Day 21

On the train to London this morning, going to my rehearsal, the man sitting opposite me got a bottle of booze out of his bag and took a swig. It was 10am. I could smell him when he got on the train – he was young, just a normal guy. I am glad not to be feeling as though I need a top-up of alcohol to help me through a hangover; I am sure that is something I have occasionally done, the hair of the dog. It’s not a pretty sight, and it struck me today what a strange thing it was to do.

Back home now, and heading towards another quiet night in.

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Why the blog?

Keeping a record of sober days this month is really helpful for me, as are the comments. Every day, I come to the blog and write something, however brief. I have kept this blog for a long time now, and it has fluctuated over the years from confessional, to panic, to gratitude. At the moment, I see it as a kind of haven. A couple of people have commented that I sound different this time round. I think this may be my being a bit quieter this month, trying not to dwell so much on what I’m doing, but rather just trying to do it.

I have nearly finished Clare Pooley’s book. It’s so good. I’m then going to go back and read Caroline Knapp’s book. I have to do a lot of reading (poetry and fiction) for work, and I have found reading generally to be therapeutic this month. Every day, I read for ages, if I can.

I’m not going out or doing anything social (in the party sense), although I do go to work of course, and play in the orchestra, and both those things are hugely convivial. But no alcohol is involved, and I am finding a new pleasure in that. I cannot envisage going to a party though – not at the moment. And I would not set foot inside a pub.

Day 19…

…and still fine. Bit too tired to write.

Have come back to this post a little while later, to describe feeling really low after work today because of a difficult situation with a work colleague. I felt really sad, as I am having a tricky time generally with this person, and when I got home I really felt like drinking. I cried, but then I got an alcohol-free beer out of the fridge, and talked the situation through with my husband. Now I feel calmer and am going to have a quiet Friday evening.

Day 18 nearly over…

…and I’m on the train coming back from my rehearsal. London is still eerily quiet; I reckon many Londoners are doing Dry January.

I find I have still not done much reflecting on not drinking. I hope that is not a bad thing. For the moment, I am just not drinking, but I think I’ll eventually need to do more work on the whys and wherefores. But in the past, I have sometimes found that over-thinking it in the first few weeks can be off-putting (for me), and can put ideas about drinking in my head. This time, I’m avoiding all social events which may involve drink, not stepping foot inside a pub, and just lying low.

Better

Many thanks for your comments; they really really help me. I felt a great deal better today. Although last night my sleep was still disturbed, I didn’t feel so tired today, and hardly dwelt on drinking at all. This coincided with one of my colleagues saying I looked 10 years younger, now I was ‘off the sauce’ (his words) – radiant was also mentioned! I don’t want to sound boastful; rather, it is to record this observation, to help me see the light.

So, Day 17, and I feel more positive.

A low day

I’m feeling low today. Not sure why, nothing specific, just a feeling. Thoughts of drinking were harder to push away, and surfaced earlier in the day than usual. But once home, I had some alcohol-free drinks and literally forced myself to do other things: got on with some work, did a couple of errands, just pushed through the low stuff.

I guess I feel a bit sad, and low.

Day 15…

…and only just back from work. Not drinking seems to be my new normal, and I am glad.

I am a little disappointed still to be feeling so tired, not to be sleeping well, and not to be looking remotely radiant.

But – not drinking, that’s the important thing.

Sunday dusk

Day 14 and it’s already dark. Several of my work colleagues went out last night, and it sounded great fun, but I can’t do that stuff at the moment, and it was far better for me to stay at home, safe. I am still quite troubled by my sleep – my dreams continue to be very strange and disturbing. I hope this will pass.

This morning, I read more of Clare’s book. Twice, I wept. I find it so moving, and as I have actually met her (she’s amazing), I can picture her as I read.

I have been making a really good mocktail: lots of ice, a couple of centimetres of vanilla/almond syrup (from the coffee area in the supermarket – I think it’s used in coffees), juice of half a lime, juice of half a lemon, top up with lemonade (not the cloudy one). It’s delicious. I think I may have posted this on my blog before, but have no idea where/when.

And so I move along, quietly.

Saturday dusk

Day 13, and not drinking is beginning to feel more normal. I was at work this morning, and took the dog for a long walk this afternoon; and now I’m about to go to the gym. That means it’ll almost be supper when I get home, and the witching hour will have passed.

I have to say, I’m trying not to think about it all too much, and I guess this may mean that I’m not yet doing the work. By work, I mean the hard thinking about my drinking, and how important it is for me to be stopping. But if I start to think about that, I find my mind starts to play tricks, and to rationalise it – so I’m just avoiding that at the moment.

Sleep is still full of dreams/nightmares, but during the day I am feeling pretty perky and positive. I think I’m being calmer generally, and not letting things build up.

All in all, things are going well. This time last year, I had already abandoned Dry January – but this year feels completely different.

Friday evening

I am finding the Friday cravings a little tricky this evening, but I am pushing through them. I felt really tired after work, and ‘sod it’ thoughts went through my head as I walked home: I’ll just have a drink and no one will know sorts of thoughts. Didn’t do that. Came home, sat straight down with an alcohol-free drink and prepared some work for tomorrow. And now I need to get supper ready and I’ll probably watch some sort of easy/trashy film.

I guess I’m missing going out, but that just wouldn’t be possible or advisable at the moment. I was struck by how empty London was yesterday evening on my way back from rehearsal – maybe everyone is having a rest after alcohol-fuelled December.

When I feel a negative drinking thought – an urge to drink – I literally try and stop thinking at the moment. And that’s what seems to be working quite well. Day 12 today.