Wednesday, 30 December 2015

The Big Truth....

"Truth is Poetry
And no-one likes fucking poetry"
 (overheard in Washington DC)

Here's one thing that you don't know about me, I read Tarot Cards. Now, before you click away from this post, groaning..."Oh no, not one of those..." , I do it for fun.

Before I became the entertaining, though slightly cringeworthy drunk person at parties, I could often be prevailed upon to "read" someone's future. I once did a charity event as "Mystic Meg".

An interesting (?) fact about Tarot Cards, is that everyone gets their knickers in a twist if the Death Card comes up, or the "Hanged Man". Neither of these cards are anything to worry about - Death merely means change, and the Hanged Man means you are in "limbo" between decisions. Basically everyday stuff - it could just signify the angst you are feeling about choosing a new washing machine.

No, the card that should be giving you the hebegeebees (sp?) is the 3 of Swords. The 3 of Swords is :

"the most dreaded cards in a tarot deck. Life does bring us these moments, and the card signifies this. It represents a new raw pain...Swords represent Truth, and this is the case of Truth hurting very much"

Last New Year's Eve, before I was completely hammered, I did perform my "mystic powers" on the crowd at the party and for fun....I did a reading for myself...

And, guess what? Yep, the dreaded Three of Swords.

Fuck, I thought. And then did what every mystic charlatan does - I reshuffled, dealt the cards again, to get a better reading.

Three of Swords, again.

This is just Bullshit, I thought. Just a bit of fun.

And I poured another glass of wine....

If I were to retrospectively attach a word to 2015, (like the lovely Anne), then it would undoubtedly be "Truth".

Truths which were raw and painful, but that had to be faced.......

The "Truth" about my drinking
The "Truth" about my behaviour
The "Truth" about the damage I was doing to my health, my life and my relationships.

The Truth is Poetry.

Poetry is beautiful, it teaches us about life, the universe, our emotions, and what it is to be human. But it is often inaccessible, and easily discarded as "irrelevant" and "non essential".

We often disregard Truths, that are too awkward, too painful, too humiliating to deal with.

But like Poetry, if you work at it, if you deconstruct it, if you look for the hidden meaning in the stanzas, if you look for the message that the poet hoped you would hear......Truth will change and enrich your life in ways you never thought possible.

It happened to me. I saw it in the cards.

I wish all of you a Truthful, Sober, Happy Happy Happy New Year.....

Mystic Wine Bitch xxx

Do you have Dreams and Goals? Think Bigger......New Post Here.


Sunday, 27 December 2015

Home and Sober for Christmas

Our low-key Charlie Brown Christmas turned into quite the party! Our relaxed celebrations around a campfire attracted more members of the family, friends and neighbours.

The gazebo was packed, people wandered in and out the house, we had a huge pot of Seafood Chowder on the go all day long, and people turned up with armfuls of food.

But very little booze!

My sister-in law surprised me with a basketful of " British goodies" - a DVD of "Last of the Summer Wine", a British newspaper, jars of marmalade......and tea.

Let's have a "spot of tea" she said in a terrible fake British accent....

So that's exactly what we all did. I had pots of tea and coffee, and hot chocolate all day long.

And everyone seemed really happy.

Zero Booze. Optimum Happiness. And a little touch of home.

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas too!

WB xx

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Let's Put Down This Burden....

Carrying around stress, is like struggling with heavy awkward plastic shopping bags after the last dash around the store on Christmas Eve. You know, the cheap plastic bags that stretch and cut into your hands. You are constantly worried that they will split, and you'll have to pick up all the contents that spill over the parking lot. You try to carry them in different ways, lug them in your arms, or try and divide the weight evenly between two hands, but it's still a struggle.

It's a huge relief when you can put them down.  

That's how I felt, carrying the burden of alcohol around with me. Every Day.

It was a relief to put it down. To rub away the red marks, the grooves on my soul.

I can't wish anyone a better Christmas Gift, than the relief of that burden.

Have a Happy Sober Christmas,


Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Let's Put the "Fun" back into Dys-fun-ctional...

Ah, family. They can really fuck you up.

Especially around Christmas time.

I'm reading so many blogs where the main worries are :

  • How to explain that, yes, even at Christmas time you're not having "just one" drink.
  • How to do practical things like remove all the alcohol from your house, and still be a gracious host/hostess
  • How to deal with the stress of a gathering of people who have little in common except DNA or marriage, without the numbing effects of alcohol.

The fact is, it's easier to deal with social gatherings, if you are not emotionally connected with the people. At work functions, there are a myriad of reasons why you are sober, and there is no real pressure to explain.

When you are in your own home or at in-laws, and the expectation is that Christmas will be exactly the same as every other year, it's harder to say "I'm not drinking" without all the awkward questions. Friends or colleagues may just raise an eyebrow, and be too polite to ask probing questions....but your mum doesn't have the boundary of politeness.

Your concern may be that you are "worrying" people. That they will be concerned. And you might feel that it's not fair to do this at Christmas.

You may be worried about pressure, or sabotage.

You may be worried that you are the dysfunctional member of the family who is fucking up the whole proceedings by choosing not to drink a particular beverage.

Maybe take a second to read that last sentence.

Because that is what is all boils down to. You are just choosing to drink a different beverage.

You know what IS dysfunctional?

  • "pretending" to drink wine.
  • Giving up your sobriety to make other people - people who are supposed to love you - feel 'better"
  • Buying a shitload of alcohol that will be left over and will serve as a "trigger", in the week after Christmas
  • Thinking that the "next" social gathering will be easier....there is always a birthday, a anniversary, a celebration that will be "important" and therefore you should push your own sobriety to one side, so that you won't "upset" other people 
Here's what I am doing:

  • Buying some NA beverages like sparkling fake wine/Champagne and NA beer.
  • Having zero alcohol in the house apart from one bottle of whisky (husband's) that will remain in the cupboard (not a trigger for me)
  • Telling my family members that all they need to bring is what they want to drink.
  • Making sure they take leftovers away with them
  • Being "firm" that being sober makes me happy, keeps me healthy, and if they really do care about me....don't they want me to be happy and healthy?
  • If there is ANY concern, reassuring family members that the concern is misplaced, because life is SO MUCH BETTER when I am not drinking

Remember waking up at 3.00am in the morning, after a blackout the night before, Christmas Day as a blur, the house a mess....feeling full of shame and self-loathing? Remember trying to navigate Boxing Day, with a head that feels like a lump of lead being pounded by a hammer, trying to stuff down carbs and water to quell the acid in your stomach?
Do you really want to feel like that because you were worried that Auntie Betty would be offended if you didn't drink a glass of champagne? Or that you didn't want your sister in law to think you have a problem? (which you do).

That's dysfunctional.

Have a happy, sober Christmas,


In a homage to Star Wars, I wrote this blog "There is no TRY" 

Sunday, 20 December 2015

I haven't abandoned the blog....

.....I just have some gainful employment for a couple of days. Also my gazebo is finished.

I'll be back,

love WB xx

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Christmas by Stealth....

Christmas is usually a non-event in our house. The absence of children, and also the dysfunction of my husband's family has meant that Christmas Day was just an excuse for me to start drinking earlier and continue longer.

But this year is different.

We have decided to ignore the family feuds. You have decided not to join the "official" family gathering, because my sister-in-law, the hostess, has argued with so many members of the family, that half the family is banned from her house.

So we're having the Elliott Family Charlie Brown Unofficial Christmas.

We're not having turkey. We're having wild salmon barbequed on sticks over an open fire, the traditional native way. We're having seafood chowder, bannock, and mugs of hot chocolate around our campfire.

Yes, under my new gazebo (which will be finished really soon)

Even my stepson, who loathes Christmas, due to too many family arguments over the years has got a little enthusiastic.

I am , by stealth, bringing in decorations, a poinsetta here, some tinsel there.....

My stepdaughter send us a video this morning, of her singing 'I'll be Home for Christmas" at the airport, before she boarded the plane.

It's all coming together. For the first time in years, I am excited. 

And the Universe seems to be conspiring with me.

Today it began to snow.

Monday, 14 December 2015

When the Head and Heart Fight....'s always the Liver that suffers....

This dropped into my timeline yesterday. I have no idea who to attribute this quote, but whoever it is, is a very wise person.

After reading Sober Mummy's post yesterday (read it here), I was struck that so many of our struggles are not just  Drinking v Not Drinking.

And as I have had my "triggers" pushed lately too, I am reminded that addiction is just a symptom.

So many times during my life, I've made decisions with my head that didn't align with my heart.

I've stayed in relationships far too long.
I've chosen jobs and careers when they were not what I wanted to do.
I've gone along with plans, and gone down paths, even when deep in my heart, I knew it was wrong for me.

And as I got further and further away from who I really am, I got bitter, cynical and I drank to drown out that uneasiness that had become both a comfort blanket and a burden that weighed me down.

If this sounds all a bit "out there" and "bringing out my inner hippy", then be assured that self reflection doesn't sit well with me either, I've always thought it to be self absorbed, and "nonsense" ( I feel Sober Mummy nodding her head, you know what I mean don't you?)

But if this sober journey is teaching me anything, it is that my head and my heart need to be in total agreement and harmony, in order to fully protect my liver.....

Maybe that's why Christmas is such a trigger for all of us. Christmas reminds us of another time when both head and heart were in true harmony. A time when magic and love came easily, when peace on earth seemed possible, before we complicated it all.....

It sounds so glib and flippant, doesn't it? Just follow your heart......

I'm not even sure I know how to do that, but I beginning to think it might be the key.


Saturday, 12 December 2015

"Selfish" Sober Self Love

After agonizing over my decision to say "No" to potential guests, I had to follow through with the actual saying "No", so I made the phone call, and although I noticed (imagined?) a cooler tone as we agreed that camping elsewhere would be better, and we could meet up etc etc....I did stop myself from babbling on trying to excuse/explain/rationalize...

After all, "No" is a complete sentence, right?

I've never been very good at saying it. So I've either ended up doing a whole lot of stuff that I never wanted to, OR, I've beaten myself up about saying the N word....and both scenarios have involved heavy wine drinking before, during and after.

In fact the Wine Witch has been floating around for a couple of days. It seems that "setting boundaries" is a trigger.....

I said "No" to going to a party last night too.

I've put parties into two categories, the first is where people want to get together, catch up and have fun, and alcohol happens to be served, the second is where people get together with the main purpose of drinking alcohol.

The first, I can handle. The second, I avoid.

Last night was a Birthday Party used as an excuse to drink. My husband went alone. He didn't mind, but I still spent a hour or so, stewing about whether I should have gone, to "prove" that I can do parties sober, or whether it looked odd that my husband was there without me, or whether people would think that I was weird, or rude......

And then I remembered what I used to do to shut the noise up in my head.

I used to drink.

Fuck it.

I went to the Movies. On my own.

I saw "Trumbo". Which I recommend. It was about two hours of complete distraction. I got home, made a cup of tea and went to bed.

My husband came home this morning. He was slightly hungover. Yes the party was fun. So and So said "Hi", what did you do last night? A movie? Sounds good, what was it about? A writer? No car chases? No, you're right, I wouldn't have wanted to see it, where's the advil?

Wine Witch floated away.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Porcupines and Pumpkins.

Last summer was a gong show for me.

It seemed that we had guests staying for the ENTIRE summer, staying in our tiny house, or camping in our yard.

When they all left, I was so DONE with being a hostess, that I converted our spare bedroom to my office, and lovely it is too. (see The Fall)

This week, I got a phone call from one of last summer's guests, who "had such a lovely time, we thought we would book our holidays and visit you guys again!"


"Drinking Jackie" would have handled it like this...

  • Agree that it was all "lovely" and YES wouldn't it be great to do it all again (while cursing inwardly)
  • Slam down the phone and shout at my husband
  • Pour a glass of wine
  • Go on a long diatribe about HOW SELFISH other people are
  • Pour another glass (or three) of wine
  • Get myself into a wild temper and post an obscure "status" on fb about how UNBELIEVABLY THOUGHTLESS everyone in the world is.....
"Non Drinking Jackie" handled it thus....

  • Yes it was lovely, but it was also a lot of work, and we're not sure what our plans are for the coming summer. Please don't make any arrangements yet, I give you a call back tomorrow.
  • Feel quite pleased with myself.
  • Obsess about it ALL day I a complete Bitch to say NO? Maybe it will be different, maybe they will hate us, maybe Hubby will be mad, maybe, maybe, maybe....
 In the evening, my husband and I were watching TV, but my obsessing got too much...

"X and Y want to come down and camp in our yard, but I don't really want them to, so I'm going to say No, is that OK, am I a Bitch?"

My husband just said calmly "I agree. Say No. You're not a Bitch"

I didn't hear...

"Because it was really, really hard work, they are really nice people, but it would be better if they camped somewhere else, and we just met up to go fishing or something, not everyday because that's too much, it's just because our house is so small, and we ran completely out of water because of the strain on the well, and I just thought we could have time to ourselves next summer, that would be nice wouldn't it? ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME? Why are you looking at your phone, did they text you? Are they asking you? Are they mad with me? ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME?

Husband..." Yes. you said that X and Y want to camp but you don't want them to. So you're going to say No. And I said, "I agree""

Me " Didn't you hear the rest? WHY ARE YOU LOOKING AT YOUR PHONE?"

Husband "I'm watching a really cute video of a porcupine eating a pumpkin for the very first time ever...look, it's really cute...."

WB xxx

Sometimes, our "sober life" just doesn't live up to our expectations...."Sober Expectations is here"

I've been seeing some posts lately from people who are having a tough go of it, and I've got a couple of emails....this video is about my "shift" in thinking.....I hope it helps a bit.....find it here

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

The Darkness Descended..

I'm talking about the weather. So the blog post title may be a little "over dramatic".

But we in the Pacific North West ( as the lovely Suburban Betty will know) are being pounded by storm after storm from Hawaii. Because keeping the storms would interfere with tourism. So they send them to Canada, Washington State and Oregon, so we all get on planes and fly to Hawaii and spend our hard earned dollars. But if you don't have enough dollars, you have to stay and endure the shitty weather.

I sound a little crazed, because I do feel like I have 'cabin fever". I've been waking up to darkness, and it's stayed that way for the whole day. And then the next. And then the next.

I read somewhere that you can still get ultra violet vitamin D rays, in semi daylight, even though the sun isn't actually out.

 So I went for a walk, and admittedly it was a bit breezy. My husband was waiting for me when I got back and shrieked something about "stupid.....walking....worse storm ever....could have got killed....falling branches..." Not really sure exactly what he said, I couldn't hear him over the wind...

Last year, I would have curled up with wine.

This year I am determined to stay a little bit active, and not hibernate.

It could be a lot worse. Many people are flooded out, not only here, but I see in the UK too. So I am trying not to be a whiny princess and just get on with it...

Tomorrow, another storm is forecast, so maybe I'll visit the local indoor swimming pool.....


Hands up those people who are fed up with talk of resolutions and targets and goals for 2016...this is why 2016 won't be your 'best year ever".....

Monday, 7 December 2015

Holiday Wobbles.

There's something about Christmas.

I've spent a couple on my own, and wallowed in wine. My own stupid fault, there were lots of things I could have done, instead of be on my own, but I chose to feel sorry for myself and hug my bottle closer.

Now, Christmas isn't a big deal in our household, we have no small children, grandchildren will be in the Yukon, my family is back in the UK....BUT, my step daughter will be home. She will have her mum and family to visit, and she's only here for two weeks, but we'll take what we can get, and it'll be fun.

Last time I saw her, I was drinking quite heavily. A lot has changed in her life, and in ours. All positive. So despite not really being concerned about decorations or a tree (Except my Fairy Ring aka The Gazebo!), I am starting to feel Christmassy.

Christmas could be a trigger. I've read that on a few blogs lately.

I wanted to help. And I've had lots of positive feedback about my video Blog, so I've put together my "Fifteen Booze Free Days of Christmas"....a bit of a play on the Twelve Days (but no gold rings!).

If you think it will help, you can sign up to get a daily video, and email to your inbox for 15 days from 20th December. Nothing too heavy, just a  few minutes of support, a few minutes in the day to be mindful, something to help you look out for yourself...

We (women - sorry Guys, I know you put up lights, and put up with us) seem to somehow become the Keeper of Christmas Happiness - I've been in the situation where pressure seems to be coming from all sides - and there is often an EXPECTATION that we will drink...

After all, it's Christmas right? One won't hurt...and you can start again in the New Year.."


It will hurt.

You can find details here ..... 

There is a small charge. I am feeling a bit wobbly about that. But the charge is less than the cost of a bottle of wine (and a lot less if you live anywhere else but Canada, due to our feeble dollar), and it's taken quite a lot of time to put together. And sometimes, a small commitment helps to keep you focused.

It doesn't matter if one person signs up or 1000, it will still be available. And if it doesn't appeal, that's OK too, I'll be hanging out here quite a lot anyway  :)

WB xx

Sunday, 6 December 2015

A Good Guy to Ride the River With....

We went to a funeral yesterday. My husband's "old hunting buddy" died last week. He was ninety years old.
He was much more than a "hunting buddy". He was my husband's surrogate father. They met when my husband was 17.

Dave was trapping Beavers for the Fisheries Dept. (Beavers dam up salmon habitat, and if the population is not kept in check, they destroy spawning grounds).

My husband (who talks to everyone) spotted what Dave was doing, and went to help. That was the start of a friendship that lasted 41 years.

When we got to the tiny Church in a tiny town (Matsqui) that would have looked authentic in an episode of "Little House on the Prairie, a very small gathering of elderly men and their wives, and a couple of cousins and nephews were there (Dave had no children).
They all nodded in our direction, and then we all, in dignified silence, sat through a sermon, during which the young pastor got Dave's name wrong twice, and made us all jump with a particularly 'Fire and Brimstone" section of the service, declaring us all sinners and to repent before we all ended up in the firey pits of hell.

My husband whispered..'Dave would have hated all this bullshit"

Afterwards we milled around with cups of tea, and my husband brought out a photograph of an epic fishing trip with Dave in the mid eighties...

A couple of the old men shuffled over to look...

Old Guy # 1 "Hey look, that's me with that big Spring Salmon"
Old Guy #2 " No it's not, you old bastard, it's me - put your glasses on"
Old Guy # 1 "Hey Bobby" (To my husband), "Who caught that fish, me or him?"
Husband  " You're both fucking senile, I caught that fish.."

Soon there was raucous laughter. The stories came thick and fast; hunting trips in "the worse winter snow there ever was", with grizzly bears "as tall as trees", fishing trips when they were apparently nearly drowned by Moby Dick, and they caught the biggest fish you ever saw...

In a few minutes, the years had fallen away. These eighty plus year old men were standing a little straighter, seeing a little better, and had forgotten their surgeries, their aches and pains...and in the middle was my husband..

He said to me "Dave would have loved this...."

As the afternoon wore on, we had to leave to catch the ferry back to the Island. One old guy came up to my husband, and shook his hand " Good to see you Bobby. We had some fun didn't we?. I'm going to miss old Davey, he was a good guy to ride the river with"

I saw a quote this morning from 'It's a Wonderful Life"

Clarence the Angel says " Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?"

I don't spend very much time looking back and regretting. But I am sad that I wasted so much time in my own little cocoon, with my wine...not touching anyone else's life at all

That's what addiction does. It makes us look inward, instead of outward. Self absorbed instead of selfless. And not very much fun. 

Around me yesterday, in the midst of all the sadness, was a recurring theme - that Dave had lived such a full life, had touched so many lives, had made so many people laugh....and it was all sincere, it wasn't just platitudes.....

The opposite of Addiction is Connection (sorry, not sure who to attribute that quote to), so although I love the fact that my sober life means I look better, I feel better and I get more stuff done....the most important thing to me, is that I now have to chance to make better connections. Be a better friend. Be someone that other people would "like to ride the river with".

WB xx

PS. Talking about memories, and why wine kills them......"My Unhappy Hippo"

And if you are hoping for a Christmas filled with happy sober memories, but are a bit stressed out about it, check out my "Fifteen Booze Free Days of Christmas"
I'd love to lend some support as we navigate the holidays xxx

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Gazebo, My Dishwasher and The Pineapple Express

I bet you've all been wondering how my Gazebo (aka the Satanic Worship Ring) is coming along, haven't you? Well funny you should ask....not very well.

I am still harbouring romantic notions of sitting round a roaring fire, under the Gazebo, with sparkly fairy lights, and hot chocolate on Christmas Day. With my stepdaughter who is coming home after two years in Taiwan! Yay!

But we shall see. About the gazebo that is. As I have NO CONTROL....

One of the (many) reasons for the slow construction, is the delicate state of our dishwasher. It is my favourite appliance. And we don't have an extra $1200 to blow on a new one, so we (and by "we"  I mean "he", my husband) is manfully attempting "fixes" which seem to work for a while...

My husband can have a bit of a short fuse in these situations, so I usually make myself scarce. But he did require my help and so I obliged.

Well, I'm only a GIRL, and apparently don't know much about "these things", but I did manage to dredge up enough memory of physics classes at school, to know that ELECTRICITY + WATER = VERY BAD THINGS.

Oh dear, too late. Luckily it wasn't too much of a shock, but hair was standing on end, and it didn't help that I started to laugh (after making sure that his heart hadn't stopped, God, I'm not that callous)...and after we had fixed the breaker, and cleaned up the water....we were both in fits of giggles.....

Today, we got hit by our first big windstorm - warm air coming up from Hawaii apparently - and the familiar grey, bleak rainy days of the West Coast are settling in for the next week or so...

But over all, things are good...

The odd fleeting moment, when I catch myself thinking "A glass of wine would be nice about now"...but then I give myself a shake, and it's gone again.....

I know that normal mundane inconveniences in the past, plus the dark winter days, would previously have lead to too much wine, bad temper and over- reactions.

It's much better this way.


PS. I updated my video blog.....its right here.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Effortlessly Sober?

Someone left a lovely comment on one of my posts a while back. It said something along the lines of "you seem so together"

And I am beginning to feel 'together'.

But it wasn't like that for a long time.

A few years after emigrating to Canada, my relationship ended, after fifteen years. I ended it. It was the right decision. But my drinking problem (that I kept firmly under control, apart from a few lapses), spiraled.

I made bad decision after bad decision, including a particularly toxic rebound relationship. And I doused everything in copious amounts of wine.

Very soon, my already floundering career in Real Estate rolled to halt (thanks in part to the recession, and to my lack of interest and permanent hangover), so the small amount of cash that I had received from the relationship break up, was quickly gone.

I ended up working in a Beer and Wine Store (cruel irony), and it was easy to compare my "enthusiastic wine appreciation" against the "real alcoholics' that frequented the store.

In private, I vowed again and again that I wouldn't drink so much. And every time, I failed to make good on the promises I had made to myself.

Eventually, I convinced myself that I was drinking "due to the stress" and once I had got my life under control, the drinking would stop...all by itself...

The happiest intervention by the Universe (or God), who clearly decided I needed a break, was to put my now husband firmly in my path.
Thank God I wasn't too drunk to notice!

My drinking continued, but I justified it to myself by ''s happy drinking!"

Physically, I was beginning to notice that I was forgetting things. Like whole conversations. Or getting to bed. And I was worried about weird pains in my arms. Some nights I would wake up, dehydrated, and worry about having a stroke, or a heart attack.

So I tried to stop.

I tried to only drink on weekends.

I switched to beer

I switched from beer to white wine.

I challenged myself to not drink for two weeks.

I tried to stop FOR GOOD, again and again and again.

I put crosses on the calendar for all the days I didn't drink, hoping that there would be more crosses than not, at the end of every month. There never were.

I read sober literature (as I was drinking wine)

I googled 'Am I an Alcoholic" and lied my way through countless questionnaires.

And then finally, I stopped.

No DUIs, no interventions from my very patient husband, no medical emergencies. I can't even tell you what I was thinking.

On Day Three I started this Blog. I had no idea if I would make it to Day 4 or Day 10....or Day 100.

So why share this now?

Because I read so many blogs where people are reverting back to Day 1 and feel so shitty about it. I read the desperation, the panic and think to myself......I remember that...

If you read my blog and think "wow, she seems so together", I thank you. I really take that as a compliment.

But there is only one difference between you and me.......I wasn't brave enough to blog about all the times when I smacked up against the wall of alcohol. I wasn't brave enough to share the times I had to pick myself up , feeling shitty and desperate that I wouldn't make it. But you ARE brave enough to share that. Thank you.

You are all an inspiration to me. And I know that you are all going to make it.


Saturday. My favourite Day. Except for Sunday. And Monday's not bad.....

Every day is much improved, now that alcohol no longer features in my agenda.

And I have been busy.

Its a recurring theme. I seem to be trying to make up for the years of procrastination. It's not working.

So this weekend, I decided not to declutter, reorganize, write and attempt to finish a massive 'to do" list....I just let yesterday come and go.

I was in my PJs at about 3.00pm. I read a bit. We watched 'On Golden Pond" and then I watched "The Seventies".

We ate snacks. 

Today is much the same.

I cleaned the house a bit. I did plan next week a bit ( I have a new job - more about that in another post).

I have some ideas for more Video blogs, and I may or may not record them today.

I wrote a blog post for an entirely different blog it here if you like

I felt like writing something that wasn't connected to sobriety. Not because I don't like writing about it anymore, it's just that sometimes, I find myself thinking...

"Oh that's a cool thing to write about - oh wait, it's not really relevant to a sober blog..."

And then I realized..."I can write anything I want"

So I did.

And it is kind of relevant, because I would never have done that while I was drinking....

Have a great week, 

WB xx

Thursday, 26 November 2015

We've always had the Higher Power...we just have to learn it for ourselves...

One of the reasons that many people are a bit "put off" going to AA is the supposed emphasis on religion - the surrendering yourself to the "Higher Power". The "leaving it to God's Will".

I've not been to an AA meeting, and it's for a variety of reasons, but not really anything to do with religion.
As a one time student of psychology, I've always considered myself to be "scientific" rather than "spiritual", although as I get older, I acknowledge that there is a grey area, a blurring of the lines between the two if you like.

And during my own sober journey, the lines have become more blurry and the grey area a little wider.

I've recently finished reading a "scientific" book about Habits. I thought I would find some useful "tools" for my sober toolbox, and brush up on some psychological theory.

I learned some good stuff from this goes with my summary...

  • Our brains are bombarded with new information all the time. It has to find a way to efficiently deal with it, otherwise we would be gibbering idiots. It does this by "chunking" together bits of information, so we respond on "auto -pilot" to certain 'cues', so that we don't have to constantly review the same information over and over again. So for example, when we learn to drive, there is a massive amount of new information to take in - we have to remember to look in the mirror, signal, brake, change gear, etc in certain situations. When we first learn, our brains are on overload - buzzing with activity. As we do it over and over again, our brain are 'oh whatever, we've done this before, what's for dinner tonight?"...and we are driving, responding automatically to driving situations...without consciously thinking

  • This is essentially the same process when we form a 'habit" - good or bad.

  • A habit is formed when we respond to a "cue" with a repeated action, which results in a "reward". When this process is performed over and over again....the repeated action becomes a routine, and we begin to anticipate or crave the reward.

  • So to apply this to my previous drinking habits....the "cue" was the end of the working day "Wine O'clock", the routine was to drink wine, and the "reward" was the relaxation and elimination of the day's stress. I began, over time to anticipate the pleasure of the relaxation, to crave that, and my habit or routine to gain that reward, was to drink the wine.

  • To break that habit, we merely have to change the find another way to get the reward.

  • Are you all still with me?

  • So, if we can establish the "cues" and the "rewards", we can, be repeated actions, re-wire our brains to automatically follow new routines...This is the "Golden Rule" - almost any behaviour can be changed if the cue and reward stay the just insert a new routine

  • So my "cue" is the end of the working day, the reward is relaxation, and my new "routine" is writing this blog, or going for a walk, or whatever, over and over again, until my brain tells me without thinking, that I need to walk for relaxation - and I have replaced the wine drinking habit with a new walking habit.
AA uses this Golden Rule The emphasis on regular meetings, the "90 meetings in 90 days" concept, is really a way to instill a new "routine", a new response to the 'cue".

(For those of you who are saying...hang on a minute, what about the alcohol, isn't that an addictive substance? Yes it is. But the alcohol leaves our body completely after about 5 - 10 days, and the physical cravings cease. What's left are the psychological cravings for 'rewards")

Step Four in the Twelve Step programme (which arguably should be Step 1) is to "make a searching and fearless inventory of ourselves".

When we do that, we look to our own behaviour, the causes and reasons for our behaviour - our yearnings and our cravings - in effect, we are acknowledging the "cues" for our behaviour and the "rewards" that we seek.

Many of us drink to escape stress. Our cue could be an argument with a family member, the craving or reward we seek, is escape from the emotional turmoil - the routine or behaviour is our drinking.

As we start to recognize the cues - some of them could be deep down in our emotions - we can then begin to change our routines. Change our drinking habits into sober habits.

Sounds like hard work right? Doesn't sound much like we are surrendering to God's Will does it? Putting all the shit into His Hands?

No. The secret lies in our Brain. This magnificent, intricate, delicate piece of human machinery that works in ways that we have barely begun to understand despite our advanced scientific endeavours.

We have no idea how or why we have such power. Why or how we have evolved in such an advanced way compared to all other species on the planet. Almost like a Higher Power. We might have got it from God, the Creator, the Universe, but somehow, we've got it.

Glinda the Good Witch said to Dorothy " You always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself".

For me, that's what Bill Wilson meant.

We do surrender to a Higher Power, the one that's already within us. Working the 12 steps, or just one of them, confronting ourselves, will lead to success in sobriety.

We already have the power. We just have to believe it. And that, my friends, is sometimes harder than the science.

It's a Leap of Faith.

Love WBxx

P.S. The book is called "The Power of Habit" and its by Charles Duhigg.

Edit - suggestions for New Habits here.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

If You Thought the Wine Witch was bad...

(I wrote this post after receiving a few nasty comments on my video blog. I am re-posting it here, because I think our sober space is awesome, it keeps me sane, and I consider you all friends)

If you thought the Wine Witch was bad....

......then you should meet up with a few Trolls.....
I started writing a sober blog on Day Three after I had quit Booze for good. At the time I had no idea that it would be for good, I just knew that I was afraid for my health and my marriage and terrified that I couldn't seem to escape the clutches of the Wine Witch.
I both loved and hated wine.

I was relieved everyday that I managed not to drink, and I mourned the loss of my beloved wine, like the passing of friend.
I was then, and at times, I still am, vulnerable and sensitive about my "problem" and the stigma that surrounds addiction, and let's be brutally clear here, my mental health issue.
So why write a blog?

In the beginning, I wrote for my own accountability. I needed a new routine. As Wine O'clock struck, I fled into the office and began to write. Some days the posts were really personal, some days I did a little research around the topic of alcohol, and dependency.
I also read Sober Blogs. I found a whole on-line sober world, of brave, funny, inspiring people, some of whom were literally fighting for their lives.
Not very long after I had started to write my blogs, I got some comments. Just short ones, like "Good for you, made it to Day Ten!", and "Great Post, keep it up" .  I began to get regular comments, people started to follow me, and before I knew it I had a circle of friends. People just like on here

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Grandpa, can I Borrow Your Crack Pipe?

I am going to be a Grandmother..again!

*Gasp* I hear....she's so young. 

I am actually a step-grandmother to two teenagers, and now one more on the way,( he/she is percolating nicely, and due next May).

I met the first two when I was dating their Grandpa...

" So, do we call you Grandma?" said the eldest
"No!" I said "I'm Grandpa's special friend..." And so Grandma I have remained ever since.

They're both basically good kids, but like all teenagers they have their less adorable moments. Like last summer, when the oldest boy decided to go camping for the weekend.

Camping by the river is a rite of passage for most teenagers in our part of world, they build a fire, maybe do a little fishing....but the main objective of the entire adventure is to drink alcohol away from the prying eyes of parents and the police.

Grandpa picked up our boy on Sunday morning.

One look at him, and I said......"You're hungover. What did you drink?"

 No answer.

"OK", I said, where did you get the alcohol?" ..bearing in mind that he's underage.

In thirty seconds he caved in to interrogation......and threw Grandpa under the bus..

My husband argued the point..."He's seventeen, he's going to drink anyway, this is better than him stealing it from the liquor cabinet, and it was only 6 ciders...."

Exasperated with my husband, (who's known in our family as "Uncle Buck") and determined to "teach a lesson" to my white faced, queasy Grandson, I gave him a bottle of water, and set him to work in the garden.

"If you're old enough to drink, you're old enough to deal with the hangover..."

It wasn't a happy day for any of us....

Grandson felt like shit.

Grandpa got shit from me for providing the booze.

And I felt like shit.......because I had my own hangover going on....

So, you might think, that's a fairly typical scenario right? Sure it is! Teenagers do this all the time.

But, just for kicks, let's run the scene again, but this time, let's change the substance....

Grandpa picks up Grandson....

Me : "Oh my God, you look like crap! What have you been taking...
Grandson (sullenly)....."Nothin'.."
Me "Oh've been smoking crack haven't you!
Grandson " Just a tiny bit...
Me "Where did you get it?

Grandson says nothing, but glances at Grandpa....

Me "Oh you've got to be kidding....YOU gave him the crack?"

Grandpa "Well, he was going to try it anyway, this way at least he gets the good shit, not the stuff laced with rat poison..."

Not quite the same is it?

There's no way that any decent parent or family member would provide their teenagers with illegal harmful addictive drugs, would they?

Yet, it's completely acceptable, even expected, that teenagers will experiment with alcohol.

First of all, it's hard to encourage teenagers away from alcohol, when we're drinking ourselves.
I was hardly in a position to "discipline" my Grandson when I had imbibed a bottle and half of "Grandma Juice" the night before and was nursing my own regular hangover.

Teenagers smell hypocrisy quicker than a shark senses blood, so that would have back fired, also regardless of how rebellious and anti-establishment most teenagers like to view themselves, they feel most comfortable doing what is acceptable and normal........

Lastly, we don't really worry about alcohol, do we? It's not like it's hard crack cocaine, or heroin...we all know about the horrors of drug addiction, the life of crime, the festering sores, the battle to get clean...

Yet, consider this....

In 2013, 55,000 people in the US died from addiction/overdose of crack cocaine, heroin, other illegal drug and prescription drugs ....combined

In the same year, 88,000 people died from alcoholism, PLUS another 11,000 people died in alcohol related driving instances.

In every year, about 18% of suicides are attributed to alcohol, alcoholics are 120 times more likely to commit suicide than any other sector of the community.....

Since I've been sober, last summer's "insignificant" incident has bothered me. A Lot.

Luckily, our Grandson is a lot smarter than his grandparent. He's into sports, healthy eating, and as far as we know, he doesn't drink.

It's tough, in a society that not only condones alcohol, it promotes it, and sobriety is seen as not normal. 

I am hoping, with my small sphere of influence, to change that.

At least, for this new grandchild, by the time he or she grows up, I won't have become


No, I'll be.....

"Sober - SuperCool - impossibly-young-looking-Grandma"

And hopefully, that will be the "new normal"

(I got all the stats from National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism, and The National Institute of Drug Abuse...just so you know I didn't make it up).

If you're new here, and even if you're not....check out my video blog here...there's more new stuff every day.




Friday, 20 November 2015

Triggers and Toolboxes...

One piece of advice that I read when I first quit the booze...was "avoid Triggers", meaning that I should avoid anything that prompted me, or tempted me to drink...

I understood what the advice meant of course, and consequently, I didn't have a bottle of white chilling in the fridge for example...but the advice seemed pretty lame in the early days, as it was really hard to avoid "triggers"; like the clock ticking around to Five O'clock......Every Fucking Day!

A better strategy, I found, was to develop a kind of Sober Toolbox set about 'fixing" the triggers...

In my toolbox was (and still is) ...Fake Booze. This does go against much of the advice that I have read, apparently, for some people, fake booze can be a trigger in itself, but for me, it was a necessary part of my kit. I clung on to it like a hammer, ready to take a swing at the Wine Witch....

Together, with my fake wine/beer was a PROPER WINE GLASS/ BEER GLASS. Just because I have given up alcohol does not mean I have to drink out of a plastic beaker....I am not a child. 
Again, not a trigger for me, it made me feel normal.

It was hard to pick a tool to "fix" Wine O'clock......

I really needed a nail gun to pin the frickin' Witch against the wall when she came calling, but I chose ACTIVITY........during the summer, no weeds stood a chance in my garden, and I have read more novels this year, than in my entire adult life. I also tried adult colouring books (they worked quite well, until my brother-in-law (an actual artist) said gently..."I can give you some lessons if you like...)

It's hard to pick tools to fix other "triggers" like social events where everyone is drinking,....sometimes I use "Lying Through My Teeth", or "Brutal Honesty", depending on my mood....

Then there's the Trigger of Accomplishment........the times when you have completed an onerous task, and you get the  fleeting thought 'Oooh, I deserve wine" .......the "reward trigger".
For this one, I use CAKE...very effective!

You can pick and choose your own tools to go in your box, ( and it doesn't have to be a box, if you don't want, I saw some toolbelts in Home Depot the other day, they even have them in PINK!), but it makes good sense to have a variety of tools for different "fixes".

(I showed this post to my husband and he said (not helpfully)..." You should have duct tape to stick across your mouth if you feel like drinking..ha bloody ha....)

If you are new here, you might also like to see my post about the almost immediate improvements to your life when you quit the booze........You can Read it here

And if you like, I've dropped a new video into my new video blog about counting days.........

You can view it here  

(Warning- sometimes I wear makeup, sometimes not!)



Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Worry Wart.

My brother was talking to me about his daughter, my niece. I am sure she gets fed up with the amount of people who tell her that she "looks just like your Auntie Jackie..." and hopefully the poor girl will grow out of it.

"She is just like you" my brother said .."she worries about everything...".

What a horrible characteristic to pass on, I thought....and immediately began to worry that it was in some way my fault.

I worried about everything.

I worried about dying, about my English homework, about spiders in my bedroom, about forgetting my best friend's birthday, about those new jeans - are they 'cool" enough?, about not having a boyfriend, about not being invited to the party next weekend, about breaking rules....

I longed to be someone who didn't care.  I didn't belong to the A list, those beautiful girls with tanned legs, who knew instinctively how to put on makeup, and I didn't belong to the rebel bohemian girl gang, with their eyeliner and fuck you attitude. I was a neurotic ball of worry, bouncing around.....

Of course, when I grew up, I found the perfect antidote to the incessant monkey chatter in my head - booze! For awhile, the monkey shrieking was dulled down to white noise, drowned out by wine,  until 3 am in the morning, when  Radio Worry would kick in at full with a whole pile of peanuts for the mind monkeys to feed on.

I didn't worry about the Big Stuff. Because there wasn't any. No horrible tragedies, no intolerable circumstances, no reason at all, except the "what if..." scenarios that I concocted all by myself . How self absorbed!

After a while, drinking stopped helping. Because I worried about that too. And then I worried about giving up.

I worried more about giving up than I ever did about the actual drinking. I worried about people categorizing me with "actual alcoholics", I worried about the embarrassment of explaining that I had a "problem". I worried about how to behave at parties, what to say or do if I was offered a glass of wine, I worried about being boring.

And then, I stopped. I got tired of it. I got tired of second guessing myself. I got tired of navel gazing. I got tired of standing in my own way. I got tired of my own small bullshit. I spoke sternly to myself, the same way my mum did when I worried about people looking when I changed into my swimming costume on the beach.."just get on with it. Who cares who's looking?" 

I've started a video blog. And of course I have worried about the way I talk, look, and what I say. if I sound stupid. And, bizarrely, if I'm sober enough yet to help anyone. 

And then I thought..."just get on with it....."

I read a comment on my blog from Anne, who said "someone might see me and think, If Anne needed to quit, perhaps I do too"....and these wise words got me thinking....

Maybe, if someone sees me, they won't be looking at my hair....they'll think...."if she needed to quit, maybe I do too..." And maybe I can help someone not to worry as much as I did.

You can find my video blog at

And you can take a look around some other stuff I've been working on. I hope it helps. And please don't worry. I do enough for everyone.

WB xxx

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

What's Black and White and Blue all Over?

I love the clarity that sobriety brings. My life back in focus. The sharp, defining edges of decisions made, tasks completed, priorities set.
But with my sober clear- sightedness comes a new grey fuzzy area.

Nothing is black and white anymore.

I used to know what an addict is...

 the thin hollowed out, pock marked derelict on the government posters.

I used to know what an alcoholic is..

The bag lady drinking cheap cider hidden in a paper bag

I used to know how to react when someone is arrested for a DUI

How irresponsible.....

Now, the addict could be that guy in a suit in the line up at the bank, maybe (he was sniffing excessively).....

The alcoholic? That well dressed lady with two bottles of wine ( she spent a long time explaining about her dinner party to the check out girl)

The DUI?

Thank God I never got caught.....

( a penguin holding it's breath )

WB xx.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

I Used to Love Nostalgia....Back in the Old Days....

Nostalgia - it's delicate, but potent. Teddy told me that in Greek, "nostalgia" literally means "the pain from an old wound." It's a twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone. This device isn't a spaceship, it's a time machine. It goes backwards, and forwards... it takes us to a place where we ache to go again. It's not called the wheel, it's called the carousel. It lets us travel the way a child travels - around and around, and back home again, to a place where we know we are loved.
Don Draper.....Mad Men.

Visualize yourself with friends on a sunny summer afternoon. Three of you enjoy a chilled glass of've got so much to chat about, your families, your careers, and you re-live all those memories from when you were are college order another bottle...lets celebrate our friendship!

It's Christmas Day. All your family is around you! the kids have opened their presents, Hubby is carving the turkey, you all raise a glass of wine...Merry Christmas!

Ahhh, it's so beautiful, the sun sets over the vineyard, you bask in the warm Californian evening...a second honeymoon. You chink glasses, and drink to your love......So Romantic!

Nostalgia is a beautiful a benevolent "Ghost of Christmas Past"........How about a touch of "Harsh Reality?"

After your third class of bubbly your lips are loosened somewhat, and you reveal to one friend, that her best friend slept with her boyfriend at college. Unfortunately, her best friend happens to be the third friend sitting at the argument ensues, you gulp down another glass, and break the heel of your shoe as you hurriedly depart.......

Christmas Day. You are hungover from the night before, the kids were fighting because they had to wait for you to get up before they could open presents, the turkey is overdone, and you're hammered and passed out before the Queen's speech. Hubby has to clear up the kitchen and is pissed off....Merry Christmas... 

You drink a glass or three too many at the Winery, so any continuation of your romantic evening is out of the question....or was it? You can't even remember getting to bed......

Nostalgia. Big fat Liar........

 Every time I see my cat licking its asshole I think about my ex wife. But that’s how nostalgia works, right? We only remember the best of the available memories.” 
 Jarod Kintz, 

Thursday, 12 November 2015

My Satanic Sacrificial Ring....

Yay! Finally a New Hobby!

Just kidding, I haven't suddenly acquired an interest in Devil Worship. At ALL (seriously, it was a joke, if my blog has just appeared in some FBI social media monitoring thingy, I really am joking, just read on....please)

Actually, I am referring to my new Gazebo, which is currently a work in progress. (Sideways Rain has stopped construction - for an explanation of "Rain Categories" that we experience in the Pacific North West (PN Dub) see lovely Suburban Betty's Blog Here) 

You may recall that this summer, we sat around a pretend camp fire, because of the drought, and there was lots of drunken drama, which didn't involve me at all.

So, I casually mentioned to my husband that it would be cool to sit around a camp fire in the dark, but wasn't it a shame about the weather, blah blah and before I knew it, he was busy sketching out plans for a gazebo with a "chimney" so we could sit out around a camp fire in all weathers...

Because my husband seems to know everyone on the Island, and 'trades' his custom smoked fish with them, the actual construction cost is minimal. Which is nice.

A thought occurred to me as I looked at my Satanic Ring ( so named because it's 6ft to the middle from each post, posts are 6ft apart, and the beams will be 6ft 666...).....

When I picture myself sitting around the camp fire, under my Gazebo which will have sparkly lights all over it, maybe in the snow,  I see myself holding a steaming mug of Hot Chocolate.....I no longer picture myself with a wine glass in my hand....

I think I may have turned a corner.

Here is a picture of my Gazebo footings if there are any G Men still concerned. We certainly won't be sacrificing the Virgin Connie Swales.......just the facts boys....just the facts....

Monday, 9 November 2015

Six Months! Who'd have thunk it?

Not me.

On the 9th May 2015, I had been barely able to string 6 consecutive alcohol- free days together. Six months wasn't just inconceivable, it was completely out of my realm of thinking.

If you read many of the other blogs written by brave, witty inspiring people, all of them will tell you about the many benefits to health, joyous changes to their relationships, the ability to deal with daily problems that, when drinking, seemed insurmountable. The Sober Life.

Some ladies have dealt and are dealing with adversity - serious illness, divorce, bereavement, and they've shared it with us. Some of you, who choose not to blog or comment are facing these issues too, I'm sure, and we're all here for you.

I've read blogs, some desperate, about trying and trying again, not understanding why they cannot seem to escape that iron grip on their life....and we've all been there too. We know. Hang in there.

Every one of us deserves a cheer. A hug. A virtual "high five!"

Today I am not only six months without a drink, this is also my 100th blog post. And when I was thinking about what to write - it would be nice to impart some wisdom, right? - it occurred to me that the biggest change in my life was staring me right in the face.

Up until now, I have wandered through life, in and out of jobs, in and out of relationships, even in and out of continents, without any real purpose..

The only consistency I've really had in my life, was giving up when it all got a bit mundane, or a bit hard. And when it did, then I cast myself as the was never about me, it was always the other person, it was always the manager, or my partner, or or or.....

In fact writing 100 blogs may not seem like a huge achievement to anyone, but for me, it's BIG.

And I have no intention of stopping. I may write in a different genre, I may set up a website, there are a hundred possibilities popping into my head, but for the first time ever....I'm sticking with it.

I'm sticking with you guys. My new crowd. My tribe.

For me, getting sober started out because I feared for my health, I was overweight, I felt shitty the whole time, I was losing friendships, I was screwing up my marriage.....and you could be making the decision to change all those thing in your life too, and those are great reasons....and you can do it!

But somewhere along your sober journey, you'll get an "aha" moment, and you'll realize, like me, that it's so much more than you ever dreamed possible..and it was there in front of you the whole time.

I have no idea what will happen in the next six months. But I know it will be good. I'll be open for new ideas, new opportunities and new directions.

I'm looking forward to it. Why don't you join me?

Love, WB xx.



Sunday, 8 November 2015

Rain Stops Play....

Not really. If we put everything on hold until it stops raining, here on Vancouver Island, very little would be achieved.

I still intend to head out for a walk (new habit in the making) and then feel suitably deserving of cake. Or hot chocolate. Or a couple of hours with a book. Or all of the above.

I haven't really figured out what to do with the rest of my life, so I'm hoping inspiration will strike during my damp walk. (Now that someone has beaten me to designing fashionable PJ's for the Lady Executive).

I not worried. I'm open for opportunity.


WB xx

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Sometimes You just have to Kill the Baby.....

Or at least rearrange it's features.

Not a literal baby obviously.....just going through some changes, business wise.

Some things that I thought would work, haven't. And I discovered that I don't like doing some stuff, so I shall stop.
It's the joy and despair of being self employed.

I have nurtured this particular offspring, But it's not developing in quite the way I planned, and quite frankly, I'm not really feeling a mother's love anymore, so time for some drastic alterations.

When I was drinking.....and basically being "self -employed" was indistinguishable from "unemployed"....if anything didn't go as planned, it was just another handy excuse to say

"Fuck it, I'll have a drink"

And then, the following morning, I would trawl through the local job listings...which would inevitably lead to the following realisations:

1. I am Old.
2. I have very few marketable skills
3. I do not take direction
4. No jobs allow you to wear PJs.

I am, in fact, unemployable. So another handy excuse to say

"Fuck it, I'll have a drink"

These days, being unemployable is both liberating and challenging.

I have freedom and possibilities.

But I also have to pay the bills.

So instead of saying.....

"Fuck it, I'll have a drink"

I just toss the baby out with the bath water and get another baby. A better, prettier baby. That makes money.

WB xx

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

The Best Ideas were at the Bottom of the Bottle.......

........but unfortunately, I could never remember them......

It's another fallacy that we cling on to to rationalize our makes us more creative!

A kind of "Boozey Muse"

Ernest Hemingway, a famous Drunk and Author. Or a famous Author and a Drunk (depends on your perspective) is quoted often as saying " Write Drunk and Edit Sober"

He never actually said this, and according to his daughter, NEVER wrote while he was drunk. Apparently, he rose early, wrote in a very disciplined fashion for hours every morning, and then headed off to get shitfaced in the afternoon.

Being creative (as anyone who creates will tell you) requires dedication and perseverance. In fact the old adage "10% inspiration and 90% perspiration" does actually apply.

Of course, if you drink lots (like I used to) and always wanted to be creative (like I do), then the tendency is to cling on to the "Tortured Addict Artist" stereotype, as it serves you well.

And if you don't identify with Ernest Hemingway, there's a whole bunch to chose from... Hunter S Thompson, Dorothy Parker, Raymond Chandler, Dylan Thomas, Truman Capote.... the list of revered drunkard writers is seemingly endless......who must have created their best work under the influence....surely?

It's as ridiculous as saying "I drive much better after I've had a few......"

When I drank lots of wine, I truly believed (regularly) that I stumbled on the plot of a bestseller, invented ingenious products, and had grandiose business schemes........all fading away - if I even remembered them - in the wake of next morning's hangover.

This is my 97th blog posting. Approximately 50,000 words, the length of a short novel. I've also written about 40 business blogs, and several E-books for my business, nothing to set the literary world on fire - not even a spark - but a approximately 50,000 words, 40 business blogs and several E-books MORE than I ever wrote when I was drinking.

And those fabulous ideas? The ones at the bottom of the bottle?

I remember some with embarrassment, especially if they were accompanied by drunk declarations by text or on social media......all faintly ridiculous...

I don't wait around for inspiration to strike, I just write - even when I don't feel like it. I didn't feel much like typing away tonight, but something compelled me to sit down, and this blog came together as I started to type. It was inspired by the Hemingway quote (above) that I saw on Facebook this morning, and it just stayed with me, until I started to write....

The Boozy Muse was no more than the Wine Witch in disguise.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

And then we were hit by a Giant Pumpkin Asteroid.....

Or my Alternative Title for this post....."Life isn't a facebook meme....."

I am feeling quite restless. According to the Shamanic Monthly e-mail I get on the 1st of every month, which is supposed to guide me spiritually for the next 30 or so days ($19.99 gets you the accompanying daily audio), RESTLESS is the Theme for November.

Hence, I was not too worried about feeling restless....until I saw the news on the 31st October, (which no one else seems to have seen) when I learned that a giant asteroid (shaped seasonally like a pumpkin) was hurtling towards Earth, and would (hopefully) miss us by a narrow margin.

"Hmmm.." I thought..."That sucks..."

And second thought...

"What's the point of me being sober then? If I am to die like the dinosaurs? And why was this not mentioned in my Shamanic Monthly Newsletter? Would I have been notified if I had signed up for the audio?

I am restless because now that I am Sober.....I feel that I should be DOING something with my life....

I have been the classic underachiever for most of my life.

Could have gone to University and become a lawyer .....didn't ( as my mother reminds me at every fucking opportunity)

Could have stayed at my soul- less mind numbing job at the bank and reached the dizzy heights of "Manager" ......didn't (would DEFINITELY have died of alcoholism if I had done that)

Could have been a famous ballerina....didn't (failed my first dance exam when I was five)......and so on....

Until here I am, nearly 48 years old, and the two big accomplishments of my life (so far), are finding my lovely husband (having the good sense to marry him) and quitting booze.

I read so often about people who had a life changing experience...maybe a brush with death, maybe the loss of a loved one, and then they completely turned their life around and climbed Everest, or became President or something...

How many times have you seen a horrible tragedy on the news and thought to yourself....

"life is so short......I should do something with mine...."

And then the headlines go on to something else, and that fleeting thought was just that.....fleeting.

My facebook timeline is filled with "Inspirational Memes"......quotes on pretty backgrounds, intended to lift you up, and inspire you to great things...

"Life isn't a dress rehearsal!"
"Be All that you can be!"
"Live your Passion"

And most of us scroll by, or maybe "share' them, as if this tiny action, this sharing of the inspirational message is all you have to do....

A smart lady who runs the business group I'm in....posted in exasperation a few weeks ago, something like this..

"I glad you're all inspired, but inspiration is nothing without action...."

I probably "liked" the post and moved on, forgetting it until now, now that my Fate is completely dependent on the hurtling asteroid....

I guess what I am really trying to say, is that now I have finally climbed out of my wine soaked pit, I would like my Sober Life to actually mean something. So here is what I have resolved...

I will take Action.
My life will not be a Meme.
I will Accomplish Things.
I will Unsubscribe from Shamanic Monthly.

(providing, of course that we don't get struck by the hurtling pumpkin asteroid).

Monday, 26 October 2015

Kick the Sh*t out of Bullsh*t.

These are my Top Bullshit Reasons for Not Quitting Booze....they may be your reasons too.

  • I'm still Quite Thin.
Despite the gazillion calories in wine, I managed to stay thin for a number of years. This was because I lived on my own and didn't eat. I was also in a very toxic relationship, so I was continually stressed. Therefore, I was thin and I equated that with being healthy. Total Bullshit.
 I ignored that fact that I was 'puffy", my skin was blotchy (as that much ignored vital organ tried desperately to flush poison out of my body), I had dark rings round my eyes because I tended to pass out rather than sleep, I suspect that my breath and my body smelled of stale wine most of the time, I ignored all but the essential daily grooming.
But hey, I was still thin.......
  • All My Friends Drink More than Me.
Well, for me that may or may not be true. I certainly spent a great deal of time at social gathering trying to assess how much each person was drinking, and whether I was drinking more or less than them. That's not weird at all, right?
Putting aside my obsession with other people's habits, the fact remained that I was drinking too much for me.
If I needed proof of this, all I had to do was wait until the next morning, and then try to piece together conversations that I'd had the night before...conversations that everyone else remembered.
But, at least I didn't drink as much as them.... 

  • My Husband/Wife/Significant Other Drinks. 
 Yes, so does mine. A lot less, now that I'm not arriving home every night with two bottles of wine - red for him, white for me (he would have two glasses at the most, so I got to finish his bottle too). He now has a couple of glasses of whisky at the weekends.
He was relieved when I stopped. I imagined that he would be disappointed not to have a drinking partner. But as he said..." I don't want a drinking partner, I want my wife".
If your partner doesn't react in a similarly positive way......get another partner. I'm serious.

  • I won't get Invited Anywhere Because I'm Not Fun.
You won't get invited to boozy evenings where you get to stand around with a bunch of drunk people. Drunk people are BORING. When you are drinking, you are boring too. As was I.
Be thankful, do something else (we do lots now, for instance, this weekend, we visited the local museum that I have never set foot in before, we went for a hike and we went to the movies to see 'Bridge of Spies, which was excellent, but be my guest, go and party, get drunk and spend the day on the couch...ooh that sounds fun...)

  • I will lose all my Friends.
Good. Get new ones. If you are a "friend" because you drink, then, my friend are not a 'friend", you are a "drinking buddy".
I shed several toxic relationships. Feels good. Doors are slammed shut on those people.

  • I Don't know how to Cope if I don't drink......
 Aaahhhh. The REAL reasons.

I can help with this one. The real fact is that you learn to cope for the first time ever. Because you are not numbing your brain with booze, you deal with stuff. And when you deal with stuff, it goes away, and you don't have to worry about it, don't need to "cope" with it.
It's a beautiful circle. You deal with the small stuff, you get more confident, and when the Big Stuff happens...guess what? You can cope.....

Sheryl Sandberg is one of my heroes. Not only is she the youngest business woman to ever become a billionaire (COO of Facebook), a writer, a champion of women's issues and rights all over the world....she recently lost her husband in a tragic accident. And this is what she said (paraphrasing).

"Living my life with David was my Option A. I didn't want an Option B. But that's what I got. So now I'm kicking the shit out of Option B, in his honour"

Option A for lots of us would be the ability to occasionally have a glass of wine, a cold beer. But we've been given Option B. Let's kick the shit out of it.



Sunday, 25 October 2015

It's Like Banging Your Head Against a Wall

It feels so good when you stop.....

That's how I think about alcohol now.

I feel so great now, why didn't I do it sooner?

Because I wasn't ready. Because I was worried that I would be boring. Because I was concerned that my husband would be dismayed because we could never go on a trip touring the vineyards in California. Because I didn't know how I would punctuate the day from work time to relax time.

Because I thought I couldn't do it.......

Because, because, because.......

People say stupid things like 'you just have to hit your rock bottom....."

Only people who have never had an addiction say shit like that.

Do they seriously think that people who abuse alcohol consciously think....

"Oh, I'll just keep drinking until I lose my job, screw up my relationships, alienate my friends, destroy my health....then I'll give up...

Most of us started drinking because it was fun, and everyone else was doing it. Then the fun stopped, but the drinking didn't. Then one day, it became destructive.

Funny, I can't pinpoint a "rock bottom" but I can, with clarity, tell you the exact moment that I took a plunge off the cliff towards the rocks below......(but that's another blog)

Somehow, I grabbed hold of a branch, and started to claw my way up. I stopped drinking.

Whatever "reasons" you have for not stopping, whatever "worries" or "concerns" you have about life without wine, I can tell you....

It's feels better when you stop. Don't wait until you have a gash in your head. Or you hit the rocks.

WB xx

Saturday, 24 October 2015

I'm not Quitting Quitting.....

Quitting was one of my favourite things.

I quit ballet, Girl Guides, a variety of subjects at school, the Hockey Team, summer jobs, grown-up jobs, marriages, diets, exercise regimes, writing novels, businesses....

When the going got tough......I poured a glass of wine. (Not when I quit Girl Guides, obviously..)

I am a famous Quitter.

Not when it came to alcohol. I really hung in there for the long haul.

For the first time in my life, quitting was hard.

I realized today, that this is probably the longest stint in my life that I haven't given up on something.
It hasn't helped that there are about half a dozen people who are waiting patiently for me to quit quitting.

"Are you still off the booze?

It's fair enough really. It's what people have come to expect from me, what I expect from myself.

I sense a shift in my perspective.

I've worked hard at developing my business. It's been in existence since this time last year. Although last year, I was still drinking. So I've only really been dedicated to working at it for the last four-ish months.
It takes time to build a business. Logically I know that. But this week I thought about quitting. I haven't sold anything. It's not surprising, it's an online business, it takes consistent effort to be successful and make money.

Yet, for a day, I thought about getting a job. I even saw a job advertised that I could do. I even persuaded myself that it would be fulfilling and fun. I imagined myself in the role.

Then I looked at my files on my desk. The blogs, articles, videos, podcasts and lesson plans.

So much hard work.

Like sobriety.

To stop working at my business, would mean that I throw away all the hard work I have done (and had fun doing!)

To pick up a glass of wine, would throw away all the hard work I've done (and the fun I've had)

So this week I did two things.

I quit quitting.
And I resolved to never quit quitting.

WB xx

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

And there but for the Grace of God......

It's 30 years since Back to the Future was made. Or, today is the date that they went to in the Future. Or something like that. Anyway, I remember the movie, and I am horrified if it was 30 years ago that it came out, because that makes old as dirt.

It's been a ten days since I blogged, and it's been a strange time. Firstly, like many of us, Sober Mummy preoccupies a lot of my thoughts....and positive vibes being sent over constantly, SM.

It's also been a busy time in the news, Canada has just got a brand new Prime Minister, and (I know this sounds shallow) but he is at least easy on the eyes, so when he does start spouting crap (as they all inevitably do) I can at least tune it out, and focus on his boyish good looks.

I didn't vote. Don't howl and shriek at me....I can't. I am an illegal alien. Well, not exactly, I'm a Permanent Resident, not a citizen, so I get to pay whatever taxes are imposed on us all, but I don't get a say in whether they are used to bolster rich people's pensions, save the environment, or do endless research on whether literacy improves your chances for employment ( I shit you not, that's an actual piece of research).

In among all the polls and fake sincerity, a news story caught my attention from Washington State I believe.

A young lady (too young to remember Back to the Future), had been drinking heavily in a bar, and then announced that she was going to drive home drunk!
A lamentable situation, sadly not unique.....except that she announced it to the Whole World - or at least 57 other people, via live online streaming from her smarty pants phone.( "Periscope" is the latest and greatest app, that allows us, not just to photograph what we are eating for lunch, we can actually invite people to watch us eat it.....LIVE)

Unfortunately for this lady (or fortunately, if you happened to be driving near her in Washington State), her announcement caught the attention of a police officer, who immediately dropped his donut, tracked her down and arrested her.

She had continued her live streaming, obviously completely blitzed, as she drove away from the bar. 

"Oh my goodness" said the News Anchor "Just one bad decision after another and another", as she pursed her lips and shook her head disapprovingly (Fox News, clearly).

And what was my first thought?

Thank God I had no idea about Periscope when I was drinking.

Of course I'm not condoning drunk driving. Did I drive drunk? Not as blitzed as this young lady, but definitely there were times when I must have been over the limit.

Did I say or do other stupid things? Hell yes. The type of things that I wake up in the middle of the night, and have to repeat to myself 'just think happy thoughts" to stop me reliving each cringe worthy, sweat inducing, nightmarish event.

But I toss and turn in my own misery.........the only tortuous replay button is in my own mind.

Not like this lady........

If I hadn't have got sober already, this story may have prompted me. I hope it made her think too. Not because I am as sanctimonious as the news people - but just because I know that it's not going to get any better........

If only life was exactly how Michael J Fox and Doc Brown discovered.

I still would have got make sure I could balance on the hoverboard !!

WB xx

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Stereotypes that Bite us in the Butt.

I love Sunday. Lazy morning, coffee, autumn colours.....hangover free. Such a difference to five months ago.

Sunday's were horrible. Feeling awful, usually parked on the couch, guilt ridden.....until wine o'clock rolled around again, and my chemical induced low, could be perked up a notch, with yet more alcohol.
Once I was in the warm protective glow of glass #1, I could then rationalize my drinking :

* At least I don't drink as much as X...he/she really does have a problem...

AND, one that will be familiar....

* At least I'm not living under a bridge, drinking cheap cider...

If you live in Canada, (or maybe the US), you may be tempted to envision this homeless drunk as a First Nation person.

Yes, I really did type that.

In Canada, it's a widely accepted theory that First Nations people and communities have a "Alcohol Issue". And yes it is true, that in some of the more poverty stricken communities (Oh, that would be MOST of them) alcohol abuse is destroying native people and families.

Well, that's because native people are genetically more likely to become alcoholics right?

(oh sure, it's not the generations of  white people who destroyed a way of life, treated the indigenous population like shit, and as recently as 1976, were still tearing children as young as five away from their mothers, to make sure they didn't grow up like 'savages')

Yes. That's correct. It's the Firewater.

If you've read any parts of my blog before, you may have noticed that I am totally skeptical of any "genetic" research into alcoholism. Firstly, before I read any research, I tend to check out the sponsor, the people who paid for it (after all, Coca Cola would pay for research that "discovers" that soda every day is not harmful, right?), and secondly, I always question the "agenda" of the people who are researching in the first place.

After all, why the fuck would you spend a ton of money linking eye colour to alcoholism?

Anyway I digress.

I believe that the reasons for alcoholism are far more complex that a nature v nurture debate will allow - I don't give a shit how many "research" projects are conducted.

I also believe that the "genetic" argument is dangerous. It leads to stereotyping (some racist - the "drunk Indian), and it leads to a a lack of accountability, and a lack of hope.

It also lets the alcohol industry off the hook. The same alcohol industry that sets up liquor stores as close as possible to tribal lands. After all, they don't make any money off "normies" who only drink a glass of wine at the weekend, do they?

So this week, I was pleasantly surprised to find an article that seemed to make sense, and was attempting to be as objective as possible, and highlighted the flaws in this particularly racist argument.
It aimed to de-bunk the stereotypes that have kept native populations firmly in the past. You can read it here 

It provides hope for the future.

And for the rest of us?

Stereotyping always bites us firmly in the butt.

If you want to carry on swilling the wine, a comfortable alcoholic stereotype will do the job.....I can't be an alcoholic because I drink expensive wine, I don't roam the streets drunk...

Stereotypes are dangerous. Not only for the sector of the community that we are stereotyping, but also for the rest of us. Hanging on to these misconceptions allow us to not examine our own drinking habits. They allow the wine witch to continue her hold. (And of course, it makes us not particularly nice people)

If I'm white, middle class and affluent, only drinking expensive wine, how can I possibly be the same as the drunk homeless guy, drinking shitty vodka...?

Well, I have news for you.

You may not have the same life experience. You may not have the same socio-economic status. You may not have the same culture, same beliefs, same traditions, or even eat the same food.

But you drink the same poison. So in this respect....

You are the same. I was the same. We're all in the same club.

So if you are sitting on the couch this Sunday, waiting for a bottle of white to chill in the fridge, waiting for a hair of the dog, trying to rationalize drinking today, after drinking yesterday, and the day before.....

You have one less excuse.

And maybe some hope for the future too.


( So you are aware, I am white and middle class, married to a full status native man. It doesn't give me any more 'experience" or "insight" - I am still a product of my upbringing (and influenced by my genes, maybe), but it does allow me to listen firsthand to the debate, and get a different viewpoint that isn't always comfortable. But that's OK. We should get out of our comfort zone occasionally)