Thursday, 19 November 2015


Once upon a time in the heady cocaine fueled days of Sydney that title would hold a completely different meaning for me than what it does now.  It would mean up all night, probably ending up at the Manzil Room at about 2 or 3am, playing backgammon at dark low tables in between dancing to amazing live music, popping out my little red makeup mirror to do a couple more lines, lining up another southern comfort and possbily a nice baileys and ice as well, smoothly gliding around in high red stillettos, tight jeans and a slinky little top on my 7 stone 24-28 year old body. And I thought this was really living, and it was, and I loved it. I had a second hand shop, partners with a girlfriend.  She liked the early shift so I didn't start till one. A few hours sleep, a couple of lines to kick my day off, a few more later to stay awake (I had a wee hole drilled in the wall so I could hide out the back of the shop to do coke and still see if anyone came in)........
Well that was then and this is now. Here I am sitting up in bed at 5.45am. Yesterday was hillarious when I look back.  Up early to use the bathroom before my Airbnb guests wake up, work for a while, send Dave out on yard missions, send John to collect a caravan, prepare from scratch a beef vindaloo and put it in the slow cooker, meet daughter for lunch at Mexicano's, our favourite, then off I go the the RV centre to look at a 22ft Furnware caravan from the 70's. Loved it, bought it, then ended up upstairs in their storage area buying rolls of furnishing fabric for about $2 a meter and now invited to go up there whenever I need anything for my caravans and see if they've got it. While there I got a call from one of my guests to say another lot of guests had arrived and she'd let them in and showed them the house and their room etc. Heck! That was unconfirmed so I didn't think they were actually coming, lucky the room was ready though, minus the towels.  Hot tailed it home, meet and greet, slip out again to get breakfast supplies. Discover that I'd somehow turned slow cooker off at wall.  Bugger.  chucked it in oven instead. Back to desk for an hour or so catching up. Window broken in caravan travelling for Fleetwood Mac, help them sort that. Another one returned to back lawn, bond check that. Make all the accoutrements for the curry. Daughter arrives with her two staffies, Maddy and Lloyd, hillarious, rough and tumble playing all over the lounge, savage sounding growling and very boisterious, but funny. I'd promised first guests I'd cook them a curry before they left and they move today so last night was last chance. Invited new guests to join us, so dinner for 6 now. New guests (historians and lecturers down here for conference) come down to lounge, lady in sheepskin slippers.......youngest puppy Lloyd immediately started eating them and there's fluff strewn across the carpet before she's even fully in the room......oops! off she went to put shoes on instead, God only knows what they are thinking by now!  But they love curries, and dogs, so we won them over pretty quick I think. So here I am entertaining a couple of strangers and my 2 "old" friends, a Canadian/Australian couple who've been here 2 weeks and feel like part of the woodwork by now.  Plenty of lively and interesting conversation and humour had by all. I hope the new ones don't think I always cook, as they're here for 5 days. haha.
So yes, my life in the fast lane these days is a far cry from what seemed fun in my youth.  I think I thrive on pressure, and being busy, and accomplishing a lot in short spaces of time.  I love my life, and I love how it changes, and I love how capable I feel most of the time to adapt to whatever is happening.  I love living in the moment and I am trying to do just that.  To enjoy each moment (when I remember) for what it is, instead of using each moment as a means to get to the next one.  So easy to live our whole lives that way without even knowing it.  Rush rush rushing always to get to the next thing, when we are ignoring the special moments of just observing what's happening right now.
Well right now I'd better get up and have a shower before my four guests wake up.
Over and out!

Friday, 16 October 2015


The weekend in Wellington was amazingly awesome.  I dont' even know where to start to describe the happiness and humour and pure joy we all experienced at meeting and getting to know each other, and having a whole weekend in which to do so.  The highlight was having a big get together at the Southern Cross Hotel downtown, in a big private part of the pub, mocktails all round and tasty treats, and our Lotta in our midst enjoying the catch up just as much as we were.  It was beautiful, and it really touched me when she spoke to us.  She explained that although we all feel a gratefulness to her, perhaps for being our catylist in getting sober, that the truth for her is that she has never really felt she truly fitted in anywhere, at school, at work, at uni, and just in general.  Until now.  Until she found her people in the blogging world as she struggled to get sober herself, and found all of us on her website, all sorts of people from all over the world coming together online to help each other out, and to be understood.  She said she has found her Tribe.  That we are her tribe.  It was very moving and there were a few tears around the room.  It is a tribe I am proud and happy to belong to.
It was so cool seeing my friend Charlie again and meeting so many others and having fun meals out and tons of laughter.

Came home to a busy house as I am now running my home as an AirBnB.   I've got the two front rooms all tarted up, and I have a lovely young lady from the UK here for quite a while, and a man from Hawaii has just left.  It's different, but quite easy, and definitely not something I'd consider in a million years if I was still slugging back southern comfort like it's the last hurrah!  All of the money will go towards building my home, so there is a good sense of purpose involved, and it is easier and more lucrative than having permanent housemates.

I am feeling very happy and content.  I just love the springtime and the renewed energy and warmth that it brings.  I've planted lots of flowers, the lawns are mowed, the house is clean and tidy, and I feel like I can do anything.  I feel like things are finally clicking into place for me.  It has been a long cold winter.  But all the lost and lonely hard and struggling moments of adjustment have been worth it to get to Now. Now I know that it isn't "sobriety" that I am so happy about (I don't like that word at all, never have, it sounds so straight and narrow and boring and limiting), it is not about "being sober", so much as being free.  "Free of alcohol".  I no longer have a physcological addiction to a substance.  I feel so free.  I do not need it to feel contentment and purpose and happiness in my life.  I do not need it to be my true and best self.   I do not need it to have fun and laughter, or enjoy communication on many levels, and I don't need it to feel like I belong.  Oh....and newsflash!!  I am on my fourth week and fifth day of freedom from my 40 year cigarette habit too.  That's been a biggie but we won't talk about that dirty filthy stinking degrading shameful little habit any more because I don't have that habit any more.  Gone.

What I do have is Netflix (goodbye Sky) and I love it, so now I will get myself all tucked up with a mohair rug on the couch, at home on a Saturday night, by myself, as usual, no problem, and I will watch a few episodes of Luther, my favourite and most excellent new addiciton, a British crime drama.  Over and out.......

Ain't life a treat!

Sunday, 27 September 2015


"Times, they are a changing".  It's Monday morning and I'm awake at 3.48am and there's nothing too unusual about that in itself, but here's whats different.  As I woke and thoughts rushed into my head, as they do, I actually greeted them with a smile.  My thoughts are welcome.  They are good thoughts. They are thoughts of love and pride and contentment.  I am happy.  I'm happy with myself, my home, my family, and my life.  Whatever the day brings I know I can handle it, and for all of this I am feeling quite enormously grateful.
Need I even mention where the thoughts used to go when I woke in the early hours?  We all know that sinking feeling........oooops! I over did it again, did I get a wee bit stroppy?  Oh that's right I was mean to my partner coz he wanted to go to bed (after 8 hours physical labour, dinner, tele, music, 2 beers and 2 wines, mainly to keep me company while I guzzled down a gutful of southern comfort) and then I tell him how boring he is....again!   Poor man, he was probably relieved when I ended it! And there’s that sinking feeling I used to get when I knew deep down I was on the slippery slope and it was just a matter of degrees.  Others were much worse than me, surely, because I could get up and face the day and run my business, my home and my life, so I must be okay.  But I always feared what my future would look like and I knew it wasn't pretty.  A pissed old lady is never pretty.  Add in a good measure of swear words, a louder voice, raucous laughter and some cigarettes, and you get the full picture.

I have a challenging week ahead with a lot to accomplish before I head off to Wellington on Friday to meet up with some of my friends from the LS website who I've been communicating with for over a year.  We've shared our innermost feelings, our fears and failures, our hopes and our triumphs.  We've commiserated, or jollied each other along, we've shared humour, virtual hugs, empathy, concern and pride. It's going to be a beautiful thing for us all to meet and smile and begin to know one another a little for real, face to face, during this special weekend.  It is quite unique and beautiful to have the feelings of closeness, loyalty, protectiveness, trust, and a kind of love for a whole big bunch of people - most of whom I haven't ever met.  And I love it, and I am proud and grateful, excited and even honoured to be flying up to meet with them.

Becoming sober, Lotta and her website, and the friendships forged within this community have changed my life.  I'm happy and excited to see what each day brings.  Even if it's rain and gloom and there's things I'm worried about, I am still  happy on the inside.  I know I am different now, a bit quieter, and even a bit boring, but it's a wee adventure in itself discovering little surprises about myself and watching my life unfold.  In many ways it seems self indulgent to ponder and then write my feelings like this, because it's all about me, but that is in fact what becoming sober is all about.  It is facing our own selves, our thoughts and our feelings, and taking command of our lives without any mind and mood altering drugs to hide behind and embolden us.  The future is unknown but I trust myself to make the most of it, so yeah, bring it on.  There's that expression " have no shame"  Well it's true, I don't!  And I love it.

Saturday, 29 August 2015


I had a wee epiphany in the night. But I can’t quite grasp any more what it was, but it felt really good and was along the lines of how flipping fabulous it is to have kicked the shit to the curb, and how cool my life is now. It was like I suddenly realised fully how far I have come this past year, and how much I have changed and how good and solid and stable my life is, and I myself am. I am taking on new enterprises (like the two Irish AirBandB guests I’ve got tucked away in the top bedroom, still sleeping) and the other hot young 25 year old girl I’ve got booked up who’s coming out from the UK to spend 6 whole months living with me here at $300 per week. And like getting it together over the last few weeks to address the issue of my business being suddenly very quiet after several years of absolutely booming. I So enjoyed the quiet time, and I am so focused and “straight” that instead of panicking about not making much money for a while, I just honestly didn’t care at all, I loved it, having time for a change, and I looked at the situation with curiosity until I realised that life is sorting out my direction for me. Slow time suits me beautifully I’ve decided, so I have sold 9 of my caravans on Trademe, got rid of all the older and rougher ones (the shitters as I call them) and have now got a tidy wee sum to put towards whatever I decide to do with it. In the meantime things are starting to pick up as the weather warms up, and I know all will be well.  I’ve also bought another wee property “as is where is, uninsured” a tiny house on quite a big section with heaps of huge San Pedro cacti growing in the garden which look really cool (it’s main redeeming feature actually)!

I’ve had my friends Brenda and Iain staying for a couple of weeks, they’ve now gone to Nelson for a bit, and I’ve so loved having their company, it made my house more of a home again after a pretty much long cold and lonely winter. They lit me fires every night and we had lots of yummy dinners, lots of laughter, great conversations about all sorts of interesting stuff, and they are very easy and comfortable to have around. Pretty easy on the eye too, what a gorgeous looking couple they are, we even discussed them becoming “old people models” haha!

So this sobriety stint is going pretty well.  Forever still seems like a long time and I know I’m only one decision, one glass away from losing all I have gained, but for now I am loving it. Still a bit socially awkward but that’s mainly because I don’t often do anything social any more. I might give that a bit of a nudge today and go down to see my friend Carmel play at Freemans, haven’t done that since last summer.  And next weekend it’s my nephews 21st so that’ll be something very cool to look forward to as well.

The Irish are still in bed at 9.45am, I was going to offer to cook them bacon and eggs but I might nick off out to a movie at Alices or Academy and leave them a note to help themselves (might as well start off how I mean to carry on and all I’m supposed to do is provide cereal and fruit and toast and coffee). They might like getting up and having the house to themselves.  It does feel a wee bit weird but this is my first booking as a host, I thought I might as well give it a shot and I was rather shocked to get these 2 bookings in my first week of listing.  I bought another queen bed at the auctions on Friday so I can set up another guest bedroom and double my options. Better than flatmates as they pay way more money and they don’t stay long.

Seem to be having trouble getting my feelings out, so suffice to say that all is well in my heart. I am happy and confident and quietly proud of myself and excited to see what comes next. I will have an insurance decision on my Diamond Harbour house in the next week or two and the outcome of that will determine my next mission.

Being sober rocks and is so much smarter than the way I used to roll.

And all the cool people are getting sober these days!



Saturday, 8 August 2015


I'm up in the sky flying to Rotorua this morning. My great little online buddy Charlie Gilbert (who gave up the booze on the same day I did in July last year) has very gorgeously invited me for a holiday on their cool new farm in the Bay of Plenty. We feel like old friends as we've been reading and commenting on each other's blogs for over a year, emailing, a few phone calls, and we're both members of the brilliant Living Sober website. So this is the next step in our friendship.....we actually get to meet each other and spend time together. Not the ususal way friendships evolve, but I don't think either of us were ever particularly ordinary!  She's picking me up in Rotorua and in the morning we are having a brunch with her local group of LS members who have a meet up every couple of months. We've both had to keep our traps shut for a whole month as she is bringing me along as a wee surprise for this gathering. I feel very priviledged to be invited into her home, and to spend time with her family and I'm very excited to meet her. I already adore her. She's a bit of a fitness guru and I'm terrified of all the exercise she'll probably make me do......nah not really, I'm looking forward to it, got my trackies and runners, we are going to walk around Mount Maunganui if the weather report is wrong and it doesn't hose down the whole time I'm there. And if it does, who cares! we've got a huge lovely home, big spa bath undercover, and four whole days and nights to get to know each other for real and face to face. Feeling very lucky. And as if that isn't enough, this week we've all managed to put together a pretty damn fine plan for the first weekend in October where about 30 LS members from all over NZ are congregating in Wellington, staying mostly in the same accommodation, just about booked the place right out, in Lyall Bay, and will spend the weekend putting faces and real names to each other after many moons of giving and recieving amazing support, knowledge and humour on the website. All these people feel like real friends, we all really care about each other, so it's going to be a beautiful thing to take it that next step and make it all in the flesh real. We're planning a shared lunch with Mrs D for the Saturday, and my other blogging mate Colourful1 has offered up her home as a venue for this, which will be so cool and make it so much more casual and relaxed than the formaility of a restaurant, which just doesn't work with 30 odd people! Pun intended.  She's even lending us a car!  What a woman!  So.....after a fairly boring long cold lonely winter things are revving up, and I am finding my community expanding in this life changing sober gig I'm on. Bring it on I say......"getting better all the time".......rock n roll .........

Ooops I actually wrote this on the plane a couple of days ago and been having such a good time I forgot to post it......

Sunday, 19 July 2015


Heck!!! Here I go. I’ve finally arrived at one whole flipping year sober!!!  Who would have ever thought!! Not me, thats for sure!

Looking back it has been both hard and easy at the same time. The hardest thing was the decision......that took a good 40 years!! hahaha.... but once made, I am stuck with it so to speak, or at least I hope so. So then it is just the not so simple little matter of getting on with it. It is rather a shock to find that I am not quite how I believed myself to be. Who knew that I am actually quite shy sometimes, and happy to be a home body, that that great restlessness within me can be quelled in other ways than drinking myself silly, talking my head off, and being eternally ready for any drinking session, any time and for any reason at all, or no reason at all!

I never look at drunk people with disdain because I know they are having a good time in the moment, and I fully remember how that was once me. I don't look at them with pity because I know I would have hated to be pitied for having all the great fun happy laughing times I have had pissed!  I look at them with knowledge.  That one day some of them will probably choose to face up to their own problem, that deep inside there is a fear in many of their own dependence, and for the notoriously drunk ones, that tomorrow they will be surfing the great wave of remorse! 

I try never to allow myself to feel disgust when I smell it on people's breath, it is just what alcohol smells like, and it’s not as bad as sardines!  I remember (or not)! the thousands of conversations I've had in loud places, getting right in someone's ear with booze, tobacco and probably garlic on my breath as well!  No one ever told me my breath stunk.  Even drunk people are gracious and have many qualities, and I will remember that.

Looking forward, I am not afraid of the life I will have if I remain committed to the straight and narrow (not so narrow at all actually). There is much abundance out there for me that I haven't even tapped into yet, coz I'm deliberately a bit slow with the inner growth.  I don't search for it any more, I just allow it to come to me bit by bit in it's own good time. Slowly but surely that is happening, and I am becoming. 

I am far more afraid of the life I will have if I do not stay committed.  I would have a hell of a lot more fun, for sometimes false and short lived periods of time.  I would have an active social life once more, with people who are mainly with me coz I'm great fun to drink with.  I would laugh more and talk more and dance more and meet lots more people.  But I wouldn't have the quiet contentment and growing peace inside of me that comes from knowing I am living my life how I am meant to.  I wouldn't have the certainty that there is a great connection out there somewhere that will find me when the time is right.  That sounds stupid but I know it is true, because I have so much in me I want to give, that it would be very wasteful if that energy does not connect and lift the spirit of another worthy soul.  And hey, if it's wishful thinking, then there's always the future grandchildren whom I long to adore. 

It has been quite a lonely year in many ways, the adjustment to not having my nightly companion in a glass (or 10), my daughter leaving home, my son away building a lot, the end of a kind and companiable realtionship with a good hearted lovely man. As a result of all this I’m spending more time alone than I've ever spent in my life. After a very busy life, marriage, children, end of marriage, single parenting, house full of teens, then two long relationships, running busy businnesses through all of that, Hell it is about time I spent some time alone.  So that is how I am looking at it, time for me.  Time to heal and time to grow, so the rest of my life can be time to give and share and love and laugh and be happy.....and SOBER!!! Bring it on.......and all the cool people are getting sober these days… pretty soon I won’t feel like a freak!!! hahaha



Saturday, 20 June 2015


Not long home from a big day out with my daughter helping her do her groceries within her budget, she did very well considering her rather extravagant tastes (inherited I’d say).  A great wave of generosity and pride in her came over me in a lovely shoe shop and I shouted us both a gorgeous new pair of boots, very classy, she is over the moon and I am about $500 lighter in the pocket (but they were reduced from $399each…..bargain)! haha.....hardly teaching frugality am I!  I hate that word anyway "frugal" what a nasty little word!!
In the grand scheme of life I am fine with nothing to complain about. Within myself, though, I am still going through a rough patch. I am finding that I am not grabbing life by the teeth and embracing it.  Feeling less comfortable in my own skin. There may be a lot of reasons for this, most I've already talked about.  I just have to “harden up” and get on with it.  Actually I was going to go to that movie this afternoon, it’s had good reviews all week and I could use a bit of comedy, but it starts in 5 mins and I got home too late, maybe tomorrow.  It isn’t like I am all miserable all the time, I'm not at all, I am very grateful for so much, and generally quite content. I guess there is still that great big glaring hole where alcohol used to be, and sometimes I miss it so bad. It’s at times like those that I can’t really believe I will continue this forever, that it is only a matter of time, and at some point I will give in. I think all of this through and I know not to romanticise how it was and how it would be again.  I know the reality would be straight back to an over indulging glutton for punishment stupid fucking idiot when she’s pissed, loud, occasionally aggressive, often argumentative, unbecoming, undignified, know it all, can’t shut the fuck up, don’t know when to stop, version of myself. Living with that underlying sinking feeling and all the awful ramifications that come with that. I see very clearly how things will be for me if I do not continue on my current path.  I am 59 now and I know my health will not hold up if I go back to my old life. I know I would be letting myself down, but more so my children and future grandchildren, a time I am really looking forward to.

The only conclusion is not to drink.  To accept that my life will change, in time, and that I must do all the inner stuff required to make that happen, and to be ready for the joy that is waiting for me out there somewhere.

I don’t do winter well, especially on my own, things feel bleaker than they are. I am quite happy in my own company, it is not like I am longing for company all the time or wish to have others living in my home. (I should, I’d make a small fortune if I rented out the 3 spare double bedrooms)!. It is very peaceful now that my business is quiet for a while, to be here at home and pick and choose how I spend my time. I’m able to get on with other plans and projects that will help in my retirement, which I would like to see arrive sooner rather than later.  I also live with a fair amount of pressure coming from all directions, and I guess also the pressure I put on myself to keep on keeping on and to do everything at all times, sober.  I have become more introverted than I’ve ever been before, this is hard to get used to after always being the life of the flipping party!
It's Saturday night so I might go and do something really exciting and different now, like go to my toastie warm bed and watch a movie.


Sunday, 31 May 2015


I seem to be a bit stuck with lethargy, procrastination, tiredness, laziness, self doubt, insecurity, aloneness, and a general sense of dis-ease. I think if I put words to it all it might help to lift it. 

I can't be bothered cooking, housework is a joke so thank God I've got a housekeeper. I live on cheese and crackers or poached eggs or a baked spud with cheese and sour cream and tomoto relish my sister made, and random sweet things. It's got so on a day like today, a holiday, or a Sunday when I should ask the kids over for a big yummy roast I just can't be bothered. I have never really felt like this before, I've always cooked and enjoyed it. I love pampering my kids. I miss them. I am avoiding pretty much all social occasions too, just can't get enthused about going out and not drinking.  Would rather stay at home with a book or a movie where the fact of not drinking isn't put right in my face. Hence I have missed some nice events lately with live music played by old friends.

I have never suffered depression so I don't really know what it looks like from the inside. Maybe I just need to give myself a good kick up the arse and get over myself. I went shopping yesterday, and since I wrote the last sentence I have prepared a vege frittata with potatoe, kumara, cauliflour, celery, shallots, garlic, spinach, baby tomatoes, capsicum, cheese, egg and tomatoe puree and a couple of herbs......and put it in the oven. (I kicked myself in the arse) so that will be some healthy eating taken care of. I've tidied the kitchen and put the dishwasher on.  I've soaked some tops that needed it. The thought of weeding the garden makes me almost physically sick, so that can wait (probably till summer)! I forgot to mention I am smoking more cigarettes and I can't bring myself to go for walks or do any exercise.  I just wish I could crawl into bed and wake up next summer.  My arm is still sore with that stupid bursitis I've had since Christmas, and the rest of my body feels old and sluggish, and achy and tubby.

I guess I will just try to force myself to do all the normal things that people do and not dwell on the flat awful scary uncomfortable way I am feeling.

Fuck I'd love to get pissed!!!

Then I would be right back to the laughing fun energetic social crazy tortured soul I used to be.

I must become less self absorbed and take up more constructive pursuits.

I will try.  I am not going to drink.
Anyone got any good cocaine?  A few big flipping snorts of that might sort me out!!


Thursday, 14 May 2015


Feeling pretty pleased with myself I have to admit!
It has been a rollercoaster of emotions lately and I have to admit that too. 

Being away on the holiday gave me lots of time to reflect, and being back from the holiday has been interesting too with conflicting feelings.
I feel very grateful to have a home I am happy in and a life that is rich with the love of my children, friends, family in the background, a business to run, goals to achieve and a general sense of purpose.
Being away also helped me to see that I've been living in a bit of a bubble of my own creation, and for most of last week I was quite troubled about that. Here's a wee bit of an email I was writing to my friend Charlie trying to describe how I was feeling:   "ah what's it all about?  I could fucking murder a southern comfort and diet coke, why all this deprivation?  What am I doing?  I used to have a life. A personality, fun, friends, lots of social events, girlfriends visiting and fun afternoons/evenings - a few drinks and tons of laughter and fun and friendship, I used to also enjoy my nights alone getting a bit shitfaced, cooking, playing music, writing stuff, don't do any of that now. I live in my wee safe haven, all fucking serious and boring, in bed so super early it feels dysfunctional, watch movies, don't sleep till about 12 or 1 and get about 5 hours and start all over again. And if I let myself that is the way I think. I don't often think this way but it does happen and it scares the daylights out of me. Just how easy it would be for me to give in to that, and in a way what a flipping relief it would be (for about an hour!!)"

It's funny how when I romanticise about alcohol I remember all the good bits, I associate it with sunny back yards, beaches, laughter, warmth and conviviality, great parties, and I conveniently forget that I didn't stop there! I carried on until I was drunk, loud, talking shit, looking like a drunk older woman I guess, smoking more cigarettes, and giving in to the compulsion every time to have one more drink, and one more, and one  more. And the more I had the better I felt, I absolutely flipping loved it, yes I did, and while I was being that loud drunk woman that other people saw, I was feeling fabulous and fun and funny and cool, I'd even look good, touch up the lipstick, feeling quite sexy and exciting, and then gutted when the night was over coz I could have partied all night long! I was never one to get sick or fall asleep, no, not me!
How terribly fucking sad!!! I truly do miss her sometimes but I'm glad I finally dumped that version of myself!

So there are some of the conflicting feelings, and at 300 days I am still a work in progress with tons of room for improvement in all ways, but I am liking who I am way more than I ever have before, and as I say that a wee email just arrives from my daughter .......
"Awwww how cool mum, so proud of you, you truly are just a new and improved you. To me your more fun exciting and special sober ! I love the sober you (not that I didn’t love the naughty you) very proud of you xx
love you lots"

That alone is worth every struggling moment I have been through to get to where I am today.
And where I am today is where I want to stay.

Friday, 1 May 2015


Being quite spontaneous and slightly mad as well, I decided a couple of weeks ago to go off on a cruise while my business was quiet. I’d had a road trip planned with a girlfriend but she had to cancel. So I booked a “Melanesian Discovery” tour on the Pacific Pearl leaving the following Sunday. Quickly made arrangements for my business to semi operate in my absence and off I flew to Auckland to board the ship. I don’t think many other people go on cruises by themselves and I did feel slightly awkward at first but it was fabulous. Ten whole days with only my own wishes to consider and only myself to please, beautiful meals provided and no decisions to make other than when to head up to “smokers corner” on the deck, or which entertainment acts to watch. Bliss. My room was nice with a large porthole, queen bed, ensuite and plenty of drawers and wardrobe space to put away all my clothes and shoes and make it home for the next ten days. There was a tele but I didn’t turn it on as I decided to make this trip as different to my normal life as I could. There was a big “away party” up on the deck as we sailed out of Auckland with loud music and kids swimming and everyone drinking, and that is when I decided the way to do this is to just get amongst it, get my lychee mocktail and join in.
Off out to the restaurant the first night and they put me at a table with two couples who had also just met each other at the table and we all got on like a house on fire and had a few laughs and a beautiful 3 course meal. They had some wine. I went to a show in the Marquee that was showing samples of some the acts coming up. Dancers, a magician, a trapeze artist and a singer. To be honest I was very pleased I was sober and giving it my full attention, so I could see how bad and amateur it actually was!! Mediocre at best. However, it was still mildly entertaining. As it happened some of the shows throughout the cruise were excellent, in particular the comedy. The karaoke was hilarious and some of them were very talented.

The first sunrise was a delight, a ball of shining gold on the horizon with just a massive expanse of sea. All of the islands were beautiful, there was swimming at gorgeous beaches in lovely warm waters, a lagoon cruise in Vila, a zodiac ride to a wee Island in Noumea then a mad crazy and totally dangerous ride in a silly wee open train that took us all around the place with cars screaming around and passing us at speed about 2 inches away on corners!! On that particular trip I was sitting next to an hilarious Maori man who had me in stitches of laughter with his running commentary of what was gong on.  A lot of knowledge was given on all of the tours of the interesting cultures of each place and it's people.

Getting back aboard the ship after each of the 5 Islands felt like going home, great to get back to my room, have a nice long shower and put on fresh clothes, and head up to the deck for a ciggie and to catch all the news of everyone’s day and to get the ship gossip, like one guy having a heart attack in the gym and ending up dead. Or the father and son that had a fight and a third party went overboard at 2.00am and had to be rescued by one of the tender boats using the ship’s search lights. Two culprits were in the lockup down below and escorted off the ship in Vila. Turned out after four days of it being bandied around the ship that it was all bullshit, apart from the two guys in the lockup, which was true and they did get escorted off. And the guy did die in the gym. And one guy wandered off for too long on an island and got left behind and had to make his own way to Vanuatu to catch up with the ship again.

I guess you could say I was a bit out of my comfort zone to begin with, but very quickly I was befriended by some lovely people, a couple of gay guys from Auckland, a nice lady from the Christchurch blues scene and her man, and a wonderful wee lady, Sybil, and her 91 year old mother who was a fabulous and sprightly character and often had us all in fits of laughter. There were lots of others who got together with us on the top deck every day, some wonderful characters and plenty of laughter. There were times when they were all drinking after a big day at the beach and I’d be feeling a bit of a dick with my raspberry lime and soda, and after having it I’d sometimes go to my room and spend a couple of lazy hours reading and nodding off, until it was time to change for dinner and the evening, theatre, live bands, comedy, circus, heaps of stuff going on.  On the last night there was a big party in the Atrium, all the 200 chefs paraded through, there were 100’s of balloons and a big electronic light show and they made a champagne fountain of 700 glasses and used probably a couple of hundred bottles of champagne to fill them all, and I got a photo taken of me pouring champagne into the top of the fountain.  It was my way of showing myself and remembering I can be all around and amongst booze if that is what the occasion calls for, and still have a .....reasonably good time, without drinking it!!
I was in fact very glad to be and remain sober on this holiday, as it occurred to me many times that if I was drinking I would be far more obsessed with my next and next and next glass than any of those around me!!

I had a blast of a time and I would do it again in a heartbeat, either alone or with friends. In fact I would now like to save for a river cruise down the Rhine or the Danube and as soon as I’ve got time I’ll be checking it out!  Anyone want to come?
Yep life is short, so bring it on, all of it, and keep it coming!!

Thursday, 16 April 2015


Made a snap decision on Tuesday that I deserved a holiday and that now was a good time to go.  Off to the Travel Agent and an hour later I was sitting here with a ticket for a 10 day cruise to 5 Pacific Islands, leaving this Sunday, and half price to boot!!
So that decadent little bit of spontanaeity has caused me some big hoops to jump through in a short time, to arrange things for my business to semi operate while I'm away and to trouble shoot any possible emergencies. It's Thursday night now and I've just about got most of it sussed.
So there are exciting times just up ahead for me, I hope I like it!  Seems like a good sort of a thing to do on my own, rather than going some place where I need a rental car, accommodation and stuff, this way all of that is provided and I've even got a double room to myself, ensuite, porthole view and theres tons of entertainment, bands, theatre, a circus, library, pool, sauna, gym, 7 restaurants, 9 bars, live bands, a casino, a movie theatre and God knows what else. All that stuff is free, even the soft drinks I think. Don't see how I couldn't have a good time! And then you get off at all the islands and either just go swwimming and walking around a bit or you can book shore tours and go see some more sights or do adventure stuff like absailing down waterfalls, glass bottom boats, caves etc.
I feel a bit self indulgent on the one hand, and on the other hand I am laughing because it will cost me no more than I have already saved being alcohol free for 9 months (even though I have had a few other treats now I come to think of it, like new boots, trip to Queenstown, the Stones in Auckland, new necklace) but what the heck, I haven't  had more than 3 days off in a row for nearly two years.  I guess it will be interesting and challenging to be in a very booze dominating situation, I haven't really been around booze alot, but hopefully I won't envy all the happy drunk people, and I'll bet if they knew they would envy me in the mornings!!  Fresh as a dasiy I shall be.
Time now to decide what to take and start packing I guess.
Yee Haa.....bring it on!

Sunday, 8 March 2015


I’ve been feeling pretty weird and introspective this weekend, kind of lonely and a bit daunted but not really feeling like company either. Today I got up and drove down to Taylors Mistake and walked the beach in an attempt to blow all the cobwebs out and get back on my Yellow Brick Road. It was certainly windy enough to blow anything out. I walked over the little cliff track to Hobsons Bay, the track goes right through the front deck/exteriors of some of the houses that are perched on the rocks. Once there, it was quite sad and beautiful all at the same time seeing all the wee baches set into the rocks, some immaculately kept and others destroyed by the earthquakes and open to the elements. The surf was powerful here and I sat on a log for a while and got my breathing in tempo with the waves crashing, and just breathed in all the goodness of the sea and fresh air. More cobwebs to blow out though so then I walked the beach again and up over the hill to Boulder Bay, walking along a nice little path zig-zagging its way around the point. On the way back I veered off this path onto a narrow sheep track and wound my way around the hills well above the main path, till I eventually ended up back near the car park. I love it over there and I’m glad I went. On this walk I was thinking about the vulnerable way I am feeling and trying to snap out of it. By the end of the walk the word that kept coming into my mind was Trust. I often advise others who are struggling to trust themselves, to trust that things will get easier, better. I am not often very good at listening to my own advice, so today I will be an A student and I will Trust that by hanging on to my sobriety I am doing the very best thing I can do for myself and those around me. I will Trust that these flat and low moods will pass and I’ll soon be happily bouncing along again. I will Trust that all this walking I am doing will not only eventually make me lose some weight, but they’re making my body stronger, fitter and healthier. I will Trust that although the path to getting sober can be a quiet and lonely time, it will lead to times where my life will be full of interesting wonderful characters. I will Trust the power of the cyber friendships I have with like-minded people trying to achieve the same goals as me. And I will Trust myself to cope with all that is bothering me, remain strong, and remain sober.

Sunday, 1 March 2015


I've decided that on the weekends I will drive somewhere nice to walk. I walked Sumner beach last Sunday, North beach to the Pier and back last Saturday, and yesterday I drove to South Shore and walked through the domain and back, then along the estuary till it got too mushy, then up onto the road and I walked past our old house where we lived when I was married with children, then up over the sand hills and along the beach. It was nice feeling all the memories. 12 happy years spent there, and when walking through the domain I remembered the fun bike rides we used to do on various collectible push bikes, of which my husband had a collection of over 60. My favourite was a BSA Shopper, which was what nurses used to use in India apparently. I found a gorgeous little antique child's seat and erected it on the back and my darling daughter would ride in there, my son would be on his own cool wee bike and my husband would take one of the old "Granville" bikes with the big grocery basket on the front. That would be full with champagne and beers, french sticks and cheese and a few other goodies and we would ride through the forest down to a big park where we'd meet up with other friend's and their children for a picnic and cricket games etc. We didn't give a thought about taking alcohol to enjoy these outings, it just went without saying. I remember us feeling very responsible actually for not taking the car and travelling by bike instead coz we were drinking. The kids all had a ball, so did the adults and often everyone would end up back at our place for more drinks later. They were great days and I remember them without regret, even though I got pretty shitfaced more often than not, but the children were always cared for and always had a great time. We had two children (still have 'em)! and on social occasions we would have one each to be responsible for, and that worked well, no disasters. Today I drove to the Botanical Gardens and I enjoyed it more than I ever have before. I wanted to get as many steps up as possible so my walking took a bit of a different form. I have been into every nook, every cranny, taken every pathway at least once, wandering all through the most gorgeous bush and ponds with ducks, and amazing flower gardens, rose gardens, hot houses, fern gardens, cactus gardens and along the river and over bridges and along the other side, doubled back in a few places where it was just so beautiful I had to experience it twice. One place was a room full of the most vibrant hanging begonias I have ever seen. I was awed. So I've come home now feeling real lucky that these days this is the sort of thing I actually want to do on a Sunday morning, and I have sucked up so much beauty and I feel immense appreciation for it. Just seven months ago I'd be waking up, dragging myself out of bed and into the bath, then either cooking bacon and eggs for my then partner or going out to eat breakfast feeling like crap, and then probably home to read a book or watch a movie until dinner time. Today I've weeded my flower garden, been to the supermarket, I'm about to wash my car, I've caught up with some friends on the phone, offered some support to one who is struggling, and I've made an arrangement to go and see The Theory of Everything at the Academy later. Yay! I'm so glad I had the guts to jump off the merry go round. I have gained so much more than I have lost. I have gained way better relationships with my children, my family and my friends, and I have gained a way better relationship with myself as well. Might turn it into a full blown affair!!

Thursday, 26 February 2015


There’s a sadness mingling with these last sunny days, and it is simply knowing they are going to end soon. It’s been such a beautiful warm summer and I am grateful for it. Winter has its’ comforts, fires and hot chunky soups, roast dinners and fluffy jerseys and cool leather boots, but these days right now are the ones we need to enjoy. I bought myself a “fitbit” for my 200th day anniversary. It counts the steps I do each day and so far I have not let it down, and have done over 10,000 steps each day for the last 17 days, which is about 7 and half K’s a day. I get up early and leave about 6.30 or 7.00am and walk up to one of the parks and then run around the park and walk/run/walk home again, usually adding in an extra block here and there to get my numbers up. I am enjoying the time for contemplation it gives me before starting the busy day. I have another smaller walk after dinner to get it up and over the 10,000. Unfortunately I haven’t lost even a smidgeon of weight which is a bit disappointing, but at least I know myself that I must be getting a lot fitter than I’ve been for many years. I don’t know how I will cope as it gets colder and into the depths of winter, perhaps I’ll have to make another plan. But for now I am quite enjoying feeling good about myself. The more well I become in body, mind and spirit, the more I see what a lot of work there still is to do. I am realising that just giving up alcohol is not the solution to fulfilment and contentment. It is only now when the alcohol has left the equation that I begin see the reality of the way I’ve been living my life. I have been just “getting through it”. Doing all the things I need to do to maintain a home, a business, a social life, children when they were here, helping others where I can. I have made myself perpetually busy my entire adult life. Is this normal? I did it in my marriage, with a busy business and children and social life. I have always had one busy business or another and I see now that I might use it to kind of give myself substance or self-worth. It is a way that I have been able to have respect for myself, and possibly gain the respect of others. It is a way of avoiding the real essence of myself, which in itself is perhaps a “void”. I do not know what has caused me to unconsciously do this, but between constantly working, then drinking in the evenings, and also by being in long relationships and nurturing the needs of others, I have left myself by the wayside. That is not to say that I have ignored my desires for holidays, movies, books or other luxuries that satisfy those external comforts. It is to say that I have always hungered from a young age for the illusive fulfilment of the spirit, or heart. Perhaps everyone does to a degree. I have searched and I have read and I’ve attended courses and explored all sorts of beliefs and had thousands of conversations with like-minded people. I am realising today that perhaps all I have needed is to slow down. To just sit with myself and feel grateful for the life that I have and the wonderful people in it. For the sunny days, and the flowers and the smiles and the oceans. To give myself the great gift of “time”. Time for me, to grow into the “me” I want to become. Time to appreciate all the goodness and love in my life. As my business slows down after the silly season I will have more time to invest in others as well as in myself, and for the first time ever in my adult life I will have the clarity of a completely alcohol free brain with which to enjoy it.

Saturday, 21 February 2015


I wrote this about a week after the massive earthquake that tried to destroy our city. I think today is a good day to share it, unedited, exactly how it was written.


A week or so on seems about the time to start getting some of the feelings and the experience of all this down.  Or else the whole memory will be fully influenced by the media who are reporting of it.  The media reports are part of the feeling.  Grateful for the news.  Aware of how it all works…getting the story…getting a new angle on the same story for the next bulletin….finding someone else remotely interesting to interview…while standing in the CBD zone where none of us can go…and such a media circus…with so many to accommodate that all the motels and hotels are FULL OF MEDIA so the desperate and needy (and less fiscally flush) cannot be accommodated. That is one small feeling anyway, and a way to get started because the real deep feelings are still pretty raw.

 This is 10 days on, and I am not sure from which perspective I should or will express myself.  It will be what I feel, but perhaps not from a particularly personal perspective, but more of a collective one.  More likely a bit of a mish mash of both.  Not sure.  Dunno!  Will proceed anyway.

 12.47am right now, 11th day I guess, choppers flying overhead….heck…they’ve slowed down in quantity I guess….or have I slowed down enough to hear more of them?  A lot of activity up in the air right now, 12.50am Friday 5th March. 

 What an absolutely bizarre and totally unexpected, hideous, devastating tragedy this gatecrasher of an earthquake is for our city and our people. 

I would certainly not call it Soul Destroying.  It won’t get any of that kind of Kudos from me.  Our people’s souls are not destroyed by loss of property, homes, of being displaced for a while, losing jobs, income, security, the inability to provide the usual comforts for those we love, or for ourselves.  We are bigger than that, each and every one of us I am sure, feel a far deeper loss than any that we may be enduring on a hardship or comfort level. 

The loss of life in our city is what is hurting the people of Christchurch.  Each awful death reaches and touches so many.  There are so many deaths. 

Each beloved person who has had their life ripped away, without any warning, has left so many grieving souls,….their own beautiful families, their friends, all of those who loved them, and those who admired them and respected them.  It is not fair.  This is true.  But so also is the Truth that our people will NOT be destroyed by this.  Not even while facing the most Huge loss of all.  A Mother.  A Father.  A Son or a Daughter, (God bless the Mum from the Phillipines who endured her daughter’s texts from CTV with such helplessness, such anguish). A Brother or a Sister.  A Granny or Grandpa.  A dear Friend. None of us will be un-touched by the enormity of this tragedy.  None of us will Ever forget these days we are living right now.  This event will be the biggest thing in all of our lives, our memories, our hearts…..young and old…..for all of our days.  This is the Measuring Stick. Pike River is also part of these times, so recent, so tragic.  Felt so deeply by us all.

Our people’s souls are strangely strengthened by these unwelcome, extremely challenging, ongoing, difficult, sad, inconvenient and horrific events.  We may ask the question….WHY??  WHY us?...Why here?  Why now? …after so much already endured?  Do we even expect an answer?

We each have our own inner selves to look to, to find our answers.  Do I have an answer?  The answer?  NO!!  I do not.  I have no religion or any new age stuff to preach to anyone.  I just have myself, and my feelings right now, and my Trust.  Who am I?  Even the scientists and the Moony guy can’t explain this one.  Leave all that to the talk back radio and the media.

What I know….is that the people of Canterbury, the people of Aotearoa, the Spirit of our country, of it’s leaders…..(John K and Bob P)….the amazing tireless work of the rescue teams from all over the world and the Love and the help and the pro action of thousands of big hearted angels who’ve given so much of themselves, their resources, their hearts and their time, their donations of money, food, water and stuff, and the whole spirit of our beautiful Country,…..phew what a long sentence this is….. the solidarity for Canterbury and for what we are experiencing, the energy of all the innovated money raising happenings, the growing donations given anonymously by so many…… well to be perfectly honest, it is humbling for me to be a Cantabrian.  It is a great honour to be here in this mess and to feel such staunchness from the rest of New Zealand.  What you are all doing with your fundraising for our City, and the unselfish and accepting attitude I have encountered so far with regard to ideas of how to help re-build Christchurch, well….I’ll tell you what…how I feel tonight has  a lot to do with Your solidarity, as a Country.  That is where we gain our Strength.  That is why our Souls are Not, and Will Not be Destroyed by this nasty destructive natural disaster.  Thank you to all of New Zealand for your Compassion, Generosity, Help, Energy, and Understanding of  our massive loss.



Sunday, 8 February 2015


A beautiful day today and one to be very grateful for.  Soon enough these mornings will be cold again and will give a different perspective to our days. I have so loved this warm weather all summer. Today my friend and I went to visit an old and dear friend whom I've known for 40 years. He was given four weeks to live several months ago, and has battled on, but obviously will be not much longer for this world.  He was sitting up outside in the sun, lovely tan, and looking surprisingly good. He was very pleased to see us and we chatted away for an hour or so catching up. He has big liver troubles, Hep C, schirroscis and now cancer. They can't do anything more for him than keep him comfortable and he will soon go to a hospice. He was a beer drinker more than anything else, I don't know how he got the Hep C  he was never a drug user, but what he is now is a lovely and most honourable and loyal man facing death with a brave outlook, and grateful for the good life he has had. He has a beautiful wife who is doing a brave and amazing job of looking after him.  I am so glad to have seen him and talked of old times and old friends and of how things are now.  It is such a regret when you attend a funeral when you haven't seen the person in a long time, but knew they were ill, and could have.  He is well loved by many and I hope his last days and weeks are filled with love and friendship.
Life continues to throw many challenges my way so I am busy navigating a few of those at the moment. My days are full and busy and I've not had much time to wonder if I am lonely in this big house by myself.  I don't think so. I think I am quite liking it really. The old "witch bitch" is keeping fairly quiet lately, I easily managed a lunch yesterday where my friends all had wine or beer and I had a lovely tart lime and grapefruit Mocktail.  My friend had another wine later before we went out for dinner and a couple over dinner and another one or two when we got home. No problem, she wasn't at all messy and we both went to bed quite early at about 10.30. 
All in all things are good in my world. I am looking forward to having a productive year in my business and I am ready to make some brave changes to enable me to live with a view of the sea again before the end of the year.  I long for this, and have missed it hugely over the last ten years living in the city. To look at the changing sea every day centres me and gives me a serenity I do not feel when I am away from it. I feel more whole and connected to the power and energy of it when it is in my sight and I will never take it for granted, and will always be grateful to have that beauty in my life.
The best things in life are free. The ocean, rivers, forests and mountains, love, friendship, laughter, kindness, loyalty, beauty, and our health. Amidst the chaos that is sometimes my life I am going to try to be mindful always of all that is beautiful and honest and free. Like the way a smile can light up our day.  I will try to be a giver of smiles as often as I can, while I follow my strong intuition, and continue to work towards making my life into one that overflows with the joy of simple things.
Don't want much do I?!  I am learning to appreciate all that I have, and it is making me feel happy, and feeling happy makes me able to give more to others, even if it is just a smile or some kind words.
Today I am full of hope for all those I love, and for me too.

Sunday, 25 January 2015


I really do want to keep writing my blog but I always procrastinate and feel like I've got nothing interesting to say, so then I don't write anything and weeks go by and I feel even more hopeless about it.  So I thought if I got on here and just started waffling on, then something might spring forth.  Yesterday I had a nice afternoon in Diamond Harbour catching up with some long time friends who were visiting from Nelson.  A bunch of their old friends gathered in a little bar overlooking the Village Green and it was heart warming and fun to have the old crowd back together for an afternoon.  Most live there and stayed on into the evening with live music and dinner, but me and my two friends that came with me left in the early evening.  Right now I am trying to get the energy to get ready to go to a live music afternoon in a friend's back yard not too far up the road from here.  I am trying to take up any social opportunities I am invited to, good practice for sober outings, and I do not want to become too insular now that I am by myself and living alone.
I've recently passed the 6 month alcohol free mark and I'm feeling proud of that, and my resolve to continue is still well in tact.  It is getting easier. I am finally sleeping better, getting about 5 hours or so which seems to be enough. I feel great in the mornings and always ready for action and I am having long productive days. My business is very busy and I am coping with it all pretty well.
I've had my good friend staying with me for about 10 days and she will be here for another week or so, it has been great having her calm relaxed company and I will miss her when she's gone.
I haven't lost any weight in the last 6 months which is a bit of a disappointment, I only wanted to lose 2 kilos but can't seem to shake them off. Still feeling guilty about lack of serious exercise, (hence no weight loss) and still smoking. Oh and probably still having a bit much sugar but not a great deal.  I bought a juicer and have been having vege juices nearly every morning for a few weeks now. I add a bit of fresh ginger and fresh turmeric to celery, carrot, beetroot, spinach, cucumber and an apple. I love it and feel like it's going into every cell of my body when I drink it and that my body is thanking me.
All in all I feel like I have a long way to go, but I am being patient with myself, and I am very happy that I've managed to get this far down the sober road with no slip ups at all.  It is a Huge change after forty years of drinking. I might still have a few bad habits to quit and some good ones to take up but for the present moment I am liking my true and real authentic self without any props. I find it very easy to fill the time, the work week is very demanding and I am quite tired every day after work and happy to have early nights. The weekends are absolute bliss, especially Sundays like today, when I usually get a real break from the phones ringing constantly for enquiries and bookings. I love Sundays because for this one day I can do whatever I like, even if it is pretty much nothing but pottering around here in the garden or kitchen.  It is nice to slow down.
Well now I'd better rev up and get ready to go to this wee soiree garden party!!