The Bowling Bag

55 Days Sober and I’m remembering so many of the lies I told myself about my actions, health, work and the list goes on.  Here’s a little light entertainment – don’t judge me!

My hubby goes to bowls on a Monday night.  Now you would think that I have myself a sugar daddy who enjoys this OAP activity but in fact I have myself a toyboy – yep a 6 foot 5 inch young 36 year old who’s dark and handsome 🙂  As with my previous love interests the massive difference with this one was, he had no interest in laddish nights (or weekends) out, didn’t drink too much and was relatively drama free – who would of thought it?!  Now that may seem perfect, but as we all know, there is no such thing and I am far from that myself of course.  But he’s a keeper, for my sins lol!  Anyhoo, nights like these meant I got a whole 3 hours or so in the house to myself and of course I was going to take advantage of that!  So while I was waving my hubby off with one hand I was grabbing my coat with the other to make a dash to the off licence figuring out how much I could drink while he was away, where I would hide the bottles and how I could get to bed and cover up the smell before he got home – imagine if I put these efforts into my own exercise or career!!  I’d be skinny with abs and be running a company by now ffs!!  But no, I put my all into getting drunk, fat and anxious instead 😦

I had been diagnosed with IBS in my early 20’s after going through numerous visits to hospital to be injected in the ass with anti spasm medication.  Those cramps were the worse I have ever experienced in my life.  Days would go by writhing, unable to get out of the fetal position and begging for help before Doctors would give in to the injections – nothing else worked.  Of course, I never put them down to the drink as then I only drank on weekends (binge-ing) and not every weekend at that, but my body was obviously trying to tell me something even back then.  I always said I had very little will power but with drinking, I persevered with a vengence, I would not be missing out on a social life at 21!!!  My IBS got particularly worse when my mum and dad split when I was 24 and panic attacks and anxiety joined the party for the fun.  I remember so desparately wanting to go out with friends but would get a mile or two outside my hometown and the attacks would start so we had to turn and come back.  I also had an obsession with finding toilets if I managed to get out.  I knew where public toilets were everywhere and the pubs I could nip into that were a safe distance.  That helped me manage the stress and anxiety of the just incase moments.  I remember my boyfriend of 7 years not being so supportive on nights out.  I had hoped on the occasions that I had to go home due to the panic or cramps that he would come with me and we could cozy up to a movie while he rubbed my poor tummy – er nope!  If I was a party animal then I had learnt it from the best, and there was no way he’d give up a night (or weekend) of partying.  I was often put in taxis or my mum was called to come and get me and he would wave me off and continue to the pub, club or event we were at.  This also took a toll on my anxiety and panic and made me feel worse by worrying what he was getting up to – another story for another time.  But what an absolute selfish bastard!!!!  Lucky I’m the forgiving sort and we are still friends lol 😉

The IBS seemed to get under control and when that relationship came to an end instead of calming down I ended up partying harder.  Of course, it was the usual newly single going to mingle as I had been in a relationship from I was 17 and hadn’t really done the whole going out without a bo in tow.  It seemed like I had drank my way through the IBS and it wasn’t going to change my life – no way!  And it worked, I only got the odd bought now and again.  By the time I had met the hubby in my early 30’s I was onto my 12 beer a session in the house with pals and the IBS only raised it’s head the morning after for a dash to the loo and that was it – no cramps really, and I could live with that compared to the horrendous 3 day spasms of my 20’s.  I had convinced myself that it wasn’t the drink at all and it was only stress that was affecting my bowels.  I actually thought it helped to keep me regular – which was a bonus eh?  As I progressed onto the red wine I was really regular and for some reason walking seemed to really bring on my urgency for the loo the next day.  The downside was, it appeared at any given moment without notice and I couldn’t control it.  Now, I had been really proud of myself that in my 20’s I had never had any accidents like I was told could happen with this sudden, no going, back urge.  I had worked around the problem with always parking right beside work or near places I knew had toilets, I wouldn’t go far afield for shopping or walking the dogs – I had many a high speed sprint back to the house when taking the dogs out just hoping I would make it in time.  It was horrible!  When we went out I made excuses why I didn’t want to go to some park that didn’t have toilets or an event that would mean walking about too much.  I was really living!  And I blamed the IBS for it all.  My husband was very understanding of it as he had seen me on the odd occasion I had been doubled over in two crying in pain.

So, managing to drink my wine and get to bed covering up the smell before the hub came home I got up for work the next morning and headed in feeling not so great between the wine and another sleepless night of anxiety and worry.  To my horror my car park was closed and I had to find parking elsewhere!  I found a space a couple of hundred metres away and thought – I’m grand, I’ll be okay.  With immense pride I walked into work without a cramp or spasm and no urge for the loo – ah ha, see it wasn’t the drink – noooooooo, proved it!  I got my day in and happy as larry I made my way to the car.  It was a bright sunny day and I watched all the other people coming and going.  I even felt that good that I went into the shop and took my time buying bits and bobs – IBS free me 🙂  As I walked out of the shop with a grin on my face, smiling at people going by, I felt a familiar sudden drop of my innards!!!!!  Oh my god!  A quick assessment told me that work was locked, there were no toilets in sight or bars I could nip into – oh jesus, do not let me shit myself in the middle of the busy commute!!  And worst of all, I have bloody leggings on – they won’t catch anything – it’ll just come through the material!  Panic, Panic, Panic – the only things I could do was, squeeze my butt cheeks together and mince very fast to my car…….. hold it, hold it and mince!  I swear, it gave another meaning to squeaky bum time.  My insides were cruel too – at one point they eased up and I thought, yay! a false alarm! to suddenly feeling the drop inside again – oh no.  I’m nearly at the car, I can make it – I can, I can and in I got to the drivers seat but did not dare to relax those cheeks as that would have been fatal.  Right, calculate, how long to get home – nope not going to make it, where’s the nearest loo, nope, if I stand up it could cause a sudden evacuation, ok lets look about.  I was in a residential street that was pretty quiet and only the odd person was passing.  I could subtly lift myself and go in a plastic bag and there’s napkins in the glove compartment – right plastic bag – fuck!  No plastic bags – I could cry only it would take too much effort and I needed all my effort in my butt cheeks.  Then I spotted it – the hubbys bowling bag in the back seat……….  yep, I did it and what a relief – at that point I didn’t even care if someone saw me.  I am not proud of myself and thank god I’ve stayed anonymous on this (apart from the odd friend whom I trust – hiya!) but there was no way I was going to make it.  Luckily for me there was a skip nearby, so after zipping up the bag, it was thrown out the window on my way past into the skip.  I really hope no-one came across it and thought they were going to get themselves a freebie – they would have got more than they bargained for!  Oh, and the bowling balls were left to roam free in the boot after and thank god my hubby is so forgetful that he never asked about his bag and I never brought it up!

Thank god that has been my only incident and it wasn’t because of IBS – it was because I was drinking poison and I was filling my body full of it until it could take no more.  I really can’t believe what I put my body through for well over 20 years but I’m sure going to make it up to it because it’s been good to me.  Since I’ve stopped drinking I’ve had no IBS episodes and I’m also working on my diet as I know I need to do that too – one step at a time though.

I hope I gave someone a laugh – if we didn’t laugh at these experiences then it would make them all the sadder.

Night, night,

Sibi xx

This Woman’s Work

Love that song!!  Did anyone see X Factor where Simon got a young Irish lad to change his song to this?  He was great!  Simon certainly know’s how to do his job well eh?  I love my job, or at least, I did until I had a melt down.  For me, this melt down finally brought my drinking to my attention, well and truly.  I had been hiding behind the party figure, the stressed high functioning job (my job is in the top 5 most stressful apparently – I agree!) and all the other excuses under the sun.  But none, I realise, were actually true now I properly look at my drinking.  I just used them all as excuses because I couldn’t imagine my life without drink in it – what else would I do?  It was so confusing!  It was my reward system and like a child motivated by sweets after dinner or getting a toy bought on a promise of good behaviour I worked it greedily – I had to have it!

My partying had well and truly fell by the wayside as I chose to do my drinking indoors while binge watching Game of Thrones, Orange is the new black, Versailles, The Crown, Breaking Bad, Vikings, Stranger Things, Narcos, 13 reasons why and the list goes on – yep I have a Netflix and Prime subscription 😉  Now, how many episodes of each series I watched I can actually remember?  Your guess is as good as mine!  But I got the jist before I passed out on an evening.  Why go out, queue at bars, shout over crowds, have sore feet when you can get in your pj’s, turn on an absorbing show and drink at your own pace?  And sure why even have company?  You can’t watch the show if you are getting interrupted with chat!  So just me, 12 beers and some handsome vikings ahhhhh – loved it 🙂  Or did I?  I got so used to this being my life that I stopped trying anything else – anything else just interrupted my drinking.  So my weekends consisted of this – Friday, finish work, go to the shops and get a tasty dinner to cook for hubby along with my 12 beers and 4 or 6 cider or craft beer for the other half (bonus if he didn’t drink it for me!), enough sweets and cake to keep him from focusing on my beer (talking of addictions, he is massively addicted to sweet things!) and home to get the dinner on.  Chill beer, cook dinner that will satisfy hubby, lay out cake and sweeties, walk the dogs and get back in time to get my dinner down me and over with so I could start drinking at an acceptable hour – all I had been thinking about all day was doing this – actually all week!  Even when drinking I was thinking about drinking in the future!  Saturday would be up and out for a big hike with the dogs (trying to hide my fuzziness and dodgy tum – DO NOT SHOW WEAKNESS TO DRINK – or hubby will announce ‘oh, hangover?  You should give it a miss tonight’ – no chance!  I smiled and joked and hiked with a bounce in my step – urgh, dying.  Get lunch sorted, get the housework done so everything was sparkling, do the errands, sort unexpected family shenanigans, go to the shops and repeat Friday’s shopping list and do a slap up meal with all the trimmings – to keep hubby happy so he didn’t yap at me about drinking.  This is even tiring typing feck sake!!!!  Sunday repeat day before but key to today is buy a bottle of wine, hide in handbag and save for later when hubby goes to bed.  And…. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday the wine in handbag.  I worked really hard and I deserved the wine during the week and I worked really hard at home and I deserved the beer at the weekend.

But also what I was doing at least once a month near the end was taking a day off work that my husband didn’t know about and going to the off licence that opened the earliest and getting my 12 beer – going home, watching TV and passing out.  Only to wake, possibly get more drink and pretend I had only started when he came home or feign being ill and retire to bed for the evening.  Mostly I pulled it off as I had had a sleep in the afternoon but it was getting harder and harder to do and the hangover was a massive killer in work the next day.

My work had underwent changes over a year ago and although it was sad that good people had left we were all keen to get into a new way of working.  The new changes that came in were great to begin with and I excelled at my work – I even got a promotion.  But with a promotion came more responsibility and time in work.  I threw myself into it!  I literally got up went to work, came home late, did dinner and went to bed and repeat the above wine and weekend palava over and over.  I nearly put my head away from Christmas to early spring busting myself to hit targets and pull off a massive event on my own as my staff had been cut.  I broke down and cried after it, pulled myself together and got my 12 beer – I was obsessed with beer!!!  Work started to fall apart a bit when people got moved around and very different personalities were put together which caused a fractured toxic environment.  I’m a solution focused person and I create a positive way of working wherever I go but my newer colleagues were ambitious, cold and looking for blame – nothing was good enough and that mantra was being more and more backed up by the senior management.  It was nearly like everyone was pointing the finger somewhere so the focus would be taken off them.  We had a very unhappy workplace that was already fast paced and highly stressful.  But I kept up my facade and put my happy mask in place fighting a loosing battle for the sake of the other workers affected.  Initially my work wasn’t targeted but I had started to feel like an imposter in my own job.  Like I couldn’t do it and I didn’t deserve the promotion.  I became paranoid thinking my peers were talking about me and my anxiety went through the roof.  I was depressed and the drink wasn’t working – in fact it was making it worse.  My every thought, worry, being was about work and I was drowning.  It was horrendous!  My thoughts turned to, if drink couldn’t help and I can’t get this feeling out of chest and head then I can’t go on.  I didn’t think I was worthy of the job I loved.  I wasn’t worthy of family and friends and I definitely wasn’t worthy to be trusted with a child of my own!  And it was all my fault!  I was the imposter and I couldn’t cope anymore.  Lucky for me, I went and spoke to HR and they were really understanding.  They knew my mental health was affected and they advised me to get to the doctors.  I was signed off work and put on anti depressants, told they wouldn’t work for a while and to take the counselling work had offered.

2 and a half months on and I’m still signed off and will be for a while as I’ve so much to work through.  The act of kindness that got me through AA doors has been my life saver.  The Doctor that listened to me and supported me was my life saver and my friends and family too.  Work can wait as this is just too important and I can’t give them the best of me if I’m not well.  I just hope they understand and support me too.  I still can’t get work out of my head but it’s got better and I know with support from AA and others that I will get back and get through it.  I wasn’t an imposter – I was bloody good at my job and I will be again – no, I’ll be excellent!  Trying to be positive again 🙂  But I’m shit scared to be honest.  I’m worried about getting fired, how will I pay the bills, what will people think of me, what will my co workers say when I go back….??  Right I will have to stop thinking that as I feel a panic attack coming on!  I know there’s a lot of work still to be done with me but I’m willing and I’m going to do all that is asked of me.

So I’ll sign off with the AA prayer (I love it!  It always makes me feel calmer after I say it.)

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

Cherry bye,

Sibi xx

We are FAMILY!

48 days sober – go me!!  I can honestly say that this is the longest period I’ve went without an alcoholic drink in 20 years plus – isn’t that crazy?!  And I don’t have any urge to go back to it.  Yes, I get the odd craving and sometimes have a non alcoholic beer just to feel like I’m not missing out but it’s literally 2 or 3 as I get bored.  Imagine, me, getting bored of beer!  Previously I guzzled beer after beer while thinking when’s the next one, do I have enough in the fridge, should I get some more just incase….  the numerous times I can count running out and then doing a manic dash to the shops before they closed half cut and talking shite to the poor shop staff that just wanted to close.  Once my bag was full again the panic subsided and I drank until I fell asleep.  Oh sleep, that drift into oblivion that I welcomed and rarely got apart from with the drink.  I hated going to sleep without drink.  I would hear every noise, take at least 2 hours to nod over and then have the lightest sleep without it.  Of course I knew that a boozy sleep wasn’t a real sleep either but I had this fear in me about going to sleep – not that I wouldn’t wake up, but that the day had went too fast as it was and I didn’t want it to end.  Time was just going too fast.  One minute I was just turning 30 then bam I’m turning 40 – and I still felt like I wasn’t adulting, I was an imposter at this adult stuff.  I really have no clue why but I’m sure it’s some deep down fear of death which has always haunted me from I realised what it meant as a child.  But now, I’m sleeping like a baby!  I fall asleep shortly after my head hits the pillow and I sleep right through with the odd toilet visit or silly dream (usually to do with work, drinking or other worries).  I don’t want to go back to the fitful nights and exhausting days.

I’m in my 7th week of AA and it has been an absolute life saver – I am so thankful to those rooms.  Listening to other peoples stories and daily lives and sharing my own thoughts has helped dull the constant buzzing in my head and made me face up to my emotions.  I had been drowning the noise and feelings out for years and now I can learn how to deal with them.  I have got myself a lovely sponsor, James, who has been sober for 32 years and is an inspiration.  He has taken me under his wing and is going to guide me through the 12 steps and I’m very excited to be starting them – I am ready for this recover!  One thing said by many of the old timers in AA is that Alcohol is just a symptom of the problem – which I truly believe is the case for me.  They say, the easy part is putting down the drink when you come into the rooms, the hard part is working out what made you pick it up and dealing with the defect of character that we all have.  Not everyone may agree with that if their desire to drink is still so obsessive and I can understand that having obsessed and wanted to drink constantly before I reached my rock bottom.  My dad is one of those – he does not want to stop drinking and he said to me yesterday – that is the difference between you and I – you want to stop.

With all this talking within AA, my counsellor and my friends and family it’s like I’m on a roll and ready to explain myself.  I feel I need to explain to my brother, mum and dad how I really was with my drinking before my melt down as I had hid it, to a certain extent, very well.  Us alcoholic’s are very clever you see – as one guy says in AA – I haven’t met a stupid alcoholic yet.  Well, we are clever maybe when we are not drinking so we can cover our tracks but that’s about it sometimes.  I was clever in the sense that I kept different circles of friends that only experienced my alcoholic drinking on the odd occasion but put them all together and it was obviously not normal or moderate or even binge drinking.  The same went for my family as my mum and dad are divorced and my brother only seen my drinking if he visited mum and her and I were having a girly night.  But they weren’t stupid either, they knew my love of beer and they knew I was a heavy partier in my day but now I a heavy drinker they would say but I don’t think they would have called me an alchy.  It was time to fess up!

When I told my mum I was in AA she went quiet and said whatever makes you happy and she supported my decision.  I asked her not to share it with the family yet as I wanted to see what it was all about and if it helped me.  So there my hubby and I were sitting at my mums the other week to tell her about our IVF information and we started talking about AA.  I know mum was worried about my recovery if I took something on as emotional as IVF but I had spoken to the professionals about this and they said I was actually in a better place to do it now than I would have been last year.  Last year I was drinking flat out, not dealing with my problems, not talking and isolating myself.  Now I have professional support, AA, friends and family back in my life properly and I’m off work so no stress there (will tell you about the work madness again).  I have a safety net and I’m in no way going to jeopardise my sobriety for my mad head.  I’m under no illusions that IVF may not work and I’m really positive about the hormones as everything has been explained to me and there’s help all the way – I had heard that women found the hormone explosion a torture but I’ve been reassured that my course of hormones are in short succession so I shouldn’t feel much different that I do before my period – happy days!  So mum was content and very happy for us.  I just got a thought about telling others in the family when I said to mum ‘you didn’t tell anyone else I was in AA, did you?’ to which she replied ‘yes, some’ – me ‘who did you tell?’ – mum ‘just the family’ – ‘as in who?’  Mum told, my aunties, my uncles, my brother, her best friend, my cousin (who will tell other cousins) and maybe the girl in work she’s friendly with who comes from my home town and know’s loads of people I know – but apparently she won’t say anything!!!!!  Feck sake mum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Firstly the work friend is not going to pass on telling this juicy bit of gossip and, as with all small towns, it will be round the houses in no time arghhhhhh!  I was annoyed with my mum but I love her to bits and she’s been an absolute rock to me all my life.  I’m under no illusion that after all her suffering with my dads alcoholism I have probably put her through a good bit too.  She did not deserve that at all and I have amends to make there.  She would say I don’t and I didn’t put her through anything but the worry I caused her and the guilt she carried about my drinking is there and I’m gutted about that.  My eyes are opening.  So I swallow my resentment and forgive and move on – who cares what anyone else thinks apart from those that love you and see your fight.  As many friends have pointed out, she was probably proud of my actions and wanted to share them.  I’ll go with that lol!!

I had wanted to talk to my brother myself about AA and the IVF so I text him to say about calling over for a chat.  I called last Friday and we talked for over 2 hours and it was so cathartic for us both I believe.  I explained how my drinking had spiralled and how I was debilitated with anxiety and couldn’t function anymore.  Where drink had helped that before it was now making it worse but I couldn’t stop and I went head first into a breakdown.  I explained that my husband had probably saved me by seeing the behaviour and highlighting it – constantly to my annoyance!  I told him how I blamed myself for the infertility and couldn’t get it out of my head.  I was on self destruct and it was only a matter of time.  My brother started to talk about our childhood and how we were probably more affected by my dads drinking than we realised.  It was so good to talk about it all with someone who obviously got it and was there.  When I was leaving my brother hugged me tight, told me he loved me and how proud he was of me – that meant the world to me!!

So now, I am no longer isolated.  I am with my family, my trusted friends and my AA family.  They are key to this recovery – I know it and I’m not letting go EVER!

Big hugs,

Sibi xx

 

Child’s Play

Good evening bloggersphere!  Soooooo, I didn’t get to AA tonight (did I mention I made it to AA – thank god?!) because the day just ran away from me.  I’ve had alot on my mind this week as we went to see about IVF on Monday ahhhhhh!!!  I had mentioned babies remember?  So what’s the story?  Well, back in my party girl late teens and twenties my worse nightmare was even imagining I could possibly get pregnant – nah ah!!!  Not for me, I wasn’t the maternal type, worse nightmare to have a kid interrupt the partying that had to be done – plus, I was young and there was loads, LOADS, of time!  Yep, I said that – those aunties and old people that were always saying ‘Oh I remember when I was young and care free’ or ‘I remember thinking I was going to be young forever…. and now I’m 30’!!!!  Jesus!!!  Who thinks 30 (or 40… or 50 for that matter) is old?  But I get that they were saying, in no time it would be years down the line and you would wonder how you got there – they were right!

I had started to think in my mid 20’s that it was weird that I hadn’t had any pregnancy scares – apart from those I just took the morning after pill for just incase.  I was in steady relationships and obviously was often pissed and forgot my pill or ended up throwing up for hours on end so it couldn’t possibly have worked.  But yet, no scares??  Then I got into my single late 20’s and hit the 3 0 and thought – the next guy I settle down with I should really look into that.  I married at 35, nearly 36 and I decided to make excuses (because really I wanted to keep on drinking for just a little longer – and I did think it should happen on it’s own accord).  When we bought our house we moved to a new Doctors and he was on the ball and bluntly told me I wasn’t getting any younger and with my history it would be best to start looking into fertility – at least if I was on the (huge) waiting list with the NHS then rather than trying for a couple of years and nothing happening and then going onto the list.  Good choice as it happens because from start to finish finding out we needed help took nearly 3 years and by the time we found out my tubes were damaged I was too fricking old to be put on the next list to await IVF grrrrrrr!!!  Seriously though, we were gutted – just to not even have the chance of the free go given here on the NHS.

That’s when my drinking started to really ramp up.  I had found a way to secretly drink red wine (slimming world talking about not drinking red wine (high in syns) so much gave me the light bulb moment) without the hubby getting any idea’s as it didn’t make as much noise as opening beer, I didn’t run to the toilet on it like I did on beer keeping him awake and only one empty – not twelve!!!  But deep, deep down I was blaming myself for my fertility issue and my husband could easily have lots of babies with another woman and his healthy swimmers.  It was my aul scarred, snarly tubes that wouldn’t allow his little fellows get to my eggs and fertilise them and something in my past was to blame 😦  So for the last year, blaming myself and feeling like IVF wouldn’t work anyway nevermind the cost involved etc. I put it off – put it in that little box in my head where all the bad emotions, problems, issues were put and locked away until that little box was absolutely bursting and about to explode!!  We had also missed out on the one free go of IVF on the NHS due to the waiting lists being so long and I was six months away from turning 40.  That was a right kick in the guts for sure and another sign for me that it just wasn’t meant to be – mother earth was saying what I had been saying for years – YOUR’E NOT MATERNAL – NOT FOR YOU!

So my break down I was going to have brewed for a year until one day in work I couldn’t take it anymore.  I was drinking myself into oblivion, my husband and I were at breaking point, memories of the past were creeping in that I didn’t want to think about and the overwhelming anxiety and panic attacks were all consuming.  My head was like cotton wool and I could hardly even get words out in meetings I was trying to lead.  I literally thought I was going to die and worst of all – the wine at night I had so cleverly hid from my husband was no longer working – it was making my head worse.  I thought I was going mad!  Just before this fateful day I had managed a two week holiday travelling around the south of Ireland without drinking.  It was a deal I’d made with the hubby and I really wanted to see if I could do it.  What I hadn’t heard about was being a ‘dry drunk’ – AA explains some of us go periods of time sober but the whole time we are really just white knuckling that time until we get to drinking again.  And right enough, I was literally white knuckling my way around Ireland counting the days down when I would be back home and buying the red wine again.  Sure enough I got home from holidays, got all the bags in and sorted and made my excuse to head off to the shop to get something for the tea (with the secret addition of that wee bottle in my handbag!).  And that was me every night until I started back to work and every night before I broke down.

I couldn’t breath, was crying constantly, couldn’t sleep (hadn’t for years!) my head was fuzz but also spinning with thoughts, I couldn’t speak to my husband or family and I was obsessing about work and alcohol – help, help help – I’m going mad, I thought!  I arrived at the Dr’s crying, shaking and trying to explain my symptoms and why I felt like that.  Of course, I didn’t mention the alcohol – why would I?  I wasn’t going to risk being told to stop!!!!  And when the lovely Dr (she really was, I recently said to a friend I wanted her to be my big sister lol!) said she would start me on anti depressants I didn’t even dare ask about drinking on them!  I realised it was quite a high dosage but was willing to try anything to get that feeling out of my chest – absolute impending doom and constantly frightened witless – and she advised that it would take a while for it to kick in.  Damn!  I needed instant!  Light bulb!!!! – the hubby was on a late and this was early morning…. I had a good 8 hours to drink and that would calm me – brilliant!  I could sleep it off and be up, showered, tea on and he wouldn’t know a thing – yay!!!  I feel extremely guilty now that I’m sober and reflecting on my behaviour on how I was so sleeked with my husband.  But I really could only see that he was stopping me from doing what I wanted to do.  I felt he was being controlling as I really didn’t see a problem with my drinking.  It was him that made me hide it!!!  If he wasn’t such a yap I wouldn’t have to!!  Yeah, I know, I know – classic alchy excuses eh?  I really couldn’t see that then at all.

I didn’t manage to sober up…. and kept on drinking.  I knew I needed help as the anxiety, feelings, emotions all got worse and worse.  I had been reading books related to alcohol on holidays – the joy of being sober was my favourite and I felt so akin to Catherine Gray the author (she’s also from NI! – Yes living up to that age old Irish rep lol!)  She had mentioned about AA but didn’t elaborate on it as she didn’t want to sway opinion.  I really had thought AA would be all tambourines, bible bashing holy joes and that was not for me!  Although I had been brought up Christian and spent my youth in sunday school, church, mission halls and GB etc I left it all for the party scene and didn’t look back.  Until I met my husband and his family were very involved in their church but he was all into the partying at the start as well so it didn’t bother me the odd trip on a sunday to keep the parentals happy – so I thought!!  Oh if you could see me now!  I often think this when I remember my clubbing and e days – experimental of course!!  I’ll give you a laugh about all that laters 🙂

Yes, so I was digesting self help book and trying to identify with others as well as find out if there is life after alcohol!  I realised I had probably been drinking for about 27 years all in all – how could I not have done damage to myself?  Especially in the later years!  I had so many questions and the obsession to drink was still there – how do I get this out of my head??  I had named the voice in my head Joffrey after that nasty, evil, twerp in GOT and had started to tell him off and belittle him when he tried to talk me into drinking – as advised by Catherine and another blogger Belle who calls her voice Wolfie.  It does help I have to say!  But I had loads more bottled up and I couldn’t express myself – it was excruciatingly painful.  My husband had taken me away for the weekend to try and take my mind off drinking and it was working a bit but I knew I needed to do something else.  I went to bed the Friday night praying for an answer.  Beep Beep – A simple act of kindness came through on my phone first thing on the Saturday Morning from a friend – there’s an open evening at AA tomorrow night, would you like to come and support me?  And I did, for her and for me.

I’ll sign off for now as this has taken me nearly 3 days to write – I was nervous sharing about the IVF.  But you know what, I’m proud I’m doing it and I’m excited 🙂  My higher power is guiding me so I know this is my path.

Cherry bye,

Sibi xx

 

Drinking & My Slimming World Secret

So there’s me in my 30’s not quite going out as much and doing my drinking indoors and it was bliss.  No queuing at the bar, no shouting over music and all snug and cozy in my pj’s – ahhh this was the life.  I felt a sense of being grown up and pleasing myself and that’s what hitting the 30’s was all about – empowerment and not running with the crowd eh?  Of course there were plenty of nights with friends and my boyfriend/hubby indoors with music, dancing around the kitchen and staying up to the wee hours but then gradually that started to die out as well.  As I mentioned before, my husband started to cut out the booze and had no interest in drinking at home anymore and I would have been happy if he had left me alone to get on with my drinking.  And so the endless rowing and huffing ensued and I could only see poor me, having to put up with this and all I wanted to do was enjoy myself.

Around 3 years ago I joined slimming world to loose weight.  I had convinced myself that I had put on over 1 stone due to an accident I had had 2 years previously – in hindsight I think I had been really lucky before and had always stayed the same weight even with the amount of beer I could put away.  I more or less ate what I wanted, did a good bit of walking and that always kept me happy enough.  After I broke my leg I guess my metabolism took a hit and slowed right down and as I kept on drinking the weight went on.  I was now a size 14 and had started living in leggings (not a ladies friend at all!) and baggy tops – the bigger the better!  And it is so true, the more you dress baggy the bigger you look!  But by that stage I didn’t really care as much about how I looked.  I had always loved clothes and getting my hair done and had took a pride in my appearance before I broke my leg but once I felt I was getting bigger I just didn’t try as much.  I put it down to settling down, having other priorities and sure my husband loved me as I was eh?!  But finally I was going to do something about the extra weight.  I had long ago accepted I would never be skinny again and knew I had a beer belly (one ex affectionately called me 2 bellies!) but my legs had started to get bigger, nevermind my bingo wings and chins!!!  I remember seeing a meme on facebook taken of a girl naked in the dark, her boobs were big and droopy as she was slumped over and her 2 bellies bulged out over her nunu and beside it was another image of Homer Simpson’s face – the likeness was uncanny!  In my beer fear when I seen this I was certain someone had taken a pic of me at some stage while drunk!!!  And the scary thing is, it could have been me and I wouldn’t have remembered because that’s where my drinking had taken me at times and blackouts were a regular occurrence – thank god I mostly had my crazy naked blackouts before iphones and I was usually round a good bunch of people.  Well normally but that’s for another time.

So there I was starting slimming world and I had big ambitions – I was going to loose at least 2 stone and get back to loving myself and the things I wore.  I was going to get a new hair do and start this contouring thing that was the rage – I was going to be beautiful again!!  Well, I did loose a stone and it felt great but one thing was, after every weigh in, that the ladies talked so much about and had a good laugh relaying their woes with it was….. Red Wine!  Now, I had tried to be a glamorous lady drinking wine before but because I was such a greedy drinker, I would have been onto my second bottle by the time dinner was served – wait, wait – scratch that, I wouldn’t of had dinner – eating was cheating and all that jazz!  There was serious drinking to be done!  Then I would have fallen all over the show, cried and blacked out!  But these ladies were drinking at home, during the week and were managing to loose the weight still – give or take of course.  After 5 months of SW I had decided to embrace the tradition of cheat night 🙂  Most would go home after weigh in and treat themselves to a chinese or a big chocolate bar.  I decided to get a bottle of red wine, sneak it home in my bag, wait till my husband had went to bed and then I would have MY reward and MY time and I loved it.  See I had cut out my beers during the week because it wasn’t worth the crap I got from the hubby and the huffing that lasted to the weekend.  All I wanted was to make it to the weekend and have my beer on a Friday and Saturday night – minus all the aggro from the Mr grrrrrrr!!!!!  This way I could do mid week and weekend drinking, whoopee!!

Fast forward a couple of years and SW had stopped, I was now having a sneaky bottle of wine nearly every night and my beer at the weekend and me and the Mr were getting worse and worse.  But I wasn’t negative about my drinking, I was negative about my marriage – it was to blame and not my drinking.  You see I was trying everything to keep my hubby happy, cleaning the house, organising finances, doing shopping, helping him with his hobby, taking care of the dogs, doing as much as I could for my mother in law – all to keep him happy.  And the only thing I wanted him to accept about me was my drinking and to him it was only on the Friday and Saturday – what was so bad about that?  I knew only to well that my husband and I had issues to work through and I was willing to work through them.  But I was not going to give in to the drinking – no way hosay!!!

It was a war of wills – I had changed myself so much already in the last 7 years and I was not giving up that one last thing.  I used to be a feminist, equal rights for women and equal respect – I would never cook and clean for a man and be expected to do that while he sat on his ass doing nothing!  But what I didn’t realise was I had married a 1950’s mummy’s boy who still had supper served to him at 8pm on a night!!  I had thought this was a joke when I first met him and he had said he wanted a ‘mother figure’ – I laughed so much at that I nearly cracked a rib – because seriously if you knew me, I was the farthest person away from a mother figure 😉  And it was half banter and to my disdain half true and once I fell in love with him, well it was too late so all I could do was compromise.  C-O-M-P-R-O-M-I-S-E – I love it and I’m good at doing it but by god my husband is so stubborn that it’s taken 7 years of a constant battle to get there, and it is, little by little lol!  Actually we are both Aries – not sure if I buy into all that star sign stuff but we have definitely locked horns since we first met.  We often joke about being similar to that couple in Father Ted that are constantly rowing and telling each other to Feck Off and then when Father Ted and Father Dougal come into the shop they are ‘Ach hellooo fathers, how are you? My fine wife here will help you.’ (see pic above)  To be honest, it used to hurt me when he said we were like them because I didn’t want that and I knew we weren’t that bad.  I just wanted compromise, love and understanding and equal rights ;)!!!

So, weight back on and extra, I was now sitting at 12s4 (previously 10s), at 5f6 wearing baggy clothes and my hair constantly up out of my face cause I just couldn’t be assed with myself.  All my energy was in drinking every night and fighting my husband more often that not!  Oh then running a house and keeping a full time stressful job down yay me!!!

Then there was another issue – babies….

Cherry bye for now,

S xx

My Drinking Career

Well hello from sunny Belfast! I thought i would give this blogging a blast to help with my recovery and if I can help any other like minded souls along the way then that’s a huge bonus.  So… about me, I’m Sibi, 40 years young, married, no kids but two delightfully stubborn pups that are my world and I’m 38 days sober – whoa! Go me!  I know it won’t seem long for many but that is amazing for me, like I’m totally in awe of it.  But I am not complacent because I know how easily I can loose it.

You see, I haven’t went that long without drink for er…. at least 4 years I’m guessing.  See I didn’t count, well not until near the end when I realised I really couldn’t stop drinking.  And before that, well a good 7 years with maybe a few days here and there, I think.  I was a moderate drinker, then a social drinker and then a heavy drinker which led me to become an alcoholic.  Maybe I was always an alcoholic but didn’t see the signs early on because I was so focused on not becoming one since I had dealt with my dad’s alcoholism and making sure I didn’t become like him.  But that’s for another time.

I loved drinking, loved the effect, the pub atmosphere, the giggles… it made everything warm and fuzzy and it made me the life and soul of any party.  I wasn’t hugely shy without it or it wasn’t that I didn’t fit in anywhere.  Drinking was part of growing up and the experiences that came with it were a right of passage.  At the beginning, it was underage drinking, quarter bottle of bicardi, a bottle of some rank cider like old english or some peach concorde, urgh!!!  But it was for the buzz and not the taste, that was for sure.  At 14 I was drinking on a Friday and Saturday night, going to parties, local nightclubs or just in a friends house for the night but always with a drink.  Now looking back I realise how excessive it was for kids even then.  But as long as I didn’t end off a morose, aggressive and torturous drunk like my dad then I was fine… and nothing that bad happened when I was drunk, or so I told myself.  But, it definitely meant things happened or were allowed to happen that my sober self would never have agreed to.

When I was 17 my drinking career really took off and I thought it was amazing!  I met the love of my life who I was with for 7 years and we grew together, as did our drinking.  The life my boyfriend was in was constant parties, hobbies with pre, during and after drinks and the parties didn’t stop after the bar closed, they went into the morning and then lasted right through to Saturday and Sunday – I even started to hear about the Monday club!  But I would never get there – of course not….  The only problem with this part of my career was the dreadful hangovers.  I died a death that was worse than the pits of hell and I cursed myself for this weakness!!  Why couldn’t I go on drinking like everyone else.  While I nursed a hangover, my boyfriend and all our friends were on round 2 and getting ready for round 3 and 4.  My mission – I one day would be as good as that at drinking – I swore it!  Be careful what you wish for eh?!

I had got a taste for money one summer between trying to decide what courses I wanted to do at college and I knew I wanted more – how else would I be able to keep the party going.  Work was only a means to get the money to party and drink – though I did aspire to have a decent job that I enjoyed and I had the drive to go with it.  I studied and worked at the same the same time and after a couple of years completed my degree and all through that the partying was at it’s peak.  Wednesday to Sunday it was work hard and party hard and it was the norm – everyone in their early 20’s were doing the same – nothing wrong with that eh.  I must also note that the drinking culture in Northern Ireland is everywhere and coming from a small town in NI that was all there was available.  Cinema or bowling?  That was a date with your boyfriend on nights you were either skint or needed to make an effort.  Nope it was all about going out to pubs, clubs, parties, beer gardens, bbq’s, boats, the park, a funeral, a christening – all hand in hand with a drink.

My wish for a hangover free drinking party girl me came true after I split up with my boyfriend.  We had to bring it to an end as both of us wanted different things – I didn’t know what I wanted but my world was shattered.  I had been a part of his life and world for so long that going back to my own town was a bit daunting but also exciting – new but familiar hunting ground.  Around the same time quite a few of my close friends had got single too.  Perfect timing!  I was upset about the break up so that same night we went out to a new bar opening in my hometown.  We partied until the small hours and I completely forgot I had work the next day.  A sick day of many was called in and my lies really took off from here.

I was 24, living in a new house and I could do what I wanted, or so I though – recipe for disaster!!  I changed jobs to get more money and away from the sick days.  But they always followed.  A new boyfriend came and went as I prioritised my partying and drinking.  Now in hindsight I can see he finished with me because of the drinking as I had now graduated to mid week beers with a friend of mine.  I remember the first time going round to her house and there were her parents enjoying wine and her having beer – not just a couple but as many as she wanted – jesus I wanted that!  Because of my dads drinking in the house we hated and despised home drinking – it was a pure sign of an alchy!!  But here was my friend and her parents doing it without being alcoholics!!!  I didn’t even know that existed – what a revelation.  So began the mid week drinking – much to my mums disgust.  But I was an adult in charge of my own drinking and I wasn’t an alcoholic – no sir!  Did I mention I was a really greedy drinker?  Oh and forgot when to stop sometimes?  Mmmmh?!

At 28 mum and I were rowing more and more and I put it down to both of us being adult women and both wanting to rule the roost.  Reality was my mum had enough of my drinking and partying and wanted peace.  I was bringing people back to the house after nights out while she slept in bed or I was going to parties and not coming home for days.  I put this all down to that’s the way we all were – everyone was doing it!  But actually most people were settling down, getting married and having kids.  Oh and yes, they were drinking and partying moderately.  I would joke that I didn’t do moderation – all or nothing, that was my thing.  And while lots of others moved on with family or careers I was the friend that was only good for a party.  Where I thought they probably wanted to be me, with their boring lives, I now realise that they probably pitied me – when is she ever going to grow up!!

I outgrew my town and my friends and my family were fed up with my ‘partying’ so the opportunity came up to move to Belfast.  Where no-one would know me and no-one would care.  loads of parties, clubs and pubs – endless people like me!!  At this point too I had taken a real interest in my career and being newly single I threw myself into it and really lived the work hard party hard again.  A year in and my housemate had gotten fed up with my partying and worrying about me so moved out.  Of course I thought she was a party pooper and was jealous of the fun I was having – my life was great!!  Or was it.  Deep down I had started to look at my drinking – why couldn’t I be that 2 glasses of wine drinker and go home??  Not with a carry out that is!  Why couldn’t I be a grown up?  Was I destined for a life being the eternal ‘social butterfly’ drinker – no, because they turn into sad old women falling about in bars with the young ones laughing at them.  Oh jesus, please do not let me turn into that!!  So turning 30 I swore that was me, time to reel the drinking days in and retire the party hat.  More about the flirty 30’s later.  So, I drank at home….

And there, I lost 10 years – yes I met my husband, bought a house and got a better job and worked hard.  But I also worked hard at justifying my drinking – staying in was the new going out.  I deserved to drink on Friday and Saturday after my hard week at work and for a good while my husband went along with it and joined me.  6 years ago was when he started to question my drinking, raised eyebrows at putting beer in the shopping trolley on a Tuesday night, tutting when I went to the fridge for my 10th beer, staging a cinema outing only for me to stop at the off licence on the way home and all with the justifying and how dare he question me – I’m an adult!!!  My friends told me, sure he knows you like a drink, why is he trying to control you!  Exactly – I am no placid wee house wife and I won’t be told what I can do and what I can’t!!  I am a strong, independent, hard working woman and earning more than him I might say, so if I want to drink as much as I want then I will.  And so the battles began.  Now, my husband was no angel and having came straight from his mum to me as well as learning to live with each other had it’s own challenges and this convinced me even more that I had a right to drink.  But things changed for the worse (for me) when he decided to cut out drinking due to family illness and to be honest, he was a bit of an arse with drink.  One thing I can always say – proud moment ahead – I was a lovely drunk!  Fun, loving, dancing, positive, comedic – great craic 🙂  Until I blacked out, spilt drinks (big spiller!), fell, told secrets, told lies, cried, embarrassed people – yeah great craic in the younger days but not at 36 and falling asleep at a wedding on the table with my scundered husband trying to get me to go to bed.

At this point I still didn’t see the problem but little did I know the problem would show itself for the insidious disease it is and my sanity, marriage, future and career would hang in the balance.

I’ll sign off for now – not sure if I’m doing this blogging right so…

Cherry bye,

S xx