Trading One Addiction For Another

Wednesday will be 5 months since I’ve had a drink.  Some days it seems like it was yesterday, like when I think of the life altering hangovers. Other days it seems like it’s been years.

I’ve mentioned before that I had gastric bypass surgery almost 8 years ago.  I rarely drank then but when I did, it was almost always to excess.  Anyway, as an adult, I ate whatever I wanted to eat.  I didn’t prescribe to the whole, “I’m eating my emotions” idea.  I was a young stay at home mother who rarely had a minute to brush my hair, let alone deal with the emotions of my past.  So I grew physically to epic proportions.  I weighed nearly 400 pounds 8 years ago.  I was physically miserable as I’d tried every diet and could easily lose weight only to gain it back just as quickly as it came off.  I made the decision along with my then husband to have surgery.  He had his 2 months after mine.

The weight literally fell off.  I lost over 100 pounds in the first 4 months.  But, I strictly followed the surgeons orders.  Whatever I ate was logged in a food diary, even if it was only an olive.  I had tunnel vision where my weight loss was concerned.  It wasn’t easy, but I knew it was what I needed to do.

It took me 18 months to get to a place where I could physically exercise.  I went way overboard with that pretty much like everything else I’ve done in my life.  If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing to excess.  I was walking 9 miles a day or biking 18 miles.  I loved this time as it gave me time to get my thoughts together.

Fast forward a couple of years and a divorce later and I was dating.  Most dates seemed to have an alcohol tie but I was very good at drinking water to make sure I could drive myself home.  I didn’t feel left out from not drinking.  I felt in control.  I really drank very rarely.

When I met my current boyfriend 4.5 years ago, I was dabbling with drinking but always in controlled situations where I knew I was safe and didn’t have to drive.  He was definitely a drinker and it was fun drinking with him.  Anyway, that’s a long story to be told on a different day.  My point is that my drinking escalated from barely drinking to binge drinking ever other weekend for 3 days at a time.  I had transferred my food addiction to an alcohol addiction.  You could probably throw a sex addiction in there as well as I had some pretty wild times there too.

I’ve been eating a lot lately.  As in binge eating, not really giving a crap what I’m putting in my body eating. I suppose I’ve transferred my alcohol addiction back to food.  I need to reign it back in to become an exercise obsession.  The problem is that even after 5 months of sobriety, I still don’t have to get up and go that I once did.  Maybe it’s my lack of self confidence holding me down.  Maybe it’s just plain old laziness.  All I know is that I lack the motivation to eat healthily and exercise like I used to.

An aside, I’m not feeling well due to a disease I acquired five years ago that has no cure.  The flares have been hitting harder and more often than before I quit drinking.  I’ve spent most of today feeling totally miserable and wanting nothing more than to crawl into a bottle so that I don’t have to feel like this. I know that I won’t do that but boy do I want to.  Things will get better.  They always do.

 

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Glowing Skin?

I’m floating along doing okay. Not great, just kinda sub par. I don’t feel like drinking most of the time but I’ve had a few moments lately.

Reading other sober blogs makes me feel like I’m not doing something right. I mean everyone talks about their beautiful glowing skin and weight loss. I look in the mirror and see the same tired skin and the weight that has not fallen off like others who have quit drinking.

Maybe it’s because I didn’t drink every day. Binge drinking is a bird of a different feather. I could lose 12 pounds during a 3 day binge. I realize that was all water loss due to dehydration.

I still wake up thankful every day that I’m not in hangover hell. I’m happy that I can remember every conversation from the night before. Watching Leaving Las Vegas makes me grateful that my drinking never progressed to that level.

Today is day 140 of sobriety.

Swirling

Lately, I’ve had a lot of free time on my hands.  Both of my jobs have slowedddd  waaaayyyyy dowwwnnn.  As in, I only worked a total of 14 hours this week.  This left too much time to think.  Trust me when I say I didn’t need any more time to do that.  I don’t need to think about the money I’m not making.  I’m barely getting by with two jobs and donating plasma twice a week.  The few people who know how little money I make are in complete shock that I’m doing so well.  I own my home, as much as anyone does, my car is paid for and I have no debt other than my house.  I have one daughter still at home that I share custody of, one week on one week off.  I made $16,000 last year before deductions.  I’m an independent contractor so I have to pay social security and self employment taxes when I file my taxes.  I’m not complaining, I’m quite mystified myself that things are a good as they are.  Good thing I stopped drinking away a couple hundred dollars a month.

Both of my jobs are wonderful and one is what I feel I was put here to do.  I work for my family running their business which allows me to choose my hours.  It’s a creative job that I wouldn’t give up for any other and it’s paying the bills but barely. I don’t know how I got off on this tangent other than hopefully I’ll look back at my situation and laugh at the good old days.

Anyway, I don’t normally watch much TV and now I know why.  Every movie seems to have a scene or several revolving around booze.  People either having a great time with friends or hitting the bottle due to sorrow, loneliness or boredom.  Sounds like life, eh?  At 132 days sober, I should be over the “poor me, I can never drink again” feelings, shouldn’t I?

Sometimes it’s a thought that brings on the craving to drink.  I can’t call it a craving, it’s more of an idea.  What I’ve noticed lately is these thoughts can come from a familiar smell or the way the light streams through the window. Last weekend, as the boyfriend and I visited his friend of 30 years (and best drinking buddy besides myself), I saw a gleaming tall boy (25 ounce beer) sitting on a coaster in front of the window with the sun shining on it like a spotlight.  I couldn’t imagine that I was that taken by something so trivial at this stage of the game.  The funny part is that I actually hated beer until the last year when I became less choosy about what my poison would be. Anyway, I felt a pang of regret that I’d never be able to have another beer in the beautiful sunlight.  It was only for a moment but here I am a week later writing about it.

I breezed through the first few months and now it seems harder.  Maybe that’s because I’ve put myself into situations that I had avoided.  I can’t steer clear of life forever just because it makes me feel like I want to drink.

The store is calling my name.  I believe I’ll treat myself to some sparkling water.  That seems to make me feel like I’m not missing so much on a Friday night.

I’m Really Doing This

This weekend was tough. I came out of it on the better side feeling stronger than ever. (See previous posts.) I find it hard to believe that I’m doing this whole sobriety thing and coming out on top.

After an entire weekend watching my significant other pound down the alcohol, I waited to hear what he thought about the incident. He said it is clear that he has a problem. He wants better for himself and for me. I’m cautiously optimistic because I’ve been there myself. After days of binge drinking, I was always ready to leave that life behind. As we know, as soon as we start feeling better, we forget what made us feel like crap in the first place.

I realize that this relationship is less than healthy and that I sound like an idiot. I’m having a hard time thinking of life without him. We’ve been together for over 4 years. We don’t live together as I’ve been smart enough to realize that would be a total nightmare. I don’t know where we will go from here. I only know that I’m happy to still be sober.

Lessons

I’m still I’m the belly of the beast, i.e. at my boyfriend’s, which was also my very favorite drinking place. Today is Saturday and I’ve been here since Thursday evening watching my boyfriend continue to drink.

I felt bad for him yesterday as I watched him feel miserable from the previous night’s binge. He tried desperately to feel better but as the day went on, I could see that he was going to drink to make himself feel physically better. Boy can I relate. The cycle of drink then try to sober up only to realize that the easiest thing to do is to drink to get the horrible feelings to go away. The old “hair of the dog” remedy that’s shoved down our throats from the time before we’re even old enough to drink.

I honestly felt horrible watching him sip his beer and watched with fascination as he morphed before my eyes into a completely different person. Was this how I acted when I was drinking?

I went to bed feeling fairly glad that I resisted throwing it all away to feel normal. I say fairly because I hadn’t convinced myself totally.

I woke up at 3:30am to find that he was back to trying to feel good again. Ugh. He knew that I was disappointed. I sat stewing in my own vile feelings of jealousy over not being able to drink. We talked about it and I cried tears of frustration. It’s not supposed to be this hard at 126 days.

I didn’t waste too much time before I got over it and decided that it’s really not my business what he does. I can only control myself and how I react to him even after he told me again how sad he is that I won’t drink with him. He wants the uninhibited me that comes with copious amounts of vodka. It’s pretty hard not to feel self conscious when only one of you is sober and resenting it.

Watching him drink brought some questions to my mind about whether my drinking has to do with him. I’m not blaming him for my drinking problem. But, he has enabled me to drink. I initially started drinking around him because it was easier than dealing with him sober as he drank himself into becoming more of an adolescent. I became his drinking buddy. A buddy that couldn’t keep up with him but tried desperately until I blacked out almost every time I drank in the last 2 years.

My black outs were not because I passed out. It was like I started drinking and the first hour was amazing. I became happy and carefree. The next several hours became a blank even though I’m told that I was awake and participated as though I was aware of my surroundings. After hours of what I can only guess was me falling down and getting really nasty and vile, I would go to bed. A few hours later I was back up with the most horrible anxiety I’d ever experienced. The only way to make it stop was to start drinking again. And so begins the vicious cycle of binge drinking.

I’m realizing that while I’ve always drank too much when I boozed, he is the only factor in my life that makes me want to drink. I don’t have issues at any other time. Again, I’m not blaming him but I’m wondering why I only feel like binge drinking when I’m around him when he’s drinking. We get along very well when we’re both sober.

The question I’m asking myself is what lesson am I supposed to learn by continuing to put myself through this torture? I do know I love him with all my heart. We both know that something in our relationship has to change. I don’t know if it will be him not drinking or me not being part of his life.

Oh, and fuck you, Wolfie!! You’re not going to win. At least not today.

Into The Fire

Today finds me struggling. My favorite drinking place has been my boyfriend’s apartment for the past couple of years. For some reason , I felt safe binge drinking to oblivion for days at a time.

I stayed away for the first few months. I knew I couldn’t handle going there and staying sober. Even the smell reminds me of sickness and anxiety.

Last night I decided to take an early weekend at the boyfriend’s knowing that he wouldn’t drink while I was there. That’s our deal. We’d had a few sober weekends together. I struggled to convince him that we were still fun without booze.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. After two weeks of fighting, I decided that we needed to talk. I made the hour drive after telling him that I was too tired. He was drinking beer when I got there. He had gone and bought it after he thought I wasn’t coming. I was devastated. I wanted to turn around and go home but it was dark and I was exhausted.

The boyfriend said he would only drink two more but continued to drink 4- 25 ounce beers. He admitted that he knew he was wrong. Then later dared me to drink one. I explained that he should have dared me not to.

I resented not being able to drink. I wanted to feel the numbness of oblivion. I was a little pissy but realized after watching him suffer this morning that sobriety is so much better. I woke up refreshed and ready to go.

I’m pretty proud of myself for saying no. I didn’t like it, but I stuck by my guns.

Sober Building

Sleep eluded me last night despite my attempt to go to sleep early.  My mind was racing.  Thinking about how many days I have sober (123) left me feeling like a baby in the scheme of things.  When thinking about those days, I thought of them as bricks.  Each day sober, a new brick was made.  If you drop these all around and eventually, after collecting a few, you could build a foundation.  Continuing, you could build a beautiful building with whatever kind of architecture you desire.  You are the architect.  You make the plans.  bricks

So, what are you planning on building?