Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Re-working the brain..

My big thing after I took the wine away was that while I didn't want to be a miserable boozer any more I most certainly did not want to be a miserable NON boozer either. I couldn't bear the thought of spending the second half of my life feeling like I was missing out, not going out, not having fun with friends, not laughing or dancing or talking shit at parties.

So that's what I worked really hard on and still work on to this day. I'm trying to articulate this process now in my book writing and have gone and ordered the two books that I remember being the most influential to me in those early days - Allen Carr's 'The Easy Way to Stop Drinking' and Jason Vale's 'Kick the Drink - Easily!' (it kind of irks me that he's put an exclamation mark in his book title for some stupid reason, but then that's the kind of guy I think he is. Actually I can't complain, I love a good exclamation mark!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)..

These books are actually bloody hard to get, not available at any of the stores or libraries in my city so I had to track down second hand copies on Amazon. The Jason Vale one is going to take weeks to arrive (hopefully before my deadline). Allen Carr arrived this week (great excitement!) and I opened it to discover it's full of someone else's underlining and comments throughout. This is the inside cover.

I've been wondering who this person is with their weird scripty handwriting, when did they read this book and write these notes to try and stop drinking? There must have been millions of humans over the decades who have tried to do what we are all trying to do - live a great life with no alcohol added.

So anyway my big thing was/is to try and rework my brain so that I won't be a miserable git sitting at home like a boring sober loser. I wanted to go to bars and laugh with my friends and go to weddings and cut it up on the dance floor to cheesy pop tunes and I wanted to huddle outside on the balcony at parties and rant madly and I wanted to do all of that without the wine messing me up.

The bottom line is, I think we don't have to miss out on anything. I think if you think very hard about the scene you are entering into .. think about all the elements that are there, the people, the setting, the atmosphere, the food, the music, the friendship, the giggles, the gossip etc etc and focus on those - those are the things that make an occasion special. It shouldn't have to matter that the glass you hold has lemonade not champagne in it. 

It takes a bit of work to get this and sometimes you hit the jackpot and have a blinder of a night! Sometimes you just break even and the night is just fine, and sometimes you lose out and do feel a bit flat and sober and go home feeling a bit low (but it's never that bad in the overall grand scheme of things.) And whatever the case, I never, ever wake up in the morning regretting not having drunk the night before (unlike the waves of drinking regret that used to dominate my life).

The sun is shining and I've got a child free day so will get busy with the laptop! 

Love, Mrs D xxx

P.S. Quick Whole30 update. I'm on Day 8. It's amazing. I feel great. Not in the least bit hungry because I'm eating a lot, just veges and eggs and meat and fruit and not crappy easy stuff. Love it. I am having to take a little extra time planning what I am going to eat but I really do feel lighter and happier. That's the crazy bit. This is not just physical but really works emotionally as well. I feel positive, not negative. Duh, can't believe I'm only just cottoning on to the 'what you eat affects your moods' concept. Good one Mrs D. 


  1. I'm glad your whole30 is going well! Whole foods are really filling :)

  2. Honestly I am by default a bit of a miserable git. However without drink I have a choice on how I interact with things, the world, people, life! These days I just get on with life on much better terms than before.

  3. Addictive drinking seems to take us into ourselves, not reach out to others. So what's really going on in social situations when we drink? Maybe a lot of people who drink socialize to have something to wrap around the drinking. We have our regular events, Friday night happy hour and the like, and what we are anticipating is not being with people, it's the high. It may be more subtle than we imagine. So we are consciously thinking, when I'm sober I won't be fun anymore, when the addictive voice speaks, it's saying when I'm sober and I can't get my fix, what's the reason to bother to go? Hope this makes a bit of sense. Thank you Mrs. D, for all you do for us.

  4. I wish you would have put a post out that you were looking for the books because I definitely would have given you both of my copies (in exchange for a copy of your future book!!). I had wanted to give them to my uncle who struggled with drinking for many years. I wanted him to know that there was life without alcohol. Unfortunately, I never did give him the books and he passed away this spring (because of booze). I worry about how boring I am without boozing, but am really far more content with myself being sober, healthy and alive!

  5. I guess some nights are duds whether you are drinking or not! I don't like being around excessively drunk people when I am sober (which is soooo hypocritical, I know), so it makes certain events hard. I love live music, though, so I want to find a way to enjoy it sober in the future. Glad there is hope for an outgoing social life sober! I am going to take it slow. Best, Jen

  6. You're such my sober social hero! That said, things have been getting easier for me in that respect lately. Not easy, but progress has been made. Spiritual progress, not spiritual perfection, right? And it's nice to meet another exclamation mark hater! i used to preach against them and refuse to use one regardless the cost, but i actually started using them again, and not so sparingly either, when i got sober. Weirdness abounds!

  7. Jason Vale's book is available as an eBook. Check it out...!%27

  8. Hello, reading your comments were slightly comforting. I am fed up with the sugary stuff, need to do something XXX Bri

  9. Oh Mrs D, you so often manage to articulate the things that concern me about sobriety and give them a positive spin that lives me feeling inspired. I can't wait to read your book.

    I feel all these things and it's one of my biggest struggles in sobriety. And, to be honest, at many times over the last months I have felt boring and quiet and a bit of sober losery at times. Those times I haven't wanted to go out because I can't face being in a bar and not drinking or when I am and it's all too much and I have to escape at 10pm and go home to bed and herbal tea.

    But, more and more I trust that these things will come in time. That I've had/have to do what I have to do to get/stay sober. That the benefits still outweigh the cons.

    And, like you, I've had a mix of great, good, meh and blah nights out sober. I do believe it gets easier in time and posts like this really help me keep that faith.

    Thank you,

    Lilly x

  10. That was really interesting Mrs D - I think you're right, whether or not you have a good night depends on your mindset not how much booze you've consumed. And yet so many people seem to equate fun with alcohol. What do you make of those people who try to force you to drink just because they need to drink to have a good time? I find them incredibly annoying and counterproductive!!

    1. What do I make of people who try to force you to drink? Um.. that they're not very thoughtful. That they're not thinking about you at all. That they don't understand why you are not drinking? That they think the only way to have fun is to get drunk? This is a tricky one because should you need to work doubly hard to show them that you can have fun without getting drunk? What happens if the reality is that you can't have fun with them without being drunk, in which case there is a problem with the friendship I would have thought.. dunno.. what does everyone else think... maybe I should put this up in a new post...

  11. This is precisely what I tell people around these parts - you aren't losing something, you are *gaining* something. You are bang on when you talk about not missing out. Miss out on what again? Acting the jerk, hangovers, increased isolation, self-pity jags, health issues, emotional staggers, etc. I don't miss those, thank you. This is where the leap of thinking needs to come in - we are not a glum lot. We can have fun without the booze. And for any newcomer who reads that might look at us like we have three heads, but that's the truth! <----exclamation mark.

    If I continued the second half of my life constantly thinking I am getting the short end of the stick, well, that is how my life is going to turn out. I am going to be irritable, discontented and restless. I am always going to be wondering what's going on on the other side of the fence, rather than tending to my own lawn and growing a beautiful and bountiful garden. That's how I see it, at least these days :)

    Blessings and great to hear about your food progress.


  12. I read Carr's book, and I came away with this: POISON! Thoughts that alcohol is anything other than toxic to your mind and body are an illusion. It's toxic to everybody, each sip. That "relaxing" feeling I believed I had is a toxic reaction to the poison, not a "benefit" of drinking. One way to approach recovery - Think skull and crossbones!