I can stop holding my breath

Thank you for the  comments on my last post, I really do appreciate all of your support 🙂

I have good news. I spoke to our friend’s partner this morning – he was on his way back to the hospital. Thankfully, it looks as though she is going to be OK. She was out of bed and walking a little this morning, and they’re just waiting for a bed to become available on the ward so that she can be moved from intensive care. They’ll be doing an assessment next week to determine what treatment she’ll need. I’m so relieved… It must have been terrifying for her family.

I also have more good news…at work on Friday I did my normal routine of taking my phone out of my bag and taking it off silent, putting it in my pocket. I was doing this partly so that I would be immediately aware of any updates on our friend, but also because it has become my little ritual, hoping for a phone call about my surgery. Well, what do you know, it actually rang! The words ‘private number’ made my heart race a little bit, and I recognised the voice of the lady from the booking department straight away, as I’ve rung up about three times during this almost six month wait. She said she had two dates available – the first was a very last minute 3rd October! Monday! I said I would love to have that one but it’s not really fair to my work colleague, to drop everything at such short notice, and so I’ve got 26th October. I’VE GOT A DATE!!! AT LAST!!! It arrived in writing this morning 🙂

I’m feeling motivated to improve my health before surgery. This time I have a huge advantage in that I’m not ill like I was last time, prior to the operation. I’m well, and I want to do all I can to be ready. I can now see what is hopefully the ‘beginning’ of the process, and it feels a lot more tangible compared to the aimless waiting. There are a few things like yoga and meditation that I’ve been wanting to try, so this will be the incentive I’ve been lacking. I am (but trying not to be) a little bit excited!

Oh yes and it’s day 20 today 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

This time

I haven’t written in a while. I felt a bit trapped into inertia by the fact that a) I have been drinking and b) I wanted to write about infertility issues, but haven’t started a separate blog. I don’t really want to either, and yet I don’t want people to be bored by the infertility stuff, so I’m going to borrow an idea and title my infertility posts to mark them out as distinct from the sobriety ones.

I’ve started again – day two today – for numerous reasons. It’s not that I was drinking every night or anything, but when I did drink over the past couple of weeks, there was less and less enjoyment (any at all? I’m not sure), and more and more haziness in my brain generally.

I had an argument with Husband last week, which got to the root of a few issues which was good, but at the time, he basically said he misses going out drinking with me. I’m sort of blaming that for my stopping at 10 days again and having a drink, even though I thought it was unfair of him to say things like that, and I was trying to convince him of the benefits of me being sober. Anyway, as I said, I’ve been drinking on and off since then, and I’ve noticed a few things.

I don’t actually enjoy drinking wine. The idea of drinking is great, I mean, a friend of Mr Ws has said a similar thing; wouldn’t it be great if they all tasted like the first one? But they don’t. I was reading Belle’s first month of blog posts in bed this morning, and one of the comments went something like; I think I would like to stop drinking before I have three glasses. But by the time I actually reach the third glass, I’ve had two already, and so my brain can’t choose whether or not to have the third glass without being under the influence of the first two.

But when I actually drink, I can even feel a part of my brain going, ‘this is ridiculous, after the first one it’s not that great, I’m feeling fuzzy and useless and I need to stop’. But there’s this other part, the part that’s under the influence (Wolfie?) that steamrollers over everything else and says I should just keep going. And generally, I do.

As I said, it hasn’t been every night. I have stayed sober when I have Things To Do the next morning. But I don’t like the way that the compulsion to drink seems to be increasing. With no benefit at all when I do drink. As in, I can’t really work out why I’m having a drink whilst I’m drinking, it’s just for its own sake. And then the next day, and even in-between days sometimes, I feel sluggish, or start thinking about drinking far too much.

This time I need to find those sober supports again, and work out how I got myself to 400 days last September. I’ve emailed Belle to start Team 100 again, and I told my husband my intention, explaining why. He high fived me, so that’s a good start – I can count on him for support, rather than him telling me it’s OK just to have one.

Day two feels like such a tiny number, and 100 such a huge one. But it’s nice to be here 🙂

 

Things that make me feel better #2

Sunday night, I’ve made it through the weekend sober! I did have some cravings, although they weren’t bad. And I really made an effort with self care, so I’m feeling pretty good.
This afternoon I spent some time gardening as the weather was so good. I planted loads of seeds, did some weeding and generally tidied up. I had been worrying about some tiny little things going on at work, really winding myself up, but after an hour or so of being outside, I felt so much better. So gardening is number 2 on the list of things that make me feel better.
However…There is also something slightly triggery about working in the garden on a lovely warm day. But that feeling didn’t last long, and I feel great about reaching day 8.
Also feeling a bit more positive on the infertility front. I think the hormones have settled down (about time!), and I’m keen to talk to the consultant a week on Tuesday about what I need to do to be ivf ready. I really hope it’s a possibility for me…I worry that when we eventually do get to a fertility clinic, they’ll say the damage is too great and it won’t work.
But that’s not the way to approach this…I’m working on turning the negativity around – and there are plenty of bloggers out there who are inspiring me. I’m going to borrow a quote – ‘be the change you want to see in the world’. ☺

Things that make me feel better #1

I went back to work after the half term holiday yesterday and I think being busy has helped me feel better. It’s still a little odd, knowing that my colleague is pregnant. I don’t think many other people know – she is waiting until the first scan. I think I saw her with a green form (to book the time off work) today. So it could be soon. I’m hoping so much that people will keep it low key and not refer to it constantly in front of me…

I feel strangely wooden around her. She has always tended to be business-like, and can seem a little bit rude if you don’t know her well. Maybe its just that side of her that I’m picking up on too much, feeling too vulnerable. I’m trying not to dwell on it though. Our stories are different, it just can’t be helped.

I’ve also decided a couple of things in the last few days.

1. Mr W and I want to do IVF. Although he is getting used to the idea in his own way. I’ve learned that he operates completely differently to me when it comes to emotions and reasoning. Whereas we can pre-empt each other’s thoughts and take the words right out of each other’s mouths because our minds work the same way to a certain extent, I know that I need to be patient and not demand a ‘yes I totally agree with you and I’ll do exactly what you want’ right this minute. It may be an age thing as well as a gender thing – he is 16 years older than me, and while it doesn’t matter one jot, it can make a big difference. So basically (yes I’m getting to point number 1…honestly!…) I DON’T CARE what anyone else thinks about that. It’s completely up to us, and if anyone disapproves, they can fly off because it’s none of their business.

2. I have no idea what is possible, considering the extent of my endometriosis. All I know is, I get my first GNRH injection tomorrow at 16:30 – the start of the second phase, if you like, of treating the condition. There are six injections, four weeks apart. As I mentioned, I think I may need further surgery before IVF could even be an option, and I don’t know when that could happen. I am taking steps to find out. In the mean time, I need to live my life – not just try to get though the day. Six months – at least – of waiting before anything can start at all. So I need to get on with living. I want to feel better than I did last week.

As far as number 2 goes, there are a few things I can try. I’ve started doing a couple of (tiny) things differently, and I might post about them soon (hence the optimistic ‘#1’ in the title) but for now, I wanted to share this: I was looking on my phone for Belle’s Sober Jumpstart audios, the first five days from when I began my big sober stretch. I found Mystic Cord of Memory by Michael Bernard Beckwith, that I downloaded a few years ago. I stumbled across it, like I do with most things on the internet, whilst looking at something else entirely (art journaling, which I don’t do anymore). It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I find it really calming and full of positive energy. The only link could find was this one for an Effy Wild video on YouTube. If you’re not into the art, just listen. I think you might like it 🙂

 

 

 

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?

Today is my day 100!!

Yes, that’s right – me, the girl who loves (loved) her wine! I have successfully reached 100 days sober.

I’m so proud of myself – I set out to do this thing, at a time when I felt shaky and vulnerable. I wanted to stop comparing myself to others and let go of the anxiety that seemingly held me back at every turn. I was also afraid for my marriage, which I was all of about seven weeks into.

And how did I get here? Just by taking it one step at a time. I’ve had highs and lows, times when I’ve felt like a drink because I’m sad, times I’ve felt like drinking because I’m happy. If I’m honest, I don’t think I ever got very far down that thought process though. I was enjoying the process of recognising myself far too much for that. ‘Oh hello, waking, I’ve not seen you properly for years – how are you?’ I’m getting to know the real me.

And there is still so much to know. As I move past day 100 and continue this sober journey, I want to pick up all those threads of my life that I had left behind. Some I can see clearly, others just glimpsed at. I have a feeling that I will be able to twist them all together to create a life with more meaning. Meaningful work, a meaningful contribution, more meaningful relationships. And I can do all that with what I already have inside me – it’s me, just me. I don’t have to try to be something I’m not. What I have to offer the world is worthwhile. I just needed to get sober to realise it 🙂

I’ve found that being sober doesn’t fix everything. Which is a shame, but hey. Maybe I am getting better at fixing stuff. And what I can’t fix? Well I guess there are some mountains you just have to live with 😉 I could stick the serenity prayer in right about now…:)

Speaking of which, I will just add that that prayer reminds me of my late Nanna. She was a truly amazing woman, full of love, and would do anything for anyone. Of course I would say that…but so did many other people, not just family. Everyone knew of her generous, loving nature. Anyway, she always had in the lounge, a little stained glass window ornament – you know the ones, with the hinge so they stand upright – with the serenity prayer written on it in coloured glass. I wasn’t aware of its significance to the recovery movement, until a friend pointed it out. ‘That’s funny’, I said, ‘My Nanna has been a Methodist all her life and has never once touched a drop of alcohol’. A very wise woman! She was 99 when she died. I think she might be proud of me, too. 🙂

calm is my favourite

I had a much better day yesterday. In fact even the day before, just after I wrote my last post, I started to feel better. I ate some homemade soup and watched some youtube videos of Brene Brown.

Then yesterday I went to see my counsellor. I told her about the wedding, and I came out feeling really positive. I did exactly what I felt like for the rest of the day – some Netflix (turns out Orphan Black S2 is only available on Amazon, damn my addictive personality!), some reading, a nice dinner (I would call it tea but you might not know what I mean 😉 ).

I felt so much calmer, having talked about things with the counsellor. I really love that feeling, and I do seem to feel much more calm than anxious these days. It’s at times like this that I am so sure there is no going back to alcohol. I want sobriety for the rest of my life!

And then… some tiny little thing happens, and I’m anxious again. All that peace just gone!! Another social event is being arranged, and I worry how the dynamic will be again…

But you know, that’s not for several weeks. It doesn’t matter now, right this minute. It wont even matter when it happens, I shouldn’t think. I’ll just go, get on with it, and have a nice time for the most part….

Is it just me, or does anyone else experience this – it feels like very pronounced pendulum swings from up, to down, then back up again. I think my personality has always been like this if I’m honest. But if the last few weeks are anything to go by, I do think that it’s evening out slightly, as I build up more sober time. As I said, more calm than anxious, definitely, than when I was drinking wine all the time.

Being sober is sooooo good. 🙂

if only sobriety was a magic wand

Yesterday, I went for lunch in the city with my friend who is expecting. We had a lovely time catching up on everything. I’m looking forward to her baby being born, her due date is three weeks away – not long now!

I’m not sure why, but today my mind has been going over and over unkind things people have said to me recently. It has made me feel vulnerable, and it feels like I’ve had to try extra hard to think instead about people who do like me, and have made me feel good about myself. I know I’m really the one who makes me feel good about myself at the end of the day, but sometimes it affects you more than others, doesn’t it, what people say.

Anyway, I also started to feel vulnerable about the infertility. That story about Robbie Williams dancing around whilst his wife was in labour – and posting it on social media – was really starting to get to me. I ended up doing what I haven’t done for quite a while, googling infertility blogs. And now the tears have started, and won’t stop.

I know I will be OK – sobriety has really helped with cushioning the lows. But I sometimes I just wish that sobriety would fix more things. I was doing so well recently, realising that I wanted some sense of clarity about this situation, rather than to feel pressured into trying for a baby just because of my own fears, or searching for worthiness in the wrong places. But it somehow feels as raw as ever right now. I feel crushed by the weight of it all.

If only being sober was a magic wand…For one tiny millisecond there, it felt like wine could have sweetened the bitterness in my mouth. But I know it won’t. And I will not be bitter. Surely that is one thing, at least, that I stand a good chance of being able to control as a result of not drinking.

It will be OK.

Pass!

If the criteria for being sober solely involves not drinking, then day 90 yesterday – which involved me being an all-day wedding guest – was a resounding success!

If, however, I were to grade my performance, I would give myself say, B-.

We arrived just after 1pm, and I drove us home at quarter past midnight. So I managed the whole day, Yay!! Go me!!

The ceremony was lovely, and whilst we were mingling afterwards, I had a cup of earl grey tea. I’d been advised to plan ahead what drinks to have, and wanted to have a nice cup of tea at some point. Chatted to friends of ours (the couple with the new baby – she was pregnant at our wedding, see this post), who were asking how the 100 days were going. They said did I feel like I was drinking too much, and I said well, one person’s version of drinking too much might be different than another’s. They then asked how much I would normally drink, and so I said ‘one or two glasses of wine per night’, and there was a sort of ‘oh yes that’s quite a lot’ feeling coming from them! ooof!

Another of our friends seemed obsessed with the idea that I could just lie about my alcohol consumption to the hundred days person (Belle). I really was stumped at this- all I could say was, ‘well what would be the point of me doing that?’. Bizarre…she and her partner had A LOT to drink!

I found it very hard to relate to the mother of the baby. Any sort of ‘getting along’ that was going on between us just sort of evaporated when I was left alone with her and the baby whilst our husbands wandered off for a bit. She made no real effort to talk to me, and I had no idea what to say, having no experience with babies, and wanting my own, which is only the very slimmest of possibilities currently. When they left she just said ‘see you’, and just about snubbed me when I went to kiss her on the cheek. She is the person who introduced all the cheek-kissing into our group of friends, so I was a bit surprised, but then she kind of turned back and presented her cheek. I really don’t know what to make of it all, and this morning I cried about it. (On the plus side, Mr W thinks their baby is gorgeous and is now the most positive he has been so far, that we should go for his operation and try to have our own).

Another guy, made an effort to come over and speak to me about how the 100 days were going, and how I’d managed not drinking at the wedding. I said I was 10 days off 100 and I felt a lot better…not really decided what to do when I get there. He said his partner (I really love both of them by the way) suggested he should try no alcohol for a week every now and then, as he’s on a health kick for his Fire Service medical. He said he lasted about two days, so he thought what I was doing was impressive. He patted me on the back and said well done and that he was proud of me. I nearly burst into tears right then, it was such a lovely thing to say!

I spent a lot of time chatting to a friend of ours who doesn’t drink much at all. I explained after a while about being sober, and it was really great to talk to someone, and them just ask really reasonable and interested questions. She said that the culture of alcohol consumption that we have in this country is somewhat worrying when you stop to think about it. And there was none of the judging that I felt from the couple earlier on.

Apart from the tea I also had some of those Bottlegreen Pomegranate and Cranberry drinks, or whatever the flavours were. I lifted a glass of Prosecco for various toasts but not a drop passed my lips. And I had a ‘sunrise’ – my husband gets very into the idea of me drinking mocktails, so he bought me one without the tequila. Which was lovely.

I’m tired today – partly from the late night, and being ‘switched on’ all day. But also because of the anxiety – and hurt, I suppose – of feeling snubbed by our friend with the baby. But even then, I don’t think that I’m mulling it over half as much as I would have done, had I been drinking.

And I don’t have to worry about having done anything ridiculous. Any feelings I may have been having – happy or sad – were purely me. Nothing to do with having drunk a vat of wine. I’m glad I’m on the other side of it now. I suppose it’s one of those sober ‘firsts’, I now know what a wedding looks like, sans alcohol 😀

I’m trying to think of a brilliant treat for 90 days, and the accomplishment of this sober first. But for now, I shall turn my attentions to drinking a vat of tea.

I hope everyone is having a lovely sober Sunday out there.

Love, waking 🙂 x