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. ­čÖé

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 ┬árecovery 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.

Day 7: Insanity

God I feel like SHITE. Yep, not very articulate, but kinda covers it. I bounced out of bed this morning feeling full of the joys of smug sobriety (day 7) yet now it is nearly 2pm, I have unravelled into a grouchy, discontent monster mummy.

My insides feel like they’re all itchy and agitated and aggravated by every little sound and sight.The SOUND of the little voice is driving me bonkers. The SHADOW of a little person tailing me makes me snarl. The THOUGHT of feeling like this forever is driving me nuts.

Alcohol thought: It was your medicine. Give it back. You might not have felt a million bucks all the time but it’s better than this. At least you got to get pissed. And smoke cigs. You’re mental without me.

Sober thought: Fuck off wolfie. (Re-read blogs to remind myself of misery of drinking and hungover-ness).

Alcohol thought: You can barely make it through the day without falling apart – look at you, you can’t even cope with normal life. For God’s sake, just have a drink tonight. You’ll feel so much better.

Sober thought: Go FECK yourself sideways, Wolfie. I am gonna get past this and look after myself and become stronger. I’m sick of listening to your promises and bull. You’ll have me on my back in no time.

Alcohol thought: You put on 1.5 kg this week from eating crap food that you wouldn’t have touched if you had drunk me. Funny eh?

Sober thought: At least I wasn’t pissed or hung over. Or smoking and therefore dying of lung cancer and leaving my children as orphans.

So, should I clean the house like a demon or should I go to bed and read for the afternoon?

Feel so fragile that I can’t even make that decision. Is this normal? Someone, please tell me this will pass, cos I am a wreck!

So many things running through my mind I am paralysed. Think I will just sit still and let it pass.

Freedom fighter

It’s Friday. The sun is shining. And I feel GOOOOD.

There’re my triggers to drink – all three of ’em, in one shiny little package. A perfect storm to pick up.

But… I went to a support meeting this morning and I have been reading good recovery stuff. The weekend I was to have away with work (full-on schedule, possibly around party animals) has been cancelled by a crazy unforseen circumstance. I am not feeling shaky, although I must admit, the thought of drinking has of course crossed my mind.

So, I’m six days sober. I know it’s not a lot but for me, well, it IS. I don’t want to mess this up, and I know I am at a very, very vulnerable stage. I keep playing the drinking tape forward in my head, and the ending is not pretty: something like waking in the morning with a ginormous hangover, quite possibly regretting something I had done or said the night before, not being nice to my children, lazing around all day feeling like crap and eating shite. Weekend wasted. It’s just not as alluring to me, today, as it usually is.

I had the same feeling last night, when I was at my favourite beachside cafe (beaches and sunshine are huge drinking triggers .. hard when you live on an island). There was a bunch of drinkers on the deck, the ocean twinkling behind them. It looked attractive briefly but I didn’t give it much thought once I had a soft drink and got busy feeding the kids and talking to my friend. We had a lovely time on the beach later and I drove home thinking, ‘I am free’.

If I had drunk at the cafe I would have been obsessing over how many wines I could have before I couldn’t drive. Should I have more and just get a taxi? What will I do with my car? Should I just chance it and drive? Have I got more wine at home? Is there enough? Who can I get to come over and keep me company? The evening would have been taken over by drinking and thinking about drinking. The lovely talk I had with my friend and the enjoyment I had watching the kids play on the beach would have been mere irritations or distractions – something to do until I could get home and relax and drink PROPERLY.

Sobriety is freedom – not a sentence. This is new thinking for me: I have always been of the mind that not drinking is a punishment. I am now starting to realise it’s the opposite. I don’t know why it’s taken me this long to get it – maybe it’s the evolution of suffering (there’s been a lot of that, no doubt mainly self-inflicted) or perhaps something has finally clicked for me.

Anyhow, early days yet. Got the weekend of sunshine to get through. Have a good one, folks.