Day 1318 – Patience.

I’ve been trying to be more aware of when I should pause and listen or pause and wait for the right time to speak. I often rush or try to juggle too many things at once. Like cooking tea while answering friends messages and helping the kids with homework.  I think I am being efficient but I usually come off looking harassed; getting a bit stressed and definitely not giving people the attention they deserve.

I don’t always wait for the right time to speak whats on my mind. There are many instances in our house where we have conversations by shouting up the stairs to one another, instead of waiting until we are in the same room. The other day I was actually sitting on the toilet and started asking my youngest if she had handed in her English homework, ‘cos it popped into my head! At that moment I had to have a word with myself about patience.

So far this week, I have paused at work to listen to a colleague talk about their mother who was in hospital. It made me feel more present and I imagine she felt heard. My work still got done.

I have consciously made the decision to walk up the stairs to talk to my husband or children instead of shouting up. This has made the house seem calmer or at least I feel calmer.

I have also paused while writing this to listen to my kids fun fighting in the next room. Instead of getting annoyed with them for breaking my concentration, I paused and listened to them with a big smile on my face.

I am far from perfect and I still instantly pull my phone out my pocket when I hear it beep, even when I’m mid conversation with someone. However, being aware of it is half the battle, isn’t it. I will continue to practise patience and I will try to pause when things feel hectic.

I don’t want to be the multi-tasking crazy woman who gets everything done. I’m learning to do less, so I can be more present and more calm.  Starting with no shouting while on the toilet.

 

 

 

Day 1297 – My Kids Inspire Me

I often take strength from my children. What I mean is, they inspire me to do the hard things in life. (hard for me anyway)

For example, I’m not a morning person. I have gotten used to getting up early when I need to (work, poorly kids, early flights etc) but I don’t like it. When I’m tired and don’t want to get up, I think of my two kids, who get up every morning to go to school. They have no choice. They get up and they go and I often think – if I expect it of my kids then I should do it too.

In the past, if I was anxious about something. A difficult meeting at work or going someplace new. I most definitely would have drank to blot out my feelings of anxiety. However, kids can’t hide behind alcohol, they have to face the hard thing and get on with it.

I often tell my eldest that the only way to get over the fear of doing something is to actually do the thing you’re afraid of.  This usually results in eye rolls or humph of some description. However, I explain that each time you do something, it will get easier. You will learn something new to help you for next time. Whether that is preparing more, getting plenty of rest, talking it through with someone or just the simple repetition of it will make it easier to a degree.

I never learned this when I was growing up.  I always ran from the things I was worried, scared or nervous about. From the age of 14/15 I just drank over it. Period.

I remember when I was around 15 years old, we had a work experience week at school. Part of that week we had to organise getting some work experience somewhere. I applied to a hotel in the city and I got an interview. I remember when the morning of the interview came, I was so scared. I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know where to go or what to do. I hadn’t prepared anything.

What did I do? I went to my mums sherry bottle and drank some of her sherry before going. Why? I have no clue. Looking back at it now, I’m ashamed, I was so young. Why was that my go to support? I was 15. I’m also a little sad that my 15 year old self didn’t just talk to my parents? Maybe I did but I cannot remember.

scott-webb Fuck You FearPhoto by Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

Now that I have given up alcohol I am learning along side my children, how to navigate difficult situations. I take strength from my children when I see them doing a difficult thing. I make a point of talking to them when I foresee a difficult point in their lives.

Not so long ago my eldest had to preform the drums in front of an audience. I knew he was nervous and probably wanted to get out of it. I made space for him and we talked about it. He practised and prepared as much as possible and we talked about how being nervous was a normal reaction but the only way to help his nerves long term, was to give this a go and I would be proud of him no matter what.

I talked to him after the performance to see whether it was as bad as he thought it was going to be. He was absolutely beaming. He was so proud of himself. He was pleased he practised as much as he did as it made him less nervous.  He said, even though he knows he will be nervous he would definitely perform again! What a result!

I am always inspired by my children and the above story is just one example of why I should continue to push myself to do my difficult things and learn along the way. It all boils down to – if my kids can learn to do it then so can I.

Day 1275 – I Would Kick Ass in a Zombie Apocalypse

I’m binge watching ‘The Walking Dead’ at the moment (from the start). Yes, I know I’m 10 years behind everyone else. (Better late than never eh). Anyway,  I’m absolutely loving it and cannot help thinking I would truly kick ass and be one of the survivors.

The main reason is because I’m sober! How many people do you think would run for the bottle, have a few beers to cope or shots to give them ‘dutch courage’? I know loads of people who would do just that. However, I do not think that would help them, but rather slow them down and cloud their judgement, don’t you?.

If they did survive the initial wave of zombies and managed to get to a safe place. How long do you think they would last? They would eventually run out of alcohol, it would become harder to find and riskier to get. If they hadn’t already got themselves killed trying to scavenge for alcohol or drunkenly fending off the zombies, (to name a few drunken dumb zombie apocalypse ways to die) they would soon have to start living without alcohol.

And here is another advantage I have. I already know how to successfully live without alcohol. While their brains are still adapting to an alcohol free life (saying they survived this long) I would be clear minded and more sure of myself. I believe, I would be better able to cope mentally, as I have already learned how to deal with my emotions without alcohol and I have strategies to help me focus and stay strong when facing adversity.

In a nutshell, I would kick ass because getting sober has shown me that I can face my fears and overcome difficult situations. If looked after properly, my mind and body are amazingly adaptive and strong. Strong enough to survive a zombie apocalypse. Just another reason to get sober and stay sober 🙂

 

Day 1262 – Easier Sober

Sunday night, which means washing, uniform ironing, kids showers and last minute homework and stories. On Sunday’s I used to start drinking late afternoon and continue through to bedtime. It was my way of making Sunday night chores more ‘fun’.

I look back now and realise the reality was far from fun. I would run around trying to get everything done while quaffing wine. I would resent all the jobs because it would take me away from putting my feet up and drinking my wine in peace. I would be angry at my husband for not helping, though I’d never ask for help. I was such a martyr. I’d create this uber busy evening because I felt I could justify my drinking if I was busy.

By the time the kids were in bed, I would rush through their story time, more tired than I should be, just wanting more wine. Once I finally finished my Sunday night chores, I would already be a bottle of wine down. I would be totally unproductive by this time. I would be tired and grouchy and feel as if Monday morning was coming faster than I’d like.

Today, its a totally different story. I still have all the same Sunday night chores. I do them without much thought. My kids and husband chip in and help, because I ask. It doesn’t take too long because I am focused and not distracted with imbibing as much wine as I can. I am present and I give everyone some attention before bed.

Once I am finished, I’m not so tired. I have time to relax and enjoy the the rest of my evening either reading, blogging or watching a movie, anything really. Monday comes but I’m rested and ready.

I know which Sunday afternoon/evening I prefer.

Tonight, my jobs are done, it’s 9PM and i’ve got my feet up with a cup of Green Tea and Lemon while writing this blog.

Day 1246 – Avoiding Overwhelm One Day at a Time.

Good morning, I’m still anxious about going back to work on Monday but I am only letting my brain think about Monday. Not the whole week or the next month. I’m keeping ‘in the moment’ as much as possible because that stops my brain spiralling and catastrophising. It reduces the anxiety and overwhelm I feel.

Before my Day 1, I knew deep down that I should quit drinking alcohol. However, I found it very hard to start. As soon as I thought of quitting, my brain would jump to forever. My brain would spiral out of control. It would tell me that I won’t be able to do it, that I would fail; it would be too hard; that there are too many important things going on right now and what about the wedding next year! The voice in my head would get louder and louder until I wouldn’t even try to quit.

I have a brain that is quite able to cope in the moment but it is sensitive and becomes extremely anxious if left to wonder past that. I learned that by keeping my thoughts in the moment and just dealing with not drinking for one day, one hour or even one minute, it stopped my brain spiralling and getting overwhelmed. This tactic allowed me to build some sober momentum and eventually break free from my drinking.

I need to remember that this strategy of staying in the moment to avoid overwhelm, will work for other difficult times too. I need to focus my thoughts on today, then I will focus on enjoying the weekend and then I will let my brain think about Monday but no further, for now.

No ‘Future Tripping’ for this girl.

P.S.  It is Mr Mac’s first Soberanniversary today! Now there is a good thing to focus on.

Day 1236 – need to talk more.

After my post yesterday I went straight to bed and had a little cry. This morning wasn’t much better. My mood is still a mixture of overwhelm and anxiety without any real reason. Things I can usually cope with seem unbearable at times. Your comments have helped, so thank you. I realise I need to give myself more time to get used to this new job (not something I wanted to hear but i realise it is true) and I need to learn how to talk to someone about how I feel. I’m rubbish at talking about how I really feel, even with Mr Mac. The words “I’m fine” are out my mouth before I have a chance to articulate my real feelings.

I saw my doctor today, I wasn’t planning to say anything about how I was feeling but I broke down in tears the second she politely ask how I was! Mortified, doesn’t cover it. I was sobbing so hard I couldn’t catch my breath. After all was done, we came to the conclusion that I have a pretty good toolbox for coping with things generally but a job change is a big thing and I have to give my self time and I need to talk to someone. She seemed genuinely surprised I didn’t talk to anyone when I feel like this. I explained that I’m the one everyone else goes to to talk lol. You guys are the only people in the world who I talk to.

I’m back to work in 2 weeks when the kids go back to school. I am going to practice talking to Mr Mac or perhaps my sister about how I really feel sometime and try not to be too hard on myself if I cry or sound a pathetic loser. I am also going to blog here more ‘cos I cannot keep this all in my head forever.

Thank you 🙏

Day 1235 – It’s Very Loud Inside My Head

Things haven’t felt right for a while…

After my panic attack at my old job, I got brave and made the decision to get a new job. I hadn’t been happy at work for a while so I honestly thought I was doing the right thing. I was super proud of myself when I got my new job. I took the whole process slowly, knowing it would be a bit overwhelming. The first few months were definitely tough. I was prepared for that. What I wasn’t prepared for was to still feel overwhelmed and out of sorts 6 months on.

My logical brain says I’ve settled into my new job well; My bosses and colleagues are really happy with my work (They’ve told me); It’s still early days and I’m not expected to know everything but I’ve managed everything so far without a problem and the people I work with are so nice and helpful, who wouldn’t want my job.

However, I feel like I just want to run for the hills. I’m constantly waiting to come across something I don’t know how to do or worse find out I’ve been doing it wrong all along. I get anxious just thinking about going to work. Sometimes it can take my breath away. I panic when I have to go to the staff room at work because I get overwhelmed when it’s busy. Even when people praise me it makes me emotional and I want to cry because I feel like a fraud. It is all extremely draining.

I think it was better to feel crappy in a familiar job than feel just as crappy in this new one.

I thought changing jobs was going to make me feel better. Less anxiety, less panic, less depression. Instead all that has stayed but now I have a new job to contend with. I’m starting to feel like a complete failure. Even writing this makes me want to cry.

How can i have such a disconnect between what my logical brain knows to be true and my feelings?

I know I should talk to someone. However, I find it so difficult. Probably because on the outside I look like I’ve got all my shit together. If they only knew!

At least I’ve told you lot. Well I haven’t yet because I’m finding it hard to press publish! For fucks sake!

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.

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