Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Labels and Learning

I'm learning a lot about myself and it feels really good.  I've also noticed a trend.  I tend to have emotional epiphanies while not drinking and then I go back to wine soothing for a bit before garnering enough strength to try again.  But the trying again is coming more frequent and the feeling of "just giving up" is dissipating.  I really WANT to be alcohol free.

Aside from realizing I can't be, and probably won't ever be, a normal drinker, I really don't want to be.  I no longer think "I can handle this".  What goes through my mind is that I am succumbing to a vice when I drink.  Just like if I eat too much pizza and feel like crap.  Like if I eat that bagel with tons of cream cheese at the office when I was convinced I would eat healthy that day.  It's now just a vice lumped in with others.  There will be times when I succumb to the vice but hopefully more and more times when I don't.

Exercise has really helped.  I'm finally beginning to make it a habit.  I still need accountability to it but I am doing it.  Having a trainer to go to, signing up for classes is helping.  I am finding more and more that I want to do it...….on my own.

Sort of the same with drinking.  I have some accountability built in now with a sober buddy but I am finding more and more that I want to not drink, for my own good.

I hate the label alcoholic.  I don't think I'll go to AA meetings because I just don't think group sessions are my thing.  I went to a divorce therapy session one time and thought I was going to come unglued. I am sort of a "move on, get over it, pull up your big girl panties" kind of girl.  Translate that to not the most empathetic person.  I didn't want to talk about my woes nor hear about others.  I'm sure AA is different than that type of group and people have really wonderful things to say about it.  But I can't get over having to say "Hello, my name is so and so, and I am an alcoholic".

To me, in my mind, I'm not an alcoholic.  Those people miss work, I never have.  Those people look for alcohol in the morning, I never have.  Those people look like alcoholics, I don't think I do.  (Okay, except for wine belly/bloat.)  Those people pass out on the couch at night, I never have.  And etc.

But I am an alcohol abuser.  Hands down, for sure.  While I like to say "I'm addicted", I'm not even sure that's true.  I make a conscious decision to ingest a substance to "relax" in the evening.  After the second glass, I find it hard to stop.  Well, duh, that's the substance altering my brain.   I don't need alcohol to function.  I don't feel bad when I stop, no physical reactions.  In fact, I sleep great, eat better and feel better about myself when I am not drinking.  Every time I don't have alcohol, I have zero withdrawal symptoms other than thinking "oh wouldn't a glass of wine" be nice.  But it rarely is ever one glass.  Especially at home, that appears impossible to me.

Admitting that I am an abuser of a substance sort of brings it home to me.  It makes me feel more powerful, not powerless.  It appears that with AA you have to say you are powerless over the substance and to turn it over to a higher power.  Perhaps I'm missing the boat.  I think different approaches work for all of us.  But as I start another round (pardon the pun) of not drinking, it helps me to ask myself, in the evening, "do you really want to take this substance in, knowing you will abuse it, knowing how you will not sleep, knowing you will not want to exercise the next day, knowing you will eat like crap and knowing that you might even feel down, not to mention what you are doing to your liver?"

I am in charge of this.  What I'm not in charge of is what happens when I slip up at home and think I'm going to "enjoy" some wine.  So still working on other enjoyments.  I know there are those who exercise a ton and still drink.  But since I've never really enjoyed exercise as a part of my life, and now am starting to, I think this will be a great new focus and will hopefully alleviate some of the need to drink.

Onward!
HD

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