Since I’m back to counting days, I’m playing a game with myself. Sometimes, ahem…always…that time between 3 & 6 gets harrowing for me. Anxious, tired, more than a little fear of a long evening ahead of me. Once it hits 6 and I haven’t started drinking, things quiet in my head. So my game to myself is…once it hits 6, I can put in my planner – Day 2 ♡ Day 3 ☆ etc. Knowing if I hang tough just a little bit longer each night, I can ‘win’ the night at 6! Then I can relax the rest of the night.
After years of planning rewards for myself, the evening rewards are the hardest. I’m just too tired. People always surprise me with the amount of shame they give me about being unproductive after 3. Like it’s not okay that my brain starts working at 4am while theirs doesn’t kick in until 10am. I heard an interview with Mark Wahlberg and he said in order to get done what he needs, his day sometimes starts at 2am and he goes to bed about 7pm. HA! I tell my nay sayer shaming friends.
My longest time sober came when I slept and woke up according to my own comfortable biological clock. And for me 6 is the end.
I didn’t get a planner this year. I was trying to let go of being over-scheduled. As Permission is my Word of the Year, I wanted to challenge some “pre-existing conditions”.
I did fairly well throuh my busy work season, but as soon as I was home more, I just floundered. My new planner finally arrived and I can’t believe the difference in my mental health. Paper & pencil (and colored pens & stickers) are who I am. Tactile not touch screen!
I was also giving myself permission to be much more frugal in my lifestyle. Saving money is always a plus but when I didn’t have my planner, I just kind of…. sat. My to-do piles have become the biggest they have been since my ‘becoming sober journey’ began. I have relaxed back into buying convenience items, well…. for convenience.
Without writing down my 3 Rewards a day, my sober self is much harder to find. My new favorite quote came from this month’s Yoga Journal, “Sometimes we see self-care as triage – something we turn to as we are falling apart. But self-care is really about daily choices. It’s about healthy boundaries, dedicated practice and everyday rituals.”
That’s what my planner does for me and why I felt so disconnected without it. I needed my everyday rituals.
I am proud of myself for saying no to a beer – three times. It isn’t really about the no, it is about what happened in my head.
I showed up and they had a cold one ready to open for themselves. We were chatting outside and I thought “That beer would be a perfect compliment to this moment.”
Then we took a casual stroll over to see progress on a project and they asked again if I wanted one for the walk and talk. Again I thought “That would be great. Sharing a beer and some interesting conversation.”
Back inside we ate some homemade food and again, more out of politeness, since they grabbed a second one, asked if I wanted one. This time I thought “If I had said yes earlier, I would be saying yes to my second one now, and in a little while saying yes to a third one.”
A few weeks ago I would have said yes. I have felt so much better not drinking lately that I just didn’t want to start that whole roller coaster again. The part that really caught my attention though, was why I thought “certain situations” seemed like they would be better with alcohol.
During our conversation, I had brought up Intermittent Reinforcement for something else, but I think that is what happened with my thoughts. It HAD been fun to have a beer in the past in those moments, a couple times, but by no means all. That ELUSIVE MOMENT.
I think starting sobriety late in life has the unique challenge of 40 years of ingrained beliefs. That is a lot of years with no other story than “Alcohol can make this moment better.” Last night I came home and watched some tv. A little guilty pleasure show. I was just quiet and content.
Each night I say no to drinking is creating a new proof that alcohol doesn’t make anything better.
After finally getting a day or two of quiet, the urge to drink has also quieted. I tried to remember my last day of drinking but I couldn’t. Then I decided to not think about it and just keep going forward.
I put an offer in on a house, but not for me, for my 18 year old son. When you can save $6000 a year owning, versus living on campus and putting housing expenses on a student loan, it was a no brainer for me. I gave the boy life, but I will not give him student debt. (I see the destruction it brings to 30 and 40 year old lives. They are unable to move forward and create wealth with the giant burden of “good debt”.) When my son finishes his tech school we can flip the house or he can keep it. He (I) will have made money instead of debt. His rent payment to me will be his down payment.
So how do these things tie together? When I got rest, I stayed sober. When I was rested and sober, I believed in myself. When I got my confidence back, I trusted myself to make a decision. When I made the decision, my heart and my gut were filled with passion. When my mind is busy with things I love, I don’t want to drink and mess that up.
You know you are an official food nerd when you take a picture of your successfully spatchcocked chicken.
Me: Why don’t you worry about that when you get home from school?
Very Angry Son: Mom, you don’t understand how WORRY WORKS !!
At first he was excited to move out and get a job and now he is panicking. I have to kick this child out for his own good. And for mine too. He absorbs all the energy of this home. My other son is going back in his shell, and all the progress from last summer’s therapy is slipping away.
This is why I chose to cut back on work. I want to finish strong with parenting. For one son I still need to lead, for the other I just need to be the guard rails.
“Working hard for something you don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something you love is called passion.”
And as usual, a book appears on my library hold list that is also about passion. It’s an old Kristin Hannah fiction book, but the theme is women/moms finding who they are and what they love. Not like loving other people, but like loving yourself.
These last two years I have positioned myself to move from a place of scarcity to a place of having enough. This is the summer of ME.
I’m settling into the idea of having the freedom to not look at a price at the grocery store and wonder if I have enough in the bank. I’m dreaming of some home projects, some travel, to not want to spend to replace an empty feeling. It’s very empowering.
The grief that was so strong is loosening, simply because of the passage of time. There is still lots to come as I untangle the remaining pieces, a joint bill, a trampoline, a ladder, some leftover things. But I’m looking forward now, not back.
My physical body is a wreck. I had ordered a Fitbit a month ago and got to open it yesterday as a reward. My weight watchers app is back open and I got to tie the two things together.
I spent the snow day yesterday, reorganizing and choosing new backgrounds for my phone and Nook. I watched 3 movies. I’m getting excited to chose my own day instead of being bound by appointments and office hours.
I love that opening quote. Anything can be a passion. It’s about attitude.