Friday, August 26, 2016

Wellness plan FAIL

Thank goodness I've been able to stick at my sobriety because I don't seem able to stick at any other sort of wellness plan.

I'm doing this thing with my family (3 sisters, one brother-in-law and Mr D) where we all set a personal wellness plan for 8 weeks and we email each other on Monday to update how we are going. It's extra motivation for us all to work at eating healthily and doing exercise for 8 weeks before we all go on a beach holiday together.

Anyway I set my own plan which was to eat mostly only real foods, avoid wheat and sugar and allow myself only occasional treats. Walk the dog for 45 minutes every weekday and do the 7-minute workout 5 times a week (it's an App, high intensity exercises for 30 seconds with a 10 second break in between-hard work and good!).

So anyway Week One and I was a machine.. doing all my exercise and eating well. Week 2 was also good and strong. We're now in the middle of Week 3 and I have completely lost it! Not on the exercise front.. I'm still doing the dog walks and the 7-minute workouts.. but the food has gone to shit.

I'm eating cheese and crackers before dinner.. buying deli treats to eat in the car before school pick-up, buying chocolate to share with the kids at night.

What the hell am I like????!!!

Like a bloody addict that's what.

I'm even planning that I won't confess to all the bad food when I do my Monday update. Like I want to keep it my own nasty little secret. Nice dishonest (alcoholic) behaviour there Mrs D. (Hoping none of my family are reading my blog at the moment.. this is one way to find out!)

Like I say it's a good thing I've been able to stick at sobriety because I find it really hard to stay consistent at any other 'healthy' plans. With food I'm stuck in a binge cycle where I have periods of great healthiness and periods of utter pigginess. Piggy Mrs D re-enters the building and has a ball. Nom nom.

Quickly cram a couple of crackers and cheese in your mouth while cooking dinner - why not!

Buy that sugary treat and eat it moaning (literally moaning out loud with pleasure) in the car waiting for the school bell to go - hell yes!

Yuk. Yucky yucky yuckity yuk.

And then I get the same reoccurring early-morning guilt that I used to get when boozing. Lying in bed beating myself up for being so weak and dysfunctional. It's a horrid reminder of how I used to live when boozing.

I wish I could stop this binge cycle. I hate this part of me. I hate the weak, unhealthy, secretive, indulgent part of me. I want her to piss off forever!! Why can't I stick at the healthy regime? Why do I fall furtively and lasciviously back into piggy ways?

I know the answer. Because I'm human. Because I am an alcoholic. Because I am very susceptible to getting hooked and experiencing cravings for substances that trigger pleasure receptors in the brain (sugar is as addictive as cocaine they say). Because I still have treat/reward messages in my brain that tell me fatty & sugary foods are a good thing.

Will I ever stop being a flawed person? Maybe not. Maybe this is ok and the fact that I'm wrestling with it constantly is enough. Maybe I should just embrace myself warts and all and keep on striving to be healthy forgiving myself when I fail.

And maybe I should always remember that if nothing else I am sober - nearly 5 years sober! - and that alone makes me an incredibly cool specimen.

Maybe.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Monday, August 15, 2016

Settled..

I am constantly gobsmacked at how possible it is to change habits. I went out three times last week to various social events and didn't for one second at any of them wish I was drinking. Other people were imbibing booze but not me.

Not drinking is just my new, ordinary norm.

See - habit changed! It is totally possible.

And the good news is I don't walk around feeling fatally flawed. I just walk around feeling normal, knowing that I don't touch alcohol because in the past it has proved to be impossible for me to control. So I took it away and now I live without it.

My brain has learned a new way of living and I have reshaped my reality.

Sometimes I wonder what the hell my life would look like if I hadn't gotten sober almost 5 years ago. I would be fascinated to see! What would I look like? What would I act like? What would I be thinking about? Would I have gravitated towards different people when we moved back to this city? Would I have a boozy social group? Would I be heavier? Have worse skin? Be more tired? Be more grumpy? Be more narrow in my thinking? Be more wound up?

Man it would be interesting to know. I'd love a little glimpse into my alternate reality (the one where I didn't get sober) but only for about 5 minutes then quick put me back into this reality!! I like this one a lot!!

So my 5-year soberversary is coming up in about 3 weeks and it falls on a Tuesday and I thought it would be nice to do something special that evening but Tuesday is my yoga class and I LOVE my yoga class so I'm not missing that (see how my life has changed ha ha!!).

So I thought maybe on the Monday night before I could put on a fancy dinner for the family to mark the fact that 5 years ago on that date I was in the middle of my last miserable binge. I could light candles and do three courses.. maybe a fancy prawn cocktail for starters.. some sort of yummy thai beef salad or some such for a main and then a lovely treaty pudding. Mocktails, and I make a little speech. Cool!

Then on the actual soberversary, the Tuesday, I will maybe take myself shopping to my favourite Recycled Boutique.. maybe ask if my sister is free for lunch..? Something fun like that.

Can't wait. Five years feels really substantial and cool, and settled. That is how I would sum up where I am right now - settled. Settled into this new reality, still working away on myself but in general just plugging along with life and not touching alcohol ever nor missing it one iota. Hooray.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Life In The Raw

I 'watch' an awful lot of people getting sober nowadays - through their blogs or the many updates they share at Living Sober. I am constantly amazed at how similar our journeys in sobriety are despite the huge differences.

Differences = the specifics. What we drank, how we drank, where we drank, how alcohol affected us, what support systems we do/don't have around us, what support systems we use to change, how long it takes for us to start feeling better when we quit, what we find difficult when we give up, what we find easy, what we discover about ourselves.

Similarities = the generalities. When we get to the point of change after a long period of heavy drinking we feel weak, wretched, and miserable. Our self-esteem is damaged, our self-worth is low. We stop drinking and it's hard bloody work at first. We are so focussed on the LACK of booze in our lives. It's hard having all that empty space where before we regularly experienced the warm, artificial 'high' of alcohol in our systems. We miss the drug. We grind through. Then we start to feel better, sleep better, look better, we hit a high - a pink cloud! Life is great! Our eyes get opened to what our drinking has done to our whole experience of life. We feel incredibly strong and grateful. It's not hard resisting booze. Then something emotional happens (because life is like that), we crash off our pink cloud and things get tough again. Physical cravings might come back. Emotional cravings come back (we feel left out, boring, emotional), we grind through, eventually we lift up again, we feel great!, then something emotional happens, things get tough again, we grind through, eventually we lift up again, we feel great!, then something emotional happens, things get tough again, we grind through, eventually we lift up again, we feel great!, then something emotional happens, things get tough again, we grind through, eventually we lift up again, we feel great!, then something emotional happens, things get tough again, we grind through, eventually we lift up again, we feel great!, then something emotional happens, things get tough again, we grind through....

Get the picture?

Welcome to life in the raw. It is up and down and up and down. This is actually what human existence is like. Who knew? I certainly didn't until I got sober. I had no understanding of the natural ebbs and flows of life. How could I when I interrupted that natural flow of my emotional state constantly with the drug of alcohol.

The good news is the longer you are sober the natural ebbs and flows get easier to manage because;

1) the longer you go without drinking the less extreme your mood fluctuations are
2) you start to understand yourself and your moods better
3) you stop thinking that alcohol is the answer to the low phase
4) you start to develop better coping mechanisms for the low phases
5) you work out natural, effective, authentic ways to lift yourself out of a low phase
6) you worry less about the low phases because you know they will pass
7) you accept that ups and downs are normal and that everyone has them
8) you feel much more connected and at peace with yourself, other humans and life in general

I'm generalising here and obviously this is based on my perspective and experience and there will be people who don't agree with all of this. But I wanted to type out a summary of what I understand a sober life to involve.

Life in the raw - it's totally the life for me.

Love, Mrs D xxx

P.S. Someone commented on my last post asking where they can find my book online. It is available on Amazon here, on Fishpond here or on Mighty Ape here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

I am not tired...

Does anyone else feel like they live in a world where whenever you ask someone how they are everyone always replies with an"OK but super tired" or "good but so busy" or some such? It's like a badge of honour to always be completely flat out and exhausted. Or if not a badge of honour (because that implies that people are proud to be so busy and tired and that can't always be the case) then certainly an honest reality.

Everyone seems so stretched-to-the-max all the time. Running around working hard to earn money, raise kids, keep a house maintained, pay off the mortgage, exercise, stay in touch with friends and family etc etc yada yada.

Well today I am proud to say that I am NOT tired! I am well rested! I got 8+ hours sleep last night. And I got 8+ hours sleep the night before.

I don't always get so many hours of sleep. If Mr D is away out of town for work (which he often is) I don't sleep so well.. I go to bed later and sleep much more fitfully. And if the kids are unwell or I have something going on which is causing me extra 'brain noise' then I don't sleep as well either.

But if all the planets align, which they seem to much more nowadays, then I get a blissful long 8-hour uninterrupted sleep every night.

IT'S FREAKING AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think I can attribute this to two main things.

1) our kids are now beyond the infant/toddler stage and they all sleep long and deep every night - hallelujah. For 10+ years of parenting we had early waking kids but now they all sleep till 7am most mornings ... it is marvellous.

2) I am sober. I do not wake up with a bursting bladder, pounding headache, and intense guilt at 3am. I am calmer in my mind so if I do get up to use the toilet I can calm my thoughts and focus on my breath to quickly fall back to sleep.

Sometimes now if people ask me how I am, rather than trotting out the usual "good but tired" line... often now I simply say "good!". Because I am!

And I really do think sleep is so, so, so important when it comes to dealing with emotional shit. If I'm well rested I deal with stuff better. No doubt.

Today I am proud to say "I am NOT tired!".

On another note I am starting a '2 months of wellness' thing with my sisters where we are writing our own diet & exercise programme, committing to stick with it for 2 months and are going to check in with each other every Monday to update on how we are doing. My diet & exercise regime could do with some work for sure so this will be good.

Also wanted to say that I have done a big clean-out of my Blog List - if anyone has a blog or knows about a good sober blog that does not appear here (on the left hand side when you visit my blog page for those of you reading this post on an email) then please let me know and I will add it in.

Righto! Time for some work. Today is a very good day to be sober!!!

Love, Mrs D xxx

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Highly recommended...

Boy is it an utterly beautiful day in my city. The sun is shining. There is no wind (unusual). It is calm and crisp and lovely.

Same could be said for my state of mind. Yes I'm eating way too much at the moment and am being a bit of a pig. But aside from letting myself down in that department I feel like I'm cruising along ok.

I'm working hard keeping up with things at Living Sober and that space is humming along brilliantly. (If you're worried about your drinking and are not a member of that community you're a fool, and I mean that in the nicest possible way!)

I'm keeping fairly active on my other social media accounts but not too much so that I'm permanently wedded to my phone. My new permanent rule of no technology in the bedroom is really super-lovely and I highly recommend it. Every evening I put my phone & laptop on to charge in the kitchen and leave them there (often long before I even retire to bed), and often I don't check anything in the morning until after I have showered & gotten dressed which is very healthy I think.

In general I am staying fairly mindful and regularly have little moments where I flick a switch in my brain and pull myself back down into what is happening right in front of me and not what is happening in my head (furious inner dialogue about something or another).

I walk the dog most days and now it's the school holidays I am dragging my boys up the hill with me and we have lovely chats while we wander along the tracks and the dog scampers around us joyfully.

I manage to watch quite a bit of tele which I love.

And I do an awful lot of cooking and cleaning. Cooking and cleaning and cooking and cleaning and cooking and cleaning and cooking and cleaning. And parenting. Cooking and cleaning and parenting - talking to my kids about what is going on for them and taking them places and organising things for them and paying for things for them and replying to emails about organising and paying for things for them and talking to them more and did I mention cooking and cleaning?

All of this is quite boring but I suppose my point is I am living my busy, ordinary, motherly, housewifey, bloggers, writery life and I am managing it all ok and my moods are fairly stable and I attribute it all to the fact that I am sober.

I cannot even begin to imagine how I would be handling things if I were still boozing.

I shudder to think.

Living without alcohol - although hard bloody work at first and a big adjustment - is imminently doable and highly recommended.

Highly, highly recommended!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love, Mrs D xxx