Lose ‘da Booze for December

I’m going strong in my sobriety (I will reach my four month milestone on December 10th) but looking forward to motivating others to try a month AF (alcohol free). So through groups on Facebook and SparkPeople – I launch challenges – to perhaps get someone started and experiment with what it feels like to cut out alcohol for just one month.

It’s daunting for some to think of doing this at a time of year that is filled with events, gatherings as we near the holiday season. But there will always be something going on! I am actually looking forward to each event being the most memorable ever as I’ll be ever present and 100% THERE! No more missed or forgotten moments!

When I drank and with age – I found that my memories became harder to recall and I even experienced blackouts at time. I don’t know about you but life is too short and I don’t want to miss a thing! I want to savor every moment I can and live in the here and now – being completely present!

Here’s to losing the booze in order to gain so much more! Stop thinking you’ll be missing out on anything … and start seeing the gift you can give yourself by going AF! Afraid of going it alone? Join us – contact me via my Facebook Page and I can add you to the secret Lose ‘da Booze 100 Day Success group (named fondly as it was created January 1st, 2017 when others joined ME in doing 100 Days AF). Want to know more about it? Check out this post: Lose ‘da Booze Secret Group

Month 2 – Going Strong in Sobriety

I really do feel like I have wings these days! The natural high that I’m experiencing more often is simply amazing! I don’t know if it’s different this time because of my many tries before finally retiring the habit for good … I think the freedom of never having to debate the issue of ‘to drink or not to drink’ again allows for so much peace and serenity to come into my headspace.

No more questioning or debating about moderation – it’s just no longer an option. So long as I keep going and never have that first drink I’m doing great!

I’m down 12lbs since starting back up in August. I’m consistently working out daily. I’m so productive and really pushing myself beyond the comfort zone and it feels amazing!

Just yesterday – I felt a bit ‘off’ and it was like that hangover feeling when you’re tired, headachy and feel like crap and can’t do anything. I didn’t drink but man – I never want to feel that again. I slept it off (likely a cold coming on and I think I nipped it in the butt with lots of rest and self-care). I like the clarity that sobriety brings me. I no longer crave this buzz or desire to numb out any part of my life.

I’m still experiencing great stress with my 17 year old but managing so much better without booze. There’s no solution in a bottle – only more pain and misery.

So here’s to this continued journey as I keep counting months… not days… leading up to my FIRST year anniversary! Until then enjoying each beautiful and sober day for the gift that it is! #LoseDaBooze and live life to the fullest!

Month 1 – Retired from a 40 year drinking career

Gone are the times of counting days or planning ahead for when I am done my ‘challenge’ or AF stretch. This time it’s for good! Since I started this blog back in 2013, I have been trying to change my habits with booze. Since the age of 12 – when I first tasted alcohol and through many variations and levels of drinking, after 40 years of allowing this habit into my life – I gifted myself with a retirement from my drinking career! Moderation simply did not work for me!

In the first month I have experienced the usual wonderful euphoria feeling that comes once the fog clears after your last drink (which can vary from 3 to 10 days depending on how heavily one drinks). Since it wasn’t my first time going without – this last time came relatively easy. And the benefits seemed better and brighter with the knowing that I was done for good this time!

Releasing the thoughts of drinking completely has been the most liberating feeling ever! When I was doing stretches – there was always this little voice in my mind whispering … and on occasions or moments when cravings would call I was being drawn back and tempted… Saying maybe is saying yes when it comes to booze.

When you completely take it off the table – it’s a no brainer. The option just is never there and so you find yourself reaching for other coping mechanisms – much healthier ones at that and as a result you of course feel so much better. Very quickly the self-confidence and self-esteem comes back.

You see – leading towards my last drink on August 12th, I was feeling very low and insecure in my work or my abilities. I was second guessing myself and doubting or wondering about my worth. That was the booze talking (even though I was sober at work). But how the booze robs you of your confidence and because of the guilt you feel for not sticking with your AF plan it erodes at your own belief in yourself.

Things are going so great at work!! Our communications/PR person told me yesterday that she nominated me for “Excellence” in service for all the work I’ve been doing to help make our workplace healthier for staff with the activities I organize for the Fit & Well Initiative. Whether or not I win is not the point – the fact that what I was doubting or feeling guilty about doing (as I do this as a ‘side’ from my regular job as an admin for a team that is all about healthy active living) – I am making a difference for others at work!

Booze robs us of time, confidence, capacity to do more and chase dreams that we used to spend our time ‘thinking about’ with drink in hand or watching life go by. I am LIVING life now! I am enrolled in a program to become a Certified Wellness Coach and hope to make my niche relative to helping others to Lose ‘da Booze in their lives!

Health wise – I’m finally back to my regular daily workouts (something I was skipping out on or too lazy to do when drinking). I’m eating much better (the cravings for junk food have gone – whereas with booze it was like they went hand in hand). I am down 7.5 lbs. I’ll take a photo to compare the face to face and update it here later…

My group Lose ‘da Booze 100 Day Success is going strong – it’s a secret group but you can join in if you message me/add me as a friend. It’s now over 225 members strong and has been going since January of 2016 when I asked others to join in my 2nd 100 Days AF. I also lead a group called Healthy4Life on Facebook. It focuses on support and accountability and I post inspirational or informational items there.

These are all #sobertools that get you on the path to freedom from booze. I can’t wait to see what this next month will bring! I’ll be posting month to month… so stay tuned!

Here’s a face to face comparison for Month 1!

Month One – Recognizing Triggers

I haven’t posted one of these Sober Time pics in a while because I’m no longer really counting days (but I still love their quotes). Today’s was perfect as it describes my journey to getting to a point where I can confidently say I’m DONE. I’m retiring from the booze habit. As you’ll see from this blog dating back to 2013 when I first joined the sober blogging world – my intentions were to complete a 100 day AF challenge … but I kept wavering on my commitment. I kept making excuses and I kept thinking I could manage to moderate or control my intake better as I had in the past… where I would only have a couple maybe once a week.

But as time went by – and even after some great successes, I found myself sliding back to old patterns and also regaining the weight that I had lost when I did manage to stay sober for longer periods.

What I have come to accept is that 40 years is ENOUGH and that I need to make room for healthier living.

Tonight I’m not feeling so great. It’s the first night since my last drink on August 12, 2018 that I feel crappy. I’m headachy and tired and sore. This feeling is what would often lead me to grabbing a drink to numb out this shitty feeling but not anymore. Now I’m recognizing it, journaling it and soon I’ll be going to bed to give my body the rest it’s telling me it needs.

There’s tons going on this month with my daughter and her appointments, it’s ramping up at work and I have my own personal development that I’m working on. What I can’t forget in all of this is maintaining a good balance.

So tonight for the first time in about 3 weeks I emotionally ate a bit to soothe some of these feelings. It’s not the go to behavior I want to revert to as I know it (like booze) won’t help anything. So I’m reflecting and thinking of how I can better handle it next time. It’s all about the H.A.L.T. analogy and awareness. I’ve been feeling it all day … and perhaps what I should have done is come home to take a nap to shake it off…

In no way was booze even a temptation for me though – because it’s off the table for me now. It’s now about finding NEW coping mechanisms… healthier ones and so that’s where I’m off to. To put on my meditation and call it a night.

I’ll be back to write a bit more once I hit the one month mark as I’ll be counting months – not days – to reaching my FIRST One Year AF Milestone!

 

Day 365 of 365 – End Experiment – Start of Sober Retirement Life

On August 12th at 9pm – my drinking career came to an end. On September 3rd 2017 I intended to do this one year ‘experiment’ – well actually I said I’d go a full year without booze but my mindset wasn’t quite there. In February – I broke my streak at day 174 and allowed myself a drink… and then it seemed to slip back into ‘allowing’ myself drinks again here and there – for 102 days total in that one year period. So while I finished the ‘year’ with 263 days AF (same as my entire year in 2017) – I was feeling like it wasn’t good enough.

As you can see from this blog – that dates back to 2013 – I have been trying to cut down on alcohol and moderate and what I have found is that it’s just not enough. What I have now decided is that after 40 years of having booze in my life – I’m ready to break up, give it up, retire it for good!

Thus my Sober Retirement Life begins! I am looking forward to what the months ahead will bring and excited that I can let go of this internal battle in my head about thinking ‘when can I drink again’…

I’m DONE! I used to say never say never – but in this case – I’m done and giving up – on booze that is lol!

Never quit quitting is another motto I guess. When it comes to booze – it’s one thing I can say that truly no longer serves any purpose in the life I want to live going forward. I have many great new aspirations that I want to pursue and there’s just no room for this in my life!

So Happy Birthday to me! Best gift I could give myself right here… and so thrilled that I am not doing it alone and that the Sober Movement is picking up momentum in our communities … with my group Lose ‘da Booze and Annie Grace’s groups (This Naked Mind and The Alcohol Experiment).

I can’t wait to see what life ahead will look like! Stay tuned!

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 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.