Approaching six months

I’m still doing ok here as I approach the six months mark although I had the most intense craving I’ve had for a while pop up last week after a stressful visit to the vet. My usually mellow cat turns into a yowling four-legged freak-out on vet day so it’s hard work. While we were in the waiting room a tiny, cute puppy went in to have a microchip fitted and its screeching yelps of pain could probably have been heard from the car park. The poor thing was shaking like a leaf when it came out. Distressed animals stress me out too. In the car on the way home I said to my partner, ‘I could really handle a glass (bottle) of wine right now.’ He looked shocked and told me not to say that. I wasn’t going to do it, I knew that, but it’s obviously still an association I haven’t broken.

I’ve been thinking a lot about work matters recently. I’m still experimenting with my commercially-aimed illustration work but I’m beginning to suspect that making a success of that still won’t provide enough meaning, purpose and fulfilment in the long term. Earning an income that way would of course be an improvement on my current job. I could work from home, do fun, creative stuff, not commute, not have to be polite to customers who are being assholes etc. It’s still a goal but I also have some other ideas about what that could be combined with in the future…

I’ve been considering training as a counsellor for a while now. I keep looking at the courses, pondering and then filing it away in the back of my mind. It’s a long process which would take a few years and a few thousand pounds but I’m fortunate that I could afford to pay for it slowly over that time. It’s general counsellor training but there would be an option to specialise in addiction counselling later on. Maybe if that were combined with qualifications in mindfulness-based stress reduction, CBT and other such things I could become somebody who helps people to find their way out of addiction? It’s an exciting thought, scary too. I can see meaning and purpose down that route but I don’t know if I’m the right person to be doing it.

A few weeks ago I wrote that poem called ‘Why not today?’ Maybe it’s time to stop putting this on the back burner? I’m going to fill in the college application form this week and get the process started. The course doesn’t start until January 2018 when I will hopefully be hitting one year sober. I love the thought of studying again too. I loved my student days the first time round and I loved the atmosphere back when I did some tertiary college lecturing too. Yayy!! It’s exciting 🙂

I worked last night so now I’m nicely tired and ready for bed soon. Sober hugs and strength to all 🙂 x

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140 days – mixed times

It’s been a fairly mixed couple of weeks since I last posted. My health scare turned out ok – not entirely good, but nothing too serious. There’s nothing like it for getting your healthy motivation on though. I ate really well and did anything else I could think of to be good to my body. Since getting my test results that has slacked off somewhat. Isn’t that so often the way it goes?

I did have a week off coffee and sugar and felt a lot better for it. I’m plagued by the daily dragging fatigue that Hashimoto’s brings. Without these two things in my diet the fatigue definitely eases a bit and becomes less hard-edged. You know the classic scene in a zombie movie where the new zombie sits up in its grave, jaw dropping and looking oddly surprised that it’s upright and alive? That should give you a good impression of what I usually feel like waking up. During that week I actually felt something close to a normal (?) sort of waking up sleepiness. The coffee and sweeties have both crept back in but the experiment has given me something to think about.

I also hit another happy milestone since my last post – I lost a stone (14lbs/6.35kg). Not in two weeks obviously but it’s been creeping off slowly over the last few months – and creeping back on, and off again and round in a few circles, as it does. My super healthy living around my health scare seems to have kick started it again. A couple of pounds have crept back on but I’m still in a much better place than I have been for years. I feel sluggish and rubbish after eating lots of junk for the last 3 days, it’s time to eat clean again and feel better. I don’t want to backslide all the way back up the scale again, or feel like an overfed sugar-crashing slug.

Being sober is becoming normalised now and something I’m not thinking about so much. My thinking about not drinking has lessened and doesn’t take up such a large percentage of my days now. Some days I don’t even think about it at all. Many days I’m not sure what my day count is. I have had a few moments where I can clearly identify what I would previously have called a craving and set off down the path of drinking thoughts. Now I realise that I’m feeling a bit ‘off’ somehow – bored, restless, anxious, unfocussed, cranky, fearful etc but my brain is becoming less likely to skip straight to the ‘DRINK!’ to make it ok phase and instead stays longer with the uncomfortable feelings. This means I’m feeling a fair bit of discomfort at the moment but I wouldn’t swap it for where I started from.

I miss my pink cloud days but I do appreciate that what I’m feeling is real. Life feels dull, ploddy, scattered and uninspired at times but I can accept that because that’s just the way life works, and I know that at other times it can also feel wonderful.

Wishing you all a lovely weekend x

 

Meh! :-/

After sounding something like Mary Poppins on a pink cloud for my last few posts I’m back down to earth with a bump and a proper cranky, craving day today. The UK is just going into the easter long bank holiday weekend which is traditionally an excuse for unbridled drinking. I made a quick shopping run early today, before it got too busy and spotted hefty amounts of wine and beer being piled into trolleys. I felt left out and socially isolated. It triggered me a bit.

I’m experiencing a crappy combination of low-level boredom, loneliness, uncertainty and flatness in my personal life and some pain/health anxiety. There’s a part of me rebelling against sobriety today and romancing and reliving wilder days gone by. The sort of lost days that involved pubs, pool tables, pints and drunken antics with inappropriate men. That part of me is in the sort of dark and frustrated mood where it would just be safer for everybody if she were handcuffed to the sofa.

I’m not disowning her, she’s a part of me. I’m visualising her with a compassionate attitude. I spontaneously used an NLP technique that I heard on a podcast this week. I visualised the cranky part of me getting smaller and moving away from me, while toning down all the colour. If there’s something you want to welcome into your life you do the opposite and picture it large, close and brightly coloured.

I’m not going to drink today. The worst of it has already passed. If I drank today, the reality would in no way match the fantasy. There would be no exciting, dynamic party happening, there would just be me getting sloppy and fucked up on the sofa alone. There would then be me feeling physically dreadful, hung over, ashamed and defeated. Nah, balls to that idea 😀

I’ve cooked some nice meals for the weekend, done some laundry, checked in here – the simple self-caring stuff that sobriety rests upon. I know I’m not going to get anything particularly constructive done in this mood so I’m giving myself a free pass for a sofa and Xbox session. I’ve treated myself to some yummy gluten-free cookies and some posh raspberry cordial too.

Happy easter to those who celebrate and here’s hoping you all have a peaceful, sober weekend 🙂

 

 

Tired, wired and craving

It appears that the craving shit has hit the fan today 😦

I’ve been digitising my old photos and memorabilia as part of a de-cluttering drive. Other than photos of a younger me at home with family almost every other photo I’ve scanned has shown me in raucous drinking scenarios. While it’s been lovely to look back and reminisce there has obviously been an underlying whiff of ‘drinking was sooo much fun wasn’t it?’

I’m also at my danger point of 2-3 weeks – day 16. This is the point in so many previous attempts that I’ve slunk off to the shop and bought a bottle of wine. The fact that there are 5 shops that sell alcohol within a 3 minute walk of my house doesn’t help.

Instead, I grabbed my partner and walked into town for a coffee and we picked up some bits from the supermarket. To head off my cravings I had a piece of cheesecake after not eating any refined sugar for over 2 weeks. I was surprised to find that a moderate portion was almost too much to finish but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Unfortunately the combination of craving, too much coffee and a sugar rush has left me uncomfortably restless and wired. I’ve been pacing round the house unable to decide what to do with myself. That doesn’t happen to me very often; I don’t generally do boredom. It’s making me even more cranky. It’s also exactly the kind of feeling that screams, ‘Douse me with wine, NOW!’

Some of the photos that I scanned were of my mum and it’s mother’s day in the UK. Yesterday I was going through old letters and I found the final letter she sent me before she died which triggered a bit of a cry. I guess I’ve also got some sadness thrown into the mix today.

Aarghhh! I know it will pass; things always, always pass whether we want them to or not. I already feel a bit better after writing this. I think I’ll make a big cup of tea and go play some xbox. I don’t often have just lazy unproductive time at the moment. I’m getting lots of stuff done now I’ve cut booze out but I think I need to balance that with some down time as self care today.

There was one positive thing that happened earlier. I told my partner that I was craving wine and he pointed out that he’s noticed I’m a lot happier and in a better mood when I don’t drink. It’s easy to waver in our own perception of this when we’re being influenced by the craving voices. It’s very helpful to have somebody else confirm it from an external point of view.

Enjoy your Sunday x

8 days in and doing OK

Not terrible, not great but OK – which is OK for now.

It’s been an eventful week with a real mixture of experiences and feelings. I went out bowling with some people from work and didn’t drink which was surprisingly enjoyable. I find it hard to do general chat with people I don’t really know and usually hide behind a few drinks. Doing it sober was easier because my head wasn’t totally fuddled and I could think straight and talk sense. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not actually any easier to do drunk – I think I just talk more crap and tell myself I’ve done OK with it.

What I did find interesting was nobody really noticed or commented on me not drinking. I drank pints of soda and lime and in the dim lighting they may have looked like pints of lager. When we left, people were asking myself and my partner how we were getting home. When I told them I was driving they finally realised I hadn’t been drinking.

Yesterday was a nice sunny day where I am and I went to sit in the garden with the cat. I’ve realised this is a big trigger for me, it’s what set me off 9 days ago. I was thinking ‘Ooh, wouldn’t it be nice to have a glass of wine in the sun and read my book?’ The drinking part of my mind has a very short memory. That’s exactly how it started last time. I drank the bottle, went to my local shop and bought another bottle and some chippy chips. I stuffed myself with chips, drank half of the 2nd bottle, crashed out on the sofa, woke up in the early hours with a sinking heart and a banging head and proceeded to drink what was left. This is the sorry scenario I played out in my mind yesterday to answer that nagging craving voice.

I felt restless, flat, bored and had craving after craving all day and evening. I have so little motivation to do anything at the moment. The house is a mess. I’ve done almost no artwork. I’ve slept huge amounts and binge-watched netflix. I’ve eaten crap food and not really cooked much. An extremely slobby unproductive week all in all – but at least I didn’t drink! I did manage to do a trip to the supermarket yesterday for groceries and just ignore the wine section although I really, really, REALLY wanted a drink. That felt like a real achievement.

I’ve identified a Tuesday meditation class and a Thursday SMART meeting and my next goals are to start attending these. As a person who considers two ‘social/out of the home’ events a month to be plenty to suddenly go to things twice a week will be a big leap. Although I really enjoy and need time alone as a ‘creative introvert’ type it has gone too far in the last few years. I’m tending to isolate and lose the momentum to face my fears/intertia and go out and meet new people.

I feel like I need to meet people that understand where I’m at and what I’m feeling. My few old friends and partner are lovely people but none of them seem to understand or believe how deep my problems run. My wolfie voice is saying ‘See! You’re really not that bad! Everybody says so.’ but it’s time to stop listening to that and acknowledge that I’ve had about 27 years to get really good at hiding aspects of my drinking.

That’s all for now. Strength and hugs to anybody who’s struggling and a happy sober weekend to all X