Friday Five {Non-alcoholic drinks}


Finding a refreshing drink as an alcoholic can be a little frustrating.

As summer approaches, and the Christmas season sets in, going out becomes the order of the day.  But when you venture out, the non-alcoholic drink choices are incredibly limited.  It tends to be orange or apple juice, coke, lemonade or lemon, lime and bitters (which by the way does contain alcohol, but in such a enormously diluted amount it is deemed to be of no consequence).

I do wish the hospitality industry would come up with a better selection for those of us that cannot partake of the amber nectar.

So, I have done a bit of digging and come up with some ideas that publicans can perhaps take on board:

1.  This selection from BBC Good Food sounds really nice and I am definitely going to give a couple of these a go.  The mulled apple juice for christmas might be a real contender this year.

2.  These 10 by Marie Clare look refreshing.

3.  I have yet to find it in Australia, but when I gave up drinking for a short spell in the UK, I lived on Aqua Libra.  It is a divine drink that is a little bit classy and very refreshing.  You certainly do not feel like you are missing out with this one.  Sadly, it looks like they no longer produce it, which is devastating!!

4.  There is a really nice selection on Epicurious.  Lots of different ranges depending on your taste.  I’m particularly loving the idea of this one.

5.  Smoothies are always a hit during summer, though probably not something I would choose at an evening function.  These selection on Wholefood Simply are just to die for.

Hopefully, that will give you something to prepare for the weekend and perhaps you can give your local a recipe of your favourite, so that you don’t have to miss out too much, and get to enjoy a delicious refreshing drink too.

Have a lovely weekend everybody.

Much love,

SHW Signature



The seductress and the middle aged woman who is learning to live

How, when you have depression, do you find the light in the day?

I have no idea to that question.

I am only me.  The glass is half-empty me.  The “some days it’s hard to live” me.

I find life really really hard.

So hard in fact I became a raging alcoholic.

Raging might be too strong a word.

I was functional.  Sort of.

I always managed to take my children to school.  I always managed to get their dinner on the table.  I always managed to get their clothes washed.  I hardly ever managed to keep the house straight.

I have friends who didn’t fare so well.  Miss J used to go to school with a girl whose mother constantly kept her at home for “family” days.  In reality, she was too hungover to take her daughter to school.

I didn’t get that bad.  But, lordy, I could easily have done so.

I decided today that I was going to take control of my life and lose weight.  I enrolled at the Tony Ferguson centre near me.  Yes, it’s a milkshake thing.  That’s not the point.

The consultant spoke to me of what was and was not allowed and the rather sticky subject of alcohol came up.

Um,” she said, “alcohol isn’t really allowed.”

That’s okay,” I said, “I’m a recovering alcoholic.  I’ve been sober for nearly five years.”

Her eyes lit up.  “Good girl,” she said.  “If you can do that, you can do anything.”

Giving up alcohol never really seemed that big a deal to me so when people react this way I am always so surprised.  It’s the living of life that I find so fucking hard.

I looked at her.  “Yes, I suppose I can do anything.”

I don’t feel like I can do anything.  I don’t.  There are days when I feel I can’t breathe, never mind do “anything”.

But I did stop drinking.  I made that conscious choice not to pick up a glass of wine.

In AA there is a saying that one glass is too much and a bottle is not enough.  That’s what it is like for an alcoholic.  There is no moderation.  There is no “just a couple”.  That first sip of alcohol is the beginning of the end.

For us, alcohol is a seductive mistress.  We don’t want to sleep with her, but her allure, her promise of a good time, her promise of helping us to forget how fucking hard life is, is just too tempting.  And we give in.  Hard.  Only to bitterly regret it the following morning.  Oh Dear God the remorse.  But not enough remorse to stop us doing it again.  Usually the very next day.

And so I decided to look that mistress in the eye and say no more.

She didn’t want to let me go.  She kept knocking on the inside of my brain willing me to take just one sip of alcohol.  Just one sip.  What harm could it possibly do?  One sip, and all the pain of living can be eradicated once more.  And you can be the good time girl again.  The one that laughs with abandon and is jolly and sociable and fun to be around.

But I held on.  I resisted her.  Just one day at a time, I resisted.

And here I am.  Learning to live life without my mistress.  Like a child learning to walk.

I want to be cheery and laugh and see only good in life.

I just don’t know how right now.

I will get there.  Dear lord I hope I get there before I die.

I keep telling myself that I can do this.  I CAN FUCKING DO THIS DAMMIT!!!

And so I keep waking up.  Willing myself to push past the seductress, followed by the “I want to die” thoughts.

And I tell myself “Just for today I am going to survive“.

Because that’s all I have right now.  Survival.

Living will come another day.  Living will slowly emerge as I learn to take off my training wheels and learn to embrace life in all its fucked up glory.  I imagine it prancing over the mountain of shit on its trusty steed saying in its deep strong voice “Here you go Sarah, life is for the living, and here is how you do it.  Now go. Live.  Make your mark!

I’m trying.  I promise I am trying.

Please know that.

Until next time,

SHW Signature




HALT – you need to take care of yourself


When I became sober, one of the things I learned at AA was an acronym called HALT.  It stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired.  These are the things that can be the death knoll for the recovering alcoholic.  Those things that put our sobriety at risk.

I have learned that the same applies to depression.

I haven’t been sleeping well.  Mr C had his spinal operation and there are other things going on in the background, and I have been feeling very out of sorts and this has had the knock on effect of me not being able to get to sleep, and then, once finally asleep, remaining asleep.

After three or four nights like this, I have woken up this morning extremely tearful.  Poor Mr C thinks it is him.  I feel guilty that I am not being the strong one, taking proper care of him.  Depression is like that, it robs you of the ability to look after yourself, never mind someone else.

I have been ploughing through though, doing what I can, but come the night time, when my body desperately needs to wind down, I find my mind goes into overdrive.  It has been almost 2am before I can get myself off to sleep.

I have been trying to meditate, but it isn’t working.

I am exhausted.

I had plans to keep going with the decluttering, to do something creative, to create some purpose.

I have had to let them go.

I have to rest.  There is nothing for it other than to rest.

There are times when you just have to listen to your body and take care of it.

The dishes can wait, the housework can wait, everything will just have to wait.

My body needs time to recuperate.  It needs me to take care of it, so that it can find energy which will feed my mental state of being.

I need to let the tears flow.  I know what it causing them, so that helps.

I need to just be.  Just for today {another AA saying}.  Just for today I will give in to my exhaustion, and let myself rest.  Just for today I will take care of myself.

By investing in myself today, tomorrow hopefully will be better.

Remember if you are hungry, angry, lonely or tired it can have a terribly adverse affect on your mental state of being.  Remember to take care of yourself.  You are so worth the investment.

Much love,

SHW Signature




Powerless over Alcohol

Day 2:

I am powerless over alcohol.

No-one likes to admit this and I am no exception.

I have known, of course, for years that this is the case, but like any grieving process, I was in denial.

People who are alcoholics do grieve.  They grieve the loss of being that good time person, the life and soul of the party.  They grieve the dutch courage afforded them through that elixir their bodies so desperately crave.  They grieve being the person who cannot drink socially, having one or two drinks, and being content with that.

For me, it wasn’t being the good time person, or the dutch courage.  It was the numbness it brought night after night.

If I am brutally honest, I have probably been an alcoholic since I was 14 years old, when my best friend and I snuck booze out of both of our parents’ booze cabinets, decanting them into yellow, plastic cold drink bottles, and slugging it down in her bedroom, if I recall.

It was a premeditated affair.  We had been planning it for weeks.  The effects were almost immediate. Within minutes I was running atop my friend’s four foot wall, yelling I wanted to die.

Alcohol has always played a part in my life.  My dad, and I know he won’t mind me telling you this, is an alcoholic.  His brand of alcoholism was not pleasant and had reached a particularly nasty high (or is that low) around the time I turned 15, 6 months after I had my first experiment with alcohol.  Life had become pretty unbearable and I remember begging my mom to leave my dad.

She almost did, but then he convinced her that their marriage was worth saving and at 5am on the morning we were due to leave, my parents woke me to tell me that they were going to give it one more go.

I felt so betrayed.  My mom and I had planned the exit with mission impossible precison.  We had colluded to leave my dad in such a fashion that it would be too late for him to convince us, again , that he would indeed stop drinking.  Now, my mother had betrayed me.  I felt isolated, and alone.  Not the first time and certainly not the last.

Three months later, my dad gave up alcohol for good.  He joined Alcoholics Anonymous and has remained sober for the last 26 years.  He is, and always will be, an inspiration.

So it was with great shame that I came to the realisation that I indeed was also powerless over alcohol.  Deep inside, I knew of course, but I did not want to face it.  I am sure, if I am honest, that my friends and family knew it.   They never said anything, however.  On the odd occasion someone might have suggested something along those line,  I would dismiss it and tell myself that they should try walking in my shoes for just a day and see how they would feel.

Justification is a big thing in an alcoholic’s life, I have come to realise.

My confrontation of this addiction came out of the blue.

Yesterday, I was visiting a friend whom I hadn’t seen in a long while.  We were talking about our lives, filling in the blanks where we had left off, about a year ago.  I had mentioned a couple of times about my increase in drinking due to some stresses that had occureed in the past year.

Suddenly, my friend stopped talking, hesitated, looked at me right in the eyes and said:

Do you think you are an alcoholic?

The question slapped me right across the face.  I felt my face flush.  Tears immediately welled up.  I stammered and then simply said, “Yes”.

Despite knowing the signs, and knowing deep down inside that I had become caught up in the grip of alcoholism, I really didn’t want anyone else to know.

I should know better, I should be able to control this monster.  I had been to Al-Anon and Alateen for God’s sake.  I did not belong on the other side of the fence.  The shame was unbearable.

My friend is a good friend, and being a nurse, she urged me to get help.  She urged me to see my GP and to join AA, and to even see a psychiatrist if I wanted to.  I am not sure I am ready to talk to my GP as yet, but I am ready to go to AA.

I think being around people who share the same affliction may give me some comfort.  If I am honest, I am scared out of my wits.  I don’t want anyone else to know.and I certainly don’t want my father to know.  He must know of course.  He must have watched over the last 26 years, in his sobriety, saddened and powerless, as I descended further and further into the abyss of alcohol.

The shame I feel is haunting.

It must seem strange that I am blogging about this, since I have said I don’t want anyone to know.  Well, strangely, this is cathartic.  By  writing down my thoughts, my feelings and confronting my issues via this blog, I am no longrer able to run away from them, or pretend that they don’t exist.  I am able to say yes, this is my problem, no longer hiding, but standing up and saying no more will I put myself through this turmoil, no longer can I pretend that there isn’t something drastically, horribly wrong.

So, today, is day 2 of sobriety.  I had planned on having some wine last night after seeing my friend, but funnily enough, it just didn’t have the allure when I got back home.  So yesterday was Day 1.  I will keep blogging my progress, more for myself than anyone else.

I need to do this to help me be accountable.  I hope I make it.

In AA, they have a saying:

Just for today

So, just for today, I will not drink.  Just for today, I will be strong.  Just for today, I will be grateful for my friend, who had the courage to make me confront the inevitable, and my family, who have watched helplessly as I disintegrated as a person, yet have unyieldingly stuck by me, showing me every drop of love they have every single day.  Just for today, I will find some pride and make them proud.

Just for today…

Until next time,

SHW Signature AmyG Font