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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!!

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)

Once You Make the Decision…

I came across a great article today Willpower Doesn’t Work: Here’s How to Actually Change Your Life and it re-affirmed something that I already kind of figured out. When I first completed my FIRST 100 consecutive days AF – something I had tried to do for years before – the difference was that I was 100% committed and knew it was something I really REALLY wanted. I went public about it and shared on social media – openly with friends (even though I feared some might heckle me). In the end – when we want to achieve a goal it’s for US that we are doing it – no one else.

Once the decision was made, while there were difficult moments and cravings, I stuck to my guns and got through it. Just as I KNOW I will do the same this time as I have openly advertised through my facebook page/ad that I’m going to go a FULL year without ‘da booze!

By setting this up – and having the amazing accountability and support through the group that I created, my energy is driven to succeed – no if’s and’s or but’s! This is a non-negotiable and my WHY is a long list that basically boils down to wanting to live a healthy life – mind, body and soul!

Too many times alcohol has robbed me of moments or put me at risk or damaged relationships. As a child I also witnessed how the adults in my life behaved badly under the influence and I simply don’t want to live that way. My dream is to help others who are struggling with this issue that so many don’t like to talk about.

It’s amazing how I now often bring it up in conversation without any fear as I openly explain why I’m doing this and how I had issues with it. My decision to just commit to one year at this point is simply my next step experience and after I complete it – I will then decide what’s next.

I know from previous experiences that going back to alcohol does not bring me the joy, pride and satisfaction that I have when I am committed to my health goals. The simple short lived buzz just isn’t worth all the ‘after effects’ that come with it. I am super thrilled that my last hangover was September 2nd – before I celebrated my 51st Birthday and I look forward to how the days will go… simply one day at a time.

Today was good. I am now completing Day 3 so overall feeling pretty good. The only tough part is my sleep is still not great so I am feeling tired tonight. Still have the night sweats. I managed to get my butt out of bed at 4am to get back to my routine of reading positive affirmations and sharing on Facebook with my groups and on my like page. I got a 20mins workout in and started my day. Ate relatively healthy – I do allow myself some ‘give’ while cutting out the alcohol at first as sugar cravings usually kick in but today kept it to one single snack size serving of a Brookside and had a few chips. Other than that – pretty proud of my eating (feeling more in control of that already again). I also got a walk in at lunch and connected with a colleague that joined the Health Bet I organized. It was my first time meeting her and we chatted and found we had so much in common (as her daughter aged 15 had very similar mental health issues as my daughter had) – it was great to be able to exchange our experiences. Then when I got home – my daughter wanted to come back to town so my fiance drove her. I stayed back and made a nice soup for our lunches and made his dinner. Took care of the rabbit (took her out on the leash outside for a hop around) and here I am now winding down… aiming to get logged off technology by 9 or 9:15pm to read my next Chapter of The Power of Now (as I’ve set a goal to read the numerous great books I have purchased through the years and never read).

So I close off the day with my Gratitude List…

  1. I’m grateful for my sobriety and my Lose ‘da Booze Group (or family as we’ve come to call ourselves)
  2. I’m grateful for my workplace and my passion for healthy active living with Day 1 of the September Health Bet I organized and how it’s helping to motivate others to move more
  3. I’m grateful for my health and being able to workout (even though I’m a bit sore – it’s the hurt so good kind of thing)

Time for Change

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Today is Day 3 of being AF again. Getting back on the AF wagon – well I won’t lie, the first day was really tough. My nerves were screaming at me begging to have some alcohol to calm them but I stuck it out and now that I begin day 3, I am feeling much better. I had the slight temptation yesterday when I went out on a date – he ordered a cooler and I had my club soda and lemon.

As per my previous blog – I’m recommitting to a dry spell again. I’m not going to put a number on it but perhaps more like taking a break from drinking – or ‘in between drinks’. I know there will be many challenges as it’s summer, it’s hot and I have MANY social outings which all involve alcohol.

So as the poster says – some things are the same in that the voice in my head is still there and I’m still working on quieting it but my life overall is changing and moving forward. So far this year, I’ve re-invested in mySELF and getting out more – going on dates, networking, dancing, zumba classes, volunteering. What remains is the draw or pull back to the daily drinking once I start and so I am still working on the relationship I have with alcohol.

When I explained to my date that I was not drinking and taking a break he asked ‘why’ – and I said just to feel better/healthier. He then said ‘there’s nothing wrong with it so long as it’s not done excessively’ and there in lies the issue for me. When I have one – I can’t stop at the recommended one or two. NO – it’s like when I have one the tap is opened and I say, well I may as well go for it and drink way over what is healthy or even moderate.

I think my biggest motivator in doing this latest dry spell is that I honestly want to be healthier – and leaner – and alcohol will NOT get me there. I have to make this decision… to move ahead with the goals in life that will make me feel better and I know that right now in this heat and humidity and the bloat I have on from the booze – well it does NOT feel good. And so it’s time for change.

It’s July 1st – the 2nd half of 2014 and I plan on making it even better than it has been so far. There have been some great things so far in 2014 as I mentioned above and including my wonderful trip to Barbados. I’m excited about getting back on track and seeing what the next half will bring. I have stepped up as President for my association so I need to stay focused. I am also determined to add another certification to my qualifications. And so it’s time to FOCUS. It’s time to quiet ‘da booze voice in my head and get on with more important things in life.

Here’s a great quote that I found today and I thought was quite a propos… I HUNGER for a lean, toned, healthy body and seek the balance mind/body and spirit.

Wanting something is not enough. You must hunger for it. Your motivation must be absolutely compelling in order to overcome the obstacles that will invariably come your way. ~ Les Brown

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What’s my WHY

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My why … here… is to simply get healthier. Yes I joined here and was blogging and thinking and reading all about getting sober. But in the end, it was honestly making me crazier … Where I want to be tomorrow is a person who is focused on health – eating well, exercising and living a balanced life.

When I think about my motivation for doing this – ‘NOT drinking alcohol’ is simply a side effect of reaching for the goal of becoming healthier. I know some have deeper issues and I debated that in my own head for ages but again – it took away from the things I really needed to focus on – and as with many other aspects of my life – I’ve learned that you attract what you focus on and I choose HEALTH – I choose getting my next fix through a good workout, or planning a new outing, trip, or activity. I plan on LIVING!!

I got sucked into this world and was hungrily reading every blog post I could, and don’t get me wrong, I have great respect for the sober blogging world… for me though – I just needed to step back in order to focus my attention on other things that were more in line with where I want my life to go.

Alcohol is very much a part of our culture and will always be around – like many other ‘bad habits’ that surround us (cigarettes, gambling, etc)… they are addictions… and I admittedly have an addictive personality and so I’m shifting it now to all things health – coaching/training, strength training, dancing, meditation, self-help books, relationship books, body image… Alcohol was a side effect of me not being happy with my SELF and so that’s the area I’m working on. I drank out of loneliness and boredom and so now I’ve gone out and thrown myself back into the dating world… I’m taking new classes and trying new things… I’m stepping out of my comfort zone and the high I am getting from it all – well you can’t get that by just sitting around thinking about drinking all the time.

So my friends… I’ll keep popping in here every now and again… but see me anytime over at SparkPeople as I blog daily there… check out today’s blog about What is YOUR Motivation?