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


  1. I am a 48 year old, sober, yoga instructor and just hit menopause. You have described my symptoms! My anxiety has been horrible the last few months (along with a million other new symptoms) and I have been trying to use my natural tools such as, breathing, gratitude, and mindfulness to get through it. Every little thing raises my anxiety and it is extremely frustrating. I have found some natural herbs to take for it that has helped. But I am sober today and I know that taking that drink will only make things worse. You are not alone on this journey of menopause and sobriety! Peace and serenity to you.

  2. I just saw your book at a book store and was curious to see if you were still blogging

    I find chaste tree really good for raging hormones...

    Haven't found a good pill for anxiety though..

  3. Lovely Mrs D. Thank you so so much. Happy seven and a half years soberversary!!! You totally rock.

    Found your first book through a recommendation, bout it, and have read it six or eight times at least. It's one of my go-to books.

    Alcohol is not my demon. But I am 52, clergywoman, with ageing parents, barely-launched young adults (one on the high-function end of the autism spectrum) and resonate SO MUCH with this post! Thank you thank you thank you.

    Menopause, oh yes. And we are stronger together!

    I live in the US and I apologize for our crapstorm.

    My deepest prayers and sympathies for the awfulness in Christchurch. All I know to do is show up, stand up, speak up, and speak out, and vote. I've been doing that for 37 years.

    Many, many congratulations on not taking that drink, after what happened around Easter weekend, and for not taking that drink today, and for concentrating on mindfulness and self-examination today. For seven and a half years.

  4. PS your second book is next on my list for when I can make a book purchase. Promise.

  5. Hi Mrs D,
    I'm a 34 year old mother of one five year old. I am listening to your book on Audible.
    I've been encouraged by family to write a comment on your blog, for progress. I am still trying to stop drinking. It's hard!
    Would anyone please let me know where I can get support from other like minded people on line?
    Kind Regards

  6. Thank you Mrs D. I read your book then read Jason's Vale book you mentioned in it. Before I had finished it I stopped drinking alcohol. At the moment I am at the beginning weeks of an exciting new life without alcohol. Very excited,happy and proud of my decision

  7. Hi Mrs D, I've just listened to your podcast interview with Janey Lee Grace which i absolutely loved. I read your first book which really resonated with me a few years ago. It's taken a while but i've put myself on a 28 day challenge with 'one year no beer' (UK based but i'm in NZ too).I'm day 12 today and actually feeling pretty awesome (odd cravings aside), definitely going to upgrade to 90 days and potentially go completely AF. Love following your you.

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  9. I have just finished your amazing book. I have read a number of books since quitting alcohol and yours is by far the best and the one I could relate to the most. At some points you could have been talking about me.

    I am only 4 months into my journey but it is books like this that motivate me to keep going .... thank you for sharing, you have made me feel if you can do it then so can I !!! Xx

  10. Hi Mrs. D. I just finished your book. It was so good. I love page 362 where you describe what living sober mean. You and Clare Pooley have inspired me to create my own blog, which has been so helpful in recovery. Thank you.

  11. Thank you so much Mrs. Dr D.I I appreciate you and I am living California and i was find best Sober Living in California this is the best place and rehab treatment so please what are you say about it ?

  12. I am 54 and currently going through menopause. I am well educated, have a part-time job I love, amazing teen/grown kids, a wonderful husband. And I have been sober since Jan. 3, 2020. Today is Jan. 20, 2020. This is my first time sharing/commenting/admitting. I’m scared. I’ve been a closet drinker for seven years. I’m just discovering I’m not alone. I thought I was the only one.

  13. Up to page 139 of your first book. Wednesday will be day 1 for me. And while I will be getting lots of external support (self-referral to A and D service) I can't thank you enough for your book. It resonates. Doctor at the AnD service recommended it to me. Thank you