Still sticking to plan, except one slip.

So several weeks ago I decided that after two and a half decades of continuous drinking that I was going to give up drinking during the week.  I still know that I do not want to give up entirely I just want to take control of my life instead of having a liquid dictate what I spent my money on and how I live my life, during the week.  I am happy to report that everything is still on track, despite a slight step back on a bank holiday Monday.  I’m not proud or happy with myself about this.  I expected there to be times when I would stumble but with the knowledge that this may happen I was also determined that if I did fall then I would get back up and try again instead of just giving up in despair and a sense of futility.  So I got over myself, picked myself up, squared my shoulders and resolve and got back on with the show.

What I have noticed though, apart from feeling fresh in the mornings and being clear headed at night plus having a slightly fatter wallet, is people’s incredulity.  To begin with,  and I only shared my plans with close friends, there was skepticism.  You can’t do that, who do you think you’re kidding, you won’t be able to manage it, your technique is all wrong, why even try?  Only a few of people have belief in me and encouraged me and I thank these two women from the bottom of my heart, you know who you are X.

It has been now just over a month since I started on this and still when I meet with friends and conversation starts I’m either asked with skepticism if I am still managing to avoid booze during the week and when I reply in the affirmative, or when I tell them (if I haven’t seen them since I stopped) that I’ve stopped drinking there’s a look in their eyes which conveys more than words can.  It conveys a sense of disbelief, of incredulity.  As if I am incapable of making a change in my life for the best, as if I cannot aspire to be more than who I have been.  Why the hell not?  Yes it has been a long time, yes I did have a drinking habit but why is it so unbelievable that I should want to control that, that I should want to better myself from the position I put myself in.  I have known, and know people, who have made radical changes in their life for the best.  That have not accepted the hand that fate has dealt them and therefore have instituted changes to better their lot, why is it so inconceivable that I should fall within this group of aspirers?

Despite my drinking I like to think I’m a dependable fellow, steady and solid.  Maybe this is why people find it hard to accept that I have decided to change my behaviour.  Was I really such a rock that I had become unmovable and unchangeable in peoples eyes, that I should remain the same no matter what?  This isn’t a fault of mine and I’m not even sure it is a fault.  When I ask these friends why they are so unbelieving they simply shrug their shoulders and say limply “Well, y’know”.  There is no real reason why they should think that I am incapable of this.  I have proven my resolve before when I gave up smoking, and as I came to think of it I had the same reaction off of the same people back then as I am getting now.  So this got stuck in my head, and I started wondering why, why on earth should people perceive me in this way and then it struck me, it is not how they perceive me but rather a reflection of themselves and their fears of failure that they are projecting on to me.  This theory is possibly incorrect, but hey ho it’s a theory to work on.

It’s their addictions or the things they want to change in their lives that they are denying, it is their fear of failure that they are impressing upon me.  If I can show people that change is possible, that if you make a concerted effort.  If you truly want it, then you can achieve anything, within the realms of possibility obviously, no flapping our arms to fly to the moon!  So is it possible to show these people that they are only holding themselves back, that if they want to change they can?  Sure it isn’t always easy but sometimes it is, all it takes is a deep breath, courage and the will to act and to affect change.  Problem is a lot of people don’t like change, even for the better.  They are happy in their misery or happy to rely on that crutch to help them get through what they perceive to be a bad existence, why else should anyone want to drown themselves with booze if not to blot out what they think is a harsh and uncaring world?  I know I did, I drank to hide pain, to hide from the world, to cosset myself away in the mistaken belief that the world was against me and cold.  It isn’t though, it’s what you make of it.  Sure there are influences beyond our control but how we handle those situations isn’t out of our control but it sure of hell is if you’re drunk as a skunk hiding away and denying that there’s anything wrong.

In a way I guess that I’m lucky, I was able to find the strength to stand on my own two feet again, to do away with the crutch of booze dependency and look my fate squarely in the face and change what I wasn’t happy with and decide where I want to go.  Now I’ve stepped off onto that journey, and it is a long one, and I’m a little scared but mainly excited, enthusiastic and happy.  The world is again full of wonderful possibilities instead of dull dead ends and if my friends and family care to walk this path with me then they are welcome to and if they haven’t the strength then I will support them, every step of the way.

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How the weekend went.

 

 

You may remember how I was worried and somewhat concerned about how the weekend would go after being away from alcohol for five days, well this is how it went.  Friday night wasn’t a problem, carried on just as I had done during the week, drank water and kept myself busy and active during the evening.  Found it somewhat disappointing to be in bed so early on a Friday night but then it wasn’t as if I had anywhere to go or anyone to meet anyway so no huge loss.

I was up early on the Saturday and by the time my son had surfaced from the pit which is the teenagers room the mundane aspects (laundry, housework and shopping) of the weekend had already been dealt with.  My son and I went out for a good walk (there is another blog forthcoming about this walk) and on the way back popped into a local pub.  I had one cider and my son, who I’ve shared everything with, mentioned that I wasn’t drinking as fast as I normally did.  This was a good observation as I was feeling the effects of the alcohol more keenly than I would normally do so and so wasn’t drinking as fast as I normally would.  This did not open the floodgates as I had feared but showed me that I should be cautious with the amount and how fast I imbibe it.  Back home on the Saturday night I allowed myself four cans of relatively weak generic beer.  I drank these over the course of a few hours, stopping and having water between each can.  Not really enjoying the drinking as I had done.  I had a friend visit me and we discussed how he had given up alcohol and started again and how it was an ongoing struggle for him to find a balance, one that he has yet to find.  I shared my experiences with him and he was extremely supportive and offered good advice.

One remark stuck with me and is still bouncing around inside my head.  When I told him about how I was regaining control he looked at me candidly and said “I accept my friends for who they are, not what they do.  But it is good to see you being you and not being a drunk.”  My son has said similar things before in the past, especially when younger and unsure of what is happening.  He would comment on how he’d not want me to be drunk daddy but happy daddy or he would encourage me to drink later in the day in order to spend more time with him as I was more coherent and able to give him more of my attention.  Oh please don’t get me wrong, there have been times when he has encouraged me to drink but only when he was older, and for his own ends, the cunning little chap that he is.  However my friend was right, we stay who we are when sober and when drunk our personalities, although still our own, start to “slide and shift” about as do our priorities.

On Sunday I drank two cans of beer and a bottle of wine over the course of the day.  I noted how alcohol does exaggerate emotions and how quickly it happens.  How I could be happy, then sad, then energetic then forgetful all in the space of several minutes.  I may have been aware of this before but had become blinded to it due to the many years that I had lived in this state, I guess it had become the norm.  By 9pm Sunday I had run out of wine and beer but instead of going to the shop to buy more, as I would normally did, I was content to drink water and happily observe myself slowly sobering up.  I think I am at a stage now where I prefer sober me to drunk me.  Doesn’t mean I’ll never drink again but it has made me much more aware of my adverse and exaggerated behaviour while drunk and more aware of how stable I am when sober.  Stable and coherent.  I am looking forward to another five days of not drinking, saving that money and being able to write and think clearly.

In a way I feel as if I am cheating by not giving up entirely, I was expecting a hard time and the ease of which I have been able to accomplish getting control of my drinking I find amazing.  It may not make for an engaging blog with the twists and turns and ups and downs that will make it a gripping read but I am happy to report, even if somewhat tediously, that everything is fine.