Blog

god and computers

This is the beginning of day 13 in my Dry July.  And while yesterday was a shitty day, i made it through.  in fact, the computer problem is slowly resolving itself, and the family illness seems to have improved overnight.

I subscribe to Notes from the Universe and on wednesday, when faced with the worst aspects of my dead computer, I got this message:

“If you knew I answered whenever you spoke to me, Belle, would you be still enough to hear me? Prepare to be amazed, [signed] The Universe.  PS/And if you knew I was listening, Belle, to everything you thought or said, might we talk again like old times?”

I have to tell you this made me smile. I began to prepare myself for a miraculous computer recovery. Low-and-behold, when the new part arrived yesterday, i plugged it in (after leaving the machine off for 4 days), and … yes, it worked.  it’s limping along a bit lop-sidedly, but it’s open enough for me to get access to my most important client files.

Now I don’t want to freak anybody out here, and i love and respect everyone.  Really I do.  but I don’t believe in god. I love and adore people who do believe, and one of my best friends for the past 20 years is an evangelical christian who often covers me in ‘angels’ when i go on car trips. To her, I say, bring on your angels, i can take all the help i can get.  but me, personally?  well, I believe in me, and the power that I have to make changes in my life.

that said, i kinda believe in the universe.  does that even make any sense? i believe in some kind of shared ‘good vibes’.  i believe that i create my own reality. me. me. but i also know that if i ask my husband to ask for better weather, then better weather arrives (for some reason it doesn’t work if I ask myself).

i believe in synchronicity, i believe in making your own luck, and i believe that sometimes – occasionally – the universe lifts you up.  I got such love and support from the online community yesterday, that i think you’re part of my collective universe. that and a delivery of a computer part from Amazon, combined with a text from my sister that family is doing better… All is well this morning.

Thanks for being part of my universe 🙂

crying seems to help

this is day 12 for me, and i’m having a weak day. i know that there will be good days and bad days.  and that bad days don’t mean that i am going to drink.  it’s still my first impulse, though. i know that sometime that will fade. but not yet.

i am having lots of things in my life that are making me sad, all on the same day. family illness, computer failure, crummy not-summery-weather. i also slept in today, perhaps too late, and so i’ve been dragging all day.

crying seemed to help. and it’s 6 pm here, european time. it’d be normal for me to have a glass of wine right now.  more than normal, it’s what i’ve always done. instead. instead i’m trying to rescue a dead computer, i’m going to roast a chicken for dinner. i’m going to drink some more tea. i’m going to have a bath. and i’m going to count on tomorrow being easier.

i’m glad i’m on day 12 and not on day 2.  but i do feel like going to bed and crawling under the covers to HIDE…

 

what if alcohol was a ‘place’

alcohol is like a place.  it’s where I go after dinner.  it’s where I go on vacation. it takes me to a tunnel of fuzzy numbness. it takes me away from here. it’s a place I go in my mind.

if alcohol was a place, I want to say now that I DON’T GO THERE ANYMORE.

i don’t go to the fuzzy, hiding, numb place. I don’t go to the artificially loud, thinking all of my jokes are hilarious, place. I don’t go to the place where i feel crummy the next day – both physically and emotionally.

I’m not sure all the time where i’m going instead, but not knowing — and occasionally feeling completely lost — has to be better than going THERE.

staying ‘stuck’

What do I gain by staying ‘stuck’ in my old ways?

If I stay the same, it keeps me in the pack of everyday-ness. I can just remain a dreamer / non-achiever like everyone else. If I’m successful in making big changes, my family might be jealous, needy, or hostile.

If I stay the same, I can talk about “what could have been” instead of actually doing the work …

for today, this is easier

last night I had flashes of “I’d like a drink to take the edge off” or i was remembering how i routinely would say to my husband: “when you’re out, can you pick up some wine?” I wasn’t really craving last night, it was more like a habit, an automatic response.

maybe it’s the time of day, 7:30 pm, we hadn’t eaten dinner yet.  and I imagined an evening WITH wine through rose-colored glasses. Candles, dinner with my husband, we laugh at the table, a few glasses of wine.

And yet, here’s what really would have happened: we’d eat in the office in front of the computer, watching “X-Country Has Talent,” and i’d have 3 glasses of wine + a shot of grande marnier.  Then, inevitably, I’d get really sensitive and nothing husband would say would be right, and we’d go to bed (late) on opposite sides of the king sized bed. I’d toss and turn all night, hot, nauseous, wake too early, drag myself out of bed to work. all day i’d feel like I was pushing a truck uphill, and it’s threatening to roll back down on me.

now when I write it out like that, i have to tell you that the night with wine still seems like a pretty good trade off. and it would be, if it was now and then.  but 7 out of 7 nights a week? not so much.

i’ve tried restricting my alcohol intake before, doing something more ‘moderate.’

and how do I feel when I alternate days… drink one, rest one?

Truthfully, I feel completely irritated the entire day off, and then I usually just give up at about 8 pm and go and get some wine.  then we finish that bottle and whatever else we can scrounge up.  then i plan to quit drinking for 30 days (again), but there’s some event coming up (no matter how big or small) and I have to wait till that event is over until I can go dry again.  So then another three weeks might pass, or 8 or 10 weeks.  with wine 7 nights out of 7, 3-4 glasses a night every night.

so now today is Day 11 for me, and i have to say that this is EASIER. who wants all that angst, all that thinking, all that managing, all that trying-to-control shit.

this way, i only have to have one thought:  I’m not drinking today.  that’s all i have to do today.  I don’t have to manage the liquor supply, i don’t have to get bitchy with my husband, i don’t have to feel tired all day.  I don’t have to drink the special cooking wine that i needed for a special cake and then run around frantically, standing in line at the specialty wine store, trying to replace it.

for today, this is easier.  i’m tired of thinking about drinking.  and so today, i’m going to think about decluttering my office instead 🙂

today is day 10 and i’ve never been here before …

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiTccsRKFZU]

i named this blog after a really great Tragically Hip song.

I may not meet the textbook definition of an alcoholic, and I may never have had a ‘bottom’. but the problem for me (at least) is that i spend so much time thinking about drinking. how much wine can I have, when can i start, have i had enough, how will i sleep tonight, OK maybe just one more …

And i think that life without alcohol means that the noise in my head is just quieter all-round.

Less noise in my head means I sleep better and I get more done. Is it about self-control? sure it is. and clearly i’m lacking the self-control that would allow me to have a glass of wine, now and then, and just stop at one.

[Frankly the thought of having just one makes me irritated. What’s the point in just one? it’ll make me tired and foggy and then I’ll sober up much too quickly and i’ll still have this residual headachy, thick headed feeling. Yeah, that’s why it’s better to have three glasses instead of one.]

So i think that not-drinking entirely is an interesting and positive trade off.

I give up drinking wine, and what I get back in return is theoretically better than the wine ever provided.

Yes, OK, I give up wine’s company, the comfort, the numbness, and the glorious way that it fills up an evening and brings sunshine to meals and patios and vacations.

in return, I get back energy, sound sleep, peaceful relationships, increased productivity. I consume fewer calories, spend less money, and i gain self-respect.

gee, when i write it out like that, it seems like a no-brainer doesn’t it?

am i giving up wine FOREVER? (or just for my original intention of 30 days)?  well if giving it up forever guarantees that i get sleep+energy+self-respect, then yes, maybe this is forever. I’ll decide when i get there.

for now, all i know is I didn’t drink last night, and i’m not drinking today. it seems easy right now and i’m going to ride this wave (because three days ago i was so irritated i was ready to drink no matter what and i know those times are a-coming again).

i’m going to focus on what i’m GETTING rather than what i’m giving up.  and today is day #10.  I’ve never been here before 🙂

I hate drunkenness

I’ve stopped drinking a few times, for a few days at a time.  I often have to take clients out to eat as part of my job, and i can go for dinner, be a good entertainer, and not drink at all. For a few days.

The longest i’ve ever stopped before was 9 days, a few months ago. I remember I thought I’d try 30-days alcohol free, and I made it 9 days. then i drank for several days, then i took another 6 days off. But that’s it.

I read yesterday that the more times you try to quit, the closer you may be to really giving it up. Maybe we need to practice quitting …

Other than these two recent and brief attempts at more than a week sober, i’ve been drinking daily for about 3 years. Before that, for the previous 15 years, it was 6 out of 7 nights per week (i used to take one night off a week; recently, not so much).

I never set out to get blotto. In fact I hate drunkenness. I always leave parties when the disorderly behavior starts. If someone throws up from drinking too much, I’m thoroughly disgusted. I’d never do that, I say to myself. I’d never let THAT happen to ME.

On the other hand, I am beyond tipsy most evenings, whether we’re home playing cards or out in restaurants with clients. My version of tipsy is enough to feel fuzzy, but not so much that i fall over.

And lots of nights at 4 am, when i wake for no reason, hot and irritated … and lots of mornings when i wake dehydrated and miserable, i say “ok, this is enough.”

What was the turning point this time? We were on vacation last month, and I was overdoing it. I was actually looking forward to coming home so that I could stop drinking so much. And so often.

As usual, I was cruising the ‘sober’ literature online.  I read something about Dry July, and figured “I can do that. I can take a whole month off. How hard can it be? Harder than running a marathon?”

I’m 9 days into July, and now I realize it’s irritatingly hard. I started this blog on day 7 when I realized that I was about to bail on my 30-day plan (again). I wondered if asking the (online) universe for help would help.

So why is it so irritatingly hard to quit drinking? Why don’t my higher level goals just automatically overrule the noise in my head when faced with this challenge? I mean, I don’t speed on the highway, even if it’s fun and exhilarating and will get me there faster, because my higher level goals can say quite firmly “that’ll get you killed” – and i listen …

 

miserably giving up drinking

I’ve never been a fall-down drunk. I’ve only been completely hammered twice in my life. I’ve never been sick from drinking. and i was very proud of this. I’ve been a good girl, a high functioning girl. I never drink too much… maybe 3 glasses of wine in an evening, perhaps 4. I never finish a bottle myself. On vacation, i might have beer with lunch, 2 pints. then have a nap. then get up and have dinner and share a bottle of wine with my husband. then have a nightcap (cointreau, grand marnier).

I never wanted to be hammered, i just wanted a buzz, to relax.

the problem is that most normal working days, i wake up feeling like a bag of shit. I go for a run, have a healthy lunch, drink tea all afternoon. Then at 6 pm i start with the wine again. never more than 3 glasses. never more than 4 glasses.  or a beer + 3 + nightcap. Every single night, night after night. On weekends and on vacation i just start earlier in the day.

i never want one glass of wine.  i want three and a shot of cointreau.

i have about 15 pounds to lose, i have some vacation debt to pay down and drinking doesn’t help achieve either.

i am cranky with my husband when i’ve had even one drink. I’m more likely to cry, get into an argument, and go to bed unhappy on evenings that include wine.

and most of all, i hate that i can’t keep a promise to myself to reduce, skip days, and have only one glass.

oh red wine, you call to me. i see you in the store window. i see other people drinking you on the restaurant patios in the sun.

oh red wine. you fucker. as soon as the bottle is opened you start calling to me. “drink me. drink me now. make sure you get more than you give your husband, make sure you top up your glass first before his, make sure you send him out to buy more before the store closes.”

sigh.

I begin here

It’s July 8th, and this is the beginning of my 8th day sober. I’ve gone 9 days before, just over a month ago. But never longer.

I’m starting this blog today because I suddenly realized last night that I was not going to make it.

I wanted wine last night so bad that I decided to buy some, then changed my mind, then changed it back again. About 6 times in one hour. I was furious that i couldn’t drink. Irritated, picking at my husband, frustrated. Generally itchy in my own skin.

I hid in the tub (at 7:30 pm), waiting for the mood to leave me. It didn’t.

Then I put on my PJs, and sat in front of the laptop, and read the page that was sitting open (http://unpickled.wordpress.com). A blog written by someone anonymous, going through her own journey without alcohol.

And it inspired me. Her words were enough.

I got off my ass and made myself a special drink of black currant syrup, perrier and sour lemonade. Then I had another. Then I gently suggested to my husband that he could make these drinks for me, more often … like every day starting at about 6 pm right up until 9:30 pm.

Oh i have so much to talk about here. Triggers, why to give up alcohol in the first place, family shit. But I realize that me in my head alone is not going to get this done. I need to write it out. and I kneed to know that someone might read it. Doesn’t matter who, just someone. Someone out there. Might read this and might wonder if i stayed sober for another day…