I’ve always been a bit of an all or nothing kind of person.
At 18 when I decided to go vegetarian, I stayed vegetarian. I decided I want to be able to run at least 3 miles in one go 4 years ago so I set up a running group and now I can. I left my job I loved, working with women and for women, so I set up an online women’s group instead eight years ago so I could do ‘something’ in that community, it’s still going with 600 members. I woke up one morning in my 20s and wanted to buy a green and white Citroen 2 CV and by the weekend I had one (who knew they had colon gears?!). At 16 I decided to go to France in a lorry with a man I didn’t know to be a nanny, there was nothing my poor mum could do to stop me. At 21 I decided one day I no longer wanted to be a house owner and work in an office, I wanted to travel, six months later I was on a plane to Sydney for 12 months. Last year I decided I wanted to move to another town, two days later the house was sold, I’ve lived here in the new town for a year now. Basically once I put my mind to something I tend to get on with it.
Something else I’ve recently realised I ‘put my mind to’ is having a glass of wine or two after work. I almost never get drunk (hate the feeling!), I don’t crave a drink in the morning, I never pass out. I’m just joining the masses, being sophisticated, ending the day with a glass of vino. Right?
All fine. Until major trauma occurs. Mine being 5 years ago when I lost my lovely Tes. Only having a drink at weekends extended the weekend from Thursday to Sunday, then that extended to include a Monday (EVERYONE deserves a drink on a Monday right?), before long the ‘gap’ changed to ‘as long as the sauvignon blanc was poured after 6pm’, this was also perfectly acceptable.
It’s been about two years where I began to realise that I’d messed up my relationship with the beautiful pale yellow liquid waiting for me in the fridge. I began to begrudge nights that meant I had to drive, I fell asleep almost every night watching the TV, I woke up most nights at 3am and I have survived for the last five years on as little as 3 hours sleep most nights.
The problem is I am VERY good at being able to carry on with little sleep and I am VERY good at being able to function at a high level during the day when inside I feel crap. I think this is partly due to the fact that after losing Tes my heart is broken and I have found a way to carry on the day job with it in two pieces because there is no other choice. So coping with little sleep is easy compared to coping with a broken heart.
ANYWAY – I have stopped drinking entirely, not sure how long for, no goals really, I just know it had become a bit too much of a habit so I’ve replaced it with hot chocolate and Hagen daaz ice cream!
Comments from other people have not been very favourable – ‘boring’ being the most common. Weird isn’t it, if you give up cigarettes everyone throws a party but if you give up one of the most addictive harmful drugs that exists you are cast aside like a leper!!!
In my first two weeks some remarkable things have happened already, firstly it wasn’t as hard as I thought. Secondly I am SLEEPING!!!!!!!!!! And I MEAN sleep. Since I lost Tes I thought I didn’t sleep well due to grief but what I hadn’t realised is …..what I was doing to dampen down the grief then led me not to sleep well. I put my head on the pillow now and I wake up six hours later and I haven’t woken up in-between!!!! I have more energy, I am much less anxious and I have more money in my pocket!
With it though my at times foggy brain coping with a hangover or just over indulgence has suddenly become shiny, clean, transparent and with it I’ve had to painfully look back at things and with it experienced an emotion that I try not to – regret. Those regrets are my own personal ‘stuff’ that I must find a way of dealing with but I realise that the biggest arguments, rows, difficulties and bad decisions I’ve made over the years have always been when I and/or others have been drinking. It hurts a lot to think of some of the bad decisions I’ve made, the effect on our lives and there’s nothing I can do really about these regrets apart from being a grown up and accepting I can’t change anything in the past.
Thank you for letting me share my thoughts with you, I struggled with whether I should write this, it’s not easy to put your life out there at times, there’s a lot that I keep to myself for fear it’s just ‘too much’ (believe it or not!) but I know that other people out there struggle with their ‘coping mechanisms’ too be it cigarettes, prescription drugs, alcohol, bad relationships, illegal drugs, eating, not eating etc. I am accessing some online support too during this latest change in my life where I’ve thrown away my safety blanket, It’s not simply that easy to just ‘give up’ for most people but perhaps whatever you want to change you can try to start with today…
Happy Sunday to you all x