During my drinking years, my first waking thought was a dull, painful, despairing “What’s wrong with me?”, a thought that created the unexpressed sob of sadness, lodged, frozen in my chest, cooling the warmth of my loving heart , and all because I had drunk too much the night before, as I did every ‘night before’.
Each day , without fail, I would look in the mirror, into my frightened of life eyes, and promise myself that I would not drink tonight.
In all my promised ‘not tonight’s’ I would be the sober, engaged, emotionally stable mother, partner, friend I longed to be, but couldn’t quite find. And I would mean those promises from the bottom of my wounded heart.
Today would be the day that everything changed, that I changed.
Today would be the first day of my in control drinking life – I never promised myself a ‘never drinking again’ life – let’s not get carried away here, the thought of that was terrifying. No, I would settle for a safely ‘not every night drinking’ life. My decision was made (again).
And I would feel a little better about myself. Just enough for me to face my day and one-in-a-million son, with a crushing hug of love and a smile of hope, if not quite the happiness we both deserved.
But unbelievably, every day as the hours slipped by, my thinking would shift and the old thoughts of alcohol would, seemingly out of nowhere, sneak back in and, as they settled, they grew, literally multiplying in size and intensity, as I attempted to calm them, to control them, to plead with them, to find ways of working my way around them. It was both exhausting.
I would be pleading with myself, to protect me from me. To protect my health, my wellness, my mothering, and what almost felt like my sanity, from the harsh noise in my head.
I would be begging me to stop, and for reasons I never understood (but do completely now), I couldn’t/wouldn’t, and ultimately didn’t listen, and again, as with almost every night for 28 years, I seemingly ignored every instinct for my wellbeing and the wellbeing of my son, and drank, in tears after the first few sips (scratch that, gulps).
The constant cry from my heart, during those sad, isolating times, where I was so far from who I knew myself to be somewhere deep inside was, “What’s wrong with me?” and “Why can’t I change?”
And the answer, the simple compassionate answer, that I now know to be absolutely true of myself, and true of you too, is that nothing was wrong with me (or you).
I wasn’t broken, or flawed, I wasn’t weak or a failure, I just didn’t know how to stop, and nor do you. Because if you did, by God you would.
I hope that your drinking life isn’t the same chaos as mine. But the fact that you are taking the time to read this, means that you drink in a way that concerns you, and that concern ultimately is about your inability to stop – maybe not completely, but to choose when you drink, rather than feel compelled to, and to be able to let go of your energy sapping alcohol thinking, feeling storm that overwhelms you to the point where you have to drink to end it. You just have to.
I understand you completely and I know why you can’t (just for now) make the changes you deserve.
You drink in the way you don’t like for ONE reason and ONE reason only.
To make yourself feel better – whatever feeling better is to you in the moment.
And here is where the problem truly lies, you drink with the INTENTION of making yourself feel better, which of course is in direct conflict with what you KNOW on every intellectual level possible, that feeling better will not be the result.
In fact you are completely aware that you will feel worse, and that knowledge makes absolutely no difference, as your INTENTION, your perceived need for alcohol as your method of ‘comfort’ is always so much more powerful.
So, what is your intention behind your evening glass of wine?
Maybe it’s to find a little peace, a bit of calm, some you time, some confidence, to feel less lonely.
Or maybe your evening glass of wine is a marker at the end of your working day, before you start on your most demanding ‘evening’ job of being a mother. The job you love most in the world, and gives the most to you, yet takes the most from you too, both physically (cooking evening meals, homework supervision, dog walker, extra curricular activities driver – wow, that’s exhausted me just writing it), as well as emotionally (confidante, comforter, worry remover) whatever you are needed to be when you are at your most depleted.
When you are tired, probably hungry and needing some quite time and a bit of comfort yourself.
And in the absence of acknowledging your own basic, simple to deliver, with a little pre-planning, tweaking and communication requiring needs, you ignore you and push forward and use wine to deliver the ‘comfort’ you truly need.
You treat yourself as though you are a machine and wine is the fuel of your engine. Wine ‘get’s you through’, ‘helps you relax’ and of course it doesn’t do either, but you have learnt to believe it does, and then you beat yourself up for trying to comfort yourself!!
Do you recognise you here? I definitely
You go to bed, ‘wined up’, probably have a poorer nights sleep, feel low the next day and promise yourself, ‘not tonight’.
You are back on the hamster wheel of your drinking, and you will stay there in discomfort and unhappiness, until you start to shift your awareness of you back to you, and acknowledge and care for you.
Ultimately you cannot change because you have lost sight of who you are, what you need and your deservedness and self-loving responsibility for delivering those simple needs. And, in your innocent awareness of what is going on, you focus on the alcohol being the problem that needs to be addressed, when it is your lack of understanding of you, lack of connection of you to your needs and self-care of you that is the issue.
Then, (and here’s the A word again), in the absence of any awareness of what you are lacking, your ‘need’ for alcohol, or your fear of life without it, will never go. It can’t. For now you feel that alcohol brings you ‘comfort’ and you cannot live uncomforted.
Effortless change starts with the intentional awareness of what you are looking for, in intention, when you pick up the glass for your first drink.
From that intentional awareness, you can start to gently question yourself and listen to your answers.
Take the few seconds that is all you need to ask yourself “What do you need from me right now darling?” then pause, breathe deeply and allow your answers to bubble up from your heart, from your soul. They always come when you allow them too, when you ask yourself with kindness and love. One thing I can absolutely promise you is that alcohol will not be one of them!
Allow yourself to receive your gratefully acknowledged, heartfelt answers of “I need some rest/quiet time, a hug, some fresh air, a kind word, nourishment” and you will notice with relief that you can deliver all of them to you. Even the hug and the kind word.
Everything starts with with how you are towards you.
In that simple asking of me, what I needed from me, and trusting myself to consistently easily deliver, my ‘need’ for the non-comforts, of alcohol no longer existed. It really was as simple and self-loving as that.
There is no effort to changing the way you drink, there is never any effort in loving yourself. You have simply forgotten how to.
Yes, it is very helpful and supportive to have some simple strategies to keep you safe as you re-connect with you, but they are part of who you are, nothing new to learn, just to re-connect with.
Change seems hard to you because you are putting all your energy on trying to PUSH open your door to peaceful freedom, when all it needs is a gentle PUSH, you just can’t see the sign.
If you are ready to re-connect with who you are, on the most joyful journey back to peace and freedom, let’s talk. I offer a COMPLIMENTARY 20 Minute Recovery Coaching Call, and that alone will offer you the start of the awareness you need to be peacefully free.
If you are ready to be peacefully free, with ease and confidence, contact me here.
The life you and your loves deserve it waiting for you it and it always will be, it is who you are and how you are designed to live.
Love & respect
If you would like to know more about how my unique Recovery Coaching works, take a look at my How I Work For You page.
And, finally, I promise, if you would like to know more about my journey into and safely out of addiction, here’s the link to my Internationally Acclaimed book, This Isn’t Me. x
2019 will be my 5th suddenly sober year! And I mean ‘suddenly sober’.
If anyone had told me, even 5 minutes before I stopped drinking that my 28 year booze battle would be peacefully over, I would have felt suicidal at sheer size of the task ahead, as well as the impossibility of success. Didn’t they know me?
And yet, I, Just. Stopped. Drinking. And I remain in a peace and ease around alcohol I didn’t even know existed.
Now to, 2018. It has been a strange, sad, wonderful, thankful year for me, of much loss and even greater love. To a large extent, the view of my world has been smashed into tiny pieces which are currently, and haphazardly, airborne.
I don’t know yet how the pieces will land, or what the new shape of my life will be, but I do know that because I am sober, it will be a beautiful new shape from which I will grow in understanding, joy, gratitude, compassion and thankfulness. Aren’t they wonderful, empowering words to apply to yourself?
Four years ago those words would have been a painful reminder of all that I was not. I was a drunk, for a very long time, and I didn’t know why. I was desperate to be where I am now, but knew, I just knew, that I didn’t have the energy or strength, to even face the battle, let alone win it. And then I didn’t need strength, and I understood why.
I drank out of confusion and fear. Fear of stopping, fear of being, and there is nothing to fear.
We all fear the dark and unknown. But I know now that even the darkest days have beauty and learnings in them. That there are always small chinks of light that I could never see before, a kind word, a smile, a new understanding. I hold those tight when I see them and those are what I naturally gravitate towards, never the wine bottle.
My life isn’t perfect. It couldn’t be and I wouldn’t want it to be.
But now, without the chaos and pain that layering alcohol into my life bought, and with my sobriety safely in place, I navigate the (much less savage) storms and bask in the (much longer) peace. This is what being sober has gifted me.
I want to offer the same gift to you. I have started a closed Facebook group, (click on the link to request admission), Dry January & Beyond! . Its sole purpose is to offer support, comfort, encouragement, love and a safe place to any who would like to start your own sober journey.
My aim is to create a community of women who would like to understand or change their relationship with alcohol. It doesn’t matter where you are now, it is just a snapshot of time, and all the power you need for a different way of living is within you. You have just lost sight of that.
I am The Recovery Coach, a Master Coach, Master Practitioner of NLP, author of This Isn’t Me, my journey into and out of 28 years of alcoholism (and with a hugely destructive relationship with food). I have been there, done that and manufactured the tee-shirt so there is absolutely nothing you can express, that I either haven’t done, seen or heard.
I will be giving regular live coaching sessions, as well as be available to answer any questions you might have. And ultimately, I want you to support each other on your journey. Listen, learn and support one another. Never be critical, or judgmental. We only every walk in our own shoes.
Join now and let’s get this started. Introduce yourselves and my first live will be on 1 January 2019. Together, we got this!
Love & respect
Sonia Grimes xx
Every day we are faced with a multitude of choice points. The points where you decide which road you are going to take and its consequences.
Most days for me start with “What time do I get out bed?” and the consequences of, “If I choose the later time will I be late for work/ whatever”, on to, “Shall I wash my hair or can I get away with another day”, (with my fine hair it’s usually a, “No! Do it!”), and then the plethora of other choices we make during the day before we hit our pillows again.
All the years I was drunk, I didn’t even realize I had a choice. I thought drink had chosen me, that my alcoholism was the result of an unfortunate game of Russian Roulette in which I had spectacularly lost and that I just had to accept it, painful and desperate though that thinking was.
I remember crying tears of despair knowing that I would have given my eyesight to be the mother my beautiful boy deserved, that a physically disabled mother would have been better than the alcoholic one he had.
And honestly, that thinking was almost the entire reason I stayed in a trap of my own creation for almost 28 years. I had abdicated responsibility for my choices to a bottle of bloody vodka. A liquid that couldn’t speak, buy itself, open its lid and finally leap down my throat. I mean WTF! I actually believed that alcoholism had chosen me and that I just had to accept it.
Now I know differently, and here’s the thing about choice. It is the greatest gift we have as humans, our greatest cognitive skill. It offers ALL opportunities for change if we just own it.
From the day I understood that I had a choice, I was free from my drinking. From the day I understood that I chose what I ate and drank, regardless of the fears of the how I would live/cope/be without alcohol, those fears evaporated in front of my very eyes.
I allowed my fears in and they were like mists parting around me, I walked through them and they didn’t touch me! How could they, they were simply thoughts and memories, painful and difficult though some were, which I had a choice to either act on or ignore. Yes I felt unsteady and unsure, of course I did, I had used alcohol as a crutch for over half my life. I had used booze to protect me from pain even though it had become an even greater source of pain, and still I had felt I had no choice.
But I didn’t let that unsteadiness or any uncertainty of how I would cope affect my sober choice. And every time I stuck to my choice, guess what? I grew stronger, more resilient, and prouder of myself and, at exactly the same time, my fears weakened into a state where they could be acknowledged, comforted and understood, making my sober choice even easier. It will be the same for you, I promise x
The most empowering choice we have is our ability to chose who we want to be and how we want to feel. Make that one choice and all other choices fall into line to support it. Do you want to be slim? Choose to be slim and your food choices will follow. Do you want to be sober? Choose sober and your drink choices will follow.
If making one overriding choice feel too big for you right now, too ‘for ever’, make smaller ones consistently. Choose each day who you want to be, how you want to feel, and your choices to support it will fall into line.
When an old feeling of, “How will I cope in a stressful situation, when I am bored, lonely, out of my depth”, when you remember the pain of a broken childhood, heart, whatever your trigger is, comes, STOP. Pause. Breath deeply, fill your lungs. Hug yourself and remind yourself of who you want to be. Who you really are.
Let the feelings come and let them drift right on by. They will, all feelings do. And if sometimes unhappy feelings take longer to pass than you would like, be kind and gentle with yourself and know, with 100% certainty that all feelings are just thoughts that eddy and flow through our minds, that they are not physical and that you don’t have to react to them unless you to choose too.
To help you out, I want you to remember a really happy time, one that makes your heart sing.
Mine is my son jumping in to my arms when he was four, in our local swimming pool screaming ‘Geronimo’ as I taught him to swim. Even typing this makes me smile and shifts my ‘It’s too bloody hot in my office and I need to get out’ feeling”.
Take your heart singing moment and hold it tight. Step into it, feel it, hear it, see it and feel your body and energy literally shift to a happier place. Then make your choice.
My final words on the subject of choice are very important.
Your choice is not determined by anyone else’s view of us, your choice is determined by YOU.
You will often find yourself in situations in life that you cannot control, probably daily. These are external situations. However, only you can choose how you react to them, these are internals responses. Own that.
Stop saying to yourself, “He did/She did. He makes me feel/She makes me feel/I need it to cope/I need it to relax” and all the rest. When you own your responses and so your choices, everything, literally everything is yours for the taking. I promise you x
To find out more about my journey from alcoholism to peaceful sobriety, check out my book This Isn’t Me page.
To find out more me and working with me, check out my About Sonia and How I Work For You, pages. In fact, take a wander throughout my website, my aim to is to bring you the transformation I love every day x
This Isn’t Me is the painful story of my journey into a heroin addiction and recovery, and then subsequent alcohol addiction that lasted over 27 years. It is about the horrifying shock of realizing that my alcoholism was impossible to overcome, even with all the available interventions and professional support I engaged with for over 15 years, when I had successfully overcome heroin with none.
It details the relationship between myself and my now 19-year-old son. About being a single mother and the absolute joy of the gift of him. A joy that turned into the crippling nightmare of severe post-natal depression, requiring in-house psychiatric care on two occasions, and my return to drinking and then self-harm to cope.
I write of my despair on realizing that I would die an alcoholic after being informed that my liver was damaged. Of the deceptions and self-disgust, of my complete desperation to be different.
And then it details the miraculous, magenta moment just over three years ago when I just stopped drinking. No last drink, I simply stopped. Of the “how” and “why” of my stopping. My sobriety is easy, and I do not attend any interventions or have any therapy or support. I just don’t drink. Even after my first sober, truly painful experience of loss of a loved one, alcohol did not enter my mind. I even have alcohol in the house, I just don’t see it.
It tells of my total commitment to helping my son heal as much as possible in a healthy way where his hurts and confusion are discussed and talked through, as and when he needs those conversations. I write about where I am now, where we are now in our relationship, our closeness, our friendship, our love and understanding.
Available only on Amazon. Click link here AMAZON, This Isn’t Me
“This book has saved my relationship with my son”
“I myself have been alcohol free for 6 years I don’t like the term in recovery. I cannot recommend this book highly enough written with such honesty and truth I can totally relate to. It has helped me to be more open with my children about our experience during my drinking days I really felt like it was written about me we are now going to start family therapy thank you Sonia.” Lisa
“I couldn’t put this book down. The author writes with honest simplicity about her journey through drugs and alcohol, never once seeking to shock or elicit sympathy, she Just tells it like it was. Pages written about her relationship with her son pulled at my heart strings and I felt her pride as he grew into an amazing young man. Well done. I think we can all learn about ourselves and whatever demons we battle from this book. I’ll certainly be thinking about my choices.” E Kirby
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I am here to help xx
9am. Today is the day you won’t have that glass of wine at ‘Wine O’Clock’, usually a loosely acceptable 6pm. Maybe you drank too much last night. Maybe your waistband has more of a bite to it then the expected nibble. Only you know – although you may also have the creeping dread that others might also know too after last night……. Anyhoo. Today’s the day. No more booze.
11am. Nope, still not drinking tonight. Feeling better, a few strong coffees inside you, maybe a pastry to replace the lost carbs, a nice little sugar spike to lift you up. Better still, you were really on it this morning and ate something that has actually benefited you, think eggs or porridge. Whatever, your resolve is strong.
4pm. God you’re tired/bored/fed up, or even had a great day. For good or bad, a glass of wine is in order. You need and/or deserve it and, “What the heck, you don’t have a problem with alcohol and you’re only going to have the one (thankfully a bucket sized one with your new on-trend wine glasses….)
Sounding a depressingly familiar cycle? It was mine.
So, where has your resolve gone? The fact is that, even though you don’t articulate or acknowledge the thoughts, you feel you have no choice but to drink.
All the self-justifications you come up with are designed to hide the fact that wine has started to control you. Your ‘good reasons’ for drinking are trying to protect you from a knowledge that will cause you pain. It’s not you, it’s how our brains work.
Breaking News! Even if this cycle happens every day, you can change your drinking, and simply, when you understand how.
There is always a space, a pause, between your ‘I need a drink’ hijacked thoughts and the physical act of picking up the bottle, pouring a glass and then drinking it, and in that pause is immense power.
In that pause is who we want to be, the non-drinker in control of our actions, the more engaged parent and partner, with healthier self-esteem, self-respect and a looser waistband. In that pause is US.
Pausing before taking action changes everything, instantly.
I remember on the few occasions I was able to not drink, that I used the pause. I didn’t know it then, it came as one of my insights, but it resonates completely now and it works.
The truth is that I couldn’t have stopped my drink cycle once the bottle, not even the glass was in my hand, but I could stop before I picked up the bottle.
I could, and did, for some reason and out of nowhere, take a few deep breathes, remember through the storm clouds of my addictive thinking, who I wanted to be, acknowledge the damage my drinking was causing and understand completely that it would only make everything worse. I could even, and this is probably the most powerful part, grasp a glimpse of who I really was. And I could, in that moment, in that pause, not pick up the bottle.
Yes, I always felt shaky afterwards, but shaky with relief, not desire for alcohol. I clearly remember my watery, tearful smile of truimph in the mirror, but I didn’t understand what emotional acrobatics had taken place. And, as usual, the not knowing, meant not understanding and so I couldn’t move forward and repeat the cycle. I had no insight and no awareness. I do now.
Practice Your PAUSE
The next time the thoughts of “I need a drink” come. PAUSE. Ask yourself, “Why do I need a drink?”
Before you mindlessly reach for the bottle, the glass. PAUSE. Ask yourself, “What will happen if I do drink?” and “What will happen if I don’t?”
Recognise your thoughts for what they are. Yes, they are, for now, a habit, a repeated behaviour but you have the choice to act on them or not. They have no physical expression unless you give it to them. PAUSE
Recognise that the feelings/emotions you want to avoid, will pass. You know they do. They always do. PAUSE
Then breathe slowly and deeply, still your mind, let your thoughts drift to a beach, a sunny day, your children laughing, whatever makes you happy. This will change your emotional state. Hug yourself in comfort if necessary and remember who you really are, not how repeating your habit makes you feel. PAUSE, then act.
The pause allows you to think clearly, it allows you to see the urge for what it is and the reality of what it offers. In seeing your urges for what they are, simply thoughts, they become weaker, you become stronger and you will be free x
As with any new practice, PAUSING may feel strange, but it will also feel empowering. It does work and every successful pause makes the next one easier.
Love & respect
If you would like to know how I help clients, check out my Working With Me page.
If you want to know a little more about how I overcame 27 years of alcoholism, take a look at my book, This Isn’t Me
Click here for my Breakthrough Mentor Newsletter