Rainy Sunday afternoon

Went to the supermarket today. Avoided the alcohol aisle. Walked down the confectionery aisle and picked out some chocolate for myself. DH went nuts with chocolate buying. He knows that I no longer steal from his stash of goodies so he feels that he can buy what he likes now.

Alcoholic me would have devoured his chocolate in the wee hours with no regard for the  consequences the following morning. Sorry doesn’t cut it really. I am strong enough to resist the urge to binge on sweet stuff because I am not drinking.

It feels good to be trusted around chocolate again. I’m 50 not 5. Such a silly thing but a big step for me.

I feel good for the money I’m saving by not drinking alcohol. I don’t watch TV so I don’t get bombarded with commercials for various brands and labels so that is a positive thing. I have removed myself from wine clubs. I was a member of two. I no longer take calls from them so I cannot be tempted to buy a case.

I haven’t removed the spirits from the drinks cupboard. I plan to move them to the garage so that they are further from line of sight and of mind. Being a lazy drinker I would not bother to go to the garage to grab a drink, I would rather go without. But best to move them sooner than later.

Insomnia is still with me at Day 16 but I can manage to get to sleep now, which is good progress. Will try to get to bed earlier and read a book before nodding off. Trying to have an internet free bedroom. Phone and computer charging elsewhere. Working on that. Haven’t been successful yet but trying. Habits are so hard to break.

Focusing on self care at the moment. I realise that Sober Day 16 is such a new experience that I should take everything slowly. If all goes well it will be for the rest of my sober life. I have been dry for spurts of months and weeks in the past but never with the sober forever in mind. I was having a break. It was always swayed into going back to the wine or the vodka or the beer. I feel that this time I have the right mindset. I know that I am going sober for me. I know that only I can make that decision.

Once this insomnia is kicked I feel that I can start to get back to being creative. Regardless I am back to exercising next week, walking, weights and Pokemon Go. I mowed the lawns last week. Weeding to do next. I am being kind to myself and if I don’t get it done today it will be tomorrow. And if it isn’t done then it isn’t a big deal. It is not the end of the world. Priority is being sober.

Today’s Sober Treats: Chocolate and Reading

Whittaker’s Hawke’s Bay Braeburn Apple with Vanilla 100g

The Village Effect: How Face-to-face Contact Can Make Us Healthier, Happier and Smarter by Susan Pinker


Fifteen days sober

Not a drop has passed my lips for the past fifteen days.

I put on high heels yesterday and thought about how I don’t have to worry about falling over drunk. I am clumsy and un-co-ordinated when I am sober, so when going out I tend to wear flat shoes. I put the heels on and felt happy with a sense of freedom. Okay my toes might not have felt the same way. It was my first time in ages to wear heels and to be honest my feet weren’t ready for it. Three hours was plenty. Luckily I only had to walk to and from the car and mostly sitting in between. Baby steps.

I notice that I am not eating as much as before. When I drink I get the munchies and have a wicked sweet tooth. I tend to devour food in the small hours while drunk. Nothing is sacred in the kitchen. My binge drinking links to binge eating. It isn’t pretty. I have been known to eat hotdogs cold because I couldn’t be bothered to heat them up. No combination of food is odd when drunk. Hopefully this is a thing of the past.

Insomnia may be a thing of the past. I have managed to have two decent nights sleep, plus a nap. I have been patient with lack of sleep. I don’t function well without it. I am finding my groove again.

This sober path feels like the right one.

Mrs D is Going Without

Mrs D is Going Without by Lotta Dann

I have taken Lotta Dann’s advice and gone to the library to get books on getting/being sober. I picked up a bundle today and I am already halfway through Mrs D is Going Without. At the rate I’m going I’ll have it finished tonight.

To read a book that speaks to you is quite a Godsend. Every person’s reason to give up alcohol is different. Every person’s triggers are different. Every person’s symptoms are different. Depending on which questionnaire you fill out you can either breathe a sigh and think falsely that you aren’t an alcoholic. The stages of alcoholism are different depending on which website you look. Every country has there own relationship with alcohol. Some are closer than others.

Some people drink from the morning, others from 5pm. For me it was 6pm. Some days dry some days not. Life used to revolve around alcohol. From trips overseas, to a theatre visit to a night at home al fresco in the garden. Oysters? Why not. A nice glass of Chablis to go with that. When in Spain do as Spanish do. A brunch sandwich? Yes. Why not. A glass of red to go with that? What an excellent idea. Intermission. A wine? Or an ice cream? Why not both?

I have no regrets of what, where and how and with whom I have consumed alcohol. To regret would be redundant. I do enjoy wine. I can’t say did yet because it is still too soon.  I have a sneaking feeling that my idea to go back to wine will be a disaster of an idea. The concept of moderation is not why I am here today writing about quitting alcohol. I go to this point by over indulging, drinking to excess. Because I couldn’t drink in moderation. I haven’t woken up to the idea that moderation is not me. All in or not at all. I will learn eventually. For now though I concentrate on not drinking and trying to sleep. This insomnia is being to become stale. I am well and truly over it.  I accept insomnia as a side effect of giving up alcohol. i bear it stoically. This is all self inflicted. There is no one else to blame except myself. But even with that said I do not blame myself. It is what it is.

Back to my book….Thanks Mrs D.

Kindness

I am who I am.
I love who I am today.
I love me as I am.

Did I expect to feel fantastic right away? Admittedly, yes.
It didn’t happen. NO.
Should I be surprised? No.
It took years of habit to drink alcohol and use it as a crutch to feel relaxed and good in my own skin. So really I have ripped off a plaster and the wound is exposed. It doesn’t heal right away. It needs fresh air, tenderness and time. Time…

When a physical wound is treated there are possible trips to the doctor, stitches if necessary. Cautions of what not to do. Treatment of the area. Rest and recovery. It’s a universal procedure. Seek treatment if you cannot heal yourself. But with mental health it is not treated as the same thing. There is a disconnect between the physical and the mental within our bodies. Or at least in the West. There is so much not understood and with this comes taboo and stigma and fear of the unknown.

Talking about yourself to strangers in a group setting brings up anxiety of group work from my school days. Did I like talking out in class. No. Did it make me feel comfortable? No. Were we encouraged to voice our opinions? No. Public speaking is not a quality my society excels. We tend to not blow our own horns. We are humble and meek. Or we used to be. The influx of American reality shows has sparked a demand for “me me me” and instant gratification for a few moments in the limelight. This is not reality though.

The thought of going to an AA meeting does not match me or my personalty. I cannot do it. The thought of going to a therapist does not match me or my personalty. I don’t believe in spending hundreds of dollars on my feelings, talking about me to a stranger is nonsense. Most of the therapists go into study to understand themselves better. Good for them. But for someone to heal or improve doesn’t that make the therapist redundant? If the therapist is not needed anymore then their income from that patient stops, so how does the relationship end? It’s unhealthy. Sure there must be some morally ethical therapists out there. And there must be some good ones out there too. After all this is just one opinion.

Reading and writing are my therapy: my path to understanding myself better and developing a better version of myself. Rest and relaxation. Kindness to oneself is key.

12:59 am

Getting earlier to bed I hope this time. The evenings feel longer when sober and yet I still manage to waste time. I am not productive at all. Patience. For this week my goals are to not drink. to be easy on myself because I am not sleeping early enough. Yesterday it was 4:30am when I was dozing off. How do I know that? I heard the morning bird calls and that’s the time that they start.

Is procrastination a side effect of becoming sober? I didn’t read that on the label. It appears that I have a large dose of it. But really in all honesty I have had it for several years. I stupidly thought that after giving up alcohol I would feel like jumping out of bed at the crack of dawn and have heaps of energy and just full of ideas and just run with it. This has not happened. I don’t feel like jumping out of bed in the morning because I am still awake from the night before almost at the crack of dawn. Sluggish is more the correct word. Apathetic is another one that springs to mind.

Firstly, being kind to oneself is key. I am doing myself a favour by stopping drinking alcohol. I am loving myself. Another way to love myself is to give myself a break and not rush this expecting instant results. There is no instant gratification on giving up drinking. It is not a race. It is a slow walk taken one step at a time. Doing one nice thing to myself each day would make this easier. Perhaps a nice soak in the bath with bath salts, a candle and a book. Put on a record and listen all the way through side A. That’s for starters.

The first thing that comes to mind with the bath is a glass of wine. The first thing that comes to mind listening to a jazz record is a bottle of wine. These associations are so ingrained to made it a habit. Instead of a glass of wine in the bath I could prepare a tall glass of sparkling water with ice and a slice of lemon or lime. I could make a latte instead, sit back and listen to jazz. This is a chance to be inventive. This is just the beginning. I am not missing out on something. I am gaining better health and better habits. Begin the begin.

2:38am

Awake and sober. One is planned the other is not. I wish I was asleep but the zzzzzs are not coming. Patience. The wind is tossing the tree branches about, there’s a possum running about on the roof. A passing car has loud music blaring. The typical sounds of the early morning. Right? No bird sound, thank goodness. I would like to be sound asleep well before then.Let me try again. Good night.


Floundering

Giving up alcohol has been relatively easy. Wait. Let me finish. Not buying wine or beer has been easy. The insomnia, the anxiety and the unease is the crazy bit. 3am and I am wide awake. I have taken to writing instead of tossing and turning. I am hoping the insomnia will stop by itself. Hoping that it will last only another week. I am normally an easy sleeper. Out like a light within ten minutes. That seems so long ago now.

Abstaining from alcohol is actually the starting line, not the finish line. I have all this free time on my hands. I feel lost in knowing what to do next. I then tell myself slow down. You have been drinking for years, what makes you think the answers will fall in to place so instantly. Give yourself a break. Slowly, slowly. We all know what happens when one overdoes something. We are not repeating that again.

Constipation, insomnia, anxiety, teary moments, unease, lethargy, no joy. I thought that I would wake up with energy, no hangover, no lethargy without alcohol. This has not proven to be the case. Am I behaving like a child and sulking about what has been taken away and not focusing on what I have been given? Probably. My liver, my heart, my brain, my blood are screaming with gleeful delight. I might not be able to feel it just yet but they must be enjoying feeling cleaner. 

Healthy eating is not happening. I know what I eat and drink. My sweet tooth is still there. I am not one to jump on the scales and obsess about weight and calories. However I do have a complex of feeling overweight constantly. I do not diet. I don’t believe in them. I do want to change my lifestyle. That I believe in. Diets are fads. Lifestyle changes are that. A better change that is a good habit added to ones life.

A gym membership is what I invested in a year ago. I am going fairly regularly now. I do feel good after having walked, stretched and lifted something. It is money well spent. Considering I have done little in the way of exercise for a decade it was a necessary expense. It wasn’t quite kicking and screaming to get there but it was close. It got me off the couch.