Spring cleaning

First day off from work and I’ve been busy busy. Yesterday I worked only half day (four hours) as it was a day before a holiday. So off I went to IKEA at noon and eventually decided to buy a bookshelf and a sofa, I chose the Ektorp three seater sofa because it was really comfy and because one can change the sofa cover. That means that I can vary the colour and fabric at any time. Also, if the cats ruin the cover it’s no big deal ;-) Here’s the sofa:

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I did my very best to avoid brown, I always go for brown sofas… But I think that I’ll buy the Svanby grey cover some time later on. The furniture will be delivered on May 2nd.

I can tell you that I did NOT at all feel like Spring cleaning today. So good thing that I had accepted mum’s offer to help me, she showed up at ten and we immediately began cleaning, and damn we were effective! I also did the laundry and cleaned the windows and only four hours later we were done. Gosh, did that feel good afterwards! What I did not do was to clear the wardrobes. I just didn’t have any energy left and thought that I can do those any other evening, so that particular task has been postponed.

Anywho, mum left sometime after 2 pm and I went to do some grocery shopping. I cooked a new vegetarian dish: Red lentils and spinach in Masala sauce

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Another really yummy dish that definitely ends up on my list of favourite recipes!

Time is soon 9 pm and I’m resting and enjoying my clean apartment :-) Mum and I are off to do a little bit of shopping tomorrow, both of us need a few bits and pieces which gave us a reason for an outing.

I want to wish you all a HAPPY EASTER and am hoping that you will enjoy a fabulous weekend! xoxo

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Pre-Spring cleaning

I’m getting terribly annoyed over the fact that my wardrobes are jam-packed, with not only clothes but with loads of other stuff that I could’nt find any other space for. The last time my wardrobes were half empty was four years ago when I moved into this apartment. So I decided that I will have one heck of a Spring cleaning on my day off on Friday. Half of the wardrobe stuff will be thrown out!

I don’t consider myself being a hoarder, in fact I believe that I’m the opposite. Yet I manage to gather stuff until I get fed up. I bet the wardrobes will be as jam-packed again in another couple of years!

At the same time I decided that I had enough of my sofa which Rockwell has butchered with his teeny tiny claws. How can such a little creature create such a great mess!? After he had slaughtered my sofa, he got bored with it and have’nt scratched my furniture for quite some time now. So earlier today I contacted a firm which picks up old furniture and any other stuff for dumping. We made an appointment this evening and now they have been here and have picked up the sofa and the armchair. I don’t know why, but I nor anyone else sit in that chair, so it has been sitting in that corner gathering dust and cat hair. Though Rockwell has occasionally roughed it up with some scratching.

So out it went! Here’s a before picture:

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And after:

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On Thursday I head to IKEA and until then I will decide if I shall fill that empty space in the corner with a bookshelf on which I can hoard new junk ;) Or if I should leave it as it is, we’ll see. Oh, and of course I need to get a new sofa.

But, Spring cleaning will be a little easier with some of the big stuff out of the way. I asked my mum to help, not so that she has to do anything really but because I don’t trust that I will follow through with my Spring cleaning plan. With her involved there’s no backing out, I can now sooo totally forget about being lazy on Friday :))

Happy days

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We’ve had a rather tough time at work since mid February, due to a swap of the entire phone system, affecting thousands of employees. The last few weeks everything has slowly been returning to normal and I must say that today has been the best workday in a long time. This kind of a day has been terribly needed and I think we all (well, all three of us) had reached the same point at the same time; we had let go of everything not to pleasant and fully embraced all that was good. We made this to a wonderful day and I’m feeling so happy right now and just had to express my gratitude in my blog :))

Angry people

So yesterday during the course I received a few good advices or reminders, for instance that if someone is yelling at you because they’re upset or angry, one should not yell back. If you match that person’s tone of voice you only fuel their anger. Best course of action is to simply wait for that person to be done with their yelling. And apparently an angry person, in average, manages to orate for about two minutes (unless someone fuels their anger by participating in the argument). Of course there are those who could go on and on, but most folks calm down if they don’t meet any resistance. And there are benefits in remaining silent, waiting for the anger to fade; we keep our calm and save that precious energy of ours.

Today I returned to work all buffed up on Buddha advices, ready to give angry customers a new shot. And what happens? A little after lunch a man phones and I could immediately hear that he was angry. Now when looking back at that terrible argument, I realise that I had forgotten all about remaining silent and keeping my calm. My colleague Magnus who sits behind me quickly understood that I had a difficult user on the phone and told me afterwards that I actually managed to keep a good tone through the first two thirds of that phonecall.

This man had called earlier today and had since built up his anger and apparently could’nt resist the urge to phone the IT-department a second time to display a madman’s wanna-be-authority.

The problem is, that instead of concentrating on remaining calm and to not fuel that man’s anger, I automatically focused on his questions and tried answering them. I am a problem solver into the very core of what is me… But it is rather pointless answering a furious person’s questions as he’s not really interested in any answers, he was in distress and someone had to pay for it. I controlled my voice as I was answering, but as one answer appeared to be more useless than the other, his yelling and anger only escalated. I became absorbed by this conflict (or what to call it) and then my reptile brain took over, I went into defence mode and eventually tried to shout him down.

Christ… that phonecall went straight to hell. It had been entirely pointless and it drained me on whatever precious energy that I had and I just felt useless afterwards. WHY oh why could’nt I control myself? Is it so bloody hard to keep one’s calm? I had to resist the impulse to quit my job right there and then, take my stuff, move into a little cabin in the wilderness and to live the rest of my days as a hermit.

I wanted to cry because it all felt so hopeless. And naturally, when the cutest ever little blond girl from the Telephony group phoned that very same man a couple of hours later, she afterwards waved her superlong eyelashes at me and said he had been sooo nice and naturally had she solved his problem. Piece of cake. Well OF COURSE he was gentle as a lamb when speaking with HER, he had already expelled all the anger that he had on me, that had been his sole purpose phoning us in the first place. But she made me feel even more like a failure, of course because I had no energy left to use for logical thinking. I do know very well that she’s a sweetheart and did’nt mean anything bad, but I had been infected by his anger and now I was angry at myself and what do I do? I beat myself up and then go home to comfort eat a whole pizza. Yeah, that did the trick.

Theoretically I understand what needs to be done, but practically I do what I always have done. Changing habits or reaction patterns is a huge task to undertake and it will take time. Participating in a course dealing with conflict management does’nt magically over night turn me into a professional conflict manager. This takes practice and although I never want to receive such a terrible phonecall ever again; such phonecalls are precisely what I need so that I can practice more and more and then some more. I so desperately want to experience that one day when I handle an angry user over the phone and manage to keep my calm all the way through that “conversation”.

But as the quick-fix-alkie that I am, deep inside I had of course hoped that a change would’ve taken place over night… And when wishing did’nt make it so, then my initial reaction to failure was to flee. Well, the pizza (topped with a handful of candy *cough*) became my flight – tomorrow I will return to work with the same positive mindset I had this morning and I will keep doing this until I manage to keep my calm through an angry person’s monologue.

Sweet potatoes and straight forwardness

Today I cooked and tasted sweet potatoes for the first time. I found this recipe in Pinterest: Smoky Sweet Potato Burgers with Roasted Garlic Cream and Avocado, and tried it out this evening. Here’s my result:

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It was yummy, I like!

As I’m attending a course tomorrow, I skipped the roasted garlic. Don’t want to risk stinkin’ up the place ;-) Though next time I cook these sweet potato burgers, I will definitely do the roasted garlic. And I found that plain avocado was’nt enough, so I’ll do this salad instead to accompany the burgers: Not-so-Dumb Salad

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The course tomorrow is about how to handle difficult people. Working at the town hall, supporting the folks employed by the government is quite tricky. When I worked for private owned companies, I learned to be straight forward. Communicating without any sugar coating. If I just straight out said what needed to be done or what the customers needed to do, that almost always eliminated misunderstandings. This appeared to be the best way of communicating and something I got a lot of appreciation for. But, at my current work, being straight forward does’nt work at all… I keep ending up in arguments and I think there is a lack of self-esteem amongst our employees; regarding computers and other technological stuff. A lack of IT-related knowledge even, and all of that marinated in a dislike to us know-it-all-technicians working at the IT-department.

Most of the time it is as if our users phone the IT-department, needing help. But they don’t want our help, they want to be the ones solving their own problems… Which leaves me to wonder why they phoned us in the first place. This is hard for me to wrap my head around, for me it’s a simple matter; if you need help, you tell me so, I tell you the solution, implement the solution, happy days! But no… instead I find myself stuck in arguments. So I’m hoping this one day course will give me a hint of how to help this indocile sort of people.

Glass enclosed balcony

Up until recently I have been against the idea of glass enclosing my balcony. For those of you who wonder what I mean, I googled an image example of a glass enclosed balcony:

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But lately I had been wondering if it would be better if I just went ahead and enclosed it. It will not become a warm room like it is indoors. But no wind, rain or snow could get in. I thought of how that might give me and my cats some extra space. So I spoke to my landlord about it and certainly could they have that arranged, though they would raise my rent.

So, eventually I changed my mind and have now asked them to go ahead with the enclosing. I’m lightly planning what to do with this little bit of extra space, how to furnish it and am also looking at what cost effective heating options there are. I think they will have the work done sometime within the next month or two. In fact, a man will show up tomorrow to measure the balcony.

Once the work is done, the first thing I want to do is to cover the concrete floor, with this:

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I don’t know what it’s called in English, but a couple of my friends have bought similar floor tiles and told that it was a rather easy job to do oneself. I’m getting pretty handy in my sobriety, so I don’t think that’ll be any problems ;)

I want it to be comfy out on the glass enclosed balcony, but I want the cats to be free to roam that space. I’ll know better what to do once I see it done and hope to be able to keep the balcony door open most of the year, rather than just May to September (for the cats). I think that I’ll move out the cat’s big climbing thingy (some pictures can be found in this post) so that they can spend lots of time out there, looking at birds and other interesting things through the panoramic windows.

Size matters?

I keep reminding myself not to care about what others think or what majority does. Most often that works well, what others are thinking is none of my business.

Then I had a moment of doubt. I was invited home to a friend whose daughter had her birthday party. This friend had recently moved to a new apartment and I was excited to see their new home. Once there I found them living in a huge and spacious apartment, I tried imagine how it would feel if I had been living in such an apartment.

Later that afternoon, when I returned home, I wondered if there was something wrong with me. Should I have greater expectations on myself? I’m 41 years old and I’m living in a one room apartment. But I love my apartment! Though… should’nt I be living in something larger, something grand to display to those who visit me?

Then I realised that yet again was I comparing myself to others, trying to anticipate what others expect from me. So I excluded those thoughts and asked myself; Do I want, or need, a larger apartment? The answer was a simple and honest No. Had I been wanting a larger apartment then I would’ve made that a priority and would’ve moved a long time ago. The reason to why I stay in my tiny apartment is because I love my wee home. It is perfect as it is and I don’t need more than that. And that is all I need to care about.

I spoke to my friend Monica about this, and she told that she too compares herself in such a way. Looking at where women her age are in life and what they’re doing. She would love to travel, but she can’t afford it, not now. Yet everybody else seems to be out and about, travelling and having fun. Then she said that she thinks of me, of how I don’t seem to mind what others do and do what feels right for me. She said; “And I find comfort in that. I mean, look at you! A woman in her 40′s, living in that tiny apartment with your two cats and you’re perfectly content as it is!” We had a good belly laugh because we understood one another perfectly well, yet it came out in such a tragicomical way. It could be sad that I have no more impressive home to show after walking this Earth for 41 years and that Monica is starved for travelling and adventures. But it is what one makes of it, right? Well, I prioritize spiritual and mental health and somehow material matters lost their value or meaning.

But, why is it scary to not be like everyone else? Am I afraid of being judged? To be belittled? Though it IS scary not joining majority where some are competing and where some are patting eachother on the shoulders.

Then this morning when I left my apartment, the door opened two floors down and out came a woman my age, holding two dogs in their leash. She exited an one room apartment (same size and layout as mine) and I smiled – again am I reminded that I am not alone and that I certainly am not so special.

I think occasional doubts are benificial, because they make me review my priorities and choices and either ensures me that I’m doing the right thing or allow me to make adjustments. Monica is well aware of what’s important and what is not. She is working towards a change that will eventually lead her to an economy offering travelling opportunities. This will take time and I am so god damn impressed of this fantastic woman’s patience and determination.

Singing in the shower

I read somewhere that singing in the shower can be quite uplifting, and so I thought I’d learn some lyrics. This is what I’m trying to sing in the shower in the mornings now a days:

You are my Sunshine,
My only Sunshine.
You make me happy,
When skies are grey.
You’ll never know dear,
How much I love you.
Please don’t take,
My Sunshine away.

Nerdy, right! Or how about:

Fly me to the moon
And let me play among the stars
Let me see what spring is like
On Jupiter and Mars

In other words, hold my hand
In other words, baby, kiss me

Fill my heart with song
and let me sing forever more
You are all I long for
All I worship and adore

In other words, please be true
In other words, I love you

Oh, lets just go all the way and sing:

I see trees of green, red roses, too,
I see them bloom, for me and you
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue, and clouds of white,
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world.

The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky,
Are also on the faces of people going by.
I see friends shaking hands, sayin’, “How do you do?”
They’re really sayin’, “I love you.”

I hear babies cryin’. I watch them grow.
They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

Yes, I think to myself
What a wonderful world

Brilliant shower songs, I must tell you. But poor poor neighbour hahaa Her bathroom is wall to wall with mine, but still I have’nt heard any silencing bangings on the wall, nor have I received any complaints. So I’ll just keep singing in the shower then, uplifting myself :))

Remembering

Hangover for me used to be to have a brain numbed, a trembling body and shaking hands. Emotionally blunted. And as I used to drink every night, this was how I felt every morning. When people sometimes speak about hangovers, they mean those traditional headaches and nausea, but it had been years ago I had such hangovers. When I awoke in the morning, I was like a living dead. A built-in autopilot had me going and the thought of drinking in the evening sometimes helped me through the day.

Once one early morning, I walked through the corridor at work – hungover and with that autopilot on. So numbed that I never noticed that I was walking through shattered glass. There had been a break-in the night before and the robbers had broken every glass door to all the offices in that corridor. I was first at work that morning, walking through the glass, oblivious to all the trashed glass doors, took a seat by my computer and did’nt understand the commotion when a second person arrived to work. There was such turbulence about the break-in that no one ever noticed my lack of reaction, my apathy.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, I don’t have to experience any more. No more zombie mode, no hangovers. But instead a healthy presence, such are my mornings in sobriety. I have been so drunk and hungover that I have missed entire Summers. To be present, noticing the thousands of changes that life and nature undergo; moving from Winter to Spring – is simply fantastic.

I have only been sober a couple of years, but I am forgetting what it used to be. I remember that I used to wake up in pain after drinking weekends away. But I cannot remember how that pain felt like. The numbness though I cannot forget. Nor the obsession. To be free from alcohol addiction is a grandiose gift, one I cherish every morning, every day and every evening.

At this point in sobriety I am discovering what I like and don’t like. I never thought I had any artistry in me, yet creativity flows through me every so often and out comes various ideas, experiments and creations. I’ve always loved to mingle in Stockholm City. Well… I don’t any more. There are so many things that I’ve kept doing in sobriety, stuff that I loved doing throughout my life in drinking. I don’t really like shopping either, another discovery in sobriety… I really am so totally not interested in shopping for clothes for instance. Such insights can be confusing, when I realise that I am not who I used to be. But I love discovering who I am now. I love to cook, I love to spend lots of time on my own. I think I have become my own very best friend hahaa I assume that sounds quite egoistical, but it is what it is.

I have struggled to do what others say one is supposed to do; to be social for instance. Yet, I simply am not comfortable being social. It is energy draining and tiresome.

I am very much social at work, surrounded by wonderful co-workers and that is enough for me. I love a life where I am entirely free to do whatever I feel like doing. I’m fairly sure that I simply have’nt met people that I genuinely love spending time with, as much as I love to spending it on my own. But I am letting go, I now do what feels right for me and I am slowly getting used to the feeling of following my own heart’s desires. I’m beginning to let my logical brain rest, as the rest of me springs to life.

The desire to drink is gone… it’s strange. Maybe it’s temporary. But right now, alcohol is as interesting as eating rotten meat. And no, I really don’t enjoy eating any kind of rotten meat ;-) I have other interests now, hobbies and activities that fulfill my life. One other feeling, that I no longer can rembember; is the deep deep darkest void inside, so incredibly painful! The one that existed where my soul ought to be. I have lived with that dark spiritual emptiness my whole life… and now I can’t even remember what that was like!

One can never say never, I would like to say that I will never return to that hell ever again. But I’ll just say, that this morning there were no thoughts of drinking. I decided not to drink and today I have given myself yet another marvelous gift; one more precious day in sobriety.

Merry Christmas! xoxo

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Celebration: Two years of sobriety

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So today was one of the greatest days of my life, one I almost came to dread the last few days. I had mentioned my upcoming sobriety anniversary to my AA-friends for a long time now, and I suppose I did so because I wanted to share my joy with others. But then at the beginning of this week I realised what I had done, I had made sure that everyone knew about my sobriety date, people would celebrate it and I would be the center of attention. Yikes! Thankfully this had been quite a busy week and I did’nt have much time to think about today. That I even managed this week, tired as I was, was because I knew that I have an entirely unplanned and free weekend waiting for me. I could relax and enjoy this week’s journey, because I would be rewarded with two whole days aaaall to myself. Bliss :)

I was an hour and a half early to the AA-meeting, opened, made coffee, set out the two big chocolate cakes that I had brought with me, lit candles and had everything prepared when people began dropping in one by one. I hugged each and every one long and well, topping up the level of love in my heart. Any nervousness that I had, for this meeting to become just wrong, quickly faded away. I let my guard down and allowed myself to enjoy being the center of attention. Because, my friends within AA have no expectations on me. The only thing they wish is that we manage sobriety and that we are well. And what I saw in my friends eyes and faces this evening, was the reflection of a woman celebrating sobriety, so incredibly happy spending this evening with her friends and fully content with where she was at that very moment.

Monica, oh sweet sweet Monica – she texted me earlier this week and asked if she could give me her two years AA-medallion. My heart nearly burst in my chest, so happy that she was there for me. I was so proud to receive her medallion, Monica herself celebrated five years of sobriety this Summer, so this surely must be a very lucky coin ;)

I seriously did’nt think that anyone would have anything to say about me once the meeting started, because I thought that I unfortunately was a rather anonymous person. Oh how wrong I was… I got to hear what my friends thought of me and I was overwhelmed over the fantastic, sincere and kind words they spoke. I could hardly comprehend that it was me they were talking about… it was almost surreal. Tears were shed, by me and by some of the others. One friend told how she had watched my struggle over the years, how she had been so afraid and worrying about how I would do when I began drinking again. She knew the enormous amount of alcohol I drank every day, and feared that I would’nt survive it… her words scared me, because she reminded me about the one I once was. Not too long ago, and I’m well aware of that part that still lives within me – the alcoholic.

Then it was my turn to speak at the meeting and my mind went blank. In all of this busy week, I did’nt even consider what to say at tonight’s occasion. But I felt that I had to say something and began talking… in my head thoughts stumbled over one another, I grabbed one here and there and tried to express these thoughts in sentences that hopefully would make some sense to the others. It all sounded like a ramble to me, but once done speaking people looked at me with tears in their eyes and a little bit stunned by that I passed the word on to the next fellow alkie. A man had entered the meeting only five minutes before it ended and came up to me afterwards and said “It must have been one heck of a speech you gave, everyone seems so taken by it. Too bad I missed it…” I wish I could’ve heard it too hahaa I hardly remember anything of what I said.

Wow… it’s hard to grasp the entire extent of what my life has become. Or perhaps I should say depth? My life today inhabits a richness and depth that I have never experienced before. A life that would never have been had I continued drinking. A life that I could sense a few years ago, hinting the potential that awaited… it was all there! Just waiting for me to wake up and seize it. I have said it before and I will say it again; this is only the beginning, these two years have been a taste of what life in sobriety has to offer. Each thing that I learn or experience opens up a door revealing another thousand new things to learn, they in turn each open a new door to new things to learn and experience… you see where I’m going? Life is limitless, I am the limited one. I hope I learn how to rid the limits I have surrounded myself with and hope that I get to enjoy more of what life has to offer.

And now, at last the weekend is here and I’m looking forward to a long and good sleep. Tomorrow will be a day of rest, baking, drawing, cat-cuddling and watching Stargate :)

Wishing you all the best and hoping that you enjoy a brilliant weekend! xoxo

Saturday pondering

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I read somewhere that life is’nt about discovering yourself, but to create yourself and I had been thinking about that. When I sobered up once and for all, I understood that I no longer was who I once had been. Most often that’s okey, but sometimes it is a sad thought. Sometimes I can miss the young easygoing and cheerful me… but then I think “But what’s there to stop me being easygoing and cheerful again?” And then I realise that I’m not that super duper interested in being all that cheerful and easygoing anymore ;)

As time went by, I could’nt figure out how I was supposed to discover who I am… Instead I found that I was getting to know myself. As sober, I had at last come to a point in life where I allowed myself to matter. I told myself that I am important, that I am good enough and loved and that I have respect for myself. Very important here is that I don’t chase for other people’s love and confirmation, I have to find love for my own self within and am grateful that I actually found self-love. I had thought that I only inhabited self-loathing, but that disappeared as I began becoming friends with myself.

I have’nt been discovering myself much, but have rather been listening to myself. Or perhaps those two are the same thing! What situations do I find myself in, in everyday life? How do I feel and think in these situations? How do I act? Am I content with how I act and interact? What makes me feel good? Do I give myself enough affirmation? Am I kind enough towards myself?

Now when looking back I can see that I was’nt discovering who I am, but that a whole new me is in the making. And I want this new me to be a good one. A loving and patient Alma, happy with herself and happy in life. I am becoming a someone taking resposibility for her own life. My life is in my own hands and that is a heavy task to manage for the alcoholic me, being used to escape from myself, from life and from responsibilities. But, practice makes perfect and I’m practicing.

Life sure as heck is’nt any dance on roses and keeps giving me a kick in the butt when I least expect it and when I think that I least deserve it. With feelings hurt I automatically curse the unfairness of life and a small voice in the back of my mind whispers “To hell with it, it’s not worth it.” As soon as I hear those dark thoughts I realise that living life and sobriety certainly IS all worth it. The lessons that life gives me here and there, thankfully in healthy and manageable doses, are there to give me the opportunity to understand how I function, how I react and how my mind works. Most often it is people who makes no sense and I need to speak with someone about it. It’s amazing how there always are people available to talk to, willing to share their thoughts on pressing matters. The more I speak with other people, the more I realise that I’m not so alienated or so very special – I am no more unique than anyone else, nor am I any freak.

But all of this is a delicate balancing on a fine line, because I will not change myself to gain approval and attention from others. My life is’nt about others anymore, it is about me. About what makes ME happy and what I want out of life. This is my one time opportunity to live a life, and not one moment of my life has been wasted and will not be regretted. All my experiences, good or bad, have been and will be my lessons learned and valued. What I do with my experiences is what defines me. I can’t deny that my experiences have changed me, but it is I who decide what becomes of me. And I guess that’s how I’m creating myself – not discovering myself :)

Anyways, time passes by quickly and I found that some marvelous folks had left me such lovely comments here in my blog. It reminded me that I needed to resume my writing, but these comments also reminded me about the goodness in others. These comments warmed my heart and inspiration came to life and here I am composing a new blog entry.

A while back I found myself strolling down one of life’s paths and discovered that this one was a particularily interesting one. I am simply living a perfectly normal everyday life; working and getting to know my colleagues better, hanging out with friends and getting to know them even better, getting to know new friends, attending AA-meetings, creating and drawing, taking care of my home, my cats and myself… Almost two years sober and most days still amaze me.

Today I’m grateful for a brilliant Winter’s day with lots of snow, the company of friends and family and a great day out. We left our home town this morning with an old steam train and arrived an hour later in a beautiful town by the sea, that offered a Christmas fair and lots of fun activities.

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Back home again, time is nearly eight o’clock in the evening and I’m lighting a whole bunch of candles so that I can get my body temperature back to normal and then to cook myself some supper.

I hope you’re enjoying a lovely weekend, or if you’re having a hard time – remember that you’re not alone and I’m sending you strength and a great big warm hug ♥️

Saturday sweet

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Time is nearly noon and I had just been to the mall. It was my sweet tooth that drove me out of my home and I went to the grocery store to buy a little something to nibble on. While walking through the mall and then when leaving I saw that most folks were carrying plastic bags filled with bottles from the off-license. For a moment I had almost forgotten that Saturday equals party time for many and thought about how such visits to the off-license would have been my happiest moments in life. It would mean drinking and partying, happy times. Now when looking back I find that to be sad… I had nothing else in life that could make me happier than booze. No matter how happy I was, booze managed to top it all.

So today when walking home, carrying only a wee package of sweets, I thought of how damn lucky I am. For me, to quit drinking meant to discover other things in life that makes me happy… and I’ve managed to find several things and even suspect that there is more to come. Would I drink again, all of today’s happy stuff would be gone. ALL of it, because alcohol would take all my focus and energy, I would be 100 percent obsessed with alcohol and that simply leaves no room for anything else in my life.

I’m grateful that I have this Saturday all to myself. I am here and aware. I have decided to spend this day on drawing and doing the laundry. Tomorrow I’m off to a flea market with a couple of friends, and all of these rather simple pleasures in life are my golden nuggets that I treasure dearly. No things, no money and hell no alcohol can beat that, not if I don’t allow it. Because I actually do have choice and I choose not to drink, I choose life and it is with humbleness that I can see that alcohol has been downgraded to a mere memory.

This time they came in triples

This is so strange… well, in my mind it is :) It’s about synchronicity and throughout my life I have noticed that sometimes some things comes in pairs… A hypothetical example; I could be watching a movie and someone says something insightful in that movie, something that makes perfect sense to me where I am in life right now. The following day a colleague basically says the same thing that I had heard in the movie. When coincidences comes in pairs, to me that means there’s a message with a little extra importance. Sometimes they make sense afterwards, but most often not. Or, not that I’m aware of.

So, in the beginning of this week my colleague Magnus said something that I did’nt pay much attention to. Him and I speak a lot during our workdays, sometimes too much. Many times we share problems that bother us, or we play with ideas or we just joke and have fun. But this time we were serious and then he said that he had been thinking about people in general, how they are not able to be content with what they already have. That they tirelessly keep chasing something better… that people are materialistic and hungry for status. I guess, to sum it up; they can’t see that they are good enough.

After that Magnus and I spoke about a lot of other stuff and moved on with our lives.

Then yesterday I was at the AA meeting, it was wonderful as usual seeing my friends and talking to many of them. I had earlier read that for a person to feel loved, one should be hugged at least twelve times per day. I find it to be a silly statement, but just to be on the safe side I made sure that I squeezed as many sober alkies as I could. I’m also in a phase were I just love listening to what people have to say. Everybody has something on their mind and it’s interesting to hear what the first thing is that comes out of their mouth when they speak with me. Right before the meeting began, I was speaking to Bella and all of the sudden she’s saying almost exactly what Magnus had said; that she had been thinking about how some people are not able to be content with what they already have.

It was almost spooky, because she almost quoted Magnus. I thought about this later on when lying in bed, and wondered if there was a meaning. Am I not content with life? Am I yearning for that grass which is greener on the other side? I don’t think so… Or, perhaps this is not about me?

After a good night’s sleep I had forgotten about this latest synchronicity, until a moment ago.

About five years ago, I had a Swedish blog in which I just shared links to interesting stuff that I found on the internet. This was at a time in my life when I was heavily addicted to alcohol, I began isolating myself and so spended all my spare time on drinking on my own and surfing the net. Through that blog I got to know a few people, but I eventually lost touch with them as I deleted my blog and soon thereafter embarked on my journey through sobriety. A few days ago, one of these old blog friends contacted me. A while back he had been sitting in a waiting room, without anything better to do he then picked up a magazine and to his surprise he found an article about me and alcoholism. He had gotten a minor shock, because he had no idea that I had alcohol problems. So he found the courage to send me a message and I was surprised but also happy to hear from him. It was a little strange talking with someone from particularily that time in my life, it brought up a lot of memories from those days. It also made it quite clear how much I have changed, I think I dare say that I have become a whole new me. Yet this is just the beginning, a new beginning where I’m getting to know myself and am rediscovering the world around me.

Anywho, we had been chatting earlier this evening and in the middle of everything he wrote about how he had been thinking about how some people are not able to be content with what they already have. He found it to be sad, and we chatted a little about materialistic wealth and spiritual poverty and so on. And I just had to blog about this, because three times this week has three entirely different people said the same thing to me. Coincidences piling up and again I find myself pondering on what it is that I’m supposed to understand or learn, if anything. Maybe it’s just a simple coincidence, or maybe it’s life telling me “Yes yes, this way! Keep going, you’re on the right path.” Hahaa I really don’t know, but I find it both strange and interesting.

Last day of my vacation

It has been a vacation with lots of rest, but also with lots of musts and dealing with emotions. And I am so happy that I had the luxury to be able to deal with all of this while off from work. Am also happy that I AM dealing with emotions and responsibility and am not escaping by alcohol. I’m going to give myself a pat on the back for this one!

It has been great two weeks, but I do look forward to returning to work tomorrow and to my good old routines.

And on this last day my creativity awakened! As I am finishing my drawing I was wondering if I would rather draw on smaller paper. I dug through my stuff and found an unused drawing pad, it is four times smaller than the current paper I’m drawing on.

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I could’nt help myself but began a new drawing. One can never have too many drawings in the making! ;) I hope you’re enjoying a lovely Sunday! I certainly am and now I’ll pause my drawings to go and cook myself a pizza *yum*

Happy Friday!

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Well I’ll be darned, I just realised that I’m actually done with all my musts at mum’s place. We received a new digital box and I could without any problems install it on mum’s new TV. So everything TV related seems to be in order. I had a new walkthrough with her regarding the new Windows 8 laptop. I have noticed that mum grasps Windows 8, with its new interface, much easier than she did with Windows 7.

I am understanding that mum’s memory is deteriorating, this has been hard to deal with, but acceptance is helping me cope with that side of mum. An example; two days ago I installed a game, FlipWords, that she loves and wanted me to put on her new laptop. Today mum began speaking about a game that she had played years back, but she could’nt remember the name of that game. A while later she remembered it and exclaimed “FlipWords!”, oh how she had loved that game. About a year ago I would’ve just stared at mum, slightly shocked, because I had already installed the game as she herself had requested it. I might even had become upset that she can’t keep information in order. But today I just showed mum again how the game was already available from her desktop and she wondered how it had gotten there. I told her that I installed it on Wednesday and she was happy and thanked me.

Mum’s projects are done with, but what I need to accept is that she repeatedly will be asking me the same questions. But every time I’m at her place I will make sure that we repeat various tasks on both her laptop and the iPhone.

I don’t know if she suffers from some form of dementia or if it’s Alzheimers, time will tell.

But, Friday is here and two more days remain of my vacation. I wont be doing much today, but tomorrow I have planned to clean my apartment. So there, the exciting life of Alma ;)

I wish you all enjoy a brilliant Friday and have a great weekend! xoxo

Mum’s personal technical support

I have had lots to do with mum over the vacation; she needed a new TV, a new laptop and then a second digital box for the new bedroom TV. She would’nt be able to buy all of these on her own as she would’nt know what the right thing is to get, and there is not a chance that she could install any of it. That’s where I come in. And I guess that’s why I have been so negative lately, as I have been spending my time on activities that I really did’nt want to engage in. But I can’t bring myself to say no to mum, when I fully well know that she can’t manage some things on her own.

So I have bought all the things, then installed them, then the digital box did’nt work and I had to post it back to the provider, I’ve also been pottering with her iPhone. And all along mum has been texting me about various problems she has encountered with her new stuff and I have been grinding my teeth.

I’ve been struggling with accepting that my mum does’nt have the wits she once had, to not expect more from her and to control my temper. Phew… I must tell though that it has gone rather well actually. Only once did I raise my voice and that was when I was going to login mum to Facebook on her new laptop and she did’nt know her password. She asked me for HER password and I yelled that she should write all her passwords down *grin* But then I could actually figure out what password she had and managed to log her in on Facebook. Later on mum proudly showed me a list of passwords that she had written down, after our little quarrel.

Anyway, yesterday I had to visit mum in the morning because she texted me that the laptop had lost its internet connection. It went well, I solved the problem and returned home. I have had a headache for three days and was wasted, so I just went to bed and passed out. Later I was awakened by a phonecall, from mum. Needing my help with something unrelated to the previous stuff I’ve mentioned. After that she texted me, not fully awake I replied that I’m not feeling well and this she needs to sort out on her own. About an hour later I was awakened again by a text from mum and it said something like this: “My dear daughter, I am so sorry. I have terrorised you a lot lately, needing help with so many things. Not once have I said thank you and not once have I asked you how you are doing. I’m sorry and I love you, just tell me if I can help you with anything.”

After that I fell asleep again for the fiftytwelfth time and slept like a baby. I had to visit mum again this morning, but the first thing she said when she opened her front door was “Thank you!” And she had actually managed to sort out that thing she phoned me about yesterday, all by herself.

You know, I don’t really mind if people thank me or not. Okay, with mum I do stuff out of obligation. But with everyone else I help because I want to, not because I expect anything in return. What I do mind is being used and taken for granted. Words are not needed when I with my own eyes can see that someone is grateful for my help, but most folks that I know inhabit the politeness to say thank you to someone who has given them a hand. Unfortunately I have’nt been able to explain this to mum, because apparently we can’t communicate on the same level. So for her to at last figure that one out by herself is a minor miracle. For that I am very grateful. Today she showed how much she appreciated my help and all of the sudden helping mum was’nt a pain in the butt. We even had fun today, after I had finished updating her iPhone we had a sit in mum’s kitchen, drank tea and played a couple of rounds of cards.

Right before I left, while I was putting my shoes on – I said “Mum, I have something to tell you about Christmas. I have been giving this a lot of thought and have decided that I want to celebrate a peaceful and quiet Christmas on my own. I need that quiet time to myself”. Mum did’nt look surprised and said that she is happy if I do what’s right for me, so this was not a problem at all for her. Thank goodness.

I know that I will have a few more folks to fend off regarding Christmas, and I will be honest as I was with mum and tell that I will spend a completely stress free Christmas on my own.

I will admit that I really am a romantic sucker for Christmas, and now when I know that I will be spending it just the way I like it – I am beginning to feel happy about it. A heavy burden has been lifted off my shoulders and already am I now looking forward to my super cosy Christmas :)

21 Things You Should Force Yourself To Do Every Day

List composed by: Chelsea Fagan

1. Saying “thank you” when someone does something little-but-kind throughout your day. When someone holds a door, helps you grab something, or lets you go first, they didn’t have to do that, and making sure to thank them will make them want to do it more.

2. Doing those little-but-kind things yourself throughout the day. When you’re at that weird moment of “Do I or don’t I hold open this door for the person who is a little bit behind me,” do it.

3. Smiling at children who are smiling or looking at you. Kids are perfect, in that they think most people are generally good and nice, so don’t shatter that image by frowning or looking away from them.

4. Listening to music for the mood you want to be in, instead of the mood you actually are in. If you want to cheer yourself up, don’t sulk with Death Cab albums from your high school “artist” phase — put on some Disney soundtracks!

5. Giving someone at least one honest compliment per day, about something other than their weight if possible. (Even if someone lost weight, it’s much better to say “You look great!” rather than comment directly on the pounds, because that often comes with a lot of baggage.)

6. Putting more fruits and vegetables on your plate, and eating those first before treating yourself to the less-healthy things. Making the choice to eat better is often very simple, and only involves being more smart about what you put in front of you.

7. Answering your text messages right away (even if they stress you out), because you know how you feel when someone leaves you hanging. Also, you have a tendency to say “I’ll get to this later” and then forget about it completely, and that’s just rude.

8. Putting your alarm across the room so that you have to get up and go turn it off and can’t accidentally hit “off” in your sleep and never actually wake up.

9. Saying “hi” to your neighbors when you see them, and maybe even asking how their day was because, come on, you basically live together.

10. Preparing breakfasts, snacks, or lunches to take with you throughout the week. There’s only one way to avoid paying a lot of money to eat terribly at the last minute, and that’s by planning ahead.

11. Not obsessing over the stupid/embarrassing thing you said two years ago to keep you from sleeping or make you freak out in the shower. (My technique with this one is to actually say the thing out loud, laugh at myself, and force myself to think about something else.)

12. Calling, texting, emailing, or in some way acknowledging your parents and find out what they’re up to today/let them know that you love them.

13. Freezing grapes, because that shit is delicious.

14. Writing down a list — ideally on a dry erase board or something, where you can see it every day — of the things you need to do. And actually going through this list, one by one, and checking them off. I promise, it feels almost better than sex to see the whole thing crossed out.

15. Telling a friend you love them, or you’re thinking about them, or you hope they’re doing well.

16. Pointing out at least one thing in the mirror that you actually like about yourself, and that you’re excited to see.

17. Reminding yourself that the body you have is more than just an object for people to observe, it’s also an amazing thing that allows you to run, jump, hug, eat, and exist in this world.

18. Finding at least one thing on the internet to get excited or happy about, instead of just surrounding yourself with negative information, things and people to criticize, or hate-reads that you use to feel righteously angry.

19. Stretching. Especially in the morning.

20. Taking at least a few minutes out of your day to think about things that you are happy about, things you can improve, and this you want to do differently tomorrow. Allow the feeling of gratitude to fill you up and motivate you to carry the good things over and leave the pointlessly negative things behind.

21. Realizing that you are not perfect, that no one else is, and that it should never be your goal. The more you compare yourself to people you think are happier or more successful, the more you turn them into characters and not human beings. Every single person you pass on the street is real and has their own story, and their own flaws. Remembering that they’re struggling, too is the quickest way to make yourself a better person.

The hour of the wolf

In Swedish we have an expression; vargtimmen, which translates into the English “the hour of the wolf”. The hour of the wolf are the hours before dawn, at about 3 am to 5 am. It is said that’s when a human’s body is the least active. The level of melatonin is the highest, our body temperature and blood pressure is at its lowest levels and also the metabolism slows down.

I read sometime long ago that if one is awake at this time of the night, our thoughts can the most negative, one might feel worry, fear or anxiety. So I always try to remember to not pay any attention to whatever goes on in my mind at that time. Because my thoughts most often really are negative sometime after 2 am. I have also promised myself to avoid blogging anything at that time, as it is me at my worst and after a good night’s sleep I’m sure I would regret such a blog post.

I did’nt fall asleep until about 4 am this morning and had been struggling with a lump of worry in my tummy. I was pondering that perhaps the dull, foggy and grey weather really is affecting my mood. Then I thought about December and then about Christmas. And I am not feeling happy about Christmas this year, at all. I had to struggle quite hard to leave those thoughts, to not worry about something that awaits almost two months in the future. But it was’nt easy to think positive thoughts and to remain in the present moment when so tired, and so negative.

Last Christmas was’nt fun at all, naturally ruined by my mum’s disrespectful behaviour. Lately I have been thinking that I don’t want to celebrate any Christmas this year, I don’t want to end up keeping mum company out of obligation or a guilty conscience over her being all alone. So already am I dealing with this dilemma, I’m thinking that she or anyone else are not my responsibility and if mum ends up alone on Christmas; well that is out of her own doing.

Most people have this idea about how Christmas is to be celebrated, and I’m just not agreeing with this tradition anymore. I have already managed to get myself out of celebrating the New Year. I have’nt celebrated New Year’s Eve with other people for years, but am so much happier just being on my own that night. I don’t want to be forced to be in a certain way, by the majority, to be like everyone expects from me and from themselves. I wish to do the same about Christmas. If I can’t celebrate it with people that make me happy, then I really don’t want to celebrate it with anyone at all.

So last night I was agonizing over the thought telling those who might ask me to celebrate Christmas with them, that I will not be celebrating Christmas with anyone. Problem is that people just cannot grasp that someone wants to enjoy solitude at such time of the year. But I do, because I’m fed up with the weirdness that occurs during Christmas. It’s fake and I don’t do fake anymore. Last night I did my best to remember that it is no other than myself who decides how I think or feel, though what complicates this is my sense of guilty conscience, that I egoistically will withdraw myself from the Christmas celebration.

Every year I am feeling so happy after having spended New Year’s on my own, doing with that day whatever I please – and I desire to do the same with Christmas. In my mind, I listed all the people that I know and honestly could’nt find anyone with whom I could enjoy a pleasant Christmas. Perhaps there will be one day, but no matter what I will try my best to not make myself unhappy anymore.

To be honest, I had made the same decision last year… but still ended up trampling over my own wishes. I did what was expected of me and had an awful Christmas, which obviously has left me worried a whole year later. This will not be repeated.

I dislike pondering about this already, yet I am sort of preparing myself for a worst case scenario and gathering the courage to do what is best for me and my wellbeing. I dwelled on it last night and now I have hopefully written those thoughts out of my head. Now I want to leave them be until it at least is mid December.

I once read somewhere that when lying awake in the middle of the night, pondering and worrying – then it helps to turn over to lie on one’s back. And so I did, and then did my little exercise that helps me to sleep; first to choose a theme, and I picked my favourite one; Science Fiction. Then I began naming anything sci-fi related in alphabetical order, for instance: A is for Andorian (a humanoid species in Star Trek), B is for Bean (a character in the Ender’s Game book), C is for Cloaking device (in sci-fi movies it means invisibility for a whole spaceship)… and it worked! I fell asleep long before I could reach Z :)

You are a hero

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♥️