Day 74, 2020

I am doing well. I mean there is a global pandemic and all but as well as one can do in this situation. We are embarking on having my son home from school for the next two weeks at minimum. I have a very ambitious schedule printed out during which I will have to find blocks of time to work. I have a feeling I will be pulling nights. I don’t mind. It all evens out.

I had a dream the other night that I drank. In the dream, I hadn’t realized it. I just drank a glass that was handed to me and continued to drink without thinking. Then, in a panic, realized that I had ruined everything. I was very upset.

In the morning, it took a bit for me to realize that I had not in fact had a drink. A good friend’s Dad who has been in the program for a long time reached out to me today and we went back and forth with stories. He was also a musician and acknowledged the very specific obstacle we have to endure being that alcohol is ever present in our industry. Aside from being exposed to it almost every time we play, it’s not only accepted, but expected to partake while we are playing. I digress. I told him about the dream and about how upsetting it was and he imparted that the longer you make it, the more precious it becomes. And that made a lot of sense.

We also talked about narcissism and alcoholism and how they tend to go hand in hand. It was a funny, honest, and much needed conversation. I am luck to have such people in my life.

Not sure if I mentioned that my neighbors are also program veterans and have been checking in with me. It’s nice to know that other people have gone through this and are living productive, peaceful, and fun lives. That normal changes.

Now here I go again, I see the crystal visions…

I’m really indulging in a lazy day. We had day 1 of our show last night so I went out to support. And drink wine. I got back late. Didn’t sleep again but I was able to get some rest this morning. I’ve got some work to do but it’s stuff I can do this afternoon/ evening. Nothing super critical.

The bar did not have had seltzers so I had wine. I wish I had something else because SURPRISE I feel like shit. Whatever. Moving on.

Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on Pexels.com

Part of me is disappointed that I have not really accomplished much today and part of me is hi-fiving myself for some self care. I’ll do a barre video later. I’d like to spend some time making art. Making plans.

There is a pretty good chance that the company I work for will be closing its doors in the next 2-4 years. I need to make a decision on how to proceed. Do I continue in my current field which is steady and pays well or do I use this time to make some plans on how to live a more creative life?

My ideas include a book (I’m currently working on this), owning/ operating a creative space for workshops, and music. I am currently a professional singer. I am lucky in that I only take the gigs that I want because I already have a full time job. I know could pick up more gigs for extra cash but the main hurdle working artists have to figure out is fucking healthcare and I am not going to go into a political tirade right now. (Stick around though, it’s inevitable if you spend any good amount of time with me.)

My truest passion is art though. It’s where I feel the most magical. Music is a close second and it’s easier to make a few steady bucks doing it than visual art. I’m also better at singing than art. I haven’t shared either here because I’m enjoying the relative anonymity.

I’ve got some books about starting a business and I’m really good at bookkeeping. I also have a few friends who I think would be great fits for running workshops. Lots to think about.

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.

Death.

If you’re not a tarot nerd, this card might alarm you. But when I drew it today I started to laugh. It’s perfect.

This is the whole reason I’m writing here. I am desperately trying to end this cycle of numbing and apathy and laziness; Living in a half -life due to alcohol, depression, self sabotage, and binge eating. I’m trying to turn this ship around.

I can’t do everything all the time and be there for everyone at all of the times and go to all of the things and still do my job, care for my family, get sleep, eat normally, and generally decompress. Decisions have to be made about what is in my best self-interest to continue with. I will be clearer with people who use my tendency to go with the flow to their advantage. I have to shed some things in order to move forward.

The Death card kind of gave me the feeling that the energy of the universe – or whatever you want to call it – has my back.

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!!!

Mountains.

Have I mentioned that I am a performer? Maybe not. I mostly perform in bars and at (alcohol fueled) events. This weekend’s gig was an overnight. It’s far. So we took advantage of the situation. A bunch of middle aged folks unleashed from having to drive anywhere. Mix in the fact that we’re in gorgeous mountain country. It was a recipe for celebration. We were out until 4am. I slept well and the mountain air did me good. I love it up here. Today I feel relatively gross but not terrible. I’m also pretty sure I smell like a barroom floor which is horrifying.

silhouette of mountains

Photo by Simon Matzinger on Pexels.com

I’m still listening to Claire Pooley’s The Sober Diaries for my long car trip. I’ve also cued up Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly but haven’t started it yet. Pooley’s story (and her honesty about her drinking) resonate deeply with me. She almost makes me believe that I can do it one day. I’ve reached the point in her story where she discusses her diagnosis of breast cancer at 46. Women who drink excessively are way more likely to get it. She also discusses Edith Piaf’s death from alcoholism at 47 from liver cancer. Like… what the fuck am I waiting for here? I’ll be 42 in a few months. I’m honestly terrified to go to the doctor for anything because who knows what is brewing in this cauldron.

Right now I am in famous hippie town having a lovely lunch and drinking a blood orange iced tea that is delicious. Can’t I drink things like that when I’m out (or in)?

I worry about how my relationships would continue. My friends and I have a very deeply rooted drinking culture. Staying out well into the morning hours, drinking bottles over bottles while making a mountain out of an ashtray. These are therapy sessions. Summits on solving the world’s problems.

I’m scared of losing that.

When I try to break down what that would look like… I see more day time hangs. Maybe more like outings – to DO things? A museum, a show, a yoga class? Even if we did dinner, I doubt there will be a shortage of things to talk about.

Truthfully, I’m afraid of who I am without drinking because I don’t know her at all. I’ve been “self-medicating” since I was 24. I don’t know if she has ever even existed.

I DO know that the person who drinks is a loud, rambling chainsmoker who loves to interrupt you and talk about herself. The alcohol free me can’t be any worse than that. I also know that before I drank I was not a talker AT ALL. I was an observer. I would take EVERYTHING in. As an artist, I’m going to guess that will only benefit me.

I think of the extra energy I’ll have. I’ll lose weight. My skin will clear up. I’ll be fucking healthier. I’ll likely keep the majority of my friends. Ugh.

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.

I am a failure

I failed. I failed two nights in a row. I fail more than I succeed. I’ve not drank probably a total of maybe 10 days this year. That’s being liberal.

I am in a state today. I am angry and disappointed in myself but that is generally my default. I”m thinking about changing the tone of this blog because I’m just going to keep fucking up. So here is the peregrination of a woman who just slowly destroys herself and drives herself deeper into depression. And she complains about it and on and on it goes. Sounds like a great read.

The past week has sucked. I thought Pup was going to die on Thursday. I was so sure of it that I basically snuggled him and sobbed my goodbyes. Then I had a gig. And remember I wasn’t supposed to drink? Well. Surprise! That didn’t work out.

I am emotionally exhausted. And my job is crazy. I’m studying for a licensing exam and we are going through a merger that I will be a critical part of so my stress level and workload have been compounded with that. And I had a rehearsal and two gigs this week. As well as my art class. I’m burned out. I’m sad.

I’m taking a mental health and self care day tomorrow to mentally prepare for the coming weeks with work. I’ve informed some of my best friends who have really come through with support. I have a good network.

But I still cannot commit to not drinking. I can’t do it.