Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Day 59 - Small steps

Beach, hunting for treasure.
Yesterday I spent a fair chunk of the day on the beach. You may be wondering if I actually do anything but go to the beach. Truthfully, not much. And, for now I'm good with that. Its free and its peaceful and ever changing.

I type this from a food infested table, shopping home, I forgot to put it away. Nothing will spoil as it languishes on the kitchen table. Its also covered in the umptuous debris of my sober treat which was a fair sized, (well use to be fair sized) sour dough and a large quantity of prawn and cream cheese pate. I sat down and I got distracted by this fine sight of 'what your husband should be wearing this Christmas'. Thank you Prim. My eyeballs will probably never be the same again. How I giggled. And then I thought why not write a bit, you know, between mouthfuls.

So today was therapy day.  Today was gentler, I'd shared that I'd spent most of the week hunkered under a duvet, the rest running around as usual like a blue arsed fly. We took the pedal off a bit and sometimes, the poor lady who hosts the sessions, she sometimes got to talk too. Therapy can be two way I see, who knew, not me. So as promised to myself I'd organised the bits for my sober treats for later after the session. Made up some prawn cream cheese pate and bought some rose petal bubbles for the bath. I'd needed sour dough too, fresh today to complete this little ensemble. As always the queues for the cars was busy and part of me thought, does it matter, I don't need bread I have crackers.

Yes it matters. 

If I can't make myself wait for 20 seconds to go and buy some fresh bread, then what am I up to. Saving the planet from global warming single handedly. I think not, not today. So whats the rush. If we know the small things like sober treats, in this case sour dough, help then for fuck sake, get the bloody bread.

Needless to say I got the bread. 

Laden in car, headed to the beach for a walk. Yes the beach. There is really a reason we moved here, it started and ended with beaches, 25 here if you feel like counting. And, you know that you're in the mire (shit) when all you want to do is drink and there are 25 beaches (your favourite thing in the universe) a stones throw away and you still would rather get shitfaced than go to the beach. You can imagine the therapy session can't you

........ So me dear, what was the turning point for you, when did you realise alcohol had really started to affect your life directly....

Well I stopped going to the beach. 

[Therapy pause - the kind I think that they think, 'what the fuck are you going to say next', when really they're just waiting for you to explain.]

You know, when I stopped going to the beach, I realised that I'd given up everything I loved so that I could drink, including going to the beach, I'd rather get rat arsed than go for a walk. I could only think about wine and how desperately I wanted it and nothing else mattered. Not the kids, or talking to them, not my husband, not anything, including getting off the sofa or out of bed for long enough to do anything. Well only to go to the shops (for wine) but not go anywhere else, and actually enjoy where I live. Yes, sometimes I drove when I'd had a couple of glasses when I ran out. Oh yes, I drank and drove, not often, but enough for it to be well dodgy. Yes, I think I have a problem.

No I didn't realise online shopping for wine, would have probably have dealt with the driving issue. Thank god in some ways I didn't discover that. I might never have left the house, sodden in wine sure of a long and painful demise.

So today, we went as normal to the beach because we are sober, we can drive legally and we enjoy walking. Just like yesterday. Walked a mile and a half each way and came home, rosy cheeked and happy we made the effort. NO WINE. None needed. Not today.

Now back to the story, on the beach, well I'm a serial wood collector. I've been indocterinated since an early age. My grandfather kept us rapturous for hours collecting wood. He had a wee wood stove in his potting shed where he hid from my Grannie. So we collected a lot of wood to use there. This took hours. Hours and hours of collecting stacks of drift wood, each with its own form and tale. Moving the wood stacks up the beach to the car. Loading the car. Unloading the car. Stacking the wood by the shed, in the right order to know which was oldest. Hosing it down. Drying it out. Rotating it. Drying some more, we'd talk about what it looked like. Finally it got chopped and stacked. One day, normally a long long time from collecting we sat and drank tea infront of it as it burned on the stove.

I think perhaps my Grandfather was a rogue and a child labour exploiter, I like his style and have used it frequently myself. :)

Why on earth am I wittering on about wood you ask. Well, yesterday I gathered around 28 lengths of beach wood around 1.5m long. And I gathered up 3 large bags (Ikea I love you and your lovely blue bags). I walked along the beach hunting for each piece. I carefully carried a few bits at a time up the shore to a spot near the distant car park. Once stacked I carried the wood from there to a place nearer the car. Each trip with only as much as I could comfortably carry. Beaches are no friend of your back if you over laden yourself. Slowly but surely all the wood ended up in the smallest car in the universe with sandy dogs looking quite disgruntled at their transportation (yet again).

Unloaded at home bit by bit. Stacked by the shed, bit by bit. I think every time I do this I must wear out my poor shoes. But, like I learnt from the master (my Grandad), the reward is cosy toes and no expense but muscles. A sense of achievement, free wood, good exercise, a lingering time at the beach, involved in the hunt, mind distracted looking for treasure. Living in the moment, I guess.

What on earth has this got to do with anything to do with being sober, you may ask. Well, for me it was a lesson. 

Whilst I'm thinking 'am I fixed yet, am I fixed yet, I've stopped drinking, when am I fixed. Am I fixed yet?


I tell myself off. Realistically I know learning to be sober takes time and experience and time and I need to be patient. Patience is a virtue I'm just not good at. I tried buying it in bulk once, delivery was delayed I cancelled the order. 

I reflected on by weekly beach antics. There's no possible way I could search, sort, bag, lift and carry 28 lengths of wood, three ikea bags and various bits of debris up to my very sandy car in one go. I'd kill myself trying. So why if I'm patient with wet soggy wood, randomly strewn across the two dozen or more  (yes I told you I counted) beaches in my area, then why oh why do I try and rush myself.

Why can't I be kinder to myself. Small steps, over and over is all it will take, and time and love and probably a fair bit of pacing and head scratching to keep on this sober path.

So why can't I be kinder to myself. I've had a billion day ones and now I'm the furthest I've ever got on a sober journey. I need to treat myself a bit more like the wood hidden all over the beach like treasure, finding myself out slowly, even the hidden bits. Putting the pieces back in place one by one. Moving along the journey slowly and with purpose, whilst allowing myself to linger in the moments and enjoy them. 

So with a ludicrous mouthful of pate shovelled in my mouth, with the right bread, from the right shop because I took the time to get it for myself. I was kinder to myself and I was patient when I didn't want to be. Yes it would have been easier to just come home, but sometimes you have to honour those 'treats' your promise yourself.  Especially when they are lush.

So, still eating it in like a beast,  I'm still sitting at the table laden with today's shopping, still unsorted. Rather than create a zen like space in which to write, thoughtfully, I write in chaos on the corner where the laptop will fit, and that's OK. With sour dough bread crumbs and umptous pate, stuck to my face. I'm writing this diary. I'm enjoying the bread and pate, I'm enjoying this, just sitting and allowing myself time to breathe and to reflect.

Small steps eh? Its a journey after all.
Sunset 2/12/14 3.40 pm - winter sun always so low and quickly gone.

Love and joy sober folks. And, no you cannot have any of my pate. As for the bread, whoops its gone. Instead I leave you with the remnants of the sunset tonight highlighting the tractor tracks of the long, slow, steady walk back to the car. 


  1. Lovely Daisy,
    So glad you are back enjoying your beaches. Great post, tip-toeing back to joy amongst your lengths of wood. And yummy treats too!

    1. Thank you love x they were yummy and no wonder I've lost little weight eh!? X

  2. gosh those jeans look SOOOOO tight, lol. (not)
    lovely gorgeous Post, savoured every word. you are friggin awesome, and I love the way we relate those simple daily tasks aka wood, into our 'journey'. so true and heart warming. thanks for sharing.
    hugs from nz

    1. Simple is all I have Lisa trying to pare it back to the small things to start to really appreciate how lucky I am. X

    2. PS I'm quite short so quickly I look as wide as I am tall!

  3. Daisy,
    I love All of your posts. I am a beach lover also. I grew up on the beach but married and moved away from it thirty years ago. I have never stopped missing it. I am so happy for you that you get to enjoy it now.
    Thank you for reminding us that we are on a journey and we need to learn to enjoy the work that it takes and reward ourselves along the way. It is so worth it. Day 5 for me.

    1. Day 5 is epic. Remember drink lots water and be kind to yourself. Multivitamin? I started mine early what a difference!

    2. hips hope the beach photos help and you're right it is a journey

  4. Hi Daisy,
    You are such an inspiration. Living in the moment is so hard for me, but your wonderful practices are giving me the motivation I need. Why on earth do I rush through chores when I have nothing else on my to do list but chores. I too am getting better, but practice makes for sober living. Your posts have helped me so much. Thank you, thank you. I am going to slowly and mindfully start dinner now. Hugs KT

    1. Hey well I hope we all learn to slow down a bit and start to enjoy life a bit eh. Hugs to you. x I hope your dinner was nice.

  5. I have lived in the same area my entire life and it is nowhere near a beach! Looks beautiful where you are. If you figure out how to buy patience in bulk let me know. It is seriously lacking for me also!

    1. TMSN - hello, my father was in the forces so I have to say I have not had one place for home my whole life. It makes for a very discombulated existence. I feel like a nomad. We've moved 10 miles from my grandparents favourite spot, this feels new and exciting but also like I have some (sporadic) history here. When I discover the patience thing, I promise I'll get on and share it x

  6. 'Patience is a virtue I'm just not good at. I tried buying it in bulk once, delivery was delayed I cancelled the order'. That so made me laugh and smile :) Me too on the no patience thing - us boozers are instant gratification folks! xx

    1. How true lucy, I heard someone on the bubble hour say the same thing, I want it quick and I want it easy, might have been Elie.

      I'm the short-cut queen, changing that habit I fear will be quite a feat.