27 December 2020
We've had a wonderful Christmas. It's been quiet of course, but sometimes that's what we need. It’s also the first Christmas I can safely say I haven't worried about drinking or even wanted to drink at all. It’s the first time in my four years of sobriety that I haven't felt like I've been missing out.
Life of course goes on. My family’s lives don’t revolve around my sobriety and even though they are supportive, I wouldn't want it to affect them any more than necessary.
Obviously like many others, my three teenagers have been affected by our Covid lockdowns and the restrictions that we've been placed under. We’ve all tried to keep things normal, but that's hard when the world isn't normal anymore. Recently our daughter went out for drinks with some friends as it was one of their 19th birthdays. Over the years she's struggled at times with friendship groups but at a time when things could be harder and almost more isolating, she seems to have come into her own, and found a lovely group of friends. It’s so good to see her coming out of herself and growing into a lovely young woman. That night her younger brother was working and also needed a lift so we asked her older brother to take her to the pub to meet her friends. They went to a Wetherspoons in a neighbouring town. I didn't realise having not been in that now all orders are done by an app and then brought to you. It makes sense in this crazy Covid world, but it also means that when your big brother finds out your table number he can order several rounds of drinks to the table unbeknown to you and your friends. He dropped her off later and she told me about her “Wonderful” evening. She was funny as she was a little tipsy, something that we haven’t seen before, but she had a really nice time and it was lovely to see her enjoy herself.
I've never aimed to stop anyone from drinking. All I ask is that they don't try to encourage me to, or to make me feel bad about my choice. However, it was really nice to be able to share in Katie's enjoyment of her evening and know that her brother was looking after her. I've warned them of the dangers of drinking every night like I did and creating habits that are hard to break, but other than that I want them all to go out and have fun; it's only what I did when I was younger.
The best thing nowadays is finally having reached a place where I can relax about others drinking. I don't need to, I don't want to, but that doesn't mean I'm boring or missing out. It means that I'm making the best choice I can for myself. Meanwhile, I can still enjoy seeing my kids having fun. My choice doesn't have to affect them.
I hope you all had a lovely Christmas?
Thank you as always for reading, and take care.
This year is my fourth sober Christmas and New Year. I approached it prepared to have a moment at some point, because knowing me, and past years, I thought I probably would, but this year is the first time in a long time that I really looked forward to the simplicity of a family Christmas without any preoccupation or worry about drinking. Or not drinking, come to think about it.
We’re busy as a family with three teenagers and a three year old. My husband works hard and so it’s nice to look forward to the down time of Christmas or holidays. Sadly though, I also used to associate those times with wine and drinking. It wasn’t exclusive, most ‘good times’ were associated with wine. With the older three having jobs and working a fair bit too now, it’s hard to schedule time where we can do things together. Wednesday nights are the only evening that my daughter doesn’t work, and on the last week before Christmas I offered to take her late night shopping so we could get into the Christmas spirit and enjoy seeing the lights. It seemed like a good idea, but as often happens with me, once things start to get closer, I start to think of reasons why it isn’t such a good idea. For instance, because my husband was working away, I knew I’d have to drive. It isn’t a problem, but it’s about a forty minute drive, and that’s after taking my son to work which is twenty five minutes in the other direction. So I often worry I’ll be tired, but most of all I used to worry about not drinking. Of whether I’d want to. I’m quite happy at home so it’s always a bit of a challenge to get me out in the evening. That morning the weather was atrocious, we had loads of weather warnings in place and even the dual carriageways were flooded. There was even a landslide on the main road. I would normally have used it as an excuse and although it crossed my mind, I didn’t. All day at work I watched and waited to see what the weather would do, and then we went anyway.
In honesty, it wasn’t exactly what I would have hoped for, it was so busy and with Covid I was cautious, but, it was lovely to wander the streets and enjoy the atmosphere. We only went in a couple of shops, but my little one Stanley enjoyed going on a swinging chair ride and seeing the delight on his face was magical.
Sometimes, I still have to push myself to do things the old me wouldn’t have done. I still have a lot of safety mechanisms in place to protect myself, and it’s interesting realising that I don’t need them all any more. I can do things that are out of the ordinary for me, I can cope with it and more importantly, I can enjoy it.
It’s often assumed that recovery is hard and then over. I don’t think that’s quite right. I think it’s much longer term than I used to. But that’s okay, most of us have spent quite a few years getting into our habits, so it’s going to take a while to come out the other side. My motto is to remember to be kind, not just to others but to yourselves. Sometimes the wobbles come out of nowhere. They’re the worst, because they knock you unexpectedly. But it’s okay because you can just keep going, and with each day, you’ll be a little bit stronger. I know. I’ve been there.
So embrace the new things, enjoy the old things that you still want to keep, and let go of those you don’t. Most of all, take care of yourselves.