy kids and things were okay, so I decided I was being silly, and that I was fine. It’s easy for me to worry about silly things due to my anxiety so I put it down to that.

About five years ago, I wondered again. By this time I’d got a different job. I’d told myself if I had further to drive, I’d have to get up earlier, therefore I’d drink less. I made a great friend at work, she’d talk with me in the mornings, maybe one of us or both of us would feel a little worse for wear. We’d encourage each other to have a night without, and we’d both mean it, but we worked in stressful roles, and each day was fraught. (Not an excuse!) By the evening, we’d be on the phone to each other reassuring each other that it was just one glass. It never was.

I read a book, it was dedicated to the women for whom one glass was never enough and always too many. That was me. One glass became two or three, and before long, two bottles of white wine every night. Every night. Fourteen bottles minimum in the recycling, just for me. But my house was clean, I had a job and a husband, happy kids. I couldn’t have a problem. I just ‘liked’ a drink. Even when I was on my own.

About four years ago I hit rock bottom. I’ve always had difficulties with anxiety, and depression. I’ve never felt like I fitted in that well with anyone, except that is my husband, my rock who has stood by me through everything, and believe me, I haven’t made things easy for him. I spoke to him, more than once over the years about drinking, and the amount I drank. He supported me, and together we’d abstain for a few days, managing about three by memory. I found this super challenging but I’d do it just about and then having proved that I could do without, I’d have a drink to celebrate. We live in a culture where alcohol is everywhere, you drink to celebrate, to relax, to commiserate, because you’ve had a hard day, because you’ve had an easy day. The list is endless, and it makes stopping hard, because everyone else is doing it. I never drank in the day, I hate to admit I was possibly still a little drunk in the morning from the amount I’d had the night before, but I never drank before 6pm. Then it became 5pm, then 4pm. It’s a slippery slope. I hated wine at this point. I hated the hold it had over me, I couldn’t reconcile how much I hated something I wanted so badly. Nothing was the same without it, I couldn’t relax, I couldn’t be calm. It was my saviour, to know I’d made it through the day and I could have my reward. It was strange though when the reward never seemed enough and then when I started to forget. My family would remind me of things I had said or done, but I had no recollection. I felt like I was losing my mind, my only constant was my bottle or two of wine. I stopped going out. It was work, home, kids, wine. I knew something needed to change.

I shut myself away one day and phoned a support group for help. I was at the end of the line and needed help. I couldn’t do it on my own anymore. I played out the worst case scenarios of what would happen now I’d admitted I needed help. It terrified me. What I wasn’t expected was a three month wait for help, and when it came, being told in a meeting to keep drinking. As I was drinking so much at the time, it would have been dangerous to stop. This only confused me further, I was so angry then, at myself, at wine, at life, but mostly myself for letting the situation get so bad.

Eventually I had cut down enough to be prescribed Antabuse from the doctor. Effectively if you take it and then drink you’ll be really very sick. Taking that gave me back a little of the control. I knew that if I willingly took that, I’d not be able, (without risking my life), to drink. It was the first time, in a long time, that I felt a little bit in control.

Recovery was the hardest thing in the world I have ever done. It was also the best thing. I’ve been sober for over three years now and I know that I am 100% me all the time, any mistakes I make, any stupid things I say, that’s me, not wine saying them. I’ve not only had to stop drinking, but basically relearn the way I approach things. Alcohol is so ingrained into our society that we assume there is something wrong with someone when they don’t drink, unless they are the designated driver. It took me a long time to see that I wasn’t boring because I wasn’t drinking. It was also hard to find something to do with all the time I had now. Sitting mindlessly in front of the TV in the evening was not enough anymore. Harder still was dealing with anxiety on a daily basis, rather than drinking to keep my mind sedated. Nowadays that is the tricky thing, alcohol played such a part in being a buffer for me, I didn’t have to over think things because I couldn’t, self-medicating calmed me. Now there is no buffer, it’s just me, doing the best I can, and living with the consequences. I try my best, but like everyone, I do make mistakes. Day by day, I am getting there. It is certainly easier now, even though I’m still caught off guard by old thought patterns.

To anyone out there who is going through something similar, keep going, it is worth it, even though it is hard. Remember too, be kind to yourself.

Thanks for reading!