Let me count the ways ……

that my perfectionism and self-critical way of being is receding as the booze ship sails further into the distance.

let me count the ways

I’ve been thinking about this as I go about my daily routine and just noticing things that I do differently now.  Count from here:

  1. I used to weigh myself every morning.  I was a complete body fascist and very hard and critical on myself if I gained any weight.  It was just another thing to beat myself around the head with.  I’ve stopped weighing myself every day and have gained a few pounds and it doesn’t seem to matter like it used to.
  2. I used to wash my hair every day as I was paranoid about it looking greasy.  Now I can go three days and even if it starts to look like it needs a wash I’m less bothered.  Just tie it back and it’ll be okay.
  3. Same with eyebrow care.  Waxed every 3-4 weeks and tweezed into submission in between – what would people think of me if my brows were poorly managed?  The irony is my close up eyesight is getting worse so I can’t actually see now so I worry less!  Same goes for other wayward body hair – used to be fastidious about this kind of stuff but MrHOF never noticed or cared most of the time.
  4. Clothes had to be pristine.  Would wash things after only one wear if only for a few hours.  Was equally paranoid about body odour.  Just more relaxed about it – stuff gets dirty if we wear it!
  5. All of these rules extended to my poor family and home environment too.  Chaos and mess used to make me really stressed and grumpy.  I live with a 9 and 7 year old and a husband who isn’t bothered about it but me?  Anal and overwhelmed if things weren’t just so.  Have slowly noticed myself relaxing about all of these things that don’t really matter.  Again this house is lived in – it gets messy and dirty and our newest kitten addition, called Inky, I’m sure has been sent into my life to make me get this stuff in perspective.  Every time he comes through the cat-flap he leaves a trail of muddy paw marks from the kitchen up to onto our bed.  Previously this would have driven me nuts – now I just have to laugh.
  6. The blog – again mistakes were not tolerated and I felt that they would be noticed and I would be thought less of if I made a mistake.  I’m human – mistakes happen.
  7. Academic advancement – this continues to drive me.  Partly because I feel safe when I am learning and growing.  I don’t know why this is but suspect it is how I got reward and acknowledgement as a child and it remains a strong motivator.  I suspect is also related to self-worth and proving that I am intelligent, something I consider important.  Plus because I’m a maven 😉
  8. Fitness – running  has become a pleasure that I enjoy and miss if I don’t go out and do.  It isn’t a chore or something I feel driven to do – it’s something I love to do and it has the added bonus of keeping me healthy.
  9. Diet – has improved immensely.  Yes sugar is still a battle point but generally what I put in my mouth is much more balanced, considered and healthy.  I used to be really unhealthy both in terms of fitness and diet and this was something else to berate myself over.
  10. Financial impulsivity – now I see it!  This was something that was well below my radar when I was drinking.  It was fuelled by drinking – browsing online shops glass in hand.  I used to buy clothes, so as to keep up the appearance that if everything looked ok on the outside I wasn’t falling part on the insides, right? Music and books were also high up on the overspending list – means to escape and feed my intelllectual cravings.  Clothes I stopped buying almost completely.  Music too, but partly as it had such a strong association with booze for me, that in these early days it has been a trigger so I avoided.  Books I still struggle with, but I use the library more often, and rather than impulse buy them they go on to my wishlist and at birthdays and Xmas requests are made for them to be gifts or they become milestone sober treats.  As a result all debt has gone 🙂

It seems when I drank because that felt out of control I sought to control everything else.  If I could just keep everything else looking okay then there wasn’t a problem right?  Thing is I constantly shot myself in the foot.  Hungover I would eat badly, wouldn’t exercise, my weight would go up.  My skin and hair would look like crap but if my hair was cleanly washed every day and my brows were perfectly shaped I was keeping my shit together.  I didn’t look after the house past wine o’clock because I was drinking but if I yelled at everyone else for making a mess then it took the focus off of my lack not them being – well them.  Drinking more cost me more financially so made our home finances worse.

The small almost imperceptible shifts that happen when you drink and then that reverse when you stop are so incremental that you almost miss them but they all add up to the bigger picture of how we feel and treat ourselves.

tip of the iceberg

I hadn’t considered any of these things when I was thinking about stopping.  Stopping drinking is like the tip of the proverbial iceberg.  There is a whole slew of stuff under the water line that are more impacted than just the observable behaviour.  It really is the most almighty of changes to make to your life and one I would strongly support and recommend.  How many changes could you count if you stopped?  🙂

PS This is Inky 🙂  He’s a rescue home cat so didn’t join us until he was 9 months old so not really a kitten anymore 😀


25 thoughts on “Let me count the ways ……

  1. Yes! Me, me, me!!! Oh the wasted hours and self flagellation! I’m so glad to be more relaxed in every area of my life…and so are my family. My scales went in the bin!! I’m glad you have relaxed, it makes for such a happier life x

    1. Hey Tamzin Thank you for reading and commenting on my blog 🙂 Happy it resonated strongly with you too and I agree!

  2. Just loved this. Thank you for writing it. I love the honesty of it all and the humour at self reflection.

    Welcome Inky.


    1. Thank you hon 🙂 Inky’s lovely – named by my son, can you guess what colour he is? 😉 xx

      1. Ghegheghe, I thought blue :-D. But I’m guessing it is black 🙂

        Will you let us have a picture of Inky or is he anonymous?

  3. Excellent post, Luce.

    Considered, insightful & beautifully delivered. And all true. I would imagine there’s something in there we can all relate to, especially the “my eyesight’s getting worse, so I can see less of the stuff I’m doing anyway” bit for me 😉

    No video’s on this one. That post was ace. Should form the basis of a lecture or some such (doffs hat in appreciation)

  4. OMG – what a wonderful post . I relate to everything there – isn’t it wonderful to feel you’re not the only one . Thank you so much that’s just what I needed to read this morning . I am nearly at the end of my holiday – I am getting bored of just sitting round watching everyone drink so am going to be a bit selfish today and stay at the villa and chill while they go out to lunch ! Xx

    1. Hey May! Thank you 🙂 So happy to hear that you’ve stuck with it and yes why not stay at the villa and chill today? Enjoy what’s left of your holiday – you ROCK girl xx

  5. Again a wonderful post Louise! I love these sober lists. And yes, I notice too that tiny shifts in my behavior and thinking suddenly make up a whole new personality. E.g.: I sleep at night and I can be happy about having accomplished something without falling apart of the things I have not yet done. 🙂

    Thank you again for your friendship and support all these months. 🙂 I do not think I could have done this without you. 🙂

    xx, Feeling

    1. Thank you feeling so much and it wouldn’t be the same without you either 🙂 xx

  6. great post Lou, and wonderful to hear those changes in your perspective. funny how what was so important recedes and other things take on their truer importance…

    for me, I’ve stopped colouring my hair, after doing so nearly all my life. and I like what colour it turns out to be better than the fake 🙂 xx

    1. Thanks Prim and I agree 🙂 Never went down the hair oolouring path – not that I wasn’t tempted mind! So happy you are happier being the real you xx

  7. Yes! All of it. ALL OF IT.

    Financial impulsivity I am still working on. Still do the f*** it purchasing but I am now returning said items. I currently have a little pile of returns to make in my bedroom. Progress not perfection hey!

    This is so spot on Lou. Thank you xx

    1. Claire someone I know shops online but when she gets to the checkout stage she then empties the basket – gets the buzz but not the impact. Something to try? 🙂 xx

  8. Lovely Inky! This is a wonderful list; I’ve got to get started on my own list 🙂 At the top would be clear eyes, a non-puffy face, and steady hands 😉 xx

    1. Thanks Lori I’ve just chased him off my daughters bed with the hoover 😉 Lists are good and yay to yours! xx

  9. Lucy!
    I went to hot yoga and didn’t wear makeup for the FIRST time!!!
    I have a ways to go, but I am trying to let down my 2 inch hair!!
    LOL again.
    I do need a daily shower, cause I get a little stinky or so my loving hubby says!!

    1. Way to go Wendy! I also have a bath or shower daily – that will never change 🙂 LOL xx

  10. Loved this! Love the iceberg comparison. Also, so much of what you said spoke to where I am right now, too. It is so relaxing to ‘let go’ a little, isn’t it? I feel my shoulders are not as hunched up nearly as much as they used to be.

    I’m so happy for you and your discoveries.*

    1. Thanks Heya Monster! Yep I’ll swap booze control freakery for sober shabby chic any day 😉

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