Tuesday 22 November 2016

One year

This day one year ago I decided yet again to give up alcohol. I had had countless day one's but I couldn't think about that. I had to try again. This time, I decided not to think about forever. Or my next birthday, or Christmas, or this event or that event. I just decided to give up for today. Just for today. One day at a time.

And here I am, one whole year on. Who knew I could do it?! I certainly didn't. I just knew that I had to keep trying, because I couldn't continue to live the way I was. Which was miserable. With a hole eating away at my soul.

I remember Anne from Ainsobriety telling me to 'wait for the magic to happen'. I so so wanted that to happen. So I waited, one day at a time. And slowly, it did.

Externally, I look just the same (although I have finally lost a few kilos!) but it's on the inside where all the change has happened. I feel like a different person. And it's still just the beginning really. I know there is more magic to come. And I can't wait!

I am sorry I have been absent from my blog. Often, I would think about writing a post, but time would get away, or the words wouldn't come. So I would just leave it for another day. And before I knew it, a week or a month had passed.

So what have I been doing?

I have been going to several meetings a week. Some weeks it's 3 or 4. Others it might just be 1 or 2. I find them really helpful. Listening to other people's stories makes me feel connected and not so alone. I am still really shy and don't speak to a lot of people, but it doesn't matter. In time, I know I will make friends. Just having an 'in real life' connection to people helps enormously.

We went on our annual 2 week holiday to a sunny resort. The same time last year I had nearly a month sober time, but as soon as we arrived, I made the decision to drink. And I did, every single night of the holiday. This time, I knew I wouldn't drink. It was still a wonderful holiday. I have to be honest and admit I did miss it a bit in the evenings, but I would just play the tape forward and that would be enough to put me off. I didn't want to go back there.

We went to our fancy ball again this year. And I had a fantastic time!! I was so nervous that the night would be boring, that I would struggle and feel left out. But I didn't! There was free flowing alcohol all around me and I just drank my diet coke and water and I was fine. I even danced! And when the music stopped at the end of the night, I thought it was only about 10.30 but it was well after midnight! That was a wonderful night and I feel like I passed a major milestone.

My son turned 10 the other day! I can't believe 10 years have gone by so quickly. It makes me sad to think I didn't quit drinking sooner. That I will never get that time back. But I have to accept that and move on and live for today. Not dwell on the past, which I can't change.

I am going to buy myself something special for my 1 year soberversary. Some jewellery I think. A part of me would love to get a tattoo, but then I think I'm being silly! Maybe one day.

So, I am finally starting to get to know myself. And even like myself. This is a major breakthrough! It's only taken me 48 years! But better late than never I guess.

I feel so much happier. I finally realised that I am responsible for my own happiness. It's not up to my husband, or my son, or the things around me. It's not money, or a new car (still haven't got one!) or the weight I want to lose. It's ME. I am the only one who can make me happy. And working on myself from the inside is helping me to do that. It's not a quick process for me, but the fact that it is finally happening fills me with so much joy.

So yes, I am still here! One year on. I will try and blog more often. But if I don't, I will still be here.

Thank you my wonderful sober (or not quite sober yet) blogging friends and my facebook group. I couldn't have done this without you all.

A x

Monday 22 August 2016

9 months

Today I am 9 months sober! I still can't believe it sometimes. Who knew I could do it?!

My life has improved so much in these last 9 months. From the outside, everything looks exactly the same. The biggest improvement is internal. It's how I feel inside. Everything is so much better! I'm finally believing that all the wonderful things that long term sober people describe happening, is finally coming true for me.

My son had his First Holy Communion last Saturday evening. The church service was lovely and I was so proud of my little guy. He carried the candle up the aisle and the look of concentration on his face was priceless. He looked like a little angel.

We couldn't afford to have all the family at a restaurant, so decided to have them back at our place. We live in a 2 bedroom town house so we don't have a lot of room, but we've had the little guys birthdays here several times and it's been okay, so we knew we could do it.

Of course though, it involved a lot of stress!! The big guy doesn't handle stress very well so I was dreading it! But it all worked out in the end. Mum and I made a couple of salads, a few desserts and I made the Communion cake. I have never made a fancy occasion cake like this before so I was scared it would be a disaster, but it worked! I was so proud of myself. I really think I couldn't have pulled everything off if I was still drinking. Or maybe I could have, but I would have been a hundred times more stressed!!

It was a really lovely evening and everyone had a great time. There were 22 of us in our little house and it worked out fine. We could have used some more chairs but we all managed. And all our mad tidying paid off as our place looked great (although there is still papers and a heap of 'stuff' crammed in cupboards that I will have to go through, but oh well!)

I'm going to a meeting tonight to get my 9 month chip. I would really love to stay in as it's a feral day, but I will make an effort and go. I am always glad when I am there.

I just want to say to anyone who is hovering around the 100 day mark and are toying with whether to drink again or not, I highly recommend not to! Everything gets so much better once if you just keep going. Life really does get better. I think by finally surrendering to a life of not drinking, I am finally learning true happiness. I still have a way to go, but life is already so much better.

A x

Tuesday 16 August 2016


I haven't posted for a while. I'm getting slack! But I wanted to share something that happened yesterday.

I asked my little guy, who is 9 and 3/4, if he remembered how I used to drink wine. He said no. So I prompted him a little, saying yes you do, you know that yellow drink I used to drink in the evening? In the special wine glass? But no, he said he doesn't remember. Then I asked him if I've changed in the last few months, and he said yes. He said I don't get as cross, that I laugh at his silly voices instead of getting annoyed. I asked him if he notices that I'm happier these days, and he said he does.

This fills me with so much joy. That my son notices that I am a happier, more centered person.

I know a lot of this has to do with me taking the anti-anxiety meds. They have changed my life for the better which is such a relief. I was so fearful about taking them, but I needn't have worried. Who knew this is how people feel all the time?!

I feel so much happier. Things still aren't perfect. There are still issues with my husband. I would still love to leave my job and go somewhere else. I would still love to lose 15kg. I still have hip pain and my feet are awful. I still get impatient with my mum sometimes. But overall, I am so much happier and I take things in my stride.  I am trying to become a better person and learning to like myself, and I'm getting there, a little bit at a time. I have hope that the wonderful life that people in long term sobriety talk about is a possibility for me. That the magic will happen for me too.

Last Friday night we went out for dinner with my oldest friend and her husband. We don't see them very often, but when we do we just pick up where we left off and we can chat for hours. In the past, this would involve lots of wine. When we caught up with them before Christmas I had not long stopped drinking. I told her I was having a break and she didn't question it. She knew my father when we were kids and knows my family history, so she understood why I was questioning my drinking. This time, she didn't say anything at all. She had several wines with dinner and then a bottle back at our place. She was a little glassy eyed by the end but she seemed ok. I'm just glad I don't do that anymore. The following day, we were texting each other when she said she noticed that I wasn't drinking and if I had given it up completely. And I have to be honest, I hesitated when answering. I contemplated saying yes, but adding 'for now'. I was a little nervous saying 'yes for good' because that would make it official somehow. But then I thought, why am I hesitating? I HAVE given up completely. So I typed back yes and that I feel so much better for it. She was so positive about it. She even said she had thought about it but as she doesn't drink during the week so decided against it. It felt being honest about it.

We celebrated my older brother's 50th birthday on Sunday. It was a great day. We had lunch at a restaurant then spent a couple of hours at a nearby beach. It was a beautiful sunny, winters day and the kids rolled their pants up and had a ball in the shallows. My heart was filled with so much love for my family. I was just so happy, and I know a lot of that has to do with being sober. Had I still been drinking, I would have had several wines with lunch, then not had as much fun at the beach because I'd be wanting to get home and drink more. Being sober is so much better.

I feel so much more positivity in my life. Even work has been better lately. And it's all to do with my attitude. I think because I am feeling happier, it shines through in everything I do. I would still love to leave and work somewhere else, but in the meantime, it is a bit more bearable.

So my friends, life continues to get better. It takes time, but it is happening. Today I am 268 days sober. And I am just so grateful.

A x

Wednesday 3 August 2016

Out of my comfort zone

I went to a 50th birthday party last Saturday night. It was the first proper, grown up party I've been to since I got sober. I went there knowing I wouldn't drink. Thinking 'I've got this'. And I did. But it was a challenge.

We got there at 8pm and as soon as we walked in the door we were faced with cocktails! I just said no thanks and had a diet coke. There were a few people there already. Thankfully, there was a couple we knew who we hadn't see for a few years so we chatted to them for a while. I told them I don't drink anymore and they just accepted it, no questions asked, so that was a relief! I had my stash of diet coke caffeine free cans so I was all set.

Mr A was great. He kept my glass full and stayed with me. But he was drinking and as the night wore on, he started to mingle, which was fine. I didn't expect to stay glued to my side ALL night. I met a lovely lady who didn't know that many people either, so we chatted for a while. Then it was time for the speeches and we got separated, so I stood next to Mr A. I was feeling good and thinking this wasn't that hard after all! I can do this.

After the speeches, Mr A got into a discussion with a guy about football. By now he was getting quite tipsy! I was standing next to him awkwardly and felt a bit lost. I desperately looked around for someone to talk to but everyone was chatting to someone else. I didn't feel confident enough to walk up to them and join in the conversation, so I just stood there, feeling more uncomfortable by the minute.

Then a couple of girls I had been talking to earlier tried to drag me onto the dance floor. And I mean they actually grabbed my arm and physically tried to drag me onto the dance floor! But I resisted. I just couldn't do it. Something in me froze and I just couldn't dance.

I love dancing. I used to dance whenever I went out on the town. But that was a long time ago. And it was when I was drinking and had a lot of Dutch courage flowing through my veins. I felt sad the other night. I stood there in a panic, not knowing what to do with myself. I wanted to let my guard down and get out there on the dance floor and just have fun, but I couldn't do it. Maybe if I'd known the people better I could have done it. I don't know. I just know that by now I was feeling really anxious and I just had to get out of there. So I told Mr A that I wanted to leave and he understood. So I said a few goodbyes and he walked me out to the car. It was 11.35pm.

So I drove home, put on my pyjamas, and curled up on the couch with the computer and read my favourite blogs.

I felt disappointed that I didn't last longer at the party. But I'm glad I went and experienced it sober. I know I panicked but before that happened, I was having a good time. I think if I'd known more people it would have been better, maybe I might have even danced. Guess I'll never know!

Mr A got home at 3am and felt pretty miserable on Sunday. All I felt was relief that it wasn't me feeling like that!

So, the next time we go to a big fancy party, I am going to try and relax a bit more. Pretend no one is watching and have a dance. I have to remind myself that it's still early days. 8 months might feel like a long time, but in the big scheme of things, it's not long at all. So I'm not going to be too hard on myself.

A x

Friday 29 July 2016

I am enough

I sent my little guy off to school today with green hair (It was crazy hair and casual dress day with a gold coin donation to raise money for the school fete). We were running a bit late so the school bell had already rung and we didn't see any other school kids. My son made me ask the lollipop lady at the school crossing if other kids had crazy hair too. Of course they did! But I understood where my son was coming from. He had a moment of insecurity that we got the day wrong and he would be the only one turning up with crazy hair and casual clothes.

I remember that feeling so well. I remember when I was about 10 or 11 and desperately wanting to be like everyone else. That fear of being different. Wanting approval so badly. Always feeling not good enough, not pretty enough, not thin enough (yes, even at such a young age!), not anything enough. Just always 'less than'. And it stayed with me all my life.

Since I've been going to AA meetings, it's a theme I've heard over and over again.  That feeling of being different to everyone else. I used to think it was just me. That there was something wrong with ME.  And it is such a relief to know that I am not the only one who feels like this.

Now that I have found sobriety, I have started to work on this. I tell myself that I am enough. That I AM good enough. That even if I am different, it doesn't matter, that it's okay. I am trying to be kind to myself and to like myself, and tell myself that I am loved. I tell myself that it doesn't matter what other people think of me, that not everyone will like me, but that's okay too. It's not always easy. But I have to remind myself that I can't change a life time of feelings in a few days or months, so I am trying to be patient with myself.

I guess it's about self-care. It's something that I have ignored all my drinking life, so I really need to do this for myself now in order to heal. It's going to take time, but I am determined! I am going to see a therapist (I just have to build up the courage to make the appointment!) so hopefully that will help. I am taking the medication and that is helping with my anxiety, which I lived with for years.

I hope the insecurity my son felt this morning is fleeting. That it won't become crippling like it was for me. I hope he grows up to be a well adjusted, confident and happy young man.

I am getting there, slowly. Baby steps.

A x

Tuesday 26 July 2016

8 months

It's been a couple of weeks since my last post. It's been a busy couple of weeks so I had a break from the blogging world.

Last week I had mum staying with me, which made blogging hard and going to meetings impossible. I was okay though. Since I started taking the anti-depressants I have been a lot calmer and able to handle situations that used to fill me with anxiety a lot easier. I love having mum to stay but after a week I start to get a little impatient with her, and although that still happened, it wasn't nearly as bad. It's wonderful not having the anxiety that used to made my heart clench and my stomach in knots. I wish I'd started taking them earlier!

I reached 8 months of sobriety the other day. I was getting frustrated that mum still hadn't said anything to me about not drinking, but I was determined not to bring it up first. But she finally acknowledged it! We were talking about my brother B who has a drinking problem and I was showing her some information on the computer about the effects long term alcohol abuse has on the body and how they apply to B, when she said that I was doing really well. I told her it had been 8 months since I my last drink and she said she was really proud of me. FINALLY! She mentioned that my older brother R had spoken to her about taking B to a meeting and I told her that I had been to a few. So we spoke about that for a bit. I didn't go into great depth about how bad I was but it was just good finally talking to her about it. And now, when she comes to stay, I can go to a meeting without having to hide it from her.  It's all such a relief to finally have it out in the open!

I had a super busy day at work on Sunday. But I was able to deal with it. Yes, it was still stressful but I handled it so much better that I would have when I was still drinking. I got through it and had no thoughts of buying alcohol on the way home because 'I deserved it' after such a busy and stressful day. The change is enormous and it feels so good not wanting to drink over it.

The little guy is much better. It's such a relief that he's on the mend. I hope we never have to go through something like that again! Staying sober through his illness was the best gift I could ever give him. I hate to think what it would have been like if he'd been sick last year when I was still drinking.

I can't believe that I am 8 months sober! When I first did Belle's 100 day challenge I got to the end and really struggled. The thought of never drinking again filled me with fear and I just couldn't handle it, so I started drinking again. I think I needed to go through that process to get to where I am today. I finally realised that I couldn't drink, ever. And when it all got a bit overwhelming I just took it one day at a time. I came to a level of acceptance that alcohol isn't for me, that it made me miserable and just wasn't worth it. It took me a long time to get here, but it feels so good to finally be here. For anyone still struggling, stick with it. It gets so much better! Life is not perfect, but it so much better. And I know it's only going to keep getting better. I can't wait!

We had my cousin's daughter visiting from Norway last week. She was travelling with a friend and they both stayed with my youngest brother and his wife and kids. It was so lovely to meet her. I haven't seen my Norwegian relatives since we left Norway when I was 6 (we lived there for 3 years as my father was Norwegian). Meeting her filled me with a yearning to travel to Norway and see all my relatives again. Hopefully one day! I will have to make a vision board and put that on there. Some people swear by them.

Anyway, there's not much else to say. I am off to work this afternoon and I hope it's a better shift today!!

A x

Monday 11 July 2016

Back from holidays

I'm back after two weeks in the country. The little guy went back to school today and now I can get back into my routine again. I'm off to a meeting today, which I am looking forward to.

So, as predicted the start of the holiday started off with drama!

Mr A was very anxious and when he's like that he lashes out at me and the little guy. I actually told him that I know he was stressed but he can't be talking to us like that. He apologised later, but gosh it's hard to live with someone like that! It's like walking on egg shells!

It wasn't until we were 2 1/2 hours into the 5 hour trip that the little guy realised we were driving to grandma's house and not the beach house like he had thought. He was SO excited!! it was definitely worth surprising him! And mum and my brothers and their boys were really happy to see us too. It was wonderful!

Unfortunately, the little guys medical condition got worse despite the antibiotics, and we had to take him to the local hospital on the Tuesday night. There wasn't anything they could do though, as there was only a GP on call (it's a very small country town) so we drove down to a bigger hospital the next day an hour and half away. After a long wait we were seen by the paediatric surgeon and she diagnosed a medical condition called BXO (Balanitis Xerotica Obliterans) and he had to have an emergency operation. Thankfully, the surgery went well and we were able to drive back to mum's house again that night, so we were able to finish our two week holiday. We had thought we would have to drive back to Melbourne and go the the Royal Children's Hospital and have a heap of investigations! So we lucked out on seeing the paediatric surgeon, she was wonderful.

So, a dramatic start to the holiday! But it ended well, and we had a lovely time relaxing with my family. Because the little guy had to take it easy and could not run around, it was a good excuse to relax and do nothing!!

I started taking the anti-depressants on that first Monday. Thankfully I haven't had any side effects, other than tiredness, and I think they are starting to work a little bit. I will have to make an appointment to see the therapist soon. I am pretty nervous about it though!

Brother # 2, the one with the drinking problem, did pretty well that first week. He didn't drink for the first 4 days which really surprised me. I didn't get a chance to talk to him like I'd have liked, but I was proud of him for not drinking those few days. Unfortunately, it didn't last and he drank a LOT the last few nights he was there. Hopefully he saw me having fun not drinking and realised that it's possible.

One thing I was really annoyed about was the way mum kept going on about how pleased she was that my brother was really trying, yet she didn't make one single comment about me not drinking. I know I haven't made a big announcement or anything, but I thought she might have said something! Especially given how she used to say I that I drank too much and needed to cut down. Oh well, I can't let it get it to me. I am proud of me!

So, it's back to work tomorrow. I have really enjoyed having a break, it was really getting to me. Hopefully I will be going back with a fresh outlook.

Now I'm off to catch up on all my blogs!

A x