Monday, July 23, 2018

Slice of life (and lemon)

It's 4.27pm on a Monday afternoon. I'm sitting at the kitchen bench drinking from a glass filled with fizzy water and a big slice of lemon. I've just made tomorrow night's dinner (chicken fajitas) and soon will embark on tonight's dinner (fish and veggies parcels). The Greatest Showman soundtrack is playing loudly which is cheesy as hell but fun to sing to. The dog is prowling around the kitchen looking for scraps of food. Now he's given up and is lying on the rug. 

Eldest son (nearly 14) is sitting at his PC in the study watching YouTube and surfing Instagram on his phone at the same time. Youngest son (8) is playing Arc on the PlayStation in the TV room. Middle son (12) is at his swim training. He'll need to be picked up in an hour or so.

I'm feeling pretty tired as I'm working two jobs right now while still running the house and kids etc. And it's been a busy weekend. I hosted a birthday party sleepover for our middle son and 3 of his friends and also had my mum staying. Also, because I'm tired my food choices haven't been great lately and I'm a bit frustrated that the house is a dusty, cluttered mess. But none of this is terrible and I know that everything is elevated because I'm tired. 

So I'm practicing mindfulness - focusing on what my hands are doing and what is before my eyes - rather than getting lost in negative thought patterns. And I'm being kind to myself, accepting that life is up and down, trusting that I'll pick myself up again and congratulating myself for being grounded and aware.

I think it's important right now that I remember what a fucking legend I am for being sober. Excuse me for blowing my own trumpet but sometimes being in long term recovery means I forget to celebrate the turn my life has taken and the improvements I have made to my world - both internal and external.

Because this picture could be quite different. I could be 2 wines deep right now, slightly buzzed and disconnected. I could be hungover from the weekend and struggling every day with an intense internal dialogue about my drinking. I could be regretting things I've done or said recently while under the influence.  I could be fighting with my husband or other relatives, or dealing with angsty friendships. But none of this is my reality.

My reality is tiredness, emotions, awareness, gratitude and a big glass of fizzy water with a large slice of lemon. Perfection, really.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Friday, June 29, 2018

Self-care while being busy

Well! Be careful what you wish for. After spending quite a few weeks moaning about how bored and underutilised I was feeling...about how my confidence was low because I hadn't worked outside of the house (like, in an actual office with other people and stuff) for over 8 years.. about how I needed to get a job but didn't know what I wanted to do... well... I went and got a job!

It's a nice re-entry into the workforce.. a part-time, temporary contract (26 hours a week for 3 months). Doing writing and communications stuff for a big health organisation. So it's using my skills but also teaching me new things.. and now all my bored and insecure complaints have flown out the window and BAM! I'm super busy.

I'm getting up and out of the house four mornings a week and driving into a busy workplace. I've had a shit-ton to learn, my brain is full of a million details. I've been stressed, stimulated, frustrated, satisfied.. but most of all - busy!

It's been great on many levels. I've reminded myself that I'm capable and hard-working and efficient and have a lot to offer. And I've reminded myself that I work well with others and enjoy meeting new people.

But it's also been a big adjustment in terms of my schedule, demands on my time, tiredness levels and self care. Suddenly I'm that person who is juggling a million things and feeling rushed a lot of the time. The meals at home aren't quite up to the same standard. Emails are taking a bit longer to respond to and some of my writing deadlines are being pushed out.

It's quite good actually because I'm being reminded that it does take more of an effort to look after yourself and make good choices when you're stretched. When you're super-busy it's easier to just grab that quick snack that isn't fully healthy, rather than take the time to chop some veggies. It's easier to skip your yoga class because you are tired.

My sobriety is rock-solid, but some of my addictive behaviours around food have crept back in. But it's ok.. I'm very aware of this and am 1) first and foremost and most importantly treating myself with great compassion and kindness, recognising that I am tired and busy and a human being with flaws and all of that is ok and understandable and 2) trying hard to keep a focus on good self-care routines knowing that although they take more effort when you're tired.. they are worth it!

It helps that I have an end date for this contract so can push through knowing that I'll be back to a more cruisey routine soon enough. But then of course I'll probably start complaining about being bored again and worrying about what job I'm going to do! Ha ha. Hopefully soon enough - in the next year or two - I'll find the perfect thing that will keep me stimulated and busy (but not too busy) and allow me to look after myself and my family as well.

Life is a journey with twists and turns! And I'm happily bumping along for the ride. One sober foot in front of the other.. facing each day with a clear head and honest intention. And that's all any of us can do.

Love, Mrs D xxx



Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Living my best life...

Hello anyone still reading this! I'm not blogging here as often as I used to which feels a bit weird but also the natural way of things. This blog was my absolute lifeline in the early days (as you will see if you go back to my early posts). It led me into the wonderful world of online recovery and taught me the importance of support and empathy and kindness and compassion.

Not sure how it's going to go in the future but just wanted to let you know (if you care that is!) that I am very present on my social media accounts which are Twitter @mrsdalcoholfree, Instagram  @mrs_d_alcoholfree and my Facebook page - Mrs D Is Going Without.

I'm trucking along pretty well right now. I'm still looking for some work outside of the home but am trusting that the right thing will come along soon. In the meantime I'm running the Living Sober website, appreciating my kids and all the parenting and pottering around the home I do. Trying to keep my mental health good by eating right and walking the dog and going to the gym and stuff. This is how I work my recovery, by keeping an eye on all of the physical and emotional aspects of my life and working to keep things in balance. I am not perfect by any stretch of the imagination (last night I had crackers with butter and jam for dinner), but that's perfectly ok. Overall I have come a HUGE way since I quit drinking.

I'm now fully accepting of the fact that I am an addict and anything that kickstarts dopamine in my brain is kryptonite to me. So I try to avoid those things (alcohol all the time, sugar and flour 90% of the time) because when I do I feel free from cravings and compulsions and that is a much happier place for me to reside in. How very grown up!

Being sober is grand. I am completely settled into my sober skin now and can't for a minute imagine my life soaked in wine like it used to be. I am so, so, so, so happy to have booze out of my life. I look around at others drinking and can't see that I'm missing out on anything at all. Is that just because I have forgotten the pleasure of having that liquid drug in my body? Maybe, but I don't care. Life in the raw is great. Daring, rebellious, gritty, real, grounded and rewarding. And I have gained so very much.

It takes a huge adjustment to go from living boozily to living sober, so please do hang in there if you are in the rough early stages and know that you are undergoing a huge, heroic life change that will be really worth it in the end. Nothing bad ever comes from getting sober and any changes that come about from quitting booze are usually good ones (even if it dosn't seem like it at first). I know I'm generalising massively here but this does seem to be true.

Here's a selfie taken while on a big walk last weekend with the family. This is me aged 46 and a half, six and a half years sober, 14kg lighter than when I quit drinking with a mostly very settled brain chemistry (other than natural mood fluctuations and hormonal swings).


Sober. Not perfect, but facing every challenge with an honest intention and my best foot forward.

Who could ask for anything more?

Love, Mrs D xxx

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Thirteen things I have discovered in sobriety...

1) Negative emotions suck but feeling them raw helps immensley (in understanding them and getting over them quicker).

2) Sadness is my least favourite emotion.

3) Powerful positive emotions like pure elation or overwhelming joy don't come by often but when they do it feels soooo good (way better than drunk positive emotions).

4) It's really important to recognise when things aren't particularly bad or good but just trucking along nicely.

5) Life is not a party all of the time nor should it be.

6) Uplifting music can brighten my day and I'm wise to remember to play it when I'm feeling stuck.

7) I'm still not naturally into physical exercise but I know my life is better when I input it into my weeks.

8) Yoga is not overrated like I used to think it was.

9) I love dancing, particularly with props (e.g. glow sticks, ribbons).

10) Owning a dog changes your life for the better in numerous ways.

11) Getting 8 uninterrupted hours of sleep most nights is FREAKING AMAZING!!

12) Owning your truth is empowering and brave and no-one will judge you for admitting struggles.

13) It is possible to live a full, fun life without touching alcohol ever.

Love, Mrs D xxx


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

About my weight loss..

I've had quite a few people notice in photos I've been sharing lately that I've lost a lot of weight. And yes it's true! So here is the story.

Last year while I was writing and releasing my new book I got into some terrible (worse than usual) habits around food. I was using foods - specifically bready/sugary foods - very alcoholically. That is, I was locked into a cravings-binging-guilt cycle that was very reminiscent of my boozing days.

I was hyper aware of this dysfunctional behaviour. I knew very clearly whenever I was binging beyond normal 'treating' of myself (i.e. being a total and utter pig) because I often felt sick and really bad about myself afterwards. I could also clearly see that my worst binging came when I felt low emotionally or was dealing with something stressful or gritty.

And the scales were climbing up and up and up. One day I climbed on and saw that I was on the cusp of my highest weight EVER. This was my trigger number one to change.

My second trigger to change came at almost exactly the same time. I was listening to an online conference and they interviewed a woman who was talking exactly my language about food - like .. big time! Her name was Dr Susan Pierce Thompson and she was a recovering addict herself who had switched her addiction to food after getting sober. She talked about flour and sugar having the same impact on the brain as alcohol does and explained the programme she had developed that was working for many, many people.

I got her book Bright Line Eating: The science of Living Happy, Thin & Free immediately and half started following her programme by cutting out flour and sugar. The cravings stopped which was great but I wasn't losing any weight so reluctantly I started doing her full programme (I was reluctant because it involved weighing portions and I was embarrassed that I needed to get the scales out to weigh my food every meal).

But I'm so pleased that I pushed past my reluctance and embarrassment because FUCK ME THE WEIGHT JUST STARTED DROPPING OFF! Her programme is bloody brilliant because a lot of the time I'm not that hungry - just the right amount of protein and veggies to keep me going until the next meal - but the results have been dramatic.

To date I have lost 14kg (nearly 31 pounds)!! Her plan is quite detailed but I'm not going explain it here because it's all in her book and I really recommend you get the book because there is a lot of science and explanation in there about how our brains and bodies work which is so empowering.

I can't recommend it highly enough to anyone who wants to lose weight but mostly wants to be free from that awful cravings/binging/guilt cycle around food that is extremely soul destroying. I do still slip and eat those foods sometimes and then have to combat cravings for a few days until they've gone. But for the most part I live without these foods and happy.

Long may it last!

Love, Mrs D xxx