Day 10 today. Back to double figures! It feels good. I am slowly getting further and further away from that last drink and it is such a relief.
I first started thinking about the possibility of life without wine sometime towards the end of 2013. I remember I was at work and feeling tired and hungover, and I was just so sick of feeling that way. So I found a discreet computer and googled something like 'how to live without wine' and I came across Mrs D's blog. It blew me away!! I had no idea there were other women who were like me and drank too much wine. I had felt so alone and ashamed, and as though I was the only one with this dirty little secret. When I got home I devoured 'Mrs D is going without' and also discovered other blogs from her bloglist. I became obsessed! I bookmarked my favourite blogs on my iphone and eagerly awaited new blog entries. (I hid the blog titles under false names in case hubby came across them by accident. One time he was looking at something on my phone and came across all these open blog pages that I didn't realise were open!! I just muttered something about reading online blogs and he didn't think anything of it, thank goodness! Not sure why all the secrecy, but I still hide them from him. I will talk to him about them one day, but for now, they are my little secret. They help me, so not telling him can't be a bad thing can it?)
I didn't stop drinking at this point, but I was becoming aware that life without wine was possible. I kept reading my secret blogs and learning more and more about sober life. Sometime in early 2014 I bought my first sober memoir. It was called 'Unwasted, My Lush Sobiety' by Sacha Z Scoblic. I loved it. Once again, I was blown away by the fact that there were other women out there who had the same problem as me. Following on from that I read 'Drinking, A love story' by Caroline Knapp. I loved this book too, even more I think. I remember; hubby, little guy and I would go on bbq picnics on warm summer evenings and I would be drinking wine and reading my sober books (hidden so hubby couldn't see the title!) So, even though I was still drinking, I was yearning to stop. To know that it was possible to live without wine, which had been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.
I read several more books and in May last year, I started a handwritten journal. I wrote out the calendar months and circled each alcohol free day in a red pen. That first month, there were about 3 red circles a week. This was huge for me! I had drunk wine every night for as long as I could remember. By the end of May, I had 11 AF days and that felt really good. June on the other hand, wasn't so great. I only had a handful of AF days, and by the end of June, I had had enough. So I signed up for Dry July. We were staying at my mums in the country so I had to tell her that I was doing it. Two of my 3 brothers were there as well, so nearly the whole family knew about it. They were all really supportive and thought it was great that I was doing it (mum was especially happy because she knew I had been drinking too much) And I have to say that doing Dry July was the best thing I ever did. It was such a relief to finally not have to drink! It was like I had been given permission to stop drinking and I didn't have to explain myself to anyone. 'Oh, I can't drink because I am doing Dry July' and no questioned it. I can't describe the relief! And I raised $201 for cancer patients for the hospital I work at. I was so proud of myself.
Unfortunately, it didn't last. I did all of July plus one extra day. During this time my father died and I managed to remain AF during this difficult period. But after July was over, I felt so much better and of course fell into the trap of 'well, I feel better now, so I'm sure I will be fine if I drink and I'm sure I can moderate now anyway'.
Of course I couldn't though. And before long I was yearning for that good feeling I had when I was AF. So in early August, I signed up for Hello Sunday Morning, a 3 month program here in Australia. I really wanted to do this, and I managed 31 days AF. But then I drank for 2 weeks, and I was so disappointed in myself. So I got back on the wagon and managed another 42 days AF. And thus started my quest for ongoing sobriety. I would manage a month here and there, but at the end of each of each month, the wine witch would get the better of me. Sobriety remained an elusive dream. But each time I had a taste of it, I wanted more.
I am learning that I think I do want to do this forever. That thought has scared me for so long, but each time I fail and get back on the wagon. the thought doesn't seem so bad anymore. Perhaps it IS possible? Maybe this wonderful sober life that I've read about IS possible for me? If I stick at this long enough, perhaps I too will find my pink cloud. How I yearn for that.
My life is filled with so much shame and regret. It can be all consuming. And sometimes it just all seems too hard. But this is my life, my only one. I may have wasted too many years pouring wine down my throat but it can stop NOW. I can make the rest of my life count. I need to forgive myself and move on. Is it possible?
100 days. I am going to do this 100 days. I have made a pledge and I am going to stick to it. I may not be raising money for cancer patients, or youth addiction or some other cause that I have signed up for in the past. But this is a cause nonetheless. This cause is for me. This cause is saving my life, and is perhaps the most important cause of all.
I can do this!