Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Winds of change….

So that was really interesting.. lots of lovely comments on my last post about dealing with death and many of the lovely commenters shared that they'd lost a loved one and everyone thought they were being so strong but the reality is that they were boozing their way through their grief and not feeling like they were coping at all…

This: "People used to think I was so strong but in reality I was dulling everything with alcohol."

And this: "Every one praised me for how strong I was but in reality I was just a coward and tried to escape the raw feelings."

And this: "Like others I simply drank my way through my grief originally and was praised for being strong when I was anything but." 

We all probably look at people who seem to be "holding it together" and think they are doing well, and look at people who are "falling apart" and think they are doing it hard… but the truth is we just don't know how people are doing really. 

My lovely friend Sue said the other morning that she thinks sitting somewhere in the middle of "utterly devastated" and "coping marvelously" is probably the natural way to deal with grief. Sometimes crying and deeply sad, other times feeling calm and at peace with the loss. 

But who fucking know what is the 'best' way to deal with grief. Is there a best way? Is anyone judging? Is there a grief competition that we are all taking part in at one time or another?

No. We each deal with it how we deal with it. 

I choose to deal with it raw. 

My beloved step-father just died about one hour ago. He was a kind, generous, warm, giving, unassuming, lovely man who had been in my life for 22 years. 

An hour ago I was sobbing and went through fifty tissues. Now I'm calm and typing on the computer. Tomorrow I get on a plane to be with my family.

Sorry this is not very Christmassy but this is life and I am feeling the winds of change.

And by the way. I am so fucking glad that I am sober.

Love, Mrs D xxx 

Friday, December 12, 2014

How do YOU deal with death?

Because we are about to lose a dearly loved one (I know I said I was going to keep some of my life private but I can't pretend this isn't happening) I've become a compulsive researcher into how people deal with grief.

This is how I roll.. when I come up against something I research, research, research. My work has been all about researching (journalism & documentary researching), my studies have been all about researching (popular culture & media ethics), giving up booze for me was all about researching (how does one become a non-drinker?), when I first got sober I researched like crazy (how do people deal with emotions?) and now this.

I went onto YouTube the other night and typed in "How do you deal with death". Watched some great clips. This one was cutely animated and reassuringly told me "You can expect grieving to be rough." Also loved the way they illustrated the word 'grief' as a roller coaster and said of grief "there are peaks and dips and they don't always happen in predictable ways".

This man I loved - he was so reassuring about the process of death, he's studied near-death experiences and has undertaken major research talking to numerous hospice and palliative care workers etc to examine what happens for people when they die. His talk was fascinating and made me feel a lot calmer about the process.

There are sooooooo many Ted talks on dying and grieving and mourning etc.

And of course I've been listening to my beloved Tara. This talk and this talk are both great.

So where have I ended up?

Sometimes I feel very calm and at peace and accepting of what's going on.

Other times I feel deeply, heart-breakingly, devastatingly, gut-wrenchingly sad.

I think it's definitely what you could call a roller coaster.

Do I want to escape this feeling? Well… I'd rather my loved one wasn't dying, for sure. But they are and they will.

Do I want to numb the pain with booze? No fucking way. I am however eating as much as is humanly possible every day. It's like I can't possibly be full enough. So I know that I am hurting emotionally and I'm not dealing with that 100%. It's so dumb. But then again… emotional pain sucks.

I'll try harder not to eat so much from now on. Maybe confessing it here on my blog will help me with that.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Sunday, December 7, 2014


Today in the Members Feed at Living Sober one of our most treasured members who posts all the time has been sharing that she's been in bed crying all day and this is not like her AT ALL. She wrote "I want to be strong and I know this will just be a passing thing, but it just isn't like me to be lying in bed sobbing my silly wee heart out."

I just logged in to Twitter and the top tweet in my feed says "Let your tears come. Let them water your soul."

Today my tears are quick to come, they're popping out and then going back again, popping out and going back. We are about to lose a dearly loved one and it hurts, it's hard.

I never used to cry much when I was boozing. And I always say that I cry more now I'm sober. I said that to Mr D the other day and he said "yes you did" (cry when I was boozing) which kind of took the sober wind out of my sails. But he is right - of course I did cry when I was boozing - but the crying I do now I'm sober feels different. It feels more authentic and proper somehow. Gentler, sadder, more uncomfortable. He can't possibly know that.

I was talking to a friend the other day about something big and bad that happened to me 20+ years ago and I suddenly burst out sobbing when I was talking to her. Sobbing. This thing happened 20+ years ago! But I couldn't hold in the gulping tears. They came from way deep down. It was unexpected, weird, and uncomfortable. But since that day I've felt somehow better about that thing that happened all those years ago. Like just expressing the deep sadness with tears was enough to shift it inside of me a little. How amazing that letting those tears out did that.

Earlier today I replied to the Living Sober member mentioned above "These tears are important…let them come… feel the deep awful just fucking uncomfortable sadness and pain… feel it… I promise when you look back at this day and all the emotion that you let flow you will feel more at peace with it. Your feelings are real and there for a reason.. so feel them and let the tears flow."

Like I'm some goddam guru of life - I'm not! But I'm speaking to her based on my experience. I've discovered that crying, when coupled with feeling my emotions in a raw state, is very cathartic and powerful. I don't know why. Maybe the tweeter above is right, maybe our tears are watering our souls. That sounds kind of a bit kooky. Another way to put it might be "Let your tears come. Let them fall freely so that you may free yourself". Also a bit new-agey and kooky. What about "Let your tears come. It's how we are built to live". Hhhmmm, not sure I've nailed a snappy line about why tears are powerful. What about this…

"Let your tears come. They are fucking amazing."

Love, Mrs D xxx

Sunday, November 30, 2014

What's not to love…?

What's not to love about being sober?

You feel strong, clear, in control.

You feel connected, alive, aware.

You feel brave, daring and tenderly vulnerable.

You have fun enjoying authentically fun and enjoyable things.

You work on proper techniques to deal with big painful things - and they work. so. much. better. than. boozing. ever. did.

You work on slowing down and accepting the mundane, gentle, plodding pace of life, and it's so calming and lovely.

You stand proudly aware of the obstacle you have overcome and can see in other people's eyes they're impressed too.

You've fought addiction and won, making you open and tender towards others still battling their way.

You appreciate that life is in the little things, in the simple moments, in the ordinary beauty.

You feel so grateful to have left behind a life of guilt and sickness and bullshit.

You feel delightfully immune to the lies we are fed by alcohol marketers and society in general - that alcohol is a positive, harmless addition to a person's life. Yeah right.

You feel free!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I do anyway.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Riding the waves of life!

I'm following some of my own advice for the silly season. Leaving functions early, choosing not to go to some at all. I'm definitely putting together a Sober First Aid Kit for our 3-night trip away over Christmas Eve/Day/Boxing Day, and I will be continuing to work my own programme of recovery right throughout the summer holidays. 

For me that means keeping my thoughts in the moment, listening to lots of Tara Brach, communicating with other sober people in the Members Feed at Living Sober, writing posts there and here in my original 'warm bath' blog, being active on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram (for goodness sakes I'm spread across the internet like butter !)….. and most importantly staying lovingly connected with all the beautiful real, live, flesh-and-blood people in my life. 

To do that I work hard to keep the house tidy and organized, wash, dry & fold at least one load of washing every day, make 3 meals each day and endless snacks in between, read stories, test spelling words, drive to swimming lessons and football games and Cubs meetings and birthday parties and school assemblies and drama classes, answer questions, explain things, listen and commiserate and share and advise and laugh along with funny (and not so funny but trying hard to be funny) stories. 

Basically my life is a very ordinary housewifey life with a bit of amazing connectedness going on through the internet. It's ordinary but for one glorious fact. I never touch alcohol ever.

I got lots of kind messages from people after my last post when I was quite annoyingly cryptic about things that are going on for me. It was very lovely (friends who I didn't know still read my blog because they never say anything to me about it were emailing and texting to see if I was ok!) and online 'friends' also reached out. Very lovely, thanks everyone. 

I don't know what else I can do other than be cryptic because I don't want to share all the details of my life but at the same time I can't regularly blog about my sober life and pretend things are peachy all the time and not tell the truth. So I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place - wanting to share and be honest, but also wanting to maintain some privacy. It's ok really, the only casualty is readers who might wonder what the hell is going on.

Life!!! Life is going on. Life in all it's fantastic, messy, painful, crazy, up-and-down glory. It's ok. I'm ok. I'm better than ok. I am gloriously connected in a real, raw & calm way with all that is swirling around me. I am riding wave baby, and I'm not going to drown.

Not sure that metaphor makes sense but hopefully you get my drift!

Bye for now….

Love, Mrs D xxx