Finding my role…

I’m currently sitting in a waiting room, with my child, C, who is seeing their psychiatrist. There is also a therapist and an excellent pediatrician. And a gender counsellor. We are experimenting with using the pronouns they them instead of she her, so I’ll try here.

They are having a hard time. They have some serious depression and anxiety. It has been here for a few years, but grade 7 was hard. They did not like school and although most days were ok, the bad days were very very bad. C feels persecuted and disliked and socially awkward. They often wish they were dead, because the pain of trying feels overwhelming. It’s very hard to hear that from ones child, but I am thankful they are willing to share their darkness with me. I am thankful I am a safe haven.

Many days are good. We adopted s fluffy grey rabbit and named him Frank. He has made us all a bit happier. He is funny. Summer is easy. There’s no school and little routine. I have to work, but it’s easier with no school. And we still have our nanny, so someone is home to make sure the kids are fed and watered. They sleep much of the days.

I continue to practice yoga. It is part of me, and it has changed my entire way of being. I’m less likely to take things personally. I’m calmer. I’m less frazzled and more steady.

The last few weeks of school really shook out calm. C pretty much fell apart and became suicidal.I was scared for them. My anxiety became electric. It was like my skin was on fire and I was so distressed. It took all my effort to continue on…and I mainly did by plodding. I just moved ahead, no huge goals or plans. Just maintaining the basics and giving myself space. And it helped me get back to now, where my mind is able to find some stillness and peace.

I try hard to stay in the now, but I’m beginning to worry about how school will be in September. I’m trying to find the balance between offering my child support and enabling them, trying to protect them so much that they aren’t able to deal with even small obstacles. I wish I knew what was right.

I often think about how life would be if I hadn’t quit drinking. Would I have seen c struggling? Would I have been able to cope? I’m not sure. I was having so much trouble coping myself back then. I just don’t think I could have handled this…well, not very well anyway. Even today, c was being bitchy and stubborn (they are 13 after all) and eventually I broke down and cried. The meanness that can come from a child is unmatched. Of course, c felt guilty…but is how we learn empathy…

Sigh. We are going to all get in the car and go on a short road trip this weekend, and 5hen a longer one in a few weeks. Maybe the change of scenery will spark something.

Thank you all for listening and being here. I suppose kids all have their ages and phases and developmental times that challenge us in different ways. Writing this has helped me remember that this is not easy, but I’m doing it. And, like one of my favourite yoga teachers said last week, if it wasn’t this, it would be something else. Yes.

Stillness and peace,



Happy Canada Day

It’s a holiday weekend here in Canada. It used to be Caesar’s for breakfast followed by beer and bbqs for us, with the extra day off for good measure! Not anymore. Now it’s delicious, healthy lunch and an afternoon movie. My kids are too old for the parade.

Things have been complicated for me this month. My one kid is having a tough time. And it pulls and drags at me. To the far extremes. Some days I wonder how I am managing…it’s been that hard.

Besides that I have changed jobs at work-within the same company. I don’t like change, especially when I am otherwise stressed. The job is sort of a promotion, with a better title and nicer office, and they requested me for the position, which is nice. But the distress in my family leading up to the move had me overwhelmed.

So. A few weeks of nail biting and severe anxiety and fretting. I debated going to my doctor to ask to be taken off work. I was distracted and forgetful and sad and off. I wasn’t sleeping well. I wanted to hide.

Finally I paused and asked myself…what can I do to support myself through this low? I made some golden milk. I started my warm oil morning massage. I messaged my friends and told them I was struggling. I recited the serenity prayer over and over…small things.

I decided to start the new job and see. And, you know what? It turns out it was a change i NEEDED. A new focus with different people, who wanted me and felt I was an asset to their team. I had been in my old position for 10 years. Somehow I had become stale.

In that one day I felt revived. Work felt purposeful. I could see a way to cope. There was a light in my darkness. It has continued to grow.

Fear is a big part of life. I look back and see that I spent many years living in fear. Fear I wouldn’t measure up, fear people didn’t like me, fear I was drinking too much, fear I would have to quit drinking, fear I was falling apart.

One day in 2013 I decided I couldn’t live with the fear and choose to quit drinking, start therapy and change everything, beginning by cutting myself some slack. I told myself at the time I would try it and see. If it was terrible I could always drink again.

Of course, it was brutal and hard, but I knew immediately that it was the right choice. And 4 1/2 years later it is still the right choice. It will always be.

Now it’s different obstacles. But the path is the same. Try. Evaluate. Ask for and accept support. Relax. Breathe.

Life moves on. My responsibility is to help myself roll with it. That’s what we all have to do.

Stillness and peace,


I want to be sober. Should I try vitamins? A French class?

I want to be sober. Should I try vitamins? A French class?
— Read on

For anyone new Belle is awesome. Because a new diet or workout plan is probably not going to get you where you want to be.


So, how is your Monday?

It’s Monday. How was your weekend?

Are you sitting at your desk wishing the weekend had gone differently? Puffy, tired looking and maybe slightly hungover still?Angry with yourself that you drank AGAIN. That all your plans for not drinking, going to the gym and eating healthy went out the weekend as soon as someone offered you a glass of wine?

Because, hey…you deserve it. You work hard and volunteer and take care of everyone else and give give give. A little wine is your treat. It’s not like you are an alcoholic drinking on a park bench. You are ok. You are fine.

I remember so many Monday’s like this. My resolve to quit drinking/moderate would be strong. My anxiety would be high. My hands would be puffy and I looked old. And I felt oh so tired.

But then Friday would roll around and I would feel better and the call to drink would be strong. Everyone else drinks. It’s FUN. life is meaningless without fun….Plus, my husband drank, so screw it. I will too. I have a job, House, nice kids, expensive trips.

And so the cycle continues. Drink, regret, drink, regret. With lots of days of not drinking in there, showing myself I didn’t have a problem. It crushed my soul. All that denial and lying to myself.

The alternative is quite amazing, simple but hard. It requires you to not drink today…and to repeat that same cycle indefinitely. You don’t need to think about it too much. Just say no whenever the option of drinking comes up.

If it’s hard, find some help. Maybe the help is online and you make a plan to avoid social situations for a while and cocoon in your house and let yourself begin to heal.

If that doesn’t work maybe you seek out Aa and suck it up and swallow your pride and go see what they offer. You will be welcomed and you may just find a deep connection to others that you have been searching for all your life.

Or maybe you call an addictions therapist and consider outpatient or inpatient treatment. Treatment is not just for the “worst” drunks. It can be the break a person needs to get an otherwise successful life back on track. And it is a huge brave show of self compassion.

And then one day you will realize life is truly more fun sober. Your kids will have a newfound respect for you, your work performance might improver, or, if not, you might just like your job more. Things will seem simpler. Maybe you will find a new outlook on life and will realize that alcohol might have been fun in your 20s, but a drunk middle aged woman (or man) is not cute or attractive.

And then weekend can be spent have real fun. I spent this past weekend with my daughter at a comic expo. She loves all that and I was there to help her explore her passion. Warning…she’s creepy.

So. My Monday is awesome. Yes, I am at work. Yes, I may have eaten way too much crap this weekend. But I am sober, clearheaded and looking ahead with optimism.

You can too. End the cycle of addiction today. Take a hard step.

Stillness and peace


Heartbreak in Canada

Like many other Canadians I spent the weekend watching the horror of a bus crash in rural Saskatchewan unfold.

A junior hockey team on a bus trip to a playoff game crashes. 15 of 29 people are dead and the rest injured to varying degrees. 10 of those killed were players for the Humboldt Broncos. The rest of those killed were coaches and support staff, including their driver and the radio colour commentator.

Of course, accidents happen all the time, but this one struck a nerve. It was was this picture that broke my heart and started tears that keep sneaking out.

To me, this picture is one of absolute joy, unlimited potential and camaraderie. They are invincible. The smiles, the youth, the dyed blonde hair. I look at this picture and I can feel life itself. These are people who got on that bus…

And in a moment all that was lost.

The next photo I saw broke my heart further.

The lives interrupted, knowing their future is forever changed. The bond between friends holding each other together. Whatever they thought they would be doing this weekend…it was not this.

The pain the families and friends of the Broncos must feel is unfathomable. The first responders and doctors who dealt with the crash deserve a million thanks and prayers.

The outpouring of love and support has been unending. I know nothing can change what has happened, but to do something, anything, to make things even a bit better is the desire of every CANADIAN. I expect most of us donate money and wear green in support and say a prayer that we never have to experience something like this ourselves.

Life is full of the unexpected.

The Winnipeg jets and Chicago blackhawks showed just how deeply we are all connected in wearing the Broncos name on their jerseys. In our hearts, we are all Broncos.

Stillness and peace


Blogging forever? When does it end?

This is a question we all face. Do I keep writing? If so? Why? And what?

I had absolutely no thoughts that I would be wringing a sober blog for 4 years. When I started this I don’t think I even planned to be sober for 4 years….

But here I am.

I continue to blog because I love the connection. I love having a safe space to explore my own though process. I love to share my story in the hopes it might make a difference to someone else. Maybe I could help them, or myself, avoid even a bit of future suffering. This is part of my yoga.

I blog when something inspires or annoys me. After all, it’s my space. I get to say what I want!

I blog when I am scared and struggling. The love and kindness that comes from strangers, the coping strategies and stories. They all help me see myself more clearly. Gh to do that when in the midst of crisis.

And I blog to remind myself that the foundation for my current life is sobriety. This life is formed by honesty, self compassion and contentment. It is important to remember that my drinking life involved lying, shame and self hatred. I know alcohol, was not the sole reason for that, but it was my coping mechanism to avoid dealing with them.

I fear that adding alcohol back into my life would welcome back those negatives as well. It might also shake the mental health stability that I work hard to maintain.

I don’t love in fear of alcohol. I don’t really think about it much. Except to be grateful to myself that I saw the writing on the wall and quit when I did.

I don’t underestimate the power of that gratitude. I have seem people with long term sobriety relapse and it is not fun. I try very hard to make my life as enjoyable and fulfilling as possible.

For me, the connection to the blogging world is a reaffirmation daily that I accept my sober life as it is and I choose to live it the best way I can. One day at a time.

Stillness and peace


Thank you

Thank you all for lifting me up when I was down.

There is a power of connection that exists, even here in the virtual blog world, that heals.

I have actually found quite a bit of peace in the fact that this is all out in the open. Yes, last year was poor. I know why, and I have made changes to avoid it. There’s no looming talk. The fear of the unknown is gone. I can stop projecting this conversation in my head.

The night I write my last post I took my son to hockey and he was the star of the game. His joy reminded me that I have so much beauty in my life. That’s work is just one aspect of it. One I just can’t let tarnish the rest.

It scares me sometimes that I can get caught up in that dark dwelling. But when I write about it, and tell my friends about it, and take care of myself, it all becomes simpler. I’m sticking with simple and gentle for a while.

I was supposed to go to a funeral of an acquaintance this weekend. I sent my husband alone. I just didn’t think I had the extra capacity to hold other peoples grief.

So thank you for being there for me. I love you all. And I am here for you too.

Stillness and peace,