New Year’s Eve

I am sorry I haven’t replied to many comments recently. I usually try to reply, as I always love it when people reply to comments I make in blogs. Please forgive me for the lack of replies in the past few days; I really appreciate your advice and support.

The last few days have been difficult, and I’ve been drinking. I tried to think of a less bald way to say that, but I couldn’t. I’ve been drinking. My husband and I have signed up for Dry January. I know I need to go deeper than a month off the booze, but I hope it will give me some much-needed momentum, and get me started on a better path, as I’ve been wading through a sea of day ones for months now. A year ago, I managed over a month alcohol-free, but have had hardly a day without alcohol since.

I am under no illusions: I know that I need a serious long-term plan, but Dry January, especially with my husband on board too, will help me.

Still struggling

I’m still struggling. But I know it will be a struggle, and that I’ve got to put in the hard work. This isn’t going to happen by magic.

I told my husband yesterday that I was going to close my blog, and drink moderately. This morning, he and I agreed that I need to give up completely. I know – it’s obvious to anyone reading here – but I still need to state it, for you all to see. Because despite all my good intentions yesterday, I still drank, and today I feel pretty stupid.

I start again today. I will put in the work. When I get the cravings and I start to talk myself out of it – and this happens like clockwork every afternoon at the moment – I will write here, or text or email a sober friend, or ring someone. I am not going to give up giving up.

New life

I stayed up very late last night. Everybody was in bed, and I stood in the dark outside the back door, my last glass of wine in my hand, hardly able to drink it. I watched the pale shape of our dog roaming in the blackness, sniffing in the garden, and I knew that my drinking time was up.

My husband, who has been unwell for a couple of weeks now, came downstairs this morning, to find I had finished the wine by myself. ‘That drinking alone thing,’ he said, ‘that’s what is different. That’s why you need to give up.’

I hope the darkness will now lift. I’m nearing the end of my new day one; and leaving behind all the other day ones.

Boxing Day evening

I’m feeling much better this evening, calm and quiet. My husband isn’t well, so I’ve been looking after him, and he is surprised by how patient I’m being, as I can be scornful of illness.

I wish I hadn’t drunk yesterday – it broke the small amount of momentum I had –  but I’m getting straight back up. Over the past few days, a few people I’d met in meetings texted me, and I’ve arranged to meet one lady as soon as my kids go back to school. I’m also going to go to as many meetings as I can.

I want to beat this addiction.

I really need the blog at the moment.  Despite trying to make some real life sober connections, I do feel alone.

 

Boxing Day

I’m beginning again. I have to. Things have been getting worse, and I can see the downward spiral ahead of me. I desperately want to live a happy, sober life.

Everyone went to bed before me last night, so I ended Christmas Day alone with my self-pity. This morning, I discussed with my husband what has been happening. We were supposed to be visiting friends for a couple of days early next week, and the drinking issue was worrying me. My husband has been unwell over the Christmas break, and so we decided to cancel our trip, and I feel hugely relieved that I can now stay at home and work on being sober.

I have a lot of work to do, but I start again today.

 

Abandoned hope

It’s nearly the end of Christmas Day here, and I didn’t stay sober.

I am disappointed, and sad. I feel as though I can’t do this. So many of the bloggers I read manage to stay sober, and I want to be like them.

I didn’t do enough to protect my fragile few days of sobriety. I didn’t tell my family what I was doing, and when I got a text this morning from someone I’d met in a meeting – a good, sober sign – I pushed it to one side. And I didn’t enjoy one sip of what I drank.

I am not sure what to do next. I feel ridiculous and pathetic.

Mean Hour

Recently, when drinking, I had started to get mean in the evenings, and would argue with my husband. He would call it the ‘mean hour’. Yikes, I hope it wasn’t an hour – I’d thought it was only a few minutes. He is not at all combative, so it was completely unnecessary of me, and I knew it was booze-fuelled and stupid. But I still did it. It was one of the things which was really starting to bother me, which I could see was directly related to drinking.

Today is Christmas Eve, and Day 3 for me. It is not easy – I’m not going to lie (an annoying phrase which my children use) – and I am hoping and praying that I can succeed. I’ll keep an eye on my blog, and on the other blogs I read, but I feel worried that things will go wrong.

No more mean hour; I long for a peaceful hour.

Not so silent night

The gale has passed, and it’s a quiet sunny morning here. It sounds pathetic, but I am elated not to have drunk any alcohol yesterday, after many weeks of daily drinking. Today feels full of promise, and new hope.

I have practised early days sobriety many many times, and I try to learn from my mistakes. Yesterday, I observered the various triggers, and tried to etch them into my mind for future days. I had to do a massive supermarket shop – the last before Christmas – and I considered buying my small bottle of champagne, the mini one that doesn’t feel real, but I walked away from that and bought some more lime cordial and masses of fizzy water. The entrance to the supermarket was almost blocked by an odd sort of elves’ grotto, replete with mince pies and brandy. Brandy! Elves! The world’s gone mad.

The next serious trigger was the usual wind-down, let’s have a drink because it’s dark moment (this gets earlier in the winter). Because it was only day one, I was negotiating with myself – no one would know etc – but I ran that bath, made myself a not very exciting but surprisingly nice fizzy water and real lime quarters drink, and by the time I was making supper, the craving had passed. And I noticed that I then felt completely different, much calmer.

When my husband came home, he arrived with a 2006 vintage champagne, a present from a client, in a fancy box with tasting notes: all that hint of licorice and taste of the sea stuff which makes me feel I’m missing out on a sophisticated experience.  Those sorts of notes are dangerous for me: the fear of missing out often undermines what I’m doing.  I have suggested we sell the champagne – it’s worth a fortune – and my husband thought that was a good idea.

I felt absolutely exhausted by 10pm, and my night was very unsettled, full of strange dreams.

I know the next few days will be full of cravings and difficulties, and I know I’ve taken on a lot by trying to deal with this at Christmas, but there’s never a good time; there’s always something standing in my way, and I’ve got to get past that. The idea of experiencing Christmas with a clear head is intoxicating in itself: but perhaps I’m being naive…

Wild weather

It’s blowing a gale here in England. It feels stormy, not really Christmassy. And I need a plan. I’ve been drifting for weeks now, half-trying not to drink, always a get-out plan round the corner. It’s been hopeless.

But a strong sense of conviction lies deep inside me, the knowledge that I will be so much happier if I nail this. I saw that The Sober Garden was counting from Day One again a few days ago – I read her blog regularly – and I want to try to do that too. It may seem crazy just before Christmas, but I would rather obsess about how to stay sober, than drink mindlessly and miss my family’s joy.

It will not be easy, because I am not honest. My parents – who are coming to stay – have already talked about bringing a magnum of claret. They will expect champagne. But I worry that if I tell them what I am trying to do, it will take the edge off their enjoyment of Christmas, and my mum will worry about me. I lay awake last night wondering if I could ‘fake it til you make it’ which I think (but I’m not sure) means that you pour a glass of wine, but don’t sip it, or pour a glass of alcohol-free fizz and make it look as though it’s real champagne.

I know. It doesn’t sound a very good plan, does it.

I won’t worry about that yet.  First, I need to get through today. I’ve been like a mad thing the past few weeks, endlessly closing my blog, then reopening it, a bit like closing your eyes so as not to see something scary right in front of you.

I went to see the new Star Wars film at the weekend. I won’t give any of it away, but if you’re 45 (or thereabouts) like me, and saw the original 1977 film when you were 7-ish, then you may feel many waves of nostalgia when you see the new film. I felt pulled back to my childhood, and spent the evening crying ridiculously, worrying my youngest daughter, and prompting my wise son to comment that wine + nostalgia = ridiculous and unnecessary weeping.

In the meantime, I am drawing great comfort from other bloggers on this journey. Primrose over at takinganewpath (as well as sorting out my drinking, I need a crash computer course, as I still can’t do links) is doing a daily alcohol-free drinks thing which I am loving, and which I find really helpful.

So, I’m going to stop switching off my blog, and I’ll write what’s happening to me here, the good and the bad. I’m heading out into that gale.

Nosedive

Every post I write at the moment seems to chart my lack of progress, but  I still want to keep writing. And despite Christmas being less than a week away, and booze seeming to hang in the air round every corner, I want and need to stop drinking.

To the Universe: please help me master this, please give me the strength to get well, and to walk quietly through these early days so that I can have a peaceful, clear Christmas with my family. Please help me to put down the glass, and to know that things will get better, to help me get out of this cycle.