Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Day 60 - I Couldn't Have Done it Without You!

I can't believe I made it!! Day 60!! That's double any previous abstinence periods.

I am sitting in a trailer that's only one level up from a tent trailer (we sleep under canvas but the centre of the trailer is solid), we are mired in knee deep mud because the universe decided that the year Debbie builds her dream home will be the year of the torrential rains, and my husband and I are literally on top of each other most of the time.  We have a new neighbor on our new street that is an alcoholic and makes his own wine and beer.  He delights in bringing his hooch over every day at 4:00 pm to share with us and does not let up when I repeatedly explain that I don't drink.

Hubby always has wine and beer sitting on the trailer shelf which can be very tempting or annoying depending on my mood.

We've just started going to the lake house on the weekends (yes, I appreciate how lucky I am) where the booze is always flowing and the friends drop in unannounced.

So, against all odds, I've managed sobriety.  It's not because I'm a hero.  It's not because I hit rock bottom.  It's because in my little world, the time had come.  It was relatively easy  because I was truly ready to turn the page and begin the next phase of my life.  It was a quiet knowing that sober was the only direction worth travelling; that another cycle could not begin.  In other words, I was ready.

I don't know much about addiction but I do know that when the addicted is attempting to give up his drug of choice, he (or she) must be solidly sure of his desire to stop using in order for there to be a hope in hell of success.

In previous attempts, I believed that abstinence was synonymous with deprivation.  I thought about what I was missing... ALOT.  This time my mindset tended to lean towards gratitude and the gains that being fully present offered.  I've carried this mindset with me throughout the past two months and I've been sober, happy and a lot more confident.

What's really helped are the people who've read and commented on my blog, my supportive friends at, the Bubble Hour podcasts, my 100 day A/F commitment to Bella's community and reading other sober blogs.  A community of support is mandatory for success in my opinion.

I've reached a small milestone and hope to reach many more.  To all of you reading this, thank you from the bottom of my heart!  The positive energy has been received and I'm sending it right back out to you!


Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Shut the f%&k up!

My Ego has a big mouth!  It never leaves me alone.  It has a running commentary going through my head that goes something like this:  "maybe you should stop at the grocery store and buy some healthy food or then, again, maybe we'll go out for dinner.  I'll stop anyways because we need cream for coffee and juice... it's raining; maybe I can pick some up tomorrow morning before work... oh ya, I can't do that, I've got a meeting at 8:00 a.m.... boy are you lazy or what.. just get in the car and go get the damn groceries.  All you ever do is sit on your ass... I know I should be doing more exercise but I'm living in a frigging trailer right now... ya but it's located near some lovely walking paths.. I know but the black flies are vicious... just put bug spray on.. no excuses .. But that stuff's toxic.  Think I'll have a shower... Oh Brother, I hate using the shower in the trailer; it makes the whole bathroom wet.. maybe I'll shower at the office... but I'm only going there tomorrow... "

On and on this little voice follows my every move or lack of motion and critiques me.  It's the same voice that has told me for years that I can moderate my drinking but that when I didn't manage to moderate, I was a complete idiot.  Same entity!!

If I could manage to quiet the little bastard, maybe I could end the self-flagellation and start living an authentic life.  I am reading about it and practicing resting in the present moment but, by golly, it's not easy.

Today at work I managed to work mindfully and systematically rather than the willy-nilly way I usually handle my tasks.  It's a start and I got a lot accomplished.  Putting time aside for meditation will help if I ever am able to adopt that routine. 

I promised myself to have no rules for the first 100 sober days but I think I need to kick start my conscious life a little earlier... I have to get the voice to be quiet; to accept me as I am and to make decisions and follow through on them instead of going through internal negotiations constantly.

Just rambling....

Monday, 23 June 2014

Weekend with Friends

In my world, there are two distinctly different types of weekends at the lake.  There is the weekend at the lake with friends and the weekend at the lake with family. 

Weekend at the lake with Friends:

We have some rowdy fellow Harley Riders from our former Quebec life who don't think twice of, not only inviting themselves but inviting a few of their closest pals on a family-free weekend.  They show up either on their souped up bikes or in big manly trucks with sea-doos and cigar boats towed behind them.  The meals are whatever I can conjure up with no advance warning, the language spoken is French (not my language), the jokes are bawdy, bathing suits skimpy and the laughs are many.  The beer and wine is flowing and there is a pungent odour in the air at all times.  Some of them may crash on a pull-out couch and others will loudly depart at all hours of the evening.

Weekend at the lake with Family:

One, two or all of our four children will show up with their little ones in tow.  Beds will be respectfully negotiated. The girls will bring food and help me all with cooking and clean up all weekend.  A few beers may be drank by the lake by some.  We'll spend hours cruising on the pontoon, fishing or swimming.  I'll communicate in my own language, laugh a lot and play with the little ones.  We'll be up early and in bed by 11:00 pm.  We may have bocce ball or badminton tournaments or sing karaoke at night.

We are having more family weekends as time goes on and less rowdy Biker weekends.  I have never really enjoyed these weekends but these are hubby's friends and they ARE nice people.  The family weekends are mostly MY family.  Compromise is the name of the game. 

This weekend was a weekend with friends and I came very close to drinking. 

Friday, 20 June 2014

Live and Let Live

I went for a walk last night with my former drinking buddy, my 83 year old vibrant, gay uncle who has an opinion on everything.  He's my mother, father, sister and best friend and I love him dearly.  He's a bit disappointed that I don't join him for a crisp martini or a glass of red anymore. 

When I told him how much better I was feeling mentally about quitting he said bitterly that my drinking problem was all in my head anyways.  I agreed with him and then he further commented that it was all in my imagination.  I, again agreed and told him that if someone believes they have a drinking problem, then they have a drinking problem.  No one else really knows what others struggle with.

That's been the stumbling block for me in all my other attempts to stop drinking.  Because most of my drinking took place at home and hubby and I were always alone, no one ever saw the drunk Debbie... and the drunk Debbie at home was quiet and numbed out so she did not make a great big impression so even hubby needed some convincing. 

At social functions, I was the life of the party and everyone thought I was funny and cute.  I never got falling down drunk or slurred noticeably.  I got a lot of flack whenever I refused a drink because I was the entertainment.  I had a few great jokes that I was asked to retell countless times.  Seeing the look of disappointment on the faces of my boozy friends was usually all it took for me to take a breath and say "OK, just the one!"

What people didn't see was the torturous debate going on in my head for half of the waking hours of each and every day.  They weren't there at three a.m. when I woke up or 'came to' with a sweaty brow, my heart skipping beats and my mind churning with self-loathing.  They didn't see me in the mornings drinking coffee with booze oozing out of my pores, my head a little achy and my eyes sunken and sad.  They weren't at my doctor's visits when he would have to leave the room to let me try to breathe my blood pressure down before he took his decisive reading to determine whether I was ready for medication.

No one was in Vancouver with me when my Mom was in the throes of alcohol withdrawal having seizures, kicking nurses and throwing anything within her reach at whoever stood between her and her need for booze and screaming incessantly for her Daddy who died when she was pregnant for me.

If my alcohol problem is in my mind, then so be it.  Ever since I've stopped the madness long enough to reap the benefits, I have been amazed at the simplicity of sobriety.  For me, being sober means being sane.  It was insanity to continue to partake in an activity that caused my mind to reel with discomfort and my body to malfunction.  Duh... if bananas caused that reaction, people would be withholding bananas from me for my own good whether I liked it or not.  Because it's booze, somehow it's different.

So, to my favourite Uncle, my friends and family, you just don't understand and that's OK.  It's not your job to comprehend or to even accept me and my decisions.  I can't control your reaction to my sobriety.  I accept that. 

The loveliest gift I've ever given my soul is abstinence from imbibing ethanol.  The premise is so simple yet so complicated.  Our culture has trained it's people to vehemently defend their God given right to get plastered.  As a drinking society, we are much stronger in greater numbers.  When one of us drops out of the boozy battlefield, the group feels threatened, therefore, fights to reclaim it's mutinous member.  It's pretty instinctive and I respect that. 

I don't drink.  I wish I could reprogram the people in my neck of the woods to see the light and be like me but that is just falling into the same cycle I'm trying to escape. ' Live and let live' is my motto.  I plan on living fully, consciously and not missing another moment due to self-induced escape. 

I feel fortunate that suffering from addiction is my only ailment.  It's curable.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

The Whites of my Eyes...

I never thought it would happen to me.  All my sober cyber friends kept talking about their eyes losing that bloodshot tired look and I kept checking and they never seemed to lose their yellow opaque colour or the red veins that made them look slightly stoned. 

Finally, after close to two months sober, as I was putting on a bit of eyeliner I noticed !!!  My whites were brightly white and the red was no more.  My greenish brown eyes actually look pretty; not faded and tortured.  Some things take a while.  My poor, put upon liver probably had other vital organs to clean out before it got around to my eyeballs. 

I had lunch with my son to celebrate his 32nd birthday today.  He was a party animal up until, coincidently, the same weekend I quit.  He has been able to have a beer or two at weddings and at the bar after his weekly soccer match without going on to drink a dozen or two.  Had has a beautiful one year old son and wants to be there for him and not be a drunk Daddy.  I told him how unusual it was that he was able to moderate and that he should keep his guard up but that I was very proud of him for working on his drinking.  He really had me scared for a few years with his binge drinking. 

I wish I could report the hardships of sobriety but I just can't think of any.  Maybe it's because I was really ready to stop.  I am very happy to have a lemonade, lemon water or A/F beer when everyone is having a drink.  The door is closed on drinking. 

The more I read about conscious living, the more I am learning to accept my bad habits and lack of ambition to change as not definitive of who I am.  Rather, I treat myself with the love and patience I generously shower on my kids, husband and friends.  When the time is right to incorporate another positive change into my life, it will come to pass.  The important thing is to love myself just as I am.  Most of us ex-drinkers really have to make an effort to accept ourselves with all our flaws.  We are our own worst critics.  Unlearning this is the key element to enacting any positive change.  Sobriety is the first and most important step.

I hope to blog more often now that I have internet at the trailer. 

Monday, 9 June 2014

The Joys of Sobriety

I have a heck of a lot of work to do and most of it needs to be done on the second floor of a commercial condominium with no A/C and it is getting stinking hot in my part of the world.  I have to do all the paperwork and physical packing to move us from Quebec to Ontario while hubby and his crew do the actual building of the house.  It is a bit overwhelming as I hate driving and it's a 45 minute drive each way.  Once the work is done, I will be free to STAY in my new temporary home which is a trailer on the property we are building on so the incentive is there. 

I figure I have about two to three weeks of work and today I am going to make a list of what needs to be done and in what order it needs to be accomplished.  I can hardly wait to hand over the keys to the purchaser and say Goodbye to this phase of my life which I've left emotionally for some time.  Without my sobriety I would be panicking and my blood pressure would be sky high. 

Speaking of BP, mine is DOWN!! So far at age 57, no pills, no ills and no aches or pains.  Mine was wavering on being medication worthy but by not drinking and being happier and more active, I have been able to delay that inevitability.

On a lighter note, I am a Granny once more.  My daughter gave birth to her first and she is a six pound bundle of joy.  She looks like a tiny porcelain doll and feels light as a feather in my arms.  I am so enjoying my new Sober Granny Life.  I had the three year old sleep at the trailer with me on Saturday.  She was delighted to be 'camping' at Granny's. 

Last night at 11:40 pm my daughter, the new Mother, called me to ask if the baby nursing all the time was normal.  What a pleasure it was to not worry about whether I was slurring or to whether she could tell my mouth was dry and I was half corked.  We chatted for fifteen minutes and I felt needed and appreciated. 

Sobriety is the singular best gift I've ever received and the wondrous thing about it is that it was always within my reach.  I just didn't know it.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Good News from All Sides

I have been fighting high blood pressure for a year now and had asked the doctor to give me a few months to get it down myself before he prescribed meds.  He agreed and yesterday morning was the do or die day.  I haven't had a drink in 40 days (yay me!!!!) and my blood pressure was normal!  I knew that it would be lower because I've been feeling so much calmer and healthier since I've stopped drinking. So that was great news but it was over-shadowed by even greater news.

My daughter gave birth to my fourth grandchild yesterday.  She is a healthy six pounder and looks like a porcelain doll.  Both Mom and Baby are doing great. 

It seems that everything is so much clearer now.  By that I mean, I don't feel like I am watching life happen around me; rather I feel like a vibrant participant in my own life.  Does that make sense? Before I was hiding behind a rose hued screen and glimpsed, commented on and hid from most of what went on around me. 

It helps that I am living in my new community and can participate in conversations for the first time in 12 years because these conversations are taking place in my own language rather than French.  My quit timing was amazing in that I removed the booze filter while at the same time a door opened that allows me to comprehend the goings on without straining to translate every damn word.

I now live my life in the now, authentically, without confusion and with hope for the future. 

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Walking Barefoot

My new neighborhood is located in a little village close to the thriving capital of Canada, Ottawa.  It is nestled among the farmlands and winding rivers that meander in the area.   We are building on an original street with huge, mature trees and many parks.  We are camping on the property. 

A neighbor has generously allowed the people of the village to use her maintained trail that runs alongside of the river for 7 kilometres.  The floor of the trail is grassy with bits of clover and wild flowers.  I have been walking over there (it's literally one minute from my property) lately and have been taking my shoes off. 

Feeling the cool grass between my toes as I practice my meditative walking has done wonders for my soul.  I never dreamt that in this day and age there would be a place that would allow for barefoot walking for miles on end other than a beach.

Yesterday I wore a loose, summer dress and, sandals in hand, wandered quietly for an hour almost tripping over a large turtle sunning himself on the path.  A blue heron was trolling for fish down in the shallows and I swear he was almost 4 feet high. 

Does life get any better than this??

Monday, 2 June 2014

Looking Radiant If I Do Say So Myself!

Have got my hands on a photo or two taken this weekend at the lake house with the grandchildren and the formerly, ever present glass of wine is obviously missing as well as the sallow skin, bloodshot eyes, discoloured teeth and dishevelled appearance.  Rather I am positively glowing inside and out.

Mary Lou McAuley's photo.

This morning I got up to watch the sun rise on the water and felt alive, happy and vibrant. 

What a beautiful morning!

I feel absolutely no deprivation; only euphoria and commitment to being the best I can be.  I managed to have a quiet meditation last night (imagine doing anything at night...) after preparing the coffee for this morning, making a cup of mint tea and tidying up.

I look forward to a busy few months readying our property for building, moving and settling in.  Nothing seems overwhelming.

My son is following in my abstinent footsteps and this makes me so happy.  He was headed for a terrible alcohol related accident or illness or death.  His journey has begun and for that I am so grateful.