Itty Bitty Changes

I’m a bit over 60 days now and have been kind of white knuckling it. I go from feeling encouraged and empowered to dumpy and depressed. I’m still not where I thought I would be by this point. I’m triggered a lot, especially this time of year. Everyone is stressed out, holiday parties (gag), getting Christmas together for the family on top of every day working and mothering crap. I’m uncomfortable, anxious and down a lot of the time. I know I’m not special and lots of people go through this without numbing out but I really needed to whine about it. Thanks for listening.

However, I have changed. They aren’t life changing changes – just little itty bitty one step forward changes. I’m still lazy as hell, but I’m feeling more energy to do small tasks. I have not yet lost any weight, but I’m moving more – especially on the weekends. I’m not eating any better so there is that.

I survived another holiday party last night. It was uncomfortable and awkward, all my insecurities on full display (at least in my mind). I wanted a drink just to feel like I could have a normal conversation. I tried to engage but I just couldn’t. I imagined ripping the drinks out of everyone’s hands and locking myself in a closet with them. I had an escape plan to leave early and I used it.

Had I been drinking I would have felt as if it was helping me interacted better, there would have been no inhibitions until the next day when I would have went through every single discussion and wondered if I offended anyone or said something stupid. Had I been drinking, I would have fully engaged with a woman who was after me for all the personal gossip about friend of mine. Had I been drinking, I would have given in a little, just happy to be part of a conversation. However I wasn’t drinking so I sat in the awkwardness of just staring at her and stumbling through my words desperately trying to change the subject. It was horrible but empowering at the same time. When I left, (more like ran out of there) all I could think about was how I was going to text my friend and tell her how intrusive and awful this woman was. Which is exactly what I would have done had I been drinking, but I was sober and suddenly I began to question my motives. Why ruin her night by telling her someone was all up in her business? I mean was I doing her any favours by giving her this information or was I doing it because I wanted her to know what a good friend I was by shutting it down? What were my actual intentions? And to go a bit further – was the intrusive woman really being vindictive or was she as uncomfortable or as insecure as I was? Maybe she was just trying to find a common ground? The truth is we had all once been friends but do to life things we had drifted apart, so the conversation last night had been weird and forced. 

Anyway the point is walking home and thinking of this I realized after 60+ days that I was finally getting back to recovery. I’m turning a big, long corner. I’m not all the way there but at least I feel like I’m moving in the right direction.

Honestly, I’m not looking forward to the rest of holidays. I’m trying to be positive, but being around all the boozy people is so difficult when you’re sober, ask any designated driver ever. I will need to take it one dinner at a time, remind myself to stay engaged in conversation and not let my mind wander. Check in with my recovery community and make sure I treat myself and have something to look forward to.

Merry Christmas everyone.

 

 

 

30 Days Sober – It Wasn’t Pretty

So I just read through my last couple of posts. Classic denial. What happened? Well, the same thing that always happens – my drinking escalated. I did drink in Italy and it was okay as I suspected. I was busy, there was hiking everyday, I was with people who didn’t drink much, (fun fact: people in Italy don’t drink rivers of wine every day). In short, it didn’t ruin my vacation, but as Willie Nelson sings…it was always on my mind.

The trouble came when I got back in my routine, back to my boring mundane everyday life. I felt alone. I grieved Italy. There I felt like I really had accomplished something. I did things daily that were out of my comfort zone. I was satisfied with myself.  No pressure. It was freeing.

I drank everyday for at least two weeks after my return until I was so depressed I couldn’t take it anymore and I quit…again.

So its been a month. I’ve journaled almost everyday. I’m reading everything I can and trying to be easy on myself. What I find amusing are those articles that pop up in my Facebook feed;  I quit drinking for 30 Days and this is what happened! They talk about weight loss, better sleep, more productivity and saved money. I would like to know how much the people who write these things actually drink? The truth is when you’re a real drinker getting sober for 30 days is hard and frustrating and all sorts and shades of awful. What these articles don’t tell you is your anxiety and depression? Well, it gets worse before it gets better. My anxiety was through the roof. I pushed so hard on my front tooth with my tongue I swear it was going to pop right out.

I was tired. So tired. Like first trimester pregnancy tired. So more productivity wasn’t a thing a for me. I had no motivation and I watched so much Netflix they stopped making next show recommendations. I guess they figured I was on such a roll I would get to them eventually.

I was a complete and utter bitch to my family. I couldn’t even stand being with myself.

I lost zero weight. Nothing. Zip. In fact, I gained. You would think after eliminating so many unneeded calories from my diet I would at least lose a couple pounds, but instead I think my fat cells are confused and banding together, waiting for the starvation to set in. In fact, as I wright this I feel so bloated I want to drink just to get rid of the awkwardness of being in this body.

I have zits.

I have spent every single dime I saved because, Damn it, I’m not drinking so I can buy that sweater, those boots, that endless supply of organic teas and essential oils.

So the first 30 days? Not fun. In fact every time I quit, it gets harder. Which really makes me think about whether I have it in me to do it again. The good news is, I made it through the first 30. The clouds have begun to part. I’ve lowered my expectations in the productivity department. Instead of painting rooms and organizing closets – it looks more like actually taking my make up off at night, moisturizing, going for a walk, reading more instead of watching TV. Actually writing a blog post…

Sleep is getting much better, my mood comes and goes, but its to be expected. I’m still full of negative self talk but I’m more aware of it and trying to correct it where I can. I’ve joined some great online support groups and am looking into alternatives to supplement my spotty AA attendance . I’m really selective with who I spend my time with. Parties are not for me right now, however the holiday season is arriving which will bring with it a whole new set of challenges.

There are times in the day when all I can do is sit in my feelings of regret and self pity and recognize them for what they are. Fear. I can no longer numb it away. Having to feel and accept those feelings is the toughest part of 30 days and beyond… that little tidbit is what they leave out of those feel good 30 days of sobriety articles.

 

 

Living and Learning

I don’t want to say I fucked up because I’m trying out self-compassion for a change. It’s not easy when you’ve been used to beating yourself on a daily basis forever, but I am paying more attention to how I speak to myself – and it’s pretty brutal I’ll be honest.

I drank. And I’m sure you are saying, “Of course you did…did you even read your last post?” I haven’t binged or gone to the liquor store, I choose to do it in a controlled environment, well except once. I did break my rules, but I also stuck to some very important limits. So not a perfect venture but not a total disaster.

The first came when I went to dinner and a movie with a friend. All the way to the restaurant my inner dialogue went something like this:

“Go ahead if you want to, it will be fine. Just one.”

“Do you really want to just throw away everything you have accomplished so far?”

“You are only there for a quick salad before a movie, there is no time for more than one.”

“Here you go again, you know where this leads.”

“Why can’t you just stop this back and forth. You are normal, stop over-reacting to everything. Have one, be mindful about it.”

“You have been to AA for Christ’s sake!”

By the time we were seated and the waitress came to take our order, I was so worked up and anxious I felt like I was visibly shaking…which doesn’t help when you’re trying NOT to drink.

“I’ll have a Chardonnay.” There is was – just like that.

“Five or eight ounce?”

I paused for so long it got awkward. “Eight.”

I know…it’s more than one drink technically and I’m fooling myself. I get it. But honestly, it was good and it lasted the whole meal. Later at the movies I wondered why on earth I can’t just do that all the time.

Next up, this past Tuesday. I won’t get into it but drama was the theme for the day. By the time I got home I suggested my husband and I go out to dinner. Cooking was not going to happen and if I’m honest – hell, I wanted a drink and since in my head I made a deal that I wouldn’t bring any in the house – out to dinner we went.

Again I ordered an eight ounce and I sipped at it, but the old me was pushing her way through. I was half way through dinner when I noticed my glass was almost empty. In my head I’m thinking I would have another one. A regular sized one. Five ounce only. The waiter came by but didn’t ask – so I didn’t bring it up (score one for me). By the time he did ask I was mostly done dinner so I said no, even though I wanted one badly or at least I think I did.

One the way to the car I took note on how I as feeling. A little tipsy actually. Once I was up and away from the table I was good. I felt satisfied. If I just give myself time to take in the first drink – it might be all I will need.

Cut to last night. The Friday night to start the last long weekend of the summer. Sitting at my desk at work I fought my inner dialogue. Old me wanted to stop and get wine and new me was totally giving into it. After all, this weekend has always been my New Years. I can’t tell you how many journals I have started at this time of year vowing off food and alcohol – writing everyday, yoga, meditation, running…etc. Now I know what I was really doing was setting myself up to fail.

I left the parking lot fully intending on buying that bottle of wine. I was determined, as I have been so many other times in my life to have it last two days. I can do this. But a funny thing happened as I approached the turn off – I thought, “You know if you bring that bottle home you will over do it.” — and I drove right past. I noticed how tense I was, my shoulders, neck and jaw where stiff as rock.

Good for me, right? I did it! Except when I got home the first thing I did was grab one of my husbands beers and drank it. Fast. I meant it was gone in about 5 mins. Then I went to the fridge and got a bottled Ceasar (Canadian Bloody Mary). I brought it outside and that lasted me a bit longer. When I was done, I stopped to think about how I was feeling and knew I was done. Granted if those two drinks would have been wine, I probably would have had another.

I did things to distract myself, walked the dog, looked at flyers, put clothes away. Once I was away from the situation I was fine. I even regretted that Ceasar because I didn’t feel well and really still don’t today. I don’t feel hung over, I feel sick to my stomach.

But I still plan on having wine this weekend. I already have it planned. We have friends coming into town tonight and my husband and I are celebrating our anniversary tomorrow night. The plan is to get go into it with my eyes wide open and really think about what I’m feeling, take a break after one, go find other things to do.

There is a part of me that is really on board with this and then there is the other part of me that says I’m full of shit and just making excuses. Like I said, I’m trying to be more self compassionate so I’m hoping to just do my best and see where it takes me. I’m aware and sometimes that’s the best I can do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sobering Truth #1

Is this the time it’s gonna stick? I quit drinking 4 days ago for it feels like the 100,000 time. If I go back in my journal I started questioning my drinking 14 years ago. I actually managed an entire year of sobriety 6 years ago. A year filled of fear and greatness where I learned how to live differently. I wasn’t overjoyed but life was getting better, things were going well, so you know, why not fuck it up?

Since then I have quit for shorter periods of time but each time has gotten harder and more painful. Right now, I write this with a massive headache I’ve had for two days. I blame it on sinus pain but I’m pretty sure it’s probably my body adjusting. I just got back from a family vacation in which I drank daily and plenty, I was sober for almost 2 weeks before that so I imagine it’s my body saying, “What the hell, woman?”

So what am I doing here now? Well, I’m hoping you will keep me accountable. Which is silly I know because this is my first blog and well, I’m probably the only one reading it – but I just feel I need a space to work it all out privately. I guess I could do that in a journal but I’ve read so many great woman bloggers who say the sober community will lift you up…and, well, you have no idea how much this pains me to say, but I could use some lifting.

I tried before to open up to people in my life, but most don’t get it because I never over did it in front of anyone really. I’m an alone drinker, isolation works best. You can numb the shame, until 3am when you wake up and feel like a loser knowing you did it again even after you promised you would only have one.

I would rarely have more than 3-4 glasses of wine but I would drink those in an hour and half after work. Lately, I would try to hide it as much as possible because I didn’t want my husband or kids to know I was drinking almost daily. I just would keep going to the LCBO (liquor store in Canada) and hate myself – but I would still go. It would be the last time I told myself.

I also started drinking vodka, because, you know…calories, (insert eye roll). I never mixed it. I love vodka martini’s so I would just do vodka on the rocks with a splash of olive juice. 2.5 ounces a pour. Two in an hour. It was my time to wind down I told myself. Unfortunately I’m a fast drinker so sipping drinks never really happened. I tried to distract myself from the fact that technically I just drank 5 drinks before I even started dinner. And I did so because I never drank after dinner throughout the week, THAT would be wrong.

If it was a Friday, I would pick up white, red and vodka because those are my favs and if I am quitting on Monday then I have to say goodbye to all of them. I was quitting every Monday. But then Monday would come, and I would be hungover and come home from work knowing I was going to finish off whatever was left and start on Tuesday. Sometimes I would even get through the rest of the week until that devil of a day Friday rolled around and off I would go again. Rinse. Repeat.

Obviously this kind of behaviour has taken its toll or I wouldn’t be writing or quitting. Perhaps not outwardly in terms of family or job issues (I guess we call that high functioning) BUT inwardly I am a mess. I have depression and anxiety, so drinking is not in my best interest and after 14 years on and off of starting and stopping, things reached a level of darkness that got wicked scary and I just can’t justify it anymore.

No one thinks I have a problem. The bag of empties in my garage begs to differ.