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!

Daily Practice

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I’ve been saying NO to booze daily for 17 days now. I still have moments and fleeting thoughts about wanting some and the whole ‘romanticizing’ of how it would be so good. Then I keep doing that comparison of alcohol to those shitty relationships I’ve had with men in my life and how, while it was hard to let go, now that it’s done and over with, I see how it was the only way to go – to get to where I am today. Living a healthier life. 

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Those voices in my head still toy with me telling me I won’t do this again – that I’ll cave in. I still have dreams about drinking waking up feeling shitty about it. Amazing how even in a subconscious state the booze makes me feel so bad. Yet I still find myself thinking of the ‘good times’ and good feelings those initial drinks gave me. 

I have to keep reminding myself that I can only do this one day at a time. I have to remember not to look to far ahead and let go of the past slip ups and believe that YES this time is different! I need to build my confidence. As I blogged about on Soberistas – it takes 6 weeks before we can instill a new habit. I am almost now 3 weeks in so halfway there. I have another weekend coming up with the infamous Friday start tomorrow – and my new acronym of choice OFIF (I’m sure you can figure it out). Last weekend was a hard one with cravings. I’m hoping this one will be slightly easier as it’s my 3rd. 

Weekdays are no brainers and I don’t have any urges because I’m simply too busy. I guess the plan is to stay just as busy on weekends – and there sure is no lack of things for me to do. I just have to stop procrastinating and thinking of all the to do’s I have and just get to them! 

So here’s to believing I CAN do this and not listening to that devil’s voice, Mr. Unsuitable, Wolfie – whatever you call it! 

Change…

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Today started off well – I woke up feeling good about not caving in yesterday and was on a roll getting things crossed off my to do list. Then I got a call to go babysit for a friend – one who really needed to get out as her daughter had been hospitalized for a month and she basically had a melt down needing a ‘date’ out with her hubby. While it didn’t fit with my plan for the day, I couldn’t say no. So I went and they told me to help myself to whatever – beer too… and I said I wasn’t drinking. 

I was fine for a bit then I guess that afternoon itch came again and I was not in my own place. There was beer in the fridge there. I blogged on Soberistas … because it’s more ‘live’ there and got support and worked through the urges again, wrapping up day 13 AF.

And so this poster above… I want to say goodbye to the old me and hello to my new life but I fear it too. It’s unknown territory and that can be scary – well frankly it is in some ways and also promising of course. I know that things could not go on as they have been – that endless cycle of sober periods followed by days of drinking. It was just draining my spirit. However, I still am fearful of the ‘sober forever’ term and so I keep trying to pull myself back to just for today, I will NOT drink and do that, one day at a time. 

It’s time for a change and the only way it can happen is by doing things differently. That means no more giving in to those cravings and working through them like I did yesterday and today. It wasn’t easy though. I’m feeling very drained and tired now so I’ll be in bed early and looking forward to the work week when it seems the voices are quieter. My 2nd weekend AF here in the new home was successful. Onward and forward!

I Think My Switch has Finally Flipped!

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It’s been a long journey to get to where I am today and how I feel now. I’ve been battling the ‘devil’ that is alcohol in my life for about 28 years – but more intensely after my separation in 2002 and the death of my mother and a slew of other really tough life events (job loss, bankruptcy, losing friends to accidents and cancer – some of which I believe were related to booze). Five years ago this month, my own sister at the age of 50 lost her life as she succumbed to the alcohol and drank herself to death. 

Yesterday I talked to a friend who shared with me that she was assaulted by her bf – who was drunk and who choked her and bit her chin and left her with countless bruises. She finally called the police. 

Why does it take so much to finally have us see or flip this switch that BOOZE is Bad NEWS!! I used to dabble with the idea if I could get a handle on moderation and be a social drinker, I’d go that route but now, I realize (with the help of reading The Sober Revolution and the website Soberistas) that I have to simply commit to 100% sobriety for life!

So consciously I’m ok with that and accepting of it. But sub-consciously – these past few days, my dreams are filled with thoughts, events, past experiences – all surrounding booze. I suppose that’s the part of my brain that’s still hard wired to the addiction. I wake up feeling guilty – like I had had a drink. 

I also noticed how much more aware I am about how booze is everywhere – in scenes of my many favorite shows, on friends’ status updates and how they can’t wait to have one, or pics of them having some. 

When I asked the hotel catering manager about AF options for the Gala I have coming up on the 30th he told me he had never been asked that question. Even the event coordinator that I’m replacing said the same thing. Is it because I asked the question versus non-drinkers just asking for soda as a norm and not worrying about it so much ahead of time? For me, it was necessary, to be armed and plan ahead for this night. 

So while I’m still having some ‘ansy’ moments like last night where there was a period of time that might have led me to drinking before – I simply observed my feelings and noticed the triggers and blogged on Soberistas about it. I know for me, it’s important to keep writing it out and the wonderful thing about this blogsphere is that I get feedback and support. 

So while it’s still very early in the game (Day 6 today)… I truly feel that my switch has finally flipped. I know there will be hard days or moments – but with continued work and meditation and readings, I will stay strong. I am committed and I am determined to live my BEST life by ‘losing ‘da booze’…

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Worth the Fight

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This journey for me is not easy. I finished reading Lisa Newmann’s book Sober Identity and while I had some difficulty following parts of it the end really rang true for me in so many ways. The trial and errors about my getting to the ‘sober’ status and how perhaps because my mind is still not fully committed – that’s why I’m falling more than not.

I have a lot to work out in my head about the WHY I need to do this – even though it may seem pretty obvious too. I guess I need to get more sober days under my belt until my sub-conscious mind or the devil or wolfie or whatever VOICE name you want to call it quiets down. Today was easy and I had no cravings or wants for it. I felt much better too and finishing off the day on a good note.

The power of our sub-conscious mind is so incredible and reprogramming it is going to take time and I have to allow this to come. I know it’s not going to be easy – but it’s definitely going to be worth it in the end. I want a different life for myself, for my kids. They are also struggling with the ‘young’ experimentation of drugs (marijuana) and their taste or curiosity for booze too… and it kills me to see it because I know it’s a slippery slope. Thankfully with counseling I hope that we can address it and teach them better coping mechanisms and provide them with the right tools. The other part is my being a better role model – but I know it won’t happen overnight. It’s like they will need to see proof that THIS time is different.

I thought the answer was to tell more people about my intentions, but now I think I spoke too soon and now I’m just going to fly under the radar on the issue as long as I can and avoid discussing it outside of this sober blogging world where I know people truly understand what I’m going through. I’m not even going to say much to Belle either until I have more sober days ‘done’ since I’ve fallen off the 100 day challenge so often (so much so I feel embarrassed).

I was reading some blogs over on the soberistas website tonight and one lady talked about how one day turned into many … story of my life but worse, how I would actually go to bed early, then wake up once the kids were in bed and drink more so I could do it when they were not awake and I could ‘hide’ it a bit more. There was also a comment there I could relate to in that when I get into these binge modes it’s like I take in all I can because when this is done this time – I’m done… and yet it doesn’t always work that way. I was also reminded by the post/comments about how much I give up when I drink and basically withdraw and ‘hide’ from the world. I don’t want anyone to see me this way and so I put up a facade, make excuses and lie – to them and to myself.

I still hesitate calling myself an alcoholic and I’m not sure if I have to truly admit this to get beyond this addiction. I guess when I think alcoholic I think of a different picture than what I’m going through – the person who can’t go without or they get extreme shakes and tremors – that’s not me. I can stop – and sometimes I do for a month or less – it’s when I start back that I seem to go into ‘days of drinking’. And so, the decision has to be made that total abstinence is probably my best bet and yet thinking that scares me too. I know AA is not for me either – because I refuse to believe that we are powerless in this journey – I know I am stronger than this and I will eventually beat it.

In Lisa’s book she speaks to change and growth and how it’s not comfortable or easy and she’s right – this SHIT is HARD! I’m reaching out for support as best I can with my means and definitely tuning in to my writing because that’s something that has always helped me.

And so now I take a few new lessons learned on this path and get ready to turn in and begin again tomorrow. Moving on to the Sober Revolution book for my next read. Tools tools tools … must soak my mind with thoughts about changing my addictive patterns … and practice more meditation too. Today was a GOOD day!

I’m Messed Up

I screwed up again – after 4 days AF – not drinking on Friday… I drank on Saturday mainly to get rid of the painful migraine I had (and it worked). But then the cycle happened and I just tonight finished the rest of it and hope I can get back to being AF.

My kids are honestly driving me to drink and I’m feeling so overwhelmed with trying to do everything – quit drinking, get healthy, unpack, focus on work… I always do this to myself and I end up driving myself over the edge and give in … to the booze. 

I feel like I’m never going to be able to kick this. I hate this feeling of being so out of control. I had my last drink at 6:48pm today …. and I wonder now how long can I stay away this time. Is it that my will is not strong enough or that I need more help? I want to improve my life but there’s such controversy when I tell people I’m quitting or not drinking – like I have to explain myself or I have to say “I have  a problem” and I hate admitting weakness. I put up the facade … I keep pushing through and most people have NO CLUE the internal battle and struggle I go through daily. If people knew half the shit I deal with … well I know many of you here ‘get it’… but I feel like I am letting YOU down and there’s more guilt about that.

I need a ‘break’ or some kind of I don’t know epiphany or great strength. I pray to my angels. I read my books. I read your posts. I admire those who seem to be doing this and feel worse for NOT being on track. 

Tomorrow is a new day I guess. I’m turning in at 9 and taking it one hour at a time… I pray for strength… I pray I can do this. Thanks for listening to my rant… SIgned… still trying to loze ‘da booze habit in my life. 

Lesson 101

I was inspired by a post from Christina (Alcoholic or Not) that not only talked about this cool thing I am going to explore more (sophrology) but her statement… “We must learn from every experience and you can fall 100 times as long as you get up 101 times!”

I don’t know where they came up with the number in this Japanese proverb  

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But 101 seems more realistic to me. I have tried and tried again to do this sobriety thing – and I’m not giving up. 101 is a significant number for me in my angel stuff… it’s my parking spot number – it’s the combination of the ‘dimes’ I find as signs of my angels ‘there’ with me, it’s the 11 (with the zero in the middle) that I see all the time on clocks, computers, everywhere. 

I watch and read about others who seem to be getting this right so much faster or easier than I am. Belle’s 100 day challenge – I’d love to hit that 101 there too! I’ve not given up and she’s keeping my spot for me (although I wonder how her faith in my too must be wavering). 

I’m wrapping up Day 1 again … and hope to add 10 more and then some to this round. Lesson 101 – don’t give up and NEVER quit quitting! I will get this… one day (or maybe day 101). 

 

Can I Really Do This?

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I’m sitting here after 17 days of daily drinking again – some of which was beyond moderate to the point of binge drinking to ‘finish it off’ so I could hopefully tackle the next day without booze. It’s this cycle I seem to keep reverting to and it makes me wonder if I can really do this AF thing. I know deep down that I must and as I read some wonderful posts – including Lisa’s recent equation one – well I am given hope. This SHIT is real hard. Today is our Thanksgiving holiday and I’m grateful that everything is closed down and that I have resolved to making it my first AF day again. 

I told my daughter yesterday – ‘after today I’m going to quit again’ and she replied ‘ya right’… OUCH. I did tell her I made it 24 days last time and I truly and honestly want to make it longer. I can’t think forever because that notion scares the hell out of me – who will I be if I no longer drink? Even as I did allow myself drinks again when I went to meet friends before my meeting, they said ‘oh you have to be drinking when it’s our gala girlfriend’… and that’s on November 30th. So you see – even with  my resolve today about NOT drinking – I’m already thinking ahead to that night as I did with my move and how I started drinking then after 24 days of abstinence. 

I go through so many highs and lows and sitting here this morning, in my new bedroom looking out the window to the greyish day, the fall leaves on the tree outside the window, gently swaying and leaves slowly falling – I feel as though it’s a time of change for me too. But can I really do this? I know deep down in my heart and soul I want to prove I can. I know posting publicly here is risky – because it opens things up for feedback… and while most of the comments are helpful, there are at times notes from some who just truly should NOT be lurking if they can not relate to what I’m going through. 

I’m only human and I have made mistakes and I’m sure I will make more. The key thing I guess is that so long as I keep trying, that I stay true to myself, I will eventually get there. Nothing really worthwhile having is easy. This is HARD work, and I’m going to use the next 24 hours to get back to my sober world. 

Having my step-daughter over later for Thanksgiving dinner – and I am going to take time out today to truly be appreciative of the good things in my life – including finally being in this new home and using my AF time to get more unpacking done. 

Choices We Make…

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This is so true on our path to sobriety. Sometimes we get derailed in our efforts and have to start back to get that train rolling. I’m happily rolling in the sober car – day 21 in the books.

I will continue to work this day by day knowing that I can only do this one day at a time.

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I’m wrapping up today – another load to the new place (over 45 boxes moved on my own yesterday and today). I work 2 more days and then off Thur/Friday with my big move Saturday. The guys helping will be grateful most of the small stuff is done. The whole drinking/worrying issue may be avoided because I have done so much work on my own they will be done by lunch time so there won’t be much drinking as they will likely want to get on with their day.

Face It… Change It…

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It wasn’t until I came to the full realization that I had no real control over alcohol that I was able to take action to change it. It has taken me years to get to where I am today, working towards living a sober life. I swear – saying that still makes me cringe – to think I’ll ‘never’ drink again – but I try to just focus on one day at a time instead (because forever is a LONG time).

Yesterday I came real close to caving in again, but the thoughts that ran through my head were that I just didn’t want to go back again to that place where I disappoint myself mostly and secondly, disappoint those who are cheering me on this journey. I’m very grateful to my friends and supporters, Kim and Belle, and of course my team members from Cutting Down the Booze over at SparkPeople. Not everyone gets how hard this is – but thankfully I’ve found a support network that does – including this sober blogging space and Soberistas too! So many great supporters there as well.

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Fall is my favourite season and it’s ironic that my move is happening now too. As the leaves change colors, I too am changing my own colors or scenery and life – including making my home a fresh new space with new energy that is completely AF for me.

I have come to terms with my need to be completely sober since I can not moderately drink. It’s just another season in my life. What really helped me to stay on track yesterday too, despite the incredible urges, was how I made a vow to myself on my 47th Birthday to become sober. I really don’t want to give up on that promise or vow so early in the game. At the very least, I need to achieve the 100 days – since I am part of the 100 Day Challenge team (and I’ve hit re-set one too many times).

What comes after the 100 days… well as I’ve read and heard from many successful members is that the call or craving for alcohol is no longer there. And that my friends is my wish – that the desire for booze is gone from my thinking. I’m ready to do this – and truly change it.

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