Three weeks


I’d like to claim that I got up early to take this sunrise photo, but we all know I’d be lying.  Sobriety isn’t that transformative.

Anyway.  It’s been three weeks, and I’m already noting a tendency to step away from my own sobriety journey (ooooh, that’s such a cringeworthy phrase.  I literally grimaced when typing it) and into bigger topics.  So I’m slowing things down a bit and I’m trying my best to talk about how it is for me, today.  I don’t tend to like to talk about myself.  It strikes me as so very self-indulgent.  Whoever said ‘an unexamined life is not worth living” (oh, okay, FINE I’ll google it: it was Socrates) should be held responsible for the entire genre of Young Intellectuals Writing About Being Young Intellectuals.  Yes, I’m looking at you, Somerset Maugham.  I’m sure I’m very complex, with all manner of repressed issues about seeking parental approval, a tendency to sabotage achievement rather than risk failure, and a longing for solitude that is at odds with my incessant need for audience-driven praise, and all that.  But you know, so’s everyone else.  And listening to it is a lot like listening to someone’s dreams.

(Here is a dream that I had last night.  We were on our way to school when I realised that I had forgotten to pack Elder Girl’s lunch.  So I stopped at a cafe and bought her a ham and salad roll, a biscuit and a fruit drink.  And she was over-awed by the specialiness of this lunch.  So that shows that deep down, I never feel good enough for my family, and even my most loving offerings of food can be trumped by commercial offerings, which accounts for my deep insecurity around achievement.  Alternatively, it shows that I am Very Dull with a Very Dull Domestic Life and I have nothing exciting to dream about).

Hmm.  This plan to just talk about how things are for me today isn’t going well.  I keep clicking away from this post and coming back.

That’s mostly because there’s not that much to say.  Last weekend was a struggle.  I knew I wouldn’t drink, but I wanted to.  LH bought himself a little cask of red wine (I don’t know how it is where you are, but there’s some decent wine in boxes here) and had a small glass before leaving it on the kitchen counter and dealing with the children.  It’s Friday night, the house is a bomb-site (I do not deal well with chaos.  It’s one of the hardest things about having children, for me, the near-perpetual mess.  I can’t just laugh and let it go, it makes a huge difference to my mental well-being.  Unfortunately, not only do I work nearly full time as well as being the primary carer for two young kids, and I recently lost my cleaner, but we’re moving house so everything is blocked by packing boxes and little piles left to sort and oh God I can’t even talk about this), the kitchen is covered in the debris of the children’s dinner, and to be very honest also some of their breakfast, and the dishwasher is blocked and I have to clean all of that before starting to cook our dinner, which means that I’m hungry with no quick end in sight, and there’s the cask of wine just sitting there.

I knew I needed to reach out for help, but to whom?  Twitter is quiet for me, I didn’t have followers here, I really needed something more immediate.

But actually, just thinking about the sober blogs and the ways to reach out, that made me realise that I wasn’t going to drink.  If I was going to, I’d have just done it.

And then I remembered something Mrs D wrote once – perhaps not even on her blog, but on a comment? – about manically scrubbing.  So that’s what I did.  I put on some music, I rolled up my sleeves, and I scrubbed the shit out of my kitchen.  Oh, and I also poured a couple of handfuls of peanuts into my mouth.  I’m not claiming it was classy.  But it worked.

So that was Friday, there was a proper craving and a proper answer.  Saturday I think I wanted some wine, but only kind of.  Sunday was no issue.  Monday I blogged about; I didn’t exactly want wine, I was just scared that I would want wine the next night, since LH was going to be away, and so I massively overcompensated on junk food.  And that feeling of fear was really interesting to me.  I went through this gamut of emotions, about should I be just buying whatever I want because sobriety is the most important thing, but also some of this is refined sugar and Lucy Rocca talks about sticking to fruit and nuts so your blood sugar doesn’t spike and dip too dramatically and I know Belle says that for the first thirty days, just do whatever works and get through each day but Jason Vale and far more compellingly Augusten Burroughs  counsel against counting days at all, and I JUST WANT SOMEONE DEFINITIVE TO TELL ME WHAT TO DO BECAUSE I WANT TO GET THIS RIGHT AND NOT FUCK IT ALL UP.

And then I kind of realised that if I’m this angry and this worried about getting it right, then I’m probably getting it right.  I’m not looking for loopholes.  I’m not looking for angles.  I just don’t want to drink.

So I didn’t drink.  Didn’t want to.  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about it, but it was an abstract feeling; oh, look, I’m thinking about wine again, can’t I find something more interesting to occupy my mind?  On Tuesday, after that irritating conversation with LH, I blogged any thoughts about moderating out of my head and onto the page, and like all dark spidery thoughts it scuttled away once the light was upon it.

And it’s been really, really fine since.  There are so many wonderful bloggers putting things into words before I even have chance to feel them myself, and there hasn’t yet been one feeling that I’ve experienced, that hasn’t already been conquered by some of them.  It’s an incredible tool kit for me.

I feel like I should say something about not getting too smug and not letting my guard down here, because I know it’s only three weeks and there’s challenges ahead.  But I refuse to live every day in fear.  Otherwise I’m still living in cobwebs although I can’t see the spider.

Today I am -metaphorically, sadly – opening all the windows, sweeping away all of the cobwebs and scrubbing everything down.  The cobwebs will come back, and with them new spiders, but if I can keep hunting them out when they’re tiny and sweeping them away, I should be fine.

I feel fine.



10 thoughts on “Three weeks

  1. Sounds like you’re GETTING IT RIGHT AND NOT FUCKING IT UP. Good going. Remind’s me of Belle’s advice to “stay here.” … (And I am not experiencing any tech issues on your site.)

  2. Wonderful write-up.

    At three weeks sober, I couldn’t have had that cask of wine around me. Would it be too weird to ask your husband not to drink in the house for a few months? If he is a true “normie,” he shouldn’t mind. If he gets resentful…. maybe he needs to consider his own alcoholic tendencies…

    By the way, I quoted a passage of yours in my blog. So helpful and I am loving your words.
    Check me out if you like!

    Thank you

    • Thanks for the comments. There’s quite a lot of alcohol in my house, mostly liquor because I bubble wrapped and boxed up all the good wine (we are moving house in a month), it doesn’t seem to be a big issue. My feeling is that if I want to drink it’s pretty easy to get hold of, and I’m reluctant to put too many restrictions on LH. We don’t go out much because of very young children, his weekly hobby doesn’t involve alcohol, so I’d be effectively asking him to be teetotal with me. Which I think is overkill.

  3. I agree with you that alcohol is easy to get if you want it, and that if your hubby is a normie, he should be able to have something in the house. At least, it worked ok in my world. We’re all different. Which is why you shouldn’t worry about doing it “right” as much as just doing it. I think Augusten Burrows said something like that: just don’t drink. Obviously there are tools and ideas and ways to do it. I say use what works, borrow others ideas and let the rest be. Who cares? Sober is sober and that’s all we’re aiming for here 🙂

  4. I can tell I’m going to love following your journey on your blog! I’m at 5 months today without alcohol- that Sunday feeling of yours- Alcohol? Who cares!!- gets more and more common. So be of good cheer, and let up on yourself!! You’ve already done what were for me the very hardest days!!

  5. I felt exactly the same way – it seemed too easy at first. I was really high on that pink cloud for the first month, and I expected it to come crashing down. But while I can’t say I’m out of the wood completely at 75 days sober, I can say that I haven’t had that crash so far. I’ve had moments of irritability, some cravings (not too bad), and some fleeting nostalgia for my former drunk self. But it is just so much better sober — everything is — that my pink cloud pretty much never went away. Drinking made me enormously depressed, and now I’m not depressed. That, alone, still feels like a pink cloud to me.

    I love your blog, by the way – can’t wait to follow your journey.

  6. I would second Rebecca in saying there is NO right way. there is a right way for you. and if you’re not drinking then you are on the right place in your sober journey (where’s the cliche swearbox?!)

    assembling a toolbox, absolutely. having it at your fingertips whenever Wolfie taps at the door. having some tools in reserve in case you need them, yes. am not on commission 😉 but if you don’t already listen to the Bubble Hour podcasts (free) or Belle’s podcasts (worth every cent) then I would highly recommend those. I listen to them on my iphone in the car and they have really helped me get into this new mindset.

    love you maniacally scrubbing and am with you all the way on your desire for order! if it helps when they are older you can get THEM to clean up. especially with a long feather duster on all those cobwebs! keep up the good work! xx

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