It’s been a while since I spent some time writing a blog post and I’ve had LOADS of thoughts and feelings to share. So here goes, here are my crazy ramblings as I embark on Day 82 of my sober life. Day 82!!
1. Life is fuller, longer and more enjoyable.
When you become sober two extraordinary things happen. You stop spending half of your waking time drunk and you stop spending the other half of it hungover, waiting for the chance to be drunk again. When this happens you suddenly have hours in your day. Hours to do enjoyable things with. I’m using my hours to get fit, try new things, read, watch films and anything else I feel like doing.
I have always tried to be active, eat well and exercise but the truth is I wasn’t very good at it when I was either drunk or hangover. Now, I’m buzzing from classes at the gym and I’ve even joined a sports club.
Yesterday, at work, I thought to myself “I can’t wait to go home tonight, eat a nice dinner and read my book”. I used to think, “I can’t wait to finish this work so I can go and buy a couple of bottles of wine and go home and chill with a dinner and a film”. I never remember much of that film I watched and would then wake up feeling full of anxiety and regret at 3am.
Which leads me to point 2…
2. I can’t get enough of lovely heavenly sleep
For some people, sleep is still a problem when they first become sober.
For me, from my second night sober, I have beautiful, restful sleep EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. And I love it! It’s like my body is finally getting the rest it’s been craving for years and it is so happy with me. It also makes me feel great that my body is reparing itself during those sleeping hours.
Actually, last night for the first time in a long time, I woke up at 3am. I thought to myself how that used to happen all the time and how it doesn’t happen at all anymore. That was the last thought I had before falling back into a lovely cosy lumber 🙂
3. My problems were real but I can fix them
I’ll make an assumption here, but I think we all drink because we have problems and we struggle to deal with life, so we numb ourselves because it basically feels a lot better than feeling constant pain. Some of us have problems more severe than others and some have pain that hurts more than others.
I was constantly depressed with my working situation. My boss was a bitch to me, she abused me mentally and took advantage of my hard work ethic to the point where I reached 20 hour working days and was still made to feel worthless. I was exhausted and feeling defeated.
Once I got sober I realised this was a real problem and had nothing to do with me drinking. I was just drinking to cope.
So, I did something about it. I don’t need to share the details here but the outcome is that I start a new, better job, at the same company I love and no where near the bitch. It was a good experience for me and my confidence as I realised she was just being completely evil and I am really highly thought of by other people that matter.
Another couple of problems I’ve been successfully dealing with are my weight issue and self-confidence.
Dealing with problems has completely changed my attitude to life and feelings about myself. More on that later.
3. You forget how painful it was
Yep, I constantly wonder if it was that bad. Did hangovers really feel like hell? Was I really that drained from lack of good, quality sleep? Did I really look like shit as I slowly poisoned myself to death?
Well, yes. It was all real but feeling it as intensely as it felt at the time is hard to remember. I suppose it’s the same when we are drinking when 7pm comes around and we forget how bad 7am was and so we crack another bottle open with the promise to deal with it again tomorrow.
It’s one of the reasons I keep myself so firmly attached to this blog world. I’m sorry, but every time I see a post from someone embarking on their day one I think to myself- “That right there. That is why you can not go back”. It is hell to be stuck there at day one, time and time again. Then I share words of hope for getting through the early days and hope they stick.
4. I feel happy. Life is good and I think I’m an OK person
On Sunday, I caught a glimpse of myself in a window reflection. I was in the kitchen preparing dinner, I’d put on some music and was dancing around singing to myself. I saw my smile. A massive grin, even though there was no one else to see.
I realised that for the first time in such a long time, I am genuinely happy. Life feels so good- every moment of it. I love those extra hours that I have to enjoy. I am making good decisions for myself and those I care about. I am responsible for minimizing the pain in my life.
I’m also starting to like myself. I’ve realised I shouldn’t hate myself. I always think about others and I never intend any harm to anyone or anything. I see the best in people and I look after everyone I love. At work, people come to me for advice and tell me secrets. That makes me realise I must have some good qualities and yet I’ve spent so many years hating myself for no real apparent reason.
5. I still think about drinking a lot
But I am not fighting the demon yet. I haven’t felt an over-powering need to drink right now but I still wonder if I can drink in the future.
Yes, I still wonder if there will be a time in my life where I can have a glass of wine with a Saturday night dinner, maybe two and not feel compelled to down the whole bottle, crack open the second and then move onto a whiskey. I wonder if I will ever be able to go to a Wedding and toast with a glass of champagne, or enjoy a glass of pimms on a summers day with friends.
I went to a club with some friends a couple of weeks ago and someone handed me a G&T instead of my water. I took a big mouthful and stood there with fear not knowing what to do. What would happen if I swallowed it? Would a mouthful cause me to head back onto my downward spiral? I discreetly spat it out then headed to the bathroom where I rinsed out my mouth with water again and again. Was that extreme? I don’t know but my first thought was complete fear- I had to get that alcohol out of my body.
6. Everything else carries on. Guess what? Other people still drink too.
Life goes on for everyone else. No one else knows what is going on inside my head or that I’m an alcoholic in recovery. That’s a good thing of course but sometimes I want to tell people – “Do you know how awesome I am? I’m xx days sober!”
My husband is drinking around me again. That’s what I wanted. Sometimes that’s hard and sometimes it’s fine but I need it to happen so that normal could return. It seems he was only ever a big drinker with me and now he’s happy with a beer at dinner or a whiskey on a Saturday night.
I’ve just booked up a meal for me and my husband for Christmas. I’ve ordered the free-flow alcohol option for him and free-flow soft drinks for me. Yay! A never ending supply of orange juice and water! Excuse my sarcasm. When I booked it the thought actually crossed my mind that I could change my option nearer the time if I wanted.
I watch other people in restaurants. Did you know loads of people go out for dinner and do not drink at all?! A lot of people do drink of course, but only have 1 or 2 (I know because I count the drinks of everyone around me). I see the problem drinkers too – I see all the little tricks they pull to get more share to the alcohol. I also see their suffering- the battle they’re facing to appear normal.
So, to sum up where I am right now. Life is good. It is REALLY good sober. I am LIVING at last. But, alcohol is never far from my thoughts. All I do know is that I do not want to drink today and I would go as far as to say I know I will not drink tomorrow or the next day either. And for now, that is good enough for me.