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.