01 December 2019
06 December. 2019 • Category: Running | Addiction | Mental Health | Family | Mindfulness | Anxiety | Authenticity | Sobriety
Running on Dartmoor this Summer.
I’m quite a private person. I keep myself to myself, so the fact that I write a lot down and share the inner most workings of my mind with everyone who reads my blog is quite bizarre. I’m not really an over sharer, and yet here I am over sharing!
The fact is, most of my family and all of my friends would only have found out about my drinking problem by reading this blog. I didn’t tell people besides my close family because I didn’t really know how to. I assumed that people would think the worst of me, that they’d assume, because I let wine get control of me, that I was a bad mother, or a bad wife, and that generally I wasn’t good enough. The truth is, I love my husband and our kids more than anything. So when I can I like to have them read everything I write, sometimes before I post it.
I spoke about this to two of my kids (the middle two) a couple of weeks ago. I was suddenly embarrassed when people I actually knew started reading what I had written, and worried that mattered more than when strangers read it. I know it’s the same information but I wondered if it was more personal somehow. They both looked at me like I was mad when I asked if my blog embarrassed them, then they both reassured me that it didn’t. In fact my son said that if people were to look at my blog or my Instagram what they would see is a Mum who has overcome a problem and is always out doing things with her kids. That made me feel better. A lot better. To think that I have overcome something this big, and I still have the love and respect of my family means the world to me.
Sharing my experiences was not something I took lightly. I always wanted to write, even from a young age, but life got in the way. When I was struggling in the early days of sobriety, reading the experiences of others really helped, it made me feel like I wasn’t alone in the way I felt, like other people, women, mothers, etc, had been where I was. I carried a lot of shame about it though, and for that reason mainly, I kept it to myself. One day, and I really don’t know what changed, I wanted to put some of my thoughts down on paper. Once I’d started it was like a dam had broken and loads more came spilling out. All these memories and thoughts filled the paper, and suddenly my head started feeling clearer. They say that writing is cathartic, and in my case it certainly is. I feel like I am finally filing all these thoughts and experiences away and creating a bit more order. I really hope that someone reading this blog finds it useful, to be able to return the favour would mean a lot to me, but at the very least, if nothing else, it makes me feel better, and that can only be a good thing.
Thank you as ever, for taking the time to read this and connect with me.
05 December. 2019 • Category: Running | Addiction | Mental Health | Mindfulness | Anxiety | Authenticity | Sobriety
So much recycling!
I guess really I’m just confused, and perhaps a bit cross. Let me try to explain… Whatever party you support or don’t support, whether you love them or hate them, there do seem to be two main points in any of the agendas. One is Brexit, and I’m not going to get into that now! The second one is Climate Change. Now I am all for us doing something for the planet. We need to, as it’s been said before, there is no planet B. I want somewhere for my children’s children to live, and their children after that, but the way it’s going, I’m not sure what they will be left with. There are plenty of disaster movies surrounding the apocalypse, but maybe ours won’t be that dramatic, maybe we will just run out of everything we need to live.
I try to live better, I recycle everything I can. I encourage the kids to choose anything that has less waste. We don’t leave lights on or waste water. We are trying to go plastic free, at least in the case of single use plastic. There’s six of us, it’s hard, but we’re doing everything we can. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by it. By the attitudes of other people who don’t seem to care. For everything I recycle, there are more people out there throwing things away, buying things they don’t need to, putting bananas in bags in the supermarket, and it makes me sad.
Today our post came. There wasn’t much, it was all about the election really and that’s what surprises me most. Now I know that the leaders need to get their messages out there, I’m aware of all the debates on the TV at the moment and I understand it’s importance. What I really don’t get is the amount of paper that is pushed through my door and why most of it is repetitive. Yesterday and today I had the exact same flyer put through the door, maybe the postie got lost and it wasn’t all intended for me? I don’t know, but I do know that one local representative claims to be promising change and looking to our green future and yet they are bombarding me, and I’m assuming my whole local area, with endless amounts of paper. I understand that paper is not the problem plastic is, I know it can be recycled, it just doesn’t seem right. It seems hypocritical. We ask ourselves to limit our carbon footprint and to reduce, reuse and recycle, it would make me feel better if the potential future leaders of our country and their parties could do the same.
Is it just me?
As always, thank you for reading.
04 December. 2019 • Category: Addiction | Mental Health | Mindfulness | Anxiety | Authenticity | Sobriety
Sunset at the beach. I've used this picture before, but I like it!
I read this quote today…
’We always placed great importance on the mistake. But the next move, what you do after the mistake, is what really defines a person. We’re all going to make mistakes. But what is that next step?’ He added: ‘We don’t, as a culture, seem to stick around to see what that person’s next step is. And that’s the part I find so much more invigorating and interesting.’
This is from an article where Brad Pitt discusses his addictions. Isn’t it a lovely perspective to see an addiction from, or indeed any difficulty, rather than it being a problem, it’s how it’s dealt with that matters, how the person has moved forward after it. The link to the rest of the article is below if you want to read it.
It’s interesting when you read articles like this. It’s not just the ‘normal’ people that suffer from addictions. Here is a man who from the outside presents that they have a good career, a relationship and a family, and yet he also has had an addiction. It seems it wasn’t a recent thing either, but one that was there alongside him as his career grew. It seems that more and more people resort to using substances as an ‘escape’ - but what are we all so keen to escape from? Is it the pressures of modern life? Is it the demands we place on ourselves to achieve more and be better than our predecessors?
We live very different lives now from that of our ancestors, very different even to that of our parents. Our children, (certainly mine), have very different childhoods from the one I experienced. The internet, phones, social media are all constant and unavoidable. We are not designed to be bombarded constantly with every snippet of news or celebrity information, and yet we are. When something happens across the globe, we feel it. Years ago, we would have been living in close proximity to our families and our village would have been the extent of most of our worries. With modern technology comes modern troubles, and modern coping strategies.
It’s refreshing though, to see people being more open about their difficulties, I think it makes it easier for others to deal with if they know they aren’t alone. It makes the shame feel less. It shares the burden. I agree with Brad, really it is the way these things are overcome that matters, how we deal with it and how it shapes us as people.
Thanks for reading.
03 December. 2019 • Category: Addiction | Family | Mental Health | Mindfulness | Anxiety | Authenticity | Sobriety
Christmas Shopping in London.
Although it is a magical time, Christmas can be a pretty stressful time too. Of course, there are the predictable elements, of making sure all the presents are bought and the shopping is done, but also there are other factors, like parties and meeting up with friends and family, some of whom you might not see for the rest of the year. It can be exhausting, and that is before we even talk about not drinking.
Everywhere you look from adverts to TV and even in the aisles at the supermarket, you’ll see that alcohol is marketed as an integral part of the festivities. So, whether it is your first Christmas without drinking or you’ve done a few, it can prove a bit of a challenge.
This is not a definitive guide, it’s just a few things I’ve picked up along the way and hope will help. Please let me know if you’ve got any other ideas that I can add to it. 😊
🎄 It’s not just you! (#1)
There are many people who choose not to drink. It’s a struggle to stop, but you are not on your own, even when it feels like it.
🎄 Only go to the events you really want to.
It’s hard enough to psych yourself up for things you want to do. Don’t use your energy going to things you aren’t feeling up to. It’s likely that it will end badly or put you off going out to other events. It may see scary to let other people down, but it might be better for you in the long run.
🎄 It’s not just you! (#2)
Other people have struggles too. You could feel awkward but they probably can’t see it, just like you can’t see their insecurities.
🎄 Don’t be afraid to leave early.
You might have had a good time, you might not, but don’t feel you have to stay to the end. Leave the night on a high and you’ll probably feel more up to another night out. Stretching it out could ruin it for you and to be honest, if everyone else is drinking, they might not even notice you go!
🎄 It’s not just you (#3)
Keep remembering, you aren’t alone. It’s a hard fight, but there are other people wanting to do it, doing it or having done it. It’s hard, but it’s worth it. Just keep going.
🎄 Have an escape plan.
Like me, you might not want to make it common knowledge that you aren’t drinking. I kept it private for a long time, and so it could work for you to have a plan, just in case things get too much. If you have a back up plan, you can get away when you need too.
🎄 It not just you (#4)
There are so many people out there in exactly the same place as you!
🎄 Have an excuse!
If you really want to go and really don’t want to tell people the truth, and are afraid that it will be awkward, just have an excuse ready. Maybe you’re on antibiotics? Maybe you’re in training for a marathon? Maybe you are driving? Not that you need a reason!
🎄 It’s not just you (#5)
I think I’ve covered that it isn’t just you, but keep remembering it, it really helps!
Support groups might work, but they might not. You don’t have to meet people to have support though, there are plenty of online groups you can join. Likewise, I found reading so helpful, other people’s experiences helped me remember that I wasn’t alone, and that other people had walked the same path before me and survived. In fact, not only had they survived but it was worth the struggle.
🎄 Enjoy it!
Remember this, you will probably have a fab time. You’ll remember everything you say, and everything you do. You’ll not have ‘one too many’ and embarrass yourself and when someone else does, you’ll remember that too!
I hope this helps, even just a little bit, I know that I felt nervous before my first couple of non-drinking events, and even now, I don’t choose to go to many. I’d rather do other things now, so they have to be good for me to go!
Let me know how your festive season goes though, and if any of these ideas work for you!
Take care, and thanks for reading.
01 December. 2019 • Category: Addiction | Mental Health | Mindfulness | Anxiety | Authenticity | Sobriety
It's almost Christmas!
I had my last ever drink on 7th September 2016. A date I will always remember, and celebrate passing every year. But this meant I had only three months of non-drinking under my belt by the time Christmas came around. As anyone who has stopped drinking before knows, three months is barely anything. Certainly not enough to learn to rethink all the brainwashing we have coming at us constantly from TV and elsewhere regarding the fun we will have once we have a drink in our hands. I’d got to three months before and that was where it ended.
I approached Christmas with trepidation. It certainly overshadowed things for my whole family that year. Things we would normally do couldn’t be done, like the work Christmas party which was always a good excuse for me to have a few. Even family gatherings had a different feel, as more often than not, they all involved us having a ‘nice’ few drinks to relax and enjoy ourselves. Our family often travels a fair distance to see one another (several hundred miles) so once there it was often seen a reward to have a drink after the long journey. It was easier to avoid it all.
At home though it was no different and my husband and I would often have several glasses of wine or beers throughout the afternoon and evening. It was an excuse to drink earlier, to be allowed to and to enjoy it. I couldn’t see how Christmas would be the same without it. That makes me feel quite sad now, but I think the belief that alcohol is so needed and used as a reward by society makes it very difficult to imagine life without it when you have got yourself caught up in a situation like mine.
On Christmas Day itself we had a quiet family day, just my husband and I and the kids. It was lovely, except during Christmas dinner, when I had a bit of a meltdown. I was so angry! I was angry with myself for wanting a drink, angry that I couldn’t have one, angry that I didn’t want to give in and let myself have one, angry that it was so ingrained that I should have one. It was so confusing. But I got through it with the support of my husband and I didn’t give in. I would have been so cross with myself if I had done.
I didn’t want to make a huge deal of my non-drinking, but I told my closest family, because I wanted them to understand. The majority of my friends and family will still only now find out if they read my blog. It isn’t something I’ve advertised. That comes back down to the feelings of shame I had about the whole situation. I felt like I’d let myself and my family down. But now, in hindsight I am proud. I gave up something I relied on and now days go by without me giving it a second thought. I didn’t ever think that would happen. I wasn’t sure how it could.
So I guess my message is to stick with it. It doesn’t matter what time of the year it is, sometimes it will be harder, and sometimes it will be easier. We have to fight the message that society portrays, that alcohol is the answer to everything, because certainly in my case, it is the complete opposite.
Thanks as always for taking the time to read this, and let me know how you’re finding the run up to Christmas this year.