Thursday, February 23, 2017

Kick-arse sober warrior

Sometimes I forget that the only constant in life is change. I get lulled into the current state of things and think this is how it's going to be forever.. then something happens and everything shifts again.

Sometimes the shifts are good and exciting, sometimes they're a bummer and hurt and take a bit of emotional management.

I know I'm being cryptic, there's nothing to announce.. just a few things shifting and changing and me in the middle going 'this is how life is. Nothing stays the same forever'.

In the midst of this change I'm doing ok. Going for walks with girlfriends around the neighbourhood. Doing my weekly yoga class and even doing some yoga at home sometimes with Adrienne on YouTube (this one is my current favourite). Using my mindfulness techniques to ground myself in the moment (enjoying my dog and interactions with the kids). Trying to eat healthily (sometimes succeeding sometimes failing). And of course the best one of all - staying fabulously, gloriously sober.

Oh how I love being sober! There are a million reasons for this but the best one is that no matter what else is going on I can always rest back on the knowledge that I was brave and amazing to beat my addiction and no longer pour carcinogenic shit down my throat by the bucket load.

I watched a doco on addiction the other day called Risky Drinking and it really brilliantly illustrated the sliding scale of addiction. There is no doubt at all that I was on the sliding scale. My relationship with alcohol was anything but casual. It was furtive, focused, heavy and determined. Thank goodness I got out when I did, and was attracted to the challenge of sobriety early on so that I embraced it and stuck with it. THANK GOODNESS!!

My mood has been a bit up and down lately but I'm riding the waves as only a sober, emotional, messy woman can. On the bright side my new book is about to go to print, the cover has been finalised and it's full steam ahead. Soon people will be able to read 60,000 words on the inner workings of my brain. I'm feeling nervous and vulnerable about this but that's ok.

I can deal with a bit of vulnerability because I'm a kick-arse sober warrior!

That's me.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Ghost Tequila!

We went to a wedding on the weekend and I did feel very sober but that's ok because that's just me now and I'll take the crunchy with the smooth.

What I mean by that is that in choosing to live sober I have chosen to accept that sometimes I will feel conspicuously sober in a crowd of party goers. It doesn't happen very often, but it does happen. And I will deal with that crunchy feeling and not wail about it internally because most of the time my sobriety feels very smooth.

Anyway this wedding was lovely and relaxed, the bride looked absolutely gorgeous, and everyone seemed to be having a great time. It's not important that I had a patch in the middle of the event where I felt a bit lost and was casting around looking for people to talk to (I knew people there but didn't have any great buddies if you know what I mean...).

It's not important because it wasn't about me in the slightest. This is another great realisation that has come to me since I got sober. Not everything is about me all the time and this knowledge gives me a great sense of calm. Weddings are about the bride and groom and their families and close friends and on this instance I was none of these things. So who cares if I, random guest, floated around for an hour or so after the formalities and meal etc feeling a bit self-conscious and awkward. I wasn't too bothered by it and just wondered if maybe it was time for me to slope on home.

However in the end I pushed through that awkwardness, it got dark.. I found myself sitting around in a big group chatting away merrily as others danced in the marque across the grass. The DJ was playing some cheesy hits and I even did some chair dancing and singing (what a geek).

Someone came round with a bottle of tequila handing out shots. I raised my imaginary glass and did a "Cheers!" with them all, pretended to drink my ghost tequila and then imitated the face puckering that most of them were doing once their foul tasting liquid went down - how I laughed!

I was just feeling good and having fun, being in the vibe even though none of that shit went down my throat at all. I didn't even care one iota.

Sobriety is the best life-choice for me.

That, my friends, is freedom.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Monday, February 6, 2017

A long weekend

Hammering my mindfulness exercises this weekend as have been a bit glum in the mood department. So lots of focusing on my breath and what my hands are doing and what my eyes can see and what my ears can hear and not what my brain is saying. Sometimes easier said than done but at least now I have the ability to recognise when my thoughts are not helping me feel calm and happy and get a slight detachment from them.

Long weekend here and Mr D is away for work so me and my three glorious (boisterous), stimulating (feisty) and delightful (stroppy) boys have been getting (struggling) through the days doing this and that.

I've got two books that I am reading (one novel, one memoir), I'm dipping in and out of various TV shows, am cooking a lot, folding washing, negotiating arguments, trying hard to avoid sugar, drinking lots of tea, looking after our injured dog, reviewing the first layout of my new book, publishing posts on Living Sober ... blah blah blah.

Not bending my brain though with shit booze!!!!!!!! No Way Hosea. Life in the raw - all the way baby.

Someone commented anonymously on my last post that I should consider replying to them and others.. I presume this means reply to the comments that are left on my blog posts here? I have never done that .. partly because my replies always show up in a bright red box which is annoying (I've tried to fix it but can't).. and also because I find it a weird disjointed way to communicate.

The best way to get more interaction from me and other awesome kick-arse sober warriors is to join the community at Living Sober which is the recovery website I run. I'm inside the Community Area there every single day interacting with members, and there are always plenty of others inside the Members Feed talking amongst themselves as well. Everyone there is honest, warm, supportive, non-judgmental, helpful and kind. That's how we roll. It's an incredibly powerful space and honestly, anyone who is spending time online trying to get sober should be in there.

It's also free to join and you can be anonymous so there's no barriers to entry - so get yourself there pronto!

I started writing this post standing up at the kitchen bench making pizza and drinking a delicious pineapple and coconut drink ... am finishing it now sitting on the sofa watching Bridge of Spies with my boys, about to put some cookies in the oven to take to my friend tomorrow who has recently had brain surgery. Soon I will have a mug of chamomile tea and later I will rest my sober head on the pillow and fall asleep.

Sobriety rocks. Even on gritty weekends. It truly does.

Love, Mrs D xxx


Monday, January 23, 2017

*Shudder*

I shudder to think what my life might be like today if I was still drinking. SHUDDER!

I'd likely still be that disconnected, fuzzy-headed, numb woman that I was .. although 5+ years older, thicker around the middle and dumber in the head.

Ugh I shudder to think about a life where I'm still having boozy nights filled with faux exuberance and slurry togetherness.

I know lost of people still do that and enjoy it and good on them but for me I just sooooooo appreciate authentic get-togethers and genuine emotions. I love feeling everything in the raw - yes even the bad stuff (although it hurts like hell sometimes). I love that I can always count on myself to be available in any scenario to my full capacity. I love that little memorable cracks of light come through every event - even the ones that are slightly tricky on the surface (see my last post for a perfect example of that).  

Since I've gotten sober I've achieved so much! And I have grown so much as a person. Unbelievable amounts of growth and achievements. I don't think anyone can help but grow and achieve things and sort things out when they quit drinking. You just do because you can never avoid anything.. even if it happens really slowly, change does happen.

I watch many, many people get sober now through the blogosphere and the Living Sober community.. and NEVER have I seen someone in long term recovery (like after a year or so) say their life is getting worse. NEVER.

Only good things come from giving up drinking. Only good things. Because we are forced, slowly and sometimes with great resistance, to change that which is not fulfilling and good. We are forced to address pesky issues that when boozing we probably left to simmer and drag us down. It is uncomfortable and annoying and depressing at times but slowly sober people just SORT SHIT OUT.

There are no downsides. NONE!

I love, love, love living sober and I love, love ,love hanging around a tribe of people who are digging deep to become the best versions of themselves that they can be.

I am typing this with a bored outlook because the school holidays are dragging on, a slightly depressed feeling about my lack of exercise and over-eating habit that needs to be addressed, a bloody sore neck that kept me awake last night, and yet I am still feeling utterly delighted to be living a life that is raw, real, and recovered. Yes!!!

Sober is good.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Monday, January 9, 2017

Glow-stick mission worth a million bucks...

New Years Eve is such a funny thing. The evening comes with such a loaded meaning and massive expectations. I spend most of the year not giving a jot when other people are drinking around me at parties and events, but then come NYE and I had this funny little sad spell when I felt left out.

We were camping at a beautiful spot by a surf beach and lagoon in the South Island. Four families in our immediate campsite, plus other friends nearby. The days had been filled with swimming and bike riding and game playing and book reading and chatting and just general summer loveliness.

NYE started out really well with an early evening camp concert which morphed into a disco dance (dancing in the daylight to 'Moves Like Jagger' with a bunch of kids is super fun!) but then everyone settled down and the kids ran off to play and the adults were hooking into the drinks and I felt a bit weird and 'lost'. Conspicuously sober.

It's crazy because not everyone was boozing.. it really was just in my head because of the loaded expectations of the night. I made myself a fancy drink of sorts in a plastic cup but then it spilled onto the sand which bummed me out. So I got busy pottering around tidying and stuff. I wasn't relaxed and not entirely happy. Mostly I felt a bit weird about being stone-cold sober on NYE.

This is a BUMMER because I love living sober and don't miss alcohol at all.. I don't want to drink it or go back to my boozy ways. I am happy as Larry with my new life choice. It's just the bloody NYE thing - it's hard to escape I suppose.

Anyway soon enough it got dark and the guitars came out and people were sitting around on deckchairs singing and the kids were playing and I relaxed and my woe-is-me thoughts slipped away. The glow sticks came out and everyone had a wild and crazy glow stick time. Everyone except our 7-year-old that is. He had a meltdown because his weren't working, or he didn't have enough or something. It was the kind of kid meltdown that could easily have been brushed aside with a "you're fine, you've got enough, just go play" message from mum.

But I didn't do that. I remembered that there was another packet deep inside a suitcase in the back of the car. And even better - I had the time and patience and desire to go on a mission to help Mr 7 find them.

We set off with torches to the car, but then I realised I didn't have my car keys so we navigated our way back to the tent to find them. Mr 7 was chatting all the way.. we were on a mission! Keys found we navigated our way back (always a tricky mission trying to avoid tripping up on tent ropes), unlocked the car, found the suitcase, found the glow sticks, then sat in the back getting them going and then making them into necklaces, wrist bands, and ankle bracelets.

The whole endeavour easily took 30 minutes.

There is NO WAY that I would have taken the time and effort to do this whole glow stick mission had I been boozing. NO WAY.

But I am a sober mummy now and as such absolutely made my 7-year-old's night. We had such a great, gentle, satisfying time together for those 30 minutes.. and we've talked about it since.

By the time he was fully adorned and glowing he was so tired he sat in my lap in a deckchair wrapped in a blanket all cosy and warm for another hour or so listening to the guitars and the singing until he announced he was ready for bed. Not quite midnight but a good effort nonetheless.

People who haven't been miserable boozers probably won't understand the significance of this incident but for someone like me who is still so aware of how things have changed in my life - it was gold.

I LOVED my little glow stick mission with my little man. It totally made NYE for me. I LOVED that we connected and he stayed by my side from then until bed. I LOVED that I was clear-headed and present for him. I LOVED the warmth and cosiness of our deckchair singalong.

After he went to bed I went on a solo walk with a torch around the entire campsite, soaking up the atmosphere of all the parties that were going on (and marvelling at all the dark tents - many campers weren't even bothering to stay up!). It was a peaceful, gentle, reflective walk and I felt calm and happy and good.

Back to our site just in time for "HAPPY NEW YEAR!!" followed by a vigorous round of hugs and kisses, the obligatory rendition of 'Auld Lang Syne', then a midnight feast of cheese and salami and bed.

NYE done and dusted, happy as always to wake up hangover free. Bring on 2017.

Love, Mrs D xxx