Wednesday, September 13, 2017

3 Months!!! 9/13/17

Image result for 3 sober months

Today marks three months of not drinking for me.

The ups:
Sleeping way better
Feel better
Heart palpitations gone
Anxiety much better
Depression slowly lifting
More motivated
Easier to focus
More positive with others
More compassionate
More patient
Less sensitive
Less selfish
Working out consistently
Hiking every weekend with dd
Easier to honor committments
More present in all moments

The downs:
Still tired - but getting better
Haven't lost much weight - but will
Only a couple of bad cravings  - but they passed
A couple of sad moments when thinking about never drinking again

I'd say that is a whole lot more ups than downs!  I'm going to just keep on keeping on :)

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Today will be interesting 9/2/17 (Sun)

I am having my family over for dinner for the first time since May. I wrote this blog the event. I was really struggling in May, as is true every May, with drinking too much, hangovers, depression, exhaustion and anxiety.  When my mom starting guilt tripping me - I lost it.  I had a right to say everything I said and I don't regret it. What I regretted was my delivery.  I don't want to be the drunk yellar that is losing my mind when angry.  I had been drinking, of course, and I did not handle myself in a very mature way.

Hopefully, today will be different. Hopefully, today, she won't try to make me feel guilty about what is going on with my sister.  I know she knows it is my sister's fault, but she also knows I have been the only one to fix it in the past so she can get to me easier.  My sister just washes her hands of it and won't talk about it.

Not this time, mom, I have lived long enough with her treating me like shit - like she is better than me - like she never does anything wrong - like if she hurts my feelings, it is my fault bc she that wasn't her "intention". I am not perfect, but when I hurt someone I apologize even if I don't think I did anything wrong.  If I care about them, it doesn't matter what my intentions were. It matters that something I said or did hurt them even if unintentionally and I apologize.  Not my sister - somehow she always twists is around so that either I am overly sensitive and "we just don't see things the same way" or she is the victim.  She is always the victim and can successfully turn any situation around in which she is in the wrong to making me look bad in some way. When she started doing this to my adult children as well as putting up with it since high school, I just decided I was done. It is extremely painful for me as she is my sister, but I just can't have that kind on mental manipulation in my life.

She hasn't spoken to me in almost two years.  I think it has something to do with the fact that when our other sister got in a life threatening accident two years ago, I was having a little tif with her significant other and we weren't on the best terms.  She (my manipulative sister) was enjoying being in the middle and kind of playing both sides.

After the accident, the bother in law (of the injured sister) and I dropped all of our petty bullshit and came together to support my sister.  I was there every day for 6 months - heavily involved in anything I could do. My injured sister and I became very close again. She really appreciated everything I had done for her and I really appreciated the fact that she was still alive.

My younger sister couldn't handle it - she got so jealous that she started acting like a high schooler - walking out of rooms when I walked in, giving me dirty looks, telling everyone else goodbye except my family, making comments about "true colors" and that maybe I should "just marry my bother in law." Just stupid shit.  I have put up with this behavior from her for years but when she started being really mean to my adult kids I had had enough.

Then we found out some really bad stuff about how she was living her life.  She had been lying to us for years and actually had put our children in dangerous situations.  When we all found out, I was actually  more worried about her mental state when she found out we all knew. I even texted her saying that I was there for her - even after all of the emotional abuse she had put me and my family through for the last 3 months (while my other sister was fighting for her life). She never texted me back and turned it around on us saying that we ambushed her. She picked up her kids and moved to another state, with a boyfriend that was instrumental in causing all of this - kind of outed her.  Her kids got sick and needed surgery and she told my mom, "I can't believe they wouldn't even be there for me and my kids during this time."  And my mom bought it - hook, line and sinker!

How dare her! I was just dumbfounded! When we found out about her secrets, I thought, "there is no way she can turn this one around and there is no way my mom could take her side this time."  Well I was wrong and last May, when my mom tried to make me feel guilty about not supporting HER when her kids were sick, I lost it! She cut me off!  She moved away! She has chosen to not have two aunts, two uncles and four cousins be part of her kids' lives! She ripped this family apart. She refuses to try, in any way, to make things better. She has refused, just this once, to initiate a reconciliation. I didn't do anything wrong this time!

And most of all - she has hurt me so deeply that I can't even express it. I thought she loved me, cared about me, valued me in her and her kids' lives.  I guess I was wrong.

My mom is just so desperate for things to be ok - that she tries to guilt me into fixing it - bc I have always - ALWAYS - been the one to make things better in the past - for her. I am 73 days sober, in control of my emotions, what I say and how I act.  I am much less volatile, sensitive and reactive.  She just got back from a three month visit with my sister out of state and said she really missed all of us.  Hopefully she doesn't start any of her shenanigans, but if she does, I will not react and not play into it. Last time I felt like she brought it up three times bc she was baiting me into reacting.  The rift is so hard for her that she wanted someone else to be miserable about it too.

I just try not to think about it and let it be. If my sister ever wants me back in her life, she will let me know. I do miss her and especially her kids but this time it isn't mine to fix.  You teach people how to treat you. I will not let her get away with the way she has treated me and my family - not this time.  All she has to do is say, "I miss you, I'm sorry." and she can't even do whatever.

Wish me luck :)

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Crazy couple of weeks 9/2/17 (Sat)

I thought I would check in. I can't believe I haven't posted since 8/19.  I has been a crazy couple of weeks.  My daughter came back from out of state and moved in with us to finish up her college education.  She graduates in December.  I absolutely love having her around. She is motivating me to get up every morning at 4:30 and work out and to eat healthy.  My son moved out into a college dorm.  I miss him very terribly, but he is only 10 miles away and he is thriving at his "nerdy/super smart" engineering school.  He has finally found his people. I am super excited for him.  I have three weeks in the books already for this school year.  I have new teammates, a new bunch of sixth graders and different curriculum to teach this year, but so far so good - no drama :)

And I am sober 72 Days!  This time is so different.  I really don't have the "pink cloud" like I did last time maybe because sobriety isn't a new feeling, but I also don't have the depressed, deprived angry feelings when not drinking like last time either.

When drinking I was living a life of high/highs and low/lows.  I was either excited to get to drink on the upcoming weekend, actually drinking and having fun or suffering through a three day hangover and then the dull/depressed feelings in between.

Last time I quit I also had high/highs and low/lows. I either had the high/highs of waking up hangover free, being in awe of how present and calm I felt or the low/lows of being depressed and pissed that I couldn't drink on the weekends - fearful (terrified) of every situation - that I might screw up and drink or that I might have an anxiety attack bc I couldn't.

This time there isn't high/highs or low/lows.  I am still waiting for the "this is the best I have ever felt/I am so happy/my life is great" feelings.  I hope they do eventually arrive, but it isn't like I am miserable either. I feel like I am just chugging along, doing life, but in a more controlled way. I feel more in control of my emotions, my thoughts, my insecurities. I am working out and starting to feel the need to, I am less grumpy, sleeping better, getting a lot more done, feel a lot more present and really do feel calmer.

The biggest difference this time is that I really don't want to drink. I have only had two "close calls" in 72 days. One was the Tuesday afternoon when I had a full on panic attack and the 2nd was when we went out to dinner with our friends.  I just really don't seem to care about it - which is awesome.  I can also admit to myself that I did really like it and had a lot of fun drinking. I do miss the sense of connecting with people (albeit semi present/drug induced/somewhat fake connections) I felt while drinking with friends. I miss the hyper, excited feeling I would get about an upcoming weekend event.  I miss being the life of the party and having a lot of drinking fun. I miss going to new breweries on a Friday afternoon. I miss opening a bottle of wine or a cold beer on a Friday after a long week at work.

But all that I miss about it is not worth the misery it causes just isn't worth it.

I will give up the high/highs to not have to go through the low/lows. I just have to figure out how to be truly happy on the middle ground - to go from ho-hum to life is great. I also need to figure out how to calm down. Instead of drinking on the weekends now I am just constantly moving - cleaning, shopping, hiking, yard work, etc. While all of that is good stuff, I am not giving myself time to relax. When drinking (or smoking before I quit) I would sit down to do it. Both calmed me down in a sense. It is hard to explain bc alcohol revved me up but also made my brain not think about everything that I need to do, calmed it down and helped it have fun.  While alcohol made me miserable most of the time it did help me to stop thinking which in a way is relaxing. I need to figure out how to do that without a drug.

Well, that's it for now - off to clean my house, do yard work, do laundry, work out, pay my bills and go buy some hiking shoes - lol!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Sent to a friend today 8/19/17 (Sat)

Hi --------,

How are you doing?  I ran across a couple of articles I thought you might be interested in. 

If you take out the seizures, delirium tremors, hallucinations and visible shaking - I would have all of the symptoms pf withdrawal.  But bc I didn't experience the "super serious" symptoms - I remained in denial for a long time.  It's like I couldn't admit to myself that I was actually withdrawing from a drug that I was addicted to when I would feel crappy for a few days after my weekend drinking (like every Monday -Thurs). I knew I felt bad bc of the alcohol but because I only drank on the weekends and only maybe drank 5-10 drinks all weekend and I didn't experience the "serious" withdrawal symptoms, I wasn't that bad.  

The "not being able to get enjoyment from everyday experiences" even when not experiencing a hangover - almost having to drink or experience the anticipation of knowing I was going to drink was the only thing that made me feel "happy" on the weekends is what finally made me realize that I have physically screwed up my brain. That I'm not just making something out of nothing/over dramatizing/over obsessing/imagining it to the point that I am depressed and have anxiety unless I am drinking or thinking about drinking. I needed it to feel normal - to feel like my happy self.  Because it is an addiction and the denial is so strong, it is so hard to see that through all of the bullshit.  

Once I finally did, I knew I had to stop. I was watching an Intervention once and a lady had holed herself up in a hotel room, drinking as much as she wanted and didn't care. I actually couldn't believe that I could see the appeal to that???? WTF!!!! This realization scared the shit out of me bc I have no idea when my switch would be flipped (like the father's) and I would put a drug before everything - even my own happiness.

This may not all be true for you. I'm not trying to say you are like me and that you need to stop drinking. I would never tell you that. Your path is your path, but I know you like me to send you the no nonsense, what is alcohol doing to me articles :)  Happy weekend!

Monday, August 14, 2017

It was fun - until is wasn't 8/14/17 (Mon)

I took a walk with my friend yesterday - the one who is trying to work on her drinking. She is just now starting to look at how much she drinks and the effects it has on her.  She really did have a rough weekend.  Something like 15 drinks Friday followed by vomiting, passing out and having a terrible hangover.  This is unusual for her - she is more of a daily drinker as opposed to a binge drinker.  She is 10 years older than me. She said she is jealous that I am trying do better with alcohol 10 years earlier than she did. She said she wishes she would have started looking at her own drinking 10 years ago as well.

This made me so glad I am finally doing it. i just really need to make sure I remember all of the times I have tried to moderate and how many times I eventually fail - and I have really tried. I need to remember that I am just not wired for drinking anymore. My years of weekend binge drinking have physically rewired my brain and there is no turning back.  A pickle can no longer turn back into a cucumber.  The damage is done. It was fun - until is wasn't -  and now it is over - thank God! That part of my life is over and a new one is just beginning. I can choose to be pissed off, jealous, sad, feel deprived, bored and depressed about never being ever to drink again or I can feel grateful I have stepped off the hamster wheel and didn't waste another 10 years of my life living in my own self imposed mental torture chamber.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Interesting conversations 8/13/17 (Sun)

I had a conversation with a neighbor yesterday - the same neighbor we went out with Friday night. We were talking about drinking and the fact that I wasn't.

My neighbor said, "I think you are jut overthinking everything.  I'm about 10 years older than you. You'll see - it changes when you retire. I know you are a teacher and you care about what everyone thinks about you, but wait until you retire.  Ya, I am an alcoholic.  I drink 4-5 beers every single day.  I like to drink and am not going to stop. I won;t be happy if I don't drink. I would rather die at 65 after having an enjoyable retirement (aka drinking) than live to be 85 and not even enjoy my life (aka be sober).  So what that I drink. I like it and I choose to keep doing it even if I die earlier."

That comment just blew me away.  I just thought that anyone willing to admit that they are an alcoholic would not like that about themselves and wan to stop drinking. Not only does my neighbor admit it, he chooses it.  I have to admit, the reason I was so fascinated by what he said was that in some sort of way, it sounded good to me. To be able to just drink what I wanted, when I wanted and not feel guilty or obsess and just be fine with it - there is a sort of enticement to the thought of that - just to say screw it and be a drinker and like it.

So I come back to my house and tell my ds and dh what he said, probably bc it is still just confusing/fascinating me.  My husband said, "That's just his way of justifying how much he is drinking. I bet he doesn't really like it as much as he says he does."

My son said, "Ya he likes it until his liver is failing or he gets a DUI. We will see how much he likes it then."

Ok - those two comments brought me back to reality.  There is no way in hell I could just be a drinker like that and be ok with it.

On another note, another neighbor/drinking buddy of mine who also struggles with alcohol, had a bad hangover when I was about 2 weeks sober and said she was going to try sobriety with me.  She was successful for about 3 weeks and then made up some excuse about why she needed to drink (something about promising her daughter she would take her out for shots before she went back to college) and she did. She felt really good about her three weeks and said she was really going to do better about not drinking daily (she is more of a daily drinker where I was more of a weekend binge drinker).  She sent me a text yesterday, "Last night went south.  I went on an alcohol binge. I can't remember the last time I was this sick. Do you think I need a reminder of how it is really poison? This was definitely one of the worst! And then pissed off about a wasted day!"  Then, about 4 hours later she texts, "Such a crazy thing. And as soon as you start feeling better, you start thinking about a drink. Or worse yet, you think one right away might make you feel better. Total insanity."

Funny that in one day I hear both of these messages about alcohol.  First, the sound of drinking and not caring sounds kinda good and then I am reminded of how unhappy alcohol made me for so long.

I am glad I am sober :)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Full disclosure - slight HO today 8/12/17 (Sat)

So yesterday was the first Friday back at work after summer break.  August is probably in the top three hardest months for me with alcohol (along with May and December).  Before school starts I just want to get in as much partying as I can. Then once school does start, I am stressed and trying to adjust and really craving that drink on a Friday after being at work all day.  It takes me a little while to settle in. I do know that two of my addiction triggers are stress bc alcohol helps everything in my head just slow down and being tired bc alcohol gives me energy and helps me feel less lethargic.  I realize that sounds contradictory, but in some strange way alcohol calms my mind and helps me relax while at the same time giving me energy to enjoy my evening rather that sitting on the couch being tired.  Kinda weird but true. Except for when I drink too much and embarrass myself (which isn't too often), I really do enjoy drinking while I am drinking.  I am a fun drinker - full of energy and positive energy.  I never pick fights and am supportive and cheerful, although also dominating and overly sensitive. I don't black out and can almost always remember everything that happened, even though sometimes it takes some hard mental thought the next morning.

It is the after effects, both mentally and physically, that kill me. The mental and physical hangovers that last for days and were making me sad every day where torture. And the mental obsession with not being able to do what I know I should do was crushing my soul.

So...last night my drinking buddy neighbor asked us if we wanted to go to a festival in our town.  We had blown them off a few times, so I thought we should probably go bc I do really like them and they always want us to come along.  They are both pretty heavy drinkers. Both are retired and also do their fair share of marijuana. They are super fun and I really like hanging out with her especially, as she is just a positive, fun loving, never complaining kind of person.

I told her I wasn't drinking for awhile.  She has known me long enough to know that I say this 2-4 times a year.  I think she gets disappointed, but doesn't say so and is always supportive. She knows how much I suffer from hangovers and what alcohol does to my body so she doesn't push me to drink.  She asked me if I wanted an mj gummy (which is legal in my state btw). I have tried it before and haven't liked it but I was desperate to go to this dumb festival and be able to relax, gain some energy and have a good time.  What I really wanted to do was curl up on my couch and binge watch tv, but that sounded depressing and a waste of a beautiful Friday evening, so I said yes.  I said, "It's not like I have this desire to be sober the rest of my life, I just don't like what alcohol does to me."

So I only ate 1/2 of one (which is the amount she takes that she says gets her "loaded".  I'm not going to lie, I was kind of excited. It took about an hour for me to feel it in my throat, tongue, and mouth - kind of a swollen, dry feeling - but never really felt it in my head.  In fact it made me less patient with the whole evening bc I just kept waiting for the "high" (which I do miss) to kick in.  It never happened and I just felt super uncomfortable with my lame water bottle while everyone around me was having such a good time listening to the band and getting hammered.  I just felt so old...

I came home and went to bed with my heart racing, my head pounding and my mouth feeling like the Sahara desert.  I had a really hard time falling asleep (maybe 4 hours later it finally kicked in and I didn't like it) and I remember thinking, "Maybe it is about being sober bc this is what it felt like to go to bed buzzed and I don't like it. I don't really want to waste one of my good weekend sleeping nights fighting being buzzed - by any substance."

I woke up this morning with a headache, sore/weird feeling throat, swollen lymph nodes in my neck, and pretty exhausted from not sleeping well.  The good news - I guess I don't have to be worried about being addicted to another substance bc I officially do not like mj.  The bad news - I still have to figure out how not to be boring/feel uncomfortable in a party atmosphere while sober.

Also good news - I didn't drink even though I was pretty jealous of everyone else having a good time getting their party on...It's not that I really wanted to drink - I just wanted to have a good time, which was not happening.