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?

making goo-goo eyes at the wine

And then last night, at the end of a very super exhausting week, at the end of a catered 3-course sit-down dinner for 10 guests [yes, #3 job/passion thingy is corporate catering, i’ve mentioned cake enough times in this blog that I probably gave it away – so Imogen wins, but i suspect she had insider help] — last night, at 12:30 a.m., i was faced with an open bottle of red wine, 3/4 of the bottle remaining.  it was just me.  husband was still out.

i quickly went through a thought process like this:

if ever there was a time to have a drink to celebrate and unwind, like normal people, then this would be the time. At the end of this week. This week was too busy. i have to scale back again. i said that exhaustion wasn’t going to make me want to drink and here i am, nearly 1 a.m., thinking that wine would be a good idea.  Come on now, would a normal person drink wine and then promptly go to bed? How could I even enjoy the wine? See, that’s not a normal desire to drink, that’s a desire to ‘fill the space’ with something. Normal people don’t drink wine in bed and then turn off the light and roll over and go to sleep. Yes, I need to scale back job #3, and yes i definitely (starting right now) need to be less tired.  Once that has been achieved, this oggling of wine will end. You’re only looking at the wine with goo-goo eyes because you’re exhausted.

And thankfully the feeling passed quickly. The bottle is in the kitchen, corked, and perhaps husband will drink it later this week.  Or i’ll freeze it for cooking.

During dinner last night, i expressed to one of my good clients who knows me well, that the big new client’s catering was a bit much this past week, and while happy for the work, i’m not thrilled with the KIND of work. i said to the client something like this:

I’ll just say this out loud so the universe can hear me, i’m grateful for the work, i’m thankful for the opportunity, it’s just that i’d like to do more baking and less meals. and i like having many small clients rather than being sucked dry by big giant clients.

then this morning, after 9 hrs sleep, the big client emails me their weekly order:  all baking, no meals. (were the meals last week bad? do they think i’m too expensive? was the cauliflower undercooked (it was).  i don’t care, this is what i asked for, more baking/less meals, and i’m gigantically relieved.) To make it even better, big client wants all of their baking delivered early which means a very early morning shift for me on Wednesday, for which i get to charge them a surplus. So I get to do what I want, i get to charge more, and i get to have a nap at noon for several hours after the job is delivered in my new cute little electric car.

all is well.  it’s very warm and sunny today so i’m going to sit outside in the sun and recharge MY electric batteries : )

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!

100 days

100 days yesterday. bought myself a new pottery teacup as my reward.  i’m just back from a wonderful 4-day vacation, warm temperatures, lots of lounging, walking, eating good food. and upon arriving home, my 90 day reward (a big electric griddle) had arrived in the mail, so now there may be homemade english muffins in my future.

on my vacation, no cravings to drink. no thoughts whatsoever.  thankfully, it looks like a quiet week work-wise, which would be a blessing since the day before we left for vacation i think i worked 16 hrs … and the first day of vacation required a 3-hr nap to reset : )

get to the point, belle!

All is well now. i have laundry to do (who cares). i have a desk full of paperwork (yippee). and i really need to go to the big store and get big groceries (blech).  all is well. wouldn’t want to be anywhere other than here …

i’m quiet, but not drinking

I’m quiet, but not drinking.  Just swamped with passion job #3 thingy. Tomorrow is another long day.  The contract that i started last week DID get me to do more work for them this week, and have already asked for something for next week.  So they’re not going away. (PS/ their request for next week is based on a sample that i took into my original meeting with them, that was not part of the work that they asked for.  but once they saw the sample, they’ve changed their business direction slightly to include that aspect of my work. Note to self – think outside the box, give them more than what they ask for. I’ve also been giving them other random samples each week with their new (requested) work, just so that they can see the range of my abilities.  fun fun stuff!)

and in the middle of all of this, yes, I ran today … even though i got up at 7:30 am and have been going non-stop ever since (now it’s 9:39 pm)!  AND i will run tomorrow.  I realize now that not only do i feel much better when i run (duh!), even for 18-20 minutes, but it also gives me the opportunity to fall in love with my town again, each and every morning. Today, outside the fish shop with the big front step, as i ran past at 8:30 am, the smelly fish guy in his rubber apron and knee-high boots was helping granny down the big step: granny, her cane, her wheelie cart.  There was a big line-up waiting to be served, and the fish guy is there helping granny get out onto the sidewalk safely.

Expect more silence from me.  On friday we head out of town for a 4 day weekend. it’s supposed to pour rain. we’re going to some armpit community not far from here, just to be away. i suspect there will be reading and bad TV… there will be vacation sex. there will be bad random food in weird touristy restaurants. there will be a church or two for photographs. my husband will collect rocks and chestnuts.

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.