Sunday, 21 May 2017

365/365 - One Year

I have written a thousand posts in my head for today and marking one year.

The irony is, like this time last year I woke up feeling nauseaus and like I was dying. Like last year I spent the majority of the day in bed feeling sorry for myself. However, this year I know for sure this was not my fault, not something I brought about myself and is probably a 24 hour bug rather than  lazy years alcohol poisoning.

Whatever it is/was, as I am still a bit poorly, it has taken the big TA-DA! out of my day.

All that aside, I have made it here with only one hiccough along the way. It can be done and you will feel so much better for it. Believe me, if I can say that today then anything is possible.

Today felt a bit of a damp squib compared to how I expected it to be but in some sadistic way, it was an excellent reminder of how so many days, mornings were spent feeling sick and sorry for myself. Before I used to try and fight through it and appear normal so no one knew, today I just let myself feel ill because I had nothing to cover up.

I will save my celebratory post for another day but I had to at least confirm that I made it here and with no regrets. The only regret is that it took me so long to do it for real.

Ginger (or should that be green) Groundhog

Sunday, 16 April 2017

330-1/365 Easter Sunday update

Happy Easter everyone

Today finds me feeling, well, a bit "normal" This is quite mundane for you to read but life changing for me. Me? Normal? Is that even possible? Well yes seemingly so. Today I woke up after a huge sleep and felt well rested, revived, content, dare I say happy and feeling like at this moment I have nothing to be upset about. I honestly can't remember a time when I didn't wake up and think something negative varying from "the house is a mess" to " God I'm so fat I need to do something right now" to " how have I ended up in this life, what did I do wrong?" And that old familiar " why did I drink so much last night?"

Today I woke up and really believed all is well in my world. I also can now accept that this is not a permanent state, for some it may be a relative constant but for me it is a happy moment, specifically that moment meditation promises - PRESENCE. I just feel so content today, lucky to be alive, proud of who I am and what I have achieved. I feel GREAT. Even the voice that normally chirps up saying "don't acknowledge that, you'll jinx it" is quiet.

Hands down I can honestly say I do not remember feeling this good for years, in fact I cannot remember the last time at all. I also can recognise that this feeling comes from a state of acceptance and today I am clearly able to see, understand, acknowledge and (this is key) accept all aspects of my life as they are in this moment. I am still as fat today as I was yesterday but today I accept it because I have done so much this past year that I can only thank my body for all it has dealt with, coped with and provided me with.. I have a bad temper sometimes and that has caused me problems in life, at work, in friendships, with my lovely daughter but I also accept it and recognise that sometimes anger has served me and helped me clean the house in fury or dug up weeds in a snit etc.

Currently there are dust bunnies under the dining room table, the garden needs work and I still haven't fixed the bath panel that mocks me every time I sit on the loo. But....... I quit drinking 330 days ago and the change to my life has been transformational quite literally it has turned my life around.  Maybe there are dust bunnies in plain sight under the dining room table but go into any of the rarely used rooms in the house and there are no great shameful secrets hiding like there were a year ago. You can no longer write your name in dust on the dresser in the spare bedroom. Walk into my house today and I will gladly show you around, opening every door to every room including the "junk" room tucked away in back [side note, soon to be repurposed as a laundry room] The mere fact that I have allowed you over the threshold is monumental in comparison to 3 years ago when no one except my very best friend was allowed in due to shame and embarrassment. Truthfully, for approx 6 years only a scant few people were allowed inside lest I be judged beyond all imagination and the shame shower that followed would have scalded the skin off. Now I will give you the grand tour and maybe comment only once that I am not the worlds best housekeeper. Even saying that, I know that my standards are higher than I am representing here but old habits die hard.

Up until 330 days ago I drank waaaaay too much, I drank to blur not only the edges but the sum total of my life. I was trying to blot out the dissatisfaction of who I was, how I looked, how I behaved and how I was refusing to take responsibility for my life. I have only drunk once in that 330 days and that highlighted to me in one night all that was wrong with my life and how it would be exactly the same if I drank again. This new way of being ie sober, has its ups and downs but I see now that that is what life is, everyone's life is, not some character flaw or universal punishment of me for being "wrong". Today, Sunday I feel amazing and like I could take on the world but Wednesday at work I was sad, scared and "acting out" which is how I feel when my mild personality disorder is triggered. What I will say is that on Wednesday I was told something very unsettling about work/my role by senior management and I said "I need to walk away right now" and long story short I walked away translating what was said into the worst case scenario, I catastrophised it to the max and put all kinds of meaning and interpretation on it that wasn't necessarily real. Breakthrough moment- I called this manager (like you other grown ups would do) and said 'I am really blowing what you said to me out of proportion and I'd like you to explain it some more.'  In that moment I changed the pattern I always revert to when stressed, by realising I needed to change the way I ALWAYS deal with things I changed in that moment. I was very vulnerable with my boss and explained how I had translated what had been said into worst case scenario. Turns out I was wrong and had picked out only the negatives none of the positives. How many of us do that all the time. What I have understood this week is that both Wednesday and today are normal days, extremes of normal very bad and very good but normal.

My last post in contrast to this post shows how my moods can fluctuate, both are normal ways of being but so hard to put in context when we are drinking to levels that blunt connection to correct interpretation. I am beginning to understand and accept my reactions to things both good and bad and then just sit with the feeling.  No doubt I will have some really crap days ahead, I will react badly to things again, I will argue with my daughter and have days of hating my body and maybe myself but....they will not be my everyday, they will be part of my life but not the norm like they used to.

Don't get me wrong, its not all plain sailing. I would love to drink a massive glass of wine on this beautiful Easter Sunday but that lovely glass of wine would only be the gateway to a whole bottle (or more) of wine and then undoubtedly some vodka too. I would probably have a great day/night drinking and it wouldn't be disastrous or some Hollywood version of alcoholic drinking but it's how I would feel tomorrow, cut off from my feelings and inauthentic. I would have lost connection to who I feel I am and I no longer want to do that. Ironically feeling all those negative emotions would lead me to come up with the only solution perceivable- to do the same thing again that night and the next and once more I would be on the roller coaster of hating the majority of the ride only for the fleeting pleasurable moments. That is the reality of that fantasy one lovely glass of wine.

If I could give a gift today it would be the assurance that your life will be so much better without alcohol. It is one of the simplest things to say but the hardest to convey and the hardest to convince others still struggling. It is all too clear a memory for me sitting with drink in hand reading sober blogs and crying into my wine "why can't it be me". Well it is me now and I have done it and no it wasn't easy but it is possible to stop and just stay stopped no matter what. Easter Sunday would have been one of the days I would have decided to make my last day drinking, probably several times to be honest. Now I see that there aren't lucky days or significant days like I had been convincing myself for several years. In the end I stopped on some random Sunday in May because I had just had enough and I didn't want to keep going the way I was any longer. I slipped up once somewhere between day 150 -162 and drank for one night but luckily for me that proved drinking was out of the question ever again. It's hard typing that as I know so many people lapse and relapse  after years of sobriety but as I type this today I can honestly say I never want to drink again and I know my life is all the better for it. To think about drinking again is like saying "Gosh I wish my life was miserable, uninspired and the same old depressing outlook every morning" the thought of going back to that again is reason enough for me to dismiss the fantasy of being an occasional drinker.

As always a long waffley post from me but that's just how I am and in the spirit of all I have said above,  I am quite alright with that.

Ginger Groundhog

Saturday, 18 March 2017

301-1/365 The Pressure Cooker

It's Saturday morning and I am lazing relaxing in bed at 10am, make of that what you will. Some of you early risers will be worrying I am wasting half the day.  I have had a stressful week, well few weeks, well months really. Life is days and days of 'all is well, everything is working out for my highest good, I am at peace' rapidly followed by 'the sky is falling, the sky is falling, panic and run for the hills'  I kid you not, I am all over the place.

The reason for all this angst is work. Our company has won a tender to be the sole provider in our area for certain courses. We knew going in how much the contract was, we won and now the staff lose. The company made a big deal about how we won on merit and reputation, I just found out that the other provider said they couldn't meet the contract requirements unless the budget was increased by another two million! So we didn't win on merit, we were the only ones who said we could do it for the money. We now have to lose 60 employees!! There will be no redundancies!! The plan is cut everyone's hours (therefore pay) in half and tell the "Hooray, we have avoided making any of you redundant. We are doing this to keep you all employed. We are fabulous employers"

The thing is I am not alone here, I need every penny of my full time salary, half pay is not an option, I have no cushion, no fall back, no family to help out. I am part of the majority at work and we feel it is the most underhand dealing ever.  I have been stewing and simmering away, struggling through headaches and upset stomachs due to stress and worry. I manage to come home decompress, remotivated, try and get back into the mindset that everything happens for a reason, all will be ok, it's always darkest before the dawn, every cloud has a silver lining (please add your own expression in comments) and by morning I am centred and calm. I drive to work purposely listening to my favourite uplifting music, I arrive happy and then as soon as I walk through the door the collective anger, depression, fear and resentment hits me and I become engulfed in the maelstrom of emotion. I spend my morning riding the wave (I'm sticking with the water based analogies) of bitterness and by afternoon I am mellowing out and accepting once again that I have no control over the situation and just have to keep going until a path becomes clear.

I thought I was aware of everything I was feeling and how much it was affecting me. I have had anger, sadness, regret, worry and allowed tears to flow several times, acknowledging the feelings that I am scared and feel powerless.  I thought I was dealing with it until last night, my daughter ended up being the detonator and I was the bomb. What started out as a pleasant exchange about our respective day ended in me going cataclysmic and actually screaming/growling at the top of my lungs <flood of shame> I literally sounded like a grizzly bear. At which point I promptly grabbed my bag and keys and exited stage left. I was raging, ashamed, embarrassed, furious, distraught, adrift (I am using up all the emotion adjectives in this one post) I was shaking, how dare my daughter do this to me, how can she be so thoughtless. I know even then that I am just looking to assign blame and not take responsibility for me, my action, my behaviour but in that moment all I want to do is lash out. I want to make the world sorry for how it's treating me, I want to........... I KNOW!!!! I want to DRINK!!!! That's what I'll do! Yes that's it!

I don't drink. I see how stupid and futile that would be. I think of the last (please let it still be the last) hangover I had, the pounding head and 20+ times I threw up, the shame and regret I felt and the knowledge that nothing had been achieved, solved or made better by doing that so why would this time be different?All the same shit will still be there tomorrow morning but with a hangover on top. I am starting to calm down stood in the aisles of the grocery store, realising I have felt this coming and that I knew the pressure was building up. I knew it was going to happen and I also knew that I still haven't found the safety valve, the steam release that spins around frantically letting out all the pressure before the lid blows. I am still exploding when things go wrong, I haven't worked out when I tip over from being stressed and need to relax into I am rattling around on the stove and some how we've got to get the lid off. It's a fine line I can see now I know has been crossed only once it's too late. A friend offered some very good advice about what I needed to do but in my head I imagined me punching her right in her face, cartoon style with stars circling her head. Today in my calm state I look back and can't believe I let myself get so high on stress, so high that I cannot get myself down, so high that my daughter must think I am insane. Maybe I am a bit insane, aren't we all but I can't help wonder if people will read this and think I must be slightly psychotic. In truth I probably am since I temporarily lost touch with reality, albeit very briefly.

I am delighted I didn't drink, I can't help but think if I made it through that ring of fire I am pretty strong in my sobriety but I also feel similar emotions to when I did drink. Remorse for how I acted, shame that I was out of control, a desire to be a better more in control version of myself. It seems a little harsh that the harder you work on yourself the harder you have to work on yourself. Is there ever a day you can just "be"?  This is me warts and all and I am happy? I'm not there yet.

This Ginger is still under construction.


Sunday, 19 February 2017

274-1/365 Remembering Relapses

I have gone off the boil when it comes to blogging and reading blogs, I still plan things I should blog about but then just don't sit down to do it. It's all ok though as my life is moving along merrily with barely a thought of booze or even sobriety (well booze sobriety anyway). I just am me who doesn't drink or even think about it much. Who knew this was possible?  Well loads of people, I just never really believed them.

One thing I can say is that I am feeling a great sense of empathy for those out there struggling with lapse and relapse. I am not struggling with alcohol but I have been on and off the sugar wagon this last few weeks and it's just the same feelings, addictive behaviour, regret, remorse, self hatred etc etc. One day I was sneaky eating some sugar laden product in the living room in the dark, eating it quickly in case my daughter came in and saw me. I suddenly came back into my body (not sure where I had been in the past 5 minute lead up) and realised oh my goodness -sugar is the new booze! Well not the new booze but a more intense version of the food issues I've had all my life. Suddenly this issue has be promoted from bothersome overeating, especially when under the influence of alcohol, to full blown cross addiction.

I have recently done a 30 day reset on all potential allergenic foods along with sugar. At the end of 30 days, which was amazing FYI, clear headed no sinus issues, not a single headache, feel lighter, feel better, feel satiated after eating, no bloating, (I could go on and on) you are supposed to reintroduce foods one at a time for 3 days and see if you have a reaction. Well on day 35 I think it was I decided to give it a go. I was holding out to see how long I could go without any of the forbidden foods but it was mixed with a slight fear about eating them and what could happen. How prophetic.  In reality I think I had a craving so thought ok I'll test it out. Well I had some chippy chips (from the fish and chip shop) big fat juicy British chips not skinny crispy fries. I shared a small portion with a colleague who unbeknownst to me like cheesy chips and ordered our (shared) chips with cheese. I didn't make too big a deal of it and thought ok so I guess I'm trying dairy today too. Disaster!!

There are many of you who may not believe in food addictions in the way that normal drinkers think we are just overly self indulgent lushes who need to tighten the reigns on wine. Let me assure you that for some people food is like crack and I have realised recently dairy and sugar are bigger issues for me or have become bigger issues for me than I ever realised. That cheese gave me licence to eat more cheese, buy cream for my coffee and butter for my........ 'Oh I'm not supposed to be eating gluten or even gluten free products' (that was the voice of reason trying to speak up) BREAD a whole loaf of lovely expensive white crusty bread cut thick. And the gloves were off.

This last few weeks has been a backward slide into addictionville with the calorie count some days being stratospheric. The mood has dropped and that ensuing sense of failure, self hatred, self pity, shame and promises to get back on track. Self sabotage to the nth degree. Not to mention bloating, stomach pain and oh my..... the heartburn, oh wow I had forgotten how bad it could be, plus the shakes from all the sugar. It really is like wine or crack or heroin. Ironically I am also doing today as the "last day" like I used to with booze. Today I'll have all my favourites to one last time get them out of my system and "say goodbye" forever. Anyone relate???    FFS it all seems so infantile and deluded, like a big lie I am telling myself that I know is a lie but I still feel I need to say it. I think it's because I need to say goodbye to some things forever like gluten and dairy which I have known for years have caused me issues but because the reward was in my perverted brain better than the punishment (digestive issues and headaches) I kept experimenting,  eating them in smaller portions or only every few day or often in blow out binges. Having gone 35 days or more without them and then diving head first into them in overdose form, the kick back this time has been way more pronounced, the pain worse and the punishment all the more noticeable and frankly not worth it. I am still stuck with the fear I won't be able to get it bank under control though and food is everywhere these day.

This is what happens when you quit drinking for a decent amount of time and then relapse. You now know how much better life can be without alcohol, how good you can feel, how much more alive you can feel and what a sense of achievement and accomplishment you have. When you relapse all you want to do is get back to that happy state, why did you fuck it up, throw it all away, go back to your stupid addictive behaviour etc. It's the worst kind of cognitive dissonance there is and you know it yet it can sometimes takes us weeks or months or worse YEARS to get back on track. In my case it was  about 14 months before I was able to stop drinking after completing my first 100 days, 137 days in fact but one "fuck it" moment caused me over a year worth of misery and truthfully decent into truly escalating dangerous drinking. This recent blip with food is bad for me but on the grand scale of things not comparable to my drinking days. I will potentially have to put my grown up shoes on and take control again as the petulant, deprived lonely child seems to have taken over and run the show for the last few weeks. I see that now and I need to change it.

My food issues are mine just as all of our issues are our own but alcohol bleeds heavily into the lives of others, those around us, our kids, our partners and potentially innocent bystanders if we are out on the roads. If you are still drinking take solace in the fact that you can beat it but it takes hard work and determination to get through the first 30 days, after that you just need to keep going to 100 days and realising you are at the start of a whole new journey in life. However, if at any time you think it's worth testing out your addiction centre in your brain to see if you are cured, chances are you are not the exception to the rule and you may find yourself face first in a bucket of disappointment or cheesy chips in my case.

DON'T TEST YOUR SOBRIETY EVER! It truly is just not worth it.


Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Good News

Thank you everyone that took time out to comment and keep Celeste in their thoughts. She has been found and reunited with her mum.

She is physically relatively well but extremely fragile and emotional. I am sure there will be a few hard days ahead.

I genuinely do appreciate the kindness people show here and that we are so supportive of eachother regardless of the subject in this little corner of the web.

Ginger

Sunday, 5 February 2017

260-1/365 Say a little prayer

07/02/2017 Update: Celeste has been found

Does anyone out there still pray? Do you offer up your thoughts to your higher power? Do you implore 'something' out there to help you when you are in crisis whether you call it God/god or not?

As a 'recovering' Catholic I still use the word God when I feel beyond desperation and I implore God to please help me. I also thank God or the universe or some higher version of myself when things go right or when I feel grateful for something in my life. Being raised Catholic, not just Catholic but Irish Catholic and not just Irish Catholic but small village, backwater, staunch, hell fire and brimstone  Irish Catholic, RUINED religion and God for me and has left me angry, confused, conflicted and bewildered sometimes in life. However, like so many others I have cobbled together something that works for me using elements of religion, spirituality, mindfulness and some kind of natural wonder to help me when life doesn't make sense and when I feel alone and in need of some ethereal assistance. In short at times I need to plead PLEASE HELP ME GOD I CANNOT GO ON LIKE THIS.

I often wonder how people with no belief system cope. When things go wrong and life seems to be hell bent on destroying you how do they invoke assistance or do they not ask for help outside of themselves. I genuinely have no idea as to me having been indoctrinated from birth I cannot imagine any other way. AA advocates calling on a higher power to help you get sober and certainly I have asked my version of a higher power (whatever that combination is) to please help me stop drinking. I also use it at other times when I am in distress, feel out of control and when I have no strength left. Just last week when I was in the depths of despair for both myself and my daughter, feeling personally devastated at her words yet equally upset that she was in so much pain that she was lashing out I sent out an utterance about please help me.

This is a rather convoluted post as so many of mine are which differs from the writers out there who plan posts logically. I am trying to connect all the dots in my head which make such sense to me but don't translate so well in an orderly comprehensible form.

Today and in fact the last two days I have been thanking this god creation of mine as well as imploring it for assistance. Last week my daughter hurt my feelings so badly and I thought horrible things about her like I wanted her to move out, I hoped she'd have 4 girls, each giving her as hard a time as she gave me and I hoped in truth that one day she would feel the pain she had caused me so she could feel bad about it. Yep, I am a bitter mother and shocked and ashamed that I thought those things in the moment. In very quick succession I asked the god thing to please ignore those ridiculous pleas and don't let any of them happen, please, please I had spoken in haste and was speaking from hurt feelings. I do not want my daughter to suffer. Days later as my daughter is in my bed leaning on me crying still sad and confused I felt nothing but love for her and shame that I had ever even let such shocking and abhorrent thoughts come into my mind. This was especially poignant when she came another night, sad and upset that she was worried and deeply concerned over Melania Trump and that she feared Melania was being unkindly treated in her marriage and now social media was attacking her. At that point I glimpsed the compassion in her that we all hope to instill in our children. Thank you whoever, whatever for giving me this girl and for making her nicer than me. Thank you for keeping her safe and for keeping her loving me and coming to me when she needs my help but most of all for her faith in me after I have let her down so many times.

Mothers of teenage daughters are part of a club, only we can understand the myriad of emotions our girl teens take us through. We bitch about them, laugh about them, feel hurt by them and like so many of you helped me with, console each other about them and offer the assurances that they will be ok in the end. I have several friends and colleagues I can do this with and I myself have been the voice of reason for them when their daughter is tearing a hole in the universe.

My colleague's daughter is missing. She has been missing since Tuesday. No-one has heard from her including her friends and family. My colleague came to work two days thinking this was a teen angry at everyone or life or her mum. On the third day she couldn't continue working, the enormity of her daughter still being missing was too much. Then an appeal was launched.Then the police labelled it a HIGH RISK case, then.......they found out from one of her friends that she had just learned she was pregnant from the boyfriend she split up from. Then the story went national. I know what my colleague has told me over the years, the good, the bad, the arguments, the pain, the love, the understanding and the normal everyday bits and bobs. I find myself hoping and praying more than ever that this girl is ok and somehow unaware of the panic and media storm. I am terrified that this will not be the case. This girl is my daughter's age, her mother is my colleague, never has a story been so close to home for me and so consuming. For once this is not a family I feel sorry for but cannot relate to, this is in my bubble and could easily be my family story.

I so want to believe in the power of prayer, the power in numbers, the collective, collaborative focusing on a problem but realise this is one drop in the ocean of sadness in the world. For today I want Celeste to be safe and go home to her family, I want a small miracle for this family that would be the biggest gift they could ever have, tomorrow I can try to send out prayers for the rest of the world but for today I can only focus on one.

I didn't know where I was going with this post and I haven't ended up anywhere concrete. I guess I just need to share. If you do pray, please do. If you don't, please just think a positive thought for this family.


Sunday, 29 January 2017

253-1/365 Checking In

Day 253 and I am feeling quite blue to be honest. I have been postponing blogging for a few days in the hope my mood would improve, I know it will soon but I have decided to write today anyway to redirect my mind.

1. I am back at work after a significant time away, luckily everyone was very pleased to see me and it appears no one believes I was faking (huge worry of money) My workload on my return was ridiculous and I have been very clear with HR and all the managers that it was unacceptable that I returned to such a shambles especially given that my role is handling the details if the most vulnerable, dangerous or serious of our patients. I have also put my foot down in terms of the amount of work I do in relation to the amount of pay they give me. I think my absence has highlighted that for them.

2. I have turned somewhat evangelical [secondary definition] zealous in advocating or supporting a particular cause. about being sober and can genuinely say I hate the thought of alcohol now and how I wasted so much time wasting so much time and money. In a very similar vein to Jason Vale, I cannot get my head around why I drank and how much I never want to get like that again. I was at a friends house the other day and she was apologising that she wanted a drink and would I mind. I assured her that I had no interest whatsoever and it wouldn't bother me at all, which it didn't. I don't ever want to judge or criticise people who choose to drink and I am happy for people to drink around me. Whereas before I used to read about bloggers who's partners still drank and wonder how they managed to not guzzle all the booze when no one was looking. Now I understand totally and have lived with booze in my house since Thanksgiving when my friends from Chicago left behind their extra booze. It's just sitting in my porch along with about 10 bottles of Becks Blue. In fact I haven't had a Becks since Christmas or maybe New Year, nor have I thought about it. I hope that reads positively for anyone who wonders if the cravings will ever go away.
Truth be told I assumed I would be a dry drunk for the rest of my life, always mourning the day I had to stop drinking and wishing I could still have a drink. Nothing could be further from the truth and that is what most surprises me.

3. My high at returning to work, feeling motivated, rested and together has popped like a balloon and today and yesterday I have been flat, depressed and then angry that I am depressed. My vow to just sit with feelings and 'allow' them to move through me, today fills me with rage and yet more depression. I don't want to feel like this, I want to feel the way I did a week ago when everything was going well. I just want to not feel like this. Therein lies the crux of it all, I assumed that stopping drinking would solve ALL my problems and I would be transformed into everything I wasn't when I was drinking. Sadly I am still left with myself albeit a new and improved version, it's still the same me. I have no doubt that messing with my brain chemicals for years has broken the gauge that controls the balance and flow and I seem to be left with a feast or famine dose of optimism or pessimism. It's hard to cope with, acknowledge but most of all accept. Acceptance I know is pretty key here but I am still somewhat bitter and resentful I am not healed and reborn into the most dynamic version of myself I could imagine. Plus it's all SO fragile, I was doing brilliantly then a massive argument with my 18 year old daughter threw me back into my chasm of despair when she screamed all my biggest fears and worries back at me. Result being, I now assume all the things people say to placate me and ease my fears and worries are all lies and actually they do think the worst of me but are hiding it from me.
I can see how extreme that is but I am still in the digging my way out if rock bottom to put it in its true context. I will get there but just licking my wounds and trying to regain my strength again. Bloody fucking depression, I hate it and how I cave into it and let it rule my mind.

4. And now for some good news...... I am approx 29lbs down on the scale, approx because I remember weighing myself once when I was still drinking and being horrified so I didn't get on a scale for another six months so I think I had gone up before I came back down. This is part stopping drinking and the subsequent binges while drinking but also the next morning recovery hangover binge. Anne at ainsobriety often comments that weight loss doesn't happen for everyone and I am sure that is very true so don't panic if this isn't you. My friend who drank the same as I did never had the same bingeing tendencies I did when drinking so she lost about 3-4 lbs when she stopped only. For me I still have a great deal of weight to lose and I am very aware of how my mind is thinking alcoholically about food. Thankfully I am aware enough to be able to sit with these thoughts and realise that planting my face in a 3000 calorie binge of all my old favourites might be an attempt to change my state but I also have enough awareness and understanding to realise it is not going to work  for a second longer than when I am actually eating the food. I think this is the last ditch attempt of my addiction centre to try once again a known failed coping mechanism in the hope that this time it might work -it won't but oh boy is the desire strong to just zone out and enter oblivion.

5. It's all going to be ok. Hard as that is to write on a day like today when I feel like the pits, I know I have been here before and worse. I know that something is off in my equilibrium and it's sent me spiraling into the depths of despair but I also am aware that somehow I will come back out of it and any temporary panaceas like drinking, overeating, spending money are not going to change the core problem. I know none of these things can help and I understand their appeal is escapism and zoning out, avoiding the issue short term and accepting a bigger price and harsher consequences are the result. It's like living like a toddler when you cannot get yourself out if the cycle of destruction even though the longer you go on the worse things will get. Sometimes the only and last resort to to a tantrum is to step in and hug the child because they have gone too far to get themselves back, they need help. That is where I am right now, trying to be the adult to the little girl gabbing a tantrum and who is stuck and wanting to move forward but too overwhelmed by everything. So for today that is what I am doing, just trying to take care of myself and knowing that everything will be ok once again.

Sober is brilliant but it is not a silver bullet, there are things that we will all have to face and deal with that the absence of alcohol makes all too apparent. I can choose to look at this negatively or I can be an adult and see it as an opportunity for growth. today I choose the latter.

Ginger Groundhog

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

HELP -Support needed

Please, please if you have five minutes can you go and help a young man that has been brave enough to come back and post about a very hard few weeks that have had a major impact on his life.

Every now and the a post hits me and you want to be physically there for the person to let them know it's ok and that is one of the disadvantages of blogging.

So many of you have left comments for me that helped shape my sobriety and give me the strength to keep going and often in a very simple way.  That support is the gift we give eachother in this inter connected web. Please have a read and offer some of that golden salve of support to a fellow blogger who has once more come back hoping to try again.

Sober or Bust


Sunday, 8 January 2017

232-1/365 Stepping back into real life

Sunday morning and I am in bed with a coffee enjoying my last morning of "freedom" so to speak. Tomorrow I go back to work a ft er being signed off sick for THREE MONTHS! I just felt my blood pressure leap as thoughts of some of you shaking your head and thinking I am weak, lazy, cheating, skiving, layabout, disgraceful etc. I could go on but I have to remind myself that your thoughts shouldn't affect me as much as they do, you don't know my circumstances, maybe you aren't thinking these things, maybe all those negative words are my thoughts projected out onto you. Some of you most certainly will be thinking those things and that is ok too. All I know is that for me these last 3 months have been a complex mixed bag of feelings, emotions, dreadful sickness, anxiety, understanding, compassion, self doubt, depression, elation, more sickness, and on and on I could go.

I have guilt about taking care of my own needs and part of that has led me to this extended time off work when my body just collapsed and flat out refused to cooperate until it had recuperated sufficiently. I realise here I am still trying to appease the people who think it is wrong I have had so much time off. However, I feel like a whole different person, I feel like the me of about 11 years ago, the me that had ups and downs but was still able to get on with life. The me before I started drinking and hating myself and torturing my soul with day to day verbal attacks. The me that is vitally important in my life and those around me who rely on me. I feel "normal" again, or as normal as I want or allow myself to be. I never want to be too vanilla although I can now appreciate that vanilla isn't just sad plain and boring but simple, unpretentious and actually enjoyable. No one needs to be a tutti-fruity mocha chocolate fizz bomb mango passion chilli all the time. Vanilla sometimes is good.

It has taken me this long to pick apart the tangle of webs I have spun around myself and for years I have felt trapped in this web but helpless to get out of it. Previous attempts to get out haven't got down to the reason that I got tangled in the first place and so have only ever been a short term fix. What I needed was to slow down or in my case STOP completely and thread by thread unravel and the reconnect in the right order.

Imagine the back of you modern tv, with the cable, the Internet, the phone, the DVD player, the stereo, the surround sound etc. Now all of these have been added over the years as they have been introduced to the TV so basically you have a tangle (well if it looks like the back of my TV anyway). All these cables are important to you and are needed to allow your TV to function as you want it to but the problem comes when you keep adding, first a Wii box, then Apple TV, the X-box. Pretty soon you have a huge tangle of cables and it is in no way clear which one connects to what and should you need to isolate one lead, it's going to take some time to unravel it. Unravel being the key word here. Some people believe it or not (I struggle to) have as the years have gone on taken time to make small adjustments as they have added new cables so the tangle has been avoided in a systematic and orderly fashion. Others have reached a certain point of cable chaos and paused to take the time to sort them out to avoid impending disaster. Rarer still ( I think but maybe I am wrong) is the person who with each additional cable has taken the time to label it and attach it in a logical tidy way. Who are you, you organised freak? Ha ha joking. My cables were so out of control I had taken to not even turning on the TV cos something had gone wrong a while back and I couldn't be bothered to deal with that tangle to allow me to watch one show. Basically, stretching this analogy to the extreme, one day you go to vacuum and you pull out the TV stand to get behind to the actual cobwebs and dust bunnies and in doing so dislodge ALL the leads from the TV. DISASTER OF EPIC PROPORTION!!!   THAT my friends is where I ended up in October and it has taken me this long to connect everything back in the right order but also culling some dead leads like the VHS player and the dial up modem (I'm running out of metaphorical equipment I know the modem never went into the TV) ok I'm done now.

This time has literally been a reboot from the last 20 years. Whilst I have had some glorious years, really enjoyed raising my daughter and essentially been my own free agent when it comes to making decisions, I have had to cope with all the outcomes, disasters, life changing directions alone and that has been hard. I have had some good friends along the way but no family support or partner to take the reigns for a while. I have had my daughter every weekend bar one or two sleepovers for 18 years. No grandparents to babysit, or have her for the weekend, no partner or even ex-partner to just give me a break. Can you hear the sad violins playing ha ha. It is my lot and I did choose it I know but it has been a hard road and I have struggled to keep my head above water sometimes both financially and emotionally. Oh I'm getting a little teary now. This is not an exercise in self pity but an acknowledgement that it hasn't been easy and I am not just a weak whiny loser who can't hold her shit together. Ultimately I do believe everything happens for a reason and out of even the worse situations some good will come. What I do know for sure is that this would never ever have been possible if I had been drinking, I would have sunk further into the abyss and self pity/hatred and felt like a victim of circumstance rather than an independent woman temporarily weighed down by her baggage.

As I sit here today, things seem clearer, I have a direction I am headed and my mind feels freed up to make considered decisions. I am able to see the good and the bad and not make too harsh judgement on myself and know that I always tried my best even if that best looked pretty shitty to the outside world. Alcohol did act as a life ring in some way even if it was the very thing weighing me down in the end. Every decision even the poor ones have lead me to this point today even the years of drinking heavily have made me into the person I am right now. It was a blessing and a curse and one I can't change or rewrite to suit my needs. I am seven months sober and life just gets more interesting and deliberate each day. I still have a long way to go and still have some negative behaviours to tackle but I continue to be a work in progress and I am liking the progress and the person that is emerging. I even don't hate myself anymore, I can't say I am all the way to love but I definitely like myself, flabby belly, grey hairs, a few wrinkles (surprisingly few all things considered) and all. When I look in the mirror now I am much more likely to say "Ah bless you Ginger, you have done so well" than the old words "look at you, you disgusting wreck of a woman, how have you let it get this bad?"
Self-acceptance, self-love, healing the inner child are all very high on my agenda now and I have made huge strides in these areas and intend to do lots more but for now "Good job Ginger, well done!"