6 months sober and counting…
When I posted my first blog post announcing my sobriety I didn’t expect to get any response from it. But over the past few months I have had people who are on the same path get in touch and show their support. So I thought I would give you an update on how things are and what has been going on.
I feel that by posting all my experiences online I might be painting a negative picture of myself, because your not exactly getting a flattering view of my life. But writing about my experiences helps me during the process of getting better. I am conquering my demons.
Overall I would say things have been positive. I mean I have not caved in and drank anything yet despite having many highs to celebrate and many lows to escape from. This makes me realise I can face any situation and not need alcohol to celebrate or get me by.
I started running and eating a little better, explored exciting new projects and produced some of my favourite paintings yet.
But that is where the positives ends for me. The reality of being sober is a mixture of highs and lows.
To be honest I miss a lot of things about alcohol… but I also hope I never touch it again. When I was drinking something was missing, now I am sober I feel like the only thing that is missing is alcohol. I guess that’s how addiction works, no matter what your current state is, it will bend and reshape itself to fit into your psyche somewhere…trying to pull you back in.
Reflecting on the past.
This long period of sobriety has allowed me to reflect on the past and to try and understand my connection with alcohol.
As a kid I was allowed little shandys when camping, it was very weak beer but I loved the feeling of being seen as a grown up.
I looked back at the first time I got drunk, I was 10 or 11 on a camping trip with my Dad’s rugby team. My parents went to bed around 10-11pm and I was allowed to stay up under the supervision of the other adults.I had already had a few beers by now and was drunk for the first time. I remember running around, feeling wobbly and falling down just for the fun of it. Everything became much more fun.
The following morning my Mum took me down to the river to brush my teeth as I had been sick in the early hours. It was the first time I experienced a hang over, I just knew deep down that this feeling was one I was going to keep living with and that this is how it’s meant to be.
During my teens when I had the chance to drink, I would in excess, I loved the feeling so much. It helped me come out of my shell, speak my mind, be funny, run around, fall down and not care about
if I was getting dirty or hurt it was all just about having fun.
At around the age of 16 depression started to kick in and my relationship with alcohol changed. I saw it as a way to escape and would drink until I wound up passed out on the floor.
In my adulthood it became a reward for doing the things I didn’t like, nothing felt better than having a cold beer after a long shift at work.
So what started out as a tool for fun and confidence eventually grew into a tool for escapism and self destruction.
Also I have always associated drinking with my biological Farther, and I realised that when I was drinking I was just trying to feel closer to him.
Will I give in today?
Several times a day I still feel like just giving in and running to my nearest shop/pub and begin a new phase of self destruction.
I feel restless as if my heart is about to burst out my chest, constantly chewing on the side of my mouth or fingers because I am angry. Not having alcohol to escape has proved tough. But it does give me something to work through, I channel the frustration to work harder.
I have really thought about why I feel this way and realised I am just frustrated with where I am in my life right now, I seem to make positive changes but not get anywhere.
I found writings I had created during past drinking binges, they were suicide notes, some of them I had forgotten about. Most of them feel like they were written by a stranger…as if it was just the alcohol itself writing the words.
Reading them just makes me realise that nothing changes, in my sober state the same feelings are beneath the surface…in a selfish way I still dont want to be here. So I have some sort of underlying depression and anger running through me, alcohol just brought these feelings to the surface.
But it’s not all doom and gloom
When I am in the supermarkets and I come across alcohol I will stop and stare at it without realising, I analyse the type of drink ,its percentage, it’s price and what kind of buzz I would be at if I drank the whole thing and whether I could afford two or three of them.
I go off into a trance, my girlfriend has to shake me out of it. It can be amusing at times.
I Still really miss hanging out with certain friends, I did manage to go out twice and just drink soft drinks but it’s not the same when your not on the same level, I am also less tolerant to the drunk people around me. I did still find some fun in the nights though which was nice.
For the first time in years I managed to spend a couple of days alone without drinking myself into oblivion.
It’s basically Christmas now, it’s going to be strange not drinking for the holidays but I can do it. I do feel like I can make this sobriety last, I still do not want to drink ever again.
I have managed to go 6 months which something I never thought could happen. So I am so determined to make this stick!