Friday, September 16, 2016

A reader seeks advice....

Last week I travelled to Rotorua to attend the Cutting Edge addiction conference. It was AWESOME!!! I really loved it. Such a treat to get to sit and listen to people talk about a subject that is absolutely 100% in my wheel house.

The theme of the conference was 'transformation' and there were loads of people sharing about their own journeys in recovery. I cried more than once - boy had some of them experienced incredible turnarounds. I also learned heaps and made some great connections. So glad I went.

I also got to meet an awesome lady who was 29 YEARS sober (!!), she was my Air BNB host, an artist and very smart and cool. I also hooked up with some lovely community members from Living Sober who were having a meet-up in the area at the same time. All in all it was a great wee break from my normal life.

My normal neighbourhood life has NOTHING to do with recovery and addiction. This trip away was EVERYTHING to do with recovery and addiction. I feel hugely enriched from the trip.

Home now and back into the grind, working like a demon on my new book. I have a ridiculously tight timeframe and desperately want to meet it but am not sure if I will. Every spare moment when the boys are at school I am writing, with only a short break in the day to walk the dog (which feels annoying to have to do but is probably good for me).  Mr D is traveling away for a week on Saturday and then it's the school holidays.. so I'm going to be super-busy doing household/parenting stuff on top of the work.

But it's ok. I can only do what I can do and I don't want to be a stressed-out nightmare of a mother so if the deadline has to be stretched then so be it!

This new book is a follow-on memoir .. covering the next-stage of my recovery (mindfulness and stuff). It's harder to write than the first one. But I'm happy with how it is coming out so far.

On another note I have just received a comment from a reader on an old post from August and thought I would re-post it here so that maybe some of you lovely readers could reply to this person. (if you are reading this post on email you'll need to visit my blog so you can reply!).

I would love to hear your advice for this person as I know there is much wisdom floating around this online space....

I wonder if any of your readers have felt the same way as I do now? I have been drinking steadily for 15 years and have been contemplating giving up booze and living a healthier lifestyle as I feel so totally rotten and unhappy. I made that decision last weekend and have now been sober for a week - maybe it is early days and all the nasties have yet to come out of my system but I still feel miserable, tired and very vunerable. I think the drink may have covered up something that was missing in my life, a big hole that is still not filled - how do you find that? I feel that if I don't find what it is then I could easily start drinking again because I am not feeling great like so many others have mentioned on the blog. Am I being too impatient? Has anyone any suggestions or hints? I would be very grateful to hear them, thanks :-)

Leave a comment below and hopefully they'll see your reply.

And now I'd better get back to writing!

Love, Mrs D xxx


  1. In the early stages of cutting off booze, it may feel like there is a big gap in your life and maybe there is. But the booze is like a pseudo filler. It isn't real and it will take your attention away from pursuing your passions. The first 10 days were incredibly difficult for me. Withdrawals and trying to scrounge together any bit of work that I could to survive. It was tough. But, after you get all of that out of your system, you're going to have room to let the real you back in. I'm not sure when it hit me or on what day but I went from waking up in the morning, work, dying to get off of work so I could get back home and drink, drink and pass out to an entirely different world. I got a new job, I moved out of the state (USA) and once things stabilize here, I want to take self defense classes, maybe go for my pilot's license, travel and all sorts of different adventures that had gotten lost inside of me. Those are inside of you as well. Give it time. The little devil on your shoulder will try to convince you that booze will make you whole but it only has the power to destroy. Best wishes to you and congrats on the beginnings of your journey! -soberorbust

  2. Like you, removing alcohol from my daily life felt like it left a huge hole. Drinking was kind of like being in a nice warm bath every night, and quitting felt like suddenly pulling the plug, leaving me shivering and alone. It was scary not having my main booze tap to turn on and fill up my tub. But what I found was that slowly but surely, warm water started to trickle into my bathtub again, from lots of tiny taps that I didn't realize were always there, and gradually my bathtub filled up again. Small, ordinary, things, like that first rich cup of coffee every morning, a walk in the rain with my dog, a hug from a friend, or a ripping Netflix series. I am 2 years sober now, and my life is rich with simple little sober pleasures. In time you will find your bathtub gradually filling up too. Hang in there, it's going to getter better.

  3. As they say in AA drinking is only a symptom so in other words there is a reason why we drink so much to try and fill a void that we are not even sure what it is. I suggest really working on yourself. Get with a counselor or get in a recovery group so they can help you and give you tools to help you along your journey. I have worked hard for one year and 6 months on why I drank and finding myself. I am not even close to being done and I don't think I will ever be done because we spend our lifetime trying to improve ourselves. All I know is that if I go back to drinking I will erase everything I have been working on and will go back to feeling like shit physicallyl, mentally, and spiritually.

  4. I have learned that drinking was but a symptom of my disease. In my experience, just stopping drinking doesn't 'cure' my problem. My real problem is a spiritual one. Judging by the void you feel, I think you may relate. I used alcohol to fill a spiritual void. If you examine your spiriutal life, what makes your soul happy, maybe you can start filling that void with empowering and esteemable things: hobbies, socializing, excersize. I know a 12-step program has made the difference for me, and I recommend it to anyone who is in your position. To anyone who has a "desire to stop drinking."

  5. pinkynel is right on about the simple pleasures of life, the joy that is always present. The addictive voice can tell me that those simple pleasures and even the big pleasures are "not enough" and the thinking spins into "I'm not enough" and "there's never enough", and it seems so real that I believe the only thing that will give relief is to drink. Here's a good practice that can serve you well in early recovery and for the rest of your life, developed by Alan Marlatt, a psychologist who was a pioneer in compassionate treatment for addiction:

    Stop: pause for a moment and consider what you are doing. Timeout.

    Observe: What’s going on with me? Think about what you are sensing, feeling and experiencing, mentally and physically. What events/situation preceded the urge/lapse? Environmental triggers, person/place/event?

    Breathe: take a few deep slow breaths (abdominal). Give yourself some breathing room. Don't rush it.

    Expand your awareness and remind yourself of what will happen if you keep repeating the unwanted behavior and how you will feel afterward. No shaming, just review and examine behavior and consequences.

    Respond mindfully: Make note of your intention. Remember that
    - you have a choice
    - you are not powerless
    - you don't have to continue the undesired behavior.
    Renew your commitment.

  6. Same situation arose in my case too. While i was in recovery,i experienced physical discomfort.One situation was "can i have one drink" but i didn't let relapse keep me down.At that time i changed my mindset and decided for a drug free life.I consulted professionals who help me in overcoming this situation.Treatment also helped me out.Now i am under recovery and experiencing a drug free life.

  7. Thank you all for your comments,,I am usually a very strong person and can do most things I put my mind to but feel this is going to be a very long journey and possibly the most difficult thing i have ever done,, i will keep reading your encouraging blog and all the comments and hope that things will improve,, keep up the good work kind peeps :-)

  8. Last night visited the seductive after 3.5 days, didn't find the alcohol as good a friend! So now to getting back onto alcohol free and living.