A hangover dream

Over the weekend my tablet stopped working, and even though I don’t have the delivery note or any proof of purchase other than my bank statement, thankfully the manufacturer has said they will repair it. Phew! This involves me packing it up and arranging collection by courier, then waiting a week or so for it to be fixed (hope that’s doable!) and then it’ll come back via courier.

The logistics side of things was obviously playing on my mind because last night I dreamt about it. Now, we know a woman who does local parcel deliveries, but it will be another courier service, not her, who takes my tablet and brings it back. But you know what dreams are like – anything goes…

We must be top of her list, because whenever something comes to us through her, it always sounds like she’s trying to come through the front door at 8 o clock in the morning! In the dream, I had been out the night before, with my husband and we’d been drinking. The knock on the door woke me up, the house was still, and my mouth was so dry. My head was pounding, and the feelings of shame came slowly filtering through my brain. That was as far as the dream went. I firmly decided I wasn’t going to move (don’t think I could have done), I’d let Mr W take care of it, and then the dream was over.

But even that small fraction was enough to remind me of the drinking days, when weekend hangovers were common. And the less frequent, but more shameful bad ones, when I couldn’t get up until midday or maybe even later. Ugh.

For almost six months now, I’ve been getting up day after day, hangover-free. I’ve found the winter hard to cope with – I don’t have the same energy as I had in summer. And I think I may be suffering from some kind of low level depression fairly constantly – maybe it is Seasonal Affective Disorder – so unfortunately I don’t bounce out of bed. I’ll have to see what spring brings. But whatever else I’m feeling, at least I’m no longer abusing my body in such a way as to be unable to function properly of a weekend morning – sometimes even all day…

What was it Belle said? ‘Drop that shit like a bad habit’ Oh yes! 🙂

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Maybe this is why I drank…

Well, that ‘happy sober life’ I’ve been looking forward to is ever elusive. I think I count days partly so that if anyone ever reveals at what point that magical transformation occurs, I will know how much longer I will have to wait 😉

By not drinking for the last 132 days, I don’t seem to have achieved much. How is my life better? I would really struggle to be able to come up with something other than ‘no hangovers’ at this point.

What I have done, though, is revealed a lot about myself that I don’t like. More often than I like to admit, I am filled with fear. Fear that I don’t fit in, have no friends, no one understands me. I feel hurt a lot of the time. I can’t seem to let any of it go because I’m too afraid. I worry that I will never make a success of my life, that no-one cares about anything that I do.

I try to make our home a lovely place to be, do all the things a wife does, but it all seems pointless because no-one but the two of us enjoy it, and even then, my husband seems to take it all for granted. And tells me I don’t take good enough care of the car! More jobs to put on the list!!

Is this low-level depression why I drank? I seem to remember that the odd glass (or bottle!) did provide a kind of relief – dragging my thought processes to a standstill so that I could just ‘zone out’ and have a normal conversation with my husband and forget any neurotic ideas I had about not being good enough/popular enough etc.

I used to think it was a good thing to have a mind that works like mine. I thought it made me better able to empathise with others, and to understand people’s pain, maybe even help. But the way all the bits of my life seem to be configured at the moment, how it all works right now, having a mind like mine doesn’t get me anywhere but depressed.

People don’t care if you are sensitive – it’s only ever a negative thing to the vast majority of people. If you need support, no-one notices, or even knows how to provide it. Hardly anyone knows what depression is, how it feels, and certainly no-one talks about it.

By stopping drinking, I’ve become more isolated. The loneliness wont go away. The fear won’t go away. I feel unable to let go of this suffering because…well why? I don’t know, but I just can’t seem to do it… :/

Life…and NA beer

I haven’t had chance to write here for a while, and I’ve really missed it. A lot of things have happened.

Last Saturday, my Father-in-Law died. It was very sudden. My Husband and I managed to get there when the paramedics were trying to resuscitate him, and Mr W got involved as much as he could, trying to help them out. He is a retained Firefighter, so he acted on instinct, as he would have done for any other incident. At the hospital we were taken straight into the relatives room. I’ve never been in there before. It was all so final. So irreversible. And yet all you want in those moments is for everything to go back to normal, to how it was before.

I really wanted to drink afterwards, but I didn’t. We didn’t go home straight away afterwards – we got some food at a pub on the way back. I had a Bottlegreen fizzy cordial type thing, and I was so grateful not to have to have coke or orange juice or lemonade. I’m considering writing a letter to that company to commend them on their contribution to the soft drinks industry. It’s strange, the weird things you cling to when life becomes so unfamiliar and strange. And the next day I wanted to drink, but didn’t. I’m still resolutely sober. I’m not entirely sure what the reason is, but there seems to be a vague promise of life getting better if I stick with sobriety, so I will keep on doing it.

My friend gave birth on Tuesday morning. I’m very happy for her – they’re now a little family, the three of them, which is what she so desperately deserves. However, it’s just another one of those things I sometimes find it hard to cope with, because it seems to drive a big wedge between me and her, in my mind. I know it’s in my mind, and I shouldn’t hold on to feelings like that because they are not me, and I can let them go if I choose. It’s just that sometimes I don’t feel like there is anyone here with me, helping me to keep the hope alive that I might be a mother myself someday, being gentle with me when it feels hard. Again, the aloneness strikes…

The shame has gone though, which is a relief. I bought a book about shame, but I haven’t got very far yet – I found the language a bit complex. It’s called ‘Healing the Shame that Binds You’ by John Bradshaw. Maybe I didn’t give myself enough time with it, but it’s always there should I need it again.
I had my last appointment with the Counsellor on Wednesday. It was a good session. This was before everything became hard work at the end of the week…! She asked me what had been most helpful to me, and I said the environment that she provided, for me to talk about my feelings without feeling harsh judgements and criticisms. It enabled me to look at what I was feeling and to explore it. Of course, that’s what counselling is for, but she pointed out that I could take that with me – imagine that scenario of talking to her, and give myself a chance to feel what I feel, and then examine what might be accurate or not so much, about what I perceive to be real in a certain situation. Does that make any sense?

On Thursday the whole family went out to celebrate my Mum’s birthday. Beforehand I had tried to get a nap after work, but my Husband came home from work so that went out the window. Then I decided to have a bath and possibly fall asleep in the bath, but MY SISTER ARRIVED! She was trying to sort out the last little bits of the joint Birthday present to Mum, and of course she wanted my advice. She had had the whole day off work, so why she needed to come and ask me about it on the last minute, I have no idea. So I was exhausted. But we had a meal at a lovely little pub – the food was great. I was offered non-alcoholic beer, but went for cranberry and soda instead. The craving for wine had gone by this point.

The next night, Mr W brought some non-alcoholic beer recommended by one of his customers, who has it when he needs to drive. So after a little internal debate, I had a couple. I’m glad I tried it, because it’s not like I ‘broke any rules’ or anything, but I’ve decided I wont be doing it again. I did have another last night too, but I noticed the feeling that went along with it was definitely shifting towards ‘I need a drink’. Weird, I know because it’s NA, but of course it is sort of pretending to be an alcoholic drink, at the end of the day. And for me, that doesn’t feel like the right thing to do. So no more…

Work has also been extremely tough this week, I had a migraine yesterday (still carried on with housework anyway) and then me and Mr W had a huge row which kind of lasted until this morning….In a bizarre way, though I feel as though all the tensions of the week have been blasted away by that argument. Whether or not that’s a healthy way to deal with things I don’t know, but hey, I’m doing the best I can. And that’s not always easy when the one thing that would normally be a reward, a consolation, relaxation, whatever it’s function was (in my head, I realise!!), is no longer available to me because I’m not safe with it.

So yes, I feel that life is hard work. But I’m glad I’m sober. Taking responsibility, even if I don’t get things right sometimes (most of the time?!).

I’ve just realised part of where I’m going wrong…I’ve stopped the sober treats and rewards! I need to start working on those reward pathways in my brain to make sure I’m not still thinking that alcohol is the only way to relax/have fun/reward myself etc. I must think about this and write about it! Soon! xx

Shame, shame, go away

I’ve got no idea what day it is now…am I close to 120? Not sure…

I’m thinking about wine hardly at all. I even bought a bottle as part of a colleagues leaving present, and didn’t think anything of it at all. This is good:)

What I’m a bit more uneasy about is a strange background feeling of shame that I’m having. It can wash over me suddenly a few times a day, and I usually try to block out the feeling straight away because it’s so unpleasant. If I put it into words it would be saying something like ‘who do you think you are? Do you realise how much of a fool you make of yourself all the time?’ Yeah, not pleasant.

Or other times, it takes the form of a memory of some past event when I have said or done something stupid or silly. I do try to ignore it mostly, as I said, but just thinking about it now and writing this down, I’m getting worried.

I worry that I am stupid and silly, and that I’m some sort of charlatan, thinking I’m doing well in my life, making good choices, but actually just a stupid girl who knows nothing about anything. It’s a very dark feeling. Different from the depression that I’ve been through in the past, but still isolating in a way. It makes me feel as though I’m not a good person, and that I have secrets to hide away.

I also worry that this feeling won’t go away. It seems to have been happening for a while now. It’s about time it stopped, but there’s no sign of that.

All off this is bizarre. You would think that by getting sober I would be feeling LESS shame. I remember when my drinking was very bad, I would purposely try not to get close to people so that they wouldn’t discover my shameful secret. Often, whilst talking to people – both people I knew and strangers – I would think to myself ‘I hope they don’t see what I’m trying to hide’. I felt guilty all the time because I knew my behaviour wasn’t normal, and I didn’t want to be found out.

But now I’ve quit (cue my mind having thoughts of ‘how long have we quit for?’) it turns out I’m still feeling a similar shame. About the past and present. How is that fair? I mean, I know no-one ever said life is fair but really! Shame is still here?

Is it social stigma? That must play a big part because now I’ve stopped drinking and exceeded the original goal of 100 days, I struggle to explain my reasons to the normal drinkers. Some of them seem fine with it, but I still feel judgement from others. And yet that could be all in my head – there’s no way to really know.

Or is it wolfie having a last ditch attempt at getting me to throw in the towel? Either way, it’s very uncomfortable, and I wish it would just go away!!