Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Dry June -- Dry January turned into a drizzly then rainy spring - Now it's dry June!

So I'm back to it.  It's June 10, and a new day 10 for me.  I kept alcohol free for 44 days at the beginning of this year, from January 1 to February 13.  I remember the date exactly because February 13 was the day I left with my husband for a trip (no kids) to a posh resort in Jamaica for his 50th birthday.  I remember not even really wanting to drink, but feeling like I had committed only to 30 days, it was now 44 and my husband wanted to kick back with some cocktails and sunshine.  (I should mention he did dry January with me but stopped at the end of January.)

I remember almost being nervous to drink, I did not get a drink on the plane even though we were in first class, I waited until we were at the airport where there was a lounge with, of course, free drinks.  The trip was fine, though we were definitely hungover a few days, which was not great.   And I modified for a while when we came back.  But as things go, slowly, slowly, they began to slip.  First there was COVID-19 and then I thought some kid was bullying my son at the park across the street from my house and apparently saw me all grubby and weeding and called me a fat, ugly, gay-ass ho to my son. This upset me probably disproportionately so, and worried me (will he be harassed, how can I oversee a park, will he be afraid to go there) which I used an excuse to drink more also.  Anyway, but May I felt ugly and sad about my drinking again.  While it had not returned to pre-January levels, I could see that is where it was headed.  So, dry June!

Dry June may be forever, but then again maybe it will not be.  But I want to recreate what I had in January, dry out, and assess then whether its time to say goodbye to alcohol for good. 

Right now though, Day 10 is hard, I'm restless and anxious and not sleeping that well.  Rather, not falling asleep that well.  I suppose its no wonder what with everything going on in the world right now with COVID, and George Floyd, and massive unrest.  But wine doesn't help with anything related to these events or my processing of them.  So onward (and upward) I hope!

Friday, January 31, 2020

Day 31

I have been neglecting this blog a little as I have been so active on the The Alcohol Experiment facebook group.  That said, I posted the following there today:

"So I am at 31 days, and to my surprise I feel like its been getting harder the past few days. I have phantom hangovers, and even got the night sweats last night for the first time in 3 weeks. I went from having awesome sober energy and zip, to feeling like I am in a fog and sleep deprived. What gives? Has anyone else experienced this in this timeframe? I'm not ready to stop the experiment yet, but I really want that good feeling back! Just feeling so blah the past few days."

I have been feeling tired, foggy and out of shape the past few days but am hoping to get past and move forward!  Must stay strong.  Some have suggests its PAWS and this is likely too.  Hanging in there.  Feeling tired, but not defeated.  Just wishing I was skinnier and had more energy.  I feel stalled.  Maybe I stay here for a bit and just focus on not drinking and eating healthy...

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Day 28

Still going strong! Loving and wondering about the future when 30 days is over.  Think I will go to at least 44 days since that coincides with leaving on a trip to Jamaica.  Will decide about Jamaica, in Jamaica.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Days 18-22

I am still with it, and doing great.  One thing not drinking has not freed up quite as much as I had hoped is more time.  though it has definitely freed up some!  I am overall feeling good and am actually getting a little worried about the end of the 30 days.  I don't want to go back to drinking, but I don't want to not drink ever again either.   I feel good now, and ultimately, the choices are easy -- I am  doing a dry January.  But what about vacations?  Lunch with my boss?  Friday nights with a girlfriend on the porch.  Happy hour?  Boating?  Etc., etc. etc.   I guess I don't need to overwhelm myself with that now.  I should remember this.  I am happy now.  I am very pleased with how my life is going and how I am feeling even though I am getting a cold sore and have a big presentation tomorrow and have stress and am tired.  I don't crave wine on an ordinary night at home already, and I LOVE THAT.  THAT MUST BE RETAINED at all costs even if it means never drinking again ( but I hope it doesn't).  That is all for now.  Tired, sleepy.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Dry January Days 16 and 17

Today has been a bit harder, and yesterday also.  There was never really a risk of me drinking but I can already feel myself rationalizing about how long I should do this dry January past January.

Like it (Al Cohol) is already trying to plant the seed of drinking again.  I realize what I need to do is make a list of all of the bad memories and thoughts I've had about alcohol.

How sadly true it is that almost all recreational activities just become about alcohol;
How you don't really even enjoy it after the first 30 minutes;
How just bone tired I felt, like I didn't even know how I was going to walk from the ferry to my car for the whole winter because it was just so awful and exhausting in the dark and the cold.  (I mean now its no bowl of cherries, but I just do it, it doesn't feel so exhausting and overwhelming);
The way I now find these spontaneous moments of joy joking with my kids;
The way I have the secret little well of confidence I am drawing on because I know I am fully myself and not trying to hide how much alcohol I drink or even just would want to drink, and I won't do anything stupid because I'm drinking.
The way I've not truly enjoyed and spent the time I should and kept all of my promises (no matter how small) to my 9-year old son;
The way I used to be proud when I didn't get tripped up on the words when I read my kids stories before bed because I was so buzzed.
 The way I've not pursued any interests after work;
All the wasted days so hungover that I just tried to get through;

The stupid, stupid, thoughtless and hurtful and dangerous decisions I've made drinking.  They are too legion to count.
Besides driving (an obvious one);
The job out of law school I lost because of my drinking as a summer associate;
The boyfriend I loved so much that I cheated on (first time with alcohol) and then again when we were trying to get back together (again alcohol).  Even if we were not meant to be, and perhaps we weren't based on my actions, that was no way to handle it -- it didn't even feel like it was really me, it was like someone I didn't even know came in and (what I thought at the time) ruined my life and my happily ever after and the years of agony that gave me;
The Christmas dinner I barely prepared;
The embarrassing things I've said to other moms;
Starting fights (even on my honeymoon);
Throwing up the day before the day before my wedding all over our hotel room;
The couples dates I've ruined for my husband with his boss and others where I've gotten too drunk (not every time, but its happened).;
The First Aid concert I was too drunk to enjoy;

The way I just felt ashamed and tired;
The lack of clarity and thought process that allows me to question people and work instead of just blaming myself or just accepting it;
The way I started to wish for two days together where I didn't have any real responsibilities, one to drink, and one just to be hungover, like that would be some great kind of thing!

 The hope and wonder at what else I might accomplish if I can keep this up.

Yet even as I write this I think, but what if I can go back to just having one or two, and maybe more only on occasions where it is okay to sleep in and feel kind of bad.  But I have to ask myself, why would I want to, really?  Mostly, when I picture drinking, I don't miss the alone (which is ironic because that was really something I liked), I picture drinking now to fit in and on social occasions, or to amp up an already great occasion, like a sunset cruise.  But why would I need to do that?  Why not just be myself?

 I'm not going to decide now what my forever plan is or even m 90 day plan.  But I know this for sure -- I'm not drinking this January :)

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Days 11-15

Just a quick entry to relate that the last few days have been great.  I've been having a minimum of cravings, feeling alert and confident, and even having moments of giddiness.  My sleep is good sometimes and getting better, but still not great most of the time.  But more of the time now, and definitely pretty much always better than it way.

My relationship with my kids, especially my son, feels richer and more nurturing, and I feel like a whole new world has opened up in so many other ways, just in having new interests, in thinking about new possibilities.    I mean to write a list too about all of the bad things related to my alcohol use, the regret and shame, the not so good feeling, the tiredness and preoccupation so I don't forget.  I definitely don't miss the hangovers and self-loathing and insecurity about my actions. There is so much more I could say about all of this.  That I want to say, but one thing being AF has not freed up as much as I had hoped is time.  At least not yet.  My 11.5 hour work day and caring for two kids does not leave me a lot of extra time to fill many days.  But I wanted to get something down today.  So I did.  I know there are challenges ahead but being alcohol free is great, and I feel really grateful.  The Alcohol Experiment private facebook group has really helped me too in sharing!  I highly recommend.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Day 9 and 10

I have been really cranky the past two days.  Angry at work and on Day 9 especially, wanting a drink.  In a word, pretty crabby.  I think the enthusiasm of the first week wore off and reality set in.  It didn't help also that I just completed my first full week of back to work.  But you know what, its Day 11 morning as I write this, and I think it's passing.  The boredom and malaise and depression from feeling like I don't have many good friends and am realizing I don't like my job is something I am noting.  I did not try to "create" happiness by having wine on a bad day.  Instead, I wondered if perhaps I should think about making changes.  Instead, I decided to just live with it and see where it went.  Today is Saturday and I just went for a lovely kayak and felt almost giddy.  And last night I did not have the night sweats for the first time.  I am happy right now and taking it one day at a time.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Dry January Day 8

Day 8!  I made it past a week.  I was hit with a few strongish pangs to drink tonight.  First when I was on line in the cold and dark to board the ferry at 5:30 and later when I came home and felt an emptiness because I wasn't really looking forward to anything and had to have an awkward talk with my nanny where I needed reprimand her.  But I did not give in, and interestingly, I pretty much never drank on the ferry anyway at 5:30, but it was a trigger because I started thinking about what I would do when I got home and I had no wine.

Ended up making a mediocre dinner but had fun playing with my kids and was a good mom and wife.  Its only 8:15 or so and I am tired and just want to read.

I always wondered whether it was the wine drinking that made me so unproductive during the weekday nights, but I'm seeing now that I am just legitimately tired after an hour and 45 minute commute in the winter dark, making dinner, checking homework and putting kids to bed.  Wine or no wine.  So tonight I am just going to relax and not ruin my energy tomorrow too by drinking wine.  Maybe read a book. :)

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Dry January Day 7 - Back to Work

Day 7 - Back to work

I'm tired today and have a headache.  Going back to work has definitely taken some of the added pleasure out of being sober and things like walks to the deli at dawn, organizing attics and taking foggy hikes.  Instead, I'm just at work, exactly where I would be even if I was not doing a sober January (plus?).  I have noticed though that I feel more confident and less hesitant at work,  Its hard to explain but I feel like I have a better sense of who I am -- I am not trying to compensate for being hungover, or thinking about wine, or wondering if anyone else is hungover, or just generally feeling like I have to hide a little piece of me (the drinking part) that makes me weaker, that makes me less.

Instead, I feel proud and whole and good, if a little tired (and still a little sweaty at night).  And, albeit just for a couple of minutes during this long day, I felt almost giddy driving in the rain, singing to 99 Luftballoons on the radio on the way to pick up my son from practice at 8pm this evening.  It was more than just the song, it was a moment of happiness and I was happy to be where I was, doing what I was doing, no wine involved.  For that I am grateful.  Not to say that I was unhappy the rest of the day, its just that that moment was something more.

I was not really tempted to drink today, though as usual I thought about alcohol a lot, drinking and not drinking it.  I know there will likely be harder times ahead, but today was okay and I am feeling grateful.

P.s.  Current reading:  Jason Vale - How to kick the Drink. . . Easily!
I do feel like the AF books in general really help me and reinforce all the reasons for going AF.  But definitely ready for a regular (non alcohol related) book too!

Monday, January 6, 2020

Dry January Day 6

It's day 6.  I have not really been tempted to drink at all today, but I still think about alcohol a lot.  Not the good things as much the bad things.  All the times I have drunk too much or did something I regret.  Also the times I may have missed out being fully present for.  And all the time I've wasted focusing on the amount of alcohol that would be present at an event and thinking about how much I should drink, how much I could drink, whether I should drink, how to drink less than I feared I might.    In a nutshell, all of this time spent focused on alcohol when I could have been focusing on people, on places, on music, on experiences, on feeling the moment (bad and good) -- in a nutshell, on life.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Dry January Day 5

I have been calling these posts dry January, but really, in my heart I know it should extend beyond January.  That said, I haven't decided to do that yet.  And regardless, I can see already that a dry January will be nothing but a good thing.

With that in mind, it is the end of Day 5 and I am decidedly sleepy.  I hope I can sleep.  I have had some trouble, but last night was better, I only woke up once, sweating and full bladder, but just once.  I got about 7 hours and that felt great.  I feel peaceful and was not really tempted to drink today.  Spent a lot of time being present at home with kids.  Have been overeating, and still definitely not feeling myself, but not feeling bad per se either.

I have decided that I am just on this journey and I will let it see where it takes me.  I am grateful that it has been nowhere too tough yet.  But I know it may get harder later.  Tomorrow is back to work for the first time since January 1.  Going back into the routine may prove a bigger challenge.  I have been feeling all "super mom and wife" and full of love and attention and organizing, but then I've had the last 5 days off of work, so I'm not in my routine.  I'm not sure whether getting back to it will make it harder or easier, though I'm thinking probably harder!  At least as far as pouring that after work glass of wine goes.  We will see.  Goodnight for today.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Dry January Day 4

Today is Saturday.  I started off the day grateful to be well rested and not hungover.  I ran to the deli nearby for coffee and bagels for everyone at 7:30 and had the most amazing hike in the foggy woods at 9:30.  The air was warm for January and the trees looked amazing.  I feel like I appreciated it in a way I would not quite have if I was hungover.

So far so good, but this afternoon/evening we took down the Christmas tree and decorations and I was hit with a  strong pang to have a glass of wine while doing it.  Prior to going dry, it would be pretty much unheard of that I would do a chore, near the evening, that was holiday-related, on a Saturday no less, without a glass of wine.  Unheard of! 

Once done, I began making dinner.  An even stronger pang to drink hit.  My husband, who drinks a lot less than me, but is doing dry January anyway said it hit him too.  I mean its Saturday night!  But we didn't drink, and once I ate, the urge pretty much passed.

Still, I am not feeling myself.  I am manic at times.  For example, I organized the attic before I could even start putting away the Christmas decorations.  This is Totally unlike me as I've never organized the attic before.  I also have not been sleeping well.  I feel very restless and not that magical good feeling I was hoping for so far.  I know this process is more complicated than "don't be hungover, feel proud and great."  I know all this, but of course it would feel good to get some of that good stuff now.  Making it  workthough, will not drink today, no way.  Not today.  And I look forward to tomorrow morning.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Dry January Day 3

Day 3

It's January 3rd and I am home on Friday night with just my 3-year old daughter.  If it were any other time but this week, I would certainly be sipping wine right now.  But I'm not.  I've just watched Frozen for the second time this week and made us dinner.  I had a glass of milk for the first time in forever.  Milk!  I will not drink alcohol, no way.

I haven't had a good night's sleep yet, or the epiphanies, or any of the magical, much-mentioned things I am hoping to experience on this journey.  But then again, it's only day 3.   And I'm all in.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Dry January Day 2

It is 6pm on day 2 and I have not really been hit by any strong urge to drink yet.  My hangover from New Year's Eve is receding and I am feeling good and healthy.  I have cleaned and organized the house and taken my kids to the park.  I have off from work today (its a Thursday) and so far, my motivation is strong.  That said, if I was not doing dry January, I might be sipping wine while dinner prepping and likely regretting it.  I'm glad I'm not!
Post-script: After dinner tonight, not being a hazy wine-induced fog inducing laziness, I happily read 3 stories to my daughter, found her baby bunny, and cleaned her water cup out and really enjoyed it (I would have done it before but only been half there).  I then put together my son's microscope and started getting slides out.  I then hung out with him and watched basketball and got out my new "Pure Wave" percussion massager (Christmas gift to myself) and traded massages.  It was so nice and so happy to look out to my children and really connect instead of sitting in an inward looking half-present wine induced haze.  Feeling blessed.  Is anyone else out there doing "The Alcohol Experiment"?

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Dry January Day 1

Today is the first day of my 30 day alcohol experiment.   I am excited to do it.  My motivation is that I just feel like alcohol is no longer my friend.  I am a 46 year old mom of two and work a little less than full time in New York City.  Recently, I have been feel physically and mentally weaker than I remember feeling previously after drinking, and I feel like it is interfering with my pursuing other interests, bonding with my kids, being fully present, making more friends, working to my potential, figuring out what I really want in life and making any necessary changes, and not to be forgotten, keeping fit and healthy.  I am ready.

That said, I go into this with some trepidation because I know it won't be easy.  Because I have not gone 30 days without any alcohol probably since high school.  I have been reading books like the The Naked Mind, The Sober Diaries, Mrs. D is Going Without and the Unexpected Joy of Being Sober and I can relate to many parts of them.  I really love them.  And in some ways I feel like once you hear the things in those books and relate to them, you can't unhear them.   I have been piecing together 2 and 3, maybe even 4 day dry periods lately and I feel so good by the end.  I am ready to go for more.  Maybe even to stop forever, or pretty much not drink any more.  I don't know, but I am ready for this.  More than ready.  I've told several people and I have vowed to keep a journal each day of how I am feeling and what I am thinking.  That journal is below.

DAY 1.
Well, today is New Year's day.  I am pretty badly hungover from New Year's Eve at which I did not even try to control my intake using the excuse it would be my last day, so why not?  In retrospect, it's interesting that that is how the night ended up because originally I thought about doing a sober NYE so I would have an amazing New Year's morning and a contemplative midnight.  Instead, I drank steadily with my husband and friends at our house, and then when the other couple left to go to another party I drank more with my husband.  We had our friend's son sleep over so at around 11:30pm I found myself on the couch trying to keep a rerun of the Mandolorian in focus as it was starting to look double.  I did not feel well at all.  We stayed up to midnight and then quickly went to bed.  Predictably, I felt awful this morning, and even now at 9:05pm, still feel pretty ugh.  My husband and son did the polar bear plunge today and I did go to watch, and was not tempted even a little tiny bit to drink beer with my husband and friend after.  Today has basically reinforced why I am doing this 31 days or more alcohol free and it has not been hard at all not to drink.  So in that way, it has been good.  In most other ways though I've felt hungover and bad, causing me to try to compensate by taking a walk with the kids and dog under that stars and watching Frozen and Toy Story 4 back to back on the couch with my 3 year old and 9 year old, making bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches for everyone for breakfast, going to the polar bear plunge to cheer on m boys.  Yes, I've done all this today to make up for my hangover, to pretend like I was normal, but how much more enjoyable would it have been to not have to struggle through the day, but truly enjoy it instead?  I am looking forward to tomorrow, feeling better and, I hope, starting to really detox.
That's all for tonight.

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