Friday 29 August 2014

Monster in the Cupboard

Well we now have a honking huge box of red wine tucked away in a cupboard in our tiny little trailer.  I asked hubby why he put it in with the clothes and not on top of the fridge where it would make sense to place it.  He said he didn't want me to have to look at it all the time.  He was trying to be respectful of my sobriety but buying a big box of my favourite poison sort of screwed that up before he 'hid' it away.

I have a bladder infection which I will treat with D-Mannose, a natural substance something like concentrated cranberry juice.  If that doesn't work (it's pretty full blown at this point) I'll have to go on antibiotics which I deplore.  It sure hurts to pee. 

Drinking seems to be a non-issue although some alcoholic loved ones are talking about trying to moderate their drinking and asking my advice.  Unfortunately, everyone has to learn from their own experience that moderation does not work for people addicted to alcohol.  I encourage them to try to moderate as that is the only thing they are willing to do at this point and it's better than not doing anything.  I remember needing to believe that I could control my intake.  It's an important part of recovery.  The eventual realisation that it's impossible will come to them when they are ready to accept it.  Hell, it took me more than five years to stop the insanity once I knew there was a problem.  Why should I expect more from those I love.

I think we are heading to the lake this weekend; it's a long one due to our Labour Day on Monday.  I need to do laundry and get some warmer clothes as our reliable icy Canadian winter if fast approaching.

Monday 25 August 2014

Belle's Bracelet

I ordered one of the bracelets that Belle of 'Tired of Thinking About Drinking' sells.  They are called the 'F&%k You Wolfie' bracelets.  They have a few charms on them.  There's a shovel for hitting Wolfie (our monkey mind) on the head when he pisses us off and it's also useful for burying him too.  An ampersand (@) to remind us of our internet sober support group.  Let's see ... there's a light house so we can find our way. A teal blue miniature tea cup is next which I love because tea has become my healthy addiction and all my jewellery is teal.  A star represents sleep but I see the star as my new spiritual journey into conscious living... and a little bell for guess who... (Belle, if you were a little stunned).

It's lovely and I've kept it on from the moment I opened the package in the post office of the little town we've moved to.  When I first tried it on, I thought that it was a little too jangly on my wrist and that it would irritate me. It reliably tinkles audibly each time you move your wrist.    I wanted to see if I could get used to it.  It seems I can't.  My first instinct was to remove it, put it on a shelf or in a drawer and promptly forget about it.  But then I started thinking...

This 'Belle' is a real smart cookie.  She designed and made these little tinker bells to keep us aware of our sobriety.  I put it on my left, dominant hand and now I'm glad I did.  The tinkling will be a constant reminder that I am part of the sober, authentic world now.  I don't want to get used to it.  The pretty little thin band with the symbols of my new, progressive life will stay on my wrist and tinkle to it's heart's content. 

Thanks Belle

Saturday 23 August 2014

Complacency Will Get Me Yet

If my sobriety is interrupted, I know exactly what will cause it.  I am only four months in and am starting to feel very complacent.  I don't check the other sober blogs as much.  I don't hang out at as often as I used to.  I don't feel inspired to blog here much.  This is very dangerous. 

My husband and I have been to hell and back living in this trailer on the construction site with the terrible weather we've had.  It's been a freezing cold summer with lots of torrential rain.  The trailer floor has been smeared with mud for weeks, the hot water stopped working, the power stopped chilling the fridge and we had major flooding in the basement of the new house.  As well we flooded our neighbors but that's another story.  My husband went to check out the water's depth and stepped off the ladder into waist high water and, for the second time this summer; both due to rain, ruined his cell phone.  Last evening the rain finally stopped pounding and we did a major cleanup and got everything back in working order.  We spent hours pumping out the basement, mopping the water and debris into a corner, changing the trailer's bed linens, cleaning out the rotten food in the fridge, sweeping and mopping the muddy floors and getting ourselves cleaned up.  We then went for supper at a local restaurant / bar.  If there was draft beer on the menu, I would've had one.  For sure.  I checked.

I don't know whether that one beer would have started the usual progression that leads straight to nightly drinking but, in the past, one drink is all it took. 

The reason this happened is complacency.  I am so quick to think "Problem Solved ... onward and upward".  I don't want to own my sobriety; I want it to just be.  But sobriety cannot be left unattended.  It tends to misbehave.  Every time I've started feeling cocky, I've been tricked into drinking by my own self talk.  Every decision I've ever made to drink has been a split second one.  My monkey mind sees a hole in my armour and stealthily but quickly slides in and makes it's move.  It works every time and last night it worked.  I didn't feel like a bottled beer, a glass of wine but I sure felt like a nice cold Stella Artois on tap.  I settled for a coffee.

I think we, ex-drinkers, and especially me, should respect the indecisive months we put into making the decision to abstain from alcohol by giving the decision to drink more than a moment's thought. 

I would like to commit to not taking that first drink without having one night pass from the time I decide to drink to actually taking the drink, itself.  It's the least I can do to honour what's best for my well being.

... and I have to stay close... I need you guys.  Don't let me get cocky or complacent.  It's my Achilles heel.

Wednesday 20 August 2014

My Sister: My Trigger

My sister from Toronto, which is a five hour drive from the Nation's Capital, Ottawa, which is the area I live in was visiting back in April when I took my last drink.  On that non-descript night, we had some wine before dinner with cheese and crackers and a few more glasses with dinner.  I was tipsy, played the keyboard for my sister and when they went back to their hotel room, I went to bed.  It was an uneventful night, but followed a few low points in my drinking career that had occurred over the previous weeks.  For some reason, I stopped permanently that night.

This same sister, who is not a big drinker, is visiting this week.  I took her up to the lake and there is lovely wine up there.  She told me she didn't need to drink and happily abstained for the few days we were there together doing some sisterly bonding.

Those few days were surprisingly challenging for me to stay sober.  Duh??? Why??  She did not make a fuss and happily drank soda water with cranberry juice and sampled my collection of teas.  It was all me.  We put together a few gourmet meals that we enjoyed with candlelight and soft music which could have been my trigger.  Was she my trigger; my older sister who I've always felt a little in awe of?  I just don't know why her presence upset my abstinence apple cart. 

It doesn't really matter as I was sober and had a nice time with her.  She is a major cheerleader in my sobriety crusade and tells me she is so proud of me and that she could never give up her addiction which is chocolate.  She also tells me I didn't act like an alcoholic and that she was never concerned for my drinking.  Most people say that but we, boozers, know that it's what OUR minds are doing that determines whether we have a problem; not what others see.

Into my fourth month now and plan on being sober forever.  I am working on establishing some healthy addictions like exercise, meditation and veggie eating right now but have yet to put a solid plan in place.  Procrastination is still my 'go to' practice as fear seems to have a grip on me when it comes to making positive change.  My post about my office work procrastination seemed to light a candle under my arse and I got that under control so maybe I'll post more about my other procrastination victims and see if that helps.

One thing at a time. 

Friday 15 August 2014

Addictive Personality... A Good Thing?

On my initial sobriety forum, where I still spend a lot of time the subject of having an addictive personality came up.

Having an addictive personality usually is associated with negative connotations.  I believe after reading that thread on MWO that we, addicts, can use this addictive mind of ours in positive ways.  Creating new, positive habits could come a lot easier if we allowed our addictive minds to dominate in the formation of the practice.  I am not sure how to channel that part of my brain but I'm going to give it some thought. 

What is it that creates an addiction?  My opinion would be that addiction is the continuous search for repeated experiences of 'feel good' endorphins associated with the substance or practice.

In order for me to get addicted to, 'let's say', exercising I would have to seek out the high from doing it.  What would make me seek it out?  When I started drinking it didn't call me early in my 'career'.  It tasted terrible at first and felt terrible too.  After a while, it still tasted terrible but it started feeling good too.  Then, eventually, I started to like the taste and the seed of addiction was planted.

So, using this analogy, which I believe to be true, in order for me to become addicted to exercise, I first have to do it and feel the creaky limbs waking up after a long slumber and, maybe even, feel the burn the next day.  After a while if I keep it up I may start feeling a little more limber and refreshed after each work out.  If I continue, I may start looking forward to the feel good endorphins that are bound to flood through my veins as I plod along.

It may become an addiction.  I am really good at addictions!  It just might be worth the try!

Trying to Respond..

Just to let you know.  I love all the comments and often try to respond to them.  More often than not I screw things up and lose my post or write a long response and press 'send' and I lose the message.  I also have this happen a lot when I try to comment on your blogs. 

What I am trying to say is that so many comments hit home and I feel such a kindred spirit with you that I want to communicate back and forth.  It just doesn't happen often.  I am so busy with the move that I give up easily and close down the blogs and get back to my procrastination subject: office work.

I wish I had the time (and I will) to really learn the BlogSpot program and how to attach gadgets and how to get my blog out there as I hope to develop it into a helpful one.  So many plans and, right now, so little time.

Knitting Sober contacted me at just the time when I had failed twice at subscribing to her blog so we must all be on the same page.  We have so much in common.  We all do.

Please keep commenting and, I promise, I will be able to satisfy myself with lots of back and forth talk once things settle down at the end of September (now Hubby's saying early October.. yikes).

I want to subscribe to a bunch more blogs too.  This cyber-sober world is amazing and I'm sticking around for a long time.


Thursday 14 August 2014

Blogging Works!! Start One of Your Own!!

After yesterday's rant followed by the gratitude list; I got off my duff and cleared out the trailer of all unnecessary stuff like clothes, books, personal papers, etc. and brought in some files from my car.  I went through all the files and organized them in a way that will make my office work more efficient.  I then went through all my 'things to do' and listed them on paper.  The list is enormous but most items on the list are not in the 'urgent' category.  This morning I will complete the few urgent tasks and one or two of the others and go visit my daughter and baby granddaughter. 

I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and it really is thanks to this blog.  By articulating my frustrations and seeing that the solution is in my own hands, my procrastination came out loud and clear as pretty counter-productive to my own happiness.

If you are reading and don't have a blog and if you enjoy writing, hop on the blog train.  It makes you accountable. 

We went for Indian food last night and hubby had a Kingfisher beer which I took a sip of.  It verified in my mind that I am not missing anything worth giving up the limitless benefits of sobriety.  Remember that the look of the sweating glass of ice cold beer and the stemmed glass of burgundy wine look a lot better than they taste.  Just my opinion.

Wednesday 13 August 2014

I Should Be Drinking

It's a wonder I am not drinking. 

I keep repeating the description of my living conditions because it affects so much of what goes on in my life.  Hubby and I are building a house and living on the construction site in a little, tiny, miniscule, pint-size trailer with canvas sleeping enclaves.  Did I mention that it was small? 

It's been raining hard all summer and when the rain abates, the heat goes up to close to 40 degrees Celsius (do the math; it's frigging hot).  We have no air circulation besides the tiny trailer windows.

Hubby has it worse than me as he is actually building the house.  He has one more hour on the roof this morning and it is teeming rain.  If he doesn't break his neck it will be a minor miracle but by noon today we should be in the clear.  The roof will be completed and ready for the shingles which he has contracted out.  Anyway, this blog isn't about him, poor guy; it's about me.

Because of the huge amount of physical work involved in building the house, my 66 year old man goes to bed at around 8:30 every night.  I am alone from then until I hit the sack around 10:30 with no TV, bored out of my gourd and spend my time on the internet which makes me feel useless.

I have so much office work to do with regard to changing our rather large construction company from the province we lived in to the one we've moved to.  Everything has to change; even our company name.  In this teeny, weeny trailer, we've set up boxes of files, my laptop, my printer, a modem and the other necessities to run an office that is associated with performing half million dollar construction projects for the Canadian Government buildings.  Every time I think I'm done, more work materializes.

I can't work properly in the heat as it's stifling and the constant rain means that the entire grounds outside are soaked and mired in mud.  I have to leave to run some errands later today and I don't know what to put on my feet that will keep them dry, yet not look too dorky at the business lunch I'm attending.  I'll change in the car, I guess; no biggie.

Procrastination is based on fear of failure.  I am procrastinating with what I need to do lately and feel the fear mounting that goes along with unfinished important work. 

Our cooking apparatus is outside and often I can't even put together a decent meal because of the weather.  When it's stinking hot the flies swarm and when it's raining, there's no shelter strong enough to keep the rain from blowing in.

My friends and family don't understand why we are putting ourselves through this ordeal but it's almost over and I have not taken a drink.

Here is what I should grateful for:
  • Hubby and I are truly soul mates and living in this confined space could be a lot worse living with an asshole
  • Hubby is looking pretty hot after shedding over ten pounds and getting nice and tanned (superficial me)
  • Living here saves us about $1500 per month that is directly going into the building of the house, thus reducing our eventual mortgage
  • I work from home and when all is completed with regard to the move, can probably manage to only work for two hours a day leaving the remainder to spend as I please
  • Since we are now living close to my grandchildren, I've been able to help them out by babysitting and such; love that!
  • We can afford to eat at restaurants whenever we want to
  • We have a lovely lake house to escape to on the weekends
Suck it up, Buttercup; get 'er done!  The sooner I stop whining and procrastinating and start plowing through the work at hand, the better I'll feel.  Hubby is holding up his end of the bargain and I must do the same.  No one ever died from a little hard work in uncomfortable conditions.

As I was sitting in the sweltering heat a few evenings ago nibbling on barbequed ribs and sipping a cool drink with flies buzzing around my face, I had the presence of mind to remind myself that three quarters of the world's population would envy me; not pity me. 

We have shelter, food, water and enough money.  Most don't.

Sunday 10 August 2014

Little Things

Lately, I’ve become more intimate with life.
I’ve begun to notice small details that went unobserved previously.  The hummingbirds fighting for possession of the nectar source, the young fish hovering beneath the dock, the forest and rocky shore that our pontoon passes as it makes it’s slow majestic way.   I’ve seen all of these things before, even remarked on them.  But since I’ve been working towards becoming the authentic version of myself, I’ve been seeing them with more wonder and awe.  Appreciation of nature is one thing.  Sober, straight, stoned or otherwise affected we can and do acknowledge nature’s gifts.  Being sober, straight and ‘conscious’ is a whole different ball game, my friends.
As I held my two month old, tiny granddaughter in my arms this weekend I couldn’t take my eyes off her.  The absolute symmetric proportions, the little lips and nose twitching in her sleep are all a source of fascination if you are awake.  She gets a look on her face when you stand her up that screams “Look at me!”   These tiny facets of life are so magnificent to behold and to remember; both of which I am certain I am capable of now.
Drinking is not an option.  I’ve gained so much clarity, appreciation, respect from my family and friends and countless other positives that I would be an absolute fool to take a chance with my sobriety.
My confidence in myself is gaining momentum to the point where I sometimes take time to relax at the lake house while the younger ones do the meals and clean up.  I usually have a baby on my lap but that’s part of the bargain.  They love a break from the kids and I love holding them. We all win.
I hope to organize my time better in order in order to continue to squeeze out more for myself to practice my hobbies and interests.  I also plan on following the ‘simple living’ principals in my new home which will be built by the end of September. 
I’m really excited about trying out vegetarian, delicious recipes, juicing, gardening, living a greener life including tending to many indoor plants and even, eventually getting a dog.  My rebounding routine is also something I’m planning on starting up again.
I’ve always had these types of goals but was never successful in achieving them; going around in circles; starting lots of habits and projects and never completing any of them.  Now, with sobriety, my dreams can really come true.  The items on my bucket can realistically become lived experiences.
I’ve learned that I can’t expect to enact change quickly or immediately.  I am starting to achieve small victories and am driven by small successes now, rather than self-criticism.  This, in itself, is making a huge difference.
When my daughter, her boyfriend and their little one left, my husband and I had the best lovemaking session we’ve ever had.  He went for a nap (surprise!) and I went down to the water and swam right out into the middle of the lake.  I serenely froggie kicked out for five minutes then turned around and swam back to the dock in a slow, luxurious fashion.  I climbed up, got out of the swimsuit and wrapped the towel around myself.  I got in the boat as the seat was facing away from any boaters and right into the lowering sun.  I opened the towel and let the sun’s rays touch my whole 57 year old body.  I closed my eyes and thought about nothing.  When I was dry I came up to the house, grabbed my laptop and typed this entry.  Now I have to get dressed, tidy the lake house and pack up to head back to the construction site where we live and work. 
Long post.. I know.  Sweet dreams.

Friday 8 August 2014

Rewards of Being Sober

PostSecret's photo.
My daughter, who is a new mother herself and who was 14 years old when I started to drink in excess posted this on facebook and tagged me.  I started bawling when I saw this. 
This is out of character for her as she is adopted and has had a tumultuous relationship with me over the years although I always knew she was my soul-daughter.  We've helped each other become better people during our life together through a lot of trials and tribulations.
I love life.

Thursday 7 August 2014

Waxing Poetic on Sobriety

You know those ex-smokers who suddenly can't stand being around smoke?  Well, I am finding myself wanting to preach the abstinent life to all I meet.  I manage to hold back and even laugh at myself but if people bring it up I do tend to paint a rosy picture of my life sans alcohol. 

I really wish heavy drinkers (and there are lots of them in my circle of friends and family) would just try it for a while.

But we all know that, as drinkers, when we weren't ready to quit, we thought abstainers were boring, goody-two-shoes types and they were the last people we wanted advice from.  So I just keep it to myself.

My son has told me he's really trying to cut down on his drinking.  He is the type of drinker that needs to quit completely as he can down a 2-4 of beer in an evening easily.  I am glad he's attempting to moderate as I know this is the first step in his journey to sobriety.  He has a lovely baby boy and doesn't want to set a bad example for the little one.  He's in a great relationship and is generally happy so my hopes are high that he'll get the message that abstinence is the only way on his own through trial and error like I did.  He brought it up today and when I mentioned he had lost weight and when he commented on being off the sauce I resisted the urge to wax poetic on sobriety but, instead, said "Ya, booze really can pack on the pounds, eh."  I'll pat my own back on that one.

Well, all is well here... no big urges but I am ever vigilant as I've heard of relapses after years of abstinence. 

Sleep well.

Monday 4 August 2014

Spent my 100th Sober Day With Drunks

It's ok because they are my friends but it was a very boozy weekend and I had a blast.  Some friends of ours came to the lake house and spent some time.  Everybody including my husband, was drunk for most of the weekend.  No one was stupid, violent or weepy but it was sure fun to be the sober one.  I had no desire to join them but did notice that I am short on non-alcoholic drinks up at the lake.  I have to rectify this problem next time I go up there.

I jumped into the cool waters of the lake and swam to my heart's content.  I decided to take a kayak for a long meandering paddle around a large island and stopped at a deserted beach and had a solo swim.  Just doing this alone was so empowering.  As I was paddling back and feeling totally serene, I remembered that I had accomplished the 100 day sober mark.  I felt a lovely, proud, accomplished feeling and also a lot of gratitude.

I don't think I will ever touch alcohol again.

Friday 1 August 2014

Beware of Italian Restaurants

I came as close as I have ever come to having a glass of wine last night.  We were at an Italian restaurant as our favourite sushi establishment next door had closed down permanently much to our disappointment.

It was your typical Italian Eatery, heavy on the burgundies and table cloths.  The wine was everywhere; open wine racks displaying deep red bottles of poison, bottles or carafes on every table in sight and the waitress immediately suggested wine when she arrived at our table to take our order.

I was prepared though, because my inner battle had been fought from the moment we sat down and settled by the time the waitress appeared.  But it was touch and go for a few moments.  As soon as the menu arrived, I whispered to hubby that I really wanted a glass of wine.  I went through the long term scenario in my head which took all of a few seconds and rejected the idea.  In a typically male, supportive way, he went ahead and ordered one for himself.  Even the waitress looked a little disgusted when I ordered soda and lime.

When his arrived I stuck my finger in it and licked it to confirm what I already knew.  The first sip tastes like vinegar.. and it did.  Three or four glasses later, it would have been delicious. 

Did not go there.  Thank Gawd.