Day One of an alcohol free life (27th August 2019)

I tried to drown my sorrows, but the bastards learnt how to swim, and now I am overwhelmed by this decent and good feeling.

– Frida Kahlo

Tuesday 27th August 2019 – 4:55 am

I’ve been awake since 3:25 am after a lovely evening socialising with family visiting from the UK (I live in France).  I hadn’t drunk any wine for a week, but indulged with everyone else last night, not drinking any more than anyone else.

I told myself, as I awoke and realised it was early morning, that if I looked at my watch and it was around 3 am then it was a sign for me to stop drinking alcohol (as this had been a recurring problem). It took me a few moments to dare to look at my watch! It read 3:25 am and I thought ‘well that’s it then. No more alcohol for me’. It would mean a day of feeling tired and possibly feeling very disappointed in myself. It was at that point that I decided to turn the situation on its head. No, I wouldn’t allow myself to feel disappointment, regret or beat myself up for having ‘slipped’. I would only look at it from the positive: that, after drinking very little over 6 months (perhaps 8 days in total), I had experienced a few nights of drinking that had served as ‘experiences’ for me in teaching me that sober definitely is better.

At 4:50 am I made the decision to get up and write down all my thoughts, and make a commitment to myself: to stop drinking.

No rock bottom, no regrets, just a positive and bold decision.

What happened last night:

We had a lovely evening with our family who we hadn’t seen for over a year. I hadn’t had anything to drink for a week, and was feeling good. 6pm arrived and drinks were offered………I cracked within moments and experienced FOMO – Fear of Missing Out! I enjoyed some rose and white wine with my cousin’s lovely wife. We drank the same amount (around a bottle of wine over 4-5 hours), yet I woke around 3 am regretting my decision and unable to get back to sleep.

Facts and thoughts:
– Wine gives me a headache and makes my mind feel fuzzy and unable to focus.
– It makes me feel generally groggy and unwell the next day.
– It makes me feel I’m not taking care of myself, when otherwise I take great care of myself – I’m vegan and I run………a lot.
– I would like to quit this one bad habit that I have which does not make me feel good about myself.
– I need to not care what others think.
– Everyone else will wonder what my problem is and say I am not a ‘problem drinker’.
– I don’t need to be a problem drinker to realise that I’m better off not drinking.

I will email everyone I know to say that I have quit drinking – to hold myself accountable to this decision. Why? I am a strong person, yet can be weak in front of others. If everyone knows how I feel, I will feel better placed to say ‘No, thanks. I don’t drink any more’.

5:45 am. Sent the following email to everyone I know!!!

Dear all

Hope you’re all really well 🙂

Just a really short email to let you know that I’m quitting booze, and would rather say it once than many times!

There’s a lot of social pressure/expectation to drink and I’d rather avoid that.

It’s purely for health reasons. I’m vegan and I love to keep fit, so it’s the one part of the jigsaw that doesn’t fit! I’m not a big drinker, but would still rather be a non-drinker.

Hope you’ll all be supportive, 

Lots of love

Catherine xx

6 am – tried to get back to sleep and dozed on and off until 7:30 am. Felt slightly more refreshed, but not great!

7 am – my first response!

Good for you, Catherine, that’s impressive. I’ve cut back enormously, but completely giving up would be a step too far for me!   😊👍 

The relief was palpable. I realised how anxious I had been feeling about how my email would be received. Would people think I was being dramatic? Would they think I was strange, or trying to hide a serious drinking problem? Would they think it was all unnecessary and ‘why is she bothering me with this?’

And there have been more:

Hi sweetie – well good for you – X and I try to have booze free days but like you say there is this HUGE social pressure to drink and I cannot drink like I used to and hate the way over drinking makes me feel – so good on you for going down this route.   I DO like my wine and in summer I like my cocktails but I have strived this summer to have no drinking days when people around me drink and it is quite a hard thing to find you are the only one in a group.   Supporting you all the way flower!  Anyway booze is unnecessary calories and unnecessary pressure on liver and kidneys……..

Hi Catherine. Well done you. Lifestyle choice is important and I commend you for it. 

Good for you !   Seriously…………X and I love a glass of red but in reality we drink very little.   Wine is ’empty’ calories ie very little nutritional value.  By the way, I could have a really good rant about the attitude of some people to drink.  Some wear the quantity of wine they get through as a badge of honour !!!!

Good for you. There are many friends who have slowed down or quit – It can be hard socially but by being open it will be easier. There are lots of non alcoholic beers and wines !!

Thanks to these lovely responses I’m feeling really strong and positive! The response so far has been so supportive and I’m glad I was bold enough to state my intention ‘out loud’. I think the combination of feeling it’s the right thing for me, and holding myself accountable to my decision will give me the strength to achieve what I want: to live a sober life and let everyone else carry on drinking without me!

Perhaps the most exciting news from the day was that I had a reply to an email I had sent to Janey Lee Grace!! I wrote to her to thank her for her podcast (Alcohol Free Life), which has really helped me over the past few days (despite ‘cracking’ and boozing last night!) and to say that I was thinking of starting my own blog. I also copied in the email I had sent to everyone in my distribution list. This was her response: That’s so amazing thank you for sharing it all with me! An hour or so later, she emailed me again to say: Meant to add: let me know when you’ve written a couple of blog posts too – will give you a plug! Best, Janey

Starstruck! I was all ‘aquiver’, being the sad fan that I am! And inspired and motivated to make this blog happen.

I spent the rest of the day feeling tired, but like a weight had been lifted.

Note: a few days later, I received another email response from a family member: ‘Duly noted, more for me’. Read into that what you will – I know I did 😉

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