Sunday, June 25, 2017

Yes, Sober Vacations are Fun!

Dear Readers,
I realize, that I am one of the lucky ones, being able to travel for vacations.
For this, I am grateful, because I know there are so many people who cannot do this.

We are back from Montreal and had a beautiful time exploring this city.
I was thinking about why people take vacations.
Mr. UT and I have taken vacations to relax, and also to explore new cities and countries. 
Now, traveling is stressful.

When we take relaxing vacations we go back to places we have been, so the stress is less.
But when we take exploring vacations, I find we grow the most, in terms of learning more about the world around us, as well as learning more about ourselves.

I find that the most meaningful memories are made when we push our boundaries a little bit.
It's the times we look back and say, oh wow, we finally figured out how to look for drug stores in another country. Or when we figure out how to get to an art gallery, walking with only a map, because we have no wifi.
Little things, and yet they show us we can learn.

Who goes on a vacation to drink?

I know when I was drinking, I would start in the airport, then have one on the plane, and one when we got to our hotel, more for dinner, and so on.
I usually did not get drunk on vacations, but I did drink a lot.
I would always have to take naps because I'd be so tired from all the drinking, and then I'd get headaches.

Of course I associated drinking on vacations as a way to relax, have fun, and escape reality.
But after having been on many sober vacations, I have changed my approach to vacationing, and I have learned to broaden my definition of what is relaxing or enjoyable.

I find being active in a city is so much fun. 
We walked miles in Montreal.
It was a treat to rent bikes and ride 30 kilometers, along a canal to see sculptures in a park.
We walked to museums, walked to dinner every night, and saw Cirque du Soleil.
We met a friend and her boyfriend and shared a meal at their house.

This trip was brighter and more colorful than my trips where I was still drinking. There were many tourists from around the world. I was aware of all the different languages and cultures I heard and saw. I engaged people I met, in stores, in restaurants, and the cab drivers, asking about them.

The color and brightness came from flags in the city, the circus, meeting people, the colorful rental bikes, the art work, the animals we met, and food we ate. It came from the horses hoofs on the cobblestone streets, the wind while riding our bikes, the lights at night.

There is so much more than drinking if I just allow myself to see it.
And this trip, definitely was the best sober one yet, perhaps because more time has passed, and I am stronger. Or perhaps because I had so much fun exploring, especially with Mr. UT by my side.

With a Deep Appreciation of All That I Have,
On Day 1,025,

Wendy


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Montreal Vacation

Dear Readers,
We are on vacation this 
week, in Montreal, Canada!

I am sorry I will be unable comment much on your blogs, as I am using our I Pad.
But I will try to read them, and like them, and catch up with comments when we get home.

The coffee here is super yummy!
The people so nice.
Not missing drinking at all.
I'm enjoying sparkling water and tonic water with lime at our dinners and on our roof top terrace. 

I learned a few basic words in French, and this is what I say...

Je suis désolé, je ne parle pas français
...which means, I am sorry, I do not speak French!

While I was watching the news, there was a report about the opioid addiction problem
in Canada. The Canadian Health Board approved three safe injection sites in Montreal.
Here is the news article.


Hugs to all of you,
On Day 1,020,

Wendy

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Coolest Thing Ever!

Dear Readers,
Mr. UT and I rarely go out to movies, because I can not hear most of the dialogue.
We watch most movies at home so I have closed caption.
(See this post about my cochlear implant.)
So I was so surprised there is a really cool device that you can get closed caption on movies in theaters!


We saw Wonder Woman, and I was amazed at how much I could now understand by reading. Jokes were the best! I laughed right along with other people!

I am so happy about this!
Not all movies have closed caption, but the major ones all do.

Now, I have to say something about movies.
I used to think of going to movies as a time to drink. Before the movies, at the movies, and after the movies.
In fact, how I could watch a movie and not drink was beyond me.

I am not proud of this fact, but one time I left Mr. UT in the theatre and went to have a drink by myself at a bar. Ugh.

This time we kind of went nuts, and had popcorn, Twizlers, and Peanut M&M's.
It cost us a mint, but how much fun munching and crunching and reading through the movie!!

Every time I post a picture of us smiling, it's a real thing. The smiles are real, the happiness is real. We are in a far better place not drinking. 
In my drinking past, the smiling photos would have a lot of pain about my drinking behind them. 
I want to show everyone that you can be sober, have good times, live life, kiss, and look forward to more!
  
Dinner Outside
With Movies and Junk Food,
On Day 1,012,

Wendy




Friday, June 9, 2017

Friday In The City

Dear Readers,
It's Friday in the great city of Minneapolis!
You can't be bored here, as there is really so much to do!
Of course, I'm not doing it!
It's 11:30 am, and I am still in my pajamas!
In my defense...well, ever mind, I have no defense!

The bed is made, the dishes put away, and I have played my computer games.
Mr. UT is out painting.
I am trying to get the motivation to get into the shower and get myself to yoga.
I can do this!

It's supposed to be very hot and humid this weekend, so hubs and I are planning our movie dates! Alien for sure! I never go to chick flicks, or anything that will make me cry. I don't cry quietly!

One of the things I do at my volunteer position, for the Steve Rummler Hope Foundation, is pack kits with Naloxone, the drug that will help people come out of an overdose due to opioids. One of the darling people I volunteer with, was saved by this drug, and is now sober. 

I also met a woman who received training and a kit, and was able to save her high school daughter. I met the daughter as well. These are just two of the many people who would have probably died, without this drug. 

I really love volunteering, as it gets me out of my own head, and at the same time, I feel so happy I can help someone.

That's all I have today!
I am looking forward to a grateful, sober weekend!

With Air Conditioning,
And a Fan,
On Day 1,009,

Wendy

P.S. - We made plans to travel to Montreal, Canada!
I'm so excited! 
It's supposed to be a very cool city to visit.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

1,000 Days!


Dear Readers,

I reached 1,000 Days today!
I can hardly believe it!
I remember when other people reached 1,000 days, and I was in awe of them!
Now I am here, too!

Mr. UT surprised me with a delivery of long stem roses, and a sweet card, that had a special meaning.
When we were dating in high school, he would leave little things in my locker.
One time he left a big purple paper flower, with the note, "To the Flower of My Heart."


I have lost and gained things these past 1,000 days and nights.

I have lost 1,000 days of heartaches, hangovers, and hiding bottles.
I have lost 1,000 nights of drunk driving and hot sweaty sleep.
But most of all, I have lost 1,000 days of self-loathing, guilt and shame.

I have gained 1,000 days of calmness, self-esteem, and kisses from hubs.
I have gained 1,000 days of helping other people in their recovery.
But most of all, I have gained 1,000 days of peace of mind and freedom.

How I got here really was a day at a time. A moment by moment decision that I didn't want the drinking life anymore. It had stopped bringing me fun, and was bringing me far more pain. It wasn't easy, and I so wanted to be able to keep drinking. 
But I just couldn't.
Now I find I don't want to drink anymore!

I debated about buying myself a treat to celebrate, but in the end, I decided I didn't want anything. I am blessed with the love of Mr. UT. I am blessed with all the things I have lost and gained after 1,000 days. That is enough.

With 1,000 Hugs to all of You for Helping Me,
On Day 1,000,
Wendy 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Life Is Not Fair

Dear Readers,
It's finally partly sunny here, after many days of rain.
Or maybe it's partly cloudy.
I never can understand the difference between those two weather phrases.

I think life is like that.
It's part sun and part clouds.
Sometimes it's raining, and sometimes it's not.
Like the weather, it's unpredictable.

I am working hard to challenge myself on my thinking that I am a victim in life.
I am not.
Life is not fair.
It never will be.
That is the truth of the matter, and the only thing I can do is to meet life with a brave heart.

Role models help me do this.
All the sober people on-line, and in real life, are role models for me.
All the women in my family, have all been role models.
People past and present, those who have seen more rain than sun, but continue with faith, are role models.

I recognize that I am far more optimistic, now that I am sober.
When I was younger, I used to be sunny person, but later when my drinking got heavy, I complained a lot more, about my job, my health, other people, everything.

I am slowly working my way back to accepting that I will have problems because that is life.
Everyone has problems, in one way or another.
I am learning I can accept my feelings, that they are normal human emotions, but I don't have to stay in them.
I can think differently, look at things from another point of view, and my feelings change, or become less intense.

Life is constantly changing.
It ebbs and flows, sometimes too fast for me, sometimes too slow.
But I am powerless to stop the change.

I did not choose to have a problem with alcohol.
I know my father didn't either.
But we did.
And it is with a brave heart, and much faith, that I continue staying sober.

With Love,
On Day 994,
Wendy

Friday, May 12, 2017

Self-Growth

I was hungry!


Dear Readers,
I find that using photos helps me write, for some reason.
They are another way I can express what I am trying to say.

Last week, Mr. UT and I went for a walk around one of our favorite parks, where there is a cool restaurant, so we stopped by, and sat outside to have a bite to eat.
I make Mr. UT take photos of us, which he will do, although sometimes reluctantly.

Our feelings and thoughts here were of fun, love and connection. When we go for walks, it gives us time to connect, and talk about life.

Now, we do squabble, but not nearly as often as we did when I was drinking.
And then some of our fights were about my drinking.
I am learning to breathe in and out, which gives me time to pause before I say something to hubs I might regret.
We have been married so long, that we have numbered our disagreements, i.e., how many suitcases I need for a weekend away is fight #10.

I am still learning.
I am learning how to be kinder, to myself and hubs.
I am learning how to listen.
I am learning how to not try to "fix" someone.
I am learning how to motivate myself.
I am learning how to support other people who are working on being sober.
I am learning how to detach with love, from other people and outcomes when needed.
I am learning so much.

I saw this quote on the Women for Sobriety newsletter, that is sent to me each week:

"Be patient with yourself.  Self-growth is tender, it's holy ground.  There is no greater investment"  -Steven Covey


I am still learning how to live sober.
This is something I will always be learning.

With Love,
On Day 981,
Wendy