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.

or

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.  www.livingsober.org.nz and her blog:  MrsDgoeswithout.blogspot.co.nz

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 tipsynomore.blogspot.com) 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

9 comments:

  1. Thank you for this post. It is clear you have worked hard and come a long way on this journey!

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    1. Thanks Juno - I hope you are going well!
      We all work hard on this journey and it is not easy that's for sure, but the alternative was slowing killing both my mind and body.

      Keep posting and talking to everyone who helps you because it will in-turn help them :)
      Michelle xx

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  2. Michelle,
    I am super proud of you!
    It's not an easy thing to do, and you are doing it.
    I love the postitve role model you are for your children.
    Look at all the cool things you are doing now!
    xoxo
    Wendy

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Wendy - I didn't want this to be a bossy post... I hoped that it would helpful (even if to only 1 person out there:)) about taking the leap and seeing how life could be by taking that first step.

      It takes courage when you are home with kids or a husband/wife/partner and things are hard NOT to medicate yourself. It is so utterly understandable how we all get into this place.

      Something that starts off just a bit harmless, then gets increasingly the "easy" way out and in cases like mine, turn to utter shit so quickly. I never saw it coming and when I did I just ignored it and justified it because the alternative seemed impossible.

      You have been a consistent source of help to me since October and for that I will never forget you :).

      thanks Wendy xxxxx M

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  3. Congrats on 4 months, yes you are absolutely right, love this post.

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    1. Thanks PDTG :)
      Hope you are doing well out there - winter is coming here and it's a lovely day
      M xxx

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  4. I hope you are having a good week and doing well! It has been stressful here but I am hanging in there and not drinking. Have had my share of chocolate though ��

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  5. Hi Juno

    Thanks so much, and sorry for such a late reply :)
    Yes life is stressful and if we can get past about 4 months I noticed a dramatic change in my relationship with alcohol.
    M xx

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  6. This is a great post. So true.
    The parenting improvement with sobriety has been huge. For me it's over 3 years. And I still learn more about myself and them every day. Because I'm willing to try and to be honest.

    Keep going!
    Anne

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