Sunday, October 15, 2017

Do you miss drinking? 10/15/17


I really do miss the relaxing but at the same time energetic (letting go) feeling that alcohol gave me on a Friday and Saturday evening. I really do miss it...a lot.

But...I don't miss the hangovers, the selfish way drinking made me act and feel, the preoccupation with drinking/recovering from drinking, the depression, anxiety, insomnia, heart palpitations, night sweats and general sadness that came with drinking.

My brain is starting to clam down, to be able relax in a healthy way, not a hyped up, drug induced way.  It is kind of weird that while I used alcohol to "relax", I did anything but relax while drinking.  It made me hyper, super social, loud and go to bed way to late only to sleep crappy. That seems like the opposite of relaxation.  And....if made me more tired the next day.

Plus, I am way less bloated, working out, eating better and have lost 5 pounds.

So do I really miss drinking in a rational, logical, healthy, intelligent way....NO!.  I guess I don't really miss addiction misses it...and my addiction is not going to win.  My healthy brain is going to win this time.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Fighting boredom vs overly busy 10/7/17

I am going to try to blog at least once a week.  It has been so busy with school starting again, conferences coming up, my dd moving back in to finish up college, and my ds moving into a college dorm.  All good...but busy.

I do think, however, I am too busy. For example, Friday after work I now go to the grocery store and do any other running around I need to do. While it is nice to get it done, I don't get home until 7:00 and am exhausted and grumpy.  I think part of the reason I do it is so that I don't get bored, sit around on a Friday thinking about a drink and feeling sorry for myself that I can't have one.  It is easier to keep myself distracted.  I drove past the liquor store last night, on my way to the store, and saw a man carrying a case of micro beers and a bag of ice.  I got a little jealous. I would frequent the liquor store on many Fridays.  It felt celebratory to end a long work week. To sit down, relax, talk to friends and celebrate the weekend. Now I seem to "celebrate" by running myself ragged on Friday evenings.

I think I need to be careful about running my "battery" too low. If I don't stop to relax, I may find my cravings becoming worse because I am tired and grumpy?  Gotta figure out how to relax with out alcohol and without feeling bored.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

100 days! How I got here 9/30/17

Today I have been sober 100 days.

I had a huge "light bulb moment"  a couple of years ago when I read about how using alcohol repeatedly physically, biochemically changes the neurotransmitters in such a way that you "need" alcohol to feel happy.  I realized - maybe I'm not just making a mountain out of a molehill. Maybe it isn't just my latest obsession. Maybe, if I just stop worrying about my drinking, the worry/problem will go away.  Maybe, at this point the addiction isn't my fault. Well it is my fault bc I caused it but maybe it is more than just a mental game. Maybe it is an actual physical game that is making it hard for me to quit.  Maybe it isn't just that I am weak, so I can't control it. Maybe it is physically beyond my ability to control it at this point bc I have restructured my brain with a deadly chemical. Maybe I'm not just imagining I have a problem. Maybe it isn't just in my head. Maybe I'm not over exaggerating my inability to stop drinking.  I have no idea of that makes sense to anyone else but it flipped a switch for me.  It wasn't just about "trying harder to moderate....only drink two....drink first...." Somehow, learning all of this was a huge weight off my shoulders. Somehow, I felt less like a failure and that allowed me to start thinking about the only solution that made sense - to stop drinking and heal my damaged neurotransmitters. This explained my cravings, my desire to keep drinking, in a scientific, physical, real way. The first switch was flipped for me.

As long as I kept pouting alcohol into my brain, even when successfully moderating, the more damage I was physically causing to my reward system which was causing my cravings and inability to stop - I wasn't just making it all up - it was real. 

Then 100 days ago I had another HUGE "aha moment" when I realized that using alcohol every weekend, even moderately, was affecting my ability to enjoy life at all - ever - even when not hungover - that I needed a drink to feel happy, relaxed, at peace. Without my weekend drink, I  was just tired, depressed, anxious, kind of blah feeling all the time. It wasn't just that I was tired or over stressed or had a bad week. or whatever reason I came up with, it was because I didn't have alcohol in my brain setting off the chemicals responsible for making me happy.  I realized, 100 days ago, that I would feel tired, kinda down, not super happy until I had that drink. I noticed that I got talkative, my mood lightened and I could enjoy life once I had that drink.  Then the 2nd flip was switched.

I realized that not only was I living to drink on the weekend, I was drinking on the weekend to enjoy living - even when sober. I had rewired my brain (physically) to not be able to enjoy life without alcohol - even when sober.

This latest article I read, flipped a 3rd switch for me. The article was about the subconscious mind. Alcohol, no matter how small, relaxed me, calmed down the anxiety, made me feel relaxed, social, less stressed, less tired, happy. The more times (weekend drinking for about 30 years) my brain had the calm/relaxed/happy response from the alcohol, the more my subconscious mind put these two things together and craved the alcohol to achieve those feelings.  It's like Pavlov's dog or putting your foot on the brake in the driver's seat.  It becomes an automatic subconscious solution to feeling stressed, tired, anxious, worried or depressed.  My subconscious brain tells me, without me even realizing it, that I need that drug to feel better.  I realized this last night. I was exhausted. I had had a super busy week full of evening meetings, parent conferences, team meetings, etc. I was driving back from the grocery store, about to pass out from exhaustion and I thought to myself, "If I was having a nice IPA when I got home (while putting the groceries away) to celebrate the week being over, I would feel a lot better right now. I would be happy, have a lot more energy and be really looking forward to having that beer. Even the thought of drinking would make me feel better. And then I thought, "Why is that? I'm exhausted! Why would I want to drink?" It's bc my subconscious mind is telling me that it will relax me, make me feel better, make me happy. What my subconscious mind doesn't realize is that it is the lack of alcohol on a Friday night that is actually partially responsible for me feeling so shitty. That if I drink I am temporarily relieving the problem but exacerbating the problem long term because alcohol is what is causing the problem in the first place. Switch 3 flipped

I was relieving all of my depression, anxiety, boredom by drinking the drug that was causing all my problems. This was happening on a physical, subconscious and biochemical level. The only way to stop the insanity is to not drink at all - ever - and let my brain heal. It needs to relearn how to be happy - without a drug. 

Thank goodness the damage isn't permanent at this point.

It has been a long journey, mentally and physically, to get to this point of understanding with my addiction. I am thankful for every day I remain sober bc I am healing.

Image result for 100 days sober

Sunday, September 24, 2017

13 Traits of Integrity (9/24/17)

I think I am finally getting some of my energy back.  My workouts are starting to fee l good again - like something I want to do instead have need to do.  I have only lost 2-3 pounds but I can tell a little bot of a difference.  I realize I am gaining muscle while losing fat so the scale isn't super accurate. I also know I am not just working out to lose weight, I am doing it to feel better.  My dd told me last week that I was her hero.  Seriously....who could ask for anything more than that. The nest time I want to drink, I will just remind myself of what a hero would do...they would hold true to their morals and judgement and good decision making.

I was reading this article

13 Characteristics of People Who Have True Integrity

It made me think about my integrity an how my behavior has changed since I quit drinking. Here are the 13 traits and how I have changed (the formatting is terrible but I can't figure out how to fix it..)

The comments below are about me while not under the influence.  When I was drinking I was undoubtedly a selfish, self aggrandizing, conversation monopolizing, (albeit fun) crazy person.  Also, I don't think most people saw these shortcomings of mine. When not drinking (which was 80% of the time) I came off as caring, sensitive, responsible, good person.  A lot of what I describe below where my own thoughts..the private prison I lived in.

1. They value other people’s time.

They value their own time so they also value the time of other people. They know you have plenty of other places you need to be and won’t hold you up. If you spend time with them, it is likely they will thank you for that as well.

I feel like I have always thought about other people's time, just not always respected it. I hate being late. I always have tried to be on time, but am late a lot.  Now that I am sober, I am a little better about getting somewhere on time. My focus about getting out of the house is a little time management is a little better as my brains are a little less scattered and ADHD like. Still working on this one. 
I do appreciate spending time with other people more than I used to. I think it used to be more about spending time with alcohol while with other people.  I wouldn't really look forward to seeing people and catching up - finding out what was happening in their lives....It was more about looking forward to getting together with people so I could drink.

2. They give credit where it is due.

They do not take credit for things they did not do. They will always credit those who deserve it. If you help this person with a project he or she will likely mention your name so you can take credit for your work.
I have noticed a little change in this one.  I always gave credit to others but found myself being secretly jealous of other people success.  Jealous of people getting praise or getting a better paying job than me or having a nicer house than me or being in better shape than me.  It wasn't horrible jealousy, just a little secret voice that would sometimes hope other people didn't get what they wanted.  It made me feel like a terrible person.  I don't have nay idea where that came from or why but it is calming down. Maybe now that I am proud of myself and finding some peace in my own life, I can truly be happy for the success of others.

3. They are authentic.

They are their truest forms. You won’t catch them in a lie or being fake.
Really  other only thing I lied to others about what not being able to keep commitments due to having a hangover. I would skip out on things, not do something that was important to someone else, not get out of bed to be with my kids, or go and pretend I was fine. I would say I was getting sick or was stressed or blah,blah,blah.  It is nice now because #1 I have a lot more energy and willingness to do things that are important to other people but if I am sick...everyone actually believes me bc they know I am not drinking.  I also feel like if I really don't want to do something, I don't need to and I don't need to make excuses or feel guilty. I don't need to be everything for everyone. Somehow it just feels like a more honest way to live, which feels incredibly liberating.
I am also less fake.  I never really was too fake but I find that I have a much easier time just being quiet. I don't always need to be heard. My opinion does not always need to be understood.  Everyone isn't waiting for me to give my 2 cents.  It is pretty relaxing to not always be jockeying for position in every conversation. I don't need as much validation as I used to....and this is while sober.

4. They are always honest.

They are honest people that feel no need to lie as it is important for them to get to where they need to get in life honestly.
See above...but also I feel more honest with myself.  If I choose to sit her and type all of this in my blog today, it truly is what I want to do right in this moment.  It isn't merely a distraction from other things bc I have a hangover.  I feel like I am more honest with myself about my addiction, my imperfections, my values, my relationships, the way I feel about things (rather than the way others think I should feel or the way I would pretend to feel to make others happy).  This one is hard to explain, but my life just feel more honest.

5. They never take advantage of others.

They are not the kind of people who will take advantage of someone else. They love to build people up and help them get where they need to be. Taking too much from someone else will never be an issue with someone who has a lot of integrity.
I am trying to get better at this one with my dh.  I don't take advantage of him but I don't think I have done a very good job at building him up or appreciating him over the years.  I have been so ensnared in all of my own bullshit that I have kind of ignored him.  He has been the only one that has known about my issues for years and has supported me no matter what.  He doesn't care if I drink or don't drink, he just hated seeing what the addiction was doing to me mentally and emotionally.  It is so true that you are the worst to the people you trust the most.  I am really working on this one.

6. They do not argue over disagreements.

They will talk through things in a civil manner or not talk at all. You cannot and will not force this person into arguing over something completely ridiculous. I find this to be a very respectable trait.
This one was huge for me to read!  The others were..ya, ya..I knew that, but this one really made me think.  I have been really bad at this one.  I could not ever let things go unless my perspective was validated.  The other person did not have to agree with me, but they did have to at least see where I was coming from. I never felt like my intentions were bad when in an argument and was so damn caught up in making sure no one thought I was a bad person, that I would really argue and argue and argue until at least they could admit they could see where I was coming from.  It is exhausting!!! Not arguing is a respectable trait....that line blew my mind...made me see something in a completely different way.  I am so excited to not be an arguer any more and can't wait to practice.  I know I am a good person, not matter what my opinion is of something. If someone doesn't see something the same as me, that doesn't mean I am wrong or they are wrong...just a different perspective...let it go! "You don't need constant validation from outside sources that you are a good person" I am trying to tell myself.

7. They give most people the benefit of the doubt.

They try to see the good in everyone. I think this is because they feel like maybe there are more people in this world that also have integrity. That being said, if you take advantage of them too much they will get rid of you.
I really have always done this. My dh even makes fun of me for it.  Sometimes I should take off my rose colored glasses, but I would rather assume the best and be wrong than assume the worst and always think negatively. This one I am already good at :)

8. They know when something is bothering someone.

They have a great intuition that lets them know when something is going on. If someone is down in the dumps they will notice. Chances are they will actually do what they can to cheer you up.
This one is so much easier while not struggling with the 24/7 all consuming thought process of addiction.  It is so much easier to be in tune with others when you aren't always consumed with yourself.  I would look at people but in more of a shallow not really seeing them sort of way. And if I did sense something was wrong my thoughts were more, "what's their problem? why are they acting like that? what did I do this time? whatever.." Now I just ask...are you ok? It was so all about me when in addiction. I just thought that the way everyone acted around me was about they were judging me It is easier now to see that it probably isn't about me at all so don't take it personally and see if you can help in any way.  Sobriety is weird..

9. They believe others.

They accept your word as truth until it is disproven. That being said, they do not take lying well. And once you lie to them, it is unlikely that they will ever take your word again.
I am pretty good at this one.  It is true that I believe in others, but once you lie to me or are mean to me, I have a really hard time.  I am super sensitive to not what people say but how they say it.  I am trying to do better with this as the way they deliver what they say may not be with the motivation that I assume it to be.  Their delivery may be my own perception of their intention...not truly what it is or may not have anything to do with me. In other words they may be being a bitch in their tone but aren't meaning to come off that way. Maybe they are just having a bad day and it had nothing to do with me.  I am trying to assume good intention in their delivery of what they say.  Mean people are really hard for me to handle. But, once again, I am trying to not take everything so personally. Doing that really is still living selfishly because you assume what everyone says and how they say it is always about you. I always used to look at that as sensitive as apposed to selfish...more denial I guess.

10. They apologize first.

If they have done something wrong they will come to you and apologize. This is just how they are. They own up to their mistake and try to make things right.
I would always apologize first......with a big fat BUT attached to it...It really didn't mean jack shit unless the other person admitted they could see where I was coming from, validated that and then took some responsibility in the conflict. And....I always acted like I was the bigger person for apologizing first. I could talk a really good Dr. Phil game but I was relentless in arguments about having my side validated...even to the point of talking for hours, repeating myself hundreds of times bc I didn't feel like I was being heard, writing endless text messages, talking to others who weren't even involved just to "get their take" but really to make sure they saw my side of things... OMG!!!! I have been so consumed with my own image probably bc I really felt like a shallow, dishonest,  worthless person on the inside. I was going to make damn sure that I never looked like a bad person in any situation... how exhausting.  WHO CARES???? You have your opinion, I have mine, let it go and move on. And if people think I am a bad person...who long as I know I am a good person.

11. They are humble.

They do not quite know their own worth. While they are very important and do so much good they don’t quite see it. You should remind them of it.

I am also working on this.  Oh I do know my own worth, believe it...I am a good person, mother and teacher. I could sometimes be a better friend, sister and wife but I'm not horrible either. My problem is making sure everyone else knows it. Again validation from outside sources.  Why do I need so much external validation?????????????

12. They do good when they can.

They are always helping other people. They love to know that they have improved someone’s life. It gives their lives meaning.

I am pretty good at this but now have a lot more time and energy to do that I am not consumed with my own personal bullshit all the time.

13. They are always kind to those who need it.

Giving kindness can go a long way. When someone looks like they need a little pick me up these people deliver. They can brighten up almost anyone’s day

I have always said I was there for others, but only if it fit into my drinking schedule.  If it interfered with that....I was out.  Nothing interfered with my weekend partying and if it did I was grumpy and pissed about it.  I do feel a lot less stressed out about commitments now that I don't have the competing thoughts about making time for drinking and the subsequent hangovers.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

3 Months!!! 9/20/17

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.

Friday, August 11, 2017

First Day back/Day 50 - 8/11/17 (Fri)

I am extremely tired as I haven't slept well for two nights but that always happens to me as a new year starts.  I know as I settle in for my 26 (!!) year of teaching, the nerves will calm down.  It was not lost on me yesterday that I was clear headed, calm, happy, nice to everyone, calm, patient and much more in control of my mental state than I have been in the years where I went back to school coming straight off a summer of drinking and a horrible hangover (you know - one more hurrah before I lose my freedom).

I sure feel better than the past few Augusts.  This time is going to be the time to stay sober.  What more proof do I need than the following posts.  It is time to stop the madness.  Day 50 :)

8/12/16 (Fri) Out of control (drank Mon-Wed) Terrible hangover

out of control
  1. 1.
    no longer possible to manage.

So two posts ago I am contemplating not drinking for a year.  Then I have a horrendous hangover Sunday bc of too much wine Saturday. Then I go to an out of town work thing and drink Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday night - so much that I feel like dog shit all day Thursday at the conference. I was having anxiety attacks, feel dizzy and nauseous all day.  Now today I have my first day back to work and I am tired, bloated, have a headache, depressed, fat, unhealthy, want to just not go, worried everyone will look at me and think, "wow - she had a rough summer break".  WE have to do all this dumb "team building" stuff which means I have to talk to people and fake how "good" I am doing when all I really want to do is crawl back in bead and cry.  I started this summer break announcing to myself how it was going to be different.  I wasn't going to drink every weekend, I wasn's going to waste any days with hangovers, I was going to take care of myself, get in shape and make it all better.  I did pretty well in June but fell off the rails in July and August - why??? - bc I didn't drink in June.  I am wasting my life with all this bullshit and I am sick of it!!!!  I don;t even want to make a declaration of no drinking for 30 days, 1 year, ever...bc I know I will just fail.  I am so sick of failing that I don;t even want to try any more. 

and spiraling downward....

I just don't know what to do anymore.  I know that answer is QUIT DRINKING!!! but I have known that for a long time...

How do I do that?  How do I keep the commitment to myself and stop all of the mind games?  How do I find the strength to say no - no matter how mad, sad, isolated, irritated, bored, lonely I feel?


8/23/15 (Sun) - Deep dark hole (percocets?)

Deep dark hole is what I google searched this morning.  I feel like total dog shit this morning.  When I woke up, after 4 hours of drunken sleep, I thought about the percocets in my closet.  We have a bunch since my dh has had a couple surgeries and he never takes them.  I thought, "Mabye I should just take a couple to put me to sleep for a few hours until the hangover wears off."  That is how desperate I am for this day to be over.  That is just a sad existence.  I didn't and won't take them but it kinda scared me that I even thought about it.  Another thing that entered my mind is that I could see how people (I was specifically thinking about celebrities like Robin Williams, Whitney Houston and her daughter and Michael Jackson) could actually just take a handful to make the pain and suffering end for that moment.  I bet they weren't thinking about not being around ever again, but that they just wanted relief from the physical, emotional, debilitating, devastating anguish they were feeling right in that moment.  That thought also scared me a little.

Well..I'm not going to do that...I have too much to live for...I'm going to eat something and go back to bed. I just wanted to at least record how I am feeling today. When I do try to get my shit together, it helps me go back and read how bad I was feeling.

8/8/14 (Fri) - Struggling

i am laying here in the middle of the night, cant sleep, have drank 10 days in a row, am depressed, anxious and so confused.  am i unhappy so i drink?  or is my drinking making me unhappy?

8/10/11 (Wed) 2 HANGOVERS! Shut Up!!

AM - I haven't posted in a while.  Why?  I am fine.  I don't have a problem.  Just obsessing too much.  Went on vacation, drank every day, only had one HO, didn't fight with any of my family, progress - right? ......  Let's start calling it what it is - denial, rationalization, addiction,  an unhappy life controlled by a drug that has ruined may people in my family and will soon ruin me if I don't open my eyes!

PM - Not good.  I was making dinner, talking to a friend on the phone, bored, asked her to come over.  Three bottles of wine later (1:00 in the morning) I finally fell into bed.  I remember hearing a little voice in my head say, "School is almost ready to start .....  it is OK ..... one last party before the summer is over ..."

That is exactly the little voice, that is more like a roar, that I am SICK OF LISTENING TO!!!  It is always some reason, some excuse, some event.   SHUT UP!!!!!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Huge craving/panic attack...why??? 8/9/17 (Wed)

First craving in 48 days!!! No idea why I got was a Tuesday at like 2:00 pm for pete's sakes. My dh is on vacation, was in the garage and a long time friend (another drinking buddy from out 20's) was in the neighborhood and stopped by.  They ended up having a beer (or three). When they were looking for a beer, our friend said, "Anything but that strong IPA!  That's (my name)'s beer."

Whoa!!!! All of a sudden, out of nowhere, it just hit me, like a little mini panic attack. I felt it in my core, my brain started spinning, my heart started racing, I started sweating and feeling kind of a flight or fight feeling. - I really wanted to sit in the garage and have a beer - badly.  Thoughts started creeping in (not really creeping - more like violently invading) like.....You only have two days before school starts, your summer is almost over, Why not? Hey, that would also make the trip you are planning over winter break seem more fun especially if you are staying over New Year's Eve and hey the even your neighbors invited you to Friday would be more fun if you tried moderation again and hey you could have a couple of beers of work buddies after work and you wouldn't have to be different or uncomfortable of feel left out and hey you really weren't that bad anyway (weren't drinking during the week and weren't blacking out). You could just try one more time to successfully moderate...just one more attempt and if you fail this time (aka end up getting hangovers/obsessing/not getting in shape/feeling depresses and anxious and insecure and exhausted and unmotivated and feeling no joy in life... you will quit for good.. You know no one will be mad at you bc they never thought you were that bad anyway. Hey maybe you are not/never were that bad anyway. Maybe you just though you were....and on and on and on for like an hour!!!!!  It was intense. I couldn't sit down. I couldn't relax.  I really wanted a beer and I ALMOST said, "Screw it...I'm having one."

BTW - I think it is interesting that when I am trying to talk myself into drinking it is always in third person almost like it is an outside voice, an alternate personality, the addiction itself talking to me.

Well, I got through it. I don;t know how, but I did.  I poured a seltzer water, went upstairs and started going through all of my clothes for the new school year. I didn't have a mental battle with myself. I just said, "You are going to be very disappointed if you drink. You can do this for one year. You can do this. You just talked to your daughter about having a sober New Year's Eve with her and being able to drive home from vacation this year. She will be understanding if you drink but she will not tell you she is proud if you for trying to moderate again. She will understand but won't say, "I'm proud of you for drinking". You know you won't say that to yourself either. Remember how exhausted/depressed/insecure/unmotivated/sad/out of shape you were when you drank. You KNOW you will get right back to that. You know you will. It has happened so many times.Go read your blog. You have proof. You will throw these 48 days away and eventually have to start again at Day 1. You know it. You know this craving will pass and you will be stronger after it is over. You knew you would eventually have them. You can do this. How would you feel in the morning? Don't think about it. Drink your seltzer water, tear your closet apart and let it pass."

I did, it did pass and I didn't drink.

Day 49

Monday, August 7, 2017

Take control 8/7/17 (Mon)

Time to take control of my fitness and get busy.  If I want to lose a little weight, get in better shape and fit into my clothes - I actually need to work at it. I can't just write about it, read about it, plan it, think about it, goal set around it - I have figured out this is my form of procrastination.  In my mind I feel like I am starting to do it bc I am planning it, but in reality I never get past that stage.  This is the exact form of procrastination that kept me drinking for last 10 years.
Image result for make a fucking plan

So I'm going to get up, get out of my jammies, put of some workout clothes and work on what I want

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Sleep and another big accomplishment 8/6/17 (Sun)

Image result for i love sleep quotes tumblr

I have gotten two really good night's sleep and I feel a lot better.  I am sleeping until like 9:00 am which is a bit ridiculous but my body must need it.  Finally I am sleeping...

Last night we went out with some old friends from my college years - pretty hard party buddies back in the day.  I was really nervous about drinking, not drinking, having to explain myself, what would I say, etc.  Especially nervous as just them as it was just us four - not a group where I could blend in and not be as noticeable. I even had that evil little thought - maybe I will just have a beer - not really because I wanted one but just bc it seemed easier than than being uncomfortable.  That is pretty messed up bc in what reality would "just go ahead an have a beer to fit in" be easier than not having one???? The thought itself amazed me.

So we get to dinner and I purposely ordered my drink last bc I didn't want anyone, specifically my girlfriend, to not order a drink bc of me.  They all ordered a beer and I ordered a club soda. No one said a word!! I didn't see any side glances or confused looks on their faces (it wouldn't have surprised me as when we were younger I was the party girl  - pretty sure I drank all the girls under the table even I thought at the time everyone else was drinking just as much as me and getting just as drunk as I was).

The guys ordered one more. My girlfriend did not but that didn't surprise me.  The conversation was a little strained and uncomfortable once in awhile without my usual social lubricant but it was fine.  I tried to ask question and focus more on them instead of making the conversation all about me. We sat outside on a beautiful tree covered patio at out favorite Indian restaurant. It was a gorgeous evening. It even down poured but we were under a somewhat covered area. It was just beautiful. I thought that this would have just been overwhelmingly, sappy meaningful to me if I was buzzed. And then i thought, "It still is overwhelmingly, sappy, meaningful but in a completely conscious, aware, fully present way - that actually makes it more meaningful."  After dinner we gave each other hugs said goodbye and went home - like normal people. We didn't come back to our house and drink until late and then wake up with hangovers.  Instead I came back home, made some popcorn, poured myself an Italian soda (which is full of sugar but who cares), watched a couple episodes of Power, slept until 9:00 and feel great today.

Life is good :)