Thursday, August 27, 2015

Been gone for a while... 3 guesses why

Sorry for my absence although I'm sure you could all assume why.  But,  as is the case the with addiction,  it is a vicious cycle which I am caught in yet again.
This is short and sweet as far as my posting,  but I'm REALLY looking for some feedback here (and I'll give a little more background soon).
Does anyone know about,  or have tried,  naltrexone or the Sinclair Method? Please give feedback either way,  or opinions.  I welcome all.
Love and miss my community. back soon.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Day 35 ... +6

Well shit. Here goes:
jumped off the wagon last Saturday at day 35.
There, I said it.

I'm wrestling with where this leaves me now. The evening of beer-guzzling was actually mostly planned and well-thought through. We paced ourselves (hubby and I), and ate lots of food. We talked several times throughout the evening about how we were doing and feeling - surprised that we weren't really enjoying ourselves as much as we hoped. We really enjoyed the first beer or two, but each one after that really didn't do much more for us, but make us feel full and tired. We woke up the next morning, feeling a little less than fresh, but fully committed to reclaiming our spots back on the wagon. Didn't feel guilty, felt empowered about having control over the drinking that night. But each day since Saturday has been harder, like, harder than the first week, and I just know I'm not done with this.

I'm so frustrated and confused now. I KNOW why I slipped up, I exhibited every sign that I would relapse, and did nothing about it. I hadn't been to a meeting in weeks, I hadn't been keeping up with this blog and the Bubble Hour, I hadn't been as faithful at the gym. I was taking the slow dive back down to the bottom of the bottle...and I was welcoming it.

Mostly, I'm still of that mindset. I'm not ready to stay sober forever. And if I'm truly committing to one day at a time, I should be happy with everyday I don't pick up, and not beat myself up about he days I do - especially if they are controlled. I'm just so friggin concerned with what other people think. I've told so many people about my attempt at sobriety - mostly to help hold me accountable - and now I'm ashamed. I wasn't trying to hide the drinking on Saturday - the leftover beer is still in a cooler in our garage, which my 13-yr old daughter saw, and subsequently asked me if I was still sober. She has struggled watching me drink for a long time, and it meant a lot to me to tell her I was trying to get sober - and telling her when I'm having a hard time. I told her I drank - and I cried to her, telling her how very hard it is and how I don't want to let her down. I really hope in her teenage mind she can understand that, and cut me some slack once in a while.

Today is Friday again, and its been a rotten awful week. I've wanted to drink BAD every.single.night. Still I avoided meetings, I did some great housework - power-washing my deck and starting to paint it, splitting and stacking nearly 2 cords of wood, taking some special time with my 3 year old daughter alone at the beach, attempting a sober date night with my husband (which was sober - but I was totally bitchy). Now, its Friday again, and I'm planning a night out bowling with the kids which will hopefully distract me, and tomorrow is a full day ending with the need to cart my teenager around at 10 at night, so that should help too. But I'm going to give in, at some point, I just know it. I feel like I'm about to explode!

I'm starting that whole inner dialogue again - maybe I can moderate, maybe I can just drink on weekends, maybe I can be a responsible non-alcoholic. Lies, lies, lies. Why is it so easy to forget how awful it feels to not remember my nights before? How lifeless and listless and sick I felt nearly every hungover morning? How I would fight with my husband, my children, and say things I would NEVER say sober? How one of my very last "drunks" resulted in me losing my $5000 wedding ring - likely throwing it out the window of a moving vehicle because I was blackout-drunk mad? These things have filled me with unbearable guilt and shame. Put me in a pit I thought I could never get out of - so WHY do I so desperately want to bury myself in it again?

I'm a strong, smart fucking woman! I was an honors and deans list student. I got pregnant at 19 and left the father to be a single mother when my daughter was 9 weeks old. I spent 6 years building an amazing life on my own. Bought my first house by myself at 26 as a single mother. Have climbed the ranks quickly at every job and have been well liked and recognized for my work ethic and charisma. I work my best under pressure. I'm married to an amazing man, my true love without a doubt, but we are blended family with 3 kids and its so HARD! But we maintain a relationship that my peers wish for themselves. I've done this. I've built this. WHY cant I do this ONE THING?!

This inner dialogue is gonna be the death of me. I'm sorry to you, I'm sorry to me. Not the first, and not the last. One more day...

Friday, May 1, 2015

Weekend #5 (this post is bitchy, sorry)

Day 4 - weekend #5
This week has had it's ups and downs, as they all have, but I can't help but be surprised at how much my perception is changing every day and every week.

My first week sober I felt (awful) inspired. I felt like I was connecting with my emotional self on some weird spiritual level - very introspective. Week 2 and 3 I committed to attending lots of different meetings, immersed myself in recovery education and really affirmed myself as an alcoholic (in case there was ever any doubt!). Weeks 4 and 5 have been a bit more about discovery. Pushing a slight bit out of my comfort zone and testing my reactions. I attended my first after-work outing, at a bar, with my fellow drinking buddies, but 2 out of the 5 refrained from drinking, which made it so much easier. I felt a little weird though. I felt boring. I felt like I had nothing to talk about. I felt like I had lost some of my signature pizzaz! I tried to figure out what the drinking-me did differently. I'm still trying to figure that one out.

I went to a birthday party for a 3 year old, in which some drinks were being passed around. again - BORING. Didn't even know what to say to fellow drinking friends. What the hell do I talk about EXCEPT the fact that Im not drinking (it seems to consume me most of the "social" time) I became a bit of a wallflower and left early.

I celebrated my 5 year anniversary with my husband, who took the day off from work, and arranged the same for me, to go shopping and spend a beautiful spring day walking around Boston. I admitted when he told me these plans that this felt a bit of a trigger for me. It was Red Sox opening day, we have visited Boston many times, these days would normally be punctuated with a stop into every 4th bar we happened across to try a signature cocktail, laughing at our fun day-drinking selves. We had lunch in a BAR where everyone was drinking and watching the game - and I mean EVERYONE - and it took about 40 minuted for us to even get our diet Cokes! ...sometimes I wonder how I even survive!

We have begun a massive amount of spring clean up in our yard. This was definitely a drinking task - many a 30-rack have disappeared on such productive days (followed by many nights I cant quite remember). This was WAY harder than I expected it to be. Who would have thought that such a busy, sweat-inducing task would make me long for beer so bad that i would count it as one of the hardest parts?!

My hubby invited friends over last weekend for a brush fire - our first fire without booze...HOW do people do this? Survive living in the sticks doing such mundane outdoor tasks without alcohol? And why on EARTH did my husband invite friends over to boot? To witness the suffering??? They brought beer, but abstained for our benefit, and inevitably left early since we couldn't stop working long enough to hang out, lest the cravings might kill us. In retrospect, it could have been worse.

Last night I hosted a healing circle and psychic reading at m house with a great group of women friends and family. I asked ahead f time that it be alcohol free - which no one seemed to mind. I got so many comments on how quiet I was. NOT me! I think I actually got a little less out of the evening because I couldn't find any words to speak...I had nothing interesting to say!

Further more my sister was there, who I know knows that I am currently not drinking, and didnt say a word to me about it. Why? I expected questions, maybe praise. This has been such a big deal for that part of my family: "Penny is the youngest, the cutest, the thinnest, but she is a drunk! Pffft!" I choose to think they are avoiding me now because they don't have enough to pick on me for. And now THAT is pissing me off!

Tomorrow we are attending a bonfire at a friends house. We will be working on their yard work most of the day, and celebrating a birthday into the evening where the drinks will be a'plenty. My anxiety is ramping up.

I admit this post turned into a bit more of a bitch-fest than I anticipated. I think I mentioned in an earlier post that this whole quitting thing hasn't been that hard...and maybe as a WHOLE it's ok, but some days, minutes and hours are just friggin torture.

I must also admit I haven't been to meetings in 2 weeks, I've only been to the gym twice, I've been eating chocolate chip cookies like they are the very last food on earth, I'm having my period and my sex-life is dwindling. and its only 8:40am... <insert encouraging words here...>

Point is, I'm making it. Just barely some days....but I am making it. Night zero sounds really appealing - but day 1 sounds like a complete failure. Here's to one more 24-hours.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Sobriety: My dirty little secret*

*In response to a post on the booze-free brigade:

Great topic, and I'm enjoying reading this.
I'm on the complete OTHER end of the spectrum, and it is mostly because of my personality. I am an over-sharer, honest-to-a-fault, super outgoing person. I chat with everyone everywhere and generally have no limit on what is "personal". 

I'm 32 days sober right now. My decision to get sober was long-thought out and a long time coming, but just kind of started "off-the-cuff" I woke up one morning and just said "I quit" No specific reason, no "plan"....just, done.

I immediately started telling people. I thought this made me brave, and would help me build a support system, and inevitably more accountable in my sobriety. However, I didn't commit to a forever-quit (still not sure I have) and someone even asked me why I was sharing so much - "aren't you afraid of failing?"....well I wasn't then, but now I am!

First off, I am sharing this sobriety with my husband, literally. I can only speak for myself, but he believes he also has a problem with alcohol,  and recognizes neither of us could do this with out the other (thank GOD! He is my rock) I told my children, who seemed to barely listen (as usual). I shared with my boss and my co-workers who I am close to - enjoying their words of encouragement and support. I have shared with a few close couple-friends - ones I (we) commonly drink with - maybe to head off any uncomfortable situations where there was an expectation we would be drinking.

I haven't told my family, I'm not close with them at all (mostly and likely DUE to my drinking past), but I assume they have heard through the grapevine, no one has mentioned it (which I find somewhat hurtful).

At the end of the day I think I shared and continue to share my adventure with sobriety with people for two reasons. #1 is because I NEED to talk about it! I've gone to some AA meetings (although not lately) but don talk as I have to practice listening and I feel to early in my sobriety to share - I haven't found a meeting I particularly like so much. But I have to talk about it - get it out - off my chest - and my husband (bless his heart) is not so forthcoming. He actually has hardly told a soul. Which makes it a little weird for me. We can talk to each other, but I need other outlets too. This blogging thing REALLY helps (now I'm telling STRANGERS my whole life-story!)

#2 is Id like to believe that this journey is truly one day at a time. therefore, when I tell people, no matter WHO they are that I a not drinking today, that is IT! That's what I am committed to: not drinking today. Tomorrow may be different. I can accept that, but today, and for the last 32 days, I'm off the bottle. Not everyone is going to understand this, and that's OK. They are lucky enough to not HAVE to understand it. At the end of the day, this day, this 24 hours, the only person I need to answer to is myself. Am I happy with who I am today? Yes!

Who gives a F%$& what anyone else thinks?.......

Friday, April 24, 2015

Fantasizing about a relapse

Sorry you haven't heard from me in a bit - but I'm glad to say its not because I've fallen off the wagon. Although plenty of times I've wanted to nose-dive straight into the bottle, last night being the worst yet. Today is better and am standing a little taller for it.

So, day 25 was yesterday. And dare I say, I started to feel as if this whole thing hasn't really been that hard (please, resist the urge to virtually slap me). I had a great day yesterday. Actually they have all been pretty decent. But yesterday I was happy, and bubbly, and personable, and energetic, and productive! I love days like that, especially at work, and especially lately, when there seems to always be a tiny gray cloud hovering over me. I finished my day, even staying a bit late in the office. Hopped in my car, windows down for a beautiful spring afternoon it was.
My first thought: I'm headed home to have a beer on my porch.
Second thought: no I'm not, I cant. I don't do that anymore.
Third thought: Or do I? What am I doing here? I deserve to have a beer. Did I formally take an oath somewhere that I would NEVER do that again? No.
Last thought (before it all became so jumbled and loud in my head I could no longer decipher what came next): This has been easy - must mean I don't have that big of a problem.
***long, heavy, sigh***

I made a couple really funny jokes yesterday. When a co-worker/drinking friend was talking about hosting a housewarming party during the summer, I joked that "my sobriety should be over by then". I later made a comment about how I fantasize about a relapse...a thought that hits a little too close to home. As I DO have this fantasy, often.

The last few weeks I have immersed myself in AA meetings and books, blogs, podcasts, chat rooms, books, and elicited the help of a varying number of people who I have been overly honest with about my state of sobriety. There was a common thread in nearly all of them: relapse. Although the outcome was always the same: it took generally no time for each of those people to get back into their old drinking habits, for the shame and guilt to come in a rush back to them, many times hitting exponentially harder. But in my head, I feel like its a right of passage, and I'm just waiting for my turn.

I really thought last night would be it. I left work on a high, and in the 25 minute ride home I had turned to a sullen, angry, tearful, depressed version of myself. I should have gone to an AA meeting but I was too busy. Busy throwing myself an epic pity party. It just happened it was the night for our family counselor. So I did get to cry it out for a while. And talking through it helps...a little. Putting a label on it made it a bit easier to put it on a shelf: I'm in mourning. Alcohol is a relationship I had and I fed and nurtured for many, many years. An extreme love affair where I did all the giving, it did all the taking. And now we have broken up. And it hurts. Because that lover is still everywhere! In my house, in the hands of my friends and the stories they share, in books and on TV, and in my dreams at fantasies during the day. What would my relapse look like?

Short answer: probably like everyone else's. I start off slow, moderating, being aware, being careful and deliberate. I wouldn't drink every day (for the first week), and I wouldn't drink to get drunk (the first few times). But inevitably my story would end the same as the others, maybe worse...likely worse. I feel like I've been jipped out of the last 26 days...and I can MORE than make up for that in no time, I'm sure.

I can feel that first long sip of red wine...I can just taste it! My taste buds leaping for joy, as each and every nerve ending in my body starts to hum and tingle. I close my eyes and I am relaxed. SO. Very. Relaxed. My stress and my cares and my worries and my anxiety disappear within minutes, and I'm peaceful again.

The problem isn't the first sip, however...(or, perhaps it IS!) The problem is closer to the last sip, usually a guzzle and hardly remembered. The problem is the morning when I wake up hammer-headed and gaunt. When I cant remember my night, my conversations with my children or arguments with my spouse. Or worse, the location of my wedding ring. **more on this another time**

All I know is that fantasy, which sounds so good on many days, many times a day, may start out beautifully but will likely end very, very bad.

For today Ill fantasize, but live in a reality which I can be proud of, and feel, and remember.

Another 24 hours down...

Friday, April 10, 2015

I feel pretty

Short and sweet - but let me tell you, the very first thing I noticed within in days of putting the bottle down, I feel pretty! Yes, well actually, I am pretty...I just happened to SEE it for the first time in a long time.

I drink to feel more pretty - or hell, just to not care if anyone thinks I am or not! Oh, the irony!

Its not that I couldn't tell I looked like shit while I was drinking. Id wake up in the morning, bloated, bloodshot eyes. My hygiene was taking a bit of a dive. I knew you were only supposed to wash your hair a few times a week, ya know, for the health of it. But my showers were getting down there too, and I just didn't care. Gross!

Obviously another big thing I've noticed in the nearly 2 weeks sober is how GOOD I feel when I wake up! I swear I had started to feel normal in hangover state. Sure my head hurt, I was groggy, and on the weekends I'd barely leave the couch...but I had wanted to catch up on Netflix after all, hadn't I?

I'm tired as hell though - like going to bed super early and sleeping in. My husband too. I keep telling him this is a product of years worth of poor-drunk sleep, and we have some serious catching up to do.

And I'm calm. Well relatively speaking, I'm calm-er. I wake up, I get ready for work, I get my kids off, I drive to work, all in peace. It gets a little harder to hold on to as the day goes by, but its something. Its good. And it will be better tomorrow. Tomorrow Ill be even more calm.

And pretty.


Id like to expand upon my last post a bit, and tell you about myself. Like I mentioned, I'm a 34 year old wife and mother of 3. I work full time. I grew up in a two-parent family (my folks are still together, rare, I know). I have two sisters, both older by quite a bit. All of my immediate family lives within about 5 miles of me, although I'm not super close with any of them.

As I grew up, I can always remember my sisters calling me selfish. Even into adulthood they still tend to make this remark about me, albeit back-handedly. Personally, it gets at me. I don't like this label. I don't understand it either. Ive always felt they only said this about me because I was the baby of the family, and seemingly "spoiled", but I don't understand how this label followed me into adulthood. I think my husband has even taken up the term here or there.

The dictionary states:
selfish [sel-fish] adjective
1. devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one's own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.
2. characterized by or manifesting concern or care only for oneself: selfish motives.

I do not agree.

If I had to describe myself as a teenager, well, then that definition likely applied to the fullest extent. Having a teenage daughter myself now is a clear testament to me that I was, in fact, selfish. The caveat being that I believe most teenagers are this way, as merely a part of their ignorance and lack of experience in the "real world".

As an adult though, I snub this comment. I think I am a "carer" - scratch, I KNOW I am a carer! I am forever in battle with myself about what other people think and feel, how can I help them through a difficult time, putting myself constantly in the shoes of others...bleeding heart, to a fault. I love volunteering, committing myself to an understanding that we never know what another person is going through, and try to never pass judgement. I would describe myself as hard working, driven, outspoken, outgoing, a perfectionist, a little OCD, a lover, a fighter, loyal, honest, over-acheiver, spotlight seeker...but selfish? No.

As I have aged, I like to think I am becoming a little selfish, however. As a single mother at the ripe age of 20, I worked my ass off to be a great mother, self-sufficient by all means. After leaving my daughters father when she was 9 weeks old, I moved in with my parents for a mere 6 months before I got my own place, managed never ending court battles with her father, climbed the ladder at my full time job, and rarely went out. When I turned 26 I started looking for and bought my first house, by myself! I met my husband shortly after that and everything just seemed to fall into place. I knew very quickly that he was "the one", fell desperately in love, let him move in and slowly gave up some of the responsibility I had eagerly harbored for 6 years alone. He was capable, and I was happy to have a break. We've been together 8 years this month, and slowly, Ive learned to lean on him a lot more in order to take better care of myself - be a little bit selfish and get back to doing some of the things I love. I love reading, gardening, cooking, watching mindless reality TV shows, and drinking. I love drinking.

Also, as I mentioned in a previous post, I have a self-proclaimed "addictive personality". When I enjoy something, I ENJOY it, to the max. And man do I enjoy drinking. I have a pretty bad anxiety disorder and have battled depression in and off in my life since I was a teenager. Drinking is like self-medicating. No doctor appointment or prescription needed. In fact this medicine is available everywhere, any time of day, and certainly in no short supply in my home. I buy wine by the case and by the box (cause I'm classy, duh) Cant even remember the last time I bought beer in anything smaller than a 30-pack, and even then the local convenience store could expect to see me twice a week - refueling. Drinking calms me after a hectic day, rewards me after a productive one. Drinking reduces my anxiety about everything - dealing with my kids, dinner, a messy house, bath time, any and all of the mundane daily tasks which are necessary to keep a household. Drinking reduces my anxiety about being social, hanging with friends or family, or strangers, even better! You know what else drinking does for me? Helps me be selfish. Yup. I feel some selfish right of indignation once I get through a glass or two. Its helps me accomplish my tasks and chores with fervor! And after the first couple drinks, it helps me sit down and do nothing, precisely what I want, me-me-me-me-me!

NOTE: I'm using present tense here, but I am not, in fact, drinking right now. I am 13 days sober actually, but really I'm just getting thorough the day. Present tense is still true as I talk about my love for alcohol. It is an abusive relationship, but I don't wanna break right now, me and the bottle, we are just separated. And that's all I can commit to right now.

But back to selfishness. My addictive personality says well Penny, if you're going to give up one thing you had better replace it with another. I am currently addicted to my sobriety. OK, not really even mine, I'm addicted to everyone else's too! I'm going to AA meetings and listening, I'm reading books, watching documentaries, subscribing to blogs and listening to podcasts in nearly all my free time. Im soaking up resources like a sponge. Im arming myself with knowledge, hoping that if I become smarter, it will be safer, eaiser to quit.

Something else Ive learned in this obsessive nearly two weeks of sober life, is there is a LOT of emphasis on being selfish during your recovery. *GASP*! Selfish?! The very nature of being a drunk is selfishness. Its put me and my feelings of fake euphoria above my children, my family, my social life, my education and sometimes my job. And in recovery, they want me to continue to put myself first? Seems like a raw deal to everyone else...but FINALLY, I have a good excuse to be selfish :)

Here are a few reminders of how I can and should be selfish right now, to stay the course:

  • Plan your days around a meeting - Ive entered every meeting within a 30 mile radius into my personal calendar, and have visited 5 different meetings already
  • K.I.S.S. - keep it simple stupid! IM not going to try and do too much during this time. Sobriety needs to be my priority.
  • Sit with your feelings - Im recognizing my emotions, rational or not, and I'm feeling them, and trying to take some comfort in the fact that I can feel them.
  • HALT: Hungry, Angry/Anxious, Lonely, Tired - before I react or overreact, assess whats real

Selfshly sober