Up and down the rabbit hole Her heart an awful flutter From elated peace and joy To thoughts that make you shudder A visionary yes it’s true Though execution lacking Her mind on loop and stop, repeat The worries they just keep stacking So send her to the looney bin Lets give her drugs, she’s sick Lock her up, throw out the key That will do the trick Though cold and dim and very quite Her mind at peace at last This suppression brings her still Hush the demons from the past Perhaps someday a light will shine Her minds flowers begin to grow Can she keep bad thoughts at bay Alas she will never know.
*I wrote this a few weeks ago, when feeling down. I decided not to publish because it is gloomy AF. But today, in a happy frame of mind, I like it and I feel happy to share.
The term Alcoholic and the definition of Alcoholic or Alcoholism is annoyingly loose.
Alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder, is, broadly, any drinking of alcohol that results in mental or physical health problems.
If you should ask any member of my family if the amount that I drink makes me an ‘Alcoholic’ you would receive a firm NO.
If you should ask my doctor if the amount I drink makes me an ‘Alcoholic’ you would receive a firm YES.
But for me it is no specific amount nor style or type that defines my Alcoholism but simply the way it makes me feel and the effect it had taken over my life and choices.
Knowing in myself that the cause of my demise was the very same thing I was using to ‘fix’ my problems. But feeling helpless and unsure/unable to stop myself.
So it was until 5 months ago when I finally started my sobriety – seriously this time.
There are multiple new factors in my life making this turn to sobriety serious. And 5 months into this journey I have been given a surprisingly helpful resource, or perhaps sense of closure is best to describe it..
Last week I walked out of my doctor’s office, with a document diagnosing my Anxiety and my Alcohol Dependency.
Now this may sound crazy but I felt like I had won an eternal battle. I finally could label that jar inside my head filled with guilt, shame, anger and confusion. I finally felt that my sneaky suspicions that I was out of control if not on the outside then certianly on the inside were justified and true.
Now I could call it something. Now I could understand it. Now I can separate myself from it. Now it is not part of me.
In saying this I still have a long way to go. I still look into the future and see myself enjoying a drink. I see myself sitting happily, laughing with friends, enjoying the atmosphere, getting my buzz. How I wish this was my reality. It’s an awful trick my mind does play. The reality of this image is a much more grim and stinky outcome with a spiteful slur and a half shut right eyelid.
One night two weeks ago I had the biggest struggle yet. My partner was out of town which in past times meant I could freely sit on my back varanda, chain smoke durries and skull as much damn beer as I wanted without anyone to judge or kill my buzz. I could freely get as fucked up as I always wanted to, resentment free (never the case but pre-binge always think it will be) So he was out, my baby was asleep and that night would be the first episode of a particularly trashy reality TV show I secretly love. In my mind, I thought it would be such a treat to sit there and sip wine in my jammies while enjoying the trashy frivolity on TV. I could do that, it is innocent enough. Of course I could sneak a few smokes in too, its my life after all! The physical ache for the feeling of cold beer bubbling down my throat was extremely overwhelming. The hot burn of sickly sweet menthol cigarettes burning my nostrils, gross but i loved it. I wanted it bad and new I could easily do it. Also I could do it and nobody would ever know.
Thank god I couldn’t bare facing my fiance afterward if I had. My own shame and guilt would have sent me to destruction however I knew there was no way I could keep that from him, and once he knew how upset he would be. For me, this would mean months of agonising anxiety and guilt, repeating it over and over and surely would severely and irrevocably damage our relationship. So. Not. Worth. It.
Luckily I choose to fight off this demon with a big ass bowl of pasta and a tub of ice cream. And I tell ya what – I was proud as punch sitting up on the lounge in a little nest I made for myself with my family tub of ice cream wrapped in a tea towel and a spoon. I felt like Queen of the world and damn proud of myself.
The real peach was after my show, I messaged my dear fiance and told him how close I came and he sweetly supported me and loved me more. The absolute best outcome of the choice I made.
Yesterday I clocked the big 3 months sober!! I must say it feels like so so much longer. Not because of the sense of struggle it is in fact due to the opposite.
In a very strange and unexpected turn of events, I really have been cruising through which is in total contrast to all other failed attempts. I think I was building up to a point and was finally really just sick of my own shit and my whole being was so exhausted of the fight.
The fight with myself trying to justify every additional unnecessary drink.
The fight with my fiance after I was a stinky obnoxious asshole.
The fight with my friends after inevitably trashing their event/home.
The fight with the black dog in the following days.
I was so sweetly simply over it.
I once heard someone say that you couldn’t quit smoking until you were completely grossed out by it.
Thats me, I was completely grossed out by me.
So here we are in a blissfully happy reflection at the past three months. I also feel that the universe really gave me a leg up. I have simply plodded along. It wasn’t even the social events that I was initially scared of, it was myself.
My mother has a term for this style of drinking. Now when she does it, she turns to you with a cheeky glint in her eye and tips her head in true cowgirl style and proudly states ‘Ima have me a Joey Harper Party’ referring to herself in her maiden name. I guess this is to pay tribute to her younger and more carefree self – it is basically a one woman party, usually in the dark by candle light matched with a bluesy album and menthol cigarettes. I gotta tell ya this is a romantic notion to me.
Whilst I endeavoured to replicate this self indulgent retreat, my version was more like a child whom found themselves with candy after it being withheld for some unfair punishment – all frenzy mixed with self righteousness and a splash of shame.
However it was a night I enjoyed frequently and thought would be sorely missed but as you see, it turns out not so much. This has been a welcome surprise.
So whats with the ominous heading you ask?
Well as other newly sober people may remember, when you drink heavily on a regular basis you form a sort of cycle within yourself. It kind of goes
I am sure if I looked it up there would be reference to this in many a self help book. I know it isn’t just me as I have read others reference to it or similar in one way or another.
Now I may be a glutton for punishment – or more than likely have deep rooted psychological issue regarding self hate or feelings of undeserving love, but I have noticed that I have transferred the abovemention cycle to my eating habits.
I genuinely have an 80/20 rule loosely meaning that weekdays I eat a very balanced diet of healthy whole foods and exercise at least half hour per day. Then come the weekend, I indulge in take away dinner, ice cream chocolate and don’t have to worry too much as I have been super healthy all week, also trying to practise a ‘be here now’ type of mantra and enjoying the food I like without feeling guilty.
However. What I have found I have been doing lately is having a complete blow out, sometimes midweek and going through a massive emotional struggle before, during and after consuming my meal/snack. It is that same inner critic that used to abuse me constantly when drinking. Telling me I am doing something awful by eating this food, that I will look and feel repulsive after, that the 5kms I just ran was all wasted. It repeats for hours, and its the last thing i think before I go to sleep and then it is there in the morning, remorse and guilt. Anxiety.
Additionally, when I ‘Blow Out’ I go through the 1. Justification process and convince myself that I need to let go, stop being such a slave driver. But then I force myself to eat the whole pizza? Well after I am full. Its like a fear of missing out – its FOMO.
Is it compulsive eating? I guess I am just a compulsive person. And the food isnt the problem at all. The problem is that I have this iron clad abusive slave driver living inside my head. I just can’t let myself be.
And I get so manic – I always have. So I am worried that this will start to become very unhealthy. An example is, I ate a delicious pizza one night, the next day I only allowed myself fruit until after I had exercised. Although yes for digestive purposes this isnt so bad, it is what goes on in my head that is the problem ‘you are a pig and ate that unhealthy pizza, you are only allowed watery fruit’
The silver lining here is that from my journey and previous relationship with alcohol I recognise this as a behaviour and as something I can change so yay me.
The Liebster (NOT Lobster, auto-correct!) award is something fun bloggers give to each other “[t]he Liebster Award is an award that exists only on the internet and is given to bloggers by other bloggers. The earliest case of the award goes as far back as 2011. Liebster in German means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.”
Thank the blogger who nominated you, and provide a link to their blog.
Answer the 11 questions given to you.
Share 11 facts about yourself.
Nominate 5-11 other bloggers.
Ask your nominees 11 questions.
Notify your nominees once you have uploaded your post
QUESTIONS FROM LEAFY
If you had the ability to turn back time, what time period would you return to?
To when I was a young teenager. I would tell her that she was beautiful, that it did not matter what others thought about her and she is a strong young woman capable of anything she wished.
If you could return anything you own and get a refund, what would it be and why?
This I am struggling with? I can’t think of anything, most of my big ticket items I love. I recently returned a white blazer because when I received it and tried it on, I realised it was a white blazer and I looked like a teenage boy from the 80s.
If you could get rid of one vegetable or fruit in the entire world, what would it be and why?
I don’t love Dragon Fruit – it is stinky.
Is there an item that you find completely useless and it shouldn’t even exist in the first place?
In my house it is an old plastic parmesan cheese grater machine that my partner insist we keep from his old bachelor pad, profoundly listing all the reasons we need it. I have never seen him use it. I don’t even think he likes parmesan cheese.
If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
Some little Aussie coastal town surrounded by rainforest.
What is your biggest fear?
Harm to my loves.
What is your favorite family vacation?
Anywhere on the beach.
What would you change about yourself if you could?
I guess it is to be more forgiving to myself.
What really makes you angry?
When people are late or worse, when I am late due to others.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
My son. He is so damn cute.
What was the last movie you went to? What did you think?
Avengers – End Game. It.Was.Awesome.
ELEVEN THINGS ABOUT ME
My teeth do not join at the front, I am an ugly eater.
I was born while my parents were living out their ‘Hippy’ faze on a commune called ‘Cowsnest’
I hate loose hairs on me.
I thoroughly enjoy adrenaline seeking activities.
Wrapping presents gives me great joy, the whole process from meticulously folding edges to putting ridiculously huge bows to seeing them received.
I love team sports even though I have horrendous coordination.
I have just taken up welding.
I just spent $60 on glitter eyeshadow however I do not wear make-up.
I choose political ignorance.
I love the banjo.
I have never meet a person who could whistle with their fingers louder that me. (the teeth thing surely)
I am going to do this as I go, as I only have a small handful of followers at this point and need to sit down and get my read on. It is my goal to spend more time here, less time in social media platforms.
Hello new world! I hope you are all trooping along in whatever new curciumstances you find yourself under in this COVID world. I myself have been on Maturnity Leave since Oct 2019 so I have been hiding at home with my new baby anyways so I am lucky enough to have not felt the impact as many have. Anyway without sounding too unsympathetic I am not here today to talk COVID, I am sick of it quite frankly.
Today I have made myself stop and write as I am extremely happy to say I have just been too busy to sit down and blog for weeks now! Why is this a good thing? Well since I was a young girl I have noted that all my journals are filled with only bad news. It seems I only really sit down to write when I need a good old pity party. Now don’t misunderstand me, the fact I get it all out on ‘paper’ is a great thing. What I have noticed is that it may be weeks, months or years between entries, and usually with the body of text being founded with somewhat negative impact. I just don’t seem to be drawn to jot down my happy feelings, I guess I just live them. I really should reflect more.
I travelled extensively in my early twenties and at the beginning I really tried to keep a travel journal – so I could encapsulate the wonderlust and magic you feel when exploring new and different parts of the world. This however was short lived as being a brave young explorer of new worlds quickly turned into being a booze hound backpacker as most backpackers are. This was fun I am not going to lie. However this does bring me to my point, the purpose I am here, my body of work with the negative impact, my drinking.
I am well into my 3rd month of sobriety. I do give myself a cosy pat on the back however it is true to say that the stars have aligned to help me this time around. Having the baby is obviously a huge motivation and although I tried to balance having a drink with being a new mum in the early days it was actually more effort than it was worth, babies are around the clock! But also this isolation the world is forced into, has paused all the well to do affairs that may have tempted me therefore cut me a nice bit of slack!
The exception here is my best friend, whom is a most fabulous wino and his fiance have been having the best little two man parties at their home. They have also discovered the Tick Tock App meaning every few days I get a front seat to all their hilarious shenanigans via 3 min videos. Now while this is genuinely a crack, up it pulls nay it jerks at my inside strings like snapping of a loose thread on your favourite cardigan. For multiple reasons, primarily because it makes me feel like I am in a dark hole all by myself watching through a tiny peephole and I will never feel light, warm and joyful again. And secondly because his partner and him get along like school friends where my man just would not get on the party train, when we first met we would drink all night together and listen to music until dawn, but turns out he wasn’t a big drinker after all and later in our relationship he would occasionally have 1 or 2 before seeking shelter from me. Also a major motivator to not drink.
Now I know from reading, this misconception that you feel as if you will never have fun again without alcohol will pass and you will learn to have fun a new way. A better way. It will be 100 times better. This is what I read. But it still simply does not seem real. Since my adolescence I have used alcohol as a crutch and cannot fathom how it will be. I don’t believe it. And because of this, deep down I secretly believe I will end up drinking again because of it. I see myself, wine glass in hand, mature, successful, finally able to hold my booze. … nah I don’t believe that either. So for now it is just day by day, month by month. I am not drinking today, this week or this month and the way I am feeling not even this year so that is a start.
Another little hurdle experienced this past month was ANZAC Day. Here in Australia, ANZAC Day is a day of remembrance and tribute to all Australian service men and women past and present. It stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corp. This day is of upmost importance in my family particularly my maternal side as my family history is a family at war as far back as WW1.
My Grandfather was the Master of Ceremonies for our town for many decades, meaning he would lead the guard in the town parade. He was the MC for the Dawn Service. He would attend all the local schools to deliver talks about the wars. He was the presedent of the Returns Soldiers League for decades. He was a local hero and a very highly respected man in our community and beyond.
Every ANZAC Day we rise before dawn to make the pilgrimage to the top on the largest hill intown as here layeth the War Memorial. After the dawn service we would retreat back home for a cuppa then meet down town promptly for beers at the RSL club and then watch the parade. Followed by more beers, games of Two Up and then more beers.
It is of course because we are Australian and this is how we honour the Anzacs that we can start drinking at sparrow fart and continue all day long no matter if it be Monday, Wednesday or Sunday. It is with pride and honour that we salute our ancestors therefore the all day booze fest is accepted and in fact expected. Especially in rural Australia. This is a tradition I have patriotically followed my whole adult life.
Since my beloved Grandfather past away 8 years ago. Our Anzac Days have been particularly deep and emotional as expected. Now without trying to depict my mother as the bad guy by any means here, she of course feels it most. Any mention of my Grandfather will see my mother raise her shoulder’s, look at you directly in the eye with such boldness the birds stop chirping and states, I am Jimmy Harper’s daughter.
Unfortunately in my family, all emotions happy, sad, nervousness, Thursdayitus are met with the warm and comforting embrace of the booze bottle so as you can imagine, the already inebriating actions of ANZAC Day have been amplified. Some years have been worse than others but it is fair to say we all keep a quiet eye on mum and follow her lead less we befall her broken heart.
So this year naturally I was nervous. Nervous not only knowing the Beer Monster would be dancing in front of me all day. Knowing I may deal with my mum’s reactions differently. But also because her and I have not had the conversation about my sobriety yet. I was her enabler and she was mine. In the past she has very point blankly not supported my decisions to not drink and so this time around I simply havn’t told her. This has made me feel stronger as I don’t need her approval but also devastated because I need her support. The times we have been together in the past few months and I have opted for lime and soda, it has been been met with a quick, crisp and obvious urgent action to go fuss with something. I guess she isn’t ready to discuss it either.
People I am here to report once again I have been gobsmacked by how easy and delightful a dreaded situation turned out to be.
We rose at dawn and made our pilgrimage to our memorial, now this was a slightly quicker walk as this years COVID restrictions meant that all services were to be conducted at home, in your driveway! We opted for the east facing balcony of my parents home. As I held my baby boy sleepy and snuggled tight in my arms the cool morning air tickled my face and I heard my Grandfathers beloved chuckle dancing on the wind as the sun rose. As we stood there in silent donning his honorable medals the most magic sound started to drift from the town. Solo bugelists were playing The Last Post from somewhere down below. As the sacred notes hit our ears my mother and I began to weep. We wept with broken hearts for our hero, and for all the heros. We wept with tears of pride at our small community as it still came together with unwavering patriotism to those who lost their lives to give us our freedom today. We wept with happiness as we knew how much my Grandfather would have enjoyed the bloody good turn out and finished in laughter at how odd things can be very special.
Next my father whipped up a Gunfire Breakfast on the BBQ and we ate like kings. With every breakfast beer scoffed by my parents, I inturn scoffed down an Anzac Biccy or a big warm piece of Maple Damper from the camp oven. As the morning set in and the sun tickled our shoulders, we laughed and reminissed. Then all 4 of us wandered inside with full bellies and cuddled up for a day nap. And that was that. It was a truely wonderful day.
Isn’t it funny when you build yourself up to some emotional pinticale as if it’s the final scene of a heart pounding romantic thriller and there is simply no life after this moment. Nothing is more important. Nothing further matters anymore.
Then after you pass this razor sharp prefaces you breath out a sigh relief and even feel a little bit of embarrassment at the hype you worked yourself up to.
This is me after my last blog… It was an epic expose about this one particularly heavy night/weekend of partying in my early life. It is actually a rather sad story now that I have seen it posted and read it from an external perspective.
This was to follow (and probs still will) with more blogs of my most darkest moments in a twelve part series, the purpose of which was to get them out of guilty tumble dry cycle inside my head and lay them out fresh to the public, open for sqruitiny in an attempt to finally let go of the past.
As I wrote this hideous memoir, my stomach tightened and shame came over me, I was even worried my husband would look over my shoulder, read it and hate me. I felt guilty and embarressed… 12 years later.
This is the extent of my inner turmoil, I am still punishing myself for these actions, which had their own reactions over a decade ago. How am I suppose to love and respect the new me when I am still punishing the 18 year old girl from a lifetime ago? Thus the purpose of my Sober Diary. Gotta move past this shit..
Anyway the real kicker was, no one fucking read it!! I cringed and tapped and paced, and not one fucker even looked at it!
However after random spouts of laugh crying I decided this was a good thing, I am not seeking gratification afterall, simply a platform in which I can vent. Alone or among others, it doesn’t matter.
Speaking of other anticlimaxes, last night I had a ‘How am I ever going to have fun again’ moments.
I was Facetiming my besties, whom were planning their baby shower over a glass of wine together. We laughed and giggled however there was no denying the big elephant sitting on the wagon in the room.
See usually, we would be sitting together, wine flowing for all, having a blast at planning this event, voices getting louder, laughter becoming obnoxious, music playlist heading back in time.
But they were there. I was here. They had wine. I had kombucha. They were buzzed. I was not.
After our Facetime, it hit me like a big tone of bricks that I would never be doing this with them again. And I think it worth mentioning, I find it very hard to believe. Why would I want to abstain from much a lovely fun evening with my beautiful friends, one I have enjoyed time and time again?
It is true to say that I still just can’t believe that joining that very same situation, without alcohol will be as fun. I just can’t swallow it.
Even still, it is not enough to sway my decision to be sober. In fact it brings to light the darkness. That which is the other parts of the night I conveniently forget (or black out more to the point) where I turn in to a self ritious ass hole. Where I challenge my friends, point out their flaws, don’t give a fuck. Think its funny. The very reason that brought me to where I am today.
I do not like myself when I am drunk.
And inevitably the following day would be met with gut wrenching anxiety as I sived through the stinking fog of the night before, trying to remember and trying to forget all the horrid shit I undoublity got up to.
Now that I do not miss! Harray!
So last night I had a little ride on this fun packed emotional roller coaster, however overall, half way through month number two of abstinance, I am pleased to report this situation has rarely come up.
I honestly have had minimal cravings and even my FOMO has been at an ultimate low.
I have instead directed my manic tendencies into fitness, and applying for jobs to assist me in my endeavor to be a #badassbusinesswoman.
And bob is your sober uncle, I have two interviews this week and my ass looks fantastic!
Until next time, my invisible audience, goodnight.
****EDIT – I refer to a previous post, which was the 1st of what will be a 12 part series. Each part ascertaining to an event in my past in which alcohol has lead to a particularly bad scenario. I have since removed this as I found it difficult to read and will be releasing it again when I grow some more balls.
Full disclosure this heading is in reference to the song lyric and applied as an innuendo that Alcoholism is hereditary.
That being said, I cannot confirm or deny this claim as both my parents are drinkers born from drinkers so there is no comparison in my bloodline.
It is true that I was brought up in a household were alcohol plays a daily part. I shared my lunch and dinner table and sometimes even my breakfast table with the ever warm company of the booze bottle.
In my family we drink to celebrate, we drink to grieve. We drink because we are happy, we drink when we are sad, we drink for no particular reason except that the beautiful summer sun is out or the cool evening fire becons.
We like to have ‘A bloody good time’. Our family and friends know us for it, and we glow in this image.
Growing up in this atmosphere means that developing a problem or an unhealthy relationship with alcohol goes completely under the radar.
This is because, well frankly the whole thing is a problem but no one can see it. When all parties concerned are under the same illusion then how can there be a problem?
I have felt for many years that my alcoholism was a problem for me. I was a heavy drinker from a young age and it brought out the worst in me. Though slipping unnoticed by my boozy family, them labelling me fondly, a little party animal, I soon realised my problem in the outside world by the social group and the predicaments I found myself to be in.
The time I lost my drivers licence for blowing a high range reading of my blood alcohol level (for the 2nd time). I knew something had to be done. I took a hiatus from alcohol and sort professional help.
This however was not met well with my family…
“Why dont you just have a few drinks instead of too many?’
“Why dont you just pace yourself, you don’t need to quit drinking?”
“Gorn just have a few its (whatever) occasion!”
These most unsupportive remarks made it extremely difficult to cold turkey my addiction however I am pleased to report I made 6 months! Before the ever bittersweet relapse.
I understand now, in that marvolous hindsight that the reason my family could not support me is because it exposed them.
If i wasn’t being The Queen of all Trash then who would drink with them? Who would enable them?
The difference from me to them is that I am not happy, alcohol makes me angry, depressed, and a general asshole. I have my heels dug firmly in the never ending cycle of depression then drinking or drinking then depression, the chicken or the egg? They go hand in hand. And it seems I am either the only one being honest about this struggle or the only one in my family struggling with it.
This has meant for me that since quitting for good, I have had to isolate myself from them, not fully as I love my family and that would be horrible but I have maintained a social distance, I also have not told them that I have quit alcohol. This way I do not have to field any well meaning unhelpful remarks.
Although it is absolutely shithouse that I have decided to take this step without them, it is the less stressful option for me. And I am ok with that.
Removing alcohol from my life is also removing that whole drinking scene from my life. It is the choice I have made and by George I am going to stick to it.
I have the support of my fiance, and once I am a boss at the sober life I will join my mad family gatherings once again and perhaps a little inspiration to others may be shared.
Until then I have you, my infinite world wide web xxx