A well traveled journey

We lived to tell another day after our incredible 7000 kilometre journey from South Western Ontario to our home in San José Del Cabo, which began on 29 October and ended on 7 November. We traveled through Michigan, Indiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, and finally California before crossing the border at Tecate into Mexico. Thankfully, it was all without drama and mostly uneventful, save for one small crack in our windshield just before Yuma AZ. We also took the opportunity to stop along the way to knock off a few items on the old bucket list.

We spent a couple of days in Flagstaff AZ, and made the trek to the Grand Canyon. I was in no way prepared for what would greet us once we arrived. I cannot possibly begin to put into words what I saw and experienced as we walked, hiked and wandered our way around. I was awe struck and it served as an enormous reminder that we are mere specks on this amazing planet we inhabit.

One thing which I did find interesting were the number of folks who were walking about with their face in their phones and not paying any mind to their surroundings. Case in point this lovely gal laying about enjoying the day, if you weren’t looking for her you wouldn’t have seen her and certainly not with your head down focused on your phone. Taking pictures and videos is one thing but carrying on a conversation for all to hear is another… Baby rant over.

In a way I was exactly the same whilst my face was buried in a bottle. My focus was at times singular in thinking what would I drink next and when. It saddens me to this day, but I am so grateful that I ended that love affair, as it was most definitely one sided, and my only reward in the end was heartbreak.

1 December 2018 will come and go without much fanfare as I celebrate 28 months of sobriety and because it is my journey, I do keep it close to the vest, even though I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve. Today I will do my Spanish lesson and I’m getting quite proficient – muchas gracias, email my mother, and do my 22 pushups, all while soaking up the warmth and sunshine that the Baja offers. Amongst other things, I will read fabulous blogs written by fabulous people about their trials, tribulations and successes, I take strength from them and perhaps offer a word of thanks or encouragement. But of one thing you can be certain, I will be sober.

Until next month, and one more sober day, be well and be you.

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Remembrance

You once were young

Not yet a life lived, yet all too soon a life taken

When you arrived home a hero to those that mourned

There were no loud cheers, but rather silent sobs and spilled tears

Please take a moment in time to stop and reflect, where would we be today for it not for those brave souls who came before us to lead the way, and we live to tell another day

Their ultimate sacrifice of service before self must never be forgotten

11, 11, 11, we will remember them

It’s all about control

It would appear that I am still very much protective of my 26 months of sobriety. Although, there are now many days where the thought of alcohol never even enters into my daily routine – whatever that looks like lately because there isn’t any structure to my days of late! The other day my beautiful neighbour was making a caesar for another friend and offered one to both Hubster and I. He of course graciously accepted whereas I sassily informed her that I didn’t drink, and without even batting an enhanced lash she replied that she knew that and would happily make me one without alcohol. Problem solved right? Not so fast, again I thanked her (yes, graciously this time) but declined the offer, stating I was happy with my never ending steaming mug of green tea. Could she be trusted to remember which drink would be mine of the four she was making? Would her mind wander at that all important crux of the moment where vodka would just happen into my glass? Oh, how my warped mind works some days… I knew without a doubt she would make me a more than delicious caesar sans alcohol but I just couldn’t give up the control of not watching every step throughout the drink making process. When we are out, no matter how tempting it would be, I never dream of ordering a virgin whatever for the simple fear that it would not in fact be virgin. For me I stick to the trusted basics of soda water with line or iced tea.

Early in my sobriety, we were out to celebrate my step daughter’s 30th birthday at a popular pub in town. We all ordered our preferred beverage of choice, a soda water with lime for me; to which, the young server asked if I’d love a shot of vodka or tequila in it. I get that’s how bars make money, and once I picked up my jaw from the floor, I pointedly asked if I had in fact stuttered with respect to my order, the young fella slunk away, sadly he caught me on a bad day, regardless, my behaviour was completely uncalled for. By nature, I am not rude nor flippant to wait staff merely doing their job, politely I might add.

I am much more in control and comfortable if you will with my sobriety as long as I keep said control firmly within my grasp. It was sort of the same while still wearing the uniform and serving our great country, I wanted control and things done my way ALL THE TIME! I was after all, the boss, at least for the most part. Until one day, thankfully early in my long and storied career, the proverbial light bulb came on and I realized well if that isn’t just stupid! Especially seeing how I had the privilege of working with and for some of the best and brightest that the Royal Canadian Air Force had to offer. Giving a little sure has heck gave me a whole lot more in return. However, when it comes to alcohol and my sobriety I am not willing to give up the control and as I’ve said since day one of my journey, I own my sobriety and it will be my choice alone and a cold day in hell should I ever choose to give it up. I hold the power today, and (choose your own deity) willing, I will hold the power tomorrow. Until then, here’s to one more sober day!

Be well and be you xo.

We pulled it off

August was a tough month with so many moving parts, it made my head spin – literally, I ended up with a nasty bout of vertigo. Thankfully, I appear to have returned to some semblance of normal.

Our home in Nova Scotia finally sold. It had been on the market since April, and by NS standards it sold quickly. Crazy as we are, hubster and I accepted a two week (yep 14 days) closing. We flew back from Ontario as originally planned and hit the ground running. Between the power of social media, our local thrift shop, yard sales and thankfully only one trip to the dump, we sold, purged and downsized our lives to fit into one 20ft cube van. Of course it wasn’t nearly that simple, nothing ever is.

We arrived in Nova Scotia in June 2009 courtesy of the Royal Canadian Air Force when I was posted to 14 Wing Greenwood. My time in Greenwood would turnout to be my shortest posting lasting only two years and twenty days. As I moved up the proverbial ladder of success, hubster stayed and manned the home front for a property we both loved, and for which, I will always be grateful for his love and support to go off and achieve my career goals and aspirations.

Through some very strong ties, and great friendships, we were able to acquire all the necessary supplies to get us all packed. This also included the use of a friend’s much needed truck as my little car (Fiat 500) just wouldn’t cut it, and it also decided that it was a good time to have a seized brake calliper. At one point, it looked as though we’d have to leave the car at the dealership and fly back at a later date to pick it up. Thankfully, the parts arrived in time and we were able to complete the move as planned.

After some tearful goodbyes, we pulled out of our driveway on Tuesday 21 August. After approximately 1837km of uneventful driving we pulled up to our storage container in Wallacetown Ontario in the afternoon of Thursday 23 August, and started unloading. By the time our nephew arrived from work we were 3/4 done, so he and hubster made short work of unloading and organizing the rest of it.

We will spend the rest of the summer and into the fall at our little lake side (Lake Huron) retreat. From there is will be off to Mexico for our first full winter as snowbirds.

Throughout the month I managed to keep my sanity and sense of humour, save for one horrific melt down. despite all of the chaos and moving pieces my thoughts were never distracted by the pull of alcohol and on 1 September 2018 I quietly marked 25 months of sobriety.

Here’s to one more sober day, be well and be you 💜

It all began with 22 push ups

July of 2016 I had been retired for a year after having served my country with honour and distinction for nearly 32 years as a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force, but I wasn’t living the retirement dream, in fact, far from it. The only thing that got me excited was anytime after noon when in my mind it was deemed acceptable to crack open a bottle of whatever would start to make me feel better about myself and all the doubts that I had brewing in my little mind.

It was during this time that I had been tagged by a former colleague, friend and mentor to participate in the 22 push up challenge. https://woundedwarriors.ca/ways-to-give/22-push-ups-22-days-challenge/Wounded Warriors.

This challenge saved me, or at the very least helped me begin to see a little more clearly in which direction I was traveling. Saved me from myself and my whirling pit of self pity and helped to put the final nail in my drinking coffin. I have done a minimum of 22 push ups every day since that fateful day, that’s roughly 16,368 push ups to date, but who’s counting. As silly as it may seem, doing 22 push ups each day helps me focus, as an added bonus they also help in keeping my arms and back toned. Focus on taking each day as it comes, to not get too far ahead of myself. I can’t change yesterday and there is no advantage to worrying about tomorrow, as much as we plan and prepare no one knows what may come to pass. I don’t totally wing it, as I’m a wee bit OCD. I do have an idea of what I’ll cook for dinner, a plan to do laundry, housework, etc… but there remains much more flexibility in my day and my life since I’m no longer tied to the bottle. I’ve yet to thank Major General Christian Drouin for throwing down the gauntlet, but I will when I can find the words that won’t seem too sappy.

Hubster and I have a lot of moving parts at the moment with many proverbial balls in the air. We’ve just sold our home in Nova Scotia so that we can move back to Ontario and we have 14 days in which to do it – yikes! Likely we will put our belongings into storage as we are heading to our home in Mexico for the winter, and quite frankly it will be nice to not have to worry about making arrangements to have the driveway ploughed and the house looked after, etc… (hope that doesn’t come off as whining or complaining). In the spring we can return to our little slice of heaven on Lake Huron as we happily house hunt in a hot market where everything goes over asking and with no conditions. Just a wee rant!

1 August 2018 marks two years of sobriety, and as they say a picture is worth a thousand words. The first pic was taken approximately three weeks before I finally figured out enough was enough. The second picture was taken this morning and if I can see the difference I am certain others can too! I’m grateful as always to have traveled my path and even more grateful today that my path is now a sober one!

I’m off to do 22, perhaps challenge yourself today too!

Until next month and one more sober day.

Be well and be you.

Inspiration

I believe that inspiration can be found in the most obscure of places, provided that you are in fact aware of your surroundings.

As a thrift store maven, I am always in the hunt for something fun or funky and even something practical. Like the beautiful Jill-E designer Canon camera bag I scored for $1.50. And yes, it fits our Canon perfectly.

As I was out and about yesterday running errands, etc… I stopped at my favourite thrift shop – Blessings in Zurich ON, if you’re ever in the neighbourhood please stop by, they do great work for their community. I found a book that I knew hubster would be interested in reading and a beautiful gift for my bestie’s birthday. For myself, I found a golf skort by Liz Golf, and I also found this little gem, Daily Reflections from AA.

I don’t belong to AA as it’s not my thing, although it’s an outstanding program that helps millions. Prior to his passing in 2014 my dad was sober 54 years with the help of AA. When I opened the book, the inscription was from 18 years ago written in July of 2000 and it was booked marked with a red ribbon for 5 July (a Thursday no less), the date on which I found this treasure and it speaks to hearing about the weak-willed alcoholic, but that I am the strongest-willed person on earth. And I thought to myself, this is indeed a sign, as am the strongest-willed. I don’t believe in coincidence, so I shelled out the .25 cents because I am worth it and then some.

Regardless of the path chosen, my hope is that Carol, and many others are still being healed at Thursday wing night or tea on Saturdays or quietly in your own humble abodes, and that inspiration no matter where it may come from helps to make you a believer to be strong-willed and stay the course because you’re worth it.

Here’s to one more sober day. Be well and be you.

What inspires you in your journey?