Day 30 — Again but different.

Hello lovely sober blog friends.  I’ve been putting off writing this and making my comeback until I had gained some time, because frankly, I was sick of reading my own writing when I was so consistently wishy-washy about whether I actually had a problem, etc.

So here’s what happened — the short version, since it’s late but I wanted to write SOMETHING to commemorate today!  After my last sober stint in January, I only made it to day 32 — and I then drank at a leadership retreat I was on, despite having the best intentions prior to going.  From then until 30 days ago, I lived in that on-again, off-again, mostly on place where I went from thinking it was no problem, to a big problem, and so on.  In the meantime, my husband and I went through our first round of IVF.  So I did have some sober time while that was going on — at least while the hormone injections were happening.  And then, the IVF failed and we were told that I have a rare condition with my eggs making them extremely unlikely to ever be able to be fertilized.  We got grim statistics — if we tried another round of IVF (with another $20,000 price tag), we would have about a 1 out of 1,000 chance of it working.  That’s 0.001%.  99.99% likely to fail.  And this condition explains why I’ve likely never gotten pregnant.

This came as bad news, obviously.  I went into a deep depression for a while, then I would have days where I felt relief just to have an answer, but then another friend would turn up pregnant after only trying for a couple months and I’d lose it.  One particularly unexpected one of these friends-turning-up pregnant situations happened in early April, and it threw me way down the rabbit hole.  I felt totally unworthy — of my husband, of womanhood, of love.  My drinking escalated to places it hadn’t gone before — drinking vodka when my husband was out of the room, hiding wine, the whole thing.  I would drink and cry and offer to divorce him so that he could marry someone who could give him a child (meanwhile, he has been 100% supportive and was shocked to hear me talking like that.)  I disintegrated into being totally pathetic and started having suicidal thoughts.  One morning was particularly bad and I just knew I had had enough and that if I didn’t get help IN PERSON, I would never be able to do this.

So that was really the first time I’d ever surrendered to this thing.  I no longer wonder if I’m an alcoholic — I definitely am.  I feel totally liberated by this realization.  After one awful night of feeling like I was in the depths of despair, I woke up the next day and methodically reached out.  I made appointments to see a psychiatrist, a chemical dependency counselor, and my doctor.  I messaged the one and only old friend I have who I know is sober, and asked her to take me to a meeting.  I NEVER thought I’d set foot in one, but when I met with my friend and went to my first one, I left with a sense of peace and hope that I’ve not had this whole past year and a half.  I’ve continued to go to two or three meetings a week, I exchanged phone numbers with three new, sober friends, and I’ve been seeing my counselor every week.

These things are working for me.  I have accountability now — this sober blog is also good, but it’s not accountability because it’s anonymous and I can just hide.  Or at least I think I can… just today I received a comment out of the blue from someone who says they have been checking my site, hoping for an update.  So, here’s my update, with a huge side of gratitude that someone noticed, someone cared about my story.  There were some rough seas, but now I’m solidly 30 days back at it, and the in person accountability has added a whole new dimension and peace to this decision to be sober.  It’s just the way it has to be and I’m not going to argue with myself anymore.

I’m gaining sober momentum

I think I know what sober momentum feels like now.  Each day, I feel better and better.  All my stops and starts of 2014 seem like such a HUGE waste of time and energy.  I never want to feel like that again.  Instead, I want to feel how I feel right now… naturally exhausted from a crazy productive day working my business and doing what I love.  I can feel my creativity and confidence coming back.  I will not mess this up.

Day 22 today.

15 Days and I feel like a new person already

It’s seriously amazing how much better I feel.  In all my stints this past year, I don’t remember ever feeling this good about being sober.  I am more motivated, more excited about life, and happier.  For the first time, I’m embracing this as a positive, FUN change rather than a struggle, a negative.  I attribute a lot of this to the fact that my health and fitness business is growing, and I am continuing to surround myself with more and more new friends who are focused on their health.  I have found a positive, uplifting community where the focus is on healthy cooking and exercise, rather than drinking.  So much better!

I am sleeping through the night, waking up feeling good, and my anxiety is lessened.  Isn’t it ironic how we drink to lessen our anxiety?  We think that’s what we’re doing when in reality we are creating loads of unnecessary anxiety.  Or at least, that’s how it was for me.  The anxiety I suffered after a night of drinking was positively crippling and would last for a week at least.  Well, I aint got time for that shit no more!!  On to a life full of possibility, realized potential, and living fully present.

Sober has never felt so good.

Happy New Year and Happy Day 11 to me!

Yesterday I got a text from my husband extending a last minute dinner invite to us from some colleague friends of ours.  I texted back that it sounded fine, we had neglected to really make plans yet and I figured that sounded like a good one.  But the more I thought it over, the more anxious I was feeling about going.  For no particular reason really, other than I just felt like staying in with our dogs and relaxing, and painting my toenails, and generally avoiding the drinking scene.  Just for a little while longer.  Even though it was New Years.  Normally, I would have shrugged this feeling off and forced myself to get ready and go anyway, because I wouldn’t want to seem like a party pooper and especially not on New Year’s Eve!

But normally, this sobriety thing just hasn’t worked for me for very long.  And this time, I really, really want it to, so I’m going to have to do some things differently.  So I asked my husband if I could just sit this one out.  And he was (as he always is) totally gracious about it and it was just fine.  I stayed in my safe little bubble for the night, got some quiet time in to read, paint my toenails, watch TV, and relax.  At 37 years old, this is the first time I’ve ever stayed home all alone on New Year’s Eve.  And it was GREAT.  Seriously.  I felt like I was doing something healthy for myself by resting.  I enjoyed the quiet time and knowing that people were out having fun.  I felt the calm satisfaction of knowing that I was making a new decision, a decision that I wouldn’t regret, and that I would wake up today feeling good.

This year, I’m going to live for the mornings.  Really.  It’s such a different idea for me, I’ve always been a night owl of course, since that’s when I’d relax with wine.  But sober, I LOVE waking up in the morning, full of enthusiasm for the day and knowing that I have the capacity to take on whatever I want to take on.

My new year’s day is rung in quietly, and I can’t help but gloat just a tiny bit that the husband is hung over and I feel great.  🙂  Hope all of you feel great too!  And that if you don’t feel great, if you are hung over but contemplating your drinking, that you read my blog… you’ll see a whole year of starts and stops, and here I am only on day 11 when I could be at over a year by now if I had only stuck with it.  I’m not going to beat myself up over it, but I DO want to make 2015 the year that I don’t leave wondering how much more I could have accomplished had I just honored my commitment to remain alcohol-free.  I didn’t gain anything by drinking in 2014 except more anguish, more anxiety, and less self-confidence.

This is the year I honor my commitments.   You can too!  Happy 2015!

Organizing fiend

That’s what I was today.  Today is day 8.  I survived Christmas, and then TWO holiday open house events on Saturday, which I actually enjoyed very much and wasn’t too terribly bothered not to be drinking.  I had sparkling water, and sparkling apple cider, and snacks, and I talked and observed and remembered everything.  Then when I was tired I left, and my husband stayed until he was done.  I had a few moments of wanting wine, but nothing too strong.  And when I started to smell it on everyone’s breath, I discovered I didn’t want it after all.

Sunday morning my family was all “moving slow” as they called it (read:  hung over) and I was bright eyed and ready to take on the day.  Hard not to feel just a tiny bit of glee there, knowing that normally I would be the one in the worst shape of all!  What a relief.

Today I was stricken with the need to organize and purge a bunch of junk that I’ve been meaning to get to for months.  I started in the bathroom and was amazed to see how much old makeup I had been hanging onto that I would obviously never use again!  I threw away an astounding amount of stuff, cleaned every single surface, organized like never before, and now my bathroom is sparkling clean and every drawer is neat with containers for each category.  The counter is clear.  I can’t explain how amazing this feels, because I am someone who has historically been, ahem, organizationally challenged.

But maybe that was just because I was always “tired” from wine… we shall see!  Tomorrow I’m taking on the closet.  AND we are getting our new couch delivered!!!  It will be a happy day of home rejuvenation, which is just so fitting at the moment, while I’m working on rejuvenating my insides.  🙂

Merry Christmas to me

My best present of all this year:  deciding not to drink and sticking to it despite a moment of almost slipping.  Luckily I voiced my thinking to my husband, who gently told me, “no.  You will feel nothing but angst later if you drink, and I don’t want to see that happen to you.”  Wise words and they were enough to set me straight.  How I needed to hear that from someone other than myself in order to kick back into my normal brain and remember what it is I’m up to.

The day was peaceful.  With my in-laws it’s always relaxing and fun but this year it was peaceful in my head too… I noticed at dinner when the rest of the table had wine (there were 6 of us total and I was the only one abstaining), they poured one bottle between the five of them (one glass each), and everyone slowly sipped it during the meal.  When my mother-in-law casually asked everyone later if anyone wanted, “tea, coffee, more wine?”, I noticed that had I been drinking I would have felt anxiety about desperately wanting more wine but waiting to see if anyone else was having more and/or being self-conscious about being the only one who wanted more.  When we were done with dinner, most of the wine glasses had a little wine left in them.  I marveled.  And I also felt totally free from that obsession.  I definitely kind of wanted some, but I noticed that I was happier and calmer without the distraction of needing more.

After 6 hours of family, I was tired and felt the need for some down time, and luckily for my my husband was ready to go too… we came home and curled up with our books and our dogs and I had some tea.  I can’t help but remember where I was a year ago, stuck in the cycle I’m now still trying to break, having gotten 20-some days, then broken it, then gotten another seven, then broken it over the Christmas holiday and drank for a week straight, but then had a sober New Years… but that pattern continued ALL through 2014.  Despite that, it has been an amazing year, a beautiful year, but also most definitely a year of self-discovery and if I have learned anything, it’s that it’s time to see what a year feels like without alcohol, and that self-imposed rules are not working for me.  Here’s hoping that I can make this time stick and that 2015 is the year that I’ll be writing on Christmas having a whole year of sobriety under my belt.

Merry Christmas Eve!

I love Christmas Eve.  When I was growing up, my family life was pretty idyllic.  Things eventually went south, but while I was a child, we had everything we needed.  My parents were loving.  My Dad would stomp around on the roof on Christmas Eve, after we went to bed, jingling bells so we would think it was the reindeer landing on our roof.  He would nibble the carrots we left for the reindeer and eat almost all the cookies for Santa.  We believed.  We felt loved, my brother and I.  It’s that childhood anticipation of a cozy morning around the tree, opening gifts and drinking hot chocolate in our flannel PJs, that sticks with me today.  I love that feeling of looking forward to sharing joyful moments with my loved ones.

Things have been different with my family for most of my adult life, as addiction ravaged my brother, and through their codependence, my parents.  Most of the time, spending time with them drives me straight into several glasses of wine and I feel a tightness in my chest that I can’t shake for hours.  But this year things shifted.  My brother, 7 months sober, was there and was warm, coherent, and loving.  Everyone was relaxed.  No one was drinking and the atmosphere was jovial.  I actually enjoyed myself and didn’t feel stressed.  It was like a miracle.  I didn’t feel like I needed a drink when I got home.  Instead, my husband and I exchanged one gift, had some tea, and I’m heading straight for bed.

Each day I feel a little better, although one symptom of what I can only imagine is a detox symptom is that I’ll notice from time to time my eyes feel glassy and almost thick, for lack of a better word.  It’s such a strange sensation and it comes and goes.  I feel pretty exhausted and worn out by company after a couple hours.  But it’s okay.  Having done so many restarts, I’m familiar with the feelings I go through at this stage.  What I am looking forward to is seeing what it looks like after 32 days and beyond.  I’m finally starting to believe all you sober people that it really is better, and I can’t wait to find out.

Merry Christmas, everyone!