My Lists

Sunday, July 30, 2017

This journey is an interesting sail...

I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination. 
Jimmy Dean

In sailing, the wind comes from one direction.  A sailboat can point close to the direction of the wind but not directly into it.  It can point up very close, or fall off to 90 degrees either direction of the wind, or even point completely 180 degrees opposite......all with some sail adjustment.

If the sailor puts one sail out to one side and the other sail out to the opposite side, and steers the sailboat completely opposite to the direction of the wind (often referred to as wing-on-wing), it's possible to travel along and be "pushed" by the wind in one direction.  But if the sailor turns the sailboat around and heads back up toward the wind on one side or the other of the wind, the boat can never travel directly into the direction of the wind.....it can just point as close to the direction of the wind as possible.

What's ironic is that as a sailboat points closer and closer to the direction of the wind, it feels like it travels faster and faster through the water as the wind whips along the side of the sails, creating lift, just like that of an airplane wing, and pulling it forward....toward the direction of the wind.  But never quite to it.  So a sailboat must "tack" back and forth through the wind in order to ever make a path in the direction from which the wind is coming.  Constant adjustment.  As opposed to, say, the sailboat wants to travel a path 80 degrees off the direction of the wind, the sailor can just set the sails and let the boat move......well, until the wind shifts anyway or unless the current is moving fast.

Sometimes life is just about adjusting and readjusting.

When I hopped on this sailboat, I was travelling completely opposite to the wind.  I was being continually pushed into the land of alcohol and just riding along, letting it control me.  The direction from where the wind came was really where I should be....but the wind was something fierce, something strong that had to be fought because surrendering to it wasn't working for me anymore.  If I wasn't careful, the wind was going to take control and push me aground.

Then, finally, I started turning my sailboat back toward the wind.  I have pointed close to the wind at times but then I keep falling off to a beam reach.  (90 degrees off the wind)  Sometimes venturing to a broad reach, unfortunately, (between 90 and 180 degress off the wind) but generally somewhere between a beam reach or close hauled (between 5 - 90 degrees).

I wanted to become sober, completely alcohol-free, because I knew I couldn't moderate.  Instead, now I have been moderating and can't seem to be completely alcohol-free.  I'm stuck on a beam reach. (I refer to moderating as no mishaps, not necessarily healthy moderation.  True moderation I suppose would be drinking 14 units or less per week....)

Sigh.  Yep, I've been happily having 2 to 3, sometimes 4 glasses of wine nightly, with no mishaps other than the understood ill health effects it could have or that I probably shouldn't drive if I needed to.

If you don't have the right "trim" on your sails, if you don't have enough sail area raised, there are many reasons why you can't get the sailboat to point as close to the wind as you need to and so there are other adjustments that need to be done.  I'll spare you more sailing terms.

My point is that right now I'm just slowly pointing higher.  I'm working on exercise, I'm working on diet, I'm working on attitude and I feel progress.  I'm not focusing so much on the pressure to be alcohol free right now.

But I will be.  I will get there.  I feel happy though.  Strange, hmmm?  Don't get me wrong....I still feel fat, don't feel I eat as well as I need to, hate it when I succumb to some wine.....but I'm doing my homework.

Today I was reading "Mrs. D Is Going Within" and the mindfulness really resonated with me.  I have studied it in the past but for some reason today something clicked.  I want to learn as she said, to resolve, not react, and to be in the moment, calming the chatter of thoughts that go through my head.  This is clearly the primary reason why I drink in the evening.  It calms the noise of the day that has gotten louder and louder.  I relax.

When I drink wine, I'm much more in the moment.  Probably because my head gets just fuzzy enough to block the roads of travel for all those thoughts careening around in my head.

But, as everyone writes about in this sober universe, there are so many other delicious ways to stop those thoughts, without needing wine to do it.

Taking stock, here's how I feel:
1) I feel fat, but overall happy, just wish my clothes fit better
2) I feel tired from time to time, but am trying to fit in exercise
3) I'm not as focused as I want to be, but I am really enjoying my time with family
4) I'm not eating what I should be, but at least I am cooking for my family
5) I hate where I am with my body, but I don't hate myself or anything I've done
6) I love not seeing bloodshot eyes in the morning and getting decent sleep, but I don't like still having to pee in the middle of the night and wanting water, still getting dehydrated

I'm figuring it out, slowly learning what I need to adjust on my sails to get there........this week I'm not focusing on the "not drinking" as much as I'm going to focus on meditation/mindfulness, flexibility/try yoga, keep exercising and making some other diet changes.  Then, I hope to add back in the focus of not drinking at all.

Hugs to all still trying to do the same!

HD



Friday, July 28, 2017

The big Duh!

Oh my...normally I think of myself as a bright person but I realized something today and now feel really, really stupid....

When I was drinking everyday about a year and a half ago, at least a bottle + per night most nights, I didn't seem to have any weight issues.

Then, when I quit, I added in chocolate and cookies.

Then, I started drinking again, then I quit, then I started, then I quit, etc.

This yo-yo drinking/quitting has been very hard on my body, in regard to weight management - even though of course more AF days is much healthier for other reasons.

Add to this peri-menopause or menopause or whatever started happening this year and then I really started putting on weight.  10-15 lbs in last 6 months.

My overall goal when I originally quit drinking last year was to take a break and change my habit.

So lately, I've been really proud of myself in one way.  I am no longer blacking out, losing a lot of sleep, acting off in front of family......but I can still put away a bottle of wine when I allow myself to.

I've been experimenting over the last week.  I apologize for not tracking.  I have had wine every night because family has been in town but each night I have happily made dinner, socialized after dinner, gone to bed remembering everything and nobody would have thought I drank too much.  I guess in their mind 3 to 4 glasses isn't a big deal.

I'm only beating myself up because I can't seem to stick with zero.  But hey, I said to myself, this is still much improved......until it dawned on me why I am all of sudden "handling" my alcohol better.

Because....I......have.....gained.....weight.  Ummm, duh.  (To any of you who were thinking "well, umm, yeh, fatass.....)

So there you have it, gain 10 to 15 lbs and you can drink more.  Yikes, oh, Yikes!  My habit really hasn't diminished.  My attitude hasn't fixed anything.  I'm just drinking the SAME amount as I used to that at a lighter weight affected me more.

I could cry.  I am such a dork.  If I lost the 10 lbs and kept drinking I would probably start feeling it sooner.

On a positive note (I'm a glass half full girl......of course having a glass half full is my issue but anyway..) I don't seem to be trying to drink more than I used to just because it's taking longer to affect me.

Oh well, experiment over.  Time to focus on overall diet and health again.  Just have to get motivated.  I will, just give me time.....

HD

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Allowing for Slippage

But I'm not giving up on not drinking......let me explain...

I've always been the type of person that if I'm told to do one thing, I'll want to do the opposite.  Reverse psychology was a parenting skill that my mom employed quite often, let's just say.

The first time I quit for 100 (125) days, it was a personal challenge I imposed upon myself.  I decided to do it.  Nobody told me I should, nobody intervened and I didn't have a true rock bottom moment other than saying I would allocate some small wine bottles over a few days.  My failure at that and realization that my stop meter was broken is what got me to quit for a period.

For the last year, even though I only had 1 moment where I felt I somewhat embarrassed myself in front of my son by acting "off", I have felt this invisible pressure to quit again.

There is so much support in this sober universe saying "just do it", "you'll be so much better for it", "I guarantee that after awhile it will feel great".....and I believe all that advice.

But my quitting needs to be on my own timeline or I will rebel.

When I first quit, I was drinking a bottle almost every night and then drinking more than that about every 3 or 4 days.  I had 2 or 3 times a week where I didn't remember putting my son to bed and it was starting to be a few times a month where I thought my son was realizing I was "off".  I had times where I just blew off what I had planned for dinner or blew off family game nights.  (I always try to initiate game nights and my son is up for it but if he can keep on computer gaming with his friends instead, he is always fine with that.  So while I felt I was disappointing him, I really wasn't.)

But I WAS disappointing myself with the above.  AND I was slowly getting fatter.

I had a talk with myself yesterday and realized the stress of counting was killing my joy.

I was so joyful after my last 125 days when I started drinking (lightly) again but also started exercising.  At my happiest I think.  Then I sabotaged myself, reduced my exercise, ate like shit and started drinking too much again to be healthy.

The shift in me that has occurred over the last year, and I know I am repeating myself here, is that I don't want to drink because it has calories, I know it has long term bad effects on my health and it's a drug. I don't want to need to drug myself.

Then, again, I drug myself with sweets/carbs, with caffeine, with Motrin/Tylenol when I need it, etc.  But with those drugs I never have dinner prep fails, the potential for needing to drive and not being able to, slurring my words, letting myself down by not getting things done because I chose wine and a myriad of other negative effects.

So last night, I rebelled again.  I had a bottle of wine, white no less.  But the more I dip my toes back in the pool of drinking, the more I realize what it's effect is on me and the easier it becomes to control.

Last night I told hubby to get me one bottle of wine and I would see if I could drink half one night and half the next night.  Nope.  Couldn't do it.  After 2 glasses, went for 3, then 4, then done.  (4 big glasses does a bottle)  That was 10 units of wine down the hatch.  The recommended amount some say is 14 units a week and should be spread over a few days.  Clearly I am never going to drink that way.

I noted that I felt the buzz at the end of the first glass and really didn't need the second but had told myself I had planned for it.  After that second glass, when at home and with access to it, forget it.  There went the rest.  I didn't make my hubby step in.  He probably drank a bottle of red himself.

BUT.....I went and made dinner and by the time we ate most of the buzz had worn off.  I had water with dinner, tea after and we had a wonderful family game night.  So the only loathing I experienced was the hour awake in the middle of the night and the feeling of waking up so often the rest of the night and craving water.  And also feeling like I drank 605 calories my body didn't need.  Same loathing I feel if I have an oreo or chocolate that I shouldn't!

This is important....the thing I worried about most was having to blog here about messing up my AF streak.  That was the most stressful thing on my mind.  I felt miserable about the thought of coming to this blog to report what I did.  Accountability is good, yes, but feeling horrible to it isn't helpful.  I was waaay more concerned about what I would write than any other feelings I had.  I loved last night with my family but I wanted to throw up thinking of this blog.  I'm too honest and knew I would have to write about it or would feel I was being misleading.

I'm no longer going to aim for a certain number of days without any alcohol.  I'm not going to keep declaring and failing and then feeling like I am creeping back to this blog with my tail between my legs.  This is my journey, nobody else's...as you all tell me often!  I'm just going to try and make not drinking more a way of life than it has been in the past.  I'm tired of feeling like a failure if I go all week without any wine, because I want to, and then have some when I want to.

It's a balancing act for sure.  If I felt I was having to control myself every day, that cravings were eating me alive (like they used to) then I would feel I needed to give it up completely.  I'm no longer going to apologize when I have some.  I'm going to feel very accomplished when I don't and I'm really going to work on not going too far.

Wine doesn't fit in with my weight loss goals, nor does it fit in with wanting to have better quality family time, nor does it allow me to be alert and productive.

I am slowly removing it from a daily habit and I'm very, very happy with where I am compared to a few years ago.  For me it's not all or nothing.  I want to manage this habit.

I think this is where most people get to and it's a fork in the road.  I'm not going to let it get out of control or I will stop.  If controlling it takes too much effort, I will also stop.

Last year, I quit drinking to prove I could and then went back to trying to moderate on a daily basis. I have learned that moderation won't work.  This time it's not about trying to moderate, it's about generally not drinking and allowing for slippage.

I still aim to get to long term sobriety but if I feel I "have" to, I know I won't......if that makes any sense.  I'm going to reinstate my counting and exercise tabs.  When I deleted them last time I lost the data somehow and wish I had it to reference.  I'm still going to blog as I feel like it.  If I have a really stressful day and really "want" wine, I'm going to do my best to push through it.  I'm still going to count how many AF days I've had against a total.

There I said it.  And I'm looking forward to more AF days under my belt ahead!  Not drinking really does feel so much better!

HD

Friday, July 21, 2017

All good

Yesterday got away from me and today is running away at a fast pace!

Anyway, all good here.  Had one sparkling cucumber drink last night and an AF wine mixer.

Kids are all here for summer so days will start to pass quickly.  I didn't drink at all last summer while they were all here so makes my goal a bit easier.  The next real challenge will be after school starts!

Happy Summer,
HD

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Forward progress

All good here.  I wrote a long post about something today.  A realization about myself and perhaps why I really want to numb out with alcohol.  In writing it, I went somewhere that surprised me and I realize I'm not ready to write about it.  Ahh, the power of writing.

I have decided to go see my therapist over it.  It has to do with body image and some hangups from my past.  I think I'll use therapy for a bit to get through the past stuff and maybe revisit my coach to work forward from that point.  No wonder I make no progress in this area after thinking through some things this morning.

It is amazing what a clear head gives you.

Last night I munched on a few chips/salsa and then had one AF beer during cocktail hour.  He had red wine and it was no bother to me.

My favorite non drinking thing is making dinner.  Too often I would sit at cocktail hour too long, sometimes too long as to miss the dinner making window so we'd order pizza or have junk stuff that was on hand.

The thing about drinking is that it was automatic weight management for me....to a point.  I kept gaining over the years but very slowly because wine kills my appetite.  I lost count of how many times I would drink a bottle of wine when my son was younger and not feed myself.  I would make him his dinner, kid food, like chicken nuggets and broccoli and cheese or some such, (he always got a veggie) but then I would skip dinner entirely.

When husband moved in it became harder to manage my weight.  We started doing real sit down dinners every night, which I love but managing calories became harder.  I tend to cook comfort food and I'm not very good with portion control.

Anyway, enough for now, work in progress.  At least I'm cooking when not drinking and that is a good thing!

Day 2 without any alcohol at all
Day 7 without any white wine or too much of any type of alcohol
Day 16 without any alcohol out of last 20 days

HD

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

My own way of doing things.....

I'm sure people are checking in to see "did she make it?"   or   "Oh, she forgot to blog last night, is everything okay?"  (Actually the reason I didn't blog was that I was doing something on the computer and by the time I finished it was 9:30pm and I didn't have the energy to blog, just went to bed with my tea.)

While drafting this post, the song that keeps coming to mind is Frank Sinatra's "My Way."  Especially this part of the song:

Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall
And did it my way.....

Obviously there has been a shift in my mindset.  I no longer view drinking as the thing to do. Originally, I wished that I could drink "normally" and felt like a failure because I couldn't.  Wanting to drink didn't bother me, it was how I drank that bothered me. Now, I don't want "to want to drink" and am disappointed that there are times when I still want that.

I really struggled in figuring out how to write this post. I don't want to be a trigger to someone to have any excuse to drink but I also want this blog to remain honest and from my heart.

I think the issue is that I want to shout out how wonderful I feel, how accomplished, and yet.......I had a glass of wine last night.  Yep, there went 120 calories right to my ass.  I feel like I should feel like a failure, be really bummed.....but I don't.

Side note: We have a lot, and I mean a lot, of drama with my husband's ex.  I haven't decided if at heart she is a mean girl, or possibly psychotic, or just dumb.  Her actions make it really hard to tell but she has done some horrible things to him and most often is very passive aggressive... which is why it's hard to pinpoint the motive.  I am very black and white so these games she plays are annoying to a person like me.  Watching her provoke and spin up my guy is also annoying and, unfortunately, she uses the children to do so.  It's really pathetic and sad to watch.

This isn't an excuse but she let fly another email last night that made me just go "whaaattt??"  She is on another planet, twisting facts toward her own self interest.  My husband looked so irritated that when he went for the wine and looked at me to see if I wanted one, I said sure.  I didn't really want any and it was red wine but I took it.  I just sort of felt I should have one with him.

(Let me note that my husband knows I struggle with white wine but he never sees me struggle with red so, to him, offering it is not the same.  Nor beer.  And I haven't ever had an evening, I don't think, where I ever embarrassed myself after having red wine.)

I sipped as he vented and went through about 3 glasses himself.  He poured me another but I had a few sips and passed it off to him saying I needed to get dinner out of the oven.  And that was it.  I didn't really give it a thought until later I was like "oh shit I blew my 100 days".  The thing is, I don't feel like I have.

I drank "normally" I guess, whatever that is but I still don't want it.  I never crave red wine and I'm committed to not drinking white for 100 days for sure.

Remember, I don't WANT to want to drink.  What I have learned first and foremost is that while I CAN moderate beer, hard liquor and red wine, that only lasts for so long and they become my gateway drugs.....to the white wine.  Not having any at all, most, most of the time will keep me from going through that gate.  I get that now.

I see a pattern though.....I tend to push through a craving and feel really good about it.   Then, the next day I'll take a glass because I'm still riding off the high of the day before so the wine doesn't give me one.  This is the tipping point.  Normally, then tonight I may have another, then another the next day and before you know it I'll get a bottle of white and have a night where I drink it all in one sitting, maybe even more.

I realize this though this time and I guess that's why I feel so good.  I didn't have a blip as a reminder as to why I don't drink, no rock bottom moment, just a reminder as to why I don't need it.  Why drink normally if I don't really get a buzz and just add calories to my butt?  Nope, don't need to.

So I'm still counting.  It's day 6 of no white wine and no incidences of too much alcohol.  If that's the re-definition of my 100 days, then I am perfectly happy with that.   If I see husband drink red tonight, I'll remind myself that I don't need any.

My process for changing my habit of drinking too much wine clearly resembles a cargo ship in the ocean going normal speed that realizes it needs to make a 180 degree turn and head the other direction......it takes quite a few miles and burns quite a few minutes to make that happen.  It just can't stop nor turn on a dime.  I finally feel like I'm making that turn and heading in the right direction.

I'm really psyched about last night even though I suppose I should start over counting?  Dunno, but I'm not going to beat myself up about it.  I feel good, just being honest about my voyage and knowing that you are all there supporting me through every bump and roll.......but as long as there continues to be progress in the right direction, I'm cool with that!

The most important thing for me was blogging about this.  Now I can start over and keep on pushing through cravings.  If I had chosen not to blog about it, well, first and foremost I would feel I was being dishonest so then I wouldn't blog at all, folks would wonder where I went and then since I had already had a drink, I might as well have more.  Blogging about it keeps me accountable to myself about what happened.

Likely, very likely, I will get a major craving tonight because I had that one glass last night.  I... will ....beat.... it!!!  I'll report back tomorrow how it went.  It's always day 2, for me, of drinking any alcohol that seems to be "make it or break it" time.  After that, it does seem to get easier.

HD

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Reflections

Today my saving grace was my reflection.....

We had a dinner party to go to with 4 other couples.  I was worried about how I would not drink.

After getting ready for dinner and stressing about how fat I looked in everything and how many clothes in my closet looked horrible on me, I truly had no desire to drink.  All I could think about was how drinking wine would just pour crap into my already protruding belly!

But....I wasn't sure how I could get out of drinking.  I even finally decided that if they poured me a glass of white I would take it, have a few sips and switch to water.  THAT would have been a test for sure.

When we got there, however, everyone was drinking red and I don't really like red.  I just told the hostess I quit because of my hot flashes and all was good.  I had declared it and I stuck with my water all night long.  And it was fine.

I wasn't sure how I would do because we didn't know anyone but the host and hostess.  I was worried about socializing without alcohol, and it was fine.  In fact at one point I sort of felt buzzed.  Must have been gas from all the bubble water.  But I didn't seem to have any problem talking to others and it was fun!  I didn't make a fool of myself, I was able to drive us home and I observed and listened a lot more than I normally would have.

As others have remarked upon, I, too, noticed how little everyone drank.  One woman kept pouring herself red wine and might have been a little tipsy but nothing overtly so.  All the others moderated and switched to water after a few glasses.  Conversation didn't get rowdy and I enjoyed all the topics going on around me.

The fact that the house had mirrors everywhere didn't hurt.  I kept catching a glimpse of myself and felt a bit depressed.  But that's okay, at least I wasn't drowning my sorrows then with more wine.

I'm not even really fat.  I feel fat, that is the problem.  My friend would love to get "down" to my weight so I can't complain.  I'm healthy looking but as someone else blogged about, I think I look a lot better than I do so catching my reflections really bum me out.  Trying on my clothes really bum me out.

I'll deal with that slowly but surely.  I probably could have had that glass of wine and been done but then I would have felt like I had let myself down with one measly glass and it wouldn't have been worth it!!!  Or.....I might have had an extra glass....or worse, more.  So glad I didn't and nice to not have really fought any cravings as a part of the evening.  They will come again, I know, but getting a sober dinner party under my belt was nice.

I did hike and swim today, didn't overeat and didn't have any cookies or chocolate.... so did my part against the onslaught of belly fat.

Done with Day 4.
HD