Peeling the drink away to reveal … exactly the same person, as it turns out. But less puffy.

I’m pretty sure today is 60 days.  I remember being at about 4 days and it seemed so monumental that I wanted to tell everyone; I’m sober!  I haven’t drunk for FOUR DAYS!  And then realising how ridiculous that would sound to a non-drinker, and refraining.

But the days do go by faster, and here I am at 60 days.  I’ve moved house, I’ve had a birthday, I’ve weathered a pretty brutal spell at work.  And I’m:

  1. Still fat.
  2. Not finding myself with ‘swathes of free time every evening and struggling to fill it’;every day I think oooh, what shall I do this evening?  I could work on my patchwork bag, I could go for a run, I could paint the cornicing…and every day, by the time the kids are in bed and the housework is done, there’s an hour before bed and all I want to do is read.  Which is what I always did; I’m just doing it without wine now.
  3. Still broke.
  4. Still stuck in a go-nowhere job, still not very good at being proactive and making it better.

On the other hand;

I look better.  I feel better.  Writing this blog has not only helped in the most immediate ways – plugging me into a community of sympathetic people – but it’s provided me with the best writing outlet I’ve had in forever.  And writing is one of the best things I can do for my emotional health, and so I’m grateful to you lovely commenters for many reasons at once.  My brain feels more alive than it has in years. 

And more than all of that.  I trust myself again.  I expected to change more than I have, honestly.  But I haven’t.  And in a way, that’s great as well, because it means I don’t have to get to know a different me, and for the first time in a long time I can trust that how I am is actually me.

Mrs D wrote something a little while back about authenticity and at the time I wondered who the authentic me would be.  It turns out that I always was.  But I couldn’t trust that before.

I’m still pretty extroverted, and I still expend a lot of effort at parties to be entertaining.  But now, when I make a joke, I’m pretty confident that it is actually funny, and I’m not worrying that actually I’m too loud and slightly hysterical and nobody else is going to get it.  I still have moments of intense irritation at the children, and I still get swept away with love for them and overwhelmed with the desire to cover them in kisses.  But now, I’m pretty confident that my irritation is just a thing that comes and goes, and that my love is genuine, and that I’m not bewildering my children with lightning mood shifts and maudlin drunken gushing.  More than that; for the first time I’m pretty confident that it always was genuine, and probably normal, and I haven’t damaged them.

And also, I’d rather turn my heater on and sit on the couch with a bag of chilli lime cashews and read a book than go for a jog, or write the definitive Australian novel, or hand stitch.  And I’m pretty much okay with that as well.  Because I’m a decent person, and I’m nice to my family, and my friends like me, and I’m sober.

And that’s not bad.

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14 thoughts on “Peeling the drink away to reveal … exactly the same person, as it turns out. But less puffy.

  1. Congrats on 60 days!! Well done and so I’m thankful for lovely people like you who can string words together so beautifully to let us follow their unfolding journey. It helps those like me who struggle to solidify this process and allows me to actually identify stuff that previously I haven’t even noticed 🙂 So from another Aussie, huge thanks xx

  2. What a wonderful perspective! My lifestyle sounds similar in that I love to read before bed. I wasn’t a black out drunk and read to fall asleep even when I was drinking. I also am a good mom and my children didn’t suffer to a major extent with my drinking — they are secure and well-adjusted.

    I’m so glad to read your post. In some ways I’ve been listening to others say how much their drinking effected their families and friends and I’ve been looking for that in my life. When, in fact, my life is pretty much the same as when I was drinking. Except for the crazy stuff like not going out if I drank too much, not answering the phone after a few glass of wine, and feeling hung-over the following day. Mostly I’m discovering I hurt myself by not tapping into my feelings and missing out on real intimacy, love and friendship with others. Except my kids, I’ve always smothered them!!!
    GREAT POST!

  3. I have one word for you: Time. TimeTimeTimeTimeTimeTimeTimeTimeTimeTimeTimeTimeTimeTime. TIME!

    60 days is awesome and amazing but it really takes time for the changes of not drinking, including but not limited to weight loss, to bed in, and even then they are small and incremental and not always readily apparent but they can and do gradually add up to big things… given time. Give it more time. You are just fine right now with the huge change you’ve made by quitting and starting blogging. Just reading before bed sans wine is more than enough for right now.

    Also, again, I love, love, love your writing. I don’t think I commented on your last post but I thought it was admirably honest and hilarious and that if I had kids I’d probably want to cling to your legs and cry, “Please, keep saying All The Words”.

    Keep on keeping on.

    xx

  4. Brilliant!!
    SO much change when you sit and look at it with a new attitude, that one that comes along with not drinking.
    Clearer, cleaner…nicer, gratitude.
    Love this post and am so happy for you!

  5. great post, After! and yes I remember well the HUGENESS of being sober for those first few days. I kept expecting to open the front door to find paparazzi desperate to record the historic moments for an admiring nation…but it never happened 😉 and I love that you are turning out to be who you always were – but with added self-trust. because like chilli or lime that is something that makes any dish, or life, immeasurably better. xx

  6. Yep, it’s nice to be me but still a little scary. I’m still fat and doing the same old same old too, but I am gradually finding that I like to do extra things. Mostly things I used to enjoy in the dim and distant and had forgotten so I guess they’re a part of me too. There’s a massive list of stuff I feel I ought to do rather than want to do though, and the nearer I get to the 100 days, the more I worry about whether I want to be sober. At the moment it’s non-negotiable but every so often I think “if I hadn’t promised would I be drinking?” and the answer isn’t an emphatic “no”… Still, I think about alcohol a lot less than I used to, which is nice.

  7. I love the part about you being less puffy. I must be less puffy as well because several people have commented on my weight loss. Except that I have not really lost any weight. Must just be less puffy! Congrats on 60 days. Awesome. Love your blog.

    • I’m heavier, in fact, but I look much better. My face looks thinner, and my weight is better distributed; more hips, less belly. I no longer look legitimately pregnant except when pre-menstrual.

  8. I will echo what Lilly said here about time. You would not believe how the weight dropped off me … five months after I quit drinking. In fact, my body is still changing. I’ve stopped buying clothes until it can figure itself out. But that’s a good thing. I also love how you talk about trusting yourself. That’s such a crazy important thing, but something that isn’t easy to do. So great you’re feeling OK with you because you are fabulous 🙂

      • Ugh, sorry to hear that. Maybe it’s best to stay out of there for awhile then … hopefully you can distract yourself by diving into playing with your kids or going for a walk or reading a book or something. Sending you lots of light and love…HUGS!

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