Thursday, 3 August 2017

ON AN EVEN KEEL


I've woken this morning bright and early with an amusing little epiphany. I was reading an article last night which linked solitude to creativity, so I am hoping I may become inspired creatively at some stage. 

Then I thought in the meantime I shall just continue to write my blog, even if it isn't so much about alcohol or the lack of it any more. It is about my life as I go forward without it. Then that led me to think about my life now as being on an even keel. No big highs and no big lows. Then of course that led me to think about a life of drinking, my previous life in fact, as being quite similar in a sense to very rapid cycling bi polar. Sailing along on an even keel for a day or so, then getting on it and having a major high episode, talking loudly, getting over excited, doing and saying things we probably wouldn't normally, sometimes getting a bit out of control, lots of laughter, or sometimes hot headedness, impatience, or anger. Possibly saying hurtful things to someone close in the heat of the moment. Sometimes just having fun, dancing, laughing and feeling happy. Then bed. Then wake up. Feeling low. Feeling lots of feelings that go with feeling low. Physically under par, feelings of remorse, guilt, shame, nagging worry, regret, sadness, lack of motivation, tiredness, all leading to feeling a mini-depression for the day. We battle on through, then towards the end of the day we decide to make ourselves feel good again, and away we go on a new tangent. Often they are just mini tangents where there is no bad behaviour, no particular excess and it's quite mellow, but another little drinking tangent it is, and underlying nagging worry and guilt accompanies it, for me. Have a few more and that mostly goes away, until the morning, or more often the middle of the night! Having close links to someone with bi polar I am qualified to make this comparism. I don't mean in any way that is actually anything to do with being bi polar. I just woke with the similarity in my mind. Like a mini version of it. For someone like me. Bi polar is something a person is born with. Some argue that alcoholism is too. Whatever the truth is in that, with bi polar a person has no choice. With alcohol they do.

So all of that led me to look at my life now, three years down the track of being sober at all times.

Although it has been a very emotional and enlightening journey, facing everything that life dishes up to me, good or bad, with my feet planted firmly on the ground, never once altering my state to soften hurt feelings or bad news, or to lift my spirits (funny wee pun) in times of sadness or in celebration, or to ease feelings of pressure and stress after a hard day's work. Or to cut loose and join in with friends and family and enjoy the familiar loosening up and fun and camaraderie and communication created by sharing an evening of drinking together. The latter is what I miss the most, sometimes achingly so. I think it is very sad that I don't fit in to anyone's life much anymore. Just because I don't drink. It says more about them and about our culture and our society than it does about me, I think.

So here I am, living in solitude a lot of the time, in the home I have designed, bespoke for me, with the help of an excellent and creative architect, and the tremendous effort, skill and passion of my adorable and generous son Rory, and many of his friends who've worked on it in their various professions. Now that this project nears completion I am hoping that soon some new creativity will enter my sphere and inspire me. 

In the meantime I am living my life on an even keel. I feel strong, good, quite alone not surprisingly, it's me that put me here where I know almost no one. It is beautiful here, kind of empowering, and I feel way more peaceful in these surroundings. I know I have set myself up for a fulfilled and purposeful life. I will be patient, grateful, and hopeful while that unfolds.

My rudder is steady.


Saturday, 22 July 2017

STORMY DAYS


It's cold and raining this morning and the power has gone off. Last night the Takamatua beach road was flooded so I was stranded if I had of wished to get out, which I didn't, so that was fine. It is a pretty serious storm going on out there, a state of emergency has been called for Christchurch, Banks Peninsula, Timaru and Dunedin, much flooding and slips on some of the highways. At this point there doesn't seem much point in getting up, but when I do I will feel glad that I chose a gas cooker and have a gas fire as well as a heat pump. It will be interesting to see if I can light the fire without electricity as it stupidly runs with a remote that I think requires electricity to ignite. I shall find out soon.

I woke this morning with a strong sense of trusting my intuition. It was right out there in the forefront of my mind. Trust. You see I don't really know what I'm doing with my business, or my life and future right now. In fact I've been winging it in every way for so long now, with the goal being simply to build this home and make this move, which wasn't at all simple and has been all consuming for some time. Now that I'm here, and the purpose and goal has been achieved, it leaves me room to ponder what is next. I find it exciting to not have a particular plan, to be open to whatever feels right. I'm kind of over my caravan rental business, but after spending a good hour on the calculator yesterday, and even with the most optimisitc slant on the facts, it is clear to me that I can't afford to not continue it. I do not have a magic wand to wave (yet) that gives me a secure income, and the ability to live here with no money worries. That is the next goal I guess. The one thing I do know is that no matter what it has cost, coming here feels so good and so right, and although it will take time to adjust and to feel a part of a community, I am prepared for that, and I know deeply that I am in exactly the right place and at the right time of my life. This is very reinforcing, and a good feeling to wake up with today. And right this second the power has just come on. I am glad I used the time wisely by getting these thoughts down on my tablet from the comfort and warmth of my cosy bed, with the view to die for, even if it is all stormy and foggy and rugged out there, it's just another aspect of the ever changing character of the harbour.

Feeling lucky. Now to get up and sieze the day. I'll go for a wee drive and observe the damage around the area. I am probably still stranded I would imagine. Slips and road closures yesterday. Not much easing up overnight it would seem, and forecast to be relentless today. The house feels good and strong and safe.




Wednesday, 19 July 2017

THREE YEARS TODAY!!

Today it is 3 years since any alcohol has passed my lips and entered my bloodstream and played havoc with my brain. Today I am very proud of that fact. Today I can reflect back, with much relief and no regret, and see clearly the path I have walked these last three years.
Here I sit at my black granite and wrought iron table with my pot of organic lemon and ginger green tea, with Aunty Mary's beautiful bone china tea cup and saucer, looking out at the familiar beauty of the hills and sea and sky. As a child this outlook was all I'd ever known, so it didn't occur to me to be grateful for it every day. It certainly does now though. Every single morning when I wake I throw my curtains open and look with enormous gratitude at the few orange lights across the water as I slowly watch the dawn arrive. I vow never to take for granted the privilege it is to live here, to have built my home here, and to have taken alcohol out of my life, and discovered with wonderment, a life of happiness, contentment, fulfillment, clarity and peace.

At three years sober I am also grateful for the friends I have made who walk the same brave path, swimming against the tide of what our culture has taught us is the way to live. It wasn't an easy lifestyle to give up, and I can see why people remain stuck in their habits forever. It is easier to do what we have always done, to have what we have always had, than take away something central to our very being, our way of life, leaving an almighty gap filled with vulnerability, uncertainty, time to fill, self reflection, and social rejection, or at the very least non-inclusion. It's tough alright, and it takes a long time to battle the extreme emotions, and for me the aloneness, of living life real and raw. When you have a feeling you sit with it, look at it, feel it, understand it, accept it, it passes. All this is done very consciously, unlike the unconscious way we have used alcohol to dull or numb our feelings......be it a stressful day, or something huge like a death or the end of a relationship. Or be it a happy occasion, a celebration, we have still used alcohol to dull our brains. That is what it does, it puts a carcinogenic poison into our bodies and bloodstreams and brains and changes our personalities and compromises our health. There can be no denying of that fact, even though it's fun at the time......and seems acceptable because everybody does it, and the very idea of it is rammed home to us on a daily and hourly basis with media hype, magazines, TV, movies, all forms of advertising, peer pressure and social media. Such is the drinking culture we have all grown up with. Not many choose to question it. I am pleased to be one that did.

So, today I am very happy that I took alcohol out of my life, and have made it to three years free of it.
I am happy with who I am, where I am, and how I spend my time. I am especially happy that as a direct result of me giving up drinking, my son Rory has given it up and stuck to it, and is now in his 19th month alcohol free. I am extremely proud of all he has achieved here building my home, his first build, and with his trademark "Passion for Perfection" the beautiful job he has done for his Mum. I am even more proud of his courage as a man, to choose to live a life so different to all of his friends and to walk that walk. He has no regrets. He is amazing. A legend!





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Friday, 23 June 2017

SETTLING IN AT TAKA

Wow! the feeling of peace that I have here is amazing. I love it. I feel a warmth and contentment and a kind of knowing I'm where I belong, and it feels lovely.
It's been a huge week. Getting out of the old villa in the city and having all my belongings delivered here in a big truck, with my wee mini cooper all loaded up, and Brenda's car too, and then the mighty unload! Been unpacking boxes and bags for 3 days, and by the end of today we've pretty much nailed it and got everything in it's place, and it's great because there seems to be a place for everything. Yesterday was pouring with rain and Rory stayed all day with us working inside with his new lazer, helping us hang all the pictures and my big sunburst clock. Very high tech picture hanging, he went the extra mile and did an amazing job. Today I completed hanging the curtains which were unfortunately made incorrectly and needed some major alterations, but all good now. It felt so cozy and homely tonight sitting by the fire with Brenda and watching old Beatles and Elvis clips on YouTube for the whole evening, and talking and eating and laughing and drinking watermelon Hopt soda, and later licorice tea. Booze may have added a familiar false reality for a while, louder voices, talking nonsense eventually, a sense of fun I guess, but I didn't need to add anything at all to the feelings of contentment, genuine love and friendship shared, and our happiness with this home. 

I am so grateful to have had Brenda here to help me with the transition at both ends.....emotionally as well as with the practicalities, of which she is an expert. Last Saturday when I bought her over with her sister Kathe for the night, and she saw the house for the first time almost completed, and we walked through it up to my room, she got overwhelmed with emotion, that I really had done it, made my dream come true, and she had tears, which made me have tears and we stood in my room hugging and crying and laughing. It was a beautiful moment and one I will always remember with much love. I will miss her when she goes tomorrow.

My Georgia is coming over tomorrow and I'm so looking forward to getting all cosy with her here, and having lots of time to listen and talk and be together. I'm hoping Rory will come back over too, not to work, just to be here with us in the home he has created for us all. I have a very special gift which I am looking forward to giving to him, and tomorrow would be perfect. It is a saw, beautifully carved by an old man, which I found in an antique shop about a year ago. I have had a little brass plate engraved and put on it's handle....Rory, with enormous love and pride. Mum. June 2017. 

It's nearly 1.00am and hey ho....off to sleep I go in my lovely soft and cosy brand new bed, where I can look out the side windows from my pillows and see the orange light on the wharf and it's reflection in the water. I could see lots of lights at Duvauchelles and Ngaio Point if I wanted to, but I've drawn my gorgeous new curtains and I feel all cozy and safe. As soon as I wake in the morning, while it is still dark, I will draw them back and watch the dawn. Life is good, and I am grateful.






Sent from Samsung tablet

Monday, 12 June 2017

WINTER SUN

Wild horses couldn't drag me away yesterday from the peace and sunshine in Takamatua, so I'm still here, and what a glorious day it is too. The morning sun warmed my face while sitting at my breakfast bar at my cool new benchtop. By about 10am I had to change into a t-shirt and sat outside on the deck for a while doing some emails. I've discovered the reason I bought a swivel round armchair, even though I didn't think of it at the time. Instead of facing the fire I can just swivel it round a wee bit and catch all the sun pouring in through the big open double doors. The sky is blue, the sea is calm, and all is still and quiet. If I wanted a sun tan I could get one right here, right now. On an armchair in my lounge room. In the middle of June!

The afternoon is here now and Rory and Andy are working away outside, and the curtain people have arrived and are installing my curtains. I've come up to my room to get out of their way while they're working. I have the double doors open to the deck and the sun is warming my feet. Every room here is so light. It makes me realise how dark my old villa is, with it's not so very good lighting, and what a difference it makes to have all that winter sun and light coming into my rooms.

I have not properly moved in yet but I've been here since Friday and it feels amazing. I am so happy with what we have created here, I know without a shadow of a doubt that I will never want for another home. This is it for me. I know there will be times when it will feel too quiet and I will feel too alone, but I also know those times won't last forever, so I will make the most of the freedom I have, to do exactly as I please, and I will wait for life to bring me what I need.

I trust absolutely that I am exactly where I am meant to be in my life at this moment.
I am very grateful.




Sent from Samsung tablet





Saturday, 3 June 2017

FIRST NIGHT AT TAKA


On Friday a truck took all the beds and some of the furniture over to the new house. It was the best day ever for me. I so loved it. To put my wrought iron day bed (that I designed and had made about 13 years ago) in the alcove designed specially for it was a real moment of my vision coming to fruition. I had a very good artist, Stephanie McEwan, paint a beautiful mural of white anemones amongst tree trunks, with some greenery and water on the two walls beside it. I love it. The main lounge wall was designed specially to house my 18th century round Chinese bookcase/shelves, and the feeling of setting it up and putting my lamp and art glass and other bits and pieces on it was the most satisfying fun I've had in such a long time. It really has been such a long time since I first started working with the architect to design this home, 4 years to be exact. It is difficult to describe what it feels like to be finally beginning to move in. 

I slept my first night in my brand new bed with brand new bedding, aaah bliss! and it's one of those beds where I can press a button and it sits me up to better take in my view. It will have the added bonus that I'll be all ready when I become a geriatric!!

Actually, there's the thing that's difficult to describe...... it is the feeling of permanence, the feeling that this is it, I have achieved it, this is my end game, my home forever. It is also a feeling of coming home, back to my roots, back to the land I was given, where I feel the spirit and the memories of my parents, and my childhood, which looking back on was so protected and secure and happy. I have a feeling of profound gratefulness. For the land. For the wonderful home that Rory has built me. For the fact that it is my son who has built it, which will always give it special meaning and hold fond memories. I am grateful for the process itself, which has had its stresses like any build, but Rory and I have maintained an excellent, loving and respectful relationship throughout.

After he'd left to go back to his flat in Duvauchelles, he turned up again about half an hour later to clean the windows in my bedroom so I could fully appreciate the beauty when I woke up in the morning. What a guy! I'll never forget that. Nor will I ever forget waking up yesterday morning in my new home ready to watch the dawn, and finding the side windows placed absolutely perfectly to see the mouth of the bay from bed, and the big windows at the end of the bed giving me the gorgeous tranquil view of a calm and still morning on the harbour. I had a few tears of emotion, of happiness, and relief that this huge project is nearly over, and that my home is everything I've imagined it would be.

I'm not actually moved in yet and it‘s not finished, there's still all the corten decorative cladding, the driveway and the landscaping to finish, but it is otherwise pretty much ready, so I've started the process of transition. A very busy month ahead, after which I hope to be settled in at Takamatua, with my house in Christchurch rented.

Booze would have added nothing to this project. Well it would actually; it would have added stress, strained relationships, worry, fear, short tempers, frustration, impatience, time off, self-doubt, lack of clarity, hangovers, and more money!! 

I'm so pleased I've learned to appreciate friends and family, life, love and laughter - without any toxic carcinogenic shit entering my body, dulling my brain, and giving me false amusement for a few hours. 

“No thank you, I don’t drink”!  Yee Haa!






Friday, 14 April 2017

ONE THOUSAND DAYS TODAY!

Yep, one thousand days of not touching a single drop of alcohol. Feeling proud today. 
I made a decision and I stuck to it. Not one slip. I am so glad. So much has changed for me in these thousand days. I feel so well and healthy and even a wee bit fit coz I've been walking and running most mornings for the last 3 months. Getting a bit trickier these last couple of weeks with all the rain and the colder weather. I never get tired of the clarity I feel at all times. I've had some very challenging curved balls thrown my way and faced each one of them without dulling down my senses and numbing my brain. 

It's been an interesting revelation to discover that outings and interactions with people, live music performances and theatre, art shows and parties, are all enhanced experiences by not putting alcohol in the mix. Who knew? It just seemed the normal thing to do, have a few drinks before, during and after just about everything. I don't need it. It adds nothing. It actually takes away the authenticity of my interactions, and it takes away from my appreciation of people and music and theatre and art. It has been a happy discovery for me to learn that I am enough, just as I am. I appreciate people and their stories and conversations and laughter. I give them my full attention and genuine interest. I am not distracted by any concern about my next drink. It is incredibly freeing not being addicted to anything. It makes me so self contained, and easy to be anywhere. I don't even drink coffee, never have. I do have one pot of organic lemon and ginger green tea every morning these days, for the first time in my life, and I add fresh lemon juice and sliced fresh ginger, so that's not going to harm me. Oh, I am a wee bit addicted to chocolate but I've given up eating it in bed! haha. I've been off the ciggies for 19 months now, I still crave them, probably always will. Particularly in times of stress, of which there have been many lately.

So life is not a bed of roses, it never was, shit still happens, alot. Lately I have had some terrible luck with my rental properties, right at a time when I desperately need financial stability. Suffice to say one has been seriously trashed, has cost thousands to clean up and repair, thousands in loss of rent, and is now finally rented but at a lower rate because of damage. The other one had a serious fire this week. Unbeknown to me, one of the two tenants was sleeping in the garage and managed to burn it down, along with the neighbours garage and the corner of the house. I don't know why he slept out there, the fire started in his bed. He is in a terrible state and has been flown to middlemore hospital with burns to 90% of his body. Very sad, and I feel sick that it has happened at my house. The other flatmate has disappeared and two guys who aren't on the lease are there, no one is paying rent, and the driveway is blocked by a mass of burned out belongings. Difficult to know how to approach this one. A house full of gear, no paying tenants, and a charred blackened mess. My landlord insurance is looking uncertain as I didn't have written references for my tenants. My stress levels are rather high.

The build is coming along beautifully. Never without it's ups and downs which can be challenging, but Rory is doing a marvellous job of keeping the show on the road. It's at a stage now where lots of progress is happening at once so it's quite exciting. My benches went on yesterday and I'll go and see them tomorrow. It's a rather common occurance for builds to cost way more than expected, and this one is no exception!! My business is very slow now for the winter, and once Easter is over it will grind to a halt I think. It is a challenge to remain calm. But I am, somehow. I have had a flatmate here at home for the last month, and I have a young English couple moving in next week as well. Not sure how I'll handle this, but my thinking is that it's only for a few months then I'll be in my new home, and between the 3 of them they are paying $550 per week which helps me pay the rent on the builder's apartment in Duvauchelles. It's a pretty good rent to collect when I'm still here myself, and I'll still have my room when I go, which will make it an easy transition for me, and give me somewhere to be, and work from several days a week when I'm in town.

Our friend Steve is going downhill very quickly now, and is in the Hospice at Merivale. I went in yesterday and was shocked at how much more frail he is now compared to last weekend. His spirit is still very strong, and he's planning on doing a last gig next Saturday night. He wanted to go to the Folk Festival in Waipara today. I doubt the poor darling will make it to either, but it keeps him going  thinking about it I think. Marion is one very strong amazing kind and lovely lady. I am so grateful to have had some wonderful outings with Steve and Marion, the last big one was an afternoon at Takamatua a few weeks ago and with Gloria as well, and showing them the build, then dinner on the waterfront in Akaroa and then to a fabulous concert with Ben Waters, Bernard Fowler, Tim Ries, all musicians who sometimes play with the Stones, and also Chris Jagger, Mick's brother (but he was a bit of a dick compared to the others, unfortunately). Bernard Fowler was spectacular singing Wild Horses.

I am looking forward to the next few months passing quickly so I can soon get settled into my new home. There's so much I need to achieve here sorting and planning, it is daunting on my own, but I'll get there in the end. And it will be grand. And it will be the biggest thing I have ever accomplished in my life, and what I have worked towards for so very many years.

Bring on the next 1000 days, starting today!






Sent from Samsung tabletI've 

Saturday, 25 February 2017

LOSS

It is a time of much turmoil for some in my world. Last night a lovely old friend had one of his fabulous House Parties that he's been putting on for about 25 years. He is a much respected musician here in Christchurch and he played and sang last night with some excellent and well renowned guys on piano, keyboards, horns and guitar. They came along as a tribute to play one last time with our friend Steve, who's cancer has ravaged his body with a fierce vengance, even after the most valiant fight, with many organic juices daily, seaweed extracts, THC extracts, cancer retreats and everything he could throw at it. Mainly a very brave, positive and heroic attitude, and a profound trust that he would beat it. In November another friend had a massive party in honour of Steve, out in the country in his purpose build "70's night club" where they re-formed three seventies Christchurch bands, including Steve's band Sentry, almost completely with it's original members. It was an amazing, memorable and beautiful night, as was last night. Although his voice was a bit ragged and scratchy, that just added another dimension and Steve's performance was outstanding. It was quieter, and deep and soulful, and had a realness and rawness to it that could only possibly have come from the dreadful news he has had earlier this week. From the knowledge that although he will play his guitar again, this was likely to be the last time he will do it for all of us, his friends and his beautiful and brave family, who still have so much to face. It was a poignant and beautiful evening and it was a priviledge to be there. It is humbling to witness the raw pain and the strength, simultaneously, of his wonderful wife and daughter, and of Steve himself. 

I am so glad I started going to his garden parties again when I first gave up alcohol. Daytime music events close to home, where I at least knew some people, seemed like just the ticket for me when newly single and also learning to socialise sober. As a result, it has rekindled a 45 year friendship with Steve, and allowed me to get to know his gorgeous wife Marion, and see and get to know more of his family and friends, making new friends in the process.

A few short years ago my brother had almost the exact same cancer diagnosed and experienced a ghastly year of extreme surgeries and some horrific chemo treatment. Miraculously he has survived it, and for this we are all overwhelmingly grateful.
In the recent Port Hills bush fires, just ten days ago, he and his family watched their beautiful home of 30 years burn to the ground at 7.30 in the morning, after being kept safe all night by over a hundred firemen fighting the blaze. How strange life is, that so much can be dished out so unevenly. That one family should bear such fear of loss of life, and hideous illness, survive it, only to have to suffer such a terrible shock and loss. I wonder if perhaps the very fact of what they went through just a couple of years ago, makes them the people who are strong enough to face this next big massive inconvenience and sadness. Their loss is enormous, they got almost nothing out, yet they know first hand that their loss could have been far greater. They are strong and stoic, all of them, even the grown up children, who have only known this one home for their whole lives. It really is an enormous blow and loss for them all.

The loss of alcohol from one's life is such a small thing when compared to real loss.
There are always gains to be had from loss. With alcohol it's a no-brainer. The gains so far outweigh the loss, I don't even need to go on about that, as I've done so many times in my previous blogs. I am grateful to be a person with the clarity of mind at all times to be able to communicate clearly and to give support if I can to those I love, and who are hurting.

Somewhere, and some how, there is always an opportunity in the crisis. Often it is just bringing people closer together. Sometimes it is more than that, and paths can change, a deeper purpose can emerge, and lives can be enriched by the very loss they are suffering. 

May my friends and my family navigate their sad and difficult paths with continued strength and bravery, and with the knowledge that they are loved, admired for their courage, and deeply respected.





Saturday, 11 February 2017

IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS

This weekend I've remembered the importance of self nurture and giving myself treats. In general in my life I am pretty good at it and always have been, I don't deprive myself of much. However, with so much on my plate for the last long while, I tend to forget to do the little things I love, like watching a movie on a Sunday afternoon, or driving somewhere beautiful and reading a book there. Or going shopping just for the sake of it. I think I've felt, and rightly so I guess, that in building my home I am giving myself the biggest treat possible so I should not indulge myself with the small stuff. Wrong! It isn't working! Yesterday I did something about it. I bought a lovely causal linen shirt on a half price sale that I will get heaps of wear out of, and I discovered Little Island Creamery chocolate and coconut ice-cream. It has sugar and fat and carbs and all the bad stuff but is dairy free, and it is to die for, it is beautiful and amazing and the best taste bud sensation I've had in ages. It is very hard to write about it without rushing to the freezer.

I think treats for us sober warriors are under-rated and easy to forget about in the busy hustle of daily life. After all, we used to think we deserved hours of downtime to indulge in expensive alcohol on an almost daily basis. Every day that we don't drink we are saving a significant amount of money, and even though that is not what this is all about, it does mean that we can afford to, and should, indulge ourselves in many little things which keep us feeling cared for and happy. 

I have felt unable to express myself for a while, so that's why this is just a simple wee blog about nothing much at all. And now, on this lazy Sunday afternoon, I shall choose myself a good movie, hopefully a courtroom crime drama, and perhaps have some chocolate coconut ice-cream while watching it. It's the little things. They matter.

Friday, 6 January 2017

ALONE IS OKAY, JUST DIFFERENT

It’s now two and half years since I kicked the booze to the curb, and one year and three months since the ciggies went by the wayside too.
On reflection, it is interesting how much I have learned in this time, and even more interesting how much there still seems to be to learn.
It reminds me of what my Mother used to say to me after one of my endless questions when I was little. “Darling, the more you know, the more you know you don’t know”.

The 2016 year was quite a tough one in many ways, as far as life lessons go. I’ve struggled quite a bit with feelings of hurt, and abandonment by my friends. This is because they are not much in my day to day or week to week life any more, and don’t really keep in touch much at all unless there is something big to tell me or invite me to. I have even lost one lifetime friendship, dumped as it were, after a two week road trip together…..a bit strained and tense at times, but nothing that couldn’t be resolved with communication and forgiveness. I will never fully understand it, I trusted our friendship, and especially the longevity of it. At first it made me feel worthless, thrown out with the dishwater. Now I have come to terms with it. I do not need this friendship, if it is so willingly let go…..after 48 years…..bizarre!  This friendship does not support me at all. I think perhaps she preferred me pissed! I have tried to communicate. I can do no more. Life is long. It is sad, but not all friendships need to last forever.

I have learned to “hold my friends lightly”, which at first seemed abhorrent to me when suggested, as I think of myself as a fiercely loyal friend, but after some thought I realised this was exactly what I needed to learn. I need to let go of my need for their presence, which gives validation of our friendship. I need to let go of my need of them full-stop really, and to trust that deep down all is well. Love them, don’t need them. It is, after all, me that has changed, not them. They don’t know quite what to do with me anymore, and that is okay. They are still there. They are still my friends. They probably even admire and respect me for the changes I have made. They are just doing what they are doing, and social drinking takes up a lot of time, and then there’s work and families, and life. I just don’t fit so easily into their picture anymore, because much of the time spent was on the downtime, which involved relaxing, which involved drinking. The fact that I don’t drink alcohol and they do doesn’t bother me at all. I am still me, I can still have a laugh and enjoy their company, but it doesn’t occur to people to include me most of the time, and that’s okay.
I needed to learn to have confidence in who I am, and I am learning that. You change your life in this way, you need to change who you hang out with, to a degree. I am slowly forming new friendships and resurrecting some old ones too, where there’s already a long affinity and trust between us.

Navigating this sober goat track is not always easy and there are many obstacles as I come to terms with such a different way of life. I am still learning so much about myself and about other people too, and sometimes it hurts. Sometimes I unintentionally hurt others. I would much rather sit with these raw and painful feelings, until I can accept them and move on, without blunting the edges or distorting them with alcohol or any other substance. I love the clarity.

I have been giving a lot of thought just lately to who I can really count on in my life. Who can I count on completely for loyalty, honesty, trust and support? Who will absolutely always be there for me? The answer is Me.
I can be a lot of things for a lot of people, and I can give my honesty, loyalty, trust and support to my children, my family and my friends, and to a large degree I get the same in return. But if I really want to count on someone absolutely, it must be me. So, to this end, I strive to become stronger, wiser, and braver. What I aim for this year is to learn to love my aloneness. (I’m going to have to where I’m going)! Alone is self-sufficient, alone is resourceful, alone is dependable, alone is often good company.

I need to be able to give support and comfort to myself when I am misunderstood and bewildered.
I need to turn to myself for wisdom and guidance in all aspects of my life. And I need to dig deep every day for the courage I need to continue, and to succeed in all I’ve taken on, with the build, with my business, the move, decisions on how exactly to run things once I have left Christchurch.
2017 will be an interesting and very challenging year, as was 2016.

I’ve also been giving some thought as to boundaries. I have realised that as a consequence of no longer getting shitfaced on an almost daily basis, I no longer put up with shabby behaviour. Not in my personal life or my business life.
I can and do stand up for myself better than ever before, if treated unfairly and inconsiderately.
I told a customer the other day not to bother coming back to my company for his rental caravan next Christmas, that I don’t need negative, rude and pedantic whingers picking holes in anything and everything they can, instead of enjoying a fabulous camping holiday like everyone else. He was a right twit and it felt rather empowering, and I hope it makes him realise what a dick he is! Probably not the greatest thing I could do for my business reputation, but for each one of him there are 100 happy campers…..so who cares? Not me!

Wishing everyone a Happy, Hopeful, Humourous Humdinger of a New Year

We all need someone we can lean on, and if I want to....I can lean on  me!