Five weeks in! Go me!
Since my last blogs, which were in the first two weeks when my resolve was strong, and the first two weekends were busy with house guests swarming, things have changed a little.
Life settled back into it’s normal, guest-free rhythm. Work and school all week, followed by weekends at home on the farm. For various reasons, I’ve never managed to cultivate a busy, active social life living here in the Southern Highlands. It’s very different to my old life where I always had strong friend networks and social events on all the time. I had a tribe, in fact I had several tribes. Whilst I have a few friends here, who I value very highly, I have never really found my tribe.
The upshot of this is that when my old tribe isn’t visiting (which is most of the time), my weekends are very quiet. I’m home on the farm, catching up with the weeks’ housework, planning meals, and trying – usually unsuccessfully – to minimise my daughters time on the iPad.
Now to some of you busy, overbooked people out there, that might sound like heaven. I remember a time I dreamed of a weekend with no plans. It’s just that these days, I have no plans pretty much every weekend.
So, let me get the point before this dissolves into yet another whinge-fest. My point is that I’ve realised that it’s not so much socialising that is a trigger for me to drink alcohol, it’s boredom. Without realising it, in recent years on those weekends where I’ve nothing to do but housework, cooking or parenting, I’ve found myself totally, mind-numbingly bored.
So what to I do? Crack a beer of course! Why not? It’s 3 in the afternoon, Andy’s started (he has that annoying ability to stop if he wants to so he starts early in anticipation of going to bed early), may as well get going. Two beers lead to white wine and together we ease into Saturday night.
Weekends, therefore, are a trigger for me, but not for the reasons I expected; what triggers me more than socialising is boredom.
For those reading this imagining that I’m black-out drunk in front of my kid by 5pm, let me defend myself and be clear. Firstly, I would ease into it. A 3pm start doesn’t mean I’m hiding in the pantry swigging wine straight from the bottle. Secondly, I am – for want of a better expression – a very good drinker.
By that I mean that I can function very well on booze. I don’t go off the rails doing stupid shit. I don’t slur my words unless it’s very late and been a very big night, which would generally only happen if we have company. I can function as a
good wife and mother. The dinner gets cooked and served, the kitchen gets cleaned, the kid is looked after and loved. A friend recently commented that I could be 1.5 bottles in and you’d never know it.
I don’t get in the car and drive, and I don’t call everyone I know tearfully telling them I love them. I don’t pick fights. I just get on with having a quiet Saturday afternoon/night at home with my little family. I don’t say all that to brag, in fact I see it as a curse. I know people who don’t drink because when they do, they do or say stupid shit and get themselves into trouble. I never had that barrier (with a few notable exceptions through the years, nobody’s perfect).
And now, five weeks alcohol free (or AF as they say in the sober community) the biggest challenges for me so far are 1) I have suddenly become acutely aware how bored I am and have been with my life and 2) what the hell do I do now to fill the many, many freed up hours that were previously filled with a couple of beers and a bottle (sometimes more) of wine?
So, if I’m to continue successfully on this AF path (btw I haven’t yet made any decisions on if this is forever or just 100 days), I need to spice up my life, find ways to entertain myself while still meeting my family obligations. I’m not a hobby person, but it looks like I’m going to have to find one. They say it’s good to be bored, that boredom fires up the creative juices. Boredom leads to progress.
I’ve also realised in my new sober clarity that no one can do it for me, it’s up to me. I have been guilty of trying to shift the blame in the past – to Andy for wanting to live on a farm, to motherhood, to my friends daring to live their lives and not entertaining me every weekend. But the only person that can make changes to make myself happier is me. I know that now.