I am coming to the end of my first full calendar year of sobriety. it is a reflective time for me in this hiatus between Christmas and New Year celebrations…

a time, as usual, filled with domestic duties after the social whirl. turned down a drinks party invitation for tonight and am very relieved that I did. feeling a bit frazzled today and letting standards drop left, right and centre. I am increasingly realising that I am unfamiliar to myself, these days. I see new behaviour patterns emerging from the ripples in the sober river, images of myself and what I am like, and I am not always sure that I like what I see.

for example, my interest in cooking has died quite away, which has been the case for some time. luckily Mr P has stepped into the breach otherwise les baked beans sur toast would be the plat du jour, toutes les jours 😉

more seriously my running mojo has also taken French leave. which is terrifically sad. have been going through the motions for the last few months but just not getting what I used to out of it. am not sure why this is. could be ghastly weather? could be I am using running less as an escapist mechanism so this is actually a beneficial development? or is it that I am unearthing some uncomfortable thoughts in my weekly counselling session and the prospect of time purely alone inside my own head is sub-conciously daunting? have a big race in a month or so’s time and am considering pulling out of it, something I have never done other than because of injury. deciding what is truly the way in which I can abide in this unfamiliar new me is difficult when I don’t know who she is…

I have always been a pretty driven, achieving personality. because there has been so much going on in both my family circumstances and in my getting sober this year, I am conscious that I am emotionally processing a great deal at all times, like a computer running slow because it has so many programs running in the background. so my waves of frustration at myself that my energy levels seem low, for me, are perhaps redundant as I continue to deal with these issues, including by therapy which I am finding extremely helpful, though, again, very emotionally draining.

I am at no immediate risk of relapse right now but can see how it would be easy to veer in that direction. to miss the ‘old me’ who could steamroller through fatigue and obstacles and to associate that with the way I used to reward myself with drinking.

I am also conscious that the old me was missing a ‘relaxed’ setting. with the benefit of hindsight, I see that I was either hungover and depressed, going at full tilt or pouring wine into myself. repeat. repeat. repeat. so I am not skilled at recognising when I am relaxed, or in a relaxed phase of the cycle. I am trying to take mental snapshots of points when I glimpse this in myself, so I will be able better to understand my own feelings.

these thoughts have been triggered by the social impetus at this time of year to make New Year’s resolutions, or to duck out of the process. me in 2013 knew jolly well that there was no space for anything other than not-drinking, so it wasn’t an issue. this year I have been at severe risk of initiative fatigue. having chosen a word – and a necklace 😉 – for 2015 I will leave it there, with some relief.

my over-riding judgement at this point is that I need to consolidate my sobriety, duly reinforced by therapy. and my recognition that life is uncertain and that success in the most important things cannot to be measured in to-do lists and tick charts is at once novel and terrifying.

the in-dwelling uncertainty that has become an inherent part of me feels foreign, still. even if I am accepting that black-and-white thinking has no true validity, it is as if I am having to operate continually in a foreign language of which I am only beginning to understand the grammatical rules.

the title of this blog post is taken from a poem by W H Auden which in the past I have found annoyingly inscrutable. I think I am beginning to understand it a little, now.

If I Could Tell You

Time will say nothing but I told you so
Time only knows the price we have to pay;
If I could tell you I would let you know.

If we should weep when clowns put on their show,
If we should stumble when musicians play,
Time will say nothing but I told you so.

There are no fortunes to be told, although,
Because I love you more than I can say,
If I could tell you I would let you know.

The winds must come from somewhere when they blow,
There must be reason why the leaves decay;
Time will say nothing but I told you so.

Perhaps the roses really want to grow,
The vision seriously intends to stay;
If I could tell you I would let you know.

Suppose the lions all get up and go,
And the brooks and soldiers run away;
Will Time say nothing but I told you so?
If I could tell you I would let you know.