Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Inside Out

Took the boys to see the movie 'Inside Out' and it was FANTASTIC! We all loved it.

I've just read this article called "Four Lessons from 'Inside Out' to Discuss with Kids" which highlights the deep things the film has to say about how our emotions work. It's pretty heavy reading (the film is not heavy!) but is a really good piece for articulating the deeper lessons the film carries. And it's actually bloody good from a sobriety perspective.

Through cute cartoon characters and cool animation what the film tells us is that happiness is not just about experiencing joy. Joy is only one element of happiness. Only when we experience all sorts of emotions - both positive and negative - do we find true happiness.

Only by fully experiencing all emotions do we achieve a deep sense that life is good, meaningful and worthwhile.

If we try to be happy all the time we actually end up miserable (sometimes subtly, without realising it) because the more we expect and strive for constant happiness, the more disappointed (and less happy) we are likely to be when we can't achieve this goal.

This makes good sense to me. When I was boozing I wanted to be 'fun' and 'upbeat' Mrs D all the time. I didn't want to be sad - no way! Nor did I want to be angry. Now that I am much more at peace with the sad and angry versions of myself, overall I feel much happier with myself.

Yes we have to prioritise positivity (by doing things that make us feel good), but not at the expense of avoiding or denying negative feelings or the situations that cause them.

Sadness is important. It makes us empathetic. It helps us connect deeply with people, and that connection is a crucial component of happiness. Seems crazy to acknowledge that sadness is a part of happiness but that's what this movie is all about!! The blue cartoon character 'Sadness' actually emerges as much as the hero as the perky 'Joy' character does.

This quote is from the article; "With great sensitivity, Inside Out shows how tough emotions like sadness, fear, and anger, can be extremely uncomfortable for people to experience - which is why many of us go to great lengths to avoid them. But in the film, as in real life, all of these emotions serve an important purpose by providing insight into our inner and outer environments in ways that can help us connect with others, avoid danger, or recover from loss."

I went to great lengths (glug glug) to avoid tough emotions for most of my adult life, until I was nearly 40 and took alcohol away. Since then I have been learning how to accept and deal with them.

It's been a rough process (sometimes not fun at all) but overall - without a shadow of a doubt - I am happier now than I have ever been.

Think about that. I feel sadness and anger and stress and frustration and disappointment much more keenly now than I ever have. Yet overall I am a much happier and more content person now than I have ever been.

I might still very occasionally get a sad thought about not-drinking (see my last post) but that is just a tiny blip in my mind's horizon.

No way do I miss booze. I'm enjoying getting to know myself far too much to want that shit back in my life.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Monday, July 20, 2015

Fucking bullshit bollocks...

I think I must be tired and run down because I just got hit with this wave of irrational sadness that I will never drink alcohol ever again and that I was somehow missing out on something special that everyone else was doing.


Stupid fucking mind trying to play woe-is-me tricks on me, suck me back down into a place of deluded bollocks where bending my brain with a liquid drug is an attractive proposition.

Bloody stupid bollocksy thoughts can piss off.

I am not going to entertain them for one second. I am not going to allow my tired brain to lead me down that romantic (bullshit) thinking path where I visualise alcohol as a positive influence on my life.

I have just been interrupted writing this post by two boys wearing masks and capes pointing plastic guns at me and telling me to put my hands up.

What bullshit part of my brain thinks that altering my state of consciousness with alcohol is going to benefit me or anyone in my family?

I could probably analyse why these bullshit thoughts have hit me today, there are 2 - 3 reasons that make it pretty obvious to me, but I'm not going to do that. I don't care why. I just want them gone.

This is why I just abruptly stopped folding washing to jump on the computer and bash out this angry post.

Because this is what this blog is for. For me to work my grey matter to fight my bullshit thinking that might try to ever tempt me back to that bullshit booze.

I feel better already. Nothing like a few swearwords (bullshit, fucking, bollocks) to help get my mojo back.

Now I will go finish folding the washing. Then I will put it all away in the correct drawers. Then I will put clean sheets on my bed. Then I will put my pyjamas on. Then I will boil the jug and make a delicious cup of chamomile tea. Then I will climb into bed and watch the final of a fantastically trashy Reality TV programme and then finally I will sleep the blissful sleep that only a sober person can sleep.

And tomorrow those bullshit thoughts will be gone.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Trial and error...

There is nothing quite like getting free from addiction. It takes guts and sweat and tears. But boy is it worth it.

I love that there are so many people dotted around the world who have fought to get themselves free.

I love knowing that there are others who fully understand what it's like to go deep down into your core to heal yourself emotionally when you take an addictive substance away.

It's so bloody hard. Facing up to realities you've tried to shield yourself from. And always the addictive substance is there, dancing around the periphery, enticing you back into it's warm (lying) arms.

I just read an interview with James Taylor (here), legendary musician who was a heroin addict and got sober in his 30's. In it he says; "One thing that addiction does is, it freezes you. You don't develop, you don't learn the skills by trial and error of having experiences and learning from them, and finding out what it is you want, and how to go about getting it, by relating with other people. You short-circuit all of that stuff and just go for the button that says 'this feels good' over and over again."

Trial and error. Having experiences and learning from them. That's what my life is about right now. I make mistakes - sometimes they're big ones - but I am learning from them. I am grinding my way through experiences, some of which are really, really hard, and I am learning. Trial and error. That's what my life is about.

But the longer I live sober, the more I learn and the more resilient I get.

Being a human being is hard bloody work, shit happens and pain hurts and it's just impossible to glide through life not having any shit to deal with.

No wonder there are so many humans who seek relief from the brutality of life, the complexity of relationships and the incessant chatter of the brain.

I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, and I'll say it again today.

Anyone who gets themselves free from addiction is brave and amazing.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The absolute joy of decluttering!!!!!!

I always feel like an over-privileged dickhead when I talk about decluttering, when so many people on this planet struggle to survive, but the fact is I am fortunate to be able to choose to eat anything I like (and consequently spend loads of energy trying to moderate my intake of nasties) and can buy pretty much what I like (within budgetary limits...but I am a chronic second-hand shopper I must admit).. and I have 3 sons and a husband and now a dog and I feel like I'm constantly fighting a CLUTTER WAR!!!!!!

AARRRRGGGHHHH!! Stuff, stuff everywhere!!!

My sister loaned me this brilliant book called 'The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up' which is apparently a massive seller.  I've only just started reading it but it's got me in the mood to get busy clearing a whole bunch of stuff out.

OMG I totally recommend this. It makes you feel so good. Clean and organised.

Have just been through my wardrobe for like the umpteenth time and have managed to clear out another 15 or so items (ask yourself, "does this spark joy?" when you hold up each item, and if the answer is no then out it goes. And share the love, give it to a friend or take it to a charity shop).

Also just went through the pantry and chucked out old sauces etc that I've not used for months. Same with the family room bookshelf full of old colouring books/artworks/games etc

So satisfying!!!!!!!!!

I will continue my quest to magically change my life by tidying up. I can imagine that it will be a life-long endeavour. Stuff comes into the house in waves. I intend to constantly wave it out as well.

This isn't really sobriety related so I better say something about being sober.

I love being sober. I love, love, love, love, love it. Even when I'm tired and clutter is stressing me out I love being sober. Even when I am grumpy or ill or frustrated or angry I love being sober.

Mostly I just love that dumb alcohol isn't in my picture. I am not wasting any time on that dumb brain-bending stuff that destroys my authenticity. I love that I am not slightly affected by booze marketing and I love that I am free.

Free, free, free, free, free.

That is all. Goodbye.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Monday, June 22, 2015

One year ago today...

I can't believe it actually. It is one year ago today since I went on the tele and outed myself as an alcoholic in recovery. One year ago since I cried reliving my last drinking days. One year ago since I came out publicly from behind my safe 'Mrs D' moniker and revealed my true, full identity. One whole year.

I made the decision to go public months before this TV outing when I contacted a publisher about writing a book. I knew that if I got a book deal I would publish as 'Lotta Dann' and not Mrs D.. and in doing so my cloak of anonymity would be thrown off. I was prepared for that, so that when the publishers said yes, it felt ok.

But boy did things take a massive turn when TVNZ's Sunday programme decided to do a piece on me and my book. I knew this would blow things wide open. This is New Zealand's most watched television show. Sunday night prime time current affairs. Holy Shit......

So yeah, I was nervous as all hell about doing it, but also quietly strong and determined. I told myself that it didn't matter what anyone thought or said, it just mattered that others who might be locked in a boozy hell-hole could see that they're not alone. My friend Sue was also asked to take part in the piece - it was also a big decision for her to go public. You can read her reflection on the process here.

Filming took four days. The crew were lovely but it was exhausting and extremely emotionally draining. On the day they packed up and left I took to my bed at 3pm with a pit of anxiety in my chest. I felt incredibly vulnerable and exposed. But I trusted that they would do a good job, and I kept firmly in mind the main reason why I was doing this - to let others know that there is a way out of the hell of addiction.

Today one year ago Mr D was in America for work and my mum was up staying to help with the kids and offer me emotional support. We went ten-pin bowling in the afternoon to keep ourselves occupied. We were nervous!

Close to the time of the show airing we all got our onesies on and gathered in the living room with drinks and nibbles. Then it aired....

You can watch it here.

The reaction was swift and immense. Holy shitballs-a-rama. I was inundated with emails, text messages, Twitter and Facebook messages, and phone calls. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people reached to me out and most of them were strangers saying 'I'm just like you'. I'm not exaggerating. Hundreds. It was an amazing response and the ripples continue to this day.

Since then I've done numerous media appearances, many public speaking events and have launched a community recovery website that has thousands of members. A few Living Sober members are today celebrating their one-year soberversary because when they saw me on the tele they decided to stop the boozy madness as well.

Going public with my drinking problem is one of the best decisions I've ever made. It was worth doing.

Love, Mrs D xxx