Brace Yourself..

After much to-ing and fro-ing I have come to a decision. I am going sober. No more postulating, no more indecision. There will be those that question my decision and I haven’t yet gone out out but here are the whys and wherefores that have contributed to this conclusion.

(Disclaimer: this has frank accounts of my past alcohol driven behaviour. I am ok with this).

To those that say “but you weren’t that bad”, “it’s not like you were an alcoholic or anything”, let’s pick that apart a little.

What constitutes as ‘that bad’?

Being raped at 21 by someone I knew because I was so drunk I had passed out and fallen asleep? And those close to me at the time, told me that it was not really likely to be rape, because let’s face it ‘that’s the sort of thing you do when you’re drunk’. A little bad?

I reckon the time I nearly lost my now husband due to being drunk, was pretty bad.

Or the time that I was 22, living in the Santa Cruz mountains and working for an American friend with the sole responsibility of looking after her 8 months old baby at a conference she was attending (she was pretty high up in the company). I had gone to the bar and had a few more than just a couple, ended up singing in a karoake with her work colleagues and then had to be led back to a hotel room by a security guard as he was worried I was about to disappear with some dodgy bloke who was giving me a light for a cigarette. I have no recollection apart from attempting to sing an Eurythmics song (ridiculous I know, who the hell can manage to sing like Annie Lennox?). The shame the next day was dire. That sparked off my first foray to AA. Again, quite bad.

Or the time in my mid 20’s when I passed out on the Bakerloo line and must have travelled the entire route from Wembley to Elephant Castle about 4 bloody times before I was kicked off the train. I couldn’t see or walk straight and had to sit in a shop doorway. A strange but kind man who lived up the shop came down with a duvet and radio and sat with me until I realised I really had to try and get home. I then managed to put 2 and 2 together and got to a phonebox, I rang my then (also verging alkie) much older boyfriend who told me to get a cab to his and he would pay. Something clicked and I realised there was a bank. And I had a bank card. And I had money in my account. This resulted in a lightbulb moment (took 2 hours to reach) and was able to pay for my own cab back. There were also quite a few ‘waking up on a cold bench in a closed railway station’ scenarios. I’d like to think that not only was that bad but also pretty fucking stupid.

And more recently, well yeah I would agree that more recently I didn’t binge drink that often, but the thoughts of wine were frequent. I would rather sit at home and drink than make the effort to go out and drink. I felt safer drinking indoors (due to aforementioned ‘bad’ behaviour). I would look forward to getting home and having some wine. If we were at a friends it would worry me if the wine was running out. I would check to see if I was drinking too fast. Thank god for the friends who would drink more and faster. I would struggle not to drink wine every night. And if I did manage a few days then my god did I go on about it.

The thing is, I want to move on. If I make a mistake or sound like a tit, then I am going to own it! A sober tit if you please.

To the “just cut down, don’t drink so much” crew?

Er.. no. Because that means I have to constantly self moderate. Is that enough? Do I want more? Can I have more? Am I being an arse? Would I have said that sober? When you have to put that many thought processes either before, during or after an event such as lifting a glass of alcohol to your lips, then I don’t think that event is worth it. I’m getting older, I need my brain cells to actually fire and connect. I want to feel mentally and physically fitter. When I drink alcohol, even for just one evening out of seven, I feel dumber. The next day I am tired, emotional, stressed and anxious. I have three children and I don’t want them thinking that my drinking patterns were normal. If we are in a society where the amount I drank and the thoughts surrounding my drinking, are considered ‘normal’, then we really need to get a grip. My MO’s friend asked.. “what happens if you go to a really big party, won’t you drink then?”. My MO replied, “she doesn’t need to get drunk to get crazy, she already is crazy”.  My eldest two have told me that they prefer me sober. That speaks (painful) volumes.

Some might say that I am very brave to put this to paper on a public forum. Yep, probably. They might add that I will regret doing so. No. I don’t think so. Our country has some of the worst statistics when it comes to the drinking culture,  However, this is apparently lessening according to the Office for National Statistics. There are certainly more alcohol free drinks in the supermarket aisles than I have ever seen in my lifetime. Public Health England have a campaign about reducing alcohol consumption, and most are aware, that should alcohol be introduced as a new drug, it would be banned.  So if my ‘sharing’ is uncomfortable for you, then ask yourself why? Coz I am ok with it. If reading my blog means that just one person is tempted to look at their own drinking behaviour, then it means some good has come of it. Will I now go around bleating rhetoric every time one of my friends drink? Don’t be daft! I might be a little envious that they are still able to enjoy it, I might leave a party a little earlier (“how is that even possible?” I hear my friends laugh… yeah okay, you can have that one) but at least I won’t be passed out. Getting The Horrors the next morning, wondering who I have offended or what twattish thing I have done now. So if I am there with you whilst you drink, don’t worry that I am judging you, but equally don’t judge me for being sober because I am happy with my decision. I feel relieved and ready for my new chapter.

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This has nothing to do with my post.. I just like the fact that Tarka plays the Xbox

A New Story

Today I am going to tell you about my old story and then provide you with a draft for my new one.

I have been a little damaged as a human being. Nothing major.. no lawsuits pending, (well none that would stick).. but a bit broken nonetheless. As a result of this, I have self medicated most of my life and this has mainly been in the form of booze. With a dry January under my belt, I have felt the benefits of a (slowly) diminishing waist line and I have almost become an athlete of olympic standards.

There is the propensity to resort to my behaviour of 2017; evenings on the sofa supported with a good ol’ glass of vin de rouge whilst I guffaw at the absurdity of Ian Beale and squeal with delight when Phil Mitchell punches someone on Eastenders and says something ridiculous like “you don’t mess with the Mitchells”. Or I just scream at the tele to “oh just PISS OFF” because the story line has really become so bad that I can no longer justify to Mr P why I actually still watch this shit. Red wine was my go-to as I got ready for a rare night out.. as we had a roast on a Sunday, as I read one of the kids a story (that may or may not have been a little slurred on delivery). I fantasised about sitting in front of our roaring fire with a glass of red in hand and I will admit to trying to muffle the sound of the wine pouring in, as I topped up my glass at the same time as being on the phone to my mum. She thinks I drink drank too much.

The amounts of times I would proudly declare to my friends and family that I hadn’t drunk for ‘at least two days this week!’ are unmeasurable and I have lost count of the amount of times I have alluded to the fact that I know I drink too much. Or that I have bored friends and family with the plans to cut down drinking. We all knew I had a problem but because I was so open about it, I felt like I had almost vindicated myself. And because I don’t crave booze in the morning or get the shakes when I have a few days off, I was content to justify that I wasn’t an actual alcoholic.. I just needed to reign it in a bit. But it’s a funny thing, quitting booze. It’s practically frowned upon. Now if I said I was going to stop smoking, everyone would have slapped me on the back and told me that it was about time. Not so with alcohol. Our society, so ensconced in the voluptuous arms of the delicious nectar which warms, enlivens and caresses our bodies and minds, doesn’t appear to relish the idea of someone cutting it out. It appears to almost instil a sense of fear.

So last night, I did an experiment. I didn’t actually particularly want to drink but I was curious as to how it would make me feel. So, I had two small glasses of red wine whilst I had a marvellous back massage from the EO and then read my book. First of all I noticed the smell and taste. It was very similar to the alcohol free (AF) wine from Rawsons Retreat, Tesco. Like with the AF wine, I didn’t seem to relish the wine and there was still no buzz. I finished my glass and fell into a deep sleep, waking at 3am and noting the slight dehydration. At 6.30am I felt the tightened skull as it threatened a headache and I felt a little depleted. A little bit robbed. I slightly wished I could unread all the books on alcohol and how utterly shit it is. How it really does play havoc with your neural plasticity, how it really does fuck up your REM sleep and leaves you feeling low as your brain battles to correct the stimulation the alcohol causes as it hits your brain, leaving you anxious and low in the morning. As I argued with my MO at his billionth tantrum this week, I cried.

However, mid journey to uni, I realised I didn’t have to continue on this same path. I could reinvent my story. I don’t have to replay the same guilt ridden arguments between Shit Me and Good Me, I can go back to being alcohol free. And I might even enjoy drinking occasionally and IF I drink, it will be because it is what I want to do. The moment I feel guilt, I stop. The moment I start berating myself, I stop. And if I can’t drink without doing that? Then I don’t drink anymore.

I have had a month of feeling bloody marvellous (albeit fucking bored in the evenings…. yeah that’s still a work in progress) and so here’s my draft… it’s quite simple.. in fact it’s practically a one-liner..

My New Story

From now on, what I do will be without guilt.

If I am sober, I will not feel guilty to those who would prefer I drank and if I drink, I will not feel guilty to my Self who would prefer me to be sober. 

The End. 

In other words.. I am now gonna shut the fuck up about my non-alcohol/little-bit-of-alcohol/oh-hell-I-am dying from alcohol levels of consumption!!

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Looking for my Self (idiot.. I was there all along)

No Title Today

Good arvo all…

I‘ve been reading back through my blog entries..  I am a bit of a twit aren’t I? Suppose I ought to apologise or something but to be honest, it is my propensity to twitness that keeps me going.

I am currently 27 days sober as part of my Dry January pledge and today, as I am making my thousandth attempt to reshape my body, I took MO with me to ParkRun in Worthing. We had a good old chat about the fact that he wouldn’t be stopping constantly as Mum really is training to be an athlete after all and needs to work on her.. erm.. form and stamina. He agreed he would either keep up or let me run ahead. Unfortunately his anxiety got the better of him which meant we stopped. Quite a bit. And then…  after I had faithfully stuck with him despite crying inside.. the little sod SPRINTED to the end. Leaving his poor bloody mother struggling with her calf muscles seizing up (because she had stopped and started so many times), coming in 19 secs behind him! The absolute audacity. So that’s it. He is banned from ever running with me ever again.

I have also decided that as I am nearing to the end of January, I am now going to be do 100 days dry. I haven’t felt this healthy since I was born and even then I was on the verge of malnourishment at one point apparently, so in fact one could say that I am literally the healthiest I have EVER been. I am still wobbly and rotund (the LO loves telling me that I still have a fat belly, each and every time he gets the opportunity. He now lives outside.). Even Mr P has been sober (although he admitted to two small (large) gins last night at a friend’s house. I gave him a particularly pitying look and nodded in a very understanding, albeit sanctimonious, way. He is now currently out on a bike that he has rescued from underneath a tarpaulin at the end of the garden. I have no idea how well it works. Guess time will tell. If he’s not back this evening I shall presume that either it collapsed mid-pedal or he just cycled to the pub and is refusing to leave.

I have found a great FB group that is really supportive and not at all preaching or judgey. Which is great because I already have children who are willing to fulfil that requirement. If anyone (like literally anyone) is actually reading this and needs/wants to address their relationship with alcohol.. I recommend reading a couple of books that I have read recently (This Naked Mind – by Annie Grace and Alcohol Explained – by William Porter). Also joining a FB group might be more your cup of tea than joining another well known anonymous group. Plus if you join the Dry January challenge, you can set it for a year and see the little tea cups mounting up as you tick off the days. Marvellous.

Not drinking has made me address a lot of things. My dependence on alcohol as a social crutch, a stress crutch, a relaxing crutch. I knew my consumption was mounting but I was also aware that so were my stress levels. My inability to just be content. The constant striving to do the next thing. In the past 3 weeks I have had time to contemplate about the changes that being sober bring upon you. Yes it can be hard and frustrating and with that brings the resounding resentment but this is usually in fits and starts and abates as the time goes on. I wake in the morning feeling glorious in the knowledge that I am not hungover. That if I feel shit it’s because I just happen to feel shit. That I haven’t brought it upon myself and with that I shoot yet another arrow at the Shitty Guilt Fairy who usually resides on my shoulder. In fact.. the SGF has been pretty scarce recently. She does rear her head as the drinking memories flood in whilst driving to uni or as I do some house work. “Remember the time you passed out at so and so’s birthday party”, “remember the time you promised the kids you’d go somewhere but couldn’t because you were hungover”. I have told her to do one.. and her voice gets a little bit more tinny and pathetic as the weeks go on. I reckon she is going to have sign-on soon.. see how she likes the queues at the local Job Centre, that’ll piss her off. With her becoming more absent, I have become more present. I am starting to like myself. Those of you who know me will know that I struggle with self-esteem, despite appearing so confident. I like to jump up and down on it with studded shoes. The first 30 or so years of my life, I made a lot of bad decisions to cope with feelings of failure and resembling a misfitting puzzle piece and a lot of those decisions were fuelled by drinking too hard or any other form of self-destruction I could lay my hands on. For the first time as I looked into a mirror whilst getting ready for an exam I had this week, I actually looked into my eyes and told myself that I was doing ok. That ‘Chloe’ was alright. That finally the child who felt worthless at times, or neglected, or just plain odd.. was ok. That she was winning. Tears streamed down my face. A sense of control has taken hold. A sense of who I am has taken hold. A sense of being ok has taken hold. For the first time ever, I feel capable of doing whatever I put my mind to, without the SGF whipping my back until I bleed tears.

For once. I am actually doing ok. 

 

 

Hah! In your face Year 1!

Today I submitted my last essay of my first year in nursing. This makes for a happy Chloe. A relieved Chloe. A ‘Hah in your FACE‘ Chloe. I finally feel that I can sit back and relax for a few weeks before we go straight back in full throttle to, apparently, the worst year during the degree. What is great about writing this blog is that one can experience amnesia about the academic hypothesising that one must partake in whilst examining psychosocial aspects of nursingOh to write a Mills and Boon… the fancy pants of that! All flowery and such like. Anyway, luckily I have had a Bramble to keep me company.. She is such a darling.

 

Still, before I can really chill, I still have just under a month of placement to go with a good 2 weeks of not having a fucking clue about where I am going to stick the kids because it will be the school holidays.

I must admit I feel a little bit over this whole fucking ‘being an adult’ shite. In the mornings as I am feeling practically homicidal because Mr P has to be woken up the same amount of times as our stroppy teenager, I battle with the demons… I could, I think, just walk out… (just keep walking.. just keep walking.. (think Dora)). As the Middle One, systematically runs through all of the shitty irritating things he can do his siblings and the Little One decides he is going to emulate his brother and also be a prat.. as I realise that the kitten shit in the litter tray is only ever going to be emptied by me and that despite it already getting on the late side of ok, I will still find time to put on another wash, hang the wet one out, tidy the sofa, draw the curtains, redo the sofa, make the bed, yell at a child, do the sofa again and finally load the dishwasher.

Amazing what you can do when you put your moany mind to it, isn’t it?

On to other news, after being ripped into by a good mate about me veganism failingism, she brought me around a potted rose. Very pretty and very sweet I thought. Well.. after Saturday evening drinks with a group of lovely girlfriends, I am now awaiting a delivery worth of a fecking truckload of potted plants.. the amount of laughter at my expense means I can probably now completely redesign my garden.. so watch this space. In the meantime, here is a picture of me chooks…

And here are some of the LOVELY dishes I have made and eaten and (listen up plant buyers) enjoyed… Roasted tomato soup… Mmmmm and falafel, spinach and mushroom wrap…

 

Now, where shall I put all these new plants????

A plant based foray

Today is my first day of going vegan. I’ll be aiming to cut out all refined sugar, yeast and the one I’m probably least happy about… booze. All for 26 days. This is because I have just planned a last minute birthday shindig on 22nd July and will be going yurting in Cornwall in August where I am hoping to don a bikini (if the weather manages to allow it) and don’t really fancy looking or feeling like this anymore.

As you can see I have an incredibly bloated abdomen which is accompanied by lots of lovely sounds and smells. Nice. I am not sticking it out, honestly.

I have a couple of fungal infections caused by too much candida that seems to having a right good ol’ time raging inside and outside my body. My hair is getting thinner, PMT worse and I am smellier than I used to be. Delightful eh?

I have battled with my ethical demons for many years and with a couple of extra stone for the past 8. So going plant based seems like a good option. Unfortunately I like the taste of meat – not something I am particularly proud of but there you have it. I don’t anticipate this to be the easiest three and half weeks but I am hoping that by the end of it, the benefits outweigh the cravings and that’ll lead to a healthier life with a clearer conscious.  However, I am going to the South of France with two uni friends in August as well.. not sure how easily the cheese will get past me unswallowed (word?) and I already know that red wine will most definitely be drunk!

 

Day 27 eh? (Sobriety tales)

And here I am.. on day 27 of the no drinking lark. To be honest, I am absolutely fecking flabbergasted that I am here. No alcohol (de nada, niente, rien) has passed my lips since the 30th of September. I won’t deny that I took an exceptionally long inhale (x 3) of some red wine on Tuesday night as some friends and I sat round the table, chewing the cud. I also won’t deny that it has taken some equally exceptional willpower and mental strength not to throw my arms up dramatically into the air and scream ‘fuck iiiiiiiiiiit’, whilst galloping on my pretend steed (another story for another time) to the local Co-Op, making use of my student discount to buy a bottle of said red. But I haven’t given in (yet, there is another 4 days to go after all) and that is partly thanks to… drum roll please….introducing my new friend……Beck’s Blue..

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Apparently it’s shite in comparison to the Nanny State beer (which is being purchased as we speak by Mr P).. I’ll consume and let you know.

So despite hating Fridays as there is a severe lack of punctuation marking the end of the working week, there have been some might good points to this sobriety lark. For ease of vision, they are set out below:

  • Weight loss – yup.. combined with some better eating since July, have in total lost a stone. Not a huge amount but enough to be noticed and to spur me on further with it.
  • Better skin.. my face has got less defined wrinkles… Fact.
  • Nicer person (well, within reason, let’s not make this account unbelievable) – my stroppiness is a bit better and more silliness has come to the fore.. much to the delight of the kids.
  • Memory and cognition seem sharper – to be fair it was so crap, any improvement is miraculous.
  • I carry less guilt which on it’s own makes me feel lighter, less self-flagellating going on = less pain
  • I’d say more money but that’s a load of rubbish.. having just spent any savings on fixing the car and buying myself stuff simply because I wasn’t spending it on booze..

Will I continue with it? – well, I need to get past this Saturday night first as Mr P and I are going out out and I have the option of buying a Golden Ticket (basically you donate £15 to your own fund to have the night ‘off’ from being sober so that you can have a drink) and therefore I am torn. I have found though that I get the placebo effect from drinking alcohol free/shit beer and in fact even sound a bit pissed when I have had a couple. I also LOVE not having hangovers or the horrors the next morning. Will that be enough to keep me away in future? Can I just drink at weekends or at occasions? I’d like to think so but this is a difficult one to play.. if I act all stern and tell myself that I will never drink again.. well I might as well just open a pub… buuuut.. if I try and remain nonchalant about it.. I might just trick myself into being sensible. Might.

 

9 days sober…

I have done 9 days without the tiniest sip of anything alcoholic. This is quite big news in the Land of the Petit’s. Not gunna lie, I have struggled. Teetotalism seems to happen something like this..

Day 1 to 5 you wake up feeling great. No gasping for water at any point during the night, no camels scratching around in your mouth in the morning… and you wake up in the morning, not in the early hours, feeling like shite. You hop, skippity skip to wherever you need to be, trying to drop your saintliness into every possible void in a conversation..”oh yes, I don’t drink you see.. I am a Bhuddist now.. Enlightenment is really only just round the corner.. Oooh I thnk I see it!”and off you levitate to catch up with it.

Day 6 – 9 appears to go somewhat differently. One could say, a little bit more angrily. There is a definite tetchiness in the air. Especially when you have had a bit of a tête a tête with a new lecturer and who you now detest with every fibre in your body. A body that now hurts rather a lot. No not withdrawal, more muscle strains and ligament pulls because you have either run or yoga’d your body into submission because by god, if there is anything that is going to be come out of this self-induced hell of red wine deprivation every fecking evening, then it will be a body of supermodel standards!! (Failing that, a bit thinner than it currently is).

It’s the sinking into the sofa with glass in hand that I miss. The ‘ahhh…’ moment as the kids dissolve into their beds and the evening becomes mine.. armed with needles, or hooks and Benders on the tele.

The remaining 21 days are stretching gloomily in front of me. I mean half-term is in 2 weeks.. what do I do then? And going through counselling weekly is really not the best time to give up your mental crutch… as you start to see the patterns in your behaviour amongst your new peers at uni and how you behaved at school which relates to life from birth which probably has something to do with how your Mum and Grandmother were treated by their parents who didn’t know how to communicate either because of something that happened to them in the first World War… you get the drift. I cried to and from uni on Friday – reeling from the wounds that were scratched open the night before.. listening to a song that let me drown in it’s sadness.

It’s ok.. I have kind of half pulled myself together. I do love the fact that I feel so much bouncier.. and I am slowly losing weight.. and I don’t have blood sugar crashes as often and I won’t deny it, Yoga with Adriene is definitely helping although she does say ‘baby’ a little too often for my liking.. (she does say other things that are quite funny and I love all the different practices she does.. anything from yoga for anxiety to anger to sore legs to hangovers to weightloss). And running is great, even if my right hamstring is in denial. Managed 29:12 minutes for my last Parkrun… snot bad…