(Below are all the posts I wrote in my second 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)
7 October 2011 - "Flat and fat"
I feel flat (emotionally) and fat (physically) today. I'm not fat technically speaking by the way, but I am heavier than I should be and could definitely lose some weight.
I think obsessing about weight is boring, but how you feel about yourself mentally often manifests itself in how you feel about yourself physically doesn't it? If I'm feeling low I usually have an inner voice saying 'you're fat and ugly' but if I'm feeling great I think I look just fine!
It's the weekend and I did my usual Friday morning treaty shop. Fresh flowers, some nibbles for Friday evening (feta dip, pita bread and some pistachio nuts), plus a bottle of expensive red wine and some beer for Mr D.
Am I tempted to drink that? No I'm not. Not in the slightest. But I am feeling flat. And fat. So it must be having an impact somewhere.
On a brighter note, to remind myself how much better I feel not drinking I want to say how happy I am every night when I climb into bed sober. I love getting in to bed at night without being full of wine. I feel so happy at that point. It's even better than waking up without a hangover and the guilts.
So that's a bright note to end on.
Love, Mrs D xxx
8 October 2011 - "To Her"
I have a follower! My first follower! Her name is Her and she is somewhere in America, trying trying trying to become sober. She is a mother, a wife, a daughter and a drinker. I have posted comments to Her blog, wishing Her all the best, willing Her to stay strong, willing Her to victory over this nasty sly addiction. I want that sly drinking fox out of her brain!
The Her my follower could be any one of thousands of fabulous women out there who are dysfunctional drinkers. Actually make that millions around the world. How crazy is it that this drug is so socially acceptable even though so many people struggle with it and it ruins their lives? I am determined to be one of those really cool, strong people who in years to come will say casually, "yeah I gave up alcohol a while ago, it just wasn't agreeing with me any more. I'm much happier without it in my life."
That will be me. That will be Her.
Love, Mrs D xxx
9 October 2011 - "Casually sober"
Ok so now I'm thinking of some more of these casual statements that I'll trot out at social occasions in the years to come. This is a technique! (I made it up). Visualising myself sober. Projecting forth into the future a vision of a smart, cool and together Mrs D. Not the sloppy, lush-like ageing party girl that I had become.
So here goes.
At a wedding: "Oh no, just a juice for me thanks. Why? Oh I just don't bother with the booze any more, it was running away with me (tosses hair), but I'm no less fun am I (laughs gaily and spends the rest of the night cutting it up stylishly on the dance floor before driving all the drunk people home).
At a work function: "This? (points to glass) Oh it's just tonic water, I'm not bothering with the hard stuff any more. Trust me, I'm way better without it (proceeds to spend the night talking wittily and intelligently with management, taking care of the new girl who overdoes it on chardonnay. Drives home and reads two chapters of great novel before sleeping soundly all night).
On a group holiday: "No really, I am just having a red bull. It's ok, really. No it's not that hard (lies), I just don't want the alcohol in my life any more. No I'm not judging any of you guys, honestly, you just go for it (retreats to bedroom to re-read letter written to self on first day of sobriety to remember, remember, remember why this must be done).
In these fantasies the casual tone is accompanied by a casual thought process. I long for the day that it doesn't take such mental rigour to stay off the grog. Yesterday I spent the entire afternoon thinking about alcohol. All afternoon! Bugger that. I hope that as the weeks go by I will just be sober, without any thought. Coz right now that sure ain't the case.
Love, Mrs D xxx
11 October 2011 - "Another technique"
I realise I'm using this visualising technique quite a bit trying to retrain my brain to see life without alcohol. When I'm staring down a looming event I'm doing what I spoke about in the last post (although it has to be said I haven't had to experience even one of those scenarios yet). I'm trying to be cool about it by thinking of myself as that sparkling sober version of myself.
And I'm kind of doing the same when staring down a looming Tuesday evening. A random week night at home feeding the family, tidying up, dealing with small boys, getting the house to bed. Normally I'd accompany that with at least a bottle of wine rapidly poured down my throat. But no longer. That's hard. I used to love the wine. 'SHOW ME THE WINE!' My inner voice would yell.
So now, as four o'clock rolls round and the hand ticks by to 5pm when on the dot I'd start drinking, I try to work my brain to see through the evening and out the other side.
Does that make sense? I make myself imagine climbing into bed at the end of the night. Or waking up in the morning. I try and look through the fog of 5 to 8.30-9pmish which would usually be spent drinking and imagine the climbing into bed bit. Sober. I visualise myself cleaning my teeth and getting snugly in my bed. I'm looking through the evening and willing the time ahead to where the drink would be finished with anyway.
This helps me. But it still takes quite a bit of work. I am kind of obsessed. I look forward to it becoming easy.
Love, Mrs D xxx
12 October 2011 - "Stocktake"
I have 5 hours left of my 30's. I am about to move into the second half of my life. That's how it feels to me anyway. So, a stock take...
I have arrived at 40 with;
A wonderful husband
Three awesome sons
A people mover with remote control doors
No stretch marks but...
A wobbly tummy and ...
A few grey hairs
A strong body
A healthy heart
Lots of lovely friends
A warm loving family
A successful career (to fall back on when I require)
A fascinating research topic for my MA
A moderate interest in politics
A growing interest in cooking
A huge interest in pop culture
A drinking problem
Love, Mrs D xxx
16 October 2011 - "Bloody f@%*ing brain"
So I've been sailing along, feeling really strong and good - invincible! So together! So very functional! So healthy and happy! Oh clever sober me.
Had my 40th dinner out, a lovely long posh meal at a very expensive restaurant (will never do that again but it was a real treat) with Mr D. Started with tasty fruit cocktail and then sipped sparkling soda water for the rest of the meal. Mr D had 3 glasses of expensive wine, I even sniffed each one to get a sense of their beauty. Oh get me ... drinking problem? What drinking problem?!
That was Thursday night. Friday afternoon at the mall little thoughts started creeping in. "Nothing to look forward to tonight *sigh*." "Boring, flat night ahead.." and "Why can't I have a bloody glass of wine."
Pushed them aside, squashed them down, got through and went to bed at 8.30pm.
Then yesterday, Saturday, even stronger, jumbled together, a wave of thoughts, "I would love a glass of wine it's not fair why can't I drink one it's Saturday night I should be able to have a drink everyone else is having a drink and having fun am I really not going to have a drink again ever my whole life why am I doing this again I should be able to have a drink what harm would it do the whole world drinks alcohol was I ever really that bad I could probably moderate I'm sure I'll be able to moderate now it's only wine it's not heroin I was never that bad no drunk driving close relationships all functional didn't lose jobs or friends because of drinking is wine really that bad it's Saturday night for god's sake everyone has a drink on Saturday am I the only sad sack in the world why am I doing this again I wasn't that bad was I it's not fair oh my god
SHUT THE FUCK UP. SHUT. THE. FUCK. UP.
Sorry about the language but Jesus fucking christ the inner dialogue is like a bloody drill in my brain. Honestly PISS OFF. What is it talking? The wine? The addictive part of my brain? The naughty teenage me that never grew up? Some sort of depressed person I've never known was there?
Why is my Saturday night boring without alcohol?
Why do I care so much about alcohol?
Anyway, I bloody beat the demons by just starting to talk about it out loud to Mr D (poor long suffering Mr D is probably bored of the whole thing by now. No I'm sure he's not but it is dominating my life isn't it.)
Remembered out loud I didn't want 1 or 2 wines I wanted 8. Remembering that I would sleep like crap and wake up really really regretful that I drank, with a hangover, feeling depressed. Remembered that I'd get back on that daily treadmill of wine acquisition, drinking, recovering. That awful wine fuelled nightmarish life.
And then I cleaned. Between 5pm and 7pm I cleaned this goddamn house until it gleamed. I vacuumed, polished, scrubbed, sorted and straightened. Until I sat on the sofa at 7.30pm puffed out (yes, I was puffed from all this hard-out cleaning!) with a ginger beer and read recovery blogs from other people and ordered recovery books from the library catalogue online. It was hard, but I won.
Love, Mrs D xxx
18 October 2011 - "Counting"
A very nice chappy has suggested that I put a sobriety counter on my blog as an extra help. Is it a help? I've never wanted to count because I just want to BE sober. Like casually forever sober. But truth is I'm bloody early days. Very early days. In fact it was a shock when I just went and found a sobriety counter online (which for some reason I couldn't get to work on my blog) and I was only 1 month and 12 days.
ONE MONTH AND TWELVE BLOODY DAYS!!!!!!
I've been bandying around "2 1/2" months coz I'm kind of counting August as I went on the wagon for the month of August (as I would periodically do) and then had 5 days of heavy drinking before giving up for good on Sept 6th (when I started writing this blog).
So yeah. Bloody early days. A pathetic number of days. Found that quite deflating. I wish I was 2 years sober.
Then this morning I was counting units of a different kind. Bottles of wine. Went to the gym to get a new fitness programme and was chatting to the lovely (young) girl who was taking me through my new plan. I was telling her that I wanted to lose some weight so was upping my cardio exercises, but that I knew that I had to cut down on my food intake too. She then asked if I drank and I said "no I've given it up" and after she picked her jaw up off the floor (being a non-drinker is not the done thing in this country) she asked me how many bottles of wine I used to drink in a week.
I thought for a second and said "4 or 5" at which she raised her eyebrows like "yeah that's a lot" and I swiftly moved the conversation back to food.
But how many bottles of wine would I drink in a week? I think I'll work this out as an extra reminder for why I've stopped. I'll try to work out an honest pattern for my wine drinking in a 'heavy' phase.
Sunday: Probably hung over from Saturday. Could possibly not drink at all. But perhaps get one bottle and have half of it. Weekly total = half a bottle.
Monday: No hangover so get 1 bottle and drink it. Weekly total = One and a half bottles.
Tuesday: Hungover. Get a bottle and drink half. Weekly total = Two bottles.
Wednesday: Non hangover day. Supermarket day. Buy 2 bottles, drink 1 and a quarter bottles. Weekly total = 3 1/4 bottles.
Thursday: Very Hungover. Get a bottle perhaps have 2 glasses. Weekly total = 4 bottles (?? ish, it's getting hard to total).
Friday: It's Friday!!!!!! Drink at least a bottle and a half of wine. Weekly total = 5 1/2 bottles.
Saturday: Hungover. But who cares?!! It's Saturday! Drink at least another bottle and a half of wine. Weekly total = 7 bottles.
Seven bottles of wine in one week. Perhaps I will start counting my sobriety days after all. Must find a gadget that works..
Love, Mrs D xxx
21 October 2011 - "Just quietly"
Went to a big glitzy function last night, oh so very posh, and had a couple of delicious lemon drinks and an orange juice. No problems! Usually at a function like that I'd be chasing the wines and my regrets the next morning would be "who saw that I was boozing?" But today no worries!
Every morning I wake up feeling clear, and I am starting to relax and accept that this new clear-headiness is with me to stay, I am embracing the new sober me and I like her.
I'm feeling empowered by my decision to remove alcohol from my life and really happy and proud of myself that I am doing it. I feel like this is my only life, this is it, and I'm living it how I want to. That's a great feeling and long may it last.
I'm reading Jason Vale's 'Kick The Drink ... Easily!' and he's got some great words, I'm really enjoying it actually. He's just breaking down life into a series of events and examines exactly what you are getting by adding alcohol into each one (answer: nothing) and how we are brainwashed and conditioned into accepting this drug as a normal part of life from day one. Really examining what alcohol does to the brain and body, and how the addiction rules you, and how it's not necessary to drink alcohol in order to have fun or enjoy any special occasion.
He talks about being free. And I like that. Free! It's a light word, denotes a lightness of mood and mentality. I'm going for that. A fun, free attitude to being sober. Not brooding around being tense and glum, dreading events, feeling left out or hard done by. Free! Sober but still fun.
I'm not saying that everyone who is drinking alcohol is not free. It's just that I certainly wasn't with my determined dysfunctional drinking habit.
Love, Mrs D xxx
23 October 2011 - "A HUGE PARTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
So all of New Zealand is gearing up for a massive party tonight. Tonight the All Blacks - our super-cool team of hard rugby men - are taking on France in the World Cup Final. Oh yeah! Rugby is our national sport, our national religion, it means everything and we must win this trophy tonight. We must!!
This country is completely mad for rugby. You should see my local supermarket where I just went to stock up (yeast for the pizza bases, chippies, milk).. the place was heaving! And all the trollys were full of snacks and booze. Booze. Lots and lots of booze. The collective litres of alcohol that is going to be poured down kiwi throats tonight will be absolutely massive.
But not my delicate sober throat (ha ha). V drinks for me, followed perhaps by a lime and soda (with ice cubes). Mmmm yummy. Do I want to get pissed on wine tonight like I normally would? No. There are going to be 7 adults and 13 kids at our place and I need to keep it all in control. Also I gave that up a while ago - remember?!
But is there a tiny part of me that feels a little bit 'flat' about the fact that there's not going to be any alcohol in the mix for me tonight? I'll be honest, yes there is. A tiny part of me is still getting used to the alcohol free life I have adopted. But that's ok. I'm still in the adjustment phase. And so far I'm doing great.
GO THE ALL BLACKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love, Mrs D xxx
26 October 2011 - "Telling on my addict"
Just read Augusten Burroughs brilliant memoir "Dry". Speed-read it in fact. In 24 hours. Bloody brilliant, really recommended it. A great story well told. Ripping through the story of his terrible boozing, being sent into rehab by his employer, going through rehab, home and into recovery, a shocking relapse finishing with recovery mark 2 (which, from looking at his website, has lasted to this day). Such a great story and heaps of insights into rehab and AA and stuff that I'm not doing giving I'm reshaping my new sober life on my own.
When in rehab he outs himself to the group of fellow addicts as having an apartment full of empty bottles. Really really full. Hundreds of empty whiskey bottles. His counsellor applauds him for saying this and says "What you are doing is 'telling on your addict.' You need to visualise your own internal addict. Think of it as a separate 'being' that lives inside of you. And it wants nothing more than for you to drink. When you don't drink, it says, 'Oh come on, just one.' Your addict wants you all to itself. So when you talk about the bottles, or any other consequence of drinking, you are in effect, 'telling on your addict.'"
I like this. I feel like I've been telling on my addict in this blog which is why I started writing this blog. I've written about how my addict drove me to pick up wine bottles even when I was trying to have an alcohol free day, how my addict would do deals with itself over hangovers ("I can drink lots tonight and have a hangover tomorrow because I'm not going to the gym, then that hangover will stop me drinking too much tomorrow night which is good because I want to go to the gym the next day after that"), how my addict would appear behind my eyes like a paranoid junkie whenever the wine started to be drunk checking out how much was left, (how much are they having?, how much is left for me, how much is in the house how much can I get I'M YOUR ADDICT AND I NEED LOTS OF WINE!!!!!!!!!!). I'm telling tales on my stupid fucking addict to get her out of my head for good (hopefully).
Later in the book when he's back in his normal life in recovery he talks about riding a 'Pink Cloud' and it kind of sounded like what I've been espousing lately in my posts so I just googled it and someone somewhere online said "the pink cloud is that wonderful time in early recovery when it all starts clicking and the using days seem far behind and life is just great great great......it's a good thing, but also kinda dangerous, cuz we start to consider ourselves ten foot tall and bullet proof.........and start to think we got this clean and sober thing nailed........and get a little too big for our britches...."..
And yeah, if you re-read my last two posts I've definitely been a bit super-strong holier than thou oh wonderful sober me, so I think I must have been riding the pink cloud lately which makes me worry that it 's not always going to be this easy.
Later in the book he warns of a 9-month point in recovery when lots of people relapse. So I guess I can't really let up on reminding myself why I'm doing this. Never let up on 'telling on my addict'.
Love, Mrs D xxx
31 October 2011 - "Life is different"
So life is different without alcohol in it. Not surprising given the amount of hours I devoted to wine (planning, acquiring, drinking, recovering) that are now wine-less hours. But aside from the expected and happy results of living sober - less guilt, fewer headaches and sick guts, more money in the bank - there are other results that I hadn't expected.
So what are they? I've been spending the last few days trying to put my finger on what is different and how it is that I feel different. Well, there's one answer right there. I'm definitely more introspective, looking inside my mind more to analyse how I'm feeling. I've never been a huge naval gazer, but I am more so now. As I said to my sister-in-law the other night, you feel more when you're not drinking.
Clearer? I've heard other people say they feel so much clearer without alcohol and I think I understand what that means. But I'd also describe it as flat at times. Or empty. Just a wide open life without any mind bending. All that time I've spent with my brain altered by alcohol, now it's just a big wide open brain that isn't inebriated. Sometimes that's a good thing. Other times not so good. Last few days I've been tired and grouchy and feeling a bit low. A week or so ago I was feeling awesome and talking about pink clouds. So more highs and lows. Yeah. More highs and lows.
I just asked Mr D what is different about me now I"m not drinking and he said "dunno" so it can't be that much different on the outside. Just inside my head it is.
There's more to ponder here...
Love, Mrs D xxx
2 November 2011 - "I need advice"
I love reading everyone else's sober blogs, all the little details about their lives, the minutiae really helps me when I'm in those small moments to feel not so alone in this new way of living.
Someone walking the isles at the supermarket confronted by the bottles of booze, someone's husband having friends over and craving a drink (but winning and not having one!), someone else busy taking photos at a birthday party to occupy themselves and not drink, someone else out a a big table at dinner having a diet coke and sitting next to a sober driver having a juice of some description.
I've got the busiest most social freaking two weeks coming up. A massive party in my honour, 4 old girlfriends coming to stay for the weekend (haven't told them about my new lifestyle choice yet), step-brothers wedding. Honestly you name it, it's about to happen. I'm not worried about being tempted to drink, I am so happy with what I'm doing. But not being able to use alcohol as a stress release, and having all your feelings so raw all the time, makes it harder work than normal.
I'd love any suggestions for great blogs anyone reads that I might not have heard about. I don't think I'm that great at looking around for them (just try and look at other people's blog lists). And also tips for yummy non-alcoholic drinks. Not just for these upcoming events, for day-to-day life. I was trying energy drinks but they're pretty shitty and high in sodium. I had an iced coffee this morning that was nice! And I do like my lime and sodas. With ice cubes. Ice cubes make all the difference don't they.
Love, Mrs D xxx
4 November 2011 - "Emotional overload"
I am so freaking emotional it is unbelievable and it is really uncomfortable for me. Jesus the drama. Drama! And all of my own making! I don't want to be too full-on about this but you need to understand that I have been running a pretty drama-free life for myself for many years. I avoided conflict, didn't cry that often, had a good relationship with myself and loving relationships with others that I worked really hard on keeping smooth. Mr D and I communicate really well, openly and honestly and lovingly, and very rarely fight. I try very hard to be a good daughter, sister, friend, mother etc.
The only problem was just a little drinking issue. I drank lots and lots of wine. And it was running away with me, I was heading in a terrible direction, into a serious drinking problem that would be nothing but disastrous for all around me. So, Mrs D, good strong person that you are with a very well-run life. How about you give up the sauce now you're 40 and steer your life in a different direction?
Done! I said. Made the big step. Knew that it would be physically difficult, changing habits and all the rest of it. But I had absolutely no idea how hard it was going to be emotionally. I thought the drinking was just a habit that had gone too far, a physical addiciton that was starting affecting me negatively because it was too heavy.
But jeepers. I am a different woman. I seriously am. I cry all the time. My-self image has been rocked to it's core. I feel shaky. Before giving up the sauce I thought I was fine, but lately I've been feeling like a boring loser, stuck at home with a wobbly tummy and no value.
And worse, I've been so focused on myself I neglected a friend and upset her. Once I discovered what I'd done I raced round to her house mortified and apologised for what I'd done Drama drama. I hate that kind of bloody drama.
And I've been exploding on Mr D, even stormed out of the bedroom the other night and attempted to sleep on the sofa! Bloody hell, who is this woman! This. is. not. like. me.
This is all very unexpected and unwelcome I must say.
Now I must away to a wedding and then to host four girlfriends for the weekend. Sigh. Cheer up Mrs D for fucks sake!