Sunday, 10 September 2017

THE BIG REVEAL

It's 5.00am Monday morning and I've been awake for ages thinking about the amazing weekend I've had. I hosted a sober gathering for 14 friends from the Living Sober crew. I had some of them stay here and we hired my sisters and my nephews homes to house the rest of them. They all wanted to come and see my new home so it was a good excuse for a get together. Wow! It has been just perfect. It could not have been better in any way, there is nothing at all I would change. The warmth and kindness, the raw truth and honesty, the continuous humour, the stories and the laughter. The food, the bounty of huge sides of freshly caught Akaroa salmon supplied by my friend, the effortless flow of my new kitchen and the easy comfort of everyone helping. The resident barrista who bought her own coffee machine and kept everyone very happy with her continuous and generous supply. The quiet late night guitar and beautiful singing of our wonderful friend, and the powerfully sweet sound of all our voices quietly blending in singing Hallelujia and Here Comes the Sun. Hundreds of small conversations allowing us to know each other better, the feelings of closeness, trust and understanding. The safety of each other's company. The pride in Rory, who stayed for several hours the first day. Everyone just loving the home he has created for me and enjoying getting to know him after hearing so much about him for the last couple of years. 

There is a richness in my soul this morning as I look back and remember all the precious moments we have shared. The spirit of our laughter, the strength of our growing friendships, and the power of our connection has seeped into the walls and floors and ceilings of my home, making it warmer, richer, and filling it with memories of love and kindness and humour. I am so grateful to all who travelled so far to be here and share this weekend with me. I will never forget it.

A lovely long skype session with Mrs D who spoke to every one of us and then got me to take her on a virtual tour of the house, which I was hopeless at and she probably saw more ceilings and floor than anything else. A really nice wind down after most had left, with just three of us sitting by the fire and discussing the highlights, sharing some more food and feeling empowered by the experience we've had. And then just one staying a little longer, prolonging her drive home to Christchurch, and discovering we had a rainbow hovering above. A magic little moment to end a beautiful weeeknd. I would do it all again in a heartbeat.












Wednesday, 30 August 2017

DAY IS DAWNING




I'm sitting up in bed very early, with the curtains drawn back, waiting for the dawn. Just 5 or 6 lights shining a reflection into the water across the bay, and a very few scattered lights on the hillside. So different from a big cityscape of lights. Beautiful in its quiet smallness and simplicity. Soon I will have a bath, and from there I also have amazing views which give me such a feeling of richness within. Nature in all its glory, after city life for the last 12 years, is so very welcome back in my every day life.

Spring is officially here tomorrow but it's already started and it's wonderful to be having beautiful warm days lately, although it's raining just now. The boys laid the ready lawn last week and it is like putting the icing on the cake. I just love it and it looks amazing and really finishes the place off. Been doing some more planting too with the help of a lovely lady who Rory met at the dump and introduced me to.
The corten steel cladding is now finished and starting to rust and although it won't be to everyone's taste it is certainly floating my boat bigtime. Oh, and on my way home last night I picked up my beautiful copper sculpture after the exhibition ended at the Little River Gallery. It is an extravagence for sure, but one I will enjoy forever, and the money is justified by the fact that I could have drank and smoked the same amount in about 10 weeks.

Next weekend I'm having a gathering of some of our sober clan from Living Sober. There will be 16 of us if they all make it, and we are renting my sisters and my nephews houses to help accommodate them all. They are keen to check out the new house and it's a good excuse for a get together. It is quite an honour to have them all wanting to come, as they are coming from Auckland, Hamilton, Perth, Wellington, Blenheim, Dunedin and Christchurch. Most of them have witnessed me dreaming about building this house, pulling the pin for a while, then deciding to bite the bullet and get on with it, and the rest is history. They've been there, listening, sharing in the triumphs, and the pride I have in my son Rory the builder, the frustrations and anxiety sometimes, and the joy in seeing it all come together, so its awesome that they will be here now to occupy and share in it for the weekend. What I love about these new friendships is we are all like a bunch of licorice allsorts, so very different from one another but with a bond of trust and loyalty and honesty second to none. These people, my new sober friends, they really "get it". They understand what a big deal it is to be living a life with no booze ever. Mostly it is just fine and its my normal way of being now, it's not as if I think about it all the time or wish for my life to be different. But it is good to feel understood. It is good to be around people who have walked the same path and know the myriad of emotions involved in arriving at this place of inner freedom.....and staying here. 

The booze will always hold that lure for me. When I crave it I really crave it. I almost smell it and taste it, and I imagine that liquid honey sliding down my throat, and the feeling as it takes it's effect, and I long for it sometimes, still. But I don't ever long for all the crap that goes with it. I don't long to be less of myself because of it. I don't long to get loud and raucus and talk shit. I don't long to wake up and feel like going back to sleep because I don't want to face the day. I don't long to live with that nagging knowledge that I have a problem and I need to deal with it. 
I absolutely LOVE the freedom from all of that, and if it comes with the small cost of occasional cravings and a way smaller social life, I will live with that. I will also find the advantages in that. One is that it is way easier to make this transition to come and live here in beautiful Takamatua, where I have no friends, yet, and definately no social life, because I am already well used to my life being way smaller in the ways of social interaction. I am preferring quality over quantity. I am enjoying my own company too. I am getting things done. I still see my children as often as before and that is what matters. I am taking a leaf out of Charles Bukowski's poems and appreciating my solitude. I am okay. I am enough.








Thursday, 3 August 2017

ON AN EVEN KEEL


I've woken this morning bright and early with an amusing little epiphany. I was reading an article last night which linked solitude to creativity, so I am hoping I may become inspired creatively at some stage. 

Then I thought in the meantime I shall just continue to write my blog, even if it isn't so much about alcohol or the lack of it any more. It is about my life as I go forward without it. Then that led me to think about my life now as being on an even keel. No big highs and no big lows. Then of course that led me to think about a life of drinking, my previous life in fact, as being quite similar in a sense to very rapid cycling bi polar. Sailing along on an even keel for a day or so, then getting on it and having a major high episode, talking loudly, getting over excited, doing and saying things we probably wouldn't normally, sometimes getting a bit out of control, lots of laughter, or sometimes hot headedness, impatience, or anger. Possibly saying hurtful things to someone close in the heat of the moment. Sometimes just having fun, dancing, laughing and feeling happy. Then bed. Then wake up. Feeling low. Feeling lots of feelings that go with feeling low. Physically under par, feelings of remorse, guilt, shame, nagging worry, regret, sadness, lack of motivation, tiredness, all leading to feeling a mini-depression for the day. We battle on through, then towards the end of the day we decide to make ourselves feel good again, and away we go on a new tangent. Often they are just mini tangents where there is no bad behaviour, no particular excess and it's quite mellow, but another little drinking tangent it is, and underlying nagging worry and guilt accompanies it, for me. Have a few more and that mostly goes away, until the morning, or more often the middle of the night! Having close links to someone with bi polar I am qualified to make this comparism. I don't mean in any way that is actually anything to do with being bi polar. I just woke with the similarity in my mind. Like a mini version of it. For someone like me. Bi polar is something a person is born with. Some argue that alcoholism is too. Whatever the truth is in that, with bi polar a person has no choice. With alcohol they do.

So all of that led me to look at my life now, three years down the track of being sober at all times.

Although it has been a very emotional and enlightening journey, facing everything that life dishes up to me, good or bad, with my feet planted firmly on the ground, never once altering my state to soften hurt feelings or bad news, or to lift my spirits (funny wee pun) in times of sadness or in celebration, or to ease feelings of pressure and stress after a hard day's work. Or to cut loose and join in with friends and family and enjoy the familiar loosening up and fun and camaraderie and communication created by sharing an evening of drinking together. The latter is what I miss the most, sometimes achingly so. I think it is very sad that I don't fit in to anyone's life much anymore. Just because I don't drink. It says more about them and about our culture and our society than it does about me, I think.

So here I am, living in solitude a lot of the time, in the home I have designed, bespoke for me, with the help of an excellent and creative architect, and the tremendous effort, skill and passion of my adorable and generous son Rory, and many of his friends who've worked on it in their various professions. Now that this project nears completion I am hoping that soon some new creativity will enter my sphere and inspire me. 

In the meantime I am living my life on an even keel. I feel strong, good, quite alone not surprisingly, it's me that put me here where I know almost no one. It is beautiful here, kind of empowering, and I feel way more peaceful in these surroundings. I know I have set myself up for a fulfilled and purposeful life. I will be patient, grateful, and hopeful while that unfolds.

My rudder is steady.


Saturday, 22 July 2017

STORMY DAYS


It's cold and raining this morning and the power has gone off. Last night the Takamatua beach road was flooded so I was stranded if I had of wished to get out, which I didn't, so that was fine. It is a pretty serious storm going on out there, a state of emergency has been called for Christchurch, Banks Peninsula, Timaru and Dunedin, much flooding and slips on some of the highways. At this point there doesn't seem much point in getting up, but when I do I will feel glad that I chose a gas cooker and have a gas fire as well as a heat pump. It will be interesting to see if I can light the fire without electricity as it stupidly runs with a remote that I think requires electricity to ignite. I shall find out soon.

I woke this morning with a strong sense of trusting my intuition. It was right out there in the forefront of my mind. Trust. You see I don't really know what I'm doing with my business, or my life and future right now. In fact I've been winging it in every way for so long now, with the goal being simply to build this home and make this move, which wasn't at all simple and has been all consuming for some time. Now that I'm here, and the purpose and goal has been achieved, it leaves me room to ponder what is next. I find it exciting to not have a particular plan, to be open to whatever feels right. I'm kind of over my caravan rental business, but after spending a good hour on the calculator yesterday, and even with the most optimisitc slant on the facts, it is clear to me that I can't afford to not continue it. I do not have a magic wand to wave (yet) that gives me a secure income, and the ability to live here with no money worries. That is the next goal I guess. The one thing I do know is that no matter what it has cost, coming here feels so good and so right, and although it will take time to adjust and to feel a part of a community, I am prepared for that, and I know deeply that I am in exactly the right place and at the right time of my life. This is very reinforcing, and a good feeling to wake up with today. And right this second the power has just come on. I am glad I used the time wisely by getting these thoughts down on my tablet from the comfort and warmth of my cosy bed, with the view to die for, even if it is all stormy and foggy and rugged out there, it's just another aspect of the ever changing character of the harbour.

Feeling lucky. Now to get up and sieze the day. I'll go for a wee drive and observe the damage around the area. I am probably still stranded I would imagine. Slips and road closures yesterday. Not much easing up overnight it would seem, and forecast to be relentless today. The house feels good and strong and safe.




Wednesday, 19 July 2017

THREE YEARS TODAY!!

Today it is 3 years since any alcohol has passed my lips and entered my bloodstream and played havoc with my brain. Today I am very proud of that fact. Today I can reflect back, with much relief and no regret, and see clearly the path I have walked these last three years.
Here I sit at my black granite and wrought iron table with my pot of organic lemon and ginger green tea, with Aunty Mary's beautiful bone china tea cup and saucer, looking out at the familiar beauty of the hills and sea and sky. As a child this outlook was all I'd ever known, so it didn't occur to me to be grateful for it every day. It certainly does now though. Every single morning when I wake I throw my curtains open and look with enormous gratitude at the few orange lights across the water as I slowly watch the dawn arrive. I vow never to take for granted the privilege it is to live here, to have built my home here, and to have taken alcohol out of my life, and discovered with wonderment, a life of happiness, contentment, fulfillment, clarity and peace.

At three years sober I am also grateful for the friends I have made who walk the same brave path, swimming against the tide of what our culture has taught us is the way to live. It wasn't an easy lifestyle to give up, and I can see why people remain stuck in their habits forever. It is easier to do what we have always done, to have what we have always had, than take away something central to our very being, our way of life, leaving an almighty gap filled with vulnerability, uncertainty, time to fill, self reflection, and social rejection, or at the very least non-inclusion. It's tough alright, and it takes a long time to battle the extreme emotions, and for me the aloneness, of living life real and raw. When you have a feeling you sit with it, look at it, feel it, understand it, accept it, it passes. All this is done very consciously, unlike the unconscious way we have used alcohol to dull or numb our feelings......be it a stressful day, or something huge like a death or the end of a relationship. Or be it a happy occasion, a celebration, we have still used alcohol to dull our brains. That is what it does, it puts a carcinogenic poison into our bodies and bloodstreams and brains and changes our personalities and compromises our health. There can be no denying of that fact, even though it's fun at the time......and seems acceptable because everybody does it, and the very idea of it is rammed home to us on a daily and hourly basis with media hype, magazines, TV, movies, all forms of advertising, peer pressure and social media. Such is the drinking culture we have all grown up with. Not many choose to question it. I am pleased to be one that did.

So, today I am very happy that I took alcohol out of my life, and have made it to three years free of it.
I am happy with who I am, where I am, and how I spend my time. I am especially happy that as a direct result of me giving up drinking, my son Rory has given it up and stuck to it, and is now in his 19th month alcohol free. I am extremely proud of all he has achieved here building my home, his first build, and with his trademark "Passion for Perfection" the beautiful job he has done for his Mum. I am even more proud of his courage as a man, to choose to live a life so different to all of his friends and to walk that walk. He has no regrets. He is amazing. A legend!





Sent from Samsung tablet

Friday, 23 June 2017

SETTLING IN AT TAKA

Wow! the feeling of peace that I have here is amazing. I love it. I feel a warmth and contentment and a kind of knowing I'm where I belong, and it feels lovely.
It's been a huge week. Getting out of the old villa in the city and having all my belongings delivered here in a big truck, with my wee mini cooper all loaded up, and Brenda's car too, and then the mighty unload! Been unpacking boxes and bags for 3 days, and by the end of today we've pretty much nailed it and got everything in it's place, and it's great because there seems to be a place for everything. Yesterday was pouring with rain and Rory stayed all day with us working inside with his new lazer, helping us hang all the pictures and my big sunburst clock. Very high tech picture hanging, he went the extra mile and did an amazing job. Today I completed hanging the curtains which were unfortunately made incorrectly and needed some major alterations, but all good now. It felt so cozy and homely tonight sitting by the fire with Brenda and watching old Beatles and Elvis clips on YouTube for the whole evening, and talking and eating and laughing and drinking watermelon Hopt soda, and later licorice tea. Booze may have added a familiar false reality for a while, louder voices, talking nonsense eventually, a sense of fun I guess, but I didn't need to add anything at all to the feelings of contentment, genuine love and friendship shared, and our happiness with this home. 

I am so grateful to have had Brenda here to help me with the transition at both ends.....emotionally as well as with the practicalities, of which she is an expert. Last Saturday when I bought her over with her sister Kathe for the night, and she saw the house for the first time almost completed, and we walked through it up to my room, she got overwhelmed with emotion, that I really had done it, made my dream come true, and she had tears, which made me have tears and we stood in my room hugging and crying and laughing. It was a beautiful moment and one I will always remember with much love. I will miss her when she goes tomorrow.

My Georgia is coming over tomorrow and I'm so looking forward to getting all cosy with her here, and having lots of time to listen and talk and be together. I'm hoping Rory will come back over too, not to work, just to be here with us in the home he has created for us all. I have a very special gift which I am looking forward to giving to him, and tomorrow would be perfect. It is a saw, beautifully carved by an old man, which I found in an antique shop about a year ago. I have had a little brass plate engraved and put on it's handle....Rory, with enormous love and pride. Mum. June 2017. 

It's nearly 1.00am and hey ho....off to sleep I go in my lovely soft and cosy brand new bed, where I can look out the side windows from my pillows and see the orange light on the wharf and it's reflection in the water. I could see lots of lights at Duvauchelles and Ngaio Point if I wanted to, but I've drawn my gorgeous new curtains and I feel all cozy and safe. As soon as I wake in the morning, while it is still dark, I will draw them back and watch the dawn. Life is good, and I am grateful.






Sent from Samsung tablet

Monday, 12 June 2017

WINTER SUN

Wild horses couldn't drag me away yesterday from the peace and sunshine in Takamatua, so I'm still here, and what a glorious day it is too. The morning sun warmed my face while sitting at my breakfast bar at my cool new benchtop. By about 10am I had to change into a t-shirt and sat outside on the deck for a while doing some emails. I've discovered the reason I bought a swivel round armchair, even though I didn't think of it at the time. Instead of facing the fire I can just swivel it round a wee bit and catch all the sun pouring in through the big open double doors. The sky is blue, the sea is calm, and all is still and quiet. If I wanted a sun tan I could get one right here, right now. On an armchair in my lounge room. In the middle of June!

The afternoon is here now and Rory and Andy are working away outside, and the curtain people have arrived and are installing my curtains. I've come up to my room to get out of their way while they're working. I have the double doors open to the deck and the sun is warming my feet. Every room here is so light. It makes me realise how dark my old villa is, with it's not so very good lighting, and what a difference it makes to have all that winter sun and light coming into my rooms.

I have not properly moved in yet but I've been here since Friday and it feels amazing. I am so happy with what we have created here, I know without a shadow of a doubt that I will never want for another home. This is it for me. I know there will be times when it will feel too quiet and I will feel too alone, but I also know those times won't last forever, so I will make the most of the freedom I have, to do exactly as I please, and I will wait for life to bring me what I need.

I trust absolutely that I am exactly where I am meant to be in my life at this moment.
I am very grateful.




Sent from Samsung tablet