Thursday 31 July 2014

Not Thinking about Drinking

One of my main goals in discontinuing my alcohol consumption was to 'get the monkey off my back'; in other words to stop thinking about drinking.  You know, to stop planning on drinking, doing the dastardly deed, regretting the dastardly deed, planning on not drinking, attempting to not drink, then, inevitably, planning on drinking, etc. 

I've achieved my goal.  I am not thinking about it ... as much.  Of course, I'm still counting the days although I keep getting my numbers mixed up.  I am still explaining to people that I don't drink but no one seems to care one way or another.  Because of our temporary situation, living in a trailer and because it never stops raining, we are eating in restaurants a lot but I am drawn to a warm cup of tea lately so don't really miss the booze there.

So folks, for the most part, the monkey is off my back.  I plan on hanging around the sober blogs and my favourite sober forum, for a long time to reinforce my sobriety because I've heard that if I don't the chances of relapsing are high. 

I have a few other monkeys perched on my back.  The biggest, most destructive one is gone, but my ever seeking mind is now working on cutting back on a few other destructive habits; sugar being one of them.  I wish to see an end to seeking and I am reading up on it right now.  I am currently riveted by a book called The Deepest Acceptance, Radical Awakening in Ordinary Life by Jeff Foster.  It's about deeply accepting what comes to pass as it's already there... a little deeper than that but I'm not an accomplished writer.

I've already noticed that the other monkeys are light weights compared to Godzilla, the Wine Monkey, and at close to 100 days sober, I'm not as easy on them as I was before.  I was nervous to try to do much more than stay sober before but now, look out boys, I've got a plan to destroy you.

I don't have too many vices and some I'll keep (like morning coffee) but the sober me wants to live life authentically, in every way.  By my birthday in October, when we will be nicely settled in our new home, I hope to have established a moderate, vibrant life without excess. 

The book I am reading even lists spiritual seeking as a roadblock to living authentically and, being an all or nothing person, I understand that.  After I've read my bevy of spiritual books, I will, hopefully, only refer to them occasionally, and get on with living the good life.

Monday 28 July 2014

Accomplished ... Who Me?

Today I went for my Ontario Driver's Licence.  After a short wait I was called to the counter and was served by a lovely, intelligent, efficient young lady.  After the usual requests for identification, payment, etc. she shyly asked me if she could ask me a personal question and that I didn't have to answer it if I didn't want to.  I was curious so, I smiled encouragingly and said "Sure". 

She then asked me what I did for a living.  I told her I worked for the family business, but guessing that she had seen me in my old job as I was out and about quite a bit back then, I told her what I had done previously.  She was looking at me with what can only be described as reverence and explained that she thought I had was a CEO of an important company or a well known personality because I looked so accomplished.  Accomplished!!  I felt my face turn red and joked that my biggest accomplishments so far are my four grandchildren.  She bantered back that maybe in my future I'll become a professionally accomplished person.  I closed the subject by assuring her I was happy working two hours a day for the family business, thank you very much.

I was wearing faded cut off bell bottom jeans, a warm, cuffed navy blue sweater sipped up to my chest, a little turquoise necklace, understated earrings, Birkenstocks and a bit of makeup for the inevitable ID photo.  My short hair was fluffed up but in all, I was very casual.  I am also so tiny that I could barely see over the divider separating us. 

Now I've been called cute on occasion but I never thought for a moment that I might come across as an accomplished individual. For some reason that one compliment from a total stranger caused me to hold my head up a little higher and, also, to examine the persona I present.

After some thought I came to the conclusion that my physical self image is very poor.  I often feel like an ugly, frumpy, buck-toothed, sallow skinned old hag.  All my confidence lies in my personality which invites people in.  I know I am good at making people laugh and feel at ease.  I am comfortable at the head of a meeting table; no matter how many people are involved.  My confidence is high in this area. 

To make such a big deal in my mind about this one observation by the young lady at the Ontario Ministry of Transportation makes me realize that I am actually a presentable woman who comes across as confident and well put together.

If I have ideas to share (and I have many brewing in this never resting mind of mind of mine), I can deliver them to anyone without feeling the shame of being thought of as frumpy and old.

Maybe I'm making a mountain of a molehill but this lady inadvertently changed my life in a positive way.  Her bashful admiration was like nectar to this starved honeybee. 

I have to get out more.

Beaver = Realisation of my Dream

Animal symbolism of the beaver

My encounter recently with the beaver kit prompted me to look up it's significance.  Seems that a beaver symbolizes working towards and accomplishing ones dreams.  How apt!

Sunday 27 July 2014

Meditation is Easy

Meditation is known to help still the mind which is invaluable when attempting to, either incorporate new habits into your life or to halt the practice of undesirable ones.  I've decided to make more of an effort to sit regularly in order to see for myself if it's a practice worth pursuing.

I used to think meditation was difficult.  When attempting it, I was often distracted and felt as if I never achieved a 'successful' meditation.  It discouraged me from being loyal to the practice. 

Through reading and practicing, I've discovered that if I find the time to sit still for a time and am aware of my monkey mind then I am meditating.  If I remember to gently call my wayward focus back to my breath when it strays then I am achieving what I set out to experience in meditation.

Meditation doesn't have to be perfect. 

All it takes is this:

  • Blocking a period of time out; anywhere from ten minutes to forty five or more
  • Sitting still in a comfortable position with something to gaze at like a candle, a horizon, or an icon of your choice
  • Disposing of distractions either by removing them or blocking them from yourself ie. turn phone to vibrate
  • Setting a timer to allow for a stress free sitting and not one wondering "is it ten minutes yet?"
  • Relaxing and becoming aware of your breath, your body, your surroundings and your senses while allowing your mind to 'do it's thing'
  • Gently pulling your thoughts back to dissolve into pure awareness, stillness and consciousness as many times as you need to
Although we are aware of our constant thoughts in our meditation, we do not judge, criticise or comment on them; we just acknowledge them and bring ourselves back to the present.

I'll keep you posted.

Thursday 24 July 2014

Three Months Sober Today

Yesterday, against all odds, I finally completed what's turned out to be, about six weeks of difficult work that combined the physical move of two furnished dwellings and the administrative move from one province to another of a mid-size company.  There are a few loose ends but the bulk of the work was completed yesterday in my sweltering hot trailer with beloved out of town guests lingering outside patiently awaiting my attention.  From this day forward I will be able to do office work for about two hours a day and dedicate the remaining time to doing things I love. 

As my husband and his crew work in this oppressive heat building our home, I am free to ensure hubby gets well nourished.  I've decided that rather than trying to create complex meals in these conditions, I will take advantage of the season and serve plenty of raw veggies, fruits, salads and grains.  I am fortunate in that hubby will eat anything put in front of him.  That will be my priority and yes, I do love doing this. 

I've got a ton of wonderful books to go through.  Including my e-reader downloads, the number has grown to over twenty so that should keep me occupied. 

I can now actually immerse myself in Tara Brach's meditation podcasts without the distraction of a job not completed.

I can take my lawn chair down to the river (a few houses down) and sit quietly under that special tree I've adopted and read, think and just be.  I was there for half an hour a few days ago and you will never guess what happened.  As I was sitting immersed in my book, I was distracted by the presence of something furry.  Thinking it was a squirrel, I glanced down.  To my delight, there, at my feet, looking at me with open curiosity was a baby beaver.  At first I thought it was a ground hog but the hump on his back and his solid tail alerted me to the fact that I was being investigated by our nation's national symbolic animal.  The beaver was chosen for it's industrious, hard working manner but this little guy was playing, not working.  He was too young to be afraid and lingered for a while then quietly disappeared into the river reeds.

Every time I have run ins with wild animals, I feel closer to our creator, Mother Earth, the universe or being quite blasé about who or what our source is.. doesn't really matter to me but at the same time it means everything..

Once when meditating at the river, when I refocused my eyes, a red fox was running through the trees across the river.  Another time while sitting there, I was alerted to the sound of snorts and, to my delight, two young deer were furiously chasing each other along the riverbank.  I've had encounters with wild turkeys, blue herons and racoons.  Once, in the middle of the night, a family of racoons were loudly fighting on our porch over the bird seed and we got up to shoo them away.  Being stubborn animals they wouldn't leave so hubby resorted to using the water hose to disperse them.  A baby got separated from it's mother in the confusion and it was crying and desperately trying to get in the patio door to me.  My black rimmed eyes must have reminded him of his own momma. LOL.  Each time nature and I have encounters I feel wonderful. 

This weekend my daughter, her new baby, my daughter-in-law, my one year old grandson and I are heading to the lake for a girls weekend.  I can't wait to spend some quality time with the six week old.  With my crazy work load and my daughter's temporary home an hour away, I haven't been able to previously.  Hubby may or may not join us.  He hasn't decided.

I have to get going now as we are leaving today.  Life is wonderful and, at three months sober today, I am subtly aware that I am evolving into an authentic, experiential, vibrant member of society. 

... Lovin' it !!

Tuesday 22 July 2014

It Wasn't Always Like This

I was trying to figure out when I decided that I had a problem with alcohol and after a bit of research, I realized that I have been attempting to control my drinking for more than seven years.  I was drinking too much and too often for about five years before that but you know how it is.  It takes a while to develop a problem, even more time to recognize it as a problem.

For you who are just starting out and reading my blog, it may seem that it's easy for me and that life is all sunshine and buttercups.  While I'll admit life is pretty darn good right now it wasn't always like this.  

I started to drink because it was there and sociably acceptable.  I began to do so heavily because my teenaged kids were causing me alarm and grief and I was a lonely single mother trying to make ends meet.  It seemed to buffer me from the guilt, frustration and fear I felt in my role of imperfect mother.

I continued to drink when those problems abated with the maturity of my children because the seed had been planted deeply.  I was used to being numb and the idea of being authentic did not appeal to me.  I did not want to be me. 

When hubby and I were alone most evenings, I cooked fabulous food and it seemed that we needed a bottle of red to complete the meal.  When friends or family would visit I would be the first one to pop the cork and offer wine to all.  We made our own so at $3.00 a bottle I could afford to be generous. 

Sometimes at 3:00 pm, I would allow myself to open the bottle with a little guilt that was soon overridden by the 'I deserve this' excuse.

Those seven years of constantly obsessing over my drinking and making one futile attempt after another to slow down are lost years.  I will not get them back.  Within that period, I had many enjoyable evenings that included booze but I also had countless memory lapses, burns, bruises, headaches, hangovers and inner turmoil.

My days were often filled with self-loathing and despair as no matter how honorable my intentions were, I could not kick alcohol to the curb.  I was as sincere about quitting then as I am now.  I've gone over the reasons I believe it's working now many times so I'll leave that issue alone at this time but I was never able to stop for a prolonged period until now.

I have discarded countless handwritten journal entries, notes to self and resolutions that exposed me as the failure I felt like at that time.  I know I should have kept them for posterity but they all said the same thing.  In them, I listed the reasons I should quit, made firm promises to quit and listed what habits would replace to booze drinking.   

I started numerous sobriety blogs that didn't go anywhere.  I announced my sobriety to my family, then usually took a drink within days. I was always in conflict with myself.  My soul wanted me to stop the insanity but my ego constantly justified an opportunity to drink. 

When I did break a period of abstinence, it seemed to happen behind my own back.  It's like I would come to and find a drink in my hand.  Whoa !! Where did this come from??  I'd then shrug and coast along until three a.m. when the self-loathing and half-assed promises would come to pass again.

I didn't think I had the willpower to succeed.  I turns out that I didn't need willpower at all.  We all do exactly what we truly want to do in life. 

At the time, I wanted to drink.  Now I don't.  It sounds simple and even arrogant to put it like that but it's my story.  If I wanted to drink I couldn't stop myself.  I never could.  I can't control my candy or coffee intake at the moment.  There's no use fighting it because I haven't reached the point where my soul is in line with my brain.  Who cares .. it's just candy and coffee. 

Now you might understand why I feel so much gratitude.  To who or what I am not sure; I'm thanking the universe at the moment.  I feel (and this is a little self-patronizing) that I have a purpose in this life and I am slowly aligning myself with the path I need to take to fulfill my destiny. 

My purpose may be an understated one; but a purpose all the same.  We all have one.

Sunday 20 July 2014

Other Addictions..

I have given up booze but I am over achieving in the practice of my other comforting addictions. 

I am a candy, chocolate, chips and nut NUT!! The town we moved to has a well known bakery and I am doing the carte blanche thing with my sweet tooth.  I've also been enjoying chai lattes and yummy veggie sandwiches at little coffee house I've discovered down the street.  Just this weekend alone at the lake house I ate a half dozen coconut macaroons, two slices each of raspberry pie, blueberry flan and pumpkin cake; all of which my three year old granddaughter and I created together.

For breakfast this morning, I used my waffle iron and made lovely waffles.  They've become our weekend tradition.  Buckwheat and whole wheat flour, coconut oil, agave nectar, almond milk, free-range eggs and vanilla are the key ingredients.  Despite being very healthy, they are crispy, tasty and when fresh berries and just whipped cream are served alongside the Quebec Maple Syrup, it's heaven on a plate... so I had heaven on a plate with bacon.. so you can see I'm overdoing the sweets.

My coffee intake is a little much at times.  I can't seem to stop at one.  It's a similar addiction to booze in my opinion.. I will beat this one too .. just because I want another challenge... mind over matter.

I am seeking attention and reassurance from my husband or at least I am very aware of doing it right now.  I may have been doing it all along but I sure think it's pathetic at the moment.  I've caught myself and nipped it in the bud a few times which I'm happy about.

No weight gain with all this self-indulgence because I am very active in the summer maintaining the both properties and I do a lot of stairs at the lake house. 

I think I'm going to keep things status quo and allow myself all the stuff I need to fill the 'God' hole as my sweet nephew puts it.  When I get that rise up of cravings, I eat sweets, drink caffeine or do other unmentionables.  I want to cut down on these other bad habits but I have to protect my quit and I think I still need what booze gave me.  I am managing to get it from other sources. 

It's the need I have to get rid of.

Thursday 17 July 2014

Day 85 ... did I say 85?

Never in a million years did I ever imagine I would make it to day 85 in my sober journey.  Previously, I have attempted to quit drinking literally hundreds of times.  Before this accomplishment my longest period of abstinence was thirty days and I drank to celebrate.  I only managed thirty days once in all my attempts.  Usually I lasted a week or less. 

I think each one of us has a limit to how much bullshit we can dish on ourselves and still carry on as if everything's ok.  I dished out a ton of crap in my drinking days.  I made so many sincere journal entries listing all the reasons to stop drinking.   I told the world I was quitting and then drank the next day.  I posted my abstinence intentions constantly in my sobriety chat rooms and always screwed up.  I really lost faith in myself and felt like a loser. 

Did something inside me change?  I have no idea but this time I feel my drinking days are over.  I know with certainty that if I drink, I will end up back where I started over six years ago when I realized I had a problem.  I will be making another valiant attempt to stop within two weeks of giving up my quit.

A huge help has been reading the blog entries and posts from those of you who gave up long term sobriety and have lived to regret it.  I have not read or heard of anyone who is glad they started up with the sauce again. 

I know there is still a big chance that I could relapse.  But I've been seeing some huge positive changes recently that I never saw in any previous quits and I don't want to lose these gains. 

I've blogged most days of the week since I started the first week of May.   Without trying, I've actually adopted the positive daily habit of coming here and blogging; something I've been striving to do for years.  I've been trying to form daily habits forever and am unable do anything habitually.  I have books on the subject.  I have never done anything consecutively in my life for any extended period of time... nothing!!   I have never, ever followed a diet for more than a day. I've bought half a dozen year long gym memberships and never went for more than the first few days or weeks.  I never get up or go to bed at the same time as the night before. I don't have any routine or rhythm to my life besides this one, little daily habit.

This is a clear example of how my life has changed.  I am achieving, with little effort, one of my goals in life.  I can't let this go.  After 57 years, I have an opportunity to live my life my way with no limitations or hindrances.  Imagine how joyful life will be when I'm able to totally release my ego's hold on me and immerse myself in the authentic life that I'm glimpsing lately. 

I have a long way to go, believe me... Mrs. D left a comment on a recent post here and I immediately thought she was going to tell me I am too into myself.  She is lovely and would never say something like that, but that's what I'm dealing with.  I have to work on my confidence and gain some self-love. 

Abstinence is necessary.  There's no doubt in my mind.  So, abstinent, I'll be.

Following my 'plan'

Just a short note to say that after posting this morning, I actually followed through on my new habit.  I clicked on Tara Brach's icon (thanks Mrs. D) to start reading more about her meditation podcasts.  Last night I had downloaded a few, so, remembering my plan, I put the earphones on, sat comfortably and meditated to her soothing words.  It was the best meditation I ever experienced as my monkey mind usually keeps interrupting.  Her tone, words, many suggestions and silences guided me for close to half an hour.  I felt refreshed, alive, aware and quite happy when I was done.

I immediately put on my spandex and headed to the trail to take in nature.  I began and ended my short trek by enjoying the explosion of ripe raspberries at the mouth of the path.

I now have work to do but will do it with two less nagging thoughts niggling in my little, ego dominated mind.

No plans except to jump in the shower, wash off the bug spray and get my work done with no more procrastination .. or at least less..

Bye for now..

Wednesday 16 July 2014

Living in the Now

I am a person with plans.  I always have a plan.  I live for my plans.  I spend most of my present in the future hanging out with my plans.

While I struggle to keep the family business administratively organized as we move from one province to another, I am often distracted by the constant planning of dozens of activities I am excited to either begin or revisit. I spend hours surfing the net looking for information on my planned practice, daydreaming about it and I often write about it; blogging like right now, making lists, notes and promises.  The ones that keep coming up are as follows:

  • Teach myself to play songs I have fallen in love with on my beloved keyboard
  • Get back to rebounding at least twenty minutes a day
  • Learn to knit and crochet usable items rather than the rudimentary results I have achieved so far 
  • Walk on the lovely wooded paths that closely surround my new home's location
  • Read the many spiritual books I've bought from second hand shops and the occasional author, herself
  • Develop a meditation routine that is done as part of a morning ritual
  • Visit the elderly and offer a volunteer service I've thought up (more about that later)
  • Take a course one evening a week
I have just realized that the dreaming of these plans takes more time than the actual acting on some of these plans.  This is interesting. 

I may be far enough along in my recovery that I could possibly incorporate one little new habit.  The incorporation of this habit will be in exchange for time spent thinking about incorporating this habit; thus nullifying any inconvenience or extra minutes used.

My new habit is this: when I start going into my planning (future) dream, I will immediately get up and do whatever I was planning then and there (present).  Then I might stop regretting all the time wasted (past).  Living in the present just might solve the problem.

When I dream about my keyboard, I will haul it out of the parked pod that contains our furniture, use a long extension cord and play the damn thing.  I got the movers to put it and my rebounder at the doorway to the pod... hey good planning!  Same goes for jumping on the mini-trampoline; if the thought comes along, I will act on it.

Rather than reading up on meditation, I will choose a podcast, put it on and meditate, gosh darn it.
I may walk in the woods while I do it if the thought occurs to me.  No wasted time debating it.

Instead of spending so much time online reading book reviews or hitting the book stores, I will use that time to read my collection.

Some things will have to wait; my yarn and knitting needles are at the lake and that is where they are staying for the time being.  Hubby will have a heart attack if I bring one more item to the trailer and I associate knitting to being at the lake house. 

It is too soon to take the course and go ahead with my volunteer plans so these will have to be put on the back burner until we have settled in our new home.

I might be able to be more productive, content and present in the now if I acted instead of planned. 

I think Mrs. D talked about this on her blog.  Maybe that is where I got the idea.  See how much we learn from each other...

Tuesday 15 July 2014

Pleasing Myself

Today I made the choice to please myself rather than someone else.  This in itself might not seem remarkable but in my life, it is rare.

This afternoon, my hubby and I were sitting under our lovely dining tent enjoying our before dinner chat when our next door neighbor walked by carefully balancing multiple baskets of plump, ripe raspberries.  She was literally loaded down with the fruit of the raspberry canes that grew along the lovely, riverside path that is owned by and maintained by the local Plant Nursery for the neighborhood`s pleasure... I know, it`s crazy...  As a thank you gesture to me for letting her know about the raspberries she gave us a generous sampling.  We thanked her and planned on having them after dinner with cream and sugar.

That evening I had my 82 year old uncle over to have dinner with us.  He stopped at the local bakery and kindly bought us a blueberry crumble cake.  It looked delicious.  I had eaten a fat, buttery almond croissant that morning from the patisserie in Quebec and really felt I had been over-doing it lately. I was not looking forward to having a dutiful piece after dinner.

Dinner was delicious.  We barbequed chicken wings and pork chops.  I steamed and buttered green and yellow beans our other neighbor had given us that afternoon.  We also had curried rice and lentils and my homemade picked beets. 

After eating, we decided to have a cup of tea with dessert and I went into the trailer to prepare it.  My hubby had insisted on having the raspberries as planned.  I felt I had to eat a piece of the crumble to show appreciation for the gift.  While the water was boiling I did the dishes.  After steeping the tea, I spooned out hubby`s raspberries, added the cream and sugar and put the remaining berries in the fridge.  I cut my uncle`s crumble, plated it and stuck the knife in to cut my portion.

Mid-stab I stopped cold.  I simply acknowledged that I preferred raspberries and decided that is what I would have.  I put the crumble away, hauled out the berries, cream and sugar and created my preferred dessert.  I brought everyone`s treat outside.  No one batted an eyelash,

I thoroughly enjoyed my raspberries and promised my uncle I would eat blueberry crumble cake for breakfast tomorrow. 

I find myself making decisions lately that are based on what I prefer rather than what I think is expected of me.  This is unusual for me and I see it as a step in the right direction.

I am slowly increasing my self-awareness and self-acceptance.  They go hand in hand because we have to really be awake and aware in order to walk the walk of a self-accepting individual.  Many of us don`t even realize we have a choice in most areas of our lives.  We habitually choose what we are expected to choose, go where we won`t cause a stir, do what keeps us hidden.  When we are consciously aware of our being, we are more likely to acknowledge our oneness with all, our worthiness and that we do, indeed matter.

Today I chose to please myself. 

Sunday 13 July 2014

Tender Shoot of Serenity

It's ten days short of three months for me in the sober department of my life.  I am pleased to report that all is well and I've seen some vast improvements in many areas of my life since April 24th of this year.  You may interested to know how life has changed.

Right after my last drink, I immediately was relieved of my daily heart palpitations.  These frightening episodes were happening when I went to bed each night.  My heart would suddenly be beating loud enough for me to hear within my body and every minute or so it would stop it's regular rhythm and I would wait with baited breath for the next beat which would thankfully come heavily after a second or so.  I was a bit surprised to have this problem resolved by sobering up as I attributed it to menopause which I am starting.

My three a.m. horrible wake up calls went away immediately as well.  Like most heavy drinkers I would 'pass out' each night and sleep would come easily but at the ungodly hour of three a.m. I would often wake up feeling shaky, worrying, fretting, regretting and hating myself.  This was directly related to the physical practice of drinking alcohol so when I stopped, it did too.

Physically, I've lost a bit of weight even though I am eating candy like crazy and drinking silly, sweet fizzy drinks.  My eyes are sparkling and have lost that dull, sad look they had for years.  Today I noticed that I was actually glowing after my bath... really glowing... so much that I skipped the makeup.  My blood pressure which was on the verge of being medication worthy has dropped significantly.  I pee more now that I'm a tea fanatic and am far less dehydrated throughout the nights and in the mornings.

I've now began following through on plans and promises I make to others or to myself.  If I say I'm going to do something, I usually do it with no excuses, cancellations or postponements. I meet friends for meals, I shop for food before the fridge is empty, I dye my hair before I look like a battered old crone and generally take better care of my living space and personal hygiene. 

I noticed that I was more productive after the first few weeks of sobriety.  I am now able to accomplish a project with less stress and breaks.  This is beneficial when I am cooking for our large extended family; I am able to put together nutritious, delicious meals with no cuts or burns, better timing and a lack of exhaustion.  We are in the process of a big commercial and residential move and I've managed it single-handedly with only a bit of panic rather than a complete melt-down.

The biggest changes are the more subtle ones. 

I am beginning to be comfortable in my own skin.  On the weekends, I swim in the icy waters of the lake when I feel the urge rather than arguing with myself for half an hour until I give up on the idea.   I walk in the bush trail near my home for the simple pleasure of seeing the rabbits, blue herons, beavers, deer and turtles; not letting the mosquitos, ticks, heat, rain or my fear of loose dogs stop me.  I am now wearing my turquoise jewellery and native themed clothing that I find myself drawn to.  I've cut my hair short because I like it better that way despite what hubby wants.  When I rest and have a cup of tea, I am able to do so with little to no self-chastisement about what I could or should be doing.  I've managed to quiet or at least acknowledge the monkey that likes to attack me.. You know that monkey?  The one on my back.. we all have one.

These changes are reshaping my view of life and of myself and my place in this universe.

There is a new change that I can't put my finger on.  It's related to the self-expression I was just going on about but it reaches deeper than that.  It borders on gratitude and acceptance and circles around love.  It touches humility and fully embraces nature.  There is a seed of pure joy inside me that has only just been planted and I feel it bursting at the seams.

As I typed this I remembered that I talked about this seed in an early post.  I just looked it up.  On May 8th at ten days sober I wrote:

"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."

I will carefully tend to this tiny shoot of serenity; I'll nurture it with stillness and kindness as it grows to full maturation.  In time, my life's purpose might slowly and gracefully unfold as it's beautiful, tender, vibrant petals. 

I feel a lot of gratitude at this moment.

Tuesday 8 July 2014

I Almost Lost You

For a good portion of an hour today,  I had the audacity to believe that I had outgrown this blog now that I was sober.  I thought I could go out there and do bigger and better things... change the world!! 

I reasoned I am not helping anyone anyways because it's all sugar and spice around here and that I've got nothing to say because it's so easy this time.   I don't have strong cravings and my life is so gosh darn zippidy doo dah .. happy.  I giddily began planning my next blog which had nothing to do with recovery but everything to do with saving the world... you know .. now that I was healed.

As I was searching for new blogging platforms and playing with my e-mail accounts to set things up, I accidently deleted the Gmail account that carries this blog.  I didn't panic until I had clicked a few icons and realized that recovery is only possible under certain circumstances and it has to be quickly done before it becomes final.

My ten minutes of denied access to 'Granny Gets Sober' was very well spent.  I was given the gift of reflection and realized two things.  One was that I do, indeed, have the perfect life on the outside.  Without going into detail, my relationships with my husband, children and grandchildren are healthy and respectful and they with each other for the most part.  My husband and I have enjoyed working our butts off in the family business and have been rewarded with a very comfortable life.  There are no health issues in our family either. So with all that and more going for me, I am happy. So what? 

I re-read some previous posts.  That was an eye opener.  The second thing I had to acknowledge is that I'm a conflicted soul.  The world sees mostly the real me but I do reserve a little of myself.  This blog is where I can let my real self just be.  It's not that I'm happy on the outside and sad on the inside but, like all of us, I have fears and self-criticisms and the odd shaky moment with regard to taking a drink.  This blog is where I've been working through them while gladly accepting the gifts of your comments reassuring me, telling me your stories and just being there.  While going through those posts I realized that I was helping by simply being part of this sober cyber world; another vulnerable recovering alcoholic.

This blog is also an important part of my lifeline to my friends in recovery.  You'll never get a post from me before I've spent upwards to an hour checking Mrs. D's vibrant antics or I'll head over to check out Belle's amazing talents.  Then I might get some chuckles out of the guy with 'the six year hangover' Along the way I mosey into the gardens and kitchens of many other sober bloggers for a visit or to put my two cents in.  It's my 'hood'.      

Now that I've come to my senses, I figure my Ego and his alter-ego, My Alkie Voice (kinda like Pete and Repeat) are trying a last ditch effort to convince me to start dropping the new found tools that have been instrumental in my finally starting to live an authentic life.

Phew !!

Monday 7 July 2014

Going Public

I am an out there person and don't hide much from anyone.  My husband jokes that there is no filter between my brain and my mouth.  Imagine me drunk?  No wonder I quit.  I just shared a link on facebook that is about a young woman celebrating her first year sober and in the article she goes on about how much better her life is.  I noted in my comments as I shared the link that this might be me in ten months, that I haven't had a drink in two months and that 'Sober is the New Black'. 


That is the first step in putting it out there.  Needless to say, my immediate family is aware of my abstinence because of my motor mouth but going public with it is another story.  In Public is where we are judged, critiqued, commented on and gossiped about.  As Dr. Seuss puts it "Be who you are and say what you feel because those that mind don't matter and those that matter don't mind".

Worrying about what other people think is a sickness most of us have developed from our upbringing, our schooling and our society in general.  We've been brain washed to care about how we are perceived by others.  If I could erase that part of my psyche, I would.  Perhaps, with a lot of retraining of my mind, I can.  It has to start with my acceptance of myself. 

Since I've been sober and reading a lot about stilling the mind, resting in the present moment, practicing acceptance of what is and generally living consciously, I've come a long way in this department.  I still have a long way to go.

I have a few relatives and friends who have stopped drinking for their own reasons and I wish we could talk about it openly.  I am not sure how they would react if I brought it up.  It is such a taboo subject.  I also have to stop beating the subject to death in my head as that was one of the main reasons for me to quit drinking; to stop thinking about it. 

By my peers knowing I've quit drinking, they will know that alcohol was not working for me in one way or another.  Does this bother me?  To be honest, it does but only a little.  I believe that in their heart of hearts, many people are having serious conversations between their egos and their souls about this very same issue.

As a life long goal, I am called to help remove the stigma attached to alcoholism and sobriety and to allow problem drinking to become a subject that is talked about freely without judgment.  Like the de-stigmatizing of depression and mental illness, it is not an easy undertaking. 

I have a lot of inner work to do but I am on my path ....

Wednesday 2 July 2014

My Current Vice: Procrastination

"Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~William James"

I thought that, with sobriety, all my bad habits would magically disappear to be instantly replaced with healthy, healing, goal reaching ones.  I really did.  I thought that by not drinking I would become a zen-like, conscious, proactive go-getter and that I could do anything I set my mind on.

In my naïve, immediate gratification geared mind, I must of skipped a step: the hard work, nose to the grindstone, disciplined part.  Two months into sobriety, I am still dealing with my inaction, procrastination and apathy.  This trio have been my life long companions along with my old friend, addiction.  I finally managed to shake off addiction (or keep him at arms length) but the others will need to go too if I am to become all that I am capable of. 

One barrier to my moving past procrastination is my inability to say no to those I love.  With three children all having babies at the same time, I am asked to babysit on a continuous basis which I love.  We are in the midst of a huge move from one province to another which involves not only me and hubby personally, but our Family Construction Business.  I need to dig deep, get the physical and administrative work done that's needed and for the time being, refuse most babysitting requests.  This is a tough one.  I

Today I made a list of what I will do in the next few working days.  It's a pretty simple list but I must stick to it.  I'll be accountable on this blog.  More important than a To Do list is learning to be active in this moment.  Rather than blogging about getting busy, I should get busy doing little things to work towards my goal of relocation completion. 

"Do it, and then you will feel motivated to do it." ~Zig Ziglar

It's the little steps that create a job fully accomplished.  By getting up early, getting in the car, heading to the office, sitting down at my desk and beginning to work, I am feeding my motivation and starving my procrastination. 

I will be contributing to my happiness if I can nip the inaction in the bud and find a way to be proactive more regularly. 

I welcome suggestions...

Tuesday 1 July 2014

Dancing with Baby

I spent the weekend at the lake and had the honour of hosting three of our four children and their young families.  We had two babies (just learning to walk) and a sweetheart of a three year old who has just learned to whine.  I made a deal with her while swimming that Granny would splash her every time she whined and it worked!!  She curbed her droning.. ha ha.

I am a music nut and since I've been sober I've downloaded a lot of songs to my I-phone.  We have a connection that allows me to play my music aloud and the babies just loved it.  They were both bopping along and trying to sing.. it was hilarious.

While dancing in the sun room with the one year old a surge of joy welled up inside me that was indescribable in it's simplistic fullness.  I was not feeling the effects of a summer buzz (which can be dizzying at it's best) and the baby and I were enjoying the music together in the innocent way that youngsters do. 

No one got drunk this weekend including people that normally do.  The family Matriarch (moi) must have some positive influence on the tribe... LOL..

My monkey mind was really trying to send me some curve balls this weekend.  It was telling me what a horrible human being and mother I was and, currently am.  It was reminding me of all the missteps I've ever taken in my life.  I, actually, caught my deeper self saying "wow, do you see what your ego is trying to do here??"  or "Isn't that interesting..." when my self talk turned nasty.  What a huge step towards conscious living that was. 

It seems when all is well and I am more than content, my alkie brain (or ego, monkey mind, Wolfie or whatever you want to call it) really digs deep to destroy me.  It used to work.  Now, it doesn't. 

Big change!  I am very happy with this subtle awakening to my negative self talk.  With this tool, I can continue to move towards my goal of being simply 'me' with no side steps to accommodate my guilt or shame.

I like this sobriety side effect.  I really like it.