3:59pm Good Friday

Just to be extra clear: Don’t feel like drinking alcohol. Never really have since I stopped. Maybe once or twice in the early days because I didn’t know how I was supposed to feel. Nobody does. It wasn’t hard. It wasn’t the end of the world. It was the beginning.

Today and this week or month I have been feeling out of sorts with myself.

Not drinking allows me to see, find and be myself in the raw. I am finding it hard just to get out of bed these days. Why? Don’t know. Change of season?

I have gotten out of the habit of self care or care in general. How did I get this way so quickly? I have no idea.

In no way shape or form does the idea to drink enter my head. For that I am grateful. I don’t feel ever like taking that route ever again.

Depression is settling in. I have let it in somehow. I recognise it and yet I feel helpless to help myself. I feel like a witness to something happening yet it is me it is happening to. A witness observes and is impartial to the event, yet it is me that it is happening to and I feel immune to do anything about it to improve my situation. I can see it happening. I can feel it happening. Yet I do nothing.

I cannot help myself. The desire is there. But the effort is not there. The house has gone downhill. It is chaos. My cleanliness is doubtful. I am not eating my best meals. My cats are looked after better than me. I put them first. There is no neglect there. Just neglect of myself.

How can I write I have been wondering, if I cannot help myself? Ridiculous thoughts really. I should realise that it the depression talking and not the real me. How have I fooled myself so many times?

Lately (this year) I have felt so strong with dealing with depression, noticing when it comes on and how it comes in. I felt more knowledgeable about depression. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. I might have gotten cocky. It appears so. I have been put in my place. Depression isn’t to be conquered, it is to be dealt with and lived with. It is not to be treated lightly and with superiority. Depression will put you on your arse swiftly if you mock it or think light of it.

I am on my arse.

Today I felt able to write about it. That is something. Perhaps things are on their way up after all.

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Day 51

Being sober is the easy part. The decision to become sober was difficult. Finding what to do next and how to do it is the struggle. More the “how” really.

I am sober but the habits that surrounded the alcohol are still with me. Tidying and cleaning, basically housework in general is not something I excel at. Our home looks lived in. It is not a show home. It has books and comfortable couches and day beds. It has things scattered on the floor. It is not ready for visitors or guests. That’s okay for now.

I used to strive for perfection. Then I realised that it was ridiculous. I still try but not to the extent I used to do. I overdo things and need a gentle nudge to stop trying to do everything at once. I am finding more peace with dropping perfection, guilt, paranoia and regret. These things I dropped before becoming sober. Anxiety is still with me but in a much weaker form. Depression is with me too but I recognise it, accept it and have learnt to live with it better. Fear is still with me. Fear is holding me back. I know this. I recognise this. I aim to challenge myself and make the fear smaller or contained. First though comes care. I need better care before I can face fear.

The past two years I chose to face things. Facing something is scary. It is easier to postpone, to look elsewhere. It is difficult to face something but once faced it removes a brick in the wall that surrounds yourself. It allows you to find lightness, makes it easier to breathe.

Facing something allows you to move on.

Insomnia is taking a hint and edging towards her packed bags at the door. I am managing to get to sleep by about 2am. Huge improvements for me. I took a bath with Epsom salts, 2 cups worth and soaked while reading a book with tea and a nice candle. It was relaxing. I had forgotten the magnesium in Epsom salts. Magnesium sulphate, of course. One source of increasing my magnesium.

Accidentally kicked my Epsom salts glass jar in the bathroom a few weeks ago. Sober. Glass and salt everywhere. Yikes. That stopped my habit dead. I want a replacement jar for it but something unbreakable. Zip lock bag will have to suffice for now. The jar was in the corner out of the way I thought but my foot found it regardless. Clumsiness is still with me.

I made it to the gym once this week. I did mini habits twice. I am eating better. I am enjoying homemade toasted muesli and adding more fruit and vegetables to my life. My weight is going down. The scales are showing me numbers that I haven’t seen in months. A healthier me is beginning to show.

Reading is my rock. Non fiction, fiction, doesn’t really matter. My list of books to read is getting longer and my tangents are dividing as I explore further. Learning and leisure is for everyone.

Progress made. Half way through this week I got lost but I found my way back again. Onwards.

January: A Calm Start

2019, 34 days sober

After the Party writes about a calm start to the new year.
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
I feel hopeful for the coming new year. I don’t have any regrets for things I didn’t get around to doing the previous year. I’m not beating myself up about it. It didn’t get done, so what! It didn’t get done.
Breathe.
Forget about it.
Breathe.

I feel calm. I feel peace. There is no guilt. There is no anxiety. I feel content.

At the same time there are dishes piled in the sink, the dining table is half covered in stuff not put away. There is dust on the surfaces. The bathroom sink plug hole needs cleaning. I am living in chaos. The bed is made and I had a bath yesterday and washed my hair. The toilet is clean. A load of washing was done yesterday. There are clean sheets on the bed. Small steps to being better organised. I am still in my pyjamas.

I used to be better organised on the surface but was chaos underneath. Now I am calm underneath and chaos on the surface.

I don’t plan to have our home perfect. I want it to look lived in. It certainly does look lived in. it looks like everyone left in a hurry and were frantically looking for things and bolted out the door.

I am not on top of the laundry pile. It is high. I have made a start. One load at a time. The house didn’t become chaotic overnight. I shouldn’t expect it to become clean and tidy overnight either.

Blame the depression. I was watching a film the other night, The Quake*, and was seeing the lead actor living through a breakdown. I saw the piles of mail unopened on the table. I saw the piles of plates in the sink. I saw the untidy room and thought that looks spookily familiar. I can see what has happened. I am through the other side but it feels hard to pick up the pieces.

I used to feel shame and embarrassment. Now I feel calm and accepting. I’m not saying I’m not bothered by the mess. I accept it as it is. It is what it is. A mess. I plan to move on from it. Improve the chaos, one dish, one T-shirt, one wipe at a time. My life is a work in progress.

I really want to get back to sketching and painting. I want to make time and space for this. This is a priority this year.

*The Wave and The Quake are Norwegian films on Netflix. Watch The Wave first. The Quake is the sequel.