The picture above is Easter 2020. Our first holiday not being able to celebrate with family. Still so much anxiety and unknowns about Covid. I feel like I was perpetually hung over, hubs had stocked up on a ton of booze when we thought liquor stores might close down. I surely drank on Easter.
This year it will be 75 and sunny, and we are hosting vaccinated members of both our families. And I will not drink.
This was not an easy decision. I’ve named my inner Alcohol Voice “Booze Bitch”. Booze Bitch REALLY wanted to come to the party on Sunday. We started arguing about it a week ago as soon as I decided to host it.
Booze Bitch: “But it will be so warm and sunny! Your mom and sister will be drinking wine! It’s a holiday! You relax and enjoy hosting parties WAY more with wine! You can just have a little to take the edge off! You can stop early and won’t feel gross!” (This party is basically ALL my triggers rolled into one).
Me: “No. If I start drinking that early I will not stop and eat too much and get a headache. And I have to be up early the next day and it’s my first Mom’s workout Monday evening and I want to feel great. The party is only a few hours long surely I can enjoy it without drinking.”
Also Me: “Well, maybe. I could just have a little bit.”
x100 this argument in my head had been taking up space for days. Previously I would’ve gotten so frustrated with the argument I’d just say fuck it and drink. Or I’d tell myself no until about an hour into the party and decide 5:30 was an ok time to top off my seltzer with just a liiiiiitle wine and then I’d proceed to do that a few more times and again after the kids were in bed.
This time I’m saying NO loud and clear to the Booze Bitch. I am willing to sit with any uncomfortable feelings for this short period of time. I am willing to change my life for the better, even if it’s just starting with this one day.
(Pictured above – St. Paddy’s – one of the only days I *don’t* regret drinking in March!)
I did not meet the goal I set at the end of Feb. I drank on 8 days in March, about 5 of which I regret. An average of poisoning my body 2x per week. Too much, too much, this is not where I want to be. I’m not happy about it, but not super upset either. I’m learning. And making progress. Not so many months ago drinking 2x per week seemed like not a lot at all, it was hard to stick to that.
Now there are many more days I look forward to being sober, far fewer days I automatically drink just because the kids are gone, or because they are home and being annoying. I am more likely to think of an excuse NOT to drink than to stop off at the liquor store.
But still, I am coasting and not putting in any real work. I wrote the following at the top of my April planner and it is already helping to shut up the Booze Bitch, (As I have settled on a name for the Drinking Voice in my head).
“Am I really willing to change my life? Am I willing to put in the work and sacrifices?”
(Thank you to Dwight Hyde for those wise questions!)
For April, my goal is to consume alcohol on no more than 4 days. If I can’t manage this, I will try total abstinence in May.
I suppose the title is a bit dramatic. But every other Sunday my kids are at their Dad’s for the ENTIRE day so I always feel extra guilty if I am not productive partly due to a hangover.
Last night was a night I could have easily said no. Hubs and I were doing taxes (ick) and it was getting late and he opened a beer and eventually I did too with the justification that he’d bought a special kind for me and I could just have a little bit.
And that’s the sucky part – I did have only a little bit! Two 7.5% beers, with food, in bed early, after drinking water.
And still, a slight headache all day. Nothing horrendous, but enough pain to make me regret it.
I’ve been mostly happy to not drink. When I have, it’s very moderate. A couple times at social occasions I don’t regret at all. But there were a couple of those situations I was trying to work on being better about where I reach for the booze purely as a reflex to stress.
Some things that have been going on this month:
-My 90 year old grandma fainting in my arms as my kids and I were leaving her condo. She didn’t entirely pass out but it was quite the ordeal trying to get her off the floor and into bed. Sad and scary, our whole family now trying to assess her ability to live alone.
-TWO friends going through chemo for breast cancer. Two friends with young children, who are close to me, hours spent at the park together, taking care of each other’s kids.
-Some very intense drama with one of my best friends in a potential domestic abuse / drug abuse situation, lots of talks with lawyers about filing for divorce, hours and hours of friend counseling.
-The news that another close “we practically raised our kids together” “almost like family I could call her for anything” friend is moving to a town 1.5 hours away because her husband landed his dream job.
…. in more exciting news, the kids are back in school and after doing lots of research I’m pretty certain my next career move is going to be getting my real estate license. I am grateful for the ability and support from hubs to pursue this. I am grateful for the extra free time I have right now to help my friends who need it. I am grateful for this little community where I can unload all these thoughts and continue to make progress on my relationship with alcohol. xo
Me: 38, Hubs: 43, Daughter (DD): 10, Step Daughter (SD): 10, Baby Boy (BB): 6.5 years
7:00 – Alarm goes off. I always hit snooze twice, dragging myself out of bed at 7:20. Have never been a morning person even if I get 9+ hours of sleep.
7:50 – Finish shower, get ready to go downstairs and face the hungry children who are always up before me! All 3 are at home today, which happens several times per week. Notice that the stack of books I’m reading have a distinct theme.
8:00 – Toddler I watch arrives.
8:20 – Somehow we end up all dancing in the kitchen to “I Like Big Butts and I Cannot Lie”. It’s hilarious and I think yeah I should document this day for my project.
8:30 – Hubs goes upstairs to work. Kids eat breakfast in here somewhere.
8:45 – The girls have their first distance learning meeting / toddler is whining because this means they can’t play with her / I do dishes and go to throw in a load of laundry.
9:00 – Toddler goes potty, which we’ve been working on for several weeks, so then she gets to watch a show. (My wreck of a family room!)
9:02 – Have exactly 2 minutes of peace before BB comes to talk to me.
9:15 – Have about 3 more minutes of peace just settling with my coffee and it’s almost what we call “poop o’clock” around here, but of course hubs and BB come back into kitchen right then. This is an almost daily occurrence. Usually I yell at them to get out and then tell them when it’s all clear.
9:30 – All clear.
9:45 – Register BB for spring baseball. (Soooo happy not everything is cancelled this summer, we’re making all kinds of outdoor plans already!)
10:00 – Clean 2 of our 3 toilets, the third will have to wait because it’s in use by hubs and who knows how long that’ll take. Toddler is entertaining herself with stickers and making a big mess on the floor but oh well she is happy and letting me get some stuff done.
10:30 – Make myself a smoothie (banana, spinach, blueberries, fresh ginger, hemp seeds, protein powder). Kids are all in the kitchen running around, hubs is downstairs (again) we talk about if we should donate to public radio, I’m texting with some friends.
11:00 – I write a quick post on here encouraging people to participate in the Day In The Life project!
11:15 – Help BB with school. The girls are on meetings most of the morning and usually good about finishing stuff on their own so that’s a relief.
11:25 – Try to logon to my health insurance website to resolve some billing stuff. Look up my password and am amused to see it’s a variation on “SuckNuts” because I hate dealing with insurance so much. Of course they have changed their logon process so I have to change my password. (But I keep a variation of “SuckNuts”).
11:30 – BB can’t find the materials he needs for his assignment, thinks he left them at Dad’s house, Hubs is on a work call and I’m trying to keep the kids quiet, I am getting frustrated, kinda the epitome of pandemic learning / working at home life.
11:45 – Everyone is back in the kitchen with me even though it’s not lunch time yet. I eat some leftover fried rice though because smoothies don’t fill me up for long.
12:00 – Toddler gets picked up. Realize BB missed his 11:45 meeting, I was just distracted and forgot.
12:30 – Get kids settled with their lunch and go to lay on the couch for a few minutes of down time. But BB always gets up like 100 times during any meal, this is no exception and soon he’s laying with me.
1:15 – Play Parcheesi with BB.
1:50 – Put laundry in dryer, make a marinade for some tofu, browse sofas online (we moved nearly two years ago with the most minimal of furniture…. we are the Slowest. Ever. at home decor but have made some progress this winter).
2:00 – BB has a “social” meeting where the kids get to play legos over video together. (omg that sounds so sad… he starts in person school April 5th, I can’t wait for him to socialize with other kids!) I call my clinic about the screwed up medical bill.
2:12 – BB gets sick of his meeting and comes back downstairs. He wants to play… but with me. I’m still on the phone. He works on bead art instead and later gets SO mad at me for taking a picture and makes me promise to delete it, which I pretend to but obviously don’t!
2:30 – Finally off phone with clinic. What a shit show. Seems like every time I have any interaction with our health care system they screw something up resulting in me being passed from person to person on the phone forever.
2:45 – Snacks for kids.
3:15 – Do 30 min. of core exercises. Not always great about fitting this into the day, but it’s the 1st of the month so of course I’m starting out strong, HA. I know some of you know what I mean though…..
3:45 – Make a salad and call my Mom.
4:30 – The kids have been playing together in someone’s room for almost a whole hour WOWWWWW it is amazing! Most likely I am finishing my (second?) lunch, screwing around on the internet, and picking up the house.
4:40 – Go for a walk to the park.
5:45 – Back from park, DD has her (virtual) piano lesson.
6:15 – Dinner. My amazing husband has set it up while I sat in on the piano lesson. He got a baguette and another fancy bread plus everything in our fridge that could possibly go on a sandwich and everyone gets to create their own. It’s really a brilliant idea because the breads are so small you can experiment a bunch and we all have a lot of fun with it.
7:00 – Clean up dinner.
7:30 – Play a little Dr. Mario with the kids on a Nintendo a friend loaned us. It’s a super fun game that actually makes you think, but having this game system in our house the past few weeks has solidified my opinion that I never want to own one.
8:15 – Bedtime for kids. We read books and then I lay with each of them for awhile. BB loves his snuggle time and always wants his back and tummy scratched. DD likes to have long discussions about all the serious things in life.
9:00 – Done with bedtime, I talk to hubs for a few minutes and putz around cleaning up.
9:25 – Ready to get ready for bed myself. Wash face, make tea, set alarm, heat up foot pack in the microwave. I LOVE crawling into bed with my warm foot pack (it’s cloth with rice inside) and reading. Another sober night for the books, it’s a good feeling. Probably turn out the lights about 10:30 and that’s a pretty typical day in my life!
“Day in the Life” is something I used to participate in way back in my mama blog circle days. The concept is simple: pick what you think would be an ordinary day in your life and document it. Take pictures.
As spring begins and we make plans to send my youngest back to school, it has hit me that my daily life will look very different soon.
Even without covid restrictions, routines tend to change quickly especially with small children. I always love reading my old “days in the life” – fascinating to see what seemed like mundane every day events have completely changed a couple years later.
It’s also fun to get a peek into other people’s lives. In this circle we know a lot about each other’s drinking habits, but maybe not a whole lot about the rest of life.
So if you’re interested, pick a day between now and the end of next week, write a post documenting your day, and then I will try to do a summary with links to everyone’s days!
Writing my recap before the month is over because I’ve already promised myself I won’t drink for the rest of the month.
I drank alcohol on 7 days in February. Probably 5 of those days I regret. Thoughts about the month:
Hubs has abandoned all “abstaining from alcohol” plans. I don’t blame him, we were awful at doing it together and both sick of discussing it. What this means is there was beer in the house most of the month, sometimes he would have one in the evenings by himself while I was reading or watching my show or whatever, and I’ve gotten more ok with that.
Having beer in the house is a huge trigger for me when the kids are being all crazy and then I feel like I’m an awful un-fun mom for being annoyed so then I want a drink so I am less uptight.
I am really tired of thinking about drinking. One of the reasons for less frequent posting. I waver back and forth all the time between wanting to be healthier and saying fuck it I’m gonna do what I feel like (drink sometimes). Except “sometimes” felt like too much this month. And I know I feel my best when I’m clear headed and getting shit done during the day.
There is lots of reason for hope right now with regards to covid and spring coming. But two of my friends (moms with young children) have breast cancer and are going through chemo. It’s an awful dark cloud and a reminder that we never know what will happen. I don’t want to spend this prime time obsessing about my drinking. But I want to be mindful. It’s a fine line.
Goals for March:
Drink less than in Feb. Keep practicing saying No to my Drinking Voice. I know some will say the only way to shut it up is total abstinence but being that rigid seems to backfire on me. This is what I will try for this month anyway.
Adding another goal here per jacquelyn’s comment – to write a bit more focusing on my wins and progress, not only berating myself for the things I still want to fix!
Writing mostly to keep myself accountable. It really is interesting and enlightening to look back on how the attempts to abstain from alcohol have unfolded, how my thought patterns change.
In December I drank on 3 days. One was fun, one was the day after the first day because I was very stressed and had a headache, one was because I was very stressed and there was a bottle of wine in the house (that I otherwise wouldn’t have drank or bought, but it was a gift).
Then I did go about 30 days without alcohol, but that was mostly because we were sick with Covid.
In the last half of January I drank on 5 days, an amount I would definitely like to reduce. 3 of the 5 days I regret. 2 happened purely because I was stressed and there was alcohol in the house, otherwise I wouldn’t have.
These numbers are a definite improvement for me, as I used to struggle to keep my “drinking days” to 3 per WEEK.
The vast majority of the past two months I was happy to not be drinking. Times when I had the urge or thought about it, it was much easier than it used to be to push those thoughts aside and choose a healthier alternative.
Don’t keep alcohol in the house.
Continue to practice better ways to deal with stress than drinking.
Hope you are all well! January is over!!! In just 6 weeks the time will change, it will be so much lighter, spring will be here. Our parents, and my grandma, have vaccination appointments! Feeling hopeful.
p.s. The pic is me trying on some snow pants my mother found at her house, that I bought at a thrift store in high school. I like to include a pic so usually just grab a recent one where my face can’t easily be identified! And ugh, I have figured out how to insert a “featured image” for a post, but cannot see how to insert additional pics into the post…
I worked a little on painting my daughter’s room this weekend. It’s been a work in progress since we moved in here 1.5 years ago. Nearly the same amount of time I’ve been actively working on changing my relationship with alcohol. And there is progress there too. Even though I haven’t even gone 30 days straight without it, there is genuine overall progress. We’ve had lots of meaningful conversations about the role alcohol plays in our lives. It’s no longer a “go to” every night the kids are gone, or every night they are home and being annoying.
I drank a few times in the past couple weeks. But for me, in what seems to be different than many people’s experiences, drinking a little bit does not lead to drinking every day (or even wanting to drink every day!) or getting completely wasted. Over the months, it’s actually had more of the opposite effect – every time I do it, it’s a little less enjoyable, sort of like “what was the point of that”.
So that’s just where I’m at now, I’m sick of analyzing it.
In other news, in which there is a lesson that may be of use to someone – I ended up in the ER this weekend. My period started Friday as it normally does right on schedule, but overnight Friday it got twice as heavy as usual with massive blood clots. This was concerning on its own but especially having just had covid, which is known to cause blood clots so I was nervous about what may be going on in the rest of my body.
Saturday after little sleep I called the nurse line and they of course told me to go to urgent care. I said well what will they do for me there? (Always being hesitant to use doctors, medications, our health care system in general….) She said they would draw blood to test it. So I went, only to find out they don’t draw blood in the clinic, so I had to go next door to the ER.
Long story short, after a pelvic exam and ultrasound, they determined that aspirin was the cause of all this mess. Since being diagnosed with covid I’d been taking 81mg (tiny dose) of aspirin daily as a precaution against blood clots. It’s part of a doctor recommended supplement regimen for treating covid, also including turmeric, which I learned can also thin blood.
So the aspirin I was taking to prevent blood clots that could lead to a stroke, ended up thinning my blood to result in a massive period containing clots – which I learned are an entirely different TYPE of clot than the ones that cause strokes.
In the end, I’m perfectly healthy, thankfully. But wish I would have known what a strong effect a little aspirin could have. Be careful what you put in your bodies, ladies!!!
It’s now Day 22 of covid symptoms and in the past few days we’ve finally started feeling back to normal-ish. Smell and taste are slowly returning, as is energy. I can go on a (slow) hour long walk without feeling totally fatigued. The brain fog has lessened, although hubs had a very hard time working last week. My head still starts to hurt when I get tired. But mostly I’m more grateful than ever for my health.
It’s interesting how easy it was to go through one of the most stressful (and alternately boring) times of my life without even considering drinking, because of the immediate risk to my health. But so many other times that didn’t stop me from having 4-5 drinks in an evening, even though I knew for certain it would make me feel like hell the next day.
At this point I’m just committed to healing my body completely, which seems like it can take awhile with this virus. (And then what, start drinking again only to diminish my health?) I want to do my 100 days sober at least, if I can’t do it now I’m not sure if I ever will.
Hubs admitted to me last night he’s been wanting to drink and if I would have suggested it he’d have gone along. He’s getting into the “fuck it, life is short, I want to enjoy it” mindset. Granted, alcohol wasn’t having nearly as negative an impact on him as it was on me. So I have to try to be strong and make up my mind to be ready to go my own way on this!
We are on Day 12 of symptoms now for hubs and I. The kids got over it quickly, but things got worse for us after I last posted on Day 6. Symptoms morphed from sore throats, headaches, congestion to losing our smell and taste, fatigue, brain fog, lightheadedness.
It’s hard to explain and like nothing I’ve ever felt. Hubs and I both agree we’ve never been so sick for such an extended period of time. We still feel fortunate it’s been this mild, but it’s been a scary and humbling week.
I wouldn’t say I ever felt like I could not breathe (and we have an oximeter to ensure we are getting enough oxygen), but I would get lightheaded and feel like I needed to rest after talking animatedly at all, or reading a story out loud to my little boy.
Of course we started researching a little more about what to expect, how long symptoms will last. It seems around Day 10 people either start to feel better, or get worse and end up in the hospital. So the past few days have been full of anxiety. Adding to that, a close friend of mine lost an otherwise healthy family member in her 60’s to covid, suddenly, two days ago. And a 41 year old, otherwise healthy, politician just died of it too. It could have been us. There is nothing that sets us apart. They have no idea why this virus kills some and others aren’t affected at all.
Also my sister has been allowing another, untrustworthy, adult to come into the house she shares with my mother… right when there’s a new more contagious strain going around.
I cried a lot yesterday. Today is just beginning but I want to say with cautious optimism we are starting to feel better. What else can I do but take care of myself so I can be better prepared for whatever comes next? I’m ashamed to say even a couple days ago I had a fantasy we’d be feeling better by tonight and having a small celebratory drink. I know it’s a terrible idea and I’m not going to do it, but there’s such a strong desire to feel some sort of normalcy and escape all that’s been happening for the past 2 weeks, for the past fucking 9 1/2 months.
I know turning a page on the calendar doesn’t really change anything, but it gives me a feeling of hope nonetheless. A sober cheers to everyone’s health in 2021.