Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Sins of the Father- the 'Thing' unraveling.

So this "thing" that has brewing for ages with the Irish side is brewing to over boil. Everything I have been working towards is slowly unraveling (may be a good thing) and all the family "stuff" is coming to a head. Family are starting to air their opinions and take sides but I feel like my role is the peacemaker and it is my job to keep everyone sweet and make sure all their needs are met and their feelings aren't hurt. Needless to say I am the one left crying at night cos this one won't speak to that and this one refuses to tolerate that ones B.S.  Meanwhile I am left feeling that they are all ruining my chance to get a healthy resolution to this messed up dynamic we call family. But..... am I arranging all this to suit my own needs and personal growth or am I a benevolent soul who is seeking long term closure on a minefield of crap over the years? The jury's out!

 I am devastated that my sister has decided that for her own mental health she will not be attending because X has never acknowledged their blah blah blah. I completely get what she is saying and she is correct in her viewpoint but I am stuck with my residual 'stuff' and how I should deal with that, same person X, but from my side. I understand how she has processed this all and has reached resolution, but I haven't and goddammit I need her to help me through this shish-ka-bob! Arrrrggghhhh she was my ally and wingman, now I am alone?? How can I fight alone?

Oh this drama has been going on for ALL of my life and luckily only 18 & 19 years of their life. You see, drum roll please ~~~~~~~~~we are all from the same mother but all adopted out to different families hence why we all have different relationships with the one who birthed us. I was adopted within the family (good idea at the time but long term BIG mistake)  and it was always the silent secret that we all knew but no one asked about. According to by birth siblings, despite them being adopted externally, I have had the hardest life and certainly I have the most "issues" out of all of us. Also I am the only one who is an alcoholic, yes I said the 'A' word people, following close in the footsteps of my birth dad who I vaguely knew yet seem to be mimicking in my trajectory. This man was smart, funny, very savvy about life, an adventurer, a little bit dangerous, twinkle in is eye, able to turn on the charm, a master at reading moods yet tempestuous and manipulative-all traits I recognise in myself. I had a passing relationship with him through my childhood as he was friends with my dad, as in the honourable, kind and fabulous man that raised me as his own. I knew this birth father until my tween years (10-12y/o) and then he kind of faded out and I remember meeting him one time with my dad in a Chinese restaurant in Blanchardstown and despite not knowing it at the time, this would be the last time. He was drunk and weird and talking all kinds of ways he was going to make it big and prove everyone wrong. Even my poor dad was stuck in the position of humouring his once clever, articulate and successful friend and playing along with that harebrained scheme. That was the last I saw of him and maybe the last my dad did too. That man, my birth father did not die of alcoholism but as a result of it. He was drunk and fell down a flight of stairs backwards and cracked his skull. Prior to his death and alcoholism he was a very high ranking police chief, had medals of honour, was a pillar of the community but also had a wife and 4 children and a mistress and 3 children all of whom he made her give up for adoption, me included, with all my hurt feelings!! If you knew the draconian laws Ireland was under 45-50 years ago it is hard to fathom just how you MAY be able to get away with having a child alone. My birth mother lied to the nuns having bought a wedding ring from a pawn shop and said that her husband was in England (oh the irony) and she couldn't feed anymore children alone. All lies but so she wasn't incarcerated for life. Watch Philomena with Judi Dench and Steve Coogan and you have my family in a nutshell.

So as you can see the 'thing' is leeching out of me, too toxic to contain under blog etiquette protocol and too damaging for me to keep inside at present. I may post this unedited and raw as I always have the option to delete it later if I regret. All this Angela's Ashes, Philomena stuff that happened, why am I the one feeling the shame and living an apologetic life. There is something about the 'sins of the father' expression. Well I need to exorcise that beast because really I'm just a little girl lost who only wants to be loved and didn't ask for it but has been stuck battling it since the 'big reveal'.

OVERSHARING to the extreme!!! Now I need to go have some more brown bread and marmalade. I think it is my form of thumb sucking or something.

Ginger Groundhog

Monday, 18 January 2016

So conflicted - Blue Monday

Today and over the weekend has seen me have a wide array of emotions, thoughts, feelings and conflicts all to do with sobriety, blogging and the looming 'thing' at the end of January. This has created a maelstrom of emotions and led to me seeking proof and evidence of the negative thought patterns I can create when I get backed into a corner, even though it was me who has put me there.

My latest attack on myself is how unpopular my blog is. I then go looking for evidence of this by checking other people's blogs for comments I.e. Comments equal success and lack of equals failure. I realise I am looking at this all wrong and there is more to it than that. I know I write very wordy and confessional posts and they are not to everyone's taste but I also realise I like to be contrary and  thumb my nose at convention and dare you to like me or my thoughts. But then the very lonely me that drinks to forget how lonely she is raises her head and takes all this as proof that she isn't worthy after all (this is all my stuff and not directed to covet more comments). 

The dissonance is, do I continue to be me and put my heart and soul on the line or do I contain the inner stream of consciousness and write a more diluted form of my thoughts to potentially appeal to more people. This feeds into Why, exactly am I writing this and why do I choose to share so much, maybe too much. Who is this for? Me? Or is it ego driven in a bid to attract readers and mollify my desire to be "liked" and understood.I have developed a bit of a cross addiction, how many people have read my post, did they comment, where are they in the world, which site did they come from - all really really obsessive thoughts and not healthy or conducive to positive living. This is a good reflection of how I can get involved and then suddenly over-involved in something and stretch it to the boundaries of  normal behaviour.

For all these reasons I may take a break until after the 'thing' is over as I am aware it is bringing up all kinds of things from my childhood. I joked before that one of my posts was going to be called Irish Soda bread and marmalade and I have found myself eating this frequently with a very strong cup of Irish tea, Irish tea means you can stand a teaspoon up in it it is so strong. All these are remnants of my childhood and happy times and by eating this I am transported to that time when life wasn't so complicated and sobriety wasn't an hour by hour negotiation sometimes won sometimes not. Time in Ireland was a break from the chaos of my home life in England which was hard due to a serious illness in the family and all that brings. 

Despite my emotions being up and down at present, I feel that with each passing wave, there is a catharsis of something and each step, trip or fall is an opportunity to see what is the trigger and how can I deal with this next time.

Maybe all this is something I need to discuss seriously with an independent therapist who can challenge me when I offer my versions of the truth. Either way, I realise I am not up to the commitment of daily blogging and the frank openness I offer in these words, maybe I share too much and have overexposed my fragile heart. 

So for now I feel it wise to post when I can or leave it if I can't. I will still do my daily journey around the other blogs to see how everyone is doing, especially the January starters. Big shout out to redrecovers.worldpress.com who has remained strong and blogging despite some bad luck re health in the early stages.  Continued best wishes to everyone else fighting the day to day challenges also.

Ginger Groundhog 

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Sigh....... That's me!

I have been sighing a lot today which I am aware I do a lot of when I am anxious (it's also a symptom of depression but I don't think I am depressed) I usually only realise I am doing it when someone points it out to me. Considering I spend my day surrounded by therapists and psychologists it is easy to have someone pick up on something and start to quiz you about it. So today I did a BIG sigh, I was partially aware of it but not quite the sheer volume and capacity of it, needless to say I looked up and lots of worried eyes were focused on me. "What?" I said. "You just did a massive sigh", a different therapist, "Yes you did!",  another therapist "Biggest sigh I have ever heard" and lastly the inevitable question from yet another therapist "Is everything OK?"  Positive reassurances from me that yes and I just wasn't thinking and it meant nothing yada, yada,yada. Big long discussion about mental health and stress etc, yep, yep, yep, I know all this thanks (said very ungratefully by me) all very well meaning but I hear it all the time.

The thing is, nothing is wrong per se but everything is not right either. I feel a bit lost,empty and all at sea. And well just a bit, 'sigh', yeah, like that really. Oops just caught myself doing my third or fourth sigh since starting this. I am just a bit irritated that when I think about clocking off time and having a glass of wine, I immediately think "oh yeah, can't do that" -sigh! Despite having thoughts about going to the shop tonight I made it until 9pm downstairs, most of this week I have been in bed at 7 or 8 with a book.

On a different note, I was in Co-op this morning and the man behind me stank of last night's alcohol. If I had to say I would guess whiskey as that's what several of my old Irish uncles used to smell like at the breakfast table, funnily enough half my relatives are what they call Pioneers, which is a total alcohol abstinence society and the other half "like a good drink" as they would say. That sweet smell of morning-after alcohol doesn't repulse me as it has childhood memories interspersed but it is a smell I know. It is a clean smell not old and sour and this man was clean shaven, well turned out and pretty bright eyed but he did have a ruddy complexion and smiled pleasantly at me as I casually glanced around to see where the smell was coming from. I would be lying if I didn't for one second think "oh my god is that smell coming from me" despite not having had a drink in 4 days (yes 4 only).  I spent the next 5 mins wondering if I ever did smell like that, or if I always smelled like that and just how much alcohol do you have to drink to smell like that in the morning. Good news is I definitely won't smell like that tomorrow, maybe a bit garlicky but not too worried about people catching onto that. That smell is a sense memory for me and I think it made me a bit nostalgic and that thought drip, drip, dripped into my subconscious all day. Actually that might explain the sighing as people do tend to sigh when they reminisce, hmmm? That sits quite well with me now I think about it, seems to resonate with me.

Need to try and work my way through that as the "thing" that is coming up will be in Ireland and it is starting to look very triggering. I do have to go, not gun to my head have to go but it is a pretty big deal and I kinda have to be there. Will try and process that some more tomorrow and over the weekend.

Ginger Groundhog

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

The Chessboard

Imagine a chessboard, checkers, draughts depending on where you live. Now imagine in each one of the squares has an element of your life that makes you a well rounded, balanced person - friends, socialising, horse riding, books, swimming, travel, exercise, healthy food, early nights, building sand castles with you kids, learning a new language, falling in love, dating, shopping, dancing, shaving your legs (bear with me people) polishing your shoes- you get the idea. Some of those will be relateable other will not but we can all add our own elements to make it fit.

When you drink a little then a lot, we cannot maintain all of those squares and the squares start to change. Slowly at first the elements fade as there isn't enough time or enjoyment for that particular square. Horse riding gets dropped as it is too early and costs £25, that's 4-5 bottles of wine. Learning a new language is next as you can't really spare the time for classes and all the homework and for some strange reason, you can't think why, you just can't seem to remember and retain the words. Besides you will probably never really need it. Next goes dating as you haven't met the one yet and it is tiring always trying to get to know someone and make a good impression, not to mention expensive, why you'd be much better off buying some wine to have at home than pay £5 a glass! Erase from your memory the fact you aren't getting many call backs or second dates, far too painful to think about, just move on and put that behind you. Along with dating, out goes falling in love, after all you need someone to fall in love with right and whilst we are ditching those squares, let go of shaving your legs as no-one is going to see them any time soon. Swiftly moving along we now let go of building sand castles with our kids because we got up late on a bright sunny day and excitedly thought the kids would love a day at the beach. But, you can't find the beach bags and the buckets and spades, you haven't done a proper shop so a fun picnic is out the window but you'll make the best of the situation. Getting almost out the door with the clouds drawing in, you suddenly realise you haven't shaved your legs and try and persuade the kids ice cream would be more fun than the beach. Squares are going blank dotted all over the board but you don't pay too much attention. You are getting a little older and life changes and things do get dropped, right? Books and reading decrease but don't disappear, shopping is reserved only for essential like food and wine, clothes shopping consists of - does it fit and do they have it in 2 colours, done. Cinema, theatre, friends, socialising, these are are all dependant on timing and mood and you may make 1 in 6 invites maybe 1 in 8 or after a long while, none.

What you may not have noticed as the squares are going blank across your board is that they are being populated with new elements, exhaustion, apathy, laziness, paranoia, lack of confidence, worry, anxiety, loss of interest in pleasure, anti-depressants, inability to concentrate, little or no exercise, bitterness, junk food, ignoring the phone, debt, depression, unhappy kids/spouse, lack of selfcare, decline in housework and home DIY abandoned. Again these may not be your squares but fill in what works.

This pattern continues with gains and losses for a period of time, sometimes years, it is still recognise able as a chessboard after all as long as no-one studies the squares too closely. You too are trying to see what everyone else has on their board by comparison, sizing up the balance of positive negative on their board. Many are way better than yours with diversity and the majority of positives and you are jealous.  Others are equal to or worse than yours and you take cold comfort from that.  However, one day you do take a good look about your board, a really deep and searching look and you are standing on one square in the middle and all around you are reminders of what you have lost and all the negatives that have replaced it. Your square in the middle is alcohol, and so are all the immediate squares around you. You can see some positive squares, your kids, your spouse, your friends (not all have gone) but alcohol is on the immediate squares around you and you soooo want to get to those positive squares and really engage with them delighted they are still holding on and just visible but you are bereft and lost and so caught up in how badly you have managed your board and how you have let things slip so far. Sad to see so much opportunity lost and happiness squandered, sad that this was all your own doing, so sad and despairing that you curl up on you one square and cry and scream, and beat the ground and get so angry with yourself that you cry yourself to sleep rather than drink yourself into denial. And when you wake up in the morning and look around and with sober eyes survey your chess board once more, you notice that one square in between you and your family and friends has changed and it now says HOPE and without too much thought you step on that square and claim it.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

The Truth Shall Set You Free - or me at least

So much for commitment hey ?

Well I am coming clean on the last week. I am not proud to say I have fallen, jumped, slipped, [chose your own turn of phrase] off the wagon, maybe I told myself a little lie and full on gleefully bounced off the wagon. The voices were talking their smooth talk about work being stressful, life being hard, what else do you have to look forward to, and then......"remember you got that 'thing' at the end of the month? That 'thing' you did before, 6 months sober and you ended up drinking after it. That'll make you drink for sure, so just quit after that, no point in trying now". And that was it, I started again. Even now I am thinking "oh gosh, maybe it is silly to stop now, maybe I should just wait" and I can hear you ALL shouting Noooooooo!!! I can feel the head shaking and the rapid typing and I know for sure you are all right, know in my heart of hearts you are 100% correct but I am feeling the fear. So much so that my promise to myself to blog tonight is diminishing as, if I keep silent then I only have to own up in Feb, so scared am I that I won't make it past the 'thing'

I have been avoiding the blog as I didn't want to lie or pretend I was ok but I also didn't want to tell the truth partly as I didn't want any of the other Jan 1st starters to have any reason to throw in the towel themselves. That, plus I felt I had let myself down AGAIN! after the previous AGAIN! and the AGAIN! before that.

So a lot of last week was was a big ole Whooo hooo for a few days after I had given myself permission to drink again but then turned bad, as it was bound to do, when I started dragging myself out of bed, huffing and puffing around the dog walk, feeling shaky and paranoid and generally feeling terrified that here I was again realising the error of my ways and promising to not do it again for the, well, I have lost count to be honest.  The mortality chip kicked in and I was then worried about the myriad of health conditions I am actively inviting into my life because of my lifestyle, already I feel rubbish most of the time cos I am tired, drunk, hungover or craving that next drink. I am eating food that I have a mild allergic reaction to because [apologies] the fuck it button has been activated and the food tastes good so I will live with the pain, which only serves to make me feel worse the next day on top,of having too much to drink. 

I caught myself shaking my head at another blog yesterday as I read that persons story and I thought "oh my god, bless her, someone really needs to help that girl, she is in full on self destruct mode and I don't think she realises how far gone she is" and that was rapidly followed by the thought that maybe people read my blog in the same way and maybe if I was sober too I would think this way. Then it struck me that people are trying to help, they are sharing ideas, strategies, memories, feelings and hopes that everyone can find this same happiness and peace, yes people PEACE. That is what we are all striving for even if in a self destructive manner, peace from whatever ails us but, and I think this was my biggest realisation, we do need help and support but there is no hero gonna sweep in and save us from ourselves - only we can do that ourselves. The tools, support, love, hopeful wishes only get us so far but ultimately it is the the hands of the individual to save themself and that is why there is such a sense of accomplishment in sobriety. I got it on some kind of level before but I GOT it yesterday and even more so tonight. I have been waiting for someone to do it for me, the perfect day, the right time, a significant date, after Christmas, when I am calm, when work isn't so bad, any day except today. 

I don't want to have to keep coming here and saying a la Britney 'Oops I did it again' and that us never the intention, I seem to go along great and then whoosh a sudden change of state and I am on my way to the shop knowing full well it will solve nothing, I'll regret it, I'll feel bad in the morning bug nothing matters more in that moment than giving in.

Major kudos to all my fellow Jan 1st abstainers who are going strong. I hope you will read this as a sharp reminder of how ridiculous it is and I hope there is just a tiny weeny hint of smugness that you have made it 12 days, normally I wouldn't condone smugness so blithely but I absolve you of any guilt on this occasion so 'Smug it up Twelvers'.  If that feels too negative then I hope at least you feel really proud of yourselves and think, there but for grace go I ( insert god into that quote if it works for you)

Thanks for the kind comments and messages, they do help even when it feels like I just want to never be accountable again. I know even when I fall down I must get up and try again no matter how painful, embarrassing or boring and repetitive it seems. 

Lastly if anyone does ever feel like taking on my punctuation mistakes and dodgy use of both "" and '', then feel free. I have an A grade O'level in both Lang & Lit so I must have known it once. It might give me something else to worry about other than will I make it safely to 8pm each evening.

Ginger Groundhog - will the day ever change? 

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Cop-out or Commitment? You decide.

So I have no post tonight and my brain is too addled and tired to cobble something decent or profound. I was mulling over something on my dog walk(no rain for once thank goodness) but by the time I talked to a lonely dog walker, got home where 17 year old ranted about the injustices of life i.e. hers, planned to call my brother who by lack of effort on both our parts has become distant, when I got involved in a very long and involved call from a friend in need.

Next I started my normal patrol of the sober blogs, trying to leave a comment so they know I value and respect the time taken. But here I am now just writing waffle on my own cos I have to say something cos I made a commitment ( that was said in a resentful growly voice which I can't quit capture in prose)

And so two days back into work I am struggling to maintain that work/life balance. Luckily for you readers you are saved the original post which would have been "Irish Soda Bread and Marmalade" which was potentially going to be dissertation length in it's depth and insight. Seems like the universe wants me to save that gem for another day.

Read SoberMummy on gratitude but by the time I got to writing mine it had all been lost in the maelstrom of my mind.

Ginger Groundhog

Monday, 4 January 2016

Day 4 - Commitment

Today I feel cheated AGAIN! see yesterday's post for details.

I had the worst night sleep in months, waking up all the time, aware of noises outside, tossing and turning, too hot, too cold, panicked that sleep time is running out, aware that I will not be on top form first day back etc. I was bitter and angry and this set the tone for my day but I still tried to fake it and be upbeat. I nearly fell asleep at my desk at one point and had to start a conversation with a colleague to refocus.

Normally my two weeks off at Christmas restores me and I am glad to be back at work full of energy and ideas but this year I feel flat and still drained and it is all my own fault. I spent the majority go the holidays getting my fill of drink before I stopped for good and this has left me a husk of my normal self. I know I will start to feel a bit better the more days I get under my belt but today has highlighted to me the sheer craziness of it all and right now I can't see how I ever manage to don rose tinted specs and give wine such a halo. I am sure this is all part of the detox and return to homeostasis  but the timing was wrong and I felt very conspicuous at work and a bit paranoid that people would think I was hungover or just think I am always dragging around. I think this is because as my drinking got worse the last 6 months, so did my fear and.paranoia that people would know or could smell booze on me. I haven't even said I have stopped drinking cos I don't want people to think I ever had a reason for wanting to stop.

Commitment is my word of the year and I am writing this to show to myself I am committed when all I really want to do is read my book. I throw in the towel so easily not just with drink but everything so this is probably a good thing to strive for - commitment.

Very short one tonight but I got it done.

Ginger Groundhog

Sunday, 3 January 2016

New Day 3 - last day before work [sigh]

Early post today as I want to get the most out of this evening before I head back into work tomorrow and the return of 6am starts. Tomorrow will HURT as the earliest I have been up is 7.30 in the last two weeks and even then I went back up with a coffee and read blogs til 9am.

Regrets, I have a few a la Edith Piaf. My first regret this holiday season is that I did not enjoy it as much as last year which is ironic as I was drinking to try and get it out of my system and in my mind that should have meant loads more fun right? Wrong!

 Second regret is that I do not feel as rested as I wanted to, I really needed this break to recharge the old batteries but again due to the excessive drinking over Christmas and the build up if I am honest, I still feel very tired and not as dynamic as I hoped to be. I really wanted to go back with a bounce and feeling ready for the year ahead. Instead I am a little bit nervous that I will still be a bit sluggish similar to before Christmas. I know these things take time but I just wanted to feel more oomph heading back in.

Lastly and this has nothing to do with alcohol, I (regret is the wrong word) resent the lousy weather that has seen me drown morning and evening walking my dogs for the longest time. I think this is a contributory factor in my low mood birth now and over Christmas. As I mentioned in my blog the other day, walking all weathers is about having the right equipment and being prepared but I feel a bit cheated this year as I have had the added pressure of two wet dogs, extra towels, extra mopping and vacuuming, extra smelly back hallway due to wet dogs, extra time spent drying the dogs etc etc. 

I feel a bit hard done by to be honest. I know that sounds ridiculous but it's true, I feel like a petulant child really and that my fun has been ruined and I am looking for someone to blame. I think this feeling is a familiar one to me "life done me wrong and it's not fair" and this is where I think the booze comes in, it is a little treat for me, I deserve something nice right? Life has done me wrong so I need to check out, zone out, detach from all those problems I feel are mine and mine alone. Woe is me, poor little me. Actually this is also tapping into something I felt as a child, I had a relatively good upbringing but my mother suffered from extreme manic depression or bipolar as it is now called. She was a real textbook case of extremes, way high, highs and way low, lows. Now without getting all pity party (as I am want to do at times i.e. play the martyr) some parts of living with this were really rough and scary for a little child. My dad tried to protect me as best he could but there were times when I was the parent and my mum was a toddler. I am not sure how it started but I began using food when my feelings were hurt, often by her, and then my dad trying to be nice would bring me some sweets home or when we were visiting my mum in the psychiatric hospital, one of those big old Victorian sanitariums that are now converted into million pound apartments, we would stop at the shop on the way home.  [sorry if I have lost you at this point! I think this is more for my benefit] Anyway, this became a habit and my poor dad fast realising this was getting out of control tried to curb this feeling of needing a reward. However my cousins on the other hand teased me mercilessly as the poor little rich kid, there were 6 of them for my aunt and uncle to provide for but only me in my household, plus my dad has been promoted and we had moved into a very middle class neighbourhood with the expenses paid for by his company as he had to relocate. They saw me only as a spoilt little rich kid and called me all names under the sun. Little did they realise or understand that by today's standards I would qualify as a part time carer for my mum. I once stole a loaf of bread from the cupboard at their house and took it up the fields to eat as they had been making fun of me all morning and I didn't know how to cope with all that hurt. Needless to say I was found out, punished and then teased mercilessly for that on top of everything else.

Apologies for that little trip down memory lane but it came to me as a memory of when I first started hiding stuff away (drinking alone) feeling like no-one understood me (hiding away and not going on dates) and using substances to blunt or choke down my feelings and emotions food back then, alcohol AND food now. I didn't mean this post to end up there but I just sort of went with it. I am not saying everyone has a story of why they have ended up drinking to excess but for me the parallel between how I behave now as a 46 year old grown up and how I behaved as a youngish child 6-13 is remarkably similar. And here I come back to shame again, shame of who I am and what I deal with and how this must be kept secret. Back then the secret was how bad my mum could be, I think my poor father lived in fear social services would get involved and take me away because he was working so hard to keep his job going and I was being looked after by my mum who was not able to take care of herself. Hindsight is 20/20 and I am sure my dad lived with regrets for years about that but having been in tight spots myself, I know it is easy to judge someone without knowing what they are going through and for him I think he was just caught up in the juggling of day to day life to step back and look at the bigger picture. Poor dad, poor mum and poor me. Now of course the secret is I have a problem with booze and I must keep up appearances and no one can know.

So on that jolly note, let's try and find some good in this. I have got find a way of letting go of the shame and dealing with the emotions and feelings that doesn't involve abusing substances. Phew! That was very long winded and well done if you made it this far. Feels quite cathartic to be honest. As I mentioned previously I work for a psychologist so I can and do throw out these little nuggets as and when they come up. I didn't start the blog to unearth my childhood but I also feel ok about putting some of it out there. After all the power of choice is yours if you want to read it or move on to another blog.

Day 3 completed and I am feeling good. Going to watch some rubbish TV for a while and then go to bed with my book.

Ginger Groundhog

Saturday, 2 January 2016

New Day 2 - Feeling good

So the second day 2 proved to be a complete change to the last. I feel motivated and happy to be on the sobriety wagon and literally only had one thought of "wouldn't it be nice....." before the sober ninja part of my brain swooped in and kicked that thought to the kerb.

I walked my dogs this morning in the rain, wind and mud, mud everywhere. I made a silly mistake (bear with me on this for a minute) I put on the wrong boots. I unconsciously put on my hiking boots which have seen better days, rather than my wellies, as my mind was busy thinking about everything I had to do today. Due to all the rain in the last few weeks/months all my normal walks are swamps, ponds, quagmires etc just really muddy. Within a few minutes my boots were soaked, squelchy and mud logged, it was a careless mistake that had unwelcome consequences. Warning! I will be shamelessly linking this to staying sober.

I wasn't prepared, I didn't use the right tools and I let a lapse in concentration allow me to deviate from what I know is best (this played out so much better in my head on the walk but I am sticking with it) Being sober and remaining sober is the same, you need to be prepared,  have the right tools and stay alert to what you are doing. I know it is a bit hoaky but it really did highlight to me how when distracted we can make silly mistakes. I was totally distracted by the voice in my head on New Years Eve and ended up with regret and remorse. Today I was distracted making plans for later and made completely the wrong choice, and me a veteran all weather dog walker! In these early days we need to be 100% aware of our surrounding, our plans, our weaknesses, anything that may pose a risk to our sobriety, we just need to be alert to the subtle shifts in thinking and do something to change the thoughts. In the best Girl Scout tradition - Be Prepared.

Coming back home later soaked, muddy and with very squelchy boots I was able to somehow translate all that into something positive in my head. Consequently the rest of my day was amazing and as I said I only had one moment of craving and that was it. Taking Sober Mummy's advice about Hot chocolate having magical properties, I have bought myself a fabulous china mug decorated beautifully that I shall use every evening as part of a new ritual. The best way to get rid of an old habit is to replace it with a new one, hot chocolate will be my new one.

Another early night for me with my massive novel I can't put down. I have to say today has really proved to be a great day, I feel really content today and looking forward to tomorrow. I hope all day 2 people are at least coping with the day, it really is swings and roundabouts in the early stages and we have to be kind to ourselves and show endless compassion as a change from beating ourselves up over how stupid we have been, or how much we time/money/life we have wasted. Now is not the time to drag over those old wounds, self care and self compassion are in order for the next 29 days. Hot baths, log fires, hot chocolate, sober sex, candles or incense, blogging, whatever will make your evening slip by a little smoother and help you know you are worth this journey. If you are new to reading or blogging, leave a comment and I will reply and check out your blog too.

Ginger Groundhog

Friday, 1 January 2016

Day 1 - part 2. Success

Day 1 - Done

I am exhausted, like beyond belief. If you are a mom I can only relate it to the first three months of pregnancy when you could sleep standing up, outside, in a hurricane.

Part of it I am sure is the late night and then early morning but a lot of this is also down to how exhausting the on again off again is and how very mentally draining and consuming it is. My day has gone steadily downhill having been quite energised (or still drunk) for most of  the morning. Lovely brunch planned for 12.30 with friends but ironically, they ended up cancelling because of hangovers, not me.  So I packed up Christmas instead and cleaned the house - start as you mean to go on etc.

When I remember my 6 months sober I seem to remember getting lots done and having a list of jobs I could tackle bit by bit through the week, plus a list of more demanding jobs for the weekend or bank holidays. Jobs such as hacking plaster off the walls, painting the beams or stripping layers and layers of paint off the lovely woodwork. It's a 200+ year old house that needs loads of work doing and was going to be my grand design. Trouble is I had dreadful builders in the beginning and of the 25k I spent on work probably 80% of it has failed and needs redoing. They went under shortly after finishing (wrecking) my house so I had little if any recourse . I have spent the last 8 years either ignoring it and never ever allowing anyone into my house or learning how to do it myself. Some of it worked, some of it didn't. It was and is heartbreaking but I am slowly but slowly starting to make improvements.

Wine became my tonic so to speak and I didn't care too much about chunks of plaster falling off or damp stains coming through the newly damp proofed seams. I could seclude myself in the living room which was relatively finished, with my wine and nibbles and pretend nothing else mattered. For a few years it was ok like that, I was just a middle class drinker, it was wine after all but then I tried to cut back or slow down and I realised it was an effort. So for about 5 years the struggle has increased as has the volume of alcohol with it.

Today is done, I know I won't drink today as I have no desire. Tomorrow might bring a repeat of day two wobbles but I will deal with that in due course. I think today I had a bit of a retroactive hangover as I feel worse now at the end if the day than the beginning. Lots of Pukka tea today as coffee was a bit rough on my tummy.

Thanks for all the lovely comments and emails regarding my slip, they were greatly appreciated. To everyone else starting day 1 today, don't listen to the voices recommending a hair of the dog or starting Sunday. Do it now, make all of January dry and take it from there. Good luck to one and all

Ginger Groundhog