The Sober DiariesSeven days ago I downloaded The Sober Diaries and read it like it was water in the desert. I couldn't stop. Clare Pooley's story was so much like mine, except I'm still working more or less full time (but I did leave horrible senior exec roles to be self-employed so I'm at home, ie, close to the wine fridge).
As I read through the stages Clare described I could see myself there. When she talked about visualisation I pictured myself where I wanted to be. I drew a mind map of everything I'm hoping to achieve in the next five years and what that would look like and feel like.
For the first time, when planning anything about my future, I added SOBER in a little cloud, along with FIT and ACTIVE - which are regular aspirations for me, and I didn't feel weird about it.
I turned 50 last August. It doesn't feel real yet and I didn't really mark it with any milestone activities, but I have had this feeling that something big needed to happen. It never crossed my mind until Clare's book that the 'something' would be giving up grog.
Things that are me from The Sober Diaries
- Mother of three
- Former career high flyer (ish)
- Wine belly (how have I never called it that before? Of course that's what it is!)
- Good if quirky husband who drinks but can stop
- Wine-gulper (how do people take sips? I never could though I tried and tried)
- Wine-stasher (sometimes I'd hide how much I'd had from a bottle, sometimes I'd brazen it out with a big SO?! if the Prof was a bit shocked another bottle had disappeared while I made dinner).
- Embarrassed about the amount of wine-bottle-recycling that's gone on, especially because our son has to carry them out as his job. It must stink - I never thought of that part much before.
- Regretful drinker - knowing it was too much and out of hand in the morning, pushing it all aside by wine o'clock to start again (and feel soooo good)
- Rarely has real hangovers any more (the Prof can't understand why I don't feel worse in the mornings but either I don't feel it, or I hide it from him)
Things that are not me from The Sober Diaries
- Her kids are still young. How I wish mine were and I had stopped sooner
- She has a social life. I used to have a bit of a social life when we lived in Sydney - both work and personal, but since moving north I've been a virtual hermit.
- She's more financially secure
- She's got a happy childhood/extended family
- I'm four years older than she was at the giving-up stage. I'd like those four years back but a big part of the message I'm getting from the books I am reading is to just 'own' it and move on.
Mrs D is Going Without
I love that Lotta is a Kiwi. There are so many stories out there from American but there's a different drinking culture there - it seems to involve more dependence on spirits and a lot more religion and I just can't identify.
The only time I've ever drunk too much hard liquor is when the wine ran out.
Oh dear. Yes, I see that too.
But back to Lotta for now. She and Clare (a Pom) both guzzled wine, like me, and had three kids, and a husband who could drink and then stop.
Things that are me from Mrs D
- Journalist/writer who loves to blog (more later on my whole secret-blogging past)
- wine guzzler and gulper (see note above)
- battles through hangovers
Things that are not me from Mrs D
- young children
- working husband
- likes reality TV (although I have a soft spot for cooking shows AND Say Yes to the Dress)
- has real hangovers, which are these days very rare for me because my body is a drinking machine
- goes to the gym
- has a massive social schedule of weddings, parties, etc
Well the reading is helping. A lot.
I have picked up a couple of other books about going sober but I can't really identify with the extremes of being picked up by police or crashing cars. I'm an
alcoholic out of control drinker but I am definitely at the high-functioning end. Keeping it all together is part of why I told myself I needed to drink.
Apparently that might turn out not to be true.