Thursday, 20 October 2016

152/180 Getting my house in order

Day 152 -been sick for two weeks recently with my old faithful laryngitis and chest infection. I have been signed off with post viral fatigue since I am in doctors term TATT- Tired All The Time. This is the third time in 8 months I have been physically floored by the same thing and according to the doc my immune system has not had time in between to recuperate. Blood tests are in my future to rule out anything serious but like the doctor I am betting it is more life/stress/work/busy/quitting booze related than it is an actual illness. I have let go of my fears and worry about what work will think and given in to being sick and just allowing myself to recover. So much mental stuff is bubbling to the surface because I have actually stopped the treadmill of life and noticing what is going on around me and in my head.

We are not designed to live the way we do!

I'm a bit annoyed that after quitting booze I am rocked by poor health however........ I think this is all still part of the life detox and I am embracing (grudgingly) this in the same way I am all the positive aspects. Also, not to get too woo-woo new agey on you, my house is undergoing a renovation and literally some rooms have been stripped back to the stone. Getting rid of all the problems that have been spackled over for years, one botched repair job after another. The rooms are laid bare, no pretty finish, no plaster on the wall BUT they are now dry and free from damp and rot that had been lying beneath the surface causing years of problems, cold, damp, mould, blistering. Not only is the house a metaphor for what is happening in my life but I truly honestly belief there is a symbiosis between the house and myself. Both have needed this work done for years but each has been denied the opportunity because it was just so big a task to undertake.  This slow, painful sometimes shocking (being called down from my sick bed by the builder to show me a load bearing 200 year old wooden beam that was reduced to the texture of wet coffee grounds) work is necessary and timely. Everything happens for a reason and in the right time and order but sometimes in the thick of it you struggle to see the natural progression of it. Even out of the most horrible circumstances good can follow.

It is not secret here that I drank too much for about 8 years, excessively for 5 years and very worryingly for a year. Through all this time I neglected my house and my finances subsequently ending up with about £6000 credit card debt. Not horrendous compared to some people but for me who doesn't like debt of any kind -terrifying. Having only a very small mortgage but heavy credit card payments it seemed sensible to draw down some equity and get the credit cards paid off but also get enough to tackle some essential building work. If I hadn't have accrued the credit card debt by drinking I wouldn't have got the money to take care of the repairs which time wise coincided with me  being ready to deal with my longstanding issues from being sober for 5 months. The timing of all of this has just been fabulous, it's almost choreographed. The only thing absent from this scenario is SHAME, my go to emotion. Shame would have been the prevailing feeling and admission about all of the above. Shame I drank too much, shame I accrued debt, shame over the state of my house, shame that my life was out if control and unmanageable. Shame, shame, shame, a shame storm. But... It's not there, shame is notable by its absence. All that has happened is done, I am not proud of how things got to this point but they were all steps along the way I took by misadventure, necessity, survival or habit or some combination of all of those and hundreds of other factors. All steps have led me to here and a clearer view of the road ahead.

Two nights ago I was very close to having a drink due to a devastating row with my 18 year old daughter. I was ready to throw it all away to get back at her (this stupid logic comes up quite often when I am rage filled) but as so often happens now I decided to look into it a bit more from a place of calm. I thought about what I wanted to do, drink, how it would make me feel, good initially then hollow then disappointed then sick, would it help the situation? No, would it be worth it? no, would I regret it? yes, would it be a one off? probably not! Would I be willing to risk all I had gained? Not sure!
Then I asked myself what was I feeling, where was the feeling and what could I do about it? Going deep I realised I was hurt, sad, angry and lonely. I felt like a child myself and that my daughter had "abandoned" me and then the tears came. This activity circled a few times with me still deciding drinking would be the best solution, all the way back through to drinking is the stupidest most self destructive thing I could do and why would I do that. Again, back to the hurt, sad, angry and lonely stage which brought more tears which led to the super smart idea to go to bed. I hasten to add if you think this was very mature of me, rest assured it wasn't as it was still my daughter who had to assume the role of 'grown up' in the scenario and come and talk things out sensibly. I'm definitely stuck in child mode when my feelings get hurt. To be worked on in due course.

So there are the recent ups and downs of my life, a way to see that things go well & shit still happens. It is worth bearing in mind that there is always a window of opportunity to see things from a different perspective if we will but take the time rather than going for our knee jerk reaction - drink.

Today I am still tired, still a bit sick but very clear in my mind that drinking would have set me right back to square one and I don't want to do that anymore. I will continue to sit with the times of discomfort so I can enjoy the times of accomplishment.

Ginger Groundhog


  1. I'm glad you didn't drink the other night, my one and only relapse was an attempt to get back at someone else, a desperate measure to get them to change the way I had changed-it didn't work and it took me almost a week to recover. Definitely not worth it. The only difference between that time and all the other times I started drinking again after swearing I wouldn't is that time I knew when I took that first drink, that I would return to not drinking, I knew I wasn't going to try to drink sensibly again-I'd already proven to my own satisfaction I couldn't do that.

    Pride at where we are overshadowing the shame that we started out with is part of the natural progression of sobriety. Shame still pops up for me sometimes, but it is the anomaly instead of the normal state of being. Thank you, God!
    I am so happy for your renovation of both yourself and your home, both of them are going to be so worth it and I can just imagine the deep clean breath you're going to take when the house is done (it sounds like a lovely house, btw. I love old homes.) but speaking of breathing, have you asked your doctor if your illness might be caused by all the stirring up of that old dust and mold?

  2. Hey Ginge, and I thought my problems were big!! You're doing great girl, no kids but I know that teenagers (people) can cause a lot of pain and the house stuff is really stressful - drunk or sober shit is still going to happen - at least that's what I keep telling myself. Anyway above ground is a good day. I still have black moments usually at night, shame, self-pity, condemnation for wasted years but the mornings look better and its usually good to haul my somewhat skinnier backside out of bed and get on with whatever the day throws at me. So stick with it.


  3. Impressive how you worked through your emotions, identified them and felt them, I have a lot to learn I can learn from this ("child" is my default when hurt too). Speaking from experience, teenagers have a way of pressing your buttons. Be proud of your daughter for coming back to you as an adult. That is awesome in itself. x

  4. Wonderful post--go you! All that emotional growth is inspiring. Sad to read you've been dragged down physically but you have a great mind-set about it. Keep taking such good care of yourself and your surroundings! :)

  5. I'm sorry you have been feeling so ill. I hope things start to improve for you. I am so glad you did not drink! All my relapses pretty much were about a *fuck you* to all and sundry and in doing so I only succeeded in damaging myself. I'm working on that self destruct button by realising I am OK just as I am. Sober and chugging along. Love and healthy thoughts to you. Xxx

  6. Hi Ginger!
    It seems like so many of us drink when we are angry about something.
    I am happy you talked yourself through your feelings.
    You did that like a grownup!

  7. Hug. That rage is familiar. I find yoga has helped me with the pause. No irrational behaviour.
    It's liberating.
    I always think about the quote it's like drinking poison and hoping someone else dies. Silly. And dangerous.



  8. Ginger, I came over to catch up after your very sweet gesture of checking in over at my blog and see that you haven't written in a month! I hope you are ok and just having a rest. Please do check in again. You are missed when not here. I have been bowing out of a lot lately.... Needing a break. I hope you are experiencing some solitude and exactly what you are needing right now. And it not, I hope that you will reach out. <3