Sunday, July 31, 2016

Day 72

A much better day.

A good night of sleep always helps.  Woke up well-rested at just before seven (dreamed of Putin though; that can't be good) and was off to the grocery before eight. I must've slept off the sulky pouty miserable feelings because all the issues of the day before seemed more manageable and less intense in the light of a new day. All of which was a reminder that not drinking is the better choice, always. Waking up ready to hit the ground on a Sunday morning is always a reinforcing positive feeling because I remember what Sundays used to be like.

I was a little sad I couldn't manage to roll over and go back to sleep because it was pouring rain and much cooler than it's been recently and thus perfect sleeping weather but that was not to be. On the other hand I had the store practically all to myself and the reward for getting out there and doing the weekly haul was discovering a new flavor of potato chip which was right up my alley.  Had some as soon as I got home and then another couple servings throughout the day. I still count it as a win because both ABL and Middle like them too so I won't end up eating the whole bag all by myself.

Once I had the groceries stowed - and isn't schlepping them in from the car and finding a place for everything just a royal pain? - that was pretty much it for the day till the making of dinner which also helped dramatically.  Oh sure I had told myself "gee I really ought to sweep and mop the kitchen floor" but then I decided it was okay for it not to happen after all...even said out lout "there are worse things than a dirty kitchen floor" and rattled off a few in my head. Given how miserable I'd been just yesterday I thought I'd better take it very easy and baby myself as if I were getting over a cold because I know from past experience that "resentful" is a dangerous state of being.

Even after ten weeks this time around I still have to consciously remember not to let myself get too overwhelmed or "too" anything, really. I still have a hard time turning off the scolding voices in my head which say I ought to be doing something productive. In the early days it was easier to shut them down with "look, I've got to get this sober thing going again so anything else except Not Drinking just doesn't really matter, okay?" but now that it's been a couple months those voices are all "yeah yeah yeah, but you're used to it now so snap out of it already and get could be [fill in the blank.]" For me, anyhow, turning off that "should" voice is hard but important because listening to it means doing more than I want and getting that whole "I'm doing All This and nobody notices or cares" and gets right back to that negative resentful state which used to be "so I deserve this drink; I certainly earned it" and now is just a sucky miserable place to be because I know that actually caving in to the urge will just make things worse not better but at the same time I can't stand feeling that way. The sobriety-self-preservation voice which says "do only the bare minimum; make sure you're taking LOTS of time for yourself and be sure you aren't running around hungry ferpitysake" is always at odds with that choir singing things like "you should use this time to get the house clean; you're lazy to be sitting around with a book all day; why aren't you exercising; you know better than to eat that."   You know the drill.  We all treat ourselves far worse than we'd treat anyone else and it seems damned near impossible to stop.

It's even harder for me to give myself praise.


Harder still to do all of the self-care stuff while trying to be supportive to other family members. But that's just how life is whether we want it that way or not...and without family there would be loneliness which comes with its own set of problems.  One thing is for certain true though: even though it ranges from uncomfortable to downright miserable in the moment, being sober makes it overall easier to handle and manage all the crappy stuff life dishes out: not being physically and emotionally drained from the booze is a better starting place. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Day 71

A really hard one.

All the family drama from last week came back for another round and then Middle ran over a curb and blew out a tire. He didn't take it at all well. Neither did ABL as the plan had been to take him for frozen yogurt as the sports center was closed yesterday so we couldn't bowl...but I wasn't about to drive 25 miles each way (toldja we lived in the middle of no-damned-where) on one of those compact spares for ice cream. Yeah, well, safe choice but a freaking complicated one because autism just doesn't DO well with last-minute-change-of-plans.

It was a crappy day in the neighborhood.  Before noon I was already mentally screaming "THIS! This right here is EXACTLY why I drank so fucking much!  All this fucking craziness and shit beyond my control!"  The weird thing is that instead of going straight to "and dammit that's why I want a drink!" I went to "but I don't DO that any more so now I'm stuck FEELING all these goddamned miserable FEELINGS and it's not fair and it fucking SUCKS is what!'

I snorted and stomped around with that one for a good hour or so while simultaneously making sure Middle got home okay and playing endless rounds of The Calendar Game (going ritualistically over the upcoming events, including rescheduled frozen yogurt, on the wall calendar with ABL.)  Once again I let myself get far too hungry and far too angry and one of the pieces of the family drama is that Spouse isn't coming back home tomorrow after all so throw in some lonely while you're at it...and didn't realize ANY of the above till Spouse said in one of the seemingly endless phone calls "why don't you go eat something?"

A big ol' grilled cheese sandwich helped.  Oh it didn't bring me back down to normal, mind you, and I was still all "it's not FAIR I can't have my favorite coping mechanism, dammit!" but it was more a sulk than a howling roar. Got all the shit on my To Do list done which wasn't really that big a deal in and of itself but gave me something to do with the excess energy so that I wasn't just pacing or vibrating or something.

Good thing too because the family drama heated up again later in the day.  Oddly enough the second round just made me fatigued and sad. Well, the kind of sad that goes with frustrated and powerless which might just be anger turned inward, but it was still sad not pissed off. Middle decided to go into town (only 6 miles one way; far better) to get dessert and I ended up crying myself to sleep on the couch while he was out as if I were still a preschooler...but when I woke up after not even quite a whole hour I felt more like I could maybe handle the rest of the night.

Which I've been doing. Now that the day is winding down I'm starting to get back to my emotional baseline although once again Spouse had to cue me to eat--would you believe that I was sitting there thinking "no I'm not going to have one [of the ice cream cone dessert treats that Middle got] because I've already eaten enough today" even though I've told myself and others that I'm not going to deal with the whole food thing just yet?  Boy do old dysfunctional patterns die hard. Even after "oh, go have one already" I was sitting there mentally arguing the point.

Then I realized that was stupid, had one, enjoyed it very much and felt considerably better. Funny how that works.  I know that HALT is a real thing, have seen in myself how taking care of the four elements helps make things easier but I still end up falling into it just the same. I guess the important thing is that despite feeling seriously awful for big chunks of the day I didn't go back to the old coping mechanism of just drowning all my troubles...and maybe next time I'll be able to recognize and treat the hunger and the anger before I get to the meltdown stage. Here's hoping, anyhow.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Day 70: Ten Weeks

A good day.

Work pretty easy, carry out for dinner, finished my book and best of all: made reservations for a proper just-the-two-of-us vacation cruise in January.

Glad I'm -not- dragging around a hangover today; others are.

Surprisingly tired though. Time for bed.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Day 69

A good day.

Full of crazy ups and downs and family drama but overall a good day.

The quiche is okay. Totally edible but a tad too much garlic powder (which I knew during the making as the bottle slipped) and I really should have wrapped the exposed crust and let it bake longer so the bottom crust would be more done. But it wasn't for s cooking show just me and I like it well enough.

Some of the family decided to respond to the drama with drinking - for just a flicker of a moment That Voice tried to say I should join them but it passed quickly and by a couple hours later I was glad I hadn't. The whole louder more emotional more repetitious thing started as a nice gentle reminder why keeping clear-headed was better and eventually morphed into full blown I'm glad I don't do that any more. At not quite eight it felt like maybe missing out but by ten I was SO happy not to be any part of it.

So that's another helpful memory on the pile for future use.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Day 68

A much better day.

'Bout damned time, too.  Sure work was lighter overall, I had the last of this week's Unpleasant Meetings and my new library book was the right kind of escapist entertainment but it was mostly just me being in a better place, brain-chemistry-wise. Funny how that works.

Bought myself a prototype tie-dyed t-shirt from my favorite indie dyer too, that was a nice no-particular-reason gift to myself that I totally justified by realizing that this time around I've already saved about $600 not drinking.  Think I'll make it my official Day 70 treat and as it will be my new favorite sleep-shirt it will be a nice friendly reminder of how far I've come.  Particularly if I get another one in a different pattern for some other milestone date; that sounds like a good low-key but still effective way to avoid complacency.

Otherwise it's pretty uneventful this evening not so much on the actual real-world front as it's been uneventful most evenings (still working really hard at avoiding anything even hinting of overwhelm) but on the emotional front. It's early enough I think I'll make a quiche from the leftovers in the may suck so watch this space!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Day 67

A plus/minus day. 

Plus: no cravings.  Minus: hormonal hell.  Weeping before breakfast hormonal hell; the kind that feels like late-stage pregnancy except with occasional maybe-these-are-hot-flashes.  Don't know if it's just a fluke or getting-closer-to-The-Change cranky ovaries trying for one last huzzah or what but I could certainly do without all of it.

Even the library irritated me today.  Walking back was even worse: the shirt I was wearing had a higher polyester content than I realized and I thought I was going to die. Wished I still worked someplace with a walk-in freezer. Managed not to cry at work or be too sarcastic/obscene at work so I count that as a win for the day.

Surprisingly enough I got a lot done including washing the dog and didn't even overeat, which is another big win.

Now that it's practically bedtime it all seems to be easing up and about time, sez I. Maybe it will all be better tomorrow. 

Even if it isn't it still beats rotten drank-too-much sleep and the following morning.  Beats it by a lot.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Day 66

A rough one.

Slept fitfully with crazy dreams - plenty OF sleep just kept doing that wake, roll over, go back to sleep thing all night long. Woke up still feeling weird but when I got to work and smells - like from the cafeteria - were really getting to me I wrote it all off as hormonal. It's either that or some mosquito-borne encephalitis or a brain tumor and those latter two are just plain silly.  So hormones it is.

Work started off not too badly but got progressively worse as the day wore on. Unpleasant meetings, changes in the benefits, stupid questions, rescheduling for last-minute unpleasant meetings...the whole shebang. By the time I left (90 minutes past usual time) I was so fed up That Voice was having a field day.

What the hell why am I even bothering things are sucky and just going to get suckier so why kill yourself with this sober business on top of everything else you know how good that buzz would be right now and it isn't like anybody is gonna notice or care and you've got all this other crap to do the very second you get in the house and it's not like they are gonna notice or care about any of THAT either so you should do Something to stop feeling this awful...

Yeah, the whole show. In full surround-sound in my brain on the drive home.  The only thing saving me was the rational part of my head saying "but it won't HELP. Oh sure it sounds like a good idea now but you'll get lousy sleep and feel shitty in the morning and you've got WORK to do in the morning." This got shortened to "it won't help" over and over and that worked, more or less.

Probably didn't hurt that I wasn't driving by anyplace that sold boo--no, wait, that's not true because That Voice helpfully pointed out Tom's [the corner store] sells that strong beer you know as I was getting close. I ignored it.

When I got home I suddenly realized I had not just one but all four of the HALT things going--way too freaking Hungry, totally Angry about the work stuff,  Loneliness was still carrying over from yesterday and Tired had been hanging around all day but especially in the afternoon when I made double-strength iced tea because I couldn't very well take a nap before my 5:30 meeting. Somehow just figuring out "well DU-U-uh, no wonder you feel like this" took a big part of the edge off and also allowed me to start doing things to make myself feel have some chocolate the second I got the dog walked, and have some more tea, and put my feet up and call Spouse to vent about work all before I started on the dinner.

It eased up. Once again I thought of that Caroline Knapp line about cravings that goes something like "...and you think it will never pass but it always does..." At the time it's awful but eventually it DOES pass and now a few hours later things are okay again. Hell, after I'd had dinner things were okay again. Looking back it was really only somewhere between 45 and 75 minutes that I was going through the full-on craving/wanting loop even though it seemed at the time like it had always been there and would always continue to be there.

I write this so that when it happens next time I can also, in addition to "but it won't HELP" have "this will pass." 

I'm so glad I didn't succumb.  Wouldn't mind feeling better overall than I do right now but at least I'm feeling it sober which is a victory right there.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Day 65

Weird day.

We live just outside a tourist town and today is THE tourist day of the whole freaking year so I was happy to be up and out of the house by 7:45 for the grocery run....and damned if town wasn't already crowded.  Cars parked up and down the street, people with signs for parking in their yards, supermarket crowded not just with more customers but also with staff moving big flats of bottled water and ice around. Overheard one staff member say to a manager "I already restocked [the freezer at front of store for 20-lb bags of ice] twice this morning."  Naturally this was the day that I had to make three separate loop-backs through the store because I forgot things on the list the first time around...praise be FOR the list, that's for sure! One good thing though: my aluminum foil didn't ring up so the cashier held it up for the front-end manager to see and asked "do you know how much this is?" The manager replied "A dollar.  Today anything that doesn't scan is a dollar" in a tone that left no room for argument. The cashier was fine with it; I was certainly fine with it and that's how it went.

Got home, got all the groceries stowed, had brunch...and promptly fell asleep on the couch for two hours. Not only that but I had a second one-hour nap in the afternoon...which I never ever  EVER do.  I don't know what the heck is up with that. Have been a bit dizzy (which is awfully strange: used to be that dizzy on a Sunday was just par for the course but now I have no reason at all to feel that way) but not chilled or achy or anything and the weather isn't any different from how it's been all week so I haven't a clue.

Got waked up from the afternoon nap with family drama from the Away Team but that seems to have more or less resolved itself. Damned good thing, too, because that was the one time in many days that I heard the "oh FUCK this shit lemme just get drunk and blot it all out" echo in my head. It was brief and easily put aside - and probably at least in part due to the fact that I know they -are- drinking - but it was a bit startling and definitely unpleasant.  Must be sure to stay very vigilant and keep on top of the self-care, particularly when they come back next week.

In between the two naps I felt out of sorts and finally figured out that it wasn't so much sadness as loneliness. ABL doesn't interact with anyone, Middle is always either in his room or out and about, Youngest is with her grandmother and the Away Team is Spouse and Eldest and the girl-beagle so it's just me and the boy-beagle pretty much all weekend every weekend.  He's nice and all but I have finally started missing human companionship.  I say "finally" because having been the latchkey only child OF a divorced only child I've always been used to solitude and in fact usually want Away From the rest of the family when they are around. Not today. It wasn't even the usual "notice and appreciate me, dammit!" that used to be probably the very biggest drinking trigger...more "gee it would be nice to at least have someone to talk to..." I've also been feeling all old and broken down and out-of-touch and un-hip and un-loveable, at least half of which I'm willing to chalk up to hormones but which I also think relates back to the whole "hey, pay attention to me!" thing.

On the other hand this was in between big bouts of sleeping and there's nothing more antisocial than falling asleep plus I had that drinking urge when I WAS communicating with other humans so maybe I'm just a confused mess today.  That's certainly possible.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Day 64

Reasonably good day...other than being all hormonal, that is, but at least I recognized it as such and thus didn't pay overmuch attention to the hypersensitivity and weepiness. Didn't treat it with alcohol either, as I would - with family encouragement, even - have done so often in the past.

Took ABL for frozen yogurt today - eating practically a pound of fro-yo plus toppings for brunch is a good way to soothe whatever savage beast might be lurking. It wears off too quickly of course and isn't a bit healthy but is nice while it lasts. Got another buy-one-get-one coupon for donating a dollar to muscular dystrophy too, so that set us up for next time.  I always sign the acknowledgement-to-stick-on-the-wall paper "Blanche DuBois" but no cashier yet, not even in a college town, has figured out the joke. Hope springs eternal, though.

That was the big activity for the day, too, which was fine by me. Apart from meals and the barest minimum of cleaning (counters, dishes, a load of laundry) I've done nothing more energetic than reading and nothing more thought-provoking than planning menus and the grocery list.  That was quite enough for a hot, humid, hormonal Saturday.  I'll be going to bed very soon in part because I'm not worth much to myself or anyone else awake and in part so that I'll be up naturally early tomorrow for shopping well before any crowds.

Here's one thing I've learned for sure this time around: If you're feeling the least  bit emotional or having the least bit of craving, treat it like having a bad cold: bow out of all possible activities, push the clear liquids and put yourself to bed as soon as possible. Trying to just gut it out is not the way to go because the one thing even worse than "overwhelm" is resentment.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Day 63

SO glad this workweek is over.

In the past this would have been the kind of Friday in which I would hit the liquor store on the way home and quite possibly get an extra mini to down right then and there in the parked car because I didn't even want to deal with crossing the threshold till I had altered my mood. It was only ever the one mini but always such a Much Bigger Deal than any of the other drinking because it was very poor behavior in the first place and a secret besides. I never let myself do it very often because it was a huge escalation warning for me but every so often it would happen. Once during a particularly bad patch with the Spouse a few years back I did it three days in a row - it was rather frightening how one part of me knew how wrong it was yet another part of me went calmly on doing it anyhow.

Glad not to be doing that anymore. Sneaking an extra shot at the beginning of the night means a hangover for sure the next morning because that same detached part usually said "get an extra for later too." So after a really miserable week at work I would do things guaranteed to make Saturday not relaxing and nice but a miserable day of sickness all in the name of celebrating.

Gosh it seems so silly from this distance. Typing it all out makes the illogic pretty obvious but that was where I lived for ages and ages and decades. Slipped right back onto that street barely two months ago, too - so it must be a pretty compelling even though things are fine now it is best to stay vigilant.

Tonight is okay though. Came home, made tacos (always a hit) and then crashed on the couch. I'm getting really good at just -respecting- my body's desire to veg out. After an ugly week it is totally okay to do not one single thing more than absolutely necessary. Gotta admit that was a hard one to keep practicing because I can add things to the mental To Do list at close to light speed...and then tie my feelings of adequacy and self worth to checking off the items. Stopping that particular game has been a big step in staying sober because for me a lot of the drinking was tied up in "I deserve this."

Yeah, well, I deserve better...and sober is better although it takes a while to figure that out intellectually let alone feel it emotionally which I'm not sure I totally am yet - at least not all the time - but I'm sure looking forward to restful sleep and a clear head with actual emotion so maybe the mindset change is finally starting to happen.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Day 62

An all-round rotten day. Too much stuff to do at work plus a difficult meeting followed by a difficult lunch with the same people and then family stuff on the side.

Carry out for dinner, nice shower then straight to the couch with a book. Getting better at letting things go.

Exhausted though so that's all there is for today. Well, except to say that even though it was the kind of day which would have driven me straight from my parking spot at work to the liquor store in the past I had no desire for it tonight. Wanted home, wanted pajamas, wanted sweets (but not badly enough to go back out) but didn't want booze.  Progress. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Day 61

Had a big case of sad today. Not a damned clue why, either...but I just rolled with it and eventually it eased up.

The biggest thing I've done differently this time around is to accept all the emotions, whatever they may be...and not try to DO something about them or argue myself out of them. I think it was Caroline Knapp who wrote "you mean I have to actually FEEL all these feelings?!" about early sobriety or at least words to that effect and they are So. True.

I'm only a few months away from turning 50 and being able to have feelings is still ridiculously hard for me. I grew up with family - particularly a mother - who liked to argue feelings away: if there weren't reasons she thought were valid for any given feeling being expressed to her, then she would argue/harangue/filibuster until I eventually agreed that no, in fact I wasn't having whatever feeling I thought I had been having...and I was wrong to have even been thinking it in the first place.  On the other hand, negative feelings with valid reasons were treated with alcohol...and yes, typing all that out shows rather easily how crazy - or at least not emotionally healthy - that particular outlook on life was.

In any case the result of all that was a whole lot of twisted connections in my brain which led me to think that the solution to having feelings, especially "bad" ones, was to eat or drink or both until they went away. Except of course for internalized self-loathing and recriminations; being as how they were all silent and self-contained those were okay. Can we say "vicious cycle" anyone?  Sure we can.

It has taken me a really long time to accept that feelings Just Are the same way weather Just Is...and that arguing with feelings is about as productive as arguing with the weather. It's not the having of feelings which is ever the problem; it's only actions taken based on those feelings which can ever become problems.  You can feel any damned way you want and absolutely nothing will come of it. Also feelings - any of them - don't make one an inherently bad, evil or damaged person. Mr. Rogers made a big point about how wishing won't make things come true and although I've been hearing that since I was three it's still a struggle to just have feelings without trying to drink them away or eat them away or otherwise make them go away.

So anyhow today had a huge chunk of sad-for-no-reason in it but instead of the old solution which was "I felt bad all day today; I can't wait for that first slug of vodka on an empty stomach as I fix dinner to replace bad feelings with buzzed" I just accepted "fine, I'm sad. No, don't know why but that's okay....if I'm sad I'm sad and it will either go away or it won't but meanwhile what do I absolutely -have- to do while I'm feeling sad?" It doesn't seem like a whole lot written out but it is a huge mental shift, believe me. Anger is still the hardest, I think, in part because I become so very non-functional when I'm angry but I've discovered that "okay, let's just go for a walk not to try to get over being mad or distract -from- being mad but to keep from exploding while sitting still" is a decent place to start.

And eventually things get back to baseline.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Day 60

Sixty days.  That feels good. It was a good day, too. Weather turned agreeably cool and breezy so when I walked out for lunch by way of the library it was quite pleasant. The boss email was well-received and I stayed on top of my work so I didn't feel a bit guilty taking a nice long lunch.

The library is always nice but as it is an un-air-conditioned building it was nicer today than in recent days and I saw a co-worker in passing so I'm not the only library-fan out there. Got the sequel to my most recent novel which was exactly as I'd planned so I would have lunchtime reading because eating alone in a restaurant can be awkward but eating with a book in a restaurant is one of life's little pleasures. So was the meal: most veggie burgers are rather sad and definitely pale imitations of the real thing but this restaurant, despite being heavily weighted toward the carnivores, does a made-in-house bean-burger with melted mild cheese, grilled onions, roasted red peppers and arugula on a brioche bun and the end product is rich and satisfying and with waffle sweet potato fries on the side (and they know how to keep the oil the proper temperature, praise be) it was enough to have half for lunch and the other half for dinner...

...which is kind of what I did with the novel too, but it was more like two chapters at lunch, one over afternoon break and then the rest with and after dinner.  Whichever dust-jacket blurb said that Eoin Colfer was like Carl Hiaasen was right and I think "zany" is probably the adjective of choice.  Fun but well-constructed. What I call "potato chip" novels because they aren't a bit deep but are most entertaining and go down so easily. Given how much books have meant to me over the years, having a whole one was a perfect way to celebrate Day 60.

Tellya what I'm not celebrating though...I've developed psoriasis in my freaking ears of all the annoying places. I find this particularly obnoxious because I've known for a long time that if one happens to be a psoriasis sufferer who also drinks then quitting the booze will improve the psoriasis, sometimes to the point of going completely away.  So it seems rather unjust that I who have never had it before have now, after being abstinent for 10 of the past 12 months including the past two consecutively, been afflicted. In the grand scheme of things it's just an annoyance, to be sure, but it surely is annoying.  For the first week I was in complete denial and last week wasn't much better but today was also the day I got over myself and picked up cortisone cream at the drugstore after the library but before the lunch. 

Still, this day had far more good than bad in it.  I'm sure there will be many more not-so-good days and even some downright rotten ones but today was a good day and I'm happy for that.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Day 59

Unpleasant day at work. Just really rotten. Ended up staying late to finish an email explaining why the perceived problem wasn't a problem at all and since it was to my boss it had to be diplomatic. This was after a bunch of other issues that were blown up bigger than they should have been and a most unpleasant network meeting.

Good thing dinner was super-easy--thank my earlier self for planning that ahead of time. Once I got that out of the way I did nothing for the next two hours except finish my novel which was exactly the right sort of treat for this day.

The weird thing though is that even though yesterday didn't have as much objectively bad/annoying stuff in it, that was the day I got all bent out of shape emotionally, not today.  Today sucked, but I didn't go down that same unpleasant rabbit-hole where I spent most of yesterday afternoon - go figure. 

Theoretically the rest of the week will be better - possibly more work but at least no more unpleasant meetings. Tomorrow I'll have the best veggie burger in town, too - unless something else on the menu catches my eye. That should be nice. Getting back to sixty days definitely feels like a nice accomplishment because the next-most-recent-to-this time I quit I only got to 56 days before floundering.  A whole second month is pleasing. Each week and month feels like another step in the right direction but I'm thinking my internal "real" goals are first to get a Day 203 since that was where I quit quitting last time and then to hit a one-year mark.  Getting to a whole year still seems kind of magical and illusory but also a very special goal worth seeking. I've been feeling that little pang of "I wish that were me" every time I hear about a soberversary since way before I ever even seriously considered serious obviously that's something important.

Right now, though, bedtime is important. More tomorrow.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Day 58

Mood up and down like a damned yo-yo today.

Started off awesome: awake well-rested at straight up seven and enjoyed it very much. It really is true that nobody ever woke up in the morning and said "gee I really wish I had drunk alcohol last night."  Did the main grocery shopping and was back home with it by 8:30 so the extra trip to the other grocery was done by a bit past nine - yes we have two not-particularly-good grocery stores which means stopping at both to get everything on the list. Anyhow that made me feel good and accomplished and things were going pretty well.

They even went fairly well when the In Laws showed up. MiL was in fine form making cracks about "did we wake you?' at half-past eleven but it was blissfully brief as Middle, when he called at eleven to set up a time, shared that he was going out with friends at 12:30 so it had to be sooner rather than later. When I asked, after they had left, where he was going he told me "I'm not; that was just to get it over with faster." Savvy kid. Make that "young adult" as nineteen isn't really "kid" any more. Extra savvy as I learned over the cake that MiL had wanted to "have hamburger and hot dogs" and make it a multiple hour event like Fourth of July...when I asked Middle he told me "oh yeah she said something about that on the phone yesterday but I didn't want it."  Good thing he didn't as I was horrified by just the prospect.  I can handle one of those events maybe once per fiscal quarter but certainly not two in barely two weeks.

Things were even looking up with the Away Team (Spouse, Eldest and the girl-beagle who as you may recall are in our other house for the summer) as the dog, who had been ailing enough for a vet visit, was back to her usual self.  Everything good, right?

But out of the blue around midafternoon "disgruntled" hit in a super big way. I was completely out of sorts, irritable, edgy, weepy and generally miserable in my own skin for absolutely no reason that I could discern. Sometimes that's "hungry" or "need something sweet" so I tried a small sweet snack...but no, that wasn't helping at all. Didn't want to do any of my usual amusements: yarn, computer games, books, stupid phone games...none of it.  Damned well didn't want to do any chores, either. Just downright cranky...and again, there didn't seem to be any root cause which of course made it worse not better. Didn't want to drink but definitely didn't want to be feeling the particular feelings I was having, that's for damned sure.  The psychic equivalent of an itch you can't scratch or the emotional version of that creepy-crawly leg-cramp sensation or as I've dubbed it in the past, serious sandpapering of the soul.

Dinner (carry-out of course) helped some but not a lot. So did just accepting "okay, fine.  I feel like chewing neutronium and there doesn't have to be a reason it just is." Again, some, not a lot...but I stopped trying to figure out a cause-and-effect so I could make the feelings go away.  I keep forgetting that sometimes you just have to live with the feelings till they go away on their own.

And they have, more or less.  I'm still not nearly as calm and happy as I was first thing this morning but I'm so very much better than I was at around three this afternoon that I'll take it.  I also managed to get the dishes done and the lunch made by 7:30 in the evening which is definitely a first in recent history. Once I got over being completely cranky about everything I realized that one of the minor specific things annoying me was that my current novel just wasn't working for me at all so I gave myself permission to just not even read another page.  Started in on one of my other library books and I can already see that was the absolutely right decision.

Funny, I was talking with the librarian yesterday about exactly that.  The book I put on hold was one I knew only by reading others' thoughts about it online and it turned out to be a surprisingly large volume. When the librarian saw my look she said "yes, it's a big one...but if you don't like it you can just quit reading it."  I laughed and said "you know you're right - when I was younger I always felt obligated to finish a book once I started it but now I've given myself permission to just stop."  The librarian allowed as how a lot of people were like that but she herself had never been that way; she was always fine with putting down a book unfinished. It seems a small thing but I think it says something about human nature all the same.

Doing this blog post has helped too - more than I thought it would, actually. Pouring it all out through the keyboard is letting it finally go, I think, or at least letting me get a better handle on things. Useful, in any case. Once again my decision to start blogging, in addition to just reading blogs, has turned out to be a good one. Thanks, earlier-self, for making that smart choice.

Time to walk the dog....

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Day 57

MUCH better today.

Woke up at six, took the dog out, went myself and then...back to bed until - wait for it - nine.  Well, technically 8:50 but what's ten minutes of lazing about and stretching?

Lazing about and stretching actually lasted till a bit past ten because that's when the library opened and one of my on-hold books had arrived. Nothing like a bit of library-time to start the day off on the right foot; even though our library is small it's still a library and thus spiritually fulfilling. Plus I forgot to mention they have one of those wheely-ladders which, last I knew, they let patrons actually use. (You can tell I've been quite the lapsed patron.) In any case it was heartwarming to see so many people wandering in and out just in the five or ten minutes I was there.

Back home for more lazing about and reading some of the library books I already have including one on my phone...since the last time I was a regular library patron they've added "digital downloads" which show up like magic on your Kindle or in my case Kindle app.  Apparently they vanish like magic too when your lending time is up. Managed to work some laundry into the lazing about too which felt productive without being much Actual Work.

Then Middle and I went for his birthday meal at the local Red Lobster. In this case "local" is "nearly an hour's drive" but it was a grand time because we were seated just before the early-dinner rush and had a really good server. We were comfortably stuffed and still brought home enough for a whole other meal. 

Figured out what to do about the earwig problem too: an individual-serving bottle of unsweetened iced tea which I can refill once I drink the original contents. The lid, y'know?  Given as much scorn as I've heaped on individual beverages over the years it's an amusing twist that I turned to one now.

Planned menus and made a list so that tomorrow morning I can hit the grocery, perhaps even earlier than last Sunday - as mentioned before I enjoy all sober mornings but I particularly enjoy sober Sunday mornings. Tomorrow is also Middle's 19th birthday so I will have to endure The In Laws long enough to have cake. MiL says "just to drop-it off the cake" but what that means is she will need to bustle around my kitchen in a majorly controlling way and insist on singing and having Middle blow out the candles then re-lighting the candles so that ABL can blow them out too to create several photo opportunities because the whole family calls her The Photo Nazi for a reason and you can tell by the ridiculous length of this sentence exactly what I really think of all that I'm sure.

Yeah, well, what can't be cured must be endured, whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger, serenity to accept the things I can't change and at least it will be over relatively quickly as there has been no talk of an attached meal.

But for now ABL is up in his room, Middle is out with his friends, the beagle (okay, fine: his official name is Agrippa Germanicus but he has no clue that's his name because ever since Spouse and Eldest brought him home from the breeder he's been nothing but Little Shit) is asleep on the floor so things are blissfully peaceful and calm. I'd wax verbose for a while longer but the unexpected quietude has caused my brain to go a bit blank...which is pleasant in its own right. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Day 56 - Eight weeks

Had to stop and make sure seven times eight was still fifty-six...that's the kind of day it's been. Stupid beagle is barking out the window even now; it's probably the stupid stray cat that likes to bait him by hanging around all insolent and cat-like.

BOY was it a lousy day. Started when I first woke up: took my stupid blood pressure pill with  a sip of tea from the lidded-with-straw cup I keep everywhere including my bedside and suddenly realized there were two things in my mouth.  Yup, a freaking earwig had crawled into the straw in the night.

Spat all over the floor of course but by then the stupid dog had decided he'd waited too long to go out and started taking a whiz...but not on the floor as that would be too easy: on the stupid bed right by his stupid plastic bone. Maybe marking territory maybe just being a stupid ass but in any case he got hustled right out the door...and so the day began. With sidebar to haul the stupid bedding to the stupid laundry room and trip over same along the way.

You must have noticed that "stupid" is the word of the day.  That's because all the stuff which happened throughout the day seemed stupid in one way or another especially the mini-meltdown I had just past lunchtime.  It wasn't one of those unappreciated put-upon resentful meltdowns but one of those unloved  unwanted sad meltdowns and I couldn't shake the feeling for hours.

Got a prepackaged piece of carrot cake with my afternoon tea - so much for the big healthy eating talk of yesterday - and the cake itself was inedible because to me it tasted all musty. Probably something with the spices but that was just One More Thing and also the moment I thought "oh fuck this; let's drink."  It was just a passing thought and since I was in the middle of my office in the middle of the afternoon there was no way I was acting on that thought but I was sort of surprised to hear That Voice after such a long bit of silence.

I goofed off most of the rest of the afternoon instead; that seemed to placate the out-of-sorts cranky child within well enough. I also made plans to take myself out to lunch on Tuesday as my Day 60 treat...definitely still need treats to anticipate especially when having such an Everything Is Just Stupid day.

Bowled for crap too, not that that's any big deal as I pretty much always bowl for crap and I should be as happy as he was that ABL got four strikes in a row during the second game. Now that it's all over I suppose I am but at the time I was just pissed that the stupid air conditioning was next to nonexistent because the stupid gym is still under stupid construction. Stupid stupid stupid.

Of course I hit a drive-thru for dinner. I'm not -that- stupid (haha see what I did there?) Didn't stop me from hitting the pantry later of course but at least I managed to stick to the chewy and wholefoods muesli instead of raiding the last of the lunch cookies...and today I consider that a major accomplishment. The other major thing - not an accomplishment really but just a thing - was that That Voice didn't rear its ugly head again at all later in the day. Even though the drive-thru was in the same shopping center as my formerly favorite liquor store (town of 2000 has 3 liquor stores--canyoubelieve?) I just now looking back on the evening realized that I didn't think about drinking at all once I was off work and could act on the urge...that may not be an accomplishment but it was certainly a gift.

Now it's time to reassemble the bed and look forward to sleeping in.  Hope it rains in the morning; there's just nothing like a nice rainy Saturday morning for lazing about in bed.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Day 55

So. Tired.

Very busy at work and had the scratchy throat thing again today. One good thing though: Eldest's cats are back in her/her husband's apartment (their subletter moved all the way out finally) so that's one less Thing To Deal With. The morning and evening routines got exponentially easier -- I'll take it!

Doing okay with the not-drinking thing and doing okay with the not-piling-on thing too. Have gotten really good at figuring out what truly must be done on any given night and doing just that, no more, without laying a bunch of guilt and you-oughtas on myself. Like for instance right now the dishes are soaking in the sink and it would be nice if they made it into the dishwasher tonight but if they don't that's okay because tomorrow morning is soon enough.

Oh sure there's stuff I would like to do and a few chores that are on the Simply Must Do This Weekend list (okay, the one major thing is "change the stupid silt filter") but I've realized that it's better to listen to the cues my body and nonverbal brain are giving me and not force the issue as that's how resentment builds up and everyone knows a handful of resentment-pebbles equals a nice stiff drink in some neighborhoods. Although I don't hang out there any more it's still not that far away...and the whole point of blogging is to fight complacency.  Best to err on the side of  less rather than more.

Not doing too badly with the food thing either - still having sweets but not in the same quantities as before. Although I was doing it all the time the first couple-three weeks I don't think I've eaten All The Carbs lately so that's progress too.  I'm feeling a need to start moving gently toward healthier choices and I'm doing so but in small increments not big huge "must improve all aspects of life a LOT right NOW" because that path was part of what led to my last quit-quitting. The literature says "no major life changes for at least the first six months if not a year" so I'm considering big dietary overhauls and new strenuous exercise plans to be in that category. Baby steps instead. Less likely to fall that way.

Besides, although the physical health benefits are significant the most important reason for me to stay sober is for the emotional and mental health benefits. I'm' starting to notice fewer spiky ups and crashing downs throughout the course of a day - sure there are those really raw moments but they are getting shorter and easier since even a week or so ago. Also I cannot overemphasize the boost in self-esteem which comes with waking up morning after morning not having drunk the night before. It is so much nicer not to start the day with a hefty slug of self-recrimination that will grow like yeast dough (or Woody Allen's pudding.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Day 54

Had to check twice to make sure that count was right but it is...54 is some nice progress.

Day not as crappy but definitely too long: 7:30 am and 5:00 pm meetings. Despite good sleep was ridiculously tired most of the day and had a scratchy throat but didn't put the two together into "probably fighting off a cold" till late in the day. Spent most of the evening lying on the couch. Didn't even feel guilty. Instead felt quietly pleased that I can now figure out when to stop pushing instead of doing it anyway and letting the resentment pile up.

Went to the library on the way home, that was nice. Even though it isn't a particularly good library (okay it is tiny, still in a building from the 1800's, not terribly well-stocked and lacks air conditioning) it is still A Library. Told a co-worker quite casually "oh yeah libraries saved my life; if it weren't for books and libraries I wouldn't be sitting here talking to you now" and realized as I was saying it that I was speaking truth. Not in the "hid from a bad guy in the stacks" way but in the "hid from a bad childhood" way.

There would be more but it is already way late so a good sober night to all.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Day 53

A crappy day in the neighborhood. Just downright sucky on all fronts. So much so that I did the Very Bare Minimum around the house and put myself to bed at nine. Tomorrow involves both a way too damned early meeting -and- a way too damned late meeting so I don't have a lot of high hopes for it either but one never knows.

In any case I neither drank nor wanted to drink so that is still a win.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Day 52

An ordinary day. Well, no, I take that back...I asked for help. That's ridiculously hard for me to do at all, much less ask my mother-in-law but that's exactly what I did.  Middle had the car for his work and wasn't going to be done till 6:30 so my plan was to take the 4:20 bus. Yeah, well, my work ran over so I missed the bus but was done by a hair past five.  Choice A was to wait till Middle could pick me up at closer to 7 than 6:30 because he never gets out on time but Choice B was to swallow my pride, call the woman who lives maybe five blocks from my work, have her drive the 6-mile commute and get home in time to not worry ABL (or the dog, for that matter.)

She was only too happy to do it and was gracious besides.  Oh she had to slip in one small dig but hey, in the grand scheme of things I can live with that. By the time Middle got home I had the four-legged critters fed and dinner for the two-legged critters on the table. It was actually a huge step in the personal-growth department but like a wild animal on the doorstep I'm trying not to stare at it too much lest it bolt back into the blue. Also like a wild animal I'm not sure it will come back. 

Speaking of "come back" let's pull the pin I put in AA last night. I like Alcoholics Anonymous; it's gotta be one of my top three favorite religions.  I see that it does lots of people lots of good. I fell in love with Anne Lamott more than two decades ago and followed Mr Sponsorpants for years before I ever tried to quit myself. Mary Karr. Caroline Knapp and her friend Gail Caldwell all speak highly of it. Right before I tried to quit I bookmarked the e-page of local meetings on one of my computers. I work in healthcare and there was a unit on addiction which included going to two separate AA meetings in two different parts of the city where I lived at the time and that was all right enough that if anyone ever said "hey, I was just getting ready to go to a meeting; wanna come with me?" I'd happily say "Sure!"

But. I don't do well with organized religion at all even really hang-loose ones. Anything which has catechism or lists or rules or steps or commandments mentioning any kind of deity right up front is going to be off-putting for me. That's the first part of why I'm personally not heavily into the twelve-step scene.  Given that I've been a lifelong agnostic-at-best but attended church (Methodist) throughout my late childhood and early adulthood to sing in the choir I considered trying AA anyhow and just not worrying too much about the godstuff...

...Till I realized that like churches, meetings are in communities and mine is a tiny one. Sure there's the ego issue of not necessarily wanting all the other small-town members to know that I was there at all but that is easily overcome. What is not so easily overcome would be having to pretend like I didn't know those people if I ran into them anywhere else. The town is small enough and my workplace large enough that some people from work tend not to make eye contact or greet each other in the grocery but that's very much Not Me. I tell everyone flat-out "I'm the kind of person that if I know you I'm gonna say hi to you even in the middle of the liquor store." That always gets big laughs though I noticed people seemed awkward there...let's put a pin in "secretive versus open drinking" though or I'll sidetrack myself totally. Anyhow the point is that I wasn't keen on having a support group but not being able to acknowledge it in public.  Nor was I keen on having whatever part of the local fishbowl was in the meetings know whether I did or didn't manage to stay sober. Too much pressure.

Lastly I can't get behind the whole "surrender" thing. I know the first step in fixing a problem is acknowledging there IS a problem and everyone who drinks too much is exceedingly good at twisting/denying/changing/ignoring the "too much" part but for me surrendering is taking it too far the other direction. Especially on top of the god-as-we-understand thing. I once read it summed up as "I can't; God can; think I'll let him" and that, at a very deep core level, is also Not Me.

So that's it, really...I could see myself participating from time to time and think any gathering of open-minded individuals with a common purpose has potential to do great good but I can't see it ever being the one primary tool I use to carve sobriety out of this block of life.

I see it's well past my usual bedtime though so I must call it a night. Keep fighting the good fight.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Day 51

Sunday morning sobriety is some of my very favorite sobriety. Waking up feeling truly rested, no headache, no dizziness, no worrying about what sort of emotions or arguments happened the night's just grand.  Getting out to the grocery and back again before ten is grand too. No crowds.  I overheard someone in the checkout line telling their cashier "we've learned to come on Sunday morning because everyone's either at church or still in bed hungover." I didn't say anything but I smiled because yup, me too.

Being sober makes everything on a Sunday morning easier, even dog puke. No kidding!  When I got up fully rested at 7:15 even though I'd been reading till one the first thing I noticed was  beagle-vomit all over the floor. When I was drinking, this would have certainly sent me into a tailspin. Probably with tears, definitely with bemoaning my life loudly to whomever might be around. Cleaning it would have been miserable too because Sunday morning "fine" used to be "only a little dizzy and my head doesn't hurt unless I move it too suddenly" and Sunday morning "don't feel good at all" was "icepick headache, thirsty but throwing up also sounds like a good idea, I'll feel better in a few hours lemme just lie down on the couch a while."  Today I thought the same "oh FUCK!" but instead of going into a full-blown tizzy I dealt with the other morning things, including sitting down with my tea, then just cleaned it up without much fuss at all but with thanks that I hadn't stepped in it before the lights were on and that it was vomit and not diarrhea.

Now that I'm nearly two months along, I'm appreciating all the time sobriety gives back. At first it was constantly thinking about NOT drinking and fighting all those deeply ingrained voices and responses saying that alcohol is the solution to everything good bad or otherwise. Then a lot of indulgence because I was deprived of my primary coping mechanism, not to mention fatigue and an emotional rollercoaster. However in the past few days I've begun enjoying the fact that not only are my evenings freed up to do useful or fun things but I can hit the ground running every morning.  Well, not literally running as I am exceedingly deconditioned but you get the idea. No more waiting till later in the day to start doing the stuff OF the day.

Not only that but if I'm awake I'm completely aware and that's nice too. This past February I went on my first cruise completely sober the entire time which I know for a fact made it far more enjoyable.  Even if I had only been drinking a little bit in the evening I would have still had lousy sleep which would have dulled the entire following morning and I had too many new and unique experiences to want that.  I snorkeled for the first time ever, gambled for the first time ever, left the United States for the first time ever, interacted with dolphins for the first time ever...and I was fully present for all of it. Sober vacationing is definitely the way to go.

I did get a bit of pushback. On night two when we were all finding like-minded cruise buddies one of the women in my group (already on her second if not third cocktail) noticed I was ordering club soda (BTW get double lime or double lemon so you can make an Actual Drink by squeezing them - one wedge doesn't cut it) and said "oh, you don't drink then?"  Just saying "no" would have been the wiser choice but I foolishly said "not any more." That turned into "oh so you used to drink but quit; why?" I don't know what inspired me to burst forth with "It started kicking my ass" but that's what fell out of my face. Absolutely true but not nearly as innocuous as "it wrecks my sleep" which is also true. In any case I figured that would be the end of it perhaps with a simple "oh" or even "well good for you."  Nope - I got "oh are you in recovery then?" While my stunned gears were spinning fruitlessly for a response she continued "because it's fine if you are; my bestie back home is in recovery and she says it's great; really turned her life around."

Well.  Fortunately the adjacent conversation became suddenly more interesting to her because I was sitting there with my feathers thoroughly ruffled thinking "I'm not in recovery; I just decided I should quit drinking" followed immediately by "but there's nothing wrong with recovery; weren't you earlier considering checking out one of the nightly Friends of Bill meetings?" In any case it was rather shocking but she turned out to be a rather shocking - in primarily entertaining ways - person in all other aspects so I got over it right away, A day or two later when one of our other companions was struggling with and complaining about a really rotten hangover I leaned in and quietly said "That.  That right there is why I gave it up."

In any case that was as difficult as not-drinking-while-vacationing ever got and there were at least three other people in my group who also didn't drink. I never did make it to a Friends of Bill meeting partly because they conflicted with evening trivia which my group fiercely adopted and partly because I wasn't really ready. However I did remember Belle's wise words which, paraphrased, are "if anyone notices or comments on you not drinking then you can be assured they have issues with alcohol too...normal people just don't notice or care." I also remembered that at pretty much any social gathering there's usually at least one other person NOT drinking: in addition to the two club-soda-double-lime cruise buddies I remembered several club-soda-and-lime colleagues, a tonic-water colleague, an orange-juice-and-tonic-water colleague and even a Shirley Temple colleague. Jason Vale, if I recall correctly, favored pineapple juice. Now, months later, I remember everything about that cruise with nothing but enjoyment and a smidge of pride. No fuzzy-at-the-edges anything.

Coming full circle back to today...even though I spent a huge chunk of time on the couch finishing my novel after the food-shopping, I still had plenty of time to do all my other tasks and felt good while doing them. I also felt good about just taking my time with things as I didn't need to rush-rush-rush to prove to myself and everyone else that "see?!? My alcohol consumption SO does NOT get in the way of any of my chores or fun or anything!"  It takes more than just a week or two to reach this point - took me every bit of a month-plus this time - but I am SO glad to be out of that stupid rat-race.

And now I'm glad to be able to have written a lovely longer post but it will soon be bedtime for me. I touched on a bunch of topics (sober beverages, clarity, time, AA, Jason Vale) but as that same woman whose bestie is in recovery (she's really interesting and fun; we've stayed social-media friends) says, "we'll put a pin in that."

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Day 50

Fifty is a good number. Halfway to a hundred, the age I will be this fall, more than ten percent of a year. Eight weeks ago I would have had a hard time thinking I could actually get here again despite wanting it. But I did. It can be done.

Woke up a bit past six, walked dog and then went back to sleep till quarter past eight: delightful.

The ABL outing went okay though not quite as expected. The mall opened at ten but the frozen yogurt place didn't open till 11:30. He was up, dressed and eager by 8:15. Arrived at mall around 10:30 with plan to walk around for an hour but the mall is so small that we had done four laps by 11 and that included a bathroom break. So we took a drive in a direction I'd never been. Wasn't much to see there either; I don't call this The Hinterlands for nothing. The yogurt place was good though: do it yourself with cups and a zillion flavors of fro-yo then a squillion toppings and a scale at the end. Pricey ($16 for two sundaes) but fun.

Rest of the afternoon was a nap, a new recipe and a new novel all of which were good. I need to start consisering a 60-day treat I think. Happy weekend all.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Day 49

Wow, seven whole weeks. Cool.

Today I was moody and the mood was mostly sad. There wasn't one particular event just generalized weepiness. Hormones, family stuff, world stuff...who knows?  It was a rough midday and afternoon since despite a whole lot of wanting to be weepy I had a huge amount of work and didn't get my afternoon tea which just made everything that much worse.

Fortunately I was smart enough to sit down with tea, chocolate and my current novel the moment I came home (well, okay, right after walking the dog.) I'm getting a little better at the time-out-for-self thing, I think.

Still not entirely back to what I consider baseline but a caffeine and sugar boost before dinner and general relaxation after dinner have helped quite a lot. So does knowing that right now even though I am awake I'm not a bit chemically altered and thus when I do go to sleep it will be restful and I will wake up feeling good in the morning.  There's nothing quite like that feeling of inner satisfaction - heck, smugness - at being bright-eyed and chipper on a Saturday or Sunday morning.

Oh but "sleep" reminds me: last night was the first night I slept absolutely straight through from the time I dozed off till time to wake up in the morning. Not one awakening in the night, even to just realize "shit I'm awake" and roll over back to sleep.  So that one takes up to seven weeks. I had forgotten.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Day 48

Another rough day. More work travel, fair bit of home drama, rotten hot and very humid weather. Got through it. Didn't want to drink - I'm getting over that instant wanting to treat every difficulty with a healthy dose of alcohol - but I had a whole lot of emotions throughout the day which were for the most part unpleasant. Was another evening of "do the bare minimum" but I managed to actually play some stupid phone games while lying on the couch which is an improvement over last night.

I also realized something: I quit eating meat in the early part of June 2015; don't recall the exact day. Do recall that I had ONE meal with meat on July 2 but have had no trouble staying meat-free since then. On the other hand that same July 2 was my first serious Day 1 and it was so much harder to give up vodka than bacon that I only got to Day 56 that first time. Did the off-again-on-again drinking thing for nine days then managed to get from Day 1 to Day 202...but when I started drinking on what would have been the 203rd day it took six whole weeks to get my sober momentum back.  I now have more time sober again than my last stretch of drinking and in total had 10 sober months out of the past 12 which is record-setting in and of itself but I have 12 meatless months out of the past 12 and don't even have to think about it or work at it. I'm just someone who doesn't eat meat.

Kind of makes the case for alcohol being an insidious and invasive mind-altering substance, no?

I'm really hoping that someday it will be every bit as easy to be just someone who doesn't drink.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Day 47

Wow that number feels good. And is pretty much the only thing about this day that IS good. The morning work thing was Just Awful and then I started getting a headache in the afternoon which just exploded when I ended up staying 90 min late due to transportation issues. Felt like crying or breaking things for big chunks of time -- so much for that even keel thing.

Self care tonight meant doing The Bare Minimum which was feeding all the living things in the house. Period. Then aspirin, muscle relaxant and couch time. No dishes, no laundry, no small tasks, not even any computer games or knitting. Lying on the couch doing Nothing At All is absolutely okay no matter what my mother's voice in my head says to the contrary.

And y'know what? Treating the headache and the frustration with appropriate non-booze things helped. Headache gone and outlook better. Unlike previous times when this sort of day was an excuse to drink my dinner and then have some junk food later I have self-esteem now and will feel fine in the morning. Neat trick.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Day 46

So. Tired.

But not an emotional basket case.  This is good.

Back to work today and even though there was unexpectedly a lot more of it and a trip tomorrow I didn't anticipate or want I kept a surprisingly even emotional keel.  None of the big ups or big downs I usually would have.

Didn't get bent out of shape when my carry-out order got screwed up either. Just rolled with it. Amazing.

LOTS of walking today so I'm ready for bed a full hour early...more another time.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Day 45

A hard one but so much better now.

Slept well but the whole day was pretty much just anticipation of The Relatives who were coming in the afternoon...and I was hot, tired and achy from the previous day.  Of course there was cleaning.

There was also dragging out the ladder to replace light bulbs in the bathroom...why is it that Someone Who Shall Remain Nameless (but whom I carried around under my scrubs for nine months) will tolerate abluting in only the light from the open doorway rather than fixing the problem?!

The relatives came and went and it was reasonably hassle-free and I managed to get through it but after they left THEN the meltdown. Sad, lonely, depressed and hugely resentful because dammit look how hard I worked for no recognition at all just to have a sinkful of dishes and a fridge full of food I didn't particularly want.  The bag of resentment was clear full to bursting with little pebbles and medium-sized rocks and I was dragging it all through the house everywhere I went...and I was in that awful place between "I want to cry" and "I want to break things."  You know: the exact place which used to be "well, time to have a big ol' drink; I surely deserve it" because naturally the next step after filling the bag of resentment is to marinate it in alcohol for a while. Makes a more volatile and explosive compound that way.

Not this night. I moped around a while and vented via text to my dearest friend and finally worked up enough energy to do the two things I absolutely HAD to do which were make tomorrow's lunch for ABL and move the laundry from washer to dryer. Accomplishment released some of the pebbles and rocks (just like getting three in a row releases the whatevers from an electronic game board) and having a couple cookies from the lunch supply - or maybe the satisfaction of having only a couple - released a few more.

Showering in a well-lit bathroom fixed most everything else. Apparently pebbles and rocks of resentment are reasonably water-soluble. Who knew? By the time I had my jammies on and had set up my laptop again I was back to baseline. Maybe this not-drinking thing let my brain become a little more resilient? 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Day 44

Had to double-check but it really is forty-four days...and finally a pink cloud kind of day.

You wouldn't think so since I got broken sleep and not really enough of it on the night before having to drive back home...but I woke up in a surprisingly good emotional place and have stayed there.  Went to bed last night all fussed over the usurping relative but this morning as I was driving I truly realized in a feeling, rather than merely intellectual, way that she was going to think or do whatever she wanted to think or do and although I couldn't change any of that I could change how I interacted with her...and it gave me a stunning sense of calm. Doesn't look like much as I type it onto the screen but it was pretty major at the time.

That calm continued on the entire four-and-a-half hour drive and the Universe saw fit to give us good radio...with the notable exception of that extremely-ear-worm-y Pearl Jam song with the catchy melody and sad-sad lyrics that I haven't heard in damned near twenty years. It's been over twelve hours now and I still can't get rid of it.

Of course as soon as I got home I started doing way too much way too fast and wore my stupid self out but I realized that and flat-out stopped for a food and rest break before I got to the crying-awful stage. Proactively called the Difficult Relative and worked out a solution acceptable to all with essentially no fuss which was totally amazing.

There were a bunch of little upheavals - lights, pets, trash, dishes, clothes-washing disaster - of exactly the sort of thing which would have previously sent me to the bottle and even recently given me fits of rage or sadness or both but somehow that mellow calm stayed with me and I really FELT "hey this is all do-able, handle-a-ble, fix-able so no big deal, man." 

Wore myself out a second time around and between all the stairs (we have a truly three-story house and the basement is my space) and the walking yesterday and the grocery today and driving and such I am completely achy from the waist down but it's still all okay.

Haven't had the sugar cravings nearly as badly either, for what that's worth.  Oh they're still there enough that I got myself another Goo-Goo Cluster as a treat for doing the damned grocery shopping on the same day as the drive including cleaning supplies for tomorrow's visit and stuff for Eldest's cats but it's not with the same intensity by a long shot...and I didn't overeat today either.

I did, however, win $5 on a $1 scratch-off lottery card.  That was delightful.

Tomorrow it might all go back to cravings the size of a battleship and wanting to chew the legs off everything but today was fluffy and pink and absolutely mellow.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Day 43

Another good day although the emotions were back.  Mostly sadness at the end of my vacation. Just now quite a bit of anger and frustration at a controlling relative attempting to usurp the holiday on Monday. I think I'm doing a bit better at letting the emotions wash over me and through me as opposed to letting them fester and eat away at me.

Speaking of eating I caught myself trying to get caught up in that spiral too soon - I had to redirect myself away from "oh I ate so much yesterday I should just barely eat at all today" in favor of "look, it's the last day of your vacation which is sad enough so stop trying to pile on anything else." Had to shut down some negative body-image stuff too but that's a whole post unto itself.

In any case I didn't have any urge to drink and in fact didn't even really think about it that much other than to observe - because we were watching an old episode - that there was sure a lot of drinking in Bewitched.

Spouse and I went for a walk together this afternoon; that was particularly nice.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Day 42

A good day. No cravings or urges at all.

Spouse wanted to go out for lunch which we almost never do (seriously the last time was more than a year ago - usually it's carryout) so of course I was all over that even though it wasn't too far past my breakfast.  Yummy but talk about stuffed!  Day's worth of food and then some all by 12:30...which was fine. Hell, might even be part of why there were no cravings or urges - no room!

Seven weeks feels like both a long time and practically no time at all.  Also I can't help but think of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.  'Nother couple blogs I follow got either taken down or turned private; I haven't been doing this long enough to know whether that's normal or not. Sending internet hugs regardless.

Off and on throughout the day I get ideas for potential blog posts but then when I get the keyboard time they vanish. Oh well...the important stuff will either linger or come back. One of the things which has been coming back is as I mentioned before: Sober is a way better place to be but it takes a while.  Like at least a month while.  Days 3 - 10 are really hard (so many past attempts died on the night of Days 3 or 4) and then 10 - 20 are still no cakewalk but somewhere between 3 and 5 weeks it starts seeming worth it. Also easier.

The thing to do now is to just keep reminding myself of that fact. The farther out I get the easier it is to become complacent and I know from past experience I must fight complacency.