Friday, 18 November 2016

Pride Comes Before a Fall

After twenty months of not drinking I had this sense that my whole life was slotting into place. I was a little happy bunny, veritably hopping along verdant verges, counting all my blessings which went something like this:

(1) A twelve month 'all clear' from the cancer clinic and a happy, healthy family.

(2) I have finally reached my wedding weight - ten stone, one hundred and forty pounds. I have lost two stone without even trying very hard (I eat a lot of cake).

(see my post: Reasons to quit drinking #1: weight loss)

(3) I have not just one, but a flurry of publishers interested in my book. My agent is busy arranging meetings (I hope they don't change their minds once they've met me!) and has set a deadline 'for offers' of December 6th.

Life doesn't get much better than that.

I should know better than to allow myself to feel smug.

Then Mr SM comes back from the office and says "we have to talk," followed by the words most designed to make me freak out: "don't freak out."

It transpires that his whole team is being gradually 'phased out.'

Now Mr SM is relatively sanguine about the whole thing, muttering phrases such as "time for a change anyhow," and "don't want to get stuck in a rut."

He's even taking to quoting The Apprentice: "next time you come into the Boardroom, at least one of you will get fired," and "why do you deserve to stay in the process?"

I, however, am very bad at dealing with uncertainty. I spent a sleepless night catastrophizing. After just a few minutes of this information hitting my over-active brain I had us all homeless and begging on the streets.

In the morning I was blearily loading up the car with school kit when I realised that it had been broken into. Someone had stolen my stash of parking change and - bizarrely - my driving glasses.

We're looking for a thief with an unusually large number of 10p coins and an eyesight prescription of approximately -1.75, sporting a pair of rather old and battered middle-aged-lady specs.

It's on days like these when alcohol would be extremely useful. Just a few glasses of vino and all those sharp edges disappear, everything feels a bit less real and life becomes an awful lot easier to cope with...

....for a short while.

But I am stronger than that now (plus, I suspect it would bugger up any chance of that publishing contract!), so I tried all the other things that I know can help.

I did gratitude (see my post: Gratitude) and counted all my blessings (see above). I did mindfulness and stopped myself looking ahead and panicking. I did exercise. I wallowed in the bath with a dash of aromatherapy oils. And I ate cake.

And today it all seems a lot better.

Especially as I discovered that one incredibly generous and kind reader has anonymously donated £100 to my JustGiving page in aid of The Haven Breast Cancer Support Centres (see my post: Giving Back for more about The Haven and how to donate).

Isn't that awesome? Thank you, thank you, whoever you are.

Happy Friday everyone!

SM x


  1. I truly believe when one door closes another (better) one opens. I hope Mr SM finds a new job that is even better than his current one and you look back on this one day like it was a great thing. Sorry about your car, that's awful! PDTG

  2. Uncertainty is a horrible feeling - but generally comes before really great stuff happens xx seriously can't believe someone pinched your haha their karma will come back to them. Best thoughts to the universe for

  3. Don't feel bad because I was smug with just eight months of sobriety, and then ... the U.S. election gave me the feeling you just described: uncertainty. And everyone around me was meeting in bars to discuss what was going on, having heartfelt conversations over drinks, and I WANTED TO MAKE IT LESS REAL. Perfect description. It's all so real when sober.
    Thanks for putting it into words, SM.

  4. Can totally understand your wish to remove's how I sometimes feel, so glad you were able make the AF toolbox come into play...I too am a big fan of distraction, self care...and remembering things often seem less daunting after even a bad nights sleep....which is what I had last night..but I don't fight them any more, just realise something is stressing me....and try to work through it...looking forward to the book, suspect whoever broke into your car is fighting a battle of their own, still sucks,,,and Mr SM is I am sure resourceful,,,,,,their is always a silver lining if one looks hard enough...x

  5. Mr. UT lost his job years ago, and it took a year, but he found a new one.
    Mr. SM will too!
    I am glad you are well and have written a book!
    No doubt it is awesome!

  6. Weird coincidence, my husband came home last night to tell me they were closing his whole site. This is the third time for us, so I feel for you. By now I'm a bit blasé about it. We did not have the other issues though - I imagine a break-in must make you feel violated, quite apart from the theft issue.

  7. Hi I have been following you and you inspired me I have just got to sixteen weeks. I read your headline and my heart sank assuming you had fallen to the wine bitch. Sorry for doubting and well done for not having. Like many anonymous lurkers your blog really helps me stay sober. Keep strong x

  8. AAhh SM......I think the Universe has decided that YOU will become the family breadwinner with your fantastic, successful book! Maybe Mr. SM can be your "handler"......I don't mean to be flippant, I know that money worries are horrible, thinking about you xx

  9. And can you imagine how you would have reacted if still drinking?? Now there's a blessing!

  10. Urgh sorry to hear about Mr SM's job - that uncertainty is awful, isn't it! And the break in - b@st#rds! I love the way you tackled how you felt about it though, I'm going to store that away for future reference. Hope all goes well with your publisher meetings, that's just fantastic! Good luck to Mr SM with the job stuff too. Red xx

  11. The tools that you've acquired while getting sober and dealing w cancer will help you navigate this as well. You've got this!

  12. Good luck-we've been in the same place a couple of times over the last 5 years-a downside of being high up-they are expensive and have to 'earn their place'! I'm chilled about it now too-just not worth the worry xx.

  13. I hate it when life throws a curve ball.
    Pema Chodron has an amazing quote from when things fall apart that really says there is always something falling apart and coming together, falling apart and coming together.
    Through the pain, joy and fear, we learn to find peace with life.

    Hugs. You will be ok. We all will. Just keep doing the next right thing.

    Stillness and peace

  14. This is your time to shine SM! To prove to yourself that you've grown enough as a person to deal with life in a more responsible way. You already know how you would have dealt with it whilst you were drinking. Look at you now raising above those dark clouds!! You should be so proud of yourself ! I know we all are ! X

  15. Thank you for this post. I recently drank when a stressful event occurred and your ideas on how to deal with stress are very useful. Mindfulness for cravings when the ^%^%* hits the fan which it inevitably does! I'm also going to try the gratitude thing. The tricky bit for me is just to remember these strategies when under stress, because sometimes it feels as if my brain overloads and can’t think straight, do you have any tips on that?