Do you have favourite or least favourite days of the week? Perhaps I’m just weird, but I’ve always disliked Wednesdays. Today is Thursday and Thursdays I’ve always liked. I’m not sure if I have any solid reasons, but back at school and college Wednesdays always seemed to be the longest and had double lessons in the heaviest and most boring subjects. I don’t know if that’s where it comes from. Anyway, it’s Thursday and that’s one of my favourites. This particular one is on my countdown of my job, today being number six as I’m off tomorrow and then it’s just next week. Time for reflection on this? Well, I’ve been in the job for three and a bit years. My bosses are lovely people and there is nothing bad to say about the job itself. The first two years I was still drinking heavily and therefore barely functioned to a minimal degree. This past year I’ve been sober but quite distracted and just keen to close the door on my old life now. Had it all been a success story if I’d never sunk into alcoholism? Maybe. Maybe not. If I’d never been an alcoholic, perhaps I would never have worked there at all? I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter because it belongs in the past with all that other stuff. I can’t sit here and regret stuff or beat myself up any further, it is what it is and now is the time to move on and really start living. And what a great day to be alive – Thursdays totally rock!
I have another 47 envelopes ready – containing my CV and a cover letter – to hand to the managers at various coffee shops and stores around where I live. The last time I had 17 of those, because that’s how many envelopes we had at home. Yesterday I bought a pack of 50 but I ended up with 47 because I messed three up. No significance to the number.
Something struck me yesterday and it might be one of the biggest things about sobriety and what it’s given me: time. There is so much of it!
Actually, it became obvious straight away when I stopped drinking. I got home from work and really felt at a loose end. Now what? What do I do? Normally I’d pour that first big glass of wine before I’d even taken my shoes off and then off I went. I’d be forced to do the things you can’t not do, like cook dinner, nag Bambino to do his homework and make sure all his uniform was washed and ready. Work would be the same – I’d show up and I would kinda do the minimum. Hubby had quite a fun but also messy and unpredictable wife, so I’m not going to deny there were lots of nice times because there were, but oh my goodness is it different now! It’s absolutely insane how all my time went on drinking – suffering horrendous hangovers and operating on autopilot, preoccupied by planning my drinking or, uhm, drinking and only paying attention to just that.
Yesterday I picked up some things on my way home from work – some bits from the supermarket and aforementioned envelopes – and back home I had a nice little chat with Bambino for a while, then cleaned the apartment, made dinner and then welcomed Hubby home. We sat on the couch chatting for a good hour or so before bed. Before bed, I washed my face and used my fancy night cream and some serum that’s meant to make me look younger or something. I never did this when I drank. OK, the leopard hasn’t completely changed its spots – I still use regular hand soap or shower gel to wash my face, but the point is I do it before bed too and not just during my morning shower. Perhaps this Sober Year Numero Dos can be the year for proper face wash and toners or whatever those things are – all in good time. When I drank, I didn’t do this. Too much effort. I feel a bit embarrassed to admit I skipped a part of personal hygiene all my adult life! It’s true though – I always went to bed without washing my face. It feels so good to do it now! It makes me feel virtuous and actually, it does make a difference. I’ve sadly not turned into some dewy skinned wonder, but I think there’s a huge difference. The biggest difference isn’t down to any hygiene routine or cream – my skin is looking healthier because I’m not drinking aka poisoning myself. But I’m not trying to make a point about how stopping drinking is a really great beauty regime – even though it most definitely is! – but rather about how I do so much more now and how good that makes me feel.
I don’t think anyone could look at my afternoon yesterday and accuse me of being busy. When I first got home, I had a little horizontal time on the couch reading blogs and browsing news articles. Sure, I cleaned the place and had a nice talk with Bambino, but between cleaning and making dinner I went horizontal for a while again. Then I typed up a new cover letter, printed off a bunch and signed and sealed those 47 envelopes. I’m hardly super woman. Had planned to go for a run but didn’t bother. No, I’m not an over achiever or crazily productive super mama. Yet, on a bog standard and very average afternoon Sober Me is worlds apart from Drunk Me. All that stuff would be inconceivable to Drunk Me. No joke. Even the fact that I floss most mornings is way beyond what Drunk Me could have coped with.
Time! There’s lots of it and I make use of it! Even with horizontal lazy breaks, I still do so much more than Drunk Me could even imagine.
It’s quite funny now when I think back on about a year ago, when Sober Me was all brand new. Hubby and I went for long drives to pass the time! Of course initially it was also a matter of the habit itself – I was just so used to cracking open the wine when I got home and was a bit lost as I wasn’t sure what to do instead. When I think about Sober Me over those first few weeks, I’m filled with affection – it was all quite sweet really. “I’m going mad, let’s go! I have to get out or I’ll want drink!” I’d exclaim and literally grab Hubby by the coat sleeve before he’d even set his bag down coming home from work, then into the car and off we went. Ironically, we often ended up pulling in at some pub somewhere and I do remember how it was quite strange to have soda water with a slice of lime instead of wine, how I knew I didn’t want to drink but how aware I was of the urge to. Bit like Bambi on the ice is how I felt, I suppose.
It all came good though – the habit part was quite painless to break, as habits mostly are. If you’re used to taking a left out of the tube station to get to work, it’ll be slightly strange at first when you’ve changed jobs and have to go right. Once or twice you might even begin to go left and then have to remind yourself. But it really doesn’t take that much time or effort. And my day soon began to fill up with all the things I had abandoned in favour of drinking. I guess it filled up with living. Of course, when you’re present and not flat-out hammered, time also appears to pass more slowly because you’re not in a haze. Those long drives over those first few weeks were soon replaced with long walks. This was in part due to me putting on weight when I ditched the booze. Suddenly I discovered that, contrary to what I always believed, I actually do have a sweet tooth and began to inhale chocolate, sweets, biscuits, cake, ice cream….. And got a little squidgier as a result. Always did love being active even though boozing obviously stole that from me, so sober I threw myself into long, brisk walks, often around the whole park which is 10k. Didn’t get any thinner but whatever – it did me a world of good, as exercise does. Now I’m back into the running and what seemed like an unobtainable dream to Drunk Me is a pretty effortless reality for Sober Me – I head out every other day and even though I wobble along at a snail’s pace, I get around 7k without having to stop and walk. For Drunk Me, 5k was a lofty goal. For Sober Me, our 5.5k loop is the shorter one we do on Fridays just because it’s nice and easy. Talk about victories, folks! Yay sobriety!
Before you ask – no, I’m not getting any thinner. But I feel healthy and strong. And Hubby seems quite happy any time he sees me naked so my wobbly bits can’t be totally awful. Just saying as I feel it’s important to keep it honest and real, OK? I’m almost 43 and I’m not exactly what you’d see if you browse Instagram. There’s cellulite. There’s bendy flesh. There are wrinkles and little colonies of grey hair sprouting by my ears. No, not IN my ears – we haven’t quite got to that stage yet, come ON. I could do with a pedicure and I have hairy toes. BUT I FEEL FUCKING AWESOME BECAUSE I’M SOBER!! And I’m doing my best to be the best I can be.
My days are so productive now and it feels good to do stuff – whether it’s going for a run or just the fact that I washed my face before bed! I used to HATE having to do stuff, really hate it! Sobriety has given me all this time. When I drank I’d always talk about let’s do this or let’s do that, but then I’d be too zonked to actually do it due to debilitating hangovers. Now I talk about the things I want to do tomorrow, and when tomorrow turns into today I actually go and do them. It feels really good.
This Thursday is extra good because I’m not working tomorrow. Instead I’m on taxi duty as Hubby has a shoulder op. I may have to bite the bullet and get in his car instead as I drive a beaten up (and quite unreliable) old Mini. Hubby is quite a big bloke, 6’3 and well built, so on a good day he looks a bit like a Swiss knife when he gets in my car, long legs all folded up. After surgery it might be nicer for him to just be more comfortable and stretch his legs out a little. Nothing major, it’s a key hole shoulder op and he should be good as new within the matter of just a week or two but still. I’m actually more worried about getting him home – I would not be able to lift him or hold him up. This would be a good time to have a dinky little boyfriend, a short and very skinny little one and if he’s wobbly and stumbles I could just pull him up with one hand. If Hubby is wobbly it’s a problem – not just getting him in and out of the car but then up three flights of stairs too in our building which has no elevator. Hm, they won’t release him until he’s steady, right? Either way I suspect I’ll have to pull on my big girl pants and drive the bigger car. At least it makes beeping noises when you get too close to something.
Happy Thursday to you all!