6-366

I missed 4 and 5. I was drunk on 4, and at the cinema on 5.

I’ve reached out for help with my drinking, apologised to Hubs and am currently on Day 2 of getting sober. I was so far into shame yesterday, I nearly imploded on myself.

I’ve joined an eight-week fitness challenge, I asked Hubs to take front, back and side view photos of me. The front on is truly awful, will never see the light of day. I’m chewing my lip in pain, but it was real, raw and honest and so I didn’t going to ask him to retake it.

I also took my measurements, am at my heaviest weight, which I thought I’d hit last year. Barely fitting into clothes and cross with myself for abusing my body.

So here we are. Out there and open.

I’m going to share this with you. Because as I find my way through, others might need to as well.

Exercising is going to be interesting with the air quality being as bad as it is with the fires though. I was going for a walk each lunch time – but I don’t think I will be today.

1-366

One of my twenty for 2020 is to blog everyday. Hence the title of this blog post, I’m going to count down, or up, as we go through the year. I got into bed last night on New Years’ Day, and thought “Damnit”, so you’re gonna get two today…

We’ve spent the past week and a bit on the Mornington Peninsula. I was looking online to see if I could book the Air BnB that we used at the beginning of 2019, but I couldn’t get the dates to match up with the Christmas shut-down at work (more on that later). The next morning, R rang me and said she and her family were off to Fiji for a month, did we want to use her house?

Ten minutes away from the cousins.

Yes please.

So we packed up, including the cat, and drove down. We then drove back again, minus the cat, to go to the Boxing Day test, Archie and I left at lunch, then headed back to the Peninsula. Cat very happy to see us and we’ve been here ever since.

As normal, we’ve not done everything we’ve planned to, but we’ve done other things. The jigsaw is mostly done, but we’re struggling with the sky, so many blues! The beach has been hit a couple of times, but we’ve relaxed, unwound and spent quality time together, which is what we needed.

Yesterday we drove to Sorrento and got the ferry over to Queenscliffe. We mooched through the town, walked up to Helen’s chair and spent some time reflecting on both Hubs’ mum and Erika.

Six months ago she passed, it still feels like she should be on the end of a call or a message.

Ian and I have spoken nearly every week since then, for which I’m grateful. One of the things I want to do this year is to share what I’m feeling, when I’m struggling, more often. I don’t reach out to people often enough. I seem to know when people need to talk to me, and expect that intuition from others. Doh.

I’ve not finished my Twenty for 2020 list off completely, mainly because as the year unfolds, I want to have room for actions and additions.

This year will be the year I stop drinking though. The past few months of funk has seen me drink more than nights than not, not quite to oblivion, but on the edge of it.

One thing I wanted to do by the beach was to press pause and reset on what I wanted. I feel a long walk by the beach is in my future today. I need to sit and let stuff come to surface.

[Point to note, if the blog posts are numbered, they will be free-form and unedited. If there is anything specific I want to talk about (rant over), I’ll put a title up ok?]

I’ve just cleared my beach visit with Hubs, when I’ve finished my coffee I’ll head off.

The job I started six months ago closes the office down, which I wasn’t that happy about when I first heard about it. I had to go into a negative balance to take a week off work to head over to the UK for Erika’s funeral. I’d just about accrued a week back again, to have to use it for the shut-down. I’ve got no buffer for any appointments, catastrophes or life in general. For the first time in my life, I will be purchasing an additional two weeks leave so I don’t have to worry about having enough time for stuff to happen.

Because stuff happens.

History is just one damned thing after another.

Winston Churchill

Ain’t that the truth.

Other stuff I’ve done over the week is review who I follow on social media, what podcasts I listen to and am umming and ahing over what books to read over the coming year. I did so well with my reading in 2018, I wanted to hit 2019 with reading 100 books. One thing I learnt last year, when I’m depressed or overwhelmed, I now can’t read. I stuff my head into my phone and ignore the world that way. Mind you, I have been known to just read and re-read Mapp and Lucia to avoid life too.

(See what I mean about I need to let whatever needs to come up, come up?)

Listening to the Daily Stoic podcast Ryan Holiday suggested that instead of trying to hit a number of books, why not try to delve deep. To not read widely, but to read deeply, to come to know the authors as though I’d lived with them.

Reading of many books is distraction.

Seneca

I’m going to get twelve books from Book Club, but I’m going to have a think about what ten-fifteen other books I want to read this year, to deep read; not skim over to get to a number. What am I trying to prove?

Well, that’s the story of my life right there. Proving my worth to others. Instead of being happy with who and what I am.

On that note, I’m off to the beach.

October Thoughts

I started this year full of hope and dreams. Excited about my surgery – planning to recuperate, recover and smash out a half marathon as a goal to keep me motivated. I wanted to read 100 books this year too.

I guess you had other plans for me.

Like learning patience, compassion, kindness. To myself and others.

I got back to work after my surgery, just in time to leave for a new role. I stood in front of colleagues with a prepared speech highlighting the friends I’d made through working with a buffet of people; but Erika had just gone into hospital and already, her prognosis was slipping. The only way I got through that speech was to mention her in passing. Because if I shared just how important she was to me, I’d never get through it. A few short weeks later, I’d have to go into more detail about the depth of our friendship, standing beside her casket. Aged P and Wiz holding my hands.

Since then, Erika and I have had a couple of chats. She shows up mostly through music, poking me to remind me she’s there on the radio. But drifting off one night late last week, I asked for her forgiveness for not being there for her when she was at her lowest. I said that I hoped that by looking after Ian, she’d be able to forgive me for not realising how low she was. A few days later, Imagine Dragons On Top Of The World played in Coles; this was the song that was playing as I boarded the plane in Melbourne to fly back to the UK. Followed by Roxette, The Look which seems to be the claxon call for Ian and I that Erika is playing around with the radio ago.

You can read what you want into anything. But if my phone has been linked to the car and I’ve been playing a podcast, if I’ve swiped up and closed off the app music will start to play, on random. There have been times I’ve reversed out the driveway and collapsed into giggles, other times I’ve had to hurriedly press ‘next’ lest I start weeping. If I carry on listening to music; all the while it’s apparently on random, unless I get the message and acknowledge it, another song from the same artist or album comes on until I do.

Like Barbra Streisand’s album Guilty Too. That album was my soundtrack to recovery from separation. I’d play it in Mon Bears’ spare room as I decluttered my life; bags of possession going down the stairs and off to charity. On Thursday last week, I’d skip one song from the album then another one would come on. In the end, I just gave up and listened to the whole album from start to finish. When that was finished, I put it back on random for the Red Hot Chilli Peppers to pop up with By The Way.  

By the way, I tried to say
I’d be there, waiting for …

Red Hot Chilli Peppers

Loud and clear darling girl. Loud and clear.

Since I had the flu, I’ve had to stop. Rest. Go to bed early. Recuperate. My reading has increased, head in my phone decreased. Won’t be many more memes coming on my timelines as I’ve left Imgur behind me. In the past few weeks I’ve read two books, one in two sittings. Slowly I’m inching back to myself. Coming full circle to reading, exercising and eating better.

Recognising no matter if it is gluten free, if I have too many carbs, my IBS will flare up and I’ll be ‘noisy’ she said enigmatically.

Recognising if I have alcohol, the wave of self-loathing that follows is not worth the numbing of whatever I was trying to avoid. Eight days sober and counting. I’m sleeping better, my skin is less flushed, I feel lighter in myself too. I’ve still got to work through whatever I’m avoiding, but I’m not scared of what that will be now.

I am more scared of me drinking.

I know that even though I’m not going to read 100 books this year, or complete the half marathon. I’ve done much more, something intangible.

I’ve learnt to love myself, forgive myself for some foibles and mistakes and be accepting of what I can’t change.

Valerian, the herb, not the movie

Last night it took me ages to get to sleep again. Then I woke up. Fretted. Got cross with myself. Fretted some more. Got back to sleep. I had bad dreams last night too, images I can’t shake even now. I staggered out of bed at 6:20am; bleary eyed, unbearably sad and with less than an hour to have a shower, finish lunches, get Hubs to the station, Archie to school and me on the road.

Things didn’t get done over the weekend, like Archie’s reading diary. We read every day with him, but have to justify it to his teacher by completing it. I sent him to school with three blank spaces in it, so can look forward to ‘????’ in there tonight when we get home.

I got in the car ready to whizz the wee man to school and got an alert on the dash ‘Key mechanism not working’ I only needed to get the battery changed, but it freaked me out somewhat as I’m transferring the car to my new job.

I’m tired, cranky and honestly, shell-shocked. I am not fully in my body. I have to start taking better care of myself, otherwise I’m going to fall over. I need to do some exercise to help tire me out and get me to sleep, but tonight I just need an early night. I’ve also brought some Valerian for good measure. I am making myself eat, as I have no appetite and when I do eat, I feel sick. To top it all off, my stomach is churning. Looking everything up online, so far so normal. I know it is a process I’ve got to navigate, my compass is a bit faulty.

I am so glad that I’ve got people on the end of the phone for me. I’m also grateful that Ian and I are messaging each other. Cat photos, nonsense, updates on our days and laundry. Anything and nothing. He told me off for drinking, having seen me obliterate feelings and pain before, he knows the depths I can sink to. I’ve reset my sober date to today (24 June).

At lunch time, I went to Box Hill Central – that has changed a huge amount since I last was there. I was only just pregnant with Archie, so over eight years ago. I dropped the dry cleaning in, found a pharmacy for the aforementioned herb extract. Walking round to find somewhere to get the battery changed, I got completely lost; asked for help, got misdirected out of one building and into another. Then giving up altogether, as I was heading out (in a huff) to get back to work, I walked right into the stand and got the battery replaced.

Then … I got lost coming out the car park, had to do a U-Turn on Elgar Road.

I should be able to book my flights tomorrow, Ian is off to the funeral director now. That might help, as I feel a bit lost and in limbo still.

A slow awakening

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen me hop back into the @8WeeksToWow program at the beginning of this week. Walking into work on Monday morning, I said out loud, startling someone walking in with me ‘I’m done.’

  • I’m done with the self-sabotage of falling off the wagon.
  • I’m done with not being able to drink in moderation.
  • I’m done with not loving myself enough to say ‘No thank you.’
  • I’m done with thinking I’m not worthy enough of treating my body with respect and care and punishing my ‘soul-sack’ through alcohol and food.
  • I’m done with worry about what other people think of me if I don’t drink.

I understand now that I need to own this. That despite people offering me, or being surprised when I turn it down, or giving me the Spanish Inquisition as to why – I cannot drink any more.

I’m done.

It is my business; I do not need to justify this decision to you. I do not need to explain this decision to you. Neither do you need to ask me why, nor when I tell you it’s “None of your business” or to “Eff-off”, depending on how you asked me, do I need to justify my words either.

Fizzy water for the win.

Now I’ve come to this decision, and the reasons behind it, I now am ready to finish working through Russell Brand’s The Program as the first step is admitting: I am a bit f*cked.

Step one. Day three.

 

An experiment

TLDR, it didn’t work.

After what can only be described as a terrible, no good, bad day at work, I had three glasses of wine with dinner on Thursday. I woke up with a hangover on Friday morning, I felt terrible all day and at the family fun night at school in the evening, tried to make myself feel better by having more wine. As you do.

On Saturday I again felt awful.

Sunday night, I finished off the bottle left over from Friday and for good measure had another bottle too.

Yes, another bottle.

Monday morning rolls around, I’ve now had a hangover-esque headache for over three days, my alarm goes off and instead of waking up and getting on with stuff, I turn it off and head back to bed.

Most importantly, my mood has slipped. Badly. By drink two on Thursday night, I’m already regretting my decision, but let’s just compound the information I’m smacking into my head with alcohol.

I wanted to print off my year planner again to start crossing off my days again afresh, to pretend it hadn’t happened, but I’m going to leave those three days unchecked. To remind me. I cannot do this any more. It’s not just about not drinking, it’s about managing me.

My mood had been stable all year, Sunday I could feel the old black dog creeping in to my field of vision. I’m also disappointed in myself.

Day one.

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Forty-five days

I’ve been sober for 45 days, the longest in years. I only nearly buckled once, when Archie had his meltdown at a birthday party. I stood in front of the wine rack and goodness me it was so tempting. I stood with my hands to my head as the bath ran; it could have been oh so easy – but I didn’t succumb. I read The Darling Buds of May instead, with my ears under the water. Blissful silence.

I’ve dreamt about drinking a glass of red a few weeks ago, in the dream I tip some down the bathroom sink to wash away the evidence, sobbing at Hubs that I was sorry for doing it. Thank you subconscious.

Some nights I sit at a set of traffic lights in our home town, next to a Taco Bill (franchise restaurant chain), where they serve goldfish bowl sized margaritas. I’ve never had one of them, but I loved their sangria. Gordon’s Gin have a new advertising campaign out. Bus stops all over the place have carefully stylised images of spirits, wines, beers. Until I’d stopped, I didn’t really appreciate how much advertising there was for alcohol.

At work I sit on the Health and Wellbeing Committee, our annual survey results are in. Nearly 70% of the people who responded said that they didn’t want assistance to reduce their drinking at this time, we don’t know if that is the same 70% that said they drunk at least one or two times a week. But we do know 45% of respondents said they drank more than five drinks on a single occasion. Talking about this yesterday, we were shocked it was so high, but at the same time around the table we acknowledged that a drinking culture in Australia is so all pervading, it is hard work to say you don’t or aren’t drinking.

Back in the UK if I said that I didn’t want to drink on a night out, it was pretty much left at ‘OK’ and that was it; here you can get the Spanish Inquisition and nth degree on why not. I’m still not sure on what to say about it yet, not that we’ve been anywhere really, but keep repeating ‘No thank you’ in my head for practice. At Book Club last month, I arrived with a bottle of sparkling mineral water, despite our penchant for vino, no one was bothered if I drank or not.

I can’t say I won’t ever drink again, I’m just not having one today, like I didn’t yesterday or the 44 days before that.

I’ve given up weighing myself. Excuse me here, but FUCK ME it’s frustrating. I got so excited about the number on the scales the other day, then within two days, 5kg appeared out of nowhere. Had I done anything differently? Had I buffalo. Hal Elrod and Jon Berghoff talk in this podcast about “trusting the process” when all else fails and nothing seems to be happening. Taking that into consideration, I’m now looking at my average KM speed when I run. This number has come down from 9.59 min/km at the beginning of January to 8.11 min/km.

I’m feeling stronger every time I go out, three times this week so far, and probably again tomorrow lunchtime, with a longer one on the weekend. Hills still exacerbate my asthma, but I run what I can, walk the rest, run again and each time it’s getting easier. As I puff my way back home, I come down a hill to the flat of the road we live on. By the time I get there, I feel on top of the world. As I said in a little video today on Instagram, if I could bottle this feeling and share it with you, I would.

I finished an awesome book this week, How To Break Up With Your Phone, ironically on my kindle as it’s not coming out as a print edition here in Oz. Before, during and after reading it I have done the following:

  • Taken the email and Twitter apps off
  • Taken Facebook app off, and changed my settings so I have to sign in every. single. time. I want to use it. I’ve also taken my phone number off, so now it’s yelling at me to put it back on. Limited my past posts, tightened up my security and would dearly like to tell it to take a long walk off a short pier.
  • Brought an alarm clock
  • I now charge my phone overnight in the kitchen, the alarm still goes off on my phone, (the clock is only if I need to know the time), but now I wake  up walk to the phone and switch it off. et voila, I’m out of bed.

In four days, I’m sleeping better, using my phone less and generally feel less angst and frazzlement. I still use it for my podcasts, music and if we’re out and I have a query, I’ll still search for the answer. But I am not mindlessly scrolling away because I have nothing better to do; it now lives in the kitchen, not in my hand.

I’m also working on the #MillionaireMorning by Mel Robbins, which is more aligned to me than the #MiracleMorning I like getting up and sitting in silence to let my mind wake up and ease into the day.

I’ve also (re)written a chapter of my book too. Here’s a piece of advice for you, if you’ve got notes, jottings or scribbles of book ideas. Put them into the cloud now. I had half a book on the Mac that got stolen, am now trying to find it again. *sad face*

We’re also working on limiting Archie’s screen time, he dug out Monopoly this morning. Not sure that he’s ready for the arguments that game always brings, I left for work this morning with him and his Dad playing Connect 4. Hubs has been signed off work with a chest infection, stayed home on Tuesday and has moved from couch to bed and back again. I can feel my chest tightening, and am coughing a bit when I get up, one of the reasons I ran today, in case I’m not up for it in a couple of days.