This is all you need to know


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Still here; still sober; still happy

Still counting days (137) and marvelling at the slow accumulation of time and life. Slow in a good way. Slow in a ‘savouring’ and worthwhile way.

At a dinner party last week I had comfortably declined the wine that was going round since I was driving. Later the hostess, a newish but congenial friend, said with almost pity in her voice ‘surely you can have a glass’ and I heard how, in the past, that phrase, that tone, would have been an reiteration of my thoughts. Again, I declined, but I did so with pleasure. I was happy. Participating in conversation fully; actually listening, not getting silly or loud; being present to enjoy the moment, the food, the company and not ‘enjoying’ it simply on the basis that it was a licence to drink.

And it came to me in a flash (we did indeed have thunder, lightning and a rainbow, but this was a personal flash) that I am happier sober than I ever was drinking and that whilst there are occasional pangs, there is really no attraction anymore. I know that what I have is precious and a gift and that I must nurture and protect it.

And then at the weekend I took my teens to a music festival and walked among some of the most drunk people I have ever seen and felt alarmed and horrified at what it did to them and their behaviour. Bestial and de-humanised. Vulnerable or aggressive. Reckless and foolish. Were they having more fun than I was? Well, life’s not a competition but I know that when I looked at them I was experiencing heartfelt gratitude at being sober me and not drunk them and later, trying to find a comfortable position for my aching bones on a tiny camp bed (camping and festivals are truly a young person’s game) I thanked whatever power it is in the universe that has brought me to day 130 plus and vowed that I am never, never going back to that dark place of self destruction.

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I read my sober blogs every day but feel so sated with peacefulness that I seem to have nothing of my own to share and don’t bother to check comments here.  Thank you all for your kind words on my reaching ninety days.  Miraculously, today is day 121.  There is no happiness in the world that I know of that equals this inner joy of sobriety.

It was gay pride in London yesterday and GF and I went with friends to a couple of parties in the evening.  In the Olden Dayes I would have got drunk (it’s a free pass – everyone was drinking) and woken this morning shamed and withdrawn.  I looked at the bottles and I thought what it would be like to have the release of being drunk.  But I also knew that sobriety has ruined drinking for me forever.  I couldn’t drink without the bitter awareness of what I was throwing away.  I couldn’t go back to drinking and enjoying it.  Picking up a glass of wine would now be an act of self mutilation and hatred.  

So I woke in the sunlight this morning with lightness of spirit.  I have baked a cake for my writers’ group summer lunch tomorrow; I am going to a yoga class later this afternoon and in-between I will immerse myself in the latest Knausgaard and fantasise about learning Norwegian so I can snuffle up the rest of the series without having to wait for the English translations.

All of this would have been nothing but a pipe dream, a wasted day, more poisoned water into the well of self loathing, had I woken with a hangover this morning.  Grateful today to be alive and to have a life.

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Ninety Days

Feeling pretty grounded.  Feeling whole heartedly grateful and humble and relieved to be sober.  To have actually done what I know is the right thing.

All is well with my life.  Bit of a road bump tonight: big – potentially relationship ending – row with GF.  But if it ends, it ends.  I am sober and I will survive.

I am still hopeless at running, a little better at yoga.  Some novel has been written.  My health is improving, I am choosing and enjoying cleaner food (not the greasy fry ups needed to mop up a hangover). Reading blogs, compulsively reading Knausgaard, listening to the Bubble Hour, knitting complicated shawls that no one will ever wear despite them being things of beauty.  Thinking. Taking life slowly.  No big plans.  Not much to show on the surface. An inward vegetable contentment that wasn’t really dented by the ‘home truths’ that were just hurled at me in the row.  

I wonder if my self absorption, born of jealously guarding my sobriety (which I have not made public) has taken its toll on the relationship. 

Off to bed to wake up happy and not hungover on day 91.

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Shared Stories

In real life I am not at all a sociable person.  As an only child solitude and self sufficiency are hard wired into my psyche.  Isolation was key to my drinking. But when I read blogs in which people share their stories honestly and openly I feel such a connection it almost makes me re-think my reclusive nature.  

What prompted this early(ish) Sunday morning thought was the email that Belle shared from a newly sober father who could respond to his daughter’s need for help in a snowstorm in the middle of the night.  This is day 73 for me and tomorrow my daughters start five and half weeks of GCSEs (first set of major national exams in the UK). And for the last 10 weeks I have been there to chat, to commiserate, to listen about the stresses of revision and for the next 5 and a half weeks I will be there to drive them to exams on time, hear how it went, cook them a good home made meal, bake treats, watch a little TV in the evenings to relax.  To be present in their, and my, life.  What a gift.

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Nine Lightbulbs

Still a bit fragile but sustained by the lovely blogs I read.  PrimroseP wrote about the pebbles in our shoes that hobble us on our journey and that really hit a chord with me.  I am a procrastinator par excellence and my life is full of those little irritations.  Like the spot light type bulbs that my house is fitted with and which are fiddly to change.  I moved into this house a year ago and had it decorated top to bottom beforehand, including replacing any dud bulbs.  But it seems lightbulbs are not eternal and room by room a bulb or two or even three went.  Soon the kitchen and one bathroom were particularly gloomy.  And every time I switched on the lights, I sighed.  

But spurred on by Primrose, today I got my act together, went to Homebase, bought the bulbs, wrestled the step ladder out of the cupboard under the stairs, figured out how the bulbs are fitted (not difficult but in my head I had made it so) and changed all nine dead lightbulbs.

Magical. Simple. 

Day 69 today.

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The Kindness of Strangers

A thought inspired by the kind and perceptive comments on my last post.  By my reading of blogs like Letting Go. By a woman like Belle who spends her time freely helping.  By the sharing and empathy of all the other blogs I read.  All of which is helping me stay sober.  Nine whole weeks sober and counting.

Horribly over-emotional yesterday. I was out to dinner, chatting, then to my intense surprise – crying.  The tears continued on and off for the rest of the evening along with profound tiredness.  Both inexplicable to me.  Still coddling myself today.  Waiting for the emotional weather to change and being grateful for the kindness of strangers.


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