Sunday, December 27, 2015

Pure Unadulterated Joy

I have to share what happened for me on Christmas Day. Far out it was cool.

I was hosting the main meal for extended family - 12 adults and 7 kids at our house. I have to be honest - I was a bit stressed as meal-time approached. There was a lot to co-ordinate!

I had cooked a ginormous turkey and was hoping like hell it wouldn't be overcooked and dry (or undercooked for that matter). I was hoping the veggies would be ok. I was hoping that everyone would like my decorations and be comfortable in their chairs and feel happy to be sitting down to eat at my house.

But I had a lot of help, people bought salads and nibbles and pudding with them, someone took over finishing the gravy and cooking the peas, someone carved the turkey and someone else carved the beef fillet. Someone sorted people out with drinks and someone lit the candles and ...  many lovely hands made for relatively light work!

And then it was time to eat - the call went out - everyone sat down and the dishes got passed around and plates were filled up and word came back that the turkey was tender and juicy and delicious (hooray!) and all of a sudden I got flooded - like seriously FLOODED - with the most intense rush of joy.

It was pure, unadulterated, high-as-a-kite, genuine, authentic joy. Endorphins? A bit of relief mixed in there? Whatever it was it was a very heady mix and I felt so, so, so, so, so, so happy.

I'm telling you - I have been drunk and high hundreds of times in my life and no chemical high could replicate the very real feeling I had in that moment of intense happiness. Not just that moment - the feeling has lasted and lasted. Even now two days later I am basking in the glow of our lovely successful Christmas lunch.

For an hour around that table we shared a beautiful meal, ate & drank & chatted until I felt the need to raise my glass of soft drink and say a few words.

Four to be precise - "It's all about love".

And so it was...

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Gentle calmness...

I feel tired today but not too bad. Pottering around getting things ready for Christmas. We have some relatives staying from tomorrow and are hosting Christmas Day dinner for 20-odd (including kids). I am roasting a ginormous turkey and doing some vege - others are bringing salads, pudding etc.

Looking forward to it and keeping on reminding myself that it is LOVE that matters not CLEAN BENCHES!!

Feeling gentle in my sobriety. Not endorphin-rush this is THE BEST WAY TO LIVE!!, nor sad and woe-is-me WHY AM I DIFFERENT FROM THE REST OF THE WORLD?? Just quietly sober, quietly never touching alcohol ever. Quietly happy with the way my life is.

I'm alright.

Things are alright.

Actually maybe I lie. Maybe there is a little bit of elated joy inside me for being free from the booze trap.

I don't regret one percent being unable to moderate alcohol. I love being sober and the challenge it brings. I love the authenticity I am forced into experiencing because I never ever bend my brain or blur my reality.

Yeah - there's a little bit of endorphin-rush joy in there, bubbling below the surface.

In a very lovely, gentle, low-key, calm way.

Because that's what sobriety brings. Gentle calmness.

And that's what I'm feeling right now.

What a lucky lucky girl am I.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Monday, December 14, 2015

Gratitude and Love..

Here's a list of things I am grateful for and that I love..

I am grateful for my drinking problem because it has given me the rich gift of sobriety.

I love my husband and our three sons and our labrador puppy.

I am grateful to my brain for never settling for discomfort and always sending me messages that I need to work on things (like giving up drinking and stopping over-thinking).

I love my sobriety and I love my mindfulness practice. Both of these things have transformed my life.

I am grateful for all the fun times I have had partying in my life because they sure were fun! I am not grateful for the miserable boozing which dominated the end of my drinking career but I am grateful for the memories of those because they will help keep me sober.

I love pop music and fun gatherings and lovely friends and good books and comfy pants and scented candles and fresh flowers and holidays.

I am grateful for living in a safe society where we don't experience fear and misery on a daily basis (like many in the world do).

I love rambling around the hill trails above our house with our dog.

I am grateful for the online communities here on my blog, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and at Living Sober. (I am giving away a free copy of my book on Facebook this week as a thank you to the growing community there!)

I love all the warmth and honesty and support that gets shared around these online spaces.

I am grateful for my health and my body which does a pretty fine job of containing my brain and moving me around my busy life.

I love soda water, lemons in anything, cheese of any sort, the green smoothie/juices that come out of my nutra ninja thingy, chips and dip, steak with dijon mustard, salads filled with herbs, and white chocolate/coconut ice/ginger crunch when I let myself have it.

I am grateful and I love many things.

Gratitude and love.

What more could you wish for in life?

Love, Mrs D xxx  

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Ordinary sober housewifey life..

It's a good thing I'm walking the dog a lot because I am a piggy pig at the moment! Lots of lovely foody treats, but oh well... am not beating myself up too much about it. I can't be bloody perfect (nor do I want to be) so I will continue to have a robust and honest relationship with myself about my sugar and fat intake while allowing myself treats and forever attempting to moderate.

But no alcohol ever!!!!!!!!!!

Sometimes I can't quite believe that I've just stopped drinking alcohol and will never touch it ever again. But then I slip quickly back into the frame of mind that is well versed in why I have (stopped) and why I won't (ever touch it again).

The more time that goes on the more ordinary and comfortable it gets. Time really is a very kind mistress in terms of changing habits.

I've had a couple of drinking dreams recently but interestingly they haven't left me feeling unsettled like they used to. Drinking dreams have always been rather unnerving but nowadays they're not. Lately in these dreams I'm just telling someone that I don't drink or I'm in a scenario where I'm comfortably sober (it's enough of a feature of the dream that I'll call it a 'drinking dream' but really it's a 'sober dream'!) and I wake up aware that I had this dream but not out of sorts because of it.

FINALLY my subconscious is catching up with my reality.

Quite a bit going on for me socially at the moment - lots of evenings out and a few lunches - but I'm happy being more social than usual (seems like the right time of year for it) and I'm not worrying about my non-drinking status. It just is what it is, this is what I am, and none of my friends seem to care.

I think I'm still fun and interesting! I love that I can always drive myself home! I love that I sleep great every night! I love being sober!!

Mr D is away tonight and so is our middle boy (at a cubs tramp) so me and the other two are going to get Indian takeaways and I'll probably have a choc bar (delicious ice-cream) for pudding while lying on the sofa watching Dance Moms (awfully wonderful Reality TV).

But first I need to put the washing away, feed the dog, vacuum up all the crap off the living room floor, get into my comfy pants and pour myself a large soda water with lemon slices and ice.

Such is my ordinary sober housewifey life.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Thursday, November 26, 2015

In praise of walking...

I took our dog for a big walk in the hills above my house yesterday. The weather was warm-ish but blustery and there were low clouds which made the whole area quite misty. We walked for 45 minutes along paths and unpaved roads, bumping into two people and one other dog along the way.

It was absolutely lovely and we are about to go and do it again.

I would not be going for a walk along the hill-line behind my house if I didn't have a dog. I absolutely would not. I have never been one to go walking just because a walk is a good idea. I will force myself to exercise but usually by going to the gym (not for a while but still paying the weekly membership!) or to a yoga class (every Tuesday night down at my local rec centre).

But I walk nowadays because we have a dog..... and I am so grateful for him because these walks really are lovely! I come home refreshed and alert and feeling good. And he absolutely loves them! He's like the most excited dog you have ever seen ... darting all around me as we walk along the paths.. sniffing here there and everywhere.. just so happy to be out in the big wide world walking along with me.

Getting this dog has been such a good idea. I have to tell myself this when he is chewing everything in sight, shedding his black hairs everywhere, and barking to wake us up at 6am! The kids love him so much and are so sweet with him. He makes our house feel even more like a home and most of all, he gets me out walking.

For our family's secret santa this year I am buying for my brother-in-law and he's asked for whisky. So this morning I went into the bottle store and asked the shop keeper for help. He showed me a few options and I said 'I don't drink so I've got no idea what to get but I like the colour of this bottle and the font they've used on the label so I'll get this one'.

I felt quietly cool for being such a casual non-drinker in the bottle store. Proud of myself for being so comfortable to state I don't drink. I didn't give a toss what the shop keeper thought of me (a boring wowser? an alcoholic in recovery? an alien from another planet?). Who cares. I was just me casually being a non drinker buying whisky for someone else.

Then I drove to the chemist and they had these mini breath test kits for sale up at the counter (blow in a straw and it will tell you if you're close to .05% breath alcohol limit). I asked if they were selling many and the chemist lady said 'not yet, we've only just got them in' and I then said 'lucky I don't have to worry about that any more!'. She laughed politely, probably wondering what I meant but I didn't say any more. I just smiled and paid for my items, then left.

Just me a casual non-drinker moving around my world comfortable with that fact.

The Silly Season is upon us (I wrote a 'Silly Season Survival Guide' at Living Sober) and I have a couple of lunches to go to but they won't be boozy affairs. I have turned down the opportunity to go to one big boozy party - too far to travel/too difficult with childcare - so Mr D is going alone. I had a dream about it so maybe deep down I am sad to be missing out and am still mourning my lost life. But I won't mourn for long. My boozy life was fun (until it wasn't) and now it's over and my sober life is in full flight. And it's pretty damn fine.

Now I better go take the dog up into the hills before he kills me with his sad eyes!

Love, Mrs D xxx

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Ebbs and flows

Sorry to continue to be a bit down on it but once again I am thinking of so many people who are struggling right now. Today's theme seems to be narcissistic people who are having a major impact on friends of mine - whether it be their narcissistic mother or sister-in-law or friend... just nasty people who do their damnedest to cause pain in others.

I can see so clearly that the narcissistic (problematic might be a better word because who can diagnose narcissism?) person is hurting and is in pain - i.e. they're a broken person to be acting in such a cruel/uncaring way - and so I want to feel kindly towards that broken person, but when they cause so much pain by lashing out and manipulating, well it's hard to bloody think kindly towards them!!

Sometimes I just feel like the world is so full of pain - and now with what is happening overseas with France at war and all those horrible broken people acting despicably by taking innocent lives..


Actually me in my life I'm doing ok at the minute. I'm trucking on. Doing ok with my food and exercise (I'd give myself 78.3% on that score), remembering to act mindfully every day (gets easier the more you practice it) and keeping up with all my online work & writing & housework commitments.

I have been having strange fleeting (and I really do mean fleeting) sad thoughts about being a non-drinker for evermore. But I am pretty well versed at kicking those thoughts out of my brain quick-smart and not picking over them so that they build in strength.

I can only surmise that it's because I'm tired at the moment (this is a CRAZY busy term with the boys and I'm running around like a headless chicken most days) and that is why these woe-is-me thoughts are creeping in.

Truth is I KNOW that booze isn't going to make my life more fun. I KNOW that I am a million times happier now that I don't touch booze ever. I KNOW that everything booze promises to offer is a crock of shit. I KNOW that I am a better wife, mother, sister, daughter, and friend now that I don't numb myself constantly. I KNOW that if I start drinking again .. well I shudder to think what my life would be like if I started drinking again.

I am NOT going to start drinking again - ok??!!

But the truth is that being in recovery means living RAW forever more and the reality of that is that you feel everything more keenly. Life ebbs and flows and you feel it all more keenly. You are just raw all the time. Raw, raw, raw.

I wouldn't want it any other way - honestly - but it is what it is. Life in all it's up and down glory. Pain and pleasure. Highs and lows. Ebbs and flows.

And now I'm going to go take the dog for a big walk along the hill line.

And I am going to enjoy his delight at being out in the wide open air.

And I am going to rejoice in all that is good in the world.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Pain pain pain

There's so much shitty pain everywhere all the time. I'm hearing of nasty in-laws hurting friends of mine, other people I know in floods of tears over interpersonal shit going down, other friends back drinking after long stints off, someone over here grieving their mother, someone over there grieving their lover, someone just discovering their husband is cheating - grief, betrayal, tensions, sadnesses, stresses...pain, pain everywhere.


Life is pain. But to deny that pain is suffering (or however the saying goes).

We have to feel the pain. Numbing it away DOESN'T WORK. It doesn't. Maybe in the sort term.. but not in any substantive way. We have to feel the pain. And if the pain is too awful to sit with then do something proper about it. See a doctor, see a therapist, make big changes in your life. Do something that will actually be beneficial in the long run.

But know that pain will come again. It always does. This is life. This is our crazy, messy, painful human life.

Sorry if I'm sounding a bit bossy and philosophical and waffly all at the same time. I'm just blurting this post out late on a Sunday night. I'm tired and I'm aware of all this stuff that is going on around me - I'm hearing it all via text messages and emails and the Members Feed at Living Sober.

I'm looking out my window at many, many houses in my neighbourhood and am so aware that so many of them are right now the vessels for human pain and suffering.

Life sucks shit sometimes. It blows. It hurts.

So what do we do? We look for the good. We revel in the minor triumphs. We focus on the lovely things. We take small steps in the right direction. We try to look after ourselves. We try to be brave and sit with the feelings. We know that emotions won't kill us. We know that things pass. We know that life has an ebb and flow and that pain comes in waves but so does happiness and contentment and ease. We hug our loved ones. We distract ourselves with music and novels and colouring-in books and gardening and TV and cooking and exercise and stuff that isn't about self-sabotage. We seek out the people that make us feel good, the people that we gel with, the people that care. We try to think positively or at least not repeat over and over the negative thoughts. We put our comfy pants on and crawl under a blanket on the sofa. We put the leash on the dog and go out for a walk. We look at the sky and we watch the clouds pass by. We imagine ourselves on a plane to exotic climates. We press on.

We have to.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Friday, October 30, 2015

Go the All Blacks!

I am surfing around the Internet looking for a recipe for a spicy halloween mocktail that I can make to share on the 'Drink of the Week' page at Living Sober and on my Facebook page. I've found something suitable for the spooky holiday but also perfect for early morning rugby watching. I will make it today to sample, photograph it and post online .. and then I will make it again at the crack of dawn on Sunday.

Because YES! New Zealand are in the Rugby World Cup final, our mighty All Blacks play Australia at 5am on Sunday morning (the tournament is being held on the other side of the world in England).

I am happy looking for the recipe, thinking about how I will adapt the ingredients to suit my tastes... planning on heading down to the supermarket shortly to get the ingredients.

I am nervous thinking about the game. I so hope we win because everyone in our lovely little country will be super-happy and excited if we do! And we love our team of brave rugby-playing men, they are super cool and incredibly talented and (if you don't mind me saying) they look totally hot in their foxy outfits!

I am comfortable knowing that I will be tired but not hungover in the wee small hours on Sunday morning as I drag myself out of bed to snuggle on the sofa and watch the game with the family.

I am very content with my sober life.

When I first got sober it was so hard to conceive of an alcohol-free life. 'When will it become normal?' I'd wonder. 'Will it ever become normal??!!' When will the obsession stop?' 'When will I stop thinking about not-drinking all the time?'

It took some time but eventually it did happen. The obsession stopped and I settled into my sober skin. Today I hardly evert think about the fact that I don't drink.

Ok - I write about my sobriety all the time because I have a blog and I run a community website dedicated to helping other people get sober! That is a fact. But outside of my writing time and mostly in my day-to-day life I do not think about the fact that I am sober.

I just 'am' sober.

It's ordinary.

It's not a big deal.

I don't crave booze. I don't wish I could drink. I just don't drink alcohol.

Far fucking out. Go back to my early posts - the ones in the really early days. How obsessed I was back then. And fast forward to now. Spicy mocktails, supermarket shopping, rugby games.. no hankering to drink. None.

That, my friends, is a good thing.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Sunday, October 18, 2015


I turned 44 last Tuesday and on Thursday I celebrated my 1500th day of sobriety.

What wonderful numbers ... what a week. I have to be honest I was more excited about the soberversary than the birthday (although the birthday was lovely and my family made me feel very special all day). Deep down inside though the 1500 days felt incredibly more pride-inducing.

I worked hard for those 1500 days.

I am very happy with the direction the second half of my life is taking. I am happy that I'm working hard to turn inwards and become a fully realised human being. I am happy that I am learning how to properly deal with my complicated and tricky human brain so that I am starting to glimpse true inner calm. (Glimpse - notice I am saying glimpse! Still a way to go.. and if you read my last post I did jinx myself slightly and have been a wee bit piggy and 'treaty' this past week! Oh well... progress not perfection!)

I'm also very happy with the first part of my life. I don't regret all the boozing, I don't regret the years I spent avoiding tough emotions, the years I spent desperately trying to act like everything was 'fine' all the time. I look back at my boozy self with affection. I was trying the only way I knew how to make the world seem ok, to make everything fun and lovely all the time. 

Only problem was, my method (regular alcohol consumption) was flawed. A quick fix - yes. But a long term stragegy? Nope.

Just a readily available liquid drug that mimicks true feelings of well-being while it is in your system. A readily available liquid drug that is addictive and progressive. A readily available liquid drug that when imbibed in heavy doses makes you feel like shit physically and shit emotionally.

Glad I've left that liquid drug behind.

I'm 44 years old and 1503 days sober. 

That looks pretty good to me.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Turning a corner finally..?

I don't want to jinx myself but I'm wondering whether maybe finally I have turned a wee corner with regards my food 'treats' and 'rewards' (which were actually crappy punishments). Mr D has been away for two whole weeks and it's the school holidays - usually this would send me into a spiral of boozing (prior to four years ago) or sugar/fat (last four years).. as I got tireder as the days went on I would fall farther into the hole of destructive behaviour which would have me feeling totally BLAH by the end of it.

But this time - one day to go! - I have made a real effort and have resisted falling into that hole. I've been having the odd bit of sugar, buttered toast or chips 'n dip but nothing crazy. And I'm feeling good! Tired but good.

The significant thing is that my inner voice.. my thought processes.. have changed. I haven't had to white knuckle/resist the crap .. my thoughts lately have been "that isn't yum, it will make me feel yukky" or "don't believe that's a treat, it's just a hunk of shit". This is a big difference from the "Mmmmm that is a big delicious treat that I deserve" that I used to always think. BIG DIFFERENCE.

It hasn't been hard. That's the significant shift. It's like I'm finally re-wiring myself to see those foods not as treats to be savoured but actually nasty crap that isn't my friend or good for me.

Maybe finally all the reading I've been doing about sugar and all the docos I've been watching on Netflix (Fed Up is really good) are finally getting inside my brain.

Like I say, I don't want to jinx myself.. but I can feel a subtle shift inside of me. Like I am evolving in this area. At long last!!!!!!!! There has been a subtle but noticeable shift.

I'll stay on top of this and will keep being honest. If I fall back into a hole of acting 'alcoholically' with my sugary/fatty foods and start up the same dysfunctional and isolating behaviours around them.. then I will fess up.

But for now I am proud of myself.

The free online Mindfulness Summit that I am partaking of and LOVING (and blogging about daily here) has also helped I'm sure.

Jeepers sometimes I can't believe who I am turning into!!!!!!!!!!!  But I don't care because it just makes me feel so good. Calm and connected and good. Loving my new sober life. Love, love, loving it. So, so, so, so pleased that I got sober. Can't say that enough. So, so, so, so pleased that I took that shit booze away.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Sunday, October 4, 2015

With my tribe...

What an utterly amazing afternoon I had yesterday meeting up with a bunch of members of our amazing community website - Living Sober.

A number of the members from around New Zealand (and one from Australia!) had organised themselves to travel to central NZ where I live to hook up for the weekend. They organised their own flights and car rides... booked into the same motel where possible (some even sharing rooms!) and partook of a series of meals and get-togethers in cafes and restaurants.

I met up with them for a late lunch yesterday at a pub in town. They'd organised a private area and we came together for 3 hours.

I shared many warm hugs.

I shed many tears.

I heard many tales.

I listened to singing, poetry and prose.

I spoke briefly and answered many questions.

I had numerous moments when I paused mentally, looked around and really took stock of what was happening. Here I was sitting in a room full of people - most of whom I had never met in person before - and I felt incredibly comfortable and in the right place.

I felt like I was with my tribe.

The truth is my whole life I have been fiercely independent. I’ve never been what you could call a ‘joiner’. I didn’t play sports so I wasn’t in any teams. I never managed to stick at any music groups or anything like that. I didn’t do that many organised extra activities. I didn’t feel like I fitted in at high school... I always used to joke that I had ‘job commitment phobia’ because I would chop and change my jobs so often...and mentally I've always kept myself on the outer. I always felt like I was ‘pretending’ to be one of the gang – whether it be the 'cool kids'  gang at school or the TV journalists gang at work or whatever.

I've always felt in a bit of a bubble. Booze helped me maintain the bubble I think. It put a wall up between me and everything else. It helped me to not care - a self protection mechanism. If I don’t care about this group or this job or this whatever then if it goes it can’t hurt me.

I was always trying to stay one step ahead of things going.

Maybe this is why when I set about getting sober I embarked on it as a purely solo mission. Me in my bubble fixing myself. I don’t need anyone else. Fiercely independent me.

Little did I know that getting sober would finally lead to me finding my place. The group I belong to that I don't have to pretend that I feel a part of. My tribe. 

To be sitting in that room yesterday felt incredible. I felt at home. Really at home.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Finally I can be still....

I just wrote a post on my other blog - Mrs D Is Going Within - which summarises where I am at right now.

I know it seems a bit weird to have two blogs on the go but this original blog was started to help me get sober (which it certainly did!) and I keep it up to stay on top of my recovery and keep communicating with people who are also trying to get sober.

The new blog I started for the same specific purpose.. to use it as a motivation tool with something I am attempting to do. In this case it is my attempt to develop a mindfulness/meditation practice. In other words, to really 'go within' now that the hard work of removing alcohol from my life is done.

The new blog really helps keep me motivated to keep researching / investigating / attempting mindfulness & meditation, and although my work in this area has been very stop-start it is slowly bedding in. I love it. I love, love, love it. It is unbelievably affective. Trust me on this. All the hype is true. It is amazingly helpful.

Lately I've been feeling really good and strong in my sobriety. Very much of the attitude - 'what am I actually missing out on?' by not drinking alcohol. That was one of the most overwhelming feelings when I first stopped drinking.. that I would be missing out. But for Pete's sake.. what am I missing out on?

I can socialise. I can have fun. I can go to concerts and be really moved by the music. I can have lunch with my girlfriends and connect with that fabulous female energy that fuels every girls soul. I can communicate, care for and co-exist with my husband and sons authentically and brilliantly. I can attend dinner parties and go to restaurants enjoying every morsel of food and banter. I can spend time with myself and not go crazy.

I can be still. Finally. I can be still.

Gosh I just typed that and got teary. This is obviously a major major thing for me. Stillness.

I suppose boozing is the polar opposite to stillness isn't it? Maybe this is what I've been avoiding for my entire adult life. It's taken me four years of sobriety to get to this place where stillness is becoming the most important and restorative factor in my life.

Stillness. Finally, I can be still.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Monday, September 21, 2015

Not so tired any more..

And the award for the most boring post title in blogging history goes to Mrs D!!!!!!!

Not so tired any more. Yawn. The post title itself is enough to make someone tired and bored.

Actually truth be known my life is very boring. Or if not boring then extremely ordinary.

I get up when the dog barks and put him outside. I shower. I fix my kids breakfast and pack their lunch boxes. I feed the dog. I negotiate between my sons and the dog not to all wind each other up too much and try to stop them breaking things/making a huge mess (all the while trying to be mindful that they are young boys/puppies and breaking things and making a mess is in their DNA). I put washing on. I badger my sons to make their beds & brush their teeth & pack their bags.

I get the boys off to school and then I spend the day until 3pm writing blog posts/interacting with brave and amazing sober people on Living Sober or via email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc/grocery shopping/meeting friends/walking the puppy/going to work meetings/doing household chores/paying bills & doing banking//filling in forms and replying to emails for kid things like cubs & swimming lessons & drama lessons & school trips & rugby games etc/lying on the sofa watching daytime TV/cooking & baking/folding washing...etc etc...

Then at 3pm I get the kids from school/bring them home/feed them/do homework/badger my boys to empty the dishwasher & wash their lunchboxes/play games/drive to rugby practice & swimming lessons & cubs & drama & soccer etc/cook dinner/tidy up from dinner/do more interacting online with brave and amazing sober people/write blog posts/tidy up/get the kids to bed/watch TV/go to bed.

(Obviously the weekends are a bit different but you get the gist).

Things I wish I did more of:
Plucking my eyebrows
Painting my nails
Reading novels
Drinking and eating perfectly healthy whole foods

Things I wish I did less of:
Eating sugary/fatty foods
Checking my online sites
Worrying about the things that I should be doing more of...

The good news is I am feeling a bit better on the tiredness front, am trying to work my mindfulness techniques to keep myself in the moment and feeling calm. And today I had my hair done for the first time in months and it is short!


Love, Mrs D xxx

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


I'm just really farking knackered, it seems every morning I wake up and I am tired ... and I drag my tired sorry arse through the day. My eyes are stinging they feel so tired and sore. And my patience is slim at best.

Is my iron low? Is it because the puppy wakes me up bloody early every morning? Is it because I'm not getting enough sleep? (I average 7 solid hours sleep per night give or take).  Is it because I run a busy household? Is it because parenting three active boys aged 11, 9 & 5 is full on? Is it because I have a steady flow of writing and other work to do? Is it because my diet is less than stellar at the moment? Do bad food choices make you feel run down? (I know the answer to that).

Is it a combination of all of the above?


I'm pretty sick of it to be honest. But I keep trying to turn my thoughts in a positive direction and slide gracefully through the days without getting too grumpy or self-pitying. Because really I have nothing to worry about.

And EVERYONE, I mean EVERYONE seems to feel tired all the time nowadays.

But the knowledge that everyone feels tired a lot of the time doesn't diminish my personal experience of tiredness. I can still feel it behind my eyes.

It's just so booooooooring going on about tiredness.

I want to feel fresh! And energetic! And sparkly! And not tired!

So I will....

1) try and make good, healthy, perfect food choices like all the perfectly perfect eaters of the world seem to do (they do exist these perfectly perfect eaters don't they?)
2) rest where possible but also....
3) increase my physical activity
4) feel grateful for my very nice life
5) go to bed earlier
6) buy a women's multi-vitamin that includes iron
7) keep feeling very incredible good about the fact that 1470 days ago I stopped drinking alcohol and I am very cool and brave and amazing for having done that and my life has improved in immeasurable ways as a result

Love making a plan - I feel better already! In a low-key tired out way that is ....

Love, Mrs D xxx

Monday, September 7, 2015

Pain is inevitable but suffering is optional.

Back from the addictions conference. I LOVED it!! My first ever conference and I was totally into the whole name badge/presentations/endless yummy food/stimulating people vibe. The addiction sector in NZ is full of lovely warm, kind & hardworking people and I chatted happily with many of them. Also sat in on loads of interesting talks, cried, sang, danced, and ate. Did I mention the endless yummy food?!

I gave my talk on the last afternoon and think it went well. Hard to know - feedback was good ... although no-one is going to come up to me afterwards and say "that was shit" are they? But I felt good and calm in my brain and happy to be telling my story and informing these lovely practitioners about our amazing website.

The local paper did a story on my presentation which has just been published online here. Wish I'd brushed my hair for the photo!

Flew home after 3 full on days and was so happy to get back to my domesticated reality. Yesterday was Fathers Day AND my four year soberversary! The boys bought us breakfast in bed which was cute and then we spent a nice family day together.

Today we are back into a normal week with school, work, dog walking, supermarket shopping, cooking, playing games, washing clothes, etc etc yadda yadda. Normal yet so fundamentally glorious.

I do not drink.

I don't waste any more time worrying about my drinking.

I don't wake up at 3am any more beating myself up for having over indulged the night before.

I am no longer a stranger to my emotions. I hate sadness but know that it heals. I'm uncomfortable with anger but know that it is a normal human reaction. I loath stress but now have far more effective ways to minimise it.

One of the speakers put up a slide last week which said 'Life is pain, but not accepting that pain is suffering'. Put that another way - pain is inevitable but suffering is optional.

Thank goodness I started figuring this out four years ago.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Reasons why I love being sober....

Because it is the ultimate challenge: For so many years I was up for the challenge of booze. I loved how it shifted my reality and made everything gnarly and heightened. Now I am totally up for the challenge of sobriety.This is the ultimate challenge!  Living life in the raw. Learning how to deal with shit always with a wide-open brain. Never escaping. Never blurring the lines. Always sharp edged and real. It doesn't get any more fundamental and major than this. Bring it on.

Because it feels incredibly rebellious: My world is booze soaked. Every event involves alcohol. Every supermarket sells it right next to the bread and milk. Every billboard and glossy advertisement tells me that alcohol makes life better, and that drinking it regularly is a normal and totally acceptable thing to do. By choosing to live sober I am rebelling against everything my society is telling me. I am saying NO and BULLSHIT! to all the false messages that are being thrown at me. I am happily living a fun, full, and rewarding life with no alcohol in it thankyouverymuch so stick that up your arse alcohol industry!!

Because I have woken up as a human being:  Thank goodness I developed a problem with booze and had to take it away because without my addiction I might never have realised that I was an emotion avoider with no emotional coping mechanisms who was fooling herself every time she drank (which was practically every day for years and years and years). I finally feel like I am becoming a fully realised human being, living life as it was intended. I love where my sobriety is taking me and how I am busy discovering new and powerful ways to cope with life. It's fascinating and so incredibly rewarding.

Because I have joined the cool club: When you meet someone else who is in recovery from addiction you immediately go to a deep level of understanding and honesty. I'm not being dumb here, it's just true that you start talking straight away about 'real' stuff with another recovery warrior. All the  cool people are sober nowadays! I love my sober buddies!

Because I get to buy fresh flowers every week for the rest of my life and never feel guilty about it: Enough said.

Because I sleep fantastically 99.9% of the time: Also not much more to say about this one except that waking up after a deep and beautiful sleep NEVER gets old!

Because I'm just so proud of myself that I turned my life around: Even when I'm stressed or grumpy I feel so happy to be sober. I will never ever ever ever go backwards and put that shit booze back into my life.

The end.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Thursday, August 27, 2015

A looming conference...

I'm working on my presentation for NZ's big addiction conference next week. Called Cutting Edge it's the annual gathering of the addictions treatment sector - loads of great talks & sessions for me to attend and listen to, as well as the opportunity to meet lots of lovely people who are working hard to help addicts in this country. I can't wait!

I'm presenting on the last day about our website Living Sober ... which is going great guns by the way. We are almost at 2500 registered members and just this week reached 1 million page views which, given we've only been live for one year, is AWESOME!!.

I am so proud of our little site. It is based on a very simple concept - put people who share a common trait (an inability to control the drug of alcohol) in a shared space which feels safe and protected and let them talk to each other and help each other along. Our ethos is kind, supportive and non-judgemental communication and that is what we do! There is never any snippiness or grumpiness displayed between members. Amazing! People are in there sharing about the REAL SHIT of life (tricky in laws, depression, anxiety, abuse, addiction, loneliness, low self-esteem etc etc) and yet the tone is always kept positive, forward looking and upbeat. Truly amazing.

I'm telling you - it is an incredibly powerful and transformative online space and if you are searching around the internet looking for support and inspiration to not drink you should TOTALLY go join the community there. It's free and you can be anonymous! There's a lot of great information on my blog page there and in the Sober Toolbox etc, but only by joining do you get inside the 'Members Feed' which is our rolling communication space where much of the gritty & lovely interactions go on.

Ok sales pitch over.

Attending the conference will be interesting as I know these events can pose a challenge to sober people (especially the newly sober) - all that socialising and booze. Not to mention the hotel rooms having fully stocked mini-bars. I don't know if alcohol will be available at the conference dinners etc. There are a lot of people in recovery working in the sector apparently.. but presumably there are many who are not. Anyway - for me I don't fear being tempted. I just look at that stuff as dumb bottles of poison wrapped up in fancy labels that will do nothing to enhance my life whatsoever. Far from it.

So happy to be sober. So grateful to be a part of this wonderful online recovery community. Grateful that the sun is shining. Grateful that I have a puppy who needs walking every day and for the first time I can see that daily walks will become a good positive feature of my life. Grateful that I have my health and my family. Grateful that I have stimulating work to do in a field I am passionate about.

Who knew this would turn into a gratitude post! Not me! Sometimes I just never know where these things will go....

Love, Mrs D xxx    

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The mum club

It's no wonder so many of us mums turn to booze. It's freely available, cheap, socially acceptable - encouraged even, and it works.

Let's be honest. Short term it works. It takes us away from our domestic drudgery, without actually taking us away. We can still be at the kitchen bench chopping carrots with kids yelling demands at us, but with that glass of chardonnay sitting next to us we feel like an 'adult' and slightly removed from the situation in a 'fun' way (I did anyway). The more booze that goes in, the more our pleasure receptors are enlivened and we feel good - warm and numb and 'fun' and 'soothed'.

It did me anyway. Boy did I love my nightly wines.

It's all artificial of course - the liquid drug creates a chemical reaction in our brains that mimics genuine feelings of well being. So it's not authentic, doesn't last, and we get dumped down and left feeling cold afterwards (often at 3am). For me this meant feeling strangely bored and perpetually exhausted about my never ending domestic duties and the incessant demands of my kids.

Don't get me wrong - my kids are the most perfect creatures that have ever been created, but being a mum is HARD BLOODY WORK! We are all BLOODY LEGENDS! (Sorry dads, I know you are too.. I just can't help but write this post from my female perspective). We give and we give and we give to those blood-sucking leeches we call our offspring. And they take, take, take because that's what kids are hard-wired to do. It's the way of the world. We breed them, we feed and love them, we nurture them, we give, give, give. They are born, they develop, they have human wants and needs and are unformed emotionally so have no real concept of life outside of their own basic desires and they take, take, take.

So, like I say it's no wonder so many of us mums turn to booze. Who wouldn't want to be instantly warmed and 'taken away' at 5pm every day?

I was down at the local Rec Centre last Friday with my sister at a busy, noisy pre-school playgroup. As we were packing to go her 1-year old started having a major meltdown. A mum sitting behind us fixed us with a sympathetic 'I've been there too' smile and said "Thank goodness for coffee and alcohol - that's all that is getting us through isn't it!". My sister and I both laughed - ha ha! - and there we were, three mums locked into a moment of weary solidarity, camaraderie and understanding.

But secretly I was thinking; "actually I don't touch either of those substances any more". Alcohol went nearly 4 years ago because I had no control over it and was imbibing WAY too much. Coffee went about a year ago because I just decided it was a dumb habit that I didn't really enjoy.

But I'm still in the mum club. I still answer a million questions a day, do constant housework, prepare endless meals and offer boundless love and support. I still get exhausted, worn out and over it. Sometimes I feel like crawling under the bed covers and staying there all day. Or at least standing in the middle of the kitchen shouting 'WHAT ABOUT ME!!!!!!!!!!!'.

The funny thing is, the longer I go without drinking booze or coffee, the more I realise they weren't actually doing anything to help my situation. In fact, they were hindering it. Sure - I don't get that chemical release at 5pm .. but I see that as artificial now and an unhelpful con.

And the truth is I'm actually less tired now because I sleep great. I'm happier now because I'm not feeling guilty about my drinking. I'm more proud now because I am more tolerant of my kids and present for their needs (especially as they get older and need more emotional support). And I'm delighted now that I'm no longer modelling steady, heavy wine consumption as an acceptable way to live.

I'll take being a sober exhausted mum over being a boozy exhausted mum any day. And I'll still laugh along with other mums when comments are made about the crutches that get us through. Because we are all in this together. Even us sober mums. We may be making different personal choices, but we still need the solidarity, camaraderie and understanding.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Sobriety is full throttle....

My talk last Friday went well I think. It's kind of a strange thing to do ... leave my domestic duties behind for a day, catch a plane to somewhere new, attend a big fancy lunch during which I stand up on the stage and talk for an hour - bare my soul and make myself vulnerable while also feeling proud and happy to talk up the wonders of recovery - then return home to my ordinary housewifey life.

Crazy! But rewarding.

On the way up I bought from the airport bookstore a copy of the much-hyped new memoir 'Blackout' by Sarah Hepola and I am happy to report this book lives up to the hype - BIG TIME!

It's fantastic. First half a rollicking drinking memoir, second half a fantastic recovery memoir. This is one of the main reasons I love this book, there is LOADS about the recovery process... the 'getting sober' bit of the story. Usually so many memoirs are just the car crash drinking/drugging story and then a tiny blip at the end about giving up. This book spends many chapters on what the author went through in redefining her life and her self-image after drinking. She's a fantastic writer, and brutally honest (talks well too, I just watched this TV interview with her on You Tube).

I continued reading the book on the plane ride home. One paragraph stood out to me so much I felt like high-fiving the man sitting next to me in seat 3E (I didn't).

"A woman I know told me a story once, about how she'd always been the girl in the front row at live shows. Pushing her way to the place where the spotlight burned tracers in her eyes and the speakers rattled her insides. When she quit drinking, she missed that full-throttle part of herself, but then she realised: Sobriety is full throttle. No earplugs. No safe distance. Everything at its highest volume. All the complications of the world, vibrating your sternum."

HELL to the YEAH! I can so relate! Sobriety is full throttle - everything at high volume, the most daring ride at the theme park, the greatest challenge you could ever take on.

I felt so great reading this paragraph particularly because in the talk I'd just delivered I spoke about how excited I was when just 2-3 months after quitting drinking I'd had the monumental realisation that living sober was the ultimate challenge. That it wasn't just about breaking a habit, it was about developing robust coping mechanisms and learning how to deal with life in the raw.

And the ultimate challenge continues to this day. It will never end - because shit keeps happening, and I keep dealing with it without any brain bending ever.

Sobriety is full throttle. It is standing in the front row of a rock concert with all the complications of the world vibrating your sternum. It is fascinating and challenging and a truly great adventure.

Bring it on.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Managing myself in the busy times...

It's a busy week this week.. last week wasn't so busy.. next week will be busy. I am working hard to manage myself in the down times and the up times.

In the down times I was spending too much time watching Dr Phil so I have put myself on a self-imposed ban for a while. I love his wisdom and brutal honesty but the stories are all pretty depressing - dysfunctional family after dysfunctional family gets a bit much after a while. Have been trying to read more books/listen to more podcasts instead when I do have a few free hours alone in the house after all the work is done and before the kids get home from school. This podcast was great! Interview with my beloved Tara.

In the busy times I am trying to manage myself by eating good foods (I'd give myself 85% on that score right now, bit of sugar creeping back in again but I'm trying to keep tabs on it), and keeping my thoughts focussed down and in the moment and not far away in the future or past. That is a biggie for keeping me feeling happy. I try to notice when I'm lost in my brain and bring myself back down to what I am actually doing - hands on the steering wheel, weather outside, etc etc. When you really look at it most moments in the day are lovely and calm, it's just our thinking that makes us feel they're not.

Doing a yoga class on a Tuesday night now at the local rec centre - love it!!! Best yoga teacher I have ever had, really relaxed and informal but good clear instructions and poses that are challenging and satisfying. For the first time ever I can see myself getting enthusiastic about yoga!

We took the kids to a 'Rise and Shine' Daybreak Dance party down on the waterfront yesterday! Had such fun dancing as the sun came up with great tunes spun by awesome DJs, free coffee and massages (massage tables set up in the corner of the venue with proper masseuses at work), lots of lovely people in their gym gear/onesies having a great boogie. Super fun and we are going to do it again! Was like reliving my clubbing days except this time I didn't have a bent brain and blurry mindset - was just happy moving my body to the music!

Flying out of town to give a talk at a charity lunch tomorrow - my boozing and sobriety story - then flying home and the next day off on another plane with the whole family to go to my mother-in-law's 70th. So a busy social time ahead, lots of chatting and energy to put out. Am looking forward to doing it all with no alcohol getting in the way. Just me with my clear head and faculties fully alert. Will be tired next week but no rest for the wicked - my sister and her entire family are coming to stay for 4 nights. Fun!

Yes I will be tired. But I will work hard to manage myself through with nourishing food and productive thinking.

This is my busy, full, stimulating alcohol-free life and I wouldn't change a thing.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Inside Out

Took the boys to see the movie 'Inside Out' and it was FANTASTIC! We all loved it.

I've just read this article called "Four Lessons from 'Inside Out' to Discuss with Kids" which highlights the deep things the film has to say about how our emotions work. It's pretty heavy reading (the film is not heavy!) but is a really good piece for articulating the deeper lessons the film carries. And it's actually bloody good from a sobriety perspective.

Through cute cartoon characters and cool animation what the film tells us is that happiness is not just about experiencing joy. Joy is only one element of happiness. Only when we experience all sorts of emotions - both positive and negative - do we find true happiness.

Only by fully experiencing all emotions do we achieve a deep sense that life is good, meaningful and worthwhile.

If we try to be happy all the time we actually end up miserable (sometimes subtly, without realising it) because the more we expect and strive for constant happiness, the more disappointed (and less happy) we are likely to be when we can't achieve this goal.

This makes good sense to me. When I was boozing I wanted to be 'fun' and 'upbeat' Mrs D all the time. I didn't want to be sad - no way! Nor did I want to be angry. Now that I am much more at peace with the sad and angry versions of myself, overall I feel much happier with myself.

Yes we have to prioritise positivity (by doing things that make us feel good), but not at the expense of avoiding or denying negative feelings or the situations that cause them.

Sadness is important. It makes us empathetic. It helps us connect deeply with people, and that connection is a crucial component of happiness. Seems crazy to acknowledge that sadness is a part of happiness but that's what this movie is all about!! The blue cartoon character 'Sadness' actually emerges as much as the hero as the perky 'Joy' character does.

This quote is from the article; "With great sensitivity, Inside Out shows how tough emotions like sadness, fear, and anger, can be extremely uncomfortable for people to experience - which is why many of us go to great lengths to avoid them. But in the film, as in real life, all of these emotions serve an important purpose by providing insight into our inner and outer environments in ways that can help us connect with others, avoid danger, or recover from loss."

I went to great lengths (glug glug) to avoid tough emotions for most of my adult life, until I was nearly 40 and took alcohol away. Since then I have been learning how to accept and deal with them.

It's been a rough process (sometimes not fun at all) but overall - without a shadow of a doubt - I am happier now than I have ever been.

Think about that. I feel sadness and anger and stress and frustration and disappointment much more keenly now than I ever have. Yet overall I am a much happier and more content person now than I have ever been.

I might still very occasionally get a sad thought about not-drinking (see my last post) but that is just a tiny blip in my mind's horizon.

No way do I miss booze. I'm enjoying getting to know myself far too much to want that shit back in my life.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Monday, July 20, 2015

Fucking bullshit bollocks...

I think I must be tired and run down because I just got hit with this wave of irrational sadness that I will never drink alcohol ever again and that I was somehow missing out on something special that everyone else was doing.


Stupid fucking mind trying to play woe-is-me tricks on me, suck me back down into a place of deluded bollocks where bending my brain with a liquid drug is an attractive proposition.

Bloody stupid bollocksy thoughts can piss off.

I am not going to entertain them for one second. I am not going to allow my tired brain to lead me down that romantic (bullshit) thinking path where I visualise alcohol as a positive influence on my life.

I have just been interrupted writing this post by two boys wearing masks and capes pointing plastic guns at me and telling me to put my hands up.

What bullshit part of my brain thinks that altering my state of consciousness with alcohol is going to benefit me or anyone in my family?

I could probably analyse why these bullshit thoughts have hit me today, there are 2 - 3 reasons that make it pretty obvious to me, but I'm not going to do that. I don't care why. I just want them gone.

This is why I just abruptly stopped folding washing to jump on the computer and bash out this angry post.

Because this is what this blog is for. For me to work my grey matter to fight my bullshit thinking that might try to ever tempt me back to that bullshit booze.

I feel better already. Nothing like a few swearwords (bullshit, fucking, bollocks) to help get my mojo back.

Now I will go finish folding the washing. Then I will put it all away in the correct drawers. Then I will put clean sheets on my bed. Then I will put my pyjamas on. Then I will boil the jug and make a delicious cup of chamomile tea. Then I will climb into bed and watch the final of a fantastically trashy Reality TV programme and then finally I will sleep the blissful sleep that only a sober person can sleep.

And tomorrow those bullshit thoughts will be gone.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Trial and error...

There is nothing quite like getting free from addiction. It takes guts and sweat and tears. But boy is it worth it.

I love that there are so many people dotted around the world who have fought to get themselves free.

I love knowing that there are others who fully understand what it's like to go deep down into your core to heal yourself emotionally when you take an addictive substance away.

It's so bloody hard. Facing up to realities you've tried to shield yourself from. And always the addictive substance is there, dancing around the periphery, enticing you back into it's warm (lying) arms.

I just read an interview with James Taylor (here), legendary musician who was a heroin addict and got sober in his 30's. In it he says; "One thing that addiction does is, it freezes you. You don't develop, you don't learn the skills by trial and error of having experiences and learning from them, and finding out what it is you want, and how to go about getting it, by relating with other people. You short-circuit all of that stuff and just go for the button that says 'this feels good' over and over again."

Trial and error. Having experiences and learning from them. That's what my life is about right now. I make mistakes - sometimes they're big ones - but I am learning from them. I am grinding my way through experiences, some of which are really, really hard, and I am learning. Trial and error. That's what my life is about.

But the longer I live sober, the more I learn and the more resilient I get.

Being a human being is hard bloody work, shit happens and pain hurts and it's just impossible to glide through life not having any shit to deal with.

No wonder there are so many humans who seek relief from the brutality of life, the complexity of relationships and the incessant chatter of the brain.

I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, and I'll say it again today.

Anyone who gets themselves free from addiction is brave and amazing.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The absolute joy of decluttering!!!!!!

I always feel like an over-privileged dickhead when I talk about decluttering, when so many people on this planet struggle to survive, but the fact is I am fortunate to be able to choose to eat anything I like (and consequently spend loads of energy trying to moderate my intake of nasties) and can buy pretty much what I like (within budgetary limits...but I am a chronic second-hand shopper I must admit).. and I have 3 sons and a husband and now a dog and I feel like I'm constantly fighting a CLUTTER WAR!!!!!!

AARRRRGGGHHHH!! Stuff, stuff everywhere!!!

My sister loaned me this brilliant book called 'The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up' which is apparently a massive seller.  I've only just started reading it but it's got me in the mood to get busy clearing a whole bunch of stuff out.

OMG I totally recommend this. It makes you feel so good. Clean and organised.

Have just been through my wardrobe for like the umpteenth time and have managed to clear out another 15 or so items (ask yourself, "does this spark joy?" when you hold up each item, and if the answer is no then out it goes. And share the love, give it to a friend or take it to a charity shop).

Also just went through the pantry and chucked out old sauces etc that I've not used for months. Same with the family room bookshelf full of old colouring books/artworks/games etc

So satisfying!!!!!!!!!

I will continue my quest to magically change my life by tidying up. I can imagine that it will be a life-long endeavour. Stuff comes into the house in waves. I intend to constantly wave it out as well.

This isn't really sobriety related so I better say something about being sober.

I love being sober. I love, love, love, love, love it. Even when I'm tired and clutter is stressing me out I love being sober. Even when I am grumpy or ill or frustrated or angry I love being sober.

Mostly I just love that dumb alcohol isn't in my picture. I am not wasting any time on that dumb brain-bending stuff that destroys my authenticity. I love that I am not slightly affected by booze marketing and I love that I am free.

Free, free, free, free, free.

That is all. Goodbye.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Monday, June 22, 2015

One year ago today...

I can't believe it actually. It is one year ago today since I went on the tele and outed myself as an alcoholic in recovery. One year ago since I cried reliving my last drinking days. One year ago since I came out publicly from behind my safe 'Mrs D' moniker and revealed my true, full identity. One whole year.

I made the decision to go public months before this TV outing when I contacted a publisher about writing a book. I knew that if I got a book deal I would publish as 'Lotta Dann' and not Mrs D.. and in doing so my cloak of anonymity would be thrown off. I was prepared for that, so that when the publishers said yes, it felt ok.

But boy did things take a massive turn when TVNZ's Sunday programme decided to do a piece on me and my book. I knew this would blow things wide open. This is New Zealand's most watched television show. Sunday night prime time current affairs. Holy Shit......

So yeah, I was nervous as all hell about doing it, but also quietly strong and determined. I told myself that it didn't matter what anyone thought or said, it just mattered that others who might be locked in a boozy hell-hole could see that they're not alone. My friend Sue was also asked to take part in the piece - it was also a big decision for her to go public. You can read her reflection on the process here.

Filming took four days. The crew were lovely but it was exhausting and extremely emotionally draining. On the day they packed up and left I took to my bed at 3pm with a pit of anxiety in my chest. I felt incredibly vulnerable and exposed. But I trusted that they would do a good job, and I kept firmly in mind the main reason why I was doing this - to let others know that there is a way out of the hell of addiction.

Today one year ago Mr D was in America for work and my mum was up staying to help with the kids and offer me emotional support. We went ten-pin bowling in the afternoon to keep ourselves occupied. We were nervous!

Close to the time of the show airing we all got our onesies on and gathered in the living room with drinks and nibbles. Then it aired....

You can watch it here.

The reaction was swift and immense. Holy shitballs-a-rama. I was inundated with emails, text messages, Twitter and Facebook messages, and phone calls. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people reached to me out and most of them were strangers saying 'I'm just like you'. I'm not exaggerating. Hundreds. It was an amazing response and the ripples continue to this day.

Since then I've done numerous media appearances, many public speaking events and have launched a community recovery website that has thousands of members. A few Living Sober members are today celebrating their one-year soberversary because when they saw me on the tele they decided to stop the boozy madness as well.

Going public with my drinking problem is one of the best decisions I've ever made. It was worth doing.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Monday, June 15, 2015

Whole30 again...

I'm halfway through another Whole30. Strict as fuck eating regime that is hell but does wonders. Mr D is doing it with me. We were both stuck in eating ruts and not feeling good so what's a girl who can't moderate to do...? A strict as fuck eating regime for 30 days - that's what!

This morning I had a Kiwi-Banana Breakfast Mocktail followed by a two-egg omelet with bacon. For lunch I have just had a scotch egg. Dinner tonight is a chicken curry with heaps of veggies in it (everyone else can have rice and roti bread, we'll just have lots of curry). I might snack on some cashew nuts this afternoon or a beer stick. Maybe have a mandarin when I have my nightly cup of chamomile tea. It's not too hard really.

I've had some serious moments of being completely over it but will persevere because I am feeling good (or at least I'm not feeling gross and down about my foods, or moody because sugar is playing havoc with my emotional equilibrium) and also because hopefully I'll lose a bit of weight (not that I'm too worried about that but it's always a bonus). And also it is forcing us to eat a lot more veggies and also for Mr D he's finding some great healthy food options for his lunch around where he works.

I have to be honest and say there was one night I cheated. I had to go to a 'Pudding Club' that I've been invited to join by some local ladies. This was the inaugural meeting at someone's house (we're going to take turns hosting monthly and serving a delicious pudding) and of course I couldn't go along and say like some foodie weirdo "sorry but I'm on a super-restrictive food regime so can't eat your sticky date pudding with toffee sauce...!"

So I ate it even though I felt bummed out about having a 'cheat' night during the Whole30. But it was delicious - DELICIOUS! - and a lovely fun chatty night.

Didn't matter that I didn't drink alcohol even though everyone else was.

Doesn't matter any more that I don't drink alcohol.

I just don't drink alcohol. That's me nowadays. That's how I roll, and I'm happy with that.

Have had another column posted on - this is a regular monthly gig for me now and I'm very proud to be included as one of their 'Expert Bloggers'. All my other work is busy but I am achieving a much better balance between work time and non-work time at home (probably an on-going dilemma for anyone working from home), am making fewer appointments during the week days so I don't end up feeling stretched and am still not taking my iPad into the bedroom which is a great little habit to have broken!

Sober life is good. It's not perfect, but it's a damn sight better than my boozy life.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Friday, June 5, 2015

Dr Phil love...

Lots of lovely concerned comments and messages! Thanks everyone. I am getting better.

I've had a very lovely restful week and my health is improving. I've taken steps towards 'unplugging' and have a new rule to not take the iPad into the bedroom at night. So I won't be checking on the Living Sober website last thing at night or first thing in the morning any more (or at least I will but in the study or living room before I go to bed or after I get up). This is a good little shift for me.

I still have to check the website regularly because our Members Feed area is constantly updating and I like to stay abreast of what people are saying - and I love it! It's my job, one I am very happy and proud to have. Actually I'm bloody lucky that my personal interest (sobriety) is now my job. But I do think some clearer lines between on duty/off duty would be good and hence my bedroom is now a no-go zone for work. Hooray!

I was watching Dr Phil yesterday (because I love him) and he was interviewing an addicted girl and her parents. Lots of fighting and awfulness but Dr Phil was strong and feisty with all parties and of course ended the show by offering to get her back into treatment (I assume the show pays?) so the hope is always there. He said at one point 'The reason I agreed to have you back on the show is because I believe we should NEVER surrender to this disease". The 'disease' being one of addiction I presume.

Love that man.

He finished up by asking the girl (daughter) if she wanted to go back into treatment and she said in a semi-lacklustre fashion (because the poor thing was in a pretty miserable state) "yes that's why I'm here". He nodded and then he summarised the four 'stages of motivation' people can be at when they enter into recovery. I'll try and remember what he said and will hopefully get this right...

Stage 1: You are ordered into treatment by the court
Stage 2: You agree to go into treatment because your family are desperate for you to/to please other people
Stage 3: You go into treatment because your head tells you it's the right thing to do
Stage 4: You go into treatment because you absolutely do not want to live this way any more and you will do anything, no matter how hard it is, to get well again (he said this last bit really forcefully hence my underlining).

Made me think about my recovery. I think on September 6, 2011 my motivation was at Stage 4. Maybe this is why I have never relapsed. I was FULL SCALE motivated and determined to not live in the stuck & miserable position I had been in for so many years with my drinking.

When I made the decision to never drink again I thought to myself; "I don't care if people give me shit. I don't care if I feel miserable about this sometimes. I don't care if I feel boring or left out sometimes. I don't care if other people judge me for not drinking. I don't care if I have to go to bed time and again feeling like a boring sober loser. I don't care. I don't care. I don't care. I just want this to change. I absolutely do not want to live this way any more and I will do anything, no matter how hard it is, to get well again.

And I have done.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Monday, June 1, 2015

Trigger weekend...

I just wrote a post over at my other blog (here) about how I am very tired and worn-out and not well physically and mentally need to do some work to sort myself out.. part of what I wrote was needing to relax a bit on the busy-work-stuff ... and here I am still sitting at the computer bashing out another blog post!!!

But this is my original lovely blog and I don't want to neglect it and this is the place where I come to feel good about my sober life because even though I have a good number of sober days up my sleeve (1364 to be precise!) I never want to take my recovery for granted.

I am grateful to be sober. I am grateful to never touch alcohol ever. I am grateful that I turned my life around.

Went away this past weekend with my three lovely boys - no Mr D - and I was thinking while I was away that this weekend was really ONE BIG TRIGGER ... and one during which I would usually drink LOTS more than usual.

1) Mr D was away. Usually I always drank when he was away or out, to sort of 'have a party for myself' or something. I know from following along a lot of other people's sobriety journeys that this is very common. Our other halves go away and it's an excuse to drink more. Loneliness? Or just freedom to drink heavily without being judged? Neither for me any more...

2) Away from home. Always another big trigger. A special occasion! Get the treats in! Of course the biggest 'treat' would always be some fancy red wine or bubbles or even a cocktail of sorts. Not for me baby.. I found a nice unusual non-alcoholic drink at the supermarket on the way to the holiday house and had 3 mini bottles of it over the course of the weekend. And of course I travelled with my favourite treaty chamomile tea bags to have in the evening (Harney & Sons brand). I know how to look after myself when I travel. I ALWAYS travel with my favourite tea bags.

So yay me. I am a brave sober warrior. I am a hard working woman who still needs to work on getting the work/life balance right but at least I have one big fat fabulous fact in my corner.



YAY FOR ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WOO HOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And now if you'll excuse me I have pyjamas to put on and a sofa to lie on......

Love, Mrs D xxx

Saturday, May 23, 2015

No temporary relief ever again...

Everything's fine. I'm doing ok on my goals list from my last post. Gym semi-regularly, have been making green juices, reading books again (an amazing memoir called 'Fish Pie is Worse Than Cancer'  about how the author coped when her husband got cancer), relationships all smoothly running in the family, my diet is pretty good (resisting the sugar witch).. yadda yadda.

I'm still settling into my new sober skin and learning new coping mechanisms daily. Have been working on a new series of posts for Living Sober called 'Sober Story' which recounts the recovery journeys of people in long-term recovery. Some are around the same stage as me (3-4 years sober) but some are YEARS ahead (like Shane here who has 35 years under his belt). Gosh it's fascinating to hear from those long-timers. Makes me aware that my 3 1/2 sober years, while long and fabulous in one regard, is a drop in the ocean in terms of the big picture of my life.

I can't wait until I tip my life's balance into more years spent not drinking than drinking. When will that be? Let me figure it out.

0-15 didn't drink alcohol (15 years)
15 - 38 drank alcohol (23 years)

So I need 8 years of sobriety before I start tipping my life's balance into the sober side of things.

My last drink was September 5, 2011. That means from 6 September 2019 I will tipping my life's balance into the no-alcohol side of things. Oh happy day!

You know.. booze works. It takes us away momentarily from the stresses and strifes and woes and troubles and worries of everyday life. It works! But the problem is it's temporary. So actually it doesn't work in the slightest and all the stresses, strifes, woes, troubles and worries remain. In fact they get worse because drinking makes us tired and increases stress and anxiety and ruins relationships and stuff.

But yet that temporary relief is there. And it's appealing. Because who doesn't want to be temporarily taken away from all that stuff sometimes?

The trick for us people in getting sober is looking past that temporary relief to the bigger picture. And deciding to forgo that temporary relief forever more. It's hard work and unfair (in some respects).. but actually so deeply rewarding and smart.

And I'm very happy with my choice. Onwards towards 2019.......

Love, Mrs D xxx