Updated: Dec 24, 2019
During my detox days, I actively thought about booze twice, the first was in the first week. I was 20 minutes away from the end of my shift, and I thought ‘mmm, I’ll pick up a bottle of wine on my way…hang on, no I won’t’ the second time was about 3 weeks later.
I was still inside the first 30 days and I had suddenly realised I’d spent an hour daydreaming about my ‘victory meal’ which consisted of everything I wasn’t allowed to have on the detox including a bottle of Malbec.
It had been this hour long daydream that cemented my decision to keep going with the detox, the object of the exercise had always been to return to factory settings.
Daydreaming that heavily about cheese, bread and wine meant the reset had not been completed yet.
And I didn’t actively think about booze for the rest of the detox. I say actively, as a pose to passively thinking or talking about it. When someone asked me if I missed wine, or when I was writing in my journal. In those cases I was reflecting therefore not actively thinking.
I also hadn’t told anyone the true nature of my detox. It was not to eat healthier but instead a way to stop drinking without telling everyone that’s what I was doing because I wasn't ready.
Well I say no one, I did tell my ex-boyfriend. You see for two and a half years he was my favourite drinking partner and quite possibly the only one that matched my thirst.
If anyone was going to understand why I was doing this, it was him. I felt good actually telling someone, but it didn’t pave the way for me to tell anyone else. I had started mentioning it, you know putting feelers out there and mostly everyone kind of told me I wasn’t drinking that much. In that way people do, to try to be nice or comforting. ‘I did terribly’ ‘It wasn’t that terrible’. Sort of thing.
It stopped me from talking about it further because I kind of thought, ‘no I’m telling you I did drink heavily’ but then I thought what’s the point? I wasn’t comfortable talking about it in the first place, I’m certainly not going to spend time actively convincing people.
Plus it sort of reminded me of when I told my dad I was bulimic and he told me I wasn’t. It’s like – no I’m binge eating and then taking laxatives because I can’t literally make myself puke.
That is definitely bulimia.
No, you just need to stop eating too much and cheer up.
I remember the length I had to go to convince him I wasn’t well….literally having to actually show him the drawer full of laxatives and other concoctions I had discovered that we’re meant to make me be sick whilst sobbing in a convulsive sort of way, and even then he tried to tell me I was just a little bit upset.
I think I lost my shit at his dismissive behaviour at this point. I don't actually know what happened next, I can't remember I sort of remember screaming at him. But I might have just passed out and dreamt that.
Anyway the point is, it hugely put me off telling anyone about my drinking because it reminded me too much of that.
Just because both times I had been functioning on the outside, doesn’t mean that I wasn’t in turmoil on the inside.
My ex believed me immediately, and I don’t think it was because he had always been getting drunk with me, I think it’s because he always believed me. When I told him about my anxiety he didn’t tell me to stop worrying, he didn’t tell me to ‘be happy’ or cheer up he just nodded said he couldn’t imagine what that's like, and asked me what he could do that would help me.
At the time I had burst into tears and hugged him and realising that for the first time in my life I was with someone who didn’t immediately tell me what I should be, do or think.
His immediate understanding was both elating and sad because it reminded me of all the fun times we had together. Though that was immediately followed by a realisation that most of those fun times we’re booze related.
On day 93 I didn’t change my eating habits, but I did buy a bottle of wine.
My plan had always been to cut booze out for at least 30 days, but to aim for 3 months. I had wanted to do this to see how bad things were and then decide on what to do next.
Since I hadn’t craved it, since I barely thought about it all I thought it was time I tried drinking in moderation.
I had a glass of the wine, didn’t fancy anymore and it sat on my kitchen counter for a few days before I had another glass.
Even though I didn’t drink it in one sitting, or even finish the bottle on the second day, I had thought about that wine each day between. ‘should I have a glass tonight? No, or should I? No, I’ll leave it and see how I feel tomorrow’ The day after I drank the rest of the bottle I thought about buying another one. I didn’t for a couple of days but every day I thought about it.
The first weekend off the detox and I drank…a lot.
On the Sunday I felt it, I took Flash out and battled the idea of buying another bottle of wine.
On my walk with Flash a blonde woman started yelling at me from across the street, I glanced over thinking what in the hell? And blimey it was a good friend whom I had drifted away from when she had moved. Turns out we now lived 5 minutes from one another. She mainly talked about my detox, you see I had posted a day 1 vs day 90 photos and talked about it on social media. She said she was inspired by my discipline and my achievements with weight lost and I felt like a fraud.
It was the first time all year that I felt like shit.
That week my thoughts we’re on booze most days, even though I didn’t drink every day I thought about it constantly. Basically should I or shouldn’t I all the live long days.
When I was on the detox, my head space had been mine. I was focused on stuff, I was even thinking about attending University for the first time in my life. My marathon training was going brilliantly and I had re-joined the gym. My diet was plant based and super healthy and I enjoyed it. My taste buds had been detoxed as well. Celery tasted sweet to me. It was brilliant.
I had spent 3 months dry always with the intention of trying to drink in moderation and realising that for me drinking in moderation was an active thought process that required a lot of energy spent doing it.
The following Sunday, so two weeks post detox and I had volunteered to support the Brighton Marathon. My idea was to remind myself of the atmosphere, and to help me with staying motivated for my goal of running it the following year.
I had got up stupidly early to be at Preston Park for something nuts like 6.30am. 4 hours later and I was mega tired but happy. It had been fun, chatted to loads of people, did loads of moving bags from one pile to another and sometimes back to the original pile again. I had intended to join the Samaritans cheer station after I finished, but realised I was way to tired for that.
I had decided to make myself a mini roast dinner for one and bought a bottle of wine having already spent quite a bit of the morning ping ponging the idea of drinking wine across my head.
I had the roast dinner, I had the bottle of wine and I went out to the corner shop and bottle another bottle and I sat there on my sofa and I cried.
I, for the first time all year felt numb. I felt lonely and worst of all my anxiety had returned and it was like the last 3 months had been for nothing. Because there I was, sitting on my sofa by myself cradling Flash in one arm and my wine in the other.
Clearly drinking in moderation was not on the cards for me, at least not if I wanted to actually think about anything else but booze, so I stopped.
I went in to work and told everyone, then told everyone else through text. Shock all round, but then to be fair this was the first time they we’re all hearing the true nature of my detox.
So there it was.
What started out being a 30 day sugar detox to quietly stop drinking for a little while, had actually put me on the path of full on sobriety.
And now that I knew that my relationship with booze was always going to be dysfunctional I ended it. Like ending a bad relationship.
I took alcohol out of the equation and I was ready to tell the world. That I have joined Club Sobriety.