Strategies to ensure you don’t break your AF Streak

I went live in our Secret Lose ‘da Booze Group yesterday to share strategies to keep you on track with your commitment to Losing ‘da Booze in your life. Whether you are committing to 30 days, a few days a week, or like me – now in this for LIFE as I’ve retired my drinking career. These tips may help you stay the course.

Strategy 1 – Utilizing others

Surrounding yourself with a good support system is KEY to success! That’s why after my first 100 Days AF I created the group and now coming up on almost 2 years strong. There are also other ways to gather support through your own community and of course your family. Finding sober friends will help you stay the course. Spending time with them will reinforce your commitment. Finding allies and confidantes who support your AF lifestyle will help you stay strong and that’s what posting to our group has done for me. I’ve also joined other groups (This Naked Mind and The Alcohol Experiment) – the more you can arm yourself with a community of people who ‘get’ what you’re trying to do the greater your chances of success will be. Use them if you feel like you’re going to cave in to cravings and reach out by personally messaging or posting on the boards where you’ll be welcomed and supported through moments of weakness. Go to in person meetings if there are some available in your community. Don’t be afraid to share your goals to be AF with others. Be proud of it. Informing others will strengthen your commitment. If you’re going on holidays – re-clarify your goals and consider meeting up with sober communities or linking to sober activities during your travels. Help and educate others as it will reinforce what you already know from your own experiences. And most importantly – don’t isolate yourself. If you are down and alone – those are the times that are riskiest to breaking your AF streak – so REACH OUT!

Strategy 2 – Knowing and avoiding triggers

Reduce the amount of time spent with past boozing friends. Recognize the people who are unhealthy or triggering. This doesn’t mean they are bad people – it just means you are taking care of yourself. Identify high risk situations and people. These are the situations or people who may will make staying sober a struggle. Try to develop strategies to handle such influences without resolving to alcohol to cope. Be able to successfully anticipate high-risk situations and be ready with a plan to cope with them. Know and learn your triggers and avoid them or find ways to manage them. Give up hobbies that are associated with booze. This could include going to pubs, watching certain TV programs, etc. Visualize and mentally rehears what you can do to get out of tempting situations. It’s like muscle memory – it’s easier if you’ve developed the muscle first. Plan ahead of what you will do. Replace negative behaviours with positive ones. Rehearse answering awkward questions from relatives or friends – especially at parties or other social situations when alcohol is freely available. Have a standard response ready. Have an escape plan if you’re attending a party or event. Be sure to have your own vehicle or plan for public transportation to leave. Don’t feel obligated to stay if you are in a situation you don’t want to be in that could trigger a slip. Attend events with sober friends and family. Be the designated driver. If you are experiencing a strong urge to drink – distract yourself for at least 15 minutes and know that the craving will subside. Know you are more powerful than your craving – this is something you CAN beat! Know that a slip starts with thoughts that maybe you don’t have an issue or you miss drinking … be mindful of these thoughts and go back to WHY you decided to Lose ‘da Booze (make a list that you can refer to of all the negatives you experience when you drink). Stay away from old ‘haunts’ where you associate drinking with. Cravings are part of your overall journey – know what to do when you get them: places to go, what can calm you down, sources of distractions (like the files we have in our group), people to call, etc. Learn about Terence Gorski’s concepts: 1 – euhporic recall (where a person thinks positively about their alcohol use), 2 – negative abstinence (where a person associates negative feelings with sobriety) – by the way this is so NOT how I’m feeling now as I only see all the GOOD about being sober, 3 – exaggerated thinking (where a person believes all the bad things happening to them would go away if alcohol was reintroduced).

Strategy 3 – Develop coping mechanisms & psychological strength

Have a safety plan with at least five easy things you can do whenever your feelings are likely to overwhelm you and carry the safety plan with you because under stress, we don’t think very well. Plan for harm reduction if a slip does occur. Do not feel ashamed if you break your streak. Seek out support immediately through our group or whatever supports you have setup for yourself. Don’t allow a slip to turn into a full blown spiral backwards to boozing it up. Give yourself grace for setbacks. They don’t mean everything you’ve worked for is nothing. Above all if you slip don’t give up giving up!! Understand your prior progress wasn’t for nothing. Progress not perfection – it took me FIVE years of trying to moderate before I was able to accept that I just was done for good and now retired from a 40 year drinking career. Kill complacency. After a while you may assume you’re ok but being sober is a full time job. Don’t let your guard down. Keep a daily journal that’s only for you or do like me and create a blog if you’re ready for that. Allow yourself to ponder all that you’ve lost over the years – but don’t stay stuck in the past either. Build on the positives that sobriety brings to your life and create new and meaningful experiences. Don’t have the ‘first’ drink – one drink can undo so much!! Keep stress levels low – look at what may be causing you stress and make adjustments as needed. Regulate your physical and emotional needs – this is all about balance and minding your health – mind, body and spirit. You can always join my Healthy 4Life group for support in this area. Don’t feel guilty about having ME time!! Self-care is KEY to success … this could include reading a book or just resting in bed all day! Sometimes empty time is just what the doctor ordered. Work your assertiveness skills and learn to say NO (and no is a complete sentence). Don’t expect all your problems to magically go away – know that your efforts are a work in progress. Avoid being overconfident – always be mindful that your sobriety is something you must work at. Avoid self-pity – this is not a punishment but a reward … your life will be blessed with so many gifts in sobriety if you give it a real chance. Sobriety will not always equal happiness – it’s sometimes a roller coaster of emotions but enjoy the ride! Use DEADS: Each letter stands for an approach to avoid a slip. D-elay – this is based on the notion that cravings and urges disappear when you shift your attention elsewhere (do this for 10 to 15 minutes). E-scape – remove yourself from the urge provoking situation – this could be a pub or supermarket where alcohol is readily available. It’s KEY to focus your attention elsewhere. A-ccept – cravings and urges are a natural part of living sober. Accept these emotions for what they are without judging them negatively. Don’t punish yourself for having these urges/cravigns. D-ispute – Identify past addictive situations and develop tactics for disputing them when they occur again… in my case – there is no longer that mental battle going on as I’ve taken the option of drinking completely off the table and it feels so freeing! S-ubstitute – requires you to substitute urges with fun or productive activities. This could mean going for a run or a walk, or reading a book or listening to music. Make a list of activities you could go to when urges/cravings arise. Again check our distractions file in the Lose ‘da Booze group.

Strategy 4 – Goal setting

Make realistic goals. Success happens in baby steps – not leaps and bounds. Keep a list for what your grateful for – GRATITUDE should be part of your daily menu. Reward yourself for your progress – map out milestones and reward yourself for each of them with the money you save by NOT drinking! This is so important!! This is hard work and the first while (1 to 2 years for those who are choosing to quit for good) is how long it takes… but the end result is well worth it. You will feel more alive and better than you have in a long time!

Strategy 5 – Lifestyle

Know that a busy schedule full of work, activities, fitness, addiction work (education, researching and helping others) and relationships will mean you are less occupied and less likely to return to booze. Find healthy outlets for stress (meditation and journaling). Eat well – give your body exactly what it needs. Exercise -THIS is really the BEST medicine you can give yourself as it not only builds a stronger body but can help boost your mood and relieve stress, anxiety, etc. Get plenty of sleep (whatever amount of time is good for you) – this will help you have a clear mind for decision making. Engage in new adventures or activities – fun activities like hiking, sky diving, skiing, etc). Now that you are clean you’ll find lots of time to invest in a healthier hobby. Occupy your time wisely so you don’t get bored. Consider taking up a sport or perhaps sign up for a local night class. Allow yourself to practice or lean some form of expressive activity – drawing, writing, painting, singing, playing music, acting, etc. – that you can do regularly but especially when you are upset, scared or angry. Regularly practice some meditation activity – learn formal meditation, yoga, prayer or whatever works for you. Spend time in nature. Keep yourself busy by cleaning up your home, garden or garage. An uncluttered living and working space make for a healthy and clear mind where you can make rational and sound decisions. There’s nothing more satisfying than a job well done!

I posted a live video in our group about this – but want to blog it to reach more people. If you feel this is something that can help someone else, please share and if you wish to join our ‘secret’ group, follow the link above to find out how! #LoseDaBooze and Gain YOUR life back!! You can do this!!

 

Month 1 – Retired from a 40 year drinking career

Gone are the times of counting days or planning ahead for when I am done my ‘challenge’ or AF stretch. This time it’s for good! Since I started this blog back in 2013, I have been trying to change my habits with booze. Since the age of 12 – when I first tasted alcohol and through many variations and levels of drinking, after 40 years of allowing this habit into my life – I gifted myself with a retirement from my drinking career! Moderation simply did not work for me!

In the first month I have experienced the usual wonderful euphoria feeling that comes once the fog clears after your last drink (which can vary from 3 to 10 days depending on how heavily one drinks). Since it wasn’t my first time going without – this last time came relatively easy. And the benefits seemed better and brighter with the knowing that I was done for good this time!

Releasing the thoughts of drinking completely has been the most liberating feeling ever! When I was doing stretches – there was always this little voice in my mind whispering … and on occasions or moments when cravings would call I was being drawn back and tempted… Saying maybe is saying yes when it comes to booze.

When you completely take it off the table – it’s a no brainer. The option just is never there and so you find yourself reaching for other coping mechanisms – much healthier ones at that and as a result you of course feel so much better. Very quickly the self-confidence and self-esteem comes back.

You see – leading towards my last drink on August 12th, I was feeling very low and insecure in my work or my abilities. I was second guessing myself and doubting or wondering about my worth. That was the booze talking (even though I was sober at work). But how the booze robs you of your confidence and because of the guilt you feel for not sticking with your AF plan it erodes at your own belief in yourself.

Things are going so great at work!! Our communications/PR person told me yesterday that she nominated me for “Excellence” in service for all the work I’ve been doing to help make our workplace healthier for staff with the activities I organize for the Fit & Well Initiative. Whether or not I win is not the point – the fact that what I was doubting or feeling guilty about doing (as I do this as a ‘side’ from my regular job as an admin for a team that is all about healthy active living) – I am making a difference for others at work!

Booze robs us of time, confidence, capacity to do more and chase dreams that we used to spend our time ‘thinking about’ with drink in hand or watching life go by. I am LIVING life now! I am enrolled in a program to become a Certified Wellness Coach and hope to make my niche relative to helping others to Lose ‘da Booze in their lives!

Health wise – I’m finally back to my regular daily workouts (something I was skipping out on or too lazy to do when drinking). I’m eating much better (the cravings for junk food have gone – whereas with booze it was like they went hand in hand). I am down 7.5 lbs. I’ll take a photo to compare the face to face and update it here later…

My group Lose ‘da Booze 100 Day Success is going strong – it’s a secret group but you can join in if you message me/add me as a friend. It’s now over 225 members strong and has been going since January of 2016 when I asked others to join in my 2nd 100 Days AF. I also lead a group called Healthy4Life on Facebook. It focuses on support and accountability and I post inspirational or informational items there.

These are all #sobertools that get you on the path to freedom from booze. I can’t wait to see what this next month will bring! I’ll be posting month to month… so stay tuned!

Here’s a face to face comparison for Month 1!

Month One – Recognizing Triggers

I haven’t posted one of these Sober Time pics in a while because I’m no longer really counting days (but I still love their quotes). Today’s was perfect as it describes my journey to getting to a point where I can confidently say I’m DONE. I’m retiring from the booze habit. As you’ll see from this blog dating back to 2013 when I first joined the sober blogging world – my intentions were to complete a 100 day AF challenge … but I kept wavering on my commitment. I kept making excuses and I kept thinking I could manage to moderate or control my intake better as I had in the past… where I would only have a couple maybe once a week.

But as time went by – and even after some great successes, I found myself sliding back to old patterns and also regaining the weight that I had lost when I did manage to stay sober for longer periods.

What I have come to accept is that 40 years is ENOUGH and that I need to make room for healthier living.

Tonight I’m not feeling so great. It’s the first night since my last drink on August 12, 2018 that I feel crappy. I’m headachy and tired and sore. This feeling is what would often lead me to grabbing a drink to numb out this shitty feeling but not anymore. Now I’m recognizing it, journaling it and soon I’ll be going to bed to give my body the rest it’s telling me it needs.

There’s tons going on this month with my daughter and her appointments, it’s ramping up at work and I have my own personal development that I’m working on. What I can’t forget in all of this is maintaining a good balance.

So tonight for the first time in about 3 weeks I emotionally ate a bit to soothe some of these feelings. It’s not the go to behavior I want to revert to as I know it (like booze) won’t help anything. So I’m reflecting and thinking of how I can better handle it next time. It’s all about the H.A.L.T. analogy and awareness. I’ve been feeling it all day … and perhaps what I should have done is come home to take a nap to shake it off…

In no way was booze even a temptation for me though – because it’s off the table for me now. It’s now about finding NEW coping mechanisms… healthier ones and so that’s where I’m off to. To put on my meditation and call it a night.

I’ll be back to write a bit more once I hit the one month mark as I’ll be counting months – not days – to reaching my FIRST One Year AF Milestone!

 

Day 355 of 365 – Phoenix Rising

10 days away from the ‘end’ of this one year experiment and I’m sharing a blog to say that I am FINALLY at a place where I find myself rising above the ashes of the booze life that I lived… for 40 years!!

I was 12 when I first snuck booze from my mom’s bottle of rye (at the time she was drinking heavily – 40oz a day on some days). I would sneak it bit by bit into a cup and hide it under my bed. Then I’d take a can of pop and pour some in and would go out and be ‘the cool kid’ who had a drink with her and everyone wanted a taste. When I was younger – I had very low self-esteem and didn’t fit in. Up until puberty – I was very much the nerdy buck tooth glasses wearing girl that no one looked at twice. I longed to fit in and this was how I started with alcohol in my life.

I grew up with parents and family who drank pretty heavily. I witnessed a lot of messed up evenings with fights, arguments, threats with a gun… My drinking ramped up when I was legally of age and was able to go to bars at the age of 19. At that time I was in a relationship with a man who was abusive towards me (psychologically and physically) – so I guess I drank to cope or mask the pain and shame of it all.

I have a history of other instances where I was inappropriately touched by a priest when I was an alter girl and propositioned by a neighbor when I was super young (he was offering me candy in exchange for me to play with him) and there were more instances of abuse spanning into my adult year and at times when I drank too much and allowed things to happen …

When I met my now ex-husband – I was trying to get out of the physically abusive relationship and as my dad put it – I jumped from the frying pan into the fire. At the time my ex was drinking a lot too. I guess you could say I went with ‘if you can’t beat them – join them. After the birth of my 2nd daughter I experienced post-partum depression and began drinking more heavily. I went through a really dark phase. Then in 2002 my world fell apart when my ex left me and my mom died. There is so much more to the story … but fast forward to today and all I can say is the process of my transformation and conclusion to being who I am today is BECAUSE of all I’ve lived through.

I took my last drink on August 12th 2018 (was done by 9pm). I have 102 days where I have had drinks in this experiment and have now finally had my moment of ‘CLICK’ if you will… to say that I’m retiring this habit that no longer serves my life or life purpose! For 40 years it has brought in so much SHIT into my life! Sure I can romanticize and there were some good times in there (the ones I can remember lol)… but overall booze basically was associated with negative experiences for me.

Releasing it from my lifestyle has brought a new freedom! Like the Phoenix Rising – the transformation time is NOW! There’s no looking back and only great things to look forward to. I hope to be able to help others get to this point as I continue to lead/facilitate the amazing Lose ‘da Booze 100 Day Success Group… and can’t wait to see what the future holds for me!!

So as September nears… and so does my Birthday … I say YES of course to #SoberSeptember and hope others will jump in… for 30 days… or for 100 or for LIFE!! #LoseDabooze for good… Gain LIFE!!

Day 345 of 365 – 20 Days to END of One Year Experiment

As I near the end of my experiment – I wanted to post/share some observations…

  • having the window open to ‘allow’ for some drinks is harder than just taking the option off the table (I now have 102 days with drinks – matching my 2017 AF days total of 263 Days AF in my one year experiment)
  • breaking my streak at 174 days was a mistake – I’ve been struggling to remain AF ever since
  • acknowledging that after 40 years of drinking (as I started at the age of 12) is a long enough drinking career that I can put it to rest and retire that part of my life (turning 52 on Sept 3)
  • alcohol makes me FAT (I’ve regained 40lbs)
  • alcohol makes me lazy and robs me of my self-confidence and self-esteem
  • alcohol does NOT provide what I seek out…. SOBRIETY delivers all that alcohol promised (joy, peace of mind, clarity, health, happiness, less anxiety, etc)
  • alcohol robs me of my motivation to go after my dreams and keeps me stuck
  • it’s ok to say NO (and that is a complete answer) – no explanations are required if I choose to NOT drink

There are so many more positives to sobriety. My January desire was to live 2018 Sober and Clean… and I will have done so for 263 days… but my lesson learned is that I need to put distance between me and ‘da booze once and for all. My intentions going forward are to simply take out the wishy washy – “I’m going to try” and just simply and plainly DO IT!

Since 2013 – when I first started this blog, I have been trying to work the moderation or trying to negotiate with myself how to best do this. It’s been an exhausting 5 years. 2015 was when I first FINALLY succeeded in doing 100 consecutive days AF and that followed into January when I started our ‘secret’ Facebook Lose da Booze 100 Day Success Group. Since then I’ve had the honor of being a part of just over 200 members and their journey and best of all I’ve observed many members go BEYOND the 100 days to losing ‘da booze for good!

As the creator of the group… I think I’m there … retiring my alcohol habit of 40 years of drinking… heavy daily drinking for a period of time in there following really tough moments in my life… to where I am today. I think I’m finally ok to say I’m done and there’s just nothing left in that habit that will serve my future purpose and dreams! Here’s to celebrating my next ‘ONE’ … Year that is of sobriety which is the next milestone I’m going for!

Day 314 out of 365 – 227 Days AF and Day 14 #DryJuly

Checking in mid-point into #DryJuly… and nearing the end of my ‘one year experiment’ leading up to my 52nd birthday on September 3rd.

This week has been great as I’ve been off work (only worked Monday) after somewhat of a break down last week as I was feeling burnt out and broken with all the stressors relative to my daughter’s mental health issues and the challenges they bring. But being AF has kept me strong and allowed me to focus on strategies and solutions including making my morning workouts non-negotiable again and doing daily personal development.

The guilt that comes with drinking for me just isn’t worth it anymore. The feeling of ‘I deserve it’ thinking of “I deserve a drink after this or that…” is gone and what I want MORE is to feel as I do today… Stronger, more energetic, having more clarity and purpose again. I’ve come across a few great resources this week including Rachel Hart’s podcast on this topic and the other one was a blog post that reminded me how I seriously DON’T want to go back to day 1 again (The Obstacle Course). I’m also listening to Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Habits which has a ton of great ideas and tools to help me get back on track in many ways.

The group that I created (Lose ‘da Booze 100 Day Success) is also doing well and we share resources from various places. I don’t put limitations on what #sobertools we can get our hands on. I hope to someday be the resource that someone refers others too as I continue with my mission to #LoseDaBooze in my life (and let go of the hold that alcohol had on me).

In our group I try to collect resources and share in files so we have a go to reference – things like distractions, sober tools links, quotes, photos of our face to face before and after…

Staying AF for me means staying busy and finding a purpose… and I feel like I’m back and today will be the day I create a NEW (updated) vision board which I’ll share a bit later once it’s completed.

The alone time at home doesn’t come often anymore so I’m going to savor it and get my day started… it’s amazing how much gets done when you don’t drink (and also a raw realization of how much time is wasted when we DO drink). We choose and today is a beautiful day to continue this awesome sober streak I’m on! Are you with me?

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 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 225 of 365 – April is Alcohol Awareness Month

I took a pause and stopped blogging and then realized it’s time to speak out and up about this. I slipped back into some daily drinking habits and with this month being about alcohol awareness – I am yet again having to acknowledge that I have issues with too much booze.

I have 188 days AF and 37 drinking days in this one year experiment so far and what I will share with you are my raw and honest observations about this slip and how it’s made me feel … if for nothing else to be a wake up call for me.

  • I’ve regained weight and feel bloated and terrible
  • I am back to living life on the couch and lack motivation to move
  • I am making lame excuses or jokes about my drinking – like it’s ‘ok’ to drink again (but it’s really NOT)
  • I have anxiety, depression and worry filled sleepless nights (tossing and turning and thinking about how this is NOT working again)
  • I am pissed off at myself for slipping backwards yet again…

So what does this all mean? Well – it means it’s time to be HONEST with myself again and just do what I came to do this year… Live the year sober and clean and get back to AF living!

Let got of guilt and let more clarity back in!

Today I’m back to day one with my eye on 200 days AF as my next ‘goal’ … and beyond!!

I’m grateful for each moment … for our group (Lose ‘da Booze 100 Day Challenge) and for the ability to get back to a place of peace and sobriety.

Day 174 of 365 – A VERY Close Call!!

Five days since my last post and another VERY close call. This time I even went into the liquor store and picked up my favorite drinks (a bottle of vodka, a bottle of wine and some coolers)… (PS – the picture above is me having an AF sparkling apple/peach ZERO alcohol drink in my fancy wine glass)

But before I went out to get this here’s what I did… First – I posted a real video about the struggle and internal dialogue I was having and how I was feeling frustrated… I was frustrated because the weekend I was supposed to have alone while my fiance went ice fishing didn’t happen because of the weather. I was feeling frustrated playing taxi to my daughter and having to basically have my schedule twarthed at the mercy of her activities. I felt resentful. I wanted a break – something to do for ME!! I also felt like the pink cloud effect of losing ‘da booze was gone and frustrated with my daily excessive eating of junk foods and felt that perhaps if I could shake things up – I could shock myself back on track or something. I reached out to a girlfriend and called her to say how I was feeling. I posted the video in my Facebook group (Lose ‘da Booze 100 Day Challenge) and I also even called my fiance to tell him how I was feeling. So as I stalled the caving in (because I did have booze in the house I could have had a quick drink with) – I went through this process.

The next thing that happened was all the thoughts in my head… how I’d have to reset my counter on my app and how just last week my article was featured stating publicly my one year commitment to no alcohol… and how bad it would feel to have to go back on my word. You see – when you put yourself out there publicly – it’s not easy but it’s the best accountability you can do for yourself! Not only do I NOT want to disappoint myself – but I don’t want to let others down as I lead the team on SparkPeople (Cutting Down the Booze) and in my group on Facebook.

I drove into town… stopped at Walmart first and picked up junk food eats (because I always tell people early in the game it’s ok to give in to eats and treats to help you stick to you AF goal as a first priority). Then stopped at the liquor store… and here’s what I came home with.

The booze got put away and I opened the bag of chips and started cleaning the kitchen. Then I got called away to play taxi again (another reason I have to stay sober). I ended the night SOBER… but did cave into the treats you see here.

Waking up this morning I feel good about not caving in (even though my mind tried to convince me I did great and beat my 100 day goal with 174 days and allowing myself one or two days ‘off’ then getting back to it would be ok… I’m glad my friends commented with support saying otherwise as I would have been mad at myself and feel even more regret if I’d have to start back at Day 1 today without successfully completing my ONE year goal of no booze!

I am however feeling like I have a FOOD hangover from all the junk eats I did cave into and now need to step up my challenge to deal with this emotional eating which is basically just another coping mechanism. I’ve started to arm myself to do this as I did when I committed to going AF – I joined a few groups and will now post a challenge to the NO S diet … No snacks, no sweets and no seconds!! I’m going to work on planning my meals for the week with just 3 meals a day – no snacking in between (as that is what gets me because once I start I can’t seem to stop).

So it’s not Day 1 for being AF again – but today is my DAY ONE of No S’s!! Next Saturday is my 6 month milestone of being AF and time to kick the junk food habit!!