Friday 28 November 2014

Day Two... reporting in

This morning I managed to get up early, have a lime and water, meditate, jump on my rebounder, make a kale blueberry smoothie and read a bit of literature.

I feel great just because I got that little bit done.

My mother took advantage of it being her last day of freedom to sleep in and didn't get up until I poked her at 11:45.  I had started to worry that she had passed away in her sleep.  When she gets back to the retirement home she'll be nudged at 6:45 each morning so I was glad to see her sleeping in.

We drive her to Toronto tomorrow and I am not sure whether I will be able to post while I'm away but I'll try.

Lately my knees have been protesting when I squat down and try to get up so it's really about time I reconnected with my trusty, rusty rebounder.  It is a wonderful way to get in shape with minimal effort.  I want to work up to half an hour a day of jumping.  If I can incorporate this practice into my life, I might just be around to piss my kids off for many years to come.

The meditation is essential in order for me to complete any goal I might aspire to.  It really stills the mind and allows me to focus inward.

I have about one hundred unread books on my bookshelf.  I can't wait to dive in and read for a couple of hours a day.  I seem to stop reading when I am unsettled or unhappy.  I am not unhappy right now but definitely at the end of a very unsettling time in my life.

Will check in soon. xox

Thursday 27 November 2014

The Witching Hour: A Force to Be Reckoned With

Every night is a party night around here!!  My Uncle and his partner came to see my Mom before she left for home and my DIL cooked us some delicious food.  The house was alive with laughter and fun. Despite my best morning intentions, I, not only poured myself a glass of wine but almost insisted my DIL join me.  She explained that her and my son had been trying to cut down during the week as around here 'every night's a party'.  We agreed that we would not drink during the week anymore.  We even shook hands on it.

The Witching Hour

This is the time of day that the wine calls me.  I am very sincere in the mornings when I blog about not drinking and right up to 5:00 pm, I am still planning on abstaining.  Like I said in an earlier post, my body seems to float to the box o' wine (which has been moved upstairs again) and glug, glug, glug.  I am so sick of the repetition of it all and the never following through.  It's tempting to just give up and drink.  After all, my drinking is usually just two glasses or so....

But I Have to Keep On Trying ...

The reason I have to beat the beast even if it takes the rest of my life is because I am a prime example of the progressiveness of addiction.  If I knew then (when I started ten years ago) what I know now, I would have never thought that a glass of wine every night with dinner was cool.  Now the compulsion to drink a glass of wine (or 3) is such a strong urge that it is not so much a decision as a reaction.

That's why meditation, quiet time and reflection are crucial to mastering my mind.  We are all on automatic reflex when it comes to so many actions we take throughout the day.  It's that automatic reflex that causes us to float through life never really experiencing it.

I am on Day One again and right now it seems so certain.  I must look up some tools to help me deal with the 'witching hour' so my body does not take on it's zombie like actions and trick me into drinking wine.

Normally, I don't get drunk.  The true reason for me quitting is to gain control over something that seems to have control over me.  We were all created with the 'will' to determine every action we take.  We can't control our thoughts but we surely can control our reaction to our thoughts.

Monday is the start of a new week and a new journey with no excuses.  Our little family will be working during the day and enjoying our dinner together.  It is not a party; it is a family dinner.  The little guy (18 months old) is entertainment enough without the glass of wine.  He sure is a sweetie.  I am really enjoying him and his parents (who seem to have a better handle on their booze intake than I do).  I cherish every moment they are with us.  I want to enjoy them and my life in an authentic, alive way; not through the distorting screen of booze.

I'll get there eventually but I wish I could impart to all those who are just beginning to think that drinking wine nightly is elegant and cool.  It might very well be but the price we eventually pay is huge.  Addiction is not a dirty word.  It is the body and brain's response to repeated behaviours that cause temporary sustenance to our brain's pleasure receptors.  It can happen to everyone and it's a bitch to pry oneself free from.

Wednesday 26 November 2014

DAY THREE ... Finally Time Alone !

The box o' wine was brought upstairs by hubby at dinner time.  I wanted some.  I resisted.  I made myself a lemon water.  I love lemon water.  Every one asked "Why was the wine downstairs."  I quietly said "So I don't have to look at it and be tempted."  No one paid much attention.

For the past five years before we decided on the big move, I have had the luxury of time alone every day.  These past ten months have been quite the adjustment.  Finally, my Mother is going home Saturday.  Then, for the first time in ages, I'll have relative quiet from 8:40 a.m. until about 3:30 p.m. during the weekdays.

What mischief I will get into!!  Besides playing the keyboard to my heart's content, knitting like there's no tomorrow, immersing myself in nature, cooking delicious, healthy food and writing a novel I do have some practical plans as well.

Firstly, I'll take time each morning for quiet work in the office to ensure we stay compliant with all our clients and the work keeps coming in.  Secondly, I'll take special care of myself and my home ensuring we are both clean, tidy and dressed up every day.  Thirdly, I'll take time for reading, meditation and gently exercising.

Ahhhh !!!  You never appreciate anything until it's gone and I've really missed my solitude.

I would like to take this opportunity to slowly integrate the life I want to live into the sphere of my reality.  I finally want to end the cycle of planning, hoping and dreaming and replace it with the thrill of doing, experiencing and living.

I've written about putting no pressure on myself to make other healthy changes while trying to get sober.  As Dr. Phil asks "How's that been working out for you?" 'Not very well' is the answer.  I've just managed to over-indulge in my other addictions and eventually succumb to what my unchanged lifestyle directs me towards.

Without boring you with the details, starting Monday, I plan on, not just talking the talk, but, truly walking the walk of an aware, authentic, health-minded, serene, community involved, wise old doll.

I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday 25 November 2014


With the wine in the basement, no one drank last night with the exception of my Mother who would never not drink.  Methinks, with the others, it is I who is the bad influence.  :-(

After making two suppers because some of the family doesn't like liver and onions and it's my Mom's favourite meal (always sucking up to the old doll), the dishwasher was full and a the counter top was laden with filthy dishes, bacon grease and what have you.  Hubby went through the motions of 'cleaning up' by taking the dishes off the table but, as usual, it was left to me to sort things out.  If I had had even one glass of wine, I would have left the mess until this morning.  Instead I did the dishes by hand, dried them rather than leaving them to air dry, made hubby a nice lunch, prepared the coffee for the next day, sliced my Mom a piece of cake and made tea for both of us.

By the time I sat down with my mindless TV, it was close to nine o'clock.  When hubby announced he was going to bed, I went with him instead of staying up late.  This helped this morning as I was able to get out of bed that much earlier which is part of my recovery... having a day started on the right foot.

We had unseasonably warm, very windy weather yesterday and the huge pine trees in our yard were swaying dangerously but the air outside was electric with life.  I enjoyed spending a bit of time on the veranda just soaking up the wildness of the wind.  It was very stimulating.

This morning I was able to snatch a few minutes to read some Buddhist teachings about meditation before the old doll got up and I began the toast and coffee routine with her.  She leaves Saturday and I am pleasantly surprised at how pleasant her visit has been.  Although she is very quiet and aggressive with her walker when people are in her way, she is no trouble at all. I'll be driving her back to Toronto on the weekend.

I have to now put in a good hour of work before taking a break.  Nose to the grindstone!!

Monday 24 November 2014

Day ONE .. Not Out Of The Woods Yet...

I keep going back to drinking.  My latest excuse is that my son and his wife have moved in with their little one and my alcoholic Mom is visiting for two weeks.  I started out very well and since February have had mostly sober days.  Lately I am falling back into old patterns.  I believe today is the day I remove the wine from the cupboard and put in in the basement so I don't have to look at it any more.  I will get flack from hubby who will make fun of me but it's for the best and I will stand up for my right to have the booze out of my line of vision.

Hang on, I'm going to grab the box o' wine right now.

It's safely put away... if the basement can be called a safe place.  I feel that my DIL would not be drinking as much if it weren't for hubby and me having wine with meals.

I have been sporadic to put it politely.  Mostly I don't drink.  The scariest part is that, when I do, it's like my body is not associated with my brain.  I go on auto-pilot and pour a glass of wine.  Last night I said a few asinine things and this morning I feel bad.  I have learned or am learning that, no matter what, I always regret drinking even when I manage to keep my big mouth shut.

I had the wake up call at 3:00 a.m. this morning and another morning a few nights ago.  You know that 3:00 a.m. wide awake full of regret feeling?

It's so tempting to back away from this blog when I screw up and I did.  We also lost our internet connection for a week so that didn't help.

I will report in tomorrow as to how I am doing.  If I had not had a drink since my big quit in February I would have seven months under my belt by now.

I am going to try to post every single day until I reach day one hundred and hopefully that'll keep me honest (and sober)!!

My mother, for the record, is self-monitoring very well for an 84 year old chronic alcoholic.  She doesn't want me to refuse to let her drink so she is having about two lite beers a day mixed with soda water.  I am not going to try to stop her as I feel this is a huge effort for her and am, actually, proud of her.

Her very presence is such a reminder of why I drink, how I drink and where I am headed if I don't stop.  She is completely a non-participant in every day discussions, activities and interactions.  She is either eating sugary treats, sucking on her faux cigarette or drinking beer all the while reading or doing crossword puzzles.  She is no trouble but not really present.

I am very apathetic when I drink too.  I have her addictive personality.  I love my coffee, candy, wine and other indulgences.  Whenever I feel the least bit lonely or bored, I reach for my addictive substances.  I wonder if the best way to beat the booze is to stop the other addictive behaviours too.  Life without coffee???  Without jelly beans and cookies???  Maybe that's something I should try.  Yikes!! I am not sure I could handle all that sacrifice at once.  The nakedness of it all!!!!  The vulnerability I would feel!!

I have so many books to read, songs to learn on the keyboard.  I want to continue with my yoga, jump on my mini-rebounder, get out in the woods, meditate, eat healthier and get involved in my community.  I don't want to end up like Mom just waiting for my life to end while drinking, poisoning my body with sugar, postponing all that is important to me for the sake of a bloody drink.

Hopeless is a word that describes the way I feel.  I wonder if I have what it takes to actually follow through with sober living.  Today for the first time ever I looked up the AA meetings in my area.  I may have to resort to going.

Tuesday 11 November 2014

Finally Moved In and Things Have Changed

Things have changed in my neck of the woods.  We have moved into our new home and now have a bed to sleep on, a table to eat on and a couch to rest on.  My son, his wife and my 17 month old grandson have joined us and are occupying the basement.  We went from just the two of us living in a dilapidated, over-crowded trailer to living with extended family in a luxurious, brand new home.  It is busy around here.  Each night we create a feast and the whole gang enjoy a drink or two before dinner.  I happily drink my A/F wine or beer or more often than not, drink my delicious tea.  I have dedicated an entire drawer in my kitchen to my varied selection of great teas.

I am enjoying the complete change of lifestyle and know that while it lasts, I'll reap the benefits of a busy household and when the younger generation inevitably leaves to build their own family nest, I'll be glad as well.

Sobriety is so easy for me.  That is dangerous because with the ease comes a complacency and a detachment from the sober community.  I am blogging today because I know it is a necessary part of my recovery.  What a sly little trickster addiction is... I feel confident, healthy and independent.  This is the condition that usually causes the door to open a crack to let the little monster back in.  Because of what I've learned previously and with the tools in my arsenal, I may be able to stop it the next time it pounces but I have to stay close to you all.

I have loads of things to do in the next few weeks but don't feel as overwhelmed as in the past. Is that because I have, not only my days, but my evenings to accomplish all that needs to be done or is it because I am sober.  Six of one, half a dozen of the other as they say.

I am preparing for my alcoholic mother's two week visit.  Rather than confronting her with the "You can't drink in my home!" routine, I think I will just pour her a beer or two with half A/F beer.  That way the most she'll get in an evening is one.  This will allow her to stay sober and on her feet.  The last thing we need (her included) is a fall causing a hospitalization.  I will also ply her with home made sweets which is another addiction of her's.

Most of the boxes are unpacked and I have yet to find two gold coins we purchased a few years ago when we had a bit of cash.  They are worth $3000 and I should be beside myself with worry as we are pretty broke right now.  I have to stay positive and hope they turn up.  Maybe in a few years when we are in real dire straits, they'll appear in a timely manner... hope, hope, hope!!

I am starting to feel organized.  I have lots to do and will now make myself some lunch.

Have a great, sober day partners!!

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Shhhh !! I need to concentrate!

I went for a walk in the woods today in a little village in Western Quebec called Fort Coulonge.  It's a tiny hamlet with a meandering river which I followed into the forest (keeping alert so I didn't get lost).  Twice I stopped and tried to meditate and both times my monkey mind would not stop chattering about nothing.  I was actually afraid that if I stopped 'thinking' I would miss out on some important thought.  What the $%^& !!!  What kind of world am I living in where I can't spare ten minutes to quiet my mind?  There is so much going on with the completion of the house, the emptying of our furniture, the office work, the new business ideas I have brewing and such.  In reality, there is always something important going on because I choose to live my life with lots of change and am always transitioning.  It's a choice I make on a daily basis.

When I relax or read or play the keyboard, there is a voice in my head that chastises me for doing nothing.  It's a voice I hear but have learned to laugh at because of the ridiculousness of it.  When the phone rings in the evening I ask myself if it is really necessary to take every call that comes in.  These calls are from my kids, my brothers and sisters and close friends.  My cell phone is my ball and chain.  I feel I can be found no matter what I'm doing or where I am.  I just want to be left alone.

When I sit at the computer where I work, I am pulled to click on facebook, pinterest, email, blogs, websites and especially my computer scrabble game where I am scoring points in the 400's.  My work suffers and I feel scattered and unfulfilled. Mindless activity derails me every time.

If I could ask for anything from the universe it would be self-discipline.  When I meditate (or try to) my inbreath is accompanied by the word 'discipline' and my out breath is pushed out with the word 'love'.  I want to take in discipline and send my love to the universe.

Being a champion procrastinator I promise myself that when my home is furnished and I am living in it rather than camping in it, things will change.  But I've promised myself to work on self-discipline for many years with no real success to speak of.

I want to stay away from those self-improvement lists I've decided are useless and soul-destroying but how else do I pull myself together and do what is necessary to not fall behind, keep the business side of things going and to make time to enjoy the hobbies I love?

I have books on fixing procrastination but I procrastinate on reading them.  How do I go from being labelled on a personality test as a 'squiggly' (others were rectangles, squares, circles, etc.) to being a person with self-discipline and, therefore calmness of spirit?  I wish I knew.  Sobriety helps but so far, being sober is not enough.

Accepting myself for who I am works for a while but when I see all that I am not accomplishing that I truly want to accomplish, it gets discouraging.  So, we shall see what happens in the next few weeks but as of now, I have to try to meditate, to still this racing mind of mine.  Shhh .... I need quiet!

Tuesday 4 November 2014

Murmurs From the Heart

I am not a problem drinker.  I am normal.  At least, that's what everyone says.

Even this morning when a friend and I were discussing his desire to cut down his wine intake during the week, the subject of my abstinence came up and he brushed me off with a "You are too hard on yourself."  I get that all the time.  People don't believe I need to stop drinking.  I used to take this as a sign that, maybe, I am overdoing the goody two shoes routine. Recently, I've began to see these comments as, simply, ignorance.

We have friends and family that interfere with our inner knowledge using words that question our decisions and choices.  We have an even closer acquaintance that is capable of undermining us to an extent our friends and family can only dream of: our own mind.

The mind is a complicated instrument.  Typically, unless we've achieved enlightenment and are able to 'not think', our ego or monkey mind emits a stream of information, analysis and commentary every moment of every day. Somewhere, at a deeper level, our true self lies, quietly, prodding us to live our lives fully and authentically and to trust in ourselves rather than adhere to the chatter that surrounds us in all our waking moments.  The key to a realistic inner perspective as humans interacting with the universe is to to quiet the chatter and hear our genuine selves.

My inner chatter has been reprimanding me for ages insisting that my drinking thoughts and patterns are unhealthy.  When I contemplate abstinence that same monkey mind insists I don't really have a problem.  Back and forth I go swinging from "I need to quit" to "I am fine" within the span of a second or two.  It's enough to drive me to drink ... and, in the past, it has.

Achieving the awareness to be conscious of the steady murmurs coming from our deeper, more loving self is a difficult process.  We have outside stimulants interfering such as responsibilities, relationships, cultural expectations, the internet and real time constraints.  Our deeper self doesn't waver on it's message.  In varying situations it's words always imply the same subtle suggestion: to make each and every decision one that moves us closer to our happiness and fulfillment.

Our ego doesn't want us to believe we are worthy of happiness. It's mere existence depends on us being restless and believing we are not making good decisions.  That's why, when we drink, it reprimands us and when we abstain it ridicules us by often reminding us of others in worse circumstances.  When we are able to slide into that elusive place called 'contentment', the ego feels itself dying.  The key to staying content is to allow our ego to ramble on, acknowledged but not taken for anything other than what it is; chatter, then, alertly, listen to our heart's whispers.

My true self knows that I am happier sober.  My Ego can't make up it's mind.  I will listen to the murmurs of my heart and gently live my life without the burden of booze.

Sunday 2 November 2014

Recovering from Debauchery

We broke the bank building this house and now don't have two pennies to rub together.

When hubby and I started out together 12 years ago, he was borderline wealthy (at least in my mind coming from a life of a single Mom working for $30,000 a year raising three children).  We spent money like it was water and lived like there was no tomorrow.  There were exotic vacations, Winnebago trips, muscle cars, Harley Davidsons, fancy restaurants, gifts to the family and no attention was paid to cost.  My husband is a very generous man and was the guy always paying the bill for everyone else.  I naively went along with him and mindlessly indulged myself and others with what I thought was a bottomless pit of money.

All that has changed now.  With the business slowly recovering from some painful losses, the new home costing much more than we planned and the beautiful white elephant of a lake house that sits a two hour drive away sucking away at our finances, we are now, officially broke.

Rather than feeling sorry for myself, I've decided to create a major, stimulating project out of living frugally.  I feel so lucky to not be a depressive sort. I know it's not something people can control.  My brain chemistry must have lots of serotonin because I am up for the challenge of Frugal Living.  That's not to say hubby and I are not worried about being able to hold on to this lovely home but, together, we've made the decision to stop all the debauchery that we absolutely cannot afford and start counting our pennies.

The office is almost set up in the airy, well lit basement and this will be my money savings control centre.  I have lots of plans and ideas for bringing us back, not to where we were before; that's impossible, but to a secure place financially where we can retire with relative comfort and ease.

My first course of action will be to sell the lake house and it's contents and to open more doors for our construction company.   As the company administrator, it's within my power to get our company compliant with clients requirements and to solicit more work.

Secondly, I wish to bring in money as a Yoga instructor.  This is a two year plan because I need to immerse myself in yoga and then take a two hundred hour course to qualify.  I have fallen in love with Yoga and have planned my basement with a yoga studio in mind.  I also have an idea to open a letter writing business where I write all sorts of letters, both personal and business, for clients who aren't as handy with words as I am.  I am relatively good with the written word, and will enjoy helping others.  Both businesses involve doing what I love and, according to what I've read, that is one of the keys to success.

On a daily basis, I will curb our spending starting with booze!!!  That expense has dropped considerably and should continue to do so once we are settled in this house.  Groceries will be bought according to what's on sale, we'll have minimal frivolous purchases and even Christmas will be toned down to buying mostly for the grandchildren.  I am now on a mission to do whatever it takes to put us in a position where, in five years, hubby, who has worked very hard his whole life, can finally retire and become an adviser for the company rather than continue working with the tools as he has been doing. He will 71 by then.  I'll be 62 and hopefully, fit as a fiddle and able to continue running my enterprises with enthusiasm and excitement.

For the record, I realize that we, as middle class Canadians, are far wealthier, even at our poorest, than many other inhabitants of this planet Earth.  I appreciate that my being 'broke' is tantamount to being wealthy beyond one's wildest dreams in some places.  That being said, I am living in my little corner of the world and working hard to correct over-spending and bad business decisions we've made and to bring us back, humbly, to a comfortable existence.

I know I recently posted that I am done with self-improvement projects.  This is not one of those.  This is an absolutely necessary path I am taking in order to gain a semblance of security in my life.

It's going to be fun, challenging but will take time, effort and, above all, sobriety.