99 days today! For some funny reason I have had that “99 bottles of beer on the wall” song going through my mind over and over today. It made me think about how many empty wine bottles I used to have in my recycling bin on recycling day. I switched to boxes of wine after a while because I was embarrassed about the number of bottles in there, and thought maybe the recycling people wouldn’t be interested in doing quick math to figure out how many bottles the boxes equaled, as if they really cared or paid attention. Drinking boxes of wine was dangerous for me because I lost track of how much I was actually drinking each night until I’d go through a box in 2, maybe 3 days and think to myself “wow… guess that’s why I didn’t remember going to bed last night! HAHAHA” and go out and buy more.
Yesterday I kind of summarized what the past 3 months were like for me, and today I’m going to talk about some of the ugly, hard parts of it. If you are out there reading this, and you’re just starting your journey, please keep in mind that everyone is different and your experience may be completely different than mine was. However, I know that when I first started out, I read a lot of blogs from people who had been sober for a while and everything seemed so bright and wonderful and easy for them – maybe a few ups and downs here and there. When I wrote about certain things that were going on, it was incredibly reassuring to have people comment “me too!”.
Support System – I don’t really have anyone in “real life” to talk to about my journey to sobriety, I don’t go to AA or to counseling or anything, and this has been my only outlet. I have a boyfriend that I live with, but he hasn’t been very supportive and while he has cut back a lot on his drinking, he still drinks quite a bit and there is always alcohol in the house. My family (other than my kids) live thousands of miles away. Blogging on here, reaching out to other sober bloggers, and having the support and encouragement that I have had on here has been honestly what has kept me going. I am thankful for this every single day.
Cravings/ urges – I decided to quit smoking and drinking at the same time (YIKES, WHAT WAS I THINKING?!) The funny thing is that there were times when I think my poor body was so confused and it didn’t know what it wanted. A cigarette? A drink? One of each in each hand? (side note – I used the patch for quitting smoking). Some of my cravings were SO BAD that all I could do was drag myself into a hot shower, sit under the hot water scrubbing myself lightly with a loofah thing and scented body wash. I’d go from there to curl up in bed under the covers, basically holding the covers down while my mind ran a raging battle inside my head and I refused to move because I was scared that I’d get up and go right for a drink. It was like standing shoulder deep in a turbulent ocean, with waves crashing over me and the undertow trying to drag me back out, as I slowly inched myself back towards a safe shore. Sometimes they would hit at peculiar times too, taking me completely off guard.
Fidgety and restless – I think that I couldn’t sit still for the first 2 months. Even now I’m fidgety a lot of the time, or feel restless. Exercising has helped with that I think. That first month I had to keep my hands and mind busy ALL the time. Book after book after book, I spent more money on books than I had spent on wine, haha. And oh boy would I concentrate on the words. I had to find a way to ground myself or my mind would be all over the place and I’d find myself pining away for a drink. I also did tons of baking (found an awesome recipe for banana bread!), made soups, stews, and I did tons of cleaning. I kept myself as busy as I possibly could. I started listening to music again, I danced while cleaning.
My poor skin – I honestly don’t know what’s going on with this one. My face erupted with bright red patchy skin and I thought it was detoxing or something. It eased up a bit but now it’s happening again. I have tried so many different things – detox baths and foot baths, different lotions, coconut oil, vitamin E, vitamin C, nothing… I think I may go to my dr actually because I’m beginning to wonder if it started out as something to do with detoxing but has turned into something else? It’s all around my armpits too. It feels like a big EFF YOU from my body for putting it through this.
The PAIN – my legs and especially my feet were in so much pain it was incredible. I thought maybe I had gout or arthritis! I would get up off the couch and just hobble around in a lot of pain. It was terrible. I started soaking my feet in hot water with epsom salt, and massaging them and stretching whenever I could. One of my toes was so bad that I couldn’t even step down and put any pressure on it or I would be reeling with pain. I can’t remember when exactly this started but I think it was several weeks in? It has gone away now thank goodness.
ALL THE FEELINGS – a big huge emotional roller coaster. From so incredibly happy to absolutely furious to wanting to cry over a squished bug on the sidewalk. The anger one scared me a bit as I have worked really hard over the years to control my temper but I was ANGRY at myself, my boyfriend, the world. I wanted a DRINK and I wanted one NOW and how DARE I put myself through this?! I went from that to a pouty mess “It’s just not fair, why are you doing this? I don’t deserve this, I wasn’t that bad, please let’s just have a drink” and from that to begging and bartering with myself “just one. I’ll be good. I’ll stick to just one. Let me prove that I can do this and just have one, I’ll be good and it will be fun. It wasn’t as bad as you remember!”. “Drunk Donna” was not happy at all about being stuck in the corner, and she raged, howled, whined, begged, cried, pleaded and raged some more to be let out to play. It was absolutely emotionally exhausting. I told her that she would be rewarded in other ways – cool fun N/A drinks, adventures and new hobbies. She was going to get renamed and rebranded and that a whole new fabulous world would be at her fingertips if she just made it through this and gave up the booze. Now we’re to the point where she just tags along and every once in a while looks up with hopeful eyes “Drink today?!”. Not today, little one, not today… (I had lots of really great days too!)
Going out & socializing – The first month I didn’t want to go out at all. I didn’t trust myself, I felt crappy, I felt sad, I didn’t know what to say or how to react if people noticed that I wasn’t drinking. I was upset with my boyfriend because he just kept going to the lounge and would be upset or not understand why I didn’t want to go. He’d go out and I’d stay home and be in a personal hell. This could have been what set off the angry episodes, who knows. I begged and pleaded with him to switch it up and go out for dinner with me somewhere, or a movie, or anything instead but he didn’t. When I finally started feeling a bit more normal and felt like I could go out, I took my own car and met him there. I refused to be the designated driver, and I made sure that I had the freedom to leave at any point. Sometimes I stayed for 1/2 hr, sometimes I stayed for a few hours. Did people really notice that I wasn’t drinking? Not really, especially after I decided to ask the bartender or waitress for fun n/a drinks. I like going out now. I like socializing and observing or just acting goofy and joining in with conversations and actually participating in them rather than drunkenly blaring my opinion and talking over people. I love waking up the next morning and remembering conversations and what happened, and how I got home.
Brain Fog! Oh my goodness, I don’t know if this one is normal or if it was because I was drinking that sleep enhancing tea (and feeling groggy from it the next day). I did go through a period where I felt incredibly alert, smart and with it. I got tons done at work, remembered peoples names and had lots of energy. Then I went into a period of lethargy and total brain fog. I would get nothing done at work because I just simply couldn’t concentrate and I felt like I didn’t have the energy or the brain cells to even comprehend how to do anything! I have cut out the tea and upped my veggie intake (and take a daily vitamin when I remember) and have been a bit better this past week.
Tomorrow as I celebrate 100, I will be more positive, I promise. I think that it’s important to talk about the not so great things that happen though. I hope that others have a nice easy journey to sobriety, but if you don’t, you’re not alone.
Lots of love and many, many thanks to the beautiful souls on here who have been there with words of encouragement while on their own journeys. ❤ ❤ ❤