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! 🥳🥳