A Random Tuesday

If I were to pinpoint what lead me to my turning point, I would first have to point to how I’d really had it. I’d had enough and I couldn’t go on any longer – I desperately wanted out of my addiction. What has solidified this desire to not only get sober but STAY sober was deconstructing what alcohol was for me: what I thought it did for me vs what it actually did. Those were almost opposites. To my mind, pouring that glass of wine was to sprinkle glitter on life. Alcohol to me represented celebration, joy and fun. Any time a happy feeling hit – which was most of the time – I wanted to pour wine aka glitter on it.

Often, when we want to untangle what’s lead us to where we are, we take a look at our childhood. I grew up in a happy home with loving parents, neither of whom ever drank to excess. My mother might sip at a small glass of wine at Christmas or around Midsummer but rarely other than that. Dad does like a good knees-up and occasionally he’ll have a whisky or two when he watches ice-hockey but I’ve never ever known him to have a drink on, say, a random Tuesday. There aren’t any big drinkers in my family and alcohol was never present except for times of celebrations and only ever in moderation. In fact, in my family I was the only smoker and I now include the wider family – aunties, uncles and cousins. Correction – my granddad on Mum’s side smoked but had quit by the time I was born. What I’m saying is that for me personally, drinking or addiction of any kind wasn’t something I grew up around and certainly not the type of drinking I ended up engaging in. It just didn’t exist – I grew up surrounded by moderation only. I say this because I want to demonstrate how addiction doesn’t necessarily depend on your background or wallet. Addiction is a very democratic beast.

Alcohol has many uses. We use it as a disinfectant – it dries out cells at contact so very good for killing bacteria. This also makes it excellent for cleaning. We also put it into our cars. Conjure up an old time image of someone having a tooth pulled – I can bet you that they’ll also have a bottle of booze in that picture. It’s a proven anaesthetic that numbs us both physically and mentally. Beyond this it’s a strong poison and a powerful depressant.

al-khul

Makes sense, doesn’t it? For me, this is exactly what it does. It destroyed me from within and it makes me shudder to think where I might have ended up. Well, I know exactly where – six feet under – but I guess it’s the remaining stops along that awful journey that I sometimes ponder and the devastation I would have had to suffer before reaching the inevitable destination. Eesh.

Then there are of course all these people – including my husband and most of my friends and family – who can enjoy alcohol in precisely the sort of way you see in the adverts. It’s fun and you get a bit tipsy and goofy and it’s just enhanced the moment. That’s what I wanted too but it never happened. There’d be that brief window around the third drink that DID feel that way – I’d feel buzzed and melty – but it never lasted long and instead I’d hurtle full steam into black-out like a runaway train. Hopeless. But that’s me and I do accept that for those strange creatures who can drink in moderation – weirdos! – it’s different. At the end of the day, if there isn’t a problem, there isn’t a problem. I think because it seemed to me that the rest of the world could have what alcohol promised, I refused for the longest time to accept it wasn’t true for me. Gosh, there’s an advert for a Swedish lager called Pripps Blå and it sums up alcohol’s promise as well as fills me with nostalgia and images of the place where I grew up. It encapsulates how I used to see alcohol:

OK, ignore the ridiculous shot of the naked guy pouring water on himself *snigger* but there you have it – sun, sea, friends and pure loveliness somewhere in the archipelago. Fine, I’m more of a forest lake kinda gal and don’t much care for the sea, but you can just swap the sailing boat for a little rowing boat and row that out into the middle of a quiet lake during any of those summer nights when the sun never sets. There’s my snapshot of heaven right there, which used to contain booze in my world. Now, not so much, but I do think the key to my alcoholism can at least partly be found in the illusion of alcohol and my own beliefs around it. My desire to drink all but died when that illusion shattered and I finally saw what alcohol is for me – poison in a pretty bottle.

Spring is coming. This, I imagine, might be spoken of as the dreaded winter in Game of Thrones to any sober alcoholic. Fast approaching is the season of drinks by the river, picnics and BBQs, sitting in beer gardens and heading to the sea front. Mulled wine and pints of Guinness in all their glory, but isn’t the warmer half of the year the real drinking season? Yes, I drank as heavily no matter the season – I guess you could call me a seasoned drunk, hahr hahr – but when the weather gets kinder it’d seem those normal people drink more too. Thankfully, it doesn’t bother me because it’s still just poison in a pretty bottle and I hope my devious brain won’t fool me again, but it’s worth bearing in mind because it’s more in our faces during this approaching part of the year. Rekorderlig cider by the river! Those pesky Swedes who’ve now provided us with those strawberry and lime ciders that you drink with plenty of ice and taste like schampoo at the first sip.

Well. Just rambling…

Today I’m not going to drink.

A Lovely Picket Fence

Holy cannoli – no sooner do I blog (last week) about having a new type of drinking dream – one in which the choice is mine and I say no – than I go right back to the original kind where it’s already too late. Yep, woke up and felt relieved but I also realised something that’s actually a little scary: I have steered and organised my life in such a way that if I were to slip and fall off the wagon, everything would fall apart. OK, so this is always the case no matter what my life looks like because inviting alcohol up to dance again would obviously mean I’d be destroying myself again. Booze will only ever mean darkness and destruction and eventually death. But the lines have been re-drawn.

I work at a rehab. I abandoned my old “career”. I first contacted them in the summer when I was about eight months sober. They took their time to see me and talk me through what possible paths into this industry would be, but they don’t even allow you to volunteer before you have one year of sobriety under your belt. Hence it wasn’t until the end of January this year that I quit my job in order to pursue this. I sat tight and waited things out for months and it felt like forever.

Not to blow my own trumpet too vigorously or anything (but OK, a little), I think my actions from the beginning underline how much I want to be sober. Almost immediately I told my family and friends – if I’d still deep down had ANY desire to keep drinking I would have left myself with several emergency exits. Nope, I plugged all of those gaps and holes and announcing my decision to those who love me was such an act – because I wanted out of the swamp of addiction so desperately, I figured the harder I made it for myself to sink back in the better my chances would be. If everyone around me knows I’m an alcoholic wanting to stay sober, it’s going to be pretty difficult (or MORE difficult at any rate) to go back. It was my way of putting out life lines all around me. No one in my life now would sit and watch me pour a glass of wine because they all know where it took me. I’ve made it painfully clear to everyone that this is something I will never ever be able to do. If I were to sink back now, they’d all spring into action. That’s a comforting thought. No one can keep me sober but ME, but having those you love aware of your situation means they’ll have your back and call you out if you stumble. There’s nowhere for me to hide now. No I’m-on-holiday excuses to my family when we visit Sweden.

In last night’s drinking dream, it was already too late. I’d been on a massive bender and was going to work. At the rehab. And I woke up just as I had in the dream been hit with the thought “oh shit, what happens now?“.

Indeed.

If I were to drink now, I’d be fucked. Not just because I’m an alcoholic and it’d kill me but because I’ve also decided to dedicate my working life to helping others find sobriety. That would all immediately be ruined. I’d no longer be able to pursue this thing I feel so passionate about. Well – not for another 365 days, anyway. I’d have shot myself in both feet and both kneecaps too. Wowsa.

It’s hard to describe how that feels. On the one hand it makes me feel really good because I’m so serious about this and want nothing else. On the other it’s terrifying to know how I’d wreck my life if I were to drink again, but having said that, it’s not exactly news! That’s always been the case and perhaps the EEK part of it is just the realisation that I’ve structured my life in a way now that means all those outs are well and truly blocked. That’s really just fantastic news, isn’t it? Yes, the desire and strength to stay sober will always have to come from me, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with adding some safety features around me. Like a lovely picket fence along the edges of my Pink Cloud.

Today I’m not going to drink.

Don’t Wanna, Not Gonna

Do you have drinking dreams? I’ve had them every so often since I stopped drinking and they’re horrible. In the dream it’s already too late – I land in the dream and the scenario is that I’ve already been drinking. It’s so shitty and the shame, guilt and sadness are all so palpable it terrifies me. Then I wake up and because those dark feelings are so real I actually feel hungover, just for that first second when I open my eyes. And of course a moment later I realise it was a dream – or nightmare, rather! – and feel so grateful that this isn’t me now. I didn’t drink last night and I haven’t woken up with a crippling hangover. It’s such a relief. I have always thought of those dreams as my subconscious saying to me “Remember this, girl? Don’t you dare forget!“. It’s not a nice reminder given I have to relive the shame and guilt and horror of my actions but I’ll have to say it’s been very effective because the relief I feel at realising it was a dream is so deep it makes me a bit tearful. Tearful in the way you might be when you’re through the worst part of something, like how Bambino cried after the tooth pulling ordeal. Relief.

So the other night I had a drinking dream but it was the first of its kind and different from the ones I’ve had before. I dreamt Hubby and I were on holiday and I was going to drink. The intention was there and I had decided I would. That’s where I landed in the dream. I was walking down a supermarket aisle, perusing the bottles of white wine to find the kind I’d like. And then, in the dream, I’m holding a bottle of wine in my hands to read the label and my stomach turned. Don’t wanna, not gonna. And that was it. Dream Me decided not to drink because she actually didn’t want to.

The difference between the two types of drinking dream is of course that in one I don’t have a choice and in the other I do. I don’t know if this is significant, if it means I’m more solid in my sobriety and this dream shows this, but it was quite nice. I won’t allow myself to get cocky though – I think the moment I’m fooled into thinking I have sobriety sussed, or worse, I’m “cured”, I’ll be in a world of trouble. Anyone else having those dreams? Of either variety?

I’m sitting in a really noisy cafe this morning with Hubby. It’s the nicest place on the high street, a small independent, family run cafe and they serve the best breakfast. The acoustics of the place are horrendous though and it’s not as if this morning’s crowd is a bunch of university students on a pub crawl – just average Joes like Hubby and I having coffee and breakfast – but the sound levels are awful. I wonder if it’s the high ceiling or the brick walls, but it’s deafening. It’s bad enough when we’re actually just working on our laptops but to have any type of conversation would mean shouting at each other. And that’s what everyone seems to have to do.

Before the place filled up and we were able to hear each other, I asked Hubby if he ever worries that I’ll relapse. Because he is such a kind soul, I sometimes wonder if he hides his own worry from me in order not to hurt me. I really wanted to know, perhaps part of me wanted to really reassure him I feel so much more confident these days. He has a demanding job and I don’t want him to have the added pressure of a wife who might fall (or jump) off the wagon.

This isn’t a trick question and I don’t want you to worry about hurting my feelings, OK?” I said and looked into Hubby’s beautiful, soulful, big blue eyes trying to emphasise my point by unflinching eye contact.

OK.

Do you ever worry I’ll start drinking again?

No,” came the answer immediately and he tilted his head slightly as he held my gaze.

Really? Not ever? Not even when you’re travelling? Isn’t there any part of you that frets over me going for it when I’m alone like I used to?

No. You’re so set on this.

Wow. OK,” I said and couldn’t help smiling, “but how about this – what if you were away and we talked on the phone and you can hear me slurring and then I tell you I’m drinking. What would happen then? I mean, what would you feel?

I’d be shocked,” Hubby responded, deadpan and shrugged his shoulders. “Just really surprised.

God, you’re so fucking balanced!” I laughed, “this won’t make an interesting blog post AT ALL! I was after angst and fear and gut wrenching Greek tragedy emotion!

Hubby just smiled and for a moment I just got a little lost in how I love his perfect face (the man was carved by angels, I swear) and those gorgeous eyes through which you can just about catch a glimpse of his glorious soul. I snapped out of ogling Hubby and forced myself back to all my questions.

But wouldn’t you feel anxious, like get a knot in your stomach?” I insisted.

I’d worry for you, yeah.

Jeez, the man is unshakable. I’ve never known anyone to be so calm about things. It doesn’t matter what it is – if the whole world was on fire, he’d just take a look at the situation and figure out the best way to put it out. Me? I’d shout and scream and panic and freak out and flap around like a crazed seagull on amphetamine.

What about for YOU? As in what it’d mean for you and what YOU would have to live with? Wouldn’t you be worried about going back to where I was? And have a wife whose drinking is out of control?

Of course. I want you to be and feel your best. I don’t want to see you in a situation where you can’t,” he told me matter of fact.

OK, OK. Hubby isn’t one to get worked up, not even by a world on fire or a binge drinking, black-out lush wife. Just glanced over at him across the table from me, he has his focused work face on. Brow furrowed and staring intently on the screen. He isn’t typing so he’s probably looking through a presentation or something. My rock. My mother gave a perfect speech at our wedding celebration and I’m going to be as brazen as to copy in her lines below – they sum up the man I married:

For all the reasons I have today to feel grateful, one of the biggest is, that it is you [Hubby], that my daughter has chosen for her husband. You are a kind and caring person that stands steady even in the stormiest weather. I trust you and your love for her. I welcome you and your sons, [Bonus #1] and [Bonus #2], to our family, something I do with all my heart.

Her whole speech was amazing and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house. Even my stepmother pointed out how great it was, and she isn’t one to throw compliments around her and certainly not to her husband’s first wife. But those few lines sum Hubby up. Sweet Lord, this has turned into some sort of ode to the wonder that is Hubby, but he really is so utterly wonderful and I’m a very, very lucky lady. I sometimes wonder if he married me for the challenge.

Today I’m not going to drink.

Anna’s Recovery Library

I’ve finally added my ever growing list of sobriety literature! In the above menu bar you should now see Anna’s Recovery Library and it will take you to the books I’ve been reading and contains fact based addiction studies as well as lots of personal memoirs. It’s funny because my favourite book of all time is a heartbreaking account of addiction: And I Don’t Want to Live This Life by Deborah Spungen – I read it for the first time when I was just 13 years old or so and I must have, over the years, read it at least 20 times over. It always grabbed me and touched me, even long before I sank into addiction myself.

Anyway, there it is and I will keep on adding to it as I travel through the world of the written word. There is no particular order and I’ve not yet added my own comments to each title but I will at some stage. For me it’s fundamentally a desire to learn and understand addiction – both my own and in general. More important than ever now that I work at a rehab facility. Some books make me go “oh my goodness, this is ME!” and others have me raising an eyebrow and think “I don’t relate to this AT ALL!” but whatever the book or study, I always learn something and I remain very open minded even with the big questions such as whether addiction is a disease or purely behavioural.

There we are! Perhaps someone will find it useful, and as ever, please do recommend any books or whatever else you feel is insightful or helpful or even really provocative!

Today I’m not going to drink.

400 Days

It’s hard to start with that title without feeling very happy and a little bit proud. I almost feel a little bashful. At dinner last night, one of Hubby’s work colleagues seemed a little embarrassed at how people were in awe at her impressive finish time for a marathon she recently ran. I feel a little like that right now, like I’m bragging or calling attention to myself by pointing out this milestone. Isn’t that silly? So I bloody SHOULD! 400 days is HUGE for me and I never ever thought I’d be able to say those words: I am 400 days sober. BOOM! At some point not too long ago – say, 400 days or so back in time – I would have resented having to be the sort of person whose greatest achievement is the number of days sober. That wasn’t me! I didn’t want that to be me. And yet, here we are and I can honestly say it makes me happier than I imagine I’d be if someone told me I had a book deal. Yes, this is me and I am proud of every single one of those 400 days. They are a testament to the woman I can be.

Another testament to the woman I am when I’m sober is last night. Literally the sort of situation that sends my anxiety levels sky high: a dinner with Hubby’s work colleagues. Not only am I the one who’s the outsider here in a group where everyone else already know each other well, but these are all super smart, worldly and very senior people in a global company. Around the table, most job titles started with either “Chief” or “VP”. Add lil’ ol’ me and I’m in absolute knots because I just KNOW I’ll embarrass Hubby by being ridiculous and thoroughly disastrous at making polite conversation. Being sober however, I never worked myself up beforehand because let’s face it, I haven’t been guzzling a depressant with anxiety as a side order for a long time. Sure, I felt a little nervous and yes, I would have been relieved if it had got cancelled, but I actually had a really nice time and it’d seem I didn’t wreck Hubby’s career by turning up. Somehow, sobriety allows me to relax and be quite calm. Yep, I felt myself blush when they all turned up and Hubby introduced me to those I haven’t met before and I’m sure my neck was blotchy (damn that v-neck top – bad choice, shoulda known!), but…. …no, it wasn’t at all the nightmare I always believe those situations will be.

It’s mostly a case of being self conscious I think. I stress over looking or seeming stupid, from the shoes I wear to how I speak. I also worry about my hearing which is shockingly bad (almost entirely deaf on one ear), which means in places where there is a lot of chatter or loud background music I’m screwed and can’t hear a thing. There was a live jazz band, I noted with horror as we walked in. I even worry about my nail polish. It’s a case of absolute terror in case I’m so ridiculous it reflects badly on Hubby, even though the man has never EVER insinuated that he is anything other than happy I’m his wife. Yet in my head I’m an embarrassment. Isn’t that just so fucking stupid? THAT’s the stupid part. No, I’m not a successful business woman but so what? I’m a nice person, period. What else could possibly matter? And I do have things to say, funny stories to tell and lots of stuff to talk about. I’m just like anyone else – no better, no worse.

Lo and behold – it was a lovely, lovely evening. I did freeze for a moment when I realised my seat was right in the middle of the table (my default coping mechanism is positioning myself on the sidelines and in the background), but I made the startling discovery that I am actually quite good company. At no point did I feel awful because I couldn’t initiate conversation, to be fair partly due to sitting next to a lady I do know reasonably well having met her many times before and she’s a chatterbox, but still. And eventually it came up: one of the people I met for the first time asked what I do for a living. I told him, along with the other five sets of eyes at this point aimed at me. It was easy and no, I wasn’t met with blank stares or distaste. Nor did I get probing questions as to why, something Hubby and I had talked about – after all, I’m friends on Facebook with Chatterbox and she was one of the people telling me congratulations when I posted a picture of my cake at my one year sober. It’s not hard to put two and two together there, right? I’ve stopped drinking and make a point of celebrating a milestone, and now I work in a rehab. It’s all cool though. And I refuse to hide my story these days. No, I didn’t go into that part because there was no need to and those questions didn’t arise, but even so.

Guess what? The only silly thing (that we all laughed at) was how my accomplished, successful, mega intelligent, worldly and executive board member Hubby seemed to have missed that my native Sweden is in the EU. I think he was probably joking but still, my point is that I didn’t leave feeling like an idiot or woke up this morning dying of shame because of the stupid things I might have said due to being too hungover to think straight. Or worse, having got a bit too drunk as I did at a wedding in Italy, where I last was around a couple of these people. Hubby did at the time reassure me no one had noticed but I wonder if that was one of those occasions when he was just trying to be kind and save me from feeling ashamed.

Being sober is a little like learning who I am all over again. Sober Anna is someone I wouldn’t have recognised those 400 days back. Hubby even describes me as “calm” these days, which is just too funny but appears to be accurate. Judging by last night it would seem I can hold my own and be reasonably fun company around people I in the past would have felt really intimidated by. Who IS this person?! No, I’ll never be a social butterfly but dare I say it – I really enjoyed last night. Stupid alcohol that had me believing I’m stupid and embarrassing when I’m neither. Good riddance.

So hurrah for 400 days that mark another little milestone of the best decision I ever made. If I’d read this when I was still drinking it would have made me sneer and think oh sod off you smug twat, but I can honestly say that being sober has transformed my life. I actually want to pinch myself.

Today I’m not going to drink.

A Big, Fat OR ELSE

What strikes me the most, working in a rehab as I now do (well, by gently volunteering my way in), is something I have thought about so often – how I consider myself so lucky to have had the luxury of reaching my turning point myself. That’s not to say I’m cleverer than the next drunk because I’m not, but I wonder what it’d take to get and stay sober for any other reason than truly wanting to. It’d require strength and determination far beyond what I could ever muster, that’s for sure. I’m sure there are those who get themselves straight because there was a big, fat OR ELSE and hats off to them, but thank God I was one of those of us who got sober because there was nothing I wanted more desperately. No one forced me, no ultimatums were put to me, there was no OR ELSE. In that moment I’d had enough and I wanted to be free.

Watching other people’s journeys up close as working in a rehab has you doing, I often wonder what might have happened if this had been mine too. Witnessing someone, who so clearly needs help, discharge themselves from treatment makes you feel hopeless. How much more do you have to lose before you finally accept that something must give? Clients may find a zillion reasons to leave, excuses to point to in order to illustrate why treatment isn’t for them: don’t like my room, don’t like the food, don’t like the therapy, the common room sofas aren’t to my liking, please make the rain stop and so on. But it’s just bullshit all of it – it’s not about how there isn’t a fish option every day and it’s not the size of her room or where in the building it is, nor is it the therapists or the routines. The only reason is how the desire to drink or use is greater than the desire to stop. Simple as that.

So many people enter rehab that way, because of OR ELSE. Perhaps all one can hope for is that once they’ve gone through the detox and feel better physically and mentally, they are there long enough for something to click and that desire to stay clean and sober springs to life. I don’t know. What I do know is that I’m very, very fortunate to have got sober the way I did – because I wanted to, not because of OR ELSE. It’s a bleak and often hopeless looking world, this world of addiction in which I currently find myself on the other side of the fence. There are happy endings, sure, but so much heartbreak too. Another guy in there is being discharged in a couple of days after staying the full duration of his treatment. When he shared in group he was practically smacking his lips as he spoke of using. It’s hard to feel hope at times like that, when someone so obviously romanticises the very thing that put them there. Maybe it’s a front, he does come across a bit peacocky and perhaps he thought it was funny. Who knows.

Yes, it seems hopeless in many ways, but for each hour I spend there I’m more certain this is where I need to be and what I want to do. I just know in my heart I will do a good job and no matter how many sad stories I will witness unfold, I will leave at the end of each day knowing it’s all worth it. Patsy Stone’s little winks and smiles made me genuinely happy today, but then I did like her from her admission on my first day. I guess it’s natural, that part – some people we instinctively like, others we don’t. That’s just life. Just need to be careful with how I invest my emotions.

Today I’m not going to drink.

Benny Hill’s Recipes

Who are you, anyway? Not that you’re speaking to me,” Madam mumbled whilst burrowing her head deeper into the puffy sleeve of her coat where she was sort of sleeping in the comfy chair in the rehab’s assessment room.

Well, you said you were tired so I thought I’d give you some peace,” I chirped.

Day 2 at rehab and once again I’m doing an admission, this time someone who has been pretty much forced there by a husband who’s had enough. The nickname Madam sums up her attitude. I think we can safely say that the idea of lots of sunshine stories is definitely an illusion I’ve abandoned. Myself and a colleague who I have decided to call Work-Hubby (he shares the same name, is bald and has a beard – just like Hubby) watched as a large SUV pull into the carpark, the type of car where replacing the tyres would cost more than buying my little car outright.

The doors of the rehab are those clever ones I think you get for police line-ups: mirrored on one side so you can’t see in but we could see out. In the front seat we can see there’s an argument going on, animated hand gestures and shouting (not that we can hear them but it looks that way although they might just be people who really like to enunciate). It’s the lady who is going to be booking into rehab for a stay. Then we witness the type of loop you might expect to see on high speed in a Benny Hill episode and we watch it several times over: the man comes out, gets the suitcase out of the boot, goes over to the lady’s side and opens the door for her to step out, she’s not budging, shouting and hand gestures ensue, he storms back around, chucks the suitcase back in, gets into the driver’s seat, more shouting and waving, start the car, then switch off the engine and repeat all of the above.

He’s had it, hasn’t he?” Work-Hubby notes sadly and shoots me a resigned glance.

It’s really sad to see and it’s the man – husband or boyfriend or whatever he is – that I feel really sorry for. Eventually he gets the suitcase again for the umpteenth time and makes his way across the parking lot. Amazingly, the lady steps out and slowly shuffles after him. We introduce ourselves and the man is friendly and seems so hopeful (perhaps relieved she’s finally come through the doors) and the lady is in a shitty mood as well as drunk. She’s rude to everyone and her partner gets the brunt of it. My heart breaks for the guy, there’s something so desperate in his eyes when he looks at either me or Work-Hubby. You can just see how hopeful he is that this is where he’ll pick his love up when she’s been through treatment and on her way back to the woman he used to know and misses so much. Please fix her. Please help her help herself.

I don’t know if I ever got really unpleasant when I was drinking but actually having said that, there were endless mornings when Hubby was in a mood still because I’d picked a fight and I had to try to remember what about. Let’s just be clear – she might be a glorious chick when she isn’t wrecked by booze and I certainly don’t think I was a better drunk. I know I wasn’t. Thank God that’s not me today and I never want to be there ever again.

Of course I prefer to look at here and now and be grateful, but it also made me wonder at which point Hubby might have snapped. Could that have been us? He loves me and I know he’d do anything for me, so I can absolutely imagine him getting me into a rehab and forcing me with ultimatums if he felt my life depended on it. Thank God I’ve never had to see Hubby that way, having to put his hope in the hands of a rehab to rescue me from myself. Just the thought of it breaks my heart. We focus so much on the addict but with risk of offending the whole world now, I genuinely believe it’s those who love us who hurt the most. I mean, I was probably too wasted to notice anyway most of the time. Our Father will probably get a little sick of me repeating myself so much today, but thank God I got out when I did. There is no difference between me and Madam. None whatsoever except a glass of wine – that’s all it would take.

This is my path. It feels so right and I know I can make a difference here. I’m not saying I’ll cure the world of addiction or have high schools named after me, but perhaps I’ll make just one person feel a little better or help somehow, even if it’s something as simple as showing kindness when they’re at their most vulnerable rock bottom.

Hubby is watching rugby on the sofa and we each have a beer in front of us. A Peroni for him and a Becks Blue (alcohol free – dahr!) for me. I really felt like one, really like beer now which is odd because I used to drink wine. In fact, the idea of alcohol free wine (or indeed the regular version) makes my stomach turn. Cool, isn’t it? Blogging and a beer, and I can still head out for a run later. Yep. #winning

Well, because I’m now passing time until the stupid rugby is over, how about a lesson in how to make Anna’s Perfect Cinnamon Rolls? Alrighty!

Crumble 50 grams of fresh yeast into a baking bowl. Melt 150 grams of butter in a saucepan and when melted mix in half a litre of milk and keep on the heat until it’s 37.5 degrees – stick your finger in to check and when it’s just a tiny bit warmer than your body temperature, i.e. when you can feel the warmth, that’s it. Pour into the bowl over the yeast and stir until the yeast has dissolved. Then chuck in 1,5 decilitres of sugar, a teaspoon of salt and a table spoon of ground cardamon. You need about 1,3 litres of plain flour and mix in about three quarters of that – in the end, as the dough thickens you really have to beat it with a wooden spoon and when the dough sort of comes off the sides of the bowl as you move the spoon, it’s ready to be left to rise. Sprinkle some flour over it and cover with a kitchen towel for about an hour.

Then mix a good helping of butter, sugar and cinnamon – I don’t know what quantities I use so I suppose you just go with a mix you like. I like tonnes of cinnamon but that’s just me.

When the dough is good to go (should have risen to about twice its original size), use some of the remaining flower and give it a good kneading. Then take about a third and use a rolling pin to spread it out to a square-ish shape. Spread the butter-sugar-cinnamon mix all over it (not too thick) and then roll it up so you get a swirl when you cut pieces about an inch and a half thick. Put those on to baking trays and once again leave to rise for perhaps an hour.

Then beat an egg or two (I usually end up needing two) and brush the buns before sprinkling sugar on them. Us Swedes have something called “pearl sugar” but if you can’t find this I reckon regular granulated sugar is fine. Or crushed nuts, whatever you like really.

Bake in the oven on about 220 degrees Celcius, bit higher if you don’t have a fan oven (250 probably). We have a fan oven and they seem to be perfect in 11 minutes or slightly less, bake in the middle of the oven.

Ta-daah! Now gorge. Oohhh check out Soberella here, alcohol free beer and sharing recipes on a Saturday evening. What has the world come to? It’s come to something really fucking good, that’s what.

Today I’m not going to drink.