signs signs everywhere signs.

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I kinda like horoscopes. I don’t read mine religiously by any means or take it very seriously, but I’ve always felt somewhat connected to my sign (Gemini- the “twin” sign, which I have always taken to mean dual personalities or being of “two minds”. Makes sense in light of addiction, doesn’t it?) and I’ve had fun interpreting the predictions and making sense of them. About a year ago I came across this horoscope, and I have kept it on my dresser ever since-

   Ray LaMontagne sings these lyrics in his tune “Empty”: “I looked my demons in the eyes. Laid bare my chest and said, ‘Do your best to destroy me. I’ve been to hell and back so many times, I must admit you kind of bore me.'”  I wouldn’t be opposed to you delivering a message like that to your own demons, Gemini- with one caveat: Leave out the “Do your best to destroy me” part. Simply peer into the glazed eyes of those shabby demons and say, “You bore me and I’m done with you. Bye bye.” And then walk away from them for good.

Isn’t that good? I’m sure you all can relate to those words, gemini or not. The thing that gets me about this maddening cycle of drinking is- one the one hand, I’m afraid my life will be “boring” without drinking alcohol, but, maintaining the cycle of drinking, being hungover, and hating myself for it, is literally the most boring thing I can think of. I think what keeps me in it is that I’m afraid to see what life is like without booze- sure maybe it will be a little bit quieter, a little more calmer, less rollercoasterish on a day to day basis, but what about all of the amazing things I will be able to do now that I am not drunk or hungover? I think part of me is afraid of failure. At least when I’m boozing I have an excuse not to do something great with my life and try to achieve all my goals. But sober? What if I’m not so great after all? What if I still don’t achieve what I want to do… what’s my excuse then? 

Wait. I’m having a lightbulb moment: I just realized that those thoughts about risking failure are wolfie too. The inner saboteur. Well played, wolfie, well played. But, I’m on to you…

Listen up, wolfie: You bore me and I’m done with you. Bye Bye.

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triggers.

I don’t know why I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about triggers. I think that because I’ve been an almost daily drinker for so long that I figured I don’t really have specific triggers- unless, of course, you count everything as a trigger. I do recall having a conversation with a counsellor once about it and my list of triggers was something like: friday and saturday night; or just 6pm on any given night; sunshine; rainy days; being social; being alone; being sad; being happy… so, pretty much any emotion, event, circumstance or situation. Great. How am I supposed to avoid EVERYTHING. Seems pretty overwhelming so perhaps that’s why I haven’t given it too much thought.

But I’ve had 6 days sober in a row now, and I’m feeling pretty strong and determined, and I haven’t really felt much like drinking. I’ve also had to take the bus across town to my new job for the last 4 days, and I’ve had some time to think. I’ve started to hone in on the times when drinking starts to seem like a good idea, or when wolfie starts to bark. Beyond the usual witching hour (which I think can just be attributed plain and simply to habit), the moments when I’ve thought about drinking have definitely been in connection to some kind of emotional pain. A couple of days this week I’ve been stressed out at work and I can feel this pressure building up inside of me. I’ve just started a new job, and it’s busy, fast-paced, & serious. I’m new and I’m learning the ropes and I have a lot of responsibility. A few times my confidence has been shaken. Almost immediately my mind has gone to thinking about drinking- wolfie tells me that alcohol will relieve the pressure. I’ve been observing my mind with some kind of a distance and luckily this week I’ve been able to notice what happens and also tell myself that there are other ways- healthier, happier and more effective ways- to deal with stress and difficult emotions. And, here’s the kicker, it’s worked. I’ve managed my stress in other ways. I’ve read sober blogs (this is a big one right now for me), I’ve talked to friends, I’ve watched shows, I’ve read, I’ve stretched, I’ve gotten outside, I’ve cooked, I’ve eaten (well and not so well). I’ve drank a lot of tea. I’ve gone to bed early.

Is this what “normal” people do? I’ve never really wanted to be normal. Sounds kinda boring to me. But maybe normies are on to something, after all. (I use the word “normal” in jest, really, I don’t really believe in the concept).

Right now what is also keeping me from drinking is that I am so fucking tired of the cycle of drinking drinking drinking hungover hungover hungover quit quit quit repeat repeat repeat… I just don’t think I have it in me anymore. I am so tired of wasting days being hungover. I am so tired of being disappointed in myself. I am so tired of watching myself slowly become unhealthy sluggish depressed. Something had to give. I’ve tried many times to get sober over the last year and a half or so. Thats when I really started to try to quit. I had tried to moderate before and stopped for little periods of time but never with the intention of quitting for good. About a year and a half ago I started to take it a bit more seriously and look for help. I’ve read so many books on the subject of addiction, been to AA meetings, been to SMART recovery meetings, talked to counsellors, etc…

But you know, a person isn’t going to quit until they are really really ready to. And it’s different for everyone. I know that for the last year and a half I’ve been searching for what is going to work for me; what my path to recovery is. And I am really starting to feel like I’m on to something here. I don’t want to get ahead of myself and I’m not closing off any other options, but I do feel that sober blogging is something big for me. I feel a part of something here, even though I’ve only just begun. Reading peoples blogs every morning has been so inspiring to me and I want what others are writing about. I am catching glimpses of it- seeing more clearly, feeling less tired, sick and depressed, getting excited and curious about the possibilities of my life sober.

What’s interesting to me that it took me about a year and a half to quit smoking for good… I quit almost 9 years ago and it was a similar battle. I tried lots of different ways and eventually one way worked (reading Allan Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking- but I had to read it twice). What’s similar is that when I actually quit smoking I wanted to quit SO BAD. I was so tired of stopping and starting and pretty much just fed up and disgusted with myself. When I was really mentally ready to quit, I actually found it fairly easy. I got myself in the right mind frame. And I think that’s what is happening with quitting drinking too, it’s about getting yourself in the right mindset (kicking wolfie right out of the brain) so that quitting seems like the bestest and most desirable solution. I know Allan Carr has a stop drinking book, I’ve read it and it worked for a bit… but to me drinking and smoking are very different vices. So with drinking I know that I actually need some kind of social and community support with it. Anyways, this is a long post, so I’ll stop now. I’m just happy to be here and have found other people going through the same thing as me. And I just wanted to share that it’s possible to manage moods, stress, and triggers in other ways. Yay!

 

reasons.

I thought I would write about my motivation to get and stay sober so that I can refer back to it when I am having a tough time.
Mostly, I am just sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. Because I can not seem to stop at one or two drinks, I constantly feel like shit in the morning. So here’s my list:

1. To feel good in the morning
2. To get a good nights sleep
3. To stop taking Advil every night and morning- surely this is not good for my liver on top of all the alcohol.
4. To have more energy
5. So I can be healthier
6. I will get more exercise if I’m not drinking or hungover
7. To practice more yoga – either in the morning or the evening
8. To free up more time to pursue interests
9. To read more in the evening
10. So I can meditate in the morning
11. To feel good about myself, like I’m finally in control
12. To improve my mental health- alcohol is a depressant and I already struggle with depression and anxiety
13. I will eat healthier as I won’t crave junk and greasy food like I do when I’m drinking or hungover
14. To improve restless leg syndrome
15. I will save money
16. I will be able to lose weight easier
17. I will look better (less bags under the eyes and puffy skin)
18. I will be a better role model for my stepson
19. I will remember things I do and say
20. I will stop drunk texting
21. I will feel less shame and more integrity
22. To be more creative
23. To re-connect with my spirituality
24. To re-commit to my life’s purpose
25. To feel more clear headed
26. My memory will improve
27. To become more skilled in my work
27. To not feel like a hypocrite
28. To learn how to deal with my emotions in a healthy way
29. To feel more joy
30. To not feel nauseous anymore
31. So I won’t feel like I am wasting my life
32. To be happier
33. To be more productive
34. To reach my goals in life
35. To use my brain for other things besides thinking about drinking
36. To be proud of myself
37. To eventually serve and help others who are struggling
38. To feel like I am the best version of myself
39. To feel more sane
40. To live more honestly

spring has sprung.

What better time to start a new challenge than a seasonal change?

Right?

I’m not going to dwell on the reasons I am back at square one, except to say, it’s not a very good idea for me to go to an italian restaurant, a restaurant that I have always loved to drink red wine at, especially on a day that has been very long and tiring, when I am early on in sobriety. Old habits die hard. Frink.

I realize, that yet again, I did not really employ any “tools” to keep me sober. I knew that I shouldn’t have gone to the restaurant. But it was with my husband and his son, and it’s been kind of our thing to go to this restaurant together; it’s our favourite. I’m not very good at saying NO. But I’m going to have to get better. The only way I can think to stay sober, in the beginning, is to avoid some of these kind of situations. It also occurred to me that I don’t really have a toolbox of ways to help me stay sober. I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about actual things that I can do so I thought I would take a minute and write a list of things that I can do- some have been suggested to me (thanks Belle- and I’m sorry that I don’t know how to link yet but I will learn!).

My List of Staying Sober Tools

1. read sober blogs

2. write a sober blog post

3. email Belle or a sober blogger

4. deep breathing/meditation/’install’ positive sober feelings

5. yoga

6. eat something (start with fruit/nuts, and move on to the heavier stuff if needed)

7. listen to music/dance

8. watch a movie/tv show/documentary

9. go for a walk or run or do a workout video

10. take a bath

11. go for a swim/hot tub at the local pool

12. read a book in bed

13. clean something

14. go for a drive- go to the library, a book store, a coffee/tea shop, shopping etc…

15. call a friend or family member

16. zendoodle, make art

17. cry

18. make a cup of tea or some other drink

19. pray

20. go to a meeting

21. learn how to play the piano (or keyboard which is what we have)

22. play a video game on my phone

23. cook/bake something

24. write in a gratitude journal

What are some other good ideas? This list is a work in progress…

Continue reading

more beginnings.

I’ve had three Day One’s in the last week. It has not been pretty. I’ve begun to realize that because there is going to be a LAST Day One, I may as well start now. How much more convincing myself do I need that I have a problem with alcohol? I mean, really. In the last few years, I have read a gazillion books on addiction, I have sought counselling (a few times), I have checked out in-person and online recovery meetings, I have bought yoga and recovery dvd’s, I have mediated on it, I have followed and read websites and blogs about being sober, and I have started my own blog about it. And yet, sometimes I actually still doubt that I really need to stop drinking! This is insanity. Actually no… this is addiction, isn’t it? There’s that saying that goes, “it you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve already got”, or something like that. I’m quite confident that I could continue this pattern of drinking, reading and surfing recovery and sober resources (and not actually applying them), stopping for a bit, starting again, repeat… for the rest of my life. My drinking- if I continue it- is never going to suddenly change for the better. However what will change is that my mind will become less and less clear, my body will deteriorate, my personality will dim, and my purpose will vanish. You get the picture. Alcohol would be slowly killing me. It is slowly killing me. My spirit in the very least, but I know it’s negatively impacting all parts of me.

I was writing to Belle that wolfie has been eerily quiet the last two or three days. Every so often I get so sick of drinking, so tired of the struggle, that the desire to drink actually goes away. It’s rare, but it happens sometimes. That’s where I am right now. I’m on Day 3 today. I started a new job yesterday and I am refusing to drink during this time. I need to be clearheaded in my work. It is an absolute truth that if I want to succeed in my work (and I believe that my work is one of my purposes of being on this crazy planet) that I need to stop drinking.

I only have a few followers but I already feel the support from the sobersphere, it is truly amazing. This is what I’ve been feeling like I’ve been missing all these years when I’ve tried to quit. So, to more beginnings, here we go…

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