Firstly, today I have shared my blog with all of my Facebook “friends”…It took me a long time to decide whether to press the ‘post’ button this morning, I wrote a brief introduction and added my blog link and then went through all the reasons I shouldn’t post it, ‘people would make fun’ people would think my blog is crap’ ‘people will think I’m an alcoholic’ ‘what if it looks like I am a bad mum because I said I drink wine’ and so on and so on…then I remember why I wanted to post it, I want people to know what I am doing, it’s a motivation to keep at it, once this is out there I can’t turn back and that should help me stick to my goal. The response I had to the post was great, more people than I imagined had a read of it and had only good things to say. Of course there were a couple of negatives and I suppose these are honest opinions from people who know me and think that I will fail. It’s a shame that this is the case and I can kind of see why they would think this but I can’t worry about whether they are right or not, if I start to think they are right I might as well give up right now. There is always going to be the questions I am starting to hear as people find out about this, like ” but what about that birthday weekend”, “what about that wedding”, the answers are always going to be the same, this year is alcohol free and so are any events which fall within it.
Today has been a strange day, it’s been good and I haven’t had any cravings to have a drink despite the sunny weather and I have even visited friends and family at two pubs and felt completely fine about not drinking, I got to have some adult away from child time and it was nice to know I could go home to wake up tomorrow with no groggy head and sick feeling…. but…. there has been a few mixed emotions and I thought I’d explain why..maybe give some more insight into why I feel this is the time to make the changes I have wanted to do for such a long time.
Today I visited my grandparents (on my dad’s side) both are in their early 80s and both have been quite poorly for a while. My grandad has terminal cancer and has already lived two years more than the doctors originally thought with the help of the treatment he was given, but the treatment has been stopped now and he seems to be letting the illness run his life instead of living his life as maybe he would really like to which is really sad to see. My grandma suffered a heart attack in her 50s but more recently has had a few minor strokes and other issues and her health is not the best. They tend to be quite, well, I suppose, secretive about what’s going on so sometimes we don’t know for a while that something else has happened. If you ask them why they don’t tell us, they will say that is how they were brought up, Grandma said it just today “we were brought up to not make a fuss and worry anyone about anything”, so for my parents finding out what is going on with them or if they need anything is hard work…but I’m getting away from the point of why I mentioned the visit.. my grandparents as well as being not in good health themselves had to hear the news that their eldest son had been diagnosed with prostate cancer at the end of last year, this was my Dad and although they can’t cure or remove his cancer they are very hopeful at managing it with treatments (and so far this is the case which is brilliant) then unfortunately at the beginning of this year my uncle (their other son) was diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer and was given one year to live, however today while we were there my grandparents told us that doctors have told him that this is now three months as his health is deteriorating quicker than, well, I suppose they thought it initially would. My grandma was very upset and it broke my heart a little to see her cry and hear my grandparents worrying about what they are going to do about my uncle’s funeral and ensuring his wishes are met. There is a reason I am writing about this which is relevant to my story…I am getting there…slowly.
When my Dad was diagnosed it was a massive shock, an unexpected outcome of some tests, so when I was told I was not prepared (then again who is prepared for that sort of news). I wasn’t sure how to deal with it so I didn’t really, I drank quite a lot of wine because that’s what I do when I get bad news, but when he said the treatment was working I just put the whole C word to the back of my head cause in the end life just carries on as normal (sad but true). My dad also uses drink to relax (and always has just like me) and I think now on some level to also deal with the illness he has and at the end of the day who can blame him. He goes to work full time and takes his drugs and goes to the pub and has wine at home and I think if that is what he has to do and what he wants to do then I’m not going to say anything… My uncle however can’t drink to wash away his illness and problems, as my uncle was an alcoholic for a long time and it ruined his health for the long term, he became sober and I would think now he has been sober for as long as a time as he was a drinker however his health never recovered from the alcohol abuse.
I have always known my grandma had given up alcohol and fags a long time ago but I was never sure why she became T total and a non-smoker, I asked today and my mum told me it was after her heart attack. When I realised how young my grandma was when she had her heart attack I realised why she made such a massive decision to cut out the bad things from her life. She hates people drinking and to be fair it’s clear that the alcoholic gene runs in my family and sadly so does the big C…so there are a few reasons why these bits of information I have shared are relevant to my journey
1. It worries me that I have no off button when I do have a drink and that I can always have a ‘reason / excuse’ for having a glass of wine no matter what day of the week it is – does this mean I run the risk of the addictive/alcoholic gene taking over one day? I would very much hope not but that worry is there all the same.
2. My grandma gave up drink in her 50’s after 50 odd years of not worrying about it and doing what she wanted. She hasn’t drank for 30 years so this gives me incentive and inspiration to try to do a year just to break my bad habits and see what happens when I don’t rely on alcohol to have a good time or relax.
3. The illnesses within my family show me that I need to start looking after myself even better than I try to do now; I exercise and always eat well so why ruin that every week with a few too many bottles of wine.
4. You can probably tell from the information I have shared that this year will probably be a bit harder than others for my family and there may be some quite sad times ahead. I want to be the strong one, I don’t want to be the one who gets drunk gets sad and needs someone to support me. I want to be able to deal with whatever comes along head on and be a support for my family and to show my daughter the right way to deal with tough times.
These are just some of the reasons that I chose now to do this for myself and my family. There are more but I think that’s enough boring information sharing for one evening.
These are my grandma and grandad at the day of my mum and dads wedding and today.