Holiday, and Day 8

First day of the holiday, and we’re approaching the witching hour – although in the past on this holiday (we come every year) – we drink from the early afternoon onwards. It is taking a major shift in my thinking to tackle this, and I mean MAJOR. The main thing is that my Mum knows I’m not drinking, so she has suggested ginger ale for me this evening. Hopefully that’s the first hurdle sorted.

At the pool this afternoon, we bumped into some good friends who also come here every year, and they are huge drinking companions of ours. I didn’t say anything about my sobriety, I didn’t feel comfortable talking about it, but when they invited us to a drinks party later today, I said NO. Second hurdle sorted.

And beyond that, I can’t think yet. The beautiful surroundings, the sense of relaxation – everything feels like a trigger. But at the same time, I am calm, and resolved. If I need to lean on my blog, I will – it’s been so helpful for me over the past few days.

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Bedtime

Still sober, and going to bed. I’m so glad. I pored over the comments on my blog (thank you for those), I texted two people I’d met at meetings, and one other sober friend (you know who you are; thank you), and I DIDN’T DRINK.

Onwards.

Help

I need to call myself out. It’s now the evening of my Day 7, and the eve of my holiday. I haven’t had a drink, but I am desperate to, and really wavering. I went to my meeting earlier today, and everyone there was helpful about how to manage these early days; but this evening I’m feeling rubbish, and as though it’s such hard work managing not to drink. Aaaaaaaarrrrrrrrggggggghhhhhhh.

I rang my Mum and said we wanted a little to drink when we’re staying with her (on this holiday) – what am I doing????? I texted my husband and said the same thing (he has rightly ignored my text). I ate 3 crackers with cheese, gulped down a fizzy water and lime…digging deep into my pretty titchy toolbox, but I still feel completely mad.

It’s so difficult, I’m so bad at it. Why did I ever start to have a problem with drinking? Why, why, why?

Friday anxiety

I’m sitting in a little cafe, waiting to go to a meeting. My brain has been going haywire this morning. Holiday tomorrow and all the sober challenges that brings, so I wanted to store up some energy. As I drove to the meeting, I did the should I go shouldn’t I go routine, which is so tiresome and mentally draining. But I never know quite what’s going to happen, and being around other people struggling with alcohol can only help, I think.

At a committee meeting thing I had to go to last night, I was handed a glass of wine. I handed it back and asked for something soft. The kind man whose house it was seemed flustered by this request, finding some ancient cordial and filling half a glass with it + water. Sort of like a liquid ice lolly. It amazes me how unprepared people are for non-drinkers, and it made me feel momentarily odd and left out before I drank it (yuck) and felt grateful.

Back at home, we celebrated my daughter’s exam results with AF sparkling stuff. My daughter wanted a ‘grown-up’ glass of something, even though I offered her a soft drink first. She is 16 and has started to show an interest in alcohol – not surprising after watching me quaff it all these years. Somuchtogainfromthis makes a good point today on her blog: that it’s no wonder the young gravitate towards alcohol when they see adults spend all their spare time drinking it and apparently having fun. And I fear I seem rather a fraud with my dire warnings of how drink can get a grip on you. My littlest daughter said last night, ‘You’re always trying to give up alcohol, and you always go back to it.’  So not much faith there at the moment, and I don’t blame her.

So, Day 7. It’s a long time since I’ve managed 7 sober days in a row. I am building on these small steps, trying not to look more than a few hours ahead, keen to show my family that I mean business.

Low ebb

I’m feeling at a bit of a low ebb this evening. I should be pleased that I’m on Day 6, but it frightens me too. I want to feel elated, pleased that I’m sober today – and I am pleased that I’m sober today – but it feels overwhelming at the moment.

I am surrounded by triggers. Not triggers like driving past pubs (I actually rarely go to pubs), but more subtle, unexpected triggers, like a particular piece of music.

Someone commented yesterday that Thursdays tend to be triggers for me (you’re right, somuchtogainfromthis!), and I feel psychologically itchy today.

We are going to stay with my parents in a day or two. I was speaking to my Mum this morning, discussing how we were going to celebrate my daughter’s GCSE results, and when I suggested fancy ice creams, she asked me if I wasn’t drinking at the moment. She knows that I have been trying to moderate, and she is concerned about my drinking, but she likes drinking herself so I think the idea of my being sober on holiday is disappointing. As I told her, I felt a familiar dread – a fear that I was pinning myself down.  Which is exactly what I need to do, so that my parents are ready for my sober plan when I arrive, and if I try and drink when I am there they will help me not to.

Quick update

On my way to bed, but I wanted to write that I was fine tonight with these friends coming for supper. No one said anything about my mocktail, I drank fizzy water for the rest of the evening, and didn’t mind the others drinking wine.

Slowly, slowly, slowly, I feel a bit stronger. I don’t know what’s ahead – I’ve failed so many times before – but I cannot go back, I cannot.

Calmer

Day 5, and I have felt calmer today after last night’s will I won’t I rubbish. I was literally like a mad person. But it was the first time I had ever taken such decisive action to avoid drinking. In the past, I would have caved, I am sure. I think the seriousness of the situation may at last be sinking in. This is not a health kick, a fun challenge to keep me busy over the holidays; it’s a case of changing the way I live, to be better for myself and for my family.

I was so grateful for the responses I got on my blog.  When I arrived at the meeting, I sat in the car park before going in and read people’s comments; they gave me strength.  Writing here gives me strength, and sober direction.

For the last two days, I have felt sick and light-headed mid morning. I wonder if this is a sort of blood sugar low, my body’s response to my removing the influx of alcohol sugar? I am forced to eat cake to resolve it, at least for the time being. Have other people experienced this particular symptom?

My friends are coming for supper, and they know I’m not drinking. I emailed her back and forth yesterday, in my mad state, saying I was/wasn’t/was/wasn’t drinking, until she eventually replied, ‘You are properly hilarious; I’m driving so I won’t be drinking anyway.’  All that anxiety on my part, when I really need to have an honest conversation with them at some point. But not tonight. I plan to have a mocktail in my hand when they arrive – they may even want one themselves?

Nearly derailed

…and then at the meeting, I spent an hour worrying about one of the women there who had been friendly at the start (when I first went to meetings), and has backed off, and today was sitting next to me, and then moved to sit somewhere else. And I worried and worried about it, rather than concentrating on the meeting.

On the way home, I persuaded myself that the meetings weren’t for me, got home and said to my husband that I didn’t like the meetings and that I didn’t like trying to get sober. Planned a whole set of moderation plans which in no way, shape or form are ever going to work (eg. Just have one glass of wine occasionally). Thankfully, I didn’t have a sod it moment, and had fizzy water with supper.

I need to continue on my sober path, so perhaps I should ditch the meetings for a while and calm down. Too much rushing about. Day 5 approaches. Calm down, Annie. And now I’m talking to myself…

A mess

I’m really struggling. For the last hour, I’ve had a very strong compulsion to drink. I was speaking to a friend about some serious issues they are having in their marriage, and because I have often talked to this person with a glass of wine in hand in the past, it felt like a big trigger. I was walking the dog while I spoke on my mobile, and after the conversation I sat on a bench and emailed my husband saying that I was getting too stressed out by my sober plan and wanted to abandon it. He replied saying that we’d discuss it tonight.

Then I texted a friend who is supposed to be coming to supper tomorrow – I’d already told her yesterday that I was not drinking, as she and her husband had been planning to bring cocktails – and my text said that I was going to drink again. She replied with a little picture of a devil and 3 wine glasses. It’s not her fault; I haven’t been honest with her about what I’m trying to do.

My son is here with a friend.  My two daughters are out.  My husband will be home in a couple of hours. I don’t know what to do.

It’s mess. I’m a mess. It’s such a battle.