My AF Plan for Tomorrow’s Workplace Christmas Party (Winter Gala)

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Well I was experiencing ‘shaky ground’ today feeling like I was going to cave at tomorrow’s event but after keeping extremely busy tonight (and surprisingly NO cravings whatsoever for booze this Friday night), I ended up picking up this non-alcoholic beer and imitation sparkling wine to bring with me. I am also packing some snacks (kolbassa, cheese and crackers) and my regular AF drinks of choice – diet pepsi with lime and club soda to mix with my crystal light. 

I talked to my roommate for the night about how I was feeling like caving in but didn’t want to – so she knows. I talked to people at work too about how I don’t want to drink and was happy to hear others aren’t drinking – or drinking very little.

I’m now putting the focus on the real FUN of the evening. This wonderful new friendship I’m forming with my roommate for the night – the chair of the larger Staff Forum who used to organize this event on her own. We are finding that we have so much in common in so many ways. She told me she thinks this is the beginning of a wonderful friendship. 

The other FUN I am looking forward to is to dance the night away! I love dancing and yet I find that I hardly get out to dance. I have been thinking about taking lessons or even just getting out to dance more – and this is a perfect opportunity!!

The focus is no longer about ‘da drink but more about being around friends/colleagues and truly enjoying a nice evening out. My daughter will do my makeup. I’ll put my hair up. Put on my fake press on nails. Maybe put nail polish on my toes. Pack my bag for the room and I’ll be arriving there to meet up and setup for 2pm. We’ll have some time to kill from 4ish to just before 6 – but I’ll have my laptop with me so I can stay busy. 

Despite the moment of feeling like I was going to cave in, I’m suddenly feeling very hopeful that this milestone – getting through this night AF is going to be an incredible boost for me. I couldn’t have done it without all the support from my Soberistas’ friends (as I blogged there too about it – if you want to read up there). 

And now it’s after 11pm – I have been up for almost 20 hours since I wake up at 3:30am. I hope to sleep well and sleep in so I can stay up late tomorrow night without issue as we’ll be there right until the end. You know what folks – I think I GOT THIS!!! WooHoo!! 

PS – Special thanks to Belle too for giving me her tools – and sharing her lighthouse podcast with me. You are incredible and I’m so very grateful!!

Friday Motivation – Thanks Soberistas!

Friday Motivation - Thanks Soberistas!

This was posted on FB by Soberistas… and felt I needed it here in my blog.

It’s now my 4th weekend AF – day 25 AF today and 8 days from now it’s my Gala and the mark of tying up the longest AF stretch I have had in decades… 33 days. Can’t wait to wake up that Sunday morning feeling very PROUD of myself and without any hangover.

The cravings come and go during some tough emotional stuff I’m dealing with but doing my best to manage them in the ‘raw’… although I am indulging in more calories than I should – giving myself a pass on that. Sobriety is my Number One vice to BUST and then the rest will come.

Cheers to another AF weekend!

Day 19 – Almost Caved

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Today was rough. I learned that my daughter self harmed again and asked to see it to make sure it wasn’t too bad and healing ok. Looking at all those cuts on her arms breaks my heart – too many to even count. She has been self-harming now since April and while we’re working through counseling, I honestly thought it was getting better when in fact obviously it’s not. I felt so discouraged.

I just wanted to escape and of course first thing that comes to mind is the booze. I didn’t want to feel these feelings. I wanted to pretend just for a while that this wasn’t really happening to me. I have been praying to God and my angels – hoping that we’d catch a break and whenever I think we’re finally turning a corner – BAMM! Something else happens. Between the self-harming, her school refusal, academic issues now too because she’s avoiding and missing school and not handing in assignments or wanting to do any presentations. I fear that she won’t succeed and it truly bothers me. I can’t understand why she is so sad, angry and just not the person I knew just one year ago.

She sees a counselor once a week. The school has been going out of their way to help her. I am doing all I can and yet, there doesn’t seem to be any progress. Until SHE decides that she is going to join in the effort, it feels like it’s futile.

I try to appreciate our good moments and verbalize those with her. I try to stay positive – but today, I just wanted to cry and hide away with a bottle of vodka and just fucken FORGET!! Then the rants in my mind started about how resentful I feel that their father is living his life in oblivion of what is going on with his daughters and how they each are hurting in their own way. While he said he’d be willing to take my youngest in of course she doesn’t want to go. And to have them say that if she were there – she would not be self-harming – like I am allowing this just pisses me off to no end because it’s obvious they don’t understand what this is all about and how I can NOT watch her 24/7 – if she wants to self-harm she is going to find a way to do so. Her weapon of choice – a friggen blade from a pencil sharpener!! She managed to gather 8 of them!! From school!!

I lock things up and try to do my best to monitor her but I don’t want to have to do room searches all the time. I found out today because I happened to lift her mattress and found bloody kleenexes … she denied and avoided answering my questions but she finally fessed up that she had cut yesterday when she missed school.

All of this is taking a toll on my and while I’m strong, today I didn’t feel so strong. I felt like I was going to slip like so many times before. I reached out to Belle, to Soberistas. I went for a drive. I tried to change my thoughts. I ate – junk and realized I need to cut myself some slack. While I want to be healthy in all areas of my life – number ONE priority right now is being SOBER. I did manage to get 100 mins of exercise in today (this morning before all this happened). I did treat myself to a bath and I will be in bed early tonight. I did do a few more things in the house – fixed a chair, hung a few things up and tomorrow’s a new day.

I did NOT cave… I am finishing up day 19 AF! I know I will wake up tomorrow feeling very good about the fact that I managed to make it through the day without alcohol – even though the cravings and the VOICE was real loud!

Daily Practice

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I’ve been saying NO to booze daily for 17 days now. I still have moments and fleeting thoughts about wanting some and the whole ‘romanticizing’ of how it would be so good. Then I keep doing that comparison of alcohol to those shitty relationships I’ve had with men in my life and how, while it was hard to let go, now that it’s done and over with, I see how it was the only way to go – to get to where I am today. Living a healthier life. 

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Those voices in my head still toy with me telling me I won’t do this again – that I’ll cave in. I still have dreams about drinking waking up feeling shitty about it. Amazing how even in a subconscious state the booze makes me feel so bad. Yet I still find myself thinking of the ‘good times’ and good feelings those initial drinks gave me. 

I have to keep reminding myself that I can only do this one day at a time. I have to remember not to look to far ahead and let go of the past slip ups and believe that YES this time is different! I need to build my confidence. As I blogged about on Soberistas – it takes 6 weeks before we can instill a new habit. I am almost now 3 weeks in so halfway there. I have another weekend coming up with the infamous Friday start tomorrow – and my new acronym of choice OFIF (I’m sure you can figure it out). Last weekend was a hard one with cravings. I’m hoping this one will be slightly easier as it’s my 3rd. 

Weekdays are no brainers and I don’t have any urges because I’m simply too busy. I guess the plan is to stay just as busy on weekends – and there sure is no lack of things for me to do. I just have to stop procrastinating and thinking of all the to do’s I have and just get to them! 

So here’s to believing I CAN do this and not listening to that devil’s voice, Mr. Unsuitable, Wolfie – whatever you call it! 

Change…

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Today started off well – I woke up feeling good about not caving in yesterday and was on a roll getting things crossed off my to do list. Then I got a call to go babysit for a friend – one who really needed to get out as her daughter had been hospitalized for a month and she basically had a melt down needing a ‘date’ out with her hubby. While it didn’t fit with my plan for the day, I couldn’t say no. So I went and they told me to help myself to whatever – beer too… and I said I wasn’t drinking. 

I was fine for a bit then I guess that afternoon itch came again and I was not in my own place. There was beer in the fridge there. I blogged on Soberistas … because it’s more ‘live’ there and got support and worked through the urges again, wrapping up day 13 AF.

And so this poster above… I want to say goodbye to the old me and hello to my new life but I fear it too. It’s unknown territory and that can be scary – well frankly it is in some ways and also promising of course. I know that things could not go on as they have been – that endless cycle of sober periods followed by days of drinking. It was just draining my spirit. However, I still am fearful of the ‘sober forever’ term and so I keep trying to pull myself back to just for today, I will NOT drink and do that, one day at a time. 

It’s time for a change and the only way it can happen is by doing things differently. That means no more giving in to those cravings and working through them like I did yesterday and today. It wasn’t easy though. I’m feeling very drained and tired now so I’ll be in bed early and looking forward to the work week when it seems the voices are quieter. My 2nd weekend AF here in the new home was successful. Onward and forward!

Information Overload – So much to soak in…

I just finished reading The Sober Revolution and continue to read posts/blogs on the Soberistas website. I’m reading blogs in this world here as well. And the articles keep popping up like this one today 7 Tips to Go Easy on the Booze Over the Holidays (with links to other articles too). It’s certainly not for lack of information out there and to read the stories of peoples successes, trials and slips. It’s incredible.

I was feeling a bit low yesterday and today I’m up again – but my mind is buzzing with thoughts of things I can now do that I’ve decided to be 100% AF. I have so many aspirations including reading more (I do love to soak in the information but need to span out to other self-help areas in terms of moving forward), thinking of new classes or hobbies I can take, pursuing a dream of starting my own business (to help others in the form of coaching or speaking). My ultimate dream is to have a job that would allow me to travel the world and speak / help people … but I’m getting ahead of myself – or am I?!

They say when you dream to dream big and I am. Without the booze in play, there’s just so much I can do now. I am re-reading Marianne Williamson’s “The Age of Miracles” and I am truly ready to finally be a grown up and make the latter part of my life the BEST years of my life. My mom used to say life begins at 40 but I’m 7 years late… however, they do say 50 is the new 40 so maybe I’m 3 years early lol. When you think of it, now that I have all this experience under my belt – I know the heartaches and I’ve ‘been there and done that’ – I can make much wiser choices.

My mind is absolutely buzzing and so thankfully I have my meditations at night to ground me again. This is only a small part of my life too – because there’s work, and family issues and the counseling I’m attending for my daughters.

Again – trigger point for me … used to be when I got overwhelmed, I’d fall back to the pattern of drinking to calm myself down or rather slow things down. No more of that. If I need to slow things down – I just need to make that choice and it does NOT have to involve alcohol.

I’m on day 8 today – very new still, but different because there’s no end to this count. I joined the 100 Day Challenge, but I’m challenging myself or rather just simply accepting that I’ll be 100% sober – period! No more internal mental tug of war about when, why, how much for that next drink – it’s no longer part of the equation! I’m DONE!

I Think My Switch has Finally Flipped!

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It’s been a long journey to get to where I am today and how I feel now. I’ve been battling the ‘devil’ that is alcohol in my life for about 28 years – but more intensely after my separation in 2002 and the death of my mother and a slew of other really tough life events (job loss, bankruptcy, losing friends to accidents and cancer – some of which I believe were related to booze). Five years ago this month, my own sister at the age of 50 lost her life as she succumbed to the alcohol and drank herself to death. 

Yesterday I talked to a friend who shared with me that she was assaulted by her bf – who was drunk and who choked her and bit her chin and left her with countless bruises. She finally called the police. 

Why does it take so much to finally have us see or flip this switch that BOOZE is Bad NEWS!! I used to dabble with the idea if I could get a handle on moderation and be a social drinker, I’d go that route but now, I realize (with the help of reading The Sober Revolution and the website Soberistas) that I have to simply commit to 100% sobriety for life!

So consciously I’m ok with that and accepting of it. But sub-consciously – these past few days, my dreams are filled with thoughts, events, past experiences – all surrounding booze. I suppose that’s the part of my brain that’s still hard wired to the addiction. I wake up feeling guilty – like I had had a drink. 

I also noticed how much more aware I am about how booze is everywhere – in scenes of my many favorite shows, on friends’ status updates and how they can’t wait to have one, or pics of them having some. 

When I asked the hotel catering manager about AF options for the Gala I have coming up on the 30th he told me he had never been asked that question. Even the event coordinator that I’m replacing said the same thing. Is it because I asked the question versus non-drinkers just asking for soda as a norm and not worrying about it so much ahead of time? For me, it was necessary, to be armed and plan ahead for this night. 

So while I’m still having some ‘ansy’ moments like last night where there was a period of time that might have led me to drinking before – I simply observed my feelings and noticed the triggers and blogged on Soberistas about it. I know for me, it’s important to keep writing it out and the wonderful thing about this blogsphere is that I get feedback and support. 

So while it’s still very early in the game (Day 6 today)… I truly feel that my switch has finally flipped. I know there will be hard days or moments – but with continued work and meditation and readings, I will stay strong. I am committed and I am determined to live my BEST life by ‘losing ‘da booze’…

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Face It… Change It…

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It wasn’t until I came to the full realization that I had no real control over alcohol that I was able to take action to change it. It has taken me years to get to where I am today, working towards living a sober life. I swear – saying that still makes me cringe – to think I’ll ‘never’ drink again – but I try to just focus on one day at a time instead (because forever is a LONG time).

Yesterday I came real close to caving in again, but the thoughts that ran through my head were that I just didn’t want to go back again to that place where I disappoint myself mostly and secondly, disappoint those who are cheering me on this journey. I’m very grateful to my friends and supporters, Kim and Belle, and of course my team members from Cutting Down the Booze over at SparkPeople. Not everyone gets how hard this is – but thankfully I’ve found a support network that does – including this sober blogging space and Soberistas too! So many great supporters there as well.

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Fall is my favourite season and it’s ironic that my move is happening now too. As the leaves change colors, I too am changing my own colors or scenery and life – including making my home a fresh new space with new energy that is completely AF for me.

I have come to terms with my need to be completely sober since I can not moderately drink. It’s just another season in my life. What really helped me to stay on track yesterday too, despite the incredible urges, was how I made a vow to myself on my 47th Birthday to become sober. I really don’t want to give up on that promise or vow so early in the game. At the very least, I need to achieve the 100 days – since I am part of the 100 Day Challenge team (and I’ve hit re-set one too many times).

What comes after the 100 days… well as I’ve read and heard from many successful members is that the call or craving for alcohol is no longer there. And that my friends is my wish – that the desire for booze is gone from my thinking. I’m ready to do this – and truly change it.

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Affirmation: I won’t drink today because I don’t drink alcohol

Over the past few days, i have been sharing more openly, outside of the blog world into my real world, my colleagues and even my daughter, stating that I will no longer drink because I don’t drink anymore. I will not use the term “I quit” because I’ve failed at quitting too many times over. Alcohol is no longer a part of my life. Done. Final. Period!!

I had a conversation today with a woman who I met through a committee, and it’s the first time we talk really. We were taking a shift to sell ticket for our Winter Gala – an event that provides one free booze ticket to each guest and as she talked about how fun it was, and having a few drinks, I simply said, I don’t drink so I will be giving my ticket(s) away (as the event coordinator they are giving me extra freebies – which I will pass along to my committee members who might use it). And her reaction was a good one. I explained to her that I decided on my birthday this past Tuesday that I was making alcohol a thing of the past and she said ‘good for you!’

I went on to say that my family has a history of alcoholism on both sides and I’ve been witness to many drunken episodes, events, and tragedies even… to last me a lifetime. She shared with me how she doesn’t drink much because of the same reason – that it is part of her family history. She even shared with me about her husband as he works in a liquor store (while he doesn’t drink himself) and how sad it was to see some people going in there every single day and hearing some of their stories. Seniors talking about the loss of a loved one and using it to cope… My girls are THE big reason for my doing this. As they are getting older and wanting to explore – they have asked me when I was having a drink if they could have one or a taste and while my parents allowed it, I did too – but realized, this is where it starts – and so it STOPS!!

I told my oldest when we move I will not have booze in the house. I will buy beer for the guys who are helping me move – and they will likely egg me on and ask me to drink – but then again, I will openly let them know of my lifestyle choice to be sober.

I’m telling the students as we were talking about the gala how I wasn’t going to be drinking and they said ‘oh – why is that’ and I said I’m just done with alcohol. At my age, I want to be healthy and need to lose weight and get fitter and it won’t happen if I continue on the path I was. The proof is in the 7 years I’ve been on the www.sparkpeople.com community – and I have yet to reach my goal weight – yo-yoing up and down. I work with a group that is all about healthy active living – yet they do indulge in booze, but they are all younger in their university years (and it’s the reality) , however I must say my group balances it out very well with loads of activity and healthy eating for the majority of their time.

I honestly feel different this time about it. Reading Soberistas (Lucy’s) latest blog Change of Direction just confirms the WHY I want to be sober for life. Reading about how in one year she has accomplished all she set out to do… totally inspires me!! I am DONE talking or thinking about all the things I could do and I’m going to start doing them with all the free time I will have on my hands. I am living Alcohol Free!!