Week 1, 2020

Books Read:
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Dollars and Sense: How We Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter by Dan Ariely and Jeff Kreisler

“A wise man knows himself to be a fool, but a foolish man opens his wallet and removes all doubt”
from Dollars and Sense, p254

Another year. Another dollar. I said join me on my No Buy Year. Well I think a more realistic one is a Low Buy Year. Same thing but making better choices but not as severe.

I am making better choices. Last week I put some items into the virtual cart. I slept on in and then deleted them the following day. Nothing bought. Only imagined.

I have joined up with Mel Robbin’s “Best Decade Ever” and am dreaming bigger. Join that too if you like. It’s not too late.

Composting is something I want to get better at. In an ideal world I will eat everything I buy and there is nothing wasted. The spinach at the back of the vegetable drawer is never forgotten. There is no sloppy mess. Reality is something different.

I plan to take stock of everything in my kitchen. The edibles. We have tins in the wash house too. And more tins in the hall cupboard. Are we expecting a zombie invasion? No. We are stocking up for the unexpected. The emergency rations. If the power stopped and you had to fend for yourself how long would your pantry allow you to eat for? How long should that be? It depends on where you live, rural, town, city. It depends on the number of people in your household. It depends on the season too. If you were snowed in how long could you survive without leaving the house? I say that sitting here in summer. It is a hypothetical question for me. It never snows here.

Procrastination is the name of the game. I am living as I used to live when I lived in the countryside when the nearest supermarket was a 40 minute drive away. We had two freezers, shopped weekly and stocked up for what if the power cuts off. Lightening strike, car accident, high winds, forest fire. We prepared. I haven’t lived in a rural area for ten years yet my mind still haven’t realised that I no longer need to stock up like before. I have three supermarkets within a five minute radius. Make that four. One is open very long hours. I am never going to go without. I can simply hop in the car and get what I have forgotten.

Again in an ideal world I would have had my shopping list with me and I would have bought everything on it and so there would be nothing forgotten. Reality is not so easy.

The list of food inventory is a daunting task. Have you done this yourself? Do you do it every year? Every season? Never? I know I will find duplicates. I know I will find expired food. Some dates I will ignore and keep regardless. Some will be tossed into the bin. This is my task for January. My task to know what I have in order to use it wisely.

I love food. We have Japanese, Korean, Indian, Vietnamese, Chinese Middle Eastern and Italian ingredients. We do use them. It takes a lot of organising. I have fallen off the list. It is chaos in the cupboards. There are noodles. Oddles of noodles. Flat ones, thin ones, fat ones, white ones, brown ones, black ones, clear ones, buckwheat, bean, flour made ones, frozen ones, fresh ones and packaged dry ones. This is just the noodles. Now you can start to understand my reluctance to start.

Join me on my kitchen expedition. Discover the depths of your cupboards. Find what lurks beneath the bench and behind the tins. Place like with like. Devour the contents and make delicious meals. Would you go as far as writing out an inventory? And use it to make your future meals? Who knows what will happen until we begin.

Sober as. A bag of frozen noodles.

Adios 2019

No shoulds or musts this Christmas just past. No presents exchanged. No dessert. Lunch at 4pm. Breakfast in pyjamas. It was just right. Spending time leisurely and watching the Christmas tree lights twinkling, getting Alexa to play Christmas music. No obligations. None. No travelling. None.

Second Christmas sober, yet it feels like my first. Newly sober only a month last year and it felt all so new and weird. It felt more like a sacrifice or a token gesture to myself, a temporary measure. Second Christmas in and I’m loving it sober.

When I watch a movie or a series I no longer get envious of the wine or spirits being consumed. I don’t go down the alcohol aisle at the supermarket. I no longer exchange rewards for alcohol. I don’t feel like I’m missing out by not drinking. I’m letting go of the crutch.

I no longer need actual crutches too. My fibula bone is mending well. The muscles around the bone are getting a workout. I can walk up steps easily but still working on coming down. Physiotherapy continues. Progress is being made.

Appreciation of small things is what I have learnt. Here are a few:

I can place bread in the toaster without needing to remove my crutch.

I can fetch someone else a cup of tea and something sweet.

Having a bath is wonderful.

Listen to your body. When it needs sleep: sleep.

I no longer need to put on a moon boot and gather crutches to get from bed to the loo. Accidents did happen.

Loading a dishwasher is a job of satisfaction now not a chore.

Walking barefoot on the sand at the beach is precious. And then when the water washes over your feet it’s a rush of joy.

I can now sew back on all the buttons that came off the duvet bottom. Each time I fluffed up the duvet the buttons got caught in my crutch, and off they flew. I have collected them in a jar. Time for a repair job.

Learning to be a better passenger in the car. Holding my tongue. Then enjoying being driven. Letting the driver drive without ‘helpful’ comments from the backseat driver sitting in front seat, without the wheel.

Housework is no longer loathsome. It’s growing on me.

I no longer take my body for granted.

Six weeks in bed was actually enjoyable. I had one really grumpy day but otherwise I made the most of it. Reading, writing, drawing, thinking, watching films and documentaries, drinking lots of water. I didn’t have to look after anyone but myself. DH looked after me, fed me and amused me.

Knee scooters are awesome. Mobility increases 10 fold.

Get lessons on how to hold crutches properly. I was holding mine backwards. Yes it is possible but very unstable. Now I am a pro.

Patience is a virtue.

Spending time with yourself is enjoyable.

A tray turned upside down makes a great table in bed.

All the best for 2020!

Happy Holidays

A public holiday here in New Zealand, today Christmas and tomorrow Boxing Day. All is quiet. No lawn mowing, no building noises. Bird choruses only.

22 degrees Celsius, cloudy.

Happy Holidays to all. Thank you for your words or wisdom and support this year. This thing called “sober” is so much easier with our online chats. My consistency of being sober amazes me. I love it. I made the right choice.

Having a slow Christmas here. Pyjamas, ham and cucumber sandwiches for breakfast with tea, Christmas trees lights, Christmas music watching one cat acting silly with a shopping bag. Bliss.

Roast beef will be later, much later. Lunch will be at around three. No rush. Lunch for two.

Peace and joy to all❤️

No Buy Year

I’m having a No Buy Year. A spending freeze.

What do I mean by that? It means I am buying necessities, food and toilet paper and things to help the home function. Insurance, rates, power, internet, water, petrol and phone bills are part of the necessities. Netflix is staying. Not a necessity but an exception.

What I won’t be doing is retail therapy or online shopping. No book shopping. No clothing shopping. No random items just because it’s on sale. Nada. No eating out. No gadgets.

There will be two exceptions. A book festival and the paving stones need changing. Correction: I think that the old paving stones are looking shabby and new ones will look better. It is a want rather than a need. So and the Netflix makes three. Make that four. Paint. When
I run out of paint for my art I will buy more.

This means hopefully I will become better at planning meals. I will appreciate what we already have. Spend more time following creative pursuits, reading, writing, getting dirty in the garden, cooking and walking.

I am doing this as a fun challenge. I’m looking forward to this. I’m not depriving myself of joy. I am focussing on what I have today.

Join me.

And the first job I have is decluttering the house. This will help me with an inventory of what we have and what we don’t need, what we can sell, what we can give away and what needs to go out in the bin. I have started. I can’t say the method is orderly but the first room is the bathroom. I decided that the bathtub needed to be a place of calm. Then after that the bedroom. I have started decluttering so many times over the years but never finished. I gave up part way through because it was overwhelming. I am determined this time. I want to be organised. The declutter will allow me to be so.

Sober as. A rubbish bag.

Happi

My Year of Well Being started on December 1st. Sounds awfully grand and OTT. It’s not really at all. I have been ruminating on the word Wellbeing, Well Being and Well-being. What does it really mean?

For every person this will be different.

I have been thinking on my affirmations too.

I am happy. I am healthy. I am wealthy. I am wise.

Again each of these words mean different things for different people. Making it to one year sober has been a pretty big deal, to borrow the expression from Ashley Graham.

Someone wrote last week in another person’s blog comment area that they didn’t think of being sober forever. I thought no, me either. When I started this sober journey I had the idea of seeing how I felt after a year and with the possibility of drinking in moderation after that. After my first month I thought that was a dumb idea for me. After six months, I thought how ridiculous for me. Who was I kidding. Now I think I am sober, and I want to continue being so. For how long? Who knows. It’s not a question I need to answer. For now and today I am sober. I like myself sober. I want to be sober. That’s really all there is to it.

Being sober is the first step. Tick. There already. Now I want to focus of being the best version of myself. Taking an internal journey and finding how to do this. I don’t expect to have all the answers at the end of my year. I expect to be further along the right path. I expect to be sober too.

I was looking at the word WELLBEING and hygge popped up again and again. It’s a lovely Danish word, Swedish too. It encompasses all that makes life comfortable with a candle, a cosy corner, a good book or a film and comfortable clothing, with or without company. It’s taking time to slow down. It means many things. Well being is one.

Hygge (pronounced HUE – GAH) really appeals to me. I got a book out of the library probably a couple of years ago on the topic of Hygge. I liked it immediately. I started to light a candle every time I wrote my morning pages. I used a plain tea light candle. No smell. And I added essential oils to my burner and away I went. It was a ritual I began and it became a daily habit.

How do I incorporate more candles into my life? Bath time. I have more tea lights for the bath. I gave the place a good clean and made it more inviting. I turn the lights out and watch the candles flicker. I turn the fan off and I lie in silence. It is peaceful. For now I’ve stopped reading in the bath. I no longer need to watch for wet fingers on the pages.

We are going into summer and the humid and hot weather hasn’t arrived yet so I will continue to have baths for as long as I can. Baths and summer don’t really go well.

Happiness and being happy is not the same for each of us. It is not plastering a smile on your face and wishing it to be so. It doesn’t work like that. I think we need to define it first.

Yet before we can begin to look at ‘happy’ we need the bare necessities. We need a roof over our head, clothing, food and sleep.

Happiness used to mean luck and prosperity and more of a collective idea for the entire country, these days it has become for an individual pursuit, a journey to an emotional state.

Happiness for me is when:

I spend time with DH.

I am in the zone with creative pursuits.

I sleep for at least eight hours a day.

I have a home that is clean, tidy and organised.

I have no anxiety.

I have depression tamed.

I have enough money to be able to live comfortably.

I fit the clothes in my closet.

I have no hot flushes or night sweats.

I eat/cook fruit and vegetables straight from our garden.

I am reading a book.

I am cuddling with the cats.

I am enjoying a cup of tea or coffee and something sweet.

I am watching a good film or series.

I am walking barefoot along the beach.

That will do for today. It’s not the entire list. It’s a start. Oh and by the way some of these above are written as if they are already achieved. I am not organised yet but I am making my way there. The garden is not where I want it but it’s on the way.

What is your version of happiness, either now or for the future? Write it as if you have already achieved it.

Inner Strength

Finding this inner strength that I have isn’t easy. I have thrown rocks in my own path, stacked it at the back of a storage shed behind the towering boxes, I have left it alone amongst the cobwebs and dust. I did it to myself. I buried it instead of using it.

One year sober. Who would have thought it? I wasn’t certain I would get this far. I added one day to the next and here we are with days sewn into weeks, patched into months and I’ve gone and made an annual quilt of hand stitched threads of soberness.

It feels good. This strength that I have found is saying I can handle it. Whatever it may be I can handle it.

I’m re-reading Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, by Susan Jeffers. It’s a different read than when I read it years ago. That’s a good thing. I’m learning something new about myself.

Being curious, reading, seeking and trying are traits that never get old. It makes me a perpetual student. I won’t stop.

Today my plan for the afternoon is reading on the couch with the Christmas tree lights on and the doors wide open. I’m resting my ankle again but wiggling my toes. It’s a sunny day. The cicadas are singing. It’s a good day.

Sober as. A piece of string.

Fumbling, Star Gazer, Springer and Wiggly

Who is doing better?

Fumbling is at 100% of 30% energy. She got out of bed.

Star Gazer is at 30% of 100% energy. She is star gazing at lunchtime.

Springer is at 110% of 100% energy. She is multitasking everything.

Wiggly is at 80% of 50%. She is having a nap.

Decided?

Can’t decide between one or another?

Fumbling, Star Gazer, Springer and Wiggly are all doing just fine. There is no need to compare. Each is doing their own thing. If you must compare, then compare Springer today to yesterday, Wiggly today to yesterday, not Springer to Wiggly.

Fumbling is doing amazingly well. She pushed herself.

Star Gazer is taking time out. Resting her body.

Springer will burn out if she tries to maintain 110%. She needs to give herself time to rest.

Wiggly is making great effort. And has energy to spare.

I cannot perform at peak 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. I need to pace myself. I also have to ask myself how I’m doing. Some days or moments I can push myself and other times I cut myself some slack.

Rest is as important as Action.

This past year, or to be more truthful, the past several years I have not pushed myself. I have rested. Soooo rested I have found it difficult to spring to action. There is no springing. More of a rolling into action.

On the days I am at 100% of 30% is a great day. On the days I am at 50% of 100% is a good day. I am learning to pace myself. Any day can be a great day.

I am learning to (cough) moderate my energy. Up till now it has been flat tack and then burn out. Nothing in between. Rest was burn out. That’s not how rest is supposed to be. I get that. I have relearnt that so many times. Stupid I know. But I will keep at it.

Cleaning, tidying up, putting things away and decluttering. Just writing that makes me want to have a rest. Those things. I am learning to do those things at 30%, 50% and 80% and be okay with it. It doesn’t have to be perfectly done. It really doesn’t. I am relearning to make an attempt. Be fine with the attempt and live with it.

I used to be so tidy until I overwhelmed myself. So overwhelmed I stopped caring. I have made it hard on myself. I am ready to face the clutter and mess. There will not be before and after photos. One swipe of a cloth at a time, one item discarded, recycled or donated at a time. I cleared a third of the kitchen bench yesterday. That’s a good start. I wiped out one shelf and the front of the fridge. I wiped down the bathroom sink. Don’t worry I won’t be detailing everything.

Wellbeing, well-being, well being, however you spell it involves just about everything. My environment where I live affects my wellbeing so it needs work. My wellbeing project began yesterday. I have made it a year of wellbeing. It doesn’t have to be all done by tomorrow. I have time. Action, rest, plan and repeat.

One year sober

I started writing this blog not with the determination of giving up alcohol completely. I was going to dry out. The title of my blog “Moderately Sober” doesn’t take the journey of sober life seriously. I didn’t really think I would be sober forever. I started the blog and started the sober journey because being drunk and blacking out was not leading to a long life. I was killing myself softly.

My blog title is a reminder that moderation is not possible for me.

Today I am sober. I intend to stay sober. I am glad I am sober.

I found a strength that was already within me to stop drinking. I added one day to the next. I felt lost with what to do with my hands, what to do with the new found time up my sleeve. I was amazed at the money I saved. I began to notice that there were others out there also not drinking. A minority, yet, a noticeable number.

The support of the sober community is not to be underestimated. Nudges and the right words at certain times make the difference to lift oneself rather than fall flat. Thank you. You know who you are.

I had a flash of admiration from someone unable to stop drinking the other day. There is no special blue pill to take and voila I am instantly sober. There is a thought, a choice, an idea, a decision. One and all of them. Sometimes it doesn’t work first time, but with the desire to keep trying, one can stop the drinking. Being sober is not just one decision, it is a daily decision. One that if repeated often enough becomes an automatic habit. So automatic that you no longer think about alcohol. Other things in life take your focus. Your spouse, your family, your pets, your renewed discovery of your passion, your mornings, your lifestyle.

I have got back my love of drawing. It must be about two and a half months and I have been sketching daily. The broken ankle ‘helped’ me get back into this. I wonder where this will lead me?

An appreciation and gratitude for everyday tasks has also humbled me. Again being immobile and not being able to do things for myself has taught me patience and also how to ask for help. I am still unable to drive. I love driving. But funnily enough I don’t miss it for now. Crutches and moon boot are only for crowded areas, more of a safety net for me now. Hurray – I am able to carry a cup of tea, I am able to cook. I continue with physiotherapy and getting back to walking with a more regular gait. The moon boot is off while at home. We are coming into summer so walking about in bare feet is just the best. Having my own company for countless days in bed with a foot elevated in a cast has given me peace. I’m fine with my own company. I have been for a while now. Sure there have been days when it drove me round the twist but it was more of the decision of movement having been taken away from me rather than the company.

Having a sober buddy whether they be online, in the same household, same neighbourhood or anywhere really, is incredibly beneficial and much needed support when feeling wobbly. Thank you to my sober buddies.

“My Year of Sober” was a success. I have been thinking about what next?

My Year of Wellbeing is my next focus. I have concrete goals jotted down. This starts today.

Sober as. Always.

On the way

Progress is being made. I am learning to walk again. Today is the first day in a long while I haven’t felt exhausted.

Simple things you take for granted being able to do become a huge effort when you have a broken bone.

Can’t believe I’m writing this because it is so not me, but here goes, I’m grateful I was able to do washing today. Said it. I am one who detests housework. Yet today it was satisfying to be able to get some clean laundry done by myself.

Admittedly it was just pushing buttons. There was sorting and loading. There was adding the laundry detergent. There was the decision as to which type of load. Then the wait. Then once the washing machine had completed its magic the load was then transferred to the dryer. The lint holder cleaned and again a couple of buttons pushed and then another waiting game.

It was a bit like Frere Jacques except with laundry. Once the first load made it to the dryer, a second load began in the washing machine. The swirling of water and the rotating drums in their own rhythms. Followed by hauling warm clean laundry to the bedroom to fold. One by one, each placed into their sameness piles, undies on top of undies, t-shirts on top of t-shirts, socks paired then bundled together then piled into a mound.

The mountain in the wash house is getting smaller. The clean piles are put away and I am feeling satisfaction.

Today was a good day. Told you I liked Mondays.

Five days away from being one year sober. Feeling pretty amazed that I have got this far.

2 months on

Fed up. Writing out my feelings. Don’t for God sakes feel sorry for me or give me sympathy. I’m grumpy. It won’t be received graciously.

I managed to get outside into the garden. I was wallowing in bed feeling so low. My hair hasn’t been brushed in God knows how long. I brushed my teeth for the first time in three days. I am well overdue for a bath. I am two months into recovery from my broken ankle.

Last night I was teary eyed. Netflix couldn’t cure my depression. It didn’t lift me at all. YouTube did nothing. I was restless and barely made my daily sketch. I didn’t want to sleep. Or was it I couldn’t sleep. I don’t know. It was after 2 and I was wide awake.

I looked at the depression, self compassion modules. I read the notes and it said to read them in order. I couldn’t even bring myself to open the module. When you can barely get out of bed, with poor self hygiene then reading something to improve or elevate yourself just is so far out of reach and requiring too much energy.

As I said I made it out to the garden and sat in the sun. I threw on a dress, a baggy summer dress. Turns out it was back to front. Oh well. It matched my mood. I thought it was better to be ‘dressed’ in my own backyard than ‘running about’ in a T-shirt and underpants. I say running about with loaded sarcasm. I am still on crutches with a moon boot. My moon boot stands at attention waiting for me to jump into it when I am in bed.

My knee scooter has been banned by my physiotherapist. She said she doesn’t want to see it. She wants me to use crutches placing some weight on my right leg. So I have designed a cheat method of getting into the moon boot. The three leg Velcro straps are done up loosely, I can slide my foot into the boot, and do them up quicker. Then there are two more straps on the foot. It saves seconds. When going to the loo these seconds are precious.

I must be the most hydrated person on the planet just now. The boredom of a broken ankle makes me drink more water. What comes in must come out. Duh.

Oh and by the way I broke my fibula not the tibia, like I thought. The fibula is apparently not a weight bearing bone yet I have been off the weight on my right leg for six weeks! That will teach me for going the non-surgery route.

The colour is coming back to my right foot. From a reddy pink shade moving back to a pasty white. It is not there yet but much improved. Wrinkles have come back. Note that is a good thing. It means that the circulation is working. The swelling is gone. There is tenderness around the ankle. That’s to be expected. There is stiffness and pins and needles. This is normal because the foot hasn’t been used for a while. Weight is slowly going onto various parts. The muscles are being stretched and pulled. The toes scrunched to pick up objects. Progress is being made.

Coming up to my one year sober mark at the end of the month. Thought I would be feeling better about it but the broken ankle is getting in the way. No matter how low I feel I don’t want to drink again. But I need to develop better habits of celebration.

I am learning how to treat myself. Here she goes again with bloody ice cream. Passionfruit ice blocks with white chocolate. The most expensive ice cream I have even bought. Three blocks to a pack. I slammed aside my frugal self and let the self indulgent me free reign in the frozen aisle. I also tried a new brand of AF ginger beer. Delicious. Gingery and dry. Low sugar by the taste. I have found my summer drink.

That’s enough waffling. Wrote away the grumpiness. Feeling much better. If you comment, I promise not to bite your head off.