4 weeks sober. I know, right?!

4 weeks sober. 28 days. 672 hours. 40,320 minutes.

80 drinks passed. £242.80 saved. 1 day 2.98 hours of my lifetime regained. A stone, a fucking stone, in weight lost. 

Day one. Your blood is completely free of alcohol.

Day three. Your brain cells have started regenerating. Anxiety and nausea are high at this time.

Day seven. Anxiety, nausea and possible hallucinations should be much easier after week one, withdrawal symptoms have diminished or disappeared.

Day fourteen. Many signs of your physical health will appear after two weeks. Skin health, sleep and digestive system will all improve.

Day twenty one. New neurons are developing in my brain after three weeks, supporting your cognitive functions.

Day twenty eight. Grey matter in the brain has been shown to have increased in size after quitting drinking for one month. Grey matter includes regions of the brain involved in muscle control, and sensory perception such as seeing and hearing, memory, emotions, speech, decision making, and self-control.

My 4 weeks sober face. (Excuse the weird shoulder colouring, had to edit my  work lanyard out and a photoshopper I aint!)

SELF-CONTROL. Did you hear that?! After a month of not drinking, being able to not drink gets easier.

This morning, as I walked to work, I listened to the This Naked Mind podcast, Episode 79: The Truth About Alcohol (I use Castbox for my podcasts). In it they talk about something I have briefly mentioned in a previous post, about how until you are determined to stop drinking, you won’t. Lee Davy calls it The Vow, Annie Grace calls it The Certainty, the key message is that until you realise you are done, nothing else can make you stop. It is this Vow or Certainty that enables you to quit without cravings or desires, because you have made the definitive decision to stop.

Previously, when I have attempted Sober October or Dry January, I haven’t actually wanted to stop drinking, I have merely been swept along by societal momentum to have a break from alcohol every now again. Knowing that in one month you can drink again doesn’t support you to stop drinking. Part of me has always wanted to stop, but the part of me that knows how difficult that will be, the Resistance, has been easily able to withstand those half-arsed attempts.

The first time I did Sober October, my then boyfriend (now husband) and I stayed up until midnight with a bottle of Jura on the living room table, multiple beers in the fridge and a desire to crack everything open as soon as that minute hand hit twelve. And we did. I had about three drams of whiskey and fell up the stairs on the way to bed where I passed out and in the morning, continued my excessive drinking lifestyle as though I had never had a month off. And it is precisely this kind of scenario that makes me know that I will never be able to moderate. My 21 years long, torrid and often abusive relationship with alcohol is over.

This thought has always terrified me. How can I survive without ever being able to drink again? How will I ever find something to replace the sweet, lustful nectar of a fruity, full-bodied, dry white wine seductively licking my lips and caressing my throat in its seemingly loving embrace? How will I ever be able to enjoy a beer festival again with the luring call of the Keg beer bar, a safe and unhindered place free of CAMRA wankers who equate craft beer to the devil? How can I continue to brew beer that I am unable to drink? Well, it’s easy really. I will always remember what I have to lose if I choose not to stay on this path.

I have a husband that I love more than life itself. The only man I have ever known who years down the line I still look at when he doesn’t know that I am watching him and think that a) he is the sexiest man I have ever known, b) I am the luckiest woman in the world and c) how is it possible to love someone this fucking much? His love, support, encouragement and patience have always motivated me to be the best version of myself that I can possibly be and both of us have grown so much together in our relationship. We are a team of two and we are unbreakable. His parents have been married and utterly in love with each other for over forty years and whilst it may have taken Hubs and I much longer to meet, our aim is to walk the same path of love, respect and honesty that they have.

After years of hard work and saving, seven months ago we finally became homeowners and our safe haven is one of the most treasured parts of our relationship. We have always ensured that our home together is indeed our castle (though with less beheading and scandalous affairs with Bards), and this has grown tenfold since owning our own. It really is OUR castle.

We have two ridiculously cute and idiotic cats who fall out of windows and both love Hubs more than me, even though (or because) I love them more than he does. 

 Captain Nigglypants being a Disney Princess.
Macho Meow Mandy Savage wrecking the joint. 

Eventually, we might decide to have children of our own and we will lovingly bring them home to our castle surrounded by a family emanating love, respect and kindness who will dote on them and cherish them as much as we do.

We will continue to find our way on our career paths, gaining experience in new areas, completing my Masters (probably in 2036 if my current work rate is anything to go by), enjoying what we do and loving what we come home to.

We will keep brewing, entering competitions, talking late into the night about how we can improve our processes, thinking up new ideas and wondering if we could take that passion further.

We will nourish our friendships, strengthening and developing our already strong connection with our community. We will travel, holiday, plan, dream and live our lives to their fullest. And this present we have created together, this future of ours that we dream of, that is what I stand to lose if I continue drinking.

I deserve this life.

I deserve this love.

I deserve this happiness.

And it has taken me so very long to realise this.

The love I see in Hubs eyes when he looks at me, is the love I need to show myself. The love from his glorious family, from our glorious family now, is the love I need to show myself. The love, kindness and laughter that I share with our friends are the exact same qualities I need to share with myself.

My days of unhappiness and self-sabotage are over. I deserve to be loved and I deserve to be happy. Even the seductive allure of mind-quietening alcohol can’t take that away from me. 


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