Monday, 26 October 2015

Kick the Sh*t out of Bullsh*t.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Sunday, 25 October 2015

It's Like Banging Your Head Against a Wall

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

That's how I think about alcohol now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WB xx

Saturday, 24 October 2015

I'm not Quitting Quitting.....

Quitting was one of my favourite things.

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

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

I am a famous Quitter.

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

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

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

"Are you still off the booze?

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

I sense a shift in my perspective.

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

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

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

So much hard work.

Like sobriety.

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

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

So this week I did two things.

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

WB xx

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And what was my first thought?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WB xx

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Stereotypes that Bite us in the Butt.

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

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

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

AND, one that will be familiar....

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

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

Yes, I really did type that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway I digress.

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

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

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

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

It provides hope for the future.

And for the rest of us?

Stereotyping always bites us firmly in the butt.

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

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

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

Well, I have news for you.

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

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

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

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

You have one less excuse.

And maybe some hope for the future too.


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


Thursday, 8 October 2015

Imposter Syndrome..

Hey everybody, it's been a whole week since I posted! But I have been checking in with you...

I've been busy. I have recorded videos for my online course, I did my first ever LIVE webinar - eek, scary! and have been marketing, emailing, and generally taking care of business....

What a change. Five months ago exactly, business was looking pretty dire.

Lack of productivity, procrastination, below par service to long suffering clients - all by-products of dancing with the Wine Witch.....and one other that I haven't been able to articulate until this week....imposter syndrome.

Imposter Syndrome is defined as ...."a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist even in face of information that indicates that the opposite is true. It is experienced internally as chronic self-doubt, and feelings of intellectual fraudulence"

Every time I tried to give advice, help, teach or guide.....although I was (am) perfectly well qualified, inside of me, a voice was screaming to the client..

"don't take advice from her! She's a drunk! You should see the pile of crap on her desk that she hasn't dealt with.....her? lecturing about organization? That's funny, the only thing she COULD organize is a piss up in a brewery..."

It's tough to give business advice that you're not taking yourself. Hell, any advice.

I was terrified that if I marketed myself, in public....someone would call me out. Someone would post on my facebook page, or tweet, or complain to the newspaper, the Better Business Bureau .......don't work with her! She drinks!

Easier not to take the call. Easier not to reach out to new clients today. Easier to pour a glass of wine..

The road back hasn't been easy. I have had to deal with the pile of crap on my desk. Start marketing, prospecting, advertising, writing.....all from scratch. It wasn't easy......until it was.

In the same way that sobriety gets a little easier, bit by does business. Life. Parenting (as I discovered from Sober Mummy today, see her blog here)

 Socializing. Exercising. Family Gathering. Dealing with Government Agencies. Getting the car fixed.  ALL EASIER. Far easier than reaching for the bottle of wine.

And that nagging feeling of fraudulence? The fear of being "discovered"?


Friday, 2 October 2015


I've never been big on self-grooming.

Let me clarify - I am big on hygiene..just not the cosmetic, hair, spa kinda stuff. It's not so much that I dislike the idea of being pampered, it's just that it all seems so self indulgent....and I could never justify the expense.

Hey, wait a minute, isn't this the same girl who "justified" a bottle or two of wine a day?

Well yes, put like that, and also the fact that I've committed to leaving my business comfort zone and recording face to camera live classes, I've had to face facts.....I've been looking frumpy and old.

I could very happily ignore my increasing weight, deteriorating skin, split fingernails and dried out hair before....I just had another glass of wine.

Also, in my wine addled mind, I saw myself as "outdoorsy" and "natural"....hence the shapeless sweaters, hair scraped back into a ponytail, and aforementioned split fingernails...

But now, as I embark on my business journey, I have been convinced that online classes are the way to go (leverage my time), and so not only have I had to master all kinds of tech foolery (google hangouts, widgets for that, plug-ins for this), I have also had to watch myself on video.

Excruciating! Like having to listen to your recorded voice but a thousand times worse!!

And I have had to acknowledge my woefully low standards of self grooming.

So off to the hairdressers, I go.

I went to lady that I knew slightly. She worked alongside my previous hairdresser ( and I want to say here, that my lovely hairdresser Jane, who broke her arm, and has now moved, did all she could to keep my hair looking can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. - I'm the horse, in case you didn't get that)

So (extremely) young Brittany, got the job.

"Do your magic! " I said.

I have to hand it to her.

Yes, we need to fix that, she said briskly as she surveyed my tattered, sun dried locks.

And, just a sharp intake of breath when she got to my fringe, which I had recently hacked with kitchen scissors...

She definitely cast her spell. An hour an a half later, I have darker hair, no grey, it looks smooth and feels silky.

I am happy.

Is there anything else I can do for you, asks Brittany, as she sprays and fluffs the finishing touches.

Feeling confident, I joke...."Can you get rid of ten pounds of ugly fat for me ?"

She stops and looks at me.

I'm a beautician, not a magician....