The Week Begins

It’s Monday and I made a commitment to blog every day for the next 97 days, even if just to say: I AM SOBER. AMEN.

So that’s pretty much it. I went to a SMART Recover class tonight, which was interesting. A cognitive behavioral approach to meetings facilitated by a therapist, focusing on thoughts and behaviors and interaction. No horror stories. No monologues. No powerlessness or talk of God. It was actually OK. I think I’ll go again next week.

One thing that was interesting: At one point when the therapist asked what I say to people when I say I’m not drinking. One of the answers I give is that I’m on a 100 Day Challenge, or (like last night when I was on a date — that’s another story) that I’m on a “cleanse.” He said, “You could just say, ‘I don’t drink.’ And it really doesn’t require explanation.”

Weird. It sounded so easy when he said it. ūüôā Hm.

I’m tired and I have to work some and get to bed early/on time — another commitment I made to myself.

So… g’night.

Rachel. Day 3.

The Wine Harpy

It’s Sunday morning and the Wine Harpy is asleep. Last night she tried just once to tap me on the shoulder, but I looked her straight in the eye and said, Are you fucking kidding me?, and she actually backed up and disappeared. She’ll be back another day, and may not be so easily dissuaded, but for today, this day, I’ll take it.

I like thinking of that other voice that assails my mind and assaults my peace as a harpy.

“A word to describe a woman who draws a man into her grasp by pleasing the victim’s biggest desire only to destroy all that makes him what he is.” — UrbanDictionary.com

Haha! How perfect is that? Replace “man” with “Rachel” and it is perfectly perfect.

A woman who draws Rachel into her grasp by pleasing the victim’s biggest desire only to destroy all that makes her¬†what she is.

I love it. THAT’s what the Wine Harpy is capable of. I’m getting off this elevator now, Hell Boy, before it goes down any further.

I found this illustration online by B.R. Guthrie. Awesome, and utterly terrifying. (I can’t even watch scary movie trailers without covering my eyes, so I’m¬†that person…)

harpy

The (Wine) Harpy

Zentient posted this MOST AMAZING video of the harpies. I’m going to play this to myself next time she comes a-tapping, and laugh in her face.

I can’t actually embed the video, but if you want to see it, please, oh please, watch it on YouTube –>¬†Terrifying Harpies¬† You won’t be sorry. ūüôā

***

I feel good today. More up and hopeful than I have in a while. Maybe it’s the feeling that I have a new beginning again and I didn’t wait until Leap Day like the Wine Harpy was telling me I should. “You need a REAL soberversary, one that you’ll remember and that will be¬†special,” she kept saying. “It can’t be any old arbitrary day. How will you remember it? It won’t have the magnitude to really¬†stick.¬†Just drink a few more days (in a row), and¬†then you’ll be ready.”

Well, besides the fact that that logic is flawed and every day is really as arbitrary as the next, if you think about it, I honestly was feeling so bad about drinking I couldn’t imagine drinking a few more days. And part of me worried that making it into a huge big deal on Leap Day would actually work against me. Like starting a diet on a Monday. Or after the holidays. Or on New Year’s Day. That never freakin’ works.

Why not just start today? Get my life going again?¬†<–That was me speaking.

So I did. And I remembered, my Dad quit drinking on an arbitrary day in August, 35 years ago. He says he had to quit or his drinking was going to kill him. For me, I don’t want to live any more of my life under the voodoo mind control of alcohol. I don’t want it to kill my life, my hope, my future, before it actually kills me. I’m getting off this one-way shit train to hell now, thankyouveddymuch.

***

The sun is trying to come out today, in between rain showers. I’m breathing the light in as if it can actually fill my lungs. (I think it actually may.) That’s how much I need it right now, the light. Bub (my dog) and I are going for a long walk in a few minutes, rain be damned.

I’m struck by thinking: I’m 47 years old and there isn’t enough time in the day. So much to do, to accomplish. So many people to know and love well. So much to experience.

I’ll move out of this fancy apartment this summer and into a place that is much less expensive. I need to save more and manage my money better too. That is some of the best self-care I can think of.

But for now, I’ll just keep breathing.

IMG_7275

Some rain in the foreground, but sunny skies ahead. #metaphor

Day 2. Rachel.

 

No More U-Turns

My life coach (C.) and my sober coach (Belle) would say (are saying) that I need more supports. Because, if I’m able to stay sober for days or weeks at a time (which I have), and then some other self inside my head ¬†(the wine witch, goblin, wolfie…I need a metaphor that really fits for me) convinces me that maybe I’ve blown this all out of proportion and I can moderate if I really try…so I try..and I fail…then I don’t have enough supports.

“Don’t try harder, try¬†differently,” says Belle. Yesterday, my life coach (lovingly) said it too. That I need more community. She said belonging and acceptance are¬†so important — primal needs — that it’s damn near impossible to do anything that feels like I’m going to lose that fundamental need. That’s why it is so critical to have sober community.

Sigh. Yep.

My online community has been amazing, when I’ve stayed engaged. But maybe I do need to try SMART meetings or AA again. Yeah, I’m resisting it, but I’m also hearing my coaches (and Einstein) loud and clear: I can’t keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. I consistently get to a certain point where I start to feel good (or bad) several weeks in, and the fecking wine harpy — yaaass, HARPY — whispers that I really can live a balanced life with red wine if I try harder. If I just¬†commit. If I just show some discipline.

Yeah, right. We all know how that story ends.

Change takes time, and my coach assures me this is a completely normal process. She sent me this:

Stages of change - addiction

So, I’m starting again and I’m adding more supports. My coach said, “Add an¬†unreasonable¬†level of support.” Meetings several times a week? Ugh. OK, I’ll look into it. I found an all-women meeting tomorrow I’ll try. Blog every single day for the next 100 days? Yes. Even if it’s just a couple of lines. And I’ll email Belle twice a day for the first 30 days. And I’ll read her book and other blogs every day. And podcasts. And set up the sober coaching calls I paid for months ago. And I’ll put sleep as a top priority. And make sure I’m getting sober treats every day. And I’m going to start exercising more than just my rowing, but walking/running with my dog too. And I’m not going to go to any events where I don’t feel completely solid for at least the next six weeks or more. We’ll see. And I’m going to take 5-10 minutes every morning to breathe and meditate and ground myself for the day. AND I’m going to get a sun lamp and try some light therapy, because I don’t think the dark Seattle winter days are doing me (or my mood) any favors (we just broke a record for Winter with the most rain ever on record. nice.). I’d like to avoid anti-depressants, so we’ll see.¬†And if I need to get into bed at 8pm to just get to the next day, I WILL. And I’m going to put dating on a pause because it’s just too triggering. Mr. Right can wait 100+ days until I’m feeling ready.

And I’ll try to be kind to myself and through this process. It’s really hard.

Because I remember last time I went weeks sober and was finally beginning to see glimpses of the bliss, and how amazing that felt. I was finally enjoying evenings without alcohol and it was so great. I wasn’t bored anymore. I felt (gasp!) happy. I want that life. ¬†I really do. I will make it to 100 days this time. I will blog every single day no matter what, for better or worse! I admit it: I’m scared for some reason, but I want to change my life. I want the better life I know is possible. Thanks for being out there, going through this with me. It matters.

No more U-turns.

Rachel. Day 1.

p.s. It’s a bit embarrassing to look back at older posts and hear myself saying the same things, over and over. Ah the addict’s brain. Fecking wine harpy. I keep trying. I keep trying. We all know how hard this is, how manipulative the harpy can be.

I’m adding more supports this time. She can suck it.

 

Stay close to the tools, girl.

Hey girl thanksJust a quick post today, on my lunch break. Something I don’t normally do, but I was re-reading my last “I fucked up and blew my streak” post and it came off to me sounding a bit… I don’t know… flip?

Just want to be clear: Just because I’m not berating myself about having a couple of drinks last week, doesn’t mean I don’t take it very seriously. I do. Living a sober life is hard, and I, for one, don’t like reading about people who messed up when they thought for one twisted moment that they could give “moderation” a go. Because in the light of day (or clarity of mind), we know that is total bullshit (read: wine goblin’s shenanigans), and when we are trying to get or keep sober momentum, hearing about someone else’s slip isn’t inspirational AT ALL.

Who wants to read about someone else’s mess except someone who wants commiserating? I ask you.

Not me. I want hopey changey!! I want rainbows and glitter! I want Life is a bloody hard gauntlet of glass shards and swinging flails sometimes, and the strong make it through to the other side!

Seriously, no one wants to hear that I had a drink because I was nervous about a big date.

L.A.M.E. ūüôā (you’re right)

My hope, of course, is that as dumb as I feel about being back to Day 6 again, not only have *I* learned from it, but someone else might too. No, moderation doesn’t work. Yes, your hard-earned peace of mind will go flying out the window with “just one,” and won’t come back again until you’ve slogged back up that hill again for…well, I guess I’ll find out how long. Before, it took over a month to finally stop hearing the whispering chatter all the time. Well over a month before the random “how about a drink” thoughts throughout the day all but disappeared. I have no reason to believe it won’t take that long again and I did that to myself.

Le sigh.

The good news for me is that I learned another valuable lesson. At some point these fecking lessons are going to reach the tipping point and I’ll never go back. I am a really strong woman, and stronger all the time, and I really do believe I’m there (one day at a time). But I guess now my only option is to keep building on days and proving it — to myself and to you.

I tell ya, being on the sober momentum bandwagon sure is nice. I’m feeling good and taking good care of myself. I’ll get there. One thing we all know for sure is that time passes, faster and faster.¬†And as long as I never pick up that first drink — and stay close to all my tools that will help when it gets tough — I’ll have that first 100 days under my belt in no time. (May 6, to be exact.)

Happy happy February, all. The (self) LOVE month.

Have a good great day.

Rachel. Day 6.