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