Sunday, 19 February 2017

Week 15/52

Week 15,  I have now passed day 100 for the third time. This has been the best 100 days, as I haven't even had one craving for alcohol.

I don't feel stressed like I previously have, and I certainly do not want to drink. So for now I will continue to do what I am doing and live my life, which is now so much closer to how I want it to be.

That's the best part about giving up alcohol, or any addiction that is holding you back. Being able to live in the way you chose, instead of being governed by a substance. I am so grateful for the extra free time I have now. My brain is free to focus on other things. There is so much I want to do.

I hope everyone is going well and is having a great Sunday!

PDTG X

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Week 14/52

Day 98.

Coming up to my third 100 days. My method this time is to not make too much of a big deal about reaching 100 days. I need to avoid this as a finish line, but rather a line now crossed. Perhaps I've passed stage one?

The best part is I am in such a good place to keep on going. I don't feel finished, I don't feel like drinking. In fact if I started drinking again I'd be shocked.

Life is good, and don't get me wrong, it has always been good. Now however it is better, because I'm not poisoning myself anymore. I'm not slowly making myself sick. I'm taking my own path in life that is different to my friends, different to my family, but that is right for me.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Week 13/52

90 days today.

I keep wondering why it is so easy this time? Why haven't I had any cravings? Why I feel I could just cruise along like this forever?

I think the answer is I have already done the leg work so to speak. When we first quit drinking we fill our minds with all sorts of things. We try to figure out how on earth we got to this point. We try to figure out why we drank in the first place. We try to figure out who we are once the booze is removed and who we want to be. We grieve a bit for a hobby we are giving up, we grieve for the so called 'fun' we won't be having. We worry about what people will think, how will they cope with our news. And then we ask ourselves do we really need to stop forever.

Although I am only on day 90, I already know the answers to the above. I figured out on all my previous attempts. There have been no big reveals this time. I know how I got to this point, and why I drank in the first place. There really is no reason, I've never suffered anything traumatic. I just started drinking as a teenager and liked it. Sure after a break up or such things, the drinks would flow a little more, but at the end of the day, I drank for no reason. It was only a bad habit. I wasn't trying to shut out any sort of unresolved pain.

I know who I want to be, and what I enjoy doing with my time. I have learnt all this in the last 3 years of my on again/off again sobriety.

I have grieved the loss of my drinking days and my former self and I have grown into my new self over time. I am now quieter, less social, happy to be at home. I think this comes with getting older too. I am content, comfortable in my own skin.

I believe the biggest thing I have learnt over the last three years is that I like my life better sober. I have switched between the two worlds and I know without a doubt that this lifestyle suits me better. I have learnt that I can not drink in moderation. I have proved it to myself so many times, that I no longer question it.

It has taken me years to get to this point, and I am so grateful. I'm sure all the growing hasn't stopped, but the initial things I see people asking themselves and questioning are the things I already have answered for myself. I don't dwell on the fact I don't drink anymore. I don't think about it all the time like I used to. I don't take it for granted either. I love it.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Week 12/52

Day 84.

As I approach my third 100 days, for the first time I don't feel nearly finished with this sober thing. Rather still at the beginning of a long and exciting journey. Without realising it at the time, I believe in previous attempts I subconsiously saw 100 days as the finish line, and although I pledged with Belle to do 180 days, I just felt like I was done.

Other differences between previous attempts and this one include, not wishing I could drink, I really don't want to. I'm no longer sad/ pissed off that I can't drink. I don't think about being sober everyday, I don't always know what day I'm on. I'm just living life, emailing Belle a couple of times a week and checking in here reading blogs etc.

My thoughts towards alcohol have changed so much.

A few times I have caught myself thinking I'm glad I'm not drinking as it's just too hard. I used to think being sober was too hard, but all of a sudden it's switched. Sober seems the logical and easier path for me, and drinking whether it be heavily or in moderation seems too hard to tackle.

I'm not looking forward to being able to drink again one day. I feel like this is my lifestyle now. I'm not putting my life on hold, to be sober. I'm not missing out on anything. I don't care if people find me boring or no fun. I don't care if I stop getting invited to things. The truth is I usually don't want to go anyway.

I'm finding that I am an introvert. I enjoy staying home, or small group catch ups, rather than big groups. I feel drained and almost like I'm hungover after bigger events. The older I get, the more I just want to have a slow paced life.

I had a good friend say to me the other day 'I hope the reason you're not drinking isn't because you think you are an alcoholic, because you are not'. I said that I just feel like shit when I drink, and I'm tired of feeling bad.

I wasn't about to get in a debate with a friend, over whether I am an alcoholic or not. I knew when I was drinking heavily that there was something very, very wrong. My inner voice was asking me to stop. Every bone in my body and every level of my conciousness was asking me to stop doing this to myself. That's why I kept coming back after every failure, because that voice was not going away. That inner voice was never going to allow drinking to be pleasurable. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out if Im an alcoholic, I definitely drank more than I should, but not everyday (although alcohol free days were becoming forced), no drinking in the day, no blackouts, but feeling guilty after drinking and usually drinking more than I had planned. It all seems irrelevant now. I don't need an internet quiz to tell me if I have a problem. I have friends who drink more than I ever did, and they say they feel good, no hangovers, no regrets. That is their journey and I will never judge them.

When something deep inside of you is continuously urging you to make a change, it doesn't matter what the outside world thinks. I know, as deeply as I knew I needed to stop drinking, that I need (and want) to stay sober, and to me, that is all that matters.


Saturday, 21 January 2017

Week 11/52 - Advice needed

Day 77 today.

I have read on blogs before that one of the things mentioned in AA is to beware of People, Places and Things.

When I initially tried to quit drinking I had a real hard time with so many places and things. Unfortunately the main places were in the kitchen and in the lounge room. Things were, listening to music, certain songs in particular, cooking dinner, watching TV. These were places and things I couldn't avoid. Reading advice on those quit drinking sites like stay away from the pub, was useless, how do I stay out of my own kitchen?

Overtime I have lost these associations. In the last few years I have cooked dinner without wine so much more than with it, I watch movies at home all the time without wine. So I think I have gotten over that.

I still have trouble with people. There are 3/4 particular people that I feel could (and have in the past) derail me. One is a family member, and the other two are old friends. All of these people have been in my life for over 25 years (one forever). I have resumed drinking, after spending time with the family member more than once. I also get nervous when I know I'm going to see them, because I know it means lots of drinking. I think I'm finally getting there with this one though and haven't drunk around them for a while (however, I have mored than once, caved in the next few days after I see them).

The friends I still struggle with. I'm constantly invited out for drinks. Or catch ups involving drinking. Even if I suggest other things like a walk or lunch, alcohol somehow gets involved. I get it, it's whats we do, it's what we have always done since we were about 15. They know I'm often not drinking, but still don't understand or really accept it.

During the week I caught up with one of my friends for a walk. It was a hot night, when we got to the point of turning back, she suggested stopping for a drink. I said I'm happy to have a drink, but it will be a soft drink. I had my soft drink, she had her drink. It was hard being there, everyone with a drink, the weather was great. I kept reminding myself that I'd just feel really crappy if I had a drink, and then have to walk all the way back. Or worse, I'd just want to stay there and have more drinks.

It was all ok, and we walked back. After it though, for the first time in 11 weeks I felt a bit wobbly. A bit 'at risk' or something. I'm definitely organising a treat for myself today.

Any advice as to how to break this last association, without ruining my friendships would be much appreciated. I do catch up with them less these days because we all have kids and are busy etc. But it is something that is still an issue for me and I can't let anything derail me.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Moderation

Here I am doing another post on moderation. Good old moderation, it aways comes up at some stage during a sober stint.

When I first used to stop drinking many years ago, it was never intended as a long term thing, it was always intended as a break. Over the years however, I thought more and more about stopping longer term, so at the end of 2013 I decided I needed to stop. I could no longer go on drinking as I was, and moderation wasn't working.

Looking back on it I have probably spent longer trying to moderate than I have in becoming sober. It has never worked. At least my sober stints have been somewhat successful, and I have managed 2-4 months several times. I have never managed that long moderating. Even in my twenties when I could take or leave alcohol, I still rarely drank in moderation. Even though back then, at times I knew I was drinking too much, I didn't worry about it and I knew it wouldn't be forever. I knew I would eventually settle down, grow up and the drinking would dwindle. However I had no idea of the battle that was ahead of me, and just how hard I would struggle to get the drinking to go down.

In all honesty if I could have chosen in the last 3 years I would have chosen moderation over complete abstinence, every time. Even last year I still wanted to give moderation 'one last try'. Each time I returned to drinking I would learn bit by bit that moderation doesn't work for me. It doesn't exist for me. Each time I would try, I would fail. I would end up drinking heavily again, feeling like shit and telling myself I need to stop. At times I have wondered if I would just go thorough life in that pattern...sober for a few months, drinking for a few months and so on. It was my version of moderation. All and then nothing.

What I have come to realise is, after all this time, I no longer see moderation as the overall goal. Because it's not ever going to be easy for me. Infact I look at moderation as some kind of living hell, where you get just enough to want more, but you can never have more. Where you have to try, and you have to monitor yourself and you have to do that...forever. Like being on a strict diet, forever!

The place I am at now on day 75 does not involve trying, or monitoring, or tempting myself. It does not for the most part involve much effort on my behalf. It does not involve constant thoughts about when, how much, etc. I am free from that. I am free to spend my thoughts and time on other things. I have so many new ideas coming to me, things I'd like to do.

Right now I am very happy where I am, nearly 11 weeks sober and realising properly for the first time ever, that long term life without alcohol could be very good. That its not about missing out, but the opposite, its about gaining so much more than my drinking life could ever provide.

I feel like I have been through the wringer the last few years, but that finally I am coming out the other side. Who knew it would take three years, but it is what it is. I also know I'm only 11 weeks, but I just feel so different this time. I know deep down that i won't be drinking again for a very, very long time. Because I don't want to. I would not risk this for anything.



Saturday, 14 January 2017

Week 10/52 - Sugar

Day 70, 10 weeks.

It dawned on me yesterday how much better I am feeling. I am feeling really good. I get a lot of dizziness, headaches, loads of heart palpitations and other weird things. I have noticed in the last few weeks this is getting less and less, almost non existent actually. Sometimes I would get up in the morning and have blurry vision for about the first hour, before it returned to normal. I didn't think too much of it, but I knew it wasn't just 'waking up'.

While I do attribute this change to being sober, I have not felt such a difference in other sober periods. I also looked back at my blog last time I was at day 70 and I was struggling, having cravings. I remember still feeling pretty shitty and wondering why.

Now I think I know why. I think its sugar. Whenever I have stopped drinking my sugar consumption has gone through the roof. To the point I have felt, it was my new addiction. I craved sugar and alcohol often confusing the two.

This time I have made a big effort not to eat too much sugar. I think this is why I am feeling much better. I think it may also be why I was experiencing some other weird things like the dizziness, that were not a hangover as such, but I felt was due to drinking.

It also could be why this time I have energy, I have been exercising a lot more than usual and feeling great. In my previous sober times I was still feeling sluggish, waiting for my energy to return before I could exercise, waiting to feel better. I think my sugar consumption was preventing this.

I haven't lost weight though which is very frustrating. Being overweight and continuing to gain weight each year was a huge factor for me realising I drink too much. It's not the reason I stopped this time, but it was the reason the first few times.

I have done a lot of reading about blood sugar recently in particular low blood sugar (which surprisingly is present in a lot of alcoholics). I'm certainly no health professional, but reading blood sugar problems induce cravings was enough to make me rethink the amount of sugar I was eating. Who needs cravings, if we don't need them...I know I certainly don't.