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.

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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

All of the things!

guideposts

Confession time…

The past month I have been sober from alcohol but I have been my no means been what the experts would call ‘emotionally sober’

I have been back on the fags (on and off), diving into vats of ice cream and refreshing Facebook like an obsessive-compulsive hermit on crack.

February started off pretty well. After I wrote my last post I was completely determined to tackle this year by the horns and do ALL OF THE THINGS!

My word for this year is creativity and I had such BIG plans. I still have some plans but I have decided to scale back, more about that in a minute.

A friend of mine told me about bullet journaling, if you’re not familiar with the phenomena it’s a customizable organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary.

This bullet journal malarkey is right up my street, I love lists and I love drawing and this year of course I am going to do ALL OF THE THINGS so I was sold.

Anything involving the purchase of new stationary causes the same dopamine release my brain as a gram of class A’s or booze. I have absolutely no control in a stationary shop …as I approach my heart pounds faster and when I see the new notebooks, glitter pens and washi tape I literally drool out of the side of my mouth.

I chose a beautiful pink Leuchtturm1917 notebook and stated setting up my pages. It was all very exciting and motivating as things are when you are the ‘new and improved’ version of yourself in the imagined future.

In the front of the journal I pasted in the 10 guideposts for wholehearted living by Brene (we love you Brene) and started decorating the journal with fervour. As I was washi taping and glitter penning I was imagining how organised I was going to be this year. My future self was going to use EVERY minute of EVERY day constructively. No more facebooking memes of cats dancing on rainbows. Ain’t no one got time for that.

This future self was a woman who meditated and did yoga every day, she drank lots of herbal tea and lemon and hot water in the morning to wake up her system. She ‘listened to her body’ and wouldn’t dream of eating anything with sugar in it god forbid! Sugar is poison!

She never went on facebook except to post something about her fabulous life every now and then.

She was on top of all of the kids things and anticipated their every need before they even knew they had them. She never forgot lunch boxes and also never shouted in anger. She was way too ‘evolved’ to ever lash out at her little darlings.

To give you an example of how unrealistic my expectations were , my morning routine for your perusal and amusement:


6:00 wake up

6:00-6-10 –sort breakfast for kids

6:10-6-30 – Meditate

6:30-6:35 get school uniforms ready

6:35 – 7:10 Make school lunches and breakfast for mr Hurrah and myself

7:10- 8:10 Yoga

8:10-8:30 Get myself and kids ready

8:30 take kids to school

9:00 Bullet journal the days tasks and goals

9:10 Start work.


The reality of course was more like this:


6:00 wake up

6:00-6:30 Drag myself out of bed (had less than 6 hours sleep) Drink two gargatuan cups of coffee in quick succession while arguing with my son about what to make for breakfast.

6:30-7:30 Dishes and clearing up while checking Facebook and Instagram in between making lunches and breakfast for mr Hurrah and myself

7:30-8:30 Trying to find clean and ironed uniforms for kids, dealing with lost homework and filling in last minute school forms. Asking children to put their uniforms on 6 million times. Dealing with several ‘friend related’ issues my daughter thinks is pertinent to share with me at this time critical point in the morning

8:30 -8:40 Trying to find hats scarves and gloves and water bottles that are strewn/hidden throughout the house

9:00 Massive cup of coffee and facebook.

9:30 Start work


After a week of trying to stick to this routine I lost motivation and drive. I just reverted back to my old shitty habits. I also just started numbing out all of my unpleasant emotions with sugar, social media, and solitaire. Oh yes I forgot to tell you about my solitaire addiction. It’s a real ‘thing’ I can play that game on my phone for hours in the evening and not look up from my phone once.

I’ve realised that I need to revise this morning routine and also revise my expectations I have of this perfect ‘future self’

It could be something like this:

Get more sleep – My son still wakes up at night and also wakes up really early so I have to go to bed earlier.

Yoga maybe 3 times a week

Try to meditate 10 minutes whenever I can

The irony of course is that I have so many of Brene’s quotes in the journal and I still fell into the old perfectionist trap.

There are so many improvements I can make to my life and myself and being sober wakes you up to the possibilities. But then the perfectionist thing is still a real problem for me and I need to learn to love myself and accept where I am.

My new motto for this year – Have fewer expectations and be realistic!

 

Burn the bridges

bridges

January is a bit of a shit month when you live in England. The softly twinkly Christmas lights and roaring fires have been replaced with cold dark days and broken resolutions.

We spent December in Africa with my family and we had an absolutely glorious time.

Flying with young children as opposed to toddlers/babies is just a dream. They had their own seats, they watched movies and loved the aeroplane food. Contrast this to a flight we were on a couple of years back where my son projectile vomited over me just as we took off. Yes I have another vomit story in my already full arsenal of vomit stories.

I could see he was going to throw up and I had no choice but to turn him towards me and ‘take one for the team’ as it were. I couldn’t very well let him vomit all over the passenger in front of us. Of course like a good perfectionist I took two changes of clothes for the kids but neglected to bring a change of clothes for myself so I spent the entire flight drenched in a sour vomit smell whilst trying to calm down a feverish/ vomity baby.

This time my son seemed to be totally obsessed with the safety instruction pamphlet. He re-read it several times and kept on practicing the brace position and checking for the oxygen masks. I’m not convinced that he completely understood what it all meant; I mean he wasn’t so much worried about a plane crash as much as he loves gadgets and things to play with.

When we arrived it felt like I never left and at the same time felt like I had been away forever. It’s seemed surreal, as South Africa is so remarkably different to England; it’s almost like another planet! I’d been away for two years which is simply too long for me.

My mum had a hard year and had several issues with her health so the reunion was bittersweet. The last trip to South Africa is when I realised that my body wasn’t cooperating anymore and I had terrible shakes every morning. This time I was sober so I feel so incredibly privileged to have been totally conscious and awake for each precious second I could spend with her.

My old friends from school came over one Sunday for a braai. A braai is not a just barbeque. A braai is an occasion, it’s a verb in its own right and it’s a way of life in South Africa. I was very anxious to see my friends, as these are the friends I used to drink with. My anxiety levels were through the roof and I didn’t really know what I was going to tell them.

They asked me why I got sober (again) as you may be aware I’ve done this many times before so should be a dab hand at it. I told them the story and they laughed. This is the kind of situation where only a very old friend can get away with laughing at your darkest story. After that was out of the way they said they always knew I had the alcoholic gene and we left it at that. I was happy to leave it there and didn’t feel the need to argue the ‘alcoholic gene’ point.

After the heavy stuff was out of the way we had so much fun! We reminisced, told stories, and laughed till we cried. I drank my non-alcoholic beer which really helped in that particular situation. I feel that there is a time and a place for the non-alcoholic beverage. At home I don’t need it but in the company of old drinking friends I did, it really helped me feel less conspicuous.

The rest of the holiday I spent my evenings knitting and drinking chai tea with my mum. Although I’m not attending AA meetings I have been working through the steps and the 9th step is making direct amend to the people you’ve harmed (except when to do so would injure them or others.) I made amend to my sister, brother and mum. I haven’t done it with my dad yet, I have some more issues to work through and don’t really know how to approach that.

It felt good to own my side of the story and to apologise for my destructive behaviour. I held myself very gently through this because the only way to get through step 9 is to feel compassion for the person you were and to realise that that person was doing the best they could at that time. I have to approach all of these things with self-love because without that I fall back into self-hatred self-harm and addiction. When I talk about self-love I don’t mean ‘permissive’ – I mean …gently hold yourself accountable, understand why you were they way you were then ‘do better’ in Maya Angelou’s words.

It was exceptionally difficult to leave my family in Africa and come back. It’s always a very emotional farewell, I can’t actually put the feeling of loss into words it’s just too great. It feels immense, like an enormous vice is clamping my heart tightly and I can’t breathe. I have been numbing out my depression with sugar, tv, social media and have had several dinking thoughts come up. I found myself thinking I could just slip back into drinking for a while and drown my depression and anxiety with a bottle of red.

Then I realised that I don’t have that option anymore because most people who know me know I’m in recovery. My family, my children and all of my closest friends all know the deal.

This is why we have to tell our nearest and dearest to be accountable otherwise its way too easy to just disappear into a bottle of whiskey.

We have to burn the bridge between active addiction and our new life so that when the bad days come we look for a way through the pain not around it.

Yes I am sad to be away from my family but I am so grateful and privileged to have been able to be fully present and sober to enjoy every precious moment with them.

Sobriety does deliver on all of the promises alcohol ever made to me but sometimes when life really sucks I still just want to check out. I still feel that thirst for oblivion sometimes.

Stay vigilant I tell myself…the pull towards oblivion can get really strong but for today I’m sober and a happy to be so.

Creativity

Image: Calvin and Hobbes

My word for 2018 is Creativity. I’ve laid the groundwork for a couple of projects that are ready to be born. 

Last year’s word was Self-care. I learned to care for myself like I care for my children. I stopped smoking, I did yoga at least twice a week and Stopped drowning my sorrows in food, particularly sugar. I also made sure I got enough sleep most of the time. It was a massive learning curve and I fell many times but I’m finally learning to listen to my body. To give it the care and respect it deserves. I always rolled my eyes at the ‘your body is your temple’ thing, but we only get one ( in this lifetime at least.) we need to take good care of it. 

I intend to nurture my creativity this coming year in the same way I learned to nurture my body in 2017. My addiction stole so much from me, my productivity in my creative life was mainly limited to my sober periods. When I drank I fantasised about being creative and longed for it but getting drunk was all consuming. It sucked the life and love right out of me and consequently no energy, time or inspiration was left for the things or people I love. 

I am fucking happy and lucky to be sober and can’t wait for 2018. Bring it on. Xxxx❤️💗💛💖💚🧡