Saturday, August 10, 2019

Failures

2 things have resonated with me over the last week:

1) StrugglesWithAlcohol wrote once something like "I don't always drink like an alcoholic but I do always think like one"

I've been re-reading her blog that she started in 2011.  She's about 8 years ahead of me in blogging but I could have started writing what she wrote back then as well.  I just didn't drift into the blogging world until 2016.  She wrote a POST back in 2018 that hit me hard.  It's worth a read if you've been stuck in this endless cycle of drinking and not drinking.  I keep gravitating back to it and reading again.

It's funny, she probably never meant that her words would change anyone's life.  I read so many inspirational things on these blogs and I appreciate everyone's contributions.  So many tidbits have "hit" me in the face over the years, such amazing and profound thoughts.  Her post is my latest morsel to chew on.  It was so "in my face" about what I feel that I almost took a virtual step back and got dizzy reading it.

I embarked on a new phase on Tuesday.  Today is Saturday.  Only Day 5 today, but still, it IS Day 5! Woot woot.

2) I love quotes attributed to Thomas Edison.  I saw this one online the other day....."I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that don't work."

True dat.

I'm hoping I'm on attempt 10,001 and not 5,000 or something.  Yikes!  

But I'm feeling good today and that's what counts. I'm well rested, still exercising, not eating very well (but still work in progress), and feeling pretty happy overall.... happy in my relationships I have and accepting of those I don't have anymore.  Trying to practice more gratitude and laughing more when things go wrong beyond my control.

I'll end with my other favorite Thomas Edison quotes.  Always good reminders!

“Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
Thomas A. Edison 

“The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.”
Thomas A. Edison 

“When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this - you haven't.”
Thomas Edison 

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”
Thomas Edison

“Negative results are just what I want. They’re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t.”
Thomas A. Edison 

Dude was wise.

Happy Saturday.

HD

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Like watching Nascar

It's strange, posting today.  I'm not that into blogging right now.  But I know I check out some blogs and like to see how people are doing.

I think I've written this before.....deja vu......But, in the early stages I felt like my blog lurking was more like watching the Indy 500.  Was I really watching for the crash or was I watching for the different racing techniques, and to see who won?  Sometimes I wasn't sure.  As I struggled, it did give me a perverse warm fuzzy when I saw someone who had been sober fall off the wagon.

But as I've struggled over the years I realize it's more than that now.  Now I'm cheering others on so that they win with whatever their goals are be them moderation or total sobriety.  My heart hurts when someone truly crashes, especially if they feel bad about themselves because of it.  I am inspired by blogs of those succeeding in their lives, inspired by quotes they post, inspired by thoughts they dive into.

I no longer look at blogs to search for the negative, to justify myself.  I look to blogs to inspire me to be a better person in many ways even more than in regard to alcohol.  I've become a bit addicted to this universe.  If I'm not careful I would spend too much time here.  So I no longer do.  I very quickly check the feed for blogs I follow.  Sometimes I read in depth, sometimes I just peruse, sometimes I comment.

I felt a need today to just check in.  I do seem to outwardly commit and then let myself fail.  My failures, though, nowadays, seem to be just "sighs".  A "dang it", shouldn't have done that, followed by a get back up on my feet.  No real drunk moments, no real hangovers, can't remember the last time I drank and had a headache the next day.  But definitely still too many "I shouldn't have drunk that much" times.

It's still work in progress.  If I get somewhere I'll let you know but for now know that I'm trying, feeling okay.  Actually I feel great.  I should say that.  I have integrated exercise into my life as someone who hated exercise.  If you look at the full web version of this page you can see other pages I post from time to time and there is one there of my exercise log.  I don't know if it would help anyone but if you hate exercise, there is hope.

I've heard it takes 3 months to change a habit.  As I come to the end of my 3rd month of trying to daily exercise, I feel a change.  I now feel I have to fit something in, whatever it is.  I put no pressure on myself as to what but I have a huge desire now to just do something.  And I enjoy it when I do it which is the biggest change.  For me I had to incorporate accountability.  I work with a trainer 3 times a week and go to Pilates twice a week.  I can rest a day and then do something else, anything else the other days.  I'm about to drop the trainer down to 2 days to keep learning how to exercise on my own.

I'm also really happy in my relationship with the hubs, so calm now, so accepting.  I think exercise and some mindfulness have helped in that regard, some gratitude exercises.   I still lose to the stress monster sometimes but I don't sit with him for too long.   Instead I try to work through the stress and turn it back into something positive.

I'm fortunate that, as someone who needs external accountability for things, that I can afford the trainer and pilates right now.  Okay, well, I really can't but I'm prioritizing it.  I haven't bought that many clothes or shoes in a very long time!  I do feel pretty good financially now.  My own income has come back up and the hubs is making a major career change soon that I think will work out well for us.  Fingers crossed.

My mood is awesome.  Sure I have low moments but I have great, wonderful moments.  I'm not happy with my body but I'm more patient and diligent about getting there someday to where I am.  Turning 50 this year has made me face a lot in my 49th year.  As I get closer to my birthday I feel that I have worked through a lot this year in regard to aging.  I guess just becoming more accepting of it.

I want to continue to work on exercise, eating better, and spirituality development.  I am still working on the alcohol but I'm trying not to let it be the obsession it has been.  I didn't do well this past week.  Went for a week without drinking and then did.  Nothing big, just did.  Then did again, then finished the bottle the next night.

What I hate is that I don't drink or really need to drink unless I start drinking.  I have been better about keeping cravings at bay.  The "must have a drink" isn't that strong.  I cave to the "hmm, might be nice, let's just have one".  And then, of course, I never have one, I have four.

I do wonder if there is some accountability I can set up.  I do have that friend who proclaims she almost always has one, maybe two but never more than two because she can't handle it. Tells everyone.  My problem is that I only drink too much at home, with hubs.  I don't drink too much with others around and I don't drink anymore by myself.  Making the hubs my alcohol police isn't really fair to him so I would have to figure out other incentives.  Or just quit entirely.

For now I'll just keep trying for full sobriety and see where it leads me.

I leave you with this: (click it)  HANGOVER HEAVEN   I really have no words.  So sad this exists.  So glad this is not the state I'm in no matter how much I struggle with the difference between 1 glass and 4.  One of the reviewers has "been going there since the start".  OMG  Start of what?  Their office?  Which is what I think she meant.  But how often would one need their services?  Scary.  I don't mean to be judgy of anyone who is hurting so bad they need their services and want to quit.  My heart goes out to those of you.  I'm thinking of those who are giving zero thought to their drinking, to their health, who think it's hilarious to go out and get so ill that they need IV treatment the next day.  I am sure THEY are not on these blogs.  Unfortunately they are likely on our roads......

HD

Friday, July 19, 2019

Drinking, Driving, and/or ??????

"Mom sentenced to nine years in prison for DWI crash that killed 5 year old daughter."

I was just heading to bed last night, on yet another Day 5, and I happened to look at my phone.  I followed my normal path......checked my online scrabble games, flipped through facebook feed real quick and then skimmed headlines.

THAT headline caught my eye.

Samantha Jones, 32,  had been to a party and posted pictures of full wine glasses, a pic of her and her daughter and #momsneeddrinks.  She had drunk one and half to two bottles of wine in 3 1/2 hours and her blood alcohol was .186. She was driving home at 9pm and lost control of her car.  The rear passenger side hit a telephone pole and broke it into two.

She told police she never drank that much.  That her baby was her world.  She didn't care if she went to jail but wanted her baby to be okay.  Her daughter was sitting in that back passenger seat and suffered a head injury, dying within 3 days.

My first thought was "wow, I don't think I've ever drunk 2 bottle of wine that fast".  My second thought was "how on earth will she live with herself?"  While a lot of stuff can happen to our lives that is beyond our control, this moment was within her power to have not happened.

But all the remainder thoughts I had through the night were my own "what ifs".  Maybe I've never driven after 2 bottles of wine but I know there have been a few where I've driven after a bottle drunk over a few hours.  But 4 drinks in 2 hours for 185lb female is .091.  DUI in my state.

I remember a few times where I was talking to myself the whole way home, convincing myself I was coherent to drive the short drive home or quick run to the store for more wine.

I scared myself good, you see, when I was 23.  Newly married and a husband gone on a long trip, I drank with a friend one evening, on a worknight no less.  I vaguely remember getting home and going to bed.  It was a 25 minute drive home.  I was pretty hungover but still made it to work on time for an early morning meeting.  I must have looked like hell but nobody said anything.  It wasn't until I was in my 40s that I ever drove under the influence again.

I think I can count on one hand the number of times I have but it just takes once!  If I hadn't made it home at 23 my family would have been devastated and my son would not be.

There are so many things in life beyond our control.  I worry enough about something happening to someone I love.  Why on earth have I been poisoning myself with a possibility of contributing to something tragic?  Tragic might be defined as something happening to them or even to me via an accident or health/illness.

I think of those times I had too much at night and don't remember going to bed.  What if my son had slipped in the shower and hit his head and I didn't hear him call out?  What if I tripped and fell and hit my own head?  What if I forgot and left my dog outside and he jumped the fence and got hit by a car?  All of these things could happen on their own, accidentally, but to maybe have been able to prevent something, intervened, but not physically been able to because of drinking?  I don't know how I would live with myself.

Accidents strike, people get ill, tragedies happen.  But I don't want any of that to be by my own hand.  You think about how many murders occur due to alcohol, it's scary.

It occurred to me to wonder if this Smithville, MO woman was on our blogs.  Every time I find a blog I want to check in on, I add it to my list.  It's up to 74.  Not all are active but I leave them on the list in case a blogger comes back, I don't want to miss them.  It's like catching up with old friends.  So I wonder if she is one of them.  Probably not.  I don't think by the time we get to this place of blogging and attempting to quit that we would still be posting on facebook about the glory of wine.  Wine memes make me cringe now.  I'm uncomfortable when I hear someone talk about needing wine.  She may have truly been a fairly responsible normal drinker and therefore wasn't focused on the drinking and driving aspect.  I'm a problem drinker.  She may not have faced that she was.  Or she just might not have been until that day.  We'll never know.

Sorry to be a downer but as I went to bed last night I overwhelmed myself with the what if's from all my drinking episodes up until now.  Took a long time to go to sleep and I had very scattered and vivid dreams.  I think it's important to write this down because this will be a post I can refer back to when I get a craving.

I'm not taking a break from drinking this time.  I feel like I am a non drinker.  The hubs and I talked about how it will be nice to get to a place where we can sit and chat and not feel grumpy because we have no wine in hand.  I guess it's like the smoker who smokes while drinking coffee in the morning. It will just take time.  I am in the health business and have clients, more and more regularly now, who say they don't drink, smoke or do any drugs.  They could be lying but they look so good I don't think so.  They may have had issues in the past which make them proclaim it now out loud but it's refreshing to hear.  I want to be like that, where I can say that.

This time I'm not having huge cravings yet but I'm also not trying to recreate the same life without alcohol.  I have alcohol free wine on hand for me to drink this weekend with family here but I'm not gravitating toward a replacement drink in the evening.  I may be guilty of an extra Diet Coke during the day but if 2 of those per day keeps me going, I'm good with that.  I'm eating healthier and avoiding too many sweets.  I'm still exercising.  Hubs is doing all the cooking while we have no kids around and I'm keeping busy with housekeeping right up through dinner.  We are talking at dinner and not before.  After dinner with a full belly I am good to go.  Ready to relax with a book and a cup of decaf tea.

This is a post I'm bookmarking for myself to come back to, over and over.

Happy Friday,
HD

Monday, July 15, 2019

Hello Blog

I took a blog breather.  I've been trying to do less social media as well although that hasn't been as successful.

What has gone well is my offline communication with fellow blogger, Lia.  Over the past month we have both gotten in touch with our feelings about drinking while drinking.  We're both ready for another good long stint of not drinking, maybe this time forever.

As Lia put it to me, she wants to get "to the other side" of not drinking.  That point we all read about. The depressing thought is that that point can take many months if not years.  But it will be so worth it, we both think.

I've thought a lot about taking that first drink.  I've realized that the first two drinks help me cope with my life but the rest just encourage me to lose it.  If I ever stopped at two drinks I probably wouldn't have any hang ups about drinking.  I might feel a little relaxed and mellow.  I probably wouldn't feel guilty about my drinking.

I know folks who would tell me that I don't really have any issues.  So what that I like to mellow out at night? So what if I drink more than the recommended amount?  I realize, though, that those folks who are likely to tell me I don't have a problem with drinking are likely to be ones that have some inappropriate relationship with alcohol themselves.

The bottom line is that I think about drinking/not drinking all the time.  I have to say this obsession over the past years has taken my mind off obsessing about other things.  I think it really gave me time to heal a bit.  Unfortunately it may also have let me push aside things I need to deal with.  But if that's the case then I need to deal with them anyways.

It's time to be done.  Whether I can "handle" my wine or not isn't the issue any more.  It's no longer fun to think about it, to beat myself up about it, to have anxiety about it, to obsess about it.  That isn't normal.

I want to get to that other side too so here I go.  Hubs is joining me for the most part.  He'll drink with my family when they come to town and may still go out for an occasional beer with the guys but he's supportive of my desire to dry out.

Anyone else with me and Lia, trying yet again?

HD


Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Labels and Learning

I'm learning a lot about myself and it feels really good.  I've also noticed a trend.  I tend to have emotional epiphanies while not drinking and then I go back to wine soothing for a bit before garnering enough strength to try again.  But the trying again is coming more frequent and the feeling of "just giving up" is dissipating.  I really WANT to be alcohol free.

Aside from realizing I can't be, and probably won't ever be, a normal drinker, I really don't want to be.  I no longer think "I can handle this".  What goes through my mind is that I am succumbing to a vice when I drink.  Just like if I eat too much pizza and feel like crap.  Like if I eat that bagel with tons of cream cheese at the office when I was convinced I would eat healthy that day.  It's now just a vice lumped in with others.  There will be times when I succumb to the vice but hopefully more and more times when I don't.

Exercise has really helped.  I'm finally beginning to make it a habit.  I still need accountability to it but I am doing it.  Having a trainer to go to, signing up for classes is helping.  I am finding more and more that I want to do it...….on my own.

Sort of the same with drinking.  I have some accountability built in now with a sober buddy but I am finding more and more that I want to not drink, for my own good.

I hate the label alcoholic.  I don't think I'll go to AA meetings because I just don't think group sessions are my thing.  I went to a divorce therapy session one time and thought I was going to come unglued. I am sort of a "move on, get over it, pull up your big girl panties" kind of girl.  Translate that to not the most empathetic person.  I didn't want to talk about my woes nor hear about others.  I'm sure AA is different than that type of group and people have really wonderful things to say about it.  But I can't get over having to say "Hello, my name is so and so, and I am an alcoholic".

To me, in my mind, I'm not an alcoholic.  Those people miss work, I never have.  Those people look for alcohol in the morning, I never have.  Those people look like alcoholics, I don't think I do.  (Okay, except for wine belly/bloat.)  Those people pass out on the couch at night, I never have.  And etc.

But I am an alcohol abuser.  Hands down, for sure.  While I like to say "I'm addicted", I'm not even sure that's true.  I make a conscious decision to ingest a substance to "relax" in the evening.  After the second glass, I find it hard to stop.  Well, duh, that's the substance altering my brain.   I don't need alcohol to function.  I don't feel bad when I stop, no physical reactions.  In fact, I sleep great, eat better and feel better about myself when I am not drinking.  Every time I don't have alcohol, I have zero withdrawal symptoms other than thinking "oh wouldn't a glass of wine" be nice.  But it rarely is ever one glass.  Especially at home, that appears impossible to me.

Admitting that I am an abuser of a substance sort of brings it home to me.  It makes me feel more powerful, not powerless.  It appears that with AA you have to say you are powerless over the substance and to turn it over to a higher power.  Perhaps I'm missing the boat.  I think different approaches work for all of us.  But as I start another round (pardon the pun) of not drinking, it helps me to ask myself, in the evening, "do you really want to take this substance in, knowing you will abuse it, knowing how you will not sleep, knowing you will not want to exercise the next day, knowing you will eat like crap and knowing that you might even feel down, not to mention what you are doing to your liver?"

I am in charge of this.  What I'm not in charge of is what happens when I slip up at home and think I'm going to "enjoy" some wine.  So still working on other enjoyments.  I know there are those who exercise a ton and still drink.  But since I've never really enjoyed exercise as a part of my life, and now am starting to, I think this will be a great new focus and will hopefully alleviate some of the need to drink.

Onward!
HD

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Peace with the Past

I've made some headway this week regarding some emotional issues of my past.  I was in turmoil about some things that date all the way back to college experience, loss of my marriage and unacknowledged fears I have.

Everything bubbled up this week.  I think not drinking can do that to you.  It's probably why I allowed myself a few nights of wine again.  Not even near tipsy but as always still a bit bummed that I use that to cope.  Such a different place though now and different perspective of what I'm doing.

There is no more longing to be a normal drinker, there is just a hyper-awareness of alcohol as a vice that I would like to be free of someday.  It's getting pushed away more and more now which feels good.

This week I had to face some facts about my past.  I've always wondered why I still grieve the loss of my marriage.  It's been almost 10 years.  I suppose it's natural to hang on to some feelings of "being wronged".  I've always had a hard time of that.

But, since my ex and I met in college, I realize that I have been tremendously grieving the loss of shared history.  That I would have done things very different in college had I not been with him.  I would have formed other bonds, experienced more activities.  Instead I attached myself to his hip as a means of getting through it all.  I had been extremely homesick as a young girl heading across the country to school.  Meeting the ex was a distraction, suddenly made the experience fun and worth something.

I realized this week that I wasn't grieving the loss of the person.  Afterall, I really love the dude I'm with.  We are much more compatible in so many ways.  So much more natural in how we relate to each other, so much more real.  I realized that the loss of my marriage, that loss of shared history, made my time at school during those years seem invalid.  Everything we had done together and then on into married life seemed pointless to where I am now.   I isolated myself from others in college to be with him.  Such wasted time.....

But then I reminded myself, it wasn't wasted.  I got my wonderful son out of that deal.  So even though I have thoughts about what I would have done different in college, what I could have done different in my life, I wouldn't change a thing about my son.

Acknowledging that I could have done things different in college and still had my son was a big step.  It wasn't my ex's fault that I latched on to him.  My decisions were my own.  The decisions I made during our marriage were all my own.  I am where I am due to me, not him.

...next topic....

The hubs has gotten into horses and that was the "fear" I dealt with this week.  I have resisted getting back involved.  He goes off and does his horse thing......and I stay at home.  I couldn't really figure out why I pushed it away.  I'm supportive of him doing it.  The hubs is 53 and discovered horses at 51.  As far as mid life crises go, it's pretty cool.  Never thought I would see him become a fanatic about a 4 legged beast.

I realized this week that I stopped riding when I was younger due to fear.  The instructor was a bitch, let me just say that.  She intimidated the hell out of me.  I realize that some people respond to being pushed...I am not one of them.  I need to come around to something in my own way, on my own schedule.  (hmmm.....kind of like dealing with drinking ya think?)  If someone tells me to stop something, I'll have a tendency to do the opposite.  Major changes in my life take time and have to come from deep inside me.  Anyway, it was time to start cantering over jumps.  And I quit.  She was pushing hard, I was feeling fear.  I never jumped again.  I never rode again other than trail rides.

Last summer the hubs got me back on a horse with a private lesson while we were on vacation.  I not only rode, I cantered for the first time in 30 years.  I was stressed but exhilarated.  I haven't tried jumping again, not sure I will.  Then I pushed it away again.  The hubs is now, after 2 years, a much better rider than I ever was.  Watching him fly over jumps is amazing.  He is very competitive, he likes to push himself.  He knows more about horses than I ever would have expected.  When we are ready to own our own someday, he will be more than competent to handle it.  Watching him do what I have been too scared to do freaked me out.  I am jealous, I admit.

It was something I had done, that he hadn't.  Now he has and is better at it than me.  Lol.  Petty, huh?

Dealing with all these emotions this week has been eye-opening but good.  I feel very at peace.  I'm giving thought to those college experiences and sitting with some of the sadness for what I could have done different.  I never admitted to myself how lousy I felt about my whole college experience.  When I was married to the ex, I felt great about it.  Losing the ex forced me to acknowledge how I let myself down at that time.  I don't mean by being with the ex.  I would still say that had been a good decision had it worked out and he had remained happy.  Bottom line, he became unhappy, I thought we were good enough.  Old news.  But acknowledging how I failed at what I had really wanted to accomplish was tough.  I shut out friendships with people that could have meant something to this day and I was left with the friendship of the ex, which is now lost.

I may give horses a try again, we'll see.  Remains to be seen.  I can't do anything about the college past but I can decide where horses fit in my life.  Clearly they are to be a part of it now in some way and I don't think that's going to change.  There is something to be said for equine therapy anyway.

So I leave this post with thoughts of moving forward.  I can acknowledge things I would have done different but I don't think I really have regrets afterall.  I am who I am, I have a wonderful life.

The process of unwinding from drinking requires dealing with emotions that may or may not even be something we are aware of that we are feeling.  Saying goodbye to the coping mechanism that tamps down on those feelings, enables them to bubble up.  Some quit cold turkey, some are more like me, a gradual goodbye to those drinking days - but I think dealing with who we are now is inevitable and can, frankly, be harrowing.  But like flying on the back of a horse, or flying airplanes, or sailing on the open ocean....exhilarating!

My favorite quote that I can't even give credit to one person for because it's been quoted so often:

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is gift and that's why they call it the present!!

Happy Sunday!
HD

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Just the addict in me

Acknowledging my addiction has been an important part of my journey.  I no longer want to drink.  I think it's unhealthy.  I don't enjoy how it makes me feel once the "moment" has passed.  And yet I still drink.

That is addiction.  When you don't seem to be able to stop something you want to stop doing.

I had wine again last night after not having any since last Saturday.  Hmm...well I had a glass at a vendor dinner the night before and then drank a bottle with hubs last night.  I don't think this is okay.   Some might say that it's fine to drink once or twice a week but I know that's not the case for me.  When I drink I let myself down.

My sober buddy said not to beat myself up.  I think that's the issue.  I don't really beat myself up.  Today I feel a bit disappointed but I also view it almost from a 3rd party perspective.  The addict got the best of me last night, that's all.  I'm not a bad person, I don't feel lousy, I still got up at 5am, I'm still going to work out and I slept pretty well.

But, as I know, the potential for it all to have gone down different is always there, looming.

In the past, when I tried to quit and failed, I surrendered.  This time, I notice myself pulling myself back up each time and trying again.  The days of feeling better about not drinking outweigh the number of days I drink.  The drinking days are becoming fewer.  Me likey!

I'm going to simply try harder to fight off the cravings.  My sober buddy is doing great and pulls me along with awesome supportive words.

Have a happy weekend everyone!!

HD