My Lists

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Balancing the Blog

For me, blogging is a stress relief.  However, if my life is unorganized or chaotic, I find that it goes to the bottom of my list. Hence why I dropped off after beginning vacation and even after returning home.

When I first started blogging, it was because I was being very organized to this whole quitting alcohol thing.  Every morning I would grab my tea, blog my thoughts, read others blogs, and comment accordingly.

Vacation threw me off.  Well, that and having my car totaled didn't help.

I was frustrated that I couldn't find time to blog, really couldn't think of anything to say and didn't really have much energy for commenting.

I understood that I needed to get organized again.  I was in a huge funk last week.  But the new car is now in the garage, I have done enough grieving for my old one, the bills that I neglected are now all paid and caught up, the suitcase has finally been unpacked and the laundry has been done.  I spent quality time with family over the weekend and I am ready to begin anew.

I feel like I am back in a "zone" of some sort.

For the first 50 days, I needed to blog everyday. I had so much I wanted to say to myself, to document my journey.  Early on I thought about quitting alcohol every moment.  All day long.

One day that evaporated.  It's as if it culminated in this one huge craving and, ever since I worked through that, all my desire to talk to myself anymore, too much, about it, just disappeared.  I've posted a few things this week but now I'm feeling empty again.

The only thing I can think of is that this is how I have approached a lot of things in life.  I was really into violin until I wasn't.  I got really into piano lessons until I quit.  I played home video games in intermediate school until I was done.  I flew planes and wanted to be a pilot, until I didn't.  I gave all of these things full energy.....for awhile.

I think that quitting alcohol became one of these pursuits.  I was giving 2 hours + per day to the blogging universe between drafting my own posts, reading all the blogs I was following and commenting on many of them.  I thought of not drinking....all the time....Then I flamed out.

Suddenly, it seemed like a chore to think of something to write.  A burden to go through all the blogs.  And yet, I find many posts to be inspiring.  I feel like I have made blogging friends and want to nurture those friendships. But I felt overwhelmed.

I had to take a break.  I don't need the day to day support for myself anymore but I want to be there for others just as many supported me.

The feeling of being in overwhelm-dom lifted a bit once I got all my tasks done.  I feel my mind opening up again.  I just need to find a balance with keeping up with this supportive sober universe while not feeling overwhelmed by getting behind in other tasks or being distracted by too much thinking about not drinking.

I would like for this to have a continued place in my life.  Not just be a fad that I tried until I lost interest.  I definitely don't want "quitting drinking" to be a fad of mine either!!!


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Finally Acting My Age

I've commented before how it seems that many of us are into our 40s or further before we get a grip on this alcohol free process.  For those that are in this sober universe and are younger, then I am sooo proud of you and envious of you figuring yourself out sooner.  Be proud of that.

One thing that strikes me as I sit here in my late forties is that I feel like I am finally acting my age and I feel comfortable with that!

When I was in my 20s, I dressed like a 35 year old old....never could really pull off a good 'ole skanky outfit and I had no interest in night clubs.  Ex used to use the term "classy" for my look but I don't think I heard "sexy" that often.

In my 30s I owned material things, had club memberships, that were more appropriate for 40 or 50 year, don't own them anymore, such is life....but I always felt too "young" to have such things compared to most of my peers.

I finally felt like myself when I hit my 40s.  I had downscaled a bit on the material things due to divorce and was living more within what I thought was my "means" and not trying to have a life I really couldn't afford.  I didn't need to go to clubs and I met a really great new man so didn't have to worry about dating in general.  I could run my life as I wanted to.

The problem is, instead of my traditional feeling/acting older than I was, I started to realize I was actually acting younger in regard to my drinking habits.

I don't think most of my friends were putting away a bottle of wine a night.   While I didn't go out partying, I was carrying on in my own home like a 20 year old binger.  Don't get me wrong, my friends love their wine, but in more appropriate ways.  They weren't continually devoid of energy, putting on weight and I'm pretty sure they didn't worry in the morning that maybe they still had traces of alcohol still in their system.  We would all have fun together but I was the one overdoing it.

If I had been blogging over the last 6 years I think there would have been a lot of starts and stops.  Or maybe not if I had found the blog thing sooner.  I certainly desired to stop.  But every morning I vowed not to drink, by 2pm I thought a couple wouldn't hurt me and I just wouldn't drink too much, and then every evening, once I started, I finished the bottle.....most nights anyway.  And it would begin again the next morning.

For me, I think beginning to blog my thoughts and comment out loud, in writing, was the dynamic shift I needed to get off that endless merry go 'round I was on.  I know there is still danger out there for me but thoughts do run through my mind like ...."hmmm....maybe I have this beat...I can truly have just one when out to dinner and it won't bother me".   I do know the fallacy of that thinking but those thoughts do pass through my head.

I feel like the key to sticking with it has to do with some catalyst.  Some dynamic shift in behavior to make it work. Some people write about hitting bottom so maybe that change in mindset is their shift.  Others began blogging and it worked.  Others started exercising and changing routines.  It's interesting to read and see what works for some and not for others and vice versa.

What I do know is that by not drinking, I feel like I am acting my age.  Oh sure, it would be nice to socially drink but at least by not drinking, I no longer feel like I have an immature secret I'm holding on to like a child.

It's nice to be here.


Monday, June 27, 2016

A New Normal

We rented the movie Cinderella, the new one, on Saturday night.  It was one I had really been wanting to watch.  My son was not home and he had requested that he not be put through this torture and that I watch it sometime without him.

Hubby was being a love and agreed to watch this movie with me in the first place. But....we had an issue with our video player that for some reason started pausing the movie every 8 seconds near the end, during the best part! This turned the movie into quite a lot longer production than it should have been.

 He concurred that the special effects and costumes were wonderful but I don't think he was anticipating watching it for a long as it took.  Bless his heart, he even started drinking my alcohol free bubbly at the beginning.

However, after an hour of fairy tale hell and then the issues with the player, I think he drank his own full bottle of red during the last part.  It didn't bother me.  I was watching a favorite story and snuggled in the arms of my own prince.  Serious tolerance was at play on his part and if he needed to self-medicate to get through it, so be it.

I observed both of us and was pleasantly surprised that kissing his red wine breath at the end of the movie just tasted good and didn't invoke any frustration, disappointment or cravings on my part.

It's not that I don't have some cravings.   But here at (just counted) Day 65, they are fleeting cravings. Wouldn't it be nice to have a donut or a croissant?  Wouldn't it be nice to have a glass of wine?  I like this new normal.

I have "stress", many "stressors", in my life right now which may be part of the reason I am feeling distracted.  But I do not have "STRESS" in my life.

My hubby and I were discussing a multitude of stresses after work Friday night.  I said "boy, a glass of wine sounds good, do you think I could have one right now?"  The man is amazing.  He knew better than to tell me "no".  What he said was "Let's not tonight, we're tired." Of course he meant "me" not "we".

I said "do you think I can't handle it yet? I'm wondering if I could have just a glass now and be okay?"  I saw a very quick flash of deer in the headlights but then he said, "Honey, you have been doing so well toward your goal, tonight we are very stressed, so while, under calmer circumstances, you may be able to take it or leave it, tonight might not be the best time to test those waters again for the first time.  Why don't you hold off and see how you feel tomorrow?"

Smart man with his response on multiple fronts.  But he was right.  I agreed, didn't give it a second thought then, told myself I would think about it tomorrow and poured myself my regular AF concoction.  Then next day, after the stresses passed, I had no desire to drink and enjoyed my evening of Cinderella.

Last night we watched In the Heart of the Sea about the true story that inspired Moby Dick.  Excellent flick!  Cinderella is good but better have real wine for the Fella!

My thought for the day:  Cravings will come and go, that I know, but, even if they amass, they do pass.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Day 60!

Hello, I'm back.

Not exactly rested but just wanted to check in to the blog world.

Vacation ended but, unfortunately, with a man running a red light, broadsiding me, totaling my beautiful car, and then I had a long drive in a rental car to get home.  You can't make this stuff up.

I have to admit I haven't had one craving for alcohol.  I think I'm just too exhausted and stressed with getting back to work, thinking about new wheels, etc.

One thing I did the past few months every time I thought of wine was to think "ick, headache, no sleep, losing control, dry mouth, and no energy."  I sort of ran that through that list in my head every time, just as a start of a craving would hit.

I had that one mammoth craving at the airport a few weeks back and after that...nothing.  Just a slight wistfulness when I saw other people drinking.

Last night, as my husband poured wine for himself, I thought about wine and immediately my body recoiled. It was interesting......those same thoughts of "headache, no sleep, losing control, dry mouth and no energy" came unbidden to my brain.  I think this is progress.

After 60 days, I know that I can likely never go back to having "just" a glass of wine every evening to unwind.  That won't be possible for me.  I don't know if I'll ever be able to have just a glass at out-of- the-house social situations or not.  I know I'm not ready to try it, regardless, right now.  So I suppose that is something I can tackle way down the road.

I finally weighed myself and I'm back to where I was the first time I quit.  So I think I'm down about 3 or 4 pounds.  And it's probably dehydration and stress from this week but we'll see.

Going to go catch up on some blogs right now but wanted to post in case anyone was wondering how I was doing.  Believe it or not, I'm doing just fine!  Chugging along toward Day 100!


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Over and Out...for a bit

I like that expression.  Over and Out.  It epitomizes conflicting information for me.

It's been popular here in movies and tv, especially while I was growing up, as a way of ending radio communications.  We used to hear it on police and emergency shows.  The funny thing about it is that it's completely Hollywood!

Nobody actually says Over and Out.  I was a pilot in my younger years and I was shocked to find that this wasn't a legitimate radio communication term.  You might say Over if you want the other person on the other end of the radio to keep talking or you might say Out if you are done.  But you would never say Over and Out.

I thought of this today as I picked up my computer to check blogs.  My internet connection here is horrible.  Checking blog posts takes forever so I have been defaulting to my mobile hotspot.  Unfortunately now I'm about out of data allowance and I need what's left to finish working.

I am overwhelmed in many ways.  I need a vacation from this vacation.  So today the Over part was hitting me as I wanted to keep checking blogs and lending support.  But I also felt the Out part....I'm wiped, I need to put down this sobriety issue and tune it out for bit....I need to read my novels.

I'm going to go radio silent for a few days until this vacation is complete.  Back in touch Sunday or Monday or, gosh forbid, sooner if I have (please NO!) airport delays.

No worries here....I am good regarding no drinking.   I don't think that will be any issue until I'm back but if I do get a craving, I will be sure to post.

I just need to tune out everything for a few days and escape into my books and the beautiful beach.  I feel like I am abandoning this sober universe so please forgive me for my short hiatus...I just need to recharge.

All the best and back to you soon,

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Wine Table

Still hanging in there for the family gathering....

Yesterday saw the departure of the mother-in-law and the arrival of my college roommate!  YAY!  I enjoy my friend's company but more importantly she is keeping me sane.  She is the new kid on the block for the family.

She is very patient and willing to listen to all the repeat stories to which I would go crazy listening too.  I love her.

She also does not drink.  So this has made things easier as well.  Normally I would be drinking, making her stay up late and listening to me talk too much.

A friend of the family took us all out to dinner tonight.  I didn't drink.  Others, like me, who were driving and then my friend, all did not drink.  So I think out of 10 of us, 5 drank.

It was a strange feeling......sitting around the table with wine being ordered and consumed, white wine no less, and I didn't really have any craving.  Just a thought of "wouldn't that be nice to have."

I would have loved to have had some, no doubt.  To get that mellow feeling.  But...I was driving.  But...I would have had at least 3.   But......I would have probably gone home and opened another bottle.  AND I would have felt horrible the next morning on so many levels.

Anyway, sitting around the table, with white wine being poured and not for me was definitely a first.  I hadn't prepared for that so was glad the thought of wine was a passing thought.  I think it would have been harder to resist if I hadn't been driving.

But I really don't want to start over!  Whatever keeps my boat afloat......


Saturday, June 11, 2016

Approaching Day 50

When I decided to stop drinking I never thought I would make it to Day 50.  Somewhere along the way it just become a new habit.  The old one was done.

Tomorrow is Day 50 for me.  I am halfway through this wait!.... make that family gathering as RipleyBelle suggested.  This isn't really a "vacation" although the setting is lovely.

I am also halfway to 100!

Being on vacation with family and not drinking has not really been weird at all.  I know some family wish I would partake but there hasn't been too much pressure, they just seem to accept it.

All my family drinks around me every evening but I was the only one, I now realize, who really drank to excess.  They have just continued on as they always know.....drinking normally.

I know I could probably moderate enough to not get wasted around my family....I never seemed to overdrink around them to being what I would call drunk......more like lightly buzzed.

But I know I would still drink way too much to be healthy.  I'd probably be fine going to bed, wouldn't slur my words, would still get up and go on a beach walk in the morning, etc.

The difference is that now I don't get overly agitated at the antics of my family, I sleep the whole night through, I wake up feeling pretty refreshed and my face looks brighter as I face the new day.

I have a feeling my cravings will hit again when I get home.  I'm prepared for that though.

Right now I just don't want to drink and that has made this process a whole lot easier than I thought.  Sure, there are a lot of reasons TO drink facing me right now, but my reasons NOT TO drink completely outweigh them.  (And I haven't lost the weight yet - ha!!)


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Beam me up, Scotty!!!

Vacation with family is fun!  Really.  Truly.  Trying to convince myself of this anyway.

We're about ready to kill each other and we've all been together for only 4 nights.  Crazy.

I haven't had any cravings at all since my travel day from hell.  I realized tonight why.  We needed some things at the grocery store and I, because I had not had any wine, was able to go do the run.  This meant I could ESCAPE!!!  Yay!!!

My body must have subconciously kept itself in complete control so as to take advantage of any escape routes that present themselves.

I relished the 20 minutes alone to the store and back.  I looked at the sunset and the beach wistfully, wishing hubby was here to share it.  But I didn't have a single wine craving.

The funniest and saddest thing was my brother sitting outside practically begging me to drink with him since he was so frustrated with everyone.  I get it.  I really felt bad that I had to say no.  I didn't have any desire to drink other than to keep him company in his mellowing.  Poor guy.

I still have trouble thinking long term but I think I've got this vacation (if that's what you call it) licked.

I think my struggle is going to be when I get home where I really will want to drink to get over the vacation!!

Okay, done with my evening pity party.....I realize that I am not likely to elicit much sympathy from sitting beachside for 2 weeks.....sorry.


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Gut reactions

Here on vacation, I am really noticing that many of my gut reactions are still based on the premise that I drink.....

1) Situation:  Family member asked if I wanted to go for a run in the morning.
Gut Response:  Immediately I thought to myself....."will I be able to or will I feel well enough?"   
Assessment: duh, I'm not drinking, I will feel fine!

2) Situation: Family wanted to go out for the evening.
Gut Response:  I wonder who will be the designated driver?
Assessment: duh, ME, I'm the one who isn't drinking!

3) Situation: Client issue and client suggested I call back at 8pm my time.
Gut Response:  I wondered if that would be wise as I might have too much wine in me.
Assessment: duh, I'm not drinking....calling back after dinner will not be a problem.

I realize that so much of my life was planned around drinking.  Whether I could be functional later in the evening, wondering how I would get home, and wondering how I would feel in the morning drove so much of what I did and how I acted.

I must have missed out on so many beautiful mornings.  I would never contemplate an early morning run before (okay, I really never contemplated a run, period). 

I would avoid going out in the evening because I knew I would drink too much to drive.  It was easier to stay at home.

I would avoid finishing up some work issues in the evening because I might make mistakes or sound incoherent on the phone.

This non drinking is very habit changing in many more ways than just not drinking.  I am having to entirely relearn how to respond, in my mind, to various situations!


Monday, June 6, 2016

Blogging Angels

Many thanks to all who commented on my post yesterday!  Without knowing you angels exist, I would not have made it through Saturday.

I know, for a fact, that I never would be where I am today (Day 44 but who is counting) without all this outpouring of support.

I never, ever, thought I would blog.  I thought... how embarrassing to put my true thoughts in writing for strangers....but a strange thing happened.....I turned 180 degrees in my thinking.

My hubby blogs and I never understood it.  The majority of  his friends on facebook are people he has never met in person whereas, until recent, I had met, in person, every one of mine.  I couldn't understand how a virtual universe of friends could be beneficial.  I told him he was hiding.

Then I started reading all the blogs and spent months doing so without ever commenting.....and still drinking I might add.  I don't know why I was scared to comment but I was.  Then, when I decided to comment I just dove full in and decided to do my own blog.  What the heck!

Blogging is a good fit for me.  Once my goal became to stop drinking I became suddenly aware of why I didn't want to deal with it in person.  I didn't want to talk about it with my friends, didn't want to admit I had this weakness when others seemed to handle it.  I'm not good at group meetings and didn't think AA would be a good fit.

(I went to a divorce care group one time and almost slit my wrists at the end of the evening.  I think some groups must be very good and supportive but I couldn't handle a room full of women feeling sorry for themselves and bitching about their exes.  AA would be different, I know, with people wanting to move forward but, after the other experience I just couldn't bear talking about myself in public. Maybe I will give it a try someday.)

I recently accepted a friend request from one of the bloggers in this universe who has been very supportive.  I was more proud to accept that request than others from those I have met in person.  I think that says something about this group.

They (whoever they are, I always refer to them....) say that writing down your goals makes them more likely to become a reality.  Well, my goal was to just stop drinking too much.  No real time frame, I just didn't like what it did to me, who I became, etc.

But the fact that I wrote down everything I wanted to about alcohol forced me to see that stopping drinking needed to be my new reality.  It was too easy to forget what I didn't like it about it unless I wrote it down.

And the other bloggers.....oh my....they constantly remind me, through their own stories or supportive comments on my posts, as to why I don't need to experiment with moderation.  It's hard for me to take another person's word or experience regarding something without trying it myself.  But reading post after post about why I should not try to drink again has been the single reason I have not tried it.  I know that.

I have no idea if this post will help anyone or really reach a different audience.  However, if you are having trouble stopping drinking and are really wanting to quit, maybe give the blogging a try?  I and others are ready and willing to read and offer support.  That support has been so important to me.

Blogging definitely helps with accountability to this process of quitting drinking!

I do know that my feelings about alcohol have not been my reason for not starting again.  It's completely due to, 100%, this blogging universe of which I am now a member.

Thank you, angels!!


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Travel Tested

Yesterday I felt truly tested.....why, I do not know.    I started to write this at the airport and never posted, because, honestly, I wasn't sure how the evening would turn out.  I actully don't know how I made it through without a drop of alcohol but I did!

I was already dreading this family vacation.  Already bummed because, hubby, aka key member of family, could not come.  He has to job so I understand but dissappointing nonetheless.

2 weeks away from home is a long time.  I can't remember the last time I took that long of a "vacation" and especially without him to help me cope with family.

Day from hell....for those of you who understand airport codes and at the complete risk of blowing my is how my day went......LAX - DEN - SFO - PHL......capiche?

Woke up Saturday morning at 1:45 am to be ready in time to leave for airport at 3am.  Got to airport and checked right in but security didn't open until 4:20am.  Got through security and was on plane in time for 5:30 take off.

Plane left gate......yay

Plane returned to

Luggage had to be taken off plane, trucked to terminal to be re-screened for security, returned to plane and put back on the plane.  Apparently the TSA had a faulty scanner and didn't realize this until luggage had been loaded on planes???  Fortunately we were the first plane to unload but even that took 2.5 hours!  I can't imagine if we had been #6 or #7 for this process...(had they given out 8am in the morning...I would have drunk, no doubt!)

Flew east for 2 hours but missed connection to east coast.

2 hours later, had to fly west for 2.5 hours to another gateway city in order to get yet another plane to go east.

Sat at airport in airline lounge (read that as complimentary alcohol) for 5 hours.  Got booked in first class for the 3rd, longhaul, flight. (read that as even more complimentary alcohol)

Then caught 5 hour flight east to final destination, arriving about 25 hours after awaking with only about 2 hours of sleep.  Drove 1.5 hours and arrived in beach town for early morning breakfast.

When I first started writing this yesteday, I really wanted to cry.  Sitting in that airline lounge with the sun setting on my day from hell, knowing I still had another hour or so before flight time, it was like a beast was clawing at me, trying to get me to go get a glass of wine.

I couldn't finish this was like those books where you can choose the different endings.

Ending 1:  I had a glass of wine tonight and I'll probably have another on the plane.  I feel like a dirtbag, as if I am in some way letting myself down.   But I really want some wine and I feel kind of justified.  I can just go back to being AF at the beach house for the rest of the vacation.  (Sure, ha!)

Ending 2:  (more likely)  I had 2 glasses of wine in airline lounge.  Time passed reasonably fast and I was calm.  On the airplane, it was so nice to sit and enjoy a few glasses of wine.  I didn't sleep at all and felt quite a bit dehydrated but enjoyed the wine.  Today we grocery shopped and decided to have another wine to toast the arrival and the start of vacation....and so on, and so on, drinking every day of vacation and then, likely, when I got home.

Ending 3:  I wrestled the beast.  I went to the bar in the lounge and got a glass of club soda and ice with a lime.  I added mint leaves over by the tea counter.  I added Stevia to sweeten...and drank my mock-jito.  I got on the plane and the attendant brought me sparkling water.  I slept about an hour and felt surprisingly refreshed when I landed.  Tired after the drive but was able to take another 2 hour nap in the early afternoon.

I wanted Ending 3 so bad.  Here's how I ended up with that as my reality.  I don't know if this is helpful to share or not but it's what I went through.  I'm mainly writing this down so that I remember all this in the future!

1) I texted with another blogger who is on vacation and she hadn't I couldn't lose face.  (I'm not really that competitive and that nature only rears it's head occasionally....but it came in handy yesterday.)  I told her if she caved she had to let me know so I could.  (Geez, how awful...I was trying to ask permission from her!!  It's like when I hope my exercise partner cancels on me so I can bag out of exercise too!)

2) I DID NOT post on my blog...why?  Because, deep down, I was rejecting the support.  I knew everyone would tell me not to drink, try to support me and motivate me, and I wasn't really sure how it would go.  I couldn't reach out and then disappoint everyone if I decided to drink.

3) I was at Day 42.  I really didn't want to start all over again.  I kept rationalizing that if I just drank in the lounge and on the plane, nobody would blame me.  I could still keep my count going as I wouldn't be drinking the rest of the time....

4) I wasn't at my weight loss goal.  Wouldn't I be letting myself down by drinking if I gained a pound?  (I will likely gain weight as it is on this vacation and I'm okay with cooking is a good problem to have and I will work to lose it later....but I don't want to gain it from alcohol.)

5) I sat and re-read blogs of others who have tested these waters.  (Thank you again to all who share the struggles in addition to the successes.) The success rate is not good.  The emotional part of me, deep down, thinks I can still drink on occasion and never go back to the way I was.  The logical side of me says "hey kiddo, you are fooling yourself, why risk it?  Especially when you haven't met the 100 day goal nor the weight loss goal."  So I was able to put it out of my mind and just not address it.

I really didn't decide not to drink for a good reason, but I decided not to drink yesterday and that was enough to get me started in the right direction on this vacation.

Today we arrived at the beach house and did the marketing.  I stocked up on AF wine and beer and I am sitting with my AF wine/sparkling lemon water blend, staring at the rough and tumble ocean and earlier I saw a rainbow covering the whole ocean. I take that as a good sign.  I am tired but okay.


Thursday, June 2, 2016

Day 40 Tolerance....

As I sit here on Day 40, I am contemplating my upcoming vacation for which I leave tomorrow.....aka procrastinating the packing....I hate to pack!

Anyway.....I was originally so worried about how I would deal with  "the family."  I was concerned that they would make me drink!

They are all great and I love them dearly but sometimes certain members can be very judgmental.  As someone said..."you can't choose your family but thank goodness you can choose your friends!"

I don't mind if someone gossips a little and says "she was acting crazy" or whatever.  I may not agree but that's their opinion..... but when they say "she's just nuts" I get hugely defensive....if you can see the difference.

I hate it, as in HATE IT, when someone judges someone else as a whole person and not just their action.  I'm not even certain where this comes from inside of me, but it really grates on me.

Generalities and lumping people into one category as a negative or a form of criticism, also bother me.  I get this huge need to defend the underdog.

Certain members of my family cannot speak without doing the above...constantly.  Hence, the need to drink when I'm normally around them.  If I didn't drink and numb myself, I would react and lash out at the offenders.  That bodes no well, zero, zip, in a family situation.

I know I must accept them for who they are.  We don't have to agree, but sometimes, it's also important to not disagree.  That is very HARD for me to do.

I was very worried about this upcoming vacation as to how I would not blow a gasket at the above behaviors when they came out.  How would I not get into a heated argument and become emotional?

In the past, I needed alcohol to not start an argument, but then, if I had too much, I would be right back at it .....starting an argument anyway!  It wasn't pretty.

But being AF gives this a whole new perspective.  I know alcohol won't be an option so I have come up with a bunch of other things I can do to avoid getting defensive.  I also feel so much more level-headed that I'm not sure the need to defend will be as strong.

There will be a wide beach in front of our house.....I can go for a walk.
There are many rooms in the home we are renting.....I can escape to my blogging friends
There are patios......I can go curl up with a book

I do not have to subject myself to the above talk if I don't want to!!!  In the past I have sat like a rock, drunk, and listened.  Oh, some talk I won't be able to avoid but I think I have the emotional capacity now that I am AF to tolerate it......I think....I hope.....

It's interesting.....earlier on I was so worried that I would need to drink on this vacation.  Now, I'm really certain that I don't want to!

I think I will keep saying the Serenity Prayer just to stay sane though!

God grant me...
the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change
the Courage to change the things I can
the Wisdom to know the difference

I may not be posting as much over the next two weeks but I will be reading so keep posting for me!!


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Processing Out Loud

I am the type of person that needs to do what I call "processing out loud".  In order to get my emotional thoughts in order, to think through and analyze what is going on in my head, I need to talk about it.  I need to get the thoughts outside my body.  Then, having heard them or written them, I can put them in a semblance of order and make a plan for next steps....or at least stop ruminating about them.  Warning, this can drive others bat shit crazy....

I tend to want to "chat" with the hubby, especially in the evenings...and, in the past, it was especially over wine.  I don't really want his advice, nor for him to "fix" me.  That is what, of course, as a man, he tries to do quite often....fix me, that is.  He has gotten much better about reining that in and being just more empathetic.  He lets me spew my thoughts like a garden hose until I come to the final phase of my thinking.  But even he has his limits....

If you haven't seen this youtube video about this topic, you must.  It's hilarious! Trust, me it's worth the watch and will make you laugh if you happen to process out loud like I do.   THE NAIL

When you watch that video, you have to picture me sitting there, talking like that, but with wine in hand.

I also have a close relative whom I speak with almost daily.  She is an awesome listener and just lets me do my emotional processing out loud without judgement.  It's a lifesaver for a person like me.

Blogging does the same thing.  While it's great to get comments and I love the new found "virtual" friendships and support, it really is just providing me another outlet for expressing my thoughts, processing and ordering them, albeit in writing instead of out loud.

Once I have expressed my thoughts to others or in writing, I feel cleansed.  I no longer obsess over those thoughts and I have a clear head.  For me, alcohol actually helped that process.

The danger with the alcohol was that I truly would "dump" on others.  My hubby is a great supporter but after 30 min of this, he's pretty wiped. He does NOT express his thoughts out loud, so a barrage of random thoughts makes him want to drink to deal with it.  I think he drinks less now in part because he doesn't have to put up with as much from me.  He would get frustrated and I would react to his frustration.

I still express my thoughts out loud, just more concisely in an organized format as opposed to the diarrhea of the mouth concert to which he was a captive audience!

In the first few days of not drinking I was unhappy.  I realized it was because I clammed up and was no longer expressing myself except for this blog.  Once I got through the initial cravings I began to express myself again but without alcohol.

Now, everyone, myself included is much happier.  My hubby has a shorter time period during which to listen to me do this, and bless his heart, he is still happy to play the supportive role.  I'm not imposing upon him as much and I'm learning to give him space.  He is a polar opposite as to how he deals with things.  He needs to sit with his emotions, by himself, hiking, fishing, etc.

I'm happier because I am still expressing myself but, because the onslaught of sharing is shorter, I'm not getting as much of the frustrated reaction from him.  It takes everything he has to listen to me and not try to "fix" my problem, to not try and pull the "nail" from my head......

Curious as to whether other bloggers deal with their emotions in this way and whether that is a similarity among us all.  Maybe, maybe not.