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