My Purpose in 2017

I’m such a lucky lady. I’ve taken control of every aspect of my life. I’ve been sober for 1305 days, I drink a green smoothie each day, I’m happy with my weight and can still touch my toes without bending my knees. My dog is well-behaved and my husband does all the cooking. The planets have lined up and I believe God has placed me in a perfect spot to change course again in 2017.

I’ve made peace with my older brother over an old disagreement and now the two of us have come together to care for our sweet mamma who is nearing her 94th birthday.  I want so much for her to be spoiled in her last decade on this earth.

So, #1 on my list is to take good care of Mom.

#2 – Stop watching Fox News 24/7 and listen to more Martin Sexton Radio

#3 – Send my birthday cards on time.  Last year I was always running to the store for belated cards.

#4 – Look for another volunteer opportunity.  I am a baby hugger once a week at the local children’s hospital, and I LOVE it.  Hope to find another cause that touches my heart.

#5 – Learn to like cooking.  So far, I hate it – but I really want to love it.

That’s pretty much it!  When I quit drinking – all my resolutions came true at once.  It was so cool, because my list used to go like this:

#1 – Quit drinking

#2 – Lose weight

#3 – Be happy

Well – that all happened in June of 2013 – all at once.

Happy 2017 to all of you!

 

Feeling Funky

Haven’t been posting, haven’t been reading. Just moving through life collecting hobbies, unnecessary trinkets, drinking too much coffee, and enduring the summer heat. My three year sobriety anniversary passed without too much fanfare, and sparkling water is my drink of choice.

I don’t think much about my addiction to wine. I never, ever crave it. Never miss it. And have no problem being around it.

What I do miss is my personality. I miss the excitement of the party and the anticipation of joining others for drinks and dinner. The conversations, the laughter, the party atmosphere.

Lately I just want to be home with my husband and my dog. I want to watch Fox News Network and listen to Hillary and the Donald and try to imagine the world with either one of them in charge. I don’t want to go out to dinner. I want to be home with the grill and a couple of burgers. I want to go to bed at 9.

I’m in a funk and although I try to do all the right things to get out of it, it still lingers. No, I’m not depressed. I’ve been on Prozac for 20 some years now, so it’s not that. I’m just in a funk and I’m sure it will pass.

When the weather cools, I’ll move back outside and enjoy the breeze. When August comes, I’ll enjoy the company of my children and grandchildren on our annual vacation. When my hair gets longer, I’ll stop complaining about that “in between stage.” It will pass – I’m sure of it.

Settling In

I’ve recently received several alerts that I have some new followers.  I haven’t posted in quite awhile, so I had mixed emotions about it.  One one hand, I wondered what their expectations were.  Were they thinking of quitting, newly sober, or just cruising around WordPress?  On the other hand, I was prompted/nudged to sit down and write a bit.  I’m always flattered and surprised when I receive a new follower – so thank you!

I have settled into my “normal” now.  I can’t imagine going back to the routine of sitting on the couch drinking glass after glass of lousy boxed wine and wasting an entire evening.  It’s been more than 2 years since my last drink.  I’ve shared that it was easier than I thought it would be, spending quite a bit of time under the pink cloud and feeling all proud of myself.  Now it just feels normal.

Here’s what surprises me.  As I watch tv, look at print ads, or even facebook posts, there are a lot of visuals of people drinking wine.  Television shows and movies always seem to include scenes with oversized goblets of red or white.  I’m constantly invited to wine tastings through facebook.  Making reservations at a hotel includes a complimentary glass of wine.  We are inundated with ads assuming we all drink and couldn’t enjoy an evening without it.  Even conversations with friends – no matter the time of day – seem to include talk of alcohol consumption.  Can Kathy Lee and Hoda get through the 9 am hour without a huge glass of wine?  How about the Reagan family on “Blue Bloods” having a Sunday dinner with iced tea?  You won’t see it.  And from the table, they enjoy a brandy by the fire!

Don’t they know that alcohol kills?  Whether it is by disease or sitting behind the wheel of a car – alcohol kills.  I enjoy watching a show about a medical examiner and the autopsies she performs.  More times than not, she finds evidence of alcohol abuse.  She can see it as she examines internal organs.  It may not be the cause of death, but the evidence is there.

Perhaps I’m just sensitive to it.  I really don’t dwell on the absence of wine in my life, but it surprises me that with all the push to get healthy – nobody messes with the wine industry.  And don’t give me that crap about healthy red wine – five ounces per day?  Really?

Sobriety Is My Gift To Me

I am celebrating two years of sobriety today.  It is not just two years on the calendar that thrill me, but more importantly it’s about 730 bottles of wine I have not ingested since June 9, 2013.  And its not just the alcohol, sugar, and calories I’ve avoided. What matters most to me is that my mind has been clear for two years.  My speech has not slurred for two years; I have not felt guilt for two years; I have been able to be the designated driver, sleep through the night, and save thousands of dollars for two years. No sneaking, no hiding, no liquor stores, no fear of killing someone on the road for two years now.

The gift I have given myself is total control of my life.  I now have no addictions.  I quit sucking my thumb when I was six (that was hard).  I quit smoking when I was 30, and I quit drinking when I turned 60.  I have no addictions.  Zero addictions.  I have total control over what I say, do, eat, and drink.  It’s an amazing feeling.  I will never drink alcohol again…ever.   I like making that statement.  I needed to make this a life style change, not a temporary promise.  It’s a gift I gave to me.  I deserve it.

Love and best wishes to all who are and wish to be free of addictions!

Just a tiny little bump

It started with a tiny little bump, no larger than a pea. Our 22 year-old daughter asked me to feel it. I doubted she need to worry. Quite likely a swollen gland following a cold. But she had a weird cough. Luckily, a few days later she was to go for a check-up. Her next phone call to me would turn our lives upside down…for about five years. It was stage 2 Hodgkins Lymphoma. They said it was the best cancer you could get. The most treatable. Good success rate. And yes, thanks to some amazing scientists who have developed the magic chemo, she is nine years cancer free.

Today is National Cancer Survivor Day. I’m celebrating. I’m sending in my donation. I’m grateful to those who work each and every day to find a cure.

Looking for Relief? – Not Today

I wrote last year that I no longer make resolutions. That still sticks.  I no longer need to wait for January 1st to make a positive change in my life.  I did that on June 9, 2013 when I had my last drink.  EVERYTHING became positive after that.

I know, however (because I did it every year myself) that there are people out there reaching out to Google for help/answers to the drinking problem they were reminded of this morning when they awoke with a splitting headache (or worse).  They are taking those tests…”if you answered yes to three or more of these questions, then you might be an alcoholic.”  Seek help immediately! (or purchase the book listed below).

Then perhaps you will see a listing of blogs referring to people who have become sober.  The list may seem overwhelming and you might not know where to start.  With a pounding headache, you might not feel like reading much today.  So, you close your laptop, have another cup of coffee and sit down to watch some of the bowl games with your significant other or your pet.  After a few hours your headache might subside, friends might drop by for more bowl games, and a beer or two will tempt you.  Anything sound familiar?  I don’t suggest you have the beer. but this is not the day to make the resolution to quit drinking forever.  It would be a resolution bound for failure. A resolution made as a reaction to your shitty headache.  I do suggest you “favorite” a few of those blogs to go back to next week Monday or Tuesday.

My successful end to alcohol consumption came after making a detailed plan, much like a business plan.  I had spent years trying to quit in reaction to an evening of over-consumption of wine.  What I learned was to be proactive – not reactive.  I began with research.  I read a blog, then looked at the blogs that she/he read, then read those blogs,   I downloaded the audio book that one blogger recommended (“Alcohol Lied To Me”) and listened to it several times.  I set a date weeks ahead, that fell on a Monday so I could finish up any wine left in the house on Sunday evening (it was a lot and I had to force it down).  That Monday morning, I awoke with a huge pink cloud over my head, feeling like I had conquered the greatest evil in my life.  The timing was right for me.  The support was all around me with daily blogs and emails from kind bloggers directly to me.  My plan included activities to keep me busy from 5 to 7 pm.  I drove my car after dark and called my kids (I never talked on the phone once the alcohol started to flow).  I read books and remembered the plot.

I had a list of several AA meetings I would attend.  No need to feel afraid, since they have all been where I am coming from.  I just needed to know their stories.  I needed to be able to speak face to face to other newly sobers.   I told my husband and I told one friend.  I developed a taste for ginger ale with lime.  Sometimes I put it in a wineglass, but I no longer need to do that.

I used to smoke two packs a day, but quit doing that 30 years ago, because I had to.  I used to drink a bottle of wine per night, but quit doing that 571 days ago, because I had to.  I feel great because I quit smoking.  I feel even better now that I’ve quit drinking.  If I see other bad habits I need to change, then I will change them – no matter what date the calendar shows.

Many bloggers will say that they don’t commit to quitting alcohol forever.  They feel it is too ominous to think that way.  They will suggest that you attempt to quit for today…just today, and go from there.  That works well for some.

I like the feeling of quitting forever.  I quit smoking forever because I knew I never wanted to feel that urge again or to dirty up my clean pink lungs.  I quit drinking forever because I never again want to ingest that poison into my bloodstream or to cloud my head, or get a DUI or worse.

I wish you all well for 2015.  If you are reading this you are either newly sober or hope to be sober.  In either case, I wish for you all the success in achieving your goals for this year.

Trish

Are You Sure I Am An Alcoholic?

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted and I’ve often thought of taking this site down.  Thought I probably didn’t need it anymore.  After all, I never crave a drink.  The smell of red wine sickens me.  I love, love, love water.  And don’t feel the least bit envious of those “normal” drinkers.  So, I must be cured!  Maybe I never was an alcoholic after all.  Maybe it was just a habit like smoking was for me.  I didn’t have trouble giving that up (after about a thousand tries).  I certainly never have the desire to smoke again.

Whoa there….did I just say all that?  Haven’t I learned from reading all your posts about relapse?  Am I falling into that same black hole, forgetting what I went through before my Day 1?  Okay, back up.  It’s true about loving water and I really don’t have a desire to drink again.  But I must keep my guard up and never forget who I was 557 days ago and who I am…a recovering alcoholic.

I responded to a tweet yesterday from a woman crying out for help.  I recommended some blogs and she thanked me.  It felt great to be able to help.  Is that why we keep these blogs going?  Perhaps to help those like me…557 days ago.

I really have changed course.  I have intentionally changed my entire life.  I’ve quit drinking which allowed me to quit working (don’t need to pay for the wine anymore), which allowed me to play the piano, read, knit, cook, connect with friends, connect with God, start my day with a clear head and yoga, end my day with a clear head and my happy husband.

Throughout this change however, I must remember a few things.  I have an addictive personality.  It started very young with thumb sucking.  Gosh that was hard to break.  Smoking took hold from age 15 to 30.  Took a bun in the oven to make me stop.  Drinking from age 15 to 60 (and no, I did not stop when I was pregnant.  A little wine was okay back then).  I’m sure if I lit a cigarette I would be right back to 2 packs a day very quickly.  If I drank some wine I’d be shopping for a box of Chardonnay by tomorrow, and if I stuck my thumb in my mouth and pulled the covers over my head….well that would just be ugly.

So I will admit to this dysfunction of mine.  No matter what we title it.  Here’s my mantra:  If it’s bad for you – stay away from it.

Happy Holidays to all of my friends out there.  I wish for you a happy, sober 2015!

Trish

Relationships Matter

I’ve realized that while drinking, I really let my relationship skills wither.  Not that I was all that great at forming and maintaining relationships (let’s call them “friendships”).  I was sort of a loner growing up.  Made up a lot of games that I could play by myself.  But as I grew older I did have a nice group of friends to out with – party with.  I never felt the need to have more than a handful of friends.  They do require some work – maintenance.  I would have to be on-call in case there was a friend emergency; I’d have to be available for late-night phone calls with one-way conversations; I’d need to provide transportation when a friend was stuck with an angry boyfriend; and I’d have to remember their birthdays – probably planning surprise parties and the like.

I know all of this, not because I had that type of friend(s), but because both of my daughters are surrounded by that type of friend(s).  Their friends are their whole world.  They couldn’t imagine life without their friends.  I envy that.  I never really had that (small pity party here).

My best friend became a box of wine and a couch.  So, I let that friend go almost 500 days ago.  Adios.  Now I need some new friends.  Friends I can help out in case of an emergency.  Friends who have my cell number and can call me anytime they want to (even after 5 pm).  Friends I can send a birthday card to (a real one with a stamp), and enjoy a meal with.

I’m really focusing on developing these friendships.  I never knew it would be this time-consuming.  But hey, I think it’s time well spent.

Hugs to all – hope you’re well.

Trish

Afraid to Share

I received an email from Tommy Rosen, a wonderful, motivating, recovering alcoholic with a link to a video promoting 14 days of abstinence from alcohol. It encouraged me to “share” the video on facebook. I seldom share anything on facebook. I use it to see what my kids and friends are doing around the country. I don’t even have a lot of friends who would see a post from me. But I didn’t share. I’m sober nearly 500 days and I was afraid to share. How stupid is that…

But, I’m not afraid to share with all of you. Please check this out.

http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/14days-on-the-wagon/

I Found All The Happy Sober Women…and Gents!

Ahhh…the relief! I found them. I walked into the room and they were all milling about, hugging, smiling, laughing. A whole room full of them. Men, women, young, old, stylish, messed up, tall, and short. All smiling. The meeting started and the moderator asked if there were any new visitors to the group that would like to say hello. I raised my hand and said, “Hello!” They all laughed (about 50 people laughed!) I continued to introduce myself and mentioned that I had been looking for a group with happy sober people…I think I found it. They all laughed again and welcomed me. I was surrounded at the end of the meeting with smiles and welcomes. Goodbye cranky sober groups.

One thing that really stood out to me during that meeting. I looked around the room and found a great many people holding on to well-worn, dog-eared copies of the big book, daily devotionals, and other sober-related materials. These are hard-core AA members who take the 12 steps seriously. All conversations were related to their continued study and hard work to stay sober (no mother-in-law or ex-husband bashing as I am used to hearing). They talked a lot about their spiritual journey – no matter they personal faith. I felt a bit like a transfer student from another high school that needed to catch up.

So, I’m catching up. I’m breaking the binding on my brand new big book so I can be part of the conversation too.

Hugs to you all!

Trish