Higher Ground

Image-1

Well hello 2020, what a clusterfuck you’re turning out to be! Yes, all hopes of a positive start to the decade were dashed with the threat of World War Three, the Australian bushfires and, in the so-called UK, the Royal Crisis. On that, while I abhor the racist way Markle has been treated, if I see another article about this bunch of over-privileged twats, it will be too soon. Meanwhile, the Tories are quietly going about dismantling our democratic processes and removing our freedoms. All this and it’s only halfway through January.

Despite all this, I’m managing to cope with only occasional moments of fury. Which is surprising given that it’s Day 15 in the Sober House. Something I am dealing with better with than expected. I know I was ready for a break from booze, but I was waiting for cravings, especially on a Friday, which would always be my first drinking day of the week if being moderate. Friday wine was a sacrosanct ritual in my world.

So far, so good, with two non-drinking weekends under my belt including two nights in the pub, either drinking mocktails or 0% alcohol beer. I experienced my first craving yesterday, as much for the taste of wine as anything else. I decided to try a bottle of alcohol-free Cabernet Sauvignon, something I’ve avoided in case it triggered a lust for the real thing. However, it’s not that nice: one glass of the stuff is more than enough, and it didn’t make me want wine. Right now, the impulse not to drink alcohol is stronger than the desire for it. Long may that continue.

The challenge for anyone not drinking and having a social life, is the lack of variety of non-alcoholic drinks on offer. If like me you don’t like diet drinks, then you’re left with the 0% beer or the rather boring soda & lime. Once in a blue moon I’ll lust after a cold can of full-fat Coke, and I will drink half of it quickly, eyes watering and mouth fizzing. But I wouldn’t sit in a bar and drink it. Sparkling water gets dull after a while and I don’t like caffeine in the evenings. So, what to drink in pubs?

Current favourite is a Virgin Mary, nice and spicy. Although I’m making them more at home than having them out, because not all pubs do drinks like that. It would be great if more bars served the likes of those fake gins that bizarrely, are even more expensive than a bottle of Tanqueray. Perhaps one of the secrets to successful sobriety is having drinks that feel evening-y and grown-up. Having said that, my son likes ‘one of those Marys’ as long as not too spicy. And there’s pleasure in making us a drink that we can have together. Overall though, if we had better things to drink, I wonder if more of us would forego alcohol more regularly.

What am I getting out of this? My friend asked last weekend if I was getting amazing sleeps and feeling full of beans etc and the short answer is no. My sleep is still crap and I’ve lost some bloat but not much weight yet. Alcohol is a diuretic and I’m drinking more water, so I need to pee more and that wakes me up at night. This is a total pain in the tits, but I’m convinced it will improve. Most of the stuff I’ve read about quitting booze says there will be discombobulation for a few weeks, then everything starts getting better. Maybe in another week I will swinging from the chandeliers in joy. For now, I will be content with bobbing along without too much trauma and at least a wee bit more energy.

One of the scenes I envisaged for myself this month was to be sitting contentedly on a yoga mat, radiating sober serenity. To motivate myself, I signed up for the free 30 Day yoga programme with the darling of You Tube Yogis, Yoga with Adriene. I was convinced that this would take my mind off Dry January and make me all zen like. I’ve done yoga classes before but not for a good few years and I’m clearly well out of practice. It all started well: Adriene and her dog are calm and charming companions, and she is very lovely and kind. This is in sharp contrast to her yoga sessions, which involve hunners of planks, downward dogs into deep lunges and other unpleasant things that my creaky body is unable to perform. And all the time she is smiling, while constantly moving and destroying you.

By day three I was swearing at the laptop. It was all very reminiscent of my early days tackling the 30 Day Shred. If you don’t know Jillian Michaels and her work, know that she is a hard ass trainer with whom I had a love/hate relationship for years. Instead of giving you all the nice feels like Adriene, Jillian pushes you and shouts a bit. Aside from that, what they are doing results in the same outcome – me, sweating in front of a pony-tailed brunette on-screen, cursing the very day they were born.

Adriene is so sweet that I feel bad for saying that (Jillian couldn’t give a fuck) but it’s just not for me. I quickly slipped behind in the days, skipping a couple to get to day 8 which involves lying on a blanket while being told how wonderful you are. After that I gave up completely, as I was coming to the yoga mat with dread rather than with pleasure. And that defeats the whole purpose of doing it. If I want exercise that causes pain, I’ll go see Jillian. At least she’s a bitch to your face.

It’s not that I don’t want to improve my core and get more flexible, but previous experiences of yoga have been of the mellower kind: getting into poses and holding them, stretching slowly. Tough on your body but it’s relaxing too. My favourite was a class called Breathing Bones that I went to when I was pregnant; we just lay about stretching and doing deep breaths. Even the name sounds peaceful. This 30 Day programme is yoga as a workout, which is not what I was looking for. We have parted ways for now, until I can find some relaxing yoga to follow. All suggestions welcomed – only criteria being nothing fast, nothing that is likely to cause agony. Zen sought.

What is unusual about all this, is that I just let go of bothering about it all and didn’t do that beating myself up for quitting thing. It could be due to a certain level of fatalism: at some point, an egotistical moron with a dick complex and access to the nuclear codes might finish us off, so what the fuck am I worrying about? I will find something that suits me more and do that, no biggie.

In fact, it’s more to do with not hating myself for a perceived failure. I’ve decided this is going to be the year of stopping the endless self-criticism that plagues me and holds me back from doing what I want to do. There are a lot of us out there that do this, so why don’t you join me? Acceptance is the first goal; self-love we can work on.

The biggest impact so far from not drinking is on my mental wellbeing. It’s not perfect and possibly never will be, but it’s the area I’ve felt the most change in the last two weeks. I might be tired but I’m clearer. I feel less anxious and more focused on doing things. And I’ve come to realise that this is a long game. When you stop drinking, you need to clear a lot of crap out of your body and mind and not expect things to change overnight.

It will take some time and that’s fine because I’ve started doing it. Starting is the hardest part.

 

Until next time,

QL

 

 

 

 

 

Higher Ground

 

Well hello 2020, what a clusterfuck you’re turning out to be! Yes, all hopes of a positive start to the decade were dashed with the threat of World War Three, the Australian bushfires and, in the so-called UK, the Royal Crisis. On that, while I abhor the racist way Markle has been treated, if I see another article about this bunch of over-privileged twats, it will be too soon. Meanwhile, the Tories are quietly going about dismantling our democratic processes and removing our freedoms. All this and it’s only halfway through January.

Despite all this, I’m managing to cope with only occasional moments of fury. Which is surprising given that it’s Day 15 in the Sober House. Something I am dealing with better with than expected. I know I was ready for a break from booze, but I was waiting for cravings, especially on a Friday, which would always be my first drinking day of the week if being moderate. Friday wine was a sacrosanct ritual in my world.

So far, so good, with two non-drinking weekends under my belt including two nights in the pub, either drinking mocktails or 0% alcohol beer. I experienced my first craving yesterday, as much for the taste of wine as anything else. I decided to try a bottle of alcohol-free Cabernet Sauvignon, something I’ve avoided in case it triggered a lust for the real thing. However, it’s not that nice: one glass of the stuff is more than enough, and it didn’t make me want wine. Right now, the impulse not to drink alcohol is stronger than the desire for it. Long may that continue.

The challenge for anyone not drinking and having a social life, is the lack of variety of non-alcoholic drinks on offer. If like me you don’t like diet drinks, then you’re left with the 0% beer or the rather boring soda & lime. Once in a blue moon I’ll lust after a cold can of full-fat Coke, and I will drink half of it quickly, eyes watering and mouth fizzing. But I wouldn’t sit in a bar and drink it. Sparkling water gets dull after a while and I don’t like caffeine in the evenings. So, what to drink in pubs?

Current favourite is a Virgin Mary, nice and spicy. Although I’m making them more at home than having them out, because not all pubs do drinks like that. It would be great if more bars served the likes of those fake gins that bizarrely, are even more expensive than a bottle of Tanqueray. Perhaps one of the secrets to successful sobriety is having drinks that feel evening-y and grown-up. Having said that, my son likes ‘one of those Marys’ as long as not too spicy. And there’s pleasure in making us a drink that we can have together. Overall though, if we had better things to drink, I wonder if more of us would forego alcohol more regularly.

What am I getting out of this? My friend asked last weekend if I was getting amazing sleeps and feeling full of beans etc and the short answer is no. My sleep is still crap and I’ve lost some bloat but not much weight yet. Alcohol is a diuretic and I’m drinking more water, so I need to pee more and that wakes me up at night. This is a total pain in the tits, but I’m convinced it will improve. Most of the stuff I’ve read about quitting booze says there will be discombobulation for a few weeks, then everything starts getting better. Maybe in another week I will swinging from the chandeliers in joy. For now, I will be content with bobbing along without too much trauma and at least a wee bit more energy.

One of the scenes I envisaged for myself this month was to be sitting contentedly on a yoga mat, radiating sober serenity. To motivate myself, I signed up for the free 30 Day yoga programme with the darling of You Tube Yogis, Yoga with Adriene. I was convinced that this would take my mind off Dry January and make me all zen like. I’ve done yoga classes before but not for a good few years and I’m clearly well out of practice. It all started well: Adriene and her dog are calm and charming companions, and she is very lovely and kind. This is in sharp contrast to her yoga sessions, which involve hunners of planks, downward dogs into deep lunges and other unpleasant things that my creaky body is unable to perform. And all the time she is smiling, while constantly moving and destroying you.

By day three I was swearing at the laptop. It was all very reminiscent of my early days tackling the 30 Day Shred. If you don’t know Jillian Michaels and her work, know that she is a hard ass trainer with whom I had a love/hate relationship for years. Instead of giving you all the nice feels like Adriene, Jillian pushes you and shouts a bit. Aside from that, what they are doing results in the same outcome – me, sweating in front of a pony-tailed brunette on-screen, cursing the very day they were born.

Adriene is so sweet that I feel bad for saying that (Jillian couldn’t give a fuck) but it’s just not for me. I quickly slipped behind in the days, skipping a couple to get to day 8 which involves lying on a blanket while being told how wonderful you are. After that I gave up completely, as I was coming to the yoga mat with dread rather than with pleasure. And that defeats the whole purpose of doing it. If I want exercise that causes pain, I’ll go see Jillian. At least she’s a bitch to your face.

It’s not that I don’t want to improve my core and get more flexible, but previous experiences of yoga have been of the mellower kind: getting into poses and holding them, stretching slowly. Tough on your body but it’s relaxing too. My favourite was a class called Breathing Bones that I went to when I was pregnant; we just lay about stretching and doing deep breaths. Even the name sounds peaceful. This 30 Day programme is yoga as a workout, which is not what I was looking for. We have parted ways for now, until I can find some relaxing yoga to follow. All suggestions welcomed – only criteria being nothing fast, nothing that is likely to cause agony. Zen sought.

What is unusual about all this, is that I just let go of bothering about it all and didn’t do that beating myself up for quitting thing. It could be due to a certain level of fatalism: at some point, an egotistical moron with a dick complex and access to the nuclear codes might finish us off, so what the fuck am I worrying about? I will find something that suits me more and do that, no biggie.

In fact, it’s more to do with not hating on myself for a perceived failure. I’ve decided this is going to be the year of stopping the endless self-criticism that plagues me and holds me back from doing what I want to do. There are a lot of us out there that do this, so why don’t you join me? Acceptance is the first goal; self-love we can work on.

The biggest impact so far from not drinking is on my mental wellbeing. It’s not perfect and possibly never will be, but it’s the area I’ve felt the most change in the last two weeks. I might be tired but I’m clearer. I feel less anxious and more focused on doing things. And I’ve come to realise that this is a long game. When you stop drinking, you need to clear a lot of crap out of your body and mind and not expect things to change overnight.

It will take some time and that’s fine because I’ve started doing it. Starting is the hardest part.

 

Until next time,

QL

 

 

 

 

 

 

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