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

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Sometimes I wish....

Sometimes I wish I lived in a country which wasn't so booze soaked.

Sometimes I wish I lived in a country where daily habitual drinking wasn't the norm.

Sometimes I wish I lived in a country where every social event wasn't liquored up. Where people didn't get steadily more slurry and blurry as the night goes on.

Sometimes I wish I lived in a country full of people who enjoyed having a clear head ... not people who embraced imbibing alcohol all the time and all that comes with that.

Sometimes I wish I lived in a country where the wine and beer wasn't sold in my supermarket right next to the bread and cheese. This is not an issue of being tempted... it's the message that is being sent by having that liquid drug treated as an ordinary commodity. It's the message that selling alcohol with groceries sends to all the many people who struggle to control it.

The message I hear every time I walk past the booze section is 'don't know what your problem is...we're all fine with this stuff'.

The problem is we're NOT all fine with it. There are HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS of people in this country who are not fine with alcohol ... people who are locked in a fierce internal struggle with themselves about trying to control and moderate it. I know this because I talk to them every day at Living Sober.

In fact if I could do one thing I'd take the bloody beer and wine out of the supermarkets and have it sold only in specialised shops. It would be nice for me if that happened...but it would be really, really, really nice for the people who are still trying to fix their relationship with it.

Anyway back to what I wish.

Sometimes I wish I lived in a country where I wasn't the odd one out for not drinking. I wish I lived in a country where not drinking was the norm and people who imbibed booze regularly were the odd ones out.

Most of the time I'm fine with being the odd one out because I love being sober and I so appreciate my clear head and I love feeling so much more connected with my fellow human beings, and I am so so so happy and proud of myself for turning my life around, and I adore feeling like a fully realised and properly grounded human being, and I am delighted with my incredibly enriched internal life.

But sometimes I wish I lived in a country that was full of people who appreciated the same things.

Just sometimes.

Love, Mrs D xxx