Note to self

Woke up alcohol free this morning again and I love it.  Love the way coffee tastes first thing in the morning.  Love feeling clear-minded at 6am.  I even swear that my face looks less puffy and I actually feel pretty this morning.  I don’t have much time to write, so I just wanted to document how peaceful I feel this morning.  I want the future, still-sober-but-doubting-me, who may be going though a low or a challenge…I want her to read this and know that I’m sure there are many, many more moments like this in the future and that the good, peaceful, truly enjoyable parts of living sober will grow and that I just need to hold on long enough to get through the muck, whatever it may be.

I have so many, many things inside my mind right now that it would take 10 computers and 100 blogs to sort them out.  But that’s okay.  I’ll sort them out.  I’ve drank my emotions in to submission for so long they’re bound to rebel a bit, especially in the near future.  And thank goodness they’re at bay this morning.  It feels good to genuinely smile about nothing in particular at all.  Remember that feeling of waking up as a kid, and just loving the way the morning looks and smells, and feeling the excitement in anticipation for the day?  I’m there right now.  And alcohol couldn’t do this if it tried. Nice.

An alcohol-free life is worth living.

Friday

Couldn’t sleep last night.  I drank coffee in the evening, then had some sweets and I think this kept me awake. So I listened to bubble hour episodes with my headphones on until I fell asleep. Got about 7 hours sleep…not bad. Today I have that same groggy sugar-hangover…yesterday it seemed to go away with a few glasses of water so I’ll do the same today.

I know that being alcohol-free is the right decision. Everything else I am going to figure out along the way.  I still haven’t told anyone yet.  I’m not sure who there really is to tell.  Unlike the women who’s blogs I read, I’m not married so I don’t have a husband to tell.  My family lives thousands of miles away and I see them about once per year…no need to make any announcing phone calls to them right now.  And my children…they know that I’ve drank too much and they like it better when I don’t drink but we really don’t talk about it directly…we talk about almost everything else though.  I think I want to keep my long-term intentions to myself for now and get on a firm footing with it before I have a “talk” with my kids.  I’m not sure I want to make my burden their burden.   I’m hoping that as I continue to be alcohol-free, that people will get used to it, including me, and it will be part of my new identity.  I’m quickly seeing that I won’t be spending as much time around the same people as I have been…each of my closest friends are drinkers.  I think at some point in the next month or so I will have a talk with each of them.  I don’t know how it will go, or who will remain in my life and to what degree each of them will remain in my life.  I do know that I won’t subject myself to uncomfortable situations on a regular basis.  Maybe some of my friends will come out with me for coffee, or a hike?  Maybe we will drift apart and I’ll make new friends…maybe a little of both?  Only time will tell.  I just know that I have to accept people’s reactions to my alcohol-free lifestyle, and continue to do what’s right for me and my family.

I’m really liking life without alcohol.  Without hangovers, night terrors, poor sleep, blackouts and remorse.  But my mind is all over the place too…I wonder how I will go on dates and not drink?  What will I say?  Somehow, I think that whoever is the right person for me they’ll just have to like the sober-me, or move on.  I feel okay in my own bubble here…at my home, my work, the gym, etc.  I’m trying to stay in that little area of my life right now while I’m in the “early days”.  As I become stronger and confident in how to live sober, hopefully I’ll figure it out…how to live a full life (whatever that means) alcohol-free.

Off to work for 10 hours…

Jenn

Today

Today I am alcohol free for a week…and it’s my first day without sugar.  I was kind of wavering on the idea of giving up sugar at the same time with all the advise to just kick the drink first…but I hate the way I feel after I eat sugar and pasta…anyhow, since yesterday was a holiday, I decided to indulge last night in cake and candy for the new year…and I could really feel it this morning. It’s hard to describe a sugar hangover.  I woke up thinking…why does anyone HAVE to “drink” or for that matter “eat” (for me it’s usually overeat) to celebrate?   I know that sugar cravings and alcohol addiction are somehow related and honestly I’d just rather not be on that roller coaster if I can help it. I don’t know if everyone who has been addicted to alcohol experiences the same ups and downs with sugar…but it can be pretty wicked. The way I crave sugar reminds me of how I was with wine.  I think the wine met some kind of need for sugar and now that I’m not drinking, I crave sugar more…it’s a catch 22 and right now I can’t tell if I’m craving sugar or alcohol…I don’t really want either and I’m feeling kind of all over the place…I’m accepting that it’s going to be this way for a period of time while my body heals.  All I know is that I’m definitely feeling 500 % better physically, but mentally I’m kind of up and down.

So I’m using my day off today to shop, food prep and plan for the week’s meals for my family, and for my lunches, etc.  I’m also planning my fitness (mostly in the mornings) and trying to keep my work and responsibility routine pretty steady…I’m feeling okay right now, but I know that I could become a ball of emotion at any moment (I think it’s the PAWS) so it helps to know that I’ve got the essentials planned and taken care of in case I need free time for extra rest, or to take a walk or a hot bath (instead of a glass of wine).

Jenn

Success

Rang in the new year alcohol-free. I went to a gathering where I’d normally be expected to drink. I said I didn’t want to drink because I was driving (I’m still not ready to “announce” my decision to the public.  I’m still privately working out how and when I’ll tell various people)…I made some awesome AF cocktails with fresh lemons from Mexico and Fresca sugar-free soda water…I was suprised to find a couple other non-drinkers there.  Guess I never noticed the non-drinkers before.  I also noticed how hard it is to talk to people who’ve been drinking…they stop making sense and repeat themselves alot…I’m feeling blessed that I’m seeing the alcohol for what it is, and I pray that I can keep this perspective as I figure out how to navigate my world alcohol-free.  Anyway, I visited for about 1.5 hours then left…it felt nice to not worry about driving.

I spent the evening with my daughter and I truly enjoyed myself. We made candy, cooked homemade soup, skyped family and watched some television.  Tonight I didn’t miss my wine.  It felt odd not to drink, but I didn’t miss it.  I hope I can have a few more nights like this.

Happy New Year!

Jenn

Ugly

I think I should be thinking about all of the profound reasons to be alcohol free….my family, my emotional stability, finances, etc.  So…I was reading this article about how alcohol is really not as good for you as doctors and people in general say it is…and it continues about how alcohol is just a legal and socially acceptable drug and not some wonder-medicine/beverage(I have come to agree with this…so I didn’t find it earth shattering)…Then I read on, and the article was actually authored by a plastic surgeon who was detailing how badly a wine habit seemed to profoundly age women physically with lines, discoloration, puffiness, etc.  The article went into all of the scientific stuff about collagen breakdown, and how women’s faces age when we tax our liver, etc. etc.  The doctor even sited his own statistics on the women he’s operated on. And I thought, “Wait…you mean wine is making me UGLY and OLD???”  I got this mental picture of my liver working overtime, of the overeating I do when I drink, of the lack of quality sleep, the stress, the internal daily battle…then I looked in the mirror and saw some little lines, a little puffiness…It might sound like I’m vain and on the way to the plastic surgeon (something I will likely never ever do)…but really I can see the beginnings…just the beginnings of that “look” that I’ve seen on the faces of women who drink too much.  I hate that look.  It’s not a look that says “I’ve got these lines that tell a story of motherhood, courage, of life…etc”…NO…It’ not a graceful aging look…It’s a look that screams of years of self-abuse.  Suddenly I could see the faces of the women customers I used to have when I worked at the bank…the ones who didn’t look their ages…(at the bank, we had to check the ID age of each customer against how old they appeared in an effort to authenticate the ID)..anyway…I remember how I would sometimes see a woman who looked 70 and her ID would say 47 or 53…(the exact numbers aren’t important)…It amazed me that someone could age like that from alcohol, drugs, smoking, etc…Back to now…I caught myself thinking about how ugly alcohol was making me…or could make me.  Of course…alcohol threatens me with death, financial ruin, emotional turmoil and I just say “bottoms-up” for another couple of years….then, “boom” I realize it’s making me ugly and I stop in my tracks and I think, “OK, now you don’t know who you’re messing with.  I draw the line at extra wrinkles and broken blood vessels…I won’t let wine make me UGLY”

It’s more than just the surface-UGLY, it’s how, this time…I felt absolutely awful for the first couple of days after my last binge.  Not just a regular-awful where I could say, “oh my, I had quite the bad hangover….ha ha ha I think I’ll have another glass of wine someday soon”…NO…this was more like a “Wow, I’ve done fucked up my insides and they are trying feverishly to rid my body of this poison because my organs are trying to do their job and keep me alive and healthy”.  Of course my detoxing insides were fighting with my wine-brain..which I think was saying, “what…where’s my wine…give me wine…go to the store and get wine…wine makes you smart and funny, wine relaxes you, you deserve wine, Benjamin Franklin drank wine (yes that really did pop into my mind LOL)…wine..wine..wine.).  Yes.  Withdrawing is an ugly place.  Addiction is ugly.  I don’t want to be controlled by a substance.

I think I’m breaking up with my wine…so…like an ex-boyfriend, who suddenly isn’t attractive anymore…I guess it helps to think about how ugly and bad for me it really is.

Today my physical symptoms seem gone, except for some tiredness…It seems to really be helping to exercise and eat healthy (for me that’s avoiding sugar and processed foods and eating stuff that will heal me and give me energy).

I’m off for my morning power-walk..then off to work.  It really does help to blog here…I look forward to writing my blog and to reading everyone else’s.

Jenn

Determined, hopeful, scattered, alcohol free

Lot’s going on in my mind right now.  Been listening to the bubble hour for at least an hour a day, and reading sober blogs. Also reading Jason Vale’s Kick the Drink and now reading Anthony Robbins, “Awake the Giant Within”.  I’ve decided to life alcohol free and I’m feeling secure in my decision personally…I mean I’ve been wrestling with the idea for almost a year now.  Before, I wanted to live free of the consequences of alcohol, but I hadn’t completely committed to living alcohol free.  I thought I could just go long stretches without drinking, then have a few, and be okay.  I think I’ve known better for a while, but I was just holding on to this little hope that I could drink normally.

But, that was never really the case.  In the past 3 years, I haven’t wanted to drink “normally”, whatever that is.  I’ve wanted to drink until I either ran out of wine or passed out. I’ve wanted to want to drink normally.  I’ve even wanted to want to quit.  I’m lucky that I’m okay…at least I think I am.  Which brings me to what’s going on with me now.

My last drink was on Christmas.  By “drink” I mean a lot. I sipped on wine at 10am while my kids opened presents.  I felt horrible guilt, and even joked about my glass of wine out loud. I’m not normally a 10 am drinker.  By 11 am some of my neighbors were drinking Christmas cheer…”yes!”, I thought, “some partners in crime”… I started to feel normal…no scratch that…I didn’t feel normal.  I knew the whole time that I was a fraud and it was awful.  When I joined my neighbors, I was just happy I could hide behind their Christmas imbibing for a while and get drunk. Two hours later,  I took a nap.  Woke up and went to a show with my family, where I drank a bottle of wine.  Sadly, that’s really not that much for me to drink.  Not anymore.  I came home and the same neighbors were still drinking.  I drank some vodka and cranberry.  My daughter went to bed and my other daughter went out with friends. I continued drinking with the neighbors and I don’t remember walking home and falling asleep on my couch.  Woke up again a few hours later and drank one more strong vodka and juice drink.  Slept again. Woke up feeling badly. Was glad I didn’t have to work.  I crawled up to bed…head cloudy and pounding.  I slept horribly.  Woke up feeling defeated. I am either going to live alcohol free, or pay a very high price.   My next thought is, “yeah right, you’ve tried this before, by 3pm you’ll be looking forward to that afternoon glass of wine…scary.

The day after Christmas we were watching documentaries on life in North Korea (we are history and politic buffs)…at one point my 15 year old looks over at me (keep in mind, I was sure to shower, put on my face, have my coffee and at least outwardly hide my hungover self.  My daughter may have an inkling something’s wrong, I don’t know.  We were sitting in the living room talking politics.  I was hoping that she didn’t know how hungover I felt. I was having my usual conflicting thoughts.)  Anyway, during the documentary, she looks at me and says (speaking of imprisoned North Koreans that are cut off from internet, society, cell phones, news, etc), ” They don’t even know what they are missing, they don’t have a concept of freedom”…and I said, “how horrible that someone is enslaved, but they don’t even know they are enslaved…in their world they think they’re making choices when they’re really just slaves.”  BAM.  The realization hit me so profoundly that I could barely breath…I am not controlling this.  I am a slave.  And if I drink, at all, ever, I am choosing slavery. Slavery to an addition.  There is no middle ground.  There is no “controlled social drinking”.  That’s a game.  That’s me playing with fire. Game over.  I want to be free.

After this last binge, I have felt itchy, irritable, tired, had muscle spasms in my feet, my face is breaking out.  Holy, moly, I am physically withdrawing unlike I ever have before. My thoughts and emotions are all over the place. I have to keep it together at  work, but at home I’m treating myself to good food, plenty of liquids, vitamins, and moderate exercise (I want to succeed this time so I’m trashing that “self-punishment” mentality that I’ve had for so long.)  I can just feel my body trying to finish expelling this poison.   I wonder if I’ve damaged my liver or some other internal body part?  Will I recover, or will I find that I’ll feel like this indefinitely…maybe I ruined my brain with all that wine and vodka?

I worry that since anyone who can read my blog can see that I’ve struggled with this for the past 9 months…I worry that people may think that I take this lightly, or that I think I have a million chances at life…and to a degree that is the heart of the problem here…I have been cavalier with something as deadly as addiction.  Is it not cavalier to drink, knowing it won’t turn out well?  Knowing it costs money?  Knowing it rots my insides?  Knowing it makes me dumb, knowing it shrinks my brain, ruins my skin, makes me look old, robs me of motivation and conviction, masks things that need to be handled not hidden, stunts emotional growth, and ultimately enslaves…it is insanity that I’ve faced these realities and still tried to go down fighting…still tried a few last bouts of “controlled drinking”.  The fact that I’ve even thought this way feels foolish when I type it out.  Sorry for such a long post, and for all my foolish rambling.  Even if it’s not making sense to anyone else…it’s helping me.

I’m not going to watch my football game in my usual spot because there will be lots of alcohol there.  I’m sure there are people somewhere that like the things I do, but don’t drink a gallon of wine while doing them.  I need to find those people.