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,

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,

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,