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Posts Tagged ‘health’

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.

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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.

A letter to my future self

In Alcohol, Drink, Drinking, health, mental health, Sobriety on July 28, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Dear Abi, my future self,

The one who will probably be up for drinking again because peer pressure is getting too much. The one who has forgotten how you are feeling right now.

As of Saturday 26th July 2014, you haven’t drank. So currently thats two days. And these last two days have been hell.

I have suffered a very bad hangover; physically and mentally. I am currently sat in my pyjama’s having taken a day off work with a urinary infection that won’t budge. I’m coughing, my face hurts and I feel drained.

Why? Alcohol, of course.

Yes, your friend who has fucked you over more times than you can remember and you are probably choosing to forget this.

Before you drink remember the shame, the sickness, the guilt, the despair that alcohol brings. Sure, sometimes alcohol doesn’t fuck you over, but thats always a gamble. You have so much to lose; your health, your responsibilities, your happiness.

At this point in time the thought of never drinking again scares me, as it always will. But the thought of drinking scares me even more. It scares me enough to know I cannot lead a normal life. I don’t drink normally and never will be able to. I need to change and if that means being unsociable or boring then thats what it will have to be.

No one will understand your decision or pat you on the back. But you will be happier, healthier and there will be no risk of fucking up your life with no memory of how you did it.

It will take more than two months to feel a difference, but stick with it. If you are thinking of giving up re-read all the depressing shit you ever wrote with a hangover. Remember how a hangover makes you think that sometimes life isn’t worth living.

But life is worth living, even if you dread social events in a sober state. Embrace awkwardness and learn to laugh at them and yourself. Embrace other people challenging you and your decisions. Embrace moments like watching the sun set, being with your family and listening to loud music in your car, singing along like an idiot.

There is no reason to drink. If you had the same reaction to coffee as you did alcohol, you would cut out coffee. There is nothing to be gained from getting drunk and thats something you have to swallow.

Anyway, I am rambling. I hope that you remain strong and remember how rubbish this day felt, because right now I am not feeling too clever.

Love

Abi, Present self.
28.7.14

Binge Drinking Blues

In Alcohol, Drink, Drinking, health, mental health, Sobriety on April 22, 2014 at 10:26 pm

I am a binge drinker and  so are most of my peers but I am always to the extreme and very embarrassing on every drinking occasions.
I have tried several times to stop over the years, even as young as aged 19.
I think I have a problem and I have done some disgusting things whilst drunk; I am full of self loathing from my last binge. I want to quit again but I don’t feel like a proper alcoholic to resort to getting full on help. I want to quit and get support but I have said I will quit so many times no one will believe me anymore.
I don’t know what to do, I think talking to someone who binges / used to binge and considers it an alcohol problem would help.

Any thoughts?

‘I don’t care what you think about me’

In Alcohol, Drink, Drinking, health, mental health, Sobriety on January 16, 2013 at 12:33 am

My most common mistake is putting up a massive front.

‘I was so wasted last night, it was hilarious’ actually means ‘I got drunk again, I have the worst hangover and I have shamed myself.’

Pretending not to care about anything is easy to do. Its not easy to continue and be sane at the same time. Eventually the cracks start to show.

Like most people, I enjoy nothing more than to have a good night out with friends. The odd night outs are a complete flop, some are amazing, but very regularly I cannot remember allot of them.

Is it normal to wake up in the morning and have to ask for a total recall on the night before? Is it normal to be told ‘you were like a different person’, ‘if i hadn’t of been there god knows what would have happened’, ‘you were shouting abuse at people like a posessed woman’, ‘ you tried to pay for your chicken with your passport’. I am pretty sure that’s not normal.

Some nights I could go out and be fine. Sometimes I can drink wine with my family and I can be fine. Sometimes i tell myself ‘no shots, just weak drinks’. The fact is, every night out or drinking occasion is a massive gamble.

The gamble is will I come home with a smile on my face, no hangover in the morning or on the flip side wake up with four teeth missing. Is the gamble worth it? Maybe eventually I will wake up, decide that drinking maturely will work better and never binge again. So far that hasnt happened, do I continue to gamble drinking until it does? Or do I have an actual problem.

I put on a hard face in front of my family but recently I have been struggling. I am either hard or the most sensitive person. I have moved home from university and on several occasions, I have been fairly open about my drinking. I have been told that if my behaviour escalated whilst under my parents roof I will be finding alternative accommodation. Thats fair enough. I have talked to them about thhe matter of going teetotal. The response was ‘don’t be a martyr’ and ‘learning to control your drinking will make you stronger than giving up completely.’ Again, I understand. I have a conflicting view which is, maybe I have to consider this as a problem.

Since leaving university and desperately wanting to change my drinking habits I have been drunk four times. On each of those occasions I have woken up guilt ridden, ashamed of myself and just generally angry that I have inflicted yet more suffering on myself.

Any thoughts on what constitutes as a problem? I would like to hear.

‘But why can’t you just drink in moderation?’

In Alcohol, Drink, Drinking, health, mental health, Sobriety, Student, University on April 25, 2012 at 3:49 am

Last night an old friend rang me up (slightly drunk) and decided she needed a very deep and meaningful conversation.

This old friend is definitely not your average childhood friend. Our mothers have known each other since they were 14 and I have known my friend since the day she was born.

We’ve been through a lot together and shared a lot of information that would be hard for anyone else to understand. She suffers from depression and has had tendencies to use drugs and drink heavily from time to time. On one particular occasion (her rock bottom) she overdosed and I drove her to the hospital and escorted her to rehab.

For a while I found it hard to connect with her; university meant we had less time to see each other and there was a distance; a distance that never got in the way of us still meaning the same to each other, but it got in the way of actually being there for each other.

I felt like she never knew what was going on with me and I had to assume she was getting better and her depression was more controllable.

After talking to her tonight, and despite her latest drama’s, I felt reassured. Reassured that she was, at this point in time, stable. She told me how she had stopped drinking for two months in January and that it had made her re-learn how to drink and she now drinks in moderation. When she occasionally does get drunk (tonight) she was in a good mood and didn’t have the usual feelings of being out of control and guilt ridden the next day.

She said she had heard that I was ‘off the sauce’ and that maybe I should start drinking again after a month, in moderation, to keep from me having a blow out episode and end up going back to square one.

I told her again, that I was not drinking and like most people she didnt  quite grasp this concept. I think maybe its because I am at university or because its still very early days. (Or my infamous reputation for being ‘on the sauce’)

Her words resonated with me. I thought about drinking again and it made me feel deeply uneasy. Almost slightly panicked. Last week when I drank, it felt wrong. I felt like I could feel all my hard work, all my restraint was slipping away down my esophagus. Also, the reason I used to drink was to get drunk (in social situations) so only having one drink doesn’t make sense to me. I am very much an all or nothing person, which makes it hard to explain to everyone who says ‘but why cant you drink in moderation?’

If I knew the answer to that I would never have contemplated giving up.

Constantly over thinking may be a bad thing, but for once in my life my brain has stopped over thinking on this particular subject. I feel secure and sure that I don’t want to drink. I know that I cannot trust myself to drink in moderation, hence the drastic need for action.  One thing my friend had said she has learnt from going through her experiences was to do exactly what you feel is right and shut off what anyone else tells you. (Simple words of advice; yet as usual, its always comforting to hear them from someone else!)

My theory is that when you are not sure you are making the right decision, you listen to other people, in hope they can convince you that the decision you have made, is a bad one. Sometimes its easier to go along with what other people say than being true to yourself and going against the grain.

One thing that I will say now, is even the people who think they are giving you their best advice do not know what you need sometimes. They will try and convince you to do things a certain way, but you should only do what you feel is right for yourself.

I also know that these individuals will change their mind when you prove them you were right. Its not that they are trying to disrupt you or they are trying to be malicious (hopefully not) but they just do not fully understand and perhaps never will. Unless a human can directly relate, they may never be fully appreciative of a situation and its seriousness.

The only reason I can now acknowledge how valuable my friends piece of advice is, is by following the advice. And the reason I followed the advice and am still following the advice is because I wanted to do it. I saw the potential in myself and I decided to change.

Last night my flat mates went out to a nightclub and I still had the essay to finish. I got ‘Oh, Abi’s being boring again’ from one of them. Usually, I would be worried. worried that I am going to be out the loop, that people will forget about me, that I am a nobody if I am not drunk, dancing, causing some drama. But now I simply don’t care anymore. I’d feel frustrated about being left behind. But I felt calm and I enjoyed my own company for a while.

They arrived home as I was finishing off my essay. They told me about who they had seen, the drunken antics and I saw them go off to bed. I hadn’t missed out on anything major. I woke up with no hangover, no guilt and I still had a laugh with everyone. I secretly breathed a sigh of relief that it was possible to not feel like my whole social life revolved around going out and getting drunk. This evening we went to see a movie and tomorrow we are going to a theme park. Yet again, no drinking needed.

I went home for 5 weeks at Easter back to my parents to detox and do exactly what I wanted to do. I purposely kept myself away from my usual social spots; the two local pubs. At first I was scared I would be missing out, but I kept myself away because I was determined to get better. Even though at first you may feel you have dropped off the scene and maybe not many people ( except only real friends) bother with you but you discover that nothing in the usual places change too much and you’re not actually missing out.

I have also noticed that since telling my friends about not drinking, I have experienced three different types of reactions; 1. Fully accepting and understanding of my reasons. They have been supportive and very pleased for me. Or 2. They kind of understand but don’t understand the ‘not drinking again’ part. They try to preach about moderate drinking and that you’re still young etc. but they don’t put up too much of a fuss, and finally 3. They think its absurd and make a real fuss.

It makes me wonder whether it is a real test as to who is actually my friend or whether some people simply cannot comprehend a life without alcohol. To each person I have tried to rationalise the dangers of my drinking and what I am preventing by being sober; but each person sees the situation differently. Should you judge your friends for reacting in a certain way? I don’t know. The only thing I know is I like it when I know I have support for doing something that feels right for me and when friends try and understand my situation.

I am a great believer in honesty and everyone being able to offer their opinions on what life decisions a friend makes but I do know that a little support and encouragement can go a long way. I wish more of my friends could fully understand this.

‘When the wine goes in, strange things come out’

In Alcohol, Drink, Drinking, Sobriety, Student, University on April 4, 2012 at 1:28 am

Hello to everyone who is reading this!

As you may know, my name is Abi and I am a student in the UK. I lead a normal life except the fact that I have problems drinking responsibly. A common name for this would be a ‘binge drinker’. I am inclined to argue this name is far too broad and is a label that is becoming nonchalant and socially acceptable.

Lets get one thing straight, the way I drank was neither a nonchalant affair or socially acceptable. As a student, to a certain degree, getting drunk is normal. Like most students who drink socially, I had no symptoms of alcohol dependance. The closest I have got to dependance was long stints of consecutive binges and even throughout I never had an ‘eye opener’ or ‘liquid lunches’ to get me through or to prevent any shakes or withdrawals.

I have been drinking since the tender age of 14 and at that age I drank to get drunk. As I had very little self confidence or self assurance it was a quick way of finding the guts to talk to boys and losing inhibitions. Alcohol was my ‘Liquid confidence’.

The drinking at this early stage was done behind my parents backs. My peer group and I used to steal alcohol from our parents (spirits), get the oldest looking friend to buy cider or vodka, and we would sit in a park or go back to someones house and ‘chug’ or down alcohol to feel the effects almost instantly. A very stupid and immature thing to do when no one was an experienced drinker or knew what happened when things went wrong. Everyone was a victim of their own peer pressure.

I believe these drinking habits stayed with me longer than I wish to recognise. As you grow up with alcohol, and your peer groups change, your income changes, your life experience changes and so do the circumstances in which you drink change. For example; you drink at special family occasions, professional occasions, with peers who have more drinking experience, with strangers, in nightclubs etc.

If your drinking mentality is still one which is ‘drink to get drunk’ obviously your behaviour and these occasions will clash. Trouble occurs and relationships break down. Not just with your peers, your family but most harmfully the relationship with yourself.

If your drinking makes you feel ashamed or affects your current circumstances and has a negative effect on your self esteem levels; it is a problem. A problem that I am very grateful to have recognised by the age of 22.

After doing extensive research (the first part of my research was done very much in denial of having a problem) I have discovered that a lot of people who realise they have a problem are in a later stage of life (with children, with a career, late twenties onwards etc). There are only a select few who decide upon abstinence from alcohol at a younger age. My concerns are; do people blur the lines of what is a normal and what is a problem? Or is peer pressure simply a cultural change and those with problems do not feel strong enough to go against their social surroundings?

One of the greatest problems about having a drinking problem is the other people in your life. I have only experienced this from the university angle. At university the culture is to drink regularly, the acceptability of doing stupid things under the influence of alcohol and that you shouldn’t worry too much about it. YOLO (you only live once) is one of the most common phrases you will encounter upon trying to fix your problem.

The phrase YOLO, ironically, is also the reason to give up drinking. Upon my first attempt of becoming teetotal (October 2011) I woke up and abruptly decided ‘I am never drinking again and this time I mean it.’ Yes, all very well and good to decide this after a shame filled night and with a stinking hangover. Hangovers; being a weird mix of boldness and self loathing, seem to be a bad time to make life changing decisions.

The more I thought about giving up alcohol forever, the scarier it seemed. Thoughts such as ‘What will I drink when everyone makes a toast?’ or ‘I am going to miss that ice cold cider in the beer garden?’ and ‘what am I going to drink when we have girly wine or cocktail nights?’ kept cropping up. Again and again and again. Until 14 days later I was having my ‘Just one, I promise’ cocktail to celebrate my housemates 21st. ‘Just one, I promise’ Turned into 5 or 6, from what I remember.

So my point being, when you force your brain into a ‘forever’ situation; the panic response is triggered. Subconsciously, you are battling now with peer pressure and with your drinking problem itself. Your brain is tricking you by unearthing fond drinking memories through rose tinted glasses. Perhaps, on purpose, your brain selectively chooses not to remember the times when you were hospitalised due to alcohol abuse, the times when you publicly shamed yourself, the hangovers that make you feel like you are slowly dying, the times when you said things you would never have said if you hadn’t have been off your face or the times where your brain completely switches off and you transform into someone who isn’t you and who isn’t aware of anything.

Instead of rushing into ‘I’m never drinking again’ turn the situation on its head. Why not think ‘today I am not going to have a single drink, because then I can’t get drunk.’ or ‘today I am not going to drink because then tomorrow I will not waste the day in bed’.

If there is anyone else who understands a proper hangover; a physical hangover, a guilt ridden hangover and anxiety attacks in one dose, they can relate to wasting a whole day sometimes two, being locked in the confines of your own home, feeling self pity. Self pity because everything that you are feeling is the result of putting toxins in your body. No one else put them in there. Your excuses may be ‘he /she bought me a shot’ or ‘I had to drink because it was so and so’s birthday’. If you wish to get anywhere in this life; you have to stop blaming everyone else.

People, especially people who you thought were your close friends, may turn out to be the main reason why you struggle to stay sober. If you can tell a friend why you are not drinking and they understand; they are a true friend. You will always get peers who do not understand and they will make you doubt yourself and your decision.

After a few weeks or days of being strong and resisting, you may feel an overwhelming sense of achievement and here is how your brain will try and trick you again. ‘Amazing, so I have done one month without alcohol. Everyone wants me to drink, I miss drinking it was fun. Maybe this time around things will be different, I definitely think I have learned my lesson here.’ If you are the type of person that cannot moderate their drinks and feels their drinking results in hurting themselves and others then your brain is wrong. Your brain is trying to take the easy way out. All the time you have to constantly remind yourself why, if today, you do not drink, then you will not get into trouble and you will feel so much better tomorrow.

The drinking cycle took full grasp after October again until Sunday, March 18th 2012. I decided after a month of ‘good’ drinking I should end my drinking career on a high. What was the point in gambling my life anymore? I felt a little unhealthy due to recent festivities and a lot of nights out. I still had my health, I still had time to come completely clean to my family and myself and I had an easter break which I could retreat back to home ground and rehabilitate myself.

I will keep updating about more information I find, and people who have decided to take the same route, but I shall say goodbye for now,

Abi

PS. remember, please do get in touch if you want someone to talk to. Don’t be alone, everyone needs help sometimes.

x