Counselling

Still here, still sober. Halfway through month eleven now. I haven’t posted in a while because any “self-reflection” energy I’ve had has been going into counselling.

When I signed up for counselling I explained that I wanted to talk about my drinking problem and mentioned that I might need to speak to an addiction counsellor specifically. But the counsellor I was matched with doesn’t have any background in dealing with addiction whatsoever so she basically just listens and can’t make any comment when I ask questions because she doesn’t know the answer. She’s really lovely, but it’s a bit frustrating seeing as I wanted some actual academic answers to stuff.

Instead we’ve been getting into the social anxiety/shyness issues I have, and talking about my “overactive inner critic”. I know I have quite a few traits that are typical of people with drinking problems – an all-or-nothing personality, a streak of perfectionism and an out of proportion fear of failure – so it’s good to dig into that stuff a bit. It was nice to hear that she reckons it’s all very fixable stuff, but after a few sessions I was none the wiser as to how I am meant to fix this stuff. “Getting conscious” of being self-critical was the first step, but I don’t really know what’s meant to happen after that…

After the first four sessions I decided not to continue because it seemed really expensive for what I was getting out of it, but she suggested a group counselling option, which my work would cover the cost of. So far I’ve been to one session and it was about as bad as you could expect a group counselling session to be. Here are a bunch of reasons it sucks:

  1. Sitting in a room full of strangers talking about all the embarrassing aspects of your personality, explaining that I could barely breathe due to anxiety and just feeling extremely vulnerable. Pure hell.
  2. As people in the room share their issues, the counsellors who are running the session try to involve other people by saying things like “Bob, how do you feel about what John has shared?” And poor Bob has to tell John that he empathises with him because he doesn’t get on with his in-laws (or whatever the issue is). It couldn’t be any clearer that Bob doesn’t feel any way in particular about John’s life problems and it’s equally clear that John feels incredibly awkward about forcing an opinion out Bob. Poor Bob, poor John, poor me.
  3. No one knows I don’t drink. My counsellor didn’t think I should bring it up because it’s a ‘side issue’. People keep mentioning how difficult the sessions are and joking that we all need to go to the pub. I predict that by session three everyone will be hitting the pub afterwards. That’ll be a fun one to navigate.
  4. The sessions run for two and a half hours. They feel like they go on for six and a half.
  5. I’ve already cried in front of a room of people. Dead embarrassing, but I may as well get used to it because my face leaks tears the entire duration of every counselling session I’ve been to. Now that I’m doing group counselling, it means I get to cry in front of 15 strangers instead of just one.
  6. I wasn’t told that the sessions would also include “psycho-drama”. Apparently this is where you get up in front of the group and act out your issues and then explore ways to deal with the issue by acting out different solutions and seeing how they make you feel. Acting. In front of people. Need I say more?
  7. There are EIGHT weekly sessions plus a weekend workshop. This hell isn’t going to end anytime soon.
  8. I can’t just stop going because my work have paid and the counsellors will surely tell my work that I’ve stopped showing up and I’ll get in trouble for wasting a lot of money.

I know this list makes it sound like I’m not really trying to be open to what group counselling has to offer. I did go in with a really open mind for the first session and after finding the experience seriously un-enjoyable I think I’ve made up my mind that it’s just going to be torture from here on in.

In drinking news, absolutely no desire or cravings to drink except a lot of anxiety in social settings when I’m around other people drinking, which I’m mainly avoiding at the moment. Still completely undecided about whether I want to attempt moderating at some stage, but I think having it there as an option makes me feel a lot more chilled out and happy to not be drinking today/this week/this month. I really wanted to discuss this stuff with a counsellor who knows what they’re talking about, but as I mentioned she hasn’t really been able to help me out there, so I might have to keep shopping around.

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Struggling with stigma

Lots has changed since my last Debbie Downer post about feeling like I was enduring my dull, directionless life. The biggest change is that we’ve decided for sure that we’ll make the move to London in December (just in time for Christmas). Having something to work towards, plan for and get excited about has really lifted my mood and I feel like my life (that was passing at a glacial pace) is finally speeding up.

In saying that, all the same fears that I had a few weeks ago are still there – that I’ll struggle to make friends if they all think I’m a weirdo that doesn’t drink, and that socialising will be so much harder, but I can also see the benefits of having a fresh start in a new country and building a sober life from scratch there.

I still really struggle with the social stigma of not drinking. The evenings spent in a day to day routine (work, dinner, TV, bed) breeze by so easily. I rarely have cravings and I find it hard to imagine that I once used to polish off a bottle of wine each night – the thought of doing that now seems ridiculous. How did I run my life? How did I find the time and energy!? So in terms of day to day life, I can give that a big fat tick – progress achieved. But in terms of social life, I still hate it.

I went to a big boozy work party on Friday night and stayed for half an hour. People say that that’s okay, that skipping these social events is just all about finding out who you really are and what you really enjoy, but that doesn’t change the fact that I felt so left out. I felt like a frumpy loser leaving early to go home and get into my PJs and watch TV like it was any other night of the week. My anxiety was through the roof hours before. I feel so dull without alcohol at social events and anticipating how dull and boring I will be all night gets me worked up and feeling emotional. I felt like crying as I ordered a soda and lime at the bar. Just felt like a massive loser with nothing interesting to say to anyone because all I could focus on was how uncomfortable I was.

So when I think of sober socialising in a new country where I know no one, the thought fills me with dread. I’ve read that new sober friends are generally of a higher calibre than people you bond with over boozy sessions, and that’s all well and good, but the reason they’re better friends is because you have to put so much more effort in. Call me crazy, but I’ll generally try and find the path of least resistance when it comes to doing anything in life. I am dead lazy, which is frustrating, but also just a part of my personality that I have to deal with. I may go in with great intentions of joining clubs and developing hobbies, but realistically I’ve never been a social butterfly and those intentions have never panned out in life in New Zealand, so I don’t see why they would in England. I’ve always found boozy events – work drinks/flat parties/dinners etc to be the places where I meet people and make new friends, so I don’t know how I’ll cope with those if I’m always leaving after half an hour of extreme discomfort!

I have a counselling appointment in a few days. I’m not really holding out much hope that she’ll be able to make me feel completely positive about sober life, but hopefully she can offer some advice about dealing with anxiety and socialising. I’ll talk to her about the realities of moderating and whether it’s possible to drink socially without diving straight back in to addictive behaviours. I’m sure we all know what the answer to that question is, but I’ll ask anyway 🙂

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Here’s some relevant material I’ve been consuming lately:

  • Home Podcast’s talk on the ‘Why me?‘ question that plagues us.
  • This post on building new sober life connections and making friends (from Hip Sobriety)
  • This article on sober socialising.

Dickheads everywhere

I don’t think I’ve ever really grasped just how good I’ve had it when it comes to other people’s reactions to my decision to stop drinking. I’ve had it soooo, so good, but if the last fortnight is anything to go by, my luck has run out.

When I first quit I was constantly on the defensive, always prepared for hostile reactions when I turned down offers of drinks. Boozing culture is so well ingrained in our society that I expected it to ruffle a few feathers when I decided to go against the grain. Plus, I had been living in a world that revolved around alcohol and I couldn’t believe that people wouldn’t care about my decision not to partake in a bit of gasoline guzzling.

On the whole though I was pleasantly surprised by other people’s reactions. Close friends and family knew that I’d been worrying about my drinking for a long time before I actually stopped, so they had a bit of background and didn’t hassle me one bit. In fact their reactions have ranged from being curious about it all, to hugely supportive, to awestruck. And the majority of workmates, strangers and acquaintances have been mildly surprised, yet completely un-phased by news that I no longer drink. Overall, people just do not give a monkey’s what I decide to put into my body. It’s fab, it’s how things should be.

And so (with my surprise at everyone else’s lack of surprise), alcohol free me has slowly come out of hiding and I’ve gained confidence in this new aspect of my identity. I’ve become better at picking my timing and dropping it casually into conversation. Things seemed to be on the up and up. But, as this image so wonderfully summarises, up and up is never the reality:

Expectations v reality

The reality is that there are, in fact, an abundance of dickheads around. Absolutely loooooads of them. Ignorant, insensitive, ill-informed, blithering idiots, who feel it is their place to make you feel like a less of a human for becoming addicted to an addictive substance, and feel that it is their right to be offended by your decision to do something about that pesky little addiction.

I guess I’d been lulled into a false sense of security by all the wonderful mature reactions I’d had the good fortune to experience for the majority of my time spent sober, so I was a bit miffed at my work-party last week to be met with judgmental comment after judgmental comment all night long. There was pity “Oh you don’t drink? What… ever? That must be so booooring!”, and shock “You don’t drink? You?”, and attempts to coax me out of the ridiculous proposal that I stop drinking “It’s not forever, right?”, but what I found most unsettling was the disgust I encountered. My standard explanation when people ask why I don’t drink is to tell them that I wasn’t comfortable with the amount I was drinking so I decided to cut it out completely, but watching strangers’ faces balk in disgust at this fact has been making me second guess whether being honest all of the time is best for me.

To be fair to this particular bunch of dickheads, I think it was the age group of a lot of the people there that night – we’d recently hired a whole lot of junior staff straight out of uni and they probably haven’t learnt that there’s a big old diverse world out there and that they’ll need to learn to tolerate differences.

What’s rattled my cage a lot more recently is the judgement and disgust I’ve copped from an old friend. I can cope with a lack of understanding from people that don’t know me, young people that live in a booze soaked world, who are conditioned daily to believe that alcohol is the only way to have fun, but it’s a lot more confronting when it comes from a good friend. This friend has tiptoed around the edges of disdain. She hasn’t outright said that she doesn’t agree with my decision, but it’s quite clear that she’s not in support. The problem is, her comments are so minor that I feel like I’m being petty by bringing them up with her. The other day she messaged me delighted to see that I’d started drinking again. When I explained that the big glass of wine in the photo was AF wine, she replied simply “ew yuck”. This friend is one seriously intelligent girl, who’s normally really open minded and considerate, which is why I find her reaction all the more frustrating.

I guess the silver lining here is that her display of shitty friendship qualities just makes my supportive friends shine all the more brighter in comparison. Plus, she has really ugly eyebrows, so that makes me feel better too 😉

Four good things

Month eight has been a cracking month so far!

I haven’t blogged in a few weeks because I haven’t felt the need. It’s a bit like the training wheels have fallen off and I just don’t need that support that I used to. Sober Mummy wrote about sober props recently and I agree – it’s a good measure of how well you’re doing when you notice the props falling away.

I thought it was about time to do up a list of things I’m grateful for right now, so here’s four good things…

1.) Trip to Queenstown

I’ve had crap holidays and good holidays sober, and this was a good one. The weekend pretty much centred around food. (I think that’s the key to a good sober holiday!)

This photo was taken on our last morning there. We had an early flight so I got up early and went to the bakery for breakfast at dawn. There wasn’t a soul around. I love that time of the morning when it feels like the world is all yours. If only I didn’t love sleep so much, I could enjoy my hangover free mornings more!

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2.) The alcohol shaped hole is filling in

One of my biggest fears when I decided to cut out the booze was that I was in a lose-lose situation. I thought my life was going to be miserable while drinking and miserable without. I could see that the drinking was causing a little path of destruction through my life, so I wanted to remove it, but I didn’t want it to leave a gaping painful hole behind. I didn’t want to drink and I didn’t want to stop. Basically I didn’t want my addiction.

The first six months were definitely patched with misery. I tried really hard not to feel like I was missing out, or feel like I was denying myself something I wanted, but sometimes you just can’t change how you feel no matter how much mind power you use! What I really needed was mind power + time. I just had a marinate in shitty feelings for a while until they sorted themselves out and I began to feel better.

These days (for the most part) I have what I wished for. I live my life with booze removed and no gaping hole. I’ve read a lot of advice that says you have to find something to fill that gaping hole. Often it’s running, or yoga or AA meetings, but for me I’m not too sure what it is… I think I’m just getting on with life and the lack of boozing is becoming less of a presence.

3.) Sober treats

I’ve found a new pit to pour money into that isn’t the booze aisle of the supermarket!

A couple of weeks ago I spent my Friday night at the Bobbi Brown counter. The women there are super down to earth and genuinely keen to make sure you’re happy. While my friends had a few pre-dinner drinks, I went off to get my make-up done, before meeting up with them later for dinner.

Skipping drinks was a genius idea and I’d make it a weekly ritual if it wouldn’t bankrupt me. Perched on my chair, sipping my sparkling water and being pampered, I felt like I was getting a much better deal than my boozy mates. Dinner later on was less alcohol-centric, so I felt like I was getting the best of both worlds. I’d definitely recommend doing this to stamp out any lingering feelings of FOMO. The counter will do your skincare/make-up for a set cost of around $100, but they’ll shave $100 off the cost of any product you buy.

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4.) This quote from Brené Brown

I don’t usually go in for this quotey shit – it’s all a bit lala when I’m all for practical advice. But this quote resonated with me for some reason:

“You can choose courage or comfort, but you cannot have both”

It was shared on Laura McKowen’s facebook page and I guess I was in a reflective mood when I read it. I think it really sums up sobriety (especially early sobriety). Sobriety has been extremely uncomfortable at times (to the point where I felt like I would 100% absolutely die if I didn’t drink), but I just had to recognise that my body/mind was simply intensely uncomfortable without the comfort of alcohol. It takes a lot of courage to sit with the discomfort and have faith that it becomes much more comfortable the more practice you get.

Brene Brown

Earl Grey’s Orchard

Warm, creamy, aromatic and tart…this one’s a goody!

With a base of fragrant mulled apple juice, topped with a head of chilled Chantilly cream, it ain’t doing your waistline any favours, but it is so, so worth it.

You’ll need:

  • 1 L apple juice
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 1/2 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 tsp honey
  • zest of half an orange
  • 2 Earl Grey teabags

For Chantilly cream:

  • 100 mLs full fat cream
  • 1 tsp icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

This will make 4 short glasses or 2 tall ones.

Add your mulled apple juice ingredients to a saucepan and simmer over a low heat for 10 – 15 minutes.

While your apple liquid is simmering, whip the cream with icing sugar and nutmeg. Once thick, leave in the fridge to chill.

After simmering, set aside your apple liquid to cool for 5-10 minutes.

It should still be fairly hot when you pour into glasses.


Dollop your chilled cream on top. It should melt slightly, but float.

The tangy apple cuts through the cream, perfumed with Earl Grey tea and spices. It’ll set your taste buds singing!

Blabbing about being blue

This post was meant to be an update on how blue I’d started feeling again, but the mopey days came and went so quickly that I didn’t get around to posting while I was feeling blue. I’m back in happy mode, but felt the need to document it anyway.

To be fair, it was more of a mopey grey than proper blue. I guess I’m getting so attuned to my feelings that I freak out every time I start to get a bit down and diognose myself with full blown depression. Ever the drama queen.

Anyway, I think I’ve pinned down a few of the causes of my low mood:

  • First up, our weekend away to Queenstown (which was amazing by the way – I’ll post about it later), but I ate like shit all weekend and had crappy sleep on a shitty mattress, and of course travelling in general is a bit stress inducing.
  • Couple that with reading Caroline Knapp’s Drinking: A Love Story, which I’m finding extremely triggery and have had to stop and start reading several times.
  • Plus Louis Theroux’s Drinking to Oblivion doco, which I found quite scary and left me thinking “what if I try, and try, and try to live my life happy and sober, but eventually end up like poor Aurelie?”… “What if no matter how hard I try I’ll eventually be worn down and sucked into the vortex of alcoholism because it’s ultimately more powerful than me”. Thinking in extremes probably isn’t doing me any favours in the mood department.

As soon as I began to feel a bit mopey I went straight back to basics. Ate a tonne of healthy food – veges, salmon, brown rice – cut down on my sugar intake, tired myself out by working hard, slept well, drank water, read feel-good articles, had some deep and meaningful convos, and said “no” to going out. And the blues breezed back out of my life as quickly as they’d come in.

Three cheers for self care!

And three cheers for sober treats – these are Celosia – they look like hot pink fuzzy brains; my favourite flowers:

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Every Cloud

Re-reading my post about my shitty weekend has made me determined to salvage something from the wreckage. There’s always (alwaysalwaysalways) a positive to be found in any mess.

I’m gutted that I allowed myself to get to the point where I was prepared to drink (there should be a minimum of 16 obstacles between me and a glass of wine at all times!), but there’s not much sense in dwelling on the negatives or hating myself for it. I just need to learn from it and put more effort into strategies to eject myself from that spiral of panicky thoughts that led me to that point. I need to be able to recognise that my thoughts are heading south and put a stop to them before I reach the point of no return.

So I guess my first positive to be found is that I didn’t actually reach the point of ‘no return’. I didn’t get to the ‘fuck-it point and just order a glass of wine. On the surface I thought that was because I couldn’t bear being on the end of disapproving tutting from my boyfriend, but thinking back to a month or two ago (if I’d been in the same headspace I was in on the weekend) a bit of disapproving tutting wouldn’t have stood between me and a glass of pinot grigio!  I hope that means that I’m subconsciously becoming stronger in my sobriety.

I’m also gutted I didn’t make more of our time away, but I have my whole life to master sober travelling. In the meantime I need to get a better grasp of triggery situations. We went for a couple of evening walks, but next time I think I’ll just skip evening plans altogether – evenings weren’t a fun time on that holiday. Next time I need to have more morning plans – brunch will be mandatory every day. Evenings can be spent missing the sunset in favour of reading indoors (at least until sober holidaying comes more naturally).

Waiheke

Until we meet again holiday sunsets!

Waiheke sunset

Speaking of reading, if you like a good thriller, check out ‘The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair’. I have Annie Grace’s The Naked Mind on my reading pile, but quite frankly that’ll have to wait because finding out who the killer is in this book is more important than my sobriety right now! 🙂

Harry Quebert Affair

The other positive, that I failed to see at the time, is that this weekend was so abysmally shitty because it was in stark contrast with my day to day life. It’s helped me to realise that these horrible yucky panicky feelings don’t exist in my day to day life anymore. It’s probably because I’ve had a tonne of practice spending weeknights being sober and productive, and it’s going to take a bit longer to clock up a lot of practice sober holidaying… I guess the weekend just put things in perspective a bit and has shown me how far I’ve come since the horrors of my first month sober.

Day to day sober life sucks significantly less these days. Holidays I will need to work on 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Talking to strangers (plus a bonus Q)

Plenty of advice I’ve received on socialising in early sobriety has been simply ‘don’t go’. I took that advice as much as I could in my first couple of months, but have been trying to re-introduce a bit of socialising back into my life recently for fear of turning into a hermit. As I mentioned in a couple of previous posts, it really sucks the energy out of me and I haven’t had the best time, so perhaps that’s a sign I’m destined for hermithood. Or maybe I’m just trying to do too much too fast.

This weekend we have a couple staying with us from the UK. They’re friends of my partner’s and I haven’t met them before. I feel terrible about it, but I’ve been putting myself first over the last couple of nights and staying in while they go out for dinner and drinks each night. I realise how crazy it is to feel so much guilt simply for doing what’s best for me, but I can’t help but feel bad for not ‘making an effort’ and ‘being a good host’.

I think a huge part of it is because I assume they’ll just think I’m rude, which is frustrating, but I just don’t feel comfortable communicating my situation with strangers – “Hello, nice to meet you. I’m going to be avoiding you all weekend because I’m in early sobriety and having a tough time of it of late and all your holiday boozing around me will fray my nerves to bits. Sorry about that. Here’s your room, let me know if you need fresh towels”. If  I had, say, the flu, that would be a different story entirely “Hello, nice to meet you. I’m going to be avoiding you all weekend because I’ve got a horrific cold and a pounding headache. Sorry about that. Here’s your room, let me know if you need fresh towels”.

To be honest I even feel uncomfortable talking to close friends about sobriety some of the time. Today as I skyped a friend I watched her eyes glaze over after she asked how my sobriety was going. I’m so conscious that it’s not a fun topic of conversation for them that I’ll change the subject to save them the pain of having to listen to me whinge on about it for more than 30 seconds. Which is why it is so lovely to have all you fine folk to whinge away to 😉 It really does make a profound difference to know that there are other people out there that get it. Obviously there’s a lot of variation between everyone’s sober journeys, but I think we all get each other on some level or another and being propped up by a fellow sober blogger when you’re feeling fragile is a helluva lot more powerful than by a glazy eyed friend! 🙂

While I do think there is a massive support network to be found through blogging, I do wonder whether I need to extend my support networks in other ways. Ken asked whether I had looked into SMART recovery groups, which unfortunately it doesn’t look like we have here in NZ, so what I’d love to know from other sober bloggers is…

What other support networks are out there that you’ve used? And why were they right for you?

Edit: I’d also be interested to hear if blogging has been your only support network too! And whether you think you need more or that’s enough in itself.

Thanks! xx

Sparkle, where are you?

I’ve heard so many women describe their new sober lives as “sparkly” since I’ve been on this sober road and it has always confused me. Am I the only one that doesn’t get it? Because when I think of the sparkle in life, it comes in liquid form and its name is wine. Even on days like today when my mood is bright and I’m feeling sure and secure in my decision to remove booze from my life, I still think of alcohol as adding that extra bit of joy, that sparkly sheen to an otherwise dull end of the day. I mean, that is why normal drinkers drink right? Because it winds you down quick, it makes you giggly and happy and relaxed. Well, the first drink does at least.

It’s been more than three months since my last drink so I could well be getting nostalgic about my drinking days and letting rose tinted glasses cloud my judgement but I don’t think so… :/ In my crashing on take-off post, I had managed a few weeks of sobriety, so I was becoming a lot more self aware. I wrote that post as a reminder to myself of what happens if you buy into the romantic notion of “having a couple of sparkly glasses of bubbly”. My day quickly became decidedly unsparkly, and had a filthy hangover to ruin my Saturday the following day. But even though the night turned to shit, I still wrote that “a little bubble of pure joy bubbled up inside me – lovely” when talking about that first glass.

And that is what I mean when I say I don’t get how life is “sparkly” when you take the alcohol away. Sure, you’re removing the horrifying unsparkly side effects of drinking when you remove booze from your life – that’s kinda the point – but you’re also removing all the sparkle and joy that the first glass of wine brings you, so it just leaves life a bit dull.

I loved the emotional rollercoaster wine would take me on each night. It both numbed my emotions and heightened them. I’d be crying at docos on telly one minute and in fits of laughter at my own ‘witty’ texts to friends the next. Wine numbed out guilt and anxiety, but wreaked havoc with other emotions and I loved that the first glass could bring me happiness immediately and would do so without fail every single time.

Of course, I couldn’t stop after one. I wanted to maintain those happy first glass feelings, so I’d have another five glasses, sinking deeper and deeper into a slurry drunken mess enjoying the rollercoaster. I remained oblivious as my reactions to everything and everyone around me would get more ridiculous as the night wore on. I was beating my body up every single day (rinsing bottle after bottle through my poor liver), pouring money down my throat, wasting weekends in a darkened room nursing a hangover and just generally wasting away my life being drunk.

At some point, and I’m talking years ago, I began to pay attention to the fact that there were negative side effects to drinking. That’s when things got scary because it began to dawn on me that I was going to continue drinking despite knowing it was bad for me. So of course I washed the worry away with a big old glug of wine (and a few tequila shots for good measure). Even though I could quash the fear by ignoring it, the fact that I wasn’t in control chipped away at my self-respect. It got really scary when I finally put effort into stopping, but I couldn’t, so I just kept going…and going.

Until last year when to my amazement I decided to give quitting a proper serious go and no-one is more shocked than me that I’m still going. But that’s the thing, I don’t feel like I’m ‘going strong‘, I’m just ‘going’, just stringing a bunch of days being sober together, which like I said right from the beginning is not how I wanted to live my life. I don’t feel like my life is ‘sparkly’. It’s certainly better in a lot of ways – I’m spending money more wisely, my health has surely improved, I began to regain self-respect I wasn’t aware I’d lost. There are definitely benefits, but they are all a bit dull, and it still feels like there’s always going to be a trade-off. I don’t get to use alcohol to lower my inhibitions in awkward social settings and I don’t get to have a sure-fire, fast-acting way to wind down at the end of a hard day.

Obviously stopping drinking was the right thing to do. It was the grown-up, responsible choice to make because when you weigh up the pros and cons of drinking, the cons far outweigh the pros. But the benefits of quitting drinking haven’t added ‘sparkle to my life’. On the contrary, my life has got a hell of a lot more dull since giving up the wine and I’m not sure where I’m meant to find the sparkle in life now that I can’t find it at the bottom of a wine glass.

 

 

Sober Treats

Lately I’ve been a bit of a Debbie Downer, so I decided I needed some cheering up and I figured that was best achieved by throwing lots of money at shops. Yeehaa!

I started with fresh flowers (actually free from my mum’s garden):

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Then splashed out a bit on some cleansing balm that I’ve heard rave reviews about:

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Taking my make-up off before bed was something I never had the time or energy for when I was rolling my drunken arse into bed every night. Now it’s fast becoming one of my favourite parts of the day.

Washing my face, scrubbing my teeth, soft PJs, clean sheets and a cup of chamomile tea – it’s every (sober) girl’s dream evening 😉

I also threw in a hair conditioning mask because I ran out of shampoo last week and washed my hair with body wash. My hair hasn’t been the same since. It was horrifying. If that didn’t make me crack open the wine, nothing will.

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And my most special sober gift: A little meadowlark heart charm necklace to remind myself of the importance of self-care and self-love  (puke).

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Of course it all cost me a pretty penny, but I am trying not to feel guilty knowing that I’ve saved over a grand on booze so far.