Saturday, May 9, 2020

Disappointments

disappointment
[ˌdisəˈpointmənt]
NOUN
  1. sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one's hopes or expectations.
    "to her disappointment, there was no chance to talk privately with Luke"
I had wine again last night but I have a moment of clarity right now...…..so, so clear.....for the first time ever.

You see, I've spent hours deliberating why I drink.  I even wrote a whole draft post about my personality and my deep ingrained fears as to how that may cause me to turn to escapism.  But it didn't feel right.  I think there is some truth that my deep seated fear of catastrophe and fear of emotional pain somehow contributes to my drinking but I don't think that is the biggest issue.

I keep having a persistent feeling of grief and yet not feeling I have anything to grieve.  This has been unsettling as I couldn't put my finger on it.  I'm not really sad so why do I feel sadness?  I have nothing to be sad about.  I have no right to grieve.

When I woke up this morning and said "damn it, why do I continually disappoint myself?", it was like a lightning bolt went through me.

I am grieving my life's disappointments deep down inside of me.  Outwardly I tell myself I feel happy and that I have a great life.  I am masking all those feelings about how I have disappointed myself.  When those feelings bubble up and I can't push them away, I drink and tune them out.

To me this explains why I'm not sticking with sobriety.  When I first quit drinking I am proud of myself.  I have all sorts of goals for myself.  Then, as happens, I disappoint myself in some way.  Maybe I don't exercise like I say I'm going to in sobriety.  Or maybe I don't eat right.  Or maybe just feelings about my life bubble up.  It gets to be too much and I drink again.  Then I have disappointed myself again so might as well keep drinking.  It's easier to drink than be disappointed.

I spent time this morning cataloging where I have disappointed myself in my life.  It's a pretty long list, lol.  I made a graph to show what I am feeling.  I started out in life really happy with myself.  I went off to College on top of the world!  As I've disappointed myself over the years I've escaped with drinking.  Drinking went from being a social thing with occasional binges to a coping mechanism for everyday life.

The graph isn't that clear but you get my point.  The blue line going from left to right is increasing disappointments in myself leading to decreased happiness with myself.  When I was younger there was always hope to be better.  Once I hit 40 I lost hope for much change.  The yellow line illustrates an increase in my drinking.  When those two lines crossed I realized I had a problem.  Somewhere around age 40.

We all disappoint ourselves but I think some are better at acknowledging it.  Some folks acknowledge it and are depressed or anxious.  I've never allowed myself to feel those feelings.  I think that's where shame comes in and maybe it is time to let myself feel some shame for my decisions and do some work on that.  I never thought I had shame but I think there may be heaps of it buried deep inside of me.

I did some online searching and I think one article spoke to me more than others.  The next time I want to drink I'm going to do some work:

1) Notice the signals:  When I want to drink I'm going to ask myself how I'm feeling.  Are there things I haven't accomplished, am I feeling bad about myself in some way that I want to tune out?

2) Give myself some space:  Allow those feelings to be there.  Don't push them away

3) Give myself compassion:  Tell myself I'm still worthy, give myself a virtual hug.  Go find something to reward myself (that is not alcohol) for acknowledging the feeling.

4) See the greatness of the present:  Change my story.  Sure I may have failed at X but I have succeeded in so many other ways.  Remind myself of what has gone well and feel gratefulness.

5) Work with curiosity:  Tomorrow will be exciting, especially if feeling refreshed.  It's okay to feel tired and out of control of some things.  Sleep will be a good reset.  Get good sleep.

This all seems pretty trite in some ways.  I've always known that drinking brings shame.  I know that during cravings I should distract myself.  I know to "sit" with my feelings but to sit with them I have to know what I am feeling.  That was always the missing link for me.....what on earth am I really feeling?

All I can say is that for a long time, in the evenings, I have experienced a tired grieving feeling.  An end of day tiredness, yes, we all have that, but this is more.  It's like I have experienced a loss that I need to grieve.  I want to reach for wine to sooth my pain.  I think I am grieving the loss of myself, of my goals and who I thought I was.  I didn't become who I thought I would.  Didn't lead the exact life I wanted.

This is all probably normal and we all process this differently.  But maybe this explains a lot of gray area drinkers and why it's in our 40s, 50s and 60s that a lot of us begin to deal with drinking escalation.

Finally really sitting here and thinking about this, acknowledging all this about myself, has been like opening the floodgates.  I HAVE really disappointed myself and I am already 50.   People and events have disappointed me but that I can deal with.  In fact, in times of challenge, I drink less.  I am invigorated.  It's the sitting with myself that I try to drown out.  I think this explains the at home drinking and why I never drink too much out with or amongst others.  In social situations I am distracted from the grief.  I feel welcome and alive.  But by myself...…..or just sitting with the hubs in the evening...….it's a different story.

Enough on this for now.  I'm going to keep thinking along these lines though.  I know what I must do.  I need to think about my disappointments, feel the pain, forgive myself for each one, end each thought with something I'm grateful for, and move on.  Grieving is a process and it's like I've been stuck in a phase of it.

I also still have to "not pick up that glass of wine", just don't start again.  That's my plan!

Happy Saturday,
HD


Saturday, May 2, 2020

4ever

I've always had a hard time with sticking with anything in the "forever" sense.  No matter what I decide to do, I'll do it pretty easily and for awhile.....and then....I'll come and go back to whatever it was.  Especially if it's something just for me.  Piano, learning Spanish, cooking, exercise, to name a few.  "Not drinking" is in that same category for me.  Always has been.  While I would love to say I'm never drinking again, that won't fly.  I know it.

I agree with Annie Grace in that this is a process whereby once you decide you don't want to drink, you have victory.  I also know that I'll never get there unless I have extended sobriety, otherwise it will be a continued battle, so that's still my goal.

This week was good brain food though, for me.  I drank Monday night and slept great.  So I had wine Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night.  Uggh.   It was just so obvious this time.  With just one sip I'm back on the train.

Fortunately I do have an attitude of this isn't what I want.  It's not even that I think I might be able to handle it.  I just took the drug to help ease pain and voila, I was back at it.  I could feel the train leaving the station again so I hopped off, sent it on it's way and it was lovely to wake up early today feeling pretty good.

I'm still going to track days as I think it's helpful in one sense but if I screw up, I'm going to view it as reinforcement and get back at it.  I don't know if forever will work for me but longer and longer periods of not drinking is certainly doable.  That and recognizing that one ride on the train doesn't mean I have to ride it all the time!

Going to try and deal with anxiety over health issues this week......without wine!!!

Happy Saturday,
HD

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

They call it a drug for a reason

What would have been Day 18, and a story to tell about Age 18, fell apart.  Maybe I just couldn't face discussing what happened in my 18th year.  Guess I get to save that for 18 days from now.

I mentioned before that I have been having leg pains.  It started at the end of last summer and all through the fall I used a bolster under my legs at night and resorted to having to sleep on my back to manage the pain.  I am not a back sleeper so this resulted in me having very disrupted sleep for months.

In November I went back to drinking wine every night, gave up on this quitting thing, and gradually realized my legs weren't hurting as much while sleeping but I was still really stiff upon waking or getting up after sitting for very long.  I was wondering if my leg pain, while not as bad as it had been, was caused by alcohol.  I think my body is in state of inflammation of some sort that I need to calm down.

I, optimistically, assumed that not drinking would help this.  But, since I stopped drinking on April 10th, my leg pain got worse and worse.  I don't have an answer for this but chronic pain and I don't do well together.  I am also loathe to take ibuprofen or other anti inflammatory medication.  Why?  I have no idea.

Last night after 2 nights of really poor sleep and a lot of pain, I just hit the end of my rope.  I had a choice, dope up on ibuprofen before bed or see if wine helped.  I had a craving so why not?  Uggh.  I guess it was a good experiment.  I had that bottle of white wine and other than a little heartburn, I slept the best in days.  Woke up and my legs don't hurt although still stiff.

What does this tell me?  Umm, duh, alcohol is a drug, the oldest in the book.  There is a reason why people took swigs of whiskey before getting bullets taken out in the old days.   Today is interesting in that I realize I took a drug.  It did help but it reinforces that it's not how I want to manage my pain.

So I'll get back to not drinking and spend some time thinking about inflammation and looking at foods in that regard and then, if I really need sleep, I'll dope up on ibuprofen and choose that as my drug instead of alcohol.  I've tried turmeric, fyi, and it really hasn't helped much but I'm going to keep taking it.

Has anyone else reading this triumphed over inflammation?  Maybe this is all just peri menopause/menopause symptoms that will resolve themselves like hot flashes.

Anyway, I told my hubs last night I wanted wine to see if it helped and it did.  Done.  Experiment concluded.  Yes, it has short term benefits but I know what it's like drinking day in and day out and I think I'll take the pain instead and at least have a clear head.  I still think alcohol has contributed to overall inflammation, I just broke after 2 and a half weeks of it getting worse not better.  This time I'll be prepared.

We're having a heat wave here and the pool is already up to temperature for swimming.  I'm going to use that as my exercise of choice this week and see if that helps as well.

Day 1 with 17 days under my belt.

HD

Saturday, April 25, 2020

One bottle, one blip

And here I thought I wouldn't blog much.  I suppose if we weren't in quarantine I might not have the time, but it does feel good to get thoughts out of my head.

Last night I hit a speedbump but made it to the other side.  We decided to go pick up dinner and order online to get curbside delivery.  I think other than a pizza delivery and one fast food run for my son we haven't had outside food since this seclusion started.  I just really wanted good fish and there is a great restaurant where we can get it and I can get my son really good chicken strips!

So I go to place the order online and I see that sodas are included...….but you can also order a bottle of wine.  The stars aligned because the conversation went like this, of course at my instigation.

Me:  Oh we should get a glass of wine with dinner  (how does this happen, just blurts out?)
Hubs:  I can just stop at grocery store
(remember my guilt over contracting Covid if we were to make a wine run...…)
Me:  Nah, never mind, I don't want to stop
Me:  Oh look we can buy a bottle of wine, too, with our food, they aren't selling by the glass
Hubs:  That's way too expensive, we can just stop (love that he is frugal to a fault sometimes)
Me:  Nah, never mind, it's okay we are good with water/soda
Me:  Wow, we can get Kendall Jackson for $12.99.  That's not that much more than grocery store.
Hubs:  What kind of wine?
Me:  Chardonnay
Hubs: I don't really want Chardonnay, I can just run into grocery store on the way there and get red and white, let's go now.
Me:  (Oh hell no, now it hits me where this is going to end up)  Nah, never mind, we are fine with water/soda.  I'm just ordering now, it will take 20 minutes so we don't have to leave right now, we can leave in 10.

I noted that I think he glared at me but kept his mouth shut and went and grabbed a shot of whiskey.  Poor man, I probably had him salivating for wine too.

So I didn't have wine because of him.  I came so close to ordering that bottle.  One bottle would have just been one blip, right?  Arrgh.

I'm glad I made it through but I need to do more work, clearly, on how to get through those moments.  Well, we don't have wine in the house and we won't order out again until next Friday.

I've just got to go at this long enough to get to the other side and I hear that's at least 6 months!

Day 16 and Age 16:  I was giving a lot of thought to high school yesterday and this morning.  I had that one night out where I was clearly buzzing at age 14 but I can't think of anytime age 15 - 17 where I had too much.  I had sips here and there and even went to a prom where people were drinking heavily but I didn't.  I don't think I even had my first real hangover until age 18.

Not long after that Age 14 event, I became passionate about what I wanted to do in life.  I knew who I was going to be! (ha, that changed but I was definitely in to my plans back then).  I started flying lessons at 15, solo'ed at 16 and got my pilots license at 17.  Was focused on getting good grades and getting into college of my choice.  Probably just no room for drinking.

I think there is something to this.....Having no mental time for drinking is important.  Right now I'm filling my time with new and different things which is helping but I still don't know what I want to be doing with my life.  My career is fine but making that my main focus isn't my preference.  I love what I do but I don't need to be the best known in my field or known as a guru.  I am happy with the only marketing I do is referrals, word of mouth. I love people coming to me from happy clients where there is a real relationship.

The hubs has always had side hobbies to his work.  I am really envious.  He is passionate about these horses.  Why I am holding back from getting involved in the same, I don't know.  Maybe a fear of failure, feeling that even though I was the one with the riding background, he is light years ahead of where I was, now.  Need to give this some thought.

Happy Saturday
HD

Friday, April 24, 2020

I abuse alcohol because........

….early on I used it in a manner that was not how society portrays it should be used.  I used it for buzz, for making me feel care free, to ease anxiety or ill at ease feelings, or to zone out.  I have never really used alcohol as a complement or pairing to food and really couldn't give a shit what flavors, what hints of ingredients are in it once I'm beyond about 1/2 glass.  I drink to drink not to taste.  Bottom line.

I've spent a lot of mental energy in the last two weeks trying to figure out "why" I drink.  As if there is a magical reason that if i fix it, I won't need to drink.  I have started with present day and I keep going back and back and back.

- Do I abuse alcohol as a means of coping with my life now because I am not where I thought I would be in life or whom I would be with?  Possibly but even if that's the case I abused alcohol before now.....so I go further back....

- Did I abuse alcohol as a means of coping with my divorce? Umm....sure, but I abused alcohol before that.….so I go further back....

- Did I abuse alcohol as a means of dealing with parenting?  Maybe......from time to time....but I abused alcohol before that....so I go further back

- Did I abuse alcohol because my first husband and I got bored with each other and it was a way of tuning out our life dissatisfaction?  Possibly.....but I abused alcohol before that....so I go further back

- Did I abuse alcohol because I regretted getting married so young and maybe I rushed into things?  Could be......but I abused alcohol before that...….so I go further back

- Did I abuse alcohol while my ex and I were dating because I was struggling to figure out what I wanted in life and if he was the right guy?  Not sure, I did love him....but it doesn't matter....I abused alcohol before that....so I go further back

- Did I abuse alcohol because of the college environment and it felt so adult to drink? For sure....but I abused alcohol before that......so I go further back

- Did I abuse alcohol in college because I was uncomfortable around men and the dating scene and I needed to be very loose to be social?  Yes, that certainly seems the start of things.....but I abused alcohol before that.....so I go further back

- Did I abuse alcohol in high school?  Sort of.

- Did I have an abused or traumatic childhood?  Nope.  Was loved, nurtured and supported by all.

I can come up with a lot of reasons why I drink and I do think it's personality related in some way.  I've never thought of myself as someone who has anxiety or depression and I've certainly never had panic attacks.  I don't really overly worry or obsess about things, I just move on.  But in re-reading the above, I get the feeling that I have had anxiety about things in life and all the way back to high school I began using alcohol to redirect away from that.  A little feeling of anxiety?  Drink it away.  Interesting.

These past few nights around 4:30pm I have been chuckling with a grimace.  I want wine really bad.  I want to sit and escape.  From what?  I'm not really sure, haven't dove into that too deep yet.  But I get that flutter in my body, that agitation, that need.  At 15 days, I wonder if that is the emotional addiction to alcohol lingering or is it something else?  So I am trying to spend time evaluating my life's issues in the morning, during a better period of clarity not being compounded by cravings.

Every day I'm thinking of an event at the age that matches my day of non drinking.  It's showing me that I have always exhibited a disorder when using alcohol.

Age 14:  Pinch-hitted as a date for a winter formal.  Limo drove us around afterward, I got buzzed on champagne.  Drank to fit in and I was nervous because I didn't know everyone.

Age 15: Don't really remember much other than going to a popular kids party, lots of drinking there.  I didn't fit in and didn't want to drink so my friend and I left.  But we would always try to have champagne on Christmas and New Years.  Tried to swipe glasses of wine when we could because it felt adult.  Probably just lack of opportunity and I had a lot of stuff going on in my life elsewise to keep me busy.

Will be interesting (well, for me, lol, probably not for anyone reading this) to see what the next 35 days of memories hold for me.

My plan is to recollect a bit until then and dive into some situations that might explain why I feel the need for alcohol to cope with my life.  I know using alcohol has held me back from what I can accomplish.  I need to find myself... as cliché as that sounds.

Happy Friday,
HD

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The blahs

Tonight I'm feeling melancholy and really in the mood for wine.  Why?  Just to tune out the sadness.

I'm hungry, moody, tired and thirsty.  Duh, no wonder....

But I won't drink.  It's already almost 5:30pm, I'm about to make dinner and we don't have wine in the house.  Quarantine has helped me I guess.  I couldn't stand myself if I brought home Coronavirus just because of a wine run.....just can't do it.

I really wouldn't even know if that was where it came from.  But even the other parade of horribles goes through my head...….why it didn't before, I don't know.....but right now I can't stomach the thought of anything happening to me or my family because I asked for wine.

Well, not exactly me being "disinterested" in wine like I have been, but I'm not drinking tonight so there is that.

They cancelled school for the rest of the year and I'm just sad for my son, for me not watching him in  sports or other school events, no prom etc, and just missing the overall school camaraderie.  Feeling sorry for myself a bit although I can't really complain.  I feel horrible for all the seniors and their parents and mine is still only a junior.

So I'm just irritated tonight, sad, a bit anxious and just downright grouchy.  I want wine to tune that out.  But I know that once I get up from the computer, go have a mocktail, make dinner, this will pass.

Cravings really only involve a short window of time.  I just need to shut the blinds while the sun goes down and then I'll be fine.

Hugs to all like me and to others who want to quit.  It's hard to admit I can't moderate and that any time I say "yes" to wine almost always means (at least for sure at home) "yes" to a bottle and all that comes with it.  I'm just tired of it all.

Day 13 almost done.

HD

Monday, April 20, 2020

Busy Brain

As always, in the early days of quitting drinking, my mind is whirring.  One minute I think of one aspect of my historical drinking habits, then whammo, another thought hops on the hamster wheel.

This morning I listened to the Bubble Hour, to Barry's story from 2 weeks ago.  Chilled me to the bone.  As host Jean said, we are all really just one breath away from what happened to her and her son.

While I was careful to never drink too much and drive my son anywhere, just the thought of the number of times that I left him up, playing with his friends on his computer, as I grayed out and went to bed.  What if something had happened to him and I wasn't able to deal with it?   What about those times I DID drive after having some wine.  I felt okay but what if I really wasn't, got pulled over and my child had gotten taken away from me?  So scary.

Tonight I had a craving around 4:30 but I was prepared for it.  I just sat through it.  I knew, just knew, if I gave it an hour, I would be okay......and I was.

The hubs left to mail something around then and he asked if I needed him to get anything while he was out.  I think that was code for "if you ask me to go get wine, I will".  I resisted and said that I was good.  I went back to working on my computer until he got home.  My wicked witch was screaming....just ask him to get a bottle of wine!  I didn't really want it, I just had that anxious tension feeling I get at the end of the day.  I wanted to wake up fresh in the morning tomorrow more than I wanted that wine.   Fortunately he has a competitive streak.  He wants to drink wine but won't admit it and yet probably hopes I ask for it!  So if don't, he doesn't drink much either.

Around 5:30 hubs and I sat down and chatted and I had a mocktail.  Then I took my son out to get dinner - first fast food he has had in a month, poor thing - and then I poured another mocktail when I got back while hubs was working again.  Hubs and I had dinner while watching tv and I had another mocktail.  I'm about to explode with sparkling water, lol, but I didn't drink!

It's been a long time since I pushed through cravings.  Over the past year I either didn't drink because it was easy or caved because that seemed easier.  I'm trying to tell myself just get to 7pm and if you still really want to drink you can.  By then I find I don't want to.  It's too late for me.

Day 11 done.

HD