The child and the Sage

The definition of insanity

Well, after my boastful post last week after drinking at the weekend before -things went as one would expect, but would have hoped not. I planned to give the rest of the bottle to a friend like I’d said, which didn’t happen. As Friday night went “ok” with the drink and I felt good still on Saturday morning I kept it and decided to drink again on Sunday. I started early, I drank a lot and tipped the rest down the sink. My partner knew I was drinking, so the cat was out the bag.

Was an ok evening and felt fine again on Monday morning.

So this Friday comes and in the shop I thought I’d buy a “one portion” bottle of wine to “treat myself”. Why🤦🏼‍♀️?

Had the wine at 4, drank it very quickly and made up some excuse to pop to the corner shop and bought a £9 bottle of vodka, which was a total of 13 units. I wasn’t going to drink it all of course!

But he’ll you know what happened? I drank the whole fucking lot. The wine and the vodka, so 16 units. I just couldn’t stop. I just had to drink it, it was a compulsion I couldn’t stop.

By 9pm I was a sobbing crying mess, I was texting my sister and best friend and talking shit and ended up crying my eyes out about life in general but the relationship mainly…

Ashley told me to get to bed and I did sleep till 6am, when I woke up still a bit drunk and the toilet roulette began. My stomach has had enough of vodka, I spent the next 2-3 hours sitting on the loo, sitting and shitting ugh! I had to send the kids to the in laws and lie down for an hour …starting to regain my brain by lunch time and got on with the day, obviously full of regret!

So…the moral of the story is just don’t fucking drink Lou! Just dont fucking drink, that’s it…not hard, not asking you to climb a mountain in flip flops or anything, just don’t drink!

It’s a new month, I have learnt from this and I have no desire to drink vodka ever again! No desire to be drunk ever again. Just no.

I came across this article today and it resonates with me-

The Child and The Sage

Our existence is marred by constant ambivalence. We swing back and forth between the impulses that we want to act on and what our sense of responsibility tells us to do.

On one hand, there is the promise of a better future, a tranquil mind and deep satisfaction within ourselves, on the other, instant gratification, fleeting pleasure, followed by bitter regret.

Inside each of us, two beings vie for our mind and dictate our actions: A spoiled child, unable to resist any indulgences. And a wise, thoughtful, and rational sage, wishing what is best for our future, who rewards us for work done well, promising big incentives to the little one if it follows his advice.

When a desire arises within us, it takes us by surprise and we run towards its accomplishment. Then, without even realizing what happens, we leave all theories of free will behind and remain in a sleepy state of automatic action… a voice from the core of our being tries to interrupt, but we easily suffocate it because we are so absorbed and caught up in what we are doing or saying. 

Painful regret begins to accumulate, haunting us in our thoughts throughout the day, and finally, we decide to get down to do the work. We start only when the pressure has become too much to bear, or when our future and career are at risk. We employ titanic efforts to finish up on time. When we make it, we tell ourselves that it’s in our nature to leave things to the last moment and that it’s meant to happen like this anyway, priding ourselves as original and rebellious. If we don’t make it, we see the mistake and promise ourselves to change.

The daily face-off

The child manages to create the most outlandish excuses, presenting them to you as the most intelligent of reasons. It’s a cunning, irrational being that mostly responds to instant gratification. It leads you to ignore the sage who has been trying to convince you from the beginning. 

The sage agrees to be punctual, to do the work on time, to put aside instant, easy pleasures in favor of lasting rewards, leading us from our daily comforts to an experience of true sensual pleasure we can only feel after passing a difficult trial. The wise man represents your willpower, the child your frantic impulses.

Recent research conducted by Roy Baumeister at the University of Florida found that our will power can be compared to a muscle. Like a muscle, it atrophies if it’s not put to the test often, for example if we fall prey to a routine of comfort and idleness. Like a muscle, you will lose its strength if you don’t call on it frequently. 

Other studies have shown that even simple physical exercises, which require discipline and willpower, lead people to reduce their consumption of tobacco, caffeine, and impulsive spending. 

It’s up to you to choose the character you give in to more often: The spoiled child or the thoughtful sage? Making this simple choice helps your favored character gain the upper hand, making it the one that dominates your personality

Things have changed…

Ok, I did drink last night. Im not ashamed, or upset, I’m annoyed at myself for forgetting but feel like this reminder was necessary, and I 100% don’t feel like I have ‘reset’ my clock – more like in 6 months I have drank one evening and that is still a massive achievement. I feel stronger going forward this morning, no more cravings at all, just a renewed sense of staying sober.

Now I know this could be a slippery slope and can’t just become a habit – I am very confident it wont.

This is how the afternoon went down – I did reach out for support, – I absolutely took in what was said, I think I felt like I had already decided. I bought a ‘nice’ bottle of vodka (poison) and steak for me and Mr A as the kids were staying at our support bubble for once. After speaking to some support I decided to wait until after my yoga class – I had told myself the vodka was a present for my sister if I didn’t open it (i’m still actually gonna give her the rest today but obviously not as a gift – more of a ‘get this horrid stuff away from me please!”

The yoga was a bit ‘meh’ – a new class and teacher and it was very slow, I was very keen to finish and crack on (which I recognised as the addiction anxiety trying to get me to drink before I changed my mind. I poured the drink just after 5, into the top of my can, so no one would know I was drinking….what an idiot.

Anyway, top and bottom is – I had about 10-12 units, I was drunk but not noticeably. I hated the taste. I thought I loved it but I hated it. I wasnt fully present for our romantic meal or film which is a big shame since it could have been really special. I didnt do anything I regret howver – no arguments or random texts.

I haven’t slept since waking up two hours after going to sleep, and have just had a very bad stomach! All things I should have reminded myself of. I HATE not sleeping.

So, I don’t feel sad or ashamed which I used to, and I’m not proud but I feel like I’m more on track for the next six months now, so now when asked I will say ‘I have only drank once in the last 6 months / 7 months/ 8 etc and I definitely don’t feel like I’m back at day one.

That Friday Feeling….

Seems my mind is wandering to drink even earlier this week…I’m in a stinking bad mood, and just have that ‘fuck it’ feeling completely. I have to go grocery shopping later this afternoon, so hoping writing this out might set me straight.

Things between me and my partner have continued to be shitty and on the verge of separation but as usual he refuses, we have more sessions with relate scheduled starting next week. I think i feel generally pissed off because nothing is changing in the relationship and it should. As well as that my almost 12 year olds moods are getting so annoying, it’s getting difficult. Also just sick of lockdown, and feeling like I have loads to do but can’t do much at all except sit about.

But mostly Im worried bout my friend, who has been having a horrible time for so long and whose daughter has been abused spookily similarly to me, her daughter is in hospital today and I just feel so sad for them all. A 16 year old in so much pain, so confused, like I was, but she wont accept any help, blames her mother for everything wrong in her life, I guess I just relate so much to her and want to help so badly but she wont accept any help, and now just ignores me if I do send texts or offer to go for a walk etc. Bless her. This makes all the other insignificant things seem…well…insignificant! I’m getting so hung up on minor things it’s frustrating. I don’t need to drink, Ive got 15 days until I hit 6 months and then I am there..wherever that is…

I asked my closed friend yesterday if i should drink again after six months and she said without hesitation ‘NO’. I asked why and she said because it’s ‘all or nothing’ with me, thats how I have always been and always will be…so it is safer to stay dry. I do agree it makes sense. But I’m also very tempted to start planning a little mini celebration weekend…with booze? Would there be much point in that…Im not sure a smoker would celebrate 6 months without boasting about it with a cigarette in hand??? Doesn’t make much sense does it?

More to wonder about..

Reading back on my last post I see that this statement – “Something bad happens, say me and my partner fight, and my reaction is to tell myself something like ‘ well I can skip tea later, that will make it better” and I instantly feel calmer -” – used to be the same as saying ” something bad happens and I tell myself, ‘well I can have a drink later/ soon’ and instantly feel calmer and relaxed.

The alcohol has been a much bigger issue and crutch for me than I even realised. I was hiding behind the alcohol for so long.

Anyway, I have a confession – on Sunday I decided to make a chocolate moose with Irish cream liqueur (Baileys). I ate the pudding, so I am not 100% dry as of then, but I can recognize that having a liqueur chocolate or pudding is not a self-destructive habit forming thing…but it’s weird isn’t it…I can’t say I haven’t touched alcohol for x amount of days now truthfully…although I haven’t ‘drank’. What does everyone else do about these types of desserts? Like if I was avoiding coffee, I don’t think I would avoid a coffee chocolate…but should I be???

Baileys truffles to go with the chocolate mouse recipe (cheap baileys as have no intention of enjoying it as a “drink”)

Saturday Saturday, please f*ck off!

It’s Saturday and I want to buy vodka. Again. The thought was actually contemplated whilst in the supermarket, like it was actually an option? Where is this coming from?

I got home from the supermarket, which I’d walked around thinking about buying something but didn’t. Unfortunately a toy I bought for my daughter was broken when we opened it at home, she wanted to go straight back to the shop to exchange it – and because there’s nothing else to do at the moment I was happy to walk 20 minutes back to the shop.

My mind began to race…

Which drink could I buy, I’ll just have a look at what is available, I’m not an alcoholic, almost 6 months proves that, but its only a few more weeks maybe I should wait and then see how I feel at six months….I’ve already got Pepsi so half way there, I can even be secretive and no one would have to know, I wouldn’t have to tell anyone, I don’t have to blog about it, I don’t have to answer to anyone, people will be supportive I’m sure and I can start again, whats the point in that… I will know I have let myself down.whats the issue anyway, If I fancy a drink why cant i have one (maybe because of these thoughts duh!)

The inner monologue continued until I found the isle I wanted (I had to walk up and down ta few before I found the vodka – it wasn’t easy but I kept trying – God loves a trier!). I stood and studied the bottles and prices….this one is £6 and 7.4 units – I know I could finish that and be ok in the morning…but what if that wasn’t enough and I went out and bought even more then that would be stupid and I would end up buying a bigger bottle while I was pissed, so maybe I should get the bigger bottle now…hmmm this one is £9 and 14 units, thats about what I need….to knock myself out (I’m only small)… Right Lou what is the point of trying to knock yourself out…why do you want to buy this – just wait, put it down…..then my toddler said “mammy what are you doing so long, why are you worried?” to which I came out of my head and put the bottle down and said ” nothing just looking” and also said out loud to myself “put it back lou You don’t need it”.

I knew I had a lot more shops to pass on the way home before I was ‘safe’…. I called my sister and told her how I was feeling, that helped, she doesn’t really drink (strange that?!) and said I would regret it all week and the way Im feeling now it wasn’t a good idea…. she was right…I continued home.

Had to take the dog out one final walk of the day – this was it, I wasn’t going to go back out in the snow again after this…I had to resist…I text my friend who supports me the most about this and she sent a message straight back putting me right! My battery died on my phone which I was pleased about as again now I had no means to pay for anything and knew I would get home alcohol free.

I thought how I would never have been able to do this if the pubs were open. It’s so easy to wander in, smell that smell and order a drink, you can’t then put it back on the shelf if you change your mind……I’ve been lucky in that respect. I should not drink alone, just because it’s Saturday and I’m bored. I was imagining having a drink while cooking…and then remembered how I couldn’t just have one…there is no way I would feel satisfied after one drink, maybe two? noooo lets try three…the bottle is gone and I need more…. It’s inevitable how the scenario would play out. I don’t want to be part of that story anymore…

I’ve just had a cup of tea and chocolate and about to cook the curry now….bath after that….

I’m tired, I’ve started eating better and kind of physically ‘back to normal’ and I think that is what is really bothering me. Funny that – I stopped drinking and had to control food and exercise, I back of that a little and the urge to drink comes and hits me like a bitch. This is the most tempted I have ever been. It seems to be getting stronger – but then I remember with every sober day, so am I.

5th month

I can do the next 28 days, 4 straight weeks, and then if I look back to posts this time last year I think I started drinking again around my birthday beginning of April, as was out of control by May, so there’s a lesson, I should not give myself permission to drink after 6 months. I will give myself permission to continue to look after my health, only put goodness inside and not self harm with alcohol or anything else.

My weight and food is much better, gaining a few pounds so I’m not looking “too thin” just “thin” has helped and that’s because I’m eating a lot more regularly. But my mind isn’t happy when I look in the mirror or feel my stomach, so I’m still being vigilant.

The Little Things

It’s the little things I love about being sober. Being present in conversations, small moments in time when I remember that I could not or would not have felt a certain way had I been drinking, appreciating my health and time with my children, being a better and more consistent parent to my children. There are so many positives I could go on to list.

The things I miss about drinking? I think I need to have a good think about this, as I seem to be getting the pull stronger than ever, so maybe it will help me to establish what exactly I am looking for from an alcoholic drink…

I know a big trigger is boredom, wanting to feel different, feel something different. Also wanting to feel like I belong – Im a social group for example. Yesterday I found my self saying to a ‘new’ friend about her garden ‘oh it will be lovely in the summer we can sit with a bottle of wine’….and this made me question why I felt the need to say that…like I might not get invited around if I wasn’t going to drink…..for all I know she may not want to drink…..but it is so ingrained in us that this is the normal way, this is what adults do, they work in the week then get fucked up at the weekend to start all over again on the Monday morning probably feeling shitter as the weeks go on.

I’m free of that now, so why do I envision future friendships with booze – I think this added to my wanting to drink yesterday, as that’s the second time I’ve mentioned something like this to someone and if I’m thinking of drinking then, why not now too? I’ve got a hold of this now (I feel) and has resigned myself to the fact that I can do 6 months and go from there. There is no point stopping before then. I can reassess.

Whatever rules I put in place for myself if I did start drinking again, I know I would work around in time, and end up right where I am, so I guess that kind of tells me something – I shouldn’t start again!!!

I follow a friend on Facebook that set up a business around supporting people to get sober, Claire ‘the soberholic’ is inspiring so many people – she asked me if I would like to take part in one of her podcasts…which I would love to, but then I thought ‘oh god I can’t drink now then for sure until that’s done!’ So even if that is all that keeps me going through this rocky time at least it does…if that makes sense?!

Here is a link to her website for anyone interested – https://www.thesoberholic.com/