My brother described to me how, when he got up to catch the early morning flight to the airport to come and visit me, he couldn’t remember going to bed the night before. He couldn’t remember packing or what he’d packed and he couldn’t remember setting his alarm – he only knew he had when it went off. He’d been to the pub with work colleagues the night before and it had turned into a bit of a session.
This was so familiar to me. This was me in my drinking days. Often not remembering going to bed. Sometimes (and I hated it when this happened) waking up fully clothed. Or finding my clothes in heaps all over the floor where I had got undressed. Not being able to find where I’d put things. Losing ear-rings (often just one and sometimes one of a pair that were a valued gift from someone I cared about). Not being able to get out of bed to get the drinks or nutrients I needed to recover – having to ask my partner for things.
How much different things are now… deciding in a clear-headed kind of way how I’m going to spend my evening (last night my brother and I watched a couple of episodes of “This Country” – a BBC comedy, then he went to bed and I stayed up and did some work). It’s actually wonderful to be able to choose to do some work into the evening if I want to – something I never would have considered in my drinking days. I even get to scrub my teeth before bed! (This rarely happened when I was drinking). I take my glass of water and my peppermint tea to bed with me – I LOVE getting into a freshly-made bed (it makes me feel fresh and lovely) – I check my social media and I open my Kindle and I read for anything up to 30 minutes – and I remember what I’ve read 😊. Then I notice when I’m starting to drift and I fall asleep.
And the sleep is healthy, restful and healing. And, if anything were to happen that required me to wake up on full alert (which I don’t think it ever has, but still), it’s great to know that I could wake up and jump in a car or deal with anything because I’m clear-headed. I even manage to have a few successive nights on less sleep than normal without turning into a fiend.
And, waking up in the morning refreshed, ready for the day with memory intact is the best feeling in the world!
How does your sober bedtime routine differ from your old drinking one and what benefits do you notice?