Day 88 of 365 – December Sober Sleigh Ride

The new month is fast approaching and it’s one where many social activities and events usually revolve around alcohol. But not for ME this year!! I’m continuing towards my goal of meeting my last highest number of 100 consecutive days AF (alcohol free) to completing a FULL year (which I will reach the day before my 52nd birthday on September 3rd).

I just received my custom made 2018 Lose ‘da Booze calendars and even inspired to go through to making the entire calendar year AF!!

I feel like I’m on a roll and seriously enjoying all of the benefits of this sober ride! To name a few:

  • I’ve lost weight – 11.5lbs so far since Sept
  • My thinking and memory are improved
  • My energy is up
  • My motivation is sky high
  • I workout more consistently
  • I’m more mindful of my eating
  • I’m super productive and organized

The list could go on and on with moments of clarity that I feel and how the natural high that I feel every now and again with just being clear, present and SOBER! It’s simply amazing!

So I’m launching the invite – do YOU want to feel the benefits of being AF?! Why not join in for the Sober Sleigh (I figured it was more seasonal than wagon) Ride in December. You can join our Facebook Secret Group and become a part of an incredible community of non judgmental support! You may think you have something to lose – by not drinking through the holidays – but I challenge you to look at all you’ll gain!! I hope to hear from you soon!! What better way to kick out this year and ring in the New One!!

Day 78 of 365 Days AF – Remembering my WHY

Today marks 9 years since my sister passed away due to her issues with alcohol. This picture of her with my mother reminds me of WHY I’m on this journey to change my habits around alcohol.

You see my mother also had a period in her life when she struggled with alcohol. I recall one morning when I woke up and saw my mother walking down the hall with a bandage wrapped around her head and a spot of blood on the back (I was young – maybe 10 or 11). You see the night before she had been drinking with the neighbor upstairs and while trying to come down the stairs – she stumbled as she had had too much to drink and fell and split her head open. My father had to hold her tongue so she wouldn’t choke until the ambulance arrived – I slept through all of this… The next day – my mother quit drinking. She went from drinking about 40oz of rye / whiskey a day to nothing with this incident shaking her up. She could have died…

My sister also struggled with her alcohol issues. She managed to quit for 18 months after one close call of being in the hospital and started back up again and that time never made it back.

I also have many childhood memories of family, my father, aunts, uncles – fights and me and my cousins or me alone – hiding and wishing it would all be over and that my parents would be back to normal – sober again.

I don’t want to be that way. I don’t want to repeat the cycle or wait for some tragic event to happen before making a change in my lifestyle so I’m doing it pro-actively to live my BEST life at 50 and beyond!

Our lives are precious and I plan on making time for wellness so I can avoid the illness that alcohol eventually brings about… So here’s to day 78 and remembering my sister… In honor of her – I continue my Sober Journey!

Lose ‘da Booze Secret Facebook Group

There are a lot of groups out there for those wishing to change their relationship with alcohol. I first joined HAMS – as I simply wanted to perhaps learn to moderate my drinking but soon found that the group grew large and the focus was more on drinking than not in many posts. I had a few members who wanted to do an AF (alcohol free) challenge and I had a team I had been doing this with via another platform (SparkPeople – Cutting Down the Booze) and I decided I would try doing one through Facebook.

Back in 2013 I tried to join Belle’s 100 Day Challenge (Tired of Thinking about Drinking) – but it didn’t click for me and I found it turned into more and more of a sales pitch.

My goal was simply to get to that 100 days and I finally achieved it on my own last December 10th, 2016 and then in January of 2017 – I decided to launch it as a closed group. I later changed it to a secret group to ensure more privacy as closed groups sometimes come up as suggested groups on pages and members didn’t want that to happen. I had about 140 members join in and when I completed my 2nd 100 Day Challenge  on April 10, 2017 – I was joined by many others. It felt amazing to be able to share in the experience and the testimonials have been amazing. The group has grown to be the most supportive, positive and non judgmental group I’ve ever been a part of and I’m so proud of the fact that it has grown as I always envisioned this type of group would.

So bit by bit – I sometimes introduce it to others – but you have to be invited or added by an existing member as you can’t find it in a search … so if you’re interested – feel free to add me as a friend (as I can only add friends as members) and send me a note to be added to the group. If you’re not ready to do 100 days that’s ok – you can still join in. Many of our members gather inspiration from our daily posts and work their way up to 100 and some have gone BEYOND (like me) and are alcohol free for life!

Before you do – have a read of our group’s description and if you still think you want in – then I look forward to hearing from you!!

The goal of this group is for you to get an AF streak in (perhaps you’re joining for the one month) or perhaps you’re striving to reach 100 Days (or more) consecutive days Alcohol FREE (AF)! It’s about Thriving without ‘da booze! The group was created in January 2016 where many of us jumped in to reach 100 Days AF – and we’ve since grown to call it a “Success Group” rather than a ‘challenge’.

This group is meant to be a safe space to share a sometimes very private and personal journey related to your desire to let go of alcohol in your life a CONSECUTIVE stretch of AF days – the focus of the discussions and posts relative to sobriety and being AF. This group is SECRET to allow for us to be able to share in this group and not open to the open Facebook community you may have on your own page, so please respect this and do not share anything that is said in this group outside of this group. If anyone encounters any issues around this, let me or another admin know.

** This group will not tolerate negative posts, hurtful or unsupportive posts. This group is not intended for posts relative to opinions about religion, politics, debates relative to other groups, etc. The Admin reserves the right to remove these posts and the members who post them. We will not tolerate TROLLS either. NO-PROMOS ALLOWED IN COMMENTS OR POSTS If someone requests your email or website, message them privately.**

This group is committed to focusing on being AF (alcohol free), ABS (abstaining)! We understand that some may not be ready to jump in right away and perhaps gaining inspiration to get to a point of doing a longer period of abstinence. There’s no failing in here – we believe that better is better but if you are doing too many restarts perhaps you’re not quite ready for this challenge and you perhaps need to check the other resources: HAMS is a great support group for moderation support with some periods of abstinence www.facebook.com/groups/harmreduction/.

I created the group because the AA model did not fit what my intentions were when I think about ‘Losing ‘da Booze’ and my journey (as I do not believe I am powerless in any way). I wanted to create a group of support that did not follow the 12 steps but that simply was a gathering of like minded individuals who were simply trying to better their lives – without any negative labels. While I do recognize AA has helped many – this is not the place or space for discussion/debate. I also do not like the labels of alcoholism, alcoholic or recovery. To me it’s simply about choosing to live a healthier life – without alcohol! Blogs are posted periodically via this site losedaboze.com 

DISCLAIMER ** This group is for support and encouragement but can NOT replace professional medical counsel. If you have a serious dependence on alcohol or have been a heavy drinker- please consult your doctor or professional counselor before attempting to quit completely. You may have to practice tapering first. **

Reaching for Support Through Al-Anon

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Yesterday I attended my very first Al-Anon meeting. Over the years, I struggled with the idea of attending an AA meeting feeling it wasn’t the right fit – but after spending 5 days with a roommate at a conference – we got to talking and she’s a long time Al-Anon member, it felt like this group would be something that I could benefit from. And so, I planned to go alone, but she joined the meeting. It was a discussion group meeting and I have to say – after my first one, I feel like this is going to open up a whole new world for me and perhaps be the catalyst that will truly give me the “Courage to Change” (I bought the book yesterday and love the dated daily readings). I enjoyed the meeting so much that I’m going to another one on Monday and I am also considering going to an Open Speaker AA meeting as well.

I guess my own issues or worries around drinking stem from being afraid I’ll end up like my sister or be that ‘heavy’ drinking parent my girls will remember and this is NOT what I want for them. I did grow up surrounded by a drinking family and recall many experiences that truly affected me and made me who I am today. It also led me to attracting some negative people into my life – but I am happy to say that I’m single and very aware of the quality of people that I draw into my life now.

I won’t lie – the past couple of months I have not been so AF and I felt myself spiraling down a road I didn’t want to travel again. And so, after some very motivational conference speakers/sessions, I came back home and setup a 90 day challenge for myself. It started August 1st and day 90 will be October 29, 2014.

I also have a LOT of changes going on at home with my oldest moving out August 1st and my own realization that I need to change my own living space as a 3 bedroom, 3 level condo is just too much for me and my 13 year old daughter. I think the past couple of months’ stressors have been this indecision or the unknown of what was coming … but now that things are materializing, I feel a sense of peace. I’m the type of person who is an organizer and planner to the unknown is hard (I’m a Virgo can you tell lol). It’s going to be HUGE to move from a house to a 2 bedroom apartment (I have not lived in an apartment for over 20 years). But I am looking at the bright side of things – it’s an opportunity to get rid of a LOT of old ghosts including furniture I’ve had since before my marriage (and subsequent separation/divorce in 2002). I have listed things to sell and will donate even more. While I dislike moving (it’s only been a year since my since my last move), this is a good decision as it will cost less per month and it will bring me closer to work and my daughter closer to the day treatment program she’ll be attending.

And so – this time, it seems easier to be AF than all the other times I’ve tried because there’s a different purpose behind it. I also believe that with this newly added ‘in person’ support, I will reach my goal! I’m not saying I’ll be AF forever, but I will be AF a lot more than I ever was, and perhaps one day, I may quit altogether, but just for today – I will not drink.

I Will Stay Strong

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I have a very difficult couple of days ahead of me. On Dec 3rd my best friend’s mom (someone who I looked upon as a mother figure) passed away, and on Dec 4th my godmother passed away. And so I find myself having to travel back to my home town today to attend both visitations/funerals that will span from today to Saturday. 

Yesterday I feared what this would do to my AF status but as the day went on and as I thought it through, I now feel stronger in my resolve to keep my AF streak going. I will need to stay strong through this and I’m sure there will be many tears shed, but I will remain sober through it all. 

My hometown is often a trigger because it’s where I left to escape from the daily drinking and worse, at one point, the daily use of oxycotin pills as another numbing agent. When I moved here 5 years ago – it was to break away from it all and I succeeded in breaking the pill/pain killer addiction because it wasn’t all around me. The drinking also slowed down and today – right here, right now it has stopped. 

Like my gala was different as I attended and stayed sober, so will this visit back home be. I know the ‘firsts’ of many are always hard and sometimes awkward, but I also know it’s something I must do. 

The one thing about this trip is that it will also give me a bit of space and a break from all I’ve been dealing with at home here with my 12 year old. I think it will give me some perspective and I hope that my time away from her will do the same for her. It’s been very draining to constantly have to fight and argue with her. We continue with counseling and in a couple of weeks we hope to have a consultation with a psychiatrist to see perhaps again about adding medication to try to help regulate her moods. 

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And so I pray – to arrive safely back home (the freezing rain should stop before I head out) and I pray for brighter days ahead. Today is day 38 AF.

Day 19 – Almost Caved

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Today was rough. I learned that my daughter self harmed again and asked to see it to make sure it wasn’t too bad and healing ok. Looking at all those cuts on her arms breaks my heart – too many to even count. She has been self-harming now since April and while we’re working through counseling, I honestly thought it was getting better when in fact obviously it’s not. I felt so discouraged.

I just wanted to escape and of course first thing that comes to mind is the booze. I didn’t want to feel these feelings. I wanted to pretend just for a while that this wasn’t really happening to me. I have been praying to God and my angels – hoping that we’d catch a break and whenever I think we’re finally turning a corner – BAMM! Something else happens. Between the self-harming, her school refusal, academic issues now too because she’s avoiding and missing school and not handing in assignments or wanting to do any presentations. I fear that she won’t succeed and it truly bothers me. I can’t understand why she is so sad, angry and just not the person I knew just one year ago.

She sees a counselor once a week. The school has been going out of their way to help her. I am doing all I can and yet, there doesn’t seem to be any progress. Until SHE decides that she is going to join in the effort, it feels like it’s futile.

I try to appreciate our good moments and verbalize those with her. I try to stay positive – but today, I just wanted to cry and hide away with a bottle of vodka and just fucken FORGET!! Then the rants in my mind started about how resentful I feel that their father is living his life in oblivion of what is going on with his daughters and how they each are hurting in their own way. While he said he’d be willing to take my youngest in of course she doesn’t want to go. And to have them say that if she were there – she would not be self-harming – like I am allowing this just pisses me off to no end because it’s obvious they don’t understand what this is all about and how I can NOT watch her 24/7 – if she wants to self-harm she is going to find a way to do so. Her weapon of choice – a friggen blade from a pencil sharpener!! She managed to gather 8 of them!! From school!!

I lock things up and try to do my best to monitor her but I don’t want to have to do room searches all the time. I found out today because I happened to lift her mattress and found bloody kleenexes … she denied and avoided answering my questions but she finally fessed up that she had cut yesterday when she missed school.

All of this is taking a toll on my and while I’m strong, today I didn’t feel so strong. I felt like I was going to slip like so many times before. I reached out to Belle, to Soberistas. I went for a drive. I tried to change my thoughts. I ate – junk and realized I need to cut myself some slack. While I want to be healthy in all areas of my life – number ONE priority right now is being SOBER. I did manage to get 100 mins of exercise in today (this morning before all this happened). I did treat myself to a bath and I will be in bed early tonight. I did do a few more things in the house – fixed a chair, hung a few things up and tomorrow’s a new day.

I did NOT cave… I am finishing up day 19 AF! I know I will wake up tomorrow feeling very good about the fact that I managed to make it through the day without alcohol – even though the cravings and the VOICE was real loud!

Daily Practice

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I’ve been saying NO to booze daily for 17 days now. I still have moments and fleeting thoughts about wanting some and the whole ‘romanticizing’ of how it would be so good. Then I keep doing that comparison of alcohol to those shitty relationships I’ve had with men in my life and how, while it was hard to let go, now that it’s done and over with, I see how it was the only way to go – to get to where I am today. Living a healthier life. 

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Those voices in my head still toy with me telling me I won’t do this again – that I’ll cave in. I still have dreams about drinking waking up feeling shitty about it. Amazing how even in a subconscious state the booze makes me feel so bad. Yet I still find myself thinking of the ‘good times’ and good feelings those initial drinks gave me. 

I have to keep reminding myself that I can only do this one day at a time. I have to remember not to look to far ahead and let go of the past slip ups and believe that YES this time is different! I need to build my confidence. As I blogged about on Soberistas – it takes 6 weeks before we can instill a new habit. I am almost now 3 weeks in so halfway there. I have another weekend coming up with the infamous Friday start tomorrow – and my new acronym of choice OFIF (I’m sure you can figure it out). Last weekend was a hard one with cravings. I’m hoping this one will be slightly easier as it’s my 3rd. 

Weekdays are no brainers and I don’t have any urges because I’m simply too busy. I guess the plan is to stay just as busy on weekends – and there sure is no lack of things for me to do. I just have to stop procrastinating and thinking of all the to do’s I have and just get to them! 

So here’s to believing I CAN do this and not listening to that devil’s voice, Mr. Unsuitable, Wolfie – whatever you call it! 

12 Days Booze Free

Today was a close call… The voices came calling to me in my dreams. Making me think I had caved in and I woke up feeling real crappy, guilty, like I had done something wrong – but it was a dream. I woke with a headache too and it lingered with me all day – another trigger for me to crave booze oddly enough – to dull the pain. I have had headaches this week for a few days – and I attribute it to the weather changes. It SUCKS!

So I had to figure out how to cope today and work through these feelings I keep getting around this stage… I’ve got 11 days AF in and on my 2nd weekend of working on staying sober but I swear it was fucken HARD today. I had those feelings today about how good it would feel to just relax and have some drinks. Especially since my 12 year old is out for a sleepover and my 17 year old is out too – peace at last. But how would I feel if I caved in?!

My confidence level is not so strong right now about whether or not I’ll pull this off or if I’ll slip up again and yet, I know that I can’t slip back to it – not so early in the game. I need more time away from that devil, Mr. Unsuitable. I swear it’s like the shitty men I have had in my life – they would come back to woo me… tempt me and tell me how great it would be this time, that everything would be better and ‘ok’. I’d take them back and then BAMM!! Back to square one. I took this abuse over and over again. With booze I have a choice – and I have to break out of this cycle of abuse in my life. This is self-harm… and I can’t stand to see it when my daughter self-harms… which I just found out this week she did again last week. This is her coping mechanism – to cut and when I saw the cuts on her legs, too many to count, my heart was aching. I thought how could she do this to herself?! Well it’s the same with us and booze I guess. I’m sure that sometimes they might have looked at me while I was drinking and wished I wasn’t doing so.

I know it’s going to take time for my brain to get re-wired. I know I can’t do this alone. I am going to gather strength from my friends here in the sober blogging world, get the rest I need and not be so hard on myself in all other areas of my life (as I am also trying to moderate my food intake to lose some weight). For now – the most important thing is to get rid of the vice that booze is in my life! If I eat that sugar treat or a bit too many calories on the days I’m craving – so be it. I need to not overwhelm myself or I will throw my hands up in the air and feel like quitting quitting – and that’s not where I want to be.

So 12 days booze free is in the books… Tomorrow is a new day and I pray that Mr. Unsuitable stays out of my head for the night and into my dreams.

Information Overload – So much to soak in…

I just finished reading The Sober Revolution and continue to read posts/blogs on the Soberistas website. I’m reading blogs in this world here as well. And the articles keep popping up like this one today 7 Tips to Go Easy on the Booze Over the Holidays (with links to other articles too). It’s certainly not for lack of information out there and to read the stories of peoples successes, trials and slips. It’s incredible.

I was feeling a bit low yesterday and today I’m up again – but my mind is buzzing with thoughts of things I can now do that I’ve decided to be 100% AF. I have so many aspirations including reading more (I do love to soak in the information but need to span out to other self-help areas in terms of moving forward), thinking of new classes or hobbies I can take, pursuing a dream of starting my own business (to help others in the form of coaching or speaking). My ultimate dream is to have a job that would allow me to travel the world and speak / help people … but I’m getting ahead of myself – or am I?!

They say when you dream to dream big and I am. Without the booze in play, there’s just so much I can do now. I am re-reading Marianne Williamson’s “The Age of Miracles” and I am truly ready to finally be a grown up and make the latter part of my life the BEST years of my life. My mom used to say life begins at 40 but I’m 7 years late… however, they do say 50 is the new 40 so maybe I’m 3 years early lol. When you think of it, now that I have all this experience under my belt – I know the heartaches and I’ve ‘been there and done that’ – I can make much wiser choices.

My mind is absolutely buzzing and so thankfully I have my meditations at night to ground me again. This is only a small part of my life too – because there’s work, and family issues and the counseling I’m attending for my daughters.

Again – trigger point for me … used to be when I got overwhelmed, I’d fall back to the pattern of drinking to calm myself down or rather slow things down. No more of that. If I need to slow things down – I just need to make that choice and it does NOT have to involve alcohol.

I’m on day 8 today – very new still, but different because there’s no end to this count. I joined the 100 Day Challenge, but I’m challenging myself or rather just simply accepting that I’ll be 100% sober – period! No more internal mental tug of war about when, why, how much for that next drink – it’s no longer part of the equation! I’m DONE!

I Think My Switch has Finally Flipped!

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It’s been a long journey to get to where I am today and how I feel now. I’ve been battling the ‘devil’ that is alcohol in my life for about 28 years – but more intensely after my separation in 2002 and the death of my mother and a slew of other really tough life events (job loss, bankruptcy, losing friends to accidents and cancer – some of which I believe were related to booze). Five years ago this month, my own sister at the age of 50 lost her life as she succumbed to the alcohol and drank herself to death. 

Yesterday I talked to a friend who shared with me that she was assaulted by her bf – who was drunk and who choked her and bit her chin and left her with countless bruises. She finally called the police. 

Why does it take so much to finally have us see or flip this switch that BOOZE is Bad NEWS!! I used to dabble with the idea if I could get a handle on moderation and be a social drinker, I’d go that route but now, I realize (with the help of reading The Sober Revolution and the website Soberistas) that I have to simply commit to 100% sobriety for life!

So consciously I’m ok with that and accepting of it. But sub-consciously – these past few days, my dreams are filled with thoughts, events, past experiences – all surrounding booze. I suppose that’s the part of my brain that’s still hard wired to the addiction. I wake up feeling guilty – like I had had a drink. 

I also noticed how much more aware I am about how booze is everywhere – in scenes of my many favorite shows, on friends’ status updates and how they can’t wait to have one, or pics of them having some. 

When I asked the hotel catering manager about AF options for the Gala I have coming up on the 30th he told me he had never been asked that question. Even the event coordinator that I’m replacing said the same thing. Is it because I asked the question versus non-drinkers just asking for soda as a norm and not worrying about it so much ahead of time? For me, it was necessary, to be armed and plan ahead for this night. 

So while I’m still having some ‘ansy’ moments like last night where there was a period of time that might have led me to drinking before – I simply observed my feelings and noticed the triggers and blogged on Soberistas about it. I know for me, it’s important to keep writing it out and the wonderful thing about this blogsphere is that I get feedback and support. 

So while it’s still very early in the game (Day 6 today)… I truly feel that my switch has finally flipped. I know there will be hard days or moments – but with continued work and meditation and readings, I will stay strong. I am committed and I am determined to live my BEST life by ‘losing ‘da booze’…

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