Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Day 5 of vacation - Day 2 of sobriety 3/28/18

Time to come clean again....totally honest.....If I'm not honest here, then I won't be honest anywhere. I drank one beer 2 weeks ago at the after school event and as much as I want to say, "No big beer..special occasion..I can just drink occasionally...I know that it opened the door back up and all the thoughts of should I/shouldn't I came flooding back in. My mental obsession started creeping back in. Not bad, but still a little bit louder and a little more often.

Drank one beer (20 oz) in the airport. Still..not big deal..special occasion...was nice...shared a moment with dh. Cravings came on really heavy after that to have another one. Probably (who am I kidding..absolutely) would have if the situation (not on an airline sitting next to ds) were different.

Drank two the next night while making dinner on vacation. Still no biggie...on's different..but - I was the only one drinking and felt like I was trying to hide it. Not sneaking but certainly trying to make the beer bottle not noticeable.  Drank the second really quickly hoping no one was paying attention well enough to notice.  Apparently dd was, bc she said something the next day.  Didn't sleep well, really bad stomach ache at 3:30 in the morning.

The next night - same as the previous one....drank two beers while cooking, kind of hiding, didn't really want the second but after I drank the first, changed my mind and drank a second hoping no one noticed.  Fell asleep on the couch while watching a show. I never do this unless buzzed from alcohol. Didn't sleep well - another bad stomach ache. Next day felt just kind of out of it and tired.

So there it is - one beer two weeks ago, and 6 beers in three days while on vacation. Never got drunk or embarrassed myself or even really felt all that buzzed. But have had stomach aches, haven't slept well and felt tired.

I think the real damage comes mentally and emotionally, tho.  I can tell myself on the surface that it is no big deal, it is a special occasion or a vacation or I only had two or I can moderate and be "normal" or I will only drink beer and only two and only on special occasions. I do know that in the past this has always been the slippery slope that leads to more drinking and hangovers and depression and anxiety and loss of joy for life, but it has become more than that. The damage it causes me mentally and emotionally is bigger than the hangovers and lack of sleep.

When I am drinking, anymore, I just feel like I am not being my authentic self. I feel like I am not being true to what I know I should be doing - who I can be. Like I am betraying myself - all of my big plans and hopes and dreams for sobriety. It's almost like I feel like I am giving up on myself. Like I just give in to the cravings and as much as I tell myself it is not big deal - I know in my heart that it is a big deal and I am just trying to fool myself. There is place deep down inside that knows it's all just bullshit. It isn't about anyone else anymore. It is about me and the fact that I am disappointed in myself when I am drinking.

It's like I am fighting with myself and the part of me that would be proud of myself is losing when I choose to drink. I know that I feel better and am a better person when not drinking.

I used to tell my kids to pay attention to that feeling you get when you know you are making a bad decision or getting yourself into a bad situation. Pay attention to that. It is your conscience and if you listen to it, it will serve you well and keep you out of trouble. Once again - time to take my own advice.

I have that very same feeling when I know that what I am doing is not the best choice for me. Just like a child, I am giving in to an impulse to fit in or bc I think it will make me happy or just bc I want it and I can drink if I want to damnit! I do get that feeling (my conscience) telling me that it isn't the right choice for me, but I just ignore it and rationalize with it and tell it that everything will be fine..that two beers isn't a big deal. It feels very immature.

I told my dd daughter, "Do what you can today to be the best version of yourself. Don't worry about tomorrow or next week/month/year. Just be the best you that you can be today." She reminded me of that advice yesterday and it is pretty good advice - if I do say so myself. The best version of me that I can be today means not drinking.

So.....back on the horse.  The horse of being proud of myself, honoring myself, loving myself enough to be choose to be healthy and happy and content and proud of myself. Back to being the best version of myself I can be today.

Plus it is easier to just not drink, ever, than to open that door back up and invite in all the rationalizing and deal making with myself just to be able to poison myself with an addictive drug.

Sobriety is definitely easier, for me, than moderating. It is easier when it just isn't an option.

Image result for my struggle has ended I am in harmony with myself

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Why am I the one with the problem? 3/27/18

I find it fascinating/confusing/frustrating that just because I can't seem to control my addiction to a drug, I am the one with the problem. Just because I don't want to put a poison in my body that makes me feel crappy, I am the one labeled as a problem drinker or can't seem to control an addiction or have some sort of genetic defect that makes it hard for me to drink "normally." Does anyone else hear how stupid that sounds? Why does that make me the one with the problem or defective in some way.  The thought of that is absurd!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Day 1 of vacation - lessons - 3/25/18

Well, I had one beer at the airport yesterday with the hubbs.  My excuse - Elysian Space Dust is one of my favorite beers and we were in Seattle where the brewery is so why not.  I only had one but here is what I noticed:

While waiting for the beer I was getting really agitated with the waitress who was taking forever to serve us.  I think I just really wanted that beer...not a good thing.

After having the beer I had intense cravings to have another. We were split up on the plane and I was sitting with my 19 yo son.  I wanted to order a beer on the plane so bad that it was all I could think about.  I was almost to the point that I didn't even care what he thought, I just really wanted one and was going to order it the next time the beverage cart made it down the aisle. Well, that took forever and by the time it made it to me, my craving had passed enough that I asked for a ginger ale (instead of seltzer). If I was with dh, I probably (in all honesty) would have ordered another one.

I kind of timed it out and really paid attention. I drank a 20 oz beer pretty quickly in the airport. An hour later, I was really feeling it. Two hours later , I was really craving another one. Three hours later, the craving had passed. Four hours later, I was glad I didn't get another one.

I am not upset that I had that one in the airport. It was nice to sit there with my dh and have a beer. What I did notice is that if I don't drink at all, ever, I might have cravings once in awhile to deal with...but are they worse than the cravings to have another once I start? My really bad. I may only have the cravings once or twice a month. If I am having a beer here and there, not only do I still have the craving to drink but it intensifies once I have alcohol in my system to have more. Then my judgement is also impaired making it more likely that I do drink more. I had a dream last night that I was at a festival and that I wasn't going to drink. I had one and then, in my dream, I gave into the cravings and had like three more and got wasted. When I woke up, I was so glad it was a dream.

So here is the million dollar having one once in awhile even worth all the mental turmoil that comes with it. Is it just a better idea to leave it alone and deal with the difficulty and challenges of that decision, rather than be occasionally drinking and dealing with the challenges of that decision? At least when I am not drinking, I only have to deal with the cravings to drink. I don't also have to deal with the desire to keep drinking once I start.

I think in extended sobriety I am mentally addicted to drinking. But, once I have alcohol in my system, I almost feel like it turns into a physical craving.

I definitively think it is physically easier to just not drink. I am wondering if it is actually easier mentally to not drink at all. 

Almost like don't feed the beast in order to keep him quiet.  It is a weird thing.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

A different kind of vacation 3/24/18

I haven't drank anything since the one beer last Saturday. I did notice, tho, that the cravings came back a bit since then. I would get home from work on Thursday and just want a beer. What the heck. It's almost spring break. No one is here. Who would know? I poured myself a sparkling probiotic drink from a bottle that looked like a beer bottle, into a beer glass and pretended it was a beer. The craving faded and I was fine. Today we are going back to Juneau. Remember last summer when we were there? I was in such a dark place. i just couldn't seem to find the joy in anything. I thought I would be happy when I was able to drink, but even that wasn't making me happy. Remember, I quit while there and stayed quit until November. This will be my first 100% sober vacation in a very long time. It should be much better than last time.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

A little disappointed but ok 3/17/18

Well...I had one beer...dangit!

I thought about why, the positives and the  negatives.

The why....the new people I met yesterday all seemed really fun and we had a great meeting prior to the FAC. Everyone was super friendly and welcoming and they were all encouraging me to go to the FAC. Here is the truth...I just wanted to fit in. I didn't want to seem different. I didn't want to feel different. And truth be is a social liquid courage for me. It does make it easier to talk and socialize especially with people you don't know. I really didn't feel like I was wanting the beer to get the alcohol in my system, it was more about just feeling comfortable and having the conversation come a little easier and fitting in with my new colleagues.

The positives...I did have a good time, felt like I fit in and only had one  When I drank it, it wasn't like this sense of relief that I was consuming the thing I had stopped. It just felt "normal". I wasn't too loud, made a lot of connections with people and went home.

The negatives...I do wish I would have done all of that without drinking and here is why.  When I got home, I started felling physically ill.  I was not mad at myself and beating myself up but still felt a bit of that anxiety feeling in my chest. I started getting that kind of out of it grumpy tired where having a conversation is challenging..kind of a can't keep my eyes open buzzed feeling. It wasn't bad as it was two hours later and after only one beer, but I could feel it.  I didn't sleep well. Don't know if that had anything to do with the one beer bc I haven't been sleeping well lately anyways. I also had a really bad dream that I was chasing my dog for hours and then found her dead.  Maybe it had something to do with my sobriety being dead.

My sobriety is not dead.  I feel much much much better when I don't drink.  I have go to figure out how to do these social things sober.

Please don;t judge....keep on keeping on. Trying really had this morning to not have that "all or nothing feelng" where I just think "screw it". I drank so now I can drink.  I jut need to remind myself that I feel better when I don;t drink and that is the truth!

Friday, March 16, 2018

FAC plan 3/16/18

Well, today is the day that I meet everyone at my old school and go to the brewery after for a happy hour.  I have been super nervous even though I realize it probably won't be a big deal.  My dh husband just says, "Don't go if you don't want to." I feel like I probably should as these are new colleagues.

Here is my plan for the happy hour.

If a lot pf people aren't even going, neither am I.  I will just duck out quietly.

If I am having an anxiety attack about it, I will make something up as to why I can't go. My dog really has been having some hip problems. I will say that my son got home and the dog couldn't even walk so I need to get him to the vet. 

Best case scenario - I do go, order a kombucha and socialize for about an hour - really being present in the conversations and showing interest in other people (as opposed to dominating conversations as I did when I drank...always trying to be the funny/cool/interesting one getting pretty loud) and then go home. 

No big deal. These people will just know me as someone who doesn't drink but has fun anyway.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Can't sleep...nervous 3/13/18

I am up at 2:30 am after not getting any sleep last night and restless anxiety ridden dreaming the past few night.  What's going on?  I think I am actually really nervous about Friday. I am nervous about meeting everyone at my new school. I just want to make a good first impression. I think, though, what is bothering more than that is this Friday Social hour thing afterwards.  Why does it have to be at one of my favorite breweries? Why does it have to be sunny this Friday? Why do I have to be not drinking? Why can't I just moderate? What will everyone think? What will I say? How uncomfortable will it be? Will it even be enjoyable? Will they have Kumbucha so it at least looks like I'm drinking something or will I look totally lame drinking a cup of water?  I think that my worry over this one event that may only take a couple of hours is threatening to derail my whole sobriety. 

We are also going on vacation over spring break and I am worried about the desire to drink vacation, especially during long layovers in airports.  I loved drinking during those! Just sit in a bar or restaurant feeling like a sophisticated traveler, passing time with a couple of drinks. That is the best! Wait...what am I great was it last year when I got on the plane pretty wasted, continued to drink on the plane, which I never do, and arrived at my destination hammered. I don;t even remember clearly everything we did that evening. This set up my miserable depressed trip to Jeanau last year. 

This last weekend, I did not want to drink but was definitely feeling the pull.  I even drove past a gold course club house we used to sit in the sun and drink at and thought, "Well, that sucks! I can't so that  anymore!" All of those insecurities and doubts started creeping back in. What if I could drink normally? What if I just tried harder? This spring is going to suck.

I know my mind is just romanticizing it and I couldn't figure out why I was feeling the pull so bad, but I think is it both the event this Friday and the upcoming traveling. 

Yesterday a friend of mine and I had been talking about heart palpitations, getting older, insomnia and drinking. He was experiencing some of this and hadn't been drinking much either. He went to the doctor, got a clean bill of health and was told that a couple of drinks weren't going to hurt him.  Hearing that kind of sent me spinning.  He said that the doctor told him the heart palpitations were not caused by alcohol, but instead was caused by anxiety and stress. Maybe I was just making myself anxious about drinking. Maybe my issues with alcohol are all in my head. Maybe I could have a couple of drinks Friday. Maybe I just need some anxiety medication to ease my general anxiety about everything and then I could drink again.

Yes...I realize how ridiculous all of this sounds, but it is good to get it out of my head. Put is on paper and try to let it go.  Why does what his doctor tell him have such an impact on me. Maybe bc he was excited to hear that it wasn't the alcohol and had gone back to drinking. Maybe bc he said I just need to not stress about it and that the drinking isn't causing my symptoms. I know he is just rationalizing his own drinking. How does he know what is making me have heart palpitations? I said that I think alcohol is causing it and he said that he doubts is just caused by stress and then the palpitations are causing more anxiety. That's what his doctor told him. I am not him and alcohol does cause me to have heart palpitations even it if it bc of the anxiety I get around drinking.  I can't ever seem to remain moderate, my hangovers had become intolerable and that was causing me a great deal of anxiety which is alleviated if I don't drink. Plus...why would a doctor say, "Ya, it's ok, you might be over 50 and having heart palpitations but go ahead and continue to pour poison into your body! Just do it and don;t worry so much about'll be ok.  It's just all so stupid. I feel like everyone drinks so everyone just rationalizes it. It is an addictive poison that makes you sick!

I just need to remind myself.....I promised myself one year.  I can do this!

I want to make me proud of me. Nothing else matters - not what others think of me Friday or even the uncomfortable feelings I may need to experience both Friday and at the airport. I can live through that uncomfortableness to be proud of me. It is not always going to be easy, but it will be worth it.

I just need to continue to tell myself, "You got this, girl! You can do it."

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Week 10 - Missing a flight dreams - 3/10/18

I keep having the same dream. It changes a little but the idea is always the same. It always involves traveling, running late, packing and unpacking suitcases, not being able to find the correct clothing and an incredibility intense sense of anxiety.  I get into such a panic attack during these dreams that it wakes me up. I have to lay there for a few minutes calming myself down, telling myself it was only a dream. I feel like some of the residual anxiety is still with me when I get up in the morning. I am having these dreams 2-3 times per week.  Why?????

I looked it up and found the following on this Psychology Today site

DREAM: Here are three dream fragments that are expressive of this them. One person reported, “I dreamt of being booked on an airline flight, but missed the flight.” Another person reported, “I dreamt of getting ready for a big road trip but had trouble deciding what to pack.” And a third person reported, “I dreamt of taking a vacation with my partner but we could never decide where to go.” 

COMMENTARY: Here the dreamers are about to go on a trip but not quite getting there on time, forgetting, waking up late, missing the departure, etc. They could have similarly dreamt that they were about to travel by bus, plane, car, jet, or boat. These dreams often show our hesitancies, attachments, or beliefs that are somehow limiting us or stopping us from taking a step in our lives or a step toward a deeper way of living. It could be our need to be prepared that stops us (e.g. we are busy packing or deciding what to take with us)
In many of these cases, it can be useful to encourage the dreamer to ‘jump,’ go for it, take their hopes and desires seriously, not worry to much about what is right, or not overthink or over-plan in life.
I do have a lot going on right now.  I am switching schools next fall.  I have been at the same school for 15 years, but am excited to make this change and do something new.  I am taking an online college math class to get myself certified to teach middle school. I am not drinking and still have some worry about that in terms of upcoming events.  We just got an email yesterday inviting us to an FAC next Friday at one of my favorite breweries to get to know the staff.  I want to go and think it is important but am worried what they will all think when I am not drinking. What I will say...what excuse I will make. I do want to establish with the new set of colleagues that I am a non drinker but can still have fun.  I always told my own children when they started middle school or high school or college that it is a time to reinvent themselves.  They can become who they want.  I do look at changing schools in this way, but am worried about a few of the logistics around drinking believe it or not.  I am not at all worried about being about to be successful in the position, tho.
Maybe my stress also comes from being lazy and not working out.  I have made promise after promise to myself that I would start working out and I just can;t get myself motivated.  This coming week I am going to try to work out every day and see if it helps me get rid of this dream.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Pessimist/Optimist 3/8/18

Image result for churchill optimism

I ran across this this morning.

Do I focus on the negative aspects (difficulties) involved with being sober (opportunity)? (neg/pos)

Do I focus on the positive aspects (opportunities) of not drinking (difficulty)? (pos/neg)

I choose to focus on the positive aspects (opportunities) of being sober (opportunity). (pos/pos)

This is focusing on the positive outcome of a positive change.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Week 9 - Cravings 3/3/18

Well, it is week 9 and it is so weird to say, but I haven't had any cravings so far. Sometimes alcohol passes through my head at unexpected times, but no real cravings.  For example, my younger sister (the one I drink with) went in to have her hormones tested.  She is in menopause and was prescribed HRT.  Haha!  I'm not the only one getting old lol :). For one fleeting moment, I thought, "Now we are just a couple of old menopausal ladies drinking wine together." This was a positive, fun, bonding with my sister thought. But just as quickly, the thought left my brain and it wasn't a big deal. I didn't feel sad or mad or glad or anything.  It is so strange. 

The only think I can relate this to is the situation with my sister. I have not talked to my youngest sister in a couple of years.  We had a falling out and she is refusing to talk to me.  It hurt my feelings for a long time. I cried and cried and was so angry and hurt for probably a good year and a half.  For the first time ever, I wasn't going to fix things and it was killing me.  So much time has now passed that I can honestly say I am indifferent. I am open to talking and working things out, but I'm not all torn up about the fact that it isn't happening. Sure I'm a little sad about the whole thing, but it isn't causing me anxiety any more. It just is what it is. 

I feel the same way, strangely enough, about alcohol this time.  It has taken me almost two months this time to start feeling better, but I just haven't cared about drinking.  I just feel pretty indifferent to it. I'm really not jealous of others who can drink, not angry that I can't, not sad that I can't control it.  I also haven't had the emotional "highs" that come from quitting this time either. The first weeks and months didn't come with the pink cloud this time. Sobriety wasn't new and had lost its novelty. It wasn't bad, I just wasn't waking up relishing in the fact that I didn't have a hangover.  It's weird but it just seems like the new normal for me. It has just been much more even keel this time - not really any super high highs but also not any super low lows.  Just kind of chugging along. 

Maybe when my emotions get on that roller coaster, I tend to have more cravings.  I know that one of the reasons I would get super excited about an upcoming event was because I could drink. Or maybe I drank because I was super excited? Maybe not getting super excited about anything helps me not to drink. It's not that I'm depressed or not looking forward to a beautiful Saturday or a vacation coming up during spring break - it's just that that hard to explain ansty/hyper/revved up feeling that comes with these upcoming events isn't there. 

Who knows, maybe it will come back and I need to be prepared. Maybe I am just fooling myself. Spring is my hardest season to stay sober (haven't done it in 30 years). I just know that it took me two months to get my energy back and really start sleeping better this time. Month 3 is going to be about working out.  I need to get myself back in shape and feeling better about how my clothes fit.  I have always weighed between 125-130.  When I quit drinking last summer I had gotten up to almost 150.  I am now down to about 142 (lot 8 pounds just from cutting out the alcohol - still eating crappy and not working out).  I only have 10-15 pound more to lose. I know once my clothes fit better and I am more comfortable in my own skin, it will only help me feel better about myself and be better able to maintain sobriety if and when the cravings do hit.