300 days sober
I used to hate the saying “I’m on a journey”, in the same way I hate all those corporate ‘buzz words’. It’s basically people kissing arse to climb the ladder in a sickening desperate way.
- Hit the ground running – usually has me rolling my eyes 🙄
- Can I borrow you for a second? – no, but you can talk to me for a few minutes
- Amazeballs – what?
- No brainer – eh?
- Move the goalposts? – usually from someone who can’t stand football
- Let’s touch base – this is my favourite! 😂 What’s wrong with “can we have a catch up?”?
Give me a break and start talking normal. The same people send an email 500 words long when they could get straight to the point in a couple of sentences. Drives me mad!
Anyway, the point of the above is, I’ve realised I HAVE been on a journey (yes, I know I’m contradicting myself as I write) and it’s been the biggest and most important journey of my life. Once I accepted I have a problem with alcohol my thinking process started to change almost immediately. I’ve accepted that I AM 100% responsible for everything that has happened in my life through alcohol and nobody else is to blame. I’ve learned a lot about myself over the last 10 months and I’ve finally started to accept a lot of things I’ve struggled with for a very long time:-
- Some things I can’t change and that’s OK
- Anxiety is a normal feeling and it’s OK to worry sometimes – it means I care!
- It’s OK to feel sad sometimes – it means I have real feelings!
- It’s OK to say no if you’re not comfortable with a certain situation
- It’s OK for people to have a negative view of me – everyone is entitled to their opinion and that’s none of my business
- I can be happy without ‘stuff’ and I know it won’t always be like that
- Self love is mega! – until you love yourself you’ll never make anyone else happy
- My social life and friends really do need to come before my relationship/partner
- Music and a cup ‘o’ tea makes everything better 😉
- Alcohol really was the reason behind most of my problems in life
- I can have a better time sober and guess what? You feel great the day after and my bank balance still looks fresh too!
I could go on and on but I’d be here all day. For a long time I was spending too much time trying to live as a person I’m not and trying to make other people happy which was ultimately damaging my own mental health. I’m an introverted person and I was using alcohol to live an extroverted life.
Somebody pointed me in the direction of this personality test. They work for one of the main high street retailers and this was something the company asked all employees to complete. The test takes about 15 minutes and it really is mind-blowing when you read the results! It made me think a lot about myself, why I behave in a certain way and made me question why I’ve made some decisions I have. I didn’t realise how introverted I actually am until I did that test!
Something else that seems to be happening more frequently is people telling me about their drinking habits and the fact they know they’re drinking too much. If you can drink alcohol and handle the feelings of a hangover without it affecting your every day life then great, I’m really happy for you and wish I could do the same. The reality is, I can’t and I’ve accepted that. I’ve always said I’m not going to preach but I may have to take that back for a moment. If you’re regularly feeling depressed, anxious, worried, angry, sad, guilty after drinking alcohol, you have a problem with it. I know people will disagree and that’s fine. I was making excuses for years then eventually when I stopped drinking all those horrible feelings disappeared and I had to admit I was wrong. Accepting I have a drink problem is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. I don’t mean just admitting in your head ‘yeah I’ve got an issue with drink’. I mean really accepting it, opening yourself up and letting that thought completely take control of your body. To be honest, I think it’s one of those things that you only know you’ve done when it’s actually happened.
Then there’s the people who ask what I drink when I go out and how available are alcohol free drinks. There’s a programme on TV tonight where Adrian Chiles will be talking about this. I’ll be at Old Trafford watching my beloved Manchester United when it’s on so I’ll have to record it but from the tweet I saw, I’m already guessing he’s going to be saying AF drinks aren’t available in a lot of places. I started drinking alcohol free beers at Christmas when I started to struggle and since then I’ve been enjoying them ever since. There’s a massive amount of choice whether you like beers, wine, cider, spirits or even cocktails! People just need to ask for them and look in the right places. Every bar I go to I ask if they have any AF beers and 9 times out of 10 they do. If I know I’m going to be at the venue for a long period of time I will contact them before I go so I know what to expect. I recently went out with my friend and we called at about 6 bars. I was surprised at the selection of AF drinks and only one of them gave me Becks Blue (which is what you usually find in most places). I must admit though paying over a fiver for some mixed fruit juice is a bit extreme but I was never a big cocktail drinker anyway. I’ve found that most AF drinks are usually £1 cheaper than the alcohol version. People sometimes say “why drink an alcohol free version when you can have an alcohol version for the same price?”. This really confuses me because I’m not drinking AF to save my bank balance. I’m drinking them to save my life! I also think they taste the same as the real thing and I feel like I’m having a beer. A lot of people will tell me they taste crap then when questioned admit they’ve never tried them or they’re going off one they tasted 10 years ago. Yeah, they did taste awful then! Times have changed and will continue to do so …
Since coming back home a few weeks ago my social life has gone through the roof. I’m absolutely loving spending time with friends and being out and about like I was before except this time I’m actually enjoying myself more! I’m having normal conversations with people rather than making myself look a tit by being in people’s faces and asking weird questions, I’m going home at a normal hour and I don’t dread looking at my phone the day after to see what ridiculous messages I decided to send or calls to make.
I’ve just got back from the World Gravy Wrestling Championships which is possibly one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever seen. It’s a big thing in Rossendale where I’m from and they’ve been competing for years now but I’ve never been able to make it until today. It’s definitely worth a visit!
Now I’m going to get ready for the football … come on United!!!
Thanks for reading and enjoy what’s left of your bank holiday weekend.