Six months in – The List progress report

It has now been six months since I gave up drinking. My review date of July 1st approaches, marking the day where I decide to start drinking again or carry on free of booze.

Therefore it seems appropriate at this point to review  The List , seeing as we’re halfway through the year. (Halfway through the year? What the hell? I swear it was March last week, and I am pretty sure that someone has stolen the first three weeks of June.)

The original list :

  1. Learn to sew. Start with cushions, end up with dresses
  2. Learn Sign Language
  3. No drinking for 3 months – re-evaluate on 1st April whether I want to stay off the booze for a further 3 months
  4. Start writing again – and document my attempts to do all of the above

Well there are three Successes here, and it is clear to the massive failure.

# 4 speaks for itself. I have written once a week ever since my first post, even when I’d only come out of surgery two days previously; not only documenting progress on The List but going on massive tangents about things that ignite my ire or fascination. Writing this blog has also led me to try things I’d have been too shy or nervous to attempt previously, opened up new opportunities and helped me rediscover a voice I’d forgotten I had. I’ve found a sense of pleasure and satisfaction I did not know I had in writing; and when people connect to what I’ve written it feels wonderful.

As for # 2 I can confidently state that I am well into my Level 1 BSL course and really enjoying it, although I am finding remembering the vocabulary a struggle and find it easier to sign myself than to understand someone else signing to me. This is a matter of practicing more, and finding other BSL speakers willing to sign the same thing over and over repeatedly at ever decreasing speeds until I understand.

# 3 has been more successful than I could have ever dreamed. It has got easier and easier as the months have passed, to the point where at a friend’s club night last night I realised that the fun silly person that was drunk-me that I thought I’d miss so much was actually just me. Happy me. A happy me without feeling crap in the morning, who can remember the night before. I am at a point where I really think if I ever do want a drink, it’s because I’ve seen a really interesting drink I really want to taste . I no longer miss being drunk, or even want to be drunk. I often feel incredibly relieved – particularly on the way home when tired late at night – that I am not drunk and do not have to deal with all that fallingy-overy-eating-pot-noodles-hangover-tomorrow business. Every now and than I think about a time when I might start drinking again and know that I never want to feel like that again.

I would like to gloss over # 1, but that’s not what this experiment was all about, and I must take my failures on the chin as much as celebrate my successes. I have not learned to sew. That sewing machine is still sitting in my friend’s hallway. The closest I’ve got to a sewing machine this year was seeing this beautiful creature  in John Lewis and deciding I really wanted it, than wandering away and buying some Space Invaders pyjamas. (I think Mr RDP suspects I have swapped my booze / sugar addiction for a pyjama addiction. I now have more than 10 pairs.) I have not made ​​any cushions. I did buy a pair of dungaree shorts things for £ 5 where the straps were too long intending to put in new buttonholes in order to make them fit. I spent an hour wrestling with a needle and thread to put in an embarrassingly untidy hole into which the button would fit (so technically it’s a buttonhole) to discover I’d completely failed to correctly measure where the buttonholes needed to be. I gave up on the second strap.

So # 1 gets a 1/10 written in red ink. Needs improvement. See me.

I do have a revised list from the wonderful ass-kicking session  I attended a few weeks ago, which I also need to review.

  • Get back into volunteer work in children’s theatre
  • Do my BSL level 1 exam and apply for the level 2
  • Keep writing about feminism – do not give in!
  • Get singing again
  • Apply for the job

Again, there’s a big glaring failure here which I will get out of the way up front. I did not finish the application for the job. After running out of time to do a proper job on the application form due to someone stealing the first three weeks of June I did some soul-searching and came to the conclusion that at this point in my life and career, it is too soon to take an upward step. I am not ready yet. Even if  I managed to get an interview with a half-assed and rushed application form, and even if  I managed to get the job from that interview, I’d still not be ready . Making the decision to abandon the application brought a huge sense of relief so great that I almost cried. The next day back at work I immediately enrolled on four management training courses offered through work, with the support of my manager. By the end of the year I intend to be ready .

I have sent out some emails about volunteering with an inclusive theatre group; they are not looking for volunteers right now but hopefully will be in the future – so let’s mark that one as ‘ongoing’.

I have not done any more singing other than singing in the shower. But I know many musical people. All it takes is for me to be brave enough to say, hey, I want to do some singing. Let’s do a band sort of thing. But saying that takes courage, and it needs me to be confident that I can sing well enough for someone to take me seriously. This is a courage I do not have – and I need to somehow find that.

Ok, I might not have achieved everything. But what I have done has given me more confidence and more opportunities than I would have ever believed. And almost all of it is really down to just one thing really: giving up alcohol. It was what spawned this blog. It’s what gives me time to have adventures in my weekends. Money to fund the adventures. It’s given me a new insight into my personality, how I operate, how I relate to people around me. I am not ready to give that up just yet.

I am now past the stage of Not Drinking being a novelty. I am past the stage of looking longingly at the booze, or at being jealous of drunk people. I am happily drinking my soda water and barely notice the difference in the fun I am having to the fun everyone else is having – apart from when I see really drunk people and I feel a sense of deep relief that I am not drunk. It’s my birthday at the end of July, and the prospect of the first entirely sober birthday in 20 years is probably less than an horrific and unthinkable prospect than it is is an enticing and fascinating one. So it’s an easy decision. It is another three months, with a review on 1st October. That will be a big decision, as that will mean an entirely sober Christmas. But let’s worry about that when we get there.

So this is The New List:

  • Learn to sew. Start with cushions, end up with dresses
  • Continue to learn British Sign language – pass the L1 exam and sign up for L2
  • No drinking for 3 months – review on 1st October
  • Get back into volunteer work in children’s theatre
  • Get singing again
  • Aim to be ready to level up in my career by the end of the year
  • Keep writing once a week – documenting my attempts to do the above and writing about issues important to me




  1. Congratulations on your sobriety!! Hang in there and stay with it. I’m a former Alateen. There’s not enough time left on this planet to give you all the reasons ahead of you for just… hang on to a blessing that’s capable of multiplying 100-fold in your favor!

  2. My advice would be not to bother with cushions because you don’t really want cushions and they’re boring; make PJs instead! Basic pyjama pants are easy, and there are so many fabulous fabrics out there which could help spur you on!

Comments are closed.