Hello..

Dear friends

I’ve been neglecting my blog. I’m sorry. 

“Stuff” has been happening; and I have not been able to process it sufficiently to post coherently.

I think that’s over now. I’m not drinking (and have not drunk) …. I will also not be having further contact of any kind with my ex Partner. That’s over. It needed to be, and I have finally and irrevocably severed the thread that held up somehow together. 

It was hard, is hard. But it needed to be done, and I am relieved to have done it.

A pivotal point came when I was reading an internet post. A woman wrote about her partner “why can’t he see what he’s doing us wrong?” About some truly awful behaviour from her partner. The answer was universal – he CAN see, but he doesn’t CARE. 

And so it was for me … once again I was trying to get my ExP to see that his actions were unreasonable, beTing myself up for not finding the right words to “make him understand” … but if course he understands, but he doesn’t care … that’s the truth, and nothing will change it. 

Time to walk away.

This time it’s complete severance. 100% . No remaining links. Finished. 

And it will stick, because he no longer “looks good to me”. He looks selfish, unkind, and slightly pathetic. An adult man with no insight, no friends, no income and no future. A man who thinks he’s always right, without humility or self reflection. Not attractive any longer.

At last. Thank goodness.

And it passes…

401 days today. And a (much) better day today …

I wish I could find some equilibrium. When the bad days (like yesterday) come, I’m as raw and as edgy as I was when newly sober. There is no balance, I cant make myself believe it will pass, I can’t be kind to myself with any conviction, I can’t settle to anything (useful or otherwise) and I’m just looking desperately for something / anything to ‘self medicate’ the anxiety / distress.

I don’t know what I expect really ; In an ideal world some serenity, some courage of my convictions, some inner peace and sense of purpose. If anything I feel more adrift, less sure of myself and more indecisive than I ever remember. I can’t stick to anything at all, I cant use my time purposefully, even the simplest and most benign committment seems like a mountain to climb.

What would I like to do ? I’d like to get back to Yoga, and headspace meditation; but I lack the motivation and inner peace (and my right hip is bloody painful which limits the yoga somewhat)… I’d like to keep the house cleaner and tidier – but its a thankless task tidying up after three teenagers, assorted friends and two dogs – it frustrates and annoys me… Id like to be a bit creative – maybe get my paints out …but again I lack the motivation or drive to actually get the paints out…. I need a hair cut, I need to sort out some tax stuff, I have to cancel stuff relating to the old car etc etc… but another day passes and nothing gets done, adding to the general irritation levels. (with myself)

Do I think drinking would help? Of course not.

I stopped drinking for lots of reasons, and none of those have changed. Its just that the novelty of waking up clear headed, the loss of the creeping anxiety, the fear that something bad would happen, the shame of being ‘out of control’  – those initial big ‘wins’ have become , well humdrum. Expected. I’ve forgotten how awful I felt every single day before I quit.

Now I’m remembering the bits that were, well nice… because, lets face it, there ARE bits about drinking that were / are nice.. If there weren’t no one would do it at all now would they ….   But like someone said, I have never been one of those drinkers who could stop after one or two ….or limit my drinking to one of two days a week. And one thing I DO know for sure, I was a  problem drinker from the first day I tasted alcohol (aged 14), and I would be a problem drinker again the minute I started drinking again…

So, not much option there then… onwards, and hopefully upwards. 401 days down…. And as it says at the top of this page… I need to try and enjoy the many many many things I have going for me… the lack of alcohol is really SUCH a first world problem ….

 

 

 

 

 

400 days – four hundred ; FOUR HUNDRED BLASTED DAYS

I have now been completely sober for 400 days 

The shine is really wearing off relentless sobriety, or perhaps ive not yet realised the full potential of being 100% “present

Either way – this, THIS ….. is NOT what I was promised … 

Indulge me: I’m sure I could write this the “other way” and extole the virtues and multiple benefits off all these sober weeks … they are there I know… but right close to the surface right now … it’s tough..

I’m stuck in a kind of restless agitated boredom, can’t move on, can’t go back. Something needs to change, but I’m paralysed by fear anxiety and indecision. So many past decisions have not been great, I can’t cope with another “error”, or perhaps more accurately I can’t cope with the emotional beating I will give myself if things don’t go to plan. I don’t feel that well this weekend and I’m grinding my teeth in frustration that I can motivate myself to do neither what I want to, nor what I should. Instead I’m drifting about in a slightly off kilter haze – headachy and tired (despite 11 hours deep un-interrupted sleep last night) feeling irritable, over emotional, frustrated and bovine. 

I just feel like being drunk would be nice. Not clever, not advisable … but nice … just to drop all this bloody misery and angst, and just get a bit pissed …

The whole “Forever” thing is weighing very heavily on me too. For ever ? No alcohol ever ever again? No slightly giggly ordering of the second bottle, no champagne before holidays ? No cocktails with a kick in the evening … never ?   

Why is it all such bloody hard work ? Why did I get stuck with a bloody drug addict for a husband? Wallow wallow wallow. Menopausal hormone swings. Old age staring me in the face, bloody sober, dull, joyless old age ….. 

and I’ve done 400 days of this. When is it going to get better ? 

 

Safe

I have written in the last few weeks about how my ex partner makes me feel ‘safe’; several people have commented on this and asked me ‘why?’. My therapist picked this up and asked similar.

What do I mean by ‘safe’, why is it important to me and why do I think he, pretty uniquely, makes me feel this way ?

I think I feel ‘unsafe’ quite a lot of the time. I make decisions that I cant stick with, I am easily swayed by other, contrary opinions, I find it hard in my personal life to be confident that what I feel or think has much weight or is very important. The kids, particularly son~2,  are adept at pressuring me in to changing my decisions once made.

ExP is very decisive. He holds an opinion and is not able to be pressured into changing his mind. He knows what he believes. This certainty and conviction ( when its weighed in on my side) is very very attractive. It makes me feel safe. As though my thoughts and opinions have more value because he supports them and as though I’m not on my own.

Being ‘on my own’ is quite  a big theme for me at the moment. I’m really conscious of trying to be both male and female parents to my boys, and that, as a woman I simply cannot be a male role model to my sons . Added to the fact that their father is so completely useless as a role model (rather is is a positively negative influence), and I’m left feeling that, due to my own stupidity in choosing such a mate and father to my children there is a big gap in their lives. More of that stupid relentless self blame in another post.

So that’s one thing, he adds weight and surety to my decision making.

Physically he makes me feel safe. He is 6’2″ to my 5’3 (on a good day) Hes stronger, more powerful, just bigger than me. Sometimes I feel vulnerable, weak & small … he makes me feel protected and safe …There is something quite basic about this feeling, very simple but very important.

And whilst I’m with him,  now at least, I feel valuable. Like I matter. Like I’m not alone.

I think there is more, but that’s the basics. What does it mean ? I don’t really know. Picking it apart a bit in therapy there are somethings which are quite normal, and some others which are fall out from my own poor self image and self esteem. … Back to that again … always back to that

Dry Drunks

You know that person who doesn’t drink, but comments all the time on what you are drinking, inspects the wine bottle, suggest what you should order, tuts if you order another glass pf wine and speculates regularly about who has an alcohol problem?

That’s a dry drunk… dry, but still thinking about it ALL THE TIME

I hate and fear the idea that This could be my future…My ex husband is obsessed with drug and drug dependency and being clean (he is NOT) and who takes drugs, or took drugs, or is clean from drugs… on the odd occasions he was abstinent from substances he talked about it ALL the time… and he still does ( to the kids).  He is a “dry drunk”

I read this article  and it resonated so strongly with me… For several months I didn’t think about alcohol all the time, or even very much … but I am right now and I absolutely HATE it.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/health/discovered-dry-drunk-could-one/

I have talked to my friend K and to me exP about my drinking. Both accept my decision that I cant drink, although both I think don’t really ‘get’ how bad it made me feel, or how afraid I am of that impulsive behavior and how hard it was / would be for me to drink  ‘moderately’.

I totally understand that bit

A top addiction expert once explained to me that I suffer from Multi Impulsive Disorder.  This basically means I have no self-control, so if I control one bit of my life, it spills out somewhere else.

oh yes… I really ‘get’ this bit….

and another pull towards my former partner is that being with him makes me feel less ‘lost’ less out of control, more balanced and “straight” …being with him settles my desperately disordered body image / eating patterns; my compulsive financial behaviour be it spending or saving; …. he makes me feel less like a dry drunk …

I hate this.

 

 

Self belief

My thoughts are all over the place so this will probably be a disjointed post

there are several things in my head at the moment that I will just spill out…

We don’t see ourselves as others see us. This is suddenly really obvious to me. Walking last weekend with K in the park, she was talking about her work. My friend K is an astonishingly capable woman; I don’t want to risk her being identified so I will just say she has a career in media and latterly in marketing and communications. She has many talents but three stand out to me. 1, She can see straight to the heart of difficult issues and put her finger right on the problem. This is evident in her personal relationships and constructive advice, and in her work 2. She thinks laterally and can develop solutions quickly and effectively 3. she can spot trends… see whats round the corner in terms of popular culture.

To me, K is extremely employable. she has a great CV, is personable, works hard and has a track record of success, she has worked in many different environments and has a lot to offer.

She doesn’t see herself like that.

She lacks confidence, not I think in her ability, but in her employ ability. Its  a very real fear and anxiety she has in a fluctuating jobs market. She has not been out of work, so really she should be confident. But shes not.

K sees me differently to how I see myself. She thinks I am worth better than my exP and am short changing myself if I chose him. She sees in me qualities I really can’t see, appreciate or acknowledge.

This theme comes up repeatedly in my therapy. The lack of self confidence and self worth.

bear with me, I’m going somewhere with this..

Last weekend I went out for the day with my exP. We went to London to an art exhibition and then had lunch together (he paid). Honestly, It was a really lovely day. We talked and talked, about trivial things and about our relationship and its breakdown; this is the first time we have managed to do that and It was important to me to talk some parts through. I felt utterly safe, protected and complete when I was with him. We parted at the end of the day and I went back to real life.

I have been thinking a lot about how I felt when i was with him. My brother just said ‘Why?’ (good question) and K says he is not good enough for me. I have read back many of the blog posts in which I poured out my hurt, anger and resentment about our past relationship and those that document my slow crawl back to a stable emotional platform (sort of). All those things are true. So Why?

Is it because I need to understand what happened? (Although we were only together 6 years, I truly truly believed we would be together for ever and somehow I struggle to accept that’s not going to happen)

Why is it important for me to feel ‘safe’ ? What does ‘safe’ actually mean? I have identified an almost childlike need to be ‘protected’ by a father figure… to be looked after. Is that part of all of us? Why does this man fulfill that need in me so well ? And why does that fulfillment trump all the other (logical ) negatives about him?

And to pick up the thread above, is it lack of self belief, lack of self confidence that has meant that childlike part has never been dealt with and developed into a more adult emotional need?

In answer to the inevitable questions,

  • are we “together” ? No. But neither are seeing anyone else
  • Are we more than ‘friends’ yes, but in a limited way.
  • Is he moving back in , No never ( we both felt this was impossible)
  • will I financially support him ? No.
  • Will I see him again? yes, but again in a limited way. Days out, walking the dog, a coffee in town … as schedules allow….

I discussed this at length in my therapy. Angela joins the list of ‘Why’ I think, though she is neutral and measured in her discussions. She looks into my past for possible “seeds” and reasons why I am as I am, She looks at my emotionally absent father and my critical mother as potential causes of my lack of self worth. Wherever it comes from, I need to change it, develop my capacity to forgive myself (as I would unquestionably believe others should be forgiven) learn to value what I am, and not judge myself so harshly for every error.

And where does alcohol fit in all of this? I’m thinking more about the ‘never’ decision. I have successfully avoided thinking about ‘never again’ for the last 390 days… but now its popping into my mind pretty often. At times I even WANT to drink. I won’t, but sobriety seems like a pain right now. I want to drink and be drunk and carefree.

And then I remind myself that it won;t be one drink, it won’t ever be “just one”, It won’t be “just for special treat” , it won’t be ” Just this weekend”. If I drink I will blow it, within a month (maybe less) I will be back to a bottle of sav blanc a night and all the anxiety and despair that caused.. so why am I even thinking about it ? and why now…

Like I said ; all over the place

self-belief-quotes-8-728

 

 

 

My sober sister

Today my sober sister celebrates her first year of continuous sobriety. She is just 19 days behind me, and made a wonderful, brave decision to stop drinking, and on March 30th last year she had her last alcoholic drink.

I don’t want to ‘out’ her on the blog, but I want to write about what she means to me because I am so blessed by our friendship and so proud of what she has achieved.

SS (for sober sister) and I met ‘online’ in early April 2016. We were on a long running mumsnet forum for people who have given up drinking. I was about 3 weeks into my sobriety, and she just starting. I immediately felt warm towards this woman who was struggling with physical withdrawal in the early days and weeks, but was so determined that she battled on anyway. Her strength and commitment despite her physical and emotional vicissitudes, impressed and bolstered me when I felt weak. I started messaging her on the mumsnet PM system; she replied and we started an infrequent but supportive personal relationship.

Like me SS is a professional woman; like me she was a high functioning dependent drinker who had been concerned about her alcohol intake for many years; like me SS has teenager children and like me she had committed to sobriety.

We emailed on and off through our first months of sobriety, offering support and encouragement to one another. I felt listened to, and understood by her in a way that perhaps only someone else who is treading this path could understand.

Just before Christmas we met in person. We live about 100 miles apart in the UK, but there is a frequent train service between our nearest cities and we wanted to meet. I was curious, excited and nervous before our first meeting. Ironically we chose to meet in All Bar One – a chain of wine bars that we had both visited in our past lives.

It was a very special meeting. I think we just ‘got’ each other. We smiled and laughed and talked through a few hours, drinking Becks Blue and just .. connecting.

Since than we have texted and been in touch quite a lot. I took a day from my annual leave and travelled up to see her earlier this month, we walked and talked and laughed and shared experiences and feelings. It was again, a really special, affirming, confidence building day.

I have lots of acquaintances, and a few close friends, all of whom I have known for a long time. My SS is different, I feel that she is walking with me on a special path, that we are connected by our  circumstances, drawn together –  meant to be friends to help and encourage each other.

We are not involved in each others day to day life and a consequence of our geographical distance from one another. We don’t know each others friends or family, although we talk about them and about our lives, but we have the shared wisdom of a year with no alcohol, and the shared future goal of long term sobriety and a pretty unique understanding of how each other ended up needing to stop drinking.

I don’t judge her and I know I am not judged. I am sure for every awful drinking story she has I could share one just as bad. I know her struggle because it is also mine, and I celebrate her achievement today, as though it is mine.

My SS means something special to me. It takes nothing away from those I am so close to at home, its a different closeness and a different relationship but one that I value immensely and cherish. It’s a friendship just for me

so fabulous sober sister – Happy soberversary – the first of Many. And Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your ongoing support & caring.

You brighten up my life 🙂

 

Finding me….

This is what I’m doing. 

What do I want? What do I need? What sustains me? What drains my energy?

Now this process could have begun a long time ago as it does for many people (most people) but people with addiction issues run away from some of life’s difficult decisions and hide Ina glass / bottle / cocktail. So now I’m sober – 383 days sober,I’m doing what I should have done a long time ago – and looking st myself.

What do I see

I see a woman who is vulnerable. I see a woman who has a cyclothymic personality – i.e. Very up and down. I see a woman who is loyal , honest, kind and generous. I see a woman who feels passionately and is struggling to deal with the emotions generated by ‘normal life’. I see a woman who has raft of insecurities about her weight and body image, but also about her past choices , her parenting, her relationships. 

I’m beginning to look at my part in the breakdown of my marriage; how my personality and actions impacted on my family. I’m Not blaming myself at all, but I’m looking at my traits which allowed me to give a man I was afraid of and no longer loved back into my and my children’s home. 

Why do I find it so hard to enforce and stick to the boundaries I believe to be right . …

This is an interesting question. I don’t yet know why, where this enormous fear of abandonment comes from

 Because at the bottom of all this mess is that basic problem. I’m like a child, terrified of abandonment. 

Affirmation

Today I had my therapy session.

I have been very ashamed of my feelings regarding my exPartner. I think that I should NOT still care for him and should firmly reject any contact. But thats not how I feel. At all.

I discussed this with my therapist this evening,

For the first time in my adult life I feel I have a place where I can say what I genuinely feel and I will not be judged , whatever it is. I can be honest. Its not that I cant be honest with other people, just that I am sometimes guarded when I am asked about things I feel ashamed of, or anxious about. Things that I disapprove of, or worry about in myself.  Im judging myself and therefor I imagine that others will judge me as harshly as I do myself… of course they don’t in real life. But I grew up with a father who was not emotionally available and a mother for whom nothing I did was ever good enough … and many things were positively BAD …

The problem is mine, I expect (with my head) that others will NOT judge me, but I am afraid (in my heart, because I feel so basically worthless) that they WILL , so I keep quiet, share half of the truth, carry the rest by myself.

Talking to Angela, being honest about how I feel about my ExP NOW. ( Confused, guarded; happy, safe, affirmed when I am with him) has really helped me. She helped me to see that it’s natural to have confused feelings, that this bargaining – maybe I can have some part of that relationship – is actually normal and natural and I should accept it, but recognise MY boundaries. Those boundaries are very clear and I feel confident I will hold to them ( at least partly because I would feel angry and resentful all over again if I did not)

In the past I was afraid that ExP would walk away if I did not do as he wanted. That he was only with me for security, financial and otherwise. Now a) I’m not providing anything to him , so if he wants to see me it is for ME and that is confidence boosting and b) I know I can manage if he does walk away. The balance of power has shifted in my head and I feel that we are much more equal on an emotional level.

We also talked about the negative side of this. It stops me from moving on; but maybe I need to explore this relationship breakup, truly understand it, truly work through it before I even think about moving on anyway/. I will not live with anyone again until my children are not living at home, so I have lots of time to sort myself out.

Today I’m really happy that I’m sober. I really feel that I have made enormous progress in the right way and I’m much clearer about what I want and that I have a right to ask for what I need.

onwards and upwards.

 

 

Love, Actually ?

This is one of the things that has been occupying my mind a bit / a lot in the last few days / weeks.

It’s about my ex partner.

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, will know that when I decided to quit drinking I was living with my partner, and that 5 months into my sobriety the strain of his poor relationship with my eldest son and his lack of gainful employment / income resulted in me ending that relationship and asking him to move out. We had been together for almost 6 years at that time.

I am quite sure that being sober gave me the clarity of thought and the courage to call time of an increasingly unhappy relationship that, by this time, was bringing out the worst sides of both of us and making me, at least, wretched. I tried SO hard to MAKE it work, and it was only when I was sober and cognisant that I was able to see that I could NOT “make” it work, and that my partner was too angry / stubborn / to change and my son was unwilling to do anything to improve things. The only way was out.

When he left I was very, very angry. I think the anger has come through in this blog on many occasions. I was angry with him for not changing, for not recognising that the situation was intolerable, angry with him for not changing his vocational plane /not earning, angry with him for not talking to me and, as I saw it, ignoring my distress. I’ve been in weekly therapy for 7 months now dealing with that anger, frustration and grief.

I’m not the same person as I was in August.

As the feelings of anger fade, some of the good stuff that we had comes back into focus. You know that stuff that pulled you together in the first place.

I’m not sure what to do with those thoughts. When I met my exP, I really fell in love with him. I can’t put my finger on why especially, all I can say is that he felt like my perfect fit. The person I was supposed to be with. I know that sounds fanciful and slightly deluded, but thats how it felt. We knew instinctively what the other was thinking, finished one anothers sentences, were in complete harmony and at peace when we were together. I’ve never travelled with anyone I found so ‘easy’ to be with, so easy to just be myself with.

When the latest palaver with my ex husband blew up, I had support from many people, but the support I most wanted, the hug I needed, was from him. The peace and security of being with that one person who was with me, loved me and would support me whatever.

It all went so wrong, and we hurt one another and stopped being able to talk or communicate. We stopped being able to support each other because we were both too upset and angry.

I dont know for sure how he feels, but I think its the same as me. I miss him.

I have no idea what to do about it.

I do know we can’t go back to how we were, and he can’t live with us again. I’m not willing to financially support him again. But I can’t help wondering if we could pick out the good bits, see one another, talk and see what happens. It seems that despite all the pain, and despite knowing and detailing all his faults … and all the barriers …. its not over for me …

Is this actually love ? Accepting all the bad points, all the difficulties and loving someone anyway?

Or is this the way that madness lies ?