Just stay put?

There are opportunities arising lately that I am considering, but if I really listen to my inner voice closely, I think it is telling me just to stay put.

When all that business with my colleague was going on, a couple of people said to me things along the lines of ‘we don’t want to lose you’. Ironically, I hadn’t thought of looking for work elsewhere until they had said this.

I found a position advertised that I think I probably wouldn’t get, but on the other hand, I seem to have become somewhat optimistic since quitting the wine. So I thought I would give it a go. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

So I started to update my CV. I’m sure with a bit of effort I could finish it and it would look pretty good. But something is telling me I haven’t got enough to shout about yet. My work here (in my current job) is not done. The place is in turmoil – we are probably going to be taken over, my manager has handed his notice in, and my colleague has applied for a job in another department. So it would seem a good time to jump ship if I were that way inclined. But the fact is, I have created goals and I want to see them through. Stay put.

Another, more realistic and potentially brilliant opportunity crossed my path. The chance to attend a course on CSI forensic science at the National Science Learning Centre. It would be so great to go, but… two days in November and two days in March can only mean one thing – the dreaded ‘gap task’ will have to be completed back at school in the intervening months.

What’s the problem? Well, I was thoroughly disappointed with my efforts for the last course I attended. My gap task was utter rubbish. And this course is intended mainly for teachers, so I feel I would be out of my depth even to begin with. I did ask one of the teachers if he would help me with the classroom side of things for a potential gap task and he did say yes. But. We are so low on hours in my role that asking for so much more work – which is essentially what the outcome of this course is likely to be – is probably not a wise move.

It is unfortunate, and I am disappointed, but I really do feel that I should not be biting off more than I can chew at the moment.

I want to get myself ‘up and running’ properly if that makes any sense. Build on this sober momentum carefully, gradually, with progress that can be sustained. Not rush out and do anything and everything that presents itself as an option without considering the consequences.

One small point…Will I know the difference between this feeling – cautious, optimistic, gradual change for the better – and actual resistance to change? Someone – who I just disagree with as a person entirely, but that’s another story – once told me I was ‘very resistant to change’. I think it is a tendency in all of us to a certain extent but for some reason I took it very personally as a failing and can still hear it being said now.

Day 65 – I will be sober in October 😀

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More me

Day 60.

I’m feeling really good 🙂

Things are up and down, but I’m slowly getting better at not identifying so much with passing feelings. I mean, relatively. I still have a long way to go but I definitely have improved!
So does this mean I am closer to being ‘joyful’ and not just ‘happy’?

I saw my best friend tonight and really enjoyed spending time with her. I was worried that we would have less and less in common, and our friendship won’t mean as much when she has the baby. But I was wrong. If anything, it makes the whole thing seem more possible to me, spending time with her. There will be a child in my life in a way when she has her daughter. I might even be able to have one of my own if Mr W and I decide to go down that road and if it happened to be a success.

Either way, life will never be all ‘up’. That wouldn’t work. There are always going to be ‘downs’ whatever they may consist of.

I think a big factor in feeling a bit calmer about all this was revealed to me yesterday when I saw my counsellor. She said what she was picking up from me was a desire to be clearer. ‘No shit’, I hear you cry! Getting sober, seeing a counsellor…it’s obvious I want to get clear. But I also want to be free (as much as I can be) from the other influences that were pressing in on me. Like the biological clock. The desire to fit in with other women I know who are, or are going to become mothers.

I want to be more me. To express more of myself. I like being me, I think, on some fundamental level. And I want to make sure that important stuff – decisions like this – come from me. Not pressure from outside, or my faulty thinking about my own worthiness or whatever. Authentic, real, me.

Tomorrow… I can almost guarantee more stress at work. It’s crunch time. Confronting my colleague. Well, my manager will be doing. But I have chosen (so far) to bring up the subject initially.
I don’t want to feel anxious, because logically, I don’t see why I should allow her that power over me. But it’s kind of a physical reaction and I do feel that way.
Let’s just hope I can be the authentic, real, me!

a lot more to lose

I had a small meltdown today at work. There were tears. I was listened to, and reassured. I feel better.
I know I’m not handling the work stuff perfectly but I am doing the best I can, and I’m trying to be as honest as I can be.

I did think of wine for about half a second, and then it passed. It’s becoming less like something I will actually do, and more like a leftover thought process that doesn’t go anywhere anymore. Like a dead end thought.
I’m hoping it will eventually disintegrate altogether.

If I drank now, I would have a lot more to lose. With each day of being sober, being further away from the last drink, I’m making more progress (I’m half stating this, half telling myself!) and I’d lose all that if I had a drink.
Which, ridiculously, makes me anxious that a) it might somehow happen by accident, that I could drink – as in unplanned by me and against my will. And b) that the increased risk, ie what I stand to lose, in itself might create more anxiety and therefore more of an inclination to drink…

Isn’t that the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard!
Is that my addict brain talking?

To a certain extent these 100 days feel like a tightrope. When I was not far off the beginning I wasn’t too bothered. Here in the middle, I want to rush to the other side and plant both feet on solid ground. Then again, if I rush, I might lose my balance and fall off…

Anyway, it’s all a bit strange out here on day 57, but I really don’t spend much time thinking about drinking. Here’s what Belle said in her email to me yesterday:

‘right around day 60 you’ll be thinking about NOT drinking a lot less….and really after day 90 things are significantly less weird.’

Good to know!! 🙂

slow right down and rest

This morning I realised that what felt like the start of a fluey cold yesterday (dizziness, headache, fatigue, making silly mistakes) was actually a migraine.

I went to bed early, woke at around 8am, and the headache had only got worse. I hadn’t noticed at first that it was a migraine because they usually start with an aura, but this time, there was no warning, so I didn’t take the medication. Or was there a warning?

A couple of days ago I called a post ‘my brain is worn out’ so might have been a bit of a clue, surely!

It took me a while to recover today – I slept till about 1, then had a false start when I got up and showered and dressed, then had to have a lie down again – was still wiped out.

I wonder whether a migraine is my body’s way of making me slow right down and rest?

So I haven’t seen my friend today, arranged to meet on Tuesday instead. I’m looking forward to seeing her, and will try not to let my fears get in the way of our friendship. We’ll be fine 🙂

As far as work goes, even though the problem (still!) wont be solved immediately, I think I did well yesterday with delegating. And I’ve decided what I will and won’t do in terms of the ridiculous work load that we have with not enough hours. I feel this is the best I can do at the moment.

Hope everyone out there is well, happy and sober 🙂

panic in the wine aisle

I had thoughts of drinking today. The end of a hard week, and my mind was on the wine.

I went to the supermarket after work and felt mild panic (another oxymoron? I must stop doing that!) when I passed the wine. As if some might leap into my trolley and I might accidentally drink it. But it passed. I was OK. Bought the replacement drink instead 🙂

When I got home, I put the cold food away and then straightaway ran a bath. It felt so good. I started to read Brene Brown’s Gifts of Imperfection. So far, I really like it.

Logged on here and saw that I’m not on this week’s Friday Celebration Roundup on Belle’s blog. I was disappointed, but I haven’t been emailing every day like I should, so I guess she didn’t know what I was up to…

It doesn’t matter though – I know where I’m at (only just though – my counter app thingy doesn’t work properly!).

Some time in the next few days I’ll be meeting up with my best friend, which I’m feeling very apprehensive about. I worry about being unable to relate to her because she is heavily pregnant, and as I said, that doesn’t appear to feature for me, in my future.

So the worry is back! And that, together with thoughts of wine, is scary. I would hate so much to fail at this 100 day challenge, and beyond. It seemed so easy only a short time ago but not now.

I’m going to try to sleep as much as possible this weekend (I think I’m coming down with something), and read the Gifts of Imperfection. I obviously need some serious self-care to get me through this low.

Update: I emailed Belle, and she replied, saying she would add me to the list today! And she has!! I am Raspberry, and I have 54 days of sobriety! I can DO THIS! 😀

My brain is worn out!

The stress at work continues. The issue hasn’t been resolved yet, but there seems to be something in the pipeline…

I am frustrated because I’m not in control of the situation, which I would say directly affects me. I have made my best efforts to express my concerns, and I do think my manager agrees that things can’t continue the way they are…

And yet the person I’m having difficulty with is basically doing whatever suits them, and getting away with it! I’m left to pick up all the slack so that the department doesn’t suffer, and I’m physically exhausted, plus I’m forgetting things right left and centre. Which is embarrassing!

I have really tried to be restrained and not get all emotional about this, tried not to let it affect me, but the truth is, after dragging on like this, it has. I feel undervalued, unappreciated.

I love my job, and I put a lot of effort in. I want to be brilliant at it, and make good progress. Maybe this is just a necessary readjustment phase – it is possible that we’ll get someone new in the department if this person moves on.

The thought of wine has not remotely crossed my mind. It wouldn’t do anything at all to help. But because I’m not numbing my brain every evening, I think a lot more about this kind of stuff… Not in a despairing sort of way, more like trying to solve the problem. But I haven’t got the right tools for the job, not for thinking about this nor acting upon it. I need to get me some of those… Good grief, sobriety is exhausting, my brain is worn out!

OK, the plan is… this is beyond my control. I will try to stay calm (not easy on a demanding day like today), and wait for whatever is going to happen. Because I’m pretty convinced there will be a change, and I want to be ready for it. Does that sound OK, as plans go?

Just as a completely unrelated aside – penguins always make me smile 😀

penguin

Day 50!

So I have reached 50 days! I’m so proud of myself!!

I’m still spending a lot of time reading blogs, and I found something really encouraging on Running From The Booze, entitled ‘expectations and realisations’. It’s a list of things learned up to day 95, and a few things reassured me:

  • It’s OK to be unsure

  • Don’t think so much

  • Being confused and clueless doesn’t prevent me from moving forward 

I’m very happy about that 🙂

Ooof, confused…

Today it has started to sink in just how much I have still to learn about living a fulfilled life without alcohol.

When I stopped drinking, I was aware on some level that it was the first step to dealing with the problems I was facing. But then stopping drinking initially was only that – I had to start somewhere, and it did take some getting used to not including alcohol as part of the normal routine.

I think I may have become side tracked by the first stage. Look, I’m not drinking, so I’m sober… Am I? My husband went to the pub last night to meet a friend he’d not seen for years, who asked why I hadn’t come out. (Actually, Mr W didn’t really ask me to go with him anyway, and I was fine with that). My husband said I’d stayed in and I don’t drink….!!!! I immediately felt like a huge fraud when he told me what he’d said!! I mean, yes I’m not drinking but I’ve only got 49 days, and describing me as someone who ‘doesn’t drink’ makes it sound as though I know what I’m doing, that I’m an experienced ‘non-drinker’. Neither of which is true.

Since yesterday’s post I have become slightly obsessed (oh that’s an oxymoron I’ve just realised, but I like it anyway) about the phase that follows on from ‘stopping drinking’, and I’ve googled ‘dealing with problems in sobriety’ a few times. Confusion reigns…

There are people who say that being sober is the most important thing, and everything else comes afterwards. Which I agree with in that I think the first step in quitting drinking is not admitting that you are an alcoholic, but instead, stopping drinking. I felt that my brain was quite literally under the influence while still drinking, and the first thing I needed to do was stop that.

But I also found articles/info describing ‘dry drunks’, who seemingly can be just as unpleasant to be around sober as when they were drinking, because they are stuck in the process of recovery, and feel resentment that they can no longer drink. Argh!

I don’t want to be stuck in recovery (am I in recovery? what is recovery?!), but I am just beginning to sense the magnitude of what I need to deal with to be healthy (mentally, mainly) and live my life fully. And quite frankly, it’s a bit scary.

One of the things I found through my google search was something written by Jean Kirkpatrick, founder of Women for Sobriety, appropriately entitled ‘Dealing with the confusions of early sobriety’. It was reassuring. It does mention the ‘New Life’ programme of Women for Sobriety, which I haven’t really looked at, but it mainly just explains that we shouldn’t be shocked when we realise that being sober doesn’t solve every problem, and to stay calm even though we feel like sobriety isn’t working or helping. Which of course, it is helping, it’s just that it’s hard to look at our lives with sober eyes and have to face up to things without reaching for the wine to hide behind.

I also found ‘Maintaining Abstinence vs Achieving Sobriety’ at alcoholrehab.com, which was a bit harsh, I thought. This was the page which described the ‘dry drunk’. But it also said that people who have unhealthy drinking habits may have developed these as a result of poor coping abilities, and so quitting will then expose these difficulties when life happens, and I suppose when all of the things we may have been hiding from whilst drinking, resurface. Because you can’t stuff things down forever.

Something else just came into my head… I watched ‘Thanks for Sharing’ On Netflix the other week, with Mark Ruffalo and Gwyneth Paltrow. One of the sponsors said ‘Feelings are like kids – you definitely don’t want them driving the car, but you don’t want to shove them in the trunk either’. I liked that.

Have I really got anywhere? Well, yes. I now have some idea of what I’m dealing with, so that’s got to be progress, surely?!

Why I quit drinking

My husband and I received our wedding photobook yesterday. We showed it to a few people today – it is really beautiful, the day was beautiful. I am starting to feel more relaxed about it…

About an hour ago I was reading around the blogs, and I saw a post which reminded me, together with the wedding album, that there was a reason why I stopped drinking – I had hit a ‘bottom’ of sorts.

I need to explain a bit. My husband has two daughters from his previous marriage. They aren’t really in contact with him (it’s just a coincidence that they live on our road so we see them occasionally in passing. Odd, I know). Let’s just say that for him and me, well if we do nothing, we will be unable to have children. If we do something, we may slightly improve our chances. I am 35, and for the last 5 years, my body has been telling me I want kids, and my heart has been telling me about all sorts of bridge-crossing in the future, miracles happening etc.

By the time of the wedding (June 7th), I had been drinking a fair bit. I’d done dry January and felt good, then gone back to the wine and it didn’t take long before I was drinking a couple of glasses on the odd weeknight etc etc, until it was pretty much every night, more at the weekends. And there were social things going on the closer the big day got. The best man’s wife, and one of my bridesmaids (my best friend) were both pregnant. On the day, the BMs wife was only about two weeks off her due date. I was dealing with it (sort of) because it was such a full on day.

Until right near the end of the night. I’d had a fair amount of wine and champagne by this time. But luckily I don’t think there were many people around. I’m embarrassed and ashamed to say that a song came on (which I hadn’t put on our playlist, because I think it was written about a child), and I fell to pieces. I stood in the middle of the venue, and sobbed. Real, body shaking, desperate sobs that seemed to come up from the ground itself. The best man found me and asked what was wrong but I couldn’t tell him. I felt so much fear and sorrow that I may never be able to experience what his wife and my best friend were experiencing. I may never be a mother. The BM’s pregnant wife found my husband who took me outside to comfort me.

But for the most part, my husband didn’t understand and couldn’t cope with all my feelings. When we came back from honeymoon and the baby was born I couldn’t deal with it. I felt alone (couldn’t really talk to my pregnant best friend about it) and afraid, sad and the absolute worst, jealous. Plus ashamed, for feeling jealous.

I thought we wouldn’t survive. I worried that our marriage would be over practically before it had begun. We went to a party at the couple’s home. She said I could hold the baby, and I said oh no, thank you. I drank too much. Why wouldn’t a couple of the women meet my eyes when I was trying to blink back tears and be normal? Worried what everyone thought of me the next day.

A couple of days later I realised that was it. I had to do something. I was staring depression in the eyes and to stop it’s attack and hopefully get my husband to listen to my hopes and fears properly, I had to stop drinking. I managed 10 days, and then had a fuck it moment one night and opened one of the bottles the teachers had given me at the end of term. I knew I ought to have given them away at the time…

So 5 days later I stopped lurking around Belle’s blog, and asked to be signed up for 100 days. I needed some accountability. And I’ve felt good. I’ve started seeing a counsellor – not sure for how long I can afford to go though. And I’ve mainly kept myself in a lovely safe sober bubble.

Then I saw that other blog post and remembered it all again, and the wedding album made me think of it too. How could I not have noticed that gaping wound?

My pregnant friend hasn’t been in touch for a while – I don’t know why it has gone quiet but I’m not complaining. And I’m ashamed of that. What if she needs me? She is my oldest friend but I can’t handle it. I’m not there yet. And what will happen when she has the baby?

Time might be running out to deal with this… but I’m not ready. I still have such a long way to go. In sobriety, too – I’m only on day 48. That’s not even half way to 100.

Some good things though – I am no longer afraid for my marriage. My husband has seen how hard it is for me sometimes (the party last Sunday), and he knows I am doing the best I can to deal with this (quitting the wine, getting counselling).

I feel a bit less alone. I think there is help out there if I need it. We will try something. It might work, it might not. I’m sober.

just plain weird for a natural worrier

The situation at work is stuck. Nothing will change in the short term, at least.

I’m not really sure what I think about that. But for the most part, I find that I don’t care.

I love my job, and it’s only this little blip that is making it stressful at times. So overall, things are good.

I’m just so stunned because I’m not obsessing over the blip in the same way that I would have been before. I mean, I can’t even be bothered to think about it at the moment. And that’s just plain weird for a natural worrier.

It is staggering to think how big a part the wine might have played in fueling my anxieties in the past.

Right now I’m extremely happy to be sober and can’t stop telling people…

Day 47 feels good 🙂