Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Ten years sober and fifty years old!

I've been having a very reflective time of late - reaching some monumental milestones in my life.

A few weeks back I celebrated ten years sober. TEN! What a milestone. And in just over one week I'll be turning 50 years old. Also a pretty big milestone.

Celebrating ten years of sobriety was really cool. It's so easy for me to not drink now, I don't hanker, crave or wish for booze in my life ever. But I still have to front up to all my emotions in the raw every single day.. so being sober makes a big difference to my day-to-day life. Celebrating milestones is important, I think, and because it was such a lovely big round number I got some great feedback from friends and family on ten years. My mum sent flowers! And Mr D gave me a gorgeous daisy necklace.

Ten years is a lot of days of never numbing or bending my brain chemistry. A lot of days of showing up every moment with a 100% wide open brain, pure intention and gutsy attitude. Whatever happens - tricky stuff, emotional stuff, delicate stuff, uneasy stuff.. I deal with it head on. Rah!

Anyone who chooses to live without booze is a goddam hero. Whether you're on day 10 or year 10, you're a legend. We all deserve huge praise and admiration from ourselves and those around us. 

And as for turning 50 years old. If I'm honest I'm feeling it pretty keenly. There's no denying now that I'm on the downward slope of life. No longer 'young' or 'fresh'. Getting a bit more wrinkly and grey. Body feeling a bit more creaky. Things are changing. 

It's ok. I'm ok. Everything is going to be ok. I just have to adjust my mindset, accept the way of life and get on with it.

And getting on with it I am! I've quit one of my part-time jobs (the one that wasn't right for me sadly) and am going back to University next year to do a Post Graduate Diploma in counselling. I want to do more work in the addiction sector, helping people one-on-one but with the right training and qualification behind me.

I've also just rejoined the gym! And am going to work on strengthening my body and getting fit again.

So 50 - bring it on. Downward slope - whatevs. This is my one life and I'm living it to the full. 

Wouldn't want it any other way.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

New book! The Wine O'Clock Myth.

My new book came out two weeks ago! What a crazy couple of weeks it has been doing lots of media and a wee book launch event. The book is called 'The Wine O'Clock Myth: The truth you need to know about women and alcohol' and it is a thorough exploration about the situation we're in with regards to our alcohol soaked societies, the normalisation and glorification of booze that goes on left, right and centre, the manipulation that goes on through marketing, the targeting of women (especially on social media), and the many ways that all of this is impacting on women's lives.

Happy to say the whole 'launching a new book into the world' process went very well. Aside from a few emotional bumps along the way everything has been great. I expected a bit of push-back from some quarters from people who might think me a 'wowser' or like I was being preachy or judgemental, but I seem to have escaped that criticism (so far).. which is good because I work very hard to not come across as any of those things!

It's such a strange process putting out a book. You feel very vulnerable and nervous, but also proud and excited. I was swamped with lovely messages via social media and through my email and text messages etc.. lots and lots of contacts and friends and family reaching out to say 'well done'. Everything is noisy and stimulating, busy and heady. And now... quiet.

Two weeks on from the launch and the book is now just another book on the shelf and out there in people's homes being read and absorbed and having a life of it's own. Meanwhile my life is getting back to normal. I've been through this a few times before so I know to stop Googling my name to see if anyone has written anything and not to look at Goodreads or Amazon for what reviews might be posted (it takes just one 2-star review to ruin a day).

Instead I am returning to my usual routines of working on Living Sober, doing workshops, dog walking, puzzling (have become very keen on doing jigsaw puzzles!), podcast listening, housework, cooking, parenting (which mostly involves being a taxi driver and money machine nowadays), drinking many cups of tea, watching tele in my comfy pants blah blah blah you get the gist. Being a sober housewife and mum in the suburbs ticking away at life.

Embracing all that comes along with a clear head and honest intention. Not seeking to numb and avoid my emotions (other than the odd sugar binge), not seeking to avoid anything real that is going on.. just facing up every day to life... warts and all. 

Bloody hell it's good. It is so good being out of the boozy trap that I was once in, where all I did was guzzle wine daily to deal with life and my emotions. What an incredible ride I have been on in the past 8 1/2 years to get to this point today. Forget writing books and the shift in my career.. simply on a deep internal level my life has changed so hugely and for that I am extremely grateful.

But back to the book. The Wine O'Clock Myth is something I am really, really proud of. It takes all that I have learned and witnessed and heard about over the past 8 years and put it in one place. It also takes in 20 incredible in-depth stories from women sharing the truth about their relationships with alcohol. Not the lies and distorted view that we are so often fed through the media.. the truth. These stories are incredibly heart-warming and inspiring and also, at times, heartbreaking in their brutal honesty. The book is worth reading for these tales alone (sales pitch!) but also for the research and journalism I put into the chapters that I wrote.

Hard copies are available here via Mighty Ape (NZ & Australia only for now) or Kindle here. Hard copies are available over in the US and UK etc in October.. otherwise it's eBooks only for those far-flung countries for now. It'll also be available via audio book later in the year.

No more book writing for now! Until the next idea hits that is. Ha ha. In the meantime it must be time for a cup of tea. 

Love, Mrs D xxx

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Hi friends!

Oh my golly, golly goodness it has been a loooong time since I wrote here on my lovely original blog. But I never forget about you!

I've got a new job facilitating addiction workshops and as part of the day I have to tell my personal story. I stand up and relive my last drinking days and the lead up to quitting.. then I talk about this place, how I started writing to myself daily right after I quit and how powerful and awesome that process was. I talk about how a community of support built up around my blog and every comment (especially in the early days) felt like a hug.

This blog was my lifeline, my support blanket, my safe resting place, my powerful outlet. It was my everything for so long.

Now I am still writing and posting about sobriety and recovery daily, but my focus has shifted away from this site and to Living Sober and my social media accounts. But this site is still live hence me popping back here to say hi!

Sill experiencing a bit of anxiety as I wrote about in my last post. Not sure what this is about.. maybe because I've got some tricky stuff going down with some relationships in my personal life (not Mr D no way!), maybe because I'm heading into menopause, maybe because I'm running a busy household & raising 3 sons, maybe because I'm working two part-time jobs, or maybe because I'm about to release my 3rd book which I'm a bit nervous about (getting feisty about the priviledged position alcohol holds in our society and the impact it's having on women)... or maybe all of the above!

Whatever the cause, I am dealing with the anxiety and all the other emotions that come my way with the tools I have developed over 8+ years of being sober. And for that I am extremely grateful.

I love having alcohol out of my life. I love, love, love it. I never want to go back to where I was, locked in a booze habit that was habitual and heavy and deadening. If somebody said I could magically one day be able to moderate – I still wouldn’t choose to chuck that carcinogenic shit down my throat.

What I have gained from getting sober and living every single moment of every single day with a wide open brain is immense. Only because I live with my raw emotions, reactions and feelings 100% of the time have I been required to develop coping mechanisms that are grounding and healing and lovely. And for that I am grateful.

Every hard day that I have slumped around feeling glum, every sad day that my tears have fallen, every angry day when my fists have been clenched, every boring day when I’ve been crying out to create some fun, every tricky day when I’ve been gritting my teeth desperate to escape (but haven’t), every single day that I have lived sober has been a gift. A goddam gift I tell you.

If I go back to my early posts on here and read about all the hard work I had to do in those tough-as-hell early days to learn how to not drink.. I just feel so proud and grateful to the me back then who did that.

It was so worth all the blood, sweat and tears. So worth it. I have ZERO regrets.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Monday, June 10, 2019

Hello anxiety...

I seem to be getting more anxious lately - which is a total bummer. I'm worried it's the start of menopause, because I keep reading that anxiety is one of the symptoms of menopause, and I am (gulp) getting up to that phase of life.. turning 48 this year!

All I need is the slightest thing to be worried about - a tricky work meeting ahead or a dissatisfying interaction with someone - and I'll suddenly be on edge. Sometimes I'll forget what the thing is that's making me uneasy, I'll just spend the day feeling nervy and then I'll have to stop and ask myself, "why am I uneasy right now?". And then I'll think, "Oh, it must be that email I got", or "It must be that meeting I have to attend next Thursday". Sometimes I can't pinpoint anything! But then again.. there's a LOT going on.

I'm busy writing my new book, and I am a bit nervous about that because I'm going to be bolder than ever before about the state of our drinking culture and the impact it's having on women. I'm also working part-time running Living Sober and have two other new work things bubbling away in the background. Then there's parenting our 3 sons, one is now a teenager and another will be soon. Plus our parents are getting older and we've just lost one - my beloved, amazing mother-in-law died unexpectedly last month.

So yeah - it's all a lot.

But who's life isn't like this? Aren't we all just bloody busy all of the time? I mean, it's no wonder people turn to drinking and eating and shopping and many other things to help them deal with the stresses and strains. I keep talking to Mr D and my girlfriends about how we feel this stage of life is the most pressured. We're all run ragged parenting our teenagers, worrying about our ageing parents, juggling job pressures, exploring our own health niggles. Sigh. So what to do?

Well for me it is involving a lot of mindfulness. Contantly being aware of the workings of my mind and catching myself when I'm lost in thought, working to ground myself in the moment & my body by concentrating on what my eyes can see, what my hands can feel, my breath in my body, the calmness of the exact moment I'm in. Because when you look at it, most of the moments in our day are lovely and calm and straight forward, it's just our thinking, worrying, planning, regretting etc that is making them not so.

Gratitude is another biggie. This is a really underated habit! I often remind myself to look at all the things I have to be grateful for. There is always plenty and when I focus on them, no matter how small of a thought it is, it makes a difference.

And I also really work on putting myself in perspective. I am one of many, many people in the world. No-one is as fixated on my life as I am, they're all fixated on their own. Everyone has concerns and worries. No-one feels like they're on top of things 100% of the time. We're all muddling through, sometimes feeling insecure, sometimes feeling anxious, sometimes feeling sad, sometimes feeling worried, often feeling tired and stretched (also happy, joyful, glad, contented, appreciated etc etc, let's not forget the full gambit of human emotions!). Feeling like a tiny part of the entire human race does work to calm me somewhat.. and that's lovely too.

So yeah, muddling through as best I can is my game right now. Trying to keep up with my wellness habits. Trying as always to avoid flour and sugar (and achieving it probably about 70% of the time right now).  Trying to stay mindful and grateful and in perspective. Trying my best to be my best self. Practice not perfection. And as always - staying sober!! My numero uno winning strategy for life. Because even with this anxiety that has landed in my chest, I am not tempted to numb it away with booze. No way Jose. I'm here for the full, unadulterated ride.


Love, Mrs D xxx

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Love will conquer all...

Oh my goodness it has been a loooooooong time since I wrote on this my trusty old blog. Apologies trusty old blog and anyone who might still be visiting here despite my absence. Or, if you subscribe to my posts by email, wondering where the hell I've been ... sorry to you too.

I have been around and I am still very visible on my social media accounts and of course Living Sober where I communicate in the Members Feed many times a week and also publish lots of posts.

Things aren't great here right now with a beloved family member being terminally ill and a terrible, awful, horrific terror attack in my home town of Christchurch. It feels like just such a hard time right now and I am very unsettled by all the emotions and sadness and pain.

BUT none of it is enough to send me back to stupid alcohol of course! No way am I ever touching that shit again! Rather I am stepping up my self-care, listening to lovely Tara Brach talks, doing yoga, walking the dog, crying, buying flowers and facemasks and magazines and treaty herbal teas, looking for the beauty in nature. It all sounds so wah, wah, woofty, namby, pamby but if there's one thing I've learned in my 7 1/2 years of being sober... it is that it is PRECISELY these sorts of gentle nurturing actions that soothe my way through emotional pain.

And of course I feel very connected with my feelings which is actually super lovely. It makes perfect sense that I'd be sad and grieving now and anxious and unsettled. PERFECT sense. My goodness. Major, major tough things are happening in my world. Of course I'm going to be uncomfortable and emotional! But I'm feeling the feelings fully, letting them out and pass through me. I know that in six months.. one year.. I'll look back at this tough time and won't feel confused about or disconnected from it.

I know now from 7 1/2 years of sobriety that tough emotions are there for a reason and simply feeling them fully and not seeking to numb or avoid them makes them easier to manage. And especially in the long run when more beats of life have occurred.. they're easier to understand.

But for now, despite all my self-care techniques I'm still incredibly watery with tears popping up at unexpected times. And I am aware that I've got a knot of angsty pressure on my chest. But I'm breathing through it.. remembering to practice mindfulness and ground myself in my body and not get lost in my (unhappy) thoughts.

And the main one of all - hugging the ones I love very, very tight. Because love will conquer all.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Make mine a booze free Christmas

Heading into Christmas like HELL YEAH! We pack up the car on Friday night and catch a 3am ferry to the South Island on Saturday. Yikes, what were we thinking when we booked that back in July?! But it's ok, we'll cope. Not drinking sure makes travel easier!

Things are good in the D household. The kids are looking forward to getting away, Mr D is on holiday after a busy year at work (he travelled away every single weekend this year), and I am just pottering along doing my usual online stuff which will continue while we are away. I'm very excited because I've got a new book project to work on next year. I do love having a project on.. keeps my mind occupied and me stimulated and busy.

We relaunched Living Sober a month or so ago and that went really well. We now have a fancy new online space for our members to hang out in.. but fundamentally it's the same kind, supportive, non-judgemental site that it always was. Just a better way of displaying posts and a clearer 'call to action' for new visitors on the homepage (hopefully encouraging them to join our community)... alongside a pretty cheesy but friendly welcome video featuring moi. I published a Silly Season Survival Guide there which would be worthwhile reading if you're struggling with sobriety at the moment.

In other news I am totally on top of my food and sitting 15kg (33 pounds) lighter thanks to Bright Line Eating which I have blogged about here before. I stumbled across it a year or so ago after listening to the women who runs it - Dr Susan Peirce Thompson - speak during an online conference. She’s a recovering addict herself and listening to her was amazing because it was the first time someone totally spoke my language about food (because there’s a LOT of noise about food out there right now).

Her thing is she's all about the addictive properties of food - particularly flour and sugar - and how it impacts on your brain (dopamine receptors etc). Made total sense to me because after I got sober I developed a nasty sugar habit. It's a pretty strict programme but I’m unashamed about following it now because it honestly has changed my life. When I’m 100% sticking to my bright lines (which I don't always achieve but am right now) I am free of any obsession over food, binging, guilt etc. I just feel calm in my body and mind, it's amazing. She’s just released a free video series check it out here if you're interested (it's only going to be up for a short amount of time).

Sometimes I can't believe how things have changed for me, but at 47 years old I'm delighted to be working hard at being the best I can be.. and not just settling for being the kind of lush, mindless woman that I was before. I feel like I've only got one shot at my life, and I'm happy to be doing it as I am. Sobriety is TOTALLY worth the hard work people! So just do it! (to use a well-worn, cheesy slogan).

I mean, crap still comes along but it's easier to deal with when you're not clouding your brain with booze. Trust me on that.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Friday, October 26, 2018


Had some lovely celebrations recently. My 47th birthday was a couple of weeks ago and yesterday Mr D and I marked 15 years of marriage!

I get through these celebrations without a single thought of reaching for alcohol - so rock solid is my sobriety. My life is just trucking on fine without booze in the picture and for that I am SO SO SO happy and also so grateful to past me for making the big, brave move 7+ years ago.

I'm not visiting here so much any more but I do write blog posts regularly at www.livingsober.org.nz. Our incredible recovery community is going from strength to strength and soon we are relaunching with a whole new look!

I also post regularly on Facebook and Instagram. And also on Twitter.

Hopefully see you there!

Love, Mrs D xxx 

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Seven years today!!

Happy Soberversary to me! Happy Soberversary to me! Happy Soberversary to me! Happy Soberversary to me! Seven years today!! Woo bloody Hoo.

That is 2557 days by the way - crazy!

Waking up this morning with the memory of having yelled at my kids last night because one of them pissed all over the toilet floor - whoopsie! Grumpy mum alert. But at least it was sober yelling not drunken yelling! Unlike last night 7 years ago when I was totally full of wine and an utter wreck on the inside.

So anyway.. what to do on my soberversary? I have to take the car into town to get fixed so thought I might walk myself to the movies after that and go see Crazy Rich Asians which is apparently great. Then maybe get some food in a cafe.. then bus home and do other normal stuff like walk the dog and go to the supermarket and pick up the kids from school and make dinner and stuff.... such is the life of a sober housewife. Yay for being a sober housewife!!

Thank you me of 7 years ago for digging deep even when you were feeling miserable and making such a monumental life-changing decision.

Thank you me of 7 years ago for pushing through the hard-as-buggery early stages of getting sober. Learning how to socialise, filling my days, getting through wine o-clock, and the hardest work of all - retraining my brain to stop seeing booze as a good idea. Thank you!

And thank you me for every one of the last 2557 days for being brave enough to deal with emotional stuff and not seek to escape or numb. I am so proud of myself that I have committed to living 100% of the time in the raw. It is a fantastic, grounded, brave, real, honest way to live. And I love it!

No regrets! Sobriety is my new normal and I'm so happy with that. Happy Seven Years to me! Can't wait for the next seven.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Monday, August 20, 2018

Ain't that the truth.

Monday morning and I have just decluttered our downstairs room which was a mess with old CDs everywhere, kids dress-ups, various tools and bits of sporting equipment, swim gear, school art projects, old DVDs.. you get the picture.

I love decluttering!

And this is just the first area of the house that I'm going to deal with. Every day this week I'm going to do a different area which has gotten dusty and crappy and messy. Satisfying.

I've finished my 3-month work contract so now have more time on my hands to get on top of the house, plus get back to the gym and start walking the dog daily again and stuff like that. I let my self-care and some houseewifey jobs slip a bit while I was a busy working mum juggling two jobs and everything else.

But that's over for now - until the next contract comes along at least. And until it does I'm going to enjoy having a bit more time to potter about and get organised and look after myself and the family.

Been a bit of angst around lately as well with some stuff going on (out of my control but worrisome and stressful) but I've been coping with that fairly well. It's interesting for me to note that nowadays in the midst of a crisis I don't for a second hanker for a wine or wish that I could bend my brain with a drug to escape. I just deal with life as it comes - sometimes messily with tears or anger or sugar - but deal with it nonetheless and trust myself that I will cope.

And I always do.

I've taught myself now after nearly 7 years of sobriety that I can handle my emotions, that they're not to be feared or judged or avoided.. they are just emotions. Sadness, anger, worry, frustration, stress.. they're all there for a reason. It's how us humans are made! And I'm very happy to be a fully realised human riding the waves of life as best I can.

Most of all I'm happy to be showing my sons a mum who is well rounded, not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but just dealing with life on life's terms. They can see me up, down and sideways and circling around again. And they will learn by watching me that this is how life goes.

It's not what happens to you, it's how you deal with what's happening to you that counts.

Ain't that the truth.

Love, Mrs D xxx

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