7 June 2012 - "Here we go"
After I wrote that last post I went and vacuumed the car ready for our road-trip to the new city. Then I hit. the. wall. Absolutely hit the wall. Just collapsed, all the stress and adrenaline from the house-sale finally got to me and I had to get into bed and sleep for two hours. In the afternoon! Haven't done that since I was pregnant.
My face has now broken out in zits and I'm really exhausted from waking every morning at 4-5am with a million details running around in my brain. The sadness has come back, all my lovely friends are giving me sweet gifts and saying nice things about the time we've shared, there are a lot of tears from everyone. This is like an endless rolling excruciating farewell and I'm so over it. I'm sorry I'm so over it, I hate this sadness, I just want to get out of here now.
I cried in bed last night watching some crap on tele, and I had some pangs about never drinking again which shows that I'm feeling vulnerable. Those pangs can piss off.
Anyway, onward and upwards! I just want to get the goodbyes over with now and get the fuck out of dodge. The house is full of boxes and we're down to our suitcases which will go into the car tomorrow. We're taking a few days to drive to the new city and will meet the truck at our rental there early next week.
So ... see you on the other side. By then I will have shed many more tears but hopefully the excitement about things to come will have come to the fore more.
Love, Mrs D xxx
11 June 2012 - "Made it!"
I put that exclamation mark in the post title on purpose. I'm trying to sound upbeat. Like 'woo hoo made it to the new city yee haa!!!'. When really the reality is sadly a little more flat and downbeat. I'm just bloody tired and completely worn out and sick of people being around (started 4 weeks ago with real estate agents and potential buyers constantly and now it's movers and unpackers constantly) and unfortunately the excitement I thought was going to come hasn't. Yet.
The house is an absolute bombsite still, just crap and boxes everywhere and sooooooo much to do to get it to a place where I can relax into it. And in the days and week(s) ahead there is a lot of taking the boys to the new school and scouts and rugby and stuff so it's all just still very busy and will requre a lot of extra energy meeting new people.
And tonight I really really thought a drink would be nice and when I was walking around the new store in the new suburb grabbing things like weetbix and lillies and batteries and light bulbs I passed the wine section and actually allowed myself to have a fully blown fantasy about drinking red wine. Just drinking drinking drinking lots of red wine.
Don't be silly of course I didn't buy any but I was fully aware of the fact that I'm exhausted and strung out and wrung out and still sad and just unsettled I suppose and pined a bit for some escape.
But not for this lady, no siree bob. I'm charging through this whole experience raw, man. On the edge of reality. It's all real here baby-o. No blurring the edges of this little-ole life. Uh-uh.
Told you I was tired, this is silly talk. Can't. Form. Sentences. Tonight.
But anyway if I didn't have a blog I wouldn't write about it I'd just get on with it so maybe that's what I'll do. Plus it's the first night here and I should be sleeping. So night-night.
Love, Mrs D xx
15 June - "Turning a corner"
I took my boys in to their new school to visit their classrooms today which was great. Everyone was totally welcoming and the Deputy Principal who was taking us in went to great lengths to introduce me to the teachers and some of the parents as well. One mum in my 5-year-old's class said to me 'I must get your email address because we have a class list and sometimes us parents get together for drinks of an evening.'
So there it was right there .. my reality. I am a new person meeting new people in a new city and there's this fact about me which could be seen as semi-embarrassing or shameful.
But you know what. I honestly just cannot be bothered worrying what anyone is going to think. I just can't waste the energy. It is a bummer. It's a fact. It's part of me. I'm an alcoholic and I no longer drink alcohol because I was finding it too hard to control.
And you know what else, I just can't be bothered fudging it either. If people want to think whatever then let them think whatever. I will be open I think and go along to any social gathering like a normal person (of course I am a normal person but you know what I mean!) and when the actual drinks-being-poured-into-a-glass moment comes I'll say 'no wine for me thanks I don't drink alcohol'. And at that point I'll let the other person decide if they want to show a reaction or ask a question and if they do I'll just be up front and say 'I used to be a very enthusiastic wine drinker but I was finding it harder and harder to control so I've cut it out altogether.'
That is an over-simplification of all the emotional and intellectual work that I have been doing over the past couple of years to building up to stopping and then stopping and re-learning how to live without alcohol. But it is the truth! And if that breezy answer makes the whole process I've been through seem more easy than it has been then that can be my lie. If I make it breezy it won't be a drama, for me or for them.
On another note, I think I've turned a corner in terms of how I'm feeling with the house-sale and relocation and stuff. I have been indulging in two naughty behaviors over the past few weeks to help me deal with the stress and strong emotions - shopping and being piggy. But just in the last couple of days I've felt myself getting stronger again and pulling back from both (refrained from scoffing the last of my 2-year-old's chocolate chip muffin today and decided against buying a crafty rug online for the new family room). I still feel sad and a bit flat... but I'm definitely starting to relax, and am sleeping through the night again for the first time in weeks. Next step - find a gym to join and get exercising again!
Love, Mrs D xxx
22 June - "Boozing has it's attractions"
In some ways a boozy existence is actually an easier one I reckon. Even though you feel ill a lot of the time and guilty and dysfunctional (which I did), when you booze regularly as a means of emotion suppressing it's easier to live a cruisy, breezy life.
I practiced emotion-suppressing (heavy, steady drinking) for all of my adult life and as a result I was able to sail through times of stress, sadness or hurt relatively easily. I could escape a lot with the help of my companion vino.
As I've written before my boozing was high-functioning boozing. I ran a seemingly healthy life with good relationships but I kept my feelings at bay constantly by always dulling myself with wine. I look now at people still doing that with a bit of envy.
It would be really nice to have an escape. It would be really really nice to be able to reach for something that, in the short term at least, makes life easier to handle. That's the attraction of boozing. That's why we did it. It helps with pain.
So take away the booze and what helps with dealing with that emotional pain? Sometimes it's nothing. Sometimes you just have to feel the goddamn pain and let it out.
For me this means I cry a lot more (I'm getting used to not caring if people see my cry. Not much chance of hiding my tears lately). This also means I'm angrier more and am less tolerant with my kids (especially at the end of a long day). I hate this, it makes me feel really guilty and I'm trying hard to stop doing it while also trying not to beat myself up about it.
What else can you do in place of boozing? Exercise is good I suppose and I am off to a new gym now for my introduction session. Let me be clear about me and exercise. I don't particularly like it. I'm not sporty. I have flat feet. But if I don't exercise I don't feel so good so I put it in my life as a priority because it makes me feel better. Mentally and physically. I usually only go 2 times a week, sometimes 3. But I'm smart enough now to just put it in place and treat it like putting out the garbage. Something that has to be done.
Being sober means I've kind of become more measured, more serious perhaps. I can't be breezy and cheery all the time anymore. I can't suppress emotions, push them aside and pretend (believe) that everything is just fine. Everything isn't fine all of the time and being sober means doing it raw, baby. I said to someone the other day it's like I'm on a mechanical bull of emotion and it's tossing me this way and that. But don't worry, I'm holding tight to the reigns and won't let go.
Love, Mrs D xxx
30 June - "A $50 bar tab"
Sorry I've gotten a bit slack about posting. Not sure if anyone cares but I used to write religiously two times a week and now it's fallen back to once. Partly I think this is because I'm busy putting energy into getting our new house running smoothly and getting life going in our new city. Also I think I was getting a bit sick of having to be a bit low and negative on here all the time. Things weren't really fun there for a while with the house sale and relocation, and I was struggling with some pretty strong emotions that just weren't shifting away.
Also another reason for pulling back on the posting is, I think, that the more time that goes on and the more intrenched my 'non-drinking' habit becomes the more it becomes the norm. Everything isn't so shiny and sober-new any more. New occurrences and instances just aren't happening as often as they used to. It's all a bit same-same now, so I'm not compelled to share as much. I may wrap things up here soon.
But I feel like a re-cap so let me summarise:
I used to drink a shit-load of wine. At home mostly. Found it hard to stop drinking once I began. Glasses were filled to the rim and the top slurped down immediately. Averaging a bottle a night, sometimes less, sometimes more. Would do deals with myself over which nights I could binge and which I'd go easy ('coz I'd like to go to the gym the next day'). From the outside it seemed like a socially acceptable normal-if-not-a-little-enthusiastic drinking habit. But I knew differently, that on the inside it was very very dysfunctional and becoming more so with every passing year. I was obsessed with wine.
Hit my lowest point (a 'high bottom' compared with other bottoms some might say), when I hid a nearly empty bottle of wine from Mr D at the back of our pot cupboard so he didn't know how much I'd had while he'd been out with the boys at scouts. That was it for me. I knew that was the beginning of a very slippery sloop. That the sly wine-drinking fox inside me was beginning to dominate more and more. So I kicked that fox to the curb and haven't touched a drop since September 6th last year.
Since then I have never been seriously tempted to drink. I have wine and beer in the house, even buy it for Mr D and other family members who I know love to drink. I have been to parties, four bloody weddings (can you believe that??!! Four bloody weddings and not even one year sober yet!), black-tie dinners, quiz nights, celebratory lunches and dance parties. I have celebrated Christmas and New Year, birthdays, new jobs, house sales and wedding anniversaries. I have dealt with the stress of selling a house and relocating cities and the grief at leaving a wonderful community of supportive people. And never once have I seriously considered picking up a glass and sipping wine. I do not want to go back to being that boozy woman that I was steadily losing respect for. I do not want to go back to that.
But I was extremely surprised to discover as the months went on that my steady heavy drinking habit was me actually choosing to live life by squashing down emotions, or pushing them aside constantly. If wine is present in my body and affecting my brain I found it easier to cope with everything! I liked having a little mental buzz removing myself ever so slightly (or sometimes majorly) from reality.
Therefore what I have struggled with most is re-learning how to live with everything stripped bare. How to truly live sober. It's sobering being sober. Life is stripped back. Emotions are laid bare. There ain't no hiding from anything no more.
It's fucking fantastic. Make no bones about that. I love being sober. I respect myself, I really enjoy going out and socializing sober and coming home sober and cleaning my face sober and putting on night cream sober and sleeping soberly (deeply and heavily) all night long. I love it. So even when I do whine and moan about being sad or stressed or grumpy or angry, it never means I'm wanting a drink. I'm just feeling - really feeling - that's all.
The quiz night I mentioned before was actually last night. A work function for Mr D's company. Some were boozing pretty hard. Some weren't. I didn't give a toss that I wasn't. But I did have a chuckle to myself when I won a spot-prize of a $50 bar tab!! Ha ha!! If only they all knew. I've given it to Mr D to take his team out for a drink next week. That felt good.
Love, Mrs D xxx
4 July - "My alternative drink options"
I was showing the babysitter what she could help herself to in the kitchen; '..there's tea here and biscuits in this container. Help yourself to any of these soft drinks in the fridge. This fejoa and pear one is really yummy. I've got lots of these because I don't drink alcohol'. The line just slid off my tongue and felt so good. Really I was saying it by way of explanation because there were quite a few soft drink options in there. Little bottles of tonic (I have that sometimes with ice and a slice of lemon - a virgin G and T!), ginger beer and that fejoa and pear drink which is my current favorite.
I did a huge online grocery shop yesterday to be delivered this morning and bought 3 different four-packs of little bottles of fizzy. I think one of them was a pink grapefruit thing. This is what I do now to have a treaty option if ever I feel like having a 5pm drink.
Although having said that it is bloody cold here in our new city so often I don't feel like something cold and fizzy and that's when I turn to my trust teas. I am addicted to green teas and herbal teas! I have about 4 flavors and some of them are caffeine free which I have in the evening. I sometimes wonder how my body is on the inside now compared with before. I never actually felt ill or sick as the boozy me (aside from when I was hungover).. my body was a well tuned alcohol-processing machine! Surely it must be happier inside now.
Right .. got to get studying. I've got a child free day today and my thesis, long neglected thanks to this relocation, needs some attention!!
Love, Mrs D xxx