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!!

Day 148 of 365 – A Sober View of a Drinking Night

It’s morning and I’m doing my thing … waking up to go put my workout clothes on, grab my pre-workout drink (my liquid gold Energize) and sitting down to read my affirmations and check in with my groups.

Last night we had company over and I stayed sober while watching an activity I regularly took part in. We had a nice dinner and then played cards. The boys drank beers and my female buddy drank 2 glasses of wine… and I drank diet Pepsi. I watched the boys down their beers quite quickly – I lost count but I’m sure they each had at least 10 in a very short period of time and my fiance was intoxicated and annoying! He’s a happy drunk – but nonetheless it was annoying to me as he began to repeat himself and what he thought was funny – after repeating it about 20 times – it became old fast.

He said something funny and my neighbor (his buddy) spit out his beer all over the table with some landing on his wife… then in another instant as they were talking loudly and with their hands – SMASH her empty wine glass shattered all over the ceramic floor.

They got here at around 4:40 pm and left by 8pm … once they left I simply retreated with the rabbit and let her run around and play and petted her while I reflected on what had happened. I then got ready for bed… telling my fiance that I wasn’t impressed with his behavior (although he was still intoxicated to didn’t go on about it too long) and went to bed.

I did a short video of him in his state and will show it to him today so he can see what I saw. When I was drinking – the events that happened last night could have likely turned into a fight as he made some comments that didn’t sit well with me – but as I was sober, I let it slide.

What I remember most about my drinking days is how so very often I would end up getting emotional, upset or fight … because you’re no longer thinking with a clear mind. Your emotions and perspectives change. I don’t miss that at ALL! I love being in control of myself and my actions – and not waking up the next morning wondering if I said or did anything I shouldn’t have.

I know my fiance doesn’t remember the details – and that’s where it gets bad. When you drink to a point where you can’t recall details it is a sign that perhaps you’ve had too many.

I decided to stop drinking and didn’t ask him to – but I certainly wished he’d slow down some. He’s not a problem drinker. He only started a few years ago and has a couple during the week at times and on weekends sometimes a bit more. He doesn’t get this intoxicated on a regular basis – because if he did we’d have an issue. So my thoughts are that I will express to him some of my feelings – and explain that as I am sober, it’s not attractive to me at all. It makes me want to be alone or away from him.

I can handle being around drinkers – but simply don’t care to be that much anymore. It’s just not something that I’m interested in as I strive to live a healthier life. And that happens… as we taste sobriety and all its benefits, we sometimes outgrow things that used to be our normal go to activities and it’s so hard to shift because the people you hang out with (at least in my case) still revolve many of their social activities around having drinks.

So that was just one night and now he’s gone for the day and enough said… We don’t have company over often and so I’m letting this go… I’ve expressed my feelings and it’s time to move on and focus back on the great day ahead and wonderful SOBER clear head I have (hangover free)… Happy Sunday!!

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. **