Category Archives: Spiritual

Existential bummer

I saw this video called Existential Bummer thanks to Marie Forleo and having watched it, firstly I thought of Prim, and then I thought about how it applies to this journey.   Better let you see it first! 😉

Whenever I was at the peak of happiness I thought that a drink would complete the moment somehow, would make it even better or me happier.   Thing is that it rarely played out that way and in some ways that perfect moment was spoiled by my choice to add booze.  See this short film talks about holding on a little harder and saying that I will not let go and I’m going to extend this moment forever – or at least I’m going to try.

And now the only way I know how to do that is to not drink.  Drinking at those happiest moments meant that I forgot or I took my eye off of the very thing that had triggered the joy.  It meant I got sloppy and blacked out and ended up with no memories.  Sometimes it ended not in happiness but in sadness and upset.

The moment was perfect and complete as it was and I need to remember that next time and every time.  And the only way I will not interfere with these memories being created and be able to extend them for ever is to be present.  Present completely all the time = no mind numbing or bending drugs like alcohol for me.

Actually that makes it easier and clearer for me.  Simple.  In my drinking days the idea of stopping drinking would have been an existential bummer whereas now it’s the thought of drinking that bums me out.  Who knew? 🙂

72 days to go

 

The Art of Possibility

I’ve been reading this great book by Rosamund and Benjamin Zander called ‘The Art of Possibility’ and it includes one of my favourite quotes by Marianne Williamson:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.  We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous – actually, who are we not to be?

You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.  There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.  We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.  It is not just in some of us: it is in everyone, and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

Drinking kept my hopes and dreams in check.  All mouth and no trousers.

Drinking was my playing small and enabled me to shrink away from the world.

Drinking dimmed my light and I hope that by sharing the journey from stopping through recovery we, that is myself and my other fellow sober bloggers, shine a light to lead the way for others to follow.  What could you do or be if you put down the drink?

79 days to go

Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love (1992, New York: Harper Collins)

 

 

Changing your Life

This is so good I watched it several times.  So much of what Todd Herman discussed with Marie Forleo is applicable to quitting booze and how to reframe giving it up as WOW rather than OWW! 😉

So the top 5 tips he recommends to changing habits:

  1. Know what you’re seeking – visualise a life with less booze or without it
  2. Set trigger goals – little micro-changes you can make to make your goal more likely
  3. Set improvement goals – this means numbers with a date attached; for example 5 days booze free by 3 weeks from today either individually or consecutively
  4. Gather a tribe!!  Yo yo sober cheerleading posse  🙂
  5. Script your setbacks – know how you’ll decline a drink or how you’ll manage a relapse and anticipate how you’ll feel or react.

Gold, just gold and hope you found it as useful as I did.  What did you think of it?

87 days to go

 

Day 250 of the journey

Now I told Prim that I hated musicals and here I’ve posted up just that!!  Me, contradictory much? 😉

I took my children to see Frozen over Christmas and my daughter has been playing songs from the film to death ever since.  The thing is I LOVE this song and it brings tears to my eyes almost every time I hear it.  It just resonates so deeply somehow with this journey.

So at day 250 I’m letting go.  It is what this journey is ultimately about I am beginning to think and feel.

Thank you for being on the journey with me.  I wouldn’t be here without you 🙂 xx

Raising the bar on life

So this week-end has really shaken things up for me.  My running buddy was the first person I told I was going to give up drinking the week-end before I did and this was our first time together again since that day.  Not only that but it was a week-end of more firsts – first hotel, first organised run event, first meal out with friend, all sober.

Don’t get me wrong it was a huge success and I feel so proud of myself but that in itself has created a bit of a problem.  See when you start to do well in some aspects of your life you, or I at least, start to question other elements of it that are less rosy.  It’s like you raise the bar on life.

See before if I wasn’t particularly happy about something that was happening, or I had to do, I would drink, smoke and moan to a friend.  You know ‘poor me, poor me, pour me another one’.  But 2/3rd’s of that coping strategy is no longer available to me and so I find myself in a bit of a conniption (I love that word and just had to use it!)

I used to be a happy little wage slave and the private and public corporations could do their worst and I would drink.  Annoying person in the office?  Have a drink when you get home.  Dull and boring task?  Reward yourself later.  So I am struggling with the whole happy in my work day existence and the fabulous week-end just drew attention to that fact.  I love my job, I just hate the office politics and am not very good at playing the game or keeping my mouth shut – can you tell? 😉

What I’m struggling with is do I trust myself and my emotions in these early days?  It feels like a real issue but I can’t work out if it’s a ruse to destabilise things and make drinking more likely or if I genuinely am just not happy with the status quo in a way that I used to be before.  Maybe I’ve always been less than happy with things and I just need to let it go.  I really don’t know and it is giving me angst.

If there are any wise words that you can offer I’d much appreciate it.  Answers on a postcard please, or in the comments section below 🙂

 

Breaking our own promises

Great audio from Nicole Antoinette at Life Less Bullshit about the subject of ‘stopping breaking the promises you make to yourself’.

It’s particularly resonant because, as she shares in the audio, 3 years ago Nicole was one of us boozers struggling with daily drinking, getting up in the morning and promising she wouldn’t drink that day and then breaking that promise later that same day. Familiar stuff right?

Now she’s been sober 3 years and this is one of the things that helped her get sober.  So if it worked for her, and if you’re stuck in this daily promises dilemma, it might help you 🙂

Edited to add: 07.19am The promise I am making to myself today is that I have signed up to the Recovery 2.0 Beyond Addiction online conference this week-end.  I won’t have the time to listen to all the speakers but I will commit to listening to a few each day as part of my self-care routine this week-end.  What small promise are you making to yourself today?

 

 

 

 

The spiral of change

I’m reading this great book called ‘Almost Alcoholic: Is My (or My Loved One’s) Drinking a Problem?’ by Robert Doyle, a Psychiatrist from Harvard Medical School and expert on alcoholism and Joseph Nowinski, a Clinical Psychologist.  It is really worth a read.

In it they talk about using dialectics to promote an inner dialogue to allow insight and maybe even the catalyst for an ‘aha’ moment!  Dialectics is a way to understand the way things are and the way things change.  The 3 simple rules of dialectics are:

  1. Every thing is made of opposing forces/sides (be it object or process)
  2. Gradual changes leads to turning points, where one opposite overcomes the other
  3. Changes move in spirals, not circles

Image

This makes me think of the expression ‘being trapped in a downward spiral’ which is often how my drinking felt.  But we can also have upward spirals which is where I consider myself now as my health, wealth and happiness improve on an almost daily basis.

They give some great examples of dialetic thoughts and questions to ponder such as:

Who am I vs Who do I think I should I be?

What do I want vs Why am I here?

Where have I been vs Where am I going?

I find these questions useful both from a still drinking perspective or a post stopping perspective.  When I was drinking these questions were helpful in aiding my resolve to change my drinking behaviour initially temporarily and then permanently.

Now I’ve stopped I’m thinking about what I want to do with all the time, energy and resources that are now available to me and how I can best use them to make my life feel like it is moving forward and I am growing, learning and reaching my full potential.

Clear Thinking

I recently read the book by David Downie ‘Escape the Routine, Take Control, and Join the Clear Thinkers‘ and really enjoyed it.  I read it in one sitting and it triggered a great deal of reflection on my part.

David is an Aussie who knows a thing or two about beer having founded AustralianBeers.com and was the Australian contributor  to the international beer bible ‘1001 Beers You Must Drink Before You Die’.  Having been such an advocate and encourager of the swilling of beer he is now 3 years into a stint of being ‘between drinks’.

This started as a decision to give up alcohol for a year and he was so struck by the changes that happened that he decided to keep going.   Why did he stop?  Tired of feeling tired and unfit, curious as to what life would be like and because he felt he had nothing to lose as he could always change his mind and have a drink if he wanted.

When he started the journey he was a partner in a major law firm and beer expert.  Now he has left this job having cleared all his debt and works as a writer, has moved from the city to a beach on the Gold Coast and found a new girl.  Life for him has improved immeasurably since he became a clear thinker.  Stopping drinking enabled him to assess what he wanted from his life which prompted massive changes.

The book looks at the value of being a clear thinker and the differences between clear thinkers and typical drinkers.  He shares his experiences through the first year and offers actions at the end of each chapter.  The thing I really like about this book is it considers the benefits of this change in lifestyle and the implications for the long term.  It is framed in terms of huge gains and you read it and think why would you not?

This paragraph summed it up for me:

for people who have let the grog monster grab them by the tail, I am 100 per cent confident that breaking the pattern and letting your soul and mind recover for a good while can give you an opportunity to ask some of the bigger questions, and make real changes to your life as a result.

I absolutely agree with David on this and my life has changed immeasurably in the 5 months since I quit.  Personally, I would never have started this blog if I was still drinking.  I wouldn’t have tried my hand at sewing again.  I wouldn’t have met the brilliant people who write these great books and the many brilliant sober blogs I read every day.

I’ve already worked out that we will save almost £5K a year from not drinking.  And that’s enough to pay for tickets for my family to potentially fly to Australia and go sit on the beach with David now that he doesn’t have to do the work slog.  If that’s OK with him? 😉

Edited to add: David and I have been in touch on email and he had an update for me:

I’m about to take off with my ‘new girl’ next week, around Australia, and then Thailand I think, who knows after that. Maybe France…

Of course as France is only across the water from here I invited him for a cup of tea  🙂  If this is booze free living – I’m in!!

Cutting loose

It’s my 5 month sober-versary today! 🙂

I’m going to celebrate with this tune:

The reason I love both this song and this video is because it reminds me of how life used to be for me before booze.  Soul Train started to air in 1971 and is a big part of my memory of my youth.  Maybe I have a nostalgic naive view of this programme but they appear to be having a fantastic time just grooving to the music and in the most amazing 70’s threads! 😉 No booze.

This song also reminds me of a bitching session I had to Belle back in the earlier days of this journey.  Me whining about how will I ever cut loose again? cue face palm from me.  I got so caught up in the ‘no booze = no fun’ belief that I completely overlooked how joyous life could be with out it, which is what Belle kindly reminded me about (thanks again Belle) during my temper tantrum hissy fit pity party.

Five months in there are loads of ways I lose myself;  in dance, in music, in a good film, in a good book, in a run, in nature, in time with my kids, luxurating in the bath.  The world didn’t stop turning when I stopped drinking.  Fun didn’t get less fun.  It got clearer, sharper, more memorable – because I actually remember it all 🙂

What things do you cut loose with/too that I should consider trying?

Midlife crisis or renewal of life vow?

I’m at the age where this spell of not drinking could be observed and perceived to be a ‘midlife crisis’.  For me that normally conjures up images of women getting facelifts or men going out and buying a fast car or motorbike – trying to turn back the clock of time and recapture their youth.  But if you’re a ‘kidult’, as the UK media likes to label us Brits who have refused to grow up,  and you have spent the last 25 years kicking the arse out of life with drink, drugs and other risky behaviours then why would you want to recapture your youth?  I never left.

So if this isn’t a midlife crisis in the typical ‘normal’ meaning of the expression then what is it?  For me it is about a renewal of my vow to life.  I spent that 25 years of my young adulthood mostly having a blast but now it is time to move on and do something different.  Einstein’s definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  There is so much to this life and to see on our wonderful planet.  It’s time to reach beyond the limits of the bottom of a bottle and the inside of a pub, bar or club.

Yeah I could make this vow of renewal and keep drinking but would I keep my word to see and do more with my life?  I suspect not.  So much of that 25 years was spent dreaming up plans and adventures that never amounted to anything more than hot air – oh and time and money pissed down the drain ….

Time to keep my word to myself because I’m feeling good

🙂