The Warrior (or Wolf) Within

I started reading the book “Unleash the Warrior Within” and the intro by the author Richard “Mack” Machowicz states a few things I felt really resonated with the wolfie voice within when it comes to alcohol.

Here’s an excerpt (and he’s a Navy Seal so some terminology has to do with his background but it fits for all) “What is the war within? It is the battle that takes place within our minds. Just like in real war, we have conflicting ideas that fight against one another. This conflict is internal and begins with that tiny voice within us that tells us we’re not capable – that we shouldn’t bother striving to overcome the challenges placed before us…. On one level, we believe we are capable of great things… But at the first sign of stress, fatigue, and fear that diminishing voice creeps in. Our mind begins to work against us. That tiny voice grows in intensity and volume. We hesitate. We begin to doubt our abilities.”

As I was reading this I was thinking about Wolfie and how he creeps into my head and how it really is like we’re at war on some days. It’s been pretty quiet on the battlegrounds as I embark on day 8 of the 100 day challenge.

My weekend has been super productive and I’ve been keeping so busy that time is flying by – with no time for the voices to act up. In my cleaning/de-cluttering, I found a page with goals I had set out to accomplish for 2013 and guess which one is on there?? Here’s part what I wrote “For 2013 my top priority is to be fit and healthy. To achieve this, I will make changes in my lifestyle including saying NO to alcohol more often and YES to trying new activities.”

So you see, this beast or opponent, ‘da Booze, has been on my mind for a very long time and the battle has been constant. I’m ready to move beyond the battles and onto victory now – starting with the completion of the 100 day challenge.

In the book (Unleashing the Warrior Within) – they talk about targets and weapons to use to achieve the success you seek. I would say my target is to be free of the thief ‘alcohol’ that has robbed me of much in life… and the weapon is this blog, the other bloggers with the same goal and my own inner strength and determination to reach the target/goal.

The outcome or return on effort for this is beyond measure. I know that my life will be so much better without the dependence or worry or planning around the next drink, how much, when, etc. I feel freed since joining the challenge because it’s a no brainer when I wake up and ask myself – what will I do today… drinking is NOT an option but so many other great things are!

Looks like mother nature may even be on my side and the rain they called for may not come as they had originally predicted so I’m signing off and starting my day with a walk by the river…

Losing It…

I chose to name my blog Lose ‘da Booze, which was a bit of a spin off my team’s name on another website that I lead called Cutting Down The Booze. It’s a website that has to do with weight loss (and I’m not being too specific because I kind of want to keep these things a bit separate – although they are tied in some ways).

The alcohol in my life has caused me to gain weight over the years. It was my crutch, my cushioning to numb myself or protect myself from the stress of the outside world that I was dealing with. Whenever I drank, I also ate, a LOT, and mostly bad foods for me – so double whammy! I would wake up the next day feeling awful about it and then the hunger was there – need the food to coat the stomach and recuperate after all that drinking right?! And then sometimes, the drink would come again.

I am here because I know I am not able to be a moderate drinker at this point and so I have chosen to abstain – for the 100 day challenge and after that we’ll see. Tied to this challenge is my goal to become healthier in other areas of my life. I have been a long time member of this website. I was successful in losing 30lbs and when I look at my journal – it happened when my drinking days were to a minimum. I am now working to lose the 20lbs I regained and beyond to reach my ultimate goal. In the past I was able to lose weight and drink maybe one day a week but that was 1 or 2 drinks. Nowadays, when I would have 1 drink – well it would turn into ‘let’s finish the bottle’ and the 1 day of drinks would turn in to 2 or 3 or more and it would be that much harder to stop again.

While I know that in order to succeed at this challenge I can’t take on too much or I’ll get overwhelmed and quit, but as I told Belle – I will NOT relapse over food. Yesterday I was feeling a bit ansy – didn’t know what to do with myself and opening up the cupboard doors, the fridge… was I hungry – not really, but I was looking for something. I ended up having a few snacks and then came upstairs to my room to remove myself from the area that I am most tempted.

I’ve setup my room as sort of a zen like space where I come to blog and read, or simply meditate. It’s my escape when I need it. I also have the wonderful river near by and I did go for a walk there too in order to try to get past these feelings.

I spent the day with my 16 year old and we went to walk around and browse the market. We talked and she mentioned ‘you haven’t been drinking much eh mom – I haven’t seen alcohol in the house for a while, or not much’. Her observation meant so much because we’ve been going through some tough times (in the Fall she moved out on me for a couple of months and said that my drinking was part of the reason). I acknowledged her observation telling her that this month, with the exception of last weekend, I have been sober. I also made it known to her about this 100 day challenge I’m taking – so really putting it out there for accountability by those who mean the most to me.

You see, my mom when through a heavy drinking phase and when she drank, she was downright nasty and moody. I remember not wanting to be around her so I understand I guess where my daughter was coming from – although I didn’t think my drinking was that bad. I don’t want my kids to remember a mom that drank too much. My parents were both very inactive and didn’t do much – I pride myself on working out every day almost. They see this in me. I bug them to come take walks with me. Working where I work has something to do with that because it’s what we’re all about – being healthy and active and we also deal with obesity research.

So while I’m losing the booze in my life right now – I do also hope to lose the weight again and with just 6 days sober, I’m off to a good start. The booze could cause my weight to fluctuate by 3 to 5lbs in a day!! I’m happy to report that from Monday to today – I am down 5.5lbs – and that makes me incredibly happy!

I promised Belle though, that if I felt the hunger/cravings … I would cave in to sweets/treats rather than booze and perhaps on those days kick up the activity.

It’s true what they say about people like us, at least it’s an observation I have made, is that we have addictive type personalities. When we let go of one habit, it’s like we have to find something else to replace it. I’m choosing health and fitness to do this – because it is also another passion in my life that I wish to pursue, inspired by my co-workers on a daily basis!!

So yup… I’m ‘losing it’… ‘da booze and ‘da weight. I am turning 2013 around before we reach the halfway mark and as I made that resolution in January (which many may have made) – I AM going to make 2013 the BEST year of my life!!

Drink of Life

Quiet Saturday morning here. It’s gorgeous out. I’ve spent the last couple of hours reading, had a nice breakfast and getting ready to start day 6 of the 100 day challenge.

While I do not drink coffee (never have in my entire life), I saw this video Life is a Cup of Coffee and loved the analogies.

We are so often times worried about the outside shell of the ‘drink of life’ if you will – that we tend to forget the importance of the quality of what’s inside. I guess it makes me reflect on the whole issue in what we choose to drink in life, literally.

Alcohol has taken up way too much real estate in my head for way too long! I’m tired of the internal struggle and debate – should I or shouldn’t I so joining the challenge has permitted me to just turn it OFF and it’s allowing me to focus on more important matters in life.

The energy I wasted on it was incredible! I know it’s early in the game for me, and wolfie did come out a bit yesterday with the ‘ol Friday night/it’s not only the weekend but a LONG weekend – let’s have a drink. The sun was shining – it was gorgeous… but I stayed in my sober car and kept driving to the grocery store and picked up some healthy stuff for meals instead.

Later, I went for a nice walk along the river – I’m lucky enough to live near some really beautiful scenic paths which I take advantage of often. I can’t run – but I can walk… and it’s the same in this whole sober journey. I’m working hard on pacing myself and not thinking too far ahead. I’m soaking in moment by moment and recognizing the ‘GOOD’ feelings I’m feeling.

When I go through sober periods, I get that good feeling and sometimes I wish I could bottle it, to unlock it on the harder days when I am tempted to cave in but it’s just so not worth it!

So I’m going to drink in the good life today… stay sober and enjoy some quality time with my 16 year old as we go walk around and check out the market on yet another gorgeous sunny day!

Life is Good!!

Peeling Back the Layers – Some History …

I provided a brief intro about why I am here, but I thought I would come clean and provide a bit more details about my history.

I have been drinking since I was legally allowed to – but worse – even before that!! I remember sneaking some from my mom’s bottle of rye and putting it under the bed in plastic cup. I’d take just a bit at a time so she wouldn’t notice it. Then I’d pour it into a pop can and I’d go out and have drinks and share with my friends – boy was I cool (NOT lol). Then one day my mom was dusting under my bed and found it as she spilt it over and said ‘if you want a drink as for it’. My mom went through a phase where she drank heavily – I mean like a 40oz a day of Rye and she was NASTY when she did. I hated her like that.

My dad too – he would normally just have a couple of beers after his shift but I recall some earlier days where he was literally fall down drunk and heard stories about him before then too. He used to drink moonshine at xmas. I recall him laughing as he told a story of going to the bootleggers to get drinks (in those days the hours to get booze was more restrictive) and with the stroller (yup he had my sister with him), on the way back home picked up the jug of milk and  fell down but didn’t spill the milk so he thought it was all good.

I also have many memories of my godparents as I spent many summers and they both drank a lot! Me and my cousins would hide upstairs, hear the arguing and my uncle would get down right crazy at times – I remember a time he took a shotgun out – although I blocked out more of the details.

Then my oldest sister – she became an alcoholic at one point in her life. She came close to dying about 3 times and then she was sober for 18 months. Four years ago, in November she passed from her disease as she started back up – she was only 50.

My own history beyond those early days… when I turned 19 I couldn’t wait to legally get into a bar. I spent my time hanging around people who drank – a lot. The first guy I lived with was abusive with me (psychologically and physically). At a party one night – he was having fun and I asked to leave – he says no… then I start having fun and we HAVE to go and I said no – I’m having fun now… well I paid for that. When we got home, we argued and somehow I managed to get beat for that. He stepped on my face and I had a nice black eye – nice for the company we had coming the next day. I had to make the excuse that I fell and was clumsy of course.

Abuse is something I think that has been a theme for me and probably a big reason for my issues around alcohol – to numb or forget some of those experiences… yet the alcohol ended up bringing more on.

I was taken advantage of by some close friends (a couple) who made sexual advances to me and well – it went too far and I blocked it out (I was beyond drunk and the next day felt like SHIT). I also had family members try, friends’ husbands try with me… I just wondered if I was asking for it because it seemed to be happening so much. I even have memories of instances that a priest tried to grab my breast when I was an alter girl, my cousin trying to fondle me, a neighbour asking me if he could show me his penis for candy money… URGH – no wonder I was MESSED UP!! At the time of course I never said anything to my parents.

When I met my now ex-husband (father of my children) – I jumped from the frying pan into the fire so to speak. I had just broken up with the abuse man I lived with for 2 years. Met my ex when I was working a 2nd job at my sister’s restaurant to make ends meet – at the time he was drinking a 40oz of rye a day and getting into fights pretty much every weekend. Talk about being a magnet for the WRONG kind of man in my life!

After we divorced – I was alone for 4 years and let another man in only to be literally broken down again because he too drank too much and was into cocaine way too much too. That ended horridly – with police coming to get him in the middle of the night from my home (while his daughter was visiting us) because he had propositioned a 12 year old.

I wrote a lot of this story in a story I published in a book but a more ‘G’ rated version – without as much detail (I was limited to 3000) words – here’s the book author’s description/link if you are interested: Passwords – Passing on Words of Wisdom and Strength Volume 2 – it was a great experience and therapeutic to write this and show an outcome that proved anyone could overcome their difficulties.

But since then – I’ve still had my ups and downs – even though my life is much better. I have been single for the past 10 years (I don’t count that last one) and I know that the issue with alcohol and my relationships with men is also a bad mix.

I met a man recently and for now I call him my friend. He doesn’t drink. I didn’t ask him why (yet – but I’m curious) and so far it’s been great – unlike anything I’ve ever experienced… He is a hard worker (has his own business dealing with productions/entertainment; he works in a union position doing some real interesting work; and he’s a photographer), and when we do get to spend time together, I can lose myself without really losing myself (because I’m not doing it in a drunken haze – I’m sober and it’s amazing!!)

So where am I today with all of this you ask? Well I’ve done a lot of reading, soul searching, accessed counseling and now hoping to bite the last piece of the puzzle and kick my dependency on the booze. I don’t consider myself an alcoholic – but I know the tendencies and danger is there for me. What I’m hoping to achieve now is a new level of sobriety – and beyond this 100 day challenge – I’m not sure what will happen and for now, not going to think about it.

I know sober I can make better decisions. I know sober I will NOT let myself be taken advantage of or give in to ‘bad’ situations because when I drink – that’s exactly what happens and the regret and shame is just NOT worth it.

I know that my issue with booze was that I was using it as a crutch – hiding from my problems, the shame of it all and most people who know me don’t know all these details about me. They see me as I am today – happy, positive and hard working – but inside, I still have days when I’m not so strong and it’s a constant fight, but I’m going to fight the good fight … for me, and most especially for my girls. I don’t want their childhood memories of me be of that of a drinking mother who was mean/nasty when she drank or didn’t do much with her life besides sit in front of the TV and drink. Don’t get me wrong – my mom did get out of that phase to where she didn’t drink at all – she was an amazing woman. What did it for her was one night – she got so drunk and was visiting a neighbour in an upstairs apartment and on the way back, tripped on her robe and fell down the stairs and cracked her skull open. Luckily my dad was there or she might have died. That was the scare that pulled her away from the alcohol.

I don’t want to get to that point – where something really bad could happen – because I am all the girls have! I have worked too hard to be where I am today and looking forward to building a stronger and more purposeful life – SOBER!!

 

** Update 2016 – I FINALLY hit my 100 Days after years of trying (September 8 to December 16) and doing it again (started January 1st) and seriously considering perhaps going longer. **

The Fog is Lifting

It’s only day 4 and I can already start to feel that feeling I get when I’ve been without the booze for a while. That alcohol fog is lifting and I’m thinking more clearly, my concentration is better and I’m more productive.

I was reading some posts in my team thread through another website about how some were feeling after having drinks the night before – the bloating, the headaches, the general shitty feelings – I much prefer to be feeling as I do right now… On game, feeling good about the direction I’m taking with my life and pursuing other passions with the free time.

It’s incredible how much time I wasted in my life with the drinking. I let things fall behind even with general things like daily or weekly household chores and then the mess would drive me nuts and spiral me into more crap/shitty feelings – even feeling overwhelmed by it all.

One thing I know I’ll have to watch for because it’s what has happened in the past is that I am all ‘gung ho’ to do this and keep so busy I tire myself out so I’m trying to pace myself now. If I start to think of ALL the things I’ve put off because I was too busy drinking I get discouraged so I am not going there. Instead I’m going to focus on the good things, what I am accomplishing with every day that passes.

I also know I have to let go of the whole ‘counting’ thing (even though I refer to it here and have on each blog) and just go with the flow and make each day the best I can.

We have our long weekend coming up (I live in Ottawa, Canada) and my youngest daughter will be away leaving me with my 16 year old. We are supposed to do something together, but she may very well end up hanging out with friends instead so I need to make a plan of what I’ll do – or what we’ll do. The weather is supposed to be nice. I am not rich with funds so if I do something it has to be low cost or no cost. Unfortunately I do enjoy the whole retail therapy when I’m going through this – but perhaps I can just do window shopping.

I am still ok in that I’m not craving but on payday, Friday of a long weekend – the voices may get louder… and I’ll turn to my blogging to work it through and reach out the support I need. For today – I am just grateful for how I’m feeling – clear, strong and healthier than I was on Monday.

Who Do You Tell (or don’t)?!

How many of you debate who you should tell about your quest for sobriety or if you should keep it quiet for the first little while … just in case you fail? Like any other resolution you make and how many of those do we make – I just ponder about who I should or shouldn’t tell. This blog is a perfect way for me to get it out without judgement, and with the most supportive encouragement from people who GET the mental struggle I’m dealing with around ‘da booze.

Moderation is not an option for me right now – that I know for a fact. And so, I have to learn to just let it go and not think too far ahead but baby steps. Right now it’s easy – the wolfie is not crying out. I had to laugh because we probably all have our nick names for that voice inside our heads that tell us “go ahead – you’ve been good” or enough of this shit – I’ve been busting my ass all week and I deserve a good night ‘off’.

I wanted to share this poster of mine and again – as I think about it – I guess I have some good wolfies in my presence (I even had a guy who’s native name was White Wolf). This poster was the inspiration that helped me to push forward and make the huge move from my hometown of over 40 years to where I currently live (4 years ago). Image

So while I’m strong right now and the voices are quiet – I feel like I could tell the world, but I won’t simply because I want THIS time to be different. I’m going to keep my own outer voice quiet until I’m a bit further into my path to sobriety (finishing day 3 today). Instead I’ll share through my own blogging.

I came across this post – and it’s one I absolutely love about 9 Unconventional Ways to Let Go. There’s some really good ideas to apply when the voices do start to get louder or when the cravings kick in. For today, I’m peacefully going to bed … and only the good wolfie is in my head tonight.

Day 2 of my 100 Day Challenge

I joined a 100 Day Challenge yesterday, and pledged the following: 

“I will not drink for 100 days.  No matter what.  I can cry, but I will not drink.  I can go to bed or go home early. I might feel distressed … but I will not drink.  Bad things might happen, but I will not drink.  Incredibly shitty things may happen to someone around me, or my neighbor, or my friend’s friend’s grandmother.  But there will be no booze.  Funerals? Weddings? Amputation?  I’m not drinking for 100 days no matter what happens … No matter what.”

It comes from this wonderful blog titled “Tired of Thinking About Drinking” and you know what – that’s just where I am at. 

My history with ‘booze’ is long standing – from breaking my habit of daily drinking, to going on binges, to realizing that this just isn’t for me anymore. My own sister died as a result of her drinking (she was an alcoholic) four years ago (she was only 50). My parents both went through phases where they drank heavily. I went through phases where I drank heavily, blacked out or got myself into predicaments or allowed myself to be taken advantage of.

I’m a single mother of two girls 12 and 16 and they are going through some really difficult things right now (depression and anxiety) and I need to be fully there for them which I can’t do when I am drinking.

I thought I could do moderation, but I tried that and whenever I’d have that first drink – it was too much because I didn’t want to stop. 

I did do a 30 day AF month (Alcohol Free) as part of my reading in the Moderation Management book but that was over two years ago and I have not been able to even come close to that… so why jump into a 100 day challenge? Well oddly enough it’s just that – a challenge. I did the 30 day but never a 100 day and I’m even contemplating that I may shelf the booze for good out of my life.

I’ve been researching and finding some great links and resources and reading other blogs. I decided to journal my own journey – more for me than anyone else. I love to write so why not?!

I blog daily on a health/fitness website, but obviously the focus is not solely on the booze (although there is a group I lead where we discuss the issue and are able to share in our ups and downs – very supportive group that I’ve grown very fond of). I just found that it wasn’t enough to blog there and because I want THIS time to be different, I need to dive in and make changes including opening up perhaps another venue to be able to vent my thoughts as I go through this journey.

Sure it’s only day 2 and I feel better today than yesterday and so far the voices (or Wolfie as Belle refers to it) are not hounding me… but when they do – I will be ready. With the support I have through my group, from Belle (bless your heart) and my own journaling – I know I can do this!!