Saturday, September 24, 2016

Being the Cool Sober People

Dear Readers,
Something cool happened last night!
Mr. UT and I went to a trendy downtown place to eat.
We brought along a bottle of Fre Brut (alcohol free champagne).

When we showed it to the waiter, he told us his girlfriend doesn't drink, and he was interested in how this tastes. We told him to have sip.

Then one of the managers came over and asked if she could try it.
We said, sure!
They both came back later and said it tasted like one of their real champagnes.

Having people actually wanting to taste our AF drink was a new one for us!!
It made dinner so fun!
I really did feel like one the cool people, not drinking!

I have to say this was the first dinner where I really felt free being sober.
It's such a wonderful feeling!

Much Love,
Wendy

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Life I am Making

Our Evening Walk..Minneapolis
Dear Readers,
I am slowly understanding the effects that drinking had on my life.
It kept me from participating in a full life.
It kept me trapped in my child-self, the one that wants what she wants right now.
It kept me trapped by keeping me inside, in the dark bars.
It kept me away from being close to my husband.
It kept me away from learning how to be an adult.

It has taken me awhile to appreciate all that I have learned. 
I sometimes think I haven't grown fast enough in my recovery, but then I look back and realize I am making progress!

One of the greatest things I have learned is that life is what I make it.
If I chose a word of the year, it might be "action".
I can let inertia take over, and when I do that, I always find I get down.
I can't wait until I "feel" like doing something, I have to just do it.
I have to "show up" for things.
Which for me is easier said than done at times, especially on grey days.
I have found that outside accountability helps me.
That's one of the reasons I told so many people about my sobriety...the accountability.

I can't let fear stop me from living a fuller life.
I was so afraid to pick someplace to volunteer, afraid I would be tied there forever, or that somehow I would be making a "wrong" choice.
Once I faced my fears, and just asked to help, I am finding so much happiness meeting new people, learning new skills, and going out of my comfort zone. 

(My volunteer job is working with a small non-profit foundation that helps people with opioid addictions. I am putting the link to their website here.) 
Our Favorite City Park

In the past few weeks, I have:
- Been to a cabin with friends - Hosted a dinner party where nobody drank alcohol
- Hiked and walked with hubs
- Golfed with hubs and friends
- Volunteered
- Been to meetings
- Seen friends at coffee shops and at my house
- Been to yoga
- Read several books
- Been to doctors, as I had a small kidney stone (not fun)

As I am retired, I count myself very lucky I have this time to give of myself as well as time for myself. But I also see that life goes by very fast. I can't take anything for granted anymore. 
Falls...Up North
That includes my sobriety. I am so grateful that I am sober today.

With a Cup of Coffee, On Day 749,
Wendy

PS - Hubs will have his operation in two weeks.
We both have been calm while waiting, and just have been going on with our daily routines.



Saturday, September 3, 2016

2 Years!!

Year Two 
Dear Readers,
On September 4th, I am 2 years sober!
As I was looking back at my one year post, I noticed that much what I said then, still holds true now, so I am reposting it below.

Dear Readers,
Today I have been alcohol free for 366 days!
As I write this, I am sitting up on a deck by a beautiful lake in northern Minnesota, with my good friends, and of course my cute hubs.

The weather is absolutely perfect.

And I am good.

So what I have learned about not drinking?

1. Alcohol is not romantic. I had to really work on this. If anything, it made me too tired to have a nice night with my Loved One. Romantic is sharing conversation, holding hands, candles, smiles, and love. 


2. It took awhile. I had horrible urges when I first tried to quit, and I was not able to cope with them. I was very close to going on antabuse if the urges hadn't gotten better. But then, they did! 


3. No one cares if I don't drink. It's just my own perceptions that need changing.


4. I can choose to make myself miserable or happy about not drinking.


5. It is a change, and I need time to adapt to living a different way, learning to live life one day at a time. 


6. I couldn't do this alone. I needed and still need people to help me. Only people with an alcohol addiction really know what it's like. I love my on-line community, my AA community, my doctors, my yoga teachers and buddies, and family and friends.


7. I am learning to deal with depression and anxiety, again. I had them before my drinking got heavy. Then I started to try to drink all those feelings away. It surprised me that they didn't go away, and if anything are coming to forefront again. However, I no longer have the terrible  alcohol induced depression and anxiety. I am so thankful for that!


8. I love my yoga practice!


9. Giving up drinking does not solve all my problems. There are no easy fixes, except for these:

I no longer have the problems of drunk driving, falling down, sloppy speech, blacking out, hangovers, waking up in cold sweats, spending money, and hanging out in bars for hours. 
I am very happy not to make any more problems for myself, as I have enough normal ones!

10. Being scared is normal. I was very scared. I was scared of losing friends, coping without drinking, and going to meetings. But that went away with time.


In the future it is my hope and dream that I can keep letting go of the anxiety around not drinking. I have made great strides, but this is an area I still need to work on. The same goes for the "poor me, I can't drink" thoughts that can pop up at dinner parties, which are connected to some social anxiety.


I am working to grow spiritually as well as emotionally, because I know some of my problems are from lack of growth in these areas.


If you are still struggling, I want to encourage you to never give up. I know it takes work. It is one of the hardest things I have ever done. Keep searching for the best ways to help yourself. If one way isn't working try something else. I knew I needed to do everything, so I did everything. 


The best gift from being sober is peace of mind.

To all of you dear readers, I not only thank you for your help and support, I wish you a wonderful, glorious day!

With Much Love from the Northern Woods,
On Day 731,
Wendy

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Some Worry, Some Faith

Dear Readers,
Yesterday we learned that Mr. UT will need an operation to remove a large colon polyp.
We met with the surgeon, and she walked us through what needs to happen.

The polyp is large and close to the top of the colon, so it has to be removed by surgery.
This type is precancerous, and as she explained, it can hide cancer cells in it.
It will have to be biopsied when it is removed.

She will try to remove it with a scope, but chances are, it will have to be removed by cutting it out, as well as part of the colon.
The colon will then be reattached. 

This of course can have side effects, including problems with bowel movements, and a possible chance of leakage where the colon is reattached.

I am nervous.
Mr. UT is nervous.
I have been through 11 operations.
Mr. UT has only been through one, his tonsils out when he was a little kid.
He will have to stay in hospital for about five days, and it takes about a month before he can go back to work.
The surgeon did not give us a, "Oh, I probably can get it with the scope."
She wants to be careful because it is easy to poke a hole in the colon, and that is another reason she would cut it out.

Mr. UT gave me the go-ahead to write about this, which is pretty cool, since he is way more private than I am!
I wish he could have the operation soon, but it won't be until early October. 
So this just sits there, in the back on my mind.
I know the anxiety we feel is normal.

All we can do is trust that all will go well.

With a lot on my mind,
Love,
Wendy and Hubs

Monday, August 22, 2016

Happy Anniversary to Us!

Our Wedding!
Dear Readers,
Yesterday was our 40th wedding anniversary!
Yikes! That's a long, long, long time!
Mr. UT and I are high school sweethearts, meeting in 11th grade.
We went steady for 7 years before getting married.
And here we are...47 long years later!

We celebrated by going out to dinner, golfing, and biking!
And eating ice cream!
I kept thinking we should be having a big party or something, but in the end, a simple celebration was perfect. 

One of the things I love about being sober, is that we are becoming more active again.  
We always used to go skiing, hiking, and camping.
We learned how to golf together, although hubs is way better than I am!
Biking to Minnehaha Falls 

Right now, my favorite activity to do together is biking.
I feel so free when I am on my bike!

When my drinking slowly increased, I found I was so focused on drinking or getting a drink, that much of what I thought about became, "When or where can I go to get a drink?"
Golfing became about getting beer. 
Skiing became getting a drink on the hill.
Then I would be so tired, and I would not want to do anything.
Friday nights became all about drinking.
Now, our Friday nights are about going for a walk.

We are, without a doubt, so much happier now that we are not drinking. This does not mean everything is perfect.
But it does mean we argue less, overreact less, laugh more, and love more deeply.

With Much Love on Day 718,
Wendy and Mr. Ut

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Happy Times

Dear Readers,
Last week was a time of celebrations.
My Cute Neighbor
It was my birthday, and I also celebrated 23 months sober! 

My birthday was filled with golf with a friend, coffee dates, a dinner date, and lots of love.
It was perfect.
I also did a dog walking for a neighbor's dog! 
I loved that! 
He's a cutie pie!

Flowers are filling my life right now. 
Hubs and I bought a beautiful planter, and I put vincas in it.
I also bought myself some yellow roses for inside the house, and I think that will be a weekly treat from now on.

Flowers!
I continue to work on my mind-set and self talk.
If I want the good things to continue in my life, I have to go get them.
I tend to discount the positives of doing something, and focus on the negatives.
I love to go a particular yoga class on Saturday morning, but when it comes around, I often talk myself out of it, saying, "It's too early, and I can't do it."
But when I go, I love it!
I see some wonderful yoga buddies, and my body feels good afterwards!

I can talk myself out of anything, because my first default thinking is, "It's too hard!"
I have been putting off writing this post, because I couldn't think of something to say, so today, after yoga, I just decided I would start typing. 

For those of you who are newer to my blog, I added a feature post that tells you why I stopped drinking. (It's on the right side of my blog page.)
I continue to get support from my yoga buddies and teachers, family, friends, and AA buddies.

I think it's important to celebrate this accomplishment.
Whether it's 1 day or 700 days, it's something to be proud of.
Every day I choose to stay sober, means I am choosing life.
It means I am choosing to make the world around me a little bit better.
It means big smiles from my cute hubs.
It means I am free.

With Flowers and a Fur Friend,
On Day 702,
Love, 
Wendy

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Pain

Just a Little Bass
Dear Readers,
Mr. UT was on vacation last week, and we decided to stay home and "play" outside.
We went golfing, fishing, canoeing, biking, and hung out on our deck.
It got super hot a few days, but we managed to still have fun!
We are lucky to live in a beautiful state with many lakes, bike paths, and places to enjoy nature.

Today my body is hurting. I never know when it will hurt, or how long it will hurt. 
To help feel better, I said a prayer to all the other people who are suffering with pain, and sent them healing thoughts. I went outside in the sun. I fed the birds and watered my flowers.
But most of all, I was very gentle with my body. I didn't yell at it, and I didn't get in despair.
I took some big breaths and moved slowly. 
When my body hurts, I know that I need to move. Sitting for long makes it worse.

I think of all the people in pain; emotional, physical, or mental. There are many of us.
So many people look for relief but can't find it.
It's no wonder so many of us end up being addicted to something.

Now I am not using drinking as a way to deal with my pain, so I am finding new ways to help myself.
For my emotional pain, I am learning how to change my thinking, to examine my thoughts.
My thoughts are not always true. I am also learning that I will be hurt once in awhile. 
That's life. It's not always fair.
I am learning that I am very loved, and when I feel my worse, if I reach out to help someone else, I feel better almost at once. I am learning to get out of my own head and act. Often I over think something, and that makes me feel worse.

To help me with the mental pain of depression, I am learning to do the same...to examine the thoughts that lead me to feeling depressed. I often over generalize those thoughts. My depression is often linked to my physical and emotional pain, so when I help that pain, my depression eases.

I have been learning how to deal with my physical pain from my yoga teachers, PT, books, and other people. Often, I need help with this, and I ask someone to meet me for coffee or a walk, so that I am "forced" to get up and move. Because I find that if I just sit at home all day, feeling sorry for myself, I feel worse.

Today, I texted an AA friend and told him I was going to the meeting. That makes me get up and go. I am always glad I go. I hear such wonderful stories of strength and hope, and it always uplifts me.  And just maybe, someone will hear something I say and it will help them.

With Much Love to All of You Beautiful Blogger Friends,
Wendy
On Day 691

PS - Thank you for your wonderful comments on Mr. UT's post!