Four weeks without alcohol
Here I am, I have finally hit the four weeks without alcohol. 4 calendar weeks, 28 days! And how do I feel? To be totally honest, all over the place. Let me share.
The first couple of weeks have genuinely been easier than I had anticipated really. Just plodding along, trying not to focus too much on being sober and just letting the time pass. Going to the gym, going to work, like a ‘normal’ person does. This week hit me pretty hard
I had my first real ‘trigger’
I have experienced these in the past, and sometimes fought through, sometimes caved in and got on it. This was the first real strong trigger from this period of sobriety and I forgot just how difficult they can be. Whenever I have tried to give up alcohol before, I sort of justify the difficult times by telling myself “well Alan, you cannot expect to fuck your body and mind up for 20 years and not expect repercussions”. To take any substance that messes with your head for a length of time, it is going to mess with your line of thinking. So, I try and take the rough, don’t question things too much and just try and ride it out.
This time, it was a bit out of the blue. I say out of the blue – maybe I should have known better. I wasn’t really thinking. I was going to the supermarket and my wife’s parents were visiting. They only come over 3-4 times per year as they don’t live in the same town. I was nipping out and by wife asked me to buy her mum a bottle of wine while I was shopping. I did not think anything of it and went out to get some food. There I was going about the shopping trip and I went to the wine aisle, and just out of nowhere – there I was with a bottle of wine in my hand and surrounded by alcohol. I started thinking (very briefly but very real) about getting myself one. It was like being hit very hard and very fast. I came around from the hit within about 10 seconds, but found myself shaking for the rest of the trip.
When I got back to the house (with the wine!), I did not tell my wife about it as I did not want to worry her. She has been with me the past few weeks and is really happy that things are going well with the not drinking. I did not want to worry her. I did tell her a couple of days later and told her that I am quite weaker than I thought, and I would need to keep my guard up and be aware of where I put myself. My wife has always been so supportive, through all crazy aspects of my life and I am very lucky to have her in my corner. She understood and apologised for putting me in that situation – which she really did not have to.
I have stopped taking sleeping aids this week, and honestly sleep has gone to very minimal. For example, last night it was gone midnight before I slept, and I was awake at 2, out of bed at 330 and in the gym for 4am. Note to anyone going through recovery – if you have a 24 hour gym local (they are becoming more commonplace now, I think), join one. Rather than wandering around the house while the family sleep, I find that going the gym is keeping me sane and also burning off any excess energy, in the hope for sleep patterns to normalise. It is only four weeks without alcohol, and I am fully aware that it will take time – as I said earlier – I cannot expect to drink so hard and for so long without repercussions. This is a process, and one that I really have to go through.
Body and health
My body has been hammered over the past four weeks, exercising more than I have done in a very long time. I am starting to feel quite well really, but am putting on quite a bit of weight. I thought that with the calorie deficit of zero alcohol combined with all of this exercising would deal with that, but seemingly not! I am not too concerned for now, more surprised that the weight has not just fell from my body.
I am still getting a numb tingling in my toe. I am not sure if this is lessening or if it is just my imagination/wishful thinking.
I have not had any pains in my right side of my stomach this week. This has been an ongoing thing for a few years now and I just assumed that I have done some damage due to heavy drinking. It is surprising how blase I am about that fact. I just hope that the pain remains gone.
This week, with me stopping sleeping tablets, I have found myself sleeping a lot less – who would have thought! I am hoping this is going to improve, but this week I have been going to bed around 10-11pm and not being able to get asleep right away, and waking up around 3am. I mean awake awake! So, rather than just lying there, I have been going to the gym. I am quite lucky in the fact that we have 2 24hr gyms in our town, although I think they are becoming more commonplace – at least in the UK they are anyway. If you have access to a 24hr gym when trying to give up drinking then I whole-heartedly you take that. Rather than wandering around the house at 2-3 in the morning which I have done in previous attempts to give up drinking, going the gym has been an absolute godsend. It is quite strange going at this time as often I am the only person in a big commercial gym. Well, me and the cleaning staff. But I really do like it. It is far nicer than trying to exercise with a load of pretentious tw@ts around anyway.
I have to say that my mood is been not good this week. Not good at all. If you were to ask my wife, she would agree but probably describe me using some swear words thrown in there.
My appetite is present with a vengeance this week. I try to eat relatively healthy for breakfast, by starting the day with some cereal. I try to keep this going with scrambled egg for lunch (dinner in my part of the country, but lunch in most other places apparently!). It is from here that I have been eating junk, crisps and chocolate. My taste buds have returned due to a lack of smoking, and the lack of drinking is allowing me to be able to actually consume it. A ruthless combination.
I am really happy with the eating side of it all really. When I think back that only 4 weeks ago I could not eat a full meal without feeling sick. This is one of the best aspects of my progress so far really.
I am feeling confident that this time being sober will continue. If I feel that temptation becomes too much then I will learn how to use techniques to counter these, and do them properly.