Brain malfunctions can turn into a hangover.

I hardly slept at all last night and today I feel shaky, hot faced, and bleary eyed with heavy brain fog. Very reminiscent of hangovers from the thankfully distant past. 3 years and 7 months to the day since my last booze hangover in fact. Unfortunately sleep deprived hangovers still feature regularly in my life.

It’s all completely irrational, which makes it extra infuriating. Here is the evidence that I’m still a neurotic human;

I got this amazing news yesterday (see pic) from the circus academy where I do pole dance and fitness. I am honestly having the time of my life doing these mixed classes 3 times a week. Every session is completely different and I’ve met the most incredible people, many of which have battled their own particular demons and won thanks to the all consuming nature of the aerial arts. I’m completely in love with the studio, the instructors and the people I train with there. Just the smell of hand chalk sends an excited thrill through me because of the association with rewarding killer sessions, both on and off the pole.

My brain being what it is; cynical and irrational; I almost immediately bypassed the pleased excited feeling of being praised publicly, and moved on to the critical analysis of how and why this is not a positive thing. Firstly, I started panicking that my wonderful blossoming relationships with the other women that I train with may be jeopardised. The last thing I want is for anyone to feel bitter or weird towards me for being singled out. I posted on social media thanking my instructors and my new friends while quietly worrying I may be ostracised by my new friends.

Then, in the dark long hours of my sleepness night, I managed to convince myself that my instructors have given me this because I’m really shit at pole and they don’t want me to lose heart and quit. I am afterall, a paying customer.

So here I am. Blood shot watery eyed, feeling sorry for myself. The fact I’m feeling sorry for myself for potentially made up reasons is making me feel angry at myself. It’s all very conflicting. And I’m aware this is all badly articulated because I’m so tired that the words can’t flow. But I needed to post cos I’m wobbly. Proper wobbly. Not wobbly in the way that I want to drink. But better to get these things out of my system lest they fester and turn malicious.

Anyway. At least I’m not in one of the ridiculously long petrol station queues. The world has gone mental. No way am I watching the news today. I feel morbid enough without the push of impending doom.

Love you all. Thanks for letting me rant.

Aftermath

This is what the aftermath of a big night looks like these days. All recycling and pot washing was sorted by my sober self before I went to bed last night at around midnight. It was a really great evening relaying stories of old and new times, and generally having a good giggle with family and friends while the kids skipped around in the dark, thrilled to be out past bedtime.

During the festivities one of my sons baby teeth fell out, and he also managed to slice his arm open on a nail that was attached to some of the wood we were burning. Thanks to not being off my face I was able to respond to his needs in record timing, with the first aid kit whipped out, wound sterilised and patched up within minutes, and off he went with his wooden sword to terrorise his sister once more.

This morning he was thrilled to discover the tooth fairy had been because she hadn’t been inebriated during her shift.

To top it off, I’m in tip top condition for visiting my grandmother today with the kids and my mum and sister, and I’m raring to get to pole for this evening’s lesson. No hungover cancellations from me.

Yep. Sobriety wins. Every. Damn. Time.

Lucrative life

Fabulous day seeing family I haven’t seen for a couple of years, followed by a really great pole lesson. Now enjoying a beer in the garden that my dad brought me today. It’s delicious 😀


Back in my drinking days I probably would’ve drank wine while sitting in the sunshine in the garden during a family get together, most likely slurring sleepily by the time they were leaving and needing to go to bed, or worse continuing to drink and making a tit out of myself, falling out with hubby and then throwing up. Today is yet another bit of evidence for myself of why sobriety is so much more lucrative as a lifestyle ♡

Woozy

Just been blowing balloons up to decorate the living room in preparation for my daughter’s birthday. The balloons had a very strong chemical smell which I’ve basically been inhaling for 20 minutes. On top of already being light headed from all the blowing (ooh-er) I feel high as a kite off the fumes.

After 3 and a half years of no mood altering substances it would appear I’m a total lightweight when it comes to anything. Can you imagine if I had a drink now? I’d be on my arse after even a sip of beer!

I’m off to gulp down some fresh air in the garden and get rid of the weird woozy feeling that is way too reminiscent of times of old.

A note to someone on day 4

Someone battling through the anxiety of day 4 messaged me wanting advice. I thought I’d post my reply here as well in case it can be of any help to anyone else who may suffer with panic and anxiety. I remember those early days so very well. Absolute hell.

“Oh man, I really feel for you and relate hard. Day 4 was an absolute fucker. In fact day 4 was a bastard to get past many times until I finally pushed through it that last time in February 2018.

I had some terrible anxiety attacks during the first year and a half of sobriety. The beginning was the worst but it got better quite fast.

I know it’s awful but you have to sit with it and breath, and remember that a panic attack absolutely cannot kill you even though it sometimes feels like it might. I used to be terrified my heart was going to stop and I was going to swallow my tongue.

I think the post in 2019 was when I had a very bad dip in my mental health. I remember that panic attack hitting me completely out of the blue after months of not having one. That dip into depression and anxiety lasted about a month before I started coming back out of the other side, and fingers crossed, I’ve been grand ever since apart from the odd black day here and there.

The thing to remember is that recovery isn’t linear, it isn’t a straight line heading upwards into non stop bliss. It’s all over the bloody place. The highs are so high and the lows are so fuckin low. But there really does come a time where you level out and find peace overall, and those anxiety attacks ease and you have control without being under the weight of needing to anaesthetise yourself with drink etc.

I’d really recommend getting a book on cognitive behavioural therapy, or listening to am audio book or podcast, or YouTube video etc. It helped me a lot when I was working my way through some rough patches.

Also, if you’re able to, I totally recommend cold water therapy. Either go and throw yourself in the sea or a river for 5 minutes, completely submerged up to your neck, or if you can’t face that, a cold shower a day for 3 minutes. Sounds bonkers but bloody hell it works. It shocks your nervous system into action and honestly, it’s the fastest cure for anxiety I’ve ever discovered. I now do it frequently and I’m on top form. Google the benefits of cold water swimming.

Much love to you. You’re doing amazing. Day 4 is a fucker. Don’t let it beat you. You will feel so good about yourself as those days mount up xxx”

Pole

7 weeks ago I joined a circus academy and started learning pole. I have been hooked from the get go. Every time I master a new move the buzz I get is overwhelming.

I’m aware I’m a sucker for a dopamine hit and a friend remarked that I am on a continuous journey of swapping one addiction for another, but if that’s true I’m actually alright with it.

I feel happier than I’ve ever been, and my body is becoming so strong and toned. I can definitely think of worse things to get hooked on.

Personally I don’t think I’ve been continuously swapping one addiction for another at all. I feel that it has been a progression, and all part of my personal growth and figuring out who I am. But she has her opinion and it’s not my job to change her mind.

I truly don’t give a crap what anyone thinks of who I am and what my choices are anymore. I’m totally aware that there’s a lot of judgement towards pole dancers, but what any of the judgers think about me isn’t my problem, it’s theirs. I’m 36. If I don’t give this a try now I may never get the chance to do it again. There’s no time to sit and wait for the entire world to be accepting of pole dancers.

Anyway, I’m posting because I had such a blast last night at pole, and I got my very first invert, which I’m still in shock about because I anticipated that it would be at least 6 months before I could convince my legs to get to the top of the pole. Lo and behold, here I am, upside down, and damn happy about it too.

Years ago an evening of strenuous physical activity would’ve filled me with dread and I would’ve retreated to the haven of my sofa and consumed copious amounts of wine and chocolate instead. How times have changed.

It’s true that an addict in recovery is a force to be reckoned with. It’s in our character to be able to overcome tough challenges, to throw ourselves hard and fast into seemingly terrifying situations, and laugh in the face of adversity. We are warriors, and we are fucking winning 💪

Mortality

I’m currently in the grip of an obsession with my own mortality. Last night I spent 4 hours scrolling through fb posts of friends who have died. Guiltily aware that they’re more alive to me now in death than they ever were when they had fingers full of life to post on social media. I think it’s the books I’ve been reading that have done this; a girl accidentally falling to her death and 300 pages of pondering over what she could have been; what sights, smells, sounds she was robbed of; what love, heartbreak, illness, adventures, drama was she spared?

This sounds morbid AF and yes I totally had a cry while sifting through fb updates that I didn’t realise at the time were the final time, the end date, the final note in the song of a friendship, abrupt, paused, unfinished. But I feel uplifted, and desperately grateful that I’m alive still. God knows, there were too many occasions to count where I nearly reached my end date. What would my final fb post have been? A drunken ramble? My final words? Lies?
Most likely an apology. I was always sorry for myself most when I was nearly killing myself.

The pity party (mostly) ended not long after the shame subsided during the summer of 2018. I had my final horrible drunk incident in the previous February and wrapped up the relevant repetitive apologies for 2 decades of abhorrent behaviour by the end of March. That first year of sobriety was a trip. I’d honestly go back and do it all again but I don’t think it’s possible. I’d never quite get that high again like I was able to during the first round of real recovery. I don’t fancy a relapse, or a 2nd go at recovery. I’m happy enough ambling along in my steady sobriety. Sometimes life can feel flat. Sometimes it can feel boring AF and there’s the occasional niggling desire to let go, get wild, slur inappropriate melodrama at anyone who’ll listen after one too many vodkas…hmm, maybe not actually.

Anyway, what I sat down to write is that the combination of the bleak book, and people around me dying relatively young, have had me contemplating the fragility of life and how close I’ve come to pissin it all up the wall. What a shame that would’ve been to miss out on this one life.

I’m actually becoming increasingly doubtful that I’m destined for anything big. Unlike 12 year old me who used to look up at the stars and wonder what big magnificent events the future has in store for me, 36 year old me has realised the big exciting events are actually incredibly overwhelming and I struggle to keep myself completely present in my body while they’re happening. Hence the problematic drinking at social events throughout my teens and twenties. And some of my thirties.

It’s the small stuff I now realise I’d be gutted to be missing out on, when I’m fully there, totally switched on, aware, heart beating, my breath full, my skin awake, relaxed, open to the experience. That’s when I feel most alive, like there’s a point to all the rest of it. The beat of the drum in a song. A sharp intake of breath, not mine, from pleasure that I’ve prompted. A sky with patterned clouds. A perfectly timed coincidental meeting. A gust of hot wind from a fast passing truck hitting my hair back from my face. Card games on rainy days. A full 8 hours sleep uninterrupted, waking naturally with a smug grin. One chocolate biscuit, every bite savoured, eyes closed.

The kids laughing, or their serious discussions about whatever current favourite programme they’re jointly obsessing over. The crushing power of cold water as I submerge myself head to toe. A squirrel panic climbing a tree as I walk past. The satisfying squeeze of a spot. A cancelled meeting. Fresh bedding, window open, naked and sleepy.

Small secrets wrapped up tight sitting squarely in my chest safely squirreled away from the greedy consumption of those who digest my good feelings and shit it out in festering mounds on my doorstep. More than ever I’ve learned that sharing good feelings mean losing them to the tarnish of other’s judgement. My social media is a wall of what I’m ok with people passing judgement on. The best stuff stays inside me, savoured on my tongue like refreshing sorbet when I sneak a peek at it.

I’m having the time of my life. I don’t want to miss a single moment. I’ll look back one day and realise these are the days that made life worth living. Not all that messy drunk nonsense that’s mostly forgotten, misremembered, or regretful.

First year of masters smashed! (Not drunk 😆)

What a weird year of university it has been but thanks to the support of this lovely funny lot I’ve passed the first year of my masters with flying colours. We’ve all done so well.

Under different circumstances I think we could’ve had a ball over the last year, but we made the best of it as much as we could. And perhaps lockdown steered me away from any temptation to party like I did in my college days. I’m averaging a high 2:1 for my masters while studying sober in comparison to failing all my A levels like I did drunk in college!

Great to catch up today in the beautiful sunshine just down the road from the university I’m yet to step foot in. One day…

1200 days

I don’t count days anymore but when my app sends me a congratulations I have to admit I feel pride in the growing numbers. They signify distance between the time of my life where I’ve felt the most shame and humiliation, and this time in my life when I feel the strongest in body and mind that I ever have.

1200 excellent days. Even the shit sober days were a thousand times better than any paranoid nauseous hangover days. Here’s to the start of another. I’m just helping the boy child pack his bag for his school trip today before we walk to school. It used to be the case that I’d drag myself out of bed minutes before we needed to leave the house, and drive him to school even though a lot of the time I was probably still over the limit. How depressing.

Today is a good day.

Big loves to you all, whatever you’re up to.

My 4th sober summer

Some people find summer triggering for wanting a drink but it’s always been winter that I find triggering. I’ve never been a fan of getting smashed in the sun. It made me feel ill. But getting smashed in the cold and dark; yup, that was my thing. Bye bye triggers, hello sunshine 🌞💕