Hello all

Hope everyone is well! I just wanted to tell you all that I am still sober, since I fell off the wagon for a night. Doing well, but one little problem has arisen. Due to health reasons I’ve been advised to stop drinking coffee. I drink coffee religiously. I get hugely excited when I think about a coffee that I am planning to have. I drink coffee when everyone around me is drinking alcohol. I actually got incredibly upset after finding out about my coffee ban. I’m getting jealous of other people around me who are drinking coffee. I feel like I have nothing left. It sucks. Its so childish but I’m feeling very sorry for myself. I didn’t think it would hit me so hard. 

What is it with me and liquids?

On we go.

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Still here

Just wanted to check in briefly. I’m still here. I had a slip last weekend, a big one, lots to drink last Friday night at a reunion and I have been so angry at myself that I haven’t been able to bring myself to post about it. Still feel angry and ashamed. Alas, it led to nothing more and haven’t drank since. I’ve slipped twice now, one slip was a controlled one, the last wasn’t. But both slips have a lot in common:

1. The decision to drink was made very quickly.

2. I hadn’t eaten much before the event.

3. I regretted it massively the following day.

4. I felt shame afterwards.

5. It didn’t lead to me drinking the following days – if anything the thought of drinking repulsed me (on a mental level even more so than a physical one).

Anyway, it seems I needed to make a big slip to see that I really, truly shouldn’t drink. Nothing bad happened but nothing good happened either. I just feel embarrassed by my lack of self control and worry that people giggle at my exuberance when I’m inebriated. It makes me feel ashamed. I would give  a lot to do the night over, but I suppose it happened for a reason – to show me what I really am not missing. The kicker is that I know for SURE that I would have 100% had a better time sober. No word of a lie. I’m so lucky that I can have a fantastic time sober, and that other people drinking doesn’t bother me. So why??? Why why why??? 

Ah, what can you do. 

I’ve also discovered that my problem is that I am a binge drinker. I have no desire to drink alcohol regularly, but when I do drink I get drunk extremely quickly (I mean I feel the effects after less than one drink most of the time) and then it is no longer me who is in control, but the alcohol. But really that doesn’t matter anymore. All that matters is that I learn from my experiences. 

Sorry for the ramble. Love to you all. x

Sober partying is becoming so normal

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a little while will know that I go out a LOT. And I’m very often surrounded by people who are drinking. Thankfully, it doesn’t really bother me anymore. I don’t get jealous of people who are drinking. My main triggers in those settings are: worrying about how I am going to explain my not drinking (I rarely have to do this these days) and feeling anxious/queasy (I have a history of anxiety that has improved drastically in recent years that I’m beginning to think might have been strongly linked to my drinking). Thankfully I’ve been finding these triggers easier to navigate as people are beginning to think of me as a non drinker and don’t feel the need to ask questions, and my anxiety and capability to deal with it has greatly improved since I stopped drinking. I’m just a more rational person, and I am more in control of my emotions. Thank god.

I had a lot on this weekend: I went to two parties and a concert and a street fair. I was out until 5am on Friday and Saturday night. Clearly my desire to ‘keep the party going’ was not, in fact, fuelled by my drinking (as I previously thought). I had a great time, and it was great. But today, I am feeling a bit flat. I have had very little sleep over the past few days, due to my staying up late and various commitments during the day, and I think I am just worn out. Despite having an amazing weekend, I feel kinda, well, ugh I suppose. Maybe it’s just coming down from the high after all the events. Maybe it’s exhaustion. Maybe I need to recharge. Maybe it’s a combination of all three. I feel very emotional and a little weepy. I want hugs, and I miss my family (who came to visit me today, and who I will see again next weekend – ridiculous).
But thank FUCK I can say that I have absolutely NO desire to drink whatsoever. In fact, I haven’t since my slip 31 days ago. Which at times makes me think that I maybe DON’T have that bad of a problem. Oh how our brains play games with us. Regardless, even if my drinking wasn’t hugely problematic, I know that my life is so much better now – and having a drink because I have realised that my interest in alcohol has seriously lessened the stupidest reason for having a drink that I can think of.

Sorry about the rambly nature of this post. I am gonna eat, sleep (it’s 9:20pm here) and hopefully I will feel less blah tomorrow 🙂

Quick update

I haven’t posted for a while, so just wanted to check in.

I’m doing great, still sober, just haven’t felt the need to post recently. I’ve been trading often though, and hope you all are well. 😊 

Happy Friday!

No I’m NOT DRUNK I am just HAVING SO MUCH FUN!

My social life hasn’t really changed since I’ve stopped drinking. In fact, if anything it’s become more full, as I have more energy and no hangovers threatening to ruin my plans.
Since I stopped drinking mid-March, I have done all of the following sober (bar my hiccup a week or so ago):
1. Gone to several house parties and birthday parties
2. Attended family functions
3. Gone out for lots of dinners
4. Gone to bars and clubs
5. Gone to nightclubs until after 4am
6. Gone to BBQs
7. Gone to work functions

Luckily, I haven’t found it too difficult, once I have decided in my head that I am DEFINITELY NOT going to drink. The only time I struggle is when I allow myself to entertain the thought that drinking is not a big deal. Once I’ve ordered my first soft drink, and everyone is aware that NO I’m STILL not drinking, I can relax and usually have a fantastic time.

Since I’ve gone on with life pretty much as normal since I stopped drinking, I’d not had a ‘sober first’ in quite a while. But then, I went to my first sober concert since I was a child last Saturday! And it was AWESOME! Yay!

So my favourite band came to play a gig in a park in Dublin at the weekend and a big group of my friends decided to go. My boyfriend got us both tickets at Christmas (when I was still drinking) and we have been excited about it for a long time, but I was pretty nervous. There were big plans to drink in a friends house beforehand (he lives really close to the park where the concert was held) and he had a party after the gig in his house. My not drinking wasn’t an issue. One friend did ask a few, obviously out of genuine curiosity, such as how long had I not been drinking and was it for fitness reasons (I am an avid runner). I told her he truth in not so many words, explaining how bad drinking was making me feel and that it was bad for my mental health as well as my physical health. I also told her about the health benefits that I had been experiencing and she mentioned that she’s been thinking about giving up drinking as she felt it was a barrier to her health and fitness goals.

The concert itself was amazing. It was outdoors, and any other time I have been to a day-long (there were lots of support acts that we wanted to see) concert event I have been quite drunk. I drank plenty of coffee and had lots of energy, and danced and sang my heart out. All of my friends were (nicely) drunk and I didn’t care whatsoever. I realised later that I never pay any attention to what others are drinking (which is probably a good thing), so I have no idea how much they drank – but let’s just say everyone was in high spirits. I also saw people who were most definitely in a very bad way – either dangerously drunk or off their faces on some sort if substances (which made me feel a mixture of pity and relief).

At one point I heard an older, disapproving gentleman commenting on my groups behaviour; we were dancing wildly and singing along to every word, which apparently is unacceptable behaviour at concerts. I think he must have gotten free tickets for living in the area because it was clear that he wasn’t enjoying himself at all and he didn’t seem to even be listening to the music. He singled me out, and I could hear him saying to his lady friend “look at that girl in the red t-shirt, she is so drunk and out of control, it’s a disgrace”. I couldn’t believe my eyes – the irony! I made my way over to him and showed him my coffee cup and bottle of water and said “Excuse me sir, I am no drunk, I am just having fun! When you finish complaining about people you know nothing about feel free to join us for a dance!” His lady friend started laughing and he looked embarrassed. Ha ha HA.

All in all a complete success. Great music, great friends and an opportunity to stand my ground (something I am not that good at most of the time).

Bring on more sober firsts.

1 week on… Life since my hiccup

It’s 8:35 am. I am lying in bed surrounded by chocolate wrappers. Sigh. At least I am not hungover!

So it’s been one week since I decided to drink. I haven’t drank since. Despite having a relatively small amount to drink (in comparison to what I used to drink and what everyone else had had to drink) I actually suffered quite a bit last Saturday. I would never ever have suffered before from that volume of alcohol. Or maybe I did and was too used to it to notice. 

Anyhow, all day Saturday I had a headache, an upset tummy and a general fogginess about me. It all set in shortly after my last blog post. If I hadn’t thought it was worth it before, then I definitely didn’t then. I wondered so many times how I did this to my body every weekend without fail. My body even seemed to hurt. I felt very sorry for myself. I reminded myself that it was all my own doing. And then I felt very thankful. I realised that this was my body’s way of begging me not to drink anymore. 

After a day or two of feeling guilty, I allowed myself to stop thinking about it. I had my last week of work with my current team this week. Next week I start working on an off-site project and will return to work with my current team in a few months. Since my colleagues are the only group that I find difficult to not drink around (due to peer pressure) I am going to take the opportunity to come back with a condition that will not allow me to drink. 

My colleagues arranged ‘one big last night out’ as a goodbye on Thursday night. I desperately wanted to go and not drink. After all, the night was in my honour and I am a very social person – I love going out. But I absolutely did not want to drink. So I came up with a plan!

I am not advocating this kind of behavior by the way. But it got me through what was a difficult situation for me. So the night started off in one of my colleagues houses; she was going to throw a little party and then we would move on to the pub/club later. It was byob. So I brought a bottle of wine…filled with a non alcoholic grape juice.

It worked a treat. I drank the whole ‘bottle of wine’ in the house, and when we got to the pub I claimed that I had had too much at the house and didn’t need any more. I drank pints of water and danced and chatted with all my colleagues. We stayed at the pub (well its more like a disco bar) until 2:30am. By that time most people were hammered. Some were going on to a nightclub. I agreed to go – it was my last night and I was having a great sober time so why not?? We had a great time and I continued to drink water and stayed out until the club closed at 4am. I had to bring my friend home and put her to bed because she couldn’t even walk she was so drunk. I went to sleep about 6am, so grateful to have been sober, and I had such a good time. Then I got up at 8am for my last day with the old crew. Everyone was astounded by how ‘fresh’ I looked, and I giggled to myself in my head about my private little secret. I am awake now after sleeping for about 17 hours (seriously). But it was worth it 🙂

I was out on Wednesday night too with friends who don’t even notice, never mind care if I drink or not. It was a blast and I was delighted to wake up with a clear head. So maybe the two nights out on a week night caused me to sleep for so long. Either way my body definitely needed it.

Finally, I just wanted to say that not every moment of Thursday night was easy. Right as I was about to pour the real wine out of the bottle so I could wash it and use it for my fake wine I thought to myself about how nice it would be to join in the fun and drink with my colleagues and feel connected to them. And then I thought about how I felt when I drank last Friday and how adamant I was that it wasn’t worth it and the urge to say ‘fuck it’ went away. Drunken conversations and interactions aren’t real anyway. It’s never me talking, always the drink. And I prefer to live my life as myself and not behind the veil of alcohol.

The story of last night: How I ended up drinking

So, I contemplated deleting my blog because I was so ashamed of myself for drinking. But I felt a deep sadness and disappointment in myself when I got home last night and I couldn’t sleep for hours. I wrote a blog post the minute I got in, because I needed to relieve my guilt and get it off my chest. I feel like I have let you guys and myself down. I feel ashamed. But on the other hand I feel hopeful because I am so upset with myself and regret drinking so much that it has shown me how much I want NOT to drink. It showed me how much I wasn’t missing. It made it more clear to me that I was in fact on the right path. So, while I am pretty devastated to have done it, maybe I really can put it down to a learning experience.

This is what happened:
My company had a summer BBQ last night. When I got there, my boss took me aside and gave me some great news; my company wanted to offer me a permanent contract and a leadership position. I didn’t see it coming. I was overwhelmed. Soon the word spread and my colleagues were delighted for me. People kept buying me drinks. They said that their job now was to get me hammered. I refused the drinks for a while. Then a friend said ‘surely you will have a few drinks tonight, of all nights. You should be hammered’. I had a fuck it moment. I didn’t take myself out of the situation and go over things in my head. My guard was down because I was so happy. I didn’t really give it a second thought once I had made up my mind.

We went to a nightclub after the BBQ. It was pretty late. It wasn’t until then that I had my first drink. I had 6 shorts and mixers over the course of about 4 hours. It was a ’rounds’ situation but fortunately we weren’t drinking very fast. I felt the effects of the first drink quickly. That lovely glow that I thought I missed so much was shit. I was paranoid of coming across as stupid, and was afraid that I would say the wrong thing, slur my words or appear drunk. I felt a little anxious. Exactly the feelings that I had previously thought alcohol was an antidote to. Well I am glad to have uncovered that as a big fat lie.

I drank enough to feel pretty tipsy but I didn’t cross the line into full on drunkenness. Maybe that would have been different if I had started drinking earlier. Maybe I was still thinking somewhat by not allowing myself to drink earlier in the night. I was definitely the most sober person there. But what does that matter really? I had a fun time and had good conversation and danced a lot. I did nothing that I wouldn’t have done sober. I can do anything I want sober. I am not short of confidence, and I can have fun without alcohol.

As soon as I was on my own, in the cab on the way home, an overwhelming feeling of sadness clutched at me. I thought to myself ‘what have I gained from tonight?’ and the answer honestly was nothing. I just felt guilt and I felt like a failure.

Now that another day has dawned, I feel disappointed in myself. Disgusted at myself really. I have a mild headache and feel dehydrated. I don’t have a huge hangover but I don’t feel myself. I didn’t miss this feeling. I just want it gone. But, strangely, every now and then I feel a giddy rush of excitement. I know now how much I don’t want to drink. I know now that there is nothing to miss. I know now that my sober life is a happy one. I have never felt so upset about falling off the wagon before. I’m listening to myself and know that there is a good reason why I feel this sad about it. So maybe it was a good thing that I drank because I now feel more determined than ever not to drink. I really, truly see it for what a waster of time, money and energy it is. A total confidence trick that I can’t believe had trapped so many people. And whenever I have a fuck it moment, I think the memory of this experience will be the greatest tool I have.

Thanks for listening.