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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Alcohol and Lying

I read a post by another blogger recently where she was upset because she knew someone had lied.  I totally get that.  It bothers me as well when I know that about someone.

I've always prided myself on not lying.  It's not because I'm better than anyone else, and to tell you the truth, not lying is really more of a weakness than a strength.  I get physically ill at lying.

I could not look a boss in the eye and say "I was sick" yesterday.  It is easier for me to show up at work or to just say I can't come in.  Honesty can get me into trouble.

I can't even compliment someone on a hairstyle if I don't mean it.  I don't say anything bad but I have always avoiding saying anything as opposed to half truths.  I struggle with even the white lies.

I was betrayed in my first marriage and it was the lying that disoriented me.  It wasn't the fact that he had affairs and, since I always try to see every side to every issue, I probably even tried to own up to my role in them......what was wrong in our marriage?.....what could I have done different? ....etc.  But the lying killed me.  I couldn't understand how someone who supposedly loved me could lie to me.  I began to realize over the years that people who love you, whom you love, can lie as well.

My current hubby will lie.  He doesn't do it on big issues but he is capable and doesn't deny it.  If I want to get off the phone with a family member I usually just say "okay, I am going to go now but I'll call you later" or something like that.  I heard hubby the other night tell a caller from his alma mater that he was in a like 8pm.  I don't understand why he didn't just say "I am not interested right now in donating but, yes, you have my info correct."  His argument is that he doesn't want to be that brutally honest, doesn't want to make them feel bad.

So, that being said, after reading the post, I initiated a conversation with my hubby that went something like this......and believe it or not we are still together:  :-)

Me: So I read a post about lying and it's making me think.  Why is it that you can lie and I can't?
Him: You lie
Me: No I don't
Him: Okay, fine, you don't.
Me: But, really, I am so black and white and you are gray.  I wish I was more able to see the gray in things. What makes you different?
Him:  Well, I don't lie about major things, important things.  Maybe I'm not as skilled as you.

One of the remarkable things about him is that once he realizes I am not trying to provoke him on an issue, he has some insightful things to say.  He basically boiled it down to two reasons why I don't lie.

1) I am very verbal.  I am skilled at saying something close to the truth, possibly omitting the truth without specifically lying.  Not everyone may be as verbally comfortable as I am.

2) I am fortunate enough to live within circumstances that don't often necessitate a reason to lie.

It really forced me to think.  It's so easy to say "I don't lie" and to get my panties in a wad when others do.  He's right.  There are circumstances where I would lie and he caused me to think about them.

- if I was in Nazi Germany, I would have lied to protect others.  No doubt.  (Okay, yes, but I can justify any lying that is against evil.)

- if I worked for the CIA and had to lie to others as a part of my job I would.  (I argued I wouldn't take that kind of job, but, if I did, I could justify that as a necessity of the job, not my own character flaw.)

- if my son was in a school play that was very important for me to be there, I likely would have "called in sick" to see it.  I wouldn't have risked a job and putting food on the table by saying I needed to see the play if I knew I had a boss who wouldn't allow it.  (He got me there.  I have pretty much always worked for myself so have never had to make that decision, to miss things for my son that I didn't want to.)

My stepson visits and keeps walking off with my son's clothes.  2 visits ago,  I asked, before we went to the airport, if he could check to see if he had anything of my son's in his backpack.  (I realized some things were about to go missing.)  He goes into his backpack and was like "oops, are these his?"... and pulls out two shirts.  I made a big deal of thanking him and he said there weren't any more.  Then, when he went to brush his teeth, I looked in the backpack and grabbed the other shirt he hadn't pulled out.  He probably realized it when he got home but I never confronted him.

Then, this last visit, he packed his own bag and I just let it go.  But there went the same shirts again and this time they are MIA. It wasn't the stealing that got to me, it was the lying.  I told a work acquaintance about this and thought I would get empathy about the little lying cheat.  Instead the answer was "how flattering.  He clearly wants a piece of your son, someone he perceives as his brother."  and  "I used to steal my cousin's stuff all the time, it wasn't really stealing." That threw me.  Hmmm..  Other issues could be at play here too but it was an interesting answer.

Anyway, it made me consider being a little more tolerant toward lying.  Oh sure, some lies are intolerable, but maybe when we catch that person lying, it's not so important to make a stink about it.  We don't know what may be prompting that lie, we don't necessarily need to assume that it's personal against us.  Maybe I wouldn't lie in that situation but who am I to judge?

And......let's face it....clearly, I have much as I am in denial.  As my hubby said, perhaps more by being verbal and avoiding the direct lies, but he is right, I have done it.  And to those I love.

Every time my son remarked that I seemed really "tired" or "dizzy" last night, I agreed.  I never said "Mommy had too much to drink".  One night I had had too much and then went to bed.  About an hour later the dog needed to go out and woke me up out of a passed out but still drunk sleep.  I stumbled to the door and forgot the alarm was on.  Woke the house up.  Then, I was still too drunk to figure out how to turn it off.  Hubby came and got it.  I was walking around dizzy and waiting for the alarm call.  My son saw this.  Finally we all went back to bed.  But the next morning I brought it up and said "wow, did you get back to sleep okay after my alarm debaucle?"  He looked at me funny.  It had only been 11pm, he hadn't gone to bed yet.  Oops.  I said, "wow, I was so tired and it's weird how I react from waking up in a deep sleep, I was so disoriented".  He gave me another look and said "yeh, you seemed really dizzy".  I said "yes, it's how I am sometimes when really tired."

Yep, I lied, pretty much no doubt about it.  This post was a good reminder to me that I'm not a perfect person.  That I may need to get down off my high horse a bit.  That's great that in general I may try to not lie but really it's just because that is where my comfort zone is, not my capable zone.

Also a great reminder of how alcohol can bring things out in us of which we aren't proud.  Not dealing with that is so much easier!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

It's been a long, long road...

Peter Mayer sings two songs that have really resonated with me over the past year.  One is MUSICBOX and the other is FAITH IN ANGELS.  The general chorus to each is like such:

It’s been a long long road but I’m coming back to find you
It’s like tumblin’ down Jericho breakin’ the walls that bind you
I’m comin’ back to find you


Have a little faith in angels
You never know where they might be
Have a little faith in angels
And you might begin to see
You could have a little faith in you and me

In my journey with alcohol over this past year, these words resonated with me.  Not as love songs as I think they were intended, but more about coming back to find the girl I used to be, who was carefree, confident and never needed alcohol as a crutch.

A year ago this weekend, I gave up alcohol for a period.  I had had a phone call with a friend and didn't remember much of it the next day.  It was time to get my alcohol drinking under control.  I thought it would be really hard.  It was amazingly easy.  I just switched to sparkling water and alcohol free beer.  But giving up alcohol is in some ways like giving birth.  It's amazing how quickly one forgets the pain! 

After two weeks I was bored with abstaining.  I had just wanted to prove to myself I could do it.  I was initially skeptical I could go for very long but amazed that two weeks had passed.  So I started trying it again.  Before long, by the end of April, I was back to drinking over a bottle a night.  Oh, I would drink less, even a lot less, some nights, but, apart from occasional exceptions, I would drink every night. 

That darn muscle memory.....with drinking it feels like my brain is acting like a muscle and I can just get right back to it...

Wiki says: Muscle memory has been used synonymously with motor learning, which is a form of procedural memory that involves consolidating a specific motor task into memory through repetition. When a movement is repeated over time, a long-term muscle memory is created for that task, eventually allowing it to be performed without conscious effort. This process decreases the need for attention and creates maximum efficiency within the motor and memory systems. Examples of muscle memory are found in many everyday activities that become automatic and improve with practice, such as riding a bicycle, typing on a keyboard, typing in a PIN, playing a musical instrument,[1] martial arts or even dancing.

It's funny how there is no mention of getting back into addictive behaviors.  But to me it's no wonder that if we can get right back on a bike after 20 years, no doubt we can get right back into bad drinking behaviors.

Finally, in April, I tested myself one night.....and failed.  That was my cue to be more drastic.  So I went 125 days.  Then, I went right back into drinking mode.

The difference was that I was super aware of every sip.  I felt guilty but thought "hey, no problem".  Then I would drink more frequently, higher quantities.  I was able to keep myself to a certain point but only because I think I finally admitted that there was a threshold where I KNEW I would have a problem if I continued.

I have experimented over the last 6+ months with hitting that threshold and backing off.  There have been very few occasions where I felt I stepped over the threshold, certainly nothing like in previous years.  But I haven't liked this game I've been playing.  I justify the game as an experiment but really it's just damn hard to think of fully abstaining again.  I totally understand why people say it's get harder and harder to quit again and again.

There is not the same level of excitement in quitting again.  Been there, done that.  I may know what to expect on the positive side but, worse, I KNOW what to expect on the negative side!

It's like hitting the beach and jumping into the ocean full of cold surf.  The first time you run in, deal with the shock of the water, and then, well, you are already wet so might as well enjoy it.  The next time, while you will still enjoy it, it may take you longer to dive in because you know the first jump is going to be a cold one!

Right now abstaining still feels like the place to be.  I liked that I slept well last night, that I was efficient last evening, and that I had a reason to be up at 4am this morning which I was able to do with ease.

For those still considering or fighting the obvious, I think it goes like this.  (For those who have followed this blog you know I will try to quantify everything so forgive me as I do it yet again....)

1) you get to a point where you need to abstain for awhile
2) you do it and it may not even be as hard as you think
3) you either stay start again
4) you realize you are escalating even if not back to your former levels
5) you may have another alcohol related episode of some sort that wakes you up, or you may just subtly realize that you are not feeling good about the experience and really, kinda, sorta want to be somewhere else with alcohol but can't seem to get there.
6) you finally decide to give it up again but it's harder perhaps until you get to the last time.
7) you repeat the cycle for however many times you need to
8) you may be able to get back to some level of drinking that works for you (the majority will admit they just need to quit)
9) the last time you finally quit for good, it feels different.  It's somehow easier to not fight anymore and to just move forward.  (so I hear :-) )

I know I am stuck between 7 and 8.   I freely admit it.  But I'd rather be at #7 for a bit than back at #1!!  

Congrats to all the #9s.  You continue to inspire me with your comments and with your support.  It really sounds like such a lovely place to be!!!  I have watched many go through the above process.  Many who were at #7 while I was at #1.  Many who have made it through to #9 and many of those same who were at #7 for quite awhile first!!  There is hope for all of us!


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Alcohol and living longer

I found this article to be really interesting.  Here is the LINK

I was fascinated by this part:
"...researchers followed 1824 people over a total of 20 years, as they aged between 55 and 65. Of those who abstained entirely, 69 percent died. Among those who drank in "moderate" amounts, 41 percent died—which was 23 percent less than the "light" drinkers. Even "heavy drinkers" fared better than abstainers, with just 61 percent passing away during the study period..."

The gist of the article is that while alcohol is unhealthy, the socializing benefits, the relaxation that goes with it, may be what is skewing results into it looking like alcohol has medical effects to prolong life. 

Turns out it's just that being lonely and anxious/stressed is pretty bad for you too. This next part was thought provoking as well.

"What does this have to do with longevity? In recent years, sociologists and epidemiologists have begun studying the long-term effects (Direct PDF link) of loneliness. It turns out to be really dangerous. We are social primates, and when we're cut off from the social network, we are more likely to die from just about everything (but especially heart disease). At this point, the link between abstinence and social isolation is merely hypothetical. But given the extensive history of group drinking—it's what we do when we come together—it seems likely that drinking in moderation makes it easier for us develop and nurture relationships. And it's these relationships that help keep us alive."

Do I think drinking is good then?  No, but I think this emphasizes how important it is to not go into total isolation mode when stopping the drink.  The key is to develop other tools to figure out how to be less stressed, to relax and to not be lonely.

Drinking is definitely relaxing to me.  I tune out and forget about whatever load I was carrying.  I become less inhibited.  I'm looking forward to making a conscious effort to figuring out how to relax without drinking as I never really focused on that before.  I just tend to stay stressed through cravings.  Hmmm.....  

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

3 days

There was something I read at one point that it takes 3 days for alcohol to get out of your system.  For whatever reason that really stuck with me.  I do always feel different once I get to that point.

Day 1 for me again (and I mean a real Day 1, not just a night or two off) was Monday night and I was grouchy about not drinking but this time around I know that cravings pass.  I just have to be committed.

Yesterday, I had a small craving on way home from the store.  No desire to buy wine or anything but just an annoyance while driving.  I screamed out loud to myself "I WANT a f-ing glass of wine when I get home".  It's funny, after doing that, instead of debating it, I forgot about it when I turned into my driveway.  I went back to working on stuff, poured bubble water and didn't have any more thoughts other than I was glad I wasn't drinking.

I took my first ibuprofen before bed.  No difference in foot pain this morning but I guess it takes time to get down the inflammation.  I almost worked out this morning.  Tomorrow may stick, we'll see.

The past few months, not being in commitment mode allowed me to drink in the evenings.  There is something about telling yourself you are finally going to do something.  Whether you declare out loud or just internally, it really makes a difference.

I have a family party coming up mid March and I wonder if I'll have wine that weekend.  When I quit last April I had a family summer vacation coming up.  By the time I got to it, I wanted to drink, but I wanted to get through it without drinking more.  I hope to have more and more of those moments.

I'm also going to reread my blog from last year, day by day as I move through this.  I don't think I'll post everyday like I did before but I'll try to check in weekly with a status update just so I have that documentation for myself as well.

Thanks for all your support and if you are wanting to quit, try just getting to day 4 and see how you are feeling.  You can always do 4 more!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Mind games

I have learned so much about myself on this journey to realign my relationship with alcohol.

Somehow, last April, something happened.

Divine intervention?  Maybe.  I had been praying for change.  I've had some of those unexplained moments in my life where I can't explain how everything aligned and shifted majorly.  I might share in another post sometime.

Hitting rock bottom?  Possibly.  I never really had the alcohol related incidents one associates with getting to that point.  But I knew I was operating in unhappy and unhealthy territory.

There has been this battle going on in my head.  Before last April I would have said my mind wanted to quit drinking but my body didn't.  I was just addicted.  

I have come to realize it's the opposite. My body WANTs to be a non drinker.  It's my mind playing with every resource it has to counter that.

It was my mind that got me drinking again in August.  It was my mind that kept saying just have a few every night.  For the most part I can moderate if I put my mind to it.  But my version of moderation, where I sit when I start drinking, is still more often than I want to be.

I seem to be able to sit at a few drinks a night, 2 sometimes 3.  Okay, that's a lot better than I had been doing but I still get the skin rosacea acting up, the night time wakeups, the bloating, the heartburn, etc.

The past few months have been about proving something to myself.  I had to know that I could still drink daily without getting drunk and I pulled it off......  But I don't feel good about it!  I feel fat, inflamed and fatigued.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, as a way to end my mind games with wine, I have a new incentive. Due to severe foot pain...and apparently I have arthritis on the sides of my feet normally only seen in the elderly and then in only about 1% of them.....I am being put in physical therapy, into orthotics and on high doses of ibuprofen for a month or two.  No way I can drink much if at all with all that in my gut.

So, necessity being the mother of invention and I am again.....Day 2.

It's what I wanted anyway and since my Obliger personality needs some external accountability to stick with something, I guess this is as good as incentive as any.  Hopefully I get into a rhythm again and can begin to start figuring out what exactly it is that I'm trying not to face in the evenings when I prefer to get a little numb.....Last time I quit it was more about just muscling through it but this time I want to figure out a bit more, pay more attention to what is going on when I want to drink.  I also want to get back to that stage where I feel really good about my body, not necessarily weight wise, that might be a reach for awhile, but just having better energy, attitude, and skin!

Happy Valentines Day everyone!  As another blogger put it, good to love ourselves!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Letting it go....

Two things hit me over the head this morning when reading the blogs.  I should be moving on with my day but wanted to get my thoughts down in writing as a reference for myself later on.  So instead I grabbed another cup of tea and here I type....

First an update:  I'm floating in the middle, referring to my last post.  I thought I could perhaps convince myself to view wine as a treat, like I do chocolate, etc.  Nope.  I suppose it's just because the brain changes with alcohol induction in ways unlike the brain changes by over indulging in things not called "drugs".  I tell myself I will have 2 cups of tea a day with Stevia, and I have 6.  Probably a "drug" of caffeine and sweetener at play there.  If I drink a glass of wine, I have three, sometimes two, occasionally 4 to 4 1/2 if I have time in which to drink it without losing control, and I haven't been hungover, acted drunk, blacked out in forever.

Note: I kept the habit of cocktail hour because I thought that was important for me.  Even when I abstained I kept the habit but just had mocktails. So I drink when I have that available.  If I have sports or other conflicts then I easily don't.  Habit is huge with me.  I seem to be done with my "drunk" habit but not my "drinking" habit.  I "hear" the voice that says "oh go open another bottle", "get one more glass", but it's just not worth it to do so.  I walk out of the room, the voice quiets, I move on.  I guess that is progress as it doesn't take a lot of effort.

It's as if I have learned to control it from a certain point.  I have such an awareness of how bad it is for me that I allow myself some of what I've had in the past but not all.   I have mastered the "not going too far" but I haven't mastered the "not drinking too much from a health perspective" and still find myself wishing I drank less but, yet, then not committing to that.

SoberMummy commented on one of my posts recently this:
For what it's worth, I believe there are only 2 ways to silence the endless head chatter: 1. Is to drink as much as you feel like, no holds barred and 2. Is to not drink at all, and after 3-6 months the chatter stops forever. The problem with moderation is that the 'will I won't I' debate in your head never ever goes away.

She is correct as usual.  I have been using the wine to stop the head chatter.  I don't feel as if I am moderating because I'm really not exercising control anymore. For whatever reason, I'm just not going too far anymore to get the self-loathing, acting drunk in front of my kid, annoying my spouse or being mean, etc.  But I am still using it to silence the noise, sort of no holds barred.  That was my first bonk on the head thought today.

Anne Ainsobriety recommends just trying a longer period of sobriety and see what happens.  See how I feel.  I think she's right and I'm trying to get motivated to do just that.

Other than shutting off the noise in my head I've been trying to figure out why I don't want to cut ties with alcohol.  It doesn't feel so much as I've been having cravings like I used to, I don't really have those "fuck it" moments (well, duh, you only really get those when trying not to have wine), but yet I don't want to let it go from my life.  Every time I think of quitting completely, even if for awhile, I feel sad about it.

Lily's blog today talks about letting go of a relationship and this was the second bonk on the head thought.  She discusses not wanting to let go of a relationship because then things are left unresolved.  All those actions we regret weren't then worth anything.  It took me years to understand that's why I still grieved the loss of my marriage even though I had moved on with a much better man, loved him more, had no desire to ever be back with my ex and yet I still had moments of sadness.

This is soo analogous to alcohol.  I think I don't want to let go of alcohol because it will feel like a failure, that my drinking wasn't worth it, unresolved.  I don't want to admit I had a problem that couldn't be fixed.  If I can keep it in balance then the edges of regret soften.  But maybe this is a start. If I can put periods of sobriety into my habits so that I gradually do longer and longer time away from alcohol then it may become more of a choice and a feeling that I have resolved something. Closure is always something I crave.

Constant awareness, constant reading of these blogs, of reading new ideas about drinking have helped me immensely.  At some point I will decide to move to the far left for awhile.  For now I'm drifting in the middle but, honestly, it's a lot less work than being in between.  Admitting that it's one state or the other for me has taken a load off stress-wise but now I need to let my goals of health and wellness start to bubble up.

I definitely march to my own drummer on this.  I'll keep posting and hope to march more to the left soon!!


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Moving to the left....

An older article in The Atlantic (click here for link) sums up my drinking pretty succinctly.  To pull a bit from it, it says:

"We believe that, as opposed to thinking only those men and women whose drinking has progressed to the point where they need help, that many people in the mid-range may also be suffering as a result of drinking. That suffering may take the form of declining job performance and declining health so that the individual does not yet recognize it as being related to drinking.
Here are a few signs that an individual may have moved out of the normal social drinking part of the spectrum and into the almost alcoholic zone:
  • You drink to relieve stress.
  • You often drink alone.
  • You look forward to drinking.
  • Your drinking may be related to one or more health problems.
  • You drink to relieve boredom or loneliness.
  • You sometimes drive after drinking.
  • You drink to maintain a "buzz."
  • Your performance at work is not what it used to be.
  • You aren't comfortable in social situations without drinking.
  • You find that drinking helps you overcome your shyness.
The almost alcoholic zone is actually quite large. The people who occupy it are not alcoholics. Rather, they are men and women whose drinking habits range from barely qualifying as almost alcoholics to those whose drinking borders on abuse. One thing we do know about them is that the more their drinking correlates with the above statements the more likely they are to drift further into the almost alcoholic zone."

I view this spectrum as left to right movement.  I can't say way, but my brain just processes it this way.  For me, the far left is normal (no snide political comments, please, this is just a graph!) and on the far right is what I would define as the full blown alcoholic.  I would define the movement from left to right as follows - just my personal definition that works for me on an accountability front.

Far left:  either no drinking or take it or leave it drinking.  Normal.

Middle left:  drinking a glass or two or even less, maybe every day or occasionally, but defined as one who exercises extreme control to not go further. I don't define this as healthy but just more acceptable than more to the right.  

Middle: drinking too much to be healthy.  More than one or two drinks a night, often resulting in a full bottle of wine, some sleep interruption, no blackouts, waking up hangover free the next day, still fully functioning in day to day life and coping with stresses outside this evening period.

Middle right: for some this may be Middle but with starting to drink earlier and earlier in the day.  The wine at night, whatever quantity, begins to come with hangovers in the morning, maybe blackouts, and self loathing.

Further to the right:  Hiding drinking, perhaps alcoholic incidents noticed by others, etc.

Far Right:  Can't hide it, it's affecting life, affecting relationships, can't get by without drinking especially during the day, things in life are getting worse not better.  May act as full on alcoholic as one defines it, may be very good at still hiding it as to how bad it is.

This may not be what the authors meant but it helps me figure out where I fell.  I was definitely middle right a year ago.  I didn't always drink earlier in the day and I never hid my drinking except the one time I moved a bottle off the bar to the trash sooner than normal, but I definitely had more and more hangovers, daily drinking for sure, blackouts more and more frequent and loads of self loathing.

After I first quit drinking and started again, I existed in Middle Left for quite awhile.  I attempted to give it up completely for the holidays and that didn't work out.  Then, drinking became a way of not focusing on other things.  I wasn't exercising as much in part due to bad plantar fasciitis but mostly just lack of motivation.  My workout buddy was on the injured list.  Also, I had an upcoming surgery and was sort of in a fuck-it mood until that had passed.  My court case with ex is still ongoing and I have to completely reinvent myself career wise this year.  Financially I am fortunate to not be too stressed with that, but..... self-worth, goals, desires - reinventing can still cause a boatload of stress.

I've done a lot of thinking about alcohol.  I can see why I turn to it.  For some reason, the worst is being told I "can't" drink.  When I view it as a choice, I do much better but I struggle to maintain that mindset.  After I stopped drinking and started again, I told myself it's a choice.  I can now drink as much or as little as I want.  I did okay for the most part.

When I told myself I was going to quit from November through January, then quit on that quitting, it was a different story.  I kept telling myself I shouldn't have it, can't have it and then would have it. So I ended up back more towards just left of center.  I found myself drinking 3 if not 4 glasses of wine a night, a full bottle every so often.  No nights off.

I'm trying a new tactic today.  I really want to treat wine like chocolate, donuts, diet sodas, etc.  I indulge in those from time to time but not all the time.  I'll have a diet soda out at lunch but rarely break one open at home.  I'll eat 4 to 6 squares of an 18 square chocolate bar and stop.  I can't remember the last time I ate a donut but if it was in front of me, I would eat just one.  I want to view a glass of wine as such.   I'm going to be more mindful about sipping the one glass, considering it a treat, an indulgence.  Thinking about every calorie and relishing it as opposed to using it for it's numbing power.  I'm going to appreciate the initial flush and warmth and leave it at that.  (Yeh, yeh, I know many of you think there is failure written all over this plan but again, I think a lot of this is mindset.)  If I can keep myself to one glass I can stop.  Once I hit two glasses, it's very hard to not go to three.

I'm going to keep a drinking log (I haven't been) for just myself.  I may post it from time to time or I may not.  I'm going to start an exercise log again for myself. I need the accountability even if I don't make it public.  But I WILL provide periodic updates.  I had the surgery yesterday and all good.  Girly stuff.  So in a few more days I'll begin the exercise again and I'm actually looking forward to it.

The above isn't anything profound, just a big reminder to myself.  Sort of a last gasp to see if I can turn my mindset around or if I will just have to give up drinking as a normal daily thing.  If that's the case I'll have to see if I can abstain normally and still allow celebratory events or if then I have to give those up as well.  It's certainly a process.