Day 345 of 365 – 20 Days to END of One Year Experiment

As I near the end of my experiment – I wanted to post/share some observations…

  • having the window open to ‘allow’ for some drinks is harder than just taking the option off the table (I now have 102 days with drinks – matching my 2017 AF days total of 263 Days AF in my one year experiment)
  • breaking my streak at 174 days was a mistake – I’ve been struggling to remain AF ever since
  • acknowledging that after 40 years of drinking (as I started at the age of 12) is a long enough drinking career that I can put it to rest and retire that part of my life (turning 52 on Sept 3)
  • alcohol makes me FAT (I’ve regained 40lbs)
  • alcohol makes me lazy and robs me of my self-confidence and self-esteem
  • alcohol does NOT provide what I seek out…. SOBRIETY delivers all that alcohol promised (joy, peace of mind, clarity, health, happiness, less anxiety, etc)
  • alcohol robs me of my motivation to go after my dreams and keeps me stuck
  • it’s ok to say NO (and that is a complete answer) – no explanations are required if I choose to NOT drink

There are so many more positives to sobriety. My January desire was to live 2018 Sober and Clean… and I will have done so for 263 days… but my lesson learned is that I need to put distance between me and ‘da booze once and for all. My intentions going forward are to simply take out the wishy washy – “I’m going to try” and just simply and plainly DO IT!

Since 2013 – when I first started this blog, I have been trying to work the moderation or trying to negotiate with myself how to best do this. It’s been an exhausting 5 years. 2015 was when I first FINALLY succeeded in doing 100 consecutive days AF and that followed into January when I started our ‘secret’ Facebook Lose da Booze 100 Day Success Group. Since then I’ve had the honor of being a part of just over 200 members and their journey and best of all I’ve observed many members go BEYOND the 100 days to losing ‘da booze for good!

As the creator of the group… I think I’m there … retiring my alcohol habit of 40 years of drinking… heavy daily drinking for a period of time in there following really tough moments in my life… to where I am today. I think I’m finally ok to say I’m done and there’s just nothing left in that habit that will serve my future purpose and dreams! Here’s to celebrating my next ‘ONE’ … Year that is of sobriety which is the next milestone I’m going for!

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?

Day 296 of 365 – Gearing up for #DryJuly

July 1st is just around the corner and boy am I ready to make some changes. Since March – I’ve been struggling… and a big part of that struggle is having fallen back into a pattern of allowing drinks back into my life.

I’m still of the mindset that I’m not ready to say NO forever (for today – although I am beginning to believe it would be the easiest solution to just say “I don’t drink booze anymore)… I do know I need to get back to where I was … like this photo at 3months AF (alcohol free)…

With major stressors – I’ve turned to drinks as a coping mechanism to let go, to forget, to numb myself out… but I KNOW it’s not the healthy way to do things. So I’m gearing up to get back on the Sober Train and one day at a time – hope to finish this year completely sober!

I’m not in control of certain things going on around me – but this is a choice I can make and something I DO have control over….

And so I’ve invited people via my Facebook page to join me  … and there’s our secret group there too as well as the team on SparkPeople (Cutting Down the Booze).

Not everyone has an issue with alcohol and some can take it or leave it – or stop at 1 drink or two… I unfortunately don’t fall into that category and it’s taken me a long time to just accept that. Since 2013 I strived to reach 100 Days AF and finally succeeded in doing to in 2016 and then I started a group to have others join in. It’s a secret/private group because this issue is not something everyone is open to sharing … here on SP the Cutting Down the Booze team nears 1000 members… With the non-judgmental support of the community – I have greatly improved my AF stats and working to continue doing so! My last longest stretch of consecutive AF days was 174 days!

The other factor that alcohol hinders is my advancement to reaching my health goals. I have regained most of the weight that I had lost and my lowered motivation, lowered self-esteem, anxiety, depression has come back into play.

I need to shake myself off and jump back on the wagon to greater health! The stressors in my life will be better handled when I am strong again – healthy and SOBER. I will be stronger because I’ll be eating healthier, and exercising more regularly again. Exercise REALLY is the BEST Medicine!!

So it starts with a #DryJuly …

And I hope it will close the second half of 2018 – Sober & Clean… AND Lean … Health4Life – this is not a ‘diet’ but a lifestyle!!

It’s time!! It’s not too late to make 2018 the BEST year of your life!! Join me!!

Day 131 of 365 – The Little Book of BIG Change

I signed up to Audible not long after I started my journey here and man do I love it – when I travel to work alone the total commute time is near 2 hours and I use it to listen to some amazing books and this one is the latest one! I really love the analogies she shares about how the sky is always blue – but that storms come and go – like shit that happens in our lives. And the back seat driver analogy – yelling at us to blow that red light … just like those voices that used to egg me on to have a drink but not this time! I am in the driver’s seat and I am no longer going to give away my power!

As I near the end of this book I find myself thinking of how life is simply peaceful for me now. Yes there are still a lot of things going on around me and in my life – but inside … sober and clear of mind – I feel like I can handle anything!

When I think of all the wasted moments spent reaching for a drink to get relief or some sense of relaxation and peace when all along it was always there … and it’s now that I have managed to continue on the journey that I see it clearer every day!

Simple things like hearing music play and feeling joy. Receiving gifts from people at work just because… and doing work that I love and am so passionate about! There’s no doubt I’m in a good space right now but it came with a lot of work and determination – to no longer stay stuck or as they say in the book – to no longer allow myself to get hijacked by those stupid voices telling me it’s ok to drink. The lizard brain is no longer holding a megaphone and those urges are barely audible these days.

I committed to one year AF – but as the days pass, I’m slowly starting to believe that this may never stop because it just feels too damned good! The things that are happening would not be happening if I was still caving in to those urges. Allowing so many great opportunities and precious time get by me.

It’s amazing how now – sober – I find I can’t get enough time to do all that I want to do (and only sleep about 6 hours a day lol). But I’m loving every moment of the journey and thrilled to share it with you. And of course with my amazing Lose ‘da Booze group!!

 

Day 98 of 365 – Reflecting on the 100 Day Milestone & Beyond!

Oh how far I have come from that first photo on the left – taken in May 2016 before I started my FIRST 100 Day Challenge in September 2017. Today I stand in awe of how doing these challenges have changed my life and have truly shifted my desires… Gone are the feelings of missing out on something and here is the energy and inspiration to go after my dreams!

For the first TWO 100 days I did – as I neared the end I was already making plans on when I would have my first drink – promising myself I’d be moderate. My first break wasn’t a long one – from Dec 16th to Dec 31st – but I drank every day over the holiday period. Then on January 1st, along with the newly launched Facebook Group I was joined by many others who wanted to Lose ‘da Booze in their lives!

The second break was April 11 to September 2nd, 2017 – it started with my dream trip to Hawaii – my 50th birthday milestone gift and where I got engaged too! When I got back from this trip – after having had drinks while on vacation the stress factors shot through the roof with my daughter and I reverted to daily drinking as a means of coping … and also ate as I watched my daughter struggle with her eating disorder – it was like I was eating for her. As a result I regained 33lbs of the 45lbs I had lost since January 2016 (when I launched myself 100% into my Beachbody workouts and programs).

This morning I’m at day 98 AF – and I’m down 11.5lbs of the 33 I regained. And I am TIRED of having to lose the same weight again and again! Thus my goal to go a full year without alcohol (and perhaps beyond). What I’ve learned over many years is that I am an emotional eater/drinker. I used both as coping tools and realize that in order to succeed I had to change my habits.

So every day now – I wake up with determination and go to bed with satisfaction – SOBER! No thoughts or crying about not being able to drink over the holidays. Just excitement to really enjoy them fully – being present and able to remember every moment!

2018 is going to be an incredible year!! While my one year experiment will ‘end’ on September 2nd (the day before my 52nd birthday) – I may just decide or change enough to say I’m done for good. Until then – it’s one day at a time and I’m enjoying every moment!!

Day 88 of 365 – December Sober Sleigh Ride

The new month is fast approaching and it’s one where many social activities and events usually revolve around alcohol. But not for ME this year!! I’m continuing towards my goal of meeting my last highest number of 100 consecutive days AF (alcohol free) to completing a FULL year (which I will reach the day before my 52nd birthday on September 3rd).

I just received my custom made 2018 Lose ‘da Booze calendars and even inspired to go through to making the entire calendar year AF!!

I feel like I’m on a roll and seriously enjoying all of the benefits of this sober ride! To name a few:

  • I’ve lost weight – 11.5lbs so far since Sept
  • My thinking and memory are improved
  • My energy is up
  • My motivation is sky high
  • I workout more consistently
  • I’m more mindful of my eating
  • I’m super productive and organized

The list could go on and on with moments of clarity that I feel and how the natural high that I feel every now and again with just being clear, present and SOBER! It’s simply amazing!

So I’m launching the invite – do YOU want to feel the benefits of being AF?! Why not join in for the Sober Sleigh (I figured it was more seasonal than wagon) Ride in December. You can join our Facebook Secret Group and become a part of an incredible community of non judgmental support! You may think you have something to lose – by not drinking through the holidays – but I challenge you to look at all you’ll gain!! I hope to hear from you soon!! What better way to kick out this year and ring in the New One!!

Day 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 2 – Action Steps

Day2

Day 2 requires a us to complete 4 Action Steps:

1 – to write my 60 Day Vision Statement

“All I need is within me now to live an exciting, vibrant, passionate and sober life where I am attracting meaningful relationships, career opportunities, health and financial success. I am grateful for my continued sobriety.”

2 – Capturing the BEFORE ME

My reasons for this reboot are mainly for health reasons as I have been unable to lose weight successfully for over a year and it seems that my mid-section keeps expanding with the drinks. I also want to experience less sick time due to the alcohol – as I reviewed my year and noticed that when stressed I would cope by drinking and then spiral into a depression, and the anxiety would increase and my ability to function at work would decrease. I have at times driven when I probably shouldn’t have and I have been lucky so far… except about a month ago – I blamed it on being tired, but I did have a couple of drinks – Jan 8th was the date – and coming home into my parking garage I caused $1000 damage to my car (which almost negated the money I had earned doing a workshop those two days). It was a wake up call for me – and I’m grateful that’s all that happened. I also want to have a better relationship with my daughters. Many times I would drink to mask my feelings and then blow up with them as I was frustrated about many factors. I want to better manage my finances – there’s certainly no room to waste my money on booze. I don’t want to sabotage the good loving relationship I have with my boyfriend. In the past I have let booze lead to moments where I don’t recall what I’ve said or done and have also found myself doing things I regretted the next day. I have spent too many days drinking alone – my stats last year – only 65 days AF. And there were days when I drank in the middle of the night or upon waking just to get the buzz and to numb myself or lose myself.

3 – The NEW ME

Sobriety will bring me the health and vitality I seek. I will be fitter and leaner. I will have energy to do my workouts and will WANT to do them. Being sober will keep me from making poor food choices as well. I will be more confident and self-assured that I can accomplish the goals I set for myself. I will have time to be more focused on my work and I will be more productive and organized. I will naturally be more at peace and experience less anxiety or depression. I will seek new activities and hobbies that support my sober life. I will be a role model for my daughters and show them as I lead by example that you can do anything you set your mind to. I will have the confidence to continue providing workshops and I will explore other avenues of earning extra income as I will have the time, focus and clarity to do so. I will lead a balanced life – work and play. I will balance my ME time with my ‘couple’ time. I will have the drive to follow my passions and dreams! Nothing will stop me from living the life I’ve dreamt of… travel, love, health, joy and happiness!

4 – Review my Vision Statement and NEW ME journal entry every day for at least two weeks

I will add this to my calendar so that it comes up as a ‘to do’ daily task for the next 2 weeks.