Wednesday, 11 October 2017

The best thing about being sober is....


How would you complete that sentence?

When I first quit drinking, I did it mainly because of the negatives, the things I didn't want in my life anymore.

I didn't want the hangovers. I didn't want the self-loathing. I didn't want the wine belly. Most of all, I didn't want the constant dialogue in my head about drinking (or not drinking).

When I thought about what life would be like SOBER, I could barely get past that ghastly adjective.

(Sober definition: earnest, serious, sensible, solemn, restrained, sedate. NOT ME, NOT ME, NOT ME).

Once I got past that (and the word teetotal - where on earth did that one come from?), I got stuck on all sorts of concerns:

How would I ever cope at a drinks party? Would my friends disown me? Would I ever dance like nobody was watching again? How would I ever have fun again? How would I *whisper it* have sex?

What I didn't really think about was all the fabulous things about being sober.

But, what I started to realise is that those fabulous things just keep on coming. Some appear right at the start (like amazing, alert, glorious mornings), but some only become apparent months down the line.

So I thought, for all those women (and men) who are back where I was then - knowing that they have to quit because life is becoming unmanageable, but not able to get excited about it, see any joy in it, I would ask you to help me with this survey.

How would you complete that one sentence? What are the big and little things that have made a difference to your life?

Then, I can take a selection of those answers and post them on Facebook (anonymously), maybe even turn them into a YouTube video. It might change some lives.

Here are some ideas from me to get the party started:

The best thing about being sober is...

....driving!

....getting to see the end of the movie.

....liking myself again.

....being on the same wavelength as my kids.

I'd love to hear yours. Please add as many ideas as you like in the comments below.

Meanwhile, new on the SoberMummy Facebook page this week (click here to be magically transported and, if you want to stay updated, click 'like') there's my first ever YouTube video (full disclosure: the children helped me make it!) of my favourite non-alcoholic tipple, plus a video - sent to me by a lovely reader down under - on mums and the problem of 'wine o'clock'. 

Going on the page this evening, a must-see article by sober sister* Hannah Betts in the Telegraph. Here's a preview: We're tired of drunkenness, not tired of life - booze being the only area in which we, the soberocracy, have reached our limit.

And so say all of us.

Love to you all,

SM x

*Please note, Hannah Betts is not my actual sister. Sadly, I've never even met her, but I feel like we have a connection. All we sober women are, in my view, sober sisters.



38 comments:

  1. It's hope. The feeling that because I have control, there is a future for me even though I don't know exactly what shape it will take.

    Love Rob

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  2. The best thing about being sober is the knowledge that I am not harming my body.

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  3. Tucking the kids into bed and wanting to spend extra time reading to them because there is no glass of wine downstairs calling your name to hurry up. The number of nights I rushed through bath and book time......

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  4. The bestest bestest thing about being sober is that I have my life back ... my husband and children have me back ... I am me again!

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  5. Oh gosh where do I start! The best things about being nearly 11 months sober for me are :-

    -feeling the fittest I have ever felt (at 42!)
    - remembering a night out
    - not worrying about or regretting things I've said
    - more spare money for cake and clothes!
    - feeling every emotion and accepting some days it's ok to feel crap!
    - feeling fresh and alive as soon as I wake up
    - watching people's shocked faces when I say I don't drink ( I will never get bored of that!)

    There are so many other reasons but most important than anything else Is how proud I have made my 2 daughters, they have been my little cheerleaders in my sober journey and I love being 100% there for them, I'm not the hungover, tired mummy anymore. I'm present and that for any child is so important, they are my focus not the next glass of wine. That's the most important thing to me by far! Xxxxx

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  6. - Enjoying time with my daughter - unfettered by alcohol.
    - Laughing with my daughter at something silly and not wanting to be anywhere else in the world.
    - Freedom to love myself
    - The clarity to know when I'm being mistreated and reject it
    - Having the ability to do my best and feel proud
    - Having the ability acknowledge and accept mistakes without self-hate

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  7. The things I like about being sober are .....

    Enjoying seeking out new tastes and interesting drinks. Like buying single-estate teas from my new favourite shop "All About Tea." Like finding a lager that has that lovely back-of-the throat refreshment (Warsteiner is my fave atm, and available in Tesco!) "Big Drop" do a fantastic stout that has that lovely bitter-chocolatey taste and is great with cheese.

    I love being able to say to my boss that of course I can work on New Years Day, and still go out on NYE with Mr Tonic. I'm also an introvert so I can get very antsy in big social situations. If I'm the driver, I can decide to leave when I really have had enough.

    Being brave enough to duck out of situations I find difficult to handle.

    I love that I treat my body as a Temple and not as a Dustbin. I've had both my hips replaced at a very young age (early 50s) and being so immobile and in such a lot of pain for such a long time was a scary foretaste of being old. It's up to me to keep my body as young and active as I possible can and it's great fun!

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  8. Trail running!! I just love it!!!

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  9. - No longer waking up at 3am with a racing heart and the realisation that I drank too much again the night before!

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  10. At just 10 weeks clear, these are my favorites:

    1) Suddenly I have time to do things. So much time. Too much, every so often, but then, that's all right. Being bored is ok. I didn't realize how many hours a week were spent on drinking and recovering from drinking, and then that low-level malaise that sets in on "days off" from the bottle. I never felt like I had the oomph to do anything beyond subsist, and I rationalized that away by convincing myself that there just weren't enough hours in a day. Hogwash. There are lots of hours in a day, but I was choosing to spend them drinking, drunk, and then hungover.

    2) Related to no. 1, I do NOT like getting up early. Never have. But these days, even if I've had a poor night's sleep, I can get up when I need to, and once I get going, I'm not all that tired during the day. Since I can remember I've had this dream of a personal utopia where I didn't ever have to get up before 10 AM, and I lived my life begrudging the fact that this isn't the case: staying in bed for as long as possible, sometimes intentionally oversleeping and screwing up my whole day because I was salty about having to get up and act like a person at 7 AM. For the last 8 weeks, though, I can count on one hand the number of times I've been in bed past 10 AM for any reason (weekends included) on one hand, and four of those times were due to illness. I tend to be up and about by 8 or so at the latest any more, so it seems I'm turning into a morning person, despite my best efforts. Weird.

    3) JOY. I have experienced more moments of pure, unmitigated joy in the last few weeks than I had in the last five years before. That glee that effervesces in your stomach and you think your cheeks will split open from smiling and you laugh, so loudly that maybe your neighbors think you've come unhinged. I get that, now. At least a few times a week. I look to those moments now, when I get to feeling sad that I can't drink alcohol any more, because I know that if I pick up again, those moments die. And those moments are worth more than any buzz or drunken camaraderie that I think I'm missing, because they're real and they're mine and I remember them.

    -EW in Phila, PA

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    1. EW, I love that line 'they're real and they're mine and I remember them' Hurrah to that! ❤️

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    1. Ok, BB, I'm going to have to ask this (although I may regret it): how are they different? Actually, maybe best not to carry on the conversation, but hurrah for great bowel movements in any case! 👌🏻

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    2. Haha BB I thought your comment was a typo at first. You are so right - lovely poos! A sure sign that what is going on in the inside is so much healthier than it used to be when drinking alcohol.

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    3. Okay, here goes... I didn’t suffer from headaches after drinking the night before, instead I had the most awful, never ending diarrhoea. My biggest regret from my drinking days was when my five year old daughter and I had planned a lovely shopping day together. This was a really big deal to her as she has younger sisters and it meant time for just the two of us to be together. She had been looking forward to it all week and had laid out her outfit the night before and counted out her pocket money and put it into her special ‘best’ handbag. The trip was planned for Saturday and I had decided to have ‘just one drink because it was Friday.’ Of course I got totally trashed and instead of cancelling and disappointing her, we went ahead with the trip. Instead of the lovely treat that she had been expecting we spent the whole morning going from toilet to toilet. I remember coming out of the last one and seeing her sitting dejectedly waiting for me. I have never been more ashamed in my life. Never again! I have poos that Gillian McKeith would be proud of now and for me it’s an indicator that all is now well in my body again that I had taken for granted for far too long. Just so you know we’ve had many awesome trips together since, but I’ll still never forgive myself, it was an appalling thing to do to a child.

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    4. Oh BB, hurrah for you and your little girl and your lovely poos. You are awesome ❤️

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    5. BB this has made me so emotional, I know exactly how guilty that must have made you feel. A year before I stopped drinking I had
      Promised to take my eldest to the cinema because her younger sister was at a party and she wanted to do somthing with me to make the most of the time together ( it doesn't happen very often as you know!) anyway I had been at a party the night before, a Halloween party (with my hubbie and kids!) I had prebookrd the tickets and promised myself and my daughter that it wouldn't be a late night, and I wouldn't have a lot to drink. You can guess, I got totally wasted, can't even remember being "put" in the taxi, with the kids!!!!! I drove to the cinema still drunk I think and basically sat there for 15 mins before we had to leave, I felt sick and like I was passing out ( we all know that feeling) I HATED MYSELF for that and I will never forget it, that was 2 years ago and I gave up a year after that. The main thing is we have changed and our daughters can see that, and we will never let them down again! Big hugs xxxxxxxxx

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  12. The best thing about being sober: being at PEACE.

    It's been over a year now after a few false stops. And I have found so much peace not drinking. The noise in my head has quieted. The guilt. The shame. The waking up trying to piece last night together. The regret for things I said. The endless should I or shouldn't I have a drink (aka a bottle and a half of wine). Walking down the wine aisle thinking I shouldn't but I should but I shouldn't but I should. Dumping out the remains saying that was the last time and then doing it all over again.

    It's all done. Peace.

    Now if I could just make peace with ice cream ...

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    1. There's always something (we are addicts after all). I've managed (finally) to keep the lid on the sugar, but don't even show me a packet of Walkers crisps....

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  13. The best thing about being sober is doing things that I never thought I could do!!!

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  14. I love this post and all the positive comments. Without alcohol I'm healthier, happier, have more money, more time and best of all I feel like the real me again.

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  15. Undiluted FREEDOM with a splash of sheer JOY and a twist of SELF CONFIDENCE - shaken, not stirred :-)))

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  16. Thanks so much for all your brilliant comments! You've made my day! Please keep them coming....

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  17. There are so many things I love about being sober. I love waking up in the morning and in that first split second when I used to cringe over what I did or said the night before, I realize I am sober!! Never gets old. I love not spending all of my mental energy on how, when and where I was going to have my next drink and then wondering if anyone noticed how much I was drinking. And finally I love having a balanced soul - no more shame and guilt! It's beautiful.

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  18. Getting into bed sober, driving the next day without panicking about being over the limit, no more emotional distress and trauma about how much i hate myself, no more checking facebook amd texts in the morning to check if i sent anything inappropriate, weight loss, clear skin, shiny hair, and so much more. It's hard for the first few months and then you suddenly realise you have stopped thinking about drinking. Read this blog when you are thinking you can't do it as all these feelings and worries are completely normal and it does get easier xxxx

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  19. Oh also you can remember every argument with your husband and, in my case, realise that I am not always to blame. I automatically apologised and often had to grovel for forgiveness. Because I couldn't remember what had happened I believed I deserved the aftermath. I have since realised that he picks the fights and has enjoyed the moral high ground for years. Not any more!

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  20. Gaining a future! I can dream about what I want to happen, call in the universe of angels and spirits to guide me and bring me all kinds of miracles, and know in my heart that I am worth it. 💕

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  21. What a wonderful post full of positive energy. I love this. For me, I would say the inner calm. You know, the lack of feeling like a million cockroaches are crawling around inside your body. And then there is the lack of loathing present in the morn. Blessings to all.

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  22. The time I've gained. I can do housework, garden, cook, clean, declutter, paint furniture...I've done a lot around the house. I can have a house that's consistently on a state in which I'm not pertrifed to have anyone drop by unannounced (not that I'm encouraging that, lol).

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  23. The best thing for me so far is the complete absence of daytime fatigue. And even at bedtime, having plenty of spare energy to read a book/ chat to teenage daughter who has come to lounge on the bed for a chat..
    Plus lots of tea and cake (i'm only 3 weeks in)!
    Lovely to read all the other comments, interesting how much impact there seems to be on relationships with daughters.

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  24. It makes the skin on my hands feel smooth & not dry in the morning, I have so much more time & brain space not thinking about if,when & how much and ....I'm no longer sneaky

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  25. I count it as great good fortune that I have clear recall (tho not at the time!) of how I felt each evening - the anticipation of that first drink, the 'what the hell, who cares!' feeling that followed a few imbibes later as I poured yet another, unneeded, glass, the unsteady, worrisome gait as I made my way to bed, the middle of the night disgust and slef-loathing, and then, the next morning - so many mornings - feeling like s**te (my american self loves that over-the-pond celt pronounciation) - and dragging myself through another day, miserable and disgusted, vowing to knock it off and then, what-the-hell again by 5p and starting all over. I'm GLAD I remember it all so clearly, cause it makes every clear-headed morning and day that much sweeter. I'm realizing now in the second year of ignoring the wine witch's nightly siren call......no, not ignoring but seldom ever even hearing it.....what a lovely lovely thing it is to NOT drink! Being unshackled......freedom....self-appreciation....thise are the best things I,ve found.

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  26. At least a 50% lessening of social anxiety, which is mostly down to the projection of self-loathing onto other people. Reduction in self-loathing = reduction in social anxiety. It's a miracle!
    Communicating more effectively with my partner and children - as in thinking about why I'm going to say, and how I'm going to say it, especially when dealing with a tricky situation, like anger or tantrums.
    Ability to go to the gym without feeling like utter shit.
    The heartburn and reflux is no more! Hooray!
    Honestly, there are too many positives to share.
    And I'm the same as you. Moderation? Inconceivable. It's either zero or 20!
    I am only 13 days sober, after many many attempts to quit or moderate. To hell with that, I'd rather not drink at all!
    Cheers for the great blog. You speak for so many drinking Mums xx

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  27. I am so fresh in my journey. I attended my first AA meeting last night. It helped. I felt like i found my people.

    I am 29 - i didn't drink everyday, I could feel myself spiraling though and the drinking becoming more frequent. I have posted my own blog because I feel alone with my story. I don't know if anyone else has ever felt the same way I do or have they done they same thing as what I have done while they were drinking.

    I am 3 days into my sober journey. The best thing so far about not drinking - I like that I will never see the person I hate so much in myself again.

    I love that I have determination to find the me my husband and kids deserve.

    Someday soon I know I will stop hating myself. But for now - there is is HOPE.

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