The dreaded patio - one from the vaults ( 2014) by Kate

alcohol alcohol-free kate baily lovesoberpodcast recovery sober sobriety wellness Apr 29, 2020

Its taken me a while to work out why things haven't been as plain sailing on my old AF sea of life just lately. Of course there was the stuff at work, the poorly kids, the money worries and the dreaded TOTM that kicked me off into anxiety mode.

Don't get me wrong, that all sucked and it was a case of just putting one foot in front of the other for a month it so. But there was another prong to the pointy thing that the wine witch was was trying to pitch fork me over the edge with. Two in fact: sunshine and nostalgia. Her nasty little pointy tripod of stress, sunshine and nostalgia.

As I was coming out of the anxiety and darkness of last month, the gorgeous sunny days and my blooming garden called me outside, and she whispered questions about where the glass of wine was as I sat on the patio - my space to exhale with a glass ( read bottle) once the kids were down and my sneaky place to smoke.

Then there were people laughing and enjoying themselves outside pubs on pavements as I left work. My reward centres kicked off big time , whilst at the same time being eight months AF meant I didn't have a recent memory of a hangover to remind me why I'm AF. It suddenly felt like bloody hard work. So I'm there, working away, coming down from the anxiety episodes looking for things to distract me and everywhere there she is dancing her pointy dance and laughing and whispering.

Anyhow, after a few days of sun and one of torrential rain I realised how powerful my link is with sun and booze. So many summers spent drinking, so many holidays spent drinking. Perhaps I really was being too hard on myself? The rose tinted specs were firmly in place, I felt as if I was missing out for the first time since before Xmas. I always drank more in the summer, justified it as ' relaxing ' ( nothing really very relaxing about counting the minutes till 5 o'clock ( wine o'clock) and trying to stick to the half a bottle before putting kids to bed, and waking up the next morning dehydrated and head pounding of course).

When the heavens opened however, all I wanted was a cup of tea. I suddenly remembered that I haven't done a complete cycle of a year yet, still so many firsts. Now it's my first spring and summer sober for twenty five odd years. Many years of habits to rewire, associations that come up from time to time.

The strategy kicks, I did deep -  I am boot camping myself and getting the ammo back in place, reading Jason vale and sober revolution again. I imagine myself in fatigues amongst the tulips shooting down glasses of white wine in a row, yelling 'ten green bottles' at the top of my lungs! I feel a sense of fight coming back. But I am so tired of it being a fight. 

Today, I was up in the attic when I came across some old diaries. One from a couple of years ago, one from six years ago. Nearly every page I looked at had a reference to alcohol and the goals I'd write down to try to moderate, the remorse and self hatred the morning after leapt off page after page, the deluded conversations after two or three days sober, about really feeling I could control it. Just the endless bollocks, caught up with this conversation , this relationship. I am so relieved I didn't drink.

The rose tinted specs are off and I remember now why I stopped drinking. I'm finding Becks Blue helpful. I seem to get the same ' dialling down' effect with it as I used to with wine. Association I think. And it's mad. It goes down quickly and then I'll have another and I noted to myself that that would already have been more units than I should have in a day if it was real lager. That helps me to remember that if I did drink, god forbid, it would never be ' just the one'. Never was, never will be. Let's keep each other strong this spring and summer. I imagine other sober sisters  stalking through beer gardens and open air cafés with secret salutes on guard against the summer offensive. Keep the faith y'all . Kx

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