Mac ‘n’ cheese cures all ills

I’m exhausted and when my coach asked the team who wanted to sit out from rowing tonight because we were one too many, I volunteered. I was there. I don’t know what I was thinking except how tired I am. I have two more chances to row before I’m gone for 2.5 weeks, and it was the most beautiful day we’ve had since last fall. And yet, I found myself driving to Whole Foods instead of rowing, on a mission to get ice cream because what I was hearing in my head was that tonight wine might be a nice escape. It is my Friday, after all, and I’m wrecked.

The good news is that I can go ahead and have that thought and the counter-thoughts are growing stronger, strong enough to overtake them quickly. I don’t want to be in this “prison” anymore. I don’t want to feel like shit tomorrow. I don’t want to do or say things that I will regret. I want my spirit to continue to soar up and up. Good things are starting to happen and maybe I’m being superstitious or supernatural or supersomething, but I can’t help but connect the shift that seems to be happening to how my energy, my vibe, my FREQUENCY is shifting since I’ve been quitting drinking. And while I think I’ve been losing a little weight and it feels great, tonight I decided to have some ice cream.

Of course, by the time I left Whole Foods, I had already snacked on some takeaway Mac ‘n’ Cheese and country fried tofu. It was marked “Comfort Food” with a big ole’ sign and hell yes I took comfort in it. Sure… I was regretting the calories I hadn’t burned, and the massive fat calories I ate instead — big time. But… I was heading home to watch the sun set with my Bub, planning to do some work I needed to do with much less stress, and then hitting bed early, which is really hard after a night of rowing. And I didn’t buy wine.

I will start anew tomorrow on the fitness front. The sun is supposed to be glorious again.

This has been a really hard couple of weeks at work. WAY too much work to do and not enough time to do it. Execs breathing down my neck about getting to the next thing, doing more, doing it differently. I love my job, but this has been a not fun, hard week.

And yet, I can brag to myself that I have been exhausted and stressed and frustrated and quite literally near the breaking point, and I still haven’t drunk about it. It doesn’t even cross my mind at work (thank god), and when I get home, most days, it doesn’t cross my mind then either. It’s really just Fridays and Saturdays that are still the hard days, and I know from experience (the last time I made it more than a month), that the weekend cravings start to fade pretty quickly too.

Can’t wait for the “miracle” to happen. 🙂

My life coach suggested I might ask my doc about beta blockers for the times when I’m feeling really anxious, like when I’m on a date. Those tend to be my very most difficult times to not drink. So, I asked my naturopath about it, and she said that before I go to that extreme (I guess beta blockers mess with your heart function and a side effect can be dizziness and depression, among other things), I should consider a natural alternative called Kavinace, by Neuroscience. I ordered it and we’ll see. I think it arrived today and maybe I’ll test it out this weekend while I’m at the wedding stuff in Portland. Because really, if I can conquer those anxious situations without booze, I’m going to be happy as a pig in the shizzle. Happy as a clam. Happy as a tick on a fat dog.

You get the picture.

Here’s to mac ‘n’ cheese instead of merlot.

Rachel. Day 20.

New milestones, new breakthroughs

Just checking in to say it’s been several days since I’ve written, but no worries: I’M STILL SOBER.

Today I passed a new milestone: 14 days. Officially 2 weeks.

SONY DSC

Baby Giraffe

Man, it seems like a whole LOT longer than that, since I’ve really been AF for most of the last 3 months, but 14 days is still 14 days — and the longest I’ve ever gone without a drink. On the one hand it seems like nothing (especially when I think about it in the context of so many of you who have so many more days/months/years under your belts), and on the other hand it’s bizarre to me that it has been two weeks since I’ve had any alcohol.

To be perfectly honest, it seems like much, much longer. I guess this is the double-edged sword of having a terrible memory: I am already forgetting what life was like for me just a short while ago when I came home every single night from work (and was starting earlier and earlier on the weekends) and drank bottles of red wine. One of the biggest contrasts is how much money I was spending on wine. Holy shit. A lot.

Friday was tough for about 15 minutes. Fridays were always such a huge drinking day. I had about 15 minutes of wanting that “release,” but this time, I have more tools and I’m using them. I used tools like AF beer which oddly hits the spot sometimes, then dinner in front of the TV (I know, terrible, but I’m letting myself), and the urge passed pretty quickly. I was just glad to be home with my dog after a long week and I give myself a LOT of leeway right now when it comes to doing stuff that just feels good and passes the time.

Saturday I predicted it to be tougher. Saturdays have been my drinking/relapse days historically. But it really wasn’t too bad. Yeah, I went on a long walk with my dog, and watched a movie, then had a long nap, and then WENT to a movie at the theater, and bought some adult coloring books and came home and colored a while, then read, then slept. Really, I did very little productive, but that’s OK.

I didn’t drink. 

Then today, Sunday. This morning I had to take my phone to the Genius Bar because I was a GENIUS and threw it on the ground and broke the screen. I waited next door at THE RAM, a sports bar, because I really wanted a greasy breakfast. It never even occurred to me that it might be a risky scene, and it wasn’t at all. I even ordered a virgin bloody mary to drink with my egg scramble and it was great. No problemo. It was actually kind of weird to look around the room at 10:30 in the morning and see most of the room drinking beers and other drinks at 10:30 in the morning while we watched the Seahawks football game. I’m especially shocked that I didn’t feel the urge to drink because I’ve been fighting a cold all weekend and historically I would DRINK when I felt sick. Always. Because drinking at 9 in the morning on a Sunday made me feel better, right?

Oh me oh my.

In fact, I’m going to add that to my AA rip-off: SHALT. Rachel, thou SHALT not drink when feeling Sad/Sick, Hungry, Angry/Agitated, Lonely or Tired. 

It wasn’t until later that I actually had the strongest urges of the weekend. Nordstrom has a really great new cafe/bar and I went to return some jeans and try to find new ones, which is always stressful. I hate shopping. I said to myself outloud, “beware of overwhelm,” because I was beginning to feel overwhelmed and I really wanted to head to that bar and have a drink, just like my best friend and I have done more than once. So, I got my butt out of there and headed home. I exercised for a while in the gym in my building and then I ate dinner and binged on a bit of Netflix while I colored pretty holiday images. Time sure flies when you’re doing two completely unproductive things simultaneously.

Anyway, it’s time for bed now and I spent the entire weekend alone with my dog entertaining myself, but it was a lot easier than it has been in the past. Sure, it’s only 14 days, but it was a good weekend, and that counts for a lot. I made sure I had lots of sleep and sober treats, and didn’t let myself get overwhelmed, and I did a lot of mindful things like coloring and reading. Yeah, I’m a ton of fun. 🙂

As I get more space on my last drink, I find myself having to go over in my mind all of the reasons why I quit and why I am choosing an alcohol-free life. Why it is better. Why it will get even better in the long run. Repeat, repeat. I know that’s a combination of the natural tendency we have to forget horrible things as time passes AND the wine goblin trying to get in my head and tell me Aw, it wasn’t so bad. You can drink again after you take a break and prove to yourself you can. 

Sure, I could try that. But I’m pretty sure that’s all bullshit and I’d end up right back where I started in a very short period of time. I just want to be free of the control wine/alcohol has had over me for so many years. And I want to be free of SO MUCH STUPID SHIT I’VE SAID AND DONE when I’d been drinking.

Blech.

I would also like to make an appeal to the sober gods to PLEASE take a few pounds off in the middle of the night and THAT would make it all even BETTER. 🙂 I’ve started making a more concerted effort now to eat better and exercise more again, so that should help. In the past, it would NOT have been unusual for me to drink five bottles of wine in a weekend, not to mention the bottle every night, so those calories have to be going somewhere! Right? WTF?? I haven’t been eating THAT much mac-n-cheese and ice cream. Really!

And soon, very soon, I’m going to start doing a lot more hard thinking about what I want to accomplish in my life with all this spare time. And lack of anxiety. And clarity. It isn’t going to be Olympic-level, competitive coloring, that’s for sure.

This is a good 2016 conversation to have with myself (and maybe my life coach).

Anyway, tonight I’m feeling quiet and a little dull (read: boring), but that’s a hell of a lot better than being drunk on a Sunday night. There’s time to build some excitement back into my life again, and in the meantime, I’m going to protect my little baby giraffe sobriety until she is walking a lot more sturdy on her wobbly little legs.

Have a great week, y’all.

xo Rachel.

Day 14.

Boo yeah – Double digits

Bill MurrayI’ve never made it to double digits before. My whole drinking life. It’s been ten days without a drink, and I feel pretty good. My mind feels clear, I realized this morning I didn’t take ANY ibuprofen today (unheard of!), and I do feel a bit more confident than I have in recent months. A bit.

Although I shouldn’t have stepped on the scale this morning. That didn’t help. I’m up a few pounds in the last few weeks. I guess all that mac-n-cheese and chocolate is paying off! :-/  So, while I completely agree that it’s better to be eating than drinking, if I start putting on weight, it’s going to be a problem. I had binge eating disorder in college which I got over, but gaining weight will still be a real mind fuck, and will not help me stay alcohol free. So, today I tried harder to keep the snacking in check. Tomorrow too. I’ll figure out how to stop putting things in my mouth to keep it occupied AND still say no thanks to alcohol. I will.

I also looked really tired today. Like I’ve said, I keep waiting to start looking AMAAAAZING, which would actually be a great boost in motivation, but so far, not so much. Maybe it’s because I’ve gained a little weight? Maybe it’s because my skin is breaking out (hello toxins gushing out of my liver!), I feel like I’m retaining water which isn’t normal for me (despite the gallons of herbal tea I’m drinking), and my dog woke me up a couple of times in the middle of night, so I woke up this morning looking like I’d actually drunk a couple of bottles — without the hangover.

This is not how this is supposed to work.

I’m hanging in there. I did my best with my makeup this morning and then just hid behind a pair of chunky glasses instead of wearing contacts. Issue solved.

Now my next goal is two weeks — this Saturday. Heya, Monster inspired me to set mini-goals and as soon as I nail one, immediately start another one. I’m not always awesome at setting goals and keeping them, but now that I’ve made it to 10 days, I’m going for 2 weeks, then 3 weeks, then 30 days, then… I guess we’ll see! 100 days? Solstice-to-solstice?

Simmer down, simmer down…

First, 2 weeks. Two weeks and go easy on the mac-n-cheese. And get enough sleep. And get more exercise.

At 3:30 today the wine goblin whispered in my ear: mmm, it’s almost the holiday. What a RELEASE you’ll feel with a bottle or two of gorgeous red. That bastard is insidious.

I finished Annie Grace’s book This Naked Mind, Control Alcohol last night, and re-read my favorite (highlighted) parts of The Sober Revolution, Women Calling Time on Wine O’clock, by Sarah Turner and Lucy Rocca too. I bought that book at least a year ago, and re-reading the parts that resonated with me was interesting. They were all the same messages from Annie Grace’s book, as it turns out. I guess I just wasn’t ready to really do it yet.

In order to walk away from booze for good, it is essential that upon reaching this incredibly positive and empowering decision, you recognize that it is a step which will lead you to great things, the beginning of an exciting adventure and a whole new way of life.

– The Sober Revolution

If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that for most people, quitting alcohol is a process, and the HUGEST part is the mental shift. It took me a while to be ready, lots of negotiating with myself about moderation, lots of trials and fall-starts and lessons. Lost of frustration and shame and regret. I really do want an alcohol-free life, but despite it all, the addicted part of my brain is still fighting tooth and nail to change my mind. It will take time and practice to starve that ass hole wine goblin long enough that he finally unclenches from my brain stem. But I know the truth now and he can fuck himself.

And anyway, they say anything worth having doesn’t come easy, right?

Right?

Day 10. Rachel.