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 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 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 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 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