Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Peaks and troughs....

The longer I live sober the more I get to know my natural rhythms and flows. Ups and downs. Peaks and troughs.

I've just been away from home for 9 days.. busy busy family holiday with loads of other people around and very little (no) time to myself. Looking after the boys on my own mostly (Mr D was only with us for the first 3 nights), driving from place to place to place throughout the days, not getting my usual 8ish-hours of blissful sleep every night, harder to keep eating healthily, extended family matters taking up more brain-time than usual, lots of planning and negotiating activities.

I'm not complaining, it was a great holiday! Really stimulating and fun. Lovely reconnecting with a lot of my family. Fun being out of my usual routine and away from my house which I usually spend endless hours in. And the boys had a super-fun time with loads of activities and sleepovers and input from grandparents, aunties & uncles, cousins and friends.

It was all good.

But I KNEW that I would come home exhausted and I KNEW that after about 3 days at home I'd hit a bit of an emotional slump. I know now from having lived raw & sober for 3+ years that a big energy output like that I've just had on my holiday takes it out of me and I'll have a corresponding 'low' in the week following.

I know this and I was prepared for it.

So yesterday it hit and sure enough I felt exhausted, a bit low and itchy and irritable. I ate bad food. I surfed mindlessly on the computer too much (note to self: stay away from dailymail.co.uk!). I felt a bit blah.

{ha ha while I was writing this I just went over to the dailymail.co.uk and spent 10  minutes looking at crap paparazzi shots of celebrities. I MUST BREAK THIS ADDICTION!!! Mrs D is Going Without The Daily Mail starts NOW!!!}

Yesterday as 5pm approached I realised I was stuck in this emotional rut and needed to do something about it. Not something to avoid it and make it go away (like drink 5 glasses of wine). Something to just acknowledge that I was emotionally and physically exhausted. I needed to take care of me.

So I went to my bedroom and put my comfy pants on (comfy pants are my new 'glass of wine'. I wrote a post about that on Living Sober - here). I shut the curtain and turned on the lamps. I fizzed up a bottle of soda water using my SodaStream and poured it into a large goblet with ice cubes and lemon slices. I lit a scented candle.

These things sound trite and dumb but it was more about what was going on in my head. I was calm and gentle with myself. I was understanding myself and my rhythms. I was accepting my mood for what it was - it made sense to me and was ok. And I was being kind.

Nothing escalated with my internal feelings or behaviours with my family. I didn't freak out. I just went gently through the evening and then fell into bed and slept for NINE HOURS.

BOOM!!!!!!!!!!!! Try THAT with a belly full of wine!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm still tired today but that's ok too. I know that it will take me quite a few days to get fully back to normal. I know that because I stay fully connected with myself now 100% of the time. I don't blur myself and make myself harder to understand. I am sober, alert & aware of my feelings 100% of the time, and now only after months and months of living this way am I really starting to reap the benefits.

And people still ask me if I miss drinking. Ha ha no way. All of these benefits - like greater self knowledge - they can't be quantified. They are immense and wonderful.

That's my experience anyway.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Easter!

Things are going well here for me in my housewifey sober life. I am busy - the whole family is - but it doesn't feel out of control.

I've been doing this mindfulness course through a great book and am blogging about it daily on my new blog called 'Mrs D Is Going Within'.

Maybe one day I'll start writing a blog called 'Mrs D Is Sugar Free' but I can't see that happening! I try hard to control sugar intake and manage to most of the time. Occasionally I have a binge (usually when I'm in a funk, no surprises there).. but I can recover from it pretty quickly.

If nothing else I am definitely very mindful about when I am going hard at the sugar! That's a step in the right direction isn't it?!

About to head away for our annual big extended family Easter holiday extravaganza in a remote isolated place. I'm really looking forward to it ... but it definitely does present as a wee bit of a challenge for me as I am the only sober person in the extended family. I've just written a long post about this on Living Sober. You can see it here.

But in general I am feeling calm and good.

I am still utterly delighted and grateful that I recognised booze was a problem for me and worked bloody hard to get it out of my life.

And I am still endlessly fascinated how things shift and change the longer I am sober. It was very noticeable to me after I reached 3 years in recovery that a new set of challenges were presenting themselves. I was starting to experience low-grade anxiety, found myself getting caught in thinking-loops about stuff that was tricky to navigate, and some of my parenting was less-than-calm.

Maybe this was because I wasn't so busy working on my sobriety. Maybe this was because parenting three boisterous boys would be challenging for even the best zen-master! Or maybe this was just something many of us develop in later life (and particularly women as menopause approaches).

I'll never know. But now I find myself delving into mindfulness meditation and it feels so bloody good.

I have a LONG way to go and a lot of practice to do but I'm committed.

Only sobriety would have bought me to this place. I'm grateful, I know Mr D is grateful, and without knowing it our sons are probably grateful too.

In my humble opinion there is nothing bad that can come from getting sober. And so much that is good.

Happy Easter and go easy on the chocolate!! I'm going to try to anyway...

Love, Mrs D xxx

Friday, March 20, 2015

The problem isn't me. The problem is the alcohol.

Back from a very nice wee trip away. Gave two talks to two lovely women's Dinner Clubs. They all seemed very warm and receptive and interested in my story. I cried BOTH NIGHTS as I was describing my final night of drinking (sculling then hiding a bottle of wine from my husband). I always think I won't but when I'm in the moment I find it hard not to get a bit teary.

That shit is real.

I sometimes find it hard to describe to people why hiding that one bottle that one time was enough to get me to stop drinking. Hiding alcohol is a very common behaviour trait for problem drinkers and a lot of people do it for a very long time, yet I did it once and for me that was enough. Why?

I think it's because I had been very honest with myself in the months leading up to that event, and hyper-aware in my own head that my drinking was a problem and that it was progressing. I wasn't kidding myself. I could see very clearly that I was needing more wine of an evening to feel 'full'. I could see that when we were out socialising I was finding it harder to control my drinking. I could tell I was getting sloppier, more slurry, more heavy & numb. And there was the occasional vomit which at aged 37+ is not pretty.

So I knew without a doubt that this hiding-the-wine action was just another step in the progression of my alcoholism (although I didn't call it that at the time).  It horrified me. Because I had done it.

I bought the wine that night. I drank it. I chose to hide it before my husband returned home. Me.

Yet the me of the following morning was horrified with those decisions and actions.

This is what is so awful about being addicted. You act a certain way (when drinking) then hate those actions. You act, then hate, act, then hate. Make promises then let yourself down time and again. Feel guilty and miserable constantly. Yet you keep acting (drinking) in the way you hate. You are powerless! Although you try hard to be powerful, yet you can't control it. The addiction is in control. The alcohol is powerful. It pulls, it tempts, it lies, it controls.

It's confusing, depressing, misery-making, soul destroying. Slowly night after night after night your self respect, self worth, feelings of strength & control get eroded.

But what happened for me that final morning after the night that I hid the bottle was that I had a very powerful moment. I remember vividly separating out from myself and seeing very clearly two 'me's'. There was the me without alcohol in me. And there was me with alcohol in me. Me sober. Me drinking. Me. Alcohol.

And I had a very clear thought.

The problem isn't me. The problem is the alcohol.

This is huge. Say it out loud if you have to.

The problem isn't me. The problem is the alcohol.

Take the alcohol away and the problem is gone.

So I did. September 6th 2011 I took the alcohol away. I had noooooo idea what I was getting myself into. I had no idea what was to unfold. It was hard bloody work. It was surprising. It was full of revelations and it was ultimately, gloriously rewarding and wonderful.

And I was right. The problem wasn't me. It was me with alcohol in me. And that is why I will never touch shitty alcohol ever again.

Love, Mrs D xxx