Watching while under the influence

I stayed up and watched a film last night until the wee hours. I remember the title. I had seen it before because I remembered the title. I pressed play and what followed, I remembered nothing. Not quite true. I remember still shots of certain actors, no story line, otherwise nothing. It was like watching a new film. It was. I watched till the end. It was great by the way. It was past 2am when I turned off the screen.

Over the years I have watched so many shows and films while drunk. And what was the point. I won’t remember any of them. My case in point was last night or technically this morning.

What was the point?

The drinking or the watching? Choose.

I have no answer.

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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

Will I Ever Be Good Enough?

Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers by Karyl McBride Ph.d.

I have been quiet on my sober blog for a couple of months. I have been working on myself. Taking the time to decide to stop drinking has been the best decision ever. Being sober is a choice. I think around the six month sober mark you start to feel cocky and you think it is easy to not drink. The occasional thought creeps in telling you wouldn’t it be nice to have a beer or a wine or … I thought about drinking. No that’s not true. Or is it. I thought about the first sip. I did not partake. I thought how far I’d come and stayed true to myself and remained sober. I am sober.

With a clear head and loads more time on my hands I have been reading and using the Internet to heal and grow. That doesn’t happen overnight. And it’s not a destination either. I will never be done being sober. It is a journey of being sober. What I intend to do while being sober is the hard part as I’ve said in the past.

I am dealing with life. I am dealing with feelings and finding out who I really am. I am questioning everything about myself. Do I like or do something because I like it or because someone else suggested it and so I did it or like it. Everything is being turned upside down. Re-examined. The hard part of feelings has begun to been addressed. Sure there are triggers that appear and without warning the PTSD reaction involuntarily shows itself. I’m working on it. Thanks to Karyl McBride.

This book, Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers by Karyl McBride Ph.d.was recommended on a YouTube channel. I looked it up and borrowed it from the library. What perfect timing for this book to come into my life. Such a helpful book to deal with an important relationship, the mother-daughter bond. Not all relationships are meant to be. Families should not always stay together. In our culture this kind of talk is taboo: Don’t talk ill of families or familial relationships. Because of that taboo and the reluctance to talk or discuss this many people feel that they are broken or that there is something wrong with them for not being able to have that ‘good’ close relationship. Chosen families are that because of understanding, commitment, love and other good stuff. Without it they are bound to fail. Your chosen family doesn’t have to be the family you grew up with, it doesn’t have to be the family that gave birth to you. You decide who you want to spend your time with.

Time is precious. Spend it with the ones who deserve your love.

Digital Detox & Chocolate

In May I attempted a Digital Detox. I tried to be too strict with myself and that backfired. I ended up not bothering in the end. I haven’t given up completely but will try again at a later date.

Does my digital side help with my life? Absolutely.

Do I spend too much time on the Internet? Absolutely.

Could I cut back on my digital side? Absolutely.

I did unsubscribe to many mailing lists. I removed many notifications from my phone. I restricted myself to less digital time. I had planned to use the computer to teach myself new software myself but with all the other restrictions I decided to self sabotage and didn’t bother at all.

A gentler route is in order and I am attempting a Lite Version of Digital Detox. Today I began to learn how to use software better. Progress. I am balancing my Digital with my Paper-based side. I began a Bullet Journal. It’s more of Self Discovery/Sketch Journal.

I seem to have substituted alcohol with copious amounts of chocolate. There is none in the house because I ate it all yesterday. Today I didn’t eat chocolate because it wasn’t handy. I didn’t make a trip to the supermarket and so there is no chocolate in the house. I do know now, correction, I always knew that if I bought a week’s worth of chocolate that it would be gone in two days. The addictive side of me is very methodical. If it’s there, it must be consumed mentality. I had roasted cauliflower for dinner. From one extreme to the other.

Self Care: Homemade Facial Mask and a Bath
Green tea and yoghurt

Facing Forward

Facing or confronting something is more difficult than turning away. It requires effort and dealing with whatever it may be. The thought of facing something can make whatever it is into a mountain when in fact it was a wrinkle in a sheet. Shadows play tricks on us and the devil on our shoulder is whispering come away with me, don’t climb the mountain, what’s one more day?

If we faced the mountain and walked towards it we would realise that it wasn’t so big after all. The weight off our shoulders would have made it worth the effort.

Not facing something takes more effort and occupies more space in your mind than if you faced whatever it is. So why do we insist on looking away or elsewhere, anywhere but forward facing the issue? Why do we do this to ourselves? Because it’s hard? It’s much harder to avoid than to face. Avoidance is quite a complicated dance. It’s like juggling while balancing on one foot on top of a chair. It involves lots of pieces and trying to figure out how not to lose the rhythm so you or the balls don’t fall on the floor. What would be wrong about you and the balls being on the floor anyway? You can rest.

Which is it? Difficult or easy? One moment you say facing something is difficult then you say not facing something is effortful. Which is it? It is what we make it. Huh?

We make decisions for ourselves. Sometimes we know we are making the wrong one and we go ahead regardless. A conscious decision, a decision we know to be wrong yet we willfully proceed. Why? It’s the path of least resistance.

Okay. I get that. That might be true. So why do we do it to ourselves? It’s easier not to.

Doing nothing sometimes is better than doing the wrong thing. Not always but sometimes true. However what I am talking about here is personal growth. The more things we face the more we grow as a person. And with these experiences we learn and we gain wisdom. Our lives become more fulfilled and we seek out more to enrich our lives.

*I wrote the above post earlier, like a couple of months ago and saved it. Publishing today.

I am past my 7 month sober mark and feeling good that I am. Before this journey started the sober part of it seemed like the finish line but in fact it was the just the start line. Being sober is the easy part, the knowing what to do with the time while being sober is the challenge. How do we proceed in life now that we have our life before us with the truth bared raw. I like myself better sober. Still finding my feet. Shuffling in the right direction. Still eat a lot to compensate, stay up late, and do very little exercise. But I am absolutely fine with it. I can honestly say I feel real peace on the good days.

Facing forward and leaning into the wind.

The Joy of being Sober

The Unexpected Joy of being Sober by Catherine Gray

I remember getting it out of the library a couple of years ago. Why do I remember it if I didn’t read it. The cover. A bird flying away from an open cage. I wasn’t ready to be sober then. I requested the book about 4 months ago again. The queue was long. It’s my turn to read it. And I am loving it. It is exactly what I need to read now. I am two weeks shy of being sober 6 months. I know I said I didn’t count the days. I don’t on a daily basis. I’m lucky enough not to need to do it. But 6 months is a milestone. And Catherine Gray’s book is right on schedule to read now. And talk about a popular book. That alone should tell you of the numbers of people wishing to quit drinking and becoming sober. A good thing. Being sober truly is a joy.

Far from finished but I am so enjoying her book. My theme for this year, 2019, for me is care. She mentioned that when we are drunk or thinking about the next drink we are not taking care of ourselves or those around us, our lives or our homes. Admittedly I looked after my cats better than I did myself. Catherine mentions to treat yourself like a toddler. To care for myself, is like relearning all over again. My self care routine was nonexistent. I am learning to be kind to myself. I have quietened the boozy angry bitchy evil voice, the one that treated me worse than an enemy would. I listen to my inner voice now, the kind one, the gentle one, the compassionate one. She is teaching me to be kind to myself again.

Compassion starts at home and is an active daily practice. It is not on a to do list and ticked off, it is something to be repeated and done every day. It doesn’t end. It is a regular action done daily. It is a habit. A good one. Self compassion or self love is a necessary act for one to feel whole. When this practice of self compassion becomes natural and regular then the compassion of/for others flows naturally. Let’s make it contagious.

I love being sober. I do not want to try to be a moderate drinker. I don’t want to drink again. I don’t need it. I don’t want it. Alcohol was a shackle not a crutch said Catherine Gray.

Perimenopause, sober and a twist of lime

I thought I had perimenopause* under control. I thought the hot flashes and night sweats were in the past. It appears not. Mood swings are gone thank goodness. Something is happening and the body is malfunctioning again. Perhaps menopause is knocking on my door?

Insomnia is something of the past now. So thankful of that. I am able to sleep like I used to and be asleep within quarter of an hour. Insomnia was the one thing that screwed me up when I stopped drinking. It was hard to deal with. I got through it. And now I make sure to get to bed before midnight.

Oversleeping is what I am doing now. Can you ever have too much sleep? Is it because of perimenopause? Change of season? Depression? Don’t know. It is an observation.

One thing I did last month dealing with self care was to buy better bed sheets. Liked them so much I bought a second set of the same ones. Duvet cover got changed too. I donated my old ones to the clothing bin. So maybe I have made the bedroom too comfortable? Nooo. I don’t really think that.

Flannelette sheets for May, prodding at a roaring fires and rolling in fluffy bed sheets. The joys of winter are dressing warmly and stomping about in lined boots, hot stews and endless cups of tea. Cats curled up next to me. Hats, gloves and visible breath. Admittedly it doesn’t get cold enough for most of the above but it would be nice to have a snow day. Dreaming out loud. Might just have to have a Christmas holiday somewhere cold and enjoy snowy weather and walk away back to summer.

(Note*: for those whom are wondering the difference between perimenopause and menopause: Perimenopause comes before menopause. Perimenopause is the transition stage when the menstrual period comes irregularly and sometimes not at all. When the period is absent for longer than one year then you have entered into menopause.) As for post-menopause, I haven’t looked into that yet. Not sure what that is. Dealing with enough of the perimenopause for now.

Ramp light Green

Driving in heavy traffic is a breeze for me. I have driven all over the world and Auckland traffic is nothing compared to Tokyo, Barcelona, LA or London. In New Zealand when getting onto the motorway there is a traffic light and during peak times the lights are working, a sign say “Ramp light on.” The lights alternate between green and red to stagger the merging cars and make the motorway flow smoothly.

I feel like my ramp light is green. Green for ‘go.’

Made the bed. Had brunch. Went to the gym. Went to the supermarket. Bought fruit and vegetables. Bought one sweet item. Haribo gummy bears. They have already been consumed. Told you the ramp light was green. I did lots of little jobs that I had planned to do last week but didn’t. They are now done. Told you I like Mondays.

I am starting a digital declutter this May. Let me explain what I mean. I am going to stop mindlessly scrolling on my phone or on the computer or any device and better use my time for non-connected pursuits and time for solitude. I read the book Digital Minimalism and I am going to try it for the month long declutter. It doesn’t mean 100% not touching an app, a phone or looking at a website. You get to choose what you give up. You write it down and ideally stick to it. And at the end of the month hiatus you introduce back into your life what you deem beneficial to your life.

One example is streaming services such as Netflix, HBO or Amazon. I watch too much. Binge watching is a thing. I am not cutting it out completely I am making it a social time. If I watch a streaming service it must be with someone else, not alone. Also in one sitting I will limit myself to 2 episodes if a series or to 1 film.

I have written out a list of what I will not use, what I can use with caveats. I’m sure some tweaking will need to be done as situations arise. The point is to continue with important digital aids that allow you to work, function without losing your job, your life. This is not Extreme Digital Declutter in the Wilds with no cellphone service. I am not holing up in a cabin in the woods for the month. I am home and giving myself the freedom to choose or not choose.

I am treating this as a fun exercise. It is done by choice. It should get me back to pursuits that I ‘don’t have time for’ when really I do. Wish me luck.

I have started already by removing notifications from my phone. I have unsubscribed to mailing lists. I have banned myself from various websites that I glance at and then wonder why I am still there half an hour later.

3:59pm Good Friday

Just to be extra clear: Don’t feel like drinking alcohol. Never really have since I stopped. Maybe once or twice in the early days because I didn’t know how I was supposed to feel. Nobody does. It wasn’t hard. It wasn’t the end of the world. It was the beginning.

Today and this week or month I have been feeling out of sorts with myself.

Not drinking allows me to see, find and be myself in the raw. I am finding it hard just to get out of bed these days. Why? Don’t know. Change of season?

I have gotten out of the habit of self care or care in general. How did I get this way so quickly? I have no idea.

In no way shape or form does the idea to drink enter my head. For that I am grateful. I don’t feel ever like taking that route ever again.

Depression is settling in. I have let it in somehow. I recognise it and yet I feel helpless to help myself. I feel like a witness to something happening yet it is me it is happening to. A witness observes and is impartial to the event, yet it is me that it is happening to and I feel immune to do anything about it to improve my situation. I can see it happening. I can feel it happening. Yet I do nothing.

I cannot help myself. The desire is there. But the effort is not there. The house has gone downhill. It is chaos. My cleanliness is doubtful. I am not eating my best meals. My cats are looked after better than me. I put them first. There is no neglect there. Just neglect of myself.

How can I write I have been wondering, if I cannot help myself? Ridiculous thoughts really. I should realise that it the depression talking and not the real me. How have I fooled myself so many times?

Lately (this year) I have felt so strong with dealing with depression, noticing when it comes on and how it comes in. I felt more knowledgeable about depression. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. I might have gotten cocky. It appears so. I have been put in my place. Depression isn’t to be conquered, it is to be dealt with and lived with. It is not to be treated lightly and with superiority. Depression will put you on your arse swiftly if you mock it or think light of it.

I am on my arse.

Today I felt able to write about it. That is something. Perhaps things are on their way up after all.

Damn shame to Admiration

I remember many years ago a friend of mine had to quit drinking because of a medical condition. When he told me all I could think about was what a shame that was and all the drinking he was missing out on. I felt pity for him. I really did.

Wind forwards to today and I look back at the moment through a different lens now. Admiration for him is all I feel. He told me honestly and openly and upfront about his condition and that it must involve being sober from then on in. I admire his forthrightness, his openness, his sharing of personal things and his strength and positivity of being sober. He was fitter and healthier looking.

I know for each person the reasons for being sober are different. The point of when that timing occurs is unique. However the positive benefits that surround a person when they make that decision an everyday reality are limitless.

Decisions are hard to make at the best of times. When it is made at the same time as someone else it makes it easier. DH and I became sober at the same time. I feel grateful every single day. I certainly wish I had been brave enough to stop drinking sooner. But again time tells and last year was my time to follow through on that thought.

At the beginning I thought I would give alcohol a rest for a while, however long that would be, three months, a year. It felt like a break, a rest, a sojourn. As time went on I realised all the hype of difficulty was false. The decision was difficult. The action required after that was easy. Sober living is definitely a more present lifestyle. My sojourn from alcohol will be for the rest of my life. I appreciate my life that much. I am worth it.

I don’t consider myself an alcoholic. I don’t consider myself recovering either. I don’t drink is all. I am sober. And I love being sober.

POSITIVE GAINS:
More money
More confidence
More time
More freedom
More clarity
More ideas
More freedom
More active
Better decisions
Better sleep (this took 4 months but was worth the patience
Less to almost no anxiety

NEGATIVE EFFECTS:
None

All I did was stop drinking. I didn’t do anything. Actually that’s not true. I made a decision and followed through with it. I’m grateful for that. One of my best decisions ever.