Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Eleven days sober

It feels very odd to say "eleven days sober". This is now the longest I've managed for about three years, the last time I did a sober January. Let's have a look at the pro's and con's.
  • I'm eating like crazy. (That's in the sense I eat American-size portions now for my American friends.)
  • I'm sleeping normally too, so I have energy to actually do things and have been early for work every day for the last fortnight. (That's two weeks for my American friends.)
  • Saved an absolute fortune. A drink habit in the UK is expensive, even on the cheapest stuff. It's very difficult to estimate because by nature an everyday drinker doesn't keep track of how much they are really spending on drinking (denial is an amazingly powerful force), but if I rough it out at £5 in the day and £5 at night during the week, then throw in three nights out a week at £25, that's £100-125 a week on drink and drink-related stuff like lazy food and taxis, so I'm looking at £400-500 a month gone on my drink habit. (That's $600-750USD for my American friends.)
  • I've reminded myself I am capable of living with myself sober, something that while in the middle of a long drinking session ie. the last three years, I began to doubt and fear.
  • I've finally made it to AA meetings to figure out if it's something that may help me in these times when for whatever reason, the drinking has to go on hold for a while. The jury's still out on that one but it's been interesting so far and I'm keeping it up until my trip in May at least.
I guess at the moment, with my trip to the States coming up, the money thing is the best out of those. It's not all rosy, though.
  • It's weird being... me. I guess I always drank because I felt uncomfortable almost 24/7 and drinking takes the edge off that anxiety. Now, I'm a lot older than when I started drinking to self-medicate these feelings and a much different person. I am a lot less anxious while sober now, which I think just comes with age. There are still times though when the old symptoms come back; I stutter and stumble over words, find reasons to escape social situations, retreat into myself. I'm not enjoying dealing with these again when I know just a couple of drinks would make me behave like anyone else, but at least they are not as bad as they used to be.
  • Obviously, temptation is around every corner. In the case of work, literally, the pub is on the corner next door. I miss pubs. I've never been a "home" sort of person and miss being out and about as much.
  • I miss the silly times being drunk with all the Americans (and Canadians). I've been keeping track of things on Reddit but I can't help feeling like the designated driver or a bloody chaperone watching over a kid's party. I last a little while before I feel like I just don't fit in and quit it. I miss that a lot.
Balancing the two out isn't a hard decision. By packing in drinking for a while, I can go and see my girl for a couple of weeks and have a great time over there with her instead of sitting at home drinking on my own. My body is really appreciating the break too - no more side-pains, vomiting or headaches. I'm trying to keep all this in mind when it comes round to 1pm and I have an hours break from work, with a pub right on the doorstep, and temptation comes knocking at the door...

Next step: trying out the AA meeting at Sacred Heart on Sunday night, the church two minutes round the corner from my house. It seems to make more sense than losing all my Monday night travelling to and from the Darwen meeting. I'll see how it goes.

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