A Covid Positive Christmas!

I got my result yesterday afternoon and it’s been a whole mix of emotions. Part relief at finally knowing, a tentative relief hoping we’ve made it through the worst of the illness, a shit ton of anxiety especially at bedtime worrying it will suddenly get worse.

I went to bed early last night but couldn’t sleep and texted hubs downstairs “can you google how to prevent heart attack in your sleep?”. Because when I am anxious (or hungover!) I feel a tightness in the left side of my chest which is worrying under normal circumstances but now…. all the horror stories I’ve heard over the past 9 months running through my brain, remembering how good friends of ours who had long haul covid in March recently had their hearts tested and the husband still has fluid around his….

And a good amount of plain old sadness. Sadness for everyone who hasn’t had it this easy with covid. Sadness for everyone who is spending x-mas without a loved one this year due to this pandemic. For the sheer amount of collective suffering and anxiety this year.

But, I slept hard and long (without a heart attack) and feel better this morning (emotionally – cold like symptoms continue, sore throat is fading but a lot of congestion). It’s easier when there are family zooms scheduled, toys to play with, sun is shining.

And of course I’m thankful alcohol is not even a factor at this point. I remember back to darker more destructive days, years ago, when I would drink when I was sick, citing the medicinal benefits of whiskey or a hot toddy, but of course drinking way more than could ever be considered healthy.

Looking forward to 2021….

Covid as a path to Sobriety?

Ha ha ha. Ho ho ho. We got ‘rona at our house for x-mas. Daughter got a positive test result Friday, along with a mild fever. The rest of us tested negative. But this morning (Sunday) hubs, myself, and step daughter all had sore throats and headaches. Went in to get tested again, expecting our positive results tomorrow.

This week has been a blur and surprisingly busy and I’m exhausted from non-stop covid discussions, going through all the scenarios, updating everyone. Any meagre x-mas plans we had were out the window, step daughter is stuck here for at least 10 more days. It’s a bummer all around but all we can do now is make the best of it. Pounding vitamins and water, hoping it’s over soon and then life would actually free up a lot for us!

And drinking is the last thing on my mind. Except to hope when this is done I’m so protective and thankful about my health I just continue on sober. Extremely grateful that I was starting from a healthy-for-me spot, having only drank 3 days this month.

Merry x-mas everyone ❤

Merry Covid Christmas…

What a week. I’ve decided to stop counting days until I reach at least Day 21 because I am just repeating myself.

Last Wednesday was our TYPICAL fail at just over a week. Our neighbor has a hot tub and put up beautiful x-mas lights all over his backyard and nothing sounded better than sitting in there with a drink. We could have sat in there with no drinks, of course, but we were going to the store to buy him some beer as a gift so of COURSE we were going to have some too, right?

We each had about four and the first thing we said the next morning was “that was not worth it”.

Thursday I brought some food to my friend with cancer who was a mess waiting to hear if she could even get her surgery due to unavailability of hospital beds due to covid. It hit hard seeing her in person, made everything awful so real. Afterwards I went to sit at another friend’s fire and bought a couple shots of brandy just to take the edge off, I was so upset I was shaking.

Felt alright on Friday with the intention to abstain again and did so until…

Tuesday my ex informed me there had been a covid exposure at his house. There are 5 adults total in his house and it is complicated but in the end I have no control over it and he’s not exactly the most pleasant person to communicate with. I was very proud of myself for not running to the liquor store, but after the kids were finally in bed (and I was still having to e-mail back and forth with the ex pulling teeth to try and get the details of the exposure) I remembered there was one bottle of sparkling wine in our cupboard so we opened it and shared it.

It felt good for about 10 min, then my eyes started to ache with dryness and my head started to hurt in this one specific place at the base of my neck like it does often when I drink.

Yesterday we found out my ex tested positive. Silver lining is I’m so worried about maintaining my health at this point I have no desire to drink. Our whole family is off to get tests today. Health concerns aside, this situation creates a whole lot of stress about the kids not getting to see their Dad for x-mas, what to do about my step daughter going back to her house (lives with grandparents) and the family I do child care for….

Merry f-ing Covid Christmas!!!!!

Sober Day 8 – Practicing Patience

As I’ve said before on this blog, I wasn’t born the most patient person. In two regards: 1. Doing something I dislike for an extended period of time to get results that aren’t guaranteed. 2. Tolerating annoying children. (Or people in general I suppose – if I don’t like you, you’ll know it right away).

Friday was tough. Hubs stressed from work, kids being wild and crazy. I was looking forward to our s’mores date at a friend’s but it turns out roasting marshmallows one after another and helping kids put together the sandwiches with cold fingers while they beg for more, trying to have a conversation with the other adults and keep the younger klutz away from the fire too, just isn’t so pleasant.

On the way out to the car we obviously both wanted drinks. We know each other so well all it takes it a LOOK. Hubs said I don’t have my wallet. I said I do, and a mask. He said I will follow you off a cliff. I drove home without stopping. Of course once the kids were in bed and we were all settled I was glad we hadn’t. It really is all about getting through that certain part of the night.

Similar situation Sunday. We were so excited to decorate the tree in the evening, but the kids get so excited and crazy it’s overwhelming to me, and the mess – I said “I feel like I’m a more fun and less uptight mom if I have some beer….” but we didn’t. The night was perfectly fine but it still feels like an effort at this point.

The pictured mug is from my time studying abroad, when I was 20 and drinking gluhwein at a x-mas market in Vienna. I left it in the basement this year.

Sober Day 3 – X-mas Funk

I have been really trying to stay positive / make the best of this / be grateful for all I have, blah blah. But found myself in a real funk the past couple days. The collective stress of so many around me due to the burdens of the pandemic, the sadness of not being together for the holidays. I think of all the older people (my 89 year old grandma heavily on my mind) not knowing how many x-mases they have left. Then reading the news and realizing how stupid and selfish so many are that helped lead us to this point.

Ugh then I just think shut up already Kelly and figure out a way to help, you have more resources than most people.

I also think “it’s good I’m not drinking, it would only make things worse”. “having some drinks right now would surely improve my mood”. “this is all so fucking depressing what’s the point of your stupid whiny privileged health plan”. “but I know I will feel like shit tomorrow I don’t want to go back to that place”. “people drink and smoke and live until they’re 85 don’t worry so much”. “why does it feel like SO LONG since I’ve had any FUN?!”. “don’t try to convince hubs to drink, that is pathetic, all your internet friends say it’s worth it and don’t you want to feel BETTER?”

Yes, yes, I want to feel better. So I’ve been doing all the feel better things like getting outside (anything above 32F / 0C really is great when the sun is out!), doing my workout videos, connecting with friends, small things to make other people’s days better. And on the nights I feel bad, going into bed early and watching Call The Midwife so I can have a good cry.

I have a list of holiday things to do to get us through the season. Tuesday we went and did a gnome hunt at a local park (someone hid 15 ceramic gnomes along a path and advertised it – brilliant – the kids had so much fun!), yesterday we baked gingerbread muffins and brought some to my grandma. Today is my quiet day with only my bonus toddler so I have time to write, think, get organized, and finish some x-mas shopping and photo gift projects.

Other things on the list: s’mores outside with friends, ice skating, make gingerbread houses, make cookies and surprise deliver them, make ornaments, drive around and look at lights, take kids to drop off toy donations, make cards and write letters, watch x-mas movies. And of course decorating which we haven’t started, and all the wrapping of presents (which we’d do on a kid free night in front of the fire listening to music which immediately makes me want a drink….)

What creative things is everyone else planning to get through the holidays?

Starting Over Again.

And, like clockwork, after feeling so confident at the beginning, I drank again after less than two weeks.

I have to note this time felt different though. It didn’t feel like a rubber band about to snap. It was more like hmmm I am feeling pretty content but this night may be more enjoyable with beer and since hubs is only going to buy a little bit (he is so over committing to a PLAN at this point) perhaps I will experiment and have some.

He bought a six pack of strong beers. Plus one tallboy that was reserved for making onion rings. The first one was delicious, the next two disappeared quickly. I hate the feeling of Wanting. More. Now. Wanting to be More. Zoned. Out. Why would I need to be? What am I escaping from? My life is the best it ever has been with the exception of living in a pandemic, of course.

Then when we’d each had our 3, we went right for the tallboy, no question about it. We both realize this is a problem, it is addictive, and acknowledged so with regret in the morning.

With no plan in place we had a couple more standard drinking nights after that. Turns out it takes a lot of energy to stop doing what you are so used to doing. All the nights in between I have no desire to drink at all. What else can I do but take what little I may have learned from this latest attempt and try again? My goal is 100 days.

Sober Day 10 – a great weekend, then some cancer.

Last night (Sunday) I was about to sit down and write about our lovely sober weekend, how the Alcohol Brain, or drinking voice, seems to have definitely diminished, how I did workout videos and was productive and was feeling good despite the cold blustery weather and not going outside all day and missing my kids.

Then I got a message from a friend in our close-ish circle, who I haven’t been in touch much with due to her generally crazy life and Covid. She was diagnosed with breast cancer and is having a mastectomy in a couple weeks. We met when we were both pregnant with our little boys. We spent so much time at the park together. I am absolutely heartbroken and terrified for her, it’s hard to process it all.

In another time, this would have been a reason to drink. That sounds so selfish and pathetic. I know it’s only Day 10, but I am more committed and grateful than ever to be doing this sober thing for awhile (100 days?) If I’d drank last night I would have woken up regretful, with a worrying tightness in my chest, felt very anxious and scatter brained. Now I am calm and can be a better support to her, have more energy to help with the meal train and brainstorm other ways to help.

Any ideas, internet friends? It feels awful that the two things we’d always do – help with child care and just BEING there with her during recovery, visiting – are not options due to Covid. Cooking, porch visits, care packages – what else?

Hope you’re all well – SVM.

Sober Day 5 – Ideal Winter Day?

The first few days are always easy, I’m relieved to be taking a break from booze. Never an every day drinker (only dumping poison into my body about 3 evenings per week, then suffering a hangover another 3 days per week – not great stats on how I want to live my life!) … taking a few days off is no big deal.

Today we woke up to a few inches of fresh snow and sunshine. I had three kids here but plenty of patience and energy to deal with all their needs, schoolwork, etc. Our routine has become surprisingly… enjoyable, even …. that’s coming from a Mama who hated the idea of being “stuck” home all day with kids pre-Covid. We always had somewhere to go, friends to meet.

After lunch we went sledding with some of our best friends, we are all distance learning so it’s awesome these mid-day meet ups are possible. Me and the other mom walked up and down the hill to get some exercise, such a gorgeous day where you don’t even feel the cold.

Wed. is one of our two kid-free nights per week, and also our typical drinking nights. But after I dropped my kids at their Dad’s we went for a walk, made dinner (an increasingly rare occurrence because I’m usually so sick of being in the kitchen and making/cleaning up food for the kids all day), took care of some budgeting stuff, AND did an easy 30 minute yoga video together. Ok so I can’t claim this was as FUN as riding bikes in the sun drinking beer, but it still felt good. New routines for winter pandemic life….

Speaking of new routines, I woke up already mourning the end of my Thurs. evening group workouts in the park. I’ll have to find something to occupy myself while my kids are still gone and hubs has time with his daughter. Anyway you cut it, there will be less outdoor time and less social time in the coming months, but I’m staying positive about it at the moment, at least.

Sober Day 1 – No Longer In Limbo

I cannot think of a better first day of sobriety than THE DAY DONALD TRUMP DECISIVELY LOST THE ELECTION!!!!!!!

The anxiety, the waiting this week was awful. The realization that 70 million Americans could say “yes I want this man to be our leader” after seeing his behavior the past four years. It is really difficult to put into words, to express the magnitude of my disbelief about this, the level of outrage he’s inspired so many times. It’s really just too much.

But in the end, goodness won, and that’s what matters for now. Even though Trump is still sending out fucking tweets (that immediately get flagged) IN ALL CAPS claiming that he won. The speech he gave on Saturday was quickly cut away by all major news networks (except Fox), because it is dangerous what he’s doing, so many lies.

I had been crying with relief on and off since Friday morning when Biden pulled ahead in PA, but my emotions surprised me after hearing a simple statement in his speech acknowledging the disaster of the pandemic and vowing to do something about it. Such decent and empathetic words after months of a leader blatantly lying that we were “rounding the corner” and that the virus is not a big deal.

We have a long road ahead, with the pandemic and with politics, but for yesterday we celebrated. We hung out with our wonderful neighbors, enjoyed the record setting warmth (after record setting snow two weeks ago – haha Minnesota!), took a long evening walk to get take out and saw fireworks going off in several places around the city. Watched some news, tried to let it all sink in, went to bed thankful, and sober.

A Long Week (just want to be sober already…)

Monday I drank two shots of whiskey plus a small beer for no other reason than the kids were being exhausting and the booze was in the house. I drank it after they were in bed and watched an episode of Call The Midwife while hubs worked (felt very guilty about him working late while I was being so hedonistic) and then got all emotional about babies…

Tuesday had a freaking headache. How? That is such a small amount of alcohol. It was hubs birthday and I felt so much pressure to make it good because he deserves it and is always doing special creative things for me. But it was so cold and we couldn’t decide what to do, down to what takeout to get, he just wouldn’t pick something, that I couldn’t wait to start drinking just to make the evening “fun”. And it did end up fun, oddly enough by watching old episodes of Wheel of Fortune with the kids.

But Wednesdays I felt really wretched, anxious, because of the drinking. I was scheduled to go to a friend’s outdoor birthday gathering – 5 close friends around a fire, really lovely – thought about drinking just to make my headache go away, but was both relieved and disappointed when no one brought any alcohol.

Thursday is wonderful because, no hangover = happiness and productivity!

Friday too, so much fun getting ready to have friends over for Halloween, I keep telling myself that this is a short party I’m really looking forward to, there is no reason to drink, I don’t want a headache during the rest of our festivities on Saturday. But there is alcohol, so I drink anyway.

Saturday is still fun, but would have been better without the headache. Repeat drinking activities during Saturday night party.

Sitting here Sunday evening, still with the damn headache despite loads of water and ibuprofen… I am quitting after the election, I swear. Barely want to hit publish on this because it’s so pathetic and repetitive. I hope the next time I post we are celebrating a Biden win. Sunday mornings are the one time of week I really sit and read the news and let it sink in…. we are hopeful, but so nervous at the same time. Not just because this awful man could win again, but because it feels like the country is on edge, like Something Crazy could happen. We shall see….

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