I was talking to a good friend on Monday and she told me she finally gave up smoking in January! Cheers my friend. Fantastic. So so happy for you. I told her I haven’t had a drink since April! I’m 300 days Alcohol-Free! ‘Wow really’ says she. ‘Why? I mean you didn’t have a drinking problem’. ‘It’s not that you’re an alcoholic or something.
For the briefest of moments, I wondered what she would have said if I had told her that my drinking hadn’t been ‘normal’ anymore. Not for the longest time. If I had told her about hiding bottles, always buying double or triple so I had extra ‘just in case’, drinking in secret, drinking alone… living ( if you can call it that) my days waiting to drink.
But I stayed quiet. Instead, I found myself defending my decision! Making excuses more like. I told her about my surgery in July that it was better not to ‘have a drink’ in the weeks coming up to a surgery, that I was trying to lose weight, and that my blood pressure had gone sky high… all true, and yet not the truth.
The truth I can only share here. Anonymously. Privately.
I am no Gabriel Byrne being interviewed on a national radio show, with a fabulous Hollywood career. I am a middle-aged woman, wife, mother, and professional, who has lost control over her drinking. And if people knew that I would be pitied or judged or both. Most likely both. There just is no understanding from anyone who hasn’t gone through this and especially no understanding from peeps who are heavy drinkers yet still in denial (which would be the vast majority of peeps in my neck of the woods)
Before Christmas, I told my MIL ( whom I adore) that I haven’t had a drink since April.
‘Oh you are so good’ she said with that tiny chuckle in her voice , how to describe it , like she wants to say ‘why are you bragging about this’
I immediately denied being ‘good’ … no no I am not ‘being good’ you know me … I’m probably going to go mad drinking at Christmas!
Why did I say that?
Why can’t I be honest about this?
I stuck out like a sore thumb at Christmas by not drinking. I survived the ‘slagging off’ and the banter … but wouldn’t it be nice to be accepted … just the way I am?
Better still … wouldn’t it be nice if ‘normies’ realised the magnitude of the achievement? I suppose to do that they would first have to accept that sobriety IS hard to achieve and second that it IS worth having!!! We are nowhere near that!
Today I am reflecting on 300 days alcohol-free and this is HUGE for me! The longest I have ever been AF in over 20 years! The four walls I live in have not expanded and yet there suddenly is space all around me. For the first time in god knows how many years I don’t feel trapped ! ( and this post was written in 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 lockdowns )
Despite the lockdowns and not being able to travel I actually feel free. That freedom from not thinking about drinking is everything! The price for it : the early days of cravings and bad sleep and the emotional rollercoaster of the first month or so. Sooo worth it!!
Here are my reflections on how I got from here to there – 300 days alcohol-free!
A-Z reflections on Day 300 Alcohol-Free
A- for acceptance.
I cannot drink alcohol. Period! I tried to fight it, argue against it. I failed. I gave up fighting and arguing and I succeeded.
B– for benefits.
The list of benefits gained from being AF is personal and pretty much endless. Everything is better without drinking! Everything!!! I remind myself of it daily.
C– for choice!
It is a choice!! I choose every day not to drink!
D– for delay and distract.
The most important tool in the early days.
E- for easy.
Heck it isn’t easy! If it was easy I wouldn’t be here. The fact is – it is the hardest thing I have ever gone through !! Don’t pick up that first glass . Simple? Maybe. But it sure ain’t easy!!!
F– for freedom!
Freedom from thinking about drinking!! The peace of mind is priceless.
G– for gratitude.
I am grateful for every single AF moment, I hope I will not ever take it for granted.
H– for honesty.
It took a while to be honest with myself. I have become addicted to an addictive substance. I did not set out to do so. I tried to heal a wound. Turns out the remedy was poison.
I do this for ME! For nobody else! I am giving myself the gift of sobriety.
J -for joy!
Sobriety is joy! The joy of little things… a sweet dream , the taste of the first cup of coffee in the morning , remembering the end of the film from the night before, standing in the garden at dusk listening to birdsong; the joy of driving at midnight to collect my son , when in the past I would have been too far over the limit to do so….
K– for knowledge.
Knowing what I know about addiction and alcohol cannot be unknown. Every quit lit book I read, every post or comment on Boom has added to that knowledge. How can I go back to drinking, knowing what I know now?
K– for knitting .
My favourite hobby. My life saver!
L– for Love.
Self love! I deserve to treat myself with love. Not drinking is self- love!
M– for more.
It always stood for more. Never for moderation. So now I choose a different M.
M – for being mindful!
Mindful of triggers, of complacency, mindful of this precious sobriety. Minding it! Every single day.
N – for no explanations and no thank you!
If someone offers me a drink? No thank you, maybe later. Standard answer. Second time around? Long stare…. followed by ‘ No thank you, not at the moment’ . No thank you is a complete answer.
O – for ODAAT – one day at a time !
One hundred percent commitment just for today! I can give 100% today! ( And tomorrow is today again)
P– for Precious . And Prioritising. Protecting and Prioritising my Precious Priceless Quit!
Q– for Quality!
Quality Time. Such a buzz word. I used to think quality time was the time I spent alone, drinking. Now my quality time is spent on an early morning walk, watching the sun rise, or on a zoom call with my son, or an hour sitting in the car, doing a knitting project while waiting for hubby
R- for Rest! And Routine!
Something I would have looked down on in my drinking days. Love them both now. Look forward each day to going to sleep at regular times and I love having a routine for my daily household chores
R – for regrets.
Well I just don’t do regrets!! I didn’t know better, so I couldn’t do better. Now I do!
S– for self confidence!
It grows with every single sober day
T– for thoughts.
Thoughts don’t pick up a drink! Thoughts can be loud and insistent and annoying but THEY DO NOT pick up a drink!!
U– for understanding.
Understanding me, learning about the different parts which make me ME, and accepting them… trying to soothe them and heal them without using alcohol to drown them or to shut them up. Understanding me, that is the Big One. Work in progress.
V– for voice.
Speaking up. Unapologetically. Speaking my truth. Instead of hiding behind and inside the bottle.
W– for wallowing.
Woe is me. A side effect of daily drinking. I don’t do that any more!
X– for Xmas, Easter, Birthdays, Christenings…. (E)xcuses !
That’s what they are ! (E)xcuses to drink, if I was looking for one I would surely find one.
Y– for youth.
George Bernard Shaw said ‘Youth is wasted on the young’. Maybe. I wasn’t drinking when I was young, but I sure wish I had stopped drinking when I was younger!
Z.… for Zen.
A little bit of Zen attitude has found its way into my life without me consciously trying, no doubt as a result of 300 sober nights and 301 sober mornings 💜
I spent years in denial of my drinking problem ( yet regularly searching google to see ‘do I have a drinking problem’) when one day I read a book called Sober is the New Black ( I finally had bought a kindle and could keep these books a secret from hubby and most of all from my boys); this led me to a support site called Soberistas ... it was a paid site, I signed up… did a few entries for about a week but felt a bit lost there. Soberistas had a link to HSM ( hello sunday morning) on the bottom of their page… I looked, I joined, I created a profile and felt an instant connection. I loved it so much! I did my first 3 months sober. That was in 2015 .I stayed another 2 and a half months sober after a slip…. then I drank again…. and for the next 2 to 3 years I was on the ‘on again off again’ path 😬 But the groundwork had been done. I couldn’t ‘un-know’ everything I had come to know about addiction, the poisonous seduction of alcohol, the ever tightening grasp the wine witch had on me!
Hello Sunday Morning closed down in 2017… Boom Rethink the Drink was created by a member and I joined ….I stayed AF for 6 plus months ( 194 days to be exact) went off again for a while to test the waters and here I am today – back on track and 300 days alcohol free!
Never give up giving up!
I will do anything to Protect My Quit ! Just for today
And tomorrow is today again
Start today and take it one day at a time
More Reading :
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