The last couple of weeks have been quite difficult. Partly due to external circumstances and partly because I’m now 116 days sober, the novelty has worn off, the relief that I managed to GET sober has passed, and the new phase – managing to live sober is underway. The problem with living sober (for me anyway) is managing all the emotions, feelings and experiences that come along, without anything to ‘take the edge off’; no substances to make the stress of day to day existence subside; nothing to pacify the
tensions of quotidian routines.
Today however I am feeling extremely cheerful; buoyant, optimistic and positively upbeat. Its the ‘pink cloud’ again, and like the PAWS symptoms I know it wont last, but I’m going to enjoy it and capitalise on it whilst it remains. Despite the 12 step belief that the pink cloud represents a withdrawal from reality and is dangerous to your sobriety, I don’t feel grandiose or unrealistic. I know my problems haven’t gone away – I just feel I can look at them in a more sanguine frame of mind, and perhaps believe that everything ‘will be ok in the end’. In another way to describe today’s mood: I feel able to concentrate on matters within my circle of control, rather than fretting about all those things I cannot alter.
In this mood I dug out my list of ‘why I need to stop drinking’, which I actually wrote about 3 years ago …. and cast my eye over it ( with some trepidation I might add).. It reads like this… and in italics how I think the last 116 days of sobriety have impacted on those things I was worried about.
- My health. My liver must be damaged. I will get cirrhosis and everyone will know I’m a drunk. Or Alzheimer’s. Or cardiomyopathy
- Being a doc has a lot to answer for ! My list of health worries was extremely long. So, I know that now my liver function tests are normal. The effect of alcohol on my bone marrow is wearing off, and soon all my tests will be normal. I’m not further damaging my brain or any other part of me with poison.
- I cannot control how much I drink so I put myself at risk.
- Indeed I did put myself at risk. Staggering completely plastered through Kings Cross station on a Saturday night (one of my last drinking nights) was an invitation to be mugged or worse. I can control the first drink. By not taking it I am keeping myself safe
- I embarrass myself and my partner by being pissed. I’m really worried what people think of me
- Not any more
- I’m a rubbish example to my kids, and I’m a crap mother because I would rather drink than spend time with the kids
- Not any more – and better than I expected, by talking with them – superficially at the moment – I am modelling self control. self worth, self knowledge – and showing them that their feelings and needs matter to me.
- It’s expensive and I’m broke
- I’m still broke because I’m spending too much on ‘other things’ – I reckon each pound I have saved by not drinking has been spend on other things about 4 x. BUT, I will deal with that soon.
- I look awful. I’m fat, flabby and out of shape
- I reckon I have now lost 2 lbs. BUT I look LOADS better, my skin is good, my eyes are bright and several people have said I look thinner. I’m not, but I look better and I AM stronger due to yoga and pilates…
- I’m constantly anxious that something bad is about to happen
- I hadn’t remembered this one till I saw it again – Now I recall a near constant feeling of impending disaster; I would lose my career, I would be caught drunk in the car, I would fall down the stairs …. … I haven’t felt like that for AGES now, nice 🙂
- I hate myself for being unable to control my drinking
- Not any more
- The house is a mess, I have no motivation to DO anything about it, I waste so much time drunk or hungover
- The house is LESS of a mess (and cleaner thanks to the vaporetti steam cleaner), I generally have more motivation and I have found a LOT of time….
- I cant sleep
- Mostly my sleep is LOADS better
There are other lists somewhere, but this is the one on my laptop…
Revealing isn’t it…. Actually the real revelation to me is the absence of that ‘impending disaster’ angst… The number of times I used to wake in the night, sweating, heart thumping, head splitting and brain racing … and its gone…..
Pink cloud or no, I think that’s something to be thankful for
Love and hugs