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 153 – 5 Month Badge

Cheers to one more badge earned!! Life is good these days even with the challenges that arise… I’m staying strong and no longer think about going to ‘da booze as a way to cope. Instead I think about my workouts, reading, taking a bath, meditating, going for a walk, checking in with our Losedabooze group or calling a friend.

These are the #sobertools that will help me reach my health goals!

Here’s to the next month ahead and hitting the half year mark! I haven’t gone this long since my last pregnancy … 17 years ago!!

Day 150 of 365 – 150 Days of No Alcohol

Not quite halfway through my year but this number is a nice round number I’m pretty proud of! There was a time stringing along just a few days AF was hard and now I’m beyond the 100 Days and going strong!

The challenges I’m experiencing now are not relative to ‘da booze – but more about my emotional eating as I continue to deal with some hard shit relative to my daughter’s eating disorder (ED). Every day presents a challenge and today was an example of that… starting with her messaging me to say she felt sick and didn’t want to go to school… then later messages about her wanting to harm herself (cutting) and how she wanted to die because she was trying not to binge and purge. I managed to calm her down and then she spent time with a friend but it’s so hard. I got a hold of her counselor from her group therapy and she also reached out to her. She has her final session tomorrow and I hope she can manage to stay because the last 2 sessions she had to leave following feelings of anxiety and guilt following binge sessions.

Then I have to also deal with my fiance who doesn’t really completely understand that I can’t nitpick about her not picking up after herself or nag her too much as it will only send her into another negative tailspin. SO we got home and right away he was pissed so what did I do?! Well I put my workout clothes on and when downstairs to get my workout done. Instead of staying in the moment where it would have likely escalated into a heated argument I went to work it off and came back upstairs feeling calmer and we were able to talk it through in a healthy way.

And not for ONE instance did I think I need a drink to deal!! Not even food at this point – which is something I at time do turn to now but proud to say I just had my Shakeology following my workout and finished my eating in my 8 hour window and done till I break my fast again at 10am.

I have control of over ME and this losing ‘da booze is something I’m very proud of! I can’t always control my outsie circumstances – but being sober allows me to be rational and more understanding and more at peace.

Being Sober means I can deal with pretty much anything that comes my way in a rational manner…

Gone are the days of flying off the handle allowing things to escalate to negative levels where nobody really wins!

Tonight I’m ending the night with a nice Epsom Salts bath, followed by my facial routine and then bed. Turning off the day and ready to make another positive start tomorrow! Bring on the next 150 days and then some! I’m ready!!

 

Day 122 of 365 – Four Months AF

I can hardly believe it – I’m no longer counting days so much as months on this journey. I am finally starting to see life back the way I used to as a child – as someone described in a post like ‘technicolor’ again! Things are bright and beautiful and special! I don’t need ‘da booze to get that buzz and much prefer this sober way of seeing things!

The challenge I now have is dealing with my loved ones – my fiance and my daughter – as I have so many goals and dreams I want to go for and they need me too – so finding the balance in this is going to be KEY for me to stay sane. I hope they both understand what it means to me to be doing this. I did share my goals for the year with my fiance so he knew where my head was at. My daughter – she struggles still with her issues – but she sees what I am doing with my workouts and the courses I’m taking and how I’m trying to help people. I hope that sub-consciously this will sink in for her and help her too.

Life is good – and while there are always going to be challenges, knowing I can handle it SOBER is a gift! One definite next challenge to tackle is to get rid of the sugar/junk food habit I allowed myself to indulge in as I was getting over the alcohol cravings. Four months in and it’s TIME! I always tell people not to do too much when they first decide to go AF but after a while – as part of the journey to greater health, this too needs to be addressed. There was the empty calories from ‘da booze and now I have to clean up the rest of my plate so to speak. I can’t out-exercise a bad diet so with my course certificate under my belt (Lifestyle Weight Management Specialist) – and my own journey with the Dalewood Health Clinic – I hope that I can walk the talk and help others to reach their goals!

2018 is going to be an incredible year in so many ways – but mostly because I made the choice to finally let go of the control alcohol had over me and took control back over my life and my true passions! Excited to be sharing the journey with our now over 200 group members with Lose ‘da Booze 100 Day Challenge!

So CHEERS with an AF drink to all the good that life has to offer us! I leave you with this inspirational photo created with words from our 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 78 of 365 Days AF – Remembering my WHY

Today marks 9 years since my sister passed away due to her issues with alcohol. This picture of her with my mother reminds me of WHY I’m on this journey to change my habits around alcohol.

You see my mother also had a period in her life when she struggled with alcohol. I recall one morning when I woke up and saw my mother walking down the hall with a bandage wrapped around her head and a spot of blood on the back (I was young – maybe 10 or 11). You see the night before she had been drinking with the neighbor upstairs and while trying to come down the stairs – she stumbled as she had had too much to drink and fell and split her head open. My father had to hold her tongue so she wouldn’t choke until the ambulance arrived – I slept through all of this… The next day – my mother quit drinking. She went from drinking about 40oz of rye / whiskey a day to nothing with this incident shaking her up. She could have died…

My sister also struggled with her alcohol issues. She managed to quit for 18 months after one close call of being in the hospital and started back up again and that time never made it back.

I also have many childhood memories of family, my father, aunts, uncles – fights and me and my cousins or me alone – hiding and wishing it would all be over and that my parents would be back to normal – sober again.

I don’t want to be that way. I don’t want to repeat the cycle or wait for some tragic event to happen before making a change in my lifestyle so I’m doing it pro-actively to live my BEST life at 50 and beyond!

Our lives are precious and I plan on making time for wellness so I can avoid the illness that alcohol eventually brings about… So here’s to day 78 and remembering my sister… In honor of her – I continue my Sober Journey!