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.


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

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 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