Monday, September 24, 2012


Crazy busy sober weekend.  Hosted a dinner party here on Friday night with a chef friend taking over my kitchen and doing all the cooking.  It was with a big group of old friends and at one stage I was laughing so hard my cheeks hurt and my mascara was running.

I better be honest and say there was a point at the table later on after pudding where I was just feeling kind of ... well .. sober I guess.  But that's because I was, and am, always.  Sober me.  That's the reality.  But overall it was a great fun night and I tried very hard to appreciate my together state when I cleaned my makeup off at the end of the night and put on night cream (terribly grown up).

Next day up bright and early (couldn't have done that with a hangover!) to take the boys down to the waterfront to ride their scooters.  I love waking up without a hangover and it always makes up for that slightly flat feeling I have in the evening when I am hit with the soberness of everything.  I read somewhere that you never wake up regretting not drinking the night before, and that is so true.

Then Saturday night we went out to a dinner at someone else's house! Another great night, this time meeting people I didn't know before. I am so much more comfortable meeting people when I'm sober all night.  I feel so much more together and happy chatting away with my wits about me (and not worrying that anyone is watching me hit the wines hard like I used to).

Our little guy is 3 today.  I'm so happy for him and the other boys that their mum is no longer a boozer. But I'm also pleased that Mr D can model moderate drinking.  Booze will be a big part of their lives, living as we do in an alcohol-soaked world, so they need to see that it can be enjoyed by some and handled well.  In addition to knowing that for some people (like their mum) it's very hard to control and for those people it's better to remove it completely.

Oh how that makes everything seem so easy! If only it were.  For today at least, it is.  I'm sure some more gritty phases will come.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Seven comforts...

Still thinking heaps about the fact that I'm sober all the time. Kind of over it but for some reason it's pretty front and centre of my mind.  Lately I've been thinking lots about how it's lucky that I actually don't want to drink alcohol.  I said to my dad the other day 'it's not the not drinking that's hard, it's the learning how to live sober that's hard'.

I keep a very clear picture in my mind of that boozer that I was, and it makes me shudder. I always think of how I'd go to the toilet 3-4 times in the evening, progressively getting more and more pissed .. doing the short walk to the loo and then sitting there staring at the back of the door thinking 'I'm pissed'.  So gross.  Stupid solo boozer me.  It was quite a solitary pursuit, my drinking.  Especially in the latter years when I was mostly at home because we had kids and Mr D was a shift worker so going to bed very early in the evening.

I also think how I was always driving and debating whether to buy wine, and always stopping at random bottle shops to grab a bottle or two. I never had stores in the house... had to get on the day what I wanted to drink that night.

I grabbed a random book from the library in the 2 minutes the boys gave me to look.  It's called The Gentle Art of Domesticity and in it the author talks about how the number seven is often a magic significant number in fairy tales (seven dwarfs, ravens, years, brides, sisters, daughters, brooms, wonders and spells).  She then lists the seven things that give her great domestic comfort. A fun exercise.  Here are my seven domestic comforts that give me great pleasure and happiness..(not counting my family, that goes without saying).

1) My bed.  Love it.  Have a new cover that makes it even more heavy and snuggly.

2) The fluffy white rug at the end of our bed.

3) The radio.  It keeps me company. Keeps me stimulated. Keeps me entertained. Keeps me informed.

4) My cookbooks.  A growing collection now that I have really started focusing on teaching myself how to cook better.

5) Gorgeous tea cups.  I have a large collection of tea cups.  They're everywhere.

6) Our rice cooker.  It's new! It cooks rice!

7) Girly stuff.  Jewellery.  Hair products.  Hand creams.  Lotions and potions. Scarves. Nail polish.

I'm working on appreciating all the things that I have, that I love.  Learning how to feel good in a raw state without having to fill up with wine.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Keeping on keeping on

Met my deadline and delivered the draft of my horror chapter to my supervisor on Friday at 4pm.  Was expecting some kind of lovely release but she emailed me back after half and hour with a 'congratulations on meeting another deadline' followed by 'start on the next chapter while you're waiting for my feedback'.  Sigh.  So no let-up in the MA pressure and I'm giving myself 2 weeks to get another chapter drafted.

Have I said before there's nofuckingway I could be doing this study if I was boozing?  Yeah, thought so.

It's kind of a bummer that the longer you are sober the less you appreciate it.  I have to keep reminding myself - Look! No Hangover!  Look! No guilts!  Look! No sick guts!!  Look! No abundance of wine bottles in the recycling bin!

Met an old friend for coffee yesterday morning.  Haven't seen her for 5 years.  It was super lovely catching up and I have to admit really fun telling her my sober news.  She was a bit taken aback at first - surprised and lots of 'so how much were you actually drinking?'  It takes a while for me to explain to friends in those kind of instances why I had to stop and for them to finally nod and get it.  Telling the story of my last night of drinking usually does it.

A Monday night.  We had decided to have an alcohol free night.  Me racing out to get wine while Mr D was out at Keas with the boys.  Driving over the pram in my haste to back out of the car port.  Grabbing two bottles of wine.  Drinking most of one on my own really really fast.  Getting down on my hands and knees and putting it at the back of the cupboard so Mr D didn't know how much I'd had. Him getting home and laughing at how I hadn't managed to have a booze free night. Us drinking the second bottle together.  Me sleeping like crap. Me crying and crying and crying the next day. Me hiding alcohol.  Me out of control.  Me being deceptive. Me being dysfunctional. Me on my hands and knees leaning into the back of the cupboard.

'Where was I going with that behavior?' I ask my friends at that point.  Pause.  'Where was I going?' Pause.

That's when the nod comes and the understanding. Yeah .. you had to stop.

I'm working hard on trying to appreciate the little things every day. Keep it small and lovely.  Keeping on going.  Sober life... year two ... I'm coming at ya....

Love, Mrs D xxx

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Riveting TV

There's an amazing story that has been airing on TV here in New Zealand on a nightly current affairs show. They devoted an entire programme one evening (half an hour) to the story of an alcoholic woman called Charlene. Charlene was very brave to let the cameras in to her house to record her drinking habits, and then follow her as she detoxed for 5 days.  It's pretty raw stuff but handled very well by the reporter, who also interviews her GP, and the detox nurse provided free by an agency here in NZ.

The programme received heaps of feedback .. and the following night they aired a follow-up which informed us that Charlene had gone back to the booze.  So much of what is talked about in here had me nodding and understanding .... so much that I know about this addiction and how hard it is to kick.

I hope these links work overseas - let me know.

There is such a huge problem with alcohol in our society - on the macro level (hospitals, police etc) and the micro level (thousands of individuals and their families), yet much of it goes unspoken. How many families never talk about the huge elephant in the room that is one person's drinking? We watch it escalate, we worry, we talk amongst ourselves but not to the person drinking.

Someone like Charlene has gone a long way down into the addiction - for her there is no avoiding the elephant in the room, her drinking is such that the rest of her life and relationships have all but been halted.  But for the thousands of others who are still 'high functioning' despite the drinking clearly being an issue .. why don't we speak up?  Is it because the line between normal drinking and dysfunctional drinking is so blurred.  When does one person go from being ok to having a problem? How do we measure that?

I know for me the process was gradual, and a lot of it private.  No-one else could hear my sick thought processes regarding my beloved wine (Have I any wine in the house for tonight? I should try and not have any tonight but bugger it I will. Is there enough left in the fridge? I'll just slurp the top down quickly before anyone sees. Just one more before bed. Just one more. Just one more.)

I even had to convince Mr D that I had a problem, and he lives with me!  Heavy steady drinking is so accepted by all of us.  It was only because (thank fucking god) I started saying out loud to myself and a few loved ones 'this is wrong, this is dysfunctional, this has to stop' over and over and over that I managed to get sober (although Mr D can see clearly now that I've taken the wine away what a difference it has made).

I just feel sad.  Sad for Charlene and so many others.  I wish there could be a groundswell of change in our society starting from the bottom up. All of us need to change our attitudes and our opinions.  Going out and getting hammered is not cool. Neither is steady heavy drinking in the home.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Friday, September 7, 2012

Got my wings now...

Had a lovely soberversary.

Rode for an hour on the bike at the gym watching Channel E with headphones on.

Went to posh deli for lots of foodie treats with the little guy in tow (he chose marshmallows and one big green apple).

Had a long hot shower back home and took my time choosing clothes, laying out outfits on the bed (I never do that).

Went online and bought some second-hand cassettes to listen to in the car which has no CD player (The Beatles, Paul Simon and The Cranberries - best I could find).

Had lovely long phone call with my baby sister.

Did puzzles with the little guy on the floor.

Went to scooter park with all the kids after school. Bought nice takeaway coffee.

Ordered Indian takeaways for dinner, me and the boys all ate too much but boy was it yummy.

Kids watched cartoons before bed - big treat.

I finished up on the sofa watching the final of my current favourite Reality TV programme with a mug of green tea and a piece of coconut ice.

Thought about how my life is like a pencil drawing.  Now all sharp edges and clear. Before with wine it was like something had been smudged all over the top of it.

It was an interesting day, emotionally.  Actually I just felt calm and quite at peace.

Yes there are hard times, those sharp edges cut sometimes, but I like it like this.  It's challenging and interesting and ... well frankly I just don't want to go back to being that boozy mum who was so reliant on wine.

Mr D left a present in my top drawer when he went away - texting me from the taxi en route to the airport telling me to go look at it.   A lovely broach, silver with wings.  Wrote me a card which says "On your one year anniversary. I'm very proud of you, you are an inspiration to us all.  You got your wings now."


Love, Mrs D xxx

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I'm not saying goodbye

Phew! Glad I got that out of my system. Man, I'm really sorry that I can't be a shining example of a nice calm sober person who glides through being so serene, happy and contented to have taken away that nasty wine.  I'm not her.  I'm a bloody emotional 40-year-old stressed out by her MA and her three rowdy young sons and hormones and general life stuff.  

Tricky stuff.  Life.  But shit, I'm not going to be a dickhead and say goodbye to the only support network I have.  I don't go to AA and while I like to think that I'm big and hard and strong enough to do anything I want..!  I'm not.  So here I am and here I'll stay.  I might not be so regular at posting because I do have to give birth to 40,000 words of utter genius (my thesis) but I'll stay connected because to do otherwise might be foolish.

Take a look at what Mary said to me after the last post...

"What happens when we sober up Mrs D is that we find ourselves facing the problem of living. Sometimes the problem of drinking to avoid living seems simple by comparison. Life just keeps happening. Good, bad, wonderful, ugly, awful, intense and unstoppable, all of it. But it will get easier and those milestones count. One year is great. You don't want to start all over again, counting from day one. Continuity and sober time means something, little by little we find we are learning how to live, learning how to deal with thesis loneliness, stress, small children, eating patterns, bored brothers-in-law, moving house, publishing books, working at marriage, facing illness, facing success, travelling, making friends, living life to the full. We stop looking for comfort or numbness in external gratifications like smoking and sugar. We look inward and outward, we get better at relationships and work. We ride out the storm again and again."

Why would I say goodbye to that kind of loveliness and wisdom?

I've described sober life before as being like an emotional roller coaster. Monday (the non-punctuation day) was me racing down a steep section with my arms raised my mouth wide open and an ear-splitting scream coming from my mouth.  AAARRRRGGGHHHHHH!!!!!

Today I'm cruising round a gentle corner.  Writing a different section of the current chapter of my thesis, material I'm comfortable with (not like those nasty theorists that had me in a spin on Monday).  Windows open and a breeze flowing through the house.  Mr D packing in the other room ready to go overseas for a week.  Lots of treaty foods in the house for me and the boys to enjoy while he's gone. Heart beating more calmly. Thoughts flowing more freely.

This time last year I was only hours away from my final binge. This time last year I was a boozer. Today I'm not. Roll on tomorrow.

Love, Mrs D xxxx

(here's some extra punctuation to make up for the last post.. ..,,!?";...!! (),,.??!!" ;; " , . , . ,,?"!!"

Monday, September 3, 2012

Punctuation can go jump

too much coffee two a day is all but more compared with the one or none i've been having all my lovely green teas are a thing of the past right now too much sugar as well have been going to bed with a bowl of cereal topped with 3 desert spoons of sugar what the hell is that compensating for the coffee i suppose

classic reactions up and down and up and down spent all day looking at the computer screen trying to write not sure if i achieved much at all felt low teary at times went out to the garage to have a cigarette am i pre-menstrual

saw a photo of my brother in law having a glass of bubbles on holiday relaxing on a deck chair with his sons looked so nice had a pang of course classic reaction to feeling low transfer it all on to the fact i don't drink alcohol started thinking that my sister and brother in law who live near us now think it's boring coming here because it can't be lets have a drink or two energy just come for food but of course i'll be sober coz i'm sober all the time more classic sad pangs about alcohol where really this is just another day in the cycle of life

am i still learning how to live sober i thought i had it nailed so excited about one year have been planning my final post saying goodbye to blogger thinking one year is all i need but now i'm crying writing this i don't think 365 days is any different to 364 or 370 it's just on and on and can i really say goodbye to my friends my only support sherry emailed me today because i commented on her blog that i was feeling blah and i cried while i read her email how can i say goodbye to that i'm silly if i think i'm stronger and bigger than support even if it's faceless support on the computer it's real and warm and necessary anyway i know what sherry looks like she emailed me a photo once she's beautiful

don't even care about the one year in fact i think it's silly to mark it like a big deal it's just another sober day in a long line of sober days my eyes are all red now my boys are asking what's wrong i'm just saying nothing i'm just a bit emotional today and the middle guy just said did you miss us today mum i said yes

too much naval gazing another reason for not blogging any more all me me me all the time struggling to find things to write about outside of just the workings of my head because i'm alone a lot writing my ma and i don't have the same friends network here in my day to day life that i used to have so there aren't a lot of interactions to report on i am getting sick of myself but here i am blahhing on to my computer screen with tears rolling down my face bloody hell i'm going out to the garage to have another cigarette don't think for one second i'm actually going to drink but you know a sober life is more emotional and all that

love mrs d xxx