Dry January Part 2 – Staying Sober

The beginning of February is here and it’s time for me to think about the last month, how Dry January has gone for me and what I am going to do with myself going forward.

The honest truth is this month has changed my life. It sounds dramatic and I feel like a bit of a bellend saying it but it is the truth.

I have spent the last month not only sober but also doing yoga every day, going to bed earlier, drinking more water, and reading self help books. Do I feel better? Of course I do, who wouldn’t feel better after a month caring for their mind and body?

This month has given me time to really focus on myself and think hard about exactly what is going on with me. I have been able to clearly see where I have gone wrong and how I need to progress.

So here it is. After having my second child Esme I had postnatal depression, I didn’t realise this and I didn’t get any help. I lost confidence in myself to do things I’d previously been very capable of, like driving (I do it but I find it terrifying), my work and my ability as a parent.

My job has always been a huge part of my life and I’ve always been really career driven, but I totally lost all confidence in my abilities which meant that I stopped trying to progress my career. I stopped caring, I didn’t apply for jobs that I would have loved and I didn’t do anything to show my current bosses that I could make more of myself.

I felt lost, unable to control my own life. I felt sad and depressed and like I was really crap at everything. I drank to numb my feelings, I drank to help my anxiety, I drank to boost my confidence. But booze doesn’t help those things, it actually makes them much worse so I was stuck in a vicious circle.

When I think about an alcoholic, I think of Nicholas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas, hands shaking, falling all over the place, obviously drinking himself to death. Luckily that is not me, but there is no question that alcohol was controlling me and not the other way around.

It’s very easy to drink far too much without anyone really noticing when you live in a society where every good occasion, every bad occasion, every work achievement, every birthday, every new baby, every gathering of people for any reason whatsoever can be marked by opening a bottle. I was an extremely socially acceptable drunk but I have known for a while now that the way I drank was not normal.

This month I have been sober, not one drop of booze for 31 days, and here’s what’s happened. I started sleeping better, which meant I could get up earlier, so I started doing yoga every day. The yoga helped my body and my mind and I stopped feeling depressed and anxious. I started feeling more confident about myself and calmer with the children and with my partner. I started to take great pleasure in things like trees, and music and a cup of tea.

I joined a mentor program at work and I told my mentor everything. I actually sat there and cried in front of him. I told him that I had more to offer, that I am not the used-up pointless person I thought I was and that I want to achieve more with my career. I am seeing him every week and he is helping me to see a way forward, by really boosting my confidence in my abilities and introducing me to people who might be able to help me.

I am happier, I am looking after myself, I have found the confidence to focus on my career. I’ve done more to help myself in the last month than I have in the last five years!

A few different people have asked me today if i’m excited that Dry January is over, am I excited to go out tonight and get annihilated to celebrate? The answer is no!

I am excited that when I wake up tomorrow hangover free I will be 33 days sober and I intend to stay that way.

Thanks very much for reading, I would love to hear from you if you need to talk about your relationship with alcohol or if you want to tell me about your Dry Jan.

If you would like to read part one of this post about why I needed to do Dry January you can read it here.

I’m listing a few resources below that I have found really helpful during this month.

Books

The Unexpected Joy of being Sober by Catherine Grey

Recovery by Russell Brand

Sober Curious by Ruby Warrington

Yoga

Any yoga classes by this wonderful teacher Kassandra

My favourite place to do hot yoga – Hot Yoga House Eastcote

4 thoughts on “Dry January Part 2 – Staying Sober

  1. That is brilliant! So pleased for you going forward, I have been sober curious for about 2 years, and have done dry Jan in 2018 & 2019 plus the 100 day challenge. I also have a nearly teen & a teen who need to see that fun doesn’t come from a glass or bottle so it’s about setting them an example. My friends are generally fine about my not drinking, I had the odd comment initially, but I think it’s getting more & more common. There’s lots of info & support out there, Good Luck!

    1. Thank you very much. Such an important point about being an example to your kids. My kids are 3 and 5 and I’m pretty sure they already have the idea that wine must be something special since Mummy loves it so much 🤦🏻‍♀️

  2. Thank you so much for your absolutely brilliant and bang on concise and accurate account of being a new mum. No waffle, just exactly as it is!!! I wish I had read that at the time. If I had I may not of felt like a crap mum. Same for your account of loosing work confidence purely down to all that you describe again bang on the nail about being a mum. I’ve always been career driven. Same, a confident freelance designer and artist out there in London going for the jobs I most wanted. I had a set design at the Royal festival Queen Elizabeth Hall and chose the companies I most wanted to work with. 15 years of go and getting. Fast forward now two children later. My first was born in 2010 and I totally relate to your account of low self esteem, low body self esteem and feeling like I’m washed up at times. Thank you for sharing this in your blog, again a relief to find out it’s normal mum stuff. I will be ok. I have managed to carry on painting my own work through out most of my children’s early years and to this present day, thanks to the help of a supportive partner and mum but the next hurdle is to get out there in the work place again and discover that I do have something to offer. I’ve been t total for 10 years now. No I wasn’t an alcoholic which I am just lucky and so thankful for. I stopped because I was fed up with the dense gray material I woke up with in the morning over my head ( a metaphor!) that used to get in the way of my intuition. I believe we get guidance from the universe and drinking meant I couldn’t receive it. And goodness knows I blimin need it!! So that had to go.

    1. So interesting to hear and I’m very interested to see your work. It’s good to hear from someone who has and still does experienced the same things. I really hope you find the strength to get out there are show the world you’ve still got it. 😘😘😘

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *