Gaz asked me one Saturday a few weeks back — as I ordered a vodka cocktail — whether or not I’d given up on the ‘not drinking’ thing. A fair question, given the ‘ordering a cocktail’ thing.
Sobriety was going really, really well. I had managed to get through several months without a drink, battling some immense cravings (which peak around ovulation, bizarrely) along the way. I ‘slipped’ on a couple of social occasions but was able to get back into it with ease. And then my brother died, and not only did I smash through a few bottles of red wine in a short space of time but it brought on a crisis. What am I fucking doing? Why can’t I just be “normal” and enjoy a drink with friends without getting utterly wasted? Why can’t I have a healthy relationship with this addictive drug (ha ha ha)? Am I going to end up like my brother?
It wasn’t pretty, and the more I thought about it the worse it got, and the worse the cravings got, and the more I felt useless and like a failure… a vicious circle of self-loathing ensued which, for someone used to self-medicating their problems with a glass or 5 of wine, potentially only had one way of ending. (Because only I could be so stressed about drinking that I need a drink to de-stress which causes me to stress about my drinking… & so on.)
So, I tried to be rational. I tried to think about what my “goals” were if I wasn’t going to be 100% sober:
- Enjoy a drink on a special occasion, e.g. birthdays, celebrations etc, without it being “weird”.
- Be able to order one drink and no more. Or, order a soft drink around people who were drinking without feeling left out.
- Not put on the weight that I lost by giving up.
- Not drink for the sake of drinking.
- Most importantly, to not get into a cycle of drinking to ease problems, which worsens my anxiety and depression symptoms caused by PMDD, which causes me to drink more.
With these goals in mind, I have been able to concoct a vague plan, and ultimately relax about it. Relaxing calms the stressy voices which immediately reduces cravings. This, combined with the pressure of knowing what I have to lose if I regress (my sanity, my relative happiness with my body), and seeing the impact of sobriety on my mental health, means I have been able to better make ‘mindful’ decisions about where and when to drink. To just ‘be chill’ about it.
So far so I’ve successfully navigated a couple of birthdays, a weekend with friends, several games nights and other social occasions:
I have chosen to drink, and to not drink, in equal measure. I have interspersed water with wine. I have picked low alcohol ciders over double vodkas. (And I’ve got pretty drunk and felt like shit the next day, which served as an excellent reminder of what not to do.)
I am feeling OK with where I’m at right now. It might not last; I might lose my shit and drink far too much, or… I might go sober again. I don’t know. But it’ll do for now.
Content warning: suicide, mental health, addiction On Wednesday I sat down and mentally compiled a tribute to my brother, whilst assembling an IKEA table. There’s something strangely therapeutic about putting flat-pack furniture together (at least when I’m doing it by myself). My brother, Robert ‘Bobby’ Addison, took his own life some time around the 21st-22nd… read full entry »
I have spent a large part of the past few weeks jumping from one ‘chaos moment’ to another (as per usual) and I was sat on the toilet recently wondering… is this it? Is this what adulting is about? Just about hanging on while you ride the waves of life? I’m being melodramatic — I’m… read full entry »
It’s now been about 5 weeks since I decided to stop drinking for good. I am sleeping better. Aside from a couple of weeks of intense drinking-frenzy dreams where I got completely smashed off my face (in the dream, that is) I have slept solidly every night since I stopped drinking. My sleep cycles have… read full entry »
Yesterday lunch time I went out with Gaz’s team from work for an unexpected light lunch. It’s the kind of situation where I’d usually indulge in a “cheeky” glass of wine or a cocktail (or two) because a) unexpected social interaction mid-PMDD-monster-times and b) who doesn’t love to break up the day with alcohol? Except… read full entry »
Off the back of my post about plans for 2017, and following a conversation with my darling husband last night during which I got defensive more than once (even though he spoke the truth) I woke up with fire in my belly. Taking advantage before noisy children and the realities of my todo list extinguish… read full entry »
I was going to answer my AMA questions in the order they were asked, but having not long come out of a pretty rough few days or so I figured now would be the perfect time to answer Kelly’s question: What gets you out of a funk? The reality with PMDD, which is the root… read full entry »
I had a massive panic attack on Saturday night. Partly fueled by a few too many vodkas, and partly by confronting a ‘demon’ that I’ve never been able to tackle before, culminating in an explosion of anger and frustration and ending up with me unable to breathe and choking on tears. It’s not the first… read full entry »
A month ago I posted about my muddy run in London and noticing some bodily side effects: it all adds up to a shit ton of alcohol, far too much junk food and not enough veg which ultimately means I have a lingering cold [..] and me going distinctly soft around the middle again. Despite… read full entry »
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I travelled down to London on Friday to meet up with some folks from the industry (SEO/web) and run a ‘pretty muddy’ Race for Life 5k at Finsbury Park the following morning with the gorgeous Lilian. Both were awesome events, although having consumed far too much wine on Friday night I wasn’t sure I’d be… read full entry »
I am currently sat in bed crying into my second glass of wine. Wine that I shouldn’t be drinking because I’m the sole carer for my children tonight, as with most nights, and if they wake up in the middle of the night with some sort of medical emergency I want to be competent enough… read full entry »