Sunday, 10 September 2017

The Rise Of The Drunk Mom: A Dangerous Epidemic

The rate of alcohol-related illnesses amongst women is at an all time high. Women are turning to alcohol to soothe their stress, to take the edge off after a long day, and to escape the pressures of motherhood and marriage.

But how much is too much?

Of course, some women exercise moderation while consuming alcohol, but statistics show that these are the outliers. Most women overdo the recommended 1 drink per day guideline, established by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, which keeps drinking in the "moderate" zone.
So think about it.

One drink per day.
Seven drinks per week.
That is moderate.

Is this the behaviour we want to be modelling for our young girls?

Binge drinking for women comes into play when four or more alcoholic units are consumed in a two-hour period. Accumulate 5 instances of bingeing per month and you are in the heavy alcohol use category.

My first thought? That's everyone I know. Well, almost. I have some very close friends who are super responsible drinkers, or who don't drink at all. When I was a heavy drinker myself, I looked at them with awe, as if they were mystical unicorns or in possession of a super power that I couldn't tap into.

The truth is, many women (sadly, lots of young moms) will continue to drink at dangerous levels without understanding the physiological, physical and emotional repercussions.
Alcohol abuse is a slippery slope, which often starts off as "fun" and social.
Mimosas at brunch! Then a glass of wine or two for lunch! Why not have a few beers on a hot sunny day?
See, drinking is not inherently problematic, IF you aren't abusing it.
The problems start when people are abusing with blind awareness.
The people who, deep down, know that they shouldn't be having that much wine tonight.
The ones that keep telling themselves that next Monday, or on the first of next month, they will detox and the problem will be under control for awhile.
I know this type all too well because it was me.
I kept myself on the hamster wheel for a long, long time.

I come from a pretty booze-free family. Growing up, there was rarely alcohol at home. My parents would buy a big bottle of vodka or rum to make cocktails with at Christmas, and that bottle would sit, for months, for years, in our liquor cabinet, just a few inches emptied from a glass or two of eggnog.

My Dad would have the occasional beer; usually amongst friends when we had a summer BBQ, or when he invited his pals over for a chess match.

And then there was me.

I started drinking at 14, and quickly developed a problematic, chronic binge drinking habit. Drinking was a big part of my life for close to two decades, until I decided to call it quits for good when I became a mother.

So, my concern and interest in the rate of drinking problems among women hits close to home. It is my personal experiences that have inspired me to do research about this epidemic, and try to raise awareness about it's dangers.

Women are being hospitalized for alcohol-related issues at a rate of FIVE TIMES that of men. Yes, my friends, this is a WOMEN'S ISSUE.

Why are we drinking so much? What are we trying to escape? To run from? To cover up?

Why are we glorifying drunkenness?

Why do we brag about our drunken blackouts, our epic hangovers, and how much booze we were able to guzzle the night before?

Why is drinking a "hobby" for so many?

Why are we putting ourselves at risk of a number of unpleasant side effects, namely doing things we wouldn't do sober?

Why are we covering up our awesome, naturally amazing selves with poison that dulls our shine, causes us emotional instability, hormonal fluctuations, heart, liver and brain damages, and not to mention increases our cancer risks?

And why, why, why are we tearing down women who decide to not drink? As if they are "lame" or "boring"?
Why is our reaction to an informative article about how marketing influences women to drink more, "this author needs to calm down and have a glass of wine?"

Look, I don't blame those that have these automatic reactions.
We're totally brain-washed by clever marketing and drinking culture.
Furthermore, I'll never leave out the parts of my "story" where I was the drunkest person I knew. 
I was.
And it's those experiences, in contrast to a life of sobriety, that inspire me to speak out.

I know there are women out there that need to have these conversations. Because I did. And I won't shut up now, cause it's important that we raise awareness about this dangerous epidemic.

P.S. I can't be the only one who is actually enjoying motherhood and raising a child so much that I don't want to be drunk anymore?! Cause he's a better high than wine? How are people not just high off of baby laughs and snuggles?!

Big love and big glasses of sparkling water to all

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Dealing With People's Perceptions of You During Early Sobriety

I've made the choice to not drink.

Well, let me clarify. Not drink alcohol. I will still be drinking lots of water, sparkling water, the occasional Diet Coke (harder to quit than booze!!!) and vanilla soy milk in my coffee.

It's a personal decision I've made after having struggled with alcohol mis-use for close to two decades.

My longest stretch "near-sober" was when I was pregnant with my first son. Although I would have the occasional glass of wine with dinner (and usually wouldn't finish the glass), it really was the first time I had gone close to a year without any type of alcohol-induced buzz.

Fast-forward to a month after my son was born.

I had a glass of wine with dinner, once I had stopped breastfeeding.

It felt weird.

I didn't love the taste anymore, and I was hyper aware of how the wine was making my head ache and giving me a weird spinning/out of body feeling.

It didn't feel good, so I didn't have a second glass.

But then, something happened in June and July of this summer.
We had weeks of back-to-back family vacation, where copious amounts of wine and cider were available.
I fell into the "it's vacation! It's OK to have a few!" mentality.
But after a few weeks of this, I remembered, with a longing, aching feeling, the way I had blossomed when I wasn't drinking.
The pride, control and sheer happiness I felt.
The clarity.
The health benefits I enjoyed.

Unless that's pure motherfuckin' Diet Coke, get it outta my face!

I wanted that again.
I still want that.
I am sober, now, for real.

No "just one drink" or "it's the weekend" nonsense.
That shit just doesn't work for me!!!

To be honest, almost 20 years of drinking is/was enough for me.
I (hopefully) have another good 50+ years to pump out, and I don't wanna waste them being all, slurry and ridic.

 I've gotten off topic, because this post is not about what brought me to sobriety, it's about how other people don't always know what to say to sober people.

And why do soberistas have such a hard time validating their choices not to drink? It's not about the "others" it's about us!!! If we don't wanna drink, that should be totally coolio and not pose any problems to those who are drinking.

Here are some examples of what you'll hear when you say NO to a drink:

"But what about all the great wine/spirits/beer in (enter city where you're visiting/vacationing next)?" (What about it?! I would be losing more by actually drinking it than by abstaining)

"Just have one!" (ummm, no asshole, I can't)

"It's not like you're an alcoholic" (maybe not, but I have problematic drinking patterns, otherwise I wouldn't have spent so many precious hours trying to wrap my head around this unhealthy relationship that I have with booze, right?!)

"I could never give up beer/cider/wine!" (that's OK- I'm not asking you too! My choices are for me and I don't judge you for yours)

"Don't you find it hard when your husband drinks?" (No. His relationship with alcohol is his responsibility, not mine. His drinking doesn't make me feel tight-chested like my own did)

"So what do you do for fun?" (The same things that people who drink do? No drinking means that I can enjoy my body, my mind and my emotions purely and naturally. I don't have to hide away in bed on Sunday mornings, recovering from embarrassing fuzzy memories from the night before and waiting for my hormones to regulate and my blood to detox)

"Aw, you're no fun!" (I get it. You'll miss the "fun" party girl I used to be. And I really was fun. I was flirty and silly and open. I probably paid you a lot of attention, even if you were boring or lame. But guess what? I'm more fun sober. I make better jokes, I'm naturally high on life and I can still dance without booze- even if not very well)

AAAANNNNDDD big news. My book, which will be self-published by the end of 2017, will be about recovery and self-love. A lot of other anecdotes/personal stories will be included, but I know that what I need to do is write about these struggles and how I overcame them. For me, and for all of the people who have had similar experiences 

Oh, and here's something I wrote last month that I found on my phone and really like:

When you wake up and remember that you didn't drink the day before: now that's the best feeling in the world to anyone with alcohol problems.
It's a nice combination of pride, real happiness and clarity that makes the day shine bright - even if, like today, it's raining.
A natural high of real, home-grown  endorphins flooding your system saying 'this is better than the dark stuff-stick around a bit'
Patient. Calm. Grounded.
No anxiety.
It's gonna be a great day
One day at a time you CAN slay this beast.
Be a warrior for your beautiful self who is shining from the inside out, gently cradling you in security and flooding you with love.
Saying thank you.


Sunday, 13 August 2017

Some Lovely Quotes

I love quotes.
I love positive affirmations.

When I was working at MK, around the time that I was really over the corporate world, I would do all of my work quickly, and then spend my "lunchtime" printing out inspirational quotes and taping them into a little black book.

It made me feel recharged, reconnected and ridiculously blissful.

Just the act of reading beautiful, positive things got me into *the vortex* (if you haven't read Abraham Hicks, now is the time to do so!)

I'm not religious in any organized fashion. I have pretty strong opinions about how organized religion is the root of (most) evil, but I tend to keep that to myself unless asked!

However, lately, I am really digging the idea of making Sunday's "holy" in my own personal way.

I can still enjoy the things that I find get me closer to my idea of "god" (I don't use this term often because of it's directly religious connotation) but I do like to use the terms "universe" "energy" "love" etc;!

It's all one and the same anyways.

The only thing that matters is that you tune in to your own spiritual practice the way that feels right for you.

So my way?

It's doing these kinda things:


taking a bubble bath

*giving my son a million kisses and making him giggle

*giving my husband his favorite "eye massage" (which is really third eye massaging, little does he know hehehehe)

*walking my dog or cuddling him

*writing down a list of things I am grateful for

*reading stories about inspirational people (most recently sobriety and recovery coaches)

*cooking/eating delicious foods

*watching reality TV shows that most people find horrible

*online shopping (hey, it can be a spiritual experience!!!)

*writing badly organized blog entries about quotes and what to do on Sunday's, and something about religion and....wait, what's my point here? hahahaha....see below for the quotes and enjoy SOUL SUNDAY SISTAS AND SIRS!!!

My baby has been napping too long and my brain in on one of those see-saws that jump from topic to topic.

Here's a real life example of what my journal looks like. This beautiful collage was assembled on Feb 18, 2016. Thomas and I were living in Montreal and I was super in tune with dreaming/manifesting and all the fun spiritual things that please me so.

Hell yeah, Deepak! I know you're talking about the people who get under our skin and act like assholes! But, you're right. It does help to remember that they're doing the best that they can.
Important for HSP's like me to remember!
We are all creators. Create the reality, the live and the dreams that you want!
It's all up to you.
The biggest obstacles are often self-imposed ones! Get out of your own damn way and let the miracles flow <3

This always reminds me to love myself fiercely. Even the hurt, damaged parts need love, forgiveness and affection <3

Friday, 4 August 2017

Toxic Friendships: Spotting Them and Discarding Them!

So, this topic has come up in my mind, and in conversations with other women SO MANY TIMES.

I'm talking about friends who aren't really friends.

Friends that really just enjoy tearing you down, because they are insecure/not happy/jealous or many just a little bored and resentful?

Otherwise known as, the bully friend.

I think we all have one or two (hopefully not too many!!!) in our lives. Sometimes it's an old friendship that you continue to carry around because you feel obligated to do so.
Or sometimes it's a new friend that seemed to check all the boxes in the "good friend" department until you slowly start realizing that they aren't who you thought they were.

And, unfortunately, these people get under your skin and actually affect your mood because you have to deal with the whole  "why is always trying to find a way to inadvertently dis me?! Why is she sooooo meaaaaaaaan!!!!" that goes on and on each time something happens, but then disappears temporarily when she's  nice.

Or the "why am I such a coward and why do I allow this behaviour? Why don't I stand up for myself?!"

So, what's the point of all of this pondering?

I have finally reached a point in my life where I am OK with gaslighting some of the not-so-great-for-me friends.

I care about myself, I treat myself with love and respect, so why would I accept less than amazing treatment from friends?!

I think that having met some super duper strong, amazing and powerful women in the last year has also shown me what true quality is.

The way I view friendship (or any relationship, really!) is that if it's not making you better, helping you grow and giving you mad support, it's just not gonna cut it.

So how do you spot a toxic friend?! If any of the following feel all too familiar, you might be mingling with one:

-The person makes passive aggressive/bitchy/mean comments regularly

-You just FEEL like your energy is getting weakened when you see them/talk to them/think about them

-You don't really look forward to hearing from them

-You feel like you've invested much more into the relationship than they have

I'm a self-diagnosed HSP (highly sensitive person) and when people purposely use that against me like it's a weakness? Not feeling it, sista.

You don't have to be mean to people or make sly comments that are meant to be hurtful.

You have no power when you try to tear others down.

So, the point of this? I'm just gonna stick with the people that make me feel like I'm sparkly and wonderful and fun and not those that try to dim my shine cause there's isn't bright.

I have a son now, and I want to show him by example that kindness is cool. That bullies can be dropped. That support and love always win out over bitchiness and rudeness.

Who hasn't felt this way at some point, amirite?!

That's right, motherfuckers <3

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Motherf^%&ing Tired Momma!

Holy hell, I'm exhausted. I'm tired and I want to be un-tired.
What's caused me to feel this sleepy, frazzled and "overcooked" you ask?
Too much vacation.

Does that even make sense? Aren't vacations meant to be restful?

Well, yes, they are. But this year's "vacation" was not spent lying on sandy beaches and playing Crazy 8's.

This year's vacation was more visitation.

We had a week in Swizzy with my dad and stepmom, followed by a week in England with the entire English gang, and then came home to greet my Canadian mom and host her for two weeks.

It's been lovely, it really has, but I'm goddamned tired now and am really looking forward to going back to regular, daily grind life.

I just love my regular, non-over-the-top, boring-to-others' existence!!!

I don't have FOMO, I don't feel like anything is missing.

I don't care if my social life is now mostly centered around mommy tea dates and long chats with the local optometrist (she's really, really sweet!)

I love being home.

I love focusing on myself, my babe and my hubs.

I want to get out of this tired phase as soon as humanly possible, because I notice that I am waaaaay more irritable (sorry folks) when I'm tired, and I don't like being Ariane-cranky-pants!

I would write more on this extremely passionate subject, but I'm too tired.


Sunday, 2 July 2017

Why Do We Glorify Busy So Much?

We live in a super fast-paced world. We are continuously exposed to a plethora of digitized information; be it on television, on the Internet, or on our smartphones. We are smack dab in the age of information and of disinformation.

Our brains rarely get a pause to regroup and relax.

On top of the near-constant "logged in" status, we, collectively as a society, glorify busyness.

This turtle has his priorities in order! I don't think he's freaking out about making it to three different social events in the same night. He doesn't need a babysitter. He's heading home to chill out and watch Netflix with the littles.

People are viewed as "achievers" and "responsible" when they juggle a full-time job, parenthood and social and leisurely activities. Not to mention those types who manage to do all of this while still dressing to the nines and looking polished and professional.

While showing the world an image of cool, calm and collection, these super busy-bodies are often hiding a dark truth: they are exhausted. They probably desperately want a "day off" from their hectic schedules to chill out a bit.

The reason this all came up for me this week is because we have been BUSY for weeks. I remember last year, when I was working for Michael Kors, I often felt trapped in a busy bee cycle. I was working at such an accelerated pace to try to get all of my work done (for four years, and it was never "done"). This pace left me super frazzled, super unpleasant to be around and generally feeling pissed off at coworkers, management and sometimes, myself.

The problem was, I was glorifying busyness.

I thought that if I could somehow do it all, that I would magically be rewarded with this wonderful sense of pride and achievement. But I never really got to enjoy those feelings, because I was just too busy to.

New life goals. Having a garden bathtub!

Last week we went on this insane one-week road trip from Switzerland to England, with our 9-week old baby. Although it was nice , it brought me back into that frenzied go-go-go pace that now makes me feel very anxious.

The truth is, I like the slow, quiet days.
I like sipping tea at home and playing with my son.
I like reading books.
I like staying in when everyone else is going out.
I like watching French films.

I've gotten far too busy lately, and it's time to get back to my roots and de-busy my schedule.
July and August will still have quite a few events, but I'm going to make a conscious effort to chill out, say no more often, and get back on track with my writing.


P.S. I don't think I could ever live in a big city again, I think the fast paced life would just send me straight into heart palpitation territory!!! Who have I become?! Big city party girl loving stay at home mom blogger? I kinda like it :)

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Boozy Update

Or more like, non-boozy. The truth is, I am ready to make a real, typed in ink commitment where alcohol is concerned. I am over it. I am giving it up completely. Not one drink "here and there", not a glass of wine to "unwind". Zero alcohol.
My mission statement/explanation (not that I need an explanation, but I do have one and want to share it!) is the following:


For me, guys. I know that plenty of you are super responsible drinkers that aren't prone to anxiety. Alcohol has never made anything better for me, and in fact, has made many things significantly worse.
I really think getting pregnant with Theo was a major "slow down,Ariane!" sign from the Universe. I was drinking too much. Too often. Too alone.

The spectrum of alcohol abuse and mis-use is vast. It can creep up quietly. I was drinking from the age of 14, so almost going on 20 years of quite regular drinking. A lot of the drinking was bingeing (which, for the record, constitutes drinking 4 units of alcohol in a two hour period, for women, 5 for men).
I had that down to an art.
Ariane is an alcohol mis-user (I find that term accurately sums me up. Or shall we say, summed!)

So listen, I don't want to go to deep into the past, I'm much more excited to talk about my bright, non-boozy future!

So what am I gonna do? How do I handle social events where booze is served? Family dinners? Holidays? Parties? Bars? The list goes on and on and on...and guess what?! I once cared about "what people would think". but not today!

I don't need to explain.

And no one does, really.

This lifestyle change will only bring good, healthy, positive, radiant, loving and unicorn-sprinkled magic into my life and the life of my little, beautiful family. As momma bear to two sweet boys (one fur baby, one birth baby, as I like to call them) I need to set a good example.

I'm giving myself a gift today.
I'm bravely saying, "Ariane, you are not good with this stuff. It's not for you. Let it go."

Isn't life, after all, a series of letting go of what we fear to lose most?

This voice is much more warrior worthy than the little whisper of "Go buy more cider"
This voice is working for me, not against me.
This voice took a long, long time to find itself, and to get nice and loud.

An honestly, praise to the self-help junkies who pioneered into sober territory long before me.
Gabrielle Bernstein, Glennon Doyle Melton.
These ladies have faced their demons and shared their victories with the world, so grateful for their guidance and leadership.

My heart is feeling this, big time.
That's how I know it's the right move.

With warm salutations and a cheers from the world's biggest water glass, I sign off (it's actually not that big)

....That's what she said last night (sorry, couldn't help myself!!!!!)