Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Week 4 - Close Call (anxiety induced) 1/29/18

This weekend was a close one (even after I made it through my birthday weekend last week).

I am a 6th grade teacher and my district has decided to move all 6th graders out of elementary school and into the middle school next fall.  Because of this I have had an extremely stressful nine months (panic level for the past 2 months).

I am terrible with decision making as I don't ever want to make the wrong choice so I analyze the shit out of it until I have analysis paralysis.  First I had to decide if I wanted to move to middle school or go down in grades at my current school (where I have been for 15 years and love it). I decided (after weeks of lamenting) to take the leap and move to middle school. I do better with older kids and the idea of only teaching one subject sounds amazing. Then I had to decide which schools to apply at, write a resume and a cover letter, seek out references and letters of recommendations and network with principals.   And btw - I am a great teacher (if I do say so myself). Alcohol has never impacted my job besides drinking a little to much at after school work parties a few (ok maybe more than a few) times. Or maybe just being more tired than I should be because of an over indulgent weekend. I have always been good about keeping my personal issues away form the classroom.

Oh ya and I am also taking two college level math courses to get myself highly qualified for middle school.  These classes are taking about 15-20 hours a week of work.

Well, it all led up to a hiring event last Saturday with 15 middles schools and over 200 teachers looking for jobs.  We didn't' just get moved up. We had to apply and compete for jobs.  I haven't done this in 15 years! I thought I was ok about the interviews. I just told myself, "If they like me, great. If they don't, oh well. I can always stay at my elementary school. It's not like I am out of a job." But really, I was terrified!

One of my interviews went terrible. One of the people interviewing me never cracked a smile. She either couldn't stand me or didn't want to be there on a Saturday.  That threw me completely off.  I am always concerned with what others think and I was just fixated on this my inability to connect with her at all.  Needless to say, that interview did not go well.  One interview I rocked it (I thought). I was connecting with everyone there. They were laughing and nodding and it was good.  The third interview I had went ok.  It was a really weird format which threw me a bit and there were also grumpy people in each one of the four (15 min) rotations as well.

At one point in the day, I went out to my car bc I had an hour break in between interviews. I had told my husband that morning that I kinda thought I might want to drink that night so not to plan anything that might make me tempted. I called him and told him I was drinking some wine when I got home.  I was sure of it. I jsut needed some relief from this stress and I deserved it after all of this.

I told myself I was going to stop blogging and reading about addiction. I was going to focus instead of my fitness and reading other books. I was going to stop obsessing about all of it and just be normal. It's not like I'm an alcoholic. I was so stressed out and filled with anxiety at that moment that all I wanted to do was be done, go home and have a glass of wine.

I was 100% positive that I was drinking wine when I got home.

I finished out the interview four hours later and went home exhausted.  I just couldn't believe how much stress I had been under for the past few weeks, culminating with this day of coming pretty close to an anxiety attack. During one interviews I even felt myself getting dizzy!

Once I got home, the craving was miraculously gone (which shocked me). I sat my butt on the couch at 4:30, ate pizza, popcorn, ice cream, drank soda (which I never do) and binge watched Narcos on Netflix and was in bed by 10:00. I didn't even want to drink. It was really weird. It kind of surprised me that I didn't even have to fight with myself. The craving really did just go away, without any internal dialogue on my part. It made me wonder if those intense physical cravings are also something truly physical in my neurotransmitters or something (my addicted brain) that really will "physically" pass if I just give it a little time.

I had kind of an epiphany.....What if intense craving are actually a biological event happening in my brain that will physically pass if given time rather than a physiological event that only passes if I talk myself out if? This seems so much more manageable bc the mental gymnastics that come with the latter are exhausting! Just waiting seems so much easier than talking myself out if it and almost seems like I am less of a mental failure and more of just someone who has an physical addiction and I know what to do ...just wait it out ...no talking/ thinking/ reasoning/ rationalizing ....just wait. It will go away on its own given the time it needs to pass.

And.......I got he job I wanted!!!! I found out yesterday. And I am almost done with my first math class! And I am 32 days sober! So yeah me!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Week 3 - Celebrations and Struggles 1/21/18

Struggles - yesterday was really hard. I really had to push through and kind of fake it to get through the day. I have been just so tired and kind of out of it this week.  Still am unable to find my motivation to work out or really get much of anything done. Still feel a bit down and depressed but probably just from being so tired.  I need to start working out. I know for a fact that will help my mood. Having some struggles with thinking to the future - vacation over spring break, vacation this summer, hearing people at work talk about getting together at a brewery after school on Fridays again after it warms up, being ridiculously effected by alcohol commercials and feeling left out and sorry for myself that I won't ever again be able to have fun like that - or enjoy a brewery tour or a glass of wine at dinner or a nice IPA with my neighbors in the sun.....I know it is all Bullshit...but the voices are there and the struggle is real..one day at a time I guess.

Celebrations - I did it!!!!!! I have been so worried about my 50th (aurghh) birthday and how stupid it was to quit drinking before the big day and how the whole day was going to suck if I couldn't drink. I got through it (with the support of my family) and it was actually a nice day!

I posted the following to someone who was struggling this morning on a online support group I am part of. I know for a fact that this is not what I would have been posting this morning had I drank last night. I would have been making excuses and rationalizing but really been extremely disappointed in myself.  I am actually pretty proud of myself and instead wrote this:


I hear you!  I am also a weekend binge drinker - and not every weekend. Because this is my pattern, my rationalizing about not being that bad was/is very strong.  I think the turning point for me has been realizing that even though I was only drinking on the weekend (and having fun - and I'm not going to lie, it is fun to drink -  for those 8 hours on so on Friday and/or Saturday - which doesn't seem like a lot) it was kicking my butt the other 160 hours of the week. It was PHYSICALLY messing with me - causing insomnia, anxiety, lethargy, apathy, heart palpitations, depression not to mention terrible hangovers which involved night sweats and sever anxiety/self loathing even after as few as four beers or three glasses of wine. I was on a vacation last summer in Juneau on a whale watching tour one day and a beautiful hike the next and just could not enjoy myself. All I could think about was if the boat had adult beverages available and where we were going to go to dinner after the hike (really thinking about what I wanted to drink and then planning the meal around that). I kind of had this really weird realization while eating dinner/drinking my wine after the hike (kind of like I was watching myself - some kind of out of body shit) that with the wine I became a different person - talking, smiling, laughing, enjoying life.  All of a sudden it just hit me - I have gotten to a point were I can't really enjoy anything anymore without either drinking or anticipating drinking. I was not imagining it - not making it up - it was a real PHYSICAL change in my brain. It wasn't being dramatic - I had changed my neurotransmitters to need the drug to be happy. I decided to quit and did for four months. Then just convinced myself that "I wasn't that bad and that I just had to try harder to control it" and drank November and December. I wasn't out of control, in the gutter, getting DUI's, losing my job/family drinking, just "needing" to drink on the weekends to enjoy them and "needing" to think about drinking on the weekend to help me get through the week. My life was not ever unmanageable from the outside looking in. And it is true, I really am not that bad compared to a lot of other people out there.\. I never lost my job/family/got a DUI/rarely even made a fool out of myself. But I am bad enough in my own head (the mental torture/battle/conflict/rationalizing/wanting to stop but can't/stopping but wanting to drink/obsession/depression/anxiety/apathy/exhaustion). All of that came back in the two months I decided (for the millionth time) to quit - to be that candle of sobriety - to be a role model - to be able to find joy in life without a drug - to be fully present in all moments - to not be tied to this @#$%@#$%ing drug anymore! And I quit (again) 21 days ago.

You ARE NOT alone!  I feel exactly the same way - nothing is going to get better as long as I put the drug that is making me sick into my system.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

I did it! 1/20/18

I got through all of it without drinking. The lunch at a nice restaurant, the spa where I was offered wine (and watched others drinking it) and the nice dinner...and guess what...it was fine.  I had just as much fun. The fun was different - more of a calm, really enjoying the company and the experience fun instead of a hyper, distracted, semi present kind of fun. 

Image result for im really glad I didn't get sober said nobody ever

My 50th birthday.anxiety/sadness/fear/depression 1/20/18

Today is my birthday and I feel extremely anxious.  My sister (the one I have broken my long term sobriety with every single time) and I are going to lunch, having a spa day and then going out to dinner with our families.  I really just want the day to be over for multiple reasons:

1.  I don't like being 50 - it is old - I don't feel 50. I haven't had trouble with any other age, but I have always thought 50 was old and now I am old and the thought of it sucks! I don't even want to talk about it or have it brought up. I was kind of hoping nobody noticed. I am old, fat, out of shape, unmotivated, exhausted, depressed, over sensitive, anxious - I know that sounds terrible - just how I feel right now.  I certainly don't feel 50 and fabulous.

2.  I know and admit that I do want to drink today. It is a big day and I can't even enjoy it. I know that is so stupid, but how I feel. I would be so pumped for the day if I knew I could have a nice glass of cold white wine with lunch and then another with dinner.  Maybe a cold IPA beer when I come home and shower in between.  It's my day, I should be able to do what I want and enjoy it.  One day isn't going to make that much difference and nobody will think badly of me considering the day.  Heck..I would even forgive myself.

3.  I am not going to drink but am worried that I will have anxiety all day over wanting to. I really wish I cold cancel everything, crawl into bed and just cry all day. But I won't. Everyone planned all this stuff for me and I need to be gracious and appreciative and try to enjoy my day.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Week 2 Celebrations and Struggles 1/14/18

Celebrations

I went out last night to a brewery bc a friend of mine was playing (in a band) and I didn't drink. They had kombucha which was awesome bc it looked a bit like a beer, was in a beer glass, tasted good and was good for me. I always feel a bit self conscious while sitting at a brewery drinking water, so it was nice to sit there, listen to the music and be drinking something other than water.

I finally got a good night sleep...slept for 9 hours on Friday night!  Sleep is amazing. My sleep will not improve if I drink.

I feel a little less bloated. I haven't lost any weight but my pants don't feel quite as tight.  My eyes look a little less baggy in the morning.

I really am enjoying being clear headed all the time. Having a buzz somehow takes away from the "realness" of the moment. I am definitely noticing the deep satisfaction of being fully present at all times.

I made it through a "close call" on Thursday. The more of those I am successful with, the more self confidence I will have.

Struggles

I am concerned about my birthday next Saturday.  My addicted brain keeps telling me that it is ok to drink just on my bday. It is my 50th bday for crying out loud. Make an exception. I know that I will be so super proud of myself if I don't, but I know I am going to want to.  The thought just keeps creeping in when I'm not paying attention.  My sister scheduled a spa day for us, I'm sure with beverages available. Then we are going out to dinner at one of my favorite places, with wine.  And...now my neighbor told me about the band (her son's) playing at a great hotel in Boulder on Friday night.  She said, "We should go for your bday! It would be fun.  You can drink on your birthday, can't you?"  So I'm pretty nervous about next weekend. I know that if I can make it through my 50th bday without drinking - it will give me a ton of confidence and I will feel like I can get through anything.  I also know that my addicted brain will be telling me that drinking won't count as a failure bc it is a very special occasion and deserves an exception.  That drinking just next weekend doesn't really constitute a failure bc of the big deal bday. I will just get back to sobriety after.  How do I shut that voice up? What do you say to yourself to make that voice go away?

Friday, January 12, 2018

A close call 1/12/18

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Last night was close.  I am off for the next 4 days (my dh has surgery today and it was already a three day weekend).  i was talking to my neighbors over the back fence. They are both retired and were drinking.  If she would have said, "Do you want to come over and have a beer?" I think I would have said yes. I even lingered a little longer in the conversation kind of hoping she would say it. She did not and I went inside and went to bed. I said to myself, "If she texts me and invites me over, then it was meant to be and I will do it. Everyone will understand. I have a big birthday coming up. I will just start the day after my bday. That is totally reasonable. I will just have 2 and be done. I can allow myself the privilege of drinking if I just do it responsibly. This whole quitting thing is stupid anyway. I wish I would just keep my mouth shut and not tell anyone." I was so close. I did not have any desire to get myself a beer alone, but I would have gone over there. No one was home, I was by myself and I think I was tired. 

Well, she did not call and I did not go. My daughter actually did call and we talked for over an hour - which wouldn't have happened had I gone next door and been drinking.  I would have ignored the call bc I would have known she would be able to tell and then I would have felt bad AGAIN...bad about drinking, bad about breaking my promise, bad about being weak, bad about ignoring her call and probably would have felt more than just super tired (still slept crappy) this morning.

One very important thing I noticed was that after an hour (maybe even thirty minutes) of laying in bed watching Intervention: The Heroine Triangle (wondering if I really am just like them to some degree craving my drug of choice), the intense craving really did go away. I thought to myself, "If she texted right now, I probably wouldn't go." I really didn't feel like it anymore. It wasn't that I talked myself out of it or had some his aha moment. The craving really just subside when I ignored it and did something else. I didn't do anything to make it go away, it just did.

Plan....when it happens again, it is critical that I just do something else (even if that means going to bed) for 30-60 minutes and see if the craving goes away on its own. See if that stupid voice (rationalizing to me why it would be ok to go next door and have some beers at 4:30 in the afternoon on a Thursday would be a good idea) goes away with really no work on my part except patience. Maybe while I am waiting I will also eat something and drink some water too. 

I am glad I didn't drink yesterday.  I don't think I would have gotten up today and said the opposite - I am glad I drank yesterday.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Books I Want To Read 1/7/18

I always forget good book recommendations so I'm going to keep a list. Any other suggestions?

Books I want to read

Image result for the power of now    Image result for man's search for meaning  Image result for the little book of big change

Image result for this naked mind    Image result for habits of a happy mind bruening   Image result for drinking memoirs    Image result for raising the bottomImage result for better than the binge   Image result for its time to start living   Image result for intentional thinking Image result for beyond the influence  Image result for sober diaries  Image result for miracles bookAlcohol Lied to Me: The Intelligent Way to Escape Alcohol Addiction by [Beck, Craig]      Alcohol Lied to MeĆ¢€¦ Again!: Get Back On the Wagon & Regain Control of Your Drinking by [Beck, Craig]  Dry: A Memoir by [Burroughs, Augusten]      Image result for addicted brain book

       



Books I have read

Image result for books about drinking   Image result for how to stop drinking the easy way   Image result for this naked mind   Image result for this naked mind Image result for drinking memoirs    Image result for thousand little pieces




Saturday, January 6, 2018

Week 1 - Celebrations and Struggles (1/2/18)

Week 1

My celebrations

I do already feel more motivated to get things accomplished. I wake up, think about what I need to do and get started.  When I am actively drinking on the weekends, I just don't really care. It is a weird feeling that is hard to explain. Nothing seems important. Everything can wait and I only get done what is absolute necessary.  I am not talking about only when I have a hangover, but everyday and remember I typically only drink on the weekends. I just become really unmotivated and kind of like I am wandering through life. A couple of days ago someone said to me, "What happened to you? Your Christmas tree is still up. You used to be on top of stuff."  He was joking around but was right. It was always down before I went back to school  I used to be so motivated and such a go getter. Somehow, even when sober and without a hangover, alcohol took that away from me.  There are so many things around the house that need to be done, I just have kind of let everything go to hell.  I don't really clean very often any more.  I used to clean once a week. That might be a little excessive, but it is better than never.  Just another example of all or nothing. It's like just a sense of not really caring, or not really caring enough to do anything about it.  Another example, I used to clean my hot tub every six months. Now, I not only never sit in it, but haven't cleaned it in 2 years - gross! Maybe with alcohol out of my brain and body, I will get back to my normal self of being responsible, organized and motivated to tackle the tasks of my life. I already feel a little more that way after 8 days.

My struggles

My sleeping is terrible and my dreams are so stressful. I wake up with a pounding heart bc of dreams such as being late, not being able to find my clothes, fighting with people, smoking (which I haven;t done in 20 years), going to school high on pot (I don't even like pot), driving around in stolen cars, people telling me I am fat, missing my flight......just super stressful, crazy stuff.  It is like my brain goes crazy while I am sleeping.  I do know this will get better the longer I am sober.
The more worrisome struggle is the little voice already creeping in my head.  My sister called to talk to me about my 50 bday coming up. She wants to take me to a spa and out to lunch. Then we talked about going to dinner.  Well....guess what came into my mind...alcohol.  The thought that popped was, "It is your 5th birthday, for pete's sake, no one will judge if you have a couple of glasses of wine on your birthday." I started getting that hard to explain excited, giddy, fun, anticipation for that day to come feeling.  My other voice said, "You pinky-promised your daughter you would stay sober for one year so she wouldn't have to worry about you when she moved. You also promised yourself because you didn't want to turn 50 with all of this struggle. You wanted to do it differently this time." .... "Ya, but drinking just on that one day doesn't mean you can't still continue your sobriety. It's your birthday and a big one! It will be fine"..."Ya but you know that if you drink on that one day, you will feel disappointed and it will no doubt lead to rationalizing more drinking and then you will end up in the exact same spot you have been in for years and are trying to avoid."   I am getting anxiety and even feel my hands shaking a bit typing it. I swear, I feel like I am schizophrenic with all the voices in my head battling each other!
What I decided on, just for the moment, to quiet all of those voices down was, "Not today."  I will worry about that day when is gets here. It causes me too much anxiety to deal with that kind of mental battle to think about it today. In fact, thinking about it may cause me to drink today, so I'm just not going to think about it after I finish this blog.  Or at least try not to think about it.  If those voices sneak into my head, I'm just going to say to myself, "Not today." I'm am going to focus on the here and now.  I am not drinking today, and I am grateful for that. I will enjoy being clear headed and focused on what I need to get done today and remember how good I will feel tomorrow waking up hangover free and proud of myself.

Monday, January 1, 2018

1/1/18 New Year...New Me....I Mean It This Time!!! 4/368 Days

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I have many goals this year. Here are a few of them:

Work out with weights and cardio (get in shape and lose weight)
Yoga and meditation (calm my mind and be more flexible)
Drink more water
Eat a healthy diet
Get enough sleep

NONE of these things will happen if I drink so my #1 and most important goal for 2018 is...

I WILL NOT DRINK

Even is that means I do skip a workout or eat crappy. My number one priority will be to remain sober for 368 days (already on day 4).  I know from when I quit smoking that if I take care of all the other things on the list, staying sober will be easier for me as I am kind of an all or nothing kind of person. If I say "screw it" to other thinks, I might be more likely to say "screw it" to sobriety. If I am really vigilant and about being healthy in other areas, I will be more likely to keep my sobriety goals.

I am also going to tell people that I am taking a year off from drinking. I am not going to say never again right now. I am going to say and believe that I am doing this for at least one year. Hopefully at this time next year, I will be so over the whole thing that I won;t want to even try to moderate again. If next year, I want to try to moderate next year I will deal with that then...not now.  It is not going to take up brain space.  Drinking is just not an option for the next 368 days.  I will deal with next year...next year. This year is about doing something different. Trying something different.  I have been sober every month of the year in my previous attempts except April and May and usually March and June. Spring is the hardest for me. Sun shining, school almost out, happy mood....but I will not drink this spring. 368 days...I can and will do this!

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