Sunday, November 20, 2016

Earthquake stress...

Everything's been rather full on here. We had a major earthquake event earlier this week that shook up the region. Lives were lost, evacuations carried out by the navy, schools closed, massive high-rises  deemed unstable and uninhabitable. It hit just after midnight and we got out of bed to listen intently to the radio, then came Tsunami warnings and our relatives who live near the coast arrived at 2am with their wide open eyes carrying blankets and bananas (a quick grab on the way out the door!). Felt good to be close to one another.

The landscape close to the epicentre has changed dramatically and major highways will be closed for months due to landslips. Our Government will need to shell out millions of dollars to get things fixed up and going again. In the meantime small tourist communities are going to suffer hugely. We've had  hundreds of aftershocks and the experts tell us there is a very high chance of another big quake hitting in the next 2-3 months because the fault lines beneath our lovely little country have all shifted.

None of this is positive.

We are getting prepared. Just spent an hour filling loads of big plastic bottles with water. We have our emergency kit all ready and lots of extra easy-to-eat food stored away.

It's all a bit unnerving and unsettling and edgy but we are boxing on as best we can with normal life. I have just 2 or so weeks until I deliver the first draft of my new book to my publishers - looking forward to having them help me pull it into decent shape. It's quite timely right now to be finishing up a book about how I developed new tools to deal with life in the raw. All my new tools are coming in very handy as I deal with this quake uncertainty. I love my new tools, they work in lovely subtle ways to help me stay calm and grounded and present.

No thoughts of stinky wine to help me deal with any stress, no way! Love my sober life, even when things are nerve-wracking and hard to control. So grateful not to be turning to booze as a coping mechanism for the nerves. That wouldn't help me at all. Sober is good.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Thursday, November 10, 2016

A post about love

I used to wake up in the morning at 3am with a dry mouth, pounding head, sick guts, and an intense feeling of guilt. Why did I drink too much last night yet again? Why am I such a weak and pathetic piece of shit?

A couple of hours later I'd drag myself out of bed to start the day. The first things to hit my stomach would be a couple of pain killers and a big mug of milky instant coffee.

I'd struggle through the morning feeling like shit physically and emotionally (until I rehydrated, started convincing myself I didn't have a problem and worked towards drinking again the next evening).

Nowadays, what a difference! Most days I wake between 6-7am and my first thought is usually "whoa, another eight hours uninterrupted sleep!". I get out of bed and start my day with no hangover or guilt. Currently the first things to hit my belly are a big glass of water with a cap of  apple cider vinegar in it, followed by a mug of green tea.

I am not a saint by any means, there are things that I can still over-indulge in and mornings when I am feeling low or shitty. But for the most part my days start with a clear head, and a happy heart.

So great to be able to get the days off to a good start because bloody hell life can be hard sometimes. Things hurt and are tricky and it's no wonder adults get ground down by all of the stuff that we have to deal with year after year. Oh to be a kid again with no sense of relentless pain and suffering.

But let this not be a post about doom and gloom! Let this be a post about glorious hangover free sober mornings, hearts that beat and lungs that fill with air. Let this be a post about gratitude for small glorious things like scented candles and dogs who love wholly and unconditionally and fridges that keep food cold and music that lifts the heart.

Let this be a post about bravery and honesty and digging deep to be the best you can be. And community and love and love and love.

Let this be a post about love.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Monday, October 31, 2016

Not for me thanks!

Mr D and I went out for an anniversary dinner on Friday night - a DATE NIGHT! That never happens! (we're a bit slack on that front).

When we sat down at the fancy restaurant the waitress bought over two complimentary glasses of champagne (he'd told them it was our anniversary when booking) and while we were so chuffed and touched by their gesture ("oh wow thanks so much!") I was quick to say "sorry but I don't drink alcohol."

There was a bit of shuffling around then, she apologised, I said "he can have both!", we all laughed, he said "no, one's enough!", she took it away.

Five minutes later she came back with a champagne flute filled with a delicious looking concoction with some fresh berries floating in the top and a wee ice cube.. and said "David's made you a mocktail, he calls it Berry Delight" (or something).. and boy was I delighted then! I looked over to where David the barman was watching us and gave him a cherry thumbs up, and he gave me one back with a big smile, and everyone was happy! I sure was.

Mr D and I clinked glasses and the night was off to a great start.

The interesting thing about this whole exchange was that it came with no drama and absolutely ZERO angsty emotions for me. The only emotional response I had was a genuine happiness when I was bought a treaty concoction that I could actually drink. Something fancy made by someone else.

I felt no awkwardness letting on that I didn't drink alcohol - no embarrassment. I had no sadness or 'woe is me' thoughts that I couldn't drink the first glass offered. I didn't care that the champagne wasn't going to be passing by my lips. I just don't touch that stuff any more. I was fine saying nope, that's not for me.

How incredible is this? To get to this place of zero fraught emotions when back at the start OMG it was hell not touching alcohol and having to watch other people drink it. It was hell having to feel like the odd one out. It was hell spending so much time fretting over not being able to imbibe. Basically it was hell being sober.

It's certainly not hell now. Now I just simply push it away with a glorious casual air that feels so comfortable and easy, and utter simple words such as "Not for me thanks!"

Probably better to be simple and casual in my language, rather than say what I really think which is "none of that carcinogenic, brain-numbing, emotion-stifling, ridiculously-expensive, guilt-inducing, stomach-churning, vinegary shit for me thanks!"

I'm not sure that would go down well in many situations! Unless I'm with my fellow sober warriors of course, then we can really speak our truth.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Digital Detox

I've just been away for a week with my extended family to a beautiful location...and I was away from the Internet for the entire week! No social media, no Living Sober, no blogging, no work emails, no Daily Mail (!), no news sites.. nothing. Just a quick check of home emails after 5 days for some kid admin stuff.

Boy had I over-emphasised what a big deal this digital detox would be. In the lead up I had gotten all excited/nervous like it would be hard work or totally liberating or something. I wondered how I'd go not checking all my online spaces regularly like I normally do. Normally I check, check, and check again.

Did I miss it? Surprisingly no! Not at all. The only things I was wondering about was whether my publisher had emailed feedback about the work I'd just sent her, whether Kim Kardashian had broken her social media silence after her Paris robbery (sad I know), and what Trump had done next.

But those were idle thoughts and most of the week was spent reading books and hanging out with my extended family having a lovely, relaxing time.

Everyone else was drinking booze on holiday but I didn't care. I wasn't tempted, didn't feel left out, didn't want what they had, didn't see the need to enhance my already lovely experience with a drug that triggers pleasure receptors in the brain. Maybe I've just forgotten what it feels like to have the impact of alcohol on my brain - it obviously has an appeal - but I'm happy without it. I slept great, felt calm, felt happy, felt lots of love and affection for my family, felt good.

Love being sober. Just saying.

Returning to the Internet has been a bit of a surprising let-down too. Not only had I built up what leaving it would feel like, but I'd built up what returning to it would feel like too. There were very few notifications on social media, tonnes of emails but nothing terribly exciting, and Kim Kardashian is still quiet.

Actually I've re-evaluated my addiction to the Daily Mail and have removed the shortcut from my computer. Don't need that shit in my life any more. Celebrities just aren't that interesting. So that was something good to come out of my digital detox after all.

As soon as I got off the plane I shared a photo to Instagram and then found myself checking back again and again for feedback.. so there's obviously a thrill to be had there, but how much it actually fuels my soul I'm unsure about.

One day I will stop sharing online and that will feel good. But not yet. I still feel driven to promote sobriety and recovery online to whoever wants to read/see it. I still feel like there are loads of people who are working hard to get free from the booze trap and the more that sober people can share their truth online (highlights and struggles) the better it is for all of us.

So I'll keep shouting from the rooftops (and online): LIVING SOBER IS AWESOME!!! IT IS TOTALLY POSSIBLE TO REMOVE ALCOHOL AND LEARN TO LIVE WITHOUT IT!! IT IS TOTALLY POSSIBLE TO HAVE GREAT HOLIDAYS WITHOUT TOUCHING BOOZE AT ALL!!

If you are still drinking and feel worried that your life will be awful and boring if you quit (like I did), please know that it won't. Absolutely it won't. It will be hard work at times but so, so rewarding.

You will grow to love your calm, authentic life and till the end of your days you'll be so proud of yourself for kicking that shit to the curb.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Been working hard writing...

Oh gawd I have been so stressed and emotional writing this new book. I was lulled into such a false sense of security about what a book-writing process is like after doing the first one - it was a doddle! It just flowed out of me like water.

The new one is not flowing out of me, it is dribbling. 

However it is dribbling steadily and I will get it done because not completing it is not an option.

But I have to be honest I'm a bit of a mess with stress hitting and tiredness and distractedness.. not great things to bring to my parenting/housewifely life. Mostly what I do (aside from yelling a bit more often at the kids, sorry kids!) is self-sabotage with bad foods. Such is my pattern. Very alcoholic pattern of consumption it is too (Quick! Reach for some external substance that will ease my tightened emotional state!)

Anyway, don't want to complain too much because my lot isn't a bad lot really and there is a lot more suffering in the world than me just being tired and stressed.

Luckily I am about to head away for a holiday with my extended family and this will also be a writing holiday and a CYBER HOLIDAY!! Yes! I am going internet free for 7 whole days which will be bloody good.

Am not feeling too worried about it. The new book can wait, emails can wait, my social media accounts will still be there when I get back, and the Living Sober community is in safe hands with a member appointed to keep an eye on things while I'm away.

I'm feeling good about my alcohol-free status on holiday. I know everyone else will be drinking in the evenings because that's what most people in the world do (in my world anyway). But I'm ok with that. I'll just hold to my truth which is that I'm infinitely more happier, calmer, more present, more authentic, prouder, healthier, more connected to my kids and family, and just generally a better version of myself without booze in my life.

In my previous life this holiday would have been all about alcohol because that was what I thought relaxing and celebrating was all about. Sober me is looking at this holiday as being about spending quality time with my mum and sisters and their families, building memories for my kids, watching them bond with their cousins, being away from the internet, having a change of scene, reading books, swimming, and relaxing.

There is nothing that alcohol could add to this holiday and so much that it could take away.

But not for me because I live sober, yay!!

Love, Mrs D xxx