Day 8 – “Why You Can’t Just Quit” Solution

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Action steps today included:

  1. Writing down what role willpower has played in cutting back on my drinking … as they write about in this chapter – willpower alone won’t make me stop (or else I wouldn’t still be here working towards a solution). For me it’s been a progressive process and The 30-Day Sobriety Solution is another tool I’ve picked up along the way that seems to have clicked for me. Or perhaps it’s because I’m ready to truly make the change. In the past (as you can even read back on some of my blogs here) – I have debated how to go about this – saying I wanted to be completely AF and then swaying the other way – saying I wanted to just basically get control over my drinking. I think part of my own solution includes finding a new / healthier habit to replace the drinking with – and so far this year, I can proudly say that I’ve been using my workouts to deter me from drinking. I’m on week 6 of consistently following a workout program and it has changed my routine and helped me to stay AF without too much difficulty to date.
  2. The second action item was to write down my movie moment – so pretend like you’re watching a movie and it’s about your life up there on the screen and what parts would you shake your head at or be embarrassed to have anyone else see. My biggest fear would be to have people see exactly how much I drink and the times I chose to drink (sometimes waking in the middle of the night to have some or even early in the morning and going all day). Seeing how by doing this I was passing up on life because I was a prisoner of my drinking – couldn’t drive or go out as I had been drinking and had no motivation to go … just wanted to hibernate and wallow with my drinks and think about all the things I wanted or wished I would be doing instead of actually LIVING my life as I am doing more now. I have come a long way … and I am pretty proud of the life I have now – save dealing with the issue of truly having control over the alcohol and not the other way around.
  3. Third action item was how I ws going to avoid the negative impact of decision fatigue – this happens when I’m tired or headachy… I used to give in to drinks then. Now my strategies include working out as soon as I get home (instead of having a drink). After my workout I usually feel better and don’t have the urge to drink. I don’t keep alcohol in the house right now too – because if it was here and handy – it might be too easy to cave in when I’m tired. It’s all a matter of being prepared with alternate coping mechanisms. A big one for me is blogging/writing too – if I come to read the online support via the sober blogging world, my team or the Facebook pages I follow – it usually helps deter that craving too.
  4. Fourth is to get out of the comparison trap – no ONE person is the same and every person will have their own way of gauging what their habits are and whether or not they need improving. I’m in no position to judge anyone and what they do (I remember I used to judge my sister – the one who passed away almost 8 years ago from her own excessive drinking). I am not HER. And while we share the same genes – it doesn’t mean I will end up the same way because I am ME.

I’m feeling good and ready for day 9!

Day 7 – Completion of Phase I

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When I read today’s chapter and realized I completed Phase I, I was very pleased with myself. I made it through the weekend – with my bf drinking in front of me and I opted for my AF drinks.

I even had a really difficult day on Saturday morning – learning that my daughter (who is not living at home anymore) was quite ill during the past week and seeing her and how ill she looked broke my heart. She didn’t want to tell me because she didn’t want to worry me. Then I also had to deal with some matters with the one who is living at home today – feeling quite frustrated. All of these would have been excuses or triggers to reach for a drink, but I remain 100% committed to the very least 30 days, and likely until Easter or even the full 60 days.

I loved how they compared how we sometimes crave sugar when we abstain from alcohol and how they compared it also the lyrics of this song from Maroon 5 (Adam Levine Lead singer) ….

I’m hurting, baby, I’m broken down
I need your loving, loving
I need it now
When I’m without you
I’m something weak
You got me begging, begging
I’m on my knees

I don’t wanna be needing your love
I just wanna be deep in your love
And it’s killing me when you’re away, ooh, baby,
‘Cause I really don’t care where you are
I just wanna be there where you are
And I gotta get one little taste

I have to say I was somewhat craving the alcohol on a few occasions – even dreaming about it, but holding strong in my 100% resolve.

They also provided this great Detox Smoothie I may give a try:

The Alcohol Detox Smoothie

Blend the following ingredients in your blender for about 30 seconds.

  • 2 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries • 2 ripe bananas (We also like to freeze our bananas; peel them first and cut into pieces) • 8 ounces of coconut water or coconut milk • 1 tablespoon of almond butter • Protein powder
  • 50 drops of extract of milk thistle (available online or from your local health food store)-  Alternatively, you could take a 500mg or 1000mg milk thistle capsule with your smoothie)
  • Ice cubes

Drink for breakfast with your other supplements.

They also shared this great You Tube video which reinforces the WHY I’m also doing this – to cut back on my drinking and get healthier to live longer!

I am ready for Phase II!

 

 

Day 6 – The Outcome Solution

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Today’s reading was about setting SMART goals – something I’m quite familiar with. In fact in January I had a speaker come talk to our Fit Club and we did the exercise of setting some Smart goals – which I’m proud to say I’m actually following successfully still 33 days into it (this relative to my fitness goals).

The thing that stood out most for me in today’s chapter was this…

A powerful way to attach ‘pain’ to the idea of drinking is brilliant to crushing those cravings you may have… Nicknaming alcohol as Stupid Juice can be very effective… and isn’t this true?! “Alcohol makes you do stupid things. You make stupid decisions, say inappropriate things, and offend people. The more you drink, the dumber you get. And what’s really crazy about it is that you don’t realize how stupid you are. And you keep drinking more of it and become stupider and stupider. It wears off, and the next day you look back and feel stupid because of the things you did.

The action steps for today:

Write three goals that support my 30-day Thriving in Sobriety Vision Statement (which I’m re-posting here for reference):

All I need is within me now to live an exciting, vibrant, passionate and sober life where I am attracting meaningful relationships, career opportunities, health and financial success. I am grateful for my continued sobriety.

  1. I will have stayed sober for 30 days by March 1, 2016 at midnight
  2. Every night by 10:00pm, I will have completed that day’s reading assignment for The 30-Day Sobriety Solution, finished the actions steps and spent time writing my blog here which is my ‘journal’
  3. I will be leaner and fitter after being sober for 30 days because I will have completed my daily workouts as per my fitness calendar/goals

The second action step is to create a plan to review these daily so I’ll add them to my calendar reminder and I will print these goals to place on my bulletin board in my bedroom and read them every day.

Review the NEW ME notes… reposted here for reference (I think I’m going to make a page that I’ll print and place in the calendar that I use daily every morning – a paper version – put it in a protective page protector on a nice paper – kind of as my daily morning affirmation reading which is something I do daily).

THE NEW ME – Sobriety will bring me the health and vitality I seek. I will be fitter and leaner. I will have energy to do my workouts and will WANT to do them. Being sober will keep me from making poor food choices as well. I will be more confident and self-assured that I can accomplish the goals I set for myself. I will have time to be more focused on my work and I will be more productive and organized. I will naturally be more at peace and experience less anxiety or depression. I will seek new activities and hobbies that support my sober life. I will be a role model for my daughters and show them as I lead by example that you can do anything you set your mind to. I will have the confidence to continue providing workshops and I will explore other avenues of earning extra income as I will have the time, focus and clarity to do so. I will lead a balanced life – work and play. I will balance my ME time with my ‘couple’ time. I will have the drive to follow my passions and dreams! Nothing will stop me from living the life I’ve dreamt of… travel, love, health, joy and happiness!

I’m posting this one earlier today as I know I’ll be out and busy for the rest of the day and overnight and want to stay on track. I’ll be back tomorrow and post as per my ‘goal’ as above. Happy Saturday fellow bloggers/followers!

 

Day 5 – Believe in Yourself

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Today is day 5 AF for me and I’m at Day 5 of The 30-Day Sobriety Solution book/exercises. The actions steps for today include:

  1. Review the List of Teetotalers (it’s quite an impressive list although many I don’t know – I was in fact surprised by a couple of names on there). It’s nice to see those that don’t drink but frankly – because I’ve been exploring this, I’ve learned of more and more people that abstain. It’s like when you buy a certain car – you start seeing the same make/mode it everywhere after that. When you are sober – you find those like you out there.
  2. Stop using the word can’t – this is a BIG one for me not so much out loud because I always start any project or goal with intentions of “Yes I Can” but that sometimes wavers because in my head I still have that voice of low self-esteem that doubts my abilities. With years of reading on positive affirmations and learning to change the way I think – this too is progressing so that I do believe I CAN do this. Proof is in the program I started on January 4th – and I’m still sticking with it… This book now is my NEW ‘Yes I Can’ do this project!
  3. Write Down Examples of Using Confirmation Bias with Your Drinking… Well you know this one is relatively the same. When I decide I’m going to give in and have drinks, I seek out my friends asking or saying – I’ve been good all week so I should be ok to have a couple of days off. I research or seem to find articles that back up or justify my giving in when it suits my purpose. I know there are tons of views on the matter of whether I should cut back completely or see if I can moderate and for now without even using a bias I’m just ok with regaining some control with this re-boot.

There was a part in today’s chapter that spoke about doing a vacation without alcohol. I’m now planning a trip to visit my family and friends back home at the end of March which is just shy of my 60 days commitment. It’s Easter and it will be after lent – and so already in my head I’m saying it would be ok to have some then… but then I think of how I said I was 100% committed to doing this 60 days. Imagine their surprise if I visit and don’t drink (because much of the activity when I visit usually revolves around drinking). I know I can do this if I affirm I will – today I will just say for now I’m happy with being sober on a Friday night and looking forward to  a great night’s sleep and productive weekend ahead!

Day 4 – The Forgiveness Solution

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Today’s action items had to do with going through the Total Truth Process – in forgiving ourselves or anyone else who harmed us in the past. 1 – by acknowledging our anger and resentment; 2 – acknowledging the hurt and pain it created; 3 – acknowledging the fears and self-doubt it created; 4 – own any part we may have played in letting it occur or letting it continue; 5 – express what we wanted that we didn’t get and/or what you want now and 6 – understand where the other person was/is coming from and forgive him or her.

I will say that this I have done a lot of this work over the last 13 years since my divorce, and events leading up to it. In my own total truth process – I see mostly the need to forgive MYSELF – for things that happened to me as a child that made me feel like something was wrong with me (as a child – adults made sexual advances to me). I think this really messed me up more than I acknowledged before in how it led me to jumping into relationships and becoming sexually active before I should have – I guess I was seeking some validation or needing to feel ‘ok’. Unfortunately it attracted the wrong kind of people in my life – and I was victim of physical and mental abuse in some relationships. My husband and I had a toxic relationship to start … and while I tried to save him and change him – I ended up joining in the ‘coping’ mechanisms and found myself with my own problems of using the alcohol to mask my problems. This became tougher after having kids come into the picture and I then felt ‘stuck’ and resentful as a single parent.

I recall a lot of past stuff that contributed to my drinking – my parents heavy drinking episodes. How my parents would fight. I remember my uncle being so intoxicated he pulled out a gun and threatened to shoot my aunt and me and my cousins sat upstairs terrified.

Living through this I never wanted to put my own kids through this – yet some of it happened as my own marriage fell apart with drinking and fighting and then I fell into a cycle of depression and anger.

I have come a long way – and today I find myself in an incredible loving relationship with a man who treats me like I always dreamed of. Much of the work they describe we need to do – learning to LOVE ourselves first is what brought me to where I am today. Louise Hay’s book You Can Heal Your Life was the book that started it all for me … and she often speaks of the mirror work and how we have to learn to say “I Love You” to ourselves in the mirror.

Recognizing this again in the exercise – finding the 30-Day Solution at this particular time in my life is truly ‘meant to be’. Up until now I’ve still had trouble cutting back on my drinking (as I don’t want to quit for good). I now realize that I have that life I wanted – and there’s no reason to use the drinking to mask anything because my life is amazing. I have an incredible job, great friends, a great network of support and while my children are now older – they too are doing better and we’ve worked through many issues together in therapy and are in a better place. I have even forgiven my EX – because he is who he is… and I accept it. He is living his life and I mine. We are connected only because we have kids – and soon they will be old enough that we won’t have any reason to speak and I’m good with that.

And so I end my entry today with this quote from the 30 Day Affirmation.

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Two links to resources referred to in the Day 4 Action steps: The Anonymous People (a documentary on addiction and recovery) and Rob Lowe’s Book Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography

Last but not least – THE FORGIVENESS AFFIRMATION (which should be read once a day for the next 2 weeks):

I release myself from all the demands and judgments that have kept me limited. I allow myself to be free – to live in joy, love, peace and sobriety. I allow myself to create fulfilling relationships, to have success in my life, to experience pleasure, to know that I am worthy and deserve to have what I want. I am now free. I release all others from any demands and expectations I have placed on them. I choose to be free. I allow others to be free. I forgive myself, and I forgive them. And so it is.

 

Day 3 – Action Steps

Today’s exercises including re-reading the BEFORE ME and really ‘feeling’ with all my senses the pain of that experience. The book explained that our issue with drinking is actually the gift and that our past was perfect… All things do happen for a reason. I have so been there/done that with the Before Me and how yuck it makes me feel. Even the visualizing – I could feel the tension knotting up inside me. I don’t want that to be part of my life anymore.

I loved this video they shared as a bonus resource too – and for me the tools/resources and go to people are my groups (HAMS, SP Cutting Down the Booze Team and this sober blogging world). Craig Ferguson, a former late-night host, shares an extremely funny and enlightening personal story about how absurd his drinking was before he got sober.

The other action step was to list things I’d do to distract myself if the craving for alcohol surged and also to plan some rewards. I’ve posted this before but here it is again:

So here’s the book’s (Responsible Drinking: Moderation Management…) 3 dozen ‘Distractions’ to take your mind off the urge and point it in a healthier direction:
1. Take a walk.
2. Take a drive.
3. Do exercise at home or go to the gym.
4. Go jogging.
5. Listen to favorite music.
6. Telephone a friend.
7. Clean out the garage.
8. Cook something interesting.
9. Go to the library or bookstore.
10. Work in the yard.
11. Clean and polish the car.
12. Take a shower or bath.
13. Read the newspaper, a magazine, or a book.
14. Drink something nonalcoholic.
15. Get a video.
16. Write a letter or e-mail.
17. Plan your next vacation.
18. Make up a grocery store or hardware store shopping list.
19. Go shopping or window-shopping.
20. Plan on redecorating a room.
21. Clean out the refrigerator.
22. Have sex.
23. Go to a driving range.
24. Pay the bills.
25. Make up a household budget or plan future finances.
26. Check stock market action and look for investments.
27. Talk to your children.
28. Get a haircut or manicure.
29. Get a massage.
30. Work on a sewing project.
31. Start a journal.
32. Look into your geneology on the Internet.
33. Visit a friend.
34. Get the snapshot collection in order.
35. Make popcorn.
36. Start a woodwork project.

My rewards… well a wonderful family trip to Barbados in April where I will be thinner, healthier and successful in reaching this 100% commitment to a sober REBOOT! This CAN and will be done… my past was the failure and the present is my success!

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Day 2 – Action Steps

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Day 2 requires a us to complete 4 Action Steps:

1 – to write my 60 Day Vision Statement

“All I need is within me now to live an exciting, vibrant, passionate and sober life where I am attracting meaningful relationships, career opportunities, health and financial success. I am grateful for my continued sobriety.”

2 – Capturing the BEFORE ME

My reasons for this reboot are mainly for health reasons as I have been unable to lose weight successfully for over a year and it seems that my mid-section keeps expanding with the drinks. I also want to experience less sick time due to the alcohol – as I reviewed my year and noticed that when stressed I would cope by drinking and then spiral into a depression, and the anxiety would increase and my ability to function at work would decrease. I have at times driven when I probably shouldn’t have and I have been lucky so far… except about a month ago – I blamed it on being tired, but I did have a couple of drinks – Jan 8th was the date – and coming home into my parking garage I caused $1000 damage to my car (which almost negated the money I had earned doing a workshop those two days). It was a wake up call for me – and I’m grateful that’s all that happened. I also want to have a better relationship with my daughters. Many times I would drink to mask my feelings and then blow up with them as I was frustrated about many factors. I want to better manage my finances – there’s certainly no room to waste my money on booze. I don’t want to sabotage the good loving relationship I have with my boyfriend. In the past I have let booze lead to moments where I don’t recall what I’ve said or done and have also found myself doing things I regretted the next day. I have spent too many days drinking alone – my stats last year – only 65 days AF. And there were days when I drank in the middle of the night or upon waking just to get the buzz and to numb myself or lose myself.

3 – The NEW ME

Sobriety will bring me the health and vitality I seek. I will be fitter and leaner. I will have energy to do my workouts and will WANT to do them. Being sober will keep me from making poor food choices as well. I will be more confident and self-assured that I can accomplish the goals I set for myself. I will have time to be more focused on my work and I will be more productive and organized. I will naturally be more at peace and experience less anxiety or depression. I will seek new activities and hobbies that support my sober life. I will be a role model for my daughters and show them as I lead by example that you can do anything you set your mind to. I will have the confidence to continue providing workshops and I will explore other avenues of earning extra income as I will have the time, focus and clarity to do so. I will lead a balanced life – work and play. I will balance my ME time with my ‘couple’ time. I will have the drive to follow my passions and dreams! Nothing will stop me from living the life I’ve dreamt of… travel, love, health, joy and happiness!

4 – Review my Vision Statement and NEW ME journal entry every day for at least two weeks

I will add this to my calendar so that it comes up as a ‘to do’ daily task for the next 2 weeks.