Sorry for the distance

I am still sober. I am still strong.

distance

Sorry I haven’t written anything for a while. I think I wanted to distance myself from my drinking and my recent past of drinking. Which again is something I have done in the past when i have successfully stopped drinking booze. This is perhaps because in situations when I am offered alcohol I just tell people firmly that “I don’t drink”. I don’t offer explanations and people don’t ask for them. Because I am assertive, I don’t say it apologetically or with hesitation, people just accept it and move on. This suits them and this suits me, as I don’t have to disclose or deal with the reasons why i stopped drinking and to be honest I’m not sure everyone would want to hear them anyway.

I think writing this blog took me firmly out of my comfort zone because it forced me to discuss why I drank. I had to allow myself to be vulnerable and explain why i had decided to stop and what lead me to make this decission. So for a few weeks I have run off and not posted anything because this scared me – but I am back.

I still don’t feel totally comfortable talking about why I don’t drink because it’s uncomfortable revealing myself on such a public platform – the world wide web. This again conveys one of the main reasons many people drink because they want to mask their real emotions. I know this is one of the reasons I would abuse booze because I didn’t want people to see how vulnerable I really am.  In short these are the three top reasons I stopped.

1)I am a bad drunk – I make bad choices, I offend people, I act so out of character I often hurt the people I love

2) Booze causes me to suffer – the regrets, the anxiety following black-outs where I struggle to recall what I did the night before. Also the physical symptoms of alcohol withdrawl cause such anxiety that I can’t function properly. To put it bluntly It-is-just-not-worth-it.

3) I am happier sober. I lead a healthier life, I deal with any uncomfertable emotions life throw’s at me better and feel stronger for it. Alcohol is not a medicine – for me it is a poison.

If you are reading this blog and still making that decision whether to stop. I can honestly say give it a go. I have stopped drinking for approximately 2 months now and I do not miss booze in anyway. I have no regrets and feel that I am in control of my life for the first time in a long time.

If you have any questions or have any advice please comment below. (Also I apologise for all the spelling mistakes, this is caused by dyslexia not booze brain!)

Day 16: Still fresh as a daisy 2 WEEKS SOBERRRRR!!!!!

I haven’t written for a while not because i have slipped off the wagon… you’ll be pleased to know but because my partner and me have moved cities. Loading and unpacking a bloody van has been taking up most of my time during the past two weeks. My flat currently looks like a scene from the secret life of Hoarders.

Although some might think oh god such a stressful upheaval might be damaging for someones recovery. This has actually been hugely beneficial for me, as I have been able to introduce myself as a non-drinker to all the new people we have met. I find that one of the biggest temptations for me regarding drink is my current friends. Not because they are bad people but because they know me as a drinker, they enjoy me as a drinker and they want me as a drinking buddy.

However, although I am a fun drunk (most of the time…although I am also one of those annoying party gals, who either end up snogging someone’s boyfriend or crying to themselves in the corner and screaming at anyone who comes near). Most of my friends are very open-minded so my drinking antics are not really judged and are generally a source of great entertainment for everyone…except me. That is because my friends don’t know the pain and embarrassment my drunken acts cause me not the next day, but genuinely some of my drunken behaviour still haunt me years later.  I am sure any heavy/binge drinkers out there can relate to this, especially if you’re someone who like me, suffers from drink amnesia aka “blackouts.” Anyway, like most drinkers I am guarded about my emotions, so people don’t know about the deep shame that I feel and I pretend to laugh along whilst inside I am absolutely mortified.

I realise in my previous post I mention my friends and maybe I am looking for other people to blame for my drinking but the truth is it is down to me. I am not strong enough or firm enough this early in my recovery to say no to people who are used to me drinking, so being geographically removed from this environment is actually really beneficial, because I am not left with those difficult times when I have to say no to offers of booze. As I am not strong enough in my recovery to face this just yet.

I can honestly say not drinking for the past 16 days – YES 2 WEEKS sober and I feel fantastic. i still feel the same anxieties and boredom (two of the emotions I have identified) that lead me to drink, but I have managed to fight through them by going for walks to the park or the beach (I live by a beach now YES!) or reading a book and learning to knit. I am gradually becoming more tolerant about experiencing negative emotions and instead of distracting myself or self-medicating through booze I am experiencing them and much to my surprise…COPING. It feels great and I am just going to finish this blog post by giving myself a smug little pat on my back for managing to keep clean and sober.

For everyone who is also on this journey – STAY STRONG and lets all do a little Carlton dance to celebrate how far we’ve all come. Whether thats cos you’ve made the decision to stop, you are 1 day into your recovery or 10 years sober. Whoop! Look how much we’ve all achieved.

Day 2: That old itch

Today is my second day of being sober. Although the day is not quite over and its now 19:30 I feel quite confident that today I will remain alcohol free. I am actually staying with my family at the moment and for me it’s easier to stay clean when I am around them, as they are the only people who know and ACCEPT that I have a drink problem.

I am emphasizing the word accept because most people, including most of my friends do not accept that I have a drink problem. I think some of this comes down to the fact that we are “booze buddies” who all get together and drink heavily. My behaviour is not that out of the ordinary in my social circle and if I’m honest I really believe in most social circles in the UK (where I am based). In Britain it is more normal for adults to drink too much then to not drink at all. I have stopped drinking before (sometimes lasting several months) only to be greeted by close friends and strangers with shock and dismay “Why don’t you drink?”. However, on all the occasions where I have drunk too much, ended up in dangerous situations, injuring myself and landing in hospital, crying and vomiting – nobody (including myself) has asked “Why do you drink?”. A question I need to properly answer throughout this journey. 

So my binge drinking slips under the radar it is difficult to be seen as abnormal or different, because it seems so regular, so common place in most peoples ritual of alcohol in their weekend. I am not blaming anyone for my decisions with drinking or even society. I take the responsibility of my decisions to drink, I just think that addiction and alcoholism is so misunderstood. That after drinking for over 16 years I am only just starting to recognise alcoholism in myself, I don’t think I would be able to recognise it in others, maybe because that’s the trick of most heavy drinkers – we are so good at hiding our drinking and the pain behind it. 

Today, I have been experiencing some pangs/itches for booze. I went for a late brunch with my boyfriend and my mum in a cafe across the road from a pub. Watching the people in the pub drinking and smoking outside in the sun looked so lovely. Watching them enjoy the ice-cold beer, I could imagine the cold smooth heavinly liquid in my mouth and I waa jealous. It was scary for me to imagine not drinking ever again, it seemed like a monumentally impossible goal. I realised that by thinking about abstinence on a day-to-day process is going to be less over-whelming for me – especially at this early stage. If anyone reading this has any advice regarding this process of recovery please feel free to send me a message or comment below. 

If you have managed to read this far on this rather rambling blog entry you are probably wondering why now? Why have I suddenly stopped? The truth is that last week my drinking scared me.

I drank everyday last week. Which is out of character normally I do two monumental drinking sessions a week and its been this way on and off since I was about 15 (they first time I got very very drunk was when I was 13 and I loved it from then). Last week, I even went out with two non-drinking friends to a pub quiz and over the course of the evening I managed to drink 3 large glasses of wine. Again, this is something I can normally refrain from when with people who don’t drink, I try to use it as an opportunity to take a break, maybe to prove I can if I want too. That it’s not me It’s the situation that makes me drink. But for whatever reason that night I drank, I got a little tipsy and they didn’t. Then two days later, on Friday night things got really crazy – which was the last time I drank.

On Friday night I tried to have one drink on and one drink off throughout the evening, but that slipped away and my control on my drinking once again failed. I ended up staying out until 9am on Saturday morning at a friends house party. Even as everyone went off to bed I stayed awake playing Spotify and drinking on my own, whilst a female friend was collapsed on the sofa opposite.

It was quite clear that on Friday night that one) I didn’t care that my friend was collapsed on a sofa – something I am not proud of and does not reflect my sober personality and 2) It really didn’t matter to me if anyone else was there. My drinking was not about being social or about having fun at a party. The party had ended,  yet for me the party was still going strong because there was booze and therefore it must be drunk. 

The next day when I got home and clambered into bed, whilst everyone else in my family home was getting up to start the day. I realised that this behaviour served as a warning sign, multiple red flags had been raised to shoe me that if I carried on floating through life with the help of alcohol – I was going to sink and eventually drown.

This is still highly possible. I am at the early stages I don’t really believe I have left the starting line with my recovery but I hope that this blog will help me to maintain my abstinence and hopefully connect me with others on the journey of recovery. If anyone is reading this. I just wondered if you had spotted any red flags in your own drinking behaviour? Also if anyone has any advice for newly sober people like me that would be greatly appreciated.

I have actually been reading a really good blog http://unpickled.wordpress.com/ Although it is written by a grandma and I am 29. I really found so much of her thinking and behaviour relates to my own feelings about myself and my drinking. If you are in your early days of recovery like me I really recommend you read it. It has great resources and is a really encouraging and positive read. It has certainly made me feel less alone. 

Right I am now off to watch the X Factor which some people might argue is a worse habit than alcoholism. But I do enjoy a bit of trash TV every now and then and if it’s really a load of s@*t then at least I can turn it off. Something I have proved to myself over and over again that I can’t do with booze. Plus scary spice is a judge and with that in note I am going to leave this entry with a music video from the best girl band that ever did live… THE SPICE GIRLSSSSS. (Suddenly the spice girl video at the beginning of this entry makes sense…maybe??)

Who was your favourite spice girl? I think mine was ginger! She always had the best clothes! Ooo that’s my halloween outfit sorted ;) 

Day 1 – Old Beginnings

Well as the title suggests this is the beginning of my journey. 

Unfortunately I’ve been here before.

Hopefully this will be the last time that I have to return to the start. 

I found this documentary on youtube quite insightful and made me start to think about all the reasons I drink… and all the reasons why I need to stop. 

My journey through sobriety.

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