Thursday, 18 December 2014

A Visit From Beyond

I don’t often pray.  I never have.  If the world seems more beautiful than usual or if we receive good news I sometimes find myself thanking the Spirit in the Sky but I’ve never had faith enough to ask anything of our Maker.  In desperate times, I’ve yearned for a desired outcome and thought prayerful thoughts but I can count the number of times, I’ve fervently prayed and requested something from God.  My few prayers have always been answered which leads me to wonder why I haven’t prayed more often but that’s another story.

I have never had a satisfying relationship with God within the confines of a religion.  As a matter of fact I have never typed the word God before this moment.  My perception of God has always and still is closely related to that of our Native brothers and sisters.  There have been rumors that my French Canadian ancestors coupled with the Indigenous people along the St. Lawrence River close to Quebec City in the 1600’s and, deep within me, I know it’s true.  My physical appearance leans towards that possibility and so does my soul. 

To celebrate my affinity with the aboriginal culture, over the years I’ve collected some native paraphernalia such as art, dolls, dream catchers and a few items of deerskin clothing.  I don’t have a lot but I treasure what I do have.  

Close to thirty years ago I had the misfortune of experiencing a stillbirth which was devastating as anyone would guess.  I remember being in the delivery room where my deceased daughter was laid on my chest moments after she was born and a few hours after she had died in the womb.  I noted through my tears that she looked like a little chubby cheeked papoose and had my facial structure and short little body.  Her lovely high cheek boned face is etched in my memory forever. 

Over the following years, life has treated me well.  My family now consists of my second husband, myself, two adult sons born to me before the stillbirth and my precious, adopted daughter.  All three of my children are happily paired up and have given us four precious grand babies which is delightful to say the least.  Very occasionally I wistfully remember the child that died before she had a chance to live. 

Up until recently, my husband and I had been struggling with financial challenges.   It seemed every time we turned around, we were zinged with unexpected costs and charges in the realm of many thousands of dollars.  To make matters even worse, during a recent move, I misplaced two ounces of gold we had bought on a whim, when money was abundant, to save for a rainy day.  Together, they were worth over three thousand dollars and I felt like an idiot for losing them.  I had even asked my Mother to pray to her Mother of Perpetual Help but I didn’t think to pray myself for their return.

Also, for quite some time now, I had been concerned about some unhealthy lifestyle patterns I’d been developing.  I’d become increasingly lethargic, unmotivated and over-indulgent in stimulants such as coffee and wine and, as a result, become unhealthy in body and mind and very self-critical.   This merry-go-round ride of self-improvement plans, failure to follow through, perpetual self chastising followed by the inevitable new self-improvement plan was leading me around in useless circles. 

Being at the tail end of middle age, it was now or never.  I was to begin to live life to Its fullest and get on the healthy band wagon, not only physically, but spiritually, or, if my destructive habits and self-criticism continued, I was never going to find that elusive thing called serenity. 
In my constant efforts at self-improvement, I had been trying to implement many new, positive habits; one of which was daily spiritual reading.  With my mind swimming with ego-based thought, reading a whole book had become impossible for me.  I decided I would read some Chicken Soup for the Soul books to start with as they are uplifting and consist of a series of little stories that are easily read.  I was actually doing quite well in following through this time around and was well into my second book when I read a story that touched me deeply.

A mother, who, like myself, had a baby die within a short time of its birth had rejected her religion and only had stepped into a Church grudgingly as her surviving child was being confirmed.  Her deceased child appeared to her and this sign of his presence, understandably, changed her life and her spiritual point of view.  As I finished this heartwarming story, I lay the book open on my lap, closed my eyes and without a second thought, said out loud, “Dana, if you are present please give me a sign.”  It was a sincere, humble request of my long deceased daughter.  I immediately leaned forward and pulled the curtain back half expecting to see a fox in the yard or a natural wonder appear.  No such luck.  As I leaned back in my seat, my beautiful native doll that had been perched on the fireplace flew off the mantle and landed close to where I was sitting.  I was stunned.  There was no doubt in my mind that my Dana had shown herself.  As I picked the doll up in awe and kissed its head, I proceeded towards the mantle to set her down again.  I shakily placed her gently where she had been and whispered “Dana, help me find those gold coins.”  I don’t know where that came from but that’s what I said.  

For the next hour the experience occupied my mind and I felt so fortunate and happy that she had came through and shown herself.  I did not doubt the fact that I had been given a precious gift from the world beyond our realm. 

A short while later that day, my husband, who had been at the lake house readying it to sell as we can’t afford it any longer, arrived.  He handed me the items I had asked him to bring home and lastly, handed me a hollowed out, carved coconut shell we kept our loose change in when we were up at the lake.  This item was not on the list I had given him.  I glanced down at the coins, and, sitting right on top, shining in all their splendor, were the two gold coins I so recently had asked my daughter to provide help finding.  My husband hadn’t noticed them; he had just spontaneously grabbed the coconut shell and put it in the van as he was leaving to come home.

Something inside my heart subtly shifted that afternoon.  Coincidently, or not, by the end of the day our family business had signed some new contracts and by the end of the week we received two unexpected, small rebates from our business dealings.  We were not out of the woods but we were going in the opposite direction, financially, for a change.

A few days later, I found myself walking along a wintry white trail in the bush alongside the half frozen river we are privileged to reside near.  As I got to a quiet, little canopied spot, I stood for a while and enjoyed being in the midst of the snow laden fir trees, jutting rocks, bubbling water and a few placid ducks. 

Out of nowhere, a quiet plea began to rise up in my chest and, as it swelled, I expressed it as a prayer.  I began asking God for self-love.  In my heart, I knew that in order to make any significant, positive changes to my life, I needed to let go of the self-loathing that I had been carrying with me throughout my life.  The prayer went on for a few minutes.  It was very specific.  I asked God to help me learn to accept and love me.  Instinctively, I knew the rest would follow.
Since the whole experience began with the reading of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books, without consciously working at self-improvement, I’ve been outside more, almost daily, moving my body and enjoying the river path.  I have found myself in my bath with low lights, bubbles and my book more than once this week.  I am feeling a little more self-indulgent in healthier ways.  Rather than reach for the third coffee or first glass of wine, I’ve been finding other activities to stimulate or calm me depending on the current need.

I’ve filled the bird feeder, put makeup on, dressed up a little, made smoothies for breakfast and today, I set up my beloved music and little word processor in the solarium which I’d been planning on doing for a long time but had never gotten around to.  I’ve created a little oasis to get away from the TV, Internet and the family when I want to read or write. 
A new friend and I have recently made plans to get together at 6:00 a.m. on a daily basis to meditate, read out loud and discuss the latest spiritual writings.  She lives directly across the street from me which is a blessing in itself.

It seems that our Maker, the Universe, Mother Earth or God is beside me and helping me.  My prayers are being answered in the form of a calm, gradual, nurturing courtship between me and myself.  My attitude of inner revulsion is slowly morphing into, not only self-acceptance, but self-love. 

I’ve stopped the constant drinking wine at night and am feeling immense gratitude for life itself.  We are surrounded by a loving, all encompassing deity that lives not only up in heaven, but here in our hearts.  God is love and God Love is right here:  above us in the expansive universe, below us in the solid earth beneath our feet, beside us by way of our own wise intuition and most importantly, inside us, loving us as we learn to love ourselves. 

All we have to do is wake up and become aware of all that love is capable of.  I’m riding on the wave of God’s sign that our bodies may die, but our souls live on and in knowing this, I believe anything is possible.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Not A New Years Resolution

Every year I make many New Year's Resolutions and never keep them.  I actually only last a few days at the most.  I was thinking of making some resolutions for 2015 but have decided I may as well not.  It would just be another good reason to bash myself when I inevitably fail.

But I do want to change.  I do want what I've always wanted: sobriety, self-discipline, self love, to eat wholesome foods, to drink lots of water, to move my body daily, to take time for spirituality, to get outdoors daily, etc., etc.

How do I manage to make these changes for once and for all?  With Christmas season as my current excuse, I have not gone to yoga class lately, stopped swimming altogether and my rebounder is lounging on the back porch collecting snow.  I've had a few alcoholic drinks, am eating cookies and deep fried delectable foods, dehydrating myself regularly and not taking a moment to sit still, let alone meditate. I've got no where to go but up.

On the bright side, my neighbor and friend across the street and I have committed an after Christmas plan to meet at 6:00 a.m. daily and spend time together reading from a spiritual book, discussing it and meditating together.  Since we've promised each other we'd do this, I know it will happen.  Because she will be recovering from a knee replacement operation, she can't come to my house so we'll meet at her place and do our thing alongside her, lovely indoor pool.  When she is well enough to come to my home, we'll use my lovely solarium.  Both situations are ideal and condusive to a continued practice.

I could use this daily meeting to jump start my series of positive changes, I'll be very happy then.

What if I rebounded for a few minutes, then showered before heading over there?  What if I came home at 7:00 a.m. every morning and made a smoothie or oatmeal?  That might lead to making better, healthier decisions throughout the day.

You never know.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

New Weapon in my Arsenal

Hello out there in Soberville!

I have added another weapon to my growing arsenal in my bid to beat the beast.  I managed to download an application to my phone that counts sober days.  I installed it on the front page of my phone where my contacts, text app and the other well used icons are.  I refer to it a few times a day as it not only counts days, months and years but it also counts minutes which seems to matter right now.

I didn't realize when I was in the midst of my record breaking 100 + days of sobriety that my relapse would last over three months.  I have been slipping, sliding and slurping my way through these past few months never achieving more than a few days without a drink.  I've not been over-doing it by society's standards but am still determined to be completely sober.

We all know that each relapse is worse than the previous one and harder to recover from.  I wish I was the exception but, alas, I am just like you and all the other drinkers.  Relapse is a bitch; not only because I broke a beautiful string of sober days but because it put me in the dark, slippery drinking pit with slick sides, a muddy bottom and very few visible hands reaching in to help me out.  The hands were there but being an *idiot, I distanced myself from this blog, the cyber sober world and all credible help available when I started slipping down the hole.

*Idiot:  the word I am struggling to banish from my self-described countenance.  I went for a walk in the bush by the river yesterday at dusk and found a quiet spot by the frozen river surrounded by leafless trees and rocky outcroppings.  I sat on a hollow log and earnestly prayed for one thing: Self Love.

I believe another weapon that will come in very handy, if not slay the beast, is the acceptance of all of my past wrongs, mistakes, poor judgement and failures.  I am focusing on learning to love me.  I have this voice in my head that points out my perceived ugliness, laziness and worthlessness.  Being aware of it's chiding voice is really helping with my slow march towards serenity and sobriety.

I've had a strange, spiritual phenomenon occur lately that should be published in an 'angel' book or something.  This spiritual 'sign' has awoken my senses and ignited my soul's passion.  I'll describe it in a later post.  The universe is guiding me and pushing me towards an enlightened life.  My journey continues.... it's been 3 days, 00 hours and 10 minutes since the wine I drank at my Uncle's new condo.  Love this new weapon!

Monday, 1 December 2014

Grateful for Life

We just got back from drivng my Mom back home and on the way to Toronto on the 401, we came atop a hill going 120 K per hour and hit traffic at a dead stop.  My husband had to veer to the shoulder of the road and the car was out of control for what seemed like a full minute and he eventually was able to stop the car with no crash.  What a scare and it just goes to show that we can be here one minute and gone the next.  Hubby's sister and brother-in-law died in a similar fashion a few years ago.

Live each day as if it was your last.

Today I am thankful for the home we've built, the serene village we live in, the health and well being of our family and the friends I am rekindling relationships with.

I have to say that gratitude sprung to mind immediately and ever since the near-accident.

How fortunate we are to be alive in this crazy, dangerous world.  The speed we drive at on a daily basis is, literally, taking our lives in our hands as a commonplace occurrence.

The house is quiet although Hubby and his helper are building something in the garage for a construction job they've been hired to do.  Only in Canada does one build canoe racks for the Hudson's Bay Company in this day and age.

Today is the first day I will get a chance to completely clean the house as I am finally alone with no one to mess up after me.  Baby and family will return for dinner at 5pm but the whole day stretches before me to take care of the house.  My DIL gave me a big head start by keeping it in pristine condition while we were gone this weekend.  I am thankful that everyone around this house pulls their weight.

A happy rant, but no real point to make except Thank You Universe for providing me with the most important things in life: Love, Family, Friends and Health.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Day Two... reporting in

This morning I managed to get up early, have a lime and water, meditate, jump on my rebounder, make a kale blueberry smoothie and read a bit of literature.

I feel great just because I got that little bit done.

My mother took advantage of it being her last day of freedom to sleep in and didn't get up until I poked her at 11:45.  I had started to worry that she had passed away in her sleep.  When she gets back to the retirement home she'll be nudged at 6:45 each morning so I was glad to see her sleeping in.

We drive her to Toronto tomorrow and I am not sure whether I will be able to post while I'm away but I'll try.

Lately my knees have been protesting when I squat down and try to get up so it's really about time I reconnected with my trusty, rusty rebounder.  It is a wonderful way to get in shape with minimal effort.  I want to work up to half an hour a day of jumping.  If I can incorporate this practice into my life, I might just be around to piss my kids off for many years to come.

The meditation is essential in order for me to complete any goal I might aspire to.  It really stills the mind and allows me to focus inward.

I have about one hundred unread books on my bookshelf.  I can't wait to dive in and read for a couple of hours a day.  I seem to stop reading when I am unsettled or unhappy.  I am not unhappy right now but definitely at the end of a very unsettling time in my life.

Will check in soon. xox

Thursday, 27 November 2014

The Witching Hour: A Force to Be Reckoned With

Every night is a party night around here!!  My Uncle and his partner came to see my Mom before she left for home and my DIL cooked us some delicious food.  The house was alive with laughter and fun. Despite my best morning intentions, I, not only poured myself a glass of wine but almost insisted my DIL join me.  She explained that her and my son had been trying to cut down during the week as around here 'every night's a party'.  We agreed that we would not drink during the week anymore.  We even shook hands on it.

The Witching Hour

This is the time of day that the wine calls me.  I am very sincere in the mornings when I blog about not drinking and right up to 5:00 pm, I am still planning on abstaining.  Like I said in an earlier post, my body seems to float to the box o' wine (which has been moved upstairs again) and glug, glug, glug.  I am so sick of the repetition of it all and the never following through.  It's tempting to just give up and drink.  After all, my drinking is usually just two glasses or so....

But I Have to Keep On Trying ...

The reason I have to beat the beast even if it takes the rest of my life is because I am a prime example of the progressiveness of addiction.  If I knew then (when I started ten years ago) what I know now, I would have never thought that a glass of wine every night with dinner was cool.  Now the compulsion to drink a glass of wine (or 3) is such a strong urge that it is not so much a decision as a reaction.

That's why meditation, quiet time and reflection are crucial to mastering my mind.  We are all on automatic reflex when it comes to so many actions we take throughout the day.  It's that automatic reflex that causes us to float through life never really experiencing it.

I am on Day One again and right now it seems so certain.  I must look up some tools to help me deal with the 'witching hour' so my body does not take on it's zombie like actions and trick me into drinking wine.

Normally, I don't get drunk.  The true reason for me quitting is to gain control over something that seems to have control over me.  We were all created with the 'will' to determine every action we take.  We can't control our thoughts but we surely can control our reaction to our thoughts.

Monday is the start of a new week and a new journey with no excuses.  Our little family will be working during the day and enjoying our dinner together.  It is not a party; it is a family dinner.  The little guy (18 months old) is entertainment enough without the glass of wine.  He sure is a sweetie.  I am really enjoying him and his parents (who seem to have a better handle on their booze intake than I do).  I cherish every moment they are with us.  I want to enjoy them and my life in an authentic, alive way; not through the distorting screen of booze.

I'll get there eventually but I wish I could impart to all those who are just beginning to think that drinking wine nightly is elegant and cool.  It might very well be but the price we eventually pay is huge.  Addiction is not a dirty word.  It is the body and brain's response to repeated behaviours that cause temporary sustenance to our brain's pleasure receptors.  It can happen to everyone and it's a bitch to pry oneself free from.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

DAY THREE ... Finally Time Alone !

The box o' wine was brought upstairs by hubby at dinner time.  I wanted some.  I resisted.  I made myself a lemon water.  I love lemon water.  Every one asked "Why was the wine downstairs."  I quietly said "So I don't have to look at it and be tempted."  No one paid much attention.

For the past five years before we decided on the big move, I have had the luxury of time alone every day.  These past ten months have been quite the adjustment.  Finally, my Mother is going home Saturday.  Then, for the first time in ages, I'll have relative quiet from 8:40 a.m. until about 3:30 p.m. during the weekdays.

What mischief I will get into!!  Besides playing the keyboard to my heart's content, knitting like there's no tomorrow, immersing myself in nature, cooking delicious, healthy food and writing a novel I do have some practical plans as well.

Firstly, I'll take time each morning for quiet work in the office to ensure we stay compliant with all our clients and the work keeps coming in.  Secondly, I'll take special care of myself and my home ensuring we are both clean, tidy and dressed up every day.  Thirdly, I'll take time for reading, meditation and gently exercising.

Ahhhh !!!  You never appreciate anything until it's gone and I've really missed my solitude.

I would like to take this opportunity to slowly integrate the life I want to live into the sphere of my reality.  I finally want to end the cycle of planning, hoping and dreaming and replace it with the thrill of doing, experiencing and living.

I've written about putting no pressure on myself to make other healthy changes while trying to get sober.  As Dr. Phil asks "How's that been working out for you?" 'Not very well' is the answer.  I've just managed to over-indulge in my other addictions and eventually succumb to what my unchanged lifestyle directs me towards.

Without boring you with the details, starting Monday, I plan on, not just talking the talk, but, truly walking the walk of an aware, authentic, health-minded, serene, community involved, wise old doll.

I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014


With the wine in the basement, no one drank last night with the exception of my Mother who would never not drink.  Methinks, with the others, it is I who is the bad influence.  :-(

After making two suppers because some of the family doesn't like liver and onions and it's my Mom's favourite meal (always sucking up to the old doll), the dishwasher was full and a the counter top was laden with filthy dishes, bacon grease and what have you.  Hubby went through the motions of 'cleaning up' by taking the dishes off the table but, as usual, it was left to me to sort things out.  If I had had even one glass of wine, I would have left the mess until this morning.  Instead I did the dishes by hand, dried them rather than leaving them to air dry, made hubby a nice lunch, prepared the coffee for the next day, sliced my Mom a piece of cake and made tea for both of us.

By the time I sat down with my mindless TV, it was close to nine o'clock.  When hubby announced he was going to bed, I went with him instead of staying up late.  This helped this morning as I was able to get out of bed that much earlier which is part of my recovery... having a day started on the right foot.

We had unseasonably warm, very windy weather yesterday and the huge pine trees in our yard were swaying dangerously but the air outside was electric with life.  I enjoyed spending a bit of time on the veranda just soaking up the wildness of the wind.  It was very stimulating.

This morning I was able to snatch a few minutes to read some Buddhist teachings about meditation before the old doll got up and I began the toast and coffee routine with her.  She leaves Saturday and I am pleasantly surprised at how pleasant her visit has been.  Although she is very quiet and aggressive with her walker when people are in her way, she is no trouble at all. I'll be driving her back to Toronto on the weekend.

I have to now put in a good hour of work before taking a break.  Nose to the grindstone!!

Monday, 24 November 2014

Day ONE .. Not Out Of The Woods Yet...

I keep going back to drinking.  My latest excuse is that my son and his wife have moved in with their little one and my alcoholic Mom is visiting for two weeks.  I started out very well and since February have had mostly sober days.  Lately I am falling back into old patterns.  I believe today is the day I remove the wine from the cupboard and put in in the basement so I don't have to look at it any more.  I will get flack from hubby who will make fun of me but it's for the best and I will stand up for my right to have the booze out of my line of vision.

Hang on, I'm going to grab the box o' wine right now.

It's safely put away... if the basement can be called a safe place.  I feel that my DIL would not be drinking as much if it weren't for hubby and me having wine with meals.

I have been sporadic to put it politely.  Mostly I don't drink.  The scariest part is that, when I do, it's like my body is not associated with my brain.  I go on auto-pilot and pour a glass of wine.  Last night I said a few asinine things and this morning I feel bad.  I have learned or am learning that, no matter what, I always regret drinking even when I manage to keep my big mouth shut.

I had the wake up call at 3:00 a.m. this morning and another morning a few nights ago.  You know that 3:00 a.m. wide awake full of regret feeling?

It's so tempting to back away from this blog when I screw up and I did.  We also lost our internet connection for a week so that didn't help.

I will report in tomorrow as to how I am doing.  If I had not had a drink since my big quit in February I would have seven months under my belt by now.

I am going to try to post every single day until I reach day one hundred and hopefully that'll keep me honest (and sober)!!

My mother, for the record, is self-monitoring very well for an 84 year old chronic alcoholic.  She doesn't want me to refuse to let her drink so she is having about two lite beers a day mixed with soda water.  I am not going to try to stop her as I feel this is a huge effort for her and am, actually, proud of her.

Her very presence is such a reminder of why I drink, how I drink and where I am headed if I don't stop.  She is completely a non-participant in every day discussions, activities and interactions.  She is either eating sugary treats, sucking on her faux cigarette or drinking beer all the while reading or doing crossword puzzles.  She is no trouble but not really present.

I am very apathetic when I drink too.  I have her addictive personality.  I love my coffee, candy, wine and other indulgences.  Whenever I feel the least bit lonely or bored, I reach for my addictive substances.  I wonder if the best way to beat the booze is to stop the other addictive behaviours too.  Life without coffee???  Without jelly beans and cookies???  Maybe that's something I should try.  Yikes!! I am not sure I could handle all that sacrifice at once.  The nakedness of it all!!!!  The vulnerability I would feel!!

I have so many books to read, songs to learn on the keyboard.  I want to continue with my yoga, jump on my mini-rebounder, get out in the woods, meditate, eat healthier and get involved in my community.  I don't want to end up like Mom just waiting for my life to end while drinking, poisoning my body with sugar, postponing all that is important to me for the sake of a bloody drink.

Hopeless is a word that describes the way I feel.  I wonder if I have what it takes to actually follow through with sober living.  Today for the first time ever I looked up the AA meetings in my area.  I may have to resort to going.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Finally Moved In and Things Have Changed

Things have changed in my neck of the woods.  We have moved into our new home and now have a bed to sleep on, a table to eat on and a couch to rest on.  My son, his wife and my 17 month old grandson have joined us and are occupying the basement.  We went from just the two of us living in a dilapidated, over-crowded trailer to living with extended family in a luxurious, brand new home.  It is busy around here.  Each night we create a feast and the whole gang enjoy a drink or two before dinner.  I happily drink my A/F wine or beer or more often than not, drink my delicious tea.  I have dedicated an entire drawer in my kitchen to my varied selection of great teas.

I am enjoying the complete change of lifestyle and know that while it lasts, I'll reap the benefits of a busy household and when the younger generation inevitably leaves to build their own family nest, I'll be glad as well.

Sobriety is so easy for me.  That is dangerous because with the ease comes a complacency and a detachment from the sober community.  I am blogging today because I know it is a necessary part of my recovery.  What a sly little trickster addiction is... I feel confident, healthy and independent.  This is the condition that usually causes the door to open a crack to let the little monster back in.  Because of what I've learned previously and with the tools in my arsenal, I may be able to stop it the next time it pounces but I have to stay close to you all.

I have loads of things to do in the next few weeks but don't feel as overwhelmed as in the past. Is that because I have, not only my days, but my evenings to accomplish all that needs to be done or is it because I am sober.  Six of one, half a dozen of the other as they say.

I am preparing for my alcoholic mother's two week visit.  Rather than confronting her with the "You can't drink in my home!" routine, I think I will just pour her a beer or two with half A/F beer.  That way the most she'll get in an evening is one.  This will allow her to stay sober and on her feet.  The last thing we need (her included) is a fall causing a hospitalization.  I will also ply her with home made sweets which is another addiction of her's.

Most of the boxes are unpacked and I have yet to find two gold coins we purchased a few years ago when we had a bit of cash.  They are worth $3000 and I should be beside myself with worry as we are pretty broke right now.  I have to stay positive and hope they turn up.  Maybe in a few years when we are in real dire straits, they'll appear in a timely manner... hope, hope, hope!!

I am starting to feel organized.  I have lots to do and will now make myself some lunch.

Have a great, sober day partners!!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Shhhh !! I need to concentrate!

I went for a walk in the woods today in a little village in Western Quebec called Fort Coulonge.  It's a tiny hamlet with a meandering river which I followed into the forest (keeping alert so I didn't get lost).  Twice I stopped and tried to meditate and both times my monkey mind would not stop chattering about nothing.  I was actually afraid that if I stopped 'thinking' I would miss out on some important thought.  What the $%^& !!!  What kind of world am I living in where I can't spare ten minutes to quiet my mind?  There is so much going on with the completion of the house, the emptying of our furniture, the office work, the new business ideas I have brewing and such.  In reality, there is always something important going on because I choose to live my life with lots of change and am always transitioning.  It's a choice I make on a daily basis.

When I relax or read or play the keyboard, there is a voice in my head that chastises me for doing nothing.  It's a voice I hear but have learned to laugh at because of the ridiculousness of it.  When the phone rings in the evening I ask myself if it is really necessary to take every call that comes in.  These calls are from my kids, my brothers and sisters and close friends.  My cell phone is my ball and chain.  I feel I can be found no matter what I'm doing or where I am.  I just want to be left alone.

When I sit at the computer where I work, I am pulled to click on facebook, pinterest, email, blogs, websites and especially my computer scrabble game where I am scoring points in the 400's.  My work suffers and I feel scattered and unfulfilled. Mindless activity derails me every time.

If I could ask for anything from the universe it would be self-discipline.  When I meditate (or try to) my inbreath is accompanied by the word 'discipline' and my out breath is pushed out with the word 'love'.  I want to take in discipline and send my love to the universe.

Being a champion procrastinator I promise myself that when my home is furnished and I am living in it rather than camping in it, things will change.  But I've promised myself to work on self-discipline for many years with no real success to speak of.

I want to stay away from those self-improvement lists I've decided are useless and soul-destroying but how else do I pull myself together and do what is necessary to not fall behind, keep the business side of things going and to make time to enjoy the hobbies I love?

I have books on fixing procrastination but I procrastinate on reading them.  How do I go from being labelled on a personality test as a 'squiggly' (others were rectangles, squares, circles, etc.) to being a person with self-discipline and, therefore calmness of spirit?  I wish I knew.  Sobriety helps but so far, being sober is not enough.

Accepting myself for who I am works for a while but when I see all that I am not accomplishing that I truly want to accomplish, it gets discouraging.  So, we shall see what happens in the next few weeks but as of now, I have to try to meditate, to still this racing mind of mine.  Shhh .... I need quiet!

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Murmurs From the Heart

I am not a problem drinker.  I am normal.  At least, that's what everyone says.

Even this morning when a friend and I were discussing his desire to cut down his wine intake during the week, the subject of my abstinence came up and he brushed me off with a "You are too hard on yourself."  I get that all the time.  People don't believe I need to stop drinking.  I used to take this as a sign that, maybe, I am overdoing the goody two shoes routine. Recently, I've began to see these comments as, simply, ignorance.

We have friends and family that interfere with our inner knowledge using words that question our decisions and choices.  We have an even closer acquaintance that is capable of undermining us to an extent our friends and family can only dream of: our own mind.

The mind is a complicated instrument.  Typically, unless we've achieved enlightenment and are able to 'not think', our ego or monkey mind emits a stream of information, analysis and commentary every moment of every day. Somewhere, at a deeper level, our true self lies, quietly, prodding us to live our lives fully and authentically and to trust in ourselves rather than adhere to the chatter that surrounds us in all our waking moments.  The key to a realistic inner perspective as humans interacting with the universe is to to quiet the chatter and hear our genuine selves.

My inner chatter has been reprimanding me for ages insisting that my drinking thoughts and patterns are unhealthy.  When I contemplate abstinence that same monkey mind insists I don't really have a problem.  Back and forth I go swinging from "I need to quit" to "I am fine" within the span of a second or two.  It's enough to drive me to drink ... and, in the past, it has.

Achieving the awareness to be conscious of the steady murmurs coming from our deeper, more loving self is a difficult process.  We have outside stimulants interfering such as responsibilities, relationships, cultural expectations, the internet and real time constraints.  Our deeper self doesn't waver on it's message.  In varying situations it's words always imply the same subtle suggestion: to make each and every decision one that moves us closer to our happiness and fulfillment.

Our ego doesn't want us to believe we are worthy of happiness. It's mere existence depends on us being restless and believing we are not making good decisions.  That's why, when we drink, it reprimands us and when we abstain it ridicules us by often reminding us of others in worse circumstances.  When we are able to slide into that elusive place called 'contentment', the ego feels itself dying.  The key to staying content is to allow our ego to ramble on, acknowledged but not taken for anything other than what it is; chatter, then, alertly, listen to our heart's whispers.

My true self knows that I am happier sober.  My Ego can't make up it's mind.  I will listen to the murmurs of my heart and gently live my life without the burden of booze.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Recovering from Debauchery

We broke the bank building this house and now don't have two pennies to rub together.

When hubby and I started out together 12 years ago, he was borderline wealthy (at least in my mind coming from a life of a single Mom working for $30,000 a year raising three children).  We spent money like it was water and lived like there was no tomorrow.  There were exotic vacations, Winnebago trips, muscle cars, Harley Davidsons, fancy restaurants, gifts to the family and no attention was paid to cost.  My husband is a very generous man and was the guy always paying the bill for everyone else.  I naively went along with him and mindlessly indulged myself and others with what I thought was a bottomless pit of money.

All that has changed now.  With the business slowly recovering from some painful losses, the new home costing much more than we planned and the beautiful white elephant of a lake house that sits a two hour drive away sucking away at our finances, we are now, officially broke.

Rather than feeling sorry for myself, I've decided to create a major, stimulating project out of living frugally.  I feel so lucky to not be a depressive sort. I know it's not something people can control.  My brain chemistry must have lots of serotonin because I am up for the challenge of Frugal Living.  That's not to say hubby and I are not worried about being able to hold on to this lovely home but, together, we've made the decision to stop all the debauchery that we absolutely cannot afford and start counting our pennies.

The office is almost set up in the airy, well lit basement and this will be my money savings control centre.  I have lots of plans and ideas for bringing us back, not to where we were before; that's impossible, but to a secure place financially where we can retire with relative comfort and ease.

My first course of action will be to sell the lake house and it's contents and to open more doors for our construction company.   As the company administrator, it's within my power to get our company compliant with clients requirements and to solicit more work.

Secondly, I wish to bring in money as a Yoga instructor.  This is a two year plan because I need to immerse myself in yoga and then take a two hundred hour course to qualify.  I have fallen in love with Yoga and have planned my basement with a yoga studio in mind.  I also have an idea to open a letter writing business where I write all sorts of letters, both personal and business, for clients who aren't as handy with words as I am.  I am relatively good with the written word, and will enjoy helping others.  Both businesses involve doing what I love and, according to what I've read, that is one of the keys to success.

On a daily basis, I will curb our spending starting with booze!!!  That expense has dropped considerably and should continue to do so once we are settled in this house.  Groceries will be bought according to what's on sale, we'll have minimal frivolous purchases and even Christmas will be toned down to buying mostly for the grandchildren.  I am now on a mission to do whatever it takes to put us in a position where, in five years, hubby, who has worked very hard his whole life, can finally retire and become an adviser for the company rather than continue working with the tools as he has been doing. He will 71 by then.  I'll be 62 and hopefully, fit as a fiddle and able to continue running my enterprises with enthusiasm and excitement.

For the record, I realize that we, as middle class Canadians, are far wealthier, even at our poorest, than many other inhabitants of this planet Earth.  I appreciate that my being 'broke' is tantamount to being wealthy beyond one's wildest dreams in some places.  That being said, I am living in my little corner of the world and working hard to correct over-spending and bad business decisions we've made and to bring us back, humbly, to a comfortable existence.

I know I recently posted that I am done with self-improvement projects.  This is not one of those.  This is an absolutely necessary path I am taking in order to gain a semblance of security in my life.

It's going to be fun, challenging but will take time, effort and, above all, sobriety.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Good-Bye Self-Improvement !!

As time goes by and I continue with my starts and stops in the booze biz, I have come to realize that life is not about lists, goals, self-improvement projects and such.  I have been fooled into thinking that if I ever get to the point where all the items on my many lists are checked off, I will finally achieve serenity, ever-lasting happiness and will finally hang my hat and rest in the glory of all I've become.

The truth is that if I keep creating and working on lists of positive changes I will never rest.  Every small achievement will be met with an even greater challenge.  Staying sober will never be enough.  If I keep going the way I'm headed I won't be happy until do the following on a daily basis:

  • become an early riser
  • meditate and exercise faithfully
  • create juices and smoothies
  • eat tons of fruit and veggies
  • keep a perfectly clean home
  • run the family business to the point of wealth
  • be the perfect Granny to my four precious grandchildren
  • be the perfect husband to my hardworking man
  • look my best and dress well
  • do a little something to change the world

.... and the list goes on.

All these goals are worthy ones.  All would be of use to me in areas of health, wealth and happiness but, in reality, I will never continuously achieve them all on a daily basis.  At the age of 58 I am coming to realize something that I hope you all learn at a much earlier age. We can't do it all.

Recently, I went through my writings on my laptop with the intent of creating files and organizing what I've written into categories.  My largest file by far is my 'self-improvement' one.  It has far more material than all the others combined.  What that tells me is that I am wasting much of my life planning rather than doing.  I spend hours creating schedules and lists of changes I wish to make.  This time could be better spent actually living.

This may be the most important post I've ever written.  I owe it to myself to throw away my lists and plans that involve self improvement.  All the important items are etched solidly in my mind.  I will trust myself to incorporate those habits that resonate with where I am at any given time in the future.

My future will unfold from now on in the natural flowing way that nature intended.  I am an intelligent woman and I will trust my instincts and urges from now on.  My lists will be destroyed immediately after this post is published.  It will free up space in my computer and my mind for actually living each day as it unfolds with the knowledge I've accumulated over my many years on this earth.

I will live soberly, instinctively, wisely and, most important: JOYFULLY!  

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

So Far So Good

My weekend went swimmingly.  I did have some internal dialogue about drinking 4% draft beer at a pub we ate at.  I came close to drinking but due to the ten minute car ride to the pub, I had time to dip into my tool box and remind myself to wait a night and to sleep on it before breaking my abstinence.  Of course the next day I was happy I didn't drink.  I really did enjoy the soda with lemon and lime wedges with my spinach mandarin orange salad and prime rib.

Besides that, it was a breeze.  Staying close to my cyber sober world though.  Lesson learned.

I've been able to bathe in my claw foot tub all weekend and I'm over-doing it after not having access to my beloved bath during our six months of camping.  This morning I started the day by washing my short hair immediately upon rising. The water in my hair and on my face REALLY invigorated me and caused me to get much more done with an earlier start than usual.  I put my warm sweater on with a jacket on top, donned my gloves and rubber boots and spent the better part of the morning cleaning the deserted camping area since we've moved to the house.  This involved taking down two huge tents, taking five wheel barrows full of garbage to the large container we've rented and bringing lots of material to the house.  I felt satisfied with my work and that is a new feeling.

I looked at some recipes and actually put the needed items on a grocery list. I hope to make two healthy recipes for supper.  There are so many things I love doing that booze has held me back from.  They include cooking from recipes, spending more time in the woods, fixing up my little secret garden in the back of our property, meditating and the list goes on.

By the end of next week, we should be move in ready.  Our furniture is in a POD parked outside the house.  When we empty the pods, I'll be able to sleep in a bed, put my clothes in a dresser or on hangers in the closet (putting the rods up today), wear clothes that make me feel feminine, eat off nice dishes and many other mundane things.  We take our middle class lives for granted but now that I've lived very simply for the past six months, I want to maintain that simplicity while enjoying some of the former perks of life.

So far so good!

Friday, 24 October 2014

Safety in Numbers

I would like to think I am back in that great head space I enjoyed all through the summer.  I was not drinking and was not missing it. What happened?  A little action as a result of a little craving is what screwed up my momentum.

I can't stress enough the importance of staying close to the sober cyber-world for the longest time. My guess is that I will always have to check in in one way or another as part of my daily routine.  The further I stray from the cocoon of like-minded people, the more likely it is that I will inevitably drink.

Whether it's blogging here, soaking up other recovery blogs, visiting my sober support sites or just reading my plethora of books on the subject, a visit to the sober world is needed on a daily basis in order to keep the drinking world at bay.

It's all around us.  We are surrounded.  It's everywhere.  On TV, our favourite sit-com characters are being cute and funny with drink in hand.  The billboards, the LCBOs (Ontario's version of a liquor store) on every second corner, the social invitations, the celebrations, the barbeques, the Christmas season, I could go on and on and I think I will:  the lovely meal, the new wine rack, the make-your-own wine for $4.00 a bottle (and that's the good stuff), the after sports get-together, the photos in the recipe books (food porn), the romantic evenings, the after work stress relief, the fancy restaurants, the pubs, the weekends away, the old friends with expectations, the new friends and wanting to make them like you and not seem odd or 'addicted' ... I could go on and on as I said.

How I was able to pull it off for four months is nothing short of a miracle.  I am a miracle worker and I perform my own miracles on a daily basis and so do you.  We are beating the odds, going where few have traveled, thumbing our nose at society and we should be proud.  There are so few of us within the general population that we have to stay in touch.  We are a small group in recovery compared to the masses.  Let`s agree that people who are not in recovery either should and are in denial or truly don`t have a problem and will never understand us.

We can perform our little daily miracles and inch closer to our true selves and thereby find our true calling by soaking up all the love, support and encouragement that is available to us.

So, I cannot `take a break`again if I want this to be an ongoing, lifetime achievement.  And I do.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

I'm Back and Ready for Another Go!

I am glad I took a break.  Yes, I drank.  I drank almost every day since I stopped posting.  I didn't drink much and didn't get drunk.  I am still back on the wagon and I'll tell you why.

My mind cannot rest peacefully while drinking despite the fact that by most standards, it's not problematic. I believe there is something wrong with most standards.  I just can't look at my daily drinking as normal. For the past few weeks I enjoyed a small draft beer (sometimes two) when at the local pub/restaurant.  I pretended to enjoy wine with dinner.  These actions, themselves, are not alarming.  What is alarming to me is that when I am not abstaining, there is no such thing as a night off.  It's like all or nothing.  I drink daily or not at all.  I haven't suffered much because of it physically.  Emotionally, I am just not happy in my own skin.

Those of you who remember that we are in the process of putting the finishing touches on a lovely new home we are building will be glad to know that we are now inside that house.  We are now camping indoors.  Our furniture is still in pods parked outside our door.  My winter clothes are still packed away (and it's c..o..l..d) but I am now using the oven, the bathtub (first time last night), indoor plumbing and sleeping on plywood in the spare bedroom on a pull out couch we dragged in.  The trailer will be emptied into the house later on today as the kitchen cabinet guys are here right now putting the cupboard doors and counter tops together.  My difficult life camping outside in the rain are over.  No more excuses to drink.

I am committed again to be sober.  I can't believe I reached the four month mark in my last sober run. Unlike many, I will not attack myself for relapsing.  I am glad I did.  I needed to see how it felt to drink again.  It was anti-climatic and not worth it.  Booze is not my friend.  When I drink I make hubby feel good and some of my friends happy.  Drinkers love and need company.  I do nothing positive for myself.

The fact is:  I am a lot happier and content when I don't drink so I won't drink.  I am emerging out of the funk that's dragged me down throughout this rainy, cold summer.  I feel hope and enthusiasm for the future.   I am warm and dry.  I am again sober.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Taking a Small Hiatus ..

I have to take a break from the cyber world until we move into our house.  Now is the time I can be of utmost help to my husband and he has worked his ass off over the past few months to build our home.

My sobriety is not certain, I am happy though.  I will be away from this blog and all the sober blogs, facebook, pinterest, etc. until early November.

Stay strong my friends.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

So Close but Yet So Far...

The house is almost built.  The weather is dipping dangerously close to 0 (Celsius freezing point) and my fingers are freezing as I type this post.  The trailer heater can't seem to keep us warm.  We are sleeping in the house on a temporary bed in the spare room so that is great.  Hopefully by the end of this long Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, we'll be able to work and 'live' inside.  Our furniture won't be installed for a few weeks since the interior work has to be done first but we can sort of camp inside after this weekend.

I long for the near future when I can cook a meal, bake cookies, have a bath and watch TV (even though I was never a real TV person).  I look forward to entertaining, reading a good book or knitting in a warm cozy room and jumping on my rebounder out of my neighbors view.  I can't wait to practice yoga, play the keyboard, have my grandchildren over and regain a measure of privacy. Meditation without the background noise of saws and motors will be heaven. All these privileges will, again, be mine, at the end of October.

We don't appreciate what we have until it's taken away from us.  Believe me, I will appreciate it all. Every day in my new home will be a sober celebration of all that I have and all that I can do.

I have boxes of clothes and shoes I packed away in the early spring thinking that we would be done by the time the cold weather hit.  I was wrong and I've been wearing the same warmish clothes for the past few months.  Our summer was cold and soggy and sometimes I don't think I will ever warm up. My feet will be so relieved to be shod in my comfortable boots rather than my old tennis shoes.

This sounds like a complaining post but to me it's a reminder that the end is near and very, very soon my world will turn back into the middle class, comfortable one that I took for granted all these years.

I commit myself to running a minimalist home and saving money whenever and wherever I can. My husband has worked so hard and for the first time in our relationship, we have debt that concerns me.I want to work toward relieving us of this debt as soon as possible.  I am eager for the challenge.

Hurry up, November!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Blood Moon Rising

My birthday is today and it coincides with a lunar eclipse and a blood moon rising.  Here is my horoscope based on my birthdate:

"Keep in mind: all Lunar Eclipses are powerful Full Moons that are 'course correctors' and are meant to change your life!! This Lunar Eclipse has an edge to it that forces us to start making necessary changes. Stay calm and make arrangements to simplify our life by month's end. Prepare for new! 

This eclipse in Aries could rock relationships as this Aries Moon encourages us to jump ahead before thinking about the consequences of our actions. It IS meant to free your mind and force strong feelings to the surface. You must make a choice and take a stand on principles that may likely displease someone else - yet being true to yourself is the higher calling. As you know, earthlings tend to be more emotionally expressive during a Full Moon. A Lunar Eclipse emphasizes this emotional reaction. This is a time to embrace change, to make it your friend, and to be calm in the midst of it.

Psychic sensitivity, spiritual instincts and emotional connectedness are aroused as the environment becomes a little unstable. This unstable environment occurs because there is change in the electromagnetic energy that affects us mentally and neurologically. There will be some stress as blockages will begin to crumble and then there will be a feeling of freedom. The good news is that creative and artistic qualities will be discovered as you let go of beliefs that don't correspond with your current reality!! Outdated ideals or dreams may need to be discarded, which can be painful but necessary. You are experiencing an emotional and spiritual awakening to today's truths as clutter is cleared away and your present world is seen in a new light. You will redefine your personality and your image over the next six months!! A new hairdo, new clothes, a NEW YOU emerges!! Keep in mind, as you go through this process, that all of this is good and part of your pattern of growth as you take on a proactive approach to living. You will finally drum up the courage to make necessary life corrections! Enjoy!"

Whether one believes in astrology or not, that prediction is encouraging and in line with what I've been actively seeking lately.

On a funny note, before I went to bed last night (sober :-), I promised myself I would get up at the time when the moon was starting it's eclipse.  At around 5:30 I started getting up every 15 minutes to watch the moon.  It was very solidly shining and globe round with a hint of fiery red emanating from it.  It did not change much and when hubby got up I told him to look at it.  He couldn't find it.  I pointed it out to him and he informed me I had been gazing at a street light all night.  The sky was too cloudy for the moon's observance.  I may be sober, but I'm still a bit loopy!

Monday, 6 October 2014

Dreams, Desires and Working Toward their Attainment

Now that we're sleeping inside the house, I have to get up earlier so as to avoid traumatizing the construction workers with my bed head and bra-less t-shirt morning look.  So, up I get at six a.m. and therefore, add another hour with which to get things done and to free up more time for me.

I never understood how people could ever be bored with life.  I have so much to do always and I don't have kids to take care of or a full time job.  I never seem to have enough time to do the things I want or need to do.  I know my addiction to computer scrabble impedes my free time as well as my surfing the net perusing the sobriety blogs, facebook and pinterest.  I cannot give up my sobriety tools but I could lessen my other proclivities.

Right at this moment, I wish to free time up to meditate, practice yoga, take my long forest walks, spend time with the grandchildren and organize the company to a point where it is simple to run.

When our house is live-in ready I'll have the added potential pleasures of knitting, crafting, playing the keyboard (which I miss terribly) and cooking.  I'll also have lots of fun decorating, organizing and simplifying our new home.

So being productive now, in less than ideal circumstances, is the smart thing to do.  Procrastination is my worst fault other than my addictive personality.  That's one of the reasons yoga and it's associated lifestyle appeals to me.  With just two sessions under my belt, I've already began to feel more present and focused.  What if my yoga practice becomes the catalyst that brings me to that place of serenity and self-acceptance that I so desire?  I've heard other people talk about yoga's positive effect on their every day lives.  Why not me?

I have a new dream (and I am a big-time dreamer) of turning my yoga practice into a vocation.  I have a lovely, carpeted, large basement with plenty of windows and light which I would like to eventually turn into a yoga studio.  This would mean an increasing yoga practice that would culminate in a two hundred hour course on becoming an instructor.  Am I up for this challenge?  If I continue to be a sober soul, it just might be.  My first job is to stay on top of the little things.  A compilation of small moments is what life is composed of.

What will I do with this moment to work towards my goal?

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Typical Cloud Nine Sunday Morning Post

I feel like a wind up toy... back to feeling blessed, fulfilled, happy and content with my sobriety. When will the feelings of doom, sadness, lack and discontentment rear their ugly heads?  I don't know but I'd better be ready.

I seem to get right onto cloud nine when I am successfully living without wine.  I seem to drop into deep despair after, even one glass of the red.  I can coast along soberly for a period of time and then begin the feelings of longing and 'just the one' start niggling at me.

Oh, well, I'm enjoying today and isn't what this new age philosophy is all about?  I have a new joy in my life too.  I'm really happy with my yoga class and want to dive in and practice as much as I can.

We are finally sleeping in the almost finished house... and just in time as the thermometer is dipping close to the zero freezing mark lately at night.  We set up a futon on the plywood in the spare bedroom and it's very comfortable.

Last night we sat on lawn chairs under the future dining room light fixture and ate take out Chinese food.  Hubby had a few glasses of red and I sipped my tea quite contentedly.  We listened to music and enjoyed one of our frequent romantic evenings.  I am so happy that I took the time during my last, long, sober stretch to download lots of songs to my phone and set up playlists such as romantic, which we played last night, and others which I called dancing, exercising and meditating music.

Hoping to string a few months together, starting with a few days along with my friends who've been so kind with their comments and empathy.  We all have so much in common.  KT, Anonymous, etc. stay close and absorb my positive energy as I definitely feel that same energy bouncing back to me.

If I keep up the new yogic lifestyle, maybe I can last longer this time...

Friday, 3 October 2014

Substitution VS A Different Life

The most recent comment I've received has opened my eyes to, yet, another aspect of sobriety.  For the longest time I've been wracking my brain trying to find ways to fit in with my former drinking pals and the drinking culture we live in.  I'm trying to find alternate drinks to have in hand when socializing, excuses as to why I'm abstinent and staying on the same life path; albeit soberly.

My friend touched on not only sobriety as a goal but a new sober life as the ultimate goal.  I don't need to try to fit in with the others when they sit, chat and drink.  I can choose to sit with nothing in hand if I'm not thirsty.  I can, alternately, busy myself with a preferred activity, if sitting around drinkers doesn't appeal to me at any given time.

I don't have to fit in.  I just have to be me.  I think having the view of being on the outside trying to upkeep the illusion of being part of the gang is what has held me back from pursuing all the goals that originally reinforced my desire to stop poisoning myself with wine.

I have taken up yoga and that means Mondays can never be a drinking night.  I do water aerobics twice a week with my new neighbor and friend who has an indoor pool; so happy she's adopted me. We are very comfortable with each other and she struggles with her own demons with are parallel but not the same as mine.  I need to be clear headed to get the benefits of both the friendship and the physical activity.  Lately, as a bi-product of my long term abstinence, I've been walking for forty minutes every other day in the deep woods surrounding my new home.  I've mentioned before that I've been gifted with a maintained trail that meanders alongside the river and starts a few metres from my front door.  Meditative walking has transformed my life and my snow shoes are just waiting to aid me in continuing this lovely habit when the snow falls.  Attempting to continue these activities on a long term basis is counter-productive and darn near impossible if I try to straddle the drinking culture and the yogic one.  I choose the path closest to nature; the one that warms my soul.

Self inflicted lethargy, regret, physical discomfort and apathy is not part of the culture I choose to be part of.  Wine has no place on my path.  Each and every time I drink wine, whether it's one glass or four, immediately, regret seeps into my soul and from it's roots spring self-hatred and pain.

I had no wine last night and feel energetic and spiritually uplifted today.  I humbly say to you and to myself, "I will endeavor to make each choice in each moment of each day, one that brings me closer to happiness rather than one that brings me closer to pain."

I choose to put this blog to bed and to finish my work so I can enjoy the rest of the day unfettered by regret.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

It Would Be Easy to Lie on the Blog

... but that would undermine it's whole purpose.  I am not proud to have to post that I'm drinking again.  I know it ruins the fluidity and the upward arc of the tone of the blog.  I know I've let people down; people who took encouragement from my confidence and 144 day achievement (or whatever the number was..)

I want to succeed.  I'm calling in the arsenal of weapons available to me:, The Bubble Hour, Living Sober, other Blogs, my sobriety books, meditation, etc.

What I feel this morning seems to evaporate by the evening.  All the excuses I have to drink don't hold water when it comes right down to it.  There is no excuse for slowly ruining one's life.  Last night I was fine right until 8pm when we had finished painting a few rooms in the house.  My daughter-in-law came into the trailer to wait for her hubby to be done (my son) and I offered her a glass of wine which she accepted.  I drank a half glass without a thought.  It tasted like crap.  When hubby got in and the two young people left, he wanted a glass of red too... this was around 9:00 pm.  I poured him and myself one.  I took a sip and went to dump it.  "Whoa, he said... you don't waste wine! Put cellophane on it and keep it handy for tomorrow."  So, in all I drank about 5 ounces total but that's not the point.  It's the process that allowed me to go from an abstinent plan to drinking.

I was tempted to tell myself that I'll quit when I move into the house at the end of October; just coast until then.  I just can't do that to myself.  Coasting for me has a downward trajectory.  By the time November 1st comes along, I'll be well into the nightly black-out phase of my drinking.

I am scared and feeling pretty useless.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

I am Drinking

I honestly don't know why I am doing it.  I had two half glasses of wine tonight.  That's not much but it's becoming a constant thing and I really do feel the buzz.  I don't skip more than a day.  Help me, I'm falling.

I am depressed. There, I've said it.  I have not ever been depressed in my life except for this winter for a month. That's when I succeeded in quitting for 140 days... right when I acknowledged my first depression ever. Well, I am bloody well depressed right now.

As many of you know, while we build our home, my husband and I been living and working; actually running a construction business, from a small trailer with canvas ceilings.  It's been six months now and before that, after selling our home, we were living at the office for a few months.  I am at the end of my rope and have been feeling like a dirty hillbilly for too long.  We actually admitted last night that we were dirty; not physically filthy but living in less than sanitary conditions to put it mildly. There's only so much hygiene you can preserve if most of your time has been spent inside as we've had the rainiest, and in our case, muddiest, summer on record.

We are both finding comfort in each other and in our evening's restaurant dinners.  We work hard all day and are anxious to get off the construction site.  We like to eat healthy so we tend to eat at restaurants that serve liquor.  I have happily abstained for most of this difficult time.  Why is it, that now, I join hubby without a thought.

I do not want to drink because ... because what?  What is the point?  OK, let's think.

Have my heart palpitations returned?  Yes.
Have I been awakened in the night with regret?  A few times but not always.
Have I stopped being productive?  No, I'm on a roll.
Do I feel good about myself?  Right now, no.
Am I worried about losing what I've gained in clearheadedness, energy, self-respect and health?

The enemy is my complacency.  I know I would be a lot more fulfilled and content with life if I didn't drink but I find myself sighing and going with the flow.  Hubby has a glass of wine... Debbie has one.  It makes him happy.  Hubby orders a beer on tap ... make that two.  We smile...

It's only a matter of weeks until the house is built and, immediately, my alcoholic but dry, 84 year old Mother is coming for two weeks.  She's told me she plans on defying the doctors and drinking as she pleases.  It could kill her.

It could kill me.

There's Change in the Air

There's a slow change that's been happening for the past few months despite my ups and downs with drinking.  I am becoming more conscious and deliberate.  I am getting more work done, finishing what I start, getting my exercise in and even starting to make better food choices.

Although living in this little trailer in the cool autumn on the gravel driveway of what will become our home sweet home has created barriers to fulfilling all my goals (ie: my juicer just takes up too much valuable space; so does my rebounder) I've managed to bridle that elusive presence of mind enough to set aside time on most days to complete a few life affirming activities and practices.

When I do office paperwork, which I find mundane, I set a timer and reward myself with a walk or a cup of tea. Alternately, when I take a break I sometimes set a timer to ensure I get back at my work. This helps me structure my days whereas I would otherwise be scattered and unproductive.

Being sober last night was a blessing as the little trailer was in disarray and, before I went to bed, I took the time to quietly put things back in order before climbing into the bed under the canvas with my sleeping hubby.  The coffee was set up and the little counter was clear as well as the minute floor space.

Rome wasn't built in a day and this old ancient body is slowly turning into a proud, solid piece of heritage property; one that my children and grandchildren can be proud of... and especially one that I can be proud of.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

The Warning Signs Were There

Thanks for all the support, guys!!

We went for Thai food last night and we both just drank water.  I had a mango salad and some nice soup.  I had no desire for drinks which makes sense as I'd been thinking about nothing but jumping back on the bandwagon all day.

I was discussing with a fellow abstainer how the urge to drink seems to blindside us but in hindsight there were signs I was going to relapse.

If I recall with honesty the days leading up to my relapse, I'll admit that I had started romancing the booze again and that I'd taken a sip of hubby's beer on two occasions and a few of his wine.  I was feeling jealous of drinkers.  I had conveniently forgotten or was forgetting that it's different with me. These normies could have their glass or two of wine or mug of beer and that would be it.  With me and probably you, that first glass of wine or whatever you drink only leads to the opening of the floodgates.

When I succumbed on a nondescript evening for no reason whatsoever, I had about three large glasses of red and woke up with a pounding headache.  The next two weeks were a series of a beer here, a few glasses of red there; every where a drinking opportunity presented itself, I greedily accepted. It had no where to go but downhill from there.

As much as I regret starting back at day one :-( I don't really feel upset with myself; just resigned to move forward and learn from this.  No big drunk happened, I had nothing but support with my decision to drink except from my daughter and my neighbor across the street who both said what should have been said by all: "You've done so well.  Are you sure you want to drink after all your progress and all you've said about wanting to quit?"

People aren't "bad" for encouraging me to drink.  They are simply ignorant of the realities of our obsession with booze.  Their brains don't function like ours do so how are they to truly understand the mental anguish of a boozer going back on the sauce?

I am feeling strong again and now will be hyper-aware of any romancing my monkey mind tries to do with the thoughts of drinking.  Like one of you suggested, back to reading Jason Vale's book.  He's got it right.

Last night I went for my second yoga class and already am feeling stronger and more steady (since last Monday) probably because I've been walking in the woods, swimming with my neighbor in her indoor pool (lucky me) and on the weekend I kayaked twice.  I am slowly building up my core and I felt it last night.  The best part about the hour of yoga is that I did not think about ANYTHING for an hour except breathing and holding positions.  I felt like my brain went through a car wash.

Enough rambling!! Have a safe, sober, conscious day my friends.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Sober October!

It seems that I am challenged on every front when I go for sobriety.  I haven't found it since my relapse a few weeks ago except for a few days here and there.  Hubby is thrilled to bits I'm joining him for a drink.  Our friends were so relieved to have me accept a beer on Friday night (they had nothing else to offer), my social life has become much more 'fun' in the past weeks as I now am one of the gang rather than the boring, social outcast the drinkers perceive me to be.

But I still want out.  Even two glasses of wine gives me heart palpitations, dehydration, lethargy and, often, that 3:00 a.m. wake-up call.  I am also obsessing over it again whereas I had fallen into a pattern where other areas of life were being explored.  Now I'm back to Should I?, Shouldn't I? How much? How often?

I am from that generation where, for many women, the importance of pleasing others far outweighs that of pleasing oneself.

I thought hubby was on board after our long talk back in March.  He seemed to get it.  He doesn't.

I will start small by abstaining for the month of October (including today my friends) and not say anything to anyone about it.  I don't get support; I get dismay so it'll be our little secret.  Hubby and I have been eating a lot in restaurants lately and I've been having a draft at our local pub.  It's my achilles tendon these days so I'll try to avoid going there at night and stick to enjoying their lovely breakfast options.  Wine, which was my poison of choice, is not calling me although this weekend, since I was drinking anyway, I had one with my meal both Saturday and Sunday.  Sounds innocent but to those reading this blog, it's the beginning of the end; we all know that.

I hope I can do this with your support and not that of my 'real' family and friends.

I wish I was addicted to heroin.  At least I would get support and not scorn.

Day 1

Wednesday, 17 September 2014


In my life, I've always felt unsettled; not quite where I wanted to be.  There was always something I was reaching for: to get married, to have a child, to lose weight, to exercise more, to have someone love me, and now, to reach sobriety and, thereby serenity.

I am anxious for the day to come when I finally stop striving and start living.  I can't seem to cross the finish line and just settle happily and comfortably in my own skin.  Part of me feels that as soon as I let my guard down, I'll gradually become a slovenly, disheveled, computer addicted, drunk.   Why do I have to keep my guard up and my voice constantly nagging in order to simply do nice things for myself?  

Every single habit I am striving to incorporate in my life are for the betterment of my own self.  Each of them is achievable.  The only person that has the ability to stop me from achieving my goals is myself.  None of my goals are earth-shatteringly difficult with the possible exception of giving up booze at times.  

I am in the midst of the realization that I, and only I am in charge of my life.  I can make my little nagging voice shut up for once and for all by simply making myself happy by:
  • moving my body by walking on the lush, riverside paths that surround my home or, on rainy days, rebounding to my favourite music
  • using my brain by reading some of the fifteen or more spiritual and recovery books that are strewn throughout this tiny trailer not to mention what's on the Kobo e-reader
  • being creative by writing blog posts or working on my novel or hauling my keyboard out and playing it outside under the trailer's awning
  • eating healthy foods which our new neighbors are gifting us on a daily basis from the bounties of their gardens
  • not drinking booze without which none of the above can possibly be achieved
If I did these few things on a regular basis, I would be happy.  I would stop striving.  It's that simple. I am with the man I love, living in a familiar and warm community surrounded by my sweet grandchildren.  We're all healthy for now and no one is fighting (Hubby and Son called a truce).

Have I found the solution or is this blog post just another way of practicing my long-time habit of striving.  It depends on how I go about my day tomorrow.

Post Relapse Re-Commitment

I can find serenity.  It's up to me completely.  How I live my life determines my level of happiness. Happiness is already here and just masked by all the complications I create for myself.

My choices yesterday made me happy.  In the morning I went and retrieved my juicer from my Uncle's and made myself a celery apple, ginger, beet juice which my body was starving for.  I then put on my new rubber boots that don't hurt my tender feet and went for a walk on a lovely path in the bush a stone's throw away from my trailer.  This trail follows the meandering Jock River.  I was moved beyond joy to be caught in the middle of hundreds of Canada Geese flying overhead heading south.  To my delight, I witnessed them skimming the surface and landing in the water all around me and, then, later taking flight en masse honking like the dickens.  This all happened during my hour long hike and played out like the most beautiful dance recital ever choreographed.  The path was loaded with purple wildflowers and was a breathtaking site.

I don't think I'm that important in the big scheme of the world but I do feel that the universe is pointing me in the right direction recently.  Drinking after four months was good in that I experienced the insomnia, headache and dehydration along with the emotional factors once again.  It is a good reminder of everything I have to lose: a clear head, good memory, restful nights, pride, etc.

Today I will choose to do a few things that make me happy.  I will get my work done satisfactorily and eat wholesome, healthy food.  I will drink lots of water, take some time to walk in the bush again and possibly use the carrots my neighbor gave me from her garden to create another nourishing juice.

I will not poison my body with alcohol.

Choose happiness, Debbie!!  It's all up to you.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Yoga Tonight

Boy am I out of shape!  I used to be in fantastic shape but these past six months of being in transition have wrecked havoc on my body as well as my soul.  I had never experienced Yoga but wanted to for a long while and I found a Monday night class within a short sprint of my home to be.  By coincidence my new next door neighbor goes and so she suggested we go together.

The poses were easy in that I am very flexible but difficult as you have to hold them for a while which takes muscles and stamina; both of which I've let go to seed.  I will attend on a regular basis I believe.  I am getting to know some women in the village and socializing was one of the things I was looking forward to when I moved to this little English speaking town.  Living in the French world for the past twelve years really zapped my confidence in making friends.  I had a few but being an outgoing person, I often felt alone and isolated in Quebec.

When I really think about it, getting sober is only a small part of the enormous healing I have to do in order to find serenity and to be happy in the depths of my soul.

Baby steps is the way to go... just like the movie "What About Bob"... one of my favorites.  I have to move forward one step at a time.

When we decided to sell the lake house in the past few days, I felt, not a sense of loss, but a sense of relief.  Although it's a beautiful, majestic house and has a lovely beach, we just can't afford it.  The food that goes in that house on the weekends, the gas money we spend the effort to feed the hungry visitors all take their toll on us.

Living a quiet, simple life in our beautiful new home surrounded by my children and grandchildren and making new friends is really what is going to make me happy.  No more rushing up to the countryside every Friday and working our butts off all weekend only to come home to work hard all week.  Getting out and joining activities like yoga is one of the keys to becoming part of this lovely community.

I am starting to feel positive again.

Getting My Mojo Back

I did not drink last night and it felt like a day one... not like a skipped day of drinking.  I am starting to feel my old resolve coming back.  I also have a bad cold.  Not sure if those two things are connected.

So far my daughter is the only one who is dissapointed that I drank.  She said "Mom you were doing so well." when I told her.  I felt happy that, at least someone, was rooting for me to stop.

I have a friend, Martine, who is trying to make a better life for herself too and she has started reading this blog and sent me some heartwarming words that mean a lot.  She knows the battle us former partyers have to face when we stop.  She is still living in the world of beer and wine whereas for me, here in Ontario, the pressure isn't half as severe.  If she can do it, I can !!

Today I have an appointment at the foot doctors and I can't wait to resolve my chronic sore feet problem.  Every time I want to walk anywhere my feet kill me.  I know this has added to my depression and tendency to drink.

My husband and I talked about saving the company by selling our lake house and it sounds appealing to me.  It's a two hour drive and we spend a fortune there not only on food but on gas for the boats, repairs, heating, etc.  I am heading towards simplifying my life and this is a positive step in that direction.  In the spring, once we've settled in our new home and emptied the lake house of what we want to keep, we'll put it on the market furnished.  We hope to be able to live comfortably once we sell it and I will make my life's mission to live moderately, simply and frugally.

Everything happens for a reason and I think we are both in favour of selling off the toys and the lake house because that's where we are in our lives.  So the timing is good.

I must jump in the shower to smell pretty for the foot doctor.


Sunday, 14 September 2014

Falling Down the Rabbit Hole

Since I drank a few days ago, I've had a little to drink most nights.  Last night I had wine with dinner and a dessert wine with friends later.  I am not drinking in an abusive way but it surely will end up that way if I am not careful.

When I drank the other day after four months of sobriety, I knew it was the beginning of a relapse.  I felt helpless to stop it.  The four months previous were easy; real easy.

I am posting, not as a sober person but as one who is in the middle of a relapse.  I am dealing with a lot of stress which I am not going to describe again.  Read old posts if you're curious.

At this point I am not sure when or if I will stop.  I know you readers and supporters are staying "Just do it." "Stop already!"  I am not sure I have the ability to do much of anything right now except survive.

As I said I am not drinking every day but have had a few since I relapsed.  I will coast along and report here and hopefully find the strength to get back on the wagon.

I am so sick of regulating myself.

I have decided not to worry about my lack of exercise, junk food intake, computer addiction, procrastination, apathy and other character flaws and concentrate on doing what makes me happy. Maybe by just accepting myself, I will fall into some good habits.

At age 58 (in a few weeks) it's time to let go and let myself live.

I am not implying that I will accept myself getting drunk every night.  I just have to gain some emotional energy in order to get my resolve back.

So, I am stuck in the rabbit hole for a while.  I will be honest about my drinking and eventually, will create a balanced life.  But while living in a tiny trailer, in the bitter cold, on a muddy construction site, running a family business that is about to go bankrupt, I will do the best I can.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Guilt, Insecurity and Self-Loathing

Why am I so concerned about improving myself, pleasing others and doing more for those I love.  I never have a quiet moment without either beating myself up about who I haven't called, what I haven't done, who I've let down or how I've not met my own expectations.  I constantly have lists taped to the fridge on scheduled exercise, meditation, etc.  I have so many lists of goals and new habits to start if I put them all together I 'm sure I'd have enough for a small book.  What causes such self-loathing and dissatisfaction.

I was not an abused child anymore than my neighbors in the lower class ethnic area of Toronto I was raised in.  We, occasionally got slapped, mostly ignored and never got any physical affection. If that is abuse, then so be it.  I was the second of five children.  My mother couldn't stand two of my siblings, adored two others and basically was ambivalent towards me.  I think she hated me a bit for being dark like my father and liked me a little for being easy going.  She is now an old alcoholic living in a nursing home with no access to booze.  My father loved us all the same but had a terrible temper.  We gauged his mood when he arrived home from work and either had fun with him or hid from him depending on his disposition.  He was not physically abusive; just verbally.

My siblings all suffer from some form of depression; two are grossly overweight, one is on strong anti-depressants and another has scary, dark periods where he just shuts down emotionally for weeks... and he was my Mom's favourite.  I've always been known in the family as the thread that ties us all together, the risk taker, the peacemaker.

If I want to be happy and sober I must find a way to accept all of me: the procrastinator, the complex woman I described a few posts ago.  I am at a loss as to how to start.  I thought I was doing fine.The recent stresses have kick-started my insecurities.

I need to practice self-nurturing and love.  It's so hard to let go of, not only my expectations, but those of others.  Any suggestions?

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Amp Up the Ammo

I just can't say 'day one' without cringing.  I am not at day one.  Since I cannot tell a lie, rather than ignoring my blip, I'll say I'm four months sober with one slip.... anything but Day ONE!!  I have had trouble counting days since I started and kept having to go to Mrs. D's new amazing site: Living Sober to get the number on her handy dandy sobriety tracker.  So no more bragging about how many days I've been sober.  I lost that privilege with my slip.

Tonight was a great, big, fat test.  I suggested we order a pizza and hubby said he preferred to go to the local village restaurant.  I knew they served draft.  I really like draft beer.  We went, he ordered an amber draft, supportive angel that he is, and I ordered a lemon water.  I did have a struggle though. I'm not out of the woods yet.

I am not one hundred percent sure of this.  I know I should not drink but now that I've slipped I can see how easy it would be to slip again.  I have a voice in my head telling me that I can drink just the one occasionally.  The celebration of my renewed drinking last night really threw me for a loop.  It's like everyone wants me to be the person with the drink in my hand.  I feel a lot of pressure to drink now that I know hubby found me boring when I was sober.  Even tonight at the restaurant when we were half done our meal I said "I almost ordered a draft beer."  His reply was "There's nothing wrong with having a beer; go ahead."  I did not.

The past four months were really easy compared to this.  Since I quit, I never truly struggled; not like this.  Now I am going to learn what people are talking about when they say quitting is the hardest thing they've done in their lives.  If I can get through these next few weeks sober with the family, business and living conditions being as stressful as they currently are, I CAN DO ANYTHING!!

I must get my hands on some A/F drinks so I fit in as that seems to be my weakness right now. I'm going to check out Living Sober's list of great A/F drinks.  Tools are what I need right now.

It might be time to amp up the meditation practice.

Moving Forward After Relapse

I see how easy it would be to continue to drink.

My alcoholic neighbor came to visit just when I had taken my first glass of wine and cheered me on. Him and hubby both talked gushingly on how drinking wine is good for the health, sociable and, generally, the right thing to do.  They actually thought they were very wise and helpful.

By coincidence, after my second glass of wine last night my son who is trying to cut down his drinking called to say he'd be dropping over.  When he and his wife arrived I held up my glass of wine and announced that, after four months of abstaining, I was having drinks.  They were both HAPPY!  My hubby chimed in and said he was glad he got his drinking buddy back and that I had been boring while abstaining.  I have to say that my son told me he was proud of me for abstaining for that length of time; only he, a fellow problem drinker, knows how tough it can be.  Everyone excitedly discussed how we can have drinks together in the new house and how it'll be so much fun.

I woke up this morning with a pounding headache and the determination not to let this slip result in the daily drinking of tons of wine.  Last night, I buckled under intense pressure and stress and am still feeling like I don't want to be here, in this trailer, in this mud, dealing with business and personal issues waiting for the house to be completed.  Escape is tempting.

If I drink tonight I am doomed.  I can't go down that road again.  I want to be able to say in a few weeks that I've done five months sober with one little hiccup.  It will take every ounce of strength I have to follow through.

I am NOT boring when I am sober.  I think hubby and everyone else would think I was fun to be around if I had a glass of something red in my hand; no matter what was in it.  I feel like I have to 'secretly' not drink.  I have the opposite problem of those who secretly drink.  Go figure!!

Screw everyone!  I have to do this for me.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Day 138: I Drank!

I've deleted the problems I described that led to my drinking just in case the wrong eyes see it.

Besides the family business the living conditions here at the trailer are horrendous.  We finally got electricity that stopped the constant drone of the generator and today the guy came to dig the well. He noisily drilled two hundred feet, flooded the place and left me tense from the audio assault and very vulnerable.

I wanted a drink.  I've wanted one for days.  I did not take it easily... I lusted for it for twenty minutes before I lunged. I had been avoiding the sobriety blogs and resources.

I drank.  I drank enough to get tipsy.  I blew 138 days.

Not sure what is going to happen next.  Will I continue to slide down the slippery slope?  Will I stop dead in my tracks and reverse my trajectory?  Please God... let me choose the latter...

How do I feel?  I feel drunk... a little sick to my stomach and tired... so tired.

I knew it was coming.  I was scared. I did not stop it.  I could not stop it.  My life is full of tension and stress and I deny it all the time.  There are undercurrents of jealousy, greed and hatred in my family that I've chosen to ignore.  I could manage not drinking when I was strong but things have beaten me down lately.  Not having a solid home for six months; living like a gypsy, has taken it's toll on me and I succumbed because I feel crushed.

I wanted the drink bad enough to give up 138 days of sobriety.  So I guess it was worth it.  But only if I stop right now.  I have to not look at this as a relapse but as a hiccup.

I`ve got 138 sober days under my belt.  If I drink tomorrow, I`m screwed.  If I don`t then I can continue on this awesome journey.  It`s up to me.