The Issue of Control

I have updated my profile to say that I am seeking to gain control over alcohol in my life and not the other way around. I have to be honest with myself – I simply don’t want to quit and placing myself in a challenge simply makes me want it more because I’m a rebel that way.

I have decided that the issue is not only about control but rather just my overall health (in mind, body and spirit) and while I had some instances where alcohol dragged me down, I feel I am in a different place these days.

Yesterday, after our appointment at the psychiatrist and running around to get my daughter ready to go to camp for a few nights with friends, I made the sound and guilt free decision to have some drinks and did so very moderately. I had not had any since July 1st and the reason I opted to have some yesterday was because I could … I have been mostly AF the past few months in comparison to my previous patterns of drinking and when I speak about losing the booze ‘habit’ in my life – what I am seeking is to just have a normal relationship with it where I can take it or leave it.

The past 2 months are a testament to how I have improved my habits and how my health is taking priority with my exercising and with my efforts to lose weight, well booze doesn’t fit in except for the odd occasions if I want to reach my goals.

The team I lead/participate on is called “Cutting Down the Booze (Calories)” team and it’s been the most amazing place for me (before I found this wonderful blog world here). What I like is there is no judgement only support – for whatever a person decides their goal is going to be.

I will admit I have some slight ‘guilt’ about ditching the 100 day challenge yet again – but I’m like a rebel when I feel I am ‘told’ what to do, I do the opposite and so while I plan on being mostly AF still, I will not publicly join any more challenges like these.

I believe in accountability and I have that with my team. I post publicly about the days I am AF or not and chat on our daily thread daily. Keeping in touch with others, through there and the blogs here really keep me grounded and give me some great perspective.

What I noticed about my decision to have drinks yesterday is that I was much more at peace with myself – there was no guilt or hurriedness in making the decision. It was done in a calm fashion and I was in bed super early, feeling great about my day. The session with my daughter was good and we came away with good tools to help her with her self-harming issues. I felt ‘free’ because she was away for the night (well until Friday) and it’s a nice break because the past few months have been really difficult and nerve wracking. I am living life one day at a time … sometimes one hour at a time, but just practicing more being present and living in the now.

I wrote a blog on the other side about forgiveness and I forgive myself for my past and welcome the changes I’m undertaking. I see progress and how far I have really come and I feel good about it! That is what matters most.

“The only time you should ever look back, is to see how far you have come”…

Letter to a Female Alcoholic

A team member posted this link on another site I am a member of and it spoke volumes to me. This Letter to a Female Alcoholic really made me think (like I don’t do enough of that already lol).

The parts that stood out for me…

“You may have been drinking for months or years. You would be horrified and deny it hotly if anyone called you an alcoholic, but secretly you are wondering whether you are an alcoholic. I’ll answer that immediately by telling you that if you can’t control your drinking, if you drink more than you would care to admit or if alcohol is costing you more than money, the chances are you are an alcoholic.”

The debate in my head about whether or not I’m an alcoholic is ongoing. If I can stop without issue – doesn’t that mean that I’m not an alcoholic? The fact that I crave it – does that mean I’m an alcoholic. What defines an alcoholic? I have come to the conclusion that I’m a heavy drinker when it comes time to days where I decide to drink because it’s never 1 or 2. I don’t experience blackouts normally (it has happened on days where the effect of the booze seemed to hit me unexpectedly). I generally have drinks and enjoy them – but on many occasions my drinking is done alone, at home while watching TV and I sit there and zone out. When I go out socially, I drink and wonder if people are noticing how much I’m drinking and if they will think it’s too much. Then there are times I watch others and think they drink too much lol.

My daughter moved out in the Fall and she said one of the reasons was because of my drinking – yet I didn’t think it was that bad – I just figured she was looking for a reason to blame it on. Now that she has moved back in, she has noticed that my drinking is much less frequent and it’s not an issue.

I did go through a phase where I ‘hung out’ with someone who drank with me and well it was an enabling situation. This person was very dear to me and she passed away in May of 2007 at the young age of 57. While they said it was cancer – I believe it was linked to the heavy drinking she did.

When I moved to this new city – I changed my habits considerably. I kicked the addiction to pain killers (I used to take Oxycotin – not prescribed to me but rather another ‘buzz’ or feel good escape). The drinking continued, but much less frequent and I never went out much. Back in my home town I would go out to the bar after work almost every night – just for a couple of drinks but mostly to socialize because all my friends were there EVERY day. I came to the realization I couldn’t keep living like that thus my move.

I guess life circumstances put me in the midst of drinking issues for decades now. From parents who drank too much, my ex – when I met him he was on the rebound and drinking a 40pounder a day and then I guess I ‘joined’ in because it was to hard to manage sober.

Now those days are long gone and my life is very different. I have been a single mom for the past 11 years – raising a now 12 and 16 year old who are both presenting with anxiety/depression and one with self-harming issues. I have my hands full and need a clear and sober mind to deal.

So my intention is to be sober most of the time. I am not saying I will quit forever. I am not sure I’ll make the 100 days but for now I’m on Day 8 again.

I know I have goals that I want to attain and those include losing weight and getting in better physical shape – and alcohol is a no no in most programs (or allowed very minimally) so I’m thinking SHRINK not DRINK for these purposes too.

So am I an alcoholic? Who knows?! I am a person who came to this blogging world because I know that alcohol seems to take up too much real estate in my mind and I need to fill it up with better and healthier things!

Another point in the letter that stood out:

“Women drink because they are unhappy and they are unhappy because they drink and the vicious spiral whirls on until one cannot tell the cause of this deception. The way back from this unfathomable torture must include treatment for the emotional, physical, mental and spiritual.”

I want to get off the hamster wheel and truly want to heal myself – mind, body and spirit… One day at a time!

Cravings (and Hub of Health)

Yesterday was a much better day without cravings. It’s interesting how they seem to come in waves and sometimes the water is calm and they are not there.

I managed to stay very busy and ‘productive’ yesterday and the thought never really crossed my mind. What did cross my mind was how ‘good’ it felt to be getting so much done and how I wish I could bottle that ‘good’ feeling to uncap when I had tougher days where the cravings cried out to me.

I know it’s early in the game for me and I’ve been here a few times before. I know that I can’t get over confident until I get to new ground with respect to days of NOT drinking. For now, my goal is to beat my last best of 33 days – and YES I’m still aiming for the 100 day challenge. But I need to take things one step at a time.

I still have wavering thoughts about the why of doing this – do I really need to do this – maybe I am ok as I am, but deep down, I KNOW things need to change. What that change will be is something I will have to discover as I go along – the lifetime plan of booze or no booze.

For now I’m trying to keep busy by finding new activities and passions. I am also trying to find ways to supplement my income and so I developed this associates website where I post items to sell from Amazon and if people purchase through me (same price as if they went directly to Amazon), I earn a small commission. I figure why not give it a try? I started it thinking about focusing on books but now I have created the FB page called Hub of Health. I am very passionate about Healthy living and so I am going to work on gathering items that people may be interested in to add to their inventory of items to help get them healthier.

If you have items you think would be good to add there – I’d love your input. I’d love it if you like my page and if you are considering buying anything through Amazon, come through my website. I have to say working on it kept me busy and gave me hope that perhaps I can generate an income to help me out of my current ‘tight’ financial situation. Have a visit to the Website and let me know what you think.

PS – there are other Amazon links that cover all types of items on my website and they all connect back to my account – so anything you are looking for … let me know! Amazon really is a great place to shop!

The Wolf as a Symbol of Strength

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I know that many refer to the voices in our heads as “Wolfie” and I have to say that for me – perhaps this is not a good thing. You see, for me the Wolf is a sign of strength. The picture above is a poster I found at a trading post years ago and it was my inspiration to make many changes in my life including leaving an addiction to oxy’s, and making my big move to my current city (leaving my home town of just over 40 years) to start fresh and on my own in many ways. 

I need to come up with another identifier because this one doesn’t work for me. It’s like contradicting the strength images that have carried me to where I am today. I have wolf blankets and this pic below – I’m not sure if you can see it but it was a photo I took on a hike at Onaping Falls and I couldn’t believe it – as I saw the face of a wolf in the water… do you see it?

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So yes, there’s a wolfie in my life, but he’s been my strength and power symbol. When it comes to the voices in my head as I try to ride this sober car – I don’t know what to call it. 

Tonight was another really difficult night (although I had an excellent day with friends who helped me install the AC and then we went swimming and had a nice BBQ dinner together). My daughter asked to talk to me… and I knew by the way she approached me that it would have to do with her self-harming issues. Sure enough – she has cut again (first time since June 23). AND she also took some laxatives and melatonin on Friday while I was at work (needless to say everything is locked up again). She didn’t take enough to do any damage but it did make her feel sick. She handed in the blades she used to cut and the tools she used to take apart the sharpeners (that she found at friends’ this time). We had a long talk and we agreed on a safety plan and she committed to being safe and NOT self-harm. Thankfully we have counseling and the psychiatrist appointment this week. 

So Wolfie is here with me – but in strength tonight. I heard the voices calling today when I was enjoying the day with my friends – craved the drink a bit but kept busy. So I’m riding the sober car – day 5 today. The thought of caving in was averted and you know why? A lot of it had to do with this blog… because I really do want to lose the ‘habit’ in that I don’t want to fall back into old patterns, but rather want to build new and healthier ones.

So there’s a point for this girl tonight. Time to call it a night. 

Friday Nights

What is it about Fridays that makes us think like we have to do something different? I’m closing the night sober and will be hitting the sack soon – but I was thinking about how my mentality around the whole weekend thing had been conditioned to associate the ‘weekend’ with alcohol.

Now I’m looking at it in a whole new light. At work I was excited about getting off so I could come home and have a ‘date night’ with my daughter (we had planned to go out for dinner, but she wasn’t feeling well – however we managed to still get out a bit).

Then friends that I had not seen in a long time stopped by with their 1 year old – such a doll! And they offered to let me use their AC because right now I have none and we have a heatwave including very high humidity going on… so I’m grateful for that. We’ll be installing it tomorrow on the main floor. I have lived here for almost 5 years and never had AC in the summer – that will be better than any glass of booze lol.

Then my daughter called a friend and decided to go have a sleepover so I’m here alone, on a Friday night (the usual thing would have been ‘hey I can drink and waste the night away since I have no kids here’). Instead, I pushed myself to get my workout done even though it was later than I normally would do one and then talked with my cousin for a bit (she’s someone who lives in town but we don’t stay in touch – and yet tonight we talked for almost an hour exchanging our “teen” challenges).

I then took a nice bath and now almost ready for bed. My Friday nights are going to look like this now – tired after a good productive day. Got a good workout in. Ate well – no usual mindless munching that comes when I drink booze. And I’m beat! I just wrote out my to do list for tomorrow and looking forward to the weekend for the time off – to do things/activities (some less fun than others lol) – all of which DON’T include ‘da booze.

Quietly riding the sober car… coasting along without cravings and life is Good!

Sharing Resources

I came across an article today and decided to take a chance and delve into this venture and hope that perhaps it will help my financial situation.

It’s an opportunity to simply share links to items people would normally want to buy, but in doing so through my website I make a commission. My passion – BOOKS!! So I created http://hsbookshub.extremeproductsmall.com/sobriety.html and created a specific tab regarding sobriety, including books on completely being AF and some on moderation management.

I just started the website tonight and I have to say I’m excited about this project. I’m not sure what it will bring back in terms of income – at the very least I hope I cover my costs.

I’m going to be working to add more links to books that I have in my own library. I took an inventory tonight and MAN I have loads! I am a true self-help geek .. but they have all helped me at various stages of my life.

So if you want to check out some books relative to our community here, no pressure, but I’d love if you did so through my website. It’s all done through Amazon.

I am looking forward to doing more development and exploring the full possibility of where this can take me. I have dreams of becoming a writer one day, and publish my own book … but for now, I’ll be the book pusher 🙂

Now where am I again in the sober drive? Well my last drink was July 1st and plans to aim for the 100 days is there and heck – this new project may just be the distraction or new activity to keep me busy and keep Wolfie at bay!

A Work in Progress – Day 1 Again…

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So the BBQ yesterday for Canada Day – drinks were involved and one was placed in front of me and I had some. The host was definitely a ‘pusher’ but it was my own doing and I was ok with it (except for the headache as it’s not a drink I normally drink). So I had a couple and then came home and laid down to try to get rid of the headache. Perhaps my body is telling me that the stuff is toxic for me. I used to get frequent headaches/migraines and when I had my 33 day stretch – I noticed I didn’t have any such pains…

So I’m back on Day 1 and planning on another stretch. I am still in the 100 day challenge and want to get there – to see if the noise really will quiet down … and just because it’s something I have not done in decades.

It is definitely a work in progress and I have my moments – strong one minute and weak the next when the chatter in my head gets too loud and I start convincing myself that it’s ok to have a drink.

As I have said before, I’m not sure if I want to quit for good, but I do want to try to achieve this milestone of 100 days. I know there will be many social situations presenting themselves to me and it’s a matter of either staying away from some or planning better strategies to ensure I don’t fail.

Things at home are calming down for now – so that will definitely help. My oldest is now gone to Florida for the summer leaving me alone with my 12 year old who was having the issues… maybe the time we’ll have alone will allow us to heal some of the wounds and with counseling I hope she will be in better spirits before school starts up again.

I also got to see my wonderful friend today – it’s amazing how he makes me feel so great! He’s a man I met back in March and we’re not an item per say, but he’s just the ‘medicine’ I need in my hectic life right now. AND – he DOESN’T drink 🙂 … he’s been super busy with work but things are going to slow down for him after July 8th until Sept 25th so my hope is we’ll see each other at least once a week. He gives me motivation to stay sober and also to get in shape. Dating has that effect on a girl… you want to look good for ‘da man 😉 (but I am also doing this for ME so I can feel good about ME).

It’s just another reason to stay sober and on track with my health/exercise goals. When I drink – I tend to neglect my workout routine. So it’s July 2nd – and it may not be completely dry because I had drinks yesterday, but I’m aiming for the rest of the month being dry.