Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Party Plans

Dear Readers,
I am hosting a New Year's Eve party at my house!
I was so anxious, NOT because of having alcohol in the house, but because,
WHAT WOULD I MAKE?
I hate cooking.

So my Loved One and I made chili. 
We bought everything else.
We cleaned the house, which I do like.

Good friends are coming, and we plan on eating, playing games and laughing.
I am proving to myself, that I don't need to drink to be fun.
It's all good.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Grounded on Day 115

Dear Readers,
I am feeling grounded today.
Tired from traveling and visiting, but so happy, happy, happy, 
I didn't drink.

Except for Christmas Eve, I didn't have any urges, and never felt sorry for myself, even during a dinner and all day Christmas where other people were drinking. I felt more like myself than I have in a long time. (I even liked my crabby self! LOL) 

Such a sweet feeling, one I want again. 

Everyone says it only gets better, the longer you are sober. 
All the bloggers say so.
All the women in Women for Sobriety say so.
All the AA people say so.
All the people who quit on their own say so.

So I will believe them and keep on counting!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Loving, Loving, Loving

Dear Readers,

I am in a better place today.
I went to out to dinner with some special people, and had a lovely time.
I looked great in my hot, black dress! LOL
I couldn't hear all that well with my new implant, but I didn't get all wigged out about it.
I didn't want to drink.
Thank goodness, I was in a good place.
I felt very loved.

I have 3 more parties to attend.
If I can keep everything in perspective, I will have a nice time.
I don't need to have a "super fun" time .
I don't need to be all hyper and revved up.
I just need a warm, happy, loving connection with people I love.

They would like that too! LOL
Last night my Loved One was so proud of me!
(He really liked my dress too!)

So today, as I get ready, I'll remind myself, by not drinking, I can be loving, not only to all my family and friends, but also to myself.

Friday, December 26, 2014

It's Been A Hard Day's Night

Dear Readers,

On Christmas Eve day, I had some urges to drink. 
I also had a few "I miss champagne" feelings.
Now, I had just finished a hot yoga class and was hungry.
I didn't have any breakfast, or a snack before I went.
That has been trigger for me in the past.

I just let the feelings go away, and talked my way through them. 
I got myself a coffee, did my Christmas pie errand, and came home.

But I have to say, this is the first time in a while where I really missed drinking.
It's a hard time of year to not drink, with all the parties, dinners, the hustle and bustle. 

I know I do not want to drink, but still, those "romantic" feelings linger.
It's the memories of the times I could moderate, the many times I did enjoy drinking without overdoing it. 

Stopping drinking is forcing me to form new patterns of thoughts, words, and deeds. 
It's forcing me to meet all that life offers, without drinking.
Can I be fun at parties, can I overcome my social anxiety, can I deal with stresses on my health, can I just live life as it comes, WITHOUT drinking it away?

I am hoping the answer is yes. It is right now, and that's all I can do.

(Day 113 or 16 weeks)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Laughing is Better!

Dear Readers,

I am in a strange pattern of sleeping until 10:00 am. By the time I get my body into gear, it's almost noon! YIKES! Then I'm not tired until 2:00 am!
Now in my defense, it is cold, dark, and we have had no sun for about 3 weeks. 
Oh, and I am retired with no kids.
I also have a Loved One who still works and takes care of himself.

Now, my Loved One and I are trying to get me into a different sleeping pattern.
When he leaves for work at 7:00 am, he turns on the big light in the bedroom and shakes me awake! LOL

Then he sends me a message on my cell telling me to wake up! 
(It's in a different room and I can't hear without my all my hearing stuff!)
It's so funny!
And, IT DOESN'T WORK!
(I still sleep until 10, just not as well with the light on.)

I got more done yesterday than I thought I would. I even organized a couple of closets!

Usually, I wait to do anything until just before my Loved One comes home. 
Then I jump up, run around, and it looks good!
He always knows though, because my reading and television chair is still warm! LOL

For Christmas I wanted to give him some shirts. Now, he is a picky guy when it comes to his clothes. I can't pick things out for him, SO, I threw him my credit card and he ordered his own shirts on-line! 
They came in the mail, and look great.
He wanted me to wrap them.
I just put them under our "tree". 
(See my First Picture!)


Now there is a reason I am writing about all of this. I would MUCH rather laugh with life than not! When I was drinking too much, it brought less fun and more pain into both of our lives.

Life is too short for that. 
Peace

Monday, December 22, 2014

All Will Be Well on Day 109

Dear Readers,

Here I sit in one of my favorite coffee shops, reading sober blogs, and writing mine.
Just came from my yoga practice, and feel relaxed.
I feel so relaxed, calm and centered right now.
I wish I could bottle up this feeling, carry it with me, pull it out when I get stressed,
And sprinkle it all over.

Maybe some people can keep this feeling, but I'm not there yet.

I can practice stopping my thoughts, however. So when I am in a tizzy, I can stop those thoughts, and tell myself, "All will be well." 
And things WILL be all right.
Things always turn out, even if they don't turn out how I wish them to be.

Soon I'll leave the shop, do a few errands, and go home to pick up the house. 
(The mess is all mine! LOL)
Christmas shoppers are out and things are a little crazy, 
BUT, 
It will be okay.

I wish you all peace.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Twinkle Lights and Lovely Nights

Dear Readers,

My Loved One is putting up lights around the banister, inside and outside, so we have twinkle lights!

He let me sleep until 9:30 day, fed me donuts, and coffee!
I am such a lucky girl!

I decided last minute to get tickets to see the Christmas Carol tonight. We used to go to plays before my hearing went bad. So tonight is another test of my implant! I am so hopeful. 

Going out to a play means we will go out to dinner.
In the past, I'd have several drinks with dinner, then another one or two before the play, maybe one during the intermission, and then of course I'd fall asleep.

But not this time.
THIS time,
I will focus on the beauty of good food, a pretty dress.
I will focus on what I can hear.
I will focus on the love of my Loved One.

It really is all about gratitude. 
Tonight I will see the twinkle lights,
And tomorrow morning?
I'll be so happy to wake up sober.

(Even at 11:00! LOL)

Friday, December 19, 2014

15 Weeks or 106 Days

Dear Readers,

I kind of like counting days for now. It's almost like having a little mini-celebration every day!

I slept until 11:00 today. YIKES!
My Loved One calls me a Koala! LOL (They sleep up to 20 hours a day.)

I have been struggling over my post. I can't seem to get my thoughts in any order.
Then I thought, it's okay. Just for today, I'll do what I can. 

I am still sick with bad head cold.
It is cold and cloudy.
We didn't put a tree up. (Wish I did now.)
I am not sleeping well.
I have some mild depression.

And yet?
I am so very happy.
I am so thrilled I don't have to fight myself about drinking or not drinking.
I am so thrilled I'm not driving drunk.
I am so thrilled I'm not hiding bottles from my Loved One.
I am so thrilled I'm not calling or e-mailing while drunk.

I have something I never had when I was drinking too much.
I have Peace of Mind.
That is such a wonderful gift.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

My First Sober Dream!

Dear Readers,

Several nights ago, I had a dream about being sober. It was my first one ever! I thought it was cool.

I don't remember all of it, but I was meeting a young woman who wanted to stop drinking. We were meeting in a fancy mall here in my city. When I got there, she was sitting at the table with a big glass of red wine! (Fancy THAT!)

I remember I was surprised to see her drinking, because I thought she wanted to stop. As we were talking, I remember she was coming up with excuses of why she couldn't stop.  She had young children and was under a lot of stress. I remember I was telling her she could stop and it would be so much better.

I also remember I hadn't persuaded her to stop.

I know I always had excuses why I didn't want to stop drinking, even when it was bringing more pain than fun. I just thought it was the only way to deal with stress. I thought it was the only way to celebrate things. After I retired, it became the way I tried to stop feeling lonely.
I also know, I didn't stop until I was ready. No one could talk me into it.

At the end, she was gone, and I was in a place ordering a non-alcoholic drink called "Blueberry Fizz". Even though I was unable to help her, I was so glad I kept sober in this dream! And who knows? Maybe she is sober now, and I'll meet her in my next dream!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Change the Story

Dear Readers,

Today I had lunch with a dear friend. I noticed I was telling her one of my "grievance" stories.  This was a story where I felt hurt by someone. I have several grievance stories I keep alive by telling and retelling them to myself or anyone who will listen. Now after I tell her this story, I realize, I am feeling depressed. 

When I was drinking, I would tell my drinking buddies all my "poor me" stories. By the time I was through, my life looked miserable. Except, the alcohol was LYING to me. My life is good.

I have a choice. I can let go of grievances or I can take action. Either way, it's time to stop the retelling of stories that cannot be changed. Why would I want to keep hurting myself? They only hurt me. They only make me depressed, angry, or sad over and over again. 

Like a movie, "Nightmare on Groundhog Day". (LOL)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

100 Days and Still Counting!

Dear Readers,

If there is one message I want to share, it is one of HOPE. No matter how many times I stopped drinking and started again, I NEVER GAVE UP. There were times I felt utterly hopeless, to be sure, but when those feelings passed, I committed myself to stop drinking again.

I want to carry this message in my brain forever, maybe tattoo it there! LOL 

Because this message is one for me to remember in all areas of my life, whether it be recovering from an operation, learning how to hear, dealing with my depression, and even simple things like cleaning the house! 

Today, my Loved One is taking me shopping for a new yoga top! Then we'll join friends for some live music, and then we'll go to dinner. I used to think a person didn't need to celebrate for every little thing. But now I wonder. I am thinking its good to stop, cheer a little bit before I carry on in daily life. And even better, find all the things I can celebrate IN my daily life!

Here's to the next 100 days!

Friday, December 12, 2014

99 Days Of…

Dear Readers,

Here's a short song for you!

(Sing to the tune of 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.)

99 Days of No Bottles of Wine

99 days of no bottles of wine,
99 days of no bottles,
I took them down,
Smashed 'em on the ground,
99 days of no bottles of wine!

(No glasses of wine either.)

HA!
Who says sober isn't funny. Okay, well maybe not me, but other sober people are!
When I was younger, I used to get tipsy and could be funny. Later in my drinking life, I just got drunk, and started saying things I THOUGHT were funny, but were not. (Picture mortified Loved One as I told a highly personal sex story about us at a dinner party.) 

One more day until I reach Belle's 100 Day Challenge
And I am very happy.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Sick and Tired

Dear Readers,

It's been a long week. Fighting a cold, having many doctor appointments, and learning to hear is tiring. Now being tired is normal. But I get mad about it. I think I shouldn't be tired. I think I should be able to go and do everything even if I am sick. 

That makes no sense. LOL

I think I don't want to miss out on something, or that I won't live up to my or other people's expectations. LIke writing this blog. If I don't feel good enough to write it, then that's ok. But I feel guilty. 
Or going to yoga. If I don't have the energy to go because I am sick, then I should rest and not go. But again, I feel guilty. 

If I have to cancel a lunch date, I feel as if I am letting other person down. The guilt comes again! This kind of guilt is so useless. It doesn't help me change for the better. It just makes my life harder. 

Unrealistic expectations and misplaced guilt led me to drink. I couldn't accept I was a normal person. I had to try to be perfect. Which as I am learning, is not possible. This is where I need to learn to let go of my tight hold on life. To learn to be an average, normal person. 

And so, the only thing I need to do today is take care of myself. 
(Luckily for me, my Loved One takes care of himself!) 

(Oh -  and I do apologize for this imperfect post! LOL)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Finding Light Around The World

Dear Readers,

In December, darkness comes so soon. Gray days haunt me. I run around the house turning on EVERY light! It's the only way I can cope with my depression and low energy, without moving to the Southwest. (LOL) 

Drinking was one way I tried to cope with dark days, dark thoughts, and dark feelings. As I sit here on another gray day, I am thankful I can find light. I am thankful that I live in a place where I can go to a meeting if I wish, where I can get good treatment, where I can call someone.

I am also thankful for all the people around the world who are showing me their light. They are sober. They might be happy or sad, but they KNOW they are better off not drinking, and by sharing their story, they light the way for more people to stay sober. Like me! 

And, I hope I can keep the light on for somebody else, by sharing my story, hopes and dreams! It's all each one of us can do, really. Just share what works for us.

Oh, and my Loved One? He keeps showing me the electric bill!

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Lot Of NOISE

Dear Readers,

I am still learning how "hear" with my new cochlear implant. Much of what I hear still sounds like noise! Music especially, is hard for me to understand. To re-train my brain, I have been listening to music non-stop and it slowly is making some sense to me. 

Really, that is the same way I am learning not to drink. I am re-training my brain to think differently. Wolfie, (Thank you, Belle), wanted me to think the ONLY way to cope with life was drinking. Wolfie made a LOT of noise in my head! 

What is my brain learning?

I am learning to let go of things I really have no control over. 
(This is MOST things in life!)
I am learning to calm the anxiety with mantras, yoga, prayer, and mediation.
I am learning to take care of myself. 
I am learning to talk to people before I get all wigged out over something!
I am learning the world does not revolve around me! 
I am learning most things in life take time. (This is a hard one for me!)
I am learning I don't need to do everything at a breakneck speed. A walk is ok.
I am learning I don't need to "be" anymore than I am right here, writing this. 
I am learning there is no perfect.
I am learning A LOT MORE, and when I think of them, I'll tell you!

But as I go through each sober day, this one thing is clear;
I am learning to make music where once there was noise.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

PIG

Dear Readers,

I read this someplace on-line: It's called the

Problem of
Immediate
Gratification
(PIG)

LOL

When I was drinking, I couldn't wait for a drink. "I need wine and I need it now!" 
Like a little kid throwing a tantrum. If I couldn't get it, I'd sometimes sulk. If we were out shopping, I would want to stop for a drink in the late afternoon. My Loved One would say, "Just wait."  But I wanted a drink right then and there. 

Now that I am NOT drinking, I realize just how much alcohol had taken over my self-control. Just the thought of not getting it made me feel almost frantic. 

PIG used to carry over to other parts of my life too, like shopping. Oh, but I NEED to buy those 5 pairs of shoes, 2 handbags, makeup, earrings,…well you get the idea. 

But as I am growing up, (it's NEVER to late), I now know I can wait. I am discovering waiting is kind of nice. It's relaxing to not feel the rush to drink, buy, have, do everything right now. 

I AM hoping now this carries over to Candy Crush. My Loved One hopes that too! 
But one thing at a time, and a little candy never hurt anyone!

Friday, December 5, 2014

No Better Gift

Dear Readers,

There is only one, true gift to give myself, and that is being sober. Without that I really have nothing. It is only with this gift that I can find joy in life. 

I can go to yoga, go for a walk, and take pictures of the snow-covered park.

I can sit in my beautiful city, drinking coffee at a fun coffee shop, and write on my laptop. 
I can drive safely home, read a book, drink tea.

I can kiss my Loved One hello, call a friend, eat a good dinner. I can watch TV, play games on my phone, and relax.

These simple joys make up life. I love this gift.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Me Making Me Laugh!

Dear Readers,

Sometimes I think I am so funny! (My Loved One just doesn't always think so. LOL) That's okay. I think a person must make themselves laugh. As I go through my day, I think of things in a strange way, my way, and in doing so, I am happy.

On this journey of learning who I am, without numbing myself with alcohol, I see things more clearly. I see things with love, with grace. I see things with a calm joy. Not a jumping around joy, but a steady joy. 

I wonder if part of my drinking problem was a part of my "high, low" personality. I tend to be in a sprint or crashed. Learning to be in the middle is a bit tricky. I like the rush of the high and hate the low. The middle always seemed boring. Drinking helped fuel the "high".

Now I am slowly learning a different pace. It's a good one. The middle is becoming nice. It's peaceful. This is the quiet joy. It's in this place I laugh! 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

To 90 Days With Love

Dear Readers,

Today is a day I mark with gratitude.

Thank you family. You are always there for me. I can cry, moan and you still love me. By accepting who I am, the good and the not so good, you are teaching me the deeper meaning of love. 

Thank you friends. You are my funny ones. You make me laugh when I get too serious and you love my quirkiness. LOL (Well, my family does too!)

Thank you yoga buddies and teachers. You welcome me with smiles, hugs and fun, every time I walk through the doors. We have become a community who help each other, celebrating where we are and yet encouraging each other to strive.

Thank you AA friends. You are showing me the way to live without drinking, You are my road map. I look at how your lives have changed for the better by not drinking. Amazing. 

Thank you on-line bloggers. I learned my best "tools" from you. I read your struggles, and I understand wherever we live, we have the same ones. 

Thank you dear Loved One. You have stood by me through the thick and thin. You took your wedding vows seriously. It wasn't always easy, but you never gave up on me or us. I love you and thank you with all of my heart.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Short and Sweet

Dear Readers,

My Loved One and I went for our walk tonight, in the park by our house, hoping to hear some owls. While we are walking and talking about our day, he stops and says, "Hear that?" It took me several times, but then I heard it. Coyote barking. 

Now some people remember their baby's first steps, or first word. I will remember the first time I heard the phone ring, a coyote, or the time I walked in the dark and heard my Loved One without having to lip-read.

Everyday is a new adventure, whether I go looking for cool coffee shops in town or figuring out what I can hear now. The biggest adventure is my new life, being awake and sober.