Thursday, November 26, 2015

In praise of walking...

I took our dog for a big walk in the hills above my house yesterday. The weather was warm-ish but blustery and there were low clouds which made the whole area quite misty. We walked for 45 minutes along paths and unpaved roads, bumping into two people and one other dog along the way.

It was absolutely lovely and we are about to go and do it again.

I would not be going for a walk along the hill-line behind my house if I didn't have a dog. I absolutely would not. I have never been one to go walking just because a walk is a good idea. I will force myself to exercise but usually by going to the gym (not for a while but still paying the weekly membership!) or to a yoga class (every Tuesday night down at my local rec centre).

But I walk nowadays because we have a dog..... and I am so grateful for him because these walks really are lovely! I come home refreshed and alert and feeling good. And he absolutely loves them! He's like the most excited dog you have ever seen ... darting all around me as we walk along the paths.. sniffing here there and everywhere.. just so happy to be out in the big wide world walking along with me.

Getting this dog has been such a good idea. I have to tell myself this when he is chewing everything in sight, shedding his black hairs everywhere, and barking to wake us up at 6am! The kids love him so much and are so sweet with him. He makes our house feel even more like a home and most of all, he gets me out walking.

For our family's secret santa this year I am buying for my brother-in-law and he's asked for whisky. So this morning I went into the bottle store and asked the shop keeper for help. He showed me a few options and I said 'I don't drink so I've got no idea what to get but I like the colour of this bottle and the font they've used on the label so I'll get this one'.

I felt quietly cool for being such a casual non-drinker in the bottle store. Proud of myself for being so comfortable to state I don't drink. I didn't give a toss what the shop keeper thought of me (a boring wowser? an alcoholic in recovery? an alien from another planet?). Who cares. I was just me casually being a non drinker buying whisky for someone else.

Then I drove to the chemist and they had these mini breath test kits for sale up at the counter (blow in a straw and it will tell you if you're close to .05% breath alcohol limit). I asked if they were selling many and the chemist lady said 'not yet, we've only just got them in' and I then said 'lucky I don't have to worry about that any more!'. She laughed politely, probably wondering what I meant but I didn't say any more. I just smiled and paid for my items, then left.

Just me a casual non-drinker moving around my world comfortable with that fact.

The Silly Season is upon us (I wrote a 'Silly Season Survival Guide' at Living Sober) and I have a couple of lunches to go to but they won't be boozy affairs. I have turned down the opportunity to go to one big boozy party - too far to travel/too difficult with childcare - so Mr D is going alone. I had a dream about it so maybe deep down I am sad to be missing out and am still mourning my lost life. But I won't mourn for long. My boozy life was fun (until it wasn't) and now it's over and my sober life is in full flight. And it's pretty damn fine.

Now I better go take the dog up into the hills before he kills me with his sad eyes!

Love, Mrs D xxx

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Ebbs and flows

Sorry to continue to be a bit down on it but once again I am thinking of so many people who are struggling right now. Today's theme seems to be narcissistic people who are having a major impact on friends of mine - whether it be their narcissistic mother or sister-in-law or friend... just nasty people who do their damnedest to cause pain in others.

I can see so clearly that the narcissistic (problematic might be a better word because who can diagnose narcissism?) person is hurting and is in pain - i.e. they're a broken person to be acting in such a cruel/uncaring way - and so I want to feel kindly towards that broken person, but when they cause so much pain by lashing out and manipulating, well it's hard to bloody think kindly towards them!!

Sometimes I just feel like the world is so full of pain - and now with what is happening overseas with France at war and all those horrible broken people acting despicably by taking innocent lives..


Actually me in my life I'm doing ok at the minute. I'm trucking on. Doing ok with my food and exercise (I'd give myself 78.3% on that score), remembering to act mindfully every day (gets easier the more you practice it) and keeping up with all my online work & writing & housework commitments.

I have been having strange fleeting (and I really do mean fleeting) sad thoughts about being a non-drinker for evermore. But I am pretty well versed at kicking those thoughts out of my brain quick-smart and not picking over them so that they build in strength.

I can only surmise that it's because I'm tired at the moment (this is a CRAZY busy term with the boys and I'm running around like a headless chicken most days) and that is why these woe-is-me thoughts are creeping in.

Truth is I KNOW that booze isn't going to make my life more fun. I KNOW that I am a million times happier now that I don't touch booze ever. I KNOW that everything booze promises to offer is a crock of shit. I KNOW that I am a better wife, mother, sister, daughter, and friend now that I don't numb myself constantly. I KNOW that if I start drinking again .. well I shudder to think what my life would be like if I started drinking again.

I am NOT going to start drinking again - ok??!!

But the truth is that being in recovery means living RAW forever more and the reality of that is that you feel everything more keenly. Life ebbs and flows and you feel it all more keenly. You are just raw all the time. Raw, raw, raw.

I wouldn't want it any other way - honestly - but it is what it is. Life in all it's up and down glory. Pain and pleasure. Highs and lows. Ebbs and flows.

And now I'm going to go take the dog for a big walk along the hill line.

And I am going to enjoy his delight at being out in the wide open air.

And I am going to rejoice in all that is good in the world.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Pain pain pain

There's so much shitty pain everywhere all the time. I'm hearing of nasty in-laws hurting friends of mine, other people I know in floods of tears over interpersonal shit going down, other friends back drinking after long stints off, someone over here grieving their mother, someone over there grieving their lover, someone just discovering their husband is cheating - grief, betrayal, tensions, sadnesses, stresses...pain, pain everywhere.


Life is pain. But to deny that pain is suffering (or however the saying goes).

We have to feel the pain. Numbing it away DOESN'T WORK. It doesn't. Maybe in the sort term.. but not in any substantive way. We have to feel the pain. And if the pain is too awful to sit with then do something proper about it. See a doctor, see a therapist, make big changes in your life. Do something that will actually be beneficial in the long run.

But know that pain will come again. It always does. This is life. This is our crazy, messy, painful human life.

Sorry if I'm sounding a bit bossy and philosophical and waffly all at the same time. I'm just blurting this post out late on a Sunday night. I'm tired and I'm aware of all this stuff that is going on around me - I'm hearing it all via text messages and emails and the Members Feed at Living Sober.

I'm looking out my window at many, many houses in my neighbourhood and am so aware that so many of them are right now the vessels for human pain and suffering.

Life sucks shit sometimes. It blows. It hurts.

So what do we do? We look for the good. We revel in the minor triumphs. We focus on the lovely things. We take small steps in the right direction. We try to look after ourselves. We try to be brave and sit with the feelings. We know that emotions won't kill us. We know that things pass. We know that life has an ebb and flow and that pain comes in waves but so does happiness and contentment and ease. We hug our loved ones. We distract ourselves with music and novels and colouring-in books and gardening and TV and cooking and exercise and stuff that isn't about self-sabotage. We seek out the people that make us feel good, the people that we gel with, the people that care. We try to think positively or at least not repeat over and over the negative thoughts. We put our comfy pants on and crawl under a blanket on the sofa. We put the leash on the dog and go out for a walk. We look at the sky and we watch the clouds pass by. We imagine ourselves on a plane to exotic climates. We press on.

We have to.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Friday, October 30, 2015

Go the All Blacks!

I am surfing around the Internet looking for a recipe for a spicy halloween mocktail that I can make to share on the 'Drink of the Week' page at Living Sober and on my Facebook page. I've found something suitable for the spooky holiday but also perfect for early morning rugby watching. I will make it today to sample, photograph it and post online .. and then I will make it again at the crack of dawn on Sunday.

Because YES! New Zealand are in the Rugby World Cup final, our mighty All Blacks play Australia at 5am on Sunday morning (the tournament is being held on the other side of the world in England).

I am happy looking for the recipe, thinking about how I will adapt the ingredients to suit my tastes... planning on heading down to the supermarket shortly to get the ingredients.

I am nervous thinking about the game. I so hope we win because everyone in our lovely little country will be super-happy and excited if we do! And we love our team of brave rugby-playing men, they are super cool and incredibly talented and (if you don't mind me saying) they look totally hot in their foxy outfits!

I am comfortable knowing that I will be tired but not hungover in the wee small hours on Sunday morning as I drag myself out of bed to snuggle on the sofa and watch the game with the family.

I am very content with my sober life.

When I first got sober it was so hard to conceive of an alcohol-free life. 'When will it become normal?' I'd wonder. 'Will it ever become normal??!!' When will the obsession stop?' 'When will I stop thinking about not-drinking all the time?'

It took some time but eventually it did happen. The obsession stopped and I settled into my sober skin. Today I hardly evert think about the fact that I don't drink.

Ok - I write about my sobriety all the time because I have a blog and I run a community website dedicated to helping other people get sober! That is a fact. But outside of my writing time and mostly in my day-to-day life I do not think about the fact that I am sober.

I just 'am' sober.

It's ordinary.

It's not a big deal.

I don't crave booze. I don't wish I could drink. I just don't drink alcohol.

Far fucking out. Go back to my early posts - the ones in the really early days. How obsessed I was back then. And fast forward to now. Spicy mocktails, supermarket shopping, rugby games.. no hankering to drink. None.

That, my friends, is a good thing.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Sunday, October 18, 2015


I turned 44 last Tuesday and on Thursday I celebrated my 1500th day of sobriety.

What wonderful numbers ... what a week. I have to be honest I was more excited about the soberversary than the birthday (although the birthday was lovely and my family made me feel very special all day). Deep down inside though the 1500 days felt incredibly more pride-inducing.

I worked hard for those 1500 days.

I am very happy with the direction the second half of my life is taking. I am happy that I'm working hard to turn inwards and become a fully realised human being. I am happy that I am learning how to properly deal with my complicated and tricky human brain so that I am starting to glimpse true inner calm. (Glimpse - notice I am saying glimpse! Still a way to go.. and if you read my last post I did jinx myself slightly and have been a wee bit piggy and 'treaty' this past week! Oh well... progress not perfection!)

I'm also very happy with the first part of my life. I don't regret all the boozing, I don't regret the years I spent avoiding tough emotions, the years I spent desperately trying to act like everything was 'fine' all the time. I look back at my boozy self with affection. I was trying the only way I knew how to make the world seem ok, to make everything fun and lovely all the time. 

Only problem was, my method (regular alcohol consumption) was flawed. A quick fix - yes. But a long term stragegy? Nope.

Just a readily available liquid drug that mimicks true feelings of well-being while it is in your system. A readily available liquid drug that is addictive and progressive. A readily available liquid drug that when imbibed in heavy doses makes you feel like shit physically and shit emotionally.

Glad I've left that liquid drug behind.

I'm 44 years old and 1503 days sober. 

That looks pretty good to me.

Love, Mrs D xxx