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.
Any yoga classes by this wonderful teacher Kassandra
My favourite place to do hot yoga – Hot Yoga House Eastcote