Saturday, April 22, 2017

New book nerves..

Just a month now to go until my new book is released and I can feel myself getting a bit nervous and distracted. Dates are being set for book store events, media are being sent copies, my publicist is gearing up to get the book noticed.

I'm having dreams where I'm in a newsroom feeling completely out of my depth and like a fraud ... being asked to do complicated stories. This is my CLASSIC anxiety dream tapping into old insecurities (in my past life I was a TV journalist).

Also hitting the sugar a little bit although I've been off recently so this on-phase (which started at Easter) hopefully won't bed in too deeply.

And just generally feeling edgy and ill-at-ease. Not the most chilled out relaxed version of myself anyway... hard to completely relax when I'm about to release to the world another exposing story about the inner workings of my brain and my attempts to deal with life, relationships and my raw emotions.

But I'm not complaining! I'm fortunate I get to write books and someone wants to publish them. I'm happy to share my process in case it helps anyone else. And writing what I'm going through certainly helps me - so all-in-all what lies ahead is good.

But I'd be lying if I didn't say there was a fair amount of nerves and vulnerability to contend with as well.

So! Time to practice what I preach in the book (although it hopefully doesn't come across as preachy!) and use my tools to keep myself feeling good.

* Treat myself kindly and with compassion.
* Accept what is happening and put it in perspective.
* Do lovely nourishing things that will improve my days by tiny amounts that add up to an overall better feeling of wellness (yoga, dog walking, bubble baths etc).
* Focus on all the other people around me and and their lives.
* Remember to feel and notice my breath (ground myself in my body).
* Focus on what my hands are doing and what my eyes can see (ground myself in the moment).
* Allow myself at times to get distracted with good books and absorbing TV programmes!
* Practice gratitude to remind myself of all the lovely little things

It is school holidays here and today the sun is shining. I am grateful for my fingers which allow me to type out how I am feeling. I am grateful for the internet which connects me with lovely like-minded people. I am grateful for our City Council putting on a Nature Trail that we will visit today. I am grateful for my dog who is lying on my feet right now keeping them warm. And I am grateful for my sobriety. Because goodness knows where my life would be right now if I was still boozing.

Love, Mrs D xxx

P.S. You can pre-order the book (hard copy) at Book Depository or at MightyApe or at Fishpond.  Or you can pre-order the Kindle version here at Amazon.




Thursday, April 13, 2017

An alcohol-free Easter...

Someone commented on my last post saying this Easter will be their first sober Easter for 20 years and did I have any "quirky & vibrant tips to have a luxurious A-free Easter?"

Well I'm not sure if they're quirky and vibrant but I do have some tips.

I've written about my Easters before (here and here and here) because it's always been a bit of a sober challenge for me as we go to stay with extended family in a remote location and everyone else drinks daily and I now don't.

It's interesting how my Easters have developed since I got sober. At times I've felt very out of place and conspicuously sober, at times I've felt very clever, special and unique, at times I've felt very judgey and uptight about other people's habits ... but nowadays I just feel ordinary and relaxed about my point of difference, unconcerned about what others are doing, and well practiced in how to take care of myself.

Firstly I keep very grounded in the big picture of my life, and not the immediate reality of these few days away. The big picture is that me and alcohol were not friends. Ours was not a casual relationship. Alcohol made feel like shit about myself, it got me sloppy and miserable and I am so, so, so, so much happier overall without it in my life. The immediate reality is just a few days where I am around boozers and might feel a little bored or awkward at times. I'm happy to take that for the knowledge that in the bigger picture of my life being sober is fabulous.

Secondly I'll go prepared. I always pack a small plastic container with some of my favourite teabags and multivitamins. Obviously this is to feel happy when I'm away (drinking my favourite tea and popping multivitamins always makes me feel good about myself) but also the act of preparing the container sends me a little message that I'm looking out for myself in the days ahead - being my own best friend. I'll also pack books and magazines, take time selecting my clothes, maybe paint my nails and pluck my eyebrows ... all little things to lift my mood and make me feel good about myself.

Thirdly I'll behave in self-soothing ways during the break. I'll go to bed early if I feel like it (and not worry what others will think). I'll try to make healthy food choices were possible (and not beat myself up about any Easter Egg consumption!). I'll indulge in bubble baths or long hot showers. I'll take mini-breaks during the day if I feel like it to go read a book or do some yoga or go for a walk - something nice and calm anyway.

Finally I'll remember to notice the little things that make my sober life so rewarding. I'll recognise every morning when I wake up hangover free and notice how good it feels. I'll close my eyes and breath deeply when soaking in a bubble bath to savour the moment. I'll appreciate every meaningful conversation I have with a relative or time spent hanging with my kids - my connections to other humans are so much richer now that I'm not numbing myself constantly.

So hopefully dear commenter these are some decent tips for you even though they might not be quirky and vibrant. Always remember what you are doing in removing alcohol from your life is brave and amazing and the world should be giving you a medal for your efforts!! And cast your mind forward to the days after Easter when you know that you will feel so happy and proud of yourself if you got through with out drinking. Go well!

Love, Mrs D xxx

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Then and now...

THEN:
I used to fall into bed at around 10 or 11pm completely full up with wine. I couldn't tell you exactly what my mood was or what thoughts I was having because I'd be totally numbed out, blurred, disconnected from my thoughts and cut off from my emotions completely. No drama. Just me drunk.

I'd fall into a boozy sleep (is that good sleep? I'm not sure it is...) and stay that way until about 3am when I'd wake up to go to the toilet. I'd sit on the throne doing my business - my pounding head slumped forward, thoughts rushing at me like a freight train....

"Why did you drink so much wine yet again? Why did you open that second bottle? What the hell are you like? You promised you'd have an alcohol-free night. Why did you start and why did you keep going? Why did you eat four bits of toast at 10pm? Why? Why? Why?"

I'd finish my business and get back into bed - often swallowing a big gulp of water from the glass on my beside table and necking a couple of pain killers (conveniently left in the drawer, always). My bladder would be empty but my head still pounding and racing with unhappy, guilt-ridden thoughts. 

I'd lie awake for an hour or two...tossing and turning..alcohol insomnia I'd call it. I had it bad. Night after night I'd be awake from 3 until 5ish..

Eventually the painkillers might work enough that I'd get a little bit more (crappy) sleep only to be woken by the kids at the crack of dawn. I'd drag my body out of bed. Drink a big mug of instant coffee. Beat myself up. Shower. Feel like shit. Dress. Beat myself up. Get into the day beating myself up. Beating myself up. Beating myself up. Until the afternoon came, I convinced myself I didn't have a problem, and away I'd go again...

NOW:
I usually climb into bed at around 9pm with a mug of chamomile tea. I decide whether to watch some TV or read one of the 10 books I have sitting beside my bed. Maybe I have cookbooks with me and am making a meal plan for the week ahead. A son might come and join me to watch 'Boarder Patrol' or "Storage Wars New York". I get up and down a few times to help put the older kids to bed, taking the time to snuggle them in and have a quick chat. 

At around 10.30pm I turn the light off. 

Eight and a half hours later I wake up, and think to myself "Holy shit that was a good sleep".

And then I get into my day only to do the same the next night and the next night.

And this is why I will never touch alcohol ever again.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Adele

I think when you live raw all of the time you become very sensitive to strong emotions and feelings.. very easily swayed by heightened environments, and they affect you quite strongly.

This is living in the raw. Sometimes it sucks.. but sometimes - like last Thursday! - it's totally awesome!!

Last Thursday we went to Adele. Me, my mum, and two of my sisters.

I'm pretty sure I've written before about sober concerts. They are the best thing EVER! I've really embraced concerts since I quit drinking because I realised early on it's one of the best ways to get a big natural endorphin rush.

Everything is laid out for you to have an amazing time. The buzz of a crowd (bigger the better!), the lighting, the music.. I just love it. Since becoming sober I've been to concerts in small venues like Ladyhawke and Elbow, and I've been to bigger shows like The Arctic Monkeys, Elton John, Sting and Paul Simon together, Coldplay, Rhianna, and then last week ... Adele.

Adele!! What a hilarious legend she is. Her show was fantastic. I was so moved when it opened (with much drama to ginormous cheers as she appeared under the spotlights and started singing 'Hello') that my hands were shaking. Talk about heightened emotions!

She was hilarious and brilliant. She chatted to the crowd as much as she sang. Me and my mum and sisters sang and danced and swayed and just had the best time. I felt very grounded in my body and my experience.. a small spec in a tiny crowd.

Me the sober, alive, heightened, appreciative, happy woman in Section C4 Seat S19.

I love sober concerts precisely because I am sober. I don't go with any furtive desire to get to the bar for drinks time and again nor do I need to go to the toilet over and over. I go with my head on straight to experience things fully, my eyes wide open to watch people and soak up the atmosphere, my feet planted firmly on the ground (in comfy shoes), and a positive and excited attitude.

I'm still riding on a post-Adele high 5 days later, feeling so grateful for her performance and so happy to have spent really lovely and enriching time with my mum and sisters.

Sobriety has given me all of this and I don't take it for granted. My life would not be what it is if I was still guzzling wine all the time. So maybe I've got myself to thank for last Thursday's joy as much I do Adele.

Thank you Adele for being so warm and talented. And thank you me for being sober to appreciate all she has to offer.

Love, Mrs D xxx


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Consistency is HARD!

I'm feeling pretty good this week. Why?

Well, for starters I'm eating well. After my cake eating binge on Sunday (literally ate half a lemon sour cream cake dripping with sugar syrup mmmmm) I've sworn off wheat and sugar and dairy for two weeks and now, three days into it, I'm feeling strong and proud and fine and dandy.

Secondly I'm moving my body and getting into nature regularly. I'm doing yoga at home still - yes! I'm going for walks around the hills in my neighbourhood with my girlfriends. I'm running around after my kids as per usual. And I'm attending my regular Tuesday night yoga class.

Thirdly I'm forcing myself to get more organised and focused on my new writing project rather than spend my down time during the day watching Netflix.

All of these things are contributing to me feeling great!

Clever, functional, healthy, positive thinking, forward moving Mrs D. Aaaahhh the joy in being so very successful.

Problem is, in two weeks time all of this could have gone to shit. I could be binging on the sugar again, spending far too much time watching tele, turning down offers to walk, failing to do any yoga at home and generally just wallowing in my piggy, lazy, unhealthy mindset.

If only I could be consistent!!!!! If only I could maintain a perfect perfect lifestyle 100% of the time.

Sadly that is not my reality. Consistency is not my strong point.

But you know what? I can't be bothered worrying about that right now. For fucks sake, I accept who I am, cake-binging warts and all.  If I slump into a pit of lazy despair in a few weeks so be it. Knowing me I'll lift up again afterwards and end up feeling like I do now. That's how I roll.

I'm a work in progress.. not a problem to be solved. And of course there is one MAJOR thing that I am able to remain consistent at, and that is not drinking alcohol ever.  If this the only thing I ever manage to stay consistent at for the rest of my life then that's ok with me.

Love, Mrs D xxx