Sobriety While Stuck at Home

I have added a new article to my website soberthinking.com. I wanted to share with people how I have handled my sobriety while stuck at home during Lockdown.

My article is full of top tips on how to do things differently because taking some time out to access how I might do things differently actually adds supports to my sober toolbox.

Check it out HERE

I have also set up an Instagram Account. Not sure what I’m doing with this to be honest. I’m not exactly a social media guru haha but you can check me out at @sober_thinking

Mrs Mac

Time to Share

Hello everyone.

I haven’t been posting on here lately for two reasons.

1. I haven’t felt I needed too.

2. I have been focusing on a project of mine that I’ve always wanted to do called soberthinking.com

Today, I am 1578 days sober. Which is 4 years, 3 months and 25 days. I have loved blogging my way through the ups and downs of my sobriety. Writing has always been and will always be the most effective tool in my sobriety toolbox.

Oh, writing and you lot, my friends in the bloggersphere! You lot understand and accept that we cannot control our drinking and have found a better way instead. Rather than tirelessly controlling our drinking, we have created a better life which does not even involve alcohol at all.

Since stopping drinking on 1 April 2016, I have never felt more awake and in touch with life and the people around me. Yes, it was hard in the beginning but you keep going and you gain some sober momentum and it gets easier and easier. Then comes a time when you suddenly look back and realise you’ve never thought about drinking for months and you realise your living your best life and you don’t miss alcohol at all.

I like the person I am today and I have been spending the last couple of months putting together a website so I can blog there instead. It is also place I can write articles about aspects of sobriety I find interesting.

I’m by no means an expert on sobriety. I only have my personal experience and knowledge acquired through reading. However, if sharing my personal sobriety journey or articles can help just one person struggling with alcohol feel less alone, it will be worth it.

My website is call soberthinking.com It is a working progress but I am happy with what I have achieved so far. Please check it out. I’m happy for you to share this and if you want to get in touch directly, you can do here

Eternally grateful to you all

Mrs Mac x

 

 

Giving Myself Permission – Day 1533

One thing I know I need to work on is giving myself permission to do less or even nothing.

Yesterday, I was busy doing a few jobs around the house and home schooling the children. Oh, and I went for a jog. By 4.30pm I didn’t fancy doing anything else but it also felt wrong to just chill out and do nothing.

I think this stems back to when I used to drink and the kids were little and more demanding. I would always make sure the jobs were done and the kids were settled before I would relax with a drink. I did this for 2 reasons.

  1. Justification. Making sure all the jobs were done first justified checking out with a bottle or two of wine.
  2. Guilt. After my first few glasses of wine I knew I’d be no good for anything else. So attending to everyone else’s needs before I settled into my drinking, made me feel less guilty.

Even though I happily don’t drink anymore, I still retain the mindset that everyone else’s needs must be catered for, before my own. I cannot truly relax because I am constantly on standby. I spend a lot of time in limbo because I wont start a project or even a t.v. series in case someone needs me.

What is so silly about this, is that no one needs me as much as I think they do. My kids aren’t babies anymore. It is also self perpetuating. The more I do for other people, the more people expect of me.

I am learning that I don’t need to justify chilling out. I don’t need to worry about or even control what everyone else is doing before I can relax. If I want to watch that trashy Netflix series then I can at anytime of the day. I give myself permission to relax, guilt free.

So, for anyone out there who, like me, always waits for the perfect time to relax. Stop. Now. Self care should not be the thing which comes after everything else. It should not be the last thing on your ‘to do’ list. I give you permission to relax now. I give you permission to do less. x

Mrs Mac

Kids of Today – Day 1516

Today it’s sunny and the kids are on their half term break from (home) school. Not that they want to go out and enjoy the weather. They are quite content on their computers, playing video games and socialising with their friends online.

I have to resist the urge to kick them outside. Something my parents would have insisted I did, on a day like this. I can almost hear my mother yelling “get outside and call on your friends.” However, with social distancing in place it is impossible for my kids to go out and meet up with friends; most friends don’t live that close anyway.

I accept that things are different from when I was a kid. I didn’t have an extensive inventory of exciting multi-player and single-player games to keep me entertained. I had a Spectrum ZX and the best game I had was Horace Goes Skiing.

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There was no such thing as video calling either. My mother used to go mad if I was on the phone any longer than 20 minutes because of the phone bill. It was common for my mate to call me back so we could share the cost and talk for longer. Oh, and there was only one phone for the whole household. Back then, if you wanted to actually catch up with your friends, the easiest way was to physically go visit them.

Nowadays, it’s all done by video calls over WIFI or with free call minutes. My kids average several hours on the phone at any one time. Oh, and everyone has their own phone of course. They are lucky to have such resources to keep them entertained and socialising. However, my kids and their friendship groups don’t know any different, so it’s just the norm for them.

It is easy, when you have had nice childhood experiences, to want to try and re-create them for your own children. However, I remind myself that they’re not growing up in the same world that I did. Their world is larger, more connective and with so much more exciting technology to hand. They will have their own childhood experiences that will shape their lives.

I do still make them go on family walks though. Somethings will never change Mwahahahaha! x

Mrs Mac

Managing My Emotions – Day 1502

 

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Whilst being on lockdown I have been trying to put together a website. I have to admit it’s been hard and I have made many mistakes along the way.

There have been times when I have wanted to pick up the laptop and hurl it across my office in an irrational display of rage.

When I come across something I cannot do and, its not obvious how to do it, I get really angry inside, then emotional. I just hate making mistakes. I know it’s a massive overreaction to the problem in hand but it’s me, I am working on it. It’s just the first time in a long time, probably since giving up alcohol, that I am doing something difficult.

Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new. Albert Einstein

Trying to create this website definitely reminds me of early sobriety. In my early days of sobriety, it wasn’t uncommon for me to have emotional flare up’s while navigating a new sober situation, like a night out or a back-answering tween.

Sometimes, I would get really angry (at god knows what) and start ruminating over an altercation I’d had with someone or I’d get really teary at the enormity of an up and coming social gathering. I learned in early sobriety that I had move through these emotions. It’s like the children’s book ‘Were Going on a Bear Hunt’. We can’t go over it, we can’t go under it, we can’t go around it. We have to go through it.

In early sobriety, I learned to accept my emotions and let them pass. I learned to take a deep breath, go for a walk or god forbid ask for help. (still not one of my strong points). In just the same way, I am learning to accept my emotions while working on my website. It hasn’t been easy but the same tools, taking a deep breath, going for a walk or asking for help, definitely still work.

I know avoiding a situation simply because I might make a mistake is the biggest mistake of all, so I push on. I will make more mistakes before I am finished and I accept I will get angry and emotional while I learn all there is to know about building a website. I will manage these emotions with the tools I have acquired and I will achieve what I set out to achieve. One day at a time eh. x

Mrs Mac

VE Day – Day 1498

Its Victory in Europe (VE) Day today. It marks the end of the fighting in Europe during WW2. Being the 75th anniversary of VE day it is a National Holiday here in the United Kingdom.

Unfortunately, lots of celebrations have been limited or cancelled because we are still in Lockdown, due to the Coronavirus. There will be no street parties, parades or public gatherings this year.

However, that doesn’t stop people celebrating within their households with 1940’s style tea parties, participating in the two-minutes silence and watching a re broadcast of Winston Churchill’s victory speech, announcing the end to the fighting against Nazi Germany in Europe, during WW2.

There are many things we can do to mark the occasion. I will be getting our Union Jack bunting out and having ourselves a tea party later. Plus, I may subject the children to a War movie.

The UK news has covered VE Day a lot over the past few days, showing photos of the spontaneous celebrations which broke out across the UK after the announcement from Winston Churchill in 1945.

What I notice from all these photographs is, where’s the booze? All these photos show happy, relieved people. They are smiling, hugging and dancing in the streets, all inhibitions gone.

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It is heart warming to see these photos and reminds me that alcohol is not required to have fun. They knew it back then. I wish more people knew it now.

Mrs Mac

Lockdown: Drinking v Sobriety – Day 1480

Drinking During Lockdown:

Before getting sober, my drinking brain would have used this current situation as an excuse to drink more. Losing my drinking restrictions like school pick-ups, work, visiting relatives, etc… means I would have drunk in excess of my already excessive normal.

The anxiety I would feel trying to get ‘enough’ booze in the house to see me through would be awful. Because there is simply never ‘enough’ is there?

I would feel resentment towards everyone being at home with me. How could I drink in peace with everyone there, judging me? How could I hide my drinking and the empty bottles from them!?

My silly excuses about why drinking again tonight would be a good idea would become lame at best. Shame around not being able to control my drinking would creep in. I’d end up drinking more just to block out these bad feelings drinking was creating.

For me drinking during lockdown means, more anxiety, more lying, more sneaking and hiding. I would feel shame and start to resent everyone who was home with me.

Sobriety During Lockdown:

Being sober during lockdown means I have more control over my anxiety. I can see when watching too much news is starting to make me feel antsy, you know? I remember to focus on what I can control.

I have more energy because I am not dealing with a hangover. I use my daily exercise quota to go walking with my family. The extra energy I feel and the fresh air of the outdoors helps my physical and mental wellbeing too.

I actually like spending time with my family. I am not resentful; trying to get rid of them, so I can drink without being judged. I enjoy their company so much more.

For me, not drinking during lockdown means, less anxiety, no resentments and no shame. It means I have more time for me and my family. I do more and have more fun!

Conclusion

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I have never been more grateful to be sober x

Mrs Mac

Easter Weekend in Lockdown – Day 2473

Over this Lockdown Easter Weekend it has felt hard not seeing my parents, and my sisters and their families.

Normally, I would have planned a visit to my sisters over the Easter Holidays to catch up and swap Easter Eggs with the children. My parents would have been invited to our house on Easter Sunday for lunch. There would have been drives out for family walks or even a weekend away somewhere.

However, during lockdown none of this can happen. I don’t want to dwell on what I cannot do though. That is too easy and does not actually help me. When I find things which are out of my control, I try to focus on what is in my control.

I may not be able to visit my sisters but we have been calling and video calling. In fact, I think we are probably chatting to each other more than we normally do.

My parents have discovered WhatsApp. We have created a family WhatsApp group and have been sending funny meme’s and quizzes to each other. This is fun and entertaining for all of us, including the kids.  We are also thinking about surprising the family with a nice postcard or letter. No one gets nice mail anymore so we thought this would be a great Easter gift.

As a family, we have not been able to drive out for a family walk. However, that has not stopped us going out. During lockdown we are still allowed to go out for exercise. As long as it is near where we live and walkable. As the spring weather arrives we have discovered so many more places around where we live.

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Yes, we will not be enjoying a weekend away for a while but while we are on lockdown we have really enjoyed being together. I feel thankful that I have my family living with me.

We are enjoying watching movies together. We have learned that it works better if we all take turns picking the movie. Less arguments that way.

We have re discovered that it’s fun playing board games together. Lately, we have played ‘Risk’ and ‘Monopoly’, though I never seem to win haha.

There has been lots of baking going on and we now have more time to all sit down at the table for dinner together. I think this has resulted in me putting on an extra few pounds.

While it may feel hard not seeing my family in the way I am used too and there are many other restrictions on my freedom at the moment.  I realise, I just need to shift my focus away from what I cannot control and toward what I can control. There is still so much more I can do and can control.

While things are hard and far from ideal, it is important for me to focus on the positives, no matter how small they may be. I am doing this to help save lives and along the way I am finding other positives too. x

Mrs Mac

 

 

4 Years Sober – Day 1461

It’s coming to the end of my 4th year Sober.

Today has been just an ordinary day; nothing special.

This means I enjoyed helping the kids with their school work (including finding out who invented Tarmac!).

Eating lunch with Mr Mac and having time to catch up.

Watching some episodes of a teen series with my daughter.

I had time to talk to my son about helicopters and computer games. It’s all far more advanced than the Spectrum ZX I had as a kid.

Plus, we all enjoyed a nice family meal together at dinnertime. This still includes fart jokes and discussing funny meme’s; which I still don’t always get but I’m not complaining.

I’m now all tucked up in bed, reflecting on the day. Which I can conclude, has been great. I feel calm, happy and content.

This is a far cry from where I was 4 years ago.

The amount I was drinking left me too tired to give the people I care about most in life, the attention they deserved.

My hangovers left me anxious and full of remorse because I’d drank yet again after I promised myself I wouldn’t.

I constantly felt shame and self loathing for not being able to control my drinking.

Nothing I did made me feel better until I just stopped drinking.

Cutting out the alcohol completely may have been hard in the beginning but it has enabled me to like myself again.

I have learned how to deal with my emotions and how to navigate difficult situations, without reaching for the bottle.

I am a better friend, sister, daughter wife and mother. I have learned to reach out when I need help and that I can be there for others by just listening.

I have created a better life. One that makes me and the people around me happier.

Now, life is not always a bed of roses but boy is it better Sober.

If this ordinary day can make me this happy and full of gratitude then I must be doing something right.

Being Sober is still one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Mrs Mac