Working 9 to 5

Today I wanted to share with you a great example of how the mind works better without the fog of alcohol sullying its functionality. Tomorrow I return to work after 12 months maternity leave has allowed me to enjoy every waking moment with my gorgeous baby girl, watching her grow and develop into a little personality from those early days of her being a tiny, red-faced, milk-guzzling machine.

baby bottles

My thoughts on returning to work have not all been positive if I’m honest. For many months, the notion of having a paid job simply disappeared off my radar, and my daily routine gradually evolved into a series of walks in the park, household chores, meeting friends for coffee, playing with the baby, oh yes, and setting up Soberistas! A couple of months ago, I experienced the vaguest of recollections of what it is to actually go into an office, carry out a job, interact with colleagues and attend meetings, but swiftly pushed it to the back of my mind, telling myself that it was still a long way off in the future.

This week, the startling reality of having to say goodbye to my little baby at 8 am and to not see her little cherubic face until 5 pm, hit me in the face like a large sack of bricks. I spent a day in tears. The childlike element of my persona which lay behind the manipulative behaviour and occasional tantrum of years gone by, often brought to the fore when I drank heavily and was faced with a difficult situation, returned for a brief period. I wanted someone to resolve this issue, to somehow enable me to stay at home with my baby and never have to leave her in someone else’s care.

Here is the difference between the mind of someone who drinks regularly, and that of a sober person; I worked through the feelings; I rationed it out in my head; I had a conversation with myself and with those closest to me and I weighed up the pros and cons. After a couple of days of that, I came to the following conclusions – most people have to work in order to cover their overheads – why should I be exempt?; the money will pay for extras like holidays and horse riding lessons for my eldest daughter; my baby will learn to interact with other people than her immediate family, thus allowing her to develop her social skills; I will interact with people outside of my current existence which mainly comprises of other mums and their babies; I will value the time even more that I spend with my family when I get home from work; and finally, on the days that I work, the dog will be getting an hour long walk with a pack of dogs and her new dog walker, which will add excitement and pleasure to her little life.

So, a couple of days to mull things over and I have come up with a myriad of reasons why my return to work is a GOOD THING (and it warranted some new clothes, which is an extra bonus!). Compare that with the old me, who would have dealt with the same situation by necking a few bottles of wine, fuelling my burgeoning depression and preventing me from thinking clearly, and ultimately causing me to perceive my return to work as nothing but a big bunch of awfulness – which it would have then become, in a self-fulfilling prophecy type manifestation.

Positivity is most definitely the easiest and best path to choose in life.


6 thoughts on “Working 9 to 5

  1. Laura Bean says:

    As usual Lucy, you completely mirror my experience. I don’t mean about returning to work after having a baby (I have all that fun to look forward too hopefully!) I mean with regards to realising that someone else won’t simply take your problems away, and that you will need to work through them (like an adult) and come to a solution that you can live with.
    I still have moments when I just think ‘why can’t someone else sort it out’ and I know that when I was drinking this was almost my default attitude.
    How wonderful that you have been able to experience every moment of your baby’s life to-date with sober clarity! Congratulations and best wishes on your return to work.

    • Hi Laura, thanks for this. I am so enjoying Lily without the never ending torment in my head that alcohol always created, I couldn’t conceive of drinking and missing out on any of it now. And I am a much improved version of myself on the dealing with difficulties front! A therapist I saw years ago told me he thought my emotional maturity had been frozen at about 15 years old; I think he was bang on the money. I have had a lot of growing up to do since giving up the booze, but how worth it! Many thanks again for your lovely comments, all the best. Lucy x

  2. Perspective is such a wonderful tool for us. Some have called alcoholism the disease of perspective. I feel that what we do in changing our lives has so much to do with perspective and how we create and use the new set of glasses in how we see the world…and ourselves. Perspective comes at us in innumerable ways, and it is only when we focus it in a positive light like you did so well there that it becomes a powerful thing. The great thing about changing our view on things is that once set, it’s practically invisible. The not so great thing is that it’s easily changeable, and so when I get into a self-pity funk, my perspective changes *greatly*…inward and with a dagger. Not pretty. But when I take stock in things, via gratitude, I see how things are completely different than how I perceived it earlier. And what relief we get from that shift! Your post is a wonderful example of the shift you took to take something that was at first seeping in fear and anxiety and quickly turning it into something simmering in hope and positive outcomes. You didn’t have to do anything else but just shift your perception of the situation and carry forth.


    You are right about how alcohol would have distorted your views on things…we know that booze alters our mind, but it also intoxicates our emotions, and they get out of whack, and take us to places where we wouldn’t when not drinking. Alcohol, of course, makes things much worse and complicated the hell out of simple things. Like us 🙂

    Great post and just catching onto your blog. I plan to read more of it! Congrats on the return to work and the wee one 🙂


    • Hi Paul, thank you for this comment. I kept rereading it earlier because what you have written is so true and really strikes a chord with me. The meditation class that I have been going to has taught me that we don’t have to put up with negativity, that we can choose to deal with things and perceive them differently – such a simple message but something that has eluded me up until now, sadly. I would often feel as though I were caught up in a whirlwind, subject to external forces that I had no control over, good or bad. I now realise that we make our own happiness, for the most part, in this world, and perspective is the key to that. Why waste your life seeing the bad in everything when you can choose to see everything differently, thus creating inner peace? Seems so obvious and is sometimes difficult to achieve, I know that. But it’s definitely something I am aiming for. Thanks so much for reading and commenting on my blog – greatly appreciated and great to hear from you.

  3. Sue says:

    have come to this website again to give me strength for tomorrow. i just envy you Lucy going back to work as i lost my job thrrough alcohol and i miss it – plus i hate the dependence om husband financiallly and money is getting very tight with 2 children – and have just discovered that the oven has broken and we need some guttering mending… here’s to another day. just keep telling myself about tghe Russell Brand programme watched and Paul Gascogne

    • Hi Sue, thanks for your comment. Your words serve to remind me how lucky I am, and how grateful I am that I managed to get on top of my alcohol dependency in order to get my life back in order. I am sorry to hear that things are so tough for you at the moment but hope that you can find the strength to get through today, and that tomorrow will be a brighter day. Good luck with everything, and all the best xx

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