The Best Timing of All


Day 14

In hindsight it turns out that I chose both the worst and best time to make a public vow of sobriety.

Worst because for the first 2 weekends – notoriously the hardest part of going alcohol free – it was party time here at the farm. Old friends coming to stay loaded with food and wine. Winter in the Southern Highlands is the time for bonfires and red wine, kids running free in the (snake free) paddocks, there’s no driving anywhere, everyone is in party mode. I am not a winter person, but these times make it bearable.

However, its FULL of triggers – it would have been very easy, and indeed probably very understandable, to cave in. I really did choose a time that would challenge me the most.

As it turns out, though, the timing was perfect. The steadfast resolve that came from the announcement meant I didn’t cave. I didn’t allow the voice in my head to win – it just wasn’t a decision and so the voice went quiet. I kept waiting for the cravings, for the white knuckling, for the irritation at all the noise and fun around me, but it never came. I felt relaxed and happy the entire weekend. Sure the thoughts of a glass of wine popped into my head, but when they did I’d remind myself of  what that would mean…

Drinking me would have polished off at least 2 bottles of wine to myself each day. With that amount of wine under my belt, I’d have tuned out from all the fun chitter chatter, buzzing around in my own world.

Sober me was engaged and involved. I have caught up with my dear friends’ lives. We’ve dissected at length the enigma of the “poo jogger” and the bizarre popularity of Trump in the US. We’ve shaken our heads over the spectacular self-created undoing of  Barnaby Joyce.

And I hugged and kissed my daughter at bed time, whispering good night to her as she dropped off to sleep so happy and tired from a full day of playing and running with other kids. I didn’t breathe wine breath all over her, or slur silly, non-nonsensical rubbish at her, or impatiently dismiss her fears that she often has when it comes to lights out, eager to get back out to the party.

And remarkably, I remember everything.

So my announcement, whilst challenging, was at the best time of all because these last 2 weekends have taught me the most valuable lesson of all…. I LIKE being sober. I really, really like it.

And I LOVE my friends. 🙂


PS. MASSIVE shout out to my Andy who, many weeks ago after I was having a bit of a poor me “I don’t have any friends anymore” moment went to a huge effort to make this weekend happen, and to keep it a surprise. I have been very spoiled this weekend. xxxxx

#sober #soberlife

No Shame

wine o'clock

Since I outed myself about my relationship with alcohol, I’ve had so many people comment both online and in person on how “brave” it was to be so public about such a “private matter” that it’s got me wondering: why?

Why is it so shocking that I would be open about this admission? And why am I surprised that people are shocked? Haven’t I just admitted in public that I’m an alcoholic?

My answer to that is no, I haven’t. I don’t identify with the term “alcoholic”. It’s an awful word with dreadful connotations. When we think of an alcoholic, we think of the homeless person on the street clutching their brown paper bag, all hope gone, their life wasted away by a terrible addiction. Alcoholics are scorned, considered shameful that they lost control and let it get so far. The blame is laid squarely on the drinker.

According to society, there’s just two types of drinkers; normal drinkers who can moderate easily, and hopeless alcoholics – two extremes. In actual fact, alcohol dependence is a spectrum. There’s degrees of dependence ranging from take-it-or-leave-it, up to that alcoholic extreme, and most drinkers, like me, sit somewhere in between. Most of us can lead productive lives, keeping families and homes ticking along, hold down high pressure jobs, maintain relationships. There’s even a word for it: “high functioning”.

We can do all that, but just feel crap all the time and pile on weight.

So I admit to being one of those in-betweenies, which means I do admit to a level of addiction, absolutely, or I wouldn’t be here, but alcoholic? No, I don’t accept that term – I don’t take on that shame.

You see, I have learnt enough about this poison that to know that it’s the drink not the drinker that causes the addiction. We grow up in a world where booze is revered. As kids we watch our parents drinking every night, with more on the weekends. Everywhere we look we are bombarded with images of people having fun together with drinks in their hands.

Now it’s all over our social media feeds – hundreds and hundreds of bright coloured, witty, fun memes (whatever that word means); we all have these come up on our feeds on a regular basis. It’s the only drug in the world that those who don’t use it have to justify. Every event from kids parties to book clubs to dinners out to play dates involve booze. We have booze to relax, booze to celebrate, booze to commiserate, booze to socialise, family dinners, holidays. Almost everything I do involves alcohol.

Point being that society literally PUSHES a highly addictive drug onto us every. single. day. The “addictive drug” part is a scientific fact, it’s not under debate. Regular use will change the neuro pathways in your brain over time, literally changing your brain to make it think it needs it and that it gives some sort of pleasure and stress relief.

No one told us this fact when we were watching our parents drink and roar with laughter with their friends, or seeing glamorous movie stars elegantly sipping champagne, or singing “I feel like a Tooheys”. We heard about the dangers of heroin and tobacco and marijuana and cocaine, but we were never told about the dangers of alcohol. We were never taught to treat it with caution like we are with those other drugs, quite the opposite.

So no shame here. I’m not afraid to talk about it. I didn’t know.

My name is Lexy, and I am not an alcoholic.

PS. in case you’re wondering why I did go public, it’s purely selfish – it’s keeps me on track and gives me accountability. Without that Facebook post last week, I absolutely would have drunk one the weekend. I intend to keep blogging the journey (don’t worry, not every day), even though I risk never being invited to anything ever again, and I don’t for one second expect anyone to keep following. But if you do..feel free to ask me any questions you’re curious about.



The Journey Begins…


Me, Day 1. Make up cant hide the puffy, dark eyes

Last Monday morning at 6am I went insane and posted this on my personal Facebook page:

Ok accountantability post. Alcohol is no longer my friend. I’m sick to death of feeling like crap, the 3am sleeplessness, the weight gain, the absent parenting. I am good at 10 drinks, but no longer able to have just 1. I will not feel shamed, alcohol is a dangerous, addictive poison that we are duped into believing is the elixir of life. I guarantee I’m not the only one feeling this way. So, day 1 starts now. I vow to remain 100% booze free for 100 days. For those who have social plans with me coming up, don’t despair, I will still be social and fun, still have your wine with free abandon. I just won’t be talking stupid shit and will remember everything the next day ☺️❤️. Ok…. death breath…. hitting post. Wish me strength! 💪🏼

Aside from the obvious typos and autocorrects…. WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING??

Well, I was thinking how tired I was of waking up with the sweats at 3am then barely dosing until the morning. I was thinking how much I hate that I can’t seem to just have a couple of drinks and leave it at that. I was thinking how long I’ve been trying and failing to moderate. I was thinking how much I hate that my daughter is growing up with alcohol always as part of her environment. I was thinking about the Friday night before that I’d made a stupid, insensitive quip at my friends expense that was supposed to be funny but was so far from that. I was thinking about how for the last 3 months I’d successfully quit the Sunday to Thursday drinks, then Sunday snuck back in, then Thursday, and by Monday morning I’d had at least a bottle of wine or more for 4 nights in a row.

It’s time to address this. My Facebook post got 76 “reactions” and over 45 comments – waaaaay more than I’d get for the usual whinge about my life or picture of my kid. Mortifying. That post was unplanned and ill thought out, but now it’s out there.

To be fair, ALL the comments and reactions were positive;  incredibly, embarrassingly positive. Have all my friends known this all along and been waiting for me to realise it? To be honest, no, I don’t think that. I know that people are being kind, supportive friends.

So here I am, one week in to 100 days of sobriety. What most of those lovely Facebook supporters don’t know is that I’ve been leading up to this moment for a long time. I’ve always been one of the biggest drinkers of my various groups of friends. You could always rely on me to get on it with you, and I’ve always hated that about myself.

Last August, my Facebook feed popped up with an ad for a course called “This Naked Mind”. I clicked and signed up and have been immersed ever since in educating myself on the truth about alcohol. I’ve learned that trying to quit with will power is useless – you have to reprogram your subconscious.

It seems to have sunk in, as I’m now more determined and committed than ever before, and certainly not miserable about it, quite the opposite. This weekend I had 8 of my oldest friends come to stay loaded up with bottles and bottles of red wine. I’d be lying if I said that I went the whole time not wanting it, I certainly had my moments. But when the cravings came, I sat with them, said no, had no indecision and they passed.

And guess what? I had a ball. I belly laughed and bum danced and I remember it all. All the years I’ve been drinking with these lovely people, it turns out it’s my friends that are the fun part, not the wine. Who knew?

Today I’m excited and upbeat and strong. There’ll be bad days of course, but for now, it’s all good.