Monday, 29 August 2016

100/100 And so it begins.........

Day 100 and it feels like a new beginning rather than crossing the finish line. I cannot begin to express how different I feel today, day 100 than I did back on the last day 1. It has been a journey and I have been up and down, quite down sometimes to be honest and there have been cravings so strong I thought I might tear my skin off. Somehow, some way, I made it through the next minute, the next hour the next day and all the way to day 100.

Sunday 22nd May 2016 was day 1 for me and it was a grim, bleak day. I am not sure if I had been searching for "bottom" but I sure as hell felt it that day. I had drunk more than I ever had before, nearly a full bottle of vodka and some wine too. I am sitting here cringing having spent ages deciding do I say the real amount or cut it down a bit so it doesn't look so bad - but the reality is I did drink that much and I vaguely remember thinking halfway through the bottle, if I drink the rest I am pretty sure I will be sicker than I have ever been (I wasn't wrong) May I hasten to add here, at no point did it occur to me that I might KILL myself ingesting such a large amount at one sitting. It scares me even more now fully sober that I was capable of managing it.

I crawled up the stairs on my hands and knees! I am ashamed about that so much.

I threw up violently and for some time. Thank goodness!!

I woke up with my head pounding, sweaty and shaky and so very thirsty but I couldn't quench it because I kept throwing up.

Late afternoon pure guilt made me get up and take my poor dogs out for a long walk, you know, clear the old head etc. I did one of my longer Sunday walks as I was only walking them once instead of twice and at the end of the walk there is a steady incline for about 1/2 mile (I have written about this before) and as I was walking up it, I would not allow myself to stop partly as punishment and part as proof I can still do it. Well when I reached the top, I was in trouble, I was very very hot, out of breath, red faced, dehydrated, sick, pounding head again and for a few minutes gravely thought "I might have a heart attack here and die" THAT was a real worry for those few minutes, a real honest to goodness I might die right here, right now. It scared me stiff. Needless to say I regrouped and headed off again after calming myself down and cooling myself off. I made it home very shaken and I think went straight back to bed. It was a turning point for me, like I said I think I was searching for bottom.

99 days later and I am so much further on. I still think about alcohol occasionally but I realise it is an illusion that I will enjoy it and have a great evening watching TV and relaxing. That is about a 30-45 minute window of golden drinking, then you spend the rest of the night chasing that feeling or even just maintaining it or perhaps just out of habit 'cos this is how you always drink. I had a Becks Blue tonight when I sat down, I had 2 chilling but as it turns out I only want one. I was not able to only have one of anything else before, I was often able to only drink one bottle of wine but never one glass. 99 days later and my dogs had two walks today after I had done all the laundry, mowed the front and back lawn, cleaned out the kitchen drawers and took my daughter out driving (oh yeah we got her a car on Saturday) for the second time, after 7 pm!!! ie. after wine o'clock!! It would never have been possible 100 days ago because it would be too late and cutting into my time and oh boy, do you need to practice patience, patience, patience when teaching a girl to drive ha ha.

I want to thank everyone who has commented either regularly, occasionally or even just once. Getting feedback all along the journey has helped no end and is why this blogging really works for so many of us. I also want to apologise for not always responding to comments, especially of late when my mood tanked and I was just trying to keep my head above water. I would like to thank all the people who have tirelessly been kind to me when my posts have been whiney, whiney, moany bloody agony so many of the days. I even planned a jokey post mentioning everyone but was so worried I would miss someone out that I gave up on the idea.

The only person I will single out here today is Red as she was the one who prompted me to join the 100 day challenge and for that I will be always thankful. It was the extra little incentive I needed for staying the course and might not have worked if I had done it another time or under different circumstances. So thank you Red, you were instrumental in this sober attempt and I thank you. OK I lied, I also have to congratulate SamKD on 100 days today also, she has been my day count buddy on this journey and beat me cos she HAS managed to post every day like I said I was going to but didn't manage. Oh well, I made 100 days and that is what I wanted.


Ginger Groundhog

Sunday, 28 August 2016

99/100 Nearly at the Beginning

Day 99 and I just posted a comment on Prim's blog which part of it was "Passing day 100 is like passing your driving test, you know the basics, you are aware of the danger, you know the correct way to do things and you are pretty safe but it is only now that you actually learn how to drive properly."

That is pretty much how I feel, that I have get the hang of it, learnt the rules of the road and am proficient at navigating my way around. However as all learners know, the exhilaration of passing the test is only the start to becoming an experienced driver. I could bang on about road blocks and applying the brakes, checking the mirro regularly, dangerous drivers, drunk driver (ahem) either from that night or drunk still in the morning, etc but you get the analogy without me spelling it out.

So as I mentioned on day 96 I started taking medication to help with my mood. Obviously I know a lot about antidepressants as they are part of working in mental health and the option is always with the patient. Some are vehemently opposed to them and others seem to want to take them without even trying to see if talking therapy can help (incidentally for low level depression and anxiety, talking therapy has been proven equally effective to medication) I do always warn people the side effects can be pretty off putting the first week or so with side effects ranging from nausea, sweating, dizziness hallucinations (ironic) and extreme mood swings. Luckily for me I only had extreme nausea and extreme dizziness bordering on vertigo for 4 days and had to tell work that I thought I had a virus. I was still working but felt quite loopy. Notice how I didn't even tell my work I have started taking antidepressants. Yes my 'shame' (not quite the right word) doesn't allow me to share with people I work with who are by trade in mental health cos they care about people struggling with mental health issues.

All this goes back to denial and embarrassment and sheer terror that I might become like my mum who had text book bipolar or manic depression as it used to be called, bless her. I won't be like my mum because statistically I am too old, way too old to get bipolar. I had a great doctor who told me back in my 20's that the juggernaut of manic depression was not around the corner waiting to hit me. He explained that everyone had periods of low mood and recovered in between and I was just hypervigilant about my mood because I lived in dread of 'this time being the one', the one being the time I would crack and lose it and not be able to get it back together again. I am 46 soon to be 47 and I have dodged the bullet. However, and it is a big however, I have never got over the fear or the embarrassment that I am not able to make my way through life without out occasion side trips into depression, it depresses me that I get depressed. The fear that people will judge me and think 'oh that explains it' is always present.

Taking antidepressants is almost admitting defeat, admitting that I am not a capable human being, that I am weak and defective. I SHOULD be able to hold my shit together right? Well........ I am not and that is the acceptance I am heading towards. I am committing to potentially staying on antidepressants for a year maybe two. I know the protocols and stepped approach to them and this time, the third time you are meant to go for two years. THAT is why I gave come to this kicking and screaming because this time I know this is probably something I will have to live with on and off for years and seems like just another things to tick on the list of 'What I don't like about me'

Having said all that though, I maybe do need to work on the acceptance and work with it rather than against it. When I use these out downs about me or make depression seem like the end of the world, I am piling that judgement on others even if it us unintentional and on an energy level. I don't want people to suffer and live in denial when there is help out there and having been doing myself and others a disservice when I slightly demonise mood disorders or at least mine. But it is fear that has been speaking so hopefully people reading this won't have been too overly offended or pushed back from getting help because I added another layer of stigma yo it. I am very sorry if I have inadvertently pushed anyone away from getting help or asking for meds.

Lastly I gave to say my mood is on the upswing and my brain is starting to remember things like the last paragraph I wrote, that I gave a meeting on Thursday and my friends son's birthday. All good stuff to remember. Sleep still proves to be very deep and not enough but maybe now will start to be more restorative. I am heading into day 100 hopeful, grateful and assured that this is best route for me to take. I see a bright future ahead and I feel pretty calm, for me, which is not a familiar feeling but a good one.

Until tomorrow

Ginger Groundhog

Thursday, 25 August 2016

96/100 I've put the plug in the jug

Day 96 and feeling a little brighter. I have started on 'happy pills' despite every fibre in my body loathing the idea but I had to keep telling myself if I had epilepsy I would take medication, if I had a heart condition I would take medication if I had asthma I would take medication. Sometimes telling yourself "pull it together" doesn't work anymore when you are too depleted. I have just surrendered to it for now.

I am on my bed watching a movie and the guy just said "I put the plug in the jug 23 years ago and I've been sober ever since. Maybe it is a familiar American expression but I love it and I am taking it for myself.

Just a quick check in tonight but hope to post more over my last few days to the 100.

Ginger Groundhog

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

94/100 Still sober, still blue

Day 94 and I am still on sober street but still awfully down. I am doing all the right things to boost my mood but it may come to getting some chemical assistance - I hate pharmaceuticals with a vengeance but even I can see they have their place sometimes. This may be one of those times.

Here are 5 positive things (even though typing that made me roll my eyes, or at least the depressed part of me rolled my eyes, the logical part knows you have to seek out the positive)

1. I am alone. I can pretend all day at work things are fine but as my daughter is not home I can drop the facade.
2. I treated myself to part two of the sclerotherapy on my spider veins for my 90 day 'treat' (note to self 100 day treat should not involve pain) I notice the difference in my face even if it is small.
3. The house looks amazing. Have had 2 compliments from locals one of whom I have never spoken to.
4. Sunny days ahead. Weather predicts several good day = improvement in mood I hope.
5. My car passed its MOT (UK test for a vehicle being roadworthy) big sigh of relief.

Other things I continue to be grateful for, good coffee, good books, somehow not giving in to cravings, knowing I have people who will reach out and help if I really need, a loving daughter, sleep,  the odd startling positive thought about myself, my loyal dogs, the fact I have a job despite not always liking it, having enough money to get by, the colour red, Chanel perfume, bacon, Walkers Cheese and Onion crisps (chips) and so many other random things that I just accept as given but would miss dreadfully if they were gone.

I have failed miserably at sticking Gosh, always with the negative! What I was going to say is I haven't managed to stick to my plan of blogging every day of the 100 as I had intended but where previously I would have therefore deemed the whole thing a failure, I am trying to reframe it in that, I have done as much as I can. I still feel a little bit annoyed at myself that I didn't but I was getting more and more frustrated with being down and writing about it was compounding my low mood.

One last observation is that today there was a minor mess up at work with a print run on 100+ letters and I happened to hear and intervene, this was an old problem that I used to deal with when I was in that department. One of the other team was running around like Chicken Little, "the sky is falling the sky is falling" and dismissing everyone's offers of help and various solutions. I said that I knew what the issue was and could help but Chicken Little scornfully commented that my idea wasn't going to work. Old me, drinking me would have stormed off probably with some choice words thrown over my shoulder but grown up me, competent me simply said 'please just leave this with me, I know what I am doing and currently you aren't helping the situation' needless to say she flounced off in a big huff. The other worker commented that Chicken Little had been shutting down all their solutions and she was glad I had stepped in. Problem solved in 15 minutes. As I was sitting back at my desk I suddenly felt very grown up and together and for a flash I saw what other managers have said they see in me. When people compliment me I usually think they are deluded or flattering me because all I remember are the times when I would have reacted badly and made some negative "fine sort it out yourself" comment. Today I saw the whole picture, I am very competent and highly knowledgeable and the other side of me is only a fraction, not the total me. Now I have noticed that I need to make a point of stopping and reviewing it in all situations. I don't have to feel guilty now for secretly nursing a hangover or underperforming cos I am not quite with it or apologising for not being quick enough. I have more than likely always been good enough even a bit hungover but my perfectionism couldn't allow me to be good enough and drinking and being hungover may have been a way to excuse what I perceived as shortcomings. I am still exploring that so it may not fit but today I definitely for the first time felt really good enough, for once.

Gosh at this rate, I might even like myself one day.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

88/100 Through gritted teeth........

Day 88 and I have to admit it loathe as I am to let these words out, I am depressed. Properly weepy time depressed and it is something I hate about myself and hoped would never come back but these last few weeks of struggling and trying to be positive (not very successfully) and hoping it would go away have culminated in a bad case of 'the dog' or 'black dog' attributed to Winston Churchill who suffered severe depression.

Luckily I get depression 'light' which still sucks and feels like I have treacle/molasses for blood and generally makes me want to cry about everything and anything. And more than anything makes me feel crippling shame having to admit it and actually use the word depression. Despite me working in mental health and letting everyone know mental health affects most of us at some stage in our life and is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about, ME having it, ME admitting to it fills me with shame, anger and a sense of failure. So imagine what it is like for those who have it worse than me. Please be sparing in your comments, too much sympathy or niceness will tip me over the edge. I have been putting off posting because, 1. How many times can you post about how moany you are 2. It's a bit like by sayings it out loud it's real! Well it is real but you didn't know it was real so now you know it's real, it's really REAL. And bring on a fresh set of shame, I would be less embarrassed if I had a Nazi swastika on my forehead. I know it's illogical but there you go.

Sometimes I can catch it and change its course, a few early nights, no carbohydrates, escaping into a good book or strangely really hard physical work. This time I thought I had cornered and ready to shoo away with my excellent weekend but the events at work Monday sapped all that goodness and I hadn't got the reserves in storage to rally again *<splat>* like a broken egg. I know i am on the way when the odd commercial makes me a bit weepy and then the next thing is the treacle/molasses for blood, sounds weird but that's what it feels like and then I am like 'OH! You're back'

Drinking causes depression and depression causes drinking, it's a cycle and one I hope I have broken free from. I know it will time for my brain chemistry to adjust back after years of depleting all the good chemicals and ramping up all the bad ones ( now is not the time to tell me its permanent if anyone thinks/knows it might be) I could go on about it some more but I can't be bothered. I will get over it soon enough I know, fortunately I have reached a place of understanding that as hideous and boring and annoying as this is, I will be ok again soon-ish but when it's happening it feels like the end of the world. Oh and embarrassing, did I mention that already??? Don't we all just want to pretend to be "normal" and not have anything like this that sets us apart from the crowd [crying now] it's a stigma and one so many try and keep hidden, I know I do. Even working in mental health I feel like I will be penalised (I won't) I will be judged (I won't) I will be talked about (I might) but ultimately I will be understood and if I would allow, helped.

Funny really with all my overdrinking I was never in denial, I always thought I could quite easily say in an AA meeting, if I went "My name is Ginger and I'm an alcoholic" simple. What I have realised recently is it is depression I am in denial about, if you don't talk about it it's not real. Well folks "my name is Ginger and I am..... almost can't type it... Depressed" euch I feel sick just saying it. It will go away and it will get better I just have to keep going. Bit like not drinking. I am hoping that some of this will fall into 'the truth shall set you free' category. Maybe it won't and maybe tomorrow I will feel a fresh sense of hell that I outed myself and won't be able to force it back into the box marked DENIAL.

Someone please leave a sarcastic comment not just supportive ones see here to understand. That is assuming people do comment, probably bad manners to assume these things.

That's all for now and maybe a day or two, we will see how the mood takes me, literally.

Ginger Groundhog

Monday, 15 August 2016

84, 85, 86/100 I don't like Mondays

Day 84 & 85 were great days. Busy, industrious, productive and satisfying. Spent most of the weekend powering through all the jobs in the garden I have ignored in favour of sitting down drinking some wine on a lovely sunny day or avoided cos I can't possibly go outside on a lovely sunny day dehydrated and with a pounding head. Felt fabulous and empowered, kept thinking wow look at me go, I am going great guns. No cravings only hard work. Loved being physically tired out.

Day 86 and work sucked all the joy out of me and left me feeling depleted and tearful. Had a massive attack of the Billy boo-hoos mid afternoon and felt an overwhelming sense of injustice within my company and how much they expect from us and how little we get in return. I really do need to look at how rapidly my mood changes and how I am unable to regulate my emotions. I was reacting to something but I am not sure my reaction was equal to the misdeed. As SamKD would say I added another pebble to my bag of resentments and the bag marked WORK is full to capacity. i feel trapped in that job and the more days sober I get the more resentful I become and the more I realise I have settled for and that is no longer working.

I have gone to bed with a book as I need to power down.  Tomorrow I am going to look through my bookcase and find one of the self help (I hate that expression but you'll get what I mean) books I used to read when I was a more positive and silver lining kinda gal. Not the bitter husk of a shrivelled misery bag I have somehow sobered up to be. I am no longer content to moan and complain about things, I have to try and take some action to change it. This is me sober but it is not the best sober me.

Ginger Groundhog

Friday, 12 August 2016

83/100 Talked out

Day 83 and it's been a chatty day.

Got an earful all day from my boss as she is going through some drama in her personal life, even psychologists seemingly can't handle their own problems when things go wrong. Work is just crap at the moment and having to do therapy all day on the therapist is not in my job description. Not when I earn 1/4 of what she earns. Sounds really harsh I know but by Friday I am done.

Had a great chat with my best friend on FaceTime for 3 hours, we set the world to rights. She also made me feel less mean when I told her about my boss.

1. No cravings at all today- hooray
2. It's Friday, no work for two days.
3. Builders have done amazing work for 6 days on the job.
4. Slept like the dead last night and woke up feeling almost alive.
5. Daughter FINALLY cleared out the spare bedroom of all her old clothes.

Slowly slowly making changes and progress.

TGIF is all I can say, the weekend beckons for odd jobs.

Ginger Groundhog

Thursday, 11 August 2016

82/100 Coming up for air

Day 82

I was answering comments and typed this as a response and then realised this was worth sharing

I have definitely popped up for air now but for weeks I really felt like I was floundering and might sink. It feels like the end of the world when you are in it but now I am through it just feels like something I had to go through. Isn't that weird, from the extreme to nearly nothing. Yes we ARE all similar and it is obviously part of the process

 I really did feel that I was stuck in the mud of cravings for weeks and every bloomin day I was filled with desperation and feelings of 'is this really worth it?'  I kept thinking that if this is as good as it gets I am going back to drinking. Worse still there were days when I actually honestly thought I would be happy to deal with all the consequences of drinking, even knowing that I might not be able to stop again if I started. Anything,  if I could just throw the towel in. MADNESS of the highest order.

As I mentioned in previous posts there was always something stopping me and I can only describe it as a deep visceral knowledge that drinking was not the answer, I wanted it to be the answer, I bargained with myself about it being the answer and I was so darn pee'd off that I couldn't just pretend it was what I wanted to do. I wanted to sabotage but I was so angry at myself that I wasn't allowing myself to do it cos after all I really wanted to drink but I wasn't following through with the purchase. One day I walked around the grocery store for 2hours trying to persuade/dissuade myself to buy a bottle of vodka. I was in bits with desire and disgust and thought who can help me, who might be looking at thier blog right now? Mark Goodson? SoberMummy? Wendy? Anne? KaryMay?Annette? Jackie? Belle? *your name here*? Who? Who could help me through this?  It was excruciating and at the time I felt helpless and distraught and also convinced that it wasn't those peoples job to fix me, it was mine. They would be kind and helpful and tell me everything I needed but ultimately I had to just decide to not drink. I wish I could say I had some epiphany there and then but no, I had days more of feeling like this and was more furious still that whatever was stopping me drinking was still FUCKING IN CONTROL arrrrgggghhh. By now I would normally have caved in and buckled under the pressure but no I was still being ruled by sober thinking. God it was annoying!
Then it was gone, just like that!

Do I think I am done with cravings? No way, I still crave cigarettes after 11 years but the quagmire I was stuck in suddenly released its hold and I have regained some sanity. Today I barely thought about drinking and have a calmness I haven't had for weeks, despite having a rough day at work. And I do feel like I have just burst out of the water and can take a deep breath and all the near drowning feels like I was exaggerating but in hindsight it wasn't, it was really full on, I nearly drown!

Recently I read someone who said something along the lines of 'no craving lasts forever' and it's true. It is hell when you are in it but it will pass and once it us gone it doesn't seem as big a deal. Deep down I think everyone knows that drinking is not working, it's had its day and no longer does what we want but it is easier to give in and believe the lie. That is what I was struggling the most with, I didn't believe my own lies anymore but soooo wanted to. I am not saying it's easy peasy cos I have struggled so hard to get momentum in the early days and did days1,2,3, for week after week, month after month. I can't go back there it was soul destroying.

Today I am grateful for every shitty day I have had up until now, I guess I must have needed them.

With much love

Ginger Groundhog

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

81/100 Painful Treat

Day 81 and I had a painful but rewarding treat. I had the spider veins on the side of my nose zapped and yowzer did it hurt but instant result. They are gone. I have always been conscious of them but they have got worse over the years (daughter says no one can see them except me) and not sure if dog walking in all kinds of brutal Cornish weather or the free flow of red wine had the biggest impact but either way this was a big treat. Put it off for years due to cost, thinking it would be thousands but no £32 for 30 minutes and the majority have gone, one more session for about 3 tiny ones on my chin. I can see a massive difference even if no one else can. I am doing all of this for me alone so if I am happy that is mission accomplished.

1. No more veins, yay.
2. Mood, oh so much better-about 7/10
3. Chippy chips for dinner and no regrets
4. Have been making calls and organising future jobs on the house, getting quotes etc.
5. I didn't cry today. Today is the 22nd anniversary of when my dad died and it usually floors me but this year I remembered what a lovely man he was and how proud he always was of me. Sad but not devastated.

After yesterday's MEGA post today's is short and sweet.

Ginger Groundhog

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

80/100 I deserve it and I am worth it

Day 80 - Not some cheesy advertisement but I have been thinking about changes in my life in the last 9 years. Or "the wine years" as seems more appropriate?

When I first moved into my home it had been previously owned by an older lady and the tastes and decor reflected her style not mine. It also had some renovation work that needed to be done along with a complete electrical rewire. The light switches were old round black Bakelight ones harking back to the 1920-1950's, decorative but apparently highly dangerous. When I bought my house I had visions of getting in the builders, having all the work done and it would be the house of my dreams all finished and sparkly new. In the UK there used to be a show called 'Changing Rooms' that shows you someone's home or at least a room or two transformed in the blink of an eye.  Condense this down to a 60 minute show and this is probably what I had in my head would happen when the work was finished.  Buying a home at the high end of the market (drat) and when builders were turning work away (double drat) I was forced to go with one of the builders that did come back to me instead of one of the ones laughing at my £25k budget. Instead of waiting, I settled for a builder and in hindsight I didn't have too many concerns and was gung Ho to get things under way. Long story short, he wasn't that great, he probably took advantage of my ignorance, he fobbed me off with a lot of jargon, and some of the work was a little shabby but I thought I could finish it off nicely myself. Why? Cos I didn't want to upset him (and looking back because I was grateful that he would work in my house) This was all to do with my lack of self worth and fear of speaking out because I was so undeserving, I should be lucky this guy has agreed to fleece me out of my money. Gee, I should buy him a thank you gift for fucking up my house. Within a year, some, not all of the work was failing or obvious it was substandard and a few people had commented that it didn't look as well as it should.  My solution to this was to stop people coming into my house and to don imaginary blinkers, if I didn't look around at it all then I couldn't see what a fool I had been and how yet again ignoring the warning signs mentality had led me to a place of humiliation and shame (there is that word so many of us know and understand) Shame that I was gullible, a fool and had squandered my fathers hard earned money from my inheritance by not demanding my money's worth.

In hindsight I should have asked more questions, demanded more answers, told them to finish things to a higher standard and pursued it further when the work was finished and I was dissatisfied. He went bankrupt in the end and had a bit of a breakdown, how do I know that? because I work for mental health provider and saw his referral. I am only a little bit ashamed to say it is the only time in six years I have delighted and reveled in someone else's misery but I felt no compassion for him at all. I pinned all the blame on him when in reality there is the possibility that he could have been doing his best work and was just a lousy builder. Along the way I kind of forgot to mention to people that I hadn't stepped up and corrected him or asked him to do it again or better. I had responsibility in this too but to admit it was more painful than telling everyone about how he had 'done me wrong'. I spent a good 6 years or more feeling sorry for myself, telling anyone who would listen my tale of woe and frankly looking back, I was in a full on major depression. I wasn't tending to the house or the garden and the whole place just got really shabby and tatty, after all why vacuum when parts of the ceiling plaster have fallen down. Why polish the dining table when you have black mold in the corner of the room, why clean the bath when you don't have a finished floor in the bathroom. I wasn't apathetic, I was near catatonic with depression, I cried and cried and cried. I was in really bad shape but had to carry on regardless because I had the mortgage to pay.  Any spare ounce of energy I had went into trying to pretend everything was normal for my daughter and keeping her involved in stuff and not seeing her mom fall to pieces.

It was during this period that the wine became my friend and it was the norm to have a few glasses every night with a little more at the weekend. I could even have a few relaxed hours where I was able to ignore my troubles and get a laugh out of a TV show or play a game with my daughter. I won't bother with the slow decline into increased consumption as it is just the normal slow steady build to the knowledge that all of a sudden you are drinking at least a bottle of wine a night and way more at the weekends. All of this has come to a head recently with the arrival of the new builders, who I hasten to add are doing a great job. I have challenged them already about something and clarified that I wouldn't be paying the extra for the higher powered machine they had to buy because it wasn't my fault if they underestimated the power they needed. Their answer was of course I wouldn't have to pay as it was their mistake. So differs from last time when I would have thrown £500 at them apologising that my house was made of such solid stone and poor them for having to work so hard on it.

The biggest difference is..... I feel like I deserve better. Somehow through all this turmoil my self esteem is kicking in and I am not allowing myself to settle for lesser than, I have done enough lesser than and now it is time for more than. I deserve a nice house! I deserve to get my money's worth! I just deserve to treat myself with the respect that has been lacking for some time.
It has been coming in tiny increments over the past year but quitting alcohol has helped that along more reliably and faster. All the times I have bust my tail trying to get the brambles under control, teach myself how to tile both floors and walls or working solidly on my daughter's bedroom for 3-4 days nonstop has given me a bit more self respect and shown me that I can do this and expect more than I previously have. I am normalising myself and realising that everyone has stuff in their life they brush under the carpet and I am not an oddball for having an unfinished or messy house. I am not the only person to have gone to bed without washing the dishes or let the kitchen floor go unmopped for a week longer than was socially acceptable. We all have flaws and weaknesses and I am not the 'worst person in the world ever'. Why this has suddenly burst forth today, I am not sure but maybe all that moaning and complaining about everything and constantly saying how tired I was was part of my re-calibration. I even think that some of the fighting with my daughter is to do with me not standing for her teenage antics anymore and instead of acquiescing I am standing firm or walking away until she can discuss it civilly with me.

Before, my deserving related to alcohol in a "I deserve a drink after that" way. Now it is "I deserve more than alcohol gives me"

About a thousand words ago I said 'to cut a long story short', I won't say that again as I realise it is not within my capabilities but I am ok with that too ha ha. As for the punctuation either lack of or all in the wrong place, well even that doesn't bother me too much tonight as I figure if you want to read it you can pick your way through and get the overall gist.

I havent had a drink in 80 days, about 30 of them I didn't want a drink. The rest have been an up and down mix of cravings and feelings of this just has to get better but despite it all I have managed to reassie and accept that I can no longer lie about what I think will happen and what actually will happen. When I play the story through to the end it is always the same, me feeling like crap, sleeping terribly, waking up feeling like I have been hit by a truck and the gripping terror that I am driving to work more than likely over the limit and lastly hours on hours of feeling less than, pretending everything is fine at work and self recrimination only to reach 3pm when all of a sudden it starts to look like a good idea once again.That is only the tip of the iceberg.

In conclusion, thanks for sticking with me and bustling me along the path with your supportive comments and kind thoughts.

Ginger Groundhog

Monday, 8 August 2016

79/100 In quiet mode

Day 79 and I am feeling very insular. Not much to say for myself.

Here is what I have been grateful for recently.

1. Becks Blue. Had a weekend full of cravings and feelings of missing out. I know it is all very ridiculous and I feel like I am always struggling with cravings. Becks Blue are just the panacea I need to help me over the hurdle each night.
2. Work has started on my house and it looks like it is going to take time but will be beautiful.
3. Awareness. I have realised that despite my constant moaning and complaining I am having certain realisations and observations about myself but I don't currently have the capacity, energy or motivation to share here. This is in stark contrast to the early days when I was so open to sharing everything and anything that you are lucky I didn't share my bathroom routine.
4. Mysterious forces! I figure I should thank whatever, whoever, how ever forces that are keeping the distance between me and chucking it all in. I have spent countless hours mulling over why I haven't just acted on my cravings and thrown it all away and I don't know why this time it's different but something is anchoring me to not drinking. It is a mystery to me cos sometimes I am writing my  'I drank' post as I am getting on with my day.
5. Sleep. I have reverted back to the early days when I couldn't get enough sleep. As many of you have commented, I may have PAWS because the fatigue is overwhelming. I feel beaten as soon as I get out of bed and take my first few steps. Maybe it is the constant shall I/shan't I conversation that plays out in my head from about 9am- 8pm. 8pm cos then it is too late to drink as much as I want and still be able to drive the next day. INSANITY!!!

Old timers - Question. Am I crazy? I feel like every day is a constant fight with my thoughts and I feel worn out by it and so grumpy that all I seem to do is moan here about how bad I feel. Am I my own worst enemy? Should I shut up? Is this normal or even normal for me. Should I just shut the hell up and only post when I have something good to say?

Ginger Groundhog

Thursday, 4 August 2016

75/100 or 3/4 of the 100

Day 75 got better as the day wore on

1. The scaffolding is up and the builders come in tomorrow to strip all the old paint and render back to the old Cornish stone.
2. The daughter and I are back on speaking terms and have both unspoken decided to just let the argument go unaddressed.
3. My car decided it would start and get me to and from work without too much shuddering.
4. I feel like things in my life are changing, that I am progressing instead of stagnating. The house is a big benchmark for me and is like a new beginning again.
5. I am grateful to authors for taking the time to write books. A funny thing to be grateful for but I get such pleasure and escape from reading that I say thanks for taking the time to put it all together for mine and others enjoyment.

I am already thinking how grateful I will be for my morning coffee. Now it is my main addiction it has suddenly become most prevalent in my mind.

Ginger Groundhog

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

74/100 Being Childish, not in a good way

Day 74 Transactional Analysis in action.

Today I am stuck in CHILD mode and cannot seem to unstick myself. Following on from the argument last night I have adopted a petulant, hurt feelings, childish, I'm not going to apologise-stance. It is frustrating and shocking to be aware of this and still not do anything about it or feel able to do anything about it. I know I am tired, I know I am hurting, I know I feel rejected and I know I should be the grown up and bigger person but I feel so STUCK. The little child in me is saying "but what about me"

1. I had 2 dry dog walks today
2. I didn't have any cravings today
3. The cars 'GOD' intervened today when my car started vibrating and shuddering and I exclaimed "please no, not today" and got an instant miracle when it settled down a bit.
4. I had my last session with my therapist today and it was good to recognise how far I have come, especially as I feel so stuck right now.
5. Lavender oil. I really needed something not food or drink related for my senses and in lieu of physical hugs, lavender oil comforts me.

Bonus for today.

I am grateful that blogging allows me to be pretty much 97% me and get feedback from supportive and generous people. I am even more grateful that at times when I feel weird and like the only one going through something, someone graciously sticks their neck out and says 'me too!' I love that nearly every day I read something that brings a tear to my eye, warmth to my heart or a smile to my lips. I am grateful that this exists for me and everyone else and is a safe haven for us to come and bring our experiences and our troubles and know that there is someone who always seems to nail exactly the right thing to say. I must be very hormonal because I really am grateful for all this and think it is one of the main reasons I have stayed the course this last 74 days. Anne at Ainsobriety posted about her yoga room and how she is giving away so much of her extra stuff to others and it has made me very thankful for all the good that has come my way over the years thanks to the kindness of strangers. It was a timely reminder that I have far more good in my life than I reflect here and I gentle nudge that you get what you give and I have been pumping out the negative lately.

I have hugged my daughter since writing this, still can't let go of the hurt but also don't want her to think I don't love her.  Unlike my dogs, she does not seem excited to see me everytime I walk back into a room. Nora Ephron once said, and I am paraphrasing 'Every home with a teenager should have a dog. That way when you come home at the end if the day, someone is pleased to see you'

Ginger Groundhog

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

73/100 -Thin on the ground

Day 72 -Gratitude in short supply today

1. Managed to move 27 bags of rubble by myself before 07:30 this morning. Not sure if I'm grateful or resentful ha ha.
2. I found out the name of a song that was an ear worm for weeks without me knowing what it was - phew!
3. My cake was edible even dare I say enjoyable.
4. I answered all my unanswered comments.
5. I managed to stop myself drinking AT my daughter after we had a mahooosive fight. Still not speaking now but I did not go and drown out the shouting and hurt.

Like I say thin on the ground.

Ginger Groundhog.

Monday, 1 August 2016

72/100 Simple

Day 72

1. First cup of coffee in the morning, Ahhh sheer bliss
2. Walking the dogs first thing in the morning before the torrential downpour.
3. Boss on A/L for a week and managed to finish all the jobs I set out to do today.
4. Made a cake from scratch for the first time in ages. Caraway Seed Cake, yum.
5. Watched a movie in bed with my daughter.

This is all I can manage currently but it works in its way.

Ginger Groundhog