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

Day 15 – the M6 is a cruel mistress

Firstly thank you for everyone who has taken the time to reach out. Whether it be reading the blog, liking posts or/and offering words of help/support. I am so grateful to find a little community trying their best to improve themselves. One day at a time.

Secondly, I survived the step daughters horse riding. Her mum as always was gracious, stylish and slim and I think I only heard my boobs do one round of applause whilst trying to lead rein my SD horse for the hour.

Today has tried me. Like really tried me. I was so surprised and happy I’d made it to 14 days I pretty much skipped to bed yesterday (only to be woken by twat cat several times in the night).

Woke up fresh headed for our staycation and had to return only once to the house to grab Ewen the sleep sheep, beautiful baby can’t sleep with out.

Up to the lakes we go and I’m fizzling with excitement. Our first holiday the 3 of us as the SD is away with her mum.

Hit the M6 by Walsall and that’s where it starts to go wrong. If you haven’t ever had the pleasure, the M6 is a cruel mistress (whenever I see bad traffic I always think of Nessa saying this line in Gavin and Stacey). Unfortunately there’s been a big accident (poor people involved) and the motorway is closed for 3 hours.

So a 4 hour journey, takes 6.5 hours. BB handles it like a pro, however, due to the rain, knobbish drivers and a ton of traffic my feet are tapping like I’m auditioning for river dance. Whilst my hubster who’s driving gets calf cramp.

We finally get to our little cottage and it’s perfect. The owners also own a local pub and a brewery (what are the chances) and are quick to inform us we get a generous 15% discount for any food or drink. The hubster is eyeing up some cloudy rhubarb cider on the menu they’ve helpfully left in the cottage.

I bundle up BB and under the pretence of fresh air, hot foot it to the local store. They dont have any becks blue but they do have tonic water which I buy 2 bottles of. Get back and hubster is also playing the pretending game and moaning that his calf is hurting too much to unpack. To keep busy (and get sainted later), I unpack the car, set up the travel cot, sort the bottles and bath and bathe BB, putting her to bed.

And you know what? I feel like superwoman.

A superwoman who has a very dramatic husband.

Whilst holding on to this feeling, I grab my running gear, hand over the baby monitor and stride out to run along the lake.

Its glorious. Everything flows, the wind in my face is perfect, the sun reflects on the lake. I’m so grateful to be in this moment.

I feel so alive.

Happy Monday everyone

Love JS xx

Day 14 – Boob clap and brunch

The lavender really knocked me out yesterday and we had a rather wild Saturday night going to bed at 8:30pm. Lucky for me that we did, as Beautiful Baby (bb) woke me up at 3:30am demanding attention. Normally I’d have woken up fairly groggy to deal with them or kicked hubster out of bed to do it. But this morning I got up, was awake immediately and then got up again at 6am for the first feed. The benefit of this was the hubster was so grateful as it was his turn, he gave me a lie in and cleaned the bathroom.

Went for brunch this morning with a friend I’d normally go out drinking with. I suggested a local independent which hasn’t got a license but does gorgeous seasonal food. It was lovely. The food was fab and we really chatted. Not just about superficial stuff but deep stuff too. Walking back to the car (another bonus no taxis), she exclaimed what a lovely morning she had and how we should do brunch more often. The warm fuzzy feeling came back inside.

This early afternoon I attempted to pack for our first holiday away with the baby. Now I’m rubbish at packing, I’m known for it. At my best friends hen do I actually forgot all my bottoms and had to make do in a pair of jean’s the whole weekend. I think this is because I normally have a hang over and have a glass or two of wine half way through. Then of course a bottle after to “cope” with the stress. The hubster tentatively asks whether he should pack, but you know what? I’m determined to do this. So after an hour of checking, double checking and crossing my fingers I think we’re done.

Bet I’ve forgotten something.

After the crystal maze task of packing, I now have to take my step daughter horse riding. The local stables have started doing lessons as long as there is a competent adult to lead the rider. I’ve rode for years and love sharing this experience with her. My dream one day is for us to do a horse riding holiday when she’s older. The only thing I’m not looking forward to today is my step daughters mother is coming to watch her for the first time and to do the hand over.

Now I actually don’t mind my hubsters ex wife. They broke up way before I was ever on the scene and she’s always been great with not only me but my relationship with her daughter. For that I can’t fault her. She has always been kind with BB and was the only one who brought me bath salts after giving birth. And let’s face it. You need bath salts.

The only thing I hate is she’s so glamorous. She has this high flying career, is always impeccably dressed, tall, slim and always seems to have it all together. Where as I’m a short, rather fat (still haven’t lost the 3 stone baby weight), stay at home mum who’s boobs clap when I run.

Which they definitely will when I’m running, red faced along side the horse this afternoon, whilst she sits in Barbour, sipping a costa watching the lesson.

So here I am sat on the bed after frantically searching for a sports bra (no luck) once again wistfully dreaming about wine. Or being tall and slim. Or not forgetting important holiday stuff.

Wish me luck. And if you see a woman being dragged by a horse whilst her boobs give her a round of applause give her a wave. But definitely not a drink

Happy Sunday

JS x

Day 13 Deep Breaths

It’s the first friday where I havent hurried the bed time routine so I can have that first and (second glass of vino).

Together, my step daughter and I bring all of her teddies down stairs and make a den to watch frozen 2. It’s just the two of us this evening as hubster is working late on a project and beautiful baby is tucked up in bed. Tonight I let her stay up for the whole film instead of hurrying her to bed at 7pm like I normally would. She really cuddles into me with about 100 teddies and I feel overwhelmed with well I’m not sure how to articulate… happiness? Gratitude? Whatever this feeling is it feels nice. At bed time she asks me to put her to bed and she wants to chat about summer camp.

Summer camp is her new obsession after seeing photos of me working as a life guard in America many moons ago. A whole summer in the sunshine, sleeping over with friends, playing in woods and marshmallows over camp fires. What’s there not to like? It was also an alcohol free zone. I talk about the bed time routine with the campers we used to do each night.

One of my favourite was devotions where you would say 3 things you were grateful for that happened that day. She asks me to list mine.

Mine were:
Having a delicious tea all together as a family.
Spending time with Beautiful baby, helping them attempt to walk.
And watching a film altogether this evening.

I ask her what her devotions are. They were:
Having a good day at summer club
Making a new friend at summer club
And cuddling on the sofa watching a film.

Normally we wouldn’t have cuddled. We both would’ve missed out on this moment.

Today I took both children to the lavender fields in the Cotswolds. I’m tired because the hubster didn’t get to bed late due to that work project. I grumble this morning whilst packing up the car and then realise how much worse the tiredness would be with a hangover.

The fields are glorious. Breathing in the air instantly relaxes me and seeing the kids get on so well warms my heart. This is without a doubt the most relaxed I’ve been since giving up drink. I sit with the sun on my face, breathing in lungfuls of the heavenly scent, zoning out whilst the kids play together. This is bliss. I wish I could bottle this moment, this feeling.

We eat out picnic, well beautiful baby (bb) smears most of theirs and then walk around, playing in the lavender and taking photos. I treat them to an ice cream and my step daughter and I laugh when BB has their first taste.

As we’re leaving we check out the gift shop to see if I can get some hand cream for my nan. I can. And get this they bottle the scent. Well lavender pillow spray.

I’m looking forward to sleeping tonight and thinking of today’s devotions. One would definitely be that moment in the fields.

What would be yours today?

Love JS x

Day 12 – the beer in the fridge

I know some people refer to the cravings and the voice inside their head as the “wine witch”. To me it feels like a dark swarmy cloud, pushing against my skin, with words of temptation whispering on a breeze inside my ear.

Yesterday the cloud seemed to have bursts of sunshine in. I think I might have even gone without thinking of a drink for at least a couple of hours.

Today I got up early and ran with my friend who knows my dirty secret. She’s really supportive and has helped set up a routine where we run 3x a week to get the endorphins pumping. Also for around 45 minutes it’s nice to get out of my head, focus on my breathing and not have little adorable hands constantly grabbing me.

I enjoyed the run. Its beautiful over the fields and just being out with the wind blowing in my face feels good for the soul.

Came home and it was pretty much ground hog day. Until I opened the fridge. There sat a San Miguel. Now I’ve tried to keep life as normal as possible for my husband. He fully supports my decision, but I didn’t want to change his habits. He’s one of those annoying souls who can have one beer once in a blue moon, enjoy it and that be it. Whereas I’m an all or nothing drinker person. So I dont mind him keeping a beer in the fridge for this evening.

Although I do.

Its taunting me. It has beads of perspiration on the brown glass and I know it sounds mad but I want to lick it. I feel beads of perspiration form on my subconscious. I don’t even like beer.

The swarmy cloud is back. Pushing against my skin. Telling me I deserve a drink tonight. That I’ve tried really hard as a parent, I’ve put extra work in as a step parent and I’m parenting both alone tomorrow. I can hear it whisper against my ear.

So here I am typing on this instead of fetching the bottle opener. Looking at the list on the whys. The top 3 are my beautiful baby, husband and family.

This is why.

I’ve also decided whilst I was typing this out I should arrange a date for my husband. Something we wouldn’t normally do, to nurture our relationship and still have fun. So I’ve booked 2 tickets for an outdoor evening food festival mid August. It’s over an hours drive away. Normally we wouldn’t have gone due to one of us having to drive and you know what I’m actually excited about it. I’m determined to stay sober to past the event. To a 100 days.

So have a lovely friday evening everyone, as I say cheers to you over a tonic water. I hope you all have a lovely Friday eve. We can do it.

Love

JS xx

Day 11 – am I addicted to Jason Vale?

I’m finding the Jason Vale book on quitting alcohol fascinating. It’s such an insightful book into alcohol addiction. I’m only half way through but I’m enjoying devouring the pages. I think the reason I’m enjoying it so much is because not only is it psychologically based but he also explains what’s happening with the body too. For example he states the body expels alcohol within 10 days and the process takes up so much energy that everything in your body feels tired. Which is reassuring as I’ve felt like I’ve been wading through treacle since day 4 and havent been this exhausted since the first trimester. However, today for the first day I haven’t had to fight the urge to nap.

Jason (yes we’re on first name turns now) also talks about the insulin rush from alcohol and your body dipping after this rush. Then you eat more sugar/drink more alcohol to experience the rush again. This makes complete and utter sense as I’ve binged ridiculously on sugar over the past 10 days. Whilst I’m cautious about doing too much at once I’m going to try and be more mindful on what I eat (starting from tomorrow). Although I have enjoyed the 3 chocolate bars a night and all the slices of cake.

So day 11. Went on a walk today and saw a painted stone saying every cloud has a silver lining. Whilst this process is incredibly hard I’m finding the truth in the statement. Every evening I’ve either walked with my step daughter listening to her chat about her day or ran (well waddled) with a friend over some glorious fields. This would have been unthinkable before day 11. I’d have been focused on “my time” which loosely translates to “my time with a bottle”. I also swear to god my skin is more dewy. It could be because I’m managing to take my make up off each evening or the fact I’m not poisoning myself, but either way I’ll take it.

What benefits have you found so far?

JS x

Day 10 – the rage

Today the rage has set in. I’m so flipping angry. Heaven knows what about.

Obviously take it out on the long suffering hubster. I mutter at him for leaving things on the stairs. Curse whilst I make sweet potato frittas for beautiful baby. Hang washing out and practically throw it on the line.

Mood improves slightly during a baby playdate. Finally catch up with a lovely mum whose BB is at the same stage and age as my BB. It’s also lovely that she isn’t madly trying to teach her BB baby Spanish and baby sign language like one competitive yummy mummy group I’m unfortunately part of and too scared to leave (I just stay silent on whatsap and haunt as I’ve got nothing to contribute).

To try and really shake the mood off I go for a walk at nap time for an hour. It doesn’t work. So I’m now running at 5:30 over the fields with one of my friends I’ve confided in (wish me luck).

I didn’t realise these cravings would be so bad. I didn’t realise I’d be constantly thirsty yet constantly needing the loo. I didn’t realise my brain would feel so foggy and my body so tired.

I didn’t realise. This. Is. So. Flipping. Hard

Day 9 – foggy with some sunny spells

Another early night last night taking Jason Vale to bed with me (the book, although girl can dream).

Woke up feeling refreshed, one of the things I’m really enjoying about being AF is sleeping so well. Pop out with beautiful baby (bb) to try and get them used to the big outdoors since they’ve spent half their life in lock down.
Come back and I’m putting her down for her nap as my neighbour I cut the grass for on Sunday knocks on the door.

She thanks me for cutting her grass and produced a bottle of wine to say thank you for doing it. I want to say no, but I also know she suffers with mental health and I really don’t want to turn her thoughtful gesture down.

I have a moment of torment.

Then smile and thank her for her gift. She smiles back and says “no problem, I remembered you liked wine”. I feel my cheeks streak with shame/embarassment when I remember she’d kindly put our recycling out last year. I sort of smile and nod my thanks at her.

I feel as if life is sending me these little signs. First the cork and now this. I give hubster the wine and ask him to put it in the loft as I’m scared of the loft.

I head out during my BB nap time to the ring shop where our wedding rings are being made. To fill you in, we got married last year after unexpectedly winning our wedding. We were blown away by this as the whole thing was paid for apart from my dress, the hubsters suit and then hair and makeup.

Whilst we completely didnt expect to win (I filled out the entry whilst sitting on the toilet), the venue completely didnt expect me to be 8 months pregnant. Nor did I to be fair, we found out I was expecting a few days after winning.

In the rush to get married, find a dress for a “glowing” pregnant woman, organise accommodation for our guests in a beautiful part of the country, we didnt bother with rings. My hands were super fat so we just got a cheap band each with the plan to get them made later.

So fast forward July 2020 and I’m visiting the ring shop for the 4th time because frustratingly they keep making my wedding band the wrong size. I was determined to use an independent by us, due to businesses struggling during COVID so reached out to a local ring maker. She is absolutely lovely but completely scatty. And in my humble opinion unbelievably talented.

So I’m here for the 3rd try on, after going Saturday and Friday the week before. Frustratingly the band is now too small. I take a deep breath. Smile, stay whilst she gets it sorted ready for the next stage and thank her. I also buy some cards and a wild flower bomb for the step daughters stocking at Xmas.

Get home and she’s charged me £57.00 for the 4 cards and flower bomb which I do not have. More deep breaths and tears to hubster (who really should be sainted).

Any how it’s now past 5pm, the magic wine o’clock. I’m going to stay strong, read some tips on how to treat myself (thanks for the ideas all- I might raid the cheese in the fridge) and if in doubt go to bed with Jason Vale.

Have a lovely evening all

JS x

Day 8- the fog hits

Cleaning the lounge yesterday I came across my big vase, where I’d kept corks of special bottles in. I was under the assumption I’d do something arty with it at one point. They’ve sat in the corner all week taunting me, “look how much money you’ve wasted”, “bet you can’t recall one night from these special corks”. I can actually but that’s not the point. I get a bin bag to start emptying them into the bag and one catches my eye. In biro (because I’m a classy mummy) I’ve written “I quit”. I don’t remember writing it, it was half way into the pile. I do however believe this is a sign and it gives me the shivers. It also shows I’ve been aware my drinking has been out of control for a while.

We have a lovely walk round the lake and field by our home. There were tons of butterflies dancing over the wildflowers and my beautiful baby loved watching them. Came home and cut the lawn to keep busy, then cut my neighbours too. She’s a lovely lady suffering with depression so it felt good to help in a small way. She waved from the window and mouthed thank you, which made me feel warm and fluffy inside.

Went to bed at 8pm after surviving my first sober roast in a long time. The cravings were back. Was really surprised with how tired I felt so dropped off pretty quick and slept through. Didn’t suffer from the knot of anxiety like I normally would when my step daughter is due.

Waking up clear headed on a Monday and actively playing with beautiful baby, instead of trying to cram caffeine into my body was lovely. We had a socially distanced play date in the park and then it hit. I can only describe it as extreme fatigue, a fog, when your legs feel like all the energy is being sucked out of them. Managed to get us home and napped in beautiful baby’s nap. Woke up and still no better. Has anyone else felt like this? Does it get better? How long does it last? Starting Jason Vales book with a bar of chocolate tonight. Has anyone got any other recommendations? Hope everyone else is having a relaxing evening

JS x