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!

Posted in acceptance, gratitude, self-care

Be happy – it’s a choice

I am sitting on a beach in the Bahamas right now. I am off work this week, on a last-minute trip that honestly all came together in an amazing way. We had a day’s notice to find pet care over the busiest boarding time of year, to find flights when they are all almost fully booked, and to find a resort with openings…and somehow…someway…we are sitting here in the Bahamas!

There have been a few bumps along the way – and it can be easy to let those bumps ruin the time if I allow them to. I can sit here and complain about the cold eggs or how they have yet to get hubby’s breakfast order right, how they keep trying to give me booze even though I’ve repeatedly said I’m alcohol-free, or how work things keep interrupting my vacation.

I can focus on those things and waste all of my time off OR I can focus on how I didn’t even know I’d be here this time last week, how I’m fortunate to have the ability to literally say “let’s go to the Bahamas tomorrow” and go, how I now have down time to spend with Hubby reconnecting before he starts a new job, and how I am surrounded by booze and dont even want it.

To be honest, if I count the things I can complain about versus the things I can be grateful for – that grateful list will always outshine the complaint list. And yet- that short little complaint list can completely hijack a state of mind if we allow it to. Isn’t that funny?

The thing is, we can find good or bad in every situation. It’s our choice which we decide to focus on. And whatever we spend energy focusing on – will without a doubt – grow and spread.

Today, I choose grateful and happy.

Posted in acceptance, self-care, sobriety, trauma

Understanding the Past

Good morning everyone! It is a very crisp 27 degrees this morning! I am sitting outside on our heated porch, with two snuggly pups, listening to the birds.

I read a great post today where the writer was discussing people who call themselves “damaged goods”. I remember when I use to laughingly say that when describing myself to others. Back then, I would tell perfect strangers my worst truths upon meeting them. I’d rather just get it out there, up front, and see if they would stick around. It wasnt worth it to put in the effort of getting to know someone and have them leave once they found out my faults.

Can you imagine thinking you were so flawed that no one would want to be your friend if they really knew you? Some of you can relate, I am sure. People never did turn me away when they heard my flaws, though. In fact, my vulnerability to open up and share personal details almost always resulted in people being even more drawn to me. Funny thing, then I would push them away – “clearly you are a bad judge of character- so I shouldn’t count on you”. I really didn’t think much of myself.

As a child, I was surrounded by abuse, neglect, addiction, and enablement. I never knew my mother, and the family that I did know always hurt me or let me down. I grew to rely on myself. I am a survivor – strong and capable. I am far from perfect and have a long way to go, but I am NOT damaged goods. I use to think I was, but just because irresponsible and unhealthy people treated me poorly does not mean I am damaged. Their actions and poor behavior reflect on them, not on me. They have their own problems and illnesses. They did what they did as a result of that, not because I deserved it. That doesn’t mean I forgive them or can even completely let go of the past (yet)… but I do see it for what it is now.

It is hard as a kid to understand that people have a ton of baggage, and their actions toward you can be weighed down by that baggage. As an adult – as someone who has made mistakes because of my own baggage – I get it a little more, now. Sure, I have never done what was done to me – but I have certainly done things I regret and treated people ways they didnt deserve. We all have.

Today, I can honestly say that I am a good person. I am worth knowing. I bring value to life. It took a lot of soul searching, therapy, addiction, and sobriety to get this far – but here I am.
Posted in addiction, recovery, sobriety

Sober and Struggling?

Sober and struggling today? Surrounded by relatives driving you insane and “just one” glass of wine seems like a way to get through it? Or home alone and “just a little” would really help you get through it?

Think it through. Why did you decide to quit in the first place? What lies did alcohol tell you? What truths were no longer true about drinking? Did the “just one” ever really end up as just one? Did the scattered memories the next day really make you feel better? Did the shame and regret that came the next day….along with the really shitty hangover…really serve you well?

What will you ACTUALLY get out of drinking today?

Humor me for just a few more moments… close your eyes and envision the following: you in your current situation… feeling strong and committed to not drinking today. Imagine the people, the smells, and the feelings. Think about all the details, and imagine you going through all the activities today, not drinking and feeling good about it. SHOW YOUR MIND WHAT RIGHT LOOKS LIKE. Now, imagine tomorrow. What do you feel like after keeping your commitment? What does it feel like to face a hard craving and conquer it?

You can do this. I know it’s hard, but every craving you face and conquer…is a craving that you will face with ease next time. Distract yourself, meditate for a few minutes, or make a really fun non-alcoholic drink. DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO, BUT DO NOT DRINK. And tomorrow, reward yourself for your amazing work.
You’ve got this.
Posted in addiction, recovery, sobriety, social anxiety

Thankfully Sober

Happy Thanksgiving y’all! Today is day 1 of our vacation! Me and Hubby are celebrating our 3rd year of marriage this week! It is hard to believe I have been sober for A THIRD of our marriage! It’s harder to believe that I drank for TWO THIRDS! I have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving! I am thankful I found Hip Sobriety and This Naked Mind when I did. To be honest, who knows how much Hubby would have put up with if I hadn’t! I am thankful that he stood by my side while I found my way! A lot of people in my life didn’t.

I’ve been thinking about addiction and mental health a lot lately. I didn’t choose to have debilitating anxiety and when people learn about it – they dont blame me at all. I also didnt choose to become addicted to alcohol. In fact, I had been taught that only “some people” become addicted to alcohol -so I had no reason to believe it would be me, but it did happen to me.

When you hear people talk about addiction – they always blame the addict, not the product that hooked them. We as a society drink…everywhere… all the time. We drink to celebrate. We drink to loosen up. We drink to be social. We drink to have fun. We drink to unwind. We encourage everyone to drink, and tell people they are no fun if they dont. Then when one of us becomes unknowingly and unwantingly addicted…we shun them. We shame them. We blame them. That makes it nearly impossible to ask for help.

No one sets out to be addicted. No one wants to crave a product that no longer serves the purpose it use to. No one wants to be unable to control their use. No one wants to physically become dependent on a chemical that changes their brain and body for the worse. Everyone just wants to be happy and cope with life the best they can.

We are told that alcohol is a great tool, and then it betrays us…and then everyone blames the drinker, not the addictive drink?! I guess that’s how the world use to feel about smoking. Funny how we finally see nicotine for what it is – but dont see the similarities to alcohol.

Well anyways, this is all to say – that even in a world full of drinkers…that may never truly understand me…I am thankful to not be a drinker. I’d rather be misunderstood and living this amazing, new, and shiny life…than be bonding over a fake chemical reaction from booze.

For anyone struggling with addiction, or having a hard time being sober in this crazy booze-soaked world….it gets better and it IS worth it. YOU ARE WORTH IT. I know how hard the holidays can be when active in an addiction. While it isn’t your fault that you are addicted, you are the one who needs to reach out to get help. If not now, then when? There are options and people to turn to: Smart recovery, Refuge recovery, AA, Hip Sobriety School, and This Naked Mind are just a few to get you started. Hang in there and know you are not alone.
Posted in self-care, sobriety, social anxiety

Two Social Weekends Over!

Good morning, everyone! It’s 8am and hubby has left to go fishing. I am sitting in my happy place with a lap full of dog and one of my favorite views. The minute we stepped in the cabin yesterday, I could feel all of the icky, stressful week just melt off of me. This is totally my sanctuary.

The last two weekends, we had visitors. The first weekend was Jan and Bob (who I wrote about last time) and then the next weekend were two important friends of my husband (who I had never met).

I went back and forth about how I felt about having visitors at the cabin. This cabin is half paid for with the money I use to spend on wine & vodka. This cabin represents so much about my sobriety and my new focus on self care. Did I really want to share it with family that stresses me out or with strangers? And what about alcohol? This cabin has never had a drop of alcohol in it (at least since we bought it). Its never had a hangover in it. Would someone drinking in my sober sanctuary ruin it? Some friends counseled me to forbid alcohol in the cabin, but then I’d have to tell them about my reasons for not drinking – and tbh, that is not something I share with just anyone. Some friends said we should just skip the cabin, and I considered that too, but even though Jan and Bob drive me insane…I also really wanted them to see the cabin. For some reason, I am forever trying to show them I turned out an ok adult.

So anyways, we did the cabin thing with both sets of visitors. With Bob and Jan, it was really tight quarters. They brought SO MUCH STUFF to a 700 square foot cabin! That’s totally “them”…go visit people and be as inconsiderate as possible. They didn’t drink at all the entire weekend, though. It was a surprise to me because literally every photo they post is a photo of alcohol. Alcohol is heavily intertwined in their reality. I don’t know if they just don’t enjoy drinking around non-drinkers or if they are trying to be respectful. They just know we don’t drink, not my situation. Honestly, most people think we don’t drink because hubby can’t drink on his medication. And while that’s true that he can’t – the reality is…I don’t drink because me and alcohol have had a 20 year abusive relationship, and hubby doesn’t drink because he is supporting me. The weekend with Bob and Jan was tough. I was pretty tired and was happy to reenergize after they left.

The next weekend with hubby’s friends – let’s call them Mike and Wendy – was AMAZING. I thought it would be difficult. I was going to be alone with Wendy the entire day while hubby and Mike went fishing. I imagined my social anxiety running the entire day. I thought of every single way I could fuck up the day. I imagined saying all the wrong things – or even worse – sitting around in that horribly uncomfortable silence that always leads me to bring up the strangest topics out of desperation. “Isnt it weird how socks have such an annoying hem right on the toe”? Seriously – 42 years and I haven’t come up with a list of NORMAL topics for this situation yet?!

All that worry and stress and yet the day was perfect! Me and Wendy went to the spa, then shopped, and then talked for hours. And we talked about politics, race, immigration – any “off topic” topic for talking to strangers…we talked about it! It felt so good to have a conversation with someone I was aligned with. That’s rare where I live. But get this…Wendy brought wine to the cabin! Fucking wine! Ugh! But honestly, it was fine. Since I told her I didnt drink, she just put it away until dinner time. At dinner, her and her hubby killed the bottle pretty fast. I could see her eyes glaze over just halfway into her first glass. I saw the fast drinking and the heavy pour…and I wondered if she doesn’t have even more in common with me…but who knows.

It’s funny how different the two weekends were. I had family with me one weekend – and I was stressed, tired, and felt tortured. Then I had perfect strangers with me another weekend and had the best time. We didn’t feel crowded in the small cabin and it just felt relaxing and good. That’s the thing about social anxiety – you prepare for all the potential terrors, but rarely do they come true. I almost always come out feeling completely different than I go into it. I wish I could get my logical self to explain that to my irrational self!

Happy Fall! It is really beautiful today, and I have two dreaded social weekends over and behind me!