Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve!!!!!

I am full of snot and can't taste anything but other than that it's all good!! We are away from home staying with family, doing lots of mixing and mingling. Kids are exhausted but excited and happy... and I am much the same.

Bought myself a lot of fresh limes at the supermarket yesterday so I can dress up my soda water tomorrow. That's all I've got planned for a treaty Xmas drink to be honest which is a bit slack but it's all I'm really wanting.

I've had sober Christmas's in the past where I made a huge effort to concoct mocktails etc but this year being away from home and less fixated on my drink alternatives means fresh limes and soda is all that is really required.

Sat with some friends who were all chomping into the wines last night. Didn't bother me much.. they can have it, I'm happy with my alcohol free life. It was interesting watching it happen because that was me for soooooooo many years but now I just look and think 'yuk'! Not that my fiends are yuk, or that they were acting yucky.. it's just a very personal reaction to do with myself only which is 'yuk I don't want to go back to that life where I necked wine constantly and lived like an entirely different person'.

Yes I'm more low key than I probably would have been in the past and yes I probably go home earlier so I can snuggle into bed all cosy and warm. But that's ok. I've had a good many years of late nights boozing and now my life has taken a different turn.

I did have a dream last week in which I was feeling really left out of a party because I wasn't drinking. It wasn't a nice dream and it left me feeling sad for a day afterwards, and perturbed that there is obviously still a part of me somewhere deep inside that feels on the outside (of what?) now that I'm not boozing any more.

But I've chosen not to dwell on that feeling. See it as an understandable factor in my range of emotions - understandable because the world is awash with booze and I used to be too. And as always I have to stay very focused on my truth and the undeniable fact that for me personally living sober now is the best way for me to be. The alternative is just too shudder-inducing to think about.

Anyhoo... I've got washing to hang out and presents to wrap and kids to entertain and nibbles to prepare in advance of tomorrow, and a toilet to clean and it's Christmas Eve and I'm a sober housewife and happy with that!

Love, Mrs D xxx

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Proud and tired and messy and alive.

I delivered my manuscript!!!!!!! Oh the relief!!! Job done. Well - there's still quite a bit to do but the BIG job is done which is figuring out the structure of the book, what I wanted to say, how I wanted to say it, then saying it in 60,000 words. Hours and hours and hours I have spent sitting at my laptop writing.

Now it'll be edited and checked and proof read and checked and typeset and checked and then published in the middle of next year.

After I delivered it I felt really strange. After having this writing project as a constant pressure in my life for many months having it gone is weird. I felt directionless for a day or two. But still busy with household and kid and work stuff. Then I got super exhausted and grumpy. Still really busy. And then teary - this morning I had a wee cry on Mr D.

But after the tears I felt a wee bit better. Tears are little messages from the soul, and the are healing. Finally now after many years of sobriety I can see that feeling a full range of emotions is necessary. As much as I dislike anger and sadness they are there for a reason (go watch Inside Out if you want to know why!! Great movie).

Anyway, so now there is a bunch of stuff to do before school ends and we head into Christmas and New Years and the long summer holidays. I have a huge list to check off, about to head into town to get shit done.

I have no big worries about the Silly Season ahead. Not concerned about other peoples drinking. Not hung up about me not drinking. Just ordinary sober me forging ahead with plans and celebrations.

I love being sober. Even when I am crying or feeling grumpy or just plain exhausted and worn out I love being sober. I love being authentic and fully alive to all the sensations of being a human. I love being opened up to so many new ways of thinking about life and having many new super-powerful and grounding tools and techniques to draw from when the going gets tough (all charted in my new book). When I was boozing I was very narrow in my thinking and closed off to much of my experiences. Now I am wide fucking open - raw, real, and recovered. Sober.

Sober Mrs D closing off 2016 proud and tired and messy and alive.

Wouldn't want it any other way.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Tuesday, December 6, 2016


I have just reached 5000 likes on my Facebook page so am doing a giveaway there - to enter all you have to do is comment on my latest post and I'll select a name at random to win. The prize is a copy of my first book AND an exclusive early copy of my new book when it comes out next year!

The link to my page is here.

I am just putting the finishing touches on the manuscript of the new book now. I have to admit this book-writing process has been rather fraught and emotional - for a variety of reasons - but I have pushed through and have pulled together something I am happy with. My publishers are also happy with what they've seen and they'll get an editor to help polish it up, hooray!

Other than that things are good here, busy but trucking along ok. Mr D and I went to Coldplay last weekend with was huge and cheesy fun! They gave every concert-goer a light-up wrist band on arrival that flashed in time with the music. They also had confetti cannons, and huge colourful balloons floating around ... it was fun. I milked the experience for everything it offered, singing along, waving my hands in the air, just feeling really happy and present for the entire thing.

I have been so drunk at so many concerts and basically wasted the entire experience by being focussed on getting to the bar, going to the toilet, falling over, puking is so great now to attend music events and really just feel the atmosphere and let the natural emotions of being in a big crowd wash over me.

My goals for the next wee while are; deliver my manuscript, enjoy travelling away with my family, have a lovely time reconnecting with people over Christmas, figure out how I'm going to get fit, keep using my recovery tools to maintain a decent level of calm and happiness, stay in contact with the online recovery community, and stay sober!!!!!!!!!!

No stupid, foul-tasting, brain numbing, emotion stifling, carcinogenic liquid for me!!! No way.

I love my sober life, and I will not go back to being the boozy disconnected housewife I once was EVER. So there!!!

Love, Mrs D xxx

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Earthquake stress...

Everything's been rather full on here. We had a major earthquake event earlier this week that shook up the region. Lives were lost, evacuations carried out by the navy, schools closed, massive high-rises  deemed unstable and uninhabitable. It hit just after midnight and we got out of bed to listen intently to the radio, then came Tsunami warnings and our relatives who live near the coast arrived at 2am with their wide open eyes carrying blankets and bananas (a quick grab on the way out the door!). Felt good to be close to one another.

The landscape close to the epicentre has changed dramatically and major highways will be closed for months due to landslips. Our Government will need to shell out millions of dollars to get things fixed up and going again. In the meantime small tourist communities are going to suffer hugely. We've had  hundreds of aftershocks and the experts tell us there is a very high chance of another big quake hitting in the next 2-3 months because the fault lines beneath our lovely little country have all shifted.

None of this is positive.

We are getting prepared. Just spent an hour filling loads of big plastic bottles with water. We have our emergency kit all ready and lots of extra easy-to-eat food stored away.

It's all a bit unnerving and unsettling and edgy but we are boxing on as best we can with normal life. I have just 2 or so weeks until I deliver the first draft of my new book to my publishers - looking forward to having them help me pull it into decent shape. It's quite timely right now to be finishing up a book about how I developed new tools to deal with life in the raw. All my new tools are coming in very handy as I deal with this quake uncertainty. I love my new tools, they work in lovely subtle ways to help me stay calm and grounded and present.

No thoughts of stinky wine to help me deal with any stress, no way! Love my sober life, even when things are nerve-wracking and hard to control. So grateful not to be turning to booze as a coping mechanism for the nerves. That wouldn't help me at all. Sober is good.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Thursday, November 10, 2016

A post about love

I used to wake up in the morning at 3am with a dry mouth, pounding head, sick guts, and an intense feeling of guilt. Why did I drink too much last night yet again? Why am I such a weak and pathetic piece of shit?

A couple of hours later I'd drag myself out of bed to start the day. The first things to hit my stomach would be a couple of pain killers and a big mug of milky instant coffee.

I'd struggle through the morning feeling like shit physically and emotionally (until I rehydrated, started convincing myself I didn't have a problem and worked towards drinking again the next evening).

Nowadays, what a difference! Most days I wake between 6-7am and my first thought is usually "whoa, another eight hours uninterrupted sleep!". I get out of bed and start my day with no hangover or guilt. Currently the first things to hit my belly are a big glass of water with a cap of  apple cider vinegar in it, followed by a mug of green tea.

I am not a saint by any means, there are things that I can still over-indulge in and mornings when I am feeling low or shitty. But for the most part my days start with a clear head, and a happy heart.

So great to be able to get the days off to a good start because bloody hell life can be hard sometimes. Things hurt and are tricky and it's no wonder adults get ground down by all of the stuff that we have to deal with year after year. Oh to be a kid again with no sense of relentless pain and suffering.

But let this not be a post about doom and gloom! Let this be a post about glorious hangover free sober mornings, hearts that beat and lungs that fill with air. Let this be a post about gratitude for small glorious things like scented candles and dogs who love wholly and unconditionally and fridges that keep food cold and music that lifts the heart.

Let this be a post about bravery and honesty and digging deep to be the best you can be. And community and love and love and love.

Let this be a post about love.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Monday, October 31, 2016

Not for me thanks!

Mr D and I went out for an anniversary dinner on Friday night - a DATE NIGHT! That never happens! (we're a bit slack on that front).

When we sat down at the fancy restaurant the waitress bought over two complimentary glasses of champagne (he'd told them it was our anniversary when booking) and while we were so chuffed and touched by their gesture ("oh wow thanks so much!") I was quick to say "sorry but I don't drink alcohol."

There was a bit of shuffling around then, she apologised, I said "he can have both!", we all laughed, he said "no, one's enough!", she took it away.

Five minutes later she came back with a champagne flute filled with a delicious looking concoction with some fresh berries floating in the top and a wee ice cube.. and said "David's made you a mocktail, he calls it Berry Delight" (or something).. and boy was I delighted then! I looked over to where David the barman was watching us and gave him a cherry thumbs up, and he gave me one back with a big smile, and everyone was happy! I sure was.

Mr D and I clinked glasses and the night was off to a great start.

The interesting thing about this whole exchange was that it came with no drama and absolutely ZERO angsty emotions for me. The only emotional response I had was a genuine happiness when I was bought a treaty concoction that I could actually drink. Something fancy made by someone else.

I felt no awkwardness letting on that I didn't drink alcohol - no embarrassment. I had no sadness or 'woe is me' thoughts that I couldn't drink the first glass offered. I didn't care that the champagne wasn't going to be passing by my lips. I just don't touch that stuff any more. I was fine saying nope, that's not for me.

How incredible is this? To get to this place of zero fraught emotions when back at the start OMG it was hell not touching alcohol and having to watch other people drink it. It was hell having to feel like the odd one out. It was hell spending so much time fretting over not being able to imbibe. Basically it was hell being sober.

It's certainly not hell now. Now I just simply push it away with a glorious casual air that feels so comfortable and easy, and utter simple words such as "Not for me thanks!"

Probably better to be simple and casual in my language, rather than say what I really think which is "none of that carcinogenic, brain-numbing, emotion-stifling, ridiculously-expensive, guilt-inducing, stomach-churning, vinegary shit for me thanks!"

I'm not sure that would go down well in many situations! Unless I'm with my fellow sober warriors of course, then we can really speak our truth.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Digital Detox

I've just been away for a week with my extended family to a beautiful location...and I was away from the Internet for the entire week! No social media, no Living Sober, no blogging, no work emails, no Daily Mail (!), no news sites.. nothing. Just a quick check of home emails after 5 days for some kid admin stuff.

Boy had I over-emphasised what a big deal this digital detox would be. In the lead up I had gotten all excited/nervous like it would be hard work or totally liberating or something. I wondered how I'd go not checking all my online spaces regularly like I normally do. Normally I check, check, and check again.

Did I miss it? Surprisingly no! Not at all. The only things I was wondering about was whether my publisher had emailed feedback about the work I'd just sent her, whether Kim Kardashian had broken her social media silence after her Paris robbery (sad I know), and what Trump had done next.

But those were idle thoughts and most of the week was spent reading books and hanging out with my extended family having a lovely, relaxing time.

Everyone else was drinking booze on holiday but I didn't care. I wasn't tempted, didn't feel left out, didn't want what they had, didn't see the need to enhance my already lovely experience with a drug that triggers pleasure receptors in the brain. Maybe I've just forgotten what it feels like to have the impact of alcohol on my brain - it obviously has an appeal - but I'm happy without it. I slept great, felt calm, felt happy, felt lots of love and affection for my family, felt good.

Love being sober. Just saying.

Returning to the Internet has been a bit of a surprising let-down too. Not only had I built up what leaving it would feel like, but I'd built up what returning to it would feel like too. There were very few notifications on social media, tonnes of emails but nothing terribly exciting, and Kim Kardashian is still quiet.

Actually I've re-evaluated my addiction to the Daily Mail and have removed the shortcut from my computer. Don't need that shit in my life any more. Celebrities just aren't that interesting. So that was something good to come out of my digital detox after all.

As soon as I got off the plane I shared a photo to Instagram and then found myself checking back again and again for feedback.. so there's obviously a thrill to be had there, but how much it actually fuels my soul I'm unsure about.

One day I will stop sharing online and that will feel good. But not yet. I still feel driven to promote sobriety and recovery online to whoever wants to read/see it. I still feel like there are loads of people who are working hard to get free from the booze trap and the more that sober people can share their truth online (highlights and struggles) the better it is for all of us.


If you are still drinking and feel worried that your life will be awful and boring if you quit (like I did), please know that it won't. Absolutely it won't. It will be hard work at times but so, so rewarding.

You will grow to love your calm, authentic life and till the end of your days you'll be so proud of yourself for kicking that shit to the curb.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Been working hard writing...

Oh gawd I have been so stressed and emotional writing this new book. I was lulled into such a false sense of security about what a book-writing process is like after doing the first one - it was a doddle! It just flowed out of me like water.

The new one is not flowing out of me, it is dribbling. 

However it is dribbling steadily and I will get it done because not completing it is not an option.

But I have to be honest I'm a bit of a mess with stress hitting and tiredness and distractedness.. not great things to bring to my parenting/housewifely life. Mostly what I do (aside from yelling a bit more often at the kids, sorry kids!) is self-sabotage with bad foods. Such is my pattern. Very alcoholic pattern of consumption it is too (Quick! Reach for some external substance that will ease my tightened emotional state!)

Anyway, don't want to complain too much because my lot isn't a bad lot really and there is a lot more suffering in the world than me just being tired and stressed.

Luckily I am about to head away for a holiday with my extended family and this will also be a writing holiday and a CYBER HOLIDAY!! Yes! I am going internet free for 7 whole days which will be bloody good.

Am not feeling too worried about it. The new book can wait, emails can wait, my social media accounts will still be there when I get back, and the Living Sober community is in safe hands with a member appointed to keep an eye on things while I'm away.

I'm feeling good about my alcohol-free status on holiday. I know everyone else will be drinking in the evenings because that's what most people in the world do (in my world anyway). But I'm ok with that. I'll just hold to my truth which is that I'm infinitely more happier, calmer, more present, more authentic, prouder, healthier, more connected to my kids and family, and just generally a better version of myself without booze in my life.

In my previous life this holiday would have been all about alcohol because that was what I thought relaxing and celebrating was all about. Sober me is looking at this holiday as being about spending quality time with my mum and sisters and their families, building memories for my kids, watching them bond with their cousins, being away from the internet, having a change of scene, reading books, swimming, and relaxing.

There is nothing that alcohol could add to this holiday and so much that it could take away.

But not for me because I live sober, yay!!

Love, Mrs D xxx

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Booze soaked world !!!!!

My Goodness I live in a booze soaked world ! It's every-bloody-where. No wonder so many people struggle with the goddam stuff. It's so normalised.

Me and my 12-year-old just drove around delivering letters to families from the local Scout group as part of a fundraiser.. the letters were for a special wine offer!! Oh how we laughed at the irony of the situation. Here was a sober housewife, one who wrote a book about getting sober, one who promotes sobriety all over social media, blogs and runs a website for people who are getting sober.. delivering wine promotions around her neighbourhood!! Don't tell anyone!! (Whoops, too late).

Should I have not been doing it? Well sure, I could have taken a little personal stand and not.. but I'm part of a group working hard to raise money for our Scouts going to Jamboree and someone else came up with this idea and I wanted to do my bit to help out.

And this is the world I live in. One where selling wine is a good way to raise funds because a lot of people will buy it (we get some money back from the wine company for every bottle/case that we sell).

While we were driving an ad came on the radio about daylight savings which came into force today.. it went "Don't forget clocks went forward this you've got one less hour to recover from your hangover." Wtf??!! I had a rant to Mr 12 about how this sort of line being said on a 'cool' radio station makes it seem totally ok to be hungover and also how expected it is that many people are hungover on a Sunday morning because getting drunk on Saturday night is what we do.

This is normalising alcohol and boozing and hangovers!!! But this is the world I live in. One where  mainstream radio stations reference hangovers in relation to clocks going forward.

I could have taken a wee stand at this point and switched stations in protest but then they played Sia Cheap Thrills and I love that song.

Mr D has just arrived back from the States (yay!) and he made a comment about how noticeable it is when you fly into New Zealand airports that you are greeted by a huge wall of booze in Duty Free.. "and everyone is running for it" he said.

Booze soaked society. Booze soaked country. Booze soaked world.

I could feel angry about all of this or sad and left out of the 'fun' gang or a host of other emotions. But I don't. I just feel grateful and relieved to be free from that boozy trap and living my life without touching that shit ever. As I've always said.. there are many clever people working hard to try and change the big picture.. I just want to focus my energies on me and my truth, and on anyone else who is being honest and brave and wants to change their relationship with alcohol.

So today after having just felt the full force of my booze soaked world, I'm calm in my space and all the more determined to help other people get free by shouting from the rooftops at any available moment BEING SOBER IS AMAZING!!!! RECOVERY IS AWESOME!!!! I AM SO HAPPY I NEVER TOUCH ANY ALCOHOL EVER!!!!!

Love, Mrs D xxx

Friday, September 16, 2016

A reader seeks advice....

Last week I travelled to Rotorua to attend the Cutting Edge addiction conference. It was AWESOME!!! I really loved it. Such a treat to get to sit and listen to people talk about a subject that is absolutely 100% in my wheel house.

The theme of the conference was 'transformation' and there were loads of people sharing about their own journeys in recovery. I cried more than once - boy had some of them experienced incredible turnarounds. I also learned heaps and made some great connections. So glad I went.

I also got to meet an awesome lady who was 29 YEARS sober (!!), she was my Air BNB host, an artist and very smart and cool. I also hooked up with some lovely community members from Living Sober who were having a meet-up in the area at the same time. All in all it was a great wee break from my normal life.

My normal neighbourhood life has NOTHING to do with recovery and addiction. This trip away was EVERYTHING to do with recovery and addiction. I feel hugely enriched from the trip.

Home now and back into the grind, working like a demon on my new book. I have a ridiculously tight timeframe and desperately want to meet it but am not sure if I will. Every spare moment when the boys are at school I am writing, with only a short break in the day to walk the dog (which feels annoying to have to do but is probably good for me).  Mr D is traveling away for a week on Saturday and then it's the school holidays.. so I'm going to be super-busy doing household/parenting stuff on top of the work.

But it's ok. I can only do what I can do and I don't want to be a stressed-out nightmare of a mother so if the deadline has to be stretched then so be it!

This new book is a follow-on memoir .. covering the next-stage of my recovery (mindfulness and stuff). It's harder to write than the first one. But I'm happy with how it is coming out so far.

On another note I have just received a comment from a reader on an old post from August and thought I would re-post it here so that maybe some of you lovely readers could reply to this person. (if you are reading this post on email you'll need to visit my blog so you can reply!).

I would love to hear your advice for this person as I know there is much wisdom floating around this online space....

I wonder if any of your readers have felt the same way as I do now? I have been drinking steadily for 15 years and have been contemplating giving up booze and living a healthier lifestyle as I feel so totally rotten and unhappy. I made that decision last weekend and have now been sober for a week - maybe it is early days and all the nasties have yet to come out of my system but I still feel miserable, tired and very vunerable. I think the drink may have covered up something that was missing in my life, a big hole that is still not filled - how do you find that? I feel that if I don't find what it is then I could easily start drinking again because I am not feeling great like so many others have mentioned on the blog. Am I being too impatient? Has anyone any suggestions or hints? I would be very grateful to hear them, thanks :-)

Leave a comment below and hopefully they'll see your reply.

And now I'd better get back to writing!

Love, Mrs D xxx

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

FIVE YEARS SOBER! (Honesty post).

Today I am five years sober. Yes!!

I want to put those exclamation marks to denote happiness because I am super-happy to be living alcohol free and am super-proud of myself to have turned my life around. And this morning especially I woke up so, so, so, so happy - joyous really. I was on a real high! But then things just got busy and real.

Truth is I spent today running around after kids.. one kid got sick and spent the day by my side, another was in a swimming competition so we went to watch him race, and the other kid finished school at lunch-time because the teachers were having a union meeting. And then they had playdates and activities and stuff. It was a very kid-centric day.

And I had a headache for no obvious reason. And at one point I cried a little (not sure why).

If you'd been looking at my social media accounts today you wouldn't know any of this - I've been sharing up a storm, all pictures of me smiling and looking delighted and holding up signs with big '5 years' on it and stuff.

And it has been a lovely day in many ways - I wasn't exactly lying on my Instagram and Twitter and Facebook feeds.

It's just that ordinary life is far more ordinary and gritty than social media accounts can ever really reflect (that's what blogs are for!).

And headaches are a fact of life and so are motherly duties and so is food guilt (yep still in a bit of a rut) and so are work commitments and so are indiscriminate tears and basically today was a typical day in the busy, emotional life of a sober housewife.

And that's ok and frankly it doesn't matter what today was like because today is just another day in a long line of sober days that I have been living since September 6, 2011.

These sober days are all shapes and sizes. Some are delightful, some are hard work. Some are boring, some are fan-bloody-tastic. Today was a mixture of all of the above!

And that is ok. That is absolutely ok.

I love being fully present in my wild and messy life. I love my boisterous, busy, demanding sons. I love my work writing about sobriety (and I have a new book contract by the way as well - very exciting!). I love my body even though it is not waif-like. I love my tears they feel like messages from my soul.

And most of all I love my husband who wrote me a card this morning that says "I'm so proud of you reaching 5 years, it's a remarkable achievement, that has had such a positive force on this family. Celebrate your day knowing that we think you are the brightest star!"

I will do.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Friday, August 26, 2016

Wellness plan FAIL

Thank goodness I've been able to stick at my sobriety because I don't seem able to stick at any other sort of wellness plan.

I'm doing this thing with my family (3 sisters, one brother-in-law and Mr D) where we all set a personal wellness plan for 8 weeks and we email each other on Monday to update how we are going. It's extra motivation for us all to work at eating healthily and doing exercise for 8 weeks before we all go on a beach holiday together.

Anyway I set my own plan which was to eat mostly only real foods, avoid wheat and sugar and allow myself only occasional treats. Walk the dog for 45 minutes every weekday and do the 7-minute workout 5 times a week (it's an App, high intensity exercises for 30 seconds with a 10 second break in between-hard work and good!).

So anyway Week One and I was a machine.. doing all my exercise and eating well. Week 2 was also good and strong. We're now in the middle of Week 3 and I have completely lost it! Not on the exercise front.. I'm still doing the dog walks and the 7-minute workouts.. but the food has gone to shit.

I'm eating cheese and crackers before dinner.. buying deli treats to eat in the car before school pick-up, buying chocolate to share with the kids at night.

What the hell am I like????!!!

Like a bloody addict that's what.

I'm even planning that I won't confess to all the bad food when I do my Monday update. Like I want to keep it my own nasty little secret. Nice dishonest (alcoholic) behaviour there Mrs D. (Hoping none of my family are reading my blog at the moment.. this is one way to find out!)

Like I say it's a good thing I've been able to stick at sobriety because I find it really hard to stay consistent at any other 'healthy' plans. With food I'm stuck in a binge cycle where I have periods of great healthiness and periods of utter pigginess. Piggy Mrs D re-enters the building and has a ball. Nom nom.

Quickly cram a couple of crackers and cheese in your mouth while cooking dinner - why not!

Buy that sugary treat and eat it moaning (literally moaning out loud with pleasure) in the car waiting for the school bell to go - hell yes!

Yuk. Yucky yucky yuckity yuk.

And then I get the same reoccurring early-morning guilt that I used to get when boozing. Lying in bed beating myself up for being so weak and dysfunctional. It's a horrid reminder of how I used to live when boozing.

I wish I could stop this binge cycle. I hate this part of me. I hate the weak, unhealthy, secretive, indulgent part of me. I want her to piss off forever!! Why can't I stick at the healthy regime? Why do I fall furtively and lasciviously back into piggy ways?

I know the answer. Because I'm human. Because I am an alcoholic. Because I am very susceptible to getting hooked and experiencing cravings for substances that trigger pleasure receptors in the brain (sugar is as addictive as cocaine they say). Because I still have treat/reward messages in my brain that tell me fatty & sugary foods are a good thing.

Will I ever stop being a flawed person? Maybe not. Maybe this is ok and the fact that I'm wrestling with it constantly is enough. Maybe I should just embrace myself warts and all and keep on striving to be healthy forgiving myself when I fail.

And maybe I should always remember that if nothing else I am sober - nearly 5 years sober! - and that alone makes me an incredibly cool specimen.


Love, Mrs D xxx

Monday, August 15, 2016


I am constantly gobsmacked at how possible it is to change habits. I went out three times last week to various social events and didn't for one second at any of them wish I was drinking. Other people were imbibing booze but not me.

Not drinking is just my new, ordinary norm.

See - habit changed! It is totally possible.

And the good news is I don't walk around feeling fatally flawed. I just walk around feeling normal, knowing that I don't touch alcohol because in the past it has proved to be impossible for me to control. So I took it away and now I live without it.

My brain has learned a new way of living and I have reshaped my reality.

Sometimes I wonder what the hell my life would look like if I hadn't gotten sober almost 5 years ago. I would be fascinated to see! What would I look like? What would I act like? What would I be thinking about? Would I have gravitated towards different people when we moved back to this city? Would I have a boozy social group? Would I be heavier? Have worse skin? Be more tired? Be more grumpy? Be more narrow in my thinking? Be more wound up?

Man it would be interesting to know. I'd love a little glimpse into my alternate reality (the one where I didn't get sober) but only for about 5 minutes then quick put me back into this reality!! I like this one a lot!!

So my 5-year soberversary is coming up in about 3 weeks and it falls on a Tuesday and I thought it would be nice to do something special that evening but Tuesday is my yoga class and I LOVE my yoga class so I'm not missing that (see how my life has changed ha ha!!).

So I thought maybe on the Monday night before I could put on a fancy dinner for the family to mark the fact that 5 years ago on that date I was in the middle of my last miserable binge. I could light candles and do three courses.. maybe a fancy prawn cocktail for starters.. some sort of yummy thai beef salad or some such for a main and then a lovely treaty pudding. Mocktails, and I make a little speech. Cool!

Then on the actual soberversary, the Tuesday, I will maybe take myself shopping to my favourite Recycled Boutique.. maybe ask if my sister is free for lunch..? Something fun like that.

Can't wait. Five years feels really substantial and cool, and settled. That is how I would sum up where I am right now - settled. Settled into this new reality, still working away on myself but in general just plugging along with life and not touching alcohol ever nor missing it one iota. Hooray.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Life In The Raw

I 'watch' an awful lot of people getting sober nowadays - through their blogs or the many updates they share at Living Sober. I am constantly amazed at how similar our journeys in sobriety are despite the huge differences.

Differences = the specifics. What we drank, how we drank, where we drank, how alcohol affected us, what support systems we do/don't have around us, what support systems we use to change, how long it takes for us to start feeling better when we quit, what we find difficult when we give up, what we find easy, what we discover about ourselves.

Similarities = the generalities. When we get to the point of change after a long period of heavy drinking we feel weak, wretched, and miserable. Our self-esteem is damaged, our self-worth is low. We stop drinking and it's hard bloody work at first. We are so focussed on the LACK of booze in our lives. It's hard having all that empty space where before we regularly experienced the warm, artificial 'high' of alcohol in our systems. We miss the drug. We grind through. Then we start to feel better, sleep better, look better, we hit a high - a pink cloud! Life is great! Our eyes get opened to what our drinking has done to our whole experience of life. We feel incredibly strong and grateful. It's not hard resisting booze. Then something emotional happens (because life is like that), we crash off our pink cloud and things get tough again. Physical cravings might come back. Emotional cravings come back (we feel left out, boring, emotional), we grind through, eventually we lift up again, we feel great!, then something emotional happens, things get tough again, we grind through, eventually we lift up again, we feel great!, then something emotional happens, things get tough again, we grind through, eventually we lift up again, we feel great!, then something emotional happens, things get tough again, we grind through, eventually we lift up again, we feel great!, then something emotional happens, things get tough again, we grind through, eventually we lift up again, we feel great!, then something emotional happens, things get tough again, we grind through....

Get the picture?

Welcome to life in the raw. It is up and down and up and down. This is actually what human existence is like. Who knew? I certainly didn't until I got sober. I had no understanding of the natural ebbs and flows of life. How could I when I interrupted that natural flow of my emotional state constantly with the drug of alcohol.

The good news is the longer you are sober the natural ebbs and flows get easier to manage because;

1) the longer you go without drinking the less extreme your mood fluctuations are
2) you start to understand yourself and your moods better
3) you stop thinking that alcohol is the answer to the low phase
4) you start to develop better coping mechanisms for the low phases
5) you work out natural, effective, authentic ways to lift yourself out of a low phase
6) you worry less about the low phases because you know they will pass
7) you accept that ups and downs are normal and that everyone has them
8) you feel much more connected and at peace with yourself, other humans and life in general

I'm generalising here and obviously this is based on my perspective and experience and there will be people who don't agree with all of this. But I wanted to type out a summary of what I understand a sober life to involve.

Life in the raw - it's totally the life for me.

Love, Mrs D xxx

P.S. Someone commented on my last post asking where they can find my book online. It is available on Amazon here, on Fishpond here or on Mighty Ape here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

I am not tired...

Does anyone else feel like they live in a world where whenever you ask someone how they are everyone always replies with an"OK but super tired" or "good but so busy" or some such? It's like a badge of honour to always be completely flat out and exhausted. Or if not a badge of honour (because that implies that people are proud to be so busy and tired and that can't always be the case) then certainly an honest reality.

Everyone seems so stretched-to-the-max all the time. Running around working hard to earn money, raise kids, keep a house maintained, pay off the mortgage, exercise, stay in touch with friends and family etc etc yada yada.

Well today I am proud to say that I am NOT tired! I am well rested! I got 8+ hours sleep last night. And I got 8+ hours sleep the night before.

I don't always get so many hours of sleep. If Mr D is away out of town for work (which he often is) I don't sleep so well.. I go to bed later and sleep much more fitfully. And if the kids are unwell or I have something going on which is causing me extra 'brain noise' then I don't sleep as well either.

But if all the planets align, which they seem to much more nowadays, then I get a blissful long 8-hour uninterrupted sleep every night.

IT'S FREAKING AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think I can attribute this to two main things.

1) our kids are now beyond the infant/toddler stage and they all sleep long and deep every night - hallelujah. For 10+ years of parenting we had early waking kids but now they all sleep till 7am most mornings ... it is marvellous.

2) I am sober. I do not wake up with a bursting bladder, pounding headache, and intense guilt at 3am. I am calmer in my mind so if I do get up to use the toilet I can calm my thoughts and focus on my breath to quickly fall back to sleep.

Sometimes now if people ask me how I am, rather than trotting out the usual "good but tired" line... often now I simply say "good!". Because I am!

And I really do think sleep is so, so, so important when it comes to dealing with emotional shit. If I'm well rested I deal with stuff better. No doubt.

Today I am proud to say "I am NOT tired!".

On another note I am starting a '2 months of wellness' thing with my sisters where we are writing our own diet & exercise programme, committing to stick with it for 2 months and are going to check in with each other every Monday to update on how we are doing. My diet & exercise regime could do with some work for sure so this will be good.

Also wanted to say that I have done a big clean-out of my Blog List - if anyone has a blog or knows about a good sober blog that does not appear here (on the left hand side when you visit my blog page for those of you reading this post on an email) then please let me know and I will add it in.

Righto! Time for some work. Today is a very good day to be sober!!!

Love, Mrs D xxx

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Highly recommended...

Boy is it an utterly beautiful day in my city. The sun is shining. There is no wind (unusual). It is calm and crisp and lovely.

Same could be said for my state of mind. Yes I'm eating way too much at the moment and am being a bit of a pig. But aside from letting myself down in that department I feel like I'm cruising along ok.

I'm working hard keeping up with things at Living Sober and that space is humming along brilliantly. (If you're worried about your drinking and are not a member of that community you're a fool, and I mean that in the nicest possible way!)

I'm keeping fairly active on my other social media accounts but not too much so that I'm permanently wedded to my phone. My new permanent rule of no technology in the bedroom is really super-lovely and I highly recommend it. Every evening I put my phone & laptop on to charge in the kitchen and leave them there (often long before I even retire to bed), and often I don't check anything in the morning until after I have showered & gotten dressed which is very healthy I think.

In general I am staying fairly mindful and regularly have little moments where I flick a switch in my brain and pull myself back down into what is happening right in front of me and not what is happening in my head (furious inner dialogue about something or another).

I walk the dog most days and now it's the school holidays I am dragging my boys up the hill with me and we have lovely chats while we wander along the tracks and the dog scampers around us joyfully.

I manage to watch quite a bit of tele which I love.

And I do an awful lot of cooking and cleaning. Cooking and cleaning and cooking and cleaning and cooking and cleaning and cooking and cleaning. And parenting. Cooking and cleaning and parenting - talking to my kids about what is going on for them and taking them places and organising things for them and paying for things for them and replying to emails about organising and paying for things for them and talking to them more and did I mention cooking and cleaning?

All of this is quite boring but I suppose my point is I am living my busy, ordinary, motherly, housewifey, bloggers, writery life and I am managing it all ok and my moods are fairly stable and I attribute it all to the fact that I am sober.

I cannot even begin to imagine how I would be handling things if I were still boozing.

I shudder to think.

Living without alcohol - although hard bloody work at first and a big adjustment - is imminently doable and highly recommended.

Highly, highly recommended!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love, Mrs D xxx

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Breath tested en route to a party....

I got breathalysed on the way to a party last night!!! I was so ridiculously happy when I turned the corner and saw the cops pulling people over. I resisted the urge to burble to the officer that I was sober and this was a real highlight but I did have a huge grin on my face the entire time I counted to 10 into his little handheld machine.

Very satisfied to see the 'No Alcohol' show up. Result!

The party was fun, I had some lovely chats. There was lots of booze and food available - I spotted a bottle of Schweppes 'Soda with a twist of lemon' in the fridge so I opened it and poured some into a champagne flute. I'm getting good at taking full ownership of my drinks - loved holding the flute! Filled it up twice and that was all I needed.

Had a bit of a singalong and boogie with the guys playing guitars. It was fun. Drove home fairly early because Mr D had to catch a flight at 6am this morning. Fell into bed at midnight happy.

Did some people think me boring because I wasn't drinking? Who the hell knows... I just can't care. I have to always keep a clear eye on my big picture which has me infinitely happier now that I'm not that loose and crazy (boozy) party girl.

What would have been different if I'd been drinking at the party last night? I would have probably had one or two at home before we left. I wouldn't have been driving, maybe Mr D would have offered to drive and stay sober because he was working the next day. Or maybe we would have caught a taxi and that would have cost a bit of extra dosh because the party was up the coast at a surf clubrooms.

At the party I would have had a slightly more crazy/edgy energy and might not have concentrated so well during the conversations I had. I might have gotten a little more sloppy & loud... not terribly because I was usually pretty good at keeping it together in public (it was mostly at home where I really let myself get heavily drunk). I certainly would have sunk at least 4 wines.. maybe more.

I don't think on the outside people would have noticed that much difference. It would have been my internal landscape that would have been radically different.

I would have been that 'old' version of myself that didn't feel so in touch with myself or my fellow humans.  I would have been that 'unresolved' version of myself that tried to skim across the surface of emotional or 'deep' stuff. That was ok when I lived it but now that I don't live like that any more I am hugely more grounded and happier.

I would have a hangover today and just feel a bit 'blah'. Maybe I'll be regretting something I said or did. I don't feel like that now.

I'm sitting in bed drinking a mug of green tea, watching Top Chef on tele writing a blog post. Soon I'll get the boys off their screens and we'll walk the dog.  Later we might go to see Finding Dory at the movies.

It's a good day to be sober.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Will I stop blogging?

I don't know what I would do without my lovely, lovely, lovely, lovely, lovely online tribe of people who just get what it is like to live sober in a boozy world.

I don't know what I would do.

In particular the tribe of lovely people who are registered at the Living Sober website. Every single day I am popping in and out of the Members Feed in the Community Area on that site reading the incredibly honest and gritty and inspiring and heartening updates they are writing, and I am communicating back with them, and we're all just talking to one another day-in-day out and it's great. Seriously great. I need it.

I need this blog too - my 'warm bath' as I like to think of it. Writing posts here is always grounding for me and I tend to come out with my truth sometimes without even planning on what I am going to write. Someone asked on a recent post if I might stop blogging soon because life is just continuing on and doesn't need to be so much about being sober does it? (I think that was the question.. something like that anyway).

One day I'll probably stop blogging, and Tweeting and Instagramming and Facebooking. I'll stop all of it and retreat from the internet entirely. I look forward to that day as I know it will feel right when it happens. But it doesn't feel right right now!

It's been quite a social time for me lately and the next few weeks are just as busy. Not sure what's changed in my life that I've suddenly got more parties and gatherings and dinners and fundraising nights and stuff to go to.. but I have.

It's all good, it's good getting out and amongst it, being social and busy. Always good to be reminded of what it's like out in the community at night (and not just what it's like in my house in the evenings which by the way is very lovely and calm and cosy thank you very much).

Sober lady moving around a boozy world. Offering to drive friends to events, serving wine to guests while supping an elderflower cordial myself, ordering "soda with fresh lime please" from the barman, making cups of tea to drink late in the evening at house parties, dancing in the dark with a clear head at concerts.

This is what I do now.

Not drinking, getting sloppy, vomiting, falling over, drinking more, feeling miserable, feeling sick, being sloppy, opening more wine, drinking, drinking, drinking, saying things I regret, doing embarrassing things, drinking more, being numb to my feelings, vomiting, falling over, drinking, drinking, drinking.

I am so profoundly grateful for my sobriety. I will never go back to that old way of living. NEVER.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


So delighted to see those two little words (or at least one word and one acronym) on my discharge notes from the hospital. Was also very delighted to tell two doctors (one in the emergency department and one in the ward) that I drank NO ALCOHOL!

Actually if I'm really honest both times the doctors asked me how much I drank I answered 'zero' and then giggled rather gleefully and then rambled "sorry I'm just giggling because I've been in recovery for 4 and a half years and it's always such a joy to tell someone that I don't drink any alcohol ever giggle giggle it's a real high moment for us sober people giggle giggle sorry but that was really satisfying giggle giggle..." at which point both lovely doctors laughed and said quite genuinely "that's great, good on you."

Maybe they just like it when someone says they don't drink alcohol because so often they see people with problems that are exasperated by booze? Or maybe they were just happy because I was laughing and happy and most people in hospital are a bit more unwell? Or maybe they were just genuinely happy for me that I was in recovery? Who knows...

Whatever the case I was certainly very happy telling two doctors at the hospital last week that I don't drink any alcohol ever and I was really happy when I saw on my discharge notes the words 'No ETOH'.

(If I'm honest again I had to google 'ETOH' just to be sure it meant alcohol as I thought it did.. and sure enough it stands for 'Ethyl Alcohol'.)

I was in the hospital for some unexplained abdominal pain which shall remain unexplained as all of their testing couldn't find a problem which is good news! And the pain has pretty much gone now too yippee.

My poor old creaky body has been making itself more aware to me lately. Have been having some sore neck/back problems as well which are finally coming right after weeks of pain.

For most of my life I've hardly given my body any thought. It's just been there below my 'floating head' not causing me too much grief. Now I am less of a floating head thanks to all my mindfulness work and focus on the moment and my breath and body.. and with all of this awareness work I have been starting to feel very kindly toward my body for doing such a great job of moving me around this earth for 44 years.

Good thing I'm feeling kindly given these small complaints my body has been making!

Good thing I'm looking after myself now!

Good things I'm sober!

Am also doing another Whole30 and aside from the 'decaf flat white' I ordered at a cafe yesterday without thinking it has been pretty easy this time to slip into a no wheat, no legumes, no dairy, no sugar diet. Mr D is doing it with me and we are both feeling better for it.

Right time to get this creaky body up off the chair and out the door to pick up my boys from school. No rest for the wicked!

Love, Mrs D xxx

Friday, June 10, 2016

Bit of a ranty rant...

The further away I get from my last drink the more I seem to forget how fucking BRAVE and AMAZING I am for getting sober!!

Yes oh yes I am!!

And so is ANYONE who takes the incredibly counter-cultural step of choosing to live without drinking booze ever. Holy Moses. Our worlds are awash with booze yet us brave and amazing sober people turn our backs on that 'normal' way of living and forge ahead with our lives never touching alcohol ever.

We still go to parties and BBQs and quiz nights and movie fundraiser nights and drinkies at friends and pizza parties and weddings and big birthday bashes all the rest of it.. but instead of taking the usual glass of chard or cheeky red or ice-cold beer or flute of fizz we say 'no thanks!' and 'not for me!' when these alcoholic beverages are offered.

Holy Sweet Mother of Bravery!!!!!!!

The longer I get away from my last drink the easier it is to forget how utterly terrifying and foreign it was when I first set out to live this way. How I would feel like an alien from another (boring) planet. How I would fear that everyone would consider me either a) a teetotaling weirdo with no personality or b) an appallingly weak and damaged alcoholic.

I am neither of those things! Well. .. technically I am a teetotaller and an alcoholic ... but I am not a weirdo, I do have a personality, I am not weak, and I am certainly not damaged.

I am just someone whose alcohol habit got completely out of control so I made the brave and amazing decision to stop drinking alcohol forever more.


Yay for me! Yay for you! Yay for all of us!

I could be writing about my sore neck or my tiredness or the huge bag of cheese supreme doritos I just ate or the cold weather or my new sheets or some other specifics about my life right now but I want to write about the BIG PICTURE and I want to FEEL GOOD!!!!!!!!

And so hence this ranty post full of caps and exclamation marks and too many es at the end of the word yippee.

Over and out from sober sober sober sober sober sober  SOBER me!!!!

Love, Mrs D xxx

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

I am NEVER drinking alcohol again!

I seem to have been talking to people lately who seem to want to (inadvertently or otherwise) put some sort of fear in me about the possibility of me drinking again.

They're saying to me things like 'you never know' and 'life is long' and 'desires can come from deep inside' and 'you're only one drink away from a relapse'. One person asked if I believe in a 'shadow self' who lives within and wants nothing but for me to go back to being a wino.

I thought about this concept - that I have a shadow of the old boozy me still inside just waiting to burst out - and thought.. 'do I believe I have a 'shadow self'? .. before answering an emphatic 'no'.

I do not believe that there is a part of me that still wants to drink copious amounts of wine and be numb and blurry and disconnected. I REFUSE to live in fear of that happening again! Sorry but I don't and I won't.

I know others will have opinions about whether it's 'wrong' for me to not hold some fear close or else I will trip up ... that I should constantly remind myself of where I was (miserable and addicted) for fear of forgetting and kidding myself that it would be a good idea to go back there (as if).

Firstly there is no chance of me forgetting my past boozy ways because of the contrast between how I felt then and how I felt now. But secondly and more importantly and let me shout this from the rooftops.


Yes some serious shit is going to happen in my life, things I can't even imagine that are going to hurt like hell and make me feel wretched, but why would I have so little faith in myself that when that happens I would suddenly shy away from genuine human emotion and go back to numbing and avoiding????

Everything I have been doing since I got sober, all of the work recognising that I was an emotion avoider, learning to sit with feelings, ways to ground myself and calm my brain, acceptance of the whole experience of being a fully realised human being.. all of this work is preparing me for the shit that is going to come. Why would I suddenly think (in the future when a loved one dies or some such) that I would throw away this incredible knowledge and understanding that I have developed to drink a shitty awful brain bending liquid drug???!!!

I'm sorry but that notion is just ridiculous and anyone that is fearful on my behalf that I am going to drink again has no real knowledge of the workings of my insides.

Well why would they? They're not me.

Maybe they are still misguided and think drinking alcohol is something to be desired? Something helpful? I don't.

Maybe they subscribe to the notion that remaining fearful of relapse is the best way to stay sober? I don't.

Really it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. I know my truth. I know how I feel today and how prepared I feel for all of my sober tomorrows. And that's all that matters.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Busy Schmizzy....

Been veeeerrrrryyy busy. Crazy busy. Not wanting to complain, because I know everyone is busy. Just saying it coz it's the truth.

I like being busy but I don't. I mean, I'm usually busy but at the moment it's 'next level' busy and that I don't like so much.

Usually I like being busy but also having time to...

1) lie on the sofa sometimes during the day to relax and watch some TV before the kids get home from school

2) sit and go through my cookbooks and choose recipes/make shopping lists for the week ahead

3) sit quietly with a cup of tea and think about what I'm going to write about next (i.e. let my mind wander to see what ideas float up to the top)

If I can achieve these sorts of things then I know I'm not 'crazy busy' and my life has some balance.

All of the time whether I'm 'next level' busy or not I am keeping up with a lot of stuff; cleaning the house, interacting with my kids, cooking, walking the dog, having work meetings, meeting friends for coffee, driving my kids places, waiting at places for my kids to do things, keeping up with all the household emails & paperwork etc, keeping up with all my Mrs D emails and writing and stuff, staying in touch with the community at Living Sober, sorting rubbish and recycling, washing and folding clothes, grocery shopping, tidying, more cooking, more cleaning, more driving... yada yada yada.

Everyone can make a list like this right? Everyone is very fucking busy all of the time!!!!!!

But me personally I like a bit of down time and not just after 9pm at night. Time to have a cup of tea and sit quietly in the sun, go through cook books or watch TV in the day time. If I can do these 'indulgent' (sensible) 'me' things then I am at peace with the world.

I know that when I get through this crazy busy stage and things start to quieten down a little before I get my energy restored I will have an emotional slump and feel a bit low. I know my mood cycles now from having been sober for so long and I am prepared. I won't panic, I will tread carefully, treat myself kindly and tell those silly low thoughts to go away like the little brain farts that they are.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Monday, May 2, 2016

Born Lucky...

So after I had my little rant at HuffPostWomen a couple of weeks ago (and had a great response from you lovely blog readers), I had an opportunity to write a follow-up article on the issue of the glorification of alcohol in social media here at The Addiction Advisor.

I shared this latest article on my Facebook page - where it also had a great response - and one person there commented.

"While I don't have a problem with drinking (born lucky), I'm surrounded in my life by many who do. Where do you draw the line between those of us who are able to have one drink that does us for days, and those where it's overtaken their lives? Does it mean preventing those of us from having that social drink? It doesn't bother me the memes are around - in fact I follow one - it doesn't affect me like it affects those who are grappling with a problem....where do you draw the line?"

I replied: "I think this is one of the most difficult questions regarding alcohol, and why it's tricky for those who regulate it's sale and marketing. Because for many people it is a relatively harmless liquid (they can moderate it and have it not be a problem), but yet for others it's quite the opposite (incredibly harmful and difficult to moderate and control). Personally I think as a society we haven't got the balance quite right of having it be freely available for those who can enjoy it safely yet make moves that acknowledge it isn't a simple commodity for others. E.G. by all means sell it but perhaps out of the supermarkets next to the bread and milk. And I think you 'draw the line' with the sharing of these memes etc when it is coming from a large influential media company. That's why the HuffPostWomen image annoyed me so much. Of course individuals can share and enjoy these memes if they want, but from a massive social media account celebrating women - not ok in my book. But that's just me! And I realise it is a futile fight. Just felt like having a rant for once. x"

Anyway - enough ranting! Today is a day of celebration because school is back after a 2-week holiday and my darlings have left the house. Finally I have some peace and quiet. I am sitting with a cup of tea, the dog sleeping at my feet, and the only sound I can hear is of the dryer churning away in the wash house. Bliss.

Just one last point. The Facebook commenter described herself as 'born lucky' for not having a drinking problem and I think that is fair enough for her to feel that way. But I consider myself to be born lucky as well.

I feel lucky that I developed into an alcoholic because only by recognising that fact and digging deep to get myself out of it have I experienced the wonderful gift that is recovery. Only by beating my addiction have I discovered what I am truly capable of. The turnaround I have experienced since I got sober, the connections I have made in the recovery community and the connections I have developed with myself and with my loved ones are so valuable and good.

I'm also lucky because I have discovered how great it is to live completely 100% sober, never touching alcohol ever. I have that stuff out of my life, I don't want a casual drink ever, I'm free.

So really - I'm the lucky one.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Saturday, April 23, 2016

And now for a happy rant!!!!!!!!!!!!

I AM SO GODDAM HAPPY I AM SOBER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just cannot believe my good fortune that I managed to get myself rid of that shitty, lying, brain-numbing, stupid, life-avoiding liquid.

I don't blame myself for spending so many years drinking it. It was presented to me by my society as an ordinary, everyday drink that is to be used at every social occasion, used to help with stress and sadness, and used to make evenings more fun and enjoyable. It was simply presented to me as an ordinary part of life.

And so for 20+ years I adopted an enthusiastic-alcohol-drinking attitude that fitted me like a glove.

Until it didn't.

It all turned to shit, alcohol turned on me and I hit a really low place and went through an incredibly intense few years of getting that shit out of my life and re-adjusting to a life that wasn't awash with booze.

OMG I can't even summarise how much work went into that transition but it's all here in this blog which I have been writing since the start. Suffice to say a HUGE amount of 'work' (brain-retraining, practising a raw life, learning new ways of being) has occurred and now here I am a sober woman living without any alcohol at all.

And holy smokes.. boy am I DELIGHTED that I am here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's incredible!!!!!!!! Alcohol is so not necessary!!! Sure, it appeals because it's a drug that re-creates happy endorphins and feel-good emotions ... and it blurs and numbs which is incredibly attractive because being a human is HARD FUCKING WORK! (that annoying over-working, over-dominant frontal lobe which is hard to get away from)... I get it, I get why so may humans drink it.

But being here now in this place that I am in, living a life which is free of any mind-bending drugs, living day after day after day being clear in my head, enjoying the slow accumulation of lovely benefits that comes from this... its all just so incredibly rewarding and lovely.

That's the thing. It's not what I'm missing, it's what I've gained.

I have gained a sense of calm that is out of this world. Pride and self-belief that is priceless. A level of connectedness with myself, my family and all the humans around me which is deeply satisfying. And most of all a life which is incredibly interesting, stimulating and fascinating. Anyone with half a brain would relish the pure interest that comes from the recovery process.

It's just great. I love, love, love, love living sober. Where I am now is worth all of the hard work, all of the uncomfortable re-adjustments, all of the grit and tears (those that have already occurred and those that are still to come).

It's all just so worth it.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Thursday, April 14, 2016

'Huffpostwomen' SUCKS!!!!!!!!

I just got angry with 'Huffpostwomen' on Instagram because they posted a cartoon picture of a wine glass with the words 'Wine is always the answer' written in comical writing above it.

Usually I just let that shit pass by. But today I've just been writing a guest post for a female-focused rehab in the States and have been thinking about all the tender and brave women of the world who are working hard to remove alcohol from their lives. Women who are courageously navigating the rocky waters of early sobriety to reclaim their natural and powerful whole-ness.

I know these memes are ha ha funny jokes, they're all over the internet, all over Facebook, all over greeting cards, all over everywhere... and most of the time I just roll my eyes mentally and ignore them.. but today I just felt pissed off and had to leave a comment and respond.

"That's just bullshit." I wrote on Instagram under their dumb image, "Being a fully connected, fully emotional, fully empathic female is actually the answer".

And then I unfollowed their account.

It's not likely they'll care. They have ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY FIVE THOUSAND FOLLOWERS!!! Their Instagram account purports to be about 'What it means to be a woman'.. and yet they're telling their followers that wine is always the answer?????? For fucks sake!!!!! Are they living in the real world? Do they know what a massive problem alcohol addiction is - it cuts through every socio-economic group, class and race.

Do they really believe a brain bending liquid that mimics genuine positive feelings and depletes your brain of natural feel-good chemicals is the answer? Do they really believe a liquid drug that disconnects you from your family and own emotions is always the answer? Do they really believe every problem, worry, concern or fear will be resolved by a glass of wine? Give me a break.

Sorry but that is utter bullshit and that message is utter bullshit and it does nothing to advance the female race. And I just wish the managers of the 'Huffpostwomen' Instagram account were a little more sensitive and attuned to that fact.

Rant over.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A long waffly post about my alcoholic approach to food...

I'm having a revelation YET AGAIN about food. It is this...

When I eat clean I am happier. When I eat clean my moods are more stable. When I eat clean my thoughts are calmer. When I eat clean I sleep better. When I eat clean my 'system' works better (I'm talking bodily functions here sorry people).

I know there's so much around in the media right now about food and diets and clean eating and often it causes angst in people about foods and what they should and shouldn't eat.. it's the hot topic and everyone has an opinion or a plan to follow or a diet to adhere to....  a million trillion opinions about what to eat/what not to eat.

Yes I have been doing a lot of reading and soaking up of all the chatter around food & eating (Dr Libby's The Calorie Fallacy is great).. but mostly this comes from the living I have done over the past 4ish years since I got sober and became acutely aware of my moods. Over the past four years I have been lurching from one eating style to another.. trying and failing and cycling in-and-out of bad/good habits. And this is what I unequivocally know now about myself, food, and my mood & general state of mind.

What works best for me is when I avoid any wheat/sugar products. When I make a blanket decision in my mind to not eat those things (i.e. almost total abstinence) then I am a happy, calm & stable person. When I do eat these things I am not.

Because here's the thing.....I am an addict. I am an alcoholic in recovery. When I eat these things I don't eat them in what you might call a 'healthy' way.

Since I got sober I have realised that I use these foods (sugary/wheaty foods) alcoholically. The more I eat them the more I crave them. I feel the 'pull' towards these foods very strongly in my core (I don't know how to explain this 'pull' or 'craving' but it's a combination of a very intense sensation inside my chest/belly and a very noisy stream of thoughts telling me to eat them). I binge. I can be secretive/furtive with them. I indulge more when I am low/stressed/tired/sad. I experience intense feelings of low self-worth and guilt when I over indulge. In short I feel like shit emotionally and physically when I am eating sugary/wheaty foods regularly.

Moderation is impossible. It might start that way but over the days my intake speeds up. So I opt for totally abstinence and when I achieve that I SOAR!!! I feel stable, my moods are even, I feel happy, I feel great.

At the moment I'm in a long phase of abstinence from these foods and it's been awesome. Utterly fantastic. I keep bumping into people who ask 'how's it going?'.. and all that comes out of my mouth is 'good!'.

This cannot be unrelated to the fact I'm eating clean at the moment. (My version of clean which = no wheat/sugary foods). It is not unrelated to this fact. Life has been continuing on. We are crazy busy in our household. Work is busy. Stuff is going on. But yet I feel stable and good.

Look. I know I'm going to probably slip back into bad habits again. I hope I don't but my cycle seems to be 3ish weeks off those foods, 3ish weeks on them.

3 weeks off = happy and calm.

3 weeks on = fun at first and yummy but slowly worsening and usually ending in a catastrophic binge followed by a day of self-loathing and then back off them I go again.

I know this post is long and waffly but I'm wanting to get this all out for myself because I do feel (fingers crossed) that I am progressing in myself to a point where I might finally for once and for all stop the endless cycling on-and-off these foods. I really do feel I've finally done enough 'research' to know myself well enough, to fight off the cravings when they come (when I let a little bit back in the cravings start again and I usually let them win and down the hole I go again for 3ish more weeks), and to make my permanent base-line lifestyle almost total abstinence from these foods.

Funnily enough one of the things I worry about most if I do end up living like this permanently is how I'll explain it to people. I'm worried people will think I'm a stupid bore for not having dessert at a restaurant or a piece of slice for afternoon tea or a piece of cake because it's somebody's birthday. Maybe I'll try to explain it like 'I'm an addict. I have a complicated relationship with those foods. It's best if I don't touch them'.  Or maybe over time I won't feel the need to explain myself at all.  This is so reminiscent of when I got sober and stopped drinking alcohol!

Who gives a fuck what anyone else thinks??!! I'm the one who wakes up with my head on the pillow every morning feeling what I feel and knowing what I know.

I'll just have to see how it goes. But for now I'm feeling really strong and resolute. Long may it last.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Pour Me...

Oh the wonders of A.A. Gill. I love, love, love him, love his writing. I have always loved his writing.. right from back when I was living in London in the late 90's reading his columns in the Sunday Times.

Back then I had no idea (or didn't care) that he was an alcoholic in recovery. Why would I? I was boozing up a storm myself! But over the years I've become dimly aware of that fact.. and now of course it looms large in my mind when I think of him. He's a sober superstar!

And now he has a memoir out about his drinking! I was warned by an online buddy that 'Pour Me: A Life' wouldn't satisfy as a recovery memoir.. and A.A. himself says on page 8 "Let's get one thing straight, this is no faith-infused pulpit tale of redemption. This isn't  going to be my debauched drink-and-drug hell, there will be no lessons to learn, no experience to share, there won't be handy hints, lists, golden rules ... I have no message, no help". Consider myself warned....

No need. I have absolutely loved this book and found it hugely powerful, very insightful and moving. He has such a clever way with words, such a brilliant way to convey the realities of living with addiction.

On waking up: "It's not a simple transition. It's not how you wake up, like turning the key in the ignition - a couple of coughs and you're ticking over in neutral. A drunk's awakening has layers and protocols. There is a great deal of spare and lonely emotion that has to be acknowledged, folded up and buried between sleep and consciousness."

Spare and lonely emotion. Oh yes, I know it well.

And this: "Booze is a depressant, a close relative of anaesthetic. The symptoms of getting drunk are like those of being put out for an operation - initially, fleetingly, it offers a lift, a sense of transient joy, of confident light-headed freedom, it's a disinhibitor; relaxes your shyness and natural reserve so you can feel socially optimistic in a room, can make a pass, tell a joke, meet a stranger. But this is just the free offer to snag a punter. Drink is, at its dark, pickled heart, a sepia pessimist. It draws curtains, pulls up the counterpane. It smothers and softens and smoothes. The bliss of drink is that it's a small death."

A small death. Death by a thousand sips. Thank fucking goodness I stopped killing myself with that shitty liquid.

And this: "Alcoholic despair is a thing apart, created by the drink that is a depressant, but also the architect of all the pratfall calamities that fuel it. Alcohol is the only medication the drunk knows and trusts, a perfectly hopeless circle of angst, and it is all powered by a self-loathing that is obsessively stoked and fed. And it's that - that personally awarded, vainly accepted disgust - that makes it so hard to sympathise with drunks. Nothing you can say or do comes close to the wreaths of guilt we lay at our own cenotaph."

How can this man write. Wonderful! Highly recommended.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Making Recovery Visible..

I've been in two mainstream media stories recently focused on sobriety and recovery.

One was a newspaper story headlined "High-functioning alcoholics: A hidden hell". The article carried the story of three of us former heavy drinkers now living sober. The link to the article is here.

The other was a TV item on a popular nightly news programme. They called the piece "Quitting drinking for good: The stories from those who've done it." The story featured me and one other sober woman talking about how happy we are now that we've stopped drinking, plus a psychologist on how she reckons New Zealanders are dialing back on their drinking. The link to the item is here (ignore the presenter's defensive and egocentric comments at the end - says more about him than anything).

Nothing could detract from the fact that these smiling faces of happy non-drinkers were featured prominently on prime-time tele.

These are powerful images. Happy non-drinkers. Happy people in recovery. Happy people who were formerly miserable because of alcohol. Happy. Happy. Happy.

Both stories - but particularly the TV one (such is the power of that medium) - had a big impact. Visitors to my blog spiked. I had loads of interactions on my social media accounts. Hits on Living Sober exploded and we had a MASSIVE influx of new members.

This is called Making Recovery Visible. This is why I do all that I do. To reach out via whatever means available to let people know you CAN get free. You CAN rid yourself from that misery and guilt. You CAN retrain your brain not to miss that liquid.

Recovery is possible, attainable, desirable, and great.

You WILL get to a place where 5pm rolls around with little or no fanfare (and no booze ever!). You WILL get to a place where you trust yourself again. You WILL get to a place where you love yourself again. And best of all.. you WILL finish your life discovering who you really are.

That's the best bit. Through all of the hard work and tears, through all of the anger, sadness, boredom, and angst, through all of the joy, delight, satisfaction, and pride.. you will discover who you really are.

And what better respect can you pay to your one wild and precious life than that?

Love, Mrs D xxx

Monday, March 14, 2016

Sober Hero YEAH!!!!!!!!

Ugh have been slammed with a heavy head cold which is VERY reminiscent of having a bad hangover. Not fun, not fun at all.

Spent most of the weekend trying to hold my head up complaining about the fact that I couldn't taste any food.

Speaking of food I'm so sick of all the hard-core 'clean eating' messages that keep bombarding me through our local news websites, and my Facebook and Instagram feeds. Am sick of feeling guilty about bread and sugar and cheese and stuff. It's such the modern-day bandwagon isn't it.. all this healthy, paleo, grain-rich, veggie-rich food.

Everything in moderation!!!

If only it were that simple. I am TERRIBLE at moderation. I've said before that I think my moderation button was broken at birth. If I have a piece of chocolate I'll have 10. If I have one delicious warm fresh-out-of-the-oven banana choc-chip muffins with butter and jam added I'll have 3. If I have one piece of fresh bakery bread slathered with butter I'll have 4.

And obviously if I have one glass of wine I'll have 8. One was never enough. In fact even now I don't see the point of one glass of wine. What is the point of one glass of wine? Why not have lots? Why just have a teeny tiny buzz when  you can have a hard-core buzz?

If I was given the option now to magically & miraculously be able to drink one glass of wine every night for the rest of my life I would say NO THANKS!

What would that nightly single glass of wine offer me? The taste of wine? Yuk. The feeling of having a blurred-out, numbed-out, checked-out brain? Well no.. one glass of wine wouldn't offer that. It would just hint at that.

So what's the point? To not feel left out because I'm the only one not drinking (as is often the case)? Well I'm not bloody left out by not drinking.. I'm still totally involved in whatever the scenario is, just so happens my glass has a different liquid in it.

I can't see anything that that one glass of wine could offer my life to make it better.

And anyway.. I love being sober too much. I love the challenge of having to navigate a raw, un-inebriated brain 100% of the time. I love belonging to the fantastic, brave and amazing gang of people who never touch alcohol ever. I love being fully alert and aware of all that is happening around me and to me all the time.

I love waking up every morning with no hangover. I love never having to worry about my liver because of all the alcohol it is processing. I love that even if I am not managing to be a clean-eating goddess like many other people seem to be (all over my social media anyway) I am managing to be a sober hero.

Sober hero!!! That's me. And I wouldn't want it any other way.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Monday, March 7, 2016

Authentic me.

Have had a fun & social weekend! We went to a neighbourhood party on each day so there has been lots of meeting people and chatting and being social and polite.

It's been lovely, a little bit of effort but not too much. Both events were very relaxed and nice and I met some lovely new people in the neighbourhood.

Most people were having the odd beer and wine at each event but not much. If I'd have been drinking I probably wouldn't have presented as over-enthusiastic either.. I would have had a respectable one or two wines and would have remained well-behaved.

But because the beast in me would have been awakened I would have likely gone home after each event and continued on drinking - a lot. I would have polished off at least a bottle of wine to myself on Saturday night (probably more) .. and as a result at the Sunday afternoon event I would have been hungover. That wouldn't have stopped me from having another wine or two in the afternoon and sure enough I would have been pulled in the direction of even more back at home on Sunday night.

How often I would turn up to things hungover? A lot. Kids birthday parties particularly - I have distinct memories of being at kids birthday parties where I was so hungover I could hardly string two sentences together.. I remember making mumbled excuses as to why I was a bit quiet - 'am pretty hungover today' sort of thing. Wonder what the other adults thought of me when I said that? 'She's a lush' probably. But in my mind I just thought it showed that I was sort-of cool and hard core.

How deluded I was.

I like sober me. I know that some people might think I'm boring because I don't drink. I know some people might think I'm quiet or low-key at a social event.. but the more I live not drinking the more I just settle into who I am. Who I really am. Authentic me.

Authentic me is more comfortable sitting quietly in a group not feeling the need to fill every gap in the conversation. 

Authentic me is happy to quietly stand and smile and chat a little but not feel itchy or jumpy about the interactions that are going on. 

Authentic me has space in her brain to really listen to what other people are saying and to engage with them in a genuine manner.

Authentic me can still get embarrassed or feel awkward at times in a social setting.. but by and large authentic me is pretty comfortable in her own skin. 

Without a doubt the word authentic is one of my most favourite words in the entire English language nowadays. It has such wonderful connotations. It implies qualities that are calm, content, genuine, honest, truthful, real. All of those things I was desperately wanting (and trying) to be when I was boozing. 

Without booze you have no choice but to discover authentic you. 

And that, my friends, is a truly wonderful & rewarding thing.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Monday, February 29, 2016

Happy place..

I'm sitting on the sofa with my laptop typing while watching the Oscars Red Carpet on tele - talk about being in my happy place!! I have a huge basket of washing here that I am going to fold soon too. I have already done a good couple of hours of hard-out housework (scrubbing, vacuuming, mopping) and have walked the dog up the hill AND I just made some muffins for my boys to eat after school. I will go to get them in a couple of hours and then it will be busy, busy, busy till bed time.

So I have really earned this Oscars break!

Feeling very good right now, strong and proud of myself. So incredibly happy that I have stopped drinking alcohol and now move through my life with all it's ups and downs and NEVER escape my emotions or succumb to peer pressure or social awkwardness to pick up booze.

I think I've been fairly transparent about the fact that I've been going through a gritty time recently (things going on that I don't share about online) and I've come through this period feeling just that little bit stronger and more resolved about myself and this world we live in.

Once again proof that it's ALWAYS worth pushing through a tough time not drinking... the tears and discomfort and tension etc always pays off.

That's all for now - got to get this washing folded!

Love, Mrs D xxx

P.S. I did a podcast with Belle from the blog Tired of Thinking About Drinking ... was fun! You can listen to the audio for free here.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

A brilliant podcast about discomfort

I have just listened to THE MOST BRILLIANT BUBBLE HOUR PODCAST!!! Sorry for yelling but this talk was EXACTLY what I needed to hear right now. I want to type the whole thing out word for word and share it here but of course I can't. Here is the linkI heartily recommend a listen - especially for those who are in longer-term recovery, but also those that are not.. it's a very honest and comforting talk that has me feeling really reassured this morning.

The discussion is largely about how long term sobriety in many ways gets harder. About how although the desire to pick up has evaporated, living can be still very challenging. And how the more aware we get and the more clarity we have about life's challenges the more acute they become - and that's not always easy.

We have phases of serious discomfort and they suck.

And the more sober time that passes for us and the more normal it becomes for us to get through a hard phase without drinking the less we can lean on feeling good about that fact. It becomes 'Of course I got through that shit without drinking - I don't do that any more. But it still sucked.'  It was so reassuring to hear Anna and the hosts admit this and talk about it.

One of the hosts said she feels like she has a 'chronic waiting sensation'. Waiting for everything to be ok. Thinking 'soon everything will be ok'. And then she gets unpleasantly baffled by 'oh shit I'm uncomfortable again. Aren't I not supposed to feel this way? Because I'm sober and my life is meant to be good.'

Yes, yes and yes.. I can relate.

They said (and this I really relate to) that in the beginning it is easy for us to substitute other things for drinking but the longer we go on in recovery the less those things work. They are just keeping our addictive tendencies alive. You're still distracting yourself from yourself. So with every new level in recovery there is a new devil to confront. This is right where I am right now. New level new devil.

Its annoying because I don't want to have to keep digging deep to fix more shit about myself but the truth is I must. Sigh....

Then Anna said: 'but that's good because it gets more real and more real leads to amazing gifts'. Uncomfortable phases - while awful to get through - ended up offering serious learning that leads to a greater capacity to deal with stuff - it's always worthwhile in the end and afterwards there will be a breakthrough of sorts and shit will get easy again.

So slowly, slowly it gets easier. It's not all an uphill battle. But always there is this discomfort, facing new realities, confronting new devils.

Life is about getting comfortable with discomfort, that's all we're doing. We get better at it over time and that's what makes it easier, but that's all we're doing.

Hope this isn't too negative.

Today is a bloody marvellously stupendous day to be sober!!!

Love, Mrs D xxx

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Like a misty fog...

Sometimes I get melancholy. It just arrives slowly like a misty fog and sits for a bit and no amount of 'thinking' my way out of it can shift it. I just try to be with it (I don't have any choice actually!), keep myself grounded in the moment and not over-ruminate about why I'm in this state ... I know that soon it will shift.

Someone asked a question after my last post: "What do you mean by 'grounding yourself in the moment' throughout the day?" I mean literally taking myself out of my head (thinking) and down into my body/the earth. So I look at my hands and think about what they're doing (washing dishes, holding the steering wheel). I look at what is in front of me and make myself focus on that (the droplets running down the shower wall, the trees outside the window, the clouds in the sky, the dog on the path). I focus on what is happening for my physical body on the earth right now. Grounding myself. Not thinking about anything except what is happening right now in this very moment.

Anyway...I'm lucky that my melancholy phases don't tend to last for long.. maybe a day or two.. and they are usually to be expected. They come after I've had a very busy time or a gritty time or some such phase that has taken it out of me, i.e. they're the low after the storm.

So that's me today. I'm just in a low key mood. It's ok. I'm ok.

I wrote in the Members Feed at Living Sober the other day that sometimes I think I’ve forgotten what a big deal it is getting used to living raw all the time. I’m so used to it now it’s my norm.. but when I first stopped drinking it was a bloody shock and not nice at all. Not nice at all. Just a big wide open raw brain 24/7.

That's the thing about being sober, it's not about feeling left out or hankering for booze or worrying what others think of you or regretting the past (although all of those things crop up from time to time).. it's just the relentless nature of being raw 100% of the time.

Raw. Sober. Wide-open brain. No escape. Sober. Sober. Sober.

I love it. Even when I'm a bit melancholy like now.. because what is the alternative? Having some alcohol which will have some sort of impact on my brain which will take me away from my natural ebbs and flows? No thanks. I don't do that any more. That shit has no place in my life.

Just writing this out has made me feel better. Externalising my internal processes always frees me up. That's why I blog. Thanks blog!

Love, Mrs D xxx

Monday, February 8, 2016

Who have I become...?

I was talking to my sister on the phone yesterday and we were laughing about how I used to be very scornful and resistant about doing any inner (dare I say spiritual?) work on myself. "I'm not a naval gazer" was my oft-repeated line back in the day when I was a boozy boozer completely cut off from myself.

We were laughing because my how times have changed!

I'd just been telling her how I'd signed up to do a month-long meditation challenge, and was back listening to Tara Brach again and all sorts of other stuff (I chart exactly what inner - dare I say spiritual? - work I am doing in my Mrs D Is Going Within blog.)

And the reason I'm doing all of this stuff is because IT WORKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Life has been a bit gritty for me lately for one reason and another (and another and another) - I've been doing it tough. And a big part of the problem was that while dealing with some gritty things I'd forgotten about the big picture. I'd forgotten to put myself in perspective. I'd forgotten to wonder at the miracle that is my life. I'd slipped from trying to live mindfully. I'd stopped regularly reminding myself to ground myself in the moment throughout the day. I'd forgotten that I am not my thoughts and that my thoughts are not facts. I had forgotten that I am more than the sum of events that occur for me or the interactions I have with people.

When I do remember to pull back from this narrow sense of self I am reminded that my existence is a miracle and this world is a miracle and this life is fleeting and that love and goodness and kindness are real and true and things that exist for me every day.

I am not my dirty kitchen floors and I am not my tears and I am not my concerns for the future and I am not my regrets about the past and I am not my unmet deadline and I am not my insecurities and I am not my sadness and I am not my extra 4kg of body weight that I would love to lose.

Those things are real.. but they do not make me who I am.

I am a pair of lungs that breaths in, and out, and in, and out, and in, and out, and in. I am a person with flaws and beauties and struggles and triumphs. Right now I am a person sitting sideways on a kitchen chair with my legs crossed, my left forearm resting on the table and my fingers flying over a keyboard. I am a pair of lungs breathing in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out.

And when I remember to take this mental 'step back' and look at the big picture and ground myself and feel my breath and put myself in perspective (one of a million billion miraculous organism existing on this planet), I wonder at the world, I relax about my place in it, and I feel calm.

This post title asks 'who have I become?' I can answer this now. I am a naval gazer extraordinaire!!!!!!!!! And I love it.

Love, Mrs D xxx