Our kids have gone back to school this week and my free time has returned to being my free time! After the 7 week summer holiday, which admittedly passed in a flash, I feel I can again concentrate and focus, my brain no longer resembling a pot of overcooked spaghetti.
Two things have struck me this week, both relating to gradual changes that it's easy to miss until they are brought sharply to your attention.
Firstly we had a 'family celebration' dinner last night after a minor reward I received at work this week. When deciding what to do I thought about what I really wanted to do. I wanted a family meal with cake to follow and to not have to do much in the way of preparation or clearing up. I thought about going to a local restaurant but the 'kid-friendly' noise put me off that option.
Instead I bought everyone's favourite meal from M&S that could be bunged in the oven in the plastic containers (no washing up, see?). My daughter spent ages making my favourite cake for me (carrot cake, double layered, mmmm) and cut it into a 'groovy' shape. (Bear in mind she's 10 and I could see the anticipation etched on her face wondering if I would like it.)
She went into 'mum' mode: cleared away the plates and dished out the cake forks (my 1st sober-versary present to myself) and asked if I would like a cup of tea too. I had a flash back to a previous similar event where I had bought several small bottles of wine for my celebration and in between courses asked her to get me another from the fridge. Small bottles confused everyone, including me, and I could have a 'bottle worth' of wine without having a bottle of wine. Funny how 175mls is so much harder to compare to a 750ml bottle than 250 mls is.
It struck me only then, as we ate dessert, that I had considered and planned my celebration without a thought to alcohol. That makes me feel I've come a long way, particularly as I then felt so glad I wasn't asking for more wine, glad I was not getting boozy, sleepy, overfull and drunk because what kind of a celebration would that make?
Secondly this week I was exchanging emails with a reader of this blog who has achieved 100 days sobriety. A fabulous achievement. The reader reminded me of myself asking when will things improve? When will I stop missing booze? When will I truly believe life is better without?
When will it stop being so hard?
I could only answer from my own thoughts and experience but those questions brought me down to earth with a bump. I had forgotten all those worries and difficulties of the middle term and the immense out-pouring of emotions and feelings that accompany them. They were brought to me in an instant and I totally understood the reader's state of mind.
It was a good experience for both of us I believe. I could show and tell that it does go away and we become more comfortable with sobriety as our default state. I was made to remember how far I'd come to reach my current stage of taking sobriety very much for granted and forgetting the struggles I too had to get here.
Sharing, sharing. Works for everyone. Keep it coming.