Sunday, 26 June 2016

Two weeks annual but not without drama!

I worked this afternoon and now I have two weeks annual leave! I am so excited!!

We are going up to mums in the country for most of the two weeks which we've never done before. Usually we have a week or 8 days, but never this long. It's going to be great!

We are going to surprise mum and 2 of my brothers and their kids who arrived up there today. They think we were coming up in the 2nd week and therefore will miss seeing them. They will be so happy too! And we are surprising the little guy too! He thinks we are going to my in laws beach house an hour and a half away. I wonder how long it will take him to realise we are driving a different way?!

So exciting times ahead!

It's a shame there are a few things that are not going great though.

First of all, I have been feeling down and anxious for a while now. I saw my doctor last week and he organised a care plan for me to see a therapist. I get 6-10 visits, which I am very happy about. I've been wanting to see someone for a long time now, and I'm so glad I finally had the courage to see someone about it.  He also gave me a prescription for anti-depressants. I am very nervous about taking them. After much consideration, I have decided to start taking them on Monday. I will let you know how they go (although apparently it takes a few weeks for them to work)

Secondly, the little guy has a urine infection and has been in tears. He is getting up every hour overnight to go to the toilet and a hundred time during the day. We can't see a doctor until tomorrow to get a prescription for antibiotics. It's going to be another long night. It breaks my heart to see him in pain.

Thirdly, the little guy told me tonight when I got home from work that Mr A has been yelling and swearing about not having any time to himself,  about no one doing anything for him and a bunch of other stuff. I am scared to bring it up with him, because I don't want him yelling at me (not that he does very often)  And I don't want to get the little guy in trouble for telling me. So what do I do?

Also, I know tomorrow is going to start off really bad. We all have to pack and for some reason, this makes both me and Mr A really anxious  and on edge, so there is bound to be an argument. All will be resolved once we hit the road, but I will hang on to the resentment and it will make me even more anxious.

But once we get there, all should be well and it will be great to see the surprise on everyone's face when we arrive!

Hopefully we will have a relaxing couple of weeks in the country side. I am so grateful to be sober so I can really relish the special times we have there.

I might not be on the blogs that much over the coming 2 weeks but I will try and keep up with you all and comment when I can.

It is now 12.30am , so I should go to bed. I'm off to get hot packs because it is 3.9 degrees celcius!! And it's going to be even colder where we are going because it is up in the mountains!!

I'll keep in touch.

A x

Thursday, 23 June 2016

7 months

Can you believe it? I'm 7 months sober today!  I have to pinch myself to see if it's true and not just a dream.

Yes, me! The girl with zero self esteem and who doesn't know who she is yet. She is me. This SOBER girl!

I have a long way to go. I am nowhere near knowing who I am and want I really want in life. But I am on the path. I am on my way. And for that I am so very very grateful.

A funny thing happened today.

My little guy has been bugging me for a fitbit. Yes, you heard that right. A FITBIT!! Kids at school have started wearing them and they are the real deal. The $189 dollar real deal. But I refuse to be drawn in. One of little guys best friend got one for his 10th birthday and I swear he only uses it as a watch. Or maybe he does look at the steps too, I'm not sure but whatever. It's very expensive present for a FAD!

So of course I am mean for not even considering getting one.

When I was in the city last week for my meeting, I went to the Victorian Market and found a kids digital watch for $5, so I bought it. It was black and had a narrow watch face and band and I thought it looked pretty cool (until Mr A told me it was a girls watch!). My little guy happily wore it but was sure to tell me that it was only temporary until he got a proper one. I didn't say anything to that.

Anyway, yesterday my little guy was swinging his arm around in the bathroom and his watch hit the bathroom basin and the screen cracked and you can no longer see the time. So that was very short lived!

The next thing he wants is a Milo Champion wrist band, Apparently it tells the time AND counts steps and all that jazz. 'They sell them at Woolworths mum,' he tells me.  How much? I ask. $40 he says. So I think to myself that that is a lot more reasonable that the Fitbit price so I go looking for one in my local store. And of course they haven't got them any more. They were all sent back to the company when the promotion was over. Great I thought, just my luck!!

So I asked the lady in the supermarket if she could ring another store to see if they had any left, but that was a no go too. So she offered to ring the actual company that makes them to see if they were still available to the public. She took my number and told me she would get back to me.

So I pay for my things and leave the store. I was going to go home but at the last minute decided to go to the shop next door, so parked my car again and went in to have a look.

Not long after, I got a phone call from the lady from the supermarket and she told me that she found one out the back of the shop and it was still sealed in the box and looked undamaged. And the you know what the best part was?! She offered to give it to me for nothing!! She said because they had all been sent back and no longer had a code or something, she wouldn't charge me for it.

I was so excited!! I went back to the supermarket (thank goodness I was only next door!) and sure enough, she had one for me.

So, in the end, I got my son his precious fitness band (which, mind you, is pretty good! The digital time and step counter etc lights up and looks just like the real deal) and I got it for nothing1 Funds are pretty tight at the moment so it was a HUGE relief! I was so thankful to that lady in the store. If I had gotten a different person, it most likely would not have worked out that way.

And in a weird way, I felt like God or my higher power or something, was looking out for me. I know He has much better things to do than find me free fitness bands, but I don't know, I could just feel Him somehow. So I'm going with that.

I know this story is not sobriety related, and that my 7 month post didn't go into my deep and meaningful reasons why I'm grateful to be sober, but I just felt like sharing that story. It made me feel good.

So yes, 7 months!!

A x

Thursday, 16 June 2016

My DUI story

Eighteen years ago, I got a DUI. It is something that I never talk about, because it is something to be ashamed of. I have buried it down deep inside of me and think of it rarely. But lately, as I have been trying to piece together my story, I've been thinking about it. And I thought I would share it here.

It wasn't my fault of course.

Towards the end of my university degree, my then boyfriend and I went to one of his colleagues 40th birthday party. This guy and his wife, whilst they were older than us, were quite good friends of ours. I was 30 years old at the time.

Anyway, over the course of the night, I drank more than half a bottle of bourbon on my own. At the end of the night, my boyfriend and I did the right thing and got a cab home. Unfortunately, on our return home I realised that I had left my handbag, along with the house keys, back at the party. Thankfully the taxi was still there so we got back in and went back and got my handbag.

So we got home and inside, and understandably, my boyfriend was really pissed off with me. He was pretty drunk too. The next thing I know, I'm being pushed into the wall and I hit my head on the corner of the wall and it starts bleeding. (I will point out here that this is not the first time that he had been rough with me)

I started to panic and was too scared to be in the house with him, so what did I do? I got in my car, and I drove to the police station!!

I don't really know what I was thinking. The only thing I think I was thinking, was that once before when my bf had been abusive, I had done the same thing. That time, the police had driven me home and been really sympathetic. They had spoken to my bf and given him a warning. So I think I thought the same thing would happen again. Clearly, my thinking was all over the place.

Anyway, I managed to get there in one piece and not harm anyone else along the way (which to this day I am so thankful for. I hate to think how I could have hurt myself or someone else).

I didn't get a lot of sympathy this time. It was a few years after the first incident so I'm guessing that the policeman on duty had no idea of my previous visit. Anyway, they wanted me to charge my boyfriend, but I got scared. I was too scared of what he would do to me if I did, so I refused to do it. They told me that if I didn't charge him, they would have no choice but to charge me with drunk driving.

By now I was panicking. I couldn't lose my license! I had clinical placements coming up for my uni course and had no way of getting there if I didn't have my license!

I thought of one of my uni friends. Her husband was a policemen, and whilst he didn't work in this town, he would know a lot of the police there. So I rang her (it was the early hours of the morning by this stage) and she kindly came in a couple of hours later. And even though her husband did know some of the people who worked at this particular police station, it didn't make an ounce of difference.

I was going to lose my license.

My friend drove me home. It was so nice of her to drive the 30 minutes from her town to help me, and I was so embarrassed. But I was angry too that the police didn't let me off. How dare they charge me?!

I crept inside and went to sleep in the spare bed. I told my boyfriend later in the day and I was so pissed off with him because it was all his fault. I can't remember what he said but I do know that he wasn't very sympathetic and I don't think I got an apology for the abuse. I think he just thought he was pissed and he shoved me, no big deal.

In the end, I was able to drive for a month before the 12 month loss of license kicked in, so I was able to drive to my placements at one of the local hospitals. Then after that, I would ride my bike to uni and wherever I needed to go. I told my employer that my car had broken down so couldn't drive to work, so a colleague who lived near me would pick me up and take me to and from work. It never occurred to me to drive without a license (I know a lot of people do this).

I had to pay a fine, and lost my license for 12 months. I never told my mum. I drove up to mums a few days after and my brother came with me. I had a bruise above my eye which I covered up with makeup. I think I told my brother but it's something we never talk about, so I can't really remember!! I know I told my older brother because he drove my car a few time for me when he was visiting.

I used to be so resentful of my bf. I used to blame him for it. If he hadn't been violent and pushed me, it would never have happened. Which may be true, but I have learnt over the last few years to look at it properly and to own my part in it. Yeah, he pushed me, but I shouldn't have driven drunk. I could have hurt someone.

So that's my shameful story. You can see why it's something that I never talk about. But it is a part of my story. And it's an important one.

Do you want to know why? Because it changed my life. For the better.

When I finished uni, I had to do a graduate nursing year. We had to pick 4 hospitals and go through the interview process. So I chose 3 country hospital and one the big city, 3 and a half hours away. With public transport being non-existent in the country, I told my boyfriend I would have to go the hospital in the city. There wasn't much he could say as I didn't have a licence and wouldn't be able to get to work if I chose one of the hospitals in the counry.

So I moved to Melbourne, and would visit him when I had a few days off in a row. Towards the end of my 12 months there, I had to go to drink driving school and then go to court to get my license back. For another 12 months (or was it 3 years? I can't remember!!) I had to have zero alcohol in my blood when I drove.

And at the end of my graduate year, I told my bf that I would not be moving back to the country with him. I was going to stay in Melbourne, and we broke up.

So you see, it was the best thing that could have happened to me in a way. If I hadn't lost my license, I would have stayed in the country and would probably still be with him. God knows what my life would be like now.

I still ended up with a drinking problem. But at least I got married and had my beautiful son.

And now I can really start to know myself. Find out who I am. I am on a journey of self discovery and it's the most important journey of all.

A x

Friday, 10 June 2016

Reflections on day 201

I've been thinking about when I went from being a normal drinker to being a problem drinker, and I think it was as far back as my early to mid 20's.

I was living in a large country town an hour and a half away from the small country town where I lived during my high school years and where mum still lived. My boyfriend at the time was a shift worker and was on a rotating roster doing day, afternoon and night shifts.

He would get home after an afternoon shift at about 11.15pm and we would watch a movie, sometimes 2, and drink into the early hours of the morning. When he was on night shift, I would sit up late, drinking by myself, having convinced myself that I needed wine to help me to sleep.

I would buy a 4 litre cask of wine (riesling, can you believe it?!!) and it would last me 3-4 days. I would rotate bottle shops so the person behind the counter wouldn't think I had a problem with drinking. And I had to always have some in the fridge so I wouldn't run out.

My boyfriend drank a lot too. He was quite possessive, so I didn't have any girlfriends. I guess you could say that alcohol was my best friend. Other than working on a casual basis at one of the local hospital as a State Enrolled Nurse, my life didn't have a lot of purpose. I would spend half the day in bed, trying to sleep off the hangovers. On the days that I worked, I usually worked an afternoon shift so I could still sleep in.

I remember one time, mum and I were going down to Melbourne for a short trip (we were probably going to a ballet or something, I can't remember exactly why we went that particular time). We met at the train station at about 11.30 in the morning to catch the train for the 3 and a half hour trip. Sometime during the trip, mum made a comment about being embarrassed to be seen with me because I looked tired and reeked of alcohol, and that she was worried about me. I remember being mortified, but also resentful that she would make such a comment, and I thought "I'll show her!"

So after that trip, I stop drinking during the week and would just drink on the weekends. And I did this for quite a while. I eventually went to university when I was 28 to get my Bachelor of Nursing and I managed to get to uni most days, so I don't think I was drinking every night then. But my memories are hazy so I'm not 100% sure.

I find it sad that I don't remember everything. That my memories are hazy. I just know that I was drinking problematically in my early twenties, years before mum made her comment.

I wasted my 20's drinking too much alcohol and living with a man I wasn't happy with, and I will never get that time back.

I sometimes feel like I blinked and missed my life. How sad is that?

My 30's were a whole new chapter in my life, so I will continue with that story next time.

Am so happy to be 201 days sober today! I wanted to blog yesterday on day 200 but Mr A was home sick so I didn't get the chance. Oh well, blogging on day 201 is pretty awesome too!

A x

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Rock bottom

I never really hit rock bottom. Not like the ones you read about anyway. You know the ones. The ones who lose their jobs, their homes, their family. They live on the streets, sleep on park benches and drink booze out of a brown paper bag. I fear my brother is heading this way, which scares the hell out of me.

But me? Nothing remotely like that.

But then, one persons idea of rock bottom might be completely different to another persons.

I was in a lousy place and whilst I still had a home, a husband and a job, I couldn't keep living the way I was. I was miserable.

Last year, just before I started my first 100 day challenge, I had a version of my own rock bottom.

I had had 3 weeks of sobriety but relapsed the night before. My friend C had me and our other friend G over for a drink and a movie. Mr A had been in a really shitty mood and I was so pissed off with him for it that when the chance to drink arose, I didn't hesitate. I felt justified. So I had a big bitch to my friends and I drank a lot that night.

So, by Saturday night, after another day of Mr A being in a fowl mood, I drank again and the anger in me eventually burst out in a nasty vitriol. I said some things that weren't very nice and because I had been drinking it came out completely different than I really wanted.

Mr A stormed off to bed and I sat up late, stewing. I took a sleeping tablet because I was really worried that I wouldn't be able to sleep (yes really!!) and while I was waiting for that to work, I got all maudlin looking at old photos of the little guy as a baby, and decided to watch a video (dvd) of him that I hadn't watched for years. It was a home video that my brother-in-law had taken at the hospital when he was born. In it Mr A and I are giving him his first bath. It was such a special video and I sat there with tears streaming down my face, taken back to that very special time in my life. I was in quite a state.

I got up the next morning and as would be expected, felt AWFUL!! Not only did I have to do some damage repair with hubby, I had to get ready for work. As I was struggling to get breakfast down, I noticed the case for the dvd I had been watching the night before sitting on the table. It was empty. When Mr A was out of the room, I checked the computer to see if I had left the dvd in there, but it wasn't there. I had a quick look around but couldn't find it. I had to get ready for work so just thought I would find it the next day.

I went off to work and somehow managed to get through the day. And when I got home that night, I drank again. Because even though I had been feeling crap during the day, I had perked up by the time I got home from work.

I didn't go crazy that night, 'just' had a bottle of wine and no dramas this night. But the next day, I couldn't find the dvd anywhere! I searched desperately for it but just couldn't find it. My memory for that night was completely blank. I remember watching the dvd, the tears steaming down my face, but beyond that, nothing. I'm not sure if this was a blackout or because of the sleeping tablet I took, but whatever the case, I just had no memory of where I put the dvd.

That was the day I started my first 100 day challenge.

I never did find the dvd. It fills me with a deep shame to think I am the one who lost it whilst under the influence of alcohol. And to this day, I have never told Mr A about it. It is just too upsetting, and I'm scared he would be angry. Which he would have every right to be.

So, in a way, that was my rock bottom. Unfortunately, I started drinking again on day 102 and it would take me around 2 and a half more months for me to start my 2nd (and final I might add!) 100 day challenge.

Whenever thoughts of drinking again, of thinking I might be able to moderate now pop into my head, I think back to that night. To the loss of that very special video of my darling son. That I will never get back (unless there is a miracle and it turns up someday in some obscure place).

So today I find myself on day 193 - 6 months, 1 week and 4 days sober.

And I never want to go back to my rock bottom again.

A x

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Drama queen

It seems that drama follows me around!

(Warning, not really related to sobriety post ahead)

Last Sunday we went to a friends son's christening. It was at a Greek Orthodox church so the ceremony was in ancient Greek (apparently!) so we couldn't understand a word of it. The poor baby (who was just under 2) cried the whole way through! Afterwards, they had a reception type lunch at a Greek restaurant, which was lovely.

On each table, they had a couple of small olive trees in pots. At the end of the lunch, Mr A was eying one off. Apparently you could take one home if you were quick enough.

Anyway, we thought we would get the one at our end of the table, but when we went to get it it was already accounted for. I wasn't particularly worried as I don't eat olives, but I think Mr A was a bit disappointed.

As we were leaving, I went to say goodbye to a girl (who I will call J) who is good friends with the child's mum L. I used to work with her on my ward but she left about 8 or 9 years ago. We weren't particularly close, in fact we weren't really friends at all. It's funny how she ended up being such good friends with L as they weren't the best of friends either. But somehow, when I was on maternity leave, something happened between a few girls at work and these two ended up being best friends. I secretly called them the odd couple.

Anyway, I felt a bit awkward going up to her, but I thought we are all grown ups and I should let bygones be bygones. Plus she is good friends with L so I should respect that and make an effort.

So I went up to J and said goodbye. We said the obligatory 'we must catch up for coffee' and I noticed that she was quite drunk! Then she asked me if we got an olive tree, to which I told her no, but that was ok. She then proceeded to pick one off the table near us. The one with all the christening presents on it. She was quite insistent so I said thank you, thinking Mr A would be pleased and we left.

As we were walking back to our car (which I would drive. Yay!) Mr A told me that it was probably L's tree as it had been on the table with the presents! But he said don't worry about it and we kept walking. He had had quite a few drinks too and was pleasantly tipsy (Don't you just love that expression?! What can possibly be pleasant about having your mind altered by a poisonous substance?! Anyway, I digress... ),  and he didn't seem to think it was a problem since the tree was given to us, it wasn't like we had just taken it.

But I was worried that L would be upset with us for taking her tree. I sent her a text thanking her for such a great day, hoping to get a vibe on how she felt about the tree but she didn't get back to me.

So all the next day I worried about it. I worried ALL day. I worried that L would be upset because she didn't have her olive tree to plant as a keepsake from her son's baptism. I worried that J would say that she didn't actually give it to us and that we just took it (after all, there was history between us) I agonised over a lost friendship over an olive tree. I contemplated texting her and saying 'I think we have your tree' but I didn't.

So, by the time Mr A got home from work I was beside myself. I snapped at him and the little guy. I was like a mad person!

Mr A asked me what was wrong, so I told him. And you know what? The lovely man said he would take it to L (she only lives 5 minutes from us) He said he would explain what happened and say that I was worried that she didn't get one. He said that he knew I would feel better if we did the right thing.

So he took the offended olive tree and I waited.

I listened to sober podcasts with my headphones on as I tried to calm myself down.

Then, about 20 minutes later, I had a phone call from L. She was so thankful that Mr A dropped the tree around, but she said she would have been quite happy for us to have it. She explained that she and J had organised the trees and were so glad that they all found homes. She wasn't worried at all that we got the one off the table with the christening presents but was pleased that she had one to plant after all. She didn't text me back the night before because she was so exhausted after such a big day, and she was so grateful that we were able to attend her son's special day.

So you see? Such drama!!

I sometimes wonder if I create drama or if it follows me around. I agonise and agonise over things and it's exhausting!!

The wonderful thing though about all this, is that I didn't drink. In the past, this would have been a great excuse to pour a glass of wine at 4 o'clock to calm my nerves. I would have deserved it after all I had been through.

This time though, I listened to my podcasts, apologised to my husband for being so difficult and breathed a huge sigh of relief that the drama was over.

And once again, I had made a mountain out of a molehill!

Now, I'm off to a meeting.

A x