98 days! I’m so close to 100 I can taste it. I remember about a week into sobriety, after I had signed up for Belle’s (Tired of Thinking About Drinking) 100 day challenge, I counted out the 100 days on my calendar, starting in the 2016 one and ending in a new 2017 one. I wrote on each month the daily counts in 1 week increments, and circled Feb 2 and wrote “100!!”. It seemed so far away. I have already continued on now to mark down up to 150.

It is amazing how different each month has been, and what has kept me going through each one. The first month I was so exhausted and emotional and fidgety. I bought so many books and read continuously, or baked up sweet treats, pre-made and froze casseroles and soups, had lots of baths and foot soaks and lots of “curl up on the couch under a blanket or curl up in bed and feel sorry for myself” times.

The second month I still read and baked and cooked, but it was fun N/A drinks that kept me going. Different brands of root beers and ginger ales, and mixing up my own concoctions of pomegranate juice, pineapple juice and 7-up. Going out to the pub or lounge and asking the bartender or waitress for a FUN non-alcoholic drink. Wanting to socialize more but trying to figure out how. Trying to find myself again, and figure out who I was, sober. I had lots of down times, sad moments, and beating myself up emotionally moments for things I had done when I was drinking, time and money I had wasted. I also navigated my way though Christmas and New Years, which wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. It was also during this time that I had a huge moment of clarity and realized that I really wasn’t the one missing out. By being sober I was remembering so much, present for so many great moments, and getting so many things done and accomplished.

This past month it has been exercise and focusing on healthier eating. I started running again just after Christmas and started out really slowly. I pulled out my old wii console and the fitness games that I had bought years ago with it, and started an evening routine of boxing (15 mins), running (10-15 mins) and yoga or stretching/strength (10 mins). I’m now up to boxing (1/2 hr), running (20 mins at a faster pace), and 10 mins of a step or balance or yoga or whatever. I usually get up early to get a 10-20 min run in in the morning as well. I have a jawbone UP fitness band that I use (if anyone has one, feel free to add me as a friend on the app – Donna W. with a pic of me in a pink snowmobile helmet w/ thumbs up and we can do step duels haha), and I’ve started eating more fruits and veggies. I have found that my taste has really changed – I can’t tolerate salty foods and I’m eating (and enjoying) more veggies. That is just pure craziness, what is wrong with me?! 😉 Of course I still have a major sweet tooth! The first few weeks I really had to push myself to exercise, but the more I did it the better I’ve felt and I look forward to it now and actually get fidgety if I don’t. I used to run a lot about 5 yrs ago, but I was smoking and drinking a lot then, so felt completely different. Heck, I used to put wine in my water bottle when I would run on the treadmill or even out for a run. Yikes.

What a roller coaster. 2 more days. I’m so proud of myself 🙂 ❤

Dipsy doo

Sometimes I do things that I have to shake my head and laugh at myself over. Over the weekend even though I knew I had such a crazy busy weekend and company coming over and lots of housework to do, I got it into my head that I wanted to try a scalp detox scrub. I read about it either Friday or Saturday and it’s supposed to be really good for your scalp and encourage hair growth and healthy hair follicles etc. I have pretty thin unhealthy hair (although to be honest it is looking a LOT better these past few months!), and I thought I’d give it a little treat now that it isn’t battling the side effects of me drinking and smoking.

The recipe for this is pretty easy:
Mix olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt together and rub into scalp. Massage, rinse. Done.

DONNA’S recipe went something like this:

  • figure out best time to squeeze new adventure in to the day between cleaning and guests arriving
  • Be sure to give yourself no extra time for error or unexpected blips. Remember – you’re on a time crunch here!
  • While cleaning house, be sure to mop bathroom floor and vaccuum bathroom throw rug. Spend extra time on this while you daydream about scalp exfoliation procedure
  • Mix ingredients as called for. Forgot where you saw recipe? No worries, this one is easy to wing. Squirt of lemon juice, some sea salt… dang all the salt is in the pre-filled, disposable grinder that you bought and can’t figure out how to pry the lid off. Ok, grind some into the bowl. Well, THAT’s too fine, it should be coarse! Where’s that pickling salt you bought last fall, that should do the trick. What’s the difference between these types of course salt anyway? All good, now add olive oil. Too much olive oil. Add more salt. Ok, all ready to head into the bathroom
  • Put bowl on counter, stand on clean floor and scoop scrub out of bowl and apply to dry hair (scrub just falls off all over the place). Ok, maybe get hair wet first (*strips down, into shower, gets hair wet, climbs back out*).  There, that’s better, now the salt is sticking!
  • Since you’re naked and in the bathroom and have salt scrub in your hair, now is the PERFECT time to try out that coffee/sugar body scrub you got for Christmas. Open the container, climb back into the bathtub (we don’t want the coffee scrub all over the floor do we? Don’t turn the water on yet!). Scrub it all over you. Ahhh awesome. Your skin is going to be so soft. Oops, quite a bit got on the bottom of the tub, but I bet it would be great if you rub your feet in it and give their soles a little exfoliating too.
  • Realize that now you have to wash all this stuff off, but the open container of coffee scrub is in the bathtub with you, and the lid is over on the counter, and the bottom of your feet are covered in the coffee scrub. Contemplate trying to toss the container to counter. Decide to step onto freshly vacuumed throw rug instead. Just quickly and then back into the bathtub. It’s ok, there’s already the salt scrub on the rug anyway. (I am just realizing now as I’m typing it that I could have turned the tap on and rinsed my feet off hahaha, that never even crossed my mind at the time)
  • Turn shower on, wash out hair scrub, wash down body. Shampoo hair. Wow, that oily feeling must be from the olive oil, eh? Maybe the original recipe didn’t call for so much. Make mental note to look up recipe again. Shampoo hair a second time. Hrrmmm… still feels a bit oily. Will have to do, company will be here soon.

I will say though, my hair felt AMAZING. If doing this helps it grow faster that’s an added bonus.

The lure of it

I wanted a drink tonight. 

This weekend was full of entertaining, housework, running around picking up stuff for the entertaining, cooking, baking, unexpected company, and several food disasters. I made it through the entire weekend without even a desire for a drink, but tonight after the last guest left and the boyfriend packed it in and was in bed by 9 pm, and I was cleaning up and making my lunch for tomorrow, I wanted a drink. So instead, I made fruit salad. 

I cut, peeled, cored, washed all the fruit I could find in my house.  I put music on and headphones in. I started going through the mental checklist of n/a drinks that I have in the house to see what appealed to me. Nothing. I wanted a drink.

In the past an evening like this would definitely have involved bevvies. As soon as the boyfriend went to bed I would have switched from wine to vodka, or maybe spiced rum. I would have been sitting here right now drinking whatever it was straight, staggering to bed way later than I should, to have a crappy sleep and go to work hungover on a Monday. Instead, I made fruit salad and tomorrow’s lunch. I thought about how close I am to 100 days and how I’ve been through cravings and urges a lot worse than the one tonight, and I made tea and thought about what I’d write on here. 

Tonight I wanted a drink, but I didn’t have one because I knew it wouldn’t be just “a” drink or “just tonight”, and I’m going to bed way later than I should, but That’s ok.

96 days.

Well wowie wow, wow

A while ago I wrote a post about some ex boyfriends. One of the ones that I wrote about (#3) is one that I’ve kept in touch with over the years. This past Christmas actually marked the 5 yr anniversary of when we met. When I watch the movie “Serendipity“, he is the one that comes to mind. I always wonder if I should have at least tried a long distance relationship with him, but as it was we ended on good terms and have stayed in contact off and on.

The past few months he has been on my mind A LOT. I thought that it was because things have been so hard in the relationship I’m in now, my life is changing so much and I just want someone to love me, and I’m feeling really really lost. Sad, lonely and lost (and I’ve said it over and over, if it wasn’t for this blog and the amazing, beautiful souls that take the time to read and comment while on their own journeys, I don’t think I would have made it this far). Over Christmas I reached out to him again and we texted back and forth for a few weeks during which I told him that I had quit drinking, and gave him a bit of a backstory to it. We both enjoyed overindulging a little on the wine when we were together, but even so, he was shocked to hear that I had quit altogether. Then I didn’t hear from him again for a few weeks.

This morning, in a particularly melancholy mood, I texted him to see how he was doing. We were texting back and forth and I told him “94 days sober for me today!” and he replied “almost a month for me!”. Wait… what??! Apparently he has been trying to quit drinking for almost a year! He has been to counseling and quit for 2 months, then tried moderating, then quit again and over and over. He hasn’t told anyone about it, because… that’s what we do right? We keep it to ourselves and feel shame and embarrassment because we have a hard time moderating a dangerous substance that is continually shoved in our faces, waved under our noses and touted as having “health benefits”. I’m glad that he confided in me, but I’m sad for the people who don’t have anyone to talk to, or outlet to vent on. This journey can be such a lonely one, especially in the beginning.

Scaredy Pants

I was watching the show Vikings last night on the History channel and they kept having commercials for the show “Alone” – a reality show where people have to survive in the wild all alone. Whenever I see shows like that, I have to laugh, not at the participants’ expense or anything but because I know for a fact that there is absolutely no way in hell I would EVER be able to do something like that. I am a big fat scaredy pants, and I will fully own that. I wouldn’t have any problem living off the land, and I don’t think that I’d have too much of a problem being by myself. Dealing with wild animals though? That terrifies me. They would smell my fear from miles around. Even beautiful, timid deer scare me – “that animal could stomp me to death” is what I think when I get up close to them, knees knocking together with fear.

This morning when I was driving to work, I thought more about that type of show. I thought that maybe, MAYBE, if there was a show like that but the participants were allowed to live in little houses then I could perhaps visualize myself doing it. Of course, I would only go out in daylight to forage for food and collect water, and any snap of a twig type sound that I heard would send me scurrying back to the safety of the house.

I don’t know where my  fear of wild animals really even came from. When I was young my mom would march me out and about in mountains and wilderness and point out different edible plants and flowers, and demonstrate how to do things like crush certain mosses down into a flour like substance to mix with water and cook over an open fire. She would gleefully tell me how wild animals are more scared of us than we are of them, and proclaim that people who get attacked by cougars and grizzlies were just acting stupidly. Maybe my fear of wild animals came from a fear of my mom thinking that I was stupid. Maybe I’ve built that “little house” around me over the years, my safety net; my bottles of wine that I scurry back to every time something feels scary or overwhelming.

When I was driving and thinking about this all this morning, I thought about some of the things that I’ve hidden behind the glass over. Fear. Drinking always made me feel funnier, sexier, more adventurous (in many different areas in life). How could I navigate through life and situations without that? Now that I’m sober, I’m trying to find the real me, and it’s really interesting and more than a little scary actually. I’m adventurous, but not recklessly so like I was when I was drunk. I love to laugh over silly things so I guess that makes me a little funny, and the other day I even got up close to one of those “has the potential to stomp you to death even though they look cute and innocent” bambi creatures, so maybe I’m braver than I thought all those years that I spent hiding behind the wine glass 😉 I know that it’s not going to be all perfect and wonderful but I’m sure that there will be a lot of perfect and wonderful moments in the future, and a lot of times that I’m going to have to face my fears, and face them sober. I think I’m finally ready to take more adventurous walks further and further from my little house. 93 days today ❤


Hush now, go to sleep

Sleep is something that’s really important to me and I’m pretty miserable with a lack of it. Before I quit drinking, the thought of trying to fall asleep without passing out drunk was a really scary thought! The odd day here and there that I had in the past few years where I had tried to go to sleep sober hadn’t been too successful. On days that I was really riled up about something and would try to fall asleep (after drinking and thinking), and wouldn’t be able to, I’d just get up and drink enough more until I crawled into bed, hung onto the sheets so that I didn’t get flung off the bed due to it spinning so fast, and wait until I passed out.

The first few days of sobriety I tossed and turned until, less than a week in, that pure exhaustion took over and I could barely keep my eyes open past dinner time. Once I got over that exhaustion phase I still slept really well!

A few weeks ago I picked up some “Restful sleep” herbal tea and started drinking that before bed. Why? I don’t know. Maybe I thought I’d get an even better sleep or fall asleep faster or something? I started waking up at 4am again because I’d have to go pee (oh big surprise there when you drink a big mug of tea just before bed!). I have been really groggy at work the past few weeks too which is a little frustrating after the wonderful clarity and energy I had been feeling prior to that, so I decided it’s time to stop drinking the sleepy tea.

It’s everywhere…..

Love this post from Sober(ish), and it mirrors what I’ve been feeling lately.

Alcohol is everywhere. It permeates our culture. It’s in advertisements, movies, literature, our yoga classes (which still baffles me). Before I started getting serious about sobriety, I hadn’t really noticed because it was so ingrained into my everyday life. Of course we can find it in all the old familiar places: bars, clubs, restaurants. But it doesn’t end there. We’ve got book clubs with wine. Baby showers with wine. Painting classes with wine. Concerts in the park. With wine. We are constantly being inundated with the idea that we need alcohol to have fun, socialize, kick back, or function successfully.

via Drowning in Alcohol Culture — Sober(ish)

Give me time

I checked my nomo sobriety clock app this morning and I see that it’s my 90 days today! Yay!

I have written a bit lately about the roller coaster feeling the past few weeks, and this past weekend a couple of things happened that really drove home to me why I’m happy I’m not drinking these days.

#1 – On Friday I had an all day meeting in the city – one that I have written about during early sobriety as it is a meeting that I have once a month, always on a Friday and it always used to be followed by a date night with drinks blah blah blah… anyway… I was driving home from the meeting (no date night after it) and was really fighting the “I just want to pick up a bottle of wine on the way home” sad little feeling. Instead of pulling into the little store that sells wine, I pulled into the gas station to buy some munchie stuff to take my mind off the wine urge. There were two older guys in there, dressed in the reflector type shirts that people working outside wear. They were drunk. Really drunk. Making lewd comments, REEKING of alcohol. They thought that the comments that they were making to other customers were funny but honestly I couldn’t pay for my stuff and get out of there fast enough. Oh my gosh, I thought as I drove away, that could have been me – stupid drunk making stupid “funny” (obnoxious) comments to strangers. I don’t think I’d have been leering at younger women and making lewd comments but who knows…

#2 – When I got home, I was clearing off the kitchen table and noticed that my new drivers license had come in the mail. We have to get new ones here every 5 years. I had gone in to renew it in mid December, so was about 6 weeks sober at that point. I opened up the envelope and looked at the pic on my new license in utter shock and disbelief. I pulled out my old license and put them side by side as a lump formed in my throat and I fought back tears. I looked TERRIBLE in the new one. I mean, absolutely completely horribly terrible like an old alcoholic woman about 20 years older than I am. I still want to cry about it actually, and I’m not a vain person at all but those two pics side by side, from only 5 years apart were so strikingly different it’s unbelievable. I have been avoiding having my picture taken the past couple of years but I guess when I look in the mirror I’m not seeing just how bad I really look. I’ve been looking at myself through beer goggles I guess, or wine glass goggles.

#3 – The boyfriend, who has cut his drinking way way wayyyy back over the past couple of months to once a week when he goes out with friends and a few beers here and there after he’s been working outside or whatever, had some drinking buddy friends drop by unexpectedly last Wednesday evening. I’ll give him kudos, he had one stiff drink and several beers, not much at all. Then on Thursday evening he had work function and had about 6-7 drinks there. Friday he had a retirement party after work and drank quite a bit. Saturday one of our neighbours (a very heavy drinker) dropped by in the afternoon and they drank all afternoon and all evening, hard and fast. I was out all afternoon but just after I got home they invited his wife over for dinner. Her and I are pretty good friends so we had some really good conversation and laughs. Boyfriend got a crappy night’s sleep, I got a great one. Boyfriend was dragging ass all Sunday feeling awful and I got out, had fun, went to a wedding show and out for dinner with my son’s fiance. Woke up this morning to no power so I got ready for work by flashlight while the boyfriend called in sick because he didn’t want to go in to work without having a shower.

So these are things that I learned over the past few days:
– drinking heavily really did change my looks, a LOT. (I’m sure that smoking also contributed significantly)
– All of those times that I went grocery shopping or ran into a store after I’d been drinking, yep I’m pretty sure now that people could smell it on me.
– After months of the boyfriend carefully moderating his drinking, it was really really easy for him to slip back into old habits for 4 days straight, and feel like crap after it.
– I really do get a lot more done and accomplished when I’m not drinking.

Stop the rollercoaster, I want to get off

I’m at 84 days today and I don’t know if it’s that dreaded 3 month thing that some people talk about – where your brain tries one more crazy effort to try to get you to drink before it re-wires itself, or if it’s a serious case of the winter blues, but man my mood swings are like they’re on a roller coaster this past week.

I am running a lot more and with more intensity as I have found in the past that really improves my mood so hopefully that will help this time too. My poor boyfriend, of course, is the one bearing the brunt of my anger and honestly I don’t even know what I’m angry about most of the time because I am all over the place with my thoughts. I’m sure that this will pass and honestly the good days far outweigh the bad days, and the bad days are a lot better than some of those bad days I had when I was drinking!

On a different note – I went grocery shopping on the weekend and went to the health food aisle to pick up more of that “real draft” root beer and found some interesting drinks that I haven’t seen before! They’re from Fentimans (British I think) and come in 4 packs. I bought the Rose Lemonade and the Curiosity Cola to try. I was going to post them for a Sober Drinks Sunday post, but then I noticed the “botanically brewed” on the label so I wanted to check out their website first. On their website they say that their soft drinks are ZERO alcohol and good for dry January. They also have a couple of mocktail recipes too.

Peace- piece by piece

One of my lovely sisters bought me a Starbucks gift card for Christmas. Believe it or not, I am rarely by a Starbucks, but yesterday I was and I was SO excited to try out one of their new lattes. I bought that and as I was waiting for it I checked out their mugs. One of them with hearts stood out to me so I used the remaining balance on the card to buy it! I will think “self love, family love” every time I use it. I made myself a cup of tea in it last night and the tea bag had the quote “peace of mind comes piece by piece”. I’ve been feeling so frustrated the past few months with the roller coaster of a journey it has been, and feeling really LONELY in my relationship, so much to-the-core-lonely that I had a bit of a temper tantrum yesterday over it 😔. To me, feeling lonely in a relationship is 100x worse than feeling lonely when you’re single. Anyway… dealing with feelings and verbalizing how I’m feeling is going to be a big learning curve for me and I think that as I learn that I will feel more at peace, hopefully. Piece by piece. Baby steps. I can do this. 

1,2,3 “and your brain is retrained!” *finger snap*

I made those cauliflower “buffalo chicken wings” last night. They were NOT like chicken wings. They weren’t like chicken wings at all! I’m not saying that they were bad, or “don’t waste your time making these”, but let’s call a spade a spade here – they were batter coated cauliflower with a buffalo sauce on them. If someone had said to me “hey, I found a great recipe for cauliflower and it has a buffalo sauce like you put on chicken wings. It’s pretty good, for a cauliflower recipe” then I would have said “hey, cool. I’ll give that a try”. Instead… I felt ripped off because I was craving chicken wings and I tried substituting “chicken wings” for the real ones, when I probably should have thought a little harder about what I was craving. Chicken? Hot sauce? Something crispy coated with hot sauce? The simple act of eating something with my fingers? When I was picking up the ingredients for those, I also picked up some stew meat to make a stew on the weekend because it is flippin’ cold here and I want some nice hot comfort food. As I was driving home I suddenly thought “OMG! Do I even know how to make stew without adding red wine to it?!” (The answer is no. I will have to look up some recipes and hope that they end up tasting somewhat similar to the stew that I love the taste of)

Wouldn’t it be nice if someone could just snap their fingers at us and our brains would be completely retrained to stop thinking about drinking? “Looooook at me… stare at this wine cork I’m swinging on a string in front of your face. I’m going to count to 3 and you’ll feel sleepy…” Instead we get to do it ourselves, one step, one experience, one special occasion, one memory, one day at at time. I keep thinking ahead and panicking a bit “How am I going to go camping this summer without drinking?!” “How am I going to go on 5 different flights during April and May and not drink on any of them?!” “How am I going to stay dry in Vegas?! Will I still love Vegas through sober eyes?” “How am I going to make stew without wine?” I know it’s easy to say “don’t think ahead or worry about the future” but I’m a planner, and planning ahead is also part of my job. Thinking about little details and the possible unforeseen’s is also part of my job so it’s easy to fall into that train of thought. I just need to find a way to remove the thoughts of alcohol/drinking related thoughts, or maybe, as it was with the chicken wings, pull those thoughts apart and figure out what it really is I’m worried about. One day at a time… it’s gotten me to 80 days so far lol.

Cauliflower grew wings

Work has been insanely busy for me lately, and the weather pretty cold (colder than Mars actually). Every time I log in to write something I get sidetracked haha. 79 days today, and I’m going to celebrate by trying a new recipe for buffalo cauliflower “wings”. I love chicken wings but I don’t want to go to the lounge for them tonight (Thursday wing night!) because, well, it’s COLD outside! (I’m a big suck when it’s cold out. Give me a nice toasty warm fire and hot chocolate over that any day). Why don’t I just make regular wings at home instead of cauliflower ones? I can’t answer that – I guess I’m just weird! (It’s because I already have a chicken breast meal planned but suddenly got the craving for wings too)

Here’s the recipe I’m going to try: