High Anxiety, great film, not so great in real life…

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So Father, it’s been 2 months since my last post. That’s probably the only good memory I’ll take from the rather scary ritual of Catholic confession… the short term relief it gave. Not that I feel guilt for not writing on my rather insignificant WordPress blog . But NOT writing, like not running, biking or swimming is a good sign that I’m a bit” under the weather” Also my creativity, confidence and general mood is down. And a warning of what might be “ in the post”

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This is an actual place …only in Dublin.

Negativity feeds negativity so today it stops…just for today is what I can manage, like the first step which I can apply to ANY part of my life thanks to nearly 8 years sobriety.  It’s been an incredibly emotional few weeks and it’s taken it’s toll. Without going into too much detail, other people in my life, one who I love very much and another that I’m related to by birth are struggling with alcohol. In the middle of this to stop myself feeling helpless I started to work with a newcomer…who went back out( not my shit but sad)  Then comes the anxiety, insomnia and back pain…ffs.

But I’m a fighter, up the meetings and stay useful… My Aunt dies, but I can’t go to the funeral because of a family member in active addiction and I’m full of fear, here comes the guilt I’m letting people down but I have to protect myself. Decs Da has a stroke. Now THAT I can deal with. I am pretty practical ( now that I’m sober!) But it’s taken it’s toll…I am bollixed…full of anxiety, self doubt and the critical head is in full on mode. Just for today I will do small things, I’ll post that birthday card to my goddaughter that’s a week late, I’ll go for a swim, I’ll visit my father in law in hospital, I’ll go to the doctor and try get another mri for my back. I might even eat at some stage…

This has been a bit of a moaning post but like sharing at a meeting I needed to be honest about where I’m at. I have a couple of days planned cycle wise next month. I’m riding shot gun on Unironed mans mental ultra run. A triathlon is planned for August and a big swim in October. And speaking of cycling, here’s a photo of my new bike…

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For those of you who know me, you’ll be pleased to know that I’ve gotten over the fact that it’s got a splash of pink on it.🙂 She’s really lovely and I’ve yet to take her out for a proper spin. The first one didn’t go so well, for various reasons, mostly fear based and resulted in me telling a pedestrian to go f** k herself. Not proud of that but I’m human… As we say in AA , I’ll end on this…

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We’ve come a long, long way baby…

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Taken many years ago…

Just a short post… not a big fan of Hallmark/Valentines day but I am a bit of a softy so taking it as a chance to look at what I have and where I COULD be. Thanks to a desicion I made nearly 8 years ago to stop drinking and get a program I’m here today, happy. If you’d told me back then I’d complete a couple of triathlons, run, swim and rediscover my absolute LOVE of cycling I’d have shook my hungover head at you.

Heres to my lovely husband and family( and the fellowship)and thanks D for my lovely gift and the new bike that goes with it.

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Drinking dreams/mares

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Banksy

Ugh… the plan this morning was to go for a swim but I woke up so banjaxed I decided rest was needed. As well as a horrible night with my back I had a drinking dream. It was so vivid I felt hungover when I woke up.

For me this is a “ freebie” It saves me the grief of going back out. Even after a good few years sober I have to keep vigilant. This is why meetings are so important. As I was explaining to someone yesterday, it’s not that meetings magically stop you from drinking but identifying with people who are just struggling with everyday stuff, work relationships, relationships oh and did I mention relationships 🙂, that’s what gives us hope when we feel that we’ve reached a wall or are feeling “ flat”. The fact that we see how others in recovery can deal with major crap and not drink. I remember when I was drinking even an imaginary slight from someone was enough to send me reaching for the bottle(s).

January has been a fairly difficult month. Historically it’s not great for me and on top of that I’ve  been sick and not much running ( none) But I’ve had a few swims and it’s looking okay for me, hoping to do the Killary swim later in the year. They chuck you off a boat and you swim to shore. Also have just bought my first proper bike, a trek . Very exciting.

 

So heads up for February, fellowship and general fabulousness…leave you with a picture of me looking increasingly like my dog.

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Starting the New Year with a bang, a cough and absolutely no running…

Yeah,yeah yeah. I know, nearly everyone you know had the flu over Christmas/New Year. This is not the beginning of a moanfest just stating facts and I wanted to get a blog in before January ended.

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It was “ proper” sick. For the first time ever in my current job I took time off. It was a pretty quiet Christmas really apart from on the Friday after Christmas my daughter joined my husband onstage and sang 4 songs at his gig. Yes, my heart was bursting with pride. Note to self. If I’d been drinking this would have gone over my head #gratitudecheck

So  I’m gradually returning to normality. Back to work, back swimming,back blogging but no running just yet. I’ll be gentle with myself on that one, still have a pretty heavy wheeze going on. The constant taking of paracetamol is taking it’s toll though, I’ve got myself some pretty impressive dark circles under my eyes. On that note, it’s so important to check over the counter medication, some cough medicine has a very high percentage of alcohol in it. Not that I’m against medication when it’s needed,and to be honest if I’m going to relapse it won’t be on  night nurse…also I think after time in sobriety and rigorous honesty you know when you’re “acting the bollocks”with your recovery.

 

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So a lot of time spent in bed reading and thinking…Jesus, the thinking. But I did get to read a lot of books and blogs. There was one post in particular from SoberinVegas that hit on something for me. I get moments in sobriety when I momentarily miss the “ bold me” The one that drank and smoked and didn’t ( appear) to give a shit. The tattooed, flame haired mad dancing crazy girl( to be fair I still tick a few of those boxes). Of course  I know this is all normal but SOMETIMES I feel like such a goodie 2 shoes! I mean what does that even mean? Society tells  me I need to be edgy…well actually try training for an triathlon, that’s pretty bad ass.

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But I’d just like to end on this and throw it out there. I have lots of friends who are incredibly open about their sobriety and membership of AA. I think this is a good thing( I have to add here  that I have total respect for the right to remain anonymous , live and let live) I read in the comment section of another blog recently how AA “insist” on a God/Higher Power to stay sober. There are so many harmful misconceptions of the fellowship imho. The “anonymous “ part seems to arouse suspicion which is why I love when some Rock Star who has a “ cool” image comes out publicly as using the program. I know that may sound shallow but society is shallow. Wouldn’t it be great if sober was cool.

I’ll love yiz and leave yiz for now S x

p.s the “ bang” in the title refers to the sound of me falling on the bathroom floor after a particularly enthusiastic cough that put my sacrum out.

The sound of silence

 

It always makes my smile when I realise that there is a theme of some sort running through my life. For the past few weeks it’s been one that involves speaking, when to say something and when to shut your mouth and listen! Also noticing when I feel compelled to speak whether it’s because I think I’ve got something outrageously interesting or important to say or just to fill a           SILENCE.

Then there’s the noticing the self critical voice that tells me I have nothing to say and I’m full of shit( there have definitely been occasions) That’s a big one, it’s a mean one. And I didn’t pull it out of the air. Through working with a counselor I’ve really started to examine that one. She’s been telling me to find my voice. I thought this was hilarious as I never seem to stop “expressing “ myself. It’s only through working with her and truly understanding that it comes from never feeling heard or listened to and the constant chattering was (a) a very badly thought out way of trying to be understood and (b) an absolute fear of silence. Progress…at last.

So then there’s the filling the silence.

 

 

I’m not great at this one and I’m not the only one. I see it at meetings all the time. Again, I’m starting to understand what this is about, for me anyway. It’s part hating the awkward silence on behalf of other people ( I have no control over other people, places and things, note to self) and from a personal perspective, what that silence has meant in the past. Silence= what the fuck is going to happen next?

So it’s been about growth this month and very much also learning to listen. This is another theme that has come up. It’s seems to me that it’s SO important to almost everyone I know that they feel heard. It can be incredibly hurtful to share something with someone only to realise by the glazed look in their eye that they have not heard a word and are probably having a “ Homer” moment.

In other news, it’s Mo-vember this month. Where Tom Selleck is the honorary patron saint and my own husband is sporting his own moustache(hilariously comes up as moist ache in spellcheck) in aid of the men’s cancer charity. I have a confession here, I kind of dig it…shhhhh. As I can’t grow my own( no jokes) I ran the Mo run last Saturday in the Phoenix Park here in Dublin. A beautiful morning and a not so fast run but thats ok🙂 Plus there were cool medals…yes I am a child.

 

 

And to end the post a huge congrats to my super duper hubs who trained hard to get his amazing result in the Dublin Marathon, you rock honey, And also a shout out to fellow blogger Cat h Bradley who completed the New York marathon, you’re an inspiration. I’ll finish with a photo I took of the rather majestic deer that reside in our park who could not give one shit about awkward silences, love to yis all S x

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Lucky pants…

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Just a quick post on a little observation I had this morning before I headed out for a run. I spent about 10 minutes rummaging through my ” kit box” under the bed( note. U M has TWO of these) Even though I had at least 5 pairs of running legging to chose from I couldn’t find the ones I wanted… you know the ones that make you go faster🙂

I’ve spoken to a few people about this and it’s definitely not just me…a lot of us save that special pair of trainers/top/leggings for race day or even that day when we aren’t feeling particularly lively. The ultimate placebo maybe?

Anyhoo…it made me smile when I thought back to the dating days when one would root out their ” lucky pants” before a special date. These days the ” lucky running leggings” have replaced them…not that the need for lucky pants is there anymore( I’m digging myself a hole here)  So things have changed I guess and I wouldn’t have it any other way…

So the run was had, not a particularly fast one but it’s done…I’ll take the credit for that one myself. Hope you are all well and being kind to yourselves, until the next one. S x

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Horrible hills and the bully in yer noggin

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The hills may well be alive but I’m boll-ixed/jiggered… After months of cosy treadmill sessions I had to have a word with myself. Race/run in 7 weeks and I haven’t tackled any hills yet. Problem was I didn’t feel physically brilliant when I woke up this morning, although the weeks of shitty anxiety are starting to subside I’m feeling a bit wrecked. My stomach was well dodge this morning possibly due to too much magnesium which I take in the evenings to help with back and muscle pain and I’m still catching up on lost sleep due to said anxiety.

But the voice in was my head was turned up to Spinal tap proportions and according to “it” I was lazy/making excuses/blahdefuckingblah. And of course I gave in to it… To be fair, it’s a beautiful morning here and initially I was full of the joys, headphones in… Now the first thing you hit on this particular run is a hill, grand no problem but 15 minutes in and my stomach started to turn and just as I started to slow down on a hill 2 friends showed up…couldn’t stop…pride baby.

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My legs felt like lead, I draaagggged them around for the next 1 k and instead of giving up I decided to tackle ” The hill of Doom” This was the suggestion of the bully in ma noggin who was telling me what a weak slob I was, instead of slowing down and taking a flatter more scenic trail run option which was available to me on my right I took the hill. Jaysus. Fair play to UM who bounces up this hill on a regular basis( clue is in regular…) but moi, I almost cried, the only thing that kept me going was the thoughts of the hill on the way DOWN. I half jogged/walked home or ummmm used the Hal Higdon method…

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I’d love to say I enjoyed it on reflection but I didn’t it was horrible, not the actual run as much as the pressure I put myself under, especially when I wasn’t feeling brilliant. But…I know now I need to get my ass off the treadmill if I’m to make any real progress. I am glad I was able to identify the bully though, I’m not doing that again, I don’t deserve it.

There really is no one else who judges me harder than I do myself. And I can change that.

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Artwork by Tabby 

 

Hope you are all well and being kind to yourselves S x

 

 

 

Musical interlude

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Short post just to throw some running music out there( don’t judge me) The lovely blogger slowrunnergirl ( great blog, gorgeous photos, inspirational early morning runs) asked me to share a list of what works for me …here it is so…

1. Just a girl.   No Doubt (  My girl crush)

2. One way or another.  Blondie ( I’m gonna getcha, getcha,getcha unless you’re faster than me in which case I won’t getcha at all)

3.  Monkey man.  The  Specials ( Cannot tell you how much I love this song)

4.   Another one bites the dust. Queen ( to be fair, cheesy as it is Anything by Queen is usually good to run to, except maybe Bohemian Rapsody…)

5. Insomniac.  Faithless ( no box making necessary these days…ah the hedonism of the 90’s…*shudder*)

6. Lose yourself. Eminem ( Love, love love this)

7. Titanium. Paul Guetta/Sia ( I may actually be losing your respect here but try it…)

8.Scummy man. Arctic Monkeys. ( Hardcore lyrics but great to up the tempo)

9.Going underground. The Jam ( Saw Weller live a few years back, very grumpy but brilliant songs.)

10. Running up that hill. Kate Bush or alternatively The moon and me. Tom Baxter. Both great for finishing off a run.

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So that’s what currently works for me and as I’ve said before it’s the closest I get to going out dancing these days, I can incorporate a ska inspired skip into my run altlthough it probably looks bit weird from behind.Interestingly my all time favourite band The Smiths don’t even get a mention, I tried but found it hard to get motivated by the lyrics of Girlfriend in a coma…

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Sorry not sorry…

And there it is, one of those annoying sayings we hear from the L’Oreal generation( because I’m worth it). It annoys the doobiebops off me. It’s up there with people who say ” I’m not being mean but… and “I’m saying this for your own good” No you’re not asshole, you’re saying it because you want to be hurtful. Anyhoo….

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Interestingly enough when I was little my favourite t-shirt was one with those little nudie figures and it said ” Love means never having to say you’re sorry” So the message here is, you can be hurtful and act like a dick and that’s ok. I always wondered how much crap those two characters on the  t-shirt had put each other through before one of them said ” Sod this”  Personally, I blame Ali McGraw and Ryan O Neill.

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My reason for this small meltdown are as a result of having to say I was sorry this week. I acted out on information given to me and as a result was a bit mean. As it turns out it was thinly veiled gossip.The following day I had what can only be described as an emotional hangover. But it was okay, I recognised what had happened here and because I have a few years sobriety under my belt and a 12 step tool kit I could see how the situation had arisen and more importantly what I needed to do. Throw my hands in the air( word up) and APOLOGISE. And not so I felt better, that’s the trick about amends, it doesn’t always go well…but I was lucky, the apology was graciously accepted and yeah, I did feel good, well more grateful really.

Recognising our defects and being able to do something about it is exciting really, it means we are growing.

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IN other news I’m back on track, well the  treadmill for this 10 k Mo-vember run. I’ll eventually get back outside running but to be honest I’m really enjoying having the firestation gym to myself. I lash the music on, currently it’s Blondie at full volume and give it some welly, running mostly on days off and before work( which I am painfully smug about)It’s the nearest I get to dancing these days.

Hope you are all well S x