Saturday, January 28, 2012

Brain bending..

I'm tired because I've been staying up every evening transcribing interviews for my Masters research and  when I get to bed my brain is fizzing and it's hard to drop off and then the kids keep waking me up ridiculously early.  So I've got that weary-behind-the-eyes feeling and it's reminding me a little of what I used to feel like all the time.

I think I've actually forgotten what a hangover used to feel like.  Hangovers were almost a normal state for me.   Now I'm feeling tired I can remember the feeling of dragging my sorry ass through the day hungover.  Most of the time now I get up full of energy and fresh without reaching automatically for some panadol and a big mug of instant coffee.  I must remember to appreciate this....

I had a few thoughts in the afternoon yesterday that it would be nice to have a drink given it was Friday night.  You know, I actually wanted to bend my brain a little.  Coz that would be fun, just doing a little brain bending.  I was sitting outside a vege shop late in the afternoon as Mr D ran in to get some mushrooms and over the road was a SuperLiquor and the cars were pulling in and pulling out, pulling in and pulling out.  And people were trotting in and trotting out with their boxes of beer or plastic bags with who knows what.

And I was watching, aware that I'd wanted some of that brain bending liquid just earlier, thinking Man our society condones brain bending.  Human beings want to bend their brains and we just do that all the time openly and whole heartily.  Friday night and there were all those people in that little store, one of millions around our country, trotting in and trotting out to get their brain bending liquid.

Later in the night we were sitting around at friends, the kids snuggled up watching tele and us adults were playing cards and drinking.  Red wine for everyone but me, I'd bought a couple of little bottles to drink on the way over.  A Lemon, Lime & Bitters and something called a 'Peachee' which I'd grabbed on a whim.  It was bright orange peach juice made by a trendy drinks company.  Late in the evening I poured it into my wine glass (still don't want to have stem withdrawals so I drink from wine glasses a lot) and Mr D asked for a sip to try it. He had one then commented 'Hhhmm, bit boring.  Be better with a shot of vodka in it', there was a pause and then he PATTED ME CONDESCENDINGLY ON THE SHOULDER.

Ok sorry about those caps there but ... what the hell??!!  I was a bit flummoxed and blurted out 'don't give me pity!  Don't pat me condescendingly on the shoulder!' and everyone sort of laughed a bit but I think Mr D was a bit shocked (at me or him I'm not sure) and he said 'Come on, I can do that with you' and he was meaning 'come on we're not like that' and I could see in his eyes what he meant, that we're always cool, and we are, so I laughed and forgot about it.

Until this morning in bed when I remembered and started to feel a bit miffed but then I was like oh bloody hell I can't be too precious, we're very close to these people and maybe getting to a place where we can laugh and tease about it means it's becoming even more normal.  I just have to not care.

And then I also remembered that a bit earlier I'd made a joke that the more they all drank the worse their card playing got and I was still sharp as a tack and going to keep winning.  So the tone was set by me.

Obviously still navigating this new sobriety landscape of mine.  And about those thoughts earlier in the afternoon about wanting to bend my brain.  They were thoughts, not cravings.  I listened to them, analyzed them, acknowledged them and dismissed them.  Eventually they'll get the message and go.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

To sum up...

I just used to drink a lot.  That's all.  I used to drink a lot and now I don't.

Is it hard sometimes?  Yeah it's hard sometimes.  Sometimes I feel a bit sorry for myself that I can't have a drink.  But I don't mind too much really.  Sometimes it's a bummer that if I'm feeling low or bored or frustrated or excited I can't drink alcohol to escape/avoid/enhance or whatever the fuck alcohol does.  But is that feeling enough to make me want to start drinking again?  No way Hosea.

What's different now?  Now overall I feel much calmer and more grounded.  Sometimes it feels like a sadness, and I had to get used to that as it's not something I used to let myself feel a lot.  Sometimes I'm just tired from the kids and bored from the kids and it's Tuesday and I would normally drink a bottle (and possibly a bit more) of wine but now I don't and .. it's fine.  I know that I'm just tired and bored from the kids because they're tiring and it can be boring looking after kids sometimes and alcohol isn't going to do anything constructive about that.  It's just a fact and getting through the 5-7pm hours without drinking lots of wine is entirely possible and much much better for all involved. 

Then Wednesday morning comes around and I wake up feeling fresh and so so happy and so so proud.

That's the other thing.  I feel very happy and comfortable with myself now that I have removed alcohol from my life.  In some quiet way I feel quite 'cool' that I've done something so strong and brave, and I know that a lot of the people close to me think I'm pretty amazing for having done that too.  So that's a good feeling.

But then I have that other feeling, that 'woe is me' feeling tinged with a bit of shame for past excesses so that balances out the pride and stops me getting too big for my boots.

I just used to drink a lot, and now I don't any more.  I am living sober, have been for nearly five months now, and it's fine.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Me me me me...

... me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me.

Enough about me, what do you think of me?

Ha! No seriously.  I do sometimes feel terribly self obsessed what with all this 'woe is me I can't drink' carry on.  I think it's the inevitable result of blogging about sobriety that it seems to come across that all I do is think about is myself and my relationship with alcohol.

I mean, I am obsessed, don't get me wrong.  But there are plenty of times in the day where I am just being a mum, or a wife, friend, sister or daughter and am listening to other people or just being normal with everyday life and not thinking about being sober.  (I've really been focusing on my boys recently. Really looking and listening to them.  That takes me out of myself wonderfully).

Cooper, clever man with 5 years sobriety, commented recently to me and he said he thought one way he got through was to not think about what he was doing all the time.  He's a smart man.  Actually while I'm handing out praise take a look at the comments at the end of my last post.  There are some fantastic, sharp, warm, clever, lovely people reading and thinking and sharing which I'm so fortunate for.

I always visit other blogs and try to comment often as I know how great it is when I hear from people.  I especially love the anonymous ones who just say 'me too' in in relation to what I'm going through.  Maybe my lonely boat isn't so lonely any more (I'm dancing with you up on the 17th deck Riversurfer!).

Anyway, like I was saying, I try to comment and offer advice or encouragement on other sober blogs but really all I want to say is 'take care' and 'hugs' from Down Under.  Down Under is how we describe living down here in New Zealand.  Seen us on the map at the very bottom to the right?  Picture me standing down there up the top of the North Island facing up with my hands cupped around my mouth shouting 'THANKS EVERYONE!'

Love, Mrs D xxx

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pondering, pondering....

I'm still in a slightly flat low key mode and am thinking this is a flat slightly low key mode that has nothing to do with being off alcohol, it's just a low key state that is lingering for a while.  But because the 'sober' facet of my life is the big new feature I attribute every mood and emotional state to the fact I don't drink.  I mean sometimes you just get a bit flat and low key don't you?

On another wondering-about-it note, I'm wondering when does drinking emotionally turn into problem drinking?  Like I can say now that I was drinking heavily to deal with emotions and that I'm having to relearn how to live without that crutch.

But then drinkers like Mr D have alcohol at emotional times yet he's not a dysfunctional drinker by any stretch, not like I was.  He can stop after 1 or 2 if he wants.  Can go without.  Can take it or leave it.  These things I couldn't do.

Yet he still associates all those emotional 'moments' in life with booze.  Celebration, Bubbles!  Difficult conversation, whiskey.  Hard busy day working, cold beer.  Nice meal, nice wine.  You know what I mean.  Where is the line that you cross into dysfunctional drinking?

Also, I think for the first few months of my sobriety I was feeling quite aggressively 'sane', like I'd seen the light and realised what a fallacy alcohol was and how we've all been brainwashed to accept this mind bending, awful tasting liquid as a regular part of our lives.  One that we turn to in times of pain, anger, sorrow, joy or celebration.

That won't always be the case in our society I thought. It was almost an arrogance that I was superior because I had 'become enlightened' and had taken the 'big bold, oh so clever' move to live without it and I would show everyone how possible it was to still enjoy life but with the booze removed.  Alcohol industry take that! Mrs D is one of the first to lead the charge in  a worldwide change in attitudes towards drinking that will lead slowly to alcohol being treated as tobacco is.  Outlawed, frowned apron, becoming rarer and rarer.

But that feeling is slipping away as I look around and it seems like that will never happen because - my god! - bars and cafes and bottle shops are everywhere.  E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E.  And booze is in almost every house and workplace. Everyone drinks.  Mostly in a functional, moderate manner.  'It's ok' (society says to me), 'we all handle this fine.  It's just you sorry.'

So now I'm starting to feel a bit more humble and .. well .. flawed.  It was only my excesses and abuse of the liquid that meant I had to remove it completely, and now I'm a lonely sober boat in a booze soaked world.  Aside from you other lovelies that is.  But you know what I mean.

I dunno.  Maybe this humble state being more ashamed of myself is a better place to be than a cocky know-it-all.  Or maybe this is just another stage in the learning-to-live-sober roller coaster.  I can't bloody wait to be 2 years sober.  I really can't.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Sunday, January 15, 2012

This is not a food blog...

So I had that slightly gritty phase, nothing too dramatic really, which led to those stupid melancholy feelings about alcohol. Like that liquid was actually going to do something to help?! I mean, really?!  But came out fighting in the last post to remind myself why I. Am. Sober.  Have been for 131 days now.

Took a bit more than just that fighting post to shake the melancholy, romantic feelings about drinking however.  Seemed to be everywhere there were images and scenes of happy, cool drinking.  So I've been having to do more mental exercise and employ some of my old tactics to rework my grey matter and remind it that I'm not missing out on anything.

That alcohol doesn't make any special occasion more special than it is without the booze.  That bending my brain won't help me deal with life.  That the boozy me isn't to be admired or envied, whereas the sober me is so great.

It helps that I seem to be getting a lot of comments about how good I look.  It's not a weight loss thing.  It's a 'you're just looking really good in your skin' type of comment.  From Mr D, my sister and a couple of friends.  Truth is I have lost some weight since I've gone sober, but (and this is strange), my body seems to be slowly changing shape.  My tummy is still wobbly (3 kids and a huge appetite will make that hard to shake) and my boobs are still saggy but my arms are slimmer and my shoulders, collar bone & chin area all a bit more ... a bit more .. bony I suppose.  So yeah, it's a weight loss thing .. but more .. more of a less puffy look (sorry about the writing there).

I've read about that puffy look before and never thought that I looked puffy before but the me now is definitely slightly more angular.

And boy do I sleep long and heavy now, regularly.  So that helps.  And no hangovers.  Every morning clear eyed.  These things are .. well they're glorious actually.

Went to a BBQ on Friday night and did everything else all the other adults were doing; laughed, chatted, ate, played cards, lit fireworks. But did it sober and stayed more alert toward the end.  Was able to comfort the Little Guy calmly as he was terrified of the loud bangs, then drove everyone home.  Woke up alert and happy and made a picnic lunch to take out for the day.  Oh, get me!!!!!!!

Which leads me to my food stories, although this isn't a food blog I have been channelling Martha Stewart (or more Nigella Lawson) in the kitchen these last few days and loving it!  Have made banana choc chip muffins, a silver beet and feta pie, a carrot cake, black eyed beans with fresh coriander and red onion, tabbouleh, pizzas (one with marinaded zucchini on top), a spanish omelet and a berry shortcake dessert.  Awesome!!!!!  Now about that wobbly tummy .....

Mrs D xxx

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I choose to be sober because ...

.... I was worried about the insides of my body having to do all that processing of wine.  My god I did used to drink lots of wine.  Bottles and bottles of wine that would endlessly be tossed into the recycling bin.  We have so much more room in our recycling bin now.

I choose to be sober because it is a good exercise in patience. Being a mum is about practicing immediate patience, (talking to the child) 'sure you can jump in all the puddles and examine the wet grass on the way to the car' or 'stop yelling and tell me what it is that is making you so grouchy today' type of patience.  Sobriety patience is a slower and more extended type of patience, (talking to yourself instead of the child) 'I just have to ride out this melancholy phase and it will pass in a few days' or 'I'll just push past this gritty feeling and things will eventually start lightening up for me'.

I choose to be sober because when I think now about how many times I was tipsy while looking after my children I feel sick in my stomach.  I'm so grateful now that I won't ever do that again.

I choose to be sober because all I have to do is not put any alcohol into my body and I will feel immeasurably more proud and connected to myself.  A small action denied = huge beautiful consequences.

I choose to be sober because the last time I drank I hid wine from my husband to hide how much I'd been drinking and if I was going to continue down that sick path I would have destroyed the wonderful honest connection we have with one another.

I choose to be sober because my friends and family are amazed that I am doing this, I can tell that I have changed in their eyes and they are really impressed (if not a little shocked still) and I look forward to showing them that I really mean it when I say forever.

I choose to be sober because I always said I 'didn't want to have any hidden shit' and yet I had a whopping piece of hidden shit which was a nasty private drinking habit. But now I really don't have any hidden shit and I love being able to be honest about my inner voice, the sly wine-drinking fox that was lurking in my brain.  I love being able to be fully open, it is such a clean easy place to be in.  I am also discovering that people are drawn to that honesty and it makes them more inclined to be honest too.

I choose to be sober because I can!  Because this is my life, my only life, and I am 40 now and I want to live well and happily until I am sitting on my porch in my rocking chair with Mr D by my side looking back and feeling good.

And that's why I choose to be sober.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Not so good...

So I've got a couple of gritty thought processes going around in my brain today and (surprise surprise) I'm feeling mournful that I can't have a drink.  I suppose the truth is I really feel like a drink.  I'm having to do some mental work to remind myself why I don't really (gritted teeth) want a drink...

Think big picture Mrs D.  Do you want a 'quick fix' release from these thoughts and head back to that loser miserable lush lifestyle or stay fabulous sober reliable solid person that you enjoy being so much more? (Talking to myself, first sign of madness).

Thing is someone told me yesterday that they missed drinking with me.  I mean what were they thinking?  I just felt so stink and had to sit with their words and kind of process them and push away the glum feeling that they left me with.

Sorry this is a bit glum.  I just feel like I want some light with my shade.  A glass of wine would be perfect right now.  Aaarrrrggggghhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Mrs D xxx

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


(Warning.  This post tries hard to be clever and contains laboured metaphors)

Just spent 9 hours solid rearranging all the bedrooms at home which was a bloody hard job but oh so worth it!  Mr D and I are now nestled at the back of our house with heaps more light and sun and a door looking out to our back deck with it's new shade sail and pot plants. Our Big Boy now has his first bedroom on his own and he is so happy and the two little ones are sharing the bunk beds in the middle sunny room.

Had a strange thing happen last night.  We went out for dinner with my sister and her husband and stopped at a trendy bar for a drink beforehand and I had this sudden shocking thought come to me as we sat down .. 'oh my god I don't drink alcohol any more...!' 

I mean that's crazy right, because I am obsessed with being sober and blog about it twice weekly for gods sake and, you know, it's a brand shiny new fact about my life.  But I think actually what happened is that in the lead up to that 'surprise! No booze here!' moment I hadn't had the thought at the front of my brain.  It had slipped away momentarily.

So instead of my sober self always leaning over the bow of my life arms outstretched like Kate Winslet in Titanic (you know, with Leonardo Di Caprio in the movie.  I warned you ...).. she's now slipping down below deck occasionally.

This must be what happens as it becomes more and more the norm to be a non-drinker.  It's like my thoughts are rearranging themselves just as today my household bedrooms have been.  (OH SLAM DUNK ON THE WRAPPING UP THE POST NICELY HA HA HA!!!!!!!!!)

I'm exhausted, that's my excuse for this laboured writing.  I really should be watching TV not blogging.  But that was a real moment that happened in that bar.  Oh, and one more thing.  I do not miss drinking one bit.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Monday, January 2, 2012

I am ready to say it now...

It's funny how this sobriety journey of mine is playing out.  I'm sure it must read in pretty typical fashion, these words of mine on a screen.  The early days of fear and fight, the highly emotional phases, the pink clouds, the introspection, the revelations coming one after another.

All so cliched I'm sure.  But what is really hard to convey in letters and words and the odd bit of punctuation and syntax is the real gut renching emotions that accompany each stage and step along the way.  But all this blog can offer me is words on a screen so I'll type them down and hopefully reading it back I'll forever be reminded about the pure release that this particular revelatory moment gave me.

We were on our camping holiday heading up to the tip-top point of New Zealand to look out to where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean.  Mr D was driving, the boys were all slumbering in the back and I was staring out the window at the beautiful countryside rolling by (green grass, sheep and cows, light rain).

I was thinking about not drinking, I was thinking about my past, I was thinking about my future and suddenly it felt like a door opened inside me and some sort of light, or a rush of endorphins or a turning of my stomach or something happened and the thought came to me.  I am an alcoholic.

It was amazing.  This is annoying to write because the words don't do justice to the feeling but believe me, it was amazing.  I am an alcoholic.  I am an alcoholic.  I am an alcoholic.  There were tears rolling down my cheeks.  It was quite remarkable actually.  A real release.  A total freedom.

My name is Mrs D and I am an alcoholic.