Sunday, December 31, 2017

The past is proof/stop trying to fool yourself 12/31/17 (Sun)

Went to my sister's house last night. She, of course, had my favorite wine and offiered it up right away. I politely declined stating that I was giving my liver a break after the holidays.  She asked one more time a little later but I still said no. :)

Tonight we are having just a few people over for NYE.  I have done probably 28 drunken, crazy, and yes fun, NYEs in my past.  This was my party night! The night I lived for! Everyone was drinking as much as me and it was awesome! No one bailed early bc they all wanted to wait until midnight. I usually hosted huge parties that went all night so I didn't have to drive.  Selfishly I gave little thought to whether or not people at my house could drive home.  I made sure there were other kids over to play with my kids so I didn't feel guilty as a mom, but my drinking on this night was my priority and I didn't apologize for it. We have hosted plenty of 4:00 am parties where I either end up throwing up or passing out in bed only to wake up barely able to function looking at a trashed house. 

I have also experienced four (two were bc of babies/pregnancies) so only two sober by choice NYE's.  The first was in 2011. I was something like 4 days sober.  I sat in my bed all by myself stressed out, having anxiety attacks, counting the minutes, blogging constantly and I did it! For the first time since I was 17. The second time was in 2012. I was something like 4-5 months sober. This time wasn't as hard bc I knew I could do it.  Thanks to my blog, I can look at January 1 (or 2 or 3) and know whether I drank or not.  I am either proud and sober or depressed and hungover.

Here are the two sober blogs from the years I didn't drink

Welcome 2012!

2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 I drank. These are the posts to prove to myself that I did not wake up int he new year feeling happy and relieved that I can drink and proud of myself. 

1/2/14 (Thus) goes....again....Done!

It is so dumb that I have to prove it to myself but I am thankful that I have been blogging over the years.  I just seem to forget how bad alcohol is for me when I am not in the middle of a hangover. My blog is proof.  Every time I spend my winter break drinking, I start the new year off in a terrible state. Not this year. I will not drink tonight and my post tomorrow will be positive and happy and proud.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Weird vacation and sister's house tonight 12/30/17 (Sat)

We are driving home from our vacation today.  It was kind of a weird vacation. We came up here to ski, but there wasn't enough snow. There is also a hot springs pool here but we also didn't do that (which I am kind of glad about considering I don't want anyone seeing me in a swimsuit right now). We wanted to snowshoe but couldn't. No one really wanted to do anything which is a really weird vacation for me.  My vacations consist of getting up somewhat early even though I never feel that great bc of a hangover, doing a million things (and making everyone else do them with me), usually drinking by lunch (my brain subtly figures out how to arrange the day to make that happen and then I just hope others wants to drink with me) and then drinking more again with dinner and after dinner.  I usually get very little sleep, run myself ragged and drink way too much every single day of vacation.

Last time we came up, I drank heavily on the drive up, had a bit of a hangover the next day so I decided it would be a good idea to go get some bloody mary mix and vodka. I NEVER do this unless on vacation. Drank all day including grape-a-ritas (which I hate) and then wine with dinner. I was so sick the next day I couldn't get out of bed. The time before that I way too drank much red wine with my ds. I had committed to taking my nephews and son skiing that I guzzled a beer in secret in the morning just trying to make myself feel better (I had heard the hair of the dog works). It didn't and I didn't even end up skiing bc I was so nauseous and dizzy all day.  Just sat on the bench for five hours trying to drink water while they skied - lying and saying I think I must be getting the flu. I'm sure I wasn't fooling anyone.

This is usually how my vacations end up.This time we really didn't do much. I asked my family if they liked it that way and they said they really enjoyed the calmer feeling of this vacation. They said vacation sometimes is about doing nothing. Getting out of your house where you have laundry, cleaning, shopping and bills to pay. Sometimes it is just about doing nothing.

I have NEVER looked at vacation like that. For me it is always an excuse to day drink and drink five days in a row. I usually go all out on the last night (bc it is the last night) and end up driving home with a terrible hangover, not getting anything unpacked or put away and just going to bed. More often than not, my vacations have also included some kind of drama - some kind of fighting or overreaction or crying or something. It isn't always my fault but I never handle any of it well when drinking.

I did drink two of the days this time (wish I wouldn't have) but didn't yesterday, feel pretty good today (a little tired) and am really glad I made the decision to quit again. I feel really good about it. I told my family....again.....and I think they are glad also. They just quietly watch my drinking progressively getting worse every time I try to moderate again. And now that I was diagnosed with heart palpitation last summer (that NEVER happen when I don't drink), they are really worried about me physically as well as mentally.  My dd said she is so glad I decided to stop again before she left. She said she would be so worried about me being so far away with me being able to drink with no one at home watching except dh who doesn't get home until 7:00 pm, isn't very observant and drinks on the weekends.

I am so glad I could give her (and myself) the gift of my sobriety for her 23 birthday. She has enough to worry about just starting her post college life without worrying about me.

I have a birthday party to attend at my ds house (the one I always break my sobriety with - not at all her fault - just like to drink with her) and New Year's Eve tomorrow to get through. I'm not too worried. I'm pretty tired so will probably be fine tonight and I have gotten through two New Year's Eves in the past few years.  I know I can do it!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Cognitive Dissonance and I dumped it all out 12/29/17 (Fri)

Claire made a comment on my blog yesterday about Cognitive Dissonance.  I looked it true
In the field of psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values.
Dissonance will be resolved in one of three basic ways:
  1. Change beliefs. Perhaps the simplest way to resolve dissonance between actions and beliefs is simply to change your beliefs. ...
  2. Change actions. A second option would be to make sure that you never do this action again. ...
  3. Change perception of action

I think maybe the first step is to #2 - change the action.  Kind of a fake it until you make it strategy.  Pretend to have fun or being ok with not drinking even if I'm not. Smile when I don't feel like smiling. Just don't drink. #3 would hopefully follow.  Over time the perception of the action would change. It wouldn't seem depressing and boring and isolating and lonely to not drink it I had experienced something different by not drinking for a year. Then, because of this, my beliefs about being sober #1 - would naturally change.  They only step I am skeptical about is actually learning/experiencing being sober and happy and not depressed/lonely/bored. I guess I just need to have a little faith in what all fo the sober, happy people keep telling me....that it is possible.

I got up this morning - still on vacation in the mountains and dumped 1/2 a bottle of wine and 2 beers down the sink.  I was so determined to not drink on my dd birthday yesterday in honor of her and how she likes it better when I don't drink, but I still drank.  I can be so certain when I wake up in the morning, while drinking my coffee or blogging, but by 2:00 my mind has already shifted and I am battling myself over whether or not I will drink. By 5:00  I have given in to my impulse and drank.  If I can't even keep a promise to myself to not drink on her birthday, it is time to stop.  

Plus, why in the world would I think this attempt at moderation would be any different that last last million attempts over the past 10 years.  This attempt may even be worse considering my attempts seem to be leading to faster more intensive drinking behaviors than in the past and that my ds and dd will both be out of the house. I could drink without anyone knowing.  That sounds like a bad idea.

If I'm going to start my year of sobriety on 1/1, why not just start today? Do I really need to poison my body for the next three days? I know that if I knew I was quitting 1/1, the next three days would be filled with drinking which would lead me down the road of feeling horrible on 1/1 an probably for a few days after that. Is that really the way I want to spend my last few days of break with my children - thinking about drinking, drinking and recovering from drinking? No...I would rather my focus be on my family.  

I am super scared I will fail.....again....but here's to day 1 of 365 days with no alcohol.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

5 voices 12/28/17 (Thurs)

Brutal honesty here - Christmas break hasn't been good.

Thursday 12/21 drank 3 (hiding, in the garage, sneaking)

Friday 12/22 drank 3 (hiding, in the garage, sneaking)

Sat 12/23 neighborhood party - drank a bottle of wine (had a great time - not too bad of a hangover)

Sunday 12/24 drank a whole bottle of white wine (sneaking, guzzling in my mom's kitchen), a beer and then two glasses of red wine. I was clearly drunk while we were driving home (I wasn't              driving)

Monday 12/25 - bad hangover -  I was having 11 people over for a very nice dinner and literally had    to drag myself through the morning telling myself I wasn't going to drink.  I ended up opening that first bottle of wine when my sister got to my house at 2:00 and continued to drink until midnight at which time I was clearly intoxicated.

Tuesday 12/26 - terrible hangover - just wanted to go to bed but had to pack for a trip the mountains for my dd birthday.  So difficult to get anything done and stay focused.  Not excited at all. Din't drink. Told myself and my dd I wasn't going to drink while in the mountains

Wed 12/27 - went to the liquor store and bought a 6 pack of beer - drank 3 of them from 5:00-8:00 pm - don't know why - I guess I was bored and didn't want to be bored on vacation.

Thurs 12/28 - Today

I am so confused. My brain goes through these different stages and I don't know which one is better, which voice to believe and which direction I want to go.

Voice #1 - You are fine. See - you had three beers last night and don't feel bad today. Do you really want to go through rest of your life without drinking? No, you don't. That would be boring. Just do better. Enjoy life, going out with friends, having fun - just don't drink too much. Your dd is moving in a week, your ds is going back to college in a week, it is now your time to be able to go to a brewery or to a friend's house and socialize (and drink) and have fun.  You won't have kids at home as an excuse nay more. Just be careful. You can do this.

Voice #2 - I am not sure you are fine. Look at all the sneaking, the guzzling, the drinking, the lost days due to hangovers, the weight gain, the mental exhaustion that comes with drinking. In fact I would argue you are getting worse. It doesn't takes months or even weeks to fall off the deep end of sneaking and guzzling and having that "I can't get enough" feeling anymore - it takes only a couple of days - look at Thanksgiving and know Christmas. You are on a slippery slope - one slip and you could end up just like your father - choosing alcohol over everything else bc you are just not willing to see how addicted you are to it and how destructive it is in your life. Maybe you should quit for a while.

Voice #3 - I am scared. I am scared I will never figure this out. Can I ever successfully moderate - be happy socializing with my friends and not feel excluded like some sober weirdo? Can I ever quit and be happy socializing without alcohol. How in the hell do you go with your friends to new brewery and not drink? Both seem impossible so I am stuck in this hellish limbo of not drinking but wanting to or drinking and not wanting to.  I am scared I will never be able to do either AND be happy.

Voice #4 - Just quit for a year. You know your daughter (and son) worry so much about your physical health (heart palpitations) and your mental health (beating myself up) when you drink. You don't want her to move so far away being worried about you. You are the mother - your dd or ds shouldn't be worried about you. Give them the gift of sobriety. They are so proud of you when you don't drink and so worried about you when you do. Quit for one year.  none of this bullshit one month or six months - really commit to one year.  REALLY commit to it. Just see how you feel one year from now. Work on you - get in shape, do yoga, eat well, sleep, drink water. Don't use them leaving as an excuse to drink. That seems like a disaster waiting to happen.

Voice #5 - Quit forever. The thought of that seems scary and depressing but at the same time freeing and peaceful. When you have quit for months in the past and not had cravings - there is a sense of peace you feel when you have given up the mental option/battle in your head. When drinking just isn't an option - your whole brain calms down and actually make space to notice and enjoy everything else that is going on around you. Think about how proud you would be of yourself - how proud everyone else would be of you. All these sober people can't be wrong.  You have to be able without putting a stupid drug in your body. There has to be peace and happiness that is attainable when not poising you mind and body.

I have no idea what voice is correct - Actually I do know which voice is the correct choice for me - I just don't know which choice I want to choose.

At first I choose this picture to show my struggle
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Then I changed it to this image
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Or this one
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because the first image just made the decisions seem too cut and dry - too simple.  It is just way more complicated than that.

Sometimes I feel like quitting would feel like this
Image result for different paths

Maybe it is simple as this
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Maybe if I quit, I could leave all this "noise" behind and it would feel like this
Image result for different paths

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

As simple as that 11/28/17 (Tues)

During my hangover this weekend I was watching My 600 Hundred Pound Life. There was this woman who must have weighed 550 pounds. She couldn't get out of bed and was just eating all kinds of fried food and sweets.  My dh came in the room (who has no patience for stupid tv) and said, "Well just look what she is eating! No wonder she weighs that much. She just needs to stop eating junk food." I thought to myself that he is right but then I thought about myself.  I am not any better. Alcohol is ruining my ability to live up to my potential, to find peace and true happiness, to feel good about myself and what do I keep doing....drinking. Maybe I just need to stop putting the alcohol in my mouth! Maybe the answer is as simple as that 😀

Monday, November 27, 2017

New week - starting over 11/27/17 (Mon)

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Well last week was a disaster.  I definitely did not live to my potential. I got hardly anything done and was on an emotional roller coaster all week (either excited to drink, hyper/hiding drinking or depressed and crying).  Disappointed that I am starting all over again but also relieved that I have once again come to this decision to be the best person I can myself and everyone around me.  I can not be the best version of myself while I am drinking.  I think it really has started to negatively effect my relationships.  I think I would have to not only check that box now (in the "do you have a drinking problem" questionnaire) but also the box that asks if you ever sneak drinks, hiding the evidence.  I think I would also finally also have to check the box that asks, "Has your life become unmanageable?" I would definitely need to say that yes. Emotionally, my life was unmanageable this past week. This past Thanksgiving was my emotional rock bottom.  Time to pull myself out of my this hole I dug for myself, work out, eat healthy, read self-help books, go to bed early, drink water, and once again learn to find happiness in sobriety.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Emotional Rock Bottom - need some help 11/25/17 (Sat)

Yesterday was terrible.  I didn't feel too bad physically except a bit of a stomach ache, super tired and craving shit food. I think I drank a root beer for breakfast had chili rellanoes for lunch and a hamburger for dinner.  I never eat like that and today I am bloated and my eyes are practically swollen shut from crying and eating too much salt.

My debilitating hangover was emotional. I was an emotional mess.  I know the majority of it is the alcohol.  In the last month that I have unsuccessfully attempted moderation, I have gone right back to the over emotional, over sensitive, irritable, unmotivated, grumpy version of myself. I am even getting super paranoid that people are talking behind my back saying awful things. I told myself that if I could just drink, I would be happy again. Even during the first fifteen days in which I only drank 3 weekend nights, I still felt a little down, insecure and sensitive.

Outside I was "I am fine. I got this. Don't worry about me".

On this surface level inside, I was "Finally, I can enjoy my life again. I can have fun. All of a sudden I can look forward to the holidays, our trip to the mountains, my birthday, next summer, visits to breweries, going out to dinner, getting together with my sister, sitting in the sun.  I can do this. I just need to be careful and try harder to moderate. I can have the best of both worlds."

But somewhere below that surface level of thought I knew I was disappointed in myself, knew that this was not a good idea, knew my kids would be disappointed and worries, knew my dh would not like it, knew how many times I had tried this in the past, knew that I had to delete my sober counter on my phone which had accumulated 134 (almost 5 months) of sober days.

10/29 (after 134 days of sobriety) Drank at dinner with extended family that was here for a funeral after I had just told them the day before that I don't drink anymore. Had two glasses of wine with my sister on the back deck of her new house (just on a whim - just because I wanted a glass of wine - damnit!), went to dinner and had 2 more big glasses of wine.  Got loud and dominating during dinner.  My whole personality changed - I felt like a crazy person had taken over my brain.  I did not make a fool of myself (although I did wonder the next day if other people in the restaurant were watching us as we were all loud and if anyone knew me) but also was not proud of my loud behavior.  I really want to be the respectful, quiet, listening, communicating type instead of the loud, interrupting, dominating, not listening, kind of hyper out of it type that alcohol turns me into. It was a really nice restaurant and I barely remember what I had for dinner.  Salmon I think, but I can not tell you if it was good or not. I was way to focused on the fact that they had Kim Crawford on the wine list and that I could drink it again. That I had given myself permission to once again enjoy life. I was really giving myself permission to once again act like an idiot.

11/11 (2 weeks later) invited my sister over for dinner and played cards.  Went ok. Stayed away from the wine. Only drank beer - 2 high alcohol ones and one light. Did lie to dd about having 3  - told her I only had 2. Was a little bored because I would much rather have the buzz of wine. Beer makes me fat and tired.  Wine gets me much more hyper - which I like.

11/12 Had 2 beers on the back porch in the sun with dh. Thought - this is nice. Seems like the only time him and I can have real conversations with him is when I am drinking.  I don't know why. I guess maybe I don't have the patience when sober which is not good. We have drank together our whole lives and it is the only way I know how.

Thanksgiving Break (let the downward spiral begin)

11/16  (Wed) - drank 2 in secret- one was slamming a cherryrita in the garage (which I don't even like) but knew dh would be home soon and needed to get as much alcohol in my body before I couldn't.

11/17 (Thurs) same thing as last night - slamming in the garage and hiding the cans.

11/18 (Fri)  I honestly can't remember but do know I drank

11/19 (Sat) Went to dinner with ds and her family. Nice restaurant - had 2 huge glasses of wine. Went to brewery after - had an IPA (high in alcohol) and went to a movie. Got in a stupid fight with dh about how expensive the wine was and how he doesn't like me drinking whine bc it makes me mean. My kids knew and I am sure thought, "Great! Mom is drinking again so they are fighting again about stupid stuff." I feel terrible when my kids aren't proud of me.

11/20 (Sun) hangover - felt really guilty

11/22 (Tues) same thing - slamming in the garage and hiding the cans.

11/23 (Wed) same thing - slamming in the garage and hiding the cans.

11/24 (Thurs - Thanksgiving) Probably drank 1 1/2 bottles of wine over the course of the day. 

Yesterday - overly emotional. ultra sensitive, cried much of the day.  Had a conversation with ds about how he and his sister are becoming emotionally exhausted with "dealing with me." Of course he said it way nicer and more sensitive than that, but that was the idea.  I just got these overwhelmingly guilty feeling of being a bad mom and sharing way to much of my struggles with them.  He suggested I go see someone - someone that isn't worried about me (ie him and his sister) and could give me objective feedback.  From the mouths of babes - as they say. 

Today - just feel like an emotional wreck. I am a mess and I think I need some help.  My marriage is a mess, my self esteem is a mess and I worry I am negatively impacting my relationships with my kids as well.  I am going to go get some help.  I told my dh and he is terrified.  He doesn't believe in counseling and thinks it will just make me leave him.  I told him that is not my intention - no guarantees but my goal is to be happy with my current life. To find happiness in myself so that I can hopefully be happy in my life and marriage.  I told him I have to. He thinks that if I just quit drinking - everything will fix itself.  I told him that I don't know if I can stop drinking (and be happy sober) until I try to fix myself. 

I feel like I have hit emotional rock bottom.

I am scared - scared to deal with my shit - scared of where this path will lead - scared I will end up hurting people - scared it won't work - scared I won't ever truly be happy.....

but like I told him - nothing changes if nothing changes so I'm going to try. I don't know what the future hold but I am sick of living like this. He cried but understood.

Not I just have to do it....

Happiness in Sobriety 11/25/17 (Sat)

Anne commented below that I read this blog entry.  I did and am including the link because I want to be able to access it later as a lot of it really spoke to me.  The more I read, the more I realize that all of our struggles are so similar and that most people that struggle with alcohol have the exact same thought process as me.  I am not that different or special and if all these other people can find happiness in sobriety, then so can I.

The Importance of Being Uncomfortable in Your Own Skin

She says:

Every time you drank, no matter how little, you became a slightly altered version of yourself. And then you began to prefer that version; you maybe even thought it was the real you. I certainly did. I would have sworn I never felt so myself, never so in love with life, than when I was couple glasses of wine deep. But the truth is every time I drank, and every time you drank, we bypassed the part of us that can actually sharpen, grow, engage, and connect. We took the elusive shortcut to those things because it feels like it’s working, but it never really does. It never gets us all the way there. And in the meantime, the real us gets left behind in the dust.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Day 1 11/24/17 (Fri)

Welp...once again I have to admit that I do not have control of how often or how much I drink.  I have drank 7 days of the last nine and last night my sister and I opened our second bottle of wine at 10:00 and drank the whole thing in about 90 minutes.

Back to Day 1

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving - drinking out of control 11/23/17 (Thurs)

Well I have officially fallen off the wagon. I have drank the last 5 of 7 nights between 2-5 drinks. I am waking up around 3:30 am with that internal shaky, heart pounding, anxious, sweaty feeling again. I am waking up tired, bloated, grumpy and wanting to isolate again. I am wanting to quit again. I said I wanted to be able to drink occasionally...this is not occasionally.

I posted this last Thanksgiving

I am so tired...there has to be something better than living the high highs and the low lows that comes with drinking.  I just don't seem to be able to give up the high highs even though the low lows have just become impossible to deal with.  It isn't really even all about the terrible hangovers and wasted days that I suffer at the hands of wanting the high highs.  It is also the numbness, sadness, lack of motivation, irritability, anxiety, insecurity that comes with the all the times between the high highs and the low lows.  Just my day to day life has become uninspired, a kind of what's the point, monotonous, lackluster, blah, just going through the motions kind of existence.  Unless it is Thursday, Friday or Saturday (when I look forward to drinking) I just really have a hard time enjoying anything in life anymore. 

It's almost like I live in this fog of existence.  I just don't look too closely at dirty house, my lack of working out, my laundry that needs to be done, my poor eating habits, my grumpiness towards other people, my insecurities about everything.  I just kind of go through my day uninspired, just trying to get through it so I can go to bed.  Unless I am looking forward to drinking, actually drinking or suffering a hangover, this is how I feel most of this time.

I have also found that I have a new reason for drinking - to just numb out even more.  Sometimes when I drink on the weekends, it isn't to have fun, party, socialize.  Sometimes it is just to sit on my couch, by myself, drinking, watching tv and numb out.

This was November 2011

Last night I did have 2 glasses of wine.  I haven't drank during the week for a few weeks.  That open bottle in my fridge was calling my name.  What did it do for me? nothing.  How did it make me feel?  not really any different since I had shot my tolerance through the roof with this last weekend.  How did I sleep?  terrible - two glasses of wine and I was having hot flashes and just could not get to sleep.  It was almost like I had not drank enough to make me immediately fall asleep (only to wake up later) but just enough to not be able to go to sleep at all.  I am really nervous about the rest of the week and the upcoming Christmas break.  At the beginning of this week, I told myself that I am exhausted, out of shape, eating crappy, depressed and stressed out!  I needed to just spend this week recharging my batteries.  Instead I am falling back into old patterns of drinking, not sleeping well, running around doing things  (I think I have ADHD and the alcohol calms me down), not eating well and making excuses not to go to the gym.  I always think that if I can just get to the gym,  everything will fall into place.  Drinking last night (even just 2 glasses) killed my motivation this morning because I did not sleep well.  Maybe stopping drinking, will help everything fall into place. 

In my craziest, most wonderful dreams, I just tell everyone that I don't drink and I am so relaxed, content, proud with that decision.  Why can't I just do it???

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Monday, November 20, 2017

Shut Up!!! (Mon) 11/20/17

I feel like my has multiple personalities:

OK, glad I feel better today. Yesterday I was so tired, wanted to isolate, ate crappy, had a stomach ache and let's admit it - had a hangover.  I do remember why I quit - because I was tired of feeling this way.  The only way to get to this supposed "life is better sober" side is to go though a period of not drinking. How long? who knows? a year? two years? never? I don't know. It isn't guaranteed I will ever be happy (with or without alcohol). But I have to try. I have to give sobriety a chance. I have to try. I have been weekend drinking for so long that I really do know it is not the road to happiness. But not drinking doesn't seem to be the road either. Maybe I just haven't given it enough time. Maybe I could just try harder to be an occasional drinker. OK that's bullshit and I know it. I have tried that for the last ten years. I know that once I decide I'm drinking again, it eventually becomes every weekend and more often than not over drinking and hangovers followed by just a lethargic, depressed way of living. Why can;t I just moderate? because I have a brain that is physically addicted to alcohol. Once it is in, I want more. One drink becomes three (which is enough for a hangover) - one night a weekend becomes two or three, one weekend a month becomes every weekend. Every. Single. Time.  Why can't I be happy without alcohol? because of what the anonymous blogger ingeniously wrote, "because is it the story I am telling myself." I still believe I need a drug to be social, excited, happy fun - to basically enjoy life. IT IS A DRUG! Dumb-ass!  You are addicted to a drug and it sounds incredibly asinine to say I can't be happy without it!  Ok back to quitting. Ok wait - maybe January 1. It will be hard to do over the holidays now that I drank again. Ya but do I want the holidays to be spent as I have spent many of them in the past? Yes having fun drinking, but also over drinking, exhausted, depressed, anxious? Are you willing to waste another December on all this bullshit. Maybe February 1 since I have a big birthday in the middle of January. Yes that's it quit for good in Feb.  That sounds like a good plan. A good plan? That sounds like a rationalization of a drug user.  I feel like I have multiple personalities living in my brain constantly fighting with each other.


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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Life kinda sucks either way..just being honest 11/19/17

No denying it....I have broken my sobriety and am so confused.  I drank three weekends ago with my sister.  I drank two weekends ago, again with my  sister and I drank last night....with my sister.  Not only that, Thursday night I drank two beers in secret before anyone got home from work and two more Friday night in secret.  Here I was sneaking around the house, peeking out the window watching for any cars to pull up so I wouldn't get caught.  Thursday, I told myself just one but I couldn't stop myself from having the second. And then I felt a little disappointed when everyone started coming home.   I just don't even know where to begin.  I am so confused. Today I am disappointed in myself and just confused. 

When I think about drinking in the future - it all seems so good. I hear myself say - finally - I can now enjoy my life again. I can go out of town, or out to dinner, or hang out with friends, or go to that brewery. Finally! I don't have to be bored or different or depressed or left out. I can actually look forward to things again. I can have fun again. Not drinking sucks!

And then sitting here in the quite of the morning, writing about my failure, I remember how drinking was never fun except while doing it (or anticipating doing it). I remember the reasons I wanted to quit. I remember that it takes joy from me, steals my energy, my self worth, my motivation for getting in shape, my sleep. It gives me anxiety, heart palpitations, insomnia, depression and makes me act in ways that I don't like.  Drinking sucks!

It seems my life will either be fun, exciting, social, accepted but anxious, exhausted, obsessed


my life will be boring, depressing, uneventful but rested, less anxious, in better shape.

Both options suck. They are both depressing and I honestly don't know which one to choose.  I really want to choose moderation where I drink only occasionally  - not an all or nothing thing.  Why can't I just have that?

I really am beginning to hate my life and I hate that I am saying that! I hate alcohol and I love alcohol. I can't happily live with it and I can't happily live without it. It sucks!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Rough weekend 11/6/17

I have to say that this last weekend was a little rough.  I think the fact that I did drink last Saturday just opened up the doors for thoughts about trying to moderate.  My "I'm just not drinking.. period... deal with it" wasn't there this weekend.  I had a hard time at my sister's house (yes, the same sister as last weekend) on Sunday. Other people were drinking and something as stupid as the fact that I really liked her new wine glasses made me have some bad cravings.  I didn't drink but was pretty bummed about it. I was having thoughts of maybe after another month I could try again. My daughter asked me if I was proud of myself for not drinking and my response was, "I is what it is."  I really missed it last weekend. My dh went to a neighborhood party. I didn't go bc I was just grumpy all weekend and I knew they would be drinking.  I really wanted to be there drinking and socializing and having fun.  I just kind of felt sorry for myself.  I was just down, grumpy, mad, tired. Maybe next weekend will be better. I know that alcohol brings so much suffering into my life that it isn't worth those few hours but it sure felt like it would be. It's so easy to forget the suffering or think that this time will be different.  Why do I just forget all of that when a weekend night roles around and I want to drink?  It's the voice that caused me to give in .  Damn addiction voice!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Off the crazy train! 10/30/17

After doing nothing yesterday and wasting a gorgeous day, I do feel better. I feel ready to take on my day and not let this weekend screw up keep me down.  I actually feel a little proud of myself for not beating myself up a ton and moving on.  I am also glad that ultimately I know I am a better person and happier with myself when I don't drink.  Those couple of hours of drinking can bring some relief of boredom, anxiety, depression, lethargy but is then followed by insomnia, headaches, regret,  laziness, anxiety and depression. I know that the only way to get past the anxiety and just feeling blah and down is to stop soaking my brains in alcohol.  This would not even be a question if someone were sitting here writing the same thing about heroine.  It would be like - duh, dumbshit - stop taking the drugs - are you stupid? I just hate how much social pressure (self imposed) I feel around alcohol. I just feel awkward and out of place when everyone else is drinking. I also hate how alcohol really does temporarily make me feel better.  I think this weekend really made it clear that I use alcohol to self medicate. I really did know that drinking right in that moment would relieve my feelings of feeling down in the dumps and it didn't matter the way I would feel the next day (physically or mentally because I drank). I wanted what I wanted and I wanted it right then.  It is pretty scary to look at it as a drug addiction.  That is exactly what it is - just bc it is alcohol doesn't make it any different than being addicted to pain pills, cocaine, heroine, etc. 

I am happy, once again, to be off the crazy train!

This is how my addicted/drinking brain feels!  Crazy..

Image result for crazy train of addiction

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Drank but learning experience 10/29/17

Dang it! I did drink wine last night.  Why?  I'm not sure. I know that I had been struggling with anxiety all week but had gotten through the week without any cravings.  Yesterday (and really all week) I just felt like I was dragging myself through the day - through my life.  I felt down, depressed, tired, just crappy.  I had the thought yesterday, "This is how I was feeling while I was sober but still drinking - just down, depressed, tired, no joy.....if I 'm going to feel this way and not drink, then I might as well feel this way and drink bc at least I can look forward to the drinking and have fun while drinking."  That thought (and how down I was feeling) was really all it took. I just decided I was going to have some wine with my sister on the back patio of her new house.  And I did. I even announced to my husband and and son (who had been so proud of me for not drinking), "I'm going to have some wine.  Don't worry. It will be fine. It's my life and I can do what I want." Then we went to dinner at a nice restaurant and I had two more glasses. Then we went back to her house and I had one more glass.  I was in bed by 10:00 but slept terrible, was awake at 4:00 with a headache and stomach ache and now I am hungover. 

What did I learn?

I don't really like myself when I drink.
I already knew this but it was just reaffirmed from a more objective place.  I noticed at dinner that I was a little loud but didn't care and wasn't paying close attention to individual conversations.  My cousin was trying to have a real conversation with me. I was really trying to focus but I couldn't.  My brain was like having ADHD or something.  It kept trying to focus on the louder voices at the table.  I felt like I was sitting there with a stupid look on my face and he could tell that I wasn't 100% present in the conversation.  He wasn't drinking so I felt like I really had to try hard to focus but just couldn't. It is the weirdest feeling to be sitting there participating with the group but at the same time not really fully present bc your brain is under the influence of a drug.  It wasn't that bad and I didn't wake up with a feeling of embarrassment, but I also didn't feel great about the whole night. I can't fully remember the conversation. Not because I blacked out but because I lost the ability to be fully present and focus on what was being said. It feels like a tornado is going on in my head when I drink.  I can't figure out what I like about that. Maybe it  also distracts me from felling sad, depressed, anxious and tired.  It does give me energy, which I like, but don't like how that energy gets displayed by being loud, impatient and probably a little annoying.

I can't control my intake. 
I also already knew this, but was reaffirmed. Last night there was not one thought of - maybe you shouldn't have that 2 or 3 or 4 glass of wine. Not even a thought. There also wasn't a thought of - well if you are going to drink, you might as well drink. I just didn't think about it at all and jumped right back in where I left off - drinking however much I wanted. It's almost like it just came naturally to me. It was familiar. You would think that if I wanted to start drinking again, I would be super careful and not drink too much. Nope!  It was weird, but I have to be honest - once I have the drug in my system, I really lose the ability to even have a rational thought about how much I am drinking - even to the point of not even considering that I might have a hangover if I keep drinking. I hate hangovers but it doesn't even register after the first drink. I don't think. I just drink.

So, what does this mean?  This means that I am back to sobriety.  I am not going to start over with my counting.  I have still been sober for 130 days (minus 1), I just had a little hiccup. Starting over at day 1 feels like failure and I am not going to beat myself up.  In the past, beating myself up about it only leads to more drinking which starts the whole cycle over again of drinking to feel better while it is actually making me feel like shit about myself.  I made the decision to drink. I now have the consequences. I just have to look at what I can learn from it and move on.

I learned that I like being sober better. I would rather be fully present and in complete control of my behavior (even if it means being little bored) than loud and not able to focus on anything.

I learned (reaffirmed) that I am unable to have a rational thought about how much I drink once I start.

I learned that I have to try to figure out how to deal with feeling sad, depressed, tired and anxious without alcohol.  I think I used to self medicate these feelings away by drinking.  It caught me off guard that I was feeling this way again after 4 months sober and I just couldn't shake it. After five days of feeling that way, I was just down in the dumps thinking that life sucks. Drinking was a way out of those feelings. I know drinking only makes those feelings worse, so  I need to figure out another way to deal with them.

Lastly, I learned that these feeling could lead to a relapse if I let them.  I need to be hyper aware of that and do what I need to do (avoid all social activities, get a massage, do absolutely nothing, take care of myself, leave a social situation immediately before I let those feelings get the better of me) whatever it takes to not let being down, depressed, tired and anxious lead me to drinking again.  Next time I feel this way for a few days and thoughts of drinking enter my brain bc I think alcohol will make me feel better (which in the moment actually does), I need remind myself that I don't like myself as a drinker and that alcohol is not going to make me happy. Next time I will recognize the feelings, see my addicted brain talking to me and just say no.  It's not worth it. I need to give myself time for the feelings to pass (hoping they actually will) so I learn that they will pass without the aid of a drug that will actually make it worse in the long run.

I will get up, dust myself off, learn from my mistakes and keep figuring out how to live my life sober!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Accomplishments this week 10/28/17

My anxiety is better than it was at the beginning of the week - thank goodness.

We had a family funeral Wednesday and I had to take off work.  A couple of cousins flew in for the funeral that we hadn't seen in years.  After the funeral two of them (one with a new girlfriend) came over to our house.  It was 1:00 in the afternoon, the sun was shining, my back patio table was cleaned off and we all sat outside to visit.  The new girlfriend is my age, super nice, friendly, talkative and a drinker.  She probably drank 10 beers from 1:00-9:00 while we were talking, went out to dinner and came back to play cards.  I'm certainly not judging -  I just wonder if she woke up the next morning wondering if she had made a fool out of herself (she did not even thought she was pretty loud and opinionated) or felt bad because she really was the only one drinking by the end of the night and she was putting them down - like another beer every 20 minutes.

I felt like I was obsessed with watching how much she was drinking and how she was acting - which wasn't that bad but it reminded me so much of me.  I kind of felt like I was looking at myself and it made me glad I wasn't drinking. Sorta jealous and sad that it would have been so much fun to party with her but even more glad I wasn't drinking because I don't like myself like that, I felt much more in control of my behavior and BIG PLUS - I didn't get up and go tot work with a hangover the next day.  If I'd have been drinking with her - my Thursday and Friday would have been miserable.

The fact that I did not drink  is actually amazing because this would have been a perfect scenario for me.  A weekday off from work, sitting in the sun with a new drinking friend (the kind of friend I always looked for - that could keep up with me and didn't want to stop drinking) and an excuse of a funeral. I actually can't believe I wasn't craving more than I was.  It wasn't too bad.  I was actually enjoying being the sober one of the group, just listening to everyone else buzzed political debating, knowing I wasn't being loud, interrupting and trying to dominate the conversation.  Also, everyone else 's hotheadedness wasn't bothering me as much.  Rather than getting really loud and trying to make everyone see everyone else's side, I just sat back and enjoyed the show. 

It is funny how some situations which should cause terrible cravings like these didn't affect me too much but something as silly as driving past a brewery can send me into a tizzy of feeling sorry for myself, second guessing my decision to be sober and case panic state craving.  It doesn't even make sense.

Second accomplishment - My sister is moving and I went over to help her unpack her kitchen Friday after work.   I get there and she has 15 bottles of wine sitting on the counter.  Again I wasn't that tempted and didn't really have any cravings but I did have some sad/melancholy thoughts about how it would have been fun/nice to have some wine with her in her new house while unpacking. I had thoughts like, "Well, I guess I won't ever sit in the sun on this back patio and have wine." As I was driving home last night, I was thinking about what would have been different if I had been drinking wine - really nothing.  The only thing that would have changed is my perception of the experience bc I would have had a buzz.  That's it.  The events wouldn't have changed. I know one thing that would have been different - I would have drank Wednesday, felt crappy Thursday and Friday, drank again on Friday, felt crappy today and would have drank again tonight at dinner leaving me feeling terrible for a good part of next week.  It would have put me right back were I was 4 months ago. Not worth it.

Monday, October 23, 2017

4 months and terrible anxiety 10/23/17

Image result for anxiety

I have felt terrible this weekend. I am not sleeping well at all, having terrible anxiety, can't seem to feel happy doing anything and am depressed.  I even stayed home from school today bc I feel extreme internal anxiety and only got 2 hours of sleep last night. 

Saturday I woke up (after not sleeping well) and just felt down, sad and depressed for no apparent reason.  We went out to dinner and I just stared longingly at all the people sipping on their wine glasses not caring about how long the food was taking.  I miss just the release of stress that drinking brings.  It was not enjoyable at all.

It's like I don't get any relief anymore.  Drinking allowed me to let go, it relieved my anxiety for a bit. It was just kind of like....ahhhhh.....relaxation. I know it caused way more anxiety than it actually relieved and I remember these same feelings when I quit smoking.

Yesterday was a bit better bc I tried to stay busy. Today I woke up feeling like I am in the middle of one of a 3 day hangover - my who insides are shaking with anxiety - felt like crying and yelling and not getting out of bed. 

From past research I'm pretty sure I am experiencing PAWS.  I just want it to go away.  I don't want to drink but I can certainly see why this way of feeling would cause a person to drink.  It would just provide some relief.  I do realize that my symptoms are my brain freaking out without alcohol and it is my addiction trying to get me to drink. I realize that drinking will not solve anything but these feelings are awful. 

How long will it last???

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Past stress and drinking 10/21/17

People who have some problems with regulating their emotions as adults will often have had lots of stressful experiences as children, which have caused them to become ‘dysregulated’. The button in their brain that controls anxiety, mood, and even motivation, has been pressed too much and is now worn out. They might need to drink lots of coffee to get going, or they might need to drink a lot of alcohol to calm themselves down.

Exposure to ongoing stress means that our brains produce less dopamine over time, and so we can feel flat and empty – which can cause us to seek out the ‘high’ of alcohol or drugs. Having a sip of alcohol sends excitatory projections to our nucleus accumbens, part of our reward pathway. A complex set of interactions occur which result in that ‘good’ feeling we can get from drinking, and in people who are vulnerable, it can be a really intense and rewarding experience.

Perhaps at the beginning it is about having pleasure and getting enjoyment, and later on it may become about taking away unpleasant emotions and discomfort from not having the alcohol – which is a good indicator that a problem is starting to develop, and some support is needed.

I was reading the above article and these three ideas mad me think about my life.

I had a pretty stressful and chaotic childhood - seven different elementary schools because my dad was a teacher and an alcoholic and would loose his job.  We would move to a different part of the state with the promise that everything would be different this time.  We never knew if my dad would be happy and drunk, happy and sober, depressed and sober, angry and sober, angry and drunk (fighting with my mom and sending us to bed at 6:00 only to listen to the fighting and crying), hilarious and playful and drunk, reckless and drunk (teaching us how to shoot guns and drowning kittens). We got up at 4:00 am and slept in the back of a station wagon while my  mom delivered newspapers to earn a little extra money.  My mom finally left him when I was in the 5th grade and we moved in with my grandparents - new school again.  Then we moved into a small house (new school) when I was in 6th grade. We were on food stamps and basically latch key kids so my mom could work. I was responsible for getting housework done and dinner started in 6th grade with two younger sisters that were not going to listen to "bossy pants" me. I grew up super fast, having to take care of my younger sisters and never wanting to show any emotional neediness because I knew my mom had enough to deal with. I got straight A's, never got in trouble and tried to be perfect so I wasn't creating more work for my mom. I basically felt alone and lonely my entire childhood. No close friends bc we moved so much, with an emotionally unavailable mother, a father who I loved dearly but was also unavailable to me and later was prohibited by my mother to even have contact with me (he died a few years ago when I was just beginning to get to know him again). My mother was not only emotionally unavailable bc she was trying to raise three girls on her own but because she is of that German upbringing with not a whole lot of concern for my emotional well being (kind of the  type who would "do" anything for you but has a hard time just listening and showing love, caring and compassion). Her idea of listening to any problems in my life is to talk about how her life is just as hard or pointing out that all of my difficulties could be worse and they will pass - never just really listening, trying to understand and showing empathy. Even now - she asks me how I am - I tell her it has been a really hard week with conferences, etc. She tells me how hard her week has been and that I only have one more day until the weekend.  I never really feel like she hears me and feels for me. I can tell when she asks me how I am she really doesn't want to hear about anything negative but is always willing to tell me about how difficult her day has been.  It's not really her fault. She was raised like that - but I have always needed so much more and had no one to get it from.

Then my mother got remarried to a man with three older boys who were not great influences on us.  It was great for her - new husband, new house, new income, but for me it was just one more different school (starting middle school no less) and being thrust into another situation where there was no one emotionally available for me.  My mom was busy with her new husband doing things she enjoyed which she felt was much deserved after all she had been through. I felt completely alone but didn't ever want to share any of these feelings as I had learned to not burden others with my feelings. Even now I know everyone has there own shit to deal with so I try to keep mine to myself. No one really cares about my shit. I don't think anyone really cares about anyone else's shit. Just deal with your own shit and keep it to yourself.  We all have problems - OMG!! That sounds like my mom who I am determined to not become! I am 100% emotionally available to both my my kids but maybe not to anyone else.  I should work on that.

So anyways, in high school I found a group of people that I could drink with. All of a sudden I felt accepted, wanted, liked and mattered.  And....the alcohol made me happy.  I related my weekend drinking to belonging, less stress, letting go, having fun, kind of a release and actually having friends who cared about me. They actually called me to set up plans.  This had never been the case for me before. I think I did this so for so long (10 years) that my subconscious started connecting alcohol with happiness.  

Then I had kids and drank less for a few years. But..we moved into this brand new neighborhood, met new people who also had little kids and liked to party.  I now had "adult" friends who liked me, thought I was great and wanted to hang out with me.  I belonged!  I became the party planner and hostess.  Everyone was always invited to my house for a party and I could pull off some last minute food and drinks like a pro.  It was awesome! I was popular, well liked, fun and...could drink with my fiends every weekend but still be a responsible mother because my kids were playing with their kids and no one was driving.  

This lasted until about 10 years ago - kind of "it's fun until it's not".  I had lost contact with many of my high school friends bc I had traded them in for my new neighborhood friends. Many of my neighborhood friends had either moved away or just got so busy with high school/college aged kids that we stopped hanging out so much. Plus, my drinking was becoming much less enjoyable for me so I started cutting down which meant less party planning and hosting which meant it wasn't happening as often if ever. Maybe nobody thought is was a great as I did.  It kind of happened slowly - my increasing issues with debilitating hangovers, embarrassing night befores, my isolation and self obsession with my alcohol consumption and the lack of neighborhood parties.  The more I tried to control my drinking - the more I would weekend binge drink - the worse the hangovers would be - the worse my self loathing and anger and disappointment would be. I kind of started living in my in my own little personal prison.

Now I am not drinking, feel way more in control of my feelings and actions/reactions to situations.  I feel more in control of what I do with my time. I also feel sad and stressed and a bit depressed about my pathetic past. I think I might have used alcohol to deal with all of those feelings and now they are just with me without any relief.  Gotta find a way to deal with them differently.

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.