Moderation.

I’ve been thinking a lot about moderation recently. Prior to my giving up alcohol I read up and researched (as I’m sure many of you have) and I noticed many references to moderation and ‘moderate’ drinkers. I most certainly am not a moderate drinker and after years of attempting to ‘cut back’ using a variety of methods it has become clear that total abstinence is my only option.

The interesting thing I’ve discovered is this … my inability to moderate does not only apply to alcohol. In fact, I am pretty excessive and extreme in many aspects of my life. I was totally ‘on it’ when my boys were young. Completely organised, lists on lists, dealing with it all, spinning all the plates etc. Then they reached 13 and 10 yrs two years ago and they didn’t need me (or so it felt at the time). Instead of being able to be moderate in my attention and involvement in their lives, which is what they needed, I disengaged completely. All or nothing, that’s me! I can’t seem to find a midway point.

I’ve been the same with many relationships. Completely giving my all, totally excessive and inevitably getting very hurt at some point. I often have to rely on the other person to moderate, if they don’t just get fed up and bugger off first. Luckily my husband stuck with me through it and after 20 years I’m not quite so excessive with him anymore 😂

So, it’s probably not a surprise that the only way I can manage my relationship with alcohol is to give it up completely. I can’t be a moderate drinker. Maybe though, just maybe, I can learn to be moderate in other aspects of my life. I think being sober might help me achieve that.

Proud and tired.

Oh wow!!!!! I have made it through my first week as a sober individual. I have even managed a weekend away with 15 other people drinking to celebrate my brother’s 50th. I thought I’d be absolutely buzzing but in all honesty I’m totally exhausted. It’s wiped me out. Is that normal? Maybe it’s the amount of energy required to keep myself off it, especially when it’s all around me. Or maybe it’s my body now trying to get used to no alcohol, wondering what the bloody hell is going on.

I felt really good yesterday and have generally felt much better in the mornings. My sleep is still quite disrupted, which surprises me. I actually wake around 5am feeling like I have a mild hangover .. I have to tell myself it can’t be the case. I guess all this is part of the early journey and I just have to go with the flow. I can’t say ‘going with the flow’ is particularly easy for me but I have to learn I can’t control everything in life, so best start getting used to that now I suppose.

I do feel like I’m a bit on the boring side when I’m not drinking and I don’t feel as relaxed in a social situation, but maybe that was because I didn’t really know many people very well. I’m trying not to over think it (as I normally do) and simply congratulate myself on succeeding. I also noticed, looking from the outside in, how little some people actually drink. Particularly the women that were there. I mean, they maybe had 3 glasses of wine, 4 at the most, the ENTIRE evening. When I drank, I assumed everyone had the same amount. Nope, that was clearly just me on my second bottle.

Anyway, my blog isn’t going to be as eloquent, funny or insightful as many others. My posts will generally just be a few thoughts and my attempts to process feelings and situations, but I hope those of you that read them will stick with me. One thing that has astounded me is how absolutely lovely people are on here. The support you have already given me and the way you help and support each other is truly impressive and so valuable. A particular shout out to Jim, a fellow Brit, who took me under his wing a few days ago and has truly made a difference to how I managed this (Thanks Jim and congrats on achieving your personal milestone today).

My second week starts here and I’m looking forward to finding out what other positive things AF brings me.

Claire x

First real test …

So, after feeling pretty smug about things yesterday I have to be honest, as this weekend is approaching, I am feeling anxious. Going away for two nights with 5 other couples, staying in a farmhouse which will be full of alcohol and everyone else enjoying drinks. Out tomorrow evening for dinner and more drinks. I don’t want to ruin it for myself and others by worrying but it’s hard not to. It’s been paid for by my brother, we are kid free and in a beautiful environment – yet all I can focus on is how am I going to survive not drinking alcohol! That’s terrible isn’t it?

Don’t worry, I’m still just as focussed and determined but this is my first real test (although I guess some might say achieving 5 days sober has been 5 separate test already!). I’m fully prepared with my running kit, bubbles for a bath and my kindle – and copious amounts of different AF drinks. I just don’t want to be a total bore or to feel sorry for myself.

Day 6 on a weekend away – I probably didn’t pick the best time to start this journey but for whatever reason I felt I had to do it now and there is no turning back. Onwards and upwards. At least I won’t feel crap tomorrow morning!!!

Claire x

Day 5 …

Today I have a day off work .. I get one every two weeks. For the past year (or more) my day off has started with me not being able to get up. My boys go to school and husband goes to work, I have loads to do, but I lie in bed, feeling exhausted, upset, down and sometimes anxious. I lie there in self pity until I fall asleep. I have often cancelled my gym class and slept until lunch finally forcing myself up to try and get stuff done.

Today I am awake. I have been awake since 7.30am and I don’t feel upset, anxious or exhausted. I’m going to make myself my second cup of tea and make a plan for my day. Thoughts come into my head, I want to message people I shouldn’t (I’ll share that issue another day) but I feel calm about it and know I won’t. I know I’m going to be productive. It’s a relief. I have been on antidepressants for over a year (with a 5 mth break) and not once have I felt this sense I’d calm.

I am thinking a lot about this weekend. My brother has organised a weekend away for 6 couples in a cottage. His 50th is in December and this is part of the celebrations. I purposefully didn’t think about what I would do regarding alcohol because I wanted to get my journey started and that would’ve stopped me. Now I have to decide and I’ve decided I’m not going to drink. It’s so scary and I have no idea how I’m going to manage but I’m not ready to give up on this feeling of waking up calm, refreshed and (dare I say it?) content.

So, on day 5, I am not going to drink this weekend.

To drink or not to drink …

I gave up alcohol on 17th November 2019. This is my 5th day and I have no idea how I will get on.

I am fed up of feeling exhausted, disengaged and irritated by life. I want to be a great mum, enjoy what I have and like myself again.

This will be my journey … I hope people will stick with me through it.

Getting myself sober; the ups and downs

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