Sunday, 11 March 2018

Day 15 and all is well

I have just abandoned a post I was half way through as it wasn't shaping up as I anticipated. So I thought I would ditch that just to let you know that I haven't been neck deep in vodka but have been riding the crest of the DIY wave and am 3/4 of the way finished decorating the downstairs bathroom.
I am kicking myself I haven't taken a before shot as it was in bad shape and I wouldn't let visitors use it. Now it is starting to not only look good but great.

I have been so distracted and working so late each evening that I haven't thought once about having a drink. Dare I say it........ I almost feel the same as I did when I hadn't drink for months. That feeling of calm, free from inner turmoil about should I or shouldn't I. It's hard to explain but when you haven't drunk for a long time your brain is just thinking about other things and it's a non issue. That's what I have had for the last few days and it has given me a glimpse of what I had and what I am striving for again. I know I'm not cured and I am not making any proclamations here but it felt so good and so free to be just engaged in life rather than the constant obsessive thoughts

There has also been some pretty serious thinking about just how bad things were and how I was losing ground in my life and patching up the cracks hoping the world at large wasn't noticing the patchwork pattern of repair. I know I am not out of the woods yet and have a long way to go but these few days of freedom have reminded me of what is available to all of us if we just stick with our intention to not have just one drink.

Warm wishes to all from a very at peace Ginger.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

DIY Ginger is back!

So day 10 and now 11 have passed.

I am now beyond exhausted. DIY Ginger woke up yesterday after being dormant for seven whole months and I can genuinely say I did more yesterday alone than I have done since July last year when I decided to "just have one drink" at my nephews wedding.  Today I didn't work quite so hard or as long, last night I worked on the house until about 10pm, but I still pushed myself. Now I am knackered and all my muscles ache. So yet another example of how I can't moderate anything.

My goal for this evening is to try and stay awake til at least 8:30 because right now I feel pretty sure I could fall asleep but then I'd wake up at midnight with the rest of the night ahead of me. I've done that enough on the booze, woken up at 2, 3 or 4 and not been able to fall asleep again.

One funny thing did happen, well it's funny today, when it happened I turned the air blue with swearing. I was painting primer onto an old table to "up cycle" it when I knocked the paint over, not just knocked it but sent it flying so it spun full cycle one time and ALL the paint from the brand new pot spilled everywhere. Apart from the language which was toxic, I just got on with cleaning up the paint, using two baking palette knives if you must know, and transferred about 95% of the paint back into the pot along with several million dog hairs.

Downstairs looks a bit chaotic but I have plans to do round three tomorrow and get my house literally back in order.


Monday, 5 March 2018

The Little Black Cloud Over My Head

If I was a little bit more techie there would be the perfect image/cartoon of someone with a black cloud over their head.

Today is day 9 and I have been out of sorts all day. I've eaten too much, lazed around too much, felt WAY too sorry for myself and just a negative ninny.

I have no desire to drink and no taste for it either until..........

About 2:30 I suddenly thought "oh I'll just have one more go and start back tomorrow" I immediately recognised this as my self sabotaging dark self who can't deal with life in the everyday. The self who wants to be sober did a body scan, sense check and I ascertained that 90% of the system was not on board with this thought. Even the taste senses were saying "NO, You know, we've really gone off that stuff" The stomach was saying "Nooo, no please, it's like swallowing a fire ball these days" Even 90% of the brain was thinking "No more! it doesn't work! Remember? You keep trying this but it solves nothing!" However 10% of the brain was thinking, "Just fuck it off, your life is boring and lonely and this is what blocks that all out for you. It can be a goodbye session!"

90% won out in the end and it was only a fleeting 20-30 minutes but I had the luxury of really observing the stream of thought that was going on and identifying the different way my mind was arguing from opposing desires. It wasn't a craving, more like a thought trigger reflex as I actually was separate from the desire to taste and experience the alcohol. I wanted a physical change of state.

Going to sleep early as that us the next best solution right now.


Friday, 2 March 2018

Small bottoms and BIG bottoms

After reading SoberMummy's latest post here I was reminded that sometimes you have to reach bottom to be able to get back up. I'm not sure that's true for everyone but for some it may resonate. Just like in life there are small bottoms and big bottoms, I fall into the BIG bottom group both literally and figuratively.

There is a quote from Friends when Rachel says "I really thought I hit rock bottom. But today, it's like there's rock bottom, 50 feet of crap and then me"  that is a big bottom and some very slow learners need to hit a big bottom to realise how bad it is. We heavy drinkers have constant small bottoms: 
  • the time when you take a slug of something straight from the bottle
  • you pour wine or your favourite poison in a coffee cup
  • you hide bottles from loved ones so the don't see them in the recycling 
  • you go to a different shop to buy booze because you don't want your local shop to know how much you drink (they KNOW, by the way)
  • you worry in the morning that people can smell last night's alcohol on you 
  • you drink all of  wine or vodka by 8pm and panic cos you are too drunk to drive but not drunk enough to see out the rest of the night.
These are just a few small bottoms where you are very aware that "normal" drinkers don't behave like this and that you see you have a problem but you are able to gloss over these small bottoms by a) drinking through them b) compartmentalising that thought and shoving it away c) have a small pity party crying and promising to change tomorrow (and then doing exactly the same thing the next day) d) resign yourself to the fact you feel powerless to change and accept that you don't know how to stop

Big bottoms on the other hand are hard to gloss over but still vary in degree from person to person. Some big bottoms are HUGE life changing events, getting a DUI, losing your job because of your drinking, spouse leaves or throws you out, you hit or kill someone in your car.  These are the extreme of bottoms but even then some people don't change.

I am talking big bottoms that become a catalyst for change and each of us will have our own individual line in the sand that once crossed somehow socks you between the eyes and you can no longer deny or hide behind excuses. Some bottoms I have read about and know from a few friends have been:
  • thinking you were still able to drive and hitting a parked car but driving off cos no one had seen it
  • falling down stairs and knocking yourself unconscious until next morning but then not going to hospital to check for concussion because they would know you'd been drunk cos of the smell
  • falling over in the kitchen and breaking two front teeth as you hit the oven door
  • driving to work with a colleague in the morning after 3 bottles of wine the night before - pulling over to puke pretending like nothing was wrong with it- only to have the colleague say they'd rather not car share with you again
  • seeing a picture of yourself dancing with your top off (still with a bra) in a club with work people and not recalling any of it.
As for my own bottoms, well I have three that prompted me to quit for a significant period of time. I have way more than 3 btw but these three scared the heebie jeebies out of me prompting an immediate cessation of denial and therefore drinking. Maybe 4 years ago, I quit for 138 days following waking up on a Saturday morning with sick on my pillow and face that I had seemingly slept through. Scary moment. The next one prompted my 14 month period of not drinking when I was so drunk I had to crawl up the stairs on my hands and knees and was so ill the next day that I thought I was about to have a heart attack and die when I took my dogs out for a walk in the afternoon. The most recent one spanned about a week and involved waking up on the sofa at between 1am and 3 am not knowing what time I had fallen asleep blacked out, and the last thing I remember was about 7 or 8pm. What sealed the deal was I sent my daughter a message about 18:10 one evening when I got home from work asking about a CD she had bought me. Next morning I responded to a message she sent me at 23:30 (past my normal bedtime on workdays) but then I asked her why she hadn't responded to my CD question, to which she said she had. I then scrolled through looking for the question and discovered we had been messaging all evening back and forth and I had been helping my daughter with some issues at uni about friends, roommates and problems in the house. Mercifully I was giving good solid parental advise free from scorn and swearing but I have ZERO RECOLLECTION OF ANY IF IT! It looks like I called her also but that will remain a mystery as I daren't ask her about it. So on the one hand I am still a good mom when I am in a blackout but on the other hand how can you be a good mother and be in a blackout.

The shame of this all is it has been like this since November and I have been trying the odd few days here and there to get some days under my belt only to make it to day 4 and start again. I have even make some reckless proclamations "I feel like I never want to drink again" only to then drink 2 days later and abandon the blog. Truthfully, as I am sure we can all attest to, when we say those things we usually mean it. I make no such statement today except to say tomorrow is day 7 and I feel clearer than I have in a long time and that I have a better attitude than in the last 6 months. Needless to say my full disclosure posts sometimes can be toe curling in their honesty and sometimes I do regret over sharing but I am quite a warts and all kind of gal.

Thanks for all the lovely comments you left on my last few posts and sorry I didn't reply but it is the constant support given that helps us keep coming back when the alcohol fog clears and we feel once again ready to tackle the oh so fragile state of sobriety.


Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Friends!! Who needs em??

I realise friendship is important in life and good ones can fill you up and leave you strong. Bad ones can suck the life out of you and leave you questioning every dimension of your personality.

Last night I had a friendship changing disagreement with a very good friend and it became U-G-L-Y!  Things were said that cannot be unsaid and there was a major shift in dynamics. This has caused me to question so many elements of myself over the past 25+ years but also and I must add equally, her input into my life over the past 5 years.

No longer am I assuming everything is my fault and that I am the weaker/lesser/tragic one in the friendship. A line has been crossed and I need to reflect on where my responsibility ends and her responsibility starts. I am willing to accept certain things about myself, warts and all but I refuse, do you hear me? REFUSE to accept that I need to embrace the opinions of others as fact just because I have admitted I drink too much. This is not denial by the way.

In the past I have accepted that so many things are my fault cos I drank too much, that every weird quirk in my daughters personality was my fault, that climate change and plastic pollution was my fault ( yes I exaggerate) . All because I drink too much alcohol. But that is not the case! Don't assume blame for everything wrong in your world. You MAY have caused problems, you MAY have ruined friendships, you MAY have let people down, spent too much money, said regrettable things in polite circles or even caused an accident via drink driving, repossession through overspending or a relationship breakdown through your poor choices and prioritising other things. But everything wrong in the world, in your circle, in your family is not your fault.

Take responsibility for what is yours and don't be a fool in denial about it all but don't also be the victim and allow blame to be allocated to you cos you are an easy target.

I am heartbroken by events of the past 24 hours and it has taken the support of a wider friendship group to make me fully understand that I am not to root of all evil and that in this instance I have been overly apportioned blame for a variety of things. I cried myself to sleep last night and I feel the same is coming tonight. If I believe everything happens in its right time and order I have to believe this is a lesson for me eventually if it is a hard one.

I will continue to view/review my part in all of this and try where possible even if uncomfortable to accept my role in this but, and I urge you to do the same, don't just let one negative element of your life shape the sum total of who you are.

I may flounder back and forth on this for the next few days.

Ginger, in bed, in tears.

Monday, 5 February 2018

Today - Done!

I'm home safe and sound and sober. It's 19:28 and I am tucked up in bed with tea and chocolate and the satisfaction of today being done and over. 

Today I had a few vague flickers of drinking thinking but so fleeting they hardly count. What I did think over and over though was "I NEVER want to drink again". Not in that hangover way that says never again, just today I genuinely never want to drink again. Now I realise I have had these thoughts before and ended up drinking, heck I went 15 months and ended up drinking BUT at the time of the thought and as I type this now, I truly feel that in my soul.

Another feeling that has made itself known today is shame, yes our old favourite can be relied upon to show up when in fact courage and hope would be far more welcome visitors. I thought to myself I hope there is an opportunity to come back in another life cos I have wasted 20 years of this one either trying to control my eating or trying to control my drinking and certainly not enjoying the ride. What a waste indeed! When I think of so many people who's life has been cut short through illness or accident and I have selfishly being trying to avoid whatever it is I am trying to avoid by funnelling food or booze down my neck - it is SO stupid and no way to live at all.

I'm stopping this post now as I am talking myself into anger and the futility of it all which ironically leads me to thinking what's the point, I may as well drink. 

If like me, you didn't drink today then give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done. We gotta turn this thinking around people, less self condemnation and a lot more praise. 


Sunday, 4 February 2018

Ginger - aka The Vodka Hostage

Ugly as it is I have decided to catch you all up with where and how I am in the hope that it may spur me onto success.

If drinking is an elevator that descends each time you drink, then I have gone down a fair few more floors. Someone said once that you never know when the elevator will stop next and open the door to let you out and that is where I am now, waiting to get off.

I have not managed more than 4 days sober since November and I am very aware how things are slipping like housework, gardening, filing paperwork and bills,  even the dogs are getting shorter walks. I spend the mornings despairing of myself and vowing this is it, I'm done with drinking only to have a personality transplant mid afternoon to someone who thinks its not so bad as morning me makes out. It is the same lament you will read on countless other blogs from those like me, trying to get over the initial hurdle of 10 days or even 4 days in my case.

I am down but not defeated. I have done it before and somewhere deep down I am pretty sure I can do it again although there is a persistent voice that taunts me that I may have gone too far this time and I am doomed to die from alcohol. That voice needs to talk to me in the afternoon when the chirpy delusional  "moderate drinker" voice is convincing me that it's not that bad.

So once more I am going to try, try, try to throw myself into sober life again. Tomorrow I shall leave every card in my wallet at work or better still drop it to my friends house and force her to come grocery shopping next Saturday as chaperone. I feel pretty sure that if I can just get to a certain point I will remember how good not drinking feels and how so totally worth it it is.

Congrats to anyone that has made it through Dry January and still going strong like 'Putting Down the Glass' (can't do the link for some reason.)

Look for a post tomorrow evening and a sincere thank you to anyone who comments over and over again on my day 1, 2, 3, 4, posts. There are many episodes like that and many of you have been tireless cheerleaders over the past few years, not just to me but to countless others.

 Justonemore- I saw your comment and would love to hear how you are doing.

That's all for today folks and I will accept any prayers, spells, superstitious behaviours, voodoo, incantations, you name it, to help me get both on the right track and bloody well stay on it.

Ginger - The Vodka Hostage