Flies the time

Oh my gosh, I honestly can’t believe how quickly time is going by lately! I am so busy too with two jobs. The weather is finally starting to feel a bit nicer here, so I have been trying to get outside for longer walks, but haven’t done a good hike yet 😦

SO! I HAVE OFFICIALLY MADE IT TO 1 1/2 YRS! As of yesterday – 548 days which was 1 yr, six months exactly since I quit smoking and drinking. Holy crow…

Things are going really well! As I said, really busy (but that’s good), feeling much more calm and in control than I think that I ever have. I have been having some issues with some people in my life and I have been able to step back, think about it calmly and figure out how to proceed without losing my sh*t or bottle my emotions up then get drunk and send angry texts (haha, oyyy… weren’t those the days?!! Ugh *insert eye roll here*). I’m feeling incredibly productive at work too. What I AM noticing is a bitchy type of intolerance within myself towards the ridiculous need for other people to push/promote/celebrate alcohol. (See? There was no need for me to insert the word ridiculous there, but I did, and I rolled my eyes and grimaced when I did it too. That’s what I’m talking about.)

I have one of my twice yearly in-person national board meetings in a few weeks and our “socializing events” that have been organized include a dinner at a pub, and then a wine and distillery tour (via a bus, with dinner somewhere along the route). Actually, those are the only two socializing events that have been organized, and I feel really… frustrated. My initial reaction was “Seriously?!” I want to go to them because I love socializing with this group, but I am actually already feeling really anxious about it. What do I do – take a bottle of Carbonated water with me on the tour? I know I would be the only one declining it if I choose to go that route.

Hope you are all doing great, I’m really need to find the time to get in here more often even if it’s just to keep caught up on how everyone is doing. Do any of you have any great time management tips or websites or books to recommend?

 

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Something like 17 months

513 days sober and smoke free today! HOLY CROW… My main big question is: “Where is all of my extra money?!!” Lol, only joking a little bit on that one. I honestly can’t imagine where I would be financially right now if I was still smoking and drinking (my nomo app says that I have saved in the vicinity of $10k over the past 17 months). I did go a little wild with spending money the past year, pampering myself, going on some great trips and weekend getaways, buying out all stores in my general vicinity of their chocolate supplies…  things that I never would have been able to add to my life without going into financial crisis if I was still spending the $ on wine and cigs like I was before I quit.

I started a second job just before Christmas, and I love it. I feel like my plate is very very full right now though. Sometimes it feels a little overwhelming and thanks to my complete lack of time management skills I do feel anxious quite often. 2 jobs (1 full, one part), 2 board of directors commitments, 2 kids getting married in the next year, 3 dogs, a car that isn’t too old but has 370,000km on it (just praying it hangs in there until at least 600k!), a long distance boyfriend, a grandson that I wish I could see more often (that’s a whole other story, and one I am finding common among other moms of the dads) and a 17 yr old that I really need to connect with more. I have had the occasional “Oh gosh it would be so nice to go home to a glass of wine” or “it would be so nice and relaxing to just sit around the bonfire with a spiked hot chocolate” but I have been able to pull myself back to reality pretty quickly by thinking about how good things are WITHOUT the booze. Without the hangovers and without the missed evenings, without the embarrassment of waking up and having to do damage control, etc etc… etc. I find my peace and my energy in nature. To quote the words of another blogger on here that I just read “I am learning about the therapeutic power of nature and being outdoors – this cannot be underestimated.” It really truly can’t.

I hope that you’re all doing well, I feel bad that I haven’t been on here much at all lately to keep up with how everyone is doing. ❤

457

Heya! It’s been far too long! Here I am, still sober and ridiculously busy! I am at 457 days, which is pretty close to 1 yr and 3 months. I made it though my second sober holiday season and am feeling content even in the middle of our horrible Canadian Prairies Winter!

What have I been up to since I posted here last (at the beginning of December? Seriously it has been that long??!). Let’s see… I started running again, I started keeping track of what I’m eating on the My Fitness Pal app, including any junky food, I picked up a second job that I LOVE, I have been getting outside and active as much as possible, including a hike in -34’c weather! I have been tapping in to my creative side during my “free time”, I have been spending time with my grandson, I have been laughing and out for coffees & dinners with friends, I have been trying as hard as I can to follow the rule “put down what it did to you. Pick up what you got from it.” when I feel myself getting angry at the way that I let the ex treat me. I have made it through some thoughts about “maybe just one drink”, “maybe just one bender”, “It would be so nice to go home to a glass of wine”, and I tell myself WHAT ARE YOU POSSIBLY THINKING? GO FOR A WALK AND LOOK FOR SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL! I have done trip planning and bugged my adventure partner about planning some future trips. I have had sparkling apple juice in a chocolate flute, and “unicorn hot chocolate” and lots and lots of water. I have cuddled puppies and made spontaneous evening or Sunday afternoon plans where I had to go and drive somewhere. I have had more energy and positivity at work and been able to come up with, focus on,  and execute some really awesome plans. I have been more involved and interactive on the boards that I sit on (uhhh… that doesn’t sound right hahah! Board of directors boards, not wooden ones!). I have taken time off to nurture my soul and do nice things for myself and just be lazy. I have had no problem saying no to going to places or being in situations that I’m not comfortable with, and feel like I’m starting to finally get into the groove of this! Even on the bad days I make a point of listing things that I am grateful for and making a point of looking for beauty in nature, or things that tickle my funny bone, and I try as much as I possible can to be active and get outside. Wheww!

Thinking of you all and wishing you all a very happy new year! I’m sorry I haven’t been around that often these days ❤

Jingly balls

Heading in to my second Christmas /holiday season sober and I’m feeling really really good about it. I’m at 406 days today, sober and smoke free yippee!

The difference between this year and last year at this time is enormous. Just the feeling of calm and inner peace of no longer being in a terrible relationship. Not being screamed at in private by someone who acts like Mr Wonderful around other people. Not being guilted into going to his friends holiday parties where someone is constantly shoving a drink in your hand. Not having to deal with all of the mental games and the bs and everything else that went along with being in a relationship with a narcissistic bully. I am so glad to be out of that. I am so grateful for my sobriety and my amazing kids, and my adventure partner. A year ago I was struggling so badly trying to make it through each day. I was SO sad and lonely and scared and felt so, sooo trapped. Today I can’t stop smiling and thinking about upcoming hikes and snowshoeing and wintertime activities and adventures, and relaxing, calm and fun holiday festivities with my people. I’m excited to find special little meaningful ways to spoil and treat the ones in my life that I love, and know that they will appreciate it.

What I can’t get over though – is how absolutely alcohol saturated everything is right now. It really really boggles my mind. I’m afraid to even try anyone’s Christmas baking or eat unpackaged chocolates (damn it, cause I love chocolates!) hahaha. It really does surprise me how much marketing has alcohol in it that doesn’t even NEED alcohol in it – ie printed ads for a company that makes holiday dips, but the ads all have glasses of wine in  them next to the bowls of dips. WHY???

 

Triggering the trigger

I just got back from a work related trip to Ottawa (which I extended by a few days to include some fun time with my adventure partner). I thought that this trip would be a little difficult as the group of people on the work related side of it are pretty heavy drinkers, but I wasn’t actually anticipating HOW difficult it would be.

With over a year of sobriety and countless outings and situations that I’ve made it through, I thought I had it sort of figured out how to avoid or leave situations when I needed to. This trip though, holy crow… I had a very, very difficult time. It started off great with a “little” (5 hrs plus of driving each direction) road trip to Toronto to see my cousin, only to arrive during a birthday party (for their 1 yr old), and lots of inebriated people. I can wager a bet that my cousin doesn’t even remember what I gave her 1 yr old for a present. After an hour of feeling pretty out of place, we left, went for dinner and spent the night at the hotel and drove back to Ottawa the next day, stopping at lots of fun little places along the way.

The night that we got back to Toronto was the first night that most people were arriving for the meetings, and of course everyone wanted to meet up at a bar in Byward Market (a funky area comprised of a few blocks full of bars, lounges, restaurants, etc). That went ok, I asked the bartender if she could make me virgin mojitos and she made EXCELLENT ones, so I was happy (I’m not a big pop/soda/juice drinker so I do struggle a bit to figure out what to drink when I go out. I like the mixed type of drinks (ie orange juice with 7-up in it), so I usually ask the bartender if they can make something fun and non-alcoholic. I’ve actually had some pretty fun drinks by doing that, and quite a few Shirley Temples lol. The next day after a day full of meetings, the group went to a brewery for dinner, then a martini bar and then a board game place. By the end of the night I was starting to feel a bit edgy, especially after walking with smokers as well (I quit smoking and drinking at the same time). I actually did enjoy the board game place though 🙂

The following night after meetings, we had a group dinner at a place called the Bier Markt. This night almost ended in disaster aka me having a total meltdown. By the time we got there, I was tired, I was hungry, I was tired of trying to decide whether to just order a coffee, tea, or water, or ask yet another waitress if the bartender could make me something fun and N/A to drink. This stupid place had a menu full of beer saturated food. Seriously, my choices were limited to a steak (with the hopes that it wasn’t marinated in beer), a potato, or a portobello mushroom burger. The service was terrible and I felt like running out of there. I felt SUPER anxious and upset but didn’t want to say anything to anyone, or make an excuse to leave (in hindsight I should have). Every single other person in our group was drinking, except for a pregnant one who left about 2 minutes after getting there and seeing the menu. By the time we did leave, I hightailed it straight back to my room instead of going out with the group. I wanted to just crawl into bed under the covers and cry. I mean, it REALLY rattled me that I felt that way. Really rattled me. This is a group of people that I see twice a year, the same group I saw in the Yukon. They don’t care or notice if I’m not drinking. Actually, that’s a lie – a few of them did notice and question why I wasn’t trying the beer at the brewery places.

I did make it through it though, thanks hugely to my adventure partner who is also extremely, EXTREMELY supportive and considerate, and who laid down in bed next to me and held me on that difficult night while the war raged in my head. I am so thankful that I’m out of the relationship I was in when I first quit drinking. What a difference the people close to you can make.

384 days today. ❤

365

365 days.

One whole year.

This journey for me has often been one day or even one hour or minute a time. I have had some really really rough, heartbreaking, just have to crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head days. I have also had some amazingly beautiful, wonderful and full of gratitude and childlike wonder days. I have reflected on the days like these ones as they would have often been the ones where alcohol would have been involved. It’s amazing really, to think that on those horrible days I would have drank (heavily) to numb it, or hide from turmoil. On the fantastic days I would have been drinking in celebration and that would in turn have led to the day turning out in the end to be not so great. Or would have been negated by the guilt and remorse and confusion the next morning (not to mention the hangover).

I can’t even begin to express my thanks and gratitude to the online community here and on instagram. I honestly don’t know how I would have made it this far, or even through the first three months honestly. For the support and encouragement and compassion from all of you beautiful souls out there, thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Truly, honestly and deeply. Thank you for writing about your own journeys, and for your raw honesty. Thank you for sharing your struggles and your triumphs and showing me and others that we are not alone.

Donna

These thoughts; they are a swirlin’

I guess it has been a while since I have written on here – 20 days to be exact, which seems mind boggling to me.

At the end of September (and into the beginning of October), I took my first sober trip to Vegas. Ahhh I love Vegas. I’m not a gambler so my trips to Vegas always consisted of exploring and people watching and drinking. Lots of drinking. This trip consisted of exploring and people watching and a night in Boulder City and a road trip to Death Valley, hiking all over the place, people watching and more exploring and more hiking and more driving and then back to the strip for Sunday October 1st. Yes, I was there that night, but I was walking on the strip by NYNY, heading back to my room at the Mirage when it happened and I had no clue what was going on a few Vegas blocks down from where I was until I woke up the next morning to my phone almost vibrating off the nightstand with all of the texts and phone calls and messages asking if I was ok. My heart breaks for everyone who was impacted by what happened.

During my trip I met up with my adventure partner and I was also lucky enough to meet an awesome blogger, who’s blog was my go-to when planning this trip and who was also amazing enough to give me some tips and pointers that really made the trip great. Seriously, if you want to plan a trip to Vegas and see lots of cools things and see what that amazing city actually has to offer, check out https://SoberInVegas.wordpress.com

As far as urges to drink while I was away, I had surprisingly few. My adventure partner, while a drinker, is amazingly supportive and considerate and asked me several times if I was ok, or if there was anything they could do to make it easier. I WAS actually ok. I had a few moments of “boy it would be nice to grab a giant can of beer or one of those slushie drinks and walk the strip” moments but they passed. Being with great company helped that too. Waking up each day and remembering how fun and awesome the day before had been also helped that.

It was AFTER I got back from my trip that I started having a hard time. The recent ex asked me if we could talk, so against my better judgement I met with him. I have tried to keep it as civil and nice as possible. You know – the “we’re just two completely different people and there’s nothing wrong with that, but we just want different things in life, blah blah blah” breakup. It has been so bad for so long and honestly he wasn’t nice before I quit drinking, but he was downright terrible after I quit. When we met to talk, he started off nice and sweet-talking and then said “I don’t expect you to move back in right away, but…” Whoa, wait a minute buddy, I’m NOT moving back in. Once the sweet talking and the cajoling didn’t work, he started trying guilt trips and then the self-pity. I stood my ground though, and started walking back to my car and that’s when he turned angry. I just (I am so proud of myself for this, truly) kept my calm and told him that I’m sorry he feels the way that he does, but that I also don’t deserve to be talked to that way. And then I left. And then I ignored phone calls from him and turned down an invitation to go for a walk a few days later.

The last week or so my anxieties are through the roof, I’ve been fighting off waves of bad moods, and I feel like I’m fighting a huge battle in my mind trying to figure out WHY I’m feeling as down, as sad, as angry, as frustrated and as anxious as I am. Of course, after writing out this post and reading through some of my past posts over the past year I can sort of figure out why haha. I am 356 days clean, sober and smoke free today and I am truly thankful for that. I have been reminding myself over and over the past few week of how things would be different if I started drinking again. I’d be effing up so much good that I have going on in my life right now. This is just a phase (I don’t think that’s the word I’m looking for, but it will do).

Also, when I was in Vegas I went to a Speakeasy, which is something that I really wanted to do when I was still drinking and I found one near Fremont that you actually have to text and make an appointment to get in to. Considering what a speakeasy actually originated from, I felt a little funny asking for a N/A drink (the mixologist was a little taken-aback about it I think, but I said I had no problem paying the full price for the drink. He made me an EXCEPTIONAL ginger drink. I mean it was absolutely fantastic). And then I thought that it would be kind of neat and fun to have Teetotaler versions of Speakeasy’s. The whole ambiance in them is cool and laid back. I’d totally go to something like that to hang out in a funky place with other non-drinkers, with super awesome N/A drinks and no alcohol in sight or on the menu!