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Archive for the ‘Alcohol’ Category

10 weeks sober

In Alcohol, Drink, Uncategorized on November 14, 2016 at 8:31 am

I was 10 weeks sober yesterday. Just over 10 weeks ago I gave in to alcohol and had a gin and tonic after having been sober for just under a month.

The past 10 weeks have been a mix of really wanting to drink and also recognising how good it is to be sober again.

I had a break from AA meetings for just over a month and during that time I was struggling with my temptations the most.

I went back to AA a week ago and it felt good to be back. Listening to people pouring their heart out about being so drunk they smoked crack and soiled themselves is refreshing. One man explained that he is glad he has made these mistakes, that he can admit he isn’t perfect, because that is how he has met so many good people.

Deep down in my heart though, there is a part of me that just wishes to observe and not to really connect. I haven’t shared anything since my first meeting and I am have never said the words ‘I am an alcoholic’. Everyone at AA is much older than me and I think to myself ‘they are proper alcoholics’.

Perhaps I feel like a fraud?

One of the guys at AA said that it doesn’t matter how much you drink, how many times you drink or what you drink, you can be an alcoholic. And if you are an alcoholic that continues to drink it will never ever get better, it can and will get worse.

I hang onto this piece of advice when I experience temptation and hope that it will get me through that day without a drink.

On Friday night I went to my brothers house after a gym workout and a few people were there drinking beer and eating pizza. I met his new girlfriend too which was cool. They asked me to pick up some beer for them on the way over, which I didn’t mind doing.

They then suggested playing beer pong and the guys there all knew I wasn’t drinking, so when I played, someone else drank the beer for me.

I felt no need to join in with the drinking, which was great and refreshing. A little voice in my head occasionally rears its head and says ‘one small can of beer won’t hurt’ but the voice is getting so easy to ignore.

I just think of what alcohol does to and how I feel the next day;

Alcohol goes to my head and makes me needy. I want attention. I start feeling sorry for myself. I dance inappropriately, say offensive things, maybe even get aggressive. The worst part is that I have no idea to what extent because I blackout after not very many drinks. The loss of memory causes me to have a great deal of shame, anxiety and depression for the following days as well as experiencing a physical hangover (usually sickness).

The physical hangover usually also makes me buy junk food. So as well as consuming calories through alcohol, I am also eating more junk food.

Alcohol is also a poison which strips your body of hydration and nutrients which affects your immune system and your fitness (something I am currently working hard to improve).

When I am sat around everyone drinking I think to myself;

If I were to drink right now, I may do something silly.

If I stay sober, I can enjoy my night and not worry about embarrassing myself. I will be able to laugh at everyone else getting drunk.

One of the guys called me boring for not drinking and I said ‘How am I boring? I am staying up late with everyone, chatting to everyone and having a good time! The only difference is that I will be able to remember what I have done tomorrow, not feel like shit and I will be allot nicer than if I were to drink.’

I know he was joking but I wanted to make my point.

Too many people rely on alcohol as a social crutch. Too many people assume the only way to have fun is to be off your face but that just isn’t true.

Every time I hang out with people and have a very nice time and do a lot of laughing I remind myself that life is still fun without drink. I remind myself that I am not boring, I can be funny and enjoy myself. It just takes a while to adjust.

A lady at AA told me that AA is way more than just stopping drinking. At the moment, I am not sure what that means. Obviously it relates to the steps, but I haven’t experienced that shift in my mind. Maybe these past 10 weeks have been about acceptance. Perhaps I have finally accepted and now I am ready to tackle the things that follow sobriety.

Hopefully as time goes on, things will start making more sense.

The Wedding aka. The Last Binge

In Alcohol, Drink, Drinking, health, sober, Sobriety, Uncategorized on August 27, 2016 at 4:58 pm

The weekend before my last binge, I had been to my friends birthday in London and managed to drink responsibly.

I drank nice champagne and remained in control. I convinced myself that I would be fine to drink at this wedding because I had managed a night of good drinking.

The wedding weekend I was with a different set of friends; the old pub friends. The ones who liked a drink.

The fact that I was hanging out with big drinkers at the wedding put me on the back foot. Although, the real truth is that I will always be on the back foot with alcohol.

Drinking for me is like playing russian roulette. 5 out of 6 binges could be absolutely fine and dandy and the 6th binge could have massive consequences.

I knew allot of people at the wedding. Some I wished I didn’t know, some who I currently work with and socialise with.

In hindsight, this was a really bad event to get blind drunk at, because lots of people who know me would be there to witness to my behaviour.

Regardless of this, I proceeded to get smashed.

Before getting smashed, I tried to give myself a pep talk.

‘Let’s only drink good quality alcohol and drink lots of water in between drinks’

I was looking forward to drinking because weddings are fun, but sometimes a bit awkward. Everyone drinks lots at weddings too, which is fun. Drinking is fun, right? Weddings are fun.

So, the waiter comes to our table (at this point it was maybe 4pm and I had had two alcoholic drinks in me already) and he asks us if we want some free cheap wine for the table.

Free cheap wine? Yeah, go on then. It’s free so I cant say no to that. Plus I like wine.

Immediately my plan of drinking good quality alcohol gets chucked right out the window, along with my sensible drinking plan.

I had a couple of glasses of water, but the water soon ran out on the table and I never remember to order any more. Water is never the priority. Water doesn’t give you a buzz.

As well as my cheap wine, I start drinking prosecco.

SO now I’m mixing drinks, I’m chatting, I’m laughing, I’m watching everyone do the same. Weddings are fun. Everyone looks good and everyone is celebrating.

I always feel a form of magic when everyone is together, drinking together and dressed up together.

Rules go out the window when I drink. I can be whoever I want, do what I want, say what I want. Everything is fun, people are funny, the music is good. I just want more and more and more of it. I feel a buzz flowing through my body, like anything could happen and anything is possible. My anxious brain relaxes and I get absorbed into the moment.

Being sober requires more effort. I have to force myself to enjoy things. I have to be present at all times. That’s not fun.

After the wedding breakfast, we all sit outside in the foyer, drinking and chatting more.

Everyone is still behaving themselves at this point. Chatting, sipping and laughing.

The alcohol flows a bit more now, peoples purse strings loosen and making trips to the bar rescues struggling conversations and gives people a purpose.

Ran out of conversation? Lets go to the bar. Got no one to talk to? Go to the bar. Evening guests arrive….go to the bar.

After an hour of this, the doors open back into the wedding room and the music starts.

As soon as this happens, the real drunkenness sets in. I remember seeing the bride and grooms first dance. I remember chatting to colleagues and friends. I remember sipping some more….and then I don’t remember.

When you get blackout drunk, it is literally like being in a movie. There is nothing at the time and then the next day there are flashback scenes. Those scenes are not an accurate representation of what happened or how you were acting at the time. They are just still shots or two seconds of film time.

You don’t remember going into a blackout, it just happens. I don’t even remember feeling drunk anymore. I just go from being tipsy to waking up the next day. Its a bit like being anaesthetised, but after you blackout you can still function.

The person functioning in my body during a blackout is not me. It is some horrible, dark, sub conscious person that lurks within me. The worst possible version of me. My eyes glaze over. The lights are on, but only the devil is home. I wont listen to anyone, I will risk my life, I will do whatever I think it is that I want or need to do at that time.

My flash backs from the wedding include crying outside the wedding venue, being told off for being too drunk, being in a taxi and being in my colleagues bed.

Cut to the morning after the night before:

Oh shit. Oh shit. Oh shit.

Why am I in my colleagues bed?

What the fuck?

Where the hell are my clothes? My bag? My shoes?

Okay, Ive found my dress. There is my bag, but my shoes are nowhere to be found.

My colleague is asleep, so I sneak out.

The rest of that day was hell. I slept in my own room for a few hours before I had to get myself up and presentable enough to check out of the hotel.

I had drive myself home, which took three hours including a service station stop.

When I got out at the services, I was so dehydrated and hungry, I very nearly fainted. Right in the middle of the services. On my own.

When I got home, I went straight back to sleep.

I woke up at 8pm and went over to my parents for food. They knew I was hungover but didn’t make too much of a big deal about it.

I was absolutely dreading work the next day.

And it was absolute hell.

My colleagues were telling me what an embarrassment I had been; dancing like a hoe, smashing glasses on the bar, kissing people and the list goes on.

It turns out I lost my shoes at the wedding and I was wondering around bare foot.

The colleague I had slept with was very sweet though. He kept coming to check if I was okay and we both got lunch together as we normally d0.

We didn’t mention our behaviour at the wedding, we just carried on being friends as normal.

He has a reputation for being a player. I liked being his friend and talking to him about the women he had womanised.

But now I was one of those. And as fine as it is between us, I cant unsleep with him. I will never not be just one of his conquests.

The shame that drinking has caused me over the years, has made me want to disappear. It has affected my confidence, my self worth and my reputation.

Other people know it is a problem. Other people know I am loose when I drink.

I shouldn’t care what others think but I do.

I want to feel self respect. I want to be proud of myself. I want to love myself before I love anyone else or before anyone else can learn to love me.

Even though I will work on my sobriety one day at a time, that will be the last time I wake up feeling that way.

Waking up and wishing I hadn’t of woken up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AA Meeting

In Alcohol, Drink, Drinking, sober, Sobriety, Uncategorized on August 24, 2016 at 1:32 pm

Well, I finally did it. I went to my 2nd AA Meeting.

The meeting I have been meaning to get to for a few years now.

The meeting I have backed out of because I am always too busy (too scared and too in denial) to attend.

It took several things to get me to that meeting on Monday evening.

Firstly, since I told my grandma a few months ago that I was hospitalised due to alcohol (again), she has been very concerned about my drinking and has made sure I don’t forget it.

She has a friend in California who is 20 years sober and who once used to drink like me and had the same problems. My grandma spoke to her friend about my drinking and her friend responded with some words of wisdom.

After attending a friends wedding recently and getting very drunk (more of that later) I decided to personally contact my Grandma’s friend and get her up to speed on my current wishes to be sober.

Her advice (as I have heard many times before) is that AA meetings can be very useful, and that she goes to the meetings and they have helped her stay sober for 20 years.

When I read her email describing her experiences and advising me that drink problems never get better, I decided to go to a meeting that evening. I had no excuses left about why I shouldn’t go.

The meeting was in my home town and my first though was ‘what if I know someone there?’ which is silly, because the clue is in the name ‘Alcoholics Anonymous’.

I got to the road where the meeting was early and sat in my car for ten minutes. I had butterflies in my stomach and a heavy feeling in my head. An overwhelming heaviness.

As I walked down the road looking for the community centre, I could see people walking towards a building and I panicked, realising I had found it. It was my secret desire that I wouldn’t find it and I would have to go home and give up.

As I walked in the door, a friendly older man offered me some tea and said ‘Are you new?’

When someone heard me saying yes, another man came over, took my hands in his and said welcome.

He introduced me to another man, and they invited me to sit with them on the outside of the room.

I clasped my cup of tea like it was a life line. It was like the first day of school and I didn’t know whether I may embarrass myself and cry.

The heavy feeling in my head lingered, but I was more settled now I was sat down between two people who had made me feel welcome.

The secretary welcomed me as he begun the meeting, and then followed the formalities of reading the steps and some other extracts.

There was a main share; a man who lost everything to alcohol. It was a very sad story but he has made such huge changes since getting sober in 2008.

There were other shares; a lady who had been sober since 1978, a man who had drank a bottle of wine that day, a woman who had a very similar story to be but was 40, another lady in her 50’s who got dragged to AA by her sister and husband and the list goes on.

The stories were all quite sad but they all ended their shares with their new stories; repaired relationships, new careers, new relationships and new opportunities that they didn’t think they could ever have before they got sober.

I could see myself in all of these people. Which is a weird feeling.

I was asked if I wanted to speak at the end. I has gained strength from all those who had spoke before me, and had very kindly acknowledged my presence and had wished me well. I gained strength from know I wasn’t alone in my experiences and I no longer had to live my life in shame. I could be open and human with these people, as they had been to me.

I spoke with a wobble in my voice and I don’t know where the words came from, but they poured from me. I didn’t waffle on too much for fear of being the over zealous newbie but I expressed my gratitude for everyone’s shares and told them how it had taken me 7 years of knowing deep down that I was an alcoholic to get to this point.

A room full of people nodded knowingly at me as I spoke; people who are still and who have struggled with the same thing that I have. I cant describe that feeling.

One and a half hours later, I left the meeting having gained a few telephone numbers and a new perspective on alcoholism.

Alcoholism is the lonely disease, but by finally reaching out to others and accepting it myself, I am starting to feel like there is hope still.

(9 days sober)

 

 

 

 

Day Two

In Alcohol, Drink, Drinking, mental health, sober, Sobriety on August 11, 2015 at 10:10 pm

So its day two of being sober and that seems pretty feeble considering a couple of months ago I was close to achieving a whole year sober.

But still, I am here, and I am trying again.

The hangover has almost worn off now; the panicky feeling has gone, but I am still feeling drained and a little weaker than usual. I get randomly hot and then cold. I feel like I need lots of food to rebuild myself back to what I was last week.

Isnt it amazing that one night of drinking can do so much damage to you physically and to your spirit.

I went to yoga tonight and I lay down on the floor just focussing on my breathing.

I suddenly remembered that despite everything I put myself through I am still alive.

Whatever alcohol has put me through, whatever anyone thinks of me, whatever I think of myself my heart still beats and my lungs still work and I have another chance to make peace with my past and move forward.

Its day two and I am at the foot of a huge mountain and I know that its going to take hard work, and a big lifestyle change to get anywhere near the top.

I am going to have to ruthlessly stop hanging around with toxic people, even if it isnt their fault that they dont understand my situation. I am going to stop going to places where getting drunk is the only activity that happens there. I am going to write every day in order to document my progress and I am going to attend an AA meeting as soon as I can.

One day at a time.

Back to Square One

In Alcohol, Drink, Drinking, health, mental health, sober, Sobriety on August 10, 2015 at 1:23 pm

My heart aches and my body is burning hot.

Yesterday I woke up in a panic. What did I do last night?

My friend came in to laugh at me and tell me what a mess I am. I told her my hearts stuggling to beat and I cant breathe. She told me to have a cold shower and that I will be fine.

I sat in a cold shower for about half an hour, gasping for air. So dehydrated and numb and possibly still drunk, I was beyond crying.

A fun night out with the girls turned into debauchery so bad I don’t even remember being in the night club.

Apparently I was handing out drinks, buying champagne, kissing random men….the list goes on.

In June of this year I had been sober for 11 months, and then I decided I was being too hard on myself and I needed to loosen up a bit.

‘You’re not an alcoholic’ is the constant message I got from friends and family, and then I started to tell myself that message and finally I started believing it. ‘Lets just drink in moderation, if I can go 11 months without a drink, I can learn to moderate’.

But it didn’t happen and it will never happen.

I want to lie in a black hole until I have recovered and healed. I have been in this situation hundreds of times. Self hatred, self loathing so deep I’m choking on it.

If I disappeared every time I felt ashamed of myself I would have spend a serious amount of the past 10 years in hiding and that is not what living is about.

To accept I am helpless, I am ill and I need to recover and forgive is the only way I can carry on.

I need help, I need support and I need change.

Day one has been worse that I remember ever feeling.

Things can only get better…

The truth vs The temptations

In Alcohol, Drink, Drinking, health, mental health, sober, Sobriety on May 29, 2015 at 11:21 am

10 months and 2 days sober.

A small milestone, but one I am proud of. Ever edging closer to one year but always moving further from my last drink.

I feel very good most of the time, but that’s not to say it is easy or that it has got  easier since when I first got sober.

When you first give up drinking everything is raw; memories are fresh and there are a lot more ups and downs. Sometimes it gets harder the longer you go on, because you can become over confident and forget the grief that got you to being sober in the first place.

The good and bad feelings pass over in waves, and sometimes I am drowning in an ocean full of temptation. My friends sometimes don’t realise that by saying ‘we wont judge you if you fall off the wagon’ are not helping.

I don’t mind being judged. I am my harshest critic. Everything anyone has ever thought about me or said about me, Ive thought worse about myself.

But so far I’ve kept swimming, kept my head above the waves and I don’t listen to those who don’t fully understand my circumstances. Including my family.

I don’t know if it is a rare occurrence, or if it is quite common, but most people don’t want to believe or accept my problem. Especially those closest to me. Maybe it is a bad reflection on them? Or maybe they don’t understand that an alcoholic doesn’t have to look or act a certain way in order to suffer with the illness.

I still have an over whelming desire to confess my sins and perhaps this is my calling to attend AA meetings, where I will meet like minded and open individuals.

The only meeting I have ever been to I cried the whole way through. I cried because I knew I had a problem but saying it out loud would make it real. All those people in that room understood me and yet I still didn’t want to be pigeon holed. I still thought there was a way I could remain ‘normal’.

I hope further down the line the temptations become easier to ignore, or maybe peers will become more used to me as a non drinker.

Whenever I do feel tempted to drink, I try to remind myself of how much better everything is now I don’t drink, of how I can still have fun and how I don’t need to rely on alcohol any more.

I remind myself of why I said ‘I never want to drink again.’ The memories are painful but sometimes you need to rehash them in order to get over that complacent feeling of being in control and thinking ‘well if I can stay sober, surely one night of drink may not harm me’.

Alcohol is my kryptonite. I may have been able to occasionally drink and things didn’t always go wrong, but alcohol is also the reason for some of my lowest points in my life. Is it worth the risk? No. Is being called boring tolerable if I have a much better outlook on life? Hell yeah.

One day at a time.

Hyper Sensitivity

In Alcohol, Drinking, health, mental health, sober, Sobriety on October 2, 2014 at 7:32 pm

I am not sure if this is a medical condition.

I am not sure if I am overly hormonal, tired and stressed.

Every feeling, I feel.

All the pain, unhappiness, sadness.

I reflect on the past so much, and the future makes me anxious. So many decisions to make, so much time to wait, yesterday was so much easier, I was a better person back then.

I want so much. I need things to fill in this emptiness.

I want money so I can enjoy life more but when I get it I only want more things, and the unhappier I become.

I am generous and when I have money I buy things for people.

I am overly generous with people I love.

I give people too much of myself and I shut down who I really am to try and please those people.

This causes me to resent myself and wonder why my relationships don’t last.

I am exhausted, hormonal and stressed.

I think too much about everything.

I am almost 10 weeks sober but it isn’t enough. How much will ever be enough?

I want a dog, tattoo’s, travel the world, fall in love, have a job I love, be sober forever, make new friends, eat good food, feel secure and happy. I don’t know how to balance all of these things.

Everyday I wake up and my mind has changed.

John Mayer once wrote a song with the lyrics ‘she’s just like a maze where all of her walls all continually change’. It couldn’t be more on point.

I start getting along with people, only to be knocked down.

I start being okay and then I’m not.

Everything is trivial and happiness is a journey not a destination.

One day this will all be over.

I am on my way to making changes and having everything happen all at once isn’t how life works.

Suffering makes you stronger.

Those that try to take everything from me are weaker than I am, they just don’t realise it yet.

I am underestimated. I am undiscovered. I feel different.

Perhaps one day life might start clicking into place.

Until now, I will carry on.

I can’t wait to reach 3 months sober.

I am proud of myself for getting this far.

New Kind of Sober

In Alcohol, Drink, Drinking, health, mental health, sober, Sobriety on September 15, 2014 at 8:47 pm

Seven weeks sober yesterday and I am starting to feel like I am getting somewhere. Each day brings new levels of loneliness and empowerment.

I feel a different kind of sober; I feel calm and controlled about things that scared me before.

I feel like a permanent change has been made from somewhere deep within me. I no longer associate with alcohol or people who live to get drunk. I can’t even hold any alcohol in my hands without feeling weird.

I don’t miss nights out or how they used to feel. I especially don’t miss the hangovers, the major highs and lows, the mistakes and regrets.

I have changed and ultimately its for the better. Some people do not have a clue that I am sober and others still don’t understand why it has happened. I am starting to no longer care about those trivial aspects of socialising, I have switched to focussing peoples attention back on themselves. I feel a new wave of maturity has set in but at the same time a new lease of life which will allow me to have childlike excitement.

I no longer want to deny myself of good feelings, I no longer want to suffer in silence because I think that is what I deserve. My drinking brain would tell myself how disgusting I was and that I brought on everything bad myself.

My sober brain now understands and acknowledges that alcoholism is a sickness and that I am actually a kind, reasonable person who doesn’t have to settle for feeling shit all the time.

I can’t wait to make more progress and hopefully the loneliness of sobriety will fade as I become more used to my adjusted lifestyle.

One day at a time.

Craving forgiveness

In Alcohol, Drink, Drinking, health, mental health, Sobriety on August 31, 2014 at 9:01 pm

5 weeks today and I feel like sobriety is going well, no temptations so far. I have focussed on family and myself and although its boring and frustrating, I am getting there. I haven’t had to deal with the lows of hangovers or any shame or fear.

Recently though, I have been feeling cravings for something else. A deep desire to explain my side of the story.

I want to confess, I want to clean my slate, I want other people to forgive me and I want to forgive myself.

I want to relive my drunken misery out loud; things I have never spoke of. I want and need to make sense of it all, even if it is just once.

I woke up this morning and started to think about admitting to someone exactly what I had done under the influence of alcohol and what it would be like and how I would describe it.

I can’t tell my family everything because its too personal and I feel as if my therapist shouldn’t hear this stuff as he is male.

Is this a common urge; to want to confess everything?

I also want to hear what other people have done and how they felt.

My grandma let slip that my grand dad used to feel huge amounts of remorse after heavy drinking and for some reason that helped me, because I knew that I wasn’t alone and in some ways I could see where my behaviour stems from.

Perhaps this is a sign I should be brave and go back to an AA Meeting.

Is alcoholism the problem or is it a symptom?

In Alcohol, Drink, Drinking, mental health, Sobriety on August 27, 2014 at 5:25 pm

4 and a half weeks of no alcohol; it should feel good right?

To me it feels boring, as if it is has been almost too easy.

Today I have felt a general sadness. It sits in my chest and ebbs away under my ribs, lingering around my heart which beats with half the normal vigour it usually does. The sadness flows through my blood, coursing around my body, away from my face.

Looking in the mirror my face looks pale and my eyes dull and lifeless. I feel numb as well everything all the time. I talk to people and smile but it is as if my life is lived from behind glass. I am there but not quite.

Although I know I can depend on myself, I seem to want to depend on people who cannot and don’t want to be depended on.

Today I have been let down by my mum who is my main confidante, I want to speak to my best friends but they are busy with their own lives and the guy I thought things were starting to go well with has started to ignore me.

I don’t feel like I have anyone to rely on, to bounce off or to just generally hang out with. I live on my own and when I feel down it can be hard to pick myself up again.

With all that said; after expressing my sadness and acknowledging it, I am determined that it will not defeat me or my triumph over alcohol. I mistakenly assumed that my life would somehow transform into a sort of peaceful, energised world without alcohol. I thought that perhaps I would continue to feel better and better.

Maybe I still have to learn how to live and perhaps stopping drinking is just a small step in the right direction.

I will keep going as I know this feeling will pass. Writing it down makes it seem less than what it feels and it is always good to get your feelings into perspective.

Our brains have a nasty habit of blowing things out of proportion and my mental state is affecting me physically and just generally.

I will survive.

As always, one day at a time.