Monday, December 26, 2011

Final Christmas blog..

It's so totally fine to be not drinking at Christmas.  It's so much better than fine.  I'm still laughing, chatting, joking being totally normal but without that edgy feeling like I've got the dial turned up to 9 or 10 (over the top) instead of sitting comfortably at a 5 or 6 (nice and normal).

And I'm sitting at that comfortable level while hosting tons of people coming and going, plus around 6 extras staying including two babies.  The dishwasher has been going three times a day, we're constantly cleaning up and getting ready to prepare the next snack or 3-course meal.  And all the while it's a melting pot of humanity with all their foibles, stresses and problems and of course all of us think our issues are the most important. A million and one dynamics and the odd tension spot blowing like a leak in a pipe.

But sober Mrs D is able to keep herself reasonably level-headed.  Not too stressed, not too territorial, generous enough with my house and space, busy but not feeling too under-appreciated, washing, cleaning, answering questions constantly (where are your table cloths? is the local diary open today?  how can I set your washing machine to low?  is there a container I can put this in?  shall we cook the rosti like this or like that?  have you another cushion for the outside chairs?  where's the hose fitting so I can fill the paddling pool? ).

I've had three people cry over me in private (we're an emotional female-based family ok), one or two snap testily at me, a couple of them treat me like I'm the most bossy person in the world (well you told me to ask for help) and the sleep throughout has been brief and broken.

But not once have I been even slightly tempted to drink alcohol despite everyone else doing it (except pregnant sister).  Not even remotely interested.  Just do not want to.  Don't need it.  Don't want it. 

I rekon if I had been experiencing all of the above while pouring copious amounts of alcohol in my system I'd not only feel a shit-load more tired and sicky in my guts with a pounding headache most of the time but I'd be feeling far more watery emotionally myself.  I'd have a nervy feeling in my tummy probably because I'd not been able to think and feel and process all the dynamics and interactions clearly. 

Happy Merry Glorious Sober Christmas to you all!!!!!!!!!! 

Off camping now for a week .... please may it not rain.

Love Mrs D xxxxxxx

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Day

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Man we are churning through the work.  Preparing meals, cleaning up, relaxing for 2 minutes then lurching into the next meal.  It's a food and drink feast.  A rolling festival of food.

Funny thing is my non-alcohol beverages seem to be more popular than wine and beer!  Everyone is drinking alcohol but they're not really pounding it (like I would be).  Maybe it's because I'm not?  Still, the main Christmas meal is tonight perhaps they'll get amongst it then.  I've already thought that if that happens I'll take myself off to bed.

Ha, just heard Mr D in the other room saying 'time for a beer! Anyone else?'.

It's 4.13pm.  Back soon.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Saturday, December 24, 2011

So far...

... almost all my family here and last night the first big evening together.

I was called 'amazing'...

I was called 'virtuous' and 'boring'...

And I was warned 'just don't start lecturing anyone else'...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A sober Christmas...

I've been looking forward to it actually.  A chance to show everyone how happy I am sober.  Oh clever sober me!  Planning nice fresh ginger beer drinks and lime and mint crushed with ice and soda water.  Super! Wonderful! Awesome!

But here I am, four sleeps to go, it's nearly midnight, I'm wound up like a top, my brain is whirring and I've just snuck quietly out of the bedroom to come write this blog in the hopes that it will release some of the tension in my thoughts and I can get to sleep.

I think I've been living in a lovely sober bubble for the last however-many days that it's been since I took the wine away (just did a quick check, 106 days). Just me in my house with my lovely husband and sons and my neighbourhood of friends plus family, some close, some far away, all there on the phone and email etc..

And now it's Christmas and everyone is descending on us and I'm doing all the organising (which is fine, I'm an organisational geek) but there's things being said and actions being taken that is the usual stuff of families but it's like brutal fingers are poking, poking, poking at my bubble upsetting my quite delicate equilibrium.  I don't think I realised quite how delicate it was. 

It doesn't help that I wrote in my last post that I loved 'getting out of it' and I've just been thinking of getting out of it lately.  Just getting totally 'out of it'. OUT of it.  OUT OF IT.  Just getting out of it.

I'ts not going to happen though.  Oh no siree bob.  No fucking way. I'm going to grit my teeth and get through.  And who knows maybe this tension will pass and I'll enjoy myself!  I'm sure I will actually.  Once everyone is here in one place I can submit to the craziness and look in my boys faces and feel good for them and look in the mirror and feel good for myself because all I have to do is not drink and everything will be alright in the end.

Oh and I've finally gotten organised to get the old photo of me scanned and have posted it on my 'Who Am I?' page so go take a look!  Mr D says I haven't aged a bit.  Flattery will get you everywhere Mr D.

Love, Mrs D xxxx

Monday, December 19, 2011

What if you can't abstain?

We all have our stuff, our issues, our problems (our reasons).  And we all have our ways of dealing with them, or avoiding them.  I don't really know exactly why or what combination of factors led to me being a sloppy, out-of-control heavy drinker, but that is what I was.  Pouring wine down my throat even though it wasn't making my life happy.  Drinking glasses and glasses and bottles and bottles of wine.  Endlessly and constantly drinking as much and as often as I wanted, those amounts growing and growing until finally I stopped.

I got to a point where I was acutely aware of what a problem my drinking was and thankfully that feeling was strong enough to overcome all the previous ones and I made the decision to remove alcohol completely from my life and retrain my brain out of thinking that it made me relax (it didn't), helped me with stress (it didn't), made things more fun (it didn't) made me more interesting (it didn't) took my problems away (it didn't).

But what if my way of dealing with (or avoiding) my issues had been different?  What if, for example, the way I had decided to deal with life was to binge on food and then vomit it up?  Or just binging and binging and keeping it in and getting really overweight.  Or starving myself, withholding much needed food until I was a skeleton of myself.  Food issues in other words.

I mean without getting too deep life is actually pretty hard isn't it, we're complex emotional creatures struggling to like ourselves, have decent relationships, deal with problematic parents, or partners, or money worries, or weight issues, or sex issues or .. or .. or ..

And seconds tick by, and new problems arise, and new feelings surface, and new shit happens, and good stuff too!, and then tricky stuff, and then boring stuff, and still the seconds tick by, and the minutes and the hours. 

So what do you do?  Do you drink heavily?  Do you smoke too much?  Do you eat too much?  Do you make yourself vomit?  Do you starve yourself?  Do you inject yourself?   What do you do? 

And then, if you want to fix it, what do you do?  In some ways I've been lucky.  I've had a thing - alcohol - to focus on.  Remove that thing, focus on why it's not helping you, retrain your brain to accept life without it.  Good luck staying the course but if you do, problem solved.  But food issues is a whole different kettle of fish.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Saturday, December 17, 2011

What are you thinking?

So there are a lot of people that come to my blog and not many that comment.  And that's totally fine, this ain't no guilt trip to get you to comment. 

For while the comments I do get are really lovely, (some have made me cry with their kindness, or get a little teary at least, some have really helped me be strong when I was in a rough patch, and some have made me laugh out loud) really this blog is mainly written for me to help keep myself sober. 

It actually came about because when I finally decided I was going to take the plunge and attempt to completely remove alcohol from my life I thought about getting a diary to put in my top bedside drawer so I could write every day and keep track of my thoughts and boost myself along.  Then I thought why not type it down somewhere, then thought open a blog, do it anonymously and .. well here we are.

But for all of you that do arrive here and then leave without commenting I can only guess at what you're thinking.  So I'm going to take a stab at what your thoughts might be and put you into three categories.

Reader Type-A is thinking: "Man that Mrs D, wow she's amazing to be removing alcohol from her life.  How cool and strong is she!  And she seems really down to earth, such brutal honesty.  I've been wondering about my own alcohol intake .. I'm going to have to keep coming back to see how she's getting on."

Reader Type-B is thinking: "Jeez, what a lush Mrs D is.  Can't believe she was such a boozer, all that wine drinking, what loser behaviour.  Only dicks can't control their alcohol.  I bet she's going to relapse.  I'll pop back every now and then just to see her fail."

Reader Type-C is thinking: "What the hell is this?  I'm looking for the blog of the uber-cool New York DJ Mrs D.  This ain't the right Mrs D! *navigates away*"

Ha!  No but seriously, I've decided to put up a pic of myself as soon as I can get it scanned (it's old, but very appropriate).  So whether you're Reader A or B watch this space and you'll get to see what I look like.  If you're a Type-C and you've made it this far - what the hell are you still doing here??!!

Love, Mrs D xxx

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Evenings..

So I seem to have a familiar pattern now with my new sober life.  I am good through the busy, noisy times being a non-drinker, but I struggle a bit in the quiet of my own brain.  Didn't have a problem with all the parties last weekend at all, in fact (as I keep saying) I'm so much happier going out and being a sober-together version of myself.  I always feel so much happier in my memories of the night.

Anyway so that was the weekend, full of noise and life and me more than happy not drinking.  Then come Monday, I'm tired and it's quiet and I feel like a wine at 5pm would have been really nice.  Just a few thoughts, not a huge wave of them like it would have been 90-odd days ago when I was first sober, but still they were there.  Tuesday also a bit tricky.  I'm still learning how just to 'be' without the wine.

I've been thinking how I used to be quite useless in the evenings.  I'd never answer the phone if I could help it, I certainly wouldn't get on the computer (have done the odd drunk-facebook session and cringed the next morning at my over-effusive comments on people's photos 'your kids are so beautiful you're awesome love you guys so much' etc etc), couldn't achieve any sorting of paper-work, paying bills or transcribing interviews for my masters research or anything really.  Just me on the sofa with a wine or 5 and the TV.  Lots and lots of TV.

I have been known to get through an entire programme of Keeping Up With The Kardashians and realise only toward the end I had watched it before, pissed.  Or maybe those idiots are just imminently forgettable.  Still can't stop watching them though!

Now I have these lovely gentle evenings and if I'm in the mood can actually achieve things.  Admittedly it's just things like sitting on the sofa with my notebook and cookbooks and making a meal plan & shopping list for the week (budgeting housewife geek me), or sitting with the laptop ordering books online from the library catalogue, or reading recovery blogs and making effusive-but-sober comments on other ex-boozers blogs!, or wrapping Christmas presents.  Or maybe just deciding with Mr D that we'll climb into bed and watch Downton Abby. 


Love, Mrs D xxx

Monday, December 12, 2011

Just quietly...

I'm just going to say this quietly because I don't want to come across as all cocky and confident, and maybe this is another pink cloud floating by in my life (I love the whole pink cloud concept, why are they called pink clouds anyway?) but I just love love love love being sober.

I have so much more self respect. Someone once commented on my blog when I was going to an event and was nervous that I should 'raise a glass of self respect' instead of booze and I thought that was such a great concept.  My self respect is so much higher now that I'm not feeling so horribly dysfunctional.

And another lovely Australian chap keeps commenting to me to 'be kind to myself' and I love that concept as well because it carries so much weight.  It doesn't just say be kind, it says look after, nurture, love, protect.  All those things are true when you are being brave and making a big scary, almost unheard of (in my circle of life) decision to live without alcohol.

I feel so much more 'in touch' with myself.  This is a hard one to explain but when my brain isn't affected by alcohol so much any more I can trust all my feelings and emotions, know that I'm feeling them honestly and fully and not under a cloud.  Also I don't have those little memories when they're vague and I think 'was I pissed when I thought that/said that/did that?' 

I just feel better.  Emotionally and physically.  I had a huge weekend this weekend with a BBQ on Friday night, two parties on Saturday plus hosting a lunch here on Sunday.  Last night Mr D and I got into bed at 7.23pm! and we were absolutely knackered, but I said to him how different it was to feel that exhausted feeling after a busy social weekend but without the headaches, sick guts, or guilt.

I actually can't think of a single reason why I would want to go back to wine again.  Hope I'm not getting lulled into a false sense of security.

(Incidentally parties are fine sober until about 11pm when people start giving you sloppy hugs and stop making much sense and at that point slipping out the back door is advisable)

Love, Mrs D xxx 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I am an I?

Hi, my name is Mrs D and I am a ... *coughs*.. um .. hi.  I'm Mrs D and... um ... huh.. *clears throat*.. sorry, lets try that again.  Hi.  I'm Mrs D.  And I. Am. A ... ... ... dysfunctional drinker.

I've never called myself an alcoholic.  Am I one?  I like to call myself a dysfunctional drinker.  A boozer.  A enthusiastic wine-drinker.  But alcoholic, no.  Semantics?  Probably.  But still.  I don't want to call myself an alcoholic.  For one thing I think it provides too blunt a label, or at least one that I'm not comfortable with.  But also .. well .. I dunno .. I'm embarrassed to say that I am one.  It conjours up images of derelict losers and I'm not one of "them".  You know the type.  Those winos in the gutter. Those smelly ladies with filthy clothes and unkempt hair I see in my supermarket with trollys filled with big casks of wine.

I mean, I never drank cask wine! Admittedly my bottles were only worth about $10 but, you know, there was glass involved.  No cardboard round here.  And I wasn't a stumbling drunk out on the streets creating a scene.  Ok so there was that one time I sort of stumbled in front of my inlaws while holding my 6 year old and sort of dropped him a bit .. but I don't think they all knew how much wine I'd poured into myself that evening.  Oh and there's those favourite earrings that I lost during almighty binges (still think they might have gone down the drain, there was vomiting involved).  So that's all pretty sloppy behaviour.  Me as a derelict loser, yeah.

Trying to read Allen Carr's 'The Easy Way to Stop Drinking', finding it rather intense but will persevere in the interests of keeping my brain alert to the perils of alcohol (my sly wine-drinking fox is still lurking in the back recesses of my brain I'm sure of it). Anyway he says the definition of an alcoholic is someone who has lost control over their intake.

Well I had definately lost control over my intake.  I think I lost it back in the late 80's actually.  But sorry Allen I'm not ready to own that label yet.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

90 Days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

90 days hurray!

90 days hurray!

Hi Ho the Dairy-O, 90 Days Hurray!

What a lovely 90th day of sobriety I had.  What a contrast the day was compared with my last binge which also fell on a Monday.  In my first ever post I talk about my sculling wine and then hiding the bottle while Mr D was out at Scouts with the Big Guy and Middle Dude. 

Yesterday I went to the gym, went and bought Mr D and I a new bed! (this wasn't on a whim, our old one is one I bought before I even met him), made some fresh ginger beer (thanks Jamie Oliver), ginger crunch and a pavlova while the little guy was napping, had a lovely family dinner then pottered round cleaning up the house while Mr D took our two eldest to their Scouts meeting.  Bathed the Little Man then made train tracks with him.  We all gorged on Pavlova when the others got home, then put the kids to bed, lay on the sofa watching TV and .... FILED MY NAILS!!!!!!!  Yes ladies and gentlemen .. some personal grooming!!!!!!!!

Actually some weird changes are occurring in my new-found sober life.  I file my nails more often.  I'm thinking I might start *shock horror* flossing my teeth every night.  I have plucked my eyebrows more often (I once did this pissed on the sofa in the half-dark and the result was disastrous).  The first thing I now put in my tummy every morning is a cup of Green Tea with a little honey added.  What am I, some sort of crazy hippy?!  I used to start every day with a huge mug of milky instant coffee but now it's Green Tea and it really makes me feel much cleaner and lighter.

Cleaner and lighter.  That would sum up my feeling in general at this point of 90 days.  Cleaner and lighter with no guilt or hangovers, clean teeth, neat nails and semi-shaped eyebrows.  But not resting on my laurels.  Someone told me yesterday that the 90-day chip is Red to warn against being complacent.  That was great to hear.  I'm considering myself warned.  So am going to keep up my inner work and continue to work on training my brain to accept a life with no alcohol added. 

Love, Mrs D xxx

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tomorrow's the day

So this 90-day thing feels quite significant. I'm not sure why.  It's an AA thing and I'm not in AA, but I know that they make a really big deal when someone has managed to stay sober for 90 days (a special coin? some sort of ceremony?).  I've been getting excited myself about tomorrow and feeling like I should do something special like make a big pavlova! And cover it with whipped cream and fresh berries and a broken up flake bar.  Lots of lovely crumbs of chocolate.  That would be a statement.

But personally, inside me, I have to say that the journey to this point has been intense and revealing.  And now that I'm here I feel a certain level of calm about living a life without alcohol.

Having said that I did have a pang or two yesterday, accompanied by a small stomach turn (nerves?) and a kind of incredulous voice inside saying 'Really? Never again?  Really?'.  I think it's still going to be hard, and at times I'll be sad that I can't be a casual drinker.

But I can't, so there, move on Mrs D.

Anyway.  One of the main things I have learned in the past 90 days is that it is in the stillness and quiet that I find it hardest not to drink.  The hardest weekend I had recently was a weekend where we had no plans.  Just the family hanging out.  I struggled all weekend.

I've been to a wedding, hosted a party, attended BBQs and meals at friends houses.  I've been to bars, attended Black Tie dinners and dined at fancy restaurants and all of these events have been fine sober.  Better than fine.   I love going out socially when I'm not drinking and not revealing to everyone that I have an enthusiastic attitude to wine.

But Tuesday nights are difficult.  Random Wednesdays at 4.59pm.  Weekends with nothing on.  The quiet, the still, it scares me and I feel an urge to drink.  I used to think it was boredom but Dr Drew told someone on Celebrity Rehab that boredom is another word for depression.  I'm not depressed.  But I have been avoiding some sadnesses.  I'm having to learn to be low sometimes, and flat.  I never knew that was going to happen.

Bring on the next 90 days I say.

Love, Mrs D xxx