Friday, November 10, 2017

WOW - OK so it's been a year and a half since my last post.

Here's my update: 

1) I did have a drink in June of 2016. More or less fell off the wagon for the rest of 2016, but hell Donald Trump was elected POTUS, so I cut myself some slack. 

2) I've cut way back. I no longer drink alone - which has eliminated most of my drinking. I still might (or might not) imbibe if I'm around friends or doing something social. But all of my good friends live two timezones away, and I've been occupying my mind doing other things. 

3) I still struggle with stopping at two drinks when around friends, but I don't really push past 5 anymore. 

4) For me personally (and this is just for me) I found it unrealistic to say I'm never going to have a drink again, because I don't want to give this thing that much power. If I'm out and want to have a couple of beers, I'll do that but I'll stop at two. It's not always easy when you're "feeling it" to stop at two, and sometimes I don't. But when it's over, it's over. I don't go on three-day benders anymore.

5) The reason I don't go on three-day benders anymore is because as I've broken the habit of drinking every day, I got used to being in a better mood, feeling less toxic and having more patience with people. In other words, I missed it less and less. To the point where I almost am bummed when another friend comes to visit, because it's prolly going to interrupt my sobriety. Because that's what we do when we're together - we drink. I realize I can change that and have abstained sometimes, but also imbibe on those occasions and then quickly forgive myself. 

6) Probably most helpful for me is a point system I've devised. My goal is to get 10 points every week. So every day, I get: 

1) 1 point for working out
2) 1 point for not drinking

So for instance, if on Monday I do weights, an hour of walking on the treadmill, and don't drink, that's three (3) points right off the bat. If I only do treadmill and abstain, I get two (2) points. If I have my shit together, I can usually reach 10 points by Friday. But if it takes longer (like a friend is in town) it might take til Sunday. As long as I reach 10 points, I don't beat myself up. If I do nothing else except don't drink for a week, I get 7 points. Then I just have to get 3 workouts in and I'm good. 

7) Again, this personally works for me, but I realize a lot of people can't stop once they start, in which case it's best to just not start.

8) I've realized I was in a very bad place (new state, just being fired, toxic relationship) and I used alcohol to self-medicate and escape. But even before all that, I drank every day anyway, even with a job and stable relationship. I was just a drinker.

9) After really examining my moods, I've figured out that somewhere along the line, alcohol was still fun, but I got very down the next day. Hangovers at my age last a minimum of two days. I don't know if I've developed some kind of alcohol intolerance, or am just old, but it seems inconceivable to me now to plan my weekend around drinking (something I used to do just a couple of years ago). 

10) Professionally, I've opened a consultancy and work from home. I make less money, but also have a lot fewer meetings. I think this has helped me cope as well, as I don't come home pissed off at idiots I work with and bolt straight for the Skyy.

Again, I don't really have it all figured out, but I do like how I feel physically and mentally by eliminating...I don't know...90-95 percent of my drinking? I remember giving up alcohol for Lent the last 8 straight years or something and *craving* it, especially early on. I think I had dreams about it, because I made it forbidden fruit. I no longer have the cravings. If I crave anything, it's wanting to hurry up and get a few days of sobriety under my belt after drinking again.

Hope some of this makes sense to people. Again, I struggle now and again, especially with this idiot in office. But I know if I drink it'll help for a few minutes, but I'll never get to that mythological happy buzz peaking "place" I used to reach in my younger days. I just know I'll feel like shit tomorrow. 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Big Tests coming up

Memorial Day Weekend is a 3-day weekend where I'm normally loaded. Or get that way fast. I mean sun, pool, summer kickoff...and I'm not going to drink? This is gonna get weird fast.

And my Birthday is in another month...and I'll be forced to spend it with someone who normally drives me to drink. She's going to get real offended if I don't drink with her. "It's your BIRTHDAY" she'll scream. "I'm not toasting you by myself!" And she'll have a point I guess. There have been three times I've taken a polite sip of something, just so people don't go slapping labels on me. I might have to do that again.

If anyone has any advice, I'm all ears.

Happy Memorial Day everyone.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Four (4) Months Sober

On January 3rd, at the tag end of New Year's Day Weekend, I took my last drink. One of probably at least a dozen I'd had from that day. My goal was to give up drinking for a year. I'm 1/3 of the way there, with some really hard parts to come. 

I'd been mentally preparing for this day for weeks...months maybe. So when I walked out to the empty 1.75 ml Skyy Bottle sitting atop the kitchen counter the next day, I had mixed feelings. On the one hand I was excited to embark on this new lifestyle. On the other hand I knew I was going to miss my old friend, and have to suffer through the "what the hell do I do now" times of the day...usually 4:00 p.m. onward.

And sure enough, those times and hours did arrive. While I was cleaning up and getting  ready to recycle everything, I thoughtfully drained the last four (4) drops of vodka into my palette before formally chucking the bottle. After all, I had heard somewhere that quitting cold turkey was bad for you, so I'm sure those four drops gave me new kind of life.

So here it is - May 4th. Four long months without a drink. Some observations in no particular order:

1) I sleep better

2) I look healthier

3) I feel healthier

4) My clothes are looser

5) I wake up hangover-free every morning. In fact morning is usually my favourite time of the day.

6) I can drive anywhere I or night. Legally.

7) I socialize less

8) I go to bars less / not at all.

9) I don't get as euphoric as those magical 20-30 minutes after knocking back my first Skyy/Soda, but I also don't get as down the next day.

10) I'm saving tons of money at the ABC Store. As in, I don't go to that depressing store anymore. Not only is alcohol wayyyyy overpriced in this part of the country (sin taxes...God help me if I smoked too). But you just feel like a loser even being inside.

11) My problems are still there. Drinking or not drinking - I'm still looking for work. Nothing comes easily or quickly at  my current pay scale. Although I'm probably appearing healthier on Skype interviews. It sucks not being able to escape my problems the way I used to though. I do miss the tonic alcohol used to provide in that capacity.

12) I make better food decisions

13) I play a *lot* more Xbox. I have a very active / anxious mind and need to be mentally challenging myself a lot. Video games have become so sophisticated since the Atari days, that it now serves as my only competitive outlet.

14) I have less tolerance for toxic people. When we were both being toxic together, it was fun. Now she just gets annoying and abusive. In fact, I think we're broken up for good. While a part of me misses her, the sober, rational part knows it's for the best.

15) I'm less active on Twitter

16) It doesn't bother me to be around people who drink. Flying home for Easter presented all kinds of triggers and habits I could've easily fallen back to, but nursing on my Smart Water got me through it. 

17) I sweat a little less...except when on the treadmill.

18) I still get mad at people/events. However I say/text/email fewer regrettable things.

This is what I can think of now. I'm sure more will come to me. In case anyone read this blog...feel free to share yours.

Monday, May 2, 2016

In a horrible mood

Coincidentally, I haven't worked out since Friday. Today is Monday. Some people can do that and feel normal. Apparently I'm not one of them.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The South is Beautiful

Just like to take a minute to acknowledge how beautiful it is here in the spring. Everything is so green and being on a different planet when compared with California. You really get a feel for it when watching shows like Rectify and The Walking Dead and other Georgia-shot productions. I didn't know what to expect when I moved here...I was told it would be hot and humid and full of racists. Well, yes it gets really uncomfortable in the summer...ain't gon' lie. But it's also spectacularly gorgeous. We have racists in California too.

And as far as beaches go, the gulf with its clear water, hot/humid winds and cumulonimbus clouds blowing across the sky like it's nothing, is unlike anything I've ever seen, including Hawaii. I hope one day I can buy a condo somewhere along the "Redneck Riviera."

Friday, April 29, 2016

"Have you lost weight?"

Finally. The key motivator for quitting alcohol in 2016 − vanity − *finally* kicked in this week at my monthly pain clinic visit. The nurse right away was like...have you lost weight? Since I did away with the zig-zag fruitlessness of daily weigh-ins a couple of years ago, I might as well use the ol' pain clinic as some kind of journal. Well I stepped on, and eight pounds lighter from March, and 15 lbs lighter for the year. 

Other factors that may be at play, I quit swimming, and swapped in walking briskly on a treadmill, at a 4 percent incline and "3.2" whatever that number entails.

Gotta be honest...that felt great. I really don't even want to talk about it too much for fear of jinxing my progress, so I'll shut up now.

Happy Friday.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

New Addiction: World of Tanks

I really, really suck at WOT, but it's great fun. And I think it's cool so many people are into a game about relatively ancient combat vehicles.

I held on - no drinking

Didn't have a drink last night, although I wanted one bad (I realize it's "badly" but this is how people talk in the south). I did take a Xanax and a Norco (both legally prescribed) but a drink would've much better hit the spot.

However now it's Saturday morning and I just stepped off the treadmill after 60 minutes of walking at a brisk pace and sweating to death.

I'm going to play fetch with my kitten (she chases and retrieves hair ties for real).

If anyone reads this, thanks for doing so. Can't wait for my first comment.


Friday, April 22, 2016

Powerful Urge to Drink

It's early evening on a Friday night. Everything I hoped this week would be, turned out not to be. Everyone and everything is pissing me the fuck off. The temptation to say fuck it and pour myself a Skyy & soda is palpable. I have the ingredients a room away. I'm going to try and fight through this, and it might require a Xanax. 

Bottom line - I still don't have anything to celebrate, and abandoning my resolve at a low point might feel good in the short run, but will ultimately make things worse, right?