Sunday, 31 July 2016

71/100 - Positives only

Day 71 and I am limiting my bellyaching. This is just a check in to note my 5 positives.

1 Despite all my overeating and mega jumbo binge on Thurs/Friday I have lost a pound this week.
2. I mowed both front and back lawn and still had energy for weeding.
3. It was a beautiful, sunny day and I was able to get out and about to feel the benefit.
4. I hit the grocery store at the perfect time and got a pork joint and a whole chicken for £1 each so 2 roasts for the future.
5. My daughter and I really connected today, her boyfriend is away and while she is a bit sad, I am getting lots of quality time with her.

That's all it's really late here and I have a 6am alarm.

Ginger Groundhog


70/100 Not a personality transplant

Day 70

Part of my recent misery has been that I seem to be struggling more than others or I just seem like a miserable moany old bag. (Great self talk I know) The thing is I think part of me thinks that getting sober will give me a personality transplant and will become someone I have never been. I know I mentioned this before but it is really dawning on me more. I will only ever be a better version of the me that was here before, not wake up one day and be Mother Teresa or Oprah Winfrey. I can and should only expect to be me but just a little bit better. In time I may change but for now I think I am going through enough to not want to fake being something other than who I am. I have good days and I have bad days, currently and unfortunately the bad are outweighing the good. Having said that though I am going to lay a little more attention to good things that happen in the day as I think I have got stuck in only seeing a reporting the negatives.  One last thing is I have to put sleep back higher on the agenda, I AM exhausted and need to go back to getting into bed early and being comfortable enough that if sleep comes early I am ready for it. I have a hangover from Hong Kong and America that sleep is for the weak and I need to be go go go all the time, that is not something I feel capable of anymore or even a need to try to fake anymore. I am bone fog tired and I need to just work with it not against it.

Today in the grocery store I glanced down the wine and spirits aisles and I looked at it and thought I wish I could have some of that. I didn't feel an overwhelming urge to purchase it and drink it all, more a longing/wishing/hoping that I could still do that but then I moved on. Following on from what I mentioned before about someone taking my Becks Blue and leaving me with none, the alcohol free section was completely cleared, cardboard boxes only,  everything was empty. So there are far more people drinking A/F than the grocery store realise. It is summer and our town number must swell by thousands so percentage wise I suppose it makes sense.

Five Positives

1. I parked for free in town (huge bonus in a tourist town)
2. I had the strength and motivation to take a massive load of stuff to the tip and commandeered a beautiful knitted blanket someone was about to throw. AND.... it doesn't smell of cat wee which I assumed it would if someone were throwing it away.  Talk about one mans trash being another mans treasure.
3 I did my part for recyling by putting some old garden furniture out in my front garden with "FREE please take." sign on. GONE in 5 mins.
4. My legs are smooth and my toes look lovely.
5. I was awake and attuned enough to hear my daughter crying about midnight so was able to go in and offer her a shoulder. This is the one I am most grateful for.

Today is day 71 and I feel slightly more rested and a little bit more positive. Your comments yesterday really helped me and I think I am back on track more now. I have 29 days to go to the big 100 and reread the posts from the beginning when I decided, encouraged by a few to do the challenge. I think it was a golden opportunity and I am happy I did it. I can't detract from the fact that even though it has been an up and down journey so far, it is 71 days since I last staggered up the stairs puked and then passed out only to wake up to a fresh kind of hell the next morning.

Hoping for a better week with less cravings and more positivity.

Ginger Groundhog

Saturday, 30 July 2016

67, 68, 69/100 Sobriety Tightrope

Three days of severe struggle. I haven't been able to post because the thought of writing more of the same depressive, repetative dirge made me feel hopeless.

I have been consumed with thoughts of drinking for two nights running have been perilously close to just throwing in the towel. Which I the perfect expession since I feel like I have been in a boxing ring.

My best friend responded to a text I had sent asking "so what is stopping you? No one is holding a gun to your head!" And I don't exactly know what is stopping me because at times I feel like I want nothing more than to just sit down and have a few glasses of vodka followed by a few glasses of wine (my iPad just offered me the auto fill option of wine, after I had typed a few glasses- is that my iPad or standard phrase?) I need that immediate feeling of " ahhhhhhh" after you have sucked down a big mouthful and nothing I have done since has replaced that. Yet I haven't gone out a bought anything but I feel no sense of achievement for not having given in. Logically I know all the reasons why I shouldn't have a drink but they are not stopping me. I am just seemingly making to the end of the evening still miserable and craving.

Yesterday I ate maybe 15,000 calories. It may have been closer to 50,000 but I dare not allow myself to just sit with whatever it was and feel it cos the "ah fuck it" was riding very close to the wire. I ate in any angry aggressive way and was practically shoving food in my mouth rather than eating it. Stuffing down the desire to throw the towel in, oh and tell my boss to go jump in the lake. Because of my food issues present since childhood, I feel like I am in a lose/lose situation and am feeling more depressed about my weight than ever. I just keep hoping for a break in the clouds and some of the feel good to come back and then I depress myself further by thinking I seem to be the only one SO BLOODY MISERABLE about this.

Having said all that, I am on day 70 today and even in all this misery and selfish depressive monologue I have booked myself a pedicure and leg wax today. Self care and treat in one. I hope this will lift my mood slightly and give me something positive to say to you all. I am so aware about how many sparkly sober people are out there just seemingly cruising along spouting words of wisdom and revaluations about how being sober has brought this new awareness etc and here I am needle stuck on the record (sorry if you too young to understand that) in a literal Groundhog Day. I think maybe I should watch the movie again and remind myself how he changes it up so he can move on to a new day.

I am setting myself a goal of finding 5 things today that are positive. Maybe I am my own worse enemy stuck in the negative of everything. At least I should try and make an effort.

Over and out for now

Ginger Groundhog

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

66/100 Sun peaking out from the clouds

Day 66 and I think the all consuming black cloud is lifting off and my mood is improving and I feel that desperation, anxiety and ANGER 😡😡😡 softening. I hate these mood swings and still always feel a bit abnormal and disappointed when I am like this cos of course I am the only person who is so flawed and out of control with her emotions right? The rest of the world i.e. everyone other than me is together and fully in control. Everyone!

So my best friend in the whole wide world (yes I am 7 years old) knows I am dreadfully uncomfortable about receiving compliments, except about my cooking as I do think I am an excellent cook. Even when she would text me about not drinking and say "Hey, Day 25! That's great" I would text back and say "yes but I struggled, it's been hard. I might not be able to keep it up". There she is supporting me and encouraging me and I just turn it into a negative. Last time she was down I think I posted that we have turned it around and she now insults me instead. Makes me feel weirdly better and genuinely praised. Those of you who worried I may be nuts now have the assurance you need. Some examples are:

You're a compulsive liar too. Day 48 is rubbish. Refuse to praise you X

Day 56. Totally rubbish. I'm not proud of you in the slightest. But you know that.

61! That really is crap. You definitely deserve to be punished with a horrible new phone. Seriously, though, 61!! That is really really terrible. Poor show X

And today's insult.......

Anyway, well done on day 66. You really are crap!!!  X

We have always had a funny relationship and this sums our style up completely. A friendship which has only strengthened since we have both stopped drinking.

I hope I have turned the corner now mood wise and that I can make day 90 in better form.

Ginger Groundhog


Monday, 25 July 2016

65/100 Talking it out.

Day 65 and I am once again slightly better. Still a bit moody but able to at least fake being ok at work.

Monday is free therapy day for me as I have a young, enthusiastic and attentive therapist who uses the spare desk in my office. We have sparked up a bit of a friendship and she also has up and down moods herself so we can speak freely about if we up or down. So today I was sharing how down I have been and how my moods are like a swing up and down with a regular rhythm. We both shared and then she pointed out that I do very little to fill my tank but a great deal to empty it. Even the good things like a visit from my sister involved days of cleaning, worry about my house still not being finished, cooking up a storm to be the ideal host etc so whilst enjoyable, not that relaxing. Then I fall into a low when I am back on my own and have to then do all the tail end stuff, strip the beds, wash the guest towels and bedding all on top of my full time job and part time domestic goddess ok that is a stretch, domestic novice.

I mentioned before that I want to get back into swimming and horse riding and offered a few 'buts' as to why I couldn't, all excuses. Thanks to Justonemore who made me chuckle when she told be to just find a bigger horse if I was too heavy for the regular ones ha ha - I will work on that. The thing is it is true, I do very little to fill the tank and reading is about my only regular pleasure especially as I can now remember what is going on from chapter to chapter. But aside from that it is all depletion no replenishment. The Monday therapist said she wants me to make a big list of things I would love to do and include some that seem out of my reach like skydiving or going to Machu Pichu hiking just fill a list with stuff and try and do the simple stuff like going to the movies once a month or meeting up with friends, stuff where I don't have to put a great deal of effort in myself but get some benefit from. I can't come up with the list tonight as I still have the grumps and can't see the positives but I will work on it and see how far it get. Watch this space.

I am away to my bed with a book to get some me time away from the dust and cobwebs that will just have to wait. Maybe I can play on my daughter's sympathies and persuade her to give the house a quick once over. Maybe I will ride a unicorn to work tomorrow too......

Ginger Groundhog

Sunday, 24 July 2016

64/100 Enthralled by the fantasy

Day 64 and I have spent the best part of the morning in bed struggling with exhaustion and feelings of 'is this all there is?' I have noticed that my feelings get stuck in this place quite often and loathe as I am to admit it, what if this is just who I am? Gosh that makes me sad.

Another observation I have made is that I (and maybe many others) seem obsessed with the fantasy of what my life will be after I..... Quit drinking, Lose weight, Move continents, Change jobs, Change boyfriends etc. The fantasy is always so bright and clear and full of hope and so so elusive. Now to reach this place I hasten to add it involves me having one last monumental time to..... Drink what I want to, as a goodbye. Eat what I want to, as a goodbye. Act how I want to with no inhibitions, as a goodbye. Tell my boss just what I think, as a goodbye. Insert you own self sabotaging behaviour here, as a goodbye.  However, as we know there can be many goodbyes before you leave the never-never land of just one more time

The actual reality is different and involves slow and sometimes painfully slow baby steps with no great last wild time of reckless abandon, as a goodbye. It is resisting that urge to throw caution to the wind, stick to the current path and as I have heard AA people say, do the next right thing. For me the next right thing is definitely not to go to the shop and buy a bottle of vodka and a bottle of wine. Or today when I am thinking of abusing food instead of alcohol, the next right thing is definitely not to go to the shop and buy everything that catches my eye that might taste good and fill that massive empty pit inside my soul that is crying out for ????? well something. It is not food, it is not alcohol but it is not something I understand how to give or listen to. I know I should probably just sit with it but it is that discomfort that is unbearable to sit with.

As you can tell from my last few posts (ironically after the post titled Laughter) I am in a period of angst and I seem quite comfortable dumping sharing that with you. It does help to blog it out as even as I am approaching the end of this post, my desire to go to the shop and purchase 12,0000 calories to be consumed in approx 12 minutes is fading. My brain is seeing how futile it would be to do this and just how violently self sabotaging this would be to my sobriety (hate that word), my sanity, my health, my happiness and my mental health. Just because I realise this doesn't make me happy about it and in fact I feel there is some perverse pain/pleasure reward I get from damaging myself and doing things that ultimately hurt me physically or mentally. I guess that is why I have been a slow learner all these years, somehow there is a reward to this behaviour or I wouldn't have carried on.

Right now all I know is that I don't want to drink but I want that fleeting feeling I get when I do drink that nothing else matters right now except me here disconnecting from everything and everyone. That slow warmth and blurring of the edges slowing seeping in. I know it doesn't last and I know there are consequences after but it us that initial sensation that I haven't been able to replicate.

I feel yet another early night coming on tonight. What a gloomy girl I am these few days.

Ginger Groundhog

Saturday, 23 July 2016

63/100 Nine weeks and counting

Day 63 = nine whole weeks.

I am not yet over my temper tantrum meltdown and was exhausted tired today. I am just going with it as I seem to recall I have had a few (maybe you think too many) cranky rough days in the last 9 weeks and I have come out the other side, eventually. It is just kart of my journey.

I wish I could say I wasn't thinking about drinking but thoughts did plague me all day long, just throw the towel in, give it a break, just one more good few weeks and the inevitable, maybe this time I can keep it under control. I let all this play on in the back of my mind without paying it too much attention but just aware it was there and I need to be alert to it.

I went to the grocery store today and bought some more Becks Blue and when I was in line to pay, the family in front of me were finishing up. It looked like a grandpa, son and brother or son and grandson. Anyway the younger boy who was maybe 20's had some kind of mental disability and I had noticed the family earlier cos the grandpa seemed to be so kind to him and seemed to have a nice spirit. Anyway as I was loading my stuff onto the belt Becks Blue already near the front, I looked up and the middle guy who was maybe 40's had Becks Blue in his arms. We had split second eye contact and he gave me a smile that I can't quite explain but like ' yeah me too' friendly but a little bit sad or resigned. I wish I had given a smile back but I was just too slow to react, he turned and was gone.

I forgot to say I did reward my two months with a new phone. Mine, inherited from my daughter when she upgraded, has been slowly dying and acting up for weeks. I was looking at getting it repaired but the thought I should treat myself so I did, got and older version iPhone but still new, to mark the occasion.

Today is over and I am tucked up in bed, please let me feel a bit better tomorrow.

Ginger Groundhog

Friday, 22 July 2016

62/100 Mrs Nasty has a temper tantrum

Day 62  - whatever!

Got a serious grump on after lunch due to stupid work politics and lazy people being allowed to be LAZY but still get *paid the same as me. HOW IS THAT ALLOWED??? (yes I am actually SHOUTING at you)

By 4:30 I had had enough and all I could think about was getting back at everyone by me drinking. I am not quite sure exactly how that does punish everyone but it made sense at the time. For the next 2 hours I thought about how long would I drink for? 7 days!  What would I drink? Vodka and wine. Would I care that I was damaging my health and shortening my life? Nope, bring it on. Did I care that several people would be disappointed that I had had a drink? Nope it's my life and no one gives a shit anyway!!

Yep that was an insight into my malfunctioning brain and there were so many worse thoughts that I cannot bring myself to write about. As I mentioned before I have a mild personality disorder and when I get extremely stressed, angry, hurt, or threatened the old maladaptive strategies come out. I am aware how stupid they are and how they make no sense when I am through them but in the moment I am lost to the intensity of them. I am embarrassed by it to be honest but by being honest about it I am sure helps me deal with it. Most people do have some form of maladaptive coping strategies and personality issues that come out during duress but needless to say we all tend to think we are the only ones who behave in a certain way. Not true, EVERYONE is a bit nuts but some hide it better.

So I am still angry, hate everyone, think life sucks, am furious that I want to drink and furious that I didn't and still have to go through this crappola. No need to placate or humour me, I am a stupid grown up after all, I just have to dig myself out of the hole I have dug for myself. I am sharing this crappy side of me in the same way I share the less crappy side, it is all still part of Ginger, whoever the hell I am.

Terrible night and I still want to drink about 9/10 but I am not doing it but I am still angry about that ARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHH . Lights out is the only way to move on from this. Goodnight.

This is what a temper tantrum looks like edited and written down. THIS .........  is what you need to be prepared to do if you want to quit and dammit if I made it through tonight then it really is possible to not drink. FFS!!

Ginger Groundhog


Thursday, 21 July 2016

61/100 Laughter

Day 61 and I am feeling good today. All systems were down at work for the first hour and I won't lie, I was delighted! Usually I go in and hit the ground running but today I chatted with a few colleagues, read stupid stuff on the Internet and finished a whole cup of coffee uninterrupted by calls. Hallelujah!

End of the day I came home and a miracle...... my daughter had washed the dishes, with no threats, no begging, no passive aggressive mealy mouthed whinging from me. She just did them, wow.

I sat down this evening and lost myself in James Cordon Carpool Karaoke -oh my goodness I laughed myself silly and sang my heart out. Even if you only watch one, watch Michelle Obama. What a fun lady whatever your politics. Watch it here

There is so much going on in the world that is scary, depressing, troubling and just plain wrong. I can't do too much about it and at times it feels like there is nothing good happening. I am not burying my head but I do feel like I should redress the balance and tonight I feel happier for it. All the rest of the worries will still be there in the morning.

Hope you enjoy the video or something similar more up your street Here or here

Ginger Groundgog

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

60/100 Wigging out -shudder

Day 60 post was supposed to be all celebratory and yay me but I have the heebie jeebies something awful.  2 dogs, summer, long grass and .....TICKS!

Normally every year the dogs get ticks and have tablets that kill them via the bloodstream but this year the ticks are a nightmare. I am pulling them off as they are walking around on the dogs coats before they embed themselves. Tonight as I was sitting down to blog, the spaniel (who thinks he's a cat) jumped up on my lap as usual. I felt something on my arm and it was a tick, yuk but no biggie it happens. Then I feel another one and this one is in my clothes on my tummy. Queue me tearing my clothes off one shaking them out, oh crap now I'll have to vacuum, and generally acting like a demented person, looking in the mirror checking myself out.

Needless to say my skin is crawling and I am convinced this year will be the first year I get suckered by one. Yikes I have the willies. Worse still is I have been rejoicing at my morning sightings of deer on several walks which is not so jubilant when you consider Lyme disease. I am seriously thinking of asking the vet for an extra chew tab for me.

What does this have to do with not drinking for 60 days, NOTHING but this might be my last night of sanity so just sharing my last post before I either scratch myself to death, go crazy googling tick removal or die from unknown disease that you only catch from ticks if you aren't drinking vast quantities of wine nightly.

Said spaniel has been booted off my lap and I have white clothes on so I can see anything moving on me. I look like someone from The Leftovers but sans cigarette.

Oh and I haven't had a drink tonight or in the last 60 days, just sayin...

Freaked out Groundhog (hmm? Do groundhogs get ticks? Google! )

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

58 & 59/100 Adding up

Day 59 and I had to go back and look what day it is 57? 58? How cool is that?

Drinking is not in my thoughts these last few days, it has barely registered and only came up when I thought about how I was not actively reading and following blogs and even keeping up on comments and posts on my own. I just feel so much more interested in other things like reading, tv, gardening, visitors and day trips out, so that is both good and bad in of itself.

When I started this 59 days ago I was hoping it wasn't going to be yet another failed attempt which I would hate myself for again. As it turns out it has been quite the experience and I continue each day to learn something new, process something differently and try and see an alternative way of looking at things. At times I have even felt like "normal" people, something usually alien to me. I have always felt the odd one out, the black sheep, the weirdo but recently I have thought I was borderline normal, a bit quirky and not quite a black sheep but a little but grey sheep - I am not ready to relinquish all my idiosyncrasies yet. I am less angry, I sleep better (yes that old chestnut) I have lost the bloated look, I am more patient, more inquisitive, more organised, more productive and just more like the old me from ohhh about 10 years ago.

That's where it gets a bit tricky because with that thought I get thrown back into the thinking about how much time I have lost and what a waste blah blah. I try and let those thoughts pass because there is nothing that I can do about it but also for some reason that I don't know, all of that was absolutely necessary to bring me to where I am now. As tired as "everything happens for a reason" is, I still believe it.

Well I feel like I am repeating myself now so I will stop for now. Day 60 tomorrow, does that qualify as 2 months?

Ginger Groundhog

Sunday, 17 July 2016

55, 56, 57/100 Mourning Summer Drinking

Day 57 and I am relaxing in bed after a great visit with my sister. Yet again amongst all the frivolity and days out, we had some deep deep discussions about life and needless to say I told her about my drinking. She was quite shocked as she said she didn't really think of me as being anything other than a social drinker. She commented on the visit to her house in February and how I only drank the same as her, I had to correct her and say I was taking slugs from a vodka bottle in my bag as I was trying to appear normal. I think it is worrying that I was able to drink so much and still appear normai-ish

We spoke about our birth father who she did not know but I did (way too long a story to recap here) and we spoke about how he was an alcoholic and how he died. He died as a result of his drinking i.e. fell down a staircase and cracked his head. I remember over the years I knew in he had that sweet tobacco kind of smell when the alcohol comes out through your pores. It is not and unpleasant smell to me but one I am familiar with from my childhood. My dad who raised me (I was adopted within the family) drank whiskey but was a normal drinker and he and my birth father would drink together but at some point my dad would then have to try and slow the birth father down and that wasn't happening. The birth father never had a hair out of place and if you saw him next morning he would be washed, shaved, hair slicked back and a twinkle in his eye whether this was how he felt or not was another matter. I have gone into work shiny and polished with perfume and makeup done but inside thought 'please don't let me puke' or with my head pounding feeling like death but pretending I was jolly and fine. Urgh makes me shudder to think about it.

We went to St Ives yesterday (google it, it's beautiful) and we had a brilliant day, good fortune came our way all day long. Free parking cos the metres were broken, bright blue skies and perfect temperature, a seal popped up in the harbour and was begging for attention so we got great photos and it was the perfect day. I didn't have any cravings per se but I felt a bit sad for about an hour when I was waiting for my sister and niece to arrive, we had to take two cars and they got stuck in traffic whilst my daughter and the others went on a boat trip. I was left to wander around the beachfront and all of a sudden I was overcome by that feeling of loss, I'll never drink a beer, glass wine, vodka tonic,etc etc, again out in the sun on the beach. I was able to catch myself a bit in this moment and think that I wasn't doing that much anyway, I was sitting at home in my living room drinking not having been to the beach cos it was all a bit too much of an effort and being in the sun with a hangover is not fun. So I turned the fantasy thinking into reality thinking and allowed myself the option of a Becks Blue with lunch IF it was still an issue. It wasn't and I had a Diet Coke. The remainder of the hour I spent taking photos with a camera and playing around. I am thinking of doing a photography course and this was my first play about with my old camera not just an iPhone.

Sister left late last night as my niece starts a new job Monday and wanted to be home settled and ready. I have grown even more this weekend and told another very supportive person who has promised to be on the end of a phone 24/7 if I have a wobble. In three days my sister and neice shared 2 bottles of Prosecco and have left with more booze than they arrived with ha ha. Looks like I prepared for my kind of drinking when in fact they are sippers not guzzlers.

A great weekend and I am refreshed but tired, having guest for me is a new thing and I think I need a break now to regroup. Today I am relaxing and reviewing the chat, I will read my book and sit in the garden and have an early night.

Ginger Groundhog

Friday, 15 July 2016

53 & 54 Wine in the house

Day 54 and I have wine in my house. Surprisingly I feel NOTHING, it is just another bottle. Thankfully it is Prosecco and white wine which hold no pull for me, may be a different story if it was red wine.

I poured my sister a glass of Prosecco and could smell it but thought no more of it. The only drink related thought I had was when I was stressing prior to their arrival and I thought " I am so stressed but I a, not thinking about drinking. If I get more stressed I wonder if I will want to drink?" It wasn't a craving it was more of a realisation that I used to have a nifty swifty before anyone arrived to take the edge off, now I don't do that, what do I do? Well I stayed with the stress about my house not being finished, small jobs unfinished and all the other mind bombs I detonate when I am stressed. I didn't want to drink I just thought about what if I did.

Luckily I am feeling nothing at all craving wise and feel very pleased that is how it has turned out. Having said that, I will fight the wine witch like an ally cat if she does show up cos I am not giving up how I feel these days.

Ginger Groundhog -Sober and proud.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

51 & 52/100 Good Busy

Today is day 52 and I am still feeling good and motivated. I was so busy last night reading everyone else's blog and preparing for my sister's visit that I just forgot to post. This is all new to me, being busy and doing something other than plopped on the couch sipping glugging wine that I haven't quite got the timings right. I cant get everything done I want and still feel like I have a life.

My sister arrives on Thursday and this is her first visit to my house. Since we have reconciled we have kept in contact and we seem so much stronger than before. Because we only met for the first time when I was 30 and she 32, we don't have a shared past so we have only have the recent years on which to base our relationship and several of those were tainted by my family giving her a very biased PoV of me (always been the black sheep) and the fact that I can get very defensive when caught on the back foot. It was the wrong combination of bad and it soured our blossoming relationship for several years. We are both bigger and better people now thank goodness.

Thoughts of alcohol are quite far from my mind and today I didn't even think about anything until 4pm when I thought "I haven't thought about drinking today". It did change later when the daughter and I had a big old fight and when I took the dogs out I stomped around the field fantasising how I would drink at her to show her (duh!! Stupid thought alert) luckily that was all it was a stupid thought that I didn't really have any intention of following through on. I was even more annoyed because for once I was actually the grown up in the argument!

This weekend will be the first time I will have alcohol in the house since I quit. I am not bothered or worried about it because fortunately my sister drinks Prosecco and that is not my thang at all. I plan to tell her that I am unable to drink due to a medical thing so she doesn't bring me wine but I do plan to tell her when she is here the real reason. I am alert to the fact that once the alcohol is poured it might be a bit of a trigger but I also have no desire or cravings today. My daughter will be here to be by my side but overall I am feeling confident about it. My best friend has offered to be on the end of the phone if I start to go crazy. I have just paused to check in with myself how I feel when I think about a glass of red and I felt very neutral and no desire to indulge.

I am considering plans for the future to get out there a bit more and do stuff. Our local cinema has movie night for £5 on Mondays so I might go to that and then one night/day I would like to go swimming. I used to be an excellent swimmer but it has fallen by the wayside. Last but not least I would like to lose enough weight to be able to horse riding again, it was a love of mine but I am too porky to get on a horse these days. So those are some sober goals I want to work toward. Baby steps, baby steps.

Ginger Groundhog


Sunday, 10 July 2016

50/100 Half way to the 100

Day 50 and I am thrilled to be here. Feeling refreshed and energised after my friends visit.

We have had a full on chat-a-thon with some tears, lots of laughs and some serious reflection on our drinking history. It is great if you have someone honest and with no axe to grind to discuss your drinking openly and truthfully. I don't think I have ever been as honest with anyone as I was with my friend this weekend. The beauty of this relationship is we have known each other for 26 years and have seen the very best and worst of each other yet we still love each other.

This weekend I have felt no more like drinking alcohol than eating scorpions, it just wasn't something I felt I was missing. This is even more incredible given that we were known for our drinking together and would frequently be the last ones standing at many a gathering. She is now at 15 months and said she knows now that if she had one drink she might never stop. I feel the same I feel like I got lucky this time and the elevator doors opened when I was ready to get off but should I go back for "one more goodbye session" as I have done so many times, I will be stuck in the day 1-2-3-4 again which is soul destroying and so full of despair. I thank my lucky stars today I don't have to deal with that every day still, I know the tightrope of sobriety is a hair's width in these early days but I have found my balance and am inching along secure in the knowledge the line will hold my weight if I am steady and cautious. The same awareness tells me that the weight of one glass of wine will snap that tightrope and I will be down in the net wondering how I let myself slip.

Yesterday I had a moment in the kitchen where I just felt purely happy, just that happy contentment that everything is going along fine in your life. Daughter fine, friend here, dogs walked and fed, 3 cups of good coffee drunk, dinner nearly ready and the massive hedge outside had been sliced and diced into submission by some random guys touting for business (who did a fab job) and only after it was done did I realise what a big mental drain that out of control hedge was for me. I felt light and free and without a care in the world. Needless to say I haven't felt that level of happiness in oh so long. Added to this, I have another visit next week from my sister and niece, all is well in my world.

Work will be the biggest test of the stability of this mood, I know I spent a great deal of time and energy last week complaining about it and it will be interesting to see if I can maintain this happiness and recognise the mood changing if it starts.  I can but live in hope.

So here's to the next 50, may they bring me whatever it is I need to learn and progress no matter how hard and challenging it may be

Ginger Groundhog.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

47,48,49/100 Prioritising ME.

So much for the blogging everyday ha ha. LIFE happened I'm afraid and I am ok with that.

Today is the morning of day 49 seven weeks and I feel good. My best friend arrived for another visit last night, work was still stupid, crazy, ridiculously busy and stressful, daughter seems to be doing ok and everything is just ticking along. I have had several days where I have barely registered thinking about drinking, I know I gave thought about it but only in passing and not to focus in on it.

I am meandering along and don't have any pressing things to say and as my posts are always more organic than bloggers who plan their posts, I tend to launch myself into my trending thoughts rather than draft a well though out post. Well done all you bloggers who do it "properly" I can see the difference.

For now I am just going to revel in the fact drinking isn't a big deal at present, enjoy my friends company, eat some good home cooking (mine - what a braggart) and chat like only good friends can. I am in a really good place and feel relatively light and clear, I know my moods are somewhat mercurial but I think that is more ME than me recovering from drinking.

I know there is so much turmoil unrest and disharmony going on in the world but I am choosing to, for the time being, to hold onto this balloon of happiness and just drift for a bit. Like the serenity prayer says I am trying to recognise what I can and can't change. It's not that I don't care it is that I can't care too much right now as I have prioritised myself. I am fine with that and I hope you all are too.

With much love

Ginger Groundhog

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

46/100 That's all

Day 46. Work better, I put my foot down and refused to take anything extra on until they review my role. Felt good to stand my ground and when my boss tried to mock me about it in front of others I asked her if she felt it was acceptable for us to treat patients and expect to not get paid for it? Because when she expects me to do work for free it is the same principle. I would never have been so bold before cos I was always worried that I would have the finger pointed at me because somehow they knew I was hungover all the time.

I confided in someone else today about not drinking, it was testing the waters really. I just mentioned I had stopped drinking for several weeks now cos I realised I, like so many others, was using alcohol as a crutch in the evening after a bad day at work. Her reaction? "Oh wow, good for you, that's amazing. Well done"

How about that for sober appreciation. She said "I get it, I sometimes drink too many beers at the weekend and feel rubbish on Monday and think why do I bother if it makes me feel like this." I think she was talking 3-4 beers not 30-40 but still it made me pleased to get such a rewarding response. I passed it off as I was feeling so much better without it that I didn't see any point in having a few but the cautiously added "anyway I think if I did have a few I would just be back to a bottle like so many others and I am over that"

Part of me felt like I should have owned it a bit more but there are so many potentially negative responses to stopping drinking I didn't want to make it seem like too much of a problem and get the look that indicates you are 'one of those drinkers'. This was just dipping my toe in the telling people water and this felt suitable and right for now. A small step but still a step.

Ginger Groundhog

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

45/100 Building sober muscle

Day 45 yet another tough day. Work was terrible, stressful and had a ranty boss dumping all her problems on me all day. Disgraceful considering she is a clinical psychologist.

Had a mini temper tantrum at about 3pm and spent 4 hours fantasising about drinking wanting to drink "at" all the crap but after just thinking on it for a while I ended up thinking myself out of it.

The only positive I can add is that I lost the plot so spectacularly today that I think I popped the rage bubble in myself. We will see but I felt a shift at the end of the day.

Lastly I noticed that one of my blog friends has turned her blog private and I feel sad that I won't read anything from her again. Hopefully it is a short term thing. What a shame.

Ginger Groundhog

Monday, 4 July 2016

43 & 44 /100 - 4th July, quitting day

Why is July 4th quitting day? Because every year for about 5 years I have said I will quit on July 4th cos it will be my own Independence Day and I can always celebrate and commemorate it each year. This feeds into it must be a significant or memorable day/date to quit. It didn't last each time, independence was fleeting.

Day 43 was Sunday and I was back to myself and full of the joys to be fit and healthy and had I written this post yesterday it would have been a positive delight.  Sadly because I was so busy doing things and going to the movies and getting home late after having fun I didn't have time or energy to do it so late. I was thrilled I would finally be posting something happy and jolly as opposed to my usual moan and groan and I had a couple of small achievements to share. However........

Day 44 started fine with the intention of still posting positive when I got home from work but then WORK HAPPENED. I won't go into all that happened but it was a vile day and I am realising just how much work is negatively impacting on me. Yet I feel trapped by the whole advice on don't change anything major your first year.

I left work very distressed and angry and needless to say there was one thing on my mind, having a drink!! I fought with myself for a few minutes but then sent my best friend an S.O.S message and she said she would call me in 5 minutes. This is the second time I have been bad enough to do this and this is something I always resisted previously because errr, well, she might try and talk me out of it. She allowed me to vent, rant, rage, scream, pace and spew forth a torrent of foul and vile language directed at certain people. She let me completely unload til it was all gone and I had reached a calm state. There is always a little voice that somewhere is telling me that I really, really don't want to got back for oh so many reasons and how I honestly don't know if I could get to here again. It took me 14 months to get back to here, what if next time it took longer, how much worse could it get? Counter that with the other voice that was thinking, as soon as I hang up I'm going to the shop!

Only time would have told which voice won, if I was to say now I would say the NOT drinking voice because I could have stopped twice on the way home but didn't but I still knew it was important that I reach out. I do feel the need to apologise that my posts seem so repetative and a bit high drama with my mood always so volatile but I also want to give the warts and all account of what is going on and where I am. I think it is quite easy to think like I did tonight "is this as good as it gets? Is this all I have to look forward to?" the answer is more than likely "No!" as so many bloggers go to great length explaining how much better it gets and how much easier it gets. It's hard to remember that when you are doing your best Spiderman impression and climbing the walls but somewhere the logic is saying don't do it.  Everyday I don't drink I feel a small sense of achievement and everytime I beat one of these jackass cravings I feel a little stronger, and each day further from day 1 makes it a little bit harder to throw it all away. If you are still drinking or thinking about stopping I don't know if hearing my struggles helps or makes things worse. All I can say is I am telling it like it is for me and how I am trying this time to use all the tools I have at my disposal. It's hard but it IS doable.

Happy 4th to everyone stateside, please send me corn dogs, they don't have them here. I celebrated July 4th for the first 3 years we were back in the UK but it made my daughter sadder to celebrate. Thanksgiving has remained as a tradition though and anyone who is still sober come November can come to mine for a feast to end all feasts. You will have to work out my identity and find my house but you will be welcome once you get here. My friend and her family are flying in from Chicago in November and it will be first Thanksgiving where the Yanks will out number the Brits, slightly worried the timing might be related to the election and if a certain party gets elected they may be seeking asylum, Canada may be full by then.

Ginger Groundhog

Sunday, 3 July 2016

42/100 Six weeks sober

Day 42 Which makes it another Saturday, the day when I most often have to fight every thought in my head. Well today I have set an intention to not allow that to happen. Today I will think about the positives all day only.

I am noticing very clearly just how ALL OR NOTHING my thinking, doing and living is. Maybe this is a common trait to drinkers or maybe it's just me. I got to thinking about this due to me spending the last 3 days cuddled up in bed coughing and feeling sorry for myself (maybe a touch too sorry at that) and that my life is ver feast or famine. When I do stuff around the house I throw myself in full tilt and must get things finished by such and such time, this rarely happens, but after I am done I feel exhausted and can barely do anything including the day yo day stuff. When I have overdone it for a period of time and not had enough rest for I feel like life is all a bit humdrum and not what I wanted, my body can manifest an illness that will fell me. In my family there is an expression used, because it seems to be an extended family trait, that so and so has "taken to the bed" and in my head I use it myself but not out loud to the daughter.

"Take to the bed" indicates it's all been a bit much and a complete reboot is needed. I have only been consciously aware of it for a few years but with hindsight it did happen in my younger days but not so much as now I am last 40. Seems like that is also common the the whole family. Sometimes it goes on for a couple of days other times it can be a week or so. I hate it but I also realise it is necessary for me to. but that internal struggle of 'what will people think'  and the realisation that other people outside the family don't seem to have it. Funnily enough my best friend does and she is the only one I feel completely comfortable talking to about it. That is why I think there is always a physical aspect to it because you can't just self indulgently lie in bed for days right?  I am sure there is an element of depression there too when it all becomes too much but it is hard to admit even when you work in mental health.

So I am done with this period of "take to the bed" the cough is manageable and I have stopped weeing myself when I get a major minute long coughing jag (see why I don't want to be around people) surely I can't be the only one who crosses her legs and bends in half when she coughs to avoid shame. Does this happen to men? I hasten to add I am in control 99% of the time but when I get a chest infection all bets are off.

Back to work tomorrow and I am aware I have lost my love for my job, I have that sinking feeling about it now and just hope I can power through and this is only temporary. We'll see but for now I will just have to suck it up.

Ginger Groundhog

Friday, 1 July 2016

41/100 on the mend

Day 41 and I have made it out of the bed for longer than just to give the dogs a 'pee and poo walk' poor lads. I am in better spirits than yesterday and have been letting Hong Kong slip back into my history quietly. Truthfully I was never going to be Tai Pan for goodness sake but the old melancholies had me convinced 'I could have been a contender

My life whilst a tad mediocre now is still way better than the fates of so many. I had a great adventure for a long time and realised myself I wanted a very settled and steady life for my daughter to grow up in. I have done that for her and hopefully the next adventures will be hers.

For now I will take the everyday ebb and flow until I reach some solid sober ground. I know I am not happy at work recently and don't have the numbing option to help me deal with it. I know in AA they advise people not to make any serious life changes for a year and I am going to give that consideration for a while, see if it is something I can do.

Pushing all that aside, I am ready to now sit down and launch myself into the new Game of Thrones, I recorded them all so feel a binge (a good kind) coming on. Hmmm?? Tea or Becks Blue? 

Ginger Groundhog