SoberMe

My Not So Secret Diary

Pub Lunches

Pub Lunches on holiday in spain with family going to meetings in pubs without drinking living alcohol free after addiction and recovery blog My Not So Secret Diary
I even do non-alcoholic holidays now!

I had a meeting recently in a pub. It doesn’t bother me now like I thought it would, for a long time I didn’t think I would be able to or even want to go into a pub again. I mean, what would be the point if you aren’t going to have a drink? Well, like I said, I had to. It isn’t the first time recently, a few weeks ago, I went for a coffee in a pub with some colleagues. The thing was that was quite explicitly just coffee. It was in the morning, there was no risk of anyone ordering anything more than a hot drink so I knew what to expect. This one was a lunch meeting, and it was the first time I’ve done that since I stopped drinking, and I had to walk in on my own. I didn’t really think of it until just before, I assumed that because it was work no one would drink. But then I started to worry a bit, and that is frustrating because it isn’t like I need to drink even if others are.

I managed to get a seat and there were lots of bottles of water on the table so I felt safe, so to speak. It wasn’t long before a gentleman came in with another woman. Before they had even sat down they were announcing to the room that they were going to try to avoid drinking, especially as it was still January (Dry January). He soon followed this by saying that the tonic waters they had just bought cost £4.50 so it would have been cheaper to drink alcohol. Then the conversation moved to how expensive drinking could be and the cost of various varieties of alcoholic drinks. I felt a bit uncomfortable as this wasn’t a conversation I wanted to participate in, and yet I didn’t want to be rude. No sooner had I thought this than another attendee joked loudly, “Boy, am I glad I don’t drink anymore.” I know this person also had a drinking problem in the past, but I had never heard them acknowledge it before, and I was pleasantly surprised. This comment was followed by, “Celebrating twelve years.” I said, “Wow, well done.” I didn’t like to say too much and yet I felt it deserved recognition, but where I was worried about drawing too much attention, this person just bravely said, “Well yeah, it was either give up, or die,” which made me laugh, as was the intention. Without even really meaning to, I just said, “It’s three years for me.” It’s the second time in a short space of time that I have admitted to people outside of my circle the truth, and the minute it was out of my mouth, I wondered what I had done. I almost expected people to be staring, wondering whether I was contagious or something. But no one else seemed to react, maybe they just didn’t care, but then why would they? My addiction and my obsession with what others think of me shouldn’t be the first and only thing that people think about when walking into a room. The person I was talking to congratulated me and the conversation in the room moved on, as it already was.

Later after the meeting, where I drank a lot of water and nothing else, the same person caught me and we chatted. Although we both knew of the other’s troubles, we had never spoken to each other about it, only through my husband. We joked about how we wouldn’t have been able to face being in a pub a while ago, but now neither of us were going to jump over the bar to down a quick one. Then when talking about our other halves, my friend even said with a smile that their partner could take or leave alcohol which would have been our downfall, we could take it but never leave it.

“Who is sicker?” I was asked. “Us, the drinkers, or them, the spouses?”
“Them.” I replied, to which my friend laughing out loud said,
“Yes exactly, why would they put up with us and all the crap we’ve given them over the years? What is wrong with them?”

It was funny to be so open about it, a relief to talk and not have to explain or be ashamed or embarrassed but just to laugh at the situation and our experiences in a light hearted way. It’s an experience I would never have chosen, but it has shaped me as a person now, and made me who I am.

It’s another experience ticked off my list, one that is no longer a trigger, but something I can enjoy if I want to. So, my thought of the day is not to push yourselves too far or too fast, but not to limit yourself either. We can do whatever we want to do now we are free.

Thank you as always for reading.

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Sharing

Sharing running for recovery on the camel trail and training living alcohol free and after addiction blog My Not So Secret Diary

A few years ago, right back at the beginning of my recovery I read a poem. It’s only short, but resonates deeply with me and I want to share it with you all. It’s called Autobiography in Five Short Chapters and it is by Portia Nelson, I hope you like it.

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

Chapter One
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost.... I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter Two

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in this same place.
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter Three

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in... it’s a habit... but,
my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter Four

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter Five

I walk down another street.



I hope you liked it? Let me know what you think

Thanks for reading!

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Feeling Proud of My Running Son

Feeling Proud of My Running Son parkrun hands holding barcodes running mother and son saturday morning addiction and living alcohol free blog My Not So Secret Diary
Finishing in places 19 and 200 at Parkrun

I love my children more than anything and am proud of all four of them. I don’t have favourites, although they all know I tell them they each are, generally for different reasons. Each of them is very different and yet they are all kind and happy kids. As we have three teenagers and a toddler at the moment though, they do have their moments.

My third oldest, Barn is 14, and fell into running by mistake. He started coming out with me when I was doing Couch to 5k and to be honest got a bit frustrated with me. I was never fast or slow enough for him, as I was following the plan, and I refused to divert from it. I admit this might have been annoying but without it I would never have got to where I am with my running.

I booked a 5k for us both and we raised money for a new Air Ambulance in Cornwall. While it gave me the target I wanted to push myself, I got a bit concerned as Barn seemed to lose interest and for a while didn’t train with me at all. I wasn’t sure if he would even want to run. But then something clicked and he did start going out more often. He wasn’t a keen runner but he enjoyed it more, and with that first race, he realised he was quite good.

Last year he started upping his distances and began to run longer 10k races with me, until he realised he was faster than me, then he started waiting for me at the end. The more he tried, the faster he got, and it was exciting to see. He got very competitive, but mostly with himself. At the end of a race last year a gentleman stopped us to tell us we should get him into a running club to train properly, but due to his age, it was hard, most near us only take over 18’s due to child protection.

At the start of the school year he was picked to represent his college for Cross Country, and there after the race we met a coach keen for Barn to join his team. It was exciting, and although Barn was nervous, he went, and began to enjoy it. Training was very different, suddenly he was running shorter distances than he had been used to, and the others were naturally faster, but he had the stamina to keep going, and week by week he closed the gap.

Shortly after this he qualified for the Cornwall Team, and has the chance to travel with his team and represent the county at races all over the country. It’s very exciting for him, and a great opportunity. Pushing himself out of his comfort zone with running and marshalling at parkrun, as well as joining the club has been good for him, his confidence has grown and I am proud of the lovely young man he is becoming.

On Saturday we ran at Eden parkrun. It’s a three lap course, where we run down into the pit by the biomes and back up before repeating. He always beats me, but we have a bit of a challenge where he tries to lap me and I try to stop him. It’s good encouragement for both of us and so far I have managed to fend him off. Today he shot past me on my second loop, slapping me on the back as he went, finishing 19th, which isn’t bad for a 14 year old. I have never felt so proud, and although I have a cold, and wasn’t so fast as normal he shaved a whole minute off his personal best so would have probably beaten me anyway. He then joined me for my final lap, using it as his cool down.

It’s so nice to see a hobby that I love being enjoyed by my son, and to see him doing so well at it. Running has helped me so much and I hope I’ve helped to instil a coping mechanism that will be there for him in the future if and when he needs it.

Have you managed to encourage their children or partners into running or other hobbies? Do you find it encouraging or challenging to share something like a hobby with others?


Thank you as always for reading.

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Trying and Failing and Trying Again

Trying and Failing and Trying Again recovery blog after addiction living alcohol free family smiling mum and dad and toddler son little boy smiling selfie overcoming together My Not So Secret Diary
My husband and I with our littlest boy.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but sobriety is hard. Especially for those of use who have had years and years of ingrained use of alcohol in our lives.

So much of our culture involves drinking. It is as normal to expect a drink of wine or beer as it is to expect a cup of tea. So when someone realises that alcohol has become a problem in their lives it isn’t just the drinking that has to stop, they also have to entirely relearn the way they live. I know because I did it. I didn’t do it on the first attempt either, it wasn’t that easy. It took me about six years, maybe more to really believe and understand that I had a problem. Coming from a family that always ‘enjoyed a drink’ I grew up expecting that that was the normal way to relax, that it was okay in the evening to always have a drink with your dinner and more after. It was so normal that I really didn’t think for a very long time that I had a problem, and even when I questioned it, I wondered how many people would believe me. I honestly thought they would think I was after attention. I wasn’t, trust me, no one in their right mind would put themselves through recovery unless they had to.

So, in the summer of 2015 I stopped drinking. I knew I had a problem, I relied on it too much. Tearfully I spoke to my husband about it. He agreed with me, he knew I liked to drink, he also enjoyed a beer in the evening, but the difference was, he could leave it, I couldn’t. He was supportive and helped me get through the first couple of days. It was a Wednesday and Thursday I remember because I had to take my daughter to a hospital appointment. It was immensely hard, but I did it, and two days in I felt better than I had in ages. My appetite began to come back, and the anxiety I always felt, the hyper-vigilance causing me to be constantly on edge eased off. I felt so good that I convinced myself that I didn’t really have a problem and by the weekend I was confident that I had over-reacted. So I had a few drinks. Moderation doesn’t work for me. Within a very short time I was right back where I had been again, except possibly worse, because now I really knew that it wasn’t possibly a problem, it was definitely one.

I couldn’t imagine life without wine. How would I relax? How would I reward myself after a day? How would I switch off in the evenings? There were so many questions. So many I couldn’t answer and so I did what I always did when I had a problem and drank.

In the spring of 2016 I tried again. Again I failed. And again I got worse because the thing is, one glass of wine is not enough for me, and that one glass that I couldn’t resist always made everything come tumbling back down.

That was my rock bottom. I knew I had to do something serious. I knew I couldn’t do it on my own and I knew I couldn’t go on the way I was. I didn’t like myself anymore. Every day was a battle. I grew to resent the wine I loved so much, I hated the hold it had over me, and yet I just couldn’t say no to it. More than once I smashed a glass, literally throwing it across the room in frustration because I didn’t want it and yet I needed it. I have never been so conflicted in all my life, and yet the times I had tried to stop drinking just resulted in making me like I couldn’t do it, that I wasn’t strong enough to do without it. And that made me resent it more, but regardless, every night I still poured a glass or two, or three, or four. I was over the two bottles of wine I used to limit myself to now, and ashamed of the recycling I was putting out each fortnight. I would try to hide it, or take it in the car to the recycling bank, embarrassed that the neighbours would see. My excuse was that the kids enjoyed smashing the glass, and they did, but they wouldn’t have minded not doing it either.

That was where my love of drinking stopped, when I realised it controlled me, and although it was the scariest thing I have ever done, admitting my problem and learning to confront it saved my life. It changed me as a person, or maybe it didn’t, instead maybe it gave me back the person I was before all the drinking. It wasn’t easy, trying and slipping up and trying again, but each day is easier.

I have a lot of memories, a lot of regrets and wishes that I had stopped long before, but of course I couldn’t. I had to get to the point I did to finally make it through that time. I had to get to the bottom to be able to climb back up. However, it still surprises me that these memories spring up from time to time. Of course it knocks me, and I wish I could change things, but then I wouldn’t be here where I am now, surrounded by people that love me.

Life isn’t fluid. Nothing comes with a plan. I know that I wouldn’t have chosen to become addicted to alcohol, but if I didn’t I also wouldn’t be here writing to all of you, and that matters to me. I have rough days, but I actually like who I am now and so does my family. What they get now is an authentic, honest me. Not a wine-addled mess. They might not always agree with me, but they know what to expect most of the time. I am loved and I am cared about. I am lucky.

Recovery is a challenge, it is a journey, but it feels amazing to come out the other side. The wobbles get less wobbly, and everything gets clearer. Stick with it, be patient, be kind to yourself. Find new hobbies. Everything will be all right in the end. If it isn’t all right, it isn’t the end.

Much love to you all.

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