Sunday, December 11, 2016

Riptide

In trying to change my view on exercise, the person I'm working with had me go back to my childhood, to a time where I was doing some sort of exercise without considering it exercise.  I was told to visualize that time and express how I felt.  I picked a time where I felt refreshed, energized, carefree and happy in what I was doing.  We named it.  I started visualizing that whenever I got negative about thinking of working out.  It helped immensely.  I started exercising of my own accord, I started enjoying it.  I blogged about what I did.

Then, I decided to step things up a notch and create a chart to track whether I met my goals.  Big mistake. The pressure of having to log that set me back.  I felt horrible if I got to Tuesday and hadn't logged anything.  I just pulled into myself and all those feelings about how I hated exercise came rushing back.  I'm recovering from that right now and trying to get back into exercise.  It's one of the reasons I put alcohol on hold.  I need to deal with one thing at a time.  Focusing on moderating and trying to get back into exercise is too much at once.  I have deleted my chart and am just going to go back to logging whatever exercise I do starting tomorrow.  Today I rest.

I'm thinking about my vision as much as possible today to try and get reset.

It made me think, however, about creating a vision for alcohol.  I think doing this will be helpful.  Here it is, see what you think.

I grew up where we had riptides.  It's basically a long, narrow band of tidal flow water that pulls objects out to sea.  So we were always taught just swim parallel to the beach and you would get out of it before it pulled you out too far.  We were taught that riptides were scary, could make you panic, you would feel out of control.  But, if you kept your cool and swam out of it, you would be fine.

As a child, I played on the beach.  Metaphorically, this was before alcohol took hold.  I was happy, enthusiastic and full of life.

One day, when I was about 20, I got caught in a riptide.  For years, it swept me out to sea and away from that person I had been on shore.

It took a long time of fighting the current to finally garner enough strength to swim sideways out of it.  I swam for 125 days.  Lo and behold I was out of the tide's clutches and I body surfed back to shore.  It was glorious, I felt like a dolphin, free to move, seeing the shore come back to me.

I landed on the beach.  It was a different beach.  I had had to swim parallel for quite a ways, afterall.  I had learned a lot about myself during my cross ways swim and I knew I had to get strong, to be able to fight the future riptides.

For a few months I would venture into the water and get grabbed by the tide. I could feel it pulling me out. I would swim out, ride to shore, and get pulled out a few days later.  Finally, in November, I just kept getting pulled further and further out.  The tide wasn't as strong as the one from years past, but pulling me away from my safe beach nonetheless.

I'm swimming parallel again.  Someday I will go back to shore and see how I do.  Hopefully I will be on an even further beach with fewer riptides or at least I'll be stronger and can resist them.

To me, the cross ways swimming is where I get strong, build up the mental muscle.  Having alcohol isn't an option when I'm evading the tide.  This part is pretty easy for me because drinking just isn't part of this phase.  I still get cravings but I can get through them.

I will eventually let myself coast to shore where I have to make a decision to drink or not.  When I say "its okay" or "its my choice" and then I have to have strength to resist.  I may even decide at that point that I am permanently abstaining.  My point is that I won't be swimming hard, parallel to the shore forever.  That would be exhausting and not fun.  So I'll swim ashore when I'm ready and then, if I decide alcohol has no role in my life, fine.  I will gloriously bask in the sun on the shore in that decision.

Or if it does have a role, I will think it through each time.  Do I really want to venture into the current and run the risk of it grabbing me?  Having to fight the current again and do all the work to swim out of it, yet again?

Some people call it the wine witch, some call it Wolfie, I was even trying to be gender fair and call it the wine warlock for a time, but I think, this vision of a circle:  safe shore, scary riptide, swimming out of it, and a glorious coast back to shore, works nicely for me.

Here's to one week in to my current parallel swim!  Here's to all of us trying to abstain even if just to get through the holidays and the new year!

Hugs to all,

HD






Monday, December 5, 2016

FFS

I love that expression ever since I heard other bloggers use it and it's what is going through my mind today.....FFS

I suppose I should write about the 3rd type of craving...the FFS craving.

Yesterday I had to work at the office for awhile, came home, finished setting timer lights on my Christmas decorations and was in a really good, relaxed mood.  Then husband said he was running to the store to buy dogfood and would pick up the bottled water we needed and, as he put it, a Sunday bottle of white wine for me.

FFS.....do you think I said anything? Nope.

I can't blame him for asking since I had asked the day before and then changed my mind.

FFS....I wasn't even craving wine!!!

FFS...Do you think I had just one glass?  Nope.  Drank the whole bottle over the evening.

Why?  No real idea.  I was still irritated that he was drinking and I didn't want to be.  It was like "if you can't beat him, join him".

I didn't have any blackout, I was coherent when I went to bed, I slept pretty well and my system cleaned itself out nicely this morning. (TMI)

I was awake for about a half hour in the middle of the night with intense heartburn.  Pizza and wine don't mix well.  And of course I was yelling in my head "FFS" at myself.

It's one thing to succumb to the wine witch when she is calling but to drink too much when she's not even in the house?  Oh FFS.

I'm just going to jump on the bus now.  No more alcohol until after I make it through New Years and a surgery I have scheduled in January.  I'm so disgusted with myself!  Everyone I follow is doing so well, you know who you are!!  So I'm joining Team Alcohol Free!

Stay with me folks!!  Please!!

HD

Sunday, December 4, 2016

My Different Types of Cravings

I'm writing this down as I have become again aware of two completely different types of wine cravings that I experience.

1) The regular wine witch - "Oh, I want to go get a bottle of white wine, right NOW!"
2)  The "just wanting to have some wine, have it in my life and not feel like I'm missing out" craving.

I don't know if anyone else experiences this but I wanted to write this difference down and note it because I think the key to not falling back to where I was lies in identifying these different cravings.

I never started out my blog with the idea of "forever", in fact, you can see that I have fought that concept continually, all along.  But it's worth noting, I would NOT be where I am now if I hadn't done over 100 days without alcohol, experienced what that could be like.

I'm not advocating anyone try alcohol again just because they reach 100 days.  We ALL have our own unique relationships with alcohol that are very different - we are ALL just the same because we wouldn't be reading these blogs if we didn't want to change those relationships.

I saw a comment on a website fairly recent that quoted a site where you could read some questions to determine if you might be able to handle controlled drinking. 

I answered no to all the questions except the one that said "you have a relatively short drinking history".  I wasn't sure if that meant drinking period or drinking in a manner I didn't care for.  But all the other ones were no.  

When I was younger my Dad always had Twinkies or Ding Dongs laying around.  I knew I shouldn't have any of his stash but everyday and I had to have JUST one!  Of something forbidden.  That would be like my craving number 2 above.

Then there would be the potato chips and girls scout cookie thin mints.  If I opened those up, there they went.  The whole stack of cookies, the whole bag of chips.  That was like craving number 1 above where once I start, I can't stop.

Over the years I learned to conquer #1.....most of the time.  I'm not beyond eating a full bag of chips on a long car drive but generally I can take a bit of anything and moderate it when it comes to food.  I know that I can get fat, that it makes me feel tired, if I binge on any food.  So I generally don't.

But there is still craving #2.  Even when I wasn't drinking, just knowing I had the Cadbury on hand made me want some.  I had to have my 6 squares a day, 1/3 of a bar.  I ostensibly was having it so that the wine witch wouldn't visit me later but honestly, just because it was there, I had to have some.  It would be bad to have too much but I needed a "fix" daily.  

When I have wine at night, I don't go to my Cadbury.  I still have a bar sitting there from 3 weeks ago.

Yesterday I noticeably had the two cravings. 

On Thursday I said I was going to go dry until the holidays.  That night I had about 4 or 5 sips of red wine and gave the rest to my hubby.  Then on Friday night we went out to a restaurant and I had 4 oz of white wine.  Literally, this restaurant pours much smaller than most.  Probably because it was a Mexican restaurant and they are used to bringing Margaritas!  I mean, seriously, who orders wine with nachos?  But I just felt like I needed to or else I was missing out.  I had no desire for more and no desire for more once we got home. 

Yesterday I got stressed about everything to be done for the holidays.  I love my hubby but we are very different.  I come from a military background, high on the "attention to detail" scale.  Yesterday he put up the outdoor lights.  A few years back, after my divorce, when he moved in, I asked him to put up the lights.  You know what?  They are pretty.  But my house is the only one on the block that looks like someone vomited up lights all over the front yard and roofline.  Nothing is neat.  Strands hang everywhere, plug joints are exposed to rain (fortunately we rarely get any and only had one year where it all shorted out), and color and clear are all mixed around.  I try not to look at the mess during the day and just appreciate the color at night.  My neighbors are all perfectionists with massive amounts of lights all perfectly arranged.  But I know better, now that I started this, than to critique too much and just let it be.  It's okay!

So I was a little stressed about the lights and then I realized 3 boxes were still missing from our storage facility that I needed for decorating inside.  He went with me and we got them.  Looking at my once neat storage box also stressed me out.  It was a total disorganized mess since he has been in charge of it for awhile now.  He had also had some red wine in the afternoon and I could tell.  So I was just irritated that he wanted kisses and I had to taste wine on his lips.  On the way home from getting the boxes I blurted out "if you are having wine I have to have some and we should get a bottle of white as it's not fair you are having some and I'm not!"  He agreed we should stop.

But I didn't.  Oh I wanted to soooo bad.  I wanted to crack open a bottle of white and calm my holiday stress.  I do all the decorating inside, all the shopping, all the wrapping, my feet hurt terribly from walking on my hard floors all day decorating and I just wanted wine.  But I worked through it.  I didn't stop.  Later I even said "oh, I forgot to get a bottle but I guess you don't want to go out again, hmm?"  Hopeful.  He said "nope".  That ended that.  The craving passed.  That was craving #1.

Then, after dinner, I just felt cheated.  Still irritated that he had wine but I didn't.  I didn't crave it but felt like I needed just a little.  I didn't care that I had said I wouldn't drink until the holidays.  I wanted to say I had some.  So I poured myself 3 oz of red wine and made a cup of tea.  I escaped to a 40 minute full on bubble bath with my wine, tea and audio book.  It was awesome and I slept like a log.

So I'm changing my strategy.  Here's what I know:
1) If I have craving #1 and give in, I'm likely to drink the whole bottle.  That's what I really want to focus on working through.  
2) If I have craving #2, I'll think about it.  I need to be sure I'm not just justifying and masking craving #1.  But I won't beat myself up if I reward myself with a glass of wine and that's all it is.

I gave the red wine a lot of thought last night.  For some reason, just having a little bit calmed the #2 type of craving and I was done.  Craving #1s often come before dinner, Craving #2s after.  Also something to be aware of is that I'm much less likely to need wine when I'm not hungry.

In the past I would tell myself that if I get through dinner then, after dinner, I can have some if I want some still.  That does seem to work.

I'm going to write about any #1 cravings that I get and try to work through them or admit I failed.  I'm still feeling very balanced, enjoying the exercise that I am trying to fit in during this busy season, not at all drinking like I was a year ago, and enjoying time with family that I might have missed in the past.

My main goal today was to note how I'm feeling at this point in my journey.  I'm curious to see if I stay on my managed path or if I fall down again.  If I keep alcohol in my life, I know I'll have a "bad" moment at some point - much easier to not have any - but making sure I don't go back to my old way of life is my overall goal.

Hugs to all as we struggle to work through this festive season.

HD


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Not as bad as I once was......

There's a Toby Keith song with these lyrics:

I ain't as good as I once was,
But I'm as good once, as I ever was

In my mind, I shift these around in regards to my relationship with wine:

I ain't as bad as I once was,
But I can be as bad once, as I ever was


This is my busiest time of year work-wise so I have spent a few minutes each day trying to catch up on blogs but not always having time to comment on all.  I'm trying to fit in exercise, fit in food for the family, etc.

I had a really lovely Thanksgiving this year.  Last year I woke up hungover every morning, barely got out hiking and I remember it was the first time I realized I was throwing up green bile.  This year I had wine over the long evening and slept wonderfully.....because I didn't have too much.

I really debated whether I should be completely dry or not for TGiving.  I decided not to focus on it and just let things happen.  I ended up having wine, but in a normal manner.  Although, even 3 glasses over many hours was still probably too much to be considered healthy.

I started off November going dry to keep others going which meant keeping myself going.  When those folks fell away I sort of lost my own momentum.  It's not their fault, I just was committed to them but not to myself so it was easy to take some drinking passes when I saw they were.  Strangely enough all of those folks are doing really well now in sobriety.  It's so wonderful to see!

But then there is me.  Basically drinking moderately.  I'm pleased that I'm not overdoing it but I feel like I am walking along a cliff.  One slip and down I go. Right now I'm feeling well balanced in wine and exercise.  My overall relationship with wine has changed or at least my awareness of myself and issues with it has been acknowledged.  I know what I don't want to be like again but it does require some control.

The funny thing is that deep down I still feel the fact that I drink wine is wrong.  I never used to think that but this last year has changed my perspective. A year ago, I felt I was drinking too much and that was the issue, not that wine itself is inherently unhealthy.  Now, a year later, I'm not drinking "too" much (at least not like I was) and I feel horribly guilty about every sip.  Not sure why, I just do.

I desperately want to be "in" with those who aren't drinking.  To be counting is perfect behavior for me as it gives me focus.  So instead of counting when I don't drink, I am basically counting when and what I do.

So I'm still here just chugging along.  I'm not nearly as bad as I once was but I think the proper trigger might give me a chance to be as bad once as I ever was.....and I don't want that.

I think I just need to prove to myself that I can drink or not drink.  That means I will need to find times during the year when I cold turkey it, reset my system.  I'm going to start again today and go without at least until the holidays when family descends upon me.  I have a feeling a little self-medication may be in order then but I survived Thanksgiving with a small dose of the drug.  I'm not proud of admitting I needed it but it did help.  And it is just that, a drug.

So I'm sort of counting again.....

HD

Monday, November 21, 2016

Just being balanced

Got behind in blogging.  It's only been a week since I posted but I feel behind because I didn't update my counting tabs.  I feel surprisingly good though!  I love reading others blog posts and I can comment from my phone but can't post on my own page very easily.

For now I am feeling balanced.  Although I am in the busiest season for me work-wise, I feel so much better than this time last year.

Thanksgiving was really the time I realized I was drinking way too much.  I came home, found Sober Mummy's blog again and began reading all the recommended books like crazy.  It took me until March to really try quitting and then April before I was able to go more than 100 days.

I've learned a whole lot about myself this year, improved my relationship with my hubby, been figuring out my boundaries with alcohol and am beginning to grasp what my true goals are.  I've been getting help with my attitude toward health in general and exercise and am now starting to delve into some unfinished emotional business I need to conquer.

I have been drinking more regularly since August but drinking less than before April.  I no longer have the self-loathing.  I still have some nights where I see how alcohol affects my sleep.  Overall I still wish I could not have any.  It was easy when I felt I had to quit because of how I was behaving.  Now that I'm not that person anymore, it's harder to commit to giving it up 100%.  I have had, and still will have some "moments" where I say to myself...."shouldn't have had those last few glasses" but I hope they are few and far between.  They don't seem to happen very often anymore and certainly not weekly.

I know I feel best and look best without alcohol in my system.  I know I lose weight easier when I don't drink.  I am more motivated in general and I eat better, more healthy.  I just need to remember this more often.  I still think I'm going to give it up again for a certain period of time, I want to count again!  Just....not .....quite...ready....yet.  

Happy Thanksgiving this week to all celebrating!

HD

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Torn between two worlds

I'm feeling pulled apart at the middle right now.

I first came to these blogs....well, hmm...let's say......I found some blogs about being sober and started my blog.  My blog isn't located in a sober group nor a moderation group.  I haven't joined any groups.  I started this blog for me, to be accountable to myself and to document my journey.

What I discovered, however, was a lovely group of people.  I started commenting on a few blogs, they commented on mine.  So the group of bloggers I was associating with were sober bloggers for the most part even though my blog itself is just up on on blogger, not categorized in any particular way.

I am feeling soooo much better than this time last year that I want to shout it from a mountain top.  So far, in 2016, I have abstained for quite awhile, tried moderating, increased too much for my satisfaction and backed off again.  I keep feeling like I "should" be completely dry but I don't really "want" to be that way.

I'm really happy with where I am right now.  I love the support I get, the advice and wisdom that so many have to offer.  But.... I feel funny cheering someone on in their sobriety when total abstinence is not the path (obviously) that I'm taking.  Sometimes I don't comment because I feel like it's hypocritical and I don't want someone to read my blog and feel scammed.

I had a long talk with myself today.  I either need to shut down this blog or just remember, it's for ME!  When I was abstaining, I didn't mind someone moderating and commenting on my blog....I just appreciated the comment.   And nobody has to read my blog, I guess, if they don't want to.

So I decided to keep on with it and just blog about my journey minus the guilt.  I'm happier than I have been in years. I am exercising without giving it much thought.  I'm not drinking too much without giving it much thought except for when I'm here blogging.  Last week I had one bottle on election night and then last night one and a half glasses while out to dinner.  Hubby and I hadn't gone out in a long time just the two of us.  He ordered a bottle and drank most of it and I drove.  It is where I want things to be.  I shouldn't feel guilty about this.  I don't even want to drink a bottle once a week but if that's as bad as it gets, I'm okay with that.  Sure as shit beats where I was!!

I know I don't have the strength to be able to drink daily and keep it from escalating.  I saw that in October.  I'm really focusing on triggers and I'm still going to blog that next time I get a huge mother of a craving!!  I'm not going to feel bad for updating my counting tab.  I don't have to explain myself to anyone and if someone sees I'm drinking too much, they are welcome to comment or not.

What I do love is that the people on these blogs, all of you, are so genuine, so honest and have given so much of yourselves by commenting on various blogs.  And if I'm helping someone who just reads this blog, even if you never comment, then that's awesome too.

So I'm letting go of my guilt, my shame around drinking.  This is just my honest account of where I am, what I do and we'll see where I go!  I still think, and I've said this before, I admire the hell out of all those choosing sobriety 100%.  I love reading your blogs and what you go through free of alcohol.  But maybe, just maybe, there is someone else out there like me, where just backing off for awhile and getting things organized in the brain, can also be impactful toward changing someones relationship with alcohol and launching them on a journey of self-discovery like I have been doing!

Hugs to all.

HD

Friday, November 11, 2016

Something in my hand...

I finally feel like I am getting free from the clutches of alcohol.  For some reason, it was pivotal to acknowledge, really acknowledge, that when I drink white wine, it will always be a bottle if given the chance.

Oh I'm sure there will be times where I don't drink a full bottle if out at a restaurant or around family but I'm going to assume those times would be anomalies.

I no longer crave wine every evening, I don't need it to unwind daily. But I know, and I'm learning, what my triggers are.  The other night I tried again when I didn't really have any triggers.  Well, the election was stressful but not like the normal stresses that trigger drinking.  I just used it as an excuse. So, even unstressed, I still drank the whole thing just because it was there.

It's almost as if the habit of needing to drink alcohol regularly has gone away but the need to "drink" has not.  If I drink sparkling water, I drink the whole bottle.  It's like I need to keep sipping.

This may be the part of the habit like a smoker who wants something in their hand when drinking coffee.  Something about 5 o'clock makes me want to have something in my hand, sipping.  It almost doesn't matter what.

If I'm distracted by sipping tea or drinking water I don't seem to have cravings.  It's almost a race....I need to start sipping something in the evenings BEFORE the craving hits.  Once the craving to sip hits, then I immediately crave the wine.  Interesting anyways.

I'm going to try to start my cucumber water a bit earlier, not wait for hubby to come home.  Maybe drink more decaf tea and just see how it makes me feel.   When I am away at Thanksgiving, I'll drink gobs of sparkling water around 4pm, before the family begins cocktail hour and see what happens.

Another blogger replied to a post with the gist that we have been testing our boundaries.  I finally feel like I am setting up some boundaries within which I can live and commit to as opposed to setting up rules I feel the need to fight.

Always a journey.

HD

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Not perfect here....

Last night I decided to drink with hubby and son and watch election returns.  I slept well, other than getting up to check my phone and see who won, felt good this morning on my walk, and had fun last night watching how enthusiastic my son was over the election coverage.  I didn't drink all at once, I didn't blackout, I have no self-loathing.

I'm not totally thrilled I drank because drinking a bottle is just not healthy, but I want to keep this in perspective.  I made a decision to take a pass for an evening of my Dry November.  I was happy with my cucumber water watching hubby drink red wine.  Then, it wasn't even a craving, it was more like, this is such a crazy night it seemed to need wine associated with it.  It was as if I was bothered by the concept of not drinking more than I wanted to actually drink.

I feel as if I am moving further and further away from alcohol with each testing of the waters.  Wine didn't enhance the experience, just made me more talkative and more aware that I will never stop at 2 glasses except for very specific occasions and with a lot of control being exercised.

So back to being dry.  The election is over, the country has chosen a new leader.  I cherish living in this democracy. I exercised my right to vote.  I have faith in mankind and, while changes would have been different with each party, each party would have brought change.  I am not doom and gloom.  I am not going to whine and I am not going to worry.  I look forward, with keen interest, to see what the next few years bring.

We needed a new leader, we needed change regardless of which party ended up in office.  We elected Trump, not Clinton.  Now we need to move forward with that in as productive way as possible and try to keep it from being a divisive issue.  If I don't like where things head, I am free to leave.

HD

Monday, November 7, 2016

Dry November Week 2

Kicking off week 2 here.  Weight: 167.8lbs.  Not sure I really lost any pounds vs water weight but nice to see some small change.

I didn't have too many cravings this week and the one on Friday night passed quickly.

It helps to have a new perspective.  While I still don't use the word forever, my new mantra is 1 whole bottle.  In other words, if/when I drink again, I will drink a whole bottle.

By admitting this to myself, or even allowing for it, it helps me think through the whole evening better.  Instead of fighting with myself that I'll only have 2 drinks, I'm preparing myself for the effect of the whole bottle.  The lack of sleep, lack of desire to exercise, lack of desire to get chores done, the fuzzy feeling the next day, etc.

This was helpful this week because I didn't want any of that.

I don't know that I'm ever going to be a total nondrinker.  But in viewing this as if I am sometimes going to give myself a pass but also understanding what I am taking on, I think it will keep the frequency lower.  We'll see.

For now, I feel great.  Nice to see fully bright eyes in the mirror, a desire to work on my physical fitness, an eagerness toward meal planning for the family and an overall desire to get things done.

To anyone doing this dry November with me, feel free to always email offline as well!!

HD

Friday, November 4, 2016

Part 2 - it was just Runaway Brain

I'm almost embarrassed to write that everything went fine yesterday.  I came home, had to make more work calls that I had neglected, get dinner on the table, finish laundry and fall into bed emotionally exhausted.  I noted that hubby was having wine but I had no cravings.

I did this to myself.  My runaway brain.

This condition of runaway brain, not sure what the technical term would be, is probably my most self-sabotaging, emotionally tiring, potentially detrimental to my relationships, characteristic that I think I have.

In the absence of information, I invent.  And usually to the negative.

On a positive note, I don't let it outwardly push me in wrong directions.....too often anyway.  I find that I keep the thoughts inside and just worry myself about them until the event around which they surround takes place and is over.  Sometimes, however, especially with hubby, I can let the imagined thoughts affect my mood and it spills into real life.

How to articulate this is hard but yesterday was a good example.  I took a meeting that was proposed and scheduled and, instead of accepting what was given as the true agenda, and, in fact, ended up being the true agenda, I imagined all sorts of hidden agendas.  I had myself worried sick.

I did calm myself down long before the meeting and as I've gotten older I've figured out how to do this.  I walked in calm, cool and collected.  Because I had talked myself down.  The way I did that was to take the worst fear I had, walk through it and figure out how I would handle it.....should it happen.

Okay, that's one way to cope, but I would really prefer that my brain didn't cycle up on it's own.  Small things seem to trigger my runaway brain and I can obsess silently to myself for hours. I used to make myself almost physically sick, now I logically talk myself down but it takes effort.  I know I have used wine to numb that brain and to quiet it at times.

The night before last, I was able to address the fears and then I actually slept well and didn't really obsess anymore......but just the fact that I do this still bothers me.

I'm working with a professional to try to get at the core of why I do this.  I'm giving some thought to whether or not I have always done this or if it's only after I was betrayed in my first marriage.  Right now I feel the latter but I want to think about it.

I also wonder if my huge need for emotional security makes me ponder and solve the doomsday scenario so that I'm never caught off guard, always prepared to handle anything, not surprised.

Or is it that my instincts, which I always thought were good, were tested at one time and now I have no confidence in my first reaction, so I assume the worst just to be safe in case I'm wrong.  I've been very disoriented in recent years so maybe that is my coping mechanism.

Because I do it in other areas of my life, not just my closest relationship, I think it has to be deeper than this.....but I wonder sometimes, am I afraid to love too deeply, to be hurt again and so I constantly dredge up scenarios (in my head) where my hubby is up to no good, with no proof whatsoever, in fact a whole lot of proof to the contrary.  Like I want to "find out" something before it can hurt me and catch me off guard.

Will be interesting to find out.  I never did have that bath.  My air conditioning is still going on.  Once it gets cold here I will be taking lots of baths but didn't manage it last night.  Maybe this weekend!  I can use lukewarm water too, right?

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Prepping for the inevitable...Part 1

Tuesday started the kickoff for a very busy season at work.  In doing this dry November, I must confess, I think it will be a little easier because I will be so busy.....at least I hope so :-)

I haven't had any cravings hit me to drink.  Another blogger (sorry, you, can't remember who!) mentioned Spindrift at Trader Joes.  Lifesaver!  I love their sparkling cucumber water.  For some reason it really hits the spot in the evening. I feel refreshed and energized.

I tend to think about wine about part way through getting dinner ready.  I must confess, I didn't cook that much in my first marriage, and I didn't for years in this one.  However, hubby took a job last spring and suddenly I had to do all the grocery shopping and cooking.  (I know, hush, there is very little sympathy aimed at me right now...but I DO handle everything else with the home...all finances and all the other chores concerned with living with the pigs in my life that I adore.)

So it has been stressful for me at this age a bit like it must be for a new young wife trying to get food on the table.  But I am finally getting in the groove.  Another blogger emailed me some pointers awhile ago and that helped too.  I have my go-to meals and I'm learning to forgive myself for sometimes just breaking out the frozen lasagna, salad and texas toast when I'm tired.  I am actually having fun now, finally, with meal planning.  Getting my game on in this regard has helped to quell cravings.

About half way through dinner prep I will often think of wine because, in the past, whenever I DID cook, it was so stressful for me that I needed to numb the process.  No more.  Yay!

Muscling through stressful occasions and doing them without wine must be the key for reducing some cravings in the future, eventually.  Just changing habits I guess.

I'm dealing with heavy stress today in regard to my court case with my ex.  This is never ending.  There is a meeting this afternoon that will either make me feel relieved, that things really are out of my control and I just need to be patient and cruise along, or else it's a situation that will make me feel wronged and taken advantage of.  Vague, I know, just not comfortable disclosing here.  My point is that there is a very high possibility of feeling upset, victimized, and just "fuck it" by 5 pm tonight.

I am trying to prepare for this possibility.  I have thought through the worst case scenario and I think I'm okay with it.  I can just be calm and deal with it.  Life isn't fair and today might be my dose of it.  But even if the worst case pans out, I don't need to blur my evening.  I've thought through this morning how wine won't help.  If my worst case happens, I'm going to "take to bed", cry my eyes out, take a really nice bubble bath with candles, and listen to my audio book that is really getting good.  I am prepared.

If things go okay, then I will just relax and enjoy my evening, taking time with tea and good magazines I'm behind on, to let the stress ease out.  And I still might take that bath regardless.

This is kind of a boring post, but I needed to re-read my last post and prep for this afternoon.

I'll post later how it went and how I'm doing.  Keeping accountable to this blog will get me through tonight.

HD

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Another trip around the sun

Last night kicked off more dry time.  It felt really good to have a Halloween that didn't involve alcohol.  Last year I remember the neighbor and me imbibing before the crowds came.  We get a ton of kids at the door.  Instead, my son and I handed out candy and turned the lights out at 9pm.  I had made dinner and he ate first, then handled the door while hubby and I ate.  It felt good to sleep better.

I drank sparkling mineral water and didn't have a single wine craving.  They will come though, I know.

I've been really stressed, about too many things that are really beyond my control.  Something has clicked inside of me.  I'm finally ready to let someone else drive for awhile......I'm going to make a list for myself of all the things I don't need to control and then a list of productive things I can control, where I should put my energy and my mind!

I think I needed to have a birthday in order to make this fresh start.

I love this song from Jimmy Buffet and Martina McBride:  (from Trip Around The Sun) VIDEO

I'm just hangin' on while this old world keeps spinning
And it's good to know it's out of my control
If there's one thing that I've learned from all this livin'
Is that it wouldn't change a thing if I let go

Drinking has been my means of "letting go".  But it doesn't change a thing.  I may forget about things for awhile but it doesn't change anything and only makes me feel bad about myself when I drink too much.

Sometimes it's nice to remind myself that just kicking back and letting things happen as they will anyway is a whole lot easier than fighting to control them.......

Breathe in, breathe out.....time to focus on me.

If there is anyone else who wants to join me and Putting Down The Glass for a dry November, please do so.  We are here for you!!!  Let's do it!!

HD



Monday, October 31, 2016

To live is to learn

Time to focus.  I'm doing really well with my exercise...okay, not a triathlete, but still I'm making progress for someone who hated exercise and always felt inadequate in that area.  Working with someone who is re-training how I view exercise has been my key. I am actually thinking about adding 15 minutes of elliptical when I get home from my walks. (I can't believe I even wrote that.)  This is truly ground breaking for me.

But I continue to sabotage my efforts.  Another blogger and I are going to do a dry November together, a mostly dry December and do another 100 days in January.  I need to hit the reset button again and I really want to see where I can get to with focus on exercise and diet.

I commented this on another blog but I want to write this down so I can always find it.

When I did the 100 days, I was very focused on just not drinking.  It wasn't as hard as I thought possibly because I just knew I couldn't.  I had a goal.  I didn't, however, focus on handling stress and developing other coping mechanisms.  I muscled through the F-its because that was what I was doing, not drinking.

This time I'm going to be more mindful of my mood when I want wine so bad I could chew on my furniture.  Fortunately those moments seem to be more rare nowadays but these past few months have told me I still will succumb to them.

I know that when I'm tired at the end of the day, and stressed on top of that, I will drink, even if not too much, unless I have committed to myself that I can't.  So during this next commitment phase, that's what I will be writing about.

I really, so badly, want to get to a place where I don't generally drink, but if the occasion calls for it in some way, that I can manage a drink or two and not then drink every time I feel like it.  Forever is still not in my vocabulary but it may be some day.  I admire those who have said forever and can do it.

To anyone who is thinking about quitting, I strongly urge, and I've said this before, to do the 100 day thing.  There's something magical about knowing I did it and remembering how good my body felt during it - okay well for most of it, some parts sucked.  Having imbibed again I can tell you I am back to feeling bloated and tired even though I haven't been blacking out and hating myself anymore. I am definitely not getting a good nights sleep anymore so I look forward to that again.  But I am so pleased with how my body is toning up that I want to celebrate that and without wine!

Onward toward weight loss.....  Since I started really exercising again 6 weeks ago, I think I have just been exercising off the wine.  I have built up muscle though.  So I think the increase in wine but also the increase in muscle does account for the 4lbs I put back on.   My clothes still fit better than my previous times at this weight.  So I'm optimistic that by drinking more water, continuing to exercise and laying off the wine calories, that I should see some weight loss pretty quickly.  I will likely then tend to then stabilize out for a bit so we'll see what happens!

Hugs to all,
HD
169 lbs, 5'9"

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Type of Wine

The past few months have been about my exploring what my relationship with alcohol is going to look like.  What do I want it to be?

Say whaaaaattt?  Even as I read that I'm wondering, logically, why I even want a relationship with that bad dude.  Why do I want to be with someone who cheers me up temporarily only to then beat me down, chew at my self-esteem and assault me physically.

Because it's a drug.  Okay, so realistically, I'm saying to myself I don't want to give up this drug but I don't want it to be in my life very often.  Pathetic on so many levels.

Honestly, I just don't think I'm strong enough to commit 100% yet and I admire all of you who have made that final decision.  It seemed easy for 125 days and then I just couldn't honor the commitment anymore.  I don't want to make promises to myself over and over that I can't keep.

Standing back and looking at how I drink has given me a lot of cause to be very honest with myself.  Last week I tried to do the rule thing.  This week I'm going to do the admit thing.

My Truisms:

1) I really don't have wine cravings very often anymore so that's good.  I've kicked the habit of needing to have it every night.
2) When I have a craving, usually stress involved, my drug of choice is white wine.  This is what I have been exploring and messing around with.
3) From now on, IF I choose to drink white wine, I WILL have the whole bottle.  I say this because I will, I won't stop, or if I try white wine and exercise extreme control, I can do it for a few days and then it's bottle up!
4) I'm going to be more mindful of thinking through the drink with white wine.  Instead I have been thinking through the drink of two glasses, thinking I can do it.  Sometimes I pull it off, sometimes I don't.  I'm no longer going to visualize two glasses of white wine, I'm going to go all the way through to how it feels if I drink it all, thinking about how I will feel the next day.
5) I'm not going to promise to myself that I won't drink white wine.  I'm just going to do my best to drink very little of it, instead of trying to incorporate it in some way, because I know I will drink the whole bottle and it's just darn unhealthy in so many ways.

My whole life I drank just to numb out.  I've never appreciated the taste of wine.  Oh, occasionally I've noted a good bottle of wine tasted better than my cheap shit but I still drank it the same way, with the same intentions so it was never worth the cost to buy more expensive wine.

I never drank during the day, never wanted wine until after 5pm.  Occasionally on a Sunday I might have a glass by the pool in the afternoon but if I did that, then I would continue on through the evening.

I never needed alcohol to function during the day.  I felt weird, even when drinking nightly, when people would have wine at lunch or encourage me to.  I just knew that it would make me unproductive the rest of the day and I didn't want that.  Didn't want to be sleepy.

On those nights when I wanted to quit I would still drink.  I might have a beer.  Never had two, felt too bloated.  I might have a scotch and soda.  Never liked the taste enough to have more and still felt deprived.  In other words I was not drinking by drinking.

The effect I get from white wine is what I am addicted to.  I don't get that effect from red wine, beer, hard liquor.  Champagne usually just gives me a headache but that's probably closer to the effect for white wine.  But again, I'll stop without drinking too much of it.

I struggle so much with thinking I can never have alcohol again. I'm just not there yet.

Last night, I was cooking dinner.  Hubby came home and poured a good glass of red wine, left it in the kitchen and went outside.  I took a sip, mindfully.  Swished it around my mouth and it was very smooth.  He poured me half a glass as he was hoarding the rest for himself, rightfully so, and I sipped on it through the evening.  I found myself sipping it so as not to waste it.  I could feel a slight mellowing effect on my body.  But very different than white wine.  No feeling of needing to finish rapidly, no big buzz.

Can you be addicted to one type of alcohol and not another?  Is it possible to admit that and moderate only with the other types?  I don't know.

So stay tuned....this is what I'm trying now....If I drink white wine it will be a bottle.  I'm wondering, how much I will drink if I remove just that option and only "allow" it on rare occasions.  If I think through how it will affect me, decide that's not what I want.....will I still do it often?  Or when the white wine witch speaks to me, can I kill it with a beer or glass of red?  I don't know.  All I do know is that I am addicted to white wine enough that when I feel I need it, I down it.  That's what I want to avoid.

To end on a positive note.....some how I have changed my relationship with exercise.  Yesterday I got all dressed to work out and had client calls come up so I never got to it.  I was bummed when it was late afternoon and I needed to start working on dinner prep and had never got a workout in.  I NEVER have felt like this.  Off to do a workout after checking out a few more blogs!!!

HD




Thursday, October 20, 2016

A wandering trail

Not much new here other than I gave myself permission to try moderation (despite saying a week ago I didn't really want to do that) and I don't like it.

My definition of moderation is regular drinking without going overboard.  I have a friend who only ever has 2 glasses of wine a night so I thought, "hey, let me try that".  Mother in law was here for a week so I used that as my excuse.  I generally have done okay with it although I did drink more last night during our recording we taped of the debate.  This election has got to be making drinkers out of some ...puppets out of others.....that's about all I want to say about it.

Today I'm blogging because I am done with moderately drinking. Even though I feel that I can control it now, it doesn't feel good to try.  I feel tired again and I can feel the drug beginning to affect my mood.

I needed to get clear with my goal and then see if I can live up to it so I experimented.  I feel so much better about exercise right now and I don't want to lose that feeling.  I also want to tackle diet as well.  I can't do that if I'm sucking down empty calories in the evening.

Here's where I am with all this:

1) No drinking every evening at home as a means of social relaxation.  Even if I think I can control it now, I don't want to do it.
2) Max drinking one night per week.  This is only to leave me an out and because I still can't seem to grasp forever.
3) Okay to drink one glass out at dinner if I am driving.  We rarely eat out so not a big rule
4) Okay to have up to 2 drinks on celebratory occasions or out at social events.  If I really want to and am not driving.

Yes, these are rules but I need them.  I need to be able to measure myself clearly and be accountable to something or it will be too easy to slip back into old habits.  If I can't stick to this lifestyle then it will be my clue that abstinence may be my only future option.  I am still hopeful that I will gradually let go of drinking even when I have said above where it is okay.  That would be my ultimate goal.

I do think that as I make progress in other areas of my life, the idea of giving up alcohol forever will become more appealing.   We'll see.

HD

Monday, October 10, 2016

Finding my path

I was looking at my Counting tab and analyzing when I have been drinking.  For someone who is unsure of whether or not I want to be moderating, it sure seems like that is what I am doing.

I rebel inside against the term moderating and I don't know why.  Maybe because it implies I have a problem with alcohol (which I still do) and it implies I have to "control" my drinking (which I still do) as opposed to just truly having no issue with it anymore.

I need to find my clear vision, establish my goals in regard to alcohol, and then move forward. I feel paralyzed right now in sort of a "no man's land".  (Does the period go inside the quote or not in this case?...I never get this right.)

I think this is how I feel about alcohol:
1) I don't want it on a daily basis.
2) I don't want to have it when I am in a f-it mood.

(These two I think I'm good with now.)

3) But...I am not sure how I feel about social occasions.....

Last night my friend came over whom I haven't seen in awhile.  Our get-togethers were always booze filled.  I used to worry the next day about her getting home even though she lives a short distance away.  I'm sure I always drank the most but she still drank quite a bit.  It was always just easier for her to come to our house.  (Rarely, have I ever put myself in the position of drinking and driving as if that excused anything!)

In March she had given up alcohol for Lent.  She came over, had Pellegrino, I had some wine but not as much as normal.  When we last got together I wasn't drinking and she had wine, but not as much as normal.

Last night she even asked if we were drinking wine or Pellegrino before she came over.  I caved and said we had both.  I clearly wasn't committed one way or another.  Sure enough we had wine.  Had she kept me accountable and said she only wanted water, I would have done the same, no problem.

We drank it over a long time, I didn't feel buzzed when I went to bed, but I did notice there was one point where I felt my thoughts weren't tracking clearly.  Although that went away.  I slept great and happily went on my walk this morning.

But the challenge lies in my lack of clarity on this issue.  I can't decide if I am just being weak, or still rebelling against abstaining, etc.  Again, I know this sounds odd but it's not like I have to have it in these situations.  I wasn't saying before she came "oh I would love some wine."  I was saying "I really don't want it but guess I will have it."

I need to explore this further.  I don't have a lot of social occasions to drink, I'm more of a homebody now so evenings like last night don't present themselves very often.

I really don't like that I drink.  The same way I feel when I'm not exercising and eating poorly.  But I still have issues with all.  I know I can setup external systems of accountability for all, this blog sort of being one, but I'm not sure that's the answer.

Blogging about not drinking worked great for keeping me from drinking.  Until I drank again.  Now it doesn't really keep me from drinking, it just keeps me honest to myself about what I am doing.  Maybe that's enough, I don't know.

I'm rambling and I don't have an answer for myself today.  I'm just going to keep exploring how I feel about this and at some point hope to get clear on my vision for alcohol, for exercise, and for food, in my life.

Another blogger blogged about finding balance, about how now, not heavily drinking, there is more time to fill.  I think that's part of my issue as well.  It's time for me to get a life!


Saturday, October 8, 2016

Identifying our problems

Today I need to process through a certain situation that has repeated itself in my life occasionally and I have a certain, almost set, reaction to it. This is when I feel "wronged", betrayed even, but I can still find some element of my own culpability in what happened.  If there were a forum for discussing the situation, I would have no problem admitting to my issues, apologizing for my part in something, but then I expect someone else to do the same.

There are situations though where that discussion can't happen for whatever reason. Perhaps the audience was too large to reach everyone.  Perhaps the other party doesn't want to admit they were wrong. Perhaps it's just easier to let sleeping dogs lie and move on.  I just really, really struggle with these types of situations.

I'm good with direct conflict.  If I feel the other person has an unfair view of me or something I have done and expresses such, I have no problem discussing the issue and either defending myself or admitting where I went wrong.  What burns me is when someone emails me without discussing it, implying I was wrong, or tells others I was wrong....with no opportunity for me to explain.  And, usually, when that happens and I get upset, there is still some bit I am responsible for but I feel unfairly treated about everything else.

As somewhat of a perfectionist, in this situation, I feel flustered, thrown out of balance and.... key element here... I have a need to run and hide, to escape.  That somehow, there was something I could have done different that would have kept this "unfair" reaction from happening.  

So what I'm REALLY upset at in these situations is myself.  On the one hand I want to defend myself but inside I am beating myself up about letting myself be put into that situation in the first place.  Maybe I provoked someone too far?  Maybe I did screw up but not nearly to the extent that the other person thinks?  I think over and over again about what I could have done different.  I'm continually regretting how I got into that position.

In general I am very forgiving of myself when I screw up.  I will forgive myself for doing something of which I am not proud, I will apologize and I will let it go.  I own up to my part in things, accept responsibility and move forward.  Where I get into trouble is when there is a combination of my needing to take some responsibility, but not all, and while I'm willing to admit my part, I desperately want the other person to admit where they were wrong as well.  When that doesn't happen or there is no scenario that allows for that, I....have....a.....very....difficult...time...living with myself and living with what was done to me.

Note that all my stress abates if the other party apologizes for their part.  It's when that never happens that I can have a tendency to periodically obsess about it.  While I won't seem outwardly upset, inside I feel like I am banging my head against a wall.

Back in college there was a situation where a friend of mine presented me in bad light to others.  I had already made plans and spent money for a special occasion but then something came up that I should be at.  My friend, instead of helping me out with both situations, told others I wasn't being a team player and was only looking out for myself.  That wasn't the case but others believed it.  She could have stepped in and filled in for me, no problem, but instead bagged on me.  This betrayal, because I would have filled in for her had situations been reversed, burned at me.  Until, years later, she apologized for having being jealous.  Instantly, all the hurt I was harboring, disappeared.  

I realized today that my little meltdown the other day was more about encountering that type of situation than anything else that was stressful in my life.  I felt betrayed by someone and victimized for how something that I had done, had been presented to others.  Yes, I made a mistake but I didn't do everything that was said about me and I was given no chance to defend myself.

There will be times in life where this just happens.   Where I wish I could hit backspace and do the whole thing over.  There will be times where I just simply could have done something different but I will have to live with the consequences. We all do.  There will be times where I won't be able to defend myself, to vindicate myself.

Not only do I need to forgive myself for my part (that I seem to do okay), I need to forgive AND FORGET the reaction of others.  I don't know what was going on in their day to cause their reaction, what they were thinking, what had been done to them, etc.  I need to let go of what they did and not worry about why they did it.

I hope to figure out a way to identify more quickly when I am feeling this way, to quiet my mind, to lessen the need to escape and to stay on track with my goals.  Instead I tend to self-sabotage myself as punishment for feeling bad about my part and to cope with the the injustice I feel about the other person's part.

I know that all my drinking has not been just because of encountering this type of situation.  But continued drinking after such a situation reeks of the self sabotage that stems from it.  Today I am celebrating identifying this, and for not going back to drinking after Wednesday night in reaction to what happened.  Next time I hope to curb the reaction to escape with wine in the first place.

Identifying the problem is, after all, half of the solution......


Thursday, October 6, 2016

Let myself down

I really let myself down last night. Drank a bottle+ of wine, my son could see what was up, and I felt awful this morning.  Hungover and have a cold on top of it to boot.  Definitely Tier 4.

The bad part is that I know exactly why I drank.  I didn't even crave it per se.  Actually had a moment before starting where I thought "I can just as easily" not do this. Then it was like I said "fuck it" and so it began.

The night before I enjoyed two glasses of wine no problem.  No craving for more and didn't really crave it to begin with.  My husband had gone a week without any alcohol and it was like a reward for him.  So I drank with him. I don't view alcohol as a reward for me anymore.  I feel like whenever I drink now I am doing something bad.  I understand that he still views it as a reward.

I listened to the podcast about my tendency, the Obliger.  One of the the things that Gretchen Rubin talks about is that a downside to this tendency is Obliger Rebellion.  We Obligers spend so much time meeting external expectations and ignoring our internal ones that we can build up resentment which can blow suddenly like a volcano. One minute we are happily going about our day and then, when resentment peaks, our mood can change dramatically.

Yesterday was my rebellion.  And I made a fool of myself while rebelling.  I can not drink. It's a choice for me now.  I deliberately chose to drink and knew, before starting, that I was going to drink too much.  I was fed up with my industry taking a turn for the worse, affecting my income.  I was fed up with my ex and all his shenanigans regarding our court case.  I was just fed up.  I texted my husband and asked him to get wine on the way home.  I just said "Go" in my mind.  It isn't fair to him that I even put him in that position.  If he had said no I probably would have moped and stomped around all night......then again, that would have been preferable to not drinking although not fun for him.

I think my rebellion began earlier in the day.  I blew off good eating and ate junk.  I blew off things around the house I had wanted to get done.  I blew off making dinner and fed my son first, before I began drinking.  I didn't even eat dinner myself, hence the amplified affect of the wine.

I didn't intend to let it get so far that my son would notice but I got emotional and he did.  I don't feel remorseful for drinking away my sorrows last night but I feel huge remorse and self-loathing that I let my son see me in that state.  I had vowed for that to never happen again and I feel horrible about breaking that vow to myself.  I had vowed never to feel hungover again and I broke that pledge as well.

I'm not going to say I will never try alcohol again but I know I don't want it to play any significant role in my life.  I have been letting it back in.  By allowing it even on a small basis, I set myself up to let it play a role in my meltdown.

While I have committed to not drinking regularly I didn't really commit to not drinking when I felt rebellious.  I am doing that now.  I am going to make a real effort to not drink the majority of the time but most importantly, not to drink when I get in that "fuck it" mood.  The next time I get in that mood, I am going to express myself in this blog and vent, moving those thoughts from the inside to the outside instead of trying to suppress them.

I think I'm going to go awhile again without alcohol to reset my equilibrium and by doing so that takes away the decision making.  Then, hopefully I can stick with the right decisions in the future.

I almost didn't blog about this today but decided I had to. This blog is a part of me.  It's what I am going through.  Blogging about what happened makes me realize why it did.  I can put this behind me, pick myself back up and move forward.  This has no need to be a downward spiral.

I will end this on a positive note.  In the six months prior to quitting, I estimate I downed at least 547 glasses of wine.  In the last 6 months, I estimate I have downed around 21 glasses.  Still an improvement and that was my main overall goal!


Sunday, October 2, 2016

That's it!!!

Yes, yes, yes!  I love breakthrough moments!!!!

I was recently directed to look at Gretchen Rubin's website (Click Here) about the Four Tendencies and then asked to think about them and how they may pertain to me.

How they pertain to me? Holy Moly!!  I feel like I have been slapped upside the head.  Seriously.  After taking the quiz and listening to the podcasts, I was dizzy.  Dizzy with relief I think.

She talks about four tendencies people have: Upholder, Obliger, Questioner and Rebel.

It was a light bulb moment to read that I am an Obliger.  You see, I will do anything where I am accountable to some other thing or person.  But when it comes to doing things where I am only accountable to me, I fail, over and over again.  I can't seem to get motivated.  It was interesting to hear that many Obligers struggle with diet and exercise.

So, in a nutshell, the way for me to get internal expectations of myself met is to create a system of external accountability.  I need to understand that it's OKAY that I don't self motivate very well for internal expectations.  I should just acknowledge that and figure out ways to accomplish those expectations by being more strategic!  Duh!!

While I was looking into all this in regard to exercise and diet and why I don't seem to push myself in those directions, it jumped out, glaringly at me, that this is why I was finally able to quit wine and then dramatically reduce the role alcohol plays in my life.  And, why suddenly it seemed easy for me after so many years of struggle.

It wasn't until I created a system......blogging......where I became accountable to something else to stop my drinking.  I guess this is why AA works for many.  To those Obligers who need that accountability and are expected to show up, may even disappoint others if they don't.....I can see why that works.  I  can also see why that may not work well for some of the other tendencies.  I wonder if many of us who struggle with alcohol are predominantly Obligers.

Blogging allowed me to quit.  I see folks who blog and it doesn't fix it for them.  They are blogging about quitting time and time again.  It makes me wonder if they are of a different Tendency.  Perhaps they need more data about why alcohol is so bad.....need to really hit rock bottom first.  Or perhaps they resist being told to quit and have family members haranguing them.  Maybe they need a different reason to quit.  I don't know, I am just surmising.

My husband, a Questioner, instead needs data.  He'll meet his internal expectations just fine but to meet external expectations he needs lots of data to be convinced to do something.  Probably why he prefers to exercise and eat vegetables because he has internalized that it makes him feel good.

I've realized this about him without actually understanding what I had learned.....until I read about all this in the past few days!  I used to ask him to do things that I wanted done.  Wipe down the kitchen counters after doing dishes so that they aren't flooded with water.  Please pick up the yard clippings and don't leave them sitting there for a week. Blah, blah.

Doing anything for me just because I wanted it, didn't do it for him.  It's not that he doesn't love me and he isn't just blowing me off.  (Although many times I took it that way.!!) He simply needs more data to resonate with him that this particular thing should be done.  Without realizing what I was doing, (providing him data that is), I started changing tactics and saying "don't forget to wipe the water off the kitchen counter so that it doesn't soak into the crack, warp the sub counter and we'll have to spend a buttload of money to get it fixed."  I also said, "don't forget to pick up the yard clippings so that the rats don't build their nests in them which makes the dogs go apeshit."  It has worked.  This reinforces for me what I have just learned.

Granted there are times when I would like him to do some things "just for me" so I've also started saying "honey, I know that this sounds trivial, but it's really important to me to decorate for the fall....can you please get down the decorations today?"  It's amazing how this has worked.  If I had just asked him to get the decorations down, he would have forgotten about it or gotten annoyed that there were other things he preferred to do.  It had nothing to do with "doing something for me" because that's not how he viewed the request.

He hasn't fully internalized quitting alcohol but is starting to.  He cut back and has only had 1 beer in 5 days, go figure.  Seems so easy for him but then I guess once he internalizes something it becomes fairly easy for him to carry out!

I was thinking about just shutting down the blog.  Primarily because I feel like I am wasting time now, reading and commenting, or even spending time on my own posts.  I know now that I am going to keep this as a part of my life.  I will continue to be accountable to my blog, logging every intake of alcohol.  I may blog post about it, may not, but I will be listing those actions.  Knowing that I don't want to let down my blog, my blog readers whoever they are, is actually keeping me focused on bettering myself, working on my exercise and diet and not letting alcohol take the upper hand.

I look forward to exploring more of Gretchen's advice on how to be Happier in all aspects of my life!


Monday, September 26, 2016

The Disney-lands

When I was young I visited Disneyland quite a bit.  This was back, if anyone remembers, when Disneyland used coupons for every ride.  You paid your admission and ended up with a coupon book with a certain number of tickets to be used for rides in different sections.

Adventureland
Tomorrowland
Fantasyland
Frontierland
Main Street USA

A few "lands" have since been added like Bear Country, New Orleans Square, Toontown....but I digress.

All the really cool rides used the "E" coupon/ticket.  (Hence the expression you may have heard "that's an E-ticket", meaning fast, cool, awesome.)  There were A, B, C and D coupons too for less favorite rides.

When I would go home at the end of the day, most of Tomorrowland ride tickets would be used up, generally the E-tickets.  I would have some left in Adventureland and Frontierland and then a lot from Fantasyland (mostly little kid rides.)

In my progression through changing my life in regards to alcohol, thoughts of these old "lands" bubbled up as a descriptive way to think of quitting drinking.  I've already explained my views on Drinking Tiers and my goals associated with such.  For me, quantifying things is my way of maintaining control and understanding where I fit.

Frontierland:  This is where I was when I quit drinking.  Seriously giving up alcohol for any extended period was an entirely new frontier for me.  I explored, I learned a whole lot about myself.  I changed habits.

Fantasyland:  I have had visions of this land.....a place where I could drink a glass every day without drinking more than one, or even two and never have more.  This is not ever going to be my reality.  My testing of the waters has shown I really don't have an "off" switch.  I think that switch is broken.

Advertureland:  This is where I exist now.....generally operating with no alcohol.  I no longer crave it.  When I do crave it, it's for entirely different reasons.  Instead of craving it to cope, to get through the evening.....it's a craving that I can push off or, when I don't, it's a very conscious decision, not an out of control one.

Tomorrowland:  This is where I would like to head.  To embrace being truly alcohol free.  Mainly just because I think that is the healthiest choice.  I don't know if I'll ever be on that E-ticket ride as so many of you are, but I do see it out there as a choice.

For now I will just be happy with where I am, feel good about how far I have come and see where I head.

“After all, tomorrow is another day!” 
― Margaret MitchellGone with the Wind

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

150 days ago....

My relationship with my parents now is different than when I was younger.  What started out as a dependent relationship grew into one of independence.  There were a few rebellious years along with some luck that risky behavior never went too far.  I grew, I matured and the nature of our relationship changed.

Now we are friends, we are respectful of each other in an adult way.

This is how I view my relationship with alcohol.

Every day, since making the decision to change my life, some 150 days ago, I have been changing my relationship with alcohol, specifically wine.

For me, it hasn't been a crystal clear process.  It hasn't been all or nothing.  But I feel the changes in myself....in dramatic ways.

No longer am I so dependent upon it that I must have it to cope every evening.  I am much further aware of my boundaries in our relationship.  My attitude is shifting, I am growing and changing.

It's funny, I wasn't really expecting a completely different view on drinking.  I always thought I could quit and then learn to manage it or else I would have to quit forever.  I have been pleasantly surprised at finding that I am moving toward not wanting it, not wanting the way it makes me feel, not wanting how I act under the influence.

It's as if my brain has made the shift.  I no longer glamorize it.  I no longer think it needs to be a part of my everyday experiences.  My emotional side is still fighting that logic, however.  There is still a tinge of need sometimes, to block out the world.

I feel like I am starting to come out of the rebellious teenage years in my relationship with wine.  I used to be childlike, completely dependent upon it.  Then, I became not so dependent.  I learned how to enjoy my evenings without it and to feel more productive and accomplished.  But there is this little knot of rebellion that still unties and unleashes itself every so often.  I feel as if I am now in my twenties....generally mature but perhaps still engaging in risky behavior.  I think the desire will diminish, slowly, over time.  My experience last weekend killed another wave of desire.

I look forward to growing through this.   I don't want to be set back into the juvenile years. Regardless, where I am today is so, so, so much better than where I was 150 days ago!!  I still enjoy alcohol free firsts and look forward to many more.

HD

Friday, September 16, 2016

Tier 3, 3am

It was a Tier 3, 3am kinda night.....

Lol, sounds like a pretty good Jimmy Buffet song to me :-)

(Have I mentioned that I am a huge Jimmy Buffet fan?  I know ....it is just shocking that a PARROTHEAD would have any issues with alcohol, any sort of love affair with the thought of relaxing on a beach with a rum drink in hand watching the whales go by......but alas, this is me.  I am and have been a Parrothead for, well, years!!!)

Anyway, yes, I feel stupid for drinking last night.  Thanks, so much, for all the comments.  I appreciate the support and concern as always!  Sometimes I wonder who reads and, oops, quite a few!  Busted.  No sneaking that one by!

I can't really even say I needed the wine.  That's what feels stupid.  I was actually not really needing the drug by the time we finished dinner but I felt guilty for making hubby stop and get it.  Felt stupid about that too.  So decided what the "f" and sat outside discussing my nightmare of a day.

Oh well.  And you know what?  It's not what it used to be.  I think because I had a full belly it didn't hit me as hard, therefore it didn't do what I wanted it to do.  I never really found oblivion.  I was laughing to myself with a "what a dumbass" phrase running through my head when I finally went to bed after posting.  I just knew I had set myself up for numerous physical ailments after drinking that down.

So I didn't get the relief I was seeking....(hmm..maybe because wine isn't where that's at for me anymore, a good sign)...and I still got the dehydration, insomnia and grogginess the next morning.  But I still went on my walk at 5am so YAY for me!   And I still have all the same issues today to deal with......which somehow seem like they would be easier to deal with had I had a good night's sleep!

BUT, here is the NEWS FLASH....even when I was awake at 3am, not able to go back to sleep like I have been of late......there was something missing.  I couldn't put my finger on it at first.

Finally I did.  NO SELF LOATHING!!!  I didn't hate myself.  I didn't think "oh, lord, please don't let me drink again today."  I didn't feel like I was in a vicious cycle.  I just felt silly.  That is so different from the last time I downed a bottle of wine.  It's because I know I don't really want it.

This whole journey has been a slow, conscious choosing to remove alcohol from my life.  (I never have done anything too rash nor too fast...)  I like what Thirsty Still said: "It was all part of me working out whether and how I would drink.  When I did finally quit, it was the absolute right thing to do."

I definitely have had to do this my way.  The parting with it had to be on my terms not wine's terms.  I realize it can seem like I am escalating but I think if that were the case I would be fighting cravings more frequently.  And thinking that wine really could solve my problems.  I don't even want to moderate.  For some reason, I just have to have the freedom to know I can try it if I want to even if overall I want it removed from my life.

Last night was the first time I allowed myself to say "I am going to use it to cope."  Like I used to.  And, nope, it didn't pass muster.  I feel like I got the coping thing out of my system.

I know I will drink again at some point.  I know my mind will find a reason to try it whether socially or a just because someday.  I am okay with that as long as that is all it is.  That's what I will be cautious about.  I know I will have to remove it completely if I can't keep the cork in the bottle!

Hopefully this has all been about a parting of the ways.  Time will tell though and I am certainly aware.  Maybe now I can believe my brain when it says "girl, you really don't want this, just let it go."

Thursday, September 15, 2016

He won.

Tonight, my Ex won.  He got to me, to my psyche. For that I am not proud.

We have been having a turbulent court battle about finances.  It's hard to feel like a victim.  I know I made my own choices.  I married him.  I guess I should have known what I was in for. We have been divorced for many years.

I took him back to court in June 2015 about some things I could no longer overlook.  We finally settled back at the end of July....this past one, 2016.....or so I thought.  Today was the first day I finally got his changes to the agreement and I felt like I was settling on my settlement.  I was so disappointed, I didn't know where to turn.  He is paying his legal part under the new terms, despite no agreement, but hasn't paid what he promised me as a lump sum.  On top of that he is nickel and dime-ing me in some areas.

Then, I got notified that companies are cutting back.  No more commissions for next year.  My paycheck will likely get cut by 2/3 in January 2017.  It's daunting to reinvent myself at this point. Current hubby is doing well so maybe we can be okay but I still hate it all.  I hate to be dependent upon someone else.

Through all my issues with my ex I have kept it away from our son.  He knows nothing of us being at odds.  I just feel very strongly that he should have a relationship with both parents not influenced by the situation my ex and I have with each other....other than the obvious divorce.  I am the primary custodial parent.  (I have referenced Malicious Mother Syndrome and it is for real....I WILL NOT be that person.) Ex chose to move 3,000 mi away and see our son maybe, if lucky, once a month or every other month.  I can't pretend to understand that decision no matter what he thought of me.  He does call our son every day,  thank goodness.  I have stopped apologizing for Dad but I don't say anything bad.  Son thinks Dad sold his company recently, instead of losing it to bad business.  I haven't said a thing.

I have no desire to poison my son's view of his Dad.  Let him believe he is Superman, that's okay I think.

But tonight I told my hubby to buy a bottle of white for me.  I guess it's good that I made a conscious decision to tune out.  I ate dinner first, a lot of carbs, before I had any.  I knew why I was drinking it and for what purpose. There was no illusion that I can do this all the time.  I'm writing this tonight after a bottle over 5 hours, pretty coherent. Just disappointed with the days events....obviously feeling guilty about it all.

Maybe this is okay.  A deliberate acknowledgement of a bad thing I did. I dunno.  I won't drink like this very often.  So many days without it has taught me that I don't want it.  But I did tonight....as simply a drug that I knew would do the trick.  (and folks.... I'm not sure it did!  I'm in the same place, just a little dizzy while typing!) I don't pretend I can handle it regularly.  I know that I cannot.  As much as I said I would never have it when I was stressed, however, I did tonight.  Please forgive me.

My hope is that I will keep this in perspective.  That it's okay to let myself down occasionally.  That overall I'm proud of where I've come.  I'm so much happier without alcohol.  I know that I will sleep crappy tonight but I am still going on my walk tomorrow morning!  Back in the saddle tomorrow!

HD

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Choices

Well, here I go again, vomiting up another blog post.  I'm not sure what has unleashed inside of me these past few days but the need to get my thoughts down in writing is huge.  It's as if until I get all these thoughts to the outside of my head, I can't focus on anything else.

This quote popped into my head today.  It's been written in so many formats that I have no idea where it originally came from but it jumped at me and bit me in the ass this morning:


"It's not the choices we made that are the issue, 
it's what we have done with those choices that counts."

Or something somesuch like that...

In my never-ending quest to figure out why I refuse to get my butt moving and exercise on most occasions, I have been doing a lot of exploration of me, my past, my present, my goals, etc.

Last weekend I just couldn't get motivated to do anything and, outside of doing my 3 mile morning walks with a friend, I didn't do anything else. I know, I know, a 3 mile walk is still exercise but I am referring to strength building in particular.

I have been talking to someone about all this and I went down a path, discussing all the reasons why I am feeling "blocked" about exercise.  I am grieving the lost of a past relationship, of family.  I am grieving that my new family isn't how I idealized it would be.  I have some conflict with my ex.  My husband has conflict with his ex.  All these stresses must be causing me to not exercise.

Okay, today I called bullshit on myself.

The truth is I'm not really grieving.  I've done that.  I know exactly why I am where I am.  I have made certain choices and I accept that I own those choices.  I know where I come from, why I am the way I am, and what I need to do to be a better person.  It's not all hidden deep down inside of me.

Sure, I grieve the loss of my first marriage, mainly from the standpoint of not being one big happy family anymore.  But if I'm honest with myself...there is a lot I could have done to save that marriage that I chose not to do.  Not saying I should have tried to save it but I could have done things different that might have resulted in a different outcome.

Sure, I have things I want to be different in my current relationship.  My hubby's relationship with his kids is less than ideal, I do not have the one big happy family here either.  Also, he hasn't overly bonded with my son, his stepson.  But they get along, we eat dinner together every night, occasionally do things as a family and they exhibit respect for each other most of the time.  My son has his dad close in touch so I think this is all I can really hope for.

But these are facts, not excuses.

I even used to use drinking as an excuse to not exercise.  I told myself if I quit drinking I would have so much energy, I would work out, feel great, blah blah.  When I first quit drinking I threw myself into exercising.  I did this I think to distract myself and to have something to pinpoint and say "aha, see why not drinking is so good for you? You are exercising!!!"

The problem was that once my love affair with wine wore off, my attitude changed and I stopped exercising.  I made it through an amazing sober first by going on a 2 week vacation with my family and never even taking a sip of alcohol.  I got back and exercise went out the window.

I know I need to change my attitude toward exercise, change it's role in my life, much as I have worked to change alcohol's role.  I finally hit my breaking point in regard to alcohol and made the change.  I'm not sure how one hits bottom in regard to not exercising but I'm working on figuring that out.

I need to put the same energy into starting to exercise that I put into quitting drinking.  Duh.

I need to stop thinking there is a "certain" way to exercise or else I fail.  I have a FitBit that I haven't used yet as it is still decorating my dresser.  I'm going to dig it out tonight and see how much exercise I get around the house, on days I walk etc.

Today my son and I took our two dogs out on my 3 mile walk.  There is something about two crazy wild beasts looking at you so lovingly with tails a wagging that didn't let me bag out this morning.

 (That and I was worried that the box of dog cookies they counter surfed from the kitchen yesterday and ate in my family room might turn into worse destruction in the form of shoes or furniture if I didn't get them outside!  Hubby normally runs them but he is gone for 4 nights.  Oh, woe is me..)

I also went out and cleaned the pool from top to bottom.  For anyone that has tried to arrest a yellow algae bloom with a pool brush, you will know this is a pretty darn good arm and ab workout.  So I checked that box.

Note that all my exercise today was for something else.  The dogs.  My sense of perfection in not wanting to look at a urine colored pool.

I am slowly going to work on designing an exercise program based only upon exercise I know I like, exercise I can look forward to.....possibly.

I have come up with a list:
- continuing to walk (I love yakking with my friend on our walks)
- making time for my elliptical machine (I love listening to my audio book)
- biking (figuring out the bike rack on husbands car and riding once a week while son has sports)
- dancing (when I'm by myself, as it is not pretty, just turn on Pandora and rock with tennis shoes on)
- wii (just spend 30 minutes every other day using the wii on whatever exercise game I want to)

There, that's good enough to start.  If I feel like doing squats or bicep curls, I might.  Maybe blogging about it will keep me accountable like it did for not drinking.  I am starting an exercise tab as well to log my progress.   If there is anyone out there reading this who needs to start exercising as well, maybe now is the time and we can keep each other motivated.  Only if you already dread it like I do :-)  I am happy to buddy up via this blog or through email.

There reason I think blogging works is that we need that accountability to get going on something.  Then, once the new habit takes over such as not drinking or starting exercise or whatever, we can gradually back off the blog or the accountability to others because we end up being accountable to ourselves.  That's my theory anyway.

Oh, almost forgot, I need to celebrate something here.  Despite my blogging which obviously makes one think of alcohol, yesterday after 4pm was the first time I can think of where I never thought about wine at all in the evening.  I realized this morning that I made dinner (okay, ordered it and picked it up), watched tv with my son, finished up some things around the house, made tea and hopped into bed with a book......never even thinking about wine!!!  (While I don't want it anymore, I usually still think about what I used to do!)  Yay!!!  Probably had more to do with the fact that hubby wasn't around drinking any but I'll take improvement where I can get it!

HD

 (PS - Someone said they couldn't see my tabs...I know on my phone I can't see them unless I scroll down and click on View Web Version, then they show up along the top.  My lists, Counting and now Exercise Log.)

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Tapping Away Anxiety

When I was dealing with infidelity in my first marriage I learned a few things that may apply to this quitting alcohol thing.  May even apply to my anxiety about exercise.....hmm...

Anyway, way back when, my ex and I had worked through, or I thought we had, an infidelity issue.  I was willing to forgive and move on, to accept my part in the relationship and to make us bigger and better than before.  So we went to therapy.

The main challenge I had was in dealing with the post traumatic stress of the betrayal.  I would be in a relatively good mood, things would be good between my husband and I and something would suddenly set my mind reeling.  I would be re-visiting every detail in my head of what happened in the past, I would want even more clarification (which certainly served NO purpose at that point) and I couldn't shut my brain down from this cycle.  Then both my ex and I would end up in pissy moods.

I'm not sure I can say for sure that that caused me to never heal enough for the relationship to heal either.....who knows if divorce still would have happened.... but it was something that I remember doing.

I would also let my brain go places it shouldn't.  My ex traveled a lot....my brain would imagine a parade of horribles in the present based upon the betrayal in the past.  Lack of trust would probably also be descriptive here, but it was more than that.  In fact, it wasn't as if I was distrusting at that moment in time....it was like my mind took over and imagined all sorts of things that were very likely not happening.   My point is that there were times where I made myself physically ill, completely anxious over the imagined!  (Granted there were times it turned out I wasn't imagining but I digress....)  Being awake in the middle of the night over this stuff really ticked me off!

My therapist gave me many pointers, two of which really stuck with me, to shut down the brain.

1) The first was to stop thinking about the details.  To force my mind from the past or the imagined and back to the present.  The way the therapist taught me to do that was to identify what feeling I was REALLY feeling and then sit with that emotion.

Example...if my mind was going down a path wondering what the husband was up to because I couldn't reach him over the phone....to stop that thought I needed to ask myself what was I feeling?  Was I really just lonely?  Was I sad and thinking that I might lose him?  Was I worried about my own financial future?

Once I identified the feeling and sat with it, thought about that for awhile, then I could move on.  Most times I was able to acknowledge the deep feeling and put away the drama film that wanted to play in my head.

Sometimes, however, it was hard to calm down when I had gotten very anxious so, even when I could identify what I felt, I still had trouble moving on.

2) The therapist introduced me to something called Thought Field Therapy (TFT).   It is a therapeutic intervention devised by Roger Callahan, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist who integrated treatment of oriental acupressure meridians with western psychological process to obtain mental health objectives. (Can you tell I just retyped what is on my cheat sheet that I just unearthed?  I knew I kept that thing for a reason!)

My take: It's basically focusing on emotions followed by tapping in different body places.  I do not pretend to be a therapist but I think (at least what I got out of it) the gist of it is that you can't focus on this process AND those crazy emotions at the same time.  So by the time you are done with this tapping thing, then you are calmed down enough to regain perspective.  If you just google "Thought Field Therapy" you can find tons of information if you are interested.  Lots of people have written protocols and proposed different things to do for different situations.  You can also email me if you want the .pdf of what I was given.  Happy to share.

I was once taught that your body cannot actually feel pain in two spots at exactly the same time.  (I think it goes back and forth pretty darn quick though sometimes!) A man once taught me to hold the first joint back from my nail of my ring finger on my left hand and squeeze the heck out of it if I got nauseous.  I have to admit I resorted to that on many a fishing trip and during pregnancy morning sickness.  I think the principle was that I couldn't focus on the nausea if my finger was being crushed.  But it did work.

I think this tapping thing is similar.  By distracting my brain from the drama film, I was able to calm my anxiety, move back into the present and get on with my day.  I tend to be the type of person who is great once I move my thoughts from the inside to the outside.  (Hence I had this thought today and needed to blog about it before getting back to other tasks at hand.)  Because we don't always have time to blog, or don't have someone to talk to right away, this TFT is a pretty good substitute for calming the body.

To bring this back to alcohol.....I think that sometimes cravings are a reaction more than missing a taste for wine.  My cravings have been a need to do something to calm my brain from something else it is thinking of.  My need to numb out.  I know alcohol will take me away from the immediate displeasure I am feeling and calm me.

I never actually thought to resort to the TFT part of the above during my initial quitting days but I think it would have been helpful had I remembered about it.  I definitely tried to identify underlying emotions during that time and sit with those feelings.  That definitely helped.

Perhaps it can be a tool to distract ourselves from the "pain" of a craving, to get through it and to move on with our other tasks.

Anyway, I don't know what prompted me to think of it today.....I think I was feeling a bit anxious about my lack of motivation to exercise and I remembered the process.

Food for thought, maybe a good tool to be aware of.  I'm dusting this paper off for myself today!

HD