dental extraction of attitude

new sober blogger you should check out … Doc Drying Out. I was making a comment over there and thought i could put it here, too:

There should be a new category [when defining alcoholism]:
“Do you regularly drink more than you want to,
do you think about drinking more than most people,
and have you thought about quitting but can’t quite seem to do it.”
If that was a box, I’d check it : ).

I got soooo hung up on the definition of alcoholic when i was first quitting (and even beforehand).  Am I or aren’t I.  Should I be in AA or not.  I felt that there just weren’t enough boxes to check (on all those checklists) for those of us who are high-bottom boozers.

How about just this: “life is better without booze, give it a try. oh, you find it hard to try quitting even just for a while? then you will enjoy a life without booze even MORE than you think!”

And in follow-up to yesterday’s stupid/overwhelmed post, husband has a dentist appointment tomorrow (may they extract his attitude while in the dentist’s chair).  And right after I posted about scaling back, I cancelled one of the things I do for Job #2.  There weren’t many people using the service, but i was clenched against one or two emails saying “oh, i’m so sad you won’t be doing this any more, i love this …”

what did i get?

crickets. not one single email saying anything. Clearly i need to cut out more stuff, cuz what I think the universe needs is not what it needs right now! what a relief.  i’m not in charge of the universe : )

doing a lot less

Today i woke with a headache, which is never a good sign.  had a cup of coffee, an advil, lounged in bed for another hour.  Had breakfast with a husband who has a toothache (is there anything worse? i’m sure an amputation would be less dramatic).

Then i looked at my desk in disarray, matching my head in disarray.

Then i read part of someone else’s non-drinking-related blog. she’s announcing to her followers that she’s closing down her business to start something else. Yes, of course, what didn’t I think of that.

Then i went into the kitchen, to my ashen-faced-husband, and and i said “i’ve decided to shut down job #2”.  He says “and you’ll do something else?” and i say, yes, of course, we need the income. i’m just not doing THAT any more.

I am 6 months sober, and I am waking up to the fact i have a bunch of bits and pieces in my life that i’m ‘obligated’ to do, that i just don’t feel like doing any more.

I could tolerate a certain amount of chaos when i was drinking that i don’t seem to be able to tolerate any more.

instead, now that i’m sober, i wake up every day trying to talk myself into doing these things on my to-do list, these business/work tasks, and i just can’t make myself do them.  i’m burnt out on the whole fucking mess of my life right now, all of the weird bits, the fractured income streams, the low grade illness, the snow, the sick husband. I’m sick and tired of all of it.  If i could put my life in a box right now and close the lid, i’d happily create something else completely new.  [and some days when i have a sick husband, i imagine a new life where i’m single]

Last night i said to husband, THIS SEEMS like it would be a good time to drink.  I knew i wouldn’t.  It just would have been a good time to drink, if there was ever such a time.

Instead, i’m going to do some massive house cleaning — literally and figuratively.  i’m going to clean up and clean out.  I’m even starting to feel like job #3 is too much work most weeks.

Beginning today I’m going to experiment with doing a lot less, and see if i can sit with the uncomfortable feelings that come up with that decision.

What will it mean if i do A LOT LESS.

well, we’re about find out.

search engine topics

here are some of the words people have typed into search engines in the last month that led them to my blog… i can’t tell whether to laugh or cry!

  • tired think drink
  • best sobriety blog
  • online sobriety support
  • gigantic anus
  • 8th day of stopping drinking two bottles of wine a night
  • best part of being sober
  • whether you think you can or you can’t
  • read jason vale’s book and still want to drink
  • i’m fucking through the night
  • is anxiety tiring
  • i’m tired of drinking
  • drinking champagne while i’m in despair
  • best part about being sober
  • “i was thinking only of me”
  • trying to get through the night without a drink
  • fuck this i’m going to sleep [who types this into a search engine and then follows the links?]
  • no off button with drinking
  • she eats bread and butter
  • good things about being sober

today is the best day

no matter what you think, when you’re quitting drinking, day one is best day.

it’s the day your sober car starts to roll downhill. it’s the day you’ll get to remember, and look back on, and it’s the day you’ll count from.  it’s your day one.  the first day.  It is the beginning of a parade of days that will go by, each one with its own challenges.

Can you see us? we’re standing on the sidelines in the parade, with tiny flags in hand, waving. There are balloons. There’s music. There’s homemade lemonade.

OK, yes it’s hard to be in a parade at first. you feel like everyone is looking at you. it’s exhausting. It’s a full time job being newly sober.

and then as the parade goes on, the hours and the days add up. each day means something. each day represents an accomplishment, a day you said no thanks, i’ll stick with tea/bubbly water. No thanks, i want to do what’s best for me.

No thanks, while your offer is tempting, i’m going to skip numbness and choose living instead.

And no matter what you think, when you quit drinking, every day is the best day.  Today is day #203 for me.  It’s the best day. I have this great number of days behind me AND i have today to look forward to. It’s strangely snowy in this part of Europe and it’s a perfect day for a run and then breakfast and a reward magazine. I’ve been waiting all week to read my reward magazine. And now today is here.  Today is the best day.

Today I will do what others won’t

In writing to my sober penpal, Amy, last week, i was telling her how i was out for dinner and someone was asking about my not-drinking.  He’s a nice guy, someone who’s told my husband and i that he admires how we’ve constructed our lives… anyway he seemed like just the right place for me to practice telling my sober story differently.

cuz when i first quit, i didn’t want anyone to notice; then once i got my sea legs i was pissed off that no one noticed i wasn’t drinking. Now i seem to be in a new place. I’m not changing the facts, just how I talk about why i’m sober.

I told this nice guy that it started as a 30 day ‘experiment’ for Dry July, but that I found it harder to quit than I thought I would. We agreed that booze is everywhere – in ads/tv/associated with major events, at christmas, at new years, even at the dinner we were attending that very night. It’s assumed everyone will drink.  Everyone drinks.

I told him that the longer I didn’t drink, and the more I got to stand outside of what everyone else does, I could really examine it, and try to figure out what worked best for ME.  Everyone else just drinks (in different amounts, but most people drink) and they do so perhaps without ever really considering if that’s what’s best for them.

i told him that once I had quit, I realized I was better off without it.  I sleep better, I get more done, and it has started a ball of self-improvement rolling  downhill (i didn’t mention my sober car, but you know what i mean).

Now, what’s changed?  All of this story is true. I don’t have to share with anyone, nor is it anyone’s business, as to how much I drank, or how many times i thought about quitting before I actually did.

I’m telling a TRUE story, but I get to decide HOW I tell it.  and frankly, sober girls rock, and I felt GREAT after I framed my story like this … Amy and I agreed it was time for a new bumper sticker: sober girls rock… or … “when’s the last time you did something different from what everyone else was doing?” The great un-lemming-ing.

kinda like: Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can have a life that others can’t…

I’m curious 5

Looks like I missed doing this in December …

Hi there. I’m well, thanks.  I’m pretty darn great in fact.  I feel MUCH better than i did for the entire month of December.  I’m glad the holidays are done, and i’m glad the days are getting longer (at least in my part of the world!). I’m busy and happy and running and I’m feeling pretty even.  No big gasping highs, and no crying lows.  Just good-good-good.

Onwards to Curious Part 5

i lurked on a few sober blogs before I quit drinking July 1st.  So here’s what i’m curious about.

  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 then enter the 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 January 15th, 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 : )

prunes, vacuums, and nature

thank god it’s all over, the holiday season. didn’t realize how exhausted and stressed i was, how near to drinking i probably was 3 or 4 times.  I didn’t seem to remember that it would take me a full 10 days of my 14 day vacation to truly unwind (i’m there now!). i’m glad the whole holiday/celebrating thing is finished, that new years eve is done, that my 6 month sober-versary has passed — and with it any ideas i had of ‘maybe i can drink now that it’s been 6 months’.  done with that kind of thinking. now i can go back to my regularly scheduled sober life.

and i feel pretty great. strangely empowered. better than i’ve felt in a long, long time.  I’m a girl who loves her vacations, that’s for sure.  i like working when i feel like it, sleeping, running, and frigging around in the kitchen.  i like planning for the new year without actually doing anything to advance my plans!  (I am a girl who loves a plan, but i might even like MAKING plans, and scheming new plans, more than i even like having the finished plan. I like the chart paper on the wall, i like the vomiting of ideas, deciding which ones to pursue, what to prune.)

What to prune.  This brings me to today’s a-ha moment.

i’ve been on autopilot for so many years, that now being 6 months sober is providing me with an unusually clear perspective and a quiet sense of determination.  Pruning.  I’m about to prune some of what i do in Job #2.  Eliminate a few services that are irritating and not worth it anymore.  what’s HILARIOUS is that i found a note from november 2011, where i identified that i wanted to prune Job #2.  And then i didn’t do any of it.  i kept drinking (January to June) and then beginning in July, all i could focus on was getting/staying sober.

Now that i’ve been squirted (splat!) out the other side, i had a look around was like “yeah, now’s the time. do some pruning.”

And as soon as i figured out the first thing to prune, a new idea came into my head to take its place, hopefully bigger and better, something i’ll love doing instead of something i feel obligated to do.  you know, that stupid fucking trite saying about ‘nature abhors a vacuum’ … well.

well that’s all i have to say about prunes, vacuums, and nature.

Here are my 2013 things i’d like to do (not resolutions).  I record them here so that i can torture congratulate myself later when i check them off one by one [sorry Amy if you’re seeing these more than once]:

  • get 100% caught up on paperwork, filing, banking, accounting
  • trim 3 things from my business #2 which isn’t doing very well
  • add 3 new things (not yet imagined) to business #2 to see if it perks things up (i have one of them imagined already)
  • build my passion job #3 thingy to a more steady and reliable stream of income
  • I’d like to lose 15 pounds, then re-evaluate, and perhaps lose another 5 after that (this was a 2012 goal that I’m carrying forward; I’ve lost 7 of the original 15, but still have a bit to go)
  • I’d like to eat my way down to the bottom of my freezer (this was also on my list for 2012, that I’m carrying forward)
  • read 52 books in a year.  This year I read 40 34
  • continue to run 3-5 times per week
  • continue to be sober until July 1st which is my one year s0ber-versary. I can re-evaluate then, but I suspect I’ll remain sober.  it suits me.
  • have one night away per month, with or without husband, for mini-vacations since we’re not able to afford real vacations this year.
  • I’d like to be thin, with long hair, eyebrows done from the salon, nice nails, and have a good (real) tan.  then I’d like to go home in July to see my sisters… yes, even at age 46 the sibling rivalry continues … it can be pretty motivating. I’m trying to let this go.
  • I’d like to be in bed by 10:30 most nights, and 9:30 pm at least one night per week.

In general, I’d like to experience the feeling of being ‘done’ with a bunch of loose ends.  I’m spread a bit thin, and I think the kindest gift I can give myself this year is to do fewer things better.

Happy New Year everyone 🙂

6 months today

Quit date: July 1st.

6 months later: January 1st.

Was in bed last night at 10:30 pm to ensure that no champagne would be consumed. husband joined me; he’s not drinking either except when he’s out, and then only a beer or two.

i think that 6 months is a freaking long time.  in my case it has been 185.5 days of saying no, making better choices, distracting myself, and going to bed. This started as a 30 day idea, and here I am 6 months later. Impossible to believe, really.  I think that going to bed early saves me more often than i’d care to admit …

But as Amy wrote to me today in her daily email update:

“I am convinced that getting enough sleep can help you slay dragons (and wolves).”

I’m a bit sluggish today, as husband and i are having a rare disagreement that has been going on for a couple of days.  i will sleep well tonight, and will run tomorrow.

and everything will be fine.

and i’ll be sober.

i will have no regrets.

i’ll kick some ass tomorrow.

just not today.

today i’m watching Being John Malkovich (for the 6th or 8th time)…

co-dependent-weiner-style-deflection

Turns out the holidays were harder than i thought they’d be.  Yes, sober. But had to think about not-drinking more than a few times. Went to bed at 9 pm more than once just to save me from me (insert counting crows lyrics here: “i can’t keep myself away from me.”)

I didn’t realize how many booze associations Christmas was going to bring up, this being my first sober noel.  You know, decorate the tree with a margarita in hand like every year … make homemade eggnog and buy a special bottle of dark rum. oh yeah, vacations = start drinking at 1 pm.  oh and what about my personal favorite:  how do you fill all these evenings without booze?

i did a few things to cope.

  1. made a deal with myself that i was going to start drinking again when i got to 6 months … or 12 months.  I changed my mind a few times as to the actual date. Thankfully i continue to be able to resist and therefore know that I will not make a decision in haste.  i may drink again ‘later’ but not now.
  2. as mentioned, I escaped to bed as early as necessary.
  3. i voiced out loud to my husband that i wanted wine. he’d smile and nod. and then he’d change the subject. i think i was waiting for him to say “have some then.” But he didn’t. So i didn’t. I realize this is completely girly-co-dependent-weiner-style-deflection, but it’s working for me and i hardly ever ask him for big-time moral support so he’s giving it and i’m taking it …
  4. i did something completely brave and had a very very nice on-the-phone conversation with another sober chick who i admire. and it was really helpful. a lot.
  5. i have continued my daily penpal correspondence with not-so-newly-sober Amy. (She emailed me out of nowhere and said she was reaching out for help, and i suggested she report in every day by email, even if i couldn’t always answer, and yet i have found the time to answer, and it’s been very helpful for both of us i think – well i’ll just speak for me, shall i?)

i have very slowly been coming to a new realization about being sober that didn’t strike me at first.  Yes, i’m a slow learner. here I am months later and i’m JUST NOW beginning to wake up to the fact that i drank to fill time because I hate being bored. despise it. run from it. used to drink so that i could fill a whole evening when there was nothing to do.

i don’t yet know what boredom ‘means’ to me… it’s not “you’re not good enough” and it’s not “you suck.”

Boredom, for me, i think is saying something about wasting talents. some kind of guilt thing that goes like this: “The Biggest Sin of All: Not Living Up to Your Potential.”

i’ll write more about this as it becomes clearer.  part of it is parental messaging, however unintentional. i was brought up to believe that it was a tragedy if you had a talent that you didn’t use. like a “call-the-newspaper-we-have-a-headline” incident.  the guilt of not using your talents, the criticism, the complaining…

and so what if you’re good at three things.  and there’s not enough life to go around. and so you pick one of the things.  and your parent (and others, to be fair), says “you should be using talent #1. Talent #3 is great, but you’ve got talent #1 and you should be using THAT.”

Should?

How about I drink instead.

of course, it’s not as linear as that.  and this-girl-who-can’t-make-a-point-without-a-hyphen isn’t sure what it’s all about.  why does a successful chick with a business or two feel the need to drink as much as I did? yes, the booze gets you and drags you in.  but i knew what was happening and i let it happen. i stood by for a long time and watched the booze leak in, fill space, get in all the cracks. i watched it fill up entire evenings, days, weekends, vacations.

for what? so that i didn’t have to use talent #1?

good god. not that this makes any sense.

ok.  reset.  Hi y’all, i’m through the christmas season and i’ve come out the other side relatively unscathed.  i’ll leave the rest for closer examination another day.

May i present you with … day 173

When Amy started her sober adventures, she reached out to me by email. I suggested that if she needed a pen pal (someone to email progress to), that I was happy to hear from her. She has been emailing daily… and she’s doing great. Head over and show her some love.

She also asks interesting questions, and presents challenges that i haven’t thought of so much since my first sober days.  it’s good to revisit the early days’ thinking … this must be the part about ‘service’ that AA talks about. just talking to someone who’s getting started is so freaking helpful.

Here’s one piece of shared insight:

Amy wrote that she’d gone for a run, felt ridiculously good, and knew that the honeymoon would be over soon but was enjoying it nonetheless.

I wrote:

There’s no end to the honeymoon period, it’s a relief and a truly uplifting experience to get and stay sober.  it’s hard to convince someone who’s still drinking … but those of us who are sober know that the shitty part is THERE (in drinking land), whereas WE have a secret:  i.e. that it’s actually ‘better’ here in SOBER land …

🙂  Happy day 173 to me.  nearly 6 months (which will either be in 7 days, or on January 1st, depending on how you calculate a ‘month’ … and assuming we’re all alive after the end of the world tomorrow)