A Welcome Home

It’s welcome home from The Sober Garden because we’ve returned home from a week away. This meant a week away from this keypad – from any keypad in fact; a week away from the news, social media, from the telly and t’internet, from work, from our house, friends, family and acquaintances.

Just the four of us, with views like this:

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and this:

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and this:

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on a campsite in sunny Spain, where all we did was swim and play and explore a bit. It was a campsite used in the main by the Spanish and some visiting French, so we only heard English spoken (apart from us to each other obviously) twice in the whole week. What a fantastic rest for the ears.

I learned many things last week. Here’s one of them:

endeavour to live life simply, it’s the secret to living life fully.

Welcome home and hello to you all out there.

Love from The Sober Garden x.

Mirror, Mirror

Day 4 in The Quest for Middle-Aged Mojo  – and day 3 into annual leave from my full-time job.

Mojo. It’s elusive. I’ll tell you one thing for sure, it’s not to be found in a mirror. I stood in front of a mirror the other day and didn’t recognise the person staring back at me. I cried – nearly. I’m reminded of the Evil Queen in the fairytale Snow White; now there was one mean middle-aged lady in search of her mojo!

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The Queen and her magic mirror by Jennie Harbour (1893-1959).

 

Asking a mirror (for anything) is not the way to go. What’s needed for this quest is self-care, acceptance and a jettisoning of the heavy stuff. I realise I’m way out of practise at all three. Ignoring yourself and your well-being is as hard a habit as any to break.

I told my husband how I feel, i.e. worn out and weighed down and he listened. Like in the early days of quitting booze and ridding your home of drink, I’ve hidden the bathroom scales out of sight and stopped looking into the mirror unnecessarily. Oh, I check to see that I’m not dressed like a complete mad woman before I leave the house and I don’t put on my make-up in the dark or anything ludicrous like that but I am trying to be mindful of not looking into a mirror in the hope that my mojo is going to be there, smiling back at me. It isn’t.

The bathroom scales are, as of yesterday, under a drawer unit in the bathroom. We live in a small house with a particularly tiny bathroom and not having the scales permanently out at the end of the bath has increased the floor space nicely. Bonus. And if I can’t physically see them, I won’t be as tempted to weigh myself every day and despair at the ever-increasing number flashing back at me. Instead, I shall spend some time chipping away at the fortress I’ve built around myself and see if I can’t pay some attention to what’s inside.

So here I am on Day 4, turning my back on self-loathing and opening up to the prospect of self-care and acceptance.  And Day 3 into my holiday away from long hours of work at a desk and the routine of denying myself a proper break during the day, means the chance to physically move more. To stretch my limbs, and physically shake off the inertia that had me rooted to spot. Movement is going to be key in unlocking what feels like a solid door between me and a life full of living. I’ve some embracing to do and as uncomfortable as it feels right now, it means physical exertion and going for it!

I’m reminded so much of the early days of quitting booze, when it’s all about one day a time and staying in the moment. These are early days for me in my quest to break the habit of self-neglect and I need to pay attention to the here and now and not get overwhelmed by thoughts of tomorrow.  What happens when I go back to work? How can I possibly find the time to exercise? I’m too out of shape to even begin to feel attractive! How could I ever have let myself get into this state? Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all? NONE of these questions have a place in a quest for well-being and happiness. Sorry Wicked Queen, but being a mean, jealous, hard-hearted witch is not going to change the course of youth and beauty fading. Get over yourself.

Here’s something beautiful to end on; hand-picked roses in bloom, with love from The Sober Garden.

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In search of middle-aged mojo

What little mojo I had, has done a bunk.

I feel worn down and worn out.

Before depression wriggles under my skin, or I reach for the red stuff (wine, in my case), or inertia becomes the code by which I live (and that wouldn’t make for much of a life, would it?!), I need to act. I need to reconnect with myself and the physical world around me. Here’s the rub; I don’t have much of a stomach for either. Even the effort of thinking my physical and mental well-being needs to feature somewhere in my day, makes me want to cry, and eat cake, and give up before I’ve started. But if I can stop drinking, I can do anything, right?!

I have taken the next two weeks as holiday leave from my full-time job and I’m going to reacquaint myself with my children, my husband, my home and (dare I even say it), with me.

Counting the days early doors helped me quit the booze and since I’m easily discouraged and even more easily distracted, I figure that counting the days that I’m paying attention to my well-being until it becomes habit, or a natural priority, has got to help – yes?

So here’s how it is in The Sober Garden – seven months sober and on Day 1 in the search for middle-aged mojo.

Pictures and posts to follow!

 

 

Shed some light

The world can oftentimes seem dark, lit only by flashes of hatred and harm. Ego, jealousy, greed, fear – many things can smother the light and bound the heart tight. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at such times and take comfort under a blanket of secrets and lies, hiding away from truth and kindness and love.

But we need not live that way.

Each and every one of us has the power to live honestly; to share, to love and shed light into the darkest corners.

Today is a good day to be reminded of this, as horror fills our news feeds and hatred spills out in to our streets and in to our neighbours’ streets, just as it did yesterday and will do tomorrow. It is always a good time, it is always the right time, to go shed some light.

Love from The Sober Garden xx.

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Picture by artist Marie Cardouat

 

 

 

Too good not to share!

I was going to post about ‘honesty’ this evening but I’ve been distracted by a brilliant “P.S.” on Heya, Monster’s blog, at the end of a post celebrating her one year sober! You can read the whole post HERE but I so loved the postscript, I wanted to share it in The Sober Garden. So, here it is:

 

p.s. To those considering sobriety, perhaps just try it and see. What’s the harm? If, like me, you’ve tried counting drinks, setting limits, setting rules, jumping through the hoops of justifying the morning-after drink, or the drink at 5 o’clock-even-though-yesterday-was-an-alcoholic-blur, or if you’ve covertly picked up another bottle because it was on your way, or next to the grocery store anyway, or if you’re planning get-togethers with friends because it gives you the opportunity to drink in a group, an alibi, but then later by yourself, or if you’ve drunk by yourself and secretly filled your glass, or watched the bottle level go lower and lower and you’re not getting enough while everyone else seems to, or if you’ve hidden bottles away from your people and then gotten rid of the empty bottles when no one’s looking….. If you’ve done any or all of that, what would be the harm in just trying sobriety for a day or a week, just to see how it goes? What I discovered was that Sobriety is a whole lot less work than drinking ever was. It was actually easier…. on my life, on my health, on my well-being, on my peace-of-mind. Reach out to us here, if you want someone to listen to your story, or if you have questions. There are so many of us here who have been where you are. And, to be sure, I do not have all the answers, nor is my journey done. I still choose sobriety every day, and sometimes that choice is a lot harder than others, but? To me, it is always worth it and proves itself to be day in and day out. Love, -HM.

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Honesty

Honest;  free of deceit; truthful and sincere

From this moment, I am going to attempt to live honestly, to be mindful of being true and truthful. As someone with a considerable streak of dishonesty running through their veins, this will be a challenge. I hope the discoveries I make through honest living (or attempts at such) are worth sharing in future posts but first, here are some pictures of Honesty the plant;

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Common honesty; a European plant with bright white or purple flowers that bloom at this time of year.

 

Honesty’s always been a favourite plant of mine but especially in its fragile, translucent ‘gone to seed’ form:

 

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Paper-thin and silvery, they’re so pretty, aren’t they?

 

Please wish me luck on my quest for honest living – and you’re more than welcome to leave any Tips for Living Truthfully you may have!

Thank you! And love from The Sober Garden x.

A new book

I’ve got myself a new book. Well, it’s new to me. It actually originally belonged to my husband and according to the inscription inside, we gave it to him on Father’s Day nine years ago. Apart from a few pages he’s filled with jokes and comical observations, its sheets are blank. It has been hidden amongst the linen in a drawer under our bed for-like-ever but I’ve always known it was there. I asked him if I could use it. (An empty book is irresistible, isn’t it?). He said yes.

It’s a book to help me remember. An aide memoir for the middle-aged. I don’t mean to fill it with appointments, or to do lists, or blah blah blah. I’m going to fill it with the names of places that make me say “Oh, I’d love to go there,” or the book titles that make me say, “I’d love to read that,” or the names of old friends that make me say, “I’d love to see her/him again.” You get the picture.

And talking of pictures…here’s a photo of My New Book. Ta dah!

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I’m looking forward to discovering what I’ll choose to write in it.

Tomorrow will be the book’s first entry. And tomorrow is also a five months sober anniversary for me. This not totally unchartered territory – I have been without booze for five months before, back in 2014, but then I was five months sober and full of anger and fear and grief for having ‘lost’ booze. This time it does feel different. It feels simpler. I’ve just let alcohol go. I’m rid of it. I’ve jettisoned some of the heavy stuff – and life is all the more lighter because of it.

Back to My New Book! What would you, or do you, write in yours? Do tell; I’m very nosy and a good listener.