Day 64, 2020

I past the two month mark and am feeling really good. Well, in terms of the drinking. The bigger picture is a little more complicated. I’m feeling really disjointed and tired from worrying about my cousin. I’ve started a GoFundMe for her and we have gotten a good response. I’m so concerned for what her life is going to look like going forward. The septic shock has caused irreversible damage to her lungs, kidney, and extremities.

Once she is released which is likely a long way from now, my aunt is going to take her home to care for her. My aunt was a nurse for many years but is in poor health herself. My cousin’s kids are good kids but they are young adults without much direction. I’m worried for all of them. This worry is taking up a lot of brain space.

I am all over the place with most of my commitments. At work, I’m managing to stay on top of things, but it’s a big task to gear up and actually get things done. As for mu music stuff, we’re on a relatively critical timeline and I’m finding that my energy and focus on it is practically nonexistent. My business opportunity and idea has fallen to the wayside as well.

I’ve kind of dived into art. It’s a sanctuary for me to escape to. I have been listening to a lot of Mari Boine and painting. It’s grounding and helpful.

I have many angel friends who have checked in on me. I’ve been taking time each day to think about how thankful I am for the flexibility of my job, the strength of my friendships, and the oasis of art.

I did not think I’d go this deep today.

3 gigs this week. Yesterday was a wedding showcase that I was DREADING. I felt aloof and unprepared. Lo and behold, it went well and I actually felt some joy in my heart afterwards. I really love that crew. Tomorrow, a group of NY/ NJ musicians band together at the legendary Bitter End for Hemopalooza, benefiting the NYC Hemophilia chapter, which is near and dear to my heart. Hi Max! Also, get it? Saturday, we are back at our “home bar” for a 3 sets. I’m a bit worried about this one since I’m usually in bed by 11 lately… and we start at 10. So that should be interesting. I’m looking forward to seeing my people but a little worried about my first 3 set gig at my favorite bar.

Also, I just got a call. I have to appear for jury duty tomorrow.

WHAT A FUCKING TIME. Bye.

Day 11, 2020

I have not had much to write about. Things are pretty status quo over here and that’s good. Boring is good. I think I thrived on chaos long enough.

Things I have noticed so far:

    My head is more clear.
    I don’t grind my teeth as much (anxiety not as bad)

    • I stick to staying at home or going to meetings though. Have been avoiding anxiety inducing things on purpose.

    I’m a little calmer, meaning not as moody. (Not something I expected this early on.)

    I’m going to bed earlier.
    I have REALLY messed up dreams. Excruciatingly detailed and just fucking odd.
    I have found places and people who are on my team and that means so much.
    I think I can do this.

I’be been wrestling with the idea of sobriety for several years. My life and behavior have had peaks and valleys and the last couple of valleys were deep. I’ve known that something had to be done for the past 5 years, I guess. When it was simply not cute to be trashed anymore. That crazy/ hazy look does not translate into your late 30s. It just covers you in a giant red flag.

In the past year, an acquaintance posted on Facebook that she quit drinking 4 years ago and her life was much “gentler”. That clicked it in for me. THAT is what I want. Gentleness. Calm. Peace. I was under the impression that I had wine to calm me down, but it was just numbing me out and making me feel more anxious the next day. So, I’d drink to get rid of that. You get the picture.

This gentleness has called out to me. We’ve been thinking of moving west for a couple years now. I want to be near more trees and some water. Gentle. I want to have a view of nature rather than apartment buildings. Gentle. I want to hear birds rather than sirens. Gentle. I want to drink tea rather than wine. Gentle. I want to make the coziest retreat of my home. Gentle. For a while, I pictured how nice it would be to drink wine out on a patio surrounded by trees. But now I realize it’s the trees I want. I mean, I want the wine, but the trees are even better without it.

What am I even talking about?

Tonight we are meeting one of my best friends who is doing a “dry January” and going bowling with the kids. I’ve been looking forward to this all week. Tomorrow, I’ll do a meeting and then a sports ball party that I promised to pop by. I have a seltzer buddy who will be there.

Then back to the grind.

Therapy

My sleep has improved but now I’m a walking histamine. I discovered the cat had been napping in my closet, specifically in my pajama drawer. So I had to re-wash everything. I’m sure I dragged all that cat hair into the bed too. Ugh. We leave for vacation in 2 days so I’m just focusing on that.

I went back to therapy on Tuesday. It had been a couple of years but it was nice to be back. I really like my therapist. She remembered and reminded me that a lot of what I’m dealing with right now is the same as when I was there 2 years ago. She also reminded me that the previous cycle of frustration was about 2 years before that.

I have a big problem taking risks and walking toward the unknown. Fear has been driving the ship my whole life. Bravery pops up every now and then… but man, has it gotten lazy.

My therapist suggests that the frustration and resentment in my marriage is the main cause of my malaise. I agree to a point that it is a factor but I think there are several arms. She says my head and my heart are completely disconnected and we need to find a way to get them to work together.

At a high level, I know exactly what the problems are and I can tell you really self-aware and self-assured solutions. But my feelings are basically a knot that hasn’t been untied in 40 years and they kind of get involved and tangle everything up. We need to work on the flow. The flow. I picked flow as my “word of the year” a couple of years ago. It’s an important word to me. Who knew I didn’t have any?!

It’s funny because I always thought of myself as someone who was pretty emotionally sophisticated. But in actuality, my relationship with feelings is way more cerebral. I can break it down and label it and file away and it’s great. But my OWN feelings are so screwed up from shoving them all into an unlabeled box that I can’t even tell you, honestly, how I am feeling at any given moment. This was a HUGE eye opener for me.

So my “homework” is work on some art art focusing on fear, bravery, and potential.

Want. Need. Listening. Shit.

I had my ladies night on Saturday and I didn’t get too crazy. In fact, I got a headache. I’m not sure if it was from dehydration or from exhaustion but it was a doozy. I barely slept the night before due to the Pup wanting to go out, the little guy wanting to come in, and regular old general anxiety. I had a nice breakfast at the diner with the girls and then went home to complete some chores.

I went back down about 3:30 and had a few hard seltzer’s before the headache started it’s strangle hold. I just wasn’t feeling it. I wanted to go home but I felt bad, so I stayed. A beloved friend was in from out of state so I wanted to be sure I spent time with her. Unfortunately, it was getting to the point where no one was making sense and kind of talking over one another. Sometimes, I feel like I somehow missed the wave everyone else is surfing on and then I just can’t catch up. And ultimately I’m fine with that because I’m so tired. And cranky.

I had intended on staying over and really going for it, but I left around 1am and put my throbbing cranium on a pillow. It’s weird that I couldn’t just leave at like 9 or 10 when I wanted to. I always feel like I’m going to be seen as a jerk if I do that. And I have a crippling need to be liked. So this is what I do.

We had a nice family day on Sunday. Lots of outside time. Reading, My little guy and the dog running around the yard. We went out for dinner and I had a glass of wine but that was it. All night. I went to bed at a reasonable time after watching a Doris Day movie.

Tonight, I am struggling. I honestly do not WANT a drink but I’m craving one. Does that even make sense at all? Like… many body wants it. I guess that’s why they call it addiction (sung to Elton John’s song). It’s such a shit feeling. I’m sort of caught between “oh go have one” and “no, just ride it out. Prove something to yourself.”

The second one is yelling louder. I’m listening.

This is not a food blog.

I made some pretty good choices today. I worked from home so I was able to cook some healthy food. I’m not much of a cook. I mean… I like cooking but I rarely feel inspired to cook. It’s a hassle. I’m tired from running from one thing to another and I don’t feel like doing it. You know the feeling. But when I have some time, I do enjoy it.

I installed a meal plan app on my phone because I literally need to be told what to do when it comes to food otherwise I default to raccoon in a dumpster. This app gave me a handful of meals that are easy to prepare and leave leftover to enjoy for lunch or dinner the next day. So I’m not cooking every night. It sounds good.

This is one of my own creations. Fried egg on whole wheat English muffin with avocado.

As we know, I get really jazzed about things in the beginning and then revert back to the raccoon. I’m just saying that so you don’t call me out on it. It’s what I do. But this plan could be promising. The recipes looked like things I would actually eat and they are not complicated. You can rule out meat or gluten, etc when you’re searching for your plan. And all of the meals are healthy. No they are not paying me to say any of this. I simply want to share.

In keeping with my “baby steps” approach here, if I even substitute ONE meal a day with one of these meals, I’ll be greatly reducing my calorie intake. You guys would not believe the amount of french fries I have ingested this year alone. Unsupervised toddler. That’s me.

So my commitment for the week is ONE of these (or comparable) healthy meals each day. If I’m inspired to do all of them, cool. If not, I won’t give up and dive into the nearest garbage can.

Thai Turkey (Lettuce Wraps) via MealPlan.
I had mine with quinoa. The peanut sauce was impressive!!!

One Healthy Thing

I feel like part of the reason I have not been successful (in getting healthier) in a long time is that a.) I have not been honest about what my real problems are and b.) I try to do too much at once. Historically I have tried to adopt an entirely new personality overnight.

Regarding being honest – I would try to eat salads and go to the gym but then come home and have a half a bottle of wine and smoke half a pack of cigarettes. I don’t even think I saw the disconnect. I see it now. I’m older and the universe is in my ear telling me it’s later than I think. I believe she is trying to say that I am not 25 anymore.

So I’m trying something different. And I’m in this – doing it real time so it might fail or it might work. We’ll see. I am basing this on book’s like Annie Grace’s The Naked Mind and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic. Grace’s idea about taking small steps whether or not we are ready and Gilbert’s plea to show up and be open to the magic that life gives you.

I’m making a small commitment to do ONE healthy thing for the rest of this week. This is a small, reachable goal. For instance, yesterday I did yoga for the first time in ages. I felt good and am sore today. Today, I am going to take my dog for a nice long walk in the park because it is beautiful out. (He’s doing well at the moment!) I believe that if we allow ourselves to be successful, we are more motivated to continue seeking success.

I’m hoping that doing yoga or taking a walk or going to bed early will inspire me to have a salad instead of French fries at dinner or to watch the wine so I can have a good rest.

Thoughts?

There must be some kind of way out of here…

I need to start writing here as a way of documenting whatever the hell this is… either a path to better health or a slow descent into complete atrophy. Small steps though. I think I am one of those people who thinks that everything will change overnight. I logically know this to not be true but I am still bafflingly disappointed when I haven’t lost 15 lbs after a half hour of exercise or eating a salad.

What is that? Like – why am I like this?

I suppose I’m in this situation because of my need for instant gratification. I am overweight. I drink too much. I smoke cigarettes. I am uncomfortable, always tired, depressed, and full of guilt. It is a pretty tight operation if you think about it. The perfect combination and sequence to keep this thing running strong.

I should probably go back to therapy. But I arrogantly feel like I have been there and done that and I know myself really well. I know what the problems are. I am insightful. I majored in Psychology and Counseling in under- and post-grad. I have a good handle on why I am like this. My problem is finding the will power and discipline to turn it around.

I suppose I’ll go into my history at some point but the nutshell version is that I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety almost my whole life. A chemical thing. I found cigarettes in my teens, alcohol and food in my 20s, and have been treating myself like a spoiled toddler ever since. I have gone through spurts of exercise. I even did CrossFit for a year. I looked great. I felt great. I was NOT into the weird “cultiness” of it though. Yet, I plan my social life around recreational eating and drinking. (Talk about worshipping false idols.)

It’s gotten pretty bad in the past few years. I’m in my 40s now so I’m probably seeing the consequences on my face and body more. I can’t bounce back as quickly so I feel like shit pretty much all the time. I come home late, so I order fries from the diner to eat. I feel like crap in the morning so I grab a giant bagel. (Yes, clearly I’m in NJ.)

I have been a donor to Weight Watchers, Noom, various online eating and exercise plans and here I am gulleting two bags of M&Ms at 1am. Wonder why the scale keeps going up? Also, wine is like 150 calories a glass or something. (More like 200+ with the quantities I pour.) So, if I have 3 glasses of wine in a night… when I’m being conservative… I’m ingesting 450-600 empty ass calories.

Anyway… I am trying so hard to just get off the fucking ground here. I want to be healthier. I want to feel better. I want to have a sense of control back in my life.

So here we go. Again.