40 days and 40 nights

Well, I haven’t had the 40th night yet but close enough 😉

It’s been a strange few days. After a few relatively easy weeks of sobriety I’ve had some sudden stabs of craving this last few days. Being sober feels much harder at the moment.

On Sunday I met up with some friends in a pretty market town. We went for coffee, a walk, a snacky picnic and then spent a few hours in a pub having drinks and a meal. I drank pints of soda and lime and thoroughly enjoyed myself with no cravings. I was driving so I suppose the possibility of drinking wasn’t there at all but even so, I didn’t feel like I was missing out.

The following afternoon I went for a meal with my partner at a bar/restaurant. I drank soda and lime again but as we were waiting in the bar area for a table to be free I was hit out of the blue, like a slap in the face, by an intense wine craving. He was driving, maybe that was the difference? The option was there and my wine-brain damn well knew it. I rode it out and fortunately it passed. We had a lovely meal and then pottered into town to do some shopping. Later on when I got home I ended up doing a bit of house cleaning before settling down to an evening netflix session.

If I’d had a ‘glass’ of wine the day would have gone so differently. The shopping (beyond buying wine) and coffee in town would be rushed, my thoughts constantly drifting to when I could drink more. No way would the cleaning have happened and I’d be quickly drunk in front of the telly. Slouched on the sofa I’d probably fall asleep when the bottle finished and I certainly wouldn’t have been focusing on the series I was watching. Then the hangover would set in, along with the disappointment, guilt and depression. Ugghh, no thanks!

Now I’m past the initial novelty stage of the first month I’m finding that more difficult thoughts and issues are popping up to challenge me. Things that I would usually camouflage with wine are prodding me and making me wonder what I’m going to do to tackle them – other than drink that is.

Two recurring themes keep popping up. The first is feeling isolated and that I don’t fit in anywhere – I haven’t found my place or my people. The second is feeling a lack of meaning, motivation and purpose in life. The former has been a life-long feeling so is nothing new. The latter has been creeping up over time, since I quit my career over a decade ago and since I let go of many classic markers of purpose and success such as job title, salary and outward posessions. Now I’m not drinking away the discomfort it’s creeping up a bit faster.

I need to keep busy and try some of the new ideas that I have. I might make some soap today, or mount and frame the print that’s been waiting for over a year. Maybe I’ll do some extra special cooking or a bit more spring cleaning. I’m definitely not a type A high-stress kind of personality that struggles to slow down. I have the opposite problem – I’m so laid-back and spaced out that I need to speed up and show up to get shit done. My life needs a rocket up its ass!.. or something… anything but that slow slump back down into meaningless drunken lethargy and procrastination.

It’s sunny here, one of the first days it’s warm enough to sit out in the garden which is one of my big triggers… I’m struggling today with the familiar psychological tug-of-war, but it’ll pass. It always passes and I need to remember that – it’s my mindfulness mantra for today…