Tuesday, January 9, 2018

My fantastic New Years Eve..

This New Year's Eve was the best I have had for many years. So, so good. I just wish I could go back there tonight and do it all over again, it was that good. It was soul restoring. It was epic.

To be honest the lead up wasn't great. During the day on the 31st I was not that jazzed about the whole thing. We were camping with 4 other families by the beach having a very relaxing and lovely time but I kept thinking to myself all day I wished I could just crawl into my tent and go to bed at the normal time and not have to force myself to stay up till midnight.

I just hate that New Year's Eve comes with such a massive weight of expectation like it has to be the MOST FUN night to rival all other nights of the year. I could probably just relax about that thought process but don't seem to be able to. Maybe I'm too fond of my early nights?

And of course I'm aware that for many people on the planet (including me for 20+ years) the main way to ensure a blinder of a New Year's Eve is to sink lots of piss and get blotto.

But now I don't drink and I've retrained my brain to see that drunk does not equal fun... it's just drunk, and there are many wonderful, natural ways to have fun that don't require chemical enhancement. But for some stupid reason I still feel that NYE pressure to somehow elevate the evening to something great.. and frankly I can't really be bothered.

Anyway, "it is what it is" I told myself in the lead-up and just prepared to get through the evening having a good time knowing that the pressure would soon be off. Little did I know that magic would happen for me although I'd have to wait until after midnight for it to properly kick in.

Early in the evening we had a camp concert that involved a variety of performances (a couple of which I took part in) and that was cool. Then we had a disco with everyone jumping around to a strange mix of poppy dance tunes. Then the guitars came out and we had a singalong. That was all good fun.

But by 11.30pm I was tired, half the kids had crashed out.. some of the adults were a bit boozed.. I was struggling to avoid eating chocolate (and didn't manage to do so, scoffing many Maltesers before midnight), and my air bed had never looked so good. I would have quite happily slipped off to retire at that point.

Soon enough midnight arrived and we all hugged and whooped along with others in the campsite. The last few kids were put to bed and I figured I'd slip away pretty quickly myself.

But then the magic happened.

We had our Megaboom speaker sitting on the sand in between our tents and the music got changed from cheesy kid-friendly hits to more cruisy dancy/trancy/techno beats. And suddenly I got my dance on.

Big time.

I danced. I danced and I danced and I danced. I danced non-stop for over an hour standing under the moonlight with my feet in the sand, a glow stick in each hand and my eyes mostly shut. I totally just got into the groove with the music and danced. I swayed, ducked, bobbed, twirled, waved and moved. It was utterly fantastic.

By this stage there were just us adults - 10 of us - standing around the speaker like it was a bonfire. Everyone was mello, chatting in twos or threes or just grooving along to the music like I was. OMG I don't know how to explain it but the hour of dancing I did between midnight and 1am was amazing and utterly soul restoring. I felt so comfortable, didn't care what I looked like or what anyone thought of me. I was fully relaxed with our friends, fully relaxed in my own skin, fully into the music and just so, so happy.

Grooving, moving, swaying, ducking, diving and waving. I pointed and swished and waved my glow sticks non-stop. A few times I joked that I was directing airplanes like a ground controller at the airport and bent my arms like that! Also made big circles around and around and did quick flicks to make the glow sticks blur. In fact, now that I write I think it was the glow sticks in my hand that gave me so much joy. I was all about waving my arms to move them in time with the beat.

So, so, so happy. It was the best dance I have had in AGES and as a result the best New Year's I have had in AGES. Dancing in the half light with a great group of friends, totally relaxed in the outdoors with fantastic tunes and NO. BOOZE. REQUIRED.

Proof once again that alcohol isn't required to have a fun time. A fun time comes when all the elements inherent in the moment collide to produce genuine feelings of pleasure and happiness.

Happy Sober 2018 to everyone out in cyber-land who is brave enough to dig deep to remove alcohol and live in the raw 100% of the time. It's hard work at first getting sober, but so worth it. Worth it for magical nights like my New Year's Eve. I wouldn't have changed it for the world.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

I'm not judging you lady!

So far so good on the being-happily-sober-during-the-silly-season front. I've been out to a few parties and gatherings and haven't felt the slightest urge to drink. Sometimes I wonder if people are avoiding me because I'm not drinking but then I think if they are it's their choice and that's fine. Maybe some people do think being sober is lame and therefore I'm lame too.. if that's their opinion then that's their issue and I can't do anything about it.

I did have one woman at a BBQ catch me glancing at her right as she was refilling her glass of bubbles and when she saw me she said "don't look". I didn't even know her! Why didn't she want me to look? Does she think I'm the alcohol police? I'm not the bloody alcohol police I'm a recovering alcoholic!

Having said that I do have to recognise that it's been my choice to go public about my sobriety and to continuously promote recovery online and in the media. I do always try to maintain a tone which is not anti-alcohol but rather pro people like me who can't moderate.

I want to reach people who might be secretly worried about their own drinking, feeling stuck and alone like I was. I want them to know they're not alone. I want to talk to people who are in the early stages of quitting and let them know there's a whole gang of us out there also living alcohol free.

What I don't ever want to do is make people feel bad for drinking or make them think I'm judging or criticising their habits. I'm not because other people's drinking habits are none of my business.

Also - it's impossible to know the truth about someone's drinking just from seeing them out at an event. Maybe that woman filling her glass at the BBQ was having her one big night of the year - good on her! Maybe she drinks more often than that but is totally comfortable with her intake and isn't hurting anyone - good on her! Not my business.

Seriously - I am not in the business of thinking that everyone on the planet needs to quit drinking (but OMG could you image if we lived in that world!). All I want to do is be honest about my own dysfunctional relationship with alcohol because I believe the more we all share honestly the better it is for everyone. I want there to be an honest dialogue about how alcohol isn't a fun, harmless substance for everyone. I want it to be common knowledge there are a lot of humans who struggle to control it, and I want there to be no stigma about that.

And most of all I want anyone who might be considering quitting to know that while it's hard work it's very doable and in the long run so much better!

I shudder to think what my life would be like now if I'd continued on the path I was on. In the year or so before I quit my drinking was escalating at a very fast rate. So by now I would be likely drinking more daily, I would be fatter, more bloated, more cut off from my emotions, more disconnected from my family and less in touch with everything and everyone around me.

Thank goodness that's not the case and I'm now sober and happy in my personal choice to remove alcohol from my life.

I'm just concentrating on me, and I feel great about my decision to put down the bottle 2297 days ago.

Merry Christmas!

Love, Mrs D xxx

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Sad pangs and fancy parties

I had a strange sad pang the other night. I was watching a movie on Netflix and in it there was a big party scene at what looked like a totally fun and amazing rooftop location in New York. It was all fairy lights and hip people and fancy cocktails and groovy music and people having just the best time ever (because that's how it always looks in these super stylised movie scenes), and I suddenly felt really sad that I'm never going to cut loose at a party ever again.

It was a total feeling of sadness. Poor sober me missing out on all those future fun times. Never again will I be throwing caution to the wind and drinking too many champagnes. Never again will I get that naughty twinkle in my eye along with others that I'm indulging and having fun with.

Never again will I numb out, switch off, blur the edges and party the night away.

This sad pang lasted for about two minutes (I flipped the script pretty quickly and reminded myself of all my truths) but it was real and I can remember the feeling even now 3 days later. It didn't totally knock me back and I never even for one nano-second thought about actually drinking any shit booze but the sad pang was there I have to be honest.

Then last night we went to an actual fancy party at a big fancy house. It was a formal cocktail event, invite only with a security guard on the gate checking names off and staff greeting us at the door (Mr D's got the invite through his work). There was a bar in the foyer serving fancy cocktails and then another bar through on the veranda where everyone was standing with non-stop cocktail making going on there as well. Plus waiters were walking around with bottles of bubbles and wine all night. Everyone was dressed up and I had a new frock on which made me feel good.

So it was formal but also quite a loose party with booze flowing, coloured lights and a DJ playing great tunes. The night was buzzing. I took control of my drinks right from the outset and asked for my fizzy water to be served in a champagne flute which was satisfying enough. Later I had a lemon, lime and bitters and finally a ginger beer.

It was interesting to see how the night felt given my sad pang earlier in the week. It actually went fine.

I didn't give a toss that others were boozing, didn't wish I was, didn't feel awkward or uncomfortable. I had nice chats with people, met some nice people, felt fine overall. It was never going to be a complete blinder for me because aside from Mr D I didn't have any loved ones there. No close friends, no family. Not my tribe.

We lasted 4 hours and by then people were starting to dance (which I wasn't really in the mood for) and get a little bit sloppier. Nothing terrible.. but I felt very sober and was ready to go home. My feet hurt a bit and I was all talked out. So Mr D and I said our goodbyes and left.

I drove home, took off my makeup, then slept for 8 hours straight. Woke up this morning with no hangover, no guilt and no sad pangs about my sober lifestyle.

I'm ok with being a non-drinker. I'm ok that I'll never cut loose at a party with booze in my blood. What I have gained in recovery more than makes up for any brief sad pangs that I might have in the future.  I love feeling grounded and connected with myself, my kids, my family and my true friends. I love trusting myself in every scenario. It's all good.

And roof top parties in New York are probably overrated anyway.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Thursday, November 9, 2017

I will never stop working on myself...

Ok so it took me a few days to recover from my sugar binge.. was battling cravings for a while there and let some more sugar/crap in here and there. Jeepers it's bloody scary how my brain just latches on and craves more, more, more when I open up and allow the stuff in. I am such a bloody addict.

But anyway I have resisted because I AM NOT LETTING THAT SHIT BACK IN AND I AM NOT GOING BACK TO LIVING LOST IN A SEA OF CRAP SUBSTANCES THAT DO NOTHING GOOD FOR MY BODY OR MIND (sorry for yelling but am very determined to get on top of my demons and live with a brain free from cravings and compulsions).

And sure enough after resisting for long enough (usually about 3 days) I am once again cravings free and am able to spend my evenings thinking about what I want to think about and not just thinking about whether or not I'm going to eat sugar/floury crap.

I was describing to some non-addict friends the other day how all consuming and boring it is inside my head when I am a slave to my cravings. How I will literally spend an evening looking and acting normally but privately inside my head I am just thinking, thinking, thinking about the substance I want to get hold of. Used to be alcohol obviously (but that ship has sailed yippee!), but more lately it's definitely been the flour/sugary foods that I respond to in the same way.

I know this sounds like "first world problems" (I hate that saying), i.e. not that bad or at least like nothing 'special' because everyone has this issue given we're all waking up to the evils of sugar and processed foods. But this is my reality and this is what I am dealing with and I'm facing up to it. My eyes are WIDE open to how I operate emotionally and physically and that my brain responds very dramatically to addictive substances. And living as a woman 'in recovery' for me means not just abstaining from my No. 1 vice (booze) but also from other things that put me back in that cravings/binging/regret cycle.

Stuck, stuck, stuck.

So bugger anyone who thinks I'm whining about nothing much. For me I am at my most peaceful and calm inside myself when I am abstaining and free from cravings, and that in turn makes me the best wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend that I can be. Hence I will not stop working on myself.

Of course other things are going on, I'm a bit stressed and busy, Mr D has just flown away for a week for work.. life stuff is happening and my emotions are up and down. But in working on myself as I am I'm giving myself the best shot I can at managing life on life's terms (to use a well worn cliche), am riding the waves naturally and with a good, honest intent.. and for that I'm very proud.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Lollies, lollies everywhere!!!

Last night I had the biggest sugar binge known to mankind. It was totally reckless and crazy, especially given I've been about 3 and a half months mostly sugar and flour free. Have been doing incredibly well with my food - finally after 6 years of sobriety! - thanks to the Bright Line Eating book by Dr Susan Peirce Thompson. I've been following her plan to the letter, have been free of cravings and guilt and have lost 7kg (that's over 15 pounds for you lot overseas).

But yesterday afternoon I was sitting at the pool while my son had his swimming lesson and my whole body was aching thanks to a sore back I got over the weekend sleeping on a shitty bed, a heavy period and just general hunger and tiredness. I got home and ate a small dinner then without even deciding to I hooked into some leftover lollies from our weekend away and just ATE THEM ALL LIKE A CRAZY WOMAN!

I didn't even care! I hid in my bedroom and went crazy. Mini bag after mini bag I tore open and shoved them in my gob. My mouth and tongue hurt, my fingers were sticky, I knew that I'd feel sick afterwards and really bad this morning but I just kept going. More, more, more, more, more.

Then I fell asleep surrounded by empty packets and woke up with candy stuck in my hair. I'm not even joking.

But you know what? I'm not beating myself up. I am not. I am treating myself with kindness and understanding because if nothing else over the 6 years of being sober I have learned that this is the most important thing. To pick yourself up with kindness, to forge ahead knowing and accepting that you're not perfect and never will be. To acknowledge that being a human is hard fucking work and sometimes hormones and exhaustion and general over-it feelings about life will be overwhelming. And to know that a binge does not equal me going back into a world of crappy habits.

I am learning so much about myself and my brain and how I work and who I am. I am a vastly different, much more wide-awake person than I was when I first started on my recovery journey. I have come SUCH a long way, and have been through such immense personal growth.. like seriously what I have learnt and what I have done in turning my life around is fucking impressive and it's impacted not only me but all my loved ones.

So one almighty, colossal sugar binge is not going to suddenly send me backwards.. it's simply not possible for me to go back to who I was before. I know too much, understand too much, feel too different and have new habits and desires.

I do have a bit of a sick feeling in my tummy but today will be back to a normal day for me food-wise. Lots of veggies and protein and herbal tea and little bits of fruit and fat. Emotionally I'm still a bit tender and physically I'm still a bit sore.. so loving kindness for me all day. And understanding.

I'm not perfect and that's perfectly ok.

And lollies aren't all they're cracked out to be anyway.

Love, Mrs D xxx