Monday, 31 August 2015

The Numbers and The Words.

I've been told that I am very analytical. I'm a "numbers" person.

I'm not sure about that, but I do love the order and certainty that numbers bring. Two plus two will always add up to four, despite the chaos and drama that swirls in the Universe. It's something you can rely on.

In my first days of sobriety I relied on numbers a lot.

10 days without alcohol
2 pound of weight lost
4 extra hours of productivity a day
50 dollars saved

The mounting numbers both reassured me and spurred me on - I can do it! Look at my achievement!

If you are reading this on a rainy Monday hungover morning, and want to start on a lifetime journey without alcohol - my first advice to you is..... hang on to the numbers they will sustain you - at first!

As you progress, the numbers become less important - they don't tell the whole story.

 Numbers won't tell you about the tranquility of an early summer morning, drinking coffee on the porch, the feeling of clarity and optimism

Numbers won't provide you with the inner pride you feel after a day's productivity, giving your best self to the job in hand.

Numbers won't fill you with joy and laughter on a Sunday afternoon at the beach watching the kids play.

So for me, words have taken the place of numbers. Words written in this blog, words written by many others on this same journey.

Words bring mindfulness. Words remind you of the journey, the evenings with clenched hands as you ward off the Wine Witch, words warn you when you hear the sirens sing to you. Words give you strength and meaning and hope. Words warm you and comfort you.

I missed writing my blog for a few days. I got busy. I got fidgety. I missed my words. I hadn't realized how important they were to me.

It might not be words for you. It might be meditation or prayer. But you will need something to keep you mindful, once the numbers have completed their work.

Thank you for reading my words, 

Have a fantastic week

WB xx.




Sunday, 30 August 2015

DUI


I read an article yesterday about drunk drivers in the US. One State, instead of removing the driving licence, was enforcing mandatory sobriety, by making offenders take a breathalyzer test twice a day. Should the offender fail the test - off to jail they go and/or lose their Driving Licence (and I should have saved the link, sorry)

Of course this raises all sort of arguments about civil liberties, but the article went on to say that a over 25% of the offenders, once the 'sentence" was completed, chose to live a sober life (at least for some time).

When I moved to Canada, about twelve years ago, I was shocked that most people seemed to disregard the Drunk Driving laws. I moved to a small mill town in the middle of Vancouver Island ( guess away) and Drunk Driving was practically a sport.

There were a few road blocks around Christmas time and  statutory holidays, but in the main, people would take 'a chance" and get behind the wheel after they had a few.

As my drinking increased, I got very organized (I think one of you lovely people referred to it as Wine Management 101). I always made sure that I had plenty of wine, so I would never be tempted to drive, even as all reason and common sense left me.

Well that was the theory.

I have never been caught driving over the limit, and I have never had an accident.

Only by the best luck ever.

I have definitely driven while under the influence of alcohol, I am very ashamed to admit.

I wondered what would have happened if I had been caught and sentenced to mandatory sobriety.

I hope that I would have been so ashamed of myself that I never touched another drop. I hope that I would be thankful for a second chance. I hope that I would have eventually embraced the sober life, even after the "sentence" was lifted.

I hope this experiment is successful.



Wednesday, 26 August 2015

The Wine Mogwai

I was having lunch yesterday with an old friend, and we were talking about relationships. At one point my friend said

"I think that everyone just wants to feel special"

Oh that's just bollocks ( I thought to myself), I'm just ecstatic when my husband remembers to hurl his underwear towards the laundry basket. It started me thinking.....


No one has to feel special, we all just want our voice to be heard and our needs to be met occasionally. (How frigging hard is it to get the underwear IN the laundry basket??)

For a long time, I used to douse my displease at the misplaced laundry and a long mental list of un -met needs and unheard requests with large quantities of wine. The wine, rather than calm me, would act rather like a few drops of water or food after midnight to a Mogwai (Gremlin)

And then, my unheard voice fully lubricated, I would start a fight with whoever was at the top of the list (not always my husband), to their complete bewilderment.
Much like the Gremlins I would transform into a destructive evil wine bitch (hence my blog name),
and I wouldn't hold back - sarcastic emails, cryptic texts and social media posts ...There! that told them! I win!!

In the early hours of the morning, full of remorse after surveying the cyberspace fallout from my self righteous declarations, I would cringe and berate myself. And then face a day of damage control to complement my hangover.

Now, after 108 days sober, I have had two epiphanies....as follows...

  • It's not possible for my voice to be heard and needs to be met....unless I speak up!!
Today I want to hang out in the greenhouse and work in the garden, I don't want to visit your brother and watch the hockey match"

"I would prefer to go away just the two of us, rather than invite so and so ....."

  •  I've discovered that "No" does not need to be followed with an apology

"So and So want to visit for two weeks in the summer" "No, that doesn't work for me"

"I moving house next weekend, and I need a truck, can I borrow yours? " No, that doesn't work for me.

You get the picture.


After years of being resentful that people would invade my space, borrow my stuff, and want me to do things that I didn't want to do, instead of saying "yes" and getting all upset and hysterical because I really meant no (after the wine)...

 ....... and they should have known that, hell, they shouldn't have even asked, how rude and inconsiderate, don't they understand that I have a life too?......

I found out that all I had to do was speak up. And not drink the wine (obviously).

These days, I am rarely out of bed at midnight, and so then only thing that transforms this Mogwai into a Gremlin is......the fricking underwear...












     



Monday, 24 August 2015

The "In" Crowd

I'm back on dry land!

The boat floated. The engine purred beautifully. And the weather was clear and sunny, and the water was calm.

It was exactly the couple of days we both needed. No phones, no computer, no wifi, no social media.

We tied up for a couple of nights at Silva Bay, a little dock on one of the Gulf Islands.

There were other couples that we knew, so we gathered together on the dock, and barbequed the fish we caught.

One lady offered me a beer.

I was just about to refuse, but she interrupted me, apologizing...

"I'm sorry, I only have alcohol free beer, is that OK?"

"Of course it is, that would be lovely!" said I, delighted that I didn't have to explain myself.

"We gave up drinking about two years ago" she went on to say.

"Oh I gave up about three months ago" I said casually.

And that was that.

Friday, 21 August 2015

The Shake Down

I never thought it would happen - Oh cynical me!

The boat that has rested in our driveway - looking as if it had found it's final resting place, is now in the water! And it floats!

And as a reward for my patience (no one has been reading my blog then!) I get to go on a boat trip for a couple of days.

It's a "shake down" cruise.

I was very patient (again) as my husband explained that a "shake down" cruise is not where we go out to sea and someone extorts money from me, it is a boat trip where we assess what we need on the boat, and what we don't - a "house keeping" cruise.

He is only concerned about what fishing gear he has on the boat.

I am only concerned with the coffee pot, book and bacon. And some AF beer.

Apparently I am the high maintenance one (but you should see the sheer volume of fishing gear!)

Anyhoo, I'm off to get "shaken down" for a couple of days, and as I am assuming no wifi - I dare not ask - high maintenance - so have a great weekend!

WB xx

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Happy 103rd Birthday!


If my Grandmother was still alive, she would have been 103 today. (coinciding with my 103rd day sober!) She died when she was 99.

She was a Londoner. She was born in Stepney, a small suburb I guess, in the East End of London. She was married quite young and had my Dad, and then sadly, my Grandfather died of TB - a common disease that had not, at that time, been contained.

As a single mum, she worked as a housemaid. She met her second husband, who was also widowed, they married, and my Dad had an instant family of two stepbrothers.
In the years that followed, my Grandmother raised her family, and ran several very successful businesses with my step grandfather, before retiring in Worthing, a small seaside town. She was widowed for the second time, when I was about six years old. She had eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren when she passed away.

My mother was introduced to her as my Dad's girlfriend, and then fiance. My Mum's family was Irish. At that time, there was considerable prejudice towards the Irish, they were generally considered dirty and drunkards.
At their first meeting, my mother tells how my Grandmother gave her a withering stare and said "I suppose some Irish families are clean"

That was not a Good Start. I don't know the whole story, but as I got older, I was more aware that my Mum had quite a tough time of it, due to her outrageous sin of stealing away my Dad, my grandmother's Golden Boy.

When my grandmother reached her eighties, it was obvious she was starting to suffer from dementia. There were many discussions in our household of how best to care for her.
My mother (wisely) put one boundary in place. She would do whatever was necessary to look after my Grandmother, but she could not come and live with her and Dad.
My Dad agreed, and so began nearly twenty years of caring for my elderly grandmother.

We tag-teamed. My Mum and Dad ( newly retired themselves) would visit almost every day during the week. Myself and my brother would take turns at the weekends. My lovely sister-in-law, even with a new born baby would drive two hours to visit, if my brother was away working.

She was insistent that her new daughter should get to know her Great Grandmother.

Notably absent from this arrangement were my step uncles and their families. Rarely would they visit. I was angry about this. My Dad tried to explain.

"It was difficult. They both lost their own mum, and they thought that mum favoured me. She tried to treat us all the same, but it was hard for all of us."

But she loved them, fed them, clothed them, made sure they went to school, did everything she could. And then she adored all her grandchildren.

I was still pissed.

My mother took on the greatest burden. Nearing the end, before Nan had to go into a nursing home, my mum would bathe her and dress her. She also did most of the laundry, cleaning and cooking.
I worried about my parents. They were exhausted. They had so little time to enjoy their retirement. Looking after Nan was all consuming.

Not once did her sister in laws offer to help.

After Nan died, there was the obligatory family gathering, and as my brother watched my anger rise as my cousins wept their phony tears, he took me by the hand, and said'

"We have the best memories"

A couple of years later, I asked Mum

"How did you do it? Nan was never that nice to you, but you did everything for her" 

She was genuinely surprised.

"Your Grandmother was an old lady who needed help. She was also the only mum I knew for most of my life (Her own mum died when she was eighteen), and she was your grandmother. She was my family. I only did for Nan what I would have done for my own mum"

Part of getting sober for me is not just putting down the bottle, as hard as that is. It's also working through all the bullshit and deciding what kind of person I want to be. It's letting go of old anger and recriminations, and realizing that the only control I have, is over my own life and my own actions.

It's behaving in a way that doesn't keep me awake at night.  

And it's not giving a shit about how other people decide to live their lives.

Happy Birthday Nan.xx 




Wednesday, 19 August 2015

My Shortcomings.

On Day 100, I came out.

Out of the Sober Closet. I posted my blog post on my own facebook page. 

It just seemed time to just get it over with.

No more little white lies about why I'm not drinking, no more raised eyebrows (probably imagined), just an acceptance that I no longer drink, and hopefully that means a better selection of non alcoholic beverages next time I am invited out. (hint, if you are reading)

So the majority of my lovely friends were just as supportive as my blogger family. People politely didn't say "I KNEW it!!"

One lady posted a comment on facebook.

"Well done Jackie, lots of people don't admit to their shortcomings"

I know she was being supportive. I know she was being kind.

And I'm not offended at all.

But it does reinforce the notion that if you are dependent on alcohol, it is your failing. That you are somehow weak and irresponsible.

I must admit here, that until my own ride with addiction, I was quite judgmental about smokers.

"What a filthy habit. Why don't they just stop? So and So is always telling me how broke she is, but she still finds the cash for the ciggies"

Karma. She's a bitch, but a fair bitch.

So I graciously accepted the compliment in the way it was intended.

And I continue to work on my shortcomings.

Have a great day,

WB xx

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Not Drunk Enough.


"But you only drank wine...not the hard stuff. For God's sake, they practically drink wine for breakfast in Europe"

But I drank a lot of wine, sometimes more than a bottle at a time......

"That's not much, that's only about four glasses, and if you drink two of them with dinner.. 

Actually, a bottle is about 6 units, according to Canada Health.

"Oh, the government. Since when did you care what the Government says?

Since they told me that my drinking could cause about six different types of cancer, diabetes, dementia....and besides, it makes me feel like shit"

Oh, pu-leeassse ....You feel like shit? A headache in the morning? You don't even drink the hard stuff!

Oh, you'd prefer it if I drank a bottle of vodka a day?

Well, at least that would be a real fucking problem!

Let's get this straight - you don't think I have a problem?

Only if being an uptight whiny bitch who needs some attention is a problem! Other people have real problems, you know, hunger? War? Poverty? Even people right here on Vancouver Island have more problems than you...

I know that people have many terrible problems, much worse than mine, but still, my wine drinking was a real issue, it was affecting my life! My business! My marriage!

Oh, come on....you think he wants to be with some boring bitch who can't have any fun? He didn't sign up for all this sober shit !

It's better now! He's proud!

He's embarrassed! And what about that blog? What kind of fucking hero do you think you are? You're not some kind of addictions counselor!

I know who you are.

YOU DON"T KNOW SHIT! You're just a middle-aged Drama Queen who needs some attention, and thinks her little "wine drinking" problem is IMPORTANT!

I know who you are.

WHO I AM??? WHO I AM?? You don't even know who you are! You think you're some kind of ALCOHOLIC?

Yes

YOU WERE NEVER DRUNK ENOUGH TO BE PART OF MY CLUB!!! 

I know who you are. And I know you're scared.

ME? SCARED? 

Yes, Every time I refuse a glass of wine, every time I wake up full of love and joy, every time one person reads my blog, or other blogs and decides that it's time to cut down a little, or give up entirely, every time someone congratulates me for being sober, one more day......you fade a little. Die a little....until one day, your voice with be so faint, that I can barely hear you. So until then, you obscenity, you will scream and roar.......but your days are numbered. Soon you will be no more.

 


Monday, 17 August 2015

Day 100. Simple.

Day 100 - A letter to myself of 101 days ago.






Dear Jackie,

You're feeling pretty low at the moment. Another day with a hangover. Another unproductive day. Another day despising yourself. You won't believe it right now, because you are too scared and tired, but life is about to change. In 100 days, life will be transformed.

  • You will acknowledge that you are an Alcoholic. Dysfunctional Drinker. Drunk. Lush. It won't matter what label you use. You will have stopped comparing your drinking to those around you. You will stop telling yourself that 'So and so drinks so much more than me, I must be Ok". You're not. Once you start you can't stop. When was the last time you had just one glass of wine? Never. You have no "Stop Button". But you do have a "Don't Start" button. And over the next 100 days, you will be amazed at how effective that button is. Simple.
  • You're worried about all those social occasions, where the wine flows freely. What will people say when you refuse wine? What will you say? Will they think you are boring? Will they think you have a problem? News Alert Princess! You do have a problem. Firstly, your health, your work, your whole life is way more important than what a few people think. And here's the thing...you're not that special!!Over the next 100 days, you'll go out as normal, you'll even go camping. And you know what? No one will care if you drink wine or not. Oh, you may have to tell a couple of white lies "Oh, I've given up because I get terrible heartburn", so what? . You'll have a fun time, you will chat and laugh as usual.....and you will drive home and remember it all in the morning! Simple!
  •  You'll still going to be in debt in 100 days. The Debt, like all of life's other problems won't magically disappear. But for starters, the $15 per day that you spent on wine will have stopped. So that's $1500 right there. And because you are not wallowing in self-pity and Merlot, you'll remember to transfer money at the right time, and the cash haemorrhage due to NSF charges, and late payment charges will stop. Your business won't have taken off quite yet, but you will be gaining traction, and the quality of your work will have improved. You'll start to feel quite proud of what you do. Simple.
  • You''ll stop beating yourself up about all the fuck-ups you made in the past. All those drunken evenings getting worked up about that toxic relationship, those stupid business mistakes, and the drunken rants on facebook? Waking up at 3 am, dehydrated and guilt-ridden, checking your phone, email and social media, to see what you said this time? That will stop. You'll forgive yourself. You'll move on.Simple.
  • Sorry to disappoint you, but that 30lbs in excess weight that you're carrying? It won't disappear. You've abused your body for over a decade, did you think it would be fixed in 100 days? Get Real. But your skin will be clearer than it's ever been. You'll be sleeping.....yes real refreshing sleep. You will enjoy food. You won't be stressing about one fucking piece of cake, even though you are putting 4200 extra wine calories in your body every fricking week! How crazy is that! Towards the end of the 100 days, you will start to hear what your body is telling you. That it needs a glass of water. Or "tonight I'd like some fresh leafy greens" and because you won't be drowning out that voice with alcohol - you'll actually listen and act. Your body will thank you by becoming less puffy, and finally the scales will start to move in the right direction. Simple.
  • You will re-connect with a friend. You're feeling all hurt and annoyed right now. But she was the only one who knew. The only one who called you on your bullshit. She probably saved your life. So you'll finally stop being a whiny princess, and you'll have tea with her. It will be nice. She waited for you to get over yourself. Thank her. It's Simple.
  • You will start to make a difference. You will write a blog and by Day 100, nearly 10,000 people every month will look at it. Some will leave comments. They will be inspirational and supportive. This blog, and all the other bloggers will keep you going, with words of wisdom, their own beautiful, uplifting stories. You will make new friends. It will be a quiet revolution, and you will be part of it. Remember that you used to want to change the world? Leave your mark? You will. You just didn't know how. Now you do. Simple.
  • You'll stop looking at your husband and wondering if he regrets marrying you. He's always been supportive and loyal. Now you'll be making him proud. Simple.

 Lastly, Jackie, you will start to like yourself a bit. Oh, you'll still fuck up on occasion, say the wrong thing, make the wrong decision. Be all hot-headed and swear too much. You'll still procrastinate (can't blame it all on the vino - sorry!), and you won't be perfect. But life will be less stressful and complicated. Guilt will no longer be your default emotion.

Simply by putting down the bottle

Love Jackie.
xx






Saturday, 15 August 2015

Day 98 - Just Routine.



Day 98.

All our visitors have left.
The boat is still in my driveway. My initial excitement when I heard a motor running was short-lived. There are Still Things to be Fixed.
My husband has promised me a boat trip as soon as it’s sea worthy. I am holding him to that promise.
In the meantime, he is on a quest for mysterious “boat parts” and I have a Saturday stretched out in front of me with no particular plans or obligations.
It’s a lovely feeling. I have about half a pot of coffee left, just for me, and I am sitting at my computer desk, still in my PJ’s.

I have a whole list of stuff I could do;

I could continue writing content for my new business course
I could write a couple of business blogs and schedule them to be published
I could spend a couple of hours in the garden weeding and cleaning out vegetable beds.
I could pick blackberries before they are completely over and freeze them. Or make a pie.
I could clean the house.
I could declutter another corner/closet/drawer.
I could find our sleeping bags and camping gear to get ready for our boating trip.

The possibilities are not endless.
I will not change the world today, with my list.
The house is quiet. I have another coffee.

I revel in ordinary.
I revel in mundane.
I revel in routine.

Have a great weekend 

WB xx

Thursday, 13 August 2015

All the Cool People are Sober...

I am on a deadline to get some work done for a client, so I have naturally taken a break to read some blogs and surf around cyberspace, to make absolutely SURE that I will be working to the last bitter minute to meet my deadline.

(Apparently, my procrastination cannot be blamed entirely on wine..)

And these are some gems that I discovered while "researching" on social media.

"Booze is shit and all the cool people are sober" , Lotta Dann, aka Mrs D.

And this one, buried in a blog from Kim Duke, lovely Canadian business coach. It spoke to me on lots of levels, including right now as I'm so close to finishing this pile of paperwork.



Don't Quit 
by Anonymous
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is weird with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure has turned about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far.
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit,
It's when things seems worse,
That you must not quit.

And now lovely people, I really have to get my stuff done.
WB xx