Monday, 13 October 2014

My mission statement

It's been a couple of weeks I know, but I've been busy.  Busy having a wonderful trip snowboarding with my daughter, busy on Living Sober, busy with our gorgeous wee nephew, and yes, like normal - busy back at work.  But, while I was away with my daughter I started to do some really deep thinking about what I want from my life. 

I started reading "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey (oldie but a goody) in an effort to get more control of my work life.  What I was not expecting was a book that is very much about understanding your values, your whole of life ... everything that is important to you, not just work.  It has impacted me deeply, got me thinking about who I want to be as a person, and where my priorities lie.

One of the things Covey gets you to do is work out your own mission statement.  It's taken me a while, and it's still in draft, but I decided I would like to share it with you here.  It is in place to guide me in the daily actions I take.


In all that I do I am loving and kind, I can be trusted.  I am a leader of people and will continually work to improve the world around me.  Where ever I go there will be laughter and fun.

As a mother - I am a confidant, friend and mentor.
As a partner - I am her biggest fan, her lover, her best friend.
As a daughter, sister, aunt - I am a constant dependable love
As a friend - A dependable source of care
As a leader - I am a servant to personal development
As an employee - a star
As a thought leader - I am creative, courageous and collaborative.  It is not about me.
As a scholar - I will continually improve my mind
As an athlete - A tough and fit off road veteran
A homemaker - my home is welcoming and warm

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Exercise ..... how I do it

I have just got home from a fantastic night ride (mountain bike, big fuck off lights) up Makara Peak, which is a mountain bike park in Wellington.  While I was up there  I was thinking about how thankful I am that I love mountain biking so much - that it brings me such joy and peace.  I also love to run (on a good day), and like riding it stills my mind.  Exercise has done wonders for my mental and physical health.

Then I got to thinking about so many of you who I have come to know through sober blogging who want to exercise, wish they could exercise, or simply know they ought to exercise ... but just find it too hard.  I was thinking about what makes it hard, and what advice or hints I might have that might help in some way.

An important thing to know about me first, is that I was not the fit or sporty type.  I was the kid that got picked last for all the school sports teams, and I was very overweight from my mid teens through to my mid twenties.  Yes,  I can show you some real fat photos!  I only got skinny when I travelled through the Middle East, India and Nepal on a diet of cigarettes, alcohol and drugs.  Hardly the picture of health!  I returned to New Zealand skinny and sick looking, a heavy drinker and smoker.  And it wasn't until a year or so after that, that I quit smoking, and started getting fit.

What happened next is another story, which involves a few years of competitive running, an affair with my coach and a beautiful baby .. but I will leave that story for another day.  But what is important is the things I learned about getting exercise into my life, and keeping it there.  I'll tell you about them, and maybe someone will find something helpful.

  1. Try and find an exercise you enjoy.  This is hard at the beginning because if you are unfit, you wont really enjoy anything.  If that's the case, then try and find an exercise you THINK you will enjoy.  Outdoorsy? Maybe run.  Like music? Maybe dance.  You get the drift.
  2. Understand that the first 3 months might be shitty.  If you are really unfit, whatever you are going to do is not going to feel great at first.  You have to break through the unfitness to start enjoying, and that can take a while.  So set yourself mini goals and mini rewards, and then one day you will  suddenly find yourself enjoying it.
  3. Find a goal.   A big friendly running event, a tramp with a friend, a local milonga you want to tango at.  Just try and find something that you can put out there to try and work toward.
  4. Get a coach.  It doesn't have to be a paid coach.  It can be a friend like me who helps you set a bit of a programme, then checks in on you once a week.  If they are nice and friendly, they will go along with you from time to time!
  5. Join a group if you like that sort of thing. In Wellington for instance there are all sorts of "meet up" groups you can get involved with.  There is a Tuesday night "get off your bum and run" event for beginners which sounds fun.  You can just post in the meet up groups too and say "does anyone want to run with me?".  There's tons of other meet up groups, it doesn't have to be about running.
  6. The old running adage goes: "The hardest part is putting your shoes on".  This is entirely true and has been the total key for me.  Sometimes when things were at their worst for me and I did not even want to move let alone run, I would put on Sinead O'Connors "Troy" really loud and really angry.  I would sing and yell and cry to it, but at the same time promise myself that by the end of the song my running shoes would be on - and they always were.  Then I would run out that door and usually the anger and sadness would melt away.
So, I don't know if any of these suggestions will help any of you guys, but I just wanted to share from my experience.  Exercise has changed my life for the better, and if there is anything I can do to help any of my friends along, I will.  

P.S. here's  "Troy".  You might get a sense of some of my pain and anger in my youth when you listen to it.  I tell you what though, play it real loud, scream and yell and put your running shoes on, it works ...... xx

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Shit days are best left behind

I'm away for work again, and to be frank I'm really over it today.  I love my job, and I work fucking hard at it.  But today's trip felt like a bit of a tipping point.  I had a particularly tough meeting that made my nerves pop a bit, and right now everywhere I turn workwise I feel like I'm on the edge of something not very good.  I came home to my cheap but clean motel (we are a charity, we don't do flash) and ordered fish n chips to be delivered to my room.  I am sure most people would be pleased, but when my salmon and steamed veges turned up I was more than disappointed.  I wanted comfort food dammit!

So I made myself a cup of tea, ran a bath and had a soak.  I'm now in bed about to watch a favourite TV show I missed via DEMAND.

So what is the point of this post?  Nothing I expect, apart from the fact that there just are shitty days, and that's OK.  Nothing really bad happened, booze wont make it better, and it will probably make it worse.  It's time now to do some simple  "looking after me."

Good night my friends, and good night Sober Me.  You keep on looking after you. xx

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Day 60 - a quiet milestone

Day 60.  Wow.  I am quietly contemplative about it.  You see, I have done two day 60's before, both of them part of controlled breaks where I took some time off drinking to prove I didn't have a problem.  Never once in those times did I think of this as a forever thing.  So now I sit here, another day 60, and because it IS a forever thing my life is changing.

I've had a lovely day.  I got up early and worked from home which I find a real treat when I have lots on.  It means I can start early, stay in my jammies, drink coffee and get copious amounts done without interruption.  I love it.  By midday I had got through tons, so went out the door and met a friend for a run in the sun.  What a joy. On our run we bumped into another mutual friend and we all got chatting about the things we are going to do next.  Funny, I met them quite separately, and there we were on the sidewalk, all talking about things we can do together: this is being part of a community.

So that is where my contemplation took me, "community." A lot of my work is about connecting people who have been disenfranchised back up to their communities, and I know that I am privileged to have love and support from a large and diverse group of people. Not everyone does.

I sit here on day 60 sober because I am loved.  I have a partner that has been by me every step of the way, and friends who have not for one moment made it hard.  I have met some wonderful people through a the mere 60 days I have been blogging (has it really only been that long girls?) and now more through Living Sober.  Right now I am just so happy and grateful.  Thank you everyone. xx


Sunday, 7 September 2014

I don't need it

I have had the most brilliant weekend, and I think it is finally beginning to click: I really don't need this drug, it does nothing for me.

I landed on Friday night (I'd been away for the week) to my beautiful girlfriend waiting for me with poppies in her hand.  She too had been away, and had taken the flowers from her hotel room for me - carted them the whole way back without crushing them - and there she was, beautiful and waiting.  We went and picked up our little girl, and our whole family collapsed into a lovely warm evening and weekend.

I made a self preserving decision to not do any work on Saturday, and it was lovely.  We simply hung out as a family.  I swear I was still in my jammies by 1pm!  We finally emerged from the house at 3pm to do a little shopping, and by 7.30pm we were totally glammed up, the little one dropped off at a friend's, and at a friend's party.

So this is where the rubber should have hit the road huh?  A party full of drinkers and I wasn't drinking?  Well guess what -   I was relaxed and happy, looking and feeling great, and surrounded by people I love.  Many of our friends are entertainers (lucky us) so the night was full of performance.  We were laughing and clapping and dancing.  My god, how can you NOT have fun when a very talented ukelele player / singer is performing a song about the Peach Teats sign on State Highway One?

The brilliant night ended with me driving home, happy and full of friendship.  A nice deep sleep only to be followed by a Sunday brunch for another friend's birthday (it seems to be the weekend for it).   More mingling and laughter, more hugs and wonderful long talks.  Our life is rich and full of diverse people.

I finished my day by heading to the hills, my favourite place to be.  And I really do not even need to ask the question "what would alcohol have added to my weekend?" because I know the answer.  Nothing, absolutely nothing.  I don't need it.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

A new sober identity

For the last few days I have been immersed in some very special training focussed around social inclusion and community building.  Today we talked in-depth about social roles and the sense of identity they bring with them; how important it is to us all to feel valued in some way: "I am a mother", "I am an athlete", "I am an artist."

It suddenly struck me that I can continue to dislike the fact that "I cannot drink" and somehow feel apologetic about it, or I can embrace it and celebrate it.  I can make it part of who I am and stand proud.  "I am a non drinker".  Hear that?  Proud.

So yes, that is the decision I have made today.  That I am a non drinker, it is who I am, and it is something I embrace and celebrate.


Tuesday, 2 September 2014

I think I have been lying to myself

I really really need to write this, because I need to tell myself the truth about my drinking - then come here and read that truth whenever I start lying to myself again.

I have been telling myself over the last few weeks that my drinking wasn't that bad.  I have been comparing the amount I drank to Mrs D's drinking days ( I am sure I didn't drink as much as her) and others on Living Sober.  I have been wondering if I ever really had a problem, and telling myself that maybe I could and should drink in moderation.

I don't want to delve in the far past where I can dig out dirty stories on myself and convince anyone listening that I should never drink a drop again - as I could easily put that down to the silliness of youth. Instead I want to look at the very recent past, tell the truth to myself so I can visit that truth when I need to.

Truth #1
A counsellor helped me admit three years ago that I was drinking too much. The cold hard fact is that I had become very thin from it (unhealthy thin).  She said she had seen it before, women drinking and not eating, and when they were eating, not absorbing nutrients well.  I was drinking enough for it to impact my physical health visibly.

Truth #2
When I gave up drinking that time (I took a "break" to prove I could) -  I itched all over for about three days.  I had been drinking enough to suffer a physical withdrawal.

Truth #3
After going back to drinking, then subsequently moving in with my partner, my drinking was more controlled than it had been before.  These are the even more recent days, when I can probably say my drinking wasn't THAT bad.  But here's the biggest clincher of them all - one night when I was opening a second beer I saw fear in my partners eyes.  It was just a flicker, but it was there.  My drinking was causing my family fear.

There are many other truths, many other moments, but for me these are the three I need to remember.  My health was impacted, I had physical withdrawals when I wasn't drinking, and I was causing fear in those I love.

That's enough to keep me sober forever.

Lots of love to you all.


Saturday, 30 August 2014

Finding a new balance

I sit down this morning to write, and I feel that I don't have anything new or interesting to say really.  I have a terrible cold (and am being very whiney about it), am working my ass off, and haven't been for a run or cycle in two weeks, which makes me very very grumpy.  I've had a couple of pink cloud days (where's the rest of those fuckers?) and many many days that I have wanted a drink.

So what is there to say?  What is my message to myself?  I guess it is this: that life is life and not drinking has changed everything and nothing.  Sobriety is only one part of looking after myself, and in my case, probably the most important part.  This does not mean other things should be neglected.

The important factors in my life

My family
Then: Drinking meant I was not present
Now: Still need to work on patience and kindness

My work:
Then: Drinking meant I was not at 100% capacity
Now: It is easy to work all of the time, this is not healthy

Then: Drinking dictated when I was well enough to go
Now: I need routines that remove other excuses and still allow it to fit in my life

Then: If I was unwell, it was usually due to drink
Now: I will be unwell sometimes, I need to be kind to myself, keep warm and work less

Anxiety (this is the big one)
Then: Drink dulled it
Now: I need new ways of managing it.

I think what I am saying is that part of this journey for me is going to be about finding a new balance.  Stripping away the drinking is revealing other areas that need addressing in looking after myself.  I think it might be time for a  "get well me" plan.

Monday, 25 August 2014

My skin

I am not even close to comfortable in my new sober skin yet.  I know I want to be, but I am not there.  I feel moments of happiness at being sober, but a lot of the time I feel irritable, awkward (at social occasions especially) and to my surprise a bit angry.

Thinking about "my skin", and my body as a canvass have been part of my thought processes for many years.  Natalie Merchant, on her album "Ophelia" sings the most amazingly haunting song, My Skin:

Oh, I need
The darkness
The sweetness
The sadness
The weakness
Oh, I need this
Every time I listen to this (right now in fact) I just want to retreat somehow, into some sort of darkness, hurt and anger.  I can't really describe it.  But what I do know, is that I KNOW it and I am comfortable hiding deep down with it (until the pressure builds too much, then I freak out at those closest to me).

So why am I writing about this right now?  I am wondering if just like when Mrs D found that she had been hiding an emotional person - maybe I've hiding an angry one?  I have just found myself so fucked off recently.  Explosive anger if my daughter or partner get something wrong, even more explosive if I do.  Angry at people in my past (it was a woman who broke my heart who gave me this song in fact, so much for her "face saving promises"), angry at the news, angry at anyone really (so watch out).

It's OK.  I know what to do.  I know to breathe, to learn, to live and let this new sober way of life grow up around me.  I know that I will learn to deal with this without alcohol, and that it will be OK.  It's just not that easy right now though.  I'm not comfortable yet, in this skin,

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Drinking and identity

I have been thinking a lot recently about how much of my identity has been wrapped up in being a "good time drinker".  People know me as the one who will always have a drink with them, the one you can talk into opening a bottle at lunch (or breakfast for special occasions). I've got all the crazy drunk stories,  and with me you'll always find a beer / wine / whisky ... I can be counted on.  I am so damn FUN!

But is this really my identity? Is it how others see me?  Is it really the identity I want?  Is this how I would like to be remembered one day?

Well let me tell you who I am, and we can decide if "drinker" is required.  I am fun, and sometimes funny. I am smart(ish) and a leader of sorts.  Fit.  Queer. A mother.  I am a partner, I am a boss, I am a student. I am a friend (a good one).  I am a sister and a daughter. I am a citizen.  I am a diverse and interesting person.  I may even be an alcoholic. I am not a drinker.

.... funny, that last little sentence doesn't take away from who I am at all! Perhaps, just perhaps, it makes me more interesting.


Thursday, 14 August 2014

Day 33 - My tattoo

A good amount of my back is tattooed.  From my left shoulder, down my back, coiling into my ribs and left hip.  It took three sessions to complete the tattoo, each about two hours long.   I was so excited in the design and planning phase that when the needle first hit, the excitement carried me through the pain.  However, as the hours dragged on and that needle reached my ribs, there was a point when I knew that if I took a break like the tattooist offered, I would simply walk away and never come back. So I stayed.

I adore my tattoo. It was painful and hard, but if it hadn't had been those things it would not be so important.   It serves as a symbol of another difficult journey in my life, when I finally gave myself permission to live my life as I truly am.

So now I face something new which is not easy.  Sometimes the excitement gets me through, but often it's just  sheer grit and determination.  My lips smack for that taste of alcohol, but I refuse to reach out for it.  I know, I absolutely know that if I stick this one out, the result is going to be magic.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Day 31 - A deathly reminder of the darker days

Hearing of Robin Williams death hit me between the eyes today.  It took me back to my younger self, age 23, when I received a phone call to say my older brother had taken his own life.

Exit slightly manageable binge drinking, enter about 5 years solid of "I'm lucky to be alive" drinking.  Drinking and standing in the middle of busy streets, not giving a fuck if those cars hit me.  Drinking and taking pills, whatever I could find, "because who the hell cares what happens next".  Drinking straight gin, making phone calls and screaming at whoever was my latest target. Drinking to kill cruel thoughts and memories, drinking to die. 

As I head toward my 30's, then into them, I settled a bit and went back into the more socially acceptable kiwi binge drinking combined with nightly executive stress drinking.  But those dark days never felt far away.

Something was wrong for my brother. I know some of the specifics but will never know all.  I know he was not well.  I know he drank too much.  I know he has gone.

And now Robin Williams has gone.

But we are here people.  We are alive, we are sober, and we get to work on ourselves and find a better life.  I am so glad we have that chance, and that we have each other.

Love to you all xx

Monday, 11 August 2014

Day 30 - Wading through the thick sludgy mud to Sober Island

Mrs D did warn me, the first few months are the hardest and it can be a bit like walking through thick sludgy mud. Well, it is.

I think the first week or so I was in sheer grit and determination mode, but also feeling pretty cool to have made this decision and be surrounded by new found support.  Then I had a couple of really wonderful pink cloud days, which were awesome.  But all of a sudden I am here - where it just feels like plain hard work.

Our weekend up the Mountain was awesome as far as snow and snowboarding (although I must admit, every bone in my body aches today and I have bruises I can't even begin to explain) but boy did I miss the drink.  Not only did I miss it, I began to feel sad and whiny and somehow "wronged" that my beloved post ride/run/board beer had been taken off me.

But the fact is, it wasn't just a post ride/run/beer was it?  It was beerS plural.  Then drive home. It was 5pn wines, 10pm whiskies.  It was thinking about drinking ALL of the time. I have to remember THIS is the truth.

The other thing that I have been finding hard is just how shitty I am being. I am touchy and anxious and snappy and am generally not fun to be around, especially for my family.  I feel like my skin is really thin and can be easily irritated ... and boy am IRRITATED.   I am wound up like a spring and not reacting nicely or kindly to others when I should be

So day 30 - and yes I am proud I have made it, but am not totally proud of myself.  I know its a journey though - and I can see lots of you over on Sober Island waving to me.  I'm on my way!

Friday, 8 August 2014

Day 27 - Friggen Friday

Funny how I can say "fuck" here and just about anywhere else in my life  - but I feel the need to tone it down to "frig" in my post title!
Anyway, its a been a fucker of a Friday.  We are supposed to be heading up the mountain tonight - a bunch of girls going skiing and snow boarding together.  However this morning was very stressful in our house, a fight ensued, and I am about to hop in a car where I may or may not be having a very icy (excuse the pun) road trip ahead of me.
So I am stressed out from this morning's upsets, plus I am about to join a girls weekend that is all about "coffee - boarding - beer"  in that order.  I think I might curl up under my desk and eat chocolate all weekend. Could that work?
The reality is however:
  • I cannot control everything around me (thanks Tara Brach) and family upsets will happen.  I did not react well, and the best I can do is say sorry, breathe deeply, and see what I (and "we") can do better next time, plus
  • I don't need to drink to have fun with the girls.  In fact, this will be my first time up the mountain ever where I have not been on the slopes every day feeling jaded from the night before.  It's going to be fantastic and I am really looking forward to hitting the snow without a hangover.
Finally, before you all begin to think I am too cool for school with all this mountain biking and snowboarding -  I can't snowboard for shit.  I am just learning and spend most of my time on my ass.  This time, my sober ass. :)
Love to you all. xxx

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Day 26 - Hit by the witching hour

After two lovely pink cloud days I am still feeling pretty good, so was shocked when at about 5pm I was hit by cravings.  My lips felt dry and all I could think about was booze.  It started when I said to myself "I feel so good, I'd love to celebrate" and immediately thought about going to the pub.  I was supposed to run home, but had worked late and was tired, so took the bus instead.  My bus stops right outside a nice little restaurant and bar. I so wanted to go in there.

I've come home and had dinner with my family.  I have had soda water in a lovely wine glass, and I have visited Living Sober (which I love) but I STILL want to drink.  It's like a tingling on my lips.

However I will not drink, no I will not.  I am sober now, I do not drink, and this feeling will go away.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Day 25 continued - Pink clouds, mountain bikes and city lights

I have just got home from riding on the stillest of nights (yes, something also much celebrated in Wellington).  It was muddy and clear and fun and beautiful.  I felt so alive.

Looking down on Wellington city

Also today I joined up with Living Sober which has already got my smiling and laughing as our great little community starts to come together in one place.  I'm seeing how easily the support and friendships are going to grow.  The reason I am so happy about this is I have found a place where I fit.  I had it in my head that sobriety was one of two things: BORING or completely down and out.  But here I am surrounded by people just like me, not boring, not down and out (though we feel like that some of the time), just really cool people struggling with a fucking horrible drug.

So yup, day 25 and its grins all round here.  Sleep tight fellow bloggers.  What ever day you are on - you've just got through one more. xx

Day 25 - Lets get this community happening: Living Sober

Day 25 for me, early days yet, but I am very sure of my decision.   I am also very sure I can do this because of the community I have found online. I know it's the same for many of you.

Today Mrs D, who has been the kick up the ass so many of us needed (I am sure there is a nicer more technical word for that) has launched her new website, Living Sober.  I'm so excited and am totally going to become part of it.  I wont stop blogging (I love the sound of my own typing) but I am going to be part of Living Sober too, so the support can continue to grow, and so I can give back too.

Anyway, just putting it out there, as I am really hoping to see some of my new found friends over there.  This is just going to get better and better.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Day 24 - It's sunny outside and I'm celebrating!

It's a glorious day in Wellington today (they don't happen that often and we tend to go over the top about them when they do) and I've just come back from a wonderful little shuffle around the botanical gardens, and you know what, I am totally celebrating right now! (all alone in my little office).

Mrs D's website is going live tomorrow, so we get to consolidate this little community and really support each other.  I am celebrating this support I have found, and I am celebrating being sober.

Oh my God.  I am sober.  How exciting is that?  New friends, new web community, and fucking sober!!!  Wooo hooo!

Pink cloud anyone?  Dunno, don't care -  I'm popping out to buy myself a celebratory "Day 24" treat.

Love to you all. xxx

Monday, 4 August 2014

Day 23 - My three little rules of sobriety

Day 23, so very early days for me and not much to share apart from the ups and downs you have been reading about here.  However, I just found myself commenting to another blogger that I have three little rules which have really helped me thus far; and who knows, they may be of help to someone else:

  1. I blog absolutely every day.  OK, I may have missed the odd day, but I have at least read blogs on those days.  It's like a form of accountability for me, and its a community.  It's kind of my own little AA meeting.
  2. I comment on someone else's blog every day.  Community again I guess.  But the thing is,  blogging is keeping me sane, so I really want to give back into it.  It's a two way thing.
  3. I have promised myself that if I come to a day that I am going to drink and no amount of self talk or blogging will help me - I will go to an AA meeting.  And now I am promising this publicly.
So as I said, no expert yet.  But I'm hoping with these three little rules I'll see myself through the next 23 days, and then the next, and then the next.

Night night fellow sober bloggers.  Love to you all. xx

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Day 22 - Five reasons I'm happy I no longer drink

I've just come in from a fantastic run on the trails.  It went much longer than expected, and I'm pretty fucked to be honest, but also very happy.  We heard a saddle-back sing,  saw tons of seals at the seal colony, and found these weird fungi things.  I'm muddy and smelly and hungry and tired, but I feel pretty damn good.

Anyway, I was thinking while I was out there "what are the top 5 things I don't miss about drinking?"  I'm not talking about the horror stories of my youth (and believe me, I have some), I am talking about grown up respectful me.  Why am I so happy that I no longer drink?  Well, here they are, the top five reasons for now:

  1. I no longer risk myself or those around me by driving when I know I shouldn't.  I never considered myself a drunk driver (I always kind of hoped I was under the limit), but the fact is, I know I drove when I shouldn't - and sometimes with my daughter in the car.
  2. I will never ever miss out on doing something fun again because I drank too much last night, or even worse, try and do that fun thing and just feel sick the whole time.
  3. I wont be saying to my daughter that Mum needs to stop by the supermarket to get wine, and that she needs to just be quiet while I have a glass because its "been a tough day" - I am no longer demonstrating alcohol as the answer to her.
  4. I no longer need to see the fear in my partner's eyes as she watches me have that second and third drink that she wishes I wouldn't take.
  5. I can now work on myself, honestly and openly.  I can be a better mother, partner and friend.
I know I can find tons of other reasons, like how glad I am that I no longer feel sick in the mornings or get loud at parties.  But right now, today,  these are my top five.

I hope you had a lovely weekend sober bloggers.  Love to you all xx

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Day 21 - Tears on a Saturday morning

Saturday morning's in our house are pretty nice.  We have a cooked breakfast of some sort, always fresh bread, and generally a friend or two will drop by.  This morning was no exception, and after a lovely breakfast of eggs, mushrooms, avocado and cheese, a good friend stopped by just in time for us to put that second pot of coffee on.  We hadn't caught up for a couple of weeks, so began filling each other in on what's been happening in our lives.

All of I sudden I  burst out, "Well, here's the breaking news in my life, I've stopped drinking, like, forever."
She looked at me and said, "Wow, tell me how this has come about" and so I did.   I told her the lot, tears streaming down my face.   I told her I'm an addict, I told her how I had tried to stop so many times, I told her how it had come to this.

My friend stood up and wrapped me up in a hug.  She explained she did not drink (I had wondered) and that she was going to support me every step of the way.

So I've begun to tell people, slowly and surely.  I'm very raw and tears seem very close to the surface, but this is very very real.

Love to you all on this blustery Saturday.  Hunker down, be kind to yourselves, and draw your friends near. xxx

Friday, 1 August 2014

Day 20 - Sober in the Koru Lounge

Travelling for work goes something like this for me:

Morning flight, crowded Koru Lounge.  I dump my laptop, hit the on switch and go order my coffee.  I grab some breakfast, scoop my coffee up on the way back past, then settle down and tap away trying to cram in as much work as I can before boarding the flight.  A plane eventually whisks me away to another location where I am "on" all day.  Even lunch and coffee is about work, there is no "off".

The evening and return flight is something quite different.  The  laptop might still come out, but things are generally more relaxed.   People are chatting, books and newspapers are being read, and most importantly nearly everyone has as drink in their hand.  Oh yes, that blessed drink.  It's lovely to come here and  relax in an environment where it is completely understood why I so need that drink.  The people here know my day, my drill.  They know I have taken no breaks, and they know that once I disembark this next flight I will drive (yes drive) home to my family and be "on" there too.  These people understand why I drink, it's their life too.

So here I am on a Friday afternoon sober in the Koru Lounge for the first time ever I suspect.

I've given up drinking before you know, to prove I could.    I did it twice, once for 3 months and once for 6 months; both times to prove that alcohol was not controlling me.  Hah!  It proved nothing except I am an alcoholic. (Oh my fucking god - I just said it!!  Not sure I will ever say that again, so lets just move on).

This time however it is so much harder because this is not a break.  I am not trying to prove I can control my drinking, I have admitted I cannot.  This is a new life for me now, I don't get to white knuckle it for a few months, instead I have to reach deep, learn and grow and change.

So here I am sitting in the Koru Lounge soda in hand, sober and new.  Wow.

Have a lovely weekend fellow bloggers.  xx

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Day 19 - Be kind to yourself

I am tired tonight, a little sad and low.  And you know what? I don't think it's related to drinking or particularly abnormal.  It just "is".  I work incredibly hard, don't get many breaks, and sometimes its just tough.  And that's OK.

So I'm going to bed early with a hot water bottle, and I'm simply going to ride this one out.  I'm going to listen to Tara Brach for the first time, and generally relax.  I am going to be kind to myself.

Tomorrow may be better, it may not.  But eventually it will be better, because that is how it goes.  And, it's going to be a better kind of better than I used to experience, because of this one simple fact: I do not drink.

Good night my friends.  Whatever space you are in, be kind to yourselves.  xx

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Day 18 - Ugly gremlin thoughts

No amount of fucking magic letter boxes were going to do it for me today.  I didn't feel like going for a run in the first place, but knowing that once I get at there it's usually awesome got me out that door.

Well how wrong was I.  No endorphins kicking in this time, just tired, slow and not wanting to be there.  40 minutes.  40 minutes of slow plod plod plodding, tummy and boobs wobbling, and ugly little gremlin thoughts creeping into my mind:
"Fuck I'm slow.  I don't know why I bother these days.  And fuck my stomach and boobs wobble.  I really hate it that those chicks with no boobs envy me, makes fucking running a pain in the ass".
"And where's those endorphins that should have kicked in by now?  Oh great.  So I have given up drinking, and now my endorphins have been taken away from me too.  Great.  That's it.  All the joy has been taking from my life."
"Which reminds me - why do I have such a shitty car?  Sure, we just bought a new house and have a big mortgage, but I'm a senior manager for goddsake, dammit I should have a better car".
"I never get anything really.  All I want is a puppy and my whole life would be better.  It could be running with me now, and my run would be better.  I'd be happy if I had a puppy."

And on and on it went: 'Wah wah wah".

I've been reading a book by Russ Harris called "The Happiness Trap".  I thoroughly recommend it.    I am learning that thoughts are just words.  They are not always true, and they are not always helpful.   I don't have to do anything active about them,  I don't have to believe them, push them away, or try and drown (drink) them out.  I can just sit with them and choose not to engage:  "Oh,  there's that stupid thought about me being slow again, there you go, funny that's popped up."

I believe learning to sit with my thoughts and not accept or engage them when they are not true or helpful is going to be a big part of my sober journey.  It's something I am quite excited about.

So, I am off to wobble my not very wobbly body into the shower, and thank god there's no fucking little puppy at home ripping shit out of my couch and peeing on my carpet.

Take care out there, hope you are all well.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Day 17 - Early morning musings

I have been awake on and off since about 3.30/4 am.  It's been like that a lot recently.  I don't know if its the not drinking, or everything that's on my mind about work that's waking me up.  Maybe both.

I generally get up early anyway.  Its kind of "my time".  The family is still asleep, and its the only time in my day just about when no one else needs me.  My job is full on (I love my job, but its FULL on) as is my home and personal life.  This time of morning, well, it's quiet.  Nice.

But back to this waking up before dawn thing.  Its been a daily occurrence for weeks now, and if I cast my mind back I do think it correlates with stopping drinking.  I certainly have a lot more energy these days (good), but I suspect this little gnawing feeling and the early morning starts might be more to do with anxiety (not so good).

Its way to early in this journey to have all the answers yet, in fact I suspect more and more questions will be raised in my mind as time goes on.  I am hoping this new-found energy lasts, but also suspect deeply that one of the reasons I drank too much was to drown out my anxiety.  In a refusal to be a dry drunk (see I have been listening) I need to examine that.  I'm just going to sit with it for now, breathe, drink in the early mornings, and let myself begin to grow and change naturally.

Have a lovely day everyone.  This journey is so worth it. xx

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Day 15 - I found magic on the trails

The most amazing moment today, as I was running the trails near our house I stumbled across this:

So I stopped and opened it, and found this:

It was a little notebook in which many people had written something they wish for  It was the most beautiful, surreal moment.  So I stopped, and in a moment that just felt magic, I wrote this:

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Day 14 - This is real - I do not drink

I formulated several posts in my head yesterday, all of them I thought were equally witty, interesting or deep.  I compared sobriety to running a marathon, coming out as an alcoholic to my experience of coming out as queer, and was even trying to find a way to relate it to a friendship I have with someone who has autism.

Then a quiet realisation settled over me.  "This is real - I do not drink".  It became simple.  I am not trying to get somewhere or be something amazing or interesting. There is no ultimate goal or end point. I simply do not drink.  I am a non drinker. This is who I am now.

I may one day write those other posts, because there is something to be learned from so many corners of our lives (although someone slap me if I start comparing sobriety in relationship to autism), but the basic fact, right here, right now, is simple: This is real - I do not drink.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Day 12 - excited

It's past my bed time so I wont be posting for long tonight, but I had to tell you how excited I am feeling right now. I went to Mrs D's book launchy thing in Karori tonight.   I thought I'd like her, and yup, right away I felt that awesome warmth that comes across so well in her book.  I got to meet Sue too, who I also instantly liked.  Was so nice having my partner there, sharing and being able to say "these are my people."

I'm excited because I feel a sense of community.  I am not alone.   I was surrounded by warmth and humour tonight.  I can't do this on my own, many of us can't - but we have a way of connecting now and its wonderful.  It has even occurred to me that with so many good people to meet and get to know - this journey might even be damn well fun at times!

Night people.  Hope you are all well.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Day 11 - hitting the trails!

I have just got home from a fantastic night ride (mountain bikes / big lights).  The trails were hard and fast, there was no wind, and the lights of Wellington were beautiful as we climbed higher and higher.  It's on the trails I feel at my best, whether it's riding or running, and more recently snowboarding.

I cast my  mind back to a Saturday night a few weeks ago, when I said to myself, "I hope I don't drink too much tonight so I can have a good trail run tomorrow".  Did you hear that?   I said: 

"I HOPE I don't drink too much tonight",

not "I WONT drink too much tonight".

A week later I head up the mountain.  A friend had recommended a trail I should run whilst there.  I thought sadly to myself,  "Oh I would love to run that trail, but once we finish on the mountain I will have to have a drink so I wont be able to"

How sick is that people?  Fuck!!!!  I seriously had got it into my head that when we came off the snow there was only one reasonable option - the pub and beer - even though I wanted to explore the trails!

Well, tonight I was at one with those trails.  I was so present that all that existed was me, the cool air, and the muddy track ahead of me.  It's mine for the taking now, whenever I want.  I am so happy. xx

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Day 11 - Party again? Sure will!

I was at a friend's house tonight planning a mate's upcoming 50th.  My friends and I we have lots of parties.  We do stuff together - we DRINK together.  I love each and every one of them, and I could fill up a whole page telling you of their wonderful attributes, but the fact is they drink, and drinks lots.  As do I.  As did I.

As we left, another friend commented "drinks at my house next Friday", to which our host answered "whoo hooo, Dry July will be over and I will be able to drink again."  Hugs all round and we left.  All I could think was "I will never party again".

I know this is not the truth.  I know I will party again, I am sure of it. I am not sure when, and I am even not sure how.  But I am going to do everything in my power to trust in this journey, keep seeking the truth about alcohol (its poison for god-sake) and really learn to be myself and shine.

You know what - maybe I should even make my next post chippy and positive and cheer myself up again.  :) xx

Monday, 21 July 2014

Day 10 - slightly monumental

Something feels quite monumental about day 10.  Not sure why - maybe it's because I made it through that damn party all by myself which felt like scaling a mountain at the time.

I went for my first decent run in close to two weeks today.  Two weeks out is not a good thing (I have a 36K off road event to run in 9 weeks) and I was feeling all grumpy and out of sorts about that too.  But then I got out there, wind / rain / ice in my face and I felt free and crazy and happy.  And I felt pleased to be sober, and proud of myself for doing it.  I kept thinking "I'm sober now, it's never going to get in the way of this again.  I will never be too busy drinking, thinking about drinking, or being hungover to not go for a wild crazy run again."

So maybe day 10 is a little monumental, that I am feeling some pride, and with that some hope. xx

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Day 9 - learning to think differently

I just feel like I am a grumpy person right now, and wonder if I will ever be fun again.  Went to the Mother in law's 60th birthday party last night.  She's from a huge family, so whenever there is some sort of gathering I am surrounded by bunches of people who know each other, and me apparently, whilst I'm still trying to piece together who is who.

I'm trying to retrain my brain, so all night I kept telling myself "I don't tend to have fun at these parties anyway, so drinking would not be helping", but deep down I was wondering if I was just a tiny bit sloshed I'd be making conversation a wee bit easier with all of these people.

I've started Alan Carr's "The Easy Way to Stop Drinking".   I'm going to keep filling up on these books and blogs, and teach myself to think differently.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Day 8 - I've made a week! I've made a week!

Jason Vale says very clearly not to count days, I understand his reasoning - but who cares it really helps me.  This is the first time since last Saturday morning, when I woke up and told my partner that I was and addict, that I feel happy, elated even.  I feel proud of myself and free.  Yay.  Go me. xx

Friday, 18 July 2014

Day 7, the knuckles are white on a Friday night

I thought I would be all happy and self-congratalory by now, but its all pretty tough really.  Someone commented on my last post (thank you, that really helped) that I should try to just think about now, this week, and stop freaking out over "forever" (because I am).

Went and got take aways tonight from this really cool noodle shop near our house.  There was the usual sign "alcohol will not be sold to intoxicated persons", and shelves of booze behind the counter.  I was just freaking out inside; "no nice whiskey ever?  no lovely glass of wine?".

So I guess I am white knuckling it (see, I've been reading the books), but its all I can do right now, and I'm going to keep on doing it.

Tea's brewing. xx

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Day 6

I found today really really hard.  It wasn't like I was at a party or near anyone tempting me to drink, but all day I just kept freaking out about not drinking again ever.  Ever.  

I finished Lotta Dann's book on my flight home from a tiring day at work (no drinkies in the Koru Club for me).  I loved the book, am inspired and know I have to/can/will do this (white knuckling it?) - but still feel like I am looking down a barrel of years and years before its going to feel OK again.

Almost stopped at an AA meeting on the way home, like they do in the movies, but didn't.  Thought I'd come home, snuggle up with family and hope tomorrow is better. xx

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Day 5 Continues - "If I can be sober for an hour"

I get to 5pm and my mouth feels dry and I smack my lips together, looking for something, missing something.   My partner is home sick, and I picked our girl up from school holiday programme.  I told myself its the perfect night for take aways, well knowing that the very reason I want them is there is a certain joint near our house where I can get take aways .. and have a glass of wine while I wait.  Perfect excuse.

So I got petrol instead, no take aways, and I sit here with my sparkling water wondering what to have for dinner.

I read this yesterday on Mr SponsorPants blog, it really helped

If I can be sober for an hour;
just an hour,
this hour right now,
(and I can)
then I can be sober for a day.
And if I can be sober for a day
(holy shit! a whole day)
then I can do
(like I said)
almost anything.
And I can.

I can't be sober for
(I can't do anything for forever.)
But I can be sober for today.
Yes, I can.
Yes I can.

The beginning of day 5 and I feel like shit

Still disappointed in how I am feeling (no real elation here) and this morning in particular I feel totally and utterly like shit.  I am trying not to relate it to giving up the booze, because the fact it my work load is huge and I have been up at 5.30am all week just to get on top of things - that is the most likely reason I am headachy.  So, I'm sucking it up, giving myself a kick up the butt, and am off to work happy that I am now sober.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Day Four

Really tired and busy today.  Up at 5.30am in order to get a decent amount of work done before heading into a busy day at the office.  I spent most of my day interviewing people, so not much time to think about alcohol, but did find that with every small pause I'd hear a whisper, "you are never going to drink again...".  I am still not sure if it is excitement or terror I hear with that voice.

Fuckity fuck fuck.  Never drink again?  I know it's how it is going to be, but can't let myself think about it for long right now. Had better go to bed and ignore it. xx

Monday, 14 July 2014

I'm never going to drink again????!!!

Today I am constantly astounded (and terrified) by this fact: I am never going to drink again.

There, I said it.

This means:

  • I am never going to drive dangerously tipsy again.
  • I am never going to spend way more than I intended on booze for me and EVERYONE when out on the town
  • I am never going to waste another day to a hangover
  • I am never going to regret another alcohol fueled conversation

So I am free.  Scared, excited, and free.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Day two - freedom beginning

I awoke this morning disappointed.  I had somehow thought I was going to jump out of bed a brand new person.  I had made it through a dinner party sober, in fact, I had made it through my first night sober in a very long time.  But, instead I woke feeling tired, grumpy and disillusioned.  Not drinking last night hadn't made me feel great at all - in fact, this morning I felt "same old, same old".   So, what's the point?

Eventually I dragged myself out of a 3.5 hour run (I am training for an off road marathon).  It was long and lonely and gave me a lot of time to think.  My brain began to fill up, memories flooding in.  Here's the sorts of things I was thinking:

I thought about how last week when I went snowboarding I had really wanted to run some trails up around Ruapehu, but didn't because I had to drink (you see, you have to drink when you come off the mountain) and about all the trails I have missed over the years because of having to drink, or being hungover.  I thought about when I was 15 years old and got so drunk at a party that I threw up everywhere and passed out completely.  I was in the company of many strangers much older than myself, and only good luck kept me safe.  How when I was 23 I stood in the middle of the road, drunk as a skunk, yelling about the loss in my life while the traffic drove around me.  How later that night I threw up all over a table in the pub.  I thought about the man I said "no" to, but he insisted, and I was too drunk to deal with it, so ... I still hate that night.  I thought of all these things and many many more, and I realised that I can be free now.  This morning may not have felt great, tomorrow might not either - but I can be free.  That in itself is fucking fantastic. xx

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Day One

I promised myself I would tell my partner last night, that I had a drinking problem.  But I didn't.  I drank instead.  So this morning, through tears, I finally told her.  She held me and told me she had been waiting for this and would be right behind me.  So then we got up and told my 11 year old.  She was so happy.

This is it people.  Day one.   We are hosting a dinner party tonight and the wine will be flowing.  So really I should start tomorrow shouldn't I?  But I can't wait any longer, not now I have admitted it. I'm done.


Friday, 11 July 2014

All or nothing

Tonight is the night. I am taking my love out for a date, and I am telling her that I am addicted to alcohol.  I don't know if that means I stop tonight.  Maybe I will wait until I have completed Jason Vale's book, then stop.  Or maybe tonight is it, the night it is over.

I am unsure how she will react.  She doesn't like how much I drink, but at the same time I know my "all or nothing" personality bugs her.  She would rather I be able to enjoy the odd drink with her from time to time, be moderate, like she so easily is.  But I can't be it seems.  I am all or nothing.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Fear is eating away at me

I am one of hundreds, thousands perhaps, who have been influenced by the recent publicity around Mrs D -  And I am one of many I realise, who has hopped on the bandwagon of "I'll start a blog, she did, it helped", so am hardly original.  In fact, it seems there is nothing original about me at all.  White, early 40's female, high profile job, and drinking too much.  So its just no me I see?  Who knew?  Thank God.

I haven't given up drinking.  Not yet. I'm too scared.  I am being eaten by fear I have to admit.  I'm scared my anxiety will get out of control. I'm scared of social occasions.  I'm scared I wont be fun any more.  I will miss beer after a long day out on the bike, or snow boarding, or running  And I will miss a lovely glass of wine with a fine meal.  I am so damn scared.  My stomach is actually tying in knots at the idea of never drinking again.

But.  I am so damn sick of it.  I am sick of my daughter thinking that drinking is normal adult behaviour. I am sick of feeling slightly "off" most days.  I am sick of wanting it, needing it and longing for it.

Maybe tomorrow I will be ready to stop.