The Motherflippin’ Wine Bitch

I was handed an opened, but still nearly full bottle of Sancerre as I walked out of the office door yesterday afternoon. It was left over from a tasting I’d missed, and my boss thought I’d like it, given I’m “Mrs Sauvignon Blanc”.  Three small people were waiting to be collected from school, so I didn’t have the time or the energy to explain why I didn’t want this, in a diplomatic enough way not to cause my boss to start doubting my commitment to his company.  Oh but I’ve been so FUCKING TEMPTED by this thing, this poxy ready-opened bottle of fermented grape-widdle. It was speaking in tongues to me all the way home. My hind-brain has been busily working on ALL of the reasons and excuses it can find which would give me permission to pop the cork out and pour a big old glass.

I think the temptation was compounded by the fact that Mr Red was out last night with a mutual friend drinking beers and “having fun”. Like we used to. I even sent him a photo of the bottle, saying it was calling my name, half hoping he’d say “go for it, you deserve it” and half praying he’d say “Red, step away from the bottle, you know there’s only trouble for you there, girl”.

Instead, he sent a non-committal “looks good”. Which I now know was more due to the fact he’d nearly lost the use of his fingers by that point in the evening, but still, it was no bloody help whatsoever.

I ended up filling my face with pizza whilst watching Moana with my daughter. I’m not the biggest Disney fan, but anything with Jermaine Clement in it can’t be all bad, and by the end, I predictably couldn’t give two shits about the wine anymore, and was extremely glad I’d not caved in.

Trouble is, I’m going through exactly the same thing again tonight. Same thought-churning. I’ve been at a kids party, with a load of people I used to drink with, other mums, and we were organising our Christmas night out. I’m questioning everything again. Mr Red is out again tonight, up at our friends house, having a boys night with two of the other school dads; part of a party-gang I was so recently the ringleader of.

How am I perceived by these guys now, is Mr Red the subject of pity, because his previously fun-loving (read booze-loving) party animal of a wife, who could drink the boys under the table, has gone all vanilla and boring?

At the twins birthday party last week, amidst all the chaos and sausage rolls, I found myself being interrogated again by a few people asking me if I was still “on the wagon”, with amazement and confusion, as if I’d announced I’d joined an obscure cult, rather than simply stopping ingesting an addictive substance which is bad for your health. I know this reaction is mostly down to the fact a light is being shined on their own drinking by my abstinence, but it’s starting to make me quite angry.

So again, tonight, I’ve fed myself, put my PJ’s on, made myself a cup of tea the size of my head, and ignored the siren calls of that twatty wine.

Who’d have thought that this simple act of kindness by my boss, this one silly bottle could cause such turmoil in me? And why now? And why the jiggins, you may ask yourself, haven’t I just poured the bastard thing down the sink?

I’m going to pour myself a Brewdog Raspberry Blitz in a nice glass, find a film to watch, and remember that for the last 111 days..

  • I’ve felt some self-esteem.
  • I’m less anxious. In fact not at all anxious.
  • I’ve exercised almost every day, and reaped all of the benefits of this in head and body.
  • I’ve lost the stone in weight I’ve carried around since pregnancy, and I feel stronger every day.
  • I am a vastly better parent.
  • I am on fire at work, and have remembered that I have a brain.

Fuck off, wine. Don’t need you.

Red xx

 

The Hundred – redux

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I am most pleased to announce, I have just made it to 100 days AF… for the second time ever since I began trying this on for size back in December 2015. (Holy cow, is it really three years!? WTF etc)

It was at this point last time that I came up with the incredibly addled idea that I’d only gone and cured myself, proved I didn’t have a “problem” and could now drink like a normal person. That obviously worked out brilliantly, but at least I proved my point, I suppose. The point being, alcohol and I do not play nicely. Therefore it’s for the best if we’re put in separate playpens. Permanently.

I am celebrating my 100 tonight by accidentally being in the midst of party planning hell, as I’m self-catering a large birthday party for about 30 x 6 year olds at the weekend. At least now my focus for the day is that my twins have a fun birthday to remember, rather than working out when I can legitimately start drinking. Because getting shit-faced is such a fabulous reward, eh? I do have a large box of Hotel Chocolat to open though, and I’m going to eat the fucking lot whilst lying decadently in bed later. That’ll be in the hour I get before I have to go to sleep in time to get up at 5.50am to exercise, which is just how I roll these day, because, you know, The Energy.

I’ve noticed an amazing shift in the last three years, the sober movement is growing quickly, almost snowballing recently, and I love it. I love that I’m breaking free from the idea that Mummy needs a faceful of wine to bear parenting on a day-to-day basis.

Life feels SO good at 100 this time. I’m excited to see what SoberMummy’s Field of Bunnies holds in store for me. Please cheer me on for the next 100, if you will!

Red xx

 

 

 

First Monday Off – part 2

Ironically titled, given it’s Wednesday, (I think).

Mondays are SO much better now. I’m productive. I’ve even started clearing out the “Loft of Doom”, which contains the accumulated crap of three generations, plus The Ark Of The Covenant somewhere at the back. I’m in full on cleaning-catharsis mode, nothing is safe from the charity bag. Leave it lying around out of place for more than 5 minutes? In it goes…

I’m also exercising. AT 6AM, PEOPLE!!! EVERY MOTHERFLIPPING DAY.

Oh yeah, watch me go. Clothes are becoming baggy, I love it. I have some energy, what a novelty!

I’ve even managed to watch two seasons of The Leftovers without passing out in any episodes, and having to ask Mr Red repeatedly to give me in depth plot summaries.

So far, so good. Day 59, going strong, eating biscuits & drinking Yorkshire Tea. Made with two bags, because I like to live on the edge, folks..

Love, Red xx

 

 

First Monday Off – Part 1

Today’s my first monday since the Glorious Holidays where the Redlets are all at school, and I’m not working. I started working full-time hours crammed into 4 days, earlier in the year. The plan was to use this spare day to get on top of house-shit, exercise, and have the odd appointment at the doctors/dentist/waxing torture-chamber of horrors etc etc.

In practice, what this has meant is that I had an excuse to get roaringly shitfaced on a Sunday, probably starting mid-afternoon (because one must have wine with Sunday dinner, yah?) and ending up with me shuffling round to school the next day like a puffy-faced zombie, trying not to throw up on fellow parents, praying the teacher wouldn’t chat to me (fumes! argh!) and then shambling back home to flap around the house like a demented chicken, mostly panicking about getting f*ck-all done, whilst simultaneously managing to feel stressed and busy. And nauseous.

I’m going to write part 2 of this post tonight, when I can give a full review of the sober version of this. It’s already going well, I’m on the sofa with this guy

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drinking coffee and feeling like I’m not going to hurl. Go me!

Red xx

 

Willpower?

IMG_20180907_075323_012Loving the light on these trees this morning. It’s only the carpark at my work, in Yorkshire, but it’s beaut. When people have reacted to the news that I’m not drinking with the old “well why don’t you just have one or two?”, I’ve been answering that it’s because I have no willpower. I can’t “just have one”. (I just love that people ask this by the way; seriously, d’you NOT THINK I’ve explored that option?? I’ve explored it till I can’t fucking see straight..)

Newsflash. I do have willpower, and lots of it. Evidence of this; I am on day 40 sober today.

Enjoy your Friday, folks.
Red xx

Escape route closed

I’m feeling more self-aware this time, I hope that’s good thing. So much of my drinking is in response to a feeling of overwhelm in my life – and without it, I can feel like there’s no escape. I managed to get through it yesterday by just thinking “Stop. What the fuck actually needs to be done today?” And then concentrating on that. I’m getting slightly better at viewing feelings like this from the outside, which helps to dispel them. As does remembering the sage advice of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy..

A small list of achievements in the last few days:

1) Had a lovely wedding anniversary, I can remember the very expensive meal I ate, and I didn’t puke anywhere. Bonus!

2) Nearly got cigarettes. I don’t even smoke (well, only when drunk). Decided to wait it out, and lo & behold, the craving buggered off.

3) Saturday morning football – up and ready by 8.30am to take the kids to a new footy club. This would not have happened full stop if I’d boozed. I’m particularly pleased as they have a girls team – my daughter is at the point where she needs to  either go down the dance or the sport route. I’m trying to encourage sport. Because, well, have you SEEN Little Miss Sunshine?

4) School Mum’s night out done.  At a local craft beer bar, where there was a DJ night. It was hard, and I had to explain why I wasn’t drinking many, many times, but hey, I nearly danced, and it was 70’s soul and disco, so that’s a minor miracle for me (one of my least favourite genres of music, only surpassed by the horror that is jazz). I noticed that I’m massively irritated by drunk people. But then, I was probably one of the worst culprits, before.

5) BBQ at our house with our booziest friends. And seven feral children, running round screaming with lightsabers, glowsticks, and a foam-covered slip-n-slide. Friends all brought lots of booze, but also kindly brought me non-alcoholic beer and cake treats. And right now, I’m up and I feel fucking great, where Mr Red is still in bed snoring.

So where’s the Red who used to party backstage at festivals, and bugger off to NYC to see her boyfriends band playing CBGB? And nearly get barred from flights home for being falling-down drunk? Well folks, she’s having a day at home, ironing name labels into a mountain of school uniform, and mainlining nespresso coffee. And she’ll bloody enjoy it!

Red xx

Testing my “muscles”

Today has been tricky. On the one hand, I’m celebrating a month sober. Yay! Go me!

On the other hand, I had to taste 6 different wines at work today, all of which were amazing Cali- reds, which former-Red would have hoovered up in a state of sheer bliss.  However, I spat like a true professional, and didn’t even let a trickle of the bastard devil-juice slip down my throat.

To add insult to injury, I was then packed off home with the rest of the bottles in a cardboard box, with which to kick-start my wedding anniversary celebrations tomorrow.. “you can drink them in the hot tub!!” called my colleague after me, as I clanked my way across the carpark.

Bringing me onto point 3. (Or the third hand?? Hmm). Tomorrow is my 5th wedding anniversary. Mr Red and I are heading to a delightful boutique hotel, where traditionally we spend the afternoon getting totally smashed in a hot tub,  and then continuing to get even further smashed in the amazing fish restaurant, whilst pretending (badly) to be respectable grown-ups.

How am I supposed to do this sober, in the face of such tradition?? What the chuff will I do in the ruddy hot-tub for 4 hours?

Help! I’m off to look at my sleeping children, and remind myself why the hell I’m doing this.

Red xx

 

 

The Reason

What a wonderful little reason.

It hits me, lying here at 2am in the hospital bed, curled up and crammed in around your little body. It’s a relatively minor thing, the surgery requiring this overnight stay, but it was sudden and shockingly unexpected a few hours ago to find ourselves here.

Lying here, looking at the back of your small head; looking at a young man who is growing so fast into the most beautiful natured, kind-hearted, funny and thoughtful human I’ve met, it hits me.

You are the best, and most heart-full-with-happiness reason that I could possibly have to be heading into my 25th day without drinking.

Red xx

 

Things I’ve remembered that I enjoy..

You may notice a little time-lapse of about, oh, um, a year, has occurred since my last post. I won’t go into detail now; let it suffice to say that the reasons for this delay are at least as boringly predictable as the plot of the most recent Star Trek film (which I had the misfortune to sit through at the weekend). I have avoided visiting my blog at all due to a fairly large dose of shame and a sense of failure. I now feel more shame at seeing all of the lovely comments people have left on my last post, and the times where folk have reached out to check in on me, and received radio-silence back. For that I’m very sorry, and I thank you.

However, to kick things off again, here’s a quick list of some things I’ve remembered that I flipping LOVE about being sober:

1) Sleep. 8 solid hours, unless woken by small people.  No tossing and turning and the old wake-checktime-fallbackasleep-repeat.

2) Waking up in the morning, doing a quick body scan, realising I don’t have a pounding head/ sickly stomach and being so bloody pleased I didn’t booze last night.

3) My tongue and mouth have stopped being extremely sore. I’ve no medical basis for blaming this on drinking, but it’s too coincidental that it started improving on about Day 2 sober.

4) I’ve started losing weight; my face is less bloated. Hello, cheekbones!

5) The leaden ball of non-specific anxiety has left my chest.

6) Enjoying a morning coffee without wanting to hurl 15 minutes later.

7) I can taste stuff again!

8) Films. I no longer fall asleep 15 minutes into every film night we attempt to have. Switching off the lamps to create that “cinema vibe” in our living room had become the equivalent of popping the cover over the cage of an elderly parrot. Snooze (and quite probably drool) time!!!

10) My environment is beginning to feel more serene, mostly because I am more organised and can be arsed to clean and declutter all of the shizazzle we accumulate.

11) A big one. I am officially having A Lot More Fun with the smalls. And I have a shitload more patience with them. (Just to clarify, I have “more” patience.. not necessarily “lots of”. I’m working on that, and there are three of them, FFS. Don’t want to leave any of you with the misconception that I’m Mother Teresa now). Oh, and I have the energy to do things at the precious weekends, which don’t now revolve around praying that the kids will play nicely without any input from me, until I can legitimately crack open a bottle.

Which leads to 12) I’m losing the ever-present feeling of guilt, and I’m starting to feel proud of myself occasionally.

Feels good to be back.

Love, Red.

 

 

 

 

Quick update/victory dance

Yay! Day 102! I’m in The Lakes, at a cottage which has No Mobile Reception or WIFI (well, not on my network anyway) – hence my silence!! Am tapping this out quickly whilst we’re briefly back nearer civilisation to buy food. I shall post a more thoughtful missive when Family Red is back home, but I wanted to thank everyone for all the lovely comments on my last post – I always try to reply individually but just haven’t had chance, plus see above re: technical difficulties, dammit!!

For those wondering, there are two large boxes of Hotel Chocolat choccies waiting for me at home. The weight loss will just have to wait…

Love, Red xx

Approaching the ton!

95 days since I had a drink – I can hardly believe it, I keep having to check my day-counter to be sure.

I’ve not been blogging recently as I’ve just not had the time or motivation really. Or so it feels. I can’t honestly say that I’m out of those doldrums that I posted about in my last entry. I’m decidedly lacking in energy and enthusiasm, but I think this is due to it being the end of a very long, very grey winter. I have just felt like hibernating. Preferably inside a giant muffin, with buttercream. I do feel as though this malaise will lift, and my spirits will begin to rise once spring is here, I’m almost holding my breath waiting for it. I’m like a tightly coiled, but rather tired, non-breathing spring. I’m sure you can picture it..

To assist me in sorting through some of my current brain-jumble, I’m going to list a few thoughts and occurrences. Negatives first, then positives.

  • My initial weight loss has crept back up by a few, annoying pounds. I’d been enjoying feeling svelte, but I need to own this one; I’m not exercising beyond an hour of pilates a week, which I literally have to bully myself into attending. And I’m eating whatever I like. Do the math, Red!
  • I’ve discovered I have a lovely medical problem, connected to having carried twins, which may need surgery to rectify and is limiting me a bit on the exercise front. And in other, very important ways, which I won’t go into here, to save your blushes. I think this is genuinely affecting my mood in the downwards direction.
  • My day counter tells me I should feel loaded, what with not spunking wads of cash each week on booze. In practise,  I’m not feeling any better off, which is pissing me off mightily. I think this is due to the Xmas fallout, and some essential appliance replacement (Damn you, washing machine! Double-damn you, Dyson!!!) However, I am budgeting and watching our finances like a hawk now, so this should pay off soon. It had bloody well better. I need to order a LOT from Hotel Chocolat in a few days time..

Now for some good stuff:

  • I have very few cravings for alcohol now. I even got through a serious tasting event at work without too many pangs. (I used the spittoon, like a true professional!) I did have a major wobble last weekend; the Redlets were having a sleepover due to Mr Red and I being seriously sleep-deprived. So we bought a ton of delicious meats, cheeses, chutneys, breads and set the woodburner going and watched The Lord of The Rings trilogy. I have to say, for about the first two hours after we dropped off the small peeps, I really, really wanted to open and drink lots of wine. It was tied up with the whole hibernating vibe – I just wanted to check out mentally. I wanted to hang out in The Green Dragon, drinking ale and smoking (ahem) pipeweed with a bunch of rowdy hobbits.. However, I resisted alcohol, the cravings went away, and I observed Mr Red’s hangover the next day with utter relief that I’d not cracked.
  • I’m feeling so much more “sorted” and mentally on the ball. I went out with a couple of colleagues for food last night, and told them I was nearing 100 days without alcohol. After initial surprise, one did say she’s noticed that I’m much more relaxed and confident at work. And I feel it – a lot of anxiety has dispersed. I don’t dread work days any more. It pleases me to feel competent.
  • I am SO much more patient with the kids. I feel like I’m being a much kinder, loving and fun parent to them. I very rarely lose my shit now. I watch the Facebook meme /Mum-blog culture around “suffering” days with children and rewarding oneself with wine, with complete derision. This last sober benefit is really the one that’s keeping me on the straight and narrow.

So – I am kind of in a self-imposed holding state. I can’t say I feel happy, but this isn’t down to lack of booze in my life. In most part, it’s down to shit that is within my control to change. So I will start trying to muster the energy to make some positive changes so that I can start to bloom like a daffodil, rather than stagnating like a bit of mouldy pond gunk.

Roll on the 100. Perhaps the resulting chocolate-high will spur me into action..

Red xx

Doldrums

IMG_20170126_122503_973.jpgIt’s day 74 today.. and I’ve been inspired to post today by SWMum,  who’s on day 77 and seems to be in a similar place to me.

For the last week or so, I’ve been feeling inexplicably low, lacking in joy, in fact downright nihilistic. I have a much longed-for week off work, with nothing planned apart from relaxing, however even this has failed to inspire me. If anything, it’s adding to my irritation, as various mildly rubbish events have been steadily encroaching on this time off, so that what should have been nearly a week and a half, has turned into effectively two x 6 hour slots of time off. With a fucking cold, to boot.

The “me” of two weeks ago would have been positive about this, not let it get me down, would have found a bright side somewhere, and enjoyed moments of real happiness. The “me” of now is just plain hacked off, and even sitting with my feet up and a muffin the size of my head is failing to inspire me.

I’ve had a few thoughts of drinking this week too, which have annoyed me. (But,  hey, EVERYTHING is annoying me). This could be because it’s my first bit of proper time off sober – I would usually have made this as an excuse to drink a lot of “treats”. And because Mr Red is also off, we would have planned in time to “escape” to cosy pubs and drink way too much. It’s been preying on my mind, I’m just not having rebellious, let-my-hair-down fun and my brain is trying to tell me it’s because there’s an absence of booze.

So, seasoned sober folk – d’you think this is the dreaded PAWS? Will I feel bouncy ever again? I shall now lie face-down in my Victoria Sponge Muffin, and await your thoughts..

Red xx

 

Two months

I made it to two months sober this week. It feels good. Quietly, solidly, good, like I’m the Cheshire cat, smiling down from my tree branch (don’t knock me off, don’t knock me off!!).

I did have a craving on Friday night. But it was the first one for weeks. I can hardly believe that really. I think I know the reason too…My in-laws know I’m “TT” as they call it. I think they’re quietly impressed, and have been enthusiastically buying me new AF drinks to try. Last night they sent me a bottle of “Fre” de-alcoholised white chardonnay. It was interesting – I used a wine glass, and it was quite convincing. A bit too bloody convincing. I didn’t enjoy that feeling. On the up-side, it prompted a really good chat with Mr Red. And I was able to step outside the situation and analyse it a little. As I explained to him, it didn’t make me fancy a glass of wine. No, for about 20 minutes, I just wanted a whole damn bottle full of obliteration. I think this shocked him a bit. I also told him about the relief I feel now, not subjecting myself to the constant thoughts of drinking.

“Why did I drink so much last night/why do I drink so much/I mustn’t drink tonight/can I drink tonight/I’ll drink tonight but not tomorrow/I’ll have one glass/Fuckitfuckitfuckit”.

And repeat, endlessly. ALL the time. Every day of every week.

Now I have (a little) distance from this cycle of behaviour,  I’ve realised the true extent of my slavery into it. This is why it is SO much easier for me to stop drinking completely. It’s a simple answer to the myriad of questions. And after a short while, the question stops being asked so much, not even daily, and then suddenly you realise you’ve not heard it for a week. Maybe two. And perhaps there will be times when the cravings briefly raise their ugly heads above the parapet again, but this is nothing, NOTHING in comparison to the constant hell of that incessant, pride-destroying chatter.

I had a dream where I’d forgotten that I’d stopped drinking, and gone out with my friend and got royally pissed. I felt disorientated and sick to my stomach, but the worst of it was the crushing disgust and disappointment I felt with myself. I woke up and the relief of reality was huge. I revelled in it.

Being sober is also making me less selfish. I’m much more likely to think about the feelings of others (instead of obsessing over when I can legitimately start drinking). Example: I’m supposed to be having my much-coveted weekly lie-in this morning. I’m having a lie-in of sorts, but on the bottom bunk in my eldest’s room, keeping him company while he watches an *ahem* hilarious Sooty and Sweep dvd. This doesn’t sound like much of a sacrifice, but hungover Red would have likely slept through his little requests for a TV buddy.  We’re faced with a rainy Sunday here up north, and I’ve actually found myself suggesting to the Redlets that we get the paints out. Anyone who knows me will find this hard to believe. Three children under 6 – with paint??? And me?? The threat level to soft furnishings and walls is at about defcon 1. But I can handle it, oh yes – I’m sober, and happy!!

Enjoy your Sundays too, people, whatever you’re up to..

Red xx

 

 

 

 

Time dilation

Quick check in – I’m perched in the bathroom whilst two small boys create tidal waves and general havoc in their evening bath. Fans of Calvin and Hobbes will be able to picture the scene with a degree of accuracy. The downstairs electrics are in danger, but hey, they’re having fun.

I wanted to note something very significant. The periods of time between my cravings for wine are stretching. For me, this is A Very Big Thing. It occurred to me yesterday that I’ve not even thought about drinking for about 7 days.

I NEVER thought this would happen. If you’re in early sobriety, and are (like me) wondering what fresh hell it will be to live the rest of your life thinking about drinking but not being able to, ever again, then please take comfort in this new experience of mine. It may not last, but by the gods, it is progress.

Right – I must go, I’m about to be carried out of the bathroom on a Matey-tsunami… Somebody, please CALL THE COAST GUARD IF I’VE NOT POSTED BY TUESDAY!!!

Red xx

My First Half-Century

50 days today!!! I am very proud of this fact. It’s been a long time coming, for someone like me, who generally has all the willpower of a squirrel sat next to a very large nut . Family Red all got out into this today, and it felt very good:

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I’m planning to spend this evening celebrating the New Year by eating ALL of the calories I missed over the last 36 hours. Even if that means eating two dinners, three desserts, and cheese, I will battle through.

2017 will not be about denial of any sort for me; there will be time to make more positive food choices, it’s already happening naturally now that I don’t crave my own bodyweight in fried food due to a hangover. And not pouring poison down my throat isn’t really denying myself anything, now is it?

I’m struggling to pick a word for the year, but I think I’ll try to focus on kindness to myself and others. And FUN! I want lots of fun, and I finally have the energy and drive to seek that out. That is a momentous thing for me; my alcohol habit was increasingly making me a hermit. I didn’t really want to leave the house. At all. Funny really, given that booze is supposed to make life more amazing, according to the adverts?

If you’re just starting out on Dry January – please keep going – you may feel incredibly tired at the start, just when you think you should, by rights, be feeling full of beans and all renewed and shiny… I found that bit so, so hard. Why was I doing this, if not to feel better? But the extreme tiredness will pass, and you will begin to break the habits. Seriously, just give it a go.

I’m now really looking forward to whatever the next 50 days will bring. I’ve never felt so positive in January in my life before. What a good place to be!

On re-reading this post, I think I may be on that post-vomit-virus high, where just feeling ok and being out of bed is like you’re living in a John Hughes movie.. one with John Candy cooking breakfast in it.  But I reckon it’s My Life Without Booze. Try it.

Red xx

Just. New.

Happy New Year, everyone! A quick post; I want to record the fact that I’m now on day 49, and I had a brilliant New Years Eve!

We had good friends over, the kids were all happily sleeping together upstairs, the adults enjoyed a Thai meal cooked by Mr Red, I was armed with tons of AF drink options, and crucially, I was completely honest with our friends about what I was doing, and why. Note – appreciate this approach wouldn’t work for everyone;  these are extremely good friends who are very understanding about a broad range of things (particularly the importance of good mental health) and I knew I’d get nothing but quiet, fuss-free support from them.

We played a few games, had an absolute riot with Cards Against Humanity, and I found myself laughing, having fun, relaxing, all the emotions and states of mind that we fool ourselves into thinking we need alcohol to achieve.. well bollocks to that, it just isn’t true.

Sadly, after thinking that surely I Am Wonder Woman,  and I’d escaped the illness which afflicted my family over Christmas, just before midnight I succumbed. I rang in the New Year with a delightful toilet interface at 11.50pm, then ran downstairs, shouted a Happy New Year to all, ran back upstairs and was lost, another victim of the dreaded vommitty-bug. I feel pretty rough today, which I’m incredibly annoyed about, given the fact I should have been “jumping out of bed like Mary-bloody Poppins” as Mr Red put it. But I’m peversely happy that none of this can be attributed to booze. Ha!

If you’re thinking of giving up the drink – just do it. The difference I feel in my life is incredible. Really – try it, do it, what do you have to lose? If you want help and support, shout, there is an amazing band of people out here, blogging and helping each other. There’s no way I’d be at 49 days today if it wasn’t for all the support. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart, and wish you all a peaceful, happy 2017.

Love, Lady Pukebucket  (formerly Red) xx

Awash. But not with booze!!

Ahhh Christmas. Sober. I’ve done it.

If you’ve read the start of my blog, you’ll know I also made it through last Christmas sober, however I am a tiny bit further down the path this time, and it was a lot easier. Christmas Eve was possibly the best ever.. well, right up until about 10pm…

I shall set the scene. We’d watched The Snowman & The Snowdog, all snuggled up on the sofas with the Redlets, the woodburner crackling merrily, lights twinkling, and I felt just so bloody lucky to be exactly where I was, and so grateful for it too. We got the little ones settled into bed, and, for the first time in our lives, we both watched It’s A Wonderful Life. Mr Red was even drinking AF beer, in a show of solidarity with me. As the credits rolled, and I wiped a happy tear from my cheek, we suddenly became aware of a strange coughing and banshee-esque wailing coming from upstairs..

I apologise in advance if you’re polishing off your festive left-overs whilst reading this, but I’m about to get a little graphic. We raced upstairs to discover our daughter re-enacting what appeared to be a scene from The Exorcist. It was everywhere. Meanwhile, as we flapped about like headless chickens, from the next room I could hear No. 1 Son starting to wail about feeling sick. We’d just managed to clean up the girlie, when I had to perform a mad-dash rescue of him from his top bunk, whilst roaring “puke on the rug – yes it’s ok – on the rug not on the wool carpet!!!”. We’d managed to then clean him up, corralled them both into our bed with buckets, when Mr Red raced off and started driving the porcelain bus. Oh yes, all three of them were at it, repeatedly, and for quite a sustained period of time. It was like a scene from the Crimean War, with me as a rather less than saintly Florence Nightingale, running around emptying buckets, swearing under my breath and performing exorcisms on the aforementioned rug.

So – as you can probably gather, it’s been a subdued, less than magical experience. The hurling has finally abated, and Christmas did eventually happen  (a very frazzled Mother Christmas did her deliveries at about 2.30am,  smelling strongly and, dare I say, festively of pine disinfectant).

This is all less than ideal, obviously. Not what I’ve had pictured in my mind for the last month. But – hooray – I was sober. And (fairly) fresh, with my wits about me, and able to look after my poor, ill family with a clear head and in a reasonably cheerful fashion. And I was able to enjoy the good parts of the last few days too, without the spirit-crushing hangover. This would not have been the case if I’d been Old Drinking Red. Oh noooo.

I do hope you’ve all had a much less vomitty festive season than we have here.  I’m on Day 45, and I’m looking forward to the New Years Eve celebrations with a glittery, alcohol-free glass in my hand! And no puke. Please thankyou.

Red xx

 

Big kid

Day 37. Despite dealing with more vomiting Redlets, I’m feeling chipper. Stronger antibiotics are (fingers and toes crossed) warding off the chest-infection which has been dogging my steps for the last three weeks. I’m reasonably prepared for the big event, my fridge is bursting with cheese and cold meats, which makes me very happy. I have some special drinks which actually have glitter in them. (Yes folks, I’m going to be literally shitting glitter in a few days. Seriously, can you get any more festive than that??)

Occasionally, I feel a pang, miss the fine wine, feel like something is wrong. But I can stand outside myself and ask the question “would pouring ethanol down my throat and getting inebriated improve this??”. No Red, it fucking wouldn’t, and you know where that ends. Real life is not like the adverts.

When I look at the children, I feel a simmering, child-like excitement myself. I’m here, in it, experiencing it, not the absent, shattered mess of old.

Yes, admittedly I’m eating mince pies and mainlining coffee for breakfast, but I’ve got all of next year to start looking at my food habits. I know this will balance itself out, so I’m letting myself indulge, safe in the knowledge that I’m winning st the moment just by not drinking.

SoberMummy’s post this morning containing the link to all those transformed, fresh, happy sober people gave me a huge lift. Maybe one day I’ll post my before and after photo’s. For now, I’m an anonymous, but happy,

Red xx

 

 

This time..

It’s day 35 since I stopped drinking, here in the Red Household. Since I stopped cracking a bottle of wine at an ever-earlier hour on a Sunday, with the excuse “hey, it’s Sunday! Everyone starts drinking at lunch! This is fine…”. Then there would be the second bottle. And then Monday. Waking with a banging head, a sickly stomach, the creeping dread, the chest-crush of anxiety. Dragging myself through the day, trying not to get too close to anyone in case I smelt of alcohol, counting down the minutes until the evening, when I could open another bottle. To bring me back up from the pits, to just feeling ok.

It’s amazing how quickly that cycle would degenerate for me. I used to try not to drink the on the nights before work. I didn’t always succeed, but as a rule by Friday I would have two nights AF under my belt, be feeling more human, and so my first post-work Friday night drink would give me a big buzz. A few days later, I’d be drinking to bring me back up to the baseline.

This little dude perfectly illustrates how the cycle worked for me.

Over the last year, I’ve tried to stop drinking a few times. I even made it to over a month earlier in the year. Since then I’ve mostly caved in at about 2 weeks, max. I feel a bit different this time.. more relaxed about it. More accepting of the fact that booze and I just don’t mix. More revulsed by the idea of drinking than I’ve ever been. Missing “it” a hell of a lot less. I’m not counting my chickens, I dare not. But it feels good so far.

It’s my “turn” for a lie-in this morning. Although, by the time Mr Red had roused himself to take the incredibly bouncy, Advent-crazed Redlets downstairs, I’d been thoroughly woken up and had already been downstairs to make myself a cuppa in a grump of despair. They’re all finally downstairs now though, and I’m luxuriating in bed, with tea and biscuits. There’s a worrying amount of kerfuffle coming from down there – it does remind me slightly of the time in Dusseldorf when we accidentally stayed in a hotel room which turned out to be above a busy nightclub. But hey – I don’t have to do anything for an hour. And without a hangover. For that, I am immensely grateful.

So through the gently thudding bass-line and the occasional giddy scream (is it joy? Is it sheer rage? Will there be much blood?) I bid you a Happy Sunday, people!

Red xx

 

 

A month. A month!

Bloody hell – where’s that gone? Last week was a blur of preparation for a weekend away. The stress levels were, quite simply, insane. Did I crumble? Did I fuck.

I’m beginning to realise that I need to put things in place to help alleviate the pressure I put on myself. Just telling myself not to get stressed-out obviously doesn’t work. Getting shitfaced works temporarily, but then very quickly worsens the situation. Everything does not need to be perfect.

However, a weekend away at Whitby, in a tiny cottage, with my in-laws, Mr Red and the three children went rather well. And I didn’t need to drink. We went on a steam train over the North Yorkshire Moors, and the Redlets met Father Christmas, and much magic abounded. We enjoyed the sea-air, cosy evenings tucked up watching films. And throughout I was present, clear-headed, and even able to meet a small child who was ill at 3am with calm and reassurance. It felt good.

I found myself feeling nostalgic about the idea of drinking once, when walking through the dark cobbled streets, past cosy-looking pubs. But I played the tape forward in my mind, and I didn’t like the end of the story so much.

My last post was full of frustration and negativity. For the record, I did feel like crap that day. But realistically, that has been one really bad day out of 30. For the vast majority of the time, I’m immensely grateful to myself for just stopping.

I am getting sudden cravings for wine, usually out of left-field, often at times when I would have usually been drinking. I put this down to simply going through the process of breaking the old habits. I’m busy forming new ones – music is helping hugely. My new habit when I start cooking in the kitchen is to choose some music, usually something that kicks ass, and blast it out. It’s got to be something I love, something that gets me moving, and whacks me in the solar-plexus. Idlewild have been featuring quite a lot. I’m finding music releases endorphins similar to that first sip of wine. Really, I shit ye not.

So I’m feeling relatively calm heading towards the festivities of next week. I’m way more organised than I was this time last year, and there’s one mighty fine reason for that.

As of last night and a messy hour in the bathroom, my hair is an ever more vibrant shade of red (I was going for Ygritte, but it’s come out a bit more Melisandre..), and my nails are this colour:

IMG_20161213_120527.jpg

I’m ready for Christmas, and I want to see what the next 30 days brings me.

With love, and a mince-pie treat,

Red xx

 

 

 

 

This is not the Sunday I’ve been looking for..

I think I must have been in a small, pink, velvety cloud for the last three weeks. It’s definitely fucked off somewhere else today, that’s for sure. After a great day yesterday, I’m feeling almightily pissed off about everything today. I’ve been a snappy, cranky, bastard of a crocodile. Everything little thing is making me want to scream with rage. And I’m still ill, and feeling utterly knackered to boot. I just want to climb into bed and cocoon myself in peace and quiet, in dim lighting.

Instead, I’ve spent the morning cleaning our living room in preparation for decorating the tree. And fending off one million questions from small people. This afternoon we’ve put up the decorations, and it’s been stressful and irritating to say the least. Mr Red and I have been looking forward to it, because this event last year was a complete delight, with the little twins tottering on their tiny steps, decorating the tree. This year it’s been, quite frankly, fucking annoying.  Neither of us have felt full of Christmas cheer.

We’ve finally just sat down, Mr Red has a large mulled wine, and I’m really bloody jealous, so I’m filling my face with mince-pie and coffee to quell the huge bursts of envy. Whilst simultaneously trying to appear outwardly cool about it. And failing massively. And wondering why I decided to cook a Sunday dinner, what a blithering idiot.

I need to accept that not every day will be a great day.

I need to accept that sometimes I’m going to really, really want a drink.

I need to accept that some days I’ll just have to plaster a big fake smile on my face, even when I’m screaming on the inside.

Tomorrow is another day. It will be day 22, because I’m not going to fail.

Red xx

 

Winter cheer

Day 16 today. I’m ill; it feels like someone’s poured hot lava into my lungs, and my voice is coming out as a wheezy squeak. The twins are finding this utterly hilarious. Me, not so much. Where are you, damned immune system? You should be ready to fight dragons now that I’m not sapping your power with the blasted booze!

There’s a beautiful two-inch frost here in North Yorkshire, the sun is shining, and I feel like I should be outdoors getting fresh air into the children, and exhausting  exercising their little legs. What I want is a hot bath and my bed.

Anyway – my white roses are cheering me up. And for anyone in the UK with access to Marks & Spencer, I can thoroughly recommend this new beverage I’ve discovered.IMG_20161129_114630.jpg

Warmed up, with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar on top, it’s a bloody fantastic alternative to mulled wine. I didn’t feel remotely hard done by while drinking a couple of mugs; uber-citrusy but nicely rich, and it made me feel very festive. It’ll go beautifully with a mince-pie. Or six.

Red xx

Edit: at the children’s bathtime,  I caught my little boy-twin looking at me askance. On asking if I sounded a bit funny, I was told “Yes Mummy. You’re..erm…croaking. It’s like you’re a frog. Ribbit ribbit!!”.

Roar

Good morning from the Red household! I’m upstairs hiding in bed, having my lie-in, after an interesting night involving vomiting 4-year-olds. Put it this way, I don’t think I’ll be wanting to eat sausages again for quite some time. I love my sleep at the moment, I could sleep for months, Rip Van Winkle-style. I’m hoping it’s mending the damage a bit, I just wish I could get more of it without the nightly interruptions from the Redlets. And without having to get up and do life, etc. If you could be prescribed anything at the start of sobriety, I think it should be a free-pass to two weeks away from any responsibilities, so you can juuuuust sleeeeeeep…

A few weeks ago, my 5 year old son was watching a program about kittens, and they used part of the Katy Perry song “Roar” in it. He loved it, and so I put the video on YouTube to let him hear the whole thing. Well, that was it. He was lost. His eyes like saucers, he turned to me at the end and said “Mummy, I like Katy Perry!!!” in a reverent tone. We must have watched the darned thing  at least once, every day since.

Now this sort of stuff is a little mainstream for my usual music taste, but its quite catchy, and I was struck by the fact that she’s presenting an image of a fairly strong independant woman in the video. Yes, there’s a knobhead boyfriend at the beginning, but he quickly gets binned off in favour of a life in the jungle in a wrecked aeroplane with a subdued tiger as a pet. The overriding message is one of power.

I like this. I want this for myself. It’s occurred to me that I don’t think I’ve ever felt powerful in the least. But in the last week or so, the words of that song are becoming a bit like an anthem for me. I would love to feel like she does, and the fact I’m finally fighting this addiction, turning around and flicking massive ‘v’s at the voice in my head that tells me I need a drink, waking up in the morning and beginning to feel a little bit proud of myself, that’s the first few faltering steps towards becoming strong.

All together now.. “cos I am a champion,  and you’re gonna hear me ROAAAAR!!”.

Day 14. Off for my coffee now. And maybe a full-body press-up or (ahem) two…

Red xx

 

 

Sober awards

Rewards. Hmm. I know it’s important to treat ourselves kindly, especially in early sobriety, and I’ve been planning a few different sober ‘rewards’ for my early milestones (got through a day? Yay – I deserve something!! Probably a biscuit). I’m struggling with the idea of it being a reward though. “Reward” makes me feel at best, like a toddler being given a star for eating my tea, and at worst like a faithful puppy, or some sort of crack-addicted lab-rat.

So I’m going to have sober “awards” instead. A tiny difference, mere semantics, I know, but in my head it at least elevates me to primary school level, along with my eldest son who keeps coming home with star-award certificates for being awesome. (Yes. I’m biased. It’s my job).

A few sober awards I’m planning for myself:

Day 14: flowers for making it to two weeks.

Day 20: some really nice bubbles. Probably the Philosophy Cinnamon Bun variety, which I’ve long coveted.

Day 42: an important one, as it’s a day past my previous record, and on the other side there will be a brave new world. It will also, coincidentally,  be Christmas day. I’m planning a candle. An expensive, scented one. And I’m going to light it on Christmas day night, when we finally get back home, to mark the event.

Day 100: well, y’all know about the Hotel Chocolat extravaganza I’m planning. I’m going to be rubbing myself all over with those muthas..

A quick round-up of the week; I went to a Mindfulness session one evening. For someone like me who just cannot. stop. thinking (also read “catastrophising” here, it works too) it was a very useful experience. It felt good. I’ll be going again, and attempting to start a daily practice.

Apart from busting through some crushing tiredness, the only challenge was last night, and it wasn’t challenging in the end, just a nice evening. I live in a small market town, and we make a big event of such things as tree lighting. My childen were involved in a parade carrying little lanterns, there was a brass band, carols, hog roast, and the ubiquitous mulled wine.

It was a lovely event, but my small people are still quite tiny, and by Friday evenings usually sociopathic with tiredness. I used this as an excuse to trundle us all off home for hot chocolate sharpish after the tree was lit. We bundled them off to bed, Mr Red made me a verdita (pineapple juice, mint, coriander, lime juice, jalapenos) and we ate nachos and watched Game Of Thrones. At bedtime, I found myself looking forward to my clear-headed, relaxing start to a new saturday. It hasn’t disappointed me so far!

Red xx

Ps any other ideas for sober awards/treats/whaddever you call them?? I’d love to hear what everyone else does. As you can probably tell, I’m having to pep-talk/award myself through this!! xx

 

Waking from the dream

Oh dear. It seems that one of the consequences of drinking to escape from all my responsibilities and my endless to-do list is that none of the things I was hiding from actually got done. No Shit, Sherlock, I hear you cry.

Consequently, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. I’ve emerged from my figurative underground hobbit hole to discover that someone (I suspect Sauron) has dumped a pile of paperwork the size of Mount Doom outside my front door. The temptation to shut said door, and head for the cellar to eat cold meats and cheese is huge.

I admit, I’m feeling slightly panicky and overwhelmed. That could be the coffee, but more likely the fact I’ve a ton of shit to sort. If I think about it right now, it kind of goes “right, here goes, so I’ve got “A” to do, then “B” then, oh shit, forgot about “C” until it’s “woah, woah, too much, I’ve forgotten my fecking alphabet, this is too big, help, brain shutting down in blind paniiiiccckkk”.

Obviously the temptation to blot all this out by twisting a screw-top and glug glug-glugging is huge. I’ve had a few overwhelming cravings over the last two days, but I’ve mostly rationalised my way through them. I even busted one by suddenly doing star jumps in the kitchen, much to the surprise and delight of my 5 year old son.

I think I need to try to find some balance here. I’m basically assuming that because I’ve stopped drinking, a years worth of shizzle will be magically resolved, my house will become clean and I will wake-up a skinny, energetic, super-mummy.  This Is Not The Case. What I need to do is get my scruffs on, find a bloody big spade, and start digging. Or make a list – yes, that’ll do!

Right. Here goes.

1. Tax return

2. Aaaarrrggghhh!!!!!

Red xx

Coffee tips for the newly sober?

So it seems from all the lovely comments on yesterday’s post, that a few of you are coffee aficionados.. and to be honest it’s a sober treat which is proving a lifeline to me, turning my pissed-up evening “treats” into clear-headed, delicious morning treats, and turning my habits on their heads, which I think is crucial to success right now.

I’m fairly new to this, so I currently brew my treat up in a bog-standard  cafetiere from Sainsburys. I use ready-ground coffee, usually Taylors of Harrogate,but I make it about three times the recommended strength. (See a behaviour pattern here? All or nothing, me).

My best bit of kit however, is my Dualit Milk Frother. As a novice, I’m a fan of the uber-milky but strong type of coffee, which has a decent froth – almost a meal in a cup. (And possibly the alcopop starter-drink of the coffee world??)   The dualit thingy delivers this perfectly. I also confess, I have three converted spice-jar shakers containing homemade cinnamon sugar, vanilla bean sugar & pumpkin spice for shaking over the top. Apologies if this is a bit Starbucks and will probably make some purists blanch.. but I needs my sugar right now!

So if you’re reading this, and you’re a coffee fan, please comment and tell me what’s your favourite brew, and how you make it? Let’s spread the coffee-love!!

(A slightly wired) Red xx

First coffee

The first coffee of a hangover-free Saturday morning : bliss. I’m sitting looking out over my garden, gazing at the cold, clear, blue Yorkshire sky, porridge bubbling (burning? Must check..) on the hob.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s taken me an hour since being first woken by Twin 1 and “Monk” arriving in my bed to actually getting my bum on this chair. I’ve lit the woodburner, sorted small-child breakfast viewing (Dipdap), taken breakfast orders, revised breakfast orders, added chocolate to the breakfast orders, fed the cat, lit the woodburner (again), replenished the breakfast bowls, resolved arguments etc. But all of this has been so much easier without the thick head, roiling stomach, pounding heart, and heavy chest of anxiety that the previous night’s drinking would have wrought upon me.

It’s been a good few days. I’m aching like a bastard from an advanced Pilates class I started on Thursday night. I made it through my three days at work fairly easily. I even made it through tasting 4 different wines at work yesterday, without too many pangs of distress. (Note: I “spat” where I’d usually have swallowed, and cheerfully turned down the proffered glass of something to sip at my desk whilst sorting the accounts).

Work will continue to be a challenge (more on this later) but, here I am on Day 6, feeling pretty strong.

I’ve decided on a treat to myself for reaching 20 days; a new cafetiere for one, a grinder, and some super-expensive coffee beans, which will probably have passed through the intestines of some exotic animal and been coated in gold leaf or something, y’know, to achieve that amazing flavour.

Right, wishing you all a happy Saturday wherever & whatever. I’m off to have some double cream on that porridge now, because my calorie deficit this week must already be in the thousands, and so I bloody well can.

Red xx

Accountability calling

Right. I’m back, folks. Today is day 2 of an initial 100 day commitment. I’m not scared of a sober Christmas; I did it last year and it was a revelation. I do have a few challenges ahead, which I’ll list in a later post, hopefully along with a whizzy old plan of how to overcome each.

I’ve been building up to this over the last few months. I’ve had a few brief periods of abstinence, but in general I’ve noticed my drinking sessions have been getting heavier. I don’t find two or three alcohol free nights a week too tricky (Eg the nights before work, or during a period of child-illness, such as The Great Chickenpox Disaster of October ’16), but when I do drink, it’s been getting up to two bottles a day. And over the last few weekends, I’ve had to have a drink fairly early the next day to make myself feel ok. Of course, this is not ok.

I’ve been literally devouring Primrose’s blog recently (Taking A New Path) which has been a godsend.

After reading her post about effective strategies in recovery I’m going to cherry pick the four which appeal most right now (ie which are most achievable)..

  • Asking for help
  • Documenting the process
  • Self-compassion
  • Exercise

I’ve also planned my 100 day treat – a Hotel Chocolat “chocolatiers table”, which is possibly the most amazing box of chocolatey goodness in the known world. Ever. And with all the money I’ve saved by dropping the wine, I’ll be able to afford the eye-watering three figure price tag with ease! Huzzah!

So – in the hope that there’s still of my fellow bloggers, lurkers and commenters out there still reading this – cheer me on please, if you feel so inclined. Something tells me I’ll need all the support I can get.

Red xx

Small incentives

I had a craving last night. Mr Red is stressed and under a lot of pressure with work, so he popped out and bought a bottle of red, cracking it open in the kitchen as I was prepping tea with the vague words “you don’t mind do you Honey…?”. Now this wouldn’t usually bother me; over the last few months I’ve discovered that I don’t really like red wine anymore. Strange, after years of drinking it with gusto, but hey. But KAPOWWWW – the sight and smell of it hit me like a truck, and for a second, I really, really wanted a glass. Especially when he offered me a taste and began extolling its delights. Even more so when he nipped upstairs, and I suddenly considered taking a slug from the glass with the thought “well, no- one would know…” marching across my brain.

Strangely though, in those moments, it was as if I was split in two. Part 2 of me said “don’t be daft, you don’t really want it. And once you’ve eaten, the craving will pass”. And also “Yikes,  that’s bloody dangerous thinking!!” about taking the hidden, forbidden sip. So I managed to ride through it fairly easily, recognising it for what it was; my addicty-habit brain falling into old, well-worn patterns.

Once we’d sat down to eat, and talk, sure enough the desire for a drink was gone. And interestingly, Mr Red happily drank his one large glass, and then decided that was enough.

During our meal, we heard the telltale creak of the floor which signals the approach of our little girl. She’s taken to inventing wildly spurious reasons to pop down for one last cuddle, such as “I can’t find PoleyBear, Mummy”, with said stuffed toy clutched firmly under her arm, or “there’s an ANT in my bed!!!” aka a miniscule piece of sock-fluff.

She toddled over and jumped up onto my knee, so, after some cuddles from both me and Daddy,  I carried her back up to bed, and at her request climbed into her little bed with her “for a snuggle”. I lay there for about 15 minutes, whilst she chattered, gave me random kisses (“I kissin all your moles Mummy!”) and she gradually got sleepier, and I almost fell asleep myself. It was lovely – I looked at her beautiful little face, and her huge eyes, and her gorgeous little hand in mine and marvelled at how lucky I am. And I thought about all the times I have been cross and irritable if she wouldn’t settle, desperate to get downstairs for my “me-time”, which meant wine, of course. And then I thought with horror about all the times I’d been inebriated, whilst she and her brothers slept upstairs, and how many times I’d been cross in the night if she’d called out, or more likely not even heard her. And I thought about all the possible consequences of being drunk in charge of small children, of the things that might have happened which I’d have been too pissed to deal with effectively. And then I thought about another mother, from a high-profile case in the UK,  and  I thought about my own mother, who lost a little girl (one whom my own daughter resembles very, very much) at a similarly young age, suddenly, in the middle of the night many years ago. And just for a flash I felt a fraction of how they might feel, day in day out. And I hated myself, was rocked to my core at just how callous and irresponsible I’ve been, and of just how much I’ve taken for granted. I don’t want to feel like that any more. I want to be as proud as I can of my efforts at being their Mummy. And of course, there’s a fairly simple, obvious way I can do that.

Apologies for the overly emotional post today, I needed to write this down so I could hardwire the thoughts and feelings into my memory. Please don’t get me wrong, I was not up for mother of the year award yesterday; in fact I was quite a grumpy bastard at times. This was mostly due to starting my day at 4.30am with a young man who couldn’t sleep due to tonsillitis, whilst I battled my ongoing bloody illnesses. But, I did the best I could  and I had nothing to feel ashamed of.  It’s day 7, I’m pleased with that, and I’m not drinking today.

Red xx

 

A Birthday Gift

Hello! I’ve been quiet recently. A little bit due to recurring-bloody-illnesses, and massively due to the guilt I’m feeling about drinking again, and about wimping out on friends who are doing the 100 day challenge. Oh, yes, I folded, faster than a shitty cheap deckchair.  As I predicted, once I’d recovered from my last bout of illness, I started to feel better, and decided that it’d be completely impossible to enjoy an evening of friends staying chez-Red without drinking beer.

Then I became ill, yet again, with a bad cold. So I stopped drinking, got a bit better, and then it was my birthday, FFS, how can I possibly enjoy a birthday sober? So I had a large glass of wine with my birthday tea, and once the resolve was utterly shattered, shared a bottle with Mr Red in the garden.  By this point, however, my tonsils had freakishly started swelling up again, almost as if I’ve become allergic to the damned stuff. So at 11pm, on my birthday night, I decided to give myself a gift. I would not drink again, one day at a time.

Giant proclamations about giving up forever, or for 100 days, don’t seem to be working, in fact they seem to send me very quickly running to the bottle. So I’m going to try taking it day by day. See if that sticks a bit longer. I’ve written a list, actually physically written it into a journal. It’s a list of how I feel, and how shambolic my life is, when I’m drinking. If I get the urge to drink, my plan is to look at it, and ask myself if anything has changed/improved. If nothing has got any better, if life’s still constant chaos, and I’m permanently ill, and feeling overwhelmed, then I can drink again if I want to. I know lists are only any good if you remember to read them at the crucial moment. And I’m obviously banking on the fact that my life will improve here. Bit of a gamble, but from my research, the odds are stacked in my favour.

Another surprise birthday boost I received from my eldest son was a display of his maths prowess: “Mummy. Mummy. In eight years, I’ll be twelve!”(pause, for some frantic calculation…) “And that means, in eight years… you’ll be FIFTY!!!!”.

Thanks son. Yes indeed, in 2024, I’ll be 50, with a 12 year old and twin- 10 year olds. Jeeeezus. I’d best stop drinking now, so I can be a fit, strong, healthy, glowing, Elle MacPherson “oh-my-God, she’s-not-really-fifty??”. And not be the tired, overweight, irritable, slightly crazed, embarrassment of a mother that I am now.

Today’s day 4, and despite the fact it’s the first England match of Euro 2016 tonight, I ain’t drinking today.

Love, Red xx

 

May Madness – the plan

I’m feeling better. Hold the press; I’m feeling very alive, actually. I think this may be a combined “AF and getting rid of the ick” pink cloud, but it’s very nice and fluffy so far.

The trouble is, as my spirits and energy improve, and the weekend approaches, thd bad thoughts of drinking have crept back in. I’m gong to have to plan the shit out of this one to get through unscathed..

Righty-ho. The Plan So Far:

Friday night: after a day at work in “the biz”, I’ll be likely obsessing about wine by the time I leave. Plan is to purchase delicious food items for an evening meal, exercise like a woman possessed immediately upon returning home, and I’ve already signed Mr Red up to a high-octane film evening. I find these easier to not drink during, as it were.

Saturday afternoon/evening: friends are coming to stay, and the usual format is craft beer, food, music, and card games until the wee small hours arrive and we lose the power of articulation. They will arrive laden with interesting new beers to try. DANGER. So for starters, Mr Red has already brought me a couple of decent AF crafty beers home specifically for that night. Also, I’ve done one of these sort of nights with these friends AF before, so I know I can do it, and also that they’ll respect my choice. And I’ll bloody LOVE the lack of hangover on Sunday. Must remember Sunday Morning if tempted.

Sunday night/Monday night: Bugger. Nothing so far; more work definitely required on this part of the plan.

Right – any suggestions for the plan are most welcome. In baking news, it’s my son’s class cake-bake tomorrow, so I need to go and (ahem) tidy up the Tiffin I’ve made so that it’s in nice, neat, presentable squares. I fear it may require some quite severe trimming…

Red xx

Ps – a few weeks ago, a class cake-bake is the sort of event which would have seen me burying my head in the sand, then forgetting about until the last minute, and panic purchasing some crap shop-bought nonsense for. Interesting contrast.

The dangers of (AF) time

A quick post – it’s 10pm,  I’ve finally got into bed after a busy day, and the Redlets are all coughing as if they’re on a TB ward. I may be required to rush off and don my Florence Nightingale outfit any second. (Think Superman getting changed in a phone booth,  but less lycra, and a lot less sexy).

I’ve discovered that having energy, and AF time on my hands is a danger, as last night it led me to create this:

PicsArt_05-25-10.03.44

Anyone familiar with my blog will probably be aware of my predilection for the combination of peanut butter and chocolate. In particular a certain Reeses Peanut Butter Bar. Well, I only went and made a huge slab of the stuff myself. Christ knows how many calories there are in this puppy – I could probably work it out, but I don’t think my calculator display is wide enough for the result. Of course, when it came out of the tin, it needed squaring off and tidying up, and so all told, I’ve eaten a disgraceful amount this evening. Fortunately, Mr Red and the Redlets all agree it’s delicious, so they’ll probably save me from a fatal sugar-coma.

Anyway – it’s day 10 for me today. I can’t say I’ve been challenged yet, and I know the weekend and my returning good health will all conspire to trick me into thinking I’m in control of my drinking, perfectly normal Mum of 3, just a bottle or two to help me through. I shall be on my guard, and making plans to distractify. .

Red xx

 

Down with the ick

Yes folks, you guessed it! It’s bathtime again. I’m currently marinating in a hot bath in an attempt to wash away the illnesses which have been plaguing me.

Tonsillitis is still here; as of yesterday I’m on stronger antibiotics, and living in fear of quinsy (a truly Victorian-sounding illness, which would surely require the application of a poultice of some sort..). Unfortunately, on top of this, I’ve spent the morning riding the “chunder-bus”,  after contracting a vomiting virus from my poor little girl.

Needless to say, this has not been a good mix. It’s safe to say that Red’s immune system is definitely in Brazil, and has now met the man/woman of its dreams and decided to move there on a permanent basis, the treacherous bastard.

On the bright side – I now find myself inadvertently on day six of no drinking, and with a determination to continue. I have the perfect excuse; my friends, colleagues and drinking buddy (Mr Red) are all to aware of the litany of illnesses I’ve been suffering recently, so the words “oh I’m on an immune boosting health-kick” won’t come as a total shock.

Let’s see how it goes, eh?

Happy, vom-free weekend to you all.

Red xx

Bathtime – part deux

I’m in the bath again. I’m going to re-purpose this blog into one about baths and bathing, it seems to be such a recurring theme.

I’m ill again. On my third set of antibiotics this month – two for the pesky chest infection, and now I have that lovely childhood favourite; tonsillitis! It feels like someone’s stabbing me in the tonsil with a knitting needle every time I swallow, after having first run me over with a heavy-goods vehicle. You know it’s bad when the doctor winces visibly when they look down your throat. The word ‘pus’ was bandied about.

So – since my last blog I’ve been trying to “keep a lid” on my drinking, with varying degrees of success. I’ve not been drinking during the week, and reining myself in over the weekend. This still consisted of drinking three beers and two bottles of wine over the three nights. Frighteningly, that’s actually me behaving myself.

I’ve had a few really good, honest talks with Mr Red, all about the drinking; my drinking, his drinking, too much drinking. He wants to cut down too, so we made a plan for the weekend, and almost stuck to it. His idea was to only drink at weekends, but I pointed out the guilt this makes me feel; as by doing that I’m prioritising the weekdays where I work and see less of my little ones, over the weekends when I finally have some time for them. So I said I’d drink on one night, and be sober the other, so I had at least one day with them hangover free. I didn’t stick to this, I’m ashamed to admit, but I was more aware of drinking and stopped sooner. And had a good Sunday with them as a result.

I think I agreed to try this plan so I could prove to Mr Red that moderation is not an option for me – “hey look; I tried and failed spectacularly, so I’ve just got to give up now,  d’you see Honey?”. But when I re-read this again, it seems more and more like I’m weak, can’t take responsibility for my own decision, and am trying to manipulate the situation so that he’s finally telling me to stop. What’s with that thinking? Why do I need so badly for others to tell me what to do, to give me the permission I seem to need to make my life better?

I am also starting to suspect that my drinking is compromising my immune system. In fact I think my immune system has actually buggered off, due to the unreasonable working conditions I’ve been imposing on it, and is currently living the life of Riley on a beach in Brazil. Can any of you tell me whether you noticed an improvement in your resistance to bugs & viruses once you stopped drinking? I felt a real sense of despair when I realised I was getting ill again so soon – I’m struggling to remember when I was last really well.

Anyway – I’m discovering these baths of mine are an excellent time for reflection. Let’s all Bath Our Way to Sobriety!!!

Red xx

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday morning

Happy Sunday morning! I’m lying in bed, with Mr Red, and the three Redlets crammed into various spaces. We’re half- watching Up on dvd, and I’m getting a brief chance to catch up on soberblogs, whilst occasionally getting elbowed in the crotch. (Not by Mr Red, I hasten to add).

I feel good – it feels like my immune system might just have rediscovered it’s purpose. And I had a lovely walk and some coffees in pubs with Mr Red yesterday (he drank beer). I didn’t feel an urge to drink, but I do think that’s down to the lurgy. My real challenge will be facing not drinking when I feel tip-top again.

I also managed not to drink last night – I did contemplate it I confess, but ultimately the answer came back “no”. We’ve started re-watching the classic 90’s series “Cracker”. Gritty police drama with Robbie Coltrane. Awesome tv and all the better sober, because I saw the end and could actually follow the plot. (Side note – one bonus of all my previous drinking was that I passed out in a lot of films & TV series. So it’s like a whole new world out there).

Anyway – Happy May Day to you all. I’m feeling good about today; once I can extricate myself from this bed, I’m going to have a real coffee (without feeling the usual urge to puke) and we may even go outdoors, and dodge the lovely rain and hailstones the UK spring is hurling at us.

Bathtime!

Yep, I’m soaking in the bath. This is a rare occurrance; if I try this after the kids bedtime I’d wake them up just running the bath. (Our house is weird – big downstairs and tiny upstairs). If I try it during the day at the weekend, I inevitably end up with a small “bathbuddy” or two. And their associated toys, cars, squirters. Or a procession of small people requiring the toilet, or just asking questions of a philosophical nature such as “So where IS Grandpa, Mummy?? Is it Mexico??” (My dear Dad would have found this amusing I’m sure) . Not terribly relaxing, anyway. ‘Specially with a metal Hot Wheels car stuck to your bum.

I digress – I’m writing this because I still feel like crap physically today, but mentally I’m feeling better. Stepping off the merry-go-round will often have this effect; I spiral down and down into stress, introspection and “poor me, I can’t cope with this, it’s all someone else’s fault!!!”, and then something cracks and I break through and start climbing again. I found this cycle got less severe last time I stopped drinking for a period longer than 3 days. It didn’t completely disappear, but then I discovered afterwards that I was low on iron, which will have been contributing to me not feeling tip-top despite being sober. I’m going to try it again (with improved iron reserves!).

Last night I busted the myth that you can’t have fun sober, by watching three episodes of Stuart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle. And absolutely crying with laughter. Why do I always envisage a sober life as something grey and dull with no highs?

I’m marinating in the tub now, listening to The Lord of The Rings soundtrack. An odd choice, but this was my favourite bath music when I was pregnant with my first boy, and I remember loving the combination. I was obviously AF, so I thought I’d try it today. It’s great, but I need to put down the phone now and start actually relaxing. Properly.

Later, lovely people.

Red xx

Ps – moving onto the We Bought A Zoo soundtrack now (Jonsi). Uplifting. And am putting down the phone!!

 

Sick day

Actually, when you add it up, it’s a sick 4.5 hours, when you factor in three kids under 5 who have no concept of an ill parent, and the school run. But anyway, I’m in bed with tea, which is unprecedented at this time of day.

I have a new set of antibiotics, am planning to allow myself to rest tomorrow too, and the upside of this illness is I have absolutely no desire to drink! But I feel like shit. Bugger it.

On reading blogs and lovely comments from my sober buddies, it is striking me that having a supportive partner when you’re trying to stop must be amazingly helpful.

I think if Mr Red felt I drank too much, and thought I should stop, I’d find this a hell of a lot easier. As it is, he’s actually a barrier to me conquering this; I know he thinks I’m being extreme, can’t understand how I can contemplate a life without alcohol, and is certain we’ll stop ‘having fun’ if I stop drinking.

I can sense the barely-contained glee in him when I’ve given in after a period of sobriety before. When I don’t drink, he loses his guilt-free ability to drink, along with his time with fun, relaxed Red. I think it’s about 50/50 between those things.

I fear it will drive a wedge between us – my sobriety. I’m scared of losing him; he fell in love with the me that is/was “The Fun-Loving Party Girl” who adores drinking craft beef in pubs and talking on random afternoons, and drinking wine and listening to music under the stars in the garden on summer evenings. I’m scared that my much younger, extremely good-looking husband will drift away and find someone younger who will do all those things with him. (There seems to be a raft of younger mums in my new school-mum crowd, some of whom have actually told me he’s gorgeous. Flattering, and ultimately very unsettling).

We’re already not in a great place right now anyway – he told me last week he was feeling distant from me. I explained that I’m feeling overwhelmed with all my responsibilities and the lack of input from him into anything apart from his business. A night of drinking and chatting seemed to help, but things are no better this week and we’ve had a blazing text-row this morning as I feel he’s not helped much (at all) while I’ve been ill. He’s still asking me “what’s for tea” when the kids have gone to bed FFS. I just want to go to bed myself!

Anyway – I’m sure I’m probably putting up barriers to dealing with my addiction by trying to side-shift the blame onto him here. I need to take responsibility for myself, and perhaps just crack on with it and prove to him that there will be benefits for him too when I stop: (list here as an aide-memoir)

  • Last time I stopped, I dropped my excess weight and looked better than I have in ages. This can only be good.
  • I actually found I started laughing at things more, belly-laughing. I was more fun, on reflection. Well, after about 3 weeks of being a miserable bitch.
  • I felt a lot more like “sexy time” when I was sober. Not difficult, anything more than zero is good right? And I was better and more confident at “it” sober, and had outstandingly better orgasms. Again, better than zero, methinks. In fact I think I actually use drinking as a way of avoiding the issue of sex. I’m at the point most days where I can’t bear anyone else needing anything physical from me after the kids are in bed, there’s just nothing left in the bank.
  • I’m more in control of general home-life, less stressed, and need less from him in terms of input in minor domestic things. I’m sure he’d consider this a benefit, as less is actually required of him.

I remember last time occasionally thinking “this would be easier if I was on my own”. I’m sure people might disagree, but hey, each situation has its own set of challenges. I don’t want it to come to that though, I love him and he’s my best mate. Most of the time.

Sorry for the needy ramble – perhaps I have a temperature from the “ick”. Ha!

Day 4, and heading for the weekend..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ahoy there, shipmates!

Hello there!! *raises head gingerly above parapet*. Well I’m still here, whether anyone is still reading may be more in doubt however.

Since my last post, much has happened. Many bottles of wine have been consumed, a few stinking hangovers have been weathered. I’ve been reading blogs still, and thinking about my drinking, and watching some newbies heading into their AF world, as usual feeling a lot of affinity with my blogging friends, and rooting for you all.

I’ve been mostly keeping a lid on my drinking. In Red-World, this means not drinking at all on the three nights a week where I have work the next day. And then on the other 4 nights, consuming at least a bottle of wine per night. Oh – and then there have been the weekends where I’ve been at parties (the one where we had 2 craft beer hand-pulls set up in our mates kitchen was memorable. Or was it? Damn you, alcohol-induced memory loss). Or the weekend we had friends to stay, and started drinking at 5pm, and stopped drinking the following 3am. And the particularly spectacular hangover I experienced after a Friday night at home with Mr Red, where I proceeded to attempt to numb the stress of the previous week with ALL of the wine. I must blog this next bit as it’s possibly my lowest hangover moment EVER. Ahem. Here goes.

I woke late, after my kind husband had risen with the children and allowed me to lie in. I had the kind of headache/sick/roiling stomach where only water therapy will work, so I got myself into the shower, drank a soluble vitamin drink and took some painkillers. Big mistake – when will I learn that paracetamol is a bad idea on an already overloaded liver & stomach? I stood in the shower as long as I could, but I was freezing so I ran the bath and sat in it, with the shower still going on my head. I soon started to feel really quite sick as the painkillers did their worst. I was about to get out of the bath and head for the loo, at which point, my youngest son (3) burst into the bathroom, announcing his urgent need for a poo. He then clambered up onto the loo, hidden from sight by a small wall, but chatting happily away to me. I, on the other hand, proceeded to very quietly, but quite violently, throw up into my own bathwater. The young man went about his business, blissfully unaware, and returned downstairs, while I then attempted to shall we say “wash away the shame”.

I am aware just how revoltingly, awfully bad this is. And on re-reading the above, its perfectly obvious I am in no way “keeping a lid” on anything. This was a couple of weeks ago, and things have calmed down a bit now. But I’m coming again to the conclusion that drinking is impacting on my life, the children’s life, and that all the stress I’m trying to blot out is only being exacerbated by the drinking habit. The stress is fucking ENORMOUS at the moment by the way; my job, looking after the house and 3 children, and Mr Red’s business are all taking their toll on me. But I know, in my hind-brain, that this would all improve if I could just let go of my alcohol-crutch, and maybe try some exercise and self-care instead. But hey – that ain’t the easy option, now is it?

I’m managing to find time to write this, as I’ve been battling a chest infection for over two weeks now, and today finally I admitted I need a sick day off. Trying not to impact on work, I’ve picked today (a non-working day) and the only way to do this was to get my eldest to school, then drive the twins to their Gran’s for the day. I finally got back home to bed at 11am, and I’ve been resting in bed, and watching John Hughes movies. Probably the first time I’ve had a proper sick day in 5 years. Oh for the pre-kids days when you could pick up the phone and call in sick still in your dressing gown.. Still, got to get up in an hour and do the school run. Go Mummy-Power!!! (Cough/sneeze/splutter).

Anyway, here I am. No drinking last night, and there’ll be none tonight. We’ll just see how the weekend goes. But I’m feeling more determined than I have in ages. Wish me luck, friends.

 

 

 

 

Addictions

The title says it all – I’m considering tonight why I must throw myself into things so damned hard, and why those “things” are usually bad things.

I’ll explain.  For the last two weeks, Mr Red and I have been literally hibernating each evening, and living in the gloriously entertaining (and dare I say it, boobilicious) world of Game Of Thrones. We bought the box set, binge-watched series 1 – 4, consuming three, on occasion even four episodes per night. We pre-ordered series 5 to arrive the day of release, and we’ve continued in the same style. And to accompany this, we’ve been eating a smorgasbord of meats, cheeses, breads, and of course gallons of wine. We do like to get in character; we even had wild boar last night for goodness sake. From Lidl, I hasten to add. There was a rather thrilling warning on the packaging that it may contain pieces of lead shot. Yikes! How delightfully barbarian.

Each following morning, I’ve been waking feeling ropey, swearing not to drink that night and typically by lunchtime my resolve has failed. I’ve been easily managing to stay sober the three nights of the week before my work days, but the rest have involved at least a bottle of wine to myself, often a bit more.

I confess I’ve not felt a massive motivation to reign myself in yet, as I mostly feel like I’m doing ok. However my sensible brain is also aware that this is utter bollocks.

I’ve also been struggling massively with feeling life can’t be fun without beer and wine. Not so much on the G.O.T nights; to be honest, I think that the alcohol adds little to this. Frighteningly, a bottle barely gives me a buzz these days. And I’ve been an absolute sod for falling asleep multiple times in the last episode of the night. When I’ve watched it sober, I can stay awake and riveted to the end, with plenty of energy to rail on against why there needs to be quite so many “boomers” on display in every episode, whilst simultaneously drooling over Jaime Lannister.

The thing I really struggle with, are occasions like this last Saturday. A child-free afternoon and night, a trawl around our local craft beer havens, followed by home, music, silly dancing. Air guitar. It was SO much fun. But Sunday morning was not, as you can imagine.

My brain tells me that I will lose this if I stop, all this spontaneous fun. (However Anne from Ainsobriety is constantly proving me wrong here,  what with all the fun she’s been having going to gigs!!). I wonder if I can stop drinking during the week, and then “save” myself for bingey, fun blowouts? And I also know this not to be true – I can’t moderate in anything, no, I throw myself in, hedonistic and head first, weak woman that I am.

Another thing is work. My job, and Mr Red’s business is basically all about wine and beer. Literally. I’m expected to drink! (In moderation of course). How is there a place here for a sober Red? Where will I fit?

I also wonder what I could achieve if I stopped. If I could throw my addictive headlong personality into honing my body, making myself stronger? Just fucking improving? Could that be the answer? Could the endorphins provide the rush I constantly crave?

I’ve decided to continue blogging here even though I’m not on “that train” at the moment, as I’m still thinking, thinking, thinking, and evaluating all the time. I still appreciate all the incredible support from you all, I hope to live up to it soon.

Red xx

Ps for any concerned animal lovers, the cat is alive and well, just still slightly (ahem) shaved looking.

 

 

Smelly cat

Or words to that effect.. So, the three little Redlets slept beautifully last night. Red, however, did not. This was in part due to time spent digesting the massive Singapore Udon/Prawn Toast mountain which I tried to cure the hangover with. (This never works and simply drags out said hangover. When will I learn? Oh, wait..that sounds familiar.. ). It was also possibly due to the nightsweats I suffered; a classic Red detox. But it was mainly due to my very poorly cat, who took up residence under the chest of drawers in my bedroom, and spent the night shuffling round in a dejected fashion and occasionally yowling at me.

Yesterday, I noticed the poor creature hadn’t eaten for over 24 hours, and was looking decidedly “peaky”. And he’d pulled a lot of fur out too. I took him to the vets, only to discover he had a massive abcess on his lower back, helpfully concealed under all the ginger fur. The vets were quite shocked at the size of it. And I started to add two and two together, and realised that the bastard thing must have been brewing for about 2 weeks. Poor, poor little sod.

Anyway – he had it lanced today back at the vets. They were still talking about it in wonder when I collected him; I think the entire staff had been and gawked at the unfortunate creature. All this got me feeling extremely guilty. I really should have noticed his decline, as looking back it was fairly obvious, but I was too busy having “fun”.

I also had to prepare said cat a place to recover on getting home, and this involved me moving the mountain of paperwork and “stuff” which had accumulated over the last 6 months or so. You know, that stuff that comes through the letterbox requiring action, and all the kids paintings that come home from pre-school, letters from school, severed dolls heads etc etc. It’s horrendous – it’s actually four separate heaps of crap and I’m slightly scared to start going through it for fear of what I’ll discover. Probably a map to some lost city, or a new strain of mold that will trigger the zombie apocalypse.

So. Upshot of all this is that I’m not good at taking responsibility for things/cats when I’m drinking. In fact I’m an out and out hassle-avoiding hoarder. And so I’m looking forward to getting some more Shit Done during this new period of sobriety. And also being a better pet-owner; for any animal lovers out there reading this, the cat is now safely back home, with a bag of antibiotics, and massive wound-drain. Oh, and my utility room now looks like something out of one of the more nightmarish Hieronymous Bosch paintings. Some may say this is a just revenge. I will be purchasing guilt-laden cat treats tomorrow..

Red xx

 

Pillock

What a great word “pillock” is. And it describes me perfectly; yes, you guessed it, I’ve been quiet because I’ve been back on the sauce. It started fairly gradually, but predictably it’s snowballed in the last few days, and I’m very hungover and jaded today, after a head on collision with beer, then wine, then fizzy stuff last night.

I suppose at least I’m reflecting on what went wrong, instead of burying my head in the sand. At around 40 days, I was really starting to enjoy feeling so “together”. I felt like my brain was sparking back into life after the years of poisoning. I’d got pretty organised; I was much more on top of everything in my busy life. I’d even done some DIY, for goodness sake. Turns out I’m not too bad at it either. So on the one hand I was feeling good, but I also still felt very weary, lacking in energy, a bit “meh”.  And those thoughts started creeping back in; where’s the spark in life without wine? How do I really relax and have fun? Surely I should feel amazing, and I just don’t, so why not have a drink? And I knew damn well Mr Red was mostly thinking “jeez, life is boring with this sober woman who makes me actually do stuff at the weekend”.

So I had my “fuck it” thoughts, and now I’m back to feeling anxious and overwhelmed, and the house is back to being a tip. I look (and probably smell) like Stig of the Dump today, and I’ve been positively embarrassed to be seen out on the school run. Getting everyone up and ready for the day was an utter shambles this morning, and culminated in my eldest son nearly setting off for school with a pair of my lacy undergarments attached to the velcro on his school coat. They’d become entangled whilst in the tumble dryer, and in my half-blind hungover state I nearly failed to spot them. Close call.

I’m back to fighting the battle with the craving this evening. I caught myself thinking “oh today would be a crap day to stop; my soberversary would only come around once every four years! I’ll start tomorrow”. Shows the level of foolery my brain gets up to eh?

So I’ve been gathering strength from reading all of your blogs. I’m writing on here again in the hope that this will keep me accountable.

The list I wrote here just over a week ago obviously did not work. At All. Groundhog Girl was totally right in her comment, and lists are all well and good but seem to require tattooing on the inside of my eyelids in order to be effective. Maybe I do need to have a reminder tattooed on me; preferably on my drinking arm.. I already have a tattoo on that wrist anyway, which I was planning to expand. Perhaps I could have the words “Put It Down, Woman!!” inked onto the back of my hand. Or maybe “You Pillock”. Yes, that could work!

Anyway – tonight I wish all you lovely people from this amazing sober blogging community just lived down the road, and we could all meet up for tea and cake and lovely sober treats and just talk and understand each other. Thank goodness for the interwebby thingummy. I’ll try to keep blogging, in the hope it will keep me straight.

Red xx

 

 

 

Booting the witch

Friends – I wanted to thank you all for the fantastic support I received when I fessed up to my binge last weekend. It means a LOT. Every one of those kind comments is a big, iridescent green scale in the fabulous dragon-armour I’m building to protect me from the evil witch. I picture my witch looking like The Witch King of Angmar, from Return of the King. Scary fucker,  but Eowyn defeated him, and so can I.

4766029

So tonight, I’ve locked the doors, and I’m warding the bastard off with a rhubarb sparkling cordial in a fancy Villeroy & Boch glass, whilst cooking a Massaman curry and listening to some awesome music by an icelandic band on the Spotify. Of Monsters and Men; in case you’re interested. Beautiful stuff.

And just like Sober Mummy in her post on Sober Mornings, I’m really, really looking forward to waking up hangover -free and victorious tomorrow, to the sound of the little munchkins arriving in our bedroom to start their day. I may well be woken by being battered over the head with a stuffed elephant, but it’ll be a beautiful thing indeed.

Happy Friday night to you all, I wish you glorious victories over your own witches and demons.

Red xx

 

Remember this, Red!

Tonight I need to record how I’ve been feeling over the last 3 to 4 days, so I can re-read it when I get the urge to open a bottle of wine and inhale it. Here’s a little list, for Future-Red to review in times of temptation. I have mostly been:

  • Feeling fuzzy and achy around the eyes.
  • Feeling queasy. Very, very queasy on Monday morning…
  • Had a raging headache (Sunday, most of Monday, part of Tuesday.
  • Lethargic. I have all the verve and sparkle of a three-toed sloth.
  • Anxious; about nothing specific, just vague low-level buzz of impending doom.
  • In a low, snippy mood. Not much has amused me today. I’ve been patient with the kids, but distinctly grumpy with Mr Red.
  • Wet-brained. By this, I mean if I’m asked random simple questions, I’m struggling. Being asked my date of birth by health professionals was causing me to pause for an unnaturally long time yesterday.
  • Unable to multitask! I’m a woman, I should be able to multitask in my sleep for chrissakes.
  • Making some truly dire food choices.  If it’s not deep fried, salt-encrusted meat or carbs,  it’s sugar coated chocolate with extra jam. And PB.
  • Low on confidence. And I look like shit. The sight of my eyes in the mirror this morning horrified me. I looked about 20 years older, and grey. Oh and one eyelid was randomly puffy, and looked like it had slipped downwards about an inch.  Sexy, no?
  • Sleeping badly. I had horrendous night sweats last night; I woke about 4 or 5 times, drenched all down my front. Yeuch.
  • Unable to concentrate. I was driving all 3 children back from their grandparents this evening, through very wet conditions on the motorway, in the dark. Way too many lorries, far too much surface water on the road. Now add into the mix a small boy who’s just discovered the sheer joy of arithmetic, and has developed a tendency to bark random maths questions at me from the backseat: “Mummy, Mummy, what’s 2 plus 7? What’s 23 minus 4? What’s 1,000,010 plus 2? (I kid you not, he actually asked me that). I nearly had to pull over in a panic and phone someone for help. Carol Vorderman might have been useful.

But only last week, I was taking situations like that completely in my stride. I was On Fire. Better than I’ve been for years. I need to get back there fast and then not take it for granted for a second.

I’ve briefly looked back over my earlier blog posts this evening. I seem to have been on some sort of roller coaster of hysteria,  verging from happy to (mostly child-provoked) near-lunacy. I think on reflection,  I need to focus on the positives a little more, whine a HELL of a lot less, and remember why I’m doing it, time.

Thanks for all the support yesterday & today folks. You’re all awesome!

Red xx

 

 

Red’s new experiment in stupidity

Well folks, after 40 or so days of abstinence, the memory of how bad I felt when drinking had faded sufficiently to let the idiot-gene kick in, and I decided that drinking would be a Good Idea. I’d left my phone at my in-laws by accident, and I felt weirdly off the grid and away from you all, and I somehow thought I could get away with it. So I conciously decided to conduct an experiment, with myself as the subject.

It was Saturday night, and out of left field, I got a craving for wine, so I just bloody opened a bottle. Mr Red suggested that I just drank one glass. I suspect that he thinks that I’m now “fixed” and I can drink normally. I am under no such illusions, and pointed out that if I opened a bottle,  I’d damn well drink it. And I did. And predictably, I felt invincible and just wanted to carry on drinking, so I convinced Mr Red to share another bottle with me. And then it was Valentine’s day, and the floodgates had been opened, so why the hell not share a bottle of champagne with Mr Red whilst I’m cooking the steak? And why not share not one but two more bottles of red wine with him… And then crack another bottle of champers? And last night? Hell,  I had a hangover, so I needed deep fried Chinese takeaway food, and a bottle of NZ Sauvignon Blanc, stat!! After that was done, I suggested sharing a bottle of fizz whilst we watched Vikings killing each other. Your classic Monday night in.

Annnnd today. Here I am. Feeling fuzzy headed, with the low level anxious dread, crushingly tired, incapable of focusing properly on any thought, and craving yes, you guessed it, more wine. Oh and I look like utter shit. I’ve been so ditzy and shambolic all day. My head just isn’t functioning, and messages from the ear to the brain processing unit are taking longer than they should and often becoming scrambled;  at one point today my eldest son ran into the kitchen shouting “Mummy, he’s just hit me with the big green strap-on”. WE HAVE A WHAT NOW??? Oh, you meant the jigsaw box with the green strap on it. Oky doke.

Well what a pillock I am. Took my eye off the ball there, felt invincible, and slipped straight back into the deep end of my dirty habit.

This was an entirely stupid thing to do, but at least I’ve proved to myself that I cannot moderate my alcohol intake. At all. And the way I’ve been feeling today has been a sharp and pointy reminder of just how amazing I’d been feeling sober; I’d utterly failed to appreciate that.

I think a lot of newly sober people get about a month under their belt, and start feeling as if they might have “reset” their drinking habits, and that perhaps they can moderate now, you know, drink “normally”. Well if that describes how you’re feeling right now, please take a lesson from my Book of Stupid. Allow me to be Red, the fluffy idiotic guinea pig, on your behalf. I thought those thoughts too, and I was so very wrong.

Getting through wine-o’clock was actually quite easy today; I spent it shuttling around in hospital having a mammogram & ultrasound, as I’ve been having strange pain in my left “boomer” recently. (Boomer – my children often mis-hear the names we use for bits of our anatomy, and we don’t correct them for purely comedy reasons. My daughter persists in calling her “ladybits” her “ladybird”. I should enlighten her, but it’s just too damn cute).

I’m very (very, very) pleased to say that I got a nice resounding all-clear from the boomer clinic after about two hours, and came away with a leaflet and prescription for diclofenac gel. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a most excellent result, especially as I’d started to feel the dread that they might just find something horrible. I can’t help thinking about the other ladies sat in the waiting room today, going through the same thing. I really, really hope they all got good news too. And I’m going to remember the advice of  the Chief Medical Officer here in the UK, Dame Sally Davies, who advised us all recently to “think about cancer before you have a glass of wine”. That’s a good deterrent, if ever I heard one.

So, my friends, it’s back to Day 1 for silly old Red. Please stick with me.

Red xx

 

Seasonal Anger

Last week was not the best. I think my own personal bank of Patience and Giving was dangerously low on reserves. In fact I’d go so far as to say it had sustained a pretty violent armed robbery, carried out mercilessly by 3 midgets with spudguns.

On Wednesday, I reached the point where I couldn’t take any more complaints, or whining, or arguing, or refusals to cooperate, and I lost it big style. I was grumpy, shouty, miserable Mummy. The kids spent a lot of time bursting into tears, and I got told on one occasion that they wanted Happy Mummy. (I could bloody cry just typing that). I did manage to snap out of it by the end of the week, and apologised to them all. I just felt like I had nothing, nothing left to give, and I kept feeling really quite angry. Mr Red had a minor disaster at work one day, which meant he was very late home and I missed a coveted appointment. I was disproportionately pissed off, and fell out with the poor guy for 24 hours. Really, it was nothing,  but it was just the pooey brown icing on the shit-cake that had been baking all week.

The problem is, I’ve started to feel as if I have absolutely zero control over my life, not a shred of free-will; it’s just an amalgam of relentless caretaking and having to constantly be places on a never ending schedule and Not One Bit of it’s for me.

And I don’t have wine to escape into anymore. I’m facing up soberly to the fact that life’s a bit of a dull grind. I also expected to feel amazingly bouncy and full of energy after not drinking for over a month and I just bloody well don’t. But I have to remember that this is February in the UK. Possibly the greyest time and place on Earth. I usually feel pretty pissed off and weary during Jan and Feb, but at least I don’t have a hangover this year…

So here’s something good about not drinking – when shit happens, I’m actually reflecting on how things have gone wrong and trying to work out ways to improve or change the negative situation. This is a vast improvement to drinking Red, who would ignore all the problems and just drink until they became utterly compounded.

So after last week, I’m going to:

  • Read some parenting books a friend has loaned me, and see if anything in them strikes a chord or could be used to bamboozle my miniature emotion-bank robbers.
  • Try to make my life easier on the tough days where I work and wrangle kids alone. Pizza for tea anyone? Peanut butter – that’s a food group, right?
  • Start using the two hours free time I get on a Monday while all the children are at school/nursery for me-stuff. For reading, or haircuts, or exercise, and/or cake, or all those things at once. Not for cleaning!
  • Ask some friends for advice. (Hint: that’s you guys). Is this raging anger and emotional upheaval normal? Is it usual to still feel totally knackered over a month into sobriety?
  • For years, I’ve threatened to book a holiday in Jan or Feb. The one year I can particularly remember not hating the start of the year was when I went to Spain for a week in February with a friend. Conversely, possibly the worst January ever was the one when I’d just returned from 6 weeks bumbling round the glory that is New Zealand.. try a rainy UK after that one! I barely spoke for about a month.

It seems that something to look forward to is pretty key for a happy start to the New Year for me. So next year, after a year of not drinking, maybe I’ll be able to afford to take the 3 little felons and their lovely Daddy on holiday somewhere sunny in the half term break. And if not, I reckon between us we have the combined skills to knock off a Securicor truck and head for South America..

Red xx

Ps coming soon – a list of things that I’m happy about. And less navel-gazing. Honestly!!

 

 

 

 

Retirement (oh, yes please ).

Tuesday evening seems to find me rather tired at the moment. I think this might be due to the fact I work Weds -Friday, but on Monday and Tuesday I’m full-time Mummy. And tonight, after two days of that, I’m so darned tired I can barely think straight.

This may in part be due to one of my small people, who I swear had Beelzebub in him today. There were (amongst other things) toilet issues. “Mummy – I need a pooh. Mummy it’s out of my bottom. Ooh look Mummy, it’s in my pajama leg!!”. This last bit was said with delight and enthusiasm, as if he’d just seen a rainbow, or a baby lamb or something to wonder at. I just could not move fast enough. And we won’t mention the mealtime where he tried to eat ketchup and scrambled egg with his hands. Or, indeed, what’s now known as “The Great Yoghurt Disaster of 2016”. Lets just say I will be finding deposits of it for years to come.

Anyway, now I’m finally flat on my back relaxing, I find my thoughts (unsurprisingly) turning to my retirement. It’s a strange one, as I am realising now I’d basically built my entire retirement plan around booze.

So. The Plan: Firstly, Mr Red and I would head for California, purchase a 1970’s Ford Mustang (or more realistically a campervan) and then gently bum around from vineyard to vineyard, and craft brewery to craft brewery, taking in the odd national park, sleeping under the stars, and probably running from bears. We’d eventually settle in a cabin by the sea, or a lake, with a big veranda and stereo, and drink wine in various sunset scenarios for the rest of our days.

However. The use of the word “plan” here is slightly misleading, as it indicates there’s been some sort of financial element to this. Sadly no, I’ve got as far as daydreaming, and then thinking “Shit I must sort out a pension. Oh balls, I’m 42, not 22, wtf happened???”. Also, Mr Red is younger than my good self, by nearly *$%*bleepitybleep years. Naturally, I won’t be inclined to sit in limbo waiting until he’s of an age; no, he’ll just have to bloody well retire when I do. So this plan was all going to require some cash, which is currently of the imaginary sort.

On reflecting this evening, I’m pleased to say that finally now I’ve stopped drinking, there’s a slim chance we’ll have the finances to fulfil this dream one day. (The Living Sober website counter tells me I’ve saved about £142.15p already. I’m expecting my cheque in the post shortly; that’s how it works, right??).

The trouble is, the dream will have to change, as the booze-soaked option, well it’s just not an option now.

My question is, what the hell will we do instead?? And the joy of it is, I’m really quite excited to find out.

Red xx

Ps – any retirement plan suggestions most welcome! Please, no bingo.

 

 

Sunday Morning Confessional

So far I’ve been finding it very cathartic to be honest with you lovely people who are kind enough to read my blog. In the spirit of this honesty, I’m going to let you into a secret no-one else knows. Deep breath. Oof, this is strangely harder than admitting I was a drunk.

I’ve been addicted to painkillers as well as alcohol.

There. I’ve said it. I don’t suppose this is huge in some people’s world.  But it’s a biggie for me. True, it’s not heroin, but yep, it was codeine, which, as an opiate is a step or two down that nasty old path.

Dropping the drink has given me the clarity of mind to start turning the cold beady eye of truth on my life, which is probably why it occurred to me last weekend that I may just have another little demon to pulverise here.

So – the gory details. I’m a tall, gangly creature, and as such I’m naturally more prone to back problems. Which I’ve had on and off since the age of about 16. I’ve never got anywhere following the standard NHS process, which basically results in having anti-inflammatories thrown at you in vast quantity, and referrals to physios which just didn’t help. Over the years I’ve been to osteopaths, and more recently a really good chiropractor. But these options aren’t cheap, and let’s face it, there was wine and beer to find funds for.

I’ve never been a drug taker particularly, I’ve always chosen alcohol as my poison. (Well, apart from a brief phase in my early 30’s, when I had a destructive and idiotic rebound relationship with a drug addict and let’s just say I did a bit of f*cking stupid experimentation).

So I’ve been living with varying levels of chronic back pain for over 20 years. Self-medicating at the end of the day with a lovely, wholesome combination of anti-inflammatories, and a truckload of wine.

More recently, I’ve had access to some nice strong codeine. That was a revelation. A full dose of that swiftly resulted in a complete absence of pain, and a happy, floaty Red.

It was only in the absence of the pain that I realised how grindingly, exhaustingly awful its constant daily presence has been. In my mind, this easily justified taking more of the codeine. During the week, I would struggle through the day, and as soon as I was no longer required to drive or function at work, I’d take a dose. Or have a nice drink. Or sometimes, both. Then at weekends, well, I had free reign to constantly top up with the drug during the day, and then alcohol on top in the evenings.

Now, this combination is dangerous for all sorts of reasons, not least potentially fatal respiratory depression. But hey, I’m Marvel Comic-level invincible, right? Or at least I felt pretty invincible when the codeine kicked in. I started to look forward to the delicious rush and the flood of feel-good shit into my system when it started to work. It was seriously nice.

I began to take it more frequently, and found that the good feeling diminished slightly. But if I topped it up with booze, I’d feel good again. For a short while. And so the cycle of addiction began. I knew I had a problem with both alcohol and codeine, but while I could see and admit the alcohol problem, it was as if the drug problem slid out of view if I tried to focus too hard on it.

And then I stopped drinking. But I kept taking the pills. And they insidiously crept further and further in, as I needed something to replace the alcohol buzz.

This brings me to just over a week ago. I started having bad headaches, which would build in severity during the day to the point I could hardly see straight, and barely handle the cacophony that is my lively, lovely childen (and I would have days like the one here in Bad Mama..).

Last Sunday found me on the biggest dose of codeine I could take, and then counting the minutes between doses. And then when they stopped working, I found an old stash of diazepam, AND YEP, I TOOK ONE THOSE TOO!!!

The mental conversation went something like this:

Brain: “Hey there. Hey up there!! Yes you, doofus! ”

Me: “Yeah, whassamadder? I’m busy feeling all nice, and dreamy up here. Oh. Oh crap. I’m bloody addicted to drugs now aren’t I?”

Brain: “No Shit, Sherlock! STOP RIGHT NOW”.

So I stopped. I admitted to myself that I was addicted to these buggers too. I did a bit of reading. I tapered off the dose over two days, and since Wednesday I’ve been clear of them. All of them. Not even a lowly paracetamol has passed these lips.

Its been, well, tricky, is a nice word for it. It was a bit like going back to square one. I was fed up, irritable, couldn’t sleep properly and had the headache from hell. I’ve basically been The Queen from Aliens. But as of Friday, I gently started to feel better. And today I feel pretty good, well, apart from tonsils like golf-balls, courtesy of my germ-ridden sprogs. I’m not sleeping brilliantly, and I had a bad case of restless legs in the middle of last night but I’m clean baby. Squeaky. And it’s getting better and better.

Happy Sunday everyone. I hope that if there’s just one other person out there who reads this and who’s taking an itsy bit too much pain medication, and perhaps doubting just why they take it, this confession might strike a chord.

Love, Squeaky Clean Red xx

 

Record-breaking

When I wake up tomorrow, I will have broken a new personal record. The only other time since the tender age of 17 where I’ve gone without alcohol for a sustained period was for 27 days, last July. (Note: apart from my two pregnancies which don’t count. It’s freakishly easy to give up booze when someone elses life depends on it, rather than just your own).

I hadn’t actually set out to stop drinking completely that time; it was more of an experiment. I’d woken up on a Sunday morning, after a trip to the Magic Rock brewery tap the previous afternoon with a group of friends. It was a glorious thing; our favorite brewery where you could literally sample the entire range of their craft beers all in one place. And sample, we did. It started out lots of fun, but ended in the usual melange of rambling incoherent conversations, friends demonstrating martial arts techniques on other friends and nearly killing them, you know, the usual shizzle. Mr Red and I ducked out fairly early (for us) and came home to drink wine and pass out in front of some film or other. I distinctly remember getting quite snippy about Rachel Weisz’s performance in said film, due to Mr Red being rather partial to her, and me being a green eyed monster when pissed. (I do cultivate a healthy liking for Mr Daniel Craig, purely as a form of retaliation, obviously).

Needless to say, the next day was grim. I felt as if my heart was trying to vacate my body. My tongue was three times its usual size, and I was rather worryingly aware of the precise location of my liver, due to all the throbbing, and the ick feeling.

I found it fairly easy to make it though the next 27 days, and then spectacularly slipped straight back into my bad habits on 28th as I’d built up that false sense of security that “I was fine, yeah, I don’t have a problem, cos look how easy that was!”. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Fast forward through a blurry 5 months later. This time hasn’t been as easy. But I think that’s because it feels more permanent, and I’m still stupidly going through an idiotic grieving process, just like you would after breaking up with some numpty boyfriend who’d treated you like dirt. So in theory, I should have a moment of revelation soon, where I realise that “Mr Drink” was an utter dickhead, and I suddenly feel an overwhelming relief to be out of such a crappy relationship, whilst simultaneously being tempted to track said ex-person down and lamp them one round the head.

The revelatory moment hasn’t happened yet, but today has definitely been better. I’ve had what I think is a tension headache on a daily basis for over a week; happily this was much less severe today. I’ve also cut down on caffeine this week, and in an uncharacteristic fit of self-care, I’ve booked in to the chiropractor tomorrow, to try and address my chronic back problem and the headaches too. It’s amazing me how much of my drinking must have been self medication really. And how I couldn’t afford the chiropractor, but I could afford about 10 bottles of wine per week..

I managed today’s stresses and strains with a bit more spirit, handled the post-school and bedtime chaos single handed without losing my temper, despite claims from my youngest son that he couldn’t finish his tea because it would “give him a headache”. I’m now sat relaxing with a chai latte, and a plate of fruit. (Yes, fear not for your sanity, you read that correctly). Reese and his pieces will undoubtedly be jealous, but hey, too much of a good thing, and Red will begin to resemble Jabba the Hutt. And I say bollocks to that – I’m aiming for Leia in the gold bikini now.

Here’s to uncharted territory tomorrow on day 29, and on to Monday for my first month sober. And to all of you out there breaking (or attempting to break) your own personal records.. you’re all awesome.

Red xx

 

Tuesday-itis.

I’ll admit to you, I’m feeling quite “pah” and a bit “bleuugh” about everything today. I’m over 3 weeks into this lark now, and I was fully expecting to feel bloody amazing.  By rights, my liver and various other bits of my body should be healing fairly well from the years of abuse. I’m sleeping better, I’m looking after myself as much as I can – this consists of 1) remembering to take a vitamin, and 2) eating things other than biscuits and leftover sandwich crusts when rushing round after the sprogs. So I should be feeling better than I have in years, right?

But I’m just not, and its starting to get me down. I’m still utterly, completely dog-tired, my head is foggy, and when I look in the mirror, Casper the Friendly Ghost looks right back at me. If you can imagine Casper had experienced a very hard life, and had a reasonable amount of red hair. The dark circles under my eyes seem to be getting worse, for crissakes.

I just got downstairs at 8pm after a long day and a tricky, protracted kids bedtime, and I thought “Seriously – Is This It??”. What a hamster-wheel of drudgery my life feels like. I can’t be bothered to improve it either – I just don’t want to do anything at all, in fact I don’t even want to speak to anyone… well, apart from via this blog; it’s quite frankly all I can be arsed with. And all that’s keeping me going today, apart from the motherlode of chocolate nestling seductively next to me on the coffee table. My best friend sent a couple of messages recently trying to arrange a night out, with a small group of friends. I just feel like screaming “leave me alone I don’t wanna plaaaaaaay”. It’s not even about the not drinking, as these are old friends and excellent company, but I can’t motivate myself to want to go. Maybe if somebody arranged everything for me, got the kids sorted and off to the grandparents, gave me a full makeover (and I mean full; I need rendering), drove me there and wheeled me in, then,  just maybe, I could muster the energy to be engaging. Maybe..

Right, buck yourself up girl, and stop whining. I’m going to scoot around now and look for some inspiration from all my lovely fellow bloggers. Oh, and one good thing – I don’t feel like drinking! Yaaaay! (She cheers, weakly).

Red xx

 

 

 

Gizmo

To anyone kind enough to read my ramblings, I may sometimes come across as irritatingly chirpy about all this AF life so far, but truth be told, I’ve had a couple of visits from my own personal Gizmo the Gremlin this weekend. You know the fella, all cute and fluffy and big eyes.. “But you’ve been so good, and oh you miss the taste of a good chilled NZ Sauvignon soooo so much. You can’t have a real problem with alcohol, you’ve not had a drink for 24 days. You deserve a lovely big glass, just the one, nobody need ever know…”.

Well, you’ll be pleased to hear, I have most definitely not got Gizmo wet, or fed him after midnight. No, in fact I shoved him firmly in the microwave, the fluffy chirping little tosser.

It’s been hard if I’m really honest. I’ve been a bit grumpy, stroppy, and in a tizz with myself. But, I’ve found that once I’ve got through the afternoon/early evening, I’m actually fine. I have enjoyed my evenings. Last night Mr Red and I watched Interstellar together; what a film! Rocketed straight into my top ten, seriously. I could barely see my way up to bed afterwards, what with the swollen eyes from the weeping. And I saw the end too! (Well, mostly, through the weepy eyes). It says a lot about how insular my life has been over the last couple of years, if I managed to miss a film like that..

Tonight I had a lovely, sober phone call with my cousin –  we can go for years without speaking, and then when we do, we gabble on like The Swedish Chef on speed for about 3 hours. We get on really well and we’ve a lot in common, including small children now. Strangely enough, we got onto the whole subject of wine; I mentioned I’m doing dry January (a little lie there, but hey, break ’em in gently). She, like so many others I know, said she can’t wait to get downstairs after settling her little boy to sleep; and the first thing she does is pour herself a glass of wine as a reward. I explained to her that I tended to finish the bottle off every timeI did this, and she sounded slightly shocked. It just proved to me yet again that in no way was my drinking “normal”; I’d always assumed she and I drank a similar amount. Turns out she really does just have a glass! One! Pah.

Anyway, to combat my wine cravings, I’ve now developed a new unholy obsession. This time it’s with Reeses Peanut Butter bars; and I cannot stop eating them. It’s got so bad, that I got really quite upset on Friday when I discovered Mr Red had had the temerity to give the two last pieces we had in the house to his friend who’d popped round. I was in such a state of distress and withdrawl last night that I was forced to make a hot chocolate and dump two tablespoons of peanut butter into it. (Warning – DO NOT try this at home. It was revolting, but I still ate the glutinous muck from the bottom of the mug. I HAVE NO SHAME).

Happily, the status quo has been restored today after Mr Red had the good sense to return home with two bars of the stuff this afternoon. Bliss.

On that note, I bid you a fond goodnight. I fear I’m going to require a winch to get off the sofa very soon. Perhaps I’ll just sleep here, eh. With lovely Reese and his pieces..

Red xx

How to celebrate sober. Pt 1.

Temptation came a knockin’ on the side-door of my brain this afternoon, trying to catch me out, the sneaky bastard. Tried to fool me into thinking that I couldn’t possibly celebrate and kick my heels up without wine. 

You see, Mr Red started a business last summer with a friend. They’ve been doing well, because they’re passionate about, and very good at, what they do. We’ve been feeling the pinch horribly, as they haven’t been paying themselves, and have been ploughing everything back into growing the business. But we’re playing the long game here, and thinking about the future. Anyway, they had a meeting today, and came out of it with potentially some very good news. We’ll know more after the weekend, but hey, we felt like celebrating tonight.

Add into the mix the fact that I received a text from my delightful in-laws offering to have our little people for a sleepover tonight, and you have conditions for the perfect storm in the Red household.

Temptation started telling me that I couldn’t possibly celebrate properly with Mr Red and his good news if I wasn’t drinking alcohol. It would be flat, and boring; I would be flat and boring. I also knew how disappointed I’d feel if I caved in and drank. I can’t win, I thought to myself.

Well bugger you, Temptation, you were wrong. We went out for a few drinks (spicy ginger ale, thankyou) and a good chat at our local pub. Then we came home and ate lovely food and listened to music and talked until gone midnight, and We Had Fun!

We played Wintersleep, Arcade Fire (thankyou for those, lovely Canada) and Kings Of Leon, very loud, because no-one was sleeping and we just could.  I had so much fun that I actually fell off my chair at one point, and Mr Red threatened to take away my sparkling water as I was “getting a bit too giddy, and real friends tell their friends when they’ve had enough to drink”.

So f*ck you Temptation. You lost. Red wins.

XX

Reflections

I’m feeling a little more, well, myself, this evening. Thankyou to all of you who commented so beautifully and supportively last night, after my Beserker-Mama rant.

I’m in a reflective mood tonight,  and I wanted to record my thoughts again mainly so I can look ’em up when I’m next feeling as though I’m not doing so well at this mummy lark. (“Lark”?? Who am I kidding? It’s not Enid-bloody- Blyton, it’s more Stephen King).

The fact I’m even reflecting on what went wrong and how I can make it better says a hell of a lot about the change 21 days without booze has wrought in me. The usual response would have been “Jeez, it’s so tough being a parent. I need some wine so I can get pissed and ignore it all. Yes, that will work! Hic!”.

When I think of where I’m aiming for as a Mum, my thoughts naturally turn to my own mum. She was ace at it, I was so lucky to have her. Kind,  loving, thoughtful, funny, safe. However, tonight I am reminding myself of the following:

  • She basically had me to look after. One well behaved child. Well, until I was 17, and found boys, booze and nightclubs.. I have 3 children all under 5 years old. This is often quite like being in a nightclub, but a little more noisy and chaotic.
  • She didn’t work from my birth until I was about 16, when she got a part time job so that she and my Dad could have a few more holidays each year.(!) I work, admittedly only half the week, but still, it’s a stressful job at times and it’s a whole load of other shit I need space in my brain for. If I’m not working, I’m looking after three small children, and then after 7.30, for a couple of hours I get to cook and eat tea, do chores, and sit down for a bit. She used to go to the freaking gym  during the day after she’d home cooked a months worth of meals and vacuumed the hall carpet twice.
  • My Dad took responsibility for the family finances, and all paperwork, and pretty much everything to do with the house. I look after all our finances, pay all bills, organise all insurance, sort out mortgages when required, maintain the cars, house, garden, plan all meals, shop for all food (online,  I admit) clothe the kids, do all laundry and cleaning, ensure homework is done,&  kids stuff is prepped for school the next day, think about any developmental stuff we need to do with them.

(Please note, Mr Red will do anything if I ask him, and is awesome with the kids, and always helps with the kids when he’s home. It’s just that the other stuff wouldn’t get done until waaaay too late if I didn’t do it. I.e. until things were covered in a deadly mould, or we’d been arrested.)

Right – I feel suitably Superwoman now. I’m not doing too bad at all I think.  And I know one thing for sure, I’m definitely a better Mummy than I was 21 days ago.

Inspired by Candyflossfog’s post on Sober Treats today, I’m going leave you with something that’s cheering me up a lot more than wine would. Happy night to you all.

Red xx

 

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Bad Mama

**warning – lengthy, brutal & unhappy honesty ahead**

One of the most important benefits of stopping drinking for me was that I’d be a better parent to my three children. They are beautiful little creatures, and I want to be the best mummy for them that I possibly can.

Up until yesterday, I had been delighted to find that my patience with them had improved dramatically, and I’d been much more able to calmly deal with the myriad of crises that make up a day in their little lives. I have even been more fun. This has felt so good.

Some background is in order at this point (yep, here come the excuses).  My eldest is 4 years old, and has just started school. My twins are 3 years old, and have just started nursery. They are all at the age where they are little sponges for attention, and I can give them but a fraction of what they need.

Today, I got them all up, ready for school/nursery, got myself ready for work, took the eldest to school (with twins in tow) then got the twins to nursery, then got myself straight to work, then turned around, did all that in reverse, got them home, fed them tea, assisted eldest with homework, whilst entertaining the twins, and then got them all ready for bed. Most of this they did not want to do, and put up a fight against. I am fully aware that a) this is pretty normal for kids if their age, and b)that my life is ridiculously easy compared to the challenges many people face around this world. However..

From the minute I picked the twins up today, it all went wrong; they were tired, cranky, and I had a banging headache and work had been difficult. After hours of countless mini-disasters, deliberate widdling, refusals to eat, jumping on sofas, constant questions, demands, and by bedtime, utter refusal from the twins to cooperate AT ALL, every single one of my buttons had been pushed repeatedly, and I snapped.

I lost my temper, lost control completely and utterly, and absolutely screamed at them. I was a raging tyrant; I shouted in their faces, stormed out of the bathroom and roared like a deranged lion on the landing. They were terrified, they howled, ran to their beds sobbing, whilst I managed to get a hold of myself and tried to reassure my eldest son that no, he hadn’t done anything wrong. I then put him to bed, leaving the twins breaking their little hearts crying in their beds, and finally, when my heart rate had gone down enough, I went to them in turn and comforted them, apologised, and held them. They’ve gone to sleep now, and I’ve been either crying, or on the verge of tears ever since.

What a complete fucking bitch I am.

The thing that is killing me the most is that I thought it was the vicious cycle of booze and hangover which made me a snappy, intolerant mother. Sadly, I no longer have that excuse, and I’m sat here now trying to face up to the fact I’m basically just a shit. I thought it was all so much better now I’d stopped drinking, and that I’d get to be the mummy to them that I so badly want to be.

The irony is, I spend so much of my time worrying about them. I feel completely crushed with anxiety and fear for them, for their safety. Due to certain events in my childhood, I live under a cloud of fear that they may just die on me at any minute. I used to numb all that away with booze. I can’t do that any more. I also can’t numb away the fact I’m an intolerant bitch who doesn’t deserve them.

Still, at least I’m sat here, not drinking, analysing what’s happened, and trying to work out how the fuck I can do better next time. That’s progress,  of sorts.

Red xx

 

 

Hello tastebuds

Newsflash!! It is possible to enjoy what I loosely term a “TV picnic” without the aid of wine, I was pleased to discover last night. For the uninitiated, this is a meal occasionally eaten on weekend evenings, consisting of various cheeses, cured meats, marinated, smoked and stuffed things, and fancy bread with random bits and bobs in. Oh, and dips. I usually fill at least two sidetables with this stuff, and then we nibble away until we’re unable to physically move without two weeks written notice, and we’re verging on a full-blown cheese-coma. I had falsely assumed that all this lovely nosh would taste of cardboard, if not accompanied by gallons of the red devil juice. What utter bollocks that turned out to be. I can actually taste more, and I also managed to stop eating just short of causing myself an internal injury. Result!

Yep, that’s yet another of my personal drinking myths exploded. It’s truly amazing what nonsense my addicted brain would throw up (pun not intended) when it was trying to convince me I needed alcohol in my life. Fancy thinking food wouldn’t be enjoyable!?! Really? Did I not enjoy eating for the first 17 years of my life? I lived to eat as a child, I was insatiable.

Next up to try, steak sans vino. Yes, I have a food list, and I’m damn well working through it!

And in other news, watch out for my next post, entitled “Where’s all my money, and why the hell aren’t I losing weight?”.

Red xx

 

Finding things that were lost

Once upon a time, I loved film. It started when I was a child, when VHS was a baby and my parents would excitedly let me watch films they’d rented from the video shop, the ones they’d really, really enjoyed (and pre-vetted for anything too violent or too sexy, bless ’em). It continued into my teens, when I would often drag friends to the cinema to see the same film over and over. By the time I was in my early twenties, I was a fully-fledged film geek. I had my subscription to Empire, and give me a film title, and I could tell you who directed it, who acted in it, which films they’d appeared in before, who’d done the set catering, I could bore you shitless. I mean, like Neo “knew” kung-fu in The Matrix,  I KNEW FILM.

But somehow, somewhere, in my late twenties and then slowly ever after, that was lost. I let go of the subscription. I was skint, and let’s face it, a magazine, or a bottle of wine? Pfft, no contest. I lost touch with all the new releases, what was in the pipeline. I carried on watching films, but I’d prefer to stick to ones I knew, I stopped wanting to Try New Things. I developed a love of the box set/series. Twin Peaks, Sopranos, Sons Of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, Hannibal, etc etc. Hey, you could keep watching these as long as you could keep drinking and stay awake, in lovely, hour-long chunks. Feeling invincible, with a big supply of wine? Lets stay up till the wee small hours and watch 6 episodes back to back! Feeling jaded, hungover, tired? Hell,  let’s just watch a couple, while we drink till we feel ok again. Remember much of it? Nope, not really..

So I think, looking back, alcohol robbed me of one of my big loves. And it’s only today that I’ve realised it had gone, and how gradually it happened.

Because now I’m sober, it’s coming back. Tonight, after a spontaneous purchase, based on an online Empire film review, we had a movie night, and watched Max Max – Fury Road. And It F*cking Rocked!!! Not to everyone’s taste, I’m sure. But it ticked a lot of my boxes; post-apocalyptic theme, gorgeous cinematography, sweeping soundtrack, kick-ass female lead. Oh, and Tom Hardy, looking quite, erm, you know, acting well.

I enjoyed every minute, I was totally hooked and emotionally engaged, and these were things I’d convinced myself weren’t possible without a good bottle of red. And I didn’t fall asleep either.

Right. I’m now trying to come back down off the adrenaline rush so I can sleep, and fighting the urge to randomly kick some bad-guy butt. Bed and chocolate it is then! Tomorrow, I re-subscribe to Empire. (Cue celestial light, singing, etc etc).

I bid you goodnight, from a happy, sober, and still-slightly-pumped Red xx

 

 

 

 

Bloody Friday

Damn you, Friday. I must be feeling better, as I have a pesky craving this afternoon. I can almost taste an ice cold glass of… Nope. I’ll stop right there, for all our sakes.

It’s the “I need a treat” mentality, I know it. I’ve tried a luxurious bath. In fact I’m sitting in it now as I type; I thought I’d combine blogging with a little risk-taking, just to feel alive. It’s not sodding working though.

So I’m going to play it forward:

I’d hop out of the bath and go downstairs, and crack open a nice bottle of ‘X’. Whilst waiting for my OH to arrive home with the twins, I’d consume most of it. In about an hour. I’d then be in full on party mode when he gets home, at which point he’d nip out to the shop, to get me another emergency bottle, and one for him. The rest of the night would proceed something like this.

But! I’d wake up tomorrow feeling guilty, queasy, useless, incredibly tired, and I would not have the energy to take the twins swimming. Which is something we’re always meaning to do, but don’t because we feel utterly pants. 

So I’m going to enjoy some nice food, try a non-alcoholic Sea Breeze, and watch a film, of which I will actually see the end! And I’ll wake up tomorrow happy, and so, so glad. There. That’s starting to work.

Happy Friday,

Red xx

 

Keep on running..

I’m really looking forward to the pink cloud phase of my early sobriety. I’m not entirely sure when it will hit though, as it definitely hasn’t yet.

I think this might in part be due to the health problems I had with my “little friend” last week (see my post on Distractions). I finished my course of antibiotics on Monday, which (I think) were making me quite tired. And now I’ve been hit by some kind of revolting stomach bug from hell. I won’t go into too much detail,  but work was pretty tricky yesterday, and I’m fairly sure I’d have given Mr Usain Bolt a run for his money trying to reach the loos on the other side of the office. I was a blur of motion.

This morning I got up to get the children ready, and realised that overnight my limbs had mostly been replaced with cotton wool. And my head appears to be made of the heaviest substance known to man. This is making moving around or doing anything a tad tricky.

Thankfully my lovely OH took the kids to school. I phoned in sick to work. This is quite unusual; and I think it signifies me realising I need to look after myself. Which I’ve not been doing for YEARS!  I’ve always run around after everyone else, buried my head in the sand and just kept on going. But finally I’m listening to my body. And it’s saying “whoa there, Missy Red,  just you darned well slow down for one cotton-pickin’minute”. (I don’t know quite why the “voice” of my body sounds like Rooster Cogburn out of True Grit, but we won’t worry about that right now).

So I’ve cranked up the woodburner, I’m lying on the sofa, and I may even watch a film. Cruicially, I will not be doing any housework, or eating, but that’s another matter.

I think that self realisation is progress of sorts, however I will be most grateful when I start feeling bloody perkier, thankyou very much, Mr Sobriety. Humph.

Wishing you all much energy,

Red xx

 

Dreams

I had my first “drinking dream” last night. It was only a brief flash during what felt like an epic dream. I was sitting at an outside table at a bar, in a foreign climate, opposite my husband.  I think we were younger, and we were talking ten to the dozen. I distractedly opened a bottle of craft beer, poured it into an ice cold glass and downed it. And then remembered that I don’t drink. I was devastated – what an utter nobber! I felt as if I’d ruined everything, and the bottom fell out of my stomach…

Anyway, the dream flitted swiftly on to other strange events, and the drink was forgotten and lost. When I woke up I remembered   – and I suddenly realised just how important it is for me to stay sober.

I wonder if alcohol will continue to pop up in my dreams for the rest of my days, rather like people who are long lost to me still occasionally appear at random? Like a grieving process, where you wake up sad, and remember, and then let go again.

I’m really rather pleased though, I feel like I’ve passed a little test which my brain set for me. Drinking in the dream hasn’t left me racing to the nearest bottleshop, slavering and burbling like Slimer in Ghostbusters.  (The resemblance would be uncanny). Instead, if anything, it’s strengthened my resolve.

Day 12. I’m now two days past my previous count before the NYE debacle. And nearly half way to my previous record. Bring it on!

Red xx

 

 

I’m late! I’m late!

I’ve had a White Rabbit kind of a day today. I got up at 7.45am, and have found myself trotting round the house all day in a semi-agitated fashion, doing an endless cycle of chores and keeping small children happy. I sat down once, for about 10 minutes, and ate a sandwich. Which was nice. I also found myself popping a “clean” jumper straight back into the washer again for the next cycle, as in the intervening 5 minutes between me getting it out and coming back to deal with it, the cat had actually hopped into the washbasket and widdled on it. I kid ye not.

It got to the children’s bedtime, and I was beginning to feel extremely stressed. As if I’ve a mountain of housework and chores to do, and I’m wading through mud backwards.

I’m not quite sure what to make of feeling overwhelmed and out of control. I thought I was going to feel more “sorted” and in control, what with the whole not drinking thing. I thought I’d have oodles of time literally coming out of my ears. I’ve been thinking about it briefly (since I properly sat down, at about 9pm). It’s possible that the feeling of having SO much to do is a consequence of having done so little over the last few years. When I say little, I’ve still been running round like a headless chicken during the day, but in a disorganised, hungover way, and then burying my head in a bucket of wine in the evening to cope with the fact I’d too much on my plate. This was not a very effective strategy, it turns out.

So, I think my panicky feelings today are due to the dawning realisation that I have an awful lot to do. Clearing out, cleaning, organising, cleansing my life. However, I am now reminding myself, I have time. Plenty of time, and energy, and I will climb that mountain.

On another note, the stress level I was experiencing at about 7pm would usually have resulted in my opening and glugging down a bottle of wine. Tonight, I used a combination of the following instead:

  • Hot chocolate with a (rather large) dash of cayenne pepper. Kapowwwww!!!!!
  • An episode of Dave Gorman’s Modern Life is Goodish.
  • Working as a team with the hubby to get the biggest log EVER into the woodburner, and watching it go up in glorious flames.

I’m pleased to report that this combo worked very well. I’m now relaxed, I can still type (just), and I won’t feel rough and panic-stricken tomorrow morning on the school run.

Try it!

Red xx

 

Raw – in a good way

My sober trip to the cinema last night was amazing. It helped that we went to see Star Wars, which has been a joy to me since early childhood. (Well, not so much Episodes 1 – 3. Let’s just not go there, ok?).

It was so brilliant, even more so than I’d hoped. It felt a bit like JJ Abrams had ripped the plaster off the last 30 years of my life, leaving me raw and pink and exposed, but in a good way. I actually shed a few tears – all the emotions in the film were just hitting me like a ton of bricks. I was even crying about ruddy droids, for goodness sake!

As we left the cinema and got out onto the cold quiet streets, my hubby asked me what I thought (he’d seen it once already). I actually couldn’t speak for a second, I was so choked up. And sad. But happy!

I can only think this was down to two things:

  • Yesterday would have been my Dad’s 65th birthday, if he hadn’t died suddenly in 2014. He took me to see my first Star Wars film as a child, something I will never forget. He would have been there with us last night, and he would have LOVED IT. I missed turning to him and seeing the excitement which would have been running through us both.
  • I’ve stopped drinking, and I’ve started really feeling. REALLY feeling things, but with nowhere to go and hide, which is what I’ve been doing for the last 25 years.

If I think about it, there are a lot of things I’ve been ignoring, and squashing down, and just bloody well getting on with (because I’m resilient,  and I’m British,  dammit. We’re terribly good at denial). I’m a bit scared at what’s coming, if I’m honest.

On a less maudlin, introspective note my first sober child-free night off has been amazing. I lay in bed last night, so cosy, so tired, and I absolutely luxuriated in the fact that I was bound for a long sleep, and a hangover free morning. I have enjoyed every minute of our lazy, cosy morning, with a delightful croissanty, fresh-coffee breakfast, and Not Felt Rough!

And for that, I shout you a big Hurrah, Hurrah, Hurrah! I wish anyone reading this a happy Saturday. Or Sunday, if you’re down under!!

Red xx

A new spin on a night off

Day 7 for me today. Wow, listen to me and my amazing maths powers!  At least starting this on New Years day makes it easier for me to work out how many days sober I am… (well,  at least until February, when it’ll all go to hell in a handcart).

I’ve been feeling tired all week, but I’m putting that down to a) my friend the abcess, b) my delightfully exhausting children,  and c) the new school/nursery/work schedule. I’ve still noticed a few benefits of being AF, despite this. I’m finding that I no longer feel like I need to go to bed shortly after the children. In fact preferably before. Not that I ever did, mind you, I just used to grumble about being utterly exhausted whilst exercising my right elbow pouring myself more wine. I now find myself actually feeling quite awake at about 11pm at night! I’ve even been staying up till midnight and beyond, reading. This is backfiring slightly,  and I’m actually getting less sleep, as the smalls apparently didn’t get the memo about Mummy needing a lie-in, due to all her newfound energy.

My next challenge is tomorrow night. My lovely parents-in-law have offered to have all three children overnight, as they often do, to give us a break. The scenario on such nights would usually play out thus:

We’d  race home from work, change into clothes not covered in weetabix, and head straight out to one of our favourite craft beer spots for “early doors”.  We’d do some “research” and try lots of new beers we’d not tried before. We’d then decide that it was getting quite busy, and as we needed to take the opportunity to recharge our batteries, we should really go home. We’d pick up a takeaway, and some bottles of wine (at least one each) and head off. We’d then eat, drink more wine, and attempt to watch a film, during which I’d fall asleep multiple times. We’d then perk up a bit, and think it was a bloody good idea just to listen to a couple of tracks before bed. Oh but we’d need a drink to do that, so I’d forage under the stairs, find something fizzy, and in the blink of an eye, it’d be 3am, we’d be singing at the tops of our voices, fully believing we really can harmonise beautifully, drinking something that tasted like disinfectant, but was probably supposed to be a Speyside, and then staggering to bed. We’d wake up about 10am, horrifically hungover, and “enjoy” our child free lie-in. Not.At.All.

The stupid thing is, we’d always romanticise these evenings in advance. “We’ve been so tired, what we need is some time together,to relax, and get a really good night’s sleep”. And “wow – we’ll get a lie-in, without being interrupted by small people! We may even *hold the press* get the chance for romantic morning nookie!!!”.

And then we’d get royally pissed and utterly bugger all that up. We’d be unable to remember large chunks of the night, we may even have argued. And we’d have written off a precious Saturday to feeling like death, with our livers screaming for mercy.

Here’s my alternative plan for my first alcohol-free, child-free night:

We’ll have a nice, but quick tea, and head up to the cinema to see Star Wars, where I’ll be eating Revels and feeling about 10 years old again. Then home, an early night, and awake to a marvellous, hangover free lie-in on Saturday morning. Now doesn’t that sound better?

Red xx

 

Reasons why I thought I needed wine.. (x3)

After the random events of yesterday, today has brought a bit more normality ( I use that term loosely) and has therefore been an interesting reminder of why I felt a bottle of wine was required in my life on most evenings.

It’s one of my non-working days, so I’ve been flying solo with the three smalls all day. Well, the biggest small was at school for just over 6 hours, but in a 17 hour day, that’s a mere blip in my book.

We had a productive morning; the twins and I took down the Xmas decorations. Or at least, I did, whilst they rolled around in tinsel, emptied baubles out of boxes faster than I could pack them, and tried to dismantle electrical equipment whilst still plugged in. All in all, pretty relaxing.

It was teatime  (theirs) where it hit me just why I usually needed the wine so much. An exerpt of the conversation below may serve to illustrate:

“No I want to sit there, NO I WANNA SIT THERE” (cue screams, crying).

“Stop pushing your brother. Sit up at the table. No, don’t stab her with the fork, that’s not nice”

“Muuummmyy Muuummmyy muuummmy” (repeat ad infinitum)

“BUT I DON’T LIKE THIS TEA MUMMY” (screamed at full volume)

“Mummy – I need a pooh. Mummy, I’ve done a pooh!”

“Muuummmyy there’s yoghurt in my ear!!”

“Please don’t throw butterbeans across the room young man!! Will you ALL get back up at the table!! Now, please!!! Hello, can anyone hear me? Have I ceased to exist???”

Imagine about 45 minutes of this, with three children alternately shouting, refusing to eat, giggling hysterically, messing about, etc etc. All at full volume. You can only imagine the scenes of carnage later when I try to bath them, and get them ready for bed…

If you throw into the mix me trying to cook/wash/clean/shop & do 99% of all household paperwork and chores for 5 people, whilst holding down a part-time job, and getting the 3 children to school/nursery on time along with the associated gubbins they each require, and then getting myself to work and having half a brain left to try and be awesome at my job, you get the gist of my life.. My children are beautiful, often hilarious little creatures, and I love them dearly, but they completely exhaust me. My happy place is somewhere quiet, and dimly lit, where things are beautiful, and orderly, and I can read in peace for hours. If you’ve seen/read The Hobbit, I mean something a bit like Bilbo Baggins’s hobbit-hole, before the dwarves arrive. My reality is rather more like the scenes shortly after the dwarves have arrived…

Now I’m not for a minute suggesting I’m alone in this, or that this is a difficult life compared to what others face. No, in fact I think this is the life that many, many other women like me live every day. Which is why, after everything is finally done (or not) and we collapse, overloaded and shattered,  that so many of us crave a fast-track to a numbing, relaxing oblivion, via wine.

And then we wake up one day to find that we’re addicted. Whoops. And then suddenly we’re facing another challenge to add to the list.

I’m very pleased to report that for once, I’m not craving wine today. But lord, I can certainly see why I usually do.

Right folks, my rant here is done. I bid you a fair evening; I’m off to drink peppermint tea and draw up some reward charts. For the kids, not me. My reward is their smiles. (She types, with gritted teeth…)

Red xx

Postscript: 11.45pm. It’s struck me that I’ve soon forgotten Sober Mummy’s post re Gratitude yesterday, and that really struck a chord. So I’m now lying in bed feeling very, very grateful for my little dudes/dudette and lots of other lovely things, but also a teeny bit pooped 😉 Red xx

Distractions..

Day 4 has been an interesting one; it’s been mostly spent in hospital, rather unexpectedly. Nothing serious; but if you google “Bartholin’s abcess”, it may make you wince if nothing else. I certainly did a fair bit of wincing this morning. I’m home now, taking very strong antibiotics, and feeling a bit flu-ey.

These unexpected events this morning certainly turned the day rather topsy-turvy. However, I’m pleased to report there have been some positives which I’ve taken from the day:

  • I didn’t have to face a painful trip to the g.p. and then hospital this morning with a hangover.
  • I didn’t panic when I realised my day of prepping for no 1 son’s return to school tomorrow had basically disappeared. Instead I just worked out which tasks were essential, have done them efficiently,  and am now resting.
  • I also managed to diffuse the usual post-tea loony tunes episode (a nightly ritual, involving my two boys literally and figuratively bouncing off the walls and furniture) by engaging all three childen in a game of musical bumps. I didn’t join in, as you’ll understand if you’ve googled my ailment by now, but I was more than happy DJ’ing, and the kids loved it.
  • I’ve managed to find some positives in a grotty day. This in itself is a novelty, and surely demonstrates my mood has improved already!

All the above may seem like small things, but they are little victories for me. With a hangover, the above would have been too much for my diminished faculties.

Right – I wish a good night to anyone reading this – I’m off to lower myself very, very slowly into a hot bath. Bring on Day 5!

I won, I won, I won!

You have to imagine me saying that in the style of Olive from Little Miss Sunshine to get the full effect really.

So. Last night. On receiving the news I’d stopped drinking, our visitors looked very slightly surprised, and after a short (but positive) discussion, we just cracked on with our evening. We ate good food (eventually), talked, laughed, and listened to music, and I didn’t feel left out one little bit. It was actual real fun. 

We went to bed at a reasonable hour (by old standards) and they were up and off early this morning to go running. Oh how times have changed…

I’ve learned two very useful things from last night:

  1. I think I was the worst offender drinks-wise previously at these events. Everyone else dranklast night, but nowhere near as much as we would have if I wasn’t cracking open bottle after bottle like a crazed bartender.
  2. I really don’t really like sausage and egg sandwiches when I’m not hungover. Who knew?

So,  despite  feeling very tired today after a short and disrupted sleep, I’m a happy bunny. Because I definitely won that little battle. Just got to make sure I win the war.

 

Reflection, and a test

I’m feeling pretty solid in my thoughts and mind today (well, and in my body, but that’s a different story involving an obscene amount of cheese). I’ve picked myself up, and I’m feeling more as though I know I’m not drinking any more, as opposed to asking “can I stop drinking??”.

I’m taking my lessons learned from the blip on NYE, and I’ll be testing them out and applying them tonight. We have friends coming to stay with us. This is a friendship initially forged through alcohol, a mutual love of craft beers to be precise. They have become very good friends, and I believe that if I’m honest with them, they will respect my decision whilst being able to still relax themselves.

There’s another reason why I think these particular people will understand; in that my friend (let’s call him G for the sake of this) was actually present at an event which occurred in October 2014, which was the genesis of my move towards sobriety. At the time, I was coming down off a combination of suddenly losing my beloved father, and a period of what I can only think was postnatal depression – (I had 2 year old twins and a 3 year old boy). Our friends had recently become parents themselves, and I think we were all going through the massive period of adjustment this takes. G and I had been given afternoon pass-outs by our respective partners, and so we met in our favourite craft beer bar. The joy of being out and the freedom (plus a truly wonderful selection of beers) resulted in me getting drunk. Very very drunk, very very fast. I remember us getting in the 3rd pint of 7.2% abv ale at about 5pm, and then it all goes blank. Until I found myself on a bench in the railway station, being talked to by a policewoman,  incapable of talking coherently and even less capable of finding my way home( me, not the policewoman, obvs). After this, there are flashes of memory at best, but the next thing that’s clear in my mind was me arriving home, to find my mum-in-law looking after our sleeping children. Apparently I’d phoned my husband in tears, panic stricken and babbling and unable to tell him where I was. Naturally he’d freaked out himself, called his parents, and he and my father in law, and by this time G, were out searching the city centre for me. Apparently, I’d left G in the early evening quite suddenly and said I needed to go home. I was piddled, but this was nothing new, and G had no idea I was blacking out and so incapable. I gave a lot of people a huge fright that night, and put myself in at a fair bit of risk. For example I have a flashback to walking down the dark country road home from our local station with a total stranger, which could have gone another way. I was lucky, they were concerned and just wanted to see me get home.

And this was my “start”, the day after, I began looking for support online, and found I wasn’t alone. Such a powerful moment, and I started my journey to here, reading, thinking, assessing for over a year.

Yikes – well that was cathartic – if you made it through,  thanks for reading this far! If you are a new reader who’s found me through SoberMummy’s blog, then welcome, it’s good to have you here. Stick with me, I’m going to prove that anyone can do this. And I will.

Red xx

 

Ruddy idiot

Well folks. I’m here to ‘fess up to you, I had a big fat f*cking failure at being sober last night. I’m so ashamed, I actually considered not blogging about it, and trying to cover it up. But then, what’s the point of this blog, unless I’m truthful here?

We took our little family up to another town to stay with friends – the kids played together in the afternoon, and the grownups had a delicious meal once the kidlets were asleep. I made it through the afternoon till 5pm, when I was offered a “real” drink. I declined, and my friends were utterly horrified. I downplayed things, saying “oh I’m thinking of having a year off the booze; my consumption was creeping up”. With hindsight, I should have been brutally honest, as I doubt they’d have tried talking me into drinking if they’d been aware of the full extent of the problem. They convinced me that I couldn’t possibly be sober on NYE, or celebrate properly without a drink. They were so crestfallen when I said I wasn’t drinking, I felt I’d be disappointing them and spoiling their night. Plus, honestly, I really really wanted a drink. And so began the first of many many drinks; G&T, white wine, red wine, champagne, more champagne, more G&T. We all got battered, and ended up dancing/moshing round the living room to music at full blast, falling into bed at 4am, and then getting up at 8am with the five children, the adults all feeling like death. We were so drunk, and it seemed like so much fun at the time. But even through the drinking, when I felt relaxed and fairly invincible, a part of me still realised it was a mistake, and just after midnight I felt huge, huge regret that I was so drunk.

So here I am. Sitting on the sofa, looking and feeling as rough as a bears arse. But with renewed determination to succeed in being free from the booze in 2016. This is damned well going to be my year of feeling amazing.

Wishing anyone reading this a very happy New Year, and if you’re thinking of stopping drinking, well then let’s do this thing!!

Red xx

 

Will I lose the music?

Yesterday was a good day. I had tons more energy, I even took the children to a local beauty spot for a roam about in the fresh air, and felt really alive. At 5.30pm, the bad hour loomed so I raced off to garage to do 20 minutes on the x-trainer. Not one to do things by halves, I threw myself into the first exercise I’ve done in months full-pelt, motivational music blasting. After nearly doing myself a mischief whilst trying to match the beat to The National’s “Mr November”, I was forced to bring things down a notch.. and the next track  (“Regret” by Everything Everything) got me to thinking. I’m pretty sure there’ll be plenty of ripping plasters off old wounds in the coming days and months, during the process of discovering who I am without alcohol.

And the next fear that I need to break through is that I will lose the music. Specifically, that high that I always got from an evening with my OH, candles blazing, wine flowing, listening to our favourite music, honing and cherry-picking amazing tracks from our youth, and the sheer joy of discovering some incredible new sound we both love (Wintersleep, anyone??) and talking, talking, talking for hours about anything and everything.

These are always our favourite times together, what makes us feel like best friends. However I fear I am romanticising. I need to turn the cold light of day on those nights, otherwise they might be what causes me to fold. So here goes:

They would start well, the first few hours would be so much fun. But they would inevitably end with us barely able to speak coherently, empty wine and beer bottles littering the dining table, or the garden table in summer. In the wee small hours, OH would have to talk me out of dragging out some age-old rank bottle of spirits or a liqueur from under the stairs to drink (as we’d usually run out of booze by this point). We’d stumble upstairs, passing out cold, only to be woken at 7am by the kids wanting to start a new day, at which point we’d be in the hideous stage between still being pissed and starting a raging hangover. It wouldn’t be unheard of for me to throw up on and off for the rest of the day and end up in bed, leaving OH to wrangle three disappointed children who wanted to play with their parents. I have also occasionally ended up drinking something in the morning, as hair of the dog, to get me through the hangover.

Dear God – on reading this back, I am horrified. That kind of behaviour might have been acceptable in my wasted, rock-chick youth, but in my 40’s? With children? The words which spring to mind are “pathetic”, “irresponsible”, and downright “dangerous”. Urgh.

Thats it. I’m definitely done with that kind of behaviour; I’d like to attempt to find some self respect in the New Year. So I’m back on my sofa, stuffing down the booze cravings with chocolate. And readying myself for the novelty of a sober NYE!

Toughing it out

Last night was tough again. I’m finding the most difficult time is about 5pm when I’m in the kitchen cooking. Where’s my treat, dammit??

So, I took some good advice and went out shopping. I bought myself flowers, fancy M&S tea with cocoa nibs, AF fizz for New Years Eve, and that helped for a while.

I still nearly cracked though. OH suggested I wait till after tea, and see if I still felt like wine, which worked as the craving magically disappeared once my belly was full.

We ended up having a really good, open talk about what I’m doing. I tried to explain to him how my relationship with alcohol is different to his;  how I use it for different reasons. For me, I’ve realised drinking is an escape route, a way of pulling up the corners of the big comfort blanket, flipping down those blinkers and making the world a tiny, dark, safe place, where I can live right here in the moment. I can say a great big “f*ck it” to all the STUFF THAT NEEDS DOING, the constant mental list of things I  never quite get round to and all the associated guilt. The joke is, that when I’m sober, I actually have time to deal with the myriad of molehills which make up the unconquerable mountain in my mind. I know, because during my sober July, I felt in control and on top of things for the first time in years.

So, tonight Red has a plan. I’m going to exercise through the tough hour, because as I remember, those endorphins are quite a rush. Then I’m going to get some SHIT DONE. And then I’m going to relax, with my endorphins, my sense of achievement, and a bloody great big hot chocolate.

Mermaid-Wine

So. Last night and tonight have just been really, really tough. It’s been at its worst early in the evenings, when the wine has been crooning my name like a mermaid luring a sailor to his doom. And I’ve denied myself, and felt very hard done by. At some points I’ve been hanging on by a thread, and the thought of this blog has kept me straight.

I’ve been so ridiculously tired since I stopped drinking, and, for various reasons, I feel like I get absolutely no time to myself. It’s been an intense few days, with the festivities and three very excited small children. I’m wondering if it’s because my way of escaping has been removed – I can no longer switch off and numb everything into a warm fuzzy blanket of “nothing matters” at 7pm each evening (or earlier). I tried a few tactics I’ve read about,  like “playing it forward” to tomorrow morning, and how I’d feel then if I drank tonight. I ate some food. Both things helped.  A bit.

So I’m going to list a few of the reasons why I wanted to stop, to remind myself why I’m doing this:

  • I want to be a better Mummy. I want to be the best one that I can be, instead of being short-tempered, stressed, shouty-Mummy-with-a-hangover who doesn’t have the energy or will to play.
  • I would like more energy, instead of feeling tired and jaded, constantly.
  • I’m interested to see who I really am without the effects of alcohol & what I can achieve if I’m fully present in my life.
  • I want to feel more in control. As somewhat of a control-freak, I can’t really believe I’ve let myself feel this out of control for so bloody long!

Right. Deep breathing, Red. Tomorrow will be better.

Boxing Day and the gloves are off

Wow. Yesterday was the first Christmas morning since the age of 17 that I’ve not had a raging hangover. (Note: This is not counting the year I was in the early stages of pregnancy with my oldest boy, where I was obviously not actually hungover, but felt like I was, due to the combination of extreme tiredness and morning sickness. Oh, the irony).

It’s also the first Christmas for years where I’ve jumped out of bed with a fair degree of excitement. And then not started drinking at about 10am.

I was able to drive my little family over to my in-laws without a raging case of the uncertainty-jitters. (A condition characterised by probably not being still drunk, but having enough of a hangover for impaired decision making abilities, and therefore driving like Dougal when he’s stolen the milkfloat in that episode of Father Ted).

I enjoyed a fairly relaxed Christmas day, and had a lot more patience with the children. I was offered champagne, but also offered sparkling apple juice by my Dad-in-Law, so didn’t feel massively tempted to drink. Result!

The best (and worst) part came when it was time to make the journey home, on a dark and torrentially rainy night. We set off out of the village on our usual route, kids nodding, OH and I chatting happily. I crested a hill, only to be confronted with a large van abandoned in a dip under a bridge in about 3 feet of  rising flood water. I managed to stop – just – in a safeish manner, turn around in the tight lane, alert other motorists to the problem, and find another safe route home.

I don’t really like to think about how my reaction speeds would have been had I been nursing a hangover, and if I’d accepted that glass of champagne (“It’s only one – it’ll be out of my system by the time I need to drive”). I’m not keen on thinking about having to get three small children out of the back of that car, if we’d got stuck.

We got home, got the kids to bed, and collapsed on the sofa to watch a film. I had a moment of temptation when OH opened a very good bottle of red and asked if I wanted to taste it, but it lasted merely a few minutes, and later when I caught a whiff from his glass, it actually smelt quite repulsive (despite him waxing lyrical about smoky tones!).

So the best part of my sober Christmas day was actually being able to keep my little family safe. Pretty good result really.

If you’re reading this, a very Happy Boxing Day to you. My goals for today will be trying to get the children to eat some food which isn’t chocolate, or ham, or chocolate-coated ham. And NOT drinking.

 

Obligations

It’s day 2 here for me, and I’m feeling odd. A quiet low-level hum of actual excitement about being free from it. The Booze. I feel strangely optimistic about a sober Christmas. I think I’m actually going to have a lot more fun, if I’m brutally honest, as I’ll actually feel like playing with the children, (and hopefully have the energy, too)  instead of praying I could just stay with my butt parked on the sofa for just a minute longer.

The only negative thoughts I’ve had so far today are mostly about offending other people. Feeling obliged to drink. For example:

“Oh bugger. OH has bought me an expensive bottle of XYZ for Christmas – I’ll feel terrible saying I don’t want to drink it! He’ll know if I give it away!”

And

“Aarrgh!! What about my boozy lunch on 9th January with my old friend? She’ll be horrified that I’m not going to keep her company on the vino, and get so battered over our fancy meal that I can barely find the railway station to get home!”.

You see how much it helps to actual write this down and re-read it? Because on reflection, those worries are pretty pathetic really. If said people become offended, well sod them. (Obviously not OH. As he is lovely, and I’d quite like to keep him). Why would I poison myself to keep others happy?

I won’t lie, I’ll admit that breaking up from work for two weeks today would normally have seen me “celebrating” with at least a bottle, if not two. And probably some shit dancing around the kitchen. And on my way home, the old habit called me for a short while.

However – I’ve just enjoyed a really relaxing evening, trying out a J2O (woot woot) and watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, and I’m now in bed eating chocolate and looking forward to no hangover in the morning.

Bring on the mayhem, I’m ready!

 

 

 

 

The highly imaginitively titled..Day One!

22nd December. To many (including myself) this may seem like an extremely odd day to decide to give up the booze. After all, we’re heading into what’s traditionally the booziest two weeks of the year here in the UK. And in my own personal world, a period where my already high consumption of alcohol would absolutely sky-rocket. I mean – Christmas day? The day when I can legitimately have booze with breakfast? Bring on the bucks fizz, darling, it’s got vitamin c in it for Christ’s sake…

But, you see, for about the last twelve months, I’ve been gently starting the process of becoming alcohol free. I’ve discovered the world of sober blogs, and been reading them avidly, on a daily basis. I’ve started downloading sober literature onto my kindle. I’ve even tried a couple of periods of not drinking – for nearly a month in July.

So here I am. I drank a huge amount last night, on a Monday night, just at home with my OH. I’d knocked back my first bottle of Sauvignon Blanc by about 7.30, just after we’d got the kids to bed. We then opened not one, but two bottles of red wine over the course of the evening. (John Hughes movie night – and why not?). And then at about midnight, we topped it off by opening an expensive bottle of fizz which I’d been given from work. So all in all, I probably consumed about 25 units. God, that looks horrific written down.

I feel quite rough this morning (“really??” I hear you cry.). And jaded. And, well, finally ready, I guess.

So let’s see how it goes. I’ve learned from the many sober blogs that I follow, that blogging through this can be incredibly helpful, so I’m going to treat you all to the various outpourings from my addled mind on a daily basis. You lucky souls. If anyone would like to join me, well the more the merrier. And if I can help or inspire anyone else on the way, then bonus.

I’m going to try writing a list of the many reasons I think going AF will improve my life later. I think I’m going to need something to refer back to at crisis points! Until then, I’ll mostly be eating vast quantities of toast, wrangling 3 small children, and beating myself over the head for being so bloody stupid last night. Urgh. Bleugh. Foolish Red.