So apparently, my sister tells me, I got the name of the requested post wrong, and it should be furiously sober yoga mummy not furious sober yoga mummy! There is a difference, but I’ll get to that.
This post emerged in a twofold way. There can be nothing worse, when you are in a bad place, than people telling you that everything is wonderful, and everything is positive. It used to make me feel angry, hopeless and frustrated to be told that being grateful and being positive would make everything better. How could anyone possibly be so patronising and simplistic?!
Now I realise the outrageous hypocrisy of saying this when my blog is stuffed full of be grateful, be positive and change your thinking information. But I do this for two reasons; firstly because I know that when I was actively trying to quit drinking, reading about how things could be better, gave me real hope that I could stop drinking and be happy, and secondly being grateful and positive actually does help, you just have to be in the right place to hear it.
The times I didn’t want to hear were the times that I felt completely trapped. When I had sunk into funk and didn’t want to fight anymore. When I was in this mindset, it was not the time to hear about gratitude and positivity. Ultimately this mindset was extremely destructive for me and never helped me to reach my goal, but if you need more on that, have a read of my posts How to build a life you do not want to escape from or Change your thoughts to change your life.
I am writing this post because I want to show you that my blog is not some social media bollocks. I am not trying to convince you or myself that my life is completely sorted and I am not trying to say my life is now some problem free, Facebook picture perfect existence. Of course it isn’t! I am a working, overwrought, far too driven mother of 3, to say it’s perfect would be disingenuous, and also nonsense. What I am trying to give you hope that, despite all that life throws at us, we can have a better and happier future.
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So back to my sister’s word distinction.
I booked a night in Norfolk for the girls (mother, sister and me) and children (niece and my boys). I love the sea and have been told many times how beautiful the Norfolk beaches are, so I thought we’d go and have a look. Bit too far for a day trip, so I booked a last minute Air BnB. We packed up, beach ready, and drove what seemed like endless hours to get to Holkham beach.
Now, I think as children get older, people forget exactly how difficult toddlers are. So they plan and do things that ‘normal people’ can do and enjoy. ‘Normal people’ do not have toddlers. This whole trip was an example. My sister and mother thought it would be fun to stop, on the way to the beach, in a pretty town and have a browse of the shops. After finally finding a parking spot, I decided it would be a good idea to throw my car keys, to my locked car, in the bin. Not any bin, a proper metal bin with little slits on the side. I literally did not know what to do. I phoned My Love, just on the off chance he could rescue me from this nightmare situation from 100 miles away! Bizarrely, just as I was beginning to freak out, a boy came across the road from a shop with a grabber devise. He had also thrown something in, and instead of freaking out – a la me – he went to borrow a grabber from the shop. With a lot of digging around and a horrendous smell, I got his toy and my keys out.
Then ‘browsing’. The baby was like a naughty whirlwind, going through expensive, boutiquey, ‘we don’t do children’ shops. When he wasn’t instigating the destruction of the shops, he was running out and trying to play with the cars on the road. Great, good start to our fun trip away.
Eventually I dragged my mother out of the shops and on the way to the beach, my niece wanted to show us the old-fashioned sweet shop she had been to before. Queue expensive sugar filled nightmare for The Baby and diabetic nightmare for The Bear.
By the time we reached the beach – 3pm at this point – I had kind of lost my enthusiastic edge already but I was going to persist -we’d come to see the sea hadn’t we. The sea calms me and I love it. Hardi bloody har!!! What my sister had failed to mention was that the ‘beach’ was about half a mile through a forest and then another miles (probably more but we never made it) to the water. Great for their dogs, not so great for my toddler! The Baby, cannot walk at the same pace as everyone else so they charged ahead while the baby and I lagged behind. Halfway across the beach with the remnants of my enthusiasm clinging desperately onto the edges of my sanity, the sky released its full fury. I have never, ever, ever been in rain like it. The Baby and I had rain clothes on but they had soaked right through in 2 minutes. As we reached that two minutes, I watched my wet phobic mother and her little doggy charge past me back to the car without so much as a glance of offer of assistance. Following closely behind her were the rest of the children and my sister plus doggy.
The only person who stopped to help with wet – now crying and wanting to be carried across wet sand – giant lump of a baby, was The Bot. He even offered to give him a piggyback for a bit – but then his wellies started rubbing and giving him cuts on the backs of his legs, which mixed with wet sand was not a good combination. He eventually had to take the wellies off and walk in bare feet which was freezing! Wet cold miserable baby, wet cold miserable son, and wet cold miserable mummy.
At some point someone must have realised that we were not appearing at the car because my sister came back to offer a hand. She picked up The Baby, told me how wonderful the rain was, asked why on earth I had a problem – ‘wasn’t it fun?’ ‘why did I have a problem with wet children?’, ‘hadn’t I ever camped before?’. Sorry my lovely sister, I was ready to kick you then back then!
I Iove the rain, but when it’s cold with no shower in sight, I am not so great at being in it! Same with sea, lakes, streams – anything wet! I am absolutely certain that my raging anxiety before the Greenman Festival was exacerbated by the unpleasantness of this experience. A week of showerless rain?!!
Having made it back to the car, wet clothes stripped off everyone, car stinking of wet dog, I attempted to find the house I had rented for the night. Thankfully although far, it was a pretty painless trip. By the time the bags were in and everyone had finished fighting about who was sleeping where, it was way past food time for The Baby and the Bear. We had no food and no clue where the shop was. My anxiety was running pretty high by now, I dumped the children with my mother and dragged my sister to a supermarket. She stocked up on G&T while I stocked up on rose lemonade – and food of course!
I find it so hard, despite years of children and 7 years of The Bear’s diabetes, when food times or food availability is messed with. Although I am so much better, my head goes into overdrive about what carbohydrate ratio he is on at what time, whether his blood sugar is going low because it’s so late without food and what effect the time he is eating will have on his blood sugars for the rest of the night – none off this is helped by The Baby vocally telling me he is hungry.
While the food was cooking, I was freaking out and took myself off to the conservatory, with my rose lemonade, to have a moments peace listening to the rain. It was at this point that my sister came to join me and suggested that I write the post furious sober yoga mummy. Or so I thought.
You see furious sober yoga mummy implies that like all people, I can be furious as well as happy as well as frustrated as well sad and a whole other host of emotions. Whereas furiously sober yoga mummy implies that I am experiencing those emotions because I am trying to stay sober.
NOT AT ALL!!
Don’t get me wrong, before I stopped drinking. Furiously sober was what I was almost every evening that I couldn’t drink, or every time I tried to quit for a while. Each pregnancy was 9 months of being furiously sober! But that isn’t me anymore. I am so happy that I do not have the cravings that made me furious anymore. All the work I put into myself and changing my habits has led to a craving free sobriety. For more on this see How to stop alcohol cravings and How to beat the alcohol illusion.
Maybe you are reading this and thinking that I really am a moan pot! Maybe I should have taken it all with a sense of humour, maybe I should have been able to shake it off and not let it affect the whole evening. Maybe I will do that in the future, maybe not. I am just me, experiencing emotions and trying to muddle my way through life and family. Hoping that one day everything I am learning and putting into practice will make situations that cause anxiety easier to manage.
The great thing about sobriety is knowing that these crappy emotions don’t last. If drinking, I would have drunk too much, and all it would have accomplished was adding another layer of guilt and anger with myself on top of the other emotions. I may even have verbally kicked my lovely sister (sorry darling!) Helpful? I think not!
Sobriety is not going to cure you of emotions or difficult times.
This summer we have had bereavement, grief, job stress, marital rows about parenting and a toddler who our neighbours kindly call – ‘full of character’! Added to it the usual joys of all being together for far too long.
One thing I have realised is that things get far harder to manage when I go into my head and start over thinking. When I think too much, I feel a huge weight of responsibility for the happiness of everyone around me. My own struggles with mental health make me very fearful of anyone I love having to experience that same thing.
For example, I take 1-2 hours a week to write this blog. Doesn’t seem much but in reality, it’s huge! If The Baby wakes up early, like now, I take the chance to write it while he watches a bit of Netflix – not great parenting but I’m OK with this one while everyone else is asleep. But God forbid I have to do it at another time. If I write it in the evening I feel guilty about not giving My Love enough attention – maybe I’ll ruin our marriage?! If I do it while the boys are playing, I feel guilty that I’m not giving them enough attention – maybe this will affect their self-esteem?! If I write with The Baby without Netflix – no chance! I feel guilty if My Love cleans or cooks or tidies up when I am writing it because I should be helping – maybe he’ll start resenting me?! I feel guilty and annoyed when the boys and My Love start arguing – maybe they’ll fall out so badly that the boys will want to live with their father and be emotionally scarred for life?!
As you can tell, retreating into my head is a bad idea! So I am carrying on with my journey, trying to put everything I have learnt and written about into everyday practice, not just for sobriety now but for happiness. And it is working! Although I still have emotions and days like Norfolk that completely overwhelm me, I am predominantly happy.
What I can say is that nothing, absolutely nothing I have been through would have been made better with alcohol.
If you prefer to read books, a few that may help you are