Monday, February 6, 2017

ONE YEAR SOBER!!!!!

February 7, 2017
Hello!
ONE YEAR!!!!  I can't believe it!  Today is my one year soberversary! I had to wait an extra day because last year was a leap year!  366 + bottles of wine that I did not drink!!!  Wow!

I never thought I could get to this point...never!  I went back and read my blog from start to this point.  It made me think of all of my "firsts" this past year.

My very first 2nd day AF,  my first Friday, my first weekend, my first time going out sober, my first summer, my first time being a sober wife and mother, my first vacation, my first time figuring out a problem without wine, my first time being fully present in a moment, my first birthday without wine, my first holiday season, my first time dealing with grief without a drink, my first argument, my first time making love without wine, my first time being a good friend, my first time liking myself, my first time dealing with my issues without wine, my first time being truly happy.

You can see there are both bad and good "firsts."  Of course these are the "firsts" that culminated after 10 + years of drinking!  I am so much happier.  I am so proud of myself, because, honestly, I never thought I could quit.  (I know, I'm being repetitive).

I started this journey because I wanted to lose weight...and that was my "google"...quitting wine and weight loss...it led me to an article by Julian Kirkman-Page, which led me to his book "I don't drink" which was my inspiration.  That book caused me to further google and I found Sobermummy...which I attribute to me sticking with it.  If her blog were a book...(and it will be soon!) it would be dog eared.  Her blog led me to many other blogs that really inspired me.  Mrs. D is going without, Un-Tipsy Teacher,  Ainsobriety just to name a few.  And many of the commenters helped me a lot as well!  NorthWoman 1996, GG, Ripleybelle, Angie, HabitDone....You have all inspired me and I wish I could give you each a huge hug.  (And just for the record, I didn't lose ANY weight....that is, until I changed my eating habits...it took me 7 months to do that and I am down 15 lbs.  But it was work!)

My life is so much better.  In addition to reading sober blogs, I also went to therapy.  That helped me immensely as well.  Another tool that helped me was "The Bubble Hour" Podcast.  I listened to it while driving in my car.  It was great!  Yet another tool, was reading books about drinking...both fiction and non fiction.  My favorite non fiction was "Kick the Drink Easily" by Jason Vale and "Mrs. D is Going without" by Lotta Dann.  Although completely different, they both helped me a lot!  My favorite fiction book was "Best kept secret" by Amy Hatvany.  Even though is is fiction, and not at all like my life, it struck a chord with me.  And another tool that was great was a private FB group for those in the process of quitting!  (Email me if you want the info.)  During the passing of my father, that group was a lifeline!

I've come a long way baby...and I couldn't have done it without you all!  Thank you so much for being my support and for letting me support you!  Who ever thought that blogging would bring something so wonderful to my life???

This was the year of "Soberat53" who is now 54 and sober!

(and just a sidebar....because I am no longer drinking while making dinner, I am Kicking butt at Jeopardy!  Previously, I was not!  Maybe all of those brain cells I killed while drinking are regenerating???  hahaha)


Love,
Sober at 53 (now 54)

Sunday, January 8, 2017

1/8/2017 - 11 months

January 8, 2017
Hello!
I haven't posted in quite some time.
I can't believe that I am 11 months sober!

I thought the summer was hard...but the holiday season proved to be the most difficult so far.
Between Thanksgiving, my birthday and Christmas....it was the first time in many many years that I did not have a drink.  Honestly, I was at times sad and it was hard...I did a lot of smelling my husbands wine! But I did it!

But, the very hardest, most difficult part, was that my dear sweet father died on 12/30.  I had to fly 2.5 hours away and sat by his bedside for 3 days until he finally passed.  He suffered from a rare neurodegenerative brain disease PSP (Progressive Supra Nuclear Palsy) for many years, so it was freeing to see him go.  BUT, the first night we were there, it took every single ounce of my being not to drink when we took a break for dinner.  I mean, every ounce.  It was like the first weekend of not drinking times a gazillion.  I am part of a sober FB group and I reached out and they saved me.  Each time I was tempted to have a drink, miraculously, a FB post would show up.  It was amazing.  Then, I think God was on my side.  I developed a horrific cold while by my dads bedside.  I felt awful.  SO that really helped stop the cravings.  But I have had a HUGE realization.  After almost 11 months of not drinking, I still craved alcohol when the going got tough.  And, I almost caved!  I am so grateful that I didn't because I got to be "present in the moment" and got to witness my father's last breathe...while sober.  What a gift.  Had I been drinking, I most likely would've missed it.

So, the gift my father gave me in his dying moments was beautiful....during something so painful, I didn't drink to numb my feelings.  I got to feel and to be there for him in a way that I couldn't had I been drinking.  This gives me such strength, as it is something that I never thought I could do.  When the going got really tough (and even not so tough), Mrs. Soberat53 hit the bottle.

This is has been the year of "me."  I quit drinking, go to therapy to help me with all of the reasons that I did drink, have become a runner, lost 15 lbs (and not from not drinking!  It took a lifestyle change!) and I am so much happier.  I am no longer drowning my sorrows, numbing my feelings, picking fights with my husband or kids after a few too many wines, and am just an all around better person.  I think I will continue on with the year of "me" as great things have come from it.

Peace and Love,
Sober at 53



Sunday, September 11, 2016

9/11 - When my drinking took off....

7 months sober!
Hello!
I haven't been here in awhile...I read a lot of your blogs and I love them!  I sometimes even post a comment.  Well, I am here today, because 15 years ago today is when I became a daily drinker.  September 11, 2001.   My dad worked two blocks above the WTC and lived a few blocks below in Battery Park City. At the time, my youngest sister was living with him.  After the 2nd plane hit, my dad ran out of his office, past the WTC, to his apartment to get my sister.  As he entered his apt.. the first tower collapsed.  His building filled up with smoke and he and my sister ran down 23 flights of stairs with wash cloths covering their noses and mouths.  Then they were trapped in the lobby due to zero visibility.    A police officer entered and told them all to run because their bldg. was going to explode.  (It didn't).  They physically leapt on a police boat that had already left Battery Park City.  They had no fear..they just did it to save their lives.  Somehow, they got to my house.  To this day, they aren't sure how.

My husband worked downtown near the WTC.  He also had to evacuate as his bldg. filled with smoke.  In a strange sequence of events, my husband also got on a boat (this one hadn't yet departed) on a different river than my dad and sister...and there he got to NJ with another guy that was from our town!  Then the 2nd tower collapsed and the air filled black.  My husband got on that boat and then they found a taxi driver to take them to our home..which was about a 40 minute taxi ride.  After he got home he said he needed to hug our kids so we drove to their schools and picked them up.  I felt so badly for my kids as these two young boys could not understand why their father was crying.  He is not a man who cries!

That morning, I was going to play tennis and I rec'd a call from a far away friend telling me not to worry about my husband, he got in touch with him and he is fine.  I had no idea what he was talking about.  Of course all of the phone lines were jammed.  I eventually got in touch with my father, who told me that a plane hit one of the towers (which he could see from his office window).  It was an accident.  As I kept talking to my dad, I hear him screaming...Oh my God, Oh my God.  I kept saying.."what dad?  what?"  Finally, he said, another plane hit the other tower.  That is when he dropped the phone and ran to get to my sister.

I rushed home.  When I got there, there were about 15 people on my front lawn asking me if Mark was alright.  It was surreal.  Thank goodness my friend had gotten in touch with him and I knew he was ok.  But, I didn't know how or when he or my dad would get to me.  My kids were 2, 5 and 7 years old.  The older two were at school.

Then..my phone rang.  It was my friend asking me to call everyone we know and start a prayer chain for her husband who was in Tower 1.  My friend was 9 months pregnant with her 2nd child.  And as miracles happen, my husband came into our house.  An in shock husband...but I had my husband.  I knew where he was.  I didn't know about my dad or sister yet.  I then had the opportunity to drive over to my friends house and she was outside her home with many people waiting for her husband to come home.  We all prayed the rosary as a group.  We kept watching TV searching for her husband.  We called hospitals, police stations, news outlets...anybody.  (Thank goodness she had a landline as the cells were still jammed).  Her husband never came home.  Her baby was born a week later.

I went home.  Still no dad or sister.  They eventually got to my house.  If I remember correctly was around 1:00ish.  We were all in a total shock.  But, especially the 3 of them who were witness to the most horrible act of terrorism that our country had ever seen.  The phone kept ringing and the news was bad...many many friends were missing.  We didn't know what to do...so we opened wine.  Bottle after bottle.  I don't even think it had any effect on us because we were in such shock.  The days after that were also extremely hard.  The news just kept getting worse.  News of another friend lost.  News of another friend searching for her husband., The first responders who were at Ground Zero...

So, what did I do?  I drank and drank and drank...at first (except on that horrible day) I only had one or two.  But every day.  It took a few years, but obviously it escalated to way more than 2 glasses per day.  If I am honest, I feel like a really weak person.  My stories that I share with you are NOTHING compared to what others went through.  My friend who lost her husband and had a 2 year old and a newborn baby...did she turn to the bottle or drugs or another addictive substance?  NO! Many other people I know whose stories are way worse than mine...did they turn to the bottle?  NO! And yes, I am aware, that in the wake of a tragedy of ginormous proportions, there are people bound to turn to substance abuse.  Why was I one of them?  That day, I rec'd a blessing...my husband, my father and my sister...all physically unharmed.

So while I remember 9/11 as the worst day of my life so far..I also remember it as the day I started drinking daily.  I can't believe it's been 15 years.  I now pick myself up and move forward....it's taken me a long time....but here I am..7 months free from alcohol.  This September 11, 2016, for the first time in 15 years, I can say that I am a non-drinker.  On this sad day, I am able to find a sliver of happiness in that.

Love,
Sober mom at 53
 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Day 170 - Clean Colon!

July 23, 2016
Day 170
Hello!

One of my greatest fears when I was drinking was that I was screwing up my body.  Especially my colon. I was convinced that my drinking gave me colon cancer.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 41 years old.  2 different kinds of invasive breast cancer, one in each breast.  I had 2 surgeries, 8 rounds of chemo, and 6 weeks of radiation.  I took tamoxifen for 5 years, had a 2 year drug free holiday, and now have taken arimidex for 4 years.  My chemo put me in full blown menopause at the age of 42.  My body made cancer.  At the time of my diagnosis, I was a normal drinker....so I thought.  I remember having a glass or two of wine in the middle of my two weeks between chemo treatments...who does that?  In looking back, I realize that that was probably the start of my drinking problems!  I couldn't even abstain during chemo!  Most people are sick..but no, not me...I made sure that I had my wine (all cleared with oncologist of course, but she probably didn't know how much I "really" had!).

Since I was considered a young women at diagnosis, that was pre menopausal, especially whose body made 2 different kinds of invasive cancers at the same time in two different breasts, I was considered an anomaly. Therefore, they did a lot of extra testing.  They made me switch my gyn to the cancer center.  At my 5 year cancer free mark, the gyn required me to have a colonoscopy.  All was clear.

Anyway, fast forward 5 years.  I constantly found myself worrying about my drinking causing me colon cancer.  After all, my body made cancer.  I drank more than the recommended weekly amount for women....almost every day!!!    It was a part of my body that I couldn't see.  Sometimes I had lower left stomach pains.  Sometimes my stool wasn't right (I know, TMI).  I really needed /wanted another colonoscopy to make sure that my drinking wasn't hurting my innards.  I asked my gyn at the cancer center for another one.  The new protocol is 10 years for your next colonoscopy if the previous one was clear.  There was no way I could wait 5 more years...no way!  I needed this for my mental being. Yet, I couldn't tell the gyn why.  I was too embarrassed.  So, I made up a problem.  (I know, very bad!  Who in their right mind wants a colonoscopy?  The prep is awful!)    Well, yesterday I had that colonoscopy!  and guess what?  ALL WAS CLEAR!  I stopped drinking in time!  I was so worried that there would be something wrong related to my years of drinking!  I feel like a HUGE weight was lifted off my shoulders.  I feel like I can really see the sober path in front of me.  I don't have that nagging thought in my head every day that I gave myself colon cancer.

Now, I wouldn't recommend asking for a colonoscopy if you don't need one.  I was really positive that because my body had already made cancer, and then I beat it up with wine, that I really had colon cancer.  I know it's a psycho thing...but I had these thoughts while I was drinking and because I convinced myself of it, they remained when I quit.

Now, I am so utterly happy.  I know things can still happen.  But, I know that I stopped drinking in time so that I did not give myself colon cancer.

Love,
Sober at 53


Monday, July 18, 2016

Day 165 - Too Complacent!

July 18, 2016
Day 165
Hello!
It's been a month since I've written a blog post.  I think I got to a point where I just didn't have anything else to say about not drinking.  (I am still reading and commenting though!) I am also at a point where trying not to drink is not so hard anymore.  It doesn't occupy my every waking moment.  I am not spending all of my time trying to quit!  In fact, it's gotten pretty easy.  I do like my AF beer though!

 I had a lot going on this last month.  I was away for a week...part of it in Disney..and if you can make it thru Disneyworld without drinking, I think you've got a really good shot at permanent sobriety!  hahaha

My sister and her family live in Sydney, Australia and they stayed with us for the last 2 weeks.  1st week we were away with them.  It was such a wonderful time.  And, I didn't miss drinking.  Even though I was around it every night.

But.....on the night before my sister was returning home, we had a farewell party at my house.  I honestly never thought about getting booze.  It didn't cross my mind!  But, many of the other guests drink.  So, due to circumstances, it was up to me to go to the bottle shop (I am now officially calling a liquor store a "bottle shop" as my Aussie sister told me that is what it is called in Australia!  I think it sounds much classier than "liquor store!")  This was my first foray into my old stomping grounds.  I got my cart and walked in and was overcome with extreme sadness.  It was palpable.  Tears welled up in my eyes and I stopped, looked down the wine aisle and breathed a heavy sigh.  I had to get white and red wine.  White was no problem since I never touched it.  But the red...the sweet, sweet red...(sigh) oh how I have missed you!  I decided to get bottles that I was not familiar with.  Somehow it made it easier for me.   I hightailed it out of the wine aisle and went to the beer refrigerator.  That part was easy.  It took me a moment to collect my thoughts when I got back in my car.   I had no desire to drink, but I was so sad that I couldn't...because I abused it.

My point in this post is that I thought everything was going great and that I was in a really good place.  But, I was too complacent.  (dictionary.com definition of complacent:  1. pleased, especially with oneself or one's merits, advantages, situation, etc., often without awareness of some potential danger or defect; self-satisfied.  I thought I was over the whole "drinking thing."  But then BAM!  It hit me like a brick wall when I walked into that bottle shop.  So my warning is...be in a good place...but never get too complacent!  I will not forget this experience.  It happened 4 days ago and I'm still thinking about it!  No more complacency for Sober at 53!

Don't get too complacent!!!

Love,
Sober at 53

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Day 135 - Old Habits die hard!

June 21, 2016
Day 135
Hello!

I am not quite sure what to make of this...

My usual wine drinking occurred in the evenings.  My husband would go to bed and I would sit down and watch TV and drink wine (in addition to the wine I had already drank!).  OR, I would talk on the phone to my drinking friend.

Last night, I watched episode 4 of the new season of "Orange is the New Black."  It ended at 10:50.  And, as binge watching goes, I cued up episode 5...after telling myself I really should go to bed because I had to get up early to get my daughter to school  (we are still in session here until Thursday).  But, as usual, like when I was drinking, I didn't listen to that voice.  I started to watch episode 5.  Part of the way into it, at around 11:10pm. I went in the fridge and took an AF beer and opened it.  And of course drank it.  This was the same kind of thing I did with wine.  It didn't matter how late it was or what I had to do the next morning, if I wanted it, I'd have it.

So now I am sitting here thinking if this was a bad thing?  It doesn't feel right.  It reminds me exactly of what I did when I was drinking, except I replaced the alcoholic drink with a non alcoholic drink.  Why an AF beer? Why didn't I have a glass of seltzer, or make a cup of tea?  It didn't even cross my mind!

Is watching TV at night a trigger for me?  I have watched it in the last 135 days and don't think that I have done this before.  Maybe it's a one out?  Maybe "Orange is the New Black" makes me want to drink?  (I did drink through the past 3 seasons!)  Please tell me it's not a trigger!!!

I didn't even think about wine when I grabbed that AF beer.  It's just an old habit...and it weirds me out that I did it.   Old habits die hard!  What really scares me is that I didn't recognize my old pattern until after I had finished that AF beer...then it hit me!  I haven't changed nearly as much as I thought I have.

In the end, does it really matter?  Isn't the main thing that I didn't drink?  (Like I said, it didn't even cross my mind to drink!)  I am not sure!  But, it must not be good, because I have a bad feeling in my gut about it and you always have to go with your gut!!!

Thinking I'll watch OITNB during the day!!

Love,
Sober at 53



Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Day 129 - I am so mean!!!

June 15, 2016
Day 129
Hello!

A post by ASobermiracle really got me thinking!  ASobermiracle is so very kind!!!  Today she sent flowers, along with a compassionate note, to a woman who was arrested for a DUI fatality.  In the past, she took her money she didn't spend on alcohol and purchased healthy snacks and brought them to a women and children's shelter.

Let me tell you....since I have stopped drinking, I have turned into a total bitch!!  I have taken the liberty to say whatever is on my mind!  For example, this weekend I was at my state's Special Olympic games.  All of the athletes had special needs.  All of the spectators were there to support someone with special needs...myself being one of them.  Special needs parenting provides a kinship with other special needs parents.  It's a community where you don't ever have to feel embarrassed for something your child does, you don't judge or receive judgement, and you support one another 100%.  It's like one giant family....for me anyway! It's a very different dichotomy than it was with my typical sons.  Anyhow, I digress.  My daughter competes in the swimming.  You go to the spectator area when it is your child's turn to swim.  The mom next to me, whom I don't know, kept swinging her pony tail like it was a horse's tail!  It kept whacking me in the face.  At one point she saw me brush it away.  She apologized, I said no problem, and then she continued to do it.  When space allowed, I moved down.  Guess what?  So did she.  So what blurted out of my mouth without any thought was "damn, I moved down so you would stop hitting me in the face with your pony tail!"  She got all huffy, and changed seats with someone else.  I really owed her an apology, but I am not that big a person!  Plus, I was mortified that the words just flowed right out of my mouth!!

I also seem to have a bit of road rage!  I am flipping off anyone who disses me on the road.  I also will flash my high beams if the person in front of me is driving below the speed limit.  The "F" bomb has also been used a gazillion times!

I was in the supermarket last week and the cashier had to wait for the manager to correct something on her register.  The manager was speaking to an elderly woman right near us.  I was in a hurry.  I took it upon myself to interrupt their conversation and say that the cashier needed him and it looked like their conversation was going to go on for awhile!  The elderly lady apologized to me (I felt awful) and the manager looked at me and shook his head (rightfully so!).  I was embarrassed to say the least!  I went back to that supermarket a few days later to apologize but couldn't find that manager!

I don't even dare write what I say to my family!!!  Yikes!

I wrote a blog post at one point that suggested I had no filter when I was drinking and that I probably said and did things that were unkind.  I also wrote a post regarding a book I read "The Four Agreements" in which one of the agreements is "Be impeccable with your word."  I don't dare go back and read it because I probably spewed how the agreements gave me glorious revelations and I now live my life by them!!  That didn't last long!!  I think I'm worse than I was when I was drinking!

Was my temper always this short?  Was I always so rude?  I don't think I was...but I think I am now!  I think that on some level I feel that I can do whatever I want because I am doing this really hard thing...sobriety!  I think I should get a pass for my behaviors.  Hah!  wouldn't that be nice?  But, you know what?  I really have to think before I speak.  I really have to stop saying what I am thinking!  Who the hell am I to be so brazen and rude?  Since I don't want you all to think that I am always mean, I am the type of person that gives a lot of compliments too!  If you walk by me and I like your hairdo, I will tell you!  If I like your shoes I will tell you!  I smile at people all of the time!  OMG!  I am Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde!!!

So a big shoutout to Asobermiracle for making me think long and hard about my behaviors!  You have inspired me to be a kinder person!

If you see someone on the road flipping you the bird...it's more than likely me!  Sorry!

Love,
Sober at 53