Tuesday, 19 June 2018

It's OK To Be Proud Of Yourself

Life is busy. Sometimes hard. And we can sometimes fall into periods where we get down on ourselves for not doing enough, not being enough, not having enough etc;

Whether it's money, time, chores or physical appearance, we can be really, really self-critical.
Our inner judge (the ego) can make us feel like we're just not doing a good enough job...of anything.

Add in a society that tells us that we have to look a certain way, be perfect parents, work hard and succeed in the labour force, and you have a perfect storm.

You meet friends to catch up, and spend most of the time complaining about what isn't going right.
You gossip about others.
You feed the bad feelings/emotions and thoughts with more negativity, and eventually you have a pretty unhappy reality going on.

So- what if I told you that you can break the cycle?!

Changing our thoughts isn't an easy task, but it can be done, one small step at a time.
Becoming more mindful can literally change your life.

So how do you start?

Well, the good news is that you have a natural built-in tool to let you know if you're on track or not with your actions and thoughts. Your EGS (emotional guidance system) is like a GPS, but for your thoughts and actions.

It's a very simple tool.

If something feels good, makes you proud and happy, you're on the right track.
If something drains you, makes you sad, angry or anxious, you need some shifting.

This can be applied to EVERYTHING in life.

Thinking bad thoughts about someone. Feeling not good enough. Comparing yourself to others.
All of these things make you feel bad, right? Well that's because they aren't tapping into LOVE, which is our natural essence and purpose on this planet.

Thinking loving thoughts. Giving hugs. Helping others.
Those things feel great, right?
That's because you are aligning with your true source.

One small shift a day can turn into a life of happy and blissed out feelings and experiences.

But you have to start.

Why don't you get out a pen and paper and write down the things you are proud of? The things that make you happy? What are some things you are great at, or did recently that made you feel good?
By practicing gratitude for the good, you will only welcome more of it into your life.

We're told that to be proud is to be boastful and self-centered, but it is by feeling good about ourselves FIRST that we can be of better service to others.

So if you see someone who's super happy and looks like life is easy, instead of being jealous or resentful, think of why they are that way. Probably because they put self-care and self-love first (as they should, and as everyone should!!!)

Here's my list of proud moments:

-I'm proud of myself for following my heart, leaving my home country to be with the man I love, even if it meant sacrificing time and experiences with some very special people in my life (my mom, sister, best friends etc!)

-I'm proud of my body for carrying two beautiful babies, very close together

-I'm proud of how much love I give to my children. Even if some days I do feel like I'm not doing enough, or not doing it "right", I know that I am raising them in a very loving environment with lots of support and room to grow up to be who they want to be

-I'm proud of myself for quitting drinking when it was getting to be a problem in my life. I can't even imagine going back to a life where I need to numb out to deal with feelings/stress or LIFE anymore

-I'm proud of myself for always trying to be better. My quest for self-improvement seems to be never-ending, but every year I get closer to my true self and my creator (s)/ universe 

-I'm proud of myself for choosing the right person to raise a family with. The path was sprinkled with many unfit partners, but I found my diamond in the rough

-I'm proud of myself for letting go of old belief patterns that no longer serve me

-I'm proud of myself for the way that I nurture my good friendships. I have the most amazing friends in my life- women and men who I can depend on for anything, and have never doubted

-I am proud of myself for being a stay-at-home-mom. Not everyone has the opportunity to stay home with their kids and I am so fortunate to be able to spend this much time with them when they are little. I know I will one day return to work- when it feels right- but right now, this is where I am needed

-I am proud of myself for getting over body issues. I used to be so hard on myself. Now, I realize that life is really too short to body-shame. 

-I am proud of myself for continuing to write, even if no one is reading. I know that this blog probably doesn't get a lot of attention, and that's OK. I do it for me. I'll have a massive following when my book comes out, anyways.

Happy sunny Tuesday (to me? LOL) or anyone who took the time to read this!!!


Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Adapting To Life With Two Under Two!

Well, it was actually two under one for 9 days! Having two babies within 12 months has been totally insane and ALL worth it.
Sitting here, while both babies nap and I have my first "quiet hour" of the day, I still can't believe that we did this haha

Two years ago, around this time, I was planning our wedding, getting things in order for my move to Switzerland and babies weren't even on my mind. I had too much to think about with immigration paperwork and getting rid of my apartment and furniture.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: life delivers.

So how is life with two demanding little babs who are both going through completely different phases?

It's great.

Honestly, I feel like people almost expect to hear you complain about "how hard it is" or how tired you are, or how you need a break (or a glass of wine, ugh haha) when you talk about having two young children.  What about celebrating when you feel good?

I'm not saying it's "easy" or that it's not a lot of work.

I have my days where I feel less energized, or get frustrated with baby business.
I am essentially multi-tasking all day long to make sure everyone has bottles, baths, diapers changed, clean clothes on, cuddles, naps, meals, play time...it's a lot of work and the days turn to nights very quickly.

But that's exactly why I try to keep myself centered, even when I am having a frustrating moment because my toddler now knows how to scream at a very high pitch (and does so, often).

These moments, these days, weeks and months are flying by.
This time is not forever, and they won't always need me so intensely (or, they will, but in different ways).

No matter how stressful a moment is, I always center myself by remembering how fleeting and precious these moments are. The last year just FLEW by, and already my first baby is not a baby-baby anymore, and I know that with Jake, the moments are passing by even quicker.

I just want to savour the baby years, so that I can look back one day and remember that I enjoyed them.

Other things I'm enjoying right now include:

*Working out, eating well and taking care of my body. Feeling really good about losing 35 pounds since Jake was born, but still focusing on toning up and just enjoying being active!

*Our new apartment is amazing

*We're going to Scotland for our friends' wedding next month (with only the mini-mini, mini is staying with grand-parents), and then to Italy in August (with both minis and my mom!)

*I'm still doing some freelance writing from home, although, I admittedly have less free time for this at the moment!

*Theo started walking (not sure if this should be on the enjoying or "fearing" list hahah)

*Lots of fun and silly times with hubby

*Tomorrow is my 300th day of not drinking! Still feeling fantastic about that life choice. No FOMO whatsoever, as things only got better and better in my life once the bottle was capped for good.

And not enjoying? Some of the hormonal "adjustments" which are more intense after two babies. Balancing back out takes extra meditation, grounding exercises, bubble baths, rune readings, sage burnings hahaha (just since week 7 postpartum, incidentally).

Otherwise, life is great, I am so blessed and impressed with our boys.
They are the cutest, silliest, sweetest and wildest (Theo) mini men and I cannot wait for the future adventures we will have together.

Here is photographic evidence that they are the most beautiful humans I have ever seen:

Brothas from the same motha. (And father, too, incidentally)

Hi! It's me. 7 weeks postpartum and finding my pre-pregasaurus groove again

More regular updates coming soon, promise!
I've been a lazy ass MOFO with writing but I know I need to prioritize it cause I love it.

K bye!

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Jake's Birth: Our Romantic Last Push

Baboo #2 arrived into the world on Friday the 13th of April, just two days past due.

Born 11 months and 22 days after his big brother, little Jake's birth signified the end of our pregnancy/baby-building phase and transition into parenting two babes under 1 (for another week!).

Here's the unedited version of events!

Wednesday, April 11 was my official due date, and with no signs of impending labour, I trudged up to my midwife visit at the hospital. The last four weeks leading up to DD were quite physically challenging, so I was eager to get the show on the road and evacuate the little man. A teething/learning-to-walk 11 month-old at home left me with little down time, and we moved apartments in my 39th week.

These factors, paired with pretty intense labour flashbacks from #1 had me feeling a bit out of sorts and anxious. 
It was time to gather my inner warrior strength and get through the final task at hand.

A healthy scan and membrane sweep later, I was heading home feeling much better about things. I knew baby Jake wouldn't make me wait forever.

Fast-forward about 48h, and it's Friday morning, the 13th of April. Hubs has just left for work, and I decide to take a nap with Theo at about 10AM. We lie down in bed, and Theo drifts off, while I dilly dally on my phone a bit before closing my eyes. Not 5 minutes after falling asleep, my water breaks and wakes me up. This didn't happen with my first pregnancy, so it's exciting but also kind of foreign. The water just gushes out onto our bed (sorry hubby, I was on his side too!).

I grab my phone and dial him.

"Babe, you have to come home, my water just broke."

I hang up, pick a sleeping Theo up and put him in his baby park, where he'll be safe in case I get hit with a contraction. I go into the bathroom and take off my soaking wet leggings and tunic, and change into fresh clothes. Hubs gets home not 12 minutes later, out of breath and concerned.

At this point I'm not even having contractions, so I'm pretty relaxed.

I've called the hospital to advise them of the situation, and they tell me to come in within 3 hours. I decide to go right away, since I know things can move quickly once the contractions start, and I don't want to have my baby in a Swiss taxi.

Hubs calls me a cab, and we kiss and part ways with the understanding that he'll drop Theo off at my mother-in-law's and then meet me at the hospital.

Cab ride is smooth sailing and I'm at the hospital within 8 minutes. I walk towards the delivery rooms with my two hospital bags, taking my time to avoid any dramatics.

 I arrive at 11AM and  am greeted by a lovely older midwife- the one I had spoken to on the phone- who escorts me to a large birthing room and leaves me for a few moments to get some supplies. When she comes back she gets me hooked onto the fetal and contraction monitor to check out the baby.

I am 2cm dilated but she doesn't seem to think that the baby will come thaaaat soon. I agree, because I am only having one mild contraction every 8-10 minutes.

I lie back and text some friends and family, updating them on things.

Just admitted - feeling pretty relaxed!

Hubs arrives to the hospital some 45 minutes later and we go for a little walk to the hospital cafeteria.
I eat a pretty disgusting vegetable soup and breaded Boursin bites that are equally unsatisfactory. Hospital food is not top, but I'm hungry and know that I'll need the energy.

We go back to the maternity ward and sit outside on their terrace. We look at the Alps while a super sweet breeze floats over us. It's really a perfect day, and I have a cheesy "inspirational quote" thought about how strong mountains are. I joke about how mountains would not be afraid of contractions. They  are strong enough to withstand any pain.

Somehow, facing a second natural delivery is feeling overwhelming to me, and I am even more fearful of the idea of a long labour. I'm glad that my humour is still intact, but I'm actually doubting my abilities.

We talk about different pain management options and he reassures me that whatever I choose is totally acceptable. There are no rules and no one to answer to here. I love him.

We giggle and enjoy how the benefit of things progressing a bit slower means that we have time to talk to each other. 

We go back into the birthing room, where I decide to get into the tub to relax a bit. It's 2:30PM. I'm telling husband that we've already been here for close to 4 hours and I'm expecting it to go on for quite a few more hours.
Contractions are about 5 minutes apart.
We eat peanut M&M's and Twix bars while I float around in the water. 

THEN. Out of nowhere, everything starts to accelerate- and fast. All of a sudden I am being struck with strong contractions that are hitting every 2-3 minutes. Shit is getting real. I want medication.

Thomas goes to get the midwife, who comes in and gives me a shot of Tramadol (opioid pain reliever, which doesn't actually have a huge effect during labour!). Even though the pain barely diminishes, I calm down a little bit and try to breathe.

Need to get out of the tub. Too hot, too unstable.

Suddenly, things are exactly as they were when Theo was born.

I am wanting to go to the bathroom, and also lie down.
Hubs helps me out of the tub. It takes a few minutes because the contractions keep coming and I have to get back on my knees to ride them out.

I have to act fast when I have some downtime.

A pause. I grab onto him and let him lead me out of the tub and into the bathroom. I go to the bathroom quickly and practically run back to the birthing bed before I am struck down again. Naked preggo lady on the run, clear the room!!!

I get on my left side and tell my husband that I don't think I can handle the pain. I want an epidural.

I want anything to get out of the discomfort, to escape it.
The midwife checks my cervix and tells me that I'm 8cm dilated and can essentially start pushing if I feel the urge.

I look at Thomas. It's too late for drugs. All I have is him. All of a sudden, I realize that he's all I need. I feel more love for him than I ever have in this moment. 

So, in similar fashion to how I birthed Theo, I push as hard as I can.

While I am pushing, hubs is telling me over and over again that it's almost over. The baby will be here soon and I'll never have to do this again. I'm so strong. He loves me.

All of this is keeping me going. All of a sudden I'm not the scared girl who needs an epidural, I am the warrior woman who can push babies out in less time than it takes to cook pasta and not require stitches afterwards.

I scream, I groan,I make all the noises that I need to in order to release the emotions, pain and obviously, the baby.

I focus on his hand holding mine (gripping might be a better word?), his words, the baby that I can feel coming into the world as the midwife tells me to breathe and slow down (LOL).

6 minutes.

He's born at 3:51PM. We are both rejoicing about his arrival and also the fact that the baby birthing bits of life are behind us.

Baby Jake we love you!!! Happy parents about an hour after the birth.

We did it, again. Together.

The next hour we are cuddling our little baby, cuddling each other, and just feeling so in love and blissed out. In the woozy after moments of labour, I can see how beautiful the past 5 hours really were, and how much I've gained from the experience.

My midwife gives me a big hug, and tells me I was a pleasure. She is so genuine and kind, and I am so grateful that she was there every step of the way, in a non-invasive way. (Shout out to midwives, yet again, I can't ever express how much respect I have for this profession).

Daddy has another boy to cuddle and watch football with <3

So that's it!

Baby Jake is now 5 days old, I am recovering super quickly and we are feeling complete and happy as a family of 4 (5 with Milo the dog!).

We feel so blessed to have our two little babes who are in different phases of baby-hood, but still both so precious and small. Every moment is magic.

I'm so amazed that in one year TWO little humans were born and entered our family. I'm also overjoyed that I don't have to go through another pregnancy, and that we can now enter the phase of raising our babies and enjoying all of their milestones.

Mini and mini-mini. 

Heart is totally full, family is complete, and life is more beautiful that I could have ever imagined. <3

Monday, 19 February 2018

How I Survived A Vacation At 32 Weeks Pregnant (With A Baby In Tow!)

Being pregnant while raising a baby doesn't give me much time to sit still and relax.
To be honest, for the first 30 weeks of the pregnancy, I was pretty much going at my regular pace, with very few pregnancy symptoms (thank you, Universe!).

Only lately, with the final stretch in full fledge, am I feeling the weight (literally) of the tasks of mothering, wife'ing and life'ing.

We went on a family vacation to England last week, and it was wonderful.
Yes, there were absolutely some moments of challenge (baby and I both started the week with colds, babe is teething and moving like crazy, there were some exhausting nights etc;) BUT I feel so proud of how well the travel went, and how much I was able to enjoy myself.

We had a lot of family obligations (we were visiting family, after all! Step-brother's wedding was the main event) and I was able to squeeze in two lovely friend dates with my friends from Canada and my bestie from England. Amazing.

Now, we're home.

I'm so ready to embrace the quiet and calm that daily life provides.
We are going to be moving at the end of the month, so I am slowly preparing boxes, organizing junk and donating things we no longer need.

Also super, super excited to think that in roughly 7 weeks I will meet my second baby boy (whose name is still not finalized, but that's on our list of "to-do" this week!)

Spring will also bring two lovely family visits, as my dad and step-mum are coming for Theo's first birthday (and to meet the newest addition) AND then my sister is coming to visit!

Life is going to be busy and action-packed with two little guys, but I am so enjoying the "baby years" and I feel so prepared.

I'm at 192 days sober, and it almost doesn't feel like a thing anymore.

Being around drinking/booze is totally normal to me now (without feeling any FOMO or disgust at drunkenness). I'm just so comfortable with my choice and realize that it doesn't matter at all what others do.

Sobriety has given me all the things I struggled so hard to get while drinking (an anxiety-free life, confidence, true happiness, calmness, joy, constant state of gratitude and awe...). Who knew all this time that putting the bottle down was the answer?!

Here are a few photos from sunny England!

Took the day off from mom'ing to visit two of my favorite pals from Canada in London! This was a really nice reunion <3

A teething related freak-out moment during a pub lunch in Tunbridge Wells. Daddy's face says it all! 

During my step-bro's wedding reception. A little family time. 

Feeling fancy

We brought Theo to Hastings on our last day of vacay to see the sea! He loved our family day, which included eating fish pie, walking around the shore and shopping

Friday, 26 January 2018

Last Stretch Of Last Pregnancy and Sobriety Perks

Wow, it's already week #30 of my second (and final) pregnancy!
I am so looking forward to meeting my second little son-shine, but it's also bittersweet to know that these final weeks will be my last experiences as a preggo lady.

We've always been super comfortable with the decision to have 2 babies and dat's it. We are both from families of 2 kiddos, and we quite like the idea of focusing all of our resources and energy/time on 2.
It's the right number for us!

It's crazy to think that 2 years ago, Thomas and I were living in Montreal, not married yet, struggling with immigration paperwork and feeling heavy-hearted because the process was so long and arduous. We never gave up on "us" and look at what we have created!

It makes me so happy to look back and see how the Universe really did set us on the right path amidst some majorly stressful and confusing times.

And now, life is so cool.

Sometimes I am surprised at just how significantly my life balanced out (particularly when I gave up booze).

I am reading Catherine Gray's amaaaazing memoir The Unexpected Joy Of Being Sober, and it's so incredibly relatable. What a great, inspiring read.

Incredibly inspirational quit-lit right here

The book has helped me to really face my own lingering fears that surround my new, sober life.

Sometimes, I've doubted myself or my decision to be 100% booze-free, but it doesn't take long to remind myself why I made this choice, why I am sticking to it and how much better it is making my life.

Here are just a few things that I enjoy in  my day to day that would not have been possible if I continued to drink on the reg:

→Life doesn't overwhelm me anymore. I used to get anxious/frazzled/scared/emotional quite easily, and a lot of that had to do with the fact that I was flooding my system with way too much alcohol. Nowadays, my natural state is calm, silly, soothed and happy!

→I am learning a new language. German! If I was still prioritizing booze, I wouldn't have had the focus/energy/memory or attention span to focus on this.

→I can parent efficiently and with endless love. I'm never impatient with my son. I don't get snappy cause I'm never hungover. I don't rush to get him to bed so I can have a glass of wine. I enjoy the ups and downs and twists and turns that our days provide. I am mom'ing full time, from the time he wakes up (these days 7:30-8:00AM) to bedtime (8:30-9:00PM) - so that is enough work. Adding alcohol to my day would only rob me of energy, and make me far less efficient.

→I'm a way better wife. When I was drinking a lot, it was way more common for us to have disagreements, lovers spats or just downright dirty fights. Being constantly hungover, tired, irritable and sick makes you snappy! These past months have been so blissful in the romance department. Not drinking allows me to be fully present for hubs, which means that I am able to engage fully and give him the best love. We have always had a really solid relationship, but now it's even better, because it's way more silly and carefree. I have to force myself to go to bed at a certain time, cause otherwise we would just stay up all night chatting and giggling. It's lovely.

→I'm setting new goals. Now that I am not spending my life hiding away in hangover-land, I am realizing that there are so many things I want to try. Pregnancy has limited me slightly, but I am dreaming about a summer filled with outdoor activity, family trips and adventures. My dreams are getting bigger and further-reaching, and I'm so excited about being able to give my kiddos a fun, exciting and healthy, happy life. I want to play and run and swim and visit cool places. Try new foods, push through fears, get out of my comfort zone.

→I'm helping others. For so long, I didn't talk openly about my struggles with booze, because I was ashamed of my inability to control my intake. I felt like I was damaged or faulty for not having the ability to stop once I got started.  Now, I realize that I'm definitely not alone in the struggle. So many women have had (and continue to have) unhealthy drinking habits, and I know that sharing my story will help others. I want people to know that life only gets bigger, better and far more fulfilling once the wine glass is filled with sparkling water. 

→I'm realizing that sobriety is really cool and underrated.  One of the biggest fears and misconceptions surrounding sobriety is that it's...boring. I admit, this was one of my biggest worries when I decided to quit. Will I still be fun? Will people want to hang out with me? What will I do if I'm  not chugging 6 pints of cider? The funny thing is, when I was drinking, I saw myself as
this cool/outgoing party girl. I thought that drinking made me fun and mysterious.

Nowadays, when I see drunk girls that remind me of those times, I have a completely different vision. Now, I see them, with their slurry speech and squinty eyes, for what they really are. Lost. Not in control. Searching for something, that they definitely won't find at the bottom of a bottle. It's really eye-opening to have such a shift in perception; drunk doesn't make us cool or pretty or desirable. It makes us sloppy and very often, quite ridiculous.

Sober is sexy as hell. Being able to walk into a party/bar/room/event and present your authentic, unaltered self? That is what builds true confidence and self-love. And, in our generation, it's the most rebellious thing you can do, right?

OK this ended up being longer than originally anticipated (as always!). Time to go for a little walk, the bakery is calling my name and we are visiting an apartment later and I'm really excited cause it has a terrace and garden! Yeah for summer BBQ's and sun-tanning and happy babies on blankets <3

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Consume Consciously

I want to preface this by saying that almost all of this post came to me in a daydreamy/sleepy state while lying in bed last night (early this morning?). Have to start writing down these thoughts when I wake up...some of them are pretty interesting!!!

What You Tune Into Matters.

This can, of course, be applied to almost any area of life. What we CONSUME, creates our reality.
Television, music, movies, food, beliefs, friends...it all adds up and adds to our vision of reality.
was thinking particularly about my relationship with the news, and how a shift in viewing habits made a really big difference in my overall happiness.
When I first moved to Switzerland, we didn't have many English channels.

In fact, the "news" was pretty much the only thing I could tap into in English. Now, we have better Anglo channels, and I do watch quite a bit of French TV, but I digress.
Back in the day (aka, Fall 2016-fairly recently? Spring 2017?) I pretty much had the news on in the background all day long.
And, not great news, either. I'm talking about the lowest of the low. CNN style.

I'm definitely not suggesting that we shouldn't be politically aware of what is going on in the world. 
I don't think that walking around with our heads in the clouds in ignorant bliss will solve world issues.
However, the amount of  crappy news, that we watch is affecting our minds, feelings and thoughts. 
I am a huge fan of responsible and intelligent journalism. As a writer and lover of research, there's no way that I deny my admiration for this profession.
But, once again, we need to put our filters on and remember that a ton of what is being broadcast is propagated nonsense meant to instill fear, order and maintain certain political agendas.
It's just not a feel-good kinda thing.
It's never too early to set positive viewing habits for the littles. My kids might get tired of me blasting non-stop pop hits, but it beats violent and propagated news any day!

I realized when Theo was born that watching news was making me feel a little out of sorts, so very holistically, I just stopped tuning in. 

Whereas before it was an automatic behaviour, now, it's more of a rare occurrence.
still keep up with world events (mostly through reading news articles) and that suits me just fine.

I didn't realize how much of a difference it had made in my overall boost in mood/energy/happiness (which is also equated to just living the life I want to live, not drinking etc;) until I had this thought this morning.

So, now, my go-to background is usually an MTV Pop Hits channel (equally dangerous, for different reasons, but definitely more of an endorphin booster).

So, the moral of the story is: consume what makes you feel your best. Consume good, happy, healthy relationships. Consume good food. Consume lots of water. Consume happy broadcasting (and obvi don't eliminate everything you love if it involves some violence etc;)
Just, consume consciously.
Gimme some of THIS! Wow, this looks so serene and peaceful. So important to take moments every single day to zap out and tune into our hearts for a little while. <3

P.S. We survived 3 days of Christmas and now I'm soooooo SO happy to have a "day off" where we can just chill as a little family and get back to our routine a bit. Baby is all partied out and I foresee a big day of naps ahead. 

And me? I'm going to organize 2018 calendars/planners and overview of vacation and moneys. I'm starting the year with a huge paycheck cause I worked a ton last month so I'm excited about that, and I'm obsessed with event planning so it's gonna be a goooood day.

Plus- I bought hubs a sandwich press which makes amazing paninis and wraps so I'm definitely going to be getting my sandwich on in the very near future.

PLUS- I'm determined to narrow down baby names for the new babe by end of week! We have so many ideas but nothing is sticking yet. Must find the right name!!!

Love love love

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Christmas Eve: A Journey Through Past Drunken Moments

So, I realize that I blog a lot about my current realities; the blessings and bliss and perks of being a sober mom. I focus on all of that good stuff because, in a way, it's new to me. I'm not used to being permanently non-anxious. I'm not used to feeling good so regularly. A lot of people in early recovery talk about these early moments; when you begin to feel authentically, when you learn how to speak your truth without "liquid courage", when what people think of you stops being priority.

But, it's helpful as well to remember exactly why I decided to cut alcohol out of my life.

I wouldn't say that I was the type of drinker who got drunk and fucked everything up. I never lost a job due to drinking, I had a nice apartment, I had (still have!) a dog that I took care of. I really loved my friends and family and didn't actively push anyone away (although now, I have a different view on how my drinking was damaging to some important relationships, in it's own way...more on that later). Overall, I was a highly functioning, intelligent and capable young lady with a penchant for drinking too many bottles of wine. Or beer. Or cider. Or anything.

Despite seeming to have it all together, there were so many things that I did while drinking that left me feeling like a big bag of dicks. I felt ashamed and embarrassed on a regular basis, and especially the morning after when drunken flashbacks would crawl back to me.
I was ashamed that I was not able to go out for a night with friends without literally giving up the next day to feeling like shit, being sick, eating like crap and wasting my day watching shitty TV.

We're just around the corner from a New Year, and I am so excited to continue this sobriety journey well after my second babe is born.

But to do so, I need to remain accountable.

I need to remember the why's.

Some of this stuff I can laugh at now, but some is actually still very depressing to remember.
I can still feel/remember/experience emotionally the way I felt back then, when I think of these things.

So, without further ado, here are some of the (very personal) and not so great things that came along with being drunk/hungover for the entirety of my 20's and (luckily) only a smidge of my 30's.

*Being overly friendly/chatty with people at bars who I didn't really have any reason to like, other than the fact that they were "also drinking". I woke up so many mornings with that "uggghhh, whyyyyyy" feeling after talking to weirdos, sometimes flirting with them and often exchanging numbers. Even worse was when I would go back to the same bar, see them again, and not even remember that we had met and chatted before. Bla.

* I also did this with friends/acquaintances/people who lived in my apartment complex. There were times when I was so bored of drinking alone, but most people were not off getting loaded on a Tuesday night, so I had to go looking in the shadows for company. This made me feel super desperate and lonely. I spent so many nights at this creepy neighbour's house, drinking and talking, while he hit on me and tried to get me to want to hook up with him. These are really bad memories, and thankfully, happened towards the end of my drinking days.

*Called in sick waaaay too many times to work. OK, so I was admittedly in the midst of a big life change. Thomas was in Montreal, we were trying to sort out immigration, and the stresses of that led me to drinking so much more than normal. Which, led to even more debilitating hangovers. I called in sick to work almost on a weekly basis that winter. I just didn't have the drive/energy to get myself to work, and being hungover and sick would literally cripple me. It was a really bad example to set for the people working under me in my department. Even though I wanted to exit the corporate world, I shouldn't have abused the system while I was still being supported by it.

*Was not "present" for friends/family the way I should've been. This one is also tricky to deal with, emotionally, at times. When I scan back on all of my hangouts with good friends and family members over the last decade or so, I realize that while I was physically present, and often "engaged" with them, my mind was always at least partially checked out. Because I always had drinking on the brain, every get-together was tainted with my inner dialogue running on a hamster wheel. Do we have enough wine/beer? Should I go get more? Do they notice that I'm drinking too much/too fast/too furiously? Why am I the only one drinking? 

I know now that a lot of people were aware of this, but didn't address it, probably because they feared that it would cause an altercation/hurt feelings/situation. And they were totally right. When I was actively drinking, I wasn't very receptive to interventional conversations about my habits. So, my friends and family didn't really say anything, probably had their own opinions about my drinking, and we left it at that. (Side comment: this is the area that I am most proud to have bettered myself in. I know that my friends and family love me and support me 100%, and it feels really good to know that I am now really "showing up" the way I should've before. I value my relationships much more than ever before, and am so lucky to have a core friend base that has been around for years and years, seen me through every phase, and loved me unconditionally throughout. Same for fam. Same for hubs. I got it good.  Hashtag blessed for real.)

*Overdid it at almost every special event. This is my second sober Christmas, and I have to say, it keeps getting better. Three years ago, I hosted Christmas at my apartment in Montreal while family was visiting from the U.K. Although it was a *lovely* celebration, with good food, company and presents, I drank too much (much more than everyone else, that's for sure) and that kind of makes my memories...sad. I remember that when everyone left, I was left home alone, and I kept drinking, even though I was already wasted and should've just gone to bed. Those lonely moments of "after-partying" alone on nights that were never meant to be spent wasted...happened just too frequently at the end. I am not happy to report that a lot of significant moments in my life are hazy because of drinking. Even the night I met my husband, I was really drunk. So, yes, I have good memories of how romantic the night was, but I also know that a lot of the details just seeped into the Earth, never to be found again. I'm really glad that now I can remember everything that we do together. All conversations. All the little sweet moments. Everything is just so much more meaningful now that I am present, alert and engaged.

*Just felt crappy overall. It's sad, because there was always, always a part of me that was the positive/rainbows and unicorns/glass is always half-full girl. I always sought to feel better/be better/love more/fear less etc; which makes the realities of alcohol abuse even more horrific to me. The truth is, no matter how much soul searching I did, no matter how many Deepak Chopra books I swallowed down, the cycle of feeling like crap-o was not about to just go away without some major lifestyle adjustments. I had to literally stop/drop and roll away from the booze in order to get closer to the light. And it's not a 135-day fix, either. I am still working. I will continue to work. Because the deep, down issues are not just "I drank too much". That was the learnt behaviour to deal with false and deeply rooted core beliefs about who I am and what my worth is.

*Self-love matters. This I will repeat over and over until I'm blue in the face. We really need to give ourselves a break. We are so hard on ourselves. We repeat negative things in our heads over and over and over, all day, all week, all year. We seem to think we are flawed, or unworthy, or just not good enough. This is such an epidemic of the ages, and a really sad one, because it's so far from the truth. We need to shift after from the "I suck" mentality to the "I am a miracle" one. To celebrate that we are human and sometimes that means things can be tough. That sometimes we don't feel good, and sometimes we do. But, we are all in this together. Love, vulnerability and empathy are the glue that hold us together, and we really need to focus on those things if we want to live meaningful and loving lives.

I feel like, as this years comes to an end, I am saying goodbye to an old part of myself. A part of myself that I don't need to carry with me for the onward journey.
It's bittersweet, because I've known her for a long time, and I know her very well.

I know I'm healing.

A few months ago I would've snapped and been so offended if anyone made a comment about my sobriety. I took criticism really hard in the early days. Now, I realize that being sober is not only a choice, but it's a blessing. I could've continued on this dark path of self-destruction and abuse.
Instead, I chose to abandon ship before it got too difficult to walk away.
Before I had to be dragged away.

I'm super proud of how far I've come, and by continuing to be vulnerable and share my story, I really hope to reach other people who have struggled (or are struggling) with similar things.

2018 will be THE year where I really jump out of my shell and go deep.
I want to help, I want to heal, I want to love.
Bring it on.

(another personal challenge is going to be working on speaking my truth more. I have historically struggled with addressing situations that I find stressful/points of conflict etc; until it all snowballs and I either erupt or react over-emotionally. From now on, I'm going to work on having and using my voice, and not being afraid to disagree with others. We don't all need to have the same visions/opinions/truths to co-exist peacefully. Agree to disagree, but don't let your voice get snuffed out if you have something to say!)