Monday 16 March 2015

14 days - Discovering Mindfulness

We got through the weekend, ladies! (are there any blokes reading this? If so, do shout and I'll stop being so sexist). Congratulations to Kags who did her first big night out sober - woo hoo! Love and hugs to Whimsical (great username!) who was out drinking until 3am Sunday morning and felt terrible yesterday. We've all been there, and we're with you.

14 days in, and here's what I've noticed:

Bright eyes and clear, sort of dewy fresh, skin. And I've lost 2 pounds and about an inch off the muffin top. I'm not yet at the 'hot mama, careful as you walk past building sites' stage, but definitely not looking as raddled as I did. Yay!

Cravings not as bad as they were. I've realised that my danger periods are the old 'wine o'clocks' i.e. around 1pm and 6pm. The way I get through these tough times is to indulge myself. I lie down on the sofa with a good magazine or book, or I have a bath with bubbles, candles and some chilled music - just for 30 minutes until the craving passes. And it does.

I'm not as distracted as I was (see previous post - withdrawal symptoms), so I am managing to (more or less) get through my 'to do' list for the day. And - thank goodness - the digestion seems to be back to normal.

But the big change is that I have suddenly discovered the ability to live in the moment. For the first time in as long as I can remember I can do 'mindfulness'. It strikes me that mindfulness is impossible for an alcohol dependant. We are either wishing time away so we can get rid of the hangover, or wishing it away because we're longing for the next drink or - most likely - both simultaneously. The last thing we want to do is linger in the moment. Maybe we're in the moment when we take the first sip of the first glass, but we're very quickly looking forward to pouring the next one.

The other issue with alcohol and mindfulness is that we use our drinking to take the edges off life - to make it all a bit fuzzy. This is the antithesis to mindfulness, which is about noticing everything clearly and sharply - colours, smells, sounds, our own breathing.

Mindfulness has been in the news a lot recently. Wikipedia define it as "the intentional, accepting and non-judgemental focus of one's attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment." (Try doing that drunk). The effects of mindfulness include alleviation of anxiety, depression, stress, handling emotions and treating substance abuse disorders. Hey, what's not to like?

So, Sunday morning I take my youngest (aged 5) for a walk with the dog round the local cemetery (sounds ghoulish, but it's beautiful). Half way round and I realise that I am absolutely in the moment. Not wishing away a hangover, not checking the time constantly to see when I can pour the first glass. I'm seeing all the daffodils appearing around the gravestones, the glorious spring light and the terribly poignant inscriptions on the monuments. The little one and I play 'who can find the most angels' (not celestial ones, sadly - stone ones). She turns to me and asks " How old are you again, Mummy?" "As old as the hills", I reply. She pauses, thinking, then asks "how old are the hills, Mummy?" I laugh till I cry.

Here's my mindfulness quote for the day: "You must live life in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look towards another land; there is no other life but this." Henry David Thoreau.

Best of luck to you all. Stay in touch. X


  1. A beautiful post as always and congratulations on your two week milestone !! For me this is day 8 my eyes are most definitely brighter and skin more dewy sadly no weight loss yet but that might be from the huge sugar cravings around 7pm ( an hour past the previous wine o'clock !!) I am trying to be more mindful and will make a very conscious effort over the next day to do so x happy Monday here's to another week if clear heads and positive attitudes x

    1. Hi Kags! Try my remedy for sugar cravings: take handful of frozen fruits (raspberries, strawberries, blackberries) and a few spoons of greek yoghurt and stick it all in a liquidizer or magimix until smooth. It makes an amazing frozen yoghurt full of vitamins and good protein with no added sugar. If you want to be really healthy then sprinkle with chia seeds. You could always eat it out of one of those wine glasses you're not using any more ;-) xx

  2. Agree, beautiful post. I'm going to try mindfulness, but I'm not sure how to start! I'm between jobs at the moment, so the days can be rather long. Mindfulness doesn't sound especially pleasant during these long days that I'd prefer to pass more quickly than they do. In fact, it's due to my recent unemployment (1st time in my life) that wine o'clock was getting earlier and earlier, and I realized I was heading down an unsavory path.

    I know this is the perfect opportunity to do things I've always wanted to: take up tennis, read more, knit more, run more, etc, but I'm feeling paralyzed by apathy, which is making staying away from the bottle rather difficult.

    Your blog is a huge source of support. I've got it bookmarked and am so happy to see a new post every morning. x

  3. Hi Justine - I found stopping work (I quit when my third child was born) made it much more difficult to keep the cork in the bottle too, and I know how apathy can easily creep up on you. I find that any form of exercise helps - it gets you away from the fridge and keeps your mind occupied! Thinking of you x

  4. Thank you for the yoghurt tip I will try it tomorrow ( need to buy the Greek yoghurt!) I find sipping hot lemon and honey water helps a little too (and hopefully is a little detoxifier too - god knows my liver needs it )!!

  5. Dear SoberMummy,
    Love your daughter's comment! I love that age!
    Yay to 14 days!!

  6. Amazing blog!! Day 5 for me and this is so inspirering!!

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