Just Keep Swimming

Almost two years ago I declared that I would never drink alcohol again. I am very hard-headed. I can be extremely arrogant and once I’ve decided on something I dive in, determined to swim. It was a bit of a panicky, floppy, doggy paddle in the beginning but eventually it turned into a calm easy backstroke. After 18 months of stargazing and cloud viewing I ran into a buoy called moderation. If you, the reader have read any of my blog posts before, you know where this is going. I slipped, more than once in the past six months. I am not starting over. I’m not going to reset the clock to saying that I quit drinking last Sunday. But I do want to be honest with everyone who follows me, who knows me and who may be wondering where I’m at with sobriety. I’m also writing this to humble myself and bring myself down a few notches. I inhaled a mouth full of salt water, chocked on it for awhile but I’m breathing again and plan to just keep swimming.

 

365 Days

One year ago today I woke up on the couch. I was sleeping sitting up with my head on a cushion and my neck in an awful position. I was sleeping this way to prevent myself from getting sick. I opened my eyes and almost instantly had a sinking, terrible feeling in my stomach that was in no way related to nausea. I picked up my phone and began texting apologies to countless people; some were received graciously while others were not. My hands were trembling, my body was shaking and all I wanted to do was cry. I said to myself “I never want to drink again”. I had said this before, multiple times, but something felt different. I said it again and again until finally it came out “I will never drink again.”

It’s been one year.

It’s been one year since I’ve had a hangover, since I’ve woke up ashamed and embarrassed because of what I might have done the night before (because God knows I didn’t remember). One year since I’ve “rewarded” myself by getting drunk. One year since I’ve had to text people apologies for driving drunk, for my loud mouth, emotional outbursts or just flat out crude or harsh behavior.

What have I learned?

I’ve learned how to act in a social situation without having any liquid courage. I’ve learned how to have a debate without getting choked up, raising my voice, or embarrassing myself while defending my opinion. I’ve learned how to have fun late into the night without feeling like complete shit the next day. I learned that alcohol exaggerates everything and drunk reality isn’t real.

When you can’t have a drink you’re forced to face yourself; all your quarks, flaws and insecurities. You’re forced to get to know who you are. And then, as time goes on, you begin to accept who you’ve become.

I am not a loud mouth, inappropriate, overly dramatic person. I was all of those things because I was drunk. I am not an awkward, uncomfortable, social outcast. I drank because I thought I was all of those things if I wasn’t drinking.

I am fun. I am funny. I am caring and loving. I am sober.

wedding

213 Days

I am standing at the end of a table. I’m surrounded by people I have met but do not know. They are socializing with each other, sipping on wine or scotch and I stand alone, club soda in hand, smiling.

There are moments in life when I come into my body. My head comes out of the clouds, out of its busy thinking and I am fully alert and aware of the situation I am in. People around the world strive for this kind of awareness. I too have taken classes on it, and it isn’t easy. But every once in a while it just happens, without meditation, without effort and without struggle.

This is what’s happening at the end of the table. At a business function flowing with cocktails and wine, the air is thick with pretension and arrogance, and I am calm. I am calm and content and have no insecurities. I don’t feel awkward or ashamed, embarrassed or stuttery; instead I feel confident in my own skin. Alcohol plays no part in my new-found comfort. And just now I realize all these years of drinking to be comfortable actually caused more discomfort and embarrassment. I just wasn’t aware until I awoke.
I am sober. I am confident. And for the first time, I am comfortable.

7 months

On to the next

I went on a 5 day cruise to the Bahamas, I came home and got on a plane and spent 4 days in Jamaica.
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I had 5 days in-between trips. I ran twice on the cruise, and I did one workout in Jamaica. In other words, I slacked off big time for a large chunk of October.
Everywhere I went in Jamaica someone was there offering or handing me drinks. There were “mangosas” (Mango Juice and Champagne), Bob Marley’s (strawberry daiquiri,  pina-colada, and something green on top),  BBC’s (Baileys, Banana, and Coconut), alcoholic fruit punch, alcohol in coffee, rum ice-cream, rum runners, white and red wine, mudslides, and on and on it goes. There was alcohol everywhere and in everything and it all looked delicious. I have never said, “No, thank you” and “I’m sorry, I don’t drink” so many times in my life. 
Somehow I (or the sabotaging voice) turned this into the perfect excuse to eat whatever I wanted. I mean come on, I was being so strong-willed and awesome saying no to all these drinks I couldn’t say no to wild-berry cheesecake and chocolate coconut cupcakes too. So I ate, and I ate like a gross fat-kid hiding in the closet with the whole box of ho-ho’s. And now, because of this, I have decided to give up sugar completely. 
No more Take 5’s after dinner because I ate healthy all day and deserve some candy. No more I’ll skip lunch so I can eat dessert (but really I ate enough snacks to equal lunch and still had dessert). No more peppermint mocha coffee creamer and no more “maybe just a bite”. 
I’ve written about moderation with alcohol, and how it’s impossible for me to do. Well apparently sugar is the same way. The main reason I fell into this unhealthy rabbit hole was because I told myself I can’t deprive myself of everything, otherwise I’ll fail. 
Um, no. I fail because I start off with just a little bit, just one little candy bar this one time, and that turns into 1 king size Take 5 every night, and then finally I end up with a dessert the size of a dinner plate and I finish the whole thing!
cake

So, no more!
I know it will be hard. I know there could even be withdrawal, headaches, irritability, mood swings, and of course, extreme food cravings. I also know that I’ve already experienced all of these things before with quitting smoking and quitting alcohol. My personality is obnoxious; it latches on to things and can’t get enough. So, now I have to find a way to get myself to latch on to exercise and fitness instead of sweet treats. 

I am not going to give up fruit, but I’m also not going to allow myself to start eating ridiculous amounts of fruit because I can’t have any sugar. My plan is to drink a hot mug of tea (without honey) every time I get a craving, to be nice to myself, and to have some headache medicine at the ready. 

My reward for not eating any Halloween candy is a 5K at 8am the next morning.
Wish me luck 🙂 

Judgmental, Arrogant Pricks

The first thing that’s been aggravating me lately is the common misconception about gaining weight. Somehow, if you’re getting larger that means that you’re happy and comfortable in life. On quite a few occasions I’ve had people say to me “awe, it’s okay! You must just be really happy!” or “Oh, you got married and now you’re just comfortable and settling in.”

WTF?!

This whole concept is completely ridiculous to me. I do not gain weight because I’m happy and content and it certainly has nothing to do with getting married. I gain weight when I am lonely, stressed, or sad. In no way does my chunkiness represent happiness. I gained weight when I quit smoking. I gained weight when my parents got divorced. The heartbreak diet would not work for me, because I would stuff my face with food hoping to find comfort IN IT, I do not eat because I’ve already found it. 

Lately, I’ve been wanting to quit and throw in the towel on this whole healthy living thing. I’ve been wanting pizza, fast-food, and candy. The urge seemingly came out of nowhere and hit me like a ton of bricks. I wanted anything but healthy food and I was struggling to figure out why I shouldn’t eat it. Then, I decided to sit with myself for a minute and try to find out why I was feeling so discouraged and wanting to eat so badly. What was going on in my life that was making me crave food? Oh, that’s right we’re in the middle of possibly buying a foreclosure and deciding to sell or rent our house. Stress eating, that’s what I wanted and vegetables do not suffice. Fortunately, I’m practicing self-control and I have not fallen off the healthy wagon.

Speaking of wagons, if one more person talks to me about moderation I might explode.
“Why can’t you just moderate?” 
“You’re really never going to drink again?”
“What about when you’re travelling?”
“Come on, it’s a lot of fun sometimes!”

When you can answer why it is necessary for you to ever drink alcohol again besides it being “fun sometimes” or because “it tastes good” then I will answer your absolutely ridiculous questions about why I have no desire to drink anymore because alcohol has absolutely nothing to offer me.
What’s so incredibly obnoxious about this whole thing is that I used to think that non-drinkers were judgmental, arrogant pricks. I have now learned that they become that way over time because the drinkers are judgmental, pressuring, condescending assholes to non-drinkers. I do not care who drinks and who doesn’t. But if one more person asks me why I can’t “just moderate” I’m going to become that person that says “why can’t you just quit drinking?” and I never wanted to be that person. But I see now that there’s no other way. So I’m sending out apologies to all the non-drinkers in the world that I ever judged, rolled my eyes at, or assumed were self-righteous just because they didn’t drink. I was wrong and I now understand. 

 As for my healthy living thing. I weigh in on Monday for the 1st time since this whole thing started. I have not failed or given in to the sabotaging voice that wants me to be a big fat slob. Last night I made spaghetti sauce with grilled chicken breasts seasoned with basil and oregano and served it over spaghetti squash. It was delicious!
Wish me luck this Labor Day!!
I might have a break down if I’ve only lost 5 pounds after all this work.