Archive | February, 2013

I miss drinking wine and watching movies, but…I won’t drink wine and watch movies tonight

27 Feb

2:02 am

Yup, that’s what I miss. I used to do it nightly–it was my break, my reprieve, the end of my day. Me time. Only, if I didn’t watch out, something would end up destroyed–a cell phone, a laptop, a friendship, my tenancy (I used to sing along to music, talk really loudly to myself, or turn into a raging lunatic and wake my neighbors, who would call my super, who would stop by and knock on my door to tell me to shut the fuck up).

Wait. I MISS THAT DRAMA?

Anyway… Now? Now I watch them without booze and I remember what I’ve seen and I get to go to bed sober and wake up sober, and not hung over. Plain and simple.

I have to say, sometimes I’m not feeling this blog anymore. I’ll keep writing, don’t worry. But mainly–and this is why I think meetings make me want to cry/pull my hair out/stab my eyes–I just don’t think reveling in where you’ve been is all that helpful. TO ME. (I also decided early on that “being there” for other drunks in the rooms was something I did not have it in me to do at the time, so…that aspect was something I purposefully rejected.) Recovery is just one step of sobriety, and not a very interesting one, in my mind. I mean, sure, I’m recovering from my idea of how to drink, and from my emotional and psychological dependence on drinking. Sure, I’m doing that, and I do that every minute of every day…

Did I have to blog about every aspect of my life before I became someone who drinks alcoholically, all of which seemed much more tolerable but probably wasn’t? Did I just “unlearn” how to deal responsibly and reasonably with life–good old life, which everyone has to figure out how to live? Is recovery simply re-learning what you knew? For me, in a sense, it has been.

I’ve said it before: there is a huge difference between referring to oneself as an alcoholic and as someone who drinks/drank alcoholically. AA seems to prefer the former, and I prefer the latter.

Sure, I’d love a glass of red wine right now, but really, would I? That question, even, becomes moot when I then think ahead to the next day if I drink that glass–I will feel like ass, be hung over and not get anything done, and jeopardize my work, my earnings, and my credibility, somehow and in some way. I do not WANT to feel like ass, etc. I really, really, really don’t want, any longer, to feel like ass, etc. To me, recovery is actually a recovering of sanity, of sensibility toward when and how to drink. There comes a point when you’ve RECOVERED.

It’s why I found meetings ridiculous (literally) after a certain point–it only took me a few months to realize that the method was harmful to me, not helpful (as in, I wanted to drink after meetings because they made me feel bad). That being said, they help some folks, and others dig hashing over the same garbage. Still others understand that helping newbies (like myself 4.5 months ago) actually helps them–not to mention, I’m sure glad that they were there for me in the beginning.

Do I have to keep coming back? No. Can I drink wine and watch movies? No. Am I recovered? I think so, partly. Maybe. Sort of.

And, the solution to all this nonsense is to simply Go To Bed. Good night, friends!

Off to the races…

23 Feb

11:22 pm

So, I ran my race today and DUDES, I felt GREAT. Not good, but GREAT, during like, 98 percent of the run! Over the course of the first 5 miles, we ran up 1,000 feet, and then the last 3 miles were all downhill–which, btw, pass really fast after you’ve been heaving uphill for 5 long miles.

I felt great. Did I say I felt great? Totally pain-free. WTF? Except for a minor accident yesterday during which I tripped over a rock while walking the dogs, stubbed my toe, and bruised it pretty badly (I KNOW, the night before the race I’ve been training for since December)–I didn’t feel any pain.

I came in 129th out of 677 women! And, 13th out of 73 women in my age group. YES! And, as I crested the last hill and looked out upon an absolutely amazing vista of ocean and islands and sleek, rising sun, I thought, I would not be doing this if I wasn’t sober. Period. I mean, really. I could have run the race, sure, but consistently being able to train ONLY because I was never hung over? That’s why I had endurance, and strength, over the course.

Anyway, I’m super-tired, but just wanted to say, Who’s up for a half-marathon? Training starts Monday. 😉

Here’s to the 12-to-20-weeks window closing!

21 Feb

1:09 am

Almost, that is. I’m at 19 weeks today, and it keeps hitting me how FAST weeks go. Even though I’m still counting days, weeks are flying by! UGH! I have so much to do, but as I’ve moaned before, I just can’t seem to do things with as much speed, efficiency, and/or oomph as I used to. I still do as much as I can, but…it takes longer. I feel like my brain AND body are going in slow motion. S…L…O…W. M…O…T…I…O…N.

Weeks are going faster than ever before, yet… I still have cravings. I’d say they’re there, all day, every day. I’m still wondering, OK, so when can I drink again? Not loud, barely a whisper, but there. All the time.

Today, though, I felt a shift. Very slight, but I felt it. Like, a breath released. A giving in. Or maybe, a newfound perseverance to keep going. I mean, I’ve had major pangs since I hit 90 days. Yet, I know I HAVE to stay sober through the weekend, which puts me at likely standing my ground through the end of the month. Which will put me at 20 weeks… And, I see that 20 weeks is 140 days, which is ONLY about a month from the next big goal, 6 months. And really, I quit drinkin’ on June 13th last year (with, of course, a few times falling off the water wagon, but if I count them, less than 10-15 days of actual drinking during those weeks), so…only 2 more months after that until my “year” anniversary.

I can do this, sure. I know I can. But today, I kind of felt a shift, a giving in–like, resting my head on the shoulder instead of pushing it away, craning my neck in fear that I might get cooties or worse, like it.

I WANT to do this. Say what?

What I know now is that I want to not have hangovers more than I want to drink. Period. Hangovers, for me at 38, equal a bad, bad time. BAAAAD. They are unbearable, mentally and physically. AND, most importantly to my point here, I get fuck all done on those days. Right now, and since last summer, I haven’t had time to be hung over. Literally. I haven’t had the time as I can’t afford to jeopardize my goals. Like, I can’t afford to not get my shit done. So, the choice isn’t actually there anymore for me. Or, rather, it is: drink and jeopardize everything you have going for you now, and everything you want to have going for you; or, don’t. The difference now is, it’s MUCH easier to resist the “wolf voice” with rational thought than it was even last week, let alone months ago. Thank God(dess).

I win, YOU LOSE, said the self-righteous “dry drunk”

16 Feb

2:03 pm

I feel like I’m always bitching on my blog, but dudes, that’s what this is for, right? If you don’t want to read, you would’ve unsubscribed by now, I’m guessing.

Lately, I’ve been feeling angry. Self-righteous, I guess might be the right word. I can say with absolute certainty that a significant part of my NOT succumbing to my cravings is the fact that by not drinking, I win. I WIN! And, more than that, they lose. THEY LOSE. In this mindset, it becomes a zero sum game; and, admittedly, it does help me say to myself, No, Drunky Drunk Girl, you’re SO not drinking over them. You’re SO not letting them win.

Who is this “them?” Well, it’s all the folks who thought I couldn’t do it, who hated (and continue to hate and semi-hate) on me for actually doing it (it’s the whole “If I have zero, at least it’s more than you have if you’re drinking away what you don’t have; so keep drinking and make me feel better about having nothing”); friends, family, employers (former). It’s everyone who’s made me feel like I was a shitfuck, someone not worth helping or saving, someone who even though she did most everything right, somehow doesn’t deserve ANY of her success for doing this one fucking thing wrong.

Making amends? Shit. There are people whom I don’t think I can forgive–let back in, I should say–for not having forgiven me! Shut me out? Well, when you open that door, don’t expect me to be there. That’s family stuff, but it boils down to the same for everyone: I win when I don’t drink, and you lose. You lose your bets against me. You lose your justification for holding a grudge. You lose your smug smirk and false sense of pride–the only things protecting you from your truth(s) are your pride and my drinking, because both allow you to continue lying to yourself.

Yeah, it’s twisted. But, it’s really, really hard for me to NOT feel this way. And, when I stop the OBVIOUSLY negative self-righteous rising, when I stop indulging that bitter and angry side, I can see that good things have come my way. I have my sobriety. I have my life. I have my work. I am getting paid to do what I’m (relatively) good at. I have great friends who love me. I have a LOT. I must have done something right, right?

All I can say is, at 4.5 months, I feel this way every time I seriously think about throwing in the towel. And, it’s a factor in resisting the urge…along with a bunch of other “better” reasons, of course. The anger passes, and I move on to feeling and being grateful–glowing with contentment, happy with myself for my steadfastness (for once) re: not drinking, and at peace with how things are between me and “them”–time heals all wounds, right? What I usually do is go for a long walk with the dogs, or a run. Both those things dissipate the anger…until it boils up again the next time I start to head into one of my “thought ditches.”

I hope I’m not the “dry drunk” that AAers are talking about. It takes what it takes, I guess.

18 weeks and 4 months should NOT be equal, right?

15 Feb

3:37 pm

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but with draft posts titled “Feeling like crap,” “Pangs heard around the world,” and “Where am I?,” I figured I would let whatever this is pass, continue to solider on, and spare you my annoying diatribe(s).

I’m still sober, going on a day after 18 weeks today. But, the other day when I looked at the calendar and it read February 12th, I thought, Wait, I’m ONLY at 4 months? So, how can I also be at 18 weeks, which would be 4 months…PLUS 2 weeks. Um, hello? That PLUS 2 weeks is kind of huge. Le sigh.

I’ve really wanted to drink the past several weeks, but I haven’t. I feel quite practiced at saying no through most of my pangs, cravings, and “thought ditches”…until PMS rears its ugly head. The past week has been bad–sometimes I wonder if it isn’t something in my new environment that is messing up my hormones. I literally felt hung over the other morning, as if I was coming down WAY TOO FAST off a “good” drug–crashing. However, it wasn’t a drug, it was my own internal chemical fluctuations which were off schedule and which, instead of letting me down easy, came to a screeching halt a week early. Hmm. I know it sounds a bit melodramatic, but when I was drinking, I really hit the wine hard when I was PMSing; and, I know it’s difficult to believe, more often than not I never connected the two until after the fact. Duh. Every month it became, Oh, shit, no WONDER I felt so horrible, drank so much, and could SO not even deal with the booze (I always blacked out hard when I was PMSing). Now, I’m hyper-aware of the fluctuations because I can feel every single one of them.

It’s not that life has been bad, at all; I’m grateful that work and dinners and walks, days and nights and everything, well, has been passing smoothly. Sure, there are moments (nightly, lately) when I find myself saying to myself, Do I really need to stay sober, like Sober Sober, anymore? Aren’t I healed? Hasn’t this 24-7 sobriety shit gone on long enough?! I need a BREAK! Just one glass…

I had major pangs last night, which sort of took me off guard. I felt a little bit like crying inside when I looked at the menu and realized that once again–even at a nice restaurant on a nice Valentine’s Day date with my nice manz–I can’t have wine. Not even one glass. And to make it worse? I end up ordering yet another Diet Coke, which I have to say, did not go so well with the pasta. The good news is that I did muster the sense to realize that I wouldn’t really enjoy the wine because I’d be thinking of the next glass, and the next, and the next. It’d be more of an annoyance than…whatever I’m imagining it’s going to be.

What’s the point? The point is, I’ve learned that even IF I want to drink, NO GOOD CAN COME if I do it when I really want to. Because, when I really want to is always when I’m feeling really bad. My strategy is to wait: until tomorrow, until the next project, until the race, until this or that or the other. And, if I wait–even a night–most likely I’m going to feel both happier and less desperate the next day, at which point, even if I drank it’d much likely be a better outcome than if I drank when I was in that desperate state of mind.

Anyway, it’s Friday! And I haven’t even started my work. Wah wah. Catch y’all later!

“Hill work” would be an understatement

9 Feb

11:14 am

HOLY shit. THAT was interesting.

Five miles pretty much all uphill. And, the downhills hurt more than powering up the uphills because my knees (mostly left–finally, the pain is back where it has been and should be?) hurt a lot going down.

Jesus. They don’t call it “8 Tuff Miles” for nothin’! To give you some idea, at about 5 miles, we reached the highest elevation of the course–999 feet. That means, sea level to 1,000 feet above sea level over the course of 5 miles. Like I said, all uphill.

I have to say–cheesy, but here it comes–powering up those hills (well, one long hill) reminded me a LOT of moving through getting sober! Repeating those moves that just don’t come naturally, like running up a sustained incline for over an hour, over and over until you can actually force yourself to do them! Or, going slow and not stopping, not stopping unless you have to. Breathing into the pain and breathing out–sitting with it (well, moving with it). Bracing for hard work, but knowing that you’ve got this, you’ve practiced your moves, all you have to do is keep going.

My legs felt strong, and that’s because I’ve been practicing this incline shit for a few weeks already. But, dayum! Gotta take a break before I go and pound more on these knees, yes I do.

And…yup, feels pretty darn awesome to have gotten up, gotten my ass over to the course, and run it–all before…8:30, I guess. My time was 1 hour, 5 minutes, 30 seconds. That’s 13-minute miles, which I’m pretty OK with seeing how the course was all uphill and I had to walk some of it and most of the steep downhills.

It’s also awesome to like, not thought it really all that astounding or medal-worthy that I got out of the house before the sun came up. Drinkin’ days? It never happened. EVER. Especially to work out or run a race. Years-never, we’re talking about.

Happy weekend, friends.

Just a note to say…17 weeks sober and rockin’ on

8 Feb

11:06 pm

17 weeks (119 days) yesterday. And counting… 😉

And, which I’ll write about tomorrow, I don’t feel possessed anymore by the illusion that drinking will “make it better.” HOLY CRAP! Faith, is all I can say, is the only thing that got me to this point. I’m glad I didn’t drink the past few weeks, I sure wanted to. I’m glad I stuck it out because, you know what? I’m seeing subtle–yet hugely impacting–changes in my attitude toward work.

I feel motivated, and I have done nothing consciously to change–my healing brain is doing all the work, I think. The other day, my spinal analysis doctor told me (well, reminded me) that the body, and especially the spine, will heal and regulate its healing ON ITS OWN. Sure, it needs help when it’s overwhelmed (like, back problems and disease), but in essence, we don’t have to do anything but let it do what it was meant to do for us. That’s pretty miraculous, actually.

I feel like that’s what’s happening with me, now–FINALLY. I’ve been feeling so impossibly frustrated by my lack of ambition the past six months (well, since I got sober), but now, I see that with continuous, subtle enhancements to my mood, my stability of mind, and my focus (i.e., my head is not filled with regret about what I did while drunk OR cravings for wine around every turn)–anything is possible. Maybe even getting back to where I was: accomplished, energetic, confident.

I have a road race tomorrow–5-something miles. Oy. AND, I have to get up at about 5 am to make it to the starting line by 7. At least my fear of getting up that early SO trumps the small it’s-Friday-I-deserve-a-glass-of-wine voice in my head that there is no question about what to do next: go to bed.

Thanks for your support, sober friends. I could not have gotten here without you!

Who’s up for a boat trip without booze? I am, I am!

4 Feb

10:16 pm

Well, folks, it happened: I made it through an event–said boat trip to a neighboring island with a gang of drinkin’ buddies–with smoking and drinking all around the entire day, did not partake, and felt amazing the entire time! Like, comfortable just being there and not inhaling smoke and not sucking down liquids (other than Diet Coke). Sure, sometimes I felt like the old woman who wears purple, and that sucked a little. Otherwise, I felt great. And grateful.

It wasn’t that hard, for some reason. And, I had a lot of fun! And, from what I could tell (more on this qualifier below), I didn’t feel awkward or weird; in fact, I mostly felt SUPER-grateful to not be hung over. Last year, I went on a boat trip that was nightmarishly hard, mainly because I got belligerent drunk the night before and was SO hung over I wanted to die. That was a year ago, if that gives you any indication of how bad I felt–and therefore, how grateful I was yesterday.

Yes, it was GOOD to be sober, to be clear, to feel none of the sway and sleepy nausea of being drunk in the sun (how do people drink during the day? I never could, actually, without feeling horrible), to know that I wasn’t going to feel any of it the next day. One big, Ahhhhhhhh.

What WAS hard was hearing today at my NSA (network spinal analysis–I got a gift certificate so figured I’d check it out) appointment that my entire spine, from top to bottom, is in fight-or-flight mode. For the most part, that means locked up, and the muscles around the cord, firing constantly (no wonder I have pain and no wonder I’m tired all the time). The way the analyst put it, it’s like walking around with my arms extended the whole day.

I’ve always carried a lot of tension in my back. It’s where I store my emotional “trauma,” as well as how I “hide.” I can’t help some of it–ingrained response of an incurable introvert. For the past oh, 5 months or so, though, it’s been getting noticeably worse. And, its worsening condition seems to coincide precisely with my soberversary. Could it be that the more I’m sober–the more I have to deal with shit instead of escaping from it–the more I’m actually causing my body to tense up and freak out? I think so.

It sucks. It’s made me wonder if drinking wasn’t so bad after all? I mean, we all have past trauma and present anxiety, and it’s HARD to deal with it nonstop. Hard. I don’t get to wipe it away, even for a few hours. And, there is something to a hangover wherein your body just melts, stops resisting. Like, you don’t have the resources to keep your defenses up, so you actually let them down for however long it takes to get over it. There were times when I was CERTAIN that I’d never felt better the next day than after a few shots of tequila and a burger the night before (though, in those days, I hadn’t also drunk two bottles of wine). Seriously.

I wish I could turn it off, but I can’t. And, with the stress of transitions galore, and being sober and having to confront reality every second of every day… Well, I guess I’m going to have to focus on making some of my new coping mechanisms work–meditation, diverting my attention to the bigger picture/positive, etc. That is, until I can see that life isn’t supposed to be all about “getting through” it.

Sigh. What with all this mental and physical, let’s face it, PAIN–sometimes I actually look forward to shedding my physical body. This mortal coil. This pain in my ass that doesn’t seem to know how to BE in this material reality and go with its grain. All my life it’s been this way, fidgeting in my own skin. I’m TIRED of it. I’m OVER it. It doesn’t seem to get easier, it just seems to go in and out, shape-shifting from one form of expression (pain here, addictive behavior there) to another.

Oh, sparkle-toothed unicorn, where art thou?

Anyway, there I go again. Focus on the positive, remember? Coming up on 17 weeks sober this Thursday. 🙂

Top 10 reasons not to drink, or how I stopped worrying and learned to love Weird and Awkward

1 Feb

5:40 pm

I went out last night. Since getting sober, I haven’t actually been “out out,” as in, out to a bar where other people were drinking and I had to fend for my poor, little, 38-year-old self. I mean, I’ve been to dinner parties, brunches, beach outings, and even bars, but it wasn’t to “go out” (we went to see a band last night).

And, well… I felt so insecure! So uncomfortable! So awkward! Dare I say, Weird and Awkward! And, without booze to hold onto, I felt vulnerable. I felt like I was in college again. GAH. NO!?!? And, I was so far up in my own head that at times, it was really hard to fake that I was having fun.

BUT, I learned something about myself. I’ve known it for a long time–my whole life. Sometimes–like when I was learning calculus–you just need to see it from a different angle to actually GET IT. I got it last night: I create entire realities in my head when it comes to what others are thinking of and about me, and one, probably none of it is true, and two, who gives a shit if it is?

I have to imagine that we all feel insecure sometimes, introverts moreso than extroverts. A mere sampling of my thought “process” during these times:

I wonder if they think I’m boring/I bet they do, I bet they think I’m boring/OH, GOD, why am I being so awkward, what with all these pauses and looking away/I have to look away, but now, oh, fuck, now I bet they think I’m being rude or disinterested when really/you’re standing too close to me and I really don’t know what to say and for some reason, I feel like I’m 18 again and not 38/it hurts I want out it hurts I want out/I want to curl up in a ball and roll on OUT OF HERE

Yup. That’s me. ME. That’s what’s going on inside MY HEAD. However, being sober and having to simply deal with it, I had the opportunity last night to observe these thoughts–not only look at these thoughts, but look at them from a different perspective, namely, not my own.

I glanced at the person I was talking to and told myself, Y’know, he’s probably faking it, too, has no idea what to say, might even be feeling more awkward and shy than I am! I had a quick conversation with a former, let’s just say, drinking buddy in front of the restroom; he got sober last year and we chatted very briefly about how he’s drinking again (and having no luck moderating) and how I’m not. “I feel really good where I’m at right now,” I said, breezily (it’s not like I’m falling apart on the outside, just in one corner of my brain). He was noticeably impressed, and congratulated me. Someone else did, too, when I told him that I had 16 weeks. What I’m saying is, other people are not just NOT thinking I’m weird and awkward in my sobriety, but they’re happy for me, even maybe envious! People are rooting for me. And what am I doing? Creating an entire universe in my head that does not exist, based upon my own self-conscious insecurities.

Almost more importantly, I realized that 85 percent of the peeps in the room were in their own, drunken worlds. Who’s going to even remember me, let alone remember that I was sober?

Hence, my sparkling (the glitter rained down, too, I swear) revelation: I don’t need to drink. In fact, I prefer to be sober. IN SPITE OF HOW AWKWARD I felt, and even in spite of the pangs. The pangs were just my body saying, I want to get the fuck out of here because *I feel uncomfortable.* Somehow, my higher brain pulled through and was like, You need to do this to learn/grow, and honey, you know you really don’t want to drink, right? I wanted to use wine to momentarily allow me to feel protected from my raging thoughts. How sadly ironic, seeing how the point of going out and socializing is to be with others, right?

YET, I didn’t drink. Why?

1. I would be sick the next day. (Do I even have to go into 2-10? Who wants to feel sick the next day?)
2. I would get fuck all done the next day, and then I would hate on myself.
3. I would have a horrible hangover, complete with anxiety/panic, depression/suicidal ideation, and general existential angst. (Shit’s not 19 anymore, peeps! It happens.)
4. I would have stupid conversations that I don’t remember, instead of attempts–give yourself a high five for trying–at meaningful ones that I do!
5. I would act like a fucking idiot, dancing and singing and swaying and in general, being WAY too out there. I’ve been out there; I want to coil myself back in. I’m MINE, not yours.
6. I would say shit I don’t mean, or might regret.
7. I would spend too much money.
8. I would consume too many calories. (Hey, y’all, that belly weight is tough to shed; I’m tired of one step forward, two steps back!)
9. I would fuck up my training body and schedule. (I’m finally getting my running legs (and core strength) back, and I’m on a workout schedule now.)
10. I won’t find out what happens AFTER 16 weeks.

I’d say that number 10 is playing a huge role in keeping me from giving in to my pangs. My “fuck it” moments seem to last not moments, but days–I have time to ruminate over the consequences, and they ultimately end up pointing my face toward the door that says, “Don’t Even THINK About Knocking.” More and more, I see how far I’ve come and I think, Well, if you stop now, you’ll probably NEVER get to 17 weeks, or 6 months, or a year. Could things be monumentally different than they were at day 1, than they are now? Maybe… I’ll just have to keep going to find out.

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