Day 204 – hello February

New month. I can’t wait.

I already feel tons better than I did end of December. The yoga is becoming a daily habit and my early mornings are starting to feel sacred to my mental wellbeing for the rest of the day.

I’m also learning to adapt. This morning BB woke up at the same time as me, so my toddler had her first yoga practice alongside me. She was a big fan of the forward fold and the downward dog was apparently hilarious.

I’m enjoying the skincare routine, I’ve added a bath to my Friday night routine and I’m also loving it.

The husband also seems happier. He gets a lie in Monday to Friday and if I have time I pop him a coffee up. This small gesture has resulted in him being in a better mood. He now returns the favour on a Saturday morning and Friday he surprised me with a mint tea in the bath.

I’ve baked bread and gotten joy out of the simple kneading action. I’ve baked with my step daughter and delivered cakes to neighbours porches.

January was also stressful, but sobriety helped me through it. Normally old me would have drank through it. Woken up late, been hung over snappy, detached from BB and lost in my hungover thoughts. New me crawls around the floor mooing like a cow or neighing like a horse. I’m walking to the park every day and enjoying the fresh air.

I’ve binged in January, but I haven’t beaten myself up about it. I’ve recognised it is what it is and recovery is a slow process. I think my awareness is helping reduce the binges as well as having an eating schedule. I’m no longer having counselling and stepping out bravely into new eating habits.

So that was Jan. Excited to see what Feb will bring ♡

Love

JS xx

Day 200 – The list

Today mark’s 200 days in my sobriety journey.

To be honest I can’t believe its come round so fast. The first 100 days stretched so long, especially the first 30 to 40 days. Then the last 200 have flown by.

Ive decided to do a list. A 40 things before I’m 40 list, to make the passing of time a little bit more special.

However I’ve not filled it completely yet so any suggestions are welcomed whole heartedly

Here they are:

1) Marathon or Tri sprint or sea swim race
2) Wean off social media
3) Complete my PGCE
4) Pass my NQT year
5) Find our forever home
6) Pay off student loan
7) Successfully break (or be well on the way to breaking) binge eating habits
8) Buy a wet suit and use it regularly
9) Do the Harry Potter tour
10) Visit Eftling with family
11) Have one sunny beach holiday abroad with my family
12) Stay sober
13) Get my 5km race time under 30 minutes
14) Get my 10km race time under 60 minutes
15) Visit a beautiful beach in the UK I’ve not visited before
16) Hike/climb helvellyn via striding edge
17) Hike/climb Snowdon
18) Do something good for someone who doesnt know how I am
19) Volunteer at a soup kitchen
20) Treat myself to an expensive accessory
21) Go coasteering
22) Ride a horse again on a trek like Ludlow, devon, Wales
23) Start riding a bike
24) Plan out our front garden
25) Become more environmentally sustainable
26) Sledging
27) Go camping
28) Canoe down the wye
29) Eat in a Michelin star restaurant
30) Go to the Tower of London
31) Explore Paris
32) Visit Hever castle
33) Visit Kenliworth castle
34) Try fondue
35) Do a swim trip somewhere
36) Learn about Tudor history (maybe short course).

In my heart I’d love to have on the list, move away to the country. It’s been a dream of mind for at least 10 years. Every time I’ve given it some serious consideration something’s happened (I got a promotion, my mother got sick, I met my husband).

Whilst I’d love to add it to the list I know in my heart of hearts it wouldn’t be possible under the current custody agreement with my step daughter. So hopefully it will feature on my before 50 list as she’ll just be going off to university.

Happy sober thursday everyone. Hope you’re all well. I’m currently hiding as my SD builds a bug hotel for school in our living room. Already dreading the cleaning up.

Love

JS x

Day 196- The Golden Hours

Whilst every hour is 60 minutes (unless you’re working a god awful job then every hour feels like a 1,000), there are some hours that are golden.

I was lucky enough to have not one but two today.

My daughter (BB) is 15 months and struggling with her teeth terribly at the moment. When it came to nap time this afternoon she just didnt want to nap and wanted to be held.

This almost never happens. She’s so independent, just getting a cuddle is a struggle. So we settled down on our bed and I told her 2 stories I knew off by heart (gruffalo and gruffalos child).

As I got to the end of the second story I felt her breathing slow and soften. Her body went heavy and we snuggled into the cuddle.

We sat like this for just over 2 hours. I lent back on my bed and just cuddled her. With no phone or book I sat listening to her snuffles, watching her hands move in her dreams.

It was perfect. My mind wandered during these golden hours whilst enjoying the cuddle. I felt so lucky, so aware of this moment but also daydreaming away with the fairies letting my mind wander for the first time in months.

At the end of the nap, she awoke groggy and furious. Pushing herself off me to be independent again. It made me smile as this is her all over. Independent, strong minded, but when it comes to it, needing comfort from her mama.

Happy sober Sunday

Love

JS xx

Day 195 – Snow Fun

Last night after my Friday night bath, I came down to see the front garden covered in snow. It was gorgeous.

We excitedly got my SD out of bed (an echo to my childhood of when it snowed). We bundled her into warm clothes with her pjs underneath and head outside. We sledged, snowball fought and made snow Angel’s it was gorgeous.

If I’d have been drinking we’d have never done it. I’d never have been bothered to get her up. I would be too cocooned in a glass of red, stupified on the sofa. But instead we laughed. Pelleted each other with snowballs. Then made warm drinks when we got in. It was perfect.

Today we got up early and walked over my favourite fields. As I breathed in the fresh air I felt so lucky and alive. I can’t believe I’m coming up to 200 days, what a change its brought. This 100 has gone so much fast than the first 100. So much more enjoyable.

So that’s us today. Destressed, happy and sober.

How are you all?

Love

JS xx

Day 193 – And breathe

I haven’t posted for a few days as I’ve been so stressed over this situation with the ex wife. And whilst round 1 might be over for now, I know there’s another fight looming in our future.

We found out yesterday, after all those threats, the manipulation that we were letting my SD down, the horrible emails and whatsap messages, that after all of that she didn’t pass the exam.

His ex wife informed us at hand over tersely then promptly slammed the door literally in our faces. I was pretty shocked by her behaviour. Although suddenly I can see where my SD gets her terrible bouts of attitude from.

I always try and treat her like I would if she was another professional I work with. Calm, polite and slightly humourous, so it only amplified her behaviour.

I felt awful for my SD, but so relieved it ended the financial discussions for now. I made her a hot chocolate, sat on the sofa and chatted about how she felt whilst looking through some photos we had had printed. She didnt seem disappointed, like the ex muttered at us, actually up beat. It was freeing to see her like this as she’s been rather quiet and withdrawn the last few weeks.

Today on the way home from the park, she told me she only wanted to go because her best friend was going. That mummy had told her she could try again next year if she wanted to be with her. I froze as her childcare agreement states we don’t have to discuss this again until she’s 11. So obviously her mum is deciding to ignore this part of it.

I asked her was her best friend the only reason she wanted to go. She said yes. So I said theres 3 classes in each year group, theres no guarantee that you’ll be with your best friend.

“Oh well I dont want to go, I want to stay at my current school with my friends”. I feel so sorry for her. It’s almost like her mum is pushing her own wishes and dreams for what her childhood was on her.

It’s made me more aware of my own dreams and desires for BB. Mainly I just want her to grow up happy and healthy, a well rounded good person. But deep down I’d love her to love the outdoors like me, like horses, open water swimming and to be curious about the world. I’ll have to ensure I dont push these on her to the point of pushing her away.

During the stressful last week, I’m so glad I’ve not drank. Its kept me even minded, open, fair. Drunk me would’ve responded to some of the stuff sent with bitterness and anger. Instead we have gone back level headed, offering alternative solutions. My husband called me his anchor and I felt so proud I was able to be this. Sobriety has given me this gift and I’m slowly unwrapping the paper.

And whilst I know further thunderstorms are forthcoming, I know sobriety will see me through them.

Love JS xx

Oh and I’m still replenishing, skin good, enjoying baths and yoga

Day 189 – When the sh*t hits

The grenade went off last night when my husband emailed his ex wife regarding the private school she is hell bent on sending my step daughter to.

She is wishing to break the court ordered financial agreement and contribute less towards childcare due to her funding the school. She also by default wants us to pay more in covering the extra weeks holidays my step daughter would have, the increased school uniform costs and any additional school trips etc.

We simply can not afford it. We live modestly on one salary supporting the 4 of us currently. We can afford all our necessities but not any extravagances. But we are happy, we don’t want or wish for more.

The whole point of the financial order was to protect us from her doing this as she’s a lot more affluent and doesnt wish to pay as much.

We have stated my SDs school is currently outstanding, they’ve offered excellent online lessons, she loves her friends and teachers. That she has experienced a ton of upheaval in the last few years and school has been her one constant security blanket. That she loves her childminder, she’s settled and happy. That we’d prefer her not to go.

All of this has fallen on deaf ears and as I’ve said, she is hell bent on sending her.

We had preliminary discussions in July last year at time when I still had a job to go back to. She gave us a scribbled draft of her financial workings out and we went back with what we needed to make it work. Since then both our stances have changed. She is now asking for more, whereas we are asking to stick with the financial agreement and use this money to cover the extra costs of uniform and holiday cover.

This resulted in her creating a whatsap group last night adding us both and then ranting about how we’d changed the goal posts (so had she) and if my SD couldn’t go we would be disappointing her forever. That she felt forced into a corner to continue to pay the financial agreement (like yes it’s a legal enforceable document).

Her message immediately caused all sorts of turmoil. My husband rubbish with conflict, went quiet, brooding and snappy. I was expecting this but was annoyed I’d been added into a whatsap group to discuss it informally.

Then I could feel the anxiety kick in. My heart beat went erratic. My mind was racing with all the potential scenarios. I felt the wine witch give me a wink.

I lit some candles and powered through my yoga, getting lost in the flow. And you know what. It really helped. Like really helped.

I came out of the practice calm, no longer craving (well it had reduced considerably) and was able to be supportive and nurturing towards my husband. I responded to the group thanking her for including me, but stating I’d rather the discussions stayed between the 2 of them for now. I felt proud I’d maintained my boundaries. I then left the group.

This morning after a rubbish nights sleep, I’ve helped my husband devise a response to her email that is calm, unemotive and to the point. Not using the dramatic language and the guilt manipulation she has tried to use.

I dont agree with her approach or demands, however, I do emphasise with her as a mother. She obviously believes it is the best route for her daughter and she’s fighting for us to contribute to her idea. I respect her for doing that, for looking out for her daughter. I only hope she shows some respect and empathy back to our family and financial situation.

So that’s where we are today. It was the strongest urge I’d had in ages, I’m glad I managed to fight it.

How’s everyones Sundays?

Love

JS x

Day 188 – Alcohol Nightmares

I’ve just woken up all clammy with my heart racing. Last night in my dream I drank.

I was sitting in a made up city bar by a window with a collection of people. I was dressed up, confident, glass of crisp, cool, white wine in hand.

I remember taking a sip and then thinking oh crap, I’ve ruined my streak, I’ve got to do day one again. Then just deciding not to do day 1 again, just to “moderate”.

In my dream my mind flashes forward as I manage to moderate for a week, maybe 2. Then I’m having sneaky sips in the kitchen again. I’m choosing to go to a friends to get black out drunk, instead of spending time with BB. I’m hurrying friends with drinking, always watching my glass anticipating the next pour.

I feel out of control, but worse than before. I’m hiding bottles and BB doesn’t want to bring friends home from school incase I embarrass her.

I woke up in a state of panic. I’ve being contemplating recently about if I’d drink again. One of my friends said “oh you will have a glass of champagne at my wedding won’t you to celebrate” and another asked if we should bring wine to a canoe trip we’re doing when the virus is over.

All of this made me think maybe I could just drink on special occasions. Not in the house. Not infront of BB. But a conflicting thought was why would I want to put toxins in my body, go back to the hard first few white knuckle riding weeks.

The dream has come just at the right time. I believe it’s my subconscious saying I won’t or more to the point can’t drink ever again. I just can’t moderate it and its dancing with the devil.

That’s something I’m coming to terms with and it feels weirdly ok.

Happy sober saturday

Love

JS x

Day 184 – 6 months sober

For 6 months I’ve lived authentically (or at the very least that’s what its felt like).

I chose not to drink alcohol any more after a terrible trip to a childrens farm with a hangover (think the stench of cows combined with the hangover heaves). However, I still continued to drink for the next 2 nights.

You see I always felt I was “giving up”. That I was robbed of one my favourite pastimes, relaxation activity and social lubricant.

I can now see in 6 months, I have in fact not chosen to give up anything. I have chosen to live in a technicolor of emotion and experience (I know this sounds terribly wanky, but it’s what it feels like). I have chosen to become a better mother, wife, friend.

I have quit my job to follow my heart into teaching and I’m dedicating hours to pre read the course material and practice weak areas. I’ve started the journey on tackling an eating disorder and putting in place positive practices.

I have discovered a love of early morning wild swimming and have signed up for when it opens again in late Spring. I’ve cross stitched 2 childrens advent calendars, taken better care of my body, read books to expand my mind.

I have woken up at 6am to do yoga, taken long walks, danced in the rain under a rainbow with my step daughter and explored beaches in Devon whilst on holiday.

I know to some this is already their life. But for me this is all brand new. I’d have never done this whilst drinking.

I’d have missed out on all these opportunities. Missed the magic in the quiet moments with my daughter. Rushed the bed time routine instead of lingering, giving extra kisses, reading an extra book. Missed getting up early to see the sun rise and break over a gorgeous lake whilst the cool water swirled around my body. Missed early reconciliation after a row with the husband, extending the arguement with alcohol induced self righteousness. Missed the afternoon hike in the lakes up to a tarn whilst my husband and BB slept.

Missed connecting with you. You have all helped so much this last 6 months. Encouraging, offering advice, changing my mindset, recommending books, yoga expanding my mind. Thank you.

I feel like I’ve lived more in these 6 months than I have in 2 to 3 years of drinking. Yet I look and feel younger. Isn’t that crazy?

That’s even taking into account lockdown, the anxiety of a virus, home schooling. In fact the lock down has only made it feel like I’m more cocooned, protected whilst I navigate new waters.

So if you’re starting this journey and asking yourself is it worth it? It is. It really is.

You’re not giving up anything (well apart from toxins and on occasion feeling like utter death). In fact the hole you think alcohol leaves, blows itself wide open and fills up with activities, feelings, love, self awareness and an appreciation for life. It’s not one I’m planning to give up any time soon.

Anyway enough waffling

Happy Tuesday

Love

JS xx

Day 182 – Walks

Today I made time to escape the house and do a big walk with a friend over the fields by us.

The husband is in a mood as he’s currently sword fighting his ex wife over her wishes to send their daughter to private school and the implications and added cost to ourselves (she’ll pay the fees, but there’s an extra 6 weeks holidays to cover and the uniform is £600 p/a. That’s not even considering school trips etc).

He, well we both do, have concerns over the effect on BB having a different education. As well as the pressure to pay for the private school add ons, taking money away from BBs pot. We’ve always said we would treat them as fair as possible, when it comes to money, treats, presents etc so neither child feels left out.

However, it feels like if we don’t consent, it will always be “your dad held you back”, to my step daughter when she’s older. We’ve basically been pushed into a corner.

Understandably he’s become snappy and withdrawn so I was happy to escape for 2 blissful hours with a friend.

The thing I love about this walk is it’s off the beaten track, you hardly see anyone whilst walking it. So in covid staying safe terms it’s great. There’s also tons of beautiful nature to look at. Rabbits, horses, wagtails, robin’s. The air feels fresh and you forget you’re in a city.

I breathed in great big breaths. I listened to the bird call, the snorts of the horses as we wandered past. I heard my shoes crunch the frosty ground, the cold tingling my fingers. I felt alive and well. I felt in the moment.

After the walk had finished, I came home to a warm home. I played with BB as my husband snapped. It was hard not to snap back. I then decided on a little more self care and went to bed with a book in her nap time.

When she woke, my husband came in the room and apologised. I feel so much better for biting my tongue and not giving it back. Acting from compassion and understanding, instead of hurt and well annoyance.

We ate Sunday dinner together, laughed and enjoyed each others company. I know tough times are coming (they haven’t come to an agreement yet and there will be a fall out), but I feel better for weathering this part of the storm.

Being sober definitely makes me less reactive, more compassionate and more self aware. It’s making me a better wife, mother and partner. I couldn’t be more thankful.

Oh replenish update, still doing the skin care routine and loving it. Still doing yoga and trying to get enough sleep. Eating is going better too.

Happy Sunday. Hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend

Love

JS xx

Day 180 – Beauty

In these cold, snowy, sober days I’m still managing to find beauty in everything. I’m trying (and sometimes failing) to let go of stress around home schooling my SD, trying to study myself and parent my beautiful baby.

I’ve found being sober, not sobering. I’m still laughing more, getting up early to do my yoga and skin care routine.

I’m getting joy out of online interactions with the sober community, starting to enjoy insta more and trying to pay back and support people like how I was supported.

I’m still feeling strong, happy and beautiful even if I am in jamas, no make up, unbrushed hair at midday (maybe slightly delusional).

I’m trying to be as positive as possible about the situation, enjoy this time, these moments in history.

So far it’s working. I’m replenishing myself, one beautiful moment at a time.

Hope everyone’s staying well and as happy as possible?

Love

JS xx