22 December 2019
28 December. 2019 • Category: Running | Addiction | Mental Health | Mindfulness | Anxiety | Authenticity | Sobriety
Exploring in the rain.
On Christmas Day I was so positive. I had a bit of a wobble but it wasn’t a big deal. I felt pretty chuffed with myself. Boxing Day was a bit of a different story. It’s weird how it catches you out. You get a bit complacent. You think you’re fixed. At least I do. Or did. I’ve realised I’m not quite there yet.
On Boxing Day my mother and father in law were planning to come around. It’s a normal thing, some years we go to them, and some years they come to us. It’s just the way we balance things out as we spend Christmas Day itself at home with the kids. In theory, everything should have been fine, I didn’t really have a reason to find a problem with any of the arrangements and there was no pressure. They know I don’t drink and have been totally supportive, but suddenly, about ten minutes before they arrived I started to panic. Over the years my mother in law and I shared quite a few bottles of wine. She is not a heavy drinker so I always drank more, but seeing them was always a reason to have few glasses. Reminding myself of that made me so envious, and I really wanted to be back there enjoying it.
It’s strange how when you reminisce, you remember just the good and not the bad. You forget how one drink wouldn’t be enough, and by the end of the evening you’d either be asleep, have embarrassed yourself or had an argument, or maybe all three. At least I probably would have.
So, I had a little cry, reminded myself that it’s my choice not to drink and that choice makes me a better person than the one I was. We put our shoes on and took the kids for a walk. It was tipping down and we got completely soaked but when we got back I felt so much better. My mind felt like it was my own again, and I’d been able to put off the temporary hijack from unwanted thoughts.
I wonder if it’s an element of being at home for a few days, without the normal routines we all follow? I haven’t even run since last weekend! That certainly makes a difference normally to the way I think and helps calm the chaos!
I don’t ever want to give in. Three years and three months is too long to throw away but crikey, some days are hard!
I hope you all had a lovely day!
Thanks for reading.
27 December. 2019 • Category: Running | Addiction | Mental Health | Mindfulness | Anxiety | Authenticity | Sobriety
Well I did it, and it was a lot easier than last year. And even more easy than the year before that. Three alcohol free Christmases. That’s something to be proud of isn’t it?
We spent the day at home, us and the kids, as is our tradition. Then we see family on Christmas Eve or Boxing Day. It’s only our parents who live near us, everyone else is hundreds of miles away so we aren’t torn in too many directions like some people are. This year work has been hectic though and I didn’t feel we have the time to prepare until the last minute. It was busy right up until closing time on Christmas Eve. Then we stopped.
Christmas Day was lovely. We were all tired, me my husband and the kids, and the little one is fighting off a bug, but just spending time together was wonderful and this year, for once, my thoughts didn’t revolve around drink.
I had one moment, where I felt a little lost, but it was over so quickly that I didn’t even bother to say anything. I was standing by the fridge, and suddenly found myself reminiscing slightly about the thought of that glass. Of course my Christmases always involved wine. I remembered the feeling of the glass in my hand and the taste of the wine, that no other drink quite matched… And then I caught myself. That moment of sadness where I remembered I couldn’t drink ‘normally’ like other people passed, and I moved on.
It’s nice that even these moments are becoming fewer and further between. I used to think they’d never stop and slowly they are, even if now they come out of the blue and surprise me.
I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and made it through without too many dramas?
Thanks for reading.
26 December. 2019 • Category: Running | Addiction | Mental Health | Mindfulness | Anxiety | Authenticity | Sobriety
At Eden after Parkrun last week.
Sobriety is hard. It’s probably the hardest thing I have ever done.
It surprised me because initially all my worry was around giving up drinking. I mean, I only ever drank in the evenings, except on weekends when it was allowed to be a little earlier, and holidays or special occasions for the same reason. I wasn’t an all day drinker, but when I did drink, and that was every day, without fail, I’d consume at least one and a half but more often two bottles of wine by myself. But that aside, the drinking bit, although a hard thing to do, was done. All I had to do really was stop drinking. Just refrain from going to the fridge and filling up my glass. It doesn’t sound too hard does it?
It was the thinking bit I wasn’t expecting to be so hard. Suddenly I had a lot of extra time. That time meant I did extra thinking, and the removal of wine from my life meant my emotions started to come back to life. That was weird, and even now, I still think I’m experiencing new things almost every day. Without wine to numb my thoughts, my mind was a whirring mess, but it was mine, and I had to learn to deal with all this excess of emotion. I felt like I was able to appreciate everything, that I could see things that I just couldn’t before. That I felt things that I hadn’t done for a long time. I’d thought wine made me fun and grown up and all that, but I didn’t realise how much it stopped me from experiencing. I didn’t realise how much damage it did to me. I knew it took the ‘edge’ off, but I didn’t realise it almost washed the foundations away too.
Rebuilding is taking time, but I know now that my foundations are strong. They say you have to hit rock bottom to change, and so my foundations are built on that rock. It’s certainly been a challenge, but I feel good now, I’m liking the person I’m turning out to be under it all. Three years is a long time, and yet it is nothing at all. I thought quitting drinking would be the hard part, but learning to live with your true self is harder. It’s also exciting, and although it sounds soppy, you don’t have to let anything hold yourself back.
So to anyone out there struggling in the early (or not so early) days, just go slowly and more importantly, be kind to yourselves. It does get easier and it is so worth it.
24 December. 2019 • Category: Running | Addiction | Mental Health | Mindfulness | Anxiety | Authenticity | Sobriety
Me and my friend 'Broxanne'
A few years ago I felt like I could do anything. Nothing seemed to worry me, nothing seemed to get to me. Alcohol gave me an armour that took the edge off. If I worried about things more often than not, a glass of wine would help fix it. I never drank in the day, but more often than not, the after effects of the evening before helped take the harsh reality of tricky situations away, and a glass at the end of the day would stop me overthinking. Somehow I could push through most things, but in hindsight, it was like I wasn’t really there, it was like a game that I was watching but didn’t really matter too much.
Of course I don’t have that buffer for my feelings now. It makes doing things just a little bit harder as I have to face up to them head-on. The lack of this psychological buffer really knocked me, I didn’t realise how much harder things would be, and how things that seemed easy before, things that I could do with my eyes closed would be difficult. It became easier to stop doing a lot, at least the things I didn’t have to do. I found my self-confidence plummeted and probably because I didn’t push myself out of my comfort zone, things got worse.
I worried I would get things wrong, I was worried I would make a fool of myself, and in worrying, I stopped doing. I’m not sure what has changed, but something has, maybe it’s just an element of time helping to heal? In the last few months I’ve started trying to do things again. I’ve tackled things a little more head-on. I’ve started going out to business meetings again, something I really couldn’t have faced a few months ago, but the more I do it, the easier it seems. I might not be the most confident speaker, addressing the room makes me nervous and I stumble a little over my words, but I know that I am an authentic version of myself, one that might make mistakes but is doing her best, and actually beginning to enjoy meeting people and getting things done again.
Last week I attended a breakfast meeting. Being there for 7.30am wasn’t something I would have looked forward to before, and to be honest it was hard leaving my warm bed, but I went anyway. Once I was on the road watching the sun break through the dark it was fine, as was the meeting. In fact it was more than fine, I spoke with lots of people, I addressed the room and didn’t forget what I was saying. I laughed and enjoyed myself. I had a photo taken with a colleague/friend and when I showed my daughter later, she said, “Mum you look so happy!” That she could see how I felt and that it was genuine means a lot.
It feels like I am getting myself back, and that can only be a good thing.
Oh, and my stunning friend in the photo? Well they raised over £2000 for charity for attending the meeting looking so beautiful!
Thanks as always for reading.
23 December. 2019 • Category: Running | Addiction | Mental Health | Mindfulness | Anxiety | Authenticity | Sobriety
They say 'do one thing a day that scares you'? Well here's mine - I'm not great with heights and I'm on a rope bridge!
I recently told you all about Tuesday Night Wine Club and some of my friends, well, I also had another friend… I was feeling honest one day about 18 months after I became sober. She was surprised, told me she liked a drink too and asked, “Didn’t you have the will power to stop?” I was so shocked! What a stupid thing to say! (Sorry friend!) Of course I had the willpower, haven’t you seen it? I’ve had the willpower over the last few years to get up and carry on, even when I was struggling. To get through a day, when I was locked in self-loathing for wanting to drink something that I didn’t want, to put myself through that each day and then eventually come out the other side. I had the will power to admit I needed help and then do everything I could to stop. I had the will power to smash a wine glass on the floor because I was so angry with myself for wanting to fill it up again. I had the will power to stop. Eventually. But it is more than that. Addiction isn’t something anyone would choose. It isn’t a choice it is a disease. That’s not an excuse, some people can drink, enjoy it, and stop, and some people cannot. I cannot. Not anymore. It is an insidious, horrible, poisonous disease that saps your self-respect and all your energy. You use everything you have to keep going, to put on the show, so everyone knows (or thinks) you are fine, and you are left feeling isolated and confused, unsure of how to move forward. Until one day you stop fighting and choose. I chose to leave it behind and three years on, I’m beginning to be able to admit just how hard that was. Do you know what though? It’s hard to look back on, but I am so glad I am here now, looking back on that episode of my life.
Thank you for reading.
22 December. 2019 • Category: Running | Addiction | Mental Health | Mindfulness | Anxiety | Authenticity | Sobriety
The language we use affects the way we think about ourselves. I tried to write this post a few days ago, but I stopped when I realised I hadn’t said what I wanted to.
By using a word to describe a condition, we create a label which begins to define us as a person. A label can limit us, and make us think that is all we are.
I struggled with the word ‘alcoholic’. It didn’t sit well with me at all. I worked, I had happy kids and a clean house, how could I possibly be defined as an alcoholic? When I think of the word it conjures images in my mind that I would rather not be associated with and yet I could be. Although I am different in many ways, I am also the same.
I preferred the term addict, although to be an alcohol addict is much the same as an alcoholic, it felt like the label wasn’t just on me, it was also on the condition. It wasn’t just my failure, it was also the substance’s fault. Before, if tried to define myself I almost whispered the word ‘alcoholic’, I was afraid it could make everyone see there was something wrong with me. More recently I’m trying to come to terms with it, thinking that if I am okay with it, it takes the power away from the word. Gradually it has begun to bother me less and the more I use the term, the less power it seems to have.
I found the same with the term tea-total. Now there is nothing wrong with it at all, but I felt it just a little limiting. I don’t want to be limited by something, I had plenty of that when I worried where my next glass of wine was coming from. Personally I quite like the term alcohol free. That’s how I feel now, free of it, like I’ve shaken it off and it isn’t holding me back anymore. I feel this term implies it’s my choice to be without the burden of alcohol, which of course it is. It makes me feel like I’ve cast something off, rather than have something weigh me down.
Isn’t it funny the power these small words have? I never thought the terminology of something would bother me so much, but I know we are all different, even down to the perceptions we create by using a simple word.
So, is it just me, or do you have any real likes or dislikes about these sorts of things?
Thanks for reading!