Sober: Day 32

21st May 2020, Thursday

Oh my goodness, after 57 days of living under strict lockdown here in Cyprus we are free to go out! Of course there are still many restrictions in place but movement is now unrestricted and no permission required!

OH spent all night outside, he said he didn’t have a bad nights sleep. After running to the bathroom at least seven times after I woke up this morning I managed to leave the apartment and we headed in the car down to the coast. Fabulous, freedom!

Walked about a mile and a half by the shore, it was so lovely to be out. Drove up to the dam too and had a look up there, very quiet, no-one else around. Then by 11am it was starting to get very hot so we returned to the apartment.Iced coffee for me plus plenty of water to rehydrate. I’m so going to enjoy this freedom thing.

So, i’m still here journaling daily, I did say that I wouldn’t post so much after 30 days, and now that we are able to go out and about won’t have so much time for writing.

Remained hot until late evening, had our weekly Zoom call with our friends back home – received an update on how my house plants are doing (I grow cacti and succulents because they thrive on neglect…). My friend had repotted some of them for me, only one had died.

I’ll post again on Day 40

Sober: Day 30

19th May 2020, Tuesday

Wow! I made it one whole month, 30 days and very happy about that too. This last week has sped by and, dare I say it, it has felt pretty easy. Oh, i’m pretty sure the wicked wine witch isn’t done with me yet but my strength against the old crone is growing immeasurably.

Another hot one today, it’s forecast to be 43C again. Woke feeling slightly dehydrated, it was so hot in the middle of the night and I woke at 5am and couldn’t get back to sleep.

The letter I wrote yesterday to my friend had a good response, she loved it and loved the idea of doing it and was going to do the same for a couple of friends. She also said “I’m just off to the Post Office with 23 packages of items that people have ordered via my Facebook page” I was so happy for her and hopefully my little bit of sharing her details had a small effect on that.

Being a landmark day today it was easy not to drink! OH wasn’t feeling well in the evening, he is still drinking quite heavily (500mls beer followed by three or four sizeable glasses of wine). His feet are swollen, he felt nauseous, said his vision was blurry and that he just generally felt like crap. He has also been suffering with sleep apnoea and waking up gasping for breath and I think his disturbed sleep is making him feel tired when he wakes in a morning. I personally think he is drinking too much, especially in this heat but he wouldn’t welcome my opinon so I keep quiet. He’s an adult and can make his own decisions.

Meaningful May: Find a way to craft what you are doing to have more meaning. As I’ve been taking lots of photos I’m in the process of putting together a photo book of our visit to Cyprus.


Sober: Day 29

18th May 2020, Monday

There will be a couple of landmark days this week: tomorrow will see me 30 days / 1 month sober and on Thursday, hopefully, the Cyprus government will remove all movement restrictions and we’ll be free to go wherever we want, whenever we want. I am both looking forward to free movement and also looking at it with some trepidation after some 50+ days in lockdown. I can quite understand how people can become institutionalised. In many ways life has been so simple the last couple of months.

Coronavirus figures here are still looking good, still only 1 to 5 new cases a day. There will still be many restrictions in place of course – our so-called “new normal.” Restaurants and cafes will open up but only for dining outside at socially distanced tables and numbers restricted, small retail shops and open air markets opened just over two weeks ago but still no malls or department stores. All retail staff in shops to wear masks.

Sitting under the ceiling fan today, writing and i’ll work on the computer shortly. I usually write this journal/blog entry in two or three goes throughout the day.

Sad news this evening of the passing of a very good friend, he died suddenly and unexpectedly but doing the thing he loved, birding. So many happy memories. My only positive thought in this is, if there is a heaven he’ll now be reunited with his wife who he always referred to as “our lass” who he lost nearly 15 years ago, I don’t think he ever got over that. RIP S ❤️

Meaningful May: Handwrite a note to someone you love and send them a photo of it. I wrote a note to my friend J, love her to bits, she’s probably the loveliest person in the world, not a bad bone in her body. I think if it wasn’t for her and her husband P I wouldn’t be here now – the love and support they gave me after the loss of my son is what got me through the dark days.

A bird, specially for S 🙁

Sober: Day 28

17th May 2020, Sunday

Hot, hot, hot! Thank goodness for the ceiling fan. Last night it was window wide open and ceiling fan on the go. Just a thin cotton sheet on the bed but mostly I wasn’t underneath it.

Don’t want to speak too soon but I think the WFPB diet is beginning to pay off with regards my ulcerative colitis. I don’t want to give you the gory details but my symptoms (touch wood!) seem to be a little improved today. Time will tell…

Didn’t actually do much today: reading, writing, some work on the computer, messaging with friends, online Scrabble. As soon as you move it’s “boooooofff” instantly drenched with sweat. Drinking plenty to keep hydrated. Did some online Christmas shopping – I usually try to start getting organised at this time of year, just small things and only for the daughters and grandsons.

Nothing to complain about today, feeling well hydrated. My weather app reported 42C… That’s pretty warm… Quite honestly the thought of drinking wine this evening, in this heat, repulses me, I can’t imagine how horrible I would feel in this heat with a belly full of alcohol. Progress is being made!

Meaningful May: Take a positive action to help in your local community. Well i’m not actually resident in my home community at the moment but feel I can help so I spent some time on social media sharing and promoting the business pages of friends on the islands who run small companies and who are currently struggling. Hopefully they will get some online orders as a result.

I’m fascinated with this derelict building nearby, I took the photo with the Tin Type camera app
I really love the WTForecast app, it’s not for the easily offended though 😂
Back of camera shot, even the House Martins were struggling with the heat, they were clinging to the wall in the little bit of shade.

Sober: Day 27

16th May 2020, Saturday

We went shopping at 7.15am, it was quite busy, I think everyone is getting things done before it gets too hot. The Met Office here have issued an extreme heat warning to run initially from 12.30pm to 5.30pm. It was already 32C when we left the store to return home at 7.45pm.

Feeling homesick a bit today, probably a combination of things: ulcerative colitis not very good still, it’s so hot and i’m missing the cool sea breeze at home in Scotland, i’m missing being in my own kitchen with my own appliances and being able to make the food that I know will sort out my u.c. I miss my bike, I’d love to go for a bike ride, I miss the solitude of heading out on my bike with all my gear and spending the night in my tent.

I don’t think I’m well equipped mentally to be cooped up indoors with another person, for weeks on end, no matter how much I love that person. I value freedom and solitude very highly. It resets me and makes me a better person to live with.

Meaningful May: Look around you and find five things you find meaningful.

1. The almost complete baby blanket that I’m knitting for my new grandson. I should have been home and had it finished well before he was born. I forgot to bring a cable needle with me and all the shops here have been closed for weeks so I haven’t been able to buy one.

2. My diary – it’s a five year “one line a day” diary and I’m on the second year of making daily entries. I really like looking back at the previous year to see what was going on with me – sometimes happy stuff, sometimes sad. It was OH’s idea to get these diaries and he also keeps his up to date too.

3. My binoculars, they go everywhere with me.

4. My iPad, especially at the moment, not only is it where I keep my full written journal (iPad app and Apple Pencil) but it is also my connection to family and friends through various means: Zoom, Messenger, WhatsApp and playing Scrabble.

5. The view from my window. I’ll never forget my time this year in Cyprus, I’ve really enjoyed being here, even being in lockdown, despite the homesickness. It’s been a great apartment to stay in – a good balcony which overlooks the gardens, a field and in the distance the sea. There are plenty of birds around which makes life interesting and full of sound.

Sober: Day 26

15th May 2020, Friday

Wow, it’s so hot today, i’m drinking gallons (water mainly) and not feeling much like eating. It’s like stepping out into a furnace when you go outside. It stays fairly reasonable inside the apartment as it’s out of the sun for most of the day. Tonight will be the first night since being here that we’ll sleep with the windows open – we have insect screens on all the doors/windows thankfully.

Not much to report here today really. Still feeling good, no wobbles about not drinking. I’m making Never Question The Decision (NQTD) my go to motto.

Meaningful May: Find out about the values and traditions of another culture.

So as I’m currently in Cyprus it is the obvious choice. I have noticed that the Cypriot people are very family orientated, very sociable and also go out of their way to be kind and helpful.

The Cypriot Way of Life: Cypriot culture is a unique blend of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern; it has been moulded by centuries of rule by different nations that have coveted, fought over and possessed the island. Family life is considered of paramount importance and respect for the older generation remains strong. Despite an outwardly relaxed attitude towards religion, the traditions and values of the Orthodox church (in the South) and Islam (in the North) still play a key role in society as a whole.

Lonely Planet

Sober: Day 25

14th May 2020, Thursday

Again, another day of taking things easily. Another really good nights sleep, I feel so refreshed in a morning now and ready to face the day whatever it brings.

Once I reach 30 days sober I may not update this blog on a daily basis, unless i’m struggling or trying to work things out in my mind. I feel it might get quite repetitive day after day – “well here I am day xx, still not drinking” you get the picture… At the moment i’m feeling good about not drinking and don’t currently have any desire to start again. I know, after multiple goes that I now have to face the fact that I cannot moderate, I just end up right back where I started and I really don’t want to be in a cycle of multiple day 1s. Been there, done that.

I actually told my OH at dinner tonight that I’m never going to drink again. I think he was a bit shocked. He said “what, not ever, not Christmas, or birthdays, or when we go and see x and y?” I told him, no not ever again, I mean it and also talked to him about my inability to control or moderate drinking and that I don’t want to return to an unhealthy level of drinking again.

A fun Zoom call this evening with our friends x and y (mentioned above), they were both on the wine but I was on water and OH by then was on coffee (after a beer and 4 glasses of wine, not that I’m counting. OK I am). After the Zoom a really fun WhatsApp quiz with my sober buddies group, we had such amazing fun, so many laughs and not a drop was drunk. Love those girls, we’re getting to know each other really well.

Meaningful May: Show your gratitude to people who are helping to make things better. I expressed my gratitude to our sober group leader and mentor who had compiled this evenings quiz and who encouraged us to take part. I told her that I feel so lucky to have found such a wonderful group of other sober people who support each other, hold each other up when one of us is down and exude so much positivity, it’s wonderful

View from the balcony, I took this photo a few weeks ago at sunset – everything is looking a lot browner and drier now!

Sober: Day 24

13th May 2020, Wednesday

Shopping first thing, went at 7.30am and the usual routine at the supermarket: hand sanitiser and temperature taken at the entrance then the trolley handle was sanitised. We did a quick predatory shop and out again as soon as we could. We’ve been very lucky here in Cyprus not to suffer the panic buying they had back in the UK where there are still shortages I believe. Even the packs of toilet roll here are still on BOGOFF (buy one, get one free).

I didn’t go for a walk today, I want, and need, my body to put all it’s energy into healing my ulcerative colitis. Made some lovely nourishing soup for lunch – green split pea and vegetable. Yum!

Played Scrabble online, did some work, read, sat in the sun. Phoned mum, happily she was pretty good. The quit lit i’m currently reading is Allen Carr’s The Easy Way for Women to Stop Drinking. It takes the form of reverse brainwashing – rinsing away all those years and years of being bombarded with the myths about the benefits of alcohol.

No new beer to review for “beer” o’clock today. It’ll be Carlsberg AF or San Miguel 0% now for me for a while until I can get back over to the bigger store. Funny though, one AF beer is perfectly enough for me late afternoon and I never feel like another one, unlike when it was an alcoholic beer when I would either have another one or finish the beer and make an immediate start on the wine.

The weather forecast for the weekend is for over 40C. Not looking forward to that, need to make sure i’ve got plenty of ice in the freezer and plenty of chilled, soft drinks in the fridge.

Meaningful May: Today do something to care for the natural world. Hopefully, with a background of biology and ecology I do something beneficial for the natural world everyday, at the moment I fill the bird bath in the garden here with fresh water daily – it’s surprising how quickly, in this heat, it evaporates and natural water sources are becoming scarce. I also put my bird sightings into the local database, whether at home or on holiday, which will hopefully be able to inform conservation choices in the future. I have a fascination with all things natural and today my photo is of the praying mantis that has been living in the plant on the balcony. What an amazing creature!

Sober: Day 23

12th May 2020, Tuesday

I woke up not knowing what day it was, strange as I went to bed sober 😃 Must be the lockdown effect where every day is the same. It doesn’t actually matter what day it is, they are all the same at the moment – apart from Sundays when the grocery store is closed.

I had my first first drinking dream since becoming sober last night. I was sitting at a railway station guzzling a beer and gin combination. It tasted gross in my dream but I still kept on drinking it and thinking “why am I doing this?”

“Beer” o’clock today and a brew called Bavaria, alcohol free malt apple drink. Nothing beer-like at all about it, it looked and tasted exactly like Appletise. Another one to cross off the list, but, hey, you have to try these things. I didn’t even take a photo of the bottle, sorry.

Meaningful May: Be grateful for the little things even in difficult times. It’s certainly difficult to be away from the family and even if I was at home in Scotland I wouldn’t be able to travel the 500+ miles to see everyone – mum and dad at 84 and 87 are shielding and only halfway through their 12 weeks of that so I couldn’t visit and stay with them like I normally would. DD1 and GS1 are both asthma sufferers and so are being very careful, both have been hospitalised in the last 12 months because of their condition. And DD2 and GS2, well I wouldn’t want to take the virus to a 3.5 week old baby. In all of this i’m so so grateful for the internet! Messenger, WhatsApp, FaceTime, it helps to keep us all connected and i’m so thankful for that

Sober: Day 22

11th May 2020, Monday

Up at 7.45am. Set out to go on a walk but only got 100 yards before I had to return. I’ll try again later. I’m not going to let this stupid ulcerative colitis beat me. Thank goodness i’m not still drinking alcohol as that would do my insides no good at all. It is stressing me out though and I felt on the verge of a panic attack when I got back to the apartment. I won’t drink though. I might have a cigarette, I feel like I need a cigarette though i’ve been given up 82 days. Actually I don’t know if I can face a disgusting cigarette anymore, I think I would throw up. 🤮

After lunch more stress, OH had a text and two missed calls from his bank. The text said that they had declined a payment of £720 from his credit card. He hadn’t made any payments so he spent almost an hour on the phone to the bank, most of that time on hold. Eventually he was put through to the banks fraud team and they said that earlier today another payment, this one for £299 had been authorised. He hadn’t made that payment either – he hasn’t used that card since arriving here in Cyprus 10 weeks ago. Anyway the card is now blocked and OH will assist the police in the investigation any way that he can. We have no idea when, how long ago or from where his card details were stolen.

While all that was going on my anxiety level was sky high and I could hear the voice of my addict inside my head, hammering on the window of the room I’ve locked her in, and she was shouting “wine, wine, wine, wine” and showing me a glass of chilled white wine filling up. I sat and took deep breaths, read some of my current quit lit, and eventually calmed down. The crisis passed without me falling into a bottle but I realise I need to be very aware that the addict, although locked away is still there and able to be suddenly awakened and become rowdy and obnoxious.

“Beer” o’clock today and an alcohol free Warsteiner, a German brew and probably the nicest AF beer that i’ve tried so far. I even said to OH “ooh, I think they put the wrong beer in this bottle” if I didn’t know it was AF I would swear it was a regular beer. This one is definitely on my shopping list.

Meaningful May: What are your most important values? Use them today. I think my most important values at the moment are gratitude and courage. I think I used courage to get over the stresses of today. I also plucked up courage and told one of my very close friends that i’ve given up drinking alcohol, I had a positive response from her. Gratitude: For a couple of years now I’ve kept a gratitude journal, I try to write three things down every morning and evening that i’m grateful for. Sometimes it’s difficult to think what to write, if I’ve had a bad day but there is always something that I can be grateful for.

A definite 10/10 for this one!