Working my recovery….

Today is day 1630 of sobriety for me and this is proving an interesting time for me right now…

The hard work of early sobriety is over, not drinking is normal and therefore the pride and joy from being a non-drinker is also a bit diminished (still there but not so acute).

Nowadays I find myself having some ebbs and flows in my daily life which are quite strong.

Some phases have me feeling great! Ticking along nicely. Treating my body well. Feeding my mind in a satisfying way. Feeling good – busy, but good.

Then at other times I hit a phase which is harder work. Relentless. Gritty. Uncomfortable. And there’s a big part of me that feels almost ashamed to admit that these days aren’t filled with roses and joy.

“I’m sober I should be happy”, I think to myself.

“Better not admit I’m having a tough time or others might not want to put the drink down”, I think.

“Must act all happy and joyful all the time to encourage others to get sober”, I think.

But that’s just bringing bullshit into the equation and one thing I have a low tolerance for in sobriety is bullshit (because I was so full of it when drinking. Pretending to feel great when often I wasn’t).

So in the spirit of honesty I wrote in the Members Feed last night that I’m in an uncomfortable phase right now and am acting like a real ‘seeker’ – searching around frantically for the right author/podcast/diet/something to make me feel good.

I’m not ashamed to admit this because I think this seeking can also be seen as me ‘working my recovery’. I think we always need to be doing this.. not settling for feeling uncomfortable, always seeking good healthy ways out of it (while at the same time accepting that uncomfortable feelings are normal and will always come along).

So it’s a balance between acceptance (and the calm that comes with that) and seeking (and the activity that comes with that). Maybe ‘working your recovery’ is about maintaining that balance.

I think I’m doing that right now. Acknowledging my feelings and accepting them, not beating myself up about them and knowing they will pass.. but at the same time looking for ways to nourish my body and soul to help me through the uncomfortable phase.

Here are the ways I’m doing the latter…

* Looking for fun things that will entertain and distract me – a good novel, American Idol,  Masterchef, new recipes to follow, new music to listen to…

* Looking for enriching materials that will feed my soul. Podcasts on recovery, books about mindfulness and writing and creativity, sobriety blogs.

* Physical activity. Yoga once a week, walking the dog, am considering doing a local zumba class!

* Making good food choices. Anything I am eating extremely quickly or furtively is usually not good. Neither is anything I reach for late at night (unless it’s a mandarin!), but also……

* Not beating myself up about bad choices. I am not perfect. I am a flawed human being and that is ok.. so long as I don’t ever give up completely on trying to be healthy

* And always staying honest, communicating with others in recovery, knowing that ‘this too shall pass’, and remembering that I am brave and amazing for putting down he drink in the first place!

Maybe there is a good measure of pride and joy at being a non-drinker in there still……..

Love, Mrs D xxx

  1. Viatoday 8 years ago

    It’s been a while since I logged in here – over 3100 members – wow!!! As you so often do, your post here just speaks to me! Day 659 for me. The newness is over, and it’s challenging sitting with all the feelings all the time. Irritability over daily life stress can really get the best of me sometimes. Developing a regular exercise routine since mid-January, the last 6 weeks or so, has been hugely helpful for me so far in 2016. I look forward to listening to your interview with Belle. I have not listened yet! I love when the worlds of my sobriety heroes connect! Thanks for all you do!

  2. Anonymous 8 years ago

    That comment about putting a smile on or dont come out resonated with me! I must have spent a huge part of my childhood in my bedroom or out in the fields cos ” dad doesnt need your noise around” .
    I started at 15 and now 42 years later admit I am a fuctioning alcoholic. Change that, now a non drinker . First day done.

  3. Anonymous 8 years ago

    Downloaded the book yesterday. Half way through and it is me but , I had blackouts, accidents( trips/slips etc).
    Well 1 day down and no alcohol, I tried to do Dry January and obsessed when the month would end( ended after three weeks!!).
    I have never followed a blog before but will give this a go .
    Non supportive husband who constantly offers to ” get you a bottle!” But then has a go that I drink too much!

  4. justjane 8 years ago

    @mrs_d this is real life isn’t it, without the blanket of booze to smother it? We are all here to help ourselves and each other, and hearing the unvarnished truth from you is so very helpful. Thank you.

  5. elizabeth 8 years ago


  6. sunshineandrain 8 years ago

    I have often wondered about the pressure you could potentially feel under in this wonderful sobriety bubble you have created for us all here. It’s hard enough fighting the daily battles alone, but you have thousands of us in awe of you, hanging on every word! – I’ve often wondered if there’s a flip side! Thank you for such a wonderfully honest post – so authentic and shining a light on the reality : ups and downs, ebbs and flows. Lots of love xx

  7. Flourishing 8 years ago

    Thanks for this post @mrs-D – the reason your blog, book, tv doco and this site are so successful is because you are so honest about the good and the bad, the ups and downs. Having said that I totally understand that you feel a responsibility to put a positive “spin” on sobriety for people in the really early stages. We have to believe it will get better at that point or it is too easy to slide back into it.

    I just think you do a fantastic job when it must be sooooo tough feeling like you are under scrutiny for firstly what you feel and secondly, what you say about what you are feeling. But as someone else said earlier if you only present the positive we will put you on an unreachable pedestal and always feel like we are doing the wrong thing.

    So, thank you for being you, thank you for having the guts to do all this, thank you for being honest, thank you for having all the normal ups and downs of a person non-drinker or not. I am looking towards my next milestone of six months soon and that would never have happened without you and this site and my very special support buddy I met through this site. I hope you find what you are seeking and I hope you can share your true thoughts about it on here in the knowledge that you are very much loved and supported no matter what. As you often allude to putting down the drink is just the beginning – the real magic is in the good, the bad and the ugly that unfolds as we have the clarity to let it. Much love and gratitude to you. x

    • Author
      Mrs D 8 years ago

      wow this one made me a bit teary @flourishing, thanks for the kind words – so glad you are a part of the cool sober gang!! xx

      • Flourishing 8 years ago

        Ha, ha – the coolest gang in the world! 🙂 x

  8. Anonymous2 8 years ago

    These words really resignate with me… “The hard work of early sobriety is over, not drinking is normal and therefore the pride and joy from being a non-drinker is also a bit diminished (still there but not so acute).”

    I am still very new to this, so the pride and joy of not drinking is very fresh and real and motivating, but I do wonder as time goes by about what effect this fading feeling will have on me and my strength to continue.
    MrsD your honesty is refreshing, and living proof that we are all human and share many of the same thoughts and feelings. Thankyou for providing the strength and motivation through your words to help us succeed in this journey. Xx

    • Author
      Mrs D 8 years ago

      Hi @anonymous2 I love that the pride and joy of not drinking is fresh and real and motivating!! That is bloody awesome and will carry you through.. and I should note that even when I am feeling ‘uncomfortable’ I am always proud of myself for being sober .. you can’t put a dollar figure on self-pride. xxx

  9. Ermintrude 8 years ago

    Couldn’t have said it better than that @Prudence .
    We are a team… very raw, real and pretty damn awesome… even on the bad days. 🙂

  10. mnrn 8 years ago

    So refreshing to read this. I am newly sober (again) and this time really focusing on being honest about how I feel. All my life feeling like I had to be up & positive no matter what. I remember when I was a child my mom telling me to go into my room & not come out until I had a smile on my face when I was not happy for whatever reason. What a lesson to teach a child! How hard it is to unlearn that way of living when you have been doing it for 50+ years.

    I think the desire to look happy all the time goes hand in hand with wanting to be happy all the time & isn’t that why we drank in the first place? Dangerous cycle to be caught in. But boy it is hard for me to admit to others I don’t feel great. I feel weak and like a failure somehow when I do that.

    Thank-you for sharing how you really feel. Like another said that is one reason why we love you. Your honesty!

    • Author
      Mrs D 8 years ago

      the honesty will set us free @mnrn .. so glad you are here with us xx

  11. QuietlyDone 8 years ago

    Great post! I think you nailed on the head, the honesty is so important, recognizing that you are a bit ouchy is really important, it is a new feeling for us to be able to say, I am uncomfortable, we don’t numb ourselves so we do need to keep finding better ways to comfort.

    • Author
      Mrs D 8 years ago

      I like that – ‘a bit ouchy’.. I might pinch that and use it in future @quietlydone! xx

  12. Seizetheday 8 years ago

    We need to know it’s not all happy happy joy joy – if that’s all you shared we’d be wondering what the hell is wrong with us still having shitty patches, still struggling with life’s hits etc.
    it has to be honest, and your honesty is what we have loved about you from the beginning.
    And always will.
    Big hugs xo

    • Author
      Mrs D 8 years ago

      I think the uncomfortable phases also make us enjoy the happy happy joy joy phases all the more because they are real and hard won! hugs back to you @seizetheday xx

  13. Kerris 8 years ago

    You opened yourself up to the world when you wrote your book, we have I guess unintentionaly put you on a pedestal, your the lady, the Kiwi that brought drinking to the forefront and changed people’s lives I can understand how you must feel you have to try and always be the happy positive shining beacon. I often wonder how you cope with it all. Thank you for putting yourself out there. As Prudence has said we are here for you too for whatever and whenever you need us. xxx

    • Author
      Mrs D 8 years ago

      No pedestal for me thanks! I don’t want to be up there, much too much hard work!! Prefer being warts and all with you folk especially. Love the support of this community and I wouldn’t share so honestly if I didn’t feel we had a special thing going here on this site xx

  14. Prudence 8 years ago

    Yes it is quite a predicament you find yourself in Lotta. I have often thought that about the position to are in. I love your honesty about it. I would feel the same “better not say anything too negative, I might scare the newbies off” etc. I think that you are first of all “one of us” and even though you were the first one, and the one that has led us all to a better life, and even though you are our Hero, I think we all understand that you are still one of us. As such, you must feel able just as we do, to speak of your frustrations and rough days and the difficult tough terrain of this sober goat track we are on. We adore you and I’m pretty sure I am speaking for everyone when I say that we would like the opportunity to help you through the down and challenging times, just as you help us. Ebb and Flow. Give and Take. Love to you xo

    • Author
      Mrs D 8 years ago

      YOU are such a sober superstar @prudence this site would be a much lesser place without you in it! xxx

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