the New Year brings to mind, as ever, thoughts of those who have decided to use it as a leaping off point into not-drinking, whether for a month for Dry January, or with hopes of the longer term. when I stopped drinking it was on an ‘ordinary’ Monday in November 2013 – nowhere near the New Year, but definitely at the end of the road.
I dug out my journal from those days. here are my first seven days – well, days 2 to 7 actually. I think I was too shell-shocked to think of writing on day 1.
Day 2: haven’t drunk for 2 days in a row for first time since June and possibly not before that since ? 2006? Five years? Eight? V. bad sleep last night.
Day 3: Felt unbearably awful today. Long run helped. Sleep bad but not as bad as previous night. Actually – did alcohol for Lent in ? 2010 or 2011.
Day 4: Feeling v positive in day but then drained by dull evening at [local social event]. Better sleep than Day 2, still some night sweats. Headache.
Day 5: Headache most of day. No night sweats but terrible skin itching in night on legs. Running low on NA drinks – need to buy more on Sat. Told [husband] I am doing a non-drinking experiment but that I don’t want to talk about it.
Day 6: Doing OK. To theatre to see Paul Merton – had Diet Coke beforehand and no-one remarked on it. Sober laughing! Bit odd being with people drinking but ok. Good night’s sleep.
Day 7: Survived lunch with [family friends]. Small blow-up with (husband) afterwards because he asked me to take a sniff of his sherry glass because it “smelled like Christmas”. He doesn’t get it but I can’t use that as a justification to drink – I need to do this irrespective of his attitude. Need to NOT bring him into it. Good sleep tho strange dreams. Lovely email from Belle 🙂
reading this back makes me feel proud that I got through that really tough time. it was utterly grim and I had very little expectation that I would be able to see it through, because I had failed so entirely at moderation.
I am also surprised at how much I was going out and socialising in this time – it wasn’t a planned stopping point, I almost fell into it, so I hadn’t picked a time with no social commitments. it would have been easier if I hadn’t had three social occasions in the first week!
my sleep was all over the place. my writing is staccato and terse to start with and loosens up and lengthens even just by day 7. and I love that I wrote a smiley face in the journal on day 7!
in days 8 – 14 of the journal I expand on my moods during the day, continue to record sleep patterns, in particular that I have no energy in the evening. on day 14 I started my blog, and on day 17 I report being less tired in the evening.
On Day 20 I describe it as a ‘happy day’, and record receiving my first email from another sober blogger, telling a close friend that I had stopped drinking, and watching ‘the best ever Doctor Who’.
I think what I am trying to say is that if you have just started not drinking, feeling exhausted and dreadful is utterly normal. it is not a sign that you can’t do this, but a sign that you need to do it – that your body has begun healing and that it needs rest and nourishment. I started to feel better in what I think is a very short timescale, really – within three weeks, my mood and energy had lifted considerably and the world was an immeasurably brighter place.
if you are on your third day sober reading this, or if you are otherwise early in sobriety, I would love to hear from you in the comments.
how are you feeling today?
PS – I think you are BLOODY WONDERFUL.