I can’t believe I’ve managed it. Six whole months of sobriety! When I set out on this journey 6 months seemed so far away and I remember listening to a lovely lady at SMART Recovery talking about being over 6 months sober and thinking what it must be like to say that. It still blows my mind when I see or hear people talking about years of sobriety. I know I’ll get there but I can’t think of that right now. It really is each day at a time and I think it will always be like that. I’m so proud of myself for getting this far and being able to finally knock the drink on the head. For years I would wish I was one of those people who just don’t like the taste of alcohol. Or I wanted to be one of those that choose not to drink alcohol. I am now and I have been for 6 whole months 😀I’m also less moody, healthier, happier, stronger, less anxious and my depression has disappeared.
I’ve learnt a lot about myself in these last 6 months:-
- I now know a lot of my drinking was to hide feelings. Not all the time, some of it was just to go out and party with friends which was amazing and I always had a great time but the morning after; sometimes even days after was horrendous. The guilt, anxiety and depression was sometimes unbearable. That’s when the red wine would come out. Then the vicious circle starts all over again. I’ve heard people in recovery speaking about ‘feeling again’ and I never understood what they meant. Now I know exactly what they mean. I’m feeling real emotion and I’m dealing with my emotions in the correct way, like I’m supposed to. It probably sounds ridiculous that I’ve never done this before but that’s what happens when you start drinking regularly from an early age. You don’t experience real feelings. Alcohol stops you from having real feelings. I wouldn’t go more than 3 days without having a drink and it takes that amount of time for alcohol to leave our system in some cases. So basically I was never giving my body enough time to recover and experience real feelings and I did that for the best part of 20 years!
- I now know that I never ever solved anything with alcohol. I just used it to temporarily block out my problems and usually ended up causing more problems for myself by behaving like an idiot and saying things I wouldn’t dream of when sober. My original problems were still there when I woke in the morning, accompanied by more problems and a head full of guilt, anxiety and depression.
- I now know I can enjoy myself without drinking alcohol. People have contacted me asking this quite a lot and my answer is always that I’m having more fun and enjoying myself more than I ever did whilst drinking. I’m also the real Claire and not the dickhead party animal that people used to avoid and get annoyed with. I’m still able to enjoy a beer but without the alcohol. I could argue with people until I’m blue in the face about AF beer but unless you try it you’ll never know. It’s also a lot more available than most people think.
- I’m now quite proud to tell people I don’t drink. It’s not an issue for me and I’m not constantly worrying about what answer to give when the question is asked. I simply say “I don’t drink”. Six months ago I didn’t think I’d ever be able to say those words. But what I’ve also realised is, it’s no one’s business anyway. I could be on medication, driving or training for an event. People shouldn’t ask the question really but they do and that won’t stop.
- I do not ever want to drink alcohol or experience feeling drunk again. It’s not good for me and I’m a much better person without it. I’m the person I’ve always wanted to be and starting to live the life I’m supposed to live. For a change the future is looking very positive.
I’m still having to make changes though. I have a holiday booked to Fuerteventura in a few weeks and I’ve done a lot of thinking about this recently. When the weather was great a couple of weeks ago I felt a trigger that I wasn’t expecting. It was the sunshine! I missed that feeling of leaving work on a gorgeous sunny day and going straight to the pub with everyone from work. Obviously I could have gone and drank AF beer or diet coke but that wasn’t the problem. The main thing on the mind of some people going was to ‘get pissed’. I decided being around these people wasn’t the best idea so went straight home and took some time out to think things through. I’d gotten cocky and it was the kick up the arse that I needed. As a result of this I’ve decided I’m going to start going back to my recovery meetings. I probably just need that reminder once in a while that I do have a drink problem and although some days are pretty easy now and I can deal with situations I once struggled with, there is always that chance of being taken by surprise. I’ve mentioned in My first 5 steps changes that I’ve had to make and this is one of them. I’ll probably always have to rethink situations but that’s fine, because as long as it keeps me sober that’s all that matters.
My holiday was a present to myself but instead I’m going to spend the week in the UK with family and friends. I’ve realised I still need to be around people who understand my recovery and the fact I want to stay sober and how important it is to me.
I got lucky with the online dating recently as well. I’m not going into too much detail but let’s just say I’ve met an amazing person, I’m very optimistic and don’t want to jinx it!