this is the 7th day of the rest of my life

I have been saying this to myself all week. This is the first thing I think when I wake up, as I count, as I say this time it will change, this time it is the start to the rest of my life. Most mornings it makes me smile, but a couple of mornings I have had to repeat it over and over until I think yes, yes it is.

So what happened? Why am I back here? For the past 13 months I have been giving up drinking, giving up on giving up drinking, then giving up drinking again. To be honest I have largely been ok with this pattern, because I am sure that eventually, at some point, I will succeed and all of this will be behind me. My attempts have pretty much consisted of a pattern of one week off then one week binge, or two weeks off then one weeks binge etc etc. I have so far taken that as better than just drinking drinking drinking. This does not mean, however, that I am happy with the current situation. I have a week or so off, got through the usual fidgetty few days through to the calm, and then I start to think fuck it, I just want a glass of wine, surely I can have a glass of wine… I just need to restrict my drinking…. fucking “just”. There is no just for me, it’s a NO glass of wine, and I know it, I just need to apply the strength to hold that and maintain it, for the rest of my life.

Last Friday, this time last week, was the staff Christmas party at work. It was a fantastic night, a lot of fun, with everyone laughing and happy, dancing and drinking, everyone was still talking about it 5 days later. It really was a fantastic night. There was lots of drinking.. lots and lots of drinking, me of course included. Then the few stragglers who were left declaring it was time to go into town and have a dance started to leave, me included, and once we started walking I realised that my legs weren’t really working or following instructions from my brain, they were crissing and crossing and I was swerving and bumping into walls. I could hear my head just thinking step step trying to gain some control of my body, my vision was tunnelled, and the people in front of me seemed distant, and like they were increasingly getting further away. I had gone too far, I was annihilated, barely functioning. In my head all I could think was fuck, I really had no idea how I was going to get myself out of this. The face of a kind workmate came into my view “how are you getting home Jo?” – she had obviously taken the direct route to ‘it’s time for you to go home’. “I don’t know, I’ve missed the bus, I’ll get some money out, get a cab’ (this would have cost me around $60, my inability to catch the bus on time as I was too busy buzzing on drinking was going to cost me dearly). She rang a friend of hers, who agreed to drive me home for only $20, she helped me get money from the money machine, she stayed with me until the car came and I was safely on my way home. “I am so embarrassed” I said to her “don’t be, we all do this sometimes” Without her to save me I’m not sure what I would have done. I got home, paid the friend, all I wanted to do was get inside, tell my husband I had gone too far, I stumbled, I fell, I landed on my butt and sat there looking surprised, not knowing how I had suddenly ended up in that place. I got myself up, and holding on to the fence posts, edged my way to my gate and the front door.

This entire experience has left me mortified. I am a private and fairly controlled person, and that night I not only lost it to the point of no return, I lost it publicly. This has happened before, on one level or another  (although most of my drinking tends to be private to hide this kind of thing) – this time though a switch flipped. The next day I thanked my workmate for saving my bacon, she was really lovely about the whole thing with a it happens to everyone, it’ll be me that needs saving next time, but this can no longer happen to me. I have had enough, I really really have. The next day I woke up and said to myself this is the first day of the rest of my life. This is not how my story will end.

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quiet – but here

You must excuse my quiet – it is for no other reason than things are very very busy at the moment, and it’s very hard to catch a moment to myself. It’s currently the school holidays, and I have this week off work, but rather than the anticipated balance of me stuff & kid stuff, it’s been all kids stuff. It’s all really rather tiring, but leaves me, as always, grateful that I am currently sober, it makes everything so much easier to deal with. I am tired, occasionally head-achy, have the rare up-rising of anger, but all-in-all am just here and now and sober.

In a way, another reason I haven’t written is because I don’t really have anything to say or add to what I have already said – sober, and in the now. I haven’t quite hit happy yet, but I am very content. I love the feeling of quiet that a life without alcohol has – it’s so much more peaceful! It’s not rocket science, my entire body is not going through a daily battle to process last nights excesses. I am neither thinking about it or missing it, but also realise that life is pretty simple and un-challenging at this moment.

At the end of the day, tired and filled by a long list of everyday-simple daily achievement, I head to bed. This is rather a new (ish) sensation, as our bedroom has become such a haven for me. It’s the same ole room, nothing has changed (though I would dearly like to rip in there and mix things up!), but it is the place I find the most peace, and has become my definite happy place. It’s got to that point where the kids will be in bed, the dishes will be done, the house tidy, it’s 9.30 at night and I would much rather curl up in that hummy quiet space with a book than anything else. There is such a late night quiet to that room – the house is stiller than any other time of day, there’s no movement just the quiet snoozing sounds of the bedrooms, and my head falls into another world provided by my book. To think that all these years I have put myself in the position of not even remembering entering that room at the end of the night… hmmmm..

Days 5, 6 & 7

however the next day..

All is well – I’m sorry for my grump yesterday, I have promised myself that I will be honest with what I write, and that has to include the good with the bad. I was largely in a bad mood because I had gone through all of the day before, Saturday, feeling horrid and just waiting for the day to end so that TOMORROW could be a new day and I would feel so much better.. and when that didn’t happen I got a bit grumpy. Great expectations I guess, it’d only been a day, and I do know that it takes at least a week to start feeling ‘normal’, I guess I was just hopeful. Today is better. Last night I slept better, I only have a very slight headache at the back of my head, and the asthma has settled down a bit too.

If you are wondering why I mention the asthma it is because it is one of those things that I ‘drank my way through’. I only developed asthma in my 20s, it began pretty much as soon as my ‘party years’ started thanks to smoking and, I now know, drinking. It has become clear over the past few years that some forms of alcohol will trigger an asthmatic response in me, I suspect due to the sulphites used to preserve beers and some wines. I had pretty much removed beer from my drinking repertoire because of this as the reaction was so severe, but did still continue drinking some champagnes that caused some pretty hefty breathing issues (if you are based in New Zealand the Lindauer range was particularly bad, especially the ‘Summer’ and ‘Sauvignon Blanc’ varieties)  Crazy huh! I would drink, then ventolin… silly girl. So when I’m not drinking and I am still struggling with asthma I get frustrated – but need to simply learn some patience – which is certainly something I need to focus on with my journey to sobriety. 

I was reading a book recently on changing your life, and I read this wonderful quote;

“If you want your life to be different, then you must dream a different dream. The definition of insanity is repetition of the same while expecting a different outcome “

So with this in mind I am open to new ways of dealing with this journey – and thank you to Unconfirmed Bachorlette for making a suggestion that had me thinking along these lines. I don’t know why I keep failing at this change in my life, but I do know that I cannot afford to keep failing. I do know that reading and writing blogs really helps, as does the wonderful support from the sobriety community – but I think I need to sink myself even further into different and new coping strategies and reminders. 

Day 3

Grrrgh

I feel like crappy mc-crap crap today. I had a horrible sleep where I felt like I spent more time awake than asleep, and my sleep was filled with an ongoing dream about the previous love in my life before my husband (which constantly  haunts me, and always leaves me feeling disassociated and off kilter). I woke up with stiff muscles & feeling slightly headachy, which has only added to my grump. I took myself out for a run – the first in about 3 months – thinking that always fixes my mood and makes me feel energised – but because I’m so unfit it was really hard work and rather unenjoyable (fully acknowledging that I need to put this kind of work in to get back in the fitness saddle). To top that off my asthma is being an absolute shit,and required far too much ventolin this morning to just be comfortable….. see. Grrrgh!

On the up side, I do feel a lot better after my run, my breathing has calmed down, and I had one of those really scrummy long, warm showers where you body scrub everything, which has made me feel a lot calmer. Another cup of tea I think.

Day 2

Day one.. again

I’m not even really sure how this happens – I got to day 19, my longest attempt at sobriety so far, and  simply went to the supermarket and bought 2 bottles of champagne, What the hell was I thinking? There was no internal struggle, no needs and wants, I just did it regardless of what I am trying to achieve. So I’ve had a blow out week, I’m considering it a last hurrah, finished off last night with a big one and boy do I feel like crap today. Actually, I’ve felt like crap all week truth be told. There is the obvious sick tummy, jumpy body and short tempered-ness peppered with the occasional headache, dehydration, and general all round feeling of disassociation. It’s fucking horrible – so why do I allow it? The one up side of falling off the wagon (again) is that each time it happens it becomes clearer and clearer that not only do I need to succeed in sobriety, but that once I have there can be no turning back for me. I can not have just one drink every now and then, it’s just not something I am capable of doing any more.

I hate myself when I’m drinking, I am so profoundly unhappy, I find it hard to look people in the eye, I’m irritable, I don’t face myself in the mirror. It makes no sense to chose this – when I am not drinking I am so happy I am on  permanent high. Just the morning before I bought the champagne I was walking to work thinking my god, I am SO happy.. then I threw it all away.

I will get there though, I’m not giving up. Drunkenness is not going to be my story.

Day 1

that old familiar feeling

Here begins a subject I am not sure how to broach, am not sure what to say, or even if I should say. Maybe I shouldn’t, but this blog is about my journey and is (so far) private and kept from my friends and family. This is my choice to allow myself to write freely and without constraint. If I am to deal with my problems I need to do so openly and without filter, I need to be unafraid of what people have to say. I guess I just wrote my own apology and acceptance circle right there. 

 First I’ll start with some history of me. I am the typically the type of person who is fiercely independant – I find it hard to let the very inner issues that I need support with come out. I am likely to bottle stuff up and then blow a volcano of thoughts all at once, usually leaving the person in front of me a little taken aback as they have no idea that all of this stuff was going on. Because I tend to bottle things, and tend to not let people help me, my inner voice is one of strength and failure – I do not lean on anyone easily, and this includes my husband. I struggle internally with the distance between us, envy my friends their closeness, and yet do nothing about fixing it. This is a multi-layered problem, beginning with the fact that I would not be easy to live with, compounded by rocky times in the past that I have perhaps not let go of, and worsened by the fact that our lives together were perhaps something that was not really picked or decided upon but rather just sort of happened that way. We just hung out together, right up to the point where there were children involved, responsibilities, finances, and eventually marriage. None of this has felt purposeful or chosen, and I often find myself questioning whether this is the choice i would have made if I had really thought about it. 

 That is, however, just the underlying background, to try and  help me explain – short and simplified as it is. The thing that concerns me most about myself and my inherent flaws is that I seem to have an addictive personality, as does my husband, and as most addictive types do we have found each other and supported and held each other up in our various stages of unhealthy vices. And this is where things become difficult – I have stopped drinking, on my own, with no discussion with him, and he has not (naturally). I have a love hate relationship with his behavior at the best of times, and I am knocking myself on the head and telling myself NOT to get on a soapbox after only 17 days of not drinking, but it is rather hard to be around. Not because it makes me want to drink, but because I find it ugly. 

 Since I stopped drinking he has been drinking on and off – kind of day on day off – which tells me that he is aware that I have stopped, and also tells me he is not thinking of stopping himself. This is fair enough, it’s not like I have had a discussion with him or asked him to stop, so cannot expect him to do so. Having said that it is not always easy to be around. I feel like I am watching him through bars, viewing that all so familiar behaviour, knowing how it feels inside his head and to look out of his eyes and see the world skewed. Not something I particularly enjoy. Last night he drank two (TWO!) bottles of wine. I’ve probably done that in the past I’m sure, and suffered for it, but when I heard him screw open the second bottle all I could think was ‘you’re kidding me, right?’.. but no. And the he just sat there and slowly finished that one off too.