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.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

We have moved

Well things are much better then they were on my last post!  I think it's safe to say that I was at the end of my rope that day but now... well we have moved.  Since then, we found a house that was a really great price, in a good area (close to my 2 closest friends so how good is that!) and it just really has a good flow and is just really cute and homey.

So we moved in on Feb 1st and there are still boxes everywhere but I've decided to paint the bedrooms first so .. it'll be a work in progress for a while.  I've already painted the spare room (guest room I suppose!) and have just finished the trim on the boys' room.  After that I'll do our room then repaint the wood panelling in the lounge/ dining area and that's the painting done.  I have heaps of fabric chosen and plan to make all kinds of stuff.

That's the thing with not drinking.  So much more time to do lovely things.  I think that's what used to put me off about not drinking.. the loooong days.  But I was just painting in the boys' room and just had all these things come to me, thinking about all kinds of stuff, thinking about blogging, my cousin (who just got engaged - yey!!), my good friends back home.... listening to my husband giggling out in the lounge at some dumb show he's watching... and I just felt so good.  Felt so happy just to be decorating and making my house pretty.

I've had a weird week though.  I have had alcohol thoughts pop up randomly where they really hadn't been before.  I drove by a bottle shop on my way home from kindy pick up the other day and thought 'I would be stopping there every day on my way home... .well maybe not every day... I mean I wouldn't want the shop workers to know I drank that much'... and things like that.  Not sure if anyone else has gone through this?  It's weird - I suppose I thought moving to a new house where I have no association with drinking would make me think less about alcohol but I've had a few of these thoughts lately.

On the bright side - when my cousin told me he got engaged and we skyped and I heard all the lovey-dovey details and told him I would be coming to the wedding for sure.... I realised after we finished our conversation that I was genuinely excited to be going and my initial thought (for once) wasn't 'how will I cope with everyone drinking' and now it's more I'm so glad I will be sober so that I can enjoy and remember the occasion.  Also, he doesn't drink much and neither do his parents so it won't be the booze-fest our reception was.  It will be a bit classy.  Yey - I can buy a gorgeous dress :)

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

I give up

So we still haven't found a house to buy and we also can't seem to find a house to rent... And now my husband and I are not talking because I lost the plot and yelled at him last night.  This is the last thing we need right now, and now I feel isolated and all alone in our house with the kids who are basically fighting all the time.  Just now I sat down and thought that I could, should just get a bottle of wine.  My usual thought of knowing where it will quickly lead (to me being drunk every day) is not enough of a deterrent which surprises me because it always has been.  So now I just think make it til 5pm and I'll walk out of the house as soon as my husband walks in.  I just need to make it to 5pm.  I used to say that but for wine.  But then I know that won't be a break, it'll just keep me trapped in the house anyway.  I wish I had someone to talk to.  I wish he knew the struggle I go through.  I wish he appreciated just how hard I work every day.  Not just on the house and raising the kids but on the sobriety.  It may look easy, but it's not.  And I'm doing awesome and it's unnoticed.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Waiting Waiting

So we're still (STILL!) in the process of this whole house-selling/ buying thing.  We've had our house on the market for what feels like forever, and we have sold.  We have made an offer on another house but there was already a conditional on it so they have 3 days to become unconditional.  Because everything was shut over Christmas, the 3 days started yesterday which means they have til the end of tomorrow to become unconditional or walk away.  This is the reader's digest version - the long story involves lots of frustration with the real estate agents who didn't bring our offer to the owners (long, long story).  We have been trying to make an offer since early December.  Anyway, I know it will be coming to a close tomorrow one way or another, but the stress is definitely getting to me.

Yesterday I went for a 3 hour walk with the kids, today we (thankfully) have a kid's bday party to go to.  I am trying to remain positive, and trying to think that I just want whatever is best for us to work out.. to rely on greater powers to have this conclude in the best way possible for our family... but it's really hard for me to just let go and not spend my day praying/ hoping/ willing things to turn out the way I want them to!  And during all this, I'm just emotionally exhausted.  Is that normal?  Like I am just so worn out.  I'm sure it doesn't help that we've just been on holiday and to quote Clare from Modern Family 'I'm a stay at home Mum, this isn't a holiday, it's a business trip'.  All Mum's know that holidaying with a 2 and 4 year old is just more work!  And now it's school holidays and my rugrats are insane so that keeps me busy.... but on top of that is the stress that we don't know where we'll be living on Feb 1st and we just really, really want this place.

Anyway, thought maybe typing would help a bit.  Not sure if I should hope for what I want, leave it to the universe or just sleep til the end of tomorrow (haha - I wish!!!).