Saturday, August 31, 2013

It's the little things...

Boozing is living a wild, crazy, blurry, detached and numbed out life that is sometimes fun and sometimes sad and sometimes downright miserable (when you get to where I was with my boozing).

Sobriety is not. Sobriety is not grand gestures and exciting developments. Sobriety is all the little things.

It's the lovely conversations at the end of a party, the quiet cosy conversations that are real and memorable.

It's getting up at 10pm to rub a sick child's back and thanking your lucky stars that you're fully alert.

It's the delight in an empty recycling bin.

It's driving home at midnight. I love driving home so much.

It's hearing people talk about their own struggles and not inwardly running a mile, but listening, really listening.

It's that beautiful moment after you've stared down a drinking pang - resisted the urge to drink - and the pang has gone and you realise it was lying to you and you didn't want/need/deserve that drink after all. That is a truly beautiful sober moment.

It's sitting with an inner calm that blows like a warm breeze over your mind (ok, sometimes sobriety is like a vice grip on your thoughts but I'm trying to keep this positive!)

It's waiting, waiting for bad moods to pass, waiting for glum phases to end, waiting for the lightness to return. Knowing it always does, eventually.

It's really appreciating a hot cup of tea, noticing the steam as it rises. Or really appreciating a small sweet square of chocolate as it melts in your mouth.

It's looking in the mirror and knowing that whatever is looking back at you is real, not some blurry, distant mirage.

It's the underlying beauty of the knowledge that you are sober. You are not a drunk any more. You are sober. It's that little gold nugget of truth that you tuck away inside and nurture.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Swedish dinner party

This is probably a very strange thing for an alcoholic to do but bugger it, I wanted to so I did.

We hosted a dinner party here on Saturday night - 10 adults in total.

I chose a Swedish theme because I have some heritage there, so the menu was all smoked fish roe and pickled herring and salmon gravdlax and lots of dill everywhere. I decorated the table with yellow flowers and blue ribbons and Mr D printed Swedish flags off the internet and sticky-taped them onto wooden skewers - fun!

Can you see there's a shot glass on each place mat with a rolled up piece of paper tied with a blue ribbon? Well that's the printed lyrics to a Swedish drinking song called Helan Gar (Riversurfer probably knows it well). I've been singing Helan Gar for years with my family.. it's a short funny song and you have to pause at the end to drink your shot and then resume singing to finish with the last line.

And I thought what better way to kick-start my Swedish dinner party than with a group round of Helan Gar! So when everyone came to the table I told them to unfold their lyrics and Mr D went around the table filling up everyone's shot glasses and I sang them the song so they could hear how it went and then the whole table had a go. It was great! It was such a hit the guests all insisted on doing it between each course! So we ended up with about four rounds of Helan Gar I think....

Traditionally the shot would be aquavit or vodka but I bought Peach Schnapps and for the non-drinkers I made up a jug of elderflower cordial (nice and rich and syrupy).

Here's my mate holding his lyrics up so I could take this photo (took a few goes for him to get the angle right..!)

Ok so it felt a bit weird going into the bottle shop to buy the liqueur but not that bad.. and if I did have any sad pangs that I wouldn't be drinking it in the lead up to the party they only lasted about five seconds (honestly.. the thought "am I sad I can't drink?" popped up and got dismissed pretty quickly)..

I wrote in my last post that my biggest fear when I gave up drinking 2 years ago was that I wouldn't have the same fun, full social life that I had when I was boozing (the good side of the boozing).. and I'm delighted to have discovered that I can. I can still do all that silly, fun stuff without alcohol being involved.

This is what works for me and my personality and my recovery, everyone's sobriety is different just as everyone's drinking story is different.

But for me sobriety means I still want to sing Helan Gar and slam my shot glass down on the table at the end of it with everyone else. It doesn't matter one jot that my glass has elderflower cordial in it. Not one jot! The moment is about the group of people and the singing and the together-ness and the laughter. I can have all of that and not the booze and it's totally, utterly fine.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A lost afternoon...

Spent a good portion of this afternoon glued to my computer screen watching riveting videos on two great new local websites I've only just found out about. and is what they are.. there are probably versions of this type of site in countries all over the world, and I'm sure all of the experts behind them know that the most powerful way to get messages across is to use real people talking about their real experiences.

And oh boy.. what a bunch of experiences these sites contain. Person after brave person sitting there in front of the camera just talking about their using and what it did to their lives.. how they used to exist.. how crazy their lives got.. how bad and dangerous and miserable and shitty their lives got.

Mostly they seem to have gotten clean but there was the odd person that sounded like they were still using occasionally. Plus some people talking from a partners perspective. It was all very powerful stuff. I couldn't stop watching even though I'd decided to treat myself to some Keeping Up With The Kardashians until I had to collect the kids.

I was waiting for one of these people in the web videos to tell a story like mine - how they were a quietly secretly boozy housewife or bloke, a high functioning addict, seemingly fine from the outside but in reality not fine at all, just sinking loads too much piss all the time - but there weren't any 'high bottom' stories that I saw anyway.. but lots of 'to hell and back rock bottom' stories (if you know what I mean).

There must be thousands of people like me who were totally addicted but pulled the pin before the shit really hit the fan.. and I'm convinced there are thousands of people who are right now still locked in a private, miserable drinking hell like I was. It'd be great to reach out to those people and let them know that it is entirely possible to live a fun, full life without alcohol in it.

My biggest fear two years ago was that giving up booze would mean life would be boring all the time. And it's not. It's totally fine. Better than fine even. That's what I've discovered anyway.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Big buttery Chardonnay

Mr D had the day off work on Friday and the kids were at school/pre-school for the day so he and I went out for lunch - a rare treat! I was very happy driving into town.

The restaurant had a special lunch menu where you choose two courses and one drink (red wine, white wine or a nice coffee) for a fixed price. We quickly choose our food and our drinks - mine was coffee and his was a chardonnay.

I'm telling you when that chardonnay arrived I could smell it so strongly and it was a LOVELY smell.. big and buttery, just the way I used to like chardonnay. So I remarked to Mr D; "that smells nice" and he said "nah its horrible, really awful, honestly" to which I faux-snarled "yeah right you dickhead" and did a dramatic hissy-fit kind of head flick and stared out the window taking fierce sips of my bubbly water and then we both laughed.

It was a sideshow. It was me acting out loud my reality and him cheerfully going along with it. The reality was 'I-can-smell-that-wine-it-smells-yummy-bummer-I-can't-drink-it-because-I'm-an-alcoholic-that's-just-a-fact".

So we acted out the sideshow - it took about 30 seconds - then we got down to chatting and after about two minutes I'd forgotten all about it.

And we had a lovely lunch! The restaurant was buzzing, there were lots of ladies lunching together, boozing away merrily (not that I noticed much, ok yeah I did ha ha), the food was delicious and so was the COFFEE!

Afterwards we raced home and I got busy making up the spare bed for my sister who was coming from out of town to spend the night. I got the vacuum out as well and at that point got to thinking how if I'd had a wine at lunch it would have felt really dissatisfying right now because all I'd be wanting is MORE WINE. I'd be itching for more but it would only be 2.30pm and therefore difficult to just keep sinking glasses of wine in quick succession like I could after 5pm.

Because once I get alcohol in me all I want is more alcohol.

That's why I'm an alcoholic.

That's why I don't touch alcohol any more.

(Do you like the dramatic way I lay those sentences out separately?!)

Also just quickly read another brilliant book this week - The Interventionist by Joani Gammill. She's on Dr Phil and the show Intervention I think - used to be a big-time pill addict but now helps try and get others to rehab. Full of juicy stories of her interventions interspersed with her personal story. A great read.. rips along and she drops loads of wisdom along the way. I really enjoyed it.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


I've had 3 drinking dreams in the past week... one was particularly intense and I woke up feeling really sad. I'd been offered a drink by a 'cool' person in a 'cool' room and had to say no and walk out... wandered around this hillside place and someone from my past was being mean to me.. I was trying to find Mr D because he had some keys I needed but I couldn't find him..

(I know other people's dreams are really boring and hard to follow but wouldn't Freud have a field day with this one??!!)

I woke up at 5.30am feeling sad, then lay in bed and listened to this talk by Tara Brach to help me with something that's going on in my life.. I was kind of finding it hard to focus all the way through (29 minutes long) but then I got to the end and she said something and I just burst into tears and sobbed. It was very intense and weird.

Later that day I was sitting at my sisters kitchen table talking to her about stuff and I was all watery and had teary eyes but I didn't mind.  Usually being watery would be a very uncomfortable place for me to be. But I didn't mind.

We left her house and went walking to the park with the kids. I got a coffee from the nice man in the coffee caravan and then pushed my Little Guy on the swing. It was windy and I felt so alive.

Even in my tender, watery state I just feel so thankful to be living, really living and really feeling and really moving through my life in a totally alert fashion.

That night I got a babysitter (Mr D was away on work) and went to a quiz night for a dear friend's school fundraiser and had So. Much. Fun!!!

Last night I speed-read "Smashed: Growing Up A Drunk Girl" by Koren Zailckas. A great read if you want to read all about someone's crazy boozy exploits (and boy did she have some crazy boozy exploits). As seems to often be the way with these memoirs the bit where she got sober was pretty brief (this is always what I want to read about) but she does sum up nicely what she has learned about herself since she took the booze away (a lot, and not all of it peaches and roses). She ends by railing against the alcohol industry; "which alternates between pandering to women and using us to bait men" and with a great feminist rant about all of the evil alcohol creates for women; "I've had it with a world that has created a generation of women who are emotionally dependent on alcohol".

And then there's this: "I'm tired of the world that won't rescue girls until we're long past the point of saving. Too many people rely on outward signs of aggression to indicate their daughters or girlfriends or sisters have problems with alcohol. They wait for fights, or D,U.I. charges, or destruction of property, when girls who drink are far less apt to break rules in overt ways. As a gender we are far more likely to turn our drunken destructiveness inward, to wage private wars against ourselves, to attempt suicide, to be pinned down by fear and depression. "

So very true. Remove the alcohol and we un-pin ourselves and really start to live.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Lifting up again...

I've transferred my alcohol addiction into a rubber glove one. I get nervous when I don't have a back-up pair under the sink. I think I've got a problem.

No but seriously .. all going ok here.. trucking along and I think my post-party funk who-knows-what-the-hell-was-going-on low phase is finally beginning to lift. Phew! Managed to get though without drinking of course but do admit to having a couple of tiny teeny weeny sad romantic pangs about how nice it would be to escape the glumness with a nice glass of wine.

Batted those shitters away as quick as they entered my mind! Pangs be gone - POW! (Picture me fending off pangs with my yellow rubber gloves on. Their uses are many and varied)

Anyhoo going to increase my recovery reading for a bit I think. Have very kindly been sent a book called "Soul Recovery - 12 Keys to Healing Addiction" by Ester Nicholson. Quick look - Key 1 is "You Are The Power" Yes! I think I'm going to like this book. Hey get this.. Key 2 is "Yellow Rubber Gloves Are Amazing".. holy shit what are the odds??!!

No seriously I look forward to it. I do like a good recovery book. I'm also going to order "The Sober Revolution - Women Calling Time on Wine O'Clock" by (among others) blogger Lucy of Soberistas fame. I also want to get the book a Canadian reader told me about in a comment on my post banging on about sugar - something called "Potatoes not Prozac" ... AND I want to get a new memoir a lovely chap from Utah emailed me about called "Guts: The Endless Follies of a Giant Disaster" by Kristen Johnston of 3rd Rock From The Sun fame. Apparently she's a recovering drug addict and alcoholic - yes! Another cool sober chick!!

Anyway that should keep me busy for a while.

Speaking of keeping busy I'd like to end this post by displaying something truly gorgeous. Check this out..

This is a chair that my local sober friend Sue (we met though this blog) reupholstered HERSELF! She says it was only after she got sober that she had the confidence to try something new and challenging like this chair project. She stayed up late on a Saturday night working on it and got up fresh and early on Sunday morning to finish it off. And best of all she leapt in the air for joy when it was finished and feels incredibly happy every time she looks at it. How cool is that?

Love, Mrs D xxx

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Always chasing the fun...

That's what drinking was about for me. Always chasing the fun. Being upbeat! Not naval gazing! Cruising my way through life! No dramas! No hassles! Everything fun all the time!!

Glug, glug, glug.

I just wanted everything to be smooth and cruisy all the time, and upbeat and fun wherever possible and alcohol helped me do that. My brother-in-law once came to stay with us for a few weeks while he was working on a film. After he went back home my sister told me that he'd remarked 'It's a party every night at their place'. I didn't register the comment as a negative at the time. Of course it is! Look how fun and cool we are!

Glug, glug, glug.

Of course what I discovered after I took the alcohol away was that I'd been using it to push aside uncomfortable emotions. Uncomfortable emotions had no place in my fun, cruisy, no-drama world. Uncomfortable emotions were such a downer, man, and so they got pushed aside constantly.

Glug, glug, glug.

So learning how to live sober for me was all about discovering that I could still be upbeat and fun and cruisy and happy without glug, glug, gluging all the time (that took a bit of time, to discover that I could still be that chatty, warm, social person without vino).

But learning how to live sober was also about learning how to live in the quiet and flat times. How to sit with those bloody uncomfortable emotions. Or just sit with nothing much going on at all except a normal busy life.

And that's the bit of sober living that I'm still working on. I'm definitely still a work in progress in this area. I can do sober events and have a great time (while wearing sequins and waving my hands in the air).. but come down from a high and head into a hard week and I lurch all over the show. I reach for crap food like bread and butter (real butter mmmmmmm) and cheese (tasty cheese mmmmmm) and lots of sugar. I get introspective and boy does that feel uncomfortable. I withdraw and kind of fret about the fact that I feel glum.

I fucking hate feeling glum and flat and sluggish and grumpy. I hate it! I want to be upbeat! Cruisy! Happy! all the time. Glug, glug..oh wait.. I don't do that any more.

Instead I'll lift my eyes to the horizon and look for the beautiful things around me. I'll burn my oils and make green juices and lie in bed with an eye mask on. I'll listen to Tara Brach if I can be bloody bothered. I might have a bath at 11am just because I want one.

And I won't drink and I'll lurch through and this will pass and everything will be ok. Yes it bloody will.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Thursday, August 1, 2013

A post about sugar and food and emotions and shit...

I know it's kind of boring to go on about food and diets and sugar and shit but forgive me if I just have to do exactly that for a bit.

When I gave up alcohol I used to drink at least one if not two sugary soft drinks every evening at 5pm (ginger beer or some such).. sometimes I'd have one at lunch as well. I had no idea how full of sugar they were until other bloggers started going on about sugar and I checked the label .. sometimes 45g per bloody bottle of sugar! Loads of sugar.

So I cut that crap out and now I don't have anything much in the evenings.. just water with dinner and a green tea later on.

But don't think I'm a bloody saint because I'm not. I seem to struggle constantly with a sugar 'pull'. Often at night I'll want something sweet.. a biscuit or a little bit of chocolate or something. Boiled sweets if we have them in the house.

If I'm really struggling with some stress or angst or something, you know, emotional, I'll practice really dysfunctional behaviours and make myself a tiny bowl of muesli and heap 2 huge desert spoons of sugar on top and then eat it in bed. It's a sugar binge folks.

I did that on Tuesday night.

Then yesterday I ate crap all day (cheese on toast times a million for lunch) and then had heaps of sugary slice with the kids after school (they made me go to the deli.. they forced me.. honestly).. and then more sugary fudge in the evening with Mr D.

Is it any surprise I got into bed feeling shitty and grumpy and gross? Slept badly and today feel grumpy. It's got to be the sugar, right? Tell me it's the sugar.

Now for the food bit of this crazy disjointed post. I'm a faddy food/diet person always trying to not be the little piggy that I naturally am. Got really into the MyFitnessPal app earlier in the year and spent a good few weeks obsessively entering in all that I ate and trying to limit my daily calorie intake. Gave that up. Did a 8-week fitness/diet challenge at the gym. Mixed results. Right now I'm trying the 5:2 diet where you 'fast' for two days a week (only 500-odd calories) and eat normally the other 5 days.

So today is a fasting day. My fourth ever. And I feel sluggish after my sugar binging of yesterday and hungry already and it's only 9.24am.

But mostly I'm just wondering if all this is related to my alcohol addiction and my need to put shit in my body to deal with emotional states and I'm probably just naturally coming down off the high of the weekend with all that busy social activity but right now in my life I'm no good at managing myself naturally and so I lurch along the days following a high fueling my moods with cheese and sugar and the like.

That was a very long sentence!

How do people that aren't recovering alcoholics or food addicts or sugar addicts or whatever live their lives??? Tell me! I want to be one of them! I want to be even and calm and cool and controlled and healthy and smooth all the time. That's what I want.

Love, Mrs D xxx