Many years ago I had a great friend called M. We met during a gruelling two day job interview. She was way more prepared than me, and lent me one of her sharpened pencils.
That was the moment we bonded.
For the next decade we were BFFs. She was one of my bridesmaids. I thought we'd be friends in our bath chairs, waggling our walking sticks and false teeth at each other.
Then, one day, she disappeared. She stopped calling me, or returning my calls. I realised that, whilst she knew all my other friends, I knew none of hers, so I didn't even bump into her at parties any longer.
I had no idea what I'd done wrong. I was devastated. Even now, typing this still makes me feel weepy. I see her, from time to time, on Facebook, but we've not spoken for ten years.
Well, writing a sober blog in February is a bit like that.
In January you have thousands of friends. But, by the middle of February, half of them have disappeared. No farewells or explanations. Just silence.
The same is true of many of my fellow sober bloggers. You follow them religiously, their ups and downs and ins and outs. Then, one day, all their words dry up. Nothing more. Just their final post, mid story, left hanging.
Of course, you hope that all those ex readers and ex writers are tripping off into the happy, sober sunset, and that they've just outgrown the sobersphere. Don't need it any more. I do hope so.
But I know that, for those who quit at the beginning of January and are now on around Day 46, they'll be hitting The Wall.
The days in the middle forties are a classic time for people to give up giving up.
Well, the early days of sobriety are often called 'The Pink Cloud'. It's like a honeymoon phase - all new and shiny.
It's hard, obviously, but also a bit of an adventure. You can still vividly remember how bad the drinking days were, and you're loving the lack of hangovers and regrets.
Then you hit 'The Wall' which is said to be characterised by 'boredom, depression and questioning.' Sound familiar?
All the novelty has worn off, and you can't imagine life being this dull forever. Your memories of the dark days have started to fade, and all you can think about is what fun drinking used to be.
Predictably, the wine witch pipes up, saying 'Hey, maybe you overreacted! You're not that bad. Not a proper alcoholic! Perhaps now you can moderate!'
(If you're familiar with that one, then see my post: Did I Overreact?)
If this is you, then DON'T PANIC! It is perfectly normal to feel like that right now. It's the first (and worst) of the episodes of Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) which you get, periodically, for many months after you quit.
(See my post: Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome)
This bleurgh feeling WILL go away, and the best of the benefits of being sober are yet to come.
You just have to scale that wall, and the other obstacles that follow it, to get to the promised land, which really does exist. DO NOT GO BACK TO THE BEGINNING!
Read my post on The Obstacle Course, I promise it'll help.
When I was back on day 46, and first encountered The Wall, I asked my more experienced readers "What's on the other side?"
Anne replied with one word: Freedom.
And she's right. So put those crampons on and get climbing! I'm right behind you, giving you a great big shove up the arse.
Love SM x