A New Life

Hi friends, I’m back, like I promised 🙂 

The photo above is the view from my window, out of which I contemplate the new life that stretches out before me, full of scary emptiness yet bursting with possibilities (if you’re an optimist).

I arrived in France a few days ago, after an intense couple of weeks in the U.S., where I said goodbye to my friends, a romantic partner (and now, friend), an empty apartment, a city, a country, a continent, and, most of all, a culture – which I will miss. 

It’s real. It’s happening. Or rather, it has happened.  I have returned to my homeland. [AND I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE HOME IS ANYMORE]

I’m staying in a cute airbnb in the South of France until the end of October, which drained the last of my savings (remember I haven’t been paid since June!), but is totally worth it. Although I feel uprooted and groundless, excited and nervous, strangely, I haven’t had time to really feel sad. Yet.

Last night, I clicked “send” and watched my 587 page long PhD dissertation fly away and into my committee’s email account. With that tiny little gesture, I shipped 6 years of work out into the world, exposing it to the eyes of five (scary) academics who will judge its quality, and ask me lots of (scary) questions on October 22nd, the date of my online defense. If all goes well, I will be a doctor by the end of the month.

I’ve worked so hard on this thing (that still ended up twice as long as it should have been) [IS HARD WORK ENOUGH TO MAKE IT GOOD?!?!?!] I feel vulnerable, fragile, raw, and almost ashamed at the though of my “intimate thoughts” being picked apart critically by a bunch of University Professors. Hopefully, I’ll grow some self esteem back once I am rested, and the defense will go ok.

Before leaving the US, I sold everything I owned, gave away my cat, said farewell to my boyfriend (must start saying “my ex”), and packed my whole life into 2 big suitcases… It was a wonderful exercise in letting go. I had to leave many things behind. And still got charged 100$ for the extra suitcase 🙂 

I also went on a magnificent week-long trip to the West Coast with my ex (urgh), where I visited Joshua Tree National Park, Death Valley, and Topanga Canyon outside of Malibu, with its beautiful hikes, its millionaires and eccentric old hippies, its gorgeous ocean views.

My flight to France was so bumpy that I thought I was going to die in a plane crash. We landed an hour early because of how strong the tailwinds were.

When I arrived, I had dinner at my parents’ house, who live in the town I have decided to move to, at least for now. T

here’s a reason why I spent the last of my money on an airbnb…

My mother has aged a lot since last winter. She is still drinking, although she found out she has alcohol induced hepatitis almost a year ago. She never delivered on her promise to quit drinking last year. Now, she has this slight, Parkinson-like trembling thing going on, that I was too nervous to bring up. I don’t even know if it’s alcohol-induced. Although my father says she is “trying hard”, she still managed to have 5 glasses of wine at dinner – which, believe it or not, is “not a lot” compared to other periods in her life. When they asked me to fetch something in my sister’s old bedroom, I opened the door and saw the room had been converted into a “larder” with dozens of bottles and boxes of wine stashed there, like precious supplies that one simply can’t bare to part with or run out of.

It’s all so sad, yet all too familiar, I can’t even begin to sort out how I feel. A part of me is even wondering why moved here, out of all places, when I spent most of my adult life trying to stay away from the toxic nest.

I talked about my mother’s health with my father, who reminded me that saving her is not my responsibility. I agree. But I also reminded him that burying our heads in the sand and enabling will only lead to one thing: cirrhosis, and, down the road (a road which is getting shorter and shorter), death. I am less angry at my father than I used to be. I realize that in a very very sad way, we are all doing our best. Speaking about alcohol is still a huge taboo in the family.

All I can do it follow my own path, and let go of what I cannot change. In any case, visiting my parents for a couple of hours was a powerful reminder of why I don’t want to rely on alcohol to get me through life. 

Lol. Fun post Anne!

Long story short, in two weeks, I will be a homeless and unemployed Doctor. I need to figure out what to do, where to live, and, most importantly, how to make money, fast. I also need to make friends, otherwise I will start to feel very lonely. 

Strikingly, I haven’t had any cravings to drink. Except for Kombucha – which is almost impossible to find here (I’ve been fantasizing about starting a microbrewery and taking over the French market 😉 but with no starting capital, that might be tricky). 

The day before submitting my dissertation, I did buy a pack of cigarettes, unfortunately. I have almost finished it. Now that the adrenaline rush of finishing the dissertation has receded though, I want to get back on track and focus on the tools that help keep me sane and happy: meditation, healthy living, yoga (I already found a studio and took a class, which sounds insane given that there’s a pandemic happening, but did me a lot of good). 

 Most of all, I need to introspect and assess what my goals, needs and priorities are. Right now, everything feels very big and very solid, almost blocked. I feel small, which is both scary and a good advantage when you’re looking to wriggle your way into a new life. 

As a “healthy” treat for finishing the dissertation, I booked myself an expensive hairdressing appointment this afternoon. Can’t wait.

Down below, me, poorly attempting Dancer’s pose in Death Valley Desert, a couple of hours before practically dying of heatstroke in a place (aply) called Desolation Canyon. 

Big big hugs to everyone, I missed you ! xxx ❤


Published by nomorebeer

Learning how sobriety helps you ENJOY life.

32 thoughts on “A New Life

  1. Wow!
    Anne, you are an amazing woman!
    I understand your feelings around your mom, as I had the same thing with my dad.
    He only slowed down when we did get real Parkinson’s disease.

    I know you will find your place out in the world!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hey Anne! Wow is definitely the right word! That’s exactly how I felt after reading everything you’ve been up to. You have been just going and going and dealing with some MAJOR life events along the way. Keep grounded with the meditation and yoga and if the opportunity arises let whatever’s inside out in your own way. Sending much peace and hugs to you my friend.🤗❤️. You will find your way through this. Keep us posted, we all are here for YOU😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations.
    How exciting! And probably scary!
    I can’t wait to hear what you do. I am always so impressed by people who choose the unknown path! I’m inspired.

    I’m sorry about your mom. What a sad life. Protect yourself.


    Liked by 2 people

  4. I was so happy to see a post from you Anne and what a fab post too. You are pretty awesome and I’m so proud of the way you are handling some really big challenges and changes. I have no doubt that you will find your way and lots of happiness and joy await you. I can’t begin to imagine how hard the situation with your mum must be. Just so tough. You are brilliant though. Congrats on getting that thesis in and embrace your new life full of wonderful possibility 💕💕💕

    Liked by 2 people

    1. awww thank you Claire ❤ I'm glad to be back here on WordPress and can't do much but be patient and see what life brings my way 🙂 xxx Looking forward to catching up with everyone's lives, I must have missed a lot ! xxx Anne

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Anne! I am so happy to hear from you!! It sounds like you’ve got quite a bit going on right now. I’m sorry to hear about your mom, and I am so excited for you about your dissertation. I, also, love the photos! 😍💕

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Congrats on finishing your dissertation! That has to be an amazing feeling. You’re probably sick of thinking about it, but what is it about, it if you don’t mind? Also, your travel adventures sound fabulous. GL finding the perfect job.


      1. Sorry for the delayed reply. I saw your response the other day when I was cleaning my garage and then just now saw it again. I’m still getting the hang of blogging. That sounds super interesting though! You must be getting your PhD in English/Literature studies of some kind?


  7. Dr Anne, that sounds good doesn’t it. Well done and a great post, you really provided a great insight into what’s happening for you right now- a life on the cusp – exciting , scary exactly how life should be and with a sober year under your belt – brilliant- reading this reminds me that I haven’t posted in ages- good luck with the PHd – not that you need it x


  8. I feel like I know, and I don’t know why! Hang in there. Where are you en France? I lived abroad my junior year of college in Paris, but took a trip before I left to the south (Nice and area). It looks stunning, but I get it: to you, it’s where you grew up, so maybe it just feels stifling? Maybe you will end up back in the US? I know more than one European (French, especially) who ended up choosing life in the US over their home country in Europe–it just matched their personality better. RE: your mom, that is hard. I would say, maybe try to have an intervention (like, telling her what you feel she is doing to herself), but beyond that, there really is nothing someone else can do for an addict–no one but her can change her life, and that means, letting her hit bottom the way she will. (My dad has an untreated mental health disorder, and I feel like there is nothing anyone can do at this point but watch him take himself down…). Remember, there are a LOT of options these days for science PhDs, I think you said you were life sciences? Pharma, biotech, med devices, etc. HUGS from afar!


    1. I’m in the Montpellier area, not too far from Nice 🙂 (and no, I’m a literature PhD… not many opportunities apart from teaching 🙂 ). Re. interventions etc. with my mother, we’ve tried it all. I’ve said everything I had to say many times, in many ways, ranging from the violent to the nonviolent, and it never made a difference. It’s really sad 🙂 My work now is to let go of hoping I can change her. I’m so sorry about your dad. ❤ xxx Anne

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Anne! So good to hear from you. Try to take each day as it comes and embrace the possibilities. Uncertainty can be your friend too! Take the chance to consider all your options. Ok, I sound like an old person now… anyway. Best of luck on your beautiful dissertation. I know you’ll do great. I’m sorry to hear about your mom. It’s so hard to watch people you love make unhealthy choices. Please keep us posted frequently! Lovely pictures, too! 😊💕

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Yay! So exciting!!! Congratulations on finishing your dissertation. What an achievement! And I’m sorry your mom is still resisting taking care of her health. Your dad is right. It is her responsibility. It’s very sad, though, for all of you. I’m sorry. I’m am so thrilled for you, starting a new life with new adventures. I feel a strong pull to do that myself sometimes. It’s great to hear from you!!!! ❤️❤️❤️


  11. Hi Anne, you may not feel that you have things under control but reading your post, I certainly think you have your act together—starting with the fact that you opened with a lovely view from your bedroom window. Big changes lie ahead but you seem to be someone who mindfully considers all options before diving in. After 6 years of hard work, don’t feel bad if you aren’t able to suddenly switch gears. Congrats on finishing your thesis.

    Liked by 1 person

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