Sunday, July 30, 2017

This journey is an interesting sail...

I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination. 
Jimmy Dean

In sailing, the wind comes from one direction.  A sailboat can point close to the direction of the wind but not directly into it.  It can point up very close, or fall off to 90 degrees either direction of the wind, or even point completely 180 degrees opposite......all with some sail adjustment.

If the sailor puts one sail out to one side and the other sail out to the opposite side, and steers the sailboat completely opposite to the direction of the wind (often referred to as wing-on-wing), it's possible to travel along and be "pushed" by the wind in one direction.  But if the sailor turns the sailboat around and heads back up toward the wind on one side or the other of the wind, the boat can never travel directly into the direction of the can just point as close to the direction of the wind as possible.

What's ironic is that as a sailboat points closer and closer to the direction of the wind, it feels like it travels faster and faster through the water as the wind whips along the side of the sails, creating lift, just like that of an airplane wing, and pulling it forward....toward the direction of the wind.  But never quite to it.  So a sailboat must "tack" back and forth through the wind in order to ever make a path in the direction from which the wind is coming.  Constant adjustment.  As opposed to, say, the sailboat wants to travel a path 80 degrees off the direction of the wind, the sailor can just set the sails and let the boat move......well, until the wind shifts anyway or unless the current is moving fast.

Sometimes life is just about adjusting and readjusting.

When I hopped on this sailboat, I was travelling completely opposite to the wind.  I was being continually pushed into the land of alcohol and just riding along, letting it control me.  The direction from where the wind came was really where I should be....but the wind was something fierce, something strong that had to be fought because surrendering to it wasn't working for me anymore.  If I wasn't careful, the wind was going to take control and push me aground.

Then, finally, I started turning my sailboat back toward the wind.  I have pointed close to the wind at times but then I keep falling off to a beam reach.  (90 degrees off the wind)  Sometimes venturing to a broad reach, unfortunately, (between 90 and 180 degress off the wind) but generally somewhere between a beam reach or close hauled (between 5 - 90 degrees).

I wanted to become sober, completely alcohol-free, because I knew I couldn't moderate.  Instead, now I have been moderating and can't seem to be completely alcohol-free.  I'm stuck on a beam reach. (I refer to moderating as no mishaps, not necessarily healthy moderation.  True moderation I suppose would be drinking 14 units or less per week....)

Sigh.  Yep, I've been happily having 2 to 3, sometimes 4 glasses of wine nightly, with no mishaps other than the understood ill health effects it could have or that I probably shouldn't drive if I needed to.

If you don't have the right "trim" on your sails, if you don't have enough sail area raised, there are many reasons why you can't get the sailboat to point as close to the wind as you need to and so there are other adjustments that need to be done.  I'll spare you more sailing terms.

My point is that right now I'm just slowly pointing higher.  I'm working on exercise, I'm working on diet, I'm working on attitude and I feel progress.  I'm not focusing so much on the pressure to be alcohol free right now.

But I will be.  I will get there.  I feel happy though.  Strange, hmmm?  Don't get me wrong....I still feel fat, don't feel I eat as well as I need to, hate it when I succumb to some wine.....but I'm doing my homework.

Today I was reading "Mrs. D Is Going Within" and the mindfulness really resonated with me.  I have studied it in the past but for some reason today something clicked.  I want to learn as she said, to resolve, not react, and to be in the moment, calming the chatter of thoughts that go through my head.  This is clearly the primary reason why I drink in the evening.  It calms the noise of the day that has gotten louder and louder.  I relax.

When I drink wine, I'm much more in the moment.  Probably because my head gets just fuzzy enough to block the roads of travel for all those thoughts careening around in my head.

But, as everyone writes about in this sober universe, there are so many other delicious ways to stop those thoughts, without needing wine to do it.

Taking stock, here's how I feel:
1) I feel fat, but overall happy, just wish my clothes fit better
2) I feel tired from time to time, but am trying to fit in exercise
3) I'm not as focused as I want to be, but I am really enjoying my time with family
4) I'm not eating what I should be, but at least I am cooking for my family
5) I hate where I am with my body, but I don't hate myself or anything I've done
6) I love not seeing bloodshot eyes in the morning and getting decent sleep, but I don't like still having to pee in the middle of the night and wanting water, still getting dehydrated

I'm figuring it out, slowly learning what I need to adjust on my sails to get there........this week I'm not focusing on the "not drinking" as much as I'm going to focus on meditation/mindfulness, flexibility/try yoga, keep exercising and making some other diet changes.  Then, I hope to add back in the focus of not drinking at all.

Hugs to all still trying to do the same!



  1. I'm on the same path. Things are going ok, not perfect but ok. If I made a few more small adjustments all would be good. I still am not moderating but nor am I having a whole bottle of wine. One night last week I actually just had one glass...that never happens. I too would like to eat better and exercise more. I' not committing to anymore alcohol free times right now, it stresses me out too much when I don't stick to my plan. Just sailing with the wind at the moment.

    1. Yes, I guess the issue is making sure we don't get stuck in the doldrums and go nowhere fast. As long as I am making some progress in my life, I'm good with that!

  2. Sometimes life is just about adjusting and readjusting.

    I like that sentence a lot! Smooth sailings to you!

  3. mind shifts can take sooooo lonnnng!!! good on you for sticking with it, even if you don't feel 100% yet. that's totally okay. re: body stuff, not sure if this is for you, but one day I gave away my scale and have never gone back! rather than focusing on weight, I started focusing on how I felt. And I kept coming back to the word 'strong' for myself. I wanted to focus on growing strong, not skinny, not weight loss. etc. Not sure if that helps at all, but thought I would share :) hope your summer is relaxing and sending you hugs!

    1. What a great idea! My scales are my worst enemy. I put so much emphasis on the number. I might hide them for a while and see how I go!

    2. I threw mine away in 2014. Best decision ever.

  4. The headspace app is an excellent starting point.
    I will say- I searched and searched for balance and I was unable to connect to mindfulness when I was numbing with alcohol. They seem to be competing. One is being present and clear moment. The other is being absent.

    I am interested to hear what you find. I expect it is different for everyone. But my attachment to mindfulness has been a huge part of my continued sobriety. It is powerful.


  5. Breathing also helps me calm that chatter in my mind.
    Sometimes just sitting for a few minutes listening to any sounds I can hear will calm me.
    Our minds are wonderful, but sometimes they go nuts over thinking things!