Wednesday 28 May 2014

We Got Our Building Permit!!

... finally.  We have been between homes for a few months now and currently are either sleeping at the office or camping on the building site.  Imagine, it's the end of May and it's too cold to sit outside some nights.  Love my Country but the weather is not the reason why. 

Around these parts (Ottawa, the Capital of Canada) obtaining a building permit is, both expensive and time consuming.  We started the process a few months ago and today we finally got word that we can begin construction.  My husband is a contractor and has built many houses so it's a three month seamless procedure from here on in.

My whole world is changing and my new life will be different for the following reasons:

Old Life - living in a French speaking community
New Life - living in an English speaking community

Old Life - no friends besides kind people who tried to communicate with me out of pity (or so it seemed)
New Life - already made tons of acquaintances in my new neighborhood including my neighbor across the street who runs a B & B with an indoor pool and has invited me to do water aerobics once or twice a week with her

Old Life - 45 minute drive from my family including my three kids and four grandchildren
New Life - everyone living in my neighborhood or a short jaunt away

Old Life - resided in a cottage by the river and thought I would be sacrificing this to be closer to family
New Life - by coincidence the lot we purchased is across the street from a meandering river and we have access to miles of trails that begin a ONE minute walk from home (surprise!!)

Old Life - spent my evenings at home with glass after glass of red wine lulling me to ambivalence
New Life - I DON'T DRINK but have lots to do in the evenings including visiting family, yoga, keyboarding, reading, meditating, taking courses, going to the library, socializing with neighbors and friends, walking on trails, etc.

Old Life - feeling hollow, empty and lethargic
New Life - being present, alive, interested and interesting, active, sociable and happy

I even found a little spot at the back of the property where I am hacking my way through vines and overgrowth to create a little secret garden in which to meditate and commune with nature.

Feeling a lot of GRATITUDE right now.

Monday 26 May 2014

Broke My Own Record

I am now embarking on new territory in that I've never knowingly abstained for more than thirty days and I am a few days past that now.  I am still in honeymoon mode as I am not tempted whatsoever... That being said I went to a wedding on Saturday and everyone was drinking what they described as fantastic red wine.  Because I felt a little left out (the girls at the table were not including me more due to seating arrangements than any other reason) I was a bit wistful and actually dumped the remainder of hubby's cute little half bottle into his glass saying I was sick of looking at it and it needed to disappear.  While I was discouraged, I never, once considered drinking.  I was a little annoyed at the situation.  Loved Sunday morning though.

Sunday our neighbor at our property where we are building came over with some home made beer for hubby and a half bottle of home made wine for me.  He was the classic example of a drink pusher.  He would not take no for an answer.  I ended up letting him pour me a bit (an ounce) and filling my glass up with sparkling grape juice.

Whether anyone reading this agrees or not, I do not consider that a slip.  I was not even a bit tempted to drink and will have a good talk with him if he tries that stunt again. 

I am not able to blog as much as I would like because we have no internet access on the property.  I am working on it. 

Staying sober and loving life.  When will Wolfie make his appearance.  He is hiding in the shadows right now. 

Wednesday 21 May 2014

I am a Squiggly

... and also a nut case.  I swing from micro managing my life to letting everything go.  I want structure; I need a morning ritual but at the same time I want to embrace each moment and live entirely in the present.  I just ordered a book by an author called Scott Kiloby called Natural Rest for Addiction.  He talks a lot about us addicts being addicted to, not only alcohol, but to change.  I am a definite victim of the addiction to constant change, improvement, planning, goal-setting, lists, etc.

Even my last post indicated I was going to stop being self-critical by being extremely self-critical until I get to where I need to be in order for me to stop being self-critical.

Yes, a Morning Ritual may be the answer to quieting the mind but I think the sick part of my brain loves the idea of working towards a morning ritual in order to continue the constant barrage of self-attack that it entails.

I think I need a shrink.  This new book will have to do for now.

If I could learn to live consciously, balance my work, play and sleep without rules, shoulda's, woulda's and coulda's then I will be happy.  For now, I am learning.

I did a personality test where you are compared to a box, a rectangle or another respectable shape and after completing the questionnaire, I was labelled a Squiggly which is a cute way of saying I am all over the map.

I start projects, quit half-way through.  I make plans, immediately discard them.  I am so darn hard on myself for not living the perfect, holistic, healthy, spiritual life that my life is consumed with self-chastising. 

I wanted to stop drinking to stop thinking about drinking and my darn ego has now taken up the battle of self-improvement.  My ego needs to hog my mind space in order to be happy. 

Hey EGO !!!!  Move over!!!  Make room for PRESENCE.  Make room for CONSCIOUSNESS.  Make room for SELF-LOVE and ACCEPTANCE.  These heroes are on their way.

By hook or by crook I will quiet my mind. 

Tuesday 20 May 2014

Morning Ritual

My husband who, henceforth will be called Gramps, pointed out this evening that I am hard on myself.  We discussed it and I had to agree that I spend many waking hours monitoring my activities looking for failure to comply with what I think I should be doing.

I am very self-critical and have many aspects of my life that I am 'working' on improving.  For example I work from home and I tend to immerse my working and playing desk time together with no definitive pattern whatsoever.  I spend far too much frivolous time online.  I regularly consume fatty foods.  I don't spend nearly enough time working, reading, meditating, preparing healthy meals or exercising.  I neglect to take my supplements and kick-a-boo joy juice often.

All this was to be expected when I was drinking wine by the gallons every night but now that I am sober I am going to kill two birds with one stone.  I will stop the self criticism permanently and, at the same time, for once and for all, sort out my days to include what is necessary for my soul and my ego to call a truce.

The way I plan to achieve that is to establish a Morning Ritual that starts the moment I get up and ends before the day has really begun.  When I sit down to eat breakfast, my ego will have nothing left to say and my soul can enjoy each moment of the remainder of my day living as it was meant to live; at peace.

As I've said in previous posts, I don't want to have any accountability outside of sobriety until I've achieved a milestone or two.  My thirty day mark is coming up and I will very slowly begin my plan.  My hope is that by my birthday in October my Morning Ritual will be well entrenched and I can truly begin to put my ego to rest and to live in the present moment content in the fact that my basic needs are being met. 

The important thing is that I don't rush anything.  I feel that by eventually accomplishing the Morning Ritual routine, I will open doors in my life that include more joy than I've ever known in the past. 

I always said one of the main reasons I wanted to quit drinking was to get the monkey off my back, to stop spending so much time thinking about drinking.  That was a huge reason for me to quit.  My ever-combative ego has made a heroic effort to fill that empty space with self-trash talk and now, because I am stone cold sober, I am onto her. 

One thing at a time... I cannot undo all the harm at once.  The nice thing about a far off goal date like this October is I have the added advantage of moving into the home we are building at around that time or a month or so before.  This home is in a different province with a different language spoken and absolutely everything will be different.  More on that later but it is the perfect environment to incorporate change.  Working up to this date will be gradual but steady.

My life journey has so much amazing potential and my Morning Ritual is my ticket to ride.

On a Whim

I often press "New Post" with no idea what I am going to write and that is the case today. 

As a person struggling to abstain long term what I always looked for on-line or in written material were the joys of sobriety, the eventual gains, the promise, the rosy future.  Because abstinence is difficult, I was always, and still am, searching for testimonials from people who were successful in long term sobriety.

That is why I've decided that when this journey is done I am writing a book.  By the journey being done I mean when I've compiled enough of my book's content to write it.  The book will be about the wondrous revelations that are starting to present themselves to me as each sober day progresses.  I have had a few and they are starting to pile up.  Now that I am experiencing many 'firsts' I want to share them with all the struggling problem drinkers.  Here is an example:

I cut my hair.  So what?  It may not seem like a big deal but here is why it is. 

When I was young in my pre-drinking days, I was an athletic, confident tomboy who dressed casually and wore my hair very short.  I met my hubby just after I had started swilling the poison and he, being a typical male, wanted me to grow my hair.  I complied, terrified that if I didn't he would not find me attractive. For the past twelve years I've worn my hair in varying degrees of 'long'.

I looked like a troll.  Picture a very small, swarthy woman (4'11") with no forehead to speak of with a cascading mess of very curly dark, bristly hair.  My Maltese/Aboriginal background gives me a look that gets Olas in Mexico, Nee Hows in China and Bonjours in Quebec.  I can pass for almost any tanned skinned race.  When my hair was above my shoulders I could pass for Carla from Cheers.  Doesn't that paint a lovely picture of femininity?  When it was longer I looked like Cousin Itt from the Munsters.  You younger people will just have to imagine the horrors as these sit-coms are from the 70's and 80's. 

When the drinking was curtailed as it has been recently more and more often, my confidence started revisiting my psyche.  One day on a whim, I just told the hairdresser to take it off; all of it.  She cut it so short that a barrette would not hold.  She spiked it and put some paste in it (not that it needed it). The look suited me to a tee and I immediately felt a surge of self-assurance and was very happy with my decision. 

I came home, put on some sexy jeans and a bit of make-up and waited for the arrival of hubby. 

When he walked in he was shocked, gobsmacked as you Brits say.  After a double take, a back flip and a cartwheel, he landed at my feet, swooped me into his arms and said, "You look gorgeous, babe."  I almost punched him.  My first thought was, "after all these years of me looking like a dog, you like this.. you actually like this????"  Then I got over that hiccup and basked in his adoration.

Now, I sport an easy to manage, cute little pixie cut and have graciously accepted many compliments and positive feedback from my friends and family.  My son joked that I look like a lesbian and my response was "as long as I'm a pretty lesbian, great".  With the weight loss that comes from not drinking and the cute little hair cut I am feeling pretty damn hot.

I've even started smiling for photos with my buck teeth exposed but that's another story....

Friday 16 May 2014

First Wonder of My Sober Life

About ten years ago, after drunkenly pounding on a professional keyboard at a family party and, to my ever-loving husband's ears, sounding brilliant, he surprised me with a top of the line keyboard of my own one Easter of all Celebrations (we are both non-religious but spiritual).  I promptly set it up in the living room, plunked on it a few times, and proceeded to ignore it for the next eight years.  I was too drunk to even dust it most of the time. 

About two years ago I started dabbling in sobriety and during those few conscious hiatuses I developed an interest in playing with the keyboard's funky background music options, wide array of instruments, tempos, beats and within a short while found myself playing a lot of nonsense but keeping a beat and eventually figuring out which chords go with which keys.  I taped the letters on the keys and found it easier to play on key.

I started to feel the pull of a passion slowly over a few months.  I, eventually taught myself to play a two handed version of a selection of well known songs such as Jingle Bells, Frere Jacques and the like with the background accompaniment making my sound ROCK!! Or so I thought.

Over the course of the last year, I've had more and more sober time (and more and more relapses, coincidently) and have found enough sober time to compile a list of close to one hundred songs that I can play by memory.  I don't play when I drink. I don't read music.  I have totally relied on my memory to learn these songs. 

During my current sober stint (lifetime stint I might add)  I`ve taught myself to close my eyes when I play and feel my way around the keyboard.  I`ve been steadily improving over the last twenty one days to the point where this morning I printed the lyrics to Carole King`s Tapestry and Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow and Bobby Goldsborough`s Autumn of my Life and tonight I can play them very well with my eyes closed. 

I am actually able to express myself through music though I must go to an almost trance like state to be fluid in my playing.  If my mind wanders, I immediately hit a sour note.   This is almost a meditation for me and my body sways as I play. 

I am not even talented enough to play in a seedy bar but by golly, I can play.  I can play.

I wonder what other wonders about myself and my world I am going to discover in the years to come; years that are spent actually present and accounted for. 

Preparing for the "What the Hell" Moment

It's coming!!  I know it's coming!

One evening it will happen.  Out of the blue, I will hear my alter-ego loud and clear.  She will say something along the lines of "Tonight I am having a glass of wine."  It won't be a dramatic moment.  It won't be well thought out.  It will be impulsive.  There will be no lead up to the moment.

I don't feel it coming.  I feel happy and content with my sobriety and I will right up to the time my alter-ego decides enough is enough.  That is the scary part.  In the past, I've broken my sobriety to make someone feel comfortable drinking, to celebrate thirty days of sobriety (duh??), to placate my hubby who wanted wine at a restaurant with dinner and for no damn reason at all. 

Inevitably, I end up having that first drink, which turns into two the next night, three for a few nights in a row followed by the grand finale of a drunken evening with all the bells and whistles such as vomiting, lurching about, making inappropriate comments, slurred speech, a burn or bruise or two and culminating with a three a.m. bout of guilt ridden insomnia. 

How do I prevent this from happening when I can't feel it coming? I am actually scared of my alter-ego, the part of me that hates myself.  That persona doesn't have my best interests at heart.  I wish I could bring this post to a close by having a plan of action in place to prevent that inevitability.  I need suggestions.  I need a game plan.  Every time I've quit, I've relapsed. 

The only thing I can think of is to try to have the presence of mind to direct myself to, at least re-read my posts here before taking the plunge. 

It's not that my confidence is slipping; I never had any in the first place.  What I have is determination, a serious desire for sobriety, hope and excitement for the future, plans to accomplish stuff I couldn't while drinking.  But confidence; that was shattered years ago after my thousandth relapse. 

I have to continue to immerse myself in the Bubble Hour and all the wonderful sobriety blogs and forums and amp up the meditation practice.  Daily immersion in sobriety may keep the self-defeating drinker in me at bay.

Today is day twenty one and the witching time is near; it's often around now that my sober spell is broken.  Please keep me in your thoughts and send positive energy my way.  I am doing all I can.

Tuesday 13 May 2014

My Best Ally

I am madly in love and have been for twelve years.  We've been married for two.  When he came into my life, I had just began to cope with life's struggles by drinking a glass of wine or two almost daily.  We are both free spirited and wantonly treated each evening together as a celebration of our love and shared a bottle of red each night from the start.  We were inseparable and so our wine drinking became a nightly ritual.

Over the years as I've become more aware of drinking's negative effects on me, I've quietly been trying to control the problem through mediums such as this, books and willpower.  My husband has humoured my bouts of abstinence with respect and bewilderment.  Never really knowing why I put myself through the pain of not drinking, he played along each time I tried to quit.  He drank when he felt like it but usually a little less when I was on a quit.  Often he could take it or leave it.  

I sometimes tried to explain to him that I had to stop drinking because my mind worked differently than his but he didn't seem too interested so I just dropped it. 

This evening, I proudly announced that it was day eighteen of my abstinence, and Hubby, good naturedly, congratulated me.  He asked if it would really hurt if I had a couple of drinks once in a while.  I, then, realized he really needed to understand alcoholism and it's cumulative effects. 

I began by detailing what has happened each time I've quit drinking and after a few days or weeks decided that one drink wouldn't hurt.  I went through the cycle of that one drink turning into two the next night, three for a few nights in a row followed by a drunk which might include vomiting, peeing myself, difficulty walking, accidental burns or bruises, a rude remark, a slurred telephone conversation, a three a.m. anxiety attack, a massive headache, heart palpitations or a combination of any of the above.  

I explained that I've wasted literally hours each and every day for many years either drinking, suffering from the physical and emotional effects of drinking, trying not to drink, devouring material on how to stop drinking, planning to drink, drinking, .. and the cycle goes on.. 

I reminded him that when we share a bottle of wine, I always get more than my share.  He laughed at that because I am under five feet and a welterweight.  I told him that, in reality, it wasn't funny that a tiny woman like me drank as much or more than her big, construction worker husband.  We had another chuckle when he reminded me that we often opened the second bottle and finished that too.

I pointed out the gradual escalation of humiliating events I've put myself through in the past few years and he agreed that he would never let himself get to the recent level of my drunkenness but that he associates drinking with friends and having a good time.  He solemnly stated that he thoroughly enjoys drinking and would never quit.  I indicated my respect for his right to drink and that I was not concerned about his drinking.    

I winded down the conversation by asking him to agree that, although he is not going to quit drinking, if he had to, he would find abstinence very difficult, if not impossible.  
I just needed that feather in my cap.  He agreed and told me how genuinely proud of me he was and that, now that he understands, he will support me even more.  I thanked him and warned him that ten years ago, I was where he is in my drinking pattern and to be aware of his drinking's trajectory at all times.

That was the first time in the years of fighting this disease that I've enlisted the help of my soul mate. He listened with his heart and he will be my greatest ally in this most challenging fight to the death between me and alcohol. 

For that I am grateful.

I Hit the Wall

After ten years of being unhappy in a twenty year marriage and wanting to leave but not being able to bring my self to do it, one day I hit a wall.  Nothing spectacular or awful happened that day.  There had been many previous times when I should have left but didn't but on that particular day, there was no turning back.  It was a calm, sure, quiet decision.  I left and never went back.  That was more than twenty years ago.

My relationship with a much more abusive partner ended in much the same way.  Vino and I started out as friends, meeting most weekends.  We either stayed in or went out for a meal sharing some laughs along the way.  Over the years, I noticed the time I spent with glass in hand was becoming more frequent but less exciting.  My life with Vino became mundane and I let him control me in that we never did much of anything I wanted to do.  We mostly stayed home but I brought him wherever I went.  Over time, I became aware that he cramped my style but I never seriously thought of kicking him to the curb.  There were a few incidents that left me sad, angry and disappointed in our match but had no effect on my decision to break off our relationship.  I just passively put up with his crap and sank further and further into the shadows of myself.  Occasionally I left for a few days with no real intention of a permanent break-up.  I just needed a few days away to clear my head or so I thought.

One non-descript morning after a night that included Vino's usual passive aggressive insistence on spending a little too much time together, something quietly snapped.  I didn't feel much of anything except a quiet determination to end the relationship.  I felt I could not move forward with Vino as I was at the end of a dead end road. I had hit a wall.  This happened on a Friday morning, no less.  The weekend stretched out before me, we were entertaining out of town company and everyone expected Vino to be there as he always had been.

Vino showed up and it seems that my visitors enjoyed his company but I kept a safe distance away from him.  When he came close, I murmured vague excuses about needing to be on my own and ignored my guest's puzzled looks and disapproving comments about how boring life would be for me without good old Vino around.

That was the first of many incidents that involved Vino over the next few weeks.  Each time he came by, I've ignored him and not thought much of it.  He always seems to arrive with the gang or even on his own but I've found a serene resolve to keep him out of my life. 

He is a conniving, manipulative sort so I have to keep my guard up and not let my good nature lead me back to our former, slowly destructive interactions.  Now that I've hit the wall, he'll soon get the message.  Although he may be present in my life forever as we share many of the same friends, I have lots of life to catch up on and I won't be including him in my future.  He'll get the message soon enough.

Monday 12 May 2014

I Was Cinderella...

... and my three year old Granddaughter was the evil stepsister... then we switched and she got to be Cinderella.  My son and his family surprised me for Mother's Day Weekend by showing up at the lake house up unexpectedly on Friday night and they stayed for the weekend. 

A month ago, not knowing they were coming I would have been half in the bag by the time they arrived.  Because I am not drinking, I was perfectly able to organize them, accept my granddaughter's request to sleep in Granny's bed and to spend much of the weekend playing with the nine month old little guy and, of course, the sweetie who loves to act out fairy tales.  The water in the lake had just melted from it's icy winter glaze and, at my girl's insistence, we had to get our feet wet.  We spent Saturday and Sunday afternoons jumping in and out of the freezing water and playing make-belief on the dock.

I am getting a taste of what the future holds.  Presence!!  Although the wine was flowing, we also managed to accomplish so much this weekend.  My DIL had some red but didn't over-do it and my son and my hubby held their own in the boozing department but, because they know when to start and when to stop, we found the time to clear brush, repair the dock, burn a mountain of deadwood and cook up a storm.

I had a few twinges when serving drinks and sitting on the dock but this brain of mine has finally come to the realization that it's just not worth it.  I drank sparkling grape juice, loads of tea and a few A/F beers but I didn't have to have a drink in hand at all times. 

Life is unfolding in a beautiful, conscious way and I am so happy and content to be really in the here and now and sober. 

Thursday 8 May 2014

I Washed My Face Last Night!!!

I'm a little bashful to admit this but I promised to be honest.  I haven't washed my face or brushed my teeth before bed in years and years.  I don't wear tons of make-up but that's not the point.  I fell into bed when I was drinking all those years and even during my many periods of brief abstinence, the habit never resurfaced.

Last night I found myself washing my face as if it was a daily ritual.  Go figure!

I had noticed that I was slowly incorporating some of the habits I was 'wishing' for will power to add to my daily routine, especially since I decided to live moment by moment and to throw away all the "from now on I will..." lists that I am so famous for.

But washing my face !!! That's a first.  This poor old face is the driest in Canada.  After I washed it, I slathered vitamin E cream all over it.  That is the thickest cream I had in my arsenal.  This morning my face is nice and soft and smooth.

I was reading a recovery blog (sorry I don't remember whose blog) and I read about her first few struggling months day by day and now she's at three and a half years.  When I skipped ahead to the present she is taking zumba and yoga classes and thinking of becoming a yoga instructor.  What motivation to continue with my own recovery.

There is a seed of change planted deeply inside my soul and it is germinating as I sit here now with my coffee blogging.  It was dormant for so many years and has finally felt the warmth and depth of my honest thoughts and actions.  This seed, like any other in nature,  could not be fooled by unseasonably warm weather.  It recognizes that my true spring has finally arrived.  If foul weather does not interrupt it, soon, it will split apart and a shoot will begin to grow. 

This shoot represents my true purpose in life. 

Last night I washed my face.

Wednesday 7 May 2014

Day 12 - Had my first real craving

Tonight Hubby and I went to a Japanese restaurant; kind of upscale.  There was a two for one on ice cold draft beer advertised.  I was tempted for a brief moment.  It was like looking at porn gazing at that photo of the bulbous, frosty glass filled to the brim with golden, glistening poison with a frothy white head of bubbly suds.

I ordered a club soda with lime and to tell you the truth, it was quite nice and refreshing.  I knew I would be tested because I am on my period (I know, at 57 that crap should be done) and feeling grumpy and needy.  What saved me, I think was getting in the shower a few minutes before we left and purdying myself up a bit.  It just gave me the extra self-confidence I needed to be strong in the face of danger.

Hubby had a draft Sapporo beer and enjoyed it.  The food really satisfied my need for comfort.  We had dragon rolls, hot and sour soup, seaweed salad, gyozo dumplings and a few other delectable tidbits.

So another notch on my belt.  I am losing a bit of weight and that'll really show when this period is finally done.  My belly will go in and I'll feel great.

Tonight we stopped at Costco on the way home and picked up some hard parmesan cheese (not grated), some sirrachia hot chili sauce, hemp hearts for my blood pressure and Hubby stopped to taste the Apple Cider which has 7% alcohol.  He bought a bottle.  I love that stuff.  Oh well, I might as well get used to it.  It's my problem, not his.

I am just meandering here, no real point to this post except, I had cravings for the first time since I quit. 

I do not drink.

Think Present, Not Past or Future

When I'm sober for a year, I'm going to...

After 30 days I'll start doing ...

When we move into our new house my routine will be ...

I have spent oodles of time making plans for tomorrow.  It's a favourite past time of mine and I notice it when I read past blog posts, my journals, even my facebook posts.  In general there is nothing wrong with future plans but as a person who has never followed through on any plan I've made, I think it's of vital importance for me to live in the present. 

In the past, I've failed at every plan and promise I've made myself regarding lifestyle changes.

I planned on exercising daily.  I promised to take my supplements, floss my teeth, meditate and the list goes on.  All broken promises.  When I let my ego get it's nasty mind around my past failures, he is relentless in his criticism. 

But, in the present, here and now, I am SOBER!!  I am successful. I am happy.  I've ceased counting the sober days because today is the only important day (12 days for the record ;-). 

Each day is a new, sacred unfolding of potential.  I love watching the sun rise over the lake because, besides the beauty of nature awakening, the cyclical rotation of time reminds me that every day is a new opportunity for joy.

Even with life's outside influences, our happiness is totally in our hands.  We choose how we react, how we act, how we view life and how we live each day, each moment.  

Yes, I would like to eventually establish healthy routines such as rebounding for twenty minutes a day, meditating religiously, juicing, flossing, simplifying, gardening, reducing my computer time, etc. These are all great ideas. 

Right now, in this moment, I am sober and I am happy.  That is enough.

Tuesday 6 May 2014

Recovery: A New Perspective

I've been a member of an interactive message board for people like me; those trying to get a handle on their drinking, for over five years.  In my latest surge of commitment to sobriety, I've explored other related blogs, boards and websites for the first time.  Why I've only started to do so now is a good question...

The word "Recovery" is one that had not been thrown around too much in the cyber-places where I've hung out.  Since I've been following blogs written by women, who, like myself, are on their sobriety journey, the word keeps re-appearing and it's attached itself to my psyche in a way no other has.

Recovery means healing.  It implies taking care of oneself and 'getting better'.  It evokes thoughts of convalescing and self-nurture.  It is the true, apt word to describe the gentle detoxification of body, mind and spirit I am willfully going through.  I feel at home in Recovery. 

I didn't feel at home with abstinence, sobriety, alcoholism or addiction.  These words imply to me that I am weak needing willpower and determination to 'fix' myself.  These conjure up, what my ego would call, the bad me, the spineless me, the loser me.  For others, these words are springboards to healing but, as for me, I am in recovery.

I've grasped that word and hold it close to my heart.  I feel like a caterpillar who has spun a cocoon around itself and is resting inside, taking the time to get strong, to develop it's wings, to learn to be the new version of itself; the version that it was meant to be. 

One day soon, I will emerge as the transformed culmination of my years of suffering and hiding and my months of healing and recovery, as the radiant, ripe, beautiful woman who can soar to places previously unknown.  Once reborn as the light, unburdened butterfly, there will be no bounds to what I can accomplish.  I will have participated in a miracle of my own making and the future is limitless. 

I am content at this moment in time to remain in my little, healing cocoon and to hold myself lovingly, to feed my body nourishing foods, to feed my mind intelligent words and to feed my soul with self love and acceptance. 

As I practice spreading my wings this summer in early recovery, I will laugh often, play with my grandchildren, make glorious love to my husband, plant a small garden, swim and kayak in the cool water at the lake, create savoury, nutrient rich meals and often I will rest and observe without judgement... often I will just be. 

There is no rush to fully emerge.  Nature will tell me when I am ready.  For now, I am in Recovery.

Sunday 4 May 2014

A Sober Revelation

Something became clear tonight.  A door opened that had been closed.  For the first time, I saw things clearly and understand much of my recent behaviour.
Here’s how the subconscious mind tricked me and how I figured it out.

I have been depressed for about five months, ever since my amazing French husband agreed that we would move from his home province of Quebec to my home province of Ontario.  This was fantastic news to me so I did not understand why I became depressed.  Because I am sober and open to really be honest with myself, and with the help of my husband, tonight I figured it out. 
Much of my depression has come out in sarcasm and low grade anger; I’ve become a bit of a bully for the first time in my life.  It seems that now that hubby has given me the OK to go home I am letting out all the grief I’ve held inside these past twelve years for missing my culture, language and the comfort of feeling at home.  I am grieving in a delayed reaction.  Because it’s almost over, I am allowing myself to feel the sadness and loneliness I’ve endured because being with my husband was worth it. 

Coincidently, we have had a wonderful life in Quebec together.  We’ve become members of a Harley Owner’s Club, ridden our bike all over North America and partied every weekend.  We ran a successful construction business together which we are moving to Ontario.  We’ve been very happy together and I am one of the fortunate people who can say with total confidence and sincerity that I am with my Soul Mate. 
But, being a very sociable, outgoing person, I've often felt excluded in the French world.  Sometimes, at the many parties we attended, I was ignored by people who were afraid of having to speak English but mostly it was self-imposed isolation due to a lack of confidence in my likeability and my French ability. 

Speaking French and interacting in my adopted community was made a lot easier when I added wine to the equation.  I wine drank every night whether alone with my husband or when we had visitors, which was frequent.  The weekends were made much more enjoyable with glass in hand. 

Now I’ve given up the booze crutch but we are still living and socializing here in Quebec while we work out the final house building details.  Instead of enjoying what's left of our time here and feeling euphoria for the future, I've been stuck in my negative mind set.

My ego needs someone to blame for my grief.  I’ve been especially cruel to the one I love the most; the one who loves me enough to give me the gift of Home.  He is the reason I came to Quebec and, without him, I would not be leaving.  He means more to me than going home.  He means everything to me.  Recently, I’ve often hurt him with my words.
As a fledgling, very early in recovery, my emotions are expected to be raw.  It is normal to feel more when not hiding behind the haze of alcohol.  It’s ok to feel grief.  It’s NOT ok to allow my ego to direct that grief towards one who deserves only kindness and thanks.   

I have been taught a very valuable lesson today.  I realize that what is, simply, is.  I will experience uncomfortable emotions that I may not wish to feel.  Instead of deflecting them in anger, I will learn to let them in, feel the pain and allow them to pass.  I don’t have to justify what I feel but I do have to justify my actions. 
By being conscious of dwelling in the present moment, I will enjoy my remaining time in Quebec.  While I’m still here I will embrace the rowdy, beer-swilling crew we’ve been outgrowing for a while but I will not drink.

Practicing meditation and gentle exercise will help process the residual sadness or anger that will, inevitably, crop up.  I will continue to self-nurture and try to remember to treat those I love with kindness.  I will not change overnight but, like I said, a door has been opened.

That negative voice in my head (my ego) has fed my addiction and now it’s working on fucking up my relationship.  What a cunning little devil he is. 
Knowledge is Power.  I know what’s going on now.  It’s up to me from here on in.


Drink in Hand

In every attempted quit I've had previously, a lot of time, effort and thought was put into what to bring to drink when attending an event.  Should I bring A/F Beer, lemon water, Perrier?  When I would arrive at my social event, I would make sure, I had a drink in hand at all times like all the drinkers there.  I've even gone so far as to have concord grape juice in a wine glass to avoid the inevitable, "Why aren't you drinking?"

It's different this time.  I am, in general, not a thirsty person.  I just don't worry about what to bring, what to have in my glass.  I sit with all the drinkers and don't have anything clutched in my hand while I socialize. It wasn't planned this way. It was not a conscious decision to forgo the fuss about being like the crowd.  I just have not thought of it.

And no one seems to care.  I was at a party last night and was the Designated Driver for my hubby and my ex-husband.  They both got a little sloshed but there were no comments from them or anyone else about my abstinence. 

This time around, I know if I get asked why I am not drinking my answer would be something like "I just got sick of the drinking merry-go-round."  In all honesty, that's the truth.  We have too many social events for any human being to keep up with alcoholically.  My husband gives it a good old fashioned try but it's taking it's toll on him.  Last night he could not, ahem... perform to the degree that I've come to expect.  I jokingly told him he had to stop drinking or top up his Viagra.  We had a laugh about it but it sure is nice to be sober during intimacy and all the time really.

It is huge for me to cease to care what others think and it just happened.  If truth be told hot green or herbal tea is my drink of choice for daytime and plain water with lemon is my go to drink otherwise.  Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon with water when I think of it; that`s usually my routine.

I have to buy a bottle of red wine for guests we are hosting tonight.  At another time, doing so would have been the beginning of the end.  On this occasion it just doesn`t matter. 

Does this mean I will succeed in my sobriety?  Absolutely not but it signifies a shift in my thinking and that is crucial to healing from the curse that is addiction.

These first posts seem to be very self-centred and all about me but that`s the way it has to be Folks!  I have to do a lot of `navel gazing` in order gain the self-knowledge I need in order to heal.

Healing is happening.  I can feel it.

Saturday 3 May 2014

Naked Honesty in Recovery

“The only way you can write the truth is to assume that what you set down will never be read. Not by any other person, and not even by yourself at some later date. Otherwise you begin excusing yourself. You must see the writing as emerging like a long scroll of ink from the index finger of your right hand; you must see your left hand erasing it.” ~Margaret Atwood, from The Blind Assassin

While reading the wonderfully candid recovery blogs that have become my latest and most inspiring addiction, I came across the above quote.  It resonated with me because I always choose my words carefully so as not to offend present and future readers of my blog.  What if my kids eventually read this?  In my heart, I hope they do in order for them to fully know me and to encourage them to take risks and to "feel the fear and do it anyways".  What if people judge me?  As Dr. Seuss once said "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mindEasy to say, hard to do.

I will not try to sugar coat my words here on my blog because there is no shame in recovery.  The truth shall set me free (I am really a Miss Quote this morning).  I can't hold back because I do want to re-read my previous posts and find myself nodding and remembering life as it was as a struggling fledgling of sobriety.  I want to remember the bruises, the shame and the dirty little secrets I never told anyone. 

I want to remember pissing myself as I barfed up dinner at a friend's house after a double martini and a few glasses of red. 

I want to remember my son jerking away from me one morning saying "What smells?" as the alcohol reeked from my body. 

I want to remember falling down a flight of stairs dressed as a pumpkin one Hallowe'en celebration.

I want to remember all the broken promises, postponed dreams, numbed out sex, drunken and forgotten conversations, the three a.m. pounding heart, numerous burns from my oven and the stupid things I've said.

If I hold back and paint my former life with a rose coloured brush, then who am I kidding?  The horrors of the addicted life should be shared, not hidden.

So, I am vulnerable in my blog.  I am naked and exposed.  It's part of my recovery. 

Friday 2 May 2014

Kick-A-Boo Joy Juice for Heart Health

I mentioned in my previous blog post that I am taking kick-a-boo joy juice in the mornings to help my heart health as I am concerned about my blood pressure.  Below, please see the benefits of each ingredient in the concoction I take each morning and below that is the recipe.  I took this info from


Lemon gives several wholesome edges which will keep your heart operational because it ought to.
Heart Beating Property
Lemon will facilitate regulate your heartbeat. Lemons contain the essential wholesome mineral called magnesium. Your heart cannot perform properly without this mineral: Lack of magnesium may end up in irregular heartbeats called arrhythmia.

Healthy and correct Heart Functioning
Lemons contain a rich quantity of the mineral potassium. Raw lemons contain a powerful 146 mg of potassium per serving. The citrus juice from lemons offer sensible amounts of potassium. potassium plays a serious role within the correct functioning of all cells,tissues and organs throughout your body. This mineral is important for creating muscles, like your heart, properly contract and performance effortlessly. As AN solution, potassium conducts electricity throughout your body. It maintains Healthy Blood Vessels

Lemon is Rich in antioxidant
The antioxidant helps support healthy blood vessels throughout your body.  Raw, lemons contain wealthy amounts of the wholesome nutrient antioxidant. One lemon satisfies ninety four % of your daily nutritional needs for antioxidant, according to the manufacture for Health Foundation. Antioxidants fight damaging free radicals. Free radicals will result in the event of chronic diseases and conditions like cardiovascular disease, stroke, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and diabetes.

Miracle herb Garlic has been used since time out of mind as a drugs to stop or treat numerous diseases and conditions. Heart Health properties of garlic are as follows.

Blood thinning:
Ajoene is an anti-clotting in garlic facilitate in preventing the formation of blood clots within the body.

Reduce blood pressure levelAngiotensin II may be a protein that helps our blood vessels contract thereby increasing the blood pressure level. Allicin in garlic blocks the fast activity of angiotensin II and helps in reducing blood pressure level. The polysulphides gift in garlic are regenerate into a gas known as hydrogen sulfide by the red blood cells. Hydrogen sulfide dilates our blood vessels and helps management blood pressure level.

Garlic protects our heart against cardiovascular issues like heart attacks and coronary-artery disease. This cardio-protective property are often attributed to numerous factors. With age, the arteries tend to lose their ability to stretch. Garlic could facilitate cut back this and will additionally shield the heart from the damaging effects of free oxygen radicals.Sulphur-containing compounds of garlic  additionally prevent our blood vessels from blocking and slow the development of coronary-artery disease (hardening of the arteries). The anti-clotting properties of ajoene facilitate stop clots forming within the blood vessels.

Reduce cholesterolGarlic has the power to moderately lower our blood triglycerides and total cholesterol and cut back plaque formation.

Other properties : antibacterial drug and Antiviral, To treat skin infections, Combat allergies, Remedy for metabolism issues, Garlic will increase internal secretion release and regulates glucose levels in diabetics, Effective against warts and corns, Improve iron metabolism, fire up passions, cut back weight.
In numerous studies, ginger has been shown to be extremely effective in preventing and curing cardiovascular disease, cancer, arthritis, and a range of different diseases. as an example, the blood clots that trigger heart failure dissolve once exposed to ginger. Ginger if taken in longterm prevent blood clots to create.Clot which reside in coronary arteries refered to thromboxane synthesis

Ginger may be a potent matter of this clot forming. Ginger additionally inhibits the clumping together of platelets within the blood. therefore ginger inhibits blood clots in a minimum of 2 ways in which, during a study in Prostaglandins medicine, ginger inhibited blood clots additional effectively than onion or garlic.Ginger conjointly will increase the strength of the heart.Scientists call ginger a cardio tonic agent due to its ability to extend energy production within the heart and to reinforce calcium pumping inside heart cells that's needed for cardiac output flow rate.

Other Benefits:
Antispasmodic, Antifungal anti-inflammatory drug Antiseptic antibacterial drug, Antiviral, Analgesic,Carminative, expectorator, Circulatory Stimulant, promotes Sweating,hypotensive, increases blood flow,relaxes peripheral blood vessels

The current study involved seven tiny trials with between 5 and 9 participants. In every trial, blood was examined before and after drinking solutions containing honey, glucose, and artificial honey (approximately 0.5 glucose and 0.5 fructose). The solutions employed in every trial contained between one and three ounces of honey, glucose and fructose. Healthy people experienced a direct slight decrease in ldl cholesterol, and lipid levels once drinking the honey solution not once glucose and artificial honey solutions. This trend persisted in healthy people drinking the honey solution for fifteen days, once that hdl cholesterol levels rose and homocysteine levels dropped. The impact of taking the honey solution each day for fifteen days was even a lot of pronounced in people with high cholesterol: total cholesterol levels dropped by 8 percent, ldl cholesterol drop by 11 percent and CRP levels born by 57 percent.During this study, honey is used as Anupan to boost the bio-availability of food nutrients in blood vessels and body tissues.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Vinegar is not only to clean glass, windows & kitchen dirt but it can also effectively clean your arteries. It works like broom which helps body to get rid out of unwanted toxics buildups & wastes.

Apple Cider Vinegar also contains magnesium, potassium & lots of other minerals, vitamins & enzyme.

Lemon juice 1 cup
Ginger juice 1cup
Garlic juice 1 cup
Apple vinegar 1 cup

Mix all and boil for half hour, or until balance of 3 cups.
Let it cool, then mix 3 cups of natural honey.
Transfer to glass bottle and keep in fridge.
Every morning, before breakfast, take one tablespoon.

It's That simple!!

Lowering Blood Pressure

I am a Granny, after all, and I have age related health issues that I am trying to prevent.  One of these is high blood pressure.  I am the second oldest of five and every one of my brothers and sisters and both my parents are on blood pressure medication.  The only thing I think has saved me so far has been my normal weight and my calm demeanor (or stoned countenance).  The last time I was at the doctor, it was high.  He is not a pill pusher and asked me to come back in three months to have it rechecked.  May 21st is the day I have to answer to my lifestyle choices and heredity.

I have given up wine which I actually physically feel has improved my BP.  For the next three weeks I plan on incorporating some natural therapies to minimize my chances of walking out of that MD's office with a prescription.

I am taking two tablespoons of my kick-a-boo joy juice each morning.  It is a combination of home juiced lemon, ginger, garlic and organic apple cider vinegar.  I have the recipe if anyone wants it. Beets and cinnamon will be added to my diet in full force. 

My meditation routine is slowly easing it's way into my day to day life.  I am gently prodding myself to put 10,000 steps daily on my FitBit step tracker through walking or rebounding but because I am in my fledgling stage of sobriety, I will not be too tough on myself in this area. 

I am not a machine.  I am a tender, healing middle aged woman doing my best to optimize her health without over-burdening my fragile self-esteem with too many rules.

I just got back from the gym where I walked for forty five minutes while listening to The Bubble Hour.  Time just flew and I really racked up the steps.  Thanks again, ladies!!

Thursday 1 May 2014

Immersing Myself in Sobriety

Right now I am so committed to abstaining from booze and I hope I can keep the momentum going forever.  I know it's impossible but I will do everything in my power to do so.

Reasons for staying sober in no particular order as my priorities are screwed up still:
  1. To get the monkey off my back; in other words, to stop wasting 80% of my life in alcohol related activities including drinking and especially obsessing over drinking
  2. To be the best Wife, Granny, Mother, and Friend I can be.
  3. To open the door to stimulating activities that cannot be done with booze in the picture as in spiritual searching, reading, gourmet cooking, writing, meditation, exercise, community involvement, knitting, making music and much more.
  4. To enter my menopausal years with a clear head, clean body, open mind and vulnerable heart.
  5. To enjoy my mornings at the lake house and at home without the dull headache, upset stomach, dry mouth and depressed mind that drinking wine the night before creates.
  6. To accomplish a goal, which in itself, will be the most difficult victory of my life and thus opening myself to endless, amazing possibilities.
  7. To be an encouraging example to beloved family members who struggle with their alcohol compulsions and who have only seen me try to abstain and fail time and time again.
What I am doing differently this time:
  1. Meditating most mornings
  2. Following numerous sobriety blogs and listening to podcasts such as The Bubble Hour
  3. Being actively involved in the My Way Out Forums
  4. Drinking tons of water
  5. Using this blog as an accountability tool
  6. Planning and designing a Serenity Room in my new home where I will retreat to ground myself on a daily basis
When I read what I've written above, I hope that it is enough to sustain me.  From everything I've read, it takes years of persistence to beat the beast.  I am not very consistent at the best of times so this is an especially big challenge for me.