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Saturday, April 30, 2016

When the past visits the present

Day 7

Well, I made it through Day 6.  I wouldn't say I had wine "cravings" per se, it was more like I had a knee-jerk reaction after a stressful day and thought "should have a bottle of wine tonight" followed by "darn it, that's not option...what then?"

I like my past to stay where he the past.  However, past intrudes on the present periodically and unfortunately will probably continue to long into the future.  This equates to stress. Oh well, it is what it is.  Yesterday I was dealing with the past and it was a bit stressful, threatening some of my financial security.  I pulled into my garage at the end of the day and that thought of needing wine was habitual as a response to stress.

I read a quote on facebook today that said "My Give a F%$# may be broken but my Go F%$# yourself works just fine".  Sort of summed me up for yesterday! Please pardon the vulgarity.

I was a bit aggravated and edgy.  Then I had a kid sport to attend so that distracted me.  I decided this whole (JB I love the word hoovering) eating thing had a purpose even though I am generally trying to watch my diet and work out more. (No scale movement as yet but I guess that may not come for awhile.)

So at the game I pre-ordered pizza to arrive when we were home and scarfed down 6 squares of chocolate as well with afternoon tea.  That worked pretty well but, note to self, to not turn completely to food every time to avoid cravings.  I do find that working out with a good audio book helps to distract too and that's probably a lot more healthy for me!

I found that I woke up today with an icky tasting mouth as if I had drunk last night but without all the other effects.  (maybe just over abundance of garlic from pizza..) I slept fairly well although I still woke up a few times during the night - still have to deal with dog's small bladder issues....sigh..

On to Day 7 this evening, yesterday is behind me, and almost a full week under my belt!


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Moderation? Ha!

Day 5

I read somewhere that most alcohol has left your body in 3 days.  As I go into the evening of the 5th day I will go with that assumption for now.  I know there are conflicting opinions on this.  However, I will presume I have a clear head for reflection.  (Possibly why last night was the first night I had trouble falling asleep....some withdrawal may be kicking in!)

I think I need to separate out the "why I drink" and "why I drink TOO much".  I really feel they are separate issues.

The "why I drink" can correlate to "why I would love to have a donut", "why I would love to eat chocolate or cookies", heck, even "why I want to sit down with a good book and blow off life."  I think it's quite simply about those endorphins and serotonins being produced.  I'm probably using these words somewhat "off" but at least I understand what I mean!

Bottom line, wine makes me THINK I feel good.  So does chocolate, donuts, cookies, chips, and some activities like reading a book and, believe it or not, any paperwork requiring reconciling numbers, budgeting, etc.  Seriously, I will blow off exercise, cleaning, cooking and laundry to balance my checkbook.  I should have been an Accountant.  This is where some of you say "ok, I'm not like this gal".  No worries.  I get it.  But this is me.

In reflection, however, I have always had a tendency to binge a little.  I can remember eating an entire box of  "thin mint cookies" after school...(hmm...blamed it on my brother...they are good for that).

I can remember sneaking a tube of frosting in the grocery cart from the bakery aisle and grabbing it out of the cart at home only to slink off to my room and squirt it all down my throat.  Yikes.  Red tongue alerted Mom to that one.

I can remember Mom having to stop using children's vitamins because I started snacking on them - they tasted yummy - oops.

Now, as I got older, I got control of these things.  I can have a chocolate bar in the house and eat one square as a treat.  I no longer socialize with other sweets like donuts or frosting tubes, but I certainly love that corner piece of a sheet cake at the office party!  I get my chores done and manage to keep order in my life.  (I think I have gone off sweets because of the wine as a substitute so it will be interesting to see what sweet cravings crop back up!)

WHY do I not over indulge in things that make me feel good?  Because I have control.  These temptations which cause those neurotransmitters to activate are then tempered by my willpower.

BUT ALCOHOL KILLS WILLPOWER because it is a drug.  Duh! I am powerless if I drink a drug that does this to me.  Why do I expect different?  If someone gave me truth serum would I be surprised that I couldn't hold anything in?  No!

That is the difference I have decided.  It's my theory anyway.  For me, wine is just about feeling relaxed, feeling good....and I'm not truly stressed in the first place.  It's not a social thing which is why I think I do it mostly at home.

I think some people can overcome, battle and win against the effects of this drug.  (The same folks probably never snuck frosting into their bedroom...)...but I cannot.

As such, when taking this drug there is no way I can really win.  Seeing it as a drug helps quell my desire for it.  I will never likely be able to moderate unless I have some way to overcome the drug's effects.  Right now I don't think I can.  (Again that lack of "forever" in my writing but I'll take that for now.....)


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

I Feel So Small!

Day 4   morning.....preparing for evening

I decided to write this morning because I'll need to look back at this at wine o'clock tonight.  Today will be my first evening back with hubby, chatting after work.  My toughest time and biggest trigger for cravings.

This sober universe of folks trying to struggle with the same dilemma makes me feel so small. While we all "got here" for different reasons, we all have a solution that is "one size fits all".  Stop drinking. I think about why I drink (I'll reflect and make that another post later) and, after reading so many stories, I admit that I am ASHAMED. I feel so GUILTY for not being able to moderate.  I feel so stupid for whining about it.

You see, I would describe myself as a 46 year old female with a great husband (#2) and a wonderful teenage son.  I have a good job, decent career, not rich but well-off enough not to be too scared of retirement someday.  I'm an easy-going, generally happy person.  My son and I joke that we have anger management issues....we can never manage to stay angry at anyone!

I'm not Ms Giggles mind you, I don't have an acre wide smile all the time, but I'm still pretty cheery, a bit sarcastic perhaps, but generally a "glass half-full" vs "half empty" gal.  Pretty even-keeled I'd say.

I'm middle of the road social-wise, don't need a huge friend network but easily strike up conversations in social situations and have long standing relationships with old friends that I can pick up anytime.  Not shy, no social anxiety, love talking in front of groups. Have been through some stressful times but I never ride the "bitter bus."  As an ex-wife I deplore those women that engage in malicious mother syndrome.  (This is a real term! Google it, they are out there!)   I don't ever really feel what I would call depressed.  I'm really at ease with myself and like to put others at ease..I think.
For the most part I don't think I focus much on the majority of insecurities that we, as females, deal with.  I don't think I give a lot of energy to the below:

- am I pretty enough? (I would like to improve a few things, but I'm pretty happy)
- am I thin/fit enough?  (Okay, no, but I'm still happy...just need to work on this)
- am I truly loved and appreciated?  (Yep, feel pretty good here)
- am I fashionable enough?  (Maybe not so much anymore but that comes and goes)
- am I the best Mom?  (I think I'm pretty good except those nights I drank too much)
- am I the best Wife?  (Always room for improvement here but I think it's working)
- do I have enough money?  (Well, who ever does, but I'm not starving)

I suppose I might worry about these things subconsciously.....but, again, for another post.

I need to write that I feel ashamed and guilty that with all the above going for me, that I can't stop drinking wine, specifically white wine, once I start.  I SHOULD be able to laugh, toss back a glass, maybe two and then be done.  I haven't really had a hard life.  No major tragedies.  Even made it through an almost 2 decade marriage followed by divorce and stayed pretty intact and together on the inside.

So many people have soooo much going on in their life that I want to shout "heck yeh, YOU deserve to drink!"  The fact that all these others are trying to stop amidst all of their life issues is so impressive, makes me want to cry with them.  Life can be hard, brutal for some and no wonder some get depressed.  It's a normal response.  Developing coping mechanisms is easy inside an easy life. Trying to do so when constantly being assaulted with life's varied and sometimes harsh situations is rough.

So here's a shout-out to all of you struggling with life's issues AND trying to tackle not drinking on top of that!  I'm a wimp.  But your struggles have empowered me to really try and commit to getting myself back at the top of my game.  Thank you!

I hope this doesn't come across as self-righteous or smug. I don't mean it that way.  I just need to put my big-girl panties on and make this work!  The rest of you are a true inspiration to me.  You can bet I will be thinking about this tonight at wine o'clock.  If others can stop, I CAN TOO!!


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Wine should not be a reward!

Day 3   evening

Made it through Day 3.  I really haven't had an issue stopping the drink, but, again, hubby was out of town for two nights and gets back very late tonight, missing wine o'clock.  I think he's my trigger.  (laughing)  No, of course he's not but the habit of sitting and relaxing with wine will need to be re-learned.

In the past, if he got home at 9pm, I would say "let's have a glass of wine".  "Oh let's just have one more"... Then we keep filling and before I know it I would have had 5 in an hour and a half.  Blotto, brown out, no sleep, self loathing, there I go again...

That's been my issue....I don't drink a lot or else I "let go" and drink fast.  My BAC must skyrocket.  I don't know if that's why I don't really have withdrawal symptoms other than minor cravings.  Right now, I'm perfectly satisfied with bubbly water to be followed by tea.  The problem with when I stop drinking is that I start sleeping great (slept great last night except for dog who had to pee at 1am...need to think about dog sleeping situation if I want good sleep...), I start feeling better, I get happy and see those pink fluffy clouds right away.  Where I lose it will be in a week or so when the cravings hit and I am so over confident that I feel for sure I can moderate and have a glass of wine.  That's when I will need the support! I've been through this too many times.  I KNOW I will not stop at one, who am I kidding??

The blogs and comments have reminded me of a lot.  I've added two additional reasons for not drinking.

12) Tired of having embarrassing bruises to explain when landing on my shoe in the closet trying to get my jammies on at night.

13) Tired of turning into a witch toward my husband, saying things I shouldn't and then not even remembering saying them.  (This turning thing is never predictable...most of the time I'm sweet and even get more fun and adventurous...but when I don't, it's not pretty and not fair to such a really wonderful man!)

I like blogging to clear my head of all these thoughts of alcohol.  I have so much I want to say to myself. I started writing down a list of topics that I can delve into and pontificate about in the future. (I guess since this is my blog, if anyone finds my thoughts annoying they can just click out so maybe I'm not really pontificating...I just love that word!)

The one thing I reflected on today is that I'm already setting up wine to be a reward.  Oh my that was not my intention.  I have pretty clearly stated my goal is to lose 20 pounds.  I'm dodging around the alcohol thing.  I think because I think the odds are so low that I will achieve that weight loss goal that it'll keep me from picking up the wine again.  If I get there though, I'm screwed with this mindset.  Rewarding myself with wine has been my problem in the past!  I need to re-evaluate this and really focus on the benefits of being alcohol free.  Wine cannot be a reward if it makes me feel horrible for all the reasons I have listed!!  Need more thinking on this but for now I'm content just to get through day by day!


Monday, April 25, 2016

Reality Hasn't Hit

Day 2 ...evening

I think reality hasn't really set in yet.  When I quit drinking in March I started by being out of town. This time husband is out of town and gets back tomorrow night.  I'm busy with evening sports and I look forward to a good book later.  Definitely easier to not drink and not want to drink when normal triggers not in place.  No desire for wine as yet but I think Day 4 will be more of a challenge when the wine o'clock-after-work habit will want to rear it's head.

Slept pretty well last night, might be more a function of no snoring next to me than lack of alcohol!!!  Worked out early this morning (practically unheard of before now) and now fully drinking tea with Stevia instead of Splenda.  I don't know if true but I heard that you don't get sugar cravings with Stevia like you do with Splenda.  I have always felt that white wine is my evening sugar dose so maybe this will help with cravings.  Hey, I'll take my accomplishments where I can!  I admit to ingesting a bit of chocolate...weighed myself so I have a starting point.

I read somewhere in one of the blogs to not let yourself get too thirsty, too hungry, too tired or too stressed.  Good advice!  On toward Day 3....

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Day 1 - This habit is going to kill me if I don't readjust...

I’m starting this blog, like others before me, because I really want to be alcohol free…..for a long time, for many reasons.  Forever seems like too far in the future to think about right now so, for me, it’s one day at a time.  SoberMummy recommends writing down all the reasons I don’t want to drink so I’ll start with that.

      1) My son has seen me acting “off”.   I never want him to see me like that again.  I’m hoping he won’t remember the handful, but still a handful, of times where he said “Mom, do you remember what you said last night?”  Yikes.
      2) I’m a female getting fat.
      3)  I don’t have energy to workout.  I hate exercise.  Add alcohol and any inclination to exercise is gone.
      4) I hate the self-loathing, repetitive record that I hear, over and over in my head, around 2am after I drink too much wine that evening before.
      5)  I hate not sleeping soundly through the night.
      6) I spend too much money on this habit.
      7)  I know it’s not healthy.  I agree with everything in Jason Vale’s book.
      8)  I’m tired of letting myself down, saying I can moderate, and then not being able to do so.  I can’t seem to ever stop at one glass, even if I don’t actually get drunk, but still, it always leads to two.  Or while it doesn’t at first, it eventually does.
      9)  I want to have more energy to focus on new things.  I need to “find” myself this year and I am looking forward to that!
      10)   I want to stop thinking about alcohol, it has become such a forerunner in my thoughts…..every morning I wake up wanting to quit, every evening I don’t care anymore.
      11)  I hate that I feel I “need” it to relax.  I need to redefine “relaxing”.

I realized this past November that I had been in this vicious cycle for years.  I have continually prayed “please let me stop drinking.”  I even went through a period of time where my feet were swelling and it scared me.  But every bloody time I went in for my annual physical, my lab work, ekg, etc were all perfect.  Doc had no idea how much I was drinking.  It was like a contest I won every year, seeing if the Doc would notice anything.  Hello, it’s been 6 more years than the swelling episode – snap – already!  I’m still drinking and I wonder why I am 28 pounds heavier …..I have my annual physical in 2 weeks...I think I'm about to be "outed" but we'll see.

I don’t often get “blotto-ed” but it was becoming more frequent.  I was starting to black-out an evening a week after 4 or 5 glasses of wine.   I started to lose count of how many times I couldn’t remember putting my son to bed.  I realized that I was “blacking-out” in the sense that my brain was not creating memories but I was still “functioning” to any onlooker. Scary.  Even my husband says that the only indicator that I “might” have had too much to drink is that I start to repeat myself.  Well, yes, if I can’t remember what I said/did 2 minutes ago, I guess that makes sense.

I went online in October and found  

Wow, eye-opener.  Very enjoyable capture of her experiences.  I love reading her posts.  This was when I started to admit I might have a real problem.  It was disheartening though in one sense…she was already more than 8 months into sobriety.  How on earth could I make it that far?  I needed someone at exactly my point, someone just starting, but I couldn’t find a good fit.  Instead I took her advice and read books.

In November and December I started reading the fiction and non-fiction books she recommended.  On into January.  I even read Jason Vale.  Loved him.  I mean who else would talk to you about drinking and tell you not to stop until you are done with the book.  So I enjoyed and agreed with everything he wrote…while I had a glass of wine in my hand….explain that one to me…..  Still, I did not stop.  So much for agreeing with him and following his advice… had sounded so easy!! 

I think the longest I had gone without wine in the last 10 years was about 5 or 6 days.  I didn’t get drunk nightly but almost always had an unhealthy 2 to 3 glasses of wine.  It took Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget by Sarah Hepola that I read in February to scare me into realizing that something is not going right in my brain when I drink and what happens to me may not happen to everyone.  I began to contemplate actually trying to stop.

In early March, before my husband came home from work, I had a long phone conversation with an old friend and don’t remember all that we talked about.  I drank a bottle and a half of wine while chatting and then hid the wine bottle I had completed.  I did all this before my husband got home from work at 10pm.  He came home and I had locked him out of the bedroom.  I never lock our bedroom door, but I guess I did that night.  I awoke (of course around 2am) to find him out on the couch.  He came back to bed and I was awake the rest of the night.  He’s never said I have a problem with wine.  He says that everyone needs to blow off steam sometimes.  But I knew I had a problem.  I know I have a problem!

The next day I drove out of town to see a relative and started drinking Pellegrino water at night instead of wine.  It was easy.  I couldn’t believe it.  I slept great those three nights and when I drove home I was ready to stay sober.  Other than some minor issues to include minor cravings, light constipation and taking longer to fall asleep at night, I really quit the drink pretty easily and uneventful.  I went 14 days.  Wow, I thought, I must have imagined everything.  I kept waiting for the withdrawal symptoms other than wanting wine every evening at wine o’clock.  I mean I must not have been “that bad” if I didn’t really suffer withdrawals.  But I missed sitting outside every evening with my husband and my glass (or 2, 3 or 4 glasses) of wine.  So I drank bubble water, he drank wine or beer.  I told him it didn’t bother me, and that I don’t want to control him. 

Then, my family came through town.  That first night, I didn’t drink anything except water.  In fact I poured my family some wine and poured water for me.  My mother didn’t realize I wasn’t drinking wine so it got comical.  I kept getting up and pouring more water and, lol, she thought I was pouring wine.  When we got up to drive out and go pick up take-out food she looked very concerned and said “are you sure you are okay to drive?”  Goodness….if that had been wine I had had in those glasses of water I filled every 10 minutes I would have been passed out on the floor due to alcohol poisoning!  I laughed, feeling supremely smug, told her it was just water and off we went.  I had an excuse to not drink as I had to pick up my husband at the airport later that night. 

The next evening my family and I were sitting outside looking at the sunset on a beautiful day.  They were having wine and I wasn’t going to.   Then it was like “what the heck”, I’ve done two weeks, a glass or two won’t hurt me.  I’ll just limit myself to two a night.  I never want to drink too much again.  I can moderate.  I had lost two pounds in two weeks and was feeling like I was finally seeing a number on the scale that I hadn’t seen in years. 

So for the next couple of weeks, I was eating like I was still rewarding myself for not drinking and started drinking up to 2 glasses of wine a night.  Boy, I was doing great….limiting to 2 a night was a breeze….Then it became 3…..  Then more family came to visit.  I stayed up and chit chatted, going through a bottle of wine just myself.  Again, nobody seemed to realize how much I had drunk.  I remember saying goodnight and getting up but nothing after that.

I continued to have a few more incidences of drinking too much – now, all my drinking was really too much, but I define this as having blackouts and it was becoming more frequent again.  All of sudden I realized I had gained 7 pounds!  Dang.  In 6 weeks.  Oops, wrong direction....Need to stop again.

Started working out, working on my diet too….but didn’t stop drinking….but wanted to.  Back to self-loathing at 2am.  Went out this past Friday and bought airline bottles of wine, 4 to a pack.  Figured it would help me really see what I was drinking and help me cut back.  Was just going to have 1 a day and I’d get 8 days out of these suckers.  Had 3 on Friday night and 5 last night.  Oh boy. That didn’t go as planned.

I think I really have come to the conclusion that I am not capable of moderation in my wine drinking. Did I just say that?  Ouch.  I don’t really like beer or hard liquor and don’t even really like red wine.  But I found over the past week I could still put away 3 to 4 glasses of cheap red wine…and didn’t really even like the taste. Danger sign.  Whatever happens, once I have completed that first glass of wine….I don’t/won’t stop.  It’s a pattern that has been repeating itself over and over and over.  I will likely never be able to moderate. 

The problem is that I don’t know that I am committed to forever, I know I should be, but I’m certainly committed to losing 12 pounds!  At that point I will re-evaluate and hopefully remain committed to the next 16 pounds.  And I may screw up again but hopefully not.  I would like to drink moderately but I don’t know if it’s possible to ever go back.  And yet, I know it’s horrible for me.  So I think I’ll just stick to abstaining and focus on documenting what I am going through each day.  When I hit 28 pounds lost (this is so highly unrealistic that I think this will occupy my thinking for a very long time) then I will evaluate the sobriety thing.

I want to be able to look back and see what was in my head at Day 1, 2, 3, etc.  I want to be accountable to something or it will be so easy to slip-up.  I want to focus on other things and not having drinking be my focus.  I’ve been reading the sober blogs for a few months now.  I hate to say I hope sometimes that people fail because I did.  Isn’t that horrible?  So I’m writing my own blog now more to focus my energy on my own positives for not drinking and not thinking so negatively.  I don’t know if anyone will even find this blog….not really sure how it works.  

So here goes…
Hopefully this blog will keep reminding me about why I am wanting to stop……

On a positive note, since last Tuesday, I worked out with weights twice, used elliptical machine for a 30 minute session, a 10min/15min session, a 45 minute session and also went on a 40 minute trail walk.  And it’s only Sunday.   And I haven’t worked out in months… I’m going to log my exercise too!  Oh and I switched from Splenda to Stevia in my tea. That’s a good move too, right?

Tonight is my first night without alcohol, Day 1!  Onward!!  Off to go throw down some Pellegrino water…..