Don’t give up

I’m about to go to bed, Friday night. These damned Fridays. I had a few drinks. I was worrying about what I was going to write here in the morning, so I decided to write now. It was silly, really. I didn’t need to drink, but I drank anyway. I quite enjoyed it, I didn’t hate it, but I just didn’t need it. As I hadn’t told my husband that I’d given up again, he was totally unaware.

Now my head is heavy, and my soul is weary. But I want to try again tomorrow. I am not going to give up. It may take many attempts, but I think I can do this. Before I had those drinks, I read and reread all the comments people kindly left me today, and I heard all these voices and felt connected to you all.

I need to work on this. This afternoon, I was listening to a Bubble Hour podcast about truth and a contributor was speaking about how many times she had tried and failed, and that eventually she had just KNOWN it was time for her.

I want this to be my time; I need this to be my time.

Friday Friday Friday

Friday. Fridays are hard when you’re trying to stay sober. I’ve just been to the supermarket and I bought a bottle of white wine. I was going to buy a bottle of red as well, but I didn’t. I also bought several AF alternatives. As I walked round the shop, I wanted to abandon my sober plan, shut down the blog, email all my sober friends to tell them what I was doing; and then when my husband got home tonight, I wanted to sit and have a drink with him, and I don’t mean an elderflower cordial.

This is where I am at the moment, on the cusp. This is why it was such a bad idea to give up after 42 days when I’d relaxed into my sober momentum, and now these first few days are TERRIBLE.

I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. I think the reason this post (indeed, this blog) is so repetitive, is because I go round and round in circles, one minute super-positive and making myself fresh lemon juice sparkly thing, the next wanting to spin the top off the gin bottle. It is TERRIBLE (again).

I read sober blogs for much of the morning, and am so impressed and inspired by those bloggers who sound calm and centred, and as though they are much further along the path than me. I can’t get there; I simply can’t get there.

Second day sinking

I am spiralling into a meltdown. Why, oh why is this so hard? I’ve had plenty of Day 2s, so I know the drill. But this time round, I felt that it was going to be different: I was more determined, more steely somehow. Well, that was yesterday, and that was this morning. And that was even about 2 hours ago. Now it’s going wrong.

I took the dog for a walk and went along the dappled path, a real place that inspired the title of this blog. It often calms me down, and it is a peaceful route. But my mind was going bonkers, round and round, in and out, debating with myself. I asked myself: why have I started this sober journey yet again, when I’m bound to fail? And why do I keep putting myself through this, with the fear of failure hanging over me? I set myself so many targets, write lists, make plans, and end up all knotted inside.

The dog trotted along (do dogs trot??), sniffing the bracken, unaware of my mental gymnastics. Now I’m at home. My daughter is carving a pumpkin, my son is playing football, my other daughter is reading: they too are unaware of my internal debates.

I tell you what I’m going to do now: I’m going to go and play the piano, sort out an errant pile of bills, make a pie for supper, concoct a mocktail (I enjoyed that yesterday). More plans, more lists, but crucial distractions.

Day 0

I am starting again. This is Day 1 but I feel so low and sad that I’m describing it as Day 0. I’ve been here before, but this time it feels different. This time, I need to do it differently.

Last night we went to a supper party. I was undecided about drinking but by mid-afternoon I was sure I would drink. But what really struck me last night were the little things about the drinking: the way I looked for the bottle, the way I started to worry when I’d finished my glass. All the sophistication in the 1976 pudding wine was lost: I wasn’t sophisticated, I could barely even taste it. I’d drunk so much by then that the quality of the wine was irrelevant. My dear, sweet husband sat opposite me and watched.

Right. I need to tackle this in a different way. No more flailing about. I can’t keep stopping at day 2, day 42, day whatever. I need to keep going. So I’m going to have to do this in a way which gets me through these hurdles. For a start, I’m going to write here every day, as I have found the blog to be good. And I’m going to need to look more carefully at my triggers. This morning, I’ve already been worrying about some boozy friends coming to stay in January, about Christmas – about this Friday, for crying out loud. I can’t think like this. I have to work on what is happening today, and go forward like that.

The kids are still asleep as it’s half-term here. I have crept downstairs, desperate to write here, desperate for help.

Uncertain Monday

I woke up early today and began to read ‘Extreme Self-Care’, a book recommended on one of the Bubble Hour podcasts. I have so many good intentions, and during those first few hours of the morning I feel as though I could achieve anything. But as the day has gone by, the doubts and questions have started to invade. The voice of rebellion is a loud one, and I struggle with it. Part of me knows, really knows, that not drinking suits me: I get so much more done, I feel better about myself, I am much more patient with the children, I listen to my husband, I feel good physically, my skin improves… You know the score. And yet, there is a rebellious part, a part that doesn’t want to be good and patient, that enjoys the release which alcohol gives me, that wants to be naughty.

Thank you for all your comments; they are so helpful. I looked back at some of my old posts and can see the word ‘try’ springing up all over the place; one blogger suggested that it would be better to ‘do’, rather than ‘try’ and I do recognize that I procrastinate where sobriety is concerned, and that I keep waiting for the right time, the right feeling; this may never come. That’s why I like the day counting, because I always like a plan, and I like following a routine. The trouble with this method is that when it goes wrong, it sets me right back, and I don’t seem able to leave the error behind and move on. Or perhaps I use the error as an excuse, that I want to drink and therefore I will drink.

I fear I am rambling. I think what I’m trying to say is that I want to do this, and I also don’t want to do this. Do I need to build up more strength so that I forge ahead? Or should I creep forward uncertainly?

Hard to start

Two posts in one day, but having sounded relatively positive this morning – or if not exactly positive, then like someone with a plan at least – I wanted to tell you that I have already succumbed to the first glass of fizz. What is wrong with me???? I had had a good day, planning my sober 100 days, and how I was going to power through past days 42 and 61 (the days on which I failed the last 2 times), and be fresh-faced and happy with myself. And what happens? First sign of the witching hour, and I’m reaching for the glasses, opening the bottle (already open from last night… probably not a great idea to have that lying around) and persuading my husband that we need prosecco and then wine tonight because Sundays aren’t fun without drinking.

I hadn’t mentioned to him that I wanted to try a sober 100 days again, probably because I didn’t want to bind myself to it, and I feared that he’d support me and pour the prosecco away (or drink it himself) if he knew.

In other words, I scuppered my plans before I even had a chance to embark on them.

Is it just not my time? When will I be ready? Will I ever be ready? Am I not cut out for this? I read all those blogs with amazing, inspiring people managing 100 days, a year, more, and I just don’t know how they do it.

A kind of longing

Sorry for the radio silence. I’ve been away – and I’ve been drinking – and I felt that my writing would be chaotic and incoherent. But I am sorry if you were worried about me, and thank you for checking in here and looking for me. I could see people’s comments, and I wanted to write, but I needed to find the right time; I hope you understand.

So, after my one drink error, I then began to have many drinks. And then too many drinks. Away on holiday, not drinking seemed an impossibility, so I joined in and drank drank drank. Part of me enjoyed it: the cocktails, the grown-up feeling, the choice, the intimacy. But part of me felt wasted in so many ways, and by the end of the holiday I was drinking almost for the sake of it, just drinking far too much because I could drink far too much, and it began to lose its appeal. At one point , I noticed another couple at dinner drinking just water. Look! Just water! I craned my neck to observe them better and asked my husband what he thought about their not drinking. The next night, I looked for them again, this magical couple, but I couldn’t quite see their glasses. But I was clearly interested in what they were doing, and I began to feel a kind of longing for that quiet life.

Now I’m home, and I would like to try again. Try to be sober. I have emailed patient Belle to ask if I can have another stab at the 100 day challenge, I’ve looked ahead in my diary and can see parties and Christmas looming, but there is never a good time to try this. I’m in a muddle, I don’t really know what I want, but unless I try again, I’ll never know.

Sober blogging

While I was doing my 30 day challenge, I wrote a post on my blog every day. I enjoyed it, and I needed it. The support I found here was amazing. Since ‘falling’ at 42 days, I haven’t written so much, and I’ve missed it. Oddly, I haven’t had a drink since then, and on that Sunday I only had one drink – and yet, I stopped counting days, the sky caved in, and I felt I’d failed.

Here we are on Friday night, and the idea of drinking still feels strange to me. When I did 60 days earlier this year, I then went back to drinking straight away. I stuck my head in a bottle and sank. This time, it’s been completely different: I’ve carried on being sober, despite my one drink fall from grace.

My husband always wanted me to try a more moderate approach. Maybe it is the knowledge that moderation isn’t really a possibility for me which is keeping me from opening that bottle. I’m not sure what is going to happen this evening – Friday evening – but I am interested that something in me is stopping me from quaffing.

Nearly the end of Wednesday

Thank you for all the lovely, supportive comments after my last post. I appreciate them all so much. I think it’s a bit tricky to write when I’m in this current state of flux, but some of you have asked me to update you, so here I am!

Still no alcohol since that Sunday evening drink. My intentions are not to drink in the week, so that side of things is going well, and I feel pretty much as I felt when I was totally abstinent. It is odd not counting the days anymore though, and I don’t have quite the same sense of purpose that I did before. The weekend is beginning to loom, but I don’t yet have the same cravings that I had before, perhaps because I don’t feel the same sort of pressures; but I haven’t hit Friday night yet.

I am so very aware that I don’t want to encourage people to drink. I know everyone has to make up their own minds, but when I was doing my sober stretch, I found myself hanging on some bloggers’ words, particularly those who I sensed might pick up a drink. If they drank, then perhaps I could drink? So I don’t want to influence anyone, or tempt them into drinking, because being clear headed and sober is such a good thing.

I am still reading blogs every day, and commenting where I can, and I still feel very much part of the community. But I guess I also feel a bit of a bad girl 😦

A change of heart

Monday morning, and I’m afraid I have a confession to make. Yesterday I had a drink. It wasn’t really a slip up; I could feel myself wanting to have a drink a few days before, so I sat with the thought, and tried to work through it. But inside, I knew that I didn’t want to continue with my teetotal path.

I was hesitant about writing a post, because I do not want people to think that it’s ok to drink if you’re on a sober path. One day at a time not drinking is so good, and I admire and support everyone who is doing that. You should definitely keep going! Don’t listen to me! But I didn’t want to leave my blog behind – I thought some of you might wonder where I’d gone.

So how did it happen? I was rehearsing all day yesterday, and when I got home my husband suggested we had a drink together, an alcoholic drink. It’s not his fault; I gave him the impression that I wanted to do that, and he went along with it. For a week or so, I’d been talking to him about what I wanted to do, and he knew that I was doubtful about my sobriety. So please don’t blame him! It’s my fault.

I just had one, then we had AF drinks after that, and so I didn’t really feel any different. But part of me felt sad, and as though I had broken something. I didn’t sleep well as I was lying awake thinking about it.

I hope I am not discouraging anyone – I really think about that, and want to send lots of love and positive thoughts to you all, wherever you are. I am ok, and I will keep writing as much as I can. But I don’t want to bring anyone down with me.