Sunday, July 28, 2013

Got my sequins on....

I think I hurt my shoulder from all the dancing I did last night - yes!  Lots of hands in the air like you just don't care!!!!!!!!!!! dancing at a friend's 40th. So so so so fun.

Same DJ played last night who played at this wedding in February - he's actually Mr D's cousin and he has a great collection of 80's vinyl, and loads of tunes on his digital collection as well. He played for 3 hours straight and we danced, danced, danced! Boy did we dance. My creaky old body was really feeling the pain by the time midnight hit but still I couldn't stop the dancing...

I'd said to Mr D earlier in the week how totally amazing, how totes amazeballs it is that in the lead up to this party I wasn't in the slightest bit worried that I wouldn't be drinking alcohol. It's incredible to me that because I couldn't control my alcohol and had to take it away I've actually discovered that it's not a necessary part of having a good time.

Last night the venue was spectacular (first floor room right on the waterfront), decorations fantastic (big crepe paper flower-bursty things hanging from all over the ceiling - pink, black and white), food delicious (birthday girls husband is a brilliant chef and kept the delicious nibbles coming all night), drinks yummy (had one red bull then lemonade), crowd super-fun (some of my bestest old friends and some new ones too) and the music! The music!!

The invitation said "feel free to wear something sparkly" and I found this silky number at the Recycled Boutique that had sequined stars on the shoulders ....

And once again happy, happy me driving people home at 1am. Clever sober me. Couldn't see that I was missing out on anything not imbibing booze, nothing at all. Great party.

It's been a busy social weekend actually because Friday night we hosted a pizza night here for some new local friends and some old mates as well - 8 adults and 9 kids in total. We did some disco dancing competitions for the youngsters and had parents in the kitchen all chipping in to keep the home-made pizzas rolling out. Some of the adults were boozing (Mr D bought his dusty bottle of whiskey down from the top shelf) but not everyone and certainly not me.

I know I'm getting repetitive here but forgive me if I am because honestly.... how great it is to have realised that I can live the full, social, fun life I have always wanted to live without needing to pour copious amounts of vino down my throat. Yippee!

Love, Mrs D xxx

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Alcohol's target gun...

I seem to have found myself talking a lot lately about alcohol and my sobriety. One of the by-products of 'coming out' in my normal life about my blog. Loads of friends and family have been reading back over what I went through when I gave up the booze, and I'm getting a lot of warmth and understanding, and comments like 'I didn't realise how hard it was for you' and 'had no clue what you were going through' a lot.

Everyone's being very lovely about it which is good because I do feel a bit strange and vulnerable opening myself up. Although I've been open online from the get-go, in my real life the blog was my safe anonymous haven, my special, secret, go-to place to vent and ponder and explore and examine.

However I do feel good about opening it up. It's got to a point now where if the blog is going to continue I don't want to have to keep it a secret from my loved ones. I'm not ashamed that I got addicted to something addictive, nor am I embarrassed by anything I went through in those tough months before I stopped drinking or the crazy emotional months after. This blog is a big part of my life now and a crucial part of my recovery. And while I'm much stronger in my sobriety than I was at the start I'll always be 'in recovery' and hence think I'd always like to blog, but I don't need it to be a secret safe haven any more.

Sorry that is a bit rambling and I could go on but just felt the need to write that out.

Anyway! One of the things I've been saying a lot to friends lately is how cruel it seems alcohol is to pick and choose who is going to get bitten by the addiction bug. It's like alcohol is a target gun that points it's way through the room going 'you're going to be fine', 'you're going to be fine', 'you're going to be fine', 'you're not - BANG'... and then it shoots you. I got shot. I got addicted. I can't drink moderately. I can't control my intake. I had to take it away.

Mr D on the other hand - he got spared. He's got a bottle of whiskey in the pantry that has been there for about two months. TWO MONTHS! It wouldn't last that long if I were still drinking that's for sure.

I think a big step in getting yourself sober is accepting that you are one of those 'unlucky' people that got shot with alcohol's target gun and just can't control it. We can spend loads and loads of energy trying to control and moderate, or we can just accept that fact - we are the 'unlucky' ones - and then set about retraining ourselves to live without alcohol. The period of 'retraining' takes a while, but once it's done - hey presto! We are free. I know that I am massively over-simplifying a really complex matter but that's the kind of mood I am in today.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Not a drinking holiday

I kinda had this super-clever idea (I thought) for the first blog post I'd do after my holiday. I thought to myself before we left "I'll take photos of all the non-alcoholic drinks I have while I'm away and call the post A Drinking Holiday and put one photo after another of all the drink alternatives I have while away".

What a clever plan, I thought, and away we went!  First evening on holiday my mother-in-law pulls out this fancy and delicious sparkling apple juice from France. The label was all in French and everything. Yum yum. So far so good with my clever-post plan...I snapped a pic...

Next evening I was poured this delicious lemon, lime and bitters cordial mixed with lemonade. It's got bits of peel in it and everything. Great! Another snap taken. Took me about five goes to get this one for some reason. Hard with the phone in one hand and the drink in another. You can see my middle guy through the glass playing a ukulele (arty me).

Um..... and then .. well .. that was it. I took no more photos for the rest of the week! I thought about taking more photos.. but the truth is I wasn't really having any 'alcohol-replacement' drinks. I kind of stopped bothering. Gone are the days when I have to have something in place of the wines at 5 o'clock. Most days I didn't have anything pre-dinner, and just took a glass of water to the dinner table.

And (I can't believe this) I hardly even notice other people drinking any more. I used to feel quite self-conscious when the booze came out and conspicuous in my not-drinking.. but now I hardly register it and if I do it's barely in passing. I certainly don't count the drinks other people are having like I used to. Sometimes I'll catch sight of a glass and think 'jeepers that's a big pour' but the thought passes by pretty quickly. I just don't really care.


I remember my sister telling me ages ago about a guy she knows who is many years sober and how he once told her 'I don't even notice other people drinking any more'. And I thought (skeptically) "Really? That can't be true." I just didn't believe that could happen. Well I think it's slowly happening to me. Hooray!

Just checked and I'm 683 days sober... this is proof should I ever need it that the longer I live sober, the easier it gets. It just gets easier (even when I'm bloody stressed with loads of stuff going down and not sleeping very well but I won't bother going into details about all of that!).

Love, Mrs D xxx

Friday, July 12, 2013

Doctors doctors...

There's a doctor who writes a weekly column in my local paper, and in this week's one he's writing all about alcohol and all the ill effects it has on people and our society.

It's full of lines like; "I doubt that alcohol would ever be allowed to be licensed for use if an application were to be made now" and "It has been estimated that a sixth of all adults are drinking excessively to the point of having physical and mental negative effects" and "there are definite links between alcohol and bowel cancer in men and women" and "alcohol has a significant effect on our cultural behaviour: driving, unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, suicide and all manner of injuries and deaths".  You can read the full article here. There's not a lot of light with his shade.

He also says; "it has been said that young people should not touch alcohol at all before the age of 18 because their brains are still maturing and damage can occur."Well holy shit-balls I started boozing enthusiastically at 15... maybe that's why I didn't get an A+ for my thesis!!

My lovely nurse friend down country also sent me an article written on a doctors website where this rural doctor writes about how he asks all his patients how much they drink and says "It is the sheer volume of daily consumption that some ordinary patients regard as normal (and by implication, harmless) that has staggered me." A bottle of wine a night, he says, is what a lot of people drink regularly and consider totally fine.  It's not. Women should not have any more than 10 standard drinks a week and no more than two in any one day. Men should have no more than 15 standard drinks in a week and in any one session no more than three drinks (so says the doctor).

And check your pours.. I was gobsmacked when I measured out the official 'one standard drink' and poured that into my wine glass. What I thought was one wine was actually more like 2 1/2.

I just can't get my head around this world of ours awash with boozers and can't for the life of me imagine this big boozy ship turning itself around. Are we doomed, this human race, of always glug glug glugging our way through life..? Or will there actually be a monumental shift in attitude towards alcohol like their has been towards smoking? It just seems such a widespread and entrenched problem.. and such a murky area (when does normal healthy drinking turn into dysfunctional unhealthy drinking?) that frankly my brain aches.

Perhaps I should stop worrying about all the boozers in the world and just focus on my own sobriety.

On a lighter note we're off on holiday today to our home town. A lovely week spending time with tons of friends and family. My non-drinking is pretty accepted now and my lovely mother-in-law even emailed to check about using alcohol in cooking (she's planning a delicious prawns with fried rice meal for tonight). How great is that! I said use away, it's fine so long as it's cooked down.

Back in a week.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Thesis mark!

I wear two necklaces together every day. One is a black locket and the other a simple silver disk with a dandelion on it.

I think they look pretty cool, but also they're secretly both very meaningful and every morning when I put them on I feel like they're strength-giving.  The locket has a photo of my grandparents in it, and the disk has my sobriety date on the back (I had it made from a great local crafty website).

My grandparents have been a huge influence in my life. They loved me hugely and unconditionally, even when I was a shitty teenager doing what shitty teenagers do. I used to go there every Thursday night for dinner in my last year at school. It was my job to make the drinks on arrival - gin and tonics from the sideboard over by the kitchen door. My grandmother would be in the kitchen fixing dinner and my grandfather far away over by the fireplace in his arm chair. So I'd pour the gins and mine would be at least 50/50 if not more (that is more gin to tonic). I could hardly drink it without puckering up my face but I don't think they ever noticed. I'd roll out of there with a nice buzz on. Age 17ish and already very fond of the effect alcohol had on my brain. I was destined to be an alcoholic - I have always loved the effect of booze.

Anyway my grandparents never saw me get sober. My beloved grandfather died when I was living in London. I seem to remember drinking a lot of whiskey to help with the grief and deep sadness.

My grandmother died only 7 months before I got sober. I still miss her very much.

My grandmother was the reason I decided to do my Masters. I think I was moaning to her a few years back about how parenting, while immensely rewarding in many ways, is also somewhat mind-numbing in other ways. She said "I think you should do some more study, keep going with that research you're interested in". She put the thought in my head - a thought that grew into an idea that became a reality.

I did my masters research part time over 2 years while also parenting. I got sober after I'd gathered my data but before I started writing. I don't know how I would have managed to do it if I was still boozing enthusiastically like I used to. As it was I had to get a summer extension to finish because we had to relocate cities when I was in the middle of the writing phase.

I finished the damn thing with Mr D travelling away a lot with his new job and the kids on their extended summer holidays. It was bloody hard. My data was strong but I found forming the academic argument very challenging. However with a gritty determination, a sober lifestyle, a very supportive husband and a brilliant supervisor I managed to get the thing done.  Now finally 4 months after delivery I have received my mark.

Yes!! I am soooo happy!!!!!!! I know my grandparents would be so proud of me. I celebrated on Friday night with some lovely deli treats (fancy pate, tapenade and crackers, ginger crunch and a beautiful syrupy lemon, honey and ginger cordial). No champagne. But the natural high was so much better.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Something really cool happened today!!

I went and met a blog reader in person!! A lovely, strong, wonderful, brave woman who has also managed to kick a nasty drinking habit to the curb - yes!

It was so cute, we've been emailing sporadically for a while and knew we were in the same city.. and she wrote recently that she hardly knew anyone who didn't drink (it's rare in our society) so then I was like 'do you want to meet for a coffee sometime?' and she was like 'sure!' and I was like 'what about the cafe at the library?' and she was like 'sounds good!' and I was like 'how about next week' and she was like '10.30 on Wednesday is good' and I was like 'I'll wear a red scarf' and she was like 'I'll wear an orange one!!' ....

I felt a bit nervous as I walked in and saw her sitting with her back to me.. all stylish and cool with an orange top on and an orange scarf.. so I took a big breath and walked over with my coffee, leant down and said 'hi are you ...?' and she was like 'yes!' and then we had a big hug....

Fast forward and hour and a half later and we'd hardly drawn breath. How totally cool to just look someone in the eye and be able to share sober living stories...

And this woman is really amazing .. she is about 8 months sober and hasn't really had anyone at all to talk to about it.. just dug deep and did it on her own and with the help of reading blogs. Just goes to show how powerful this interweb thingy really can be. We are going to meet again for coffee and plan something fun for her 1 year sober-versary on October 27th. That won't be long after my 2 year sober-versary on September 6.

Here's a pic of our empty cups just to show my story is can just see a glimpse of an orange elbow resting on the table in the background!

Here's to all the fabulous sober women in the world!  Oh and yes the fabulous sober men as well! Here's to all of us!!

Love, Mrs D xxx