100 Days Without Booze: Self Care is a Selfless Act
I have now passed my quarter way mark (25 days) on the 100 Day Challenge of no alcohol, and as I type this I am on Day 30, which is pretty much a month people! This week has been a good week on the whole. Highlights have included a sunny, magical walk in Bushy Park with the husband and dog amongst deer and squirrels, a pig-out roast (where I could justify eating seconds as I wasn’t consuming wine or beer calories), theatre with the Honest Little One at the Bush theatre, and yet more hot yoga and epic running training. Another highlight of this week has been that I have been starting to notice some interesting changes in my body and body clock since I removed booze from my bloodstream.
Firstly, I have been waking up naturally before my alarm goes off in the morning. Very peculiar! This never happens to me unless something big is happening that I am nervous about missing, like an early flight or the first day of school. I have always been adamant that I need 8 hours sleep at least! But since I started the challenge I am finding that’s the maximum hours I need to sleep and most days I wake up naturally after six am. I then have time to lie in bed and wake up slowly, coming to terms with the morning, rather than dragging myself out of bed heavily and cursing my job and my life.
I have more energy at school. After school rehearsals for the school musical have already kicked in, as well as GCSE Drama rehearsals, and Drama and History teaching. Last year I was not coping with the long hours. I would get to the end of a 11 hour day in school and I would be twitching from being run down and tired. And I mean full blown, head- swivelling- on- its- axis-like-the-Exorcist twitching. This would actually happen as I was driving home from school as well, so it had become a little dangerous. Subsequently, I went to the doctors and got referred to a Neurologist. I had a ECG, an MRI scan and blood tests. After all that, having tests all over the shop, the results revealed that there was nothing technically wrong with me. I am “just a bit special” were the exact words of the Neurologist. Great! Thanks! So there was nothing I could do to stop myself twitching like the priest zombie in 28 Days Later; I just had to live with it. Except, now, without any alcohol in my system, I don’t twitch anymore! Apart from in the brief period in the morning when I am halfway between sleep and waking. I am a half-zombie. I have been pulled back from the brink of zombiedom.
The shock of standing again under the wide pale sky, completely exposed. This must be what the oyster feels when the lemon juice falls. Bad News, Edward St Aubyn.
Sobriety and Mindfulness
I find, without a hangover, just walking around to be so much more uplifting than normal. When hungover, tired and ill I usually walk along the streets, park or countryside with my eyes glued to the floor or on my phone, as sometimes it hurts to look up into the light of the sky, or I am fearful of making eye contact with a passersby as they might look into my eyes and see the darkness of my hungover soul. Paranoia consumes me. Now well and sober, however, my heart is light and I can look up into the sky and see things I wouldn't see otherwise. A passing plane leaving white trails behind it, leaves on the trees rustling in the breeze, a squirrel running up a tree. All the details around me fill me up and I am learning to appreciate my surroundings so much more and just live in the moment. And more importantly, I love not feeling hungover and having a body that is light and free from pain and blockages. You know that feeling after Christmas when you have been over indulging in booze and food everyday, and you feel like a hippopotamus?And all the toxins have been building up in your body and making you ache in places you didn’t know existed?! Yeah, well, not drinking for four weeks is the opposite of that feeling. You feel alive in places you didn’t know existed! Until you get a cold, which I now have, and I feel rubbish! Clearly sobriety has done nothing for my immunity levels!
Feeling the love
Everyone has been so supportive and complimentary about my blog, particularly my work colleagues who have read it. I have had moments coming into school where I have worried that some of my more revealing blogs might be judged. If I was hungover, however, that paranoia would have been off the richter scale and I probably would have avoided the staff room like Trump avoids Mexico. I needn’t have worried, everyone has been so kind and it has made the whole honesty process a lot less scary. On and off-line people have been opening up to me about their woes, alcohol related or not. It seems that no one is 100% sane. Which is remarkably reassuring.