I’m just over a month sober now, and can honestly say that I’m enjoying it. In part because there are so many AF options out there these days, so I don’t have to sit in a pub nursing a tomato juice and calling it a Virgin Mary so that the hardcore beer drinkers don’t look at me as though I’ve sprouted an extra head (this did happen once, the last time I was sober for any length of time: I was ordering tonic water with a cranberry dash when the man at the bar next to me looked up blearily from his pint of Broadside and slurred “You wanna get eight or nine o’ these in ya, that’ll sort you out”. I’m sure he meant well because I was horribly skinny at the time, and he couldn’t have known that I was three months out of ICU with a liver that’s just waiting for me to put a foot wrong so it can kill me).
My old coping mechanisms kicked back in quite quickly: I drink elderflower cordial in a big wine glass, and at bed time I curl up with crumpets, hot chocolate and a book. It’s my way of telling my body that it’s time to shut down for the night. There are also plenty of AF options in pubs and supermarkets now: non-alcoholic ales (St. Peter’s Without is a current favourite), kombucha, non-alcoholic wines if you like wine (I don’t) and now there’s even Seedlip – a gin substitute.
I’m still constantly skint, but I spend my money on books these days. And tea; lots and lots of tea!
Best drink of the day? Most definitely – and there’s always a tea to fit your mood.
You might have noticed from previous blog entries that I favour the gongfu cha Chinese method of drinking tea, but I like drinking western style, too. Especially in the mornings: if a teaspoon won’t stand upright in my morning builder’s brew it’s not strong enough!
I wish I could say that my sleep is more refreshing, but it isn’t; nothing is going to aid my insomnia or shallow sleep (I’m sure I bypass the restful part of sleep – REM – most nights, and it worsens as I become older). My mind is sharper though, and I’m generally less cantankerous. If I do happen to have reason to sound off, my argument is far better constructed now than it was when there was more booze than blood running through my veins.
I’m also plonking on the pounds. Partly to do with my bum hip, of course, but now my body is being bombarded with ~ *gasp!* ~ actual meals as opposed to empty calories. That weight gain should taper off in time, and once I can move easily again I’ll be getting back into my old routine of being active. This will take a long time in physio and rehab sessions, but those alone will help me to shift the pounds with gentle exercise. My leg muscles have wasted away, and it’s going to take a while to build them back up again.
Has jacking in the gin been worth it? Well, my husband rewarded me with a delicious, high-end cake of puerh tea, and soon a new sofa that supports the strange abnormal curve in my lower back will be arriving, so for me it’s an outstanding YES.
I’ve been learning a fair bit about myself, too. For instance, I always maintained that it was habit more than an actual alcohol addiction. The fact that I can take or leave the AF stuff instead of guzzling it back proves me wrong, in that instance.
Knowing that I do have a problem after all (albeit that I’m not and never have been an alcoholic in the strictest sense – I like too much of a good thing in any form of food or drink) has helped me to accept that I can never drink again. And I’m okay with that: I really, genuinely am.