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

Check out my website soberthinking.com for more posts and articles.

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

Check out my website soberthinking.com for more posts and articles

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

Check out my website soberthinking.com for more posts and articles

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

Check out my website soberthinking.com for more posts and articles

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

Check out my website soberthinking.com for more posts and articles

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

Check out my website soberthinking.com for more posts and articles

The Serenity Prayer – Day 1459

In my first year of Sobriety I went to AA for a couple of months. This is where I came across the Serenity Prayer for the first time.

Serenity Prayer

These simple words resonated with me immediately upon hearing them. Their meaning hit me somewhere deep inside and I have never forgotten them since.

When I find myself facing a difficult situation and getting overwhelmed, I quietly say these words to myself.

I am not praying to God; I use the words to remind myself that we cannot control everything in life.

At the moment, I hear a lot in the news and from my family about the things they cannot do anymore; due to the UK’s current self-isolation measures.

There is a lot we cannot control and it is hard. Very hard for some. I hear myself telling people, not to dwell on the things we cannot control for now, but instead concentrate on the things we can control.

I see a lot of cafes and restaurants turning into online takeaway’s and I see taxi drivers becoming delivery men for Amazon and the likes. Mr Mac is concentrating on building up other aspects of his business, while he has time. And not dwell on the parts of his business that are suffering.

A lot of people are accepting that they cannot do what they normally do and are embracing what they can control. It may not be perfect. But it’s better than worrying about things that are out of our hands.

As for me, I am struggling with not being allowed to go places or see my parents and friends. It’s not until your freedom is restricted that you realise how much you took it for granted.

I am making sure I go outside everyday for a walk. It’s a bit repetitive, walking the same routes. However, walking outside helps me, in a small way to connect with the world.  Mr Mac and the kids can even be persuaded to join me too (sometimes)!

I believe having this outlook on life comes straight from knowing the Serenity Prayer. I am grateful to AA for sharing this with me. It’s not always easy, but even when things seem bad, there is usually a small, sometimes tiny thing we can control.

Let’s focus on that. x

Mrs Mac

Adapting to Change – Day 1454

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Photo by Biegun Wschodni on Unsplash

Due to the school closures here in the UK, I am on Day 3 of home schooling the kids. So far, it’s going okay. (though it is only Day 3). Modern technology means their schools have set homework online and they have a great choice of subjects to choose from. I’m so pleased I didn’t have to come up with their school work myself, Phew!

The tricky part for me is resisting the urge to compete with all those parents out there who are jumping on social media to share idyllic pictures of their children studying and sharing copies of their unrealistic home-school timetables.

I have to remind myself that I don’t need to compete. This is not a competition. I do not need to justify what I am doing nor do I need anyone’s approval for how I am doing it.
I’m going to concentrate on what me and my family need. Comparing myself to others is not helpful. What is helpful, is reminding myself that they are doing their thing and I am going to continue doing my thing. Both ways are fine. No need to compete.

Change affects us all and we need to be patient with ourselves while we work out what we wish to achieve and how we are going to go about it. It’s all too easy to look at what other people are doing and end up feeling inferior; like we should be doing more!
I believe it’s helpful to give ourselves time to adapt to the new way of things. This is definitely not a time to put pressure on ourselves or expect too much of ourselves or others.

It reminds me of early sobriety. When we need to keep things easy and not commit to too much. It is not sustainable to stop drinking and lose weight and learn a new language all at the same time. In the beginning we need to keep things simple, learn how to adapt to the change and then slowing add in new things. That is the way we succeed and thrive in early sobriety.

I am learning to be patient at home; to give myself and my family time to adapt to our new routine. I’m going to check in with the kids to ask what they think is working and I’m not going to have unrealistic expectations of them. Things don’t have to be perfect while we are figuring this out. We’ll keep things simple for now, change them if needs be and add new things in gradually.

With a greater appreciation for all the teachers out there x

Mrs Mac

Good News Headline – Day 1445

The BBC News headline last week made me smile.

‘Nolo beer’ sales rocket thanks to young teetotallers.

The report explains that sales of no or low alcohol beer are up 30% since 2016, as 18-24 year olds increasingly shun alcohol.

I gave up alcohol in April 2016 and back then, there was very little low or non alcohol drinks out there. It is amazing that in the past 4 years, this industry has recognised that there is a growing demand for low or no alcohol.

I think this is because people are more conscious of their physical and mental health. I hope that this change in attitude will create less of a stigma for people who don’t drink.

I know not everyone agrees with drinking 0.00% beers or wines in their sobriety and that is fine. I just love to hear reports like this:-

“growing health consciousness has prompted almost one in four young people to become teetotal.”

“The number of 18-24 year olds who say they don’t drink has increased by 6% in the past 12 months”

It makes me smile, to think the younger generation seem to have their head screwed on when it comes to alcohol. Certainly way more than I did at that age. It gives me hope that my children may not experience the same pressure I felt to drink alcohol from their peers or society as a whole.

I can only hope that as the young people across Britain grow up, the general culture around alcohol will change for the better too.

Mrs Mac

New Beginnings – Day 1428

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Photo by Alfred Schrock on Unsplash

As you know, last February 2019 I left my Government office job to work in a smaller school office, with less responsibility.

I had been unhappy in my job for a while. Even after getting sober, the job did not improve. Though I will admit, it was more manageable being sober

It was a huge decision to leave my job and career as a Civil Servant. I had been there for over 20 years. It was a scary decision, which I had put off for more years than I should have. This was mainly due to the fear of the unknown. Many people feel trapped because they are fearful of change and I was one of them. I still am, to a degree.

Once I started on my journey to find another job, I actually gained in confidence. I did have to take things slowly so I would not get overwhelmed and I had to remember to use my sober toolbox to keep my anxiety at bay.

The things in my sober toolbox are not exclusively to help with being sober. The things in my sober toolbox are to help with everyday struggles. They help when I get overwhelmed and they reduce my anxiety.  They are about self care and looking after my physical well being and mental heath.

Getting sober and staying sober created the foundation which my toolbox is built on but I have filled it with all the things I need to navigate my way through life. Part of getting sober is to build up a handy collection of tools you can use when you are struggling.

Once I started my new job I had to remember to keep using my tools. It was a bumpy ride at first but I have come to love my new job and the people who work there. I have enjoyed a wonderful year in my new work environment and made some great friends.

Because of the journey I have been on over the past few years, I am less fearful of the unknown. I have therefore made the decision to leave this job also. I do not feel like I need to leave this job because I am unhappy or because I am finding it difficult. But rather, I want to leave this job because I know myself better and what I want out of life.

For a long time I have struggled to understand what I wanted. My blog often comes back to the same question of, who am I as a person? and what do I want to do in life? There was always a feeling of wanting more.

I think what was holding me back was this feeling of being trapped because I was too fearful of the unknown. I was too afraid to try in case it didn’t work out. Well this fear has not gone but it is more manageable.

I am more confident to try new things. We don’t always have to have it all worked out in advance. I am happier now to give things a go and see if they work because I rather try and fail than not try at all, right?

I am continuing to work on my sober website. It is going well and I’m learning so much. My short term goal is to transfer my blog over to there.

I will continue to pursue what motivates me and what makes me happy. x

Mrs Mac