Yesterday was my birthday.

I am 47.

I don’t like birthday much. There is some unwritten expectation that the day will be special, which I don’t really like, and then disappointment when it’s not.

If life hadn’t changed I would have flown to Calgary to meet craig and gone to see Three Days Grace for a whirlwind weekend away.

But, instead, I went to yoga. I felt sorry for myself. I was lonely. My bruised heart hurt.

And then an old friend arrived with ice cream and cake and pizza and love. She brought understanding and prayers.

By the time she left I was back to centre. I am ok. Things are totally screwed up and stressful, but I am ok and my 2 awesome kids are ok.

I am getting used to living alone with the kids. I’m sleeping in the middle of the bed and eating what I like.

I’m am hopefully for another year. Whatever it brings.

Stillness and peace,



Five years Sober

Five years. Five amazing, clear, relieving, hard, excruciatingly painful, deeply joyful and contented years.

So many things have happened during these five years, I have reconnected and grown with my family and, recently, faced a crisis that will change our lives forever. My husband and I are separating after 25 years together. He has been my best friend. I’m not sure what things look like apart.

In these five years I have faced early sobriety, depression, a city wide evacuation due to a forest fire that I drove through, job difficulties, a child with depression and now marital strife.

I have become a yoga teacher, gotten tattoos, found my inner self and truly know what unconditional self acceptance feels like, even if I don’t always have it.

Step one was to put down the bottle and take a good look around. If I hadn’t done that I would have missed so much.

The journey is never easy, but that is why it is so worth it. I thank each and every person who reads or comments or writes a blog sharing their experience. It always reminds me that deep down we are all the same and that the answer is always love.

Stillness and peace


Peter, Frank, Larry and Norman

Fall is ticking by. My child has gone to grade 8 and we are making it work. My son is in grade 10and is getting more handsome every day! He was talking about university thei week. Yikes! Where does time go!

We continue to add to our pet collection. We now have a rabbit, a mouse, who c rescued from being eaten at the pet store, a beta fish and a baby ball python! All these pets encourage c’s caregiving side. It is quite amazing how pets calm a person.

Otherwise life goes on. My kids mentioned one day that I don’t seem to have any friends…and I paused. Honestly, I don’t really like being around people that much. I have many many friends who I meet for coffee or lunch or even online. But I don’t want people sitting on my couch.

Craig and I were very social as drinkers. There’s nothing like being the hosts. It means no driving and no restrictions on booze. It worked well for us, but it was always tiring. I guess I had my fill from those years. We rarely invite anyone to our house. It’s our sanctuary. I am comfortable enough to go to most places alone. I am rarely lonely.

Plus, craig is fun. We like sports and enjoy concerts and can have a pretty intense discussion on Aa and addiction. He’s the only friend I need right now.

I also have 2 teens. Although they aren’t exactly my friends, I am perfectly willing to indulge in their interests and enjoy myself. This weekend we met both the 10th and the 11th doctors AND we saw the Book of Mormon. Even the 5 hour drive there and back, and the snowfall in Edmonton, couldn’t take the shine off this weekend!

In the car c told me that sometimes when she was younger and people were over drinking it scared her. She didn’t like the noise or the unpredictability. She is thankful both craig and I no longer drink and are available and attuned to her needs.

It was a good moment. Although it stirred up some guilt from those years, it also reminds me that I was suffering then. Depression, alcohol. I was barely coping as I tried to look like a functioning adult. Open communication is the only way to heal those old wounds.

I realize that these past almost 5 years are a gift. I treasure that every day.

Thank you all for continuing to support me on the journey.

Stillness and peace


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