November 2018, my boyfriend broke up with me. Things had been fraying for a little while, his music career was going in one direction, I wasn’t going in any direction and he had been gradually just stepping back from our relationship.
I felt it, prior to this our relationship had been different, because for the first time I wasn’t with a narcissist. But when he started to pull away it awoke that residual feeling of worthlessness and the big issues of abandonment.
All I wanted was to be happy, I just wanted the normal relationship-y things. Moving in together, doing stuff together, spending time together just us. Yet at this point in our relationship the moving in together card was not only off the table but had been locked drawer forever, we we’re doing less stuff together and the time we did spend together was always in the company of others.
I had begun lashing out at myself and at him. Which quickly took it’s toll.
He instigated the breakup, but I pretty much immediately agreed that it was time we called it a day. We knew we we’re making each other miserable and if we stayed together eventually, we would hate each other and ourselves.
We loved each other enough to let each other go.
Simple. Anything but easy.
The breakup broke me.
A 6 week fall out.
It galvanised my anxiety, my depression, my self-hatred.
I was overwhelmed.
New Year’s Eve 2018
Day 2 of my sugar detox. In other words, day 2 of not drinking. I was entrenched in withdrawals and itchy, not in a literal sense, but in a didn’t know what to do with myself itchy sense. I had spent a lot of time perfecting my nightly ritual of getting into my comfy’s, opening a bottle of wine and the spine of my notebook; writing about a future happier me whilst slowly drinking myself into anxiety.
Not doing that was tough. I kept writing but it was more about my current anxiousness that I won’t be able to relax because I’m not drinking.
I was taking Flash out twice as often, because I couldn’t sit still. At around 10pm New Years Eve I took Flash out for the 6th and final time that day. We passed so many pubs and people dressed up walking into town. The first thing that struck me was I wasn’t envious of them. I thought I would be, in fact I had turned down four different offers to go out that evening, specifically because I didn’t want to be around people getting drunk.
Because I assumed, I would be envious that I wasn’t drinking, and it might break my resolve. It was kind of strange, I just immediately thought ‘yep, not doing that this year.’
The moment I realised I was properly cool with it; my brain was flooded with a dozen different memories of a dozen different New Year’s Eve shenanigans. As though my brain was immediately giving me reminders of why not drinking is much better for me.
All but one of them had the same ending. Terribly drunk, passed out, forgettable and regrettable.
The exception to this had been New Year’s Eve 2016. I had gone to watch my boyfriend play in his band, we had seen the new year in together and it was wonderful. We were in a new relationship, and he was a nice person and not a dick. Flash and I stayed over at his that night and we spent the first day of 2017 together. Along with his best mate.
I then started laughing, as it immediately reminded me that I had signed up to the Beachy Head marathon, and a couple of months after that managed to talk my boyfriends’ mate in to signing up to. Neither of us ran it. For me it was another Wim sickle half arsed effort to return to my sporty ways.
New Years Eve 2017 had been bittersweet. My boyfriend had been in Dubai for about six weeks at this point, he had got a gig playing in a band. Awesome opportunity but meant we we’re suddenly long distance. Yet weirdly I felt so much closer to him because our contact was daily whereas before it hadn’t been. New Years Eve we skyped him. That was entertaining because true to him, he was late calling us and drunk.
New Years Eve 2018 could have easily been a shit show. But it wasn’t because I was out, walking Flash, not drinking.
New Years Day 2019.
I got up, I didn’t feel great the withdrawals were not friendly and they weren’t going away. None the less I went for my run. It was horrible. I mean truly horrible. I was out of shape, out of practise and out of breath. I ran 2.47 miles with an overall elevation of 103 feet. I ran it in 29 minutes and 43 seconds with an average pace of 12 minutes 3 seconds. Previously when I had been running a lot my pace was normally about 10 minutes per mile, so I was 2 minutes off which wasn’t all that bad considering I walked most of the route. I got in and everything hurt, but I felt good, proud even.
1 Year later
New Years Eve 2019.
My plan was the same as last years. Stay home get an early night, run first thing in the morning.
I took Flash out for his final walk at around 10pm. I passed all the same pubs and quite probably some of the same people I had passed the previous year heading into town. I glanced into the window of one of these pubs, it was packed, of course it was it was New Years Eve. I thought, ‘they aren’t my people anymore’
That thought stopped me in my tracks. Flash walked into the back of me I had stopped so suddenly. I lost myself in that thought for a moment just staring into the pub window (from the other side of the road so not like, super creepy), and trickled that thought through my mind again. ‘These aren’t my people anymore’. At no point in this journey or in my life had I ever thought I wouldn’t be a pub person. I said to myself (though I suspect it might have been out loud because the person walking past me did give me a strange look) ‘I’m not a pub person anymore. Not A Pub Person. Holy Crap this is a revelation.’ I mean I had been sober for 8 or so months now, but at the same time I hadn’t thought about it in a real-world sense.
To put this into perspective I had been such a pub person that I had had 3 locals, all of them not only knew me, but they knew what my usual tipple was, and they knew Flash by name. In fact, one of them has a picture of Flash on their wall. A further 6 or 7 pubs, I had frequented enough that they at least recognised Flash. It had been my favourite past time activity to do with my now ex-boyfriend. So much so that when I mentioned to my sister that I was meeting up with my ex for the first time in a year, her immediately reaction was ‘but what will you do?’ I had laughed and said ‘still sit in a pub, only my tipple with be my new usual. Water
Not a pub person.
So, what sort of person am I now, I thought. I mean other than one that stares into pub windows talking to herself. I enjoyed thinking about this.
It felt so much more satisfying to think about who I am now rather than fantasise about who I want to be.
I started out thinking I am a metaphors person, person of the metaphors which quickly escalated, and, in the end, I was a super fantastic curly bonse person with a fluffy side kick and my superpower was toadstools.
I got home, got dressed into my onesie and watched Scrooged whilst cuddling up to Flash on my sofa. He fell asleep, I followed suit.
New Years Day 2020.
I went for my run. I ran 4.06 miles, with an elevation of 440 feet, in 34 minutes and 31 seconds, with an average pace of 8 minutes and 30 seconds. Almost twice are far, more than double the elevation and my average pace was 3 and a half minutes faster than a year ago. Best part was I got home and felt great. So, I danced with Flash, well I say with him I mean I danced in front of him until he walked into another room.
My gosh things we’re different now. Always thinking happy thoughts was fun. I could see how it made the lost boys fly.