what’s the best part of being sober?

time for a bit of celebrating, i’m 150 days today (which really could be considered 5 months, except my official quit date is July 1st, so 5 months would be on saturday).  BUT ANYWAY. yes. I know, yeah for me. congrats and all that stuff. thanks.

But today i want to use this space, and the comments that follow, and create a place where we can write a message to all of the still-drinking lurkers who read these blogs.

[as you know by now, i really seem to have an affinity — and often think about — people who are still lurking, who know it’s time to quit but can’t seem to pick their ‘quit date’ …]

I thought that in the comments to this blog today, we could offer something encouraging to lurkers.

Can you answer this question, and post your answer in the comment space below…

“What is the ONE biggest positive difference in your life that has resulted from your sobriety?”

cuz i think if i was still drinking, i’d have a hard time understanding that anything would be BETTER in sobriety.

and i thought it would be cool to like take a personal inventory of the sober bloggers, and we can share (all in one place) the BEST part of being sober…

i’m curious 4

before we get underway, let me say that I’m fine.  better than fine. busy and happy. i’m having some weird ‘girl’ issues that perhaps come with turning 46 next week. i get to navigate the health care system in a foreign language (hooray!) but thus far all results are boring and ordinary and nothing to get too excited about.  i’m busy and running and baking and working and running some more and listening to podcasts and meeting very cool internationals who live here. i’m halfway through a two-day catering job for American Thanksgiving (!) and so there are 3 apple pies and 2 pumpkin pies on the table as we speak.  i am reading your blogs, commenting not as much as i’d like, but i’m here!  and i’m well.

now onwards to the CURIOUS part : )  This is now a regular monthly feature on my blog : )

i lurked on a few sober blogs for a bit before I actually quit drinking. This blogging community really does offer a ton of support … and then some.

So here’s what i’m curious about. Can you do me a favor?

  1. Post a comment with your number of days sober (or your sober anniversary date if you’re not a day-counter).
  2. If you are an anonymous lurker, and you’re sober, you can just put Sober as your name, and then use a fake email as your email address (12345@12345.com) – tell me how many days sober. You can remain anonymous of course.
  3. If you are a lurker, and you aren’t (yet) sober but you’re looking for inspiration, you can put Hoping as your name (or whatever), and use my email as your email address (12345@12345.com). And you can pick a date when you’d like to start your sober journey (i.e. in 5 days, or december 1st, or whatever). You can remain anonymous, too.

I also sometimes forget how far along in the sober journey some of you are … so this will help me remember and help me celebrate with you.

Really, if you’re an anonymous lurker that’s totally fine! Just chime in with where you are : )

PS/ HERE’S MY GUT REFLEX: I have no proof of this and am only going on a gut feeling here, but if you are a lurker and still drinking, then by posting something anonymously, it’s like raising your hand and saying “ok, yes, i could use some support” and i think that makes a big difference in what happens next for you.  Well, if you don’t believe me, you can try posting something and see what happens : )

Whether you think you can or can’t … you are right.

i finally had a drinking dream.

in my dream, i had driven across the country to visit my family. (in real life, i have done this several times.) in the dream, i had ‘arrived’ at my destination, the end of the road, the place with history and family and sunshine (it was sunny in the dream).

in the dream, i had one beer, a local beer, something i used craved when away.

and later that afternoon, in the dream, i realized that the one beer had awakened the wolf voice, and that i now had a tight pinched feeling in my head, a deep craving and hunger for more beer. Lots more of it.  and I knew that it was just like when i FIRST quit drinking, and that by having one beer i was going to have feel those withdrawal symptoms again, the (thankfully brief) angst of quitting was going to start all over again. (at least, even when dreaming, i realized that even one beer = quitting again …  rather than 1 beer = hey let’s have a kegger).

in the dream, i regretted the beer — because it meant i’d have to feel shitty and struggle to quit again.

that feeling of angst, feeling shitty, starting over, i’m thankful to say are NOT a part of my regular, waking life and haven’t been for 140 days <sigh of relief>.

This past week I attended a Beaujolais Nouveau wine dinner, and the woman beside me was frankly shocked that i’d go to a wine event and not drink wine. I told her that the first 30 days of quitting were a bit of a struggle, and that i wasn’t sure i was making the right decision, but that thankfully each month since has been easier, and that now at 4+ months i’m quite happy with my life, and i think that life without wine is not only ‘good’ but ‘better’.

She looked at me vacantly and said “but what about cheese?”

Cheese?

She said, “I have to have some wine when I eat cheese.”

I was pretty surprised at her thought process.  cuz having deep associations like THAT is what prevents everyone from making changes and moving forward (not just about wine but about everything).  Really? You really and truly can’t eat cheese without consuming booze? Seriously? I wonder how many other false associations she has (we have) that keep her locked in place.  how unfortunate to think like that, when in fact everything is open to change. Every character trait that we brush off as “I’m just like that” can be adapted and tweaked and improved. All of our personal “rules” we assume are written in stone are in fact written in jell-o.  come on now.  cheese with wine is the reason you couldn’t every contemplate quitting drinking? What about weddings? Apparently they can done without champagne, who knew!

I smiled and said that i felt quite proud of myself for the ‘self-discipline challenge’ and that my life was vastly improved since quitting — for all sorts of reasons.  Better sleep, I’ve lost weight, I run more, and i feeeeel muuuuch better.  a ton better. and she’s sort of shaking her head, saying “well i could never do that.”

Whether you think you can or can’t … you are right.

I wonder what other bits of my own life I still believe are written in stone that could be tweaked, improved, changed… You?

search engine topics

I love reviewing the terms that people enter into search engines that ultimately lead them to my blog. They’re both sad and hilarious at the same time …

Here are some of the best for the past 30 days:

  • i’m tired and going to my bed (note: imagine entering this into a search engine, and then clicking the results links … really? tired? go to bed then .. don’t do research about it!)
  • tired if thinking about drinking
  • how to celebrate 90 days sober
  • i am working on a book i will never finish
  • “i’ll fill the tub”
  • gigantic anus
  • ode to red wine
  • how to feel after a girl threw up in my car
  • shaking and tired day 3 no alcohol
  • i am grateful to be a young woman
  • fastidiousness or ocd
  • when does one start to feel pink cloud
  • fucking mom while she vomits
  • im afraid ill get no followers
  • hope you love my anal
  • 5 days sober and craving a drink
  • fucked before bed with glasses on
  • job i can work in different countries i’m adaptable
  • ten things i am grateful for in recovery
  • i love my husband, but i’m curious
  • belle anus
  • can i stop drinking a bottle of red wine a night?
  • i am grateful for chocolate
  • note to self: you are different. note to self: there are great things coming ahead of you. note to self: believe.

Hope you have a happy Tuesday. This is my 100th post in my 136th day of sobriety. Thanks for hanging around : )

not enough

Here’s how i know that i don’t think about booze in a *regular* way.

I’ve been sober for 135 days (since July 1st). that seems like a long time, oui? Well every so often i have a fleeting momentary thought of having “a glass” of something … one single glass of wine or of champagne. I’ll have the thought, and then I say no (batting flies away is a great metaphor).

And i know i’ll continue to say no.  Here’s why:

I was in a hotel this weekend, alone. No computer, i was having some scheduled vegetation time.

and in this crappy little hotel room, there was a mini bar.

and in that mini bar there was the following:

  • one toblerone bar
  • one kitkat bar
  • one bottle of water
  • two tiny cans of heineken
  • two mini bottles of red wine

And here was my very quick thought process (yes, even 135 days sober):

“I can’t even really entertain the thought of having that wine … because there’s not enough.”

not enough for what? to feel terrible? to feel blotto? to fill the space? to make me sleep? to make me feel like a truck ran over my life (not just my head)?

so any ideas of one glass — which my wolf voice will periodically tease me with — are actually hilarious.  one glass? hardly.  cuz when confronted with two airplane bottles of red wine and two cans of beer, i knew in a flash that it wasn’t enough.

and so i will continue to have none.  thanks just the same.

let the gloating continue

i feel like i should write something but i got nothing to say. not in a bad way, but in a good way. i got nothing to say because all is well, continues to be well. no cravings, no real triggers, no hard moments, no big lows. Just lots of glorious happy sober sleeping-through-the-nights.  went away for 24 hours to have a tiny break (sans husband) and it was divine, and i got to sleep long, read long, run long, drink coffee, buy spices, have a big long bath and generally gloat and wallow in how fucking great my life is.

Yes, ok, the days when i have catering i’m pressed flat, squished by the success of it all. i do not sleep enough on those days and i am unable to run.  But it’s limited to two days a week (i only do orders two days a week cuz the rest of the time i’m working at my REAL jobs, ha ha). But i’m coming to terms with this new life. I make sure to have food on hand, to get enough sleep before and after, and to take real breaks and time-off on the weekends so that the ‘working hard’ continues to seem worthwhile.

while i appreciate that this gloating thing of mine is super tiring, let me say this. I know for a fact that my improved life is due to quitting drinking.  There is a one-to-one correlation between WHEN i stopped drinking and this new improved me. I wouldn’t go back now for anything, i don’t care if i’m on the outside when others are over-indulging (i don’t seem to be, it actually seems fine, i still am too loud and too funny boozeless).

right now, at this moment, there’s an apple cake in the oven, i’ve just returned from a mini-vacation feeling super well rested (hard to believe it just takes 24 hrs alone to recharge), and tomorrow is a holiday for my ‘real’ jobs.

all is well. let the gloating continue. long live the gloating.

… and if you’re lurking and wondering if you should quit drinking, let me say YES YES YES YES YES YES (have you quit yet?) YES YES YES and YES : )

god isn’t she taking this no-drinking thing a bit too far?

i slipped past the 4 month mark without really noticing. i think this is a good sign. never thought i’d get to this place where i’m not counting days, i’m not looking for rewards any more, and where saying ‘no thanks’ is easy and normal.

last night, out for dinner. the same Mr. who’s been curious all along, chimes in with his standard: “you’re still not drinking? how long are you going to not drink?” I say: “well it’s been 4 months now, so maybe for a year? i don’t know.” he starts to talk about how he wants to quit smoking, and we move on from there.

On my other side, italian friend, very kind and supportive, she seemed to understand my explanation of not drinking as needing to sleep better, and so that i can have more energy for job #3… But then the restaurant owner brings us a free round of champagne. I say no thanks twice but am served anyway.  every one raises their glasses in a toast, and i look around for someone to give my glass to.  italian friend says: “you can have champagne, it’s so light.” meaning that it won’t affect my sleep.

and while this is probably true, that a single glass of champagne probably won’t ruin a night’s sleep, what i have left unsaid is that the single glass of champagne would certainly ruin my next day (or more) by dragging me into a pit of “one glass of champagne means i’m drinking now, which means i can have wine like they are, which means we can have nicer wine than i ordered for them, which means i should have some of that calvados too when i get home – the apple brandy that i bought for baking but it’s so freaking expensive that someone should drink it, and that someone should be me.”

So i’m sorry, italian friend, i know you secretly rolled your eyes, thinking “how could one glass really hurt her, god isn’t she taking this no-drinking thing a bit too far? why is she being so rigid, she needs to lighten up” …

But really, my friend, it was easy for me to say no to the champagne, and to look around and give it to the german girl.  it was easy for me to watch you drink that shitty red wine.  and it’s easy for me to smell the calvados and think “holy christ that smells like paint thinner.”

and really, i’m all the better for it.

I actually, really and truly, no-joking, had two days in a row last week where I was struck abruptly with the fear of dying… because my life is so amazing right now, and i don’t want it to end. i just want to press repeat of those two days, and have them recycle like groundhog day, over and over and over again, and i want to never get older and never have anything change, cuz my life is too amazing, and ooooh there’s so much to do that’s cool and there’s not enough time, and i hope i get to live till i’m 115 so i can get it all done.

have a drink? are you kidding me?

Day 128. Rock on : )

solidly sober. all is well.

all is well, busy, getting lots of sleep, running lots. losing weight even with all the apple pie being consumed. solidly sober. no big sober insights, nothing to say at all really (which isn’t like me, i know). life is busy and fulled with jobs 1+2 and passion job #3 thingy (baking/catering). i’ve been trying to spend most of my day offline (checking email only once an hour, no FB, no web surfing) and i’ve found it to be very meditative … create calmness, i get more done, and feel better while getting more done. really, i’m just plain boring over here. no angst, no gnashing of teeth, just regular full life with lots of fun things to do and sunny skies.  oh, and i figured out how to make new york cheesecake with foreign ingredients on the weekend, and my life may never be the same again. all is well. i said that already. well, with cheesecake in your life, it’s easy to feel good.

encouragement

a new blogger (“a beautiful mess”) posted a comment here yesterday. she was struggling, like we all have struggled at one time or another, and she did the brave thing and reached out for help. I responded to her comment this afternoon.  She said thanks, told me about her upcoming quit date, and then she said this:

“Thank u again for taking the time to give others encouragement : ) ! know that u r making a difference in my life and I am sure many others!

so in my post today, here’s what i’m wondering:

  • how important has personal encouragement (online) been to you in your journey to get sober
  • who would you like to say ‘thanks’ to — thanks for blogging, thanks for personal attention, or any other kind of thanks — who helped you realize that you are not alone?

I don’t think we say thanks often enough. well, i don’t. of course whatever I write here, i am really writing to myself!

Yeah, so I’ll start:

how important is online support? it has meant the world to me. it has literally been the difference between success and failure.  i rely so much on the genius of my online friends, to save me from myself.

who would you like thank? Unpickled was the first sober blog i ever read, and i credit her with changing my thoughts and showing me that sobriety was not only possible but that it could be enjoyable. Then Cleo gave me my very first blog comment, and for that I’ll always be thankful. With that first comment, i knew I wasn’t alone.

What about you?

“i ate the chicken”

some of the best (and worst) search engine terms that have brought people to my blog over the last 6o days.

  • tired of thinking about drinking
  • jason vale alcohol
  • gigantic anus
  • how to celebrate 90 days sober
  • ode to red wine
  • where to set up a hot dog stand
  • does your metabolism change if you stop drinking red wine
  • 8th day sober
  • big anuses
  • oh god i wish my husband had a dick this big
  • pink cloud sober
  • hilarious misunderstanding
  • irritated by drinking habits of husbands
  • if shit were a mouthful
  • i ate the chicken
  • swarming thoughts of you
  • why can’t i sleep well after drinking red wine
  • drink every night, brain feels fragmented
  • 4 glasses of wine before bed
  • bored in hotel room drinking beer
  • first day sober from alcohol
  • feeling sad and irritated first 30 days of sobriety
  • how to make wife stop complaining about drinking
  • sober vacation france
  • i want my teacher to notice i throw up
  • jobs which require drinking with clients
  • sample topics for sober thinking
  • 10 things i’m grateful for
  • i’m grateful for my husband

i’m sure the person who entered “i ate the chicken” was super disappointed to be directed to my blog as a result …