Wednesday, 30 December 2015

The Big Truth....

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Three of Swords, again.

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

And I poured another glass of wine....

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

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

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

The Truth is Poetry.

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

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

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

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

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

Mystic Wine Bitch xxx

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


Sunday, 27 December 2015

Home and Sober for Christmas

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

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

But very little booze!

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

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

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

And everyone seemed really happy.

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

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas too!

WB xx

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Let's Put Down This Burden....

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

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

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

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

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

Have a Happy Sober Christmas,


Tuesday, 22 December 2015

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

Ah, family. They can really fuck you up.

Especially around Christmas time.

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

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

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

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

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

You may be worried about pressure, or sabotage.

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

Maybe take a second to read that last sentence.

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

You know what IS dysfunctional?

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

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

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

That's dysfunctional.

Have a happy, sober Christmas,


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

Sunday, 20 December 2015

I haven't abandoned the blog....

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

I'll be back,

love WB xx

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Christmas by Stealth....

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

But this year is different.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the Universe seems to be conspiring with me.

Today it began to snow.

Monday, 14 December 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Saturday, 12 December 2015

"Selfish" Sober Self Love

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I used to drink.

Fuck it.

I went to the Movies. On my own.

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

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

Wine Witch floated away.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Porcupines and Pumpkins.

Last summer was a gong show for me.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

I didn't hear...

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

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

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

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

WB xxx

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

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

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

The Darkness Descended..

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

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

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

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

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

Last year, I would have curled up with wine.

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

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

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


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

Monday, 7 December 2015

Holiday Wobbles.

There's something about Christmas.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


It will hurt.

You can find details here ..... 

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

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

WB xx

Sunday, 6 December 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WB xx

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

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

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Gazebo, My Dishwasher and The Pineapple Express

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But over all, things are good...

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

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

It's much better this way.


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