A recipe for sobriety

Little gaps are opening up in my brain… the part that has beenBH Pic1 anaesthetised from wine. The part that used to be sober. The part that used to work really well. I remember some of the stuff I used to share in AA meetings.

Gotta admit, it’s still a bit cringe-y recalling it as I have been such a drunk lately, but it’s resonating with me today. The guts was, sobriety is like a recipe you have to make every day. Get the correct ingredients, measure them out properly and cook them for the right amount of time. Pretty much, you’ll get a good result every day if you do the same things. Today, my ingredients have been a good sleep (!), good food, exercise at the beach with a friend, touching base with a person in recovery for some ‘real’ talk, reading recovery materials and this – blogging. And taking time to rest (because shit, I am KNACKERED after this past week or so). And remembering that my absolute priority is to not drink.

I did have a moment when I got home and felt overwhelmed. It was 4.30pm, I had a tired and cranky four-year-old bugging me for ice cream before dinner, a carload of groceries that need un-packing, three meals to cook (don’t ask), a pile of washing to fold and put away before bath and bedtime. Not an unusual night but a bit more than usual to do: I would usually navigate this sort of evening with copious amounts of wine.

I could feel myself building up … tension rising, my voice raising. I caught myself, and told myself I could choose how I dealt with the situation. I asked my oldest daughter to help me pack the groceries away and to give me a hand with preparing dinner. I poured myself a soft drink with loads of ice and promptly got on with it. Yeah, I was tired and over everything, but I got through it. I thanked my older daughter and explained this was my ‘witching hour’ and that I appreciate her help. We enjoyed a family meal together and no drama was performed. And I didn’t drink.

Day 3 – it was good to know ya.

Day 4 – bit worried as back to a hectic work schedule (I’ve been lucky enough to have a couple of weeks of down time to have my alcoholic depression in!). I know I’ve got to stay in the day but I have prepared a few things to make life easier tomorrow (meals, housework, etc). Work is always a bit of a trigger for me to drink, especially boarding the ferry back to the island.. where there’s a bar… I think I might do my soft drink with loads of ice trick again and sit in a different part of the boat. 🙂

Major bonus: talking to a lady who lives here too whose story and mine are uncannily similar. Chronic binge drinkers who only smoked when drinking, daughters the same age, both single parents. Both of us started trying to get our shit together last year by losing a lot of weight. Both of us knew we had to get sober or EVERYTHING else was a waste of time. Both of us knew we were slowly (or maybe even quite a bit faster than that) killing ourselves. She gets it. I get her. Yay.

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I see the light

I don’t know why, but I am so bloody happy. I am Day 2 (again) of sobriety and I feel the best I have in ages. I’m not questioning why or even trying to understand – I’m going to enjoy it. Best Day 2 – and there have been many – I’ve ever had.

Just came back from an AA meeting. My relationship with AA over the years has been uncannily similar to my relationship with alcohol: love / hate. (Bit of background: I have been in and out of recovery – more out – for more than 20 years.) Up until a few years ago, I lived in a big city and didn’t realise how lucky I was to have many meetings on my doorstep. Now I live on an island, there is usually one meeting a week. It’s a small community and the whole thing freaked me out – the lack of anonymity, the fact that I had drunk with some of the people there… I also felt the recovery wasn’t very strong. That was a bit rich coming from me, as I was certainly drinking, if not slipping and sliding, at the time. However, I didn’t feel good about the meetings over repeated visits and gradually gave up on AA as being a viable option for me in getting sober.

But tonight – a year or so down the track – was different. There were a lot of people there (over 10 – good for the island) and women there that I knew who opened themselves up to me. There was real, raw, honest rap. It was awesome and I felt inspired, encouraged, humbled and kind of like I wanted to go back. I also found out (shock) that there’s another meeting on Fridays.

I guess I can see a  recovery support system coming together for me. Some A&D counselling, this blogging (it’s so satisfying) and a whole pile of interesting reading is keeping me focused. I also have a few close friends who, though not addicts or alkies, are very supportive of my journey. I am a lucky lady, really.

I want this – I want sobriety. I want strength and freedom. I got this! For today, anyway.

Relapse

I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t handle one more second of it. The entire seven days was torture.

So I drank. I actually felt better almost immediately. My anxiety slipped away. I was so happy and relaxed. I was smiling.

Yeah yeah, I know. It didn’t last and here I am today, back at square one and Day 1. But I’m back.  I can’t afford to loathe myself. I am going to do this, no matter many times I have failed.

I think from this particular relapse  I have learnt a couple of things: don’t mess around with antidepressant meds (I was reducing because I felt so good – what a dumb arse thing to do), and to always consider a medical detox. Man, that was one rough week – never felt so sick. I was up to drinking a couple of bottles of wine nearly every night. You can’t just take that away without some pretty dire consequences.

Fortunately, I can feel my meds have kicked back in and I’m on a relatively even keel. So, hopefully that translates to a better chance of staying off the booze.

I probably have no right to, but I actually feel incredibly positive and okay. I had a great day (besides the crustiness of a mild hangover) hanging out with my lovely friends and family. The sun was shining and I wasn’t hating on myself. Just resigned to the fact that I am doing progress and not perfection. And I’m not giving up giving up.

So, tomorrow I’m off to an AA meeting and going to tee up some A&D counselling. I need support – can’t do this alone. But, I can so see myself as a strong woman in recovery who has her shit together. Bring it on. It’s gonna happen.