Food made with Alcohol

Went out socialising last week surrounded by alcohol for the first time and more than survived. I had sparkling water as my drink for the evening. Dinner was great. I had dessert too. I enjoyed myself. I didn’t miss drinking alcohol. My dessert had alcohol in it but I let that slide. Tiramisu. I’m okay with that being in my life. I noticed that the slice of baked pear on the plate tasted of red wine too. Again, I’m okay with that being on my plate.

I’m not writing this to spark an argument but how do you feel about food with alcohol in it? I haven’t cooked with alcohol. Actually that’s not true. I cook with sake sometimes. Mirin too. It’s ingrained in Japanese cooking. I haven’t cooked with red/white wine. I don’t want to start the cooking with wine, one for the pot, one for me. I’m thinking of Spaghetti allla Vongole (Spaghetti with clams). Thinking aloud here really.

The reason I’m sober is that I cannot be a moderate drinker. I choose not to drink. I like myself better sober. I trust myself to have tiramisu out at an Italian restaurant and not feel like I’m failing myself. Put it this way, I didn’t feel the urge to order a glass of wine or limoncello after having dessert. That being said I don’t wish to buy alcohol filled chocolates. I don’t think that’s healthy for me. But having tiramisu while out occasionally is okay.

I have cooking wine, Chinese and Japanese in the kitchen and I use those for cooking for flavour. I have no desire to finish the bottle because it’s open. It stays in the cupboard. So what I’m asking myself is what is stopping me from using white or red wine? It’s the possible temptation of an open bottle sitting on the bench or under the bench. Nine months on and I think I’m okay with it. Just writing out these niggling ridiculous thoughts.

I just really love Spaghetti allla Vongole. Clams are cooked in the white wine sauce till they open. I didn’t use to make it often but I did have a glass or two of wine with it. More than. Now I think I’m ready to make it again without the glass of wine with the meal. Sparkling water is my go-to drink. Yeah. I think I’m okay with that.

That’s my rambling way of saying I’m okay cooking with alcohol. Tiramisu is not technically cooked so that’s an exception, I get that.

Buon appetito!

Advertisements

Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect

BOOK: Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect – By Jonice Webb PhD. with Christine Musello PsyD.

Feelings of something missing or absent but not being able to put your finger on what exactly it is what this book deals with. There is no blaming of parenting, there is naming of the void or neglect, there is dealing with it and moving on and giving the tools to become an emotionally mature adult. Most of us are doing the best that we can with what we have at the time. When we become aware of better ways of doing things we can implement them. If we lack the knowledge we cannot change or progress. It all takes time and can only happens when we are ready for it. Nothing forced can become a lasting habit, it must be adopted openly. Sometimes it takes a few tries to get it right.

This has been such a great book. A great stepping stone book for those early sober and wanting to deal with all this new character assessment and searching deep within ourselves. Much of what I read I had already begun to face and it gave me a great sense of being on the right track to finding myself.

Recovering from the flu so my brain has been a little fuzzy this past week. If it doesn’t make sense that’s why.

An Involuntary “Yes”

Last night I was asked if I’d like a sweet snack. I immediately yelled back, “yes, please.” I was in another room.

It took me a split second to realise that I wasn’t eating snacks at night. I was trying to NOT eat sugary delights. I changed my reply to a firm ‘no.’

Habit is what it is, involuntary automated actions or thoughts that inhabit our lives. The bad ones are hard to shake. They reply for us when we are undecided. I have gone five days without sugary snacks. I have lost weight. This is a good start. Today the weight plateaued but I know why. It was the tempura yesterday. Oily fried foods. Noted.

I have gone from absolute concentration to grumpy to head-achy back to grumpy and ho hum. When I wake up on Monday i will have made it to an entire week. Again I am determined to make it one week. Alcohol and sugar have been a huge part of my life for so long it is such a change to not reach for a glass of something or munch on something.

The involuntary yes to alcohol is no longer there. It is long gone. I am not a year sober yet but feel I have a handle on it. Or at least I do today. I haven’t been tempted. Sugar is still a firm habit that I am ripping off. The black adder tea was a Godsend last night. Licorice without the sugar.

Why is it that a bad habit is so hard to shake and a good habit so difficult to adopt? Both take effort. And we tend to take the easier option when offered choice. I know. And then when we are offered too much choice we freeze and make no decision at all.

I am choosing to be healthy.

Headaches and sleepiness

Three days successfully without sugary snacks in the evenings but last night I was head-achy and oh so sleepy, so I took paracetamol and went to bed ridiculously early.

Confession. I had two small bites of an ice cream that was on offer yesterday afternoon.

Cutting out sugar from my diet feels just as hard as giving up alcohol. I was reading online if headaches were a thing when going sugar-free. It is. I had homemade jam on my croissant this morning. And for those thinking, that’s not going sugar free well it is good enough for me.

I am feeling quite determined this week. I feel ready to face sugar. I know realistically it won’t ever be absent from my diet but if I can get the processed food type of sugar away from my diet that will be a milestone. Then evenings are the hardest as I’ve mentioned earlier. I bought string beans yesterday. To have as an evening snack if I need a snack. I have salted peanuts, black adder (licorice) tea to have instead of licorice sweets. I bought strong Earl Grey tea and kiwifruit too. I am ready.

There is chocolate and ice cream in the house and I have not touched them. There are no cravings for either as I write this, but it’s not the witching hour so that’s hardly surprising.

I don’t want to be focusing on food all the time, but I need to get sugar under control. Bear with me. This is a health crisis prevention order I have given myself. I chose to be sober. Now I am choosing to be healthier too. I am facing my health. I can do better. More vegetables and fruit in my diet. My policy is focused on adding good habits to the diet. I am waving a carrot in my face in the best way possible.

Day 1 No snacking – Success

Yesterday I had my first day of no evening snacking. I didn’t have any snacks. I was aiming to go for something healthy but I ended up having nothing, I didn’t miss it. I was engrossed in writing and drawing and the time flew by. Snacking didn’t enter my mind.

Yesterday was a victory.

After many months of being sober I still haven’t got the emotional or boredom or habitual grazing snack habit under control. Twenty one days to create a habit. Let’s see how we go. Dwight from Faded Jeans Living and Functioningguzzler are both on a mission to eat healthier and loose weight. What I read is inspiring.

I don’t believe in dieting, never have. I believe in healthy eating and good eating habits. I’m not into fads. I want this to be long lasting.

I hopped on the scales today and my weight has gone down a little. Progress. I have been making records with my weight since becoming sober. New records of “this is the heaviest I’ve ever been” kind of records. Today I see a turn for the better.

I’m going to write down what weight I want to reach. Here, I will put it out into the universe.

My goal is 75kg. (165.35lbs or 11.8 stone)

Instead of rewarding myself with chocolate and other sweet treats I need to look again and again at my Sober Treats and use the ideas and reward myself better.

Today I had toasted muesli, kiwifruit and yoghurt for brunch. The mornings, the afternoons are easy with regards snacking. I don’t have a problem with that time, the witching hours are after 7pm.

Help me get there. Push me, encourage me. Hold me accountable. Let’s get to where we want to be, healthier. I am joining Dwight of Faded Jeans Living and Functioningguzzler.

Library book obsession and a confession

I am a library book hoarder. By hoarder I mean I see a book that I’d like to read and go straight to the library website and see if they have it and then request it. Hence to me having 15 books out at the same time. Yes even I can see that that is too many. Some are fiction some are non-fiction. No matter which way I look at it – It’s too many to focus on each book and give them the attention they deserve.

Case in point I have to return the Brené Brown book, Rising Strong today or pay a fine. It cannot be renewed. I’ve tried already. I am three quarters of the way through and I haven’t given it the full attention that it deserves. It wasn’t because it is a terrible book. It is a fantastic book. I have been hovering over other books and in the end distracted by all.

I have already started a book list, a written one, that I do by hand in a notebook. I started this last month, plus I have the Library page (check it out there some gems there) on this blog. In the future if I find a book to add to the list, I will do that and NOT request it immediately. I have put a freeze on some of my books on request. I am learning to pace myself with books.

We have a lot of books at home and I love looking at them. We sleep in a library. One entire wall, is covered in books in a custom build bookcase that I built. It is so tall that we need a ladder to reach the top. We have a book ladder. I had always wanted one. It doesn’t slide, there are no wheels, but it is solid wood and it looks the part. Ready for book retrieval once I get my clothes off it. It doubles as a clothes hanger. Multi-purposing is a good thing, right?

I will not be giving up books entirely. Never. I love to be surrounded my them. I just plan to reduce the number of library books I get out at the same time.

I have a confession to make. I found a library book that had fallen down behind a wooden box. I swore to the librarian that I had returned it months ago. She believed me. I believed me. Beside the book was the soda stream empty canister in its box that I had been looking for for months. I must have emptied out the car twice to no avail. We went out and bought two more canisters. Now we have three spares. Today I will humbly return the book that fell behind the box.

One book at a time.

I need reading in my life. Reading comforts me. It takes me to new and old places. It makes me think, laugh, and cry. It teaches me, it cocoons me in good times and bad, in dark thoughts and sad thoughts. Books are meant to be read. That said words are meant to be written, to be spoken or to be sung. If we are alone who can we share our words and thoughts with? Sharing out thoughts brings togetherness and understanding. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Share your thoughts. I’m listening.

Rising Strong

Rising Strong by Brené Brown is such a good read. I am half way through and I know I should have read Daring Greatly before this but that’s the way the book requests came through, out of order.

Brené Brown is a researcher and delves into emotions such as shame and vulnerability. She focuses her life’s work in areas that most of us would rather not look at. She encourages us to face the uncomfortable and to give it language so we can better deal with our emotions and improve how we act, get up and do it all again.

I have watched many interviews of hers on YouTube, plus her TED Talk and I also read The Gift of Imperfection. As I read her books she narrates in my head. It’s an enjoyable experience. She has a Texan drawl and she tells it like it is. She asks tough questions and interviews countless people to draw conclusions and find answers as to how we think.

A question posed in the chapter I’m reading is:

“Do you think that people are doing the best they can?

What do you think?

.

.

.

I like to think of myself as hopeful and YES I do believe that people are doing the best they can. Even if the person in the car in front cuts me off, I don’t know what’s going through their mind. They may have just lost their job, they may have had terrible news, they may have run out of milk for their baby? I don’t know what is going through their minds or what is in their life. I may swear under my breathe but I leave it at that. At the time we make the best decision or choice as we are able. On the outside it may appear obviously a wrong choice but that is a judgement without all the facts. When we are strong we are able to make better decisions, when we are hurting or struggling we make the best decisions we can at the time.

Here’s to being hopeful.

Read Toolbox weekly

I give good advice when asked. Great advice. But I am not so good at following said advice. So this is a reminder to myself to read my TOOLBOX weekly.

It’s written down. It’s not just content to bulk up the blog. It’s there for a reason. It’s there to help me and anyone else who is creating their own toolbox. I’m nine months into this sober new world and realise that deciding to become sober was like opening a door. It isn’t the end of a journey, it’s the start. What’s behind that door is what you make of it. Opening that door means facing certain parts of one’s life that haven’t been dealt with. Facing and dealing with it makes one stronger. You decide when you face your issues/fabulousness. It is all in your own time. When you are ready. No one else decides.

Along with my TOOLBOX is my LIBRARY, and man is that list getting longer. The list of books to read. I have another list of books, non alcohol related too. They haven’t made the cut to the blog. Not because they aren’t worthy but they are off topic. I just love reading.

Being sober is all of me now. I feel like I’ve had cataract surgery, or what I imagine it would be like after it. I see clearly now what I couldn’t before. Life is richer. Life is freer. That also means that there are more decisions to be made.

Back to the Toolbox. Read it weekly. Eat less chocolate. Clean the sink.

One day shy of 9 months sober

Wow. Time is flying. I thought it was eight months sober but it’s almost nine months now. Still going strong. Still grateful everyday for not drinking. I didn’t expect an easy ride but I thought that instead of drinking that I’d be losing weight. That hasn’t happened. Not too concerned really if I’m honest. Better that than drinking.

On the plus side I have gotten my sleep patterns back to normal. It takes less time to fall asleep than in the first few sober months, and I am making an effort to consistently get to bed before midnight.

Another plus, I have got back my love of drawing again. I am making effort to add this to my life on a daily basis. So good to have this back in my life. My creativity is resurfacing and I am running with it.

Yet another plus, the recycling rubbish and regular rubbish is not mounting up as it did when we were drinking. Not only do we have less rubbish, we buy less junk food, eat out less and so are saving money. What a bonus. Creative pursuits are generally mind work so they don’t require huge sums of money. So I wonder again why I didn’t give up drinking sooner. The stingy side of me is jumping up and down with joy. My sober side is joining in. I am just one big bundle of joy.

Housework has not been a priority. Self care has been. Dust and clutter is around me. I can look at it and not have feelings of shame or guilt. That is a huge step for me. I want to be tidier and have a clean house one day. Sleep and self care have been a priority. Slowly I am adding things to do for routines that hopefully will be automatic in the future.

I have asked for help and am getting the lawns mowed on a regular basis. That has been money well spent. Seems like such a small thing but it makes me feel lighter.

Next in the help pile is to get someone in to help clean on a regular basis. I just need to get over the embarrassment of the state of things now and admit this is where it is and what needs getting done. I have had the name and phone number of someone for four months and had planned on getting the house into a better state before the cleaner came. Stupid I know. Vanity appears in ridiculous moments.

I haven’t been writing much here because I have been finding my feet, and getting on with life. I find myself walking in the right direction.

One thing I find difficult is finding places to go where alcohol is not the main focus. I am trying to find nice places where I can go out and be comfortable and sit and drink tea or coffee and indulge in something sweet. A sober treat outing so to speak. I am a great booth sitter. Nothing like a booth to be comfortable. That is one of my quests this year – to find date spots. Home is the best place to sit and drink tea or coffee, talk, read a good book. I am thinking outside the box and parks and picnics seem like a great idea. Only it’s winter now and and not the greatest plan for wet weather. Again, lighting the fire and enjoying the ambiance is a start, at home.

Staying put without travelling, becoming a better version of myself is just what I need to work on now. Looking forward to having a year under my belt before I breathe a sigh of relief.

My sober treat is a waterproof Kindle. I can now read in the bath without having to worry if I drop the device in the water. I don’t have to read paperbacks carefully without wet hands, the Kindle will be so much easier. We’ll see how we go.

Learning to pace myself

In the past and even now I tend to get enthusiastic about something, I live, breathe and sleep whatever it may be. The enthusiasm lasts for a while, a good while and then fizzles out. Gone.

It’s all about the pace. You cannot sprint a marathon. That’s commonsense. Yet why do I always try to sprint when I should be jogging. These running analogies aren’t working for me. I used to do cross country running. Now I detest anything above a walk. So what else can I use? Jog one lamp post, sprint one lamp post. Stop it.

Okay let’s try music. Tempo. Don’t know the words to describe it but here goes. No. scrap that.

I try to immerse myself in the lust of choice. I suck it dry. I spit it out, I get sick of myself. I walk away. Immersion is a good thing with language learning for example. But not with everything.

Longevity and god pace is what I am trying to add to my kit. Continuity should be there too. They are all linked.

Staying up till 6am engrossed is a wonderful thing. The sun comes up and you are still awake from the day before. Once in a while is fine. But it is unsustainable long term. You cannot tell which way is up. It doesn’t end well.

Pacing myself, being consistent, longevity these things are elusive. These are not linked with addiction, are they? This is a whole new me emerging.

Being sober feels like I am giving myself another chance in life.

I am just a girl standing in front of a mirror, telling myself I love you.

Or should that be “I love me?”

A side note: My recycle bin never gets full now. It is quite shocking how empty it is each week. No more bottles. No cardboard pizza boxes. Only the odd pizza now and then. The absence of bottles is noticeable by the lack of recycling. Calculating the money I am saving and it is breathtaking.

BONUS: Being sober=less recycling bin pushing+saving money