Getting out of the loop

I have been stuck in the continuous loop for so long now. Day one, day two, then back to the start. I’ve also noticed that the weeks in between, when I give up giving up, are the worst; it is then that I feel at my most hopeless. Many bloggers advise well on getting out of this loop: Mummywasasecretdrinker has a brilliant post on the ‘obstacle course’ – I’m pretty sure it’s one of the links on her blog. If I can get through these muddy fields, and get to the other side, I am sure I will find some peace.

But I still have to get through this mud somehow.  Today is day 2 – and thank goodness, because I’ve been struggling to get here.  I woke this morning genuinely relieved that I’d made it and keen for more of this relief.  Discussing Easter Day plans with my family, and with my parents (we are all together here), my mum proposed champagne at lunch.  ‘Not for Annie; she’s in recovery,’ my husband said.  I’ve had a bad cold and was in bed yesterday afternoon being nursed, so partly that’s what he meant, but it was the very first time I’ve heard him say RECOVERY and it felt right.

 

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Trying to listen

I do listen to the kind advice I get here, although I know it looks as though I don’t. I often go back and reread the comments. But I also need to listen to myself, because increasingly I hear a small voice, almost constant, urging me to stop drinking. It’s definitely my voice, a part of me longing to get out of this stale place of endless day ones, and to find freedom from it all.

Today, my day one feels a bit different from other day ones, and oddly I think it’s because I don’t feel confident about it. I don’t feel full of optimism, but rather more wearily accepting of how it has to be. I am in the mountains, and I realised that I haven’t properly looked at them for…well years maybe. They are beautiful, and I’ve been missing seeing them.

On a more practical note, this afternoon when I usually have beer (I’m on holiday), I asked for a hot lemon.  There appeared to be no such thing, even when I described squeezing a lemon and adding hot water; instead, I was given what is described on the menu as an ‘orange punch’.  This turns out to be the worst alcohol-free drink I have ever had, basically tasting of hot boiled sweets.

Oh dear.

I am listening.

 

A good moment

I fool myself again and again. There is never a good time to stop drinking, and my planning, arranging and rearranging just shows me how powerless I am. Away at the moment, I had hoped that the distraction of a holiday would take my mind out of the loop, that I would miraculously feel free of the internal debate. And indeed, for the first day or two, I did feel a kind of freedom, where I was busy, and in a different environment than usual, and the habits changed. But now I’m back in the centre, and I feel it creeping in on me again. And I know, deep down, that this will NEVER change, that I will always be fighting it unless I take alcohol out of the equation completely, and work on GETTING SOBER.

Not when I get home. Not at the start of term.  Not when I’m older, wiser, more miserable, more broken. Now.

Disgust

I feel disgusting today. Last night, we went to a drinks thing for parents at school.  All day I thought about it, and by early evening I couldn’t wait to get there. I drank several glasses of warm wine, fast, and talked rubbish. Back at home, I poured brandy into my tea and stayed up until 1 in the morning watching terrible television.

I am in serious trouble. I give up. I can’t do this anymore. Every illusion about my control over my drinking is crushed, gone. I feel lonely, sad and disgusting.

Lying

I didn’t make it past Friday evening, lying to Belle on Saturday by emailing her that I had made it to Day 6 (I’m sorry, Belle).  I’m not sure why I did that – I think at the time, I thought I could dismiss Friday as a blip and carry on with Day 6, as I’d built up a few days of good sober momentum; and as I hadn’t been able to do that for a while, I didn’t want to lose it.  But of course I had already lost it – the game was up.  By Saturday evening, I was pouring wine, drinking wine, back in the pit.

One of my main difficulties with this is the constant undermining of my plans – I undermine myself.  Last week, I moved through the days really excited by sobriety, intent on not drinking, and beginning to enjoy it.  But as I hit Friday, I felt my resolve dissolve and I did nothing about it.  And it is this inertia with is so threatening.  It is as though I have no meat behind my words, that I head into an uncertain sobriety on a Monday, knowing that by Friday I won’t be able – or won’t WANT – to sustain it.  This lack of willingness is what makes me fail over and over again.  Because until I am willing – really willing – I won’t be able to get sober.  While I entertain the idea of drinking, I can’t stop drinking.  A few sober days are good, but they are not good enough, because at the back of my mind the idea of a drink still lurks, and I don’t push it away.

It is a sad place to be in.  On Friday, the messages of goodwill and strength on my blog were amazing, and I read and reread them, trying to listen to them, and to act on them.  Everything everyone said made sense, and their words were filled with love and hope.  And yet I turned the computer off and then, later today, turned the blog off.  I have tried to examine why I close my blog at these times – why not leave it open? Why turn off the strength? After all, no one knows what is happening.  By closing the blog, I think I close off the possibility of help, and that allows me to sink into my own drinking world, where no one will know what is happening to me.  That is the sad place.

A few people commented on the bizarre nature of my husband’s responses last week.  I wanted to tell you:  he is only responding to me.  I don’t put him in the picture, I don’t tell him the truth.  When I want him to help me be sober, I tell him that I want to stop drinking, but I only give him the half-truth:  I will say that I want to stop drinking in the week, but that I want to drink ‘normally’ with him at weekends.  This sounds like a good plan to him, so he agrees with it.  If I were to take him along to an AA meeting, he would get a different sense of it all, but so far, I have kept him away from that, and just given him a kind of sanitised sobriety, a half-baked version of it, where I don’t drink here and there, make mocktails, then go back to ‘normal’ me, the me I think he wants me to be, the person who doesn’t have a drinking problem.

So you see, it is a big old mess.  Lies, half-truths and denial, all from the same dark place, the place where drink seems like the best life.  And the idea of another sort of life – though within reach – I always push it away.

Major wobble

It’s Friday, and I’m on Day 5 but I’m having a major wobble. It began last night when my husband expressed surprise when I said I wouldn’t be drinking this weekend. He said he thought I’d meant that I wouldn’t drink in the week. It’s probably my fault for not being clearer (although I had thought I was clear). But of course it made me see a chink in my plan – I slept badly, thinking of ways out, and then looking at how glad I am that I haven’t drunk this week.

So, with the wobble in full swing, I texted my husband this morning and said, ‘Shall we drink this weekend, then?’ and his reply was ‘That would be the dream!’

It’s a mess. I’m so unclear in my own head. And I don’t want to undo my good week.

Not moving

Just after 4pm, and the nagging voice has started: the you don’t need to be doing this voice, the you’re always setting yourself challenges, the why do you make it so hard voice. My son is still poorly, and I feel emotionally a bit wrung out. Yesterday, blogging through the craving, reading everyone’s comments, really helped me. And yet here I am again, feeling the same itchy feelings as yesterday.

I went shopping this morning and bought lots of food and alcohol-free drinks, sailing past the wine corner without a backward glance. Often at 4pm, I start to regret this sailing, and wish I’d ‘stocked up’, but of course it is crucial that I haven’t bought any booze, and can’t be tempted by the easy opening mini bottles I would often buy. But inside my chest, I feel this constricted feeling, a tightness which I can’t shake off.

Day 3: part 2

I’ve been fine today, until now. Now I feel dreadful. My son is ill, and that always makes me feel depressed and low, trapped and worried. I’ve just been to the shops to get some easy supper, and I really wanted to buy some wine and drink it all. But I know I can’t, and I didn’t, particularly as I’d spoken to my son this morning, and had told him I wasn’t drinking.

But I so wanted to. And I want to now. I know I keep going over and over these early days, and I know I need to get through them; but this is the moment when it looks so bleak, and I wish I could numb it, not feel it.

Before I forget

Before I forget, here is a delicious non-alcoholic drink for my friend over on wakingupbeingsober.wordpress.com:

Cucumber mint martini (we need another word for martini)

5-6 leaves of mint

3 slices cucumber

50ml cloudy apple juice

10ml grenadine

10ml elderflower cordial

20ml fresh lime juice

10ml cranberry juice

Muddle and add all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker (or jug).  I add ice too.  Strain into a pretty glass. Scoff.

I may have posted this recipe before.  It’s a winner, and quite ‘special’ so can help with that low Friday I’m not drinking feeling which I fear I’ll get this weekend.

Day 3 here, and I am ok. I guess I feel a bit odd.  Erratic dreams, fitful sleep and horrible fatigue in the evenings, but I was expecting all that.  My son is poorly today, and I was just chatting to him about drinking – poor fellow, not really what he wants to hear on a Wednesday morning.  I told him that I had stopped drinking, and he laughed and said, ‘That won’t last!’  I cannot keep letting him down.  I have to keep my promise.  One hour at at time is how I’m doing it at the moment (apart from my projection forward to Friday evening and that recipe above).  Because I see the demons circling overhead.

 

Healing vibes

This morning, a sober friend texted me healing vibes ‘on this crisp March morning’. Thank you for your healing comments yesterday; they really do help me. The warmth of support boosts me, and helps keep me going through these early days.  Last night, I felt no craving to drink, just a weariness that I was trying again and that I had failed so many times. But I poured the lemonade and drank it gratefully – I don’t remember alcohol ever quenching my thirst in that way. During the past week or so of my drinking, as I prepared to stop, I tried really to feel and taste the drink for what it was: often sour, bitter and just not at all delicious.

Another sober friend has advised me to stay in the moment, as I have been somewhat manic lately: regretting the past drinking patterns, and agonising over how it will all be in the future. A colleague at work said that he was looking forward to hearing me tell jokes after a few cocktails at a party in the summer, and I started worrying about it right then. No need. Today is what matters, getting through today without drinking, and feeling better for it.

Meanwhile, my husband is keen for me to do yoga. I have never tried it, and think I’ll find it too difficult to concentrate, that my mind will wander, let alone the physical difficulties (he described shaking in his first session). I don’t want to take on too much: what I’m doing at the moment is enough. Onwards with day 2.