Today is the 100th consecutive day I have not drunk alcohol.
I’ve been looking forward to being able to write that. 100 days. It feels like a long time, and conversely no time at all.
I stopped drinking on the day I did, following a fall at home, of which I have no memory at all. In fact I don’t really remember much about coming home that night. My partner tells me I was stumbling around, and that I fell, narrowly missing my head on a sharp object. It was that one ‘last straw’ blackout that made me decide ‘enough’, but in reality it could have been any one of a number of pretty shocking, embarrassing and sometimes dangerous things I did in the last 18 months. I have the list. I wrote it shortly after I decided (again) that absolute sobriety was the only answer. At present I haven’t felt the need to revisit that list – its pretty much burned into my brain – and as such I’m still very clear that I can’t drink at ALL.
I started this blog, because whilst I knew I could live without drinking, I wanted to WANT to live without drinking. To me that’s the only way to stay long term sober. It’s no good denying yourself something you want indefinitely – we all know diets don’t work for exactly that reason. No, being AF has to be a positive choice, made with conviction and commitment to see out the rough and the smooth – not a self denying exercise in will power.
So where am I , 100 days in? The positives are undeniable – I sleep well, my skin is better, I look better and take better care of myself. I am more flexible and have better balance thanks to the yoga and Pilates I have attended and practiced. My children at least the youngest feels happier. I have lost the shame and fear about what I might have done the night before , I can put the recycling out without shame. Bigger anxieties have abated; what’s happening to my liver? Exactly how much alcohol IS in my system this morning ? Am I ok to drive ?. Do I smell of stale wine ? The absence of these worries is a tangible and measurable benefit that I am thankful for…
BUT – and maybe don’t read this bit if you are newly stopped and hoping for a woman still on the pink cloud … My emotions are all over the place (they probably always were, it’s just that I was too drink to notice) I feel sad and flat quite a lot of the time. I’m also bored, and unmotivated which makes the self critical part of me berate myself a lot. I am unsocial, and often agitated and (inwardly) irritable when in company. I feel self conscious, inadequate and socially inept, in a way tha I don’t recall when a couple of glasses of wine were swiftly downed at every social occasion. My relationship with my partner is thrown into stark relief . The good , and the really not so good. I feel I can’t trust what I think or feel at the moment.
I’m not about to renege on my commitment to sobriety; I know that I can’t. I just hope it gets better than this.