Sunday, September 25, 2016

Booze soaked world !!!!!

My Goodness I live in a booze soaked world ! It's every-bloody-where. No wonder so many people struggle with the goddam stuff. It's so normalised.

Me and my 12-year-old just drove around delivering letters to families from the local Scout group as part of a fundraiser.. the letters were for a special wine offer!! Oh how we laughed at the irony of the situation. Here was a sober housewife, one who wrote a book about getting sober, one who promotes sobriety all over social media, blogs and runs a website for people who are getting sober.. delivering wine promotions around her neighbourhood!! Don't tell anyone!! (Whoops, too late).

Should I have not been doing it? Well sure, I could have taken a little personal stand and not.. but I'm part of a group working hard to raise money for our Scouts going to Jamboree and someone else came up with this idea and I wanted to do my bit to help out.

And this is the world I live in. One where selling wine is a good way to raise funds because a lot of people will buy it (we get some money back from the wine company for every bottle/case that we sell).

While we were driving an ad came on the radio about daylight savings which came into force today.. it went "Don't forget clocks went forward this morning...so you've got one less hour to recover from your hangover." Wtf??!! I had a rant to Mr 12 about how this sort of line being said on a 'cool' radio station makes it seem totally ok to be hungover and also how expected it is that many people are hungover on a Sunday morning because getting drunk on Saturday night is what we do.

This is normalising alcohol and boozing and hangovers!!! But this is the world I live in. One where  mainstream radio stations reference hangovers in relation to clocks going forward.

I could have taken a wee stand at this point and switched stations in protest but then they played Sia Cheap Thrills and I love that song.

Mr D has just arrived back from the States (yay!) and he made a comment about how noticeable it is when you fly into New Zealand airports that you are greeted by a huge wall of booze in Duty Free.. "and everyone is running for it" he said.

Booze soaked society. Booze soaked country. Booze soaked world.

I could feel angry about all of this or sad and left out of the 'fun' gang or a host of other emotions. But I don't. I just feel grateful and relieved to be free from that boozy trap and living my life without touching that shit ever. As I've always said.. there are many clever people working hard to try and change the big picture.. I just want to focus my energies on me and my truth, and on anyone else who is being honest and brave and wants to change their relationship with alcohol.

So today after having just felt the full force of my booze soaked world, I'm calm in my space and all the more determined to help other people get free by shouting from the rooftops at any available moment BEING SOBER IS AMAZING!!!! RECOVERY IS AWESOME!!!! I AM SO HAPPY I NEVER TOUCH ANY ALCOHOL EVER!!!!!

Love, Mrs D xxx

Friday, September 16, 2016

A reader seeks advice....

Last week I travelled to Rotorua to attend the Cutting Edge addiction conference. It was AWESOME!!! I really loved it. Such a treat to get to sit and listen to people talk about a subject that is absolutely 100% in my wheel house.

The theme of the conference was 'transformation' and there were loads of people sharing about their own journeys in recovery. I cried more than once - boy had some of them experienced incredible turnarounds. I also learned heaps and made some great connections. So glad I went.

I also got to meet an awesome lady who was 29 YEARS sober (!!), she was my Air BNB host, an artist and very smart and cool. I also hooked up with some lovely community members from Living Sober who were having a meet-up in the area at the same time. All in all it was a great wee break from my normal life.

My normal neighbourhood life has NOTHING to do with recovery and addiction. This trip away was EVERYTHING to do with recovery and addiction. I feel hugely enriched from the trip.

Home now and back into the grind, working like a demon on my new book. I have a ridiculously tight timeframe and desperately want to meet it but am not sure if I will. Every spare moment when the boys are at school I am writing, with only a short break in the day to walk the dog (which feels annoying to have to do but is probably good for me).  Mr D is traveling away for a week on Saturday and then it's the school holidays.. so I'm going to be super-busy doing household/parenting stuff on top of the work.

But it's ok. I can only do what I can do and I don't want to be a stressed-out nightmare of a mother so if the deadline has to be stretched then so be it!

This new book is a follow-on memoir .. covering the next-stage of my recovery (mindfulness and stuff). It's harder to write than the first one. But I'm happy with how it is coming out so far.

On another note I have just received a comment from a reader on an old post from August and thought I would re-post it here so that maybe some of you lovely readers could reply to this person. (if you are reading this post on email you'll need to visit my blog so you can reply!).

I would love to hear your advice for this person as I know there is much wisdom floating around this online space....

I wonder if any of your readers have felt the same way as I do now? I have been drinking steadily for 15 years and have been contemplating giving up booze and living a healthier lifestyle as I feel so totally rotten and unhappy. I made that decision last weekend and have now been sober for a week - maybe it is early days and all the nasties have yet to come out of my system but I still feel miserable, tired and very vunerable. I think the drink may have covered up something that was missing in my life, a big hole that is still not filled - how do you find that? I feel that if I don't find what it is then I could easily start drinking again because I am not feeling great like so many others have mentioned on the blog. Am I being too impatient? Has anyone any suggestions or hints? I would be very grateful to hear them, thanks :-)

Leave a comment below and hopefully they'll see your reply.

And now I'd better get back to writing!

Love, Mrs D xxx

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

FIVE YEARS SOBER! (Honesty post).

Today I am five years sober. Yes!!

I want to put those exclamation marks to denote happiness because I am super-happy to be living alcohol free and am super-proud of myself to have turned my life around. And this morning especially I woke up so, so, so, so happy - joyous really. I was on a real high! But then things just got busy and real.

Truth is I spent today running around after kids.. one kid got sick and spent the day by my side, another was in a swimming competition so we went to watch him race, and the other kid finished school at lunch-time because the teachers were having a union meeting. And then they had playdates and activities and stuff. It was a very kid-centric day.

And I had a headache for no obvious reason. And at one point I cried a little (not sure why).

If you'd been looking at my social media accounts today you wouldn't know any of this - I've been sharing up a storm, all pictures of me smiling and looking delighted and holding up signs with big '5 years' on it and stuff.

And it has been a lovely day in many ways - I wasn't exactly lying on my Instagram and Twitter and Facebook feeds.

It's just that ordinary life is far more ordinary and gritty than social media accounts can ever really reflect (that's what blogs are for!).

And headaches are a fact of life and so are motherly duties and so is food guilt (yep still in a bit of a rut) and so are work commitments and so are indiscriminate tears and basically today was a typical day in the busy, emotional life of a sober housewife.

And that's ok and frankly it doesn't matter what today was like because today is just another day in a long line of sober days that I have been living since September 6, 2011.

These sober days are all shapes and sizes. Some are delightful, some are hard work. Some are boring, some are fan-bloody-tastic. Today was a mixture of all of the above!

And that is ok. That is absolutely ok.

I love being fully present in my wild and messy life. I love my boisterous, busy, demanding sons. I love my work writing about sobriety (and I have a new book contract by the way as well - very exciting!). I love my body even though it is not waif-like. I love my tears they feel like messages from my soul.

And most of all I love my husband who wrote me a card this morning that says "I'm so proud of you reaching 5 years, it's a remarkable achievement, that has had such a positive force on this family. Celebrate your day knowing that we think you are the brightest star!"

I will do.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Friday, August 26, 2016

Wellness plan FAIL

Thank goodness I've been able to stick at my sobriety because I don't seem able to stick at any other sort of wellness plan.

I'm doing this thing with my family (3 sisters, one brother-in-law and Mr D) where we all set a personal wellness plan for 8 weeks and we email each other on Monday to update how we are going. It's extra motivation for us all to work at eating healthily and doing exercise for 8 weeks before we all go on a beach holiday together.

Anyway I set my own plan which was to eat mostly only real foods, avoid wheat and sugar and allow myself only occasional treats. Walk the dog for 45 minutes every weekday and do the 7-minute workout 5 times a week (it's an App, high intensity exercises for 30 seconds with a 10 second break in between-hard work and good!).

So anyway Week One and I was a machine.. doing all my exercise and eating well. Week 2 was also good and strong. We're now in the middle of Week 3 and I have completely lost it! Not on the exercise front.. I'm still doing the dog walks and the 7-minute workouts.. but the food has gone to shit.

I'm eating cheese and crackers before dinner.. buying deli treats to eat in the car before school pick-up, buying chocolate to share with the kids at night.

What the hell am I like????!!!

Like a bloody addict that's what.

I'm even planning that I won't confess to all the bad food when I do my Monday update. Like I want to keep it my own nasty little secret. Nice dishonest (alcoholic) behaviour there Mrs D. (Hoping none of my family are reading my blog at the moment.. this is one way to find out!)

Like I say it's a good thing I've been able to stick at sobriety because I find it really hard to stay consistent at any other 'healthy' plans. With food I'm stuck in a binge cycle where I have periods of great healthiness and periods of utter pigginess. Piggy Mrs D re-enters the building and has a ball. Nom nom.

Quickly cram a couple of crackers and cheese in your mouth while cooking dinner - why not!

Buy that sugary treat and eat it moaning (literally moaning out loud with pleasure) in the car waiting for the school bell to go - hell yes!

Yuk. Yucky yucky yuckity yuk.

And then I get the same reoccurring early-morning guilt that I used to get when boozing. Lying in bed beating myself up for being so weak and dysfunctional. It's a horrid reminder of how I used to live when boozing.

I wish I could stop this binge cycle. I hate this part of me. I hate the weak, unhealthy, secretive, indulgent part of me. I want her to piss off forever!! Why can't I stick at the healthy regime? Why do I fall furtively and lasciviously back into piggy ways?

I know the answer. Because I'm human. Because I am an alcoholic. Because I am very susceptible to getting hooked and experiencing cravings for substances that trigger pleasure receptors in the brain (sugar is as addictive as cocaine they say). Because I still have treat/reward messages in my brain that tell me fatty & sugary foods are a good thing.

Will I ever stop being a flawed person? Maybe not. Maybe this is ok and the fact that I'm wrestling with it constantly is enough. Maybe I should just embrace myself warts and all and keep on striving to be healthy forgiving myself when I fail.

And maybe I should always remember that if nothing else I am sober - nearly 5 years sober! - and that alone makes me an incredibly cool specimen.

Maybe.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Monday, August 15, 2016

Settled..

I am constantly gobsmacked at how possible it is to change habits. I went out three times last week to various social events and didn't for one second at any of them wish I was drinking. Other people were imbibing booze but not me.

Not drinking is just my new, ordinary norm.

See - habit changed! It is totally possible.

And the good news is I don't walk around feeling fatally flawed. I just walk around feeling normal, knowing that I don't touch alcohol because in the past it has proved to be impossible for me to control. So I took it away and now I live without it.

My brain has learned a new way of living and I have reshaped my reality.

Sometimes I wonder what the hell my life would look like if I hadn't gotten sober almost 5 years ago. I would be fascinated to see! What would I look like? What would I act like? What would I be thinking about? Would I have gravitated towards different people when we moved back to this city? Would I have a boozy social group? Would I be heavier? Have worse skin? Be more tired? Be more grumpy? Be more narrow in my thinking? Be more wound up?

Man it would be interesting to know. I'd love a little glimpse into my alternate reality (the one where I didn't get sober) but only for about 5 minutes then quick put me back into this reality!! I like this one a lot!!

So my 5-year soberversary is coming up in about 3 weeks and it falls on a Tuesday and I thought it would be nice to do something special that evening but Tuesday is my yoga class and I LOVE my yoga class so I'm not missing that (see how my life has changed ha ha!!).

So I thought maybe on the Monday night before I could put on a fancy dinner for the family to mark the fact that 5 years ago on that date I was in the middle of my last miserable binge. I could light candles and do three courses.. maybe a fancy prawn cocktail for starters.. some sort of yummy thai beef salad or some such for a main and then a lovely treaty pudding. Mocktails, and I make a little speech. Cool!

Then on the actual soberversary, the Tuesday, I will maybe take myself shopping to my favourite Recycled Boutique.. maybe ask if my sister is free for lunch..? Something fun like that.

Can't wait. Five years feels really substantial and cool, and settled. That is how I would sum up where I am right now - settled. Settled into this new reality, still working away on myself but in general just plugging along with life and not touching alcohol ever nor missing it one iota. Hooray.

Love, Mrs D xxx