I’ve said it before that writing this blog is a great way of working through my thoughts and feelings, a type of therapy. This type of working through feelings is still all new to me, I never dealt with the feelings before, I just drank to numb them and block them out.
Almost 4 years ago my wonderful Dad passed away, quite suddenly. This left a massive gaping hole our family and our lives.
Personally is I absolutely used it as an excuse to hit the bottle even harder than normal, I cried more….every single day, I was incredibly sad as you would expect. So for 2 years I was even more out of control, by the day. My alcohol consumption increased massively and I was a complete and utter knob by this time. You’d think watching my dad drink extremely heavily for years would have made me steer well clear of the life destructive poison, but no! I wasn’t the type of person to be sensible.
Anyway, today I went to Kenmore in Scotland where Dad’s final resting place is, I’ve been here a few times before and each time I’ve been incredibly blackout drunk and out of control. We had a family wedding up here in 2015 my brother got Married when dad was still alive, he passed away a few months later. We then came up again to scatter dads ashes here in 2017, we came back up the year after to visit…. all 3 events extremely alcohol fueled. Today I came back to Kenmore 15 months sober, no poison left in my body and absolutely in the best place of my life ever!
I called just to say ‘Hi’ today and see this beautiful place that will always remain one of my favourite places I’ve ever been. However, It did get me wondering…. did my Dad know how much I’ve completely turned my life around? did he know I’d graduated from my Degree and have letters after my name? did he know I was now a Procurement Manager? did he know I was an ultra-marathoner and that I’d co-founded a massive running club for all abilities? Did he know I still raised thousands of pounds each year for cancer charities to help others and did he know I’d been nominated for 2 ‘Inspired Women’ awards this year?
My thoughts are yes he will know, and I suspect and like to think that he’d be very proud of his little girl! Xx
PS. Thanks to Pete for taking a 2 hours detour to say Hi to Dad x
So you thought it was a good idea and thought you’d be fine, but now you might be getting twitchy, anxious, bored and narky. Your mind might be wondering – ‘Could I just have one drink?’ It would take away the boredom right? So, I thought I’d be nice and come up with some suggestions to keep you occupied. You need to occupy your time, brain and body! Ready….
• Go for a walk, run or swim • Walk the dog, if you don’t have one, borrow one • De-clutter your wardrobe • Do yoga on you tube or from an app • Meditate • Colour in, buy an adult colouring book and some felt tips – I have seen sweary ones, rude animal ones, mandalas and unicorn themed colouring books! I bet you are on amazon looking at the rude Animals one now 😉 • Jigsaw, Board games, Sudoku, brain teasers • Join an online forum for sober people, or dry Januaryers, or such • Go to go ape • Sign up for a new challenge • Sort out your utensil draw • Batch cook • Go to the cinema • Go for coffee with a sober or dry January friend • Have a lie in and watch a movie in bed with a brew • Make a 30, 60, 90 day life plan • Start a blog • Keep a journal • Get crafty – Crochet or knit • Volunteer • Watch cheesy movies • Find a new box set • Telephone a friend • Go to the Gym • Try Boogie bounce or something that’s going to get you active but make you laugh • Go to a comedy show • Go to the theatre • Have a bubble bath with candles • Treat yourself to a new book
There you go, don’t tell me you are bored now! I know some of these things cost money and take time and effort, but this is what you will have more of as a result of not drinking, I promise!
I hope you have had a wonderful festive season and looking forward to whatever normality has in store for you, I’ve spent the whole day in PJ’s eating copious amounts of food after doing 2 park runs this morning! Definitely not normality – but thats OK, my body needed a rest and some food and i’ll give my body what it needs.
I’ve had a life admin hour this afternoon too, still in PJ’s. I’ve booked the accommodation for the 2 ultra challenges i’m doing in May and June. I’ve booked a trail half marathon (my first ever half marathon) for February. I’ve booked an afternoon tea in a few weeks with my freind Aimi and after writing this blog I’m getting back on the couch for some more TV bullshit.
I have signed up for Red January which is about being active everyday to promote better mental health and beat any January Blues. I tried Red January last year and burnt myself out after 7 days so have plotted in my activities for this January but in more manageable distances / sessions. I’m doing walking, running, yoga and swimming.
I have a nice day planned for tomorrow, a bit of exercise, then the theatre with my Mum to watch the Bodyguard and then a little break in Llandudno for me and Pete. cant wait!
What did you today for you? Did you think about your goals for 2020 or will they wait until another day. I hope you have at least have had some self care time today.
Healthy debate in our house this week! Dry January has been discussed a lot – I personally think that anything that makes people ‘pause’ and evaluate their relationship with alcohol is a massive, positive thing. I get it’s only for a set period BUT what if some of the people who have a 31 day break, realise the massive benefits and carry on for a longer period, or even abstain for good. Then Dry January is worth it. It also raises awareness of the dependency on alcohol in our culture.
Its only when you go sober you realise how utterly obsessed we have become with alcohol that we have to have set times of the year to detox our bodies. But again, I’d rather have dry January than not, some people would just go crazy all year round like I used to do. I once did dry January, and lasted until day 7. I’m pretty sure I drank daily since then and this was back in 2015.
Pete’s Opinion! (Always different to mine!)
“Hi everyone” I’m going to make myself absolutely clear before I start; I’m not taking anything away from you or anyone that wants to do dry January. It’s a great starting point full stop not because it’s January but it’s fantastic that you want to give it a go and see how you feel! So genuinely good on ya! If you’re doing dry January, you’re already gearing your mind up and taking control which is fantastic, and do not let anyone deter you!
Let’s discuss the fact that before Christmas we have Stoptober, again well done if you did this but think, since October to now have you stopped drinking or slowed down? “If you have, you’re a fucking rock star, keep it up! It gets easier” If you did it and it felt great and you slotted back into drinking on a regular basis and then like most, took December & Christmas as the time to catch up on what you missed out on in October? I just want you to take minute and think, if you’re going to do dry Jan what’s different about it now to October or any other month for that matter? Why do it to yourself again?
Dry January for the ones that just concentrate on Dry Jan, great! Fantastic start and you will feel the benefits but let’s be realistic, it coincides with lots of other faddy January stuff. People do have a tendency to change too much too soon. And this is where we are setting ourselves up to fail.
Let’s put it into perspective, it’s no small feat to go a month without alcohol, it’s stitched within the fabric of our society, so you’re taking the leap to be the odd one out, which is brave decision to be making in the first instance.
Therefore my one bit of advice that I want to share with you, if you’re doing dry January is to just tackle Dry January! On its own! I’m a big believer in doing one thing at a time and doing it really well, bit of a no-brainer really. Which, by making the new unfamiliar changes, like not drinking for a period of time the norm; all because you have just one major goal. By doing this you will create a foundation to build upon, and you’ll be more likely to achieve said goal.
I say this from experience! I found that the Diet and Exercise along with all the other things you want will absolutely come after you get clarity of mind; this clarity is the base of the structure that you will build everything else on. Don’t try and do too much in January and don’t make too many changes!
Right; I have shared my view on things and I wanted to give you my honest opinion.
“Do one thing at a time, do that one thing to the best of your ability, the rest will follow”
Back to Sue……
Bloody hell, he got carried away…….
I agree on some of those points and yes the whole ‘New Start New Me’ thing is faddy and in some instances only lasts so long and when you go back to old behaviours, you can sometimes go back a few steps and feel worse than ever. BUT I still think anyone embarking on dry January deserves a great big pat on the back and I shall be posting more some inspiration, who to follow on Instagram, which books to read, some general help and support to help those that are embarking on Dry January or moderate drinking. I will also be doing the alcohol free drinks reviews I promised!
Super good luck to you all taking part in Dry January
Graduation – I earned my degree in Procurement after 7 long years! Most people take 3 years, but I drank all the way through mine and I’m convinced this made me take longer as I failed so many exams. The last exam which I had already failed 3 times, I passed within a few weeks of going sober.
Ultra marathon – In June I completed an ultra-marathon event raising £1,250 for Sarcoma UK. This was by far the furthest my legs had carried me, at 36 miles (58KM) it took almost 17 hours to complete, of which 13 hours was moving. This was as much a mental challenge as it was physical, I signed up to that challenge to celebrate my sobriety.
Climbed Mountains – during my ultra-training I climbed Scafell Pike (England’s highest Peak) – not for the first time, but I certainly found it so much easier without the overwhelming amount of toxins in my body! The sense of achievement and the feeling of ‘being alive’ at the top is something I won’t forget! I also climber Snowdon too a few months later, again memorable!
Achieved sobriety for 1 year – In October I celebrated my first complete year of sobriety, I got bought a beautiful watch, a day at Lytham St Ann’s in a beach hut and lots of cards from my friends! It was a wonderful celebration.
Started a New Running Group – In July we started a new running group in Whitefield, we didn’t even research if people needed this or would turn up, but we though if no-one does, we’ll just go and run ourselves. Well 107 people the first week and we have had consistently high numbers since, it’s safe to say the need for the club was there!
Awarded Learner of the Year award at work – I must have got this for taking 7 years to pass my exams ha ha! It was such a shock though and awarded me for passing my exam and having my letters after my name, but also encouraging my team to study and develop themselves too.
Nominated for an ‘Inspiring Women’ award, Fitness & Wellbeing category – This was a recent shock, but very welcome. Very honoured to have been nominated and I’ve since learned it was by multiple people – I assume for the work with Run Together Whitefield, which is of course a team effort.
Friendships – I’ve mentioned before (just once or twice! Ha) about friends being such a big part of my life this past year and I really do have the best most supportive ones without a doubt! They are my rocks and friends for life- cheesy I know, but it’s true.
My Relationship with Pete – I don’t think we actually knew each other properly before, I know that seems extreme, but we were either hammered or hung over, all of the time – this year we have spent time together and got to know each other – it’s just as well we like each other, that could have easily backfired ha ha!
My Training Mojo – It well and truly ‘disappeared’ after my ultra-challenge in June – anything following June I really had to force myself to put my trainers on, I hated it. In fact if we hadn’t of started Run Together Whitefield, I’d have sat on my arse for 6 months! I’ve been active running the group, I’m always at the back, but at least I’m there and moving. But in 2020 I must try harder AND not let my mojo do a runner after my ultra-challenges.
You’ll notice there isn’t a lot of bad stuff, but this doesn’t mean I wasn’t sad sometimes or a little flat. I know I’m extremely lucky to lead the life I do and I appreciate it every single day. I also try and put myself in people’s shoes that are not living such a positive life.
The ugly (uncomfortable)
The low point for me this year was leaving behind a running group I had been with for a number of years and it had played a pivotal part in my life. I made numerous friendships and engaged in and utilised the support network in and around this group. I was a massive part of my life! Gosh this was tough, it was tough to make the decision, but clarity in my sober head meant I absolutely made the right decision to walk away from something I felt so passionate about. I had various concerns and so I was determined to do the right thing. What followed was such a lonely time and space, with lots of sleepless nights, I was absolutely sure I’d done the right thing morally, but I’d left and lost friends by walking away.
Looking forward to 2020 – Is the subject of tomorrow’s blog post and so for now, I wish you all a Happy New Year and thank you for the friendships and support this year.
Well there have been tears of absolute joy this morning, I get so much junk e-mail I was clicking to delete everything and saw an e-mail from Inspire awards 2020 that jumped out. Upon opening it is said I’d been nominated for The 2020 INSPIRE AWARDS in the fitness and well-being category.
Now, I’ve only been nominated, not shortlisted and I haven’t got my frock and acceptance speech ready, but it’s a bloody big deal to have been nominated, really big deal to me. I’m so honoured to have been thought of. It’s a really glitzy big bash and some of the most inspiring people I’ve met attend it from all walks of life. I messaged the person I thought may have nominated me and she told me it was actually my son, I cried even more then. How amazing that my 21 year old son thought I was inspiring enough to be nominated for a bloody big award. I’m so thrilled to be a positive influence on my kids, that makes a nice change.
Now some of you may think, ‘What on earth has she done‘ to inspire others and you may not know, but me and a few running friends started the most amazing running group almost 6 months ago. Run together Whitefield. It’s been the biggest whirlwind of a journey, we didn’t expect people to show up but then 100 people per week came and chaos set in. Good chaos though!
As a small group we found amazing new run leaders, raised funds for them to get trained, organised sessions, organised socials, researched run routes and took our wonderful community running group from strength to strength rather rapidly. We have helped approximately 40 people through a couch to 5k program and graduate at our local park run. We now have new programs starting in January to take people beyond 5k, I’m so excited to be part of this huge positive thing!
So this nomination isn’t just for me, it’s for all those Run Leaders who I now call friends, volunteers, the runners that believe in us and the wonderful running community who come from other clubs to offer support and advice and help before we even have to ask. I now have more friends than I’ve had in my lifetime. Phew!
I know that sounded like an acceptance speech ha ha – Thank you Daniel for nominating me Xx
PS. This absolutely would have never happened if I hadn’t been sober, my sobriety has meant I am clearer, motivated, and capable of inspiring others – it’s all pretty bloody amazing! Sobriety is the gift that keeps on giving. Cheesy as that sounds its true.
So……. Pete stopped drinking with me in October 2018 and didn’t look back. Since we met we had drunk, pretty much the whole time we were together. He drank almost as much as me at home and on nights out he would drink much more than me BUT he always said he could just stop if he wanted.
I didn’t think he could, and thought he would struggle just as much as I would to stop. He proved me wrong and immediately felt the benefits of not drinking and became super on board with the non-drinking lifestyle we had adopted.
However, in December last year he went on a works Christmas night out and fell off the wagon, spectacularly and woke up the next day feeling like absolute death. This lasted a week. Now for me, I was saying it was a blip, no need to start counting again – also, if I’d have been off the wagon in a heartbeat if it’d been me; I would have used all the excuses under the sun to get back into drinking. Pete however realised how much this night had ruined him and got back on it immediately! He is therefore a year sober today! I’m so incredibly proud of him and at the same time extremely grateful for his unwavering support to keep us both sober. (Sorry I can’t buy you a Michael Kors watch and a beach hut at St Anne’s, but the celebratory meal was pretty spectacular!)
A short bit from the man himself!
I haven’t really thought too much about the fact it’s been a year, I knew I drank a lot but absolutely thought I could knock it on the head if I wanted to. I stopped to support Sue more than I did it for myself In the beginning, I don’t need a badge or an award it’s what I wanted to do to support her, and in all fairness it’s just the norm now.
It became very apparent that after a couple of months I started to realise just how on point I was! like, literally all the time. It’s a hard feeling to describe but essentially for me, I have been at the top of my game for what feels like such a long time now all be it only 12 Months. I do wonder what I could have achieved if I had knocked the drink on the head sooner.
All the challenges / looks and responses of confusion from Friends, Family and Work Colleagues at social events, Birthdays, Football, etc. Basically every event that would turn to casually drink the day away event contained all the same hurdles as what Sue experienced; with a slight caveat. I generally think that being a Male and drinking is so institutionalised that now I’m the mad one, the idiot, the one with ‘a problem’ because I choose not to drink!?
In all fairness it was just about me being me and if you know me, you already know that I absolutely do not give a Shit about what others think of me. “I’m the classic bull in a china shop, if I want it I will get it! so either get on board or get out of the way” Once you get over the lads, family, friends etc. calling you a massive girl and all the other stereotypes they can chuck at you, I noticed that they started to see what I was getting out of it and people have started to respect me for it.
A New Job
In an industry that I had no knowledge of, you can imagine – Fear factor, Stress, Self-doubt? i had none at all! It’s all been effortless from day one to deal with a highly intensive Sales role, purely target driven. Its been a walk in the park because I feel so on point all the time and at the top of my game! “This level of stress was easy to manage with a beer previously, with zero benefits to me! – I lost years drinking to deal with work stress”
Health & Fitness
Obviously the running club Sue started is something I got involved with from day one and I’ve now became a run leader. I’m loving getting others motivated and they let me Beast them in the gym which is paying off and the rewards are great. “Never in a million years would I have been this committed if I was drinking”
“I suppose the main message to take from this and one to put out here to the Men! Don’t be scared; don’t fear being the lone wolf in your pack of mates, work or family group!
That wont get you what you want, only you can do that! The repercussions of bettering yourself are evident once you take the life changing step, try your hardest, be bullish and stick to your guns! A little bit of focus and determination will get you the success you want in whatever form it comes!”
So actually, thanks to Sue for supporting me without me releasing I even needed the support.
My god I needed that weekend; last week was full of busyness and very hectic (but good) stuff and when it came to the weekend I actually had a rest instead of going to Parkrun, my body really needed that little break!
So Saturday morning I forced myself to stay in bed watching TV. It wasn’t usual TV stuff it was documentaries on ultra-marathon/ madness challenges. For those of you that don’t know I’ve embarked on Ultra Marathon Training with just under 6 months to go to the Isle-of-Wight Challenge of 50km. So I binge watched documentaries about the Barkley Marathons, not that my challenge will be a patch on that crazy shit at all, BUT it helped to put my challenge into perspective and made me realise I need a slap if I moan about what I’m doing. Those people are hard core crazy, but determined!
So after chilling and not running (whilst watching about running) we had my baby sister’s fancy dress 30th party last night which was brilliant! After stopping drinking I used to get a bit anxious about being in social situations whilst others were drinking, however last night, not an eyelid was batted by others around us, or by us when others were drinking. We had an absolute blast laughing the whole night whilst drinking alcohol free fizz and alcohol free beer. And there was no anxiousness beforehand at all – Winning!
Today has been just as wonderful too, me and my friend Maria started off my ultra-training – We took on Rivington pike in the fog and mist and didn’t really get lost…i might be fibbing there! 😉 We never shut up from the moment she got in the car until I dropped her off a few hours later. We may have burned just as many calories chatting as climbing hills! A wonderful time was had and we felt good, really good for getting out there and taking on the world, well Bolton….
People do comment on me being so busy, and leading up to this weekend I’ve felt it too – BUT I do love it, I choose what to do and when I want to do it, yes I’m busy every day and every night, but I choose to fill it with ‘Good for the Soul Stuff!’
What good stuff will you choose to fit in this week? Have a good one!
I’d wake up at 3am with anxiety every single morning (with palpitations and anxiety), ‘Sue what the fuck are you doing with your life? You really need to stop this, you are out of control’. I’d be awake for a couple of hours with this anxiety, I’d be analysing everything from the night before, what had I done or said and to who? I can honestly say that in 95% of cases I actually couldn’t remember. I had to rely on Pete telling me or check Facebook! Eventually I’d fall back asleep – still wake up feeling like absolute death.
2. Late Starter
After getting up late still feeling like absolute death and trying to pretend I was looking after myself by chucking on make-up. I’d drive to work, yes this still mortifies me! It takes an hour to process a small glass of wine, the volume I had drunk, I should have never ever drove, whatever the time of day! The whole journey I would be having a word with myself and reasoning with the ‘drunk Sue’ she was saying, ‘you’ll be OK soon and it’s almost wine o’clock’ – this was on my way to work by the way!
3. ‘I Hate Myself’
Until lunchtime I was still full of self-loathing, still hated the way I felt (and I was doing this to myself) and was literally walking through treacle to get to lunchtime. I would literally repeat to myself, ‘You need to stop, you need a night off alcohol, and your body needs a bloody break!’ I never had the night off, ever!
4. Food to feel human
Lunchtime, food, feel a bit human – then the afternoon would be busy as I was frantically trying to catch up with feeling so incredibly shit in the morning – during this time I never really thought about drinking because I was too busy. So that was about 3-4 hours if that, in the whole day!
5. Wine O’clock prep time
Thoughts of wine had crept in…or more appropriately ‘poured’ in! Which supermarket would be on my way home? Was Pete buying or me? How many bottles? What time could I start on the wine? – the conversations between me and Pete every day would start with, ‘let’s just not drink as much tonight’ – Simple!
6. Wine O’clock – This was my absolute favourite time of
Home, I’d spend time cooking in the kitchen (more than I do now) but I was also polishing off wine quite quickly whilst cooking – Pete was always so surprised that we ran out of wine quite early in the night. He ALWAYS got less glasses of wine than me! I always managed to cook the tea to an OK standard and eat it, after this I couldn’t really remember much. It all went downhill from here, the blackouts, the arguments (if there was any) the sloping off to bed by 9pm without saying a word, the boys would ask where I’d gone and Pete would just assume I’d taken myself off to bed.
Repeat every single day, back to step 1 – Do I miss the Good Old Days, absolutely not.
While this seems extreme, this was actually my little life, for at least 12 months prior to going sober – if you find your days becoming remotely similar to the above, please please I urge you to take a look at your drinking, and seek help before it’s too late.
Alan Carr wrote a book called ‘the easy way to stop drinking’
(there isn’t an easy way by the way!) He uses
the metaphor of a pitcher plant, a carnivorous plant that lures flies and other
insects with its sweet nectar, luring them further and further in until they
can’t get out even when they try. The difference between a “normal drinker” and
an “alcoholic” is merely one of degree on where they are on the pitcher plant.
I read loads of self-help books to stop drinking, but the pitcher plant analogy above has stayed with me. Just a little reminder that I’m writing this blog to raise awareness of how easy it is to fall into this way of living / existing. If by writing about it I can help 1 or 2 people to have a think about their drinking habits, then it’s worth writing this blog.
They are my bloody favourite. The very best thing about sobriety! So….. I love running and I love my friends, so running with friends on a Saturday morning make for Sue being in a great mood all day 🙂
I’ve had quite a stressful week this week, extremely busy at
work and then something on every night too. So this resulted in me being quite anxious
2 days this week on the way to work, now don’t get me wrong I love my job, but
this was my body’s way of saying ‘you are doing too much again dickhead’. So I had to deal with that emotion of anxiety
and overdoing it, I really had to fit in some self-care. So I eventually had a night off doing all the
running about last night, had takeaway, gelled my nails, treated myself to a
facial and had an early night.
I woke up before my alarm this morning which is never known, I normally hate mornings! BUT this morning was different. I was excited. We had 5 people in our car, me, Pete and 3 of our friends. We had some friends heading over from Macclesfield to meet us and my brother was driving over from St Helens. We all travelled about an hour and met at Delamere Forest Parkrun.
It was absolutely bloody freezing; we must have needed our heads testing. But what a stunning place! Very ‘traily’ run, very enjoyable! We also met a Facebook friend I have, Nic, she runs a page called ‘Fuelled by fun’ all about motivating people to get up, out and moving. This is what I feel passionate about too. So we just clicked and chatted the whole way around, about my blog, her coming to do Parkrun tourism with us at Heaton Park, mental health, ultras etc. the 5k soon flew by! Well after 38 minutes it did 😉
Why am I sharing all this, well just over 12 months ago on Saturday mornings I would have been a right state! I never did park run, I used to get up dead late, wasting hours of the day, walk the dog, eat terribly, feel like shit and then count down the hours until I could drink again. Saturdays was worse than normal as Friday was always the heaviest nights drinking. It would be the day the rows would have been worse the night before, the blackouts worse and I would have no idea whatsoever I would have said to Pete, to Facebook or the world. I was always spouting off shit to someone! It was awful. Such a waste of a day, waste of my life really.
Anyway, I’m gratefully sat chilling tonight, writing this,
catching up on Netflix, getting my run stuff ready for a 10k by the sea in
Lytham in the morning! Again cannot wait! Bring on the blue skies, running with
friends and feeling fresh and amazing. I love my life!
Enjoy the rest of your weekend and please do share this blog
with your friends
Doesn’t it make you feel good to make a difference to
someone, brighten their day, or give them a boost? What’s not to like about
Me and Pete were both tagged in a social media post yesterday by a friend who has just smashed ‘Go sober for October’ with her husband. The difference in Sara is evident. She looks fantastic, with a spring in her step, glossy hair and very proud smile and so she should be, very proud. She has even mentioned, she may just not drink again or for a while as she feels so good!
When you drink alcohol frequently or in large quantities, it’s so hard to cut down or give up when it has any kind of control over you. Obviously there are different levels of ‘hold’ experienced by people. Sara and her husband didn’t drink as much as Pete and I, but still this is a massive achievement for them. On her post a couple of other people mentioned that they had been inspired by us too to cut down their own alcohol consumption.
We never preach to people about their drinking habits, but to be able to inspire someone to make a positive change, that’s certainly satisfying! This post and the positive response from it made me feel very proud.
One of the first things that worried me about going sober
was what if I miss out, how can I celebrate stuff, am I going to have to miss
events and sit at home crying into my Nosecco!?! Am I going to be lonely, what
will happen to my friendships, will I lose them?
Very soon after stopping drinking my sister got married. My
first wedding! I was there obviously all day and night around everyone
drinking. The reality was I enjoyed every single minute; I was fully present, didn’t
make a dick of myself and could celebrate the whole of the occasion without
having to be carried home after an hour of arriving. I did take my own alcohol
free fizz and still raised a toast to the bride and groom like everyone else.
This made me realise very quickly that a sober Christmas, New Year, Birthdays
and other celebrations were completely doable too. I did them all….and survived!
Holidays were something I wasn’t particularly looking
forward to tackling; it was always a time to kick back and relax. That always
always involved copious amounts of alcohol previously, but from much earlier in
the day, which meant I was even more ridiculous than normal. So throughout this
year me and Pete went away for the odd night, I even did a couple of girlfriend’s
nights away, but when it came to a family holiday this year with others who
would be drinking, I thought it would be much more difficult. It actually wasn’t,
I was passed the whole “am I missing out stage?” the answer was no, I had a
So I used to always to drink whatever the occasion, so it wasn’t only the good stuff, I used to drink when I’d had a rough stressful day too. I was an expert at self-medicating. So now when I have a day like this I either keep myself busy, but with good stuff like running or being with friends, OR I actually take time out and do something relaxing and see if I can switch off with yoga or mindfulness exercises. I had to work out for myself how to deal with all the stressful shit, because in reality it’s still there some days. This could have quite easily been my downfall.
So I’m 12 months sober today, am I missing out? Sat here with Pete in our beach hut that he hired overlooking the sea, with cards and gifts and an abundance of messages and well wishes, watching the world go by, all without a care in the world. “Am I missing out? I think not!”
Thank you to you all for the support and friendship over the
past 12 months and the love today.
Yeay! So proud of me! Yes it was me that made the decision and did all the hard work but I had a toolbox that was overflowing to help me to get here.
Podcasts…..I didn’t even know what they were (I was probably too drunk to care) but I have listened to Janey Lee Grace podcast Alcohol Free Life, lots of them, on sobriety and mindful drinking on my way to work every day. Janey Lee Grace is an English singer, author, television presenter and radio DJ. She has now created ‘The Sober Club‘ and is a huge influence in the sobriety movement including doing a wonderful Tedx talk. She is really very interesting.
Audio books – I’ve read all the ‘Quit Lit’ available on audible. It was so good to know other people had the same drink problems and still functioned, they went through quitting booze in the same way and came out all amazing at the other side. They survived! I could relate to each one of them and the books and people’s stories remain in my toolbox for when I may need them.
Friends – This has been one of the best bits. My best friend used to be wine. I had some people friends but didn’t speak to them or see them after 7pm because I was with my actual best friend, wine! Now fast forward almost 12 months and I see my friends, speak to them, hear them and hopefully inspire them as much as they inspire me. I do find myself drawn to interacting with inspiring positive people all of the time now and try to avoid negative situations as much as I possibly can. Now sober though I do have to work on my ‘face’, I’m not very good at being patient and understanding with people who moan constantly. I do need to work on this as not everyone has a positive outlook on life. I must try harder!
Exercise – for those of you who know me I’m slightly obsessed with running, walking, marshaling and yoga. I absolutely love it and everything I get from it. Now I’m hardly a typical sporty person as a curvy size 18. I’m not very fast or very good at exercise and I have literally zero balance. However what I lack in ability I do make up for in passion. I get a lot mentally from exercise. I get clarity, friendship, chatting, laughter, stress relief and it all helps to ‘Calm the Chaos’ in my mind. Seriously…if you can grab your trainers today and move a little, do it.
Alcohol free drinks – Some people stop drinking and don’t have alcohol free drinks, but for me it was what got me through this 12 months. I do like a nice glass, and I like a nice fizz in it. I’ve reduced the amount of this that I drink now but in the early days I drank almost as much as I did proper wine. But I wasn’t concerned. My favourite drinks are Freixenet % and Nosecco. Seriously, I’ve shared these with friends who drink and they like them too. The difference is, you don’t make a dick of yourself! Unless of course, you are a dick! Supermarkets are stocking more alcohol free drinks all of the time, alternatively there is the ‘Wise Bartender‘
Pete – My partner of 8 years. So the history is, I’ve drank literally the whole time I’ve known him. The whole time. And so did he. Can you imagine one of the first thoughts going sober was…..what if we don’t like each other? What if he doesn’t like me? What if I’m boring? The fact is though, being as bad as I was, we didn’t actually have any quality time anyway. Once my best friend (wine) came out to play…I caused arguments (over bugger all) I fell asleep on the couch after about an hour of opening a bottle, or I’d walk out on him, or go to bed in a huff – I never ever remembered why. I generally was non existent in our relationship. From day one I need not have worried. Pete stopped too which was great, we spoke at length daily about how we were doing with this extreme change. We drove around supermarkets sourcing alcohol free drinks. We’d go out for a drive or long walks so wasn’t sat at home craving wine. Pete has helped me by being my rock every single day. We never ever fall out, we go out for lovely meals, we have more money and more quality time together. Our relationship is amazing and so is he! Why did I even worry?
My boys – So really I don’t like to think of how my drinking has affected my boys who are 19 and 21. And the reason for this is I’m incredibly ashamed. Really fucking ashamed! They saw it every single day. Albeit probably for only a few minutes, they avoided spending time with me (obviously) they would get bugger all sense out of me, I would never remember what they spoke to me about and so really what was the point? We went on holiday’s and parties and their friends, family and girlfriends were around us……around me and the wine. What did the boys think? What did their girlfriends think? What did they say to them to makes excuses for their mum’s behaviour? So now I have a great relationship with them both, we talk every day and I remember it. I’m more patient and speak to them rather than at them. I’m also incredibly proud of them and help them with things including interview prep and Daniels photography work.
To my boys, Daniel and Adam, I’m very sorry for being a really rubbish mum for the last few years! You are in my toolbox as a reminder of what I missed out on.
Writing this blog is actually helping me, for 12 months I have lived by dealing with the practical aspects of not drinking, and keeping myself busy. Now I’m reflecting on my behaviour and being more mindful of how I feel and what I do and say. This is kind of like my therapy. So thank you for listening….
I’ll write again on Sunday when I’m celebrating being 12 months sober. We have a really lovely special day planned and I have some chill time by the sea in mind too 😘 have a great day everyone Xx
Over a period of 12 months, I had visited my GP, had Cognitive Behavior Therapy, had talking therapies and eventually attended counselling from an alcohol specialist service. Trish my counsellor asked me what I wanted? I said I wanted to cut down my wine consumption. Each week she would encourage me to cut down and each week I would ignore her, obviously I didn’t want to ‘cut down’ after all. At the end of the summer in 2018 I missed a session and didn’t re-arrange and so I slipped off their radar. I’d feel a failure and drink more after the sessions rather than less. After I fell off their radar I had a couple of months of drinking as much as ever, every night.
I started to have some really low points, rock bottom events
if you like. I behaved ridiculously, started arguments for no reason whatsoever
and walked out of restaurants and hotels and went missing. I had regular blackouts and would be
absolutely mortified the next day when I found out just how ridiculous I’d behaved,
it was becoming a nightly occurrence.
One of the low points was a fall out with my mum where she pulled me on my drinking and I was distraught, really distraught. I’m pretty sure both of us cried for days!
Another low point was a couple of days later, I asked my son to lend me money to buy a ‘stop drinking’ book and he came with me to Waterstone’s to buy it. I’m still so ashamed of how low I stooped when under the influence of wine. I wasn’t just under the influence of wine on a nightly basis, it was on my mind pretty much all the time. I’d work and be looking forward to wine o’clock. I’d go running and dripping in sweat call in Tesco on the way home to buy copious amounts of wine.
Anyway, I read the book, downloaded books on audible, joined club soda, followed everyone sobriety related on Instagram, I kept myself extremely busy and I stopped drinking. The first few days were tough, but with the invaluable support of my partner Pete who stopped drinking with me, it was so much easier to do this together. I chose to drink alcohol-free substitutes, Nosecco and Freixenet 0% were my absolute saviours. I drank them by the bottle, but I didn’t care, I wasn’t drinking poison so could justify it.
I didn’t really tell people for the first few days, but then
people actually started to comment on me being different. Being chirpier,
clearer skin, losing weight, being all-around happier. After a few days and
weeks I told everyone as I was so thrilled with how much better I felt.
I genuinely think that I got through those first weeks and months by filling the days full to the brim with ‘quit lit’ audio books, podcasts, books, social media support, running, yoga, park run, visiting friends for coffee and cake. What I was actually doing was making up for all the hours, weeks and years that I had lost of my old wine drinking life. It felt absolutely amazing to be so full of vitality.
So here I am writing this at almost 12 months sober, people are still really supportive, I’m still enjoying life to the fullest, with such a positive outlook, still doing crazy shit, never still, always on the go, trying to inspire others, trying to help people if they need it. All because I can….
Thank you for reading my blog post! Do something lovely for yourself this weekend, I know I will 😊 X
Disclaimer: I do not condone just stopping drinking, please seek medical advice before you make any drastic lifestyle changes
What made me want to stop drinking? Nothing actually, there was no ‘wanting’ about it; it was a needmore than anything. I needed to stop saying ‘just one or two – which turned into much more’ I needed to stop waking up at 3am worried about what time I went to bed, did I behave like a tit, did we fall out, did I post random shit on social media (this was usually the case)
People did and still do ask me did I try to moderate my alcohol consumption? Just don’t drink as much? Just have a couple of glasses? I think some people are born without an off switch and I was one of them – but also alcohol is much more addictive than we think. We tend to associate someone who is an alcohol addict as a homeless person on the street drinking cider at 10am. But there are far more people addicted to and dependent upon alcohol than ever and yet they manage to hold down a job, a home and be a parent. These people are in fact fully functioning alcoholics.
And one day that can come up
and bite you on the arse, right out of nowhere! Now some of us are lucky enough
to be able to do something about it, yes I consider myself very very lucky! I
had lots of low moments, lots of really stupid shit I did where I would
disappear and walk out of restaurants and Pete would have no idea where I was,
I usually rang my youngest son to come and rescue me. Now I’m mortified about
this, but at the time he kindly rescued me, had a word with me and mentioned
having wine in the house wasn’t a good idea! Fancy your child having to tell
you this. Not great!
One of my last low points was my sister’s hen party last year, I really don’t remember half of it, I was completely wasted and apparently spent a fair bit of time crying, Pete had to come and pick me up – fairly early on in the evening. I’ve blocked most of it out and feel a shudder when I see the pictures. (Sorry Laura)
So, have I always been a big
drinker? No actually. I did the whole drinking in the park as a teenager when I
was at school, on a Friday night. Then straight from school I met my first
husband, Terry, the kid’s dad. It wasn’t very often we would drink, maybe on a
night out. Certainly not in the house. I had the kids and still wasn’t a big
drinker, I would get drunk on nights out, but the nights out weren’t regular
enough for me to have a drink problem.
I probably really made it to being about 35 before I started going out and socialising and drinking lots. I was on my second marriage, that failed, and was single for the first time in my life, off I was celebrating singledom and socialising at every given opportunity. I would say at this stage, still not drinking in the house, but binge drinking most weekends. I had turned into a right party animal.
I had been suffering from anxiety during my failed relationship and so even though I was enjoying being single now, I was still anxious, nervous and stressy. My mum told me recently that I was like this all through my childhood! As time has gone on, I’ve realised two things about alcohol and my anxiety. Firstly, I drank because I was anxious and stressed and secondly I was anxious and stressed as a result of over-drinking. It was a vicious cycle!
So for the next years 8 or 9 years, I self-medicated to de-stress. I started to drink in the house and binged at weekends. 8 years ago I met Pete (whilst drunk), we would regularly indulge in drunken antics in town, partying until stupid o’clock, I don’t know how old I think I was, I would often gate-crash his work nights out, we’d end up in Wetherspoons or the village (depending on cash flow) every Friday night drinking numerous bottles of wine between us. We would buy wine most nights of the week and life was great, fast paced, but more often than not I was drunk of an evening and hung over the next day.
I would say I’ve known for at least a couple of years before stopping drinking that I actually needed to stop. I blamed my Dad passing away for my increased intake of wine, in the early days I would drown my sorrows in wine and then sit and cry. If I wasn’t crying I was causing an argument over random shit. In all honesty I was becoming a bloody nightmare!
In a later blog I will talk
about how I stopped and what helped me to do it, but initially I wanted to give
a history of my drinking to put my journey into context.
For people wondering why on earth I’m writing a blog, it can’t be because I’m bored! I’ve certainly not got time to be bored. But if writing a blog and sharing my story helps one person to cut down a little, or a lot then my story was worth sharing.
In future blogs I will share How I started, my Toolbox, the firsts of everything, my shiny new life, and How Exercise and Challenges have changed my life
Thank you for reading, please subscribe below to my blog so you will be notified when I next publish a post.
So I’m always banging on about my shiny new life and rightly so. It’s pretty amazing and I wouldn’t change it for the world. ❤
However…I’m still normal …I still get stressed and over commit like I used to, only now I can cope with it so much better. I used to get stressed and head straight for the bottle of wine or 2. Although to be honest, I did this if I wasn’t stressed too.
I used to say I was stressed and drink helped me to cope, but actually drinking heavily every day and being awake from 3am suffering from anxiety was making me stressed. It was a viscous circle. A horrible stressy horrible viscous horrible circle. (You get the gist)
I’m currently stressed, I know because I cancelled a run tonight….that not like me! Work is friggin crazy, outside work is …well normal but hectic. Its ‘sue crazy!’ I’m training for my ultra challenges, organising charity events, running club stuff is mega busy, parkrun every weekend, exercising most days. How do I fit it all in? I certainly dont know how I used to fit it all in whilst drunk all of the time!
Some people would say dont do so much (very sensible advice) But, well I love it…most of it. The being busy, making the most of my sobriety and I’m certainly living my best life!
So what am I going to do to deal with all the stress. Well tomorrow I’m off to a gong bath (no idea if I’ll like it – never been) I’ll let you know how that goes! Saturday morning is park run (obviously) and then an alcohol free festival in Manchester in the afternoon. I’m going with a sober friend who is celebrating 12 months sobriety on Saturday. So proud of her and looking forward to a really lovely time.
Next week I’m having a few chilled days accompanying Pete on his work travels. I’ll be in Aberdeen for a few days. I’m going to go for long walks along the seafront whilst listening to podcasts and then sit in cafes on the front reading my book. I might be kidding myself, but this is certainly the intention.
So the difference in how I deal with stress now is to think about it (rather than hide at the bottom of a bottle) make changes if I need to and make positive steps in doing so. And hopefully learn from it 😂😂
What are your coping with stress tools? Do you reach for the bottle or assess the situation and go for a walk, exercise or talk it through with a friend?
Hi All. Ive been super busy and quiet, sorry! How is everyone? How is Dry January going? (if you are partaking)
I’d love to hear how you are getting on and shall be sharing this blog post on my ‘all shiny and new’ Facebook page. Let’s have a chat, share ideas, tell us your challenges and let us help. (Screenshot of my Facebook page below)
If you are smashing Dry January or sober 2020. Then you have my upmost admiration. Huge congratulations, and keep up the good work
The sober community, Instagram and Facebook community are buzzing with advice and inspiration. Get in touch if you want pointing in the right direction
Dont they haunt you!? I know memories are supposed to be a wonderful thing but that’s only if the memories are in fact wonderful and joyous. If you were a drunken prick like me, with daily pricklike behaviour and almost daily blackouts from excessive boozing, the memories are not so good.
Facebook memories are of course what I’m talking about, real memories wont exist because of the alcohol, but Facebook is there as a constant friggin reminder.
Each day’s memories, that I can tell were alcohol fuelled, ramblings that didn’t make sense and a million pictures of a glass of wine! I was actually such a prick!
There is a pattern in these memories. The ones from longer ago, about 5 or 6 years ago were posted late at night. The most recent ones from just before I stopped drinking, they were sozzled posts from about 8PM if not earlier. If you were friends with me then, I’m really surprised you are still friends with me now. I was a nightmare for drunken wittering!
I’m now starting to encounter some nicer memories from last year of me with alcohol free fizz. Usually with clear skin, bright eyes and mental clarity and enthusiasm that is becoming the norm. These are the kind of memories that I love. They really reinforce that I have absolutely made the right decision to change my life for the better!
If you are coming across memories frequently that you would like to change due to excessive alcohol consumption, reach out and seek help. Do it today….
There is honestly so much help, support and inspiration out there. I made the mistake of thinking I was totally alone with my problem. This really isn’t the case, let me point you in the direction you may need.