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