I’ve had one of my little blogging blocks again recently. I’ve started a post a few times this last week but they haven’t amounted to anything. When that happens I just have to go back to my tried and tested method of writing any old waffle that comes to mind. A lovely blogging friend also suggested starting with a photo and seeing where that leads. My photo is of a rose in my parents’ garden. They bought the rose bush as a gift to each other on their 52nd wedding anniversary last year. It has the same name as my first name. Claire is actually my middle name. Pretty isn’t it?

I took the photo on Sunday. We were visiting on Father’s day. A lockdown garden visit. My parents were really excited to see their grandsons. Unfortunately my husband and I rather ruined the atmosphere by arriving in the middle of a very heated discussion. Some more sensitive folk would have classed it as a full blown row. The content doesn’t matter here. The issue is that this past week (and for a little while now) there has been a regular flow of similar spats and disagreements. It’s become wearing. I can’t really work out why it’s occurring more, if indeed it is. Maybe I’m simply more aware of it. It’s very bloody irritating though. It feels as though I need to ask permission to do things I want to do. As though I have to check out if it’s ok to just be me. I know, I know. Here I go, being all over dramatic again. I am starting to figure some stuff out though and once you see, you can’t unsee.

I’ve spent much of my life trying to ‘people please’. Wanting everyone to like me. I’ve agreed to do things I didn’t want to do. I’ve allowed decisions to be made I didn’t feel comfortable with. I’ve even altered my own opinions and beliefs to match those of others around me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve stood my ground in many a dispute and argument. Stated my case and my opinion loudly and at times aggressively. All when I have been as drunk as a skunk. It’s almost like I didn’t set any boundaries within relationships or make my needs known. Eventually that led to bitterness, resentment and anxiety. Mix up that little concoction with a bucket load of booze and what do you get? Fireworks. A mouthy, opinionated (and occasionally obnoxious) Claire. What do you get the next day? A sad, guilty, remorseful and humiliated Claire. A Claire who then apologises profusely for speaking her mind and expressing her feelings. Upset and devastated that people might not like her. Trying desperately to make amends, Back to square one. A little less self esteem, a little more eager to please and so it goes on.

Sobriety has taught me a lot of things. One of the most important being that I have a right to my own opinion and I have my own needs. Not everyone needs to like me and it is ok to say ‘no’ or not agree with others. The knock on effect has been that I am now clear about my boundaries. What and where they are. I express myself more effectively and I walk away from situations and relationships that are unhelpful and potentially damaging. I no longer seethe with resentment or bitterness because I am being used or treated unfairly. I will either attempt to address the issue or simply disengage and try to let it go, knowing I am worth more. No alcohol means no uncontrollable release of frustrations that have built up slowly over time. No regrets and guilt at losing control when pissed equals much improved self esteem and self belief. All this is incredibly positive. It does, however, have a significant impact on some of my closest and most long term relationships. Relationships where, for a long time, I have played the part of ‘pleasing’ and ‘giving in’ to maintain the status quo and be liked (and hopefully not abandoned). Relationships cultivated and built on the ‘agree – fall in line – challenge when drunk – apologise continually – make amends’ cycle. As I have developed and changed, those friendships and relationships (including the one with my husband) are being seriously tested and forced to change too. Some are possibly not going to survive this transition. That’s a scary thought but it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t happen. I will approach it as I approached sobriety, one small step at a time.

This quote is from my home page. I believe I have started to grow back after a pretty harsh winter. Like the rose with the same name, I may have even started blossom.

Love Claire x

31 thoughts on “Rose”

  1. Finding out who you are or want to become doesn’t please everyone. Some people don’t want you to change or improve yourself and feel very put out when you move on without them. Growing together is something else and wonderful. Boundaries are difficult when none have been in place before. Asking for help when you need it is also difficult. Enjoy the process. I’m still working on mine slowly and certainly don’t have all the answers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are completely right. Putting boundaries in place in new situations is easier now but trying to establish them in longer standing ones is proving far trickier. I have no answers but I’m getting there slowly also xx

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  2. I so relate to all of this. The people pleasing and bending myself to what I thought I needed to be to gain positive regard, then the furious (drunken) torrent of anger and built up frustration as a result. Sobriety has for me, as you describe it has for you, changed this and allowed me to begin growing to be a more authentic, congruent me. I love this post. And beautifully written, as always. ❤️

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    1. Thanks Anna. That’s it in a nutshell and when you feel you are behaving more in line with who you are, it takes away so much anxiety and pent up negative emotions. This was all unexpected benefits of sobriety for me and why I wouldn’t go back there again. ❤️

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  3. I LOVE this post! I’m amazed that you had trouble writing it because it all flowed out so wonderfully. I’m so happy for you that you are making this change. I think so many of us can relate to this entire post. I know I can. 👍🏻❤️

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    1. I’m so glad it was relatable. I feel like I am the only one experiencing so many of the things I write here and then I find I am not alone. That helps enormously. Just admitting some of this stuff can be tricky to do can’t it? But so helpful in the long term. Thanks for the lovely comment. Xx

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  4. That’s a stunning rose. Thing about roses are that if you try to box them in, they slowly over time become less stunning. More unnatural. But let them go with a little support and the results are unbelievable. Over time relationships have to evolve as people evolve. I so hope you find a way to keep evolving and continue blooming.
    That almost made me sound like a rose expert there…. Take care my friend x

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  5. Well Claire- there’s a lot of self awareness going on there and not just navel gazing but thinking through how you’ve lived in the past and how you now want to do things differently in the present and future. That can be very unsettling but you are clearly not going to shirk from this challenge. There’s nothing wrong in pleasing people, you do it via your blog for example, it’s when its at the expense of our own authenticity and growth as you point out, that it becomes a problem. Keep discovering who you are and what you want, you might get a little hurt along the way but then beautiful things have their own inherent dangers. Bit like a rose itself 🤗 X

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  6. I don’t think you’re being dramatic at all. I think like you say in the las t paragraph that you’ve stopped numbing your feelings and needs with alcohol and are starting to speak up (i.e. show up) for yourself, and some relationships just can’t survive if they can’t adapt to that. I know that my relationship started seeing SO many arguments once I decided to stop drinking/people pleasing/trying to preserve the relationship at all costs even if it was going to cost me my wellbeing. And that’s what lead to the decision to put a (friendly, loving) end to it when I leave. But I’m not married and can’t even begin to imagine what kind of commitment that is, so instead I’ll just send a big hug and remind you that whatever happens, you GOT THIS ❤ ps. I'm exactly like you: relied on booze to say/shout how I really felt, after a huge buildup of resentment. Learning how to do that sober, and express discomfort before everything explodes, is so tricky. But the benefits ("I no longer seethe with resentment or bitterness because I am being used or treated unfairly") are invaluable ❤ . xxx Anne

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    1. Thanks Anne. It’s not easy but it feels better this way than how things previously were. Who knows what the future holds but one thing is for sure, it’s far nicer to live this life liking myself! Xxx

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      1. ❤ yaaaaay ❤ From a feminist perspective this is super encouraging too ! So many of my female friends have decided to speak up about stuff they used to keep to themselves. Maybe there is yet ANOTHER revolution happening in the world 🙂 ❤ Anne

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  7. You are doing so much growing and blooming friend. The tricky business in marriage is when one party is experiencing major life change that leads to so much insight and self-awareness and the other party is used to getting by with the old dynamics. Hopefully, you will grow and support each other and find a new way to relate. Communication is so essential and yet so complex and slippery. You realized that the way you used to communicate was not healthy. Now you have to learn new methods and hopefully your partner will be open to learning them too. I’m sorry you’re going through a difficult season…that can be a lonely place. But I can tell you see and value the rewards in being true to yourself! 🥰😘

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    1. Thanks Collette. Communication is certainly tricky. In other relationships I can walk away and move one. Not so in my marriage. But I can’t go back to the way things were before. I know this is a better way for me to live my life. Xx

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  8. I just freaking love you!!! ❤️🥰❤️ Your alcohol free journey has led to you really finding yourself and knowing your self worth. 🥰 Keep doing you! You deserve to be happy and have someone beside you admiring all you have accomplished! I used to use alcohol as a coping tool and it never helped me cope at all. I just stayed in the fog. Now we are outside the fog, learning more about ourselves and finding we have more strength than we knew! ❤️🌺😘

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  9. Agree with what others have written. Beautiful post and I love the quote about the flowers.
    I found that when I stopped drinking my whole way of seeing the world changed, and the first thing I noticed was the relationship with my partner. I know my partner struggled for a while when I got sober, as so much of our time together revolved around drinking. We met in a pub for Gods sake! It changed our social circles, many friends I no longer see, but new friendships arose, the way we communicated shifted dramatically, and we nearly broke up. Instead, our relationship has evolved and moved into another wonderful stage, but it still requires ongoing and at times frustrating work. That never goes away!
    Sobriety set off so many ripple effects from the the way I parented my kids, to health and well-being, to my relationship with wider family and so on.
    It’s a huge shift for everyone and takes time to adjust. I find our culture is not all that good with allowing people time. Throw in kids and life can become so frantic so quickly and suddenly we think that’s the norm. This pandemic has allowed us all time to step back and evaluate so much of our life – at least it has for me. Give yourself the gift of time, of taking small steps, and being kind to yourself. I think you are doing an amazing job Claire. Bravo.

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    1. Ah thanks so much BB. You don’t know how much I needed to read that right now. It’s been a bit of a crap end to the day with work pressures and managing relationships, parenting, work is taking its toll. You are so right. Sometimes we need some space and time. I’m wondering if actually all this stress at work, pushing for recognition and wanting someone to value what I do, is even worth it. I suspect not. Maybe it’s time to say no, just do the role I’m paid for and no more. Give myself time to focus on my children and my marriage, and on myself too. I’m like that proverbial hamster one the wheel and I can’t seem to get off.
      Lovely thoughtful comment. Really appreciate the support xx


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