Friday, 26 June 2015

When did the world get full of booze?

Great quote and a good link to more recovery stuff here.
I don't know about you, but when I'm doing something whether its parenting, walking, being pregnant, buying hats, I notice how many of these similar creatures/habits there are in the world. Maybe its that it gets in our brain? A predisposition to notice the things we're deeply thinking about on one level or another.

So, a decent enough week. There I said it, HA! A decent enough week with no booze. Who'd have thought that I'd confess that. OK, so its been busy but I've ramped a lot of 'doesn't need doing' right back. We have also talked about hiring a cleaner because lets face it, even faced with rain, I was out digging my garden rather than hoover yesterday. So things are settling a bit.

I read this and it made some sense/;

The message is: believe that you can, before believing that you can’t and you may find yourself farther along on your way toward the life you want to lead, rather than someone who focuses on the obstacles, justifying to themselves why they cannot do certain things. Link on the van above.
At our SMART meeting this week, there was a bit of chat about the fact that other drugs aren't on the shelves of the supermarket or featured to heavily in everyday 'normal' life the way booze was. Its everywhere that booze baddie.

I went to a cafe (sober treat) whilst waiting for my son doing his driving theory test a day or so ago and in this quirky little cafe I counted 4 different everyday items (some cakes) and oddly enough a sandwich with booze. It was a BLT, which they'd renamed a BMBLT (Bloody Mary Bacon Lettuce Tomato). I had to read it a few times, seems they roast the tomatoes after they douse them in vodka. OK so this might be a bit of a 'cheffy' thing to do, but really wouldn't olive oil impart a nice flavour too?

So, two vodka baked tomatoes aren't going to throw me off kilter but my point is really that booze shouldn't really be in my sandwich, nor my cake, nor my cheesecake thank you. I had the pate instead and delish it was. Even my local fish and chip shop has wine/beer in the fridge next to the salt and sauce. Seriously, its a chippy, a very nice chippy with sit down tables if you like, but its a chippy, what's with the Pinot? Before I would have lapped with us, literally. Look its OK to have wine with my chips, I mean, they sell it!! Now I just think its sad and sometimes a bit triggery.

Watching TV is a minefield, its all booze on the soaps and a lot of booze in mainstream TV. I mean Penny in Big Bang, whilst I use to love to watch her drinking wine from a gravy boat and think HA I'm not that bad, looking at it now I see one lady with a lot of booze and her friends around her trying to sometimes fit in with her 'normal'. She's a drinker that's for sure.

We eat out a lot in our house, that 'one' glass before dinner is often my downfall and it was on my birthday (THANK YOU WOLFIE YOU B*****RD). The first thing I do now is scan a menu for alcohol free versions or mocktails, nice juices and drinks. I'm often quite disappointed to see limited or no choices. A few places are starting to advertise the fact that with the change in our law they offer alternative drinks, which is heartening.

Whilst I use to immerse myself in the 'everyone drinks' culture of life, when you realise that not everyone drinks, they pop up all over the place, like sober superstars. Its a bit like a sub-culture emerging quietly in the background of life. Has it always been there? Almost certainly, I just had my booze goggles on.

Oh now I was going to tell you about my meeting. We did a fair bit of work on the attitudes of others towards our drinking. (Which can suck, lets be fair, as booze is everywhere and accepted as drug of choice right now). And, how regardless of how we feel, how much we keep things private, we don't make long-term changes in a vacuum. And change, like stopping drinking, can cause anxiety, which is OK, just be aware it might be there rather than surprise when it bites you on the arse to say hello. We also need to be aware that that anxiety can also manefest itself in our friends or family. They might see our choices as a reflection on theirs. A bit like my chum, feeling like I was poking her with a stick when I said no gin in my tonic. I wasn't actually thinking about how she was feeling, just about me and getting through a drink offer. My not drinking isn't a reflection on anyone else, but I am beginning to realise, whilst I'm doing it quietly, this stopping lark, it does quietly affect other parts of my life and sometimes, my friends.

There's a link to a paper here, I'm not sure what I think about it, some bits were useful for me to think about, others I didn't get along with. It talked about 'togetherness' which always reminds me of that silly advert.

I do waffle on, so thank you for getting this far! If you've something kind or helpful to add or just want to say hello. Please drop a line below. I'd appreciate that. Thank you.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Not (sober) rocket science

Hey there, thank you for all the wonderful comments yesterday, as I came home from work, made the tea, did the driving instruction, emptied the salvaged wood from my car and stacked it, confronted the neighbour about parking at our gate (man that made me squirm), had a mini-row with my husband (about the gate parking and how I don't stand up for myself), dug the garden in a temper (again gate related fury), finished an application form and then ate tea.

Anyway after that madness, your comments were so weclomed. Thank you, like a gazillion.

I've also seriously upped the sober stuff. I really think I need to, the whiny voice in my head is at 'this is hard again', so there's care needed there. Lots of self care, lots of treats.

So I've gone to daily treats again. Not rocket science but it works.
Maybe a bit too much on the sober treat front?
I also bought nice alcohol free beer for later on.

We bought ice-cream when we were out too.

I planned my breakfast and my lunch.

I didn't get to my sober bath but almost.

I reached out to you all, thank you.

I think, if I'm honest the crazy madness in getting a house ready for survey and sale, has pushed buttons with me more than I'd imagined.

Having booze in the house, for the visitors and the kids, has pushed buttons with me. I thought I'd be OK with it and on one level I am. On another, I'm just not. Its not good for me.

The singing-booze-from-the-cupboards thing is still an issue. OK so I've not drunk any of it (go me) but its pushed the wolfie audio up in my head.

I have to keep working hard at sober, some of it is easier, some of it is not so much.

So whilst none of this is rocket science, maybe its sober science.

I'm planning today's treat as I write. Because this stuff is hard sometimes but its better. I also know that whilst I don't like it, I have to start to put up some sober boundaries and maybe be more honest with those around me about the changes I have to make to sustain this.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Fathers Day

Its funny how you can get through a day like yesterday and not be mad with booze. It destroyed my own family as a child and it took my Dad from me. He was 52 when he died, I'm five years away from there. Fathers day to me doesn't mean much. My Dad was a mean drunk to my Mum and drank relentlessly, supported by the culture around him. A squaddie in the army, social club on every base, he played the guitar and sang for his beers. And, let me tell you, he sang a lot.

Its been quite a triggery week here, more than I'd ever have expected. Full on job, full on house renovations, then cleaning like a beast to make it ready for selling. It seems like this past week has been relentless, but quite a 'normal' family one in most houses.

And, let me tell you its been so stressful, going to sleep thinking of how much time there is. Waking up wondering how to fit it all in. Trying to juggle kids, ask for help when we can, sort driving and some normality into all of this.

I've been so tempted by 'switch off juice', so tempted and that's with father who's gone because of it.

Relationships here have been easier than expected but not as great as they once were. I waved my daughter off late last week for 2 months or so, my eyes leaked substantially.  My heart felt like it was breaking again but I got home, had a bath, curled up on the sofa and just wept. My nest is partially empty again, she's home later this year, back to uni. I've had my 11 days for the summer break. Its not much but being a single parent means sharing with a new family. I just hope they appreciate her as much as I do.

My son is still here. That's a happy situation.

We managed to have some quality time, the three of us but its still not right. As much as I hope they never knew about my drinking, sometimes I can' only think, of course they were affected by it.

Who couldn't be.

I've missed my SMART meetings for the past week or is it two? Lifes just been too chaotic, no time. So I MUST attend this week or find time to go to something, I'm sorely missing my sober fixes.

But, the solicitor has been, the surveyor has been and that is moving now.

Time for more sober time. Belle's audio this week was about 'drifting' from sober support. As we slowly get back into more 'normal' life we can sometimes drift back into bad habits, not necessarily drinking initially but we lose the sober treats, we stop touching base, reaching out, we have no sober time, eventually, sometimes we drink.

So no more drift. The audio ran through my head like alarm bells.

Happy Fathers Day Dad, you silly silly bugger, I wish I knew now what I didn't know when I shut out your visits and calls. When I said you couldn't see your grandchildren, not once. I didn't understand about how cruel alcohol can be when you're drowing in it.

I wish I'd thrown you a sober life jacket.

You lost it all.

I can't do that.

And yet when lifes insane and I'm half demented trying to get it all done, I think of drinking wine.

That's the truth, but lets not go there.

And, lets not drift.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Timeless, not in a good way.

I'm more this........
I'm anxious, I'm having quite bad dreams and I'm just not right. I'm also physically ill again, which doesn't really help. Don't get me wrong, I'm sober and lifes challenges seem endless but I'm happier than I have been for years. But, I have zero balance. Like none.

I've been pondering the chores/improvement/fun life balance too and thinking about what someone in our group said (nameless of course as our group is totally, like, confidential). When pondering this tree legged stool of which might be a life balance tool, they threw me off kilter by saying, I guess if you're all pleasure and no chores, its not good either.

That got me thinking, I've still got load of paperwork/life admin to sort out, so I keep slumping off into the garden/walking/anything-but-do-it. Its making me nigglesome  I think and anxious. But, if asked in one word to describe myself 'hedonist' would have been it. All about the pleasure see.

Which is probably why I'm writing instead of replying to comments. No discipline.

But I also take pleasure, like main-line-it by helping others. I so know I have issues. I'm a serious people pleaser. I'm not sure if its still an insecurity thing, or if its now so ingrained in who I am. I like to help, I like to be super busy. Why, I wonder, can't I just be still. Lots to work on there I'm sure.

I'm very good at being super-helpful in most aspects of my life, so I've taken on extra work, my boss is leaving, my kids are home, I'm doing driving lessons for one and trying to regroup relationship with the other. I'm helping a friend renovate her garden (yes of course I'll come and take out all of your giant decking on my first day off in weeks, can I bring my son so we can have a driving lesson afterwards too and we can spend some mum/son time?) I genuinely don't mind helping, shes a great chum and needs a hand and I love gardening. And this week we decide, its the perfect week to organise a house sale, much needed, has been on the cards for ages and just happens to have dropped into the equation too.

Case study for work, no problem. Next week OK. Of course. And, some extra teaching at work, yup no bother.

I realise I sound like a martyr, but really I'm not, I'm just not very good at saying no because I like helping people. Alarm bells right there, help people, don't help myself much eh?

In the midst of my self-made chaos I thought it would be a really good idea to arrange a big family sleepover with some of our dear chums (gin family chums). Remarkably this went really well, aside a day spent cleaning. I mean really, who cleans? Suddenly my husbands, 'maybe we should get a cleaner once you're working' seems like such a good statement. (I of course met this with, erm, you think I can't clean initially, but I see his point. Who wants to spend a whole day off cleaning the bloody kitchen. Not I.)

So in my shiny house, my friends arrived. I'd armed myself with many sober lovely juices and some alcohol free champagne like fizz. I texted and told my chum no gin for me, I'm not drinking. It was met with a bit of an eyebrow raise but respected. She even brought some low alcohol fizz (a nice thought but at 5% I didn't bother, mines was zero percent). I also ate more food that is probably safe, but I wanted no temptation and so filled up on food not booze.

So there was gin here, and I didn't drink it and sent it home. Something is working inside of me, even if it isn't balance. I was pleased about that. But, I know that I can't keep tearing about like a sober lunatic in other aspects of my life. I need to stand back and take some time to think.

I caught myself yesterday thinking, there's just no time. I need to make time.

Totters off to reply to comments, before I dash out the door, because you know I'm trying to get some discipline and balance in my life. I feel totally timeless, but not in a good way.

Last night I got home after nine, had a bath and then went and watered the garden. I got a bit of me time before I collapsed in a heap on the sofa. I'm not complaining, but I'm reminding myself that no time leads to overwhelm. Overwhelm for me, like many others, often leads to drinking.

I'm not drinking, so I must sort out this timeless thing.

Have a good one sober lovelies. And yes I know I need to give something up. There are only 24 hours in one day.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Turning a corner

Hey here I am, strikes a wave, smiles a bit and says hello. I'm out of my funk. And, I've turned a corner. With myself, with some of my friends and with my family I think. Mainly I think this is all in my head but I do 'feel' different.

I'm touched by the reaching out I've had and will reply to each comment soon, I promise. My work/life/home balance isn't' great at the moment. Some of this is me, some of this is those around me, some of this is work and some of it is just the time of year and life. My online/real life balance has been seriously knocked, so I've mainly had a computer holiday. It seemed the only way to go forward and not get overwhelmed. And, overwhelm for me seems to be drinking. But, that being said, I do feel like I've turned a bit of a sober corner. More about that later......

Funny that today then, having made room in the crazy life of children arriving back from uni (car loads of stuff, how many boxes have I shifted??) I managed to make room for my SMART meeting, which I'd missed last week due to family stuff too. I really wanted to go and for once I moved non-essentials to allow me to get there. It was worh the trip.

We looked at life balance today and had a chat about it all. I have to say as much as I enjoy SMART there are a few thing they do with the way they phrase things that could be better. Or maybe just my inner-layman prefers easy words. So we did try and see where our lives were balanced (or not)! And, for me in the midst of juggling several family balls and work, life balance was the perfect topic for me.

The Three Column Technique.

TO DO: What I have to do (work for money, chores cooking etc) (Smart calls this Practical)
COULD DO: What I do to improve me (self help, college, self improvement, educate or challenge me) (Smart calls this Purposeful)
SHOULD DO: What do I do for fun. (Things to relax and have fun, with myself or family or both) (Smart calls this Pleasurable)

So you write these three at the top of a page or a white board and think about what you do for each. Generally I think the emphasis in life for many of us is on the chores and we do a bit from the other two columns. Sometimes the third column lacks the most the fun part. So ideally its about looking at what you're doing in each part of your life and trying to get more balance.

Interestingly I use to do the first two almost 24 hours a day, inbetween a bit of the last column which was always drinking. Which lead to the chores/work being sloppy and the drinking being the only pleasure in my life. I felt like I deserved it, I worked SO HARD. But, that also meant the wine kicked in and my brain went bye-bye and nothing was constructively done at home. I really did work hard, but I didn't really give it my all.

Make sense?

I found it an interesting exercise. I know my balance still isn't right, but I'm getting there, sort of, somehow. Or at the very least I know its not quite there yet, and I know it needs work.

So, this corner I turned. I went and got brave and got an opportunity to tell my best drinking buddy who was staying last week. And, to be fair I was dreading her coming. She's a drinking thurst as big as my own. Or that's how I perceive it. So I was dreading her arrival. I am trying to work on 'acceptance' that if she wants to drink in my house, whilst I can make a lot of noise, I can either accept that she does or really fall out about her not coming with booze. We're booze heads that's what we do.
But, here's the thing. I didn't ask her not to bring booze but she didn't. She brought delish juice.


I had immense guilts over the weekend of 'punishing her' by not allowing her to drink. But, I rid it out and talked to my husband about it. He said, if it bothers you, tell her. If she's your friend, she'll understand.

Later in the weekend, we were talking about stress and accepting the things we can't change. I think the phrase 'if you can't change it, you can change your reaction to it' came out. We're both having to work at our lives and our self esteem. Her issues are different but a bit similar to mine. Anyways, long and short of this tale is that I said, 'asking you not to drink really stressed me out, but I know right now I can't have booze in my life'. Her reply was simple and sweet she said she loved coming and it was a bit of a holiday for her liver being with me. She didn't mind staying and not drinking (I don't know if this is kindness or just that her drinking voice isn't as bad as I thought it was).

So you see, a bit of a corner.

In the meantime I'm going to really look at my work/life/fun balance and see if I can't fathom how to have my online and real life in a bit more balance too.

Thank you so much for reading and posting and mailing, I'm sorry if I'm slow but I'm trying to get a balance!

I would have been 8 months sober today if I hadn't drank on my birthday, but I'm in the 37 days on my living sober little counter. And that's OK.  I learnt a lot about 'just the one' and how it mangles your sober head, so onwards for me!

Hugs, sober love and light.