Ooh how life is raw! My Dad’s cancer operation, my son’s operation and my relationship with my SIL turning sour…it’s not surprising my anxiety levels are high. I’ve been meditating every night to help me sleep (either Tara Brach’s or Deepak Chopra’s) but I’m also needing something during the day. I have been thinking of incorporating some yoga into my day to help. Then I stumble across this post mentioning a 30 day yoga challenge! Perfect. So today is my sobriety day 25 but my yoga day 1. Will you join me in 30 days of yoga?
The more I read other sobriety/recovery/addiction blogs, the more often I come across a few individuals appearing to struggle to remain committed to sobriety. They have Day 1 again and again. I have nothing but admiration for their strength to wake up and decide it is Day 1 again. My heart breaks for them when they write about each “failure”, down on themselves. If only they saw what we see! Someone who has great strength and courage to keep trying! They have commitment but I don’t know if they realise it?
In my past life I was a Life coach. And occasionally I came across a client that would say they wanted X goal, but whenever they got near to achieving X, they would perform some kind of self-sabotaging act. Together we would explore fear because this is most common form of self-sabotage. One client in particular though, wasn’t afraid. Instead, she didn’t believe she had the commitment required to achieve her goal. We explored this further and as it turned out, someone had told her in her formative years she lacked commitment. I won’t go too deep but what happens is, we sometimes choose to believe what others say about our character. We then begin to act in a way that provides us more ‘evidence’ that what they said is true.
In our next session, we explored the things she had done in life that required commitment. She was married, she had a mortgage, she was a mum, she had run her own business for five years and she frequently took part in 5k fun runs. All of which requires commitment, huge commitment!!
So if you’re someone who is or has been told you lack commitment and you think that maybe deep down you believe it, maybe that’s hindering your recovery? Maybe it’s something worth exploring, because I bet you have ‘evidence’ you can and have committed to projects.
As a side note, I do realise addiction goes deeper than an apparent lack of commitment. I believe there are many, many contributing factors to one’s struggle in recovery. Hence its difficulty! I’m just wondering out loud about commitment as just one potentially contributing factor.
I’m very irritable today. I’m in some sort of funk and just feel meh, about everything. On the outside it has been a nice day. After being woken at different times by two different kids overnight I slept until 8:20am (that never happens!) I got up, slowly got myself together and hubby went off to play football (soccer).
My 9YO is still recovering from his operation but is at the stage of feeling well enough to do more than stay at home all day. So I threw his scooter and my youngest’s bike in the car and we took off for some exercise. I felt good while I was out. In fact, I realise as I’m writing this, it’s the best I’ve felt all day.
We got home, I showered, hubby got home, and he showered. We all then went to my parent’s house as my Dad is recovering from his prostate op. It went ok for the first 20 minutes or so but then the kids were winding each other up, bickering, annoying everyone so we left. We stopped for dinner on the way home at a local pub that also does beautiful food. I ordered the vegetarian Moroccan stew (I’m not a vegetarian, but just didn’t fancy meat) and when it came to ordering a drink with the meal, I got stuck. I really fancied a glass of red! It would have gone really really really nicely with the amazing, gently spiced stew I was about to enjoy. I certainly didn’t want anything fizzy, I don’t drink beer (obviously except when I feel like I’m missing out on something – see my previous post!) and a tea or coffee – yeah, nah.
On a day like today when I feel tired and a bit meh, I would have drank probably a bottle (and a half maybe) of red wine. Purely to escape the tired and meh feelings. To escape my boring housewife life. But I can’t and won’t do that anymore. So I’m going to listen to a guided meditation and then go to sleep. And hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.
Yesterday my husband and I dropped our kids off to a kind friend, who had offered to have them while we took a walk. It was my Day 15 and although that’s only been two weeks, in that short time my Dad had his prostate removed (cancer) and my relationship with my SIL has turned sour. It’s been a bit stressy. And I’ve been putting sobriety before anything else, the kids naturally come second and so, to be honest there hasn’t been much time (nor energy) for hubby. He knows I’m sober and why. But there’s not been much communication between us about it and how he’s feeling. So I suggested we go “up the hill” which is at the end of our street.
Connecting with nature calms my mind and feeds my soul. I think more clearly, my thoughts are more…well, clean and free. I caught him up on where I’m at with alcohol and sobriety. We talked about the demise of my relationship with my SIL and how that’s going to work for the wider family, going forward.
And as we walked and talked, even though we were talking about stressy topics, I was feeling so much calmer and any anxiety I had carried for days had vanished completely. Having my phone with me (in case anything happened with the kids) was great because it made me pause and see the beauty around me as I stopped to take a picture.
I live in such a beautiful city, surrounded by scenes like these – no wonder I crave nature immersion! How could someone not be affected positively by a walk in this? Nature soothes, heals and restores my mental, emotional and spiritual self. As a result, walking and reconnecting with nature has been added to my sobriety toolbox.
On our way back, we tuned into the birdsong surrounding us. Bellbirds were calling to one another; just beautiful. Then we were visited by two fantails.
The first fantail at the top is the most common in New Zealand but the completely black one is very rare! I’m 39 and it’s the first time I’ve seen one! We stopped talking and walking and enjoyed the presence of these two as they flew and darted all around us, almost landing on us, they were so close. It was a special moment.
Today, Day 16, I’m feeling full of gratitude and calm. Reminded I need to make regular dates with myself (and hubby) and take a simple, but rewarding and enriching, walk.
The familial issue with the sister-in-law continues to dominate my heart, mind and soul. I’m trying not to be consumed by it but I am getting closer to letting her know how I feel…I need to be a bit stronger first!
Today is day 14 for me. This time two weeks ago I was so blotto I was slurring and squinty eyed. Ugh. I’ve had MASSIVE anxiety levels the past two days. Not cos of the lack of drink but due to my relationship with my sister-in-law turning sour. It changed last year when I first got sober. It was like taking my beer goggles off and seeing the ugly people in my life. She’s always put me down, criticised how I look etc which I had let slide…until I was beer goggle-less. I realised how she actually made me feel. Feelings that I had obviously numbed with wine, previously. So I asked her to please stop talking to me and treating me that way. Which she didn’t like of course.
Things have been strained a wee bit since then. Last week (she knows I’m sober) she sent me a photo of her full wine glass, with the caption, “does this make you thirsty?” I responded to her saying that “giving up wine is hard” and “please do not send me photos of it with captions like that, it made me feel horrible.”
My blood is boiling. I’ve kept the relationship civil due to the fact our kids are very close, but since I responded to the photo she’s not talking to me at all now. Which has affected the kids because now they don’t see each other outside school. My nephew broke his leg and she hasn’t kept me in the loop with what’s happening at all…ugh, it’s a mess.
I’m walking around with a knot of anxiety in the pit of my stomach. I feel so down.
What about this street art though? How is this for a sign?! In my own city, I see the “pink cloud” (definition: The alcoholic has made it through the detox process and starts feeling good again) on the building.
It’s beautiful. Inspiring. And I want it. I want to feel it. Soon, I’m sure of it.
International street artist Fintan Magee “Chasing the Thin White Cloud”, well, Fintan, they look pink to me!
An email arrived yesterday regarding a job that (on paper) looks good. A fellow mum at our kid’s school had sent it through after thinking of me! Flattering, you might think. However, it pushes all my insecurity buttons (currently I’m a housewife) as I’ve lost my confidence since not working and sine getting sober.
I’ve also been awake since 5am, caught up in Papancha thinking (thanks for that word, Tara Brach, I love it!), about my Irish sister-in-law and what I would love to say to her. I won’t confront her though. I’m not a drama-inducer, but for my closure, I may need to write her a letter. And then burn it.
So day 12 and as I tried to get blood out of my carpet BEFORE the school run this morning (Mr 5 had a nose bleed and walked the length of the house looking for me to tell me)… As I was blotting blood, I sent out a thank you to the Universe and felt so grateful not to be doing it hungover.
Kia Kaha (be strong)
I’m feeling great with my decision to become sober. I am feeling so strong in the knowledge I don’t want a drink. Isn’t that wonderful? The first time I tried being sober I decided it was for 90 days and, in retrospect, it really was just a countdown to when I could drink again. I managed around 75 days or so and then a 6-week house renovation took its toll and I caved. Not massively though, I actually started out moderating really well! Yay, I thought, one glass and I’ve got a buzz! December was a moderate success, excuse the pun. But by the end of February the buzz was back to a one bottle requirement. And anything over that one bottle and I was a stumbling, slurring mess. Yuck.
Now, although I’m strong in my decision to get and stay sober, doesn’t mean I don’t miss it. Cos I do sometimes. It doesn’t mean I don’t wish I could have an occasional glass of red wine. Wouldn’t it be lovely to be a “normie” and be satisfied with one glass? With no internal dialogue having to say over and over “Just this one. Don’t have a second. You know what will happen if you have a second.”
It’s Autumnal here in the South Island of New Zealand and my favourite cold-weather activity was snuggling up in front of the fire with a glass of Merlot (which would usually turn into consuming the bottle). But I have the self-awareness now and the tools to know that that romanticised image, is just that. A romanticised image. I know I can re-train my brain’s hard wiring to a different beverage and obtain the same snuggly desire.
So now I feel like you’ve got an understanding of where I am at, I’m going to share something that has my blood simmering… But first, some background about a relationship with a sister-in-law who is Irish and lives up to their drinking reputation. She is my past drinking partner and knows I’ve given up drinking, for “health reasons”. I told her I wasn’t going out last Saturday night (with our circle of friends) because I’m not interested in sitting in a pub, watching them get drunk while I nurse my fizzy. She laughed and said “I don’t have any friend’s that don’t drink!” I laughed too, as we are trying to repair and rebuild our damaged relationship from an incident that happened during my first attempt at getting sober in October last year…
…Whenever we were out socially, she would make a comment about how BORING I am without drinking. If it was said once or twice I could let it go. But it was said repeatedly, several times. And because it was never the time or the place to raise it with her, I would rather not make a scene, in front of others, I would say nothing.
Until a time in October at my father’s 70th birthday lunch. She was loud and obnoxious, throwing insults around at various family members. Telling my mum that for her 70th she needed a bullet. She saw I wasn’t finding it funny (neither was my other brother and his wife) and out came her usual line of how boring I am when I don’t drink. Again, not the time nor the place to address this, but I was ready to erupt. It was my Dad’s special occasion and she was taking it over and ruining it for me.
As we got into the car to leave, she came up to the car window and started having a go at me (in front of my children) saying “that wasn’t nice” about something I had quietly said to my husband about her taking over. I couldn’t believe she had the audacity to make it the time and the place! On my Dad’s birthday! And in front of my kids. We were all supposed to go back to her place after lunch for coffee. I couldn’t be around her anymore that day so we didn’t go. She sent me texts asking where I was, saying “this is shit!” and “everyone is wondering where you are”.
After a couple of strained weeks, we talked on the phone. She asked me, told me, to be completely honest with her, so I was. I told her I was tired of being put down by her, being told what to wear, to apply fake tan because I’m so pale, being told I’m boring when I don’t drink – it all came out. I used all the ‘right’ language such as “I feel”, not “you made me feel” because I needed to own it. Her reaction was dramatic, there were tears and she defended everything I raised as only trying to help me look better. Then she manipulated it all so I was just being overly sensitive. In the end she said that she was devastated that I thought she was trying to hurt me. I didn’t think she was trying to. She just never thinks about how something might sound before she opens her mouth. Finally, she said “I don’t know how we can come back from this” and it was my a-ha moment. I knew then she hadn’t really heard what I had said. It was all a waste of time. And the relationship was over, to boot. One of her nicknames is “Ice Queen”. She had discarded me.
So coming back to Saturday night where all my friends were going out into town (which usually turns into a “session”) I was sad I was missing out on fun with them. I knew I didn’t want to drink but I also didn’t fancy watching them get drunk and I didn’t want to put myself into a potential triggery situation so early on in sobriety. 5:30pm I received a text message from my sister-in-law. It was a photo of her glass of red wine with the caption, “Does this make you thirsty?” That’s what got my blood simmering as I mentioned earlier. What. The. Fuck.
I didn’t want to reply until I had calmed down and it wouldn’t have been a good idea to, if she was drinking so I waited until the next day. Here’s how the conversation went:
Me “Hi! I hope you’re well and not suffering a hangover today. We agreed last year that I would be honest with you when something bothered me, so here it is. Please don’t send me pictures of wine referring to the fact I’m not drinking. I felt horrible. Thanks.”
Her “Oh god, that was not my intention at all. Sorry!” Then a second message a few minutes later “It was not meant like that at all.”
Me “I knew you wouldn’t have intended to. I’m just aware that I shouldn’t let stuff build up, that’s all. Giving up wine is not easy!”
Her “I keep forgetting you’re not drinking. It makes no odds to me that you aren’t drinking. It’s up to you and your health. If I were to be honest it upsets me that you think I want to upset you.”
Me “Keep forgetting? The caption said, does this make you thirsty? By saying that you def remembered I wasn’t drinking lol! And I don’t think you wanted to upset me. Hence me saying above, I knew you wouldn’t have intended to. It wasn’t a big deal, I was just being honest with you like you asked me to. That’s all. Nothing more.”
Her “There was no harm to it. Lesson learned. I apologise.”
But now she’s not talking to me. Sigh.
So, dear, wonderful blog, I feel a little bit sick and a whole lot sad but I’m done. I’m over being manipulated, criticised, belittled…I just feel…played. She loves playing games, she can never do wrong, and never takes responsibility for her actions. She has torn apart my family (my two brothers aren’t speaking to each other as a result), and I can’t – won’t – accept being treated this way any more.
The thing is, how do I get closure? I would love to let her know how I feel, but don’t want to risk any further drama. I’m hoping by writing about it, it will help. If anyone has any suggestions or experiences with relationships gone sour, please share them.