Living and Learning

I don’t want to say I fucked up because I’m trying out self-compassion for a change. It’s not easy when you’ve been used to beating yourself on a daily basis forever, but I am paying more attention to how I speak to myself – and it’s pretty brutal I’ll be honest.

I drank. And I’m sure you are saying, “Of course you did…did you even read your last post?” I haven’t binged or gone to the liquor store, I choose to do it in a controlled environment, well except once. I did break my rules, but I also stuck to some very important limits. So not a perfect venture but not a total disaster.

The first came when I went to dinner and a movie with a friend. All the way to the restaurant my inner dialogue went something like this:

“Go ahead if you want to, it will be fine. Just one.”

“Do you really want to just throw away everything you have accomplished so far?”

“You are only there for a quick salad before a movie, there is no time for more than one.”

“Here you go again, you know where this leads.”

“Why can’t you just stop this back and forth. You are normal, stop over-reacting to everything. Have one, be mindful about it.”

“You have been to AA for Christ’s sake!”

By the time we were seated and the waitress came to take our order, I was so worked up and anxious I felt like I was visibly shaking…which doesn’t help when you’re trying NOT to drink.

“I’ll have a Chardonnay.” There is was – just like that.

“Five or eight ounce?”

I paused for so long it got awkward. “Eight.”

I know…it’s more than one drink technically and I’m fooling myself. I get it. But honestly, it was good and it lasted the whole meal. Later at the movies I wondered why on earth I can’t just do that all the time.

Next up, this past Tuesday. I won’t get into it but drama was the theme for the day. By the time I got home I suggested my husband and I go out to dinner. Cooking was not going to happen and if I’m honest – hell, I wanted a drink and since in my head I made a deal that I wouldn’t bring any in the house – out to dinner we went.

Again I ordered an eight ounce and I sipped at it, but the old me was pushing her way through. I was half way through dinner when I noticed my glass was almost empty. In my head I’m thinking I would have another one. A regular sized one. Five ounce only. The waiter came by but didn’t ask – so I didn’t bring it up (score one for me). By the time he did ask I was mostly done dinner so I said no, even though I wanted one badly or at least I think I did.

One the way to the car I took note on how I as feeling. A little tipsy actually. Once I was up and away from the table I was good. I felt satisfied. If I just give myself time to take in the first drink – it might be all I will need.

Cut to last night. The Friday night to start the last long weekend of the summer. Sitting at my desk at work I fought my inner dialogue. Old me wanted to stop and get wine and new me was totally giving into it. After all, this weekend has always been my New Years. I can’t tell you how many journals I have started at this time of year vowing off food and alcohol – writing everyday, yoga, meditation, running…etc. Now I know what I was really doing was setting myself up to fail.

I left the parking lot fully intending on buying that bottle of wine. I was determined, as I have been so many other times in my life to have it last two days. I can do this. But a funny thing happened as I approached the turn off – I thought, “You know if you bring that bottle home you will over do it.” — and I drove right past. I noticed how tense I was, my shoulders, neck and jaw where stiff as rock.

Good for me, right? I did it! Except when I got home the first thing I did was grab one of my husbands beers and drank it. Fast. I meant it was gone in about 5 mins. Then I went to the fridge and got a bottled Ceasar (Canadian Bloody Mary). I brought it outside and that lasted me a bit longer. When I was done, I stopped to think about how I was feeling and knew I was done. Granted if those two drinks would have been wine, I probably would have had another.

I did things to distract myself, walked the dog, looked at flyers, put clothes away. Once I was away from the situation I was fine. I even regretted that Ceasar because I didn’t feel well and really still don’t today. I don’t feel hung over, I feel sick to my stomach.

But I still plan on having wine this weekend. I already have it planned. We have friends coming into town tonight and my husband and I are celebrating our anniversary tomorrow night. The plan is to get go into it with my eyes wide open and really think about what I’m feeling, take a break after one, go find other things to do.

There is a part of me that is really on board with this and then there is the other part of me that says I’m full of shit and just making excuses. Like I said, I’m trying to be more self compassionate so I’m hoping to just do my best and see where it takes me. I’m aware and sometimes that’s the best I can do.

























So Much Confusion

Yesterday was all like, “Yay! Sobriety!”

Today – not so much.

I didn’t drink, I had my first meeting with a new councillor who specializes in alcohol abuse. She knows my whole story…my periods of sobriety, my attempts at moderation. The whole meeting she was taking the position of harm reduction, rather than complete abstinence. Not that she doesn’t think I should be sober – she wants what I want, but she thinks my “all or nothing thinking” is going to get me in trouble either way. She wants to take me through from the ground up and identify my triggers, looking for healthier ways to approach them. She doesn’t want me to think in terms of never again, but come to a place in recover organically.

I gotta say initially, I thought not a chance. I’ve made a million rules around my drinking, and tried to moderate but it only works for a while before I’m back to where I was. But just her suggesting I might drink again was really inviting I gotta be honest.

I told her I was going to Italy next month and expressed a fear of losing my sobriety. This has been on my mind since day one; What will happen there? Should I drink? Will I hate myself for breaking my sobriety?

She is trying to get me to a place where I confront my over thinking with real solutions. She wants to help me put a plan in place before I get there. It might include abstinence but it also could be a plan of action which includes having one glass of wine with dinner and evaluate honestly how I am feeling; putting barriers and strategies in place to achieve this.

Very tempting, but I’m skeptical.

By the time I go, if I remain sober completely, I will have almost 6 weeks. I told her I’m fairly certain I could get through the vacation with boundaries because it’s a hiking tour. Every day I will have to be physically active – which means I won’t want to sabotage it by drinking. Also, I’m going with someone who is not a huge drinker and understands where I’m at. My worry is when I get home. I’m concerned I won’t stop. My inside voice will want to have plenty of drinks before I quit, “again,” and do I really want to quit again?

I understand recovery isn’t black and white. I get it, but I have a hard time allowing myself to fail.  It is true with each attempt I come closer to my goal. I guess that’s the point? To naturally come to the decision? But how do I refrain from beating myself up? How do I stop obsessing about it, whether I’m drinking or sober? The year I spent sober was wonderful but I never stopped thinking about it. I just want to be me, but a calm, recovered me.

If I decide to drink in Italy, I don’t want to carry around the shame when I return of starting again, and I’m hoping if it is what I decide to do, I can do it and accept myself and my decision.

This is a learning process. Progress not perfection, right? Why does everything in my head have to be taken care of immediately? So what if I have been fighting this for as long as I have? Every time I do, I get closer to peace. I can feel it.

Holly Whitaker from Hip Sobriety wrote something today on Instagram:

“The goal we are working towards isn’t SOBRIETY in flashing neon lights, It isn’t measured in days and weighed in abstinence. The goal is self-compassion, self-love; to stop the shaming and the judging of ourselves, others. To loosen the shame; not tighten it.”

I came out of my meeting with the counsellor confused about what my goals are and Holly’s words were on my phone. They brought me a lot of comfort. My biggest problem is self-compassion/love and I often wonder if I could do the work on those things, if I indeed started to (gulp) love myself would I even feel the need to over drink? One thing I know for sure, I need to put the booze down now to do the work.

Will I drink again? I don’t know. I’m not even sure I will in Italy. Although I’m kinda feeling like I just got a free pass. I feel like I have a lot of thinking, reading and healing to do. Instead of letting this circle around in my head, giving me ideas to try to moderate again. I’m going to let it sit and continue on the path I started because I put the glass down again for a reason. I can’t live how I was a week ago. I only have my gut to guide me and it’s saying stay the path for now, keep going.

Don’t think too far ahead.