Tag Archives: isolating

Cutting back on…sugar, and old habits

28 Jul

10:55 am

The past two days, I’ve tried to ix-nay sugar completely from my diet. Um, YEAH. Gotcha.

I’ve realized that cutting out sugar entirely, immediately–instead of weaning myself off–will lead to sugar withdrawal, which I guess I had a bit of yesterday: I was sad and lethargic, and felt like my brain was hovering around “off” for most of the day. Sigh. No more extremes. (And, with sugar, I don’t think it’s prudent to be so black-and-white about it.) So, I think I’m going to start by cutting BACK on Diet Coke–maybe one a day, if I need it, or two if I’m indulging. I’ve been drinking at least a liter a day regularly for about nine months?, several cans a day since I quit drinking, and at least a 20-ounce of regular Coke every day since about 2007. I’m sure I drank soda before then, but it was mainly coffee (in the day) and wine (at night).

I noticed I drink Diet Coke like I drink wine, fast and furious. However, there’s something more dangerous about drinking liquid sugar; you can drink and drink and drink, until you get sick, but you won’t black out or pass out. Which means, you can keep drinking more. PERFECT.

It was interesting to watch my mood swings yesterday, and me push through them. It was like I was on autopilot, and my sober mind had taken over. I DID have a craving to drink–a pretty big one. I haven’t really seriously thought of drinking for a while, and this was minor, but big enough to have to turn on the virtual “this is the shit that will go down if you drink tonight” movie in my mind. I counted the number of weeks I have left to get to 22, which was close to my last sober record of 158 days. But then, I took a magnifying glass to what, exactly, I wanted, and HOW, exactly, I was planning to effect that change. The “how” part was new: I’ve gotten myself to reflexively look at what is tripping my drinking switch, but never how to turn it off.

I could very clearly see that my sadness wasn’t necessarily brought on by a sugar low, though that was part of it. I was, and am, lonely. I don’t have many (any?) friends here. I don’t go out. EVER. I could admit to myself last night, on my run, that no, I still haven’t accepted let alone embraced socializing sober. It’s not as strong as it used to be, but I’m still convinced that “there is no point” to going out and not drinkin’. (By go out, I mean to bars and clubs.)

Then I thought, well, you have two neighbors who are free tonight, why not ask them to do something with you? Granted, I had planned to work yesterday, which means that Saturday night or no Saturday night, I am trolling the journals and (for a new project) slogging through complicated stories on the latest in cancer research and treatment–that’s just how I do. However, I didn’t ask, or invite. I think I might have felt better if I had forced myself to socialize instead of doing the usual, which is running alone on the beach and/or working on a Saturday night.

At one point in the run, I simply concluded that I am still living, in a way, like my “old drunk self,” simply without the booze. By that I mean, I still isolate (prefer to be alone), I just don’t do it with wine. It takes a LONG time to change our ingrained habits and defense mechanisms, doesn’t it?

It’s not easy for me to socialize, mainly because I FEEL like I don’t want to, but also because it’s just not in my nature (habit) to engage instead of isolate. “Make yourself available,” is what one of my old roommates used to tell me. That was over a decade ago. I was isolating then, I am isolating now. I guess maybe drinking gave me a way to isolate and not feel bad (or anything!) about it.

Sure, it’s nice to be alone sometimes, have a weekend by myself. What I do, though, hasn’t changed since I hung up my drinking shoes: NOT inviting people over, out, or IN to my life. I wanted to drink to avoid this realization, but that was pointless; there it was. I ran more. I wanted to drink to not feel slightly angry at myself, defeated, and sad. Within about a minute, or less, I had worked out that no, drinking would not fix any of this, and no, actually, I didn’t want a drink. What I wanted–needed–was real change. To feel better. And, how can I feel better? Change my habit of isolating.

The point is, the craving came and went, but I was able to see through it. What was making me want to drink, and what I could do–besides drink–to fix the problem. I was looking for solutions to the real problem, and not just a way to dodge the craving for wine. Wolfie has no clothes, as it were. I can see right through to your scrawny, starved frame, your salivating, dried-up tongue…FUCKING FUCK YOU, WOLFIE!

I am on Day…? 132. 19 weeks tomorrow. I suppose 22 weeks plus 4 days will be my immediate goal, but I’m truly curious to see what comes after six months. Will there be glitter? Balls of it? Will there be unicorns with sparkly teeth, smiling at me from a chorus line on the beach? Or, will it be more like a Broadway musical? Maybe a Broadway musical with glitter and a unicorn parade?

And, that was a slip, not a relapse–I hope

20 Mar

10:23 pm

OK. Back to our regularly scheduled program.

Thanks for all the supportive comments–you guys are amazing!

And, it really is quite astonishing to see just how many of us are affected so deeply by this drinking thing. I mean, a lot of my friends and family just don’t get it, don’t want to know. And yet, this is a HUGE deal for me, both drinking and now, not drinking. And, I know that I can be proud of myself, even if no one in my immediate friends circle or family really gives two shits. I KNOW it’s a big deal, and I KNOW I have every right to tear it up on my unicorn, screaming and clawing at the sky–I am THAT awesome.

Sometimes, you need to throw yourself a parade.

All I can say is, I did jot some things down yesterday afternoon, even in my groggy state, and it’s a testament to the learning that comes about when you quit your habit and embrace the often difficult journey of getting to know yourself. I recognized all these things from just one slip, which is awesome. Now it’s time to put them into practice.

1. Certain things are in the past; it’s TIME to let them go–put them away and move on. Really. No more wasting energy and/or head space revisiting events, circumstances, and emotions that are in and of the past. It’s strange with feelings, though; I do think that sometimes, these need to be expunged. Emotions are evergreen and somehow persist, as if you keep feeling them fresh, again and again, no matter how much time passes. Sage? A fire ritual, maybe?

2. I struggle with connection; I want it with people, but can’t seem to get it. I feel like I don’t really know how; maybe that’s a byproduct of being an introvert at heart. I mean, the kind of connection I desire is rather intense for some, maybe. When I start to feel really isolated, this urge to connect on a deeper level intensifies, and my conviction that it can’t be–we are each our own separate reality–looms large and oppressive.

3. It’s time to get out, people. Time to start DOING SHIT AGAIN. It’s not that I don’t live, but really, I don’t have a life, let’s face it. The only way, I realize now, to change this is to change this! I can’t scold myself for being lazy, or lacking initiative, or being afraid of people–maybe I am. However, maybe I needed to cocoon while getting sober, maybe I needed to isolate to protect myself while I licked my wounds and examined the damage. Now, however, it’s time to bust out those wings and start flying around. (Today, I had a job interview via Skype AND I went downtown to a nonprofit that I’ll hopefully end up volunteering for soon. It was fantastic, and, I hate to say it, long overdue. I felt a part of things, a creator of my life; that felt good, and is the antidote to isolating.)

4. It sucks growing up. It just does. *whine* I have made the choice–and so has my brother–to not engage anymore. He is not, and will not, be a part of my life in the same way he was, ever again. I am an adult woman, having adult conversations (albeit, ones I can’t fucking remember) with my mother, who is approaching 70. All these things and more make me feel like…grieving. Grieving for choices made, for a past that I NOW DEFINITELY HAVE. It’s a process, and I have to realize that THAT is what is going on inside, even if it feels a million miles away, buried underneath a lot of protective gear.

5. Do I have any real joy in my life? When I was hung the fuck over yesterday, I wondered. Now I know that YES, I do. However, I have to cultivate that joy–one of the simplest ways of doing that is by being sober–on a continual basis. That takes effort, and focus. Sometimes–well, often–I don’t feel like I have either!

Anyway, thanks, everyone, for letting me vent. One day I suppose I’ll have nothing left to analyze or process, but that day is likely in the distant future. So, here’s to big brains. And even bigger hearts.

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