Day 345 of 365 – 20 Days to END of One Year Experiment

As I near the end of my experiment – I wanted to post/share some observations…

  • having the window open to ‘allow’ for some drinks is harder than just taking the option off the table (I now have 102 days with drinks – matching my 2017 AF days total of 263 Days AF in my one year experiment)
  • breaking my streak at 174 days was a mistake – I’ve been struggling to remain AF ever since
  • acknowledging that after 40 years of drinking (as I started at the age of 12) is a long enough drinking career that I can put it to rest and retire that part of my life (turning 52 on Sept 3)
  • alcohol makes me FAT (I’ve regained 40lbs)
  • alcohol makes me lazy and robs me of my self-confidence and self-esteem
  • alcohol does NOT provide what I seek out…. SOBRIETY delivers all that alcohol promised (joy, peace of mind, clarity, health, happiness, less anxiety, etc)
  • alcohol robs me of my motivation to go after my dreams and keeps me stuck
  • it’s ok to say NO (and that is a complete answer) – no explanations are required if I choose to NOT drink

There are so many more positives to sobriety. My January desire was to live 2018 Sober and Clean… and I will have done so for 263 days… but my lesson learned is that I need to put distance between me and ‘da booze once and for all. My intentions going forward are to simply take out the wishy washy – “I’m going to try” and just simply and plainly DO IT!

Since 2013 – when I first started this blog, I have been trying to work the moderation or trying to negotiate with myself how to best do this. It’s been an exhausting 5 years. 2015 was when I first FINALLY succeeded in doing 100 consecutive days AF and that followed into January when I started our ‘secret’ Facebook Lose da Booze 100 Day Success Group. Since then I’ve had the honor of being a part of just over 200 members and their journey and best of all I’ve observed many members go BEYOND the 100 days to losing ‘da booze for good!

As the creator of the group… I think I’m there … retiring my alcohol habit of 40 years of drinking… heavy daily drinking for a period of time in there following really tough moments in my life… to where I am today. I think I’m finally ok to say I’m done and there’s just nothing left in that habit that will serve my future purpose and dreams! Here’s to celebrating my next ‘ONE’ … Year that is of sobriety which is the next milestone I’m going for!

Day 315 of 365 – Freedom of Sobriety

I think one of the greatest things about being sober is no longer having to plan my day around drinks. When I think of how drinking limited so many activities for me…. what a waste! My daughter was in the city and needed a ride home at some point. In my drinking days this would cause tension and even bitterness that I had to NOT drink so I could at some point pick her up. But now it’s like this weight has been lifted… I can do what I want with my day (sober activities) and happily make the drive in to pick her up without any issues.

When I think about how I limited myself with drinks and activities. How I turned down doing things either because I couldn’t drive because I had drinks or didn’t feel like it because I would rather just sit my lazy ass on the couch and binge watch TV.

Yesterday was spent doing some housework (another thing that I neglected so badly when drinking). I balanced it out with some ME time – enjoyed the pool and sunshine. I spent time reading and checking in with my groups. After I picked my daughter up – I came home to relax and went to bed at a decent hour, waking up early to get my morning routine done.

Freedom is a precious gift that Sobriety gives us! I’m grateful to continue my journey for #DryJuly and beyond!

Day 314 out of 365 – 227 Days AF and Day 14 #DryJuly

Checking in mid-point into #DryJuly… and nearing the end of my ‘one year experiment’ leading up to my 52nd birthday on September 3rd.

This week has been great as I’ve been off work (only worked Monday) after somewhat of a break down last week as I was feeling burnt out and broken with all the stressors relative to my daughter’s mental health issues and the challenges they bring. But being AF has kept me strong and allowed me to focus on strategies and solutions including making my morning workouts non-negotiable again and doing daily personal development.

The guilt that comes with drinking for me just isn’t worth it anymore. The feeling of ‘I deserve it’ thinking of “I deserve a drink after this or that…” is gone and what I want MORE is to feel as I do today… Stronger, more energetic, having more clarity and purpose again. I’ve come across a few great resources this week including Rachel Hart’s podcast on this topic and the other one was a blog post that reminded me how I seriously DON’T want to go back to day 1 again (The Obstacle Course). I’m also listening to Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Habits which has a ton of great ideas and tools to help me get back on track in many ways.

The group that I created (Lose ‘da Booze 100 Day Success) is also doing well and we share resources from various places. I don’t put limitations on what #sobertools we can get our hands on. I hope to someday be the resource that someone refers others too as I continue with my mission to #LoseDaBooze in my life (and let go of the hold that alcohol had on me).

In our group I try to collect resources and share in files so we have a go to reference – things like distractions, sober tools links, quotes, photos of our face to face before and after…

Staying AF for me means staying busy and finding a purpose… and I feel like I’m back and today will be the day I create a NEW (updated) vision board which I’ll share a bit later once it’s completed.

The alone time at home doesn’t come often anymore so I’m going to savor it and get my day started… it’s amazing how much gets done when you don’t drink (and also a raw realization of how much time is wasted when we DO drink). We choose and today is a beautiful day to continue this awesome sober streak I’m on! Are you with me?

Day 296 of 365 – Gearing up for #DryJuly

July 1st is just around the corner and boy am I ready to make some changes. Since March – I’ve been struggling… and a big part of that struggle is having fallen back into a pattern of allowing drinks back into my life.

I’m still of the mindset that I’m not ready to say NO forever (for today – although I am beginning to believe it would be the easiest solution to just say “I don’t drink booze anymore)… I do know I need to get back to where I was … like this photo at 3months AF (alcohol free)…

With major stressors – I’ve turned to drinks as a coping mechanism to let go, to forget, to numb myself out… but I KNOW it’s not the healthy way to do things. So I’m gearing up to get back on the Sober Train and one day at a time – hope to finish this year completely sober!

I’m not in control of certain things going on around me – but this is a choice I can make and something I DO have control over….

And so I’ve invited people via my Facebook page to join me  … and there’s our secret group there too as well as the team on SparkPeople (Cutting Down the Booze).

Not everyone has an issue with alcohol and some can take it or leave it – or stop at 1 drink or two… I unfortunately don’t fall into that category and it’s taken me a long time to just accept that. Since 2013 I strived to reach 100 Days AF and finally succeeded in doing to in 2016 and then I started a group to have others join in. It’s a secret/private group because this issue is not something everyone is open to sharing … here on SP the Cutting Down the Booze team nears 1000 members… With the non-judgmental support of the community – I have greatly improved my AF stats and working to continue doing so! My last longest stretch of consecutive AF days was 174 days!

The other factor that alcohol hinders is my advancement to reaching my health goals. I have regained most of the weight that I had lost and my lowered motivation, lowered self-esteem, anxiety, depression has come back into play.

I need to shake myself off and jump back on the wagon to greater health! The stressors in my life will be better handled when I am strong again – healthy and SOBER. I will be stronger because I’ll be eating healthier, and exercising more regularly again. Exercise REALLY is the BEST Medicine!!

So it starts with a #DryJuly …

And I hope it will close the second half of 2018 – Sober & Clean… AND Lean … Health4Life – this is not a ‘diet’ but a lifestyle!!

It’s time!! It’s not too late to make 2018 the BEST year of your life!! Join me!!

Day 272 of 365 – The Day After

I wanted to write about the ‘day after’… when you choose to get past the cravings versus ‘giving in’ to the cravings and the feelings associated with both.

When the cravings to drink come calling and we cave in – this is what happens in my head… I start telling myself it’s ok if I have some, I’ve been doing so well. I deserve it. I can stop again tomorrow. And then I start having drinks and just go through the motions of the habit I’ve been working so hard to stop. Later that evening – I start having thoughts about how I will feel tomorrow. If I drank enough, I may not remember details of how the evening ended. Even if I didn’t drink that much – there’s a guilt for not having followed through on my goal/plan. Then there’s the morning after… waking up feeling kind of groggy and headachy. Likely a rotten night’s sleep. I wake up feeling like I’m a failure and can’t meet my goals and then start thinking I may as well give up and keep going and maybe have another drink to make myself feel better…

Then there’s the night where the cravings come calling and I DON’T cave in. Waking up in the morning and feeling so PROUD that I didn’t cave in and that I’m still on track with my goals. There’s a positive determination to make the day another great day. There’s the scale that is down rather than up in weight. There’s a clear head and energy to get a great workout in early in the morning or get outside to take a nice walk and soak in some sunshine (rather than hide from it). There’s a feeling of strength and the more days I have like this the stronger I feel. It’s like building up my AF muscles. I have no shame and don’t feel like I have to hide. I want to eat healthy (versus wanting to eat junk to soak in the booze). I want to actually do activities (rather than stay in bed and hide from the world). I don’t cancel plans – instead I make more!

When I think of how great I feel when I push through those cravings I wish I could bottle that and open it up when that nasty booze voice comes calling again saying ‘it’s ok to have a drink’… because the way I feel NOW versus the way I would have felt had I caved in – well it’s priceless and worth hanging onto.

So here’s to day 203 AF out of my 272 days so far and consecutive day 6 of my new 100 Day Success stretch!! Here’s to another wonderful beautiful sober day in my life!

Day 269 of 365 – 200 AF Days Today!

It is now post-vacation time and I have re-started my AF consecutive days to finish off my one year experiment. I have 69 days that I’ve had drinks out of 269. I feel pretty great about that! While I did slip back to more drinking than intended – I am back to basics using the #SoberTools that I know work for me. I’ve restarted the Sober Time counter. I’m back to blogging and posting more. I’m back to my workouts and eating healthier. Surprisingly this time (so far) the cravings aren’t too bad and my cravings for sugar haven’t been as out of control (although I am only on day 3 of this re-start).

I’m still dealing with a lot of stress relative to my daughter and her mental health issues – but feel stronger and more renewed after taking that week off ‘vacation’. I’m also working on setting healthy boundaries so that I can stay balanced and maintain my own sanity as we continue to navigate this difficult stuff.

I’m winding down after a successful 3rd day and with the first weekend coming up – I’m confident I will stay on track as I am having gum surgery on Friday so I’ll be on mostly a liquid diet – but it WON’T include any booze! I’m here to get back to taking care of my body and letting go of this booze habit that has been robbing me of joy! I’m excited to have others in the group restarting with me (Secret Facebook Group – Losedabooze 100 Day Success Group – send me a message if you want to join in).

The new month is just ahead and I’m excited about a clean month ahead!! Today is day 150 into the year… and here’s the daily guidance from Doreen Virtue’s book…

Day 250 of 365 – Mentally Preparing for Success

I’m preparing for another long stint of AF days with others in our group. What I’ve found helpful as I gear up for these is to mindfully and mentally prepare for it… Lining up my sober tools and rallying a support group to ensure success.

Focusing on success is KEY! Focusing on what you want and CAN have instead of focusing on what you can’t have is what we must keep in mind at all times! As of this morning – I have 55 days with drinks on this one year journey (today is day 250). I am practicing mindfulness relative to the days I have been allowing myself drinks. I’ve been observing how I feel during and after these moments. I am not overdoing it or waking with hangovers, but my energy is definitely affected. I don’t feel as motivated or positive.

It’s a process and a journey for me. I just started listening to the audible of Girl Wash Your Face and I find the personal development time I put into myself with these books or podcasts or videos are great to help me re-align my thoughts to more positive thinking. I’m honestly feeling some peace as I am letting go of the constant fear and worry and I know with a good chunk of AF time behind me this will only keep getting better.

I will honestly say I do have some apprehensions about committing to this stretch with the summer months and activities but life is life and there will always be something going on. The question is what do I want more?! Right now I feel fluffy and bloated. I feel my legs rubbing together more. My bra is tight and uncomfortable. When I think about how much better I felt when I was leaner and lighter – it’s a no brainer that I want to feel THAT more! Is passing on drinks worth it?! YES – it may be or feel like it’s hard – but the satisfaction that comes with sticking to your goals and health plan gives you such a great feeling of accomplishment and pride! Better this than feelings of failure and guilt.

I asked my group to share some of the positives they noticed when they chose to be AF and ALL of them were great!! Here are a few …

I have been AF for 130 days now and my life has definitely improved. After 2 months of sobriety I read the book you mentioned one day, ‘Always Hungry’ by Dr. D. Ludwig and quit sugar and grains, and have lost 5 kgs. I have more energy, more time now that my evenings are not lost in some black hole of wine. I finally started going to a local yoga studio, something I have been contemplating for years, but never quite got around to. I do volunteer work and I am always finding new things to try. I have more hours in each day. All of this I believe has evolved from my original promise to myself, to join your Lose ‘da Booze group on January 1, 2018. Thank you!  D130

When I did the 100 days last year and whenever I am AF, I notice my attitude and patience on the job, with family, driving or tolerating any frustrations is much better.I certainly have a clearer head, think clearer, and have more confidence. My happy hours used to be filled daily with pilates, weight bearing exercises and walking. Gotta get this routine back. Last year (including oral surgery), I lost 22lbs. I did put a few needed pounds back on as I was a bit under weight. I’ve managed to keep the weight at a good level. However, I know the pounds will come back if I don’t behave myself. I have saved so much more money being AF. I wake up feeling fantastic when AF – not worrying about remembering the night before or fearful of saying something to someone I might regret. When I am NOT AF, I find fighting the demon booze voices are much louder than if I abstain. I manage the voices better when I am AF and in control. I really want to go back to those beautiful AF days and I have to get a grip on this.

It’s been quite a journey to get to this point but I know that I can say my life is better without alcohol in it. I sleep better. My skin is healthier. I don’t ever have to try and remember what I said or did the night before. I don’t have to think about if there is booze, how much can I have without drawing attention to myself, or how can I hide it. I can be present for my children and others in times of need. I find that I am not missing out on any “fun” because I don’t drink. I can socialize and go places but I usually leave before the “party” is over. I am proud of the fact that I could recognize that alcohol was taking AWAY from my life and it’s not anymore.

 I havent been around much but I am 130 days, minus 10 days moderating on spring break, sober. I feel like a different person. I work out regularly, cook & eat healthy foods, and have lost 18 lbs. I sleep better, am present at home and at work, Im more relaxed, breath better (no congestion), my digestion is so much better, what I thought were perimenopause symptoms were just alcohol symptoms. I could go on and on. I dont ever want to go back. I dont miss it anymore and have so much more fun without it.’

I just feel and do better in every way when I’m AF. I sleep better, look better, take much better care of myself. I have confidence and determination and feel good about my life no matter what’s going on. Booze just drains the life force out of me and steals my well being. I actually enjoy myself so much more socially when I’m AF too. Once I get past any initial weirdness when around others who are drinking, I like being fully present and knowing I won’t cause myself any regret later.

Positives: More energy was BY FAR the biggest advantage! I have lupus & Sjogren’s, so my energy levels are never where I’d like them to be, though I am “ON” when I’m at work or in social situations, regardless of how I’m feeling. It just takes me longer to recover my energy when I’m drinking and I am also suffering from lower energy levels again since I’ve been moderating, although they are not nearly as low as when I first joined the challenge last year due to the heavier than normal drinking I was engaged in at the time. I did lose weight, and I never had to worry about a sudden call to work or anything else life might throw at me the next day because I KNEW I wouldn’t have a hangover! I have more patience without da booze and I make smarter decisions. I am more engaged with family and friends and I can stick to projects for longer periods of time.

Reading this helps me to remember WHY I am choosing to do this again and also re-reading my own testimonial following my own FIRST 100 Day Challenge and how I felt… It all comes down to what do you really REALLY want? And I really want to have THAT feeling again! Counting down to the next success!! If you want to join in, message me via Facebook.

Day 242 of 365 – Transitions

I have 192 Days AF – alcohol free (193 if I make it through tonight) since starting my one year journey … and I felt compelled to blog today because I have a LOT of thoughts and uncomfortable feelings going on. My daughter left home unexpectedly / suddenly just about 2 weeks ago and I feel like I’m in a state of worry and fear – about how she will make out and what will happen. Because I don’t know if this will be ‘for real’ permanent I am finding myself feeling kind of like suspended in life – not knowing how to deal with it.

On some nights I toss and turn and play out all kinds of scenarios and worry how this will all turn out. On other days I try to just be in the moment and try to practice mindfulness and stay at ‘peace’ but it’s easier said than done. I have been AF since Monday but really struggling with the cravings – and I attribute it to the fact that I feel so lost in all that is happening. I know booze won’t give me answers – but it will calm my ‘nerves’ down for a bit at least.

I’ve been listening to This Naked Mind audible (I’ve read the book before and recommend it to my group all the time). While listening to it – I can feel myself cringe inside because I’m not of the mind that it’s black or white – or I guess that my mind is not yet naked and I’m not yet ready to give up alcohol.

What I am ready to give up is this constant worry and uncertainty in my life – over which I really don’t have any control with respect to what happens with my daughter (although I’m still invovled – as I write this I am still the one getting reminders for her appointments and trying to get her to them). It’s like she is dipping a toe on both sides wanting to be independent but not able to get to her appointments. I haven’t been messaging her as much this week. We did have a conversation one night where she told me she is so depressed that she hasn’t gotten out of bed for 2 days and had not eating for that long either. ENTER more worry and fear – but what can I do?! I urge her to get help and go to her appointments. I offer to make another one… but she doesn’t show up. As her therapist told me – you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make her drink.

All of this has me re-evaluating my entire life – how it will be if she stays moved out this time. How things will be and what will my daily routine be like now with my fiance. Again – not being in the moment here and thinking too much…

At work – I have a hard time focusing and staying on course. I am getting by with a few ‘slips’ with some minor things – but I worry about that too – will someone notice how I’m really not here?!

I’m struggling and yet trying to go through the motions of getting myself back on course with reading my affirmations, eating better, being AF, posting in my groups… and for a while that works. I hurt my back last Friday and have been unable to do workouts which is really bumming me out too – not being able to even get my 10,000 steps a day urks me!

I do have things to look forward to – including a trip to Cancun May 18 to 25 where I hope to be able to spend time reconnecting with my fiance (who just had hernia surgery yesterday). I will be spending time with my older daughter on Friday (she is doing better – and she too went through a phase similar to what my youngest is now going through). I guess I just have to keep the faith. Keep plugging away moment by moment.

Journaling helps – and so maybe I need to do more of that again. This blog was started about my wanting to lose ‘da booze voice in my head – well I can say that besides some of the physical cravings – my head is now mostly occupied with worry about my daughter…

Life is one big BOOK! I can’t wait to be past this chapter… hopefully onto a brighter one! But I am blessed and grateful for the good in my life – my loving fiance, my health, my work, my friends and more financial stability than I’ve had in years. I just have to keep focusing on the GOOD and let go of worry!

Day 225 of 365 – April is Alcohol Awareness Month

I took a pause and stopped blogging and then realized it’s time to speak out and up about this. I slipped back into some daily drinking habits and with this month being about alcohol awareness – I am yet again having to acknowledge that I have issues with too much booze.

I have 188 days AF and 37 drinking days in this one year experiment so far and what I will share with you are my raw and honest observations about this slip and how it’s made me feel … if for nothing else to be a wake up call for me.

  • I’ve regained weight and feel bloated and terrible
  • I am back to living life on the couch and lack motivation to move
  • I am making lame excuses or jokes about my drinking – like it’s ‘ok’ to drink again (but it’s really NOT)
  • I have anxiety, depression and worry filled sleepless nights (tossing and turning and thinking about how this is NOT working again)
  • I am pissed off at myself for slipping backwards yet again…

So what does this all mean? Well – it means it’s time to be HONEST with myself again and just do what I came to do this year… Live the year sober and clean and get back to AF living!

Let got of guilt and let more clarity back in!

Today I’m back to day one with my eye on 200 days AF as my next ‘goal’ … and beyond!!

I’m grateful for each moment … for our group (Lose ‘da Booze 100 Day Challenge) and for the ability to get back to a place of peace and sobriety.

Day 175 of 365 – A break in the One Year Experiment

As I write this today is day 178 on my 365 … now renamed my “One Year Lose ‘da Booze Experiment”. Following the last post and all the #sobertools I reached for and successfully didn’t cave into drinks… along came day 175.

Much of the thoughts and feelings were still there and I found myself having the entire day and overnight ALONE and I ended up giving myself permission to drink. This time I did not reach out. I quietly and calmly opened my bottle of vodka and poured my first drink. The taste was a bit bitter (not great tasting) and after just a couple of drinks felt the slight buzz. Nothing WOW or anything – just different. Different from the buzz I used to seek so often during my daily drinking as I used this outlet to cope with many of the life stressors.

When I knew I’d be alone overnight – it was like YES – FINALLY some alone time and just an opportunity to unplug and take off all these restrictions in my head that of late have been leading to me becoming more of a binge emotional eater. The day before when I didn’t cave – I binged on junk food and woke up with the same YUCK feelings as one would with a booze hangover. The guilt, the shame from ‘failing’ on the set intentions I had professed I’d follow through on.

By allowing myself this break and allowing myself drinks – it took some pressure off. It reminded me that I’m human and indeed getting better on this journey. I’ve often shared that my goal is not to be AF for good, but I simply decided to go longer than the 100 days to further shift my mindset away from that ‘go to’ daily habit of drinking. And I can attest it’s working. My longest streak is now 174 days versus 100 days!

I postponed sharing about this (and have not yet told my family or friends in the general public) because I wanted to make sure I was back on track with my goals to shift my lifestyle to healthier living (so not falling back to the trap of the daily drinking). I won’t lie in that on Sunday – I woke up feeling ‘off’ – tired and had thoughts about having drinks to make me feel better but did not go there.

While having drinks – I honestly enjoyed the  release … I binged watched TV, ordered some pizza and stayed off the computer … I just needed a FULL out break! I know that I could have had a break without the booze, but it was there this time as I had actually gone out to buy some. But I didn’t over do it. The coolers and wine were untouched. I stuck with my vodka and had one beer.

The day after – I debated about posting/sharing but really wanted to get my grounding again to really evaluate how this experience affected me. Well for one thing – it took away the craving/thoughts of wanting a drink . I had it – it wasn’t that amazing as we sometimes romanticize it to be and I’m back on track with my eating too!

You see I’ve always been kind of a rebel in my head – when someone tells me I can’t have something or do something – it’s like I want it more. It’s been that way for me in all areas of my life – even the ‘bad boys’ I liked to date when I would always be warned not to.

For me the group and the challenge about Losing ‘da Booze is creating a better life – however that may look. For me – Better IS Better and I definitely am nowhere near where I used to be with ‘da booze in my life! I view it very differently – especially when I’m sober and observe others over doing it. It’s not appealing or attractive to me in any way.

For me it’s about finding more JOY in my life and it’s not something you’ll find in a bottle of booze – but more so in personal development and self-discovery and GROWTH!! It’s about moving outside of the routines and comfort zones – getting OFF YOUR ASS and taking action!! I posted a video and then watched an inspirational video and it really resonated with how I’m feeling and simply going to talk less about the things I do and just DO them!

We need to stop living inside our heads so much and start living REAL life! Get out there and breathe the air, smell the smells, feel the feels, enjoy the views, laugh more, play more – just LIVE more!!

You can’t do that if you drink daily! To be present and mindful was one of my goals on my 2018 vision board and I feel this little blip on day 174 just reinforced my personal mission in life!! I had been half dogging my workouts and program and now even more committed to make results happen!

There are many lessons to learn in life – and they shouldn’t just revolve around whether or not you drink – there is so much more out there to think about! Remember – what you focus on or think about is what you bring about so start shifting your focus off ‘da booze to your dreams and go BIG!! Let go of fear and take a step forward to make the most of every single moment…

PS – as I write this – my boss just emailed me to say he wouldn’t be in today and not sure what the rest of his week would look like as his wife’s youngest brother who just turned 50 died in a skiing accident last night and they are devastated … it just reminds you of how precious life is and how we cannot take for granted the moments we have. So BE present and appreciate life by living it FULLY!