I have to share my thoughts on The Sober Diaries. I just finished it last night and it was great. Definitely a book I will read again and again. I always love a book that I'm excited to get back to. Once everyone goes to bed, a good book is like a good Netflix series, where you just have to keep reading (or watching). I do not have the patience for a book where I'm skimming over several pages to get to another good part.
Here are five things that stand out for me from The Sober Diaries. You can also read her blog at Mummy Was a Secret Drinker.
- The Wine Witch will always be there - A loving term for that professional nagger in your head that goads you into giving into a vice, the wine witch seems to never quite go away. Clare does suggest that, by not giving into your vice, the wine witch gets weaker but there will always be a time when her voice pops up. During health scares, major life challenges - or even celebrations - we should always be ready and prepared to say no to the wine witch. Reviewing why you quit drinking, how you will feel the next day and not romanticizing your previous relationship with your vice can help.
- The positives of a sober lifestyle seem limitless - After just a couple of weeks, I have already started to experience some positives from kicking the drink. Better sleep, a clearer head (and skin!) and, of course, feeling more confident because I know I'm making better decisions are all benefits to giving up wine. But Clare says that it keeps getting better. Relationships, friendships, opportunities and health all seem to improve - but she says the trick is to stop having so many "Day 1s" - the farther away you get from Day 1, the better your journey becomes. She details it wonderfully in a blog post titled the Obstacle Course. There is no way I could sum it up better so go have a look!
- Parenting is a job that is best done sober - There are so many funny memes out there that joke about parenting being fueled by coffee and wine. (I still need my coffee!!) And I, of course, have shared them, laughed at them and agreed wholeheartedly in them. But I know that I'm more patient, more in the moment and more fun to be around when I'm not always searching for a glass of wine. I used to subscribe to the fact that I am more relaxed and, therefore a better mommy, when I have a glass of wine in my hand. But it honestly just gets in the way. If I have a glass (or three) of wine at night, I become lazy and selfish. I send the kids off to bed without brushing their teeth, without seeing the joy in telling them the same story five times in a row because they are asking to hear it again (and again!). I wake up tired, grumpy and not wanting to make them lunch. So I rush them through breakfast because we woke up late and purchase their lunch at school - not that there is anything wrong with buying lunch at school of course. But when I wake up refreshed and confident, I enjoy cutting up carrot sticks and scooping out apple sauce. I should have taken a picture of their lunches today! So much color and fresh food. I just know that it makes me a better parent. And my thinking has changed on incorporating alcohol into every event. It's just not necessary.
- Working through feelings is the best way to stay sober - There are some statistics out there that say a craving - whether it's for food, wine or other vices - only lasts a few minutes. Rather than distracting myself, I strike up a conversation with the wine witch to work things out. "I know you want me to give into a glass of wine, because by now it's a habit. I think it will make me feel better, but let me just walk through all the reasons I know this not to be true." Instead of smashing down whatever feeling I have, I try to work through it. I'm a human so I'm going to be surly, tired, mad or jealous sometimes. I am not a robot where I only think happy thoughts. So if I have better ways to manage feelings I don't like, the more successful I can be.
The British think Americans calling the "loo" a bathroom is silly - particularly when many "bathrooms" don't even have bath tubs. :-) This made me smile as I honestly never thought it that way.
Are there any books you've recently read that helped you battle (and conquer!) you're addiction? Would love to hear about them and even what you learned.