Wednesday, 8 March 2017

A message of Hope

I wanted to write about where things are at sitting at 121 days (4 months exactly as I stopped drinking on 8th November 2016).

If you are thinking that you are drinking too much and having a difficult time stopping.  If you feel like it is interfering with your health, or your relationships with family, friends or stopping you being who you know you want to be.  If your sleep is being interrupted by alcohol.  Your mood is being affected by alcohol.

Then the most likely answer is it YES alcohol is a problem for you.  The worst that can happen is you perform an experiment which can go one of two ways:

1.  You stop drinking: Once you have stopped drinking, your life (after a few months) is much the same and you find alcohol was just a social behaviour that you enjoyed.  This process of elimination will allow you to discover the real problem you are facing and be able to deal with it properly and resume drinking if that's where you are at.


2.  You stop drinking: Once you have stopped drinking you struggle with it and find you have to almost reinvent the way you live your life.  You figure out that there is more of you "in" there and great person that can now come out and deal with all those uncomfortable things that alcohol was masking and taking away.

Either way if you even think you have a problem, take the courage - STOP.  Even if it starts out as a 3 or 6 month challenge.  What harm can it do right?  If you don't have a problem then you lose nothing.  If you DO have a problem you have EVERYTHING to gain.

I would like everyone to know that after 4 months my journey is evolving and my life is unfolding in front of me like a red carpet.

The first month:
I white knuckled it, had no idea what to do with myself or my time - I just kept going (sometimes going into the car and yelling so the kids wouldn't hear).  The change in my skin, body and sleep started to improve but that didn't stop the cravings to drink.  The sugar addition from alcohol was making the physical systems hard also.

The second month:
Once I passed the "hey this is easy" at around 6 weeks, I realised that it was bloody hard and suddenly I was faced with ME.  It was absolutely horrible - I had been hiding from me for years as I didn't even like who I was.  I liked what I had achieved in life, I thought I was a good mother but had started to hide and to be a recluse in order to keep my behaviour hidden.  Now I couldn't hide from myself and that hurt.

The third month:
More feelings similar to the last half of the 2nd month,with the addition of anxiety.  The anxiety was always there but without the medication of alcohol it was now in the fore-ground.  I struggled to keep a lid on it, my weight did plummeted because I refused to substitute the drinking with other additions of food etc.  I found it difficult to balance my new-found life and wondered what the hell I was doing.

The forth month:
Sometimes driving in the car the realisation of how selfish a person I had become was evident as it would come into my mind is little waves.  I realised that for the longest time everyone had to revolve around me (even though it may not have appeared like that to me at all) that was the TRUTH.  I started to become acutely aware of the difference between "controlling my life and the lives of others" had gotten out of control and became a habit mixed in with the alcohol.  I only realised this once I felt my life slowly changing and now it has done a 180 and revolves around my family and friends.  I didn't see it coming it was just there and surprised me that this DIDN'T make me feel weak and out of control, it gave me a sense of well-being and comfort that I wasn't the centre of my own drama anymore.

I now allow my children to have sad feelings when they need to - I stop trying to protect them from every thing in a crazy-anxious-like-insane manner.  I realise I was doing this to protect ME from PAIN.  It was selfish and did not allow them to process their own emotions rationally.  Now they can and with guidance from their mum instead of the other controlling type of response.

Giving up alcohol has completely changed my life's direction.  I am not 100% happy yet and who is let's face it, probably only 60% if we are going to measure it - but before I was more depressed, more dangerous, more selfish, more irrational, more unstable than I ever realised.  The fact I have come out of this with my kids (aged 11, 12 and 24) all still loving me is nothing short of incredible.  My parents love and support me (this takes longer to fix).  My friend has turned into friends.  I am slowly improving my base of good love around me.

The things I do now that I NEVER did before:

Got a better job because I believe I am worth it
Take my kids to ALL of their activities with joy and pride (I never let them sign up for much because it interfered with my "lifestyle")
Am the manager of one of their basketball teams
I am the treasurer of an NZ wildlife charity
I walk my dog
The house is getting finished
I am finishing my stupid degree (slowly but doing it)
I am apologising and taking an interest in other people's lives
Help the kids with their homework without getting impatient and hating doing it

Small things like making the house really tidy each day are not important if they interfere with any of the above.  Small things can get stuffed x

The Toolbox:

1.  This blog started this process, I would not have been able to handle or even do the first 6 weeks without it.  Thanks to Lotta Dann and her courage to come on TV and talk about it. and her blog:

2.  I did not find AA ok for me as I have kids and most sessions were at night and not kid friendly here so I connected with Smart Recovery online and go to meetings when I need to .  The also have a 24/7 chat room and there are some cool people in New York and the UK to talk to.

3.  Started two jars - they have bits of paper in them with shit to do when you are desperate.  One for me with the kids and one for me on my own.  EG get in the car and go for a drive, take dog for walk, go to the beach, sit down and read a book for 20 mins.

4.  My friend Wendy in the US (through blogging and all the other lovely people that have encourage and given me a kick of reality - can't describe how it made me keep going.

5.  Telling people - being open and not ashamed.  If 20 people judge me yet 1 hears me and thinks "shit if she can do it" then I am happy.

If you are thinking about it but the hurdle seems insurmountable - it is not, and after about 3 - 4 months it DOES become so much easier to not think about drinking or wanting to ruin what you have created.

Everyone is different, there are no rules or definite ways we feel and act when we stop drinking but this is my story and I wanted to share this.  Take courage, take the bull by the horns and don't let go for about a month, you will make enough of a start to make some decisions.

Michelle xx

Friday, 3 March 2017

Starting to grow up - Selfishness and the Truth

I have had some interesting thoughts over the past few weeks - looking back at my behaviour over the past 10 years or so.

I never thought I was a selfish person, always wanting to help others and thought I was kind.  I look back and realise my "need" to help others stemmed from a deep insecurity of the trying-to-please rescuing behaviour type.

This looking back is not intentional it just comes in waves and I am careful not to be hard on myself about it and to look at it rationally (as much as possible).  It is hurtful to realise that I really did whatever I wanted and people close to me and their lives, revolved around what I wanted.  As long as it all suited me then I was OK with it.  Of course the older I got, the more defined I was with what I wanted - that combined with alcohol made one hell of a selfish bomb.  And I did damage, and I blamed everyone else and I was the last to realsie it was me.

Now I am feeling around and noticing a big change starting to form - my life is revolving around the needs of my family.  Yes I will keep checking how I am going, however I think the selfish brat that was me can do with some REAL unselfish living for a while.