Monday, February 13, 2017

2/13/17 - Scratch that - very disappointed

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Had a very productive day yesterday and then proceeded to drink 4 hard seltzers while cooking dinner.  Very disappointed in myself.

I wonder why my drinking creeps up on my when I am feeling good.  You would think that if I were feeling positive about sobriety and/or not drinking too much over the weekend, it would encourage me to stay the course. Instead I drink bc I feel good about not drinking. It doesn't make sense.

I know this happened with my dad, which is why I went to 7 different elementary schools.  We would move for a fresh start, he would do really well for awhile, then he would drink, lose his teaching job and we would have to move again.  I could never understand why he would go back to drinking when things were going so well.

It is almost like the addiction does not allow you to see that things are going well BECAUSE you are not drinking not in spite of it. And it gives you this false sense of confidence that you can try to drink moderately again. Man - alcohol sure does mess your mind is a bizarre thing.

Still striving for sobriety...

Sunday, February 12, 2017

2/12/17 - Better than last weekend - will continue to post and work on my goals

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I drank Friday night.  Not much - 2 glasses of wine and 2 hard seltzers.  I did not have a hangover, did not drink last night (didn't even want to) and felt fine this weekend - no hangovers.

I struggle with posting when I am drinking.  I usually just stop posting for a couple months. Things slowly get bad over a few months and then I come crawling back, completely defeated, and try again. I just don't want to. I don't know if it is because I am kind of ashamed and feel guilty that I am not keeping my sober goals or if it is because I just would rather not analyze it, think about it, or blog about it when I am drinking.  I know that if I am not blogging about it, reading about it, thinking about it I will progressively, slowly get worse.  I want to be 100% sober and I know that will not happen if I bury my head in the sand, look the other way and ignore it. I used to think that I was giving myself the obsession - it was just my latest selfish preoccupation and that if I just stopped thinking I had a problem then the problem would go away and I could successfully drink moderately - like everyone else.  I have finally learned that I do have a problem and I can't pretend I don't or dismiss it as being all in my head (as in making a big deal out of nothing which then becomes a big deal).

This is a big deal and I know deep down in my heart that I want to be the inspirational, peaceful, patient, content, truly happy sober woman that I know I can be.  I know that. I know I ultimately want that more than being able to successfully moderate - partly because I am not sure I can successfully moderate over time and partly because I feel better and am better when I am sober.

So...I will continue to post no matter what the weekend was like. And I will continue to analyze and read and think and try.  I am not going to give up this time.  I will get there.  It is just up to me how long it will take....

Monday, February 6, 2017

2/6/17 - Drank this weekend but still want to keep my commitment

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I did drink both Friday and Saturday nights this weekend.  I don't know why. I just figured January was over so why not.  I did moderate and didn't have much of a hangover either day.  I did not drink at a Super Bowl party yesterday even though most people there were drinking quite a bit and getting pretty rowdy.  I did not have a hangover yesterday and I still just didn't feel like drinking. I didn't even crave it.  I was worried I might, but I didn't. I didn't even have a problem telling people that I wasn't drinking when they asked.  I just didn't care what they thought (which truth be told - they could care less). It just felt good, right, comfortable to say, "I'm not drinking because I just feel so much better when I don't."

Even though this would have been a successful weekend in the past and I would have been proud of myself this Monday morning, I just still don't think I want to drink anymore. I am more tired today than I have been on any other Monday morning in January bc I didn't sleep well bc of drinking.  I also just get so hyper when drinking that I feel like I used up a lot of energy this weekend (coupled with lack of good sleep) that leaves me just feeling a bit depleted and drained today.  I am definitely becoming more and more aware of the impact alcohol has on my physically (tired, low motivation) and mentally (a little down, loss of joy) even when I am able to successfully moderate. In the past I have judged my success by the lack of a hangover.  No hangover - success.  Now it is more about - feel good - success.  I don't think I feel good when I drink even a small amount of alcohol.

I feel like I am getting to a place where even successfully moderating does sound appealing- like that jealousy of people that moderate - that desire to successfully moderate - that pissed off feeling that I can't - doesn't even appeal to me any more. I can honestly say that I think sobriety is becoming more of something I crave rather than successfully moderating - and I am saying this without a hangover.

i don't think I have ever said that I crave sobriety before - getting closer and closer to the prize! 100% peaceful, joyful, energetic sobriety :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

1/24/17 (Tues) Hyperactive Dopamine Response

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I was reading an article last night about alcohol addiction and dopamine.  I could totally relate. It talked about how some people have an extreme dopamine reaction to alcohol and how it can be a precursor to addiction.  I have always known that alcoholic makes me extremely hyper and social.  I have always been the one to want to get drunk and go roller skating or find a park to go swing on a swing set or jump a fence and go swimming or play some crazy drinking game. I never want to just sit around and drink.  I experience hyper mania when I drink and to be honest it is pretty damn fun. I am the life of the party, keep it going and create a lot of fun around me. If I am being honest, I really do enjoy myself in that state (although the older I get the more embarrassing it can be the next morning).  I think that is the feeling I am constantly chasing even though it isn't as much fun as it used to be.  I guess I'm not all that different from the heroine addicts on Intervention. They always talking about chasing that initial high but never being able to get it back no matter how much they use.

The article also talked about what happens to your brain when you have a hypo manic response to alcohol.  It talked about your brain having a countering response to that. Since alcohol is causing your dopamine levels to be out of control, your brain sends out another chemical that drastically reduces your natural production of dopamine - kind of a defense mechanism.  This shutting down of natural dopamine production can last for days - which totally explains why I feel like total crap for days after I have only 4 drinks.  I think it would be safe to guess that the longer you mess around with these neurotransmitters in the brain by chemically altering them with alcohol, the more messed up they get. This could explain why I have a hard time just getting pleasure and enjoyment out of non drinking weekends and everything seem so boring and depressing.

Maybe my physical brain needs time to repair those systems and relearn how to find pleasure in in my weekends without chemically inducing dopamine levels.  I think I really do have a physical addiction to alcohol in my brain.  It helps me rationalize remaining sober when I admit the fact that I really am wired differently than normal drinkers. I suspect I have a genetic disposition as I have always been way more hyper when drinking than my friends. But I have also exacerbated the problem from years of weekend binge drinking that has created an extreme opposite effect of the extreme drop in dopamine levels following drinking.  I inherited the gene and the damage is done. No turning back. My brain is permanently allergic to alcohol - it just can;t process it like a normal person.  It can't handle it no matter how hard I try.  It is like a person who is has lost their sight trying to learn to see again.  The damage is done and it is irreversible. I just can't drink like other people and I need to accept it.

Monday, January 23, 2017

1/23/17 (Mon) Disappointed

I have to say I am a little disappointed in myself today in my failure over the weekend.  I told myself I wasn't going to beat myself up and I did not yesterday but I am back to feeling that same way on Monday - uninspired, tired, sad, wanting just to crawl into bed.  I don't know if I am physically hungover but I am emotionally hungover.  Just all the more reason to stop for good.

I asked my kids (18 and 22 yo) if they would be disappointed in me if I drank Saturday night. They both said, "We don't care if you drink or not - we just don't like to see you be so hard on yourself when you do. So the real question is - will you be disappointed in yourself?"

The answer is yes. I tried to not be yesterday, but I really am.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

1/22/17 (Sun) Drank (darnit) but back to sobriety

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Well I did drink wine with dinner last night and was awake from 12:00-3:00 am sweating with my heart pounding and my head racing. Clearly I can not process alcohol anymore (which I already knew) and am back to not drinking.  I am not going to let this derail my sobriety.  I'm not going to beat myself up about it which is a big change from past mess ups. I'm not going to use it as an excuse to go back to attempting to moderate on the weekends which I typically would have done with my all or nothing mentality (screwed up this month - will try again next month).  I'm going to try to learn from it and get back to sobriety because I really, truly, honestly do not want to go back to that drinking hell hole I have been in for so long.  I really just want to be a happy, sober woman.

So what happened? Why did I drink? I have been thinking about that for awhile (3 hours last night lol). Friday I was having a couple cravings but was fine although all I did was sit on the couch and watch stupid tv for 6 hours when I got home on my birthday. Maybe I should have gotten up and done something active. Then yesterday I was kind of in a funk. I have had a lot of trauma and pain in my past that I absolutely do not want to deal with.  When I read that you have to deal with you past trauma to stay sober, I say, "No I don't and I won't.  I'll stay sober without dealing with it. It is in the past and its going to stay there."  Anyway, yesterday all of that "muck" was just bubbling to the surface.  I just felt a little depressed and anxious and worried and out of it.  I have read on the mm board about how hard week 3 is.  Maybe it was some of that also. So I wasn't in a great place to begin with and when I needed to go get ready to go to dinner, those voices came out of nowhere and were screaming in my head. "I really want a drink.  It is my birthday. I can drink tonight. It will be ok. I'm not that bad - I just convince myself I have a problem.  It's just easier to be social when I drink. It alleviates all the worry about upcoming events where I can't drink. So I drank a beer while getting ready and wine with dinner.  I really do think that the main reason I drank was to shut up the voices in my head.  As soon as I drank I was like, "Ok. That's better. Everything will be ok. Just stop spending so much time blogging, work out instead, be healthy and really try to moderate one more time. You can do it. You really aren't as bad as you convince yourself that you are. It's just your newest obsession."  And I drank and wasn't completely present during dinner which is disappointing, but I came home, felt barely buzzed and went to bed.  I remember thinking, "Well, that went ok. I didn't get drunk. I don't even feel that buzzed right now. I'll just go to sleep and see how I feel about remaining sober tomorrow."  And then my night was a total shit show from the past.  It comes down to this question:

Do you want to drink or do you want to sleep?  Because I obviously have to choose one.

I choose sleep!  Back to work.  Gotta figure out another way to shut up those voices!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

1/21/17 (Sat) Having some cravings

I did fine last night but I have to admit the thought of having a nice cold beer on my birthday sounded kinda good.  We're going to a really nice restaurant tonight for my bday. Nice restaurants are a really big trigger for me.  I love having a glass of wine with my nice dinner.  Somehow the service is much better, the conversation more interesting and the food is more delicious when I am drinking wine.  Just my imagination of course bc I am drinking and talking and not paying attention to how long things are taking. In fact I used to hate the taste of wine.  People say you acquire a taste for it. I think you just acquire a taste for the buzz you get from it which then compensates for how it tastes.  In reality a Dr. Pepper would probably taste better.  Maybe I will have that!  I never drink soda.

I just have to remember that no matter how much I think that glass of wine will make me enjoy the experience more (1) I'm am 100% positive I would drink more than one - especially since I broke yet another promise to myself. I know I would be saying to myself, "Screw it! I already failed so now I might as well make it worth it."  And (2) now matter how much better the experience may seem while I'm drinking it would not be worth how bad (depressed, tired, defeated, anxious, probably hungover) I will feel tomorrow and probably Monday and Tuesday.  Plus, I would have to start over at day 1 and it is really easy to count when your day 1 is Jan 1.

I read this article this morning.  I can really relate the the idea that I drink just to shut up that internal conflict voice.  That part of my brain that won't shut up until I have a drink.  It is exhausting and super stressful to fight that voice every weekend. Sometimes, in the moment, it is just easier and seems less stressful to just give in when in reality giving in causes all the terrible feelings I am trying to cure by not drinking. What a catch 22 - so much bullshit wrapped up in a bottle of poison!

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This came from the article:

"This internal conflict was painful and stressful. I would make myself promises (no drinking until Friday, I will only have two tonight, no hard liquor, only red wine), which I continued to break. I was unable to understand why I couldn't easily control how much alcohol I was drinking. Internal division and the recrimination that comes with being unable to keep my promises tore me apart. This was so painful that I would find myself drinking more in order to turn off my brain, shut down the internal struggle.
Why is this? Why did I both want to stop and want to drink at the same time? The answer is because even though I had consciously, willfully determined I wanted to stop drinking, my unconscious mind had not gotten the memo. Unconscious learning happens automatically and unintentionally through experiences, observations, conditioning, and practice. We've been conditioned to believe we enjoy drinking. We think it enhances our social life and relieves boredom and stress. These thoughts are subconscious. Even after we consciously acknowledge that alcohol takes more than it gives, we retain the desire to drink.
Unconscious beliefs can be difficult to change. The first step is consciously realizing that alcohol is not everything you thought it was. This realization that you want to stop drinking makes you examine the reasons you drink and wonder whether they are truly valid. The best way to change your unconscious mind is to shine the light of consciousness on your ingrained beliefs."