Posted in acceptance, motivation, recovery, self-care

Being Judgemental

Good morning everyone! Is it possible to meditate TOO early? I swear, I was practically falling back asleep during my meditation this morning. Today’s meditation was all about being non-judgemental. Is it ironic that it is also the meditation I could barely stay on track on, and I so much wanted to judge it poorly lol.

This topic reminds me of one of the mantras from sobriety school…”I am not here to judge other people’s process. I am driving my own bus”. That mantra is such a good reminder. (It comes from Byron Katie’s “Loving What Is” – which I will add to my ever growing list of what one day I should read but will probably only buy and then never actually read…because that’s what I do…collect unread Kindle books).

We all have so much going on in our lives. Honestly, we don’t have time to judge everyone else. All the time and effort spent thinking about other people’s situations, what they should or shouldn’t do, how I would do it differently…it is all a waste of time. During that time, I could be focusing on my own improvements. I could be using that energy for good. Spending time judging others, is stealing time from myself. Plus how many times have I judged something I’ve never even been through…only later to go through it and totally understand what I judged? Too many times. Honestly, we are all just trying to do the best we can, with what we know at that time.

Have you ever noticed how judging others really makes you feel shitty inside? Sure, sometimes it makes you feel good temporarily…a fake good…like, “oh I’m so much better at xyz” … That’s really just some sort of fake self-approval. I quit drinking to stop all the fake in my life. Ya know…the fake fun, fake social, fake relaxation that we think alcohol gives us. So that includes giving myself quick-fixes of self righteousness. Although man, can that be a hard habit to break -especially when I’m over her self-improving my ass off. It’s hard not to compare and fall into that trap of suddenly knowing it all and being better.

While on the other hand, being proud of others or being loving and compassionate – now that is a real dose of goodness. If I’m taking the focus off of myself and my self-improvement – then that is where I should be…in that sweet spot of love and compassion. Where being judgemental is a quick fix for me and nothing good for you, being loving and compassionate is hands down a win win for us both!

I guess where I am going with all of this…is that we are all on these journeys…trying new things, learning from mistakes, and we should give each other a break. We have our own busses to drive…and if everyone keeps getting out of their bus to try and drive other people’s busses… well that’s just a massive accident waiting to happen! We need to remember that the important part of life is living it…and if we are judging others, we aren’t living our own life. And if we are trying to intervene in others’ lives – telling them what to do or how to do it – we aren’t letting them live theirs either.

Posted in gratitude, motivation, recovery, self-care

Mornings, Meditation, and Moods

Good morning everyone! I’m here at the cabin with my sweet pups, watching the sunrise in the woods, in front of a fire. I am forever grateful to have quiet and peaceful moments like this – time to appreciate the present.

I just completed a 10 minute gratitude meditation. I’m always so amazed at how far meditation goes to restore my calmness, appreciation, and overall wellbeing. 10 little minutes, and my entire morning has changed. 10 minutes, and my day has a renewed spirit.

It is so inspiring to know that I have complete control over my mood, and at any moment I can stop, take a few minutes, and redirect my energy.

I am forever grateful for my teacher in sobriety school for introducing meditation and the concept of slowing down and starting the morning off right. I really did a disservice to myself when I woke up, grabbed my devices, and jumped into the world. Just a half hour or even ten minutes …to be present and set an intention for my day – is a game changer for me.

Of course, you learn things when you’re ready. You just can’t absorb everything all the time. I wouldn’t have been able to absorb this concept 2 years ago. I would have been too tired, too hungover, too worried about wether I was going to drink again or not. There’s no time for present in that environment. There’s no capacity for appreciation- it’s just…survival.

In two days, it will be 18 months since I cut alcohol out of my life. 18 months of learning who I am, facing my past, and learning to appreciate all those beautiful details in life that I use to mute and dull.

In some ways, it feels like I have a ton of experience under my belt, and in other ways I have just touched the surface. I know I have a lot more to learn in life, and the only way I’m going to is if I am clear minded and present.

Posted in Uncategorized

Alcohol & It’s Lies

I use to wake up, exhausted, run down, emotionally beat up, ashamed, and anxious. The birds chirping and the sun rising were just a headache-inducing reminder that another day was starting that I needed to drag myself through. I couldn’t appreciate the day. I couldn’t appreciate what I had. I couldn’t be anything other than a girl…who drank too much at night…regretted it all day the next day…and drank again later.

Oh, the hell I was in for so long. Oh, how scared I was. And I couldn’t understand how I got there, how to get out, and I was so embarassed. I was so ashamed. How could I be like this? How could someone with so much talent and ability have fallen into this trap? Everyone drinks to relax, to have fun, to unwind. Why did it go wrong for me?

Well, now I see things differently. I don’t think all those people around me are ALL drinking “just fine” anymore, and I hope that they get out before they get where I was. I don’t see it as ME being unable to “drink responsibly”. I now recognize it as me consuming an addictive substance and eventually becoming addicted.

We are told that “alcoholics” are people who just can’t control their liquor…that only “some people” will ever become like that…that it is their fault for not consuming the product correctly. When in reality, anyone can become addicted to addictive substances, but most of us don’t view alcohol as an addictive drug. We are marketed to, instead of educated. We learn slogans, instead of facts.

If we don’t view it as potentially dangerous, how can we use it safely? And by the way – why do we NEED to use it to begin with? Why do we need to escape, not feel, miss out on the present, mute the world, dull the details? Isn’t THAT the true tragedy? That we all grow up believing that we need that in our lives?

Posted in Uncategorized

I might be a shitty dog mom, but I’m not a drunk dog mom!

Today is one of those days that I have to remember – even though it sucks, it would be so much worse if I still drank. The “bad days” are so real now. If this were 18 months ago, I would have had a lot of wine and vodka the past few days. And what sucks…is even though I don’t drink anymore, I still somehow spent the entire day as if I were hung over (including the Uber eats order of Mdonalds to get me through).

I barely slept last night – partly because I believe the waitress at dinner sabotaged me with caffeine when I asked for decaf, but also partly because I’m going through stress at home. Our super loving , but oh-so-fucked-up rescue dog had an altercation with a very sweet neighbor dog over the weekend. Now $460 later and an awkward relationship with a new neighbor – and here I am a complete and utter mess.

You go into pet ownership thinking about all the joy pets bring and all the fun they are. Until Friday, I never really had an appreciation…not a true one…for the fact that these are animals… with instincts and drive.. that I don’t even fully understand. Sometimes pets do crazy stuff that can completely fuck up your life…or someone else’s. It is a huge responsibility to own a pet – I mean…even my cat is basically an itty bitty murderer.

The crazy dog incident was an accident. Our rescue mutt hasn’t fought with another dog before…but he is anxious and scared of dogs, and I didnt keep him safe. I didn’t protect him from himself. I failed him. I stupidly let him in the garage with the door up – and off he ran, ready to fuck up the weekend …and fuck up his life.

On the scale of bad dog things – this wasn’t enormous. All the dogs are alive and well – one just has a lot less of an ear than she did before 😦 but I am horrified, embarassed, sad, and now scared to death of what the neighbors think and worried if the little ear-ripper is going to always be like this.

I feel so much guilt. It was an accident, though. I have to find a way to forgive myself…and to forgive my poor dog. I have to find a way to make his life less stressful and in a way where he doesn’t want to eat ears as an anxiety reduction method!

This has nothing really to do with sobriety…except it has everything to do with sobriety too. I don’t drink. Sometimes shitty things happen, and I still don’t drink then too. Now when shitty things happen – I feel them. God, do I fucking feel them…and I dont know how to always cope with that. I’m still learning.

I can say, though, I may have accidentally let my horribly anxious dog out…but 18 months ago I’d have probably been drunk when it happened, and I bet that would have been a total shit show! So … accidents are different now. Accidents feel shitty, but at least I know they don’t happen because my brain is functioning poorly from poisonous chemicals.

At least I can say I am doing my best. I might mess up, but I do my best and learn from what I screw up. That is way better than barely remembering what I screwed up the next day!

I’m reaching a bit, here, but that’s all I got. Today, I am having a really hard time…but I never once thought alcohol would make it better. And even if my 25 pound, ear-munching mutt is the talk of the neighborhood- at least I’m a sober dog mom and not a drunk one!

Posted in acceptance, gratitude, motivation, recovery, self-care

Motivating Myself

Around November, I started slacking off on my daily journal. I also stopped meditating before bed…or really any meditating at all. I stopped drinking lemon water, taking bubble baths, going to SMART meetings, or even checking into my Hip Sobriety School’s aftercare group.

Despite stopping what is really my day to day self-care routine, my sobriety was and still is 100% a-okay. I have never been more secure with that. I do not drink. Alcohol is nothing but a lie. I fell for marketing, became reliant, and lost my way for 20+ years, and I am NOT ever going back. I have faced reality long enough to know this is better than any of the lies alcohol fed me.
The thing is, though, I get tired and burnt out on the topic of sobriety, sometimes. I need to sorta “take a break” from all-things-sober. And I dont mean take a break like go drink…I mean like not fucking talk about or listen to people talk about it …Every. Damn. Day.

I obviously want to help others and obviously still need to keep sobriety important, but I just don’t need it to be the ONLY thing I am about. Not anymore. And yet, here I am talking about fucking sobriety in a blog post that wasn’t even suppose to be about it!

Anyways, we get a lot of our time back when we quit drinking. And if you stop all of your daily self-care, you get even more time back! (I don’t recommend that part, btw). It has left me sitting around lately, trying to find ways to “fill my time”. I’ve spent a lot of time mindlessly scrolling Facebook on my phone, surfing the internet, and watching every Amazon original series on the planet.

It left me feeling empty. What is the point of all the mindless activity? Isn’t that what I basically drank for? Isn’t the whole point of not drinking to be healthy, present, and make time meaningful? (At least for me that is the point of it).

So, I decided to ask Google what to do. “what to do instead of Facebook”…”how to find meaningful hobbies”…”what to do when I am bored”. Do you see the irony in this? Lol I stumbled across a bunch of forums where people were discussing these topics. One person said something along the lines of “look, if you just keep sitting around doing the same old thing – you can’t expect motivation to just appear. Part of being an adult is getting off your ass and doing things you might not want to do. From those things, you find stuff you like, stuff you don’t like, and sometimes you get inspired and motivated. Motivation isn’t going to just appear. Stop waiting to be motivated”. And it hit me just like that. Get off your ass! DO something! I have the ability to literally do anything I want to do. Am I really going to look back and say “I’m so glad I spent all that time scrolling facebook on my phone”? No I am not. But could I have great stories to tell about the book I read, the blog post I wrote, the phone call with an old friend, the pottery class I tried, the park me and my dogs checked out? You get the point.

Feeling empty? Get up and do something. Surprisingly, it makes you feel like your life has more meaning! Now, don’t get me wrong. I know sometimes depression, anxiety, and other mental health obstacles cause that feeling, and obviously, there’s a lot more to that than just “get up and do something”. I know when I went through my worst anxiety – I couldn’t even leave my home – and my response to this blog would have been “go fuck yourself, middle aged woman”. But if that’s not what’s holding you back…if it is lack of motivation, boredom, being stuck in a rut…then maybe you’re feeling like I am and maybe this post will be useful.
Posted in self-care, sleep, stress

The aging tech geek and sleep

Happy Thursday everyone! It is freaking 29 degrees in Georgia! What. The. Fuck. Anyways, this is not going to be a weather blog – don’t worry. I wanted to talk about sleep, actually. One of the many many reasons I gave up drinking was because it was ruining my sleep. Middle of the night, half-hungover wake ups were wreaking havoc on my sleep. I had read time and time again about how alcohol is terrible for your sleep AND as you get older, it gets worse and worse – but back then I didnt believe it at all.

When I gave it up, I started to see the benefits pretty quickly. But here it is, 16 months later, and I’m finding sleep to be a problem again. Nothing like when I drank – thank goodness. So apparently stress also has a big impact on your sleep! And with all the major curve balls that were thrown at me and hubby the last 6 months, my sleep started deteriorating again.

Noises started bothering me even more than ever before.
It’s one of those things. A self-fulfilling prophecy. You need to sleep, you’re tired and want to sleep, but you’re thinking about all the things that might keep you up again…and then you work yourself up until you can’t sleep!

I’ve tried a lot of things, but recently I started using a pair of sleepbuds. They are intended to be able to sleep with them and they play “soothing” sounds to mask noises around you. On one hand, they do seem to mask Hubby’s snoring, the elderly cat meowing, and most of the nearby train noises. On the other hand, they are uncomfy as fuck, and they make really LOUD noises against the pillow anytime you move…like, even breathing does it!

I was convinced though, that they were still better than not having them. I could no longer hear the road noise -which was making my blood boil every night. But my sleep has been pretty bad lately -so this week, I decided to go without them. And like magic – my sleep is improving! Suddenly my brain is happy to finally have those damn things off! Finally my brain is happy the stress of all the work stuff has been lifted!

Since I started using the sleepbuds, I had to give up listening to my sleep meditations at bedtime (can’t hear them with the sleepbuds in). Well last night, I remembered the meditation and listened to one. Guess what? It was the single best sleep I’ve had since October! And I actually have the data to prove it lol. Yes, I am a sleep nerd. I have a bed that measures my breathing, heart rate, and movements and reports how many times I tossed and turned, how many times I woke up, how much of my sleep was deep sleep, etc.

Ok – written down, this actually sounds a little crazy. I am such a tech geek that the minute I realized there was an app for my bed, I was like a kid in a candy store! Amazing how in my 20s, I collected all things Apple. Then my 30s, I collected all things Alienware and Razor. Now in my 40s, I’m collecting, apparently, /GASP…all things health. Once a tech geek, always a tech geek? But…I shiver to think what 80-year-old-me will collect!

Posted in Uncategorized

A little “me” time – alone but not lonely!

Happy 2nd week of 2019, y’all! It really is hard to believe that 2019 is already here. 2018 wasnt very good to me and Hubby -so we are, for sure, glad it’s done! It is funny…I knew we were dealing with a lot of stress, but it wasn’t really until it started turning around that I realized just HOW stressed I was. I think me and Hubby did well through it all too. (No, I am not just saying that because he follows my blog lol). We really had some curve balls thrown at us that tests a couple – and we worked together through it all. We have come out on the other side, even stronger because of it. Between work restructuring, layoffs, and going through my first year of sobriety – it was a whirlwind. Go big or go home? Lol

As I have mentioned before, Hubby travels a lot for work. In the beginning of our relationship, it was really hard to get use to. One silver lining of all the job mess is that he hasn’t traveled for the last six months! I knew that wouldn’t last forever, but I enjoyed it while it did. Hubby started working for a new company last week and has A TON of travel coming up. In fact, he just left for a week-long meeting.

You would think with travel being so hard on me in the past…that after 6 months of Hubby not traveling, that I would be a wreck. I am happy to report that I am not! Don’t get me wrong – of course, I would rather have him home, but my happiness and wellbeing don’t rely on his physical presence in the home, either. It sort of use to… I can’t fully explain it. When I was still drinking, everything was unstable for me. I couldn’t be alone with myself without being miserable. Which is weird…because I’ve always been so independent and really enjoyed being alone. But over the years, somehow being alone just meant being drunk and unable to stop obsessing about everything that went wrong or could go wrong. Alcohol robbed me of the joy I use to have being with myself.

At first, being new to Hubby’s state, I thought I just needed to make some friends, and then I would be okay. But the thing is, I am a pretty big introvert – even when I have friends – I really only want to see them once or twice a month. So how is THAT suppose to make up for a traveling husband? It wouldn’t, obviously.

Then I thought, I just needed a dog. Now, I’ll admit – the dog has done me wonders. I honestly don’t know how I would live without my dog (well, dogs now…because obviously I had to adopt another)! But no dog is going to make up for a missing husband, either.

Then I thought I just needed to turn it into “me time”. The problem with that…is back then, “me time” meant lots of wine, vodka, or wine AND vodka mixed with very sad chick flicks. I’m sure you can see how that actually made the situation much…much…worse.

So, fast forward to now. What did the trick? Why am I suddenly able to send my husband off with a kiss, knowing that I will miss him, but I will be fine? Well, I think that is a mixed bag of a lot of work. I got sober, for one. Amazing how the elimination of drunk moping solves quite a lot lol! I did A LOT of work on myself through sobriety too. I suddenly liked myself again. I suddenly had SO MANY THINGS I wanted to do. I also believe me and Hubby have grown through both my sobriety and through this past year’s struggles. It gave us a reason to look at everything in our life and decide what really mattered and to do it together.

Also, now that the self-centered, alcohol infused, “poor me” fog has lifted, suddenly I am far more interested in how Hubby is doing when on the road vs. how I am doing. I mean really…I’m the one sitting at home with all my home conveniences, home cooked meals (or let’s be real…uber eats), and 3 amazing pets cuddling me …while Hubby is the one out there…on the road…being forced to work out of hotel rooms, planes, and cars. Hoping he has all he needs in his carryon… because if not, it will be on an urgent run to buy pants at 10pm or something ridiculous. HE is the one being totally inconvenienced with the trip…not me!

So anyways, all of this is to say… once again…sobriety saved my life. It changed everything. And I am so grateful. I am fine. I am happy, and I finally love myself and time alone again. “Me time” is now full of healthy things like meditation, blogging, reflection, dancing around the kitchen with my dogs. I go to bed sober, happy, and seeing straight. I wake up refreshed, eager, and with no hangover!

I wouldn’t change a thing!