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 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!

Reaching for Support Through Al-Anon

1

Yesterday I attended my very first Al-Anon meeting. Over the years, I struggled with the idea of attending an AA meeting feeling it wasn’t the right fit – but after spending 5 days with a roommate at a conference – we got to talking and she’s a long time Al-Anon member, it felt like this group would be something that I could benefit from. And so, I planned to go alone, but she joined the meeting. It was a discussion group meeting and I have to say – after my first one, I feel like this is going to open up a whole new world for me and perhaps be the catalyst that will truly give me the “Courage to Change” (I bought the book yesterday and love the dated daily readings). I enjoyed the meeting so much that I’m going to another one on Monday and I am also considering going to an Open Speaker AA meeting as well.

I guess my own issues or worries around drinking stem from being afraid I’ll end up like my sister or be that ‘heavy’ drinking parent my girls will remember and this is NOT what I want for them. I did grow up surrounded by a drinking family and recall many experiences that truly affected me and made me who I am today. It also led me to attracting some negative people into my life – but I am happy to say that I’m single and very aware of the quality of people that I draw into my life now.

I won’t lie – the past couple of months I have not been so AF and I felt myself spiraling down a road I didn’t want to travel again. And so, after some very motivational conference speakers/sessions, I came back home and setup a 90 day challenge for myself. It started August 1st and day 90 will be October 29, 2014.

I also have a LOT of changes going on at home with my oldest moving out August 1st and my own realization that I need to change my own living space as a 3 bedroom, 3 level condo is just too much for me and my 13 year old daughter. I think the past couple of months’ stressors have been this indecision or the unknown of what was coming … but now that things are materializing, I feel a sense of peace. I’m the type of person who is an organizer and planner to the unknown is hard (I’m a Virgo can you tell lol). It’s going to be HUGE to move from a house to a 2 bedroom apartment (I have not lived in an apartment for over 20 years). But I am looking at the bright side of things – it’s an opportunity to get rid of a LOT of old ghosts including furniture I’ve had since before my marriage (and subsequent separation/divorce in 2002). I have listed things to sell and will donate even more. While I dislike moving (it’s only been a year since my since my last move), this is a good decision as it will cost less per month and it will bring me closer to work and my daughter closer to the day treatment program she’ll be attending.

And so – this time, it seems easier to be AF than all the other times I’ve tried because there’s a different purpose behind it. I also believe that with this newly added ‘in person’ support, I will reach my goal! I’m not saying I’ll be AF forever, but I will be AF a lot more than I ever was, and perhaps one day, I may quit altogether, but just for today – I will not drink.

I Will Stay Strong

Image

 

I have a very difficult couple of days ahead of me. On Dec 3rd my best friend’s mom (someone who I looked upon as a mother figure) passed away, and on Dec 4th my godmother passed away. And so I find myself having to travel back to my home town today to attend both visitations/funerals that will span from today to Saturday. 

Yesterday I feared what this would do to my AF status but as the day went on and as I thought it through, I now feel stronger in my resolve to keep my AF streak going. I will need to stay strong through this and I’m sure there will be many tears shed, but I will remain sober through it all. 

My hometown is often a trigger because it’s where I left to escape from the daily drinking and worse, at one point, the daily use of oxycotin pills as another numbing agent. When I moved here 5 years ago – it was to break away from it all and I succeeded in breaking the pill/pain killer addiction because it wasn’t all around me. The drinking also slowed down and today – right here, right now it has stopped. 

Like my gala was different as I attended and stayed sober, so will this visit back home be. I know the ‘firsts’ of many are always hard and sometimes awkward, but I also know it’s something I must do. 

The one thing about this trip is that it will also give me a bit of space and a break from all I’ve been dealing with at home here with my 12 year old. I think it will give me some perspective and I hope that my time away from her will do the same for her. It’s been very draining to constantly have to fight and argue with her. We continue with counseling and in a couple of weeks we hope to have a consultation with a psychiatrist to see perhaps again about adding medication to try to help regulate her moods. 

Image

And so I pray – to arrive safely back home (the freezing rain should stop before I head out) and I pray for brighter days ahead. Today is day 38 AF.

Day 19 – Almost Caved

Image

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daily Practice

Image

 

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

Image

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

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

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

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

12 Days Booze Free

Today was a close call… The voices came calling to me in my dreams. Making me think I had caved in and I woke up feeling real crappy, guilty, like I had done something wrong – but it was a dream. I woke with a headache too and it lingered with me all day – another trigger for me to crave booze oddly enough – to dull the pain. I have had headaches this week for a few days – and I attribute it to the weather changes. It SUCKS!

So I had to figure out how to cope today and work through these feelings I keep getting around this stage… I’ve got 11 days AF in and on my 2nd weekend of working on staying sober but I swear it was fucken HARD today. I had those feelings today about how good it would feel to just relax and have some drinks. Especially since my 12 year old is out for a sleepover and my 17 year old is out too – peace at last. But how would I feel if I caved in?!

My confidence level is not so strong right now about whether or not I’ll pull this off or if I’ll slip up again and yet, I know that I can’t slip back to it – not so early in the game. I need more time away from that devil, Mr. Unsuitable. I swear it’s like the shitty men I have had in my life – they would come back to woo me… tempt me and tell me how great it would be this time, that everything would be better and ‘ok’. I’d take them back and then BAMM!! Back to square one. I took this abuse over and over again. With booze I have a choice – and I have to break out of this cycle of abuse in my life. This is self-harm… and I can’t stand to see it when my daughter self-harms… which I just found out this week she did again last week. This is her coping mechanism – to cut and when I saw the cuts on her legs, too many to count, my heart was aching. I thought how could she do this to herself?! Well it’s the same with us and booze I guess. I’m sure that sometimes they might have looked at me while I was drinking and wished I wasn’t doing so.

I know it’s going to take time for my brain to get re-wired. I know I can’t do this alone. I am going to gather strength from my friends here in the sober blogging world, get the rest I need and not be so hard on myself in all other areas of my life (as I am also trying to moderate my food intake to lose some weight). For now – the most important thing is to get rid of the vice that booze is in my life! If I eat that sugar treat or a bit too many calories on the days I’m craving – so be it. I need to not overwhelm myself or I will throw my hands up in the air and feel like quitting quitting – and that’s not where I want to be.

So 12 days booze free is in the books… Tomorrow is a new day and I pray that Mr. Unsuitable stays out of my head for the night and into my dreams.

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!