Day 6

It is Day 6, and its been a long day of middle school hunting. Two parent orientations and a LONG middle school open house in the evening. And an application and financial aid request due tomorrow. And none seem quite right for my kid. I am craving a drink like nobody’s business, but I don’t do that any more. Looking forward to the morning.

xoxo

Day Five

Made it to Day 5. Yesterday was a difficult day, full of stress and anxiety. I found out that our daughter’s current school wants her to go to a different school for middle school which means a lot of stress to find a new school. It is a long story, but the whole situation is triggering a lot of strong emotions and anxiety for me. But, honestly, I didn’t even consider drinking. I’m grateful that I have a clear head to deal with it. And this morning, it actually feels like an opportunity.

xoxo

Day Four

It’s raining here today, and I’m itchy and uncomfortable. My partner has been grouchy, and my daughter was whining about brushing her hair before leaving to (be late to) school. I have to rush to get some important things done now that I put off longer than i should have. Grrrr! Yes, my mood is diametrically opposed to how it was yesterday. Still, I’m grateful that every time I think that I’ll be able to drink in the future, I am able to say, “No, I’m done with drinking now. Same way I’m done with cigarettes now.” Thank you, self.

xoxo

Day 3: Motivation?

Well, I’ve made it to Day 3 (again), and I’m really glad. It is a weight off my mind that I am no longer drinking. Damn. As soon as I said that, I started thinking about how great a glass (you know, a bottle-sized glass) of wine sounds. But no matter, I’m not going to drink today.

It isn’t easy, though. Last night, I was very anxious, and my partner suggested some wine. He started to balk when I said I didn’t want to drink but stopped when I told him that I definitely would not just drink a glass of wine. I would drink the whole bottle. It’s ridiculous trying to pretend it is any different. He knows this from his own experience with addiction, but still, he tries to pretend. Anyway – I’m not going to pretend. If I’m going to drink, then I’m going to drink the whole bottle. Period. And I would have to be OK with that. And today I’m not.

But, no, it isn’t easy. As you may know if you’ve read my blog before, the biggest motivator for me to stop drinking is generally health. No doctor has said that I can’t drink, but it seems prudent. My disease can affect my liver, my cardiovascular health is particularly at risk as well, and I also don’t know if a history of regular binge drinking could affect my ability to get a treatment in the future. The sad thing is that doing the right thing to try to make a bad health situation a little better (but not fixed) isn’t super motivating for me. Unfortunately, I’ve never been one to do healthy things without keeping a vision in my head of an ideal outcome: a perfectly healthy me. That isn’t going to happen, and now I really have to accept that. I’m going have to resist the temptation to say, “Fuck it! I’m dying anyway. Might as well drink!”

Yes, my motivation is going to have to come from a place of wanting to stay in the present moment (since that’s all any of us have, of course) and really experience life to the fullest. And to embrace the idea of doing whatever I can – even if it doesn’t end up working! – to stay alive and healthy as long as I can.

I hope I’m not depressing anyone too much. My goal is actually to get to a point where I don’t think about the disease too much, and I just think about living. I’m fortunate to live in a city that is home to one of the best research hospitals in the country, and I have a second opinion scheduled with a doctor there for next week. Then, I see my actual doctor the following week. Hopefully, things in my brain will settle down then. And I’m going to do my darnedest to stay sober and see how it goes.

Much love and support to all of you!

xoxo

Leafy

Day 1 and Reaching Out

The last time I was here, I was very arrogantly declaring that there was no way I was going to break my promise to myself not to drink for one full year.

Well, it’s Day 1 again, and I need some help getting back on the wagon this time. It’s really hard, and I’m afraid it will not be so easy to stay sober this time. I’m about to tell you a real bummer of a story – jump off now if you need to.

Not to make excuses, but here’s what happened. Not long after the last time I wrote a post, I had some awful medical news. If you have read my blog before, you may remember that I was diagnosed with a chronic, rare blood cancer a couple of years ago. This particular condition is related to, and has a (somewhat unlikely) chance of turning into, something much more deadly. Well, the regular blood tests I have to monitor the condition turned up something strange, I had weeks of more tests and agonizing before I could talk to a doctor, and my anxiety was through the roof. It turned out to not be the MOST immediately deadly thing it could have been, but I did end up with a diagnosis of a much worse disease than the one I had before. One that will kill me eventually unless some medical breakthroughs happen soon. The median life expectancy from diagnosis is 10 years. So, in 10 years, half the people will be dead and half will still be alive. There is no treatment that I am eligible for that will beat it back (the ones they have now only treat symptoms). I’m not eligible for any clinical trials right now. When things get dire enough, I might be able to get a bone marrow transplant (but it seems that is no guarantee of a good result or, even, if I will be able to get one). I have a 10-year-old daughter who needs me. Her father is a wonderful guy with some serious mental health issues that could make it hard for him to be on his own with a kid. I don’t even have an estate plan yet because it has been too hard for me to wrap my head around what will be best for the two of them. Shit.

Of course, the LAST thing I need to be doing right now is drinking, but in the midst of all of THAT hideousness, I deliberately decided to self-medicate with alcohol. And, this time, I went right back to where I was before I started this whole journey. Drinking a bottle plus of wine or the equivalent every night. Nothing terrible happened, I didn’t embarrass myself. In fact, I had a few really wonderful, bonding times with friends I hadn’t seem for a long, long time (all of them big drinkers). Yet, the urge to continue drinking “just one more night – tonight – then you’ll quit again” is overwhelming. It is super scary. I feel stuck. Any thoughts I had lingering in the back of my head about whether I could just drink socially once in a while were clearly bullshit. I’ve upped my anti-anxiety meds, and that’s helping some. I have a therapist. Also, that glossy coat of denial has once again settled on my shoulders. I know I’ll be one of those that lives WAY past 10 years! Except that I don’t know that. I do know that I don’t want to spend whatever time I have doing nothing but sticking my head in wine-soaked sand. BUT I’m scared to face this sober. I know I have to replace this self-sabotaging coping mechanism with something else, but it’s hard to feel motivated. I wish I had a stronger spiritual side, but I’ve never been religious. I just believe in love. Anything else that happens beyond this life is unknown.

I’m not being hard on myself about it. I’m not ashamed that I’ve been drinking. But, I can’t keep doing what I’m doing.

Well, I’m not going to drink today.

xoxo

Ms. New Leaf (aka Leafy)