12 weeks

It’s hard to believe that 12 weeks have passed by since that dark day when I cried ‘enough!’ I’m still feeling generally good about being sober. I can’t say for certain I’m headed for long-term success (can we ever?) but my mind feels more resolute than it ever has on previous attempts.

I think a new SMART recovery meeting has started in my town and I’m considering going. I’ve search for meeting options many times before but have never found anything that would fit around my strange working hours or that wasn’t too close to where I work. I don’t know why I searched again last week but I did and up popped a new, suitable option. I still have a strong aversion to walking into that sort of situation but I know that I need to stray from my comfort zone to bring growth into my sober life.

Let me tell you a story about a time I tried to do this sort of thing before. It’s kind of funny (in hindsight) but will also give you an idea of why I am a bit paranoid about going to meetings around any touchy or taboo subjects.

A few years ago, after splitting up with my ex I did one of my rare ‘bite the bullet’ experiments and went to a social gathering for people who are inclined towards the ’50 shades’ end of the sexual spectrum. It was in the next town, where I didn’t know anybody. It was in an out of the way pub that I’d never been to and never would go to again if necessary. I was terrified but I figured it would be an experiment that never had to be repeated if anything went badly. I didn’t have to give anybody my real name, or tell them anything about my life. I would basically be anonymous.

I drove to the pub, sat outside in my car feeling so nervous I almost threw up. I almost drove away again but gritted my teeth and forced myself to go in. They met under the guise of being a photography club. It was all ‘undercover’, normal clothing, no rubber, whips or chains to be seen. I shakingly grabbed a drink (non-alcoholic) at the bar, took a deep breath and walked into the area at the back of the pub reserved for their meeting.

Walking into this kind of situation is my idea of living hell. I nervously scanned the 15 or so people already sitting and chatting. I felt like a rabbit in headlights while I tried to find a friendly face and work out where to sit. And then, to my utter disbelieving horror, I made eye contact with…

… my next door neighbour. WTF!? Awkward!

It actually turned out fine. I ended up chatting with him and his new partner. He’d recently separated from his wife and moved out from the family home next door. It had been a long time coming, they’d stayed together for the kids until they couldn’t do it any longer. He showed me some beautiful, professionally shot photos of his partner squatting on his chest wearing stiletto heels. She was tiny but it still looked scarily like a recipe for a punctured lung.

They gave me their number, inviting me to go with them to any club events realising that it would be extremely intimidating for me to go alone. I really appreciated them reaching out to support me like that but a combination of me being socially reclusive and meeting my partner a couple of weeks later meant I never took them up on it or explored any further.

It’s not really surprising that I’m touchy about sensitive meetings after that 😀 I have visions of walking in and finding a neighbour or somebody from work sitting there. I suppose if I did then they would be in the same situation and would most likely be discreet and supportive but I’m still paranoid about it. I’m not ashamed of my substance abuse problems it’s more that I am extremely introverted and do not want to be forced into difficult conversations about it. I am open about it with people that I choose but definitely not with anybody else.

I’m really going to try to go to SMART next Friday though. I know I need to add some extra support, try everything possible to strengthen my recovery efforts. It’s a week away and I already feel nervous though…

It’s almost 5am and I’m sitting up in bed writing this. I love being awake when most other people are asleep. I love the peace and stillness. My cat is fast asleep, dream twitching against my leg. I have a good book waiting for me when I finish writing, or maybe I’ll meditate for a while. I’m grateful for this simple, sober moment.

Have a good weekend everybody, whatever you’re up to. Sending supportive vibes to anybody who’s struggling at the moment 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