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!

Day 44 of 365 – 1000 Hours AF

Love collecting my EasyQuit Drinking App badges as much as I love getting my FitBit badges! It’s all a sign of moving in the right direction as I Lose ‘da Booze and form healthier habits to live a life more intentionally than ever before!

This weekend had a few hiccups with cravings and challenges with my daughter, but I pushed through. I started reading the book Claim Your Power and already on day 6 – discovering that much of my own personal journey has followed what he suggests. I know my issues with alcohol relate to past traumas or events and even my weight – as a protective barrier and escape mechanism.

I’m now forming a new habit of facing those feelings head on. I’m posting for accountability and support. I’m being open about it on a platform where my family and friends are being made aware of what I’m doing and I am getting great feedback.

I’m only 6 days away from reaching my 50 day mark and I remember the first time round how that was my first intention. Today I’m 322 days away from my goal of achieving the FULL year without the alcohol and determined to see this through and perhaps having SOBER be my new healthy habit for good!

Day 37 of 365 – My One Year Experiment

Another weekend gone by – and it was a holiday one for me (Thanksgiving) without a thought about drinking. It’s my 5th weekend spent sober and being more productive than ever. Today I got my fiance involved as he cleaned the windows in the house and I got him to go through his closet/clothes to get rid of what he no longer (or ever) wore. One of my new found loves is Thrift store shopping – for a few reasons. I like the idea of re-purposing items and also love to be able to pay less for items. I believe it’s a great exchange and helps others at the same time. A win/win if you will.

The other great thing about my new sober habits is the self-care routines I have going on. My daily affirmations, workouts and night time routine – face moisturizing, brushing/flossing my teeth and checking in to post with the group and/or journal blog to record where I’m at.

This past week had its challenges with issues with my daughter and even today – she was being a typical teenager and driving me crazy. I felt my anxiety and frustration rise… but I went to work it out (opted for some Pump and Burn with Les Mills Body Pump). Then I did more reading (this book “The Power of Now” is intense to read – I don’t recall a book ever taking me this long to read lol).

Our rabbit had surgery on Thursday and she’s fully recovered which is great (as I was nervous about that). My daughter had her therapy session today and that will be ongoing again (as her therapist is recovering from surgery) so I hope to see continued improvement. Tomorrow it’s back to school for her and back to work for me. My days and evenings are all planned and I feel so ‘good’ about all the actions and choices I’m making.

In contrast to my drinking days – when I used to avoid or hide from stuff – I’m facing it head on – in the raw. And I’m not doing it alone!! The group I created on Facebook has grown to be something I’m so fond of – the ongoing testimonies I receive… here’s one from this week:

“Good things have been happening since getting sober.  I got the freelance contract in May and now a full time job offer. While I am sitting in one of the most beautiful and famous spots on the planet (thanks to the Beatles). It’s sunny, I booked my Himalaya trip and I am about 6 months sober !!! Life does get better and I am 💯 % aware and awake for it! No more freelance work, no more financial insecurities. It’s not a dream job but it’s going to be interesting enough. And freelance work was not going to be any better either .”

The feedback and the sharing that goes on in the group is simply amazing! The energy in there is sacred and it’s an entirely safe space to share and that’s what I love about it most. It’s something I will work to maintain as we continue together. So far – those who joined in for Sober October are doing well too. Whether they stay in for just a month – or if they remain – they are getting a glimpse of how special this space is!

I’m inspired to keep going – and this one year experiment may turn into something greater for me as I aspire to be in a place and space where others may seek the group out to help them in their own personal journey to Lose ‘da Booze in their lives! It’s a very difficult journey for some – but the comfort of knowing they are not alone and that others care makes it less harsh. And for some – the group and the accountability is what keeps them SOBER.

And that my friends is SUCCESS in my view!!

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)

Once You Make the Decision…

I came across a great article today Willpower Doesn’t Work: Here’s How to Actually Change Your Life and it re-affirmed something that I already kind of figured out. When I first completed my FIRST 100 consecutive days AF – something I had tried to do for years before – the difference was that I was 100% committed and knew it was something I really REALLY wanted. I went public about it and shared on social media – openly with friends (even though I feared some might heckle me). In the end – when we want to achieve a goal it’s for US that we are doing it – no one else.

Once the decision was made, while there were difficult moments and cravings, I stuck to my guns and got through it. Just as I KNOW I will do the same this time as I have openly advertised through my facebook page/ad that I’m going to go a FULL year without ‘da booze!

By setting this up – and having the amazing accountability and support through the group that I created, my energy is driven to succeed – no if’s and’s or but’s! This is a non-negotiable and my WHY is a long list that basically boils down to wanting to live a healthy life – mind, body and soul!

Too many times alcohol has robbed me of moments or put me at risk or damaged relationships. As a child I also witnessed how the adults in my life behaved badly under the influence and I simply don’t want to live that way. My dream is to help others who are struggling with this issue that so many don’t like to talk about.

It’s amazing how I now often bring it up in conversation without any fear as I openly explain why I’m doing this and how I had issues with it. My decision to just commit to one year at this point is simply my next step experience and after I complete it – I will then decide what’s next.

I know from previous experiences that going back to alcohol does not bring me the joy, pride and satisfaction that I have when I am committed to my health goals. The simple short lived buzz just isn’t worth all the ‘after effects’ that come with it. I am super thrilled that my last hangover was September 2nd – before I celebrated my 51st Birthday and I look forward to how the days will go… simply one day at a time.

Today was good. I am now completing Day 3 so overall feeling pretty good. The only tough part is my sleep is still not great so I am feeling tired tonight. Still have the night sweats. I managed to get my butt out of bed at 4am to get back to my routine of reading positive affirmations and sharing on Facebook with my groups and on my like page. I got a 20mins workout in and started my day. Ate relatively healthy – I do allow myself some ‘give’ while cutting out the alcohol at first as sugar cravings usually kick in but today kept it to one single snack size serving of a Brookside and had a few chips. Other than that – pretty proud of my eating (feeling more in control of that already again). I also got a walk in at lunch and connected with a colleague that joined the Health Bet I organized. It was my first time meeting her and we chatted and found we had so much in common (as her daughter aged 15 had very similar mental health issues as my daughter had) – it was great to be able to exchange our experiences. Then when I got home – my daughter wanted to come back to town so my fiance drove her. I stayed back and made a nice soup for our lunches and made his dinner. Took care of the rabbit (took her out on the leash outside for a hop around) and here I am now winding down… aiming to get logged off technology by 9 or 9:15pm to read my next Chapter of The Power of Now (as I’ve set a goal to read the numerous great books I have purchased through the years and never read).

So I close off the day with my Gratitude List…

  1. I’m grateful for my sobriety and my Lose ‘da Booze Group (or family as we’ve come to call ourselves)
  2. I’m grateful for my workplace and my passion for healthy active living with Day 1 of the September Health Bet I organized and how it’s helping to motivate others to move more
  3. I’m grateful for my health and being able to workout (even though I’m a bit sore – it’s the hurt so good kind of thing)