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Monday, October 31, 2016

To live is to learn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hugs to all,
169 lbs, 5'9"

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Type of Wine

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

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

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

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

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

My Truisms:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Thursday, October 20, 2016

A wandering trail

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

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

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

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

Here's where I am with all this:

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

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

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


Monday, October 10, 2016

Finding my path

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Identifying our problems

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Let myself down

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 2, 2016

That's it!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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