Thursday, August 3, 2017

Introducing the Nucleus Accumbens

Had a lot going on lately. Very busy at home with the kids, doing my usual writing and social media and stuff, also working through some significant changes with my job at Living Sober, and had to give a talk yesterday evening in Parliament which also involved a bit of prep and some advance media (here and here).

Also managing to get in time to read some novels (this was great!), watch some of my beloved (crap) TV and go to the gym & walk the dog. Who am I??!! A busy sober housewife that's who!

Honestly I sometimes wonder how the hell I achieved so much when I was still boozing. Back then I was hellishly busy too - bringing up babies, working part time and doing my Masters etc... all of that and at least a bottle of wine a night. Sheesh... it's pretty amazing how much a human can handle.

Anyhoo it's far easier now I'm sober and I just love the end of every day when I'm snuggled up on the sofa or in bed with a mug of my favourite Chamomile tea. I LOVE my sober evenings, I LOVE laying my sober head on the pillow, and I LOVE sleeping all night long and waking up without a hangover. Bliss.

The Parliamentary talk went well. I was a bit nervous but not too bad - always happy to give voice to the thousands of us who are sober or busy getting sober. Bloody legends all of us. Happy to articulate our experience and try to get us more recognition. In this country we treat alcohol like a normal, ordinary, everyday, harmless commodity and that is simply not the case for all of us.

They had delicious mocktails at the event and I'm kicking myself for not getting a photo and asking for the recipe as it'd be a great drink to share!

And I am very proud to report that I am STILL avoiding flour and sugar and I'm feeling sooooo much better for it. I've been reading about the human brain and I now know that it's the Nucleus Accumbens which is responsible for dopamine production and when you pound it all the time with substances that cause major dopamine surges (alcohol, cocaine, sugar & flour to name but a few) it 'downregulates' and gets smaller, so then you need more of the stuff to kick out any dopamine.. and then you're in the addiction cycle, one that I know so well.

So now I like to think that I'm in the process of healing my Nucleus Accumbens back to normal size by avoiding these things and then I'll have a healthy brain capable of delivering normal, healthy doses of dopamine when appropriate - not when forced out by crappy stuff.

Love learning about my brain! Real practical information is really helpful for me when making decisions. And I'm so, so delighted to be free of ANY addictive behaviours at the moment. I truly feel free. Long may it last.

Love, Mrs D xxx


Monday, July 17, 2017

Ordinary and fabulous...

It is 8.20pm on a Monday evening. I have just tidied away the dinner dishes, put a load of washing into the dryer and made some beds.

I am now lying on the sofa with the laptop resting on my thighs. I have on my comfy pants and my slippers and a big pink sweatshirt. Comfy, comfy, comfy.

Mr D has just walked into the room after putting our 7-year-old to bed and I have (nicely) asked him for a cup of tea. He knows it's the chamomile time of night.

On the TV is a show about people renovating homes. My 10-year old has now just joined me on the sofa with his hair wet and PJs on after having a bath that I insisted on him having. He resisted but now he is clean and fresh and that makes me happy. He turns 11 in three days and we are discussing what he wants for his birthday breakfast (a pancake stack, maple syrup and bacon "with icing sugar sprinkled over like at a cafe mum").

I can hear my 12-year-old in the study with his friend who is here on a sleepover. They are playing Minecraft and talking online with other friends who are also playing.

The dog has just ambled into the room and stuck his nose into my arm. I had to pause typing to give him some scratchy love and now he's collapsed onto the rug.

My muscles are sore from the gym this morning. I have increased my weights slightly because I want to keep pushing myself and because I can!

The tea has arrived and it smells delicious. Mr D has switched the renovation programme to Game of Thrones. I'm not a huge Game of Thrones fan but I suppose he has the right to do that given he made the tea.

This is my ordinary and glorious sober life. Utterly fabulous and ordinary and cosy and sober.

Sober, sober, sober, sober.

Sobriety gives me so much. It gives me calm where before there was boozy chaos. It gives me clarity where before there was blurry confusion. It gives me peace where before there was guilt and misery.

Above all it gives me strength and pride and the ability to keep pushing myself forward. Onwards! Always.

Love, Mrs D xxx

(Photo taken yesterday on the wonderful wild coastline just 15 minutes drive from our house.)



Friday, June 30, 2017

Proud of myself

I have been so proud of myself this week dragging my middle aged, wobbly body to the gym three times to go over my new weights programme.

Proud of myself that even when I'm lying on a mat doing bicycle crunches looking at myself in the mirror from the most unflattering angle ever noticing my boobs have basically fallen into my armpits all I am thinking is "I'm doing it!!"

Proud of myself that I'm not letting all the buff bodies around me put me off my own private mission to stay in touch with my fitness and keep working on my body.

Proud that I keep pushing myself forward even when I self sabotage (I ate a huge piece of fudge last night and felt sick when I woke up but still went to the gym).

Proud of myself that even though I might have had a sugar hangover this morning I did not have a booze hangover and that is because I gave that shit up 5 3/4 years ago!!

So, so, so, so proud of myself that I am sober.

Proud of myself that I face every goddamn emotion in my life like disappointment, frustration, boredom and sadness with a clear head and willing heart.

Proud of myself that I have gotten so much better at accepting situations for what they are rather than pushing against them wishing things were different.

Proud that I am modelling sobriety to my kids and even if they don't fully understand at this stage of their lives what I did in beating my addiction they will when they're adults and that will be a great thing.

Feeling proud of myself is one of the greatest gifts of sobriety. All the tea in china can't buy pride - nor can loads of money or the right connections. Pride has to come from deep within and when you feel it towards yourself it is so powerful and magical.

Every day - even the shit ones - I always feel proud of myself that I am sober.

It's a glorious thing.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Monday, June 19, 2017

Gym bunny me!

I have just re-joined the gym! Woo Hoo! Enough wallowing in my emotional funk. Enough ruminating over how nervous and vulnerable I've been feeling about the new book coming out and all my boring thoughts about me, my book, me, my life, me yadda yadda. Enough insecure introspection. Enough emotional eating to distract myself from uncomfortable feelings. Enough bad TV to distract myself from uncomfortable feelings. ENOUGH!

(In case you thought I was the perfect example of a sober zen housewife, I'm not! I still use food and TV to distract myself when the going gets tough.)

Anyway... that phase is over. It's time for some forward momentum. I'm going to get my body back into shape (even a little bit of shape will suffice!). I'm going to pump myself full of all those natural endorphins and serotonin and whatever-else-comes-from-exercise and I'm moving on.

Feels bloody good to be honest. I'm back at the gym where I used to go when our littlest was a pre-schooler and he attended the creche there while I worked out. I know the place. I know they have a pump class at 9.30 on a Monday morning which I used to love. I'm going to start doing that again plus maybe another class or two and sometimes my own programme of weights and cardio.

I may be 45 but I am not giving up on this body quite yet! And I'm not going to stagnate in a pit of self-absorbed despair. I'm going to get back exercising and keep focusing on all the other stuff I do (parenting and housewifeing and running Living Sober) with increased positivity and a metaphorical spring in my step!

It's not that things have been terrible but it has been quite a gritty phase lately and I have fallen into bad habits and have gained weight so I'm feeling a bit blah. Not terrible, but blah so it's good that I've decided enough is enough.

I'm still a goddamn motherfucking legend for getting through all of my life without numbing and avoiding with booze.

I'm still a sober superstar who lives every single moment of her life with a raw and wide-open brain.

And I'm still a heroic recovery warrior who feels all the feels at full volume - 150% awake and alive to everything all of the time.

And now I'm a gym bunny to boot - ha ha!

Love, Mrs D xxx

Thursday, June 8, 2017

A fully realised human...

Things are calming down now and getting back to normal. In other words my nerves and adrenaline are subsiding now and I am calming down and getting back to normal. 

I have to be honest I didn't hugely enjoy that whole 'putting out the new book' process. Bit of a bummer because I wanted to feel happy and proud and all my lovely friends and family were happy and proud for me but I can't hide the truth that overall I felt very edgy and vulnerable and insecure about the whole thing. 

Of course the fact that I'm sober means every experience I go through I feel acutely at 150% volume and this was no exception! Raw and real is how I experience things.. I'm cool with that because I LOVE being sober and out of the boozy trap I was once in.. but I'm not sure I will be writing and putting out another book any time soon. 

Or if I do it will be about something other than the innermost workings of my mind.

Anyway - got a wee bit of media around the book release which was nice and all the interviewers were very kind. Jack Tame on Newstalk ZB called me 'reluctantly introspective' which was right on the money I thought. His radio interview is here. Jesse Mulligan on Radio NZ laughed when I told him I was a 'girly swat' when I set about learning mindfulness. His radio interview is here. Carly Flynn was very complimentary which was very nice of her and I really enjoyed talking to Tim Fookes as well. Also got a couple of print articles here and here

I'm never nervous when I'm actually talking to journalists because I always see it as an opportunity to get the word out about recovery and hopefully reach more people who might be living in a boozy hell. It's just when I'm sitting at home in the quiet that I feel a bit exposed and weird... but no more complaining! No-one made me write this book and overall I am pleased to have written out what I learned to make my sober life more manageable .. and there's no denying that consolidating it all into book form helped me further cement many of the concepts and tools I've been learning and developing. 

I've had a couple of people say the book isn't available overseas yet. The kindle is on Amazon (just make sure you're not looking at the print copy as they don't get it till November) and if you buy a hard copy from Book Depository they'll ship it straight away anywhere in the world for free!

Today I am pottering at home doing some blog writing, cooking dinner (getting a bit fancy and making Chermoula Marinade for chicken kebabs), and looking after the dog who has a cone on his head to stop him licking his infected paw. I am watching The Real Housewives of New York while I cook and drinking a delicious Hot Cinnamon Sunset tea. Later I will run the boys around to their rugby practice/drama classes/Scout Scavenger Hunt and finally will collapse into bed with a mug of chamomile tea. 

Sober life is good. It's gritty and gnarly at times but always rewarding and genuine. I finally feel fully alive truly experiencing what it means to be a fully realised human. 

So, so grateful I got alcohol out of my life 2102 days ago. 

Love, Mrs D xxx

P.S. Cheesy selfie taken at the airport when I spotted my new book on the shelf!