Day 88

I’m still here and still sober but I haven’t really felt like blogging as much in the last couple of weeks. I’m on day 88 now and not drinking is becoming more normal and routine. Over the last 12 weeks I’ve spent almost as much time thinking about not drinking as I did thinking about drinking and I feel like I’m ready to move on to the next stage, whatever that is.

I still get those ‘Ooh, wine would fit nicely into this moment’ kind of thoughts but I’m now noticing they seem to be more a result of ingrained habitual thinking than a real desire. Those thoughts are fading in intensity and have less power over me. I’m recognising a subtle separation between that restless, uncomfortable ‘gap that needs filling’ feeling and its association with wine. It panics me less and I am able to think, ‘Yeah, yeah, mind the gap, it’ll pass’. When I’ve started to ‘play the movie’ in my head I’ve sometimes even noticed an aversion to the thought of drinking. Deep down I know that looking to alcohol in these moments is pointless and futile and will never solve anything.

I’m starting to recognise the difficult moments as an opportunity to be mindful and a chance to stand up and build something new and better rather than taking the old, familiar and ‘easier’ option. It’s really not easy. I feel like I’m climbing a mountain at the moment. I seem to frequently fall into a trough of TV or game bingeing, pizza and chocolate bingeing or just lethargy, flatness and laziness. I also somehow always seem to find a way to pull myself out of it. I’m hungry for knowledge and experimentation whether it’s in psychology, spirituality, nutrition or any form of behaviour change. Maybe I’m finally ready to make the climb, to do the work that I’ve spent most of my life avoiding? No matter how hard the climb feels at times I’ve come far enough and seen enough benefits to not want to get drunk and slide backwards down the mountain. I can feel a shift towards being motivated by positive and constructive desires to build and grow rather than shying away from negativity and fear.

Now I’m starting to be a bit less preoccupied with not drinking I’m moving back towards some other projects in my life. My artwork is always waiting for me. I’m back on the decluttering mission. I’m also starting a new writing project which I won’t detail here as it won’t be written anonymously. I know that none of this would get the chance to happen if I let alcohol back into my life at the moment. I don’t know what my longer term future relationship with alcohol will be but I know that it has no place in my life for the forseeable future.

I’m still reading other sober blogs every day even though I haven’t been writing. It has been very interesting to read about the experiences of people who have managed increasingly large chunks of sobriety and then returned to drinking for various reasons. Some of their relationships with alcohol seem to have changed for the better and I’m hoping for it to continue for them. I really do wish the best for them but I’m also aware (as I’m sure they are) that alcohol can be deceptive like that while it’s in the process of creeping back in.

I have noticed that people tend to back away from blogging once they reach a point where they are aware they don’t fit neatly into one of the many labels around alcoholism and addiction. I also know many people couldn’t continue to read if a blog described a return to a new relationship with alcohol. For some it would be dangerous and triggery, for others not so much. Like religion, this is one of those subjects that tends to forge extremely strong opinions and the potential for conflict with people holding opposing views. Myself, I can’t help but be curious about the grey areas while respecting, appreciating and learning from all the different points of view from this wonderful community. I would certainly continue to read and be open to a variety of possibilities for how this journey could ultimately unfold.

Maybe addiction isn’t a black and white matter after all and could be more of a spectrum, like autism? Is it possible that once one has repaired the ‘hole in the soul’ then a previously problematic substance or behaviour may end up being no more dangerous than a luxurious soak in the bath? Can we get to a stage where it’s just a non-issue, like me and the smoking that I quit 15 years ago? I don’t spend my life in fear of cigarettes and know it’s going to be zero effort to never smoke again. Will that / could that happen with alcohol?

I know this is trigger territory for many and I apologise if it’s hard to read but I have read so many different views and opinions on addiction that I don’t know what I really believe. I feel more able to ponder questions like this at the moment as I’m genuinely open and curious rather than just looking for a way to talk myself back into the bottle. For now I’ve made my peace with the perspective that I can choose alcohol or spiritual/life/health growth and remind myself of this with my new Spiritus Contra Spiritum bracelet 🙂

bracelet

Take care everybody, be well x

Day 73

I was so touched by the responses to my previous post. I’m really happy that there are so many people out there who can relate to what I was talking about with energy and spirituality. That side of me has been kept hidden away for so long I was so relieved to be able to write about it and have people respond so positively. Thank you all so much. I don’t feel so weird or so alone now 😀

It’s been a fairly uneventful week in a nice way. I’ve done some more fermenting and there are currently jars of ginger carrots and kimchi doing their thing on my kitchen worktop.

I found an awesome website called blinkist. It summarises a wide range of non-fiction books into ‘blinks’ that can be read in about 15 minutes. As I have a backlog of books to read on my shelves and my kindle I made a deal with myself and paid the £31 membership fee on the condition that I don’t buy any more books for a year. I can work my way through the ones I already have and the blinkist site will be a good way to introduce new subject areas in a manageble way, without having to chow through whole books. I tend to be so curious about so many subjects that the reading time I have doesn’t allow me to keep up with it all. Hopefully it’s a good plan.

I was hit with a sudden craving yesterday, the worst I’ve had for a few weeks. It was very hot and I felt tired and lazy and spent some time sitting in the garden and suddenly ‘Bam!’ from nowhere came the wine witch harping on about how nice a bottle of wine would be right now. I’m not even going to bother saying a glass because I know that’s bullshit. I actually thought about it slightly differently this time. I pictured myself going to the shops for wine and tried to think the hypothetical thoughts I would be having in that situation. The bottom line at the end of it was that I would still be uncertain that a whole bottle of wine would be enough which is of course a huge red flag, don’t go there, WTF?! kind of thought. I didn’t go there and I’m happy I didn’t.

Other than that it’s still going pretty well. I’m definitely finding it easier now I’m past 10 weeks. It actually seemed to pick up at 9 weeks. I’m also aware I haven’t had to deal with anything too challenging though. I’m happy being a stay-at-home introvert most of the time so haven’t really had to deal with drunk people socialising. My partner rarely drinks, I don’t think he’s had any for about a month now. There have been no major shocks, challenges or changes and I’ve cancelled all going away on holiday plans. I maybe should challenge myself a bit more but I figure by the time something comes along to really challenge me then at least I’ll be somewhere further along the path.

I’ve had 3 drinking related dreams in fairly quick succession. In the first one I drank wine and then woke up in horror thinking I’d blown it for a few moments before I realised it was a dream. In the second one I was asked what I was drinking in a restaurant. I ordered a red wine but then remembered I wasn’t drinking and quickly corrected it to a sparkling water. In the final one, I was bought a pint of lager but I gave it away and went to the bar myself and replaced it with an orange juice mixed with sparkling water. It’s a 2-1 win for the sober version of the drinking dream which I’ll take as a good sign.

I finally bought myself a sober treat that isn’t either food or no-alcohol drinks. I’m not much of a ‘things’ person (apart from books or art materials) so I haven’t really bothered before. After talking about so much spirituality in my previous post it has been on my mind ever since. It’s definitely one of my big motivations not to drink so I ordered an engraved leather bracelet with an inspirational quote on it. Spiritus Contra Spiritum. Alcohol works against spirituality. It feels appropriate. I’m waiting for it to be delivered from the Czech republic so I’m not sure how long it will take but I’ll post a picture when I do have it.

Right, I’ve got to get some sleep, I’m working the next few nights. Have a lovely sober weekend everybody. Hugs x

9 weeks – day 63

I’m well into new territory now as this is the longest I’ve gone without alcohol since I was a teenager. 9 whole weeks! I partly feel like it’s been ages and partly feel like it’s flown by.

I’m feeling strong and positive today. I got up early and went for a 45 minute fast walk to get sweaty, get my blood pumping and start the day. The weather looks pretty promising and I have the rest of the week off so that’s all good. I’ve got plenty of ideas and plans for my artwork, decluttering and fermenting for the next few days and I’m definitely appreciating having what feels like a lot of sober, productive time at the moment.

My sauerkraut experiment is now on day 5 and it’s starting to smell like proper sauerkraut and not just like somebody farted while attempting to do the cabbage soup diet. I have an organic cucumber and some carrots hanging about in the kitchen so I might have a go at combining those into some sort of fermentable creation later today. I can feel a new hobby coming on 😀

I did a lot of thinking during my walk, mainly about sobriety and spirituality. I’m feeling different somehow at the moment and I’m not quite sure how to explain it. I’m reconnecting to a feeling I remember having as a child. Whenever unpleasant shit would happen in my life (such as bullying, parental illness, family financial problems etc) I would feel small, scared, sad or whatever negative expression came about but there was always a small light tucked away deep inside me that would feel, or know, or have faith that in the bigger picture everything would somehow be alright in the end. I’ve carried the memory of that feeling with me my whole life but now I think I’m actually experiencing the feeling again which is huge.

I’m not religious and neither was my upbringing although I’ve always had some sense of there being something ‘higher’ but no clear concept of what it is exactly. As it’s not something I’ve ever really talked about I’ve never felt the need to define it. There is much talk about a higher power in 12 step information and I like the concept that the individual can choose what form it takes. I’ve meditated for over 20 years using a set of phrases that give praise, gratitude and love to a ‘higher’ concept of the individual’s choosing. I’ve also had some pretty powerful and inexplicable changes in consciousness, either spontaneously for unknown reasons, through drug taking or through meditation…

I have a vivid memory of slipping into a different state of consciousness when I was still a child young enough to be looking out through cot bars. I recognised this state as familiar when I experimented with hallucinogens as a teenager and once again recognised it during an extreme altered state that was brought about through meditation in my 30s. The common theme that binds all these moments was the experience of being able to really feel and even see energy. I saw everything as being composed of sparkling motes of energy. Woah! now I sound like I’ve been drinking the Kool Aid don’t I?! Or maybe it’s whatever is off-gassing from the sauerkraut?!

What I began to theorize during my walk is that alcohol has been drowning out the small fire deep inside me and also damping down my energy into a much lower state than a human is capable of. When I read all this back it sounds so Woo Woo and mystical but that’s not really where I’m coming from. I get pretty skeptical when I hear people getting excited about something like ‘the secret’ and use it to try to attract themselves a fat salary and a new sports car. I do however keep coming back to energy as some form of attracting/repelling/higher force as a key part of my thoughts today. Um, what am I trying to say here?… focus…

I believe that there are many ways we can move ourselves towards a positive, uplifted, courageous, open minded, open to change/challenge and dare I say it, higher energy state. The content of our thoughts, the ways we breathe and move – or don’t move, the people with which we surround ourselves, the quality of our food and drink! are just a few that come to mind. Alcohol is most definitely not a part of this list. That romanticised moment of glistening glass in the sparkly sunshine will whisper that it is a route to a higher state until we play the film to the end when we’re laid low and bottomed out and we’ve given away our potential energy to the wine witch and spend the next day begging to have some of it back.

By the time I’d finished my walk I’d come up with a new thought/life experiment for myself. I’m offering up my life and sobriety to my concept of a higher power. This isn’t a blind faith, washing my hands of all responsiblity, sit back and let the world give me what I think I deserve kind of thing – far from it. I’ve vowed to be mindful of my thoughts as much as possible, to express gratitude daily, to eat well, exercise, be creative and always look ahead for the next right thing to do and be prepared to work hard for it. When I disappear into future fear or negative thinking I’ll come back to the present and reconnect with that part of me that knows that whatever heaven or hell life throws my way there will always just be the next right thing to do and any worrying I do about the future now is pointless as the next right thing is always now and not then. Oh yeah, and I won’t drink.

Well, now I’m a bit scared of publishing this in case you all think I’m a total weirdo 😀 Maybe I need to also make a vow to stop worrying so much about what people think of me. Have a lovely sober day everybody and if anybody is low on energy today I’ll send you some of mine, I seem to have some to spare today. Hugs x

 

 

Day 58, matched my PB

This is as long as I managed early last year before I fell over on day 59. Tomorrow will be the longest I’ve been without alcohol in my adult life. It’s a personal best! It may not get me an olympic medal but I feel like I’m stepping up onto my own winner’s podium 😀

I’m starting to think a bit less about the whole not drinking thing. Moments of cravings still pop up out of the blue but when that’s not happening my mind is less preoccupied, unlike a short few weeks ago. A quoted line from a book that was reviewed in this blog post by Good Choices really resonated with me yesterday. ‘Drinking alcohol with your mind isn’t freedom’. It was reading this that prompted me to realise that my obsessive thinking is easing off somewhat. It’s not gone entirely, but it’s not at the forefront of my mind. It’s a relief.

I’ve just been for another round of blood tests this morning. I did go to my doctor’s about the dizziness and I was overdue on my annual thyroid check anyway. I had an absolute superstar phlebotomist who managed to get blood out on the first attempt – multiple attempts in each arm is not unheard of with me. As it was a fasting blood test and I have a different sleep pattern than most people it worked out that I hadn’t eaten or had any coffee for 15 hours. I was ravenous and had a mahoosive coffee withdrawal headache on the way to the hospital so I took a jammy scone and a flask of coffee in the car with me for afterwards.

The hospital is fairly close to a nice canal area so after troughing my scone in the car I took the coffee to the waterside. It was a nice change. I love water. I’d love to live by a big lake or the sea but that’s not realistic for now. The sun was surprisingly hot given it was still early morning and I got to chuckle at the hundreds of hopeful duck, swan and pigeon eyes trained on my carrier bag that they were sure must contain some bread. It’s a classic feed the ducks spot so it’s understandable.

I’ve been wanting to expand my cooking repertoire into fermented foods for some time now. This is the next thing that I’m going to experiment with in the spare time that is opened up by sobriety. Today I’m going to have a first attempt at making sauerkraut. It’s a strange concept really. Take some cabbage and salt, mush it all together, pack it in a jar and let it rot. I always wonder about the people that invented this sort of thing back in the day. I can do it with a degree of confidence because it’s an old tradition that’s been passed along the generations and the science of it is understood. Imagine being the first person to try it though without any of those reassurances.

That’s just reminded me of an interesting concept I heard during a recent podcast – I forgot which one though :/ Somebody was positing the theory that the genetic tendency to hedonic addiction which is a disadvantage in modern society was actually an advantage in our early ancestors. The modern day alcoholics and addicts would back then be the pioneers within a group of humans. We’d be the ones to walk further, hunt longer and fight harder for something that would bring pleasure or enhancement to their lives. It’s an interesting theory but I don’t know how much truth it holds. I like the idea of being a pioneer though. Moving into a life of sobriety certainly feels like being on a frontier at times 😀

Well, my fellow pioneering sober peeps, I’m going to shut up now and go do violent things to a cabbage. Have a lovely sober weekend all and extra hugs and strength to anybody struggling x

Day 52

I’m creeping up on my record of 58 days and feeling good about my chances of passing that this time round. I have had a few bursts of emptiness, restlessness and craving but I’ve been able to dismiss them reasonably quickly this week.

Yesterday I had a quintessential morning of relaxation and self care. I sat and meditated for almost an hour followed by an hour of yoga. After the yoga I crashed out on the mat and meditated some more to a recording of sea and river sounds. I had started with woodland sounds but my cat was freaking out looking round the bedroom for where the birds were at so I switched it. I finished off with a long soak in the bath with a novel. Lovely! I felt amazing afterwards, I really should make an effort to do all that regularly. Even a 10 minute meditation session daily makes a difference.

I’m not feeling physically great today though, I have a sore throat and feel like I’m coming down with a cold. I have a lot of fatigue, shortness of breath and muscle weakness with some recently added dizziness for good measure. My lower legs are also going randomly numb or tingly. I don’t know if this is some long drawn out withdrawal thing or just my untreated thyroid being cranky. I should go back to my GP but I don’t hold much hope of getting any help if past visits are anything to go by. Although I’m happy with my downsizing choices in life, the only time I regret turning away from a high income is when I’m dealing with health stuff – I wish I still had the money to get private help. Hey ho…

I seriously think I need to quit coffee because I keep having a horrible feeling as if I’ve drunk too much of it, even when I haven’t had that much. It’s as close to anxiety as I’ve been for many years and I really don’t want to go back there. I keep saying I’ll quit, but I go into an addictive loop of thoughts and behaviour which are so similar to the ones I have around alcohol. Cross addiction? Yes, I think so! I’m using it to alter my state of mind, for which it’s pretty effective but I’m definitely suffering adverse effect from it, which are crap, but don’t stop me from doing it all over again the next day. Sound familiar? 😉

Well, that turned into a bit of a whinge-fest. Please come back pink clound and rescue the world from my grumpiness. It’s really not all bad. I’ve done lots of reading, sleeping, listening to podcasts, artwork, decluttering, soap making, sitting in the garden and other such happy, constructive things. I’ll end on that more positive note.

Hugs to anybody who’s struggling. Have a lovely sober weekend folks x

 

Day 44 – feeling a bit wobbly

I’m having pointless ‘romancing the drink’ feelings today. There’s no obvious reason for it, I’m not stressed about anything obvious. I’m a bit bored and restless but nothing extreme. I’m imagining sitting in the garden with a bottle of wine ‘just because’. I’m not going to do it. It’ll pass.

Wednesday was quite stressful. I took my cat to the vets for her annual booster jabs and check up. She was not impressed. I was stressed trying to get her into the carry basket. Anybody that has had a cat knows that they can transform themselves from sleek and streamlined into the most awkward, unmanageable shape in the universe if they decide they don’t want to be stuffed into that box. I hated the stroppy squawk she gave when I finally forced her in there – the feline equivalent of shouting ‘BITCH!’ I imagine.

My partner drove while I held the basket on my lap and my heart sank watching her panicked face and I tried to soothe her as she cried and yowled all the way there. Her ears were flat back as she was pricked, prodded and poked and had a worming tablet shoved down her throat. Then the vet informed us she’d put on too much weight and I lapsed into a sanctimonious cow moment and told my partner off there and then, in front of the vet.

We’ve been arguing for months about him being too soft and giving her too many treat biscuits as well as her regular food. I’ve been trying to set boundaries and routines but each time my back was turned he’d be giving her handfuls of treats. I’ve asked him over and over again to back off the treats but it’s fallen on deaf ears. The vet warned us we were signing her up for diabetes if we carried on. I feel bad that I let my frustration and stress spill out on the spot instead of waiting until we were in private but I also know that the vet’s warnings have done the trick. He’s respecting boundaries now.

The cat isn’t impressed. She’s manipulated him into a ‘treats on demand’ scenario and is completely addicted to them. Yesterday was the first day of her new strict routine and she was a maniac. My day started at 3am when she stuck her claws into the arch of my foot (there are a million more pleasant ways to wake up than that). It was poking out at the bottom of the bed and she upped the ante from using the frame as a scratching post. Then she ran rampage making lots of noise and starting paddling against an ajar cupboard door on the landing. Thud, bang, clunk, clunk – it’s not the best noise to be making at that time in a terraced house. I eventually got up because it was obvious I wasn’t getting back to sleep. She’s generally a good cat so I figured something was up with her.

I went downstairs and after watching her for a few of moments it became obvious she was in some sort of treat addiction withdrawal. She was jumping up into her usual treat spot, staring across the room where the treats are stored, squirming her back up to look cuter and every trick in the book she knows. I made a pot of coffee for myself and then finally gave her a new smaller portion of treats which she ate with a desperate speed and kept trying to get me to give her more. I cuddled and stroked her instead and talked her down. I told her I knew she was breaking a habit and it was hard but she’d adapt – it would pass. Then I laughed at myself because I was actually being my cat’s addiction counsellor. WTF?! 😀 She’s much more settled today fortunately.

I wish I was more settled. I’ve been eating crap and drinking too much coffee. I have done some constructive stuff but I’ve now got a serious case of the can’t be bothered feeling. I might have to write off the rest of today with some gaming or netflix. I’d rather do that than drink. That mythical ‘magical’ drinking moment in the sun wouldn’t happen. I’d overshoot that by miles, cane the whole bottle, and some, and end up feeling shit. I’d also restart the obsessive thinking loops and go back to square one.

It’s just not worth it. I’ll keep telling myself that. IT’S NOT WORTH IT!

I hope you’re all having a better day x

 

Day 38, still sober

I haven’t had time to write anything over the last week but I’m still sober and doing OK. It’s been an odd week and my moods have been up and down like a rollercoaster though I’ve had no major cravings which is a good sign.

Yesterday I was floating on the most ridiculous pink cloud. I sat in the garden with my kindle, a notebook and my cat. It is exceptionally hot here by UK standards so I felt like I was on holiday somewhere rather than by my kitchen door. My mood was euphoric, almost as good as a peak experience. My life and the future felt full of magic and potential and I felt like everything is going to be OK, whatever sober life brings. I wanted to scoop y’all up for a big picnic on that huge pink cloud with me 😀

Today is not so good. It’s not baaaad, bad but I just feel like I can’t be bothered to do anything. I’ve also got a niggly headache which is probably the usual coffee/dehydration seesaw I ride, exacerbated by the high temperatures.

I had a slight wobble tonight. Today’s can’t be bothered mood meant I avoided going out to do some bits of grocery shopping that I needed before I disappear into my run of night shifts. I realised I was going to have to do it tomorrow and I detest busy Saturday supermarkets so I decided to get in my car and drive to the 24 hour one and get it over with tonight. Driving there around midnight is usually something I only do when I’ve tried not to drink, failed and thought ‘fuck it!’ and gone there for wine. Even though the wine thoughts were not what took me there this time there’s obviously a whole set of associations worn into a groove in my brain that set off a whole load of other associations with relapse and drinking thinking.

It felt odd and slightly disturbing but there was honestly no real danger I was going to crumble and buy some wine. It was just some habitual thoughts chattering away unconvincingly.

I also talked to my partner this week and told him I’d be happy to skip going away on holiday this summer. I’m feeling fairly strong at home but I don’t want to fall over while I’m away again. If we went away when we’d planned to I would be at the same stage I was at when I started drinking again in Venice last year. I was totally honest with him about the reason I wasn’t keen to go and he was fine with it. We’ve decided to put the money we would have spent towards a much-needed new bathroom and I get to wait until much farther along before I have to face my first sober holiday. It’s all good.

I think that’s about it for now. I’m tired but I need to stay awake for another 5 hours or I’ll mess up my sleep pattern for work. I think I’ll go shoot some stuff on the xbox, that’ll get me hyper enought to last until morning. Have a happy, sober weekend everybody x

One month

I now have a full calendar month of sobriety. I think I’ve only got this far once before but I’m not 100% sure, I’ve lost track there have been so many attempts.

I had an interesting encounter in a supermarket earlier. The man in front of me was waxing lyrical about Bacardi being on a BOGOF offer and was encouraging me to stock up. I smiled politely and said ‘I don’t drink.’ Three little words. One huge statement. They came out fairly naturally and didn’t feel forced. It did make me feel slightly odd after saying it, as if I was trying on a new reality and checking it out in the mirror. The mirror also provided an interesting reflection. The guy quickly felt the need to justify himself. ‘Oh I don’t drink much either, I’m stocking up for a birthday party.’ I hope it was the truth.

I was feeling good about the encounter during my walk home but then I noticed a familiar bright-light blind-spot in my vision. I was developing a visual migraine, which quickly rained on my one-woman victory parade. I made it home and got the necessary stuff into the fridge, took some paracetamol and went to sleep it off. They usually last less than an hour and mercifully don’t come with a classic migraine-strength headache. I’ve snoozed for a few hours and feel fine now. I’m also able to stay up all night which puts me back on the right sleeping schedule for my return to work tomorrow night.

Being sober is currently a mixture of 95% feeling positive and enthusiastic about it and 5% that dreadful skin-clawing need to alter my state of mind. I’m getting longer stretches between cravings but when they do come they are pretty heavy. I’ve been experimenting with more natural and helpful ways of altering my consciousness.

A craving hit and I paced around a bit then made myself sit and meditate. The first twenty minutes was a monkey-mind chaos session. ‘It’s not working’, ‘Fuck I want some wine’, ‘Aaarrghhhh!’, ‘Why am I like this?!’ etc, etc… Then I felt it, the lovely receding, quieting feeling when my mind finally settled. I sat for another peaceful ten minutes and came out of the session feeling much better.

I’ve also done lots of drawing during my week off. I spent hours doing an intricate drawing of a flowering shrub in my back garden. That sort of intense-observation drawing changes your consciousness dramatically. Your vision focuses in and the background recedes, colours seem brighter, objects cease to go by their given names and become shapes, colours and negative spaces. It’s very powerful. I was once painting at my desk and a pigeon flew past the window just as a loud motorbike went up the road outside. For about ten seconds my mind totally accepted the fact that the pigeon was revving its ass off until normal consciousness stepped in to make me laugh at that bit of ridiculousness.

I’ve also been paying attention to my addicted bargaining mind. ‘I’m not really that bad am I?’, ‘Could I give up coffee and drink wine again?’ and other such thoughts. They are still there, churning away but they seem to be a bit weaker, as if I’m hearing them from farther away now. I hope they keep on moving away and getting quieter.

Yet again I’m saddened by the news headlines. There’s so much fear, pain and hate causing more fear, pain and hate. It seems to be a cycle that’s so hard to break, like a bigger worldwide version of the drinking one. I wonder if we, as human beings will ever manage it? I really hope so but I really don’t know how. My thoughts are with the victims and their families.

As another weekend approaches I wish you all a happy, peaceful and sober one. Hugs for anybody who’s struggling. Take care and be well x

An interesting week

So I’m on day 10 and feeling pretty good at the moment. It’s been an interesting week with lots happening.

I discovered that the intense gut pain I’ve been getting is being triggered by chocolate. Booooo! Not impressed by that. Milk chocolate is definitely setting it off, I’ve just eaten some very dark chocolate and I’m hoping that’s not going to have me getting the pain killers out soon, fingers crossed.

If I have to close the door on chocolate I have however, opened a new door on plantains. I’ve been meaning to try them for a while and I’m so glad I did. I’ve blended one with eggs to make grain-free pancakes and I’ve sliced and fried some with bacon and ghee. It’s great! I stay full for hours after a plantain breakfast and it’s always good to find another option for gluten-free carbs.

I’ve really kick started the process of clearing out my house and minimising my possessions. I’m on a bit of a minimalist trip at the moment which has been coming for years. I’ve felt dragged down by too much ‘stuff’ for ages and I’ve finally reached the point where I’m doing something about it. I’ve got a ton of listings on ebay but I don’t really like what’s happened to ebay in recent years. It’s now set up so that sellers have very little protection and buyers can really take the piss and commit fraud in so many ways. Don’t even get me started on the people that win your auctions and then just disappear without paying. Grrrr. Still, it’s clearing space in my home (and therefore my psyche) and I’m getting some half-decent cash for stuff so it’s win, win in many ways.

Yesterday was a bit of a smack round the head here in the UK. As you’ve no doubt heard by now the UK voted to leave the EU. As one of the 48% who voted to stay in the EU I’m now stunned and pissed off and getting involuntarily dragged onto the economic rollercoaster ride that’s been triggered by the referendum result. What very modest investments I have are tracking the FTSE 100 so have therefore taken it ‘where the sun don’t shine’ for the last couple of days – scuse my pissed off phrasing. I don’t know if my comfortably affordable mortgage is going to shoot up, my taxes shoot up or what?! What really gets my goat is we’ve now got people in the news saying they regret voting out, that they didn’t really think we’d leave, that their vote would really count. Seriously?! I had more logical reasoning and awareness when I was pissed as a fart. It was a referendum run on lies, manipulation and playing on people’s fear and intolerance. Ugh. Anyway, end of political rant. I’m just going to have to take what comes and deal with it in the moment, which is all we can do in life generally really.

I feel better for venting that!  I’m working the next 4 nights so probably won’t get round to writing much. Have a lovely sober weekend everybody, sending strength and hugs to anybody struggling XO

Day 27 almost 4 weeks

I was going to write something to mark 3 weeks but I was busy working and didn’t get round to it. Then when I wasn’t busy working I was busy playing Xbox and still didn’t get round to it. I gave myself a few of those lazy ‘All that matters is that you don’t drink’ kind of days and thoroughly enjoyed being unproductive.

It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster ride again this last week or so. After the high of pushing myself out into the world to go to the buddhist centre I came crashing down to find out that the place I chose could be a bit dodgy. It is a splinter group of buddhism that have issues and have even been accused of being an exploitative cult by some ex ‘members’. They only study from the books written by their founder and have brought faith into it – faith in the teacher – which is the biggest red flag for me. I have no issue with faith-based practises but faith has no place in buddhism. I’ve found another centre, it’s further away but I’m going to try to get to that one instead.

I was shocked by the deep low that this discovery triggered in me. I was so depressed that I’d got it ‘wrong’ and so many old feelings of failure / fear of failure came flooding out. I slumped for most of the next day but did finally come round to thinking more logically about it. I reasoned out that it was mainly a quirk of geography (they run all the nearest buddhist classes to my town). I hadn’t heard of them before but I’d made the assumption that they would hold the buddha’s core teachings at the centre of their tradition as do all the others. I think it was a reasonable assumption.

I observed how I was judging and blaming myself and where my control freak tendencies were affecting me. As I felt all the uncomfortable feelings and thought it through I managed to learn a lot about myself and turn it around into a positive learning experience. Far more life-enhancing than drinking 😀

I’ve also had inexplicable high mood swings too. Sudden waves of feeling great have swept me away for no reason. The other morning I was making a cup of tea when I got back from work and I found myself jiggling around and singing in the kitchen and laughing at the WTF?! look on my cat’s face.

I’ve lost about 5lbs in weight. Not drinking (poison) and not eating sugary crap (more poison) seems to be meshing together well at the moment as the lack of the first is not leading to the latter. If I fancy something sweet I have a bit of 85% dark chocolate or some manuka honey stirred into natural yoghurt. My body seems to be saying ‘Yayy! thank you for not poisoning me hon! You rock and you deserve to feel great!’. The last thing I want to do is sound judgemental by calling sugar a poison. I know it has its place for many in early sobriety but I’m trying hard to rescue my dreadful health by going the whole healthy hog and so am reframing it in my mind in this way.

I bought a Nutri Ninja blender which I already love. I’ve fancied a high-powered blender for a few years but could never justify the hundreds of pounds they have cost. This was reduced to clear at the shop I work for and with my staff discount I got one for £54 – bargain! I’m trying a different smoothie variation each day and it’s such an easy way to pack in a load more fruit and veg each day.

Well, that ended up being a bit long and rambling so I’ll shut up now. If you made it this far then thank you, and have a lovely, sober day wherever you are X 🙂