First thing this morning, still lying in bed, I celebrated 3 months by playing 'Sober' by Kelly Clarkson (here's a link).
Three months and I'm still sober.
Picked all my weeds but kept the flowers.
But I know it's never really over
And I don't know
I could crash and burn but maybe
At the end of this road I might catch a glimpse of me.
Well, I've picked a load of weeds - both literally (see Gardening) and metaphorically, and found flowers that I didn't even know were there. I've caught not just glimpses, but whole chunks of me.
Anyhow, half way through Kelly the husband stuck his head round the bathroom door and yelled "What's all the terrible caterwauling? Can we have the Today programme back on please?" Back to real life.
The children went back to school yesterday after ten days of half term. Ten days of non stop running around - entertaining kids, entertaining friends, constant cooking, clearing up, cleaning, revision (exams this week), playdates, dog walks etcetera etcetera.
Two things struck me:
(1) I am a better mother.
Still not a great one, but a better one. Without the low level hangovers, the itchy angst waiting for 'wine o'clock', or the blurry, distracted partial drunkenness, I am more patient, more even tempered and more present.
That may not sound like a major revolution, but if you've spent any time with small children you'll know that being (properly) present, patient and even tempered is the sine qua non for a good day.
(2) You've got to have 'me time.'
I hate the expression 'me time.' It was all over our creative briefs in my ad agency in the 1990s, resulting in loads of advertisements showing women wrapped in fluffy towels with cucumber slices over their eyes, or soaking in bubble baths surrounded by candles.
"Oh for f**ks sake!" I'd yell silently. "Haven't these women got anything better to do?" It seemed, to me, terribly self indulgent, and a total waste of time.
Perhaps no surprise then that I ended up using alcohol as a way of switching off. And I wasted way more time and money getting drunk than I would have spent slathered in a face mask having a massage once a week!
Anyhow, I suspect that part of the reason for my attack of the PAWS (see Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome) a few days ago was that half term madness had given me no 'me time' at all.
Our bodies and our minds go through a major upheaval and healing process when we give up alcohol, and increasingly I understand why people say that you have to 'be kind to yourself'. They also talk about 'self care' being crucial.
Even if we don't feel like we're doing an awful lot, we are exhausted by the silent physical and mental effort of not drinking.
So yesterday, for an hour, I ignored the mounting chores and paperwork and lay down (yes! Horizontally! In the afternoon!) with a novel. I read for half an hour and dozed for half an hour, and today I feel fabulous.
Three months and I'm still sober. Picked all my weeds but kept the flowers.
Love to you all.