Clinging on

I am so stupid to keep being back in these early days. They are so hard. If only I had pushed through the cravings all those times before. Almost a year ago, I started writing this blog, and here I am, no further forward. I was listening to a Bubble Hour podcast this afternoon in which a guest speaker described her many attempts to get sober, before she eventually succeeded. ‘When you’re not ready, you’re not ready,’ she said, and this rang true for me. I have never felt ready; or perhaps this is just another excuse on my part.

Anyway, suffice to say Day 3 is miserable and hard, and I feel totally useless. In a bid to quash the witching hour craving, I am drinking a Becks Blue alcohol free beer. It’s a bit close to the real thing, I fear, but it is alcohol free and that is good.

This has to work. I don’t know how many more times I can restart; each time I try, I feel a little more weary and cynical about it. I think I may be in the black pit part of the programme, before I start feeling any of the benefits of not drinking. And I feel grumpy, and not serene. I was planning to have one of my nice baths which I know works so well at this stage, but a rebellious part of me is saying I’m feeling too dreary to do that. Hopefully, my spirits will pick up tomorrow.

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Grateful

This morning, my children made us breakfast in bed, a rare event and particularly special as it was to celebrate our wedding anniversary. They got up early, crept downstairs and made banana muffins from scratch. Bringing the trays into our bedroom, full of good wishes for our anniversary, I was grateful to be sober. Because yes, my friends, I am on Day 2 and very relieved and happy to be here.

Last night’s party went well, and I felt fine on my tonic water (and glass after glass of fizzy water). It is never huge fun to watch everyone get slowly comatosed around you, but it was a well-timed reminder for me that drinking can make you drunk, and that being drunk looks pretty ridiculous when you’re not drunk. I liked the people at the dinner party, and I didn’t mind that they were drinking – they had every right to. I looked at it as a bit of a social experiment for me, and a chance for me to observe how people behave when they’re drinking. Chatting to my neighbours at the table, the conversation was interesting until about 10.30pm when I noticed a sudden drooping of the eyelids from the man next to me. Perhaps my story was dull, but he almost seemed to fall asleep, and from that moment on I knew I needed to go home. I managed to extract my husband, and the two other people I was driving, just before midnight.

At one point, the party chat turned towards the subject of drinking. Someone had read an article about how important it was to be easy on oneself and not to mind drinking half a bottle of wine a day, that it was more important to relax and not to feel guilty and that drinking was good for you in this respect. Momentarily, I mentally stumbled – was I a fool for putting myself through these sober challenges? But no: for some people, drinking every night might be their pathway to relaxation and contentment; for me, it was the route to misery and guilt. ┬áSo I carried on with my fizzy water and didn’t get involved in that particular conversation.

And this morning, clear-headed and grateful, I felt the sheer joy of my children’s kind breakfast gesture. I am glad to be here writing this today.

A new start

Things have been spinning out of control here. I’ve been drinking every day: only in the evenings, but I reckon I have been drunk every time I’ve gone to bed, and I can’t remember the last time I had an alcohol free day. I don’t want to live like this, so I am trying again to be sober.

My husband is on side. Yesterday, I sent the usual email to him suggesting I give up drinking, waiting eagerly for his reply reassuring me that I was fine and could control it; just cut down in the week, drink less at parties, start with a soft drink. Today, I told him that once I have one drink, I want to drink ten drinks, so the idea of controlling it is impossible for me. I think he understands, and he will support me. He wants to cut down too.

So here I am again. I feel tired, but positive. I am cutting out alcohol completely. No one glass here or there, no celebratory glass if I manage a few days sober; no alcohol at all.

Tomorrow is our wedding anniversary. My parents have just come round with a bottle of champagne for us, the same kind that we had at our wedding 18 years ago. It is a kind thought, but I’ve put the champagne away, out of sight.

Tonight I am going to a barbecue. I am driving, and will drive back. I know what to do. I feel scared, a bit apprehensive, and I guess a bit weary of myself, but inside me is the desire to stop drinking, and to live a better life.

Holding back

Today I read the comments people have been leaving on my blog. I am so glad I haven’t shut the blog down; thank you for reading, and for your kind words giving support and wondering where I am.

I am not there yet. Actually, I am pretty much nowhere at the moment. I can’t get a grip on sobriety. I have been on holiday with my family, and I drank every day; and much of it was mindless drinking, stupid drinking, drinking for the sake of drinking. I feel so far from my past sober days, I look back and can’t see them. My blogging past, my determination and motivation are distant spots, far far away, in a time when I wanted to get better.

And yet it is not hopeless. I still come back to my blog, I still tap into other blogs, keen to know how other people are doing in their sober quests, and they remind me that all is not lost, and that if I choose to, I can try to get well again.

How shall I do it? 100 days? 2 days? It is a long time since I had even one day off drinking. My clinging to alcohol’s illusory vision of happiness is holding me back.