The Nothing Blog Post

83 Days Alcohol Free

Two huge milestones achieved. Getting through Christmas and New Years Eve alcohol free.

To be honest New Years Eve was a doddle, its not something that I celebrate anyway. All that changed was the number at the end of the date – we change the number at the front end everyday.

Christmas Day has traditionally been all about the booze. Starting Christmas Eve. Then in the morning, after walking Murphy, I’d have a whisky or two while prepping the dinner. Then on to the beer – sometimes going to the pub.

Thats how it always was from the age of 18 – well not the cooking bit, that came later.

Not this year. Breaking the hold of alcohol on that one day is probably the biggest achievement of 2020 for me. To be fair though, the bar was pretty low. Putting trousers on most days was an achievement – we’ve all done web calls in PJ bottoms, or just underpants. Haven’t we?

Whats todays blog about? Nothing. I’m tired, grumpy and Murph Dogg has the shits.

On to tomorrow.

I find your lack of faith disturbing – Darth Vader. That Meditation Blog Post

82 Days Alcohol Free

Lots of thoughts bubbling away in the old noggin today.

Oh, look New Years Eve. Should I write about how I don’t set resolutions – siting all the evidence that they don’t work? There are plenty of other blogs for that.

The one I like at the moment is the feeling of not being unique. That is actually comforting. Knowing I am not alone in the struggle to quit drinking, or the lack of control around food, or being a general emotional wreck.

Meditation

But the thought I am going to settle on is meditation.

I know it works. I know it brings a sense of calm to my brain. Sometimes it even feels like a natural high. So why the bloody hell am I not doing it more often?

Somewhere in a dark recess of my mind I believe its all woo woo, is one reason.

Also, sitting with my thoughts/feelings and not getting wrapped up in them feels alien. Its uncomfortable not giving in to what I’ve always done. But what I’ve always done isn’t working. Getting wrapped up in the negative thoughts, the worry, the anxiety etc hasn’t worked.

There is a fear that no longer being the person who worries unnecessarily will take a huge part of who I am away.

Meditation means changing who I am. Thats why I don’t do it more often.

But, like Luke did on Dagobah, I need to go in to my Cave of Evil and face what is there. Face who I am and change what is no longer working.

I Don’t Drink. I Will Never Drink Again – The Covid Blessing

81 Days Alcohol Free

Isn’t this grand? There is a lady, in the One Year No Beer Facebook group, who starts her posts with the following line:

I don’t drink. I will never drink again.

Claire from OYNB

I like that. It sums up where I am with drinking at the moment. Will this change? I don’t know. But I certainly feel like drinking is a part of my past. It doesn’t serve a need in my life anymore.

I do wonder if this Covid situation has made things easier. Words I never thought I’d type. I appreciate the following is the slimmest of silver linings, in what has been a terrible year for most of us.

Without Covid, I’d have been confronted with social situations. In the past, this is where I’d struggle. Just one pint. Or the constant questioning about not drinking.

Me not drinking seemed to cause a big fuss amongst others. Especially work colleagues.

I haven’t had to worry about any of that. The restrictions we’ve had have allowed me time to build a resilience. They’ve allowed me the time to mentally prepare and get my mind in to a place where I won’t cave to have “just one”.

Let’s Eat

80 Days Alcohol Free

Blogging for 30 days seemed like a good idea at the time. Something to fill the hours when I used to drink. Ten days in, that idea got old quick.

Replacing Alcohol With Food

Alcohol was my crutch when stressed, bored, or when I needed to avoid my feelings.

I realised, early on, that it only made the stress worse. That made the stress drinking easy to knock on the head. Also I’d be mostly stressed at work – somewhere I would never drink. So, all I needed to do was make it through the evenings.

As for boredom. I replaced the alcohol with food. Thinking about it, at work I use food during stressful moments.

When it comes to feelings – just eat, its comforting when the feelings get too real.

All this to say. Food is the new/old crutch in my life. My ever expanding waistline is testament to that.

I’m working on it. Food is a harder one to tackle – its sort of key to keeping me alive. No doubt there will be more to come on my adventures in tackling my food crutch.

The Tipping Point – Happily Tipsy to Word Slurring Drunk

79 Days Alcohol Free

When the tipping point happens. The other person has gone from being happily tipsy to word slurring drunk. The aggression is creeping in. Snide comments. The atmosphere is getting toxic.

You know this is just going to get worse.

There is no real escape because they will creat an argument out of nothing and follow you around the house.

So, you sit in that toxic atmosphere waiting for the “blow up”.

I don’t want to tell others how to live. Its up to them if they drink or not. But I also don’t want to be in this sort of environment.

The stress and anxiety hit levels that just aren’t healthy.

I can’t control them and their actions. I can have honest and open conversations with them when they’re sober. But they are soon forgotten when the drinking starts again.

The action is on me. I just don’t know what to do about it yet.

Do Or Do Not. There Is No Try (Spot The Yoda Theme)

Day 78 Alcohol Free

It’s silent and the dog is snoring. This makes me chuckle, not a bad start to the day.

The Yoda Bit

What follows is a bit of rambling, I think it makes sense. Let me know if I missed my point, or if my point isn’t obvious.

I’ve been doing a lot of trying. Trying this, trying that. Seeing what sticks. Thinking a whole lot, not just accepting at times I just need to stop and do.

A rolling stone gathers no moss

It’s easy to be the rolling stone, but I’d like to gather a bit of moss (knowledge, progress, learning). I can keep on moving on to the next thing, without really absorbing what I am doing right now. But that isn’t really productive. It’s a lot of energy wasted, with only snippets learned.

I think it is time to get out of my head and start doing. Do the damn thing for a period of time before I make my mind up on its success/failure, before I move on quickly without having learned.

With that in mind. Morning routine is locked in. I do my S.A.V.E.R.S. I do my Wim Hof Method exercises.

While I am doing those though, I am going to learn too. I want to get better at meditation/mindfulness. At the moment I am aware that I know next to nothing. Soundbite knowledge from several different books. I need to do some proper reading on the subject. Also learn as I do.

I also want to address my relationship with food. Currently working through The Kindness Method book and its various exercises. Again, doing and not just thinking/trying. Its a process, I just have to trust and keep doing it.

Not So Baby Yoda (Sober Yoda)

Day 77 Alcohol Free

There has been an upgrade to the morning writing gear. Grogu socks and dressing gown….Baby Yoda for the win.

Not so Baby Yoda

Disconnected

Christmas day was weird, for a couple of reasons.

I Stayed alcohol free, but had a couple of moment where I was drawn the the bubbles. But simply looked ahead to what that would feel like in the morning and that was enough to stop me.

The other reason it was weird was because I felt disconnected from those around me. I felt like the odd one out.

It was hard to have conversations with people who were half or fully drunk. It was a lonely experience if I’m honest.

I did question staying sober was worth it. Then I saw something on FB a friend posted (below).

FB POST

Once I saw that, I knew not drinking and feeling a little disconnected was worth it.

At least I was here, with my people, having at least some conversation. I wasn’t in bed, or being sick or regretting having drunk too much.

I Hope you all had a great day – or are still having a great day (wobbly wobbly timey wimey time zones and all).

Christmas Eve Brain Dump

75 days alcohol free.

It’s 6.09am on Christmas Eve. I’ve already been to the shop, to pick up the last bits. There are always “last bits”. Bits we never need on any other day of the year and can live without easily.

Re-gaining Control

I came to the realisation, a while back, that part of the reason I’ve struggled for the last 18 months is lack of control. This just got worse during lockdown.

Every time I tried to get a routine going, something happened to upend it. Thats what I mean by lack of control. I don’t need total control over everything, just the ability to set my own agenda for certain things.

What to do about this? Its the small wins, pretty sure every self-help book talks about those. This is where I started. Simply by reading again. Gathering ideas, re-learning forgotten knowledge. Reminding myself what works.

What Works For Me

Every morning, for the last few weeks, I’ve been doing a combination of three approaches to goal setting and self-care.

Andy Ramage’s Let’s Do This!

This was the starting point. It invigorated me and gave me some fresh ideas, mixed with some I’d used to stop drinking. This kick-started a new morning routine of journalling.

This is what I end up with most days – I never thought I’d be doing stuff like this, but then I never thought I’d stop drinking either. Thats working out pretty good so far, so why not try different things.

Before I started those numbers were mostly 2 and 3. They also help target where I need to focus next.

Hal Elrod’s The Morning MIracle

A book I read years ago, but decided to re-visit. Lots I forgot. This helped me evolve the morning routine. I now have structure in the morning and have regained some control over a part of my life. I start each day in a good place now, which helps me cope with whatever happens after.

I’m not totally there yet with coping, but I am a lot better.

The Wim Hof Method

I’m exploring meditation. I kept getting recommendations on Audible and Youtube for the Wim Hof method. So, I explored.

The first morning I tried it (after I’d de-frosted) I was buzzing. Drove to work with a smile on my face. I’ve also noticed, in the last week, I’m happier and calmer.

I don’t know if this is a combination of all I am doing, but its working.

Bonus Addition

I’m also reading The Kindness Method by Shahroo Izardi – this one is like therapy, in a way that is approachable.

This is more for setting the long term goals and not relapsing in to old ways. I can keep something going for a couple of years, but always fall back to old ways.

This book is an alternative approach to those I’ve used before, so we will see how it goes by 2024.

The Prosecco Aftermath

74 days alcohol free.

Alcohol Zombies

Sitting here a bit smug. Seeing the aftermath of the Prosecco drinking, so happy I didn’t drink any. It started with the fizz, then moved on to vodka. Yesterday, well, no one was much good for anything. Zombies have more life about them.

I won’t experiment with booze – some courses suggest doing so. I’d rather not. Seeing the effect it has on others is enough to make me realise I made the right choice.

There wasn’t the temptation to say “I told you so”, they were suffering enough. Plus, being like that helps no one.

Happy

On another note. I realised this morning I woke up genuinely happy. That hasn’t happened in a very long time. It took a moment or two to realise what the feeling was – the realisation that I’ve been a miserable bugger to so long did put a chink in the armour lol.

It’s more that subdued “yay” happy rather than the fireworks ecstatic happy. But I’ll take it.

The Book Worm Returns

72 days sober.

I’m a book worm again. I can’t consume them fast enough.

This is the biggest sign that I am coming back to who I used to be (however long ago that was).

Loving this.

Some Books Read During Sobriety:

Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline

Heaven’s River (Bobiverse: Book 4) by Dennis E. Taylor

Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins

The World’s Fittest Book by Ross Edgley

The Art of Resilience by Ross Edgley

This Naked Mind by Annie Grace

The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober by Catherine Gray