Apologies in advance for a bit of a ramble, it started as a personal list but thought it might be good to share, incase anyone else was interested or sober curious.
These are the benefits I’ve noticed in just 40 days or so, so far
1) The addicted voice in my head has gone from a constant barrage to an occasional tiny whisper.
2) More time. I didnt realise how much time alcohol took up. Time thinking about alcohol, the internal debate, the reasoning the guilt.Time going on special trips to the shop or “just stopping off” on the way home. Time drinking it socially. Time hiding in the kitchen to have a secret glug when no one was looking on an evening. Time standing in the kitchen measuring out cocktails. Time slumped on the sofa “relaxed” making no effort with my husband. Time feeling rotten after drinking. Time having to do extra make up to attempt to hide dull skin, blood shot eyes and dark but puffy circles. Time searching social media after a few glasses to check what drunk me had broadcasted. Time worrying about what I’d said when under the influence and repairing relationships/friendships.
3) Reduced anxiety. I didnt realise how much energy my anxiety zapped. Reflecting now, I was almost on a hamster wheel of anxiety, with drinking to numb the feeling, being surprised when the feeling came back the next morning with a vengeance and bit me in the ass. Then, yep you guessed it, more drinking. I still get anxiety, but it feels more manageable in just 40 days. I’m starting to get what it might be like feeling comfortable in your own skin.
4) With the realisation of more time, I’ve tried more things and experienced more. Although I admit I’ve been lucky as we’ve been on two staycations in this period. I’ve explored 2 beautiful beaches in Devon this week, played in the surf, sat in the evening light on sand dunes discussing life. I’ve swam in a lakes in the early morning in Grasmere and Compton verney, had more DVD nights with my step daughter, ran round Grasmere lake.
5) I’ve kept my patience better. Normally the day after drinking, my patience would have been minimal.
So that was operating on minimal patience 5 days a week with 2 children. Today the SD was sick over BB in the car on the way home from Devon, 30 minutes into a 3.5/4 hour journey.
We pulled over, and the heavens opened, whilst we tried to change and consol two children. And you know what, we laughed, really laughed. Tears rolled down out cheeks and with 4 of us covered in vomit I dont even know what was so funny. That wouldn’t have happened 41 days ago. I’d have been so so cross, hungover at 8am, tired and unable to cope with real life.
I’ve also kept my patience a lot more with my SD when she’s been challenging and my husband. I’ve also had the awareness when he’s been patient with me and thanked him for it. I’m ashamed never really noticed before.
6) Relationships. Nearly everyone I’ve told have been so supportive. Once they’ve measured their drinking against mine and felt secure their drinking isn’t as bad we’ve had open discussions about giving up alcohol. I’ve enjoyed the different activities, like hiking, leisurely park walks with BB and mum friends, brunch (would’ve been too hungover before), wild swimming, beach strolls. I’ve noticed the activities have felt more wholesome, been more outdoorsy and realised endorphins in their own ways. I’ve enjoyed the deeper discussions and felt more connected to friends and nature.
I feel more connected to BB and enjoy our time together so much more. I’m no longer rushing bath time (well most days) and I’m not grumpy. I’m present. I show up each day and now take pride in doing my best. Before I think I felt ashamed of my alcohol enthusiasm was affecting my mummy enthusiasm and felt I wasnt giving BB my full attention.
And altho I still struggle with my SD, the struggle seems less without drink. I know it’s not just “me having a bad day”. As my patience has increased, I’ve noticed her attitude worsen maybe because she doesn’t get a bite out of me as often. Or maybe it’s attention. Anyway in the long run, it’s helping. I’m more consistent, I feel less guilty, I really try to bond with her. I’m no longer hungover in the mornings so I make a special effort with her hair, I make sure we go on an evening walk once a week to chat about whatever she wants to chat about and I snuggle up and watch films or read with her. Whilst the present is a slight struggle I’m hoping these little steps, will help make her feel loved, heard, and will improve our relationship over time. I’m also pleased I’ve been more aware, more switched on. I’ve noticed she was also a brat to my friend, my friend actually commented she was like a stroppy teenager and she’s being more and more rude to her dad. So it’s not completely directed at me, she’s just trying to find her place in the world.
My relationship with my husband is also improving. We spend time together on the evenings, instead of me zoned out 5 nights a week and have made an effort to have fun away from alcohol which has been lovely. I’m noticing more and more then little things he does to keep the family ticking along and I love him for it.
7) Finding the ability to really laugh about life again. This sounds incredibly sad now when I say it, but I thought my days of belly laughing were over the moment I put down the wine glass. But I’m surprised I’ve actually laughed so much and so hard. The sick episode today, clambering over rocks in my flip flops on all fours and ending up in a downward dog, with barnacles scratching my fingertips (photo at the top). I’ve suddenly found my funny bone and I’m enjoying it to say the least.
8) This blog. I’m really enjoying reading other peoples stories, contributing my own, writing comments of encouragement, reading ones that come my way. Strangers I’ve never met, supporting each other, being bonded by the desire to find out what life is like on the otherside. Bloggers on the other side lifting those up who are trying.
Other note worthy benefits are, brighter skin, feeling more alert, not feeling embarrassed putting out the glass recycling, regifting the gin which was nice to give away to people, changing the way I view alcohol (no longer to relax more of a toxic substance), discovering sober lit and being able to tick the no alcohol box in the hospital.
What are yours?
Love JS x