Square It Up Friday

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This made me grin today! Have a fab Friday, friends! Prim xx

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a truly fantastic article by Bryony Gordon about being one year sober

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in my Saturday paper today I was delighted to find an absolute corker of an article from Bryony Gordon about getting sober and achieving the fantastic landmark of one year.

there’s a link here – although you will have to sign up for it online with the Telegraph – or if you are in the UK you could go out and buy today’s Telegraph (even if to do so is not at all the sort of thing you would usually do!)

I loved the article on so many levels…. first and foremost came enormous pleasure that Bryony has found her feet in sobriety – I have been reading her on this topic for many years (and in fact wrote a blog post referencing her writing back in January 2015 – havers!)

Congratulations, Bryony! and here’s my experience of sobriety – it just keeps getting better! the incremental, cumulative effect of applying all those life lessons that we learn in recovery have to be experienced to be believed. in particular, relationships with everyone around us (including ourselves) improve in ways that I continue to be astonished by and extravagantly, wildly grateful for, every single day.

then the article itself moved me greatly. she describes both the final days of her drinking and the early days of sobriety brilliantly. I recognised so much of my own experience in hers – so many phrases had me banging on a metaphorical table and shouting “yes, yes, YES!” like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally….

One quote that particularly rang true for me was when she said that if she made it through an episode of mental illness without drinking, then she should be asked to join the Avengers – and that her superpower would be ‘sitting with her feelings’: so, so, true.

finally I am so very glad that recovery from alcohol addiction is being aired in a national newspaper. I was saying to Lou the other day that virtually every Saturday or Sunday paper will have some reference, some article about the topic, which certainly was not the case back in 2013 when I stopped drinking.  it really feels as if the tide is turning and that we as a nation are becoming more aware of these issues, which can only be a good thing.

Bryony is one of a growing body of intelligent, articulate women such as Catherine Gray, Hannah Betts and Kristi Coulter who are writing about their experiences of addiction and recovery. Every time they do so, they increase understanding of what it is like for those who haven’t experienced it themselves – and make those who are experiencing it feel less alone. (I just got a little bit tearful, writing that and remembering how alone and afraid I felt in the last days of my addiction.)

by doing so, they are changing the world, one attitude, one person at a time. to quote Margaret Mead:

‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.’

if you manage to read the article, whether online or in the paper, I would love to hear your thoughts.

onwards, my sober friends! Prim xx

snapshot at 1,631 days sober

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last night we had a friend of my husband’s staying with us, and they had wine with supper (which was fine with me).

clearing up afterwards, my daughter picked up the corkscrew, looked at me, and said,

“Mum, is this ours?”

I felt a glow of pride that my beautiful teenage daughter sees our corkscrew so seldom nowadays that she doesn’t even recognise it as belonging to us. it has been relegated to the little-used-utensils drawer, along with the lemon zester and the cherry pipper.

sober life is not a bowl of cherries – but it is infinitely better than the alternative.

wishing you a sunny, sober day! Prim xx

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image credit: lavenderandlovage.com

 

Square It Up Friday

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image credit: Elisabeth Gilbert

The following are the words of Elisabeth Gilbert, and NOT mine own:

Dear Ones:

I woke up this morning with my mind in a tangle, and my emotions in a storm.

I lay there in bed for a long time, wrestling with my thoughts and fighting hard against my feelings. But I was losing ground. No matter how hard I used my powerful THOUGHTS to try to extract myself from my other powerful THOUGHTS, it didn’t work. My THOUGHTS just got darker, and then my THOUGHTS about my THOUGHTS got darker, and then my THOUGHTS about my THOUGHTS got more panicked and distressed, until new and worse THOUGHTS arose, and now we have a tornado, folks. (This has happened to me before. But only once or twice.) My mind thought: I NEED MORE THOUGHTS, TO FIX THESE THOUGHTS! THINK HARDER! FIND A SOLUTION TO EVERYTHING! STOP THIS! GET CONTROL! DIFFERENT THOUGHTS! BETTER THOUGHTS!

Then I remembered: I cannot use my mind to help my mind, when my mind is in distress. At these moments, only the heart can help.

So.

My heart stepped in quietly and said to my tired mind: “Come and rest your tangle here with me. I’ll take care of you, just the way you are.” My mind said, “But, but, BUT – ” My heart said, “Shhh. I’ve got you.” Then we all rested together – me, mind, heart.

No solving happened this morning.

Solving doesn’t always have to happen.

Sometimes it can’t. Sometimes all you need is a safe place to rest.

HEART.

Then I got up and drew this picture, for the next time I forget.

Onward.

LG

Square It Up Friday

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it’s not easy, I know. there are circumstances and life dramas and damn other people and outside crappy events beyond our control.

(would you believe that – literally as I am writing this – my cat has just regurgitated semi-digested mouse on my office floor? gee, thanks cat.)

shit happens, on an all-too-regular basis. and now I don’t use alcohol to regulate and drown out my feelings then I get to co-habit with those feelings in ways that are still pretty novel to me.

so I still need to remind myself that that is okay. that I am learning by doing: by choosing to respond rather than to react, I make it more likely that I will do so next time, and every time it will get easier.

Wishing you bananas and good choices this Easter weekend. Oh, and a little more chocolate than is good for you 😉

Prim xx

St. George fought THE dragon – not ALL THE dragons

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St. George and the Dragon, Briton Rivière, 1914

this morning I was reviewing my diary for the month of January. I start each nightly entry with a couple of words summarising the day.  these range from:

very tough day / tough day / OK day / good day / happy day / very happy day

and overall, January has been a bit of a stinker round here. several very happy days, but also lots of tough and recently very tough days.

won’t go into the reasons for either, here – but a combination of internal choices and external events acting upon me have left me feeling drained and battered this morning.

so this post is to myself, as much as to anyone…

I chose this depiction of St George by the Edwardian artist Briton Rivière as I preferred his exhausted yet thankful version of St George to the more frequently seen vanquishing hero on horseback, skewering a cowering dragon while a grateful maiden languishes in the background.

the only person I am saving is myself.

the dragons I face – that we all face – on a daily basis can be of our own making, or they can come snarling in from the outside world, throwing us into disarray and confusion.

and often the dragons do come in battalions, or seem to – especially when we have been drinking for years, and letting them mount up, unchallenged and unfought.

I am four years and two months sober right now. I have given up expecting to be ‘fixed’ and instead believe that my recovery will progress onwards, in an eternal corkscrew, until my last (and hopefully sober) breath.

I remind myself that I don’t have to do everything at once.

that it took everything St. George had in him to conquer his one dragon.

if you are in early sobriety, and your dragon is alcohol, keep your eye on that one dragon. don’t let anything come between you and that battle. it’s one you have to win. 

if you, like me, are in longer-term sobriety, let’s fight our dragons one at a time to give ourselves the best possible chance of defeating the one in front of us.

and let’s all remember that, unlike St. Georgewe never have to do this on our own.

thanks for being here, as ever, my fellow sober warriors.

Prim xx