pings and pangs

it’s not just me. others in the sober world are also experiencing ‘pangs’ … i nearly said to my husband, as he was going out to do chores, “pick up some wine for tonight.”

He doesn’t need to buy wine, in that we have wine in the house, but that reflex of saying “i want some tonight” is really my way of saying: “make sure there’s enough wine for me tonight, make sure it’s ready and lined up, because i’m going to need some tonight.” Yes, that feeling is strong. This is probably as close to drinking as i’ve been in a long time.

Examination (i.e. keep writing until something makes sense):

  • i’ve had a cold for 4 days and i can’t taste anything and so i have a ‘fuck it’ kind of attitude
  • it was my birthday on the weekend and i swore i was going to not cook the whole day and would buy my cake. and i bought a slice of strawberry cake and the strawberries were BROWN inside. i had to pick the fucking strawberries out of the birthday cake.  i don’t have very high expectations for my birthday, it’s not like i expect anything to really happen, but this year there were no gifts (mom send $, sisters and father just say hi on FB) and my husband and i aren’t buying each other presents as money is too tight and we’re trying to save for next summer’s Big Vacation to go HOME.
  • the cafe that has been hiring me to do weekly catering for them has abruptly stopped.  she didn’t offer an explanation and when i asked if she’d just missed the ordering deadline she admitted that they were slow. it’s been two weeks now.  so i went by on Sunday and there’s a bunch of food there, it’s just not mine. i’m sure it’s easier to order it all from the carrot-cake girl. even if it isn’t as yummy as mine. they’re serving reheated boxed soup instead of mine. too bad for them, my stuff is much nicer.
  • my personal catering clients are keeping me busy, but not wacky busy.  my day job has ramped up a bit and i’ve suddenly got quite a bit of computer work to do. this sitting in front of the computer (versus being in the kitchen) seems to breed the wine feelings … when i’m busy in the kitchen i know i have to be sober to get it all done.  whereas when i’m just doing one job (and not three), the urgency to remain sober isn’t there.
  • THERE IT IS.  if i’ve been filled with by an ‘urgency’ to be sober, then the urgency is fading.  i’m not sure what the point is any more.  i feel like a three year old about to pitch a tantrum.  god is this what happens to me when i’m a bit bored/sick?
  • i think i’d like a break from it all.  i’d like a dark room and a good book and a glass of red wine. When i was quitting smoking over 13 years ago, i would occasionally have one cigarette when i felt like i JUST HAD TO HAVE ONE.  and they were always disappointing and then eventually i just didn’t give in to that feeling.  With quitting drinking, for whatever reason, there seems to be a finiteness that means that i can’t just have a glass tonight and decide it’s not worth it.  if i have a glass tonight, the sober blogging world comes crashing down, AA would consider it a failure, and we’re just not that tolerant a group when it comes to periodic lapses; days counted MEAN something.  i’m not sure why it’s like this — i mean, i’m the same way, i’m not pointing fingers, i’m just observing.
  • i guess i’m rationalizing in my own ridiculous way that i wasn’t a problem drinker, and that i could probably go back to some kind of random bits of wine here and there and the world wouldn’t end.
  • When the bakery/catering work slows down — ah, is this it? — it seems to ‘not be worth it’… as if the bakery work is the only good thing in my life, the only reason to be sober, and without it i might as well be drinking.  Yes, i guess – today – that IS what i believe.
  • i think when i don’t have a cold i’ll feel better. i’ll wait until Friday and then reassess.

ack.

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 : )

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 …

vomiting newborn

I have two regular jobs. They’re interesting but not passionate. about a year ago i had a series of light bulb passionate moments, and tried to turn my passion into a tiny job #3.  being an international arriving in a foreign country gives you a different perspective on ‘what this place needs’… you know, bar room talk like: What this place needs is a hot dog stand.  What this place needs is an English-speaking psychologist who specializes in law of attraction.  What this place needs is a Starbucks.  What this place needs is a crunchy granola breakfast place that serves free range eggs and nitrate free bacon (like my favorite one back home in Vermont).

Most of these ‘bar room’ ideas won’t work. And you begin to think that your idea won’t work either. I mean, if it’s such a great idea why hasn’t someone else done it? This place needs a running group just for slow runners, not elite athletes, just people who want to get off the couch (like couch to 5K but in real-life).  This place needs a big swapmeet/flea market/buy&sell shop just for vinyl albums.  This place needs a fine arts daycare/after-school program for latchkey kids.  This place needs kids’ music classes that aren’t so serious – how about teaching them music but doing it through teaching them the Beatles …

like i said, most bar room ideas don’t work. but they’re really cool dreams.

i had one of these cool dreams, and a year ago I started to to poke away at it.  frankly i didn’t care if it didn’t work financially because i loved doing it so much.

then in March something happened:

when this hobby/passion started to really take off and be successful back in March, i had to quit drinking for 5 days straight to make it through a big client job (cuz this is all in addition to my regular job).  i knew then that to deliver the kind of work it required, i would not be able to drink at all. i remember i pulled an all-nighter, and celebrated by having a bath in the morning with a cup of tea before crawling into bed at 9 am.  now i realize that this passion — the work it requires, the sacrifices in time — it is what led me to KNOW that i had to quit drinking (eventually) for good.  There just wasn’t room in my life for passion and booze.  i knew that booze had to go, even then, even back in March (4 months before i actually quit). there was never any question about not pursuing the passion once it got hold of me.

Then my small puttering at #3 led me to the Big Contract.  Then my smaller clients seemed to love me MORE. then i preached (to myself) to avoid exhaustion at all costs.

I’m sure everyone with a newborn would say they’re exhausted but it’s worth it! i’m sort of like someone with a newborn – EXCEPT i get to control when my newborn cries and i get to control how much sleep i have … at first i was just so damn thrilled that #3 was working (after a year of very small successes). now it’s like “ok, what happened to my regularly scheduled lazy life?”  and while i will be fine, i have to find a new normal …

And I can happily and thankfully say that drinking never comes up as an option on how to unwind.  Even as recently as the end of September, when exhausted i would think of drinking.  That reflex or instinct seems to have left me now. There’s just not a shit hope in hell of me having a drink and being able to thrive in my current life. The only analogy i can think of … it’d be like being up with a colicky newborn at 3 a.m., and the baby is vomiting every twenty minutes, and you think that drinking two bottles of wine would make it better … it is Just. Not. Possible.

finally, i wonder if it’s ridiculous to continuously refer to my “job #3 passion/thingy” … maybe it’s already clear what i’m doing. Is it a little bit irritating when people share parts of their story but not all of it? (i know, i know, we all want some anonymity but i’m wondering what that serves exactly, in my case, and honestly now it feels weirdly pretentious to keep talking about something without saying what it is… it feels forced now).

i think i’ll have a contest where you guess what #3 is (everyone except Mrs D can guess).

what are your thoughts on “what this place needs” or “exhaustion” or “filling your life with passion” or what my “#3 job passion/thingy” is?

Or you can just press “Like” and keep going … : ) Happy Saturday everyone!

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 …