Struggling

Hi everyone. I’ve been struggling with my resolve. I was feeling so strong. Then I went for a visit with my family, and it came out of nowhere. We were having a great time visiting, and my dad was drinking manhattans. And I just caved and drank. I honestly don’t know how to fend it off when that happens. I’m completely sure that I don’t want to drink (and that I can’t), but then suddenly I can’t get it out of my head that I should be able to have manhattans, too. And it just seems so reasonable. I know it’s my “addictive voice,” but it doesn’t seem to help to know that. The other thing I’m struggling with is that the conventional wisdom is that once you have a problem with alcohol, you have to go completely abstinent or it just gets worse. And, for me, I think that makes sense. And yet, there seem to be some who are able to change their relationship with it. Some folks I read here describe successfully doing this, and it is confusing. How does this happen? If alcohol is addictive, and someone who has a problem with it will always have the addiction once it starts, why are some people who seemed to have a problem able to successfully do this? I don’t begrudge anyone their success! I’m happy for them! And I know we all need to make decisions for ourselves based on our own situations. But I’m struggling with it.

Well, that’s where I am. Maybe tomorrow things will be more clear.

Day 14 (Again!)

I’m pretty excited to have reached Day 14 again. I haven’t been here for quite a while, and it feels good. Really good. Of course, as my friend Claire pointed out today (https://gettingsobernow.wordpress.com/2023/01/14/hearing-voices), the psychological cravings can really come out of nowhere right when you’re starting to feel good. (“Really, this is it? You’re never going to feel that ‘blissed out’ feeling from wine or whisky ever again?”, the addicted part of our mind says to ourselves. “That’s too much to give up! You’re going to give in eventually, might as well be now.”) It’s usually in the evening, and the way I deal with it is some nice tea, early to bed, an engrossing book or TV show, perhaps a bag of licorice, and knowing that I will be glad in the morning.

Truth is, I have been on this merry-go-round too many times before. I remember that alcohol doesn’t even give me the high that I’m actually craving. The more I actually focus on the feeling, the more I realize that 90% of the time, the buzz doesn’t feel as good as I think it should. And, of course, I want to just keep drinking to chase it. Our minds romanticize the experiences we have had before and build them into something that just isn’t true. Isn’t attainable.

And, of course, there’s the fact that alcohol is poison. Even in small amounts. And who wants just one glass of wine anyway? Not me, that’s for sure. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/13/well/mind/alcohol-health-effects.html

I know I am pretty vulnerable to this psychological pull, but I’m going to keep going. For anyone else reading this in the same position, keep going!!

xoxo

Leafy

So far, so good

Day 7. Still sober. I have been feeling really good. My blood pressure is down, I have more energy, and I’m getting lots of stuff done. On the other hand, I’m definitely still craving alcohol. Early days, of course, so to be expected. I was a little worried about it tonight, though, so I’m here checking in. It definitely helps. Getting in bed early. My daughter is learning to ski, and she is scared to get on the chairlift tomorrow. I’m glad I’ll be clearheaded to talk her through her anxiety in the morning.

xoxo

Cranky

Oh, I’m cranky tonight. First real craving to drink it away. The walls are closing in and I’m super touchy about everything. Lashing out is second nature. But, I’ve been here before and know it will be better in the morning. Staying sober and going to bed early. Day 4.

Sleep!

Yesterday, after I managed to get to my computer, I realized it was a work holiday. So, I went through my accumulated vacation emails to get a head start on today, then went back to bed. And slept for 4 more hours!!! I guess I needed it! The last time this happened was right after I finally was able to move my mom into assisted living. I hadn’t even realized that I felt such weight until it was lifted. This time, we just moved my mom into memory care as her dementia has progressed, and I was expecting to hate it. But, it turned out to be a place with warm, loving staff and a great atmosphere-better than assisted living, really, even if it’s a locked facility. It’s been so weird – her slow decline. The other day, when I was driving to see her, I started crying about losing my mom for, really, maybe the first time. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I needed to rest yesterday, but I also feel it’s more than that. Things have been changing so much, and I feel like this moment in time is such an opportunity for growth (and hopefully, resolution of some long-standing issues). Day 3. xoxo

On again, off again, over and over

It is always so difficult to come back to the blog after leaving it for months. I’ve been lurking around the edges, but I haven’t felt ready to come back until now. A lot has happened since last May. I have moved my family to that small town in the mountains – while still traveling back to the city fairly often – and it has been a great move for the most part. My daughter loves her new school, my mom is happier closer to home, my partner has embraced sober living and is very engaged in the local sober community here, and I am spending more quality time with my friends back in the city when I visit than I actually did when I was living there full time. It is ridiculously beautiful here, and we are learning all sorts of things about winter and snow. So far, my blood counts from my disease have been mostly stable, and I’ve figured out how to work with my health insurance situation to continue my care with my doctor. I AM still pretty terrified about my health suddenly going south with no warning, and I’m just having to learn how to keep moving forward in spite of that.

There have been other not-so-great things, too. As an introvert, I’m still struggling to figure out how to make friends in a new place, and my daughter is as well. We have tried a few new activities to get out there more, but we definitely need to do more if we want to meet more people. It’s pretty hard for me, but I’ll keep at it. Perhaps a pottery class next! Also, our house construction is STILL not complete. We have been living with no kitchen since moving in early fall, and it is definitely getting old. Lately, I’ve developed a fetish for cookbooks and recipe blogs as I fantasize about, someday, getting to cook something again.

One great thing, however, is that my partner’s mental health has improved since we moved. He needed a fresh start, and he is getting good care here. And sobriety is helping with that, of course. He is also an extrovert and has made several new friends already, and I’m really happy for him.

As far as MY sobriety goes, I’m sure you can tell from the title what has been going on. All of the reasons why I need to cut out the booze are still the same and just as compelling as they ever were. They are always enough for me to say, “OK, I’m getting back on the wagon. This stops now. I’m never going to [horrible thing] again,” but somehow, still never enough to stop me from listening to that voice in my head a few days in saying that it is OK to drink again and that it isn’t that bad. Even though I know it is. And I imagine, since you are reading this, that you know what I’m talking about, so I’m going to leave it there. And say that I’m not going to drink today.

With that, I wish you all a Happy New Year. May you have all of the love and support that you need in the coming year and beyond.

xoxo

Leafy

Change is Good

I woke up this morning feeling terrific. It was one of those days when you are so glad that you don’t drink anymore. Lots of energy, blue sky, and feeling good about the future.

I started my new medication for my disease five days ago. So far, no terrible side effects. I have been more tired (like by 7 pm, I’m practically ready for bed!) but it is hard to know if that is the medication or something else. I will say that it is really great to have something I can DO to try to change the outcome of this disease, and I’m feeling optimistic. Last night, I convinced myself to do a little easy yoga, and it actually really helped me feel more invigorated afterwards. I really think that yoga is, hands down, the best thing I can do for myself exercise-wise. I’m going to try to get into it again.

I’m hoping that my energy from this morning continues into the weekend. I have yet to start the process of purging and organizing needed for our upcoming move. With the exception of my daughter’s stuff that she won’t let me get rid of yet, I am hoping to really pare things down to what we REALLY need and want in both houses. A huge undertaking. But, I have time. Our house in the new town is not yet ready. I believe I have already shared that the house we plan to live in had major flooding due to frozen/burst pipes over the winter, and getting the reconstruction going has been very slow. I think it is speeding up now, though, and with luck, we will be in the house at least close to the start of school in the fall.

Just a quick update to say all is well, and I am wishing all of you much love and support.

xoxo

Leafy

Lemonade?

I love the idea of taking the not-so-pleasant things life sends sometimes and turning them into something else. Something better. Something exciting and new!

In four months, I am going to uproot my family and my life and move us away from the city I have lived in for 30 years to a small mountain town in a very different state. Well, I’m going to leave a bit of root here, but more on that later. It’s exciting and more than a little scary, and it is really going to happen!

I’m hoping this will be the fresh start that I feel like we need. Things have been really rough in my life for about a year now. I have talked about it a little on here, but I haven’t really explained about everything. Warning – this is a long story. As you may know, about a year ago, I was getting closer and closer to a year of continuous sobriety when I had a pretty devastating medical development. My chronic health condition had morphed into something much more dire. I (and everyone else around me) reacted in pretty much the worst possible way. I jumped off the wagon, my partner (who was already abusing substances himself and on a downward spiral during the pandemic) wasn’t doing well at all, and my parents and my best friends got into the kind of fight with my partner during a vacation that you probably can’t ever come back from. Which triggered an enormous mental health crisis in my partner and landed him – eventually and with much prodding of the health insurance provider – in rehab a few months ago. At the same time, my daughter’s school essentially told us that we had to change schools for middle school because they suspected she had learning differences and was just too far behind in the language immersion part of the program to continue on. Much activity ensued – learning evaluations, therapist and learning specialist finding, multiple school applications. Back on the wagon, I managed to do it. And although I pissed off my boss at several points, I also managed to hold on to my job. Which I love and value.

We are more or less stable now. Sobriety has still been challenging for me. I made it almost 100 days again, and then I convinced myself (again!) that I could just drink once in a while and not that much. When will I ever learn? I really thought I had learned my lesson last time. Anyway, it was a fairly brief detour, and I’m back on the wagon again. I know that I can’t drink in any kind of healthy way. I know that NOW, but of course that sneaky part of my brain will make very convincing arguments at some point. However, the choice is now out of my hands as I am going to soon start taking a medication for my medical condition that is contraindicated with alcohol. A medication that – if I can tolerate it and that’s a big if – might give me a fighting chance to live longer. To still be alive at that 10-year mark and, hopefully, beyond.

Anyway – back to the lemonade thing. Although I still love this city that I live in, I have been dissatisfied with life here for a while. Except for my best friends and neighbors (who have now torpedoed their relationship with my partner), I only rarely see my friends these days. I have long needed to try something new, but it has just been too scary. But now is the time! My mom is from a lovely little town, close to a ski area in the mountains. I have exactly one friend there, but that’s better than none! My mom is miserable here. She lives in a really nice assisted living place, but she’s unhappy and wants to go home. And her unhappiness leads her dementia to weird places – like thinking I’m stealing her Social Security. Sigh. My kid wants to move out of the city and always has. My partner is generally up for adventure and is kind of stuck himself. My job is now fully remote. So, I applied for a school in my mom’s town that looks perfect for my kid’s challenges, and we got in. We are going to go! It’s a perfect chance for us to have a fresh start. Make new, sober friends in a beautiful place. People will have never known us not sober. To tell the truth, I can’t control whether my partner remains sober or not, but this is what I am hoping for.

I’m terribly out of shape, haven’t done yoga in a million years, get winded just walking up the stairs. I’ve regained all of the weight I lost last year. It’s a sad situation. This is a town where everyone is active and outdoors A LOT so things are going to have to change there, too. And I’m going to have to get started now.

I’m a person that just is happier with a project going. And this is going to be a big project. Now, I’m not really risking a lot since I can still do my job and I’m going to get a roommate to help with costs so I can keep my place in the city. I’m going to have to come back here sometimes for medical care (my health insurance provider doesn’t operate in the other state so – for big things – I’ll have to come back) and to get a little “me time” anyway.

Does this sound crazy? I suppose it might. But, I’m going to give it a try. And, I’ll let you know how it is going. Wish me luck!

Sending much love to all of you!

xoxo

Ms. New Leaf (aka Leafy)

Day 70!

Here I am at Day 70! Things are still complicated in my life – my partner is coming home from rehab on Wednesday – but also slowing down a bit. I’m waiting to hear from middle schools for my daughter now. Work is in a temporary lull. The plans are being drawn up for my mom’s house remodel. All the stuff is happening. On the other side, I’m not sure how I feel about my partner coming home this week. He sounds better, but its pretty scary. And I also feel numb. Scared and numb. I know this warrants a longer explanation, but I have to go get the kid to school. Just wanted to check in. Sending much love and support to all of you!

xoxo

Leafy