Mini-tour went well!!!! I loved it actually. I was knackered at the end of it but not lie-me-down-for-a-month knackered.. just quietly worn out from 4 days of chatting and interacting with lovely people.
Worn out but happy, and very full of warmth and satisfaction after having met a bunch of brave sober people working hard to turn their lives around… and also a bunch of hard-working caring people trying hard to improve our drinking culture (all the organizers.. public health workers and the like….)
The turnout was good.. one event in particular was quite a big crowd (70ish).. the other three were smaller but that made them intimate and chatty and warm which I enjoyed. I think maybe the organizers were disappointed in the turnout (not disappointed in me, just sad that more people didn't come to hear me talk) but I wasn't surprised to be honest. A big chunk of my presentation is about how great online recovery is because of it's safe/private nature (you can tap into it from home from behind the safety of your computer, you can hide your real identity and no-one judges you for it and you can still make real, strong, tangible connections.. etc etc) so really coming out of your home and into a community hall to hear someone speak flies in the face of all of that. It's scary, so I wasn't surprised.
And I was really proud of myself that I ate well throughout the four days and drank lots of water and slept pretty good and kept myself 'in the moment', and remembered to appreciate the beautiful scenery that Central Otago has to offer.
I don't know what it is about me but I don't get nervous before I talk. I just stand there listening to the person introducing me and think calmly about what I'm about to say. I'd practiced my presentation a bunch of times beforehand - it was an hour long with about 20 slides in a powerpoint presentation; photos of me at 15 when I started drinking, photos of me drunk later on, photos of me at 39 the high-functioning boozer "classic example of the outsides not matching the insides", a few one-word slides when I talk about specific techniques I used when re-training my brain out of a lifetime of boozing, screen shots from my blog and Living Sober, photos of me crying on the TV, my book cover etc etc….. I just tell the story.
I actually cried on two of the evenings when reliving my last drinking days. I did not expect that to happen. It was intense, but ok. It's real. I can't hide the depth of feeling that comes with getting sober.
And always I'd imagine my one person that I do all of this for. The imaginary figure that I have created in my mind, a woman in shadow looking scared and miserable, trapped in a boozy hell, whispering to me "don't stop, don't stop".. it's her I'm doing all of this for and I don't care what anyone else thinks of me.
I got an email yesterday from someone that came to my last talk. It read "Thank you so much for being so open and honest with your sobriety. Today is my first day of not drinking in over 15 years. Wish me luck."
That makes the whole trip worthwhile in my book.
Love, Mrs D xxx