Saturday, 12 November 2016

Hand on the Bottle...

Hi Everyone, 

I'm starting day 12 and have had the usual temptations, triggers and second guesses.  I am still not drinking.  But I could be.  Even last night I reached (literally had my hand on the ice cold bottle) of white wine in the fridge and said to hubby "Wanna glass of wine?"  He said "No, I really overdid it on Wednesday (he did) so I feel like my body needs a break.  I let go and drank water.  But that is how f&*ked up my head is.  My mind has told me "only drink when no one is around" and "only in restaurants" and when planning a vacation in Cuba after Christmas "only for the week on vacation ... no photos allowed".  So my chances for success are next to nil.  Someone reading this would and should jump in and say "what tools do you have to combat this monkey mind of yours?"

The only tool I have is experience and I have a wealth of it.  I have started a run of sobriety many times and they always end by small exceptions that lead to daily or almost daily drinking or getting drunk.  I inevitably regret that first drink.  Wearing a charm on my brand new Pandora charm bracelet the kids got me for my birthday that is representative of the reasons I want to stay sober is a great idea I just thought of... see writing things down does help.  

My last two years have brought me so many positive changes and I credit many of them to two things: drinking minimally and finally getting a morning routine to stick.  

Today I am meeting some kids and grandkids at the local Santa Claus Parade and we have a lovely sunny day for it.  Temperature is at the freezing mark but dressing warm will take care of that issue.

After that I will put my flower beds to bed for the winter.  Tonight it's Chinese Food (green tea) with my favourite people.

Going on Pandora's website....

Monday, 7 November 2016

Spent a Sober Weekend Partying in Tarranna!!

My sister invited me to visit her for the weekend in Toronto.  She treated me to a 60th birthday dinner at a fancy Italian Restaurant and, being the supportive gal that she is, suggested we share a fancy bottle of Italian sparkling water which was delicious.

The next day she invited two of our childhood friends to join us and she prepared a lovely dinner for the four of us.  Everyone drank and I sipped an Italian soft drink called Brio.

A good time was had by all.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Why I Need Total Sobriety

As I indicated in yesterday's post, my life has dramatically improved coinciding with my drastic reduction in my alcohol consumption.  No more sleepless nights, heart palpitations, better skin and less guilt and remorse.

I felt that the 'monkey' was finally off my back.  My pattern was a glass of wine or a beer on tap about once a week randomly timed... often not on a Friday night but whenever I felt I really wanted one.  Sounds reasonable, doesn't it?

Last Saturday we had people from my French hubby's past for dinner.  They did not speak English and were now business associates as well.  A little stress was felt by me as these women are chic, have big jobs and know each other quite well.  My French is rusty to say the least.  Within the first hour of their visit, I drank two hefty martinis made with vodka and vermouth and a splash of olive juice.  I did not feel drunk at this point or any point in the evening (that should have been my first clue).  I proceeded to cook, serve and partake of a delicious roast beef dinner.  I had two glasses of red wine.  A good time was had by all.  No repercussions or so it seemed.

Fast forward to Hallowe'en Monday.  I am invited to my son's place where all the little ones were dressed in their costumes.  All five of my grandkids, my kids and their partners and a couple of my son's friend's young families were in the house along with my alcoholic ex... (TRIGGER!!)

The kids were excitingly getting their costumes on and running around as tykes do.  I was offered a glass of wine and contrary to what my heart and head were urging me to do, accepted.  My ex arrived with a 2 litre bottle of red which he cracked open and proceeded to empty.  Most of the others weren't drinking for various reasons.  My daughter and DIL are both pregnant, my eldest son and SIL don't drink much at all and my youngest son who likes his booze a little too much was painfully abstaining in support of his pregnant wife and because it was appropriate behaviour on Hallowe'en night.

The reason I am quitting (again) is not because I drank that evening.  It's because I actually HID my glass of wine behind a table lamp and only took sips when I thought no one was looking.  For the record, I had two small glasses.  I was so uncomfortable with my choice to drink in front of my family (some of whom were struggling with their own propensity to over-indulge) that, rather than honour my own values, I made the decision somewhere within myself to drink secretly.

My plan worked.  No one noticed I was drinking except the DIL who had offered the wine and was, herself secretly drinking in the kitchen.

What kind of an example was I to her and everyone else in that room; my grandkids included.  They may not have noticed it then but, eventually, if I continue with this line of behaviour, they will.

That, my friends, hammers home the truth that moderation does not work.

Day 2

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

What I've Accomplished

I turned 60 and had wanted to begin this new decade with so much accomplished.  I was disappointed in myself that many of my goals had not been met.  I was still carrying the extra ten pounds that I had vowed to drop.  I was still gorging on sweets and drinking too much coffee.  I was an almost non-drinker but had not accomplished my singularly most important goal of total sobriety.

Lately, as part of my pursuit of self-acceptance, I recognize what I have accomplished in the past few years or so.  The change is dramatic.

The Woman I Was

I lived a Hedonistic life in a little cottage on the banks of a fast flowing river in the free-spirited Province of Quebec.  I was often perched on the back end of a Harley Davidson helmetless in some mountainous region of North America or at a biker rally smoking doobies by the bonfire.

The construction company was small and the work was simple and quick to complete daily.

I shared at least one bottle of wine each night with my French lover and eventual husband.  We saw our family once a month or so for birthdays or Holidays.  We worked hard but played harder.  The only exercise I got was sex.

My friendships were fraught with communication problems because of my limited French vocabulary and their limited grasp of English. I was just starting to read Eckhart Tolle but had not awakened in the true sense of the word.  I was lonely and filled with self-loathing.

The Woman I Am

I've moved to WASPish small town Ontario.  We've built an expansive home in the village.  I have access to a lovely river close by (Thank Gawd).  Hubby just bought another Harley to replace the one he sold when we moved but the riding we plan to do around here is all about scenery, meandering roads and waterfront cafes rather than rock n' roll, parties and bonfires.

I have drastically reduced my drinking and my toking has become a treat rather than a habit. I walk and meditate daily due to a commitment I've kept with my neighbor for the past two years that we meet to walk and meditate every weekday.

Our company has expanded and office work takes up much of my day.

I am thrilled to say that I have become a Grandmother five times with two more expected this Spring. They all live within a short drive and I see them almost daily.

My elderly, seemingly emotionless mother has moved in and I have become her full time caregiver.  She has broken her hip recently but is recovering nicely.  She is an active alcoholic with me being her enabler/controller (a dangerous combination).  I limit her to one beer a day with the odd exception.

Despite the stress that all these changes have brought on, I am happier, soberer, straighter and more in touch with myself than I ever was.  I still have work to do.

I had my ancestry researched and, to my delight, have learned that I do, indeed carry Native American DNA.  For a long time, I've been attending Native Circles and had felt strongly connected to the family folk lore claiming that our bloodline traced back to the 1600's when the French, Courier du Bois intermarried with the Native women along the St. Lawrence River.

Life is good.  I have moved in the direction I was hoping to go.  I have not accomplished all my goals but I am, for the most part, happy.  Despite this real contentment, today is Day Two of a Sobriety Run for me.  I will tell you why tomorrow.  It's a long story and I've gone on long enough as it is.


Friday, 7 October 2016

Licorice for Dinner!

Last night I ate a bag of black soft licorice for supper!  It went well with my martini herbal tea.

I feel like there is a large black sugary glob of jellied goo sitting in the pit of my stomach waiting to ooze out of me.  Yuk!!

This morning I made a piece of thick rye toast and topped it with a squished half avocado and a free range egg softly fried in a little butter.

I am increasingly attracted to sugar these days.  My stress levels are through the roof so candy is my glass of wine.  I am not happy with this turn of events but I guess it beats drinking booze.

I am hosting Thanksgiving and am feeding 12 tomorrow.  We had planned a soccer game outside as the little ones are all learning soccer skills.  The weather is not cooperating unfortunately.  So all five kiddies and their bickering parents will be inside. :-(

My turkey is in my oven and I will prepare the stuffing (dressing) and cranberry relish today also so as to minimize my workload tomorrow.

Life is humdrum and anti-climatic right now.  My Dad is in a bad way, my mother is miserable, my kids are fighting with each other and my daughter is separating with three babies and no money.

Stop the world .. I wanna get off.

Monday, 3 October 2016

I Want a Happy Ending

At this stage of my decade long attempt to quit boozing, anything I might say, means nothing to anyone; even me.  I've said it all before but it must be said to document this journey.  I quit, got the T-shirt and screwed up many times.  At only day seven and feeling good about abstaining tonight at the Indian restaurant, I can only say a quiet "good going" to myself and keep on trucking.  When I was contemplating the decision I asked myself how I would feel if I drank.  I, very easily, drew on my many past experiences of regret.  The shit doesn't even taste good. LOL.

I have to admit I thought of Belle and the 10 bucks I've committed for every ten days of sobriety up to day 100 and that did help in my resolve.  I feel good about doing it so I think it taps into and releases my serotonin.  Who'd of thought.

Anyways, I am finally feeling a little crappy and more like a recovering addict should feel.  I've always been a flippant, happy abstainer but as I approach sixty I am realizing I am a person who is dealing with deep-seated feelings of unworthiness.  Otherwise I would not self-sabotage all the time.

I am not denying my depression these days.  It has finally rose to the surface.  I believe that it's been buried deep inside me for years and with my new lifestyle of living life sober (ongoing for a year or so with a hiccup every couple of weeks) I've awakened the sleeping giant.  It helps that my live-in Mom broke her hip this summer;I was nursing for months afterward, my daughter, mother of two aged two and one is expecting her third and has broken up with the father of the children. She is almost penniless, depressed and desperate.  Our business which we run from home has never been busier and, as we work primarily for the Canadian Government, the red tape we have to go through is mind boggling.  And to top it off, my father had a heart attack yesterday.  His bowel ruptured and as they were prepping him for emergency surgery, his heart stopped.  He's alive at this time.  

I don't know but for some reason I am feeling anxious lately.  Being sober really helps.  I, honestly feel that if I was drinking the way I drank previously, I would have gone off the deep end by now.

So, day 7 is done.  I want to stay sober with no hiccups.  I want to be permanent.  I have reaped all the rewards of sobriety for the past few years: my heart palpitations have stopped completely, no more 3:00 a.m. wake-up calls, whites of the eyes are white, I have gotten up at 5:45 a.m. to walk religiously each morning for months, I am responsible, able to drive, etc.

But the one problem with the 'almost sober' lifestyle is that it never ends.  It's still counting days.  It's still always day one.  It's still a daily decision.  Being totally sober slowly moves one away from the anxiety of wanting, of counting, of compromising.  Being totally sober frees one from the grips of alcohol.

I could write a book about sober stops and starts (and I probably will) but I want my book to have a happy ending.  It's my story.  My choice.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Choose Joy!

Our lives are made up of our many stories all intertwined, twisted and frayed.  Some are clean; some soiled.  Some are sweet and some are bitter.  Rather than letting all the frayed ends of the tales that define us lay splayed and splintered, let's try to carefully weave these stories into one solid, braided rope of hope and strength.

We can pick up the tattered pieces of our neglected, abused, tormented selves and meld them together with the joyful experiences, peaceful moments and warm memories to create a solid, rough hewn rope of hope and promise for tomorrow's successes.

We cannot deny our past sadness and despair but we can embrace it as part of the fabric of our being and knowingly move forward continuing to weave a solid, secure life for ourselves composed of forgiveness and compassion for ourselves and those who have hurt us.

One day as we look back upon this journey called life, it would be heartwarming and gratifying to see a life well lived despite the harshness that defined some days.

We owe it to ourselves to carry on striving to remain in the present moment and to allow the grief of our past mistakes and struggles to gently move through us without definition or analysis.  They just are.

Let's not concentrate too much on what the future holds.  Each decision we make in the moment defines our future happiness so choose joy and acceptance of what is.

Let's make beautiful memories not based on what happens but on our reaction to what happens.

Let's choose joy.


Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Hey Sober Penpal

I attempted to reply to my sober penpal and my hotmail wouldn't work so I'll post my reply here:

I set my sober counter on my phone which is always fun.  I think the commitment to Belle really helps.  I think by donating $10 every ten days sober I may start enjoying the feeling of being generous to a good cause and do it for the team. I sure as hell can't seem to do it for myself.  

Chris (you know who you are) you and I are either drinking or sober and not usually at the same time.  For once, let's stick together on this.  I am trailing by over 20 days behind you... don't let me catch up!!

I feel positive because it is just doing nothing for me at this time.

Deb xo

Instead of Rewards ...

I've decided to donate ten dollars every ten days of sobriety to Belle's efforts on Tired of Thinking About Drinking.  This is the opposite of what I usually do which is reward myself for staying abstinent.

Maybe I am just not putting enough importance on myself and undeserving of rewards.  I am the Queen of Self-Sabotage.

As usual I am drinking very occasionally and hardly anything ... just enough to nullify any pride or satisfaction I would get from total sobriety.

One's mind does play tricks on one.

Mine is constantly attempting to ensure failure in all my goals.

I have so much on my plate right now.  I won't go into it but I feel like yelling "Stop the world; I want to get off."

A few days in and feeling cautiously hopeful.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Longest Freshwater Beach in the World

Hubby and I are in the midst of a well deserved ten day vacation and it's been lovely.  We went to Gananoque and took the boat tour of the 1000 Islands to Boldt Castle and loved it.  We then took our time and drove up north to the shores of Georgian Bay to a pretty amazing town called Wasaga Beach.  Georgian Bay has the longest fresh water beach in all the world.. and it's sandy and clean.  We are staying right on the beachfront strip and have been enjoying the pool, the very shallow water of Wasaga Beach, the food and the sunsets.  I have been a good sober girl.

I've treated myself to beachwear and delicious food.  We are really enjoying ourselves and,with my sister  staying with my Mom who lives with me, we have no cares in the world.

We both have been working so hard lately with the family business and my Mom's broken hip recovery at home.  Relaxation has been so wonderful.

Just checking in from the motel bed ...

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Coping With Stresses

I could be sitting in a bubble bath full of red wine with a large straw right now and I would be where I want to be.  I am so thankful that I have a long fuse and an apathetic outlook on life's goings on because if I really cared about all the drama that goes on around here I would be drinking and drinking lots.

I won't go into detail about the stress except to say that family members have major anxiety and depression and they are living in close proximity to me at this time.  My house is filled to capacity with family members who I am happy to accommodate.  They are mostly fun to have around.

My workload is huge because of my live-in Mom's broken hip recovery, the houseful causing lots more dishes and tidying, business is booming and I run the office so there is very little time for me.

I am leaving on vacation tomorrow; just me and hubby.  We are so excited to be heading out for ten days all alone after the first year of hosting Mom. My sister will manage the house and the office will be run remotely.

I believe that because of my daily meditation, 6:00 a.m. riverside walks and my staying close to the cyber sober world, I am able to string a few weeks of sober time together... often ... and currently.

Today, this moment what matters is now.  That's all.  Thanks to my recovery process I am well educated on consciousness and and deliberate living.  Very grateful for all I've learned. I am able to provide refuge to family in need without losing my mind or my sobriety.  Today.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Why One Drinks (I did not but I sure know why I did)

The reality of life sure turns one's interest to escape at times.  Especially at the end of a day with lots of commitments.  I think one of the triggers for drinking is too much to do with no time to unwind.  I am setting myself up to fail if I continue to burn the candle at both ends.

I love the time I spend with my Grandkids and it's never enough but when it rains, it sometimes, pours.  Today I had two little munchkins all day, tomorrow I mind those two (6 & 3) and two others (2 and 1) because of a death in the family of my daughter's partner.  I also take care of my mother (who broke her hip, 2 ribs and disclocated her arm recently) full time as she lives with me .... and I run a construction business office (the only administrative employee).  The business is unusually busy thanks to Justin Trudeau, our new prime minister.  On top of that my 13 year old niece is living with me indefinitely and her mother is moving in on Friday.

I am one busy chick.  Hubby has been working out of town and is arriving to a crazy zoo tomorrow.  I feel like I have to keep those 4 little ones quiet when he arrives but at the same time make dinner and try to have a romantic welcome home type evening.

Yikes.  I found half a bottle of  red wine tonight and looked at it longingly.  I did not drink. Instead I wrote some notes on how I will set things up tomorrow to make the day as seamless as possible.

The good news is that my life is not constantly quite this crazy busy.  At the end of this week, I will not accept any more intense commitments until I have a chance to rest.

Once Mom passes (not wishful thinking but a reality given her age and health) and my sister and her daughter launch... once my children's children are in school (5 to 6 years) and once I've retired from the family business (5 years) I will not be this busy and I know that these days will be full of happy memories.  I enjoy each time I see the little ones, I love beating my mom at cards, having a young teenager in the house is a lot of fun.  Life will sometimes seem empty in the future.  I have to embrace these times.

The only thing consistent in life is inconsistency.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Happily Ever After

I thought I had lost access to this blog.  I lost my password and the password recovery wanted to send the new password to an email account that I was unaware of.. long story short, I am on another computer and able to blog.

Random thoughts about what it's like to be a moderate drinker who needs to quit; not because of the havoc alcohol causes in my life but because of the havoc it causes in my mind.

As some of you know I am on another sober roll.  I almost wish I was a huge drinker because then my family and friends would be more understanding.  As it stands, when I abstain, I imagine that I am disappointing everyone.  I've done it before without worrying about it.  The reality is that no one cares whether I drink.  That's the reality.  I know hubby loves to share a bottle of wine when we go out for dinner but in general WHO THE HELL MATTERS MORE THAN ME??????

My situation is probably not as unique as I like to think it is.  I am sure there are a lot of people out there who, in society's mind, don't overdo it but, in their own mind, can't live with their moderate drinking.

There was a time when I did indeed have a problem controlling my intake.  For the ten years I lived in the province of Quebec, I drank a half bottle or more of wine every night for ten years.  That's what started this roller coaster ride of abstinence and moderation.

I am not saying for one minute that I've truly achieved release from the problem I became aware of a few years ago.  I have changed the actuality of how much I drink but the price I pay for moderation is the constant wanting and desire, the self control I am always striving for, the self-flagellation I go through when I have but one glass of wine, etc.

When all is said and done and I've finally won the battle of the booze I will have a sad story to tell.  The story will be about how I allowed myself to suffer far too long with self-reproach regarding the intake of a substance that is totally UNNECESSARY.

If I could live with my moderate intake, the story would end there.  But this story is not going to end "Happily Ever After" unless I finally give it up for good.  I've known that forever but have been stubbornly refusing to release myself of alcohol's hold on me.

It's like a prisoner who is in minimum security denying he is a prisoner.  Even though I can take it or leave it most of the time, I am still locked in the shackles of addiction even while I pretend to myself that I have it beaten.

This story has gone on long enough.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Downing Wine Samples

Good morning!! Where has the summer gone?  In early July my elderly mother who lives with me fell and broke her hip and there went all our plans for vacation.  Coincidentally, our business was crazy busy and it would have been difficult to take time off to go to the lake but we sure had a hot one. Thank Gawd for AC.

Mom is recovering remarkably well in that she is walking slowly and carefully but has come a long way in the past month plus.  She is actually able to do most things by herself.

I have to admit that when she got home from the hospital and was completely helpless and needed 24 hour care, I got pretty discouraged and popped open a few bottles of wine to drown my sorrows.  My drinking has never returned to it's previous quantity but my goal has never been to moderate; it's been to QUIT.  I've had lots of sober days and nights but still have never accomplished an ongoing streak of sobriety that lasted longer than a few months.

You guys must be getting pretty sick of me.  I would rather stick my head in the sand and vanish from the face of this blog but the sober cyber world is encouraging in that open arms usually await me.  I deserve a little kick in the butt but then forgiveness as always.

So now instead of hardly drinking I am switching gears to never drinking.  The reality is that if I let myself go and just do as I please, it creeps up very slowly and stealthily.  I went grocery shopping yesterday and 1. I was very tempted to buy a bottle of wine conveniently sold instore which I haven't done in years and 2. They had about a dozen wine samples displayed in thimble sized plastic glasses and I envisioned downing all of them in quick succession.  Both thoughts are disturbing.

My son pulled another horror show with his overdoing of the booze and that's a real reminder of one of the original reasons I decided to quit... to set a good example for my kids and grandkids.

I hope all of you are doing fantastic.  I am.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Sober Days, Restful Nights

I always sleep well; when I abstain I sleep even better.  I signed up for Belle of Tired of Thinking About Drinking's 100 Day Booze Free Challenge.  Even though I hardly drink, I am again committing to Belle because I feel the beast slowly creeping back into my life.

The way I eye a wine bottle, the excitement I feel at going to a bar that serves Draft Beer, the brain is slowly going back to the 'stinkin' 'thinkin'...

I know, I know ... I should know better.  But in sticking with my new mode of living which is to accept myself and not self-bash, I am moving forward on this issue with hope and a little more experience and hopefully, wisdom.

I have learned many drinking lessons.  I keep learning the same lessons over and over.  I have not crashed.  I have not hit rock bottom.  Actually, I have been successfully moderating but, even this is not good enough.

It's not good enough because it blocks the authentic me.  Even while successfully moderating, I was still somewhat of a slave to it's pull.  The decision to drink was still on the table, still at the forefront of my mind.

I can happily claim to have drank a maximum of ten drinks in the past three months.  That in itself should be an indication that abstinence is doable.  

Here we go!

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Romantic Weekend Booked

Hey all, or Hey me!! I have tentatively booked a room in downtown Toronto on my hubby's birthday weekend to enjoy a romantic weekend together.  So I can check that off my list.

I've been very good with my flossing and my exercise so I am proud.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Sure Glad I Kept This Blog Going ...

Back on the wagon again after toying with moderation.  It worked well at first.

I barely drank and was so proud of the fact that everyone around me was sipping wine and I was not.  I had convinced myself that draft beer would be the exception to the abstinence rule and for a time, it was.

Nothing dramatic happened but, because, I kept my finger on the pulse of my sobriety, I noticed I was reaching for booze a little more often that I had hoped.  Eventually and inevitably I found myself stringing a few days of alcohol consumption together.  I think I drank a little each day for four days in a row.

Yikes!!  I knew that this was the beginning of the end.  On Friday I decided that I had to hop back on the abstinence train.  It was a no-brainer.

I spent the weekend sober and happy and have no regrets about my testing of the waters of my sobriety.  I am in a much better place now than I ever was.  I don't hate myself when I drink.  I am very aware of the consequences of someone with my 'addictive tendencies' to allow myself full freedom to do as I please.

This blog might end up being a lifetime accountability tool.  I refuse to feel bad when I stray from the logic of abstinence.  It's my bumpy journey and I am not harming anyone.

Abstinent again and my short term goal is to be 100 days sober (give or take a day) on my 60th birthday.


Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Still Doing Good

Hi, just checking in.  I know it's been a while.  I've been doing very well in abstaining from drinking and have only had a few sips here and there which have only highlighted my desire to stay clear of alcohol.  I would categorize myself as a non-drinker for all intents and purposes.

I've been busy and my scattered mind has taken me so many places that I feel like I am going around in circles in my interests and goals.

I have been working on incorporating new healthy habits into my life and am hoping to hit the big 6-0 this October in the best physical, emotional and spiritual shape I can possibly achieve.

This is taking up quite a bit of my time.

I'll try to post more often and promise to keep coming back on a regular basis to keep the Wine Witch at bay.

One thing I am not is consistent.  I am working on it.


Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Snow .. And An Inside Tip

WE HAD SNOW!!! It's supposed to be spring around these parts.  Yes, even in Quebec Canada where my lake house is it's that time of the year when life is supposed to be RENEWED.  I woke up yesterday at the lake house which we are preparing to sell and the snow that had fallen all the day before had settled overnight to form a pretty blanket of white s%&t on the hills and surrounding forest.  What a let down!

But hey, I'm sober so all is well.  Getting close to two months now and I've hit a milestone socially.  Our good friends and drinking buddies set up their trailer on the lake house property and had beer in hand each morning by 11:00 a.m. and continuously drank until the wee hours of the morning; hubby joining in at dinner time.  I managed through drinking lots of warm tea (which felt great in my cold little hands) and the occasional N/A beer.  I found myself doing all the clean up after meals as everyone else sat around to continue drinking and chatting; this issue WILL be rectified soon.

I still think the summer is going to be full of drinking bullshit and slobbery conversations so I am hopeful the lake house sells quickly.  It is absolutely beautiful, under priced and nestled in the forests and lakes of the Laurentian Mountains so what's not to love.  We need to unload it for financial reasons.

Check out this link

If you are Canadian or live close to the border, try the selection of A/F wines they offer.  I love the white MADD Virgin Blanc white wine and the Red Carl Jung Merlot.  They both taste like the real deal and are only 9.99 Canadian delivered.  Minimum order of six required.

My sugar cravings are pretty intense right now and I am trying to to eat too much junk but it's hard.

I've read the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin over the weekend and loved it.  I am gearing up for my sixtieth birthday in October and wish to be at my best both physcally and emotionally by this fall to reverently prepare myself for the beginning of my Wise Woman Years.  I look forward to growing old now that I have things a little more in perspective.

Self-loathing is at an all-time low level right now as I am learning to accept my idiosyncrasies and character 'flaws' with more indulgence and love.

Well it's mid-May and I am putting hat, coat and gloves on to go get the mail.  C'est la vie!

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Mother's Day Sobriety

Happy Mother's Day to All you Sober Moms!!  To All you Drinking Mom's who dream of Sobriety, Happy Mother's Day as well.

Motherhood can be unrewarding at times but the payback for all the hard work bringing up kids to adulthood is becoming a Grandmother.

Today my baby grandchild, Josie, get's christened.  She is the daughter of my adopted, Korean daughter and is of mixed blood rendering her absolutely gorgeous.  Her personality as the second of two under two is so sweet and patient.  She waits her turn at the age of nine months.  All five of my five under five will be there at the christening and they'll be vying for a place on Granny's knee.  I love being a Granny and when I see them I stop everything I'm doing and we have adventures.  They grow up so quickly and I don't want to miss a moment.

My own mother has been thriving in the months she has been living with us.  She is more chatty, involved and confident than when she arrived fresh from institutional care.  I still have to monitor her drinking.  Last night after her beer with dinner she asked if she could pour herself a liqueur.  She poured herself not a single; not a double, but a triple.  I hate being the bad guy but I have to be strict with her often.  This is the only negative aspect of her living with us. She thinks my abstinence is absolutely ludicrous.  I can't really say that I don't want to be a desperate woman whose sole raison d'etre is her next drink when I am her age.  So I just say nothing.

We have minded my Uncle's goofy pug puppy for the weekend.  He chews, pees, shits and eats.  Sweet pup and adorable but what a handful.  He's a good reminder that when we decide to get a dog, a one year old would be more beneficial both to us and to the dog.  The older ones are harder to place.
Well off to get dressed in a nice dress as us mothers will be brought to the front of the church this morning to light candles at the Christening.

Sobriety is easier lately.  I struggled this past week.  I will struggle again.  

Saturday, 7 May 2016

My Puny Little Troubles

When I feel overwhelmed and that I will never get caught up with my commitments, both personal and work related, it is a feeling of despair and powerlessness.  I feel cornered and almost doomed.  I know it's stupid to feel this way.  When I really and truly look at my workload and what I've promised to do it is very manageable.  If I do one thing at a time and put one foot in front of the other all will get done with the unneeded activities falling to the wayside.  I think the real problem is that I crave a time in my life when there is NOTHING to do.

I watch my elderly mom who lives with me spend her days reading, watching 'her' Toronto Blue Jays and the Antiques Road Show, playing solitaire and cards with me when I have time.  She puffs on her e-cigarette, sucks her Werther's Originals and sips her beer in the evening. Don't get me wrong.  I am not envying her drinking.  I am envying her time to do exactly as she pleases.

In reality there are two facts; both of which are largely ignored by me when I am frustrated.  1.  Better organization would buy me lots more time to pursue my own interests.  2.  When I do have time to myself, I tend to waste it by surfing facebook, pinterest or other social media sites and especially by playing endless computer Scrabble games.    

Despite the fact that I have lots of appointments with my mom, deadlines for construction project bids, payroll, grandchildren to help take care of, a house to manage and meals to prepare, if I was living in a more conscious way, I could be very happy all of the time; rather than somewhat happy most of the time.  By really applying myself to my office work first thing in the morning instead of dilly-dallying, reading the paper, having three coffees and lazing about, I could free up a lot more 'me' time.  Just being proactive in my day to day commitments would help also.  I walk by the same piece of clothing or displaced item twenty times before picking it up and putting it away.  I create the disorganization that leads to limited 'me' time.

By planning my meals I will eat healthier.
By jumping on the rebounder, if only for 5 minutes at a time, I will get my exercise in.
By getting the nasty jobs done, I will make way for the fun stuff.
By limiting my mindless computer activity, I can work on my book, my blog, my recovery.

When I am older I will look upon these busy days with fond memories.  My life is good.  I can manage it all.  I have the privilege of working from home on a part time basis.  I have a loving husband who is also my 'boss' and not a micro manager.  I have the choice to say no to any extra work requested of me.

The source of my frustration is my own self sabotage.  Feeling my feelings makes me sad.  When I'm sad, I am not productive.  I have started reminding myself when I have little 'poor me' moments that I am experiencing the pain that is part of the journey of true recovery.  All my previous recovery attempts were superficial in that I never got to the point where I let the real work begin.  The real work of recovery is the creation of a fulfilling life from the ashes of the fires of active drinking.

When I think of my fellow Canadians in Fort Mac, their recovery from the bush fire that is now the size of the city of Chicago puts my puny troubles in proper perspective.

Knowledge is power.  I know I can be happy.  Attitude is everything.  

Friday, 6 May 2016

Still Here and Still Sober

The leaves have finally started bursting from the buds.  Spring is in the air and the rabbits,cardinals and blue jays are entertaining us.  We have been sitting out in the evenings finally.  The burning of the City of Fort MacMurry, Alberta is very disturbing and the fire is far from under control.  My heart goes out to those evacuees.

I have been struggling with feeling my feelings and it's hard.  I have to admit it.  I left the house yesterday morning and went up to the lake house just to get a change of scenery.  It was very therapeutic and lovely.  I walked on the beach and sat on the wharf.  I came away from there feeling refreshed and renewed.

We are babysitting my Uncle and his boyfriends, baby pug puppy this weekend.  He's sweet but totally out of control.

My 9 month old granddaughter is getting baptized this Sunday on Mother's Day.

I am still sober and determined to make this the last hurrah!

Have a great sober weekend.


Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Lack of Personal Care

I've been noticing that I am desperately in need of some womanly maintenance.  My eyebrows have joined together in holy hairiness.  My chin is full of blackheads, dry, peeling skin and pubic-like hair. My upper lip is resembling a teenage boys.  My teeth are neglected and in need of a cleaning.  I am in dire need of a hair cut and have gained; not lost, a few pounds since I've given up the sauce.  My finger and toe nails are a sight to behold.

May was to be my no sugar month and I feel good about this (although if it heightens my alcohol cravings, I will indulge in the sugar).  I should really book some vanity time at the local salons as well.  My self-confidence could really use the boost and, despite the fact that we are tight financially.

Being sober has really heightened the fact that I am fighting some pretty serious self-loathing.  My procrastination, lack of motivation, underachievement of goals, lack of personal and health care all point to the fact that I need to rally myself and find ways to nurture my own well being and satisfaction.

The problem with taking care of personal responsibilities and oneself is that it is NOT a one time thing.  It's ongoing and should carry on indefinitely.  This is a huge undertaking.  I feel overwhelmed by my chipped toenail polish let alone my whole self falling apart.  I am already responsible for putting meals on the table for Mom and hubby and myself, keeping up with Mom's many appointments for her ears, eyes, insomnia, physiotherapy, piano lessons, foot care, hair and doctor's appointments along with picking up and dispensing her daily meds.

I sometimes feel like just running away.  A better idea might be to take all the items of necessity and of vanity, lump them together, make a weekly plan and stick to it.  Being a scattered person, this is almost an insurmountable task.

Putting one foot in front of the other is the only way to move forward, upward and out of this funk.

I will start making phone calls.  Now, where do I start??

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Loving this Sober Spring

My shipment of A/F wine arrived and so far I am impressed.  The Cabernet Sov. tastes pretty darn good.  I will save these bottles for special occasions as I don't want to spend the money, drink the sugar or pretend I'm drinking wine on a regular basis.  I don't think any of these are smart moves if I want to remain sober long term.  I'll save the champagne like sparkly white for my son's wedding reception we are hosting this June.  I am pretty happy drinking Essential Oil infused water.

Today we are heading to Montreal for a mini-family reunion and bringing my mother to see her beloved sisters.  I am so pumped for this weekend.  I have the loveliest family in the world.  My Aunts, Cousins and In-Laws are the best.  Three of my Uncles have died; two from alcoholism.  My one alcoholic Aunt is a long term abstainer.  My mother is the only living, drinking alcoholic in her family.

We live about two hours from Montreal and I hope to put my mom in the front seat with hubby and sit in the back and READ!! I never get a chance to sit quietly for more than a few minutes and this will be a great opportunity traveling both ways.

I've had a lot of opportunities to drink and have not been tempted but hey!  I lasted 138 days two summers ago and caved so on high alert at all times staying aware of complacency and 'what the hell' feelings.

Have a great weekend and any of you who are still drinking, why don't you choose May 1st as your new start date.  Sober Spring!!!

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Sober Fun

I had an amazing weekend sans alcohol.  On Friday the whole family converged here to make homemade pizzas from scratch.  Imagine five under five all with miniature rolling pins sitting at the counter rolling out their dough.  It was messy, hilarious fun.  We all had lots of pizza pie.  I made a pineapple upside down cake for the celebration of my Mom`s 86th birthday and all the little ones helped her blow out the candles.  My daughter doesn`t drink; she`s Asian and it really affects her.  My two DIL drank my former fav, Red wine and neither of them over-did it.  I was not tempted at all.  It helped that I had a baby or toddler on my lap all evening.

Saturday my hubby`s son and his 19 year old daughter came over to celebrate his birthday.  He requested that we choose four recipes from his favourite Vegan Cookbooks, Trinity`s Conscious Kitchen and Angelicious so we cooked together.  We made vegan pesto with basil, garlic, soaked sunflower seeds, olive oil, etc., a salad to pour the pesto over, Quinoa-Black Bean ``Neat`` loaf, sweet potato wedges with fresh rosemary and a chocolate coconut birthday cake with millet, rice and tapioca flour.  Bananas instead of eggs.  The icing was made with soaked dates, avocado, maple syrup and other healthy stuff.  We had so much fun.  He asked me to join him and hubby in drinking Gin and Tonics while we cooked and I happily declined.

Today I meet with the Moon Gathering Woman`s group that I confessed my alcoholism to last month.  That truth told to that group has helped keep me on the straight and narrow when I was tempted.  I am so pleased to be able to state that I am over a month sober.  I felt accountable and it is so worth it.

My sobriety has brought my scattered ADD brain to the forefront of my consciousness and I don`t like feeling the confusion.  I prefer to hide behind the booze.  But I can`t just use the booze and be done with it.  Booze is not a tool I can live with using.  The reality is I can`t drink and be happy.  Those two things don`t go together.

I choose happiness.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Summer Plans

Thanks for all the comments.  It means a lot to me to know that people can relate.

Today I impulsively ordered a case of 12 bottles on A/F wine to have as weapons this summer at the lake when the drinkers are doing their pushing.  I really like Beck's A/F beer so now I am all set. I ordered a trial sampler of 5 Red, 5 white and 2 sparkling.  I'll use them for mixes more than anything.  Sangria and such.  I just need to be prepared for anything.  I'll most likely drink water, lemon, essential oils like spearmint, lemon, lime, wild orange, etc. most of the time as it's refreshing.

I think I have hubby talked into spending most of July and August at the lake house.  We had planned on going for two weeks in July and as many weekends as we can manage but life is making this plan not doable.  My five grand babies all 'chose' to be born in the summer and the birthday parties will be one weekend after another: one in May plush a baptism, one in June plus a wedding, NONE in July but one wedding, three birthdays in August.  I figure rather than staying home during the week and going to the lake house on the rare weekends we don't have plans, why not set up internet there and run the business from the lake house and come home ever second weekend for an family event. We can spend a few at the home office, freshen up the flower garden, cut the grass, check the mail and tie up loose ends. I think hubby is sold on the idea.  My son can run things from the city while we are gone but we'll work from the lake doing the absolute essentials.  My mother will love being up there all summer.

I have a busy few weeks with my Mom's birthday celebration at my place tomorrow night.  We're making our own pizzas (5 kids under 6 and their parents) and I am making a pineapple upside down cake for dessert.  On Saturday hubby's son is coming to celebrate his birthday with us.  He is a vegan so we are taking four recipes from Trinity's Conscious Kitchen and making them together.  He chose two recipes and I chose 2.  Quinoa loaf, Pesto Salad, Sweet potato wedges and gluten free vegan chocolate cake made with Tapioca, millet and rice flours, avocado and banana and coconut oil.  We'll see how this turns out.

On Sunday I have my Woman's Moon Circle with the same ladies I confessed to about my drinking problem last month.  I will be so happy to be able to say I have stayed off the sauce.

Next weekend we have my youngest granddaughter's baptism and it's Mother's Day.

Weekend after that I believe we are free to go to the lake.

Summer is so short in this part of the world and it fills up with obligations so quickly.

I got a lot done today; stuff that I've been procrastinating on: my mom's insurance claim for glasses and ambulance rides, my application to cash in an old insurance policy with a hundred bucks in it, a few warranty letters to guarantee our work.  I also have been searching for a financial person to help me with the company's year end.  I think I found a gem in a woman I spoke to for an hour.  We hit it off and she sounds like someone I could enjoy working with.  Her office is close by which means driving there in blizzards won't be an ordeal.

Anyways, just checking in.  Not drinking but having to use my tools quite often.  My list of reasons not to take the first drink that I keep on my phone to be read "before I take my first drink" was pulled out a few times this week.  I am glad I have the realities of drinking just the one within a hand's reach.
Bye for now.  Namaste

Doing the Work

With sober time under my belt it has come to my attention that I, like all the other members of my parental family suffer from some psychological symptoms.  I am nakedly aware that I was self-medicating with alcohol all those years.

When people talked about doing the work of sobriety I always thought that was a stage of recovery that I could skip.  I didn't have any issues to 'fix'.  I was a drinker period. I just needed to quit.

Well low and behold, I'm a hot mess.

I have issues popping up left, right and centre.  My mind is so scattered and I know it has been always.  I've just let it be because I didn't care thanks to the veil of booze.  Now that I'm abstaining, I realize I can't stick to a straight line of thought let alone a list of To Do's.  My style has always been very unpredictable in every aspect of my life.  I was a great Mom; I was a shitty Mom.  I am a fantastic employee; I am the worst employee.  I keep a clean house; my house is in shambles. There is no happy medium with me.  For example, here's me tidying the house:  I clear the kitchen table and try to fill the dishwasher.  I realize it's full of clean dishes.  I start putting those away and realize my cutlery drawer is a mess. I take all the knives, forks, spoons, serving and cooking utensils out and sort them on the counter top.  In the pile I notice the missing 1/2 Tsp measuring spoon that I've lost.  I take it to the baking drawer and search for the other measuring spoons.  Soon all my baking implements are on the counter.  I then realize I was tidying the house so I go back to the dishwasher and resume emptying it.. And then I find a clean jar that the chocolate chips would fill nicely.  I go to the pantry and look for the chocolate chips.  Since the baking utensils are on the counter anyways, maybe I should make chocolate chip cookies.  On and on I go until the house looks like a hurricane went through.

OK so that's my ADD kicking in. I am also depressed. I have a low grade sense of dissatisfaction running through my heart.  It seems to prevent me from following through on getting outside on sunny days, rebounding, eating well, staying on top of things.  I am hoping this lifts but know it's not going to happen without some introspection on my behalf.

Then there is menopause.  I am 59 years old and just got my PERIOD!!  Sorry guys, I won't get graphic.  I hadn't had one in months and thought I was done.  Unlike the previous few, this one came with it's sidekicks: PMS, bloating, moodiness and exhaustion.  When does it end?

No wonder I was driven to dive into the wine glass.  The allure of booze for me is all about escape; not taste, not socializing; just numbing my brain.

I have a lot of work to do.  It wasn't what I had planned but come hell or high water, I'm not going to drink.

Any reading suggestions?

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Buckets List & Putting My Needs First

At almost sixty years old I am at that age where some of my peers are getting sick and dying.  I've lost two friends from the street where I raised my kids.  We were a gaggle of stay-at-home Moms with similar aged kids all buying our little starter homes at the same time from the developer.  We took turns sitting out on driveways refereeing, providing popcicles and bandaids to the kids and advice and empathy to each other.  Becky and Marilyn were both lovely women and great mothers.  They have both died within the past few months; leaving adult children to grieve them and to raise their own children less one loving Grandma.

Of course reading about Becky's death today in the Newspaper reinforced the fact that life moves along and time waits for no one.  When our time is up, we have to bow out whether our job here on this plane is done or not.  If I was to be taken today, I would regret so much time wasted in self-reproach, unfinished business and unmet goals.

Living each day as if it was our last is easily said and not so easily done.  Today I put together a list which was originally titled "Sober Bucket List" but I renamed it dropping the "Sober".  It includes modest but important goals I've set for myself.  Learning to dive is on that list.   Staying sober is too.

Because we run a family business and hubby is the brains behind the construction end of the business, we often discuss whether or when he will retire as his expertise will always be needed (or so he thinks). He is almost 68.  I've always enthusiastically joined in and encouraged him to slow down if he is tired.  What I've never thought of until recently is the fact that it goes without saying that when hubby slows down I am expected to keep the administrative end of the company running for my son who will take over eventually.  Recently I drew a line in the sand and declared that at age 65 I plan on removing myself from the company entirely.  The reasons for this are many.  I have never had an interest or passion for construction or finances; both of which are large components of my job.  I wish to pursue my own interests and possible business ideas which is almost impossible with the workload of the family business.  What they will do to replace me is not my problem.

The drinking me would have never even put my needs or desires near the top of any list.  The sober me cares about the quality of my life in the future if I am fortunate enough to be here.  My job for the next five years is to work hard and help create a lucrative company that can continue long into the future with our without hubby's help but definitely without mine.

If after only 31 days of sobriety I am making these kinds of decisions, who knows what the future holds.


Monday, 18 April 2016

The Fun of Sobriety

I was listening to a Podcast about a woman that had taken two months off work to battle her Crohn's Disease with all the modalities she had heard help to heal this debilitating and mysterious disease.  She went to yoga, acupuncture sessions, meditation classes.  She ate no gluten or dairy and ate plenty of the foods that were recommended to heal her.  Her key tool in all she achieved was the one component that drove her sucess with more force that she could have ever imagined.  That key was her attitude.  Right from the start when she began this two month blitz of totally focusing on healing her illness, she decided with conviction that it would be FUN.  And it was.  Having fun and enjoying the process was her number one priority even above her hoped for outcome.  She feels that her final result (which she claims was wellness from Crohn's Disease) would not have been achieved without the essential component of 'having fun'.

This resonates with me for a number of reasons:
  1. I can't stick to anything unless I am enjoying it
  2. I get bored easily
  3. I need immediate gratification
  4. I live to laugh, dance, joke and tease
  5. I could really get into the Fun of Sober Living
By way of applying the 'fun' aspect to my sobriety, I've decided to revamp my brain and it's attitude and incorporate the notion of 'play' into my recovery.

It's pretty exciting even at my age to know that by not drinking empty calories and making myself lazy with alcohol, I can spend the next few months morphing into the woman I was meant to be.  As I slowly transform from cocooned caterpillar to brilliant, free butterfly, I plan on enjoying every moment.  

I will not make monotonous promises to myself to eat whole foods, exercise daily, drink lots of water, take my supplements and avoid procrastination.  Instead I embrace these lifestyle improvements with joy and gratitude.  From today forward I now look at all the components of my recovery as evolving, exciting and profound.  I am thrilled to have the time and the opportunity to work at this glorious rebirth that is of my own making.  

The brilliant, multi-faceted butterfly of my own authenticity is emerging slowly and I am enormously grateful to those who have gone before me, shared their experiences and paved the way for me to happily embrace the care and tenderness that goes into deep, personal transformation.

I matter ! We are really just an accumulation of all our daily habits.  The vision I have of my true self is one of serenity, presence, vitality, love and self-discipline.  As I walk the walk of allowing those aspects of me to emerge through daily habits, I do so with enthusiasm and pride.

When I refuse the drink at the gathering, I quietly acknowledge that this refusal of wine is one of many small steps towards finally being all I can be.  To end my days knowing I gave myself the gift of authenticity, even at the ripe old age of sixty, will be worth every moment of apprehension and fear.

Learning something new and valuable every day.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Sober, Selfish and Satisfied

Almost at Day 30 and still on a doozy of a honeymoon.  I had two of my former co-workers and their husbands for dinner last night so they could finally see our house as a finished product.  These women have been my good friends for close to ten years and we've seen each other through lots of births, deaths and challenges.  We all have kids; adopted as well as natural, we are all grandmothers of young ones and I love them dearly.  We had red wine on hand as there was an Italian contingent among them.  Elaine brought farm fresh eggs laid by her chickens and maple syrup from her trees.  A small jar took forty jars of sap to produce so it was liquid gold.  Pina and Gino brought a nicely wrapped bottle of Chianti (my favourite).  I didn't miss a beat.  I made us women pre-dinner drinks and hubby handled the men.  I poured ice, tonic water, pineapple juice and a few drops of Wild Orange Essential Oil in tall glasses and we were all set.  Not one of them wanted booze.  At dinner Elaine and I abstained, Pina had half a glass of red and the men polished off two bottles as well as a small glass of brandy.

All this to say, I was the belle of the ball, happily serving up salmon with anchovy lemon sauce, rapini and fritters.  The meal had it's flaws as I tried new recipes and I was OK with that. My dessert was a No-Fail Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk concoction served with coffee and tea.  I was not tempted to drink the wine.  I don't know why but I hope it's because of the new reality in my mind;  The one I've been denying for years.  One leads to another and another and another until eventually I end up 'Quitting' again (an oxymoron if I ever heard one).

After the company left, I finished tidying up which the sober me had quietly kept up with all evening.  Hubby then joined me on the couch.  I was sitting and he was lying with his head in my lap complaining about feeling dizzy and drunk.  No envy coming from this happy abstainer.

My cousins from Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto and Ottawa are all converging in Montreal at the end of the month for s 'soiree de les cousines' and I am attending.  I am so excited.  My sister just posted on Facebook that she's going to drink us all under the table.  Let 'er at it!!

I now accept my problem with alcohol for what it is: All or Nothing.  To live an authentic, fulfilling life, I choose Nothing.  It's black and white for me.

We have a 22 degree Celsius day ahead and I plan on being outside for most of it.  In American, 22 degrees is somewhere between warm and hot.  My son may bring his 2 year old over to play and my daughter may bring her 8 month and 20 month old girls over.  I told them both I am open to having them over but I'll be outside all day.

Hey more good news:  I offered my sister from Seattle who is coming in for a wedding the use of my car but the catch is that she has to fly into Ottawa to pick it up and drive to Toronto for the wedding then drive it back to Ottawa even though hubby and I'll be in Toronto at the wedding too.  Her logic was that I could drive the car home and she could fly to Seattle out of Toronto.  I am being generous with lending my car and the drinking, insecure me would have said, OK.  I told her I don't want to drive in Toronto so I will not be doing so.  She is so used to me caving so she tried to use her wit and charm to guilt me into it.  The selfish me said "No." Use my car, that's all I am offering.  This is huge for the usual pushover me.

I am rambling but thought I should post on my blog as this is a huge part of my recovery and to skip more than a week spells trouble.  Have a great week and I'll check in soon.


Sunday, 10 April 2016

Three Weeks and Still Honeymooning

It's been three weeks now and I'm in the honeymoon phase of abstinence.  For the most part it's easy.  Hubby and my Mom who lives with me are drinking on a daily basis and I'm pouring it for them.  I have been enjoying our cold well water with a few drops of essential oil.  Cassia and Wild Orange, Lemon and Lime, Spearmint, whatever tickles my fancy.

I've been away at the lake house this weekend doing some spring cleaning, etc. and it will be a busy partying summer up there; that I foresee.  I love the friends and family that visit but the booze will be in my face all the way through.  That long period of abstinence I managed a few years back started in the Spring as well; April some time.  I went 138 days or so.  I remember the situation exactly when I fell off the wagon. It was ridiculously inappropriate.  Our house was just about fully built and my son and his wife came over to help paint one week night and for no discernible reason and with no pressure from anyone, I just drank wine.  There went that string of perfection.

I am really delving into meditation and recently was able to go into a deep trance like state where I felt totally one with the universe.  The experience was life-altering to say the least but it was also a kick in the pants in the direction of sobriety and authenticity.  I picked up a book called Spirit Walker and have been floored by some of the writing on our sub-conscious mind and our endless possibilities as souls in human bodies.  The last line in the book is "If We Don't Change Directions, We May End Up Where We are Headed"  which is the same quote I've used for years as a tagline on one of my sobriety chat rooms.  Pure Coincidence, ya I know.

I am done rambling; just checking in.


Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Recovery is Raw

As I explained in the last post, I was sent into a tailspin this morning because of a decision my sister made that I perceived as selfish and insensitive.  I went through the  mine field of normal family conflict for the first time since I quit drinking 15 days ago.

I acted out of sadness and disappointment.  But I did not drink.

I jumped on my rebounder and listened to 21 Things to Do on a Sober Weekend on my new fav podcast .. but I did not drink.

I had a long bath and cried but I did not drink.

I went out in freezing temperature to walk to the post office and back ... but I did not drink.

I ate a monster cookie, two chocolate Easter eggs and a handful of Sun Chips .. but I did not drink.

My Uncle and his partner dropped in for supper unexpected with a large bottle of my favourite red wine.  I uncorked it and poured a round, served it up and set the table .. but I did not drink.

I spent time actually feeling my emotions (they were in my belly) and sitting with them and sure enough they are passing now.  I know my sister is upset that I am upset with her.  The old drinking, Libra, insecure me would have called her up to apologize for feeling upset and asking for HER forgiveness.  The New Me is going to let it be.  When we do speak I will not hold a grudge.  There are two sides to every story.  My hurt and disappointment is real but I will not be stupid enough to hold on to anger or resentment.

Enough said about that.  I will stop beating a dead horse.  Most importantly, I did not drink.

Thanks for all the helpful comments.

Grrr !!

I am dealing with a big disappointment and trying to allow the emotion to wash over me and not try to find a way to un-feel my pain.

We have a family wedding in Toronto in July and my elderly mother, myself and my husband will be attending.  My sister has made it clear she does not want my Mom or hubby and myself staying with her as she is hosting my brother, his wife and son who are also from out of town.  Whenever there is a family function in my part of the country, I open my small home to everyone.  Hubby and I have even stayed at a B & B across the street to free up a comfortable bed for her and her husband.  She lives in a four bedroom huge home with plenty of room.  My mother does not do stairs well and if she stayed there she would take up a couch on the main floor.

My Mom loves my sister and will be hurt if she knows she is not welcome.  My mother never sees this out of town son as he lives in Vancouver.  If we (or she) does not stay with family we cannot stay longer than one or two nights because of the cost of hotel rooms.  There is no where else for Mom to stay with a bathroom on the main level.

Hubby and I DESERVE a break to stay away from Mom for one or two nights.  My sister should welcome my Mother.  My mom is quiet and actually afraid of this sister of mine so she would be no trouble.  She would just be there to enjoy spending time with the out of town family.  She would love to be there despite the fact that my sister is a little harsh with her at times.

I accept the fact that I am not welcome; I can crash anywhere.  My mother does not deserve this.  Although she is an alcoholic and sometimes a little negative, she is no trouble to have around as she talks little, eats little and sleeps a lot.

I sent my sister an email expressing my bafflement and hurt and asked her to give me some time to digest her coldness.

I will not drink.

Monday, 4 April 2016

The Wine Bitch Rocks!

Oh Jackie, she is brilliant!  While I was jumping on my rebounder I listened to Jackie's latest 2 Podcasts over at Sober Sassy Life with Jackie Elliot.  You can download the free app called OneCast to your phone and find it there or listen using i-Tunes where you can leave comments.

On the first podcast, Car Camping and AA she talked about AA and it's steps.  She explains how she's coming to see the sense of some steps now that she's had some sober time under her belt and talks about coming out and apologizing to those you've harmed in your drinking days.  Her subject is AA but her insights are A+.  This woman is not only very intelligent and highly skilled at expressing herself, she is very insightful and able to relate and empathize to a high degree.  Listen to this wonderful podcast.

The second one was award worthy.  Her subject was relapsing and it was titled Rebounding from a Relapse.  She spoke of many bloggers, blog followers and members of cyber communities; people like you and me who are on an abstinence roll and very present in the cyber world.... until suddenly, we're NOT.  We've had a drink or more.  Jackie hits the nail on the head with this one as she touches on how it's not the end of the world; it's just a blip.  Her take on this subject is so encouraging to me, a chronic relapser.  Also she explains that a relapse is usually not thought out or even debated.  Rather it's a sudden, inexplicable decision made on the spot.  I won't go into any further detail except to say, this one was very much a sobriety tool that I will keep and cherish.

Jackie is a big part of my sober toolbox along with exercise, meditations, non-drinking friends, accountability, healthy food and hard-headedness.  Yes, that's a word here in Canada!! Eh!!

I hope I never relapse again but if I do, I will come back immediately and start where l left off.  I am as sober as a person who has ten years under her belt even if I only have 15 days.  Thanks for reminding me Wine Bitch!  (Jackie's blogging name)

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Morning After My Close Call

I work up this morning and have no regrets about abstaining last night.  Duh!!  I asked Hubby on the way home from the pub last night if it bothered him that I didn't drink.  He let out a rousing "Bain Non!!" He's French.  LOL.  He could care less if I drink - bless his ethanol infused heart!! He only had two drafts last night.  We both agreed that it was a great evening.

For me, it was a reminder that Jason Vale is right.  One can have as much or more fun partying sober (and straight) as those having a few brew.  My internal clock woke me up at 5:30 am this morning as that's when I arise during the week to meditate.  It feels fantastic to be sitting here in my jammies, sipping coffee, listening to a soft music playlist and watching the birds at the feeder and the geese returning noisily.  I feel fantastic.

Today I am treating myself to a movie matinee of My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 with a girlfriend then we're picking up Indian food and bringing it over to a mutual friend who is house bound.  Oh but times have changed.  I am so glad hubby and I moved to Ontario.  Quebec was a great experience and I learned to speak French but being back in my own culture makes staying sober easier.  In Quebec I felt I needed to be loaded to fit in.  My idea; no one else's.

I am VERY happy I abstained last night... EXTREMELY pleased with myself.

I just arranged a bowling evening for hubby and I and another couple.  He is trying to quit too so it'll be a nice distraction from a home get-together where the booze is the focal point... for both of us.

Have a great day!


Friday, 1 April 2016

Draft Beer and Moon Women

Tonight hubby suggested we go out for dinner.  I hadn't mentioned to him that I've been sober for 12 days.  I've done it so many times that it's a non-issue.  He really wanted a pub atmosphere with live music and draft beer.  Yikes.  I tried to maneuver our way to a Thai Restaurant so I could drink tea but that restaurant was dead and, like I said, he wanted action.  

I was arguing with myself and making deals about drinking a virgin caesar (Canadian version of a Bloody Mary) or a beer but not tell anyone or maybe I can only drink when I'm out with hubby; not at home.  I can't believe I was suckered into this song and dance.

We sat down and he realized he had forgotten his phone in the car.  He suggested I order a pitcher of draft beer and left to grab the phone. I was desperately searching for the waitress so I could oreder our drinks.  My mind was spinning.  I finally caught the her eye and asked about virgin drinks.  She suggested a Shirley Temple.  Bars aren't very accommodating to us abstainers.  I then ordered him a large Keith's Draft and myself a club soda with lime.  

Ya I know, hurray for me.  But I came close.  I did go through the should I, shouldn't I  conversations in my head.  What stopped me:  mostly that one of those Moon Women from my big confessional outburst might be at this same bar.  They did not seem much like Bar Flies; more like Tea Room Hippies but there was a chance.  Another thought that stopped me was that I knew I would regret it.  From countless same situations, I do not recall one time that I drank after a period of abstinence and afterwards, declared that it was a 'good idea'.  Inevitably and predictably, I would regret it.  That I knew to be true.

Being at a bar and having access to draft beer is a BIG TRIGGER for me.  I love cold draft beer even thought I am fighting my wine addiction.  I had no business being there.  Hubby is so good to me and my elderly Mom and he works so hard, when he expressed such enthusiasm for the Bar Scene I wanted to please him by being agreeable.

Did not drinking affect my good time?  Not at all.  I did consciously decide at some point to get high on life and I was tuned in and focused on having fun.  There was a loud, guitarist playing and singing and the whole bar was singing along with him which was fun.  The food was good.  While we were there my son texted us to announce he had finalized the deal to buy a house 15 minutes from us.  We were both happy about this news and toasted our good fortune.

All in all it was a close call but I really have a hard time believing I would have had a drink.  I am too fed up with the absolute stupidity of me drinking.  I just can't handle it emotionally.

Just letting you know I am still here and sober.


My Mother, Myself

My 85; soon to be 86 year old mother is a gift from the universe.  She has been living with me since September and has become such a symbol of 'life if I don't quit drinking'.  At her advanced age, she is still in the throes of the disease of alcoholism.  If she's not puffing on her e-cigarette or scratching 'scratch 'n win' tickets she's eyeing the liquor cabinet or pining for a beer.  Often she's doing all three.

When she moved in the only 'rule' we had was that she could only have one beer a day.  Her mission in life is to break that rule on a daily basis.  Although she is basically, anti-social, she hangs around the dinner table each evening, not to continue our mealtime chats but to wangle another beer out of me.  She is often willing to humiliate herself by asking me for another beer or a shot of a liqueur.  Being a soft touch, I sometimes give in and pour her another.  She plays on my kindness which she perceives as weakness.

She is my future.  I am a younger version of her.  The only difference between us is that I finally recognize my alcoholism for what it is and she is in denial as she likely will be for the remainder of her life.  I try not to keep her favourite liqueur in the house.  Yesterday she gave hubby $30 when she thought I couldn't hear her and whispered for him to pick her up a bottle.  He's caught between the 'live and let live' school of thought and the 'protect her from herself' theme that I try to instill in, not only him but in myself.

I feel bad for her because I know how an alkie's brain works.  I remember when I was in my heavy drinking days that I would manipulate situations to allow for my glass or three of wine.  I have a lot of patience with her addiction but it is my responsibility as her caretaker to try to ensure that she doesn't do a face plant on my ceramic floor.

I am really hoping that this dozen days of abstinence becomes a dozen months and a dozen years.

Today I am meeting my old work friends for lunch and then spending an hour with my favourite Uncle (my Mom's 83 yo baby brother) who is a sweet guy.  He plans to have a glass of wine with me.  Not going to happen but he has seen me abstaining before and adjusts quickly when I drink tea during our visits although I know he is disappointed.

Spring is in the air!!  Cardinals are at my birdfeeder.  They are magnificent!

Thursday, 31 March 2016

A Decade of Personal Growth

When I realized that my problem with alcohol has been simmering for over ten years, my first thought was that I've wasted the past ten years obsessing over alcohol.  When I look at the situation realistically I am profoundly grateful for my addiction in that while searching for salvation from it, I found myself.

The past ten years have found me searching, reading, writing and truly getting to know what makes me tick and what's important in life.

I've found Marianne Williamson, Eckhart Tolle, Brene Brown, Jason Vale, Gabor Mater and numerous other prolific, wise men and women.  I have maintained a daily meditation practice for well over a year.  My diet has improved.  My humility and empathy have blossomed.  There are so many positive factors that have been a direct result of my searching for a way out of the dark tunnel of addiction.

Thank you Addiction but now it's time to recede.  I am now ready to tip my hat to you and bid you adieu.  I know my 'cravings' will always be hovering nearby and that I always have to remain vigilant but I am done pretending I don't have a problem.  I am done thinking that I can accept my diseased brain's demands for booze and carry on as if it's alright.

Now it's time to put drinking behind me and use the knowledge, empathy and compassion I've gained throughout this journey to help others and to be an example of what success looks like.

Ten years ago I was spending most nights obliviously drinking my half bottle or more of red wine feeling vaguely lonely, vaguely unsettled and very, very tired.  When my self examination began, my healing began.  Recovery is a slow process and relapse is a big, important part of it.  Ten years is a little exaggerated but I guess I needed this time to reframe my values and my goals.

I used to think that I had a huge purpose to fulfill and that booze kept me from doing so.  I was going to be a speaker, an author, a role model in society; to CHANGE to world.  I have come to know that, although my role is huge, it is like the spokes of a wheel.  It starts with me and branches out to my own circle of family and friends.  If I can be happily sober in world of fearful drunks, robustly and naturally healthy in a world of sick pill poppers, resolutely positive in a world of pessimists and all that I can be as a Granny of Five, then I am doing the job I was put on Earth to do.

Sobriety Rocks!

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Pen Pals, Moon Gatherings and March 21st

I have been struggling with alcoholism for over ten years now.  Unfortunately or fortunately I have found proof of this.  While cleaning out drawers I found an old journal from 2006 with a list of goals.  Low and behold high up on the list was 'get a handle on my drinking'.  As disturbing this fact might be, it is not what has prompted me to quit drinking this time.  I don't really have a new reason to quit; it's just that the problem in my own mind with whatever quantity of alcohol I drink just won't go away. 

I had become almost abstinent with lots of slip-ups.  I would go four days, six days, 11 days; sometimes two weeks of sobriety would be tucked nicely under my belt.  During the past year I've felt sick from drinking only twice; maybe three times.   But, inevitably, no matter what, how much, when or why I drank, I always hated myself the next day. 

By the outside world's standards I had solved my problem.  I drank 'normally'.  I, simply, cannot live with my drinking self.  So, I quit again.  

Here's what I am doing differently this time:

I have a pen pal.  I have a lovely lady who is in similar age and situation to me who I email on a twice weekly basis; maybe more.  She is supportive and has had her ups and downs as well in her quest for control over her drinking.  I took a wild chance with her and told her about some things I usually keep to myself and she still came back.  This is huge for me.  I tend to hide away when I slip up and she has seen me through a few dips.  

I decided to choose a meaningful date as my start date.  On March 21st, 30 years ago, I had a stillborn daughter.  Her death, was not only devastating, but led me in new directions that I would have otherwise never taken.  The domino effect of this tragedy has lead me to unbelievable happiness both in my love life, my career and my family life.  My adopted daughter is my best friend in the world and has given me two beautiful granddaughters.

Four years ago, I chose my wedding date to occur on the same day.  After being together for more than a decade, my husband is truly still my soul mate.  We live unbelievably harmoniously.  I wanted to replace a bad memory with a good one.

As the anniversary of both my daughter's stillbirth and my 4th Wedding Anniversary approached I decided to add another life changing event to the mix.  On the morning of March 20th, I poured myself a glass of Grand Mariner, took a swig and pronounced myself a Non Drinker.  This morning drink which was a new 'low' for me was necessary in order for March 21st, 2016 to become my first day Sober of my Last Quit.   

The cartoon like photo above was taken that morning against the backdrop of my bathroom wall as I lay in the bathtub feeling very ceremonious and pleased with myself. The words "Make Each Day Your Masterpiece" is stenciled onto my bathroom wall and I feel it apt that this is the back drop for the photo of my last drinking day's drink.  I didn't realize I could mess around with photos and even write on them.  Neat APP!!

This one is the kicker:  I belong to a group of women who meet once a month.  We are hosted by a half Native/half Celtic Woman who runs a Healing Horse Ranch and works extensively with Essential Oils. An eclectic group of women attend these moon-centred circles. There is an astrologist, a beekeeper, a B & B owner, a harpist, a few holistic healers and many other wise women.  Some have studied with Shamans and Grandmothers.  I have the utmost respect for this group of women and am just getting to know them individually as I am relatively new to this group.

We met outdoors on the 23rd of March to commemorate the recent full moon (I was on my third day sober). After smudging ourselves, singing and drumming, we enjoyed the ceremonial fire.  To end the outdoor part of the gathering, we each threw a handful of sacred tobacco on the fire and murmured our intentions privately before coming indoors.  Inside, we all sat by the cozy stone fireplace and passed the 'talking feather' around.  In turn, we talked about our fears, disappointments, hopes and achievements.  As the feather came to me, without planning it, I spoke of my problem with alcohol and of my March 21st quit date. My 'confession' was met with encouragement and even a few tears.  A woman admitted that she, too, was questioning her own relationship with wine.  After this, outburst I am now accountable, to, not only myself and my fantastic pen pal, but to thirteen Moon Gathering Women who are all going to inquire as to how I am doing every time they see me.  That's how these ladies roll.  They are very caring chicks by virtue of their chosen paths.  Don't even ask me why I am invited in the first place.  I run a Construction Company for Gawds Sake!!  

I've been listening to Sober Podcasts.  I love 'That Sober Guy', The Bubble Hour and right now am getting a lot of momentum from Sober Sassy Life by the Wine Witch.  She really is hitting home with me right now.  I listen to these Podcasts while I jump on my rebounder (mini-trampoline).  I am exercising and I think that deserves mentioning.

I hope that by exercising, visiting sober blogs, chatting with my pen pal, being accountable to a group of caring women and staying present, I can keep the momentum going.

I know it's been a long entry and if you are still here, Thanks.  I am now on day ten and have renewed hope that I can stay the course and join the ranks of solidly sober bloggers.


Friday, 29 January 2016

Phew !! Yippeee !! Yikes !!

Last night I went to the next village to pick up my Uncle/Bestie close to the bus stop as he was visiting and the bus did not come all the way to our tiny village.

I arrived early and browsed the local shops.  I ended up close to a pub style restaurant I love and called him.  He was walking towards me and so I told him to meet me at the pub.  As I hung up and waited my monkey mind went into overdrive.

"I'll order him a beer so we can chat before I drive him home."
"They really do have nice draft beer here."
"I should be sociable and join him in a drink."
"But what about my abstinence commitment."
"Exactly why did I give it up completely?"
"I should make sure I don't drink in the house but here at the pub it's Okay."
"One bloody beer won't kill me will it?"
"I really should think about this ... it always starts innocently enough..."
"Do I really want the cycle to re-start?"
"Would a cup of tea satisfy me the way a beer would?"

Then he arrived and vetoed the pub stop as he had bought a large bottle of red and wanted to go to my place and get drunk as he had had a shitty day.

I am not sure what I would have done if he had agreed but when I got home I poured him a large glass of wine, one for my hubby and myself a glass of water with a couple of drops of Spearmint Essential Oil.  It was delicious.


Today, I went to meet a friend for lunch and we don't normally drink at lunch.  I had an unhealthy lunch and a Pepsi which is something I never drink.  We chatted and parted ways.  On the way out I passed the Wine Store and a lady had a big sign saying FREE WINE TASTING.  I passed her and she invited me in to taste some.  Without a second thought I smiled at her, shook my head and declared "No thanks; I am a NON-DRINKER".

Yippee !!

Tonight hubby is taking me and my elderly mother out to a nice restaurant that has lovely draft beer.  Wish me luck.  Right now I am sure I'll remain abstinent.

Yikes !!

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

The World is My Oyster!

I used to think it was useless to continue with this blog when i kept relapsing.  I remind myself that when I am scrolling through the blogs and see someone posting in the early stages of a new quit, I am drawn to them as I feel so alone when I am taking baby steps after years of talking about quitting.  So I continue.

I am still hanging on to my commitment to refuse alcohol since my last day in Mexico.  I'm in the double digits (been there, done that).  As usual for me, the honeymoon stage of recovery is full of confidence and positive resolve that I am on the forever train to sobriety.  I also know that if and when I relapse it's always after staying away from the cyber sober world for a few days/weeks.  I have to stay close and keep posting.  Although I haven't been posting as much as I should I've been pen-palling and stalking sober blogs.

Alcohol, in hindsight, never seems like quite the problem it is when I am in the middle of my drinking times.  When I look back I always remember the nice wine with dinner, the mojito on the beach, the ice cold draft beer on the patio but never the barfing over the side of a friend's hot tub, the listless me slumped over ready for bed at 7pm when the party is just starting.

I have noticed that I am so wide awake, funny and vivacious (as much as one can be at close to 60) at a party when I am abstaining.  My mornings are lovely too.  We have been taking DoTerra Essential Oils and their brand of supplements also).  Renewed energy for both of us and we are hitting milestones in the lovemaking department if you know what I mean.

I have noticed that hubby is abstaining for the most part too.  I really couldn't care less at this point but for his own sake, I am happy.

I surprised myself by not only remembering to complete my list of 'to do's', I found myself outside snow-shoeing by the side of the river and into the nearby forest two days in a row.  I am looking outside as I type and I think I will head out again this morning.

What the hell just happened?  I am not myself?  Who is this new person and what has she done with Princess Procrastinator???

Booze free is one thing.  Booze free and souped up on quality supplements and the World is my Oyster!!

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Pen Pals and Promises

I have returned from the Mexican Mayan Penninsula where I was vacationing and celebrating my son's marriage.  We were away for a week and there was a lot of evidence there that drinking is so destructive.  I saw couples divided by idiocy caused directly by booze, hospitalizations due to concussions due to slipping on wet marble floors while intoxicated, no shows for important 'events' due to hangovers and while sipping on (mainly) virgin drinks, I was able to prepare myself for finally letting go of my struggle with alcohol.

Rather than counting days, I am following Jason Vale's advice and celebrating my victory over alcohol's control each and every day from now on.  My last drink (a glass of red) was on January 15th at the Table d'Autre Restaurant in the resort.  I re-read Jason's book during the last two days of vacation as part of my plan to finally move forward with this new, exciting time in my life booze free.

I came home to a very good example of my future should I continue to stop and start with my quitting.  My Mother is literally sneaking drinks behind my back.  Picture a little, impish, 85 year old hunched crone shuffling around the house with a pair of needle nosed pliers in her hands.  Asked why the pliers, she replies "How the Hell else am I going to open the bottle of Irish Cream?"  We had to hide the liquers (from Christmas).  She fell out of bed last night.  She could not get up and at 4:00 am I was awakened by her banging her fist on the floor to get my attention.  Hate the booze, not the boozer!!

I have managed to nab a lovely New Zealander and an enthusiastic, articulate American as pen pals.  We have lots in common and I am looking forward to checking in with them daily to keep me on the straight and narrow.

I've been having amazing meditations that are bringing me to places I never dreamed I would go so I guess sobriety appeals to my authentic self.

Have a great day Peeps.