Saturday, December 2, 2017

Sad pangs and fancy parties

I had a strange sad pang the other night. I was watching a movie on Netflix and in it there was a big party scene at what looked like a totally fun and amazing rooftop location in New York. It was all fairy lights and hip people and fancy cocktails and groovy music and people having just the best time ever (because that's how it always looks in these super stylised movie scenes), and I suddenly felt really sad that I'm never going to cut loose at a party ever again.

It was a total feeling of sadness. Poor sober me missing out on all those future fun times. Never again will I be throwing caution to the wind and drinking too many champagnes. Never again will I get that naughty twinkle in my eye along with others that I'm indulging and having fun with.

Never again will I numb out, switch off, blur the edges and party the night away.

This sad pang lasted for about two minutes (I flipped the script pretty quickly and reminded myself of all my truths) but it was real and I can remember the feeling even now 3 days later. It didn't totally knock me back and I never even for one nano-second thought about actually drinking any shit booze but the sad pang was there I have to be honest.

Then last night we went to an actual fancy party at a big fancy house. It was a formal cocktail event, invite only with a security guard on the gate checking names off and staff greeting us at the door (Mr D's got the invite through his work). There was a bar in the foyer serving fancy cocktails and then another bar through on the veranda where everyone was standing with non-stop cocktail making going on there as well. Plus waiters were walking around with bottles of bubbles and wine all night. Everyone was dressed up and I had a new frock on which made me feel good.

So it was formal but also quite a loose party with booze flowing, coloured lights and a DJ playing great tunes. The night was buzzing. I took control of my drinks right from the outset and asked for my fizzy water to be served in a champagne flute which was satisfying enough. Later I had a lemon, lime and bitters and finally a ginger beer.

It was interesting to see how the night felt given my sad pang earlier in the week. It actually went fine.

I didn't give a toss that others were boozing, didn't wish I was, didn't feel awkward or uncomfortable. I had nice chats with people, met some nice people, felt fine overall. It was never going to be a complete blinder for me because aside from Mr D I didn't have any loved ones there. No close friends, no family. Not my tribe.

We lasted 4 hours and by then people were starting to dance (which I wasn't really in the mood for) and get a little bit sloppier. Nothing terrible.. but I felt very sober and was ready to go home. My feet hurt a bit and I was all talked out. So Mr D and I said our goodbyes and left.

I drove home, took off my makeup, then slept for 8 hours straight. Woke up this morning with no hangover, no guilt and no sad pangs about my sober lifestyle.

I'm ok with being a non-drinker. I'm ok that I'll never cut loose at a party with booze in my blood. What I have gained in recovery more than makes up for any brief sad pangs that I might have in the future.  I love feeling grounded and connected with myself, my kids, my family and my true friends. I love trusting myself in every scenario. It's all good.

And roof top parties in New York are probably overrated anyway.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Thursday, November 9, 2017

I will never stop working on myself...

Ok so it took me a few days to recover from my sugar binge.. was battling cravings for a while there and let some more sugar/crap in here and there. Jeepers it's bloody scary how my brain just latches on and craves more, more, more when I open up and allow the stuff in. I am such a bloody addict.

But anyway I have resisted because I AM NOT LETTING THAT SHIT BACK IN AND I AM NOT GOING BACK TO LIVING LOST IN A SEA OF CRAP SUBSTANCES THAT DO NOTHING GOOD FOR MY BODY OR MIND (sorry for yelling but am very determined to get on top of my demons and live with a brain free from cravings and compulsions).

And sure enough after resisting for long enough (usually about 3 days) I am once again cravings free and am able to spend my evenings thinking about what I want to think about and not just thinking about whether or not I'm going to eat sugar/floury crap.

I was describing to some non-addict friends the other day how all consuming and boring it is inside my head when I am a slave to my cravings. How I will literally spend an evening looking and acting normally but privately inside my head I am just thinking, thinking, thinking about the substance I want to get hold of. Used to be alcohol obviously (but that ship has sailed yippee!), but more lately it's definitely been the flour/sugary foods that I respond to in the same way.

I know this sounds like "first world problems" (I hate that saying), i.e. not that bad or at least like nothing 'special' because everyone has this issue given we're all waking up to the evils of sugar and processed foods. But this is my reality and this is what I am dealing with and I'm facing up to it. My eyes are WIDE open to how I operate emotionally and physically and that my brain responds very dramatically to addictive substances. And living as a woman 'in recovery' for me means not just abstaining from my No. 1 vice (booze) but also from other things that put me back in that cravings/binging/regret cycle.

Stuck, stuck, stuck.

So bugger anyone who thinks I'm whining about nothing much. For me I am at my most peaceful and calm inside myself when I am abstaining and free from cravings, and that in turn makes me the best wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend that I can be. Hence I will not stop working on myself.

Of course other things are going on, I'm a bit stressed and busy, Mr D has just flown away for a week for work.. life stuff is happening and my emotions are up and down. But in working on myself as I am I'm giving myself the best shot I can at managing life on life's terms (to use a well worn cliche), am riding the waves naturally and with a good, honest intent.. and for that I'm very proud.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Lollies, lollies everywhere!!!

Last night I had the biggest sugar binge known to mankind. It was totally reckless and crazy, especially given I've been about 3 and a half months mostly sugar and flour free. Have been doing incredibly well with my food - finally after 6 years of sobriety! - thanks to the Bright Line Eating book by Dr Susan Peirce Thompson. I've been following her plan to the letter, have been free of cravings and guilt and have lost 7kg (that's over 15 pounds for you lot overseas).

But yesterday afternoon I was sitting at the pool while my son had his swimming lesson and my whole body was aching thanks to a sore back I got over the weekend sleeping on a shitty bed, a heavy period and just general hunger and tiredness. I got home and ate a small dinner then without even deciding to I hooked into some leftover lollies from our weekend away and just ATE THEM ALL LIKE A CRAZY WOMAN!

I didn't even care! I hid in my bedroom and went crazy. Mini bag after mini bag I tore open and shoved them in my gob. My mouth and tongue hurt, my fingers were sticky, I knew that I'd feel sick afterwards and really bad this morning but I just kept going. More, more, more, more, more.

Then I fell asleep surrounded by empty packets and woke up with candy stuck in my hair. I'm not even joking.

But you know what? I'm not beating myself up. I am not. I am treating myself with kindness and understanding because if nothing else over the 6 years of being sober I have learned that this is the most important thing. To pick yourself up with kindness, to forge ahead knowing and accepting that you're not perfect and never will be. To acknowledge that being a human is hard fucking work and sometimes hormones and exhaustion and general over-it feelings about life will be overwhelming. And to know that a binge does not equal me going back into a world of crappy habits.

I am learning so much about myself and my brain and how I work and who I am. I am a vastly different, much more wide-awake person than I was when I first started on my recovery journey. I have come SUCH a long way, and have been through such immense personal growth.. like seriously what I have learnt and what I have done in turning my life around is fucking impressive and it's impacted not only me but all my loved ones.

So one almighty, colossal sugar binge is not going to suddenly send me backwards.. it's simply not possible for me to go back to who I was before. I know too much, understand too much, feel too different and have new habits and desires.

I do have a bit of a sick feeling in my tummy but today will be back to a normal day for me food-wise. Lots of veggies and protein and herbal tea and little bits of fruit and fat. Emotionally I'm still a bit tender and physically I'm still a bit sore.. so loving kindness for me all day. And understanding.

I'm not perfect and that's perfectly ok.

And lollies aren't all they're cracked out to be anyway.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Monday, October 2, 2017

Out of the darkness and into the light..

I know Facebook can be a tricky place emotionally for us sober people.

Sometimes I see photos of people I know out in town having drinkies, or families I know having BBQs together, and it can make me feel a bit sad and left out like being sober has cut me out of the fun. Usually I get hit with these sad and left-out feelings when I'm tired or low in mood already. If I'm in a good strong place I see those images and don't give a jot. So I can usually quickly flip my sad and left-out feelings around to recognise where I'm at emotionally and that helps.

I've also had experiences when I've been interviewed for a newspaper article about something to do with sobriety or my books or whatever.. and that media company has shared the link on their Facebook page and the comments section underneath the post has been less than kind (especially when I dared to suggest that taking alcohol out of the supermarkets would be a nice recognition that alcohol isn't a harmless ordinary commodity for some of us). Some people can be very unkind and, frankly, downright rude and awful when they comment on such posts. That is Facebook at it's worst.

But I have to say that on my own Facebook page (which is called Mrs D Is Going Without) I am constantly blown away by how lovely and kind everyone is! I just published a post there yesterday which was called 'Twenty reasons why hangover free weekend mornings are the best' and it's had a very awesome response.

I'm most surprised at how honest people are being on Facebook about their own situation. I thought Facebook would be a tricky place for people to open up about their struggles with alcohol because it's so public. But maybe the tide is turning and more people are feeling unashamed to admit that they have a problem. Certainly on my Facebook page it seems like more people are comfortable stating they've faced up to the fact that alcohol is causing grief in their life, they've working hard to take it away and now they feel so much better without it!

And that's the best thing about more people being honest in public, it starts to broaden the message and get it more out there that not only is it possible to live without alcohol but preferable! When I was stuck in a boozy hell-hole I only had a very vague notion that people got sober and got happy.. mostly I was just brainwashed to think that alcohol was necessary for a fun, full life and living without it would lead to abject misery and boredom.

IT'S JUST NOT TRUE! I don't touch alcohol ever, don't miss it and have a great, full life! And now it seems to me more people are publicly backing this up and agreeing. That's so great! Because for every one person being honest on Facebook there are probably 15 more who are lurking and still feeling lonely and stuck and perhaps ashamed (they shouldn't - there is no shame in getting addicted to something that is addictive. That doesn't make us bad or weak people.) And if those lurkers can see more people expressing joy and freedom at living alcohol free perhaps they'll feel strengthened to give it a go as well.

And that's what this is all about. That is why I blog and Facebook and Instagram and Tweet and run Living Sober.. to drag more people out of a boozy hell and into sobriety. Come out of the darkness and into the light. Leave that shitty liquid behind that is lying to you, stifling your inner spark and numbing your emotions.. and start to live sober.

Raw, real, recovered. I highly recommend it.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The big adjustment

If you are embarking on a mission to remove alcohol from your life and get sober, it's no understatement to say it's probably going to be one of the most monumental processes you're ever going to go through.

I remember when I first quit drinking it was like I was an intergalactic traveller that had been plonked down on an entirely different planet. I moved around as though I was hindered by a ginormous spacesuit, struggling to interact with others or even sit comfortably with myself for any length of time.

I lurched from emotional state to emotional state - one minute deeply sad, the next irate, then nervy, followed closely by bored. Anything slightly troublesome or problematic caused me to jerk uncomfortably into action. I'd frantically look around for some sort of remedy for my woes.

Oh, I'm sad! I need something to take this sadness away!

Yikes, I'm grumpy! Quick help me deal with this anger!

OMG I'm bored! How can I make this boredom go away!

I was looking for quick fixes. Fast solutions. Easy remedies. Because of course that is what I was used to. My usual fix/solution/remedy to any sort of feeling (but especially the uncomfortable ones) was just one pour away. It was alcohol. Alcohol had always been my main man, my go-to problem solver, my beloved cure-all.

So with alcohol out of the picture and life stuff keeping on happening, the biggest adjustment for me was learning how to relax about my feelings and stop grasping for instant solutions. To put it bluntly I had to learn how to chill out and slow the fuck down.

And this is the big adjustment in sobriety I think. This is the crux of what getting quitting booze is all about. When we remove our liquid solution we have to learn to relax into whatever is going on - as uncomfortable as it may be - allow it to occur, allow feelings to be just as they are, trust that things will shift and change, and chill.

Sounds easy but in practice it is not and I have to be honest and say it took me an awfully long time to do this. But now, six years after my last drink, I am a far more chilled out version of myself than I ever was. I am used to feeling the whole range of my emotions. I have stopped looking for something, anything, to help me deal with shit. I have relaxed.

There's a great mindfulness saying which is 'respond don't react' which would make a very good mantra for people getting sober. When we're in active addiction we are reacting constantly - taking quick actions based on immediate, surface feelings. The problem is when we do this we aren't pausing to give the wise, calm parts of ourselves a change to get involved. Acting responsively, on the other hand, is much better because we're pausing to take stock and giving ourselves time to respond in a calmer and more considered way.

To live reactively is quick and hard. To live responsively is gentle and soft.

To live as a boozer is quick and hard. To live sober is gentle and soft.

This is the big adjustment. It takes time and it takes work. But know that the longer you go not drinking the more naturally you will calm down into a more responsive way of living.

And trust me, that's a great way to be.

Love, Mrs D xxx