Total health? Yes please!

It’s time to start a daily dose of swaiso exercise!



Please have a watch of Raj Kumar Dham’s film above. I absolutely LOVE his energy.  Step 1 in swaiso exercise, he says, is to write a list of all the negative things you’d like to throw out of your “body mind system”.

So, excuse me while I go grab a pen and a (very long) piece of paper! I will be back…

Love from The Sober Garden x.


” There are 1,440 minutes in every day. You only need 30 for a great work out.”

Good morrow Sober Truth Seekers!  Three headlines from The Sober Garden:

  • I haven’t drank alcohol for a year and nearly three whole months;
  • I’m still scrabbling around trying to find time to Do It All;
  • the daffodils are out and smelling sweet.

Striving to Do It All. It’s futile, I know. Why, oh why, does one persist with it? A couple of days ago I was poolside waiting for my daughter to finish her swimming class. Strategically placed next to a vending machine selling flourescent energy drinks and over-priced chocolate was an advertising stand flaunting a ‘join our gym’ banner. The words on it read,

” There are 1,440 minutes in every day. You only need 30 for a great work out.”

These words struck me. So much so, that I put my Sudoku book down and jotted them down. (Sudoku is my new addiction and proof that I am middle-aged.) I announce to whomever’s in earshot at least twice a day that I don’t have enough time or that there are not enough hours in the day. But there are 1, 440 minutes in every day and you only need 30 for a great work out; the banner told me so it must be true. Two things seem relevant here. Firstly, if you want to do something, you have to be willing to do it. As Primrose from Taking A New Path so succinctly put it in a recent post, we’re talking about doing and doing all that it takes to do what you want you to do. Willingness with action; willing and able. Blood, sweat, tears and tantrums – if you need to do something badly enough you will find a way.  (A nod here to those of you reading this who are, or want to be, sober. Sobriety takes a whole load of willingness so you know exactly what I’m talking about.)  I want to get fit. But actually, I don’t want it enough because the banner tells me all I need to find is 30 minutes out of a daily 1,440 to workout – and I don’t find them because truth be told I’m not willing enough to find them.

Secondly, when setting out to do something, whatever it may be – decorating the kitchen, running a marathon, writing a book, tidying the house, quitting booze – the goal is not achieved in one gigantic step. Every second, every stumbling step counts. Staying in the moment with focus and purpose is what matters. Thinking of an end result, the huge finished, glossy picture is too overwhelming and too much to stomach. I want us to have a family holiday. Cut to me sobbing over the fact that we don’t earn enough to pay for one out right, we can’t afford time off work to go away, we can’t do it right this instant, this summer, this year. But if we ‘put away’ £5 a week specifically for a holiday, then in time, however long it took (and yes, it would be years of saving), we could do it. I wanted to get sober. The only way to do it without freaking the hell out (and it took me a loooooong time to figure this out), was to take it minute by minute, choosing not to drink at that moment. And now I’m sober, it doesn’t finish there. It’s not a case of , ‘goal achieved, end of’. Recovery is ongoing. Staying sober takes willingness and focus, not in the white-knuckled, pacing the floor, second by second way that early sobriety demands but real committment all the same.

Whatever it is we want to do, we can do it. With willingness anything is possible, it has to be the key.

Meanwhile…the daffodils are out and smell of Spring. That, my friends, is good news.


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!


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.