broken records.

I must remind myself that this is all part of the journey. I’ve barely been able to think about writing a blog post this past week as I’ve been struggling to maintain sobriety. I know I start this blog to document my struggles and this includes the ups and the downs, but I just couldn’t stand to report that I’d had to reset back to Day One twice in the past week. “Back to Day One again”… I sound like a broken record. And who likes broken records?

But, I know that there’s value in this. I don’t want to sound like a broken record and this is the point. I want to finally surpass this broken cycle and heal those deeply carved grooves in the soundtrack of my mind.

So, I must continue to document. I read Sunny Sanguinity’s post today about “blogging like no one was reading” and the value of trying to be more honest on her blog (I love that expression, BTW. My husband and I travelled in India earlier this year and we thought the tag line for India should be “India- Eat like no one is watching”. The food was beyond amazing! We stuffed ourselves silly).

It’s a bit of a negotiation, isn’t it? Trying to decide what to put out there. When I think about what I wrote in my drinking story, I realize how much I just skimmed on the surface of my story. I didn’t talk about how, at my worst, I hid alcohol from my husband and family. The stupid, dangerous things I have done drunk. Or the many nights- and days- I have spent vomiting and not being able to keep anything down because of binging, the times I haven’t been able to go to work because I was hungover, or the friend I lost to an overdose at the height of our partying days.

Essentially these sober blogs are for our own healing, yet, the public nature of them gives it double meaning as we are also writing for an audience, perhaps for the audience’s own possibilities of healing. I think there is a lot to be said for recognizing ourselves in another. I know the blogs I read give me hope, comfort, inspiration and make me feel less alone in my suffering. And I find that in the honesty of the writing.

While I’m not proud that I have had two more Day One’s in the last week, I am proud that I keep trying. I know that I will figure this out with time. Last night, a Friday night, I was sitting alone at home thinking how amazing it was that I was sober! It would have been so easy to pop to the liquor store and get a bottle of wine. There is strength in me somewhere that wants to do this. I think it’s because I am starting to finally realize that any life sober is going to be better than the life I was living caught in that nasty drinking cycle. I am not going to stop giving up. I miss myself too much.

I know it’s going to be hard. But I read other blogs and see that I will be able to enjoy sunny BBQ’s again, road trips, vacations, holidays, dinner parties, and perhaps even some dancing, sober. I miss that carefreeness of my youth and early adulthood and I think I am still connecting it to my partying days. I need to rewrite the story and focus on how the activities themselves, not the booze, gave me feelings of joy and freedom. And I think a tool for my sobriety is continuing to write this blog, even when I can’t stand to see what comes out. Then I can re-read old entries and remind myself, when my selective amnesia kicks in, why I don’t want to go back to drinking.

Happy Saturday!

recovery 2.0 ‘n things

Day 3 today. I came down with a little bit of the flu yesterday so I haven’t been feeling so hot- but- I’m sober and that is awesome. I can’t believe I had 20 days before and I had spent most of that feeling soo good. The last week of it got really hard and then I had a spectacularly bad day and that was it. So, not only do I need ways to cope with triggers and stress, I also need ways to cope when the bad shit happens. Like traumas and crises and those kinds of things. My gut instinct is that I need to do something really physical as soon as possible. Normally, I would say that talking to a loved one would work, but for a while now I’ve been feeling that talking isn’t always enough. Because stress and trauma can impact and affect our nervous system and muscles and such, I think it needs to be worked out of our physical and physiological selves too. It’s all connected, right?

This brings me to another thing I wanted to write about. I’ve been into yoga on and off for about a dozen years. I’ve always found it is a great way to centre and ground myself. Last year, around this time, I stumbled across this conference online called Recovery 2.0. It is a free online conference that focusses on addiction and healing, and it incorporates some traditional methods (12-step) with other recovery methods like yoga and meditation. It’s founder is a guy named Tommy Rosen who is a yoga teacher in California and who got sober over 20 years ago. He is awesome. I took a class taught by him last summer and he is a very sweet, very compassionate dude. He’s doing all this stuff- these recovery conferences, writing a book, and he hosts an online meeting every Tuesday night on InTheRooms.

There’s a whole bunch of people out there who are connecting addiction recovery to other ways than AA. This is not to bash AA in anyway, it’s just to augment it. I don’t go to AA (but I’m not discounting it- I may end up there one day!), but the addition of yoga and meditation to my recovery really resonates with me. In the least, I find listening to other people’s stories and what works for them, particularly those who use yoga, inspiring. Maybe you will too?

He has some different speakers lined up for this conference, but a few of the same. I really like Rolf Gates, whose book, Meditations on the Mat, I have owned for many years. Dr. Gabor Mate is also a very interesting speaker with some great ideas about addiction among other issues. Nikki Myers is a good one too. The conference is May 3-7 and it’s free to stream each speaker/interview for 24 hours.

http://recovery2point0.com

 

my drinking story.

I had my first drink when I was 11 years old. I used to sneak out of the house with friends, armed with little jars of stolen booze from our parent’s liquor cabinets, and we’d run the streets. I wanted to be someone else. I always wanted to be older than I was, and in some ways, I had to grow up quicker than my peers. My father died when I was a girl. So, like many children who lose a parent, I contemplated the meaning of life and the reality of death when I should have been playing with barbies. Because my father committed suicide, I also felt abandoned, unworthy, and alone. An undercurrent of these feelings have been with me to varying degrees ever since he died and I know have contributed to my alcohol use.

I partied throughout high school, like many teenagers do, drinking whatever I could get my hands on, experimenting with drugs. I pretty much stopped doing drugs and was just a regular drinker after high school. I still hung out with the party crowds but I never considered that I had a problem. I drank- often to excess- just like everyone else I knew. I was young and free and would spend nights discussing politics, society, and spirituality with my friends, singing along to Joni Mitchell or Paul Simon on the stereo. Alcohol uninhibited me. I travelled, I loved and lost, I wrote poetry, and I devoured the world as I came of age in this time.

I met someone and we moved to a foreign country together. He was romantic, artistic, worldly, and wild, and a very heavy drinker. I always say we fell in love on red wine, not taking much notice that he would often drink it in the morning too. After some time his drinking began to impact our relationship in many negative ways, and I realized that he was an alcoholic. He said he would never quit drinking. I high-tailed it out of there. I did not think I had a problem with alcohol at this time.

I moved back home but to a different city. I re-connected with old friends who had gotten into house music, warehouse parties (raving), dj-ing, and lots of hard partying. I entered that world. Drugs found their way back into my life. Partying was a lifestyle for us. It was constant.

I first realized that I might have a problem about 10 years ago. I was living in another country for a short time (5 months) for a contract and I was completely alone, really for the first time in my life. Before this, I was always surrounded with friends or in relationships. I rarely spent any time alone. I noticed that I was drinking wine every evening. I would tell myself  ‘okay, no wine tonight’, but I would always find my way to the liquor store in the evening. It was the first time in my life that I was drinking alone. I think it was to fill this lonely void that had been created when my Dad passed.

I came back home and was single. And so, this kind of drinking continued for me. Slowly the big party ended. I mostly stopped going out partying a few years ago as I settled down more with my partner, have become more serious about my career, focussed on my health (right!), and I went back to school. I couldn’t have benders like I used to. Most of my friends started to have kids so our social scene has changed dramatically. My friends still drink and party on the weekends sometimes. But due to families and careers, it is nothing like what it used to be.

The party was over, yet I kept drinking, almost everyday, at home. I often think that it’s funny how it kind of snuck up on me. I ended a relationship because of someone else’s drinking and yet I ended up with a drinking problem. They say it’s progressive. That’s the part that scares me. I’ve seen how my drinking went from social (and from binges) to a constant thing I’ve had to do almost everyday. I now drink for many other “reasons” than loneliness. I drink because of any emotion, event, or situation. I drink because it’s 6pm. I drink for any or no reason at all. And of course, the quantity has increased. Back when I first thought I had a “problem” 10 years ago, I would never drink more than half a bottle of wine by myself. Now I’m lucky if I can leave any in the bottle. Plus a couple of vodka or a scotch or two some nights. There is no way I can continue this kind of behaviour if I want to have a good life. I spend my days feeling depressed, dehydrated, and in a fog and in pain when I am drinking.

The journey to sobriety has been a helluva ride to say the least. I’m back to Day One. And it sucks. I got really triggered last week during a very difficult incident at work. I still haven’t worked out how I’m going to cope when really bad or stressful things happen. That is the next thing for me to figure out.

A big shout out to Primrose to reaching out to me, and of course to Belle, our sober warrior, who is always there without fail.

 

 

i feel it in my bones and i can’t do it alone.

That’s not the name of this song, it called ‘Step’ and it’s by Vampire Weekend. I was driving home tonight and the sun was setting and it was one of those beautiful yellow orange pink sky sunsets and the mountains were lit up and this song was playing on the stereo and the chorus where he sings the lyrics “I feel it in my bones’ and later on ‘I can’t do it alone” resonated with me and I was thinking about being sober and had real hope that I can do this sober thing- I thought, I feel this in my bones, and one thing I know is that I can’t do this thing alone. Thanks for being there.

Enjoy.

fake it til you make it.

I have to admit that the last 2 weeks have been kind of easy for me. I’ve had moments where I’ve wanted to drink but overall I’ve been really positive and optimistic and have found ways to distract myself and get over cravings.

Until last night. I don’t know what happened but I just desperately wanted to drink. I went out for dinner with a friend (I choose a sushi restaurant because I know they have crap wine and I wouldn’t be as tempted to drink) and all night I was so distracted and heady. I just didn’t feel like myself. I felt socially awkward. With one of my best friends. I couldn’t stand it. It made me think though about how much I probably used alcohol as a social lubricant. I’ve been thinking lately about how I’m probably more of an introvert, who tends to be outgoing, than an extrovert. I like people and socializing, and in my family I’ve always been the “social butterfly”… but really I tend to be quite internal and at times socializing actually takes a significant amount of energy for me. Especially sober. Which is probably why I’ve drank as much as I have in the past.

I’ve always hung out with very social people and been part of very lively party crowds. Among friends, I tend to be the quieter one and the one who appears to have her shit together (haha). I’ve always been told that I have a “calming” or grounding presence. Not many people know about the chaos that often lives inside of me. My best friends are very very outgoing and social people- life of the party types- while I’ve always been more of the sidekick. I think that I’ve always secretly judged myself to these friends and felt that they are more “fun” than me; that people like them more. I think I’ve used alcohol and drugs to try to compensate for this inner-felt inadequacy. Alcohol and drugs allowed me to forget myself and my inhibitions and become more outgoing, funny, carefree, and cool. I think I have an ingrained belief that I am not good enough as I am- a bit quieter, calmer, introspective. I’ve always tended to surround myself with very outgoing people who bring out the more outgoing side of me. It’s not that I’m super shy and reserved, in fact, I’m pretty sociable and outgoing for an introvert. It’s just that I’m not like most of my friends. I’m not the life of the party and I hate being the centre of attention. I enjoy being with one person or a smaller group of people that I know well instead of a big party. I like meeting new people, but I have to be int he right mood, and it takes me a while to form lasting relationships. I prefer having a handfuls of close friends opposed to large groups of people I only know on the surface.

Anyways I’m not sure why I’m writing about all of this. I suppose it’s just part of me figuring out why I drank and what’s hard about giving it up. Alcohol and drugs allowed me into a different world for quite a long time- a big fun hedonistic party world. But then that world stopped becoming fun and I stopped knowing how to be myself, or to be by myself, without the booze. It became normal for me to know myself as the drinker and I started to forget who I was.

So I don’t feel comfortable without the booze anymore. That’s why it’s hard to be sober. I don’t feel comfortable being myself.

Yet.

It’s uncomfortable and it’s hard and I don’t know how to be me without booze all the time. So I’m going to fake it til I make it.

the tipping point.

the tipping point.

I’ve always loved Anais Nin and her writing. She had a special kind of insight into the soul. When I was younger I used to read her journals and imagine myself as her, writing and loving and living creatively. This quote has always been one of my favourites. Someone else posted a quote the other day that reminds me of this Nin quote. Basically that one will become sober when not being sober just becomes too painful. I think we all have our own tipping points. Maybe that is a better expression than “hitting bottom”. I know that there are different kind of bottoms (high and low and rock) but at the same time I’ve always struggled with the concept. I’ve never been totally convinced that I’ve reached one. I can see how wolfie and the addiction never lets me believe that I have hit a bottom. And not feeling as though I’ve reached a hard bottom is something that has kept me drinking.

But tipping point is something that resonates with me a bit more. I’ve reached that point where continuing to drink is much more painful than staying sober. Staying locked in the cycle (tight in the bud) and what I will risk losing in my life has finally become harder than risking the fear of the unknown in sobriety (the risk to bloom).

I don’t know what my life will look like if I am sober for 100 days, 6 months, or a year or two. But I really want to find out. I am certain that it will be better than the quality of life I had before. It is hard and I do feel bored, boring, scared and anxious. But all of those feelings are better than the alternative.

Happy Sunday, bloomers!

two weeks down!

Okay, okay, it might not seem like a lot of time, and, I’ve been here before so I don’t want to get overly excited, but, it’s been two weeks without a drink, people! And that is something to celebrate for me. I feel happy because I feel like what I’m doing is working. I don’t feel like i’ve been “white knuckling” the last two weeks. Well, maybe a few times. But for the most part, I’ve been using tools that I’ve learned from research, Belle, and you fine folks here in the sobersphere. I am so grateful to everyone that writes sober blogs. Even if I haven’t connected with you yet, know that I am reading everyday and it helps me so much. And to those that I have connected with through comments- a huge thank you.. Your support means the world to me. 

And, to top off a great two weeks- I just learned how to hyperlink! Look- see Belle’s name in blue above. It’s official- I’ve broken my hyperlink hymen. It’s go time.

I’m also going to try another new thing today. I’m a little bit scared but I’m excited too. I’m heading to my first Zumba class pretty soon.I really need to get active and fit. I’ve been sitting on my ass for the last few years while I worked in an officey-type job and studied for my master’s degree. I’m really out of shape and I want this to change. I do some yoga but I need more. I’ve ran on and off but I think that I need some kind of a class that will help motivate me. My sister-in-law does zumba and she swears by it. She says it’s so much fun. That’s exactly what I need- a workout that is challenging and FUN. 

So this will be me in about an hour (part Zumba, part happy dance for two weeks sober!)-

Image