Thursday, 5 May 2016

I could just have a drink...

For the first time in a loooong time I have given some serious thought to having a drink.  This morning I was standing in the kitchen preparing our evening meal and I thought 'I could just go out.  I could just drive to the bottle shop and grab a bottle of red and no one would know'.  I quickly dismissed the thought.  But then it came back.  It came back along with the wish to just block everything out.  It came back with the old desires, the old cravings, the thought of how it would feel to let that first sip slide down my throat.  To drink until the bottle was done and then  it would be too late.  My husband would have to come home to get the kids from school, I'd be too blottoed to do anything so I could just peacefully drift away with another bottle.  I could cave for just one day and not be the totally responsible, take-care-of-everything person that I am and give in to that part of me that is drowning and just wants to forget.

And if I could do it and be guaranteed it was for one day, I probably would.  But I know it won't.  I know it would lead me directly back to that place I was nearly 4 years ago.  A place I definitely don't want to be.  The way I've been feeling lately in general was what lead me to that alcoholism.  I know where it would go.  But it doesn't stop me from wanting to do it just once.  Just for one day.  To forget the pain I'm in.  To let go of all of the responsibilities.  To be who I was before I had kids, before I had post-natal depression (which I have again), to be that young, carefree, crazy-fun, crazy-drunk girl I used to be.  She is so far from who I am now.

I'm sure there are other ways, other solutions.  But none seem as good to me right now.  None seem as immediate.  None seem as capable of blocking out the world.

The only thing stopping me right now is knowing how I'll feel in the morning, waking up and being hungover and having that awful guilt of knowing I'd come so far only to give in at a weak moment.

But I think - if I did get drunk then maybe someone would take notice.  Someone would see just how bad it really is.  How I can't do it all - work 40 hours a week, take care of 3 kids and a husband, clean the house, make the meals, do the shopping, stress about the flat tire on the car, the broken windows, the million jobs that need to be done around the house ... to not have enough money but somehow make it all work by having spreadsheets for bills and debts and how to get where we want to be with so little because I can't just go out and get a job... to know how terrified I am to jump back in to the corporate world but how much I hate making such little money at the current job I have when I work so hard.  To feel guilty that I can't work but at the same time knowing I have to work to make ends meet... and to be angry about it.  Maybe if I was passed out on the floor, someone would notice just how bad it is even though I plaster a smile on my face because I feel too guilty that I can't do all the things expected of me.  To see how I feel there is resentment towards me because I am not earning my keep.  Because we need money and surely I can just work to earn it?  Maybe if I was drunk and carefree I would get some attention, some love.  Maybe I could get drunk and pass out and for 12 hours straight and not be woken every 3 hours by a baby needing a feed.  Maybe if I got drunk all of my fears, concerns, anxieties, loneliness, guilt.. maybe it would all just disappear the further I got in to that bottle.  Sure I would feel like hell tomorrow, but would it be worth it for one night of peace?

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Why I'm back...

So I've felt really drawn to write many times over the past few years but I haven't.  I was really focused on building my business, and building my brand. I thought for some reason that if I wrote on this blog and people found out that I had a drinking problem, that somehow I would lose that image I was trying to build.  Sounds a bit ridiculous, but it was a real fear.

Then I saw Mrs D. come out and speak about her drinking. When she spoke out, I realized that it is her strength that allowed her to do so.  I was so impressed by her courage to talk, especially given that her husband has such a public profile.  Beyond this, I loved that this topic of drinking became something that people were speaking about.  I went for a walk the day after the interview aired... I went with 3 Mums from my son's school and Mrs D was the topic of conversation.  I felt elated - I loved that Mrs D brought this topic into our every day lives.  I opened up one on one to one of the women there and when we caught up with the other two, one was questioning that she sometimes thought she drank too much.  I realized in that moment that I had nothing to be ashamed of.  I had a problem with drinking, and every day I am doing something about it.  

I am still using a pseudonym, but I am here to share my story.  I haven't been very open in the past about the fact that I had a drinking problem but on my two year sober-versary I posted on my facebook page that I hadn't had a drink in 2 years and I got SO much support from my friends and family.  I knew that posting that would raise flags to them.... I mean I used to be THE party girl so for me to have stopped completely, well it was as good as admitting that I was an alcoholic right there for all to see.  The outpouring of support I received was just amazing and actually brought tears to my eyes.  I'm sure more than a few of them knew I had a problem and are probably glad that I quit and that didn't destroy my life with alcohol.  People even asked me about it afterward and I was really open.  I just realized that I have no reason to hide and to lie about the fantastic decision that I made to stop drinking.

I am so thankful for Mrs D coming out and telling her story.  Her story is my story - and maybe your story too.  Mrs D gave me the courage to come back and to acknowledge this new life that I lead.  I am proud - probably for the first time - about choosing this lifestyle and am now embracing it more than ever.

Monday, 29 September 2014

2 Years On

It's been a while to say the least... but I have been feeling drawn to write more and more these days.  I thought I would give a bit of an update...

It's been just over 2 years since I last took a sip of alcohol (or glug more like!) and I am happy to say that I am doing well!  I think I've finally past the stage of missing alcohol and feeling like something is missing from life now that I live without alcohol.

For the longest time, I did feel like something was missing.  At first, it was just that sort of no 'wohoo it's the weekend!' kind of thing... where Friday would roll around and for the first time in my adult life, it didn't coincide with cracking a bottle open.  In that way, weekends felt a bit dull, like no big deal, the same as every other day and I didn't love that.  But that faded pretty quickly.  I'd say that probably only lasted about 2 months and then I felt pretty good about not having hangovers all the time so that won out over everything else!

I still felt pretty much like not going out or being around alcohol so I kept myself pretty secluded.  Not hard to do since I have two kids 5 and under and not much opportunity to go out -  or desire!  But my husband's 40th birthday was coming up and I knew I'd have to be around alcohol. I was trying to find some way of getting beyond 'just tolerating' the night. After all, I had planned the party and wanted to have a good time with him and not be boring!

Then something happened. I  was talking to someone who quit drinking just because she felt it was holding her back from her dreams (not because she didn't know how to stop once she started like me!).  And she totally embraced it.  She went out all the time and had heaps of fun and thought it was actually awesome that she didn't drink.  I started thinking about this and how I felt I was boring and that people thought I was lame or a goody-two-shoes for not drinking and it hit me how when I was drinking I also worried that people were judging me... I was worried that people would see how much I drank, how out of control I was, how irresponsible I was, how I cared about alcohol more than anything, how I always wanted to drink beyond anything else in the world... and how I'd spend the next day feeling so stupid for how I acted, and wondered did I make a fool out of myself?

I realized that I was spending literally my whole life worried about what people would think of me during the 5 hours I was out at a party.  And I realized that I don't care what people thought about me now.  I quit drinking in large part because I was so tired of being the super drunk person that no one took seriously, am I now going to shoot myself down because I am the together person that people do take seriously?  Seems like such a waste of time and energy!  So that was it, somehow.  It was a huge turning point for me realizing that there was no point worrying what others think (I mean there isn't any point anyway is there!?!) because I had made this change to make myself better, and I am better because of it!

So I went to his party and for the first time in two years, I actually had a TON of fun out!  I mean, I was chatting and dancing and doing a speech and I just felt totally comfortable.  And of course, no one cared, if they even noticed!  I left at midnight - much later than I had planned!  And I got in the car and drove myself home.  I climbed in to bed and watched a bit of tv as I wound down from the evening ... and I thought to myself 'I'm so glad I was able to go out and have fun, and I'm equally as glad that I am in my warm bed able to watch a show before going to sleep'.  And not being hungover the next day, worried about how I had acted and what I had said and did the night before was just an added bonus!

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Still Trucking

Once again... it's been a while.  I often contemplate whether I should continue writing here or just stick with my personal journal... but then I stop by and see how many people read what I write and realise there is something about being heard that works for me.  So here I am.

It dawned on me the other day that I am now 7 months sober.  I can't believe how the time is just ticking along.  I never would've imagined life would be like this.  It's funny how I thought I would always miss alcohol and how that loss would always be something I had to deal with... and it isn't even remotely like that.  In the first month or so, for sure it was.  It was a loss, my booze, my buddy that has been there with me through everything.  An occasion wasn't an occasion without it - I had no idea how to celebrate without alcohol.  Or how to commiserate or deal with problems without it.  But turns out, I am learning.

The thing is, the good things that I notice are not things I even thought about before.  I remember when I was thinking about quitting, when I knew I had to but was too scared to let go of this 'friend', this coping mechanism of mine...  I remember scouring the Internet trying to find out what people felt after quitting, what the good things were.  At the time I could only see the loss I would feel when giving it up.  But I knew for sure at least the overwhelming guilt I felt in the mornings would be gone, so that was enough to try.

So here is what I would've liked to have known over 7 months ago when I knew it was time to quit, but wasn't sure what the benefits were.  This is a note to myself back then, but any of you who are trying to do the same, maybe it will help ...

The first thing I have to say is how much easier life is.  That's right.  I always thought alcohol helped me cope.. but in fact, I think it just made things harder.  I think not only the obvious difficult of doing things hungover made things hard, but also the longer term effects alcohol had on my brain and my perception of the world.  It really scrambled my brain.  Like I now see why it was so hard for me to read a map.  It was so hard for me to remember things.  I always had to write everything down.  Recipes I made a hundred times, I'd still have to read every line, every time, because I would not actually know what was in it.  Now, I can easily understand directions, I can remember things - and not in the 'I'm not drunk' way but in the 'I just remember things without even trying' way.  I'm not sure if this makes sense, it's hard to describe to people who weren't addicted to alcohol how it feels to just have a scrambled brain... even if I didn't drink for days on end, it's just the way I thought I was.  But not at all!

It's actually easier to deal with stress.  Again, I expected this because I wouldn't be hungover all the time....  But it's more than that.  I mean I still have stress, and I still get really anxious, but I think it's easier because I deal with it at the moment.  Like getting the kids ready for school, I get really anxious, often to the point of there being a tightening in my chest. When I drank, I used to just take that stress and put it in my pocket for later - it was now my excuse to drink.  Instead of dealing with the stress in the moment, I'd say to myself  'Oh my god I can't handle this.. this is the reason why I drink.  I can't deal with this horrible feeling and the stress of having two young kids and trying to do all of this by myself!!  Arrrr' and then I'd have my reason to crack open the bottle at the end of the day.  Now, I take the time in that moment to realise how I feel.  I realise that I'm holding my breath and then I just release it.  Sound ridiculous?  It isn't.  I take a moment to just stop holding my breath and just breathe.  And it feels better.  And I tell my kids that I need a moment.  Why not?  It's teaching them that it's ok to listen to your body, what you are feeling, and how to deal with it in a healthy way - to use my own means to make myself feel better.

And then it's just the living life that's better.  Now I'm a more loving mother because I'm no longer primarily focused on when I will have my next drink.. no longer counting the hours til I can 'relax'.  Now I'm actually the kind of mother I wished I could be and never thought was possible.  I still get stressed, tired, overwhelmed... but I also can just look at one of my children and feel this surge of love and just think 'oh my god you are so cute!'.  And mean it. 

And I have time to focus on things I love.  Cooking, sewing..... trying to find healthier meals that the whole family will enjoy.  I have been working with a 'business growth specialist' to grow my business.  And I work on improving my life.  This is something I've always done, but think I only couldn't gone so far while I was drinking.  The next thing is I am going to start working on my sugar addiction.  I seem to have turned to sugar after coming off alcohol.. never thought I had a sweet tooth but seems all the wine either satisfied the sugar wants or it created them after I quit!

I hope this helps... anyone else who wants to share some of the benefits of living sober please do!  I love to hear it.. I know there are many more benefits but these are ones right off the bat that I think of that never would've occurred to me when I was drinking.  But they make life so much better.  If you are thinking about quitting, or have recently quit drinking, I hope this helps you to see some of the light at the end of the tunnel - and it doesn't take long to start reaping the benefits!

(I feel that I need to add that if you are addicted to alcohol, please see a health care professional before you start coming off.  I didn't realise I was addicted and needed to wean off alcohol to make sure I didn't suffer any risk to my health)

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

My 6 month sober-versary

As of today I have been sober for 6 months.  That's no small feat.  I was thinking this morning as I realised how long I've been sober for that I've been beating myself up about dieting and losing weight and eating better and feeling like I just can't do it ... then I thought - if I can stop drinking, I can do anything! Maybe I am just used to beating myself up, but today I stop.  Today I focus on what I have done.  6 months ago I was tired of waking up exhausted, deflated, angry and disappointed with myself, a hangover along with a peircing feeling under my skin just from all the alcohol coursing through  my body.  I had no time for anything really.  I was irritable and short with everyone, including my kids.

Today I wake up a bit tired (because my son got up before 6!!) but fine.  I am happy that it's Valentine's day and I'm planning to wear pink and make a nice dinner for my family, along with a heart-shaped pav for dessert.  I am excited about growing my business after meeting with a business coach yesterday.  I'm off to a music class with my little guy and a new friend... and I know I won't sit through the music class in pain, waiting for the annoying songs to finish so we can have a cup of coffee and I can zone out.  Instead I'll be singing along and clapping.  And perhaps my little guy will nap when we get home so I can try out my new sewing machine!!

Life is by no means perfect, but I can't even tell you how much BETTER it is.  Much better than I ever thought it would be.  I thought I'd miss drinking, and honestly, sometimes it bothers me to think that somewhere in the future I'll never be able to enjoy just one glass of wine.  But I don't want it now.  I don't want alcohol AT ALL and if you knew me, you would find that unbelievable. 

If you are thinking about quitting and are sick of the cycle of wanting to quit, giving it to drinking then feeling guilty about it (or whatever rut you are caught in) just talk to someone.  Talk to a doctor, talk to an alcohol counsellor.  Talk to a friend.  Talk to yourself in a blog or a journal... or do whatever works for you.  Keep thinking about it and get closer to trying it (but do it with medical help if you are addicted to alcohol!!).  Talk to me if you like.  Email me, post on my blog or just keep reading.  I'm no expert .. but I there were people I looked to when I was still drinking (thank you Mrs D and One Crafty Mother!) who helped me see there is life after alcohol.  And life is good.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Trying to get back on track

I've finished painting our bedrooms and now just have to finish unpacking.  I went to weight watchers today after two weeks off and haven't gained too much.  I was thinking I need to find a way to get back on track and then I realised that simply going to the meeting is getting back on track... I also went for a nice long walk with my little guy.  Still eating garbage though, and have no energy as a result.  It's really hard to kick this sugar habit.  I was reading an article today about the addictiveness (is that a word??) of sugar and how hard it is to kick.  I guess I shouldn't be too hard on myself since it is hard to stop but sometimes I just think what's wrong with me??  I used to be able to just make a decision and go with it no matter what... and now I just can't seem to do that.  But I'm back on the road anyway, tracking what I'm eating so I know exactly what I am eating.  I remember when I did that with drinking - just seeing it on paper is pretty jarring... there is no escaping what is going in my body when I write it down! 

In other news, I am meeting with a business coach tomorrow about my small business.  I really want to focus on it this year as I'd like to be earning an income from it.  I'm quite excited!  But it also means I need to get a few more boxes out of our living room before noon tomorrow haha!

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

It's Getting to me

The mess that is.  So I am in the process of painting the bedrooms which means I haven't unpacked from the move and we have boxes EVERYWHERE!  To make matters worse, the boys are sleeping in our room while we paint ... so on top of the boxes, we now have a single bed in our living room and I feel like I'm tripping over stuff every time I turn around.  I realised today that I just need to get their room done asap! 

I also have a huge food hangover.  We have been eating absolute garbage for over a week now.  Sugar like crazy.  I'm not one of those super healthy people who treats their body like a temple that you need to roll your eyes at because I think I'm so great for being healthy... because I'm not!  I have watched what I ate before, but not until recently did I try to come off sugar.  I did the 17 day diet just before Christmas and much like drinking, I didn't realise how bad I felt til I came off the junk... meaning once I cut sugar out for a while, now I really feel it's effects.  I'm groggy, cranky, lethargic etc etc.  I just need to come off it again.  It's hard with so much other upheaval and I also want to maintain my sobriety so I've turned to food.  In the end it's just another substance to help me 'deal' with life but in the end, it just makes things worse.

So today I'm making a point of eating more fresh food.  I know I'll have more energy, be able to get these jobs finished and get better sleep if I do.  I just need to make time for it.  Wish me luck - I know it's not going to be easy... but I hope to eat a bit better today.