Tuesday, January 26, 2016


I'm getting much better at handling my anger outbursts. I'm not saying I don't ever have them - they do come - but much more often now I am able to stay calm and somewhat 'zen' when I'm being pushed, pushed, pushed by my grumpy offspring.

It's the parenting that really pushes my anger button. I never seem to get angry at random things like other motorists or broken things or annoying people on the radio ... but parenting ... it can push me into previously uncharted emotional waters!

Of course as a mum I also experience ridiculous amounts of love and devotion and protection and pride and all of that. But anger.. yeah .. that's the quite intense one.

When I first got sober I had some spectacular outbursts.. but slowly I learnt that screaming at the kids didn't actually achieve much other than make them scream back at me even louder. And slowly I learned that keeping myself low and level worked much better at defusing their outbursts. I find now (when I am managing to control myself) I go into this weird 'zen' mode when I'm almost on a go-slow not responding to their outbursts. It's very disempowering for them and things settle down much more quickly.

And when I decide the fight is over I move very quickly act all easy-breezy and loving again to try to make it easier for them to come out of their bad mood. Because I figure I'm the adult so I have to show emotional management because goodness knows at ages 11, 9 & 6 their emotional management skills are very underdeveloped.


Honestly - with so many tough parenting years to come (the teenage years - 'shudder') the more clever I am at controlling myself in the midst of their turmoil the better.

Anyway.. we are nearing the end of our long, long summer holidays. I've got an extra kid here today so have been surrounded by 4 young boys all day and it's hot, they're tired, they're sick of each other (my sons especially), and the bickering has been intense. But I've managed to (so far) stop myself from completely losing my rag.

I've been placating, negotiating, feeding, watering, entertaining, exercising, monitoring and generally parenting young lads without too much angst. And now it's 5pm and because I don't drown myself in wine every evening (like I used to) I am going to make myself a nice cold soda water instead. With ice and a slice. Because I'm worth it.

And here's hoping the zen approach stays with me til bedtime...

Love, Mrs D xxx

Monday, January 18, 2016

A post about camping, and sugar....

Just back from a week camping - 7 nights on an airbed! Not for the faint hearted. But actually it was lovely and relaxing. The kids had complete breaks from their screens and rode their bikes around the campsite making friends. Mr D played cricket with them and read books and played his guitar and swam and went running, and I read books, swam in the sea, pottered around our campsite (because pottering around my 'home' is what I love to do best, I am very much a housewife!) and generally we all had a nice break away from our house. We played lots of board games and card games too.

I didn't have a complete break from the screen because I never take a break from running Living Sober. I had my iPad and checked in a couple of times a day - keeping an eye on the Members Feed (our scrolling real-time communication space) and answering emails from people who were having trouble registering. The site is still very busy and humming along nicely - such a warm, kind and supportive community.

I didn't miss drinking while we were camping. Mr D had the odd beer but not much. We had some friends join us for a few nights and they're hardly boozers either. Most nights we all went to bed (kids included) when the sun went down which was around 9.30-10pm. I wondered whether if I was still boozing I'd be more likely to sit up having 'adult' time drinking wine and chatting? Quite possibly. But I'm not sad I don't do that any more. I am very content with my sober life.

Lovely waking up in the morning with the birds chirping, the sound of the sea nearby and the odd person wandering around the campsite. I'd light our portable stove, boil the jug and make myself a mug of green tea - sit in a deckchair and contemplate the surroundings.

I'll admit I did have some guilt over my chocolate consumption while away - which came hot on the heels of my piggy Christmas period at home - so now I am on a juice fast.

Who am I kidding I'm not on a juice fast. I could never do a juice fast. I tried the 5:2 diet once and it didn't work for me AT ALL (the days I fasted were hell and the other days I just pigged out even more than usual).

Sometimes I feel like a complete failure as a person because I can't get on top of my food (particularly sugar) and wouldn't it be good if I could be as good an advocate for a sugar-free lifestyle as I am for a booze-free lifestyle? But fuck me I just can't get on top of it for any considerable length of time. I'm all or nothing. Off the sugar completely for a while or just on it like a madwoman.

At least I can draw some comfort in knowing I'm not alone in this - seems to me like loads of people also battle with sugar. I read an article with Marian Keyes in a women's mag while camping and it could have been written by me - I could SO relate. Here's a snippet "I’m an all-or-nothing person. There’s no such thing as ‘just the one’; I’m a binger, so sugar and I can never ‘just be friends’."

I hear you Marian, I hear you.

Anyhoo, I've no choice but to forge ahead reminding myself constantly how brave and amazing I am for not drinking alcohol ever, I'll try to make myself lots of lovely green juices, I'll dig deep to resist sugar cravings knowing that after 3 days they are greatly reduced (and will have to remember not to dip my toe in again!), and life will go on. Yes it will and it's ok really.

Really, it's ok.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Friday, January 8, 2016

"Are you REALLY happy being sober?"

Wow the stats on this blog have gone nuts! I'm getting double the number of hits that I used to every day (hundreds and hundreds more). Must be the time of year. Living Sober is also incredibly busy - our membership is growing rapidly! This will also partly be due to the fact that the NZ Drug Foundation are running ads for the site on Facebook.

I'm also getting loads more emails than usual .. from people who are reaching out for the first time wanting help with registering at Living Sober, or just saying kind things to me, or asking for help and guidance.

I received one email which simply asked "Is it true that you are happy being sober and it isn't a lifelong struggle? I can't even imagine my life without alcohol"

Here is what I sent in reply....

Hi, yes it is true that I am happy not drinking and don't feel worried/miserable that I won't touch alcohol ever again. And I KNOW that must sound unreal to you because I can so remember not believing that could be possible myself when I was stuck in the booze trap. 

It is hard bloody work breaking free from booze but you must know that it CAN BE DONE (sorry for the liberal use of caps!). Lots and lots and lots of people stop and get to the place where I am now - happy and free. You just have to get through these early stages. 

Form a very clear picture of the person you don't want to be (sloppy and boozy and numb) and keep that image locked in mind because it will be a great motivator. 

Then form a mental image of the person you do want to be - happy and healthy and calm and just living an ordinary life! And keep that one really firmly in mind and BELIEVE that you can be that person because you can. Honestly. 

These mental images really helped me and I still have the image of boozy me in mind and will often use it when I have a little sad thought about not drinking. There is no romantic image of booze for me. I cannot control it and I become a sloppy numb disconnected person if I touch it .. so hence I don't drink. 

Good luck!! You can do this.


I don't need mental images of boozy me/sober me any more...I have the real thing! Out of the blue today we found an old phone card of Mr D's that held photos from before I got sober. Check out bloated me......!

And here's me over four years later, raising a glass of soda water this past New Year's Eve - sober, happy and healthy!

If these images aren't going to help keep me motivated to stay alcohol-free then I don't know what is!

Love, Mrs D xxx

Sunday, January 3, 2016


I am SO HAPPY to be out of the daily drinking grind. I am SO HAPPY to be living free from my addiction. I am SO HAPPY that I am living my life 100% in the raw. I am SO happy to be sober.

I love the challenge of sober living. It is the ultimate challenge - never ever escaping from any tough or uncomfortable emotion. Stress comes, so does anger and sadness and disappointment and frustration (etc etc).. but I deal with it now - it's there for a reason! - and then it passes.

I don't have a knee-jerk reaction to reach for something to make it go away. I am much, much, much better now at letting those emotions be and then letting them pass by. I just AM stressed and then I'm not. 

Sometimes I do get really stressed!! For goodness sake I have 3 young boys who are noisy and demanding and argumentative (and gorgeous of course!) and they can really push me to the limit at times. I also have a busy job and a house and husband and PUPPY to look after... so of course I get stressed.

I'm also a 44-year-old woman with complex emotions and a busy brain.. but now I live connected to myself in ways that I have never been ever before in my life. I am much more firmly rooted in my body and on the earth that holds me up. 

I know how to focus on my breath and the sensations in my body to bring me out of my mind and down into the present moment. I know how to do this because I have worked on it since I got sober. 
I wouldn't be like this if I was still drinking daily. I wouldn't be like this if I was still drunk all the time.

I wouldn't have such a healthy relationship with my thoughts (in that I don't believe them as facts or let them control me) if I was still blurring my brain with alcohol daily like I used to. I'd have messed up body chemistry and unfocused thoughts. 

I know I've said it before and I'm sorry that I'm being repetitive and that this is a waffly post but I need to say this because I feel it so keenly right now.

I am so utterly completely profoundly grateful to be sober.  

Love, Mrs D xxx