My Lists

Sunday, July 30, 2017

This journey is an interesting sail...

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

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

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

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

Sometimes life is just about adjusting and readjusting.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hugs to all still trying to do the same!

HD



Friday, July 28, 2017

The big Duh!

Oh my...normally I think of myself as a bright person but I realized something today and now feel really, really stupid....

When I was drinking everyday about a year and a half ago, at least a bottle + per night most nights, I didn't seem to have any weight issues.

Then, when I quit, I added in chocolate and cookies.

Then, I started drinking again, then I quit, then I started, then I quit, etc.

This yo-yo drinking/quitting has been very hard on my body, in regard to weight management - even though of course more AF days is much healthier for other reasons.

Add to this peri-menopause or menopause or whatever started happening this year and then I really started putting on weight.  10-15 lbs in last 6 months.

My overall goal when I originally quit drinking last year was to take a break and change my habit.

So lately, I've been really proud of myself in one way.  I am no longer blacking out, losing a lot of sleep, acting off in front of family......but I can still put away a bottle of wine when I allow myself to.

I've been experimenting over the last week.  I apologize for not tracking.  I have had wine every night because family has been in town but each night I have happily made dinner, socialized after dinner, gone to bed remembering everything and nobody would have thought I drank too much.  I guess in their mind 3 to 4 glasses isn't a big deal.

I'm only beating myself up because I can't seem to stick with zero.  But hey, I said to myself, this is still much improved......until it dawned on me why I am all of sudden "handling" my alcohol better.

Because....I......have.....gained.....weight.  Ummm, duh.  (To any of you who were thinking "well, umm, yeh, fatass.....)

So there you have it, gain 10 to 15 lbs and you can drink more.  Yikes, oh, Yikes!  My habit really hasn't diminished.  My attitude hasn't fixed anything.  I'm just drinking the SAME amount as I used to that at a lighter weight affected me more.

I could cry.  I am such a dork.  If I lost the 10 lbs and kept drinking I would probably start feeling it sooner.

On a positive note (I'm a glass half full girl......of course having a glass half full is my issue but anyway..) I don't seem to be trying to drink more than I used to just because it's taking longer to affect me.

Oh well, experiment over.  Time to focus on overall diet and health again.  Just have to get motivated.  I will, just give me time.....

HD

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Allowing for Slippage

But I'm not giving up on not drinking......let me explain...

I've always been the type of person that if I'm told to do one thing, I'll want to do the opposite.  Reverse psychology was a parenting skill that my mom employed quite often, let's just say.

The first time I quit for 100 (125) days, it was a personal challenge I imposed upon myself.  I decided to do it.  Nobody told me I should, nobody intervened and I didn't have a true rock bottom moment other than saying I would allocate some small wine bottles over a few days.  My failure at that and realization that my stop meter was broken is what got me to quit for a period.

For the last year, even though I only had 1 moment where I felt I somewhat embarrassed myself in front of my son by acting "off", I have felt this invisible pressure to quit again.

There is so much support in this sober universe saying "just do it", "you'll be so much better for it", "I guarantee that after awhile it will feel great".....and I believe all that advice.

But my quitting needs to be on my own timeline or I will rebel.

When I first quit, I was drinking a bottle almost every night and then drinking more than that about every 3 or 4 days.  I had 2 or 3 times a week where I didn't remember putting my son to bed and it was starting to be a few times a month where I thought my son was realizing I was "off".  I had times where I just blew off what I had planned for dinner or blew off family game nights.  (I always try to initiate game nights and my son is up for it but if he can keep on computer gaming with his friends instead, he is always fine with that.  So while I felt I was disappointing him, I really wasn't.)

But I WAS disappointing myself with the above.  AND I was slowly getting fatter.

I had a talk with myself yesterday and realized the stress of counting was killing my joy.

I was so joyful after my last 125 days when I started drinking (lightly) again but also started exercising.  At my happiest I think.  Then I sabotaged myself, reduced my exercise, ate like shit and started drinking too much again to be healthy.

The shift in me that has occurred over the last year, and I know I am repeating myself here, is that I don't want to drink because it has calories, I know it has long term bad effects on my health and it's a drug. I don't want to need to drug myself.

Then, again, I drug myself with sweets/carbs, with caffeine, with Motrin/Tylenol when I need it, etc.  But with those drugs I never have dinner prep fails, the potential for needing to drive and not being able to, slurring my words, letting myself down by not getting things done because I chose wine and a myriad of other negative effects.

So last night, I rebelled again.  I had a bottle of wine, white no less.  But the more I dip my toes back in the pool of drinking, the more I realize what it's effect is on me and the easier it becomes to control.

Last night I told hubby to get me one bottle of wine and I would see if I could drink half one night and half the next night.  Nope.  Couldn't do it.  After 2 glasses, went for 3, then 4, then done.  (4 big glasses does a bottle)  That was 10 units of wine down the hatch.  The recommended amount some say is 14 units a week and should be spread over a few days.  Clearly I am never going to drink that way.

I noted that I felt the buzz at the end of the first glass and really didn't need the second but had told myself I had planned for it.  After that second glass, when at home and with access to it, forget it.  There went the rest.  I didn't make my hubby step in.  He probably drank a bottle of red himself.

BUT.....I went and made dinner and by the time we ate most of the buzz had worn off.  I had water with dinner, tea after and we had a wonderful family game night.  So the only loathing I experienced was the hour awake in the middle of the night and the feeling of waking up so often the rest of the night and craving water.  And also feeling like I drank 605 calories my body didn't need.  Same loathing I feel if I have an oreo or chocolate that I shouldn't!

This is important....the thing I worried about most was having to blog here about messing up my AF streak.  That was the most stressful thing on my mind.  I felt miserable about the thought of coming to this blog to report what I did.  Accountability is good, yes, but feeling horrible to it isn't helpful.  I was waaay more concerned about what I would write than any other feelings I had.  I loved last night with my family but I wanted to throw up thinking of this blog.  I'm too honest and knew I would have to write about it or would feel I was being misleading.

I'm no longer going to aim for a certain number of days without any alcohol.  I'm not going to keep declaring and failing and then feeling like I am creeping back to this blog with my tail between my legs.  This is my journey, nobody else's...as you all tell me often!  I'm just going to try and make not drinking more a way of life than it has been in the past.  I'm tired of feeling like a failure if I go all week without any wine, because I want to, and then have some when I want to.

It's a balancing act for sure.  If I felt I was having to control myself every day, that cravings were eating me alive (like they used to) then I would feel I needed to give it up completely.  I'm no longer going to apologize when I have some.  I'm going to feel very accomplished when I don't and I'm really going to work on not going too far.

Wine doesn't fit in with my weight loss goals, nor does it fit in with wanting to have better quality family time, nor does it allow me to be alert and productive.

I am slowly removing it from a daily habit and I'm very, very happy with where I am compared to a few years ago.  For me it's not all or nothing.  I want to manage this habit.

I think this is where most people get to and it's a fork in the road.  I'm not going to let it get out of control or I will stop.  If controlling it takes too much effort, I will also stop.

Last year, I quit drinking to prove I could and then went back to trying to moderate on a daily basis. I have learned that moderation won't work.  This time it's not about trying to moderate, it's about generally not drinking and allowing for slippage.

I still aim to get to long term sobriety but if I feel I "have" to, I know I won't......if that makes any sense.  I'm going to reinstate my counting and exercise tabs.  When I deleted them last time I lost the data somehow and wish I had it to reference.  I'm still going to blog as I feel like it.  If I have a really stressful day and really "want" wine, I'm going to do my best to push through it.  I'm still going to count how many AF days I've had against a total.

There I said it.  And I'm looking forward to more AF days under my belt ahead!  Not drinking really does feel so much better!

HD

Friday, July 21, 2017

All good

Yesterday got away from me and today is running away at a fast pace!

Anyway, all good here.  Had one sparkling cucumber drink last night and an AF wine mixer.

Kids are all here for summer so days will start to pass quickly.  I didn't drink at all last summer while they were all here so makes my goal a bit easier.  The next real challenge will be after school starts!

Happy Summer,
HD

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Forward progress

All good here.  I wrote a long post about something today.  A realization about myself and perhaps why I really want to numb out with alcohol.  In writing it, I went somewhere that surprised me and I realize I'm not ready to write about it.  Ahh, the power of writing.

I have decided to go see my therapist over it.  It has to do with body image and some hangups from my past.  I think I'll use therapy for a bit to get through the past stuff and maybe revisit my coach to work forward from that point.  No wonder I make no progress in this area after thinking through some things this morning.

It is amazing what a clear head gives you.

Last night I munched on a few chips/salsa and then had one AF beer during cocktail hour.  He had red wine and it was no bother to me.

My favorite non drinking thing is making dinner.  Too often I would sit at cocktail hour too long, sometimes too long as to miss the dinner making window so we'd order pizza or have junk stuff that was on hand.

The thing about drinking is that it was automatic weight management for me....to a point.  I kept gaining over the years but very slowly because wine kills my appetite.  I lost count of how many times I would drink a bottle of wine when my son was younger and not feed myself.  I would make him his dinner, kid food, like chicken nuggets and broccoli and cheese or some such, (he always got a veggie) but then I would skip dinner entirely.

When husband moved in it became harder to manage my weight.  We started doing real sit down dinners every night, which I love but managing calories became harder.  I tend to cook comfort food and I'm not very good with portion control.

Anyway, enough for now, work in progress.  At least I'm cooking when not drinking and that is a good thing!

Day 2 without any alcohol at all
Day 7 without any white wine or too much of any type of alcohol
Day 16 without any alcohol out of last 20 days

HD

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

My own way of doing things.....

I'm sure people are checking in to see "did she make it?"   or   "Oh, she forgot to blog last night, is everything okay?"  (Actually the reason I didn't blog was that I was doing something on the computer and by the time I finished it was 9:30pm and I didn't have the energy to blog, just went to bed with my tea.)

While drafting this post, the song that keeps coming to mind is Frank Sinatra's "My Way."  Especially this part of the song:

Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall
And did it my way.....

Obviously there has been a shift in my mindset.  I no longer view drinking as the thing to do. Originally, I wished that I could drink "normally" and felt like a failure because I couldn't.  Wanting to drink didn't bother me, it was how I drank that bothered me. Now, I don't want "to want to drink" and am disappointed that there are times when I still want that.

I really struggled in figuring out how to write this post. I don't want to be a trigger to someone to have any excuse to drink but I also want this blog to remain honest and from my heart.

I think the issue is that I want to shout out how wonderful I feel, how accomplished, and yet.......I had a glass of wine last night.  Yep, there went 120 calories right to my ass.  I feel like I should feel like a failure, be really bummed.....but I don't.

Side note: We have a lot, and I mean a lot, of drama with my husband's ex.  I haven't decided if at heart she is a mean girl, or possibly psychotic, or just dumb.  Her actions make it really hard to tell but she has done some horrible things to him and most often is very passive aggressive... which is why it's hard to pinpoint the motive.  I am very black and white so these games she plays are annoying to a person like me.  Watching her provoke and spin up my guy is also annoying and, unfortunately, she uses the children to do so.  It's really pathetic and sad to watch.

This isn't an excuse but she let fly another email last night that made me just go "whaaattt??"  She is on another planet, twisting facts toward her own self interest.  My husband looked so irritated that when he went for the wine and looked at me to see if I wanted one, I said sure.  I didn't really want any and it was red wine but I took it.  I just sort of felt I should have one with him.

(Let me note that my husband knows I struggle with white wine but he never sees me struggle with red so, to him, offering it is not the same.  Nor beer.  And I haven't ever had an evening, I don't think, where I ever embarrassed myself after having red wine.)

I sipped as he vented and went through about 3 glasses himself.  He poured me another but I had a few sips and passed it off to him saying I needed to get dinner out of the oven.  And that was it.  I didn't really give it a thought until later I was like "oh shit I blew my 100 days".  The thing is, I don't feel like I have.

I drank "normally" I guess, whatever that is but I still don't want it.  I never crave red wine and I'm committed to not drinking white for 100 days for sure.

Remember, I don't WANT to want to drink.  What I have learned first and foremost is that while I CAN moderate beer, hard liquor and red wine, that only lasts for so long and they become my gateway drugs.....to the white wine.  Not having any at all, most, most of the time will keep me from going through that gate.  I get that now.

I see a pattern though.....I tend to push through a craving and feel really good about it.   Then, the next day I'll take a glass because I'm still riding off the high of the day before so the wine doesn't give me one.  This is the tipping point.  Normally, then tonight I may have another, then another the next day and before you know it I'll get a bottle of white and have a night where I drink it all in one sitting, maybe even more.

I realize this though this time and I guess that's why I feel so good.  I didn't have a blip as a reminder as to why I don't drink, no rock bottom moment, just a reminder as to why I don't need it.  Why drink normally if I don't really get a buzz and just add calories to my butt?  Nope, don't need to.

So I'm still counting.  It's day 6 of no white wine and no incidences of too much alcohol.  If that's the re-definition of my 100 days, then I am perfectly happy with that.   If I see husband drink red tonight, I'll remind myself that I don't need any.

My process for changing my habit of drinking too much wine clearly resembles a cargo ship in the ocean going normal speed that realizes it needs to make a 180 degree turn and head the other direction......it takes quite a few miles and burns quite a few minutes to make that happen.  It just can't stop nor turn on a dime.  I finally feel like I'm making that turn and heading in the right direction.

I'm really psyched about last night even though I suppose I should start over counting?  Dunno, but I'm not going to beat myself up about it.  I feel good, just being honest about my voyage and knowing that you are all there supporting me through every bump and roll.......but as long as there continues to be progress in the right direction, I'm cool with that!

The most important thing for me was blogging about this.  Now I can start over and keep on pushing through cravings.  If I had chosen not to blog about it, well, first and foremost I would feel I was being dishonest so then I wouldn't blog at all, folks would wonder where I went and then since I had already had a drink, I might as well have more.  Blogging about it keeps me accountable to myself about what happened.

Likely, very likely, I will get a major craving tonight because I had that one glass last night.  I... will ....beat.... it!!!  I'll report back tomorrow how it went.  It's always day 2, for me, of drinking any alcohol that seems to be "make it or break it" time.  After that, it does seem to get easier.

HD

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Reflections

Today my saving grace was my reflection.....

We had a dinner party to go to with 4 other couples.  I was worried about how I would not drink.

After getting ready for dinner and stressing about how fat I looked in everything and how many clothes in my closet looked horrible on me, I truly had no desire to drink.  All I could think about was how drinking wine would just pour crap into my already protruding belly!

But....I wasn't sure how I could get out of drinking.  I even finally decided that if they poured me a glass of white I would take it, have a few sips and switch to water.  THAT would have been a test for sure.

When we got there, however, everyone was drinking red and I don't really like red.  I just told the hostess I quit because of my hot flashes and all was good.  I had declared it and I stuck with my water all night long.  And it was fine.

I wasn't sure how I would do because we didn't know anyone but the host and hostess.  I was worried about socializing without alcohol, and it was fine.  In fact at one point I sort of felt buzzed.  Must have been gas from all the bubble water.  But I didn't seem to have any problem talking to others and it was fun!  I didn't make a fool of myself, I was able to drive us home and I observed and listened a lot more than I normally would have.

As others have remarked upon, I, too, noticed how little everyone drank.  One woman kept pouring herself red wine and might have been a little tipsy but nothing overtly so.  All the others moderated and switched to water after a few glasses.  Conversation didn't get rowdy and I enjoyed all the topics going on around me.

The fact that the house had mirrors everywhere didn't hurt.  I kept catching a glimpse of myself and felt a bit depressed.  But that's okay, at least I wasn't drowning my sorrows then with more wine.

I'm not even really fat.  I feel fat, that is the problem.  My friend would love to get "down" to my weight so I can't complain.  I'm healthy looking but as someone else blogged about, I think I look a lot better than I do so catching my reflections really bum me out.  Trying on my clothes really bum me out.

I'll deal with that slowly but surely.  I probably could have had that glass of wine and been done but then I would have felt like I had let myself down with one measly glass and it wouldn't have been worth it!!!  Or.....I might have had an extra glass....or worse, more.  So glad I didn't and nice to not have really fought any cravings as a part of the evening.  They will come again, I know, but getting a sober dinner party under my belt was nice.

I did hike and swim today, didn't overeat and didn't have any cookies or chocolate.... so did my part against the onslaught of belly fat.

Done with Day 4.
HD

Saturday, July 15, 2017

3/100

Just posting because I said I would.

Hubby drank wine off and on today and then at 4:30 I was needing to do something else so I hit the grocery store.  I didn't really have a craving per se, just was worried it might come to that if I didn't get out of dodge for a bit.

Came home armed with alcohol free stuff and sweets in addition to lots of stuff for upcoming meals.  At least I feel accomplished in regard to the shopping.  Never did get my butt exercising today although between mid day shopping with my son and the miles walked in the grocery store, maybe I still burned some calories.  Tomorrow we are hiking so hopefully will make up for lost exercise!

Had cocktail hour with my AF wine, no cravings.  I was pooped.

Dinner and then dealing with issues regarding friend with cancer.  But glad to know if needed tonight then I am not worried about driving.

Headed off to get more tea and then bed.

Day 3 done.

HD

Friday, July 14, 2017

2/100

No craving all day until craving hit right at 5pm.   5 o'clock somewhere. More chips and salsa/guacamole followed by AF beer.  6:05, cravings done.

Ready for a cup of tea!

Not sure how weight loss will happen when wine is replaced by chips/salsa/guac and near beer but oh well.  As long as I don't keep gaining!!  At least we were out of chocolate.....but I did check.....

G'night Friday!

HD

Thursday, July 13, 2017

This is for real this time

I am definitely doing the 100 days starting now.

Three nights ago I had those 2 glasses.

Two nights ago I had 2 more glasses.

Last night I'm not sure how much white wine I consumed.  Hubby didn't realize how much until I went to bed.  He didn't notice until that point, that's what is scary.  And I don't remember going to bed.

I know I drank a bottle +, I remember eating dinner and watching our tv show and then turning tv off to head to bed and then that's it.  I don't think I drank all of the 2nd bottle but for whatever reason I topped it off with water and stuck it back in the fridge.  Not even sure why.  Found it this morning. It's as if I was deluding myself in my subconscious state before I went to bed.  There is no more white in the house now.

I knew I had the evening "available" for this.  I wasn't driving and there were no kids around to embarrass myself.

But!  Earlier in the evening a sick friend's mom called me to see if I had heard from the friend.  I had not.  She didn't want me to go over yet and will let me know later today if I need to do a welfare check.  I realized, though, by then I had had 3 glasses of wine and there was no way I could drive over there if she had needed me to.  That thought was sobering in of itself.  I think after that call, I just let go.  I think I realized at that point that I need to just stop trying and it was like I embarked on a last hurrah.

If I keep drinking in the evenings. I will keep getting fat and, worse, I will set myself up for something that I WILL regret.

I'm going to do as A Better Path recommended and do this 100 days and then see what I am thinking.  Drinking will just not be an option for these next 100.  I know I can do it, just need to get my head straight on this.

I'm going to do as SamKD does and blog every day even if I don't have much to say.  I find that when I drift away from the blog, I can get swept completely away from my goals.

100 days will be so much easier than this constant head game going on in my head.

Here I go.

HD

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Drinking for trivial reasons....sigh

Honestly, I slay myself.

Yesterday started off great.  A lovely smoothie for breakfast with spinach in it.  Was so proud of myself.  Clearly it didn't have enough "something" in it and I was starving by lunch.

Enter.....CARL'S JR.  (Big burger chain here in USA)

OMG.  Yuck.  What did I do?  And crisscut fries.....GROSS!

I used to love a Carl's Famous Star when I was a child but somewhere along the way something changed.  They don't seem very good anymore.  But about once a year, I try one.  It's like childbirth, I forget and must try occasionally to remind myself how gross it is. (This is not a judgement for anyone who loves this burger, it just doesn't work for me, although I think most would agree it's not a healthy lunch choice, lol.)

That was the start of my fall from glory.

Came home and hubby and I ate (yes, I know) lots of chips and guacamole and ranch dip.....as our dinner.  I have no idea why.  We were going to make salads and then he needed a carb fix which he almost never does.  For him to eat chips is very unusual so I just jumped right on that bandwagon!

On Sunday we had a pool party AND family arrived for the night later in the day.  I didn't drink.  I poured one woman white wine and I poured my sparkling water into my glass.  Later in the day I poured more white and put an AF beer into my glass.  It was hard but I did it.  It's almost like I was so proud of myself for making it through that day that yesterday I combusted.

It happened that there was about 1/2 bottle of red left in the house and a little less than half a bottle of white.  So of course he drank the red and I drank the white.  That's it.  I had 2 glasses of white wine.  Whoop-tee-doo.

I even talked about it with hubby....the only thing keeping me from drinking it was the fact that I had to blog about it.  Because I am that honest.  I wrestled with the thought.  I wasn't worried I would keep drinking night after night if I drank the rest of the white, I didn't have any feelings of letting myself down (shoot, I had already done that all day with food choices!), but I really struggled with having to come here today and blog.  And then I was like, well, I'll just blog it, then, Cheers!

So here I am.  I was like that little kid saying "Do I do it or do I not?  I might get into trouble but Do I do it?"........"I Do'd it anyway!!!"

And it did nothing for me because, well, I didn't drink too much.  I guess at this point, unless I drink a whole bottle, which I don't want to do, it doesn't really give me the buzz I would be looking for.  So even having the two glasses was pointless, just extra calories.  Kind of like the burger choice.

Whatever.  I guess the progress is that I do really identify with being a non drinker now.  Last year I was a drinker taking a rest.  I wanted to drink normally.  Now, I know I can't.  I can probably handle infrequent moments like this, now, but only because I do pride myself on days off in between.  I keep saying this, but I don't want to "normally" drink anymore because I know it will never be possible for me.

So I'm just going to keep doing my best to not drink and feel accomplished.  I no longer have daily drinking as a goal, I will feel like a failure if I do that.  I just need to fight a little harder through the cravings.  I made it through a few this last go so I know I can do it.  For me it really just takes me saying "how badly do I want to be able to say I made it through the craving?"

This go around I learned that, relatively easily, if the overall desire to not drink is present, I can make it through the cravings.

Normally I don't want to drink but feel cravings so I know it's a mindset issue to push through them.  That I can do.  But dealing with the "Fuck It" mindset that doesn't care at that moment in time is hard.   Last night wasn't an issue of even thinking through the drink.  I didn't want more than two glasses, I just, stubbornly, didn't want to throw it down the drain!

Sigh......

I signed up for that Tommy Rosen 2.0 Recovery conference that starts tomorrow.  I'm looking forward to all the speakers!

Onward ho!

HD

Monday, July 10, 2017

You have to put yourself out there (Sharing myself Part 2)

I haven't really shared this story in any detail I don't think......unless I did somewhere in my blog and can't find it.

But I'm driven to write about this because I read so many blog posts from others who wonder if they will ever find love again.  Are you one of them? Maybe you feel you screwed up past relationships and are scared about trying again or maybe you had the strength to leave a past relationship but are still scared to put yourself out there to find new love.  Maybe you don't feel worthy of love.  Maybe you are wanting to leave a relationship but the security of that relationship beats the feeling of insecurity that you might never find anyone else.

I don't have the answer to all of the above.  I think if you feel you aren't worthy of love, you should seek help.  The right therapist can be wonderful.  Everyone is worthy of being loved!  If you made mistakes in your past, fine, forgive yourself and use those lessons to make you better now as a partner.  A therapist can also help you sift through the muck in a current relationship, helping you to identify what can or can't be fixed/changed about you and your partner.  Sometimes we are just in the wrong relationship and it's hard to come to terms with that when weighed against commitments we have made.

I wasn't in a relationship where I felt damaged, abused, nor taken advantage of.  I was in control and, as I said in the previous post, was still made to feel loved and beautiful despite what else was going on.  Having the person whom I thought loved me, do the things he did, was devastating.  I could understand if I thought he was unhappy, if we didn't get along, if he didn't like me or how I looked......but....how could he leave me when I thought everything was okay?

It was very hard for me to trust my instincts after that.  This is probably something for another post, actually. Was what I was seeing in a new relationship real?  What might be going on that I didn't know about?  I was scared that I might not see something.  I'll talk more about this another time in case anyone is wondering how I was able to function normally in a new relationship.

So back to my story.....Once my ex told me he wanted a divorce, I fell into what I can only call a short depression.  It took me realizing that I was going to miss my marriage more than my husband to pull me out.  I had anxiety over what my financial situation would be and I was going to miss the history we had from 20 years of being together (18 married).  I would miss being around his family.  Basically, I realized I would miss our life more than him.

My love for him had eroded over the years since I first found out he had cheated on me.  I felt more like he was a close family member (still do in a way) than a romantic interest.

I hit bottom in my depression on a Saturday, about 12 days after he said he wanted a divorce.  It was the first weekend he was gone to spend it openly with this other woman and my parents came to town to spend the weekend with me.  I kept thinking, how did I pray for a sign and this is where I ended up? I couldn't get off the kitchen floor in between trying to act like nothing was wrong around my son.  (We didn't tell our son about the divorce until 19 days after my ex notified me.)  My mom finally got my butt off the ground by threatening to haul me off to the doctor and we went to the grocery store.

Later that night I felt my spirits lifting.  And all of a sudden I looked forward to dating.  I felt like I was being compelled to go to my computer and go online, yes believe it or not, to match.com.  I never would have chosen match.com....it seemed cheesy to me somehow....but I was sort of on autopilot.

Actually, let me back up.....about 5 days after the implosion of our relationship, it was Valentines Day.  We had plans that obviously went by the wayside.  I went to visit my family and my ex stayed with our son.  While I was with my grandmother and while I was still in some shock, before the depression hit, I went online to eharmony.com.  I decided, darnit, I was going to date then if this shit was abandoning me!  I filled out the entire profile, was honest about my separation status, got really excited and, at the end, it said "contact us when you are fully divorced".   Hmm....well why it let me go forward once I put separated was beyond me but that's what happened.  I was pretty bummed and too tired to try another site.

So then, at the 12 day point I was back at it, this time on match.com.  I was able to wander through profiles and I saw this man's profile that interested me.  (Yes, the current hubby)  I shut down my computer and went to bed but kept mulling over this guy.  He seemed a little geeky, to be honest, but something kept drawing me back to him.

The next morning I told my Dad to take my picture, that I was going to post a profile.  Let me tell you, this was not a glamour shot.  Just a casual pic in my back yard.   I went online and filled everything out, didn't lie about my age as being 40, and then, after posting, threw caution to the wind, put my pride in another room, and contacted his profile.

He contacted me back and the rest is history.  For what it's worth he thought I was probably older than I said.  I was a little put off but he said it wasn't because I looked it but that may women lied about their age.  So if I had put 38 he would have assumed 40.  Too funny.  He also liked that I had a casual, natural picture, not made up.  He wanted real.  Some men want a woman "a little on the trashy side" (I love that song!) but that wasn't him.  Turns out he wasn't geeky at all and his picture was horrible compared to real life, lol.  I was very pleasantly surprised.  Again, his profile wasn't one my mind said I should pick but something else, very strongly, said to give this one a try.

Now, I want to say, that while I parachuted into his arms just like Liz in Eat, Pray, Love, I wasn't choosing a relationship again this fast just to be loved.  I actually didn't want a relationship right away but I realize now my style (as someone else said) of marrying the men I date, is just me.  Once I find a relationship that looks good, I explore it to its fullest as opposed to dabbling with a bunch at once.

I had been thinking I would do a lot of dating until I found a man worth pursuing and that it might take time.  I was kind of thrown by finding someone so soon with whom I really clicked. When, early into our dating, I asked my therapist if she thought this relationship was okay, she said "a person could date 50 people and there is probably 1 of those people that could be a really good fit.  You just happened to find him at number 1.  It took me until 48, that's just sometimes how it goes."  "If it feels good, it is, trust yourself."

I guess I just believe there are a lot of fish in the sea and each time you catch one there are certainly many others that would also be good to catch, but once you get a worthy one, you take it home and call it a day.  There is no perfect fish. I don't believe in a soul-fish.  There is not just one out there for me.  If you truly believe in soul-fishes, you may not find yours because the odds that you can find that one perfect fish make the odds of winning the lottery look pretty good.......that's my thinking.  I know some people profess to have found their soulmate and good for them.  But I think that defies odds.

I think to date healthily you do have to have some confidence in yourself.  I went into this knowing that my online dates might be disastrous.  I did date one other person online and while I didn't choose him for a mate, we actually became good friends and hubby knows this, how we met and accepts him as well.

So because I met my guy right away, I didn't have the bad stories that some have.  I get that a bunch of bad dates could have changed my perspective.  But then at least I would have tried.

I watch others trying to date again after divorce.  I am always amazed at people who say they are too fat to go date online.  Whaaattt?  Have you seen the men online?  They are not always perfect themselves!  In fact, what confidence, and how wonderful to see a man online with a bit of a paunch who is willing to put himself out there!!  I'll take one of those any day over Mr. Muscle or Mr. Hotty!

I'm probably going on too much with my story but it boils down to some things I want to say to those who are worrying about finding new love.

1) Put yourself out there!  Maybe you don't want to go to a bar but maybe online is an option.  I loved being able to disregard men who had interests that just did not match mine at all.  They were probably lovely gentlemen but I knew that I didn't want to go ATV'ing all the time.  Other women might love too!  I also didn't look for EXACT matches.  Having different interests is good!  My guy ended up online because he had tried a few other things: church, dancing, etc and hadn't met the right woman.  I loved that he had the confidence to do up a profile.  He was also separated (9 months after she filed for divorce) so we had that in common.  Years later we laughed as we found out we both had tried the eharmony route first and been rejected!

2) Don't set your standards too high.  Maybe a slightly overweight man would love to lose weight too but needs a partner to be motivated.  Don't follow the scent of money.  If you are dating to find someone to fill back in a financial void, that, in my opinion, is a recipe for disaster.  You can be loved by someone and the relationship not be right for you.  I think I married my first husband more because of how much he loved me than analyzing what I really needed in a relationship, what was truly important to me.  I chose my guy's profile to connect with because of a few things that seemed really nice.  I found that who he actually was was so much richer in qualities than I ever imagined reading that initial blurb.

3) Make a list of what's really important to you in a relationship.  Not what would be nice but what's really important.  Prioritize that and hold that up against those you meet.  Again, be careful about making too long of a list.  I recommend looking at your past relationships and see what was missing that bothered you.

4) Stand by your gut.  Some men can pressure.  If it doesn't feel right it isn't.  Be ready to cut bait and move on sooner rather than later.  I kept having the feeling that this man was the one I was supposed to meet.  It was all part of the plan when I asked for "a sign".  My gut said this was the right man but I struggled, for even years, with our communication.  There were times where I wanted to give up but I still had the feeling that this really was meant to be.  So I got to work to see if this could be so. I am happy to say we have fixed our communication and I have done a lot of growing up in learning how to be a partner in a marriage, and an equal partner, not a dominant one and above all.....to trust again.

So enough preaching.  My friends joke about how I turned legal age at 18, met my first husband at 19, got married at 21, was married for 18 years, separated and had my first date with hubby less than 30 days later, having been with him now for over 7 years.  I realize this can seem "lucky".  From the first time my husband cheated, though, I had 6 years to come to terms with that and to learn a lot about myself and what I really wanted.  I would have stayed because that's who I am....I make a commitment, a promise and I don't break it.  I felt that if we/he could overcome our issues we could make things work.  It does take two, however, and when the other person isn't willing to put their part into the process, it won't work and I came to realize that.  Even though I would have stayed until I felt I had exhausted every avenue to make us whole again, I also knew what I would want to be different if I ever had the chance.  So the final point of separation wasn't actually as traumatic as it initially seemed.

If you want a partner, give it go.....church, gym, dancing, online, business networking, bars if that's your thing, social clubs, etc.  They are out there and are waiting for you too.  Again, this post is aimed at those looking for love.  I'm not saying everyone wants to and it's OK not to want about what I've just blogged.  I just happen to love being in a relationship and it's been fun, well sort of, lol, to figure out how to tango together without stepping on each other's toes too much!

At this age we all come with some junk in our trunk but that keeps things exciting, right? Drowning it out in the evenings with wine doesn't help either.

Day 11 here today....

HD

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Trusting in a Higher Power (Sharing myself Part 1)

I wrote the following post back in November and kept it as a draft.  While I've shared bits and pieces of myself through this blog, to share some of the below felt I was exposing myself.  After I wrote it I felt raw.  I was doing really well with moderation back in the fall and, after writing this but not posting, it's as if I let myself get drawn deeper back into nightly drinking.  Not like the year before but still with potential for mishap.

I have always been fearful of sharing for the reason that I didn't want my son taken from me.  I know I'm being silly.  First, I don't think my ex would do that in reality.  Second, I've never done anything to jeopardize my son literally, just potentially put myself in some situations that could have.  I have never driven drunk with him in the car except for wondering how much alcohol was still in my system the next morning during a school run.  I've never missed any event, any task, that needed to get done where it concerned him.  I never passed out and left him to fend for himself while he was awake. The biggest potential for mishap was that something would happen to him in the late evening and I would need emergency help and they would find me tipsy. Fortunately that didn't happen.

I was also worried about being outed by friends, colleagues, family, etc.  But let's face it, anyone who finds this blog is probably wondering about their own relationship with alcohol so if someone figures out who I am, so be it.  Actually, I am happy to chat with them.  I have nothing to hide.  I am happy to share my experiences.  I have learned from others who have shared theirs.

Last November, I felt compelled to write something down about myself.  I had a spiritual experience when I separated from my first husband that couldn't be explained other than through my spirituality and I felt funny sharing.  But it's a near and dear story to me.  Sometimes you just have to sit back and trust in a higher power....listen to what you are hearing in your head through all the other noise....

Once upon a time a princess married her prince.  But it turned out her prince, well, was maybe not so much a prince, despite how much she desperately tried to hold on to that vision.  She realized at about the 12 year point that her prince liked other princesses or at least he liked what he perceived they could make him feel. When she found out, she hung in there.  She owned up to her part in why-ever her prince felt that way, thought they resolved the issues and felt they were on track to making the fairy tale last forever...that they were better than ever, stronger even.  And they had just had a baby, even more reason to make things work. The prince consistently, always had, told his princess how much he adored her and how beautiful she was....so she believed him.

At the 18 year point the fairy tale collapsed despite the princess trying ever so hard to believe in it. On the eve of the collapse, while it was pouring (El Nino) rain outside, she sat on the floor and looked up at the rain drenched sky and prayed very hard for a sign to let her know that she was supposed to stay in Camelot, that it really could be Camelot.

The next morning, she found an email that showed she was no longer in Camelot and that her prince charming was still finding other princesses, had in fact found a new one.  She confronted her prince who said he was trying to tell her all along that he wanted out of Camelot.  Well, go figure, who knew?

Fortunately, having been told all along how pretty she was, how much she was loved, her self esteem didn't really suffer.  While a very disorienting position to be in, better than having been abused.

The next day, let's call it the day-after-Camelot-exploded, she sat in the bathtub.  As the princess lay back against the jets in her tub with her eyes closed, she heard music.  Literally.  She opened her eyes and still heard the music.  A searing, wonderfully calming, melody.  Like a hymn.  It calmed her.  It let her know things would be okay.  She tried to focus in on where it was coming from.....the neighbor's house?  No...and it faded away.  

The princess went to work.  About half way through work she felt something lift out of her.  As if all the troubles had whirled up out of her body like a cyclone.  Not that she wouldn't be stressed in the future, but she just felt suddenly that she would be okay.  Later that day she was telling someone how she had heard this music and felt this "leaving" of her anxiety and the person said "oh, you have been touched", I was praying you would be touched...hugged even.

The person on the phone asked the princess what the song was and to the princess's dismay, she couldn't quite conjure up the tune.  She could no longer remember the exact tune that made her, earlier, feel so calm.  A bit depressed, she hung up the phone and went to make her bed, still unmade.  She figured a little "order" would help calm her more.  While she was making the bed a voice in her head said "Nearer my God to Thee".  Literally out of the blue.

The princess went to her computer and googled the title and played it.  It was THE SAME TUNE the princess had heard in the bath earlier that morning.  To this day, the sheet music is kept on the piano and played when things get stressful.  It was a sign to her and she calls upon it when she needs to.  There is no concrete explanation.....or maybe there is....

Lately, I have been in a groove.  I have been, strangely, having wine every night without having too much.  I enjoyed a peaceful thanksgiving.  I have been exercising and actually liking it.  I have been grocery shopping and meal planning and liking it.  It hasn't all been easy but it has been okay.  I've been blaming myself for starting out November as alcohol free and not sticking with it after those that I started with gave up....but those same people are now ON it and doing great....but I've kept having some every night.

On the other hand, I haven't had too much.  I don't want to say I am drinking normally because I still feel the danger zone is too close, it's as if I just need a little more time to commit.  I can't do this only because I promise to pull others along.  I can't stress if they don't stay with me.  I want to take an extended abstinence again but I don't know when that will be.  It will be soon I think.

I was wondering today why I feel so good on the one hand and yet so guilty on the other.  Do I need to quit drinking totally or am I, oh my goodness, actually managing this?  And why do I WANT to manage this poison? I was feeling very conflicted working around the house this morning when I heard the tune "I never promised you a rose garden" very, very loud in my head.  Just like before only this time I recognized the tune and couldn't get it out of my head.

I beg your pardon
I never promised you a rose garden
Along with the sunshine
There's gotta be a little rain some time
When you take you gotta give so live and let live
Or let go oh -whoa-whoa-whoa
I beg your pardon
I never promised you a rose garden - Lynn Anderson

I felt very calmed.  I understood. I don't have to have the answer right now.  There are a lot of unknowns in my life right now...dealing with me ex, my career changing directions, me hubby's ex still dealing out stress, etc.  But there are a lot of "knowns" as well.  I am happier than ever, nothing like a year ago, not drinking anything like a year ago, a much, much better spouse than a year ago, a better mother than a year ago.

It's not a rose garden, but life is beautiful and we just need to find our own way through the thorns.

Hugs to all,
Goodnight,
HD

Day 10 today of my newfound extended abstinence.  It feels good...really good.
HD

Friday, July 7, 2017

Somehow......

Somehow, I will get through this evening.

Somehow, I will not ask my hubby to go get white wine.

Somehow, I will make it through the craving, it's 4:39 right now.

I.......want.......white......wine.......really badly!  (or is it really bad?...my grammar stinks)

Pause......

Okay, I'm back.  5pm.

1) I told my hubby I wanted white wine soooo bad. He looked at me as if not sure what to do.  I said "but I'm not going to have any."  There, I said it out loud.

2) Then we talked about why.  Why I didn't want it (weight, health) and Why I did want it. He said go eat some chocolate.  I said I'm fat but I already ate some anyway.  :-(  And, I said, he was missing my point.  I just wanted to know WHY I wanted the wine and WHY just white wine?  I didn't want red.  I wasn't craving beer and wasn't craving hard liquor....WHY, WHY did I want Chardonnay?

I wasn't feeling really stressed.  I feel pretty happy (other than fat) and don't feel bummed about anything in particular.  I process out loud, nothing bottled up in this ole head.

His answer was that I wanted the rush.  Oh please, I said, that makes me sound like a junkie.  But I think he's right.

I wanted that mellow feeling, that immediate numbing.

2) So I left the room and went and ate some chips and salsa and we talked more over that bowl in the kitchen.

3) Now I'm back and I'm dying for an O'douls...AF beer.  Lol, I can't wait to sit on the sofa for our cocktail hour with my near beers.  My tastebuds have done a complete shift.  After the spice of the salsa I want the taste of beer, alcohol or no alcohol doesn't bother me either way.

Note to self: forget chocolate......go buy more tortilla chips and spicy salsa for future evenings.....I may be on to something here......

I think I made it.  Day 8, done!

HD

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Sober High School

I've been wandering through my blog from last year.

This journey back through time made me look at comments and realize how many bloggers, that I followed, have made like Elvis and "left the building" so to speak.  I don't think relapse is always involved, just a gradual transition and a need to move on, to not be so preoccupied with this universe.

Since summer is a time for high school reunions, it made me think of an analogy...so bear with me...

Last year when I started my blog, I was a Freshman in High School.

(For those in other countries, here in the USA I have grown up with Grades 9 through 12 as High School. 9th graders are Freshmen, 10th are Sophomores, 11th are Juniors and 12th are Seniors.  Then, we graduate at age 17 or 18 and generally move on to College if we are going to go right away.)

I felt like I was a newbie last year.  I looked up to those further along the sober path.  I read as much as I could make time for and gathered as many sober ideas as I could to store in my addled brain or at least write down.  The more senior had such tricks on how to live and alcohol free life and conveyed a worldly confidence.

I was watching the lives of those Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors.  I loved following their stories, seeing what strength they showed in dealing with everyday life...even when they themselves may have sometimes said they were failing.

The Sophomores were starting to get it together.  They had been where I was.  They had tried and failed and tried again.  They were focused more on their own journeys and passing on passive advice by recounting their adventures in their blogs.  I learned from their stories.

The Juniors had substantial sober time under their belt or they have successfully moderated.  Many fewer of the latter in this blogging world but they do exist.  They were more in a position to actually offer active advice on what worked for them.  They blogged but maybe not as often.

The Seniors were busy with their lives.  They would drift in to offer sage advice from time to time and update us on how they were doing but blogging became less frequent.

A certain number have disappeared.  Perhaps they relapsed but I think many of them just went off to College and may not need this world anymore.  I remember heading off to College and I really never looked back to high school.  High School was an important time in my life where I grew up and learned a lot of good life experiences, worked through a lot of angst.  But once I left I had no desire to go back.  These blogs may very well be something people just end at a certain point.

However, there are a few more players.  Certainly there are those who have taken time off from school and may come back to try again.  Or those who dropped out.  But there are also the guidance counselors who stuck around.  There are also the alumni who come back and DO visit from time to time.

In my world Sober Mummy is like the Principal of my school, the head of it.  I don't deal with her one on one a lot but she is ever present in my life.   It was she who made me decide to attend this school. I view Anne Ainsobriety and Un-Tipsy Teacher as my guidance counselors.....always present, and who have offered gentle guidance and nurturing from the beginning.  There are many more that I could call out as school Adminstrators but I don't want anyone to feel left out and I think many of us have been commented on from these particular 3 and would agree.  There are also a bunch who commented on me from the beginning, who are doing so well in their sobriety and who come back occasionally to comment or to post on their own blogs......the alumni.  And then there are my classmates.  The ones who, like me, are still trying to figure out the best path.

This Freshman year is not necessarily a calendar year like real high school.  I view getting into this high school as the awareness of one having a problem that needs to be acknowledged.  The graduation from middle school was the knowing that there was an issue and the start of doing something about it.  Some classmates come whipping in and out of Freshman year and some even whip through the upper grades right on out through sober graduation rather quickly.  Others of us hang around as Freshmen for awhile, watching and learning from the more senior at the school.

Just remember, this road to graduation in our virtual high school is unique for each of us.  There is no set path like real school, no definitive answer as to when we must pass from one grade to the next. We get to do it when we are ready.

I feel like I'm finally beginning my Sophomore year....Day 7 here.

HD

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

2nds

Today I started going through my old blog posts from last year and saw that I posted on the 4th then as well.  I had to chuckle in that, for the most part, I could have written it today.

(Last year's post, click here)

I'm still dealing with the crazy hunting dog who hates fireworks and we brought in the travel crate again last night to finally sequester him so he wouldn't hurt himself or our home.  He isn't one to be swaddled or put into a thunder jacket but this sure beat him trying to dig through our floors to get into his foxhole.  I cannot wait until my neighborhood, which started early this year with fireworks, works through its inventory and depletes it all!

But it's really cool to see that this is my year for some 2nds of things.

2nd 4th of July, probably ever since I was 18, with no alcohol
2nd 4th of July, with no kids.  :-(  Feeling a bit sad but that is normal.
2nd 4th of July, with no plans.  No BBQs, no beach, no crowds an no plans for drinking!

And I'm having that same feeling of "can't unwind" even though I have nothing planned.  Hubby and I are sort of wandering around lost.  I finally sent him off by himself which he is fine with.  Having him restless around the house is more annoying sometimes than being alone, lol!

I have lots to do.  About to go take a swim for exercise, need to pay bills, some laundry to do and I am in the middle of a good book.

I think next year I will plan something but this summer is a quiet one.  It's the first summer I really haven't had a true vacation of any sort planned for years.  I normally have at least 1 or 2 weeks of something and then we always go west to my hometown beach for a week.  We will still do the beach trip but the rest is quiet.  It's a good summer for reflection, for calm, and for self-care.

I've been working out regularly, watching my diet and experimenting on the cooking side.  I've spent a lot of quality time with the hubby since we are kid-less right now and that's been really nice but I think we are getting bored with each other - lol!

Anyway, I hope everyone is having a terrific 4th.  If you are drinking, try not to drink too much, and if you don't want to drink, try to work through it.  You'll feel better for doing so, I promise! And...you can always drink tomorrow....BUT, if you live in the USA and get through something as momentous as today without drinking, you may just find that tomorrow you don't need to drink either after getting this holiday under your belt.....food for thought.

HD

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Time To Rein It In!

I'm very excited.  I think I am finally a "safe date"!  My doctor says she can't confirm until I have been without a period for a year but given that I haven't had one since April, I think I'm on my way as they say!  Probably TMI but the birth control has been left in the drawer. :-)  I have been looking forward to this stage of my life for years!!

Why?  Well, I had my child when I was 33.  I had tried for years before that and then years after.   Tried with this hubby as well before giving up.  I am sooo tired of that waiting, wondering game.  Then, after I gave up, trying to not get pregnant!

I know, I know, things can happen.  But, seriously, post-menopausal FSH is between 23 and 116 according to my lab slip.  I'm a whopping 81!  LH for post-menopause is between 10 and 54.7.  I am 54.6.  Whew whoo!

I think I was in perimenopause for years.  Cycle shortened to 26 days a few years back and I have had some unexplained, mild mood issues from time to time.  Had hot flashes last summer but they went away.  Hair, always super thick, has been thinning.....fortunately I still have a lot left!

Since January I have been gaining belly fat.....NEVER had that before, even with years of drinking.  I have put on 8 pounds since January!!  In May I got the hot flashes again and now they are pretty much gone.  Maybe a little "warming" but no sweating.  My mood went beserko from May through June, seriously, I reacted over the strangest things.

All my bloodwork at annual physical was perfect.  So much so that the secondary hormonal testing was the only way to see what is really going on.  I skated through again with no signs of alcohol abuse.

But now....I feel great!  I have been exercising almost daily.  My mood is much improved.  The relief of knowing I may be through that waiting, wondering period has been like a great weight lifted off my shoulders.  I always knew it would be hard to get pregnant again but now I can see my body is shutting that off.

However, I realized just how many extra calories I am consuming by still drinking.  Wowzer.  Okay, done.  If I don't rein this in now, my body is going to blimp out of control.  Alcohol is actually easier for me to control than food.

So here goes another 100 days for a serious reset.  As I've said, I identify with being a non drinker so might as well live that lifestyle!  No alcohol and just no junk food is my only goal for this week with one day per week indulging in 6 squares of Cadbury.  Shoot, I just knocked off 800 calories a day by giving up fast food, golden oreos, regular cadbury and alcohol.  And I will keep on exercising!

I was dry all last July and it will feel good to have two July's under my belt!

Here goes!!!

HD
5'9", 175 (sigh)

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