(Sober) Life at the Lodge

(Sober) Life at the Lodge

I’ve always been a believer of what goes around comes around, that good energy brings good things. Before Soberdom, I was stuck in a rut of negative things that were literally bleeding me dry of goodness. 

Now, I am positive and so is the life around me. I’m still amazed at how removing just one component (alcohol) can have such a massive effect on absolutely everything in my life. 

One of the loveliest things that has happened to me since becoming sober, is being given the opportunity to stay in one of the new beach lodges on Bournemouth Beach. Launched earlier this year, they provide good quality accommodation directly onto the beach, with outstanding sea views and facilities. As I write, I am listening to the waves crash on the shore whilst wrapped up in a comfy duvet.

If I’m honest, I was quite sceptical beforehand. I live down the road so couldn’t really understand the advantages of staying in a glorified shed? I’m not the best camper in the world and wrongly imagined it would be on par, with nightly loo visits to the public block on the beach.

How wrong could someone be? Upon arrival, I was immediately struck by the view. The lodges are literally on the beach with panoramic views overlooking Bournemouth to the right and Hengitsbury Head to the left. On a clear day, you can also see the Isle of Wight in the distance. I have been blessed with good weather but even on a rainy day, it would be heaven to sit inside with the heating on and watch the world go by.

The lodges are fully equipped. By this, I mean a proper toilet, shower, hot water and heating. They feel like a mix between being on a boat and in a luxury caravan. The folding doors onto the veranda open up fully so you have the feeling of inside being out and vice versa. There is a fridge and cooking facilities .. everything you need to hole yourself up for the weekend … and never leave again. That’s my intention anyway.

I have thought about drinking a lot this weekend. The sunshine and being away from home are definite triggers for me, plus being surrounded by other hut goers sipping on Prosecco and beers. I just know that if I had been drinking, I wouldn’t have appreciated this treat as much as I am loving it sober. From grabbing an early night listening to the sea, to waking up at 5am to watch the sunrise .. these things are far more precious than lazing around feeling awful. It’s days like this that assure me I am doing the right thing and remind me that life is for living, not just for drinking.



The Need to Reward

The Need to Reward

As well as drinking to oblivion, a lot of us drink/drank as a reward. We drink/drank because we were happy or sad, bored, had survived an hour/day/week at work, got a promotion or got dumped. Any excuse.
Being rewarded starts very early on in life and therefore is cemented in our brains by adulthood. 

Before Soberdom, I would reward myself with food, alcohol and cigarettes. I remember being a member of the gym in the past and the minute I’d finished, would have a cigarette ‘to celebrate’. Oh the irony!

Friday night has always been treat night for me. After all, I’d worked hard for 5 whole days. I deserved to get smashed. 

Imagine the excitement as a binge drinker, two whole days and nights off work, lots of time to sleep (badly), chill & drink. I would go to the shop on the way home, buy cigarettes, at least two bottles of wine (6 if there was an offer on) and a nice fattening ready meal that I intended to eat to ‘line my stomach’. I would also have gin on standby, just in case.

Once stocked up, and if I was staying in, I’d get home as soon as possible. The first thing I’d do is pour a glass of lukewarm wine (the bottle would then go in the freezer) and have a cigarette whilst hanging out the window of my flat. Beautiful. Then I’d have another cigarette straight away. The weekend had begun. 

Even as I write this, I’m cringing. Drinking lukewarm wine in absolute desperation to get the party (for one) started. And chain smoking! I literally couldn’t get enough. I chose to ‘reward’ myself with two things that were slowly killing me. It seems ridiculous now but at the time it was the best thing ever. Or so I thought.

Once the initial euphoria was over and I settled down in front of the TV, my brain would start. It didn’t really matter if I’d had a good week or bad, alcohol made me feel depressed. Which led me to drink and smoke more. The reward to myself had now transformed into a cycle of misery.

Friday (treat) night subsequently became my trigger night when I stopped drinking. How was I supposed to reward myself now? What was the point in working hard all week when there was nothing to look forward to at the end of it? I’d stopped smoking and stopped drinking. What was left? Oh yeah, food. Oh, and of course Elderflower. 

And so I changed my Friday night. I would still stop at the shop but I would buy food that took me a while to prepare. And I’d buy something nice to drink. I would cook whilst listening to music or a Podcast and I’d take my time. In the first few months, I’d read self help books and go to bed early, just so that I didn’t dwell on what I thought I was missing. 

After several weeks of doing this, the trigger started to lessen. Instead, I would get excited about what I was going to cook or what new drinks I could try. I actually started to look forward to an early night, to recharge my batteries, and to a hangover free Saturday. 

Now, 5 months on, I barely think about having a drink. And I definitely don’t think about smoking. The urge to binge has diminished as I become happier with who I am. The need to ‘fill the void’ is more likely to be with chocolate or ice cream once in a while now, rather than every weekend without fail. My reward is a hangover free weekend, lots of good quality sleep and no sign of the usual Friday night misery.

Have a great sober Friday!