Ten Keys to a happy sober YOU!

1000 DAYS! by Mandy x

May 13, 2020

Today is 1000 days. I have to say I love the milestones, how nice is it to be doing something positive for yourself and then spend all day being congratulated by people! Gee thanks guys, smug grin, y'all the best, oh stop… Oh ok then… THANKS yep I am happy; yep I am proud yes I am SMUG AF! Big milestones always make me reflective when I started this journey on Dec 27th 2013. I was so broken, I would go on Soberistas every night I would log on read messages, reply, blog, I would drink again, stop again and start again. It never ceases to amaze me the power of community and also the power of following through on your gut feelings, being brave. Lucy Rocca was brave, followed her gut and created a community - how incredible is that? We in our way were brave and followed our gut and created a podcast knowing that maybe just maybe there was a need to have these conversations out loud, put a voice to these incredible conversations we were having about self-care, mental health and the joys of sobriety on sober communities. When I finally quit on 17th Aug 2017 it was tough, back to day 1 when I had four years in the game so to speak. I used to work out complicated calculations of how many sober days I had in relation to my drinking days, for some reason the numbers really matter to me. I guess it feels like every milestone I hit I get to cross off some of the past, it feels like evidence for me that I can do it, I am worthwhile, it was worth it and that helps me for sure. What made it stick in the end? Community irl sober friends for sure, it was that extra accountability and evidence that having a life that was sober wasn't what other people thought, it was what I knew and now I knew people that felt the same as me.

I wanted to share a couple of early blogs from Soberistas – just to illustrate that this journey wasn’t a straight line for me, there were many breaks in the chain, do I wish I was celebrating nearly 7 years sober? Sometimes, would I change my journey and all that I have learned? Never…

Soooo... created on 06-09-2015 08:23
This is me, crawling back with my tail between my legs, this is me, sneaking in the back hoping you've not noticed i've been gone. 

This is me, reading my last post and wondering, what happened...?

I think literally a week after that last post my brain took a switch, I really cannot explain - why or how...

I think perhaps it was bloody mindedness and I let my guard down. Bloody mindedness that I could drink and be happy - that I can do anything I put my mind too if I want to and more the fact that I was so high on being well, I was so positive about everything in life that I believed alcohol for me could be positive too (which it so very can't)

SO of course the news of "I’m just going to drink the 'French' way and have a couple of glasses with dinner" was welcomed by family members and friends who were my ex-drinking partners, who were happy to have and I quote 'the fun one back' - they were so visibly relieved that they could share a glass with me, that it confirmed some inner insecurity in me that I was less likable sober... So essentially I drank to make them happy, to keep the peace.

But always in the back of my mind I had this doubt - but wasn't I happier sober? Wasn't life better?

I haven't had any 'major' dramas to report, maybe 4 incidents in the last 6 months where I drank to absolute excess - something I swore I would never do again... but when you drink, you brush those under the carpet. I actually really haven’t been drinking very much - I haven't been drinking in the week and have been having perhaps half a bottle on Friday and Saturday nights with my husband and (95% of the time) I can maintain this...

BUT HEED THE WARNING.

If you wanted to stop drinking, if you have stopped drinking there is a reason, and the reason doesn’t go away!!!!

Two things have been happening and it happens so quietly...

  1. I am beginning to drink more and more, and I will continue to allow myself to drink more and more, as once you drink it's a cycle of self-justification and once you're in it - and when you start to drink more, the moments of excess increase and so does 'the danger zone' :-/
  2. I DON'T SLEEP
    One of the major reasons for why I gave up alcohol in the first place is because when I drink I don't sleep... and I now don't sleep again...

AND I WANT TO SLEEP

When you don't sleep, your whole life slowly starts to crumble... anxiety, stress, depression, health problems and this is what sets me apart from my friends and family, this is the reason I gave for stopping and this is what I have been battling with and this is why I know I can't drink!

I still cannot work out if my insomnia is really a medical problem of mine or if it's psychosomatic - because in my heart I want to stop drinking. So I need my body to give me a reason. Perhaps its linked to the major trauma in my past, whatever the reason I know, as you know too, that for me and for no one else, for my personal make up and for the many reasons and layers of the life that I have led... I AM HAPPIER SOBER.

As soon as I started drinking again I was being a people pleaser.

I missed sleeping, I missed being able to eat cake and not put on weight, I missed my bright skin, I missed being silly, I missed being proactive, I missed feeling proud of myself, I missed being able to cope, I missed QT with my kids with no stress.

As once you've been a soberista, I think you'll always want to be one.

As much as I was people pleasing, when I lay awake from 4am - I had this constant chatter in my head - but wasn't I happier sober??

I asked my husband and he said yes you were happier... What more proof do you need? I read back the last few posts? Yes I was... but alcohol is a powerful drug and even with this knowledge I have continued to drink... SO ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

So much has changed in my life over the last couple of years; I was in a very dark place. I eliminated all the stress factors, I quit my job, we quit the city, we're now living the dream that I had to be by the sea - and I haven't slept so badly in a long time. Why? Because i've been drinking...

So to steal a phrase from Gwyneth&Chris

This is me 'consciously un-alcoholing'

I HAVE MISSED YOU xxxxx

I never closed my account - isn't that all the indication I needed? x

Going round in circles... and always ending up in the same place... created on 10-04-2016 11:52

This one is always the hardest, and how many of these will I have to write, before I can be the sober person all the time, day in day out, year in year out that I crave to be...?

So to summarise from my last post until now, I spent Sept - Dec Sober. A lot was going on, we moved house, life, kids schools, my sleep took a huge downwards turn, I spent a lot of time in my house alone, worrying about the kids at school, worrying about the house, and insomnia is as ruining as any drug can be. By Christmas life was a bit more on track. I got a new doctor who put me on a months’ worth of sleeping tablets, to get me back on track, subscribed a mild antidepressant, and sent me back to therapy. He also told me that I was existing not living, I was trying everything to sleep, I’d become obsessed by it, going to bed at 9, no caffeine, no alcohol, no sugar etc. - he said I needed to live...and something switched - In my head this meant I could drink again, my brain was gonna get fixed, my sleep was going to get fixed. So green light a go !!! He was confident I could moderate. He's French, I live in France, and he said I could drink like a French person... I thought I could... I couldn't imagine being at my in-laws for Christmas and not enjoying the wine, the cheese, the whole affair. I was sick of existing and not living. So I began drinking again...

Fast forward to now, and why am I back here again? Crying out, help me stay sober.

Because as much as I can moderate, I can drink like the French, I can be an adult, I can be proud of how I approach alcohol. I can't do it all the time, I always slip up, and when you have to fall from the top of a mountain with the weight of the world on your shoulders - that question creeps back - wasn’t I happier sober? Wasn’t it easier? Didn’t I have more space to breath? Didn’t I feel lighter? (both physically ha-ha - and mentally) Didn't I feel in control???

So here I am, begging for forgiveness, hoping this time will be the last time I write THIS type of blog. Hoping to continue grow and be the best version of myself.

I went to see my doctor yesterday and I had to confess that two weeks ago I went on a bender, I had had an allergic reaction to Alcohol and ask the question was this because I drank too much? He told me that yes it was, he told me I could no longer drink at parties or social situations because I lose control of my consumption. He told me that I should be able to have a glass of wine at home with my husband of good wine, but that's it. In the social arena I’m done... This hit me hard (though I am thankful for his frankness) I truly wish I could just enjoy one glass of wine, but I know I can't - his version of drinking, is so far from mine... So last night mulling over this conversation, we were watching the Voice (France) and this song came on.

https://youtu.be/6drfp_3823I

And I crumbled - this was one of my early recovery songs, it's on one of my first blog posts on here, and I sobbed my little heart out... I felt so exhausted, glass of red in my hand...I went to bed, and didn’t sleep, because you don't sleep better with wine and I woke up and this article was the first in my feed on facebook
No i don't drink - yes I know how to have fun.

Talk about signs!!
So here I am third time lucky... (Well it's technically 4, when will I learn?)

Back x created on 16-08-2017 09:11

From Dec 2013 when I joined Soberistas and now a lot has happened. I had a glorious year of sobriety after a very serious period of depression... I felt that I could change the world and therefore could do anything - then literally after my first year anniversary I had a drink and that was from then until now. Now I have come SO far in my drinking, I never drink alone, I control very well 98% of the time, I rarely drink more than half a bottle of red wine (my fav) I never drink spirits, I don't do drugs (anymore). I have achieved things whilst drinking, like getting a new job, passing my driving test... Sounds good right? Moderation is winning! It is achievable!! But you know what? Deep in my tummy, deep in me, I know I am still not free, I miss being a special sober person, I miss being half a stone lighter, having glowing skin, I miss being part of a special community in the know, that know, as I know, that life is better sober...

To be more honest about the last 4 years, I have probably had more sober time than drinking time, as what I do is I drink until I can't drink anymore and then I stop, even if I don't drink a lot, it builds little by little, my sleep deteriorates little by little, until that night when I wake at 4:30-5am and go ok, I think I can stop now, I’m done. This back and forth I have accepted as my way of coping, of my way of still being accepted into my life which is saturated by drinking. I'll just tell everyone I’m detoxing for three months while I get my brain and body back together, then I’ll hop back on the drinking train for six months until I can't take it anymore then I’ll take another break (phew my head says!) So yeah this is how it's been since I started drinking again after my year of sobriety (don't take that drink!) Exhausted? I bl***y well am!

There were moments last year on this site where some cracks were starting to form, people dealing with their own anger, their own issues started lashing out at each other, and I couldn't handle it this was my safe place and it didn't feel safe anymore. I also felt that I couldn't keep coming back and saying hey anyone remember me? Anyone wanna help me? Sorry I have been saying the same thing and making the same mistakes over and over again, please don't reject me. But I have rationalised that, that if anyone can understand my brain and how it's working it's this community, so I am sorry for appearing and disappearing, Life is a journey and I am trying to find my way.

So after that night of insomnia when I go, ok enough is enough, here I am. I clicked on and the first thing I saw was the nakedmind free download (thanks!) I watched the first video and it struck me that this is the brain shift I made before and I need to make again (and keep) that positivity, that understanding of how deeply ingrained in my subconscious these pro-alcohol ideas are. How I need to make positive choices for me. I always dread that chat with my husband AGAIN about how, “you know what I think I wanna be sober”, and how every time he says “ok, I think that would be good”. LOVE HIM! It never goes down quite the same with friends and family but then that's another blog post... I'll stick to the "I’m having a detox" story for the time being with them...

So I’m back, baby steps but I’m back... x

And that was when I cracked it :-)

There are many of these posts in between – Never give up, you don’t run out of chances to start again. Also do I have my sober date wrong lols? I thought it was the 17th hahaha

1000 days I feel like the luckiest girl alive!

Love Mandy x

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