From the beginning…

I first posted this on Soberistas in February, I left the site the following day and I haven’t felt up to writing the next part yet. I will do soon I hope.

This is going to be a long story so I apologise in advance…it may seem totally irrelevant in parts but I’ve had all this in my head for so long I need to get it out…if you do try to read, I apologise for the way I write it…its just going down as it comes to mind. Some parts may not make sense I think and I am sure the chronological order of everything may not be perfect.

My mum was born into a dysfunction family…her father left when she was only a baby and my Irish grandmother was left a single mother of three young children, in the late 40’s this was frowned upon an as such my mother grew up as a social outcast, I remember her telling me she never felt she fitted in and was always thought of as odd, they were very poor and the church helped them out often. Throughout my mothers childhood my grandmother drank, at a constant level. My mother had two older brothers who my grandmother struggled to keep under control, when they got to their teens they both went into the film industry and started earning a lot of money. They bought a sports car and used to go to parties and casinos in London, this was in the late 50s…they partied hard and drank a lot. On the way home one morning my eldest uncle lost control and crashed the car, killing his brother. He was arrested and was charged, the court case was long and drawn out, but he avoided prison. This propelled my grandmother into a severe depression and her drinking increased, my mother found her with her head in the gas oven a number of times.
Around this time, my mother went into nursing…she left home and moved to the training hospital in central London, this gave her the opportunity to just be who she wanted, she told me she loved to go to parties but rarely drank.
When she completed her training she carried on working at the hospital…she met my dad in 69/70 he was 10 years older than her and seemed very grown up. They married in the early 70’s and my mother was unaware of his chronic alcoholism at this stage. He worked, he was well liked, he never drank at parties. But the house was held up by his empty litre whiskey bottles…apparently they were everywhere in every possible space. I was born in 75 my sister in 76…my dad was a doting father, but the pressure of living with an alcoholic was too much for my mother…they separated on a number of occasions as well as my dad trying various in and out patient treatments. Finally in the early 80’s they parted company…my dad moved to another town and we moved too. We lost contact with him for a few years as his drinking continued, but finally my mother found him in a mental hospital, we visited him there on a few occasions and when he left he moved to a halfway house then a small flat.
So, as for me…I always felt like I was different, I never fitted in and was a bit odd. Having to keep family secrets is a lot to bear for a child. I was also very bright…my mother was obsessed with taking me to places to get my IQ tested! At 3 I had the reading age of a 12 yr old…but I hated school with a passion. I was always in trouble for being obstinate. I went to a convent school with French nuns and they were wicked…I was regularly caned and had my mouth washed out with soap on a number of occasions. I don’t remember anything happy or fun about these years, my mother was a hard woman and I didn’t like her. We spent weekends with my dad and he always had a bottle of ‘coke’ with him…that was out of bounds for us!! The weekends with my dad were full of fun, I realise now that my mum had the usual family stuff to deal with and had to keep a roof over our head and pay school fees all on her own, so my dad got the easy bit of just providing us with lots of good times!
I think it was probably when I was about 8 that I remember my mum starting to go out drinking with her friends…the overwhelming smell of her perfume, Opium turns my stomach now. My grandma was with us a lot during these years and we spent the whole of the summer holidays with her, miles from home as my mother worked full time. I wouldn’t see my dad for the whole of the holidays. During my primary school years I saw child psychiatrists regularly…I had a problem with not talking, I could just shut myself off. I remember the head teacher shouting at me…she really lost it, I expect I was a very frustrating child! I wet the bed every single night till I was 11, soaked from head to toe, I remember shivery nights being stripped off and put back to bed three or four times. I spent a lot of time in hospital having all sorts of investigative operations. Phew think that’s enough for now.

My favourite AF book list

I thought I would share some of my favourite books that have helped me to make the changes in my life I needed to to stay AF so far. I have read all the Jason Vale books as well as most other drink based recovery books, but he or they didn’t grab my attention if they are not in this list…different strokes for different folks I guess.

I read something for anyone of these books every day…and have been working really hard on changes I’ve needed to make to stay AF day by day.

This first list is non fiction, although not all related directly to drinking, they have made a huge difference to me and my way of thinking.

The language of letting go – Melody Beattie

In the realm of hungry ghosts – Gabor Mate MD

Recovery 2.0 Beyond addiction – Tommy Rosen

May cause miracles – a 6 week jump start.

The gifts of imperfection – Brené Brown

Beyond Co-dependency – Melody Beattie

Daring Greatly – Brené Brown

Who’s says I’m and addict – David Smallwood

And these are the novels/fiction/Memoirs that really reflect how I feel/felt about my addiction…

The good house – Ann Leary

Best Kept Secret, a novel – Amy Hatvany

Drunk mom – Jowita Bydlowska

Diary of an alcoholic housewife – Brenda Wilhemson

Drink – Ann Dowsett Johnston

Drinking, a love story – Caroline Knapp

Like I said…I’ve read lots of other books but these are the ones that really captured how I felt and also the books that have helped me stay AF so far.

I also have found the bubble hour invaluable, I listen every day…

http://www.thebubblehour.com/

Another favourite watch is Brené Browns TED talk:

Reflections…

 

This is a post from when I was at about 60 days. I can remember it clearly as It was the first time I had had any real cravings…It is weird that I am re reading it today as I have been craving oblivion a bit today…the monotony of life gets to me sometimes, I do love the peace and calm I have now sober, but those feelings do creep up on me now and again. The difference is I have all the tools in place to deal with these feelings now…or failing them, bed and sleep!

 

 

What a weekend…

I feel exhausted.

Friday I had an appointment about my back, I have been waiting months for this and kind of trying to ignore it too. The news wasn’t great, as I have tried all the conventional methods it seems an operation is my only option and worse still I can not do any exercise…apart from swimming or yoga. I hate swimming!

Saturday was a long stressful day, I volunteered to help serving teas and coffees at an event my children were taking part in. I spent 8 hours serving, my brain was fried and all I wanted to do was have a huge glass of cold wine and switch my brain off. I came home and laid on the bed still in my coat for an hour. Thinking about that glass of wine and how I’d feel such relief downing it. I laid there and imagined that wine.

I came down and told my husband I could murder a glass of wine, he was shocked…then he kind of said I’d done so well, maybe a glass wouldn’t hurt. Oh those words…

Take me back 60ish days and I would have been praying for those words, that opportunity, any excuse to give in.

I’ve felt so depressed today, I have been beating myself up all day. It’s stupid, I am such a perfectionist and have felt like I have been doing so well, no cravings blah blah blah. But it all means nothing, this has hit me like a train.

I can not take anything for granted. I have to work hard and not get complacent. I have an appointment with a recovery service tomorrow, I am so scared but I don’t think just me on my own will cut it long term I need to throw all I can get at it.

I have to do this and I don’t want to be hanging on by my fingernails.

 

Sharing some happiness!

This is a diary entry from the 7th of November 2014, I’ve loved re reading this one!

It’s been 74 days since I last had a drink! I feel bloody amazing. I’m so happy I could hug everyone I meet.

If you are trying to talk yourself in or out of doing this, please just give it a go.

You have nothing to lose but the hangovers, feelings of self hatred, anxiety, bloated face, irritation, self loathing, guilt, shame, liver damage, weight gain, insecurities, depression the list could go on. I had every single one of these plus another ten or more. Why? Why? Why?

I have let go of so much over the last 74 day, perfectionism, workaholism, being a martyr, people pleasing and more.

What seemed like insurmountable problems in my life are merely the day to day ups and downs of life. Instead of having huge highs and many despairing lows, I now feel on an even keel…but with a buzz in my head that tells me I can do anything!

My marriage has improved, my relationship with my children is wonderful, I’m so much more productive in my business and we have already seen sales grow! I have even started making jewellery, something I have wanted to do for years and have already sold some pieces!!

I still have another addiction to beat, but I know I can do it! I’m full of hope and excitement for the future.

If you are thinking to yourself that I’m making it sound too easy…well, I do think it can be if you can get in the right frame of mind. I have been drinking in a damaging way since I was 13, I will be 40 next year. There came a point where the excuses were just getting silly. I knew what I had to do…I had to not pick up that drink, do what you need to do… talk, run, bake, shower, bath, walk the dog, dance, read, eat, clean, do a class…anything!!! It does get easier I promise and life is so much easier without the alcohol.

This is a quote I read that I love…

‘To sober up seems to many like making life “so serious,” as if seriousness precluded joy, warmth, spontaneity and fun. But there can be a delusional, blind quality to non-sober festivities. To have our eyes open soberly with all our senses and memory intact allows some of the most rewarding, soul-nourishing, and long-lasting pleasures possible.’

Looking back.

This is a diary entry from back in september 2014, I had 21 days alcohol free.

I am a perfectionist and a bit of a control freak…These have been the things that in on one hand have kept me drinking for so long and on the other hand have helped me to stop.

Over my many years of alcoholism I have managed to maintain outward appearances, I’m not sure if anyone would even know. As I moved into my thirties and married and had children my drinking became focused in the home, I have a business, I was part of school committees, I volunteer, I bake, I exercise hard blah blah blah.

I worked so hard to keep all the balls up in the air, telling myself I can’t possibly be that bad when I’m doing all this stuff! Yeah right.

I have often used my parents as bench marks for my alcoholism…I’ve not been done for drink driving, so I am not as bad as them, I’ve not been to court, I’ve not been to prison, but it doesn’t matter what they have or haven’t done. I was fooling myself, I am the same…but I am determined not to have the same endings as them.

So, I am focusing my energy on staying sober…it’s my new ‘project’ I realise I can not just ‘stop drinking’ it has to be deeper than that.

Self care!! I have given up the school committee stuff, I have changed the focus of my gym training away from heavy weightlifting to Pilates and kettle bells, I am trying to relax more about the housework and cooking every meal from scratch.

I have been treating myself everyday… face masks, flowers, magazines, dark chocolate, a new nail polish, lovely bottles of elderflower drinks. Using the money I would have spent on wine, spirits and crisps which I worked out to not far off a twenty quid a day!

I have immersed myself in reading books and blogs, listening to podcasts.

I have already found so much out about myself…and it’s only day 21.

Oh and something that keeps my mind on this sober future is re reading about the middle stages of alcoholism…exactly where I was and it frightens the hell out of me.