day 33…

Good to be home.  It’s late (for me) but I’m too wound up to go to bed.  Survived the first social outing without the wine and actually had a lovely time.  No one ever asked so my well rehearsed response as to why I wasn’t drinking was left unused- for now.  Whew. A huge relief.

I am not someone who craves the company of others.  Never cared for small talk and have never been particularly adept at social etiquette.  Even here in cyberspace.  I often prefer solitude because my work requires me to be “on” 40 plus hours a week.   But I also know that I can tend to give myself way too much alone time.  Connecting with others is not only healthy emotionally but we now know it’s also vital in maintaining mental health in the ‘twilight’ years.  And I’m there…in those years.

Finding balance will be important.  One of my sober goals.

day 32…that was then, this is now

Thinking about the work related birthday party I’ve chosen to attend tomorrow night.  Not so much about having to resist a drink- I don’t think that will be an issue at all.  I just want to have a casual, short and sweet response as to why I’m not drinking.  Cut ’em off at the pass kind of answer.

I was very honest with the owners and my co-workers when I started this job 6 years ago.  They knew I was newly sober and I had also told them about my previous sober history. Still, they would press me to join them in a drink as I didn’t fit their idea of an alcoholic.

It was a tough year not drinking.  Feeling deprived.  Left out.  Resentful.  Watching everyone have “fun”.  Then the Christmas party happened.  I went knowing full well I was going to drink the expensive red wine.

And that was that.

It gave me another five years of drinking under my belt.

 I was also going through a divorce that first year.  Had absolutely no idea who I was without my husband.  I had given my entire life over to him- his friends, his interests; all at the expense of my own.

Here I am now.

So much has changed.  I know who I am without my husband but I do not yet know who I am without the drink- although I’m beginning to get a picture and I like it…

I like it a lot.

day 30!

I am really loving this change.  Sober nights and unclouded days.  I feel that the war within is over.  At least for now.  I’m adding that negative only because I know through my own previous period of sobriety as well as bearing witness to my father and brother’s battle for a sober life, that in these times of rest one still needs to remain vigilant. And continue to build upon the sober time gifted.

Been thinking a lot today about my  brother who lost his battle at just 50 years of age. Surrounded by many, many empty 1/2 gallon vodka bottles.

But he tried. He really did. Tried real hard. Reading the journals he kept through his brief sober moments  was testament to this.  How could someone want it so bad- want to change-and then die trying?  I know it happens all too often.

I was in wonder at the many various ways alcohol addiction can manifest itself….and why some receive the grace to win and others lose. Lose miserably. Horribly.

I thought about how in A.A. they say that the disease is always progressing even when you stop. And if you drink in 5, 10 or 20 years you don’t pick up where you left off- it would be as if you had never stopped.

That did not hold true for me.

And I believe that I kept on drinking for the last 21 years partially because my experience proved differently from what I had been told.

Thirty days ago I didn’t have a bottom. I just had enough.  Surrendered.  In doing so the desire to drink has been lifted although the work of living unmedicated remains.

The glory belongs not to me but to Him.

I have been blessed and I pray that I never ever forget.

day 29…

Good day today. Feeling more upbeat mood wise and more energy physically. Took a walk/run this AM before work.

Not much in the mood to write. Tired but a good tired. Dinner then a little unwind time before bed.

Feeling grateful.  Feeling good.

 

day 28…tech stuff & surrender

Well things are improving in spite of myself and the frustration of being on this computer most of the afternoon.  Fiddling with the technicalities of this blog.  I’m not a complete idiot when it comes to tech stuff but I am by no means a techie.  I really thought I had lost everything when trying to eliminate a page.

Why bother with the help section?  Instructions?  I know what I’m doing.

Yeah. Right. Uh-huh.

Probably could have saved myself a whole lot of torment.  There’s something to be learned here.  Ask for help.  Call for help.  Search for help.  Just do something different. Why is this one so hard?  I can even search the how-to guide without ever needing to humble myself to another human by admitting ‘I don’t know’.  And yet- it appears to be beyond my thought process. Or inherent nature.  I want to do it myself.  And I will go to any length to try, no matter how much pain I create for myself, before I become willing to surrender up…..my own stubborn self.

Still felt as if I was moving through molasses this morning but getting up and out to Sunday mass seemed to be the turning point.  When I was on vacation I let my rhythm of devotional reading and prayer lapse. Didn’t even make it to Sunday’s mass.  Left that holy relationship in the lurch.  So grateful He doesn’t leave me. And that He never fails to welcome me back.

day 27…saturday blues

Woke up tired. No motivation.  Depressed. I guess it’s to be expected.

I got myself going by basically ignoring how I felt. Right foot. Now left. Right.  And so on. Ugh. Moving is supposed to change things but it didn’t.  Even went to visit 2 elderly women in a nursing home.  Nope. Still blah but at least I got out of myself and made myself useful.

Hangin’ in there.  Still free of the desire, thanks be to God.  That’s miracle enough for me.   After 21 yrs of filling my time with wine it’s unrealistic to think things would be any different in just 4 weeks without.  I do know that I will feel better eventually.

day 26… 4th Friday escape

Friday nights.  The alcohol can start pouring any night really but Friday when the shop closes is the worst. The specialty food business is much the same as the restaurant business- you work hard and then play hard. Drink hard to come down.

During the course of a day conversations often revolve around what wine or cocktail would go best with whatever is being offered up for sale. Constant parties. At the beach. On the boat. In the mansion. Day in. Day out.

In the area in which I live, there is a very clear distinction between those who work and those who play. Resentment can become a problem for me if I’m not careful. Besides being an incredibly selfish, negative and destructive emotion(?), it’s also not good for sobriety. In the last few years I’ve made a conscious effort to not only keep that nasty feeling at bay but have gone so far as to really try to be happy for those who have been blessed with more. I truly don’t think I would be staying sober had I not done the work to change my attitude.

The need to “fit in” is another area needing attention. That’s what I began to write about.  For another time….

I did manage to slip out the door without the usual questioning: “What, no cocktail tonight? You’re not drinking?”  Major sense of relief at this point.

day 25…

Back from vacation. Wonderful visit with big sis and the Captain enjoying the beauty and power of creation. Wild ocean and wind. Rain. Beaches and sunshine. Great company and home cooking.  I felt great. Alive, present and energized. No temptations, no cravings, and no desire. Not even on the ferry both going and coming.

So what’s up?

Got back Tuesday night and have been tired, slightly depressed and down and more than a little moody. I often feel depressed after a visit with my brothers and sisters because we don’t see each other very often. When our visit ends, it’s funktime for me thinking how long it will be before I see them again.  Oh no, don’t dwell on the wonderful visit- go right to the downer.

I also get a good dose of melancholia as we enter fall. Don’t pay attention to the beautiful foliage. Or the cooler temps (which I love). The great sleeping and exercise weather.  Forget about it. The future looms tall and menacing. Winter.

I’ve always looked at that half empty glass and could never enjoy it. Not if it wasn’t full.  And for 25 days now the glass has been empty.

This is what I found on what happens to the emotions:

As most would expect, mixed in with the highs are periods of emotional lows. These effects aren’t as physically urgent as the ones experienced in the first stages of withdrawal, but they can take a big toll on your newly sober psyche:

  • Anxiety & depression
  • Decreased energy & metabolism
  • Feelings of aggression or hostility
  • Declined sexual interest or function
  • Sleep disruption & nightmares

                                                     Excerpt from: What Happens When You Stop

I imagine my brain is going through major chemical adjustments so to remain kind and gentle with these emotions is my goal-  a necessary side effect of learning to live with that empty glass.