Back into Double Digits

277 Days AF – 9 days off and back ON!

It feels good to cross over that 10 day mark again. When you first get back to being AF – the first days can sometimes include symptoms that make it tough to keep going. I had to deal with physical symptoms that I had not experienced in some time including night sweats and more frequent headaches. I’m guarded against my progress as I’m physically not feeling my best and for that reason seeing my doctor on Friday. I believe that I’m experiencing symptoms of depression and with this recognition, realizing that despite my best efforts to heal myself … including being AF, exercising, meditating and taking some natural supplements… it just doesn’t seem to be enough.

I suppose my life situation has also affected where I’m at today. With over 6 years of dealing with constant high stress relative to my daughter’s severe mental health issues I’m just feeling burned out. I’m feeling like things will never get better and feeling a loss of hope. My weight loss has stalled because I’ve turned from booze to food for comfort and that’s just not ok anymore.

I have my pre-operative appointment today, then an appointment for my daughter (to help her with the disability program and hopefully accessing some services for herself) and last but not least – an appointment for myself to access some family support to get me through this.

As I myself am a health coach – I recognize that while I provide support and guidance to many through my groups, that I too must practice self-care and get the added support I need to get through this phase. There is no shame in asking for help. If nothing else, I see this as another piece of experience to add to my repertoire to hopefully be able to help others who may be going through similar situations.

I believe in my strength – but I also acknowledge I’m human. The priority to stay sober through this is KEY (despite my wanting to sometimes turn to it to ‘cope’ or numb my way through). I know that this is not the answer. Rather – the support groups, the counseling, checking with my doctor to make sure there’s no physical reason for how I’m feeling is what I’m working on this week.

Having crossed the 10 day mark – I’m now focused on reaching Day 21… which will happen post- surgery. I’m looking forward to what I hope will be 6 weeks of time off work to recover on many levels – healing my body, mind and spirit.

S.L.I.P.’ed – But it’s not Day One Ever Again

I achieved 277 consecutive days AF and then on May 17th I decided to join my fiance and had some drinks… and those turned into a string of 9 days of being off course. I re-started my count on May 26th – but do not call it “Day One” anymore.

Day one was back in 2013 when I first tried this thing called sobriety as I realized I wanted to shift my relationship with ‘da booze and thus created this blog.

The blog is my accountability and journal keeping of the experiences along the way. What I can say is that since December 16, 2016 when I finally completed my FIRST 100 consecutive days sober – I felt on top of the world. I had been trying since 2013 and never managed to string it along … but then it happened. I then launched the group on Facebook “Lose ‘da Booze 100 Day Success Group” to do a 2nd 100 consecutive days AF. I achieved that in April of 2017 and felt amazing !

Then SLIP happened – I fell off track for about 5 months and jumped back on for 174 consecutive Days AF… and slipped off again…

And now this latest one. Do you see a pattern? And by that I mean do you see how better is better. I remember back in 2015 I believe when I only had a TOTAL of 65 Days AF in the entire year!!

I did declare that I wanted to retire this habit once and for all but I guess I’m still a work in progress but each experience I believe is making me stronger and wiser. It’s not easy to share the slip – but I believe in transparency and accountability as a means of being honest with myself most of all.

When we hide or pull back – that’s when bigger problems usually come into play. So yup – I’m back on board and have not lost the “TROPHY” of 277 Days… and COUNTING as I build up the next step on the journey! Want to follow my journey? Check out my public page on Facebook for daily inspiration Healthy4Life with Helene (follow and hit ‘like’) or check out my website as I am also now a Certified Wellness Coach (another dream achieved in December 2018 as part of this forward progress/journey)!!

9 Months AF – Giving Birth to a New Life!

The day has arrived! Just like when you count down to the end of a pregnancy and complete the gestation… the work begins on forming this new life and learning to now focus on growing in other ways!

Sobriety is like a baby and it needs day to day attention. You must guard it with your life and nurture it consistently. There are days when it may require more attention than others. There are times when life seems to be sailing along smoothly and you barely notice a difference and other days where the waters are rougher and you find yourself looking back to old habits and means of coping.

My personal experience has been different this time when I compare it to my other longer stretches of the TWO first 100 days AF. The results that I achieved from the first stretch do not compare to this longer stretch and what I’ve accepted is that I make my own destiny by the choices I make.

What I can fess up to is that I have had this attitude of simply giving in to my sugar cravings for comfort and have discovered how it unearthed the once childhood issues I had with emtional eating that then graduated to coping with alcohol.

I now know that the work to stay the course with my own sobriety involves doing the work to heal the WHY I go to masking my emotions and being more mindful.

The transference of addictions is a very common thing – thus I switched from booze to junk foods and now am ready to begin a new path with a new focus. As I continue being AF – I now intend to focus on shifting my go to habits to the coping mechanisms that I know will help me to heal at a deeper level and allow me to reach the happy weight that will be mine again!

No more masking of emotions. Yes to working out the stress, frustrations and anger with some good workouts! Yes to using meditation, the support networks and tools I’ve gathered along the way to allow me to feel good in my skin again!

Don’t get me wrong – I feel great and very proud of this milestone that once felt unreachable. It’s THIS success that proves to me that I can do anything I set my mind to so while I continue my AF life – so do I now shift my focus to reaching my 53rd birthday in September and One Year AF milestone standing that much taller and that much wiser!

100 Days to One Year!

Today is day 265 AF – and I’m now 100 Days away from achieving my one year milestone! This is iconic for me as I started with the goal to achieve 100 Days AF … and now I’m counting backwards to achieving the full year AF.

I have been reading a lot and reflecting on the posts in our groups (online Facebook groups that support an AF lifestyle) and it seems that what I’m experiencing with the stronger urges of late is not unusual. As we work to live a sober life – there are phases that come through. Early on the desire to be AF is strong as the memories of why we chose to take the route is fresh in our minds (with alcohol still in our bodies and making us feel like crap). Later in the journey – when we’ve completely detoxed and feel better, we start to romanticize that maybe we can allow ourselves drinks again.

I made a choice on my 50th birthday to live a life without booze and believe in it so much that I created a forum with my Lose ‘da Booze 100 Day Success Group for others to join in as there is strength in numbers. I also joined Annie Grace’s groups (This Naked Mind and The Alcohol Experiment) as additional sober tools to help me on the journey.

I toyed with moderation in between some successful 100 days and then on August 12th – before my 52nd birthday decided that 40 years of booze in my life was enough! I wake up this morning following a very difficult day with super strong urges to cave in… and the feeling you get the morning after when you DON’T cave in is priceless! That’s what I have to bottle and remind myself of the next time an urge comes a calling.

Thank you to all who cheered for me and posted comments of support! Reading that I was someone you looked up to also made a huge difference as there are times when I am not sure what I’m doing is that great… but always hoped that perhaps I’d inspire others. So here’s to my NEW countdown of 100 Days… to ONE year of NO BOOZE!! #LoseDaBooze

In the end – you are doing this for YOU and no one else! You are so worth it!

Happiness is an inside job

As I near my 9 month milestone I find myself back to a place of questioning so much again. I’m writing this for my own accountability and thought process and perhaps to share that sobriety is something you need to work at every single day.

I’ve had many cravings and even instances of walking into the liquor store and touching the bottle of my drink of choice thinking it might be ok to just let go and allow myself the break.

Things have been difficult of late with many stressors sucking at my energy and I’m finding my motivation is wavering. While I always try to put up a good front for everyone else, I feel like I need to take a bit of a step back to WHY I came to be here in the first place.

I’ve been AF for 263 days … nearly 9 months and it’s like when you’re coming to ‘term’ with a baby inside of you – you want it to end or you want to break free and get your body back! I’ve been struggling with emotional eating and my weight loss has stalled and I’ve even regained over the past month and I’m feeling this funk… but I know from experience – it’s about pushing through it.

It may mean taking a break. Giving myself some down time. Unplugging and getting a new perspective again. I’m off today and sitting here debating about what to do with this day … and so far I’ve done my usual check ins with my groups and decided to write a blog to share to my Lose ‘da Booze and This Naked Mind and The Alcohol Experiment age 50+ group.

It’s Friday and yup – it’s the day many struggle with more when it comes to new sobriety as it’s viewed as a time to let go and unwind… HOW I do this has changed over the course of my stretch. My resolve to be done for good 100% with booze has been eaten away with the strong urges and cravings but I’m reminded by my friends that I’ve come so far…

I guess I’m just tired. Thankfully it’s a NEW moon tomorrow and I hope to reset intentions and goals with it. I’m hoping to view my 9 month milestone as the creation of a NEW life in sobriety – all the while understanding that it’s an ongoing growth and learning process. I may slip, trip and fall here and there (right now with my motivation to exercise and emotional eating) but I’m not giving up and it’s because of the community of support in the groups that I stay the course.

Working to make this a successful day – starting with a shower to freshen up and wash away this negative energy and embrace my day off with gratitude and make the most of it instead of wasting it away sitting in the darkness binge watching Netflix all the while binge eating which has been happening too much this past week.

I became a health/wellness coach because through my own journey I wanted to share my real honest path and hopefully inspire others to not give up either! No matter what the day brings – no one can take away my success so far and if I stop counting consecutive days and look at my track record and improvement since 2013 when I first started with only 65 days AF in an entire year… I’ve come a long way baby!!

Planting the Seed

Today is day 258 AF for me… and it took me a long time to get here. What I have learned is that you can’t make anyone ‘get it’ and it’s something that has to grow as part of their own desire.

I remember when I first tried to do a 100 day stretch back in 2013 and I could barely string along a few days AF – let alone 30. In that year I managed to do ONE 30 day stretch and couldn’t muster up the will to do another.

If I am honest – it’s because I wasn’t really REALLY ready to do so. Until I was 100% ready to let it go (the alcohol) – I would come up with excuses or justifications to say it was ok to drink and I wasn’t that bad.

Even now, over the past week or so – my mind has been talking to me saying that it wouldn’t be so bad to have some drinks but I resist because I know how hard I worked to get here.

I have to remind myself of my WHY… and as you string along some days and start to feel better you sometimes forget WHY you started in the first place.

Sobriety is something you have to work on every single day. It does get easier and the voices get less loud and less frequent, but they have a sneaky way of creeping in at times (especially as the nicer weather approaches). The difference is about staying the course in terms of why you chose to quit completely or why you decided to take a break and perhaps be more mindful of when you do drink.

If you’d like to #LoseDaBooze and need some support to get there, read more about how to join here.

8 Months AF – Better & Better!

Choosing to Lose ‘da Booze is something I am very proud of and something I share publicly while others may do so privately … but here’s my WHY…

When we decide to make a lifestyle shift/change – it’s not always easy. And what helps is having accountability and non-judgmental support. I worked on trying to get here for over FIVE years! I struggled and stumbled, but kept at it and pushed forward.

My WHY is now about sharing my journey and possibly helping others to achieve this level of freedom and clarity that comes when you finally let go of the grip that alcohol had on your life.

I wasn’t at rock bottom by any means. I don’t like labels and have never put myself in a category of being an ‘alcoholic’ … but I knew I had to change my relationship with alcohol as this ‘go to’ substance that gave me supposed liquid courage or this numbing power.

I now choose to live life to the fullest and that means experiencing the great joys as well as feeling the feels of challenges and learning how to navigate them in healthier ways.

I was so passionate about helping others that I finally pursued my dream and became a Certified Wellness Coach and Registered Health Coach to help guide others to living THEIR best lives!

This will be my first full year of sobriety and I’m so grateful for the gifts it has given me so far and I’m excited about the many amazing opportunities that await me as I choose to #LoseDaBooze for good! If you want more info or want to connect with me, check out my Facebook Page for daily updates and like/follow me there! Here’s a video montage about why I quit for good! Subscribe to my YouTube Channel and stay tuned for new videos coming soon!

7 Month AF

Better and better every day… that’s what you get when you discover the freedom and clarity of simply saying NO to booze!

I’m beyond counting days to now counting months and I can’t tell you just how amazing it feels to finally be rid of the internal mental battle that plagued me daily – especially come the 3pm to 5pm window – where I’d start to try to convince myself I deserved a drink and that it was ok.

I tried moderation so many times and while I wasn’t a problem drinker in the sense of not being able to fulfill my daily obligations and function at work – it definitely robbed me of who I really could be!

Since finally retiring the habit for good my life continues to improve daily. I still have challenges that come up, but so much better equipped to deal with them as I now do so without the crutch of alcohol. Booze was a temporary and very short lived fix that then led to so much after ‘negative effect’ including lowered energy, hangovers, lack of productivity, anxiety, more stress, unhealthy eating and missed workouts… and I could go on!

What sobriety gives me is the exact opposite! I now have a life that I am proud to live. I feel like my soul is shining again and I’m living a life of purpose! In the short 7 months I’ve lost 20lbs and just as many inches. I have completed my wellness coach certification and now also registered as a health coach in Canada. I have launched my website Healthy4LifewithHelene. I have launched my first ever paid group and going into my 3rd month. I have my first paid client for an intensive 3 month program and now looking to launch a program specific to help others Lose ‘da Booze as I did.

My relationships are better because I’m more patient and I can recall my conversations. My productivity has increased immensely and my health has improved. My motivation to workout is consistent and my energy levels are awesome!

I sleep better, my skin looks amazing (I think I look younger now than I did when I first started this journey to total sobriety in 2016).

This will be my first full year of sobriety and I’m so grateful for the gifts it has given me so far and I’m excited about the many amazing opportunities that await me as I choose to #LoseDaBooze for good! Check out my Facebook Page for daily updates and like/follow me there! Here’s a video montage about why I quit for good!

6 Months SobrieTy

The day has arrived – I’ve hit my 6 month AF milestone and feeling so proud of this achievement. I have not had this long of a stretch without booze since my legal drinking age stage … decades ago! What my 6 Months Alcohol Free video on YouTube and subscribe as I plan on posting more!

What I want to share is how my journey was one of progression. In 2013, I recognized that I had to change my drinking and joined the sober blogging world and started following others’ stories of success but never quite achieved the goals I set out for myself. As I go back and read my blogs – I see how I wavered back and forth between wanting to drink and then wanting to cut it out. I was ambivalent. I guess as they say you really need to be READY to make this shift to be successful – like any other goal you set for yourself.

I became more serious about reaching my first 100 days AF after I turned 50 in 2016 – as it was a reminder of how booze took my sister’s life when she was that age. I reached the goal of 100 days and then in January 2017 – I launched/created the Lose ‘da Booze 100 Day Challenge (now called Success Group as I like to focus on the positives rather than looking at this as a challenge – I embrace it as a welcome gift) and had others join me as I completed a 2nd 100 Days AF. The group is ongoing and has now grown to over 300 members who are all striving to change their drinking habits in various ways.

For years I tried to do this moderation gig. I am not an alcoholic and hate the labels of alcoholism and recovery (except if you’re talking fitness talk then I’m ok with it). I just knew that booze was holding me back on so many levels. I was tired of the cycles of doing well when AF and then turning back to drinks… I wanted OFF the hamster wheel once and for all! So on August 12th – I was finally READY to retire and let go of this habit that no longer served me.

Many ask – what clicked – what was the turning point? For everyone this is different and comes at various stages. For me – it was just that I wanted more in life than what booze could ever give me!

Here’s are a few of my Tranformation Highlights:

  1. I feel like ME again! I’m no longer filled with thoughts of low self-esteem, self-doubt and lack of self-confidence. The alcohol stripped me of who I was. While so many think booze will take away the anxiety and worry or help you deal with stress – it does just the opposite! Becoming AF has allowed me to heal on so many levels. Once you #LoseDaBooze – you can start doing the INNER work that led to your unhealthy drinking patterns to begin with. You’re no longer avoiding things but dealing with things and it feels amazing! I continue to have great challenges presenting themselves in my life – but I’m strong and sober and I can handle anything that comes my way.
  2. I am losing weight for good – and learning to make this a new lifestyle. It’s not a 100 day program or 21 day or one month – it’s not a fad … it’s for GOOD! The weight loss doesn’t happen overnight (nor did you gain it overnight). As I’m over 50 – the challenges of losing are even greater, but it is do-able with regular exercise including strength training and cardio – and healthy eating of course (which means healthy drinking too). I’m down 18.5lbs and 24 inches since I started this journey and while it’s a work in progress – I’m confident I will reach my goals!
  3. With the money I am not spending (and saving) by not drinking – I’m investing in myself. I enrolled in a course to become a Certified Wellness Coach and graduated December 29th, 2018. This has been a dream of mine for years. Gone are the days of sitting on the couch with a drink – watching life pass me by… while I watched others achieve goals I wanted to go for! I’m going for it!! I am now able to help others to live their best lives! Check out my website for more info: Healthy4LifewithHelene
  4. I’m learning about how this habit was one of coping and how it’s important to put into place mechanisms that won’t have me shifting this habit to another (like the sweet treats and cravings that come early on when you cut out alcohol). My fitness is my number ONE sober tool! My morning routine/ritual is what keeps me grounded and on course. I still have ‘off’ days – but I bounce back so much faster and keep moving forward.
  5. Life is not boring when you get sober – but your perspective on what is fun shifts. At first, it may feel awkward to not drink doing regular social activities – but in time it becomes easier and the longer you go without, the more you view the entire habit through real lenses and how it truly brings no benefits. I am mindful though as I do know complete sobriety is not for everyone. I know there are some who still view this habit as a positive one in their lives so I don’t preach or judge. This is a decision I’ve made for MY life… and I truly believe to live my BEST life – it meant letting go of the darkness that booze brought into my life. I have a huge history relative to alcohol dating back to my childhood and none of it was positive… so as I let go, I make space for better things to happen.

So many have this fear of missing out (FOMO) when they choose to Lose ‘da Booze but I’m here to tell you that this is an illusion. What you gain from not drinking by far outweighs anything alcohol could every give me!

Other benefits include being hangover free, more productive, loving my early mornings, clarity, peace, health, abundance and pure JOY!

If you ever feel you are ready to make this shift and are tired of the cycle of drinking and feeling awful – I’m here to help! Check out my Facebook page and message me if you’d like more info on how we can help YOU get started.
I’m retired …. from ‘da booze and life has never been so good!

28 Days to Lose ‘da Booze

We are about mid-point into January and I’d like to launch an invitation to my NEXT paid group on Facebook “28 Days to Lose ‘da Booze”…

If you want/need daily support and motivation to let go of alcohol for 28 days… this is for you!

Are you ready to try DRY February? Join me as I share some of my own personal insights and tools to help you achieve success as you cut out alcohol for ONE short month!

This will be a separate and SMALL group (registration will be limited to 20) – where you will get the following:
daily support from me via live video and some emails with bonus reference info
you will receive the bonus PDF with 28 days of Inspiration Guide
you have access to ONE wellness call (one on one with me for 30 to 35 minutes)
access to me via chat/messaging as needed

If you struggle with motivation or staying the course when you decided to go AF (alcohol free) then join me!! The group will begin February 1st so deadline to sign up is January 31st!!

Message me personally if you want in! This will be a closed/secret group and the cost will be $35 CAD.

** For those who are in my ongoing existing FREE groups – this is a step up in that it’s more intensive support from me.
#LoseDaBooze #Health4LifewithHelene