Monthly Archives: October 2017

Work works

We have shit coping mechanisms as drinkers.

Mainly because we have only one coping mechanism for anything life throws at us:

Drink. Then drink some more.

Fair play to us, it probably was fun at first. But it got old a long time ago. We outgrew it.

There are tons of ways of dealing with the rubbish situations in life. And deal we must. Because they will still turn up on our doorstep.

They won’t affect us as deeply. Not by any means. But they will still happen.

It’s quite astonishing. This whole new world of ways in which we can tackle life’s challenges without drinking. 

Turns out there are loads of things I can now do to make me feel better than drinking ever did.

My favourite one. My absolute fail safe. 
Well, weirdly it’s work.

Rewind back with me to 2010. I had been a non-drinker for about 5 years. I casually assumed this meant my world would never be chaotic again.

Wrong. So very wrong.

My life fell apart in a quite spectacular fashion.

I went from living a comfortable existence, planning a wedding and the stuff that comes after.

To breaking it all off. Living in a grim flatshare with a friend of a friend. And having absolutely no idea where the rest of my life was now going. A life that clearly wasn’t going to be centred around a husband and children.

I felt nauseous all the time. Just shellshocked really. My life felt utterly fucked. I was a failure. And I didn’t know how to feel better.

I had one good thing in my life. I loved my job. I had only been doing it 6 weeks when everything crashed down around my ears.
 But now it was my sole purpose for being.

I’d never loved work as a drinker. I never have myself the chance too. Mainly because I was always too hungover to do a decent day’s work at all.

But, to my relief, being a non-drinker gace me the opportunity to submerge myself in this new job.

I slowly taught myself to relish every moment. Squeeze every bit of joy I could out of the process. Because it was the only time I didn’t feel totally horrendous inside.

I found that I could stretch the work feeling far beyond the hours I was filming a show.

It felt like work did when I shopped for outfits to wear for shows (that’s how I finally discovered a love for clothes, actually). 

It felt like work did when I got my hair or nails did. So on days off, when  I didn’t have work to keep me going, I’d try and get something like that done. 

I’d volunteer for every extra shift going. Get there early. Stay late. Because when I did, I felt better.

Work saved me. It was a coping mechanism that actually worked. I was so surprised that this was he case, but it was true.

Life got better. I ended up leaving the channel I worked at, which I still regret to this day, to be honest. But we can talk about learning that lesson another time.

Life still gets hard, even 12 years in as a non-drinker. It’s quite hard right now, truth known.

But I’ve never forgotten how worked saved me in 2010. And it’s always my failsafe when things get tough now.

Because, unlike alcohol, it always gives back to me. It’s an investment that is never wasted. It fulfils me without taking anything away.

Put simply: Work works.

So why not give it a go? It’s a better cooomg mechanism than drinking could ever be. I promise you that x


Domestic Affair

I’m really missing my app whilst it’s being redone for you guys. So I’ll be heavy on the blogging until it’s back up and running…

I wanted to talk about domesticity. I don’t know where you stand on making a house a home, but for me, it was such a low priority as a drinker, that it didn’t exist.

When I was constantly drinking, I didn’t have a home, I just lived places. Flats usually. 

The bedroom was for sleeping off hangovers, and hiding when I had hangover-induced anxiety attacks.

The living room was for drinking alone in.
The kitchen was where I kept drink.
That was it really.

And even during the occasional dry spell, I wouldn’t have the confidence to make my home any nicer. Because I just didn’t have any sense of what my style preferences were.

So I just ignored my house, and got on with trying to stop drinking and sorting my life out.

And I did. I stopped drinking.

But I still didn’t get it; the concept of a house being a home. 

Like so many questions I wasn’t sure how to answer in my non-drinking life, I just left it alone. Let the solution present itself to me, rather than trying to hammer it into place, in a bid to be “perfectly recovered.”

I just started noticing things. That’s the best way I can put it. I’d be scrolling through Instagram and someone’s home decor would grab my attention.

Or someone would post a picture of whet they were busy baking in the kitchen and I’d think “I really like the feeling that gives me when I look at it” so I’d give it a go myself.

I found myself loving having an ordered home. Clutter free. 

I loved buying new cleaning stuff and spending a morning with my sleeves rolled up getting everything spotless.

It just felt so good to me. The slow and gradual timing of domesticity finding me.

My tastes have changed as the years have gone by. The stuff I prepare in the kitchen varies a lot more. Though I do still keep my old favourites around.

My taste in room furnishings has changed a great deal from when I started really identifying who I am and what I really like. Which to me is a perfect reflection of a successful non-drinking journey:

The bit where we put the bottle down l, that part is the non-changing constant. So much so, we barely need to think about it after a while.

But the other personal preferences. The new hobbies and friends and jobs we pick up in our new life? Well they constantly change.

Because the world shows us everyday what new things there are to discover. That’s the exciting part. The trick is learning not to be afraid or turning into a new version of ourselves.

We are supposed to like newness. It doesn’t make us flaky. Or a fair weather friend. It makes us geniuses at non-drinking. An inspired individual who feels settled in their surroundings, yet is open and eager for more of life’s great variety will never return to drinking.

And falling in love, over and over again, with domesticity in all its intricate detailing, provides that variety for me is such simple ways, every single day.

No More Drink. No More Drama

Life as a drinker is fairly boring and monotonous.

Combine that with a feeling of being emotionally numb. Spiritually empty.

And there becomes a real need for drama, judy to feel like something is happening.

Or just feel at all.

I courted drama as a drinker. Loved it. 

Revelled in its presence.

I still panicked when things went wrong though, so life was a constant push-pull emotion of “oh no I did something bad-phew thank god something is actually happening.”

Gossip. Bitching. Causing trouble in my romantic relationships. These were all great ways of courting drama.

The stupid things I did whilst drunk could also bring an element of drama to my life.

But probably my histrionics the day after, in response to my hangover and vague memories of me doing something shameful whilst drunk, were the most handy for dramatic responses.

I could get days or drama out of that.

When I first stopped drinking, I almost missed the excuse for drama.

Because I was so very used to having it around.

That was before I discovered there didn’t have to be an empty emotional chasm inside me.

That I could fill this emptiness with happiness, peace, stability and contentment.

And that these emotions ran so deep, they made superficial drama look and feel utterly ridiculous.

I love my drama-free life. I adore my drama-free marriage, friends and family.
Because all of my relationships really are drama-free. I stopped tolerating it a long time ago.

At first I did it by trying to confront it and telling it loudly to go away.

But that’s fighting drama with drama, so of course it didn’t work.

Then I had to work out which section of my life I was still being dramatic in, to bring this to my door.

Turns out it was work.

So I changed the channel I was working for, and deliberately made new habits from day one.

These past few weeks have had the potential for drama, for me and my loved ones, it’s fair to say.

But we don’t engage in drama, not any of us. It’s probably one of our strongest common bonds as a family.

We never mine any event for drama. Whatever happens just happens. We deal with it in an understated way.
And when people try and bring their version of drama into our situations, or circle?

We don’t engage. So they just get bored and take their drama elsewhere.

I’ll never judge another person for needing to inject drama into their own lives and interactions.

Not when it was a habit I cultivated for so long myself.

And it isn’t solely a drinking emotion. Because I don’t drink, I now know lots of moderate or non-drinkers. And, amazingly, they thrive on drama to fill their inner-emptiness too.

So I try to be kind. Knowing it comes from a place of almost unbearable unhappiness and numbness within them.

I don’t shut the door on them completely.

I just make it clear that there’s no space these days, in our home, for such behaviour.

It’s a lie to say that life stops being complicated when we stop drinking.

All that really happens is that we aren’t the ones complicating it any more. 

Which is hard to come to terms with at first, when we’ve always been the main instigator of the f*ck-ups we experience.
People still sometimes get sick. 

Folk can still act in a cruel way towards us.
There is no formula for a perfect, drama-free existence in the outside world.

But when we refuse to tolerate any histrionics in our personal life or inner-emotions.

We instantly cut out one of the biggest vices we harboured as drinkers.

Try it. Screen your day for people, situations, or personal emotional reactions that bring out the drama in your life.
Take note of them. (Here’s a hint, Facebook and twitter will be filled with them, not just face-to-face interactions.)

Ask yourself it it’s really worth keeping up such an out-dated way of dealing with sh*t.

Then, have a little clear out. Mute the people who court drama on your timeline.
Stop responding to texts or engaging in phone calls with dramatic souls.

See these people as the overgrown teenagers they really are.

Then thank your lucky stars we’ve chosen a different way.

And have the most beautiful drama-free day ever x

Lean on me

It’s been a challenging few weeks for me in a personal capacity.

I’ve learned a lot. I feel like I’ve changed a lot too.
Learning how to walk again, as I did a few years back, taught me the value of emotional independence.

I needed to be totally emotionally self-sufficient, in order to survive.

Otherwise I know I would still be living in my parents spare room. Too scared to try and fully recover to my full physical capacity.

Thing is, I’m not learning to walk again now. Those days are gone.

I’m not in a position where I need to be in sole charge of taking care of myself.

Because the fear of backsliding into a bed or wheelchair, just doesn’t exist for me now.

It’s not just okay for me to lean on others.
 It’s safe. 
I know I can return to a place of emotionally sole responsibility at any point, if I want to.

Right now I don’t want to. Not at all.

Support is important. I understand that now.

I didn’t find it helpful in my early days of non-drinking. Mainly because the kind of support I was offered seemed a bit shit.

But there’s good support out there now.
And I’m going to count my App as one of those good methods of support.

I’m doing so, because of your generous feedback.

I’m glad it’s helping you.

I’m proud it’s working.

And now that I fully understand the concept of healthy support.

I’m going to be giving you all far more of it.
I’ve asked my app developers to change things, so that you will get unlimited updates every day.

And always for free.

I feel like it’s the least I can do, for those of you who have gotten value out of just a few updates a day so far.

I get it now. Leaning on someone who is strong enough to take it, is a wise thing to do.

So give me a few days. And the app will be back online, fully updated.

But most importantly, ready to give you the amount of support you deserve.

Carrie xx