3 Years Sober – Day 1127

Well I passed my 3 year Sober-anniversary on 1 April 2019. I was planning on writing something meaningful or organising a treat for myself but things just got busy.

Mothers Day was the day before my sober-anniversary and my birthday was the Friday after, so I felt well and truly pampered anyway. Then, the kids broke up for the Easter Holidays and time just flew by!  Interestingly, I never planned to have my Day One on the 1st April, it just sort of happened that way.

A few months before my Day 1, I actually managed to stop drinking for a little while. It was after a particular bad night, where I had drank too much wine in the house and was too ill the next day to take my daughter to school.  I was so ashamed that I stopped for 7 weeks. I swore (like I had a thousand time before) that I was never going to get into that state again. Inevitably, I started drinking again, but I swore (like a thousand times before) that I would be sensible and moderate my drinking. After 7 weeks off, I’d be fine to drink again, wouldn’t I?. However, within only 2 months, I was back to drinking every night in the house, sneaking drinks, hiding bottles and  breaking every promise I had made to myself (again) 

On 31 March 2016 – I was exhausted, full of shame, and had no idea what to do with myself. I remember sitting on the toilet, saying to myself “who does this?????”  “who drinks like this???”  Then it hit me, only alcoholics drink like me….  That scared me.

For years I knew I had a problem with alcohol but I just couldn’t find the solution. The problem was, I still wanted to drink. The solution I was looking for had to involve still drinking somehow. I just had to find a way to control it.

On the 31 March 2016, sitting on the toilet, I realised, truly realised, that the only solution which was going to work, was not to drink.  Boom. It sounds so simple now but it took me a long time to accept that.

3 years on, I am more happy than I would have ever been, if I was still drinking. It really scares me to think where I would be now if I was still drinking. In the beginning it was hard, very hard. I could not allow myself to think of being sober ‘forever’,  it was just too scary. Slowly though, as the weeks and months passed, I couldn’t imagine starting back at Day 1 again. I’d come too far to start over, to do the really hard day 1, week 1, month 1 again.

Today, I feel free. The further away I get from my Day 1 the easier it is.  I never think about drinking now and I never crave it. This was something truly unimaginable, in the beginning.

Giving up alcohol has been the biggest achievement of my life.

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Day 1047 – New Job

Well, it’s been a while. I was meant to do a post for my 1000 days which fell just around Christmas but things got busy. I’m still sober and still happy. Mr Mac is nearing his 6 month marker and I am very proud of him. He has been listening to the ‘One Year No Beer’ podcast which has totally changed his thinking. He just doesn’t understand why anyone would choose to drink as he is more productive and happier. It is lovely to see but I am conscious not to link my sobriety to his. We are on two very different journeys.

There has been lots of changes with work recently. I have not been happy in my job for the past few years. I waited to see if being sober helped this. However, nearly three years on I can safely say it is the job not me. My role is changing into something I am not comfortable doing though I have been reluctant to do anything about it. Fear mainly, of change. However, months ago I suffered what I can only describe as a panic attack. I was sitting at work when suddenly I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath and started feeling dizzy. After hiding out in the toilets for 10 minutes, I realised it wasn’t subsiding. Back at my desk, I could feel my heart pounding out my chest while still struggling to catch a proper breath. It was very frightening.

After being taken home, I went to the doctors, who completed an array of test which all came back fine. The doctor said it sounds like a classic panic attack though I don’t seem like the sort of person to get them. HA story of my life!  I couldn’t possibly be an alcoholic as I have it so together. I couldn’t possibly suffer a panic attack as I come across so confident and sure of myself.  For goodness sake!

Anyway – this episode gave me the push to look for another job. I have been brave and slowly (very slowly) started applying for other jobs.  Fast-forward 3 months and I have a new job which I start on the 25th February.. I know for absolute certainty that I would never have been able to do this if I was still drinking. My new job is exactly what I am looking for. I am leaving a large government department with all its bureaucracy and joining a small school office with a much more nurturing environment. The job is less responsibility but I know it’s the right decision for me at the moment and I feel happier already.

I feel there is going to be a few months of upheaval as I get used to my new job and maybe times of overwhelm therefore I’m making a conscious effort to blog more as I know it helps. I realise I should have blogged more when I had my panic attack (if that’s what it was) and when I was applying for jobs. I should stop waiting until things have ‘settled down’ before blogging and just blog right in the thick of it. When will I learn! On a positive, I have been keeping a gratitude journal which definitely helps x

Sober Hubby – Day 884

Hubby is giving up alcohol <gasp>!!!

Mr Mac is not a big drinker. 2-3 beers on a weekend and maybe 1-2 through the week. Absolutely nothing like the daily drinking I was doing. You might say ‘why give up then’? but the question playing on his mind is, ‘why not’ or rather why can’t he?  If he drinks ‘responsibly’ (that is, within the recommended 14 units per week here in UK) why is it such a struggle to stop altogether? haha that is the question isn’t it!

By the way – this is no way instigated by me. He has reassured me that he is doing it for himself.

Even though Mr Mac doesn’t drink excessively I would say he is alcohol dependant (like 80% of the population lol) there are times, like after a stressful day or a night out with certain close friends, he has to drink. He admits, he will find it hard to not drink at these times. Like a lot of people, Mr Mac has FOMO (fear of missing out). Like many of us when we first give up, he believes it will not be as much fun sober.

I want so badly to show him how good it is on the other side. I want him to know that how he feels now is not how he will feel in 3 months/6 months/ 1 year…and life is more fun and fulfilling sober. I also know that this is his journey, which will be very different from mine. If he is to do this and give it his all, I need to BUT OUT.

I know he will be able to do the ‘not drinking’ thing for a while but my fear is, will he do the other work to maintain his sobriety? like learn to recognise his triggers; know when its the beer monster (addiction) talking and build up a sober tool box full of things to help him deal with any sober situation. Most importantly for him I want him to know that a shit night out is just that, a shit night out. No situation was ever made better by pouring alcohol over it. fact.

I think Mr Mac’s main reason for stopping drinking is he hates the wasted days due to hangovers (he gets them bad)  He is a very hard-working and self motivated person who thrives when he is busy (not hungover). I also believe he hates the idea that alcohol has a hold over him. He once said ‘I know at some point im going to say “I don’t drink that much” and be tempted to drink again BUT I know by saying that, it proves alcohol still has a hold on me’. it’s a total catch 22!

I guess its day 4 for him 🙂 I love him so much and wish him luck on his sober journey

 

 

Free Time! Day 863

OMG it’s been three months since I last wrote. I have wanted to write many times, but I never have. Even when ive had a crappy day I’ve just got through it even though I KNOW I would have felt better if i just blogged. Whats that all about eh? This blog is mine, to vent, rant, whine or celebrate anything and everything i want. Even when i want to blog im still hesitant, like im not worthy or something. I seriously need to not over think stuff and just do it.

Anyhoo, I am still sober and happy about it! I find, 2 years and 4 months down the line, I don’t regret my decision to quit drinking. I am proud to be sober and put it down as one of my life’s best achievements.

Strangely I do miss early sobriety sometimes. Not the hard ‘shit i need a drink ‘ part but immersing yourself into something new, finding like-minded people, learning new things and all the self-care.

I think i have drifted away from that a bit. ive become complacent and let the self-care part slide. Lately, ive found myself just ‘hanging about the house’ not quite sure what to do some days. While the family happily gets on with their own thing, I’m just waiting for something to happen or someone to need me, instead of doing something i want to do.

The kids are getting older (9 & 12) and they need me less. I’m used to them taking up 110% of my time. Now however, i have pockets of time for myself and I need to learn how to do stuff for me! When the kids are really little, you dream of having some ‘me’ time but now I actually have some, i don’t know what to do. i just mill around the house waiting to be needed, then later regret not doing something more constructive with my time lol.

So im sober, happy and with extra time on my hands. whats not to love! I may need to write a list of things to do while I get used to this new chapter of my life!

Side note  –  thank god im not drinking ‘cos we all know what I would have been doing with this extra time and it would not have been pretty.

Love Mrs Mac

 

 

 

 

40th Birthday Celebrations – Day 737

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I’m just back from a trip to the Lake District here in the UK. It was my 40th Birthday last week and I have been planning a short trip away to celebrate the significant day.

2 years ago when I quit drinking I couldn’t think about my 40th birthday without wanting to celebrate it with an insane amount of alcohol. I always thought either I’d have cracked the whole being sober thing or I’d be back drinking again by now.

Well, since I’m happy and sober I wanted to mark my 40th year by doing something I’d remember, an achievement of sorts, so I planned a trip to the beautiful Lake District to climb the Via Ferrata. I have no real climbing experience, but I have a head for heights and this is especially designed for the novice.

Out of the 12 people who came to celebrate my birthday (mixture of friends and family) 7 of us did the climb. It felt amazing, though scary at times but doing it felt like such an achievment, like I was alive and I’ll never forget it.

After the climb most of us had a nap and then prepared to meet the rest of the group in a local pub near by. I was a little weary that this part of the trip may have been a bit dull for me. Most of my friends are heavy drinkers (like i was). They all know I don’t drink anymore so I wasn’t worried about that but I’ll be honest I thought it might have been boring.

However, it was great! I used the time to properly catch up with them all. I didnt care it was in a pub. Its just an easy place to meet up I guess. As it was my birthday the attention was more on me and how I was and that was okay. After a few hours we went for food and spent an age in the restaurant (which is my favourite place to be) laughing and catching up over old times.

I have made some memories this weekend which I will treasure forever. I was humbled by the number of friends that wanted to be there with me to celebrate my birthday. No one cared that I wasnt drinking. I think a few people just never noticed either.

I can honestly say that if I was still drinking, this weekend would never have happend.

The very best bit was waking up this morning with a smile on my face, happy to be alive while nearly everyone else was suffering from a few too many celebratory drinks 😂😂😂😂

Im feeling pretty darn good…….

Two Years – Day 730

Back when I was 7 months sober I met a woman who was nearing 2 years sober and I remember thinking “she’s a proper sober person” Now here I am 2 years sober myself, I guess I’m a proper sober person now hahaha.

When I was drinking, I wasn’t living. My world became so small and lifeless. I am so proud to be sober, everything about my life is better now. My world is bigger, I do more, I’m learning more about myself. Everything is just more!

Back at day 1, week 1, month 1, I never thought it would be this good. In all honesty I couldn’t think this far into the future. I wish there was a way to give newly sober people and those wishing to stop drinking a glimpse into their sober future, so they could see how good their lives could be. It would make the difficult early months so much easier!

This past year I’ve not been thinking about drinking. I honestly never think about it. I dont get cravings. If an odd thought (of drinking) passes through my head, I laugh at myself and let it go. This year I have been focusing more on me and how I deal with… well….me.

I am learning…..

  • That having uncomfortable feelings like, anxiety, fear, anger etc.. doesnt make me a freak or different or weird. They are NORMAL feelings and I am NORMAL for having them and that they do (eventually) pass.
  • If I find the courage to do something I find hard, like having a difficult conversation with someone or taking on a task im unsure of, I actually feel good about myself afterwards, plus its a little easier next time.
  • If im bored, I don’t have to wait on others to invite me out,  I can organise something myself!
  • If I have some me time, sneak off to bed early, skip cooking for the night, I am not being selfish, everyone around me benefits from a happier, more considerate, more patient version of me in the long run.
  • To pick my battles….not to sweat the small stuff…… I guess this one is learning what I give a fork about. Sometimes, I need to just take a deep breath and assess whether ‘it’ (what ever ‘it’ is)  is worth it…. eg. Child coming home covered in mud just after washing floors.  Work colleague, ranting on about how unfair their life is,  school mum bragging about how perfect their child genius is, arguing with husband about leaving dishes on the kitchen bench when the dishwasher is empty… you get the picture!
  • My sober supports and treats can be used anytime im feeling depressed, anxious or pissed off. They are not exclusive to drink cravings anymore.

I think it is important to learn and grow as a person. Putting my quick list together feels good.  All the years I was drinking I was in limbo, never learning or evolving. Just work, drink, sleep, repeat. God I must have been so boring.

Two years ago I stopped drinking and it was the best decision I have ever made. X

S.A.D – Day 711

Come on spring where are you? Im sure I suffer a little from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) I’ve been up and down for the past few months. One minute, I want to be left alone, hibernate, can hardly muster up the energy to do anything. Then the next minute I’m pissed off I never go anywhere or do anything fun! I cannot win eh.

My anxiety is pushing back. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed by things that don’t usually bother me. Kids school commitments and finding a new hairdresser (god, talk about first world problems.) Sobriety wise, things are good. Getting sober is still the best thing I have ever done. I do not doubt my decision to be sober. However, as I near my two year anniversary I am wondering why my mood and anxiety has got worse. Is it just the winter blues? The first 6months of my sobriety was terrible, cravings wise and anxiety wise, then things started to get better, I tackled all my sober firsts and I felt strong both in my sobriety and my mental health!! However, I now feel like my anxiety is moving back in –luckily this does not make me want to drink but I feel like I need to do something for my mental health. The only problem is when my mood plummets it just makes me feel like doing nothing argh! Here’s hoping spring and summer will bolster my mood and lift me out of my winter funk – If I do one thing this week it will be to get outside my head by blogging more and get outside my house by walking more…. Okay that’s two things….x

Day 669 – I’m whole again.

Well, he’s back. My anxiety was up and down all week. Not helped by my daughter falling out with one of her school friends part way through the week. However, on Saturday we picked my son up from the airport and I feel whole again.

I think we have all learned something from this experience. My Son has gained more independence and a skiing badge! My Daughter has learned that she does miss her big brother after all (and how to make up, when she falls out with her friends). My husband and I have both learned that for all we missed our son terribly we survived and we can rely on each other for moral support and I learned that I can sit with uncomfortable feelings as long as I remember to use my sober tools.

Drinking over this experience would have been a disaster. My anxiety would have been worse. I would have retreated into myself and would not have sought emotional support from my husband. I would not have been present to help my daughter with her friendship drama and most of all I would not have grown as a person and I’d be less capable of dealing with the situation next time. Not to mention going back to day 1.

I have exercised some serious sober muscle this past week and I’m feeling good.

Day 662 – dealing with uncomfortable feelings

My son left on Saturday for one week, in France on a school skiing trip and I’m finding it difficult to say the least. I have sat many times over the weekend with uncomfortable feelings of loss and anxiety. I worry that he is okay and enjoying himself.  In fact I have a massive list of things I’m worried about, are his friends treating him well, does he like the food, is he okay working with Euro’s instead of Pounds, has he lost any ski kit, has he got a blister, is he drying his kit properly and is he warm enough on the mountain or has he fell off the mountain!  I could go on….. I’m not worrying constantly but several times a day it just hits me like a punch in the stomach.

All that been said, I wouldn’t have it any other way, I’m thrilled he has gone and this will be an amazing experience for him and I know he’s more likely having the time of his life.

I don’t like feeling this way though and at 662 days I thought I’d dealt with most situations that id normally drink over. I don’t want a drink nor am I craving a drink but I recognise that I would have definitely drank over all these feelings. I would have ‘coped’ by drowning a bottle or 2 of wine so I didn’t have to worry about my boy. So why no huge cravings? I think it is because I truly believe that it would solve nothing. hallelujah the penny has dropped!  I know I’d feel terrible the next day, my worry and anxiety would be worse so id end up drinking again. My daughter, would have a rubbish time while her brother was away as I wouldn’t be present enough to make this time fun for her. But most importantly I realise that by drinking and not dealing with these feelings now I’d be creating a much bigger problem for the future.

So, my plan is, don’t drink; deal with my uncomfortable feelings now;  grow as a human being and as a mother, so in the future I will have the strength to deal with similar experiences and emotions.

I understand, that this is easier said than done. I have done things to help myself. I have taken some time out to write on my blog which I have neglected over the past months, I have ate a few more ‘treats’ than usual,  I had a nanna nap (afternoon snooze) as I recognised id only feel worse if I got too tired and I’ve talked to my husband, who obviously is feeling the same way because what im feeling is perfectly normal.  I could also add if I needed, going for a long walk, organising an activity or meet up with friends to distract myself, attend an AA meeting, have an early night or go shopping!

These may all sound like little things to do but I have learned that they work for me. I have to be careful not to underestimate the importance of doing these little things because experience has taught me that when life gets busy and I haven’t had time to talk to my husband, take that walk  or have that early night I’m desperate for; things become difficult, really difficult for me.  So, as I sit here with my perfectly normal but uncomfortable feelings, I remind myself that doing the little things help me cope with the bigger things in life.

A belated Happy New Year to you all.

Reflection – Day 590

Things are good here. Around this time last year I had just attended my first AA meeting. I am glad I tried AA.  I was already 7 months sober when I decided to go. At the time I was stuck in a rut and feeling a bit lonely in my sobriety and I am a big believer that you need to try new things/add things when you are feeling vulnerable.

I found listening to people share their stories really helpful and I went to AA religiously for about 2 months leading up to Christmas. It made me feel less alone and stronger. After a while though, it turned out it wasn’t for me. I realised I didn’t want to work the steps or have a higher power. The best thing about AA is, you can just take the bits you like. I can still pop in anytime I want to listen to people share. I am lucky that there is a large woman’s meeting on a Monday, where I can easily sit in the back and just listen if I want too. The thing is, I find I need to less and less but I always know it is there.

I am so pleased I tried AA last year as it will forever be in my tool box. So why am I talking about it now?  I guess I’m just reflecting on how far I have come, how different this November is compared to how I was feeling last November. I feel so much more settled in my sobriety and I have done so for a while now but this is because I try to do different things and add things when I need it. If you have been considering something new, be it AA, SMART recovery, cooking, walking or taking up abseiling – give it a go!  I find trying new things immensely helpful and can only view it as a positive experience, even if I don’t stick at it. . It doesn’t have to be anything big. Small changes are the best in my opinion. I hope you are all well.