At work today, I was chatting to a friend. She is one of only a few people I have told I have stopped drinking. We haven’t seen each other for a couple of weeks and were catching up on each other’s news. “So how long is it now?” she asked. “8 weeks and 1 day” I replied. My friend responded with a huge hug and told me how pleased she was.
Our conversation had been discreet (perhaps cryptic is a better word). Anyone over hearing would not have known we were talking about drinking. However, it is just possible they might have thought we were talking about a pregnancy – mine. Before anyone gets excited I am not pregnant.
I don’t generally talk about timescales in terms of weeks and days and although my lovely friend is generally a huggy person, her response this morning was particularly effusive. An onlooker could be forgiven for putting two and two together and making five.
I am not sure whether anyone overheard the conversation and if they did whether they would even think it possible that I could be expecting. I suppose time will tell. If people start eyeing up my tummy and offering to get me a footstool, I might have an issue to address.
Thinking back to my pregnancies, I can see there are a surprising number of similarities with my experience of giving up drinking.
Just as it took me a long time to get to the point where I stopped drinking altogether, so too it took a while to get pregnant. I am extremely fortunate that I did not experience pregnancy loss. My sober journey meanwhile, had so many false starts, I lost count.
Once I was pregnant I tracked what was happening on a day by day basis. If anyone asked me how many weeks I was I would able to tell them with absolute accuracy. With stopping drinking, I am counting each day and for now I will carry on doing so. Expressing my sober days in weeks and days as I did today is unusual. Generally I would say 57 days. To avoid any potential misunderstandings I think I will stick to days in future.
I have written several times about the importance of the online sober community in getting me this far. During my pregnancies I joined boards with other women due at the same time as me. I don’t think blogging existed back then but if if had I would have devoured numerous blogs on a daily basis.
During pregnancy and sobriety my eating habits changed. Both times I experienced cravings. When I was expecting it was fish finger sandwiches. With giving up drinking I have experienced major sugar cravings but also a particularly strong desire for peanut butter which I can quite happily eat on a teaspoon out of the jar ! During each of my pregnancies I gained about three stone. Bearing in mind the fact that my babies weighed about 7lbs, I think the weight gain was probably more due to overindulgence than actual baby weight. And boy was it hard to lose. Since I have stopped drinking my weight has stayed the same, probably because the one or two bottles of wine I was glugging down most days accounted for at least 700 calories. I will need to address my eating but for now I am focussing on not drinking as my priority. Dieting can come later.
Mr So and I kept the news of our pregnancies to ourselves until the first scan at 12 weeks. Then we told the world. With my drinking, there are only a handful of people who know. I hope that one day I will be able to be completely open about not drinking. But not yet.
When I was pregnant, I felt proud of myself. I was overwhelmed by the wonder of nurturing new life. I knew that what I was doing was amazing. With my sobriety I am starting to feel the same way. I am nurturing my new life without alcohol and just as I couldn’t wait to meet my babies, I am looking forward to getting to know my new sober self.