Saturday morning in Cornwall. We've now been here a whole week. The sun is shining and I can hear the sounds of #1 and #3 getting up (it's a small cottage).
#2 is snoring next to me. He snuck in last night, taking advantage of the fact that Daddy's been stuck in London, working. (He's joining us today - yay!).
I've been thinking about what's made this holiday, so far, different from previous years, when effectively the formula's been exactly the same (I'm obviously a creature of habits - good ones and bad ones!).
It struck me that the main difference is an absence of restlessness.
Throughout the drinking years I often wanted to be somewhere else. The only times I felt completely at peace were when I had a drink in my hand (which, increasingly, was quite a lot of the time).
Almost as soon as I'd start one activity, I was already considering what to do next. Rather than concentrating on the moment (mindfulness), I was already focussing on the future.
I called this 'planning.' Now is see that it was, actually, restlessness.
There is a biological reason for this feeling. When we are addicted to something (nicotine, narcotics, alcohol, whatever) our brains get so overwhelmed by the dopamine rushes caused by the substance that they start to reduce the amount of dopamine produced naturally.
This means that without our drug of choice we feel depressed, edgy and restless. We feel like something is missing - we're not complete. Which is, in fact, the case, as we've created an imbalance, a hole, in our neuro chemistry.
So, however much we try and relax, to be in the moment, our subconscious (the Wine Witch) is whispering is there any wine in the fridge? Do you need to go to the shop? Haven't we been at this play centre/playground/funfair long enough? It's definitely time for a drink. Don't just sit there - do something about it!
In previous years, with the kids on the beach in Cornwall, by 5pm I'd be feeling angsty. I'd be hurrying everyone along, packing up, yelling eventually, making sure that we were back home in time for 'me time'.
But this year, as low tide has got later and later, we've adjusted our timings. We've been, literally, going with the flow - getting up later and going to bed later. Staying on the beach until 8pm to make the most of the surfing.
We've had sandy burgers on the beach for supper and watched the sun go down. And I haven't wanted to be anywhere else at all.
That's one of the best gifts of sobriety: peace.
Love SM x