Friday, 23 June 2017

Substitution - it's complicated


I was hoping for some help on a really interesting subject that I haven't read much about.

Please have a look at Lia's post:

Brave Lia is a couple of weeks (about 2) into going without alcohol and would love to hear some experienced (and not) views on when we feel we are substituting and when we are not.

Michelle xx

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Move Over Squirrels

OK.  It's not often I am lost for words however over the last couple of weeks a certain topic is really making me sound like an incoherent idiot.

Usually I can explain myself pretty well (even if it takes a while) or can bluff my way into making reasonable sense when in a physical discussion but this past week or so trying to explain what I am feeling isn't going so well.  So I am reaching out for some suggestions - anything you've got.... otherwise I am going to continue looking like I need a wrist tag and a white van to pick me up when I meet a friend at the supermarket.

The subject is alcohol.  This is what I am trying to say in points (so jumbled you can see why I can't get it together).

  • I think alcohol is really bad for everyone
  • Why? When there are some perfectly happy, well-balanced people who drink...
  • So maybe alcohol is bad for those with mental disorders, like anxiety, depression, or other things
  • Does alcohol create these things to get worse or is that age and then we drink to fix it
  • Why am I suddenly growing up emotionally for the first time ever? When I have had many periods in my life when alcohol wasn't a problem.  Why it because I hit my personal "bottom"
  • I never wanted to be one of those people who think alcohol is bad - but it is really coming on thick and strong.  When I up smoking years ago I never disliked people's choice to smoke (I smoke one a day now with my smug morning coffee)
  • I wanted to be one of those cool people who say "hey I don't drink but it's cool if others do" when, if I am to be REALLY honest, I think there is something really wrong with alcohol, the way it is sold, the light-ness of it's dangers, public perception...
  • I am sounding like a ranting loony but something is going on and I don't know what
  • There are SO many changes happening to my mind and "soul" that I am struggling to keep up
  • Are there people out there that only drink a little on week ends (just a bit) but somehow their whole week is revolving around just that tiny dangling carrot - how bad it that?  Perhaps it's a good thing to have something to look forward to if they are (not like me) a sensible drinker.
  • Is there such a thing?
So there you have it, it is a rambling mess in my head right now.  When someone asks how I am, I usually like to say my honest feelings in two sentences of what is happening for me right now.  So you see where this is going .....

I am in line with the squirrels....

I wanted to add this link I just read from Finding A Sober Miracle: (16.6.17)

Saturday, 10 June 2017


Nothing against Katy Perry but this is my painting shirt
I am going through a "fascination" with all the things I am doing since giving up alcohol.  So apologies in advance if I bore everyone.

Reading about simple things like making the bed and fixing our Tupperware, writing about the dog and the doors... it is all so inspiring for me.

I've said before I am an accountant, I am also a zookeeper but it doesn't pay the bills.  I want to do things that make me happy - accounting doesn't - so why am I doing it?

I have another job looking after some lovely old ladies a few hours a week.  It feels good to do it, their stories are so interesting and although I still do accounting the mix is really nice.

I hate my dyed blonde hair.  The mouse-brown that I naturally have makes me look angry.  I always wanted ginger/red hair but it is a hard colour to achieve and subsequently then maintain.  Well I have done it and would never have bothered when I was drinking.  The interesting thing is many people have commented and said nice things.  Someone I hardly know came up to me and said "what have you done to your hair - I much prefer it blonde"  no hello, nothing... like it is their hair.  In the past I would have been upset and got angry inside and eventually gone back to blonde.  Now I think - stuff you - stick it up your bum.

Equally I don't care if anyone likes it either..... weird.

M xx

Monday, 5 June 2017

The Simplest of Things

The Dog
Isn't it damn crazy why the simplest of things take us the longest to do.

The damn dog and the damn doors - all year, the 3-legged dog opens the doors, all year I go behind him and close the doors.

In winter it is cold with the doors open right? But he doesn't care, he doesn't feel the cold like humans do, so each time I curse at him "shut the damn doors" and "Tux, stop leaving the doors open"
What an idiot I am.

He hears "blah blah blah doors" (maybe he recognises doors now) and "Tux, blah blah blah doors blah".  It is like a bad Far Side comic with the idiotic human trying to convey to the intelligent dog that they are cold and want the doors shut.... What?

The Latch

So yesterday after ages of this going on (years if you count the dog before him) I finally fixed it for under $20.

"Ohhh What?"

 This was drinking for me - I have a hangover, I feel like crap, I am ruining my life, I am ruining my children's life.  What am I going to do?  Stop.  Simple.


The Result

Saturday, 3 June 2017


I don't think I have every many posts about others, except kind people or inspiring people.
Mostly about my struggles and happy bits throughout this journey.

But I wanted today - and I don't know why - to put it down, put it out there something that I pinched from Mary Kay's Facebook.  Now i don't have Facebook but there was a link on her great blog God Walked into this Bar and I saw this caption "Don't make excuses for nasty people. You can't put a flower in an asshole and call it a vase."

I am constantly doing that, looking at what I have done wrong to perhaps insight a nasty reaction (this doesn't happen much anymore because I made some decisions early on in my journey to detach myself from stressful people - whether their fault or mine it wasn't important).  However there are some people that you can't detach yourself from and that is life.  However in life I am now learning so much since not drinking; how to protect myself better, grow up emotionally, create safe boundaries, be a better more open person, be HONEST.

That doesn't excuse others though, and you just can't keep making excuses or excusing the odd nasty one out there - it isn't you ..... it is them.  It is their journey.  It is their life.  If they want to put a flower in their bum - they can, but I will not.
Chicken house

Love to everyone
Michelle xx

Added some photos of the chicken house the kids and I are building :)


Thursday, 1 June 2017

Box of Birds

Well it isn't always this way but last night I slept all night long!  I do that more and more since stopping drinking but it is always so much fun waking up knowing that my eyes haven't opened since around 11 pm the night before.

Anxiety can wake me at 3 am but sometimes (just sometimes) I get the whole night long - and it is so amazing.  I never would have thought something so small can be so joyous.

It is summer everywhere else (here in NZ it is winter starting) and I can imagine everyone is out and about doing Spring things as it is a bit quiet out there.  Our chickens have stopped laying as the daylight doesn't seem to be enough for them and am seriously thinking about a morning light bulb for them, but knowing me it will mean angry chickens and a fire :)

Wishing everyone a wonderful start to spring and winter wherever you are x
M xxx

PS a shout out to Mrs S too, I still think of your BBC interview and wonder how you are doing.

PPS - Jackie  What a great comment on my post :

"I remember all those times that i thought to myself...

1. At least I didn't do X
2. At least I'm not as bad as Y
3. At least I didn't drink as much as Z....

The problem with the "at least's" is that they continuously re-set and downgrade..."

Good one Jackie  How do we forget our A, B, C's yet know our X,Y, Z's - it is like we have to go back to the beginning, Michelle xx

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Mrs D is Going Within

Congratulations and thank you to Mrs D Going Without - Lotta Dann.

A courageous woman who was the start of my decision to finally take the first step.

Thank you Lotta and wonderful news that your second book is finally published and ready for us all to read.  (links on good places to purchase the book on the above link)

Michelle xxx

Sunday, 14 May 2017


I have lost the connection to PDTG - are you there?
It could be my settings so just checking if anyone else can make contact :)

Saturday, 13 May 2017

I HONESTLY thought I was high-functioning and doing well

Looking back over the past two years is eye-opening now.  I, hand on heart, thought I was doing well - drinking too much but still being a good mum, working, studying and getting my house finished.

When I look back over the past 6 months sober it is as plain as the nose on my face how little I achieved.  The sneaky curtain of alcohol is so very dangerous, everyone is doing it so how on earth did my life stop going forward and start to rotate in a rat-wheel like existence?

Since I have stopped drinking:

1.  My relationship with my elder daughter (23) is repaired and her trust is coming back
2.  My son (11) is getting A's and B's at intermediate ( he was barely a D prior to December)
3.  My daughter (12) well she is like a steam ship and it's harder to gauge the affect my drinking had on her, but she keeps saying "mum you are doing so good not drinking" so it must have been bad.
4.  I finished my kitchen
5.  I have started to do the rest of the house
6.  I changed jobs choosing a boss and work colleagues that suit ME also and not just the other way around.
7.  I understand my terrible reaction to stress and protect myself better 

Many other things also, but when you look at these things (and it comes up on a daily basis) you can't help but in-your-face realise the massive difference.

I could have kept going, I didn't have cirrhosis, I wasn't homeless, I wasn't drinking in the morning, I didn't get arrested, lose my licence or have friends telling me to stop.  I thought my life was good except the drinking (night sweats, guilt, hangovers)  I thought the anger was just part of being a hands-on mum.

Today in a posh food shop I like to go to a young guy was doing wine tasting, he asked if I would like to try some.  I said (not even smugly) no thanks I don't drink, I used to drink too much.  He gave me a look - a real look, like I'm missing out and said "there is no such thing as too much".  I said "there is when you are an alcoholic".   He was so ashamed - I felt bad.  But there it is right?  People can say hey the drinking club is the best in the world - pedaling ethanol is legal.  Imagine if it was cocaine?

I have found drinking to be the root of all my bad prescription meds behaviour.  I don't have the trouble I had before because my mind is back and it doesn't allow me to make dumb decisions on top of already dumb decisions.

I watch forensic or crime stories sometimes and always when there is drugs involved there seems to be alcohol at the beginning of the night.  Lately some key sports figures have been caught buying drugs overseas - they were so drunk they barely remember doing it.

Alcohol is a crazy scary beast.

M xxxx

Friday, 5 May 2017

6 Months Tomorrow

My neighbour just gave me this :)

Very touched to have caring people around me, she said I can have a box of chocolates when I get to a year.  It's funny how people understand a lot more than perhaps we imagine ...

Michelle x

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Half-Way to 1 Year (Almost) .... Advice Appreciated XX

Hi everyone,

172 days so almost half-way to a year and was hoping to read a bit of advice from those who made it to and past this point (or didn't and are still trying xx).

I noticed the last few weeks (it has stopped for now) that I was pretty close to thinking I could have a drink or two again.  Really very almost did it too - which is the closest I have been since giving up.

The scary thing is that in the beginning of this journey, I was fighting the urge to drink but I would consider that time as more of a violent reaction, this latest feeling so was passive and "normal" that it scares me WAY more.

I almost "rationally" and "calmly" had a drink.   WTF??

Very glad I didn't but how did I get so close?

M xx

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Mental Illness

It's really hard just to write that down.  Mental Illness.  

But that is what I have and the realisation over the past couple of days feels like a start to something that is going to help my life change.

I can see now that this is why I was drinking.  It is strange that I thought over the past 5 months that it was because I was shy, or sad, or bored, or angry or lonely.... the list goes on. Guilt, bad choices....

It was none of these things (but was all of them).  For whatever reasons my life took the pathways that it did, I have to now STOP the cycle of blame, guilt and shame.  It led to loneliness (not being alone) it lead to bouts of depression, fear and so many other horrible things.  Then drinking and abusing medication.

Many other people feel like me and don't say.  Social media (I don't have any apart from this) but looking up unrealistic truths about people I don't know isn't healthy and I know it.  But an ill mind THINKS the things we make up in our heads are true.  The ill mind isn't subjective - and it doesn't look after and protect you.  It undermines and disables.

Looking after my mind and getting it well is my priority each day now.  I am very grateful that I have still not had a drink (it's bloody amazing - and I still can't really believe it) I am grateful because now I have more days under my belt, more shit thrown at me and forceably sober so I can properly work out what the hell is wrong with me.

So now I know.  I really know and I can start to fix it, because if I can stop drinking I can do anything.

I read alot about the Heads Together campaign and watched Lady Gaga talk to P William about her mental illness stemmed from when she broke her hip ligaments and still performed.  Now each day is a struggle, she wakes up and the minute her eyes open she is sad and tired - doesn't want to get out of bed.  She says she looks around her and is so lucky which makes her feel worse.  Sharing and talking is the only way forward so she shared.

Many of us know what it is like to wake up and feel like this.  I have been going to bed scared before I even go to sleep about "please feel happy tomorrow" "please don't feel down".  Anxiety about this doesn't help.  I don't want to talk about it too much as it is "depressing" or embarrassing. 

I am determined to help my mind and my body - giving up alcohol is only a part of this journey which I honestly thought was the whole thing. This blog.... but it is not.    Alcohol is just a terribly bad coping mechanism like the fuel on a fire scenario that we all talk about.  

It is OK not to feel OK - even if it's for a LONG period of time until we figure it out.  If you are feeling bad - please talk about it, you aren't a moaning pain, you aren't a depressing sad-sack, you ARE NOT a downer.  You are a real person feeling bad and it may come and go or it may last for ages but talking about it is a great start to finding a way through.

Saturday, 22 April 2017


It doesn't feel great this week.  I have plummeted into a downward spiral and can see what is happening only today after taking a breath.

Last week my 23 year old lovely daughter visited having a break from university.  I was so excited and so were the kids, on the phone she was too and we were chatting the past few months like the old days.  When I picked her up at the airport she was a bit cold but that was OK and over the next few days it seemed she was picking up everything I was saying and making it sound pretty bad.  I have actively campaigned against racism and animal cruelty, especially in my younger years however everything she was saying made me feel like a great big bigot and an old-fashioned mind-made-up arse.

After about 4 days I said to her that I felt this and we got into a big fight and she said that she was anxious about coming and no longer trusted me.  This was a massive blow and was really upset.  I was the only worker in our family and raising 3 kids, buying a house & renovating a house working 16 hour days - I know she could have had it easier.  I wasn't drinking then, that only started 2 years ago when she went away.  She is still angry that I kept going back to the kid's dad - I understand that.

We talked about it the next day and got on much better then she flew home.

All I have wanted to do since she left was drink.  I have looked up moderation drinking on about 7 websites and even started to plan buying some wine.  In know this is the result of a problem.
I think the problem is rejection.  Not coping with feeling rejected by my beloved daughter is my worst fear and am utterly feeling sorry for myself and trying to stay afloat.  I am aware that although i have had so much rejection from men in my life - this is primarily because I chose unobtainable, non-committing males and was MY choice.  Rejection though, has been a big part of my life.  I know my daughter loves me but doesn't need me and this feels very painful. What a sad sack!!! It is probably healthy that she doesn't - what the hell is wrong with me!

I am taking the kids out to the beach (getting wintery now) and the dog.  Going through my lists of what to do like I did during week one.

This totally sucks.  I am so sad and feel like I would rather die than live like this.   There has to be a fucking cure and off the "rat wheel" inside my head that I am a rejected failure.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Smart Recovery

Hi Everyone

Winter is coming here (and summer for many out there)  Both seasons are a time to drink when the habit overtakes the enjoyment.

I wanted to post this as it is a great article that I read a while ago.

Sometimes we don't have to hit rock bottom to know we have a problem :)

Michelle xx

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

A message of Hope

I wanted to write about where things are at sitting at 121 days (4 months exactly as I stopped drinking on 8th November 2016).

If you are thinking that you are drinking too much and having a difficult time stopping.  If you feel like it is interfering with your health, or your relationships with family, friends or stopping you being who you know you want to be.  If your sleep is being interrupted by alcohol.  Your mood is being affected by alcohol.

Then the most likely answer is it YES alcohol is a problem for you.  The worst that can happen is you perform an experiment which can go one of two ways:

1.  You stop drinking: Once you have stopped drinking, your life (after a few months) is much the same and you find alcohol was just a social behaviour that you enjoyed.  This process of elimination will allow you to discover the real problem you are facing and be able to deal with it properly and resume drinking if that's where you are at.


2.  You stop drinking: Once you have stopped drinking you struggle with it and find you have to almost reinvent the way you live your life.  You figure out that there is more of you "in" there and great person that can now come out and deal with all those uncomfortable things that alcohol was masking and taking away.

Either way if you even think you have a problem, take the courage - STOP.  Even if it starts out as a 3 or 6 month challenge.  What harm can it do right?  If you don't have a problem then you lose nothing.  If you DO have a problem you have EVERYTHING to gain.

I would like everyone to know that after 4 months my journey is evolving and my life is unfolding in front of me like a red carpet.

The first month:
I white knuckled it, had no idea what to do with myself or my time - I just kept going (sometimes going into the car and yelling so the kids wouldn't hear).  The change in my skin, body and sleep started to improve but that didn't stop the cravings to drink.  The sugar addition from alcohol was making the physical systems hard also.

The second month:
Once I passed the "hey this is easy" at around 6 weeks, I realised that it was bloody hard and suddenly I was faced with ME.  It was absolutely horrible - I had been hiding from me for years as I didn't even like who I was.  I liked what I had achieved in life, I thought I was a good mother but had started to hide and to be a recluse in order to keep my behaviour hidden.  Now I couldn't hide from myself and that hurt.

The third month:
More feelings similar to the last half of the 2nd month,with the addition of anxiety.  The anxiety was always there but without the medication of alcohol it was now in the fore-ground.  I struggled to keep a lid on it, my weight did plummeted because I refused to substitute the drinking with other additions of food etc.  I found it difficult to balance my new-found life and wondered what the hell I was doing.

The forth month:
Sometimes driving in the car the realisation of how selfish a person I had become was evident as it would come into my mind is little waves.  I realised that for the longest time everyone had to revolve around me (even though it may not have appeared like that to me at all) that was the TRUTH.  I started to become acutely aware of the difference between "controlling my life and the lives of others" had gotten out of control and became a habit mixed in with the alcohol.  I only realised this once I felt my life slowly changing and now it has done a 180 and revolves around my family and friends.  I didn't see it coming it was just there and surprised me that this DIDN'T make me feel weak and out of control, it gave me a sense of well-being and comfort that I wasn't the centre of my own drama anymore.

I now allow my children to have sad feelings when they need to - I stop trying to protect them from every thing in a crazy-anxious-like-insane manner.  I realise I was doing this to protect ME from PAIN.  It was selfish and did not allow them to process their own emotions rationally.  Now they can and with guidance from their mum instead of the other controlling type of response.

Giving up alcohol has completely changed my life's direction.  I am not 100% happy yet and who is let's face it, probably only 60% if we are going to measure it - but before I was more depressed, more dangerous, more selfish, more irrational, more unstable than I ever realised.  The fact I have come out of this with my kids (aged 11, 12 and 24) all still loving me is nothing short of incredible.  My parents love and support me (this takes longer to fix).  My friend has turned into friends.  I am slowly improving my base of good love around me.

The things I do now that I NEVER did before:

Got a better job because I believe I am worth it
Take my kids to ALL of their activities with joy and pride (I never let them sign up for much because it interfered with my "lifestyle")
Am the manager of one of their basketball teams
I am the treasurer of an NZ wildlife charity
I walk my dog
The house is getting finished
I am finishing my stupid degree (slowly but doing it)
I am apologising and taking an interest in other people's lives
Help the kids with their homework without getting impatient and hating doing it

Small things like making the house really tidy each day are not important if they interfere with any of the above.  Small things can get stuffed x

The Toolbox:

1.  This blog started this process, I would not have been able to handle or even do the first 6 weeks without it.  Thanks to Lotta Dann and her courage to come on TV and talk about it. and her blog:

2.  I did not find AA ok for me as I have kids and most sessions were at night and not kid friendly here so I connected with Smart Recovery online and go to meetings when I need to .  The also have a 24/7 chat room and there are some cool people in New York and the UK to talk to.

3.  Started two jars - they have bits of paper in them with shit to do when you are desperate.  One for me with the kids and one for me on my own.  EG get in the car and go for a drive, take dog for walk, go to the beach, sit down and read a book for 20 mins.

4.  My friend Wendy in the US (through blogging and all the other lovely people that have encourage and given me a kick of reality - can't describe how it made me keep going.

5.  Telling people - being open and not ashamed.  If 20 people judge me yet 1 hears me and thinks "shit if she can do it" then I am happy.

If you are thinking about it but the hurdle seems insurmountable - it is not, and after about 3 - 4 months it DOES become so much easier to not think about drinking or wanting to ruin what you have created.

Everyone is different, there are no rules or definite ways we feel and act when we stop drinking but this is my story and I wanted to share this.  Take courage, take the bull by the horns and don't let go for about a month, you will make enough of a start to make some decisions.

Michelle xx

Friday, 3 March 2017

Starting to grow up - Selfishness and the Truth

I have had some interesting thoughts over the past few weeks - looking back at my behaviour over the past 10 years or so.

I never thought I was a selfish person, always wanting to help others and thought I was kind.  I look back and realise my "need" to help others stemmed from a deep insecurity of the trying-to-please rescuing behaviour type.

This looking back is not intentional it just comes in waves and I am careful not to be hard on myself about it and to look at it rationally (as much as possible).  It is hurtful to realise that I really did whatever I wanted and people close to me and their lives, revolved around what I wanted.  As long as it all suited me then I was OK with it.  Of course the older I got, the more defined I was with what I wanted - that combined with alcohol made one hell of a selfish bomb.  And I did damage, and I blamed everyone else and I was the last to realsie it was me.

Now I am feeling around and noticing a big change starting to form - my life is revolving around the needs of my family.  Yes I will keep checking how I am going, however I think the selfish brat that was me can do with some REAL unselfish living for a while.


Sunday, 26 February 2017

Terrible Stress

According to the lovely,nz I have gone a whole 109 days without alcohol.

Dealing with stress is difficult and after giving up my crutch to in effect "ignoring" the problem, of course the problem or problems don't just go away.

Anxiety, sleep, depression are linked in a way that alcohol masks.  The interim hours of sobriety between drinks just fills the void with guilt, self-loathing and a myriad of other problems.  Behind all of that the anxiety, sleep, depression just sit in the background.

Sober now, it is the time to face these things and daily life.  It is hard, It is sometime so uncomfortable that I want to climb out of my own skin.  It has to be done though.  Emotional maturity and wellness is achievable after addition.  So many others have proved this to be so.

Work in progress
M xxx

Monday, 20 February 2017

My Mum and Dad

Mum just turned 80 last week and Dad is around 75 - they just finished skydiving.  Oh my gad!  They totally put me to shame.

I posted this to give me hope about change and future.  I hope it inspires if just one other person out there!

Michelle xx

Saturday, 18 February 2017

So Much to Be Thankful For

Hi all

I have spent a stressful Sunday getting my 11 year old ready for camp next week.  I always have terrible anxiety when they are going away.

So I used a fabulous idea that I retrieved from a Smart online meeting last week.  The "do" jar.  It is a list of things to just go and do when you feel like a drink or whatever.  (I have two jars 1. for me on my own and 2. for the kids and I)

I picked "go to the beach" - so off we all went and some friends tagged along.  Then I got home and thought - "crap" I should have taken the dog so now I will have to go walk him.  So off we went down to the estuary and it was good.  This is taken from outside our lounge & kitchen window/doors.

If you look just above the trees at that little channel of water it is where our 3-legged dog got a surprise with the tide coming in (all that sand in the photo is now completely covered).

Life was lovely for about an hour today.  I am so thankful.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

The light that came from nowhere.

I didn't expect it.  I have read a bit from others about happiness and light.  It doesn't exist for me... until now...

The first sign was a month or so back when I woke up and felt a little bit of joy.  That came and went and was fleeting.  Now something else has happened.  As I achieve small things, as I enjoy my kids and what I am doing with my time.  How productive I have been lately, joy and light of the day and calmness of the night is creeping in.

I don't think I ever knew this, as a young women in her late teens and early 20's it was all party, drink, men, drugs.  That kind of life is super hard to keep any type of control over.  I remember being very stressed keeping it all together.  I would think "why is my life so complicated, so hard, so full of anxiety"  Too young, too dumb to realise that I was making this puzzle.  I was creating this life.  That I indeed created this.  I wish someone would have sat me down and looked straight at me and said "Michelle, you can create anything you choose, you can choose to make a different life"

I believed it was all fate, destiny and just rolled from one bad relationship to another, on and on and on.  The pressure to look beautiful, to have the best boy, to go to the best parties, to have it all.  To have absolutely totally nothing.  And that never occurred to me, not once to change. All I knew was I was heavily stressed and anxious all the time - terrified.

So when finally at aged 33 (15 years ago) I met the father of my two 11 and 12 year olds - I thought right - now is the time to settle and have a lovely life.  He seemed like a kind gentle guy - he would be nice to me.  Within 6 months he slept with his ex - not once, not twice but many more times and she called me to tell me.  I loved him and we ended up back together and for the next 10 years we struggled.  We created children, we argued, it was a mess.  11 years ago we got married when I was pregnant - 5 years ago we got divorced.  4 years ago we remarried and 3 years ago we finally separated.  We are good friends and keep good boundaries.

This reflection shows the life of someone who never knew emotional maturity, someone who had no self-respect, no boundaries, just no fucking idea what she was doing.  At all.
No wonder I wanted to die.  No wonder I had no hope.

Now I have hope, I want to life again.  It is just early and there is light where there was darkness, but it's a beginning.

Michelle xx
99 days today

Thursday, 9 February 2017

3 Months in - time to focus

I feel that three months in can be dangerous.  For me it feels a little bit so.
I think this is because of:

  1. My surprise at ever lasting this long
  2. My initial thoughts after about a month was this isn't too hard and I am maybe "cured"
    and could perhaps look at moderation.
  3. Then my complete surprise that at three months I am aware of how bad this thing really is and how much of a strangle-hold alcohol had over me.
  4. That this 3-month realisation has caused a "fuck-it" attitude kind of like "well hell I am an addict (really and truly) so I will have a drink if I want.
  5. Then the final realisation that I need support to keep myself safe.  To keep my family safe.  To stay on track
So now is the time to focus and to keep reminding myself of where I was headed.  The self-loathing and guilt, piled up on top of itself to leave a person who didn't care about life much at all.

M xx

Monday, 6 February 2017

Finding support

Support isn't going too well - except for my wonderful blog :)

I spoke to my friend who was taking me to AA yesterday eve and suddenly freaked out.  During our conversation on Friday we shared some stories and I said that I haven't had a blackout but often wake up finding I have txt or emailed something random and made arrangements to do things.  I didn't forget doing it, but needed prompting by looking at my phone.

I have never forgotten everything, I have never got shit-faced at someone's house and ended up pissing in the garden, I have never drunk too much at the pub and nagged everyone to keep partying when they aren't into it.

That doesn't in anyway lighten what I did do.  I couldn't stop thinking about alcohol, I couldn't stop drinking even for one night, I made stupid decisions about pill-taking when I was drinking, I drove drunk, I became utterly selfish and I was depressed and curing it with alcohol. That didn't work.  not once.

Anyway, she called me on Sunday and said maybe I should consider NA, and I said what made her mention that as NA isn't very developed around here, much less so that AA.  AA seems to deal with alcoholics that: overeat, gamble, take drugs, addicted to all sorts of crap.  So why single this out?  She said she felt that I had never had a black out so maybe AA wasn't the one for me.... but of course she would take me and said that I am sure you belong it's just nobody she knew at AA had ever not had a black out.

This really put me into a "shit what will I do now spin" and I know that it is only her experience but after 22 years at AA surely she knows her group right?  I did say to her that my idea of someone that belongs at AA is someone who finds alcohol is ruining their lives and others around?  Those who can't stop and all the other.  She agreed but I felt weird and so txt her on the Monday morning saying that I got panicked and thought another time would be better.  Didn't want to say the truth and now thinking what is my next support in my seeking out support mission.

To be honest I am getting a bit fucked off and today felt like a drink - but that would be just self-pity and where will that get me.

But I am feeling worse than three days ago.  Bugger.
Today I started crying watching something on TV about people having partners and me not.  What a sad sack.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Well that was interesting.

So I went for the interview but I was confused as to whether this guy thought it was a job interview or a date.  It seemed to start OK then somehow skirted around what his company actually did and what he was doing - and what I would be doing.  He mainly talked about his home in Ireland, being based in London and now working in NZ for a project which so far (15 mins in) I still didn't really understand.

Then I talked about my work history for about 1 minute pulled out my CV which he had no interest in so I turned the conversation back to the project.  After not getting very far but learning that he was divorced and had two grown children in NZ I turned the conversation back to the project.  I said a couple of intelligent things about projections and forecasts which seemed to spark a light within and off he went actually explaining the project.  I was then furnished with a detailed pitch on the project financed by a big company that I recognise.  It seemed that I needed to pass a few tests before he shared this info and my CV is impressive (one part of my life that is :)).

As I had met this guy for a couple of mins through a good friend of mine, I wonder if he was serious about all of this or if he had a other intentions.  My judgement is flawed due to this recovery process and I do not trust myself at all nor do I trust others I don't know.  He has arranged to meet next week to give me one of the projects to cost.

I could be imagining all of this of course and early stages of new projects can be vague.

I don't trust my judgement at all - it is like I can recognise my life's a muddle.  I can recognise my thought process is deeply flawed right now.  All this I can see.

My first AA meeting is 8 pm on Monday.  I am definitely going - a lovely lady I used to work with (she managed one of the charity shops and I managed the other) contacted me and said a little bird had told her (about my going sober) and wondered if she could take me to her meetings.  I am so very grateful.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Crap Shit .... Grr Crapity Fuck

OK and I am swearing

My kids (11 and 12 in a couple of weeks) started high school - they get on the bus at 7.30 am and arrive back at 3.45 pm.  They go to wonderful intermediate/high schools, one girls one boys and although I am not sure about whether it is good to be not co-ed, all and all I think mixing young teens with different sexes surely takes your mind off school work.  They socialise with boys and girls and they are each a boy and a girl and play here at home so stuff it, it seems like a great idea.

They are gone.  It's sad and I feel the long holidays are now over, summer is baking the land and I am inside writing this.  I have so much to do, hours and hours of housework, hours of house renovations to do.  What happened to all the excitement in finishing all of this?  Where has it all gone damnit.

I haven't had a migraine for two weeks and that is great, I haven't touched a drop of alcohol in now 86 days (shit thought it was 90 by now).  I still battle with pills but it is usually around when I have had a migraine and without the alcohol I have reduced interest in painkillers.  The relationship I had with pills was around drinking, without alcohol the effect is gone so it is just going through the motions, which is boring and expensive.  So I am clean and I am bored.

I am not regretful of leaving my job and have been offered another so will see about that tomorrow. But I am bone-bored and it is definitely a state of mind.  I realise, being sober, that it is not a truth, it is just a feeling.

The feeling is I am bored, I am tired, I am a big fat pain in the arse.

The truth is with or without alcohol I would feel like this anyway, but I would be drinking my way through it.  There would be no break only temporary numbness followed by worse feeling-like-crap.  Sober, I have a chance.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

PAW - Post Acute Withdrawal

I read this today and wanted to share it to anyone out there who may be interested.  It addresses the presence of brain dysfunction that occurs in 75-95% of those with alcohol addictions in the form of PAW.  A treatable condition those in recovery potentially face.

The site address alcohol addiction and also drug addiction.  I would be super interested if anyone knows about this or thinks it perhaps it is not a thing..

An extract from :  
“Staying Sober” By: Terence T. Gorski

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Tired Anyone? 80 days

Dog Tired (Tux)
Hoping to get somewhere with my new found tiredness.  I have been waking up nice and early and feeling very good (around 7 am).  Going about my day and by around lunch feeling really really tired.

Yesterday I came home from the shops with my son and we both went to bed to read and I fell asleep! Today I woke up at 6.30 and stained the deck.  At 11 am I felt really tired and went to lie down.  Fell asleep for 45 mins!

This isn't me.  I never do this.  It is not the Sandomigran (migraine prevention meds) as they usually make me tired when I wake up and after 2 weeks of taking them the side effects have almost gone away.

So it is something new.  I am at 80 days today and have saved $1,714.21 (spent on fun things for the kids and around the home).

I have read that fatigue occurs but was wondering when it usually does and what others experiences are on this one.

Thanks in advance & big hugs
Michelle xx

Sunday, 22 January 2017

What was that? A Little Dance...?

I woke up this morning and went to make coffee, as the kettle was boiling I noticed my feet had done a little, well kind of shuffle.   What the heck?  Did I just do a little dance?  Yes I did.

A little joy-dance.  That's not me.  I haven't been joyful in years - not without the assistance of substance anyway.  This was pure, natural sober joy.

I am approaching my 3rd month sober and I am getting happy.  I really can't believe it, if I had known this would be one of the results of sobriety I would have stopped damn drinking ages ago.  But I didn't, I thought that drinking was the only thing making me happy.

I was waiting to die and remember thinking this clearly about 4 months ago.  "Who cares, the kids will be grown in about 8 years and no one will need me.  I don't have a husband or partner, I don't get on well with my 23 year old anymore.  We used to but over the past 2 years things have changed and she doesn't respect or care for me.  I don't care about myself or finishing my house.  I work, look after the kids and drink.  The way I am going I'll be dead in 10 years (hopefully) and I won't have to think about any of this anymore".

Well I just am staggered how much this has changed.  How much drinking affected my mental health and happiness.  The depth of depression, the depth of comparing my life to others and the shame and unhappiness that poured down on me like a storm.

I have read similar posts to this and thought that it would never be me.  I would always want to drink and nobody understands how "different" I am to them.  The medical prognosis of alcohol being a depressant is a lie, it is the ONLY thing that keeps me happy - the anti depressants don't work, cognitive behavioural therapy doesn't work, mantra's don't work, exercise doesn't work, holidays don't work, socialising doesn't work, herbal medicines don't work even gardening doesn't work.  All of these things just made me feel hopeless - like "I have tried everything and nothing is working so fuck this - drinking works".

I am no different, I am just a simple human who poured ethanol into my body for years and wondered why nothing IS working to help me get happy.  

To any of you beautiful folk out there who may read this and are unhappy and drinking, please try stopping.  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Yes it's hard, it is very hard but it is worth it - I can promise you that after time, you WILL feel better.  It WILL change your life.  It may not make it perfect as life is not perfect but you can't possibly make you life worse by trying :)

Here is a list of everything the IS working at the moment in my life:
  1. A renewed relationship with my understanding 23 year old daughter and it is like nothing has changed from when we did get on so well 
  2. Sleep is so much better and wake up feeling joy
  3. I am starting to like myself more
  4. I like others so much more than I ever did - I see their kindness and am not so suspicious 
  5. I make better healthier decision that I can trust
Things I am working on:
  1. Patience and calmness
  2. Eating better and more regularly
  3. Using boundaries more effectively when I need to
  4. Spending more time outside of my own sphere.
Have a wonderful day.
Michelle xx

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Good Decisions

Well what a day... What a week.

My parents left today after mum being here for two weeks and dad for the last week before they headed back down south.  They are good parents and I am lucky - dad helped me finish (or did most of) the cabinetry we started last year in the kitchen.  Mum turned my beautiful velvet I had shipped over 2 years ago from British Velvet into Gone with the Wind wonderful curtains.

I have so much finishing work to do on the house, and I am up to the good bits so are excited to finish it.  

I chose my 300 level Financial Accounting paper for this semester so will be finished my degree in no time.

And I quit my job.

The crazy wife of my boss is the worst advertisement for her "Angelite Therapy" I have met.  That said I have never met someone who believes that they talk to 3 angels who not only guide them by instruct her every move.  She is the nastiest angriest person I have met to date - and I have met many people from all over the world.  

On Wednesday (yesterday here in NZ) she shouted at my workmate so badly she cried an walked out - never to return.  So I lied today and said I had another job that I was taking and quit.

I feel relief.  Sober now for 72 days, with Groundhog Girl's sound advice ringing in my ears, I am feeling great change but now is not the time to seek it.  To stay at work and try to push through the boundaries of flexibility, patience and use this as a marker for proving I can do it (put anxiety aside, deep breathing etc) in a toxic environment is just plain stupid.  I will prove nothing except how to be saddened that my new-found boundaries collapsed - I will be putting myself in an unsafe position which I just can't risk right now.

My relationship with my lovely 23 year old is going so much better than it has in years because I am sober.  I need to concentrate on my two wee ones as they need me more than ever at the ages now of almost 11 and 12.  My little boy starts intermediate in two weeks and little M 2nd year of intermediate - I need to concentrate on patience, not yelling, being present and loving.  Not putting my energy into flogging a dead horse.  The job was terminal not matter how I wanted to make it work.  

Yesterday the boss's wife said "if I had my way there would be no staff here I would do it all myself.  Michelle I want to you know it's nothing personal but I don't care about you - I care about the business but I am the boss so that is how it is.  I will not change so it's up to you know this and to work as I say and don't ever question me"  Everything is a monologue, any input is considered an affront to her power as the boss. I have never seen anything like it - it is actually really interesting if it wasn't so in-your-face shitful.   Being an ex-exec with more boardroom experience than I care to remember, it is not a possibility for me to rationalise this type of strange dictatorship.  Teams are important, committee is crucial, ownership of an employee's position by the employee is a great way to get more out of any worker, not half trying to do everyone's job (badly) - as my dad would say "why buy a dog and bark yourself".

So back to the advice on not seeking change at such an early stage of sobriety.... sometimes we have to look around at what we are doing and make certain change to keep safe.  The changes required to stay were far greater than the change I made to leave.  

It feels right and I am going for it.

PS & update 22.1.17  I have heard from my boss (who I worked with as his wife only came in and out of the picture as she stayed up all night making notes to leave on our desks. Then would come in to check the notes during the day to ensure they were followed)  My boss txt me and is very saddened by the drama, he has no staff now and is struggling.  I can't feel guilty or bad about this as he is just as culpable - it is up to an employer to look after his employees  :) 

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Can You Really Change at Age Almost 50?

Books say yes.  The internet says yes.  Others say yes.  The dumb doctor who has no fucking idea and probably doesn't care much either as-long-as-you-take-your-pills says yes. (no disrespect/judgement to those in need of medication even though I do not take anti-depressants this door is always ajar).

But what is the reality "really"?  I have seriously doubted that this can be done, I have waited for an epiphany, waited for something in my life to come in and trigger this amazing event to enable the change I can only vaguely see somewhere in the distance.  Some say one needs a big event to incite change, others that you can cognitively or mantra change from nowhere.

Years of living in the soul-searching, life-changing Byron Bay - one of the energy centres of the world - brought about lots of positive change but I was young then.  Now I am not.  I seem to have reverted back to somewhere worse than where I started.  Change has just not been jumping out at me...

Well it sure as shit is now.  Change is like a contagious virus (the good kind if this exists) but it needs one hell of a giant kick-start, especially for me, especially for me the great big doubter.

I have been stuck, self-absorbed, and always right.  Well I have been so fucking wrong it's scary.
Stuck, self-absorbed and always right and then topping that up with copious volumes of alcohol - and when that didn't pass muster, down some pills.  

Cheesy Expressions
Being sober is incredibly bare.  Now the expressions.... I have to toe the line and behave like a emotionally grown up person, and if you think the cravings aren't champing at the bit, the next day they can come back same bat time same bat channel.   Being sober is a tough row to hoe but it's anchors a-weigh for me.  
Sober = Change.

The answer is YES.

Michelle xx
The cheesy expressions were just because I felt like it, and because it is my 51st post.

Monday, 9 January 2017

2 months and 2 days or 63 days - Still Not 50

Well yay to me!  Over 2 months sober and still going. I feel great and I have had a shit couple of days.

My mum is visiting from Queenstown, my kids are being amazing and yup I have to get a migraine on Sunday (today is Tuesday lunchtime).  It got so bad that I had to have a shot on Monday of Pethodine and anti-nausea medication.  The Anti-nausea medication went down horribly and I have been throwing up right up until midnight last night.  Paced around the house all night feeling like my skin was on fire.  Then got a couple of hours sleep and had a crown at 10 am (I did let the dentist know not to put the suction too far down!).  

That hour and half in the dentist chair gave me some time to think.  Time to get real really.

I have officially STOPPED comparing my life to anyone else's - I am me!  That was the worst migraine I have ever had - my mum was completely horrified and she has seen some of the bad ones. But out of all of this there is a silver-lining - I am me, I have to make the best of all the wonderful things I do have.  

  1. 3 lovely children
  2. 2 wonderful parents
  3. 1 lovely home by the sea
  4. A terrible job - but hey - it's a job right?
  5. Great friends - must spend more time with them this year
  6. My lovely 2 dogs (well one is my son's and she is an old grump - but he adores her)
  7. This blog which has changed my life and all my lovely friends, yes I think support = friendship!
  8. I am sober
This year is going to be filled with things I share, forgiving old things that hurt, breaking free of those bonds of guilt that keep us down & keep us sad.

Love to everyone
Michelle xx

Friday, 6 January 2017

Isolation - Out We Have to Come

I have been writing quite a bit about isolation and I think that for me that is what kept me in my prison of alcoholism.  Taking away the alcohol has been one part of the equation and it seems the other part insists that I come out of isolation.

Learn to love better, listen better and have a more open heart.  To chose to live my life.

These monkey's are cute but we don't just limit our not seeing, not speaking and not hearing to evil, I feel today we tend to switch off from others and live in our own tunnels.  Facebook, instragram, twitter, txting create an unrealistic fantasy which may lead us believe that others around us are doing just fine, but it is just a fantasy at worst and only half the equation at best.  It supports one of my favourite blogger's comments "don't compare the inside of your life to someone else's outside".  

People, even close friends, can create the image the want others to believe, but not how they really are.  This is how I got away with drinking so much and others around me, I am sure, are in the same place - people I know, people I care about.

Here's to a "prison break" for all of us.

Michelle xx

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Unwrapping the Present (Lesson 4)

Not that I am a present per se but it's a good metaphor.   By giving up drinking and getting past the first 8 weeks I am strangely left with well... me.  It is not the surprise so much as the depth of what really needs to be addressed that confronts me.

Alcohol Free Zone kindly suggested a book by Dorothy Rowe - Depression - The Way out of Your Prison.  I have never really thought of myself as depressed, but the years of self-medication intermingled with world travel, having kids, relationships, high-profile jobs, has largely left me incapable of dealing with emotional situation of any kind, well.  According to the book there are 6 main points that build your prison and they seem quite severe when reading them, however when they are explored in depth, they are all things I have done successfully to ensure my prison is secure and my defenses to this prison - to enable me to remain inside - is depression.

One thing that most drinkers will relate to is isolation. Jailers are aware that the easiest and quickest way to destroy a person's will is to isolate them for an indefinite period.  Drinking isolates us and whilst we are drinking, we don't know when or if we will ever stop, so the period we set ourselves is indefinite.

I am amazed at how I have spent years building and perfecting my prison and how it has affected those around me - a tough revelation to learn.  Subjecting myself to guilt, self-hatred, unforgiveness, fear, the knowledge of bad past experiences and still living with them even now, the expectation of bad experiences that will happen in the future, and expecting them - waiting for them.  All these things have created my own personal prison.

I am up to the part in the book where I now must find the key.

Over the holiday period, I have looked at others drinking, talked to others who are drinking, there has been times (many) where I have said to myself "why am I doing this? Really....Why?" Toying with the idea that one wouldn't hurt.   But the problem, I have now discovered, is so much deeper than the drinking itself.  The elimination of alcohol unwraps the world around me and now I see that in order to live my life I have to keep going on the road of sobriety - I have to find out how to get the fuck out of this prison and live my life to the fullest.  Being the best I can to those around me and not let my behaviour have a negative impact on them.

Michelle xx
UPDATE: 3.1.16 found this today:
AA podcast - I thought Liz's story was something I could relate to