Category Archives: no booze

I’m doing ok!

3 months of sober life!

Not going to say much other than thanks to all of you who over the past 3 months commented and liked and supported and are just plain amazing! It isn’t easy and some days just feel like the pits. BUT it’s (close eyes if you don’t like bad language) fucking fantastic to be in this position right now. I would not and never want to be anywhere else!!!

Thank you all

Love Claire xxx

Can I be an Avenger now?

It’s Friday and after a lot of soul searching and navel gazing at the end of last week and beginning of this one I am delighted to say, I feel pretty darn fabulous tonight.

I have had a great few days. Nothing to mention specifically. I just find myself appreciating the really important people in my life. I am also no longer grieving for those people I have had to leave behind. In fact on Wednesday I was able to engage with a work colleague after over a year of a ‘difficult’ relationship and stand up for myself in a calm and considered manner. I didn’t try to impress, cajole, ‘win’ him over and I didn’t get upset, angry or take his remarks personally. I felt like I had some form of invisible protection, a shield that ensured barbed or suggestive comments bounced off. I stood back, processed, said what I needed to and left politely. HUGE step for me.

I have to admit. This shield, cloak, bubble (not sure how to name it!) of protection is existing more and more for me. Don’t worry, it isn’t a barrier I put up. It momentarily deflects situations and comments. It allows me breathing space to think about how I feel. It’s only a split second but boy does it help! It provides me with resilience and reduces my vulnerability.

Where has it come from? It certainly wasn’t there a few months back and hasn’t been there for a number of years. I’m not even sure I’ve ever held it in my possession. Not as it is at this moment. Is that sobriety? Is it knowing that the company I now keep value and love me? Is it the support and kindness I have received from the community on this blog? Is it one very special person who has helped me see I’m worth so much more than I thought or could believe? Likely it’s all of it and it all mixes together in one big pot to create strength and build self esteem.

I know the first step was stopping drinking. If you stumble across this post and you are wondering if you drink too much and if you should give it the old heave ho …. DO IT! Don’t say it’s forever, but start. You too could have an invisible protective shield just like mine 😉

Claire xxx

The long and winding road

Yesterday evening was not good for me. I did start to write a post but ended up giving up half way through … I just couldn’t get my thoughts and emotions straight. This morning however I feel very different. I had support from two very wise and caring friends and one of them (I’ve mentioned before .. my soul mate) suggested it might be good to blog about it. So here it is …

This week has been tricky. Back to school and work and routine. My boys are 15 and 12. Both are very addicted to games consoles which drives me mad on a regular basis. The 15 year old, B, is however becoming more aggressive, rude, furious and generally uncontrollable each time he plays it. He has broken things .. 3 controllers, tv remote and the tv itself. The anger, mixed with usual teenage hormones is really distressing for everyone and I can’t reach him. Tuesday evening it was at its worst. I disengaged totally because I didn’t know what to do, so I did nothing!

Last night I arrived home from work at nearly 7pm. Both boys and my husband had been in since 4pm. Granted my husband had had to go out for an appt but nothing had been done. I then cooked tea, had my youngest, S, moan about not going back on his games. Listened to B moaning because I wouldn’t let him buy a new game (for 18 year olds and very violent) and my husband moaning because tea was late.

Added to this, I had a personal issue to contend with. Over the past few years I have had contact with someone who comes and goes. Pops up when he needs attention and then disappears with usually no explanation. I have continually allowed him to do this and never really challenged it. There have been other people in my life recently who have also made me doubt myself, lowered my self esteem and basically been unkind and frankly, at times, cruel. I always end up apologising, making excuses, try to find the good in them all. Well last night, this one particular person suddenly blocked me. We’d had no contact for while, I’d been honest about how it was making me feel before Xmas. He messaged me Tuesday and stupidly I engaged. Wanting to please and smooth the situation over. In the middle of the chat he disappeared. Same old story. I said and did nothing. Last night, I notice he has blocked me. He has done this before. I never really know why. My anxiety went sky high. I will be honest; I felt sick, hurt and mortified all at once. Plus, I’d already had a shit night at home and felt pretty lonely. All this led to “I WANT A DRINK” . I was so desperate to just get pissed. I cried, I hid out in my bedroom, I refused to talk to my family (I did tell my husband I felt low). I was miserable. Sick and tired of people treating me like shit. Totally hacked off with myself for continually allowing it to go on. Frustrated that I’m such a bloody excessive person I can’t even have a fucking drink when I want. It was horrible.

I messaged a friend. I spoke to my soul mate. I didn’t drink. I went to bed and slept. I woke this morning, still feeling hurt, used and unappreciated but not down about it. I could see that it wasn’t a reflection on me and that I could do something about it. I got up, sorted out my work day to work from home. Blocked the ‘friend’ from any means of contact to get rid of him once and for all. Made a plan of how to deal with B and how to help him keep calm and control the gaming. I’ve tidied, decluttered and dealt with emails. I feel good.

The important thing here is not the content of what happened, but the way I dealt with it. This stuff happens to everyone all the time. When it happened to me, my default was to drink. I’d probably already be drinking anyway and then I’d just drink more. I would still have been upset, tearful, angry etc but I would also have been pissed. I’d have argued with my husband, shouted at my kids, found a way to send a spiteful message to this guy, then regretted it and apologised, passed out and woken up feeling depressed, guilty and useless. Probably called in sick and slept all day. That is the truth of the matter.

I did none of that, I felt none of those feelings. I saw the positive in the fact that there is no more contact with someone who uses me and abuses my friendship. I didn’t wallow in ‘should have’ and ‘what if?’. I didn’t lie in bed, staring into space, going over and over everything in my mind. I took control of what I could change and let go of what I couldn’t. I didn’t bloody drink and it was the BEST decision I have made since the day I made the choice to give up booze.

I am ok. I am strong, hard working and kind. I am worth people’s time, care and respect. I need to be sober to navigate the long and winding road of self discovery!

Claire xx

Relationships

It’s been a weird few weeks with an overarching feeling of standing on the sidelines, watching from a distance. I’m normally in the thick of it all but I just haven’t wanted to be. I’ve had a few episodes of truly craving an alcoholic drink. One particularly bad moment on Monday where I was almost persuading myself to go to a bar after work whilst walking through town and sit with a large glass of wine. I didn’t. I downloaded and tried out mediation apps (following the advice from all you lovely people), I read some of ‘This naked mind’ and I took a very long bath. It helped the edgy feelings pass.

I will have been 7 weeks sober this weekend and there have been lots of changes within me. I have mentioned them in previous posts. What I didn’t account for was the impact my not drinking would have on my relationships. Not all positive either.

I am slowly becoming more sure of myself, beginning to accept how I am and confident that I deserve to be treated well by others. “Yes, yes, yes!” I hear you cry and it is good. It’s a massive shift and is definitely the right way for me to be heading. It does mean, however, that I’m also less accepting of the poor behaviours of others. I’m allowing myself more ‘me’ time and because I’m now enjoying my own company, I’m spending less time seeking out company of others. I’m still keeping those I love and have supported me throughout close but my friendship circle is becoming much smaller.

I also didn’t account for how exhausting this journey would be. It takes effort and work to not turn to wine to block out difficult emotions. The things that are coming to the fore now I’m sober are challenging to deal with. I’m having to learn new skills to work through all this. I’m ok with that but it takes time and energy. This impacts on my nearest and dearest who also want my time and energy. Some days I just don’t have much left of either. I’ve been using it all up on myself. I feel selfish about that. It’s hard. Who’d have thought giving up booze would feel like a selfish act?

I think my husband also feels I’m being a little too self centred. The ‘wow, you’ve done so well’ comments have all but disappeared. Now I’m sensing resentment and boredom with it all. I’m different, I’m changing and the thing we used to share, drinking, has gone with nothing to replace it.

I guess that the issues that are now becoming apparent in my relationships have always been there. I just dealt with them differently before and buried things under a cloak of wine. My default position was to blame myself: what did I do to cause this, what should I have done, I’ll apologise and smooth it over. I don’t do that so much now. It’s a huge relief to not take the weight of every relationship and friendship on my shoulders but it’s clearly difficult for others to get used to the change.

Maybe being Alcohol Free in 2020 will mean some relationships naturally come to an end. That feels sad but I have to believe, if it happens, it’s the right thing for me. What I do know is that being sober will help me develop new relationships and friendships that are positive, supportive and exactly what I need.

Happy New Year to you all

Claire xxxx

Musing over mindfulness, meditation and me

I’m looking for some advice. As I move into 2020, having now completed 6 weeks AF (I am allowing myself a teeny smug moment here!), I’m thinking about what I’d like to work on. Many of you refer to meditation and yoga on the blogs. I’ve looked into and attempted to use mindfulness apps and programmes. I just can’t get my head around it all (or, in the case of yoga, my legs and arms).

I think it might help me in many areas of my life, including the periods of anxiety and depression (though thankfully they have lessened since the drinking stopped). Mostly though, I’d like to give myself the skills and tools to deal with situations and challenges that arise and the emotions that come with them without feeling like I need to rely on alcohol to get me through (or indeed any other unhelpful or damaging crutch).

So what are people’s thoughts on it all? Is it helpful? Where does one start? Can I teach myself? It’s a minefield and I’m keen to know your views .. pros and cons.

By the way, I do realise I’m unlikely to suddenly look like the woman in the photo! I’ll give it my best shot though. 😊

Thanks

Claire xxx

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