Meeting the triggers

I am typing this post on my phone as I can’t wait to get home and to the iPad to write.

I hate Fridays.

In anticipation of my Friday doubts (and they have been swarming), and despite telling my husband that I wouldn’t go, I went to a meeting. My husband thinks that meetings are overdoing it, I think because he doesn’t want my story to be as ‘bad’ as the stories I hear in meetings. And in some ways, the things I heard today were ‘worse’ than what has so far happened to me. But at the core of these stories I could hear my own; although I may not have drunk 24 hours a day, or had my children taken away from me, the central notion is the same: that I have found alcohol to be in control of the centre of my life, and that’s why I’m trying to stop drinking.

The meeting was still scary. I immediately emailed my husband and tried to get out of my sober quest. I suggested we drink tonight and tomorrow, and then ‘go back to sobriety’ during the week. Fortunately, he knows my Friday methods – particularly as I had asked him to ignore them if I tried them – and his reply was NO GO.

I was disappointed, and relieved. But ultimately I know I cannot ask him to decide these things for me. It has to come from me; only I can do this.

So, am I glad I went to the meeting? I’m not sure, but I certainly need to be doing all I can to help myself, and I think meetings may be part of that process.

Now, onwards to Friday evening, and putting into practice some of those ideas you have kindly sent me.

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Taking the plunge

One week in, 7 days sober, yes yes yes. Thank you for all your wise words and encouragement last night, the second evening of difficult cravings. Again, I was hooked to the blog, and found it really helpful. Kary suggested investigating other internet sources or help (thank you, Kary!) such as Soberistas, but in the past I have been a bit overwhelmed by big online groups. I was a member of the BFB for a few days, and nearly went crazy with the email traffic, so while I can see that these are brilliant resources, and very supportive for lots of people, they aren’t for me at the moment. I prefer the blogging world.

This is not to say that I don’t need more support, because I know I do. Serendipitously,  I was called yesterday by someone from the Recovery Centre which I had been to once a few months ago – I’ve had a few calls from them since, but have been putting them off. Listening to her message on my phone, I decided to do something  about it. So this morning, I phoned her back. She isn’t in until Monday, but I’ll phone again then, and make a plan. I know I’m always making plans, but re-engaging with this possible source of help is a step forward for me.

Meanwhile, Friday evening lies ahead, but it’s not here yet: it’s 10.10am, and I’m a week sober.

More cravings

Yuck. My blue sky euphoria has shifted, and I’m back at the familiar 4pm struggle. It is quite incredible how different I feel at this time of day, compared to the fresh, upbeat mornings. I was so thrilled to wake up to Day 6; now I feel deflated and doubtful. Of course I know that I’m doing the right thing, but I feel leaden, horrible.

I listened to The Bubble Hour on my dog walk. It is so good. I’ve been listening to it for 2 years now, and it never fails to strike the right note. Everyone’s stories are familiar to me: their drinking patterns, their downfalls, their cravings…and I get much comfort from their strength and the way in which they have found a way out. And yet, I find myself in this teatime pit where the evening stretches ahead mournfully, a yawn of grey in which I think I am giving myself too hard a task, making my life more difficult than it need be. I read of this often, this feeling of overreacting, of creating hurdles which need to be overcome, of trying to be perfect.

I’m not sure what I’m trying to say; I’m just trying to describe the discomfort, to try and get my head round it, and to avoid getting in my car and driving to the nearest place which sells alcohol, buying it and drinking it, losing myself so that I don’t have to think about it anymore.

I am like two different people, and I need to listen and pay attention to the blue sky person I was this morning, not let the grey version get a hold of the situation.

P.S. I’ve just been distracting myself by reading back through my blog, and it was the most depressing thing ever – so many day ones, so many cravings on day 6s,  so much endless naval-gazing. Aaaaaaaaarrrrrggggghhhhhhh.

More blue sky

8.30am and the sky is very blue today. And I am so very glad that I didn’t drink last night. Thank you for all your advice and love and support; my iPad does a little bleep when a comment comes in, and I would rush over and look, and your words really gave me strength. Just after I’d written my cravings post, I had an AF beer, and some olives, and my son came into the kitchen to chat to me while I made the supper. He would have been horrified if I’d been drinking. I chopped ingredients carefully, I moved through the minutes slowly, I got through it and I was ok.

There is a lot more work for me to do. But here I am on Day 6.

5.35 pm

I’m staring down the barrel of a horrible craving. The springy post I wrote this morning seems aeons away. How can I have been so upbeat then? I feel awful now.

I am not going to drink.

Soon, I will make supper. I wanted to do some work, but I can’t focus. There’s still some gin in the house – I know! Throw it out! – and I unscrewed it to smell it. That was at about midday.

I don’t want to undo my good five days. I don’t want to be this person who sniffs gin and paces the kitchen unable to focus.

Rainy day 5

I am moving steadily forward. This is a quiet week for me, I know, so I haven’t been scuppered by being overly tired, or being too busy. For now, I am able to be quite calm. What I have noticed, however, is that I have no desire to drink. This is strange. Last night, to celebrate my husband’s birthday, I made a mocktail for all of us (actually it wasn’t very nice, too much apple juice; I prefer something more bitter), and the idea of something alcoholic seemed absurd. The children didn’t comment, nor did my husband – it’s like a big old secret. That’s fine for now.

Many of you are suggesting meetings. I’m not ignoring you! At the moment, I can’t (or won’t?) get to them, but I am not being high and mighty, I am just wary. In the past, some meetings have seen me race to the petrol station to buy wine afterwards, so I want to tread carefully. I also don’t like the idea of leaving the children, who are still on holiday. That is why I am clinging to the blog, and to online sober friends – thank you – and keeping everything very quiet and calm at home. No social events in the near future, and just a steady, quiet time ahead for the next few days.

This is not to say that everything is hunky dory. Receiving some photos of our holiday from a friend last night, I literally saw glasses of wine dancing before my eyes when I remembered our time there last week. I immediately tried to remember the horrible taste, the sinking feeling, the disappointment in myself, because I don’t want to forget any of that.

Sunny Day 4

I feel much better today, more positive. Spring is here and the garden is full of daffodils. But it is also 10.30am, and I tend to feel good at this time – I’m definitely a ‘morning person’.

I am trying to hold onto and mentally record how I feel when I feel good like this: kind of untainted, ‘clean’. Every single time I have drunk alcohol recently, I have felt dirty and hated the taste. Even that first sip was horrid, with no elation or buzz attached. It really felt pointless and stupid. That is what I am trying to remember, because the craving and desire for alcohol oddly seems detached from the good feeling that alcohol used to give me. What I mean is: the cravings are still there – not now, but come 4.30pm (the time my husband says I tend to text him with talk of wine) – but not the desire.

Another positive shift is that my husband is completely on-side. He has always been supportive, but he was always quick to go back to drinking if I suggested it; this time, I asked him to take NO NOTICE of me if I suggested drinking, to IGNORE any pleas for wine, and to REFUSE any suggestion that we drink alcohol together. It is his birthday today, and the children and I are planning a special meal for him tonight, with a mocktail to start. What a kind, lovely person he is: to forego a glass of champagne on his birthday in order to support me.

I know it’s early days; I almost fear sounding too optimistic, in case I curse it, but I do feel as though this might be it?

Mind melt

It’s the afternoon of Day 3 and I’m sitting outside the gym, trying to persuade myself to go in and get thinner for a black tie thing in 8 weeks. Why is that I’m trying to get fit, thinner, sober and nicer all at the same time? I suddenly feel overwhelmed with tiredness.

I don’t want to drink. I’m not sure what I want to do. Everything feels a bit BIG somehow. In theory, this is a quiet week before I go back to work, and so a good week to get my head round sobriety, but it’s also a week when I have time to look after myself and that doesn’t necessarily mean pounding on the treadmill.

So much of my drinking pattern in the past seems tied up with a feeling of uselessness, almost – strangely – a desire to BE useless, or at least not be organised, fit, efficient etc. A glass of wine helped to start the process of not minding how I felt; now I feel as though I mind all the time, that I can’t let go.

I felt great yesterday. Today I don’t feel so great, but I know that is to be expected.

Being sure

Day 2. I am not always sure, but today I feel sure: I am not drinking anymore, I cannot drink anymore, I must not drink anymore. While I was drinking last week, I tried to keep in my mind what it felt like to drink, how hopeless and horrible I felt, how stupid it was. I was getting no enjoyment out of it at all. Those days really are gone, and I cannot believe I’ve spent so long stuck in the debate. And every time I went back to drinking, those feelings became heavier, the taste of alcohol increasingly sour.

It’s Sunday morning. My head is full of swarming thoughts, but I push them aside, and concentrate on doing other things. Pop pop pop, the thoughts of this party, that event, big holiday zip in and out, but all I need to do is make the lunch, busy about unpacking and getting ready for the week, all thoughts of alcohol pushed back. I’m mentally stamping on them, knowing that one sip leads to an inertia which can control my life.

Last week, there were several moments when I really was a nasty person: impatient, short-tempered, the craving for another drink so strong I didn’t care what I said or did. Now I have a quieter mind, and I am admitting to myself that any alcohol at all ignites that nastiness, and sets in motion a crazy evening or even day of waste and regret. I was surrounded by drinkers last week, but I took some time to talk about sobriety with a couple of people – neither of them had any idea that I was interested in it, they just saw me as a big drinker, a party person – and I noticed that their views of alcohol were different from mine. They weren’t obsessed, they didn’t think much about it much at all. And it’s the thinking that I want to quieten, so that I have time to think about other stuff.

A few people commented on my blog yesterday, saying they were on their early sober days, and to you I say: LET’S DO THIS. And to my friends who have been here for so many months, and even years, supporting me and commenting here and emailing me and texting me…to you I say: THANK YOU xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

I am not drinking anymore

That is what I am telling myself as I near the end of Day One. I am back home, and last night I knew that today would be my Day One. ‘Have you decided?’ my husband asked me on the train this morning.  I have decided. I am done with drinking, I want to feel better, and I am not going to waste any more time worrying about it, constantly delaying.

Please help me, and support me. I need you. I want to use my blog in a way in which I used it in the early days when I first started writing here, when I found so much good advice, love and friendship here. I know there may be people who are frustrated with my going back and forth, and I understand that; but I hope I haven’t pushed too many away?