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New, but familiar, Beginnings

The sun is shining, the family are all out. And I'm wondering what the heck happened after my last blog entry 5 months ago. I sounded so strong, so focused. Yet I've had many Day One's, and weeks of just not bothering, between then and now.

Today is Day 8. I feel really positive. But reading back at those last couple of entries in February makes me feel uneasy. I'm so sure now, but I was so sure then. I imagine I had a wobble, and didn't want to write about it. Then maybe had another and another and it's just easier to go with it. 

I guess today's lesson to myself is not to get complacent. However focussed on sobriety I feel right now there will come a time where it's so easy to 'just have one' and after that I may as well finish the bottle, then see the week out, and what's so good about sobriety anyway. 

It's really hard to explain this to someone who doesn't have the same issues and ambitions around alcohol. I know a lot of people who drink as much or more than I did. And a lot who rarely drink at all. To most people there are alcoholics, and everyone else. But it's far more nuanced than that. And there is a growing movement of people who are choosing to regain control and live a better life alcohol free. I see them because I'm looking for them I guess but blogs, podcasts, and books extolling the virtues of sobriety are plentiful, and they give me hope.

To someone who doesn't feel it, it's hard to explain the constant internal battle over 'just one' or 'just tonight'. Doing deals of 'I'll just drink at the weekend', 'I'll get those mini bottles of wine instead', 'I won't drink 2 nights in a row'. It's exhausting and pretty unhelpful.

I'd liken it to a programme like Slimming World. The urge to eat something you know you can't have can be really powerful. Usually in part because you know you're not allowed it! You're tempted to just this once have the cake. But you know that you can easily make excuses for yourself every day of the week and then you'll get nowhere. So you need to change your behaviours and habits, sometimes change where you go or who with. Slimming World (or any other similar 'diet') takes time, patience, dedication but the results are worthwhile because it makes you healthier, happier and more in control.

The first few days are hard. So it's insane to keep doing them over and over. Claire Pooley wrote a blogpost about sobriety being an obstacle course starting with a massive wall and ending in a field of bunnies (or something cute like that!) if we just keep climbing the wall over and over and never getting to the field of bunnies we're going to be exhausted and dejected and want to give up. This weekend has been surprisingly easy; I've felt full of energy and although I thought about drinking I didn't crave it. However earlier in the week I had a lot of battles to just get through the day. Trying to convince myself that as long as I got through the week then drinking at the weekend would be fine. But I don't want to. I want my life to make me happy just as it is, not by dulling my emotions and blurring the edges with a bottle of Pinot. And I never want another hangover again! 

I've no idea if anyone will read this. If you do I hope it helps you to either understand people like me who know they need to make better choices, or it helps you to know you're not alone. Either way this is for me. To remind myself that it's hard at the beginning and that it's easy to forget. 

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