Friday 31 October 2014

Good-Bye Self-Improvement !!

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

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

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

.... and the list goes on.

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday 28 October 2014

So Far So Good

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

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

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

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

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

So far so good!

Friday 24 October 2014

Safety in Numbers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 23 October 2014

I'm Back and Ready for Another Go!

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday 11 October 2014

Taking a Small Hiatus ..

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

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

Stay strong my friends.

Thursday 9 October 2014

So Close but Yet So Far...

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hurry up, November!

Wednesday 8 October 2014

Blood Moon Rising

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday 6 October 2014

Dreams, Desires and Working Toward their Attainment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday 5 October 2014

Typical Cloud Nine Sunday Morning Post

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday 3 October 2014

Substitution VS A Different Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 2 October 2014

It Would Be Easy to Lie on the Blog

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

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

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

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

I am scared and feeling pretty useless.

Wednesday 1 October 2014

I am Drinking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It could kill me.

There's Change in the Air

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

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

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

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

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