Sunday, 16 April 2017

330-1/365 Easter Sunday update

Happy Easter everyone

Today finds me feeling, well, a bit "normal" This is quite mundane for you to read but life changing for me. Me? Normal? Is that even possible? Well yes seemingly so. Today I woke up after a huge sleep and felt well rested, revived, content, dare I say happy and feeling like at this moment I have nothing to be upset about. I honestly can't remember a time when I didn't wake up and think something negative varying from "the house is a mess" to " God I'm so fat I need to do something right now" to " how have I ended up in this life, what did I do wrong?" And that old familiar " why did I drink so much last night?"

Today I woke up and really believed all is well in my world. I also can now accept that this is not a permanent state, for some it may be a relative constant but for me it is a happy moment, specifically that moment meditation promises - PRESENCE. I just feel so content today, lucky to be alive, proud of who I am and what I have achieved. I feel GREAT. Even the voice that normally chirps up saying "don't acknowledge that, you'll jinx it" is quiet.

Hands down I can honestly say I do not remember feeling this good for years, in fact I cannot remember the last time at all. I also can recognise that this feeling comes from a state of acceptance and today I am clearly able to see, understand, acknowledge and (this is key) accept all aspects of my life as they are in this moment. I am still as fat today as I was yesterday but today I accept it because I have done so much this past year that I can only thank my body for all it has dealt with, coped with and provided me with.. I have a bad temper sometimes and that has caused me problems in life, at work, in friendships, with my lovely daughter but I also accept it and recognise that sometimes anger has served me and helped me clean the house in fury or dug up weeds in a snit etc.

Currently there are dust bunnies under the dining room table, the garden needs work and I still haven't fixed the bath panel that mocks me every time I sit on the loo. But....... I quit drinking 330 days ago and the change to my life has been transformational quite literally it has turned my life around.  Maybe there are dust bunnies in plain sight under the dining room table but go into any of the rarely used rooms in the house and there are no great shameful secrets hiding like there were a year ago. You can no longer write your name in dust on the dresser in the spare bedroom. Walk into my house today and I will gladly show you around, opening every door to every room including the "junk" room tucked away in back [side note, soon to be repurposed as a laundry room] The mere fact that I have allowed you over the threshold is monumental in comparison to 3 years ago when no one except my very best friend was allowed in due to shame and embarrassment. Truthfully, for approx 6 years only a scant few people were allowed inside lest I be judged beyond all imagination and the shame shower that followed would have scalded the skin off. Now I will give you the grand tour and maybe comment only once that I am not the worlds best housekeeper. Even saying that, I know that my standards are higher than I am representing here but old habits die hard.

Up until 330 days ago I drank waaaaay too much, I drank to blur not only the edges but the sum total of my life. I was trying to blot out the dissatisfaction of who I was, how I looked, how I behaved and how I was refusing to take responsibility for my life. I have only drunk once in that 330 days and that highlighted to me in one night all that was wrong with my life and how it would be exactly the same if I drank again. This new way of being ie sober, has its ups and downs but I see now that that is what life is, everyone's life is, not some character flaw or universal punishment of me for being "wrong". Today, Sunday I feel amazing and like I could take on the world but Wednesday at work I was sad, scared and "acting out" which is how I feel when my mild personality disorder is triggered. What I will say is that on Wednesday I was told something very unsettling about work/my role by senior management and I said "I need to walk away right now" and long story short I walked away translating what was said into the worst case scenario, I catastrophised it to the max and put all kinds of meaning and interpretation on it that wasn't necessarily real. Breakthrough moment- I called this manager (like you other grown ups would do) and said 'I am really blowing what you said to me out of proportion and I'd like you to explain it some more.'  In that moment I changed the pattern I always revert to when stressed, by realising I needed to change the way I ALWAYS deal with things I changed in that moment. I was very vulnerable with my boss and explained how I had translated what had been said into worst case scenario. Turns out I was wrong and had picked out only the negatives none of the positives. How many of us do that all the time. What I have understood this week is that both Wednesday and today are normal days, extremes of normal very bad and very good but normal.

My last post in contrast to this post shows how my moods can fluctuate, both are normal ways of being but so hard to put in context when we are drinking to levels that blunt connection to correct interpretation. I am beginning to understand and accept my reactions to things both good and bad and then just sit with the feeling.  No doubt I will have some really crap days ahead, I will react badly to things again, I will argue with my daughter and have days of hating my body and maybe myself but....they will not be my everyday, they will be part of my life but not the norm like they used to.

Don't get me wrong, its not all plain sailing. I would love to drink a massive glass of wine on this beautiful Easter Sunday but that lovely glass of wine would only be the gateway to a whole bottle (or more) of wine and then undoubtedly some vodka too. I would probably have a great day/night drinking and it wouldn't be disastrous or some Hollywood version of alcoholic drinking but it's how I would feel tomorrow, cut off from my feelings and inauthentic. I would have lost connection to who I feel I am and I no longer want to do that. Ironically feeling all those negative emotions would lead me to come up with the only solution perceivable- to do the same thing again that night and the next and once more I would be on the roller coaster of hating the majority of the ride only for the fleeting pleasurable moments. That is the reality of that fantasy one lovely glass of wine.

If I could give a gift today it would be the assurance that your life will be so much better without alcohol. It is one of the simplest things to say but the hardest to convey and the hardest to convince others still struggling. It is all too clear a memory for me sitting with drink in hand reading sober blogs and crying into my wine "why can't it be me". Well it is me now and I have done it and no it wasn't easy but it is possible to stop and just stay stopped no matter what. Easter Sunday would have been one of the days I would have decided to make my last day drinking, probably several times to be honest. Now I see that there aren't lucky days or significant days like I had been convincing myself for several years. In the end I stopped on some random Sunday in May because I had just had enough and I didn't want to keep going the way I was any longer. I slipped up once somewhere between day 150 -162 and drank for one night but luckily for me that proved drinking was out of the question ever again. It's hard typing that as I know so many people lapse and relapse  after years of sobriety but as I type this today I can honestly say I never want to drink again and I know my life is all the better for it. To think about drinking again is like saying "Gosh I wish my life was miserable, uninspired and the same old depressing outlook every morning" the thought of going back to that again is reason enough for me to dismiss the fantasy of being an occasional drinker.

As always a long waffley post from me but that's just how I am and in the spirit of all I have said above,  I am quite alright with that.

Ginger Groundhog

21 comments:

  1. Not a long post at all, but a wonderful post. I just went back and read some of your posts from last year, and my own comments! I really want to be that person again who was cheering you on. I think I am finally ready to seriously give it a whirl. The timing of your post was perfect for me today. I just got back from my first alcohol free Easter lunch, probably never having had an alcohol free Easter since about 1988. I'm tired from all the food I ate but so glad that I'm not taking a nap because of all the alcohol I've had. You are always inspiring, Ginger, thank for sharing.

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    1. It's good to see you back posting and giving it another whirl. We have all done that dance around alcohol and sometimes the easier thing to do is stop the fight. I wish you success, I really do.

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  2. Day 330 is so so so good. To hear you feel nothing but contentment and happiness today is great! Yes one glass is a fantasy. I often think I really don't want one glass, because I hate the feeling of wanting another one. Perhaps other people don't get that feeling, that's why the enjoy just the one? To me it's just teasing.

    Yes I think a lot of people hear the negatives, not the positives in life. What you did by ringing your boss to finish the conversation shows you have changed, you are growing and dealing with things better.

    It's funny you say your house is cleaner. Mine is worse now, I think in part because I don't have to keep up appearances that everything is ok. The clean house was hiding the mess in my life which was drinking!

    I'm so glad that you only drank that once and kept on going. It could have been a very different outcome but you are here and almost a year!!!

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    1. The house cleaning has really only just taken off in a major way recently so maybe your time will come. Don't get me wrong, before I had other facades that I presented to the world to prove everything was OK.
      I have also recently done a deep clean (5 hours) on my car, cleaned out one of my closets and as I documented, torn down my asbestos garage. Each of these things is a giant leap forward for me but ironically I tend to collapse for a day or so after. I don't think it's all physical exhaustion, more so a psychological fatigue. I have no doubt your time will come, it seems pretty much part of the journey if you follow lots if blogs, we all end up cleaning out our proverbial closets sooner or later.

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  3. Happy Easter! So glad you are feeling well. You have so much to be proud of.

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    1. Thank you Kelly. Congratulations on your ONE YEAR, well done you. Was it you that posted the NY Times photos of sober women? My iPad crashed the other day but it think it was your blog I was in.

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  4. Hi Ginger!
    Happy Easter!
    Happy 330 Days Sober!
    Thank you for your lovely post!
    I understand that normal is a really good place to be/feel.
    Not drinking is such a wonderful place to rest. A place we can think, love, sleep, and just be.
    Big Hugs!
    Wendy

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    1. I hope you are ok too Wendy, i know you have had a few rough days of late. I love all of your posts and how you bounce back from a rough day. I liked posting on Easyer Sunday as sometimes I worry I only post when things are rough but I couldn't resist sharing the high as well.

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  5. Wow! I want to share this post with everyone I know who is struggling. You paint such a real but beautiful portrait of what sobriety is. It's not all pretty sunsets, but some days are just so amazingly "right" like today is for you, that we're willing to slog through the other days just to feel that way again, for no matter how long it lasts.
    Thank you for this post, and thank you for checking up on me.

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    1. So lovely to see a comment from you. Yes it was a "Go Tell It From The Mountain" moment, that this too can be yours. Funnily enough I did so much and enjoyed the day so much I felt shattered on Monday but yet again that is normal. Sobriety is all about balance and that is why we struggle so much in the beginning as there is no balance in our lives, it takes a while but even then it's like a teeter totter/see saw Take care Kary May.

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  6. Beautiful.
    I am so very impressed by your call to your manager. You took action. That is so inspiring to me. I slide into avoidance easily. I am going to remember this next time.

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful, messy life! It's nice to know I am not alone.

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    1. I am still proud of myself for making that call, it's so hard to explain in brief but it was a 47 year old woman deciding to behave like a grown up. Like so many other drinkers I got stuck at an early age and never learned how to behave like and adult so when things don't go my way (we have a great expression in Englad) I throw all my toys out of the pram. A small part of me now worries I exposed a weakness to my boss and she can use that later to "get me" but as Brene Brown says you have to allow yourself to be vulnerable in order to grow.
      Glad mine is not the only messy life 😊

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  7. Oh I just love this post. Every single word of it. The call to your boss, the self acceptance, the life filled with authenticity. You are learning to be more gentle with yourself. I am so happy to read this. I am also so happy that your are counting 330 days of sobriety and didn't feel the need to self flagellate by starting over at day 1 when you tripped. So happy to read this Ginger.

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    1. Thanks Annette. As Jackie-Wine Bitch once said "it's not just about not drinking is it?" The pain of not drinking in the beginning is the price you pay to get a fulfilling life in the long run. The ultimate short term loss for long term gain. If it were easy we just wouldn't continue to grow. An authentic life is the goal for sure.
      Before I would have started the count again but I had a lapse not a relapse so it doesn't deserve a restart.

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  8. Great post - so happy for you! Especially doing the hard work conversation; that took guts. Life just gets so much more -manageable- with sobriety.

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    1. Yes it amazes me everytime I have one of these breakthrough moments that there is still so much more to do, learn, accept, forgive. I keep banging on about feeling like a grown up but that is really how it feels to me, that I am leaving the petulant child behind and I am dealing with things as they need to be dealt with.

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  9. Really lovely post to read, thank you. In particular I liked your restating wanting to drink as "I wish my life was miserable and uninspired again" - so true!

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    1. Thanks Lia, always lovely to see a comment from you.

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    1. Ahh thanks Anne, still here clean and serene as Betty would say. Sunday's the big day for both me and SamKD

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