Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Is The Wine Witch Running Your Business?

(This is a blog post I wrote a while ago. I've been busy with my business, and I was reflecting on how things have changed - for the better! - and I re-visited this blog post that I didn't post here for some reason).

At first it seems like the new girl is working out. She keep you calm and focused. What a great addition to your business, she really helps you deal with the stress!
When 5 o'clock comes, she pops her head round the door and says "Come on, time to stop - you've worked so hard, you need a reward!"

Sometimes, when you're working late, she'll work with you - helping you to brainstorm, adding her own creativity. She's so full of ideas and promise, that at first you don't notice that the filing's not finished. And occasionally she forgets to pay a bill, or mark an appointment in the diary.
She started off as a part- time help, but you begin to notice that she is here almost full time now. You try to have a word with her about that - "it really wasn't the plan to have you here all the time..."
"Nonsense!" she says, beginning to pout a little " You need me!"

"Well, running a business is really stressful....." you think......"and she does really help......"
One day, you have an angry call from a client. You missed an important deadline. You put the phone down, and for the first time in months, you see the piles of unfinished projects, unanswered correspondence, unpaid bills, missed calls..........what's been going on, how did it get this bad?
You try to talk to her..."Look, this has to stop, I have to get my business back on track...."

She says brightly "And we will! Tomorrow! Right now you need to relax a little....tomorrow we'll make a plan, and get this all worked out!"

So you sit with her, but you are feeling uneasy now, you're not sure if you trust her.....

And this is how the wine witch can take hold of your business.
It happened to me. At first the daily glass of wine was a reward for all my hard work, as I struggled to launch my first on-line business. But after a while, the one glass turned into two or three, and eventually the whole bottle.

It took about three hours to get going in the morning, as I would wake up with a low level hangover most days.......and productivity decreased throughout the day, as I would clock watch until the magic hour, when I could quit and have my first glorious glass. As that warm relaxing sensation spread throughout my body, I promise myself that I would really work hard on that "to do" list tomorrow.....

As my business failed to take traction, I made many excuses to myself - it's the economy! .....Social media is too crowded!....I need to change my niche!.....until one day I was browsing through facebook (research! I told myself), and I found a post from a business lady that I really admired. She was on the type of holiday that I really yearned for, but couldn't afford - beautiful white sandy beaches, turquoise water, an exotic location. "Another fantastic day on the beach" she posted. "Go and have a glass of wine by the pool before dinner!" I commented.

"Oh Jackie" she posted back "I don't drink".....

I wish I could tell you that I fired the Wine Witch on the spot. But I didn't. I tried, again and again, but she would always cajole and persuade me that I was being silly....there was no problem....
"You'll never get rid of me......" she practically spat in my face...." you're too weak and pathetic"... after I told her we were done for good......

That was it. She had gone too far.

It was really tough after she finally vacated my office. I had to face the mess that was left. The unhappy clients. The debt. The sorry state of my fledgling business.

I also had to learn to work properly again. To focus, to regain my passion.
But gradually I did it.

I saw an advert in the paper a little while ago.....
"Girl Friday. Helpful, attentive. Will help relieve your stress. Will work late when necessary. Creative and encouraging.....before long, you won't be able to do without me"

Before you answer that me for a reference.

At first it seems like the new girl is working out. She keep you calm and focused. What a great addition to your business, she really helps you deal with the stress!
When 5 o’clock comes, she pops her head round the door and says “Come on, time to stop – you’ve worked so hard, you need a reward!”
Sometimes, when you’re working late, she’ll work with you – helping you to brainstorm, adding her own creativity. She’s so full of ideas and promise, that at first you don’t notice that the filing’s not finished. And occasionally she forgets to pay a bill, or mark an appointment in the diary.
She started off as a part- time help, but you begin to notice that she is here almost full time now. You try to have a word with her about that – “it really wasn’t the plan to have you here all the time…”
“Nonsense!” she says, beginning to pout a little ” You need me!”
“Well, running a business is really stressful…..” you think……”and she does really help……”
One day, you have an angry call from a client. You missed an important deadline. You put the phone down, and for the first time in months, you see the piles of unfinished projects, unanswered correspondence, unpaid bills, missed calls……….what’s been going on, how did it get this bad?
You try to talk to her…”Look, this has to stop, I have to get my business back on track….”
She says brightly “And we will! Tomorrow! Right now you need to relax a little….tomorrow we’ll make a plan, and get this all worked out!”
So you sit with her, but you are feeling uneasy now, you’re not sure if you trust her…..
And this is how the wine witch can take hold of your business.
It happened to me. At first the daily glass of wine was a reward for all my hard work, as I struggled to launch my first on-line business. But after a while, the one glass turned into two or three, and eventually the whole bottle.
It took about three hours to get going in the morning, as I would wake up with a low level
- See more at:

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Shine on Harvest Moon...

I've been busy in the last week. And the work is paying off. My husband has sold one of his oil retrieval machines and I am getting sign ups for my online business - yay! For the first time in some while the cash coming in is exceeding the cash going out!

Shows what can happen when you focus, right?

I saw on my facebook feed the other day. a post that read...

"Spend twenty minutes in Nature everyday. And if you're busy, spend an hour"

So when I got a text this evening to go out and have supper with friends at the campsite, overlooking the ocean, I didn't hesitate.

It was just the three of us (my husband is still away), and we got pretty excited waiting for the Super Moon to appear, followed by the eclipse.

We weren't disappointed.

The moon rose, in all it's fiery glory, and then gradually, a shadow started to fall over it. I can still see it now, as I type.

There is something quite magnificent and powerful, watching the majesty of the Universe.

It puts everything in perspective.

I felt grateful. To be with friends around a campfire, enjoying the breathtaking beauty of the ocean, and witnessing a shift in the galaxy.

I felt grateful to be alive, to be healthy, to have purpose, and to be sober.

Have a great week everyone,

WB xx.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Colour Me........Sober....

The big conundrum with becoming sober? Sober helps us be more present in our lives..right?

Yet, one big reason that people drink is to NOT be present in our lives....

Diving into that bottle of wine each night gave us (well, definitely me) a break from our daily grind, the mundane irritating issues like debt, bills, family bickering, the boat that's STILL parked in my frigging driveway....

Ann Dowsett Johnston says it better...

"With that first sip, my shoulders seemed to unhitch from my earlobes....Somehow with the second glass, the tectonic plates of my psyche would shift, and I'd be more at ease. Jake use to say it this way "When you drink, that piano on your back seems to disappear..."

The piano on my back weighed heavier, especially when I moved to Canada. It played discordant notes to me as I split up with my long term partner, and I was left wondering if I should move back to England? Stay? The only soothing music in my life was wine....and as I sat in my tiny apartment, clutching glass after glass......all I wanted was the notes to play loud enough so I didn't have to focus on my financial and emotional woes.

It's why we convince ourselves that wine is a reward. It takes us to a place where our troubles, however niggling and insignificant, are not invited.

And that's hard to replace.

Some people recommend meditation, and apart from feeling like a pillock (thank you Sober Mummy for that- see her great post on meditation here), it's also a skill you have to work at.....not nearly as instant as alcohol.

Which is why I am fascinated with the latest trend in Adult Colouring Books.

Yes, that's correct - colouring in shapes and designs, just like when we were children. 

Remember childhood? Those rainy afternoons working industriously away on a craft project, so engrossed that time just melted away....

Wouldn't it be great to get back there, just a short while every day? When the only dilemma faced is

'I wonder if a purple stem would look good on that yellow flower?"

I totally get it.

A lovely lady Naomi Gilmour from my business group is a firm advocate of colouring , and she was interviewed on Radio 2 this's the link if you would like to listen. (The interview starts at about 1.37)

And speaking of pillocks, see if you can spot one in the interview.

I'm off to get my pencils sharpened :)

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Was it all a big Over Reaction?

Was I really that bad? Did I really need to quit for good? 

Before I gave up drinking forever, I would surf the internet, and fill in endless questionnaires to figure out if I had a problem......well, more to convince myself that I didn't.

Now that I've not had a drink for 131 days, very occasionally an old familiar voice will whisper..."Seriously, don't you think this is all a bit over the top?".

So I devised my own questionnaire/ multiple choice session to refer back to, when I am gripped with a "fuck it" may use/amend/insert/delete if you think it might help.

Qu 1. While drinking, have you ever texted/posted on social media something inappropriate that you can't remember the next day?

a. Never
b. Occasionally
c. I had to lock my phone in the car every night and then I would still stumble to the car to get it if I felt in my drunken state that I had something to rant about, or "profound" to share.

(I chose "c")

Qu 2. Have you ever woken up in the morning with the sneaking suspicion that you had sex the night before but can't remember it?

a. Never
b. Occasionally
c. What's sober sex like?**

(I chose "c")

Qu 3. Have you ever thanked God for Netflix and re-watched episodes of a show, because you can't remember what happened, and you don't want anyone to know?

a. Never
b. Occasionally
c. Luckily I work from home, so I could (re) binge watch the whole of Breaking Bad.

(oh, you know)

Qu 4. Did you ever google "am I an alcoholic" or read a sober blog?

a. Never
c.Just look at my search engine results, you only have to type in "a" to see what the prompts are...

And finally.....

Qu 5. Now that you have given up drinking, do you ever wish that you could go back to the way things were?

a. Never
b. Never
c. Never, ever, ever, ever.

** Don't worry, I know now!

Have a great week, 

WB xx


Saturday, 19 September 2015

A Year ago...

I ended up being an entrepreneur because...well, there wasn't anything else I could actually do. Living in Paradise comes at a cost. No large employers, no real industry and very few well paying jobs.

Those "pillars" of the community that continue to pound on the "tourism" drum, fail to comprehend that most of the jobs created will be seasonal and minimum wage...but I digress...

So I found myself basically unemployable in the last few years - who would pay me $35 per hour for my skills and experience, when a recent business graduate of the local college only costs $18 per hour? Plus they are trainable, whereas I, as I have gracefully matured, find that taking direction is tiresome.

Sometimes there is a thin line between being self-employed and un-employed, the former promising a life of Inspiration and Fulfillment....the latter, twice weekly benefits.

At the moment, both my husband and I are in the fledgling stages of our businesses. "Start-ups" in fact. And ours are sometimes very lean indeed...

So this morning, my husband left for Prince George for a couple of weeks to work as a contractor at the pulp mill, and I am left with a long "to -do" list to keep this boat afloat.

Last year, at about this time, Bob took a contracting job. Similar situation.....except that I was still drinking.

I had tried unsuccessfully to cut down during the summer, but there was always another barbeque, another camping weekend, but I had resolved to really give it a go in the Fall.
And here was the perfect opportunity. Bob was going to be at a "dry" camp, I had lots to do in his absence. I was just starting my online business, and Bob's new invention had just been accepted into an R&D project in Arizona.

So this was it! He packed, and I made a To-Do list.

I would love to write that I made at least 24 hours of not drinking, before I succumbed. But before Bob had even disembarked from the ferry in Vancouver, I had already had a couple of glasses of wine.

Just today, I told myself, I'll buckle down tomorrow....

Well, tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.......I don't think I had one day free from alcohol at all.

I did virtually nothing.

How's the website coming? Bob would ask when he phoned, "What did you do today?"...I made sure that I was not slurring when I took his call.....and lied through my teeth about my daily "accomplishments".

The night before he was due to arrive home, I had VOWED not to drink. But I did.

The alarm went off in the morning, but I slept through it. I was supposed to pick Bob up from the ferry terminal at 9, and I woke up at 8.35. I stumbled out of bed, hungover, and I managed to stub my toe on the bedpost, and ripped my toenail right off.

The pain speared through the fog, but I wasted precious moments trying to stop the bleeding.

I arrived at the Ferry Terminal (late) unshowered, sweaty, smelling of stale alcohol, with a blood stained wad of toilet paper around my toe.

Bob didn't say a word as he hugged me.

There were no recriminations or angry words for the work left undone. Even though the project manager from Arizona had finally got hold of Bob in camp, because I hadn't taken the call.

It's a year on, but I still feel such shame. While my husband was putting his life and business on hold to earn enough money to pay the bills, here was I, literally pissing it away.......

People have congratulated me and said nice things to me since I quit the booze. And they've asked do you do it? Isn't it hard?

And yes, sometimes it is. Sometimes, there are the moments when I think...'a glass of wine right now would be lovely'...

In the moments when even the best parts of sobriety don't win over those romantic notions of "just one glass", I transport myself back to that morning, and the feeling of crushing shame, as I tried to explain away why I had let down the person I love more than anything in the world.

It works.

WB xx


Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Foodie without the Wine?

For a little over four months, the kitchen has been a "No Go Zone", unless I'm making toast or coffee.

It's been a little hard on my husband (although he loves to cook), as he has been mainly responsible for preparing dinner.

I do love to cook. But it's also an activity that I associate with wine. As I chopped, chopped, chopped, I loved to sip, sip, sip. When the recipe called for wine (and it often did, because there was an iron clad excuse to open a bottle of wine), I would use the bare minimum, and finish one bottle myself, fussing around the kitchen.....and then of course, I would need the second when we got around to eating.

Sounds sophisticated doesn't it? Sounds "normal".......Julia Child used to slurp away on TV.....why on earth would there be anything wrong with coupling fabulous food with a perfectly paired bottle of vino?

Here's what usually happened. Distracted and decidedly fuzzy from the wine drinking (which was, of course the main activity), I would omit an ingredient, forget the time, dinner would be burned, risottos would be a sludgy mess......the whole experience would resemble an edition of Hell's Kitchen.

My long suffering husband would gag down the meal, (diplomatically murmuring all the right this time, I was one bottle of wine in - so a wrong comment could be potentially explosive), and then he would deal with the mess in the kitchen (because I cooked, right?)

I know that the romantic memory of creating in the kitchen is just constructed in my mind - with a little help from the Wine Witch. I can (and do) relive the actual events.

But cooking is still a Major Block.

Last year, one of my only 'achievements" was to publish a short seafood cookbook. That too, wasn't my best work, and although I sold quite a few copies, and had some nice compliments - I still associate that cookbook with my wine soaked kitchen endeavours.

Last week, for the first time in ages I watched Anthony Bourdain (one of my favourite foodie shows). I got a little inspiration, and coupled with some produce from my garden (new sober activity), tonight I tried a stuffed pumpkin recipe.

It's in the oven as I type.

I poured a chilled AF beer as I worked around the kitchen. I tasted the food as I cooked, and adjusted seasoning. I actually wrote down what I was doing. The kitchen is clean. The table is set.

Maybe it's time to just get over it. 

I'll let you know after the Stuffed Pumpkin :)


Monday, 14 September 2015

Donald Trump - Messiah or Bogeyman?

I love American politics. I love the unapologetic theatre, the passion, the pundits, and yes, even the sleaze.
Here in Canada, and definitely in England, people have been known to sneer a little at American politics, calling it a "circus", lacking "substance" or "dignity".

But I don't listen to those people. And nor, I'm sure, does Donald Trump. In fact, he doesn't really seem to listen anyone who disagrees with him (or anyone who happens to be female. Or Mexican.)

At first, it was funny. I was tuning in just to gape at  What Donald Said Next.

But then, he began to gain momentum in the polls, and it started to be Serious. Some political commentators are already voicing what some people may be thinking....

Could Donald Trump be the next Leader of the Free World?

I was reminded of a WB Yeats poem...

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, 
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Donald's supporters are saying things like.."He's a breath of fresh air" and 'He's not afraid to speak his mind"......only sadly, his "mind' seems to be misogynistic and racist.

But, knowing little about Donald, except that he is an obnoxious billionaire, I did some research.(google). And I found out that he has never had an alcoholic drink in his life!! 

His older brother Freddie, died from Alcoholism, and Donald learned from his mistakes. He talks quite candidly in several interviews about his brother's struggle with alcohol and the effect on his life;

"He was a great-looking guy. He had the best personality. He had everything. But he had a problem with alcohol and cigarettes. He knew he had the problem, and it's a tough problem to have. He was ten years older than me, and he would always tell me not to drink or smoke. And to this day I've never had a cigarette. I've never had a glass of alcohol. I won't even drink a cup of coffee. I just stay away from those things because he had such a tremendous problem. Fred did me a great favor. It's one of the greatest favors anyone's ever done for me"  January 2004, Esquire.

He goes on to say in the same interview;

"I've never understood why people don't go after the alcohol companies like they did the tobacco companies. Alcohol is a much worse problem than cigarettes"

Now I'm starting to like the guy. Could he be one of us?  

I bit more digging, and I found that in 1990, he argued that all drugs should be legalized, and the money put into drug rehab programs. (Sounds suspiciously liberal)

All joking aside, it's about time that we had someone in a position of influence and power to change the conversation and our collective mindset around Alcohol. Someone who could take on the industry, in the same way that the Tobacco industry was challenged - just look at the way attitudes have changed towards smoking!

And who better than someone who has openly spoken about the devastating effect that alcoholism can have on people's lives?

Alas, an hour more research.......

"Trump started selling vodka under his name . The “super premium” liquor hit shelves in 2006 .... Trump had big plans for the beverage. He said it would be “a major player in the vodka arena” because of its quality and packaging"

Sold out before he even begun. I was starting to have a glimmer of hope....but....

Donald Trump is not the Messiah. He's just another politician with a bad haircut.

The Sober Revolution will continue on - not a showy campaign with televised stump speeches, or triumphant rallies, no celebrity endorsements, or town hall debates.

Just a quiet, relentless grassroots movement, started by people who have discovered that when they put down the bottle....

The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” W.B Yeats.


Sunday, 13 September 2015

Addition, Not Elimination.

"Sober" is a word that for many of us is synonymous with "Deprivation".

 I think that is the reason why I struggled to quit the booze for such a long time. I saw my life stretching out in front of me with a big wine shaped void in it. 

Alcohol is woven into the comfort blanket of our lives from the very beginning - from "wetting the baby's head", we include drinking as the main feature of almost every milestone - romantic sun soaked evenings with Merlot, Chilled Champagne at the reception, Brandy on a winter's evening, Cold Beer when we're camping....right up to raising a glass to see us off into the afterlife.

It's no wonder that contemplating a lifetime with no alcohol can seem like a life sentence of self denial and isolation.

Diets are much like this. The new thinking around dieting, is that we don't actually "diet" (Lots of interesting information about this at if you are interested).

Have you noticed that so many diets start off with 'First eliminate sugar/fat/soda/bread.....whatever the advice of the day is, and first we start off with great intentions, but very soon we crave whatever it is that we are supposed to be eliminating?
Surely a far better approach is to focus on the good things that we add to our daily food intake?
Have that slice of chocolate cake, but why not eat a leafy salad in the evening as well?
The underlying theory is that as we notice how much better we feel when we eat the good stuff, we'll keep adding it, and eventually it will edge out the bad stuff. Without feeling that we have deprived ourselves.

In other words, a better approach is to eliminate the eliminations.

Much the same with Sobriety.

A similar approach is to focus on the good stuff, no, the great stuff that is introduced into your life, and very soon that feeling of loss and deprivation will fizzle are my top Great Additions since I gave up the booze;

  • Time.
When I was drinking, the day stopped at wine o'clock. Evenings were just hazy recollections of half watched TV reruns. Now, my evenings are productive if I want them to be. I have a good three hours to work, read, write, converse with my husband....and I can still watch the TV (and remember it in the morning).  I estimate that I have added about five productive hours to my day. I can also while away an afternoon just reading a good book, knowing that I have plenty of time to catch up with chores later. And most importantly, as the threat of about eight different major diseases has diminished, I have added a few more healthy years to my lifespan.

  • Mornings.
I used to say 'I'm not a morning person". Translated ..."I'm hungover and feel too shitty to appreciate the morning, person".
These days, I revel in the mornings. I love the smell of coffee (which used to make my stomach flip flop), I love to sit on my porch, and just be...before the day begins. Sometimes, I plan my day, sometimes I putter in my greenhouse.....whatever I do, the day starts with a sense of calm and contentment, that filters through the subsequent hours. A good morning almost never develops into a bad day.
  • Fun
Ha! You is "fun' possible without a drink? Not only is it possible, but fun is..well., more fun now I can fully participate! A day at the beach, an afternoon fishing, or an evening with friends around the camp fire - all far more fun now I am not worried if I have enough wine, if I am slurring my words, or embarrassing myself. 

  • Connections
 When I was drinking, I was boring and self absorbed. I rarely listened to what other people were saying, and if I did, I wouldn't remember, I took no interest in anybody else's life, because my whole being revolved around a wine glass. Now, I have real connections with people. We have real conversations. And more than that, old friends who drifted away, bored and irritated by Drunk Jackie, have reappeared in my life. And of course, there are the many connections that I have made in Sober Blog World, who support, comfort and guide me.

So there you are. Four major positive additions to my life that would not have occurred if I had still been drinking.

So, when your mind wanders to everything you think you are giving up when you quit the booze, try to focus on all that you have to gain.

And eventually you will eliminate the eliminations.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

The Crab Trap Syndrome.

"Aha", said my friend, "I knew you'd start drinking again!"

He was referring to the chilled amber liquid in my glass, that I was enjoying while sitting on my porch step, in the late September sun.

A second later, visibly disappointed when I pointed to the AF beer can, he asked...

"So when are you going to start drinking again?"

This is a question that I am being asked frequently these days. It's as if my friends and acquaintances have indulged this fad of mine for the summer- much the same as indulging a new diet or exercise regime..."Oh God, are you still cutting out bread? One slice isn't going to kill you!" - and are impatient for me to get back to being....well, the old me.

In the very early days, I was very hesitant about declaring LIFE LONG SOBRIETY!...firstly because I wasn't sure that I could even make 30 days without a drink, and I certainly didn't want to contemplate the whole of my life with an wine shaped hole in it , and secondly, I was embarrassed. I wasn't able to admit that the reason I had stopped drinking was because I had to.

Now, four months later, even after I have explained the full truth, it's as if some people in my life either don't quite believe it, or have chosen to ignore it.

My husband wasn't really fully on board to start with either.

"Well, you'll have a drink when we tour the vineyards in California, won't you? he asked.

Now, he is first one to say proudly when I'm offered wine - "No, my wife doesn't drink".

Yet, for others, it was OK to cut out the booze for a while " Well you were pounding it back a bit" and 'That break from wine has done you good - you've lost weight!", they were basically supportive of what they saw as an experiment, now it's time to get back to Normal.

Time for the Old Jackie to come back.

These people fall into several categories. And for me - and maybe you also - the category will be the deciding factor of whether they ever play a major part in my life again.

Because folks - you heard it here first - The Old Jackie Is Never Coming Back.

So, here are my categories...
  •  People Who think I'm Over-Reacting
I never looked or behaved like a "real" addict. I didn't lose my job (pretty hard when you're self employed, although I definitely could have fired myself many times over), I didn't fall over drunk at every social occasion, I didn't get a DUI, I didn't live under a bridge, or drink cheap cider out of a bottle in a paper bag. I didn't fit the stereotype of a 'drunk", so therefore I couldn't possibly have had a problem. More likely, I'm a middle-aged women who is self obsessed with my "issues".
  •  People Who Have No Understanding About Alcohol Dependency.
These are the people who are "normal" drinkers. They make one beer last all evening. They have one glass of wine. They are people who actually use those pretty wine stoppers to save the wine after drinking one glass. So they have blank looks on their faces when I try to explain that for me, an open bottle of wine was an invitation for a race to the bottom.
"So why didn't you just stop?" they ask, all confused.
In fairness, the confusion is mutual. I never understood them either.

Lastly, there is the more dangerous category. These are the people that the Wine Witch would love to recruit as her henchmen. These are people who are suffering from......
  • The Crab Trap Syndrome 
A crab is attracted into a trap by the bait (chopped up old fish). The trap has an opening, the crab wanders in, eats the bait, and then.....if the crab is all alone, it will often wander out the trap, the same way it came in.
But here's the thing, if there are more than one crab, they will eat the bait, BUT, if one crab attempts to wander out, the other crab(s) will pull it back in!! 

Even though all the crabs could leave the trap through the opening, they will all prevent each other from leaving. It's the crab version of "misery loves company"

For some people in my life, sobriety is not something to be celebrated or supported, because it sheds a harsh light (so they think) on their own drinking habits. The only way to shut off that glare, is to pull you back into the trap.

I don't really concern myself about the first two categories of people. Over the last months, they have got used to me refusing a glass of wine, and the comments have gone from;

'Still not drinking eh?" to "Oops, I forgot, I've got some AF beer here for you"

And the last category? Sadly, I leave them to the bait. I see it in the trap, I see the other crabs chomping on it, and I just keep walking (sideways- this is still a crab analogy)......these days, the bait is just stinky rotten fish.


Thursday, 10 September 2015

Blame it on Jackie O

There's one thing that bothers me about this whole alcohol dependency thing.

Why me?

And yes, the obvious answer is "why not me?" Why should I be so special that I shouldn't stub my toe on a few of life's stumbling blocks....but I am fixated on "where did my Wine Bitchery come from?"

The debate (mostly in my head) goes like this :

Why am I an alcoholic? There aren't any other alcoholics in the family....that I know of ! Am I the token drunk? Does every family get one? If so, why is it me? Why not Auntie Beryl?

I really struggle with the whole "Alcoholism is Genetic" stance, because like every other "nature v nurture" debate, it raises far more questions than it answers. And for every piece of research that links alcoholism to genetic make-up, there is another study that will de-bunk the theory.

So here's my Theory.

My theory is that for me, and for many other women of my generation, drinking is normal. It's perfectly normal to pour a chilled glass of wine the minute we walk through the door in the evening, it's normal to drink wine in the afternoon with friends, it's normal to drink alone in the evening while watching the TV, when you go to your Book Club evenings, when you meet a friend after work, when you get together with other mums at a play date. It's NORMAL !!

But when did it GET normal? When was the Tipping Point?

A generation ago, it wasn't normal. My grandmother only drank a small sherry at Christmas, or at a very special celebration. My mother very rarely drank anything, until the last couple of decades, when she did take a liking to wine, and now it's perfectly normal for her to have a glass or two in the evenings. But she NEVER drinks alone, and NEVER in the afternoon.

So how did we get here?

I did some research. (I googled).

Turns out that until the 1960's, wine was considered ( In America, and by association, I include Canada and the UK) to be the drink of lowlifes. "Winos". (Or the French). It wasn't considered to be sophisticated, and as "ladies" did not drink hard liquor, or beer, there really wasn't an alcoholic beverage that was a normal option for a girl to drink!

All this changed in 1962.

The young glamorous bride of John Kennedy was disrupting the stuffy atmosphere of the White House and imprinting her own elegant style, not only on that iconic symbol of American pride, but also on the psyche of the American public, particularly the American Housewife who was trying to emulate Jackie's style and panache - her clothes, her make-up, her shoes..........and her household.

Jackie Kennedy hosted a televised tour of the White House, and during the walk through, the cameras panned round her dining table, set with beautiful cutlery and china.....and crystal wine glasses...

It was at that moment (according to Google) that WINE became fashionable. Finally a Drink for the Ladies!!

Of course it took another decade or so, and some inspired marketing for us to get here....certainly in the UK we suffered through German Liebfraumilch, Blue Nun, and Black Tower, before we grudgingly conceded that the French were good at something, and then, of course came the fruity upstarts from California.

All of that change coincided with some bra burning and Gloria Steinem, and voila - we can drink the lads under the table! Hurrah for us and our Normal Drinking!

We need another Tipping Point.

We need the elegance and style of Jackie Kennedy Onassis to disrupt the status quo again.

We need "Sober" to be fashionable.

We need Sobriety to be the new normal. 

P.S. I have no hard feelings towards Jackie Kennedy. In fact, I was named after her. As well as no other drunkard women in my family, there are no other "Jacquelines". Apparently my mother loved Jackie's style and her name, so I got it. The name, sadly not the style.



Tuesday, 8 September 2015

The Fall.

Labour Day weekend is now over. The kids are now back to school, and police cars are everywhere, presumably hoping to boost their September Traffic Violation Targets with people who forget to slow down in the school zones (yes I know that they SAY they don't have targets...)

September is the Start of the Year. I can't shake that feeling. January is so not a "starting month" - it's in the middle of dreary winter, it's dark and depressing, whereas September is full of glorious colour, there's the magical transition from dusty summer to dewy misty mornings with watery sunlight, and the smell of fresh start in the air.

So I felt the urge this past weekend to clean, declutter and prepare for the fresh beginning.

Cleaning and decluttering has been the hallmark of my sobriety, but this weekend was in a different league.

I changed the spare room into my new office. Three reasons :

  1. The spare room is at the back of the house and is quieter
  2. It has more room for my large desk and filing cabinet
  3. It has a lovely window that looks out over the forest.
Ok. You got me...

  1. No large spare room = no visitors
  2. See # 1
  3. See # 1 & # 2.
In three days I had cleaned out the room, including the gun cabinet ( I found several bullets and half a deer antler that my husband claimed was 'ceremonial'), I had painted the room a lovely shade of "basmati rice" (off white), donated three large bags of clothes and linen to my mother-in-law's church fundraiser for refugees, and two boxes of bric -a brac to my evil sister-in-law's fund raiser for Belly Dancers ( Belly Dancers are people too) 

I felt smug as I set up my desk last night. Then.......everybody freeze, did you hear that?.......who's there?..

Not you again! 

Whaatt???? Whatdaya mean? I was just saying, no, SUGGESTING...that after all that tinsy glass of wine wouldn't would it?

Why don't you just fuck off?

Oh come on! Look at your lovely room! And a New Start tomorrow!! Go back to this sober thingy tomorrow!!

118 days without you, I don't need you now.....

You see? You can do it! So one glass of wine tonight, and then back on the wagon tomorrow! No biggy....

I don' t do "one glass of wine". You know that. I do "one bottle of wine" and then I want more. If I give in now, my lovely new office won't be a place of sanctuary, a place to write, to build my dreams, it will be the room of shame, the room of failure. It will be YOUR room, you bitch. So fuck off.

And I had my first cup of tea in my new office, watching the shadows grow longer and the light fade. 


Friday, 4 September 2015

If They Don't Go, I Can't Miss Them...

Just a quick post to say that this is the VERY LAST weekend of summer holidays here on sunny Vancouver Island, and the last weekend that Bob & Jackie's B & B will be operating....

Our last set of visitors are here at the moment.

I am giving myself up to a higher power.

I have stopped stressing about time and how I am not getting things done and that I haven't been blogging or working on my business as much as I want, or that I need to clean up the garden.

I am coping with a house full of people, and still not wanting to dive into a bottle of wine.

The work can still be done next week.

The house and garden can wait.

Sober Mummy's Blog this morning put things into perspective (Thank you SM).

Have a lovely weekend ( Long one, if you are in Canada),

WB xx

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

The Shift.

I read on my social media feeds about the passing of Dr Wayne Dyer.

I have a confession, I have never read any of his work, or heard him speak. I know very little about him.

In my head, I had him filed under "New Age-y Motivational Speaker". And as I have a natural skepticism about 'Motivational Speakers" ..seriously, how can that be an actual job... I had dismissed Dr Dyer in my own cynical way, along with Tony Robbins and Brian Tracy.

So, fighting against my Inner Cynic (who hangs out with the Wine Witch, I'm certain), I watched the whole of "The Shift" last night.

At first Inner Cynic was whispering in my ear;

"Easy for him to discount ambition and that he has published books and made a gazillion dollars...."

And then I sat up as Dr Dyer described his own decision to give up alcohol.

Inner Cynic groaned..."Oh no not this again, you are totally obsessed...."

Then I was mesmerized. (Here's a link to the whole documentary)

I have been thinking about it all day and here are my thoughts.

I do believe that becoming sober was my 'shift'. I had been self medicating because I really felt that I hadn't lived up to my 'potential' whatever that means. 
I felt like I had jagged edges. I couldn't settle. I tried to throw myself into careers and relationships that seemed on the surface to have so much promise, but they left me confused and unfulfilled.

By the time I met my husband, I was already attempting to soften my edges with wine, on a daily basis.

It took a "shift". I am not really sure how or why it occurred. But I am just glad it did.

Lots of amazing things have happened since I put down the bottle. Much of my work is now centred around writing, lots of it business orientated and some of it might even be considered "motivational" ......hmmm does that mean that it really can be a job...

And I find myself open to all sort of "New Age-y" wisdom.