Welcome to My Blog

Reflections on a sober day

Hello everyone. I’m not sure how this all works, or even if it will, having just set this up on my iPhone with no clue what I’m doing but let’s see if this works!

It’s late in my day, Saturday night and the eve of my 11 month sobriety milestone! I felt compelled to put pen to paper this evening and reflect on what has been an unbelievably packed day. A day that wouldn’t have been possible some 11 months ago, and more.

There are many things I didn’t do today. Like win the lotto, book a lavish holiday or other such whimsical things we are all guilty of dwelling on having “not done”. None of which are really that important when you break it down.

However, there are many things I did do today, that are important. To me at least. Sober, present, me.

I slept well. I woke early. I called my sponsor.

I did all my housework before 9am.

I swam for a half hour. I practiced an hours yoga.

I drove, picked up my children and had an amicable conversation with their father.

I visited my grandma and took pleasure in observing her delight at playing with her great-grandchildren, my young daughters.

I went to see my mum and observed much the same.

I went food shopping, WITH the kids in tow! And survived!

I cooked dinner for my dad, who spent hours in my home, quietly entertaining the girls.

I cleared up after dinner.

I laughed with my daughters.

I lay with my youngest in bed, who giggled and pulled me close and said “come on mum, let’s snuggle”. We snuggled until she fell asleep in my arms.

I kissed both my girls while they slept, and stood over them in awe and wonder at the two beautiful beings I played a part in creating.

I made myself a cup of Lady Grey tea, took a pen and paper to bed and reflected on my day. I set up this blog which I’ve been procrastinating about since day 1 of sobriety!

These may be simple things, but believe me when I say that before recovery, none of the above were simple. They were daunting, overwhelming tasks that would have been done badly, probably not even done at all.

The above all happened today because Of the important things I DIDN’T do today.

I DIDN’T drink alcohol. I DIDN’T black out. I DIDN’T pass out on the sofa. I DIDN’T fail my children. I DIDN’T fail my family. I DIDN’T fail me.

These are the important things I didn’t do today. I didn’t  do these, a day at a time, for the last 11 months.

So welcome to my blog. My first post. Thank you for reading my thoughts. Thank you for being a part of my recovery journey. Flowers pictured were a gift today from my dad.


Baths, birthdays and Being Blessed.

As I lie here on the eve of my 38th birthday, in the bath, with the aroma of the lush bath bomb filling the air, the silky smooth feeling it’s leaving on my skin and the heat of the water making my skin tingle, listening to Adagio for Strings, the music circulating the room and feeling like heaven to my ears, I am so utterly grateful for the miracle that I am alive.

Tomorow is my third “belly button” birthday in sobriety. I hit rock bottom at 35, genuinely not believing I would live to see 36. I had resigned my thoughts to the idea that booze would kill me. Often praying not to wake up in a morning as I put my head on the pillow at night, or praying in the daytime that if today was the day it would bring about my demise then please let me be dead before I hit the floor. So that if I died instantly, I wouldn’t put my family through the shame of me dying an undignified alcoholic death. I was scared of dying, but scared of living too.

Thankfully, Along came a miracle. After a talk with my GP, a referral to an alcohol service (which incidentally encouraged me to continue drinking!), I could not take any more. I was done with drink and I wanted the drink to be done with me. It controlled my life. It was destroying me. And so by some divine intervention I walked into an AA meeting. I came across a leaflet, still don’t know how I came by it. But it was a list of meetings. And quite literally there was one on my street. How had I lived here and not known that all the while I’d been killing myself with booze, every Monday night in the church across the road from my home, people were finding the solution, and getting sober.

And so I walked in. And in that room was hope. Something I hadn’t seen for a very long time. I walked in that room a lonely, desperate, dying woman. I walked out with God. My Higher Power, who I still don’t know if He walked in with me, or was waiting in the room. All I know is He left with me that night and I’ve never been alone since. I firmly believe it a miracle, as I have not picked up a drink since my first meeting, almost 2 and a half years ago, when prior to that I couldn’t get through a day without alcohol. The last 2 and a half years have given my a life beyond my wildest dreams, and the best is yet to come.

The words in the opening paragraph might seem over the top, but I cannot explain how amazing it feels to be feeling all of those things. To be aware of all of my senses. When feelings were dead to me for a long time, numbed by the devil itself, King Alcohol. When I was drinking I couldn’t even run a bath if I was home alone. I was so afraid that I might drown in the water, that I couldn’t bathe if no one was home.

Now, to feel a hot bath is a very simple miracle, the sensations it creates in my body, The lovely colours released by the fizzing bath bomb. The scent that fills the bathroom. The comforting warmth of the water, lapping against my skin. The wonderful sound of classical music, now playing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and I thank God that I am in the most amazing season of my life. Reborn, sober, recovering.

Tomorrow I am 38,and I cannot believe how lucky I am that God has given me grace, the chance to be the person He intended. And another sober year, another sober month, another sober week, another sober day, another sober hour, another sober minute, another sober second, on this planet. One day at a time.

A New Dawn, A New Day, Everyday

Morning has broken, like the first morning. The first line of a well known hymn.  These words couldn’t be more true than of a morning waking in sobriety. Every day, a new gift.  A sober dawn, a word with God, gratitude for another 24 hours of life beyond my wildest dreams.  A word of thanks that I didn’t have a drink yesterday, a prayer to hand my will over, and for strength in recovery to fulfill my day to the best of my ability until i lay my head on my pillow again later that evening with thanks again, God willing, for another day lived in the m.iracle that is recovery.

Prior to becoming alcohol free, I can’t really recall the last time I enjoyed or appreciated mornings.  Before i had my children my mornings were spent sleeping in, in the glory of commitment to nothing other than my bed and myself.  Lie ins, usually induced by a night of heavy drinking, every night.  When i was blessed with children the lie ins stopped, but the drinking didn’t.  I discovered that mornings often started much before sunrise, but were also preceded by a night of heavy drinking, and so mornings were bleary eyed, tired, grumpy with the added extra of caring for little people.

As  time went on and the alcohol really got a hold of me in the last couple of years (20 years of drinking in total, i drank from aged 15 until at the age of 35 i surrendered that i couldn’t do it anymore), mornings had become almost non-existent.  A blur. If I had drank enough to pass out before midnight then I would usually wake at about 3-4am, and not be able to slip back into slumber.  I’ve since read that this is the time your liver is working its hardest and that this could be why it may have been a wakeful time for me.  It might go some way to explain why my circadian rhythms had become so erratic, if indeed this is true.  If I had not passed out by midnight then chances are I would be conducting solitary drinking until around 2-3am and so early morning could often be my bedtime.

I did not sleep well in the throes of my alcoholism.  Sleep was poor, often disturbed by many things, including physical reactions like myoclonic jerks and profuse sweating. my alcohol addled brain had convinced me that i was incapable of sleep at all unless i wore earplugs, so if i didn’t have these as a pacifier, i had no chance of a good sleep.  Two foam plugs to muffle the sounds of life around me, as if life wasnt muffled enough already.

Morning routine (Pah! routine, who am i kidding!?), consisted of staying in bed until i absolutely had to drag myself out of it, for work or for the school run.  Lord knows how i ever managed to get myself, and the girls, when they weren’t staying with their dad, out of the door on time at all.  So out of bed and blearily into the shower, with one hand on the bathroom wall to steady my increasing dizziness that had become a daily occurrence toward the end.  Brush my teeth, which induced the daily 20 minutes of dry retching, .sometimes followed by actual vomiting of acrid bile, before looking at the bloodshot eyed, puffy faced, tired thing staring back at me in the mirror. A person, a face i didn’t recognise, but one i loathed.  I would talk down to my reflection, full of self-hatred and lacking any self worth whatsoever, and i would pray to a God i hoped existed that i could make it through another day, but that if i wasnt to make it could He please make my demise quick and painless.  I was scared to live, but scared to die too.   That was mornings for me, I shut my eyes every night praying they wouldn’t open in the morning, and when they did, i was full of fear of facing another day that rolled into the next, punctuated only by the sound of a screw cap lid and the glug of wine into a glass, whence upon i eased into the blackout that was the precursor to the next day.

Forward wind to today.  Just over 11 months sober,and my mornings look very different these days.  I adore mornings now.  I actually have them for a start!  Waking before the rest of the house is now a pleasure, those moments of quiet stillness, with a freshly made cup of tea in hand, listening to the sound of the dawn chorus, and if my youngest has crept into my bed during the night, I lie in bed with the sound of her tiny little snores watching the rise and fall of her little chest in the miracle that is life.  Goodness, when i had been boozing i couldn’t have told you if my children were breathing at all.  I was far from switched on, with awareness of very little. In sobriety i am so switched on.  i see everything with clear vision, literally and otherwise .Its almost like I am seeing some things with such fresh eyes I’m like a child, experiencing something for the first time in utter amazement and awe.  There is clarity, cognisance, There is no fog or haze, no muffled sounds.  No cloudiness of thought, i wake and i see and i feel, everything.  My senses are razor-sharp, i’m perceptive, receptive and my oh my am i grateful.  So full of gratitude for the gift i have been able to give myself, sobriety.  A gift that keeps on giving. I get out what i put in, every day, a day at a time. That is the most awesome feeling ever.  It’s also a miracle, and one that i don’t take for granted.

So as i conclude this entry, it’s the end of another sober day, and i am actually genuinely looking forward to the birdsong that will wake me in the morning  Its summer here, if as a Brit you can call a few days of intermittent sunshine summer, so the birds will be up early, chirping away when morning has broken, and i can wake content in the knowledge that I am not so broken anymore.