Monday, September 15, 2014

My amateurish emotional management techniques...

I had this kind of low-grade hum of nerves (anxiety?) in my belly & chest this past weekend. I could feel it there… and I kept trying to pause and figure out what it was about.

- Mr D being away and me being on my own and solely responsible for the house & boys?

- Having a bit of work on - needing to write an article for the HPA's AlcoholNZ publication and needing to work up my presentation for these speaking events in October?

- The ongoing responsibility of monitoring Living Sober, making sure interactions are kept friendly, spammers are banished to cyber-hell and technical queries are answered?

Probably all of the above. I couldn't think of anything else specifically that I had to be worried about..

Or this just what being a raw (sober) human being with a busy brain entails..? Thinking, thinking, thinking all the time.. planning, executing, interacting, worrying, general rushing-around madness?

I just wrote a post over at Living Sober about the amount of naval gazing I do nowadays and how it helps. It really does. Even though some of the techniques I have developed from all my research are quite half-cocked and amateurish (I'm sure) - at least I'm trying.

So what do I do? Well for this low-grade hum of nerves (or anxiety?) in my body this weekend … three times I literally paused what I was doing and closed my eyes for a moment and took a deep breath. Once when I was standing in the middle of the kitchen, once when I was sitting on my bed and once when I was in the bathroom. I just paused, closed my eyes and took a deep breath, looked inward and thought 'what's going on in there..?'. Kind of tried to think it through and reassure myself with positive thoughts that everything was ok, I was doing fine, there was no immediate danger and this was just normal life.

Told you my techniques are sort of half-coked and amateurish…!

But it seemed to work somewhat. I think partly what is helpful is just pausing and recognizing how I'm feeling. Acknowledging it .. recognizing it.. accepting it.

And in the end I got through just fine.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Soberversary breakfast..

I've got the most gorgeous photo of my sons approaching the bedroom on Saturday morning with my soberversary breakfast. Son #1 was holding a tray with my card on it (I shared the picture they drew on  Facebook) and a bagel that had been warmed in the toaster then covered with cream cheese. Son #2 was holding a mug of tea in one hand (made with lukewarm water, I don't think they waited for the jug to actually boil) and a glass of orange juice in the other hand. And son #3 was holding a new cookbook for me behind his back.

It was all organized by Mr D before he went away for the weekend and executed by the boys themselves. It was so cute!! I'd been under strict instructions not to get out of bed .. so I'd been lying there in the half dark listening to them get it sorted .. and thankfully thought to grab my phone and snap a photo as they approached the door. I've got it set as my wallpaper now. I love it. They all look so excited and cute.

Taking a soberversary breakfast to their mum.

What does this mean for their lives? They know that mum going 3 years without alcohol is something big and fun to celebrate. Obviously they don't fully understand alcohol and addiction .. but they know there is an element of danger attached to booze, and they seem to have a strange deep knowledge that mum is doing something big by not drinking any more. I don't know how exactly this translates in their minds but I know they are really proud of me. I can see it in their faces. They understand just enough to know it's a big deal.

It is a big deal.

I love that my boys are growing up with the full facts about booze - that it can be fun and enjoyable but it has a dark side. I love that they know alcohol can affect people differently - that they have a mum who doesn't drink alcohol and is open about why that is ("because I can't control it, because once I start drinking it I find it very hard to stop") and they have a dad who models moderate drinking.

They'll all try alcohol.. one or more of them might have 'the gene' (is there such a thing?) and go through a period of drinking too much..? Maybe..? Maybe one or more of them won't drink much at all..? Who knows..? Maybe the world will change dramatically in the next 10-20 years and alcohol won't be as prevalent and wedded into our society then as it is now. I don't know.

All I know is that right now we are bringing up our boys with full knowledge about the pros and cons of booze, and an understanding of the importance of honesty and self-awareness. And as parents that's all we can do.

That, and teach them how to boil the jug.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Monday, September 1, 2014

Almost 3 years sober!

I'd give myself a B- right now on my targets for this intense month of parenting without Mr D around. I'm managing ok. Me and the boys have set some very clear rules about behavior and they're doing ok. They're busy, boisterous boys - completely self-absorbed, wonderful creatures in development - and we're muddling along ok.

Yes sometimes I yell but that's just a fact of life and I'm not going to beat myself up about it too much. It's ordinary yelling I'm sure and there are loads of hugs and calm interactions going on during the days as well. Every evening ends with a sober me chatting with each boy in bed, reading a story or having a cuddle and I'm happy about that.

Every night when I walk out of each boys room I say 'I love you', and in that moment I am thankful for being sober, it's a very good moment to practice sober gratitude. I'm very present now at that 8pm-ish point in the night and I never used to be because I had a drug in my system. Sorry to be so blunt about that but that's how I call it now. Alcohol is a drug and when I drank alcohol I was under the influence of that drug. Even one wine makes a difference. Only now that I have no alcohol at all in my life can I see what an impact that drug made to my connectedness.

Have I mentioned lately how much I love being sober?

So anyway the parenting is going fine but the self-care not so much. It's the bloody sugar again. I just wrote a post over at Living Sober about this.. you can read it here. I've been a very bad girl. So starting today I am sugar-free for September.

Take that you fucking Sugar Witch living inside of me!!!!! I'm going to starve you to death!!!!!!! I'm going to stare you down and resist your cravings and in doing so I am going to feel strong and good once more!!!!!

I am three years sober on Saturday. Hhhmm what to do, what to do..? Maybe not much at all. Maybe just have a lovely ordinary sober day. Maybe just kiss my boys goodnight with an 'I love you' and feel just so happy that I have that shit booze out of my life.

Yes. That is enough.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Sunday, August 24, 2014


It's all on. We are all systems go in this house.. (well I am anyway). Mr D has packed his bags, picked up his guitar and walked out. Yesterday. He's gone and I am left to fend for myself….

For a month that is…

Ha! Trying to be dramatic. No but seriously.. Mr D is away for pretty much all of the next month working … he will be popping back occasionally (hopefully 2 nights a week but maybe only 1).. and he'll be a shell of a man very preoccupied with the mammoth work task he has on.

I've been laid up with a health complaint this past week.. feeling very sorry for myself, in pain, low energy, moving slowly etc etc.. Because I've been sick I've been feeling low mood-wise and because I've been feeling low mood-wise I've been eating crap. I've been locked in a terrible cycle of low-grade misery. But now I'm back to (almost) full health.. Mr D has gone and I am raring to go!!!!!

I am going to meet this month-long challenge head on. Here's what I'm going to do…

* I'm going to stay really on top of the household clutter and chores. If my space is clean & tidy I feel better. Sorry if that makes me sound like an anal control freak but it's something I know about myself… if I am feeling shaky inside tidying up makes me feel better. Yesterday after Mr D had gone to catch his plane the boys and I put our onesies on and watched an Adam Sandler flick eating chips and dip. I then let them play the Xbox while I got crazy-busy clearing up junk and wiping down surfaces and organizing little cluttered areas in the house (old magazines went out! All the sauces & spices that had accumulated on the bench went back into the pantry! Old broken lego creations got dumped into the big lego containers! Board games got tidied and piled up! It was super-satisfying).

* I'm going to eat and drink well. I'm going to cut down to 1 coffee a day. No wheat if I can help it. Very little amounts of sugar. Try and have 1 fresh juice a day. Gluten-free muesli with almond milk for breakfast (not sure if I'm going to like that but I'm going to give it a try). Lots of veges, fruit, eggs, meat & nuts. My body is a temple! If I fuel it right I will feel better mentally and physically. Just watched this clip of Jason Vale (he wrote the booze book that helped me so much) about treating our bodies well. It's short talk - only about 15 minutes long - but he makes a good visual point about how the way we choose to fuel our bodies plays such a massive part in our overall well being.

* I am going to work on the upcoming presentations I need to give so that I don't feel too nervous about them. I have been invited to speak at three public events in October about my drinking & recovery story. I need to deliver a presentation about myself articulately and entertainingly. I want to be prepared so I started working on my presentation last night. I'll keep honing it until I think it's ready…

* I am going to stay busy over at Living Sober communicating with others in the Members Feed.. keeping an eye on all the interactions to make sure everyone is being lovely (they are! Not one bit of nastiness or snippiness.. it's an amazing, amazing, amazingly kind and supportive space. It's working so well I'm blown away and so happy). And I'll keep posting on my blog there with interesting discussion points..

* I'll pop in here to keep an eye on other sober blogs and to update this my 'warm bath' blog which feels much more personal and intimate (weird I know given this blog is open to all just like Living Sober is, but this feels like my space whereas Living Sober feels like a public space and I don't want to make it all about me over there…). All of this online activity, while somewhat my job nowadays, also serves me well in my recovery ..

* And last but not least I'm going to stay very engaged with my three sons who are going to miss their Dad hugely. They are busy, emotional, developing people whom I love to distraction and I want to ensure they stay feeling supported and secure - while also teaching them the importance of HELPING OUT AROUND THE HOUSE!!!!!

And now if you'll excuse me I'm going to go make a green juice. Hopefully I can hold strong to my list of good behaviors for the month!

Love, Mrs D xxx

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Big-Ass Sober Test...

Ok so this is new for me in my sobriety. Working again. Work stress. Juggling. Time pressure. Keeping calm under pressure. Trying to stay on top of things and manage all the demands of my life and remain feeling content and peaceful within (which is my ultimate goal. I hate it when I'm wound up!).

I suppose I had the relocation and the masters thesis to contend with after I got sober.. so I've had stress in sobriety before.. but for some reason this feels different. This Living Sober gig is a job. So I'm juggling now. I'm a classic juggling mum.. trying to run the house, keep the kids fed and happy and under control and attended to.. the husband attended to (not that he needs much, he's awesome) and myself calm and happy (the most important thing).

So yeah.. this is a big-ass sober test.

I'm up for the challenge. I can recognize when I'm starting to get stressed.. I can feel it in my body - my shoulders go up and a pressure comes on in my chest, and my head gets a lot of white noise.. none of this is major or crippling, but I can sense it when it comes...

I'm going to meet this challenge head on. I'm going to listen to the clever people who can help me manage this (Tara, Dan Siegel, Byron Katie) I'm going to drop my shoulders when I feel them rising.. look up at the clouds when I notice my eyes have been stuck downwards for too long, keep checking in with my head and my chest - I don't know how to explain this but there are ways that I can 'check in' with myself and notice what I'm feeling and ground myself momentarily…

And mostly I'm going to remember that this year - 2014 - is a monumental year for me.. what with the book coming out and going so public about my drinking problem.. having overwhelming, amazing and lovely response from people who self-identify as being in a similar position with booze and wanting to change themselves and get sober, and now having created (with the help of expert partners) a new online space where people are actually finding support and changing (it's un-fucking-believable what is going on inside Living Sober already.. wow wow wow it's full of people turning their lives around. Like actually turning. their. lives. around).. but yeah.. this is a big year, and this year will pass and these things will become less intense, more just a part of the woodwork, and it will be 2015, 2016, 2020, 2025, and life will move on and I just have to keep moving through it trying to be smiley and lovely…

So this is where I'm at.

And now I'm going to go brew myself a cup of the new Chamomile & Lavender tea that I just bought. Will it be yummy? Hope so!

Love, Mrs D xxx