I’m on day 3 of a planned 30-day caffeine reset. I love my coffee! A bit too much it seems though. I hate to admit it, but I already feel better for it. My stomach irritation has improved, I’ve slept better, and I feel less fatigued. I’m also working to improve my early sobriety ‘anything goes as long as it’s not alcohol’ diet. I’ve cut down on refined carbs and sugar in the last couple of weeks, and I’ve already lost a few pounds, which is a great start. I wish you all a happy, healthy and sober weekend.

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I have a lot to be grateful for this week. My back is much better, I’ve had zero desire to drink, the weather is gorgeous, and I have time off work.

This is my first six-panel comic strip. It’s a very condensed version of my story, but I still couldn’t fit everything into four panels. It’s good to give myself a 50% extra challenge sometimes.

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I’ve had dreadful back pain, bad enough to make me bellow like a birthing cow just trying to get up off the sofa.

I remembered the Buddhist concept that life will occasionally shoot us with inevitable arrows such as pain, sickness or loss, but we don’t have to keep shooting ourselves with more why? and what if? arrows on top.

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I love those special moments when I slip into a flow state whilst doing creative things. I’ve noticed it’s happening more often in the absence of alcohol. Yet another great reason to not drink, yay!

I sometimes feel something similar when I’m walking in the woods, in the presence of nature, gardening, or when I’m listening to music. What’s not to like about a euphoric altered state without a comedown or hangover?

What gets you into a flow state? What new thing could you try that might take you there?

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If I’m ever tempted to have a ‘glass’ of wine, I play forward the dreadful rollercoaster ride I’d be climbing back onto. Ugh! No thanks!

I’ve also noticed a new mood this week, apart from being a bit tired and unmotivated. I’ve been feeling burnt out thinking about sobriety so much. I’ve had zero urges to drink so I don’t think it’s coming from denial or avoidance. I just sometimes feel as if I’m as preoccupied with not drinking as I used to be with drinking. It gets tiring. Does anybody else feel like this sometimes?

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My mood has been good this week. I’ve been meditating daily, exercising, journalling and writing down what I’m grateful for. All the simple things we often dismiss because it’s easy to forget how powerful an effect they can have.

Life is far from perfect. I have some current challenges and some big future questions, but I’m really trying to stay right here, in the now, and focus on doing the next right thing.

My calmly positive mood got me thinking about the contrast between now and when I was drinking. What I class as fun, excitement, or happiness is subtly shifting. The best word I could find for this mood is contentment, which is, in my opinion, a very underappreciated word. What do you think?

Wishing you all a contented weekend.

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Alice Gardener

Alice Gardener

Comic strips and poetry on addiction recovery, neurodiversity, introversion and other general nerdery.