Checking In

Tuesday September 21st, 2021

I know it’s been quite a while, almost two months! But I just wanted to check in to let everyone know I’m still alive. I haven’t been successful with continuing to be sober after drinking again in July, which is why I haven’t posted since then. Not really quite sure what to write. I also don’t want to trigger anyone who is sober and follows me. I won’t be offended if you decide to unfollow.

Where I’m at with drinking is that the hubby and I went on a long road trip to the East Coast for most of August and I continued to drink during that trip. My goal was to not overdo it, and I think I succeeded in that goal. We would go out for a nice dinner, eat some great seafood, and I’d have maybe 3 glasses of wine with the meal. We also took some days off of drinking here and there, which was another goal. Not to drink every, single day.

Since we’ve been back home I’ve been trying to focus on drinking only on occasions like having a few glasses of wine when we go out for dinner. Rather than sitting on the couch with a bottle of wine to myself on a Sunday evening. That’s been going fairly well except for this past week when we went out for dinner twice and drank, and had a friend over for dinner and drank. That’s what I need to avoid because it makes me feel like garbage when I don’t have enough non-drinking days in my week.

The good news is that since I’ve taken long chunks of time off drinking in the past two years, I know how much better I feel when I don’t drink and I prefer that feeling. After drinking 3 out of 7 days last week and feeling like absolute garbage by Sunday night, I am eager to avoid drinking this week and get back to feeling good again. We’ll see how this new plan goes. I imagine I might still take chunks of time off drinking because it acts as a re-set and it’s a good reminder of how much better I feel without alcohol in my body.

My Sober Self

Monday July 26, 2021

I didn’t drink yesterday. I hid under a blanket all day, watched Netflix, ate chips, napped, and didn’t drink. This morning I feel relieved to have my sober self back. After drinking four days in a row I felt like I’d lost my head. I was all foggy, anxious, and felt disconnected from my body.

Something I realized about drinking over this last little bout, is that alcohol is like Heroin to me. I get such a high from it that it scares me. One of the days I was drinking we were sitting in a beautiful winery by the lake, I was sipping on my second sparkling Rose and I thought to myself, “Wow! I LOVE drinking! This feels SO amazing!” I felt like I was more animated, energetic, talkative, outgoing, giggly and fun. I felt like Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat after months of feeling kind of monotone. But it also felt wrong. I think that as I’ve gotten to know myself as a non-drinker, I realize that I am not all of those things I just described above, and that’s okay. In fact I prefer the real me without the drug enhancements. I can rely on the real me as a stable, calm, and reasonable person. The problem with the high I get from alcohol is that it’s part of a roller coaster ride and you eventually come down the other side. As I wrote about yesterday, that day ended with me puking twice, going to bed early and not remembering the second half of the night. I’m not sure that amounts to fun. While I wouldn’t have had the super high “HIGH” in the beautiful vineyard in the afternoon without drinking, I would have lasted out the evening to enjoy the sunset and some music around the campfire, gone to bed with a clear head, had a good sleep and woken up to enjoy the sunrise with a nice cup of coffee.

As much as I enjoyed the high that I felt from drinking over these past few days, already by day 4 I wasn’t feeling it as much anymore and was just drinking to feel better. That’s where it all ends up. And the way I felt the day after drinking is the worst feeling in the world to me. It’s not even a hangover that I feel, but anxiety, like my head is floating off my body, like I want to crawl out of my own skin. It’s hard to describe but it’s a terrible feeling.

Another piece of that feeling is fear. I just feel scared. There’s nothing specific that I’m actually afraid of, but there’s just an unsettling feeling of fear in the pit of my stomach. I think I actually feel afraid of myself. I’m afraid of the loss of control I get from alcohol, afraid of what I might do or how the evening might end up, afraid of how I will feel the next day, and afraid that I won’t be able to stop myself from drinking again and again.

Today I am relieved that I am my sober self.

I drank

Sunday July 25, 2021

Yep. You read it correctly. I drank.

I think we all sort of knew I was heading in that direction. Several of my previous posts were about struggling, wanting to drink, and thinking a lot about drinking. One of my lovely followers made the astute suggestion that maybe I needed some additional support like to join a group, or talk to a therapist. I agreed that was probably a good idea but before getting to that, we spent two weeks away at our farmhouse in wine country entertaining family and friends. As the days went on and I continued to watch people enjoy the beach, our beautiful farm view sunsets, barbecues, and the wineries, I think it all just became too much for me. The “Fuck It” button looming ever closer.

It was difficult over the four days that the hubby’s family stayed with us as his brother who drinks a lot kept questioning me again and again about my not drinking. At one point he told me that he found it “suspicious” that I wasn’t drinking. I said, “What do you mean suspicious? I’m not pregnant or anything! Just not drinking!” and he said, “I don’t know, it’s just kind of suspicious.” How do you respond to that?

Then the friends came and it was an all out drinking fest. I started to feel really on edge when we went to a Spirit Distillery for tastings. I was the DD obviously and felt fine on the way there, but then sitting in the sunshine surrounded by seven people tasting different kinds of gin, vodka and rum, the smell of alcohol filling my nostrils, I started feeling really uncomfortable. I also noticed that as they got tipsy and giggly, the jokes and conversation took a turn towards ridiculous. I felt like the nerd at the table who wasn’t having any fun or getting any of the jokes. Then we went to the beach where everyone drank more. That didn’t bother me as much as I sipped on my non-alcoholic beer and enjoyed the water and sunshine. But the tipping point was when we got back to our place in the evening, and one of the friends who I had fully explained to why I wasn’t drinking, said, “I don’t want to pressure you but it would be really nice if you had a glass of wine with us.” That’s when the “Fuck it” button came out in full force. I got myself a glass, poured myself some wine, and that was it. I ended up drinking probably about a bottle of red wine that night, had lots of fun, puked before bed, and went to sleep around 11:00. I felt crappy with a headache and anxiety the next morning. Then we went to a winery and I started drinking again. That evening I drank a bottle and a half of white wine, puked again, didn’t remember the second half of the evening, and crashed around 11:30.

On Friday we headed back to the city from the farmhouse, our two-week vacation there finished, and when I got home there was about 3/4 of a bottle of red wine leftover so I drank it and went to bed early. Yesterday after 3 days of drinking I was feeling pretty shit and said I wasn’t going to drink again last night. But we went out to a friend’s place for dinner, of course there was drinking, and I drank again. About a bottle of white wine.

So that’s my story. Here I am on Sunday after 4 days of drinking, feeling pretty terrible and exhausted. I’m not sure what my next step is going to be but my immediate plan is not to drink today. It’s a beautiful hot, sunny Sunday and I all I want to do is stay in my sweats, crawl under a blanket and zone out with Netflix for the day. I’ve decided I’m taking a sick day. I’m not accepting any social invitations, not doing any chores, and just going to lie around like a sloth and not drink.

Inching Towards One Year

Saturday July 17, 2021

The title of this blog is One Year Without because originally it was my plan to go for one whole year without alcohol. I started this blog ten years ago and am still haven’t reached that goal. The catalyst for the blog was the passing of my dad who was an alcoholic and died of cirrhosis of the liver. At the time had been well aware of my own issues with alcohol for probably almost a decade before that. It was something I worried about, wrote about in a journal, and then eventually started thinking about quitting. But here I am, almost ten years later (he died on August 13th, 2011) and I still haven’t managed one year without.

Last year I made it almost eight months without alcohol and then broke down in the summer and started drinking again. Now I’m almost at seven months alcohol free and feeling those strong summer temptations again. We’re currently spending time at our farmhouse in wine country, hosting lots of family and friends, and I’m feeling triggered. I’m out of routine, not exercising or eating properly, not sleeping very well and probably just overtired. And although it’s lovely to see everyone and I’m having fun, I still feel stressed. I’ve also been having some strong emotions which is a trigger. Last week my family was all together again for the first time in a year and I had a smorgasbord of emotions. I was excited and happy to have them all here and together again, stressed and agitated by having so many people around me constantly after a quiet Covid year, intensely anxious, upset and scared when my mom had a fall, almost broke her nose and we ended up in emerg, and incredibly sad when it was all over and everyone went home. All I wanted to do to deal with all of those emotions was drink. But I had a good long cry instead, a very long nap, and felt refreshed and relieved that I didn’t drink.

Last night the hubby and I went out for a nice dinner that he’d booked quite a while ago, at the best restaurant in town. It was the first day in Ontario that indoor dining was allowed again, and we were seated in a beautifully lit wine cellar and had a delicious meal. But for the first 45 minutes of the evening, all I wanted to do was drink. I even really, seriously contemplated ordering a glass of wine. I asked the hubby if he thought I should drink and he said no, I’ve made it so far. Then I asked him again hoping for a different answer and he said he couldn’t make that decision for me. I gave it some serious thought, played the reel all the way through, and realized that an hour or so of pleasure from giving in to this strong temptation wasn’t worth the hours, days, weeks, and months of struggle afterwards. By the end of the meal the feeling had passed and when I got home and went to bed I was so relieved I didn’t drink. Waking up this morning with a clear head and calm body, I feel even more relieved. I’m remembering how drinking feels the next day: the sour feeling in my gut, fuzzy head, watery eyes, heart pounding anxiety, and aching, electrically-charged limbs. I’m wired but agitated in the morning, then irritable and exhausted by afternoon, just holding on until I can have the next drink and make it all better. I HATE feeling that way.

Today we prepare for our next set of guests, the hubby’s family. They’re lovely and I always enjoy spending time with them but again, it can also be stressful. In fact, it was last summer during the time the hubby’s family came to stay, that I started drinking again. This time I’ll be more aware of the triggers, take breaks, try to get enough rest, and keep reminding myself of how much I HATE the way I feel after drinking. I’d like to at least try to make it beyond my previous record of 7.5 months alcohol free. I know that almost seven months alcohol-free is a big accomplishment, but at times it feels like time is standing still and I’m just INCHING towards my One Year Without goal.

Only Kind Of A Drunk

Monday July 5th, 2021

Six Months AF (Alcohol Free)

What do you do when you’re only kind of a drunk?

I don’t know if anyone else has encountered this issue, but a couple of times over the course of the past year and a half or so as I’ve worked towards being a non-drinker, I’ve had people question the validity of my problem. I’ve felt almost like I had to defend myself and prove that I have a drinking problem so that they will accept my desire to stop.

Last year when I told a friend I’d decided to stop drinking she kept coming up with suggestions for how I could keep drinking. For example, “Why don’t you try just not drinking during the week. Only drink on the weekends.” Thanks friend. That’s a great idea but I’ve been trying that for the last fifteen years and have been unsuccessful, hence the need to stop. Another one went like this, “I think you’re just being too hard on yourself. You probably drink less than a lot of people do.” Okay sure, I probably drink less than the guy lying over a vent on the street in a sleeping bag in mid-January, I will agree with that. Does that mean I should just keep drinking? Another friend suggested that I just drink something different, like hard seltzers instead of wine. In fact she even had some with her and asked if I’d like to try it! Sure. I’ve been stopped drinking for 8 months because I’m concerned about my drinking, but why don’t I just have a hard seltzer instead of wine? Great idea. Hadn’t thought of that.

Last week the hubby and I went out for a first patio dinner with a friend of his and his wife. The wife is one of those people who has continued to probe and question me about my abstaining and this time made me feel quite uncomfortable. I had explained to them last summer that I wasn’t drinking, including an overview of the “why” (I usually just start by saying that I tend to overdo it a bit and I wasn’t feeling so healthy- then I’ll add more detail if necessary). The problem is that the last time I saw them was during the 4-month period in the Fall when I fell off the wagon and was drinking again. When I explained last week on the patio that I had been stopped again for the last six months because it just wasn’t working for me, the wife just didn’t get it. She said several times that she didn’t really see me as a big drinker, or having a problem and pointedly asked the hubby if he thought I was just being too hard on myself. He said no, and said he knows I feel better when I’m not drinking and supports that. I then had to go into detail for her, again, about my regular drinking routine. While she explained that sometimes she likes to have a drink or two every day, I told her that I’m not able to keep it to a drink or two. It’s always a bottle of wine. And most days of the week. Which I don’t really mind talking about, but the problem is that it’s just a bit embarrassing. It’s not something I’m proud of, and to be asked over and over again to explain the depths of my problem, is not something I enjoy. Am I a fall-down, blackout, messy drunk? No. Do I miss work, get DUIs, or beat my spouse? Also No. But drinking a bottle or more of wine anywhere between 4-7 days a week, falling asleep on the couch by 8 or 9 p.m. every night, and waking up hungover every day, to me denotes a problem. Maybe it’s not good enough for some people, and maybe I’m only kind of a drunk. But what does it matter how much of a drunk I am? If you’re lactose intolerant I’m never going to ask you how much diarrhea you get from eating ice cream! And if it’s not that much, well what’s the problem? Eat the damn ice cream!!

Anyway, I felt like a giant loser at the end of that patio evening. I don’t know why it upset me so much but having to explain over and over again why I’m not drinking, and feeling like I have to prove I have a problem, just seems so bizarre. I’m not showing off, trying to get attention, trying to feel superior, or make others feel bad about themselves. It’s just something that I know deep in my soul and my heart of hearts, that I have to do for myself. I know that in the end it really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. I can choose to drink or not drink. Eat cheese, or not eat cheese. But why do so many people feel it’s their business or their place to offer an opinion on the matter? I would never tell someone who’s gluten-free that they probably don’t really have a gluten problem and should just try some different kinds of bread and pastries. What you put in your body is your business, not mine.

I’m assuming that as time goes on this will get easier and I’ll have a better collection of responses to throw out. Also, I know that the culture around drinking is slowly changing, but sometimes it seems so archaic. As a society we’ve made progress in becoming more tolerant, accepting and inclusive in so many realms. But we still can’t manage it when someone chooses sparkling water over Prosecco? As ridiculous as it sounds, we need to make some progress in the area of drink-choice tolerance.

Triggered

Friday June 25, 2021

I’m feeling highly triggered this week.

We have been back at home in the city since last Saturday after spending about 2.5 months in the country at our farmhouse while schools and everything else in Ontario were locked down. I was feeling great at the farmhouse, getting lots of fresh air, walks on the beach and through the beautiful countryside, doing lots of yard work and even growing vegetables in my garden! I wasn’t thinking about drinking because it was just us and the dog for the most part. We settled into a happy and quiet routine. Now back in the city I feel confronted by everything around me. There are so many people everywhere and every time I step out the door of our tightly packed semi-detached home, there are people ready to chit chat and ask what I’ve been up to. I know this sounds slightly ridiculous because how lovely is that? All of these nice neighbours wanting to say hi and have a chat and all I want to do is run back inside and hide in the basement. I never, ever thought I would be a small-town/country kind of girl, but here we are……

I also feel overwhelmed by the pressure to make plans and socialize. Now that the lockdown has lifted, patios are open and we’re in full summer swing, people want to get together for a drink, hit a patio, go out for dinner, etc. The hubby has been out every night this week meeting one friend/colleague or another on a patio. I met a friend Wednesday night, yesterday lunch, and will be out for dinner on patios Friday, Saturday and Sunday this weekend. I know, we’ve totally overdone it and I have to be careful. Almost every night this week I’ve felt like just hitting the “Fuck It” button, cracking open a bottle of wine, and just chugging it all back. We happen to have 3/4 of a bottle of Rosé sitting in our fridge from our visitors at the farmhouse last weekend. I don’t want to dump it because friends are visiting on Sunday and I want to be able to offer a glass of wine without having to go out and buy any alcohol. But it’s just sitting there staring at me……..

I haven’t felt triggered like this in a few months. It’s a combination of being confronted by all of the alcohol (we live in a trendy downtown neighbourhood that is chock-a-block with great restaurants and the streets are lined with patios filled with alcohol), and being overwhelmed by all of the people and social pressure of coming out of lockdown. I think it’s a good reminder to be careful and be gentle with myself. It’s also making me realize that perhaps the lifestyle I was leading pre-pandemic was in fact, a trigger in itself. Maybe part of the reason all of the drinking was happening was just to do deal with all of the pressure I felt to have a certain kind of lifestyle. If I’ve learned anything from the Pandemic and also from quitting drinking, it’s that I’m much more introverted than I thought. I think I used alcohol to push myself to be more extroverted. Now I’m settling into my true self and I’m not exactly who I thought I was…….

I just checked the forecast for today and it says thunderstorms this evening. Yay! This means I’ll have to cancel my plans and stay in tonight. That’s a relief.

Faking It

Wednesday June 16, 2021

It’s been a while! Not sure why, but I haven’t felt motivated to write. However, here I am and realize I’m about to write a post that’s in exact contradiction with my last one. In the last one I wrote about a “new life” and that nothing would ever replace alcohol and the key to my success so far has been in creating a new life and letting go of the idea of finding something to replace alcohol. Well funny enough, recently I have been enjoying non-alcoholic beverages as exactly that: a replacement for alcohol! Let me explain.

There’s something about a hot summer day on a patio or at the beach that really triggers a desire for a cold (alcoholic) beverage. At the beginning of last summer when I was still not drinking (before my four-month hiccup), the hubby and I went to one of our favourite patios and I was really craving a cold beer even though I was more of a wine gal in my drinking days. This super fantastic restaurant happened to have a non-alcoholic beer on the menu which I ordered, poured into a tall beer glass, and sipped in the sunshine while the hubby drank a real beer. It was a revelation because it gave me the exact same nostalgic, fun experience of having a cold beer on a hot patio, but without the alcohol! This particular beer, aptly named Partake and created by a sober Canadian man who wanted to still be able to partake in the experience of a cold beer on a hot day, hit the spot and gave me just enough of a feeling of “partaking” with everyone else on the patio. And actually, the best part of drinking it was that it did NOT have alcohol and I didn’t get the immediate high right after, or the low a few hours later.

Now as summer sets in and we begin visiting patios again after a long lockdown, and enjoying the sunset on the back deck, I’ve enjoyed having a cold Partake or two. I find it gives me exactly what I’m looking for: the nostalgic and fun feeling of enjoying a cold drink on a hot day, but with none of the chemical side effects. Interestingly, I find that I also don’t miss those chemical side effects at all. In fact while I’m drinking a Partake, I feel relieved that I won’t have to deal with the chemically-induced ups and downs that I get from alcohol.

Last night I went one step further and I’m wondering if it’s one step too far. Friends were in the area of our farmhouse and dropped by for an outdoor drink and dinner. We have amassed a collection of wine in the past few days because we’re leaving the farmhouse soon as it will be taken over for the summer by a stream of Airbnb renters and our welcome gift for each renter is a bottle of local wine and some local craft beers. Knowing that this couple would be arriving around 5 p.m. and that the girlfriend likes wine, we put a bottle of Rosé in the fridge to chill. I went out to get a few groceries and happened upon an alcohol-free version of a Rosé at the grocery store which I bought. Before the couple arrived, I poured myself a glass of the alcohol-free Rosé and sipped on it while preparing some snacks. I have to say, that I really don’t enjoy alcohol-free wine. It’s not the same as alcohol-free beer for some reason and maybe that’s just because I was a wine drinker so my taste buds are more attuned to how a good wine should taste. Alcohol-free wine just doesn’t do it for me. It’s like watered-down juice without the sugar content of juice or (obviously) the alcohol content of wine. It’s a huge waste of 80 calories per glass as far as I’m concerned. Anyway, for some reason I just felt like “Fake drinking” rather than getting into the whole “I’m not drinking” thing. These aren’t super close friends who have been following my journey of not drinking and I just didn’t feel like getting into it. So I happily sipped my fake Rosé all night while pouring the girlfriend real Rosé and the hubby and his pal tossed back beers and rum and cokes while reminiscing about their high school days. I didn’t crave alcohol at all and in fact I’ve found that lately I have no desire whatsoever to drink alcohol and do not in the least miss any of the effects of alcohol. This is all good news as I’m almost at 6 months alcohol-free again and feeling strong! However, I wonder if it’s a step too far because in a way I felt bad for faking it. Like I’m an imposter and it would somehow be a sort of betrayal if one of them had discovered my alcohol-free wine hiding in the back of the fridge. It also brought back this weird, icky, sticky-sweet feeling (just in my head of course) of being drunk on wine. Not that I felt drunk at all because it was 100% alcohol-free, but it reminded me of the trashy feeling of being someone who is drinking a lot of wine. It’s hard to explain. It also made me feel a bit like I was betraying myself. Like why do I have to pretend to drink just to make everyone else happy? I’m happy as a non-drinker, am able to enjoy myself as a non-drinker, and I shouldn’t have to fake it for other people. It was also kind of weird and gross to drink 3 glasses of watered-down, yucky tasting juice for no reason.

Anyway, we’ll see what happens as lockdown restrictions loosen and we begin to socialize more. I have a feeling that while it seems like less effort to begin with to just “Fake drink”, in the end I imagine it will turn out to be more effort and I should just come clean and own my alcohol-free status. Of course I’m out and proud as “alcohol-free” with close friends and it won’t be an issue, but it’s a bit trickier with those who aren’t as close and I just don’t feel like getting into the details………….

Hope everyone is well and enjoying the start of summer!! xo

A New Life

Wednesday April 21st, 2021

Day 107

The last several weeks have been good. I seem to have climbed out of the doldrums I was experiencing in February and the beginning of March, have more energy and have gotten back to feeling much more positive about not drinking. I’m not craving alcohol or feeling deprived; I just feel happy, healthy, and proud of myself.

Somewhere along the way over the past few weeks I came to an important realization: nothing will ever replace alcohol, and that’s okay. The anticipation of it, the high I get from drinking it, all of the feelings of excitement and “fun” surrounding it………..those things can’t be replaced. Nothing will ever affect me the same way, or give me the same feelings that alcohol did and part of that is chemical, part psychological, part emotional, and part physical. This is a substance I have granted so much power for so many years. I gave it the power to ease my sorrow when I felt down, to heighten my joy when I was happy, to relax me when I felt stressed, to make me feel cozy and warm on a cold winter’s night, or cool and refreshed on a hot summer afternoon. Such a powerful elixir. How could one not become addicted? But when you take a closer look, it’s actually all smoke and mirrors. None of it is real, and this realization makes it easier to say goodbye.

In the new life I’ve chosen, nothing will replace the adrenalin rush I get from anticipating a nice bottle of Pinot Grigio (or two) on a warm summer night, but the key has been to stop searching for a replacement. Instead I am focused on the contentment and peace of mind I feel when I wake up feeling good. Every. Single. Morning. And the contentment and peace of mind I feel all day long knowing that I am not slowly damaging all of my organs and killing brain cells every day.

For some reason I was scanning through some old photos this morning in bed while drinking my coffee and I came across pics from a trip to Portugal the hubby and I took in 2018. I can see the alcohol in my face. It looks puffy, red, tired and worn. I don’t like the way I look in the photos at all, but in addition to that, it reminded me of how I felt. There are several pics he snapped of me across from him at dinner, enjoying a glass of wine (probably more like a bottle though of course!), and looking at these photos brought me right back to the way I felt at the time. I know that I would have anticipated and waited for evening the entire day. Waiting for that moment I could finally enjoy a glass of wine. I would have enjoyed the rest of the day as well, but in many ways it was all just time to be logged before I could drink again. Having that first glass of wine with dinner I would feel relief rush over me, and finally be at peace and content to enjoy the moment. Soon I would be drunk and tired, the evening would be a blur and I would pass out into a deep sleep, just to start the cycle over again in the morning. Feeling not well rested, probably a bit irritable, dehydrated and achey, I would start my day again already thinking about when I could drink again.

That’s no way to live. And the adrenalin rush, excitement, and anticipation of that first drink of the day is not worth the battle in my body and mind that it creates before and after.

I look forward to a time (hopefully someday soon!), when I can enjoy travelling again with the hubby and not have to think about alcohol. Not having alcohol as the centrepiece of the entire experience will open up a whole new world of discovery and joy. With alcohol as the focus of every adventure, you miss out on so much beauty.

It’s hard to let go of what you believe alcohol provides, but dropping the idea of replacing it and focusing on a whole new way of living seems to be the answer for me at the moment.

An Epiphany

Saturday April 10th, 2021

Day 97

I had an epiphany yesterday, partly due to others’ comments on my No Regrets post. I’ve been writing a bit lately about missing alcohol, and wanting to drink, feeling bummed about not having that “fun” thing to do anymore while everyone else is out enjoying patio season and slugging back cocktails. Some of the other sober bloggers who have more experience than me and have logged more time on the other side of drinking, reminded me not to look at the situation from such a deficit perspective. At times it may seem like I’ve lost the ability to have the kind of “fun” I had been used to with alcohol; all of that immediate gratification, the hour or two of a chemically-induced high that quickly wears off and inevitably turns into a terrible low. But look at what I’ve gained: peace of mind, a sense of calm, a feeling of good health, and the ability to wake up every single morning feeling just fine and having no regrets.

I’ve also been contemplating what “fun” actually means. I used to think that anything involving alcohol was “fun”. It didn’t really matter who I was with, or what I was doing. I could be cleaning the toilets but if I had a glass of wine by my side, it felt like it was fun. But was it really fun? Does alcohol really make everything more fun? I’ve started thinking more about what I actually consider to be fun and interestingly, very few of those things would be paired with alcohol.

Here is a list of a few things I find fun to get my day started in a positive way:

  • waterslides (I don’t know why, I just love them!)
  • swimming at a beach (not as much a pool, but I love a beach)
  • bike riding
  • morning dog walk with my hubby
  • taking my dog to the dog park and watching all the cute doggies playing
  • horseback riding
  • singing
  • sometimes……very rarely…….but when I’m in a certain kind of mood, dancing
  • writing
  • reading a good book
  • eating chocolate
  • going out for dinner
  • having yummy take out
  • going out for ice cream
  • having a campfire
  • having an indoor woodstove fire
  • walking in the snow
  • laughing with good friends or family
  • watching a good show or movie with my hubby
  • drinking coffee and reading the Saturday newspaper
  • playing tennis
  • going on a boat
  • playing Scrabble
  • sitting on the deck or porch on a sunny day
  • skiing
  • travelling
  • hiking
  • eating a whole bag of chips with dip and watching a trashy show like 90 Day Fiancé

I’m sure there are more things I could think of but you get the idea. As I said, you’ll notice that although several of these activities could involve alcohol (swimming at a beach or going out for dinner for example), they are also fun on their own without alcohol. Also interesting is that I’ve listed nothing that’s only fun with alcohol, for example going to a bar. People love to party and go to bars and patios, but what if you took the alcohol away in any of those scenarios. Would they still be fun? Think about a whole bunch of people standing around in a dark and crowded bar, loud music is blaring, and there is no alcohol. Is that still fun? Shouting over the music to talk, squished between dozens of people and nowhere to sit, just standing for hours like sardines and bobbing your head to the music? What about a party, is that really fun? Sometimes it can be fun if it’s with good friends who have lots to chat about and catch up on and you’re doing some sort of activity or sharing good food. But think about the typical party where you go to celebrate a friend’s birthday, but you’re surrounded by people you don’t really know, or barely know. Again there’s lots of standing around in close proximity to other people. There’s lots of small talk, making polite conversation, asking people about their kids or what they do for a living, maybe delicately nibbling on a few snacks but not wanting to make a pig of yourself even if you’re starving. Take away the alcohol. Is it really fun? I would say for the majority of people, it’s not. So is it really alcohol that makes it fun? Or does alcohol just make it bearable? For me I think it’s the latter.

Anyhoo, those are my thoughts for today. I am re-evaluating “fun” and what it actually means, or more specifically, what it actually means to me.

Have a wonderful Saturday everyone!

xo

No Regrets

Wednesday April 8th, 2021

Day 94

Although I’ve been struggling a bit lately with wanting to drink, and feeling kind of low, one thing remains constant in my sober journey: I wake up every morning with no regrets. I may have indulged in a takeout meal the night before, eaten too much chocolate, or skipped a workout, but every morning I get to say to myself, “I didn’t drink.” There used to be a constant battle going on in my head about drinking. I’d wake up feeling parched and fumble for my water bottle on the bedside table, immediately racking my brain for details about the night before. How much did I drink? Was it too much? What do I remember about the evening? Did I say/do anything I might regret? Did anyone notice I was drunk? Did I fall asleep on the couch again and miss the end of the show/movie?

Now I wake up and immediately have the pleasant and satisfying thought, “I didn’t drink.” As far as I’m concerned, no matter what happened the day/night before (which isn’t much these days!!) if I didn’t drink, then all is well.

In the days when I did drink, after the initial grasping thoughts, trying to recall the night before, I would then spend the rest of the day in a battle with myself about drinking again. I would always start off the day with, “I’m not going to drink again until the weekend.” By midday as the adrenalin started to wear off from too much alcohol the night before, and the irritability and exhaustion set in, I would start thinking about drinking again. Often by the end of the day I’d rationalized picking up another bottle of wine just to have a glass or two to sip while I prepared dinner. Of course it would never end with just a glass or two and the never-ending cycle would continue.

All this to say that no matter what else I’m feeling now, a bit low, or tired of the monotony as the pandemic wears on, waking up every morning with no regrets never gets old.