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 141 of 365 – How Accountability Works

I posted about this in our group this morning… you see I had created a list in the group to show all who had committed or intended to do the 100 Day challenge with us at the beginning of this year. And like many resolutions – some have fallen off the list or broken their resolutions (as is the statistics with most January resolutions). However – what I did share with the group is that this journey is very person to each individual. The accountability lies with YOU – period!!

And so I deleted the list because it’s up to each person to decide what they want from this journey to Lose ‘da Booze in their lives and I’m a perfect example of how these goals can shift. Dating back to 2013 when I struggled to try and do my own 100 days and barely could make 30 days without dying to have that drink again after day 30. It’s definitely a process and is it greatly influenced by whatever may be going on in your life.

I talked with a colleague this week who is going through a very difficult divorce and she shared how she caved in to wine to relieve herself of some of the stress. I re-assured her that this was very normal and that I too went through much of what she’s experiencing. You have to be gentle with yourself – which means that you can’t take on the world and change everything all at once! When going through some really difficult things – taking on this goal to be alcohol free may be too much – although I also know that it’s KEY to moving forward in so many ways but YOU have to be ready to take this step. No one can make you do it!

Another member in our group is influenced by his partner who chooses to continue drinking and at times even taunt him with it as he tries to stay AF and so far she has won… and he’s still struggling with freeing himself from the negative clutches of alcohol as he reports feeling like crap for giving in when comparing how good he felt when he managed to get so many days AF.

Right now alcohol is the furthest thing from my mind and my biggest issue has to do with food … and how I now need to deal with how I can cope without reverting to emotional eating (since I’m no longer emotionally drinking). These things are ALL related. And what it boils down to is finding better healthier ways to cope.

Things I’ve done to work towards improving this are the following:

  • start my day by reading positive affirmations
  • check in with my group – post to share / journal and support others in the group
  • exercise regularly
  • food prep and plan
  • meditate
  • read or listen to books, podcasts, blogs… whatever I feel the need to lift me up or help me through a moment
  • reach out to one on one support through counseling
  • get enough sleep (for me that is 6 hours)

It’s about finding what works for you and even with all this laid out – you may still have moments or relapses. Like yesterday for instance – I caved into eats… had chocolate and half a big bag of my favorite chips and then had dinner and felt so bloated and yuck. Kind of like I felt the day after drinking too much – the same feelings come about – guilt, shame, regret… and then I wake to a new day and all I can do is start fresh and do MY best again.

This is definitely a journey and for now the focus is not on alcohol (although I am still bouncing back and forth with the idea of sticking to my one year, doing the full year 2018 or for good)… that doesn’t matter now. All that matters is TODAY and for today I plan on making it a healthier day than yesterday!

Take this journey in small steps my friends. Learn from your slips and mistakes and DON’T beat yourself up! Instead – pick yourself up and keep moving forward! #LoseDaBooze www.befitspirited.ca

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

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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

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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. 

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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

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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

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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. 

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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!