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

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Life In The Raw

I 'watch' an awful lot of people getting sober nowadays - through their blogs or the many updates they share at Living Sober. I am constantly amazed at how similar our journeys in sobriety are despite the huge differences.

Differences = the specifics. What we drank, how we drank, where we drank, how alcohol affected us, what support systems we do/don't have around us, what support systems we use to change, how long it takes for us to start feeling better when we quit, what we find difficult when we give up, what we find easy, what we discover about ourselves.

Similarities = the generalities. When we get to the point of change after a long period of heavy drinking we feel weak, wretched, and miserable. Our self-esteem is damaged, our self-worth is low. We stop drinking and it's hard bloody work at first. We are so focussed on the LACK of booze in our lives. It's hard having all that empty space where before we regularly experienced the warm, artificial 'high' of alcohol in our systems. We miss the drug. We grind through. Then we start to feel better, sleep better, look better, we hit a high - a pink cloud! Life is great! Our eyes get opened to what our drinking has done to our whole experience of life. We feel incredibly strong and grateful. It's not hard resisting booze. Then something emotional happens (because life is like that), we crash off our pink cloud and things get tough again. Physical cravings might come back. Emotional cravings come back (we feel left out, boring, emotional), we grind through, eventually we lift up again, we feel great!, then something emotional happens, things get tough again, we grind through, eventually we lift up again, we feel great!, then something emotional happens, things get tough again, we grind through, eventually we lift up again, we feel great!, then something emotional happens, things get tough again, we grind through, eventually we lift up again, we feel great!, then something emotional happens, things get tough again, we grind through, eventually we lift up again, we feel great!, then something emotional happens, things get tough again, we grind through....

Get the picture?

Welcome to life in the raw. It is up and down and up and down. This is actually what human existence is like. Who knew? I certainly didn't until I got sober. I had no understanding of the natural ebbs and flows of life. How could I when I interrupted that natural flow of my emotional state constantly with the drug of alcohol.

The good news is the longer you are sober the natural ebbs and flows get easier to manage because;

1) the longer you go without drinking the less extreme your mood fluctuations are
2) you start to understand yourself and your moods better
3) you stop thinking that alcohol is the answer to the low phase
4) you start to develop better coping mechanisms for the low phases
5) you work out natural, effective, authentic ways to lift yourself out of a low phase
6) you worry less about the low phases because you know they will pass
7) you accept that ups and downs are normal and that everyone has them
8) you feel much more connected and at peace with yourself, other humans and life in general

I'm generalising here and obviously this is based on my perspective and experience and there will be people who don't agree with all of this. But I wanted to type out a summary of what I understand a sober life to involve.

Life in the raw - it's totally the life for me.

Love, Mrs D xxx

P.S. Someone commented on my last post asking where they can find my book online. It is available on Amazon here, on Fishpond here or on Mighty Ape here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

I am not tired...

Does anyone else feel like they live in a world where whenever you ask someone how they are everyone always replies with an"OK but super tired" or "good but so busy" or some such? It's like a badge of honour to always be completely flat out and exhausted. Or if not a badge of honour (because that implies that people are proud to be so busy and tired and that can't always be the case) then certainly an honest reality.

Everyone seems so stretched-to-the-max all the time. Running around working hard to earn money, raise kids, keep a house maintained, pay off the mortgage, exercise, stay in touch with friends and family etc etc yada yada.

Well today I am proud to say that I am NOT tired! I am well rested! I got 8+ hours sleep last night. And I got 8+ hours sleep the night before.

I don't always get so many hours of sleep. If Mr D is away out of town for work (which he often is) I don't sleep so well.. I go to bed later and sleep much more fitfully. And if the kids are unwell or I have something going on which is causing me extra 'brain noise' then I don't sleep as well either.

But if all the planets align, which they seem to much more nowadays, then I get a blissful long 8-hour uninterrupted sleep every night.

IT'S FREAKING AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think I can attribute this to two main things.

1) our kids are now beyond the infant/toddler stage and they all sleep long and deep every night - hallelujah. For 10+ years of parenting we had early waking kids but now they all sleep till 7am most mornings ... it is marvellous.

2) I am sober. I do not wake up with a bursting bladder, pounding headache, and intense guilt at 3am. I am calmer in my mind so if I do get up to use the toilet I can calm my thoughts and focus on my breath to quickly fall back to sleep.

Sometimes now if people ask me how I am, rather than trotting out the usual "good but tired" line... often now I simply say "good!". Because I am!

And I really do think sleep is so, so, so important when it comes to dealing with emotional shit. If I'm well rested I deal with stuff better. No doubt.

Today I am proud to say "I am NOT tired!".

On another note I am starting a '2 months of wellness' thing with my sisters where we are writing our own diet & exercise programme, committing to stick with it for 2 months and are going to check in with each other every Monday to update on how we are doing. My diet & exercise regime could do with some work for sure so this will be good.

Also wanted to say that I have done a big clean-out of my Blog List - if anyone has a blog or knows about a good sober blog that does not appear here (on the left hand side when you visit my blog page for those of you reading this post on an email) then please let me know and I will add it in.

Righto! Time for some work. Today is a very good day to be sober!!!

Love, Mrs D xxx

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Highly recommended...

Boy is it an utterly beautiful day in my city. The sun is shining. There is no wind (unusual). It is calm and crisp and lovely.

Same could be said for my state of mind. Yes I'm eating way too much at the moment and am being a bit of a pig. But aside from letting myself down in that department I feel like I'm cruising along ok.

I'm working hard keeping up with things at Living Sober and that space is humming along brilliantly. (If you're worried about your drinking and are not a member of that community you're a fool, and I mean that in the nicest possible way!)

I'm keeping fairly active on my other social media accounts but not too much so that I'm permanently wedded to my phone. My new permanent rule of no technology in the bedroom is really super-lovely and I highly recommend it. Every evening I put my phone & laptop on to charge in the kitchen and leave them there (often long before I even retire to bed), and often I don't check anything in the morning until after I have showered & gotten dressed which is very healthy I think.

In general I am staying fairly mindful and regularly have little moments where I flick a switch in my brain and pull myself back down into what is happening right in front of me and not what is happening in my head (furious inner dialogue about something or another).

I walk the dog most days and now it's the school holidays I am dragging my boys up the hill with me and we have lovely chats while we wander along the tracks and the dog scampers around us joyfully.

I manage to watch quite a bit of tele which I love.

And I do an awful lot of cooking and cleaning. Cooking and cleaning and cooking and cleaning and cooking and cleaning and cooking and cleaning. And parenting. Cooking and cleaning and parenting - talking to my kids about what is going on for them and taking them places and organising things for them and paying for things for them and replying to emails about organising and paying for things for them and talking to them more and did I mention cooking and cleaning?

All of this is quite boring but I suppose my point is I am living my busy, ordinary, motherly, housewifey, bloggers, writery life and I am managing it all ok and my moods are fairly stable and I attribute it all to the fact that I am sober.

I cannot even begin to imagine how I would be handling things if I were still boozing.

I shudder to think.

Living without alcohol - although hard bloody work at first and a big adjustment - is imminently doable and highly recommended.

Highly, highly recommended!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love, Mrs D xxx

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Breath tested en route to a party....

I got breathalysed on the way to a party last night!!! I was so ridiculously happy when I turned the corner and saw the cops pulling people over. I resisted the urge to burble to the officer that I was sober and this was a real highlight but I did have a huge grin on my face the entire time I counted to 10 into his little handheld machine.

Very satisfied to see the 'No Alcohol' show up. Result!

The party was fun, I had some lovely chats. There was lots of booze and food available - I spotted a bottle of Schweppes 'Soda with a twist of lemon' in the fridge so I opened it and poured some into a champagne flute. I'm getting good at taking full ownership of my drinks - loved holding the flute! Filled it up twice and that was all I needed.

Had a bit of a singalong and boogie with the guys playing guitars. It was fun. Drove home fairly early because Mr D had to catch a flight at 6am this morning. Fell into bed at midnight happy.

Did some people think me boring because I wasn't drinking? Who the hell knows... I just can't care. I have to always keep a clear eye on my big picture which has me infinitely happier now that I'm not that loose and crazy (boozy) party girl.

What would have been different if I'd been drinking at the party last night? I would have probably had one or two at home before we left. I wouldn't have been driving, maybe Mr D would have offered to drive and stay sober because he was working the next day. Or maybe we would have caught a taxi and that would have cost a bit of extra dosh because the party was up the coast at a surf clubrooms.

At the party I would have had a slightly more crazy/edgy energy and might not have concentrated so well during the conversations I had. I might have gotten a little more sloppy & loud... not terribly because I was usually pretty good at keeping it together in public (it was mostly at home where I really let myself get heavily drunk). I certainly would have sunk at least 4 wines.. maybe more.

I don't think on the outside people would have noticed that much difference. It would have been my internal landscape that would have been radically different.

I would have been that 'old' version of myself that didn't feel so in touch with myself or my fellow humans.  I would have been that 'unresolved' version of myself that tried to skim across the surface of emotional or 'deep' stuff. That was ok when I lived it but now that I don't live like that any more I am hugely more grounded and happier.

I would have a hangover today and just feel a bit 'blah'. Maybe I'll be regretting something I said or did. I don't feel like that now.

I'm sitting in bed drinking a mug of green tea, watching Top Chef on tele writing a blog post. Soon I'll get the boys off their screens and we'll walk the dog.  Later we might go to see Finding Dory at the movies.

It's a good day to be sober.

Love, Mrs D xxx