Sunday, December 11, 2016

Riptide

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hugs to all,

HD






Monday, December 5, 2016

FFS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay with me folks!!  Please!!

HD

Sunday, December 4, 2016

My Different Types of Cravings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yesterday I noticeably had the two cravings. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HD


Thursday, December 1, 2016

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

There's a Toby Keith song with these lyrics:

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HD