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Monday, June 26, 2017

Out of body feeling

I'm in a different place, and I think I like it.

I never used to really moderate.  I always could if I went out, but when I started this blog it was because night after night I was drinking way too much at home, often resulting in a blackout. While I "functioned" I was really worried about what would happen if I went to sleep, basically passed out at that point, and we had some sort of emergency.

I started blogging to document my abstinence, not to document moderation.

Oh, I always got up in the morning, sometimes even exercised, made lunch for school, did the school drop off, worked, grocery shopped, made dinner, did the dishes, said goodnight to son, made love with husband and went to sleep.  It's the latter part of the evening, though, that even though I did it, I didn't always remember it.  I had too many evenings not remembering the next day that I did tuck my son in and too many mornings where I asked "Honey, did we....?"

I had a few incidents where my son knew I had been drinking and that really bummed me out.  I don't want him to see that.  But even in my full blown alcohol use, those still weren't very frequent.

My nights were full of mid night waking up, being up for hours, and feeling groggy in the morning.  I would get irritated easily at my husband over things I shouldn't because the bigger issues, that I had a right to stress about, weren't being dealt with by my mind as I numbed them out, pushed them away, every evening.

This past year I have come to peace with a lot of the stress in my life and I have observed myself on how I handle it.  Sometimes I work through it without alcohol, sometimes I don't.

It's as if I am standing outside my body, evaluating how I am doing as I am drinking.  I had a friend over Friday night, hubby was out of town, and she had a glass of red before dinner, I had a glass of white.  We had dinner with ice water and then we each had a glass of red after dinner.  We nursed those drinks for a few hours and she left close to 10pm.

Then, Saturday night we were dealing with a very stressful situation with my husband's daughter whom he was off visiting.  I was here, he was gone, but the issue was stressful to both of us.  Heartbreaking actually.  I rarely drink alone anymore and I downed a bottle of white that I didn't even know we had.  It was mixed in on the same shelf as my Pellegrino.  I do remember going to bed but felt like poop yesterday morning.

Last night he came home, exhausted so I had two glasses of red with him.  I really don't like red so clearly just drink it to numb.  I slept great and got up early today.

I guess I'm writing all this down because I feel like emotionally I am detaching from wine. I'm having more evenings where I'm having wine "just because" and less "I need to".  As long as I keep drinking, I see the risk for evenings like Saturday night where I say "fuck it".

I want to get to a place where I am dealing with stress without alcohol.  As opposed to saying "I quit for good" my next goal is to identify the next evening where I "need" wine and try to get through one evening of that without alcohol and see how it goes.  I'm sure anyone reading this is skeptical that I can do this and I am skeptical myself.

Again, I think alcohol is bad.  It's a crutch.  I don't see any good to it and am not one of these people that even thinks drinking "normally" is really okay.  I just have to wean myself away from it gradually and do it my way.

I've been doing well with exercise, not so great with diet, but trying, and working on alcohol consumption has just become a way of life for me now.  I like starting my day off by reading blog posts.  Even though I have stress in my life, it's all pretty artificial.  I'm in a good place, happy with my family relationships, happy with myself.  Sure I could be richer, have a better job, be Mother of the Year or Wife of the Year....but I'm okay with not being all that as well.  I'm good.  No more self loathing going on other than maybe with body image.  Trying to come to terms with the fact that I can feel so fat and hubby thinks I'm soo hot.  Bless him and his love of curves.

I find new blogs constantly and love following all the stories.  I love the optimism and hope but, above all, I love reading about the joy in the hearts of those who have given it up.  Someday for me I hope!

Here's to a great week for us all!

HD

Sunday, June 18, 2017

I'll know it when I get there.....

I haven't blogged much of late just because I seem to be in a cycle.  I start feeling really good, get some AF days behind me, blog about it, my excitement, and whammo.  It's as if my blogging becomes my self-sabotage.

So this time I'm not making any promises.  But in case anyone follows my crazy journey, here's where I am.

1) Admitting I have an issue with alcohol:  This has been such a game changer for me.  Admitting my issues, writing about them, reading about others struggles, learning about new coping tools, has opened my eyes to a brand new world.

2) Admitting I'm not perfect:  When I first quit last year I thought "ha, this was so much easier than I thought".  I got cocky.  I must not be that bad off.  But when I started drinking again, I realized that I have, probably always have had and probably always will have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.  So knowing that about myself and admitting it has given me a platform, a basis, from which to look at my life.

3) Drunk research:  I've been trying different things, doing different things.  I have definitely realized that white wine is the witch for me.  I can still drink too much with red wine but I had to laugh recently.  I had an evening where every sip I was thinking "yuck, gosh this stuff tastes horrible" and yet I kept drinking it.  If I swap out and stick a bottle of sparkling water next to me, I'll keep pouring but be a lot better off.  Friday night I didn't drink anything.  Last night I had one real beer followed by one AF beer followed by 2 glasses of water while we had company over.  Wasn't any big deal.  But I know if they had brought white wine and opened it the night could have gone very different.  Learning about my triggers has been something I've really focused in on during the last year.  Yes, I promise to not drink anymore and then, yes, I still do.  BUT I keep getting better and better.  I have had my moments but nothing earth shattering, just slight slips back into my old world.  I recognize that if I don't stick with this journey, other, bad things, are possible.

4) Exercise and weight management:  I've realized how important this is to my not needing to drink at night.  When I feel lousy about myself, there I go, down the drain in the evening.  It's much easier to not drink when things feel in balance both on and off the scale.

5) Emotional well being:  I've been focusing on that and amp'ing up my work in this area.  A few visits again to my therapist smacked me out of my hormonal gloom.  I'm working on meditation and well being exercises and hope to add yoga to my toolbox soon.

So baby steps.  I follow the sober blogs and love reading how joyful everyone sounds who truly made the big step to go fully alcohol-free.  It probably sounds strange to say that I identify with being a non drinker now.  Go figure.  I think, I hope, as I get further into that identity, I will also drink less and less.  I also enjoy reading about others who aren't quite there yet and are feeling all the same thoughts I have.

I don't know when I'll come to end of this journey or how it will resolve but hopefully I'll know it when I get there! This community has become a part of my life and a part of my day.  I make time for it in some capacity each day.  I think staying aware and engaged regarding alcohol is only a good thing!

HD

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

White-Out

In the midst of research.....what do I know?  (Just an update for me and for anyone who is reading and wondering how this crazy approach to not drinking is going.....)

1) I like myself a lot better when I don't drink any alcohol.
2) I still feel too weak to think about forever
3) My main goal for starting to blog just over a year ago was to change my dangerous habit.  I have, quite a bit, but as long as I drink there is risk.  I realize this.
4) Am I willing to keep that risk in my life?  Not sure
5) Do I think alcohol is really good in any way?  No, not really.  It's just a bad thing that is hard to resist.  (Glad I never smoked as I think that habit would be incredibly tough to kick!)

I had family in town and went 4 days not drinking.  Hubby didn't either.  Then we both had red wine Monday night and last night.  Monday night we drank too much.  No incidence per se... I think we each had a bottle over the course of about 4 hours, but still too much.

Last night the evening seemed dreary.  I felt he needed to unload some feelings a bit.  I suggested wine.  We drank a bottle and 1/4 of red.  He had more, I had two glasses.  But it opened him up.  We had a great discussion.  I learned things about him I didn't know.

This is my quandary.  I enjoy evenings like that.  I have to say both evenings were at my instigation.  He was going without but then lept at my suggestions to have wine.  We enable each other, clearly.  We have been drinking buddies.  This is new territory.  We are figuring it out.

We are also in therapy. I should say I am in therapy and he is participating as needed.  He is very willing and we have some communication issues to work through.  We both know this but love each other tons.  Giving myself some room to not be perfect is okay with me right now in both the relationship and with quitting drinking.  As long as I see improvement, subtly, in both areas, I'm good.

For now my only rule is no white wine at the house.  If I go out to dinner sometime I might have one glass.  That's easy because I don't want to drive with more.  If I absolutely cave at home, it will be red.  Yuck.  Don't really like it but I can stomach it.  Keeps me from drinking too much I guess.  Hope I don't start liking it! I don't drink hard alcohol nor even beer because, for me, the AF beer tastes fine and I don't like liquor.

So that's all I'm doing right now, living in my white-out world.  I like my new means of counting so am still keeping track.  I think I need to to keep that external accountability in place.  Something to refer to.  So today it's:

7:2 (1)

7 days since I started tracking, 2 days I drank of that and today is a day 1 since I drank last night.

I'm sorry I'm not 100% sober like many of the rest of you.  I think the folks who blog the most are successful but there may be many readers like me, who aren't exactly where they want to be.  For those of you, it's okay.  As long as we are all making more forward progress than reverse, I think that is acceptable.  I want to be one of those folks who are over 100 days but maybe not quite badly enough yet. It's still a goal however.  So great to read the blogs from those people, so inspiring!  

Happy hump day.....Wednesday here.

HD

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

What is normal anyway?

Nope, haven't fallen off the face of the earth.  Just got overwhelmed with stress that took various forms.  Family being part of it but other stuff has been going on that I needed to work through regarding career, finance and relationships.  I have come through to a better place (not perfect because it's not alcohol free), but when I'm in that state I cannot blog.  It's probably a good sign I was motivated to write down my thoughts today......they must be floating like feathers out of the birds nest of noise/thoughts in my head.

When family came to town, I had a decision to make.  Drink or not drink?  Despite my Easter commitment, I basically threw my hands up in the air, punted, and there I went. We've had 3 waves of relatives visiting.  The 3rd wave is arriving this Thursday.

With one exception....Have I had more than two glasses over an evening? Yes.  Remember everything? Yes.  Dinner on the table?  Yes.  Dishes done and kitchen full cleaned up?  Yes.  Enjoyed conversation after dinner?  Yes.  Went to bed at a decent hour?  Yes.

Woke up in the middle of the night?  Yes, unfortunately that is a by product of drinking for me.
Feel fat?  Very... feeling totally unhealthy.

Many people I know would look at my evenings over the past few weeks and say "did you tune out and relax?" Yes.  "Did you make a fool of yourself?"  No.  They would say "then what is the problem?"

One night, though, amidst the "regular that isn't really normal" drinking, I did drink too much. Interestingly enough it was between wave 1 and 2 and I know my son noticed.  He said "mom you should stop yourself".  Ouch.  Yep, he's right of course.  Do I have a problem with alcohol?  Obviously.

I think it's a problem, no matter at what level anyone might define normal drinking, if I, alone, THINK it's a problem.  And I do.
- I think I drink too much over an evening to be considered healthy
- It disrupts my sleep
- I'm always at risk for those evenings like the one I had
- I do get things done but I might be more motivated to get more done

The kicker is, however, THAT I DON'T WANT TO BE DRINKING.

I think this is the real key.  I have spent a lot of time trying to analyze if I can drink "normally" or not but that's really not the issue.  (Someone coined it Drunk Research....appropriate.)  The only reason I want to drink normally is to get out of having to stop drinking.  But I still really would prefer to be alcohol free.  I drink "normally" most of the time. Well.... I can drink without getting drunk very often, let's put it that way.  (This is still incredible progress from a year ago.)  Is that normal?  Probably not.  But do I want to be drinking?  Not really.  It's just easier to drink than not.  Then again, it's easier to eat like crap than diet.  Sometimes I just need to say "I have to do this" for my own health.

I don't even really feel like I'm missing out when I don't drink.  I'm fine in social situations and can say I'm not drinking for this reason or for that without a big bother.  The debate is solely with me in my head, about what I want, not what others might think of me.

Right after my last blog post the peri-menopause hit again.  It was like running into a brick wall.  I have had hot flashes constantly for the past 3 weeks and I am constantly tired.  (Had this last summer when I wasn't drinking and it sucked then too.  This time I tried to drink through it....bad idea)  Also my emotions, poor hubby, have been all over the map.  Bless his heart he is coping well.  I think he liked that I was drinking this time and calming down at night.  His honeymoon is over, though.  I need to deal with this new reality and do it alcohol free.  Wish me....and him, ha!...luck. Never fear, I met with my therapist last week and husband was all for the cost of weekly sessions for awhile to get me through this.

Let's face it, nobody comes to these blogs and reads for shits and giggles about people giving up alcohol without wanting to change their own relationship with alcohol as well.  I think my biggest motivator is going to be health and that's what I'm going to focus on.  A Better Path posted this ARTICLE LINK today that really hit home about the effects of alcohol on the health of women.  I wish I could say I was ready!  But....I have a little more drunk research to do.  Stay tuned though, I think you'll find me back at square one pretty soon.  As they say.... relapses are just reinforcements to implement more permanent change.  And reading everyone's blog posts are pretty damn convincing!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Counting, counting, counting



18:2 (1)

I have a love hate relationship with counting.  Last fall after my 125 days, I started keeping track of my drinking.  I got agitated with all the logging I was doing for that and for exercise so I stopped. Unfortunately when I tried to move my counting detail out of my blog, I cut it out, got distracted and never pasted it anywhere else.  So then I lost it completely.  I really wish I could refer back to that, to see the escalation as it occurred.

I don't appear able ready  committed to this sober thing yet.  I like my sober days much more than when I drink wine though.  To me "sober" is synonymous with "not drunk" so I also have a hard time using the word because I can still drink too much wine to be healthy without being drunk.  Last night, though, I started down the drunk path, definitely was not sober.

Horrible sleep and small headache until about 4am.  No issues this morning per se but I am really tired. I feel like every time I drink now I am saying goodbye to it.  It's as if I am trying to get it out of my system.

Yesterday hubby had a really rotten day on many fronts, poor guy.  We have family coming to visit over the next week so he marched out to stock up on wine.  It's his family so this was more about fortitude than being a well prepared host.

I was cooking dinner and he came in with a glass of wine which I hadn't asked for.  I kept staring at it and then was like "what the heck".  Then we got into an argument over something stupid.  I think we were both stressed and itching for a fight.  We did make up but drank a bunch in between.  I pretty much remember heading to bed but it's fuzzy.  Yuck.

I'm just going to keep trudging along.  I'm not going to stop blogging, not going to stop counting.  I can still celebrate that I have only drunk twice in 18 days.  So I'm tracking 18 days since I came back to really wanting to focus on my drinking, drank 2 times and am on a new Day 1!

HD

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Tide, it is a-changing!

Day 15:1

I had a good day yesterday, back to enjoying my mocktails.

I had been reading my posts from year ago when I quit drinking.  It's funny, for some reason on Friday I didn't read my last year's Day 13.  I clearly went down the same path only last year I avoided the crush of the wine voice.  Ahhh, If I had only read that post before Friday night!  Well, hindsight they say is......

This time around feels a lot different.

Last year:
I felt like I was drinking too much.  I was getting fat, unhealthy.  I needed to prove to myself I could quit.  It was a game.  Once I got to 125 days I was ready to go back to normal drinking. I knew I would be able to handle it after resetting my internal drinking self. I was done with my game.  I hadn't lost the weight but that was okay, so I started exercising and working on that aspect of my life as a way to balance things out.  I worked on other issues I had so that I wouldn't want to drink.   I probably wouldn't even want it anymore.  Oh, I had heard all about the potential for relapse but that wasn't going to be me.  I would still drink but never back to the levels of my old self.

What I found:
Okay, with a little control I kept myself from going embarrassingly drunky-drunk over the next 8+ months.  But only by the skin of my teeth.  I still found I was drinking too much to be healthy, wasn't productive and still wasn't fully present in my life.  I fixed a lot of things and became so much more settled with my life so I couldn't understand why I still felt compelled to drink a whole bottle.  Sure, I have some stresses in my life but nothing big, nothing unmanageable.  I'm not anxious, not depressed....but I am bored.  I suppose that can be just as dangerous.  Time to work on that.

This time:
It feels different.  There is still the pull to "just have some" of course but it feels like such a negative thought.  It's not a game anymore.  I like myself better sober.  I'm really trying to figure out the "boredom" thing.

What drinking does for me is let me dream.  The stress of not being exactly where I want to be in life is swept away by dreaming about where I could be someday.  The fanciful thoughts come rolling in, relaxing me.

I am happy with my man and happy being a mom.  I love both of those relationships.  I didn't realize how unhappy I was with my ex until I met this guy.  So all good there.

I just need to find my purpose.  I'm bored.  Time to not drink away the boredom.

Last year not drinking was a challenge.  This year it's more of a choice.  I may have some backslides but it's a whole different feeling.  Last year I didn't let myself slip and then when I did, I didn't acknowledge it as that.  This year, every time I drink, it will be a slip.  There is no more calling it drinking normally.  I don't want to drink, so if I do, it's a completely negative process.

I suppose this change of mindset is called forward progress.

HD

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Practice makes perfect..... 14:1

Well, last night, there went that wine bottle.  After feeling so good about myself from the evening before, I'm not even sure why I said to hubby, "can you please open the white for me?"  If it hadn't been in the house, I know I would have had him make a run for some.

(I can certainly make him more of a policeman but I don't feel that role is healthy.  I feel strongly that I need to own my own relationship with wine. And...If he changes his own habits I want it to be because he wants to and not because I nag him.)

He was drinking his red, I initially had a diet coke.  I felt like a pressure cooker.  I didn't really even want wine last night but all the "you shouldn't" "you can't" "you don't want it" voices in my head got too loud.  I just wanted to silence everything.  I hate being told I can't do something, even if it's me telling myself! So I had the wine.  It felt like rebellion more than a need.  I wasn't even very stressed.  I had gotten a lot done work-wise and I was feeling better financially after working through some accounts.

I didn't get drunk, I made dinner, I remember everything, I went to bed.  But I didn't stop at a glass or two....had to drink the whole damn thing over the evening.   Then, of course, I was awake, hardly slept and was just thoroughly annoyed at myself.  Drank water on and off all night long.

I'm not going to stop counting.  Heck, if I get through a long period of time and mess up very occasionally, I'm okay with that.  Every time I drink is a reminder of what I don't want as a daily part of my life.   In the not too distant past I couldn't possibly fathom going 12 days without any alcohol.

I'm just going to keep a tally on the right side of my counting to show any nights I had wine out of the total.  So today is Day 14 and I drank once in two weeks.  14:1  This will help keep me accountable.

It's funny, I thought I would hate sharing this but I'm pretty happy.  No self-loathing, just irritation at the continued realization that if I drink I won't stop until the bottle is gone.  This is why I am here blogging, because I, like most everyone else perusing these blogs, can't drink "normally" - darn it - whatever normal is.

Happy Weekend everyone!

HD

Friday, April 28, 2017

FriDAY 13

Last night I fought through a huge craving and won!  YES!  One day at a time, one 2 hour cocktail hour at a time.....

I still have that bottle of white wine in my fridge - I know many recommend getting rid of it - but somehow it's good for me.  I look at it nightly and think through drinking the whole thing.  I never did that before.  Having it already here forces me to think.  Before I would get all the wine out of the house and then slip and ask hubby to pick up some.  He would and then I would struggle but say to myself, "well I have to drink it because I made him stop for it!"

Every evening now, instead of spending energy on figuring out how to get it into my house, I am forced to confront the question of whether or not I am going to drink that night and why.  It's an interesting thought process for sure.  I definitely miss coming home and knowing I can crack open a bottle of white and tune out.  I don't miss what comes with it though.

Thursday I did fine.  I had a couple of shortbread cookies in early afternoon and 2 mocktails in the evening.

Yesterday, though, oh boy!  Hubby got home from his trip early afternoon and we had to discuss and deal with some things in regard to his ex wife.  She just does stuff that doesn't make sense and costs us a lot of money when it didn't have to.  Financially I was feeling that we were being flushed down the toilet again.  I wanted to drink that wine so bad!

I ate 12 squares of Cadbury early afternoon.  Then I had two mocktails with hubby while, of course, he drank red wine because he was stressed.  I didn't have to ask him to go get white wine because I had it.  All the voices played in my head....why not have a glass?  Really, does it count if I cheat with one glass but then abstain?

I asked hubby if it would matter if I had just one glass.  He said why don't I wait until after dinner and see how I feel.  I actually said "well, I know I won't want it then".  Ha.  Even listening to myself sounded stupid.  He went out and got chinese food and we ate.  Then I said "I really want a glass of wine".  He just kind of looked at me.  I said, "I know, it's not your decision, it's mine."  Then I realized it was 7:15 and I just said "oh forget it, it's too late and I'm tired anyway."  We went to bed by 8:30 since he was exhausted from his travels too.

I woke up this morning very grateful I didn't drink anything.

Why didn't I drink?  A few reasons:

1) I had had 12 f'ing squares of Cadbury.  Right there that's 342 calories.  Then I had 2 mocktails....another 60 calories.  402 calories, all to avoid, say 3 glasses of wine, which the way I pour would have been about 360 calories.  Shit, I couldn't down 762 total and be okay with that!!!
2) I kept thinking how I would sleep that night if I drank......lousy.
3) I've been doing really well with my daily walks and I wanted to get up and feel good in the morning like I had been.
4) The only reason I wanted to drink was because I felt edgy.  I was irritated we were constantly put into this position by this crazy wombat.  I just wanted to numb out and relax.
5) I texted a friend who encouraged me to keep going.  It was truly a lifeline!

I never really relaxed while awake and I wasn't in the greatest mood toward my hubby who had just returned home from his voyage..... but I did sleep pretty well despite everything.....and I think he understood.

I still can't see forever.  This is definitely going to be a decision that is made nightly and just for that night.  Even typing this at 8:30 am, I can feel the pull for this evening.  Having that bottle sit there is tough but it's making me own the situation.  I can't blame anyone else for getting the wine for me.  This is my decision and mine alone.  I'm not ready to drink again.

HD








Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Day 11: New Addiction

I am becoming addicted to my mocktail.  Last night I had two large glasses while talking to a friend on the phone and I remember the whole conversation, go figure!  I even had that sense of urgency to go pour another glass, just like I would have done with the bottle of wine only this time the bottle of wine on the counter was AF wine.

I really enjoy drinking this concoction.  I have a lot of the feelings that I normally associate with drinking.....peaceful, relaxed feeling, taste is just bitter enough to feel like a drink even if not quite buttery like Chardonnay....an overall sense of well being....with none of the negatives. (Well, okay AF wine and the digestive system have some challenges for me but I'm trying to balance what portions work best!)

The interesting thing is that I get full and don't feel a pull for more.  My thoughts don't start getting all random.  I'm done at a point from the winding down and can move on with my evening.  I remember what I did before bedtime!  I might wake up in middle of the night (damn dogs) but I can get right back to sleep!

Clearly, I am still using the "cocktail hour" process as a coping mechanism.  I remember doing this last time.  Because I do this, I think this is why I can't swap and ever go back to alcohol for this specific purpose.

I've never seemed to really have problems going out for dinner and having one, maybe two glasses and stopping for the evening.  I don't tend to drink too much in front of anyone other than immediate family.  

Part of this journey is defining what works for me.  Can I still have some wine without going back to it nightly?  I don't know. For now it's off the table again for awhile.

On the one hand I can see an argument to be made for not doing this.  That it's dangerous to keep the spirit of drinking, the routine, alive, even if with a non-alcoholic drink.  

On the other hand, I don't feel deprived.  I don't feel like I'm missing out.  I love sitting down and relaxing and chatting in the evenings.  I can't imagine just sitting there and doing that without some drink in hand, even water. I'm able to say I don't have the downsides of the ritual of drinking impacting me right now.

Don't get me wrong.  I still crave sucking down a glass of Chardonnay.  I'm trying to investigate why I specifically feel that way.  I think it's just that while I relax with a mocktail, I don't totally let go of my thoughts - the temptation to numb out through Chardonnay is still there.

HD

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Day 10: The beauty of the blog

I didn't think I would really have any wine cravings yesterday.  Hubby is traveling a lot so he literally flew home Sunday night and out last night again.

After I took him to the airport late afternoon, I went back to work but was hit with a wine craving.  I have that bottle of white in my refrigerator still, unopened, and that little sucker had a voice last night.  I opened the wine drawer, cursed softly at it, smacked it's bottle and grabbed the AF wine next to it.

A mocktail and a half later with dinner starting to cook I was still craving it.  I sat down, finishing my second, and perused the blogs.  Found a blogger who recounted her miss-step of the night before.

That post saved me.  It hit home.  I knew that if I started opening that bottle I would be so proud to have just one glass....but then the "oh one more won't hurt" would happen.  Then it would be easy to go to three.  Then I would just finish the whole bottle because I wouldn't want there to be any left in the house.... because I would be quitting again.....after all, it would just be that one night.

Then I would buy more white wine at the grocery store and start again when I was ready....I mean I would have already messed up so why bother, right?

After reading that blog, I felt satiated.  Somehow my craving had been satisfied.  I didn't want the above to happen.  I still wanted the wine in concept but knew it wasn't for me.

I fixed dinner while finishing the mocktail and relaxed with my tea afterward.

We all mess up.  We all miss our goals sometimes.  If I drink I will certainly share it here.  You never know whom your blog post will hit, will impact, may save, even if you are just writing thoughts down for yourself.......

HD

Monday, April 24, 2017

Day 9: the year blog-versary and the weigh in

A year ago I started my first real attempt at laying off wine and at blogging.  Of course then it was a Sunday and now this year it's a Monday.

Interesting that I finally got motivated again, at almost the same time of year, to do another extended period of abstaining.  Must be a seasonal thing. Or the fear of bikini season looming.....

The cool thing is that from this point forward, for 125 days anyway, I can remember that this time last year I wasn't drinking.  I got through whatever I faced then so I should be able to do it again now!  No excuses!

I weighed in yesterday for the first time since 11/7/16.  I was really scared to do it but turns out I had only gained 3lbs, felt like way more based upon where the extra weight sits. So grateful.

Seeing that number gave me hope that I could do a few things, make small changes and gradually get the weight off.

I was even motivated enough to go for a walk on a weekend!

If I drink every day, and that would usually mean too much with a few exceptions, I probably drink 230-300 calories in wine.  My mocktail has 30 cal in each glass so if I drink 2 or 3 (most times 1) then I'm at 60 to 90.  Big improvement!

I'm going to try and make one small change per week, adding to the previous week's changes.  Nothing big.  Last week was no alcohol.  I will continue that and, except for the first and last cup of tea of the day, I'm going to try and drink tea with no Stevia. I really want to wean myself off sweetener.

I'm noticing my drive for sweets abating a bit.  Yesterday I never reached for cookies nor chocolate and ate fairly healthy.  I'll probably eat a hoard of chocolate later today but it was nice to realize I had a good day anyway.

HD

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Day 8: The history of it all

Today, I'm reflecting on my history with alcohol.  I've been listening to the Udemy course, How to Stop Drinking Alcohol by Kevin O'Hara.

I don't know if anyone every grew up listening to Bob Ross (on tv, PBS, from 1983 - 1994) teach us how to paint?  My ex and I used to say it sounded like he was on Quaaludes.  He hid this very slow, soothing voice...."now....we....are...going....to.....paint....with...green....oil..".  I think many people used him to fall asleep during times of insomnia....  Actually he had a great following of people and probably encouraged many to pick up painting.

Anyway, listening to Kevin O'Hara is similar.  I enjoy the content but I can't listen for too long or my mind starts wandering or I fall asleep!  But his points are valid.

One of the things he asks is to go back into your mind and think about your drinking and about the first time you drank.

This was interesting.  I thought I started having issues after I got married and it was my ex's influence that I drank.  In really thinking about it, though, I realize there was an incident back when I was 15! Then, another bunch in a row after my first year at college at 18 (didn't meet ex until I was 19).  I was just lucky nothing horrible happened to me.  Looking back on what could have happened to me at various times is just plain scary.

It hit home that my issues with how I process alcohol have been there since my very first experience.  I only had sips of wine at the beginning from my parents but I wanted more just because I was being told I couldn't.  I sort of wonder if this started something.....I never had more because I was a "good girl" but I couldn't shake the feeling that there was more out there.  Then, when out of my parents control, I relished having as much as I wanted when I was out on a formal dance date at 15 and it was made available.

(Makes me reconsider ever giving my son sips of wine.....which I haven't yet because he hasn't asked.  I give my dogs fingers of wine.......oops....one sneezes after two finger licks and walks away, the other, well, let's say if she could open the wine refrigerator, she might!  She hates that I only posess 10 fingers.)

My way of handling alcohol has always been to "drink it all".  One glass? Bottoms up!  I get half a bottle?  Better drink all my half!  I have a bottle available?  Must drink it all! Oh, there's another bottle?  Better open and have at least one more glass!  Out at a social event?  Let them keep filling my glass!

I realize that when supply is limited, I don't drink as much and then I pride myself on my control.  What a load of baloney.

I would love to have one glass a night but as a friend said, "what's the point?".  That mindset is the problem.  I'm not sure I even really like the taste of wine until the second glass, lol.

I'm enjoying drinking my mocktail of choice.  It does the job.  Sometimes it's just about the drinking "something" too, something in hand, something to do.....an interesting morning of reflection nonetheless.

HD

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Day 7: 2 firsts, 2 hours and 2's in general

I'm having fun reading my blog entries from last year at the same time.  This morning I woke up with my mouth feeling like I had been drinking last night and again had to deal with Mutt#1 getting up in the middle of the night.  The latter is a training issue on our part.  Somehow we are already up, turning off the alarm and opening the door for the dog before waking up enough to say "hush, go back to sleep"!!

Lo and behold, last year I woke up feeling hungover on Day 7 and also was dealing with dog issues.  Last year I had had too much pizza accounting for the bad mouth taste and this year I think it was too much AF wine.....must still have some annoying characteristics as real wine.

Yesterday was 2 firsts for me.

1) I called and caught up with a friend in late afternoon whom I hadn't spoken with in awhile.  Normally I had wine in hand.  This time, during the call, I had two of my mocktails and it felt great.

2) When my other friend arrived for dinner, I had a mocktail ready and I opened a bottle of red for her.  I think she thought I was drinking white since my 1/3 AF wine, 1/3 sparkling water, 1/3 club soda and lime juice looks like a white wine.  I had one before dinner, water with dinner and then one after.  She drank about 3/4 of a bottle of red and I sent her home with the rest.

The first one was pretty easy actually because I really couldn't have drunk much with another friend about to arrive and dinner to prepare, anyway.  So I may not be able to take too much credit for that.

The second was interesting.  My friend had put on a lot of weight over the last year.  She looks puffy, tired and stressed.  After dinner, we were talking and catching up and she literally was falling asleep on the couch.  She would talk, and then when I talked, she would zonk out.  I was cracking up but poor thing was exhausted.  She has had a lot of work stress and older-children-moving-back-in stress.  She just lives about a mile away but I made her text me when she got home.

Traditionally, because I had the young child, she always came to my house.  I feel horrible at how many times she, and other friends of mine, have driven home and probably shouldn't have been driving.  Even watching how much 3/4 of a bottle affected her scared me.

I sort of have always protected myself from driving under the influence.  But therefore my friends who came over have certainly been at risk. In the past, I would have drunk a bottle with her and probably started on a second and barely remembered her leaving.  Last night was much better.  She left around 9 and I hopped in bed with a book.

For me, I'm trying to remember that on nights where I don't have other obligations, it really boils down to 2 hours.  There are only 2 hours when I have ever really craved wine and they hit between 4 and 7.  It's never those full 3 hours but 1 to 2 hours somewhere in that range.  I never have wanted alcohol during the day.  2 hours out of 24!!!  That's all!!

I also have to be aware of the (2's) TOOs.   If I am too tired, too edgy, too hungry, too stressed, I turn to wine to turn off those feelings.  That's the only reason.  When I feel in balance in those areas, I can turn away from wine.  This time around when I feel a craving, I'm really going to try and identify and blog why I have the craving to see what the pattern is.

Today is a relaxing Saturday, not a lot planned and just looking forward to time with my son.  Monday will likely be my next challenge!

Have a great weekend everyone!

HD


Friday, April 21, 2017

Day 6: Another attempt at sustained abstention

As I kick of Day 6, I had to laugh at my previous posts from a year ago.  I'm going back and reading what I wrote the last time I went for sustained abstention.

I can easily abstain for short periods of time and then whammo, one night there goes the whole bottle and pretty soon it's every night.  Even if it's not drunky-drunk every night, it can easily become buzzy-buzz every night.

Anyway....it's funny how the process for me of quitting is similar.  Last year I was equally fascinated with thoughts of donuts and other sweets.

This time around I'm feeling more tired in the first week than I remember.  Instead of an adrenaline rush of quitting, it's much more of a slow, methodical feeling.

I posted somewhere once how it must be hard to quit once you quit once successfully but then start up again.  Someone else posted that they thought it actually got easier.  I sort of now understand what was meant.  It takes some starts and stops to really make it a choice and once it becomes a choice then it's easier to keep going.

I'm still not sure I've made it a choice.  I've never really hit that rock bottom of "oh FFS, I am just done with this!" for the whole of drinking.  I definitely hit it on certain behaviors and those I did do a good job controlling during last round of drinking.  But I didn't fix it all.  I think working on personal issues, becoming happier overall in many aspects of my life helped, but that alone wasn't enough to stop drinking from easily escalating at times.

Until last Sunday it was a constant desire to not drink too much.  Days of abstaining, followed by days of drinking which led to days of drinking too much which led to more short periods of abstaining....aka why my body is starting to resemble Miss Piggy!

It DOES feel better now that I stopped playing that game and just told myself that right now it's not an option.

On Day 4 my family came through town and brought white wine.  Hubby put it in the freezer to chill.  I was so bummed.  I didn't want this fight to go through my head.  But then he asked if they wanted red or white and they opted for his red.  So we never opened the white and I just had my mocktail.  I was dying inside as to how I would handle the wine opening.  I knew that there was a risk I would drink the whole thing if I had a glass just to be social. Crisis averted.

Yesterday I was so busy that nothing appealed to me last night wine-wise.  I had too much to do and couldn't afford the time to numb out if I had wanted to.  By the time my day was done, I was ready to hop into bed with a cup of tea, catch up on email/blogs etc and hit the hay.

Hubby is now traveling and the mutts have become my responsibility.  So much for the great sleep of the first week without wine.  Mutt #1 is the biggest dog with the world's smallest bladder.  It didn't bother me while drinking because we all had to pee at 1am.  Now it is annoying!  Sigh.

Overall,  I notice morning lethargy.  I wake up tired.  That's okay though.  Better tired than hungover!

Tonight a friend is coming over for dinner.  She is a red wine drinker.  It's odd, how easy it is for me to abstain when a friend is over or I'm out socializing.  I have no problem saying I'm struggling with the effects of alcohol during peri-menopause so I don't drink that often, and no one questions me.  The struggle is when I'm home with hubby, or sometimes alone, at the end of a tiring day or a perceived stressful day.  So tonight should be easy and then I'll be at Day 7! Yay!

HD


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Day 3: Beware of the craving swap

This post is to say "cut it out" to myself!  Lol.

Today I had a brilliant idea or should I say epic crash of an idea!!!

I started having a very stressful day.  This morning I knew I would crave wine big time by afternoon.  I knew after lunch I would start craving wine because I was edgy, cranky and tired.  While I didn't have alcohol last night, I did take awhile to get to sleep after the events of yesterday.  Finally got those thoughts to shut up and then dogs woke up every few hours.

(These mutts either have the world's largest or the world's smallest bladders and I'm never sure which.  They sneak drinks out of toilets.  I think we need to limit the amount of liquids after 6pm, like little kids, because these nighttime yard-crawls are becoming ridiculous! No wonder I am tired.)

Anyway, I decided I would think of my favorite pink donut with sprinkles whenever I had a wine craving.  I probably haven't had one in 3 years and that was only when I was visiting where I grew up.  Before that I probably hadn't had one in 10 years!  I just love those suckers.  But it's always easy to avoid donuts because the other voice in my head that screams "fat, fat and nothing but fat" usually wins out.

So I decided that every time I started to think of wine I would swap out and think of the pink donut.  By 4pm I was craving a pink donut like nothing else.  But I'm too lazy to go to the store to get one, actually not even sure where I would go, and then I knew it wouldn't be quite like home.

This was like craving wine on a camping trip in the middle of nowhere when you forgot to bring it.  You just have to sit with it.

But the difference is we have sugar here.....and I found it!!  I had a few cups of tea with sweetener in it, one Milano cookie and 9 squares of Cadbury chocolate.

Well, that killed the wine craving.  Hubby just asked if I minded if he had some wine and, believe me, I spoke the truth when I said it wouldn't bother me at all, lol.  I am way too fat feeling to want any and too full of sugar!

I don't think the sugar craving swap is going to be the ideal way to weather this.  It's notable to mention that hubby has always said I am addicted to the sugar in Chardonnay which is why I don't ever crave red wine, hard liquor, beer or even other white wines nearly as much as Chardonnay.

I never really thought about that seriously until today.  Then, I perused blogs, and OH what TIMING!  There were some mentions of sugar and how it links to alcohol addiction.  I am going to lap up all the knowledge I can.  I am more skeptical of giving up sugar in my diet than wine but I'm going to explore it!

I also added a bunch of new blogs to those that I follow.  I'm going to go back and read up on people's early days!  Will be fun and distracting.

To end on a positive note:
1) No more wine craving and it's just 5 o'clock somewhere!!  Heck, I just want a salad and to sit down and read more blogs or magazines.
2) I hit my 10,000 steps by 1pm today just by doing my normal morning walk, things around the house, and a lunch meeting that had a long approach to the restaurant through a mall.

Will try to focus on getting to 15,000 steps, adding some strength training and diet/sugar issues over the next week!

On to Day 4!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Day 2: A surprisingly early craving

Normally, as I've said many times, I can get to about Day 4 with very little thought and very few cravings.  I ride the emotional high that deciding to not drink gives me.

One of the things I learned this year is that my personality needs external accountability to meet internal expectations.  (old link on that, click HERE...no point in repeating myself too much!)  You'd think I would remember this.

I know that over the past few months, I avoided the accountability.  Somehow, not drinking on Easter and then declaring myself out loud again, and also resuming regular blogging, rejuvenated me.  I thought for sure this first week would be a breeze.

But then I received information today regarding an issue with my ex spouse that caused me to almost falter.  I guarantee you that if I had just quietly told myself I wasn't drinking, hadn't just written a blog about it, emailed a friend about it as well, then I would have talked myself into wine tonight.

We had a school sporting event to go to so I was even more sure I wouldn't want wine.  During times where I am drinking daily or even abstaining for some days/drinking for some, I might have had a glass before I went, in order to wind down and to relax, and, definitely, I would have looked forward to finishing the bottle when I got home.

So I got the news about 4pm.  Oh my, did I want some wine!!!!  There isn't any white wine in the house so that was good.  The one thing I did different this time was to sit with my feelings and analyze why I really wanted the wine.  Point blank -  I wanted to escape my feelings.

I felt bummed and sad.  I felt taken advantage of.  I felt that my situation was just not fair. Life is not fair!!  I was a good person dammit, why did I have to deal with this?  This wasn't even something of my ex's fault per se, it just involves us.  I wanted wine so much to numb the hurt, the anxiety.

So instead of thinking about the wine, I turned to my feelings and really tried to feel the anxiety, the anger, the sadness, the surreal nature of it all.  Before I realized it I wasn't really thinking about wine!  Hmm!  Well, there I go!

I had a few distracting thoughts of the situation during the game and had to refocus.. but was okay. Then, as soon as I got home, the craving hit again like a ton of bricks.  Of course, because then I was thinking and feeling again.  I had to make dinner though.

I made myself a mocktail of alchol free chardonnay, club soda, and Pellegrino water with a squirt of lime juice in it.  (I swear this tastes a lot like a bad Gew├╝rztraminer.) I made dinner.  We ate dinner.  The craving is gone.

I'm calmer now about my feelings.  I think I'll sleep okay, but, without the wine, I know that once I get to sleep I won't ruminate about the issue at 2am!!

In summary, why did I not drink tonight?
1) I didn't have my white wine in the house.  This is really key.
2) I had things to do to distract me.  Sporting event and then dinner to make.
3) I had mocktail preps laying around to turn too.
4) I sat with the actual feelings I was having instead of trying to tune them out.

I remember, once, hearing that the body has a hard time feeling pain in two places at once.  I think by letting myself feel the pain of my emotions, it turned me away from feeling the pain of the craving of wanting wine.

Off to catch up on some emailing and then hopping into bed with a good cup of tea.  I survived!  Onward to Day 3!!

HD

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Time to resurrect my old self

I'm back.  I'm ready to go.

I know I don't want alcohol in my life on a regular basis.  I've been playing a dodgy game with myself and it's time to end it.

Yes, I no longer have real blackouts, and I can have alcohol free days when I want to but I keep "letting" go when stress comes up.  I keep "deciding" to drink or think I am deciding to drink.  I'm actually not deciding, I'm letting it control me.

A week ago I was almost at Day 5 when we had a stressful situation to deal with and I immediately gave myself the excuse of drinking.  Then, I was going on vacation so I thought I might as well start when I get back.  Then, last night it was a night of saying goodbye...of course I must have really nice Chardonnay if I'm giving it up, right?  Ended up spending more money than I should have and got the same effect as having had spent 3 times less!

I'm barely keeping it under "control" from the standpoint of not embarrassing myself in front of my son.  I've managed not to do that, to get myself to bed while remembering the evening.....but only after having imbibed way too many calories for general health or weight!  I still can't stop at 2 glasses when I "decide" to drink.

I would love to be a person who has a celebratory glass of wine occasionally.  I don't know if I can do it.  For now, I really want to give it up, just day by day.

I'm going to resurrect my blogging to get me through the next while.  What has been helpful today is to go back through blogs of people who have been dry for almost a year.  Most of those folks started after I started last April.  When I go back and read their blogs, and read my OWN encouraging comments, it makes me long to be like that again.  They were back then, where I stand now.

Last year was my first real attempt at quitting, to prove to myself that I didn't really have a problem....because if I quit easily then I probably wasn't as bad as I thought.  Even after reading all the warnings in other people's blogs.  This year I'm admitting I am struggling with something bigger.  It's been a year of fighting against alcohol use and abuse.  It's been a year of being preoccupied with the thoughts of wine and I'm tired of it.  I want to put this on hold and focus on other things for crying out loud!

I do want to say, however, that I made huge strides in a few areas in the last year.  I am soo, soo much happier about many things.  I used a Coach, I used a therapist and I got to the bottom of a bunch of things:  exercise, diet, relationships, etc.  I have tools that have made me so much more at peace.  I now have even less of an excuse to be drinking like I am to relax at night!  It's time to develop some more coping tools.

I went back through my blog and it's more a journal of topics, of thoughts that would strike me about alcohol.  I've said them all, they are all there.  Some blogs are daily journals, others are topic oriented.  I  love reading both.

Today I am transitioning my blog to be just about me.  Not about my thoughts on the alcoholic spectrum or about the physical effects of alcohol but about what I, just me, am feeling today.  This time around I will write about the cravings and how I am getting through them.  So here starts it:

Day 1:  Went to an Easter lunch today and had my first ever (well since I was about 18) alcohol free holiday.  It was fine and lo and behold I still had fun.  I was a little anxious because we didn't know too many people there but I survived. I didn't need alcohol to be friendly.  Maybe I wasn't as overtly social as I might have been with a glass of wine in hand but I was OKAY!  Everyone was drinking Champagne and I drank sparkling juice/water.  I could drive us home and I'm tired from too much food, not too much drink.

I'm glad I'm starting today because I'm kicking it off with a sober first.  Because I had too much last night, it makes it easier today but I'm still glad to get a sober holiday immediately under my belt.  I'm going to keep going back through blogs of people who I thought were struggling early on so much and who are doing GREAT now!  It's not all fun and pink clouds, I get that.  I'm not expecting that this time though.  I'm going to write about not drinking, what exercise I have done and any good/bad food choices I have made.  This blog is going to become really boring!!!  Sorry in advance but I want a diary just for myself.  I'll wean myself off a daily entry when I am ready to but for now I think I will need the support that comes from those entries.

Hugs,
HD

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Exploration, Paused!

There is something about having to get back into a bathing suit that is incredibly motivating.  While we are supposed to have a bit more rain tomorrow, we've already had some days in the 90's and today is a gorgeous, sunny day.  I've been easily hitting my 10,000 steps a day because there is no reason to not get outside and go for a walk.  I'm getting back into exercise.  I'm generally enjoying life....except for those nights when I still drink too much!

My hubby doesn't even think I have many nights with any issue.  Probably, yes, drinking more than the recommended amount but fully functional, remembering everything, etc.  But then I wonder what on earth I am doing to my body!!

A year ago, I realized I had a problem with alcohol.  It's so hard to admit this when you don't classify yourself as an alcoholic.  Many have written about the label and I think we each have our own view of it.  Because I have never "needed" alcohol anytime other than the end of the day, as a means of winding down, I have never been able to call myself an alcoholic.  I've had some incidents, of which I am not proud, but never involving public shame and I've never let any chore slack, not been able to get out of bed, passed out on the couch or anything like that.

But I am definitely addicted.  I've spent the last few months exploring.  I've had days of not drinking and days of drinking.  Days of drinking "normally" and days of drinking "unhealthily."  A few blurry evenings but nothing like in the past.  Very few mornings that I would classify as even slightly hungover.  Much improved from a year ago where I wondered if I was still under the influence when I woke up, made lunch and drove my son to school.  TOO many nights, still, of horrible sleep, though.

Also weight gain.  When I drank I didn't eat. I would eat a little dinner but if I could skip dinner and just drink wine I was great.  When I don't drink I justify this by eating chocolate and sweets.  This yo-yo'ing between drinking and not drinking has been an epic weight management FAIL.  I think I am now 10 lbs heavier than last September.  Sigh.

I didn't drink the last two nights, nor tonight, easily, because I have a routine mammogram tomorrow and I know that I don't want inflamed tissue.  I had a craving last night that was killer.  But it did pass.

Getting 3 days under my belt is always a good starting point for me. Something clicks for awhile after that.  Then, it's the commitment to work through the future cravings that I really need to stick with.....and haven't of late.

Today I woke up and in my headlines up popped "These 37 celebrities never drink alcohol".  Sober Mummy was right .....it is very slowly starting to become trendy to not drink.  I can be part of this trend if I want to...

Last night I did ask hubby to go get wine "if he wanted to."  He laughed as he knew I didn't want it.  So he didn't.  He didn't drink Fri night, and drank half a beer yesterday.  (He poured the rest into the roast he was simmering.)  While he won't commit to not drinking, he definitely drinks less when I'm not drinking.  And I want him to drink less so yet another reason for me to hold off.

Last year I embarked on sobriety for a period really just to prove I could do it.  I used all sorts of reasons, had all sorts of goals.....I met some of them but then ignored some of them when I went back to drinking.  While I'm proud of some of the changes I have made, I still have many more to make.

I've read blogs of those who stop and start and then finally give it up. I have also read those who have stopped and started many times and have been able to get to a point where alcohol can still have some role. I've explored that over the last year and realize I can't meet my other goals with alcohol very prevalent in my life.  I don't know what it's role is but there is nothing wrong with abstaining and gaining some sober momentum!

So here I am, Day 3.  I know I need to muscle through for awhile, that's just how it goes.  Some days will be easier than others but I need to put my end goals back into focus and work through the cravings.

I'll keep you all posted!


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Alcohol and Lying

I read a post by another blogger recently where she was upset because she knew someone had lied.  I totally get that.  It bothers me as well when I know that about someone.

I've always prided myself on not lying.  It's not because I'm better than anyone else, and to tell you the truth, not lying is really more of a weakness than a strength.  I get physically ill at lying.

I could not look a boss in the eye and say "I was sick" yesterday.  It is easier for me to show up at work or to just say I can't come in.  Honesty can get me into trouble.

I can't even compliment someone on a hairstyle if I don't mean it.  I don't say anything bad but I have always avoiding saying anything as opposed to half truths.  I struggle with even the white lies.

I was betrayed in my first marriage and it was the lying that disoriented me.  It wasn't the fact that he had affairs and, since I always try to see every side to every issue, I probably even tried to own up to my role in them......what was wrong in our marriage?.....what could I have done different? ....etc.  But the lying killed me.  I couldn't understand how someone who supposedly loved me could lie to me.  I began to realize over the years that people who love you, whom you love, can lie as well.

My current hubby will lie.  He doesn't do it on big issues but he is capable and doesn't deny it.  If I want to get off the phone with a family member I usually just say "okay, I am going to go now but I'll call you later" or something like that.  I heard hubby the other night tell a caller from his alma mater that he was in a meeting....at like 8pm.  I don't understand why he didn't just say "I am not interested right now in donating but, yes, you have my info correct."  His argument is that he doesn't want to be that brutally honest, doesn't want to make them feel bad.

So, that being said, after reading the post, I initiated a conversation with my hubby that went something like this......and believe it or not we are still together:  :-)

Me: So I read a post about lying and it's making me think.  Why is it that you can lie and I can't?
Him: You lie
Me: No I don't
Him: Okay, fine, you don't.
Me: But, really, I am so black and white and you are gray.  I wish I was more able to see the gray in things. What makes you different?
Him:  Well, I don't lie about major things, important things.  Maybe I'm not as skilled as you.

One of the remarkable things about him is that once he realizes I am not trying to provoke him on an issue, he has some insightful things to say.  He basically boiled it down to two reasons why I don't lie.

1) I am very verbal.  I am skilled at saying something close to the truth, possibly omitting the truth without specifically lying.  Not everyone may be as verbally comfortable as I am.

2) I am fortunate enough to live within circumstances that don't often necessitate a reason to lie.

It really forced me to think.  It's so easy to say "I don't lie" and to get my panties in a wad when others do.  He's right.  There are circumstances where I would lie and he caused me to think about them.

- if I was in Nazi Germany, I would have lied to protect others.  No doubt.  (Okay, yes, but I can justify any lying that is against evil.)

- if I worked for the CIA and had to lie to others as a part of my job I would.  (I argued I wouldn't take that kind of job, but, if I did, I could justify that as a necessity of the job, not my own character flaw.)

- if my son was in a school play that was very important for me to be there, I likely would have "called in sick" to see it.  I wouldn't have risked a job and putting food on the table by saying I needed to see the play if I knew I had a boss who wouldn't allow it.  (He got me there.  I have pretty much always worked for myself so have never had to make that decision, to miss things for my son that I didn't want to.)

My stepson visits and keeps walking off with my son's clothes.  2 visits ago,  I asked, before we went to the airport, if he could check to see if he had anything of my son's in his backpack.  (I realized some things were about to go missing.)  He goes into his backpack and was like "oops, are these his?"... and pulls out two shirts.  I made a big deal of thanking him and he said there weren't any more.  Then, when he went to brush his teeth, I looked in the backpack and grabbed the other shirt he hadn't pulled out.  He probably realized it when he got home but I never confronted him.

Then, this last visit, he packed his own bag and I just let it go.  But there went the same shirts again and this time they are MIA. It wasn't the stealing that got to me, it was the lying.  I told a work acquaintance about this and thought I would get empathy about the little lying cheat.  Instead the answer was "how flattering.  He clearly wants a piece of your son, someone he perceives as his brother."  and  "I used to steal my cousin's stuff all the time, it wasn't really stealing." That threw me.  Hmmm..  Other issues could be at play here too but it was an interesting answer.

Anyway, it made me consider being a little more tolerant toward lying.  Oh sure, some lies are intolerable, but maybe when we catch that person lying, it's not so important to make a stink about it.  We don't know what may be prompting that lie, we don't necessarily need to assume that it's personal against us.  Maybe I wouldn't lie in that situation but who am I to judge?

And......let's face it....clearly, I have lied....as much as I am in denial.  As my hubby said, perhaps more by being verbal and avoiding the direct lies, but he is right, I have done it.  And to those I love.

Every time my son remarked that I seemed really "tired" or "dizzy" last night, I agreed.  I never said "Mommy had too much to drink".  One night I had had too much and then went to bed.  About an hour later the dog needed to go out and woke me up out of a passed out but still drunk sleep.  I stumbled to the door and forgot the alarm was on.  Woke the house up.  Then, I was still too drunk to figure out how to turn it off.  Hubby came and got it.  I was walking around dizzy and waiting for the alarm call.  My son saw this.  Finally we all went back to bed.  But the next morning I brought it up and said "wow, did you get back to sleep okay after my alarm debaucle?"  He looked at me funny.  It had only been 11pm, he hadn't gone to bed yet.  Oops.  I said, "wow, I was so tired and it's weird how I react from waking up in a deep sleep, I was so disoriented".  He gave me another look and said "yeh, you seemed really dizzy".  I said "yes, it's how I am sometimes when really tired."

Yep, I lied, pretty much no doubt about it.  This post was a good reminder to me that I'm not a perfect person.  That I may need to get down off my high horse a bit.  That's great that in general I may try to not lie but really it's just because that is where my comfort zone is, not my capable zone.

Also a great reminder of how alcohol can bring things out in us of which we aren't proud.  Not dealing with that is so much easier!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

It's been a long, long road...

Peter Mayer sings two songs that have really resonated with me over the past year.  One is MUSICBOX and the other is FAITH IN ANGELS.  The general chorus to each is like such:

It’s been a long long road but I’m coming back to find you
It’s like tumblin’ down Jericho breakin’ the walls that bind you
I’m comin’ back to find you

and

Have a little faith in angels
You never know where they might be
Have a little faith in angels
And you might begin to see
You could have a little faith in you and me

In my journey with alcohol over this past year, these words resonated with me.  Not as love songs as I think they were intended, but more about coming back to find the girl I used to be, who was carefree, confident and never needed alcohol as a crutch.

A year ago this weekend, I gave up alcohol for a period.  I had had a phone call with a friend and didn't remember much of it the next day.  It was time to get my alcohol drinking under control.  I thought it would be really hard.  It was amazingly easy.  I just switched to sparkling water and alcohol free beer.  But giving up alcohol is in some ways like giving birth.  It's amazing how quickly one forgets the pain! 

After two weeks I was bored with abstaining.  I had just wanted to prove to myself I could do it.  I was initially skeptical I could go for very long but amazed that two weeks had passed.  So I started trying it again.  Before long, by the end of April, I was back to drinking over a bottle a night.  Oh, I would drink less, even a lot less, some nights, but, apart from occasional exceptions, I would drink every night. 

That darn muscle memory.....with drinking it feels like my brain is acting like a muscle and I can just get right back to it...

Wiki says: Muscle memory has been used synonymously with motor learning, which is a form of procedural memory that involves consolidating a specific motor task into memory through repetition. When a movement is repeated over time, a long-term muscle memory is created for that task, eventually allowing it to be performed without conscious effort. This process decreases the need for attention and creates maximum efficiency within the motor and memory systems. Examples of muscle memory are found in many everyday activities that become automatic and improve with practice, such as riding a bicycle, typing on a keyboard, typing in a PIN, playing a musical instrument,[1] martial arts or even dancing.

It's funny how there is no mention of getting back into addictive behaviors.  But to me it's no wonder that if we can get right back on a bike after 20 years, no doubt we can get right back into bad drinking behaviors.

Finally, in April, I tested myself one night.....and failed.  That was my cue to be more drastic.  So I went 125 days.  Then, I went right back into drinking mode.

The difference was that I was super aware of every sip.  I felt guilty but thought "hey, no problem".  Then I would drink more frequently, higher quantities.  I was able to keep myself to a certain point but only because I think I finally admitted that there was a threshold where I KNEW I would have a problem if I continued.

I have experimented over the last 6+ months with hitting that threshold and backing off.  There have been very few occasions where I felt I stepped over the threshold, certainly nothing like in previous years.  But I haven't liked this game I've been playing.  I justify the game as an experiment but really it's just damn hard to think of fully abstaining again.  I totally understand why people say it's get harder and harder to quit again and again.

There is not the same level of excitement in quitting again.  Been there, done that.  I may know what to expect on the positive side but, worse, I KNOW what to expect on the negative side!

It's like hitting the beach and jumping into the ocean full of cold surf.  The first time you run in, deal with the shock of the water, and then, well, you are already wet so might as well enjoy it.  The next time, while you will still enjoy it, it may take you longer to dive in because you know the first jump is going to be a cold one!

Right now abstaining still feels like the place to be.  I liked that I slept well last night, that I was efficient last evening, and that I had a reason to be up at 4am this morning which I was able to do with ease.

For those still considering or fighting the obvious, I think it goes like this.  (For those who have followed this blog you know I will try to quantify everything so forgive me as I do it yet again....)

1) you get to a point where you need to abstain for awhile
2) you do it and it may not even be as hard as you think
3) you either stay quit...or...you start again
4) you realize you are escalating even if not back to your former levels
5) you may have another alcohol related episode of some sort that wakes you up, or you may just subtly realize that you are not feeling good about the experience and really, kinda, sorta want to be somewhere else with alcohol but can't seem to get there.
6) you finally decide to give it up again but it's harder perhaps until you get to the last time.
7) you repeat the cycle for however many times you need to
8) you may be able to get back to some level of drinking that works for you (the majority will admit they just need to quit)
9) the last time you finally quit for good, it feels different.  It's somehow easier to not fight anymore and to just move forward.  (so I hear :-) )

I know I am stuck between 7 and 8.   I freely admit it.  But I'd rather be at #7 for a bit than back at #1!!  

Congrats to all the #9s.  You continue to inspire me with your comments and with your support.  It really sounds like such a lovely place to be!!!  I have watched many go through the above process.  Many who were at #7 while I was at #1.  Many who have made it through to #9 and many of those same who were at #7 for quite awhile first!!  There is hope for all of us!

HD

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Alcohol and living longer

I found this article to be really interesting.  Here is the LINK

I was fascinated by this part:
"...researchers followed 1824 people over a total of 20 years, as they aged between 55 and 65. Of those who abstained entirely, 69 percent died. Among those who drank in "moderate" amounts, 41 percent died—which was 23 percent less than the "light" drinkers. Even "heavy drinkers" fared better than abstainers, with just 61 percent passing away during the study period..."

The gist of the article is that while alcohol is unhealthy, the socializing benefits, the relaxation that goes with it, may be what is skewing results into it looking like alcohol has medical effects to prolong life. 

Turns out it's just that being lonely and anxious/stressed is pretty bad for you too. This next part was thought provoking as well.

"What does this have to do with longevity? In recent years, sociologists and epidemiologists have begun studying the long-term effects (Direct PDF link) of loneliness. It turns out to be really dangerous. We are social primates, and when we're cut off from the social network, we are more likely to die from just about everything (but especially heart disease). At this point, the link between abstinence and social isolation is merely hypothetical. But given the extensive history of group drinking—it's what we do when we come together—it seems likely that drinking in moderation makes it easier for us develop and nurture relationships. And it's these relationships that help keep us alive."

Do I think drinking is good then?  No, but I think this emphasizes how important it is to not go into total isolation mode when stopping the drink.  The key is to develop other tools to figure out how to be less stressed, to relax and to not be lonely.

Drinking is definitely relaxing to me.  I tune out and forget about whatever load I was carrying.  I become less inhibited.  I'm looking forward to making a conscious effort to figuring out how to relax without drinking as I never really focused on that before.  I just tend to stay stressed through cravings.  Hmmm.....  

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

3 days

There was something I read at one point that it takes 3 days for alcohol to get out of your system.  For whatever reason that really stuck with me.  I do always feel different once I get to that point.

Day 1 for me again (and I mean a real Day 1, not just a night or two off) was Monday night and I was grouchy about not drinking but this time around I know that cravings pass.  I just have to be committed.

Yesterday, I had a small craving on way home from the store.  No desire to buy wine or anything but just an annoyance while driving.  I screamed out loud to myself "I WANT a f-ing glass of wine when I get home".  It's funny, after doing that, instead of debating it, I forgot about it when I turned into my driveway.  I went back to working on stuff, poured bubble water and didn't have any more thoughts other than I was glad I wasn't drinking.

I took my first ibuprofen before bed.  No difference in foot pain this morning but I guess it takes time to get down the inflammation.  I almost worked out this morning.  Tomorrow may stick, we'll see.

The past few months, not being in commitment mode allowed me to drink in the evenings.  There is something about telling yourself you are finally going to do something.  Whether you declare out loud or just internally, it really makes a difference.

I have a family party coming up mid March and I wonder if I'll have wine that weekend.  When I quit last April I had a family summer vacation coming up.  By the time I got to it, I wanted to drink, but I wanted to get through it without drinking more.  I hope to have more and more of those moments.

I'm also going to reread my blog from last year, day by day as I move through this.  I don't think I'll post everyday like I did before but I'll try to check in weekly with a status update just so I have that documentation for myself as well.

Thanks for all your support and if you are wanting to quit, try just getting to day 4 and see how you are feeling.  You can always do 4 more!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Mind games

I have learned so much about myself on this journey to realign my relationship with alcohol.

Somehow, last April, something happened.

Divine intervention?  Maybe.  I had been praying for change.  I've had some of those unexplained moments in my life where I can't explain how everything aligned and shifted majorly.  I might share in another post sometime.

Hitting rock bottom?  Possibly.  I never really had the alcohol related incidents one associates with getting to that point.  But I knew I was operating in unhappy and unhealthy territory.

There has been this battle going on in my head.  Before last April I would have said my mind wanted to quit drinking but my body didn't.  I was just addicted.  

I have come to realize it's the opposite. My body WANTs to be a non drinker.  It's my mind playing with every resource it has to counter that.

It was my mind that got me drinking again in August.  It was my mind that kept saying just have a few every night.  For the most part I can moderate if I put my mind to it.  But my version of moderation, where I sit when I start drinking, is still more often than I want to be.

I seem to be able to sit at a few drinks a night, 2 sometimes 3.  Okay, that's a lot better than I had been doing but I still get the skin rosacea acting up, the night time wakeups, the bloating, the heartburn, etc.

The past few months have been about proving something to myself.  I had to know that I could still drink daily without getting drunk and I pulled it off......  But I don't feel good about it!  I feel fat, inflamed and fatigued.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, as a way to end my mind games with wine, I have a new incentive. Due to severe foot pain...and apparently I have arthritis on the sides of my feet normally only seen in the elderly and then in only about 1% of them.....I am being put in physical therapy, into orthotics and on high doses of ibuprofen for a month or two.  No way I can drink much if at all with all that in my gut.

So, necessity being the mother of invention and all.....here I am again.....Day 2.

It's what I wanted anyway and since my Obliger personality needs some external accountability to stick with something, I guess this is as good as incentive as any.  Hopefully I get into a rhythm again and can begin to start figuring out what exactly it is that I'm trying not to face in the evenings when I prefer to get a little numb.....Last time I quit it was more about just muscling through it but this time I want to figure out a bit more, pay more attention to what is going on when I want to drink.  I also want to get back to that stage where I feel really good about my body, not necessarily weight wise, that might be a reach for awhile, but just having better energy, attitude, and skin!

Happy Valentines Day everyone!  As another blogger put it, good to love ourselves!


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Letting it go....

Two things hit me over the head this morning when reading the blogs.  I should be moving on with my day but wanted to get my thoughts down in writing as a reference for myself later on.  So instead I grabbed another cup of tea and here I type....

First an update:  I'm floating in the middle, referring to my last post.  I thought I could perhaps convince myself to view wine as a treat, like I do chocolate, etc.  Nope.  I suppose it's just because the brain changes with alcohol induction in ways unlike the brain changes by over indulging in things not called "drugs".  I tell myself I will have 2 cups of tea a day with Stevia, and I have 6.  Probably a "drug" of caffeine and sweetener at play there.  If I drink a glass of wine, I have three, sometimes two, occasionally 4 to 4 1/2 if I have time in which to drink it without losing control, and I haven't been hungover, acted drunk, blacked out in forever.

Note: I kept the habit of cocktail hour because I thought that was important for me.  Even when I abstained I kept the habit but just had mocktails. So I drink when I have that available.  If I have sports or other conflicts then I easily don't.  Habit is huge with me.  I seem to be done with my "drunk" habit but not my "drinking" habit.  I "hear" the voice that says "oh go open another bottle", "get one more glass", but it's just not worth it to do so.  I walk out of the room, the voice quiets, I move on.  I guess that is progress as it doesn't take a lot of effort.

It's as if I have learned to control it from a certain point.  I have such an awareness of how bad it is for me that I allow myself some of what I've had in the past but not all.   I have mastered the "not going too far" but I haven't mastered the "not drinking too much from a health perspective" and still find myself wishing I drank less but, yet, then not committing to that.

SoberMummy commented on one of my posts recently this:
For what it's worth, I believe there are only 2 ways to silence the endless head chatter: 1. Is to drink as much as you feel like, no holds barred and 2. Is to not drink at all, and after 3-6 months the chatter stops forever. The problem with moderation is that the 'will I won't I' debate in your head never ever goes away.

She is correct as usual.  I have been using the wine to stop the head chatter.  I don't feel as if I am moderating because I'm really not exercising control anymore. For whatever reason, I'm just not going too far anymore to get the self-loathing, acting drunk in front of my kid, annoying my spouse or being mean, etc.  But I am still using it to silence the noise, sort of no holds barred.  That was my first bonk on the head thought today.

Anne Ainsobriety recommends just trying a longer period of sobriety and see what happens.  See how I feel.  I think she's right and I'm trying to get motivated to do just that.

Other than shutting off the noise in my head I've been trying to figure out why I don't want to cut ties with alcohol.  It doesn't feel so much as I've been having cravings like I used to, I don't really have those "fuck it" moments (well, duh, you only really get those when trying not to have wine), but yet I don't want to let it go from my life.  Every time I think of quitting completely, even if for awhile, I feel sad about it.

Lily's blog today talks about letting go of a relationship and this was the second bonk on the head thought.  She discusses not wanting to let go of a relationship because then things are left unresolved.  All those actions we regret weren't then worth anything.  It took me years to understand that's why I still grieved the loss of my marriage even though I had moved on with a much better man, loved him more, had no desire to ever be back with my ex and yet I still had moments of sadness.

This is soo analogous to alcohol.  I think I don't want to let go of alcohol because it will feel like a failure, that my drinking wasn't worth it, unresolved.  I don't want to admit I had a problem that couldn't be fixed.  If I can keep it in balance then the edges of regret soften.  But maybe this is a start. If I can put periods of sobriety into my habits so that I gradually do longer and longer time away from alcohol then it may become more of a choice and a feeling that I have resolved something. Closure is always something I crave.

Constant awareness, constant reading of these blogs, of reading new ideas about drinking have helped me immensely.  At some point I will decide to move to the far left for awhile.  For now I'm drifting in the middle but, honestly, it's a lot less work than being in between.  Admitting that it's one state or the other for me has taken a load off stress-wise but now I need to let my goals of health and wellness start to bubble up.

I definitely march to my own drummer on this.  I'll keep posting and hope to march more to the left soon!!

HD

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Moving to the left....

An older article in The Atlantic (click here for link) sums up my drinking pretty succinctly.  To pull a bit from it, it says:

"We believe that, as opposed to thinking only those men and women whose drinking has progressed to the point where they need help, that many people in the mid-range may also be suffering as a result of drinking. That suffering may take the form of declining job performance and declining health so that the individual does not yet recognize it as being related to drinking.
Here are a few signs that an individual may have moved out of the normal social drinking part of the spectrum and into the almost alcoholic zone:
  • You drink to relieve stress.
  • You often drink alone.
  • You look forward to drinking.
  • Your drinking may be related to one or more health problems.
  • You drink to relieve boredom or loneliness.
  • You sometimes drive after drinking.
  • You drink to maintain a "buzz."
  • Your performance at work is not what it used to be.
  • You aren't comfortable in social situations without drinking.
  • You find that drinking helps you overcome your shyness.
The almost alcoholic zone is actually quite large. The people who occupy it are not alcoholics. Rather, they are men and women whose drinking habits range from barely qualifying as almost alcoholics to those whose drinking borders on abuse. One thing we do know about them is that the more their drinking correlates with the above statements the more likely they are to drift further into the almost alcoholic zone."

I view this spectrum as left to right movement.  I can't say way, but my brain just processes it this way.  For me, the far left is normal (no snide political comments, please, this is just a graph!) and on the far right is what I would define as the full blown alcoholic.  I would define the movement from left to right as follows - just my personal definition that works for me on an accountability front.

Far left:  either no drinking or take it or leave it drinking.  Normal.

Middle left:  drinking a glass or two or even less, maybe every day or occasionally, but defined as one who exercises extreme control to not go further. I don't define this as healthy but just more acceptable than more to the right.  

Middle: drinking too much to be healthy.  More than one or two drinks a night, often resulting in a full bottle of wine, some sleep interruption, no blackouts, waking up hangover free the next day, still fully functioning in day to day life and coping with stresses outside this evening period.

Middle right: for some this may be Middle but with starting to drink earlier and earlier in the day.  The wine at night, whatever quantity, begins to come with hangovers in the morning, maybe blackouts, and self loathing.

Further to the right:  Hiding drinking, perhaps alcoholic incidents noticed by others, etc.

Far Right:  Can't hide it, it's affecting life, affecting relationships, can't get by without drinking especially during the day, things in life are getting worse not better.  May act as full on alcoholic as one defines it, may be very good at still hiding it as to how bad it is.

This may not be what the authors meant but it helps me figure out where I fell.  I was definitely middle right a year ago.  I didn't always drink earlier in the day and I never hid my drinking except the one time I moved a bottle off the bar to the trash sooner than normal, but I definitely had more and more hangovers, daily drinking for sure, blackouts more and more frequent and loads of self loathing.

After I first quit drinking and started again, I existed in Middle Left for quite awhile.  I attempted to give it up completely for the holidays and that didn't work out.  Then, drinking became a way of not focusing on other things.  I wasn't exercising as much in part due to bad plantar fasciitis but mostly just lack of motivation.  My workout buddy was on the injured list.  Also, I had an upcoming surgery and was sort of in a fuck-it mood until that had passed.  My court case with ex is still ongoing and I have to completely reinvent myself career wise this year.  Financially I am fortunate to not be too stressed with that, but..... self-worth, goals, desires - reinventing can still cause a boatload of stress.

I've done a lot of thinking about alcohol.  I can see why I turn to it.  For some reason, the worst is being told I "can't" drink.  When I view it as a choice, I do much better but I struggle to maintain that mindset.  After I stopped drinking and started again, I told myself it's a choice.  I can now drink as much or as little as I want.  I did okay for the most part.

When I told myself I was going to quit from November through January, then quit on that quitting, it was a different story.  I kept telling myself I shouldn't have it, can't have it and then would have it. So I ended up back more towards just left of center.  I found myself drinking 3 if not 4 glasses of wine a night, a full bottle every so often.  No nights off.

I'm trying a new tactic today.  I really want to treat wine like chocolate, donuts, diet sodas, etc.  I indulge in those from time to time but not all the time.  I'll have a diet soda out at lunch but rarely break one open at home.  I'll eat 4 to 6 squares of an 18 square chocolate bar and stop.  I can't remember the last time I ate a donut but if it was in front of me, I would eat just one.  I want to view a glass of wine as such.   I'm going to be more mindful about sipping the one glass, considering it a treat, an indulgence.  Thinking about every calorie and relishing it as opposed to using it for it's numbing power.  I'm going to appreciate the initial flush and warmth and leave it at that.  (Yeh, yeh, I know many of you think there is failure written all over this plan but again, I think a lot of this is mindset.)  If I can keep myself to one glass I can stop.  Once I hit two glasses, it's very hard to not go to three.

I'm going to keep a drinking log (I haven't been) for just myself.  I may post it from time to time or I may not.  I'm going to start an exercise log again for myself. I need the accountability even if I don't make it public.  But I WILL provide periodic updates.  I had the surgery yesterday and all good.  Girly stuff.  So in a few more days I'll begin the exercise again and I'm actually looking forward to it.

The above isn't anything profound, just a big reminder to myself.  Sort of a last gasp to see if I can turn my mindset around or if I will just have to give up drinking as a normal daily thing.  If that's the case I'll have to see if I can abstain normally and still allow celebratory events or if then I have to give those up as well.  It's certainly a process.

HD