Today I celebrate four years of being alcohol free! While it’s been four years, the desire to quit actually started about seven years ago. Here is a recap:
I am going to write about my recovery on here. I’m going to tell my story first. I am not strong enough to share this with anyone that I personally know. Not my husband, not my best friend, not my sisters. I can’t say the words out loud.
I can’t admit that I drink every single night (except on rare occasions). I can’t tell anyone that I don’t remember going to bed most nights. I wake up, with a paranoia that I’ve forgotten to take out my contacts– or left a cat outside. Waking up to go to work is the worst. Many times I have a pounding headache and puffy eyes. On the worst of mornings, I feel slightly intoxicated still on the ride there.
There is an underlying guilt everyday and a promise that I won’t drink tonight. On the rare occasion that I don’t drink– the lack of guilt the next day is a great feeling.
I am starting to get nervous. A couple of weeks ago, I was pretty hyped up, excited. Now that the clock is ticking, I don’t know if I can follow through. How can I? I’m so used to old habits and the way things are, how can I change? I keep hoping that if I want it bad enough, then I can be successful.. right?
I haven’t cut down on drinking. I am trying to savor each drinking day! I really don’t know if I can stop. I haven’t made an outpatient appointment yet. I suppose I should get off this blog and make a decision as to where I am going and see about getting an appointment.
This is scary. I don’t want to spend the summer 2016 strung out, I really don’t! I want to feel good, energetic, happy and healthy. I want to exercise daily and detox my body. I just don’t know if I can do it!
I am depressed, clinically. I should make an appointment with a therapist and talk about getting on some medication.
I haven’t stopped drinking this week. I wonder how much that is playing into my depression. I’m going to try an experiment. I’m going to try to not drink tonight and see if I wake up a little happier and more motivated to get through my day.
The thing that bothers me the most is that I have no idea and why and no reason at all to be depressed. I have an adoring husband who I think is one of the smartest men on earth, who loves his family more than life itself and has a pure & honest soul. Case in point.. Milo has been sick this week. Two nights ago, I was spoon feeding him canned food on OUR bed and even on HIS side. He was laying right there with me, just happy like I was that Milo was eating. I was so grateful during that moment that I was married to him. I know some men would not be too happy about a wife spoon feeding a cat on their side of the bed! I have two sons who are genuinly good hearted boys, who listen well (for the most part) and give me way more pleasure than stress. I have choices, many many choices and I know that Anthony will support anything I try to do. I love my house.. I have the perfect forever home and the pool that I’ve always wanted. So WHY?
Is it that I want to stop drinking but I can’t? I make the choice everynight to get that glass of wine.. or whatever it is I’m drinking. I wake up with a general ill feeling, lack of energy, etc. I maintained a hard workout program before while continuing to drink, but why can’t I start working out now?
It is kind of hard to get the energy to workout when you barely have the energy to get off the couch and take a shower.
I’m making a goal. Right here and now: To NOT drink tonight and to (at some point today) start working on Kenneth’s drink analysis worksheets. I will blog tomorrow and record my mood. I have to be in Livonia by 9 with both boys, but would LOVE to have the energy for a morning workout before having to leave. NOT sure that will happen, but who knows.
Update from August 2016-February 2017-
I continued to drink regularly, drinking just about every night. Stringing two sober consecutive nights together was rare, and three was impossible. In January 2017 I discovered a podcast called The Recovery Elevator. By then, quitting was still heavily on my mind but I didn’t have the tools to be successful.
With the discovery of an excellent podcast called Recovery Elevator, I am finally making progress. I listened regularly to back episodes for a good 2-3 weeks before making the decision to quit.
I learned so much from the podcasts and am still learning.
One of the most valuable things I learned is to take one day at a time. Up until now, thinking about quitting would cause me great anxiety. I would think about my upcoming birthday, or long summer days and be just so completely overwhelmed with the thought of abstaining. I learned to take it one day, or moment, at a time. I don’t have to think about tomorrow, or next week, or my 40th birthday on the biggest party day of the year next month. All I need to think and focus on is today. If I can abstain today, then I am A-Ok!
Another thing I learned is that my addiction has an inner voice and it sounds like me talking. She says things like, “I’ll just have one.” “I can handle it tonight, and stop tomorrow.” and other horrible lies. I still need to learn to recognize her and separate her voice from mine. I call my inner demon voice “Betsy”.
Something else that I learned is that this is a work in progress, and will always be a work in progress. Meetings, learning, writing, etc. I haven’t gone to a meeting yet, but there is a local one in 2 days and I plan on attending. I also have a therapist lined up. I have issues in my head, and will have more issues from recovering that I will need to deal with. I’m happy to report that I found one that came highly recommended. If I go to her and am not happy with her, then I will find another one.
This is only my 2nd night sober. I think they say the first 72 hours is the worst. Yesterday and last night was ok, but today was much harder. It was Sunday. I always drink on Sundays, sometimes starting as early as dinnertime. I am currently almost ready for bed and drinking sleepy time tea. Totally looking forward to waking up sober.
I am so thankful for finding that podcast, it sure helped steer me in the right directions. I can see by reading earlier posts that I was blind last summer to what I really needed to do. I am looking forward to living a colorful life and being stronger for beating this!
One step forward, two steps back. That’s how I feel on this funky Friday morning.
Drank again yesterday, although I didn’t start last night. I started yester- day– yes during the day.
Two nights ago drinking wine was pleasant. It felt good up until I went to bed (which I don’t remember). Yesterday the first couple glasses were good, but then I had some dinner (not much, 1/2 a veggie burger and a few vegetables). After dinner the wine tasted nasty. But, I kept drinking anyway..
By bedtime my belly hurt, my buzz was gone and I felt physically and mentally defeated. Out of all the hours spent drinking yesterday, about 10% of the time was actually pleasant, the rest was unpleasant.
I’m GLAD and thankful. It scares me when drinking gives me so much joy that on the following day I drink again– and start earlier.
I am going to stop. I know in my heart that one day I will be 100% alcohol free.
Today is day 1. I will work on strengthening my toolbox. What does this look like? For me, it will be re-starting the 30 Day Sobriety Solution– with daily activities and exercises. I started this before and it really is a great program to work through.
I may or may not attend real life or online meetings. This I’m on the fence about. I started going to AA meetings this summer and I don’t believe they’ve been effective for me. I may try to find an evening meeting that I can keep up with when school starts back up. I may try something other than AA– it’s just hard because my choices and days/times are limited. One thing is certain, I cannot do this alone. I will continue to connect with people online through Cafe RE and Club Soda.
I will continue writing out this journey. Yes, it feels like a lie, my title “My Journey Through Sobriety..” I haven’t been very sober the past couple of days. It certainly is a long and treacherous voyage–although no one said that it would be easy! Pack your bags, you’re coming with ❤
End of day 2. Not a totally great day but better than yesterday. Quite a bit of frustration this evening with my kiddos, their homework, the animals, getting stuff done for tomorrow, etc.
BUT.. the work day was much better to get through without a hangover.
I DID have the urge to drink tonight while helping my unfocused son with math. Huge urge. Almost texted hubby to stop for something on his way home. Didn’t help that I had a root canal 5 days ago and my tooth is still bugging me tonight.
I followed the drink and didn’t like where it lead me. I visualized getting hammered to the point of closing up and not being able to verbalize my thoughts. I thought of going to bed without remembering if I moved the elf on the shelf or if I fed the dog. I imagined waking up with a throbbing headache and going through the whole day feeling awful– like I did yesterday on my last Day 1.
I have to stay grateful and maintain the mindset that I’m on this journey for a reason. It’s not easy, but if it was then everyone would beat their addiction. It is hard, but I have already gotten so much out of this process. I am grateful for another Day 2 and hopeful that I will beat this ❤
End of Summer 2018-
The summer of ’18 was one of my favorites yet. Normally over the summer there are many times that I am bored, lonely and get depressed. Depressed– as in– barely having enough energy for a shower and being in a general funk for days. I’m happy to say that I didn’t go through that this summer. The reason, I’m pretty sure, is both external and internal.
I’ve made a ton of growth internally over the past several months and years. By internally, I guess I mean mentally and spiritually. I used to think that everyone was mad at me or didn’t like me– and I don’t know why I spent so much energy worrying about all of that. I’m not sure when or how this changed, probably due to the self help books that I read, but I no longer worry about other people. I’m sure this has helped me to not feel depressed and has helped me at times when I’m alone not feel so lonely.
Externally, the summer was bustling and busy, with little time to be feeling down. Cousins and the kids’ friends were over constantly, and a lot of time was spent with family and friends in both July and August.
Here are some summer highlights:
- I learned how to use the weedwacker
- I got all my teeth problems fixed and have an appointment set up for an orthodontist consultation (I’ve been putting this all off for YEARS)
- I rode 154 miles on my bike during the month of June (my goal was 150)
- Paid off my smaller private student loan and faced my large federal loan after a decade of avoiding it
- Learned how to make falafel
- Read, read, read! Read some great books for fun and also some spiritual books– my favorite being The Four Agreements.
- Started meditating daily
- Started the summer with a strong streak of sobriety– recent relapse has taught me some good life lessons (story for another day)
- Started seriously working the steps
- Had some spiritual realizations which have provided me with internal calmness and clarity– I am ecstatic to be able to pick up on signs and messages
- Got iron infusions and am no longer anemic
- Planted a garden which has provided me with some delicious fresh peppers, tomatoes, zucchini and squash
Yes, this summer has been a great one! Today is going to be another fantastic day. I have a lunch date with a good friend from work and then I’m getting my hair done. I still need to get some new work clothes, get my nails done, go school clothes shopping with my youngest and schedule an appointment to get new contact lens– all in good time.
April 4, 2019-
It’s Thursday and Spring Break is cruising right along, a little too fast for my liking. It hasn’t been a super productful week, but I’m still sober so I’ve felt grateful every day.
I had a significant conversation with my 16 year old the other day. He was also shocked that I think I have a problem. Does he think that falling over drunk (it doesn’t happen often, but has happened especially like when we’re up north with other drinking family members) and not remembering conversations is normal? At any rate, I hope that I planted a seed that says you don’t have to be homeless and living under a bridge to have a problem. I also hope that I opened up paths that will allow him to feel comfortable talking to me about drinking and addiction. I warned him that addiction is genetic and he would need to be careful. I honed in on the fact that one day you’re in college drinking like everyone else and the next day you’re a 40 year old parent who still drinks and maybe can’t stop, and how awful of a place that is to be.
I’m kind of happy that I had that AWFUL day last week. It propelled me into wanting to stay sober. This week could have been very different had I been drinking. I am so grateful for day 8 today and still don’t have a desire to drink (I mean, I have longed for it occasionally at certain points, but shut the AV down quickly. I NEVER want to feel like I did last Thursday, EVER).
God Bless ❤ ❤ ❤
March 28. 2020
Last year this day was rotten. It was my last Day 1. I won’t bore you with the details again, but it was pretty awful.
I had big plans for this day! For one thing, the title of this blog was going to be “The End.” I had planned on ending this blog, as it has just been dragging on and on for years.
I also planned on being alone today, for the whole day. My boys had a Boy Scout trip and were going to be gone for the whole weekend.
I planned on being on Day 30 in the Lotus and the Lily book, and doing my Soul Day today. I was going to be grand! I was going to wake up and fast and spend time outdoors with my dog and do my mandala while setting some awesome intentions! Then as the evening approaches I was going to get some delicious food and eat and watch some chick flick or stupid movie.
If you would have talked to me about relapsing a few weeks ago, on my 1-year anniversary, I would have hushed you quickly. I wouldn’t have even humored it, not for a minute. Why on earth would I do that? After all I was having the time of my life without alcohol!
That was before this Coronavirus and before lock downs and the school closures. That was before the stress of not knowing if I’ll have a job to get back to– or if Sylvia Brown’s prediction of all learning going online was going to come true. That was a lifetime ago.
Laura McKowen posted about how this new world is a whole lot like being in early sobriety. Man oh man is that true! I don’t even remember when Betsy (my alcoholic voice) first started piping up (she actually shut up for awhile there) but of course, with the excuse of my one year plus this pandemic she actually had me convinced to drink today.
Am I going to? I don’t think so. I’m not drinking at this moment, nor do I want to. Tonight? I don’t think so, but who knows.
This was an important lesson to learn. It doesn’t matter if you have an hour alcohol free or, or a day, or a year. It truly doesn’t, we are all one sip away from a drink. A few short weeks ago I was feeling on top of the world, especially with the approaching 1 year date coming. I thought after today I would be able to better myself even further.
But instead I have spent the past week pretty much planning for a relapse after today. So what did I learn in a year’s time? Nothing??? It would appear so! I guess what I’m saying is that we are all one sip away. It doesn’t matter if you have 10 years, or 10 minutes, and we can all choose to be sober for today- or for this moment. We all need to find a program that works for us- and to work it, especially during the tough times ❤
March 28, 2023-
It’s been four years since I’ve taken a drink of alcohol. My life now is unrecognizable from the way it was before. It’s as though, the daily drinking poisoned every single organ, tissue and cell in my body- and the toxins constantly seeped out through me physically, mentally and emotionally, tainting everything in my life. I was a toxic person, ingesting and holding onto the worst of poisons.
When I first started listening to the recovery elevator, Paul Churchill said something confusing, but intriguing to me. He talked about quitting alcohol and how you first heal physically, then emotionally and then spiritually. This didn’t make a lot of sense to me back then. I understood the physically healing- but I didn’t have a horrible childhood with trauma, so my emotional state was fine- and I had no issue with the church- so the spiritual healing would not be necessary for me. I would need to heal physically, no doubt about that, but I didn’t know how impaired my emotional and spiritual state actually was, and it was.
My growth in all of those areas from 2016 up until now is my favorite part of my blog. I don’t care if anyone else ever reads it again, I can go back and see a very damaged and ill person- one who is full of fear, anger and resentments. It’s so evident, and so evident that I was blind to it all back then. In fact, when a sponsor talked to me about step 4, I declared- “Oh, I don’t need to do that. I’m cool with everyone!”
By the way, I was so not cool with everyone back then. But that’s what I told myself. I told myself lots of lies back then- it was my ego in the front seat shushing my poor little soul.
As the years go by, you see that broken person start to grow, and grow and make mistakes, lots of mistakes. Lots of day 1’s. Periods of stopping, being completely happy, and then self-sabotaging when I don’t even understand the why. Until finally, she has enough. Enough of the crappy crap!
If there is anything to gain from reading my blog, I hope it’s this:
I hope that someone who wants help, but doesn’t know how, and thinks they’re all alone, and unhelpable (like I thought I was..) will realize that they are not alone and far more powerful than they could imagine- and that life is so much more wonderful than our addictions want us to think.
In the beginning, it’s hard to trust sobriety. It’s far too easy to believe the manipulative lies told by our evil alcoholic voices- voices disguised as our own. Just trust.
Look at my story.
I’m no different than any other Joe who has completely lost themselves, in the mud of life. We all have a choice to wallow in the mess- or we can use our despair to propel us up to greatness ❤
Maybe we are all lotuses, waiting for the opportunity to rise up from the mud