Day 78 of 365 Days AF – Remembering my WHY

Today marks 9 years since my sister passed away due to her issues with alcohol. This picture of her with my mother reminds me of WHY I’m on this journey to change my habits around alcohol.

You see my mother also had a period in her life when she struggled with alcohol. I recall one morning when I woke up and saw my mother walking down the hall with a bandage wrapped around her head and a spot of blood on the back (I was young – maybe 10 or 11). You see the night before she had been drinking with the neighbor upstairs and while trying to come down the stairs – she stumbled as she had had too much to drink and fell and split her head open. My father had to hold her tongue so she wouldn’t choke until the ambulance arrived – I slept through all of this… The next day – my mother quit drinking. She went from drinking about 40oz of rye / whiskey a day to nothing with this incident shaking her up. She could have died…

My sister also struggled with her alcohol issues. She managed to quit for 18 months after one close call of being in the hospital and started back up again and that time never made it back.

I also have many childhood memories of family, my father, aunts, uncles – fights and me and my cousins or me alone – hiding and wishing it would all be over and that my parents would be back to normal – sober again.

I don’t want to be that way. I don’t want to repeat the cycle or wait for some tragic event to happen before making a change in my lifestyle so I’m doing it pro-actively to live my BEST life at 50 and beyond!

Our lives are precious and I plan on making time for wellness so I can avoid the illness that alcohol eventually brings about… So here’s to day 78 and remembering my sister… In honor of her – I continue my Sober Journey!

Day 37 of 365 – My One Year Experiment

Another weekend gone by – and it was a holiday one for me (Thanksgiving) without a thought about drinking. It’s my 5th weekend spent sober and being more productive than ever. Today I got my fiance involved as he cleaned the windows in the house and I got him to go through his closet/clothes to get rid of what he no longer (or ever) wore. One of my new found loves is Thrift store shopping – for a few reasons. I like the idea of re-purposing items and also love to be able to pay less for items. I believe it’s a great exchange and helps others at the same time. A win/win if you will.

The other great thing about my new sober habits is the self-care routines I have going on. My daily affirmations, workouts and night time routine – face moisturizing, brushing/flossing my teeth and checking in to post with the group and/or journal blog to record where I’m at.

This past week had its challenges with issues with my daughter and even today – she was being a typical teenager and driving me crazy. I felt my anxiety and frustration rise… but I went to work it out (opted for some Pump and Burn with Les Mills Body Pump). Then I did more reading (this book “The Power of Now” is intense to read – I don’t recall a book ever taking me this long to read lol).

Our rabbit had surgery on Thursday and she’s fully recovered which is great (as I was nervous about that). My daughter had her therapy session today and that will be ongoing again (as her therapist is recovering from surgery) so I hope to see continued improvement. Tomorrow it’s back to school for her and back to work for me. My days and evenings are all planned and I feel so ‘good’ about all the actions and choices I’m making.

In contrast to my drinking days – when I used to avoid or hide from stuff – I’m facing it head on – in the raw. And I’m not doing it alone!! The group I created on Facebook has grown to be something I’m so fond of – the ongoing testimonies I receive… here’s one from this week:

“Good things have been happening since getting sober.  I got the freelance contract in May and now a full time job offer. While I am sitting in one of the most beautiful and famous spots on the planet (thanks to the Beatles). It’s sunny, I booked my Himalaya trip and I am about 6 months sober !!! Life does get better and I am 💯 % aware and awake for it! No more freelance work, no more financial insecurities. It’s not a dream job but it’s going to be interesting enough. And freelance work was not going to be any better either .”

The feedback and the sharing that goes on in the group is simply amazing! The energy in there is sacred and it’s an entirely safe space to share and that’s what I love about it most. It’s something I will work to maintain as we continue together. So far – those who joined in for Sober October are doing well too. Whether they stay in for just a month – or if they remain – they are getting a glimpse of how special this space is!

I’m inspired to keep going – and this one year experiment may turn into something greater for me as I aspire to be in a place and space where others may seek the group out to help them in their own personal journey to Lose ‘da Booze in their lives! It’s a very difficult journey for some – but the comfort of knowing they are not alone and that others care makes it less harsh. And for some – the group and the accountability is what keeps them SOBER.

And that my friends is SUCCESS in my view!!

Two Weeks Completed

Onward and forward… Observations for the past two weeks. The first 3 days are the toughest usually but this time round the cravings were null and no real withdrawals – just the wicked HANGOVER on Day 1 (my birthday). The first weekend – Friday was fine as it was a work day and was in bed early with little to no cravings… BUT Saturday on weekend one and this weekend, cravings hit as the summer weather was there and as I watched my fiance down his nice cold beer, I thought I could like a nice cold one – but stuck to my ice cold mineral water with fresh squeezed lemon and some diet pepsi with lime.

I have been using my workouts to manage my angst at times and staying focused on the September Health Bet to keep my activity up (a challenge I am running through my workplace).

I’ve been reading other sober Facebook pages – but my main one is still ours as I enjoy the closeness and ‘family’ type environment we have created with positive support. I love seeing how members reach out to each other to check in. Today I’ll hold another Zoom call – Sober Sunday is the name… even though I have plans to also enjoy this last weekend of summer by the pool, with a bbq and maybe having some company over.

The thing I’m really struggling with is the weight that I regained while allowing drinks again – how quickly it came back on and how it’s not so easy to get it off. I’m really trying to be gentle with myself but it’s hard. I saw pictures of myself that my daughter took – and I see the thickness and bloat and I FEEL it and don’t like it. I’m going to use these feelings as a reminder of where I never want to go back to again.

So as the sugar cravings are still pretty strong – I’m going to use my supplements and distractions to work on having a cleaner eating week ahead. I always tell my challengers to not be too hard on themselves in the first 30 days but this isn’t my first round and I have no excuses. Yes I have stress in my life at times – but I know there are better and healthier ways to cope. I also know that by not turning to food for emotional reasons and losing some of my bloat – I will feel so much better.

So here’s to wrapping up week TWO! Here’s to making it to day 21 – as I form my new habit of not drinking and work on leaning it all out! If you don’t already follow me – visit me at www.befitspirited.ca and hit LIKE

Awakening in the Now

I am still working my way through my FIRST book “The Power of Now”. It’s one that you have to kind of read and savor but each time I open it and read a passage it’s like YES … in terms of how he explains what so many of us experience as we don’t live in the NOW.

I will say that my mind is awakening and I am becoming more mindful again as the booze leaves my system. With each passing day (even though I’m early in the journey) – I get excited about the possibilities. I am not experiencing the negative feelings I was when I was drinking – the fear, the guilt, the angst… I end each day feeling grateful for all that was given to me.

The only thing I find is that there aren’t enough hours in the day to get to all I want to do! Seriously and when I drank I just sat on my ass and wasted SO much time! Now it’s a matter of getting to a place where I can calm my mind more and just take things one moment at a time and try to stay more focused rather than jump and hop all over the place (well except for when I’m doing my workouts lol).

I’m in a really good place right now… on day 12 AF and looking forward to another call with my LDB group members on Sunday as we discuss Sober Sunday and share tools to help us stay on track without ‘da booze! Life really is good and I’m so grateful!

Today specifically, I am grateful for:

  1. Having a dinner date with my honey – so no cooking for me today
  2. Another beautiful day of Summer in September and a walk at lunch with my colleagues
  3. Just one more day before the weekend begins and we make a trip out to camp on Saturday – with my fiance and daughter to his hunt camp and go out on the lake for a bit and maybe do a bit of 4 Wheeling 🙂

Double Digits Tomorrow

Tomorrow is double digits day for me … and I have to say for the record, since Saturday it hasn’t been as easy as it was the first 5 days. I know that once I get over the 2 week period – things will shift again as they have in the past. There’s this window between 6 and 14 days that is ‘iffy’ in that your emotions are all over the place.

I am finding that I’m feeling so overwhelmed with all the thoughts I’m thinking of in terms of what I want to do or accomplish and there just never seems to be enough time even though I am doing TONS. Thankfully I’m able to calm these down with meditation and reading – about practicing just being more in the NOW.

The cravings have turned to food and I’m giving in for the most part but still trying to balance that with enough activity and also cutting off when I eat by a couple of hours before bed. It’s not easy that’s for sure – and I feel bloated still but going to push through this as I know the light is just on the other side.

Lots done today and I’m thrilled to have a mini FIRST Zoom call with some members of our LDB group – something I hope to hold on a weekly rotation in a set designated day/time slot for the added ‘live’ support to help those who are striving to Lose ‘da Booze in their lives.

On my fitness front – I continue to post to my Facebook page and my Healthy 4Life group and Fit@50&Beyond group. Have a peak at their descriptions if you wish and follow or request to join if you think it fits your needs. I know that the more I focus on my health – the less I want ‘da booze so going to keep at it!

Gratitude List for today:

  1. I am grateful for the lunch hour I have to walk with colleagues so that I can get my activity in (as I slept in this morning)
  2. I am grateful for my flexible schedule and the day off tomorrow to attend my daughter’s school meeting and see her off to her first day of school
  3. I am grateful for the opportunity to connect with members of my group in a more ‘live’ way via Zoom call
  4. I am grateful for my FitBit and the friends who challenge me on there. My stats have greatly improved over last week’s and super proud of that

Day 5 and 100 Hours

These apps are the cat’s meow! The one showing 100 Hours is EasyQuit Drinking (which I downloaded on my android phone) and the other is Sober Time. They are #sobertools that keep me motivated!

Today has been an incredible day! I was on this natural HIGH – so excited about life without booze and all the possibilities ahead of me. My mind has been racing and I’m coming up with tons of ideas of things I want to do!

The Universe seems to be delivering things to me that are timed so right. I read an article on Mind Body Green about someones account of the 10 things she learned by going AF for 100 Days. I did a similar account in my blog 2nd 100 Days Completed and with my current journey and this blog and the group, I plan on created an even bigger list – of all the benefits of NOT drinking.

It’s so freeing when my mind is no longer even contemplating the decision – it’s like I have this wide open space and I’m filling it with so many great positive possibilities of goals and dreams I want to fulfill.

When I compare this to how I was feeling just one week ago – barely motivated to get up. Hitting the snooze button and wasting my life away sitting on a couch watching TV. I’ve missed out on too much time – NO MORE!

So my groups – on Facebook and SparkPeople – I have been connected with some of the members for some time and we’ve grown this bond/connection and one of those dreams is to meet in person so I’m working on that as I plan on traveling for my daughter so she can visit someone she connected with that has been helping her in her eating disorder recovery. I’m excited – just as excited as if this was one of my yearly sunny destination getaways (which I’m not doing this year). I’m going to make my own sunshine with these amazing souls I’ve connected with on this journey and I can’t wait to finalize details.

The opposite of addiction is connection and honestly that’s what I feel was a HUGE missing link. A group of people who really understand this issue – one that is now becoming more public but still needs work. It’s also an issue that many don’t like to talk about or deny… but I’m no longer hiding it and that in of itself is also freeing!

And so I wind down another incredible day – worked out this morning and this evening and MAN am I feeling great! Working out is really my cure and ‘medicine’.

And so again … ending this day in Gratitude:

  1. For my loving Fiance who is supportive of all of my dreams and goals
  2. For my daughter who is doing better on her journey to healing her eating disorder
  3. For my friends, colleagues and LDB and SP family!
  4. And this bonus one again … this affirmation about how spending our life our OWN way is the ONE Success I am living and LOVING!! In peace, joy and love!

Where Does Time Go… Day 4 of 365

This journey is very different than my previous ones (including stretches of 30 and 100 days sober). Some don’t understand why I am setting a time limit to my AF days – and I even received a very negative comment on a group (that I’m no longer a part of) saying “so what – you’re going to find out you’re an alcoholic after a year sober” or something negative like that. I’m so grateful for the group I created as one of the main premises I wanted to maintain was to keep it POSITIVE and never judge or label anyone. One of our members shared this article today Don’t Call Me an Addict or a Victim – and I loved it because I so hate the labels that some give to those struggling with certain substances or habits (be it alcohol, or drugs, or gambling). That particular habit does NOT make the person. I am so much more than someone who wishes to let go of alcohol for a year… My reasons for doing so vary – and one huge factor is the time I gain by NOT drinking.

Today was a perfect example. My focus was sharp. My productivity was up. On the home front – managed to get some of the household chores done so I’m not stuck doing them all in one day on the weekends. Mind you – I now am keen on doing so much more. That’s the danger when you first get sober – you want to keep busy you go go go and then one day you burn out and figure – hey I’ve been good, I deserve…. (and in this space I used to say a drink)… but NOT this time. What I will setup for myself will be some healthy rewards for the work I’m doing. One that I’m going to line up is getting a massage as my back has been aching terribly and the headaches are still lingering with the tension from it.

In all honesty – usually the first few days are usually tough and here I am completing day 4 without a twinge of a craving and perhaps it’s because there’s no near end to my journey as I’ve decided to do this for a full year. Instead I find myself contemplating all other great things I can accomplish in this year. The books I’ll read that I have had for years and never got to. Courses or classes I will take. The workout programs I will complete. How organized my home will be.

The person I was when I drank did not have this drive or energy. She was the person who would come home, grab a drink, sit on the couch and surf TV. Sober me barely watches TV and prefers listening to good tunes while doing some cleaning, organizing or blogging/posting in my groups and challenges. Sober me has more energy, thinks clearly, has very little anxiety or guilt, feels a great sense of pride and accomplishment, is driven and passionate about helping others achieve this same level of happiness in their own lives. I wake up every morning and look forward to checking in with my accountability groups. I have a few – relative to Losing ‘da Booze and also relative to overall Health (fitness, nutrition, general wellness – mind, body and spirit).

I’m sitting here trying to wind down but so excited about what an amazing year this will be! But I’m mindful of the time and trying to keep a routine of logging off electronics at least 30 mins before bed – still struggling with getting my 6 hours sleep simply running out of time. So once I finish my posts – I’ll be off to read more of The Power of Now.

And with this I end the day with my Gratitude List:

  1. I’m grateful for the better night’s rest I had last night
  2. I’m grateful for the opportunity to help a colleague who lost a job by sharing her resume in my network (I LOVE helping others – it gives me such great joy)
  3. I’m grateful for my role at work in our social committee and all the wonderful opportunities it gives me to connect with other colleagues and provide morale boosting activities such as the Fit Club I created and the September Health Bet
  4. And a bonus one tonight – I’m grateful for FUN workouts that include dance (another LOVE of mine) – did this workout tonight (Jazzercise Burlesque) – what a BLAST!! Because I can tell you TODAY Snaccidents did happen so I was grateful for the calorie burn (and this was my 2nd workout for today as I did 21 Day Fix Barre legs at 4:30am)

My BIGGEST Reason WHY

This right here is my BIGGEST reason why I am choosing to Lose ‘da Booze for an entire year! The picture to the left was after my 2nd 100 Day Challenge and I was down 45lbs from my starting heaviest weight in January 2016. The picture on the right is me today – having regained 33 of those 45lbs and standing at 102 days of drinking in 2017. That happened in just 5 short months!!

I initially hoped to reach 300 days AF but when that didn’t happen – I made a commitment to ensure I at least did better than last year. In 2016 I had 209 days AF and by ending this year and going into next year AF – I will beat that number.

My health suffers on so many levels when I choose to drink. My mental health has deteriorated along with some outside stressors beyond my control. I was struggling daily with low self-esteem and low self-confidence and it was spiraling… I’d drink, then choose to do nothing about it and just zoned out and avoided life in general – raising my anxieties even further. My relationships also suffer as I withdraw and don’t feel like doing much. I miss out on so many activities and it can’t continue this way. I need to be a role model for my daugthers who also suffer from mental health issues.

At the beginning it’s tough to stay sober and face the feelings in a raw state but I know it’s very much what I need to do to get back to a place where I am going to be happier. The weight gain just makes me feel so yuck on so many levels. My clothes are fitting tight again. I’m not comfortable in my own skin and my energy levels feel it big time too.

It’s time to shift the tide back to where I was happy and AF at day 100 – going beyond this time to really allow my body to get physically healthy. I have yo-yo’d with my weigh because of emotional eating and drinking and now I need to learn to cope in other ways. With the sober tools that I’ve been gathering, including our Lose ‘da Booze family – I know I can achieve this.

My WHY is to simply live my best life and I’ve learned in the first 50 years of my life that ‘da booze was preventing that from happening. So here’s to getting back to the habits that will make me smile more and be feeling good in my skin again! www.befitspirited.ca

Staying Grounded

It’s been a rocky few days with a lot of emotional stuff through my step-daughter pre and post wedding stuff. The anticipation of what may happen ‘before’ and then dealing with seeing people for the first time and wondering how it would go… finding out that it was as negative and awful as before and WHY I am no longer a part of that family… and then to feel so hurt by being unmentioned through speeches and recognition of important people in the bride’s life (someone I raised for 4 years and have known and been close to for over 25 years). Alas – I let her know how I felt and then let it go. As they speak of letting EGO go – drop the “E” and just let GO!

As I do this I shift my focus back to my journey to getting back to my happy and healthy self and prepping for my 51st year of life Alcohol Free… my one year experiment and perhaps beyond.

Life brings us so many lessons and they say you don’t stop learning them until you have really grasped the concept and so I believe that is the case for me going into this newest ‘next level’ challenge where I just will say I don’t drink … for the entire year!

Announcing it publicly so people know, I know I will have the support. Knowing I can get back to this transformation as I find myself quite fluffy again with the re-introducing of ‘da booze habit since April of this year… No More! September 3rd is MY New Year and back to school!

I can’t wait to record the experience… for me and perhaps you’ll follow along. I know for sure there will be many revelations! So here’s to stepping up my game – prepping myself – mind, body and spirit!! I CAN and I WILL and I MUST achieve this!! No excuses!  

100 Day Challenge – Starting September 5th

I’m counting down … to my NEXT 100 Day Challenge starting September 5th and hoping to have others join me as I start my personal third 100 Day Challenge and beyond!!

After a TON of stuff happening, I can honestly say I’m craving this NEW beginning and re-launch into a space where I feel so much better… without ‘da booze in my life! Vacation, life stress, summer socials, weddings – I am so READY to get back to being FREE of alcohol again and considering making my 51st year of life mostly AF!

I celebrate my last ‘Windup’ Weekend including birthday celebrations September 1 to the 3rd… and when I return home on the 4th it’s BACK to LDB (Lose ‘da Booze) school! It’s time to get back to clarity, freedom, health, weight loss, feeling good, productive and PROUD me! It’s amazing what allowing alcohol back in leads to and as we age, how our body is not so quick to bounce back!

For those who are wondering why I’m not starting before then – well it’s an allowance I’m giving myself. Prep time if you will. I have continued to be mindful of my intake and accountable in my group and inspired to JUMP back in with others who have gone beyond their 100 days and continue to reap so many amazing health and life benefits!

If you are ready to change your life… to allow more GOOD into it… to have more time to do great things… then JOIN US!! We have an ongoing group of members who have taken the 100 Day challenge. You can start at any time – so long as you commit to doing at least 100 consecutive days without ‘da booze.

Some members have joined and haven’t been able to make it just yet – but are gaining strength and inspiration from the group. This is a safe place – a closed group, where we can share our stories and where we find that we are not alone in this quest to make this change in our lives. Sober is the new COOL movement and it’s one worth investing your time in! For some – saying forever is intimidating… but say for 100 days… give it a try… see how you feel after those 100 days and decide then what you want to do.

Personally – I know that I need a longer break this time so I’m going to stretch my 100 days through the Christmas holidays into 2018 and aiming to have ONE YEAR without ‘da booze. I’m stepping up my game and goals and determined to achieve this! I never thought I could do the 100 and now I know – with the support of the group… I CAN DO THIS!! And so can you!! I hope to see you there!!

Here are the results from my 2nd 100 Day Challenge – Face to Face Results!