I wish I could tell you I came up with this title all by myself and I wish I could tell you that we didn't have to force ourselves to take time together but I can't. What I can tell you is how this came to be....
When my son was younger and we were basically his world, and my husband, Neil, went to work Monday to Friday and I was a stay at home mom, it was so easy to spend time together. We have albums full of memories of things we did. But my son became a teenager with his own agenda which didn't include us as much as before. I became a personal trainer, started my own business and developed an addiction to courses and learning as much as I possible can. I let this fill 90% of my time. Neil was the last one to find a way to use up his days off by starting his own side hustle. The 3 of us managed to busy ourselves with passions other then family time.
When I looked back at 2020 and all it brought us, good and bad. I loved those days of isolation that forced us to spend all our days and nights together. They were magical. Then the restrictions were lifted and life resumed. It didn't take long for us to go back to our old habits of absorbing ourselves in our own separate worlds.
One of my close friends has a son graduating and leaving home this year. She brings it up, the excitement of her son starting his own life. We don't yet talk about her life after he is gone, but the thought of it makes me realize that I only have a few year before I am in the same situation. My last child will be leaving to start his life and we are missing this time with him.
I needed to find a way to stall time. We all know that isn't possible, so I needed to find a way use our time differently.
I wasn't sure how to make something not lame to lure our teen into this.
Shortly after my realization, Ein asked to go to this old abandoned satellite station (not lame) that he had heard about. Neil and I immediately jumped on the opportunity to spend time together, it was Ein's idea aaannnddd it was outside.
We planned to go the following weekend.
That week I was chatting with another friend about weekend plans sharing with her what we were doing.
She immediately said the words "Forced Family Fun" and I loved it!!
This was not her phrase I learned. Apparently there is a local lady who has coined that term. But I am borrowing it for as long as I can and forcing my family to carve out time in their busy schedules to be together with no distractions of home.
Welcome to our first Forced Family Time of 2021....
The Old Teleglobe Satellite Station
Charleston, Nova Scotia
Only 30 minutes from home we set out. We had very vague directions so finding it was it's own little adventure. Even when we found it, the 15 minute walk there had us wondering if this was the spot or the setting for our own little Blair Witch documentary
(trust me I was keeping an eye out for piles of rocks and stick symbols hanging from the trees).
The path there was an old driveway with lots of spray painted penises, quotes, and notices of who was a 'slut', 'gay' or 'call for a good time'. Some piles of coyote poop and a couple pieces of rabbit fur and bones I assume from the pooping coyote.
We giggled both nervously and because we were having fun.
Just when we were starting to question whether we were on the path to the satellite station or our demise, we finally made it.
Worth the sketchy walk. This, was a pretty cool spot to hang out with my favorite humans.
We were in awe of this old abandon building with the amazing graffiti everywhere!!!
I had no idea there was so much artistic talent so close to us.
We easily used up an afternoon exploring this place. There was barely any wall space that didn't have beautiful color painted on it.
It is a very cool, eerie, fascinating place to wonder through.
This place gave us space to explore together talking about what it must have been like in it's heyday, what kind of people worked there and where they lived.
It also gave us place to talk about the current events of early 2021. The best conversations can happen when you are outside walking.
There is something about fresh air and being forced together!
Another bonus to this is it boosted our daily steps by about 3000!!
We got to show Ein our talents, Neil's no fear of anything including climbing into dark tunnels to see where they go. (we held our breath waiting for him to be sucked into the abyss) and my artistic talent for graffiti!
Okay you got me, my talent for finding an old spray can and acting like I have an artistic flare!
Each one of us has a turn at coming up with our next adventure,
we are looking forward to where 2021 is going to take us!
The reason I share my sobriety story so openly is because I am passionate about ending the stigma associated with addictions.
Today, I very loudly celebrate 1000 days sober.
What does sobriety mean to me?
In mid January 2018 I woke up with my last hangover.
Not every night was a black out night, but I can honestly say towards the end of my addiction pretty much every night I was under the influence to the point that I couldn’t drive. I was not a reliable mom, wife, daughter, or friend.
I started things but never finished them.
Things such as workout programs and healthy eating.
Because cardio/running is a wonderful thing to do to your body when it is dehydrated and hungover.
(insert eye roll)
Yup I did fasting, and often broke the fast with a shot of tequila or vodka. Very healthy, right? …
I started courses, books, meditating, crafting, a side business, etc. Nothing ever lasted. I quit everything…
Except my drinking. Until now.
Not a day goes by that I don’t have a memory of before recovery.
It brings back horrible, shameful memories of being drunk and trying to look sober. The red patches on my face, trying to cover them up. The alcohol on my breath, brushing my teeth over and over trying to hide the smell.
It fills me with the shame of secretly drinking and then that awful task of hiding my drunkenness. The pathetic attempt to talk, trying to sit up, walk, do LIFE normally. I spent so much time covering my tracks, hiding my secret, my ugly habit that made me sick, physically, mentally, emotionally, and especially spiritually.... I was slowing killing the spirit inside of me.
ONE GLASS OR MODERATION!?
For me, it was the 1 or 2 bottles and the thirst for more alcohol once that first sip had passed my lips that wild horses could not have been able to stop. Sneaking shots to get to the buzz, the numbness, the zoning out quicker. Then the broken sleep, nausea and crippling impact on mental health.
It’s one thing to have spent evenings of my life drinking wine and zoning out through an entire episode of Downton Abbey but I realize that I have been zoned out for some of the best bits of life. So many incredibly special occasions, (including my own wedding) that will never happen again.
It took a long time and many, many days of telling myself I wasn't going to drink to only turn around and fail by 5pm (wine o’clock).
In the end though I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.
I had finally had enough.
You do it until your done, and then you stop.
I love knowing that I will remember everything I did today.
I love knowing that I will not wake up full of anxiety because of things I may have said or done, but don't clearly remember ("never tell me anything important after 8pm" I would say).
I love knowing that there will be no apology texts, no awkward pretending my outrageous behavior was totally normal!
I love knowing that I'll be waking up to a beautiful morning tomorrow, hangover free…”
When I say my sober date means absolutely everything to me, it is not an exaggeration.
I take care of myself.
I am able to be a better mom, better wife, better human.
I am present for life.
I have accomplished more with my life in 1000 days then I have in the 30+ years of addiction before.
I have been so fortunate/blessed that during my early recovery days, I found a passion that fires me from the center of my being and I was able to take that passion and turn it into a business that allows me to help others make positive change their lives.
Every single day of my life I live in gratitude for my sobriety.
For those who are newly sober, don't get frustrated with yourself and give up. This is a process and it takes time, and I can promise you that your life will immediately get better when you stop drinking. It won't be perfect because it's still life, but it is so much better.
I LOVE being sober, its like I am the person I always wanted to be.
My sober date is my birth date.
The day I stopped drinking was the day I truly started living, and I am only getting started.
No, people who are vain, have a lot of self-hatred covered over by a layer of "I'm better then you".
But this is different. It isn't wrong to put yourself on the top of that list, ahead of family and friends, your pets or shrimp.
If you don't, who the hell is going to love them and take care of them in the fierce, amazing way that only you can, when you're empty, depleted and have nothing left to give.
We say, "oh I take care of myself, I have self care Sunday" (I said that in a stereotypical high pitched women voice.)
Wow!! One day (which is probably really a couple hours of that day) out of 7 days, if you really even do commit to doing self care once a week.
Regardless, that isn't quite what I mean, I am digging beyond "self care".
What I am asking you to do, is really love yourself.
A love like-look in the mirror at your body, hair, into your own eyes and tell yourself how amazing you really are-kind of love.
How beautiful your hair shines, how wonderful and amazing your body is for carrying your soul around everyday even though you treat that body like shit sometimes. How gorgeous your eyes really are and how much love you see in them.
Why do you treat yourself like this? What would you say if you heard your best friend or your kid talking to themselves like that?
How is that kind of talk actually serving you?
It is serving you by making you feel sad and if you think that sadness doesn't come out in your daily life, then you are mistaken.
That moment you snap at the ones you love the most. When you start pushing the people around you away. You may even start coping or soothing yourself in negative ways such as drinking, self harm, eating disorders, sex, mindless shopping...whatever it takes to make you feel good for a short period.
I know, I have done it for many years.
All the love in our lives begins with us. (read that again)
When you really love yourself, you cannot hurt yourself, and you cannot hurt another person.
Trust me when I say, if you don't start loving yourself first, you can't really love the ones that matter to you.
So please look in that mirror and realize you are worthy, except and love yourself exactly as you are, right here and now.
I love myself, and because of that I can love my kids/husband/friends (you know, people), the animals in my life, home, and my career.
Phoenix Mind and Body Wellness held the first Sober Sociable.
The purpose of this live Facebook party is to invite women to share their businesses and their stories. I believe that we all have a story that will touch the lives of other women who just might need the message those stories hold to move forward in their lives. My goal is to share share and keep sharing and healing and becoming stronger together.
Why Sober Sociable? Well part of my story is that I am have been sober for over 2 years and clean for over one year. I want to prove that you can still be sociable and sober and have a great time and a great life with great people!!!
Last week I was very honored to share this space Christine Hiltz, owner of The Cosmic Hippie Boutique. She not only has built a beautiful business, but she is building a beautiful life.
She explained the birth and growing pains of the Cosmic Hippie. Educated us on the links of breast cancer and Alzheimer's disease to using Anti-perspirants and gave us options for natural deodorants.
You can find this amazing little shop on Instagram or Facebook.
She blessed us with her story and how she lives from her heart. At 48 she is taking life by the lady balls and started surfing, loves to travel and how she pushes away the self doubt/imposter syndrome when it creeps in. I think that is something we can all relate to!
If you missed this episode and you identify as female, you can find it here on our Facebook group
If you would like to have your own Sober summer drinks you can find 12 delicious recipes by signing up for my newsletter!
Some of the beautiful products of The Cosmic Hippie Boutique
and Christine, the amazing force behind it all ,
one of my favorite people in the world...
DEB SILVER FITNESS AND NUTRITION COACH
We have heard of dry January. January 1 rolls around and the challenge of going alcohol free for the month is set. The main goal is to help people reset their relationship with alcohol. Now Dry July is here. Going alcohol free in July to raise money for those affected by cancer. This fundraiser was started in 2008 in Australia by three guys hoping to raise money for a tv for their local hospital’s waiting room and since then has inspired more then 200 000 Aussies to go dry and raising more then 49 million for people affected by cancer and funding several other projects. Nice job Australia!!
Ever wonder the side effects of quitting alcohol. I can tell you 5 of them from personal experience.
Please note, no one who is a heavy drinker should ever give up alcohol ‘cold turkey’.
Contact a recovery group or your local addictions center to find help.
Weight loss may occur
Alcohol is loaded with calories and empty carbs. A standard glass of wine (5 ounces) can contain about 130 calories, and a serving of beer (12 ounces) nearly 330 calories. 330 calories is basically a meal for most of us. You are also more likely to make unhealthy food choices when drinking. Also Studies have shown that people who binged on alcohol at least once a month over the course of one year were 41% more likely to become overweight after a 5-year period. (Bingeing, for women, is more than four glasses of alcohol in one sitting.)
Your skin might ‘glow’
Alcohol dehydrates our skin causing our pores and wrinkles to become more visible. When we drink it causes our insides to become inflamed and this will quickly show up on the skin in the form of redness, breakouts and puffiness. When people stop drinking, they get more calories from foods; this tends to improve their vitamin intake, which can also make their skin appear healthier, younger and have that glow.
Better immune system
If you are a regular drinker, you may notice that you catch colds and flus more often. Alcohol can suppress your immune system, which might hinder your ability to fight off an illness. I know personally, since not drinking I have barely had a stuffy nose.
Yes, a drink before bed can help you fall asleep faster, but alcohol actually disrupts the most restorative phase of sleep that occurs later in the night. When your body is supposed to be repairing and building, it is too busy dealing with the alcohol effects in your system.
You gain confidence to make other healthy changes in your lifestyle
One you start feeling the amazing mornings of no brain fog and the spare time in the evenings not filled with drinking, you want to fill it with other activities. Activities such as exercise, healthy cooking and eating, maybe taking a course, or picking up a new hobby.
Cheers to that!
Don’t forget to sign up for my free Mocktails recipe book. Twelve delicious recipes to get you through the summer like a rock star!
If you are interested in filling that extra time with some workouts or looking for some help on your nutrition to shed those extra alcohol pounds check out my packages or contact me for a chat about your goals.
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Deb Silver is an online Fitness trainer and nutrition coach. She empowers women to find their strengths, live their truths and find ways to make their lives happier and healthier.