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Started my journey to sobriety and feeling anxious....

(32 Posts)
Wtfmummy Sat 30-Jul-16 14:36:12

I am a mum of 3 young boys, full time manager in a very stressful career and for the last ten or more years have drank heavily. Easily a bottle of wine a night and moving swiftly on to G&Ts (6 a night). Waking up every morning feeling ashamed, bloated, guilty, anxious. I would drink to the point of oblivion, often passing out fully clothed on the sofa and waking up to flashbacks of feminist or political ranting at whomever would listen (mostly my poor husband).

I would swear I wouldn’t drink tonight and then come 5pm after a hectic day would pour a glass and the cycle repeated.
That is until yesterday morning when I woke up and realised I had wet the bed. I was (and still bloody am!) absolutely mortified! blushangry

I was so drunk I became unconscious and wet myself. That pure, honest SHAME has now kick started my sobriety. I have to stop, I have no control over how much I drink, I just keep going. It's making me fat, ashamed, unlike able and a liability. Plus it horrifies me that one of my children might need me in the night and I am too off my tits to be a responsible Mum. That's too scary to think about.

I didn’t drink yesterday or today (it's only 2.30pm but it counts). I’ve done one and a half days. But I am focused on beating this. I have to do it, I have to feel proud of myself again and I have to think of my health and my responsibility to my children.

I have a neighbour round for drinks tonight and I have gone and bought a bottle of alcohol free wine and am focussing instead on cooking some nice nibbles. I'm feeling strong about this, a little anxious's a strange concept to have someone over for drinks and not drink drink. I don't know how to answer the question when people will inevitably ask about why I am not drinking....? Should I be honest and say I need to stop, I have no control, I have to get myself back or is it easier to be the one to drive or be on antibiotics or some other excuse? How do other people handle this?

GraceGrape Sat 30-Jul-16 14:38:45

Don't have any relevant experience but wanted to say well done so far. Making the choice to stop is often said to be the hardest part.

UptheAnty Sat 30-Jul-16 14:44:51


I've stopped drinking for the last 6 months after a particularly shameful evening.

I like sober me. I'm much more fun & happy, no anxiety or shame..bliss.

I was just honest with everyone. I've been drinking to much lately so I'm laying off. People seem to accept that more than excuses oddly.

I reward myself with guilt free food as I'm still not consuming half as many calories as I would drinking grin
I've lost a lovely 9 pounds.

It's not such an unusual problem, your life will be so much better and you will cope with stress much more productively without alcohol.

Give yourself a break, we're all human.

But get your shit together now.

Wtfmummy Sat 30-Jul-16 14:54:47

Thank you GraceGrape and UptheAnty.

The shame I feel is just so raw and painful - I don't think I've ever stripped a bed so quickly and got it in the wash so my poor DH didn't notice. I keep having to talk to myself to say it wasn't a bad dream, it was real, I really really wet the bed. It's just so bloody dire.

I do need to get my shit together now. That is spot on. I'm a mess and I need to get myself back. I need to find another way to cope with a stressful day, get a blooming hobby or go for a walk!

I feel so ashamed of myself that I feel like just telling people when they ask that I am an alcoholic and I need to stop. Although I realise that might be a conversation killer...!

Thank you both

Wtfmummy Sat 30-Jul-16 14:55:39

Ps- 6 months sober and 9 pounds lighter is awesome - well done UptheAnty!

tribpot Sat 30-Jul-16 15:05:46

What you have to accept now is that, for a while, your sobriety must be your top priority. I've been sober for over five years and no way would I drink alcohol-free wine, for fear of it triggering me off again. On your day 2 I really, really don't recommend it. Are the neighbour and your DH going to drink? Either way I would honestly cancel this, it will be too easy to lapse and then wake up thinking you can't do more than one day and it's all pointless.

On Monday I think you should make an appointment with your GP. I am sure you won't want to do this, but it's now vitally important that you take some irrevocable steps towards sobriety. I assume you've also spoken to your DH and told him how ashamed you are and that you want to change your relationship to alcohol? If not, you need to do that too, today. If your DH is a drinker too (albeit maybe not a problem drinker) he may want to minimise how much you drink if he doesn't want to think about the implications of how much he does. Hopefully, however, he will be supportive and want to help you get through this.

The book that really helped me was this one. You can download it to your phone or tablet and read it today - I really would do this.

You'll need to start noticing your triggers. They can be unexpected things - one of mine was getting off the bus, which I associated with getting home and thus it being wine o'clock. A very common one is cooking the tea. Anticipating these subconscious cues is a good percentage of the battle - your brain will work against you initially, wanting you to do the same things you have always done. When I first stopped, I used to have dreams about having been drinking and not knowing where I was - these were quite helpful as drinking nightmares. But then my brain went through a whole phase of dreams where I'd literally 'just have one' and convince myself that was fine and didn't mean I wasn't sober any more. Fuck knows what the point of that was!

You'll need something to keep your hands busy, esp in the evening. I used to play on the Nintendo DS (Animal Crossing, lovely gentle game) and then I rediscovered knitting. But something to keep your hands and mind occupied during the hours when you're tired, maybe bored, at the end of the day.

Finding some good taste substitutes is important too - although as noted I wouldn't go near alcohol-free equivalents of booze. Ginger beer is good, or the San Pellegrino lemon and mint, which tastes a bit like a mojito but not too much. Herbal tea also good.

Social situations are hard. At first I was keener to meet friends in the pub as usual but I realised they were quite happy not to drink around me and so I will normally suggest coffee now. I started telling people almost as soon as I quit, before I lost my nerve and started making up reasons why I shouldn't tell people. So basically everyone I know - friends and family - knows I don't drink and why. I made a plan with close friends that if I ever had a really bad day at work and said 'that's it, I'm going to the pub' they wouldn't say 'no you can't do that' - which would make it twice as likely that I would - but would encourage me to wait for 20 mins and see if I still want to. I never had to call on my emergency plan but I'm really glad I had it.

It's tiring having to anticipate everything but you get used to it. It's impossible to regret giving up booze - it brings nothing positive to your life.

Well done on making it through day 1. I used to read posts on MN from people who had quit and thought 'that could never be me' - until it was. I was very ill by the time I stopped drinking, which helped in one sense as it was now real, there were measurable side-effects rather than just 'knowing' I was drinking too much. I think about drinking every day - I always will. But accepting that and staying sober anyway, that's the game you're in now. Good luck.

Wtfmummy Sat 30-Jul-16 23:12:17

Thank you for your reply tribpot

It was just me and my neighbour (DH is out) and I couldnt cancel. She's had a very rough time recently and would have been very upset if I cancelled. She was drinking but I felt quite comfortable telling her that I wasn't and I strangely didn't feel tempted - it was actually quite interesting watching the effect a bottle of wine took on her and thinking that normally that would be me.

I hadn't thought of fake wine like you have said but now that you mention it, it does make sense to find an alternative. I've got some sparkling water, mint and lime which I used instead.

Can I ask why you think I should head to the GP? What will they do? Does it start some process rolling?

DH is a drinker but not a problem drinker. He is very supportive but thinks I am blowing this out of proportion... I know that I am not however. I am very very aware, suddenly so, of what I have been doing and how serious it is.

Day 2 done smile

It is worrying though to hear that even 5 years sober still the thoughts of drink are there. It really is a power drug. Huge congratulations on your achievement and thank you for the advice

StandoutMop Sat 30-Jul-16 23:57:29

Congratulations on 2 days WTF. I am in a similar place to you, perhaps not as regular a drinker, but prone to going really OTT when I do. A recent bug night out, complete with memory loss completely terrified me and I really think stopping completely might be the answer.

I shall be following and cheering you on and hopefully finding the strength to join you too.

TreeHuggerMum1 Sun 31-Jul-16 00:09:27

How did day 3 go?
Wishing you lots of luck flowers

Wtfmummy Sun 31-Jul-16 06:24:51

Ah bless you StandoutMop - it really is an awful feeling isn't it? The blackouts are so scary, it must be your brains way of shutting down so it can focus on handling the volume of toxins in your body. Not good.

Thanks for your support. I'm on Day 3 now. Last night was actually really nice - my neighbour was over and has been through some tough times so me being sober, I was actually able to sit and listen and comfort her and not get pissed which with me always leads to being opinionated and emotional. It felt nice at the end of the night to load the dishwasher, tidy up, take my make up off and head to bed to listen to a podcast - if I had been drinking I would have probably fallen asleep on the sofa, fully clothed and woken up abruptly at 3am wondering where I was and then crawling to bed.

Thanks for your lovely support, I'm here to support you too flowers

Wtfmummy Sun 31-Jul-16 06:28:50

Thanks TreeHuggerMum1 - I'm on day 3 today and feeling positive.

I struggled a bit last night before my neighbour arrived and when I was prepping nibbles because that is most definitely when I would have cracked open the bottle of wine. I would always drink whilst prepping dinner. So I made a nice sparkling water with mint and lime and put my woman's hour podcast on which distracted me nicely!!

Here comes Day 3 - feeling positive but don't want to get too cocky, I need to remember my shameful feeling and how bad it had gotten and keep that at the forefront of my mind

ErnesttheBavarian Sun 31-Jul-16 06:47:14

I read Alan Carr''s Easy Way to Control Alcohol ages ago. I was maybe 3 year without drinking. And it was do easy. I strongly recommend it as it made the whole giving up the booze into a very easy and positive experience almost exciting.

I started drinking again on my wedding anniversary this year. I really thought after not having drunk anything for so long a couple wouldnt have hurt. I never drank so much, I guess half a bottle of wine a night but it was the constantly wanting it. I hate feeling like a slave to cravings. I really am a black or white, all or nothing kind of person. So I find it much easier to drink (eat sweets, whatever) nothing at all than to be on rations.

Acruelly, I think you're pretty amazing to have managed 3 days without any help. I found I felt like shut for about a month and lesser so for about 3 months till it was really out of my system. Very tired etc. Read that book, get plenty of rest and lost and lots of vegetables. Avoid sugar and rest some more.! Your body will be working hard to get rid of the toxins and your liver will be starting to regenerate. Get some artichoke supplements.

Then read the book again and rest some more!

I am totally amazed by how well you're doing and how determined you sound please keep with it and stay sober! I am now training for a half marathon. No way could I run if I had been drinking. Not necessarily saying you should do a half marathon but I feel so much healthier. I'm 46 now. I do not want my kids to see me drunk or unhealthy. I know it means a lot to them that I am fit and healthy and to me too of course. I do not want to have a stroke etc. I want to feel energetic and fit and that is incompatible with booze ime.

tribpot Sun 31-Jul-16 07:50:42

Well done on getting through the evening - and spotting one of your triggers and finding a strategy to manage it. That's the spirit (pun intended).

I would suggest going to the GP so that you start the process of accountability - making sure that once the memory of your embarrassment has faded there is still a permanent record of the fact your problem is real.

Your GP may want to order liver function tests to see how your liver is doing. LFTs can come back within normal range even if you've done quite a lot of damage, so this isn't a perfect process and may have the unfortunate effect of convincing you it wasn't as bad as you remember. He/she can then recommend some supplements that may help your body recover from the alcohol and, if you want or feel you need it, refer you to alcohol counselling services.

Wtfmummy Sun 31-Jul-16 14:43:07

Thank you ErnestTheBavarian - that's a great achievement to be sober for 3 years and I am sure you can do it again. flowers I'll be ordering that and the Jason Vale one which has also been recommended.

I have to say I am struggling today and have been quite teary. I hadn't really clocked that yes I wait until 5pm-ish on weekdays but on weekends I usually start drinking a lot earlier....I would start at lunch time! A bottle of wine with a BBQ in the garden would then lead to another at dinner and then onto the G&Ts.

This past few days, my shame has carried me. That is waning slightly and now I am actually missing a glass of wine. You would think after binge drinking for all this time, all my black outs, all my flashbacks of bad behaviour or stupid drunken rants and finally resulting in wetting the bed - you would think that would be enough to 'cure' me and that I wouldn't actually fancy a glass....but I do. blush

I'vehad a long talk with my DH and I think he is starting to realise just how big a problem this is for me. Ive decided to go for a walk before dinner whilst DH watches the cycling.... Taking the kids to the park should be distracting enough.

I have definitely underestimated this. It just shows that I can reach the bottom and still want wine.... Shameful. I wonder if that craving ever goes away? I bloody hope so.

Wtfmummy Sun 31-Jul-16 14:47:48

I think you are right Tribpot - quite shockingly the embarrassment and shame is already waning... That is pretty unbelievable. It's like my brain is trying to make me forget what happened.

I'll call the doctors tomorrow... I'm nervous about it. I'm nervous about actually telling someone professional, I'm ashamed and I have a huge fear that it could mean my children are put on some at risk list or that social workers start calling that rational? Could that happen?

ErnesttheBavarian Mon 01-Aug-16 06:36:11

Hi Wtf. No. Not rational, no one will take your children away because you ask for help.

There's nothing wrong with you either, alcohol is a horribly addictive substance. It is also full of sugar which is more addictive than coke. So no great surprise suddenly not doing this is hard.

Actually it doesn't feel like an achievement for me. The hardest part for sure is getting to the mental place to want to do it. When I started drinking again this year I thought that after nor having drunk for so long I would be fine. But it was very clear I was back to wanting to drink half a bottle every single night in no time at all. And the other things I value more, like waking up jot feeling like death, not making an arse of myself, giving my kids a good example (I have a teenage son who was starting to drink way too much), going running, not making serious health issues for myself in the future etc all of these things are definitely more important to me than booze, so I dug out my Allen Carr book, really read it and it just flicks a switch in my brain and I do not want or desire a drink at all. So actually it's pretty easy. Or at least for me it was luckily.

It's like when I used to smoke, I tried loads of times to give up and just couldn't. For years. Then I found out I was pg and I instantly lost the desire to smoke. So in an instant I was nicotine free and that was easy too. Never craved a ciggie since.

Or when I was diagnosed with coeliac disease. I instantly had to give up beer, bread, cakes, pastarting etc etc. And I have no temptation around these things at all, so again it's not at all difficult.

It's the same with me after reading my magic bok. It just flicks that switch.

Especially if you have not drunk anything at all for 3 or so days, which is an AMAZING achievement, then you have pretty much worked through any physical dependant already. Your problem now is purely mental. That doesn't mean it's easy. You just have to find the right way to flick your switch so to say, and if you find that, then ime it is easy.

Good luck xxxxx

tribpot Mon 01-Aug-16 06:46:21

Certainly there was no suggestion of social worker involvement when I went to see my GP about a much more severe alcohol problem.

I was chatting to my GP at my last appointment about another patient (obviously not by name but as an instructive lesson) who also felt after a period of abstinence he had got this thing under control and could enjoy the occasional beer. He was back on a bottle of vodka a day within a week. Unfortunately if your brain is wired wrongly to prevent a normal relationship with alcohol, that's how it goes.

Hopefully this weekend has shown you what a bloody waste of time it is, starting drinking at lunchtime. All those hours of downtime lost to a booze fog. Push on through the week.

HuckfromScandal Mon 01-Aug-16 06:48:44

I could have written your post!
I also had a very poor relationship with alcohol.
My rock bottom was similar to yours - was sent home from work stinking of drink. And my feelings of shame were the same.

I'm now 6 years sober.
And I am happy to say - it never bothers me. I am so much happier. I'm 2 stone lighter. I am the fittest and healthiest I have ever been - although I recognise that has nothing to do with not drinking - I just made some fairly major changes.

The most useful advice I had:
Play the tape to the end....
So don't focus on the lovely cold glass at the beginning of the night...when that first glass is gone - and the switch to oblivion has been pulled. - what does the end of the night look like...that thought was alway horrendous enough for me to not pour the first glass.

Good luck. Keep posting.

meringue33 Mon 01-Aug-16 07:10:24

Congratulations on your three sober days!
Have you considered going to an AA meeting? Very much the easiest way to stay sober as friends and support around you. People from all walks of life, you don't have to have ended up a street drinker to take advantage of AA. In most urban areas there are several meetings a week and you can call the helpline any time xxx

Wtfmummy Mon 01-Aug-16 07:16:13

Thanks ErnestTheBavarian - my copy of the book is arriving today - I can't wait. I think you're right, this is a mental battle now... I need to keep strong about this, Ive been letting myself and my family down for so long. This weekend was lovely, spending more quality time with the children and being totally present and not tipsy and getting progressively more drunk as the evening wore on. I put the children to bed and settled down with a cuppa and a book instead which felt good... Strangely it was the day that was harder than the night. I think maybe it's hardest when I would usually start drinking so i suspect I'll be ok today but come 5pm my mind will start getting agitated again... I've developed a really unhealthy habit/addiction. I wish I could just have one or two and enjoy the taste of a glass of wine but my mind switches instantly to binge mode and I end up necking a glass of wine like it was water - I'm already planning my next drink before I've finished my last...!

Thanks Tribpot, that is reassuring...ill give them a call today and will let you all know how it goes... sad

Wtfmummy Mon 01-Aug-16 07:33:13

Well done HuckfromScandal! 6 years sober is a fantastic achievement! I hope that'll be me one day!

I love the idea of playing to tape to the end! It's so true - that first drink is so tempting and tastes so good but play the tape to the end of the evening and it's not such a pretty sight... Brilliant advice - thank you!

Wtfmummy Mon 01-Aug-16 07:41:21

The morning I woke up to find I had wet the bed I did spend a lot of time looking into AA Meringue33. It is still something I am thinking about... There are several meetings within 5 miles of me. I guess I'm worried that I might turn up and know someone and also I read a lot about God and handing kind of responsibility over to Him. And whilst I am Christian I feel like the responsibility and accountability has to be mine... I am thinking I might go along to one meeting and see how it goes...

HuckfromScandal Mon 01-Aug-16 08:00:02

I think you should go to a meeting at least wtf.
I went for 18 months, and then I decided that I needed to do something different.
However I have to credit AA for the first 18 months sobriety I have.

It's not for everyone, and I met some people who are truly lovely and some not so nice ones. Getting sober doesn't stop some people from being arseholes. smilesmile
But I was prepared to do or try anything to stop the cycle of madness I had seemed to have gotten myself trapped in.

bibbitybobbityyhat Mon 01-Aug-16 09:06:33

Well done wtf. There is a long running support thread on Mumsnet for the newly sober: look for threads with the word DRY in the title. I lurk and read it because I am slowly edging towards an alcohol free life. I'm not coming at it from quite the same angle as you but the idea of no alcohol is becoming more and more appealing. However, everyone who posts there is not drinking (which is not the case on the Brave Babes threads where many posters are still drinking and mulling things over). From my experience of giving up smoking, I'd say a good thing to do is to have an emergency plan for when cravings hit. You need something in place for when you are at a loose end and thinking "oh go on, a glass won't hurt".

HuckfromScandal Tue 02-Aug-16 14:56:25

How are you getting on WTF??

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