Day 131 of 365 – The Little Book of BIG Change

I signed up to Audible not long after I started my journey here and man do I love it – when I travel to work alone the total commute time is near 2 hours and I use it to listen to some amazing books and this one is the latest one! I really love the analogies she shares about how the sky is always blue – but that storms come and go – like shit that happens in our lives. And the back seat driver analogy – yelling at us to blow that red light … just like those voices that used to egg me on to have a drink but not this time! I am in the driver’s seat and I am no longer going to give away my power!

As I near the end of this book I find myself thinking of how life is simply peaceful for me now. Yes there are still a lot of things going on around me and in my life – but inside … sober and clear of mind – I feel like I can handle anything!

When I think of all the wasted moments spent reaching for a drink to get relief or some sense of relaxation and peace when all along it was always there … and it’s now that I have managed to continue on the journey that I see it clearer every day!

Simple things like hearing music play and feeling joy. Receiving gifts from people at work just because… and doing work that I love and am so passionate about! There’s no doubt I’m in a good space right now but it came with a lot of work and determination – to no longer stay stuck or as they say in the book – to no longer allow myself to get hijacked by those stupid voices telling me it’s ok to drink. The lizard brain is no longer holding a megaphone and those urges are barely audible these days.

I committed to one year AF – but as the days pass, I’m slowly starting to believe that this may never stop because it just feels too damned good! The things that are happening would not be happening if I was still caving in to those urges. Allowing so many great opportunities and precious time get by me.

It’s amazing how now – sober – I find I can’t get enough time to do all that I want to do (and only sleep about 6 hours a day lol). But I’m loving every moment of the journey and thrilled to share it with you. And of course with my amazing Lose ‘da Booze group!!

 

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!!

Day 84 of 365 – Living Life by Design

Waking up on weekends is no different than weekdays for me. I was up just after 4am – and continue my daily practice of reading affirmations and checking in with my Lose ‘da Booze group – which I’m so proud of!! The group has grown into this amazing community and ‘family’ or team of incredible people – all striving to live their lives sober!

I am feeling really strong on my journey and sure I’ll beat my 100 day record without issue! Last night was a social outing with neighbors for dinner and then back home for some card/board games. They drank and I did not – and don’t feel as though I’ve missed out in any way.

I actually look forward to getting my good night’s rest and having a productive ‘next’ day compared to waking with the groggy feeling or hangover that alcohol used to give me.

Today I am starting a 3 Day Refresh to kick start my nutrition piece and give myself a bit of a boost as I am getting ready for the next (and first) official holiday outing with our workplace Winter Gala (kind of like a wedding – dinner and dance social). I’ve done one sober before and I know I can do it again. My only issue is trying to stay up later – but I do believe I’ll be part of that crowd that I used to watch leave earlier as others stay and drink the night away (well ok – some dance it too).

As I look at these milestone badges (from the EasyQuit drinking app on android) – I’m feeling proud of where I am and recognize how alcohol really impedes our mental health. So many of us reach for alcohol in the hopes to quiet our minds or rid ourselves of anxiety and stress, when in fact it ends up creating or contributing to it. I can’t believe that I have saved over $1300 so far by not drinking!! As a result I feel NO GUILT when I spend on items such as a new workout outfit and some self-pampering (as I had my color and trim done yesterday). Today may be I’ll get he manicure done!

Living this life by design means reaching for things I used to just think or dream about. I’m posting here for accountability but my goal is to complete my Health and Wellness Coach Certification by December 1st. My passion and dream is to become a health coach and to help others live their healthiest lives. I could not do this when I allowed alcohol into my daily routine. I must walk the talk and lead by example. And so – today starts with a great workout (one designed by the program I signed up for through a weight loss grant I applied for) and I’m reaching for more goals!!

Sure the hell beats the old lifestyle of nursing a hangover and sitting my ass on the couch binge watching Netflix! Life is good when you Lose ‘da Booze!

Day 70 – Clearing the Clutter

Today my fiance left to go hunting for the week and my plan was to make the most of this ‘alone’ day as my daughter was in town. I decided to tackle this area/room that had been literally weighing me down and making me crazy. If you talk to my daughter, she’ll tell you I’m a clean freak but I believe that’s only the case when I’m AF…

When I was drinking – I would let things slide. The dust and piles would keep accumulating and it literally adding to the anxiety in my life. It’s like I knew it needed to be done but I was too busy sitting my ass on the couch binge watching TV and having drinks instead. What a waste of time!

So this morning I started to tackle this and within 2 hours had half of it done. I also took a car load to drop off for donations and now sitting here resting my back before I finish up for the day.

In the process of de-cluttering, I have to be careful not to overwhelm myself and balance it all out with other ‘fun’ activities (so I’m not all work and no play or down time either). It’s important to take it one area at a time and there’s more left to do – but it will happen another day. The great thing is that I know I will have the time, energy and motivation to do so because when I am clutter free and organized, I just feel so much better.

Even this article from Mind Body Green 10 Reasons To Stop What You’re Doing & Start Clearing Your Clutter attests to the fact that it may help me lose weight – and I kind of am since I’m moving non stop all day and carrying boxes, going up and down the stairs… and I’m losing the weight of things that no longer serve me … Just as I’m Losing ‘da Booze.

It’s Day 70 of 365 AF and I’m only 30 days away from reaching my THIRD 100 Days… but this time I’m doing it three times over and then some! It’s my one year experiment and I can’t wait to see all I’ve accomplished when I reach my 52nd Birthday.

I have to thank Mel Robbins and her 5 Second Rule on this one… this area has been like this for almost a YEAR!! And in about 5 hours – it looks transformed! Now we can proceed with finishing up the area as we want to make a craft area and finish another nice washroom downstairs too.

And all this accomplished by 6pm!! So now it’s time to go hang out with my rabbit and clean up and re-organize her cage too! I’m on a roll and it feels amazing to live this SOBER life! Alone at home – alcohol in the house and I could sneak it in but the only person I’d be cheating is myself! Here’s to wrapping up another beautiful day!

R’October Sober

While I’m on a personal journey to going a full year without ‘da booze, I thought I would launch a one month challenge and give people a sneak peak at the community we’ve built since January 1st, 2017. The group has grown so very close and every member contributes so much. Some haven’t been able to do the 100 days, so I’m encouraging existing members to try to go Sober for October to build up their AF muscles to perhaps one day take on bigger challenges.

In just one month so many benefits can be observed – this is a blog at my first 30 days done during my first 100 Day Challenge: Day 30 and Going Strong

I’m currently on day 19 of my latest challenge and feeling great. My thinking is so much clearer. I forget less and remember more. I am super productive and more focused. I workout more consistently. I am more mindful of all of my nutrition (no lies though the first couple of weeks sugar cravings can be insane but here’s suggestions to get through those – a great post by Hip Sobriety – Sugar Addiction in Sobriety – Why it happens and 13 tips on how to break it). There are tons more benefits too – clearer skin, money saved, no more hangovers…

I’m also recommending people sign up for Annie Grace’s 30 day Alcohol Experiment as a means to guide you through the challenge.  Her book – This Naked Mind is also a great resource!!

When you arm yourself with the right #sobertools and support/accountability – you CAN and will succeed… you just need to make the commitment to join in. If you want to be added to our secret group, I need you to friend me via my Facebook page and then I can add you. This group is a safe space and is meant to be kept private and confidential to all participants – so we have a strict policy of what is said in the group stays there. Here’s a description of the group – if you think it’s for you – send me a message via Facebook and I can add you.

Lose ‘da Booze 100 Day Challenge SECRET Group

The goal of this group is for you to reach 100 Days (or more) consecutive days Alcohol FREE (AF)! It’s about Surviving and Thriving without ‘da booze! For those starting out – this may be an intro as you take on a one month challenge as a trial to work your way up to the 100 Days or more goal.

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 for 100 CONSECUTIVE days (or more). 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 or is not intended for posts relative to opinions about religion, politics, debates relative to other groups, etc. These posts will be removed. We will not tolerate TROLLS either. **

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.

Blogs are posted periodically via losedabooze.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 for this 100 day Challenge. You may have to practice tapering first. **

Awakening in the Now

I am still working my way through my FIRST book “The Power of Now”. It’s one that you have to kind of read and savor but each time I open it and read a passage it’s like YES … in terms of how he explains what so many of us experience as we don’t live in the NOW.

I will say that my mind is awakening and I am becoming more mindful again as the booze leaves my system. With each passing day (even though I’m early in the journey) – I get excited about the possibilities. I am not experiencing the negative feelings I was when I was drinking – the fear, the guilt, the angst… I end each day feeling grateful for all that was given to me.

The only thing I find is that there aren’t enough hours in the day to get to all I want to do! Seriously and when I drank I just sat on my ass and wasted SO much time! Now it’s a matter of getting to a place where I can calm my mind more and just take things one moment at a time and try to stay more focused rather than jump and hop all over the place (well except for when I’m doing my workouts lol).

I’m in a really good place right now… on day 12 AF and looking forward to another call with my LDB group members on Sunday as we discuss Sober Sunday and share tools to help us stay on track without ‘da booze! Life really is good and I’m so grateful!

Today specifically, I am grateful for:

  1. Having a dinner date with my honey – so no cooking for me today
  2. Another beautiful day of Summer in September and a walk at lunch with my colleagues
  3. Just one more day before the weekend begins and we make a trip out to camp on Saturday – with my fiance and daughter to his hunt camp and go out on the lake for a bit and maybe do a bit of 4 Wheeling 🙂

Day 5 and 100 Hours

These apps are the cat’s meow! The one showing 100 Hours is EasyQuit Drinking (which I downloaded on my android phone) and the other is Sober Time. They are #sobertools that keep me motivated!

Today has been an incredible day! I was on this natural HIGH – so excited about life without booze and all the possibilities ahead of me. My mind has been racing and I’m coming up with tons of ideas of things I want to do!

The Universe seems to be delivering things to me that are timed so right. I read an article on Mind Body Green about someones account of the 10 things she learned by going AF for 100 Days. I did a similar account in my blog 2nd 100 Days Completed and with my current journey and this blog and the group, I plan on created an even bigger list – of all the benefits of NOT drinking.

It’s so freeing when my mind is no longer even contemplating the decision – it’s like I have this wide open space and I’m filling it with so many great positive possibilities of goals and dreams I want to fulfill.

When I compare this to how I was feeling just one week ago – barely motivated to get up. Hitting the snooze button and wasting my life away sitting on a couch watching TV. I’ve missed out on too much time – NO MORE!

So my groups – on Facebook and SparkPeople – I have been connected with some of the members for some time and we’ve grown this bond/connection and one of those dreams is to meet in person so I’m working on that as I plan on traveling for my daughter so she can visit someone she connected with that has been helping her in her eating disorder recovery. I’m excited – just as excited as if this was one of my yearly sunny destination getaways (which I’m not doing this year). I’m going to make my own sunshine with these amazing souls I’ve connected with on this journey and I can’t wait to finalize details.

The opposite of addiction is connection and honestly that’s what I feel was a HUGE missing link. A group of people who really understand this issue – one that is now becoming more public but still needs work. It’s also an issue that many don’t like to talk about or deny… but I’m no longer hiding it and that in of itself is also freeing!

And so I wind down another incredible day – worked out this morning and this evening and MAN am I feeling great! Working out is really my cure and ‘medicine’.

And so again … ending this day in Gratitude:

  1. For my loving Fiance who is supportive of all of my dreams and goals
  2. For my daughter who is doing better on her journey to healing her eating disorder
  3. For my friends, colleagues and LDB and SP family!
  4. And this bonus one again … this affirmation about how spending our life our OWN way is the ONE Success I am living and LOVING!! In peace, joy and love!

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)

Day 1 of 365 – Happy Birthday to ME!

Today is the day I begin my ONE year journey of losing ‘da booze in my life. A full cycle/year of events and experiences without alcohol. As many of you know if you’ve been following me – I finally achieved the goal of doing 100 consecutive days AF (alcohol free) but then returned to try moderating. After each 100 (I completed two) – I slid back to old patterns. This time I decided I needed to take more time off – to really give myself a clear view of what life without alcohol can be like and perhaps once the year is up – I may opt to never drink again (but I always fear/hesitate saying ‘never’).

I’m thrilled to have my group for support – on Facebook and through SparkPeople. Knowing I’m not alone in the journey and can vent and share my trials or triumphs makes a HUGE difference!

I had my last drink abound 9pm last night – passed out on the couch – that’s how many I had I guess … woke up at 11:25pm to go to bed and saw the full drink next to me and just dumped it down the sink.

Woke up this morning feeling a bit shaky and ill from the mixing of booze I had – as I wanted to get my fill and be DONE with it!

I did my weigh in and measurements and I will take some photos too in order to document my journey as it relates to my health and well being as well. I will use this blog to journal out how I’m feeling.

Today’s plan is simply to go to town and get groceries. We are going to my favorite restaurant for dinner. And I plan on getting a workout done at some point today. I know during my previous AF stretches – the working out was my saving grace as it helped to alleviate some stress and anxiety and released some ‘good feeling’ endorphins.

So here’s to DAY 1 of 365 – a birthday gift of health that I am giving myself.