Good old Freud was on to something

It was Freud (check me out), who came up with the concept of sublimination as a defense mechanism. Defense mechanisms are tools we use to deflect people seeing our issues/feelings or even to hide those issues/feelings from ourselves.
Being Freud he believed that sublimination was a result of deep instinctual sexual drives, and because these sexual drives were socially unacceptable, individuals would use sublimination to channel these sexual urges into succeeding in other more socially acceptable areas, maybe science or the arts, anything to distract from what was truly going on. So basically, you have a feeling that you don’t want to share or feel that its unacceptable, so instead you take up a new sport for example and put all that pent up frustration/desire/anger into that.
Now I like Freud but the man was pretty obsessed with sex, however when it comes to sublimination and subliminal messages I reckon we can apply freud theory to the alcohol advertisers of today.

Beware of the Ad man/woman

Advertising relies heavily on psychology, and finding out what makes people tick, from placement of products on  supermarket shelves, to super expensive adverts suggesting the perfect life of only you buy their product.

Let’s apply this to alcohol, we know its causes millions of pounds worth of damage each year, we know at the weekends in the UK the NHS and emergency services are under incredible strain from individuals being drunk. We know that alcohol is addictive and is a known carcogen. We know worldwide over 3 million deaths are as a direct result of drinking alcohol and is responsible for over 5% of the global burden of disease.


YET!


It is freely available and in many cultures actively encouraged.
Want fun? Add alcohol
Want to commiserate? Add alcohol
Want to be glamorous? Add alcohol

But if you get addicted and lose everything you are weak.

Alcohol advertising is everywhere, from daft signs that get displayed in houses and bars across the world to make us feel better about consuming a carcogenic poison to million pound beer adverts at sporting events.

I wonder what the signs would read if we were honest about alcohol?

Would we advertise class A drugs in the same way? ‘Want to chill out after a tough day a work’? Do some heroin or instead of wine Wednesday, let’s have crystal meth Tuesday. It wouldn’t happen. OK ok, I know these are illegal drugs, but a certain report by Professor Nutt, established alcohol as the most harmful from all the drugs they investigated, and part of its danger is becsue it is widely available and totally accepted by society.

Often advertising is seen as harmless, we don’t  think about it too much, but you can bet your backside, someone somewhere is being paid a bundle to think about it and how best to get into the potential customers subconscious.

Putting posion in pretty packages doesn’t make it any safer

Freud was right, and advertisers use subliminal messages to dress alcohol up, putting poison in pretty packages and use it as a distraction from the dark truth. 

The sober movement is gaining momentum but there is a long way to go, we sober warriors need to keep pushing back against the tide. We are regularly being sold a lie and this one is quite literally poison.

Till next time

Vicki xx

Soberversary time!

The 2nd of September 2020 marks my 3rd year alcohol free!

Three years alcohol free
The start of my sober journey

Celebrations

This year I will be celebrating with a trip to the dentist! Not what you might consider a traditional sober celebration but it actually marks some growth in my sobriety. I have needed for some time to face up to the fact I need some serious dental work doing, being afraid of dentists and not having much faith in my usual dentist, this is not an easy thing for me to do. So I have finally taken the bull by the horns so to speak, and seen a decent dentist and am starting the process.

And that my sober friends is growth!

Not all my soberversaries have been quite so mundane, for my 100 day soberversary I cried like a baby and treated myself to a necklace which I wear almost daily.

My 1 year soberversary was marked with a spa day, afternoon tea and more tears

My 2 year soberversary was celebrated on a boat floating round the Turkish coast, with 2 of my daughters. My kids did me a picture with a little note saying congratulations mum, we are proud of you,,,,,,,,more tears (I’m sensing a theme here)

I’m not planning on any tears tomorrow but with a visit to the dentist there is a high probability.

What I have learnt in sobriety

1/ Not everyday is a good day, but it sure as shit beats being locked in a destructive drinking cycle.

2/ You don’t realise how much hangovers impact you until you stop having them.

3/ There are thousands of people struggling with problem drinking, you are definitely not alone.

4/ People who get sober are amongst the nicest I’ve ever come across, because we understand the struggle.

5/ If you want something you have to make it happen! I spent years watching other people live their lives, pissed off that I had been dealt a poor hand, when in reality I was the only person holding me back.

6/Sobriety is opportunity, it is often spoken in sober circles that sobriety delivers everything alcohol promised and it’s true! I get to live my life now on my terms.

7/ Being sober isn’t always easy especially in the beginning but, it really is worth it, I regretted drinking every morning, yet every night I jumped back on that hamster wheel, I have never, not once, regretted sobriety.

8/ Sobriety offends some people, this hurt a lot when I first experienced it, but after talking it through with my sober buddies, I realised their reaction to me not drinking, said way more about them, than it ever did me.

9/ Sobriety really is up to us, imagine your drinking is a high speed train, constantly gathering momentum, you can see these speeds are dangerous and its going to end in disaster. You can choose when you disembark from that train, at any point you can press the emergency stop, and say enough is enough. But it is up to you where you draw the line, there doesn’t have to be a rock bottom.

10/ Underneath all the drinking there is a version of you who has been waiting to show you what life can be like.

It has been an amazing journey so far and long my it continue. It hasn’t always been easy and my biggest piece of advice is don’t do it alone, connect with fellow sober warriors, attend AA, get a counsellor, a sober facilitator, or rehab. Keep trying, find out which approach suits you and remember sobriety is always worth it 💜

Till next time

Vicki xx

Negative Nancy

As I sit picking the hair off the roller in the hoover, I realised I have hit a new low in the procrastination stakes!

Negative Nancy (Nn) is the mean girl that lives in my head, and she has been circling for a while now. She puts me off doing all sorts of things, and one of those is write this blog, she would have me believe that I have nothing of interest to write or, let other people do it becuse they are waaaaaaaaayyyyyy! Better than me.

However when I pledged at New Year to write this blog for a year I was doing it for me, not anyone else and certainly not for Nn

The blog

To get off the negative thread, I thought I would share some sober wins. I am a big believer in sharing our successes in sobriety as it keeps us motivated and promotes positivity.

It has been a busy few weeks that has seen me dust of my hairdressing scissors and get back in the salon, I purchased my first pair of walking boots and I discovered earthing.

The hairdressing uniform has changed quite a bit

An old friend and one time boss asked me if I would help out for a few weeks, when hair salons were allowed to open up again. I’m always willing to help but I had some mixed feelings about it.

The last time I worked in hairdressing I was known as the party girl and all conversations revolved around going out and what time we could get to the pub when work finished on a Saturday. I am comfortable enough in my sobriety to know I was not at risk from drinking but what would old clients think of the new improved me?

Well I had an absolute blast! And you would never believe it had been years since I had done any hairdressing, the main thing I noticed was my confidence, I was always a busy stylist but never truly believed I was any good, looking back now, I know that’s the alcohol anxiety talking. It was actually good to get back to it temporarily to put those ghosts to bed.

Walking boots

I’m not sure if this happens to any other sober warriors, I’m fairly sure it will.

Every so often I find myself doing something that old me would roll her eyes at and say what on earth would you do that for???

I smirked to myself knowing this when I pressed buy now on my first pair of walking boots. It is well known in sober circles just how good nature is for you and I have really been proactive the last few weeks about getting out there and soaking up nature.

Bank top, North Yorkshire

Most recently I have spent a lot of time in North Yorkshire, Gods own county as it is otherwise known 😁

I have forced my old legs up, and down dale, all the while feeling proud of my little self for doing it. I have always known I need to be outdoors more, I was an outdoorsy child who was out in all weather’s. Which is just another thing alcohol robbed me of, a constant hangover meant no energy for doing anything as daft as walking on the weekend.

I visited the white horse at Kilburn

It looks better from above

And there are a ridiculous amount of steep stairs to climb to reach the top, these dumpy legs were really struggling with them. I got to the top, with a sense of achievement and one eye on an empty bench in the distance. I dragged my weary legs to the bench and just sat.

The view from the bench

I sat there, I was overcome with emotion, it gets to me sometimes, that sense of wonder at just how far I have come. I let the tears fall and relished the sense of pride, that somehow I had found my way out of the darkness and into the light. I am always grateful that I found the strength to give myself a second chance at living and sitting there on that bench was one of those moments where I felt that gratitude deeply. May those moments never disappear.

On to earthing

One of my favourite things to do when I go on these walks is to get my feet wet in the streams and rivers we come across. It is a physical urge I feel when see water, it always has been. After a bit of googling I discover the notion of earthing. Physically connecting back to mother earth, she neutralises free radicals and other bad energy we pick up and makes us feel better.

This is another moment old me is rolling her eyes 😆

But I truly get it! And I love it! I remember early in my sober journey I pretty much sat in a bath for the first month as it was the only thing that made me feel half human, as a child I always wanted to be in water, I was forever in trouble for taking my shoes and socks off where ever we went and getting my feet on the damp ground. I feel it now when I’m near a body of water, that itch to touch it, that urge to feel it against my skin.

My feet

People may mock (old me certainly is) but this simple technique really seems to help me, so long may it continue. Admittedly in December I might not be so keen.

Earthing and eating ice-cream

I think we are about caught up. I hope summer is being kind to you

Till next time

Vicki xx

Memories

Facebook memories are a funny old thing aren’t they. After my last break up I had to spend a year deleting the memories each day, which was tedious and not always a great way to start the day.

By far my biggest break-up has been the one from wine, pinot, to be precise. As a retired blackout artist, pinot did a good job of deleting lots of my memories, but some that made it to Facebook, have remained. This is because however cringeworthy they remind me why sobriety is the positive choice for me.

Take this one for instance, a typical vino/ realxing bath combo, but what happens when we look a little closer?

I would have decided I needed justification, and validation for drinking on a school night, what better way than fishing for likes on fb? My brain will have told me to chuck in that bath bomb that had been lurking at the back of the cupboard for good measure, thats sure to up the likes 🙄

I press post and wait for the likes to roll in. I sit there all smug because…..well if everyone is liking my bath bomb, ethanol combo there can’t be anything wrong can there? Everyone is doing it and its perfectly normal.

Except

My bath would not have been the relaxing hours of bliss my Facebook photo was portraying…. nah I would have sat in said bath for all of 20mins. Pretended I was relaxed and cosmopolitan, with my ethanol and bath bomb combo.

I would have had a couple of glasses before getting in the bath, so that tiny glass would have lasted all of 15mins. Then I would be sat there, in my sweet smelling surroundings telling myself I was relaxed and this was heavenly, and no more than I deserved. After all my life was full of stress, sadly what I didnt realise at the time was wine was causing most of my stress, but that’s another blog for another day.

No actual relaxing would take place, I would be agitated that my glass was getting emptier by the second. There were times I would sneak the bottle upstairs with me but I couldn’t always get away with that. After telling myself I was super relaxed after my lightening fast bath, I would be out, and stumble off on the hunt for more pinot.

Everytime this memory comes around, I roll my eyes at the stories I used to tell myself to justify my drinking. This serves as a good reminder of the toxic relationship I had with booze and its not a memory that I want to delete any time soon.

Right I’m off for a relaxing bath, see you in a couple of hours

Till next time

Vicki xx

Reflections

I missed May’s blog! I’m so annoyed with myself but I was busy writing a dissertation. So rather than beat myself up forever and quit blogging (like drinking Vicki would do) I’ve decided to forgive myself and carry on.

So that’s that, uni is over! Which begs the question what next? And the answer is I’m not entirely sure. But what I have been doing is reflecting on where and who I am today, opposed to when I started uni. My uni journey and sober journey have been very much entwined from the start and I haven’t known one without the other.

I would absolutely recommend anyone getting sober does a counselling course or at least has some counselling. The journey we go on into sobriety demands some difficult truths and deep insights but i fully believe this work I have done on myself is what has lead to sobriety sticking this time, there’s a saying in sobriety that is ‘feel the feelings’ but what does’t get mentioned so much is how do we learn to deal with the feelings? Hell, we have been numb for so long it makes sense to have support while we learn to deal with the feelings. I guess I’m lucky I had a bunch of trainee counsellors propping me up while i learned how to feel the feelings.

I was a defensive little bugger when I started uni, and wasn’t going to mention my sobriety I thought I could just get a long with life and not really think about. I was wrong! If i was going to do sobriety right I had to accept it as part of me and be proud of it! Not the dirty little secret I was treating it as.

So I started to embrace my sobriety, I shared it with a few people I was getting close to and I allowed it into my soul, sobriety was becoming a part of me. My clothes began to change, gone was the drab, bright colours began to reside in my wardrobe. I’m fairly sure on several occasions I turned up looking like I had jumped in my wardrobe wriggled about a bit and worn whatever fell on me, but I didn’t care I was finding out who I was. The more I embraced my sobriety the more confident I became, I wasn’t happy anymore staying silent and hoping I went unnoticed.

I began having opinions and valid ones at that, I was making friends and finally I realised I was happy.

Drinking kept me quiet, it kept me trapped, it took away my opinions, it took away my colours, life was grey and hunched over when I was drinking, sobriety was pink hair and big ideas!

So I am sad my time at uni is over, but forever grateful I got to do it. I guess now it’s time I grow up, get a big girls job and be a contributing member of society. But i’ll do it with happiness in my heart my sobriety held safely in my hand and probably with pink hair!

Till next time

Vicki