Sunday, August 26, 2018

8/26/18 - Building new relationships with old friends.

Got through my first full week as a middle school teacher.  I love it! I'm sure it is going to get more difficult once the assignments start rolling in (or not) and I have to deal with missing/ late work, kids who aren't understanding, parents who have questions, etc. but it is a relief to only teach one subject. Also, middle school teacher seem to be a little more chill which is good for me. I tend to get caught up in the environment I am in. If I am teaching with intense teachers, I tend to be more intense. I'd rather be chill :)

No major craving this week - too busy and too tired. Friday -  just came home, binged watched some Netflix, ate some pizza and went to bed early. Last night dh wanted to get together with two of our couple friends. He had gotten mad at me last weekend for not wanting to do anything, so I (reluctantly) said yes. One of the other women doesn't drink, so that made my decision a little easier. We went to dinner and then came back to our house. They guys stayed inside drinking their fancy high alcohol imperial stouts. We sat out back on the patio. I made myself a lemon/mint San Pellegrino in a fancy stemless wine glass full of ice and we just talked for four hours. 

I have to was nice. We all kind of shared some things we were struggling with and were a little vulnerable.  I shared a little about my alcohol journey which always feels empowering. When I drank, I never really had authentic conversations with anyone. I was a manic made me hyper and kinda selfish. Sure, I could sit and talk for hours, but I was still hyper in my own head, wasn't really listening and probably wouldn't remember the conversations clearly the next day. I was sitting there talking and drinking and "listening" but not really present. It wasn't a real connection.

Last night, I really feel like we had some connections and were honest yet supportive of each other. I never have felt like I have had "real" girlfriends that truly cared about me and what was happening in my life. That could be bc I have been so wrapped up in my own bullshit for so many years I haven't really cared about anyone else. All of my relationships have seemed superficial bc they have been built while drinking. They have been more like drinking buddies.

Maybe now I can start to build some supportive, girlfriend, "real" connections with people. It is an interesting prospect that isn't going to happen with me isolating on the couch. I do know I need down time, though, so maybe just "chill" on Friday night and then try to do something social on Saturday...even if I don't feel like it. I didn't feel like it last night but am now glad that I did.

Here's to a hangover free life and building "real, authentic" relationships with people!

Saturday, August 18, 2018

8/18/18 - Relapse behavior

Well....I have been soooo busy the last couple of weeks. I went back to school. I got a new job in a middle school teaching math. I haven't switched schools for 15+ years so it has been a little stressful getting to know the new building and people. They have already gone out twice for happy hour. I have avoided both times giving some stupid excuse.  I have come home exhausted every night. I know I am not taking care of myself bc I am not working out, not going to appointments (I cancelled my therapist appt last night), not blogging, not reading, not meditating, not doing yoga, not eating well, not sleeping well, not even walking my dogs. Last night I really wanted to just sit down, after an exhausting week, and have a beer.  I didn't (and haven't for 69 days) but it was definitely on my mind. 

I learned from my IOP over the summer that need to recognize all of this behavior as a possible sign of relapse and be proactive to get in a better place. In the past, I start sliding down this slope of stress (at work), exhaustion (at home) and not taking care of myself only to keep sliding and eventually drinking to feel better. I need to recognize this and start doing things (as hard as it may be) to take care of myself so that I can be strong and self confident when a true "panic attack craving" comes. I feel it starting to toy with my mind. I am fooling myself if I think it won't happen this time - that this time is any different than the last 25 times I have tried to quit - that this time I am cured.

If I want different, I have to do different not just try to think different. So....I am updating my blog, I am going to get off my butt, get some stuff done today, but also take some time to just sit in the sun or do yoga or get a massage or something that helps fill my wellness tank a bit.

I have tried changing by changing my thoughts or emotions but it doesn't last. I need to change my behavior....I need to take care of myself.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

8/7/18 - I did it!!! Alcohol free vacation!!!

So we went to Vancouver for a vacation last week.   I haven't had an alcohol free vacation since I was a teenager - so basically never as an adult. Vacations for me are all about drinking. I let my "rules" slide and alcohol is part of every day. Alcohol as always been one of the reasons I love going on vacation so much. I was super nervous about a sober vacation.

There were a few times that were difficult like the first night we arrived at out Airbnb house. It was a cute little house with a great back patio with couches and a fire pit. Man, a glass of wine would have been perfect. Then we went to a "Social House". They are these restaurants that focus on their drink menu. Kind of an uppity food and drink place. We went there because it was in walking distance and we were starving. As we sat outside on the patio, I wistfully watched women sit around with glasses of white wine and was a little sad. I ALWAYS drank on the first night to celebrate arriving and the beginning on our vacation.  Another time was when we went to Whistler and rode the Peak to Peak tram. When we were finished exploring, we went into the ski lodge to use the restroom and there was a fantastic outdoor seating area with magnificent views. Of course there was a bar and many people were enjoying a leisurely beer. That was a little hard to see. An IPA would have been perfect. Two other times that were a little difficult were when we were at the "Local Public Eatery" in Gastown. It was super busy - everyone drinking - a lot of people watching - just a festive, party atmosphere - this was probably hardest meal. Also, when we went to Granville Island and sat on the dock overlooking the marina eating dinner. The waitress started by talking about a drink special - lemonade, seltzer and vodka. I would have for sure ordered that as it was kinda hot outside. I ordered a virgin one instead.

I got through all of those occasions without drinking. Was I a little sad that I couldn't get that "anticipatory, hyper, fun, relaxed, happy" feeling that alcohol gives me - yes. Was I super grumpy and mad - no. I was just "being", just living in the moment with a clear head and certainly glad when I didn't wake up with a hangover. I definitely felt better in the mornings. My dh got a little snippy one night and I know if I had been drinking I would have overreacted which would have turned it into yet another huge fight on vacation. I was able to just tell him how I felt and then let it go.

My daughter asked me a very poignant question while at dinner in both Gastown and on Granville Island. I made a comment about how I would have been drinking. She asked, "Exactly what would that do for you right now? How would it make this moment better?"  I really had to think about that. What would a beer have done for me? How would have it changed the situation? While I do like feeling buzzed, I think I actually like having a clear head better. So what is it then? I think it was the "idea" of it. The romanticizing of it. The perceived enjoyment of it. The feeling of being part of the party - which is stupid because I was just sitting at a table with my family. Maybe it was the anticipation of it or the sophisticated , grown up feeling I get when drinking, somehow drinking makes me feel important - like it inflates my ego - like I'm more cool or something....or maybe, just maybe, it is as simple as - I am feeding my addiction which feels good.

I found myself thinking about alcohol most of the vacation, but not in an anxiety attack, intense craving sort of way which I thought was going to be the case. It was more of a curious, what would have I been doing right now, how would have it changed the situation if I was drinking sort of way. I also noticed that my thoughts were not being ruled by - where is a liquor store, is it late enough in the day to have a beer, when are we eating and do they serve alcohol, will the kids get mad if we stop at Whistler and have a beer, would it be really bad to have a Bloody Mary in the airport at 10:00 in the morning, can I sneak of with my dh to drink so the kids don't see me, will everyone judge me if I buy some wine, will my kids get mad if they have to drive even though they aren't on the rental contract, is it ok to drink as it is vacation and I will just start over when I get back, etc.  My brain was a lot quieter and calmer on this trip. I felt a little less selfish and willing to be open to what everyone else wanted to do.

I definitely know being with my kids helped. I want to make them proud of me. They know how hard I have worked at my sobriety this summer and would have been sad for me if I would have drank. I am proud of myself. I didn't want to let myself down. I wanted to be proud of myself as well. Instead of coming home feeling like an emotional wreck, exhausted and ignoring everything I needed to do, I came home, got a ton done, got a lot of sleep and am ready to go back to work tomorrow. I DEFINITELY  have less anxiety when I maintain my sobriety.