busy, tired, well

remember how i said that i was going to ensure that i got enough sleep and could run, even as this new job kicked my ass? time to re-evaluate. it’s kicking my ass! i have no interest in alcohol, have lost track of days, am working as ‘hard’ as i have in my whole life (i look longingly at my desk and wish i could sit here more often, the new job is much more physical than i’ve ever been, ever). in a physical job, you need your body to work. reliably. not be hung over, dehydrated, or feverish. i have so much good going on right now, i simply don’t have time for booze or thoughts of booze.

i remember once hearing some self-help wanker saying something like “don’t worry about trying to change bad habits, just fill your life with good habits and the bad habits will fade away on their own.” this clearly is a bunch of hollow advice, and yet … back in march when i started this new job #3 passion thingy, it was super clear that i couldn’t do it and drink at the same time, and the drinking left.  albeit only for days or weeks at a time, but it was on its way out.

i’ve got nothing to say here except: i’m busy, i’m tired, i’m looking forward to this day and i’d like it be finished. i only got 6 hrs sleep last night. driving in a new country is scary and exhilarating. i have NO thoughts of drinking. i’ve finally lived up to the title of this blog. (just looked it up, i’m day 111 – that’s seems like a good number!) wine is no longer a daily part of my thoughts, of my coping mechanisms, or how i choose to ‘have fun’.  i haven’t been posting as often or leaving comments on other blogs as much as i’d like. i’m reading everything, just not commenting as much. please know that i’m here, that i’m well, and that i’m THRIVING.

what ‘good’ thing could you fill your life with, that — when placed next to drinking — would make drinking look like a gigantic waste of time?  a new relationship. a passionate hobby. your second half-marathon, the perfect apple pie …

i’m curious 3

First, my brief update: i am well, just very very very busy with job #3 passion thingy, it’s literally taking over my life in a good way. it’s freaky busy/successful and my biggest challenge isn’t growing and advertising, it’s balancing the growth that’s happening without me doing anything. now that i no longer have to think about ‘not drinking’, i’m focusing on getting to bed early and running. these two things (combined with not drinking) are my survival tools. I am surviving and thriving. my job #3 passion thingy is so fucking busy that i crashed for two days on the weekend, like nearly had a coma:  i just read and sat inside watching the rain.  i did run, eat well, slept well, and did nothing else. nothing. no tv. no cleaning, no food making. i did play cards with my husband and he beat me 7 out of 8 times. this morning, back to work, and it looks like it might be busier than last week. And the new client who had hired two of us to share the work? the other chick ain’t doing so hot, they let me know, so they want me to step it up a bit. a bit more. i even have to rent a car and start driving in this new wacky place. i drove today and, of course, it was fine. i’m adaptable. i can drive in foreign countries. i’m a smart, sober chick. i’ve got this covered…

but anyway, the point of this post is the CURIOUS part : )  This is becoming a monthly thing, and i look forward to it : )

I know that i lurked on a few blogs for a while before I actually quit drinking for real. I was looking for motivation and i really wanted to hear that other people had been successful at what i was contemplating/struggling with.

This blogging community really does have all that, 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.
  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 november 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 : )

PPS/ I hope to hear again from “Hoping!!!” and from Jen and from NoMorePinot

well, it’s official

yes, it’s official. i not only need glasses to read my book in bed, but as of this past weekend i also need them to read menus, to fill out hotel registration forms, and nearly to tie my shoes. I’m nearly 46.

this doesn’t bother me much — except that it’s irritating to carry my glasses around all the time — it doesn’t bother me, because aging doesn’t really bother me much. i’m in good health, i look younger than my age, i don’t have to color my hair (no kids! no gray hair!).

I’ve heard 45 called “middle-aged.”

Me, I see life like this: from ages 0 to 20 years old, you’re growing as a body and as a personality, and you’re under the influence of parents and peers.  Stating at age 20, your life really begins.  If you live to 80, that means that you’ve got 60 really productive, adult, fulfilled years in your life.  OK, from age 20 to 40 you’re still figuring out a lot about who you are, and hopefully you stop doing a lot of bad shit, and you get yourself together, and you figure stuff out. More or less. That means from 40ish to age 80 is a huge bonus time, where you know what you want, and you set about having it …

So, at age 45, my life is really about 1/3 finished.  Disregard 0 to 20.  I didn’t really have any choices then.  My life started at 20.  I’ve lived from 20-40; I still have two more thirds to complete:  40-60, and 60-80.  And really, i may well live beyond 80… or i might get squished by a big bug, but i’m not counting on that.  i’m a non-smoking, non-drinking girl in a happy marriage, who runs.

i’m a girl who blogs OUT the bad shit before it takes root in her head.

i’m a girl who does NOT have to learn everything myself, the hard way. I take direction, I learn from mentors … so i can get where i need to go more efficiently. Stop wasting time. Start having fun.

and this is my plan.  even if i need bifocals to help me find my way!

a good day

Here’s how I know today is a good day:

  • enough sleep (woke before the alarm)
  • weather is sunny and warm
  • i literally forced myself to go for a run, like bending your fingernails backwards FORCED — and thankfully felt great afterwards
  • had a shower in the dark (i really love this!)
  • one perfect steaming cup of coffee. OK, let’s get this recorded. I am addicted to caffeine.  That day without tea/coffee was shitty-ola.  This day, by comparison, with coffee: it’s like the light is a bit brighter, the air a bit sweeter, the room a bit cozier. It’s like the imaginary hit from booze that never really happens. Yes, that buzz really is in coffee! One cup of coffee per day. Makes all the difference.
  • the discovery that it’s probably tonic water irritating my heart thing, since the timing is nearly perfect with increased tonic water consumption and rise in symptoms. and it’s much easier to give up tonic water than coffee/tea! Amen!
  • four new requests from clients for my passion job #3 thingy, and then we’re away for another long weekend.
  • i love vacations. I need more of them. I say this all the time. One long weekend a month! October’s is coming in 4 days!

And i went to the get supplies this morning, and went to a store far away that i’ve been putting off for (i don’t know) 5 weeks.  then, just like that, it’s done and i can cross it off my list.  All is well in this part of my world.

And I do adore the fact that — after my near-miss drinking feelings on Saturday — once i got through it and went to bed, it’s like it never happened and the days after are ‘normal’.   Once i’ve kicked the wolf in the face, and once i go to bed, the next day it’s like it never happened and i’m back in my sober car again just tooling along, busy, happy, productive. And now that i have my tea back, all is well.  What a stupid idea giving up caffeine.  What was i thinking…

i may kill someone. i’m just saying.

better day. i slept 12 hours last night. perhaps that is overdoing it slightly. it is nice and sunny today, thankfully. haven’t felt much like running this week so i’ve taken a break, which is unheard of for me.

i’m having heart palpitations (they’re called PATs, not serious, not even very interesting from a cardiology point of view), and they’re tiring and irritating. waking me at night. starting at about 4:30 pm everyday and continuing off and on through the evening and into the night. i wake up in the morning feeling fine. then it starts up again.  today i’m doing a day without any coffee or tea of any kind, no decaf, no green tea, nothing. to see if symptoms are any better. and frankly i’ve got a gigantic headache. no caffeine! i usually have one cup of coffee at breakfast, and then drink tea ALL DAY LONG, literally one cup after the other — herbal, smoky, green, mint, don’t care what kind.

quitting tea is unlike quitting drinking. i hate the sound of the kettle boiling. husband is trying to make his cups discretely when i’m out of range. he’s just gone out now to buy me more tonic water before i turn inside out with irritation. i’m a bit tired and headachy and eating chocolate hasn’t helped. i may be in bed tonight at 8:30 pm again if this keeps up.

oh there’s the heart thing now, starting up, 5:30 pm.  so a bit later today than usual. grr.  the last time i had a prolonged spell of this, it lasted 6 weeks…  this time it’s probably been 3 weeks already. i will stay off the tea for a week to see if it helps at all, and i may kill someone between now and then.  i’m just saying.

alcohol is a common aggravant of this condition, at least i can cross that off the list …

i’m going to bed

it’s 8:40 pm and i’m heading to bed. it’s the only way i can be sure that i won’t consume wine, so bed it is. i’ve asked my husband 3 or 4 times if we can have wine, and he’s made a joke each time. he made me tea, then tonic and cranberry juice. he made supper. he wrapped me in a blanket. he says shitty-chipper things like “i like it that we’re not drinking now.” Then i’m just silently mad at him that i can’t have wine, cuz now it’s his fault. by asking him for permission, and him saying no, i’ve made it so i can be irritated with him. instead of just announcing that i’m having wine, which he probably wouldn’t counter. what a co-dependent GIRL i am. i’m sure boys don’t do shit like this.

well, this girl is dragging her sorry ass to bed. i had a perfectly lovely busy day, yes i’m tired but not overly so. yes i was hungry but then i ate. it was a nice sunny day.  light reflecting off rooftops. and everywhere i looked, every single fucking person on the planet had a drink in their hand (this was at about 5 pm). there was booze in the grocery store, in the store windows, it was just fucking everywhere.  everyone else is having wine and having a nice lovely time. and i’m not.

and now that i’m 91 days i deserve a prize! A big Wine Prize! (I did order a 90-day present, it’s an electric griddle/frying pan thing.  hardly exciting (to you maybe) but i can’t wait for it to come so i can make homemade English Muffins cuz the ones in foreign-land SUCK rocks…

Did i say bed? i’m going to bed. tomorrow will be fine. thank god i can always go to bed.

to get away from myself.

i don’t believe in colds

this is as brave as i am.

while i haven’t changed the theme for this blog, I am brave enough to change the fonts.  I really hate small fonts (i’m old! i can’t see!) and much prefer serif fonts. OK, i’m not as brave as BBB but advancing, slowly.  i’m not as patient as RoS (Christy), but i’m learning by example.

As i sit here in my desk chair, cup of coffee consumed, cereal eaten (not the best of breakfasts, but i did have a half an apple alongside) … I am facing a long work day. All three of my jobs are going to require something from me today. i didn’t sleep quite enough (husband awake with a cold, he can sleep again quickly whereas i cannot).

I don’t believe in colds, so i won’t be participating in his event.

my big new contract for my passion/job #3 thingy, i delivered the first part of the work yesterday and went by the space in the afternoon. Upon arriving, i found out that they DID hire someone else in addition to me, so there we both were, side by side, looking at each other … and i’m thinking: “oh, this isn’t an exclusive gig for ME?”

At first i was disappointed, then relieved. This means I won’t have to do all the work myself. this job will not overtake my life. i can share the load with someone else.

And when i came home there were two more requests for work from other smaller clients.  As predicted, once I announced to the rest of my clients that i’d scored this big new gig, they’re all excited now to work with me even more. So even if the big gig eventually phases me out, the side-effects are already being felt among my existing clients.

well, what am i trying to say here? (as Paul would say, i’m “rabbiting” on …)

i’m trying to say that my perceived value has increased simply by announcing the big new job … and i can continue to reap these benefits EVEN if they don’t keep me, even if they eventually phase me out, even if i share the work with someone else, even if i eventually back away from the workload … my other clients are like “oh, do you have room for me this week? can i see you? yes of course 7 pm on Friday is convenient for me”).

So, you see, it’s all good.  Even if they eventually don’t need me anymore.  It’s all good.  This is my (frustrating to some) attitude of the glass is half-full in grand display.

and today, even though i’m a bit tired, and maybe a bit sniffly, and today even though the weather has dramatically changed this week, and it’s dark and stormy… today i will work away on cleaning and puttering and preparing for my appointments.  i will listen to fascinating podcasts, and i will be patient, and in-advance. i will answer outstanding emails and clear off my voice mail.  Today i will run and shower and dry my hair (!).  Today, on not quite enough sleep, i will work hard to have a very good day. Starting with another cup of coffee in my favorite mug.  It’s all good.

people just want oreos

Who would you be if you were already ‘enough’? what would you do if money and talent were not an obstacle?

The big contract for my third job/passion thingy has begun. i worked hard yesterday to be ready and just delivered the first installment this morning. I will go by the space later this afternoon to see how it’s looking, and to be onsite for questions, instruction, and brainstorming. Yes, i did work a long day yesterday, but i also ran, read, and ate relatively healthy food including homemade vegetable soup. in fact, on my tuesday weigh-in, i am down 2.2 lbs from July 1st, so that’s not too shabby. It means that the reliance on cake is waning somewhat. I was also in bed last night by 9:30 pm, asleep by 10 pm. My life is much improved by getting enough sleep. this might be the key to all of life’s problems… at least for me, at least for today.

if i was already enough, i’d (honestly) stop (entirely) one of my three jobs … job #2.  My work there is fragmented, clients never hear from me unless i’m trying to sell them something, and i don’t know what i’m delivering half the time, it’s not a good match of my skills + their needs. it’s like i have to keep convincing them that they need me. instead of finding people who ‘do’ need my services, and selling to them instead.

this is a light bulb moment.

forgive me if i stop here. for a moment.

god, this is why i continue to blog. so that i can explain things TO MYSELF. (It’s great if someone else is aided by my ramblings, but please forgive the gigantic belly-button-gazing-self-centered nature of today’s post.)

here it is:  stop trying to convince the world that they need bandaids for their worms (they don’t, and you’ll spend such a long time trying to convince them that they DO). stop trying to convince the world that they need a new pink handbag (they don’t, and stop buying so much fucking stuff anyway).  stop trying to convince the world that they should pay you to help them get up off the couch (whey they’re ready to get off the couch, they’ll find YOU). stop trying to convince people to buy this broccoli instead of that broccoli (because really, they just want oreos; find a way to sell healthy homemade-with-love oreos and just be done with it).

i would never have figured this out if i wasn’t sober. when drinking, i was on a treadmill of job 1, job 2. i was just getting through the day. now there’s actually time and energy to THINK about things.

now that i’ve mixed metaphors so much that you can’t follow me at all, let me say this:

Dear Belle.  As of today, stop wasting energy trying to sell things to people who don’t want them. Stop trying to convince anyone of anything. If they want oreos instead of carrots, then sell them oreos. And if you find oreos personally repelling, then just look away and do something else.

Business advice often heard:  “Where should you set up a hotdog stand? In front of a bunch of hungry hotdog eaters.” i never really understood this it until today. until right now, this minute. i’ve just delivered a big job to my job #3/passion/thingy and i realize that it’s the easiest work i’ve ever done. there’s a huge market for it and i can barely keep up. {DUH! WAKE UP CHICKY BABY}

Note to self. Try again. Dear Belle. You’re getting distracted. Listen here:

Sell to people who WANT to buy your stuff.  Stop trying to convince anyone of anything.

(the parallels with *real* life, of course, are evident. stop trying to convince people that they need to change, just be you.  be you as much as you can. do your thing with love and care. oh my god i know understand the fucking 1970s touchy-feely-hippie book title: do what you love and the money will follow … oh. my. god.)

Goal #4 is better than 95%…

funny. re-reading notes from january made while reading a self-help book. i made a list of personal development goals:

  1. Thin and lean, strong, bathing suit body
  2. Long hair, well groomed, nails, eyebrows
  3. Ridiculously well read, 52+ books/year
  4. Alcohol free (to 95%),with toasts and treats but no regular consumption
  5. Even mood, good sleep
  6. Clean, tidy, organized, prepared in advance
  7. Run more consistently
  8. Be more patient, willing to go slowly and do the work as well as dream outrageously

I’m always fascinated when i reread my journals. What strikes me about this list is that now that we’re nearing the last 3 months of the year, i can say that other than reading a ton, i do have the rest of it pretty much under control. Oh, well i don’t have #1. But goal #4 is better than 95%. Goal 6 is happening. Number 7 is true. and number 8 is definitely improved.

What i didn’t realize in writing this list back in january, was that the keystone habit that i needed to incorporate — the one thing that i could change that would make everything else easier — was being 100% sober. Had no idea how much easier it would be to achieve everything else i wanted in my life. Also had no idea quite how hard it is would be to quit. Could never, ever have done it alone. Blogging and this community is what made it possible for me.

While I do still toy with the idea of 95% sobriety, with treats and toasts, for the most part i’m too freaked out to lose the other things i’ve gained, and so for now, since i have something that’s working, i don’t want to fuck with it.

It’d be like if you gave up wheat and refined sugar (my next goal?), and you lost 20 pounds (is that me?), and then someone says “don’t you miss cake?” and you say “sure i miss cake, but i like this better.” I feel that way about wine now. maybe i’ll feel like that about cake some day. maybe after 30 days of anything that is life-improving, you’re more likely to say “i like this much better than that old thing.”

The hard part is starting and getting some momentum in your little car.

and now that i’m nearly at 90 days, i’m certainly not the slightest bit interested in starting to count days again from day #1.  and fuck yeah, sure, i’d love some wine. and yes, I’d like a glass of champagne now and then.  But for now, i am continuing to decide that the other gains i have are worth it.  Much more worth it than a glass of wine.

I must remove exhaustion from the table. At all costs.

I’m feeling about 75% well today, so better than yesterday.  Sickness, exhaustion, and overwhelm = not my finest moments. not the best combination. Mix that with the witching hour (7 pm to 9 pm).  Last night was hard but not impossible. I’m glad I posted.  Glad I put it out there that i was struggling.  As soon as I press “publish” i know that i won’t drink.  I expose the wolf for all the world to see, and then he shuts up. Thankfully.

But i have to accept, also, that this new hobby/passion is kicking my ass.  and I am going to have to make some new rules starting right now.  These things are more important to me than my passions, my work, or money:

  1. No matter how busy I get, I have to get enough sleep.  For me that is a minimum of 8 hours, and best is 9.5 hours. That’s every night. If i am too busy to get enough sleep, then i’m too busy.
  2. No matter how busy i get, I have to be able to run. This is 4-5 times a week. I can only run if i’ve had enough sleep, and if there’s enough time between job 1, job 2 and passion job.
  3. This means that I’m probably going to have to scale back … I know the new passion job is taking wings, and getting ready to explode with popularity (someone featured my new gig on their blog yesterday, god help me).  The big new contract that I spoke about before starts next week (yes, in addition to all this, it’s going to get busier)… While I love this new adventure, I’m not ready for it to take over my life.

If i’m being overworked by my passion, then I need to take a step back.  if it’s not fun, and it starts to feel like work, then I’ve got to be careful. I don’t want to get burnt out on the one thing I really love doing.

I’m nearly 46 years old.  Today is the day that I learn, once and for all, that I need enough sleep. It’s virtually impossible for me to stay sane, productive, running, and sober if i’m exhausted.  I must remove exhaustion from the table.  At all costs.  Even if that means giving things up.  Sleep and running are number one, because they LEAD to the other goals being possible.

If AA rules are don’t get too hungry, angry, lonely, tired…then mine are (expressed in the positive, cuz that’s the kind of chick i am):

YOU MUST GET ENOUGH …

  • Sleep
  • Exercise
  • Healthy Food
  • Down-time
  • Rewards (like cake, tea, nail polish, fresh pineapple)

(i’m never lonely, and i’m usually only angry when exhausted, so i can remove those from my personal list)

I refuse to need to relearn these lessons any more.  I’m old enough, i’ve lived long enough, and I know this already.  I know that i need enough sleep.  Stop fucking talking about it, and just do it. From now on.