Broken

This morning I broke the work cafeteirre, my computer and me. Ha. I just feel so heavy and everything is so serious. I’ve been cancelled on twice this week – by the same person. I know she’s having a tough time so I’ll let it slide but I really could have done with human contact and life is me being shit and stressed at work. I HATE work me. My boss swans around laughing and smiling doing fuck all whilst the rest of us (so few doing two -three people’s jobs) are trying so hard but the more I feel I’m drowning the shitter I am at concentrating or actually working and I’m snappy and crap and I hate being this me. Hate it hate it. 

And I’m lonely. And I’m bored. Everything is so serious. Facebook is just everyone ranting. I remember it used to make me laugh. My whatsapp chats – used to be dumb pictures – how everyone is so stressed. Stressed stressed stressed. A stupid umbrella word. 

I’m trying to fill the hole where people and laughter should be with cereal. Late night cereal. And being utterly addicted to Facebook and IG. So I deactivated FB – it won’t be for long – events, overseas mates, but even a week might help my mind a little. Took IG off my phone. 

I feel so full of stuff. I feel hungover from being on my phone. From eating too much cereal. I’m so bored. I want laughter, chat, fun. Life is work crap and being alone. I’m trying. It will pass I know. I just need to write this out somewhere and I don’t want to reach out to my real life friends. They can’t ‘fix’ this. 

I’m seeing my niece and nephew this weekend and hope that takes me out of this for a while. I’m sure cartwheels and Dino chat will help. 

I think I need space but I’m also so lonely. Oh to be human. I can’t remember what it’s like to curl up with someone. To have butterflies. To even really be properly hugged. 

But I’ll hold on. 

Also – got totally addicted (shocking) to 13 reasons why on Netflix. Should a 34 year old relate so much? I guess people is people and emotions are emotions. A couple of scenes were just SO incredibly powerful and raw. Painfully so. 

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First draft of life

Not really. But for that anthology I’m hoping to contribute  to. I have no idea if it’s what they are after. A lot of it comes from what I’ve written on here and writing it felt like plagiarizing myself!!

Written on August 8, 2015 – 28 days before my final drink.

Dear future self,

Do not forget how much you like sobriety

*****

I’d always assumed alcohol gave me my backbone, my voice, my energy. I never questioned it, and why would I? It was never a considered option to stop drinking until the day I actually did. I don’t remember my first taste of alcohol but as a child I was always dipping my fingers into the foam on my Dad’s pint. Once I was able to drink the lager I realised I actually disliked the foam, I must have just been drawn to the beer.

I was 12 the first time I got drunk, it was neat vodka. I remember it so clearly, I was wearing a pink pinafore dress with black palladiums, and my friends and I were sat at the bottom of a concrete hill, just hanging out by a gas station. I felt invincible; so bold and fearless. Sure I was sick before getting in to bed that night, I think we all were, but that was just part of it. I loved the way it burnt my throat on the way down, then made my whole body shudder intensely, followed by hot vapour rising up my throat making me feel as if I could breathe out fire. This fierce, power inducing sensation of the first hit never left me. It’s what I consistently used to ‘get me through’ in my later years. Just a little something to ease the anxiety, or to give me that extra kick for the day.

The warning signs were all there. It wasn’t so long after that I shouted ‘I fucking love being drunk’ to my Mum at a New Year Eve’s party before promptly tripping over and sending myself flying, landing in a heap on the floor, laughing hysterically, loving this new found sense of freedom.

Paradoxically I’ve never felt like one of those people who ‘needs’ alcohol to be outgoing. As a child I was silly, loved trying new things, was always busy, always had friends. As I got older, when I met people who didn’t drink but were chatty, opinionated, impulsive, youthful… I felt akin to them. I never thought that perhaps their apparent confidence might have stemmed from not feeling the need to hide behind alcohol, or wait for it to pump them up. But from that first time getting drunk, alcohol became so important to me. I drunk addictively, obsessively and always needed to know when and where the ‘more’ was coming from.

Despite looking back at my childhood as a happy one, from a young age I was very sensitive and emotionally quite extreme, with obsessive thoughts and behaviours. I often felt I carried the weight of the world on my shoulders and suffered from acute mood swings and uncontrollable anger. When I entered secondary school my self belief disappeared. I started thinking darker thoughts and self harming in ways I didn’t even realise were self harm at the time.  When I had the first few sips of alcohol it felt like it helped take the pain and confusion away, but now I know it intensified it. It hindered my confidence. It made my moods more severe but less real, honest and genuine. Drinking lessened my ability to channel anger in a constructive way, or to force myself to sit with my emotions, and eventually became the only response to my mood – whatever mood it was.

The addiction and lies creeped up slowly, but started young. In my social circle, as a teenager it was normal to get drunk. But perhaps not so common at age 14 to drink vodka orange in the free period before English on a Tuesday afternoon. I wouldn’t tell anyone – I didn’t do it to show off or even think it was cool. I just loved the way it allowed to me talk when I usually felt too shy to open my mouth despite having so many opinions. I felt a sense of security knowing I had my little secret magic potion.  It was of course the vodka that gave me the confidence to speak my mind and I never thought perhaps I should just push myself, and speak up a little.

Age 15 en route to see my boyfriend at 11am I would drink 4 cans of Strongbow Super. He seemed to really like me,  he even told me he loved me, and we are still friends, but looking back I was terrified at the thought of a whole day alone with him, me just being me. How could he could like that? I told him I had a can, perhaps two on the way, you know, to pass time on the 50 minute tube journey.  Canned confidence. I felt I needed it to be a girlfriend he could be proud of, the girlfriend I wanted to be.

Confidence. Perhaps alcohol’s greatest marketing lie. In my teens and 20s I waited until the alcohol kicked in before I became ‘me.’ I’d drink alone before meeting people, and when the tube ban on drinking came in, I switched from cans to wine in water bottles. If I couldn’t I’d just make excuses of being tired or still buzzing in work mode until, usually 1.5 drinks in, I’d not feel so socially anxious. I thought that my personality came from that liquid poison, where as in reality it stunted my growth, muted my voice and crippled me; made me believe I needed it to stand on my own two feet, that without that crutch, I was incapable.

I’m a feminist human rights advocate. If I’m not challenging and pushing some people’s buttons – I know I’m doing it wrong. But alcohol put me on pause for so long. It gave me anxiety, where as I thought I was just an anxious person. It made me care and overthink about things I didn’t really care about, or even care to think about. It made me question what I’d said and done but as I’d forget huge pockets of time, I couldn’t stand by my words and actions as I didn’t even know what they were. During the school holidays I spent night after night drinking cans of Carlsberg, smoking cigarettes, watching indie movies, writing poetry, playing my guitar. I looked  up to the characters in the movies and people in the bands I wanted to be in, all drinking, alone, getting fucked up, thinking deep inebriated thoughts, creating.

Being creative. Expressing yourself. Needing alcohol to do so. Alcohol’s second biggest lie. I believed all of this went hand in hand. If I didn’t drink, I couldn’t create. I couldn’t be a musician, a writer – the things I wanted to be. In the end, my drinking stopped me writing music, lyrics and words for years. Most of my 20’s I sat night after night, in bars, in hotel bars, in airports, at home, thinking tomorrow, tomorrow I’ll start again, tomorrow I’ll write, play, create.

Even when the opportunity presented itself to do something I loved, both being sober or drunk would stop me. There was no middle ground. Despite wanting to sing I used to dread karaoke nights out. When someone passed me the mic I’d refuse, saying ‘after a couple more drinks.’  I’d be so nervous trying to pick the perfect song for my voice – one in my vocal range, one I thought I might be able to sing without sounding too terrible.If I couldn’t do it here, how could I ever sing on stage? I played guitar in a band for a while, and thought I had worked out the perfect amount to drink in order to play without freezing from nerves, or completely screwing up from being too drunk. Looking back, I don’t think I had found the perfect playing point I thought I had!

I generally never actually ended up with the mic anyway as by the time I felt ready to sing, I’d be too drunk to care anymore. My dreams of singing in front of an audience would have to wait until tomorrow. Again. The one time I did sing on stage was at a school charity event I’d organised. I was so nervous about singing ‘Like a Virgin’ I got blackout drunk. Thankfully, I was told, the night was a success and even more thankfully my Mum didn’t work out how to use the video camera properly… so I missed out seeing what I can only imagine would have been a shambolically embarrassing performance. I was 17.

So, how did I go from that state of being, to a week sober dancing and singing on stage with friends in Portugal, in front of an audience, and genuinely having the time of my fucking life? 

Rewind back to the week before that and I was at a music festival a few hours north of London. After I started my most recent stint of trying to moderate a few months before this was one of my ‘allowed to drink’ nights, the first one in two weeks. I was excited. The first beer went down so well. The second made me feel invincible. This is it. I can do this. This is how I’ll live my life – sober most of the time, drinking occasionally on special nights out. I got this. Look at me. Living the dream. Having it all.

One or two beers later I was crying alone in the bathroom. Sat in a crappy blue plastic looking Student Union cubicle staring at the cigarette burns on my arms I’d made 16 years before and wondering if anything had really changed. If, despite all I’d been through, had I really grown or matured at all. I didn’t even know what I was crying about, but felt so confused, alone, angry; so uncertain of what my future would be and more importantly what my future path should be. I knew that everything in my life revolved around drinking and I felt out of control. I had tried so hard to manage my drinking, but I wanted more from life than this constant mental obsession.

The next morning on the train home I knew. I was done. Something had switched in me. Over the months previous I’d passed so many milestones, first weekend sober, first week sober, first 38 days; that was a huge one. But on that train home, I told myself I had to do a year. Everything sober once. My birthday, a New Years Eve, a Christmas, probably a wedding, hen party or two.

It had eventually dawned on me, I was never going to be able to drink with any control. I tried many, many times before, getting angry at myself for ‘letting it get so far’ without realising how deep rooted my addiction was. Wondering why I didn’t just drink a bit less frequently so that I wouldn’t have reached this place, but truthfully, there was no point in my life where I could have changed path to lead to ‘normal’, non alcoholic obsessive drinking.

I was scared. Petrified in fact, but I felt I had no choice. Previously, the option was never to stop drinking. Moderate? Sure. Once a week. Twice a week. Four times? Only festivals? Holidays? The parameters constantly changed. This was the first time I’d ever genuinely considered it was over. Even when I said a year I knew there was more to it, but I had to make it more manageable to myself, even give it a sense of purpose, like a fun challenge. Easier to position personally and to help fend off the numerous people that kept trying to convince me I wanted to drink. It took me a few weeks to admit to myself that I probably couldn’t drink again, but after a few months I decided I didn’t WANT to drink again.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Early sobriety was so different to what I expected. I thought my mind would be so much clearer and I’d have boundless amounts of energy, start new projects, learn a new language, face the world head on, embrace my new life right NOW! Aside from the initial obsession with not being able to drink I was seeing alcohol in places I hadn’t before, namely everywhere; all adverts, films, songs, promotions, social events, a celebration, a commiseration, just because ALCOHOL IS FOR EVERYONE ALL THE TIME!

Despite this, the real world was a new place to me, and I was seeing in technicolour, hearing in surround sound. Often this was incredible, I felt born again, a toddler in constant awe. It was, and still is exhilarating. But, it was also exhausting my mind having to process all these new experiences and new emotions. There was no respite. No quick fix or stop. Sometimes I felt so present and connected with the world around me; after decades of disconnecting myself from reality. Unfamiliar experiences in familiar places. But often everything was foggy, seemed surreal and my focus and concentration was awful. I spent a lot of time overwhelmed and confused, but also unable to express this to my friends and family, who despite their general support, just couldn’t understand, and I thought I sounded crazy. Many times I genuinely thought I was going insane. But once I read about PAWS (Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome) and how it takes time for your body and mind to adjust to sobriety, it helped me be kind to myself, and know I had to ride it out. It also made sense to me, if you put a mind altering drug in your body every day, and then suddenly stop of course your mind will start to re-wire itself, process input differently and work out how to do so. I was, and am still, part of a predominately female online sober blog community, and without their support I don’t think I would have made it to the 38 days, let alone the full year and beyond.

I had to re-learn the art of conversation. A real shock to myself, and those that knew me. Drunk me was a great host, friendly, sociable, inclusive. My tolerance was so high most people didn’t know that ‘me’ was actually ‘drunk me.’ Early sober me was quiet and scared, and started developing a stammer. I had to give myself pep talks before going out, even with close friends and learnt to take a deep breath before speaking, or if I started to ramble, stop, apologise, and start again, even laugh it off. I eventually came to realise that most people are not witty orators, they don’t scrutinise what you say, and most importantly how lazy alcohol makes us socially. My social circle got tighter, and conversations became at the very best, more fulfilling, genuinely funnier, more honest, more intimate, and at the very least, just more memorable.  But, I cannot lie, it’s much more exhausting being present, and I had to factor this in to my new way of living. 

Once day to day sobriety became more normal and I wasn’t thinking about drinking all the time I thought about maybe trying to write again, or pick up my guitar. But I was apprehensive. How could I do this sober? I hadn’t really played instruments properly since my teens. Or written a poem. I’d written a few travel blogs, but all with the help of bottles of red. All the most creative, inspiring people drink, or take drugs, don’t they? For years I hadn’t pushed myself because of a fear of not being perfect, hell, just not being remotely good enough, so how was I going to do this without my vodka soda security blanket? Without my prosecco powered crutches?

I sat one lunchtime, on a concrete block by the canal at work, pondering this. What did I really want to do? How could I do it? Could I really express myself sober? And it dawned on me, like one huge bolt of beautiful fork lighting, an awakening;  alcohol didn’t make me creative!  I’d been feeling more intensely, more truthfully in the last few months than I had for years. So surely I could channel these new experiences and emotions into something. I even thought that perhaps creative people are more susceptible to becoming addicts because drink helps to dull and quieten down a painfully active mind.

I’d fallen prey to the great myth that alcohol fuels creativity. But it wasn’t alcohol that wrote, printed and sold the zines I made at 14. It wasn’t alcohol that wrote songs and lyrics about the pain I felt as a teenager. The correlation between the amount of alcohol I had consumed and the lack of creative output I had generated suddenly became so clear. During University I didn’t pick up my guitar once in the three years, but always lugged it from home to uni because ‘this term would be different.’ It never was.

Once I’d opened my eyes to the notion that creative expression comes from within a person, not a bottle, I started to notice how many artists and intellectuals are sober. I begun to see through the ‘profound’ statements and ideas conceived in drunk conversations, for what they really were. Generally nonsensical, reactive, and repetitive. I only have to look at my drunk ‘arty’ photos taken on the tube ride home or ‘pensive’ (sad, overemotional drunk) selfies to convince myself that boozed up me was not the creative artistic genius with a sharp eye, that I thought I was.

It takes time and effort to be an artist, writer, musician, actor, comedian, photographer – you need to put your heart and soul into it. Time and effort I had no room for when alcohol was number one, controlling me, my daily activities, my life. I’ve learned that it doesn’t have to be perfect, it’s about the doing, the creating, the taking part. Enjoying the process and not worrying so much about the end result. So, what have I done since? I’ve started a band with my best friend, and of course, I’m singing. I send her vocal tracks, and laugh at the terrible bits, but still hit send. The lyrics I write feel empowering, releasing, cathartic. Even when I have no mental energy, instead of reaching for a glass of wine, I’ll just pick up my guitar and strum, get rid of the junk of the day through some badly played power chords.

Sure, before getting sober I’d go to the theatre, but I’d get drunk. I’d go to the cinema and get drunk. I would write in my diary, about the shitty things I’d done, drunk. I was a functioning alcoholic, working, gymming, socialising, but everything I did involved alcohol. I had my times very close to what would be called a rock bottom, where I was barely functioning, but I made it through.  And so when I gave up alcohol, I wasn’t at my worst. I’d stopped the morning (and lunchtime..) pick me ups a year before, (well mostly, if I’m being brutally honest) and felt more together, healthier mentally and physically. And in trying to pull back a bit further, I realised how tight the grip my addiction had on me was. It was by finding out I couldn’t just drink less I became confused, because alcohol no longer worked like it did, I stopped having fun drunken nights out, but yet I couldn’t stop drinking. The only time I enjoyed being drunk was at home alone. I’d leave early to sit at home by myself. I didn’t quite appreciate I was doing this until after I got sober, and it dawned on me I’d wasted too much time doing nothing but drinking. The booze had been number one for so long and it was time for something else to take first position. Sobriety finally made me aware that anything I wanted to do, I actually had to do! Not drink and see what happens. Any person I want to talk to, I have to go up to them and say hello. Awkward situations became surprisingly more manageable, because what I did and said, was in fact in my hands, and my control.

I had no idea that in getting sober, I would actually also be breaking up with booze. The feelings were so similar to the split with my  ex-fiancé. Together we were no longer a good team, I knew this. We never had fun anymore. But early on I still missed him and cherished the good times, because there were great times, and sometimes I’d romanticise it and think ‘what if…’ and do I want to go back? But overall, deep down… I knew it was over, and though the future alone may have been daunting and scary, for the first time in years I felt I had a future, not just an existence. I’d seen through the lies of alcohol, and wrote down what it had become to me:

To you it’s a glass of wine. A reward. A celebration. An ode to the work hard play hard world. A ‘whoops wine o clock’ giggles and silliness. To you it’s just a pint of beer. Banter, laughs, getting fucked up and doing stupid shit with your mates.

To me, it’s anxiety, crippling anxiety, self harm, ripping my skin with my fingernails, walking at night on the way home alone, crying, mascara rolling like little black waves. It looks empowering sometimes, for a moment or two, then it’s remembering the crushing weight on my chest, that makes me hurt so much. More and more to make it better but making it worse. My hurting heart, my hurting head. It’s trying to fit in, and feeling so unbelievably alone. It’s about being a slave to whatever is in that glass. That first sip and I lose all sense of agency. Of self. It never mattered what was in that glass. To me, it’s just poison. Mental and physical poison.

I can’t have this sober life and that chaotic drunken life together. I can’t have the booze without the self hate, without the anxiety. I can’t read and learn and be present in all these newly acquired hours in the day, as well as still drinking.

I’ve always been fine with people thinking I’m acting stupid, immature, laughing, doing dumb stuff with my friends. But turns out I don’t need booze to do it. I’m also happy being alone, doing things independently. But booze took that away from me. I felt it always had to be me and the alcohol, but it didn’t at all. I’m good, just me. I feel like a teenager again,  but with confidence. Not arrogance, but confidence in myself, because it’s me and only me from here on out. No escaping into obliteration but with the ability to deal with the good and bad of life. So much wasted time and now I CHOOSE the sober life.

I’ll see you when you get here.

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Pressure cooker

Is how I’m feeling right about now. I spent some of last week in the West Bank (Occupied Territories of Palestine.) It wasn’t a holiday as such, but more a personal research trip, I suppose. Before I left for the trip I already felt like I was going to explode. Men, (man I suppose), work, people. Life. All the usual shit.

Now I feel utterly broken. And angry. I arrived back last night, after a couple of days in Tel Aviv. A friend lives there, so it was great to see her, but in all honesty I felt so uncomfortable being in Israel, and being a polite guest just kept quiet and had all the thoughts & experiences from the last few days just go round and round in my head. Or try to shelve them.

I don’t even know what to write in this post. I don’t want to write about my trip. I will do, in detail, on my travel/human rights blog, but right now, I’m sat, in the dark, with a tear stained face (not enough tears – my god, I want to cry so much and let it all out) drink a becks blue (NA beer.) I’m so angry. At the world. At everything in the world. I’m angry at always having to defend myself, or prove myself depending on who I’m with. Too posh, too lefty, too FEMALE, too vegan, BLAH BLAH BLAH. I had the most amazing therapy session this morning. Thank fuck. It meant I was ALMOST (not quite) functioning at work today. I told them I was leaving just before I left for the trip, so I came in to some really nice emails. But I don’t feel I deserve them. I guess that’s what came out in my therapy session. Just how hard I find it to believe that people love more, more so.. like me.

I’ve put on weight again and feel unhappy in my skin. AGAIN. I knew it was coming. A lot of obsessive eating the last two months, but was hoping to get away with it because of how active I am. Nope. I have the weight of the fucking world on my shoulders and I just don’t want to be around anyone – which of course draws people in!? This will pass. Will all pass. But it feels like it won’t. Like this is the one time I’ve gone too far. I tried to cry on the plane on the way home – watched Moonlight & Manchester by the sea. They both just made me angrier with the injustices of the world. I should eat. Even though I want to starve myself of food and get wasted, I shall do neither of these things. I shall eat. I shall not drink.

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Six hundred and one

Gosh. I’m trying to write a piece for a literary anthology that St. Mungo’s (a homeless charity) are putting together around drinking and recovery. I thought it would be an easy piece of writing. Just sit down for a couple of hours, thrash it out. Have a read the next day, edit. Done. It’s my journey, my alcoholism. I know it inside out. I’m pretty coherent when I talk to people about my thoughts, feelings, past, present.

Ha! I was wrong. I realised it would be a good idea to go through my journey and I’ve started reading this blog from Day 1 (which I actually started on Day 2..)  Wow. I’m only a few months in, before I gave up for good, and I’m feeling ALL the emotions. Remembering all the emotions! I’ve already forgotten so much, about my drinking days, about the physical and mental pain I endured. And how hard it really was in the beginning.

(Haha!! I have a random youtube mix on and ‘it’s been a long day without you my friend, and I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again (NEVER!) We’ve come a long way from where we began…’  just came on. Fitting)

I feel like I’m reading about a past life, an old friend, boyfriend.  A mix of happy and sad. Pride in where I am. Disbelief that I made it here. Thanks to this blog. Thanks to you, this community. I made it through. Walking to buy chia seeds on a Friday night, because that’s the only thing that would stop me from drinking. Sitting on my hands. Crying uncontrollably every day., but having to hide it, because only you lot (said in the nicest way) would understand. 601 days. I just checked. SIX HUNDRED AND ONE DAYS. Man, I am feeling so emotional.

I wouldn’t change this for anything. ALL the struggles have been more than worth it.  ❤

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Ill behaviour..

(I have Renegade Master stuck in my head..)

So, I can’t be bothered to write… but do I have enough energy to go upstairs to the kitchen to get food even though I’m full? HELL YEH!

Ill behaviours creeping back in. It’s been a big week. I handed in my notice. I’ve been going backwards and forwards on whether to go to the festival or not, which drove me insane. In the end I decided against it. For many reasons. I’m a little sad, but overall made the right decision. Which makes me more annoyed I didn’t make this decision at the start of the week and not spend the whole time fretting abut it.

Anyway – I actually feel I shouldn’t write anymore because what I’m typing is even boring to me. But I also feel I need to write, because I’m feeling a little stuck in a loop of overtiredness, sitting looking at my phone, mindless eating, and round and round. My therapist and I are talking a lot about relationship and love at the moment, brought about by the meeting of that man – and it’s hard. Even though I know I’m closed off I still surprise myself at how much. And how, at such a young age I learnt to just shut people out of my thoughts. How I get huge separation anxiety, but once they are gone – I’m alright. I did this as a young child, as a teenager, an adult – even when my brothers moved abroad. I couldn’t even let myself think about the kids because it hurt too much. So, I’d ignore their existence until I was with them again. Now I’m dealing with this – and I call them, send them things, look forward to seeing them. It feels better and more natural, and makes me happier! But wow, how good I am at instantly putting my feelings on lockdown! This man said something that angered me, and I literally felt my insides close. I imagined a massive fortress inside and BANG the doors shut. And you know what? I was happy! I was so relieved. My therapist laughed when I told her (we get on very well as people.) That of course I did, I’m so used to being self reliant, and not expecting anything from anyone – this is my natural, comfortable state. But ultimately it makes me miss out some of the best parts of life. The intimacy. But, I honestly don’t feel that’s for me. Even as a teen I thought if I ever became a Mum I would be a single Mum (nothing wrong with that obv!) Even when I was with my fiance that’s how I felt because he was so useless. And part of me loved the idea. And still does, me and my little one against the world. Urgh. But, if I’m being really honest, I’ve opened up to the idea (if only a teeny tiny bit) of meeting someone. I actually even thought I might meet a guy, just to kiss.. (maybe more…) for the weekend at the festival. Last time I went I hooked up with a very hot guy. At the time I just kept thinking ‘Go you! He is HAWT.’ Haha. And very nice, but smoked a lot of weed, and sold weed, so I declined his offers of keeping in touch. Which surprises me too. Part of me thinks maybe cause he was really nice, and interesting and interested, I basically ran away. Maybe a mix of the two.

It’s funny that the last man I kissed (recently, and first kiss in 16 months!) is twice as old as the last guy I slept with. Ha! Wow – coming up to two years. I remember when two weeks felt like an eternity.

Man, I just thought ‘hmm what can I eat?” It’s midnight! I’ve had dinner. I had yoghurt before dinner at my Latvian class. I had too much food after dinner. I’m so tired, my eyes are twitchy. WAAAA.

Bad habits. Obsessive, impulsive bad habits. I feel pretty content so why am I going back to them? Well, taking a weekend to myself, writing, exercising, and mooching – hopefully that will help level it a bit.

With one eye shut and its 12:20 I should sleep. I am sorry for the dull post.

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Ahhhhh!!! Grrrrrrrr

I hate that despite how content I am in life, how many wonderful exciting things I’ve done since I got sober, and how I am a more confident person, who actually isn’t filled with self loathing – but self like (sometimes love too!) alcohol still has a fucking grip on me. Guess that’s what makes me an addict. People seem shocked that I say I still get proper physical cravings. They tend not to understand so I have to liken it to a cigarette craving which more people can relate to. I know it will pass, and sometimes know how to help it pass quicker. 

But still, it has me in its grip. The fear of being at a festival – surrounded by drunk people, wishing I could be them. Despite last time I went, 2 years ago, being so ridden with hangover anxiety I had to tell my friends I just needed to go sit by myself for a while. I cried in the portaloos so many times, even though I was technically having a great time. But I still fear being there and not drinking. I’ve spent £200 on tickets, a tent – and now I just don’t know what to do. I was so excited but I’m just not sure I can put myself through it. No yoga, no running to level me out either. Eeep. I’ve been so honest with my friend too. How wonderful that in sobriety my friendships have become stronger and more open (less friendships, better quality!) 

Fuck you alcohol!! Like a shitty ex boyfriend. You are out my life. I am better, I am stronger, but fuck you you have left your mark deep inside. 

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The sun is shining & so are you… 

A friend of mine recently celebrated his two years sobriety, and posted online that he wasn’t sure whether to mention it because it’s just not a thing anymore, but decided that tackling his alcoholism saved his life and made it infinitely better, so perhaps he should acknowledge and remember this. I agree on all points. It made me wonder where I was – as I don’t think about it anymore. 19 months. And I look back to those days, those early entries of celebrating each day, each week. I saw those past 100 days and never thought that could be me. I never thought I’d be able to write a blog post that was about my life, but not solely focused on my need and obsession with alcohol. But that’s how it is. And that should not be forgotten, and that should be shared. 
I recently saw online requests for input on an anthology on sobriety and recovery (an UK people want in I’ll find the link!) and thought YES! I want in! The change from feeling so uncertain and scared of my sobriety to wanting to share openly and be an advocate for the goodness it can bring (without being preachy or judgey.. fine line fine line…) is huge! My issue now is what do I want to write about? What is the most amazing part of my sobriety? What has been the most surprising positive? I thought perhaps reflecting on my discovery about how I thought alcohol made me creative and confident, where as it did the latter. And the discovery of this new inner confidence that has led me back to being the creative person I was a child and in my early teens – perhaps. 

I also thought about how the whole

World is a new place for me. How I feel reborn, with child’s eyes. I’m currently sat in the sun, where I’ve typed out many a post, feeling so content. A word that I feel is underused. Not just okay, but so content that right now, I wish for nothing more than all I have and am experiencing. Watching the pigeons and being so genuinely impressed how they glide from one little perch to another. The ducks diving under the water. The feeling of cold water entering my body. The REAL feeling. The sounds, the light, everything so bright and loud. And at times it’s been so overwhelming. Early sobriety was so exhausting because everything was so new. How my mind had to process all these experiences and sensations, ALL the time. Without the switching off, rest period each evening (at its best) once the booze came out… but I don’t know how to put this new connection with the world, with everything in the world, into words. 

Even looking back at the hardest moments. The sitting on my hands for hours sobbing because I was in so much pain but I didn’t want to hurt myself even more – I look back, and think it was more than worth it. I see so many people escaping from life through alcohol when really why escape from it? embracing it head on, sober – that’s the way to live. The natural highs are more exhilarating than I could have ever imagined. To REALLY fucking live. Truly to cherish the joys and sorrows. Not to numb them out. 
I was recently at the ‘women of the world’ fest in London and went to a talk about alcohol use in women in the U.K.

The panel seemed to focus too much, in my opinion, on moderation. I do Understand that most people won’t get sober so more awareness that a bad day might have end better with a walk with a friend, or a yoga session rather than hitting the booze is definitely something I back. But the lady who was promoting still appeared to think she drank a bit much, and also that it was still a ‘thing.’ Something she had to work on, and keep in check. Ahh the freedom of sobriety!! Can I get a hell yeh?! Hehe 
They talked about the shame of alcohol and how people drink so much but hide it, and so cannot get help. Which of course is true, but they completely ignored that it is also so acceptable! Congratulated! A badge of honour.. ‘I was so fucked up I almost kissed my boss last night.’ ‘Omg I’m still so drunk..’ (to colleagues at work) ‘me too…’ hahaha – and all the other stuff we know about the acceptance and promotion of what is essentially poison and a drug. Happy? Sad? Celebrating? Comisirating? Doing yoga? Cinema? Drink drink drink. So I mentioned this and said how important discussing this acceptance, and encouragement and ultimately often a cover up of what people really feel (shame – if you don’t laugh you will cry) is so

Important And, whilst I was talking people turned round and nodding their heads in agreement. It was exhilarating! And afterwards someone came up to me to thank me for saying that! I felt so embarrassed, but so proud I pushed myself to speak, and apparently, it wasn’t total shit! 
I must leave the sun now to go back to my windowless office.. but if you need some lighting up listen to ‘Axwell – sun is shining..’ found it this morning and now on repeat… 

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