How to be happy

For some reason I’m starting to remember snippets of my dreams again. I haven’t remembered dreams for months, years even. Although the drinking dreams used to come up now and again. Anyway, last night I remember talking to someone in my dream, and I was telling them I knew how to be happy. “You carry it around inside you”, I said. Meaning, it’s not what happens to you  that counts, its how you determine yourself to be, on the inside. Oddly, I wasn’t coming from the perspective of being happy, but just knowing how. Bizarre.

At the same time I was talking about my ideas, literally as I was still talking, I was aware of someone – a girl – by the side of me, who was telling anyone who would listen, she thought there was another way. It was kind of like, when you’re talking in a group of people, and there’s some talk across people, breaking off into other little discussions. But I could still hear. She was saying “You have to go out into the world and give it to people…” and the unsaid part was ….then you will feel it yourself.

Now, where all of this came from I have no idea. I mean, I have had a rocky couple of weeks. Last week I fell into a depression, which I might talk about later. It has started to turn around, but there’s a long way to go (isn’t there bloody always with me).

I know that being happy for me involves quitting alcohol. I don’t know how the rest of life should go. No idea. I think I like to be on my own; that’s bad for me…too much negative thinking (who knew). I fit in with only a very tiny amount of people, and don’t feel comfortable being with those I know less well. I feel less than, not good enough, like I don’t measure up.

I find it very hard to put down all the negativity, even though I would love to be able to walk out of my life as it is, and into a positive and fulfilling one. Infertility has complicated things, and added to the barriers that I feel between me and other people (barriers that may or may not actually exist).

I’ve decided that instead of counting days quite so much, waiting for them to stack up to some magic number, I’d be better off spending my sober time trying to get to the bottom of all this. Why do I feel so judged by other people? Do I think they are so different from me? Why don’t I have the confidence to find ‘my people’ if I (sometimes) crave the type of recognition and belonging that brings?

And on the darker days, the one I really struggle with is If I don’t find solutions to all of the above pretty quickly, and if I ultimately fail in my efforts to become a mother…How will I know I have a place in the world?

Sorry to end on such a negative note, I just need to get it all out there.

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Day 401 – have I done enough?

Warning – this post may be triggering!

I am currently in a really strange frame of mind. Generally, things have been good recently – Mr W had the operation, and I felt a huge sense of relief. Even though we don’t know for sure whether it has been successful yet, and even if it is, we still might not be able to conceive. But I feel we have done what we set out to do and there is more to be hopeful about than afraid of.

Other news – a gathering at a friend’s on Monday was lovely, lots of kids around, and I think I’m doing slightly better all the time in that area. The house is coming along, I’m trying to decide whether to ask the builder to finish our patio as well and just stick the bill on a credit card. I’m not normally prone to running up credit card bills, but it’s something that would take us ages to do and I’m less able to put up with these things not being completed now, for some reason(?). You only live once, right? I want to enjoy my home in a state of completeness, not with a big square of mud outside the back door!!

But the reason I’m in an odd state of mind is to do with sobriety. At least it feels that way to me. I know people would tell me that I’m not reaching out for support enough, I’m not asking for help, I should be going to meetings etc.

It’s not that I’m really craving a drink. And I know I can do events sober – I’ve been through family bereavement, a funeral, a wedding, a children’s birthday party, carnival day, a couple of (admittedly very short) holidays. I’ve done a Christmas, and New Year, although I did stay home on New Years Eve. I’ve been to countless family meals out, a birthday party, done hot summer days, cosy winter evenings, all of it – all 401 days – sober. I know that I can.

I’m just not sure whether I want to be that person anymore, whether I need to be quite so strict about not drinking. I know people try moderating and fail, and I’m conscious that that’s a problem too. But since Mr W had his operation I’ve felt like I might want to re-join the world of ‘normies’. Maybe I’m asking ‘have I done enough’. Have I? Or can I literally never drink again? This whole journey started off with me signing up to do 100 days, I really wasn’t looking far beyond that. At all. I just focused on one day at a time and I reached that goal. Then I realised 100 days wasn’t enough. I hadn’t found whatever I’d been searching for so I carried on. And on… and here I am. I feel calmer, and yet life is in such high definition – constantly – that I can feel on edge. It’s all very stark, which I can cope with…but whereas I would normally just want to escape into self care, this feeling has coincided with a desire to return to ‘normality’.

I would like to have a drink. But I also think I may have ruined it for myself. I’m now agonising slightly because I know it would be such a huge thing to break hundreds of days. So I may not even enjoy it in the end, perhaps the guilt would be too great?! On the other hand (oh my God this is painful – are you irritated now because I’m irritating MYSELF!) I don’t know that adding up more and more days has the same effect as it used to, and maybe I’m even starting to feel overwhelmed as the number increases.

Either way, I don’t want it to be such a ‘big thing’ anymore. And I am aware on some level, that I am the one who is creating this ‘big thing’. No one else gives a rats ass. Drink or stay sober, no one is bothered, it’s up to me. And that’s the tricky part. Being sober is so great. It really is, it has done wonders for me. I have really benefitted from this past year, and found out so much about myself. I would not have changed one single minute of it. But… Oh I don’t know.

This is when posting on a blog called ‘waking up, being sober’ gets a bit confusing, I know. It’s not the ideal thing to be sharing. Then again, there might be someone out there who has been through a similar experience. I know of one blogger at least who has gone back ‘out there’. Does anyone have any thoughts?

A well-documented sober slump

I emailed Belle the other day, to ask whether anyone else ever said that month seven feels like month one. She replied that yes, there is a well documented sober slump between month 6.5 and 8.5. Then at 8.5 when you can see your year on the horizon, it becomes easier again. Ahhhh….

The thing is, I do remember reading about this a while back. I’d just forgotten it because at the time I thought ‘oh that’s such a long way off, it doesn’t really apply to me’. So I shoved it to the back of my mind. But hey, look where I am! I’m suddenly delighted that I’ve made it to the sober slump – if that makes sense?! Back then it seemed so far in the future that I need not concern myself with it. But I’m actually there. Quite an achievement I think!

Discovering that things will get better fairly soon is also a bonus. I’m so looking forward to finding out what that looks like.

Hope everyone is having a good sober Wednesday! 🙂

Somebody moved the goalposts when I wasn’t looking

What’s the point of staying sober?…That’s what I was asking myself only a few hours ago.

Random, brief talk at work about a sensitive subject sent me into a downward spiral, fast. I cried all the way home, feeling like there was no point to being sober any more. It hasn’t helped me to deal with any of this. Desperate, I suppose is the word.

Luckily my husband was already home when I got in. I was almost prepared for a fight because I wasn’t willing to accept the usual ‘don’t be upset’ talk. I needed acknowledgment of my feelings, for once. It was OK, he understood. He told me not to drink, because I’ve worked so hard to get this far, and he knows I want to make it to a year.

After a while I calmed down and went to have a bath, abandoning any ideas of working out and green juicing etc. I decided to be gentle with myself, and read for an hour or so. I picked up this book (again – I never seem to start and finish anything within any sort of sensible time frame) the other day, when I was searching for some peace – The Tao of Sobriety, by David Gregson and Jay S Efran.
Chapter three is called ‘I Think, Therefore I Am’, and the writers say;

‘As human beings, we not only think, but we think about our own thinking… Our human capacity for reflective thinking makes possible most of the achievements of which we are proudest, but at the same time it also perpetuates the heaviness with which many of us troop through life’.

The heaviness with which many of us troop through life. That’s me, I thought. And this;

‘Something that is particularly odd about thinking is that it forces us to act as if we were two or more different people living in the same body. In other words, one of ‘us’ almost continually observes and talks about what the other one of us is doing’.

Me again, I thought.

‘…it can get very noisy inside…’

Yep. So the book goes on to say that you need to recruit one of these ‘voices’ in your head (I’m simplifying slightly) to be the ‘manager’, and ‘to be the one who represents a commitment to well-being and the expression of love and compassion for yourself and for others’. I like the idea of this, as I have always asked myself ‘how do I remember to practise self-compassion etc all the time, when life keeps distracting me all the time. I’m too busy beating myself up about stuff to remember I should try and be nice to me!’ So, I just assign the role to one of these aspects of my personality.

On the other hand, it feels a little strange to be embracing this whole ‘split personality’ thing. I mean, yesterday’s title wasn’t serious, obviously. But I’ll see how I go.

In some ways I feel like I’ve reached a point which is very much like the early days of my sober journey. I’m suddenly very fragile and unsure. There IS a point to being here, to being sober ad staying that way. It’s just that I’m back to that place where all the answers seem to be way off in the distance somewhere…as if somebody moved the goalposts when I wasn’t looking…