587 Days

I often bleat on about the endless rewards of being sober. Endless? Well, that’s what it feels like – I mention one thing and often find myself thinking of several more miraculous rewards of recovery and struggle to shut up. 587 days sober today, so can I name 587 rewards? That’s not even CLOSE to “endless”, right?

  1. Waking up without a hangover never gets old.
  2. My morning coffee tastes epic! I couldn’t drink coffee in the mornings when I was drinking because it made me feel even worse, even though I freaking LOVE coffee. Now though, it’s my favourite thing. Even as I’m going to bed the night before I’m looking forward to a clear head, strong body and non-hangover morning coffee.
  3. When I’m ill I still feel a million times better than I ever did when I was drinking. Who knew bog standard lousy could be so fucking awesome??
  4. I can with ease do things I couldn’t before. Like write this blog post – when I was drinking I was simply too foggy to form coherent thoughts or do anything that required even the tiniest bit of focus.
  5. Running is just too damn great and even when I’m not quite in the mood or I feel sluggish I can still do it. When I was drinking I’d always say I’d be happy if I could run just 5k regularly, but it was an unattainable goal as I could barely get myself out of the house, never mind run. Now, a 5k loop is my shortest run when I’m either short of time or feeling a little unwell. Yes, I can run 5k WITH EASE even when I’m feeling shit. I’ve run 5k with severe period cramps, thank you very much. Something that was once something of an impossible dream is now not just reality but something recovery has allowed me to not just do but SMASH. As I said – with ease too.
  6. I love taking care of myself – every night I wash my face and use fancy serums and creams to look after my skin. When I was drinking I’d never do this, never used to wash off my make-up.
  7. I’m able to stick with things and work steadily towards goals.
  8. I’m able to do and be my best at work and know every day on my way home that my being there made a difference. It’s really satisfying to put in a day’s good work and know in your heart you’ve done a good job.
  9. I honour my commitments. Cancelling at the last minute and being a no-show friend is a thing of the past.
  10. I’m there for others when they need me. Because I take care of myself and fulfil my own needs (be it emotional or physical via e.g. exercise) there is now enough of me to give to others.
  11. When I can’t be there for someone else, I say so. I don’t let people down like I used to.
  12. MORNINGS – I fucking LOVE mornings!!
  13. I even fucking love MONDAYS!
  14. Decisions are thought through, considered and sensibly made.
  15. I can face anything life throws at me. Things that would have been disasters before, I can deal with. Even when they ARE disasters.
  16. Being a highly sensitive person I feel everything strongly and I love that nothing now gets lost in booze fuelled numbness. Good and bad. Sure, it’s hard work feeling everything as acutely as I do, but I’m learning to love being me.
  17. I’ve discovered I have lots to give to the next person. And do.
  18. I’m no longer doing a job I’ve chosen because it’s all I can muster due to always being wrecked by hangovers. I now do something I truly believe in for a living because it’s what I want to do and working hard to carve out a REAL path in the world of addiction treatment. I’m in a job that requires a lot of me but I’m able to do it because I’m not destroyed by booze. I’m able to do it because my mind is clear and focused. Always! Every day my mind is clear. And even when I’m having a bad day, be it feeling under the weather or being sad, I can still focus. This is awesome.
  19. I look in the mirror and see a woman I love – she’s kind, she’s smart, she’s funny, she’s got a good heart, she works hard, she’s dependable, she’s a little quirky and some days she even looks quite pretty.
  20. I’m a good mother to my son. No longer do I swing on a pendulum from short tempered due to being hungover to saying yes to everything out of guilt due to being drunk. Bambino can rely on me now. Yes is yes and no is no. I deliver on my promises. He recently told me when I got stuck in traffic and was a little late picking him up that he never worried about me turning up. “I knew you’d be here because when you say you’ll do something, you do it“, he told me. I couldn’t hold back the tears of joy and embarrassed him, but I don’t care – that was quite possibly the most magical reward of recovery to date hearing my child say that. He had to wriggle free from his weepy mama.
  21. I’m a much nicer wife too. No more drunken rows I’ve somehow started but don’t remember the next morning.
  22. When my husband asked me how my day was it used to piss me off because I was an underachieving drunk and my days were often unproductive and uninspired. Now, when he asks, I’m bubbling over wanting to talk about it because what I did MATTERS and I feel so good about it.
  23. I can fulfil my potential – and I am! – now that I’m sober.
  24. I’m good at taking care of important stuff. My husband is no longer the only adult and can rely on me to share the big decisions. He can leave things to me and know I’ll sort it out.
  25. TIME! Time is on my side and there’s heaps of it! It really is staggering how much time is taken up by addiction. I have ridiculous amounts on with work and studying but I can fit so much in now that I don’t spend all my free time in that damn bottle.
  26. I don’t miss the end. At the cinema, at a show, at a concert – whatever it may be, I’m there from start to finish. Nothing is blurry or hazy. Or in black-out. I don’t have my addiction to feed so I can relax and enjoy the ride. And I do. Every. Single. Time. And the encore too.
  27. I remember what I said and did.
  28. I never have to play detective or search in the bin or go through my phone to figure out what Drunk Me did the night before.
  29. Shame is something I very rarely feel.
  30. I can – and do – look anyone in the eye and stand up for who I am, where I’ve come from, what I’ve been through and where I’m headed and I do so with pride.
  31. I mean what I say.
  32. “NO” is a great word and I use it. Often.
  33. I don’t compromise on my values or beliefs. I stand firm.
  34. I am free and have inner peace. Being free of the slavery of addiction makes me feel giddy with joy. Life is pretty stress-free even when it’s stressful.
  35. My blood pressure and resting heart rate are perfect. When I was drinking I often had very low blood pressure and a very high heart rate. I do still get palpitations on occasion but it’s rare. My ticker is very happy that I’m sober!
  36. I stand up in the shower!! When I was drinking I used to have to crouch because I was terrified of slipping and smashing my head open on the taps because I was so dizzy, weak and shaky. No more! I can fucking STAND in the shower. Sometimes I do a little wiggle to celebrate and sing too.
  37. No more mystery injuries! No more strange bruises I can’t account for.
  38. I no longer have to hide my keys from… …..myself. I never knew that weird asshole I become in black-out, but that lunatic got up to all sorts of crazy shit so I used to hide my keys from… ..er… ..her. This was to prevent her, er… me… from leaving the house in the middle of the night.
  39. I no longer have to leave notes for myself anywhere. Like “DON’T GO ON FACEBOOK” on my laptop or “DON’T CALL OR TEXT ANYONE” by my phone.
  40. Looking at my phone in the morning doesn’t fill me with dread and anxiety anymore because I know who I’ve spoken to or texted and anything I’ve said I meant. No more nasty surprises from Drunk Me.
  41. I don’t have to drink today. Feeling so free is amazing. I DON’T HAVE TO DRINK!
  42. When I go out for a drink with Hubby I don’t feel stressed because there’s no booze to stress over. I just enjoy his company and feel totally relaxed. Before I always used to feel irritable and stressy because I finished my drinks much faster and had to wait for him before getting another round.
  43. It’s no longer strange to order a soda instead of a glass of wine. Honestly, it doesn’t really occur to me anymore, whereas once upon a time that seemed inconceivable. In the beginning it was a bit weird and uncomfortable but I genuinely don’t think about it anymore. Sober is my normal now. I FUCKING LOVE THAT!!!!!!!
  44. Nervous in social situations? Me? Not one bit. I happily socialise with Hubby’s work colleagues (who I used to find intimidating – they’re all VIP of this, Chief Executive that) and get along fine with anyone it might be, prince or pauper. I got this.
  45. Scared of speaking up? Me? Not at all. I often run groups at the rehab and although it did scare me shitless in the beginning and took a long time getting over (even months in I’d have palpitations and be shaky because of nerves), I do it now without a care in the world.
  46. I can face anything – old ghosts I’m no longer scared to rumble. I can face anyone and anything. Even when I’ve fucked up or have to face fuck-ups by Drunk Me from many moons ago.
  47. I now indulge one of my passions again – reading! I’m forever reading books, just like I used to before I sank into addiction. I always have four or five on the go: one or two audiobooks I listen to in the car to and from work, then a paperback and a couple on my Kindle that I switch between in the evenings depending on what I feel like reading. My book budget is sizeable but still only a fraction of what my drinking used to cost.
  48. To date I’ve not drunk over £10,000. 19+ months of sobriety and that’s a conservative estimate. We’d probably head to the pub three or four evenings per week and have at least two rounds there, a round being roughly £15 for my large glass of wine and Hubby’s pint of cider. Two of those = £30. Then add another couple of bottles of wine I’d drink back home to perhaps max one for Hubby.
  49. Oh, and Hubby is feeling healthier too – he isn’t an addict like me, but ended up drinking a lot more than he normally would because I dragged him down with me. He now drinks the way he did before he met me: perhaps two or three nights per week and when he does it’s a couple of beers or a couple of glasses of wine. In these 19+ months I’ve seen him a little tipsy perhaps three or four times.

…speaking of which, Hubby just walked in all cute and smiley. God, I’m so into him, he’s just glorious. Beautiful, beautiful man, with the biggest heart. Me, I haven’t showered because even though I went for a long walk this morning I’m going to go for a run. Best get going. Seems I only got to less than 10% of the list but I didn’t run out of things to say about the rewards of recovery – my fingers have not once slowed down in their tapping and dancing across the keyboard – so I shall get back to this challenge another time. Perhaps see if I can list 1,000 rewards. It doesn’t strike me as hard at all, honestly, simply because there’s forever moments when I’m overcome with gratitude at the life I now have.

Here’s to another day.

Today I’m not going to drink.


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