I took a dance class over the weekend and loved it. I can’t wait until next Saturday to take it again. I was impressed with myself. I haven’t lost my ability to follow choreography relatively quickly. Afterwards, I met one of my best friends for lunch. She has also quit drinking and is doing great. We talked about lot of shared experiences with this – how bad it got, not remembering big events we attended, being embarrassing, the constant recovery mode. It was good to relate and it was a relief to know that we had just as much fun without the bottle(s) of wine.
To be honest, I have worried how my relationships will change. I think about it A LOT. I’ve already seen some friendships begin to fade and it’s a fucking bummer. I’ve retreated a lot this past month and a half because I have been doing some HARD WORK. I don’t know when I’ll resurface. I’m not ready right now.
I spent a lot of time doing all of the things. Going to all of the dinners and events. Checking in on all of the people. I had to be at all of the places. I couldn’t miss a THING. If I did, I’d become irrelevant. People would forget about me. I would fade away.
And that may be true in some cases. And that’s ok. The years of permeable boundaries and trying to be “supportive” of virtually everyone, left me depleted. I mean, the whole thing was unhealthy – my need to be liked and my need for meaningful relationships were often at odds. Being a good person will remain important but I don’t have to be everyone’s best friend. I should keep an eye out for those who return that care and focus on them. I am lucky to have a good handful of those folks.
This is as far as I am gonna because I’m on the beach of some dense and murky stuff that I am not interested in dealing with right now. My boundaries are re-forming. I have to take care of myself, my needs, and my health for the foreseeable future.
I have an old drinking friend from the time I was maybe 19. She makes delicious dinners and we sit at her table and drink and chain smoke and it is gloriously without filter or airs. I’ve been wondering what our friendship would look like if I stopped drinking.
I am happy to report that I went to her house for a wonderful dinner with another friend, brought a six pack of Sprite Zero, and had a fantastic time. I went home quite a bit earlier than usual (10pm seems to be when I turn into a pumpkin) but it was a lot of fun. She had no idea that I had quit drinking. I told her Friday.
I felt comfortable and relieved. I also was happy to be in my bed by 10:30.
First of all, I’m proud of myself. 19 fucking days.
Last night I woke up at 3am with a horrid stomach ache and spent an hour with my head in the toilet. It reminded me of the MANY times I had experienced this over the years because of drinking. I kept flashing back to that feeling. The grindy brain, exhausted body, confused, Jeckyll wondering what Hyde had done and why. Hoping for some relief in vomiting.
Last night’s escapade was of course not driven by alcohol however I suspect it may have been a result of the chips, sour cream and cookies I decided to indulge in around midnight. Soooooo, as stated before, I still have some shit to work through. Why am I eating so much? To fill a void. But why? What is that void? I have several suspicions based on what my life is missing. I do not feel like getting into them now.
Today I logged my only meal. An egg with cheese on toast. And tea. I’m such a fucking Britophile. Does that count if you were raised mainly in that culture? Who knows or cares.
I’m going to do a barre exercise in a bit. It’s literally the least I can do. More later maybe.
This “blog” is basically a microcosm of other journals in which I talk about how I need to stop drinking and never do. I literally have a decade’s worth. Some are hand-written. Some are typed. Some are completely electronic. All are repetitive laments about my relationship with alcohol.
There used to be relationship woes peppered in but at 42, I am pretty clear that the most toxic relationship I had was the one with myself. I had little to no self-esteem in my twenties. I had no idea who I was or what I wanted. What I knew is that generally, when I was drinking, I was pretty fun.
In my thirties, I began to feel more secure in who I am. Not completely, but the whole decade was a climb. I became a mom at 34. I figured that would be the end of drinking and smoking. But clearly I was wrong. I’m a musician, dammit. And when I play at bars, I’m drinking. Yay. Hi-five. Incoherent yell. Selfie.
This continued on into my forties and here we are. I’ve successfully cut down a bit. I don’t go out as much as I was. This turned into me drinking more at home. I’ve tried to curtail that and it kind of works. I broke up with wine because now I keep blacking out whenever I drink it. So I’m sticking with White Claws because I don’t get too crazy with them. When I drink, I want to chain smoke. The two go hand in hand and I get this grindy manic obsession where I have to be doing both of those things at all times.
I’m not sure why people even want to hang out with me because I’m always “going outside for a smoke”. I want to sit outside and chain smoke and drink. And it’s all like nervous energy. Sometimes I’m relaxed and enjoying myself but mostly… mostly it’s me trying to quell my anxiety about being out in the first place.
I think I mentioned that my therapist said I approach my problems in a very cerebral way. I know why I do things. I’ve drilled down to find the causes and reasons for my problematic behaviors. I’m good at it. What I’m not good at is finding the FEELINGS attached to those reasons. And my disinterest (or aversion) to feelings also leads me to numb myself (drink). See? I just did it again.
My face is starting to look it’s age. I’ve always looked younger than I am. My skin looks terrible. I don’t remember nights anymore. Who knows what a nightmare person I have been. I’m a middle aged woman for crying out loud. I need more gentleness in my life.
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.”
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.
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.
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.