Challenging the culture

winner

So I’ve been following this woman called Erin Shaw, she’s started a community called Tell better Stories.

“Tell Better Stories examines lifestyle media and marketing geared toward women, and the messages we constantly see in our feeds and in our lives: that alcohol is the norm, an essential part of “lifestyle.” We’re not prohibitionists, but rather question how we construct messaging in media (including social) and marketing. Since we’re all creators now, how do we create thoughtfully? Our aim is to create conversation and help develop useable guidelines to help tell better stories about alcohol in lifestyle media.”

Find her website here: https://www.tellbetterstoriesmedia.com/blog/2018/3/10/welcome-to-tell-better-stories

So I really love what she’s doing and I started getting involved by adding a hashtag and my view to a meme she flagged to her followers on instagram. The meme in question is the featured image for my post and was posted by the institution that is Scary Mommy who has 1.1 Million followers.

I was really excited about this new outlet and I felt like I was playing a small part in challenging the status quo…like a sober ninja fighting the good fight.  I could not have prepared myself for the shitstorm that broke out on instagram the following morning.

I will spare you the detailed barrage of comments that were thrown around.  Suffice to say the women who follow scary Mommy on instgram were not impressed.

A couple of highlights:

“If a meme threatens your sobriety better go to back AA”

“SOME people are taking this way to seriously I think they need a drink!”

“Don’t be jealous just because we can have a drink and still be epic parents.”

The most upsetting thing though was one woman who felt that we were shaming them. She thought we were coming from a place of holier than through teetotallers who look down on the women who drink.

This totally knocked the wind out of my sails and I had to take a step back.

My intention was to communicate with a brand that is equating drinking with motherhood and normalising the use of a highly addictive drug. The result was a shit-fight between followers of these two institutions and I honestly don’t think the brand Scary Mommy even noticed and even if they did probably didn’t care.

The culture we live is constantly telling women and mothers to DRINK.

We need to drink to…

feel sexy
be naughty
feel like independent women
deal with motherhood
to have another identity besides just being a mom
feel young
be fun
take care of ourselves
have OUR ME TIME

I am going to rethink how I can help the cause without making other women feel ashamed. I do not judge anyone who drinks. How can I? If you drink moderately more power to you, if you are drinking addictively you are self-medicating as I did for the best part of 20 years probably more (I’m too tired to count)

I am questioning the ‘mommy needs wine culture because it has a lot to answer for. So many women are stuck in addiction and they will remain stuck for many more years because they can hide comfortably behind these memes. I did! I couldn’t believe there were other moms who drank like me! I was so relieved because I thought if they are all doing it must be ok. It’s not fucking ok! We are losing ourselves to this drug.

The indoctrination can be subtle but mostly its pretty much in your face. Here are a couple of examples of memes in case you haven’t seen them:

Adding a hash tag to memes asking the brands posting them to “#tell better stories” may not be the way to go for me. I like what Erin is doing but I feel that the women who are stuck in addiction can look at those comments on social media and feel judged or they will quite rightly feel outraged. Like we are trying to tell them what to do! My beef is not with the drinkers but with the brands and the alcohol companies…

Follow the money because someone is getting very rich and it suits the patriarchy down to the ground to keep women drunk & submissive!

As for the sober ninja…I’ve approached several brands directly by post and email and I think I will keep doing that for now. In some small way my voice is objecting…even if no one is listening. Challening an ‘idea’ like mom wine culture has to be done at the people in power not the people participating in it.

 

 

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The way out is through…

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“Every addiction arises from an unconscious refusal to face and move through your own pain. Every addiction starts with pain and ends with pain. Whatever the substance you are addicted to –alcohol, food, legal or illegal drugs, or a person — you are using something or somebody to cover up your pain. That is why, after the initial euphoria has passed, there is so much unhappiness, so much pain in intimate relationships. They do not cause pain and unhappiness. The bring out the pain and unhappiness that is already in you. Every addiction does that. Every addiction reaches a point where it does not work for you anymore, and then you feel the pain more intensely than ever. ”
~Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now pg152-153)

The veil


I can see through the thin veil that separates my two lives. The two different fates determined by which part of my brain wins the game. My tea drinking yoga doing self or the other one. The one that smokes and drinks neat whiskey without making a scrunchy up face. The one that doesn’t give a shit whether she lives or dies, the one that will do anything on a dare. It terrifies me to know that I am one bad decision one disaster away from picking up a drink and drowning myself in it. The thirst for oblivion can come on so quickly it comes in a surge and I almost have to catch my breath…it can thrill me so. I know I’m in trouble when I start listening to Led Zeppelin too loudly or when I drive too fast. I’m on the edge between worlds and anything can happen… The thrill is short lived. What is left is terror and fear. Sobriety is a day at a time deal. I’m good for today but I would be lying if I told you that other part of me isn’t still there. She is there and she peeks through every now and again just to remind me to do the work every day so that I get to go to bed sober. Instead of fearing her I have to take good care of her. She is just a frightened little girl, this shadow of mine.  💖💗💕

Invasion of the body snatchers…

bodysnatchers

So I was thinking the other day… you know how you can’t drink and drive?  Not being allowed to drink and drive is a totally necessary restriction in a civilised society because you will cause an accident and injure or kill people. I think we can all agree that this is a good thing and that no none will trust a drunk person behind the wheel of a car.

I was just wondering  how  I thought that I can live fullfilling purposeful life while under the influence in all of my spare time?
How did I think I can really navigate life, make good decisions and pursue goals while being fucked up in the head…so fucked up that I cannot be trusted to operate a machine of any description?

You are literally not present in your life so you are leaving a zombie in charge! This explains so many things to me. When I can seperate the zombie (the addict under the influence) from my self I can see I never stood a chance with the walking dead at the steering wheel of my life. My higher self did peek though every now and again and made some good decisions so thank god when I got sober wasnt the point where I lost everything.  I will hasten to add the caveat of YET here! I know recovery is a one day at a time reprieve.

I for one am fucking relieved to be back in my body and my head. It really does feel like I’ve woken up from a bad dream.

A guide to attending music festivals, sober.

Image result for music festival meme

So this month I’ve been fortunate enough to attend two music festivals where I saw amongst others Queens of the Stoneage, Iggy Pop, Goldfrap & The Cure.

I just wanted to take a moment and acknowledge a huge shift in my sobriety…at no point throughout both of the festivals did I even have an inkling or a thought that a drink may be nice! This is huge. Booze had become a non-entity to me. Is this where the ‘obsession’ lifts I wonder? I sang, screamed and danced sober and had a bloody fantastic time doing it. I had forgotten that a live gig really is one of the happiest places I can be.

I was very aware of alcohol of course because the Finsbury Park festival was completely overshadowed by the lengthy cues to the beer tent.  I find it really amusing that people are now demanding refunds because they had to wait so long to get a drink. How can they expect a refund when what they were presumably paying for was to see a band, which they did. They just weren’t able to get as shitfaced as they would have liked be so now a refund is in order? This is where the tentacles of the alcohol industry become very visible. They have twisted themselves firmly around the live music scene and now people cannot even fathom not getting hammered and just listening to the music.

Forgive me, I digress…

Without further ado my guide to going to music festivals sober and having a bloody marvellous time!

  • Shoes
    Make sure you are wearing comfy closed shoes…I would recommend boots like DM’S, Wellies, Biker boots or the like. Do not try to go to a festival with your nicest open toe sandals. Your feet will be trampled upon by big oafish lads in rock shirts and also become unrecognisably filthy. Two hours into the festival people seem to completely be unable to use dustbins and the entire park becomes one large dumping ground for cigarette buts and empty paper cups and old bits of hot dog.
  • Water
    Take a water bottle and keep filling her up! Keep hydrated and beat overheating. Your skin will thank you in the morning.
  • Festival outfit
    Make sure you have a rocking festival outfit to get you in the mood and help you feel great! I personally love face glitter and don’t need much convincing to use it. I also like anything that has fringe and flowery see through kimonos are a must. If you feel good about yourself you are way less likely to miss booze.
  • Tissues & wet wipes
    Always have tissues and wet wipes in your bag. You don’t know the state of the toilets and may just need to make a balaklava out of them to enable you to survive the experience.
  • The drinkers
    If you are in early sobriety make sure than you really observe the drinkers to see what it actually does to you. Observe from start to finish. You will notice that they are deliriously happy the first hour when they start drinking. Then it’s a slow descend into a pit of debauchery. I saw a lot of crying, passing out and swaying. They can be your biggest motivating factor to stay sober.
  • The Music
    Close you eyes and pretend you are alone with the music. This will shatter any inhibitions you have and you can get right into it! Dance!!!! You were born to dance. You do not have to be wasted to do it! Let the music take you away!
  • Exit
    When you know there is only 1 or 2 songs left start making your way to the exit. Get a little jump-start on the crowd. Go to sleep with a clear head and get up the next day feeling bloody fabulous albeit slightly sunburned and tired:)

 

 

Namaste bitches! 365 days!

sober

OK I know my last post was a massive downer. I had my mope, I followed advise from the lovely Betty and Northwoman and wallowed till I could wallow no more. By the way wallowing gets really boring after a couple of days and even I have a limit to how much ice cream i can consume.

Today I have been sober for …drumroll please….one whole year! Did you ever think you would see the day?..Queen of relapse actually made it for 365 days.

Ahem….I would like to thank the Academy, my mom and dad…

Just kidding, I’m not doing any speeches. I’m just surprised and really happy. With the day counting thing there is an element of dissappointment as well and so forgive me for getting a little serious just for a bit…

Part of my depression was due to this unrealistic expectation I had of what the sober me should look like. I mean the sober me should be ‘further her recovery that she is’ That right there ladies and gentlemen is the crux of the issue!  Wishing I was different and not accepting myself for who I am in the present moment. Letting myself be enough!  Taking care and loving myself instead of bulldosing my way through recovery like there is this massive checklist and GOALS that need to be reached.

Striving and never arriving! So I am taking a step back. I am going to try to be gentle with myself. I’m changing my word for the year half way through the year.(are we allowed to do that?) My new word is COMPASSION. Compassion for myself and my nearest and dearest. Creativity will flow from that when it’s ready.

Thank you for always being there and just being the best damn sober peeps around! Love you all! xxxxxxxx

 

I’m a mess

Warning: This post needs a little violin playing in the background.

I feel like shit. I feel like I should be doing better in recovery than I am. Why can’t I just get my shit together?  Have had several thoughts about drinking. In fact just went to the shop to get fags when what I really wanted was wine.

I’m coming up to a year at the end of the month…it would have been two years if I didn’t have those two stupid lapses.

I am sorry but I don’t have any rosy ‘sober is better’ sobriety speak today. I am just over it all.  I know the things I am supposed to do to make me feel better but I’m not doing them. I’m not meditating, exercising, blogging or eating right and I’m also not getting enough sleep.

Had a very weird encounter with a friend that made me feel very shaken, I feel utterly misunderstood and betrayed by her and now I am questioning who I can trust. I also had a mum from school that subscribed to my youtube channel (she meant to link with my daughter) its a long story anyway the point is she saw a bunch of recovery videos and now this little nugget of information is probably going to be all over my kids school in the near future.

I know that drinking will not solve anything and I won’t drink. I can’t afford to drink. I hate it but I just want to crawl out of my own skin at the moment. My head won’t shut up and it’s driving me crazy. Sorry for putting this out there but this is the space I’ve carved out to be totally honest. I am also sorry for not being around much. I’m sure I will feel better tomorrow, just need to sleep early. Tomorrow is another day.

 

 

My Rockbotteversary

Image result for funny rock bottom quotesRockbotteversary (rock bottom + anniversary, a little play on words that will hopefully catch on:)

Noun:
– To rememeber and to celebrate the date of the rock bottom moment

“Susan celebrated her rockbotteversary by buying that Harley Davidson she always wanted”

Yesterday it was two years ago to the day that I hit my head on that Koi pond. The heavens opened up and hit me right beween the eyes with a big ass wake up call.

The message was clear.

Drinking is going to kill you… one way or another.

You are either going to die from a horrendous drinking accident or your pickled organs are just going to give up…but wait theres more… before it kills you it will destroy EVERYTHING you hold dear. Your sense of self and your family will be totally annihilated by this drug.

I had had many rock bottoms before that fateful day so what made that day any different?

  • I was arrested for public drunkeness when I was a student.
  • I was in several car accidents (I wasn’t driving but the drivers were drunk)
  • I was raped more than once while either passed out or too drunk to know what I was doing.
  • I have caused fights, cried and embarrassed myself more times than I care to count.
  • I fell down stairs, lost wallets, phones jackets.
  • Blackouts were very normal.
  • Towards the end I couldn’t remember putting my children to bed

All of these moments would be enough for any normal person to say …mmmhhh houston I think we have a problem.

Not me… oh no…alcohol was too precious to me, it was part of my DNA!

I dont know what made that day different. All I know is that day I wanted to die rather than carry on living the way I was living. I know we can always go lower but I have no intererst to see how far this elevator can take me. I’ve gone low enough and it scared the shit out of me. There is no happy ending when it comes to alcohol and I wouldn’t wish that end to my worst enemy.

Stopping drinking has been the best decision I have ever made. It hasn’t been easy but once you get through the first gruelling bit… it’s way easier to be sober that to be an addict. Being an active addict fucking hard work I honestly dont know how the hell I got anything done?!

It may be weird to celebrate one’s rock bottom moment. I don’t really know, I feel like its life affirming to remember how low I was because it helps me to see how far I’ve come.

We see life in contrast, we need the dark to really appreciate the light!

Anyway I am grateful to be here, I am grateful to be alive, sober and that I get another shot at this thing called life!

xxx

I’m 40 and officially old AF!

fabulous

I have been alive on planet earth for 40 years(14600 days). That seems like a really fucking long time! I honestly didn’t think I would live past 27 so I must say it’s a really nice surprise to have made it this far.

Given the amount of abuse I put my body through and the dangerous situations I have been in  I don’t think its an exaggeration to say that it’s a modern miracle that I am still alive.

This birthday seems different. I feel like I am part of the special over 40’s club, which gives me some gravitas. I sort of feel like I need to make a speech about the things I’ve learned or something.   Instead of making a speech I’ll just do a bullet list, saves time and we all know how much I love lists:)

Things I’ve learned in my 40 years on planet earth…

1) Alcohol is shit. Don’t drink it no matter what!
Seriously though, it makes you do stupid things, it makes you hate yourself and it makes you sick. It’s actually mind-boggling why the rest of world are still insisting on drinking the stuff!

2) Being in recovery is bad ass. Once you get over the shame and the guilt and all of the things you start realising that being in recovery is actually something to really be proud of. Its fucking awesome!

3) You are not your addiction or the things you did in active addiction. You are a divine being worthy of love.

4) Love yourself! Life is too short to carry on hating yourself, it hasn’t worked so far so try something different. Work on your feelings of worthiness, love and belonging and EVERYTHING will change.

5) Yoga is awesome  – Get high on your own supply people! Pranayama, Kundalini or a hard core rocket class can get you out of your mind NATURALLY with no side effects:)

6) Don’t take yourself or life too seriously. It’s meant to be a dance!  Try to go with the flow…life will have its’ way…try to laugh more, even through the shit times, it helps!

7) When you buy foil there are little perforated indents in the side of the box, when push them in the roll stays put. Cant believe I only found that out last year. You can thank me later:)

8) Music heals. Listen to music, make music, sing and dance!!! its your god given right and don’t stop doing it just because you are sober.

9) Guard your natural instincts and creativity with a veracity of a tigress! Don’t let the  culture we live in permeate into your subconscious. Make time for being creative and for other nurturing pursuits. Put it on the top of your list.

10) You are enough! Just as you are! Be your own Mark Darcy and remind yourself of this every day. You don’t have to lose that last 5 kilos or achieve massive success at work first! You are enough JUST THE WAY YOU ARE!

Lots of love sober peeps.

xxxx