Day Fifteen – We Are All Unique

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A few days into our sobriety I joined the Facebook group Club Soda. I’m a great believer in strength in numbers and with anything like this, the more support you can get the better. When I mentioned it to The Husband his immediate reaction was one of horror as he struggled to comprehend that our need for alcohol could be on quite the same level as people signed up to a sobriety group on Facebook.

That’s not really the point though. The real point is where, as an individual, you draw the line in the sand. And that is the wonderful thing Club Soda has taught me; we all have our own unique drinking habits and we all have our own perception of what is acceptable and what isn’t.

I spent most of my teenage years and twenties not drinking. I could quite easily go from one New Year’s Eve to the next without touching a single drop. For me living was all about freedom back then, and given our fairly remote home freedom required driving, which put the kibosh on drinking.

So it was only really when I reached my thirties and the City social scene started to pick up that I began to dabble in the more frequent drunken night out. And from there, if I wasn’t out, a cheeky little bottle of wine at home on a Friday night. When I became a mother a whole new drinking scene opened up to me. I remember one mother, whilst our babies were both suffering from horrendous colic, reassured me that it was OK to drink wine at 5pm ‘so long as it’s in a mug’. I didn’t follow her advice; just as my father preferred to drink his tea from bone china, I prefer my wine in crystal. Yet over time I became a ‘weekend drinker’, one who would balk at the thought of drinking during the week. And then slowly but surely, when something ‘bad’ happens, the wine glasses start to make an appearance on weeknights.

The real game changer for us was moving to the coast though. The pressures of trying to renovate a house which had been neglected for 30 years, along with the one and a half acres it sits on, pushed both me and The Husband into the realms of lunchtime drinking at the weekends. I have a very poignant photo taken in March a couple of years back. There in the garden, surrounded by burning brambles and bracken, perched on the stump of a recently felled tree, is a bottle of wine and two glasses. It seemed like a well deserved treat at the time, but it actually marked the turning point for our drinking habits.

Now I’ve given this a lot of thought and I truly believe that it is this gentle slide into dependency that catches most people out. There may be some of you reading this horrified that anyone would drink on a week night ‘that will never happen to me’ you cry. Or perish the thought of someone reaching for a bottle of wine at 1pm on a Saturday for anything other than a celebration. But that’s exactly how the addictive powers of wine work, slowly twining round you, like a serpent, until you are being suffocated by its power.

Regardless of where we are on the wine journey, we are all on the same journey. What makes us unique is choosing to get off and do something about it. For me that involves copious bottles of Big Tom, early nights and bright mornings with a clear head. I am falling in love with sobriety and all the wonderful things it is gifting back to me.

With Love, SOS x

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Day Thirteen

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So here we are, thirteen days into our new life of sobriety. Yes, I did say use the royal ‘we’; the husband has joined me for the ride.

Whilst we’ve signed up to the infamous Dry January app, this isn’t about 31 days of abstinence. At least not for me it isn’t. Having drifted away from the shoreline of social drinking my habit was not only taking me dangerously out of my depth, I was actually beginning to loose sight of dry land. Although I hadn’t quite reached her level of darkness, Stevie Smith’s ‘Not Waving But Drowning’ pretty much sums it up.

My initial decision to blow the booze out of my life started to take shape in the autumn. 2018 saw one too many instance of alcohol getting the better of me and I knew it was only going to get worse if I didn’t take some drastic measures. Having given up smoking 5 years ago, once again, with The Husband in tow, my ability to metabolise alcohol seemed to be shot to pieces. In my twenties a stint of all night drinking wouldn’t be a problem. Now I was struggling to make it past 10pm!

Coupled with this recent inability to handle the booze, two years ago we moved to a small town on the east coast. A very sociable small town on the east coast. One where they like to drink a lot, and I’m not talking sandy homemade lemonade. We’ve had a ball, or at least I think we have; I can’t actually remember half the parties we’ve been to. And that’s not really cool when you’re closer to 50 than you are 40.

Not only could I not relate to the person I was becoming, I didn’t like that woman. The realization of this initially makes you consume even more alcohol to escape the reality, and so the sorry saga sprials out of control. The Husband wasn’t in a much better place.

Neither of us had reached rock bottom but we are both intelligent enough to see that things weren’t going to get better unless we made some radical changes, and soon. I only told a couple of friends. I felt a little mocked by them; they couldn’t believe that I would turn my back on my party self. So I have chosen not to tell anyone else. This is our journey.

I have found great support with the various groups of wonderful people adopting the sobriety movement online. My hunger for reading, which left me many years ago (probably when the cheeky glasses of wine started), has returned and I have worked my way through a pile of relevant books; Jason Vale’s How to Kick the Drink Easily, The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober, The Sober Diaries, Unwasted and I’m soon to start Sober as F***. My Instagram page has gained an incredibly amount of followers after just a few days. These ‘support’ tools give context to what we’re doing. Knowing we’re not alone makes the journey so much more bearable.

I look forward to sharing that journey with you.

With Love, SOS x