Sunday, June 9, 2019

Peace with the Past

I've made some headway this week regarding some emotional issues of my past.  I was in turmoil about some things that date all the way back to college experience, loss of my marriage and unacknowledged fears I have.

Everything bubbled up this week.  I think not drinking can do that to you.  It's probably why I allowed myself a few nights of wine again.  Not even near tipsy but as always still a bit bummed that I use that to cope.  Such a different place though now and different perspective of what I'm doing.

There is no more longing to be a normal drinker, there is just a hyper-awareness of alcohol as a vice that I would like to be free of someday.  It's getting pushed away more and more now which feels good.

This week I had to face some facts about my past.  I've always wondered why I still grieve the loss of my marriage.  It's been almost 10 years.  I suppose it's natural to hang on to some feelings of "being wronged".  I've always had a hard time of that.

But, since my ex and I met in college, I realize that I have been tremendously grieving the loss of shared history.  That I would have done things very different in college had I not been with him.  I would have formed other bonds, experienced more activities.  Instead I attached myself to his hip as a means of getting through it all.  I had been extremely homesick as a young girl heading across the country to school.  Meeting the ex was a distraction, suddenly made the experience fun and worth something.

I realized this week that I wasn't grieving the loss of the person.  Afterall, I really love the dude I'm with.  We are much more compatible in so many ways.  So much more natural in how we relate to each other, so much more real.  I realized that the loss of my marriage, that loss of shared history, made my time at school during those years seem invalid.  Everything we had done together and then on into married life seemed pointless to where I am now.   I isolated myself from others in college to be with him.  Such wasted time.....

But then I reminded myself, it wasn't wasted.  I got my wonderful son out of that deal.  So even though I have thoughts about what I would have done different in college, what I could have done different in my life, I wouldn't change a thing about my son.

Acknowledging that I could have done things different in college and still had my son was a big step.  It wasn't my ex's fault that I latched on to him.  My decisions were my own.  The decisions I made during our marriage were all my own.  I am where I am due to me, not him.

...next topic....

The hubs has gotten into horses and that was the "fear" I dealt with this week.  I have resisted getting back involved.  He goes off and does his horse thing......and I stay at home.  I couldn't really figure out why I pushed it away.  I'm supportive of him doing it.  The hubs is 53 and discovered horses at 51.  As far as mid life crises go, it's pretty cool.  Never thought I would see him become a fanatic about a 4 legged beast.

I realized this week that I stopped riding when I was younger due to fear.  The instructor was a bitch, let me just say that.  She intimidated the hell out of me.  I realize that some people respond to being pushed...I am not one of them.  I need to come around to something in my own way, on my own schedule.  (hmmm.....kind of like dealing with drinking ya think?)  If someone tells me to stop something, I'll have a tendency to do the opposite.  Major changes in my life take time and have to come from deep inside me.  Anyway, it was time to start cantering over jumps.  And I quit.  She was pushing hard, I was feeling fear.  I never jumped again.  I never rode again other than trail rides.

Last summer the hubs got me back on a horse with a private lesson while we were on vacation.  I not only rode, I cantered for the first time in 30 years.  I was stressed but exhilarated.  I haven't tried jumping again, not sure I will.  Then I pushed it away again.  The hubs is now, after 2 years, a much better rider than I ever was.  Watching him fly over jumps is amazing.  He is very competitive, he likes to push himself.  He knows more about horses than I ever would have expected.  When we are ready to own our own someday, he will be more than competent to handle it.  Watching him do what I have been too scared to do freaked me out.  I am jealous, I admit.

It was something I had done, that he hadn't.  Now he has and is better at it than me.  Lol.  Petty, huh?

Dealing with all these emotions this week has been eye-opening but good.  I feel very at peace.  I'm giving thought to those college experiences and sitting with some of the sadness for what I could have done different.  I never admitted to myself how lousy I felt about my whole college experience.  When I was married to the ex, I felt great about it.  Losing the ex forced me to acknowledge how I let myself down at that time.  I don't mean by being with the ex.  I would still say that had been a good decision had it worked out and he had remained happy.  Bottom line, he became unhappy, I thought we were good enough.  Old news.  But acknowledging how I failed at what I had really wanted to accomplish was tough.  I shut out friendships with people that could have meant something to this day and I was left with the friendship of the ex, which is now lost.

I may give horses a try again, we'll see.  Remains to be seen.  I can't do anything about the college past but I can decide where horses fit in my life.  Clearly they are to be a part of it now in some way and I don't think that's going to change.  There is something to be said for equine therapy anyway.

So I leave this post with thoughts of moving forward.  I can acknowledge things I would have done different but I don't think I really have regrets afterall.  I am who I am, I have a wonderful life.

The process of unwinding from drinking requires dealing with emotions that may or may not even be something we are aware of that we are feeling.  Saying goodbye to the coping mechanism that tamps down on those feelings, enables them to bubble up.  Some quit cold turkey, some are more like me, a gradual goodbye to those drinking days - but I think dealing with who we are now is inevitable and can, frankly, be harrowing.  But like flying on the back of a horse, or flying airplanes, or sailing on the open ocean....exhilarating!

My favorite quote that I can't even give credit to one person for because it's been quoted so often:

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is gift and that's why they call it the present!!

Happy Sunday!
HD

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Just the addict in me

Acknowledging my addiction has been an important part of my journey.  I no longer want to drink.  I think it's unhealthy.  I don't enjoy how it makes me feel once the "moment" has passed.  And yet I still drink.

That is addiction.  When you don't seem to be able to stop something you want to stop doing.

I had wine again last night after not having any since last Saturday.  Hmm...well I had a glass at a vendor dinner the night before and then drank a bottle with hubs last night.  I don't think this is okay.   Some might say that it's fine to drink once or twice a week but I know that's not the case for me.  When I drink I let myself down.

My sober buddy said not to beat myself up.  I think that's the issue.  I don't really beat myself up.  Today I feel a bit disappointed but I also view it almost from a 3rd party perspective.  The addict got the best of me last night, that's all.  I'm not a bad person, I don't feel lousy, I still got up at 5am, I'm still going to work out and I slept pretty well.

But, as I know, the potential for it all to have gone down different is always there, looming.

In the past, when I tried to quit and failed, I surrendered.  This time, I notice myself pulling myself back up each time and trying again.  The days of feeling better about not drinking outweigh the number of days I drink.  The drinking days are becoming fewer.  Me likey!

I'm going to simply try harder to fight off the cravings.  My sober buddy is doing great and pulls me along with awesome supportive words.

Have a happy weekend everyone!!

HD

Monday, June 3, 2019

Risky Behavior

It's no coincidence that people try to start and stop for awhile.  Stopping drinking seems to take, in a nutshell, a realization that the risks associated with drinking are too high to continue.  It might be that a person has a personality transformation that causes relationship issues, or maybe they lost a relationship from drinking, had a major health issue or they injured themselves while drinking or injured others.  Each of us is different in what "shocks" us into not drinking ever again....but usually it is something.

I had an eye opener this past weekend.  Over Memorial day weekend, since the hubs had bought that 6 pack sampler of wine, I thought, well, hell, let's drink it up and I'll go back on the wagon.  Last Tuesday I didn't have anything as planned but on Wednesday I was faced with a few things that set me off.  My hubs is dealing with ex wife issues, still, and those issues are affecting him now career-wise.  It's very sad and understandably stressful.  We both kind of lost it, bought more wine, and just numbed out for a few evenings in a row, processing through the ramifications of past history.

I watched the escalation of my drinking back to a bottle a night.  I was almost observing it from outside my body but wasn't willing to step in and stop it.   Saturday morning, after having three evenings in a row where I went to bed while the hubs was passed out in his lounger, I said let's quit again for awhile.  He agreed.

Saturday afternoon I said, well, we might as well have wine one more night, it IS Saturday.  He ran off to the store and got us some.  Classic enabling of each other.

3 hours later I had finished the bottle and got dinner made and into the oven.  Hubs had finished his and when I had said "oh why don't you just go run and get us more?", he responsibly said he couldn't drive.  So after the dish went into the oven and he was now sitting in his lounger working, I walked out without telling anyone and went to the store.  I grabbed a few veggies and dinner rolls to make it look like I had a purpose, grabbed two more bottles of wine, one white and one red, and came home.

As I was putting dinner on the table I asked him to pour more wine.  He said we were out.  I said no, I had went and got some.  He seemed a bit surprised but opened the wine.  We ate dinner and my son never seemed to notice whatever state of inebriation I was in.   We watched our program after dinner and I drank the rest of the wine.  Hubs never finished his mind you.

This morning I found a blood alcohol counter.  I entered a bottle of wine, 25.4 ounces, over 3 hours, with 13% alcohol content and my weight.  It said .09.  Wow, just wow.

Even as I drove to the store I was berating myself saying I shouldn't be driving.  I wasn't totally out of it, but cognizant enough to be very clear in the knowledge that I was engaging in risky behavior.  I still grabbed a bunch of greens though and never bagged them, which I always do.  I grabbed sandwich rolls for dinner instead of small dinner rolls. I initially grabbed the wrong bottle of red for the hubs, ran back and ended up with a too expensive red.  Got the cheap shit white for me though!  I remember most of the evening except what happened on our show.  I had to rewatch the episode yesterday to stay caught up.

I kept telling myself that if I just focused hard on driving, I would be okay.  I wasn't weaving or anything and felt very in control but if something had happened beyond my control, someone had slammed on their brakes or ran a red light, would I have reacted okay?  Probably not.  Thinking afterwards how stupid this was gives me shivers.  It also made me wonder how many others out there on the road were just like me?  Inebriated but not out of it?

My family wouldn't even had known I left if I never made it home until dinner burned in the oven and set off the fire alarm.  My son could have lost a mother over a stupid decision to go get that extra bottle of wine.  I did the same thing about 6 months back and then dialed back on the drinking.  I stayed at 1 bottle, didn't keep more in the house and didn't go get another.  I'm not even sure what led me to go do last Saturday night.  It was part rebellion and part avoiding feeling something that I can't even put my finger on.  I'm almost overly vigilant about not ever driving after drinking.

I just got very, very lucky.  I'm not even going to focus on counting the days this time.  I'm going to be eternally grateful that I escaped a potentially horrible fate, that my son has his mom, my hubs has his wife and as yet I haven't been diagnosed with a serious illness due to the damage I have done to my body.  As horrible as that sounds, at least I would have time to say goodbye which I wouldn't have gotten on Saturday night!

I have time to clean up my act.  I'm so proud of where I've come exercise wise in the past month and am looking forward to continuing on with that.  I did make it to 3 of my classes I had said I would, just not the water one... but it has been unnaturally cold here for this time of year so I gave myself a pass on that.  I have increased my pilates membership to 2 times a week and I'm starting to do cardio around the strength training.  Maybe I can make more progress on diet over this next month.

Love and hugs to all struggling.  May you figure yourselves out sooner than I have been able to.  Having Lia as my sober buddy gives me the strength to continue and be accountable.  I had a nice evening with tea last night and son's sports over next few days will keep cravings at bay.  By Wednesday night I'll have 3 days under my belt which is usually enough to continue.

I'm keeping that stomach dropping feeling about what could have happened, that "what-if" terror, very close to me.

Happy Monday!
HD

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Experimenting

So yesterday morning while I was feeling great, just after I posted in fact, my doorbell rang.  I was still in my jammies so I waited for the delivery guy to go away so I could sneak out and get whatever had been delivered.  But the guy wouldn't leave.

Finally I saw him start to leave with the package so I swallowed my pride and opened the door, yelling out to him.  He turned around and brought back the package that required the adult signature.  Uh oh.  Oh, honey...…????

Hubs came to door and took box.  Turns out he knew I would be at the end of my 30 days and there had been this great wine club deal.  Oh for crying out loud.  Methinks he is in denial or isn't quite understanding the issue at hand.  Not that my behavior has been particularly consistent.  So I ended up with 3 bottle of white (good bottles however wine people define that) and 3 bottles of red.

So last night I was like "open one of the fuckers and let's get it gone."  I had 2 1/2 glasses and so did he.  I'm not bummed and of course I enjoyed it but it's because we didn't go further.  I would have though, totally.  Somehow I've gotten it in my head, however, that as long as I don't open the wine bottle I'm not being bad.  So I try to convince him to.  But dude held his ground.  It was just too early on in my next 35 day declaration.  Sober buddy doesn't start again until Tuesday.  This was not her fault in any way, just my not holding myself accountable!

In Annie Grace's book, at the end of the experiment she says to video tape yourself getting drunk on a bottle of wine if you think you want to go back to drinking.  Not that I'd be stumbling down drunk but I'm sure I would see differences in thought process and motor skills.  Okay, probably not going to try that any time soon but it was an interesting idea and maybe some day I'll need to try it.

The other thing that stuck with me was how she said wine is a depressant.  That when you drink all evening and go to sleep, you never experience the depression unless you feel some of it the next day as a hangover or regret.  I've been giving that thought.  I guess that makes sense.  You have your first glass, just as you start to crash off the alcohol, you have another, and another.  No wonder we don't stop.

I'm trying to think of the last time I really stopped at just over 2 glasses.  It's been awhile.  Pretty much I had been drinking a bottle of wine or nothing at all.

So last night I did share that new bottle of wine.  I was curious, since it was a "better" bottle than I normally get, if it would taste unique.  Truly, it was pretty acidic.  But again, I didn't notice that part after the first glass.

What I did notice was how bummed out and grouchy I was to not have more wine.  I was in a really bad mood.  Not just my alcoholic inner voice throwing a tantrum but I really felt down.  The mental tantrum came first but then after dinner I was just bummed.  Nothing like the excited self I was yesterday morning or am today.  I slept fine last night but, again, I stopped drinking early and didn't wake up metabolizing too much alcohol.

On the one hand I would love to drink 2 glasses of wine a night, 4 nights a week.  But I don't think I can really stick to it.

I reworked my decision though.  I will have 2 glasses tonight and 2 glasses on Memorial Day.  Then I will embark on 35 days.  If I blog that I failed at this it will be telling.  But I'm pretty sure the only way I'll be happy with myself is to have longer and longer periods of time without drinking.

To think I can drink regularly is just pure folly.  And there is the fact that the conscious part of my brain says I'm going to get cancer of some sort, that it's poison, that I don't need to have fun etc.  I just need to keep reminding myself of this.  But for the next two nights I'm just going to quiet the squirrel brain and let it happen.  I will post what happens but I look forward to getting the wine out of the house.  When I drank on Thursday night it was with a bottle that I had been staring at the entire 30 days.  Not having that in there this time, let me tell ya!

I am going to continue my celebration of incorporating more exercise into my life even though I haven't dropped a pound.  13.5 mile bike ride today was awesome.  Such beautiful weather!  I have to figure out what I'm going to do tomorrow but I think I'm going to try a water fit class.  It's not water Zumba but at least it will get my butt in the pool and my own is still too cold to use.

I am looking forward to the next few months and more abstinence!

HD


Saturday, May 25, 2019

Obsessions of time

Ah, sleep.  I love sleep.  I am now having such negative thoughts about alcohol in regards to sleep.  So disruptive.

Wendy commented on my last post about not acting on impulse.  It's so true and that is exactly what I did.  And I do that with a lot of things in my life, especially foods.

I feel like I am slowly giving up a poison that has been in my life a very long time.  I don't begrudge it.  It was my go-to coping mechanism and for the most part I handled it behaviorally but gosh knows what damage it has done to my body.  Or what other things I could have accomplished if not sitting down drinking for 2 to 3 hours a night.  I want to cope in other ways.

I've never really been depressed except for the few occasions I've written about before and I'm not sure if that would even be considered true depression.  I've never been without hope.  But what I do is obsess.  When I'm feeling blue I relive experiences in my past, obsessing over getting the exact timing of it right.  When did I do that?  How old was I?  What happened next?

Obsessing over past time is something I've always done.  I remember coming home in the summer after 5th grade after visiting my aunt and uncle.  I had so much fun that week!  I grew up on the west coast and they live back east.  I flew by myself and stayed with them, driving all over New England, going to natural rock water slides, hiking, etc.  I came home and was so incredibly bummed to be home.  Cried all the time.  I loved my home but I had just had soo much fun!  I spent the next week with the blues, obsessing over exactly what I had been doing at exactly what time the week before.

I used to do that a lot about vacations.  I did that a lot more in my 20s and it calmed down in my 30s.  By then, when I went on vacations, even now, I have a great time but when it's time to go home, I'm usually ready.  Ready to rejoin the reality of my life.

After going through a divorce, something I never thought would happen to me, of being left by someone I thought was my soulmate, I started obsessing about times past.  Even though I moved on with someone else and was happy.   The obsessing isn't necessarily about the Ex.  More about times we had.  I can spend an entire morning, traipsing around the house, cleaning and/or doing laundry, while talking internally myself.  I'll rehash some period of time and run through it beginning to end, as much as I can remember.  I'll struggle to get all the memories in the right order.

It might be a trip I took or took with the Ex.  It might be about a party I went to.  It might be a traumatic time like finding about an affair he had and then putting all the circumstances around it in order.  Unfortunately with those memories it's like I'm getting a buzz about reliving the trauma of the emotions surrounding those memories.  I might obsess over trying to remember what I wore, or what did the hotel room look like, or what book was I reading at the time.  I literally can waste hours absorbed not in the present, but in those past experiences.

Once I go through this and put the thoughts in order for whatever experience I am reliving, I tend to feel exhausted but refreshed.  I move on.  I always wonder if anyone else ever does this.  I have friends that can't remember specific details about past events and they focus only on the here and now.  Wow, wouldn't that be nice.

I bring this up because I realized yesterday that I was doing this all day again.  But I haven't really done that in the past 30 days while not drinking.  But, sure enough, I was a little blue yesterday and wasted a lot of time on non-essential past thoughts.  I'm turning 50 this fall and I literally spent hours yesterday trying to recreate exactly what I had been doing when I was 39 at this time of year.

Back when I was 39, the ex and I were working on our marriage.  We had a lovely summer.  A year later he had left, I had met someone new and he was meeting my son for the first time over Memorial Day weekend.  I think this would have been a normal passing thought but I even wasted time going through my archived emails, reliving what was going on in my life 9 and 10 years ago.  I didn't get my house cleaned, I didn't get the bills paid.

When I do this, I think it's my version of depression.  Of handling the blues.  It was kind of eye opening to realize I was doing that for so long yesterday after drinking the night before.  It was eye opening to realize how exhausting it was.  It was eye opening to realize I hadn't done that for awhile and yet it used to be part of my everyday living

When I don't drink and I wake up refreshed, I look forward to moving on with my day.  To accomplish things.  I don't get stuck in the past.  Yesterday I couldn't make myself pay bills.  I barely did some laundry and dishes.  I knew I wanted to go to Yoga today but thought oh I probably won't go.

But today I am looking forward to that yoga class!  I feel good.  I'm about to go make breakfast, then pay some bills and then try the yoga.  I wrote before about my goals for exercise.  That I was going to do a yoga class, a Zumba class, a water or water Zumba class, and a spin class.  After today I'll just have that water class left and I'm determined to try and get that in during the month of May!

It feels good to leave the past in the past today.  It was just another a-ha moment to realize that a lot of that came from the blues that accompanied the letdown after drinking.   During drinking I'm dreamy and think of the future, but the next day I obsess over the past.  Interesting.  Probably something deeper in all that but, frankly, who gives a shit?  Time to go make breakfast!!

HD

Friday, May 24, 2019

Unwound

I had wine last night BUT I didn't like the experience.  Seriously.  Yay!!

Here's how it went down...

I fought through the normal craving earlier in the evening, 5-ish.  I had a work call at 6:30 that lasted an hour and completely drained me.  It went nowhere.

I checked the clock and saw it was 7:45.  Even had the thought that it was too late to want wine anyway.  Sure as shit at almost the exact time I thought that, my voice says to hubs in the other room "want some wine?".

He hasn't been totally AF but had been drinking a lot less.  He would have a whiskey but then drink AF stuff with me the rest of the evening.   Geez, he had that wine on the table before I could get it out of my mouth that I had no idea why I said what I said.  He had opened a bottle.

I had a momentary thought of just giving it to him but then decided to make an experiment out of it.  I did want to sit down and talk about our day, after all.  So I sipped my glass really slowly.

During the first glass I noticed:
1) It tasted horrible.  Asked the hubs if we always drank this shit?
2) Within about 3 sips I could feel the warmth in my chest.  Wow, amazing how fast it has effect.

Hubs kept refilling his glass so I ended up with two glasses from the bottle.  He was starting to show effects from his.

After the second glass I noticed:
1) I didn't really notice the taste
2) My thoughts started becoming real dreamy-like.  Talking future planning etc.
3) I noticed hubs was starting to look weird.  I could really see his motor skills being affected.

Hubs opened a second bottle at my urging but he drank most of it.  I had one glass.  Have to admit that was a much better bottle but hard to know if the wine really was better or my tastebuds were numb.

Hubs thoughts started wandering and even I was having trouble staying on point.  Hubs was pretty tipsy.  We went to bed around 11pm, late for us.

I slept like shit!  I wasn't really beating myself up but I couldn't get back to sleep.  I guess I slept from 11 to about 2:30 and then no more.  ICK!  Woke up this morning and just thought "who needs this shit".  I could have had the same fun conversation with an AF wine or beer or fizzy water and been just frickin fine AND slept amazing.

I am so glad I did that!  I was like a wound spring after 30 days.

I came up with a sort of plan that I ran by my sober buddy last week.  Turns out it was actually what Annie Grace was recommending at the end of her book which I hit on Monday and Tuesday.  She obviously doesn't recommend drinking but has a few options for those who want to go back to it.

I will refer to it as my Ferber method of not drinking.  I have no desire to drink, in fact, I really, really, want to NOT drink.  I'm just battling those addictive feelings but there is no underlying reason for me to drink.  I don't need it, don't want it, don't like I how I feel with it and don't need it to be social.  It's simply my go-to thing when I am tired/stressed.

As a parent I used the Ferber method with my young son.  He screamed in his crib when I put him down, I left the room, I came in periodically and patted him and kissed him and left the room again.  There were various increments to this process but the idea was that he would learn self-soothe.  And he did.  And my life was easier.

I'm building this method in to my not drinking.  I realize that there will come times when I just need to "pop" or drink wine at home.  If I don't declare when I am not drinking, however, I will cave to that need.  So what's going to work well for me is to do gradually longer and longer increments.  I did 15 days.  Then I did 30, now I'm doing at least 35 more.  After that if I need to prove to myself again that I don't want wine, then okey dokey, I'll do it again.  I'll self soothe if need be but then move back to sobriety.  The next go around will be 40.  I may or may not have that wine in between.  The difference now is that I don't view it so much as a reward, just something bad that I might do and may need to do to reinforce why I don't want to drink at home.

I'm also going to continue to celebrate total days without alcohol even if they aren't consecutive.  I'm going to use my sober buddy and fight like hell through the cravings so I don't cave.  I'm also going to resist that rebellious voice that says "go on, just do it!"  I may have a glass of wine with family when they visit or at a friends house.  Again, that's not where my issue is.  If I can not be awkward and decline, I'll do that first.  But I know I'll be having it only to avoid the questions if I don't have any.

I was feeling under the weather yesterday but today feel a lot better.  My son has been sick so I'm hoping I fend off whatever crud he has.  Went to exercise today and looking forward to not drinking tonight!!!  I really wanted to take the time to write this down so that I have a record of this.  I added a drinking tab back onto my blog in addition to my exercise tab.  At least exercise is going pretty well!  Now, hopefully I start to lose some weight!!

HD

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Familiarity breeds contempt.....if you aren't careful...

This article was just funny timing based upon my last post but very good I thought!

CLICK HERE 
or use this link

http://www.marieclaire.com/sex-love/a27528206/relationship-advice-annoying-habits-familiarity/

It made me really think and give me some new ways to frame some of my relationship frustrations.

It also reminded me of Gottman's Four Horses that will kill a relationship:
Criticism
Contempt
Defensiveness
Stonewalling

Those are worth reading about.

I'm too critical, sometimes show contempt for his habits, I'm not defensive and I rarely stonewall.

He is not very critical, nevers shows me contempt, is very defensive and has been known to stonewall.

What a pair we are!

This link, for anyone interested is a good description of each and the antidote for each:
CLICK HERE or  https://www.gottman.com/blog/the-four-horsemen-the-antidotes/

The above relationship stuff is a good example of what I want to still work on.  Lately, I've been moderately grouchy and have crossed some lines in criticism and contempt.  Fortunately the hubs has been very patient knowing I am trying not to drink but also am going through peri menopause.  Bless his heart.  Time for me to rein it in and regroup though!

I have now finished 30 days, today being Day 31.  I feel like a baby still in pre-school, just testing the waters of kindergarten.

I know I'm not ready to drink and don't want to.  I'm sure I'll test the waters at some point but right now I have so many other things about me that I want to explore that, while having nothing to do with drinking, will never get explored if drink every day and numb any feelings.

I must say I am really proud that I did the 30 days, many days only due to sober buddy Lia, and have had 45 evenings of the past 52 without any alcohol!  That is definitely a record since 2016.

Onward ho!

HD







Sunday, May 19, 2019

serenity vs acceptance

I've been really stuck pondering the difference between Acceptance and Serenity ever since I read the post from Insights From the Rooms blog page.  (Click Here)

I'm feeling very overwhelmed with all I have to get done.  I'm feeling like my house is a mess, not only needing organization and cleaning, but deep cleaning in the far corners.  I have financial things that need to be done in the way of budgeting and then I have work stuff needing to be done.

I struggle with accepting things as they are and just letting time deal with them.  It will all get done, this I know, it's just not done now.  It's all sitting there, mocking me.  Of course, I'm sitting here blogging about it instead of doing it but that's another issue I suppose.

Anyway, on that blog page something jumped out at me:

“Acceptance is when you are standing on the 10 item express line at the supermarket where the person in front of you has 13 items and you don’t say anything to them.  And serenity…….Serenity is when you are on the same line and you don’t even count how many items he has in his basket.”
I have been so depressed since reading this.  I am such a long way from Serenity it's unbelievable.  I think of myself as kind of an easy going, but detail oriented, zen-like individual.  Wow did that quote ever blow a hole in my boat!
The blog post went on to quote:
"Many of us have mastered moments of acceptance, where instead of blurting out a criticism or a disagreement we exercise self-control over our speech muscles. Yet one often still senses a degree of agitation which percolates along with our self-control.
To come to a place where we no longer even “count” is a much more rarefied spiritual state. 
You can determine if you are in acceptance or in serenity by examining if there is any “counting” chatter in your head the next time you are presented with a challenging situation.
Personal Reflection: Have I gone beyond acceptance and moved towards serenity in my life?"
Oh wow, nope, no serenity here.  None.
I have always thought of the hubs as clueless.  He just doesn't notice what I notice.  I can walk down the hallway and see a coffee spill on the floor.  I walk into the kitchen, look at the pretty view, look downward and see dust on the floorboards or dog slobber marks on the floor.  I see layers of dust on furniture that I need to get to.  No wonder he is pretty happy all the time, pretty positive.
I've always viewed that kind of obliviousness with disdain.  How can he not notice?  I know he would need to notice before taking action so it's kind of hard to be irritated with someone who doesn't even see what needs to be done.
I've always thought he needs to be more like me, darnit!  I need to train him to notice and take action. 
But maybe, just maybe, I need to train myself to not notice as much.  Is it a huge life crisis if a person walks into my house and sees a little dust?  And what if they are serene and THEY never notice?  I think of all I am missing out on because I need to get done "what I notice" before I can function in other ways.  I should have gone on that hike with the dogs today but instead I'm attempting to clean my house.   Can I not find time elsewhere to get this done?
I don't want him to clean because he doesn't do it right.  I'm really not a control freak but I like things cleaned, when they get cleaned, a certain way.  If I'm going to dust the wood floors, it doesn't take that much longer to go under the furniture.  That way when I look into a room from the hallway, it is all shiny, not patches of dust being hit as the sunlight streams in under chairs, etc.  He will not clean that way.  It's a quick swift around the room.  It does get up some dog hair, for sure, but doesn't help my view of the room.  I really struggle with this battle inside my head.  
I guess the way I would say it is I really have an issue with what I consider half-ass work.  Either do it in full or don't do it.  As a result, I get stuck doing it.  Or should I say redoing it?
I don't really even know where I'm going with this post.  I'm just venting and it's one of the reasons to drink.  If I drink I don't see the dust on the floor, I don't notice stuff laying out, my mind goes elsewhere. I become falsely serene.  It's really hard to distract myself when sober so then I find myself in much more of a constant state of irritation.
Being accepting doesn't solve much other than reduce relationship conflict but then it's still all up there in my head.  Oh do I long to be truly serene...…..
28 days here and it feels pretty good though otherwise.  Exercise is up and I'm trying to not beat myself up for my sugar increase.  Need to deal with that at some point but baby steps.
More often than not I find that my inner voice that says "tada, once you hit 30 you can go get a bottle of wine" is being rebutted with a louder voice that says "but why on earth would you want to do that to your body? It's maybe an hour of cravings - suck it up buttercup!"
But I still want to be serene and have no idea how to get there......
HD



Friday, May 17, 2019

Subconscious distraction

You can't feel pain in two spots at the same time.  You can't really do two things at once.

Okay so there are exceptions but generally I have noticed that if I have a headache and a sore throat, I think of each separately.   I don't really notice the pain at exactly the same time.  It's like my brain can only be in one spot at a time.  I've experimented with this.   I have chronic neck pain and foot pain.  If I focus on the foot, I don't notice the neck and vice versa.

I can't work on accounting stuff and listen to my audio book but I can do laundry, exercise, clean the house and drive while listening to the book just fine.  Different parts of the brain must be at work.

I'm thinking that a craving is more my subconscious brain.  The part that allows me to drive while thinking of things or that enables me to clean while listening to an audio book or singing to tunes.

So if I'm sitting outside with the hubs, trying to drink AF stuff and chat about our day, the subconscious keeps hijacking my thoughts and focuses them on how I hate not drinking.  I've noticed that if I get up to cook dinner, or I do dishes while talking to hubs, the cravings don't surface or at least subside.

I think the key is to distracting my subconscious while at the same time engaging my conscious brain in something else.

If I sit down to pay bills in the evening, and not do anything else, my subconscious brain will kick in and "oh I want wine" will be playing in the background.  But if I put on music without lyrics but with a nice tune, Celtic, Spa or Classical music seems to do the trick, then craving brain gets distracted.

If I just sit and concentrate on an audio book in the late afternoon, all I want is a glass of wine in my hand.  But if I go polish cabinetry or sweep floors while continuing to listen, there is no room for craving brain to speak up.

So how to sit outside with hubs and not die of cravings or get bitchy because of it?  I think probably having a big pitcher of water and drinking/pouring may keep my subconscious busy while we talk.  I wonder if I should take up knitting or something.  Maybe color while drinking and chatting.

I notice that if I am listening but looking freely around, I will crave wine, but actually reading a book or magazine keeps me more distracted.

Interesting.  I'm going to ponder this further.

Day 26
HD

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Day 23

Hold the presses, I exercised twice today.  I think I feel good...and I don't think I'm mentally ill.

I started an exercise page on this blog, just to log what I'm doing.  Exercise feels different now.  I'm not putting pressure on myself to do a specific thing with a specific frequency, I'm not making like Nike and saying "Just Do It"....instead I'm saying, "Just Do Something, Anything, Move your butt for 30 minutes."

I've told myself it can be whatever floats my boat: swimming, walking, elliptical, a class, an online video, a DVD, the Wii, whatever.  When I think of all the options I get kind of excited and lost in the choosing instead of thinking "arrgh, I HAVE to do this".  I distract myself like a squirrel with the plethora of exercise opportunities I can think of.  And before I know it, I kind of want to do them.  If I think ahead of what I have to do, I can talk myself out of it.  But if I start thinking in more of a choice mode, I have an entirely different perspective.  Well, they do say variety is the spice of life.

I do still need some accountability to get moving.  I got up and worked out arms with my trainer today at 6:30am for 30 minutes.  She went on to do cardio and I went home for morning school prep stuff.  But after dropping off son, I found I wanted to do something else.  Just for another 30 minutes.  I think that is my max attention span for exercise so I'm telling myself I can do anything for just 30 minutes.

I mentioned I tried Zumba last week but it didn't feel like dancing.  It felt too choreographed, too fast, too many move changes.  But I tried it and that had been one of my declared goals.

Today I went online.  Holy crapola why haven't I done this before???  I have a drawer of DVDs and most have really long workouts.  Ick.  Most are at least an hour.  But online there are free workouts everywhere of different types and length.  I can't believe I haven't explored this before.

I found DanceWithShelly (click) today!  She is my new buddy!  This Zumba video is only 30 minutes and I didn't need a lot of space to do it.  I just put it on my laptop in my bedroom and went to town.  The music was much more my speed.  I already am debating whether I want to just keep doing this video over and over or try some of her others.  Amen for a normal, healthy looking woman just getting down in front of her camera for me!!!

So I'm looking forward to exploring what else is out there online!  I found that I wanted to actually do this dancing today verus sitting at my computer.  Who knew??

(Right now I'm blogging and blowing off work, but better than blogging and blowing off exercise!)

I know that if I was drinking regularly I wouldn't have this enthusiasm.  I do like feeling not tired.

I'm still getting hot flashes which are driving me NUTS but other than those few minutes per hour, I feel pretty good.

I still need to focus on my diet - eliminating hot drinks, fizzy drinks and eating better overall is supposed to help with menopause too, so that's my next move when I'm ready.  Right now I'm arming myself with personal fans to cope.

Getting through a hot flash is not unlike a craving for alcohol.  They don't last all that long and I just have to push through them.  The difference is I don't have a quick fix to forget about it.  There is nothing to do but grin and bear it.  With an alcohol craving it's really easy to think a glass of wine will just kill that craving.  But it brings so much else with it that I really don't want.

I'm happy I'm at Day 23.  I still want wine, I do.  I still think about it in the evenings.  One problem is that I've always enjoyed pre-dinner drinking.  Sitting outside, relaxing with wine, before dinner.  The issue is that then I would drink too much, be not motivated to make dinner or sloshed enough that dinner wouldn't come out quite right.  Now it's great to not have dinner prep issues but I usually sit outside, push through the craving, feel depressed and then give up and go inside to make dinner.

I'm going to change the order of things.  So we're going to eat earlier, which is better for you anyway as I understand, and then, if I still want to sit outside in the evening and drink whatever N/A stuff I can find, I can do that.  I'm thinking that doing this after a full belly and closer to bedtime will help with not wanting alcohol as much.  I usually don't want anything to drink after dinner.  Will see if this helps!  I really need to get some changes made and other tools in place during these next 7 days.

I'm struggling with the idea of forever.  I'm pretty sure I'll "cheat" now and again.  But if I can make this a true lifestyle change and not a diet where I feel like I am miserable and missing out, then it may finally stick.  So far, the positives of not drinking definitely outweigh the benefits.  As compared to 2016, this time I don't see any benefits to drinking.  Simply an addiction, simply a letting myself down when I do drink.  In 2016, I thought there were benefits and I was just in excess mode.  Now, I know for sure I prefer to not drink.  I  don't like who I am when I do drink.  It's definitely a mind shift from a few years ago.

Onward....

HD

Friday, May 10, 2019

Pondering Life

I guess it's a function of turning 50 this fall that has me uber in touch with aging.

Suddenly I'm panicked on what I'll be like in old age, what I'll do.  Do I have enough money saved?  Where will I live?  Will the hubs live long? Will I?

Goodness, thoughts can get depressing if you let them.  With an aging grandparent, I'm getting a taste of elder care.  She selected a senior living situation but doesn't seem incredibly happy.  Watching someone you love start to lose their enthusiasm for life is tough.  My folks aren't there yet but will be someday..... and it has hit me that I'll be the one to deal with that.

Geez, I'm just finally growing up myself, learning to be independent and then in the not too far future I'll probably be taking care of them.  I guess I was never really in touch with that before now.

There's a line from a Jimmy Buffet song I love:

It goes like: " Some of it's magic, some of it's tragic, but I had a good life all of the way"

I guess I feel fairly at peace as I coast into the second half of my life.  (we have longevity in my family so it's not beyond the realm that 50 could actually be the half way point. )

I'm still growing through the use of alcohol but I've grown up, emotionally, in so many other ways, especially these last 10 years.  Unfortunately or fortunately depending upon your view, I've lost a little naivete, but that's okay.  Wow, wish I had done this growing in my 20s instead of numbing with wine.

I'm trying to turn more of my life over to a higher power, to relax, to roll with it, to cruise.....and enjoy the ride instead of stressing about the individual roads I take.

Peace, zen, happy friday, have a wonderful weekend and I roll into Day 20 tomorrow!  Off to get my AF Beer for the evening.  (no real cravings tonight but it's amazing what 4 oreo cookies can do - ooops)

HD

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Just a few minutes....

Day 18 here.

Today I am reminding myself of two things:

1) My cravings really only last 15 minutes or less unless I indulge them and chew on them.  If I distract myself, I can get them to go away.  Sometimes I distract them with another activity, with another drink like AF beer or AF bubbly, with a magazine or book, with food prep, with good food eating, or, heck, with cookies or chocolate and tea!

15 minutes out of 1,440 in a day is something I can handle.

2) I can exercise for up to an hour a day.  I can find the time.  Or even for only 30.

30-60 minutes out of 1,440 in a day is something I can handle.

75-90 minutes a day for exercise and to deal with cravings is something I can find the time to do.

HD

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Did it!

Day 16

Well, here is where I caved last month.  But, then again, I'm not on vacation.

This evening will be full of AF beers or AF bubbly.  I can do it.  But it's the first evening without some commitment in awhile.  Sports have ended.

I am determined to do at least 30 but I do find that it's getting easier since I have already worked through many cravings.

And I did Zumba today!  Yay, me.  It was okay.  Again, not a fan of the music and I found it a little rough on my knee.  Going to try a water workout next, I think.

Off to work...

HD

Monday, May 6, 2019

Rebuttals

Day 15

I feel like I'm moving forward again.  Did strength training yesterday and have a Zumba class scheduled for tomorrow.  That's 2 out of my 4 "class" goals that will be checked off.  Still will need to do yoga and water zumba or some water class.  I'm intimidated as hell and I don't know why.  I hate watching myself in mirrors and group exercise/gyms have them everywhere.  I'm not a fan of gym locker rooms and being in a bathing suit.  I don't really have an answer for this.

At the spin class I went to on Friday, I was a bit disheartened to see that every woman in the class, there were about 7 others, were very physically fit and some were my age or even older.  I'm 5'9" and a size 12/14.  I am not ginormous but was definitely the "big" girl in that room.  But it's funny, I didn't think I looked too bad in the mirror.  At least from waist up.  :-)  We'll see how I feel tomorrow in the group class.  I'm using two credits with my trainer and making her go with me.  It ensures I will show up and once I get going I'll be okay to go by myself.

My mind is just a trip.  I realize the internal debates I have within myself don't just relate to drinking.  Another blogger, DWIGHT, wrote a terrific post that made me think about what goes on in my own head.

Relating specifically to alcohol, though, my mind knows consciously all the "why's" I don't want to drink and my subconscious knows all the "why's" I want to.  They battle each other constantly.

I realized that this applies in my life in so, so many more ways than just drinking.  I have this battle in almost everything I do.  It goes like this....

Conscious brain has a good thought, subconscious comes up with a negative version and then my conscious brain has to rebut and try to win the debate.  Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't.  It's this battle that keeps my self esteem up when Conscious wins and then, instead of letting myself feel poorly about myself, my Conscious side decides to drink when SubConscious wins.  Not sure I'm making any sense here but it helps me to write about it.

For example:

My career:

Conscious Brain:  You really enjoy what you do.  It wasn't ever in your life plan, you landed in this occupation due to strange circumstances, but you really love the work.  You love the lifestyle it gives you and the freedom.  Good on you!

Subconscious Brain:  Yes, but look at all your peers.  You graduated from a top notch college and look at what they are doing now, what they are in charge of.  You make less money than you did at the job you had 13 years ago!  You don't have the money you had in your first marriage.  You went on trips, owned "things" and you can't really do that now.

Conscious Brain wins with:  Yes, but look at you having been able to be around to raise your son, spend quality time with him, make his lunch.  Can those other moms you are comparing yourself to?  For those who don't want to, fine, but what about those who wish they had what you have?  So what if you aren't better off financially? You aren't starving, you still have a nice house, a pool, a car, clothes and food on the table.  Think of all those who don't.  You had the things before, now you don't. Chapter closed.  You traveled a lot.  Great, time to be cozy at home for awhile.........

And all is good.

But then there is....

My looks:

Conscious Brain:  Hey chickadee in the mirror, you look pretty good for 49.  You're a little heavier than you want to be but you've still got some abs, see that?  Those thighs are big but, girl, you have been strength training for the last 7 months 3 times a week.  That is muscle so of course you've gained a little weight.  You look good when you dress up for work.  Your face looks good without makeup (good thing since you are now a little blind) or with makeup when you can find the time to use a magnifying mirror to put it on.  Your husband tells you all the time how hot you look and what great legs and butt you have.

Subconscious Brain:  Yes, but you don't have a clue about fashion now since you don't have money to spend on it.  Look at all those women at school pickup, so fashionable.  Those women who go to the sporting events and look stylish.  You have become simple, you wear the same clothes year after year.  Look at your hair, you are approaching 50 with longish hair.  Don't you think you should cut it?  Dye it finally maybe?   See those streaks of gray showing?  Look at all those people on facebook working out at the gym, running, skiing.  You need to do more cardio, you fat lazy slob.

This is one where Conscious Brain says shut up and sometimes can make more arguments to win like how I don't overspend, I go hiking, biking instead, etc.  My hair has natural blond highlights so the gray really doesn't show. And all is fine.  Sometimes Subconscious just keeps on prodding and I want to shut her up!  Drinking has always done that for me in the area of self image.

So those are the things that go through my head. I have these debates going on in the areas of:
- my career
- my looks (exercise, diet, fashion, aging)
- how I am as a mom
- my financial security
- the state of my home (cleanliness, updatedness)

I suppose this is normal and everyone has these debates.  I never really thought about cognitive dissonance in this light.  NO WONDER we find ways of quieting these voices.  The challenge is to find healthy ways to do this and not via a drug.  Not via a joint, a drink, a cigarette, a pill, a shot or a snort.

I know what some of the tools are, it's just a matter of finding what works.  It could be a nap, exercise, meditation, yoga, listening to music, calling a friend, etc.  Anything where the mind has to change focus.

The mind is a funny place.  I can drive and listen to an audio book.  I can do laundry and listen to music.  I can work on my budgets and listen to instrumental music but not music with words.  I cannot pay bills and listen to an audio book.  There are certain things our self-conscious can do while our conscious mind is engaged elsewhere.  (Self-conscious is probably the wrong term but I understand what I mean!)

I realize I get into trouble if a lot of my day is mindless activity.  If I spend the day driving, looking at social media, doing laundry or other housework where my body can get it done but my brain can be engaged elsewhere...….then those voices, those debates between conscious and subconscious, get very loud and, traditionally, around 5pm, I have wanted to quiet them with alcohol.

Right now I haven't made a lot of progress in quieting them but I need to focus on that.  I still want wine to quiet them.  I'm just "not having any right now" and getting by day to day.  I love reading about bloggers who are at that point where they don't give it much thought anymore.  They've removed it from their everyday life and habits.

Oh, I long for this habit to be done.

Plodding along,
HD

Saturday, May 4, 2019

3 long years

It really hit me today as other bloggers have been celebrating 3 years of late.  I could have been there with them.  I know, I know, and they would agree, that many of them began trying to really quit long before I gave it my all in 2016.  This is a process.

But I sit here this morning, 3 years after starting in 2016, drinking my tea and blogging as I did back then, and re-reading my old blog posts.  I started April 24, 2016 and went 125 days.  I don't think I've done 30 days since.  Best I can tell I got to 20 days last June and then caved.

So 16 days in April and now I'm back at 13 days.  I haven't had alcohol 28 days out of the last 33.  Well, that's good, I guess.  This time I am determined to get to 30 and then I'll figure out another goal.

What I am noticing is that those 16 days were relatively easy.  The first 5 days have traditionally gone very fast.  Then we had family visit who didn't drink so that was pretty easy too.  Then we went on vacation and I blew it.

This time, the quitting has been really tough.  But having Lia to call upon has helped a lot.  I've wanted to drink, and I know I can.  But I would have to let her know.  I would feel like I was letting her down.  Neither of us wants to let the other down.  Having a sober buddy has been awesome.  It was a sober buddy that got me through in 2016.

Since drinking isn't an option or I embarrass myself by letting Lia know, other things have worked.

1) Distracting myself with work stuff on my computer
2) Downing a few AF beers
3) Downing some AF Brut
4) Eating a few sweets and making tea
5) Eating chips/salsa or pita/hummus
6) Screaming in my car - amazingly effective

The good news is that I'm getting through cravings.  I'm seeing that they really only last 20min to an hour.  Once I'm through it, I'm good.  My brain is wired to drink between 5pm and 7pm.  If I don't start during those hours, I'm okay.  I don't want to start at 7pm as it seems too late.  (I'm an early to bed person.)  If I eat something around 4 or 5, I do much better.

I'm a bit grumpy at the beginning of the craving, during the debating period, but once I resign myself to not drinking it's amazing how my mood turns around and then tension leaves my body.

I had intended to tackle things about myself these 30 days and I'm making some progress but I haven't devoted enough time to that.  I had a computer crash, though, which was stressful until I got it up and running so I'll give myself a reprieve on the self help stuff.  Maybe I'll have more time next week.

I did go see the therapist yesterday.  She was awesome as usual.  I always walk out of there with clarity and feeling zen.  Discussed things with the hubs, he was actually really wonderful about it all.  We had a wonderful evening not drinking and actually, get this, watching Outlander.  Total chick stuff.  He actually had tears in his eyes at one part.  So sweet.  If he only knew how attractive it is to me to see his feelings show.  It was easy to get romantic after that.   Something that has been eluding me lately.  Merry B. Sober recommended a good book in that regard that I ordered, it arrived, and I am going to start reading.

 And it was lovely to go pick up son at 10pm without having had any wine!  Normally I would have hubs drive.   But, oh my, when you drive at 10pm on a Friday night do you ever notice all the drunks on the road.  Not totally drunk, but it's clear some drivers are buzzed. Between alcohol and marijuana being legal, I'm scared to death to drive on roads late at night, especially in this city.  I try to avoid it.

Off to Pilates today!

HD

Friday, May 3, 2019

Spin Class

And on the 12th day she did a spin class.  Noting that one for the blog.

Check that off the list.  Might go back.  Music wasn't my favorite but it was a good workout.  Might help the knee.  I could probably handle once a week.

My goal is to get an exercise routine that, other than my 3 times a week strength training with trainer, is then varied and doesn't get boring.

Still to try:  Zumba, Aqua Zumba and Yoga

Almost getting warm enough for evening swims in my pool, too.  Yay!

Onward to the weekend - I have stocked up on Fre Brut, Old Milwaukee, corn chips, pita chips, salsa and hummus to get through the witching hours.

I would have totally quit if not for my sober buddy.  Thankful for Lia.  She holds me accountable.

Meeting with therapist today to being the work on ME!  Yay, looking forward to this!

Searching for true joy and gratitude....gonna find it!

HD

Monday, April 29, 2019

Vuja de or Deja vu

My blogging a-ha moments I have just slay me some days......

I started thinking about why I like blogging and I know it's because it's a way of getting my thoughts out of my head.  When I'm not drinking, I feel blocked.  Normally, sitting down with wine, relaxing, lets my thoughts flow and out flows the diarrhea in my head.  My poor hubs.  He listens pretty well.  I thought of a blog post title this morning called "processing out loud".  Then I thought, WAIT, I think I've done that before......

Quick search on my old posts and oh, look, yep already done that one back in 2016.  PROCESSING OUT LOUD - 2016

I re-read it and deflated.  I had nothing left to say on the topic.  Lol.  I had really said it all back then.  The thoughts must have pushed down and bubbled up again.  I really need to go back through my old blog posts.  Clearly I haven't gotten off the merry go'round yet.

What I also enjoy about blogging, aside from spilling my own thoughts, is reading the thought provoking thoughts of others.

Functioningguzzler posted this quote on her blog the other day:

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” Maya Angelou 

I hijacked this quote today because is really resonated with me.  I have just been surviving.  Not that I have a lot to have survived from other than just living, so perhaps I'm just having my own pity party.  But those four points hit me hard:

Passion:  I just don't have much right now.  I do love my home and my family and I do really enjoy my job but I feel unfulfilled in some way.  I've said this before but it's hard watching the hubs fulfill his passions.  He always has one.  It's been horses for the last two years and I envy him.  Equine therapy is not to be underrated.  But I want to get me some of that.  Okay not sure if I want to leap into the horse thing.  My poor body image is really getting in the way of my life.  I feel like I need to lose 20 pounds or more to start riding.  I don't.  I am not fat.  But that's how my mind works.

Compassion:  And empathy.  My issue is that I have soo much compassion and empathy it's overwhelming.  I certainly think about things from my point of view but it's the empathy part that gets me.  I so often put myself into the other person's shoes that, emotionally, it's rough.  It's why I hate watching the news.  I have to just numb myself to those thoughts.  What this quote provoked today, however, is what can I do about this?  I know I want to help others so why do I fear it?  Why do I shy away from helping the disabled, why do I shy away from food kitchens?  It's not that I don't feel bad for those folks, I feel terrible.  Why, if I feel so badly for orphaned or fostered children, do I shy away from organizations where I could go help them?  Why do I prefer to sit and clean books, or work in storerooms sorting clothes or just doing things that aren't people-oriented?  I really want to explore this more.

Humor:  Without drinking, sometimes I feel a loss of humor.  I get so bummed out without having the wine to look forward to.  I get kind of grumpy.  I start looking at the negative side of things and not counting my blessings.  I don't want to be negatively sarcastic and have that act as my sense of humor.  I want to be jubilant and fun.  Need to explore this more too.

Style:  Oh, what to say about style.  I've totally lost my sense of style.  Putting on the extra weight just gave me a "why bother" attitude.   I dress stylishly sometimes.  But shorts and a tshirt or tank top, skorts and tshirt/tank,  jeans and tshirt/tank, sweats and tshirt/tank are my go to items.  So boring.  I look at other moms at sporting events and just sigh.  Even they can manage to look stylish at baseball.  Being stylish at baseball certainly doesn't matter, what I'm wearing is fine.  It's just being conscious of my day to day routine that seems so boring.  And who really cares about style, what does it mean?  At the end of the day does it really matter what we wear?  Well.....only if we care.  Uggh...not even sure where I am on this one, just feeling somewhat lacking.  Again, I feel like I'd even look better in what I DO wear if I only lost weight.  So weight focused....yuck.

Well, that's my morning spillway of thoughts.  Time to get moving but good to get it out of my head.  Of all of the above, I really want to focus on the first two.  They may go together.

Finding a purpose that works with my empathy, working beyond my fears, may just become my passion!

Day 8

HD


Thursday, April 25, 2019

I need to admit I am an Obliger

So strange......those last 16 days were really easy, craving-wise and I felt really good about it. Then first day of vacation, I caved.  I just couldn't imagine being at our vacation home without wine.  It wasn't what it was cracked up to be.  I'm disappointed that I let myself down when I didn't need to.  Instead of reaching out to anyone, I just let that inner voice take over.

This time I setup the accountability like that I had with another blogger back in 2016.  Back then it was day 43 and instead of caving on the first day of vacation (CLICK HERE for old post) I made it through.  I was so proud of myself.  And I went on to do two whole weeks at a beach house, no less, with family, all alcohol free.  I did have a little more sober muscle on me, had already made it 30 days, but that's no excuse for last week.

Last night the last of the family tornado arrived.  By weekend all might be back to normal.  Maybe.  Also got word last night that my grandmother went into the hospital.  I love my Mom but my grandma and I are just closer.   I am lucky to have two mom's but am faced with possibly losing the first one.  To top it off, I looked in bar fridge to get out an AF beer and there was a bottle of white wine.  Hubs had bought it for easter as a hostess gift but we just brought the red I saw on counter.  I didn't know he bought white.  So white wine got left home.   I would have caved, I know it for sure, had I not committed to another 30 days, this time with Lia Leon, instead of committing just with my hubs.

I reached out to her and, somehow, just acknowledging the craving, reading her words of non-judgmental grace and encouragement, got me through the evening.  I know she'll be there for me these next few days but I already feel stronger.  Last night was literally the first night in a very, very long time where I fought through the craving.  When I didn't drink these past few years it's been because it's been easy.  A sporting event to go to, a school event to go to, or maybe I just felt I'd been drinking too much, so I stopped for a few days.  But I never really fought through a serious craving.  Last night I did.  I know this doesn't sound like much but it was huge for me.  I wouldn't have made it through vacation almost 3 years ago had I not reached out and that connection kept me going.  I feel much better about tonight.

This is a long post because I've been adding to it daily, so sorry.  Just something for me to come back to as I need to.

Gretchen Rubin's book "The Four Tendencies" is something I've written about before and I have acknowledged that I am an Obliger.  I consistently meet external expectations and fail upon meeting my internal expectations of myself.

For me to meet my goals in life I know I have to begin to setup the framework for how to meet those goals while accommodating my tendency.

Alcohol:

Ideally, I quit alcohol on my own.  Well, that's worked well so far hasn't it?  Nope, I need framework.  I know that for me to quit drinking I must have external support.

I'm not into the group situations like AA.  I resist that.  It would probably be very good for me but I went to a group session to handle my divorce once and I couldn't get out of there fast enough.  I was miserable and I can't really say why.  I like to share on this blog but I think I just don't have the patience for group therapy because I want to move things along so much faster.

I resist daily emails and being told what to do.  Generally I'm a rule follower but I think because the emails ask "me" to think about something or to do something, then I don't do it.  If I'm accountable to another it's one thing but being given a plan that I have to follow myself is rough.  (Should I mention how many home study courses I've purchased, only to never open?)  I'm reading Annie Grace's 30 day alcohol experiment and I'm getting through it, trying to push down my resistance to having to do daily exercises for myself.

So that being said, I ask myself, what CAN I do that might work for me?  An addiction coach would be awesome, I know a great one, but I just can't afford to spend money on that right now.  Blogging is good and a sober buddy is a great idea so I'm trying that as well.  I'm also trying to get the hubs on board with understanding what support I need from him.  

NOTE:  last night, before I reached out to Lia, I actually said to hubs:  "WTF is this bottle of wine in here for?  I've had such a rough day, I really might need it."  He said, "I thought you are doing 30 days with a blogger?".  I said "yes, but do I have to tell her?"  (I can't lie so he knew what to say...) He said "well, I think you should tell her but why don't you just skip it tonight and see how you feel tomorrow?"  I was irritated, of course, that he didn't give me a way out.  But Yay for him for finally getting me!  I still might have rebelled and gone for it but that's when I reached out to Lia and the night turned out different in a good way.

I easily could have caved, drank, and then would have had to have told her.....and felt lousy about myself.  I didn't want to feel that way.

 Another step would be to tell friends or other family about my goal.  I'm not ready for that but it might be necessary at some point.  I know I need those extra levels of accountability.  So right now I'm back to blogging and reaching out to others.

Exercise:

Ideally, I would love to exercise daily.  But if I can find a reason not to, I do.  Notice that the only things working for me at the moment are a personal trainer 3 times a week and a Pilates class I pay for.  (That's where I put my money.)  I only go because it's easy parking, I know where I'll sit in the class, that it will only have 12 people, etc.   I have a gym membership and don't even go to those classes because I resist parking there, having to walk through the gym to the class and being in a potentially crowded situation.  I haven't even TRIED it for goodness sake and I talk myself out of it for those reasons.

I worked with a coach a few years back and my attitude toward exercise, while not ideal, is still much better than before.  I understand myself a lot better.  What I would like is someone to go with to the gym.  I did great walking everyday when I had someone to do it with.  Okay, note.  Try to find a workout buddy to extend my working out into other days and situations!  If I actually TRY those classes at they gym, holy cripes, I might actually meet someone!

Food:

Ideally, I have a personal chef to fix me all my healthy meals.  I'm not a foodie.  I will just shove whatever food is easiest into my mouth.  I'm too lazy to do meal prep on weekends.  If someone gives me healthy food, even if I'm craving McDonalds because I'm just hungry, I have no problem switching gears and eating healthy.  But, left to my own devices, forget it.

Day before yesterday, for example, I was half way out the door at lunch to get Del Taco. I know, eewww.  Then a phone call came in for work and I ran out of time.  I was working for home so I made a turkey sandwich on rye.  I'm not sure calories were all that different but it definitely felt fresher.  I only made it, though, because I needed to eat and was on hold and wouldn't have time to run out.  Scary.

I'm really struggling with trying to turn my life around in this area as an Obliger.  A food coach would be interesting but it would be so oriented toward what I need to do, that I'd probably blow that off too.  I can't stand facebook support groups with people chatting all week about what they are doing.  I just feel too busy to check in so I need something fairly quick and concise with accountability.  So this one I still need to work on.  I want to learn to like meal prep and basic cooking.  Work in progress.

Relationship:

As an Obliger I really struggle with being married to a Rebel.  I used to think he was a Questioner but then realized that wasn't the case.  Hubs will do anything he views as interesting to him but resists pressure to do something for someone else and yet also resists pressure to do things that would meet his own internal expectations.  So he will spend time on hobbies and exercise while I'm paying bills, doing laundry and cleaning. (Okay, all of which I acknowledge I like doing)  He'll cook his own healthy meals but he doesn't really make kid-friendly stuff or things with pretty presentation.  He NEVER offers to make my son lunch.   But he enjoys cooking.  He will clean the pool but not to my standards.  He will swift the floors but not under the furniture.  These last few things bother me because I wouldn't want "others" to see this in my house.  He couldn't care less if the house is dusty, if there is clutter everywhere, if our garage looks like a mess.  This level of stress I feel about cleanliness has caused me to drink many times just to tune out the negativity I'm feeling.

I get very frustrated that his addition to my life has resulted in more work for me, not less, in many ways.  I've made an appointment with my therapist.  I don't believe there is one soul mate for us all and some find it or don't.  I'm a firm a believer that I could be with many different types of people as partners but that nothing is just easy!  I am going to work on myself first.  I know I can't really change him anyway but maybe I can tamp down on my frustrations and learn to work with the qualities he has!

I know the first start is gratitude.  I'm making a list here of his wonderful qualities.
- Very smart
- Very independent, happy in his own skin
- Extremely self-reliant
- Outdoors-y, gets me out in the sunshine - hiking, horseback riding, kayaking, biking - organizes all those outings and I just have to show up.  Carries all my water :-)
- Brings me tea every morning and always says I love you
- Tells me how "hot" I am almost daily and even though I've gained 40 lbs since I met him.  Still calls me Ursula Andress, lol
- Grocery shops
- Takes out the trash
- Swifts the dust off the floors, will sweep
- Cleans all the toilets
- Loves to look at nature, appreciates sunsets
- Will sit and talk with me EVERY evening if I want to.  (This was over wine so we are navigating new territory here)
- Tall and handsome (should mention that)
- In good physical shape - he likes veggies and isn't sedentary.
- Goes to my son's games and all his events with me, pretty cheerfully, despite not being able to do that for his kids

Funny, how just writing that, I now feel kind of guilty for the previous paragraphs.  And, hmmm, I actually feel a surge of libido which lately has sort of taken a siesta.....Gratitude really is a good habit to practice.

Well enough.  This is a post I'm going to refer back to.  Day 4 again here.  On with it.

HD

Monday, April 22, 2019

Multiple Day 1s

When I first started following blogs, I was surprised at the number of times people tried to quit and then didn't succeed....only to then start again and stop again.  I thought, frankly, I was above that.  That once I put my mind to it I could do it!

Ha!

The first time I tried to quit I made it 2 weeks, saw how easily I blew it, regrouped and went 125 days.  Then, I have never gone a full 30 since.  Lots of stops and starts.

I think the reason this is a process is that the mind doesn't switch positions on a dime. To think you'll quit forever your first time out is ambitious, maybe too much so.

I hear that someone who is an alcoholic and takes on that label, who gives up alcohol "forever", will fight it unless their mindset changes as a part of the process.  It's why some folks relapse after years.

I'd rather do this slowly, in increments, and get the mind changed. But I also understand that I need time away from alcohol to change my perspective, that if I don't take that time, continual starts and stops will be inevitable.  Just read other blogs of those 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, or more out.  You can see the mindset changes.

I have to want to be without wine more than having the wine, have to want my life alcohol free as a priority.  (Check! I know I would prefer this.  I don't "want" to drink anymore, at all, I know it's unhealthy, way too unhealthy)

I have to understand that my subconscious brain, despite what conscious brain is now thinking about alcohol, will keep wanting wine for awhile and I need to work through the F-it moments.  (Haven't been doing so well here!)

I used to be guilty of thinking there were health benefits to wine.  That it was grown up.  That it was a necessary part of socializing.  It was what people did at the end of the day to unwind.

Well, with alcohol I don't just unwind......I become unwound....I WANT to be un-wined instead.

In other words, again, this isn't about wishing I could drink normally.  I don't enjoy drinking if I have to stop at 1 glass.  After 1 glass or even 2, when I stop (usually in social situations), then I get home and think about all the wasted calories.  Why did I drink at all?  I didn't get buzzed, didn't even feel numb.  I wasn't in a situation where I could drink more...….how boring.

I'm not someone who wants only 1 glass or 2.  I really don't like the taste.  Probably because I buy cheap, awful wine.  (Now some pride themselves on buying really good tasting, inexpensive wine - and that is awesome - but, frankly, that's not my focus anymore.)

So I know I would prefer to not have alcohol because small quantities no longer do it for me.  I need a full bottle or forget it.  When I say I want to drink, I want a bottle or nothing.  But a full bottle a night is a horrible habit!

Why can't I be addicted to exercise and vegetables???  My hubs is.  Maybe that's why he handles alcohol better.  I am addicted to sugar (which alcohol satisfies and when not drinking I eat sugary foods instead), I am addicted to lack of exercise, addicted to cleaning (strangely enough not OCD, just enjoy cleaning over exercise), and laundry.  I'll do all of that in a heartbeat.

But here's one "go me" note:  I am now doing strength training 3 times a week and Pilates 1 time a week.  A year ago I wasn't doing any of this and now it's becoming a habit.  I am looking forward to adding other exercise options and making it a habit of my daily life.  I also need different food habits.

Oh well, here's to attempting 30 again and this time Lia Leon is my sober buddy.  It's nice to have that accountability.

HD