Saturday, 20 December 2014

ME, MYSELF AND I


A slow contentment seems to be arriving.  It’s been ages since I’ve written here as I haven’t really known what to say.  Just getting on with life. A rather extremely busy one at the moment.  Being in the tourist industry this time of year creates a lot of pressure and I have to be well focused every day to keep on top of it. Not complaining, just making hay while the sun shines!

Tomorrow it will be five months since my last pleasant little night drinking here at home by the fire, with music, reading Mrs D’s book, knowing I was going begin life alcohol free the following day.  And I did.  It has been quite a bumpy road in parts and has resulted in a number of changes, but on the whole it has been easier and way more satisfying than I expected.  The biggest changes are that I am no longer in a close relationship with my partner of nearly five years.  I miss him a lot, but I chose what I needed to do for me.  My daughter has moved out of home and is living with her boyfriend, and I miss her heaps too, but it is the natural course of things and we both knew it was coming up.  I have realised that becoming sober, in my case anyway, is quite a selfish or self-indulgent experience.  For me, this is the first time in 27 years that I have lived on my own, without children or a man to shop and cook and keep house for, as well as laugh with, cry, love, learn, and enjoy excellent company with.  It is taking a wee bit of getting used to……as I write I have 2 little lamb chops and 2 baby potatoes cooking and will knock up a baby sized salad.  It feels like a joke after all the thousands of meals I’ve cooked, and I don’t always even bother, but it is actually quite enjoyable.  I can eat anything I please, I actually decide what to have for dinner by considering only myself. Cleaning up takes approximately 2 minutes. Shopping is also a joke as I hardly need anything because it takes so long to use anything up. (apart from chocolate and my new love of sweet things).  I watch whatever I like on TV, read or watch movies in the middle of the night if I can’t sleep, hardly ever have to clean up anyone else’s mess, and never wait for the bathroom.  In a way it all sounds a bit sad I suppose, and who wouldn’t much rather be at the centre of a big loving home and family? Well me I guess.  Because I have been there and done all that and come out the other side, with wonderful children who are grown up and in their twenties and happy in their own lives, and with whom I have fabulous loving relationships with and see often.  We’ve always been close, I have done a good job, taught them good skills and values, shown them good qualities, set good examples, shown them great independence and survival skills, and while I have always drank too much throughout their lives, I haven’t exactly been a total train wreck either.  So it seems like now is the time in my life that I can concentrate on Me.  It will be interesting to see how things unfold from here.  I don’t think I have ever slowed down enough to ponder much about why I am so partial to alcohol.  I accepted when quite young that I have an addictive personality and left it at that.  I am not going to navel gaze too deeply, or be too impatient with myself about any of my downfalls.  I am going to try very hard to get through this busy season and the summer months without touching a drink, and that will be enough of an achievement for me.  For the rest of it, I am just going to relax, stay as calm as I can, and see how it all rolls.

A very Happy Christmas and a Fun Fabulous New Year to anyone who might happen to read this.

 

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

BANKS PENINSULA GARDEN TOUR

I had a great weekend over at Takamatua with some of my family and my sister arranged for us all to do the Garden Tour. It took two days and we started at French Farm, then Wainui, Fishermans Bay, then lots of gardens in Akaroa. We finished up with that crazy mosaic garden "The Giants House" in Akaroa.  It is hard to believe that this one lady has done it all herself. What is she on?!!
I've been trying for a couple of days to get them up on a link, and have managed it with some help, but they are in the opposite order of how we saw them, so they begin with the crazy garden.
Just click any photo to enlarge and use arrows for next shot. (I am not the greatest photographer, I just point and click). Some very gorgeous gardens here, and they all do it themselves. Enjoy.


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN "THE ROLLING STONES"

Well I must say I had an absolutely cool, funny and fantastic weekend. The concert was totally awesome, just as I knew it would be. They let Keith do a couple of songs, he did Happy and Before You Make Me Run.  I love it so much when he gets to sing.(Mick usually only lets him do one song) And man he is such a cool old rocker, and when he smiles it's like it just lights up the whole stage, he sure was enjoying himself and played his heart out. Mick was like a 20 year old athlete strutting his stuff in his usual style and gave a fantastic energetic performance. Charlie was beautiful and always the gentleman and treated us with a couple of gorgeous smiles.  Ronnie played  like the legend he is and made me laugh as he lit about 4 cigarettes while they played and still does that thing where he puts it in the neck of his guitar under the strings and plays on.  He was looking a bit the worse for wear and tear I thought, could use a few cream cakes! Lisa Fisher was as always utterly amazing and did a bit of a solo which had everybody spellbound. Just beautiful, the power of her voice. Great to see Mick Taylor, I hadn't expected that and he got right down to it and played some real mean guitar with the boys. There were heaps more musicians and right now I've forgotten the names of a few important ones. They played Sympathy For the Devil and bought on the Auckland Youth Choir for that, which was stunning and very moving. Forgot to mention it rained, just a drizzle, and we had rubbish bags with holes cut out for our heads and arms. I bought a T Shirt before the concert so used that for a hat. It was great to see this concert with my 3 long time girlfriends who are all big Stones lovers from way back.
The weekend away was a cool wee break for me, flew up with my good friend and we got a rental car with a slightly faulty GPS which caused some hilarious moments and wonderfully colourful language from both of us. We got to do heaps of stuff in the very short time we were there. Managed to stick to my ginger beers when all around me were swilling beers and wines and ciders in the afternoon down at the viaduct. We were having a big catch up with my brother and his 2 sons who'd come over from Melbourne to watch it with their Dad, my daughter and 5 of her friends who flew up for it, and some other Christchurch friends.  Then back to the lovely house in Beach Haven overlooking the sea to get ready for the concert, where a few more drinks and a few wotevers were going on, and a lovely icy ginger beer for me, then driven all the way to the concert and picked up afterwards by my friends husband (husbands weren't invited to attend). It occurred to me that this was the first concert I have ever been to sober or completely straight. I loved it. I heard every note, every guitar riff, noticed everything and was totally there in each moment. It was also great not to have to be thinking about how I could get another drink and how long that would take etc. I could feel the energy of the others slumping a little bit as their drinks kind of wore off, and I was glad that it was all real and raw for me.
This was really my first big challenge, catching up with these friends who are totally favourite much loved girlfriends and drinking buddies from nearly forty years ago. We don't always see each other often but when we catch up we sure do make the most of it. So I think it was a little weird for them, as well as me. I don't think they found me too boring, and I found out for myself that I can still be funny and witty and have a great time. They are probably a wee bit shocked and bewildered, because I guess I was the main culprit, and the one who always got us all together. They are happy for me though, I think. It was really nice to know that I could check in and write wee posts to my online community at LivingSober, which I did a few times, and getting some responses was very cool, just to know there are people out there who have my back, and care what is going on for me. So all in all I am feeling strong, grateful and happy, and I had a real fine time xo

Thursday, 13 November 2014

FLAT LINING?

I've been having a bit of trouble expressing myself the last couple of weeks, even to myself! I am not really sure how I am feeling. There's nothing wrong, just life going on as usual. I am happy and proud to have reached triple numbers and at 115 days today I guess I must be approaching four months. I have had a couple of nice outings lately, well parties really but in the afternoon. The first was an Upper Middle Bogan party that a girlfriend put on where me and another friend dressed the part and went along. She has given up smoking and I'd given up drinking so that was a bit of humour and a challenge for us both.  The other was a nice Jazz afternoon on a friend's lawn. I got through both of those with a couple of nice soft drinks and not really a bother at all. The Bogan one lasted till the wee hours but we got home at 6.30 after about 4 hours.
I think I am feeling a bit glum to be honest. My daughter moved out two weekends ago and I was not dreading it or anything as it was the right time and a natural progression for both of us. So now I'm rattling around in my big 4 bedroom villa on my own, and that's ok, I just feel a bit weird.  My business is very busy at this time of year, and it takes a lot of mental energy to keep up with all the details. I operate from home so you could say I don't get out much, though I do get out and about picking up parts and other necessary items required.  If I was lonely I would probably be ringing up family and friends more to have chats, but I'm not doing much of that at all. I think I am mentally exhausted by the end of the day, and just want to have something to eat, and check into Living.sober.org.nz and see how all my online sober buddies are doing that day. That actually takes up a lot of time but I've got a tablet now and do it away from my desk so it is separate from my work, and it's about my favourite leisure activity (is that sad)? It certainly takes a hell of a lot less time than drinking!! I love watching movies too but the stupid Sky remote isn't working and for 2 weeks I've been waiting on a replacement. Useless service!!  I guess I am still adjusting to this new way of living I've taken on, and I guess also there have been some major changes in my life since doing so.
I have heaps to be grateful for and I am looking forward to going to Auckland next weekend to catch up with friends and go to the Stones concert (for the 4th time)! Then the following weekend I am catching up with family and going on an all weekend garden tour on Banks Peninsula. That sounds so grown up and I'm not even 60 yet! Not even 59!
I've been trying to be really open to what it is in me that I've been trying to dull down with alcohol all this time.  I honestly don't know. I am hoping it will be revealed to me some time soon. I am feeling a bit boring and serious at the moment, as you can tell by the writing. Hopefully I'll have a bit more flow back on next time I check in here. I think this is my time to really try some of this self care you all talk about. I tried it tonight by cooking myself new potatoes, the first broad beans from my garden, and chicken tenders stuffed with green Harrissa and soft Italian cheese and wrapped in prosciutto. It was lovely but I felt like a bit of a dick cooking and eating it by myself. I'd bought the ingredients last weekend thinking one of the kids might be over for dinner, so thought I'd better use it up. Here begins a long weekend, and one way or another I intend to make the most of it. Could be reading, could be writing, could be working, could be movies, could be visiting, could be navel gazing, or if I get really lucky I'll think of a few jokes to tell myself and then it could be laughing!  Over and out........

Saturday, 1 November 2014

MRS D'S QUEENSTOWN EVENT PART 2

I don't know why I never wrote part two of the Queenstown Event until now.  Partly just being busy and occupied having fun in Queenstown, and more likely is that when I got back after a few days away it was insanely busy for me here catching up and keeping on top of my business (which is a bit insane at the best of times)!
The speaking event with Mrs D was absolutely fantastic. She is a truly natural speaker, with the most quietly powerful honesty, raw and gritty, and just so flipping real that it cannot help but touch a deep chord within anyone who listens, whether they have a problem or not!  No one left that hall that night without being deeply moved by Lotta and her story. I would guarantee that.  It was so great to meet her and have the opportunity to chat away with her for quite a while. She is a fabulous, funny and gorgeous person, and she is definately my Hero.
So all in all it was a fabulous wee trip away, and great fun to get right out of my comfort zone and pick up another member of Living Sober at her house at 5.00am to fly down together, rent an apartment for two nights, and just hang out together. We got on like a house on fire, had lots of stories to tell each other, felt very comfortable with each other, and enjoyed walks beside the lake, many cafes, and a trip up the gondola where I also had a couple of rides on the Luge (nice wee adreniline buzz).  On one of our walks on the last day, it was beautiful and sunny and after walking for a while, we each found a comfortable rock to lean on, and had a half hour meditation. This was great for me, the sounds of the waves lapping onto the beach were quite loud and I got my breathing in sinc with them, and with each inward breath I was drawing strength, and with each outward breath I was letting go of anguish I have been feeling on several levels. I have often tried meditation through my life, guided ones, and ones alone, and it has been helpful to a degree, but I think this was really the first time I have totally and utterly succeeded in getting into an amazing space, where there really was just me and my breath and the sea. I can highly recommend that!
Today is my 105th day of being alcohol free
My friend is coming over soon and we are going to a little jazz afternoon at a friend's back lawn.  Cucumber sandwiches and all, the invite proclaims! I guess I'd better go try to make something posh to take.
So over and out for now.....

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

MRS D'S QUEENSTOWN EVENT

Sitting up in bed right now watching the people go up and down on the Gondala. I'm down in Queenstown with a new friend who I met yesterday when we flew down here together to attend Mrs D's speaking event this evening. Really looking forward to hearing Lotta's story first hand and also meeting other Living Sober members who are here for the event. The sun is shining and the scenery spectacular and it is very cool to be back in this beautiful town, which holds many happy memories for me.
I think I am 93 days sober today and there have been some big changes in my life. I miss my long time companion hugely and that is certainly taking some adjusting to. I am spending way more time alone than I ever have in many years, and that is ok too as I have much to learn and a lot more changes and improvements to make. I try not to beat myself up for not making these improvments quicker. If I stay living without alcohol I am hoping these positive changes will just gradually happen.
Wow! A bright blue and orange paraglider just literally flew past my bedroom window. Never a dull moment down here!
I haven't got anything very insightful to say, in fact I am having a little trouble expressing myself of late. A bit of inner turbulence. That is to be expected I suppose, if one is taking a good hard and brutally honest look at ones self.
However, one mustn't be too serious and introspective either, as there is so much to be positive about, and so much fun to be had, so much work to be done, so many movies to be watched and so many books to be read. And so many hash browns and eggs to be eaten.  I'm starving! Time for a wee walk into town, a nice breakfast, and a walk beside the Lake. Might do a part 2 after the event!

Saturday, 11 October 2014

SUNNY SATURDAY

I’ve been having a real happy time the last couple of days, I think I am on my first pink cloud!  I’ve had plenty of other happy days but this is different.  It is kind of exciting when you can hardly wipe the smile off your face, and every song that comes on the radio is a fantastic old classic from the 70’s or 80’s and they all feel like my favourite song, especially Beast of Burden from the Stones.

I have been thinking of something I learned in a course I did once on Intuitive Therapy.  I did the one year course to get better in touch with and develop my own intuition. I was thinking it might help anyone struggling out there with any situation at all, even including deciding to get sober, or staying sober if you already are.  These are the four A’s of Intuitve Therapy:

A – Acknowledgement  (fully acknowledging the problem, whatever it is, taking the time to really acknowledge it)
A – Acceptance (this takes a wee bit longer, but to fully accept and own the situation)
A – Allowing  (this is to fully allow all of the feelings you have around the situation and to sit with those feelings and allow yourself to really feel them, allow them to come right up to the surface and be experienced, however painful and uncomfortable, and for as long as it takes)
A – Action  (Once the first three steps have been achieved fully and deeply, the action to take will be revealed to yourself, from yourself, and you will be ready to take the action required.  You will absolutely Know what needs to be done and how to go about it).

This has helped me immensely sometimes, with big problems and small.  If it is a small problem it may only take  five or ten minutes.  If it is a bigger more deep seated problem, it might take days, or longer.  There is no rush, as it is a very thorough way of dealing with stuff.  When drinking a lot I usually forgot to put this into practice, but when I did, I have always had very positive results in getting out of a stuck place and making my life much better.   

I saw a T-Shirt I loved once.  It said “Take My Advice, I’m Not Using It”
This sort of suits me a wee bit, because I often know the answers, and can advise or help others, but I fail to use any of my own learning on myself.  I aim to get better at that.

My brother saw an old friend today who must of heard that I've given up drinking, and he said "I feel really sorry for all those people losing their jobs" My brother said "what people"? the friend said " All the poor bastards down at the distillery, now that Southern Comfort has had to go out of business" !!


Wednesday, 1 October 2014

BANISH THOSE BOOZY THOUGHTS!!

For some reason I have been thinking a lot about the taste of Southern Comfort, and how it feels sliding down my throat, and how it sounds when mixed with the diet coke and about 6 blocks of ice and the gentle tinkling sound it makes when I raise the glass to my mouth. I also love the sound when I pour just the first drink out of a new bottle and it sort of makes an interesting "glug glug glug" sound.  I thought maybe if I face it completely head on and write about these thoughts and feelings, and dreams I've had, that I might be able to figure out what's going on and how to banish them.
I've thought about how many over at livingsober.org have had multiple day 1's or at least more than just their first attempt at being sober. So I've weighed it up and thought, well I can fail too if I want, and I will still be forgiven and encouraged and supported by our wonderfully kind team of members. I could go and get a couple of litres and give it a really good nudge for a couple of weeks and then just stop again. Maybe I will hate it more after that.
I have also been thinking about the huge bunch of incredible, amazingly gorgeous, highly intelligent, kind and compassionate and just absolutely wonderful people we have on the soberliving team. I was driving along in my cool new car before and I started giggling at a thought I had (and I might as well admit that it isnt the first time I've had this thought, I just didn't think I would ever have the guts to share it).  I thought "wouldn't it be one hell of an amazing party if we could all catch up just once a year and get on the piss together for one night".  Then we all go sober again. I even thought it through further than that.  That it should be only for those more than one  year sober and only those who dared to risk it (or were stupid enough). I thought it might be good to have just one night of drinking to look forward to each year, and that it didn't involve our families or friends, our homes (all triggers)......it was just one big catch up, and a big laugh........and we all get to know each other.......... HOW SICK AM I???  A very sick puppy indeed!!!!

I am obviously mourning more than just the end of my relationship. What can I say?
I can say that I am somewhat ashamed to have had these thoughts and they are not really serious, and I know how utterly pointless and almost immoral it is to our sobriety.  It is sick! I must be much sicker than I thought.  Bit sad eh?

The idea has been floated for having an annual sober conference, which makes far more perfect sense, as this way we would actually get to know each other as our true and lovely positive sober selves, and it would include everyone, and the old timers would be supporting the newbies which is exactly as it should be (she says at a mere 73 days). And this is actually such an awesome idea that perhaps we could even make it happen if we wanted it enough.  We have a lot of members so even if 500 of us put up $200 each well there's $10,000 to play with. Just a thought!

So, now that anyone reading this is shocked, possibly angry, and down right disgusted in me, I will continue to try and fight these massive cravings head on. I will be brutally honest with myself.  I absolutely LOVE the Poison.  I miss it hugely.  It did not do me any favours.  It did not improve my personality.  It did not make me more creative.  It did not give me more energy or more motivation.  It did not enhance my business.  It did not make me better looking.  It stole my sleep.  It stole my health.  It stole my well being and it lessoned greatly my own (and others) opinion of myself.  There were a lot of laughs but it did not improve my friendships, relationships or my family life. It tried to steal my spirit (accidental pun), but that hasn't worked.  I might be a little bit weary, and worse for wear and tear, but my spirit is Not broken, and I know what I must do.  I must see these cravings for exactly what they are. They are the bratty nasty witchy bitch alter ego trying to suck me back into the fold. I am strong. Stronger than that false bitch!!  I will soldier on. I will sock that bitch in the face each time she rears her ugly mocking face.  I will show her who's the fucking boss around here!!!

Sunday, 28 September 2014

CH CH CH CHANGES........

It's been a long time again since my last post and that's because I've been going through some stuff in my personal life where I've been all churned up and worried, anguished and muddled and not sleeping well at all. It would feel disloyal to say too much on here of why I have made the choice I've made, and I still have too much love and respect to wish to hurt in any way, my man who will never read this. I have had a big and very raw and honest communication with Mr Normal yesterday morning giving him the reasons why I need to go forward in my life now alone. I have conveyed to him that none of this is his fault and there is no blame placed on him and no bad feelings, as it is me who has changed. He was kind and understanding.
And hurt.  Ouch........It hurts so much to hurt him.  I feel sad, empty, and a little fearful of how much I will miss him, the lovely companionship we have shared for nearly five years, and all the movies and meals and music and holidays, the many kindesses, and the love.  I still love him. I'm sure he still loves me.

I am grateful to myself for having the courage to get way out of my comfort zone to express my feelings and the reasons why this is not enough for me, and to change my life to how I know it needs to be.
I feel pretty sad and vulnerable today, but somewhere in with that is a sense of relief, that I have my life back, that I am being true to myself and the spirit inside me, and I know that a quiet courage will grow to help me face and embrace whatever lies ahead for me.


Thursday, 18 September 2014

60 DAYS WITHOUT A DROP OF POISON !!

It's been an awfully long time since I've written a blog. Not sure why apart from things revving up in my business and having house guests for a week.  But I suspect it also has something to do with the enormous increase of members over at LivingSober.org.nz, and the time it takes to keep up with all the posts. It is so cool how many are finding their way into a sober lifestyle and how much better they like their lives, and themselves. Very cool indeed.
Well at 60 days I can look back over the last couple of months, and although it has not all been easy, the letting go of something I have thoroughly enjoyed for two thirds of my life, I can honestly say it hasn't really been all that hard either. There are other things that have been harder, like letting go of the lovely home I was going to build overlooking the sea, and some difficult family situations which have caused me a lot of stress.
I've got through this time quite well I think because it feels so right.  As soon as I had made the decision to quit (like so many of us - after seeing Mrs D on TV) well I just tried to embrace it rather than fight it. Lots of times I feel like a drink but it is like this remote thing now.  It is a thought. That is all.
I think I am a bit slower than some to really feel the rewards and that is my own fault for being too busy.  I have not had much time for navel gazing yet. I could have managed my time better by not going to bed so early, and when I do go to bed I could have meditated or read more books instead of watching TV and movies. I've eaten too much chocolate and had too many carbs and I've put on 3 kilos, so not looking the best.  But apart from that I am feeling fantastic.  Alive. Awake. Capable. Energetic. Confident.  Enthusiastic. Clear Headed. Calm.  Even Tempered. Guilt Free. Happy. I am very grateful to be feeling this way, and I am quietly determined to just keep going and then slowly begin to examine the deeper reasons why I have abused myself with alcohol for so long, and for a while in my youth with cocaine, acid, and mandrax. Maybe there is no reason? Maybe I am just a brat!
I still have negative feelings as well as all the positve ones above. Like I am still jealous of Charlie Gilbert for losing all that weight and taking her small 60 days sober bum off for a lovely walk today. (Congrats on 60 days Charlie if you read this xo). I am jealous of all of you who just Love all your runs and walks and gyms and yoga.  I wish I loved exercise.  I just don't!  That is why I have got so tubby.  So that is something I need to work on.
I can hear arrivals in the driveway and Mr Normal is coming over for the first time in over a week, so I shall go and greet him, and then start preparing a nice dinner I've got planned.  Fresh crispy skin salmon with wasabi mayo, green beans and cute little potatoes.  Over and out xo

Friday, 5 September 2014

GRATEFUL

Today is the day that my brother has got his blood results back from the hospital after two horrific surgeries for cancer.  His blood has gone down from 27 to 1.5 and between 1 and 3 is normal.  I am just SO HAPPY!!  It is just the best and most awesome news for us all, especially him, and his lovely family.  Yay!!!
Gratefulness is something you kind of feel by degrees I think, depending of course on what you are grateful for.  I do not think there is anything in my life that I could feel more grateful for than this.
This is just a tiny post today, coz I am busy working and I will try to write another one on the weekend.
Besides, this is so big for our family that I don't wish to taint it with my other ponderings and ramblings.
I hope you all have a lovely Friday night.

One VERY happy camper !!


Sunday, 31 August 2014

GETTING SOME PERSPECTIVE

Hello everyone.  It has been very good for me to get away for a few days. Lake Tekapo was a real nice place to relax, and we also went on a day trip and hiked about 15 k's to get up close and personal with Mt Cook and the beautiful frozen lake below it. Each evening we had totally decadent 3 course meals in the Rakinui restaurant at Peppers, not to mention the vast array of breakfast choices, so I've manged to pile on a bit of a spare tyre.....on top of the one that was already there!
Being away made me realise I was becoming a bit dysfunctional in my new sobriety here at home. I kind of used my home as a big safety net. Didn't go out much at all, just stayed here and worked all day, then got a quick dinner, then more or less took off to bed very early every night and passed the time with books and DVD's and a bit of TV.  It wasn't so much that I was afraid I'd have a drink, it was more that I just felt very fragile and vulnerable in all ways. I needed to be alone. Getting away has hopefully snapped me out of all that. It was so good to be reminded of how breathtakingly beautiful our country is, and to have such sunny warm days, and to just finally relax, it has been like a balm to my soul.  I even slept way better than I have for 6 weeks. I feel very lucky.
I am going to try to get over myself now.  I don't drink.  That's it.  End of story.
Sure, it is hard to get used to, but it is also the very best thing I can do for myself and for those around me.
There is so much more to life than indulging a tired and boring old habit.  I accept fully that I am not a moderate drinker, nor will I ever be.  So that's about where the choices run out. So I might as well look on the bright side, and I am.  I am going to toughen up, right now!  I have before me a future in which I can visualise myself laughing and happy, with so many more opportunities coming my way, and the energy and motivation to participate fully.  I can see travel.  I can see creativity.  I can see grandparenthood......(now there's a motivation if ever there was one).  I can see financial opportunity now in the short term, and I can see retirement in the next 5 years.  I can see the move I will make to Diamond Harbour next year, the renovations I will do to my humble and very sunny wee home, and I can see and even feel me being very happy there.  I can see me gardening, making a new herb garden and salad garden and reviving my old succulent garden. I can even see me hosting dinner parties where I am the only one not drinking alcohol and not giving a fuck!  I could tell them all to walk so I can drive them home later!
So I am happy to say that after 43 days I am feeling mighty fine, and I may still be a bit raw and emotional sometimes, but I am starting to fit way more easily into my new sober skin. I am liking what I see ahead of me, and I am respecting the person I am becoming.
Whoop de Doo!!
But just so as you all know that I am not getting ideas of myself that are above my station, I will own the fact that I still smoke, I still swear, and I still eat chocolate, and too many fancy cheeses and garlic olives, and I still don't like exercise much (except that walk in the mountains was amazing).
When I was away, I had heaps of books but the only reading I did was keeping up with all of your posts on soberliving.com.  I was not ever by myself for more than a few minutes so I didn't respond to much, but I did manage to do the Fast Forward and That is Bullshit and Happy Sober Reality ones on my phone.
Heck! I almost forgot it is now the witching hour!  I hope you are all giving yourselves a big pat on the back for being strong and cool. xo

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

DAY 38 ON A SUNNY WEDNESDAY MORNING

Hello Blog World!  I'm looking forward to the mini-holiday I am taking this week with my partner. We aren't going to the Sounds any more because Portage is closed for refurbishment, so I got to choose the alternative and we are going to Peppers Resort in Tekapo.  It's great because my Mr Normal is a building Contractor and can use all his Placemakers points for the odd wee break, and it includes breakfast and 3 course dinners in the restaurants as well. I wish I could say I was starving myself to make up for all the yummy treats I am going to eat down there, but alas, I have been binge eating chocolate in the night! Every night!  I am still on the arsenal of choc peanuts, jaffas, dark peppermint and orange chocs I bought a couple of weeks ago, so happy to say I've not had to re-stock...... yet!
I seem to be a bit all over the place with my moods and emotions lately. Sometimes snappy and irritable, sometimes overwhelmed by how different my life is, sometimes real happy that I'm doing this, sometimes uncertain, and sometimes just flat, and sad. Last night inthegarage66 did a very powerfully honest post about his father, to which I responded, as did many others.  Afterwards I had my first big upsurge of tears for my father since soon after his death 27 years ago. I hope it was healing because it was intense, and I am not quite ready to look deeply at these feelings yet, as I thought I had got over them half a lifetime ago.  I guess I am just pretty raw and emotional right now.
It is great how many people are still joining up to the new website, I noticed Mrs D said we are just about overloaded as the web developers did not expect so much activity. Yay! They will just have to up their webby game I'd say.
Off now to buy some fancy treats to take away. Hopefully when I come back from Tekapo I will feel a bit more comfortable in my new sober skin.  Nothing like a bit of beauty and nature to keep one grounded.
Over and out for now xo

Sunday, 24 August 2014

SUNNY SUNDAY

Hi Everyone.  Woke up to a rather overcast day but it turned out to be lovely and sunny all afternoon. I went to the 85th birthday and the sun streamed in and there was quite a bit of humour and a nice time had by all.  It was my first actual party, but quite tame so it wasn't too much of an effort or challenge not to drink.  Amazing views from Scarborough Hill, and some very interesting conversations with lovely people.  Home now with a nice fire going and feeling pretty calm and relaxed.
Last night Mr Normal and I went to see the movie "100 year old man climbs out the window" and then went and had some Tapas at the Monday Room, so that relieved the boredom a bit. (I have been feeling quite bored, with myself, others, I dunno).  I've never been to a movie before on the same day that I have finished reading the book.  Movie was great.  Book 20 times better.
I've been feeling kind of empty, can't really say it better than that.  I am waiting to have great feelings of elation that I don't drink now, and waiting to notice how incredibly much better my life is. Starting to think maybe I wasn't so bad.  I am kind of envious of those of you who just Love their lives now. I am thinking one of the reasons why it is not totally floating my boat is that I am probably a lot older than most of you and therefore have been giving it a good bash for a really super long time (40 years)and so perhaps for me it will take longer to adjust and feel the benefits more profoundly.  Also my sleeping hasn't improved, so I spend several hours awake in the wee hours of the morning pretty much every night. I will stick at it though and try to bring something new into my life to be inspired about.  Mr Normal is taking me up to Portage this coming weekend, we leave on Thursday morning and back Sunday evening.  I will take my tramping boots and go for a bit of a hike on the Queen Charlotte walkway, and hope to go fishing on his boat as well.  We have been there about 5 times together, as he has some land near there, it is a beautiful spot, and has a superb restaurant which is usually the highlight of the trips.  It will be a little different this time for obvious reasons. But at least I can still pig out on gorgeous food. I am looking forward to having a break and getting out in nature, and I hope it jolts me out of my "spoiled brat" attitude and that I come back feeling more grateful for the life I have and the chance of a better one that I have recently given myself.
I started a new book this morning which I ordered from the library after dipping into the Tool Kit on www.livingsober.org.nz  It is called The Trip to Echo Spring, and is about the effects of alcohol on some of the literary greats, like F Scott Fitzgerald, Earnest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, John Berryman, John Cheever and Raymond Carver (all alcoholics).  I am only about 100 pages in but it is fascinating and insightful. So thank you to whoever suggested it.  I also ordered another four suggested in the tool kit so I have got some excellent reading to do, which is one of my greatest pleasures.
I hope you are all having a peaceful and stress free Sunday and that you are soon to enjoy a lovely Sunday dinner with your families.  Over and out xo

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

30 DAYS TODAY!

Happy to say I've made it to 30 days, for some reason that seems like a bit of a milestone.
I am feeling pretty good, but still getting used to it. Having busy work days and quiet early to bed nights and doing a lot of reading. Really pleased at how well the new website is going, and what a credit to Mrs D that is.  It is just excellent what she has started and it is attracting so many people from so far and wide.  It appears that this is very timely.  People seem to feel so relieved to have finally found a place where they are understood, and not judged, and can feel the empathy and compassion coming from all of us in the same boat. This has given them the springboard they have needed to take the big step they've been afraid to take.
I think it is particularly therapeutic to be able to write your feelings, or just write about anything at all.
I suppose for most of us it's that it feels so safe, even though we totally expose ourselves and our problems, it is from the safety and privacy of our homes. It is easy to find a few minutes to connect with others or just to read their stories, their slip ups and their triumphs.
I haven't actually got much to write about today so I will keep it short. I am very grateful for each and every one of us, for the promising and happy future we are allowing ourselves to have, by being staunch and sticking to our commitment to ourselves. I hope you are all having a happy day x

Monday, 18 August 2014

A BIT DISILLUSIONED

A lovely sunny day down here in Christchurch. I had a nice sober weekend, a tad boring in parts and a few pangs, with a very clear realization that this is just how it is going to be now. I shall either have to get used to being bored, or find something I love to do and do it, to overcome the flatness of never being in an altered state. I am trying, even as I write, to face this head on. What do I miss? The warm mellow feeling after a few drinks. The easy conviviality of company and conversation. The laughter. The anticipation of a good night, either with friends or on my own with music and a fire. Feeling happy cooking in the kitchen with my first couple of drinks for company . Drinks in the back yard on a lovely sunny afternoon.
What don't I miss? The guilty feelings of disappointment in myself. Feeling less than 100% when I wake up (I didn't really get bad hangovers any more, I think the body just gets used to it eventually). Trying to have alcohol free days. Knowing that I am harming my brain and my body. Having to think or plan around my drinking. Stocking up. Becoming louder, and sometimes over reacting and becoming argumentative. Sometimes hurting other's feelings with things that I said. Getting taxi's.  Smoking more when I drink. Being less than the real me.
A lovely 73 year old gentleman who works for me said at morning tea today "I'd rather die than give up my beers and wine".  This man does not have a problem, he always has Mon, Tues, Wed off, and enjoys a wine with his wife at dinner and a few beers on the other nights.  This has really struck me. It really is such a huge pleasure to take away.  Oh if only I was a "normal" drinker. If only I knew that 4 was enough. If only I didn't feel the need to drink the bloody lot pretty much every time. Well that is not exactly true, I always had more in the cupboard, but would restrict myself to the wee 320 ml bottle, (southern comfort, not wine) so I usually drank all of that.....why not?  it was the limit I'd set myself.  I no longer got terribly messy (like I did in the past), in fact I would often feel quite normal and could easily have drunk more. I have managed to maintain, and even thrive in my business, and other businesses before this one, in fact I haven't worked for anyone but myself for over 30 years. So what the fuck is wrong with me?  I'm an idiot, that's what!!  I've made a bit of a dick of myself for most of my life when I drink. By being greedy. And what am I doing now?  Trying to convince myself that I'm not so bad, and maybe I don't have to take it away from myself completely?  Jeez!
How many have fallen into that ugly trap?
I guess I am more fragile than what I've been thinking, and that today is not an easy day for me.  I wish it was already 3 years or a year, and that I could honestly say  "I just absolutely Love being sober".
On a happier note, when I came home yesterday afternoon my son and daughter had a lovely bunch of pink lilies for me with a "congratulations" balloon for me for reaching 28 days.  Bless the darlings for being so supportive. I would not like to disappoint them, or anyone else, or myself.  I will hold on to that thought.

Friday, 15 August 2014

DAY 25 ON FABULOUS FRIDAY

Not a bad day today, I got heaps of work done and feeling pretty good about that. I've just had a couple of visitors drop in unexpectedly, lucky I have a nice fire going.  They bought some beers and hooked into one each and asked if I'd like a beer or if I was having a wee Southern.  I said I wasn't actually having any today, (shock horror) but of course they got it out of me so I ended up telling all. I watched them drink their six pack between them and now they're off out to dinner.  I had a peachee bundaberg with ice, and didn't feel too awkward, we had quite a good laugh about a few things and it was a nice visit for about an hour and a half.  They have both given up smoking. I've noticed that the alcohol cravings are quite random and not necessarily when someone puts a drink right in your face. I didn't particularly envy them their Coronas.  I don't mind one on a hot day but I am not really a beer drinker.  Yet sometimes I can have the craving so strongly at any random time, that it almost takes over me for a few minutes, and then I just can't believe that I will be able to continue to do this. I even dreamed about it the other night. Very vivid. I used to do quite a bit of cocaine in Sydney in my 20's and after I kicked that to touch I would dream about it on and off for a couple of years.  Very real dreams.  So I guess this is a similar thing, maybe my subconscious just really wanting to be in an altered state, or perhaps grieving for what it thinks it wants.  But not the real me.  My subconscious can entertain and delude itself any way it wants. I think I am quite enjoying being "Straight". Sober. Normal. I think I am a little bit boring though. I'll have to work on that. Funny, since I wrote that last sentence I got a text from a girlfriend asking if I want to go to a party next Sunday night being held up on Scarborough Hill to celebrate the 85th birthday of a fabulous and quite renowned gay Lawyer we both know. So we are both going to put our party frocks on, and perhaps for once in my life I can be the sober driver.  (Hopefully it won't go on too late due to the age of the party boy, but there will be many younger ones there too.  (Yeah real young like me!).
Well.....time for me to get my jarmies on and cleanse my face and hop into bed to watch 7 Days and Johnno and Ben.  Excellent Friday night entertainment for sober little me!  Night everyone.  Hope you are all having a happy contented evening.  xo

Thursday, 14 August 2014

BUSY THURSDAY

Hi everyone, I hope you are all having a great day and coping with the witching hour ok. I've got a nice lemon and lime and mint Mohito with heaps of ice, and soon I'm going to make a mushroom and blue cheese soup because I am craving it.  I did something very naughty today. I dashed into the supermarket to get a few things, and I said to myself on the way in No Chocolates. I have eaten a whole king size peppermint dark in a week, and I told myself that after that I would knock it on the head.  Well guess what!  Now I've got a whole assortment of treats.  I've got chocolate peanuts, that thin orange posh chocolate, a bag of jaffas and another block of peppermint dark!!  hahahaaaaaa....I kind of did the old "ah fuck it" and walked out of there justifying it to myself because it wasn't booze.  This just really shows what an obsessive, addictive and perhaps weak willed personality I've got.  I have never been a big eater of sweet things.  Now I eat shortbreads and chocolate biscuits as well.  I will try and make all that last me 3 weeks or a month, and then quit the sweet stuff (I hope)
I had a big alcohol dream last night, very real, I could even taste it. Bit of a worry!
I've had a very busy work day, and I'm in a bit of a muddle trying to finish some things off before I hit the kitchen.  I feel so hungry all the time now.  I still can't sleep very well at all.  I've been to the chiropractor today for my sore back, and I think it feels a bit better.  Yesterday I went to the dentist. Tomorrow the hairdresser. Saturday the Pub (just kidding).
Got visitors so over and out for now x

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

DAY 23 TODAY

On Saturday I told my young brother, and then on Sunday I told my older sister and my older brother.  I sort of had to, to beat the family bush telegraph!  They are all quite shocked and amazed, but very supportive and positive. I had a tiff with Mr Normal and took off from there on Sunday morning. He is the only person I have told who has not said "good on you" or "I'm proud of you", and it hurts, so I told him so.  I am probably being a wee bit childish, but I just can't really understand it. Perhaps he just doesn't know how to say it, he is not the most gushingly expressive man.  Or perhaps he is reserving his praise because he expects me to fail.
On the way home from there I rang up my older brother to see if he would like me to take him to lunch.  I picked him up and we had a nice lunch in a cafe.  In the car I told him about quitting the drinking, and he was really pleased with me, and said the happiest, clearest and best times of his life have been when he has given up drinking.  (he actually has a bit of an ongoing problem with it too). I had a classy lemonade and he had a beer, and we had a nice lunch and a good chat.  When we left we went over to the supermarket so he could get a couple of big bottles of Coopers.  He'd had a big night on Sat night and needed a bit of the old hair of the dog. I am happy to report that I felt no pangs whatsoever at that moment in the supermarket, or at the cafe.  I felt glad that I didn't have to decide whether or not to have a drink, or get any to take home.  I wished for him to be where I was, on day 21. He is actually way better than me at giving it up, and goes for quite long periods without. I hope I really can do this and that it will help him to ditch it for good too.  I told him of Mrs D's book, and website and about doing the blogs and how much it helps.
I am terribly afraid that I will weaken one of these days and just go "ah fuck it" and have a drink, then 10.  It is like I am going so well, that I can hardly believe myself, and I imagine summer days in the back yard around the big table and everyone drinking....how am I going to stand up to that?
Ah well, for today I shall just worry about today. And today I am doing okay, despite being a bit emotional.
I hope you are all powering through your busy days, and are too busy to even think too much about it.
Actually that is the amazing thing!  Several times I have caught myself Not Thinking About It for hours and hours and hours at a time.  So the stimulation of work or movies or books or company can certainly take your mind off it........

Monday, 11 August 2014

MOODY MONDAY ON DAY 22

Hello everyone.  I hope you all had a happy weekend. It's been a bit of a weird day today....having to tell my architect and all and sundry of my decision to hold off, and coming to terms with all the realities involved.  In one sense it is starting to feel like a bit of a relief, as I never did really have much of an idea of how I was going to cope this summer with a busy hands on business while the build goes on about 80 k's away. Anyway enough of that.  I have had some really powerful cravings today and didn't quite know what to do with them. After commenting on a post on living sober I thought perhaps I might put my money where my mouth is. When the cravings were most intense, at about half past four, I went down to the dvd store to get a couple of movies to keep me occupied. On the way back I realised I'd forgotten to get some ciggies (YUCK....I know) but one thing at a time.......anyway so I decided to go into this bottle shop up the road to get them, just to see what effect it had on me. Right behind the counter next to the cigarette cupboard, as luck would have it, there was a 1 litre bottle of Southern Comfort and a 750 ml one beside it.  While he was getting my packet of smokes I stood there and stared and stared at those bottles.  While the craving was definitely still there, and strong, and while I imagined what the taste would be like, and the feeling after knocking a few back, I also saw the future as clear as a bell, with all the struggle, the ugly bits, the guilt and self loathing, the endless battle to try to be a 'normal' drinker, and I continued to stare at them (until the bottle shop guy started staring at me)!  I am not recommending this to anyone else, but for me just staring at those bottles and feeling all the feelings one way and the other, it was like putting the damn things to bed forever. They can flipping well stay right where they are, and confronting them was empowering.  I cannot go through life being afraid I will grope for the bottle if I see it. I am not a big wine drinker, though I don't mind it, and in the supermarket the other day my phone rang, and it was important, so I had to walk away a bit from the crowd so I went over to the wine racks, more for convenience than anything else, and I was there on this business call for ages, staring at all the wine. It is like I am looking at the bottles of alcohol from a different dimension. They fail to really move me.....even though I still would love a drink! The fact that I know I won't have one, allows me to feel distant and separated from the bottles.  Am I a nutter with a penchant for punishment?  Not sure.  Have a great night x

Friday, 8 August 2014

SUNNY SATURDAY

It's been a while since I've done a post, sorry about that. While I've been enjoying the new website I haven't even done much on there, as I have had a rather extreme week, with some huge decisions to make, which is very gut wrenching and difficult (and it's not even about a man or relationship!).  It's about biting off more than I can chew. For nearly 2 years I've been emotionally, mentally, creatively and financially invested in the design of my new home to be built overlooking the sea in a lovely part of Banks Peninsula, near Akaroa.
The long and short of it is that the cost of the build has absolutely skyrocketed out of control to the point where the peace and tranquility I was hoping to feel by going back to where I was born, and having a brand new warm and styley home, with beautiful views from each room, running my business from there via computer and phone with helpers in ChCh, will in fact stress the living shit out of me and keep me working till I kick the bucket!! So I have to be wise and let it go, after spending heaps on architect, engineer, consents for all sorts of things, bought all the tiles, the oven, the fridge, dishwasher.....day dreamed about it non stop....jeez...but better to lose  a modest amount now than to be a slave to the banks for the rest of my life. (It was supposed to cost $350,000 less than it is costing).  And in writing this down I am realising something. Well firstly that I have a very good quality of problem.... and I'm grateful for that.  But mainly, the peace and tranquility I seek, and the stress free life I long for, are to be found within myself, not by where I live. It is up to me to arrange my life in such a way as to manifest for myself that which I desire.  I can do this.  I will do this. The house can go on the back burner for another few years, and if then I think I can better afford it, I will.  And if not, my children can build on it later.  To be happy and warm and comfortable is all I need and I have that right here.
The appliances and tiles I've bought will not be wasted as the wee bach I bought in Diamond Harbour when my marriage broke up in 2001 and my kids were just 9 and 13, is getting a big earthquake fix next year, so I'll give it a bit of a 'birthday' at the same time, and perhaps go and live back there, where it is sunny and lovely and has a great sense of community. Who needs a whacking great mortgage when I will be 60 in less than 2 years!!!
I am not sure if it is okay to talk about stuff like this on here, so please forgive me if it isn't, but I have to say I feel a hell of a lot better having got all that off my chest, and I am beginning to look forward to doing up my wee bach.
I have been to see my brother  since I wrote all that, and he is healing up well and is supportive of my decision.  I ended up telling him of my new sobriety decision as well (first family I've told apart from the kids) and he is very proud of me.
Heading over the hills now to see my man for the rest of the weekend, and try and digest all of these changes.  I am very glad to be sober and clear headed.  have a safe weekend all. xo

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

WELCOME WEDNESDAY

Hello everybody.  Today is another day and I'm not going to let it beat me, whatever comes my way.  Thank you for the kind comments on my misery guts post last night.  I ended up still working till nearly 9pm and then tried to watch a Tom Hanks movie "Captain Phillips" about a guy getting taken by Somalian pirates.  I fell asleep and woke up to all this loud screaming coming from the TV, and noticed a text from my daughter in the next room asking me to turn the TV down.  hahahaa....and I was in the middle of a dream where there were viscous Somalians in my hallway and I was opening the door and sweeping my daughter and some of her friends and a wee child I know into my room for safety while the Somalians were on the rampage in the rest of the house.  Crikey!!  one would think I am a bit disturbed!  I actually love Somalians, my son had a very humourous friend when he was in intermediate school and he used to come to our house and never failed to make me laugh.

Well it's later in the day now, still the witching hour and the new site is up and running and I'm going to hop over there again and see what you are all up to.

Yay for Mrs D getting it all together for us, it's going to be great!

Over and out for now x



Tuesday, 5 August 2014

NOT EXACTLY RUBY TUESDAY

Hello all........I failed to make a post yesterday, I think it was the first time since I started.  I just had a really shitty day and I tried to write but no words fell off my fingers, so I just gave up, switched everything off and went to bed ridiculously early.  It was a rough day on all fronts, and I'd have to say today hasn't been much better.  I guess I just have heaps going on and sometimes the pressure of it all becomes overwhelming.
I find bed is the best place for me to be when I feel like this.  Bed is like a safe little haven for me and my room is my sanctuary.  It is nice and big, and has a lovely old gothic fireplace (unfortunately no longer working after the earthquakes, it was one of 4 that are now out of action).  On the mantlepiece I have a big TV, and I alternate between DVD's, TV, reading and sometimes writing down all the things I've got to do the next day so I won't fret in the night.  When I used to drink (like 16 days ago) I would probably have the logburner going out here in the lounge, and after the  news and Campbell Live I would play some music or chat on the phone, maybe watch a movie, all the while slugging back a few drinks, cooking, doing laundry, generally enjoying myself while multi tasking the domestic stuff.  Now I don't quite know what to do with myself.  I am exhausted mentally and physically, I've got a back ache, and I am just waiting till it's late enough to go to bed. They discharged my brother from the hospital today, less than 4 days after major liver surgery and he is still throwing up and not really eating yet.  It makes me real mad how quick they get rid of them these days.  I just hope he stays on the couch.  Hard man to keep down.
Well as you can see I am all doom and flipping gloom, but I do want to post every day if I can, so sometimes they will be more interesting than others.  I simply can't think of one interesting thing to say today.
Yes I can!  I am really looking forward to the new website, and I take my hat off to Mrs D for being so brilliant, and for getting it together for all of us.  Let's not let her down.
Tomorrow is sure to be a better day, and I must remember just how very much I have to be grateful for....not least to have this way of sharing my thoughts, and all of yours, and feeling less alone in the down times.  Good....now I can scarper off to bed.  Nite everyone xo

Sunday, 3 August 2014

LAZY SUNDAY AFTERNOON

Cold day down here, time to light the fire. Lovely meal last night at Bodhi Tree, as always, and I found it rather nice having a big wine glass full of ice in which to put my water. (I requested it because I dislike those bulky thick water glasses).  Mr Normal had a red wine (only one) and I found it a wee bit liberating not to have to be thinking "shall I order a 2nd wine?" or a third for that matter.  It just wasn't about the drinking at all, and it didn't matter if I finished my water or not.  I felt the freedom in that.  As I have done several other times lately when taking DVD's back or popping into the supermarket, going past the bottle shop and not having to think "I'd better stock up on the old Southern Comfort - make sure I've got plenty for the weekend, or week, or whatever....good old  'never run out' me!
I finished Jason Vale this morning.  Clever guy. Although as I've said there were a few minor things which I would question, or don't agree with, all in all it is a very helpful book indeed.  I think he is right.  We've kicked it to touch so why suffer? I am going to try next week to notice every positive aspect that affects me personally with not drinking. Big or small, I am going to notice them and be grateful for them.  Instead of the reverse, which won't help at all. I would be a total utter liar if I said I don't miss drinking. I do, it's only 2 weeks after all.  But I have learned a great deal since 2 weeks ago and I am really looking forward to being the me I am meant to be.  I have never drank tea or coffee in my life, simply because I don't like it.  I did drink some chamomile tea when I was pregnant but that was for sleep and was over 20 years ago.  Now I have some pommegranite and grape tea with my breakfast, and I even like it, and if anyone comes around who I used to drink with they will be offered a variety of teas, or coffee.  I will no longer buy beers and wine for guests.  It will be a bit of a dry argument around here.....haha....and once my friends realise that they may stop coming....but I know they are better friends than that.  They just don't know yet that I have stopped.
I'm looking forward to going to see my brother in the hospital this afternoon, then I will come home and make a nice meal and see if the kids and their partners want to come and eat it.  And I won't be half sloshed when they get here!! 
I hope you are all enjoying a relaxing Sunday.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

SALUBRIOUS SATURDAY

What a gorgeous morning it is here in good old Christchurch, sun shining, my red rhododendrons are out and about 7 daffodils, the daphne is blooming and smelling oh so sweet.  Feels like spring is in the air and I haven't got a hangover!!  YES!  This is really starting to pay off.  I even had a better sleep but only because I could sleep in, I still had a long wakeful time in the night.  But I don't panic about this as I believe it will pass.
I'm going to that Begin Again movie that our Camp Mother Mrs D enjoyed so much, and I am taking my darling daughter. I am getting a lot out of reading Jason Vale, even though I not sure I agree with every single thing he says.  Mostly I do. I don't think I agree that every single person with alcohol in their lives is addicted to it even though they may not drink much.  This is mainly because of my partner. I think many people can have alcohol in their lives without being a slave to it like I was. I don't think it does any harm at all to my man. He works really hard, goes home or comes here, often only has one beer and one red wine, or later in the week Friday, Saturday more like 3 beers and 2 or 3 wines (that would be quite a big night for him).  He never appears drunk, doesn't talk shit, plays nice music, chats, and then he stops and usually spends a couple more hours putting up with me while I would have any number more. I've not often met a more normal drinker.  So I don't really see it that everybody that drinks is a slave to a poisonous drug, even though I do accept that alcohol is poison. For someone like him I would think more like "he enjoys it, doesn't seem to do him any harm, why give it up?  He is so normal with it that over these last 4 years or so that we've been together his "normality" has totally highlighted my "abnormality".  It's not that we didn't have a nice time together when drinking, we did, but it did really expose my inability to stop, that compulsion that I just wanted one more. It's day 13 today, and I haven't minded him having a few beers or a wine over this time, I thought it best to get used to that straight away.  My lack of control should not prohibit him from enjoying one of his pleasures.  Is my thinking right here?  I am curious.
It's late afternoon now and we went to the movie and it truly is a gorgeous movie, and I reckon I know exactly which one liner made Mrs D emotional too.  Very well played by everyone in it.  I'd better go and get ready for our little dinner date before Mr Normal arrives.  Hope everyone's having a great day and that you all have safe and happy weekend.

Friday, 1 August 2014

FRIDAY AGAIN AND DAY 12

Another lousy night's sleep and it's 5.30 am and I've been awake for an hour or so and also had a wakeful time around 2.30 but went back to sleep for a bit.  Thought I might as well get up and write a few words since I couldn't yesterday as my day was somewhat extreme.  Today my youngest brother is having surgery where he gets 2/3rds of his liver cut out due to his colon cancer having spread to his liver. He has already had the colon operation. I've been lying in bed trying to send out positive healing energy for him. Very sudden and a very scary time. Today is a big day for our family.
The chocolate cravings have kicked in, bit of a worry.  Last weekend I bought a flake.  Then when I went to that Calvary movie, before I knew it I'd bought a bag of chocolate peanuts and eaten the lot in about the first 1/4 of the movie. In fact I've been rather more hungry than usual the whole time. I got up in the night one night and ate a ginger kiss, then went back and got a chocolate biscuit. I never eat them and only have them in the house for my maintenance man who helps with my business, and for my partner who has a rather sweet tooth. I'll allow myself a wee bit of decadence in these early days I think, but will try not to accept it as a regular thing.  It would be nice to eat really healthy seeing as I am being so good to my body by not throwing alcohol down my throat at every opportunity. I might as well capitalize on this positive event.  I had a look online and am toying with the idea of joining a Hot Yoga class.  They do it at high temperature to make you sweat.  Might help me relax, and sleep. Just got to carve a bit of time out of my day once or twice a week I guess. Well if I got up this stupidly early every day, and worked instead of hanging around online here, I guess that would be easy.  But I like hanging around on here, it feels good and I look forward to it. I haven't actually got anything interesting to say. Perhaps I am becoming quite boring.  I wish I could think of a good joke. I haven't laughed much this week. Maybe I will go hire a couple of good comedy DVD's tomorrow, to have something to look forward to after the Bodhi Tree dinner. MMmmmm....looking forward to that.  "Iced water please" (just practicing).
I hope a true and real "acceptance" will happen to me soon and the peace that I'm hoping will come with it. I can hardly wait to get on that "pink cloud" for a bit. Or is that months away yet, I can't remember!  Bring it on is what I say.  I hope you all have a marvelous day and treat yourselves real fine.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

OPERATON SUCCESSFUL

Thank you for all the kind thoughts for my brother today.  I've just heard that the operation was successful and he is now in recovery for the next few hours. I am elated. He has a bit of a rough road ahead for sure but  I am going to celebrate now with a bundaberg guava drink with heaps of  ice in a nice crystal glass. YES!! I just love the sound of the ice clinking!!  Memories..........but part of my re-training.  Cheers.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

10 DAYS

Today has been real  busy, so busy in fact that I forgot to think about alcohol for nearly the whole day!
I'm thinking about it now though because I've just read Mrs D's lovely post and all the comments, and I've read the first couple of chapters of Jason Vale's book.  So far so good.  I'm home alone, and feeling a bit flat but that's okay.  I am not sleeping very well.  Last night I nodded off in bed for about half and hour while watching tele, missed my program then didn't get back to sleep until about 3.45am and up again at 7.30am.
I will be glad when my sleep improves.
Over all I guess I'm not doing it too hard.  I miss it for sure. It still feels kind of unbelievable that I am attempting to give it up for good. That's the hardest bit to get my head around.  A good friend just rang and said she was in the area and should she call in?  I said yes at first, sure if you feel like it. Then I felt it necessary to say that I am feeling a bit flat and I am not drinking and still had some stuff to do and I'm watching the news on 1+1 coz I missed it.  You see normally every time she visits I open a bottle of wine for her and get out some olives and cheese and crackers etc, and she drinks wine and I drink southern comfort and diet coke and we have a great old catch up and a laugh.  I love her visits.  I love her. She is pretty sensible and only has two or three small glasses as she has to drive home, and she doesn't stay late......(well unless we really get on it and she stays the night).  I always drink more than her and I continue to drink after she has gone. Anyway she was cool about it and said she'll just go home and watch the news too, and it's good that I wasn't drinking.  The truth is I am really tired, and worried about a whole lot of stuff and I just want to get into my toasty warm bed and read my book.  And on Friday my very long time friend is coming up from down South to stay the weekend.  Hopefully I've snapped out of this flat stage by then.  I've already told her what I'm up to, and I'm looking forward to seeing her, at the same time as being a little apprehensive.  I will cook on Friday night and she and my partner will probably have a few beers and wines, and there's this great Burmese restaurant The Bodhi Tree so I think I'll talk them into going there on Sat night and maybe a movie. God I sound like a real boring misery guts don't I?  I'm glad it's winter, hopefully by summer I'll be a dab wee hand at this sober stuff and won't even miss it in the slightest, and I will be laughing and happy and funny and really together, and painlessly generous in allowing others around me to do whatever they wish, without it affecting me. (I'll probably be hiding in a corner somewhere on the new laptop I'm going to get, writing stuff on Lotta's new website).  Cool, I'll hold that thought, and go read some more Jason!!

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

DAY 9...... AND I'D SACK MYSELF IF I WORKED FOR ME!!

Well I actually do work for me, and that's the only reason I am not sacked!.
I got up quite early, bath, hair wash etc, and sat at my desk, looked in my diary at the big list of things I planned to accomplish today, book keeping, dealing with insurance stuff,  taking new photo's to update my website, basically a whole lot of every day work stuff.  But Aha....I have done nothing all morning except read wonderful stories from wonderful people here in NZ and all over the world who are trying to get sober, and Getting sober.  Hahahaha.........  I love it! When I do go out a bit later it will be to pick up the Jason Vale book I've ordered from the library, so I guess that will keep me pretty busy too!  I am glad it is the middle of winter, and not so crazy as usual, so I'm figuring just one day to completely indulge myself isn't going to break the bank, and it's a good day because I'm here on my own with no one working for me today and it looks pretty cold outside.  It's hilarious to me that I am now making wee excuses to myself to Blog and read Blogs instead of working, like I used to make excuses to myself to drink shitloads of southern comfort instead of having a nice dignified wee sober night off!  The operative word here is actually Night.  I drank at night, after a hard day's work. I have never liked to work at night, although I do love to work and I find a lot of satisfaction in what I'm doing.  So I'd better get serious about figuring out how and when to fit this cool online stuff in.  I spend most of my day sitting here at my desk, so I don't feel like doing that any more after about 5pm.  Hmmmm....time management might be the key.  Do some work all morning when my brain is fresh, and be very efficient and productive, and allow myself to knock off at 3pm each day. That could work for now, but never in summer.   New idea....get a laptop.  Then keep all my serious business stuff here on the PC, and walk away when I am ready to knock off, pour a little apricot nectar with ice, and check out whats going on with all you lovely people, from my couch, guilt free. Like I make it a chosen leisure activity.  Work has nothing to do with this, and this has nothing to do with work. Well!  I'm glad I've got that figured out.

I've been thinking about addiction.  About replacing one addiction with another.  I was very much in love some time back with a wonderful man, for 8 years, and he was in AA. Obviously we had a lot of tolerance for each other for it to last so long, the love answers that. He was obsessed with AA and went to meetings at least 4 times a week, sponsored several people at once, prayed, meditated, did readings every morning from several different books, and drank coffees all day with about a tablespoon of coffee in each one.  He took his thermos coffee cup everywhere. I knew I had a drinking problem well before our relationship began, but to be quite honest his "addiction" to AA really frightened me. It was not that he was fragile around the booze, he was fabulous.  He would drop me off at the Irish Bar in Lyttelton sometimes to meet some girlfriends for a drink while he went to his AA meeting, and pick me up after, and often stay and have a coffee while I had one more! (brat!)  I could write volumes on this so I will cut to the chase. I ended the relationship, not because it was interfering with my drinking, not because I had stopped loving him, but because he was on such a spiritual realm, and so deep and so intense about his beliefs etc, that I selfishly wanted.....what?  Feet planted firmly on the ground, reality.  His reality was not my reality. Last time we spoke about 4 months ago he was off to Burma where he was invited into the monastery to be an honorary Monk for 6 weeks, and he has done this in Thailand and Cambodia several times too.  So he is living his true vocation, and I was right set him free.
I now understand his obsession with AA, and how important it is to have support and to be able to express yourself.  I think this reading and writing and sharing online is a much more soothing and healthy way to do it, well for me anyway.  I do have the utmost respect for AA. I am just not comfortable with it, personally.
It's great that when I start writing on here I have no idea what I am going to say after maybe my first sentence!  I excuse myself if I ramble.
I am living inside my head a lot in these early days, and inside a lot of yours as well!
I have a very long way to go and a great deal to learn, so I will head off to the library now.....and hopefully Mr Vale will have some good teachings for me.

I hope everyone is having a good day today xo











Monday, 28 July 2014

PHEW!! THE FIRST WEEK IS BEHIND ME

Well I've got through the first week and I'm feeling quite pleased with myself about that.  On the way home yesterday we went via Sumner and went to the movie Calvary.  It was excellent, very well acted and a powerful movie.  Then when we got home at about 6.30 there was a nice fire going and my sweet daughter was making green Thai chicken curry for us for dinner, and my son was here too with his girlfriend, so that was a very happy way to end the week.  I even got congratulated!
Today has been hideously busy, and I've been dying to get on here all day!  Actually I think this blogging thing is going to be great because it not only reinforces our commitment  to ourselves, but if ever at a loss for something to do.....then how enjoyable it is to spend an hour or two on here reading other people's stories and gaining knowledge and confidence, and having a very safe sort of feeling of companionship with like minded people. I feel very grateful for this.
I still feel quite weird but that's okay.  I told a friend today who dropped in unexpectedly. She's someone I used to drink with quite a bit a long time back. It wasn't so bad, talking about it a wee bit.  She was kind of surprised that I would even attempt it, but I could tell it was making her think about her own drinking habits too, which are a bit excessive. She was supportive and told me how strong I am, and if that's what I want then she thinks I can do it. So I shall certainly head into week two with that in mind.  I just can't wait till I get to the point where I really Love being Sober.  And feel whole and normal and confident and proud.
Bring it on !  (I know there's some hard yards before that though).
I hope you have all had a happy weekend and a productive Monday.

Friday, 25 July 2014

FIRST WEEKEND WITHOUT

Well...I guess yesterdays post was a bit intense, and I was glad to be put back on track a wee bit by the kind comments from Colouful1 and Mrs D. We are all capable of great empathy for all the suffering in the world, it is extremely sad, and I felt very sad about it and still do. But I guess it is wrong for me to feel that I can compare the hideously cruel suffering of others, with my own personal life and my drinking problem. I was actually despising myself for what I have created in my life, for myself and my children.  Feeling guilty to have a home and comfort.
Anyway the day went downhill quite fast after writing that post anyway.  I felt all empowered when I wrote it and I meant every word. But all the time I was worried about the weekend and how to get through it. I had a busy day with my work, then went to see my younger brother who has cancer, recently diagnosed, already had a colon operation and in 10 days has two thirds of his liver cut out. I am extremely worried obviously, but we are all very positive too and it was a nice visit. I didn't tell him of my big mission as I wanted the visit to be about him.  Then I had to pick up a TV for my severely Bi Polar sister, and she'd given me the wrong shop, and when I got to the right shop it was closed. When I got home my older brother rang up (I think he was pissed) and he really annoyed me, we argued, and I told him to F... off!  By this time I was a strung out wreck, desperate for a drink, but determined not to, and was soon having a wee sob to my daughter in her room about my fears for my young brother, and my fears for myself.  My partner had arrived for the evening before me and had lit the fire.  I cooked us all dinner and sat down 'a little bit bleary and worse for wear and tear', and we went to bed early and watched Seven Days and Johnno and Ben.  So that was day 5 and today is day 6.  I'm going to get fat at this rate, I cooked bacon eggs and chips for us for breakfast, then we did a bit of running around, then needed to check on something in Diamond Harbour, so we had leek and potato soup and garlic bread for lunch at a nice cafe over there, and now I am up at his place high in the hills, using his computer to sneak a wee blog out, while he is dragging firewood around with a tractor and chainsawing it up to keep me warm with his big stone open fireplace.  And then he will cook me a roast lamb dinner.  I have felt really raw about talking to him about stopping.  We don't see each other during the week until Thursday, and it is not unheard of for me not to have a drink on a Thursday when he comes over, coz sometimes I used to decide to give it a real good nudge on the Wednesday, so I could give it a miss on the Thursday so he would get one day out of four where I was my nice normal self.  When I drink I am not a complete maniac or anything......I just find it very difficult to stop, which would certainly make me more of a maniac than him!  Often with the result of me staying up later listening to more music and having a couple more.  He is a very sensible man. Anyway, he certainly noticed it last night, and could see and feel my distress, and he asked me and I told him.  We talked a little more about it today on the drive to Diamond Harbour.  I feel very exposed and fragile today.  I've got some wee peachee bundabergs and when he has a beer or wine I will have one of those with ice in a nice glass.  (I just love the sound of the ice clinking in the glass).  Just a wee left over nostalgia after being a top shelf spirits drinker for nearly 2/3s of my life!!!  Day 7 tomorrow....bring it on!

Thursday, 24 July 2014

WITH REVOLUTION IS REVELATION!!

Very busy day yesterday on day four but I got through it pretty well all things considered.
So today is day 5 and I'm still hanging in here. I've been doing a bit of thinking, as you do when wide awake at 5.00am.  I am thinking, and feeling very deeply about all the tragedy going on with the plane shot down in the Ukraine, the other Algerian one missing, and the hideous suffering of the people in Gaza. When I turned the news on at 6am I then see that a UN school where 1000 people who've lost their homes were sheltering, has been seriously attacked by bombs, and the visuals of the carnage there are so excruciatingly painful to see.  One man running carrying two babies with blood on them, and so many bewildered, frightened and crying children, Mothers with faces expressing such mournful anguish and grief, crying and wailing. Brave strong men who must feel a terrible sadness, anger, and perhaps too, a sense of inadequacy at their hopeless inability to protect their families and their homes from this terrible onslaught. My heart goes out to every one of these people, including the families of the missing schoolgirls in Africa, and all people everywhere who are suffering and starving and homeless, and in war zones trying to protect those they love.  There are horrific things happening in our world.
The Revelation this has given me today is one of Perspective.
I think I am suffering somewhat this week because I am trying to give up a selfish ugly and greedy habit. Trying to change my thinking to cope with that fact.  I will keep trying and I am aware how new this is and how vulnerable I am.  But in actual fact, I have no idea what Real suffering is. I sit here at my nice oak desk in my lovely warm and comfortable 114 year old villa, plenty of food in my fridge, tons of firewood, my children are safe, no particular money problems, pretty lucky all round I'd say.  What do I feel?  I feel ashamed and pathetic. I want to kick myself in the butt and tell myself to go get a real problem!  Whinge whinge oh poor me I am a compulsive drinker who can't control my alcohol intake and so "OUCH' I've decided I'd better give it up....and that is going to be real hardship on poor wee me, coz I might not have so much fun any more and it might be prickly and awkward and real hard while I get used to it.  Well get over yourself Prudence and try to start, to commence, to begin to imagine the pain and the grief, the eternal anguish you would feel if you lost one of Your beautiful children.
I feel such enormous compassion for the suffering of others right now that I am finding it difficult to take my alcohol addiction seriously.
I think this actually can help us all.  Every time it gets really difficult, I am going to try to  imagine being one of those Mothers of those little bleeding innocent babies in Gaza, who has perhaps already lost a son or a daughter or her husband in previous conflicts. I think that will help me to tolerate cravings without caving in.  My problems are small. I will head into my first weekend sober in many years with these thoughts in my mind and my heart.
If anyone sees this I hope you have a fun happy positive gorgeous weekend with no naughty drinkies x


Wednesday, 23 July 2014

WONKY WEDNESDAY

Day 3 started well with a nice drive over to my house at Diamond Harbour to meet the EQC and Fletchers and the builder.  So that was progress, took about 3 hours and I am getting way more than I thought I was getting, including a new deck and all new exterior cladding.  So Yay for that. My newly sober self thinks the extras must be a wee reward coming my way for my positive changes. Ridiculous of course, but it is good that I can at least think what I want, even if I can't do what I would normally want to do right now.  I have just driven home from Riccarton, shaking, with very swollen and numb mouth, which is also full of gauze.  I went to an appointment  for a filling and she mentioned my top wisdom teeth have to come out. I opted to do it then and there so I wouldn't have to think about it, and then to do the fillings in a few weeks. I think I'm still in shock. I can't believe I just did that.  I look hillarious with my cheeks about twice the usual size. Ah well, I was told to rest up so I think I will stop answering the phone seeing as I can't talk properly anyway. If ever there was a real good excuse to knock a few back I reckon it would be right about now.  I am so glad that I don't want to, and I know how disappointed in my self I would feel if I just caved in on day 3.  So that's good because I wont. White knuckling? Gritting Teeth?  Hahahaa, at least I've got two less to grit!

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

SECOND DAY SOBER

Feeling a bit weird this morning.  Not because I haven't had a drink, I don't drink till about 5 anyway and I've only had one day off so far.  Today will be a bit harder as I have only had 2 days off in a row about twice in the last year. I try to have 2 days off a week but very seldom 2 in a row, and half the time that whole idea goes out the window anyway.  The old "fuck it" being the main excuse, but I use all the others too. I run my own company from home and I have a very busy life, so I "earn it", "deserve it", "feel like it", "why the heck not?", life is short", "life's for living, enjoy it".  They all sound quite reasonable actually, don't they?
I spend a lot of time on my own, at home working during the day, and often at home on my own in the evenings. Although my 23 year old daughter lives with me - she has a boyfriend and often stays there, or he stays here and they do their own thing.  The Southern Comfort is like my wee companion. I absolutely love it.  It's like liquid honey going down my throat and I can't get enough of it. It gets so sick sometimes with about the second drink that I practically skull the last half of the glass because I can't wait to pour the next one. Compulsion.  Yes, that's a good word. So why do I feel weird today?  Because I am doing all the usual things, up, bath, hair wash, makeup, make bed, all the while fielding phone calls, and sorting out problems with electricians and maintenance people, taking bookings, answering emails..........but all the time feeling obsessed with this HUGE decision I have made. I told my children last night.  Just to make it real.  I also told them not to be too disappointed in me if I fail. I don't want to fail.  But it feels so ENORMOUS that I feel like I might be kidding myself.  Who do I think I am that I could just give it up just like that because I want to?

Monday, 21 July 2014

BABY STEPS

I've never written a blog before, but taking a leaf from the lovely Mrs D's book, I thought Day One might be a good place to start. I have no idea if I can do this, but I am much inspired by all of you online people out there helping yourselves and helping others.  I hope to change my life today.  I have a vision of a happy fun and love filled future with me being sober, and being the best I can be, for myself first, and for my children, my man, and my friends and my family. I read the first half of Mrs D's book yesterday, having ordered it when I saw her amazing TV interview. I'd been putting off reading it because I was scared of the naked truth it would reveal to me, and I felt I had a wee bit more drinking to do first. Well that ended yesterday.  No big fanfare, I didn't tell anyone, just had a few southern comforts as usual whilst making a beef stroganoff dinner for my grown up kids and their partners, then a few more, nice fire, a bit of Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen and Johnnie Cash after they'd all gone.  Drank the pretty standard amount of the wee 300 ml bottle (which I pour into from a 40 oz one to try to monitor what I drink). Then I thought I'd better get rid of a few nips of whisky that a friend had left in the pantry, only had 2 of those and just to show myself a small bit of restraint I threw the last bit down the sink.  At the moment I am scared to finish Mrs D's book coz its her book that has given me the courage and determination to even attempt this, and what will I do when I've finished it?  I have been doing this for a very very long time for five, six or seven days a week.
So here I am, nervous and frankly quite terrified.  I really want to do this.
I think I'll go and read another chapter.