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!!”.



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