(Below are all the posts I wrote in my first month of sobriety. I've compiled them here into one page so that it's easy to see where I was at throughout this stage of my recovery. What you don't get to see by reading the posts this way is all the wonderful, supportive, warm and wise comments that came from the online community and that have been so crucial in my recovery. To share in that warmth and wisdom you need to read by going through my Blog Archive on the right. If you are reading this here and you are at the same stage of recovery yourself, please comment at the bottom to share your thoughts and experiences with others. Love, Mrs D xxx)
8th September 2011 - My first ever post: "The Last Straw"
On Monday straight after my husband, Mr D, took my two eldest sons off to their Scouts meeting, I jumped in the car with my toddler and drove down the road to the bottle shop. Sad fact number 1 is that I said to Little Guy as I grabbed him "lets go prove how disfunctional I really am". Sad fact number 2 is that in my haste to back out of the carport I ran over the new pram and smashed up one of the front tires. It's now completely stuffed. I hadn't even had a drink!! Sad fact number 3 is that when I got to the bottle shop I grabbed two bottles of wine instead of just one.
Actually there are far more sad facts than that. It's sad that I had only been back drinking for 5 days after 3 1/2 weeks off. It's sad that Mr D and I had a brief discussion before Scouts and had said that this Monday would be an alcohol free day. And it's sad that I couldn't manage that.
So home I come with the wine and promptly skull half of the bottle of white while I bath the Little Guy and tidy up the dinner mess. Then I panic and feel bad so decide to HIDE THE REST of the white and pour myself and Mr D a glass of the red and leave the rest of the bottle sitting on the bench showing it's nearly full.
I had to use caps there because that right there was a turning point. I had never hidden wine before.
Mr D came home and kind of laughed that I hadn't been able to go without and I laughed too (a ha ha!) and made a song and dance about how I'd gone slow - see look the bottle is nearly full! - and then Mr D had a couple of small glasses over the next hour and I finished off the rest of the red myself. Sigh, another binge.
Of course I slept like crap and woke up feeling tired, hungover and really really guilt-ridden and disfunctional. This was yet another binge for me, one binge at the end of a long line of binges. My drinking history is long and probably typical. What's perhaps not so typical is that lately, as my drinking has been escallating so too has my inability to accept it.
So Tuesday mid-morning I write myself a letter (I'll re-print it in a later blog). Lunch-time Mr D comes home from his shift at work and we chat and inevitably talk turns to last night and I cry and confess to the hiding the wine and he admits he wondered and did actually check the recycling bin to see if there was another bottle as I had seemed more full of wine than I'd said. (He wasn't going to tell me he'd checked the bin, that too is really scary right there).
And, long story short, I've reached a tipping point and from now have decided to remove alcohol from my life.
I'm scared, it's going to be hard. Our family all drink. Our friends all drink. And I'm going to try and do this without any outside support. Just this blog. So stay posted and I'll let you know how I get on.
Love, Mrs D xxx
9th September 2011 - "More Shockers"
Jeepers, reading that story in black and white does just the trick I hoped it would. It sure does read 'dysfunctional'. I think I might write out a couple of more sad, unhealthy, dysfunctional facts about my drinking to ram this mission home. Because right now I'm thinking it's going to be a doddle to give up booze! But it's only been a few days and the memory of recent binges looms large in my brain. I'm sure as the weeks go by I'll be lulled into thinking I can start again, pressure will come on, and the pull, the incredible pull of the booze will call to me...
It's not unheard of for me to dash out and grab more wine mid-evening because the bottle we've just drunk isn't enough (Mr D is always allowed two small glasses, if he's lucky)..
I always pour a glass almost to the rim and slurp the top down straight away...
My eyes flit around furtively when there's wine open ... to check - who is pouring it, how big are they going, is there much left? how much more can I get before the bottle ends?
I can't count the number of times I've dragged my sorry ass to the gym and lumbered around hungover wondering if any of the other women in the class drink heavily too..?
I've got good at remembering to always have a glass of water and panadol beside me at night..
Today is the opening of the Rugby World Cup and New Zealand is going nuts.. we are heading down to the waterfront with the kids to soak up some of the Opening Party atmosphere then home to watch the All Blacks play the opening game. Usually I'd have a good bottle and a half of red wine to accompany that .. but not tonight....
Love, Mrs D xxx
10th September 2011 - "Pissing in a bottle"
We were crammed on the train heading down to Auckland's waterfront to join in the Rugby World Cup opening party celebrations. At the front of our carriage were a group of pimply youths - nice enough looking chaps except for the fact they were absolutely slaughtered. Full of hormones, excitement and booze. It was 3pm. They were making loud jovial remarks, largely indistinguishable until a chant built up.."FILL THE BOTTLE!! FILL THE BOTTLE!! FILL THE BOTTLE!!" I looked at Mr D, surely they couldn't be encouraging their mate to piss in a bottle?
They were and eventually he did, and held it proudly aloft. A 1ltr coke bottle now filled with steaming yellow urine. Charming. My mind easily brought forward memories of being horribly drunk, an out of control feeling, needing to piss, needing to vomit, needing to lie down, needing to stop. Down the other end of the carriage I felt great! I was past that now!
A couple of hours later we were pushing the pram along the wharf, through the crowd past a row of newly built bars and restaurants. The sun was streaming down and the crowd was happy and friendly. Trendy parents with kids and mugs of beer sat on wooden benches with the sea lapping nearby. Young professionals laughed together holding shiny glasses of chardonnay and fizz. BAM there was a pain in my belly, a hurt, a pang. Surely not, never again? Really? Never again would I have that fun feeling, that freedom, that abandon. Chatty, hedonistic fun.
Took a bit of mental work at that point. Remember Mrs D, remember.
It had stopped being fun.
It had stopped being fun.
It had stopped being fun.
11 September 2011 - "Freaking out"
I've woken up with a sick, uneasy, nervy feeling in my stomach. I was having dreams last night and I feel freaked out about what I'm doing. Actually I'm not entirely sure why I feel nervous but I definately have a nervy tummy. I'm not exactly relaxed you could say.
No, didn't have a drink last night! It was Saturday night but was totally fine not to drink. Just at home with Mr. D (who had a couple of beers). Still feel like it's not going to be a problem to never drink again but I know it's such early days and I haven't had any real temptations. No nights out. No family around cracking open the wine. No parties or events to attend. A non-drinking life hasn't been experienced yet. I haven't proved to myself yet that I can do this. I'm so nervous that I won't be able to. But bloody hell I really really really really want to be able to just never have another drink again, ever.
Maybe the problem is the books I picked up from the library yesterday. I had gone on the Auckland City Libraries website earlier in the week and ordered some titles that I thought might be useful to keep my brain strong. But all they seem to have done is tell me I can't do this.
Take Bert Pluymen for example. In his book 'The Thinking Person's Guide to Sobriety' he tells me, "..knowledge and self-awareness alone are absolutely worthless in fighting addiction. A bodily addiction will kick your ass while you're sitting around musing and reasoning and making resolutions." NO! It won't, it won't, it won't. Please don't let it....
And William Alexander in 'Still Waters. Sobriety, Atonement, and Unfolding Englightenment' tells me, "The life of addiction is one of perpetual longing. That longing can continue for many years - for a lifetime - after the booze and the drugs are gone." Really? Really?
And then there's the mysterious John R (why the need to hide the surname?) who in 'Big Book Unplugged. A Young Person's Guide to Alcoholics Anonymous' says, "Willpower won't work. Our resolve isn't strong enough. Staying clean won't happen through some trick of the mind. The addiction is too powerful , and we lose the power of choice." Great.
Ok now I see why my guts are churning. I'm being told left, right and centre that I can't do this. Or at least that I can't do this alone.
But I'm not alone!! I have you, dear blog. Dear Blog. Dearest Darling Blog. You are going to help save me. I will do it by writing you every morning. Together we can kick my booze-habit's butt. See you tomorrow.
Love, Mrs D xxx
12 September 2011 - "A Small Test"
Ok so last night we took the kids out for an early meal at Mr D's colleague's house. There were a few adults there, watching the rugby and then takeaways for dinner. Nice low-key kiwi way of doing things. Beer & wine on offer on arrival. "No thanks" from me. Easy. Didn't feel a pull. No internal conversation within myself trying to deny, push away, justify and then usually end with an acceptance "yeah a white would be great, thanks."
At dinner the nice wine glasses were out on the table and the red was opened. My poison of choice. But still - no pull! - and a "not for me thanks" tripped easily off my lips.
I think it was easy because I don't know these people very well. No-one blinked at my refusal of alcohol. I'm pleased to have had a dry evening there as I already have a bad booze memory with them. The first time this colleague and I met, at a BBQ thrown by the boss of the company, I drank just a little too much, got a tad loose lipped.
Lets revisit a vew bad social booze memories so you, dear blog, will forever remind me of my need to stick to my resolve.
A rare night out for Mr D and I. Started with a few drinks at home, then to a bar for cocktails and tapas. Last stop a small gathering of friends at a bar where some DJ mates were spinning tunes. Me, drunk at this stage. Slurring just a little. Talking to an old acquaintance and him making an excuse to get away from me. I know this to be true. Me slurring. Him excusing himself badly, and moving to the other side of the room. Embarrassment.
Dinner with a bunch of workmates at a restaurant near the office. Hitting it hard at work first. Then hitting it hard at the dinner table. Wobbling to the loo. Spinning out. Making it into a taxi. Concentrating very hard in the back seat. Really horribly drunk. Managing to get inside. Puking in the loo.
A Saturday afternoon get-together with neighbourhood friends and kids. 3 families, 6 adults, 10 kids between us. All of us boozing. Like minded kiwis. Speed drinking - girls, the wine! Fast, fast, fast. Chatting, preparing food, eating, disco dancing with the kids! Woo Hoo!! 9pm need to get the kids home, concentrating very hard now on getting things done. Wobbling down the road with the pram, kids into bed. Me into the loo, fingers down the throat to empty my stomach.
To be fair to me these extreme examples of public drunkenness have occurred over the past 3 years. But I know well the feeling of waking up with a tender throat and remembering I've been pushing my fingers down there to try and empty my stomach of all the booze I've been pouring into it.
Please sobriety stay with me.
Love, Mrs D xxx
13 September 2011 - "Tense"
I'm kind of snippy and tense, which is a real bummer. I thought I'd be feeling happier! Lighter! Free! I've got no hangovers, no guilt and I'm sleeping right through every night (as opposed to my alcohol insomnia). So why am I so tense? I was snippy to Mr D last night, and yelled at my Big Guy this morning because he was fighting with me over having to do his spelling practice. Jeez I just wish I could lighten up. I need to shrug my shoulders and try to smooth myself out. I should be feeling great!
It's one week since my final binge, and I'm so aware that it's early early days yet. But I haven't wanted a drink at all and don't feel nervous about any upcoming weekends or events. I feel like I never want to pour myself another glass of wine and go back down that track. But I'm nervous because I just know it can't be this easy.
Big deep breath in .. woosh, breath out. In, out. In, out....
Love, Mrs D xxx
14 September 2011 - "A peculiar amnesia"
I read somewhere how that is what an alcoholics brain has, a peculiar amnesia, and forgets all the bad reasons why not to drink and remembers only the fantasy reasons in order to drink again. I can almost already feel that happening. No! I'm not going to let myself forget. That fantasy has gone, gone, gone. I just have to get used to living without alcohol. Planning events sober. I mean the evening is just going to pass and then it'll be the morning and will you have lost anything by not boozing the night before? I really just think I have to not touch it again.
Had a great chat with my gorgeous sister last night. Sort of told her my plan. It's pretty scary because I don't want to set myself up for a fall, or to be judged if I fail. But then again anything to help me succeed and if that's letting people know that I'm trying to live completely sober then that might help.
What's different about this abstenance is that I'm not counting the days like I used to, or thinking about what I'm going to drink on the night I start again. I'm looking into an endless stretch of no alcohol. My step-brother's wedding, my 40th celebrations, even Christmas and New Year's I'm thinking about being dry and it feels good...
I'm going to show everyone I can do this..
Love, Mrs D xxx
15 September 2011 - "Squeeze"
I can feel a squeeze coming on my brain, just a slight tightening of my thoughts, and my strength and resolve to not drink alcohol any more. I can feel the little voice inside flexing it's muscles again. Really? Never again?
Yes never again. It stopped being fun. The fantasy idea of drinking - just the one or two! - doesn't exist for me any more. Nothing will be lost, or less fun. So much will be gained. Think I have to work really really hard on this. Exercise my brain like it is a muscle I lift weights for.
I wish I had some more books, or blogs or something I could follow that worked for me and how I am trying to do this. But I know I am strong enough and I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.
Love, Mrs D xxx
16 September 2011 - "Blog is working"
Ok my plan is working. I was feeling a bit more wobbly on my resolve and then after school yesterday went to visit the in laws and my wonderful mother in law said "I've got the wine chilling, would you like a glass?". Lucky for me my sister-in-law said first "not for me thanks" so I followed swiftly with the same. It wasn't too hard. I mean it was 3.30pm for goodness sake. I could detect a bit of surprise from my mother-in-law, she no doubt equates me with enthusiastic wine drinking!
I was thinking when driving the boys home an hour or so later that if I had had a wine, or two, I would be driving straight to a bottle shop on the way home to get more. This action would be accompanied by an intense internal dialogue about whether I should or not. Yes, no, yes, no, yes, no with always the YES! winning. Then I would have drunk probably most of it while I got the kids fed and to bed (Mr D is away working for the night).
So I thought hard about how that would have felt, and then came back to this blog to read my reminders about my drinking behaviour and all the BORING INTENSE DETERMINED OBSESSED UNHEALTHY AND HEAVY HEAVY drinking I have done inside my house. So don't want to go back there. Feel light again and good about my decision.
Love, Mrs D xxx
17 September 2011 - "Stats"
I think it's really funny that every time I come to this blog site (which is every day) I check my stats. I had two hits in the first two days! Who were these people I wondered. So exciting! Someone in South Africa read my heartfelt blog about attempting to give up alcohol! And someone in Brazil! Then a few days later two more hits, I now had four! Four hits! (One was from New Zealand, that was probably me checking myself out).
But then, four hits stayed. Four hits. Four hits. Now those four hits are so long ago they've travelled off the graph and it now says "no stats please check back later". HA!
So, enigmatic Mrs D. This blog is just going to be exactly what you intended which is a diary to yourself that happens to be in cyberspace rather than in a notebook in the bedside drawer.
Had some tears yesterday afternoon with Mr D and confessed I felt 'raw'. Tried to explain to him what I meant, that deciding to remove alcohol from my life has left me feeling rather stripped back. That instead of spending so much time under the influence of alcohol I now have a brain that is always sober and that is confronting. He understands and is so supportive. He will be very proud and impressed when (not if) I pull this off.
Out for an early fish n chips dinner at some neighbourhood friends last night, Mr D had a few red wines, the other bloke is a teetotaler due to health issues so he and I had a couple of lime juices together. His partner had one glass of wine, the demon is definitely not in her.
So here I am, Saturday morning no hangover! Only four hits ever on my blog! It's all good...
Love, Mrs D xxx
18 September 2011 - "Uptight"
Last night was a bit of a test. The in-laws came over for an early pizza supper (home-made pizzas I might add, made by MOI!) .. they bought beer and wine. Mr D and Mr D senior had a few beers, Mrs D senior had a couple of wines, Mr D also had a few wines after his beers (he seems to drink more when I'm not drinking. I think he used to hold back so that someone was in control and also because I would get grumpy if he drank too much of the wine!). Anyhow I just didn't drink and didn't say anything about it and no-one made any comments. But there's no flies on Mrs D senior and I'm sure she would have noticed. She probably thinks I'm pregnant.
At one point Mr D asked me quietly in the kitchen how I was and I said "Ok, but I feel quite uptight". He gave me a big snuggle and some lovely kisses and I felt much better and lighter after that and was able to be in a better mood.
Later in bed (I love it when I get into bed now and have had no wine!) he told me that it wasn't even noticeable that I was feeling uptight. I thought I was more snappy with the kids (well the Middle Dude did break Big Guy's new glasses, that pissed me off) but he said I was fine really.
I do feel more uptight on an evening like last night because..
1) I'm not relaxing with the alcohol in my system
2) I'm not part of the 'fun' group having a few drinks
3) I'm having to mentally process abstaining from something 'fun' so I'm concentrating on those serious thoughts = serious mood
Hopefully 2) and 3) won't apply for ever because I won't have to think about abstaining so much, I'll just automatically do it, and well as for 2) readers of this blog will know (ha ha! That's a joke! I have no readers!!) it wasn't fun any more for me anyway.
Quick point here. Mr and Mrs D senior got to about 3 units of alcohol and stopped. They just stopped! They'd had enough at that point. How very functional! Had the fun lift and then stopped. If only I could do that. I would have been pouring wines number 5 & 6 as they were getting ready to leave round 7.30pm. Probably had wines 7 & 8 before bed.
Anyway, back to my points. Number 1). Well my lovely Mr D had a good idea. Why don't I have a Red Bull or some other horrible drink I would never normally touch, but one that would give me that energy lift at the start of a drinking session. So I will try that next time I think.
And I need to think about how and when I am going to annouce to people what I am doing. Why am I hesitating to do that?
Love, Mrs D xxx
19 September 2011 - "Friend's reaction"
Was out shopping at the mall yesterday - child free! - and bumped into some mates. We were chowing down in the food hall together having lunch and for some reason I told them I'd given up the booze. Forever! I said. They seemed a little bemused but interested and kind of didn't say much. They probably don't understand why, or know what to say. I was kind of breezy about it. Didn't really explain how dysfunctional my drinking is, although I'm sure I've tried to tell them before.
It's hard for people to really get it. Even Mr D took years to understand me and my dysfunctional drinking and why it is so unhealthy and unsustainable, and it's been staring him in the face for years. No one really knows except you, the drinker.
No-one else can hear your inner voice and feel your insane pull to drink.
No-one else knows your sneaky filling each glass to the rim and slurping the top down immediately.
No-one else knows your one or two drinks out will end in a trip to the store on the way home for another bottle to finish up because once you've started it's very very very very hard to stop.
Love, Mrs D xxx
21 September 2011 - "Going Strong"
Still feeling good, strong, amazing about my decision to remove alcohol from my life. Haven't had a single pull to drink. Mr D is away for work and there's a full bottle of sav in the fridge and some red in the pantry and I didn't even think about it.
I feel like I've been working up to this point for a few years now. Enough of the mindless pouring of booze down my throat. Heading in a stupid and very very serious direction with my drinking. Where did I think it was going to end up? What sort of life path are you on if you are pouring so much wine down your throat?
I was a 2nd day drinker. Have a binge, then have a hangover, so the second day is a light one, just 1-3 wines. Then the next day, no big hangover so have a binge again! How many hours have I spent thinking about booze, working to obtain it. Drinking it - being impaired by it. And then recovering from it. How many many hours spent on that.
So now, I have a sober brain and a sober life facing me. Life, here I am. That's the raw feeling I suppose. But what can I achieve now? Great things!
Note to self: get new hobby.
Love, Mrs D xxx
22 September 2011 - "Shitty"
I'm really tired and really shitty and really would love a drink. There, I said it.
Little guy woke up at 5-o-fucking-clock and wouldn't go back to sleep so I've been up since then and I've just been shitty shitty shitty ever since. He played with my wallet and now both my money card and my credit card are now completely missing which I discovered at the counter of Warehouse Stationery.
Yelled at the Big Fella for pestering me to help him with his stupid computer game (which in hindsight wasn't a criminal offence but boy did I yell).. my temper was quick to rise and BAM there it was. YELLING YELLING YELLING.
I just feel really grumpy and tired and grumpy and tired just so tired. The house feels really dusty and gross and .. I think I just need a nap actually.
Usually I'd drink a bottle (and a bit) of wine at the end of a day like this and then sleep like crap and then feel even tireder tomorrow. So the wine doesn't make me rested. Does the wine help relieve any stress? No. Is the wine fun and naughty and does it take me away from my hard boring life as a housewife and mother of three? Yes!! Yes yes yes it does.
Don't worry I'm not going to drink. No way. I just have to live this shitty grumpy tired day and go to sleep tonight and maybe tomorrow will be easier.
Ok, a plan. 40 mins of hard-out cleaning to make me feel better about the house and then I can sit down to relax until Little Guy wakes up from his nap.
Love, Mrs D xxx
23 September 2011 - "Hello Russia!"
Wicked! Had a spike in stats yesterday because of 3 hits from Russia! Helloooooooo out there. Are you a housewife and mother harbouring a guilty drinking secret too? Are you going to try and remove alcohol from your life? Talk to me!
I dunno, I feel like my blog is so searingly honest and revealing and interesting and witty but .. actually .. it might be .. well .. boring.
I keep hitting "next blog" when I'm here and finding a whole series of blogs about HOCKEY!! Or QUILTING!!!!!! Or just another HAPPY FAMILY!!! I don't play hockey and I don't quilt. Actually I don't scrapbook, sew, knit or even arrange flowers (although I do sometimes buy a bunch and put them in a vase).
I cook (a lot), I potter around cleaning my house and looking after my three sons. I read some novels, crime ones mostly but also autobiographies and just cracking good reads. I watch a lot of television. I go to the gym. I am doing my MA thesis part time. I try to be a good friend, neighbour, sister, daughter, mother and wife. And up until about 2 months ago. I drank a lot of wine. A lot. A crap-load of wine.
So now I don't do that. I blog instead but that doesn't fill in as much time as the wine did. Some of my books are now about sobriety and "unfolding enlightenment" (blah) but otherwise my life is the same.
But now, without the wine, it feels quite boring. You've got to cut me some slack about that. I have had wine spicing things up regularly for 20 years.
Love, Mrs D xxx
24 September 2011 - "Hot Topic"
Oh well it's the hot topic of conversation now. My sobriety. Man that sounds dramatic! Told my other sister when we were talking on the phone about something unrelated and I started crying so in order to explain my raw emotions I had to tell her "sob sob the reason sniff that I'm crying is that actually sniff sniff I've decided to give up alcohol completely and it's just making sob me feel sniff sniff quite raw and emotional I guess". Her first reaction was "really? why?" but followed pretty swiftly with "man you're awesome, you're so incredibly strong that is amazing" and then lots and lots of supportive talk.
So that was cool and then I told another friend when she tried to pour me a bubbles when I was collecting the Big Guy from a birthday party - she was a bit taken aback (I pointed to her glass and said "the thing is I don't just want one of those I want six"). After 10 minutes it was completely irrelevant that I had coke in my flute rather than champagne. (I'm going to keep drinking my non-alcohol beverages out of wine glasses, I don't want to suffer stem withdrawals).
And then I told my sister-in-law today and she said "What, never again??!!", so I said "well that's the plan, I mean life is really long, but yeah, that's the plan. Say hello to the new sober Mrs D" (at that last statement I held my arms outstretched, yeah never lose the drama moment I say).
By the way on the topic of it being a long life and never say never - although keep to the plan etc etc - just finished Steven Tyler's autobiography and he was sober for 12 years and then had a few almighty relapses and ended up back in rehab.
So yeah, long life.
Love, Mrs D xxx
26th September 2011 - "More inspiration"
Making more announcements to friends and family which is strangely empowering and intimidating at the same time. Basically what I'm doing is announcing to close people that I'm a problem drinker. I mean normal drinkers don't give up alcohol do they..? So that is refreshing in some ways, a relief to be brutally honest to everyone about my secret dysfunction but also really scary as I'm setting myself up to be watched now. There has to be no failure!
I dunno, to be honest removing alcohol hasn't proved a problem yet although it is early days early days early days.
Anyhoo I'm reading Kelly Cutrone's "If you have to cry go outside" and while she's quite (understandably) full of herself she has a great chapter on finding inner strength and silencing negative thoughts. She's got her own spirituality (and I know AA talks about recognising a higher power) and credits a lot of her self discovery and empowerment to finding and following this spirituality (some yogi called "Mother"??).
Personally I'm not reaching outside of myself yet for empowerment, am going to just find the power in me. I do think I'm strong and if I can really prove it to myself by making this big scary change alone then there will be no doubt!
Some great quotes from Kelly Cutrone:
"The mind uses fear throughout our lives as one of many blunt objects with which to clock our soul over the head before gagging it, binding it with black electrical tape, and throwing it out of the driver's seat and into the trunk"
"So I started to play ball with my fears. "Bring it!" I'd say when seized by that familiar pit in my stomach. .. I asked my fear exactly what it had to say to me. .. I followed my fears to their worst possible conclusions, .. , and what I realised each time was that no matter what happened, I was going to be fine. I remembered that family and tribe members are key, but also that ultimately I have everything I need to survive inside of me."
"I believe that the universe constantly rearranges itself to support your idea of reality. If you're always thinking Life sucks, and I suck, you're definitely going to see a lot of dismal shit out there. On the other hand, if your idea of reality is that you're a privileged, elegant human being and every day you think, I am a privileged, elegant human being I am a privileged, elegant human being then eventually you will become a privileged and elegant human being. It may take five minutes or it may take five years, but that will become your experience of yourself."
Love, Mrs D xxx
27 September 2011 - "Collapsing"
My body is collapsing that is. It's so weird. I used to pride myself on how physically strong I was and how I never got sick. The odd tummy bug off the kids, occasionally some sinus issues but nothing really to write home about. I've even joked to Mr D on occasion that it's my red wine diet that keeps me in such good health!
But now I've got a terrible head cold and my ears are completely blocked and .. this is worse .. much worse .. a pimple! A PIMPLE FOR GODS SAKE!!!!!!! I haven't had a pimple for at least 15 years and even before then they were few and far between. But now it's blinking at me from smack bang in the middle of my chin and I think .. hang on let me check .. yes, it's got a wee whitehead. What??? How truly disgusting. What on earth is going on?
On a more positive note I've decided that now that I'm not pouring close to $100 worth of wine down my throat each week, I'm going to spend more on other fun things that I usually never shop for. Clothes for me for one thing, and kitchen gadgets.
A garlic crusher! A good can opener! A wooden salad bowl! What treats. You go girl.
Love, Mrs D xxx
28 September 2011 - "More reminders"
Yeah this sure is a head game, I have thoughts pop into my head constantly that say 'really? never another drink ever again?' and 'Christmas is going to be a real challenge, how boring it will be' and 'boring! boring!' and 'you're not that bad are you? lots of people drink!"..
So here, Mrs D, are some reminders to yourself (this talking to myself is getting weird. If only I had some readers...)
* Going on holiday to a camping ground with a bunch of old mates and getting so hammered on the last night I was finishing everyone else's wine and ended up falling into our unit and puking in the toilet. Classy. Lost a favourite earring that night. Felt very depressed for a week or two afterwards.
* Lost another earring another random week night binge at home, think vomiting might have been involved that night as well. Where do these earrings go? Down the toilet?
* Going to a gig - Jarvis Cocker!! - with my sister and we both got plastered and I ended up standing on the floor, flat floor with carpet, and just suddenly falling backwards and spilling my drink. Total loss of balance. Nice (not).
* Going to a show (Grease the musical, opening night, free tickets). Having 3 drinks before the show, needing to leave half way through the first half to pee, standing on the sidelines waiting till the intermission not wanting to piss off all the people I had to squeeze past to get back to my seat. Straight to the bar to buy another drink to take in to the second half. Having more drinks at the after party. Was this seeing a show or just another opportunity to drink lots? Why is alcohol always taking the front seat in the story of my life?
* Another free ticket, this time to the amazing Walking With Dinosaurs. Free drinks at the pre-party, had at least 3. Took another in to the show (spilt red wine on the floor in front of some people when the Middle Dude bumped my arm). Again the loo before half time and making sure I got another drink to have during the break and another to take in to the second half. Again, booze booze booze.
I ate a lot yesterday. Pigged out. Then in the evening I was watching Oprah recorded from earlier in the day and she had a doctor talking about how emotionally disturbed people might control their emotions and one way was drugs and alcohol addiction, another was over eating. She said people eat a lot to 'squash down their emotions'. So, have I been using alcohol to squash down emotions and yesterday did I overeat to squash down the emotions I'm feeling about my big life change?
Love, Mrs D xxx
29 September 2011 - "Emotions"
Ok, so some more on this squashing down emotions thing. My post yesterday has got me thinking. Is a desire to squash down my emotions the reason why I've been drinking heavily since I was about 17? I mean, my childhood was pretty awesome I think, close family and all. My parents did divorce when I was 21 but I don't want to go on about it because how many millions of people are the product of divorce? But is that the reason for my heavy drinking that's led me to this place?
Perhaps unsurprisingly I trained and moved into an industry that very interesting and stimulating, and known for being boozy. High stress, regular deadlines, lots of social functions, drinking. Lots of boozers at work. So a fun decade in my 20s boozing in the office and with workmates (but with that home base gone). Travelled and lived in London, same industry, lots of parties, boozing.
Then met the lovely Mr D, also a drinker but without the 'gene'. He can stop. But we boozed together and travelled while drinking wine and developed a fun house with friends and food and wine. Then the kids came along. Big Fella! Middle Dude and Little Guy! Managed to get through the pregnancies and breastfeeding with minimal wine drinking but once the kids stopped breastfeeding my 5-o'clock habit was getting fully entrenched.
My body clock is amazing - 5pm on the dot, or about 4.45 I'll look at the clock and think 'almost wine time!'. Wrestle with myself about whether to get any during the day. Pick up a bottle during the course of the day. Pop the top at 5pm and it's gone by 7.
But lately 1 bottle just hasn't been enough. I needed one bottle and 2 glasses more just for myself to feel 'full'. Binging. And loyal readers of my blog (ha ha) will know the rest, the cycle I've been in.
So that's a potted history of my drinking history. There's far more detail obviously. Tomorrow's blog I'll write about how I have felt since day one of drinking and try to work out why I have always liked the feeling of being inebriated.
Love, Mrs D xxx
1 October 2011 - "Aaahhhh, alcohol buzz"
I remember the first time I ever got drunk. It was at our family holiday home and I was probably 15 or 16 and it was down on the beach drinking Marque Vue. Not sure how to spell that, we used to call it Marque Spew anyway, which is kind of ironic considering that night I did spew. In the bath. Marshmallows. Must have eaten a whole packet and out they came. Pink and white, almost whole, in the bath. Oh charming.
There must be people in the world (with delicate constitutions?) who have an experience like that and decide never to overindulge on alcohol ever again. Not me. That first experience didn't put me off, no sirree bob! No delicate constitution here, I've got the stomach of an ox! I've been pounding it and overindulging on the grog ever since. Well until about 2 months ago that is when I made this huge decision to live a sober life and be a *gasp* NON DRINKER!!!!!!!
Told my Dad this morning. I've got the language down pat now, so can get my reasons across pretty quick.
"I've always had a taste for it but lately it's been running away on me"
"I've got such a dysfunctional, unhealthy relationship with alcohol"
"I'm not in the slightest bit interested in 1 or 2 glasses of wine, I want 4. Or 6."
Dad was supportive, said he was proud of me. Time is what I really need to show everyone how serious I am. I'm sure there are some doubters. They'll see. I'll prove to them I mean it.
In one and a half weeks I turn 40.
Love, Mrs D xxx
2 October 2011 - "A tricky night"
Was pretty bloody knackered yesterday after spending all of Friday night in A&E with the Little Guy who fell on the door frame and split his forehead open. It happened at 6pm and usually - pre major life change to give up wine drinking - I would have had at least half a bottle in me by that point. But the new sober Mrs D was clear headed enough to dial 111 and get an ambulance who took us in to hospital to get patched up.
Mr D was out and had arrived back just before the ambulance arrived so he stayed behind with Middle Dude and Big Fella.
So last night - Saturday - Mr D was having a glass of wine (and bear in mind I was tired from a night of stress, had not slept well and had spent all day folding washing, making food and caring for the boys) when he decided to start telling me about how hard it was going to be for me not to have that 'release' at the end of each day by having a glass of wine.
'But I don't just have one or two glasses of wine!!' I reminded him with gritted teeth. 'I have a bottle and a half! That fantasy of just a couple to unwind doesn't exist for me any more!' I was getting a bit angry. But hey, remember dear reader, that I was bloody knackered.
But then Mr D started getting defensive and started trying to reinforce his point. Not on! I'm the bloody expert on this! I got more grouchy and tried to remind him about my determined over-drinking. The last thing I need is someone, especially my husband, to undermine my resolve and lead me down the path of romantic reminiscing about drinking. Romance be damned, my drinking has been anything but romantic and my unwinding at the end of the day was more like a complete unravelling.
I don't miss going to the loo and looking at the back of the door thinking 'I'm pissed'.
I don't miss going to the loo 3 times overnight.
I don't miss being awake in the wee small hours feeling guilty about how much wine I sank the night before.
I don't miss cursing that we have no panadol in the house in the morning.
I don't miss yelling at the boys to stop yelling because my head is pounding.
I don't miss my guts churning and my head aching until mid afternoon.
I don't miss dragging my sorry ass through the day because of a hangover.
I don't miss the sly fox in my brain thinking about how much wine to get, how much wine is left...
I don't miss that sly wine-drinking boozy fox at all..
Anyway back to last night. I decided to breath deeply and remember to ask myself 'what is actually wrong here' and realise nothing was other than Mr D being thoughtless. So I calmed myself by whipping cream for pudding and putting clean sheets on the bed then ran myself a bubble bath and soaked while Mr D put the boys down. I forgave him later when he bought me some white chocolate in bed and we watched England and Scotland play each other in the Rugby World Cup.
Life wasn't so bad after all. And I was never seriously tempted to have a drink.
Love, Mrs D xxx
4 October 2011 - "Like an evil eagle"
.. the thought came swooping in with sharp talons at the ready. Imagine having a glass of red wine tonight. It's the first time since almost 2 months ago when I stopped drinking (I'm conveniently ignoring the 5 days of heavy drinking in the middle that sparked the final brutal decision to stop altogether forever.)
Last night was the first time that I'd actually had that thought accompanied by a little 'pull' to drink. A familiar yearning. Oh I had to squash that down! And then since, some romantic thoughts of alcohol and a gut wrench that I'll never experience that again. Really, never again? It seems unreal in those moments.
I have to keep reminding myself what sloppy horrible hell the wine drinking had become for me and that the romantic ideal will never exist again.
This is going to be hard I can see that. I haven't really been challenged properly yet. And I've put myself completely on the line by telling family.
Please strength be with me always.
Love, Mrs D xxx
5 October 2011 - "The country is awash"
If I had a drink for every time someone said to me how hard it would be to give up drinking in this country I'd be well on my way to getting legless.
It's true New Zealand is a booze culture, getting plastered is a national hobby.
Go to a 21st and everyone is getting hammered. The birthday girl or boy will be doing a yard glass and vomiting in the back garden. Everyone is laughing, parents are all packing it away too.
Go to a 30th, 40th, 50th or 60th and it's the same story. Everyone is having a great time drinking lots and lots of alcohol.
Go to a wedding at midnight and everyone is smashed and cutting up the dance floor or huddling around outside smoking and drinking.
Go to a wake and everyone is drinking heavily to drown their sorrows.
Go into any town centre on a Friday night and you'll see young and old wobbling down the streets full to the brim with alcohol. Our hospital A & Es have security guards posted outside to cope with all the drunk people after midnight on the weekends.
Heavy drinking is normal. And I worry especially about the women. There must be loads like me who harbour naughty dysfunctional drinking habits in their homes, now that they have had kids and have largely stepped out of the workforce. Are there?
Just today in the paper there's an article about a woman caught driving who was three times over the legal breath-alcohol limit. She had young children in the car. It's just the latest case in a spate of women from that area being caught drunk at the wheel.
What's the drinking culture like in other countries? I know France is held up as an example of a healthy drinking culture. Wine on the table at dinner even when you're young but over-drinking frowned upon.
Here in New Zealand drinking heavily and handling it is a badge of honour.
Love, Mrs D xxx
6 October 2011 - "Scared"
I just feel so scared that this is all too easy. It's been approx 2 months now, I'm not really counting the days.
I had gone for a regular 'month off' in August - something I used to do to get my tolerance down and give my liver a break. Well this break only lasted 3 1/2 weeks and five days of heavy drinking followed so the whole 'get my tolerance down' thing didn't work and .. hence the final decision to quit. (If you want to read about my final binge I wrote it in my first blog post)..
So anyway .. since I've made that final brutal call I've felt really strong and clear headed and haven't had a single pull to drink.
Not a single pull to drink.
Now, don't you think that's weird? I mean I've been pouring red wine down my throat like it's going out of fashion for years. I've had an internal clock chiming a call to DRINK! at 5pm for ages. I've got a brain that has spent hours and hours and hours affected by alcohol. Drinking it, recovering from it, feeling guilty about it, obtaining it, looking forward to it, drinking it, and so on and so on.
So, why is my brain now just happily accepting my final decision to cut it out altogether? I'm fearful it's tricking me, lulling me into a false sense of security. I like to think I'm strong minded and clear headed and have never kidded myself about my dysfunctional unhealthy relationship with alcohol. But to have this decision to live sober be so easy .. well, I'm scared.
Must remember, must remember, must remember.
But I'm sure there will be tests to come and I'm scared it will be really hard to resist. Especially as I'm going it alone with only the support of my husband and family and blogs I've found online. Plus this blog that I write regularly. The words I put down here linger with me during the day, and I'm hoping upon hope they'll help me stick to my resolve.
Love, Mrs D xxx