One Year.

One year.

I cannot even believe that I have made it a whole year.  Actually that isn’t true.  I can 100 percent believe it.  Now.

If you had told me one year ago that I would be able to not drink for a whole year I would have laughed in your face and poured another shot.

I knew that I was going to try for 30 days.  I had committed to starting the Annie Grace Alcohol Experiment at that point and was going to give it all I had (which admittedly, I didn’t think was much).  For 30 days.  My whole purpose was to dry out so that my anxiety would take a hiatus, thus making our trip to Maine in October to pick up my mother’s ashes that much easier.  And by some miracle I pulled it off.
Once the 30 days were up I honestly didn’t know what I wanted to do going forward but I knew that I felt really good physically and my anxiety was waaaaaaayyyy down so I decided to just see how I felt on the trip.

However, even while we were in Maine I was struggling every day with the thought: “I made it the thirty days and I’m on vacation so there is nothing saying that I can’t have a drink.”

I perused the booze aisle every time we went to the supermarket to buy more junk food (OMG I ate soooooooooooooooo much candy and ice cream in those early days!!) but something in me told me to hold off, at least until we got home from the trip.

I want to say that it probably wasn’t until I had about three months or so under my belt that I really stopped bargaining with myself that I *could* drink if I wanted to because I had honored my commitment to the experiment and it was long over.

I’m not saying that I don’t still entertain the thought of drinking.  At all.  I just feel much stronger in my resolve not to.  I play the tape forward, as they say to the next morning and realize that drinking would be a horrible Idea.

I have to say that I do not miss hangovers at all.  I know that sounds like a no brainer but when I actually sit down and think of all the mornings I popped awake at two in the morning with a racing heart and a panicked brain, hating myself for what I had done the night before it is frightening!  Not to mention all the money I spent.  Not just on booze, but on all those hangover pills and potions that were supposed to help make my mornings better (I’m sure that they did help some, but towards the end, nothing was going to make me hangover free).  I’d estimate that I spent upwards of $80.00 dollars a month just on those hangover preventatives alone!  That is absolutely ridiculous to me now, but I thought nothing of it at the time.  In fact I would panic if I accidently let myself run out.

I’m literally shaking my head right now just reading that back.  I was such a slave to all things alcohol. I would rather spend a fortune on promises that I would feel better after drinking than do the one thing that was guaranteed to make sure I didn’t have a hangover and not drink!

I do miss the idea of drinking though.  I romanticize the idea of being able to go out with my girlfriends and have one or two drinks like they do.  I feel the FOMO that I can’t and that is really kind of stupid because in reality, I never even drank when I was out with them before!  I was too afraid of my secret being found out so I would just stick to soda anyway!  I often have to remind myself that I’m not missing out on anything because I never did that in the first place!

What I do miss is drinking in Vegas.  At least the idea of it.  I miss having a cocktail in my hand while playing the slots.  But I need to remind myself that I also missed having a cigarette in my hand while playing the slots when I quit smoking and I got over that eventually.

Also, I love that I’m not a slave to my buzz in Vegas any longer.  I used to get so mad when we would do anything other than drink in the room or drink in a casino in Vegas.  I would do the things but my mind was always back in the room pouring another drink and not fully engaging in whatever show or excursion that we were doing.

This last trip (my first sober one) there was an instance where an acquaintance was in town and we had been unable to meet up with him during the day.  My husband had written off seeing him at all and we actually had a mini argument when I suggested seeing him later.  I couldn’t understand why he was upset that I would suggest that and it was because he knew the old drunk me that would get up in the room and start to drink herself into a stupor and then cancel the plans. He was so used to that, he couldn’t fathom that we would actually keep the date to go out if it didn’t happen that day while we were out and about.  

Once we got back from meeting up with him and having a great time, he actually said: “I’m just not used to you actually wanting to leave the hotel room once we get up here.  I just assume that you won’t want to go anywhere.”  He didn’t flat out say because of drinking, but it was implied.  It made me very sad how happy he was when he realized that might no longer be the case now.  Sad because for the last 15 years he had to give up on so many things because of my drinking (I say 15 instead of 20 because he also drank those first five years we were together).

Other than my brain tricking me into thinking I was having more fun than I actually did, I really don’t miss it much at all.  When I do, I remember how I always felt the next day.  The shame, the shakes, the panic and the anxiety of wondering what I had done the night before that I might have to apologize for and if I would be able to explain it away without blaming booze.

I still haven’t told very many people.  The thing about being a closeted drinker is that most people never actually saw me drink anyway so they don’t think much of me not drinking if they think of it at all.  And of course the whole covid thing really kept me from going out socially the last two years so I guess that helped a bit.  But honestly it hasn’t come up very much.  My new co-workers know that I don’t drink but because they met me after I quit, there was really no reason to question why, they just accepted that I chose not to drink.

I am flirting with the idea of telling a select few.  One is a very close friend of mine that has been in recovery from alcohol since before I met her 12 years ago.  I am torn though.  I want to tell her because I know of all people, she will be able to relate, but how do I tell her that I have basically lied to her for the last 12 years.  Not a lot, mostly by omission, but I have.

I have a fear that she will be mad at me, even though I know she wouldn’t tell me to my face, and that it will stew within her and hurt our friendship.  Part of me also wonders if she suspects.  I’ve talked to her via phone and chat whilst drunk before but I tried not to because…you know, she knows what drunk sounds like from personal experience.

I think I kept it from her once I quit because I wasn’t sure if I was going to backslide and the last thing I wanted was for her to know and then know that I relapsed.

Now that I feel much more committed I really would like to have someone to share my accomplishments and frustrations with that truly understands.  Someone other than my husband.  Especially my one year achievement.  That just feels like such a huge milestone for a girl that couldn’t abstain longer than three weeks in 20 years of drinking.

I don’t know.  We have been talking about having lunch soon, I guess that is why it’s on my mind right now.  Do I tell her and risk her being mad?

Who knows?

What I DO know is that I have gone 1 full year without a drink and I am very proud of myself.

Well hello there…

Long time no see!
Well, I have nothing but good news to report on the sobriety front.  I guess that’s why I haven’t been writing … nothing to bitch about.  🤣🤣
I’ve got nine months alcohol free under my belt and feeling pretty amazing about it.
I’ve lost 45 pounds.  Now mind you that is with a conscious effort to be in a calorie deficit and doing cardio for about an hour every day, but it’s almost easy what with not drinking my calories and being too hungover to get on the treadmill.
My marriage is stronger than ever, though it’s taken my husband a long time to let his guard down.  I feel like he has now, but every so often he’s peeking out through his fingers to see what kind of mood something will set me off into.  “Will she spin into a tailspin because she is hungover and someone is keeping her from her booze???”  He has every right to still be cautious as he had to put up with this train wreck for 20 years.  I’m still not sure why he stayed, other than a healthy respect for the sanctity of marriage. 
Having said that, he has slowly allowed himself to enjoy spending time with me again.  Gradually coming to the conclusion that sober me is a complete 180 from drunk me and that he doesn’t have to walk on eggshells and constantly take care of me any longer.  My favorite thing in the world is giggling with him as we fall asleep.  For so many years I denied myself that because I would rather drink until I blacked out and then pass out cold after he “helped” me to bed.

This weekend we attended his high school reunion.  It was an event that lasted all weekend and we stayed on campus for it.  It was quite enjoyable, though I didn’t know anyone other than my husband. 
The first night there was a social “light dinner” and then a bunch of different events that broke into different groups at the dinners end.
At the social dinner the wine and beer flowed freely.  I stuck to lemon water and coffee.  I was never much of a social drinker as I preferred to “get down to business” in private so as not to be judged for the amount and rapid pace that I poured the vodka down my throat.  However, in the past, times like these would have had me reaching for a few glasses of wine to socially lubricate me.  I didn’t know anyone other than my husband, so I wouldn’t have really cared what they thought of me compared to if I were hanging with my friends who might figure out my secret.
I would have gotten tipsy to the point of almost being drunk but would have tried to keep it at a sustainable level so it would look like I just had “one too many” and “isn’t she adorable when she’s half in the bag?”
That is what I would have told myself anyway.
On that Friday night we broke off into the group that had the musicians in it as my husband is one as well, and headed off to the band room to have all the menfolk participate in a jam. 
As us wife’s sat down to watch, there were two particular wives that had had too much wine.  They were both very lovely ladies and I honestly don’t think they had drinking problems, they were the actuality of the farce I would have tried to create in the above scenario.  Just a couple of women that had one too many glasses of sauvignon blanc and not enough food at dinner to balance it out.
One of those women was the musical director’s wife.  The same musical director that my husband had as a mentor in high school.  It was my first time meeting her and she was a very nice lady.  However….
She was just drunk enough to want to dance and for some reason she had her sights set on me as a dance partner.
I was already feeling out of place not knowing anyone and the last thing I wanted to do was cut a rug in front of a bunch of strangers, stone cold sober.
She was VERY insistent.  To the point of seriously annoying me.  We all know the situation …  She is drunk and on the cusp of becoming a bit belligerent. She keeps coming over to you and getting in your space, putting her face VERY close to yours and slurring: “You HAVE to come dance with me!”  EVERY. FIVE. MINUTES.
I was seriously starting to get a little pissed off because she wouldn’t leave me alone and was really putting a damper on my trying to watch my husband rock out.  If it had been anyone else, I might have gotten a little forceful and made it clear if she didn’t leave me alone things might get heated, but she was the wife of a man that my husband adores and I wasn’t about to cause any sort of trouble with her.
Without fail, every few minutes she would come over to me and try and grab a part of my body to pull out to dance with her.  The other lady was doing a good job and rescuing me but this lady was SO persistent!  Even me faking a hip injury did not deter her. 
I’m pretty sure if you are like me — and if you are reading my blog, you just might be — you WERE that person (at one point or another).  Probably more so times than not.
The whole time she was doing all of this, the same thought kept running through my head: “I’m so glad that isn’t me.”
It has been.  Probably to an even more extreme point that my brain has rose colored over the years to save me from having to admit I had a problem.  But it has very much been me several times in my past.
But it’s not any longer.  Watching the two drunk women on the dance floor, did NOT make me pine for those days.  I did not want to go grab a glass of wine and start feeling like I “belonged”. 
I simply ignored her the best I could, laughed it off when I couldn’t and enjoyed my evening, booze free.
I woke up the next morning feeling fantastic, if a little tired and was so glad that those days of waking up and cringing when a memory (or more than likely, the lack thereof) came floating into my hungover head about how I acted the night before.
I never have to have that feeling again and that is an amazing notion that fills me with such joy, I can’t even express it.
The rest of the weekend was quite lovely. 
There was a fancy dinner party with drinks beforehand and dancing after on Saturday night.  I ate SO MUCH food and loved every second of it. 
Drunk me would have not gotten to enjoy the delicious morsels on that plate.  She would have been picking at her serving and pushing around the food, pretending she was eating so that the meal didn’t ruin the buzz she was trying to achieve.
I haven’t had a lot of social events since I stopped drinking but when I have, the main thing I did was look around at all the people drinking.  I’d watch them sip or slug back their cocktails or glasses of wine and lament silently to myself how I would never be able to do that again.  I would get a little sad at the “left out” feeling and also a little upset that I was the only one that wasn’t “allowed” to join in.  Never mind that my husband wasn’t drinking either … this was clearly something that only effected me and no one would ever know my pain.
This time instead, I focused on the people that WEREN’T drinking, and there were a lot of them.  Not quite half, but a good number.  Of course, I don’t know their stories but it was nice to visually seek out the individuals and realize that there are people that don’t drink.  Whether they had to quit like me or they never liked the stuff, it didn’t matter.  I spend so much time focusing on people that are “allowed” to drink, I forget that there is also a large population of people just don’t WANT to and that is an amazing thing. 
So anyway, that was my weekend.  How was yours?

Day 63 — Didn’t see that coming…

I hit 2 months AF two days ago and today for the first time in those two months I am seriously craving a drink.
I would like to think that I am beyond that and I am just reacting to the first real piece of trauma that I’m experiencing without the booze to numb it out.
I’ve known for quite some time that my work was going to close. We just haven’t known when and it always seems to get drawn out for another six months and so on and so forth.
Today, for reasons that I am apparently not allowed to talk about (but having nothing to do with the original reason for closing), we were told we were closing.
Today.
In the middle of the morning. As in, here is the announcement and this security guard that doesn’t even work for us will be escorting you to your desk to collect your belongings and you will go as soon as you are done.
It’s hard not to go into the insane dramatic details but I feel it is best not to reveal too much even though you guys don’t really even know me or where I work. It was all very weird and sad. Sad because there was a death, but also sad because I just had to say goodbye to people that I have known and worked side by side with for the last 15 years, and I had to say it really fast and while in shock.
I’m home now, 15 years worth of belongings still sitting in boxes in the back of my car in the driveway.
As I was crying on the way home I kept thinking, man… I could use a drink.
That thought was quickly followed by my Vodka Vilian™ saying: “No one would blame you. This is obviously a difficult time and unexpected for the most part so no one would think any less of you.”
My go to thought when I want a drink is to play the tape forward and think about how I will feel tomorrow when I wake up hungover with hanxiety and shame. It has always worked and worked quickly to get that drinking thought (VV™) to move along.
Today the afterthought to playing the tape forward was “Yeah, but it’s not like you have to go to work tomorrow… you could just have a little hair of the dog in the morning since you will already have blown your streak and that will fix it all up.”
That shook me up a little.
Back in my drinking days, getting out early unexpectedly from work was a reason for celebrating. And by celebrating I mean day drinking. I LOVED day drinking… until it spilled over into night drinking and then qualified itself as a binge drinking session that left me with nothing but blackouts and a hangover. But those two aren’t the things I remember about day drinking on days like this. I only want to remember how much I loved that first drink after 12 (I usually waited til after noon to give myself a false sense that I had things under control — “At least I don’t drink in the morning!”).
Ug.
I don’t think that I will drink, but I feel like this was my first real hard test. Vacation was different because I had had time to think about what I wanted to do on that and had pretty much decided I wouldn’t drink.
This is the first time something exploded in my face like this and I said to myself “I sure could use a drink” and actually meant it and seriously thought about acting on it.
Ug again.
I guess I need to go dust off my resume and file for unemployment.  It was all so sudden there was no mention of final paycheck and the likelihood of that severance package they’ve been dangling over us the last year to keep us around is slim to none.
ETA: It’s the next day.  I didn’t drink.  Though it was a bit harder to get to sleep than normal last night, I woke up with no hangover and physically felt great.
I got some comments when posting in another forum that reminded me that it is very much a blessing that this is happening to me while I’m sober.
I realize how correct they are when I ran the day through my head as I was laying down last night.  During all the drama that unfolded yesterday morning, I was pretty much anxiety free.  I was sad, shocked, depressed and a slew of other emotions, but anxiety wasn’t one of them.
If this had taken place when I was actively drinking, I would have been all panic attacks and heart palpitations.  I would have freaked the f*ck out.  And while I may not have been in the best head space, I was fairly calm and that is just miraculous.
Also, I now have to go through the process of applying for jobs and going on job interviews for the first time in 15 years.  There is no way that I could do that properly if I was still drinking.  I mean, I could do it sure, but would I be giving my best effort?  Would I be showing my best face forward and selling myself and all my skills?  No way.  I would be full of hanxiety and dread and only wanting to get it over with so I could go home and drink it all away.
So there is a reason this is happening while I’m sober and an even better one for me to stay sober during this whole process.
Also, I met with my now former co-workers for breakfast today for a good old fashion vent session and a proper goodbye.  One of them (one that I’m not particularly close with as he reminds me of my father and I dislike my father very much) showed up drunk.  At nine in the morning.
I was again reminded how grateful I was that I didn’t and won’t drink through this.

Day 51 — Hell Hath No Fury …

I have to preface this story by stating that I live on a tiny one way dead end street.  I love where I live but it can be a bit inconvenient at times as there is really only room for one car on my street and it can get annoying if people park their cars on the “side” of the street (spoiler alert, there is no side of the street, you are parking in the street!).

Anyway, yesterday the water company had scheduled some work on my street to fix a leak.  We got the notice less than a day before they were to be there.  The notice that we got said that they would be there from nine in the morning until four in the afternoon.

I usually get out of work around one in the afternoon, so I had to try and figure out something to do for about three hours after work yesterday.

I thought about going grocery shopping but I couldn’t really get anything perishable.  I seriously thought about going frivolous shopping but we spent way too much money on our trip earlier this month so I knew I really shouldn’t.

By the time I got out of work, I still hadn’t figured out what to do so I just went out to my car, reclined the seat and played on my phone for a while.

Thankfully, about a half an hour later my neighbor texted me to let me know that the workers were all done early and the road was clear.

This sounds like a really boring tale, but it is significant to me because had this happened when I was drinking, I would have been absolutely LIVID at the inconvenience of it all.

I would have ranted on and on as soon as I got the notification that it was stupid and how much I hate living on a one way street and this happens all the time (it doesn’t) and I want to move (I don’t) and so what if the water leaks on the street (in the middle of the biggest drought we have ever seen) and so on and so forth.  And honestly, I probably would have entertained the fleeting thought of getting a hotel room that night so I wouldn’t have to deal with any of it.

Now would my problem really have been with the water company or the one way street? Not really.

My problem would have been the fact that my drinking was going to be delayed by a couple of hours.  Also, I may not have even started drinking that day until three, but the point was that I didn’t have the option any longer.

Hell hath no fury like an active alcoholic that has their drinking delayed … even by fifteen minutes.  I used to get so angry.  Like ridiculously, blown-out-of-proportion, child-with-a-toy-taken-away angry.  And that’s really what I was wasn’t I?  A toddler that was told she couldn’t play with her doll at that time?  An alcoholic that was told she couldn’t drink her vodka at that time?  Yeah, it checks out.  My Vodka Villain™ would have been screaming out of control.

And I used to get that way every time my normal drinking schedule was upended without a decent amount of notice.  I needed that notification to mentally get myself ready for the lack of drunkenness that would be happening.  I still wouldn’t be happy about it but at least I would be better prepared.

But yeah, if I had little or no notice — forget it!  VV™ and then in turn myself, would be enraged beyond reason.  And unfortunately, it was my poor husband that would get the brunt of our fury.  In fact, I’m pretty sure he hated anytime something would come up to keep me from drinking more than I did.  😂 🤣

Having said all that, yesterday I was fine.  While I wasn’t dancing in the streets at the inconvenience of having to kill three hours in my car with only my phone to keep me entertained, but I was okay with it and VV™ was no where to be found.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait the full three hours (because let’s face it, I’m much more hydrated these days and I would have had to pee at some point) but I would have been okay with it if I had to.

It was a nice feeling not to be a slave to the drinking and all the angst it can cause yesterday and I just wanted to share that.

Day 46 — Exhaustion

I was nothing but a lump under the covers this weekend.

That’s not strictly true.  I did manage to get up today (early since I wasn’t hungover thankyouverymuch!) and do the grocery shopping  — treating myself to a designer coffee and expensive breakfast sandwich on the way home, I might add.

But yeah, for the most part I haven’t done jack this weekend.

I had the best of intentions.  I had been slacking on the housekeeping the week leading up to and the week after the trip so I was going to go ahead and rein that in and I was also going to meal prep for the week to get back on my diet.

Instead I hid under the covers all day and most of the night yesterday.  Hubs was out playing a gig and I just felt off.  I felt like I hadn’t slept in days even though I had been getting about 7 hours all week.

The only thing that I can think of is that my body was just finally reacting to the recent vacation and travel.  I was lacking some serious sleep on those travel days and I never really fully caught up.  Last week, it was back at work like usual and there really hadn’t been any time for me to process or digest everything that happened.

Well, that and I didn’t really have a whole lot of downtime (by design) during the trip.  I was on the go much more than in my normal life so I guess my body and mind finally drew a line in the sand and forced me to stop and rest.

I’m very grateful that it manifested itself that way as it could have been much worse.

Today I peeled myself out of bed and made that trip to the store but that has been about it.  Once the groceries were put away, I jumped back into my jam jams and crawled back into bed where I have only just recently surfaced from to write this.

I’m not complaining, though I do feel like a slug.  Self care is very important and for me there is nothing more relaxing or rejuvenating to my spirit as laying in bed and doing a whole lotta nothing.

I will read, play games on my phone, snuggle and pet the doggos, scroll through social media and spend endless unproductive hours on tiktok.  As long as no one is depending on me for anything that day, I see nothing wrong with it.

Having said that, I do need to get back into some sort of exercise and diet.  I need to get a little bit of control and structure going as I feel like I’m spinning out of control in that aspect of my life.

It was okay at first because after ditching the booze I was just doing whatever I needed to do to survive and if that involved hoovering an entire chocolate cake down my throat in the span of ten minutes, so be it!

However, it has been over six weeks now and well, diabetes runs in my family.  Also, in the last couple of days I kind of feel like I have just traded one addiction for another.  And yes, I understand that one was a thousand times worse for me, but still – the way I’m eating isn’t healthy either and it is starting to trickle down to my husband.  You know, the one that had a heart attack a few years back and also has diabetes in his family?  Yeah.

So I have printed out recipes for the week and mapped out a plan in myfitnesspal for my daily menus and I’m going to get back at it.  In addition, it’s time to strap the running shoes back on my feet and start moving again.

I’ve run multiple half marathons in my past and all that training was done while drinking to blackout almost nightly, so asking myself to do a brisk walk for a half an hour on the treadmill isn’t that bad of a request right?  You wouldn’t think.

**paused my writing to go out and brush the dog — so make that TWO productive things I have done today**

So I’ve got the diet part ready to go, I just have to trust that I will eventually find the energy again to get some exercise in.  I know I will feel better if I do it, I always do.  It’s like they say that no one regrets not drinking the night before … I never regret actually getting a workout in, it’s just finding the motivation to get started that can be a royal bitch.

How was your weekend?

Day 43 — Thoughts On My Vacation…

We got home from our trip on Sunday night.  It was a rough day of traveling for me.  The flight was pretty bumpy for the first half but mostly smoothed out for the last three hours.  It didn’t help that the entertainment systems in the back of the chair in front of us weren’t working for some reason.  Being left up to my own thoughts on a plane flight when you are as afraid of flying as I am is not advisable. 😂 🤣

Thankfully there was wifi and phone chargers that worked.

First things first, I did NOT drink on this trip.  I will admit that the pull was there for the first couple of days.  As I said in my last blog, hotel rooms and drinking just go hand in hand for me and this was the first time being in one since I quit drinking.

Having just come off the 30 day alcohol experiment, it would have been very easy to say: “Welp, I’m done with that so I can drink if I want to, and this seems like a really good time to try moderating!” — But I knew exactly how that would go and there would be zero moderating.  Not only because I know I’m not capable of moderating, but because I wouldn’t want to.  The whole point of me wanting to drink because I was in a hotel room was to get obliterated, not to see if I could be okay with just one or two drinks.

I think I realized all of that the second day and having gotten through the first day alcohol free (though it was woefully short as we were exhausted and went to bed super early) made it that much easier to keep with booze-less theme.

By the third day it wasn’t more than a passing thought here and there.  Easily dismissed, and for that I was very thankful.

The trip that I took would not have been possible had I been drinking.  I mean, we still would have traveled to my hometown and stayed as long as I did, but we would not have been able to get all the things done we needed to.

I would have needed to sleep in until at least ten or eleven every single day to keep the worst of the hangover at bay.  That would have given us a late start that would have pushed the nighttime drinking even later which would start pushing out the sleeping in even more — Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

I would have been an emotional wreck that my mother wasn’t there for us to visit and about the fact that we had to collect her ashes and ship them back to the west coast.  In fact, I would have been emotionally distraught about pretty much everything.

And the anxiety … Oh my! I can just picture how horrible this whole trip would have been for me if my hanxiety was in full effect.  I know this because the last two trips I took to Vegas were like that.  And it would take me longer and longer into the drinking session to kill the hangover and finally start to feel better.  A vicious cycle that would eat up almost all the minutes in the day/night.

I’m happy to report that my anxiety was minimal this trip and was mostly related to the travel portion and getting my mom’s ashes back home.  Other than that, I was flying pretty free.  I did most of the driving (driving outside of my normal to and from work routine usually gives me a lot of anxiety) and felt perfectly fine.

And I’m very proud to say that this was a vacation that my husband and I really enjoyed despite the subject matter.  We haven’t really enjoyed a vacation together in years and I know that has a lot to do with my drinking (see examples of the easily emotional and anxiety above).  This time I could tell Hubs was able to relax and allow himself to have a good time instead of playing my nursemaid/babysitter the whole time.

All in all, I would have to say that my first sober vacation since I was a kid was a rousing success!  Did I want to drink?  Yes, initially.  Am I glad I didn’t?  I can’t even begin to tell you how glad I am that I didn’t.

Ironically, I wanted to drink when we got home.  Not right when we got home because that was two in the morning and I was exhausted, but the next day when we had the day off and had to do the day after vacation chores.  It was fleeting and only lasted about an hour, but it surprised me.  I realize that it sounds super naïve for me to say that I thought I was over that already when I’m only clocking 41 days today, but I guess I really did think that.

If I’m honest about it, I guess it’s because I really want to be over it.  I want the constant struggle to be over like magic because I have had a few good days, but I know that isn’t the way this works.

Instead, I will be grateful for the good days and know that on the bad days, the cravings aren’t lasting as long as they used to and my willpower feels like it’s getting stronger.

Day 34 — On Vacay

Well, I am here in my hometown on the east coast for my vacation.  I have not had a drink, so there is that.

The actual traveling part of the trip went relatively smoothly (no hiccups or delays – a non bumpy flight and the bus rides were peaceful) and for that I am thankful, but it was a LONG 24 hours of a lot of “hurry up and wait“.

After being awake for 33 hours, Hubs and I checked into our hotel around 3 in the afternoon and I was crashed out in bed by six.

Having said that, I will admit that there was a pull to drink.  Probably the strongest I’ve felt really since that first night when I quit a month ago.  As I stated in my last blog entry, I wasn’t quite sure if I was going to remain sober on this trip because I hadn’t had a vacation without drinking since I was a kid.  And I’m still not 100% sure, but I am proud to say that I have been able to resist so far.

However, the thought of and actual act of being in a hotel room was messing with my mind and still kinda does.

I mean, I used to deliberately stay in hotels in my town sometimes just so I could get rip-roaring drunk without any judgement.  I called them my “me-time weekends” and I would tell everyone that it was my time to just isolate and recharge my batteries by reading and watching movies and going swimming in the local hotel — and while I did do all those things, they weren’t the main event.  No, that was the vodka that I brought with me.  And sometimes I would drink just enough to get a pleasant buzz, but most times I would get blind drunk in the safety of the hotel room.

Other hotel times are usually Vegas related and well, in Vegas all bets are off.  I pretty much drank 24/7, but only got drunk at night once we were tucked into the safety of our hotel room for the night.

So you can see why it’s a bit uneasy-making to not be drinking whilst in this hotel.

I’m not gonna lie, when we went to the grocery store while waiting to check into the hotel I was so tempted.  I even contemplated just getting a bottle of wine. Vodka Villain™ was telling me that wouldn’t be as bad as my normal large bottle of vodka, but VV™ wasn’t really fooling me.  I knew that if I had that wine it wouldn’t even scratch the surface and then I would feel really shitty for having broken my streak of sober days, so I would have sent my husband out for vodka.  Better to just not have anything around.  Plus I knew that I was sooooo overtired that first night that it would have been a waste of a good drunk.  I would have been ready to pass out after the first two shots, but I would have kept drinking anyway until I was drunk and miserable.

So I didn’t get any.  But I got lots of food, in keeping with the whole “Xay isn’t going to lose any weight after ditching thousands of daily vodka calories because she is replacing them with sugar” theme, but I’m okay with that right now.

What was fantastic was the visit I had yesterday with my cousin.  She is one of my favorite humans on the planet and helped raise me when my parents couldn’t keep their hands off of each others throats.  She’s just a few years shy of 100 years old and still sharp as a tack, funny as all get out has a much busier social life than I do (which TBH, isn’t saying that much).

I loved that we stayed at her place for hours chatting and reminiscing with her.  I was 100% present and didn’t feel the need to rush things so I could get back to the hotel and get drunk like I normally would have.  It was so nice and as she is up there in years, I’m going to be very glad that I have those memories instead of regrets that I had stayed longer.

Tonight we are having dinner with a friend from high school.  She gave us a few options for places to eat and the one one we picked because it had most intriguing options for food, just happens to be a brewery.

Now this is weird, because I am having these visions of her getting a beer and asking if I want one and this shouldn’t make me feel tempted or uncomfortable but it does.  The reason it shouldn’t is because I wasn’t a beer drinker so there is no temptation to want to drink one other than to possibly make her feel more comfortable to not be having one by herself.

The other reason that this is bizarre is that if I was actively drinking, I would have no problem refusing a drink at dinner.  I’ve almost always done that anyway.  That’s the thing about being a closeted drinker.  I was always very careful to not drink much in public if at all.

So why am I all of a sudden weirded out at the thought that I might have to say no to a drink tonight?  It’s odd to me.

Anyway, it’s almost eleven and I’m going to hop in the shower to head out for lunch with another old school chum.  Just thought I’d check in to say I’m still fighting the good fight so far.

Day 28 — Sober Vacation?

I’m very close to completing the Live Alcohol Experiment.  It began on September 1st and it is no co-incidence that I started before my upcoming vacation.  In fact, the last day of the experiment is the day before we fly out.  That was by design as well.

You see, I am not a good flier.  I didn’t used to be so bad about it but over the years, like everything else in my life, the anxiety has gripped me tightly when it comes to plane travel (or any travel really) and I was hoping that if I put some distance between me and the booze, I would cool out a bit about it.

It’s true that my anxiety has diminished so very much since quitting drinking (and now thanks to Annie and the program, I know the science behind why it has!), but we will have to wait and see how I react when it’s time to fly.

I bring this up because with the end of the program and the start of my vacation comes decision time.  I guess I had always kind of thought I would go back to at least having some drinks once we get to our destination.  It’s my vacation after all and as I’m going to collect my mothers ashes, it’s not like it’s going to be a barrel of laughs the whole time.

I honestly don’t think I have had a vacation without drinking since I was a kid.  Even on a mostly sober trip when we traveled to Asia and stayed with relatives for two weeks, we took a couple of days off at a hotel where I had a few drinks.  All my other vacations have involved me drinking heavily at least 80% of the vacation (usually when we got back to the hotel for the night).  And of course there is Vegas, where I pretty much just stay drunk for a week.

However, the more I’ve stayed sober and done the work in the experiment, I just am not sure I want to drink anymore period.  And yet, there is that part of me that is yelling: “But It’s A Vacation!!!!”

So I guess I’m at a crossroads.

A couple of nights ago I mentioned to my husband that I still didn’t know what I was going to do about drinking on the vacation but I was leaning towards not drinking.

He responded saying that he just figured I wasn’t going to drink on the vacation.  He said that he didn’t see point.  Although he was quick to add that of course, if I wanted to, it wouldn’t be an issue.

But all my brain heard at that point was my husband stating that he didn’t think I was going to drink on vacation.

At which point my defensive Vodka Villain (VV™) jumped directly into my frontal lobe and started screaming: “WE NEVER SAID WE WEREN’T GOING TO DRINK WHILE WE ARE THERE!  WHERE IS HE GETTING HIS INFORMATION??”  and  “He’s going to ruin this vacation for us!  Hotel rooms mean drinking!  It’s just the way it is and he’s just silly if he thinks that is ever going to change!”  and  “Look at him, making that decision for us!  I mean, that whole experiment was cute and all, but does he really think that we are going to NEVER DRINK AGAIN??  That’s just STUPID!”

I quickly blocked out VV™ and chewed it over.  If I was honest (and isn’t there more and more of that happening lately?), then I had to admit that my vacations have been lackluster lately.  Well, first of all they have been very few and far between due to COVID, but they have all been alcohol soaked and anxiety ridden for the last few years.  Never making many plans because in my eyes, my vacation was for doing as much day drinking as possible.

Hubs and I have repeatedly said that the Asia trip was by far the best vacation we have ever had together and it’s true.  And the reason for that?  Honestly (there is that word again!) it’s because of the lack of booze.  Because there was very little drinking involved, I was not hungover.  Because I was not hungover, I had very little anxiety.  Because I was not hungover and had very little anxiety, we were able to get up early in the morning and seize the day.  And because of that, we had full days worth of doing all the touristy things as well as local hidden gems that our relatives took us to.  Then we would come home in the evenings and prepare food or order take out for dinner and go to bed feeling accomplished, having a wonderful sleep because our days had been so full of activity.

We remember that trip so very fondly.  I can’t think of a trip we have had in the last few years that we think of as warmly as that — and that includes the one where we renewed our vows for our 20 year anniversary!

Now I have no illusions that the small state that I grew up in will rival a culturally rich country that we had never been to before, but I think you can see where I am going here.

I have to say the draw of waking up in my hometown and going to visit the few relatives that I actually want to see without being hungover sounds very appealing.  As does the idea of spending quality time with them and not rushing through it so that I can get back to the hotel and drink.

I know that I’ve pretty much made my decision and that decision is not to drink.  As I told my husband after mulling all of it over: “If I were to drink, I wouldn’t want to to want have more than a couple of drinks and I know damn well that two or three drinks will do nothing for me (other than make me mad at myself for giving in).  I’ve never been a light drinker.  I drink to get drunk and if I’m not doing that, what is the point?  If I’m going to “drink lightly”, I’d be better off having a mocktail or two.  They would do the same for me (nothing) without the guilt.

We don’t have a whole lot planned this trip.  Not hanging out with my mom will free up a lot of time (Though I’d gladly give up that free time to hang out with my mom once more).  Honestly most of our plans involve visiting my favorite local restaurants that I grew up frequenting and going to see my bestie in the hospital.  This would normally make me very happy because that would mean lots of space for drinking at the hotel, but now it’s making me a little nervous. 

I’m not used to being sober in a hotel.  I don’t think I have been in decades.  I worry it’s going to make me itchy to drink.  However, I thought the same thing about my own house a month ago and I’m doing pretty well on that front currently. 

I think I’m overthinking it at this point.  There are going to be a LOT of new firsts for me in this sobriety journey if I’m going to stick with it and I just have to realize and accept that.  Look at it as a challenge.  I’m discovering a lot of things about myself that I didn’t think I could do before and that is kind of thrilling actually.

I need to change my mindset to think of it as exciting instead of scary.

What I am looking forward to for sure?  Sober packing!  I cannot tell you how many times I have had to open my suitcase whist hungover the next morning and repack because I couldn’t for the life of me remember what I had packed the night before.  I can’t wait to not wait until the last minute and actually KNOW what I packed and what I didn’t!  🤪🤪🤪

Day 24 — Sleep

In case anyone is wondering, I’m feeling better since my last post.  Not much about the circumstances have changed but I seem to be in a better place emotionally about it.  I also started working out that night, so that is probably helping.

At any rate, that isn’t what I want to talk about today.  Today, as I’m sure you have gathered from the title of this post, I want to talk about sleep.

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with sleep most of my life.

I had forgotten this about myself.  I had relied on the bottle to help me fall asleep for so long that I couldn’t really remember a time before simply just passing out.

However, since I have been actually been enjoying the decent sleep I have been getting this last week, I sat down and searched my memory for how I slept as a child/young adult.

I don’t remember a whole lot about my childhood before the age of 9 or 10.  I don’t know why, I just don’t.  But that would coincide with the first time my father left my mother.  He came back shortly after and left for good when I was 12 or so, but his first time leaving was when I was 10.

Anyhoo, I don’t remember my sleeping habits prior to that other than I didn’t like to go to bed.  What normal kid does right?  Mine was more about the fact that I knew my mind would hitch into overdrive and I would have the hardest time getting to sleep.  Heh, I was an over-thinker, even at a young age. 

My brother and I had bedrooms across the hall from each other for the year or two before my dad left (prior to that we shared a bedroom and I don’t remember having too many problems getting to sleep at that point).  We would each get time with my mother (that we called “minutes”) at bedtime.  She would come in and lay down in our little twin beds and set a timer for five or ten minutes and when that was done she would go to the other one and do the same.

After my dad left I took to coming downstairs and sleeping in my moms bed with her.  She technically never say I couldn’t and I think she enjoyed the company as she was newly separated.  Eventually she didn’t even bother trying to get me to go to my room for bed.  I don’t remember having problems getting to sleep when I was in her room.

I think I stayed sleeping in her bed probably almost up to my freshman year in high school I think.  Not quite sure of the timeline but that seems right.

Going back up to my own room, I began having problems getting to sleep again but I suffered through because I was a teenager for goodness sake and I couldn’t have my friends thinking I still slept with my mommy!

What this tells me is that I seem to have always had a problem getting to sleep when by myself in a room.  This entry isn’t about trying to psychoanalyze why I couldn’t easily get to sleep when I was younger, but that is interesting to note.

That lasted quite a while.  As I reached adulthood I seem to remember getting to sleep got a bit easier.  It might be because I got a TV in my room and could leave it on to block out my brain chatter while I tried to get to sleep.  Or it could just be that I had gotten a job and was more tired at night due to not sleeping in and being bored all day long.

Then I found booze.

Man, that sure did the trick!  20 plus years later, I found myself in a pickle when I couldn’t get to sleep without it. 

Since the 1st I have been doing pretty well.  The first day or two really sucked because my body had to adjust, but after that it has been pretty smooth sailing. In the beginning, I also took some holistic calmatives to help me sleep most nights. 

CBD oil and Orchex pretty well did the trick for me.  Lately I haven’t had to take anything.  I tuck myself into bed about an hour before I want to sleep and play on my phone and then read until bedtime and I’ve been pretty good at falling off within fifteen minutes of closing my eyes to sleep — usually sooner. *knocks wood*

Now that I’m sleeping relatively easily, I have to say that I absolutely love sleep!! The thought of going to sleep at night is no longer a scary thing for me.

I love snuggling up in the blankets and pulling up the kindle on my phone to read a bit (quit lit of course!).  I look soooooo forward to it, sometimes I watch the clock and wonder how soon is too soon to call it a night?  I’m usually tucked in bed by seven thirty.

Waking up when my alarm went off after drinking the night before, I would feel like I hadn’t slept a wink.  Even if I had been “sleeping” (passed out) for 12 hours I would wake up and feel like I had maybe gotten one or two hours of sleep.  Always groggy and cranky and desperate to hit the snooze button a million more times.

Now I wake up when my alarm goes off with relative ease.  Instead of smashing that last snooze button, I will pick up my phone and check a few social media accounts while snuggling with my doggos for a few minutes before getting up and hitting the shower.

My husband keeps commenting how he doesn’t have to pry me out of bed with a crowbar anymore.

I often think that all the snuggly time at night and the fantastic way that good sleep makes me feel is worth staying sober for all on its own.  I know that this will eventually become old hat and I won’t think too much about the whole sleep thing, but I will gladly revel in it for as long as I can.

Day 22 — The pink is fading…

Welp, so much for those pink f*cking clouds.

So I’ve been in a bad mood pretty much all the time for the last few days.  I’m not sure if it’s the not drinking thing or the fact that I’m going to be flying home in less than two weeks to pick up my mom’s ashes.

It’s probably a combination of each, if I’m honest.

I’m crying all the time, and if I’m not leaking from my eyes I’m internally FUMING about something that probably isn’t that big of a deal but it’s infuriating to me (nothing specific, just whatever pisses me off at that moment).

I’m not a good flier on a good day, but I haven’t flown in a few years and I’m really not looking forward to it.

Planning this trip has not been fun.  This will be the first time in EVER that I’ve gone home and not stayed with my mom.  Every time I had to do any sort of booking for this trip has resulted in me dissolving into tears when I realize I’m not going to see her.  Ever again.

To make matters worse, the one bright spot of the trip was seeing my best friend and she is now in the hospital.  She is parallelized from the chest down (with use of her arms) due to a botched back surgery a few years back and has a slew of health problems as a result.

She was recently sent to a hospital over an hour away from where she lives because it is the only one that had staff and beds to take her due to COVID and all the nurses quitting or getting fired for refusing the vaccine mandate (not trying to get political — also, covid should have never been politicized in the first place — but when I heard that, I was very sad.  I thought ppl in my home state were smarter than that — especially people whose main job is to make sure that people are safe and healthy) and it sounds like that particular hospital has their head up their ass as a whole and they are making life hell for her.

Example: She was admitted for many things but one was edema – lots of fluid filling up her body.  Her blood pressure was low (it has always run low) so they immediately started pumping her full of additional fluid.  To the point where she couldn’t breathe and literally thought she was going to die.

Are you f*cking kidding me????

I was pretty sure for a little while that she wasn’t even going to be alive for me to visit when I get there.

I digress.  The short of it is that now in order to visit her I will have to travel an hour and a half each way and put myself and my compromised husband at risk by visiting a hospital where there are lots of covid patients.

Re-booking this trip is not an option (though I really wish it was).  It’s been re-booked more than once and I need to get this done.

So yeah, there is a lot going on right now and I’m sure that the whole not drinking thing is just amplifying my bad thoughts and emotions.

If I were to step away and analyze it honestly, I know I would see that I would probably be so much worse if I were actively drinking through this.  In addition to everything else, I would be dealing with poor sleep and hangovers.  And I know my drunk self well enough to know that I would be absolutely inconsolable after a nights worth of drinking and would be screaming and crying at my husband every single night.

But who wants to be rational about that??  Not me.  I want to sit and whine that it’s not fair that I can’t have my “go to” for the last 20 years when I’m going through this.

So yeah.  That’s what’s going on with me.  But it’s been 21 days since my last drink.  Three weeks.  If I make it through today and tomorrow without a drink that will be the longest stretch of consecutive days I’ve had in the last 20 plus years.

So there is that.