6 year old daughter finished her last round of chemo

december 3rd

email from flightplan (day 1160): “Just wanted to let you know that we made it. After over 2 years of treatment, my (now) 6 year old daughter finished her last dose of chemo last Sunday. 797 days since she started the fight against Leukemia. When this started, she was 3.5 years old and I was about 10 months sober. I did not know how I would live through this.
But, I did not drink.

Not through hundreds and hundreds of painful medical procedures on my poor little girl.
Not through being forced out of my job because I am the mom of a cancer kid.
Not when people made fun of her for losing her hair.
Not through seeing her curled up in a ball from chemo.
Not even to celebrate her completion of treatment.

Helping your young child fight cancer is about as close to a zombie apocalypse as I’d care to get.
Doesn’t mean I didn’t think about it. Doesn’t mean I didn’t wake up from nightmares thinking that I’d had alcohol. Didn’t know if I’d live through it. But yet we did it. 797 of chemo. She is 6. And done with chemo. And has a new puppy. And I can’t stop smiling.
So fuck cancer. And fuck wolfie.”

[update she’s on day 1173 today]

~
a couple of weeks ago, i wrote a 6-part mini-course about wolfie, the ‘drink now’ voice that lives in your head (my head, too). and how to get rid of it. more here.

 


little Exit magnet paintings.they remind you that the ‘during’ might be hard, but it’s worth doing. and that once you exit the booze elevator, and you do that work, you stay out. exit. find the exit and take it.

these anti-wolfie fridge magnets are about 2.5″ square (6 cm) on card stock.

magnet 249 > link

apple cake & the 1-hour bath

december 2nd

things you can do on weekends, when you’re not hungover.
run.
nap because you’re tired, not because you’re heaving.
you can make apple cake, twice, two days in a row, to try to improve on the recipe that your husband says was fine the first time. and it was. i’ll make it a third time to verity, then be done with it. apple cake sorted. next.
when you’re not hungover you can eat said apple cake, with a small cup of decaf, and play cards.
you can read books about ‘copying other people’s success’ and about ‘apple cake’ and about ‘the art of asking’.
you can have a one hour bath.
you can watch an episode of Six Feet Under and be transported back to 2001.
you can clean your drawers and file your papers (husband).
you can do one load of laundry and then feel bored (wife).
you can ask Alexa to play songs by holly cole, and sarah mclachlan, and norah jones.

things you do NOT do on sober weekends.
fret.
roll around in the bed.
feel uncomfortable in your own skin.
lick the salt off of crackers
promise that tomorrow will be better and the renege on that promise. (the spelling of ‘renege’ is completely weird as far as i’m concerned. i’ve maybe never written it before. it should be reneg… just saying.)

you know what? you remove the booze and things change.
if you’d like to stop licking crackers and making promises, you can try some new things.
NEW actions.
NEW supports.
NEW accountability.

you alone in your head? wolfie is too loud.
i’ve been there. it’s rotten.

you sober?
you leave all the shitty, hungover stuff behind.

 


little Exit magnet paintings.they remind you that the ‘during’ might be hard, but it’s worth doing. and that once you exit the booze elevator, and you do that work, you stay out. exit. find the exit and take it.

these anti-wolfie fridge magnets are about 2.5″ square (6 cm) on card stock.

magnet 249 > link

The Wolfie Booklet is READY!

Last week i wrote a 6-part email series about Wolfie. You know, that voice in your head that says “Drink Now.” I talk about why I call this voice ‘wolfie’, the lies that wolfie tells, how change the channel in your head, how to identify the destructive voice when it ISN’T saying Drink Now (what else does it say?), and how to get rid of the voice.

It’s now available on my site:

Print version > link
PDF version > link

And it’s available on Amazon Kindle:

US > link
UK > link
France > link
Germany > link
Canada > link
Australia > link

P.S. You can always go to Amazon and search for ‘wolfie drinking’ or search for the product code B07ZBCXT4J and the kindle file will come up.

sober art thanks to mr.belle
This is #529 here.
if alcohol is an elevator that only goes down, you can find the exit.

link

aim for a high, firm bottom

from my inbox:

From E (day 128): “I follow a sober girl and when she was starting off, I followed her, left encouraging comments on the blog. She relapses frequently … and i got frustrated; my reaction is initially to try to fix her. or to say bracing things to her. none of which will help her, I’m sure.  but I do check the blog occasionally, like picking a scab that is irritating me 🙁 so my considered response is probably to back away, strengthen the boundaries between her and me. because her actions are her own responsibility and not mine … and I need to find a way of dealing with that.  but when she leaves sad comments I am at a loss as to how to respond. I generally go for something non-committal, or don’t reply. any thoughts on how I can let this person take up less space in my head?! you must get this all the time in your position!”

me:  I know this feeling, I think that reading blogs of repeated relapsers isn’t terribly helpful. except to remind us that we never want another day 1 again. there are some people’s blogs that i read when i first was getting sober, that started to blog about ‘moderation’ or about how being sober wasn’t for them, I unfollowed them. When i was starting, I want to surround myself with stories of how to be successfully sober … Do I now work with people who AREN’T successfully sober, yes. do I have a lot of patience? yes. do I overinvest in them more than they are invested in themselves? no. it’s about boundaries, I think … wolfie gets into some people’s heads. it’s terrifying to watch. they know that they’re being possessed. they know that the train is coming and they’re standing on the tracks. and they can’t get off the tracks.  it’s not logical. addiction isn’t logical. that’s the horror of it. people die. they can’t figure out how to get off the tracks and then get squished by the train, by wolfie, by booze. it happens all the fucking time.  all we can do is wave from safe land and say “come here” because while giving ideas is helpful, tough love doesn’t seem to work …  huglets

E: “Tx for this. V helpful. Agree totally re harshness not working. I think for me, snippets of things other people have said have unexpectedly made a massive difference. But I can’t guess what those things will be for someone else 🙁 it makes me so sad for that person. Such a waste. Thank you for all you do to be a lighthouse!”

me:  she will find her way. or she will get squished by the train. wolfie sometimes does suck the life out of perfectly nice people. what’s better? quit early. a high firm bottom. better.

E: “Absolutely. One of best things I recall from your podcast was you saying that we think we will quit later, when we HAVE to – as if it will be easier then. When of course the later we leave it, the more difficult it gets 🙁 earlier and firmer indeed!”

you’ve tried it for year. now try something else.

this is an extract from podcast SP206 being sent out to podcast subscribers today.

it’s about you wanting to be sober. During a recent live call, D asked me what she could do to be sober, since she’d been trying for a year. here’s my answer to her. This is a 3 minute extract from the podcast (and update, she’s on day 34 today, so something about this answer seems to have worked).

 

 

You want a different result. And it’s not that there isn’t support available for us, it’s that we don’t want it. If your thought process isn’t working now like it did before, then you do new things now. You’re going to need different things to get you going. you’ve changed. the elevator only goes down. The time to step off is right now.

This audio is taken from podcast SP206 (the full version of the audio is 24 minutes long).

 

Download the audio podcast episode 206

Sign up for the monthly podcast subscription
(1-2 new audios per week, you can cancel whenever you like … but you won’t. more sober tools = good)

(ps, my blog allows for anonymous comments – so you don’t have to fill in a name or an email address to post your comment below).

Question: What phrase do you hear in this audio, perhaps as if for the first time – something that makes you think “oh yeah. that.” I’ll select a comment in the next 48 hrs and will send a present. anonymous comments are fine.

 

it can’t be that important

if you work in a place with a boozy culture, it can’t be that important to ‘fit in’ that you’ll do something that isn’t what’s best for you.

 

 

It can’t be so important to fit in. It just can’t. So you have three choices: you either attend the events and don’t drink, or you don’t attend, or you work somewhere else. And a boozy cruise? I say no to that, hands-down, and here’s why.

This audio is taken from podcast SP204 (the full version of the audio is 20 minutes long).

If you’re not a podcast subscriber, you should be. do that here > https://www.tiredofthinkingaboutdrinking.com/store/podcast.subscription.htm

 

the boozing you is a liar

if you drink, it creates a whole, different version of you, and it’s not the real you.

 

 

If you drink, you change the trajectory of your life in a large way. So when we stop drinking, it’s like there’s two people – the old us (the boozer) and the new us (the sober us). Which one is the real one?

This audio is taken from podcast SP203 (the full version of the audio is 30 minutes long).

 

Download the audio podcast episode 203

Sign up for the monthly podcast subscription
(1-2 new audios per week, you can cancel whenever you like … but you won’t. more sober tools = good)

(ps, my blog allows for anonymous comments – so you don’t have to fill in a name or an email address to post your comment below).

 

re-entry

written december 30th:

home from trip to australia, all seems well on re-entry thus far. though i do have a full inbox that’ll take 1-2 days to fully answer 🙂 it’s also very cold here (like below freezing) while sydney is having a heat wave.

sober travel. here’s what it means: remember everything. no missed afternoons. no hungover mornings. spend less money (more money for treats; more money for vacations!).

travelling sober means we sleep better, even in strange beds. travelling sober means that even with a spontaneous head cold developed hrs before the flight, even with head/ear pain, you still don’t drink. you sleep instead — you know, that thing you said you never did (sleep on flights), yeah that thing. that’s what you do.

and you eat the food they give you (thumbs down for qantas, hooray for emirates). you take pictures from the window while flying near zurich (no kidding!).

you come home, nap for a few hours, get up and have a regular evening, then you — wait for it — go to bed and sleep all night and are spontaneously adjusted to the time change. yes. sober travelling. no booze to slam me into neutral. no booze to ‘make the time pass’. no booze to ‘celebrate’ or ‘soothe’ the ear ache (which ended as soon as the plane began its descent).

true, i’m home now to 4 loads of laundry (must my husband wash everything in his suitcase? i mean, we did laundry in melbourne and sydney along the way …). i’m home to pledge to eat better (ha. croissants + the best ham/cheese baguette last night). i’m home to sleep in  my own bed (there may not be any better reward for a 25 hr flight than your own bed. the king-sized one. with the right pillow.).

it’s cold outside. the christmas decorations shine and remind us that we weren’t here for christmas. well, we had christmas on the beach, does that count? we had an alternate-reality christmas complete with corn on the cob (hey, i know the last time i had corn on the cob now! it was christmas day).

my husband has (literally) put the map for Portugal into the bathroom as of last night, so he can scope out ideas while in the tubbie for a trip in the spring…

sober travel means that re-entry, transitions are just plain easier.

cuz really, life is plain easier when sober. all of it. the sleep is easier, the travelling, the flying, the thinking.

it’s just easier to be sober. who knew.
love and hugs from me 🙂

p.s. obligatory link you click to indicate engagement (the linked blog post was written april 2013 and is the 3rd most popular on the blog). (i will one day learn to write without parentheticals. (perhaps.))

treats don’t work for me

recently sent this out as a daily micro-email; i’m going to post it here on the blog and add in some of the many emails i’ve received in response. 

email from good:

“i’m totally in the ‘treats don’t work for me’ camp. I eat what I want, when I want, within of course healthy parameters that – if i break them (TWO pieces of cheesecake!) – it doesn’t feel like a treat, it induces shame.

I buy what i want, when I want. Sometimes i have tried to convince myself that an expensive piece of jewelry or pair of jeans I’ve been eyeing or something similar will be a reminder piece to stay sober. But I never can “wait 30 days” to put it on.

I don’t have time for a lot of physical treats. I am craving a good 5-mile hike in the woods right now and it’s been a couple weeks and it hasn’t happened. I have two young kids and my husband and I are to the brim with shared responsibilities.

I cringe when I hear people say “make the time” and “get your partner to help!” – my husband cannot magically get his meetings cancelled to get home early so I can take off. I cannot walk out on my kids who are sitting at the table waiting for dinner. I cannot forget to get the straws or pictures or clothes together for school for the next day or my kid will feel left out and it will be my fault, something I can’t live with. When I’m getting dinner together, husband is busy giving them a bath and has to call his cousin in the hospital.  Later I have to clean or shop for guests or a party we’re having. This is the kind of every day stuff that has to get done. Now. Make time my A%$.  I’m lucky to get a shower in every other day (don’t worry I work from home) and I prioritize exercise, even if it’s whatever I can do quickly and not my favorite kind) over things like bubble baths. If I get a chance to go out for a couple hours and hike, or happen by a cute coffee shop and have a chance to stop, or even get an hour to read at the end of a long day between 10 and 11pm, I will take it, whether I ‘deserve’ it, have X days sober, just got through a tough craving, or not. And honestly, if I feel good enough about however many days of sobriety to deserve a treat, just feeling deserving, that’s treat enough.”


from me: do you agree with Good about the treats thing? i’ve done a lot of writing about this and recorded audios, and talked about retraining your brain … but i wonder if you agree with Good that, no matter what i suggest, it’s all ‘airy-fairy’ wishful thinking …

and if you disagree with Good (or you used to think how she did and now you don’t), you can tell me about that too. I’ll share some ideas in a future email.

i rebel against me.

i’m doing my yearly offline for most of August thing.

and everything is like everything.

there’s a transition, a detox. what do i do with this time now that i’m offline and not glued to my computer. (who am i now that i’m sober.)

how do i unwind without a video game or a tv show or one more trip through facebook. (what do i use to unwind once the booze is gone.)

what’s the point of my life if i don’t get all of my meaning from being online? (who am i once the booze is extracted. once the anaesthesia is removed. how will i interact with friends.)

at first, all the time seems too large. like i’m not my real self. all the things i usually do require an internet connection (all the time i spend in the evenings or with friends requires alcohol.)

when really

it’s about self-care.

naps are fine. healthy food leads to more even moods. running leads to a brighter outlook.

and me? i balk at self-care. i don’t shave my legs, change the sheets, go to bed.

and what would happen to this i feel empty space if i filled it with self-care? shudder.

so yesterday, i did the following: went for a short 17 minute run, shaved my legs, put conditioner in my hair (!), went for a long walk, had a nap, and had a manicure (finally, it’s been 12 years since my last one).

but what does wolfie think i should do? remove the booze (remove the online connection) and wolfie encourages me to just sit here and roll around in how uncomfortable it is.

Why not write longhand.

Why not read or walk or photograph.

Why not cook something new.

Why so inert? Why so uninspired?

Switch to enough sleep. See how that goes. Try different.

I like this new me, I know it suits me. and yet i balk.

i rebel against me.

i resist that which will make me feel better.