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Balancing…

This weekend was a nice quiet one sandwiched between two weekends full of social commitments and family stuff, lots of which is/was centred round booze.

I wasn’t really tempted to drink. I found some of the situations difficult, it would have been a lot easier to “fit in” had I been drinking and the awkward moments would have been a bit less work but overall, I am getting better at just holding my head up and facing stuff without the prop. It’s not easy, it left me pretty tired but the decision has been made and that’s that.

I made the most of my quiet weekend to recharge batteries and do sober stuff which makes me feel good, like running, baking, eating, reading, talking to my husband lots about my feelings. I totally love these weekends where I am in control, close to home, simple agenda, feeling safe. Sometimes, I think this is all I need, how I would never be tempted again if I could just choose exactly how and with who I spend my time.

Overall in my sobriety, I flit between thinking that I have fucked my life up and am half a person, not normal anymore, don’t really fit in anywhere to feeling like I might have discovered the true meaning of life. Not that being sober brings huge highs all the time, but slowly the penny is dropping that this calmer, slower, more predictable pace of life is growing on me. It fits more comfortably as time goes on and I finally feel like I am catching my breath for the first time in years, decades possibly. There are times when I could literally cry for the amount of emphasis I/we have put on booze over the last twenty years.

To quote a friend the other day during a pleasant meal taken in the garden during the heat wave we are experiencing here. “There’s nothing like a cold glass of wine on a hot day!”

Well, fuck that! Yes there is…try..

Waking up to the sunshine and the birds singing without a hangover…again!

Taking your first coffee/tea of the day in the garden

Reading a good book in the dappled shade

A huge glass of cold water with ice and lemon to quench your thirst and actually hydrate you

Losing weight without really trying cause it’s “salad” weather

Counting down to your Summer holiday

Being proud for staying sober yet another day

There are loads of things that feel a thousand times better than that glass of wine with it’s false promises. I would have drunk the bottle and been dehydrated, hot and grumpy.

As long as I have balance, I think I can cope. I can avoid situations, keep myself safe for the most part but I still need to engage in life. I need to be accepting that other people’s habits don’t change just because mine did. Sometimes it’s still ok to play along with the whole socialising around booze as long it doesn’t make me want to drink. It’s ok to feel uncomfortable, awkward, boring, different. These are feelings and I need to face them. I can’t run away from every situation using the excuse that I don’t drink anymore. Once done, I can retreat to my sober bubble, refuel, recharge, reward.

There are friends who when I have seen them always mention booze, whether it’s about me not drinking or their drinking etc. The one’s who are always first to bring it up, wondering if I am drinking again, or try to make plans for when I will be. I have been struggling with how to handle this? Are they true friends? Should I drop everyone who has a less than understanding attitude to my booze holiday?!

I have decided that I should just purely recognise that for these friends, drinking is prevalent in their lives at the moment for whatever reason. For my own peace of mind it is better that I don’t spend time with too many people for whom drinking is a big deal for now…I will try to see them in other non boozy situations. That is the best I can offer and if the friendships come out the other side of that then that would be great. I really don’t want to isolate myself deliberately from people but if doing my best to make them feel comfortable with my sobriety isn’t work then it’s just too much hard work and I have enough of that at the moment.

As a result of me not joining in with the boozers last weekend my eldest and I had a little chat about how come I am still not drinking. I said a bit about being healthier and how you have be careful with alcohol and that it’s addictive and some people can drink more than they mean to and that I was like that. I explained I didn’t like that I wasn’t really in charge of it all of the time so it was better for me to not drink. Asking if it was for good…I said that I thought “for good” would be best so that is what I am aiming for. The reply was “I am glad you don’t drink anymore” That’s a huge statement as no comment was ever made about my drinking but it was obviously something that had been thought about, worried over maybe? This is a really big deal for me. I don’t want my kids to have a mother they have to worry about. There were a few tears, a big hug and I am both proud and relived to have been able to speak honestly and hold my head high.

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13 thoughts on “Balancing…

  1. What a great post. This really helped me to read, too, as it delved into a few notions I’ve been wrestling with and I completely relate to that paragraph about feeling so conflicted about sobriety – sometimes the best thing I’ve ever done, sometimes ‘what the fuck am I doing?’

    I think you are doing really, really wonderfully. It’s heartening to see you up ahead of me. I feel like I see what’s coming if I hang in there and it’s good… it’s really good!… even despite the mixed emotions.

    And, look, not drinking led to a meaningful conversation and connection with your son. That’s so much better than binge boozing and feeling like shit after. What’s better than a cold glass of wine on a hot day? A homemade rose lemonade. Your friend has just bought the marketing, as so many have, as we did for so long. I really have to refrain myself from pointing this shit out to people sometimes as I am determined not to become the preachy teetotaler (that’s definitely no fun) but I think it quite a lot around drinkers.

    As for friends and socialising, well, this is also something I’ve given a fair bit of thought to lately. Some people reveal themselves to be drinking buddies, rather than true friends, and they need to be let go of. Some people ARE true friends, those who are supportive of our not drinking, but are still heavily preoccupied with booze themselves. I have a few close friends who fall into this category and in some ways they’re the trickiest. I know, because of how they’re responded to my sobriety (not hassling me, being kind, being supportive, still wanting to see me just as much), that they are true friends but being around them invariably involves booze and sometimes therefore makes me feel too nostalgic for the ‘good times’.

    One thing I have come to recently is pretty much just what you said: I WILL go to events involving drinking, where I can happily socialise with people I care about without drinking and still have fun. I WILL NOT go if a) The event is really focused around heavy drinking (pub crawls, karaoke, cocktail parties etc) and/or not drinking will feel really hard for whatever reason.

    Ok, that was a long ramble but it’s great to read your posts. You’re doing GREAT!

    xoxo

  2. You’ve covered so much with this post. Recognizing that your peace of mind requires you to not hang out with the boozers is healthy. This weekend at a restaurant there was a table behind us with a couple of people how were obviously drunk. I was so put off listening to them, I’m not judging them but I sure don’t want to be around it.

    Can you imagine the reaction from your friend if you’d ticked off all the things better than a glass of wine on a hot day!! LOL.

    I will be adding your words of wisdom,” It’s not easy, it left me pretty tired but the decision has been made and that’s that.” to my mantra list.

    Thank you.

  3. Aww what a lovely end to your post. I struggle with a lot of the ‘lovely glass of wine’ type comments. Sometimes they make me question why I’m sober, other times I want to reel off a list of why it’s not a lovely glass of wine at all. In the middle of the royal baby mania yesterday a colleague told me that apparently the hospital staff had been forced to go teetotal for whole of July, so they were always ready if needs be. She was absolutely horrified. I just kept quiet…

  4. I so enjoyed reading your post this morning! I’ve been collecting “lists” of the positives of being sober. I’ll be copying your list and adding it to my own. It’s always helpful to be able to look back when you’re having a difficult day. What a wonderful gift you have given your family. Hugs!

  5. What a wonderful, insightful and hopeful post. Loved it…really did. And the comments afterwards rocked too – I can’t add much other than recognizing where you are in your path and what it required and what isn’t required is a huge thing. you are being gentle to yourself and others. You are not being judgmental to those who drink (we like to do that early in our sobriety…I was guilty!) Gratitude and hope drip from this post. Very touching and inspiring.

    Blessings,
    Paul

  6. The reply was “I am glad you don’t drink anymore”

    *sob* This was so great Carrie!

    Always love seeing your posts. Hope you’re doing well and running like the wind. Check out my blog today–BBB did an awesome guest post on running, music and sobriety– you’ll like it!

    Love this post!! C

  7. What an amazing post. And that feeling with your teenager? Hold on to it – it has kept me going through all the hard times. Soooo worth every moment of being uncomfortable to know that they are glad I quit drinking. Nothing means more than that.

    Again…fantastic post. Thank you.

    Sherry

  8. Oh wow that is so great.. I don’t think we realise how great it is for our families that we have stopped drinking. And I love your gratitude list. Fantastic xxxx

  9. Bravo! Your list of gratitude is spot on. Some days I have to read through all of the reasons I know longer want to drink to keep myself from going to that dark place again. It seems like sometimes the voice is screaming in my ear but there is no denying the compelling list of reasons we can’t. Awesome post! Thanks Carrie!

  10. I appreciate what you say. I am a single 40 yo woman and terribly alcoholic but I never get drunk as I work from home and drink small amounts throughout the day,instead of binge drinking – I hate being drunk. Evenso I do manage to pack an awful lot of alcohol away. I eat no sugar or milk, mostly proteins and these and alcohol are much easier on my stomach than grains or herbal teas believe it or not. For me, whisky really is better than water. I also suffer from huge anxiety problems and panic attacks which have plagued me all my life and so a gulp of whisky every so often will stop this. However due to the amount I am consuming I have realised it can’t go on and may have to go on antidepressants. I hate to do this and I think I will scream if someone tries to take my whisky bottle away from me. I have partly Celtic genes and I really feel that genetic background is hardwired to need whisky. It is a bit of a predicament to be in.

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