Day 355 of 365 – Phoenix Rising

10 days away from the ‘end’ of this one year experiment and I’m sharing a blog to say that I am FINALLY at a place where I find myself rising above the ashes of the booze life that I lived… for 40 years!!

I was 12 when I first snuck booze from my mom’s bottle of rye (at the time she was drinking heavily – 40oz a day on some days). I would sneak it bit by bit into a cup and hide it under my bed. Then I’d take a can of pop and pour some in and would go out and be ‘the cool kid’ who had a drink with her and everyone wanted a taste. When I was younger – I had very low self-esteem and didn’t fit in. Up until puberty – I was very much the nerdy buck tooth glasses wearing girl that no one looked at twice. I longed to fit in and this was how I started with alcohol in my life.

I grew up with parents and family who drank pretty heavily. I witnessed a lot of messed up evenings with fights, arguments, threats with a gun… My drinking ramped up when I was legally of age and was able to go to bars at the age of 19. At that time I was in a relationship with a man who was abusive towards me (psychologically and physically) – so I guess I drank to cope or mask the pain and shame of it all.

I have a history of other instances where I was inappropriately touched by a priest when I was an alter girl and propositioned by a neighbor when I was super young (he was offering me candy in exchange for me to play with him) and there were more instances of abuse spanning into my adult year and at times when I drank too much and allowed things to happen …

When I met my now ex-husband – I was trying to get out of the physically abusive relationship and as my dad put it – I jumped from the frying pan into the fire. At the time my ex was drinking a lot too. I guess you could say I went with ‘if you can’t beat them – join them. After the birth of my 2nd daughter I experienced post-partum depression and began drinking more heavily. I went through a really dark phase. Then in 2002 my world fell apart when my ex left me and my mom died. There is so much more to the story … but fast forward to today and all I can say is the process of my transformation and conclusion to being who I am today is BECAUSE of all I’ve lived through.

I took my last drink on August 12th 2018 (was done by 9pm). I have 102 days where I have had drinks in this experiment and have now finally had my moment of ‘CLICK’ if you will… to say that I’m retiring this habit that no longer serves my life or life purpose! For 40 years it has brought in so much SHIT into my life! Sure I can romanticize and there were some good times in there (the ones I can remember lol)… but overall booze basically was associated with negative experiences for me.

Releasing it from my lifestyle has brought a new freedom! Like the Phoenix Rising – the transformation time is NOW! There’s no looking back and only great things to look forward to. I hope to be able to help others get to this point as I continue to lead/facilitate the amazing Lose ‘da Booze 100 Day Success Group… and can’t wait to see what the future holds for me!!

So as September nears… and so does my Birthday … I say YES of course to #SoberSeptember and hope others will jump in… for 30 days… or for 100 or for LIFE!! #LoseDabooze for good… Gain LIFE!!

Day 314 out of 365 – 227 Days AF and Day 14 #DryJuly

Checking in mid-point into #DryJuly… and nearing the end of my ‘one year experiment’ leading up to my 52nd birthday on September 3rd.

This week has been great as I’ve been off work (only worked Monday) after somewhat of a break down last week as I was feeling burnt out and broken with all the stressors relative to my daughter’s mental health issues and the challenges they bring. But being AF has kept me strong and allowed me to focus on strategies and solutions including making my morning workouts non-negotiable again and doing daily personal development.

The guilt that comes with drinking for me just isn’t worth it anymore. The feeling of ‘I deserve it’ thinking of “I deserve a drink after this or that…” is gone and what I want MORE is to feel as I do today… Stronger, more energetic, having more clarity and purpose again. I’ve come across a few great resources this week including Rachel Hart’s podcast on this topic and the other one was a blog post that reminded me how I seriously DON’T want to go back to day 1 again (The Obstacle Course). I’m also listening to Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Habits which has a ton of great ideas and tools to help me get back on track in many ways.

The group that I created (Lose ‘da Booze 100 Day Success) is also doing well and we share resources from various places. I don’t put limitations on what #sobertools we can get our hands on. I hope to someday be the resource that someone refers others too as I continue with my mission to #LoseDaBooze in my life (and let go of the hold that alcohol had on me).

In our group I try to collect resources and share in files so we have a go to reference – things like distractions, sober tools links, quotes, photos of our face to face before and after…

Staying AF for me means staying busy and finding a purpose… and I feel like I’m back and today will be the day I create a NEW (updated) vision board which I’ll share a bit later once it’s completed.

The alone time at home doesn’t come often anymore so I’m going to savor it and get my day started… it’s amazing how much gets done when you don’t drink (and also a raw realization of how much time is wasted when we DO drink). We choose and today is a beautiful day to continue this awesome sober streak I’m on! Are you with me?

Lose ‘da Booze Secret Facebook Group

There are a lot of groups out there for those wishing to change their relationship with alcohol. I first joined HAMS – as I simply wanted to perhaps learn to moderate my drinking but soon found that the group grew large and the focus was more on drinking than not in many posts. I had a few members who wanted to do an AF (alcohol free) challenge and I had a team I had been doing this with via another platform (SparkPeople – Cutting Down the Booze) and I decided I would try doing one through Facebook.

Back in 2013 I tried to join Belle’s 100 Day Challenge (Tired of Thinking about Drinking) – but it didn’t click for me and I found it turned into more and more of a sales pitch.

My goal was simply to get to that 100 days and I finally achieved it on my own last December 10th, 2016 and then in January of 2017 – I decided to launch it as a closed group. I later changed it to a secret group to ensure more privacy as closed groups sometimes come up as suggested groups on pages and members didn’t want that to happen. I had about 140 members join in and when I completed my 2nd 100 Day Challenge  on April 10, 2017 – I was joined by many others. It felt amazing to be able to share in the experience and the testimonials have been amazing. The group has grown to be the most supportive, positive and non judgmental group I’ve ever been a part of and I’m so proud of the fact that it has grown as I always envisioned this type of group would.

So bit by bit – I sometimes introduce it to others – but you have to be invited or added by an existing member as you can’t find it in a search … so if you’re interested – feel free to add me as a friend (as I can only add friends as members) and send me a note to be added to the group. If you’re not ready to do 100 days that’s ok – you can still join in. Many of our members gather inspiration from our daily posts and work their way up to 100 and some have gone BEYOND (like me) and are alcohol free for life!

Before you do – have a read of our group’s description and if you still think you want in – then I look forward to hearing from you!!

The goal of this group is for you to get an AF streak in (perhaps you’re joining for the one month) or perhaps you’re striving to reach 100 Days (or more) consecutive days Alcohol FREE (AF)! It’s about Thriving without ‘da booze! The group was created in January 2016 where many of us jumped in to reach 100 Days AF – and we’ve since grown to call it a “Success Group” rather than a ‘challenge’.

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 a CONSECUTIVE stretch of AF days – the focus of the discussions and posts relative to sobriety and being AF. 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, hurtful or unsupportive posts. This group is not intended for posts relative to opinions about religion, politics, debates relative to other groups, etc. The Admin reserves the right to remove these posts and the members who post them. We will not tolerate TROLLS either. NO-PROMOS ALLOWED IN COMMENTS OR POSTS If someone requests your email or website, message them privately.**

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. I also do not like the labels of alcoholism, alcoholic or recovery. To me it’s simply about choosing to live a healthier life – without alcohol! Blogs are posted periodically via this site losedaboze.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. You may have to practice tapering first. **

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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The Sober Revolution – No More Mr. Unsuitable!

I’m partway into chapter 4 of The Sober Revolution which I started this morning and I’m already loving it!

I think what really clicked with me is how my relationship to alcohol is very similar to those negative relationships I’ve had in my life with men. The analogy provided by Lucy is bang on for me… I was that girl who always wanted the thing or man I couldn’t have or shouldn’t want. The bad boy syndrome. Me being the rebel and going after something I really shouldn’t allow in my life. I believe this is why I have had such a hard time letting go because if you tell me I can’t have something – then I seem to want it even more.

But things have changed now. I’ve matured and I’m learning. With the readings, the blogs and learning from others’ experiences, I feel confident that I can and will walk away from this BAD relationship. I want Mr. Wonderful in my life!! Sobriety… the one who will make me feel good, treat me well and encourage me to live my life to the fullest. Mr. Unsuitable keeps trying to call me back… he knows me since we’ve had this relationship now for a few decades. 28 years to be exact. That’s even longer than my marriage/relationship with my ex-husband of 13 years so I know this isn’t going to be smooth sailing all the way.

It’s true that at times when I’m feeling vulnerable Mr. Unsuitable will try to lull me back by bringing up some of the more ‘fun’ times we had together – but I need to stay focused on the overall negative effect he has had on my life, and so many of my experiences.

Sobriety is what I’m after now. And for now I’m ok to be ‘single’ for a while longer until I work through all of this and build a solid foundation for a healthy future with Mr. Wonderful. Again – the analogy provided in the book is BRILLIANT… I used to do a lot of work searching for a soul mate – tired of being single (now almost 11 years) – but I now realize that I have to FIX myself first and love myself most before I can have anyone else love me. Self-love is what will heal me and guide me to doing good things for myself including this journey to sobriety.

I know my words are strong today because the voices (or Wolfie or Mr. Unsuitable) are far away for now… but I also know that so long as I keep building up my tool box of resources and arm myself, I’ll be ready when they come knocking at my door and I’ll happily tell them NO – I’m not going back to that relationship – We Are Done!!

No more of this – maybe I can give it another try and see if it can be different. Shit – it never worked in my relationships with men either. I swear this lesson learned right here, right now – it will be key in my truly finding a fulfilling and healthy relationship… once I’ve achieved my goal of sobriety.

I feel encouraged by this new view point. By looking at ‘da booze as that shitty asshole partner/boyfriend that I’m DONE with. I am better than that and I need to focus on getting on with my life and living it to my fullest potential … SOBER.