I made it to the big one oh oh! Woo hoo! Go me!
(I feel a bit greedy celebrating this one, having just celebrated 3 months. It's like poor #3, who has a birthday just before Christmas! But, hell, I think we deserve to congratulate ourselves whenever we get an opportunity...)
I was intending to celebrate by myself today (and with you lot, obviously), but it turns out that there are advantages to the husband sneaking the odd peak at the blog.
When I was still half asleep this morning he presented me with a 100th birthday card! (Bet they don't sell many of those).
Not only that, but he's also bought me a gorgeous necklace - a silver elephant on a chain. I could invent something about 'elephants never forgetting', or make a joke about the size of my arse, but the truth is he just knows I love elephants.
He is a Good Man. A Keeper.
So, I was reading back over some of my posts from nearly 100 days ago. There I was, all bright eyed, bushy tailed, enthusiastic and naïve. I reminded myself of the new girl starting at secondary school.
You think that you've made it - you've done the work, passed the exams and you're in! Then you realise that you know nothing. You look around and notice that no-one else is wearing their socks pulled up or their skirts at regulation length. You don't know your way around. You don't know the rules. You're totally out of your depth.
Now I've done the 'am I an alcoholic?' modules, and I've done the 'moderation. Is it possible?' modules (also known as 'is this really it? For ever?'). I've done lower fourth and upper fourth and I'm into lower fifth!
But I realise that I have a way to go before I'm a cool know-it-all, confident sixth former. I've only just started on 'introspection' and 'who the hell am I, anyway?' and I have no idea what comes after that! I've not even been given the syllabus.
What could I have told my lower fourth self 100 days ago? I could have given her a list something like this:
1. You will sleep more, and better, than you've done in years, but will be more tired than you can imagine.
2. You will discover that hot chocolate has magical healing powers, and that there really is a point to alcohol free beer.
3. You will feel ten years older and wiser, but look five years younger.
4. You will have to start to hate yourself before you can learn to love yourself again.
5. You will discover a passion for cleaning, tidying, weeding, sorting and clearing out - both literally and metaphorically.
6. You will obsessively read everything you can find about alcohol, alcoholism, and anything else beginning with 'alc'.
7. You will find that some of the really big hurdles (like parties) can be easy, but some of the small things (everyday stresses and upsets) can be terribly hard.
8. You'll find that that knot of anxiety you lived with for years was caused by the drink, not solved by it. Your best friend was actually your worst enemy.
9. You will become an obsessive navel gazer (not to be confused with a naval gazer - someone who stares at seamen). You'll constantly wrestle with questions like 'Who am I? Who was I? How did I get here? Where am I going?.
10. You will meet some incredible fellow travellers along the way. People who will make you laugh, cry and think. Hugely strong, brave and inspirational people sharing your journey.
But, you know what? There would have been no point in (the older, wiser) me telling (the younger, more naïve) myself any of this, because one of the main things I've learned is that there are no short cuts.
As it says in one of my favourite books (Going on a Bear Hunt) "you can't go under it, you can't go over it. You've got to go through it."
You've done the crime. Now you've got to do the time. And I've done 100 days of it!
I was on the Soberistas site, reading some blogs written by newbies on day 1, or day 7, or 14. And I almost felt jealous of the fact that they were standing there at the beginning of a journey that would change their lives. The first 100 days is hard, but it's also more intense and rewarding than you can imagine.
Here's to the next 100! And here's to all of you - my wonderful fellow travellers.
Love SM x