Counting Days Again

It has been 21 days now since the last time I decided to drink. Yes, I’ve decided to count days again. I had set a new goal of staying off alcohol completely until at least my 50th birthday, and I was feeling strong enough in my intention that I didn’t think I needed to count days. Until last night. All of a sudden, I almost ordered wine last night.

The craving was very seductive. I was saved only by the fact that I had so firmly made up my mind about my goal. I reminded myself that, in the morning, I would be happy I didn’t drink a bottle of wine. I don’t even pretend that it would be only a glass or two. If I drink, I know I’m drinking the whole bottle. Maybe my neighbor might get a glass … maybe … but even so, the rest would be for me. I didn’t drink, but it seems prudent to add another layer of accountability to bolster my resolve.

As I was going back through my online receipts to confirm my last day, I remembered that I had ordered booze several times in the week and a half before the last day. I am so grateful that some kind of subconscious warning bell must have gone off in my head. I’m actually amazed that I didn’t just keep going at that point. In the past, I would have, and I would be drinking every night by now. I feel like something has definitely shifted in me. I don’t want to go back there. Yet, it still feels precarious enough that I need to make it more solid.

So, I’m sitting here in my favorite chair, drinking a black cherry sparking water, and watching the fog slowly envelop the houses on the hillside outside of my window. Feeling good at day 21.

Wishing you all love and support.

xoxo

Ms. New Leaf

Update Post

Well, it has been a pretty decent week in the healthy choices department. Still not drinking, and that feels great. I had a Seedlip Grove and fancy tonic water earlier, and it definitely hit the spot. I’m now going to do the boring thing of reporting back on my progress since last week. If this isn’t your thing, feel free to look away now!

So, the good: I exercised three times this week. Twice on the elliptical and once, unfortunately, by mopping the whole house and scrubbing the bathroom and kitchen. 😦 I made healthy fruit smoothies for myself and family and ate green vegetables almost every day. And I lost one more pound EVEN THOUGH we had brownies with ice cream AND chocolate chip cookies AND dark chocolate this week. Woo hoo! That makes a total of 12 since starting this teetotaling adventure, all without dieting at all. The little things add up, and in general, I’m feeling like I have much more energy these days.

The bad: I’ve been having these terrible all-body itching spells lately. It may be related to my chronic blood disease or it could be some reaction I’m having to an unknown allergen (according to my doctor), but when it is bad (which isn’t every day, thank goodness), all I can do to stop it is take an antihistamine and pass out for hours afterwards. When I wake up, it is gone, but the day is pretty much wasted. Sigh. I’m pretty sure I would have exercised more this week had this not been happening, but it is what it is. Like I said, I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t get to everything every day. Also, I’m afraid I have to admit that I have become addicted to the game Animal Crossing. I might need an intervention soon. On the other hand, when you are stuck in the house most of the time, having silly little projects to accomplish in this game might just be keeping me sane.

In other news, school is finally over for the summer. Hooray! But, I have to come up with a way to keep my daughter occupied. Right now, she is downstairs playing video games, but who am I to talk (see above confession re Animal Crossing)? Luckily, she has her downstairs neighbor (2 years younger, but still a pretty good playmate and in our coronavirus bubble) to hang out with. Yesterday, my daughter really amazed me with her gratitude. She just started telling me what a lucky kid she was. How she was sure that not all kids have a backyard to play in, a neighbor to safely play with, the jungle gym-type stuff my neighbor put up in the backyard, good food, video games, parents that she can sleep in bed with when she’s scared, etc. Kids are amazing.

We will, however, see how she feels when I most likely tell her I’m not going to feel comfortable with her going to a rented house (with a pool!) with her friend’s family in July. I’ve just been agonizing over this decision because I just don’t know enough about how this family is interacting in the world to know if it is safe. Her friend’s family has rented this beautiful house for most of the summer. I’m pretty sure that my daughter is not the only non-family member they are inviting up to the house. And many people here seem to be completely not worried about the virus anymore. Masks are mandated outside whenever one is within 30 feet of someone else, but does everyone do this? Not a chance! Then, there are the protests which are a wonderful and necessary thing but also scary because social distancing is impossible, and not everyone wears masks. I gave a conditional acceptance to the offer because my daughter REALLY wants to go, but I’m probably going to have to trigger the conditional part as cases are going up. Sigh.

That’s it for now. Wishing you all love, health, and the occasional homemade chocolate chip cookie.

xoxo

Ms. New Leaf

Moving Forward

In three months, I will turn 50 years old. A half-century on the planet! Truthfully, it doesn’t seem like that much time, now. I thought I would feel different, older, when I turned 50, but my view of myself does not match what I was taught to believe 50 would be. Except for my body. I haven’t been giving it the love it needs for many years, and it shows. But my mind still feels young … ish, at least.

My daughter asked me whether she would forget how to imagine and play when she grew up, and I had to acknowledge that I just can’t get into playing pretend anymore. I’m too grounded in the real world now, but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel the magic of the universe. I do. Especially when I am not drinking alcohol regularly or at all.

Yes, I have a better connection to magic, peace, love, and the thrill of life when I am not dulling myself. I know many people think the opposite is true, but I don’t think so. The most sublime moments I have spent in nature or listening to music, for example, are always when sober (except for a few times with help from magic mushrooms, but that is something different…).

Even though I know this is true, there is always, somewhere, that nagging urge to disappear, float away, curl up and hide, and sometimes, I give in. But I’ve stopped giving in, for now, so that I can experience more magic, peace, love, and life. And, of course, be as healthy as I can be.

Even though it is just a number, I want to go into this birthday with a clear mind and a healthy body. I won’t be drinking, of course, but that’s not the whole story. Since last November (the last time I drank a bottle of wine nearly every day), I have slowly started taking better care of myself, but there is still more to do. I’m not going to plan a schedule where I vow to (exercise, meditate, eat enough veggies, etc.) a certain number of times a week because that only lasts so long. But, I am intentionally trying to make healthy choices most of the time.

I’ve also started planning my day first thing in the morning, writing down my intended goals on a fresh list but not beating myself up if I don’t cross them all off. So far, this seems to motivate me, but I’m pretty sure I need accountability, too. So, I’m stating my intention here.

I hope you are all safe and healthy where you are. As always, much love and support to you.

xoxo

Ms. New Leaf (aka Leafy)

What Happens Now?

For those who responded to my last post, thank you for the support. This community is truly lovely and amazing, and I have been thinking a lot about what you said. I have also been thinking about what I said and trying to decide how I want to proceed from here. Do I start counting days again? If my intention is to not drink alcohol, that would create the most accountability. Is that my intention?

What I know is that I want to improve my health, make positive life choices and changes, and face the fears and habits that hold me back from doing what would be best for me. Changing my relationship with alcohol is a critical piece of this work. Not drinking means that my head is more clear, I don’t have alcohol-fueled anxiety, and I feel pretty great in the morning (my most productive part of the day). I think drinking heavily and/or regularly holds me back. Even if I don’t drink that often, I do want to drink heavily. A whole bottle of wine is too much, and that much hasn’t changed. At least not yet. Maybe it never will. I also think that it is very possible that I would drink more and more regularly if I completely took the brakes off (and if there wasn’t a pandemic going on that makes it just a little harder for me to decide I would like to drink). I don’t want that to happen.

Alcohol isn’t the whole story, though. I tend to start and stop positive changes over and over. I started meditating every day early in this journey, but then I just stopped. A couple of weeks ago, I exercised four times a week for two weeks in a row. Then, I stopped. I’m no longer eating tons of sugar every day, but nor am I eating all of the fruits and veggies I need every day to properly fuel my body.

Alcohol may not be the whole story, but it is an essential piece of the puzzle. All of the other things are just too hard when unhealthy drinking is part of one’s life.

I don’t have any answers. All of this is just churning around in my head right now. I’m thinking as I’m writing here, so forgive me if I don’t have everything tied up neatly with a bow.

Still, I’m doing ok. Feeling good this morning. About to get coffee. Thankful to wake with a clear head and blue sky with chirping birds outside. Even if the city hum is returning. I hope you are all well, too, and sending love and support your way.

xoxo

Ms. New Leaf


The Cat Scratching Inside the Bag

I’m going to just come right out and say that I had some wine. Again. A few times. The last time was a couple of weeks ago. I haven’t known what to say about it because it hasn’t been a cut-and-dried experience. I have also been a bit afraid to talk about it because I didn’t want to disappoint anyone (silly, huh?), and I didn’t want to somehow trigger anyone else (I know, I know, I’m not the center of the universe!). And I still feel basically like a non-drinker now somehow. However, today I read that my lovely friend Claire (clairei47) celebrated six months of sobriety (yay, Claire!!!). Since we started together, I would also be celebrating six months but for these … what do I call them? Not exactly slips since they were decisions I made. Relapse also doesn’t seem appropriate as it hasn’t been at all difficult to not drink again afterward. Also, there’s no compulsion to drink every day at all. It’s been more like a few times I suddenly felt like drinking wine, decided to do it, it was OK but not great, and then I stopped again the next day. What is that? A dangerous, slippery slope? Maybe. A change in my relationship with alcohol? Definitely. What kind or of what duration? I don’t know. But Claire’s blog made me realize that I needed to say something even if I didn’t know exactly what to say because I didn’t want to feel like I was hiding anything. And I have a relationship with my friends here, and I want it to be an honest one.

There are a few things I do feel like I know. First, I can say with my whole heart that I truly prefer not drinking to drinking. Drinking is just not that great, and I think the only reason I liked it so much is because, with every day use, alcohol is pretty good at convincing you that it is great. But, actually, when you only drink now and then, it’s just a little buzzy and only mildly relaxing. And then, the next day there is a sense of anxiety that isn’t real. It comes from the booze. Second, when I do drink, I still want to drink a whole bottle of wine. There is no way I just want to drink one glass of wine EVEN THOUGH it isn’t that great. Third, I didn’t feel guilty or ashamed about it afterwards. I guess because I was able to just not drink again after the one night. But … I don’t like that I want to drink that much poison in one sitting. It isn’t good for me even if it isn’t every day. Fourth, there is NO WAY that I ever want to drink every day again. Shudder! Fifth, I am still curious about not drinking for a LONG time and what that would be like. Would it be different from now? The world is so upside-down right now that it seems hard to tell what normal even feels like.

Right now, I have no plans to drink in the future, but that doesn’t mean it won’t all of a sudden sound good to me again. I guess I just have to keep plugging along, trying to make the best choices I can (for me) each day. And I’ll keep reporting in here even though my journey hasn’t been a straightforward one.

Love and support to all of you.

xoxo

Ms. New Leaf

Lobster Award, Part I

Last week, Collette from Wine to Water nominated me for the Liebster Award. Thank you, Collette! I was touched that you thought of me. For those that don’t know her, Collette is a lovely person and a beautiful writer. She always provides much nourishment for the soul and brain.

The Liebster (NOT Lobster, auto-correct!) award is something fun bloggers give to each other. In Collette’s words, “[t]he Liebster Award is an award that exists only on the internet and is given to bloggers by other bloggers. The earliest case of the award goes as far back as 2011. Liebster in German means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.”

RULES

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you, and provide a link to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions given to you.
  • Share 11 facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 5-11 other bloggers.
  • Ask your nominees 11 questions.
  • Notify your nominees once you have uploaded your post

QUESTIONS FROM COLLETTE

  • If you had the ability to turn back time, what time period would you return to? 
    • Six months prior to the last presidential election here in the U.S.. I would try to warn those that thought Trump would make a good president (but have now changed their minds) what was coming! It probably would make no difference, but it would be worth a try.
  • If you could return anything you own and get a refund, what would it be and why?
    • My juicer. It was expensive, and I have never used it. Not once.
  • If you could get rid of one vegetable or fruit in the entire world, what would it be and why?
    • Do mushrooms count? I know they are fungus, but they are the one thing that is vegetable-y that I truly, truly hate. They are disgusting. But not the magic kind. Those get to stay.
  • Is there an item that you find completely useless and it shouldn’t even exist in the first place?
    • Wrinkle cream. Or any plastic product that can’t be easily and efficiently recycled.
  • If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
    • This is a tough one. I’m not sure there is any “one” place for me. Right now, I’m fantasizing about the U.S. state of Vermont. Vancouver, BC, would also be lovely.
  • What is your biggest fear?
    • The thing all parents fear. It is so terrible, I don’t want to even write it. I also hate spiders. Especially the daddy longlegs kind. Yes, I know they are harmless.
  • What is your favorite family vacation?
    • Calistoga, California, on the 4th of July.
  • What would you change about yourself if you could?
    • I would like to be more patient, all of the time.
  • What really makes you angry?
    • When my nation’s leaders deliberately set about to trash the environment, do nothing about climate change, see some humans as expendable or less worthy of basic human decency than others, and consider greed an admirable personality trait.
  • What is your proudest accomplishment?
    • The work I did helping survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking. I can’t do it any more because of the stress involved, but I am really proud of the work I was able to do.
  • What was the last movie you went to? What did you think?
    • Little Women. It was beautiful and well done. It isn’t my usual kind of movie (I prefer comedies or quirky things), but I enjoyed it.

ELEVEN THINGS ABOUT ME

  1. I have been with my partner for almost 20 years.
  2. We have one daughter. She is eight and sassy.
  3. We also have two very old, cranky cats. Someday, I would like to have a big dog.
  4. I have lived in my city for 27 years, and in the same house for 22 years.
  5. I love this city, but I also dream of living somewhere rural or in a small town. My kid wants to live in the suburbs. So funny as I could not get out of the suburbs fast enough when I graduated from high school.
  6. I had a near-death experience in my twenties, and I didn’t have an out-of-body experience. Very disappointing.
  7. I love to garden, but I have been too scared to do it in my backyard since discovering how much lead contamination there is out there. 😦
  8. I was a vegetarian for all of my twenties, but I never forgot about steak and bacon.
  9. I want to retire in about 5 years if I can somehow swing it.
  10. I LOVE to travel, but I hate airplanes. They scare me, but it is worth it to see the world.
  11. I need alone time every day.

NOMINATIONS

PLEASE do not feel like you must accept this nomination. If this is not your thing, I will not be offended. Also, I would actually like to nominate everyone I follow as they are all fabulous. Many have already been nominated recently by someone else so you won’t see them on this list. Others have been around so long I am sure they must have already been nominated, and some are so new that I’m not sure when or if they will post again. And, some are trying to take a break from blogging, the internet, etc., so I’m going to try to respect their wishes here.

These are not all new bloggers, but here are a few blogs that I enjoy:

  1. Lovie at Wake up! Lovie is thoughtful, honest, and has an interesting perspective to share. Not a new blogger, but one I really enjoy.
  2. Limetwiste at Moderately Sober. Also not new, but terrific. She was the first to really support me here, and I will always be grateful. I am not at all sure that she will be up for accepting this nomination, but I wanted to share her with others if they haven’t yet discovered her.
  3. TheDriedRose. She’s new here, and I’m really hoping she will keep posting!

Please answer the same questions Collette posed.

I’m going to have to complete this list in a part II to this post (at some point in the future) as I continue to explore new blogs!

Love and support to all of you.

xoxo

Ms. New Leaf

Both Trapped and Grateful

I’m feeling pretty grateful today. Still trapped, of course. We’ve been on lockdown now for soooooooooo long. But also grateful. Grateful that I’m sober another day. Grateful that my mom is still healthy. Grateful that my friends and family are healthy. Grateful that I have a home and a job. Grateful that my cat is snuggled next to me, I’m about to eat some spicy cauliflower for brunch, and my partner is DJing next to me. And it sounds good. He’s not in one of his discordant, experimental sound moods. The lockdown has been pretty good for him. He has been making music like crazy, something he hasn’t been able to do for a long time. When he has too many choices, he has trouble deciding what to do next, but when the options are limited, he blooms. It is so interesting what we are learning about ourselves during this strange, strange time.

I’m also grateful that my massive work project is over, I’ve cleaned my house, and now I can just relax. Plot out my next moves, lockdown-wise. Prepare to help my kid more with homeschooling next week. Make a schedule for regular exercise. Get excited again about my other habit-change projects. For all my talk in earlier posts, I really haven’t successfully maintained my stretching, exercise, meditating projects. Hmmm. I don’t want to be all talk.

I’m trying to psych myself up for the challenge of continuing to move forward while, at the same time, feeling very stuck. But also grateful. Perhaps you can relate.

Love and support to all of you.

xoxo

Leafy

A brief and off-topic post

This will be a brief surfacing from my deep pit of work obligations. I meant to write this days ago, but I’ve been too crazy busy to do anything but work most of the time. My partner is home schooling all by himself (poor guy!), and our house is unbelievably disgusting. But, with any luck, I’ll be done with my project tomorrow. Saturday is cleaning day!

Anyway … so have you ever had the experience where you hear about something for the first time, and then soon afterwards, you encounter it again? This happens to me sometimes, and it is so weird.

The other day it happened to me here. I was reading limetwiste’s (Moderately Sober) most recent post, and she offers ” a virtual hug from a distance of at least 2m using fake fur gorilla extending arms,” and I thought: what? Maybe this is a trend I missed in the world, but I had never heard of fake fur gorilla extending arms. But I liked them!

And then, the VERY NEXT MORNING, there was an article in the paper with a photograph of a guy hanging out of his window using a fake fur gorilla extending arm to offer a home-brewed cup of coffee to a passerby! This is our local paper and a local guy doing this, so it seems unlikely that limetwiste had seen it. It must be a thing, and I just don’t know about it. But still! What are the chances? I would post a link to the photo (because it is just so darn cute!), but 1) I am a too much of a grandma and probably wouldn’t do it right, and 2) I don’t know if I can legally or actually share it here on WordPress as it is a subscription-based paper. I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it.

xoxo

Ms. New Leaf

Blue Sky Outside!

Wow! It is such a nice day outside! My bedroom is on the 3rd floor of an old house, and I have a lot of windows on the side facing the yard. And it is sunny, blue sky, with birds chirping and insects buzzing, few car sounds. It is glorious.

My boss just emailed that she’s taking the day off. 😩 but I can’t! Too much work to do. But I’m making a pledge to go for a walk outside at some point today! I’ve been feeling considerably less ok about being locked up here, working away at the computer, climbing the walls at times.

Going outside makes me anxious, though, but I think it has to be done. All masked up and from a safe distance, of course. Somehow, in all this craziness, I’ve forgotten to take care of me. Again.

I’m thinking of all of you, and hoping you are ok.

There’s a giant purple slug that just inched its way into my room. I think there’s an 8-year-old girl in there somewhere. I’m going to investigate!

xoxo

Leafy

Update: Yes, a walk outside was a good thing (although still a little scary because there were a lot of people out – eeek!), but even better was deciding to take the afternoon off and relax. When am I ever going to remember that I have to take time to relax and take care of myself? It always makes everything so much better. And relaxing without alcohol, while once unthinkable, is really the only way to do it right. With booze, I might think I’m relaxed and feel a little euphoric, but it only lasts a bit until I want more, I drink more, and then I feel crappy and, decidedly, NOT relaxed later. NOT refreshed. NOT energetic. NOT ready to take on what is next. Yes, this is better.

We Are All Caged Animals Now

Aaaaarrrrrgghhh! It’s day 20 of the lockdown now, and it’s getting to me. Pacing back and forth, I am like a caged animal, too, now. The stress of the homeschooling plus my job plus the regular freak outs my partner goes through on a daily basis is all too much.

Still, I’m OK. We all still love each other, and we are all healthy. All of this is worth it because, so far, my city has successfully “flattened the curve.” Our hospitals are not overrun. My mom’s assisted living place is still virus free (or so they tell us). And it is Spring Break this coming week so NO HOMESCHOOLING!

This is a relief because it turns out that my department at work is responsible for raising about a million dollars in the next 6 weeks so my co-workers don’t get laid off, and we can keep delivering the services our clients need. Oh, you know, no pressure! So, I spent the day cleaning the house and catching up on reading blogs (sorry! I’ve just been treading water over here) to get ready and jump with both feet, out of the plane with a hastily-packed parachute, into next week. Wish me luck!

Much love and support to all of you!

xoxo

Leafy