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 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 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 174 of 365 – A VERY Close Call!!

Five days since my last post and another VERY close call. This time I even went into the liquor store and picked up my favorite drinks (a bottle of vodka, a bottle of wine and some coolers)… (PS – the picture above is me having an AF sparkling apple/peach ZERO alcohol drink in my fancy wine glass)

But before I went out to get this here’s what I did… First – I posted a real video about the struggle and internal dialogue I was having and how I was feeling frustrated… I was frustrated because the weekend I was supposed to have alone while my fiance went ice fishing didn’t happen because of the weather. I was feeling frustrated playing taxi to my daughter and having to basically have my schedule twarthed at the mercy of her activities. I felt resentful. I wanted a break – something to do for ME!! I also felt like the pink cloud effect of losing ‘da booze was gone and frustrated with my daily excessive eating of junk foods and felt that perhaps if I could shake things up – I could shock myself back on track or something. I reached out to a girlfriend and called her to say how I was feeling. I posted the video in my Facebook group (Lose ‘da Booze 100 Day Challenge) and I also even called my fiance to tell him how I was feeling. So as I stalled the caving in (because I did have booze in the house I could have had a quick drink with) – I went through this process.

The next thing that happened was all the thoughts in my head… how I’d have to reset my counter on my app and how just last week my article was featured stating publicly my one year commitment to no alcohol… and how bad it would feel to have to go back on my word. You see – when you put yourself out there publicly – it’s not easy but it’s the best accountability you can do for yourself! Not only do I NOT want to disappoint myself – but I don’t want to let others down as I lead the team on SparkPeople (Cutting Down the Booze) and in my group on Facebook.

I drove into town… stopped at Walmart first and picked up junk food eats (because I always tell people early in the game it’s ok to give in to eats and treats to help you stick to you AF goal as a first priority). Then stopped at the liquor store… and here’s what I came home with.

The booze got put away and I opened the bag of chips and started cleaning the kitchen. Then I got called away to play taxi again (another reason I have to stay sober). I ended the night SOBER… but did cave into the treats you see here.

Waking up this morning I feel good about not caving in (even though my mind tried to convince me I did great and beat my 100 day goal with 174 days and allowing myself one or two days ‘off’ then getting back to it would be ok… I’m glad my friends commented with support saying otherwise as I would have been mad at myself and feel even more regret if I’d have to start back at Day 1 today without successfully completing my ONE year goal of no booze!

I am however feeling like I have a FOOD hangover from all the junk eats I did cave into and now need to step up my challenge to deal with this emotional eating which is basically just another coping mechanism. I’ve started to arm myself to do this as I did when I committed to going AF – I joined a few groups and will now post a challenge to the NO S diet … No snacks, no sweets and no seconds!! I’m going to work on planning my meals for the week with just 3 meals a day – no snacking in between (as that is what gets me because once I start I can’t seem to stop).

So it’s not Day 1 for being AF again – but today is my DAY ONE of No S’s!! Next Saturday is my 6 month milestone of being AF and time to kick the junk food habit!!

Day 153 – 5 Month Badge

Cheers to one more badge earned!! Life is good these days even with the challenges that arise… I’m staying strong and no longer think about going to ‘da booze as a way to cope. Instead I think about my workouts, reading, taking a bath, meditating, going for a walk, checking in with our Losedabooze group or calling a friend.

These are the #sobertools that will help me reach my health goals!

Here’s to the next month ahead and hitting the half year mark! I haven’t gone this long since my last pregnancy … 17 years ago!!

Day 150 of 365 – 150 Days of No Alcohol

Not quite halfway through my year but this number is a nice round number I’m pretty proud of! There was a time stringing along just a few days AF was hard and now I’m beyond the 100 Days and going strong!

The challenges I’m experiencing now are not relative to ‘da booze – but more about my emotional eating as I continue to deal with some hard shit relative to my daughter’s eating disorder (ED). Every day presents a challenge and today was an example of that… starting with her messaging me to say she felt sick and didn’t want to go to school… then later messages about her wanting to harm herself (cutting) and how she wanted to die because she was trying not to binge and purge. I managed to calm her down and then she spent time with a friend but it’s so hard. I got a hold of her counselor from her group therapy and she also reached out to her. She has her final session tomorrow and I hope she can manage to stay because the last 2 sessions she had to leave following feelings of anxiety and guilt following binge sessions.

Then I have to also deal with my fiance who doesn’t really completely understand that I can’t nitpick about her not picking up after herself or nag her too much as it will only send her into another negative tailspin. SO we got home and right away he was pissed so what did I do?! Well I put my workout clothes on and when downstairs to get my workout done. Instead of staying in the moment where it would have likely escalated into a heated argument I went to work it off and came back upstairs feeling calmer and we were able to talk it through in a healthy way.

And not for ONE instance did I think I need a drink to deal!! Not even food at this point – which is something I at time do turn to now but proud to say I just had my Shakeology following my workout and finished my eating in my 8 hour window and done till I break my fast again at 10am.

I have control of over ME and this losing ‘da booze is something I’m very proud of! I can’t always control my outsie circumstances – but being sober allows me to be rational and more understanding and more at peace.

Being Sober means I can deal with pretty much anything that comes my way in a rational manner…

Gone are the days of flying off the handle allowing things to escalate to negative levels where nobody really wins!

Tonight I’m ending the night with a nice Epsom Salts bath, followed by my facial routine and then bed. Turning off the day and ready to make another positive start tomorrow! Bring on the next 150 days and then some! I’m ready!!

 

Day 148 of 365 – A Sober View of a Drinking Night

It’s morning and I’m doing my thing … waking up to go put my workout clothes on, grab my pre-workout drink (my liquid gold Energize) and sitting down to read my affirmations and check in with my groups.

Last night we had company over and I stayed sober while watching an activity I regularly took part in. We had a nice dinner and then played cards. The boys drank beers and my female buddy drank 2 glasses of wine… and I drank diet Pepsi. I watched the boys down their beers quite quickly – I lost count but I’m sure they each had at least 10 in a very short period of time and my fiance was intoxicated and annoying! He’s a happy drunk – but nonetheless it was annoying to me as he began to repeat himself and what he thought was funny – after repeating it about 20 times – it became old fast.

He said something funny and my neighbor (his buddy) spit out his beer all over the table with some landing on his wife… then in another instant as they were talking loudly and with their hands – SMASH her empty wine glass shattered all over the ceramic floor.

They got here at around 4:40 pm and left by 8pm … once they left I simply retreated with the rabbit and let her run around and play and petted her while I reflected on what had happened. I then got ready for bed… telling my fiance that I wasn’t impressed with his behavior (although he was still intoxicated to didn’t go on about it too long) and went to bed.

I did a short video of him in his state and will show it to him today so he can see what I saw. When I was drinking – the events that happened last night could have likely turned into a fight as he made some comments that didn’t sit well with me – but as I was sober, I let it slide.

What I remember most about my drinking days is how so very often I would end up getting emotional, upset or fight … because you’re no longer thinking with a clear mind. Your emotions and perspectives change. I don’t miss that at ALL! I love being in control of myself and my actions – and not waking up the next morning wondering if I said or did anything I shouldn’t have.

I know my fiance doesn’t remember the details – and that’s where it gets bad. When you drink to a point where you can’t recall details it is a sign that perhaps you’ve had too many.

I decided to stop drinking and didn’t ask him to – but I certainly wished he’d slow down some. He’s not a problem drinker. He only started a few years ago and has a couple during the week at times and on weekends sometimes a bit more. He doesn’t get this intoxicated on a regular basis – because if he did we’d have an issue. So my thoughts are that I will express to him some of my feelings – and explain that as I am sober, it’s not attractive to me at all. It makes me want to be alone or away from him.

I can handle being around drinkers – but simply don’t care to be that much anymore. It’s just not something that I’m interested in as I strive to live a healthier life. And that happens… as we taste sobriety and all its benefits, we sometimes outgrow things that used to be our normal go to activities and it’s so hard to shift because the people you hang out with (at least in my case) still revolve many of their social activities around having drinks.

So that was just one night and now he’s gone for the day and enough said… We don’t have company over often and so I’m letting this go… I’ve expressed my feelings and it’s time to move on and focus back on the great day ahead and wonderful SOBER clear head I have (hangover free)… Happy Sunday!!

Day 141 of 365 – How Accountability Works

I posted about this in our group this morning… you see I had created a list in the group to show all who had committed or intended to do the 100 Day challenge with us at the beginning of this year. And like many resolutions – some have fallen off the list or broken their resolutions (as is the statistics with most January resolutions). However – what I did share with the group is that this journey is very person to each individual. The accountability lies with YOU – period!!

And so I deleted the list because it’s up to each person to decide what they want from this journey to Lose ‘da Booze in their lives and I’m a perfect example of how these goals can shift. Dating back to 2013 when I struggled to try and do my own 100 days and barely could make 30 days without dying to have that drink again after day 30. It’s definitely a process and is it greatly influenced by whatever may be going on in your life.

I talked with a colleague this week who is going through a very difficult divorce and she shared how she caved in to wine to relieve herself of some of the stress. I re-assured her that this was very normal and that I too went through much of what she’s experiencing. You have to be gentle with yourself – which means that you can’t take on the world and change everything all at once! When going through some really difficult things – taking on this goal to be alcohol free may be too much – although I also know that it’s KEY to moving forward in so many ways but YOU have to be ready to take this step. No one can make you do it!

Another member in our group is influenced by his partner who chooses to continue drinking and at times even taunt him with it as he tries to stay AF and so far she has won… and he’s still struggling with freeing himself from the negative clutches of alcohol as he reports feeling like crap for giving in when comparing how good he felt when he managed to get so many days AF.

Right now alcohol is the furthest thing from my mind and my biggest issue has to do with food … and how I now need to deal with how I can cope without reverting to emotional eating (since I’m no longer emotionally drinking). These things are ALL related. And what it boils down to is finding better healthier ways to cope.

Things I’ve done to work towards improving this are the following:

  • start my day by reading positive affirmations
  • check in with my group – post to share / journal and support others in the group
  • exercise regularly
  • food prep and plan
  • meditate
  • read or listen to books, podcasts, blogs… whatever I feel the need to lift me up or help me through a moment
  • reach out to one on one support through counseling
  • get enough sleep (for me that is 6 hours)

It’s about finding what works for you and even with all this laid out – you may still have moments or relapses. Like yesterday for instance – I caved into eats… had chocolate and half a big bag of my favorite chips and then had dinner and felt so bloated and yuck. Kind of like I felt the day after drinking too much – the same feelings come about – guilt, shame, regret… and then I wake to a new day and all I can do is start fresh and do MY best again.

This is definitely a journey and for now the focus is not on alcohol (although I am still bouncing back and forth with the idea of sticking to my one year, doing the full year 2018 or for good)… that doesn’t matter now. All that matters is TODAY and for today I plan on making it a healthier day than yesterday!

Take this journey in small steps my friends. Learn from your slips and mistakes and DON’T beat yourself up! Instead – pick yourself up and keep moving forward! #LoseDaBooze www.befitspirited.ca

Day 98 of 365 – Reflecting on the 100 Day Milestone & Beyond!

Oh how far I have come from that first photo on the left – taken in May 2016 before I started my FIRST 100 Day Challenge in September 2017. Today I stand in awe of how doing these challenges have changed my life and have truly shifted my desires… Gone are the feelings of missing out on something and here is the energy and inspiration to go after my dreams!

For the first TWO 100 days I did – as I neared the end I was already making plans on when I would have my first drink – promising myself I’d be moderate. My first break wasn’t a long one – from Dec 16th to Dec 31st – but I drank every day over the holiday period. Then on January 1st, along with the newly launched Facebook Group I was joined by many others who wanted to Lose ‘da Booze in their lives!

The second break was April 11 to September 2nd, 2017 – it started with my dream trip to Hawaii – my 50th birthday milestone gift and where I got engaged too! When I got back from this trip – after having had drinks while on vacation the stress factors shot through the roof with my daughter and I reverted to daily drinking as a means of coping … and also ate as I watched my daughter struggle with her eating disorder – it was like I was eating for her. As a result I regained 33lbs of the 45lbs I had lost since January 2016 (when I launched myself 100% into my Beachbody workouts and programs).

This morning I’m at day 98 AF – and I’m down 11.5lbs of the 33 I regained. And I am TIRED of having to lose the same weight again and again! Thus my goal to go a full year without alcohol (and perhaps beyond). What I’ve learned over many years is that I am an emotional eater/drinker. I used both as coping tools and realize that in order to succeed I had to change my habits.

So every day now – I wake up with determination and go to bed with satisfaction – SOBER! No thoughts or crying about not being able to drink over the holidays. Just excitement to really enjoy them fully – being present and able to remember every moment!

2018 is going to be an incredible year!! While my one year experiment will ‘end’ on September 2nd (the day before my 52nd birthday) – I may just decide or change enough to say I’m done for good. Until then – it’s one day at a time and I’m enjoying every moment!!