Murky Depths

“I have worked hard at my sobriety.”

– Kim Richards, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Season 5 Reunion

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Yes, I know, wouldn’t it have been nice to quote someone a bit more… ..not sure what the word is… But, see, that’s a mistake right there I think. Here’s me thinking there’s more weight to the words if they’d been spoken by someone like Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, perhaps Michelle Obama or in any case someone who has made a more serious mark on the world than having made a spectacle of themselves in the murky depths of the arguably shallow and superficial world of reality TV. And I don’t mean Richards personally here but rather all of them – I think they are all probably smart and classy ladies (except for the astonishingly vacuous Dorit who seems to have the IQ of a slug on valium – she really does take ‘trashy’ to a whole new level we’d all hoped didn’t exist but hey-ho) but fame via the reality machine is decidedly non-smart and non-classy as far as I’m concerned. Nothing less attractive than catty women, yet it’s strangely addictive (figures!) in spite of the fact that I sometimes watch from behind a cushion as if it’s the Blair Witch Project. Well, it kind of is, only there’s a whole bunch of them. Sorry. But no, it’s not often I’d select a reality “star” to find a quote but Richards fits the bill for what was on my mind just now and that she hasn’t won the Nobel Prize in Literature doesn’t mean her words are worth any less than those of e.g. Morrison.

I should start off by saying I have the deepest respect and admiration for anyone who struggles to stay sober manages to do just that, so I’d be the first to take my hat off to Richards. She is more than worthy of praise and I think the fact that she has a level of celebrity stateside and has gone out publicly with her problems is not just brave but freakin’ awesome. Kudos to her. Besides, out of the housewives she comes across as the nicest one and that says a lot given a lot of her air time she’s plastered. Well, her air time before coming out as an alcoholic, that is. I like Richards. And I admire her greatly for staying sober and facing her demons in a very public way.

Her words about her sobriety made me think about how I worked hard too, only it hasn’t been sobriety I’ve had to work hard at – it was my drinking. I look back and shudder. How did I do all that? How did I function when I knew in my heart that it was only a matter of time before I’d drink myself to death. No – seriously. I’d often worry about how it’d hurt my loved ones that I’d have been One of Those Alkies, a dirty addict. I’d worry about it happening when hubby was away (he often is) as it’d be my son who’d find me and how that would destroy him. Imagine a life when keeling over isn’t just a possibility but a PROBABILITY and you live with the constant knowledge that your consumption of ethanol would already have been more than enough to kill a horse so you’re already on borrowed time. THAT is hard work.

What’s also hard work is all the effort that went into planning my drinking – everything from where I’d buy the wine from to how I’d get it home without everyone seeing just how much booze was in my bag. Then rotating the shops I’d get it from in case cashiers would start to recognise me. Oh, it gives me a headache thinking about it.

What was the hardest work of all though? The hangovers. The merciless, never ending hangovers. I’d be so fucked I was scared to even walk from my office to the toilets for fear of aforementioned untimely demise to occur en route and I’d die on my employers’ kitchen floor – how embarrassing. I’d be so fucked I had trouble forming any coherent thought and if I were given instructions that involved more than one sentence I’d struggle to understand and remember. It was horrific. It was a version of Groundhog Day recorded in hell.

I could go on. Drinking fucking sucked horse balls. It was nightmarish on every goddamn level and I am so grateful that I’m free of it that I could just kiss the sky, Jimi Hendrix style.

I will no doubt come back to this, because there is a lot more to say. Hubby and I had a little chat about it a couple of days ago, actually it was specifically about AA and whether or not it’s useful for me or helpful in order to stay sober. I think AA is magnificent, truly amazing, but I just need (and want!) to continue to feel gratitude at how absolutely wonderful sobriety is and feels and do my best to remember what was actually the hard part – drinking. I don’t yet know what part AA plays there for me.

Yep. I will doubtlessly come back to this one… For now though, all I can say is that today I won’t drink. I’m meeting up with Blue, actually! She was struggling a bit so it’ll be good to see her, see what’s up.

Here’s to another day of… …..LIFE.

Kittens and Chili Peppers

More sunshine in Londinium today and unlike the normal kind which, when it happens, seems to cloud over by early afternoon, the weather forecast seems to suggest today will remain sunny. Yippie! I’m so ready for spring now. Usually I get to each season thinking “oh, THIS is my favourite” and just enjoy them as they come and go, but this year I’m really aching for spring to arrive. Winter just seemed a bit too long, that’s all. After a sunny morning yesterday the afternoon only brought rain, but then the sky was a little clearer again in the evening and hubby came out with me for a walk in the park. It was quite magical, actually (well, apart from the deer-whispering lady), walking through it just as nightfall began to engulf us. In the end it was a bit over 8 kilometres we’d walked and I can really tell now after a few weeks of this that I’m reaping the benefits – I could quite easily have walked the same loop another time whereas two-three weeks ago I could really feel it after similar distances. Perhaps now is the right time to start the running again – it is my favourite kind of relaxation, after all, nothing can set me right like my feet pounding the ground and the likes of Red Hot Chili Peppers pounding my ear drums.

Speaking of exercise, I’m toying with the idea of yoga. I told hubby this and his facial expression can only be described as bemused.

That doesn’t sound like you,” he offered.

I think it’d be really good! Get me all zen, calm and centered!” I told him enthusiastically as I tried to imagine myself as all those things and failed.

You’re already calm.

I am WHAT??” I stared at him given that there are countless ways to describe me and ‘calm’ definitely isn’t one of them.

OK, not calm, it’s not the right word…” he searched for the right term but struggled.

Fabulous?” I smiled.

Yes, of course,” he lied, the sod, to humour my grandiose self image.

Hubby never found the word he was grasping for so I don’t know what he meant but will bring it up again as I’m quite curious to know. But I do get his surprise at me expressing that I not only want to attend a yoga class but also don’t expect to throttle anyone in it. I know, I know – it’s the last thing I thought I’d hear me say, too. Weirdly, the things that never appealed about it now do a little bit. I like the idea of focusing on my breathing, shifting my thoughts and doing my body some good in the process. Worth a shot, I think. There is of course not just A chance but a BIG, FAT chance I’ll immediately hate it and struggle to contain my contempt but nothing ventured and all that. I like the IDEA of it despite that it’s all in direct odds with who I am – I like the IDEA of rolling out my yoga mat and going into positions called stuff like Killing Kittens and Whipping Whales to greet a new day at dawn. As I picture this, I’m imagining our balcony in Lipari and obviously in this image I have the body of a 22-yearold Playboy model. But even with my not-Playmate-of-the-year-material arse and thunder thighs I like it and Sweaty Betty clothing goes up to a comfortable L so we’re all good. Plus I reckon sunrise on a seaview balcony in Lipari will be really good (and forgiving) lighting for me regardless. Yep, my 42-yearold non-model self will be just fine.

Drinking. Back to that. It’s what this blog is meant to be about, after all. So where are we? Two and a half months. Can’t say it’s been tough, nor have I struggled. There was the night of dragons when I thought I’d drink but didn’t. There was Easter when the little monster tapped me on the shoulder and got me in a bad mood but not drunk. I’m sure there’ll be other times – I hope I’ll have a long life and it’d just be weird if I never had any urge to have a glass of wine. Jeez, come on – even my non-drinking mother can exclaim after a stressful day at work that she needs a stiff drink. OK, it’s never serious, only a joke, so she never does have one and I can’t see it happening in the future either, but it shows what the illusion of alcohol is and how it’s part of the minds of most of us in the parts of the world where it isn’t forbidden for whatever reason. Even my straight laced mum sees it as something you do to chill out for God’s sake!

Will I ever drink again? I don’t know. I hope not, given I’m an alcoholic and would therefore get sucked in and dragged down in a way that isn’t what you see in the adverts for Tia Maria. But who knows. I’d like to think the rest of my life will continue like this, with my mind clear and my body feeling good. Drinking did NOT feel good. It changed how I felt mentally and physically and it was completely, thoroughly, devastatingly AWFUL. Who knows though. Just because I’ve settled in nicely up here on my Pink Cloud doesn’t mean I’ll always stay here. It’s just the nature of the beast and I know it’ll never attack me when I expect it but lunge at me when I don’t. That’s the whole point, isn’t it? Alcoholism isn’t your typical battle. Alcoholism is like guerilla war – you never know where it’ll come from or when. That’s it’s strength. Unfortunately.

Today, however, is a beautiful day. Another day of my life I am utterly grateful for. And so, today I will not drink.

Electric Skies

There’s something about a blue sky,” Willow said once when we were at her place and were looking out towards the river and the grey skies above it.

She wasn’t describing the London skies – obvs – but the hue of the skies in the place she considers home, which isn’t just across the Atlantic but all the way across the home of the brave where it nudges the north of the ocean whose waves I sat and listened to in awe one night with hubby on Waihi beach. They tumbled in with such a mighty roar and I remember feeling so humbled by the power and brute force of Mother Nature. You can kind of see where us humans got our sense of God from – it’s all her! Mother Nature is so wondrous and magical she inspired countless religions. What a goddess indeed.

Back in my native land there is of course Thor, who sprang to life in my ancestors’ imaginations (but no doubt hearts and souls too) on thundery nights as he rode across the heavens and sent lightning with each strike of his hammer. And of course the mighty oceans inspired similar thoughts and similar gods, Poseidon just one of those but I don’t quite know his story. And so the sky does too – not just when Thor makes it roar, hiss and lash with electricity but with sun gods and rain gods too and across all time we have worshipped each one in various forms here on earth. What they all have in common is that we had to make them loving and divine as well as terrifying and brutal, because otherwise it wouldn’t have made any sense. Mother Nature can be awe inspiring in both respects – she can be divine when she lovingly caresses the savannah with a sunrise and she can be hellish when she unleashes her volcanoes and so our gods had to be all these things too.

But there is much to be said for a blue sky, even though the London skies are rarely as perfectly blue as I imagine Willowtown’s to be. I wonder what effect that’d have on me, what difference it would make to my well being if I lived someplace where the sun was almost always shining from clear blue skies. What’s the vitamin you get from sunlight? E? I don’t know, but it’s hardly an unknown fact that beautiful weather makes us feel happier. And the brief few hours when there was some of that sparse commodity in this town as I drove to work, did I feel happier than I did yesterday when it rained? I don’t know, but I’m sure I felt perkier although I couldn’t say for sure if it was to do with those momentary rays of sunshine.

So. Still sober, blue skies or otherwise. Felt the pull over the weekend but it wasn’t strong. Is the idea of a drink tempting still? A little, actually. Is this how it starts? Is this the fabled fall from the Pink Cloud you hear of sometimes in AA meetings? The image is absolutely there, and with it the feeling of excitement too. Our favourite pub, a few wines, put the world to rights like only drunk twats can. Right? Those images and any other fun stuff that goes around it will take more than a sincere wish to be sober to erase because they’ve been with me for almost as long as I can remember. Alcohol was always something I viewed as a party enhancer. Something to trigger the fun. Problem is though, of course, that even if those illusions were true – and they’re not – it would never work for me anyway. Even if that’s what wine did – made everything fun, fun, fun – it’d never be true for me, because I’m an alcoholic and therefore by definition incapable of consuming the stuff in a way that’d be fun and nothing else.

So for me, wine will never enhance anything, not a damn thing. It’ll just awaken something dark in me which would bypass all the “fun” and then rapidly proceed to take me to blackout, then of course I’d wake up feeling all the things alcohol brings out (or down) in me – anxiety, worry, sadness and of course a terrible mood. It won’t do anything else. Besides – given how I drink – I hate to drink with people anyway, it’s just torture to have to slow myself, pace myself, check myself. It’s fucking hard work – I get exhausted just thinking about it. So why in God’s name bother? Exactly.

Nope. I do believe that even in those hitherto rare moments when a mirage appears and I momentarily allow the thought to take root and forget I’m in the desert, I wouldn’t bring that glass of wine to my lips. Not even then. It may as well be arsenic.

And that’s that, really. Today I won’t drink.

The Distant Songs of the Sirens

Ah! There it was. My would-be blip. Saturday and bambino at a friend’s so it was just me and hubby. Took him to the pub for a drink – pint of soda water with fresh lime for Yours Truly – and then headed home. I’m not sure what happened, but I suspect this is what they mean in AA when they call alcoholism ‘baffling’. Yep, it was baffling. Old illusions of what booze would be and mean suddenly pushed their way into my conscious and for a moment I believed it all. There it was again. Out of nowhere. I wanted to have a drink, wanted to just be wild and crazy and do silly shit. I’d been so sensible for so long and I fancied dancing around on the livingroom floor with hubby. For that brief passage of time – we are talking minutes – it was tempting to believe in the false promise that pouring wine on our happiness would make it shimmer even more.

It didn’t happen. I don’t think even if someone had placed a large glass of Sauvignon Blanc with soda in front of me in that precise moment and thrown in cheerleaders to boot I would have drunk it. But that little monster was there, however briefly, and in that moment I wanted to for exactly the reason why I reckon people fail to stay sober: I wanted to because in that moment I felt deprived. Over the course of what can’t have been longer than three minutes, I was pissed off because I felt I wasn’t allowed to do something. I regressed to the mental maturity of a toddler and although I don’t remember sticking my bottom lip out it wouldn’t surprise me if I did. It made me SO angry. So angry, in fact, that my bad mood stretched well into the following day even though I didn’t initially connect the two. Is this what they mean in AA when they refer to an emotional hangover? Perhaps it was. I felt bristly. Like a hedgehog pointing all its spikes out around it in case some misguided soul tries to touch it. That was me Sunday morning. It took a 10k walk around the park to put me right again, inhale deeply and just let go. But back to the night before. I wanted to lash out and be petulant yet at the same time I knew it was right that I hadn’t given into it.

Well. It was bound to happen sooner or later,” hubby pointed out.

Yup. It was bound to. I knew that. I knew that illusions ingrained in me from birth about what alcohol is would come back to the fore and try to lure me in and for a short while I had believed it. Because I felt so angry, I didn’t want to show that I was actually relieved and grateful that I withstood that old urge when it found me again. And as much as I’d like to make this into a battle story, it wasn’t actually hard at all – I’d be lying if I said it was. It put me in the shittiest mood, but if once every couple of months is as often as I’ll end up being moody that’s something I can live with because when I was drinking I was moody every goddamn day.

I know,” I told hubby, “just bear with me because I feel really off and I have no idea why.

No surprise really, though. I was on course to drink myself into an early grave and then I stopped in January after over a decade of alcohol abuse, closer to 12 years of sinking 2-3 bottles of wine most evenings. I’ve felt amazing for those two months – well, almost two and a half! – and increasingly lost sight of all the reasons I once had to drink. So no wonder I was thrown when I suddenly heard the distant songs of the sirens. I woke up the following morning in hubby’s arms and the only thing on my mind was THANK GOD FOR THAT. No hangover. No deep disappointment in myself or the inevitable embarrassment of having to tell people I’d fallen off the wagon.

But I was still bristly, angry and disappointed. I told my poor hubby I needed space and he gave it. I read a book for a while. Then I had some coffee and just sat on the sofa for a while looking out at the grey Easter Sunday sky. And then I did the thing I knew I needed – my meditation, which is pulling on my trainers and going for a long walk. Only then and after a shower, was I soft enough again to be held. I still couldn’t explain to hubby why my mood had got so bad, but looking back on it now I think it was anger at wanting to do something I knew I shouldn’t do and knowing I would have wrecked everything had I given into it. Most of all it was anger at wanting to do something I know wouldn’t do anything for me, something I can now see through. So how could it possibly fool me again? That’s how strong the mind can be, and how deeply rooted those illusions still are in spite of how the rational part of me knows none of them are real.

What I can take from it all is this:

  • It’s not a strong enough pull to drag me under – it took zero to no effort to withstand it.
  • I need to allow myself to feel every bit of it – it’s natural and the more I dare face it head on, the less power it’ll have over me.
  • It will pass – every time and always.
  • I will win this non-battle – every single time.

So it’s all good. It’s another short week and I am already looking forward to Friday.

Today I won’t drink.

Brightly Coloured Feathers

Yippieeeeeeeeeee! Last day ahead of what’s bound to be a wonderful Easter and four whole days off! Cannot wait! No plans – just chill, eat and drink nice stuff. No Sauv for me obviously but contrary to what I believed when I first quit drinking I don’t miss it one bit. Nothing has changed except I feel really, really good and never have to have any day ruined by a crippling hangover. Oh, I’ve got a bit fat due to discovering chocolate and sweets (so THIS is what they were saying all along?!) but reckon I’ll be back to normal soon with all this walking and even if I stay fat that’s OK because I love my walks and I love my life and I sit very comfortably on my fat ass.

So…. Easter. What’s with the chickens and eggs and feathers? I wonder how that happened. So here I am, a Christian, and the elders have instructed me to come up with a way of marking our leader being nailed to a cross and dying a terrible death and then celebrate how he came back to life again. I’ve gone to a top notch PR agency to see what they come up with.

Chickens!” they exclaim, “you need lots of chickens!

OK,” I say and make notes, “what else?

Maybe a hare?” they suggest with a hopeful look on their faces.

Chickens and a hare? How do they go together?” I ask.

What does it matter, it’ll be wonderful! Don’t you want to celebrate your leader coming back to life? I thought you wanted a good celebration and now you doubt the hare?

OK, fine, we’ll have a hare too and we’ll call him the Easter Bunny,” I reply as I scribble away on my notepad. “And how do we really emphasise how the Lord died for our sins?

An Easter egg hunt for the children!” one PR person tells me with a broad smile.

Why eggs?” I ask, a little confused.

Because of all the chickens! They lay eggs!

Oh yeah, the chickens,” I sigh and slap my forehead, “forgot about them. And the kids have to look for the eggs by way of remembering our leader died for our sins?

Don’t worry about the whys or the hows! You have the chickens to lay the eggs and then you pluck their feathers and paint them in bright colours and put them everywhere for decoration, then the hare steals the eggs and hides them so the children have to look for them,” another PR dude explains patiently.

I’m not getting how this has anything to do with crucifixion though?” I ask cautiously and quickly add, “but I’m sure that’s just me being a little daft.

The PR folk exchange glances and whisper a little between them and I feel really daft indeed. After a few more glances and whispers they turn back to me with their best Patient Teacher expressions on their faces.

Just sort out the chickens, will you,” they tell me, “and all will be revealed“.

Fantastic – I’m sure it’ll all make perfect sense! Thank you,” I tell them and feel all happy that it’s turned out so well.

No, seriously – how did it all come about? Although I suspect just like with Christmas, a relatively small proportion of those who celebrate it do so for any religious reasons and the rest of us just appreciate the old dude from Coca Cola commercials and thought Christmas trees and twinkling lights looked better against snow and darkness than it might have on a sunny day on the beach. (Sorry, antipodeans). But isn’t this the case of so much religion or any other philosophy or teaching? It just doesn’t have to make sense – just go ahead and do it, don’t ask questions, blindly believe and you MIGHT find out one day what the answers are and if you don’t it’s because you didn’t believe enough.

As with any “religious” celebration, it is customary to drink lots of alcohol and of course Easter is no exception. And Jesus DID turn water into wine, after all. It’d be rude not to get on the booze to honour him, wouldn’t it? Anyway. Part of me thinks I should sit here and say oh what will I do but I am still, it seems, on the Pink Cloud and this long weekend ahead isn’t impacted in any way on whether I’ll have water, tomato juice or unicorn tears. When am I going to start pining for a glass (or ten, rather – or whatever number will get me to black-out) of Sauvignon Blanc with soda? It hasn’t happened yet and even in moments when I try to look for or remember its appeal I just don’t see it – it would only ruin everything and add nothing good that’d possibly make up for it. Plus, it wouldn’t even taste nice. Funny, I can’t for the life of me understand why I kept drinking for as long as I did. Madness, absolute madness. Or, as we say in Sweden: late shall the sinner wake. BUT, as we say both here and in Sweden: better late than never!

Today I am not going to drink! Happy Easter to you – may it be wonderful no matter how you celebrate it!

Blue Skies

It’s raining today, but that’s OK – I like rain. Ideally I’d be curled up in a wicker chair on my mum’s glass veranda with a mug of Löfbergs Lila coffee and a really great book, but this will do. I’m facing a window so can look out at the rain even if there is no sound of it on to glass panels in here, and I do have coffee albeit instant. Still good though. Speaking of books, I’m quite pissed off! Bought one called the Monk Who Sold His Ferrari at the weekend and couldn’t wait to get stuck into it. I thought it was a true story, about a hot shot lawyer who turned his back on all things materialistic and found a life of serenity and true joy. Turns out it’s a fable! I’m really disappointed. I’m sure the message is the same as it would had it not been fictional, but still. That’ll teach me. I started it last night and I can’t say it’s the greatest work of prose I’ve ever held in my hands, but I’m going to finish it. There’ll be lots of good stuff in there I’m sure so I’ll give it a chance.

I now have three AA chips in my jewellery box: 24 hours, 1 month and 2 months. Yay! Weirdly, collecting the 24-hour one was the most significant. I collected it when I’d been sober over a week, and it was encouraged by Red that I bashfully raised my hand and went to receive it along with a bear hug from the lady who always hands them out. She’s lovely. I’m going to try to chat to her next time I see her, she seems really genuine and she’s always quite funny when she shares. That first chip felt like a commitment, my promise to myself to treat me better, to be kinder to me and look after me so I can happily grow old and not miss out on so much living from now on. It was the symbol of how I now wish to live my life – awake and present in each moment – and how this is now my path. I collected it with a smile at the same time as I in my mind gave Sauvignon Blanc the finger.

Month 1’s chip was nice to collect too, as was month 2’s yesterday – I’m not for a second going to diminish what it means for me to be sober and every chip is going to be a celebration of exactly that. These past two months I’ve felt so HEALTHY! I feel so good each morning after sleeping like a log (I never wake up in the night anymore like I used to), and my morning coffee is enough to make me so happy it makes me giggly (I couldn’t drink coffee with a hangover – which meant morning coffee was rare back then). And those are just very simple things. I’m really just talking about waking up and having coffee but you know you are on the right path when it’s the stuff you might not pay attention to normally that are so wonderful you have to stop in your tracks there and then and allow gratitude to vibrate throughout your being.

Worth celebrating indeed!

A lady I’ve seen a few times was there again last night and this time I did collar her. Well, it felt like I did because she seemed in a rush to leave. As it happens, I’ve written about her before, when at this Tuesday meeting a while back she was sharing how she was worried about going to Paris and how she feared she’d end up drinking. I really felt for her and was kicking myself for not seeking her out that time when my gut instinct had been telling me loud and clear to reach out, that even if I’m getting everything wrong I might still be able to say something that’ll make her feel a little better. At the time I was firmly on the Pink Cloud and feeling the opposite to what she was describing, only experiencing excitement at travelling now that I won’t ruin it by getting wasted, and I had wanted to reach out and see if I could have supported her somehow. Stupidly I didn’t, my shyness got the better of me, and I don’t know if she ended up drinking in Paris or not. What I do know is that she picked up her 2-month chip that evening and I picked up my 1-month chip. Last night she picked up the 24-hour chip. So I don’t know if it was anything to do with Paris but she slipped and had gone on a bender at the weekend. You could tell she was gutted and angry with herself. Powerless, I suppose.

Either way, I wasn’t going to make the same mistake again so placed myself right in her path and asked how she was. I pretty much forced my number on her, told her I’m new-ish too and that I’m still fumbling around and trying to figure all this out. She did text me to say she’s in the same area and would love a coffee. I told her she can always reach out and that I’ll never judge if she slips as how next time it could be me. I don’t actually believe I’ll slip but I’m also not God so don’t know what the future holds and best therefore be at least a LITTLE humble. Anyway. Let’s call her Blue because her eyes are that bright, light blue colour of the sky when it’s -20C. I already know she finds this AA thing a lonely experience and isn’t it funny how the one who went on a bender just a few days ago is someone I can relate to more than someone who’s been sober for years but lives in fear? Disapproval and no more approaches if you don’t go to meetings everyday. Sparks wrote her off, for one – told me in that meeting just over a month ago that “oh, she’s probably already decided to drink in Paris and doesn’t do the AA work“. I’m not going to write Blue off though. Like Jet, she clearly wants to get out of this, and like I do Jet I admire Blue for coming along to yet another meeting when she is clearly finding it difficult. Hats off to both of them.

There are some exceptions – Willow is one, Butterbean another and now Blue – but given how few they seem to be I suppose they do confirm the rule, for me at least. With most others in AA that I’ve spoken with, it’s like you can’t break through and see the actual person – it’s like any conversation and interaction happens through an AA filter peppered with various AA mantras. I’ve found this frustrating, whereas with e.g. Willow I feel I’m getting to know someone I genuinely want to be friends with and couldn’t actually give a flying fuck what brought us together in the first place – OK, so it happens to be AA but I know I would have wanted to get to know her if we’d met under any other circumstances. Same for Butterbean and again, Blue, even though I suppose with Blue it was feeling a need to reach out and help that has initially drawn me to her. Still. It’s less important to me.

It’s funny, I almost felt afterwards that perhaps this would be really frowned upon and the Right Thing To Do would be for Blue (and me too) to sink like a stone over and over until we’re so broken we have no other way out and then hook up with sponsors and do the steps. Perhaps this is breaking the law, approaching someone when you yourself don’t quite buy into the whole AA thing fully. For that reason, I will make sure I tell her that she is probably best off trying to get a sponsor, to get that AA guidance in a pure form – I mean, what if I somehow put her off AA and she goes ahead and ruins her life as a result? Maybe it is at this precise moment Blue needs to hear AA is the only way and commit to it fully? Maybe now is when the last thing she needs to hear about is how I’m happy being sober yet I’m not doing the steps (yet?) or bothering with more than a couple of meetings per week? Maybe knowing me might be downright detrimental for Blue? If she finds herself slipping, she must have a reason to drink – there must be something in her mind that tells her that it brings something good with it, be it relief from pain or to celebrate something?

Oh, I don’t know, but I should probably tread carefully here. I will definitely recommend she listens to AA’s suggestions and recommendations. After all, it’s just not possible to get sober and happily so without AA, right? So maybe I’m just as bad for Blue as that glass of Sauvignon Blanc was for me once upon a time, full of promises and illusions of things that don’t exist….

Hm….. This got a little weirder than I intended so let’s round it up. Today I’m not going to drink.

To Force or Not to Force

Sometimes my OCD takes me to stupid places. Like now – because I seem to knock out a blog post every weekday morning, I now feel this is something I should ALWAYS do. Way back when I worked in subtitling we often got free stuff from clients and I was handed the DVD box set of the first series of Sex and the City. SATC is seriously not my thing, I was more of a Friends kinda gal. First off, I cannot bloody stand that whingeing, shallow dimwit Carrie. Second, I don’t give a shit about fashion (if I can’t wear jeans and a t-shirt I won’t be coming to your pahr-tay, ta). Third, I’ve never felt panic at dating or the race to find the One and reproduce and I would rather eat my own head than sit and complain about it over cocktails (kill me, kill me now). I just couldn’t give a rat’s arse about any of the subjects around which SATC seems to revolve. But there I was, dutifully ploughing through the freebie DVD set and when I was through it felt compelled to get the other series and watch through those too. Hm, I must have enjoyed it – I’m not enough of a masochist to make myself do stuff I don’t want to do – but I do also know I regularly felt the urge to throttle Carrie and yell at Mr Big to run, run for the hills! Get away! You can make it! I must have liked it more than I remember, but either way little good will come from forcing yourself to do stuff and I think that probably includes blogging.

It’s back to will power, really, isn’t it? Forcing yourself to do or not do stuff.

Part of me just feel like SHUT UP SOPHIE and just go with the flow and enjoy sobriety, but there’s this other part of me that just can’t help but analyse it ad infinitum. The concept of will power is very much a part of that. The way I see it, freedom for me is to live the life I want the way it makes me (and ideally those around me) happy. Plus if I’m not happy, I’m soon going to drag my loved ones down too – if nothing else it’ll be shit for them to see me unhappy as it would be for me to see them that way. Anyway, freedom is happiness for me. A colleague just popped in for a chat and she’s been dieting forever. Told me how she’s trying to drink lots of water because she’s so hungry. You know, I’d quite like to lose a few pounds but to be hungry? You try to get between me and that bagel and you’ll wish you hadn’t. Luckily I enjoy walking and running and my new daily walks are fast becoming a highlight, I love walking for that hour with either music or an audiobook in my ears. It’s bliss. Not eating = not an alternative. But each to their own and I admire my colleague for being so good at denying herself stuff she wants. I’d be utterly miserable if I tried it for just five minutes. As for me, I’ve found ways to do what I want to do by doing things I want to do (walking or running) or not doing things I don’t want to do (drinking or eating dog poo) so it’s all very enjoyable to be honest. Thank God.

Drinking – I don’t want to and so I don’t. It really is as simple as that. And that’s why I also feel the SHUT UP SOPHIE thing, because making myself write about it every day is giving it more importance than is warranted in some ways. Do I really need to analyse this? Should I not just enjoy the ride (life!) and stop questioning every last thing I happen to feel or think? Just BE? I think I’m too terrified that my brain will trick me to not think about it. I really do worry a lot and seem to be on high alert with my sword drawn in anticipation of that evil little monster to crawl up on my shoulder once more. I fully expect it to. But why? Why or how could it when I’ve discovered that all the reasons I thought I had to drink – glitter, relax, celebrate, whatever – were nothing but illusions? I wonder what power it could possibly hold over me then? Can my mind really do such a u-turn – from a glass of wine being as appealing as a pile of dog shit to suddenly become Just What I Want? The power of our minds is infinite and there is no greater force, that I know, so the answer to that question is a resounding YES. The brain is our most powerful tool and so if that turns on us we are fucked. So I’ll keep my sword drawn for a while longer, if that’s OK with you. It’s been two months, that’s all. When it’s two years I may put it back in its sheath and just rest my hand on it in case I’ll need to get to it quickly. Two decades and I might even remove it and just keep it nearby. We’ll see.

Going to the usual Tuesday meeting tonight and hopefully they’re handing out chips (they usually do) so I can get my two months one. My 24-hour chip and my one month chip are both kept safe in my jewellery box, two cheap little pieces of plastic that are very precious to me and I’ll be pleased to add this third one. It feels good to do so. Just the thought of it makes me feel happy.

I’m not going to drink today. That makes me very happy too.