Wednesday, 23 March 2016

So grateful

I nearly had a car accident this morning. I was driving the little guy to school and had right of way, when a car went through a stop sign. They did stop, looked the other way but didn't look left and I managed to slam on the brakes and miss them by centimetres. It was frightening! We were shaken up, but thankfully ok, as well as the elderly couple in the other car.

I am so thankful that I wasn't drinking last night. If I had been, I would have been feeling tired and grumpy, frustrated to be running late for school drop off. My reflexes might have been slower, and I might have slammed on the brakes a moment or two later and it might have been a completely different outcome.

I feel very grateful this morning.

I had a crazy, busy shift at work last night and didn't leave till 10pm, half an hour late (and we don;t get paid overtime). I was really frustrated that work continues to be so busy. That there isn't extra staff to lighten the load when we have so many sick patients on the ward.

A few months back, I would have dropped into the late night bottle shop on the way home and bought 2 bottles of wine. And I would have had a whole bottle and maybe opened the 2nd one, and I would have stayed up quite late drinking. This morning I would have been feeling tired and hungover.

I am just so grateful that that isn't me anymore.

It is the last day of school tomorrow before Easter and 2 weeks school holidays. I'm looking forward to it. I will be up every day with the little guy, happy to spend the morning with him. Instead of trying to sleep off a hangover, leaving him to his own devices. I won't have his little voice saying 'are you going to get up now mum?' It breaks my heart that that is how it used to be.

I have to remind myself that that isn't me anymore. And I am so grateful for that.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Ponderings of day 121

I used to be a heavy smoker. I quit 10 and a half years ago. And it was bloody hard!!

I used to smoke a packet (of 25's) a day and sometimes more. I quit once for nearly 2 years but took it up again when I went to university as a mature aged student (at 28) Taking it up again was one of the stupidest things I've ever done. I managed to quit for good the second time and it's one of the best thing I've ever done.

The first time I quit, I had been experiencing tingling in my legs and was terrified that they would have to be amputated! (remember I'm a nurse!) So I had good motivation to stop. But it wasn't easy. I wore nicotine patches for a month, gradually reducing the dose until I didn't need them anymore. It was a long time ago, so my memory is poor, but whilst it was hard, I think it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.

Trying to quit the 2nd time was harder. I had been smoking for a longer period of time by then and I wanted to stop before falling pregnant. This time, I real Allen Carr's 'Easy way to stop smoking', which totally changed my mindset about smoking, and I quit wearing nicotine patches for only a week this time.

Both times though, it was hard to quit. The passage of time makes me forget exactly how hard it was, but I know it was. It was all I thought about for a long time, but I can't remember how long for.

These days, I don't think about smoking at all. I will walk past someone who blows out a buff of smoke and I will either think 'yuck!' or it may take me back to my smoking days. Other times I don't think about it at all. It's just there.

I don't remember when I stopped thinking about it.

And what I'm wondering is, will it ever be like this with drinking?

Will there come a time when I won't think about it anymore? Or will I always be reading sober blogs and listening to podcasts hosted by people in recovery?

I don't feel like I am in recovery from smoking. But maybe I am? What is different about drinking?

I would love to get to a stage in my life where I don't think about drinking anymore. But I'm not sure if that will happen.

I'm curious to know what other people think about this. What are your thoughts?

A x

Friday, 18 March 2016

Bottling up my feelings

Mum and I were talking about drinking last weekend. It was mainly about my brother; the one with the drinking problem, and how worried we are about him. I was saying that he needs to go to rehab if he were to stop drinking. Mum agreed and said he wouldn't be able to 'just stop like I did'.

Just stop like I did?!! Like I just stopped and that was it?! This statement really bugged me. We all know that that is NOT how it happened. But to be fair to mum, I haven't spoken to her in depth about my drinking problem. But I was still annoyed. Mum knows I drank too much. Heck, she commented about it often enough! Plus she lived with my alcoholic father for a long time, so she knows it's a problem that runs in the family. My father was never able to conquer his drinking demons and he died as a result in 2014.

So to hear mum say that hurt a bit. But did I correct her? No I didn't. And I'm not sure why.

Maybe it's because I'm so used to bottling up my feelings. I've been like this all my life.

God forbid if anyone finds out how much I am hurting inside. How stressed I often am. How depressed I sometimes feel. How at times I feel that life is hopeless and what did I ever do to deserve this? Or that maybe I deserve the shit things in my life because I have a drinking problem.

Mum has no idea what I have gone through because I don't tell her. I don't tell anyone. Which is why I really need to see a councellor or psychologist. I know continued stress isn't good for you. But it's all I know. But I'm sick of it!

But I will be ok. I always am (on the outside anyway!)

Today I am on day 117. Which is pretty bloody good! 

A x

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Day 116

I survived my high school reunion!

It was fun seeing my fellow students again after 30 years! Surprisingly, everyone looked pretty much the same save for a few lines and an extra kilo or two here and there. We started off with a tour of our old school. It felt strange being there again after all these years! It took me straight back to being a teenager again!

Then we headed out to the country races. Of course I agonised over what to wear, in the end opting for pants and a nice top. And of course most of the other girls were wearing dresses and hats or a fascinator so I felt a bit out of place, but I didn't let it get to me. Everyone was really friendly. Even the girls I wasn't particularly friendly with said hello and were quite nice, so I was hugely relieved!

I drank diet coke all day and NOT ONE person asked me why I wasn't drinking! Nearly everyone had a drink or two but it just wasn't about the drinking. It was about catching up with old friends and reminiscing about the old days.

I was surprised to learn that a few of the popular girls who seemed to have it all together struggled at times too. And one girl even thought I was popular and confident back then which couldn't be further from the truth! So we had a bit of a laugh about that and had a really good day. My two good friends were really happy to see me and were glad I went, so that was a confidence booster too.

We then went out to the local pub for dinner and once again, no one asked me why I wasn't drinking. it just wasn't an issue. I was quite surprised!

It was a long day though. By dinner time, I was ready to go home. I waited till after though and when one of my friends told me she was leaving early as she had a big drive the next day I offered to drive her home.  It was good leaving with someone else and not having to stand out by leaving by myself.

All in all, I'm glad I went. It was great to catch up with some of the girls and guys too, but there were some that I probably won't see again. Which is fine, you can't be friends with everybody.

And from now on, when I visit mum, I am going to try and not worry about what anyone thinks of me. because it just doesn't matter. And most of the time, they're probably not thinking about me anyway! I am going to work on building my confidence and self esteem. I am not drinking anymore and that's a wonderful thing! I deserve to be proud of myself.

I have to say though, it was wonderful having my husband by my side the whole time. I couldn't have done it without him. So thank you hubby!

Today is day 116. Nearly 4 months! I still can't believe it sometimes. When I started, 100 days seemed insurmountable. Now I am aiming for 180 days. After that, a year. I really think I can do this!

A x

Thursday, 10 March 2016

30 Year school reunion!

I have my 30 year school reunion on the weekend. And I am terrified!

I didn't enjoy high school. I had a couple of close girlfriends but that was it. I spent my high school years filled with insecurity and low self esteem. I longed to be one of the 'cool' girls and tried my hardest to be someone I wasn't. I guess I was just not comfortable in my own skin. And it must have come across because I got a lot of grief from a lot of the girls and some of the boys. It was exhausting constantly trying to be something you're not. I tried to lose weight because if I was thin I would be 'cooler'. I took up smoking when I was fifteen because that was definitely cool. But as hard as I tried, I was never considered cool. In fact, the cool girls teased me and I was devastated.

When I started high school I was a gawky 13 year old. I had long blonde hair and I was taller than most of the other girls (this soon changed when I stopped growing and the other girls kept growing! Now I am just average). Then in year 8 I had a fringe (bangs) cut and got a cooler hair style and suddenly a lot of the boys started liking me. But this wasn't the attention I wanted. I wanted the girls to like me, the cool girls that is, I didn't really care about the boys (although that changed not long after). A lot of the girls didn't like me getting attention from the boys and that made it worse.

So you see, high school wasn't kind to me.

To give you a little background, mum packed up my 3 brothers and me and moved us 5 hours away to a tiny country town where we didn't know a soul. We did this to leave my drunken father. Mum had her name on a waiting list for commission housing and this town was the first to come up (The other alternative was high rise apartments in the city, but thank God we didn't move to one of those). Mum loved the country and thought it was a much better option.

Moving was hard though, especially on me and my older brother. He went into year 9 and I went into year 7. Starting high school is hard enough but when you don't know ANYONE, especially in a small country town where friendships have already been established, it is even more challenging. My brother struggled too but being a good looking boy helped and he fitted in a lot easier than I did. I on the other hand was really really shy, but this shyness was mistaken for aloofness, for being 'up myself' and a snob.

So I spent all my high school years worrying what people thought of me, and it's a pattern that has continued all through my adulthood years. And to this day, whenever I go back to visit mum in the country, I revert back to that 16 year old girl who was consumed with angst and fear over what other people thought of her. It's horrible and I hate myself for it. I should have grown out of this by now. I should have enough life experience and confidence by now not to worry about what others think, but I can't help it. I agonise over what I'm wearing when I go up to the local shops for heavens sake (am I over dressed or under dressed, should I not wear lipstick or dangly earrings? I don't want people to think I'm 'up myself')

So the thought of going to this reunion is terrifying. On the one hand, I want to catch up with the few people I was friends with, but I couldn't really care less about the others. And on the other hand, I'm hoping that people have grown up by now (Surely by now, being 47/48!) and that they will have forgotten what went on back then. Or will they remember, like I have?

I wasn't going to go. But I changed my mind, thinking I might regret it later if I don't. And I will have my husband with me, so if it's really horrible, at least I will have him to talk to and to have my back.

But I'm hoping it will be fine. I'm hoping that I will later say to myself "what were you worried about? Everyone has grown up and we are all equals now".

And I won't have alcohol as a buffer. I will be doing this raw and sober. And people are sure to ask why I'm not drinking, and some are surely going judge me for it.

But maybe this will be the time when I finally grow up. When I finally come to realise that we are all the same. That we are all just humans living our lives and doing the best we can. That these people were only kids themselves back then, with their own insecurities and fears. That it wasn't all about me after all.

Maybe I will finally be able to go home to the small country town and find peace.

A x

Monday, 7 March 2016


When I used to drink, I wouldn't get a lot done. Every day I would regret another wasted day. Not tidying up the house, not going through the little guys closet and getting rid of all his old clothes, not going through my own wardrobe, not mopping the floors and the list goes on and on.

I would get up in the morning feeling tired and hungover, take the little guy to school and come back home and crawl back in to bed and sleep for a few hours. I would then get up, feel terribly guilty. Guilty for wasting half the day, guilty for being hungover, guilty for drinking again, just guilty for everything. Then before I knew it it would be time for school pickup, time to cook dinner and crack open the wine again. Of course the evening would be a write off too. I would stay up late, drinking a bottle or more and then wake up the next morning feeling shit again. Groundhog day.

When I gave up drinking 3 and a half months ago, I thought everything would change. I thought I would have boundless energy, not be tired anymore, get heaps of stuff done and miraculously become a morning person.

This hasn't happened!!

I still stay up late watching tv. We've been having problems getting the little guy to bed and to sleep early so by the time he nods off it's quite late and really late when our shows have finished. So of course I am tired in the morning. And I'm embarrassed to say, that I still sometimes go back to bed after school drop off. Then I hate myself for this. For still not getting anything done during the day, the tidying and sorting still not done. Floors still not mopped. Clutter still around. Uggh! I hate it!!

Even on the days that I don't go back to bed (which to my credit are more than the days that I do) I still sit around all morning on the computer and nothing gets done. And before I know it it's time for school pickup.

Why am I still like this?!

Take today for example. I got back from school pick up, had breakfast, then sat on the couch with the laptop and turned the tv on to have the morning shows on in the background. It is now nearly 2 pm and other than making the beds, I have done nothing other than be on the computer.

My plan this morning was to write in my blog, spend no more than an hour on the computer, then get up and GET STUFF DONE.

Instead, I found a new sober blog and before I knew it hours had passed and I still hadn't written in my own.

I so was to change this pattern. But how? I love my morning ritual of reading sober blogs (and catching up on facebook too of course!) but it's not working. I'm not getting anything done. I am so lazy and I don't want to be this person any more.

Please help!

A x

Friday, 4 March 2016

Slowly beginning to tell people

Dinner with my in-laws was nice. Hubby told my MIL that I hadn't had a drink for 100 days and she congratulated me and gave me a hug and kiss. My husband has 2 brothers (one older and one younger), the older one was asking me why I wasn't drinking so I told him about my endometriosis and how it is recommended that you don't drink alcohol. I also told him that I had found myself drinking every night and I was tired of it. My other brother-in-law didn't even notice or if he did, he didn't say anything. My FIL didn't say anything either. He is in recovery himself but he is 75 and doesn't talk about it as a rule. Not sure if I'll broach him on the subject one day. I was secretly hoping he would get me a 3 month chip from one of his meetings (he still goes every week and my MIL goes with him most of the time) but I doubt that he will.

Yesterday I caught up with a lovely girl I used to work with. We had a nice lunch and a really good chat. As we were walking back to our cars we were saying how we must catch up again soon and not leave it so long, the usual thing you say when you catch up with someone you haven't seen for a while. Anyway, she said something about having a glass of wine and I told her I'm not drinking anymore. I told her what I had told my BIL and she was really supportive in her comments. We chatted a bit about how mums are drinking wine to cope and that it's not a good thing. So when we do catch up next; hopefully for a bbq at our favourite park, she won't be surprised to see me not drinking and I won't have to explain why again.

So, 103 days today. I have passed my record!! I signed up for Belle's team 180 challenge, and I am going to make it! I will have 6 months sober by the time I finish it and hopefully after that my next challenge will be one year! I know challenges can be tricky because having an end date can mean that you give in at the end, but I feel strong enough to keep going this time. I think I am finally accepting the idea of forever. But having said that, I am not focusing too much ahead and mainly concentrating on the here and now. Less overwhelming that way.

Hubby is really proud of me, which is nice. He made a comment the other day about how he has cut back a lot on his drinking now that I'm not drinking anymore, and it's true. So it's good for the whole family (well, all three of us!). I just wish I had done it years ago. So much time wasted, and I will never get that time back. Especially my son's early years, that is my greatest regret. But I can't turn back the clock. So I have to concentrate on the present and be the best person I can be now.

I have lost a kilo this last week!! I'm hoping that I will finally start to lose weight! I remember SM saying how it takes about 100 days before you start losing weight, so I hope she is right. I am hoping to lose 15kg. I realise that that's a big ask but you never know!

A x

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Day 100 ... take 2

Today finds me at 100 days sober. I am pleased to say that I am in a much better head space than I was last year when I got to this stage. I was reading back through my post from back then (here) and I was in a real slump. Not sure if it was PAWs or not, but whatever the case, I was feeling miserable and I only lasted another couple of days before I started drinking again. This time around, I feel so much happier. I still have down days but not nearly as bad or debilitating. I feel positive this time and the thought of forever isn't quite so daunting. I am going to keep going, and hopefully I will become stronger and stronger, and get to know myself better.

Last Thursday night, we were having a bbq for dinner at the park with my friend C, her hubby and their son. It was another beautiful evening and I was happy drinking my diet coke. C and her husband had a few drinks and were very chatty, and it didn't bother me at all that I wasn't drinking too.  Don't get me wrong, I do have fleeting moments when I think a glass of something would be nice, but that's all they are, fleeting thoughts. I always think it through to the next morning and it's enough to keep me from having one (though we all know it would never be just one!) Anyway, as we were packing up to leave, C asked me if I'll ever have a glass again. Now normally, I would say something along the lines of yes of course, I'm just having a break, seeing if I will lose some weight or something along those lines. But this time I didn't say that. I told her I wasn't sure (I know, not 100% convincing but it's a start) I told her that I was going to keep going as I feel so much better. I also told her that if I'd had a glass or 2 with dinner, I would go home and have more and then I'd feel shit the next morning. And that was the problem, that I can't stop at 1 or 2. So, I am starting to be honest about the real reason I am not drinking any more. I even said to her that just because I am not drinking doesn't mean we can't go out together and have a good time. And she agreed.  So I am glad I am being honest. It's so much easier that skirting around the issue.

It was my mother-in-laws birthday yesterday. She is turning 19! Well, not really of course. She turned 76, but she usually celebrates her birthday on the 28th. Tonight we are all going out to dinner to celebrate. I usually work Tuesday afternoons so would have missed out, so I've taken a sick day (I feel terribly guilty even though I have 100's of sick hours due). It is the only night all her 3 sons could make it, so it should be a good night. With the exception of my father-in-law, who has been in recovery for over 30 years, everyone will probably have a drink. It will be interesting to see how they react to me still not drinking. They know I have been having a break, but I haven't told them anything else. I think I will just play it by ear and decide when I'm there what I will say. I'm looking forward to a nice dinner with hubby's family.

So, yes. 100 days! I hope that one day in the future I will look back at this time and 100 days will seem like a drop in the ocean. But for now, it feels bloody good to be here. And to be feeling so positive about it. I think I have come a long way and getting stronger. I guess it shows that persistence pays off and that each time you fall off the wagon you learn something new about yourself and grow a little stronger.

Have a great day everyone!

A x