Friday, 31 July 2015

Day 83. The Anvil & the Flywheel

"Like pushing on a giant flywheel, it takes a lot of effort to get the thing moving at all, but with persistent pushing in a consistent direction over a long period of time, the flywheel builds momentum, eventually hitting a point of breakthrough"
 Jim Collins "Good to Great"

Wow. This sobriety thing is no big deal at all.
 Apart from a couple of low days, I have felt like the roadrunner hurtling along and kicking up dust, as I attempt to make up for lost (wine) time in my business.

I must be more productive
I must get more clients
I must make more money
I must declutter
I must keep the house tidy..

I must....I must....I of dust...beep beep...

Well the giant anvil fell out of the sky, squashed me into the asphalt, until all that was left was a Wine Bitch shaped hole.

Logging on to my lovely business network of ladies yesterday, the mood was much the same. Energy was low. Confidence was wobbling. It felt like the clouds of doom were gathering to unleash an almighty storm of chaos.

Of course, it could be the New Moon. It could be hormones. 

Not me.

Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome. Hard to believe that this grumpy, weepy, flaky, tired, negative physical condition has such a cuddly acronym. P.A.W.S.

For lots more info read the lovely Sober Mummy's posts - find her blog here)

Wow, this sobriety thing is a big deal.

Instead of an open road ahead, I now see sobriety as a giant flywheel.

Much like building a business - it isn't full speed ahead, it's an inch by inch thing. Movement is achieved at first by your shoulder to the wheel.
There are no short cuts, just a daily consistent effort, until that flywheel gathers speed......and eventually is spinning happily with just the occasional touch of a finger.

To quote Sober Mummy " You can't go round it, you can't go over it, you just have to go through it"

Otherwise the Universe smacks you on the head with a giant anvil, and all that is left is a Wine Bitch shaped hole.

And no one wants that.


Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Membership Dues.

My husband has one of his best friend's staying with us (see The Sins of the Fathers).

Last time BF#2 stayed with us, he was drunk most of the time. He started with beer mid- morning, and by mid- afternoon, he had abandoned all pretense of doing any work on the boat ( my husband and BF#2 have a fish boat. B.O.A.T - Bring On Another Thousand - you can tell how I feel about this little project).

I noticed as the evening went on, that BF#2 seemed to be getting disproportionately hammered compared to the liquid he was imbibing. (And this was extremely observant of me, as I was at that time, working on my own buzz).

This state of affairs continued for much of his visit. The boat looked (and worked) exactly the way it had before the visit, many beer cans were mixed in with wine bottles.......and.....and......there were lots of small plastic vodka bottles.......ahhhh......mystery solved.

In this red-neck of the woods, it's not uncommon to find men in plaid jackets beavering (beavering? Get it? Canada?...never mind) away at their moonshine 'still.

If the word "moonshine" conjures up images of grubby old men with one tooth and scraggy beards - well, you'd be correct. Moonshine itself is as close as you can get to alcohol in it's most pure form. And it can literally kill you.

As a gift (!!), someone gave us a jar of cherries marinated in moonshine.

The jar sat on a dusty shelf on our back deck.


BF#2 was puttering around on the back deck during his last visit. I didn't take any notice until later that evening when it became apparent that he couldn't speak or stand.

At first I thought he was having a stroke..........

After deciphering very slurred words and erratic gestures, I went out to the back porch and found that half a jar of moonshine cherries, plus the juice had been consumed.

Once we had diagnosed BF#2, we got him into bed with a gallon of water beside him - an epic hangover in his immediate future.

I went outside to the back deck and looked at the half consumed jar.

Two thoughts went through my mind.....

" Thank God I'm not that bad...." followed by....."I wonder what it tastes like......." and then I had a small sip.......

Common sense prevailed. I threw away the jar.

Next morning, BF#2 was suitably sheepish, and horribly sick.

The whole episode bothered me. A lot.

Instead of being shocked or horrified about BF#2 being so in need of alcohol that he would brush off a cobwebbed old jar of moonshine cherries and consume it........on some level I understood perfectly.

We were in the same club.

There are no "categories" of drinkers. Moonshine, fine wine......whether we swill $100 wine and comment on the "legs", or squint at the fumes coming off a mason jar of moonshine.....whether we are wearing a tuxedo or a plaid jacket.....we are all in the same club.

Some of us just pay much higher membership fees.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Day 79 - The Sins of the Fathers

I may have mentioned that we live in  a small community.

My husband grew up here. We live next door to one of his best friends that he met in Grade 1. Tomorrow, his other best friend arrives from Prince George to stay for a few days.

The other common ground that my husband and BF #1 and BF #2 share is that all three of their fathers were alcoholics.

My husband tells this story

" My Dad would get grand ideas about owning a boat (Commercial Fish Boat), and phone up all kinds of people to make appointments to look at boats - he never had a penny.
One day he piled us all in the car, and drove down to Victoria. On the way he swigged vodka from one bottle, followed by a mouthful of lemonade.
When we got there he was well and truly hammered. We met the guy who was selling this boat - I remember it was a beauty. Dad could hardly stand. He waved his hand and said - we''ll take it for the summer and let you know if we're going to keep it! I was so humiliated and embarrassed.
The owner of the boat just walked away saying 'drunk f**king Indians wasting my time"

Both BF #1 and BF #2 have similar stories about their fathers. Having to punch out their Dads when they got mean (my husband too had his share of black eyes and bloody noses, while trying to wrestle cash away from his Dad so his mum could pay bills).

My husband didn't touch alcohol until he was in his thirties - 'Dad drank enough for all of us" - and now is a very moderate drinker.

Sadly, both BF#1 and BF#2 are not. I often see BF#1 lurching in the driveway in the morning (yes morning), and I know the glass in his hand is vodka, not water.

BF #2 is married to a lady who I consider one of my best friends. She has often phoned me crying about her husband's drinking habits.

Last time BF#2 came to stay, it was the week before I gave up drinking. Although there were many reasons, and it was well overdue, those few days watching BF#2, finding empty vodka bottles in all kinds of hiding places, and watching him morph into this mean intense drunk person (just like his Dad, my husband said), undoubtedly had an influence on my decision to stop.

I have no idea what this week holds for us. Except that I have extra supplies of AF beer.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Day 78

I caught up on some business work for the last couple of days. I am also in the middle of reading a pile of business books that I have been promising myself to read for the last year or so.

In particular, I have just finished "The Happiness Advantage" By Shawn Achor.

Shawn presents his research and conclusions that happiness actually fuels success and great performance at work, business and life, not the other way around..for example, if you have ever thought ....

"If only I had that great job, I would be happy" or even
"If only I could lose 20 pounds I would be happy"

Then according to Shawn you would be more likely to get that great job or lose the weight if you start off being happy....

So, regardless of the science (the dry bit of the book), the conundrum is "how do I get happy?"

Well, we have one answer don't we?

Put down the wine bottle.

Having such an absence of happiness (well, almost any emotion) on a constant basis for the last years - don't get me wrong, there have been moments of great happiness, but on average, there has been an absence of joy - I can testify to the great improvements in my work performance (and life performance) when I finally feel happiness, hope, curiosity, enthusiasm, contentment and love (both for others and myself)

If I were to do a short scientific study, my research would show the correlation between work improvements and my feelings of well being.

How do you continue to improve ?

Shawn has some suggestions :

1. A Gratitude Journal - this really does work, especially once you have gone through all the major things - your family, health, etc...and focus on the smaller, daily occurrences " I'm grateful for the man at the coffee shop letting me go first, because I was in a hurry"

It trains you to scour your day for the positive stuff, which in turn puts you in a positive frame of mind

2.Focus on the manageable goals, rather than the Big Picture (and you'll get there much quicker).

Again, we do this every day. I commit to not drinking today, and before I know it, I have 78 non drinking days under my belt, I feel a sense of pride and achievement. Happiness. If I fretted from Day 1 about the rest of my life not drinking, it's possible I would feel a nervous wreck = Unhappiness.

3. The Path of Least Resistance.
 It's easy to follow the same old path, and continue the old habits ....unless you make it difficult for yourself to continue the old habit...and easy to start the new one.

For us - throw out all the alcohol, and replace it with orange juice, or AF Beer
Throw out the junk food - fill your fridge with salad

Finally, Shawn says, we habitually will avoid alcohol and junk food - our new regime is our new normal....

4. Lastly, Social Investment .........building our support networks.

When we are feeling low, and helpless - we often retreat into ourselves. Over the last weeks, I've started reading blogs, and then suddenly they have been removed. Hopefully because people don't need them any more! Or, maybe, just maybe, they had a bad day, and ended up succumbing to the Wine Witch....

This is time when we need each other most.

It's easy to write an upbeat blog, and talk about all the advantages of being sober - our great new figure, happier lives, better skin......but what if we fall?

That's when we need to blog. To ask for help and support.

I am extremely grateful for the support I get from all of you. I am grateful that I have reached Day 78. And I am grateful (and happy), that if I should stumble, I would be able to reach out, and get virtual encouragement from all of you.

 And I will be right here, if you need the same.

Happy Sunday.

 P.s.  This is the link to Shawn Achor's Ted Talk

Thursday, 23 July 2015

My Butterfly Mind.

Do you ever have days when you just can't settle?

Today is one of those days for me.

I had plans for today. It's a "free" day - no work with my small pool of clients until next week. So I have a huge list of stuff to do for my online business, and admin stuff to catch up for my husband. I also had (have) an awesome idea for this blog.
Plus general cleaning (house is grubby) and laundry (dangerously low on clean underwear).

Have I done any of it? No. Not. One. Thing.

I got up and read sober blogs with my coffee (morning routine)
I checked Facebook
I checked in with my online business crowd.
I answered one email.
I checked Facebook
I put dirty stuff in the dishwasher.
I logged out of Facebook, after finding myself reading about Donald Trump. Again.

I paced. From room to room. (And we only have a few). I folded up some laundry here and there.
I watered a small part of the garden ( drought season).

Normally a day like this would drive me insane.

But I noticed that as I paced, I was (am) getting some pretty awesome ideas. So I started to write them down.

So, it's 2.17pm in the afternoon as I write this, and so far....

1. I have 10 new chapter titles for the business book I'm writing.
2. I have several ideas for my business blog/newsletter.
3. I have a germ of an idea for another writing project, so I scribbled it out.
4. I figured out how to work out a bookkeeping transaction that I couldn't get my head around until now.
5. I have a new add -on design for my garden, which is both inexpensive and drought -proof.

I am learning to live with my butterfly mind.

Before, I would be checking the clock..."is it too early for wine? It is kind of a day off....a holiday" and the day would be drenched. I might get an idea, but have no motivation to write it down (how many ideas for novels have gone that way over the years? LOTS). I would have watched some TV ( just checking in on the financial crisis in Greece....) and I may have got the laundry done.

It hasn't been a productive day. But it has been progress.

Now I really DO have to put some laundry on.


Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Dear Old Dad

I been finding myself thinking a lot about my Dad recently.

But before you click away - this isn't a maudlin sentimental blog at all....Dad's alive and kicking back in Ol' Blighty, as vigorous and opinionated as ever - think Alf Garnet (Alfie for my US friends), but thankfully without the racism.

Growing up, we butted heads. About politics - he's working class Tory, my first real boyfriend was a member of the Worker's Revolutionary Party - about education - he thinks everything that ended with 'ology" was a complete waste of time and money - so I studied English Literature (Ha!)..

You get the picture. My Dad was (is) an extremely hard worker and a smart man. Annoyingly he was often right - it was sometimes a challenge to find an plausible opposing argument,

 "You're an idiot , what the hell are they teaching you?".......yes, Dear Old Dad.

The first time I got drunk, of course I vomited. I expected a lecture. I didn't get one.

"You and Alcohol" he said 'Do Not Mix".

A few years earlier, when I was a sullen and uncooperative teenager, we took a trip to America.

Up until then, we had always gone to Swanage in Dorset for two weeks and stayed at the Craigendoran Hotel ( I still remember the paisley carpet and smell of fried breakfast). We had made friends with people from all over England (Sarah, with an exotic Manchester accent, who cried inconsolably when Elvis died), and so when my parents announced that we were going on the Holiday of a Lifetime, I behaved like the self -centred, ungrateful little cow that I was, and showed off about missing my two weeks in Dorset!

I couldn't help but get excited about the trip. I had never flown before, I had never heard an American accent before, I had never eaten a Big Mac before......and the highlight of my trip....I had never met a Real Live Published Author before.

I can't remember the exact circumstances of the meeting, but I spent an afternoon with Jacqueline Jackson (she has published several children's book and memoirs) and  I daydreamed about being exactly like her, because I loved to write too, and we both had the same name, so obviously I was going to grow up and be a famous novelist!!

It was, and still ranks as one of the Top Ten days of my life.

When Jacqueline (first name terms of course) signed a copy of 'The Taste of Spruce Gum" for me, my Dad, who finds all kinds of artistic people quite exasperating, said " I have no idea where she gets all these arty ideas from...certainly not from me!"

Ms. Jackson said " You gave her the Gift of Enthusiasm, and that's all she needs"

Over the last years, I have suffocated that gift from my Dad. I haven't told him yet that I have quit drinking - he is half way across the world, but last time I spoke to him on the phone..

."Can't believe you haven't got a real job yet...."....he said "You sound happy....speak to your Mum now"

I didn't get a chance to tell him that annoyingly he had been right about the bloody alcohol and that finally, finally....I have been dusting off his gift to me.

(OK, I lied, it was sentimental).

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Big Hairy Assed Problems

Life throws many problems at you. Nobody is immune, and although I do subscribe to the theory of the Law of Attraction - basically you put out what you get back, even the most sunniest, optimistic person cannot fully avoid life's misfortunes, tragedy, problems and stresses.
The problems and heartaches are what make you grow, I believe - in other words, what doesn't kill you will make you stronger.
Unless you are burying your head in the sand - or in my case, wallowing in a sea of wine.

It's so much easier to pour a large glass of wine and let the numbing effects dull your brain and emotions, rather than face a family illness or crisis - it's so much easier to finish the bottle rather than finish that really important paperwork for the bank.....

The Big Hairy Assed problem that I had been conveniently drowning out with wine was.....DEBT.

We are both self employed, Mr. WB and me, so basically, how much we work = how much money we have. Mr. WB has not been employed by another person or company for the last 40 years. I have not been employed by another entity since I moved to the Island.

So we are both basically unemployable.

Our Debt has been increasing. We have been late with a few mortgage payments, a few bills. Before I embraced the sober life - I actually misplaced important bills that came back to bite us in the ass.

Sobriety gives us the gift of freedom - freedom from the clutches and tyranny of alcohol. But with freedom comes responsibility....

So I've started tackling our Debt. Starting with ACKNOWLEDGING our debt - getting an actual number.

It was stressful, but I kept telling myself that it was just a NUMBER, and only when I knew this number would I be able to tackle it.

The next task is to devise a plan to reduce the number!

That's today's task. But already I feel better. Already I feel a bit more responsible. 

There are, and will be many Big Hairy Assed Problems. Life isn't as smooth sailing as, well, as smooth as a baby's bottom......but now I've thrown off the shackles of wine, I do feel able to stare them right in the......Ass.


Monday, 20 July 2015

Day 72 - Monday, Monday...

Monday always marks the start of something new. The work week, obviously, but also the start of new diets, exercise regimes, new habits like getting to work on time, keeping the house cleaner.....Monday is the day when new leaves are turned over, transformations into better, more disciplined lives are started.....and all too frequently, these promises made, dissolve before Wednesday....and then we have to wait another four days before we repeat the process yet again.

At least, that's how my life looked.

Ironically, my sober life started on a Sunday.

 And Sunday was always my favourite drinking day. I loved to open a chilled bottle of white with Sunday lunch - fresh bread and delicious smoked pacific salmon, maybe read a book in the afternoon, (continuing to drink of course), drift off to sleep.....and then inevitably Sunday dinner would fall apart because I couldn't be bothered to cook, and I would just keep working away at another bottle, until I staggered to bed.

I think my decision to stop drinking on a Sunday was a reaction to all those Monday mornings facing an untidy house, unwashed dishes, unfinished laundry (so I would have to rush around and throw stuff in the tumbledryer so I had clean underwear) and the inevitable thumping head and cloud of depression.

Yesterday, I found a list on my phone of 20 reasons to Stop Drinking. It was typed on April 4th 2015, just over a month before I finally stopped drinking - and although I forget actually writing the list, I do know that my intention was to stop drinking on Monday 6th April, and I was going to program my phone to sound an alarm every day at Wine O'clock, to remind me of all the reasons why I Should Not Drink.

I am sure that this fizzled out by Wednesday 8th April.....but I thought I would revisit the 20 Reasons to Stop Drinking, to see if I was at least on the right track.

1. Better Digestion (why would that be #1? But yes, my digestion is better)

2. No more heartburn ( totally gone - this list might be a bit repetitive, I was trying to get an even number)

3. Coffee tastes Better (Absolutely- I love my coffee in the morning, without the queasiness)

4. Better Sleep ( No question)

5. No Hangovers (You think this would be #1, wouldn't you?)

6. Lose Weight (Hasn't happened yet, but it will)

7. Get More Done ( I am a productivity Ninja now)

8. Be a better Wife (Well I'm not really the one to make a judgement, but I think that I am a nicer person to live with - I'll verify and get back to you)

9.Write More ( I write every day, if not this blog, then my business blog, and I am gradually geting organised to write that business book I have been talking about for five years)

10. Don't Stress About the Past. ( This is probably the most wonderful one. I wake up everyday to new possibilities)

11. Don't Drunk Text ( or Drunk Facebook, or Drunk Dial, or Drunk Email)

12. Remember the Night before ( And the book I was reading, and the TV program I was watching and the conversation I was having)

13. Save Money. ( I haven't calculated the total, and I have spent money on AF beer and wine, but there's a saving for sure)

14. Less Depressed (Apart from the occasional attack of PAWS, I am much sunnier)

15. Build a Good Business ( I'm not a millionaire yet, but a couple of new clients, a new website, and a new found passion - it won't be long)

16.Skin will be Clearer ( Yes, no more sweaty blotches, or dry patches)

17. Exercise More ( Not so far, but I I am getting there...maybe next Monday, ha ha)

18.Better Sex ( Again, I probably need to verify - but I am sure its better with someone who is actually present, and not a drunken mess!)

19. Better Reputation - (I hope so)

20. No More Shame. ( Definitely)

These were my reasons to stop. Maybe yours are completely different. Maybe you are surfing around this Monday morning, to get some inspiration, maybe you have a thumping hangover and are just fed up with feeling like that......
Maybe it will be this Monday, or next....or maybe it will be a doesn't matter.....I would just like you to know that the improvements to my life are not just documented in my list.

I found that I have new friends. New friends that I have never actually met. They read my blog, and I read theirs. Some leave comments, and many don't. But I know they are there, and they are from all around the world.
They have difficulties, and problems and issues - they struggle with Sobriety sometimes, sometimes it's easy.
But I guarantee you, whenever you make the plunge, there are thousands of people on your side, helping you through.

Have a great Monday, and thank you all for being here.


Saturday, 18 July 2015

Day 70- My Journey Here.

Day 70. Ten whole weeks.

If anyone had told me at the beginning of the year that I would be Without Wine for ten whole weeks, I would not have believed them.

I was worried about my drinking for about two or three years before I finally gave up. The last year was particularly hard, I was getting desperate to get the monkey off my back.

Last summer we had (as usual) a revolving door of visitors, including my parents. I had tried to commit to a "dry month", but a week in, and I had failed.

While my parents were here, I moderated as much as possible - I opted to drive them around, so I couldn't drink during the day, I tried drinking beer and cider instead of wine....I survived, but it was a rollercoaster ride.

When they left, Australian friends arrived. I had already read Jill Stark's book about giving up the booze for a year, in a country where the culture is soaked in alcohol - I tentatively brought up the subject of sobriety with our friends..

"Give up booze?" my friend Cath said..."That's not a world I want to live in..."

Consequently, I was drinking my way through their stay - having been convinced that my drinking was normal and fun.

When they left, my bubble burst again, and the next few months alternated between "For goodness sake, I'm being stupid and paranoid", and gathering clouds of depression and self loathing.

Like most people, at the beginning of 2015, I tried to write a list of goals, a vision for the year, and all I could write at the top of the page was 'give up drinking".

In April of this year, my husband's friend stayed with us. he is an alcoholic (and could be the subject of a whole other blog post), and he drank steadily through the nine days he was with us, and encouraged us to do the same.

At the end of a miserable week for me (when I was convinced that I would never be able to kick the booze's everywhere, all around me), we were booked to cater for a wedding ( a side project, as my husband is a great cook).

It turned out to be a 'red neck' affair - prominent members of the local chapter of the Hells Angels were there, the air was filled with a blue dope haze and I watched as one lady lurched into the barbeque and nearly set herself alight with hot chicken grease.....(also another blog post topic). Although I politely declined the offers of cheap beer, as guests stumbled in and out of the kitchen, on my way home, I wanted wine.

I drank the whole bottle, and the next morning, I had a hellish hangover - made worse by the dehydration of being in a hot kitchen the day before....and great was Mother's Day and we had fifteen people coming over for a turkey dinner.

I just kept telling myself that the day would soon be over, as I swilled back water. Gradually I felt better. I didn't drink a thing, because the family members that showed up...didn't drink!~

I mentally compared our Mother's Day gathering to the wedding the day before. Which is most normal? 

As  I watched the kids play, and we laughed over family stories, ate good food....I already knew the answer.....

Mother's Day, May 9th 2015 was my day 1. Today is my day 70.

Have a fantastic weekend


Wednesday, 15 July 2015

My Reading Mojo

Day 67, and I'm feeling really excited!

Our guests are leaving this morning, my husband is going fishing, and I have the evening to myself....which means that I get to sit down with a couple of bottles of AF beer and read Harper Lee's "Go Set a Watchman", the controversial novel that Harper Lee wrote before "To Kill a Mockingbird", but for some reason, only known to her and the publishers, has not been released until now.

"To Kill A Mockingbird" was one of my most favourite books growing up and I also loved the black and white film of the same name.

It seems to have stayed with me all my life - dogs have been named 'Scout" and "Boo", and my cat is called Atticus, (until we found out he was a she, and now she goes by Att the Cat).

I have been following the press releases about the new novel,  and **spoiler alert**, it turns out that Atticus Finch has a dark dirty secret - racism. Well, that's a shocker, the novel was set in 1930's America, way down South - where tensions still exist.

The point is, I have got excited about something else than a chilled bottle. I have looked forward to a time just for me...and it has nothing to do with wine...

I used to get like this, BEFORE look forward to a movie coming out, a novel being released, a project to do.....and I am just discovering this wonderful feeling once again....

A planned afternoon re-potting plants, a rainy afternoon with a good book, a hike somewhere new....

rather than days slumped on the couch, watching re-runs, dozy from too much wine.

Reading always was my passion. Just lately, I have read, well, inhaled most of the sober literature - both fiction and non fiction, I have discovered some new authors in my favourite genre - crime fiction, and I am making little diary notes for new novel releases - like "Go Set a Watchman".......

It's official. My reading Mojo is back.



Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Day 66 - Confession.

 I "confessed" to my bunch of lovely business ladies (online - like you lovely people) about struggles with the wine witch and subsequent sober life.....

I was interviewed, here is the link. There's quite a bit boring business stuff, but I have shared this interview around, following on from Sober Mummy's post today (read here), 
 Hopefully this will spread some good Karma.

Feel free to share. NOTE : there must be something wrong with the recording, I don't sound like that in real life at all least not in my head.....

Monday, 13 July 2015

Day 65 - All Around us is Calm

Yesterday afternoon and evening we enjoyed a peaceful barbeque with friends at a nearby campsite.

We were joined by their son and daughter in law, and their two grandsons. It was a fun family gathering.

Of course wine was offered, but no one much cared who was drinking or not - it wasn't the point of the afternoon.

I reflected on how drama free my life has become. Particularly because one topic of conversation was the previous drama -filled camping trip our friends had endured.

This annual camping trip for our friends used to involve three or four couples on a peaceful retreat for a week or so on one of the Gulf Islands.

In recent years they have been joined by family members and grandchildren, so the event has grown into a family affair.

This year was no exception. One young mother joined them, with her two year old daughter and new boyfriend.

A few days into the camping trip, it became obvious that all was not well in this new relationship, and the quiet campsite was filled with sounds of screaming and arguing.

All came to a head one night, the arguments got increasingly violent, and the new boyfriend was ejected from the campsite.

All this of course was fueled by alcohol.

This morning I read Sober Mummy's great post about the lies that alcohol tells you (read it here), and this ruined camping trip highlights one of them......

alcohol is a great stress reliever

I used that one all the time. "I had a stressful day, so I stopped and got wine"

I did truly believe that wine would wash my stress away......

And yet, here I am, over two months without wine, all other aspects of my life has stayed the same, yet my life is so much less stressful....

Could it be that alcohol CAUSES the stress and drama?

Lets go back to our arguing couple in the campsite......

  • They didn't scream at each other all day long - only in the evening after a quantity of alcohol had been consumed.
  • Despite the supposed calming and stress-relieving qualities of alcohol, no one rushed over to give them a large bottle of wine to immediately consume, and therefore calm down the situation....

We're all intelligent people here. Alcohol can't have it both ways............

I'm with Sober Mummy on this one.

Have a great Monday.


Sunday, 12 July 2015

If Hollywood has taught us anything...... is to expect a Happy Ending.

The guy will get the girl. The World will be saved. The flawed hero will resolve his issues.

And alcoholics are glamorous tragic figures that will eventually be reformed.


Real life is quite a bit more ugly and messy than Hollywood would have us believe. (No Shit, I hear you say).

This weekend I caught a glimpse of what full blown addiction looks like. Not the Hollywood version. The bottom floor of the elevator.

The ex-wife of one of our close friends was admitted to hospital. She had been living in a squat with no running water, no sanitation, no food, just cheap alcohol. She was delirious.

This lady has been dependent on alcohol her whole adult life. She drank until she passed out. Her husband tried in vain to help. He paid for her to go to a private rehab clinic.

"I might as well piled up the cash on the front lawn and set fire to it. At least it would have provided some warmth"

He took a job in Northern BC, in a dry community (yes, they do exist) and took her with him, in the hope that lack of access to alcohol would break her dependency.

He came home from work one day to find her high from drinking bottles of mouth wash.

"At least her breath was minty fresh"  he said, a grim attempt at humour.

After years of trying, he took his kids and divorced her. Yet, over the following years, he still tried to help, bailed her out of jail, took her to hospital, paid her bills.

Ironically, the years of abuse on her body have left her brain fried, a form of dementia which means that she has somehow "forgotten" that she is dependent on alcohol. Her brain and body has made one final attempt to 'cure" turning this lady into nothing more than hollow vessel with the lowest possible level of functionality.

Our friend, despite all the drama over the years is heartbroken.

"I asked her one day, why she needed to drink" he said, "She told me....'imagine you are really hungry. At first you can ignore it, but eventually you have to eat. That's what alcohol does to me"

I completely understand the analogy of the elevator. With one exception. While we are riding the elevator down, we have the option to get off at different floors, and maybe in some cases, ride the elevator up.
But eventually, if you stay on, passing floor after floor; when you ride the elevator down so far -

 there are no "stop" buttons, no options to get off. No buttons at all. 

You just ride the elevator all the way to the bottom.

There is no Hollywood Happy Ending.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Day 61

After a few "down" days, the fog seems to have lifted - from my spirits, anyway! We are still in a smoky fog from wild fires that are alight in BC. Very thankful for the firefighters who are working 24/7, mostly dealing with the results of stupid actions by humans that have sparked the worst of the blazes.

This week,my hubby and I celebrated our wedding anniversary, and I also made 60 days AF! Yay!

After my brief brush with PAWS, I thought I would remind myself, and any reader who may be on the start of their journey, or going through PAWS themselves, some stuff I have discovered.

1. There is no right or wrong way to do this.

I read Jason Vales' book at the beginning, and for a while I was getting my knickers in a bunch about not following his advice to the letter. For example, he tells us not to count days. I completely understand why - we are supposed to be embracing a whole new wonderful lifestyle, not counting the days of denial - yet I still count, because it gives me a sense of accomplishment. It makes me feel good, and it also keep me on this path .....'how could you drink wine when you've come so far? I tell myself.
It may be different for other people, I may feel differently when I get to 100 days, or 200, but until then, I will continue to count.

2. I drink AF beer and wine.

Again, may people advise against this, in case it is a trigger to drink the 'real" stuff. But firstly, I like it, and secondly, it is a tool to use in situations when I don't want to talk about not drinking.  I may give this up also, but for now, AF beer especially works for me.

3. I've stopped worrying about my weight and my sugar intake.

Sugar is bad. I get it. One vice at a time. As for my weight, I lost quite a bit to start with, I started juicing, and I even attempted to run a bit. It didn't last. Again, one lifestyle change at a time. I just stopped putting poison in my body. That's a good thing. These extra 30 pounds I carry? That  happened over a decade. I don't need to deal with it all at once, it can wait for another month.

4. I am much more productive. I can take a day off occasionally.

To start with, I was paranoid about catching up all that lost time in the wine years. I can't make up for that. Day to day, my work is so much better than it was, I've got my passion back; my house is cleaner; I take care of admin stuff on time......if I have a couple of down days, (like my recent PAWS days) I don't need to beat myself up.

5. I am not consumed with Guilt for my bad wine behaviour on a constant basis.

Did I behave badly? Yes. Do I regret every incident? No. Some incidents would have occurred anyway, the same words would have been said (less slurry), the same results would have occurred.

I am not the same person I was 60 days ago. Maybe I am more like the person I was 20 years ago. It doesn't really quote something I saw on social media ...

"I love the smell of possibility in the morning"

WB xx

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Baby Step

I have had a couple of "woe is me" days. Feeling a bit grumpy.
The first reason, which is ridiculous, is the sweltering weather. Everyone else is as hot as I am, yet I seem to be the most irritable.
We went to the river for a swim, and tried a different spot. We had to scramble over some rocks, and I whined the whole way.
The water was lovely when I got in and cooled off, and I tried really hard to be upbeat and pleasant, but it just wasn't happening.
On Vancouver Island, at the moment, there are two serious wildfires burning. So far, no lives or property has been lost, due to the hard work and dedication of our fire fighters. The fires and wind have meant that we have had this weird, orange hazy smog hanging over the Island, and blocking the sun.
It has given a strange spooky feel - people are not really venturing out, because of the poor air quality.

It has been a strange couple of days.

Even as I write today, I am not really having a coherent thought.

I listened to a podcast this morning about setting small goals, taking baby steps towards your big goal.

I think a lot of my "mood" is due to the fact that I am "bored" with this journey of sobriety. I feel like the kid in the back seat of the car crying "how much further?"

I wish that I could just transport myself to a place where I am a NON DRINKER. I don't worry about how many days, if there is AF beer or wine in the fridge, if I am losing weight, how I am going to navigate the next party and so on.......what was initially a 'novelty", a new shiny goal....has become a drudgery.

I know that it takes baby steps to get there. I know this is the wine witch circling. I really don't feel the urge to drink. Yet I feel as dark and orangy and weird as the smog today.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Day 56 - Don't it Make My Brown Eyes Blue

Finally! I know now why I am a drunk! Wait for it.......I have blue eyes! Yes!
A new piece of "research" is out, that "links" the colour of your eyes to the probability of whether or not you will become an alcoholic.
At least that's the news headline (article here).

The study looked at more than 10,000 people who were already diagnosed with a form of mental illness, filtered out all those who had a dependency on alcohol - and bingo! Most of them had blue eyes.

Now, of course we don't have the full published study, so I have no idea what hypothesis they actually started with, or the assumptions they made (what "clinical' definition of alcohol dependency did they use?), or indeed, who was paying for the research - just the headline and the message out there that if you have blue eyes, you are more likely to abuse alcohol.

How handy for the alcohol industry! One more piece of research that they can wave at us and say "Look! It's not our fault! It's not the targeted advertising, or the lack of regulation, or the low price or availability of alcohol, or the fact that the pubs and liquor stores are open 24/'s the colour of your eyes!!"

Don't misunderstand me, I'm not blaming the industry for the decades of my wine drinking....but they sure made it easy for me, and I certainly contributed to the shareholder's annual dividend cheque.

In the same way, the tobacco industry didn't force people to smoke - but they made it seem sexy and appealing, and NORMAL to consume a drug that is addictive, and would eventually kill them....and that is exactly what the alcohol industry is being allowed to do today.

And this type of research that correlates eye colour to alcohol abuse doesn't help. The scientists admit that they don't know or can't find a causal link - just a correlation in a tiny sample of people.

If it was harder to get hold of wine, or more expensive, or if there were more of a stigma around drinking wine alone, or at lunchtime, or during the week....would I have still abused alcohol? I can't answer that, I don't know.

But I can tell you with absolute has nothing to do with the colour of my eyes.

Have a great weekend, and Happy 4th July to my lovely neighbours to the south xx

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Day 54 - It Takes a Drunk to know a Drunk Part 2.

Today, a friend showed my a text that she received a few nights ago from a friend of hers. I can't remember the exact words, but the text seemed quite angry and referred to an incident between my friend and the texter, that had caused offence and a misunderstanding.

"The thing is" said my friend "this happened three years ago, and we resolved it immediately, and have been friends ever since. I had no idea she was still so angry....."

She was upset, so I took another look...maybe the texter was joking?

I can't be absolutely sure....but to my practiced eye....this looked like a "drunk text".

I know, because I have been know to "drunk text". And "drunk e-mail", "drunk facebook" and "drunk tweet". 
And, my "communications" would range from the totally incoherent, to just plain embarrassing. And often, after staying up late and getting myself into a drunken state about a perceived slight, or imagined argument, my (published) comments could cause at best confusion, and at worst, offence and lost friends.

The worse thing about it was that I never remembered. My morning ritual at the end of my slippery slope was first trying to ascertain how bad my hangover actually was and then feverishly checking my "sent" emails and texts and my social media feeds for the latest of my rants.

Of course, I did try to control this - I often would lock my smart phone in the car......( and no, I never thought to control it by not drinking!!)

I said to my friend ....'Why don't you call her....there maybe some underlying stress that you don't know about........."

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Day 53

Day 53 and it's sweltering.

It's also Canada Day. My adopted country's birthday. Canada is 148 years old today.

People are crammed onto beaches, and also down at our local swimming hole. Parades are happening in cities and town across the country - although I can't imagine how uncomfortable it must be in this heat.

I am swigging alcohol free beer, and am thankful that I am hangover free.

Later, when it's nearly dusk, and people have trooped off home to have barbeques, Hubby and I will sneak down to the river, and dunk ourselves into the cool water, and feel our core body temperature drop to a comfortable state.

Then, we'll eat a simple meal of leftovers, cold meat and salad, and if I'm feeling really indulgent, I may have another AF beer.

Life is good. We live in a democratic country, we have our health and our happiness and our freedom.

Happy Birthday Canada.