200 days of sobriety.
Yesterday, I hit 200 days sober. Not bad for a lush, eh?! Aside from losing two stone and wearing the first dress I have worn since my wedding day (because I haven’t been able to fit into any of them since my wedding day), there’s quite a lot of other stuff that has changed too. It’s hard to know what to talk about as I kinda feel that I repeat myself a bit at every milestone. So, instead of a list of things I have learned, here are some things I have been thinking about recently. In the form of a list. About stuff I have learned.
Fuck off, I like lists about self-development.
1. Coke, please.
The more people I speak to about my sobriety, the more I meet people who have been thinking about stopping drinking or having a week off, a month off, a year off. And it’s amazing to have conversations with people where we can all be inspired to change our habits. Each one motivates me to remain on my journey because as sobriety becomes more of the norm (like vegetarianism, spirituality, mindfulness) in society, I get to stand at the forefront of the revolution. I’m an activist without ever having to go on a march where there are people and it’s cold.
People are so interested to hear about my journey and for somebody like me who finds small talk impossible with anybody, never mind people I don’t know, sobriety as a topic of conversation helps me to connect on a deeper level with people in a way that wouldn’t normally be accessible to me.
And to those people who have told me that they have stopped drinking since I started sharing my story, you are my heroes. And every story you tell me fills me with such gratitude and encouragement. Thank you for sharing your stories with me. Sometimes hearing them is the only thing that has kept me on this convoluted path. Thank you.
It’s not all pink unicorns and squidgy marshmallows of course. There have been plenty of cunts who have verbally attacked me in pubs or on social media for daring to go against the flow and having the fucking audacity to talk about it. But, you know, I should know by now that women should be seen and not heard. Which leads me on to my next point. On my non list.
2. Snip, snip.
If you make me feel like shit, I will cut you out of my life quicker than your local Tory MP with an oversized pair of scissors and a red ribbon at the opening of a new Independent British Deli. Mean to me via text? Bubbye. Have a go via Whatsapp? See ya later! Cunty comments on Facebook? Lates tates!
This has been an amazing revelation to me. You know, the one where I don’t have to allow people in my life who hurt me. Life is too short to be surrounded by people who hurt you, tear you down or make you cry. I don’t want my life to be like that. I want to be surrounded by incredible, inspiring people who build each other up and fill the world with joy and laughter. That is the world we can create for ourselves if we want to. I’ll be first in the line.
3. Boring joy.
I can find happiness in the most menial of activities these days. The joy of waking up at a decent hour without a hangover is STILL one of the greatest feelings in the world. The joy of taking my make up off before bed EVERY night, of brushing my teeth, of reading a book in bed. The joy of food shopping with a list and a meal plan and cooking dinner or a lazy Saturday morning brunch. The joy of long walks in the countryside with Smiley Cyrus, of podcasts that I can’t stop listening to, of waking up to a 6am alarm that doesn’t make me want to die. The joy of sitting in an evening class at College with other inspirational life changers, of collaborating with artists and writers and musicians, of sitting in a quiet corner writing poetry. The joy of being surrounded by talented, vivacious, inquisitive human beings who can change the world at the click of their fingers.
There is so much joy in the world that I never saw before because I deliberately kept my eyes closed to it. Turns out, it’s not that scary to keep them open (without psychoactive support*).
*except coffee. You can fuck off if you think I will ever stop drinking coffee.
4. Sliding doors.
More doors have opened up to me in the last six months than have opened up for me in my entire life. I’ve started my PGDE (alongside my Masters. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.) and my career has never been more amazing. Or fulfilling. Or fun. After almost a year in my job, I love it as much now as I did at the start of this year, when I was still booze-hounding (heavily). Since I have stopped drinking, my confidence in my role, in my ability, in my path has flourished.
I have made new friends where relationships aren’t centred around habits that are unhealthy for me. I have attended events that I would never have been able to access last year. I have twice performed on stage with shaking legs, a tummy made of jelly and WHAT THE FUCK ARE MY HANDS DOING?! I have written more poetry in the last month than I have in 33 years. And it’s fucking good, if I do say so myself. I have been asked to open a show, to stand on a stage in my home town and perform my own set of work, supporting an artist who has so inspired me with their talent that their mere proximity can sometimes make me feel a little bit sick.
I have done things that I never thought I would do. I have done things that I never thought I was capable of doing. And yet here I am, just ploughing on through life like a fucking Queen. Shouting yes to every opportunity. Unless it’s a staff party and then I’m like, nahhhhh. Soz.
5. Visa or Mastercard?
After two fucking years, we have finally booked and paid for our honeymoon. Yes, we’re going on our honeymoon in approximately 25 days. I say approximately but I can assure you, I am counting down the actual minutes. Did you know that Gambia has an average temperature of 26°C in December/January? No? Well, it does. There will be books, safaris, sunbathing… The opportunity to fall in love with each other all over again, away from the petty drudgery of everyday life and chores. All paid for by our drinking money.
We’ve finally built the media unit we planned out when we bought the house a year ago. Bought it, built it, enhanced it. All paid for by our drinking money. And our non-drinking time. Twenty hours spent driving to and from three different Ikeas, eating meatballs at every single one and doing the entire tour of each store is way more fun that sitting in the pub. (HAH! It’s not.)
We’ve paid off credit cards, overdrafts, store cards. We’ve saved money. All paid for by our drinking money.
If not drinking means we get to go camping AND on a holiday abroad every year AND be able to do stuff with the house AND save money then HELL to the Y. E. S. I will continue being alcohol free, losing weight and saving money.
6. Supersize me.
I’ve lost two stone. Twenty two inches in total. Hubs was a tad upset by the eight inches off my arse but luckily for him, there’s still plenty left… I haven’t really changed my eating habits. I certainly haven’t been exercising because for four months I’ve barely been able to fucking walk (cheers hip). It has all been alcohol related.
No booze = no late night takeaways 2/3/4/5 nights a week = no hungover breakfasts/brunches/lunches at Wethers every other day = not forgetting to make your pack up and instead eating 14,000 calories of carb based produce at work every day = cooking dinner every night instead of ordering takeaways because you went to the pub at 5pm and it’s now 10 o’clock at night and you’re starving but you can’t be arsed to cook. And so the cycle goes on.
The more physically healthy I feel, the more healthy I feel in general, the more I can get out into the muddy countryside with Smiles and feel even better physically and emotionally. A good cycle, not my usual kind. Fingers crossed, with another referral to physio, cortisone injections and an MRI, they can figure out what is wrong with my hip (or replace it) and I can start exercising again.
Lists are my new favourite thing. I say new, but they’ve always been my favourite thing.
So yeah. That got listy didn’t it? Less about things I have learned and more about things I have achieved in the last 200 days. V narcissistic. I’ve enjoyed it actually, thoroughly therapeutic. We don’t often get the opportunity to applaud our own achievements and we really ought to do so more often. So, raise a glass with me to celebrate 200 days of sobriety. Mine’s a Heineken 0.0%. And here’s to a very alcohol free Christmas 😊