Goodbye 2021 and thank you

Let me start by saying that I know this has been a tough and challenging year for us all. Some have experienced great tragedy and the world has gone to hell in a handbasket. I could easily talk about what was terrible about 2021, but I am not going to. Because 2021 has been a life-changing year for me. I am beyond grateful for the changes which have occurred.

I actually started my sober journey on new years eve 2020. I was physically and mentally not coping with the amount of alcohol I was ingesting. I was down and out, I was at the end of my tether and I needed to change.

For the first time ever I spoke to an official NHS counsellor. I had to muster so much courage to make that call, but I was glad I did. I spoke with her every week and her encouragement helped me in the first few days. I managed to complete dry January. Something I had not managed to do before. Unfortunately, as it was an NHS service and I was doing so well, I was discharged rather quickly. I think in hindsight I knew what would help me to stay on the right path even then. I did ask if she would be able to check in on me from time to time. So that I would have someone I could talk to about my issues, alas, she couldn’t. I knew then, that I desperately needed to talk with people who understood my worries around alcohol.

I was sober on and off until the June of 2021. My final sober date is 21/06/21. I wanted so badly to quit alcohol, but I had come to the realisation that I couldn’t do it alone. I have written before about finding my sober gang :

Following on from that post, I would still say that the main reason I am still determinedly sober is because of the wonderful ladies that I have met. This year they have taught me how lucky I am to have gained my freedom from alcohol. They have also taught me how helping others in turn, helps me. I have never trusted women in groups to be honest, but I trust these ladies. I trust that they have my back and want to see me succeed. As women, we are so often pitted against one another. This is so very refreshing and comforting to experience.

Dropping the drink from my life has already provided me with many benefits. The benefit I feel the most delighted about is the improvements that I have made with family members. Relationships that in the past were fractured and uncomfortable have improved immensely just in the short time that I have been sober. Trust has built up between both parties and I genuinely feel that these relationships will carry on improving if I stay on my sober journey.

My confidence has risen. I have always felt uncomfortable with my personality, I don’t always see things in the same way as others do, sometimes I worry that I can come across as silly or ditsy. In the past I have tried to hide it, I have changed to match the group that I am with. Chastising myself if my mask slipped and I was just me.

Now, I embrace my quirkiness, I acknowledge that I am what I am. And the more I relax the more I feel accepted. If I have to be someone else around a group, then I am not the correct fit for that group. This conclusion would have been impossible to arrive at when I was drinking. When I was drinking I was a constant actress. I didn’t feel good enough for anyone or anything. I really did not like myself, sobriety has given me myself back. I now have permission to like me. And when you like yourself, it’s amazing how this can spur others into liking you too.

New sober me is trying things too that I would never have done before. I have enrolled in creative classes and I am really enjoying it. Alright, I will never be Van Gogh but who cares? Now I don’t drink the need to be perfect and good at everything is a distant memory. So what if my journal looks like shit, did I enjoy doing it? yes! so I carry on. I have nothing to prove anymore, how freeing is that?

I have travelled this year, I have enjoyed wonderful friendships, I have lost weight, I have tried things that I would never have done before. The kids no longer see me as someone, who sits things out. When I can, I get in there and get involved. And I am loving it. My husband told me that my sparkle is back and I am delighted to hear it, because towards the end of my drinking. I had no sparkle, I was consumed with self-disgust and self-loathing. Now I quite like myself and I love my life now.

Of course, life isn’t always romance and roses. I have down days, I can still be bratty. Sometimes, I am so uncomfortable in my own feelings that I would love an escape route like I used to have. But to drink would enable me a few hours of escape and the next day would be a million times worse. I am grateful that I know this and accept this. I am grateful that I embrace my sobriety, that I feel lucky to be here. So many don’t get here. I never want to go back.

So yes, I want to thank 2021 for the people that it has brought into my life and the freedom I have gained at a time when we were all locked down. Something I have been searching for since I picked up my first drink all of those years ago.

Much love,

B xxx

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