Thursday, March 28, 2013

Easter holiday...

Packing the suitcases to go away for an extended family get-together over Easter.

Three years ago I wrote myself off so badly on the first night I started spinning out at the dinner table and could barely make it to our bedroom (where the kids were asleep). It was a shocker. I spent the rest of the holiday beating myself up about it, feeling terribly dysfunctional but still drinking of course. It was probably around that time that I was starting to work towards full admission (to myself) of my drinking and educating myself, building towards giving up.

Two years ago I was still drinking and remember trying very very hard all weekend to moderate, and managing it, but it took a lot of effort. I was proud of myself though, that I hadn't replicated the bender from the year before. Still had hangovers, but milder ones.

One year ago I was newly sober. Bright, shiny new sober me. I'd lost quite a lot of weight, put a lot of thought into what clothes to pack and made sure I had my nails painted before hand. I felt great and looked great. It was a wonderful holiday and I was so happy to be sober and so happy to wake up every morning hangover free. I did feel like my sobriety was a bit of a gorilla suit though. Strange and obvious.

So this year it's my second sober Easter with the family and although I do still feel like my sobriety is a bit of a gorilla suit I'm a lot calmer about where I'm at. I'm still delighted to be heading away without having to worry or plan or be careful. I still can't wait to wake up every morning with no hangover. I trust in the knowledge that I'm not actually missing out on anything by not drinking - the big communal dinners are just as fun and lovely without me downing wines (and certainly without the spinning out of 3 years ago).

Been getting a few comments about the juicing. Me an expert juicer - ha! I still can't believe I'm doing all this healthy stuff but I suppose it's the way a lot of us go as we get older and enter the second half of our lives. Thinking about what we're putting in our bodies etc.

Anyway the main juice recipe I've been making I got from our local paper - it's a basic green juice. 4 kale leaves, 1/2 cucumber, 2-3 celery sticks, 1-2 apples, 1/2 lemon and 1cm piece of ginger. You have to trim the skin off the lemon and ginger but not the apple or cucumber (if it's an edible skin). The kale comes out dark green but all the other stuff gives it a yum flavour. Easy to drink, honestly.

I also borrowed a book from a friend called "Raw Juices Can Save Your Life!" by Dr Sandra Cabot. She's a total fanatic and gives recipes for special juices for depression, headaches, insomnia etc, plus just tasty pick-me ups. Also isn't Jason Vale the big juice guru? He does call himself the Juice Master so I guess he is..! He's got recipes on his website here.

My machine is a compact one and there is a lot of waste left over. Maybe the big grunty machines do a better job. Get juicing people! Yesterday I had just orange juice with ginger. Definitely makes you feel good.

Righto, off on holiday. Happy Easter everyone!!

Love, Mrs D xxx

Monday, March 25, 2013

Sober wedding # 7...

I think a sober event is going to stand on it's own merits, with no booze to buoy things (my brain) along. It's that peculiar convergence of factors - the location, the crowd, the vibe, my state of mind - that makes a sober event what it is.

I used to be very addicted to wine and consumed it regularly and heavily all the time. Weddings were always cause for heavier drinking. Stressful Mondays were cause for rapidly consumed glasses of red wine after 5pm. Low/flat/boring phases were filled with wine. Elated moments were accentuated with wine. Friday and Saturday nights were filled with more wine than usual just because they were Friday and Saturday night.

Wine, wine, wine, wine, wine, wine, all the time. And now there's none. I was nervous about this past wedding and the whole not-drinking thing. Not sure why, but I was. I was nervous, and I felt a bit low key throughout, but never once did I actually consider having any alcohol. I never for a moment entertained the notion that that could happen. Not drinking is an absolute certainty.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The real juice

Just a quickie:  OMG I LOVE MY JUICER!!!!  Sorry about yelling there but honestly there is nothing more satisfying than stuffing a whole lot of green veges and yummy fruits and clumps of ginger into a machine that whuurrrs away noisily and creates glasses of liquid gold. Just the act of making and drinking the juice makes me feel better about myself! And Mr D is even giving them a go. I just got a small 'compact' machine so I didn't have to fork out the big bucks but I am so enjoying it. It really makes me feel like I am looking after myself, especially if the juice is dark green (you know they say the dark green vege hold all the goodness).

It may be just a hippy fad but I'm going with it for now. And this weekend we are off to yet another wedding, the SEVENTH since I got sober. And this one is with a particularly boozy crowd. So we'll see how that goes.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Monday, March 18, 2013

Mood enhancers...

I remember one day before I gave up booze sending my out-of-town sister an email in which I wrote in very witty style (I thought) all that I had achieved in the day. I was buzzing from a really crazy busy day - and obviously wanted to share/gloat about what I'd been doing... running around after kids, in and out of school and kindy, appointments, gym, supermarket, making beds for guests yadda yadda yadda. I remember being very proud of what I'd achieved and how well I was managing such a busy life.

'Oh look at fabulous busy me' (was the subtext of the email).. 'how craaazy is my life!!!'  My gorgeous sister responded with an appropriate 'Wow! What a day! You're amazing!' - type email, and I felt very proud of myself.

I neglected to mention the bottle and a half of wine that I had managed to fit in (glug) during the latter part of the day (starting at 5pm ON THE DOT of course). Something made me leave that detail out. But sure enough, as was my want, I had managed to fit in some enthusiastic wine drinking on top of everything else.

It's amazing how I managed to run around achieving everything a busy housewife/mother/part-time-worker needs to achieve AND drink wine steadily and heavily throughout the week. How great is the boozy housewife's capacity to add extra pressure to an already busy life? You get that numbing sensation, sure. But also the hangovers and sick guts and mental guilt and anguish. Why do we punish ourselves so?

So here I am now, still a busy housewife and mother although the part-time-work isn't around any more and my MA thesis is delivered so the studies are over. And of course I'm sober.

I've still got a bit of work to do in learning how to deal with gritty emotional states without reaching for something. Lately it's been crap food and sugar. I've got to step up the other things that make me feel good. Exercise is a MAJOR mood enhancer for me and even though it doesn't come easy I really have to make sure I keep doing it regularly.

Other cliched things like burning lovely oils to make the house smell nice. And I've just bought a juicer! That is a big cliche right there but I want to try making those green juices that everyone is raving about.. full of goodness and fills you up nicely.

Also just remember to lift my eyes and look to the horizon - look out of my immediate surroundings to lift my mood. Look for beautiful things. And music - music definitely makes me feel better.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Thursday, March 14, 2013

What's changed?

Just took a look and discovered I am 555 days sober today - woo hoo! 555 days of freedom.

Sober day number 555 for me involves having a sick 6-year-old home from school watching Apollo 13 from the sofa, a 3-year-old obsessing over a book about ghosts and running around the house playing 'armies', cleaning the bathroom, mopping the kitchen floor, looking at blogs and twitter and generally just mooching around being a mother and housewife.

I've been thinking about what is different in my life now I live without alcohol.

In some ways there are major differences. I have removed guilt and hangovers and bad sleep and sick guts and wasted money and overflowing recycling bins and sloppy behavior.

On the flipside I have gained self respect, pride, sometimes an itchy boredom, most of the time a sense of calm, a fabulous new online community and cheekbones.

But in many ways, and this is the interesting thing, a lot of things in my life haven't changed. I still wake up, shower, get dressed, eat, run around, eat some more, get undressed and go to sleep. I still manage friendships and relationships and deal with other people's wants and needs. I still pay bills and answer emails, fill the car with petrol and change lightbulbs.

I still wish I was a more stylish dresser, worry that I'll never learn how to blow-dry my hair straight and regret not painting my nails or plucking my eyebrows more often.

I still plan meals in advance and shop once a week. I still watch lots of Reality TV and keep up with news and current events. I still sing in the shower and make a horrible growling noise when I get an 'itchy inner ear' (and Mr D still says that's my worst habit).

I still get highs and lows and laugh and cry, get grumpy, angry, stressed, delighted and relieved, although there is no denying those emotional states are more pronounced now that I have removed my great leveler, wine.

I used to look at sober people and want to ask 'what's it like? what's it like not ever drinking?' And now I can see how that is such a difficult question to answer. On the one hand it's monumental, a hugely life changing, revelatory move to make, to remove booze. On the other hand it's just another decision made, change implemented, choice taken. Fuck me I'm pleased I did that 555 days ago.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Another sober Saturday night...

Mr D is away overnight for work yet again so once more I am faced with a sober evening home alone on the sofa. By 7.45pm the kids should be down and the kitchen tidy so I can relax.

In a past life I'd start drinking at 5pm ON THE DOT and have a good bottle in me by 7pm, performing my usual masterful technique of housewifeing and mothering while filling up with vino. Multi-tasking to the max! I was really good at that .. really really good at it.

Well there was that one time my glass got knocked over by one of the kids and red wine went splattering across the white wall and I kind of lost it in anger because that was the last booze in the house.

Oh and there was that other time I was holding my eldest and kind of stumbled a bit and fell and dropped him (semi on the sofa but also kind of on the floor). My in-laws were there for that one and everyone laughed. Maybe they all didn't realise I'd been drinking more than the rest of them.

ANYHOO enough of that dwelling on my sloppy drinking past - on to the future! The now! Yes the now... another sober Saturday night alone on my sofa with nothing to celebrate or reward myself with.

American Idol? Fine except Nicki Minaj annoys the bejingos out of me (I made that word up).

Chocolate? Trying to cure my sugar addiction so no. No no no.

Chips and dip? Too gross and unhealthy.

Mug of green tea? Yep might as well have one of those.

Bubble bath? Got no bubbles but do have some essential oil, lavender and something. So yes, a bath would be nice.

Paint my nails? Could do.

Read a book? Yes I have a new one to start so could do that.


Ok. Or how about this?

How about I realise life isn't about rewards and celebrations. How about I sit in a lovely clean house with my beautiful boys asleep and breath deep and slow and thank my lucky stars that I have what I have.

How about I realise that calm contentment, although sometimes masking itself as boredom and monotony, is absolutely the best gift life has to give me.

How about I realise numbing myself out with wine when I'm sitting alone on that sofa, which is what I always used to do, is really sad loser behaviour and I am extremely lucky that I am not that sad loser any more.

How about I sit at the computer with headphones on and blast my eardrums out with lovely pop songs that will fill me with happy endorphins? Cheesier the better!

There's a plan. 7.45pm - bath. 8pm - songs. 8.20pm Green tea and American Idol  plus the laptop so I can catch up on other lovely blogs. 10pm climb into bed.

Sober Saturday night sorted.

Love, Mrs D xxx