Tuesday, 31 March 2015

One day at a time

Day 4 of ski holiday. Day 30 alcohol free.

I've been thinking a lot about the AA mantra of 'one day at a time.' I've always thought that it sounded horribly defeatist, and rather depressing. Surely if you only think ahead by one day you're putting your whole life on hold? How can you possibly plan your future one day at a time? Haven't I got more drive and determination than that? But, 30 days in and I'm starting to get it.

Back in the early days (it feels like a lifetime ago), not drinking, despite being hard, was a real novelty. An adventure. It felt like another circuit on the wild roller coaster of life. But now that things are evening out a bit it's easier, but all feels rather....flat.

I've read a lot about the initial 'honeymoon period' of sobriety - some people call it the 'pink cloud'. Like all honeymoons it does - apparently - come to an end. Then you realise that the wild excitement is all over and this is it for the rest of your life.

This holiday I've managed pretty well, all things considered, with the stressful journey without wine at the end of it, the romantic meal without wine, the apr├Ęs ski without wine etc. But when I think about never having another dinner with the husband whilst sharing a bottle of red, never having another holiday cocktail or a celebratory glass of champagne, it scares the pants off me.

So that's why 'one day at a time' is finally making sense. I know I can manage today. I know I can manage tomorrow. I'm not going to let myself even think about ten years down the line. I'm hoping that one day - after all the day-at-a-times have added up to a good long stretch - I can think about 'forever' without breaking out in a cold sweat.

This  evening I'm sitting by the fire clutching an alcohol free beer, watching the snow falling outside and thinking about Nicola who posted a comment yesterday and is on Day 1. The evenings are hard initially, Nicola, but the mornings make it all worthwhile.

And the evenings do get better. Last night we took #1, #2 and #3 out for a steak fondue. The husband had a carafe of red wine. I poured my diet coke into a wine glass and sipped it delicately (first time I've sipped delicately from a wine glass!). And we had a blast. At no point did I have to sit on my hands to stop myself wrestling the vino from the husband. At no point did I want to kill anyone. I didn't make excuses to try and wrap the evening up as fast as possible. I was calm, good company and I enjoyed myself. Who knew?

So good luck, Nicola, and everyone else reading this. And remember these lines from Invictus - the poem that inspired Nelson Mandela: I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.

I am. Not the wine witch.

Love SM x


  1. Dear SM,
    Way to go on your vacation!
    I only think about today, too.
    I know the exact feelings of sitting on hands and wanting to grab the wine bottle!!
    Oh yes, I have been there.
    But now, I love the nights AND the mornings!
    Keep on having fun!

  2. Fabulous post SM! I'm so happy to report that I managed to get through last night. I find the trick for me is to just get past that witching hour of 6-9pm, after that I perk up and feel quite calm and relaxed. I therefore recognise that this is the time I need to keep busy. Thankfully the days are getting longer so I can start walking my dogs during this time which I'm sure will help.
    As for 'one day at a time', this is a bit like mindfulness I guess and is something I need to start doing! I'm always worrying about a few years down the line rather than being in the 'now'. So today's is a lovely sunny day here (both outside and in my head). I have a clear head this morning and feel like telling everyone I meet that I didn't drink last night.
    Have a fabulous day! Nicola x

    1. Yay! Well done! It'll be easier now as you can picture how good this morning was! It's funny how many people have mentioned dog walking as great therapy. I think I may post on that one tomorrow.... Hope this evening is going okay? SM x

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  4. hi, like your blog, just found it, trying to see can i post this comment semi anonymous!

    1. Hi! Thanks for posting! Your name just comes at as kats76 - no more details, so it's very safe. I prefer to be anonymous too! Love SM (not my real name ;-)) xx

  5. cool thanks! i am thinking my life is better without alcohol, a common theme here i suppose!, i go on and off it for last few years and it always ends the same, me exhausted by the whole thing, trying to control etc etc. read all the books Jason Vale, Lucys one and numerous others, they good but only to a point. They just wear off. Its different if your whole career is driven by it like them IMO. Suppose it has to come from the inside truly . Anyways will look forward to your blog xx

    1. I know what you mean, Kats. I think that the problem with not reaching a real 'rock bottom' is that whilst it's easier to stop drinking, it's also much easier to start again - you manage to convince yourself that you weren't that bad really.....I've never got past 2 months before. Hopefully this'll be different ;-) SM x

  6. I actually liked Jason Vale's book, the idea of being deprived was particularly enlightening (I've given up many times before and this was always a problem). I finally feel released from my addiction and relish my sober life and feel relieved to no longer be under alcohol's grip!

    1. I found Jason Vale hugely helpful as well, Emily. In fact, before I read it I was still convinced that - despite all evidence to the contrary - I could somehow 'cut down'. He gave me the confidence to go further than that! X