New Year past and present

I began and ended 2019 in the beautiful County of Northumberland. Last year we were with friends (and drinking); this year just me, C and the dogs. Lots of scrabble, beach walks and for me an all consuming jigsaw. If I hadn’t finished it this morning I doubt I’d be writing this!

We spent last night with an old school friend and her family. We reminisced, told stories, and laughed a lot. Just before midnight we went out onto the hill above the town and watched the fireworks. It was a very special evening. Driving back to our cottage down the A1 in the small hours we saw a shooting star in the clear night sky. It occurred to me I’ve never driven on New Year’s Day before. Never done much at all other than nurse a hangover. The insight that even the traditionally most boozy night of the year could be more fun sober is a big one for me. Up until 3 years ago I’ve viewed New Year’s Eve as the best part of the Xmas holidays – by a mile. I would volunteer to work Xmas so as not to miss out. The years and the parties have blended together into a memory board of lots of fun moments though there’s a lot I can’t remember at all. 2016 was a heavy one even by new year standards and unsurprisingly I got ill soon after. It turned into pneumonia and I spent most of that January in bed.

This frightened me enough to decide that I’d go away and have a quiet new year in 2017. It took the whole of the year for me to stop drinking and another year and a bit to stop finally; but I think this may have been the moment when I first realised things needed to change. A seed was planted in my consciousness. It has taken time to germinate and find the light of day but it’s growing stronger all the time. I accidentally had a mouthful of Prosecco last night thinking it was my Nosecco. It tasted horrible. Proof if I needed it of how far I’ve come in these 3 years.

So we have a new year and a new decade. The world seems to be going to hell in a handcart and all I can think is that by the end of this next decade things are going to have to be very different if humans are going to survive as a species. We need an antidote to the inevitable fear and anxiety the state of the world generates that doesn’t come in a bottle.

The big picture is very depressing but the word I picked after reading Ann’s inspiring blog https://ainsobriety.wordpress.com/2019/12/28/explore-word-the-year/ for 2020 is acceptance. I’ve wasted a lot of energy in my life raging about things I can’t change whilst not doing something about the things I can. I can’t do much about the government right now but I can get involved in protests, or local projects helping people worst effected. Alcohol makes you very self centred; then when you stop drinking you need to look inwards for a while to process all the shit you’d numbed out with the booze! Connection with others is good medicine for addiction. These are my hopes for 2020. Happy new year everyone! 🥳🥳

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7 Comments

  1. Hi. Happy New Year to you.
    It’s kind of funny that we were writing our posts at the same time and you touched on the need to be self centred when you stop drinking because you have to process the things you’ve been numbing out. That’s exactly how I’m feeling but I’m struggling with it coming over as selfish.

    And yes! Connection is essential, with the right people and change what we can, try to accept what we now can’t change.

    Your post really helped at a time I’m feeling a little muddled and confused. Thank you
    Claire x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad it did Claire – I was unsure the post hung together so had some angst re publishing so your comment has helped me! After the euphoric bit sometimes called the pink cloud I was quite depressed and low for a while – not clinically but more unresolved feelings and grief for losing who I was, who I could have been and losing alcohol. Even when you split up from a shit relationship it still hurts and you have to process it so allowing time and space to do that is essential to staying on the wagon I think. Writing really helps so keep blogging and take care of yourself – you deserve it! 💞💞

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The world is indeed at a terrible place. It’s hard to watch.
    The word acceptance is a wonderful word. It has helped me not only stay sober, but to accept what I can and can’t change in my world, and the bigger one.
    xo
    Wendy

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Dr
    Haven’t been able to check out people’s blogs for a few days so trying to catch up. A lot of what you say resonates for me especially being able to enjoy things sober such as New Year. It was my first sober New Year in 47 years which is a tad depressing but all we have is now and now is becoming so much better alcohol free. Yes it is like ending a relationship definitely, and for me alcohol was some gal, but boy she would have been the death of me.
    Happy new year to you Jim x

    Liked by 1 person

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