Day 4: Time Passes Anyway

Regardless of what one chooses to do, time will pass.  In a year it will be a year later than it is today and what have I done?  When I look back, when I read this post on July 17, 2020 will I be feeling regret and loss or pride and accomplishment?  My hope is that I’ll feel that I’ve accomplished what I thought impossible and I’ll feel like drinking is just not an option anymore, I’m a non-drinker.

This is me a little over a year ago and me a little over a month ago, obviously I was drinking in the first one, I mean, I was drunk in the first one.

I’m happy I’ve spent a lot of time sober since I took the first one and in doing so have improved my health and my physical appearance.  I lost 30 lbs and started exercising again (PELOTON sunsmile) and trying to eat more healthfully.   I hope to post an even better comparison in 365 days.

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Day 2: Who’s in Charge Here Anyway?!

I spent the entire month of June drinking every day.  I had a 6 day stay-cation over the July 4th holiday and was drunk every day and woke up with a hangover (with varying degrees of shitty-ness) every day.  I told myself before the first day of the holiday that I had a lot of things I wanted to do but one thing I DIDN’T want to do was be drunk, hungover and lazy the entire time.  Obviously that didn’t go the way I wanted.  I write that as if I didn’t make that choice but don’t get me wrong, I know I chose every minute of it. On Friday and Saturday I barely moved from my chair in front of the tv and we had takeout almost every day, some days for lunch and dinner; we spent a lot of money.  I even tried to drink stealthily on the 4th because B was at my house and she’s been sober for 9 months.  I probably didn’t fool anyone.   I drank almost an entire box of wine on 2 separate days, that’s 4 bottles of wine, I don’t think there was a bottle left in the box the next day, maybe 2 – 3 glasses; kick meand I had the audacity to be surprised by that.  I was left shaking and anxious shaking dogevery day and by Saturday I swore I wouldn’t drink but couldn’t stand the shakes and anxiety anymore, knowing a glass of wine would help, knowing I would feel better after I drank, I started in the early afternoon and just kept going until bed.  Sunday I felt like death, I promised myself I wouldn’t drink because I needed the day to recover so I wouldn’t go back to work on Tuesday feeling awful.  I went grocery shopping and anxietythe anxiety was almost unbearable; I wanted to run out of the store.  By the time I got home I had to stop the shakes so I had the last glass available.  It helped almost immediately. 

Annie Grace talks about how it feels like alcohol is the answer because it makes you feel better when you do it but you don’t realize that alcohol caused that in the first place, drinking isn’t making you feel good it’s getting you back to not feeling bad.  It’s like scratching an itch but you wouldn’t sit in poison ivy just so you could get the relief of scratching your ass.  You wouldn’t purposely get a blister on your foot to feel the relief of taking your shoe off.  RIGHT?!

I was able to keep it to that one glass of wine on Sunday but man I was in a horrible place all day.  That drink may have stopped the shakes but after it processed it left me much lower than before I had it.  Monday was better, I felt good, not so depressed but it was the last day before I had to go back to work.

So, ok, I ruined my time off, WTF, why do I do that?  I have had so much time AF this year, 134 days total prior to June so it’s not like I don’t know how or I can’t not drink.  FUCK.  I could have had a fabulous, awesome, productive week but nope.  And the worst part is I’m an asshole when I’m drinking and I know it.  Instant lazy asshole, just add alcohol.

I didn’t drink all week after that, until this past Saturday and I let it get me.  Dave!  He sat on my shoulder and nagged and nagged at me until I said fuck it, I want wine, I’m having wine.  I drank almost 2 bottles.  I woke up in the middle of the night feeling awful and at first I couldn’t figure it out, I was thinking – but I didn’t even drink – for a second or two then it came back – oh but I did, didn’t I!  Fuck you, you fucking fuck!  I got up to get more water and poured the rest of that bottle down the drain.  I woke up in the morning once again asking myself why I don’t just give it up?  When it’s going to get into my thick cement brain that alcohol adds nothing to my life; I’m better off without it.

Somewhere I heard, it was probably Annie Grace, just make up your mind to not drink for a year.  Then you’ll get through all of the things that happen in a year, all the holidays, all the stressful events and the celebrations.  Then your neural pathways will be different, your subconscious will know a different reality; one without alcohol.  Why am I hesitating to make the commitment?  Is it a fear of failure or is it Dave?  Am I afraid that I can’t/won’t do it or am I afraid that I don’t really want to, that I still subconsciously  think alcohol adds something I can get nowhere else?  Maybe it’s both (I’m hearing Forrest Gump in my head right now), let’s just say it is both, how do I change that?  I’ve been listening to podcasts and This Naked Mind, what else do I need to do to get through to my subconscious and realize that drinking is a no-go?

If I do it, if I pledge, promise myself that drinking is not an option for a year then… what?  I don’t even know what I’m trying to express.  Does everything change?  No!  I know that, I still have the same shit going on that I had before, BUT I’m not hungover, I’m not losing days, I’m not wasting this one and only life, I’m not shameful, regretful and horrified by what I do or say because it’s all done with purpose not sitting on the toilet, raging and sending texts that could get me fired.  If I do it, I’ll improve my health, I’ll feel better about myself, I’ll have more good days.  I know there will be bad days, angry days, depressed days, sad days – life doesn’t get all rainbows and unicorns just because I choose to be present in my own life.  There will be days when I’ll want to drink more than I want anything else and I’ll get the fuck-its.  What will I do on those days, in those times of stress and craving and want what will I do?  I know the answer is out there somewhere, everyone has written about it or done a podcast about it.  I’ll find them.

I’m doing it.

I’m committing to 1 year alcohol free.  one yearNO MATTER WHAT!

 

Anxiety Rears Its Ugly Head

And it comes out of nowhere for the weirdest reasons, and it’s gotten worse since I stopped drinking… or maybe it’s a different kind of anxiety.

The drinking anxiety was about feeling physically awful, the hangover, about the emotional pain of disappointing myself again, about the stupid things I said or did and about the alcohol withdrawal that I didn’t know was withdrawal until I read This Naked Mind and Alcohol Explained and Alcohol Lied to Me and probably others.

But this anxiety is different, Charlie Brown Anxietyit’s about kids and work and marriage and my house, it’s more about the outward things in my life rather than about me and it’s much harder to manage.  Because I can’t drink it away.  Yesterday I worked it out with Peloton, so my resources for handling it are better but I need something more to manage this because getting on the Peloton isn’t always an option, or exercise in general isn’t always an option.  And the anxiety eats at me and I can physically feel it in my chest and in my throat and sometimes I think I can’t breathe and sometimes I think it’s going to choke me and sometimes I just want to go away because if I’m not here it’s not here either.

Lately it’s been overwhelming.  My responsibilities are overwhelming.  alcohol brainAnd alcohol is not an option anymore and that increases the anxiety because I’m either angry that I can’t drink or scared that I’ll give in to it and drink then have more issues tomorrow.

I feel as if my life has been hijacked and for the life of me I can’t figure out why I allowed this to happen.

I don’t like kids.  It’s an unpopular opinion that makes people think you’re odd and mean and unfeeling because who doesn’t like kids?!  Me!  So here I am at 52 years old raising my second generation of kids, my grandchildren who are 10 and 6.  I’ve been raising kids since I was 18 years old and I still have 12 years to go.  When my own kids were growing up I kept thinking one day I won’t have to do it anymore, won’t have to put others before myself, take care of ungrateful little humans, my world won’t revolve around others’ whims, one day I’ll be free… and I’ll still be young because I had my last kid at 21 years old then had a tubal ligation so no chance of anymore coming along accidentally.

Almost daily I ask myself why I did it.  Why did I take on these kids?  I hate my life and I see no end in sight and I’ll be in my 60s when they become adults.  My life will never be my own and it steals my breath, it brings tears to my eyes, it clenches my chest and puts a huge lump in my throat and makes me feel hopeless.  Why?  What was I thinking?  I know myself and I’ve known for many years that parenthood isn’t my thing.   I try to accept my situation, I try to be grateful and I know many, many people have much more difficult lives with so much tragedy and pain so I feel selfish and guilty and shameful.

There’s no winning.  What do I do?  I feel like I can’t survive like this.  This is my life, I have to find some joy somewhere, I don’t want to be miserable.  These were my reasons for drinking out of control for so long, escaping the reality in my head.  That’s not an option anymore and I’m struggling to find the answer.

 

 

Analysis Paralysis

According to wikipedia: when the fear of potential error outweighs the realistic expectation or potential value of success, and this imbalance results in suppressed decision-making in an unconscious effort to preserve existing options.

Today was the second time in a little over a week I’ve heard Rich Roll reference this phrase.  The first time I heard it I knew it was me.  I tend to buy stuff to get rolling on a new project or lifestyle or event but then end up doing basically nothing else until the idea fades away and I’m left with a lot of stuff.

I can apply this to drinking as well, I have purchased a plethora of e-books and audiobooks and I’ve borrowed some as well.  I’ve even considered taking Annie Grace’s Intensive program which costs $900, or Craig Beck’s program that runs between $500 and $5000 (no! I have drawn that line), joining Cafe RE for like $15 a month and I know there are others I’ve considered but decided against it.  I’m still stuck, I still fight it almost every day and sometimes I just give in because it’s easier I guess, and apparently I’m still fooled into thinking that it offers me something.  I have a whole lot of knowledge, the big test is applying it.  I’m still working on it and that’s a positive.

Today’s Rich Roll podcast featured Josh LaJaunie who lost over 200 pounds by basically changing his life completely.  A self-proclaimed bayou boy, he grew up in a culture of fried food, fishing, hunting, drinking and football.  He says changing his lifestyle was difficult because it flew in the face of his heritage, it’s an insult not to eat the uncle’s delicious fried fish.

So much about him is an inspiration, not just because he lost so much weight and became an athlete (marathon and ultra-marathon runner, winning one ultra) but the theories behind the change.  There were a bunch of idioms to describe the purposeful changing of habits or how the growth mindset works.  Majoring in the minors, where you worry about all the tiny minute details like arsenic in your rice or glyphosate in your oats but you ate fried chicken or pizza last night.  Annie Grace has a great analogy about that as well; it’s like worrying about the chemicals that might possibly leach from the bottle that holds your water while sitting at a bar drinking what Craig Beck calls “attractively packaged poison”.  I think that’s what people (I) use in the analysis paralysis,… “well I can’t do that cause I can’t get past this tiny, little thing”, instead of worrying about perfection let’s try some progress!

It’s about doing something on purpose that’s different because we want different outcomes and we understand we have the power to manifest those.  -Josh LaJaunie

It’s a growth mindset. Identify the low-hanging fruit, just stop eating pizza right now, it’s about the purposeful habit change, love yourself enough to perpetually creep forward.

Consistency over intensity, don’t let one or several setbacks totally derail the progress you’ve made.  It’s much easier to get back to where you were when you’ve adopted the growth mindset, don’t shame yourself, look forward, what’s the next best thing, don’t allow the momentum to lose it’s acceleration.

All of these ideas can be applied to just about anything you want to achieve.  I need to remember that.

For more inspiration listen to the Rich Roll podcast.

rich roll josh lajaunie

Link to Josh LaJaunie’s interview.

Not Fitting In

It’s Halloween and at work everyone is dressed up – the theme is witches/warlocks/wizards.  I made a decision long ago that I wasn’t going to dress up anymore because it ends up costing so much money and everything I buy I never use again.  This year money is tight; that magic dust is expensive, I know we shouldn’t but we do so that money is gone in 2 days.  Anyway I digress.  Money is especially tight right now so there was no way I was wasting money on a costume, I have much better things to waste money on (I waste a lot of money – over $600 a month on pets alone!  WHAT?! – yes, it’s ridiculous).  Anyway, there I go again.  ugh!  So, by making this decision I set myself up for feeling awful all day.  I never feel like I fit in to begin with, so anything I do to participate feels fake and then I just feel stupid.  So, if I had dressed up I would feel like a fake and probably wouldn’t feel any better than I do right now.  I feel not good enough, not enough, like I need to disappear because I’m just so uncomfortable AND because I didn’t dress up I actually stick out in the crowd.  My friend tells me I tend to make things a lot more difficult than they need to be to either make a point or because I don’t want to participate, I don’t like forced fun.  And I feel like I can’t win inside my own head, I feel like I won’t fit in if I participate and I absolutely don’t fit in if I don’t participate.

What happened to me that I always feel like this?

It’s so much easier to continue than it ever is to start over

Day 24

Reading people’s cries for help in Facebook groups it is so apparent that when one falls back into using it’s extremely difficult to stop digging and crawl out of the hole.  Obviously I know this from my own experience as well; I did very well early this year, managed over 50 days alcohol free.  Since then I got 30 days once, recently it was 8 days, drank one night and starting over I’m now at day 24.

And so determined.

I’m listening to every podcast I can or listening to TNM on audiobook and joining Facebook groups and reading books…. anything I can get may hands on.  I don’t want to struggle with starting over again.  I want to do the TNM Intensive but it costs almost $900 – no way I can afford that right now.  Annie Grace states this is the last time for the program until February.  I figure if I’m struggling in February I’ll pay and do the program.

I’m sleeping now, like a freaking rock most of the night, it’s such a relief, it sucks to wake up every hour knowing I have to get up at 6:00 am.  I don’t know if it’s the Calm Specifics for Sleep or the CBD oil or a combination of both but I’m afraid to stop either of them at this point.

I’m starting to feel better slowly, not as exhausted all day (exhausted in the early morning and evening after dinner though).  Memory is still shit.  Motivation is still shit.  But I’m grateful that I’ve not drank for 24 days.

My theme phrase at the moment is from The Walking Dead  jss