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Balancing Act

Managing energy is a really important part of recovery. Productive, workaholic, perfectionist professionals (who me?!) especially fall into the trap of go-go-go all day long, then pour a glass of wine to slow-slow-slow for the evening. That, over time, is what develops the “witching hour” -which will be that first obstacle in trying to cut down or cut out drinking. I remember the first few times I woke up and felt pretty crappy after too many glasses of wine. “Oh man, never again! I won’t drink tonight for sure”! Then I’d run off to work…where I put out all the fires…managed all the divas…catered to all the special snowflakes….ALL. DAY. LONG. Then I fought through rush hour traffic to get back home, and then I felt… exhausted…and… just… couldn’t… turn off ….my brain! “I know I said I wouldn’t drink today, but the thing is, I didn’t know how bad today was going to be. OBVIOUSLY a glass is ok after today“! And there, my friends, is how it all begins. Also, how it continues….over and over and over.

So, when you give that all up…when you say enough is enough…that particular cycle is so very important to break immediately! In the sobriety school I attended, they focused quite a lot on that. At the time, I was all “How the fuck is lemon water or bubble baths gonna make wine cravings easier”? But guess what? It just does! And then I was like “I’m all stable now and don’t need to worry about that hippie, lovey, self-care stuff anymore”! But guess what? I still do!

It’s been a little over 6 months, and I have learned how to ease my way into my day, how to take small few-minute breaks throughout the day to recoup, how to balance myself to avoid those peaks that exhaust me (and inevitably make me think of having wine to slow down), and yet today I found myself completely and utterly exhausted. I was basically a temper-tantrum-throwing, snotty, 2 year old on the inside, screaming “me me me me”!!!! The thing is, I didn’t recognize that I had been depleting my daily energy really quickly all week, that I’ve been basically starting my days with an energy deficit and then wondering why my patience is running out super early each afternoon. But I’ve been doing all the hippie, lovey, self-care stuff – so what gives?! Well, what I hadn’t considered is that sometimes, it takes more to fill back up than other times. Like, say I’m a car, and I drive once a week. Now say this week, I drive every single day. I’m going to need more gas this week than last week, right? So in this not-so-creative scenario…the driving is my go-go-go and the gas is the.. lemons and bubbles (heh)! It sounds pretty simple when I put it like that, but believe me… it’s not always easy to see it in the moment.

I need to remember to work hard, but not to the point of exhaustion and depletion. But sometimes I don’t completely control that, right? Sometimes, that needy client just doesn’t care that it’s Meditate’o’clock or that my energy resource bar is blinking and running low! So when I have to use up all that gas that I normally don’t have to use up, I need to remember to give myself extra fuel. Maybe lemons and bubbles aren’t gonna cut it – maybe I need a chick flick, warm and fuzzy pajamas, a nap, and a hug! Whatever it is – I need to remember to get what I need, when I need it …or pay the price tenfold later.

We all have schedules, responsibilities, people taking up pieces of the pie – so it can be so easy to say “I’ve got too much going on. Today, I will skip the hippie, lovey, self-care stuff”. When in reality, those are the days we actually need that stuff the most! If I’ve got so much going on that I think I need to cut things out, I can guarantee I’m probably already sleeping less, eating unbalanced, and dealing with people that test my patience. If I want to survive that gracefully, I need to break out the lemons, the meditation, the tea, the what-the-fuck-ever-makes-me-happy stuff… and even if I only have a minute to spare, that’s a minute worth sparing on ME because it pays off for EVERYONE around me!

So ok, I forgot all this stuff and became a snappy, crabby, bitch. I am new to this stuff and still figuring it all out! At least I recognized it and can course-correct now. What’s important is seeing it and doing something about it -so that one day, when all the shitty stuff hits the Roomba…I’ve already practiced enough self-care to be able to take it in stride and quickly move forward!

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Where’s the shame in that?!

Just back from a two week vacation and getting ready for the real world again. During vacation, I celebrated 6 months being alcohol-free! I shared with one of my sober groups that I had been feeling really disconnected from my sobriety – as if most of my latest sobriety was by luck and not on-purpose.  The thing is – I have been doing this sobriety thing – not drinking, working through an 8 week workshop, being involved in several online sober groups, reading This Naked Mind, joining the 30 day Alcohol Experiment – I have been doing all of that and yet I still sometimes feel lost. Sure, part of it is because this is all new to me, but could the other part be because I’ve been hiding it all? I mean, “sober me” is basically a secret identity that only me, my hubby, and my sober groups know. Sobriety is basically some secret thing that I do when there’s down time or when it won’t be in anyone’s way. It is basically something I “fit in” in between life’s events. I think I’ve been stuck trying to “live my normal life” while adding in a dash of sobriety, but isn’t my “normal life” what got me drinking to begin with? Maybe it’s time to live my new life! Maybe it’s time to let go of who I thought I was, accept who I really am, and become who I know I can be!

Now, I’m not saying I need to “out myself” to the world or run around being Super Sober Girl or anything (side note – wouldn’t that be an interesting super hero), but I need to find a way for it to BE me and ME not be secretly ashamed of it. I started this path because I thought I could learn to moderate or drink less. Holly’s workshop was perfect because she gave us permission to just try new things and learn -with no labels, judgement, or forever-commitments. A brief time in, I realized life was better sober and I wanted it for good…but I didn’t want to have to label myself, or “have a disease”, or be that person who was different from everyone else, or be forced to do something for the rest of my life. I still don’t want that, but the thing is…I don’t actually think that has anything to do with me anyways. It’s not that I don’t want it to be “a thing”, it’s that I don’t want it to be a thing to everyone else. So here I am – doing something really healthy and amazing, feeling really great about it, choosing it as a way of life because I love it, and it’s all the warm and fuzzy things that it is – but I’m afraid of how I will be judged.

Isn’t it actually sad that so many of us walk around worried about judgement when in reality we had something going on in our life that we wanted to change, and we changed it?  That’s AMAZING! That’s AWESOME! That’s a GOOD FUCKING THING! Where’s the shame in that?!  Isn’t it actually sad that so many of us find ourselves in situations we weren’t expecting to be in and we’re too afraid of judgement to reach out for help and move forward in our lives?  Don’t you think that’s why problems get as bad as they do – because we have to hide our problems and keep them secret while we try to figure them all out by ourselves? You can’t tell me that every single person hasn’t, at some point in their life, had something they wanted to do differently. Self-improvement is self-improvement. We all have things we need to work on. We all have things we can do differently. Sure, some may be a fuck ton harder than others. Sure, some may require a longer commitment. Some people may have A LOT of little things and some people may have one giant thing…but the one thing that is certain is that we all have things to deal with! There is nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to making your life better, and I need to start remembering that.

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Something flipped

Morning everyone! So this past week, me and hubby have been watching Intervention and a few other shows where characters are clearly struggling w addiction. I’ve just realized that something has flipped for me! I no longer look at “epic drunk events” as fun – I literally just feel so bad for everyone not knowing the truth about what they are doing to their minds and bodies. I feel so bad that they don’t know how to cope with their lives. I no longer look at addiction the same way – now, I get angry that they had no idea what they were getting themselves into and their families have no idea how important it is to try to stop it earlier rather than later. I literally have NO desire to alter my brain chemistry. I’m not saying I won’t ever have cravings or a fleeting thought – I am sure they will still come…but this space I am in is SO different than before. Before, I “knew” the things we were learning about alcohol but I didn’t completely “get it”. And you know what – I don’t think I would if I weren’t out seeing people drinking, watching it on tv – witnessing the actual proof of what we have learned. I was so scared those things would trigger me but it’s just proving to me that I have done the right thing.

We were watching this one Intervention episode and the girl drank crazy amounts of vodka everyday. I totally related to her but hubby said to me “see, you were nothing like her”. It’s funny how on the outside I still appeared fine -because I know I was not fine by any means. All I could really say is “we all need to stop judging people’s drinking against the worst case scenario and instead judge it based on what they have already lost and harmed”. Maybe I wasn’t dying from a brain disease caused by vodka YET but I sure as hell poisoned my body for 20 years and hid from emotions the entire time.

Never again! Life is too beautiful to be duped into addiction.

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The dollars from drinking

I am getting SO excited! Hubby and I are in the process of buying a little cabin and hopefully (KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK), we will close on it at the end of the month! Guys, this is completely because of sobriety! For starters, I’d have NEVER been interested in going to the middle of nowhere to relax and hike when I could be at home drinking! And also – the money I spent on drinking covers more than half of the mortgage payments each year!! Can you believe that? Think of all the stuff we could have or saved for all those years drinking?!

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Reminders and gratitude

Well I did it! Not only was yesterday my first sober flight, but it was also my first event hanging out w drinkers while being a non drinker.  It was really interesting watching everyone deteriorate. It was a cooking class team building event and by the end of the night – the instructor was asking me and hubby to do all the knife work because he didn’t trust the drunk folks with a knife! I know they don’t even realize it – but they all missed out on a great opportunity to connect on a real level last night. I’m sure they are all hungover today as well.

So I had two people question me not drinking – first one knows me as a big partier and this is the second time she hasn’t seen me drink now. She asked if I gave up drinking and I said “yep- I don’t drink” and nothing more. She waited for more…and I didn’t have anything else to offer her. She was clearly uncomfortable and said “good job” and didn’t speak to me the rest of the night. Next girl doesn’t know me at all but had enough to drink to come over and share her life story w me. She asked why I wasn’t drinking and I said “I’ve had plenty in my lifetime – I’m good” and she proceeded to try and sneak me champagne several times after! After the sloppy cooking event, where 8 people consumed 13 bottles of wine…they headed to the bars, and me and hubby went back to our hotel for hot tea.

I am so grateful for my new life. I didn’t see a single thing last night that makes me want to go back to drinking.

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Sick and Sober > Sick and Drunk

Christmas is such a wonderful holiday sober! I can’t even begin to list all of the amazing things I feel because I was actually present and conscious!

I can’t WAIT for sober New Years! Me and hubby are sick right now – and if this had been a year ago, that would have meant I’d be carefully medicating myself so that I could also still drink all day. I mean serious…what kind of life was that?! So I might be sick…but being sick and sober is a hell of a better time than sick and drunk! Or even worse – sick and hungover!

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Sober identity

Today is my 90 days alcohol free!!! My family was visiting recently and I am sort of stuck on how I feel about sobriety and how I want to represent it to others, and I can’t figure out my motives.

On one hand – I don’t want it to “be a thing”, I don’t want it to be some big problem everyone knows about and has to accommodate or treat differently. I don’t want it to be some lifelong “disease” that I’m always working on or blaming shit on.

But on the other hand – I don’t want it to be “no big deal” to everyone or something that is actually really fucking hard and a big ass accomplishment but completely overlooked because I’ve made it out like it was no big deal. People who haven’t dealt with this stuff pretty much only know alcohol abuse as the stuff they see on tv – the drunk with a disease who has to run around making amends and working on their stuff daily or they will fail. I don’t want people to see that as me. But Is that me? And if it is – is that bad? I guess I’m struggling with what my sober identity actually is and how to share that with people or if I should share it with people. I’m also struggling with being portrayed like some special little snowflake…but also I want to BE a special little snowflake lol

I’m not sure if I’m explaining this well or what the question really is for you guys – but I’d love any insight on the topic.

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Sobriety and social skills

I know a lot of us are just starting to try out social experiences sober and are stumbling and feeling awkward. I am doing Annie Grace’s 30 day Alcohol Experiment and this quote came up today that I thought I’d share:

“Look social skills are just that, skills. They have to be learned and practiced to get good at them. So many of us start drinking at a young age and we never develop the skills to feel confident on a date without alcohol. We don’t crack bad jokes and learn how to recover. We don’t get shot down and move on. We don’t experience heartbreak without the numbing effects of a drink to make us feel better. It takes practice. If we were all perfect at everything from the moment we’re born, what would be the point? Life is all about experimentation and growth.”

Good reminder! I haven’t really learned how to do a lot of things socially – I just leaned on alcohol to get me by without learning them. It’s not that I’m just going to suck at everything because I don’t drink… it’s that I need to learn how to do them for the first time and it’s going to take practice.

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Just in time

I posted yesterday that I’ve been feeling off and that old thinking was creeping back into my life. I’m using a daily affirmation app now and this is today’s affirmation Right.On.Time. A good reminder that we have everything we need inside of ourselves and we just need to remember to use it!