Yesterday I took the girls into The New Forest with a picnic as the sun was shining and living in the UK you need to make the most of these days, even in the summer months.
We went to the Blackwater Arboretum which is on Ornamental Drive a beautiful road which leads to Rhinefield House.
I do not know much of the history of Rhinefield but know the present house was constructed around 1880 and that numerous dwellings have been built on the site since the time of William the Conqueror.
It is a wonderful building which is now a hotel but has been a hunting lodge, family home a private school and used for special operations in the Second World War. Many of the trees in this area including the Arboretum were planted in the late 1850’s and are simply stunning. The way they reach to the sky, they are tall, grand and a sight to behold.
There are many species of tree in this area from all over the world including Norway, USA, Canada and Japan. My favourite yesterday was the Douglas Fir but it changes every time I visit as the trees change during the different seasons, weather and light.
Something else which struck me yesterday was the wonderful bird song all around, so sweet, tuneful and complimented my surroundings perfectly.
The arboretum seemed more tranquil this visit through my sober eyes and ears.
I love coffee prepared in every way, I am a true coffee lover. I like it all, espresso, black, white and frothy, but I am drinking too many cups a day. My consumption has definitely increased this year, it seems that when I gave up my evening wine I started to use coffee as a treat and now sip on the bean all day.
Now that I have more or less come to terms with giving up alcohol it’s time to take a look at some of the new bad habits I have picked up along the way.
On Monday this week I had 1 less cup of coffee, yesterday 3 less cups, today I think I have drunk 4 less cups. Instead of drinking it throughout the day I am allowing myself a cup when I get up to help ease me into the day and 1 later on.
Green drinks have been introduced to the morning routine instead, full of goodness and zing. Kale, spinach, avocado, courgette, cucumber, broccoli, ginger, mint, basil, apples, if it’s green it’s allowed in. It’s a great way for me to get lovely raw veggies into the family too as non of the goodness is lost in cooking process. Win win.
I think when I was drinking alcohol I didn’t notice the effects coffee had on me, I didn’t get a buzz and I didn’t feel the crash after but now my body is so much cleaner and brighter I am noticing the effects the bean is having on me. Also when I crash my patience with what ever I am doing at the time tends to crash to.
So caffeine vs green, day 4 and I am feeling the benefits, I’ll never give up drinking coffee mind, I like it too much and do deserve some little pleasures in life.
Now I know coconuts are not new and have been enjoyed by people in warm climates since time began however they haven’t always been sold in the supermarket, chilled perfectly sweet and ready to drink with a straw. Not in my part of world to my knowledge.
I won’t be missing a glass of chilled Sauvignon Blanc this summer in the garden with one of these beauties in my hand. Well not as much anyway! Absolutely delicious and so refreshing.
New research also shows that the coconut can help in preventing and/or improving brain dysfunctions such as Alzheimer’s disease, we sadly have a history of this disease in my family. I’m not sure how many I would need to drink to help me but I’ll be enjoying plenty during my sober sunny summer.
So this is what day 100 feels like, I’ve been waiting patiently for its arrival and I have enjoyed living in it. I’ve been to work, played with the children ate a lovely fish supper and squeezed in some yoga. To celebrate I had a cup of Earl Grey Tea, personally I think it tastes a bit like bath oils but it made a nice change.
Im feeling content just now, so am going to sit back and enjoy it whilst it lasts. No 5am alarm tomorrow either, double boom.
Living on the coast means fresh fish and fresh fish for supper is always wonderful.
This lovely image of the quay was taken by my friend so I thought I would share it with you. Our quay is beautiful and quaint, it has a few cottages, the lifeboat station, a pub, a cafe, a park and a little ferry to the other side of the water where the wealthy have their beach huts. It also has a little shop selling the catch brought in by the fishing boats and a lovely smell.
I’m just keeping my head down now to make sure I make it to Sunday as I have had a couple of unexpected wobbles this week and I have learnt that even though I have almost reached day 100, when something happens to spike my stress levels my brain still says “a drink would be good, a drink will help your nerves”.
As I was clearing up the towels and rubber ducks from the children’s bath time I suddenly heard the most awful shriek, I ran out onto the hall way to find my 2 year old stood at the top of the stairs holding an open stair gate in her hand, looking down the stairs with her mouth wide open. My 1 year old had fallen down the stairs, she looked up at me crying as I ran down to gather her up in my arms. I collected her and went straight back up the stairs to comfort my 2 year old at the same time who was also upset.
I’m not sure what words came out of my mouth when I realised what had happened but I know the F word was blurted out somewhere, I was shocked, and both my babies were to. We all hugged and I told my eldest it was an accident and that she was not in trouble. Luckily my baby was unharmed and probably bounced all the way however once everyone had calmed down I noticed my thoughts had jumped to alcohol, I felt sick and knew it wouldn’t help but it was all I could think about for sometime after the event. I have no idea how the gate was opened, I obviously hadn’t closed it properly and felt dreadful.
So stress still makes me want to drink, I wonder the desire will dwindle as I put more time and distance between me and the booze.
Last night my partner congratulated me on reaching day 90 of sobriety and asked me if I had decided what to do after the 10th April which is the day I run through the ribbon and reach the finishing line of my 100 day challenge.
The challenge I was so scared to accept from myself, the challenge that really highlighted just how often I drank, almost everyday. I was sure I wouldn’t reach my goal and go more than 3 days without an alcoholic drink let alone 100. I really thought I would fail, I had know idea what a ride this would be and boy am I pleased that I did embark on this epic journey of discovery. I have discovered me. I discovered that I can live without alcohol, go for dinner and enjoy food, talk to people, deal with good days and the bad ones, congratulate, celebrate and commiserate all without booze.
He asked me if I had to be so black and white with it, if I could just enjoy a drink every now and again.
I explained to my partner that by introducing alcohol back into my life would mean undoing all the good I have done so far and I know I still do not have a”in moderation”setting. It would make every day difficult again, every day I would be asking myself if I would drink, if I have deserved it, if I’m going to drive, was it a good day, bad day, or maybe just the one. By eliminating alcohol from the equation I eliminate all the questions that need answers and quite frankly the questions are exhausting.
I have no idea if I will have a drink again, perhaps one day in my very distant future I will, but I know that I have come to far just now but still not far enough to take that drink, I have not experienced and absorbed all the benefits of being sober yet.
My original challenge was to reward myself with £100 to buy something new and shiny for the kitchen but I couldn’t wait that long and during my sober process have treated myself to the food processor and a coffee machine so instead I am going to use the money to pay the deposit on a little holiday for the family in autumn and take my mum too. We all deserve it.