Moments of Clarity – Re-discovering myself

I had a few flashes over the past few days of what it feels like to be the ME that was before alcohol became a regular part of my life. Those flashes gave me some good feelings about things to come as I continue to NOT drink. The clarity I am feeling and the drive I have to get so many things done now.

My move is coming up fast now. This week – I’m going to try to get more things packed and hopefully on the weekend I’ll pick up the keys and start moving things in next week with the BIG day on Sept 28th.

This move is so timely while I’m on this journey of re-discovering myself. The new space will be my fresh start – without memories or thoughts of drinking.

I’m feeling more hopeful than I have in ages about things to come now that I have let go of the internal struggle. I continue to arm myself though because I know while I’m feeling strong in my resolve today, there may be moments when the voice might come calling. Tomorrow I’m picking up my books – Jason Vale’s Kick the Drink and 24 Hours A Day – to add to my toolbox of sobriety.

Life is good and the clarity is allowing for better visions to come forth. Wrapping up another GOOD day!!

Today is My Only Niece’s Wedding Day…

I am feeling a bit sad that I couldn’t be there for my nieces special day. There are many reasons why I am not there – including an incident that happened when I drank too much and let myself be taken advantage of by someone’s husband…. someone who is standing in her wedding party today (and her half sister – different mother, same father). When I went to bring my daughter to spend the week there with them I explained to her that I wouldn’t make it and that I simply didn’t want any tension there. I wanted her day to be perfect.

So it’s nice and sunny, a bit cool but it’s not raining. I did send a gift and she got it on Thursday.

Today was spent packing and as I was packing my kitchen I came across all those glasses I collected through the years. Crystal ware, fancy shot glasses, wine glasses, etc. I thought in my head – wow – what am I going to do with all of these now? This moving process is really bringing up a lot of thoughts… about my past and about my future.

I’m feeling nostalgic too because it’s my nieces wedding day and by now they are having dinner and soon will be dancing and celebrating. But there will be booze there and I bet I would not be strong enough to remain in my “I don’t drink” mode. I think it’s best I avoid the ‘old crowd’ from back home until I’ve had a few months under my belt.

I hesitate too with the counting because it was an obsessive thing I was doing. For now it’s one day at a time and perhaps I’ll start counting months instead of days. It helps me in terms of not always thinking about it. I still put the stars on my calendar dates for each day I’m AF but I’m just not so busy counting – ok when I hit this number… and then that number… I’m just doing this and month by month I’ll review and celebrate my successes and recognize all that is becoming a part of my life with being AF.

I have so much more time to do things yet I find time flying by. It’s a good thing and soon with my move and fresh space/energy it will be an incredible boost for me and my lifestyle decision because that place will hold no memories of drinking days. It will be my AF home.

So as I am a bit nostalgic today, I’m also hopeful about the future – bright and full of possibilities. Cheers to my niece and Cheers to New Beginnings – without ‘da drink!

Recovering: What does it mean?

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I really have a hard time with the labels in this world at times and perhaps it’s because if I say I’m now ‘clean and sober’ – does that mean I was dirty and drunk before?  Then there’s the term of recovering that everyone using – what is it that I’m recovering from?

I have always hated labels or being made to fit in a description – especially now that I’ve decided that I don’t drink. For me what’s working is just that. Not counting the days. Not obsessing about ok – after so many days, what to do next. I’ve simply wiped it from my mind by repeating that over and over (in my head and to friends) – I don’t drink.

I went to a meeting yesterday which included a stop at the hotel’s bar/pub with a colleague. She ordered a wine and I ordered a club soda with lemon. I then let her know about my new lifestyle choice and my reasons for my decision to change and she said “Good for you”.

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So while I’m here in the sober blog world and continuing my journey to Lose ‘da Booze in my life – by no means am I judging anyone else’s method to get there or the words they use.

I am still arming myself with tools (just ordered Jason Vale’s Kick the Drink book and 24 Hours a Day) because I know while my resolve is still pretty strong right now – there are times and moments that I may need to read to reinforce my resolve to be AF.

So I ask you again – what does recovering mean? Well I guess to me it means regaining the life or creating a life without the booze. Learning about myself and what I might pursue now that alcohol is no longer a part of my life. It means some in-depth soul searching about my goals and dreams for the future, living a life AF and I’m really excited about all the energy I’m feeling so far.

I will not stop going to social events that involve alcohol, nor will I preach or shun anyone who drinks. This is MY lifestyle choice, my decision and my path because it’s the only one I could choose given moderation was not something I could do. I have accepted that and have moved on.

The next part is just simply LIVING life… without ‘da Booze!

Driven to NOT Drink

You know the saying “My kids drive me to drink” (or whoever/whatever situation you can think of or often say to yourself ‘oh a drink would be so good right now’)… well in my case, it’s the opposite. With the very serious nature of all I’m facing with a 12 year old daughter who is living with self-harming issues, anxiety, depression, rebellion, dis-respect, experimentation with drugs/alcohol – I have decided that I simply can’t and DON’t Drink!!

I noticed the one night when she took one beer from the fridge – I know we have all done that as kids, but somehow to me it seemed like something I needed to nip in the butt. No more booze in my house.

I had a very trying day with her again yesterday and went to see the counselor (I see her counselor for parental support and help with strategies) and he asked me about how I was coping. I had mentioned to him that I was not drinking because of all of this and he asked me in our session yesterday “How are you doing with your sobriety” and the question threw me off for a bit because I didn’t tell him the depths of my ties with alcohol – only that I was not drinking because of the current situation in my life with my daughter. It was very easy to answer though – I told him “I’m fine – I don’t drink” and he said “with all you’re going through you should congratulate yourself for that accomplishment”.

If I had been asked that question in the past or at a time when I was still occasionally drank I would have become very defensive or feel very guilty inside. It was a great feeling NOT to feel that!

Yes it’s early in the game and NO I’m still not counting except for the fact that on my 47th birthday (September 3, 2013) I made the conscious decision that I don’t drink anymore.

Following yesterday’s hard day – the thought of having one to cope did not even enter my mind. This switch I’ve made has been liberating as the debate is no longer festering in my head about will I or won’t I – it’s plain and simple I just DON’T – just as I don’t drink coffee, or don’t smoke!Image

I’m Breaking Up for GOOD!!

I was so inspired by Christina’s letter/blog post because the analogy is truly about letting go of something that is not good for us! It made me think of all the bad relationships I’ve had in my life – mostly with men, but as I think of those, most of them were also related to alcohol.

I believe that I allowed myself into these situations because of my own low self-esteem, believing that perhaps I didn’t deserve better, because after all, i was really damaged goods. My childhood is sewn with various experiences of sexual abuse – while it was not in the sense of penetration – it did damage me. From the neighbor who asked me to play with his penis for money to buy candy, to the priest who hugged my from behind and grabbed my breast when I was an alter girl. Then there was the rides home from camp with my cousin passed out ‘drunk’ and in his drunken stupor/sleep he reaches over and starts touching me. The same even happened once with my dad – except it never really went further. My mom used to get me to try to get my dad to go to sleep  and lie down with him to ‘calm him down’ when he’d come home in a drunken stupor so he’d stay in bed and one time he started trying to touch me thinking I was my mom and when I told my mom she put a stop to it right away. Funny how some of these memories are coming back to me in flashes here and there.

As I started in the dating world – I lost my virginity at the age of 12 (the age my daughter is right now – and I’d die if she did at this age). I was dating a guy who was 18 for a year. He wanted to marry me. Of course I didn’t but I went on to other relationships, and all were sexual in nature. I guess because I liked feeling loved/wanted, but in most cases it wasn’t real love.

In college I met a man who was very abusive – verbally, emotionally and at one point physically. He was very jealous and used to put me down and talk nasty to me under his breath while we were visiting with his parents or around friends. The one time he got physical was after a party and when we got home and he stomped on my face and I don’t know what else – but I know I woke up with a black eye. We had company the next day and I had to say I fell down the stairs. It was also really hard to go back to work that week – in a mental health agency where they deal with abused women and try to pretend I didn’t have a shiner (wearing makeup to try to cover it up). I never did tell anyone and was so alone then. I stayed with that man for a couple of years and when we moved back to our home town he decided he’d live with his parents, while I didn’t want to move back with mine so I got my own place. He would come over but eventually I broke it off. I was working a 2nd job to make ends meet and met my now ex-husband.

From the frying pan into the fire my father said. At the time I met my ex-husband, he was drinking heavily and getting into bar brawls pretty much every weekend. When we met – it was of course surrounded by booze. I thought I guess I could help him, save him.

I put myself through years of heartache with this and so many other instances where I felt lonely and wanted love/attention only to attract yet more ‘bad men’ to me – because of my low self-esteem and because I was drinking and my judgement was not clear.

I have now been single for almost 11 years. I have had some men in my life – but no real relationships and I think I’m finally at a point where I value myself more and don’t allow myself to be treated this way. I will admit, many times the encounters are still only purely physical – but that’s my decision to satisfy my own needs. But I’m at peace with where I am at and one day maybe I will be ready to have a real relationship again.

The breaking up that’s going on now is that with alcohol and because i don’t want to go into any relationship as a ‘rebound’ – I’m taking this time to continue to work on myself and heal. I have many things that I’m dealing with on the home front and need to be here and present.

I know my time will come one day and for now I have a ‘good’ friend I see here and there – who is respectful and treats me well.

Breaking up this time is not so hard to do – and I’m pretty sure it has to do with the mantra I have been chanting in my head whenever the VOICE comes calling (which it did yesterday)… I just tell it “I don’t drink”.

Affirmation: I won’t drink today because I don’t drink alcohol

Over the past few days, i have been sharing more openly, outside of the blog world into my real world, my colleagues and even my daughter, stating that I will no longer drink because I don’t drink anymore. I will not use the term “I quit” because I’ve failed at quitting too many times over. Alcohol is no longer a part of my life. Done. Final. Period!!

I had a conversation today with a woman who I met through a committee, and it’s the first time we talk really. We were taking a shift to sell ticket for our Winter Gala – an event that provides one free booze ticket to each guest and as she talked about how fun it was, and having a few drinks, I simply said, I don’t drink so I will be giving my ticket(s) away (as the event coordinator they are giving me extra freebies – which I will pass along to my committee members who might use it). And her reaction was a good one. I explained to her that I decided on my birthday this past Tuesday that I was making alcohol a thing of the past and she said ‘good for you!’

I went on to say that my family has a history of alcoholism on both sides and I’ve been witness to many drunken episodes, events, and tragedies even… to last me a lifetime. She shared with me how she doesn’t drink much because of the same reason – that it is part of her family history. She even shared with me about her husband as he works in a liquor store (while he doesn’t drink himself) and how sad it was to see some people going in there every single day and hearing some of their stories. Seniors talking about the loss of a loved one and using it to cope… My girls are THE big reason for my doing this. As they are getting older and wanting to explore – they have asked me when I was having a drink if they could have one or a taste and while my parents allowed it, I did too – but realized, this is where it starts – and so it STOPS!!

I told my oldest when we move I will not have booze in the house. I will buy beer for the guys who are helping me move – and they will likely egg me on and ask me to drink – but then again, I will openly let them know of my lifestyle choice to be sober.

I’m telling the students as we were talking about the gala how I wasn’t going to be drinking and they said ‘oh – why is that’ and I said I’m just done with alcohol. At my age, I want to be healthy and need to lose weight and get fitter and it won’t happen if I continue on the path I was. The proof is in the 7 years I’ve been on the www.sparkpeople.com community – and I have yet to reach my goal weight – yo-yoing up and down. I work with a group that is all about healthy active living – yet they do indulge in booze, but they are all younger in their university years (and it’s the reality) , however I must say my group balances it out very well with loads of activity and healthy eating for the majority of their time.

I honestly feel different this time about it. Reading Soberistas (Lucy’s) latest blog Change of Direction just confirms the WHY I want to be sober for life. Reading about how in one year she has accomplished all she set out to do… totally inspires me!! I am DONE talking or thinking about all the things I could do and I’m going to start doing them with all the free time I will have on my hands. I am living Alcohol Free!!

Last Day 1

I had a rotten weekend and waking up to my birthday today – realize that moderation is NOT an option for me. Once I have that first drink, it’s like I can’t get enough and waking up this morning, I realize that I’m done WASTING my life away with booze.

May today be my last day 1 AF ever and may I seek all the help and support I need to keep me on the path of sobriety. May I prove to myself most of all that I can do this – for me and for my children so that we can live a better life.

I was hit this weekend with just how I am letting life pass me by as I sit and sulk in a depressed state of mind, brought on by my indulgence in ‘the voice’ that called me out on Friday and stayed with me until yesterday. I’m waking up this morning and praying for strength to keep me on path to true sobriety.