Wednesday, 2 March 2016

One Year Sober!

What a difference a year makes....

This time last year I was struggling with yet another hungover Monday morning. I'd slept really badly (as always), and had been tossing and turning since about 4am, thinking about how much I hated myself.

Somewhere along the line, my life seemed to have shrunk.

I'd gone from being someone who was always out and about pushing boundaries, taking risks, and grabbing life by the short and curlies, to being a stay at home Mum, who did little other than stay at home (and drink).

Ironically, while my life had got smaller, I'd expanded.

The lithe, gorgeous girl I'd once been had been blown up with a bicycle pump. I'd gained two stone, a huge wine belly, and jowls.

I wasn't even a good Mum. I spent most of my time trying to avoid my children - in favour of sinking a glass of vino. In fact, I spent most of time drinking in order to avoid life.

I also seemed to have left my balls somewhere. I was constantly anxious and fearful. Even the smallest tasks seemed like mountains to climb, and necessitated a drink 'to take the edge off' as soon as it hit 'wine o'clock' (which was creeping inexorably earlier).

I thought, vast alcohol intake aside, that I was generally healthy. I still exercised a fair bit, and ate well. But all those toxins were silently wreaking havoc, and I was secretly harbouring a malignant tumour in my left boob, which I didn't find for another eight months.

I blamed some of this on the booze, but not all of it. I thought much of it was down to age. Don't we all get a bit stuck in a rut over time? Jaded? Fed up? Lacking in energy and enthusiasm?

Then, 365 days ago, I decided to stop. I realised that I'd stopped controlling the booze some years previously, and it was now controlling me. I'd had enough.

I thought that quitting booze would change me physically. I hoped I'd lose some weight and sleep better. I also hoped that, after a while, the infernal internal monologue in my head (I called her the Wine Witch) would disappear.

BUT I feared that life without booze would be flat. Featureless. Boring. I tried to reconcile myself to being dull and sensible, not the wild, hedonist of my youth.

I had no idea.

I had no idea that quitting booze would change, not just a few things, but everything.

I had no idea that life without booze is more thrilling, more exciting (yet also more peaceful) and more colourful than ever before.

I had no idea that, along the way, I'd find a person I thought I'd lost.

I feel like, over the last twelve months, I've come full circle. Slowly, slowly all the layers of stuff I've hidden behind have been stripped back (the process is painful - like being rubbed raw with a cheese grater), and underneath it all is the girl I was in my late twenties.

She's still there! That kind, brave, adventurous, optimistic and funny person I vaguely remember. And, like she did back then, she greets every day with enthusiasm, and small things - like the changing of the seasons - with wonder.

I've got my body back (I've lost 21 pounds). I've rediscovered my self respect and my courage. I'm a better wife, mother and friend.

In the last year I've beaten the wine witch, and I've kicked cancer's butt too. So bring on year 2, because I'm on a roll. I've been given a second chance, a clean sheet of paper, and I'm not going to waste it.

Thank you, all of you, for sharing the last year with me, and holding my hand through it all. I honestly don't think I'd be here without you, and here is a mighty good place to be.

(To read my story from the beginning click here).

Thank you.

SM x

51 comments:

  1. Let me be the first comment to tell you hell yes! CONGRATULATIONS!!! You are SO strong and utterly amazing. I look up to you more than you know <3 I look forward to another years worth of blogging. I'm still getting caught up reading your old posts. I could not have kept on my little sober journey (15 days) without you. Thank you so much for deciding to blog about your life. Lucky me to have found you. I wish you the best in the sober years to come!! xoxo

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    1. Thanks so much, Frances! I'm glad you found me too, and huge congrats on your 15 days - those are the toughest ones! XXX

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  2. I am so proud of you SM. You are, and continue to be an outstanding person. I would not have been able to celebrate 1 year sober without you. Seriously! You have kept me on the right path when I could have easily swayed. Thank you. So much. Baby steps = epic results. Big love LNM x

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    1. And big love back to you, LNM. Thanks for being with me. I appreciate it more than I can say. xxx

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    2. Forgot to say....Well done you! Awesome work. Worth every baby step #the sky's the limit# x

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  3. Welcome to the One Year Club! Thank you so much for this blog, you put everything I was thinking & feeling into words and that was sooo helpful.

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  4. Congratulations on 1 year SM!! I so proud of you! You have been inspirational, and I have loved reading your blog every day. The way you described your life before you gave up the booze reminds me so much of me. I'm slowly getting there I think. I only hope I get as far along as you have. You are totally awesome! A x

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  5. Woo hoooooo!!!!! You are AMAZING!!!! A huge congratulations on one year AF. Thank you also so much for your time and advice with my plea yesterday (i have posted a reply thank you to all for the wonderful support). Again, Well done you!! Have an absolutely fantasmagorical day!!! Huge hugs xxoo

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  6. Look at you! Well done and thank you so much for landing in my life when I was needing you a great deal. I wish I could tell you what a difference you've made.
    Cheers (virgin mojito style of course!)

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  7. Huge congratulations on getting to your first anniversary - I hope you get to celebrate many many more.
    This took me back to my first year anniversary. I remember being asked to speak at a local meeting and my sponsor was there that day to hand me my first year's sobriety chip. I felt amazed that I'd got there at all.
    You're description of your final moments boozing sounds so familiar - I spent most of time drinking in order to avoid life - COMPLETELY!
    I used to have a black and white brain. I was the world's simplest computer a single bit - on or off, happy or sad, happy or angry, drunk or comatose.... I remember saying for a long while (several years in fact) that I'd learnt about the shades of grey (before someone stole that idea from me as a snigger introducing book reference!). I learnt the subtlety of anger, frustration, annoyance or joyful, happy, pleased etc.
    However after a long time I realised that there was even more available to me to experience in living life without the numb inducing effects of alcohol... a whole rainbow of experiences not just shades of grey...
    Great post - thank you

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  8. Bravo to you SM on your one year anniversary!! Thank you for sharing your gritty humor, your insight and your life. I could never believe or glean so much from one person's blog unless she was an honest, no cover up type of individual. May the year ahead be full of blessings!

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  9. Congratulations on reaching one year sober, and for looking ahead to the second year! You are an amazing inspiration. Thank you for your wise words on your blog, and for your wit and imaginative take on all things sober, the ups and downs. I am starting again today, and what better day to start than on the same day as the beginning of your YEAR TWO. Annie x

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  10. Congratulations! You have been hugely influential and inspirational in keeping me on the straight and narrow these past 9 months. It's really very strange how we all initially think that the only thing we are changing is drinking alcohol, but then see how much else changes inside and out as time goes on. Here's to the next year and beyond! X

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  11. Huge congratulations SM. One whole year is amazing. Thank you for this entertaining blog. You've really made me think that being alcohol free is possible. Just had first weekend away completely sober and absolutely loved it, felt so pleased with myself. You should be so proud that you've changed so many peoples lives.

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  12. Oh my God, this is beautiful. You put into perfect words exactly how I still feel almost 5 years after my last drink. Congratulations! I can't believe it's only been a year.

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  13. Hi SM I have been reading your blog for sometime but have never commented. I just wanted to say fantastic job getting to one year. I am on day three (again) and so want it to stick this time. I have spent the entire morning going over and over the way I have kept my life on hold and how I have missed out on great opportunities - all for a bottle of poison. I want to put that behind me now and find some of the peace and hope beautifully expressed in your blog. Have a lovely day, you deserve it.

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  14. Fantastic, congratulations! Xxx

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  15. Circle completed! WOW! I can't wait to see what the next year brings. Bravo!!

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  16. Circle completed! WOW! I can't wait to see what the next year brings. Bravo!!

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  17. I'm so happy for you. It's been a pleasure to read along as you do all this. Congratulations! xo

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  18. As always SM, you are my inspiration,you have made me laugh and cry. Thanks for sharing your journey, and I'm looking forward to Year 2 . Lots of love , Jackie xxx

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  19. Well done you! And like all the others I am so happy and thankful to have found your blog. It has been the one consistent throughout my almost 10 months af. I never intended stopping drinking I just knew I was starting to hate myself and something needed to change. Stopping has been the best thing ever! I couldn't have done it without your blog and your honesty. It has been hard at times but knowing that others were feeling the same as me has made it so much easier. Onwards and upwards xxx

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  20. Brava Sober Mummy! Big hugs and congratulations. I hope you are giving yourself a big hug (or Mr SM is overcoming his Presbyterian reserve and giving you a hug) while feeling momentarily smug because you deserve it. Big hugs from Belgium xx

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  21. Congrats again - and maybe this is the final entry in your book you should publish made up primarily of your first year of blogs!

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  22. Congratulations! From a long time lurker and cheerer on :)

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  23. Congratulations!!! I am so happy for you and I cannot wait to get where you are! Because of your blog, I KNOW I will get there....hard as it may be! Not only have you yourself quit drinking...think of how many of us that quit because you've made it easier for us ! Thank you from the bottom of my alcohol free heart!❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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  24. You're amazing! I'm not 'there' yet but you inspire me to keep at it because every word you write makes sense. Thank you for all the effort you put into this blog. xx

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  25. SM, glad I found you and a few others out there and great to see how your courage, fortitude and sheer bloody mindedness have pushed you through. Your words have helped me and I look forward to reading your words and stories most evenings - helps keep me focussed as there is always something that makes me just pause for a moment and think this fight is worth it Day 60 for me today, long long way to go yet and I'm not sure my head has changed yet but the glass looks half full - of pelegrino!! Anyway - congratulations, amazing achievement and stay well. I hope you'll keep writing.

    Justonemore

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  26. Congratulations. Every word you write reminds me of me just 70 days ago! I don't think I could have done this without your inspiration and story in the early days...and now I check my email every day for your posts. I can see and feel changes and after a tough first month it is so much easier now to be AF. All the best, Clare R. (going to try to change my name because I see another Clare posting here too now..If I can figure that out!)

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  27. Happy One Year!!
    Wishing you another wonderful year sober!
    xo
    Wendy

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  28. Congratulations! You are my inspiration without doubt! Love SPB xxx

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  29. SM - what an amazing achievement, I hope you are celebrating this day in style! Your words always lift me up, and today is no exception. Thankyou for everything. You Are Khaleesi!!! Red xx xx xx

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  30. Awesome! Congratulations! Yes, ladies it can be done! Right behind her! 11 1/2 months sober!'!!! If we are doing it YOU CAN TOO!!!! Seriously! Aren't you worth it? Put the glass and bottles all down. Hard yes! But wouldn't ever go back to 8 years of total misery!
    Boston Strong/Boston Sober

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  31. Congratulations sober mummy.

    A little over a week ago I was lying in a pit of self pitty and depression over my past, present and future.

    And facing it alone. I couldnt even face up to my own husband about getting sober as he had no idea how out of control I'd become.

    I found your blog and started on your journey from day 1. I've been totally hooked ever since.

    You are nothing short of inspirational to me. I know, that if you were down under, we would have been friends.

    Bring on the next amazing year for you. I cant wait to read about it.

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  32. Happy day to you my dear! It's quite a BIG accomplishment and the thing I love about your blog is the honesty that's always present.
    The first year is definitely the hardest and now comes the fun part. Discovering the joy of who you really are as a long term sober Mom. It is a gift that always gives back and you have this wonderful blog as a reminder. I love reading it!!

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  33. Happy day to you my dear! It's quite a BIG accomplishment and the thing I love about your blog is the honesty that's always present.
    The first year is definitely the hardest and now comes the fun part. Discovering the joy of who you really are as a long term sober Mom. It is a gift that always gives back and you have this wonderful blog as a reminder. I love reading it!!

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  34. Congratulations!!! Huge accomplishment.

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  35. Congratulations SM! I'll join with others in saying your impact on my own journey (still quite bumpy) has been immeasurable. Thank you so much for your wise and funny words, which I look forward to so much. Go girl into year two! Xxx

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  36. Congratulations SM.
    I have felt you holding out a virtual hand as you blogged your way through this first year and I grabbed on with all my might. You pulled me and many others along the sober path with you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. x
    255 AF

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  37. Congratulations SM!
    Thank you so much for sharing your recovery. I'm in a similar place in my life to yours (I am a few months older though!) and your blog has been so helpful in reminding me why life is better sober. Keep going - the best is yet to come! xx

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  38. Congratulations, you are such an inspiration SM!! X

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  39. You are my inspiration SM.
    Yay ! Xxx

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  40. I am so proud and thrilled for you SM. What a journey you have been on over the last 365 days, and you have taken sooo many others along with you for the honest, tough, funny, motivating and inspiring ride. Congratulations 🎉 xx.

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  41. Truly fabulous! Love and congratulations!

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  42. Discovered your blog almost a year ago after a somewhat messy event! I often wonder if that crazy night hadn't happened would i have found all these awesome blogs, yours the first one sort of by chance. Congratulations on everything and thanks for a brilliant blog

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  43. What a wonderful achievement!! Hurrah for you!

    To contemplate, for each of us, what this 'journey' would be like w/o the sober-sphere...?? Well, many if not most of us might not even be ON the journey, right? (I'm 99% positive I would not be where I am, where I've come to since Jan. 1, 62 days ago, without the support that comes through this little screen on my lap)

    And to be specific, YOUR encouraging, morale-boosting posts, filled with honesty and humor.........are just so spot-on! Your own achievement is remarkable - (on a 'wobble' the other day, I thought: cripes SM got thru cancer w/o a drink! You think you might make it through the next hour or two??!!) - but the truly profound impact you are having on so many others....man, can you FIND that kind of satisfaction in a bottle??

    Without you, I would not be 8 pounds lighter, guilt-free (GUILT-FREE!!) and with a sense of contentment that is brand-new in my life.

    I love lushnomore's line: baby steps - epic results. Says it all. Cheers to you SM. And a heartfelt 'thank you.'

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  44. SM congratulations to you. Rebirth - a better life ahead now. Well done and thanks you for helping me restore myself life. Guess your an angel sent from somewhere good.

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  45. Many congrats. So happy for you. Bring on yr 2! Day 61 for me. Wouldn't be here without you! Love SFM

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  46. Huge congratulations, SM! You're an inspiration. XXX

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  47. Congratulations! A massive milestone!

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