(Below are all the posts I wrote in my eleventh month of sobriety. I've compiled them here into one page so that it's easy to see where I was at throughout this stage of my recovery. What you don't get to see by reading the posts this way is all the wonderful, supportive, warm and wise comments that came from the online community and that have been so crucial in my recovery. To share in that warmth and wisdom you need to read by going through my Blog Archive on the right. If you are reading this here and you are at the same stage of recovery yourself, please comment at the bottom to share your thoughts and experiences with others. Love, Mrs D xxx)
7 July 2012 - "How did I manage anything before now??!!"
Sometimes I wonder how the hell I managed everything when I was boozing heavily and losing sleep all the time and dealing with hangovers and feeling sick in my guts not to mention spending all that thinking time beating myself up for being terribly dysfunctional.
Last night, Friday night, I didn't have any wine as per my nowadays norm (as opposed to probably a bottle and a half before I quit), had a bath at 8pm, covered my face with night cream and climbed into bed to watch The Voice while reading a recipe magazine (I'm outing myself here as a BORING and TRAGIC housewife but what the hell). Slept soundly until 7am then got up and ... promptly got all stressed and grumpy.
Admittedly I was trying to get to a 9.30am pilates class at the gym for the first time on the weekend which meant I had to leave home at 9am. So I had two hours to get the boys breakfast, get them dressed ready for rugby practice, try to find the pump to pump up their new rugby balls, wrap a birthday present for the Middle Guy's birthday party later in the day, get him started on making a birthday card, put a load of washing through the machine and into the dryer (which is out in the bloody garage in this house), remember to eat breakfast myself, get my gym gear on and pack clothes at a towel etc so I could shower at the gym after the class, empty the dishwasher and put away last nights pots, change the Little Guy's nappy and put clothes on him .. and then get out the bloody door to go to the gym.
I felt really stressed! And snapped at my Little Guy for screaming loudly as I left I drove down the road thinking 'lower your shoulders .. breath'.
So .. I could try and drop the Superwoman act and not do so much next time before the class. Or I could try and do all in a more cruisy manner and not get so stressed and grumpy. Is the stress and grumpiness related to being sober? What would I have been like this morning doing all of that if I wasn't sober.
Ok so clearly I would have never tried to make a Saturday morning gym class before because I would have had a crashing hangover. I would have schlepped around in my dressing gown and had a slow start to the day.
But I'm sure I would have felt happier! Controversial statement there. And anyway I probably wouldn't because of the afore mentioned beating myself up mentally. I'm answering all my own questions here.
The whole reason I'm trying to get to the gym to do classes is to relieve my stress and grumpiness which is around more often because I don't squash everthing down constantly with wine. But I hate being stressed and grumpy more often. I challenge anyone with three young boys not to get pushed to the limit constantly .. but they didn't ask to be born. We chose to have them. So maybe I should just suck up my stress and grumpiness and get on with being a nicer person. Who happens to be sober.
And then I think what the hell am I complaining about, I'm bloody lucky to have the life I have so quit your moaning and cheer up! All I think I can do is press on doing everything I am doing - not drinking, working hard to be a good mother and wife and using my brain when I study and my body when I exercise. All the while attempting to be nice and not grumpy or stressed.
Love, Mrs D xxx
11 July 2012 - "Whine and moan"
... and whine and moan and whine and moan and whine and moan and whine and moan and whine and moan and whine and moan and whine and moan and whine and moan and whine and moan and whine and moan and whine and moan and whine and moan and whine and moan and whine and moan and whine and moan and whine and moan and whine and moan and whine and moan and aarrrggghhhhhhh!!!!!!
That's all I goddam bloody hell do! Quit bloody whining and moaning would ya! Blah blah blah-d-blah.
Right. Good. Now I've got that out of my system I can move on.
I love waking up every morning. I honestly do. I love waking up with no guilt, no dry horrors, no need for panadol, no distractions from what's actually in front of me. I've started feeling way more grateful for the fact that I wake up every morning after a good sleep with no sicky feeling in my guts and ready to start the day.
Ok so sometimes that day contains a bit of stress or grumpiness, but it's not overwhelming. I think I have this belief that to feel grumpy or stressed, and certainly to act to others (my children or husband) like I'm grumpy or stressed, is a FAILURE. I have this stupid long-held belief that it is a FAILURE (use of caps for emphasis, is that too much?!) to be a grump or snappy or shitty. That I am FAILING (that's the last use of caps I promise) if I am anything but cheery and sunny all the time. Well how stupid and dumb is that? I'm going to try harder to stop feeling like that. I mean, I'm also going to try harder to control those moods and not let them 'run away' on me (i.e. get way too shitty or grumpy) but if I do act like that sometimes - well that's just life.
Now, better get studying, I've got a child-free day and should be working on my thesis!
Love, Mrs D xxx
17 July 2012 - "Yelling from the mountain top"
Someone emailed me to ask how the hell did I just decide to stop and then stop? It does sound so easy when put like that. And while it hasn't been easy to learn to live without wine smoothing the way .. it actually has been easy for me to not touch the stuff. I have poured wine for others, sniffed it, had the smell wafting across the table on numerous occasions, bought it, encouraged others to drink it in front of me, and never once since the first few weeks of cravings have I actually thought to pick it up and swallow. How come?
I do feel really lucky that I feel like this. But I do think that all the re-training of my brain that I did early on really really helped. Reading books like Jason Vale's 'Kick the Drink, Easy!' really helped me see wine not as my friend but as the enemy.
Not the enemy so much as that person that you thought was really good for you and then you slowly realise that they're actually a really negative influence and a liability and that you're better off slowly retreating from that person and avoiding hanging out with them.
Like that really un-cool person that you just wish would stop hanging around trying to be your friend when you just find they get in the way and make dumb comments.
I can happily fill the glass of wine and hand it to a friend because I just don't want that stuff in my body twisting my brain and sending it back into an obsessed place which I am tricked into thinking is fun when it's totally not. I don't want that shit getting in my way, turning me back into that loser (in my own eyes that's what I was) who believes nothing is fun if you're not drinking.
I actually hate the alcohol industry now for all the brain washing it does to make you think nothing is fun or social without booze. It's simply not true. This country is awash (pun intended!) with news items at the moment about our awful drinking culture and the toll it takes on our emergency, medical, social and other services. But all the chatter is from politicians, medical professionals, the 'experts' etc etc.. but where are the ordinary people standing up saying 'this has got to stop!"
I feel like standing on the top of the mountain yelling for all to hear 'TAKE THE BOOZE AWAY I PROMISE YOU LIFE IS JUST AS FUN!!!' I'd probably have to add 'AND YOU'LL GAIN BACK LOADS OF TIME YOU DIDN'T EVEN REALISE YOU WERE WASTING' and then follow up with 'OK SO YOU MIGHT BE MORE EMOTIONAL BUT EVEN THAT FEELS RIGHT IN THE BIG PICTURE'. By now I'd probably have a sore throat from all that yelling but I'd just have to add 'IT IS TOTALLY POSSIBLE TO LIVE WITHOUT ALCOHOL - REALLY IT IS!!!!'.
All the lucky normal drinkers wouldn't need to really respond. But how I wish all the hundreds of other dysfunctional boozers like me would give sobriety a go. How much happier would so many of them (and their families) be?
Righto, time for a cup of tea after all that yelling. Bye!
Love, Mrs D xxx
23 July 2012 - "A birthday party"
Our middle boy has just turned 6 and we threw a wee party for him on Saturday. There were about 15 adults and 18 kids at our house for Saturday afternoon.
Luckily Mr D and I enjoy throwing parties and we planned a treasure hunt, a disco competition and lots of yummy nibbles and drinks.
And I thought - bugger it. Just because I don't drink any more doesn't mean no-one else shouldn't. Opening a bottle of bubbles can really set a fun tone I think so I bought a couple during the week and had them in the fridge ready for the party. Mr D went out in the morning and got some beer, and I also had some Virgin Cosmopolitans - a little pink bottle I've found from a company that is making a range of virgin cocktails pre-mixed. They're yummy.
So there I was popping the cork and pouring away for those who wanted it. A few were happy to accept and a few had pink drinks with me. Most of the blokes had a beer and the party was away! I was busy organizing the games and helping with present opening and making sure the food was going around and just chat chat chatting with our friends and did not give a toss that I wasn't sharing in the booze.
On the contrary I was actually delighted not to be. I so love that I've discovered that I can just do everything just as well and happily without boozing. Normally - before I became sober - I would have gone through the whole party much the same but slowly and steadily filling myself with alcohol. I don't think it would have been too noticeable, but I would have probably bought at least double the amount for the party and had a bottle or two of red wine for 'after' when people had gone home.
As it was I waved our friends goodbye, tidied up, watched some tele, cleaned my face, put night cream on and went to bed.
Who am I??!! Who is this person who is so unbelievably happy to have realised what was so wrong and made it right. That's me, yippee! Sober me.
Love, Mrs D xxx
27 July 2012 - "Up and down and up and down"
I'd be lying if I said I never had pangs about drinking. I do, in a sad 'yeah it would be really nice to have a couple of glasses of wine tonight' kind of way. But, as all good boozers know, it's never about just a couple of glasses of wine. I've never been able to see the point in a couple of glasses of wine, might as well go for the whole bottle.
(I just imagined drinking a whole bottle of wine and felt quite sick actually).
I've come off my high from the weekend and had an absolutely appalling day yesterday which ended with me yelling at the kids. It was just a bad day.
Then this morning I'm all tearful about god-knows-what and grouchy about the state of the house and just feeling kind of joy-less. It's a down alright, and it's come after the up of last weekend. Ups and downs and ups and downs. The normal waves of any life I suppose, but felt more acutely now that I live sober.
So yeah .. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I have pangs of sadness that I'm not a lucky moderate drinker who can use alcohol wisely and reap the benefits of a few nice drinks on a Friday night. But I can't. Just like I'll never have long legs or lovely smooth olive-coloured skin, or be really artistic, I can't drink well. And so I don't drink at all.
I have to put it in that camp of things that are unchangeable. The length of my legs I can't change. Nor can I change my predilection toward heavy wine consumption. Could I have avoided becoming an alcoholic with a different life-path? Who knows. That I'll never know. I think the reason that moment I finally accepted that I was an alcoholic (you can read the post here) was so profound was that it was a deep, total acceptance. Like a surrender. Yep, I'm an alcoholic, that means I can't touch alcohol. Period.
It's a bummer. It's a bummer. It's a bummer. It really is a bummer. But it's a fact. So there. Get over it. Harden up and get on with it. You can't drink (I'm talking to myself now, clearly going mad here), so suck it up, put your head down and get on with living sober.
Love, Mrs D xxx
P.S. I got an email from an online pharmacy/healthcare provider place in the States to tell me they've included me in their list of top sites regarding alcohol addiction. The list is here. The email was sent to the 'Mrs D is Going Without team'! Ah, that would just be me. Just little old sober me sitting at my desk, in my living room, in my house, on a street, down under in New Zealand.
31 July 2012 - "Thanks and an apology"
I love getting comments. I'm quite addicted to them actually. Every time I write a new post I spend the next day or two obsessively checking to see if anyone has commented. I am always so happy to hear from people, I really love it when people respond to what I have written.
I love the wise people who help me in tricky times. I love the lovely people who just say kind things and 'keep going' kind of supportive messages. I love the thankful people who say your story helps me. I even loved it that one time someone was rude and told me to 'have a bloody drink and stop whining' because it made me mad and all the more determined. Plus it gave me great material for a bite-back post.
But I want to apologize for not responding to individual comments. I know a lot of other bloggers do respond to each and every comment directly at the bottom of their own posts - and for me personally I love checking back after I've commented on someone else's blog to see if they've responded to me. It's so great! Like a disjointed chat room.
I am so so tempted to start doing that myself, and I've kept mulling over whether to or not. But the thing is, I just can't.
And it's because of my bloody MA research. I am actually in the middle of writing a 40,000 word thesis! I've had a terrible few months of not-studying, what with the house-sale and relocation, have really faltered for a while there but am finally back into the swing of things and am starting to get into some heavy-duty analysis of my data.
I'm actually meant to be working right now while I type this. And, you see, that's the problem. I already 'waste' too much time on blogger when I should be working on my studies. Of course it's not a waste. Blogging is my secret sobriety weapon and my blogger buddies are my secret support network, my home group, my lovely faceless buddies spread around the world give me so much strength and hope every day. I love that we're all lumped together in a crazy blog-o-sphere, opening up and supporting and talking and listening.
But if I were to start responding to comments, on top of trying to comment on others blogs as much as possible, plus keep posting twice a week .. I just wouldn't get my MA done. So that's all I wanted to say right now. I want to tell you all every time you comment that I agree, or thanks, or me too, or wow really! or some such. But for now, I'm not going to let myself. Until I put this MA baby to bed anyway.
Love, Mrs D xxx