pulling together some threads

I love this quote and this image.

The original quote reads ‘…you may wish you had started today’ which is both grammatically more correct 😉 and also a much more positive thought, allowing for the possibility of you actually managing to start today.

I love the colours in the image. I love that the five year old child in my mind says, “ooh, pretty!” and then I have to peer at it to see what it is. Ah. Sweets. A year’s supply, presumably. And then you see that mountain for what it is, an accumulation, a weight, consumed one day at a time so you can’t see the size of it. But put it all together and it is pretty shocking.

The whole concept of this quote reflects the fact that I decided to get sober because I realised it was the single most important thing I could do to improve the quality of my life. I had been dickering around the edges of the problem but I needed to dive right in and deal with it. So when I took my first tentative steps onto the internet, and found Unpickled’s blog, her post Why Quit Now gave me a physical jolt of recognition. She tells of how when a motivational speaker asked an audience to think of their goals, what came into her mind was “I need to quit drinking.” And not just those words – also the same adrenalin, save from danger headrush as you would feel at the moment of snatching a child from beneath an oncoming car.

Everything I have learnt in the last 135 days has proved to me that my instinct that this is what I needed to do MOST to save myself was correct. The fact that it has been so FUCKING HARD is a bit of a giveway. If I look back at this blog the early posts are much less voluble than my current ones. That is partly because I was unsure about blogging, what to say, to whom it was addressed, but it is also because I was mostly curled up into a tiny ball like a hedgehog trying to protect myself from the fear and pain that I was going through. The first couple of weeks were pure anguish. I remember that. I wish I had recorded more of those feelings in case I ever get to the point of thinking that I didn’t really have much of a problem. If you are at the early stages of sobriety I would highly recommend that you record those first day feelings for the benefit of your later self. It will be hard because it will be painful. But reading them back later on might save your bacon.

I love that as a sober blogger of a mere 135 days I can read the experiences of people further down the path. It is like sober timetravel. It is our secret weapon against the Wolfie voices in our heads. Did you read DDG’s post yesterday on reaching one year? Or Carrie’s from a couple of weeks ago? Here are my favourite quotes:

DDG – “It is not easy to stand your ground, but you must. And, I’m simply glad at the moment that I have my sober buttress to lean against here. I can’t really explain it except, it is my rock-solid wall, and I am gripping it with all my might right now. It’s strong, unbending, and both cool and warm at the same time……Just stay sober; if for no other reason than, you will need that sober wall to lean against one day, and it will be there for you.”

Carrie: “There’s been lots of work to do and although it’s been tough, it has been worth every second. Quitting is not easy but it is worth it beyond belief. My life is a million per cent better than it was when I was actively addicted to wine. Drinking doesn’t make all of your problems disappear but being sober, not being hungover, makes the problems easier to tackle one by one.”

So the answer to the question “what would I wish I had started today?” posed in the image is, still, a resounding, “Stopping drinking.” I have seen the ‘possibility of betterness’, as Belle puts it, in other people’s blogs and that is what I want. And the other side of the coin is that I have also seen my future if I relapse. I have heard so many times from lovely brave honest bloggers like Lilly and FFF that relapsing is NOT WORTH IT and JUST DON’T DO IT. I am trying to listen to that message and honour those people’s battles by learning from them.

So, it is still SOBER FIRST, everything else second. As I get out from under the wine fog, though, I also relish that I am starting to see other things that I could start now. Like my (slightly obsessive!) recent gardening posts. In five months time I could have been wishing I had sowed seeds…. but now I know (watering and cosseting permitting!) there will be tomatoes and sweetpeas in my future. And that feels pretty good.


So, I am starting to sow hope.

Is there anything that you would like to start today?*

* edited to add – whilst being KIND to yourself. No self-flagellation allowed!