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Updated: Dec 24, 2019

I woke up on Day 1 feeling like absolute crap!


I hadn’t had a drink in over 24 hours, I hadn’t stuffed my face with sweets and carbs in a vein attempt to mop up the wine in my tummy either. So, I was feeling it, big time. But I felt different. I didn’t want to hide behind another bottle and a takeaway, I suddenly felt for the first time strong enough to stop running from my past and from the person I was becoming, and that feeling had completely overridden the need to hide.


I had had a long-term relationship, my first serious relationship. From the ages of 20 to 29. So quite literally all of my 20’s. We lived up the road from his family and 250 miles away from mine.


This might seem like a strange thing to say but it was my depression and anxiety that had kept us together for so long. You see he was quite controlling he would sometimes gaslight me and he was selfish. My thoughts and opinions didn’t count. Nothing I did was note-worthy, unless he had achieved something greater. The day I ran my first ever marathon, there was no congratulations he just talked about the fact that he was going to do a challenge far superior to a marathon. This behaviour on his part largely went unchecked because I was too distracted with my mental health to recognise it and my family, we’re too far away to see what was going on.


Things changed when I got therapy. For the first time in years I had been able to see light at the end of the tunnel, and that light was bathing the reality of the situation in those harsh fluorescent strips. I started to essentially confront his behaviour head on. Simple things really. Why is it that I have altered some of my habits because I know they annoy him, and he hasn’t done a damn thing to alter any of his? Why am I not in control of my own wages? The list of questions went on. He hated it, and I wondered if anyone had ever questioned his behaviour before.


We had split up 7 years ago, I had of course dealt with the break and reflected on where and why it all went so very wrong and comes to terms with it. Made my peace with it.

What was new today was the connection I made between him and my dad. My opinion didn’t matter as much as his. My choices in life weren’t as good as his. And no matter how hard I tried I would never ever be good enough. Judging me for the person he thought I ought to be and not accepting me for who I am.


As soon as I realised this I cried. So, Flash come over insisting that stroking him would help. It did. Thing is, it wasn’t tears of sadness. It was tears of relief. Tears of understanding. This is where I had been going wrong.


My relationship with men in general had been moulded by my dad’s example and I always ended up unhappy and frustrated because I was at odds with myself. Half believing that I ought to be grateful for every shred of affection I get no matter how much its wrapped in an insult, and half believing I deserve to be treated so much better than that – but now realising that this is my fault.


I was choosing this again and again and again. Thereby allowing this behaviour to be acceptable and then of course getting treated like crap by people who didn’t even deserve my smile much less anything else.


And so, I sat there, with a pounding head, feeling very sick and crying but I somehow also felt better than I had done in years.


I opened my diary, page 1 and began to write.


‘’Day 1 (29.12.18)

After a booze fuelled 2 days and after finally accepting that if I don’t change, it will kill me. I’m done.

So, sugar detox.30 days (to begin with).

I’m not going to say I will never drink again, but I am going to go cold turkey for the time being.

From this I will also start running again. I am going to run the Brighton Marathon, 2020. 8 years after my first and this time I’m aiming for sub 4 hours.

Why all of this? – because I can’t carry on like this, I’m not dealing with my anger in a healthy way. I want to be physically and mentally healthier. I’ve got 3 ½ years until my 40th. By then I want to be happier, healthier and debt free. I want to have hobbies; I don’t want to let this consume me any longer.

So, here is my mission statement – I will not drink for 90 days, 90 days sober – start from there. I will not eat refined carbs or sugars for at least 30 days, and I will start running again.

I will get some scales.

I must focus on me. This must be it.

I know I will struggle at times.

I know I am stuck in a cycle, my relationship with alcohol has become supremely complicated. I must free myself from this.”

Withdrawal Symptoms

Dull Headache

Nausea

Anxiety

Sweaty

Shudders (at night)

Hallucinations (at night)


“Day 2 (30.12.81)

I had a weird night sleep. Took me ages to drop off, and when I did my head sort of shuddered and I kept twitching. I feel a bit odd this morning. I’m sweating but I’m cold.

I took Flash out for a walk, saw loads of runners, I really wanted to go myself – but I literally need to walk before I can run. I want to settle into this new healthy food thing before I started my running plan. I’m about to have my first decent breakfast since staying at Jenna’s 6 weeks ago.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Dull Headache

Nausea

Anxiety

Sweaty

Shudders (at night)

Hallucinations (at night)


“Day 3 (31.12.18)

I’m itchy today. I think partly because it’s now been 3 days since I last had a drink or had any bread or any sugar, but also because it’s New Years Eve. A classic night for everyone to drink too much. I had been invited out by a couple of different people, but I think I’m just going to stay in. Make a nice meal, stick the TV on watch a movie and go to bed. For tomorrow I will go for my first run in months.”

Withdrawal Symptoms

Dull Headache

Nausea

Anxiety

Sweaty

Dizziness

Fatigue

Shudders (at night)

Hallucinations (at night)


“Day 4 (01.01.19)

2.47-mile run, my pace. 12-minute miles. It was tough. Probably a combination of having not run since October and not being on the detox.

First day of the year and I found an empty wine bottle under the sofa when I was hoovering. I felt disgusted by it. How had I let things get that bad?

The house behind me had had a party last night, I hadn’t heard any of it until I had gone to bed, since my bedroom is at the back of the flat. It was quite entertaining. To begin with I could make out the conversations and they we’re all quite civilised and jovial then, weirdly like a switch had flipped or something they we’re all just suddenly smashed, and I couldn’t understand a single word. It got me thinking about how many times I had tried to hold conversations after having had too much wine and basically how much of a dick I must have sounded, quite a lot of the time.

Today I’m quite itchy. I think it’s more the habit of it than anything else. But remembering my disgust at the wine bottle under the sofa and how much that party had changed through too much booze has really helped my resolve.”

Withdrawal Symptoms

Dull Headache

Nausea

Anxiety

Sweaty

Dizziness

Tingling

Shudders (at night)

Hallucinations (at night)

Run – 2.47 miles. 12-minute mile pace.


Perspective is powerful. Within 4 days of the detox I was simultaneously suffering with 8 different symptoms of withdrawal and I just thought blimey booze and sugar are very obviously bad for you, otherwise your body wouldn’t react so terribly to it being cut out. I mean let’s face it, if you we’re to cut out apples for a week – it’s not going to make you anxious. It might make you think about apple pie a bit more. But you won’t get sweaty or shaky through lack of apples. If I was on the other side of the perspective, I’d be thinking this is terrible, I shouldn’t put my body through this, where’s my purse I’m going to by a beer and a doughnut.


I got through the first 4 days by focusing on my thoughts and my feelings. Not having the distraction of booze was really helping me face my past and deal with it in a healthier way than finding solace at the bottom of a bottle (which never ever ever happened anyway)


Day 5 was my first day back at work after the Christmas break, it was also the day I decided to tell everyone what I was doing. A brilliant motivational tactic by the way. In a dark moment of weakness when your itching for a Snickers or a bottle, realising that if you eat it/drink it and someone asks you how the detox is going – you either have to lie to them about the fact that you failed or you have to be honest and tell them you failed. Either way – it doesn’t feel great.


Next stop …. Withdrawal central….


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