Thursday, July 20, 2017

7/20/17 (Thus) One month and no cravings and I drug myself through the day and drugged myself in the evenings

It is really strange that I haven't had any cravings and tomorrow will mark one month.  What is different? I think I might know.

All of the times I have tried to quit in the past, the cravings have been terrible.  Every Friday and Saturday I have just been "white knuckling" through with intense feelings of anger, resentment, loneliness, longing for a drink - sometimes to the point of a panic attack.  I would have decided to quit while going through the horrendous 4 days of withdrawals.  After the withdrawals had passed, I always second guessed my decision telling myself that I wasn't that bad and that I could try again - that I just needed to be more careful, diligent in my moderating.

Maybe the difference this time is that I didn't quit as a result of a terrible hangover. I was coming from a more rational place rather than an emotionally/physically painful place.

We went on vacation and I did get wasted on the trip there (to the point I barely remember going to the grocery store once we got there) but didn't drink more than 3-4 drinks on any of the following days. This is unheard of in my vacation playbook. I did have one day were I was sneaking, guzzling and a little embarrassed/worried about my behavior which also made me take a pause the next day (without a hangover) and really think about what I was doing and the choices I was making. But, overall, I drank far less than I have ever drank on vacation.

In Alaska, where it is so beautiful and calm, with my family I just couldn't feel happy ever - while drinking or while sober. I just kind of drug myself through the day and then drugged myself in the evenings.  I came to the realization, for the first time and on vacation no less, that the only reason I felt down, kind of blah, all day was because alcohol had just dulled me every hour of every day even without a hangover. I wasn't craving drinking during the day - I just felt kind of out of it. But, that all went away once I had a drink with dinner.

I realized that as soon as I had a glass of wine, I felt "normal" - talkative, happy, relaxed. And, since I was the only one drinking, I had kind of an out of body experience where I saw myself - how I was acting. It was really weird to realize that that one glass of wine just changed me completely. All of a sudden I felt back to normal - happy. Did I need a drug to feel happy?  And then, after I ordered the second glass, I just didn't want it anymore - I just felt so exhausted by the whole thing. I left half of the second glass sitting on the table (as well as a whole six pack of beer in the refrigerator when we left) which is unheard of for me on vacation. I usually have to drink every last drop before we leave bc vacation is a time of drinking without the rules or guilt.

i was thinking that there was something wrong with the fact that I was unhappy/blah while sober and only felt "normal/happy" while drinking but then had to suffer the repercussions of the drinking (hangover/feeling more blah).  I just realized, on a walk in the forest with my family, that this is really no way to live and that putting any amount of alcohol in my body was going to keep things exactly as they were.

I just realized I was sick of drinking.

I don't think I had ever come to this conclusion from a sober/rational place. I have always quit in the throws of a hangover and then changed my mind.

I hope it stays this easy.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

7/19/17 (Wed) - Unhappy because of alcohol or alcohol because unhappy?

I have been reading a lot lately that we drink because we are ultimately unhappy with our lives but too afraid to deal with it. That we are just covering our unhappiness with alcohol.

What if we are only really unhappy because of what we have done to our brains and bodies with the constant consumption of an addictive drug? What if we stop drinking, we are removing the thing that is making us unhappy?

When I think about the first scenario it scares me. I feel like when I finally get sober for an extended period of time, I am going to have to deal with some pretty nasty shit in my life.  That thought just makes me want to drink so I don't have to deal with it.

When I think about the second scenario, it makes me hopeful that I will have the life I desire when I stop doing the thing that is making me unhappy.

I'm going to choose option 2. For now, that is what will keep me from drinking.

7/19/17 (Wed) - Karma - Is it me?

Karma - What you put out into the world - you receive back.  I have always believed this and tried to be a good person, but the meditation today made me think about it differently.  In the past 7 years or so, I have noticed that people are treating me differently. I am not always the most popular teacher anymore, I am not always the most respected college anymore, my kids are a little more snippy with me, my husband isn't quite as attentive as he used to be, my friends don't always make sure I am invited to everything anymore, my extended family is a little less patient and a little more judgmental.....I have just been going under the assumption that it is just what happens as you get older - part of the aging process - people just have less respect for you and less desire to be around you.  That everyone else is just becoming grumpy and judgmental and critical of me. I have heard myself say, "I just hate people."

What if.....this is only a reflection of what I have been putting out there in the world.  What if I have become more critical, judgmental, irritable, impatient and less understanding of others.  What if I am just getting back what I am giving.  What if, because of my addiction and obsession with alcohol and the depression/anxiety/insecurity/exhaustion it has brought into my life, I have become a different person and therefore and being treated differently by others. What f I go back to the person I used to be before alcohol was consuming me? Can I change the way the I act in this world and therefore change the way the world responds to me?

Image result for karma what you give is what you get buddha

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

7/18/17 (Tues) Who am I?

I am listening to a free meditation for the next three weeks from Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey. Today's meditation asks:

Who am I?

When I really listen to my inner voice, I want to be:

Patient, kind, responsible, available, soft-spoken, loving, listening, quiet confidence, non justifying, quietly focusing on myself but projecting my energy toward others, accepting, encouraging, quiet

I know she is in there.

Over the years I have become:

Impatient, type-A, irritable, selfish, driven, opinionated, dominating, insecure, complaining, always drawing attention to myself, egotistical, judgmental, gossipy, critical, loud



Image result for you are what your deepest desire is

Monday, July 17, 2017

7/17/17 (Mon) Attempt #13

At least I have never given up :)

Attempt #1 - 2011- 2012 (86 days)
12/26/11 Day 1 (Disastrous Christmas)
3/17/12   Day 86 - Drank a beer with neighbor (wanted to try moderation again)
4/2312    Weekend drinking - exhausted
5/6/12     Depressed, feel crappy
6/16/12   Life Sucks
6/17/12   Major Hangover

2012 (86 days longest sober)

Attempt #2 - 2012 - 2013 (255 days)
8/1/12   Day 1 (Family Vacation in Mountains) - Plan no drinking 8/1-10/31
4/13/13 Day 255 - Drank wine with ds at restaurant (bad craving)
4/21/13 - 11/12/13 - No posts
11/12/13 - Miserable - going to quit for 6 months
11/13, 12/13  Drinking

2013 (255 days longest sober)

Attempt #3 - 2014 (17 Days)
1/1/14 Day 1 - Pissed, done!, disastrous Christmas, fighting with dh, morning drinking
1/17/14 Day 17
1/18/17 Drank with sister - wine at a restaurant
1/27/14 - 4/2/14 No posts
4/2/14 Drinking increasing/cravings intensifying
4/3/14 - 8/7/14 No posts, drinking

Attempt #4 - 2014 (7 Days)
8/11/14 Day 1 - drank all summer. drank last 12 days on vacation (3-8 per day) confused/depressed
8/17/14 Day 7 - feeling better - different this time
8/17/14 - 1/3/15 No posts, drinking

2014 (17 days longest sober)

Attempt #5 - 2015 (64 Days)
1/3/15 - So lost - last 15 days 11 have been destructive (sneaking/guzzling/day drinking)
3/5/15 Day 64 - Drank
3/29/15 Feel like a failure - drinking every weekend
5/15, 6/15, 7/15, 8/15 - Miserable - drinking all summer
8/1/15 - Ordered Naltrexone

Attempt #6 - 2015 ( ?? Days)
9/28/15 - Done! 100 days
11/1/15 - Drinking (not sure how many days/not 100) a little better with Naltrexone
11/2/15 - 1/3/16  -No Posts, drinking

2015 (64 days longest sober)

Attempt #7 - 2016 (30 Days)
12/30/15 - Day 1 - Disastrous Christmas/Vegas trip  - Doing a 30 at least - Did complete a 30
1/ 301/16 (?) - Day 30 Drank
1/5/16 - 3/28/16 - No posts, drinking

Attempt #7 - 2016 (10 days)
3/28/16 - Drank 8 of 12 days, disastrous spring break, terrible hangover
3/31/16 - doing 30 days
4/10/16 - Day 10 - Drank

Attempt #8 - 2016 (4 days)
4/11/16 - Day 1 - Doing 30
4/16/17 - Day 5 - Drank
4/17, 5/17, 6/17 - Drinking

Attempt #8 - 2016 (30 days)
6/6/16 - Day 1
7/4/16 - Day 30  Drank
7/5/16-8/4/16 - No posts - drank 21 of 34 days

Attempt #9 - 2016 (14 days)
9/4/16 - Day 1
9/18/16 - Day 14 - drank
9/16, 10/16, 11/16, 12/16 Drinking (4 huge hangovers over winter break)

2016 (30 days longest sober)

Attempt #10 -2017 (20 days)
1/1/17 - Day 1 - not drinking for 1 year
1/21/17 - Day 20 - drank
1/17, 2/17, 3/17 - Drinking

Attempt #11 - 2017 (7 days)
4/17/17 - Day 1
4/24/17 - Day 7 - drank
5/17 - Drinking

Attempt #12 - 2017 (3 days)
6/1/17 - Day 1
6/4/17 - Drank

Final Attempt #13 - 2017
6/25/17 - Day 1

2017 (26 days sober so far)


Sunday, July 16, 2017

7/16/17 (Sun) - Drinking Dream

I had my first drinking dream last night. It was my birthday. I had been sober for a long time. We were in a bar. My fiends had already left to go find a table for food. The bartender gave me a huge shot of brandy wine (which is weird bc I have never even tasted it - it tasted more like lemon-cello). I didn't even think about it. I drank it in three big gulps.  I told myself that one shot would not make me drunk so I would just change my verbage. Instead of say I have been sober for the past months, I would just say I haven't been drunk for the past months.  I went to the bathroom and was in there forever - putting on huge amounts of makeup (apparently trying to cover my many scars and injuries to my face), trying to change my shirt bc it was on backwards and then I couldn't seem to get it snapped, dropping everything out of my purse on the bathroom floor, stumbling around unable to focus - I think I was instantly drunk in the bathroom from the one shot and it was horrible. - and then I woke up.

Reminding myself not to drink - even in my dreams :)

On another note - I was searching for a picture that would work this post and I found this:

Image result for drinking dreams

It says - perfect for shower drinking!  What is wrong with our society ????????????????

Saturday, July 15, 2017

7/15/17 (Sat) "Ya, right," says my sister.

So my sister came over for dinner without her bottle of wine - which she almost always brings for us. I asked her where her wine was. She said she didn't bring it. I said that I wanted her to still be able to drink around me and that it didn't bother me. She said, "Ya, right" like she thought I wasn't being honest. To prove it to her, I went to my garage, got a bottle of red, opened it, got two wine glasses, poured her a glass, poured root beet in mine, held up my glass and said "cheers" with a genuine smile on my face.  We ate dinner, played some poker and sat outside and I was perfectly happy with my root beer. And once again - I was able to stop at just one and I am not obsessing about that root beer this morning :)

I am extremely powerful over alcohol - I have the ability to physically not put it in my mouth and mentally not crave it.  I am glad to be done with it. Another hurdle accomplished and it wasn't even hard. I'm just gonna kick the shit out of alcohol!

Image result for zuberfizz root beer

This is a very good brew from a local brewery 👍

Friday, July 14, 2017

7/14/17 (Fri) Feeling the pull

I feel it today, for the first time in 23 days.  I was reading out local paper about an upcoming brew fest, last night my husband was watching some micro beer show on tv and my sister is coming over tonight. Alcohol is everywhere, I just feel bombarded with it constantly and it sucks. I feel the pull in my chest area. I think that is where I store my anxiety.  I have feelings like - well that is sad I can't ever enjoy a beer fest again - what do I care about that show, I don't want to visit any of those places anyway - wine is going to sound pretty good tonight.  How can I go from feeling so strong one minute to feeling so conflicted the next? Because it is a drug and that's what it does. It's called addiction and denial. I know that in my head, but that addicted, primal, emotional, needy, convincing, persuasive, blinded voice is just so strong sometimes.

I need to stay strong. I need to get through the day.

I need to remember:
  • Alcohol is a poisonous drug that is making me sick physically (heart palpitations, weight gain, insomnia), mentally (depression, obsession, anxiety) and emotionally (lack of motivation, lack of joy).  
  • The only reason I crave alcohol is because I am addicted to it. It is a drug my body thinks it needs to feel "normal/happy/relaxed/fun/social". It is no different than a drug addict craving their next fix.  I am no different from the addict I watch on tv - I am getting high on my drug of choice - alcohol.
  • I crave it to relieve my withdrawal symptoms, not because I need it to be happy. That is my addicted voice trying to trick me into using. (yes, using - no different than a drug addict - I am addicted to a drug - this makes me a drug addict). 
  • I will only "feel" happy for maybe two hours while the drug is in my body which is because I am ingesting a drug (and getting high) that my body is addicted to. Those two hours are not worth what follows - depression, disappointment, anxiety.
  • I am strong! I AM NOT powerless over alcohol. I am powerful enough to say no - to not put the drug in my body that continues the cycle.
  • Nothing changes if nothing changes!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

7/13/17 (Thurs) Heart Diagnosis

I got my test results from wearing the holter monitor for three days.  The dr said I have Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVC). Of course I started doing some research on it.  I found the following:

Risk factors

By Mayo Clinic Staff
The following stimulants, conditions and triggers may increase your risk of premature ventricular contractions:
  • Caffeine, tobacco and alcohol
  • Exercise
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Anxiety
  • Underlying heart disease, including congenital heart disease, coronary artery disease, heart attack, heart failure and a weakened heart muscle (cardiomyopathy)

Complications

By Mayo Clinic Staff
If you have frequent premature ventricular contractions or certain patterns of premature ventricular contractions, you may be at increased risk of developing heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias) or weakening of the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy).
Rarely, when accompanied by underlying heart disease, frequent premature contractions can lead to chaotic, dangerous heart rhythms and possibly sudden cardiac death.

Well, in a way I got what I wanted. Medical proof that I am damaging myself with alcohol.  I am 100% sure that mine are caused by alcohol because they occur the night of and for a couple of days after drinking. This is probably because of the alcohol itself and the anxiety I feel regarding drinking.  When I stop drinking (after a couple of weeks) the get a lot better and after a couple of months pretty much go away all together.  I got a diagnosis that isn;t that scary but proves I am causing damage and can get worse if I don't take steps to be more healthy. 
This is just another tool in my toolbox to help when/if I get cravings to drink.  It is just not worth it.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

7/12/17 - 3 Weeks - What is different?

I haven't posted in a couple days bc I got sick - I think I got some kind of food poisoning from the Renaissance Fair.  Kinda sucks bc I didn't even drink and have felt totally crappy, but at least I wasn't trying to cover up a three day hangover. I really was sick and everyone had to believe me - lol

How do I feel after three weeks with no alcohol (although may not be totally accurate as I have been sick)?

I haven't had a whole lot of physical change yet in terms of weight loss (have only lost 3 pounds), but I do feel less a lot less bloated and my skin definitely looks better.  I am sleeping a lot better which is also helping me not look so tired.

I think the biggest change so far is mental. My brain used to feel like this

Related image                 Image result for calm thoughta

I don't know if that makes sense, but it used to feel like my thoughts were just like a thousand bees flying randomly through my head at the same time at a million miles per hour - like my head just truly never calmed down. Like a constant buzzing of anxiety about everything and nothing at the same time.

Now, it is just so much calmer in my head.  It is so hard to explain.  It's not like my thoughts were consumed by alcohol all the time. usually just in the morning when I blogged and on the weekends when I wanted to drink, but all of my thoughts just swirled around in my head. It was just easier to do nothing. To sit on the couch and zone out on tv during the week and use alcohol to zone out on the weekend. I would just get so overwhelmed by everything, I just chose to deal with nothing. I just felt stuck like my feet were in concrete. Life was just passing me by and I was not even moving forward.

My motivation is not back yet, but I have also been sick and healing from alcohol abuse.  I do, however,  feel calmer about getting started - a little less overwhelmed at the prospect of making and actually putting a dent in a to do list.  My brain feels more like this:


Related image

I am noticing way more all the time. Like there is more empty space in my brain to take things in . Like I am more away of everything around me. I am talking about even when sober. I always (even sober) just felt like I was in a tunnel or with those things that horse wear to point there vision straight forward.  I had just gotten so used to only looking at what I had to to get through the day - just the things I had to do  (teaching, laundry, cooking, cleaning, yard work, grocery shopping). I wasn't looking at the peripherals of my life anymore - the things I might want to do (hiking, bicycling, working out, finding a hobby, painting my house, de-cluttering, etc. I was just doing what I had to do to keep the appearance of my my perfect little life in tact but was too depressed to do anything that gave me joy.  The only way I found was on the weekends when I was drinking with friends. Which I now know is just a lie - it wasn't joy I was finding - it was relief of a craving to a poison I was addicted to . The same poison that was making the joy in everyday life impossible to find.

I don;t know if any of that make sense. It is so hard to explain.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

7/9/17 (Sun) Yippee!

I did it! I did it! I did it!  I experienced my first sober Renaissance Festival and had fun. And....my son (without really saying so bc that's who he is) and my daughter (who said it multiple times in all caps) told me how proud they were of me!

I am proud of me.  I am proud of me not so much bc I didn't drink (well that too) but because I was not "white knuckling it".  Something has shifted in my brain and I just, honest to God, did not want to drink.  Everyone else was (my very best drinking buddy, her husband and two daughters, one of which just turned 21, and my husband) and I didn't care.  My husband, who is usually right there with me on about beer 5-6 by 4:00 in the afternoon, only had one beer the whole day.  This is probably bc I wasn't constantly either bringing him beer or having him get me one. Maybe my not drinking will also help him drink less. I didn't feel jealous. I didn't care at all how much they drank. It just wasn't for me.  I was fine with my ice tea and root beer ( of which I only had one of each).  I thought I would be just downing the root beet in an attempt to substitute for the beer. Funny thing - I can stop at one root beer lol! My body didn't go into "I need just one more" mode with soda!  Funny how that works. I had one and that was enough even though I had given myself prior permission to drink six! I only had two beverages. In the past I wouldn't have been without a cup  in my hand for more than 20 minutes.  It was a very weird feeling to not drink and not care.

It was actually pretty liberating as every decision I made wasn't about alcohol - where is the next beer stand? What time is it? How many more can I have before they close? Should I have any more? It's the Renaissance - who cares? You might feel crappy tomorrow? So what?  OMG! All of those exhausting thoughts were not in my head.  It actually felt a little peaceful,just way calmer, inside my head.

At an end of the day, we sat down to watch a show that is completely inappropriate but fun and hilarious.  This has been how we have finished the day in the past. At the stage with the heaviest drinkers who didn't want to leave and the show filled with singing and raunchy jokes.  I had my 11 year old nephew with me. Before the show started, they had a warning about the content. As I was they only one with a child in the audience, I knew it was directed at me.  In the past, in my end of the day  - drunken/this is all about me/this is my day/this is were I want to be  - state, I would have either ignored the warning or had someone else (like my 19 yo son who would have been embarrassed to get up and walk out right after the warning like I was making him leave) take him somewhere or would have begrudgingly gotten up and taken him somewhere myself.  Because I wasn't drinking, my attitude was much better - I was perfectly fine taking him to get some food while letting everyone else (who was drinking) enjoy the show.  That was a pretty awesome, unselfish, responsible feeling.

Another example - a lady was super upset because she couldn't find her kid.  Me, being in my right mind, found a security guard for her who then was able to radio all the other security.  After about 20 minutes the child was found.  I was grateful I was sober enough to help this total stranger.  Turns out the day isn't all about me and that felt pretty good.  I could get used to this!

Also - I was shocked by how many people weren't drinking at all!!!!  I thought everyone was totally trashed at the Renaissance Festival.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

7/8/17 (Sat) Here we go - Sober Renaissance and they weren't as drunk as me???

Welp..I am going to the first sober Renaissance ever.  I don't feel like I will be tempted even though it has always been unapologetic drunken, crazy, fun day for 20 years. I am dead set determined to experience all the same things without alcohol.  What I am worried about is being bored.

I am not going to isolate myself this time.  Last night we went to some high school friends' house for a "been a long time" get together.  These are the people I got wasted with every weekend for 20 years before I had kids.  I did not drink last night.  I had a dark root beer bottle and just sipped on that all night with my hand covering the label.  We were outside and nobody even noticed.

I noticed two things.

1.  My memories of my twenties are very blurry.  I really don't remember a lot about some of the people we hung out with. I remember their names and their faces but really not much about them.  I do believe that I has just drunk every weekend that I wasn't all that present for the conversations we had or the things we did. I found myself faking it a lot last night.  "Oh ya, I remember that" even though the memory was very vague.  I didn't realize how much of it I don't remember, therefore how messed up I was most of the time, until people from the past start talking about it.  I had no idea how much I had not only forgotten, but couldn't pull it out of my memory at all even though I was there. Kinda scary, actually.

2.  Because of the conversations last night and the reminiscing I don't think everyone else was as drunk as  I was most of the time - and  - at the time (and until last night) I thought they were.  They talked about all this stuff that happened. I was there and don't remember a lot of it.  During one particular memory they were talking about, when I was super drunk, we were all laughing about it.  I was laughing right along with them, but in my head I was thinking "how embarrassing" bc it involved things like holding my hair back for me while I puked in the toilet and having to be picked up  in the ally of a bar I had to be dragged out of the bathroom by security.  I turned to my friend and asked, "Was anyone else as bad as me?" She said, "No." I got this weird feeling, right at that moment last night sitting around the fire, that that might have been the case during much of my twenties.  They were sitting there remembering all these details of that time period and I was struggling to keep up, nodding my head and laughing, pretending to remember.  I could have sworn everyone was always as drunk as I was. It's all just so weird.

Friday, July 7, 2017

7/7/17 (Fri) Tough weekend (Renaissance Festival) and talk with friend

This weekend we are going to a festival in my state which we have been going to for 15 years. This day usually involves getting there around 10:00 and the drinking begins and lasts all day.  I try to go slow in the beginning but once my BAC got high enough, I always got that feeling of "I only have 3 hours, 2 hours, 1 hour, 30 minutes left before closing time - I better hurry up and get another beer." It was a day of drinking - like 8 hours and it was one of the only days of the year I could drink all day long as much as I wanted with no guilty feelings bc everyone else was doing it. And I loved it! I lived for the Renaissance Festival!  Many times I could barely walk when we left or I was singing super loud in the car all the way home - probably super annoying considering we usually car pool. Many times the party continued once we got home.  Everyone else was probably done, but not me  - I was like, "What should we do now? Wanna go out to dinner? Go to an amusement part? Get some roadies for the drive home?"  I thought I was just the life of the party. Everyone else probably thought I was super annoying and drunk.

Plus we are going with one of my all time favorite drinking buddies. We have a 15 year drinking history and I love drinking with her bc she drinks as much as me lol!  She was always right there with me to the very end, getting in that one last drink. Just a couple of middle aged, drunk women, dancing and singing out way out the doors at closing time - out husbands ready to leave long ago.  We would say, "This is our day and we are staying until the very end!" Why was it out day? Because we could drink all day, uninhibited as much as we wanted   - just feeding the wolf's insatiable thirst.

I am going tomorrow and I am not drinking. I am going to experience it sober. (Wow even writing about quenching the thirst (above) started some cravings and second thoughts - maybe I should start after tomorrow - scary how quickly that little voice can sneak in!!!) Anyway, I am determined to experience everything I used to but without alcohol - not isolate myself like last time. I don't need it to have fun. I can have fun without it, and I sure as hell will feel better Sunday.  And I will be super proud of myself.

I told my friend I wasn't drinking - not quite sure what her response would be.  I know if I was in her shoes, I would be super disappointed - maybe even a little pissed that she was taking that day away from me.  I know - super selfish and stupid - but truthful.

Here was the text string between us last night:

Her
Do you want to ride together Saturday?

Me
Sure. I can drive as I am not drinking.

Her
Are you not drinking at all? I am really struggling right now with that. Hit another rough patch.

Me
Nope...I quit...sick of it...

Her
I hear you! I need to get to that point. I feel like I am the all or nothing point. And right now it seems like "all" - so much emotional eating and drinking.

Me
I just got to a point (depressed/bad anxiety/not sleeping) when sober. The only thing that made me feel better was drinking which wasn't even fun anymore. I kept using what was making me sick to try to feel better. So much bullshit. I have just wasted too many years trying to be a "normal" drinker. I am just not wired that way anymore.

Her
I am exactly at that place! Using...knowing it is what makes me feel worse and then using it to make me feel better and then feeling worse, etc. etc.

Me
Cycle of addiction...totally sucks! I am 100% addicted to alcohol. It has messed up my brain to the point that I am having a hard time finding joy in everyday life. Drinking is the problem. I drink 2 days a week but it kicks my ass every single day. I am sick of poisoning myself.

Her
Totally makes sense. I go through periods when I am in total control and then periods of binging. The binging far outweighs the periods of being in control. Even though I am not drinking as much as I used to, the effects are far more impactful. Anxiety, depression, irritability, lack of motivation, no joy!

Me
All caused by alcohol. It changes the neurotransmitters in the brain. Repairable but only if I stop causing the damage. I have been doing a lot of reading about it.

Her
I would love to read some of the literature you have. I need a good kick in the butt. You know the mind games. How you talk yourself in and out of it day in and day out.

Me
That is the bullshit addictive voice. (And then I told about the three books I have read)


Wow! That went better than I thought.  We'll see how she does tomorrow.  I don't care it she drinks. I am not going to make her feel guilty or lecture her or act superior in my sobriety.  But I will show her I can have fun without it and be there for her in her own struggles.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

7/6/17 (Thurs) Drinking a Love Story

I was reading "Drinking a Love Story" last night. I can confidently say I was not as bad as the author (Caroline Knapp) - I didn't wake up in strange beds, drink every single day , black out entire nights or drink multiple bottles of wine in a sitting....but......what scared me was that the way she thought about alcohol was frightening similar to the way I thought about it.  I have no doubt I would have, eventually, ended up there.  The last 2 months before I quit (15 day ago!!)  were increasingly getting worse. Who knows, maybe this would have been the month when I stepped into the point of no return - where I really did need alcohol just to live - where I was at risk of losing everything. It really did scare me when I read things about drinkers who just all of a sudden, without warning, have a flip switched and everything changed for the worse - full on physical addiction (shakes, seizures, etc).

Here are a couple of passages that resonated with me from the book that I want to remember.

"The worried morning after: every alcoholic  I knew had them. We'd wake up after a party and spend the morning worrying about what we'd said or done the night before, and finally we'd cal the person who threw the party and hint for clues to out behavior by gauging the response. "I had way too much to drink last night," we'd say, as though this were a rarity, a fluke.. "I hope I didn't do anything too stupid."  Pause. "Oh, you were fine." Those were the words I always looked for. "I didn't even notice." If no one else worried, I didn't need to either."

I have done this so many times, including a few weeks ago when I started bawling in front of my friends.  I individually checked with all four of them and did the same thing. And they said the same thing. I am sure they were lying bc I have been on the other side of the conversation before. I said, "You were fine" bc I didn't want them to be embarrassed but I was thinking "You were wasted and a mess and you might want to get some help with your drinking problem."

"The worst was wondering what I'd said, what confidences I might have broken, what evil tidbit I might have passed along to someone about a mutual friend, what self aggrandize comment I might have tossed off. Sometimes when I got drunk I could feel my own sober rules of social conduct just melt away, hear that little voice in my head say, "No: don't start talking about that," and then go ahead and talk about it anyway. Then you wake up in the morning and cringe. That kind of behavior is driven be an information-as-power equation, a wish to see yourself as an insider, a person equipped with certain facts. Ultimately, of course, all you really do is reinforce your sense of yourself as an untrustworthy person. You wake up in the morning and remember bits and pieces; you remember leaning across the table and saying," Don't repeat any of this to anyone, but...." You remember knowing you'd regret it in the morning, regret chipping away sliver of your own integrity. And you remember you went ahead and did it anyway."

OMG! I have thought to myself so many times, "Don't talk about that" and then do it anyway.  I do hear that little voice in my head but ignore it.  I really think I am the shit when drinking. And if I don't feel like I am getting enough attention or if I start getting bored, I bring up these conversations or pieces of information and always regret it in the morning.  I am so extremely selfish when drinking.  She hit the nail on the head.  It's weird how other drinkers think the EXACT same way I do.

"Late that night, unable to sleep, I thought about my shyness, and I remember wondering, fleetingly, if the drinking created a kind of personality trap; perhaps the shyness. so acute for so many years, persisted because I hid my real self behind the liquor, because I never let anyone get to know me unless I'd flooded my system with a few gallons of  Champagne."

I really do not like the person I am when drinking except when I am drinking. I should trust my sober assessment of myself and know that when I am drinking, I am putting out an image of myself that is arrogant, selfish, dominating, gossipy, loud and annoying.  I have been also noticing that that persona is also leaking into my sober personality. Not because I think I am so cool (like I do when drinking) but as a wall, a defense mechanism to keep people from getting too close to me and seeing who I really am - insecure, overly sensitive, addicted, anxious and depressed.



Wednesday, July 5, 2017

7/5/17 (Wed) - Obsessed with past reflection

I am obsessed with going back in my posts to see how bad it was. Somehow it makes me grateful I did not drink on the 4th.  I know it would be better to focus on the here and now, stop obsessing with my blog, get up, work out...but whatever - it is interesting how long I have truly suffered. I am so glad to be done with it.

July 2016

It is so difficult to come back to my blog when I have written for days or maybe even weeks about not drinking and then drink.  It just seems so humiliating and embarrassing and hard to deal with.  It is easier to just keep getting through my day without thinking about it - without looking at it. 

It hasn't been a complete fail.  I have only drank on the weekends, have taken my naltrexone every time and not overdone it, but I don't feel great.  It just seems that no matter how much I drink, it just kind of dulls my life in general.  I just seem to be more tired, emotional, numb. - and I'm talking about when I am sober.  Does that make sense?  It is hard to explain. I just feel like I get to through my day in some sort of distracted, foggy mode.  Like I just am constantly looking around (not literally) so I don't focus on any one thing so I don't have to focus on the ONE thing that I know I should. 

Well, not much else to say.  I feel down, grumpy, tired, blah, unmotivated. I know what I need to do...

July 2015

Went to the mountains
7/3 - 6
7/4 - 8
7/5 - 0 (Hangover)
Back from the mountains
7/6 - 5

60 drinks in 23 days.  That is not OK!  That is not being moderate, getting better, being under control. 

Her is the scariest part of all...yesterday I did not feel well at all because of all the hyper drinking over the weekend.  Not only did I drink a lot, but I get really hyper and loud.  I think I just get exhausted after expending all that energy.  I spent much of the day yesterday sitting on my butt researching kidney pain.  I had the worst pain under my lower right ribs in my back.  I couldn't figure out if it was a muscle, my kidney or my liver.  I'm so paranoid about what alcohol is doing to my body (my organs, my weight, my brain, my hot flashes, lack of sleep) and to my mindset (my depression, anxiety, lack of motivation) that I just feel done with all of it.

Well, 5:00 rolls around and I know there is a half a bottle of wine still in the fridge from the trip.  I am terrible with half finished bottles of wine.  My addicted brain just says, "Just get rid of it so you don't have to think about it - as in drink it - not dump it." 

So I wait for my dh to go upstairs to change his work clothes and fill up my wine glass with the half bottle of wine and quickly get rid of the bottle.  I hear him coming so I seriously chug half the glass, think to myself, "What are you doing?" and dump the other half down the sink.  Well, once I have that alcohol in my system, I have a very hard time saying no to myself.  I proceed to sneak to the garage and pour a Bud Light Razzberita into a glass.  It looks like juice and has a very high alcohol and sugar content.  He won't notice and I will get a lot of bang for my buck (that is a scary realization - that I now choose IPA beers or anything that has a higher alcohol content so I can get buzzed more quickly without people noticing how much I am drinking).  I seriously considered pouring some vodka into my seltzer water, but that would be ridiculous..that would mean I really have a problem - haha.

This is the scariest part - I do this 3 more times.  I have some kind of frantic, can't get enough, feeling.  Just one more....ok we have to sneak to the garage, pretend I am taking some recycling out, open it there so no one hears the can open, pour it in real quick, put the can in recycling, get back in the house and put my drink right next to the real juice I am drinking and no one is the wiser.

Why did I say "We have to go to the garage" ? It's almost like my addiction is a separate entity that is speaking to me.  Like a child trying to convince me to give in.  Weird?

What am I doing?  Why and I acting like this?  I was scared and felt crappy all day?  What is wrong with me?  Why can't I be like everyone else? Why can't I control this?

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

7/4/17 (Tues) 4th of July

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This holiday has always meant alcohol to me since as long as I can remember.  Neighborhood parties where everyone was drinking, kids playing and having fun, fireworks, bonfires in the streets.  It was always just another excuse to drink. Not today :) . We do have a neighborhood party but as everyone has to work tomorrow it may be pretty low key. If dh wants to go, I will go with him.  I am not going to do anything differently this time in terms of isolating myself.  I think that contributed to my relapse after 255 days.  I just stayed in this place of deprivation and loneliness and pity and anger that I couldn't drink. This Naked Mind helped me realize that I need to approach sobriety differently. Instead of thinking "I can't drink", I need to thing "I am so glad I am not drinking".  Instead of focusing on the two things I won't be experiencing (the buzz and the fitting in), I need to focus on the positives of being sober (a clear mind, remaining in control of myself, not embarrassing myself, having real social connections and conversations, being proud of myself, having my kids be proud of me for keeping my commitment and not having a hangover tomorrow).  If I start to have a craving (which I don't think is likely) I will leave and come home.  I plan on bringing root beer (my treat as I never drink soda but better for me than beer) to drink in a plastic cup. Maybe nobody will notice I am not drinking. If they do I will just tell them I am taking a break. If they press further, I will say that I feel better when I don't drink.

Also, the drinking dreams have started.  The last two nights, I have had cravings in my dreams but did not give in.

Monday, July 3, 2017

7/3/17 (Mon) My last drink - what changed?

I finished reading This Naked Mind last night. Really good. The 3 things I took away were:

1. Alcohol isn't the elixir of life - it is nothing more than an addictive drug
2.  Drinking is causing all of my "blah" feelings even when sober.  It is making me feel crappy and my cravings are not for any other reason than to feed my addicted brain. It feels better when I drink because I am addicted. Is causing all the other symptoms while sober that are only relieved by drinking.
3. If I make a solid choice to never drink again, I can enjoy never struggling with craving, doing the things I want to do with my friends and live a happy life without alcohol.  I can "choose" to be happy and grateful because I no longer have to deal with my putting poison in my body or I can "choose" to live in a place of deprivation and unhappiness.

She also talked about your last drink. I was thinking about my last drink and what made me choose that to be my last. It took me a while to figure it out because I wasn't quitting after a hangover, which is usually the case.  This is how I got to the place of being at peace with quitting for ever.

8 weeks before  - went to the mountains with my sister and her kids - drank a ton on wine - acted terrible in front of nephews/son and woke up with terrible hangover - actually chugged a beer in my room in the morning bc I felt so bad and heard it would help - didn't help - tried to ski, but couldn't - made up some story about not feeling well and sat on a bench all day suffering - didn't remember all I had said the night before - reminded by my nephews - embarrassing

6 weeks before - son's graduation - went to the mountains - got wasted on the drive up (husband drove) - drank way too much 2 nights later - hellacious hangover the next day - missed out on all activities - stayed in bed - said I had food poisoning (no one believed me) - embarrassing

3 weeks before - went out with workmates to celebrate last day of school - drank a little too much - said some things that could come back and bite me about other people - waited and drank water to drive but probably still should not have - could have been a disaster

1 week before - drinks on my back patio with neighbors - drank way too much - started bawling and spilling my whole life story to them in a sloppy drunk monologue - didn't remember all of it the next day - son told my what I had said as he had the window open and could hear all of it (blacking out is new for me) - embarrassing

Last week
Wed - beers on neighbor's back patio even though wasn't drinking anymore - was going to have 1 - had 3 - don't usually drink during the week
Fri - wine with my sister - probably 4 glasses - didn't want to drink that much as traveling the next day - just sat there and kept drinking
Sat - got wasted on the way - 1 beer in first layover - 2 glasses of wine in 2nd layover - 2 more glasses of wine on final flight - went to store when we got there - details are fuzzy
Sun - took a sea plane to island to see daughter's (probably soon to be) in laws - nervous - bought a bottle of wine for dinner - drank 3 glasses with them (well not really with them as they weren't really drinking any of it) - leaving - panicked I was leaving the wine there - went into the kitchen and chugged another glass - horrified the next day that maybe someone saw me (didn't care at the time)
Mon - still on the island - had 2 beers at the brewery - brought more wine for dinner but drank beer instead - really the only one drinking except husband - was my dominating, loud, over talkative, buzzed self - even got a couple of "looks" from my kids - embarrassed the next day
Tues - boat back to place we were staying - didn't drink during the day - depressed - fought with husband - quiet - went to dinner and had 2 glasses of wine - as soon as I had the wine, I cheered up, started talking and felt normal
Wed - paid for an excursion to see glaciers/sea lions/whales/orcas etc. - could bring own alcohol - would have in the past - just didn't care about anything  (the trip, being with my family, drinking, nothing) - was very quiet - even threw a little temper tantrum about my seat - ridiculous - went out to dinner (Island Pub) - couldn't wait to order a glass of wine to feel better - drank it - felt nothing - got another - couldn't even finish it - made me nauseous and didn't make me feel any better
Thurs - took a beautiful walk through the forest (the one thing I wanted to do while there) - didn't care - quiet - clinically depressed - hard to explain - felt so fat, out of shape, exhausted, had chest pains from anxiety -  I just didn't feel anything - didn't even want to drink - just didn't care about anything - just felt numb

I think this was when I realized (without a hangover) that drinking wasn't even making me happy while drinking anymore - all it was doing was helping me relieve my addicted cravings - to feel "normal". Things were getting worse - blackouts, more frequent drunk sessions with subsequent hangovers that took days to recover - just to drink again. I was not getting any enjoyment from drinking anymore just relief from my addiction.  Plus, I wasn't getting any enjoyment out of life at all anymore - ever. I couldn't enjoy life sober and I couldn't enjoy life while drinking. Drinking wasn't about having fun with my friends anymore because even if I was with other drinkers, I felt like my drinks and I were in our own little bubble. I could somewhat see and hear through the bubble while drinking but it was muted.  I just felt safe in my bubble (like a little transparent cocoon) with my drinks, kind of unaware/not caring about anyone or anything else. I was getting drunk more often alone or with others who weren't even drinking that much. It was destroying my confidence (I couldn't figure out why I wasn't the favorite teacher anymore - because I didn't care anymore) and making me over sensitive. I didn't care about my heath, my fitness, my weight (I said I cared and hated it but never did anything about it). Plus, I was using alcohol to "feel normal".

Alcohol was robbing me of caring or enjoying anything and I was only drinking because while drinking I didn't care that I didn't care. 

I think I just got sick of it. Sick of feeling this way for so many years. I know that alcohol is ruining me - ruining my ability to find joy in anything (buzzed or sober).  I got to a point that I just didn't care about anything, but that also included not caring about alcohol anymore. It had pushed me too far - beat me down - to the point that it just wan't fun anymore even while doing it.  When something isn't fun anymore and is ruining the rest of your life - why bother. I realized that alcohol will never be the fun, social activity that it used to be - no matter how hard I try. Honestly, I don't even want it to be anymore. It is so stupid the way I act/behave/think while drinking. 

I don't want to be me drinking (loud/dominating/selfish/indifferent) anymore and I don't want to be me sober (depressed/ anxious/numb/exhausted) anymore.

I am tired of wasting my energy on this stupid addictive drug that is making me miserable and unable to enjoy life every single day.  I have wasted too many years battling this addiction. I will not waste another minute of my life to this drug. Thank God I realized this before it was too late. 

Good Riddance - Day 12

Sunday, July 2, 2017

7/2/17 (Sun) Terrible headache, grateful and flooding dreams

I woke up feeling crappy today - terrible headache and super tired.  Did not drink last night and got enough sleep.  Maybe it's the Root Beer I let myself drink (I never drink soda) instead of a beer. Well. at least this headache will go away after some Advil - I won't have a hangover all day.

I was grateful for something last night.  There is a big car show/cruise in my area once a month.  My husband is totally into cars (I am not). It was nice last night to be willing to do what ever he wanted to do - stay longer, come back and pick him up if he ran into some friends and wanted to stay longer than me, go to a fantastic dive burger joint that doesn't serve alcohol - and not have alcohol affect any of my decisions.  It does feel freeing to not being constantly thinking - I want to leave so I can have a drink on a Saturday....I can't come pick him back up as I may have some wine when I get home...Let's not eat there bc they don't serve alcohol.  Of course I wouldn't verbalize any of that. I would have some other excuse, but I would be thinking it.  And my son was totally happy he didn't have to bring his driver's license just in case. He hates being the designated driver. Also, as we were leaving the cruise, I was stopped by a police officer - just to tell me my lights weren't on. If I would have had a beer or two I would have been shitting my pants. It was nice to be able to roll the window down, know I was 100% sober and/or he couldn't smell anything and ask what the problem was. Who knows, he could have smelled alcohol and I could have had to have a sobriety test right there with my son and two nephews in the car with me. My sister would have had plenty to say about my drinking then  OMG - what if I wouldn't have past. What if my worst fear ever would have come true last night? I am getting anxiety thinking about it! What if I would have woken up today ashamed, hungover and having thousands of dollars in legal fees, public humiliation and the possible loss of my job? I would have been devastated. Is that what I want? Does something that bad truly need to happen before stop drinking?  Maybe I am grateful for just a little headache this morning!

Last night I had dreams about a hurricane coming and everything flooding. Everyone was in boats floating past semi trucks in which you could just see the top (the rest was under water.  Everyone I knew was in a giant boat. I was on a surf board - sorta scared but ok. I remember thinking, "As long as I stay on the surf board, I will be ok."

I am a firm believer that dreams are our unconscious mind or high power or whatever trying to tell us something or reflect on something in our lives.  Here is what I found when I google searched the meaning:

Floods, and other natural disasters (such as tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes) represent UNCONTROLLABLE forces that are POWERFUL, and very often leave their victims utterly helpless.  It’s these feelings that the dream, itself, represents.
If you dream about a flood, more likely than not you have recently felt overwhelmed in your life by something (or someone) that seemed like an uncontrollable force – one which left you feeling somewhat helpless, at their mercy, and victimized.
Think about the word flood for a minute.  We talk about floods of emotion, floods of tears, floods of rain – each time we’re referring to something that seems endless and out of control. The floods in a dream represent something in our daily life that seems out of control, relentless, and overwhelming.   A flood dream is almost always symbolic of something negative in our lives that we want to address but haven’t yet found a way to do so.  I say almost always because there is an exception.
More than likely, if you have a flood dream, your emotions will be anywhere from frightened to extremely anxious. However, if your emotion could be described as calm, amused, or even relieved, your dream analysis is different from the one discussed above.  If you have a positive emotion during your flood dream, your dream is symbolic of relief.  This could mean that something WAS overwhelming, but you found a way to handle the situation and come out on top.  Your dream could be a celebration of this triumph.
Image result for surfing on flood cartoon
Kinda weird how accurate it is. I do feel overwhelmed by this decision to stop drinking but not anymore than I felt overwhelmed by the constant weekend binge drinking.  Alcohol has overwhelmed and "flooded" my life for so long. Maybe if I just stay on that surf board of sobriety I won't drown.