Wednesday, November 13, 2013

6 hours or 60 hours?

6 hours of exhilaration or 60 hours of devastation?

I am rereading the Alan Carr book The Easyway to Quit Drinking. He says that there is a misconception that alcohol gives you exhilaration when in fact it only gives you devastation.

Last Saturday, my (drinking) friend came over.  We hadn't seen each other for awhile and were excited to catch up.  We both wanted to make it an early evening.  She brought a bottle of wine and I had already opened one before she got to my house.  We talked and drank and talked and drank for about 5 hours.  She was getting ready to go home with half her bottle still left.  I had finished mine and asked her if I could have one glass from her bottle before she went home.

I don't know why I kept drinking my bottle until it was gone and then still wanted more.  When we went out to sit in the hot tub, she didn't want to bring her bottle and I got a little nervous that I would run out and have to get out and get more.  When she left I was just not liking the fact that I was out, even though it was late and I had already had plenty.  I sat on the couch finishing my glass watching stupid television for another hour. Then I sat there until 2 am because I couldn't get myself up to get to bed.

That took about 6 hours.  Yeah, I guess for the first hour or two it was nice catching up, then it became (for me) more about keeping her over so I could continue to drink.  She was my excuse.  After the first couple of hours though, I could have/should have been done.

Well that one bottle + one glass caused me, and I am not joking, 60 hours of devastation.  I went to bed at 2:00 am and woke up at 6:00 with that anxious, heart beating out of my chest feeling.  As badly as I wanted to go back to sleep, I knew it wasn't going to happen.

I felt like hell Sunday, exhausted, just dragging myself through the day, getting done the bare minimum, counting the hours before I could go to bed.  Sunday night, after waiting all day to go to bed, I couldn't sleep.  Maybe got another 4 hours.  Monday went to work - had anxious feelings all day, couldn't focus or concentrate on anything, counting the hours before I could go home and go to bed.  Get home, lay down and of course, can't sleep.  Stay home from work on Tuesday, still really unfocused, anxious, can't concentrate, exhausted - sort of a  - have to sleep but can't feeling.  Finally around lunch time (60 hours later) the fog finally started to lift and I finally got some sleep.  Today, Wednesday , I feel better but still not 100%.

Were those 6 hours on Saturday worth the following 60 hours?  HELL NO!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

11/12/13 (Tues) Failing - I'm Back - History it goes! My last post was 4/21/13.  I was sober for 255 days - from 8/1/12 - 4/13/13.  

Review - skip if you remember me

Just a little review for those of you that might be new to my blog.  I am now 45 years old - have a dh of 25 years, a 15 yo ds and an 18 yo dd.  

I have been struggling with alcohol for the past 15 years - drinking for the past 30 years.

In my teens and twenties - just had a blast! No big deal - had fun, got hangovers, got over them, drank again.  

In my thirties - started to notice how important alcohol was to me.  Had two little kids and wanted to be a good role model - tried to cut back.  Did well, then not so well.  Moved into a nice, family orientated, weekend party neighborhood.  If we all got together with our kids and drank - they played together and we didn't have to drive - perfect!  Met one of my best drinking buddies - we gradually pulled each other to the dark side. 

By 35 - really struggling in my own head.  My drinking and not drinking was becoming an obsession.  

By 40 - a mess!  Binge drinking 2-4 times a month - taking days to recover both physically, mentally, emotionally.

I am a teacher - have been for 25 years.  I think I am a good teacher, wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend. I do a lot for everyone.  I take care of everyone. I think people would say I am compassionate, friendly, outgoing but also a little too sensitive and maybe a little controlling :).

I am also a binge drinker. 

I don't drink every day (although I did struggle with having those couple of glasses of wine every night for a little while).  I have never been to jail, had a DUI, been in trouble, etc.  I go to work, pay my bills and take care of my family.  I love to work hard and play hard. I typically don't drink Sunday - Thursday.  I go to the gym, go to work, eat well and take care of my family.  I do look forward to those weekend nights were I can have a few drinks, kick back and have some fun. I have been doing that for the last 25+ years.

I have learned that I rarely can stop at 2 once I start.  It usually turns into 4-7 drinks over a period of 5-6 hours.  I am not very big - so those 4-7 drink really mess me up. Once alcohol hits my system - I could give a shit!  All of the rules, planning, promises go out the window! I have no stop button.  This usually happens 2-4 times a month.  It doesn't sound like much, but when it takes 3 days to recover from a binge (Sun - Wed) just to turn around and do it again the next weekend - I am exhausted.

In April 2010, I found moderation management.  I bought the book, tried all the rules, posted to the list and really tied to control my weekend drinking.  It seemed the harder I tried to control it, the worse it became.  I was a mess.  I was beating myself up mentally all the time.  All I thought about was drinking - if I was or wasn't, if I was proud of myself or not.  It was hell - all day every day.  I tried to go on Prozac   That didn't work - just made me go from sober to fall down drunk with no warning (some of my most embarrassing moments).  I was fighting with everyone because I was an emotional wreck.  Of course it was everyone else's fault.  I just wanted to hide in my bedroom and watch intervention shows on TV (at least I wasn't as bad as them - when secretly I think I saw myself going down that road and in a weird way actually jealous that they were so bad, people had to step in). I felt so alone in my addiction.  I couldn't talk about it - didn't want anyone to know.  I was living in my own personal hell. I didn't even know if I was actually addicted to alcohol or just being my overly obsessive self - it was just my newest obsession.

In August 2011(after 17 months of seriously trying to live by the rules and failing miserably, I found MMabsers - a sub list of the moderation list - who are a bunch of great people trying to live sober.  I spent a lot of time - 2 years! - reading, learning, contemplating, blogging, trying to get some of the misery out of my head.  I still didn't have anyone to talk to in my real life (as opposed to my cyber life) but at least I was getting it out somewhere. I was fascinated by how these people who really were just like me, could live sober and be happy!  How in the hell could life be happy (sitting in the sun on a Friday  going on vacation, going out to dinner, etc) actually be any fun without alcohol?  Something was starting to grow inside me - could I be like that? Could it be possible?  Was I strong enough?  I started learning that I really was addicted and that I felt so crappy for days after a binge because of the poison I was putting in my body.  I real the Alan Carr book and started to see alcohol for what it was - a stupid drug that I was addicted to - no better than a heroine addict just accepted by society!

Although I was starting to see things differently, my weekend bingeing was out of control.  When I woke up with a hangover on Christmas morning 2011, I had had enough.  I told my whole family. - parent, sister, kids, husband - everyone - I needed some accountability   I decided I couldn't do it alone anymore. I was exhausted and hung over and sobbing.  Somehow I got through the rest of the holidays and as my hang over wore off, I was pissed I had told anyone because now I couldn't fail without everyone knowing.  It was my own little secret anymore.

I went 85 days sober - 12/25/11 - 3/18/12.  I posted a lost to this blog during that time.  It was a roller coaster ride - so proud of myself, pissed off I couldn't drink, at peace with my decision, sad that I couldn't drink, and bored out of my mind!

From 3/18/12 - 8/1/12 - I slowly, methodically  unconsciously, undeniably went downhill.  My weeks were - Fri = drinking, Sat = drinking, Sun = HO, hiding, depressed, Mon - Tues = exhausted, making promises to myself (I will do better next weekend , Wed = starting to feel better, Thurs = rationalize - I will be more careful, Fri = gearing up for the weekend, drink - REPEAT! over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over...until I just couldn't take it anymore!

8/1/12 - I quit for good.  I didn't care anymore about how hard it would be - the pain of quitting could not possibly be any worse than the pain of drinking.I got through so many first.  It was still a roller coaster ride (I did post about all of that here).  Most of the time I was relieved to not be fighting it anymore.  I just gave up, gave in - Alcohol - you win - you are stronger than me.  If I try to have you in my life - you will always win - so better just not to try.  One think I still really struggled with was my energy level and my boredom.  Life was so boring!! I couldn't hang out with my friends much bc they all drank and i was either jealous, annoyed or bored around them. I was also worried about spring and summer vacations.  Who even cared about any of it if I couldn't drink.  

Current news - for those of you skipping my incredibly long history

Sooo....after 255 days sober, on 4/13/13 - I drank. Just a little.  One glass of wine.  For 2 months I did really well.  I don't think I over did it? I don't know bc I stopped bogging.  I could be a normal drinker!  Yeah!  I was so happy!  This is all I ever wanted!  I could have a couple of drinks with my friends occasionally and keep it under control.  My boredom went away.  This was perfect! I was so relieved that I could quit fighting my demon.  I had won!

Well.....guess what????.... 210 days later - I am a disaster again! I feel like shit! My body hurts, my heart hurts, my head hurts, my stomach hurts, my back hurts, I am depressed, grumpy, anxious and exhausted!  Just like before I was so far in denial I couldn't even see waht was happening.  I kept trying to log onto my blog and the mmabsers list but I couldn't remember my password, so I just gave up and kept making promises to  myself and kept binge drinking.  I drank too much last Saturday (which was only one bottle of wine - but that is just way too much for my body to handle anymore), felt terrible Sunday and at work yesterday (can't sleep - anviety attacks) and stayed home today to get my shit together.  I worked for awhile at my passwords and was finally able to log on.  

I did a little research into the last 5 months (June - October) and no wonder I am so exhausted   I tried to remember every weekend by going back through my bank records. Once I saw what I spent money on that weekend, I could remember what I did and if I drank too much.  I would have guessed that I maybe over drank half (maybe 5) of the weekends - funny how selective the memory becomes.

Since August 1 - November 10, I have drank over the two or three I promised myself 12 of the 15 weekends.  I have drank every weekend and had a significant H0s 10 of the weekends.  Until I sat down and figured it out, I didn't realize how bad it had gotten again. 

I would just put it out of my mind, make promises to myself to do better and move forward - all the while my demon was secretly, silently, insidiously, getting stronger and stronger - hiding behind the veil (more like a wall) of denial!

Well, I'm back.  I am making a 6 month commitment to abstaining from alcohol (maybe longer - who even knows anymore), blogging at least once a week and healing.  I know this time I have to work on the boredom and energy levels.  Last time I gave myself permission to eat crappy, not work out and just rest - better than drinking!  I think I need to take a new approach - more of a holistic approach - I need to really take care of myself - through many avenues so I can be proactive in helping myself feel better.  Last abs period, I just thought it would come naturally. That once I stopped drinking on the weekends  the heavens would just open up and I would be healed and joyful and happy - like those people on the mmabsers list!  

Maybe it's not that easy, maybe i have to work at it.

All i know is that (ONCE AGAIN) the pain of not drinking seems to pale in comparison to the pain of drinking.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

4/21/13 (Sun) What's the point of life?

I have been struggling for quite some time with finding the point of everything.  You get up, get ready, go to work, come home, make dinner, go to after day after day.  On the weekends...clean the house, do the laundry, go to the grocery store, pay the bills...week after week after week.  What is the point?  Is this all there is to life?

I really don't think anything was really that different when I was drinking except I got together with friends on Friday and Saturday nights and drank.  It just gave me something to look forward to.  They are all still drinking on the weekend and it is just wither too hard for me or I get bored with being around them.

I don't know if it is a mid life crisis, empty nest (my kids aren't gone but often are gone doing there own thing), pouting about not being able to drink, I don't know...I just know I am incredibly bored and starting to get seriously depressed.

I know alcohol isn't the answer, but I can't figure out what is.

BTW - I didn't drink last night.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Confused - 2 glasses of wine at dinner

So I had those two glasses of wine last weekend and decdided that I was only going to drink on special occassions, so that I don't make everyone else feel uncomfortable when they are around me.  I really did enjoy the wine but I don't know why.  Maybe just because it satisfied my craving.  It really didn't make me feel all that buzzed or happy or anything.  It did make me feel included, not different, adult-like, maybe sohpistcated (to be able to sit there at a nice restaraunt with a glass of wine as opposed to my stupid grapefruit selzter).

Boy did I feel it that night, though.  Hot flashes all night.  Did not sleep well, so was tired on Sunday.  I did noticed that that spacey feeling that I hadn't had in so long was back on Monday and Tuesday at work.  I don't know what my deal is with alcohol, but my body seems to have a bad reaction to it.

So, of course, the flood gates had been opened.  My "mental real estate" was once again being taken over by thoughts of alcohol - happy because I could go on vacation and have a drink...I could go out ot dinner and have a drink,...I could sit in the sun and have a drink.....I could finally enjoy my weeneds again.  Yeah!  I am happy again!  I just need to keep it under control.  It is all about moderations and control.

Friday night rolls around. I don't want to drink.  I want to do something.  Can't sit in the sun with my friends..will want to drink.  I could go to the mall with my daughter - she is going out with her boyfriend. I could do something with my son - he is going to the mountains with his cousin.  my husband is at work for 3 more hours.  It is 4:30 on a Friday and I am alone and BORED!  I know I will have a beer - in this smug sort of - I am an adult, I can do what I want, I am fine - attitude.  Without another thought, I was sitting on my couch with a beer.  Was this a special occasion?  Hell no!  I only had one but I still just sat there getting more and more tired.  So tired that all I ate for dinner was a bowl of cereal.  Then I went to bed - wow that was exciting!

I am really confused.  If I am drinking to fight boredom, it just made me more bored yesterday.  Why can I just not be a totally happy, at peace sober person?

What does alcohol do for me that makes it so hard to give up?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

4/14/13 (Sun) Drank- after 255 days sober

Well, I had been sober for 255 days yesterday.  The last time I posted I was my birthday in January.  Since then, things had been going pretty well, except my lack of energy.  I had been sober for 8 and a half months and I just could not seem to get my energy back.  I couldn't get to the gym, I couldn't get things checked of my to do list on the weekends...I just had no drive, no purpose, no energy at all.

With alcohol I was doing pretty good.  I even went to a couple of socials events, didn't drink and still had fun.  Everyone was so proud of my, and I was proud of myself, but just felt lifeless.

I have come to realize that it isn't necessarily the "buzz"  that I miss so much...i don't really miss feeling a little out of it and not 100% present which I have really enjoyed this last 255 days. It is the anticipation of the environment of the "buzz."  I used to live for the weekends.  I would look so forward to doing things and being social.  It almost gave me energy.  I know I was probably just looking forward to feeding my addiction, but I really have not missed that "buzzed" feeling.  I really do miss looking forward to something.  Everything just seems so boring and drab and lifeless.

I have been overall much happier with my own sense of well being these last few months, but have also sort of slipped into this depressed boredom.

Last night we went to dinner with my sister and her boyfriend.  We have all had our differences in the past and I was so looking forward to this "rekindling" of our relationship.  We got there and she was having a glass of red wine, and I found myself literally overcome with jealously and anxiety.  I couldn't even carry on a conversation.  It just hit me out of the blue.  I could tell they were uncomfortable with the fact that I wasn't drinking.  I was uncomfortable.  I so desperately don't want it to be like that.  I look around the really nice steak restaurant and see all the table enjoying a glass of wine and I suddenly get pissed off.  I want to have a glass of wine dammit!  I want to sit here, have a nice adult dinner with my sister and enjoy a glass of wine, dammit!  I couldn't even focus!  It was crazy!  Before you knew it, I had ordered and was enjoying a glass of red wine.

I don't know how I feel about it.  On the one hand I slept like crap...I had hot flashes all night. That hasn't happened in about 7 months so I know it was the alcohol and I am more tired than usual today.  I know that I feel much better when I don't drink, but I am not emotionally beating myself up.  i promised myself last night that I wouldn't do that if I chose to have a glass of wine.  I am a little disappointed that I didn't make it a year and am not sure if I will drink again.

On the other hand it I know that I can have a glass of wine once in a while, I sure am looking a lot more to summer and the vacations we have planned.

I am sorry to let you guys down, but "it is what it is" as they say and I always promised to keep it truthful in my blog.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

1/20/13 (Sun) 45 today! 172 Days

I have been sober 172 days and I feel fantastic!  

It has been a struggle these last few months but it has been worth it.  I am slowly getting through many first - first Halloween, first Thanksgiving, first Christmas Eve, first Christmas Day, first real New Year's Eve (last year didn't really count since I was angry and depressed and stayed in bed LOL! This year we actually went out to dinner and a movie with family and friends. They drank and I didn't and I HAD FUN!!!! Can you believe it!  I would have never believed it 5 months ago.) First decorating Christmas cookies, first playing cards with family, first trip out of town with nothing to drink, first ski day in the sun at lunch with no beer, first time at The Melting Pot (one of our favorite fondue restaurants we go to for special occasions) with no wine and STILL ENJOYED MYSELF!!!

I would drink too much 2-3 times a month on the weekends and totally beat myself up until there was nothing left of my self esteem.  There was nothing of me left, except how I related to myself in regards to alcohol - waiting for the weekend, counting the drinks, watching the clock, drinking my water, eating, planning, counting, being proud/being angry, being excited/being depressed, looking forward to things (that involved alcohol)/dreading things that didn't, planning parties, having anxiety attacks at 4:00 am, blaming all of my withdrawals on other things, crying in the shower, not keeping commitments, being ashamed of myself, not sleeping well, gaining weight, not going to the gym, wasting TOO MANY Sundays with a hangover, being too sensitive, not having true conversations with people, being the life of the party, worrying too much about EVERYTHING, not remembering things, always needing to be heard, being worried about the example I was setting for my teenage kids, feeling like I wasn't the best I could be, being loud, feeling out of balance, the need to always feel included, always struggling with my inner obsession with alcohol, researching, reading, blogging, charting, counting, analyzing, web surfing, spinning on the endless hamster wheel, ENOUGH!!!!!!!

I am 45 years old today and I choose to no longer let a stupid drug control me mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally!  I have spent far to many years with alcohol by my side - the first 10 with an alcoholic father, 10 years partying and loving it, 10 years watching and noticing and not liking it as much and 10 years absolutely in misery!  Not the in jail, losing your job, losing your family kind of misery. I am a well adjusted, well educated professional with a mortgage and a family.  Most people don't even know why I quit (the ones closest to me do). The kind of misery that is a silent prison that only you know about - the secret demon that eats your soul up little by little year by year while you are trying so hard to find a way to control it because you just can't come to terms with the fact that you CAN'T DRINK LIKE OTHER PEOPLE! I can't drink like other people and I can't change that.

The thought of quitting is terrifying! How will I ever have fun ever again in my life if I can't drink?  How is everything just not going to suck? I had tried and tried and tried and I always got back to drinking too much and having hangovers.  The harder I tried to control it, ironically, the stronger it got! It doesn't matter that I wasn't as bad as so and so or I hadn't had this or that happen or lost this or that - I WASN'T HAPPY! I was exhausted! I GIVE UP! I will no longer fight to control something I have can no longer control.  Do I sometimes think it sounds terrible to never drink again? Yes! Is the few hours of drinking worth a lifetime of misery the rest of the time? No! Do I think about my summer plans? No, to scary. Do I try to do the best I can today and be the best person I can today? Yes.

45 is going represent freedom for me.  My fog is slowly lifting and I am beginning to see all of the joy, peace, love and happiness life can hold without the shackles of a drug and I am grateful.

Friday, January 18, 2013

1/18/13 (Fri) Been awhile 170 Days

I didn't realize I hadn't posted since Dec 30.  What has happened since then?
New Year's Eve - tried something different this year.  Last year I spent in bed feeling sorry for myself, having a panic attack because I didn't want to drink.  The 25 years before that I drank myself silly and felt like crap the next day.  This was my day - the day everyone else was drinking as much as me and I could drink as much as I wanted.  A couple of times I was even throwing up and in bed by 10:00 and the party was at my house!

This year, to try something different, we went to dinner with my sister, her kids, and some friends.  They all drank and I didn't.  It really wasn't a problem because the situation was different.  It probably would have been harder at a party.  After, we went and saw The Hobbit.  It was great and I didn't have to be terrified of my alcohol level still being be too high if I got pulled over.  We came home, watched the ball drop and went to bed. New Year's Day was spent walking the dogs, making a nice dinner, and playing games instead of nursing a hangover pretending nothing was wrong for my kids.

My dd turned 18 and we went skiing for a couple days.  A couple of times were hard on this trip.  One was when we first got to the hotel. I ALWAYS used to pop one open as soon as we walked in the door.  I would even subconsciously delay our arrival so that is wasn't too early for me to drink.  Our "vacation" seemed a little less celebratory, and I was a little mad but I opened a seltzer and got through it.  We went out to dinner and I really wanted something with my husband but didn't. I used to love a cold beer in the sun during lunch while skiing.  Did I say I loved it? I absolutely loved it.  THAT was hard.  It was a beautiful day, we were staying that night so we didn't have to drive - perfect! We sat in the sun as the ski resort after an amazing morning, eating my delicious bowl of chicken chili with chalulas, peppers and cheese, sipping on my ............ Life Water! I did it! I took my first little vacation with no alcohol!  I have NEVER EVER done that - since I was like 18! I was almost afraid to try to do it but I figured it was just me, dh and the kids - this would be any easier "first" than with family or friends.

170 days today!