Control (Day 3 rant)

When I don’t drink my friend thinks I’ve got control issues. That I have the need to control everything in an unhealthy manner. I can’t let go and “have fun” for a bit. This seems to be a problem for her. Similarly, when I do drink and evidently can’t control it or anything else in my life at those times, she thinks I should exercise more control such as allowing myself certain drinking days per week, certain amount of drinks per session (preferably with her!). The more I go over the things she says to me concerning my drinking, the more I question her own drinking. She is a very sensible person who likes a good drinking session and even has the occasional hair of the dog on a Saturday lunch time, but very rarely does she drink during the week. When she does, she can happily (or so she says) have a glass of whisky or some wine and then stop and save the rest. That all seems like fairly normal drinking to me, but why is my drinking or non-drinking such an issue for her?

It seems like she thinks she knows best. She wants so badly to make my decisions for me that it makes me wonder what the hell her problem is! She is the same sometimes with food, but not half as bad. I remember when I’d been sober for 6 months, we went out for lunch on my birthday and she asked me if I was planning on ever having a drink again, and I said no, I can’t. She asked “But say if you were with me and I only allowed you one glass with dinner or something?”. I was speechless. I truly didn’t know what to say apart from maintaining that no, it’s not possible for an alcoholic to have even one drink even if their friend tells them they can’t have no more. That one drink may just be one drink that time, but it won’t be long (for me anyway) before it’s back to daily uncontrollable drinking.

The first drink is the one that sets the wheel spinning and you just don’t know where it’s gonna land or when. I appreciate that this is very hard for a non-alcoholic to understand but what happened to just being a supportive friend? If she decided for some weird reason to completely give up ginger bread men because they made her feel like shit, I wouldn’t dream of dangling ginger bread men in front of her and say “come on, just one, you’ll be fine, you’re with me, I’m sure it was never that bad”. Or more seriously, she can’t have wheat or gluten because it actually makes her feel like crap, so I would never pressure her to have a sandwich. She very occasionally has a sandwich but that’s got nothing to do with me.

My god. That’s the end of that rant. The reason I’m going on about it today is because my newly sober mind is trying to decide what to say or not say when I next meet up with my friend. It’s going to be at the weekend, I’m sure, and there’ll be wine involved. The reason I can’t just ditch her as one of those no-good friends that need to vacate my life to accommodate my sobriety is that I love her very much and in every other respect she has been there for me during trials and tribulations, let me stay at hers when my ex has gone wild, fed and watered me when I’ve gone through bad patches, lent me money when I’ve been short and she’s just an awesome friend. I could not let her go. I guess, in the light of that, I’ll have to figure out a way of making her understand how serious this is for me. That it’s not about simple rules and allowances. That it’s about life and death.

On that dramatic note, that’s me for now. Good night. 

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No time to stop (Day 2)

Tuesday is a long day at work, 11am-7pm, but I made sure I kept busy from the start in order to avoid the cigarette craving that’s always lurking around when the others smoke. For me, smoking and drinking go hand-in-hand. I thought I could smoke and not drink but discovered after my last detox that having that first cigarette made me really anxious. And the more I smoked (even though it was making me feel like shit – I didn’t make the connection at first!) the worse it got. So I started thinking about how wine chills me out and from there it didn’t take long before I drank daily again. And the other way around, drinking but not smoking, is just impossible. And since it’s the drinking I want to get rid off, so the smokes got to go too! And physically I feel so much better already. The gym session this morning was a breeze compared to last night and fast progress is really good for me right now. I need the encouragement.

Today I’m so very grateful that I didn’t have a run-in with the ex (he was around briefly but left me to it), that it was busy at work to silence my mind, that the book store bought some of my books, that I managed to get up on time for a gym session this morning and that I’m going to bed sober tonight.


(Edit: Changed title of post and tag, it’s not day 3!!)

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Insane (Day 1) Part 2

So I got out of bed this morning and have kept myself very busy all day. I started by changing the bed sheets, brushing teeth, taking make-up off (I know right.. in the morning tut tut), making hot lemon/mint/cayenne pepper tea and getting down to business. I sorted out a big pile of books to sell, threw away about 4 full carrier bags of shit that I don’t need and gave a friend the rest of my red wine and some other bits and pieces that I wanted to get rid of. She helped me lug the books to the bookshop then we had a cup of tea at mine while I still sorted through things. She left, I ate early dinner, cleaned the bathroom and went to the gym from which I’ve come back, had second dinner and a bath.

Pheew! I don’t have any alcohol in the house (or tobacco!). I’m not really looking forward to what is inevitably going to be a sleepless night but I’ve decided to read a book for however long it takes to get sleepy and not stress about it even if it gets late. A sober rest awake is still going to be so much better than passed out from a bottle of wine or more.

The last couple of weeks have been a roller coaster with my ex being a complete lunatic, stalking me, bothering me at work, being arrested, coming back, raising hell again, being absolutely fine for a while only to lose the plot completely again (yesterday). Trying to navigate working where he lives upstairs, avoiding him at all costs, trying to minimize any trouble for my boss (his mum) and my colleagues when he does approach me against my wishes and trying to seem OK to my customers is just too much to handle. Especially if one throws 1-2 bottles of wine a day into the mix. The poison’s got to go and it’s going, going, gone!

I’m so grateful for the blogging community for keeping me somewhat sane and connected, for the fact that I woke up with a new found conviction about what to do and how to proceed, for the calm I now feel despite it being day 1 again and for everyone else around me who have been so supportive at these turbulent times.

I’m not a Christian but sometimes the phrase “…but for the grace of God” just sounds so true. I do believe there was a divine intervention this morning. There was no reason at all why I should have woken up feeling so serene and determined. I expected hangover symptoms and self pity!

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Insane (Day 1)

I woke up to an epiphany this morning. I’d had weird dreams with both good and bad bits in them after a night out followed by passing out. When I was lying there trying to wake up I just felt really calm. I knew what I had to do. I decided then and there that it’s time I take responsibility for what’s happening to me. The pain in my liver isn’t going to go away unless I stop drinking, the bills won’t get paid, the flat won’t get cleaned, my job won’t be properly done, no good decisions are going to be made, I’m not going to get strong, fit, free, happy or independent unless I stop drinking. That’s just the way it is. Celiacs can’t eat gluten or wheat, diabetics can’t have sugar, I can’t have alcohol.

I’m expecting nothing less than white-knuckling insanity this week and the next… But I’m doing this whatever comes my way. When I get back from the gym later I’ll tell you about what I’ve done so far today to stay busy. 

Here’s to another day 1 and praying it’s the last one!

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The beginning

Here’s the link to my old blog that I started on 3 May 2011 Diary of an Alcoholic in Recovery. When I read posts from it now I feel as though it was a different person writing it. It seems to me to be very insightful and wise in a way that I don’t feel now at all. I had reached such a rock bottom before that journey that I had no doubts about what I needed to do or why. I want that sense of certainty back in my life. But as I can also see in that blog, it wasn’t as solid as I thought it was. That’s why I’m here now, feeling pretty low and crappy about myself. My next task is to read through all the 70+ posts on there and see if I can get some inspiration back. 

Meanwhile I’ll try and post about what’s going on. It’s really hard though. It’s easier for me to write about the good times and when things are going well and as planned. It’s not so easy to share about the bumps in the road and the setbacks. I know it’s important to share both sides of the story though, so I’ll try.

I broke up with my bf a couple of months ago after a long period of bad times with him. He’s immature, manipulating, controlling, paranoid and possibly has severe mental health problems that have never been diagnosed. He’s aggressive and tends to break things, punch holes in walls and be generally awful. His behavior has deteriorated a lot in the last year as I’ve increasingly been keeping my distance from him. The thought of him and what that relationship did/does to me is what inspired the name of this blog, Insanity. He’s the same bloke I was seeing when I wrote my old blog.

Because of everything that’s been going on with him I’ve completely neglected my uni work and with an upcoming end of module assessment I feel rather stressed out. The essay is due in on Monday and I haven’t started it yet. I’ve had plenty of time to write, but my brain doesn’t work under stress or hangovers. I grind to a halt and completely freeze. Lately the stress has taken the form of wine drinking, going out with friends to distract myself, and more wine. Needless to say, I don’t go to the gym a fraction of the amount I’d like to, which is obviously adding to the stress and the guilt.

Today I was dressed and ready to leave my flat in order to get a gym session in before work as my ceiling started leaking! So I couldn’t go anywhere because a plumber and the caretaker were coming in and out trying to figure out what was wrong. So I soon changed my gym clothes to hoodie and joggers and rolled myself a cigarette. I hadn’t smoked all day so that I could go to the gym and now I sit here in a cloud of smoke feeling sorry for myself. Tonight I’m working the night shift at the pub and I pretty much know exactly how that’s going to go. Self-pity is my downfall every single time and at the moment I don’t feel strong enough to fight it. 

Wow, this is a terrible post but I had to share it, warts and all. Thanks for reading.

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Why do I want to be sober?

After my last feeling-sorry-for-myself-post I got a comment from Lilly that said: “Why do you want to be sober? Tell us. Even if you’re still drinking. Tell us why you want to be sober.” I will present my thoughts in the form of a list as I find it difficult to organize them at the moment.

  1. I feel like shit. The hangovers, the trembling, the wanting more to calm down, the drinking to get tired at night, the bad food cravings, the thirst, the itchy skin – the lot.
  2. Mentally I’m not as strong and determined as when I’m sober. Simple everyday tasks seem so hard and pointless. Why would I brush my teeth at night after a bottle of wine when I could just fall into bed and pass out? That’s just one example of many but kind of illustrates my point.
  3. I want to be fit and strong physically. My gym going is erratic (at best) while I’m in the drinking zone. With that comes feelings of guilt and being useless at the things I want to do most. 
  4. The above point is equally valid when it comes to work. I love my job but while not sober I tend to be late on a regular basis and I can’t be arsed to do my job as well as I want and could. 
  5. This time around relationships with friends and colleagues haven’t suffered. More through luck than anything else I suspect. And also, some relationships seem to thrive more when I drink because it’s just easier to do some things and be a part of the scene. Some of my friends (well just one really) seem particularly concerned when I don’t drink. She’ll be the one trying to convince me that there’s no other problem than my lack of willpower when it comes to controlling it. She’s even appointed herself as my “carer” (my word) in such a way that she’ll say “I won’t let you cross the line, I’ll stop you/send you home/control it for you before it goes to far”. Why would she want to do that and why on earth would I want anyone to do that for me? It’s baffling. The hard part about this is that when I decide to finally give it a good honest try, she’ll be the one that I’m going to have to watch carefully. Maybe I even have to cut down my time with her. She’s my best friend so that really hurts to think about. For all her faults and being rather big-headed, I love her very much. And for all my faults and erratic-ness she seems to love me equally. 

I’ve been sober before – two periods of 6 months each – so I know I can do it. And I know how happy/productive/confident/fit I can be with it. But both times I had hit some form of rock bottom before I decided to give it up. This time I seem to really want to stop but every now and again it seems pointless and more hassle than it’s worth because right now I’m not suffering as badly as I have done in the past, I’m not doing the crazy out of character things I did and my health is not quite as bad. 

At the same time, do I really want to go that far again? How long is it going to take before I reach a new rock bottom? And what needs to happen for me to see it as such? I don’t know these things right now but writing this post has helped me think more clearly about what I don’t want from life and what I do want from life instead. It’s also made me think more about the previous experiences of being sober during which I was truly happy and content no matter what else was going on in my life. I was able to detach myself from other people’s insanity which was an enormous relief at the time. Now I find myself having those internal monologues with myself and dialogues with other people that wind me up no end. And that’s not even real life!

I’m off on a rant here I feel so I’m going to stop for now. I’ll try pop back and unravel my thoughts a bit further. Thanks Lilly for prompting me to do this and thanks to Belle for your patience. I’ll be in touch.

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In the grips of it

…that’s where I am at the moment, and I come on here every now and then to check in on how people are doing on the sober journey. I have to say that even though I’m not doing well (at all) at the moment, it still gives me little niggles of hope to read about other people’s progress. I feel like the lurker now, that Belle blogged about. If I hadn’t read that I wouldn’t have had the courage to write this post. 

I have to be honest. I’m doing fuck all right now to stay sober. There are a thousand and one reasons for this that all don’t matter at the end of the day. All I know at this specific point in time is that I want to be sober. But I’m not. As long as I know that and don’t doubt it, I know I’ll be OK at some point. 

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