The Many Crappy Side Effects of Alcohol (Part II)

I’m writing this for me and for anyone reading this that may have been sober long enough to forget the horrible side effects of boozing. Personally, I keep staying sober for weeks (and loving it!), but then deciding to drink again for a while before hopping back on the wagon. It isn’t terrible, I suppose, EXCEPT that it seems to be getting easier and easier to give in to the temptation. And I’m afraid there WILL come a time when I don’t want to stop. I’m also fairly sure now that I’m sabotaging my long-term health and wellness goals. Also, drinking now that I’ve been sober for a period of time is often not as much fun as I remember. Wow. So many reasons. And, yet, I keep doing it even though I also want to keep the sobriety going and have a real fear of returning to my past. Which brings me to more reasons not to drink:


Broken sleep and insomnia were my constant companions during the last few years I was drinking too much wine nearly every night. For a while, I woke up at 3 a.m. on the dot at least three or four times every week, and I could only rarely go right back to sleep (after guzzling water and ibuprofen, of course). More often, I was awake for hours until I finally got tired enough to sleep again. If luck was with me, I would get a couple of hours of rest before I had to get up to go to work. Occasionally, I would have to call in sick to work because I was never able to go back to sleep at all. I am a person that just can’t function without enough sleep. Then, as explained in my last post, I also started to turn to alcohol to put me back to sleep. When I think about it now, I can see how crazy that is.

When I was in my teens, twenties, and early thirties, I never had any trouble sleeping (even after I started drinking booze), but sometime in my mid-to-late thirties, everything changed. At first, it seemed the inevitable byproduct of having an incredibly stressful job. Then (after finally getting pregnant and quitting the job), it was having a child who was a difficult sleeper and being a mom with (sometimes debilitating) postpartum anxiety. After I stopped breastfeeding and my daughter started (finally!) sleeping through the night, I could start up my wine habit in earnest again. And the insomnia and middle-of-the-night wakings just got worse. Even though I wondered if maybe it was just part of getting older, I suspected it was really the booze that was the culprit — a suspicion that was confirmed when I finally quit drinking and started sleeping.

When I woke at 3 a.m. on the morning of my latest (and hopefully last) day one, it all came rushing back. With a fierce hangover, I was exhausted but unable to sleep. Misery!


OK. My most recent trip off the wagon began when I had something happened at work that really triggered my insecurities and anxiety. For the first time in a long while, I was very, very anxious and couldn’t figure out what to do with myself. Now, my neighbor and close friend had asked me a few days before if I would PLEASE drink some wine with her, and I said I didn’t want to, but … it got the old booze wheels turning in my head. So, primed, when my partner asked me several times if he could get me some wine to help me stop the horrible anxiety stress party in my head, I finally said yes, And, you know what? It did help. Briefly and for a few hours only. Then, in the morning, I was still anxious and also felt shitty.

I know this isn’t a healthy way to deal with my anxiety. I am on meds for this, and they really help. But, I know I need some way to deal with the rare sneak attacks that just send me spinning. Alcohol is a crappy way to self-medicate. I could get some other doctor-approved drug for the emergency times. I suppose I feel like I should be strong enough to wait it out or exercise it away or something. No real answers here, yet. But I do know alcohol isn’t the answer.

Making bad situations worse!

There are many more terrible side effects, of course, but the last one I recently remembered was that alcohol tends to make bad situations worse. Especially misunderstandings with friends and family. There is no argument that is properly resolved when at least one party involved is drunk. And many more that are needlessly started. There is no ex-boyfriend that can’t be embarrassingly flirted with if alcohol is involved. If it always remained fun and friendly (and with proper boundaries!) when people are boozing, maybe the hangovers would be worth it (once in a while!). But, we all know it doesn’t.

One other thing I know is that I was happy to wake up sober this morning, and I’m not going to drink today.

With love and support to all of you.



The Many Crappy Side Effects of Alcohol (Part I)

As you probably already know, I have been on-again, off-again with respect to the wagon since completing 100 days at the end of last year, beginning of this one. I want to be done with the off-again part.

Recently, I had a conversation with a friend about how alcohol is a crappy way to self-medicate. It just has too many side effects. Even its enjoyable aspects are only fleeting. Any relief from anxiety or stress is only replaced with and compounded by additional stress and anxiety soon afterwards. And what is the point of having a “fun” time with your friends when you only have hazy memories of what actually happened? Maybe that isn’t fair. Maybe the feeling of having had fun with your friends and having bonded (even if you don’t remember everything) is worth it … but I don’t think so. Not if this is what you do habitually. If alcohol was a prescription drug, there would be a very long list of probable side effects listed: additional anxiety, regular sleeplessness, severe headaches, nausea and vomiting, limited or failed relationships, memory loss, chronic hypertension, organ damage, cancer, dementia …

I know from my own experience that it is hard to see it after you’ve been sober for a while so I’m going to share some things I remembered recently about drinking booze to excess (the way I generally like it). I’ll start with the most obvious: hangovers suck.

You know that feeling you get when you wake up feeling like someone is driving a stake through your head, and when you get up to take some ibuprofen, you can barely stand from ongoing deep waves of nausea? Maybe you don’t really remember it very well now that you’ve been sober for a while. Maybe you’ve managed to repress it. Well, I remember it. It sucks.

When I was a new drinker, having a hideous hangover meant that I would swear off booze (for a few days at least). The LAST thing I ever wanted to do was to taste alcohol while fighting to not throw up bile first thing in the morning (sorry, sorry, I know that’s gross). However, as I got on in my drinking years, I started to think a hair of the dog was a good idea. I would drink at 3 a.m. to go back to sleep (more on this later). I would drink at 8 a.m. to go back to sleep on weekends. Once in a while, I even got truly drunk for a second time in the middle of the night. This was rare, and I didn’t drink before work exactly, but near the end of last year, I had a few times when I worried I still had alcohol in my system from middle-of-the-night drinking when I arrived at work in the morning.

And speaking of work, how horrible is it to try to get through the workday while hungover? Every second is an eternity of suffering until you can get to that part of the day when the hangover finally releases you from its terrible grip and you start to feel human again?

I know that most of us probably didn’t experience hangovers this way every day. Personally, a bottle of wine didn’t really regularly give me a serious hangover after some years of drinking. But there was still always that malaise. The heavy fog. The exhaustion. The irritability. The nagging anxiety. It all sucks.

So, if you are thinking it might be a good idea to visit that old friend alcohol, think again about the crappy side effects. In my next post, I’ll explore “Why the f*** am I awake at 3 a.m. AGAIN?”

Sending love and support to all of you.


Ms. New Leaf

Checking in

This is going to be a brief post as I’m on vacation in the woods with my coronavirus bubble family. I haven’t posted for many weeks now, so it seems like it is time for a check in. I also haven’t been on WordPress much, and I know I’ve missed many wonderful posts. I will catch up with what everyone has been up to soon!

So, briefly, what has happened? Well, a combination of events and my own wishy washiness resulted in another short detour from the wagon. I’m back on again (and nothing terrible happened), but it made me realize the two triggers that are the hardest for me: severe anxiety and friends that really want me to drink with them. Combine the two, and I’m in trouble. I’m climbing out of the anxiety hole I fell into, but clearly, I have to find better ways of dealing with these things when they happen.

Anyway, I’m ok. The woods are lovely, I can hike without fear of running into many other people, and I rarely have to mask up. A welcome break from the virus stress at home.

I’ll post again soon. Sending love and hugs to all of you!



Yoga and Growing Pains

It’s been a pretty good week and a shitty week. It’s Day 29 again, and things in the no-drinking department are going well. Last week was a bit of a failure in the health department, but I got back on the horse and started a yoga program this week. I did three days of yoga (for the first time in forever), and I’m pretty thrilled about it. I’m planning to do another this morning soon.

I’ve finally started reading Atomic Habits, by James Clear, a book that has been recommended to me by several people here. One of the things he says is that seeing yourself as someone that does a certain thing habitually (not just someone that wants to) is crucial to successfully changing your habits. Well, I am practicing seeing myself as one of those super-healthy people that eat well, sleep enough, don’t drink, and do yoga. I’m a person that wakes up in the morning, drinks an early cup of coffee in bed with the paper, and then gets up and starts her day with some yoga. I’m not even going to put it on my daily list of tasks because it is just something I do. It’s not a task. It is who I am.

Truthfully, my life has also been a little chaotic lately, and getting up and doing yoga gives me a sense of control and peace first thing. I haven’t talked about this much here, but my partner is a very sweet, funny, and artistic person who also struggles with mental health issues. He had a difficult childhood, experienced trauma at the hands of his parents, and sometimes, he gets gets so caught up in his emotions about past events that he has trouble even staying in the present moment. And he is full of anger and extreme agitation. Before you become concerned, it isn’t ever directed at me or our daughter, but it is hard to be around. And every time it happens, I think, we are a family, I love him, but maybe we should live in separate houses! This was one of those weeks.

Historically, he also deals with his agitation by smoking, drinking, or doing drugs. Right now, he has given it all up except for marijuana, but even that, he abuses. I don’t feel tempted by that, so it isn’t really a trigger for me. But … it is hard to be the only one that is sober all of the time. Not because I don’t enjoy sobriety, but because I would like to be with someone who is also, at least, sober most of the time. I’m sure I don’t have to explain that here.

Sometimes, it feels like growing pains. I want to grow, and he is stuck, is how it feels anyway. Not completely stuck, but stuck enough. Enough for me to wonder if there is another way for us to be a family. One that would work better for me. But, it doesn’t feel this way all of the time. Just enough of the time to be confusing.

I hope you all have the loveliest of lovely days. Sending love and support.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.”


  • 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


  • 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.


  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.


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.


Ms. New Leaf