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 88 of 365 – December Sober Sleigh Ride

The new month is fast approaching and it’s one where many social activities and events usually revolve around alcohol. But not for ME this year!! I’m continuing towards my goal of meeting my last highest number of 100 consecutive days AF (alcohol free) to completing a FULL year (which I will reach the day before my 52nd birthday on September 3rd).

I just received my custom made 2018 Lose ‘da Booze calendars and even inspired to go through to making the entire calendar year AF!!

I feel like I’m on a roll and seriously enjoying all of the benefits of this sober ride! To name a few:

  • I’ve lost weight – 11.5lbs so far since Sept
  • My thinking and memory are improved
  • My energy is up
  • My motivation is sky high
  • I workout more consistently
  • I’m more mindful of my eating
  • I’m super productive and organized

The list could go on and on with moments of clarity that I feel and how the natural high that I feel every now and again with just being clear, present and SOBER! It’s simply amazing!

So I’m launching the invite – do YOU want to feel the benefits of being AF?! Why not join in for the Sober Sleigh (I figured it was more seasonal than wagon) Ride in December. You can join our Facebook Secret Group and become a part of an incredible community of non judgmental support! You may think you have something to lose – by not drinking through the holidays – but I challenge you to look at all you’ll gain!! I hope to hear from you soon!! What better way to kick out this year and ring in the New One!!

Lose ‘da Booze Secret Facebook Group

There are a lot of groups out there for those wishing to change their relationship with alcohol. I first joined HAMS – as I simply wanted to perhaps learn to moderate my drinking but soon found that the group grew large and the focus was more on drinking than not in many posts. I had a few members who wanted to do an AF (alcohol free) challenge and I had a team I had been doing this with via another platform (SparkPeople – Cutting Down the Booze) and I decided I would try doing one through Facebook.

Back in 2013 I tried to join Belle’s 100 Day Challenge (Tired of Thinking about Drinking) – but it didn’t click for me and I found it turned into more and more of a sales pitch.

My goal was simply to get to that 100 days and I finally achieved it on my own last December 10th, 2016 and then in January of 2017 – I decided to launch it as a closed group. I later changed it to a secret group to ensure more privacy as closed groups sometimes come up as suggested groups on pages and members didn’t want that to happen. I had about 140 members join in and when I completed my 2nd 100 Day Challenge  on April 10, 2017 – I was joined by many others. It felt amazing to be able to share in the experience and the testimonials have been amazing. The group has grown to be the most supportive, positive and non judgmental group I’ve ever been a part of and I’m so proud of the fact that it has grown as I always envisioned this type of group would.

So bit by bit – I sometimes introduce it to others – but you have to be invited or added by an existing member as you can’t find it in a search … so if you’re interested – feel free to add me as a friend (as I can only add friends as members) and send me a note to be added to the group. If you’re not ready to do 100 days that’s ok – you can still join in. Many of our members gather inspiration from our daily posts and work their way up to 100 and some have gone BEYOND (like me) and are alcohol free for life!

Before you do – have a read of our group’s description and if you still think you want in – then I look forward to hearing from you!!

The goal of this group is for you to get an AF streak in (perhaps you’re joining for the one month) or perhaps you’re striving to reach 100 Days (or more) consecutive days Alcohol FREE (AF)! It’s about Thriving without ‘da booze! The group was created in January 2016 where many of us jumped in to reach 100 Days AF – and we’ve since grown to call it a “Success Group” rather than a ‘challenge’.

This group is meant to be a safe space to share a sometimes very private and personal journey related to your desire to let go of alcohol in your life a CONSECUTIVE stretch of AF days – the focus of the discussions and posts relative to sobriety and being AF. This group is SECRET to allow for us to be able to share in this group and not open to the open Facebook community you may have on your own page, so please respect this and do not share anything that is said in this group outside of this group. If anyone encounters any issues around this, let me or another admin know.

** This group will not tolerate negative posts, hurtful or unsupportive posts. This group is not intended for posts relative to opinions about religion, politics, debates relative to other groups, etc. The Admin reserves the right to remove these posts and the members who post them. We will not tolerate TROLLS either. NO-PROMOS ALLOWED IN COMMENTS OR POSTS If someone requests your email or website, message them privately.**

This group is committed to focusing on being AF (alcohol free), ABS (abstaining)! We understand that some may not be ready to jump in right away and perhaps gaining inspiration to get to a point of doing a longer period of abstinence. There’s no failing in here – we believe that better is better but if you are doing too many restarts perhaps you’re not quite ready for this challenge and you perhaps need to check the other resources: HAMS is a great support group for moderation support with some periods of abstinence www.facebook.com/groups/harmreduction/.

I created the group because the AA model did not fit what my intentions were when I think about ‘Losing ‘da Booze’ and my journey (as I do not believe I am powerless in any way). I wanted to create a group of support that did not follow the 12 steps but that simply was a gathering of like minded individuals who were simply trying to better their lives – without any negative labels. While I do recognize AA has helped many – this is not the place or space for discussion/debate. I also do not like the labels of alcoholism, alcoholic or recovery. To me it’s simply about choosing to live a healthier life – without alcohol! Blogs are posted periodically via this site losedaboze.com 

DISCLAIMER ** This group is for support and encouragement but can NOT replace professional medical counsel. If you have a serious dependence on alcohol or have been a heavy drinker- please consult your doctor or professional counselor before attempting to quit completely. You may have to practice tapering first. **

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

Moments of Clarity – Re-discovering myself

I had a few flashes over the past few days of what it feels like to be the ME that was before alcohol became a regular part of my life. Those flashes gave me some good feelings about things to come as I continue to NOT drink. The clarity I am feeling and the drive I have to get so many things done now.

My move is coming up fast now. This week – I’m going to try to get more things packed and hopefully on the weekend I’ll pick up the keys and start moving things in next week with the BIG day on Sept 28th.

This move is so timely while I’m on this journey of re-discovering myself. The new space will be my fresh start – without memories or thoughts of drinking.

I’m feeling more hopeful than I have in ages about things to come now that I have let go of the internal struggle. I continue to arm myself though because I know while I’m feeling strong in my resolve today, there may be moments when the voice might come calling. Tomorrow I’m picking up my books – Jason Vale’s Kick the Drink and 24 Hours A Day – to add to my toolbox of sobriety.

Life is good and the clarity is allowing for better visions to come forth. Wrapping up another GOOD day!!

Recovering: What does it mean?

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I really have a hard time with the labels in this world at times and perhaps it’s because if I say I’m now ‘clean and sober’ – does that mean I was dirty and drunk before?  Then there’s the term of recovering that everyone using – what is it that I’m recovering from?

I have always hated labels or being made to fit in a description – especially now that I’ve decided that I don’t drink. For me what’s working is just that. Not counting the days. Not obsessing about ok – after so many days, what to do next. I’ve simply wiped it from my mind by repeating that over and over (in my head and to friends) – I don’t drink.

I went to a meeting yesterday which included a stop at the hotel’s bar/pub with a colleague. She ordered a wine and I ordered a club soda with lemon. I then let her know about my new lifestyle choice and my reasons for my decision to change and she said “Good for you”.

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So while I’m here in the sober blog world and continuing my journey to Lose ‘da Booze in my life – by no means am I judging anyone else’s method to get there or the words they use.

I am still arming myself with tools (just ordered Jason Vale’s Kick the Drink book and 24 Hours a Day) because I know while my resolve is still pretty strong right now – there are times and moments that I may need to read to reinforce my resolve to be AF.

So I ask you again – what does recovering mean? Well I guess to me it means regaining the life or creating a life without the booze. Learning about myself and what I might pursue now that alcohol is no longer a part of my life. It means some in-depth soul searching about my goals and dreams for the future, living a life AF and I’m really excited about all the energy I’m feeling so far.

I will not stop going to social events that involve alcohol, nor will I preach or shun anyone who drinks. This is MY lifestyle choice, my decision and my path because it’s the only one I could choose given moderation was not something I could do. I have accepted that and have moved on.

The next part is just simply LIVING life… without ‘da Booze!