Category Archives: moderation

500 days … but still a ‘drinker’

Well howdy doody to everyone. I have absolutely nothing mind blowing or deep to say and my life has been pretty much working, yoga, some meditation and house jobs. A little like Groundhog Day but I’m ok plodding on right now. We lost out guineapig Toffee a few weeks back. It was actually really sad. The boys were very upset and I felt like it was the end of an era! The photo is the graves of our first two guineapigs. Pretty eh? We have a new addition to keep the lone guineapig company. He’s called Scruff. I’m not sure he and Biscuit are overly happy with each other but time will tell.

I noticed on my ‘giving up drinking’ app I started on my first day sober that I am approaching 500 days. I really can’t believe it. I was so addicted to alcohol and wine I had never managed 2 days, let alone a dry Jan. I know my whole relationship with booze has changed beyond belief which is brilliant but I also recognise there are still fundamental aspects of my personality that mean if I tried a glass of wine again, I’d be right back where I started. That’s really hard to come to terms with and I still haven’t accepted it fully.

Don’t get me wrong, I know this is an amazing accomplishment. Not drinking in an evening, not having ‘at home’ drinks … that’s huge for me. I loved both at home and social drinking. Breaking the habit of sitting on the sofa relaxing with wine, or cooking dinner, singing to alexa’s playlist and glugging glass after glass … that was tough. Those cravings have all but disappeared now. The social side of drinking is however still to be addressed. I haven’t really done that. I’ve been out socially (whilst not in lockdown) and met up with friends … but I have ‘suffered’ these occasions and not enjoyed them. I am not at the same comfortable place as my ‘at home’ sobriety. I haven’t had as much experience due to the pandemic. I have anxieties about it.

I also still can’t say ‘forever’. I don’t know why. I realise I’m holding on to some fantasy of moderation. A glass of lovely red on my 50th birthday, celebratory glass of champagne at some fabulous event … you get the picture. 500 days is awesome but I don’t feel 💯 secure in my sobriety even after all this time, maybe I never will!

Claire x

Bag of tricks

I am aware I have slipped off the radar a little recently. I don’t post very often but I do try to read and keep up with my blogging community, their posts and comment where appropriate. I haven’t done that for a week now and thought I best say ‘hello’ and check in!

I continued to struggle with sleep and anxiety for the best part of the week and found the UK lockdown number 3, home schooling two teenage boys and working from both home and the hospital quite triggering in terms of stress levels. Many of my husband’s family all tested positive for Covid last weekend, including his dad and sister. It seems as though his mum and 91 year old Nan have avoided it somehow, which is great news! On Wednesday I felt physically sick from tiredness, stress and headaches so I made the decision to call ‘time out’, have someone else cover my clinic and go to bed for two hours. After I woke up, I made the decision to get a handle on my anxiety and stress before I ended up sliding downhill into depression. I worked a little, sorted out a laptop from school for one of the boys to use (and stop him use he kept missing online lessons) and did a yoga session. Then took a long bath!

Since my melt down on Wednesday, I have picked up the regular yoga again. I have taken baths every evening and read a novel while lying in the soap suds. I have emailed relevant people at work to,yet again, raise the issue of my pay and treatment, and I have included my union rep. I am carrying out a skin care regime morning and night and I love it. My skin feels so hydrated and my eyes are no longer puffy and sore. I walked 4 miles yesterday and today. I have managed two nights of 7hrs uninterrupted sleep and I already feel the anxiety lessening. Relationships at home are still fraught, especially with the added pressure of 4 of us trying to work and live under one roof. No space and a lot of tension. But, here’s the thing. Focus on reducing anxiety over all and when I feel less anxious, I can handle my home situation more sensitively and I am less reactive. It’s true what I have been told, look after my own well being first and then deal with the other stuff.

Ditching the sugar is unfortunately remaining more challenging than I would have hoped. It has to almost be completely removed from my diet for me to succeed because, as many of you will know and understand, there is no ‘moderation’ in my world. Once I start with the sugar, it takes over and becomes my next addiction. It simply proves to me that, should I ever wish to try alcohol again, I would never ever stop at just one drink. I might manage one the first night, but within days it would be far more and with increasing frequency. It is not worth the risk. I never want to go back to the torment and trauma of the first steps in giving up. I’m not sure I’d ever succeed if I tried to abstain again!

So, my friends, I am using every tool I currently have in my box. I hope my tool box is actually like Mary Poppins’ bag, bottomless. I’ll keep discovering and adding different things that help and support me. Using my bottomless bag, these periods of anxiety, stress and overwhelm should feel easier to deal with, have less impact on my mental health and not throw me quite so violently off course. A magic shield and a bottomless bag of tricks … what more could a girl ask for!?

Claire x

Home alone

This whole time of year is so weird I think. It seems even more so approaching it sober. All the build up, the rushing about, the nights out, the present buying … it’s all felt a tad excessive this year.

Now the boys are getting older Christmas has changed yet again. I’m a little sick of change if the truth be told. What I’d give to just step back to one of those Christmas days when they were little. The excitement, the cuddles, the laughter. Ah sigh.

Who the bloody hell am I kidding? Talk about rose tinted eye wear. Going back would mean hung over as fuck (excuse bad language!), up half the night with one or both of the boys, desperate for a coffee whilst they tear open presents, trying to maintain some level of control over proceedings and failing, stress levels high, knowing I have to start the dinner but desperately wanting to go back to bed and then, the cherry on the top, drinking myself into a stupor to get through the day. Maybe change isn’t that bad really!?

Sadly I haven’t been well since I finished work on Monday. I kept going Christmas Eve and day but today I have had to submit. My husband and the boys have gone off to stay overnight with the in-laws and celebrate with them. I am, for the first time ever, totally alone on Boxing Day and night. This is not the xmas I had planned but I’m not going to think about ‘what if’ and ‘if only’. This is what has happened, I can’t control it, so I need to find a positive in it. My resilience is low but I will not allow it to spiral.

This is a strange post, slightly all over the place. Kind of how I’m feeling right now. Anyway …. Lemsip, bed and sleep. That’s the priority now: getting better and back in the game. 😁

Claire xxx

Bad mood alert!

I woke up this morning and could immediately tell I am not in a great mood. I’m not anxious and it’s definitely not a black cloud of depression. I just feel a bit miserable. There is no reason why which makes me more cross about it. I’ve cancelled my gym class, I’m still lying in bed at almost 10am and I’m wallowing in self pity. I know all these things are unhelpful and the best thing to do is get up, shower and get on with my day. I know that is the case but still I can’t persuade myself to do it.

Today is my brothers big 50th birthday party. It starts this afternoon and then will continue on through the evening for all those that are hard core. That used to be me. I would be so excited about today. I’d have booked a hair appointment, painted my nails, planned my outfit. Lots of people to see and chat to, people I haven’t seen for years. Drinking alcohol, having fun, socialising, dancing and singing.

Now .. I just can’t be bothered. It’s not that I don’t want to go. I’m not dreading it. I know I won’t drink. I just don’t feel excited about it. That makes me kind of sad. It’s a huge part of the ‘old’ me that has gone missing. I know there are so many more positives to hold on to and life has been much much better without alcohol in it. I guess I miss the ‘high’ of the anticipation of a really good get together which used to come with drinking.

Maybe it will return as I get further down the sobriety path or maybe it just won’t bother me as much that the excitement has gone. Right now though I feel miserable and moody about it. Pathetic I know. I’ll allow myself 15 minutes of self misery and then shower, iron something to wear and paint my nails. Hopefully the party spirt might come knocking.

Claire xx

Same and different

Today is Saturday 14th December. It is finally time to get the Christmas decorations out and put the tree up. I feel like I’m behind on everything this year but I’m not sure why! We are doing the tree thing this morning as a change to the usual tradition of early evening with alcohol to help us. It’ll be different but I’m slowly learning different is ok.

Tonight is the 4th Christmas ‘do’ and I have to be honest I’m fed up with it now. Added to that, my brother’s 50th birthday celebrations are continuing and there’s a family get together tomorrow and then a whole day of celebrating (party, drinks out etc etc) next Saturday. It’s wearing thin and I know that sounds miserable of me and I hate being negative about it all but … aghhhhhhhh!! It’s bloody hard going.

Last night I got home at 12.30am, shattered after working all day, going to a work Christmas party and sitting in horrendous traffic just to get home. I didn’t really enjoy it. I woke this morning (hangover free) and panicked that maybe I’d never really enjoy those sorts of functions again. Then I thought about last years. Same place, pretty much the same people and exactly the same format, with the addition of alcohol for me. Do you know what? Yep, exactly that, it was a bit rubbish. Don’t get me wrong, the people I’m there with are all lovely and I thoroughly enjoy talking to and socialising with them. I just didn’t like the venue (either year), the food was crap and the music even worse. Alcohol didn’t change anything about the evening. Maybe it went quicker when I as drinking but that was about it.

So am I different now? Has my personality altered? Will I become someone that avoids certain social situations. Am I boring??? Fundamentally I’m still me. In fact, the other day I was telling someone about my first counselling session after being diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I was asked what I wanted to get from counselling and I replied, “I just want ‘Claire’ back”. I think that’s happened. Through counselling, finding like minded people, giving up alcohol and finally meeting what I can only describe as ‘my soul mate’, I am finally myself again warts and all. There are differences though. I’m not going to enjoy certain social events in the same way but actually I know I’ll enjoy and truly appreciate different occasions. I might not be the ‘party girl’ I once was, but I am becoming a better listener, less self centred and I hope a better friend. I feel my ‘social circle’ might diminish somewhat but I am building a network of people who are caring, compassionate, non judgemental and understanding.

So for every difference and change, there is a positive and a bonus. For each situation that maybe isn’t quite as much ‘fun’ as it used to be there are 5 more to enjoy! Plus, I am still me. I’m the same person with some differences. I’m getting to know myself again and for the first time in a very long time, I actually like what I find.

Claire xxx

The Alcohol Police

Why does everyone who drinks alcohol now feel the need to tell me in detail how much they themselves drink? It feels like every time I’m out and someone asks why I have stopped drinking booze, they give me a run down of their own alcohol consumption diary. Or worse, if there are a few people in the conversation, we have to discuss how little they all actually drink for bloody ages!! People suddenly go into defensive mode and start explaining that they only drink at weekends, they can easily stop at one, they only do the excess at Christmas .. blah blah blah di blah!

I kind of expected this a little and don’t get me wrong, people have generally been uber supportive, I just don’t want to have to reassure everyone else that they are ok to carry on drinking just because I have given up. Not all the time anyway. The thing that really pisses me off is the conversation always leads to how much and how often I was drinking. It’s like people are desperate to be able to say to themselves ‘Well I’m not a patch on Claire’s level of drinking so I don’t need to give up …”. Honestly, if anyone asks me again if I drank every day (and was I not able stop at just a couple) to then tell me their drinking was no where near as excessive as mine, there will be no more Mr nice guy!

I don’t care about other people’s drinking habits! Unless you have given up and are in need of support and understanding of course, then I’m happy to listen and talk about it. Otherwise, fill your boots and enjoy it. I’m not the alcohol police and please don’t set me up as the ‘bar’ or the worst example. Ironically, last night this discussion happened at the same time as every person, without fail, drank at least a bottle of wine to themselves whilst giving me a full and detailed description of how little they actually drink! Bizarre really,

Let’s hope that, as with many other things on this journey, it too passes with time.

I’ve made it to 4 weeks today .. I’m not the alcohol police but I am sober!!! 😁

Love Claire xx

Highs and lows

I’m starting to see a pattern emerge. Sunday evening, starting around 5pm UK time I dip. I have felt great all day. Really content and unshakeable. Then come 5pm (always on a Sunday) my mood changes. It’s not about going to work tomorrow or the weekend nearly ending, at least I don’t think it is. Small stuff , that I’m generally more able to let go of now I’m sober, starts to niggle. We had plans to put the tree up tonight but I’ve postponed it. I just can’t get into the spirit. I feel edgy and a friends post on FB has majorly pissed me off. I bloody hate FB a lot of the time but it was my own fault for even looking at it. Why why why???

I am now in the middle of cooking Sunday dinner and I’ve had to come upstairs to write this blog. I needed to stop the spiral downwards. I felt like I wanted a glass of wine but I’m NOT doing that to myself. I start my 4th week sober today and I won’t let some mean spirited people who I once considered friends ruin it for me. I hate injustice but I have to just let people believe what they choose I guess.

Ironically, I commented on Lovie Price’s blog earlier and was probably a little pompous but she is right – this is hard. This is bloody tough. For me it isn’t just the not drinking. It’s that I’m having to now dig deeper for tools to help pull myself up and out when these feelings of hurt and sadness strike. Hopefully in time and with practice I’ll add tools to my toolbox. For now, I’ll use the best tool I’ve found so far .. reaching out to all of you. Just putting it down here is good. The knot in my chest is lifting a little. I had a cry 😢 and now I’m ready to finish dinner, before it ends up inedible and in the bin!!!

Onwards and upwards (or perhaps just sideways this evening!)

Claire xx

That Friday Feeling

Monday night earlier this week I was battling with myself. Now I’m at the end of the week and I feel so different again. I’m not totally ‘up’ like I was in the second week but I feel good. Still calm, content and most importantly like I won’t drink.

I watched all the Christmas revellers tonight as I walked from work to the train station through the middle of town. People excited to be heading to pubs and restaurants. Folk just chatting and drinking at the open air bars in the Christmas market. It was busy and buzzing. I did feel a little like I was missing out on something and maybe that is understandable this early on in my journey. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t standing with my nose pressed up against the window staring at a glass of red wine. I just felt a bit ‘on the outside’.

But, and here’s the rub, it didn’t make me feel anxious, sad or lonely. My usual FOMO reaction didn’t kick in. I quite enjoyed the Christmassy atmosphere and was glad to see so many people out having fun. My night was home, AF G&T and a Chinese takeout. I’m ok with that. All small steps, all adding up to help me climb to the place where I want to be.

I’m changing my life one day at a time with challenges and mini break-throughs each day. I’m doing it with the help of some truly lovely people on here and I’m so thankful I found you. 😁

Happy Weekend Sober buds

Claire xx

The day after

After what can only be described as a very shaky evening last night I am relieved to say I didn’t drink any alcohol. I eventually went to sleep after reading others posts on their blogs and gaining some reassurance that I am not in this alone. I know now that had I had that glass of wine (which incidentally would have meant going out to buy it as I am not keeping any in the house at the moment) I would have had the entire bottle. I would have woken up this morning feeling guilty, completely mad at myself and most probably very ill. As it was I felt ok. Not fantastic or ultra calm, but I figure ‘ok’ is, well, ok.

I guess what I need to do is stop blaming feeling rubbish and fed up on the inability to have a drink. Plus I have to stop reaching for alcohol to try and blunt those feelings. Thinking too far ahead and ruminating on things said and done in the past is also a problem for me. That’s anxiety and depression right there in a nutshell! I know what I need to do but doing it is so hard. Someone once said to me ‘following the most difficult path often takes us to the best places’. So no matter how hard or difficult this gets I’ll endeavour to carry on because I know from all of you that it’ll lead me to a good place.

I can do this, bring it on ….

Thanks for looking after me

Claire x

Naivety and tantrums

I don’t know why I thought I’d be any different. As if I had some magical ability to just stop drinking alcohol after years of completely overdoing it, loving it and arranging my life around it and bam 💥 I’d be this sober, happy, new improved me, no looking back.

How flipping naive and stupid! Patting myself on the back, congratulating myself for changing my life after a measly 14 days!! Last night and even more so tonight I’ve fallen off the cloud and landed with a thud. I’m so angry and frustrated. I’ve tried everything, a bath, reading, an AF beer but I’m still thoroughly pissed off. Why? Because I WANT TO DRINK A GLASS OF WINE! I know I sound pathetic. I feel pretty pathetic to be fair. I don’t even want to particularly drink a glass now, right this minute. I do however want that option.

I’m mad at myself for even thinking like this. You can probably tell I’m even falling out with myself. I’m sat upstairs in my bedroom refusing to sit downstairs with the family because I’m in such a crap mood. Yesterday morning I was floating on cloud nine, why can’t I feel like that again today?

I wasn’t going to blog because I don’t like myself when I feel like this. It’s negative and self pitying and annoying. I have however encouraged others to blog when they are struggling so I had to put my money where my mouth is so to speak. I’d like to say I feel better but at the moment I don’t. I have a horrible headache and now you all know I can be a right misery guts. 🤦‍♀️

I think I best just go to bed, try to sleep and hopefully I’ll be more upbeat tomorrow.

Sorry for such a bleugh post 😕 I haven’t had a drink so I guess that’s one positive.

Claire xx