Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Lonely Wine Reefer

Well, yesterday sucked to put it bluntly.  Day started off lovely and went downhill from there.  I dealt with bad news on three fronts.  It's like it just kept coming at me all day in waves.  By the time I had dealt with this trifecta, I was exhausted and could hardly think straight.  The news would be best characterized as tragic on one front, high frustration on another, and disappointing on the third front.  3 completely unrelated issues.

....and I didn't have a single wine craving.  I didn't even have the energy to think of it.  I enjoyed my mocktails attempting to relax a little by the pool and all was good.  All I could think of was that I was so emotionally beat up that the last thing I wanted was to become even more emotional and tired with any addition of alcohol to my system.  I guess this is progress.

I never commented on my blog comments from yesterday but did appreciate them!

So today, I decided to be a little more lighthearted in my post.  Something to make me chuckle a little as I start off this day.......

The one thing that made me feel very sad and deprived for giving up alcohol.....pathetic as this is to admit...was having to stare into my empty wine refrigerator.  We have one of those pretty little two drawer things where each drawer holds 24 bottles of wine.  The top drawer is one temperature for red wines and the bottom is another for whites.

When I remodeled a few years back I was so excited to have them, felt so grown up.  Oh the anticipation I felt of putting wonderful and expensive wines in there, to take out on special occasions, savoring their delight.

Okay, I must be real.....nothing got stored.  Except for maybe one or two expensive bottles that might last 6 months.  But eventually we stopped buying expensive wine because we downed it too quick.

Our elegant wine reefer became home to Barefoot, 2 buck Chuck and Rex and Goliath.....Americans will know what I mean here, not sure what the Australian and British equivalents are....

No wait!!!  Don't tell me.... because what other countries think is crap, we probably pay a fortune here for....never mind, I don't want to know!  If you live outside the states and pay a lot for any I just mentioned.....err, I'm sorry...  I actually like the stuff but if it is $6 a bottle, well, that is expensive....let's put it that way...

When I stopped drinking, I felt so sad for my little white wine reefer.  Hubby still keeps his red one stocked....every week or a few times a week more of the red goes in, but none of the white.  He likes white well enough but isn't buying any out of deference to me.

So wasting away my little reefer sat....

UNTIL...

I loaded her with Bananas!!!  It's amazing how perfect it is for fruit!!  I upp'd the temperature a hair so the skins don't turn black but I can put in bananas and they stay the perfect ripeness for so much longer!

But then I still felt bad......We don't eat that many bananas and she seemed so empty, so forlorn.....

So then I moved the bananas up to the red section - it's three shelves and hubby doesn't use all - and loaded one shelf in my reefer with Pellegrino water and the other with AF wine of the chardonnay and champagne flavors.  (Okay, the word flavor is a stretch but in small doses mixed with club soda, lime, etc, it's not so bad..)

Now my reefer is full and it's amazing what this did for my spirits!!  Again, another habit I didn't have to get rid of, just retooled.  I can stroll over to my reefer, whip out something, make my drink at the bar, go out to cocktail hour, lounge by the pool, talk on the phone and have none of the ill effects of the old days!!!

It's funny, it is no longer starting to feel like a "second best" nor a "substitute".....it is just what I do!

Some may think this is a bad idea to replicate the drinking atmosphere, but, for me, keeping what I liked about it without all the negatives has made me much happier than depriving myself.   This way I can participate in all the camaraderie and conversation and, oh my goodness, actually remember it!

HD

Monday, May 30, 2016

Summer begins!

Today is Memorial Day here in the States.  All gave some and some gave all!  So many really cool posts are showing up on Facebook about it.  It's nice to see reflection given to the day other than just having parties around the pool and grill.  Technology helps to redeliver the message of what holidays like Memorial Day, Veterans Day, etc are all about, and the true purpose behind our cause for celebrations....  The sacrifices that have been made by others do not go forgotten.

These holidays, and summer time in general, used to be significant wine and sometimes beer time for me.

I was reflecting on some of the pool parties I've had in years past that have been blow outs in regard to drinking.  Memorial Day BBQs, 4th of July bashes, Labor Day picnics, etc.

I also remember not remembering.  Sadly.  I have a point where I remember how some parties went but then the rest is a blur.  I know we all sat around entertaining each other with great stories, but I could never remember the stories the next day.

I think this summer will be more quiet.  Our schedule this year is somewhat driving this but I have no interest in hosting any more drinking blow-outs.  I still would like to host a party or two but it feels great to know that I can have my own drinks and I don't think I will be worried.  Here's why...

This weekend has been my first real time hanging out by the pool.  This would normally be a huge trigger.  I found myself thinking that I didn't want to go hang by the pool, at first, and had to give some thought as to why....

I realized it's because I would start drinking....a beer while I was relaxing at the side of the pool, then a glass of wine out of the pool, then hubby would keep pouring more wine while I relaxed back in the pool on the raft, etc.  More wine later in the jacuzzi.  I wouldn't get drunk/drunk but pleasantly buzzed and very, very tired.

Once I realized my thought pattern, I shook it off.  So yesterday, I still had an AF beer by the pool.  I still had a 1/2 club soda and 1/2 AF free chardonnay on the lounge chair.  By that point, though, and actually less calories later, I was filled up and didn't have the alcoholic buzz saying "pour more".  I had some water.

And I felt great!  Everything I had enjoyed by the pool, I still could.  Without the tired grogginess setting in, without the lack of motivation and without the midnight self-loathing about it all.

I have found that I am slowly allowing myself to actually keep my old habits, I'm just removing the alcohol part of the equation......so I don't feel like I'm missing out by stopping drinking.

I realize that this may not work for all and that triggers can be really hard and bad.  But for me, not having to "give up" or "deprive" myself of things/activities, that were normally associated with drinking, has been really beneficial to my happiness.  I can still do what I've always done, just with a clear head.  I don't need to drink to be happy!

HD

Sunday, May 29, 2016

My Litmus Test for drinking

Long before I decided to go Alcohol Free I read a quote that went something like this:
"Don't drink to be happy, be happy to drink"

It stuck with me and I started applying it to myself.  That's when I realized that I was, much more often than not, drinking to be happy.  Oh sure, I would also drink at celebratory occasions but that wasn't the majority of the time I drank.  In the evenings I was drinking to tune out, not to celebrate a wonderful day at work!

In fact, I discovered that when I was really feeling happy, I really didn't need alcohol.  I was conditioned to have it though so I drank.  However, I didn't drink nearly as much, and actually drank more "normally", when I was feeling really happy.

Alcohol does pull the curtain down.  The more we drink the unhappier we become (even if we are generally happy people) and the more we then need to drink to push away the unhappiness.  Such a merry go'round, such a vicious cycle.

I'm writing this today to remind myself about this.  I am feeling really great lately.  The cloud has lifted.  I don't think I'm seeing pink fluffy clouds either.  This isn't euphoria I'm experiencing, just a really, solidly pleasant feeling of contentedness and overall happy sense of well-being.

I don't remember feeling like this in the near past.  I would get euphoric and then blah.  Not super high or low but this middle of the road feeling seemed elusive.

While I was drinking, when I was happy, I would have great ideas, goals etc.  But then I would get blah and wouldn't have the energy to implement them.

If someone can just get to Day 15 (2 weeks under their belt) and then to Day 30, I think they have a really good chance of going further and feeling better about the process.

I'm using this quote above as a tool for me when I have cravings.  It is my litmus test.  If I feel like I need wine to be happy then it's an automatic "nope, can't have it then".  I tell myself it's my choice to drink or not but I must, absolutely must, be happy before I try it.

And lo and behold when I'm happy my brain doesn't want it.  Even if it's a celebratory occasion, I'm easily able to pass.

...But that little test I ask myself has helped immensely over the past few weeks.

HD

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Week 5 Done!

35 days today and tonight will be the completion of Week 5!

As everyone commented yesterday, time really does start to fly.

I wrote a post that I have saved about moderation.  All about how I felt I had changed my mindset and probably wouldn't have any trouble with one glass here or there on vacation or at some social event and that the rest of the time I could remain alcohol free.

I never published it.  Glad I didn't.  Because I don't feel the same way about it.

First, after continued blog surfing and reading about relapses, my mind is more convinced that picking up a glass of alcohol really could have adverse effects.  That perhaps I would be kidding myself to think I can just drink a little here and there.

Second, I have learned to visualize the future much better.  Thanks to others' advice, when I get the thought that I could drink again my thinking goes sort of like this....

- I bet I could have a glass of wine and be fine.
- But then, what would be the purpose of that? I've gone so long without that even if I could have one, why would I want to?
- I really like my nights of sleep
- And what if I don't stop at one?  If I have one, I'll need more to really "feel" it.  Then I will feel like crap about the fact that I drank, I would have to blog about it, and then I wouldn't get anything done the next morning.
- So might as well skip it

I'm not really thinking about forever anymore.  I can drink any time I want to, I just don't see why I would want to right now.  Days are mounting up rapidly and I'll be at 100 before I know it.

Thankfully, this shift has occurred before I fly out on vacation a week from today.   I was originally thinking I would need lots of tools to avoid drinking.  Now I think I just need good sleep, good books, some good mocktails and I'll just escape to room if I need a little peace or take a walk on the beach!  Salt air is always good for the mood.

I went on a six mile hike this morning.  I remember doing some 2 mile slogs after drinking the night before.  Today I felt great and I don't feel like a slug sitting down and taking in some blogs.

Memorial Day weekend here for me so three days off is nice and we have beautiful weather.  Time to go hit the pool!

HD

Friday, May 27, 2016

Days with wings

I remember when I was 5 and the 8 year olds seemed soooo old and mature.  Oh, and the high-schoolers, well they were ancient....I mean they were our babysitters!

It seemed like time went sooo much slower between birth to age 18.  Then from there it's like life went into accelerate mode and I feel like, since hitting 30, it has gone warp speed.  I can't believe I'm middle aged.  I can't believe I'm old enough to have a kid graduate from college.  (I was that old about 4 years ago!)  Many of my friends do, I just got started late.

When I was 10, the 5 year olds seemed so young.

When I was 10, the 20 year olds seemed so old.

When I was 35, the 20 year olds seemed like babies!

And that's how it goes with these days of not drinking.......

Days 1 - 7 DRAGGED!!  Longest week of my life.

Days 8 - 14 moved a bit faster.  Day 30 looked way the hell far off.

By the time I got to Day 30 I thought, hmm, that wasn't so horrible.

Day 100 is like my viewing age 90 from age 40.....way the heck out there still.

I'm sure (I don't know yet) that the Day 100 club looks back at us Day 30'ers and chuckles..."oh they think they are so grown up, think they know everything about this non-drinking stuff....oh what they don't know...."

And probably those who are in the year+ club just sigh watching all of us blog and go through our ups and downs with a knowing smile.

I'm counting weeks now, not days!

HD

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Relapse

I don't know why I seem preoccupied with the reasons for relapse right now, but I am.

I read the blogs, see people struggling, and I guess it just makes me ponder the topic.  Also, probably because I am nervous it will happen to me and I'm still trying to navigate between Day 30 and 100 with an upcoming vacation in between.

My mind naturally goes toward categorization.  Here are my thoughts... Nothing scientific, AT ALL, just my own ramblings.

First of all I am going to generalize that there are two types of commitments toward not drinking:

1) The "I hate myself and how this feels" so I need to stop drinking to "FEEL" better.
2) The  "I hate what this is doing to me and how I am acting" so I need to change and stopping the drink is the means to eliminating these actions from my life.

Type 1 probably actually feels both of the above, but the first is more dominant.

What glares out at me is how similar this is to the old "hate the sin, love the sinner" quote.

Type 1 is going to have a harder time quitting drinking because they expect not drinking to impact their emotional well being.  Their emphasis about quitting is on them, the sinner.  (I'm trying to use an analogy here, not sure if it's working.)  They may be able to quit drinking for a few days but then all their emotions bubble up:  insecurities such as self-worth, loneliness, self-loathing, relationship pressures....it's just too much!  Of course drinking seems like a better alternative.

I've noticed also, for those who have posted lists about not drinking, there is a difference.  People I would categorize as Type 1 from reading their blogs have lists that are generally all about feeling better as a person, emotionally.  Type 2 lists are more about acting different.  (Both lists will want to "feel better the next day" that's universal.) Type 1 have more deep-seated issues affecting them from their lives - issues with parents, social insecurities, negative childhood experiences, etc.  Type 1 has a reason to drink!!

Type 2 will likely have an easier time quitting because their issue is quitting a habit, changing the outcome of their actions...controlling their actions for a physical result.   They are fine with themselves as a person, the sinner, but they want to fix the sins.  All the emotional stuff may not be a part of the quitting drinking.  Certainly everyone has some emotions to deal with that wine dulled but I think the struggles are occurring more in folks that have some serious life issues to deal with on top of drinking.

Type 1 and Type 2 are all blogging together with no distinction.  It's going to be much, much harder for a Type 1 to quit.  They shouldn't look at a Type 2 who has managed to stop drinking and compare that to themselves, nor feel like automatic failures for continuing to struggle.  Likewise a Type 2 can't look at a Type 1 and snap their fingers and just say "oh come on, get a grip."  These are two very different worlds.  The ways in which Type 1 and Type 2 need to quit may be very, very different.

This brings me to relapses....

A Type 1, I speculate, is going to be much more "all or nothing" in their approach.  The degree of failure they feel when they break down (so to speak) and have a glass of wine, is devastating.  It's natural to then say "F$&% it", I just drank, just screwed up, might as well keep going and drink the whole bottle.  This, on top of the fact that it's just plain hard to stop once you start, is just a recipe for the person to keep drinking after that.  Stopping again is just daunting.

A Type 2 person, again I speculate, might drink too much when they take that first sip due to the effect of the alcohol but may be more likely to say "oh poop, I just can't stop can I?  I need to get back on the AF bus."  They may try again and fail, try again and fail, and finally just say AF is the way for them.  But once they make that decision, it's easier to maintain for the long haul because it is a logical choice.  There isn't a huge emotional tie to self-confidence or self-worth, more just a frustration of something they can't control.  So might as well take that out of the equation and not control it.

I think the emotional toolboxes for how Type 1 and Type 2 need to approach giving up alcohol must be pretty different.  So maybe someone can give more thought (if anyone even agrees with this thinking....I could totally be in left field here but then again this is my blog) to how these toolboxes might vary for each type.

Just a very long and wordy thought for the day.

HD


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Experience....or lack thereof

Something has been niggling at me and I finally realized what it was.  I have no experience with truly "quitting drinking."  Experience is something that teaches us things, we learn from it.  Experience would tell me why I can't drink again.

My "past drinking experience" tells me I don't necessarily "want" to drink again.  In addition to all my reasons in my list, lately all my drunken story memories are flooding back.  It's as if I had amnesia for the first 30 days and couldn't really remember any.  All the shameful and embarrassing situations I found myself in from needless arguments to losing items of clothing and purses have come flooding back in my mind.

I know that I don't want to be who I was... when I was drinking like I was!

I spent years wanting to quit every day but never making the actual commitment.  I would abstain and go AF for a few days here and there but it was never a commitment like I have made this time.  Now I want to quit indefinitely and see how it goes.  And I am loving the results!

But I realize this is my true first commitment to this process.  I was just so damn ready when I finally put my mind to it, that I have sailed through this so far.

I abstained for 2 weeks in March and did go right back to my old habits but it was as if I gave myself permission to.  It wasn't like that was really out of my control.  I think I wanted to be drinking again. But I quickly realized, once again, that I didn't.

I really don't have the experience of failing. I think this is dangerous to an extent.

All the blogs are so telling!  Folks, just like me, who attempted this, got much further along than me and ended up right back in the same spot, sometimes worse.  My brain is listening to these blogs...that once someone relapses into their old habits it seems to be that much harder to get back into abstinence mode.  I think all this blogging is giving me some virtual experience to pull from.  Amen.

It's as if my brain is divided into 2 parts: the logical side and the impulsive side.  The logical side is in control now and has been since I decided to quit.  The impulsive side is sitting in the background, ready to say "yes" whenever my logical side rationalizes that it's time to drink again.  Don't fret if you are reading this, thinking I'm about to lose it.......I DO have experience with my logical side winning for life.

I have never, ever smoked a cigarette....not because I thought it was so awful.....but because I KNEW that if I ever started I would never stop.  I have never tried illegal drugs....not because they were illegal but I KNEW that I could get addicted and that scared the crap out of me.  I never thought that about alcohol.  That snuck up on me, blindsided me!

I'm in that same place with alcohol right now.  I think, deep down, I KNOW that if I start again, I will end up back where I was.  That it is doubtful I could ever drink socially without getting myself into the pickle that I was in.  All the blog postings confirm that for me.

So I'm actually, hopeful, believe it or not, that my lack of experience with quitting will be enough to keep me from wanting to try it again.  My impulsive side says "come on logical side, you've got this licked.  You can now drink from time to time and be fine!"  Maybe, maybe not.  I will continue to ingest all the knowledge imparted on the blogs that show me that is not the case!

I'll just keep deferring to my logical side for now.

For those of you worried about sharing your ups and downs, please don't feel embarrassed or ashamed with your struggle.  Sometimes we learn from others struggles. I am so sorry you continue to go through them and I send thoughts of strength your way every day.  However, there is good coming out of your sharing.  I am proof of that if I can just hold on!  Thank you so much for even being able to share!

HD







Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Alcohol Free Wine and Beer

I decided to reward myself last night with a bottle of alcohol free chardonnay.  I have stayed away from the AF wine and beer for the most part, worrying that it might be a trigger of sorts. I found an AF beer that I really like but I know from past experience that AF wine can taste downright nasty.

I had the AF beer last Friday out to dinner for Mexican food and it was good, hit the spot.

Last night, however, I would classify the AF wine as punishment, not reward.  It was not the most enjoyable way to end my 30 day celebration.  I won't name the brand because some may like it and it may not affect everyone the same way....but my body did not adapt well.....

On the other hand, I may have found the cure for the errr......movement issues...that come with quitting alcohol.  In fact, I think this drink should be marketed right up there with metamucil, miralax and castor oil for that purpose.

It started out as a lovely evening.  Husband got home early and son was at sports.  We sat outside and I thought it really would be nice to have a glass of a wine-like substance in hand.  I was a little tired of my normal go-to drinks.  I wasn't having a craving, interestingly enough, I just wanted to participate in my old habit.

I digress for a moment...since switching from splenda to stevia, my taste buds have readjusted.  I used to not like tea with sugar anymore because I was so used to the extra sweet of splenda.  Now that I have been using stevia I've lost some of that sweet need.  I tried tea with regular sugar recently and it tasted sweet again.

I figured that my taste buds were normalizing also from not drinking and maybe the alcohol free wine would taste different now.

So....In great anticipation I poured myself a glass.  It looked nice, a pretty golden color.  Just the thing! I headed outside. I took my first sip.  It wasn't horrible, let's put it that way.  Sort of like a Riesling even though it was labeled Chardonnay.  Not exactly my thing but I've drunk those before.  Maybe sort of like a "slightly turned" Riesling.  I certainly haven't been above drinking wine that might taste a little off if the wine was there.

I believe my hubby used the term "pickled applejuice".  Okay, maybe.  But it still felt more grown up than sparking water.

Interestingly enough I kept pouring this stuff.  It's as if my old drinking habits kicked in.  After two glasses I had to go pick up my son.  I actually caught myself wondering if I was okay to drive after two glasses....wow....time warp.  I chuckled with an "oh right" it didn't have alcohol.  (It tasted so bad that I guess that's why my mind went there...)

When I got back I had another glass before dinner.  (Again, no idea why..)

We had burgers for dinner and, while I would like to blame them for what happened, given that the other two diners were not affected.....I don't think it was the beef.

Let me just suffice to say that right near the end of dinner I had flash backs to preparing for a next day colonoscopy.  (If you haven't had one, you don't want to know..)  This morning all systems were again "at go mode".

On the positive side, I start Day 31 about 2 pounds lighter.......now I will keep some of this wonderful, tantalizing, AF chardonnay on hand for days when I "need it" or for unsuspecting guests toward which I am not feeling charitable.  "Oh my dear, do try this wonderful Riesling I found and see what you think!! It's from a wonderful new winery I found...."

I have to get my kicks where I can......And now I head off to my day feeling so much lighter!!

HD

Monday, May 23, 2016

Counting Days

Day 30

I completely understand why Jason Vale said not to focus on counting days and I think that works for some people.  But not for me.  I've written previous about my time referencing need.

I NEEDED to count.  Getting to day 30, and the fact that I was counting to get here, ENABLED me to get here.

I'm an effort/reward type of gal.  I need to have goals to be motivated.  (Hence my earlier post on being bored in my 40s.)  I need to have something to look forward to.

This morning, I sat down and checked my previous blog post, reading comments.  Then, I checked my email to see if anyone had commented on older posts of mine, to read those comments as well.  Then I went through every one of the blogs I've added to my reading list to see what is new.

Then, and only then, did I let myself go to Sober Mummy's blog and read about Days 30-100.  This was my chocolate for the morning, my sumptuous treat. I prolonged opening it and reading it.  I wanted to savor the process.

It was full of very helpful information and I look forward to experiencing the things she wrote about.

Part of counting for me is that I need some short term goals.  I think introspection is important throughout the process but I need literal hurdles to leap.  I've enjoyed the blogging and getting to know myself better.  I like who I am becoming.

I'd like to back off of posting, to be more productive, but I'm just going to see where it goes.  This has been a necessary and critical component to my success at abstaining.

I remember when I had my son, I filed all his newborn pictures on my computer as Week 1, 2, 3 etc.  At some point I switched to Month 7, 8, 9 - probably because I was a bad mom and taking less photos....and now I file by Age 11, 12, 13 and all pics from the year go into one folder.

I'd like that to be how I count this AF thing.  I was on days until now.  I may try to move to counting weeks.  I'm starting week 5 and I know that once I complete week 14 I'll have 2 more days until 100!  Then, maybe I'll move toward months!

SM says it gets easier by Day 100.  I'm looking forward to that!  Thanks again to all who blog and comment.  It took this village to get me here to day 30!!

HD

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Mother of All Cravings

Day 29

Last night I had "the mother of all cravings".  It was family induced.  I love them but they are a huge trigger for me.  We're just very different.  This is why I am worried about upcoming family vacation....2 weeks...all of us...together....

While my hubby was out getting the milk we were low on, I had the worst craving for white wine.  I just wanted to cruise through the evening and not let those family differences get to me.  I try to have patience and it just takes everything out of me.

I was telling myself that I could just "drown" it tonight, just for one night....

I wanted, SO BADLY, to text hubby to get white wine to bring home....I was going to say that I needed some for the family since we weren't stocking it anymore.  Ha, more like for me.

I didn't text.

And, lo and behold, this "ginormous" craving DID pass.  It really did.  I wouldn't have believed it could.

Hubby and I took some time to sit outside before dinner and enjoy a few minutes sans family.  I felt like I had been through the ringer but I enjoyed my mock-mojito that another blogger turned me on to.  (1/2 sparkling water, 1/2 club soda, mint leaves, lime juice and I add a touch of Stevia to sweeten it. Yummy)

This was more than a slight craving.  I was sooo close to saying screw it and just having a glass.  Ha ha, like it would have been one glass.  I really thought I could have 1 or 2 just to numb the emotions and that I would be able to get back on my horse today.

What kept me from drinking?  This....

1) I was at day 28....for the love of goodness I want to get to day 30 so bad so I can read Sober Mummy's next Day 30 - 100 post.  Seriously.
2) I didn't want to post that I slipped.  I would have but I didn't want to do it.  I didn't want others to know and I would have had to share.
3) I didn't want to disappoint myself.
4) I really like who I've become and I'm scared of pissing it all away.
5) I really want to get to day 100 and say I did it.  (I realize door is open there but I'm hoping I can close it before then.)

I'm still taking it day by day.  But a big thank you to this blogging community.  Reading your blogs and the comments on mine is singularly the thing that has really kept me going.  I hope to back off from it a bit at some point but this is the perfect support I need right now.  So glad I found you all!!!

HD

Saturday, May 21, 2016

4 weeks

Day 28

Not drinking tonight will be 4 weeks.  I'm getting closer to that elusive 30 number that I thought was so far away a few weeks ago.

Blogging this time has helped.

This is what I think today....

1) Cravings do fade, they really do.
2) I do have more energy.  Not like the energizer bunny but noticeable nonetheless.
3) My face looks brighter, more refreshed.
4) I do sleep better.  I get up earlier ready to face the day.
5) My habits are changing for the better.
6) I'm learning how to make do with mocktails.
7) My mood is much improved.  Hubby confirmed less moody, more even-keeled.
8) I'm not as bothered by stress.
9) My clothes fit better even if scale hasn't moved much.
10) Overall, I am much, so so much, happier about life in general.

Now, my memory.....well, suffice to say I think all this thinking about not drinking is making me a bit forgetful and spacey.....must be taking up a lot of brain cells.   (Example - I wrote this whole post as being 3 weeks and caught it that it was 4 weeks just before I published it! Was great to gain a week!)

But at least I'm remembering what I did last night!!!

HD


Friday, May 20, 2016

Is it the 40s?

Day 27

There seems to be a commonality among many of us.....often women in their 40s and 50s coming to the conclusion that wine is not for them any more.

I'm sure much has been written on this but it's on my mind today.  This is going to sound like the most childish post in this blogging universe but I think I'm on to something in regard to my wine drinking.

I faced a major life change at age 40 and I stagnated for the last few years, for sure, but I think it's more than that....something that was coming on before that, back when I became a parent in my thirties.

I've been trying to figure out why my drinking went "inside", behind closed doors.  Oh, I always drank more than healthy but not like since I hit 40.  I've evaluated a number of excuses: divorce, new relationship, some financial anxiety etc.  I'm usually okay with change, though, almost exhilarated by it.

In other words, I don't think that my shift in drinking really had to do with the above.  The escalation of drinking at home to "tune" out life happened to coincide with a major shift in my life, but, again, I don't think that was the reason.

I think that, for me, and this is going to sound really petty, it was realizing that I was finally "grown up".  I was at the point where I could now remember my parents turning 40 and what they were like at my age.  I always wanted to have a bigger house than I grew up in (materialistic, I know), wanted to travel more than they did, have a bigger social network than they did, have more money to do more things.  (And I was not under privileged growing up....I wasn't handed things on a silver spoon but I didn't want for much.)

The pressure of realizing I was grown up (and needing to "get real" with that) triggered something in me.  I became, I think, subconsciously depressed.  Suddenly, I had to come to terms with the fact that "I was where I was" in life.

Suddenly, driving through my old home neighborhood, I could no longer say "I might own that beautiful big house someday."  I know I can't, and am unlikely to be able to, afford that home.  I'm in the house I'm in for the long term unless I sell and end up in a similar type of home or in a city with a much lower cost of living.  I have the social network I have.  I've traveled a lot, had a good career in the corporate world and now working mostly for myself.

Basically, I think I got BORED!!  Drinking away the evenings was a way of tuning out that I felt I had done what I needed to but also wasn't going to go much further.  On the one hand I felt I had had a fulfilling life through work, marriage, motherhood, travel.....I had done what I wanted to do for the most part but I also was at a "status" in life that probably wasn't going to change much from that point forward.

I don't know why I thought this, I'm only in my 40s!  I was depressed at the thought that I was on the down side to my working career and money making years, headed toward retirement.  I had to finish raising my son but I couldn't see beyond that.  I've always had goals and now I had none.  Because I was just telling myself I'd sit tight until my son graduates high school and then figure life out, I chose wine at night as a way of not feeling bad, not thinking too much about where I'm not in life nor where I need to go.

I'm pleased to say that fog is lifting after 27 days.  I'm still not ready to do too much advance planning.  I'm just enjoying being overall happy again, sleeping well and not hating myself from 2-5am every day.  I'm enjoying watching my body change as I work out more (not a lot but enough) and I'm enjoying who I am becoming....not so edgy, a better wife and mother, etc.

Admitting in this blog how childish I feel about why I drank is important for me.  This "getting to your status in life and knowing that probably won't change much from here on out" may resonate with some and not with others.  Plenty of entrepreneurs do something with their life in their late 40s and 50s. It's a mindset of mine that is holding me back.

I know that changes won't occur if I keep drowning my petulant thoughts in wine.  I'm looking forward to the clarity that will be coming, the changes I will make that right now I cannot even envision.....but I know, now, those changes will come.  I will no longer remain stagnate.

HD




Thursday, May 19, 2016

Morning News Blues

Day 26

I'm always last in this sober universe....literally.  My day starts when many others are ending or have ended.  The Aussies and Kiwis (are these appropriate terms?) are asleep having already finished the day I am just beginning.  The Brits are facing wine o'clock as I face the morning.  Even the Eastern US is 3 hours ahead of me.

I'm falling in to a nice routine of posting in the morning and doing a run through of the blogs.  It's a peaceful and centering start to my day.  Then, in the afternoon, after the workday is finished, I grab tea and chocolate, read comments, and post my own comments on others blogs, before moving on to dinner preparation.  It's sets me to thinking and puts me in a proper frame of mind before wine o'clock.

One of the challenges to being so far West is that my morning news always seems to be full of doom and gloom.  Even on 9/11, I awoke, stumbled to the couch, and watched live as the second plane hit the World Trade Center.....I was bleary eyed. It was surreal.

When terrorist attacks occur further east, I often wake up to the horror.

I awoke this morning, thinking about what I might post today, and then I sat down at my computer, oblivious to what was going on in the east.  I opened up the news online since I hadn't turned on the television.  Immediately, I saw the news about the missing Egyptian Airliner and soon thereafter saw that the debris had been found.  While the actual cause is unknown, the thought that it could be another terrorist attack is chilling.  If it was an accident, it's still disturbing.

These events always remind us how fragile life is.  My heart always hurts for the lives that are lost in a tragedy like this, the lives of the families that were changed in an instant.  

I don't want to minimize what happened today, but bringing this back to alcohol since that's what this blog is for.....why do I choose to do things to myself that might deliberately end my life sooner when all the other risks in life could do that for me?  Others could take my life in an instant with no thought nor care to what my life amounted to or what I meant to anyone else.  My ability to be self-destructing is truly mind-boggling.

In the past, the news would have given me reason to drink, to tune out the depressing events as they transpired throughout the day.  To chat exhaustively about it with hubby during cocktail hour.  As the drinks progressed, the feeling of helplessness would grow, requiring more drinks to dull the fear...

Instead, today, I vow to spend the rest of the day feeling grateful.  I will let myself feel the joy of my life slowing transforming to be one that I won't regret should it ever be cut short.

Today I rejoice in how I'm feeling better about myself just for what I am accomplishing.  My face does look less swollen, less puffy.  A little brighter even.  I finally feel like I am getting that girl back that I was in high school and college before I graduated and married wine....the one who laughed joyfully and enjoyed every minute of life.

I get enough bad news in the mornings online, who am I to put myself or my family at risk of becoming the news? So glad to be moving forward!  Hugs to all who are trying!

HD





Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Ruptures and Repairs

Day 25

Well, I skated through another annual physical yesterday.  After Nurse confirmed that I hadn't shrunk in either height (and, unfortunately, nor weight) since last year,  I saw the Doc.  As he was detailing off all the blood test levels....kidney fine, glucose fine, uric acid fine, liver fine.....huh?

Say that again?...liver fine he said.  When he said that, I drawled really slow and loud like a southern belle, "liver fine, doc?  well go figure".  And he said nothing.  Didn't bait.  Just smiled.  Didn't ask a question.  Hmmm...

Do you think I mentioned I'd been a drinker?  Of course not.  Then again, I think he may be too .......his nose was looking a little red.... It's like nobody really wants to bring it up, me included.

Then it was time to remember that this did not give me a reason to have a glass last night.  I needed to just be grateful and move on, continue forward with my plan.

While I was at the doc, however, I, of course, was glued to my smart phone in the waiting rooms.  I am "inexplicably" drawn to those lists on the news like 9 Ways Happy Couples Fight or 12 Reasons to such and such.

(I know, I know, you wouldn't expect a person like me, who made a long list of reasons why and why not to drink, to be drawn to such articles......)

Anyway...one of the lists quoted something about true healthy intimacy being full of ruptures and repairs.  I thought "wow" this applies to quitting alcohol too.  We must rupture and repair ourselves numerous times before we truly can move to a new and fulfilling lifestyle.  Seemed like an interesting analogy to me at the time.....then again, I was bored.  And NO I didn't rupture myself last night!

I actually made my first mocktail.....stealing from another post....sparkling water mixed with club soda, mint, juice and a little stevia to sweeten it.  It was pretty yummy.  I just couldn't face plain bubble water and the mocktail gave me my first hope that I can make it through the upcoming vacation armed with more!  The cloud of impending doom feels like it is lifting!

And I also really liked the quote I saw that someone posted on Fbook:

"Everything will be okay in the end.
If it's not okay, it's not the end."

Hmm...good point.....   I'm good with not being 100% okay, but I AM feeling at least 80% better about myself!  Continued work in progress is good because at least it's moving in the right direction!

HD

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

This is not easy!

Day 24

Yesterday I wrote how I have really reduced my Facebook surfing.  We all know how easy it is to fall into the trap of believing everyone else is happy and joyful all the time based upon their facebook posts. I went and looked at my own posts on Fbook.  They look pretty cheerful too.  I'm not one to be a downer and I like to find humor in situations or at least provoke thought.

There is a danger to this sober universe.  Some people start and stop all the time.  Some can never seem to start.  Others stop and make it look so easy.

I was reading back through all my posts.  I realize I tend to philosophize my way through this blogging. I'm just chatting away with myself regardless of who is listening.  I haven't really talked about too many physical issues or emotional pain I may be in.

It looks like I just one day decided to stop, started talking to myself about it, and, voila, 24 days have passed.

I just want to remind anyone reading that by the time I started writing, it was after a very long period of wanting to stop.  It was daily starts and stops.  Going 2 days here, 3 days there, I may have even made it to 5 days but never 7.  And 5 was rare.  It was years of doing this.  I just didn't know about blogs.....didn't realize how many others were in the same boat.

I don't want my journey to reflect on others experiences.  We see some blogs going back a few years as people continue to struggle with stopping.  Well, I could have written those blogs from about 2011 to 2013.  It took me 3 more years before I even got to this point.  I just joined in on the sober universe very late in the game.

Others start blogging/reading at different points.  Some have just become aware they want to quit and find the blogging tool.  Others are a little further along. Others quit awhile ago without the online support but are now needing support to continue and can help others along the way.

Today I write for others who may find this post.  Don't beat yourself up for whatever your journey is.  If you are reading blogs that means you are working on your issue.  That's good enough.

Just don't let that false picture of "easy" that some may accidentally portray to mean it's really easy.  Just like we don't always see a bad day in someone's life on facebook, sometimes its easier to talk about the humorous situations and the mindset of everything without talking about the pain involved in quitting drinking.

Those who are blogging about their pain are awesome.  They really open themselves up for support from the rest of us.  Wanting online anonymity keeps me from blogging too much about withdrawal and pain...... but know that it's there!  I'm still very vulnerable and waffling in my resolve.  I have just chosen to try my hardest to get to Day 100, lose some weight and re-evaluate!

HD

Monday, May 16, 2016

Trade-offs

Day 23

I suppose trading habits is par for the course in this process.

I feel as if I've made some major trades lately...

1) I've traded Facebook for these blogs.  Facebook does have a tendency to make you feel that the rest of the world is having so much fun and life is perfect for everyone else.......and makes me feel that I'm boring and not nearly as accomplished.  This sober universe is full of people struggling to break free of alcohol or at least to break free of old patterns of alcohol abuse.  I check Fbook much less frequent now and my friends probably think I'm ignoring them!

2) I've traded alcohol for chocolate.  I caught myself taking a few extra squares of chocolate the other day - oops.  I best be careful here or I will start abusing that as well!

3) I've traded my "fun" evenings for more steady ones.  I know this is good, I just still miss the initial zoning out part of cocktail hour. I like my sparkling water but right now it's still not the same.  I don't miss what followed the cocktail hour though!

4) I've traded being a lump on a log to working out and switching from Splenda to Stevia in my tea.  (Btw, if Stevia is bad too, let me know...here I am thinking I am making progress...)  (I gained a pound this week but I'm blaming muscle!)

I feel like a wimp for being bummed that I might not be able to have wine again....ever.  There are people who need to be gluten free and they do it.  People who give up sugar and they do it.  Diabetics who have to watch their diet like a hawk, and they do it.  Amputees who have lost limbs and their "forever" has changed as well.  Realizing that wine just isn't for me shouldn't be that big of deal in the context of challenges others face.

I guess it's like dieting.  A diet is great but unless you change deep down habits of eating, the weight loss is unsustainable.  But I must remind myself that the habits don't change overnight.  HabitDone was my choice for a name but breaking a habit doesn't happen quickly.

I'm slowly making that changes so that, at some point, I hope I don't feel like I'm dieting anymore and that I have transitioned to a new way of living.

When I read blogs from those further ahead, it certainly seems do-able if I can hang in there!  I write this post to remind myself of this.

HD


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Other's Points to Ponder

Day 22

When I started my blog, I thought of so many things that I wanted to say to myself, to document, so that I didn't lose sight of why I was fighting this fight against alcohol.  Well, I'm through my initial list.

The beauty of these blogs is that someone always has something to say that is thought provoking, making me think "outside of my box", forcing me to look at myself in a new way.

I think referencing other's blogs is also good as it helps to expand the support network for them as well.

Point to Ponder #1:

Runningfromwine posted yesterday about Kindness and "Our Type"

At first I couldn't relate.  I realize there are a lot of "kind" people out there but I never thought of myself as one of them.  I like to be nice to people, I am always nice to people, assuming the best of them.  I am not intentionally mean and dislike "meanies", but I am not really what I would call a "pleaser."

I will speak my mind, direct others, take over leadership roles when there is a leadership void and as my brother says, basically be a miss bossy pants.   I'm the one who, deep down, always felt good getting on the freeway onramp first, getting out of the concert before others so I'm not stuck in traffic, getting in line at the airport just before the group of tourists could get in line before me....oh, and I wanted to be first on the airplane...

(Now you can understand the tendency I had to make sure I had my "share" of wine at dinner..)

Why?  I have no answer.  This is just my instinct.  I have focused on tempering this as I've aged.  I board more slowly now, I drive more conservatively, I don't worry about being "first" as much.  But the instinct is still there.

My son will hold the door open at a sporting event for 25 people to come out when I'm wanting to rush to the car (drives me nuts), he will ask if he can have the last Oreo cookie in the jar (I would have just taken it), he will be last on the bus, patiently waiting in line to board.  He can be bossy so he has an interesting blend of being strong and pleasing at the same time.  No wonder he is well-liked!

Every place I've ended up in life, I own.  My decisions, my actions. I can't blame anyone but me. Rarely do I ever feel controlled.  So where did I fit with her points?  It set me to thinking.....

I realize that for her type and mine, even though we are different personalities, wine helps both of us to "avoid".  Because I can be bossy and directing, wine mellows that.  Makes me less likely to conflict for the first 1 - 3 glasses, takes my edge off......for her it may make her less bothered by being controlled by others.

At glass 4+ though we likely merge.  She probably starts to stand up for herself and conflict with others and I start to get bossy again and self-righteous.  When the pleaser goes up agains bossy after 4+ drinks....watch out - fireworks!  It is interesting how alcohol affects us all and how we each use it.  Read and see what thoughts it provokes in you!

Point to Ponder #2:

Sothisissober just started a great blog.  She is at Day 45 today but didn't start her blog until a few days ago.  Her post today of anyone-for-bungy-jumping nailed dead-on what I was feeling about being on a roller-coaster.

When I was ending my first marriage, my wise friend told me "you may feel like you are on a roller-coaster, but at least now there is an end in sight.  That is better than the Merry-Go-'Round you were on with no ending..."

She was right.  And this applies to my journey right now.  I'll let you read the post because it encompasses this whole idea.

Here's to all of us getting off the Merry-Go-'Round and getting on the Roller-Coaster!

HD


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Maybe...just maybe...

Day 21

Today is the first time that I've felt a shift toward more long term thinking.  I have 3 weeks to go until family vacation time.... with my family that is.  I've done 3 weeks, now, I CAN do 3 weeks more, at the least.

(Hubby cannot attend due to work.  This is actually okay because having two weeks of restful sleep, away from dog with small bladder, might be just what I need!)

I was saying last night that I didn't know if I could keep this up then.  His answer was "well, if you decide to drink then you can just stop again when you get home."

Oh, if it were only that easy.  That, I think, would fall under the term moderation.  I tried so many times to do just that.  Oh, to be able to pick up drink on vacation and put it down when I get home.

I will have 42 days under my belt by the time I leave....so close to 50.  On vacation I'll hit halfway to 100.

Thinking of starting over after writing 21 blog posts just gives me the chills.

Maybe, just maybe, this blogging thing, this support structure has given me the wherewithal to actually make it through the vacation.

Maybe, just maybe, the distasteful thought of starting over is enough to keep me from wanting wine this vacation.

Maybe, just maybe, getting through the vacation AF would be such an accomplishment that thinking about it that way will be enough to work.

I know that I can never go back to routine drinking at home.  That I'll never be able to moderate there.  Unfortunately, there is still this thought that maybe, just maybe, I could drink on vacation, come home and be fine.  I can jump right back into exercising, losing weight and overall feeling better.

Maybe, just maybe....but maybe not.


Friday, May 13, 2016

Forgiving Ms. Chardonnay?

Day 20

I think the last time I went this long with out a drop....no, I KNOW the last time I went this long was when I was pregnant over 13 years ago.  Even while I was pregnant I would allow myself one sip from husband's glass if I had a huge urge.  One tiny sip and then I could move on.

What strikes me is how I could have done this 13 years ago....never started drinking too much to be healthy....all the weight I might not have gained, all the arguments I might not have had, all the embarrassments and shame I might have avoided...and all the other things I could have been doing...

But let me not beat myself up too much....I might have still gained weight, been edgy, done embarrassing things, felt guilty about something and still been less productive.

What I think I would have avoided is twofold:

1) The feeling of letting myself down health wise and putting myself at risk to not being around for others, specifically husband and son.  I definitely feel like I have let myself down by knowing that I might have damaged my body.  (Remember I have that upcoming physical next Tuesday so stay tuned...)

2) I think I could have been more productive over the years.  I'm not where I want to be in life and had I done more toward this over the last 6 years instead of drowning my grief at the change and upheaval in my life, I would possibly be "further" along.  Further career wise, maybe financially, maybe social network wise, etc.  But I'll never really know for sure...I could have ended up in the same place.  I feel as if I stagnated for awhile.

(I'm good with my marriage ending....now.  Finding a new and healthier relationship showed me this but there is still a forever sadness at not being able to have made my innocent, initial vision of marriage work.)

Then again, maybe I just needed some time to grieve that I wasn't exactly where I had intended to be in life.  My vision for who I thought I was DID have to shift greatly after my divorce from a long term marriage.

A lot of us write about the anger we feel at alcohol.  I think that's productive and one good way to focus oneself.  For me, however, that doesn't work.  If you read my 4th post, I mentioned that I have anger management issues and can't manage to stay angry at anyone.  I really can't.

For me, a big part of healing is forgiving.   A definition I once heard for forgiveness is simply conscious forgetting...or something like that.

I remember making the decision to forgive my ex.  I just decided I wasn't going to spend any more time beating myself up for what I could have done to save the marriage nor blame him for his actions. I just needed to move forward, grieve a little perhaps, and get over it. It just wasn't to be, because he wanted out, and there wasn't anything I could do about it, even though it wasn't my choice at the time.

I've been pondering why I'm able to move forward so easily this time and not drink.  Why did I make it to Day 20 with relative ease after having such a tumultuous relationship with wine for so long, never being able to really make it to Day 2?

Maybe the key was my forgiveness of wine AND myself!

Maybe Ms. Chardonnay was a good friend to me and I don't need to hate her.  She gave me space to breathe and time to heal.  She also taught me a lot about myself, my limits, my weaknesses.....I learned lessons from her.  I was maybe too arrogant and she showed me I wasn't perfect.

So perhaps instead of feeling upset with myself and with her, I should just understand where she fit into my life and why she no longer fits with me now.

There's a saying that we've all seen about friends and likely have had some in each category...

"People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime."

Perhaps Ms. Chardonnay was actually a friend of sorts to me through my growing up years.  She may not have been the best friend I could have chosen, but I needed to lean on her.  She came to me for a season.   But we've grown apart, we have different interests... I don't need her anymore in the way that I  did.  I've realized she is toxic and isn't good for me.  I need to say goodbye to her and move forward now......on my own.  Hmmmmmm.....









Thursday, May 12, 2016

Just 2 to 3 hours

Day 19

I continue to be amazed at all the thought and effort I am putting into not drinking.  For me, I really am only talking about the urge to drink during about a 2 to 3 hour time period every day.  

The problem has been that those 2 to 3 hours drinking, even just a few glasses, have had so many, many more hours of impact.

The rest of the day, I'm not interested unless it's some special occasion where I can justify that it's five o'clock somewhere.

What my day used to look like:

Before Noon:  Absolutely no desire to drink
Noon to 3pm:  Still not really a desire but getting more tired from the day
3pm to 5pm:  Thinking wouldn't it be nice to drink but it's not wine o'clock here yet. Can't wait!
5pm to 7:30pm:  Oh, I want a drink, need a drink or 2 or 3 or 4 or...
7:30pm+:  If I never started and already had dinner.. oh I'm tired, I think I'll just relax with a cup of tea
7:30pm+:  If I had started drinking......well, then it might go on for awhile

It's the latter that was the issue.  Starting and then not stopping.  I guess that is the same issue for most of us.

I am constantly amazed that it's not just an easy decision to say that I want to lose weight so I'm going to diet off my wine.  That it's not easy to find a substitute drink.  That after all I know about alcohol, I still miss it.

I still miss being able to sit down with wine and I'm really not even sure why.  Why do I miss something that I know is bad for me?  Why do I miss something that makes me into a person I don't want to be?  That is still a mystery to me but I guess that's the addictive drug part of it all.

I'm also amazed that once I truly internalized giving it up, I could...at least so far.  Don't get me wrong, I know I'm not home free and that this is work in progress. I know not to be arrogant about this.

Remember I prayed for YEARS, every morning, "please God, let me just quit and stop drinking. I don't like this.  I don't want this any more."

Then, I would get close to wine o'clock and say "please, God, just let me only have one glass."

Then.....I would wake up at 2am and as I lay there, unable to fall back asleep, I would say "please, God, I need help."

And the cycle would begin again.

I feel like something clicked this time and I hit my moment.  I was able to stop fairly easily.  I feel like I am in limbo land though.  Sort of muddling my way through, looking for something else, another phase to this not-drinking thing.  Is this all there is?  I am assured not as I read through others blogs, thank goodness for those blogs.  Again, to those who have gone before, thank you for posting even when you are what I would call "fairly in the clear."

So I'm still one day at a time.

This is clearly a boring post just for me....just to talk out loud....but for anyone thinking about blogging....I have to say that having put so much effort into this blog keeps me moving forward day by day.  It has really been helpful for me to journal the process.  It affirms for me that NO WAY do I want to start back at square one and go through this all again!

HD


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Napping is good

Day 18

Wow. Yesterday it was like "kapow!"  I felt like I had been run over.

I woke up after a good nights sleep, went out for morning exercise and by 10am was feeling sluggish. It was a very strange feeling.....as if I was moving through heavy liquid.  I was so tired. Not really depressed in any way, just bone tired.  Could be because I had only had one cup of caffeine tea since we had run out....but I can't imagine that's all it was.  By 10am I might normally have had one more but not enough to be that impactful.

I think I somehow just experienced withdrawal lethargy.  By 1:30 I couldn't keep my eyes open.  I laid down for a 45 minute nap and, again, for the second time in years, I actually napped.  It's almost as if everything associated with not drinking just caught up to me and kicked my butt.

I injected a little diet coke into my system upon waking, a little chocolate a bit later, and did pretty well the rest of the afternoon and evening.  Still very tired at 9pm but otherwise okay.

I used to be able to nap in college between classes.  I've never since been able to truly nap, I just lay down and get frustrated.  If I ever went to sleep at an odd hour (usually associated with jet lag) then I was the biggest grouch upon waking.  Given that alcohol has always been a part of my life since college....hmm...maybe that is my culprit....the villain who schemed against my napping.

I've always been jealous of hubby who can nap and nap HARD!  Once he said he was going to take a nap near me and I was working on the computer.  He nodded off immediately and in 2 minutes he literally snorted himself awake.  As I looked over at him, amused, he asked how long he had been asleep.  Seriously?  He was totally refreshed after a 2 minute nap!!

They say to hold your car keys while you are napping so that they'll drop when you truly fall asleep.  When they drop and it wakes you up, that's all you need from a power nap to feel refreshed.  You can technically do this in your office chair at work or wherever and then be rejuvenated.  I'm still a little skeptical about this but I think I'm starting to fall in the love with the concept of a quick nap.

Wow, how my life could change.  I might be able to pass a car drive more quick by sleeping during it.  Imagine an airplane ride?  (Those of you who can sleep anywhere at the drop of a hat can probably not understand my jubilee over my new found state!  Okay, skip to another blog then, ha ha)

I never wanted to go out and stay out late because of the drinking but also because I would get soo tired.  Maybe I can nap, we can go out in the evenings, I can be awake and enjoy it AND drive us home.  Whew whoo!!!  Time to go dancing!

So maybe now, in the early evening, if I'm exhausted, I'll take a quick nap...instead of reaching for the wine......

Last night I had a lousy nights sleep but feel much better than yesterday.  Go figure.

HD


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Libido....where??

Day 17

Alcohol and libido are an interesting pairing.  I haven't seen that much written on this topic or I've just missed it in my blog surfing.

Because I would succumb to the wine witch primarily at home in the evenings, I admit to more than my fair share of morning conversations that went something like this:

Me: G'morning sweetie.  Love you.  (Trying to avoid breathing on him as I feel like a cat shat in my mouth while I was sleeping)
Him:  G'morning love you too.
Me:  That was fun last night......  (me wondering exactly what we did, if we did anything, thinking we probably did)
Him: Yes, that was.  (big grin on his face)
Me: (Thinking...shit, I don't remember anything.. was it good? was I good?)
Me: Great! (I say)....umm...did we umm....??
Him:  (Smiling)  Yes.  You don't remember?
Me:  Sure I do (Not really).  Most of it anyway.  Just had a lot of wine I guess.
Him:  (Just continuing to grin and I can tell his mind is NOT thinking about my drinking....)

Alcohol would alternately cause me to be "too tired" at night and wanting nothing else than to go to sleep or the opposite where I felt like we were trying to be the main characters of an Austin Powers movie. 

Husband has a big libido and I'm always trying to keep up.  This is part of the reason I am fine with him drinking.  They say it can affect a man that way.  He has been a drinker (not, though, to the extent that I have) ever since I've known him.  If his libido is this high, at 50, and he drinks 1/2 bottle to a bottle of wine night....there is NO WAY I want him to stop.  Heaven help me if he did.

I suppose I should be grateful to be with a man like this at my age but I struggle to not feel that I'm letting him down.  You know that old saying "Don't let the horse leave the barn hungry" or something like that. (Prior husband liked to look for fillies...so I'm probably a little overly sensitive on this topic.)

I am really proud of myself and happy to have made it to Day 17.  But I HAVE been super tired at the end of the day.  I find that my libido is a bit like Elvis and seems to have "left the building" more often than not lately. I pull through the moment and pony up but I truthfully would have preferred to lay like a lizard in the sun and just go to sleep.

Like a post I read in another blog, I, too, feel like everyone needs a piece of me and I'm tired and don't want to be touched some evenings.  Tired of taking care of/organizing everything.

While I have more energy during the day, it's as if once I've made it through wine o'clock, the effort of that alone just completely wipes me out.  I think wine mitigated this feeling and made evenings easier in this respect, made me more relaxed and therefore ready for late evening activities.

I find myself wanting wine, in part, to be fun again.  To be ready for things. Maybe this feeling of lethargy will pass.  I don't want it to affect us and am nervous about that aspect of our relationship.

Hubby is being very supportive, I have to say that for him.  We are trying to be strategic about this.  But I look forward to getting more of "my Mojo back, baby!"  Hoping that this is part of perseverance and there is light at the end of this tunnel.....

HD

Monday, May 9, 2016

Calendar girl...

Day 16

Maybe, soon, I can finally stop blogging every flipping day and stop counting days.......hmmm....nah, probably not for awhile yet.  I really need this.  It's good for me.

Does anyone else peruse blogs for the exact AF day you are on and then read from that point forward?  Maybe I'm just weird.  I find myself looking through blogs of folks who have been AF for a long time and then trying to pinpoint exactly when they were on the same day I am on and I don't read further than that.

I'm very much what I call a time-reference person.  When I get home from a vacation I'm always thinking "this time last week I was lying on the beach".  Or this time last year I was doing such and such.  Or 4 years ago in February after that thing happened, what was I doing? It drives my family crazy that I can spend hours obsessing with my grandmother about this type of thing...we can waste inordinate amounts of our lives by sitting and chatting about exactly what we ate at that particular restaurant years ago and trying to decide if that was before or after such and such.  At least I can say it runs in the family.

So, yesterday and the day before, I was reading Day 14 and 15 of SoberMummy's blog as an example.  I won't let myself read any further forward than the day I am on except for all of her recent posts since I went AF.  My goal is that I am AF long enough to catch up!  It's like watching a recording of a show that is on but started an hour ago and you finally catch up to the current live version after skipping commercials.

SM has a tab on her site for Days 30 to 100.  I haven't read it yet!  I can't! It will be my reward for when I finally get to Day 30.  I've only read the Advice for Newbies tab.   At 30 days I'll get to open it up and read it.  How crazy is this, hmm??  Probably explains why I just adore those window-opening Advent calendars at Christmas time...I never cheated and looked ahead on those either.

So to anyone who wonders if they should keep their old posts, please do!  You never know who will be wading through your blogs, wanting to know what you were like at that exact point in time of your life! Crazy people like me just might be doing so!

HD






Sunday, May 8, 2016

Anxiety Dreams

Day 15

Well, I finally had my version of the dream that others have blogged about.  Now, I had a FEW anxiety dreams last night to include losing dogs I was dogsitting so it did seem to be a theme...

But I actually had a dream that I was sitting down with family and felt I had to have a glass so as to not admit that I was "not drinking".  (This is obviously related to my prior Day 14 where I started drinking again for the same reason..... different family though in this dream.)

I had a full glass and then left the second mostly full.  Then, also in my dream, I awoke the next morning so upset with myself for having to start all over again.  I was sooo angry about being at Day 1 again and I hadn't even really enjoyed enough wine to make it worth it.

I was never so relieved as to when I "really" woke up and realized it was a dream.  I didn't have to start over!

This dream indicates a few things to me:

1) I am still very anxious about telling others that I don't drink
2) I really am not ready to drink again (as if I will ever be)
3) I would be terribly disappointed if I started again now.  Those feelings were so real in my dream.
4) I clearly still want too much wine or I wouldn't have been bummed to only have had a glass

I found it interesting that I didn't feel "yay, look at me, I moderated and only had a glass plus a few sips."  I think that's a sign that I am nowhere near ready to go back to drinking.  (Yes, I'm still not quite ready to close that door but I know 100% I'm not ready to even consider the debate of abstinence or moderation right now.)

Hooray for dreams.

I remember so many past Mothers Days with too much wine/champagne flowing.  It's especially strange to think of never having champagne again...I never really liked it that much so never drank too much of it but I know it would be a gateway drink...oh well, not going to deal with that right now.

On to enjoying a peaceful AF Mothers Day here in the western U.S.A.

HD

Saturday, May 7, 2016

A blossoming mindset

Day 14

This is where it all fell apart last time.  I saw family drinking, thought it was no big deal to join in, and off I went again.  I realize now I wasn't defining a new philosophy on drinking back then, I was just trying to prove to myself that I could quit and then could moderate no big deal.  NOT.  I also had family triggers early on in my days of being AF.

In some ways this time has been easier.  Instead of defining not drinking as forever, it's more like something I just don't want to do.  The family triggers won't come for another 4 weeks so I have time.

I definitely don't want to become the person I was, to feel the way I did.  That is what is keeping me from drinking.  That feeling...I'm going to refer to it as my "mindset"...is strong enough right now, so strong, that I don't want to drink and go backwards.  Do I WANT a glass of wine? Absolutely, would love one (and probably 2, 3, 4 or 5) at wine o'clock, but it's the bigger picture I don't want.  It's my list of reasons why I don't want to drink...that I don't want.

 According to Wiki...a mindset is a set of assumptions, methods, or notations held by one or more people or groups of people that is so established that it creates a powerful incentive within these people or groups to continue to adopt or accept prior behaviors, choices, or tools

I don't want to confuse mindset with willpower. A lot of us have great willpower in other areas of our lives.  In fact, willpower is what got me through the first 2 weeks of being AF back in March.  But willpower is hard to sustain in anything given the right amount of temptation.   I think anyone relying on willpower to remain alcohol free is going to have a tough time of it.  (This is probably just a round-a-bout way of saying the same thing Jason Vale says in his book but it quantifies it more for me.)

After reading so many blogs I feel that there is a mindset involved with being able to remain alcohol free. Collectively, those who have been successful, have adopted a way of thinking to overcome the desire to try the drug again.  They have ceased having to use "willpower" and are relying more on their mindset.

(People reading this who have been AF for a long time are probably saying...duh!  :-)  Oh, us newbies and our revelations we think are so new and philosophical - lol)

The question I do ponder, I admit, is whether or not my mindset, once stronger and fully developed, will ever let me truly moderate.  I hear the cries of Danger!!  I know, I know.... Then I go back to realizing that alcohol is a drug that will likely always affect me in a certain way.  I will always ignore my mindset so my mindset is best put to use by not starting drinking in the first place...or I probably don't stand a chance.  We'll see.

I looked at my plant this morning where I rooted a leaf and stuck it in a pot in my bathroom.  So here is this big African Violet leaf sticking out of dirt and lo and behold, next to it is a flower rising up out of a separate part of the dirt... and blooming.  It's very fragile but trying to make something of itself.

That's how I feel on this Saturday morning....like a little plant taking hold, starting to form, and hoping to grow into something bigger and more beautiful.  Hopeful.  Peaceful.  Calm.

HD


Friday, May 6, 2016

The Veritable Vino Villian

Day 13

Just trying to come up with a new name for the wine witch so that we don't make her female all the time. Ha, I guess Wine Warlock would work too.

I don't know if it's strange to feel relieved but I do.  The Vino Villian or Wine Witch finally came visiting yesterday.  I knew it was seemingly too easy for me thus far.

(Leave it to me, I do everything a bit later than everyone else.  Always catching tv series years after they were popular, reading books long after they were best-sellers etc, I was the last to try low rise jeans, etc.....now I have to wear wide legged pants again?..oh help me...)

So anyway....After blogging about my butterflies, I was in the blah-est mood.  I couldn't function all day.  I work from home a lot and things just aren't real busy right now.  So many things I could have been doing all day.

Instead I was inexplicably weepy.  At first I attributed it to reading an article by one of the moms of those teens that disappeared while fishing last year off Florida.  I was so sad reading about her losing her son.  Then reading about Fort McMurray and blogger Anne a part of all that.

I was not motivated to do anything!  I prowled around the house...some dishes, some work, some bill paying...but I couldn't stay focused.  Kept reading through blogs and feeling fairly non-functioning. Many thanks to all the authors who kept me focused yesterday even though I was feeling blue.

I think this might have been a withdrawal sign.  I kept telling myself that.  Around 3:30pm my husband came home early as he had some appointments on our side of town.  He hit his computer for more work and I went to take a nap.  I NEVER nap.  Just can't.  And guess what?  I power napped for 30 minutes.  I was exhausted.

I've been sleeping really well (other than the dog with the small bladder issue).  At least I get right back to sleep which I didn't after wine.

When I awoke from the nap the hubby and I took the dog out for a run.  (Note, just to be clear... dog ran, we walked.)  But it was a good stretch.   After a nap and some exercise I really did feel better.  But, oh my goodness, I wanted wine soo bad before I took that nap and during the first part of our trek.

When we came home we sat outside before dinner with our sparkling waters and I was fine.  (He is trying to be supportive and I try not to notice when he is drinking beer or wine.)  At that point, the wine was really no more than a thought of something that would be nice to have but that's all.  Showed me how the cravings can come and go fairly fast and, if I fight them off, the whole evening may not be ruined.

My point is that my mood shifted completely with a little rest and a little change of scenery.  I also think I was a bit dehydrated yesterday.  So, again, I think there is something to that saying of "don't let yourself get too hungry, too thirsty, too tired, too stressed or too depressed."

I'm going to be watching for these things and try to analyze if one of these is amiss the next time I feel the urge for wine.  If I can identify the cause, maybe I can focus on fixing that and do something to kick myself out of the craving mode and reset my mood......hopefully.

Feeling much better today!

HD

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Butterflies

Day 12

Yes, still counting.  I've told myself that I will stop counting days and move towards less frequent blogging once I make it past Day 14 where I fell apart last time.   I am taking it day by day, though.  I think I'll just do whatever feels "right" for me.

I have to be honest.  I think I am doing really well and then I read all the other blogs and I get an upset stomach.  Like butterflies.  The wonderful women I read about who are still starting and stopping scare the crap out of me.  I'm one degree away from that myself.  I know that.  I feel my nails dig into my palms and just try to hold on.  On the other hand, the wonderful women (I don't mean to exclude the men it's just that I'm relating to personal shared experiences here as wives, mothers, etc.) that I read about who have made it a long time also scare me.  The concept of "forever" scares me.

I still don't want to think of myself as a non-drinker.  To me that means I really did have a problem and the thought of "recovery" as a label for my life scares me as well.  Someone mentioned that we all have to find our own way through this, find what works.

For me, I am choosing not to drink because I don't like how it feels.  I can drink any moment that I want to.  I can go buy wine any time I feel like it.  But I have 22 reasons why I don't want to do that.  I won't buy donuts because I don't like the sugar crash nor the weight gain. I do have a little chocolate every afternoon now.  I won't bungee jump or base jump or engage in really risky activities because I feel I have a responsibility to my son and others who love me.  (again, not putting down those who like those activities and need them, I just view it this way for me personally.)

I make choices every day.  I guess because alcohol IS a drug then I just have to give it time to withdraw from.  It's a stronger attraction than donuts, chocolate, and other things.  I can indulge in some things from time to time without over-indulging because they aren't drugs in the same sense.

I had my annual blood work today.  I have more butterflies from that.  In past years I would say "okay I can't drink tonight, annual blood tomorrow"...and then I would have a few.  I remember one year waking up hungover and thinking "oh geesh, I'm busted.".  I'm sure the doc will see something in my blood or urine.  Honestly, it was probably an indirect cry for help.  I guess they don't do a Blood Alcohol Content test from the blood .....they probably should.  Every year I dodged the bullet and was told "well, your blood work, my dear, is still perfect" and "I'll see you back in a year".  Phew I would think.  Celebrate with chardonnay that night then!

Sober Mummy wrote the following in a blog post last year:
Here's a quote from a doctor interviewed by The Guardian in 2008 about his female cirrhosis patients: "These are the steady drinkers. Typically they have a half-bottle of wine with their meal every night, or at lunchtime, and another drink at dinner. They are never drunk but they drink in a sustained manner. They don't realise they've got a problem because they think alcoholics are down-and-outs, or pub regulars. They have wine with  meal and because of that they somehow think that takes away the harm, or they say "but I don't drink spirits." These misconceptions are very common. I suspect there are thousands and thousands of women who are drinking at risky levels, all over the country."

Here I am, 12 days AF and I'm more worried than ever at what the results will show this year.  I've never been this long AF before such a test.  I have butterflies because, on the one hand, I hope the results are still good.  I hope I haven't screwed up my body too bad.  Then again, I'm afraid for good results.  I'm afraid that will give me false bravado and allow me to try drinking in moderation again.  I hate to say I'm sort of hoping for a little higher blood pressure and maybe a warning about my triglycerides and cholesterol! What a freak I am! Guess I won't know for a few weeks until my actual office visit to review everything.

On with my day!
HD


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Pink Cloud or Blurry Haze

Day 11

As Day 11 dawns, the best way to describe my mood is neutral.

My girlfriend stopped by last night before hubby got home and asked for a glass of wine.   I sort of felt bad that I didn't have any in stock for her.  I apologized and we drank mineral water.  I said I wanted to lose weight so I hadn't restocked.  When she muttered that maybe she should go get a bottle, I just laughed.

What struck me as the most interesting was that I didn't feel like I wanted any wine.  I knew I didn't.  I just didn't want to admit that I have any issue with drinking.  I was more concerned with how to get out of drinking a glass with her.

Right now I just don't want what wine does to me.   All those 22 reasons on the other tab that I keep reviewing.  Yuck, don't want to go back there.  I would love to be able to drink but I have surrendered to the fact that if I pick up a glass, I won't stop.  I'm not ready to deal with those issues again.  At least right now.  I think that's what is keeping me from drinking.  I'm scared to go through all that again.

I used to want wine so bad that I would call and ask hubby to stop and get some on the way home, or, if the craving was really bad, then I would run right out and get some.  I haven't experienced that while quitting this time. Maybe because I just don't see it as an option anymore and it's a sign that I was really ready for change.  I'm exhausted from the cycle of start/stop.

Or..It might just be that I had finally hit my High Bottom as SoberMummy wrote on her Day 10 back over a year ago. High Bottom  Great post.

If you're reading this blog, listening to me talk to myself, I fear I am making this quitting thing sound too easy.  This blog is for me to refer to when those cravings come crashing back!  I know they will at some point!  Right now I'm in some sort of delayed response, I think.  Some sort of haze.

It's just that by the time I started blogging, I think it was near the end of my journey, not the beginning like it might be for some.  I was so exhausted from all my previous efforts to quit on a daily basis.

I LIKE who I am without the wine.  I like remembering what I said to my son last thing before bed.  I like remembering that I removed my makeup and brushed my teeth.
 
What started as "grown up wine drinking" when I was 21 and newly married just slowly, very slowly, evolved.  At first it was splitting a bottle of wine every night and then getting raging drunk a bunch of different times during the year...work parties, social parties, always in social settings where we laughed it off the next day, hungover, as we said how fun it was to "blow off steam."

It wasn't until a few years back that it hit me how my drinking had changed after I had my son.  I had "partied" enough in my youth that I didn't want to drink too much when I went out.  I was now a "responsible" parent.  I didn't want people to think I was the drunk.  I didn't want to drink and drive.  But I started drinking more and more at home.  It's now reversed itself.  I don't really want to drink when I'm out and it's the sitting at home at the end of day, wanting to tune out all the "stress", that makes me want to drink.  It became complete self-medication.  After dealing with work and a child, there seemed something still "grown up" about relaxing at the end of the day with wine with the husband.  I also liked drinking alone while on the phone with a friend or while reading a good book.

For a period of time I was medicating away the issues in a marriage that was struggling and eventually failed.  That evolved into medicating away the grief of that marriage, and then medicating the stresses that come when forming a new relationship with someone later in life.  There was always some reason to imbibe.

I found that when I started drinking too much at home, I started having more and more black outs or brown outs in the evenings. It was getting to the point where it was a few times a week that I couldn't remember things the next day.  I also knew that the number of units of wine I was drinking far exceeded the recommended amount for good health.

Please understand that I woke up every day for YEARS saying I wouldn't drink that night.....and then I would.  I might go a day or two but generally never more than 3 days without drinking.  I never thought I was trying to quit (just reduce).  I was never able to moderate successfully and I finally had to admit that to myself.

It was only this last March when I really said I had to quit for awhile that I realized how it could be so hard and I might truly have a problem with my relationship to and with alcohol.  For the previous few months I had become preoccupied with reading blogs, books and anything I could get my hands on about alcohol...okay, that was sort of a sign that I had an issue!!

But...I saw firsthand  how quickly I went back to heavy drinking when I tried it again at Day 14.

I wouldn't say that I'm seeing pink clouds right now, more like a blurry haze.  Sort of just moving through the days.  Not really high nor low in mood but also not "carefree" like I sometimes feel after some wine.  Perhaps more of a "consistent" feeling.  But I know now that the floating feeling is only temporary and everything that comes afterward sucks.

I'm now in control of my thoughts, my actions and I'm figuring out how to bring us together better as a family. (My husband, my son and me.....and to get the dog to sleep through the night!)

Kind of a boring post but just needed to blog.

HD

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Transfering Control

Day 10

I'm still counting days.  I'm still controlling....

Again, I mention Jason Vale who said not drinking was so great because you don't have to control the drinking anymore if you just don't drink.

Well, I don't know about anyone else but I think I have just transferred my control efforts. Instead of trying to moderate and feeling awful when I can't, I am still "controlling" my drinking everyday by not drinking.

It's as if I am competing with myself.  I haven't acknowledged forever.  In fact, I'm still at that point where I think someday I can try it again.  I just have put a long term goal (weight loss) in place to keep me from trying that.

I still feel, that when I make that goal, I can "allow" myself to try a glass of wine again.  I just can't do it now.  I don't know, maybe this is an okay approach for now.  I fear it sets me up for failure but I don't know how else to tackle it.

Funny, that feeling that it's okay to drink.  I can never have a sip unless I'm positive that none of my "reasons for not drinking" will occur....that's probably not realistic that one of those 22 won't crop up.

I'm just going to be in the moment for now, I guess.  I am competing with my own thoughts.  I can't drink because I have put this down in writing.  It's even more of a failure to me if I give up now that I have recorded all the voices in my head.   I don't want to admit to anyone reading this blog that I have not been able to remain alcohol free - so I guess blogging is good, has kept me not drinking.

I guess I just go with whatever works and as long as I'm not drinking that's good, hmm?  I will try and focus on other things in my life to get away from this strange preoccupation.

For right now though, I'm still counting days.  Each day further along this road is an accomplishment to celebrate.

HD


Monday, May 2, 2016

Life's Scorecards

Day 9

A new day, a new work week.  Yesterday I posted about my drinking lists.

I realize that I can apply this scorecard thing to a lot of things....

- Motherhood....what's hard, what's not.....this one is easy, I love being a mom.  Never thought I would but it's pure joy, even when conflicting with my son.

- Wifehood - is that a word?  This one is harder but my scorecard is still heavily to the pro and not the con.  Sometimes I find myself focused on the negative and realize it's not the marriage or the guy that I have issues with, it's usually feeling frustrated about something else as well and it manifests itself by me mentally picking on my man.  Drinking exacerbated this, a big no-no to keeping everyone happy!

- Careerhood -lol - is my job satisfying? Am I doing what I want to do?

One of my reasons for wanting to drink is to just shut down and relax.

I'm not living up to my potential and it bothers me.  There is so much more I can be doing in all of the above arenas.  I think I was finally able to try and tackle the alcohol-free thing because it is part of a bigger transformation.

Baby steps though.....I need to get a few weeks under my belt, clear my head and body of alcohol, before I move too much further forward. The Hello Sunday Morning blogger I follow has a goal list on the right hand side of her page. I like that.  I think writing down goals is a good thing to do.

I'm reading a book called Eat, Pray, Love Made Me Do It .  I first read the original Eat, Pray, Love back in 2010.  Everyone else I knew had read it years before.  I finally picked up a copy....and...wow. It was hilarious and thought provoking at the same time.  I don't have the author's wanderlust spirit but so much of it resonated with me.  This current book is just a bunch of stories from people who changed their life after reading the original book.  Very entertaining and again thought provoking.  Some drinkers in those stories too.

I am going to work on my goal list now.  Maybe I'll post someday...but then I'll have to be accountable to it....hmm....

1 pound came off the scale today though.  Wow, with a goal of 20 lbs this is going to be a long ride...

HD