One week later…

One week ago I couldn’t resist the urge to go out to dinner with my husband after a long work week.  “I’ll order sparkling water,” I thought.  I couldn’t pass up the opportunity I saw to sit down, be waited on, connect and have fun with him.  When we got there, I thought, “I’ll just have one glass.”  (Why this thought is ever afforded ANY credibility in my mind, I have no idea.)  One turned into two, then three, VERY heavy pours.  Normally this wouldn’t be all that much for me, but last week I was on a sugar detox (yeah I realize one doesn’t actually do this successfully and still drink wine, but I was “just doing the food part.”  

One week ago when my husband and I got home from the restaurant, I was drunk enough to be stumbling around the house.  Trying to talk to him about our infertility issues (um, inappropriate time to bring up highly emotional topics, much?).  I was immediately angered that he checked his phone during said “discussion” (which was probably me in some sort of exhausting, emotional ramble).  

One week ago, I provoked an out-of-control, emotionally charged, irrational fight with my husband.  And I wouldn’t let it go.  Even when he pointed out that we should sleep on it and talk in the morning when we were both sober.  Not even then.  Even when my dog was cowering at me because I was slamming doors and yelling and crying.  Even when he was yelling and telling me to stop.  Even when he hugged me and tried to comfort me.  Not even then.  

One week ago my husband and my dog both slept on the couch, leaving me in my misery.  I woke up at 2:00 a.m. with my eyes swollen shut and a pit of dread and remorse in my stomach.  My body and mind felt thick with sickness.  Every single time that I had been emotionally and physically abused by boyfriends past came bubbling to the surface, along with all the feelings of inadequacy and rejection those incidents caused me.  All the self-hatred for staying in those bad situations came up to haunt me.  Who I was in those moments, out-of-control rage that comes from the primal instinct to protect oneself, feeling demoralized, hurt and desperate, came right back like she had never left.  Only there was no danger one week ago, there was no abuse.  There was only the shadows in my mind.  

One week ago, I realized how very far I have come in my life since those times.  That I have a husband with whom, 99.9% of the time, I live in complete security and peace.  That I am loved and supported.  That these gifts that come with a healthy relationship resulted from the passing of time and from my slow, slow journey to treating myself with more respect.  I realized that alcohol was the last bastion of those days.  The last thing I have clung to from my time of turmoil.  What I always thought was my comfort and my escape.  What made me funny and confident when my home situation was unpredictable and dangerous.  Only now, it brings the opposite.  It brings that old me to the surface, the one that clung to drama, to chaos, to self-destruction.  It makes what would be a regular fight to most couples a highly traumatic situation for me.  It breaks down my progress.  It tethers me to the negativity of the past.  

One week ago, I prayed as I lay in bed, that I would feel that sick for the last time.  I felt the misery.  Really felt it.  I didn’t want to forget that feeling this time; I didn’t want to pretend it didn’t happen as soon as the hangover wore off.  I realized that I have the power not to bring this kind of negativity into my marriage.  I can choose not to scream at my husband and use emotional drama to manipulate him.  I don’t have to defend or protect myself from danger anymore.  That person has no place in my life now.  And it is so simple.  That person is not there unless alcohol is in the mix.  And finally, I knew what had to be done.  I acknowledged to myself that alcohol does not work in my body anymore.  The miserable, anxious, regret of an incident like that far outweighs the fleeting fun while drinking. 

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One week later, my eyes are clear.  I laugh easily.  I smell things.  I taste my food.  I breathe easily.  I feel free.  I exercise daily.  When I wake up, I feel excited to greet the day.  

One week later thoughts of drinking are easier to manage than they were the last times I’ve quit, because I have an acceptance in my heart that alcohol is a problem for me and that I’m happier and healthier without it.  They are still there, but I can breathe through them one hour at a time and with that awful memory close to my heart.  My husband, who previously questioned whether drinking was really a problem for me, has shifted into being fully supportive of this process for me in whatever form I need it to take.  With love.  

One week later, I have exercised, hiked in our local park, hugged my dog a lot, cooked healthy and beautiful meals for my husband and I. I have seriously considered trying a meeting but have chickened out so far.  I have humbly rejoined Belle’s 100 day challenge.  I have listened to lots of Bubble Hour podcasts.  I have named my wolfie, and her name is Sheila.  

One week later, I choose love.  I choose to accept love from my husband, my family, and my dog.  From all of you fellow kick-ass sobriety bloggers who know what the freak I’m talking about.  From my friends.  Most of all, I accept love from myself.  

Take that, Sheila.  

xo

 

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Ready to start again.

Okay.  I have thought about writing this for a while now.  It’s been eight weeks since my last (confession) post.  For those of you who reached out to ask how I’ve been, thank you and I’m sorry I took so long to respond.  After receiving the disappointing news about my fertility issues, I decided to drink again.  That wasn’t the only reason, but looking back it seems to have been the catalyst.  

Much of my concern about my drinking came to a head when we started trying to conceive and I found myself having trouble cutting back on my intake, especially during the “2-week wait” where conception might have happened but before you can take a test.  I found myself really freaked out that I was unable to abstain during that time despite the possibility of bringing a new life into the world, which led me down a path of self-exploration and landed me here in sober blogosphere.  For several months (since November of last year) I’ve been on and off sobriety, with my longest stint my most recent, a whopping 32 days.  I honestly can’t say exactly what it was that caused me to throw in the towel on this most recent attempt, but I’m going to do my best to articulate my thinking because I’m so hoping I can avoid this pitfall in the future.  

The first thing that happened was that I was told I will not become pregnant without intervention.  I suffered a lot of sadness over this news and I think I have come to terms with it.  But what happened mentally in regards to my not drinking, was that I thought, “green light!”  No chance of getting pregnant, so what am I doing this for?  Totally ignoring the plethora of other reasons why taking some time off of booze was beneficial for my health, emotional wellness, productivity, fitness, and self-confidence.  Hmmm.  

The second thing that happened was that I simply got bored.  The truth about my drinking is that I am harming no one but myself.  So far.  Despite the fact that I will happily drink on a daily basis, usually three glasses (generous glasses) of wine but often four or five (especially on weekends, you can add a couple cocktails in there, maybe a couple beers depending on the weather), no one seems to notice when I’m intoxicated.  Apparently, I almost always carry myself quite well in company.  Additionally, I am surrounded by people who are drinking exactly as much as I am, usually.  So my drinking does not seem out of the ordinary.  (That is, because they drink that much when we’re together, I assume they also drink at home alone like I do…?)  My point is, I started to ask myself why I was putting such restrictions on myself when I seemed to be the only one who found my drinking problematic.  That can be an exhausting place to find oneself, I’m realizing.  It seems like every story I hear about people who are getting sober includes friends or family who express concern over the drinking… no one is expressing concern to me.  In fact, when I have talked to people about the issue (only a very select few), they have emphatically insisted that I do not have a problem.  That they know people with problems, and I am clearly not one of those people.  

That’s a hard position to argue with, when your inner voice is telling you that you do have a problem.  Am I right?  Who wants to sit there and convince a friend that you have this problem that they don’t see?  And why would I not believe my friends/husband, who know me better than anyone?  I must be overreacting and clearly this thing will stay under my control.  They believe in me.  Why am I not believing in me (and my ability to keep my drinking reasonable)?  Conversely, I felt super frustrated by this response.  I know my loved ones were just trying to reassure me, but I couldn’t help but wonder why, when I was honest about my intake, no one else found it concerning.  After all, it is a lot of wine, is it not?  Maybe not the worst, but certainly something to take a look at?

So, back to the issue at hand:  I am harming no one but myself.  Which means, that no one but me can feel the damage.  I can choose to stop inflicting this damage on myself, but I have to rely on my own self-knowledge in order to do so.  Furthermore, I should stop this damaging behavior now, rather than waiting until my drinking does start to damage someone else, which it inevitably will at some point.  Which it has in the past and just because I have improved some things does not mean that I won’t find myself in a bad situation again.  But I started to find it extremely difficult to keep believing that I have an issue with alcohol after getting through 32 days, and being told by so many that I didn’t have a problem, and remembering plenty of times where I drank and everything was fine.  

During the last eight weeks I’ve had a drink nearly every day.  But not every single day (I think there have been at least three or four alcohol free days!), and I haven’t gotten drunk more than a couple of times (a few days I only literally had one glass!… because I was with my mother and she doesn’t really drink, but still!).  Most days, it’s the same amount:  between two and four glasses of wine (i.e., half to a full bottle).  When I compare this to others, it’s easy to say to myself that this is really not that bad.  I’m certainly not cracking open a second bottle, unless I’m with friends and it’s the weekend!  However, this is what I know to be true:  I find it nearly impossible to not have those glasses of wine, once I’ve had them for one day.  Once I drink one day, I drink every day.  I rarely go overboard and get drunk.  Even when I do get drunk, I rarely do anything awful.  I am a nice drunk.  I can hold my liquor.  When I’ve had too much, I tend to just get myself to bed, no drama, no craziness.  So the issue is not that I’m that out-of-control woman, that sloppy, rude, blacked-out chick.  I’m not.  I (almost always) remember my nights.  I (usually) don’t say anything I regret.  

I find myself caught in a cycle of worry about how much I’m drinking followed by all the above justifications about why it’s perfectly fine and normal, back to the worry and anxiety, and then the justifications.  This cycle follows a predictable 24 hour rhythm:  waking at 2:30 or 3 a.m. feeling sweaty, anxious, dry-mouthed, unable to get back to sleep, followed by promising to take a day off to detox, followed by a morning where I don’t fulfill promises I made to myself (to work out, to accomplish certain tasks at work, etc.), followed by feeling okay in the afternoon when the fog lifts, followed by wine-o-clock which makes me very happy (or at least it seems) and which is filled with me ridiculing my earlier worrying self by listing off all above justifications.  How fucking exhausting and crazy does that sound??  

So, nothing terrible happened during the past eight weeks, except that slowly but surely the anxiety has crept back in.  I have missed this community of clear-headed, supportive and inspirational bloggers.  I have missed my sober self and all she has to offer me:  fulfilled promises of yoga class, runs, gym workouts, tasks accomplished, creativity, and clear eyes.  I have missed the wonderful mornings full of motivation.  Having recently left my job in pursuit of starting my own business has left me with only myself to rely on.  I need myself.  I need to wake up motivated to write, to move things forward.  I can feel myself slipping into laziness and I know it’s booze’s fault.  Sigh.  For a while, I was unsure I’d be back here, I was unsure if I needed this.  I will probably continue to question it.  But for now, I know that I miss it, that I’m experiencing all the gross, demotivating effects of drinking again and not liking it, and that I’ve been unable to take a day off despite promising myself that I would.  So that must mean there’s an issue, right?  Right.  

Having attempted Belle’s 100 day challenge five times now, I think for now I’m going to take one day at a time.  For me, I think 100 days is too daunting.  Even 30 days sounds daunting, but I’ve done that before and it sounds more manageable.  I was considering thinking about it in five or ten day increments.  I know I can stay sober for ten days.  And hopefully then another ten.  Like that.  I’m always motivated in the beginning… it’s after I get a little time under my belt that I have a hard time sticking to it.  If anyone has tips on this particular challenge, I’d welcome them!  I do plan to be here writing every day, because just getting my thoughts down is a huge help.  

I’m happy to be back.  Day one here I come.  

 

 

extremes

In all my obsessive thinking about sobriety lately, one of the most pervasive thought (and I know I’m not totally alone here) is that my life, from here until eternity, if I keep this sober bit up, is going to be boring.  I will be one of “those” people, who are uptight prudes who don’t like to have any fun.  Those people who you secretly feel are living richer lives than you, but all you can consciously feel about them is disdain.  Those people who I dismissed from my mind as potential friends because I couldn’t imagine what we would do for “fun” if I got to know them better.  I realized I have a deep fear of being regarded this way and that I have been going around assuming that everyone thought like this.  

Well, guess what?  It was gently pointed out to me yesterday by a friend/coach, that, (wait for it…) everyone doesn’t feel this way about people who don’t drink!!  Am I alone here in feeling slightly shocked by this revelation?  I mean, I guess I knew that there were people out there, somewhere, certainly not in my world, who didn’t think like I did.  But something about the way it was said to me really sunk in.  I felt it, down in my gut, this heavy realization that I’ve been living with a belief system so deep and ingrained that I created to protect my own behavior and avoid facing my own issues.  It was not a comfortable feeling, suddenly becoming aware that I wasn’t right.  (I really like to be right.  Like, all the time.)  

Also, though, this revelation seeped under my skin like a soft warmth of reassurance.  Because, if I was wrong, then this new way of living didn’t have to be as scary or boring as I feared.  Maybe, just maybe, people would like me for me.  Maybe I could like myself for me.  Maybe I didn’t have to see life as two extremes:  drinking, or sober.  Fun, spontaneous, exciting, and adventurous, or heavy, stressful, irritating and dull.  Maybe it’s not as black and white as I’m making it out to be.  

In my household as a teenager, my dad was an alcoholic.  But he wasn’t abusive or mean to us.  Maybe a bit irrational at times, but at that age I wasn’t even aware that had anything to do with alcohol.  What I do remember is that my family used to have fun together.  We would play games, we would laugh, I remember my dad telling jokes and staying up late with us as we grew into young adults.  When he got sober nine years ago, just as my brother sank deep into an addiction that he will likely never come out of, the fun disappeared from our family dynamic.  In fact, I can’t really think of a single time that I’ve truly relaxed, laughed and had fun with my family since then.  We’ve talked a lot.  About my dad’s recovery, about my brother’s latest emergency, about the sadness and helplessness my parents feel, and more recently, about my nephew who they are raising because my brother is too incapable to have custody of him.  But we have not relaxed.  When I see my family now, I have a tightness in my chest and skin.  I feel a great weight on my shoulders.  I love them, but I feel drained just thinking about spending time with them because of the seriousness, the grief, the constant co-dependent talk about my brother.  When my dad got sober, as proud of him as I am, the fun disappeared.  

I had never made this connection that maybe that’s part of the reason I can’t envision a life without alcohol ever being fun or relaxing.  This was a light bulb moment for me.  I’ve been seeing sobriety as this awful place where no one laughs, no one relaxes, and everyone feels bad all the time.  As my coach said:  Why the hell would I want to go to that place?  But here I am, on day 27.  I’m not miserable, I’ve relaxed a good deal in the past 27 days.  I feel healthy.  The next question is, what about “fun?”  

What was fun, in my mind, about drinking was the sense of complete abandonment of responsibility for a short while.  In a life lived under extreme pressure to perform, to serve others, and appear in court every day, while dealing with my family shit thrumming in the back of my head all the time, meeting friends for happy hour was an opportunity to go somewhere else entirely.  Hours of blocked off time where worrying was not an option.  A place where I went from feeling frazzled to calm, from too pudgy/old/awkward looking to sexy and attractive.  A place where my sense of humor flowed, where people were drawn to me, where I was the smart and powerful career woman who could handle her booze.  Where I could embrace my sense of rebellion from the tight constructs I put on myself in my day-to-day, over-achiever lifestyle.  Where I could live without self-imposed rules.  

This is why moderation has failed for me recently.  The reason drinking is fun for me, is that while I am enjoying my wine, there are no rules.  I don’t have to get an “A.”  I don’t have to win my case.  I don’t have to be the “good child” for my parents.  I don’t have to lose 5 more pounds, go for a run, count my calories, organize my closet, finish the laundry, and end world hunger before I can be okay with myself.  In that first glass of wine, all of those cares melt away.  I instantly give myself permission to be in the space of relaxation and to let all those worries go.  To impose a two-drink limit on my “fun” time would completely interfere with the whole purpose of letting go in those moments.  I might only have two, but it won’t be because of a limit I put on myself.  The minute that limit is in my mind, the minute I will break it.  

Living a life of extremes (extreme work, extreme play) has been my norm for as long as I can remember.  I’m hoping as I move away from this lifestyle that the craving for total, alcohol fueled abandon will subside in favor of a more balanced enjoyment of life.  Fun doesn’t have to be destructive.  For all the fun of abandoning my rules and responsibilities in those drinking hours, I would only find triple that in anxiety for having woken up with a hangover and feeling even less capable of coping with them.  

“Not everyone thinks this way.”  This simple and gentle statement pretty much rocked my world.  Time to find the relaxation, laughter and fun that swim in all that soft gray area and quit jumping from black to white while ignoring all the beauty in the middle.  

p.s.  thanks, coach. 

xo

There’s something about day 10…

So now I’ve been here a few times, on my tenth day sober.  I like day ten.  It feels long enough to have detoxified, to feel healthy and clean, and like an accomplishment.  It feels like I can be sure that I’ve recommitted myself after several shorter stops and starts.  I haven’t been blogging as much, I think because I wanted to prove to myself that I was really doing it this time, the full 100 days, and I wasn’t sure I trusted myself to keep going.  But I’m feeling confident today.  Here’s what’s helping me this time around:

First, I made the very difficult decision to leave my job.  I love my career and find it very fulfilling in many ways.  I’m talented at what I do, people respect me in my profession, and I have lots of room to grow.  I’m sure that most people did not see my departure coming and expected me to continue to rise through the ranks.  However, I am positive, after reflecting a lot about myself and what is healthy for me over the past couple of years and especially the last couple months, that it was not good for my health to stay there.  I know that for me, the amount of stress I was dealing with at a job that is notorious for causing “compassion fatigue” and severe burnout was simply not good for me and not good for my ability to stop downing a bottle of wine every night.  So I resigned.  Life is too short to sacrifice your health and happiness to stay in a job just because you feel it’s the “right” thing to do, people expect it of you, or any other reason.  Ultimately, you only have today.  And today I choose to make decisions that take care of me.  I’m stepping out in faith that I will figure out my next path.  I have savings, and a plan, but it’s still a little scary.  However, I am also finding that just shaking up the routine of coming home stressed out of my mind and popping a bottle of wine to cope has already helped.  I’m doing different things with my time this past week and it feels pretty amazing to have the pressure relieved.  

Second, my husband is taking a break from drinking for a month or two with me.  He’s not a drinker of the same variety as I am (he drinks beer, I drink wine.  He drinks mostly on weekends and can easily go all week without, I drink daily.  He can open a beer, drink half, and leave the rest, I cannot.), but it still helps to have us be doing the same thing for now, especially while I get some time under my belt.  I’ve opened up to him more about what’s been going on for me and he is always there to listen and have my back.  Pretty awesome.  

Third, I opened up to one of my best friends about my struggle today, and she’s the first person I’ve talked to about this whole thing aside from you fine people in the sober blogosphere, my husband, and lovely the Belle (who inspired me to go for 100 days in the first place and who keeps patiently resetting my start date for me without judgment…).  This friend is one of my main drinking buddies, but also a true best friend, who I’ve been close to since we were 18 year old babies.  We’ve worked at a deli together, been roommates, gone to school together, and had countless partying times together.  Lots of fun, but also a large number of the craziest times I’ve had, and a lot of the things I regret, have involved her.  She is one of my favorite people on this planet and I love her to death… I was scared to tell her about my issues but felt like in a way, she would understand because she has seen me at my worst.  I was still afraid though, that my decision would somehow damage our friendship; that she would think I’m boring now, or wouldn’t want to hang out with me.  I was so happy to find out that I was wrong.  She totally understood and even related stories of a couple other friends of hers who are doing the same thing.  She’s been traveling a lot, and seems to have grown immeasurably herself.  

In short, I underestimated her and it hit me that I’m probably projecting my own shit onto her.  Just because my drinking self used to find sober people exhausting, boring, overanalytical, and irritating doesn’t mean that’s how she feels.  True friends will just be happy to hear that you’re taking care of yourself, and that’s what she did.  We went to yoga, had lunch, and I dyed her hair, and it was great.  No thing.  I’m not going to go around telling all my friends, but I did realize something today:  It’s okay for me to go ahead and make decisions that feel right for me.  I don’t have to have anyone’s permission or approval to choose what I know is the right choice for me.  I struggle with allowing myself to just do what I need to do out of fear of how those choices might inconvenience others.  I feel guilty for being vegetarian when invited to someone else’s house, for example, because I don’t want them to have to change their cooking plans for me.  Similarly, I was scared to be sober because I don’t want any of my drinking friends to be uncomfortable around me.  Does that sounds crazy?  Enough of that!!  Only we know what it’s like to live in our own bodies, and what our own intuition is telling us about what to put in them.  I’m learning that I need to give people more credit… most people who love you really don’t care about what you eat or drink as long as you are healthy and happy.  

It really comes down to support.  I’m supporting myself by leaving an unhealthy situation no matter how scary that change is, my husband is giving me some kick ass support, and so is my best friend.  And so are all of you.  So maybe there’s something to this asking for help business.  🙂  

That, and I am allowing myself a supportive cupcake as the need arises.  

 

Back from another vacation

That’s how it feels… like I took a vacation in “let’s see if I can moderate” land.  Only I wasn’t moderating very much.  I also wasn’t totally out of control.  But then again, I’m rarely out of control, and never in public.  I’m always able to appear to the casual observer, even to those close to me, like I’m very much in control.  The truth is, the only one I’m hurting is myself with my drinking.  Maybe occasionally my husband, when we have stupid drunken arguments, but those tend to be when we’re both out together and we come home drunk, tired, and cranky.  We’re both at fault in those situations, and our fights are never much to get upset about later.  

Last time I was here in sober land I was only here a week.  I really don’t know what happened, to be honest.  I sort of just had a case of the fuck-its.  I have had so much going on in my personal life (like deciding to quit my job, which I’ve been thinking about for a couple of years now!) that the effort to remain sober in the face of it all just felt overwhelming.  I missed drinking.  I missed relaxing, connecting with my friends, not having to make excuses for why I couldn’t join at happy hour.  I missed feeling “normal,” or what to me feels normal.  

So here’s what I learned.  I learned that I kept thinking about drinking all the time.  I kept feeling shitty in the morning.  I kept waking up at 2:00 a.m. and feeling panicky, sweaty, thirsty, and anxiety ridden.  Staring at the ceiling until I finally fell back asleep at 5:30 a.m., only half an hour (if I’m lucky) before my dog would wake me up to go out.  I learned that even though I intended to just return to drinking “like a normal person,” my version of that is at least two glasses of wine nightly (on the lightest of nights) to as much as seven to ten drinks on a weekend/celebratory night.  (I find lots of reasons to celebrate.)  And I learned that even though I had some fun times, the times that tempted me the most were at home alone, when it should be easiest for the “normal,” “social” drinker to not think about it.  All in all, the loss in self-confidence, sleep, and ability to stick to my fitness goals were not really worth the temporary fun of drinking.  I just want to feel better overall.  To feel confident when I wake up in the morning instead of when I have at least my first glass of wine down my throat.  To actually be able to stick by my intention to work out instead of blowing it off all the time because I’m slightly hung over.    

During the whole almost month that I had returned to “allowing myself to drink when I felt like it,” I did not miss a single day.  Despite my conscious awareness that I should not drink daily, that I could decide to take the night off.  It was just too hard.  I’m either drinking, or I’m not.  I don’t have an in-between.  It sucks.  I hope that someday I will, and that maybe quitting my way-too-stressful job and getting to a healthier place will allow for that.  But for now I’ve come to accept that I’m gonna have to stay here. 

So here I am, and today is day 4.  My last day of work was January 31, and a Friday, so I planned to start again on February 1.  After my colleagues took me out to celebrate my final day and wish me well.  It was a great send-off, I felt loved, and I am excited about the new things ahead, starting with this: 100 day challenge, take 3.  Or 4.  I can’t remember!  All I know is that it’s a tad humiliating to be here again, back at the beginning.  But it feels good and I missed this, the writing, the reading, the helpful comments from you other wonderful people who know how this feels.  This time I’m also doing Belle’s sober jumpstart to give myself a little extra push.  

Tonight, I made banana muffins while drinking tea.  I got the flu on day one, which helped since I didn’t want a drink anyway from being too sick.  Feeling slightly better now but I think still crummy from detoxing in general.  Doing mundane things and trying to take care of myself… putting not drinking back at the top of that list.  

Day 7 of no alcohol and Day 4 of juice fasting!

Other than being ever so slightly hungry, I feel like a million bucks, seriously!  I can’t believe how good my body feels for giving it this gift of cleansing.  It has made abstaining from alcohol easier the past couple of days, because I’m focused on the cleanse and detoxing.  For the past four days, I’ve been drinking fresh juices and water, with mixes made from veggies and fruits like carrot, celery, apple, kale, parsley, beet, pear, ginger, chard, cucumber, and oranges.  I’ve never felt so healthy since I was a child.  It’s weird.  My vision even seems clearer!  I have a natural energy that I know I’ve felt before but it’s been so many years that it’s a foreign feeling.  

Today is a bit hard, only because it’s Saturday and the husband and I are lounging around the house with no plans other than to relax and watch a movie or two tonight.  He just went to pick himself up a burrito (swoon) and some organic berries and mint for me to make myself a dessert juice.  Sounds good, right?  It’s going to be my mock wine.  Only better.  But seriously, lounging around the house with time to relax definitely makes me want to drink.  I associate relaxing with wine.  It’s the weekend!  Relax!  Pour a glass of pinot and have some lovely cheese and crackers!  (Okay now I’m really making it harder on myself.)  I’m wondering when those thoughts will dissipate, or if they ever will.  It’s a learned behavior — for so long I’ve had wine to relax at home.  I’ve loved nothing more than to curl up in front of a favorite show or good movie, snack away on something fun and delicious, and wash it down with some fancy wine.  I live in wine country after all!  It’s a way of life here.  

I need to experience the discomfort of creating new habits, and it’s hard.  (Whine.)  Today in yoga my teacher kept saying that the true practice of yoga is to experience happiness in times of discomfort.  In a challenging pose, for example.  That concept translates to life off the mat and I find it extremely useful to meditate on it when the cravings hit hard.  I am happier sober.  This has proven itself to be true, time and time again.  If I can breathe through the craving, breathe in that happiness I feel when I wake up hangover free in the morning, and breathe out the craving, breathe out that urge for a vice whose happiness is a lie, it helps.  

On that yoga-geek note, I’m excited to say that I’ve signed up to start my training to attain my yoga teacher 200 hour certification!  This is something I’ve wanted to do ever since I really started a regular practice in May of 2011, and I’ve decided that this is the perfect time to dive in.  So I’ll be busy for five weekends starting in February.  When I am practicing regularly, I am better able to handle everything, including quitting drinking.  Plus, having yoga training on weekends is that much extra incentive to be alcohol free… drinking and yoga teacher training just do not go hand in hand.  

Staying focused on my goals and breathing through the hard parts… that’s my mantra today.  What helps you through a difficult craving?

Day 6 and back to counting

I was hesitant to say I was counting days again until I made it through new years and even then, I felt like I needed a couple of days to strengthen my resolve.  Today I feel like I’m back on solid ground, so I’m comfortable taking a look at what day it is… day 6.

This is take three of my attempt at 100 days sober.  I seriously have learned so much from my first two attempts.  Even the fact that I’ve been attempting this means that my days of drinking have been seriously cut down in the past six weeks or so.  To have stints of sobriety and then times when I slipped into drinking has taught me loads about what triggers me to drink, what the after affects of drinking are (I could never tell before what was from alcohol and what wasn’t, because I never took a break), and simply how much better I feel once I’ve been sober for a few days.  The feeling of health is something I didn’t even realize I was missing.  I never thought I was hung over on weekdays, but looking back it seems comical that I didn’t think I was.  I woke up every day with a fog in my head.  It was hard to remember things.  Everything seemed difficult.  I had trouble breathing.  I was nauseated.  But still didn’t think of that as being a hangover.  Read = denial.

A couple days before new years my husband and I watched the documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.  It totally inspired us to buy a juicer, which we did.  We’re still waiting for it to arrive, but in the meantime, when we got up on new years day we decided to go to Whole Foods and get a fresh juice for breakfast.  We spent the day lounging around, except for me going to yoga.  I felt so good after the juice that I decided to turn it into a juice fast to let my digestive system rest and detoxify a bit.  So for the past three days I’ve had lots of fresh vegetable juice, kombucha tea, detox tea, and tons of water.  I’m slightly hungry but most of today I have felt pretty amazing!  I’m surprised at myself for doing this even though I know the benefits of a fast every now and then.  I probably haven’t done this for ten years.

Usually, the thought of fasting was too much for me because I would have to have no alcohol and there was always something coming up where I’d “have to drink.”  It’s so liberating to not have that mentality going on right now, that I have to drink just because some event is coming up.  Because really, that mentality included every event.  Every dinner out, every time I met with a friend, every party, every social interaction, period.  And if I tried to abstain at something, a friend would inevitably say, “Oh, come on and just have a glass of wine.  It’s [insert special occasion here].”  What they didn’t know, and what would make me cringe inside, was that I would have been drinking at home every night that week and was exhausted from my solo “special occasions.”  Even times when I didn’t feel like drinking when out, or at least knew that I should ease up or take a break, I would do it anyway because it’s the socially acceptable thing to do.  I’d muscle through the first glass of wine even when it tasted bad because my body was begging me to stop.  Once that glass sunk in, the rest went down just fine.  And that’s how I kept going.

To not have that compulsion ruling my life right now really does feel amazing.  I feel like a weight has lifted from my whole body.  And maybe this is the vegetable juice, but it actually feels like my cells are thanking me.  I’m going to try and stick to this fast for at least 7 days.  They recommend 10, but not sure I can pull that off.  Whenever I feel like I need to call it off I will.  But for now, it feels perfect to be allowing my body to heal itself and rid itself from toxins.  Perfect way to start the new year.

I’m going to email Belle (tiredofthinkingaboutdrinking.wordpress.com) and start my count over at 6.  This time I am more determined than ever to make this 100 days happen.