Day 25 – Rings and things

“Do you want a gin and tonic”, “no thanks”. “Come on have a glass of fizz”, “no thanks I’m going 100 days sober”.

After explaining it a million times to my family, what is it they don’t get? My mum moved into her new home today and my sisters, my step daughter and I went over to celebrate. The plan was to have fish and chips, but the first thing unpacked of course was the gin collection and the fizz with plastic glasses.

Even though I’m driving, have my step daughter, and have repeatedly explained I’m doing 100 days sober, the drinks are pushed onto me. It makes me realise how ingrained drinking is in our culture. Celebrate- let’s have a drink, bad day- you definitely deserve a glass if wine. I never noticed before, it really riles me.

I picked up my rings finally today. When we won our wedding, we couldn’t afford wedding rings so we decided to get them at a later date. I designed them with a lovely lady with her own shop and then everything got put on hold because of lock down. They’re beautiful and I feel like a real grown up wearing them.

So it’s been a mixed bag today. I’m typing this with a forced grin whilst saying no to the 3rd offer of g&t.

How’s everyone elses day been? Did you guys notice alcohol more when you weren’t drinking it or is it pushed on us more?

Day 24 – The Hole

We stumbled over a hole today. Me and BB. When I mean stumble, I mean smash our knees (mine), whack our head (BB’s- they were in the baby carrier) and rip our toe nail off (mine).
And we both cried. And cried. And cried.

We cried when we got back to my mums, as we were just round the corner. We cried when on the phone to 111 and then BB cried whilst I comforted and cried inside whilst we sat through 2.5 hours in the childrens hospital.

BB is fine, thank god.

It could’ve been a whole lot worse, we’re both really lucky. Normally at this point, coming up to 6:30pm after the scare we’d had, I’d be pouring probably my second glass of wine.

My mum even said when she popped over at BBs bath time, you deserve a glass of wine tonight to “help you relax”. I muttered something about sticking to hot chocolate as she checked out my stomach for any tell tale roundings (it’s always round so we will see what she makes of the bloat).

I’m not even tempted by wine tonight. I still feel sick in my stomach. I have a sore toe, ripped jeans. I’m not letting this stumble hole, drag me down a rabbit hole. So I’m standing by the kettle waiting for it to boil to make my hot chocolate.

Hope you’ve all have had a better day and not tripped in any holes.

Lots of Love

Battered and bruised (and very dramatic) JS x

Day 23 – Play dates

Today BB and I had a play date with their little pal Alfie and his lovely mum. I’ve really struggled with bonding with other mums, especially due to Covid. I always feel not good enough as a mother, but I think this has a lot to do with my guilt around drinking and lack of general self confidence. All the mums in my NCT group breast fed and didnt appear to miss alcohol. At the time I was amazed and marked them as “different people”, when in fact it was me that was probably different.

Any how, I slept in until 7am, showered, fed BB and on their first nap time made a fruit selection for both babies with some sweet potato bites. Suddenly I was on a roll and made BBs breakfast (pear porridge) and lunch (sweet potato veg loaded mash) for the next day. I felt really proud of myself and when the other mum complimented me on the lunch I felt my heart swell.

She mentioned she liked hiking last time we met, so I asked tentatively whether she fancied a hike one weekend or evening. She said she would love one, but could we start off easy as she felt I was fitter than her. As if.

It felt good nurturing the startings of a potential friendship and it not be “let’s go out for some drinks”. Good but weird good. I keep reminding myself as children we never needed alcohol for a play date or to make friends. We were always happy with some jelly at a party and a party bag, not an espresso martini. Some how it got lost along the way.

I have a drinking friend who’s affectionately known in our girls group as Irish (guess the nationality – we’re not an inventive group). She’s great and has really been there for me and had my back for the last few years. I consider her one of my really good friends.

Now I have 2 friends who before 23 days, I’d have big benders with. She’s one of them. She is also the one that’s most local and in my mind due to this fact the most dangerous for me to be around as sad as that sounds. I associate the majority of our friendship with alcohol.

In fact day 4 of being in hospital after giving birth she was the friend who sneaked a mini bottle of champers in and we shut the curtains and giggled like naughty school girls whilst drinking it. I promised I’d do the same for her when she became a mum.

Last night she text asking whether I fancied a glass of wine Friday eve when BB was in bed. I’d previously told the girls my husband and step daughter were away camping this weekend. I replied saying it would be lovely to see her, but I was doing 100 days sobriety, she was still welcome to a glass or two. For some reason I was nervous to press send. In fact I very nearly didn’t.

She replied “seriously” and when I replied “yep”, she replied “you absolute nutter!!! I’m tired I’ll text you tomorrow”. I haven’t heard from her yet. It’s sort of knocked my confidence a little bit.

What makes me sad is she’s the friend I’ve been scared to tell the most and her reaction is what I expected. I wonder whether I’ll see her friday or at the end of 100 days? I think she maybe disappointed at the end of 100 days as well.

How have people in your lives taken the news so far? Has anyone surprised you for better or worse? I’ve managed to sneak a run in and feel rather zen about it now

Love

JS x

Day 22 – Bye bye cake

I consider myself a stay at home mum, however, inbetween BBs nap times I offer HR consultancy to a business down south.

Today in a meeting there is a big discussion over reducing head count, the impact on cost vs delivery of service. It’s my first meeting with the Ops Director (OD) and the MD. I’m only 1 month into this role.


Normally I’d feel absolute fear. I’d drink the night before, sleep rubbish, wake up groggy, rush with BB to put them down for their nap, struggle with the IT aspect and wonder why everything is so foggy. I’d obviously blame it on the poor nights sleep and bad luck.

This is how it went down today.

I slept rubbish as the fear is still there. I have massive imposter syndrome and still can’t believe a company is paying me to advise them on workforce transformation. I wake up tired but not groggy, I set up my laptop whilst playing with BB and put BB down after reading some stories. BB sleeps.

I am ready for the meeting 5 minutes early.

I log onto the chat room and wait for the meeting to start. Tea in hand, bowl of strawberries to the side of me as I’m trying to cut down on sugar.

The meeting goes well. I haven’t got a grasp of the different businesses under the umbrella company but it’s the normal battle between operations and finance. I manage to stop myself snorting when the OD tells them matter a factly they’re attempting to get a show pony from flogging a dead nag (although I’m not a fan of the metaphor as I’m a horse fan). I add value where necessary when advising, however, for the most of it I just listen. The meeting ends after an hour and I’m back into Mummy mode.

It takes a few hours until I realise this meeting went differently. I was ready on time, tired but fresh headed. I didn’t try and over prove myself or talk too much, I just sat confidently listening whilst the debate went on. Adding when needed. It felt good. I didn’t spend the afternoon in a sea of self doubt nit picking every bit. Surely that’s not from giving up alcohol?

I weighed myself today with my nans “meaty mummy” comment still ringing in my ears. 85.9 kgs. I google my “healthy weight” for my height and its 60kg. The thought of even losing half of that seems overwhelming. I’ve definitely dived out of the glass of wine and into the bowl of sugar since giving up.

However, on this evenings walk I look back to 22 days ago. When even going a week without alcohol seemed unfathomable. And now we’re at 22 days. I wonder if I could also give up the sweet stuff too?

I’ve tried today and it’s not been too bad… how about 1 day at a time? I know losing weight, like stopping alcohol will help my heart issue. It would also hopefully enable me to run better, be a better role model for my BB.

At the end of the walk I’ve decided. Whilst health wise my priority is sobriety, I am also going to give a big push on giving up refined sugars. I’ll keep you updated when I get to my first goal of 80kg. As always any tips, advice welcome.

Have a lovely monday evening

Love

JS x

Day 21 -Banana pancakes and Canadian friends

I’ve made it to 21 days.

I can’t believe it.

I ran at 5:30am after waking with BB. I came across some geese crossing the road and they made me smile. I made banana pancakes for breakfast for the 3 of us.

I met up with my wonderful Canadian friend and had brunch.

I met my Canadian friend in Vietnam just over 2 years ago. We partied for 2 weeks before I returned home and then a few months later she came to visit. She fell in love with England so much (who can blame her) she moved here October 2018 as my hubster moved in with me. Since then I haven’t seen her as much as I would’ve liked. I was really poorly with my pregnancy, I got married and I got swept up in life. She’s due to go home in October and now I’m filled with regret I haven’t spent more time with her.

I share this with her, but probably dont communicate it as well or as eloquently as I would’ve liked. She smiles and shrugs it off. She’s developed her own life here, met a lovely English guy and is sad to be leaving.

I come home and my gorgeous husband sends me up for a nap as BB is taking their afternoon nap too. This afternoon we play in the garden.

Today I’m grateful for my lovely little family, our beautiful tiny flowery garden, morning runs around an inner city pond and wonderful understanding friends. Oh and 21 whole days sober.

What are you grateful for today?

Love

JS x

Day 20 – The cot

Today is/has tested me. After going to bed at ridiculous early o’clock last night, I bounded out of bed like the Duracell bunny around 5:45am. I was determined to make the hubster breakfast. However, on investigating the contents of our fridge I realised we had no food nor coffee due to coming back yesterday from our hols.

Undeterred, I googled the nearest shop- Asda, opening at 7am. Had a quick, quiet shower, hung out the washing and bounced off there.

On arriving at 6:45am, I realised I’d left my purse somewhere. Where I was not sure. I search my bag, car then I drove home and searched the drawer, kitchen etc. I got the hubsters keys and searched his car and there it is under the seat.

I head to a closer shop which opens at 7:30 and grab some bits. I’m luckily enough to get a warm baguette, which I’m excited about for lunch later.

Come home and hubsters not bothered about breakfast. Feel slightly deflated.

Decide to take BB to my mums at 9am as she hasn’t seen her for a week. I wanted to make sure the gingerbread we brought was still nice and fresh.

My mum is living with my 90 year old nan as she’s waiting for her house to go through, it’s all been horribly delayed due to Covid.

I’m playing on the floor with my beautiful baby and they’re attempting to stand. My nan and mum are seated in chairs around the living room. BB grabs at my neck and shoulder to try and stand up.

My nan comments to BB, “that’s it hold on to your meaty mummy, plenty to hold on to”. I want to cry.

She then tries to back track by saying “aren’t you lucky your mum is cuddly”. I still want to cry.

I get back in the car and drive home. The hubster has decided to lower BBs cot today so has already started the project. Now I love my husband dearly, but he is rubbish at any flat pack. His ex wife used to tease him about it and he’s extremely over sensitive about it. So I can’t comment, offer advice and any attempts to help will be seen as a weakness. Here we go.

Wearily I set up a travel cot for BB.

Sure enough by noon I’m told the room is too small, which frustrates the hell out of me as he insisted my step daughter has the bigger room and BB is squashed into a tiny room. Even though she’s only here 50% of the time and is always with us downstairs. I grit my teeth and put BB down for a nap in the travel cot.

Normally if I was drinking I’d already be planning that glass of wine. I’d be pulling the time forward, because I deserved it. Dreaming of tonic water isn’t having the same effect.

I try and nap, but I’m awoken twice by the husband to explain exactly why the cot is, in his opinion, rubbish. I ask if he’s read the instructions and he gives me a long look and then huffs off to a hardware store to regain some testosterone.

So it’s 3pm and I’m thinking about drinking. The cot saga is still ongoing and I’m trying to practice gratitude but I’m finding it difficult. So far I’ve come up with I’m grateful I have a tumble dryer.

I’m going to need to do yoga or run this evening just to work out this black cloud swirling inside me. I also need to stop eating my feelings but that’s another issue for another time.

Hope everyone else is staying strong, I find a lot of strength from others blog posts. So will also be doing a lot of reading later and looking at photos from this past week.

Love and screams of despair

JS x

Ps as writing this twat cat has decided to poop next to her dirt tray as revenge for leaving her. FML

Day 19- swim

I woke up today and cried. Not big screwed up face gluppy tears, but very close to getting there. I was so sad my first holiday with BB and hubby was over. I’d really enjoyed the build up and anticipation towards the holiday, then being in a lovely little cottage in grasmere and showing BB new things.

It was 6:30am, hubby had just come back from his run when he walked in and found his (hot) mess of a wife. He asked what was up and I told him, hands over my eyes to try and stop the tears from flowing.

Patiently he sat on the bed, listening not saying much. When I finished he told me to get up and go for a run. Or a wild swim. But whatever I do, I need to enjoy the last few hours of the holiday and get out of the funk.

So I found myself 15 minutes later on the little shore of Grasmere, which the cottage backs on to. The sun is peeking over the hills, the water is as still as glass. I decide to finish my cuppa down here and use the cup to balance my phone to record the swim.

And that’s what I do. I’m not in long. Maybe 10 minutes. But I feel so caught up in the moment. The sun breaks and the bluely light of the lake changes to warm tones. The water is cool on my skin and some ducks come over to investigate.



I finish my swim and take some deep breaths by the lake. I can do this.

Some how now it feels like the true test of abstaining starts now. That everything before the holiday was the prelude and the real test is keeping sober when the drudgery of normal life hits.

And I’m ready for it. At least today, I’m ready. Swim or paddle, I’m going to keep my head above water.

I rewatch the swim video this evening to remember the feeling of feeling so alive and at peace. I intend to watch it every time life or the dark swarmy cloud catches up with me. To show I don’t need alcohol to bring me serenity.

What is your go to?

Love

JS xx

Day 18 – Nourish

So I’ve finally graduated from Jason Vale and now reading Catherine Greys book called the unexpected joy of being sober. I’m only a little way in but so far enjoying the different writing style.

One comment from the book has stopped me in my tracks this afternoon “The thing that you think is your crutch is actually a shackle”.

Isn’t that just so true with alcohol?

For over 20 years, I’ve used alcohol as a crutch in social situations. Hiding behind fake confidence to appear witty, fun loving and happy go lucky. I’ve used it as a crutch in winter months when solo living, as company, a boredom distraction, relaxation. I remember buying my first house and being ridiculously strict with my food budget as I’d stretched myself too far with the mortgage. However, I always made sure I had spends for a bottle of wine. “I deserve it”, I would tell myself or “I need it to unwind”. I’d also have a “going out budget” which was bigger than my food budget. I couldn’t fathom going to the same nights out and not drinking. That would seem boring, I’d see alcohol as a key component to socialise.

Looking back to 5 years ago, my “drink/going out budget” was at least 2x my budget for food. I can’t believe I chose to spend more of my money on something so toxic instead of food to nourish my body. What a shackle.

Another crutch I would use alcohol for is dating. I’d always have a bag of “hilarious” stories from terrible dates. I thought the only way to get through these was to drink and at times I truly believe I only went out on some of these dates because I was so lost, lonely and it was someone to drink with. Instead of finding fulfilling hobbies to fill my time it was just me, wine and tinder or me, wine and friends.

My first date with my husband was meant to be a quick coffee but ended with an afternoon to evening bender. Luckily our next date was a big hike, sober, where we really connected over our love for the outdoors. I’m lucky I didn’t blow the first date as he is the most wonderful, supportive man a girl could ask for.

I feel every day there’s a new revelation. Like an old banister in a 100 year old home, the layers of paint are slowly coming off, one by one revealing a person hiding beneath. I hope like the Russian dolls, I’m at least a bit slimmer by the end.

Another very good point from the book, I’m holding close to my heart is “treat yourself like you would a toddler”. Make sure you eat, get enough sleep, take care of yourself like you are your own nourishing parent. Whatever that looks like to you.

So this afternoon, instead of going wild swimming whilst beautiful baby napped I wrapped myself in a blanket and had a hot chocolate. The weather this morning had been horrendous and I’d got soaked running round the lake, then after breakfast doing a small hike to a ghyll to show bb the waterfalls.

I’d promised myself I’d swimming again, but I already felt frozen to the bone. It played on my mind as I hummed and ahhed over it, until I decided to treat myself like a toddler. If a toddler was frozen, you wouldn’t submerge them in cold water, you’d wrap them in a blanket and give them a cuddle. And that’s exactly what I’m doing. Keeping nourishing yourselves, whatever that looks like to you

Love

JS x

Day 17 – the Ripple Effect

I’ve been thinking about this blog a lot, maybe in fact too much. Today in Beautiful Babies (BB) nap time, long suffering hubster decided he would quite like a nap too. So off I skipped leaving the two of them napping.

I decided to hike up to Alcock Tarn as I’ve always wanted to see the tarn but I’ve never got round to it. So I left the swarms of people in grasmere and took off up the path enjoying the shade from the trees as the path started.

I was lucky. There were hardly any walkers up here and it left me alone, just me and my thoughts. I reflected on the journey so far. How there seems to be a whole group of us struggling in the grey murky area of drinking. Where we deep down secretly know we’ve probably pushed it too far. However, we havent quite hit rock bottom.

I think we’re brave. We’ve recognised some thing isn’t working for us in our lives any more and we’re striving for change. We’re uncomfortable, unsure but also hopeful. The change may be cutting down, setting a date to stop, starting the journey, reading others blogs (which I also do a lot of).

I got to a difficult part of the path, I like to think of it as a rocky scamper. A guy with his two teenage sons was clinging to the edge. He told me he didnt like heights. I shared I really wasnt a fan of them either, however, I hoped the view would be worth it. I continued, clinging to the rocks as I scrambled up, feeling the fear in my (wine) belly. I shouted back the path got easier after the rocky scramble and I could hear his sons encourage him. Rooting for him.

I got up to the tarn and it was beautiful. There were views over Grasmere and even Rydal in the distance, which no photo I took gave justice. I took my shoes and socks off and dipped my toes in the water. Enjoying the coolness and the sense of achievement. I havent hiked independently since meeting my husband. I’ve forgotten how much I enjoyed it.



On the way down I reflected how this journey to sobriety was like the climb to the tarn. Cool, enjoyable, chilled times under the trees and then hard, white knuckled, rocky scrambles. Ultimately I hope it’s worth it when we get to the top and see our new view point. I wonder what it will look like for each of us?

I struggled yesterday after writing the post and sober singer reached out (thank you). I also read sober veg mama’s blog about her weekend away which also helped immensely. When I returned from my solo hike we decided to all walk to the lake front and give BB their first wild swim experience.

I’ve been ridiculously excited about this.

I love the open water and the feeling of the water washing over your body when you first submerge. Hubster and BB get in first and paddle on the mouth of a little river close to where we are staying. I join them, stopping to take photos of this moment.

I look down and impulsively pick up a pebble and attempt to skim it. It ripples the water and with the light shining against the water it looks beautiful.

In a moment of clarity (it’s been quite the day for it hasn’t it), I realise this is what this blog is to me. A ripple casting out to hopefully help not only myself but also others, whilst other peoples blogs ripple towards me and inspire and help.

Day 17 is finished with pizza and a tonic water after putting BB to bed. I wonder what tomorrow will bring.

Love

JS x

Day 16 – Gratitude

Today I’m so grateful for water. The vast lakes of the lake district that cleanse your soul. The babbling brooks that make my beautiful baby laugh with delight. The rain splashing my face that makes me feel alive. The water that hydrates my body and is the liquid fuel for every step.

Today we did 2 hikes, one round a lake and one to a waterfall. Before BB my gorgeous hubster and I were the outdoor types. We loved weekends away hiking, wild swimming, trying gorge scrambling, canoe days and paddle boarding. Then BB came along in October and we stopped. I had a horrible birth and BB had jaundice so we were stuck in hospital for a week. I struggled with breast feeding due to her not taking to it and being premature. A dark horrible part of me was relieved I couldn’t breast feed so I could drink freely without considering feeding. It felt like I could be “me” again and not “mum” and in doing this “get back to normal”.

I hate myself for this.

It’s my worst secret, but I feel it’s an important one to share. I’ve never told anyone before.

16 days ago I made a promise to myself and BB that I would become the best mother I could be. Today, I woke up hangover free, alert and grateful. I’m in one of my favourite places in the whole world. With the people I love the most.

Today we have wandered around the lake and together we have shown BB waterfalls, cows, sheep, ducks. The list is endless. And once again I feel so alive and thankful. Hiking shorter distances, even with BB makes me feel like “us” again.

So far one of the biggest bonuses of giving up for me is the unexpected gratitude for the small things. The view from our bedroom window or us all laughing in our rain gear as the wet weather rolls in for example.

I know not every day will feel like this.

I get there’s going to be some hard points, some tests along the way. But I needed to write this down, so when they happen I can refer back to this post. I am so happy and grateful with this normal and I am content.

Love

JS xx ps check out the view from the window