Avoid Overwhelm (and eat ice cream)

mint-chocolate-cookie-detailI’m really full. I mean REALLY full. I just pounded back two Hostess cupcakes, a half a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Oreo chocolate mint ice cream, several slices of cheese on crackers, two homemade marshmallows (one chocolate-covered) given to me by my dog walker, and two pieces of dark chocolate, and this AFTER I ate a dinner of quinoa, black beans and a half of a tofurkey spiced sausage.

I’m stuffed and a little queasy.

But I didn’t drink.

And it was a close one.

Day 24 and I’ve been doing GREAT. I was very tired today, and then I went to an animal shelter and went through an interview process to adopt another dog.

<<WARNING: TOTAL OVERWHELM>>

I’m worried it will be a huge mistake. I’m worried my dog, Bub, won’t like her or it will be a negative experience for him. And all I care about is making life better for Bub, not worse. We (the shelter and I) decided that a “Foster-to-Adopt” arrangement would be a better way to start, so I filled out the paperwork. But I began to panic a little as they called my references and set up an appointment to drop her off next Monday.

And then, like I’d slipped into river rapids and was sailing wildly downstream, all I wanted was to disappear into a glass of red wine.

No no no no no no!!! The internal battle began.

I can still back out. I can back out even if I have her for a week and change my mind. That’s the beauty of the “foster-to-adopt.” They want what’s best for Bub too.

And as my own epic mental battle began a la Star Wars (which I saw last weekend and LOVED — I’ll be Rey in this story), I heard Belle’s words ringing in my ears: “AVOID OVERWHELM.”

Use the FORCE, Rachel! 🙂 hehe, kidding. If only it were that easy, Jedi Master…

I’ve been feeling so great, so strong. I even went out to dinner with friends on Saturday (which I’ve been avoiding) and while there were some challenges in my own mind with being the only one not drinking alcohol, I made it through and was SO glad the next morning that I was still sober.

I even had a great talk with my life coach today at lunch and was feeling strong and confident about my sobriety.

So this crushing WAVE of desire to buy a bottle of wine and escape comes completely unexpected. I was at the store. I seriously considered buying a bottle. Even knowing full well it would probably make me sick.

Instead I bought anything and everything I wanted to put in my mouth that wasn’t alcohol and I gave myself permission to eat it. Nom nom nom… I really should be exercising for the adrenaline high, but instead I chose unrefined sugar and pure dairy fat.

It’s better than drinking, right? 

Lately, I’ve found myself thinking a few times: I’ll get to 100 days and re-evaluate. Because, I can drink in moderation, right? This is all just one big exercise in self-control.

Eh hem.

That’s when I take the idea of drinking on Day 100 to its natural conclusion — Sure, I can have a glass and maybe it will even taste good. Not sure. But then… THEN I very likely slip quickly back into a routine of drinking a bottle or more of wine a night — and I’m back on track to drinking my life away.

Tonight has been hard. It’s dissipated a bit, the crushing craving, but it’s not completely gone. It will be.

It will pass. It will pass. Breathe…

I want to live to my full potential. I didn’t realize that alcohol is very likely standing in the way of that, like Bradley Cooper realized when he was 29. But I realize it now at 47, which is better than at 48. I have a lot of life left to live. I want to reach my full potential and I don’t know what that means yet, but I know one thing for sure: I will NOT do it if I’m drinking.

OK… Here I am writing it out. I’m a bit sick on all the sheit I scarfed down, BUT I DIDN’T DRINK.

Man, it’s been a mad scramble to call on all my tools in the last 2.5 hours. Things I learned in my mindfulness classes the last 6 weeks, things I’ve learned from Belle and from all of YOU, and from my private Facebook AF community, and from all of the books I’ve read.

And things I’ve learned from my past failures.

I told myself, I will NOT regret NOT drinking tomorrow, but I’m sure I will regret drinking.

I told myself, You promised yourself and others that you were committing to 100 days NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS. 

I told myself, You don’t want to start at Day 1 again and you can’t lie about it (because that crossed my wine brain too).

I told myself, You want to get to the 45+ days that everyone talks about, where your mindset starts to really change and a real shift begins to happen.

I told myself, You are on a roll, you are looking good and losing weight and you don’t want the setback. Find other ways to release this anxiety. You don’t need the wine. 

Then — despite the objections of my wine brain grasping madly for an opening to go back and buy a bottle — I reached out to a couple of friends and told them I was tempted to have some wine. I didn’t say, Buy a bottle or Get loaded or DRINK — purposely downplaying my wine brain’s developing plan — I just said have some wine. Like maybe it would be one little glass. Two, tops.

Of course they responded immediately, with the best advice being that I should go get on the rowing machine and work it out.

So I pigged out. 🙂

I’m going to have a shower, get into bed and watch a movie. I don’t care that it’s 7:15 on a weeknight. I’ll turn the lights off early and sleep. And tomorrow, I’ll reset and continue reaching out to my support systems and remind myself why my life without alcohol is and will continue to be so much better than my life with it. That I am proud of myself with 24 days of sober momentum and I REALLY don’t want to fuck with that.

HominaHominaHomina… 

Lordy Lordy. 

Baby goat intermission, BECAUSE BABY GOAT.

baby goat

It’s funny, I found myself thinking today that never again will I have that feeling of disappearing into the oblivion of a bottle (or two) of wine. That’s why people relapse, isn’t it? It’s THAT feeling they want again. I totally get that now. Is there a replacement for that? I don’t think there is. But maybe, just maybe, that’s OK too. That’s the work I need to do. That’s what I have to figure out. And I have a feeling that it’s tied to reaching my potential too.

I may end up writing again tomorow or the next day, but if I don’t… MERRY CHRISTMAS to anyone who celebrates Christmas, HAPPY HOLIDAYS to everyone who doesn’t. And thanks for being such a support to me, whether you’ve commented or just lurked in the background. 🙂  I am super grateful to be on this journey with every one of you.

xo Rachel.

Day 24.

17 thoughts on “Avoid Overwhelm (and eat ice cream)

  1. You’re doing so great! I was overwhelmed right along with you here, and so pleased for you that you found another way through the evening. Well done you! I love what you say about Bradley Cooper. I’m around your age too, and also realizing that drinking is just wasting life. But thanks for the awesome reminder. Wishing you a peaceful and joyous Christmas xo

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  2. OOh, what an interesting thought experiment: is there a replacement for the FEELING and if there were, would I want that?? I’m going to think about that.
    MEANWHILE, my stomach is hurting as well. I scarfed a personal pizza and salad (salad bar salad, you know, not much lettuce, mostly cheese and dressing) for lunch and I’m not over it yet. I might die. But you did good! You have a nice holiday!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Belle! I thought I was so strong and the overwhelm knocked me off my feet faster than I could say BOTTLE OF CABERNET. 🙂 I’m seriously re-thinking the dog thing right now. Have to protect my sobriety… I also looked at my “Not Today” bracelet (which I wear every day) and that added to the tools that kept me from drinking. PHEW. Feeling much better today.

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  3. Bring on the food. Awesome work, Rachel. I also loved that you wrote out all the not-pretty thoughts. I have them, too! And you’re so right – ‘some wine’ is so much nicer than drunk, lolling tongue, and wine hiccups. Ugh! p.s. Thank you for the Solstice wishes! It was so funny because we were traveling so much of the day, and I must have told the babes a hundred times that it was the shortest day of the year, and it was also my parents’ wedding day celebration. And in all that? I completely. Forgot. The. Challenge. Gah! *smile* I remembered the next morning and laughed at myself. Now? I’m set to make it to the 1st of the year, and then onwards to the Summer Solstice (which I may or may not remember on the day). Hee. p.p.s. Merry Christmas to you & to Bub!

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    • Merry Christmas, HM! I was inspired on the solstice to go for the first day of summer, but I figure I’ll work on my 100-day challenge first and go for the solstice next. 🙂 I wish I hadn’t eaten so much junk (and I’m pretty sure no one wants to read about my binge), but it seemed to be the only thing I could do to keep me from drinking. Next time I’ll try erging (row machine) first. hehe. And today I’m just grateful I didn’t drink! Always the case…

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      • I actually loved hearing about the binge because you have to do what you have to do. And really, it isn’t always that bad/dire, but every once in awhile it is, and that’s okay to do whatever it takes. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.* p.s. The erg is a good back-up plan. *smile*

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      • p.s. I did not stop eating for one minute today, I don’t think. Ha! Loved every savory, sweet, delicious morsel without one tiny little whisper of guilt. All because I was smugly sober (Thanks, Betty) and enjoying it all. Yum! *smile*

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  4. Eat, eat, eat…I scarfed down everything that wasn’t bolted down until about a month ago. Gained about twelve pounds, but I did it sober. I understand the thoughts. I have them every day, but they’re just thoughts. They hurt sometimes, but they can’r kill me. Drinking again most certainly will. When the dark thoughts come again, I’m going to take a baby goat break. : )

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