In the AA rooms I have noticed two distinct types: The alcoholic who isolates and suffers from social anxiety and the restless alcoholic who is uncomfortable to be alone with themselves; he or she is always looking for “What’s next?” A generalization perhaps but I would say that striking a balance is not our forte. Excessive behaviour is where our natural state of comfort lies. (And this is not exclusive to those who suffer from addiction, but it does seem more prevalent.)

Of the two types, I am of the restless kind. I have a very hard time sitting still and yet understand how important it is for me. One of my (far too many) goals this month is to practice just being still and comfortable with myself. I find it easy to work diligently 9-5, but when the day is done I begin to twitch. When I used to drink, a glass of red wine would be poured as soon as these feelings of restlessness would kick in.

I turn the kettle on, I open a book, I close a book, I start a film, I switch the film, I decide I need a frozen yogurt, I have a shower, check my inbox, check it again, wash some dishes, call my boyfriend. What I do not do, is just fucking chill out. Woman, calm!

Without consciously understanding what I craved, I now realise that a huge part of being here was because I knew I needed to work on my downtime, practice being calm and learn how to sit quietly with myself. Yes, I could have worked on my routine in Toronto but to escape was far more alluring.

If I am not practicing sitting still in my Montreal apartment, I find Fuchsia Tea Room on Avenue Coloniale a relaxing and whimsical spot to just be. Vintage floral tablecloths cover a few mismatched tables, a plush turquoise couch invites you to stay awhile, jars of tea line the wooden shelves and I’m a sucker for heart shaped cookies, of any variety. Cute Yorkies also like to hang around here.

I’ll continue to work on being still at home but if I feel the need to fly out the door, this is one of my secret spots.

If you are a tea lover, or just someone who likes escaping to a teeny-weenie magical space, Fuchsia is so very sweet and special. 

Fuchsia Epicerie Fleur
4050 Avenue Coloniale

~ Jen McNeely

On day 1, Jen outed herself as a recovering alcoholic. On day 2, she wondered why the hell she did that. On day 3, she compares the dark days of 1999 with vibrant life in 2012. On day 4 Jen randomly meets Steven Tyler while strolling the streets late at night. On day 5 Jen took a meditative morning walk through the Plateau.