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….

An entire year of bullsh*t attempts.

I found a notebook where I had started to document our attempts to take a break from alcohol – a whole year ago. It’s another example for anyone starting out, how important it is to write stuff down, recognize your patterns, recognize what a tricky trap alcohol can be. It certainly is eye opening for me to sum up this past year:

Starting last fall, after a chaotic summer of celebration (we combined our households in June, buying a new house, selling hubs’ house, and preparing mine to be a rental – SO much work!!) we agreed we’d been drinking too much. In October, we agreed to keep drinking to twice per week. It was so much harder than we’d imagined!

So for November, we decided to do one month sober. This seemed like SUCH a big deal!! Failed on Day 6, our Wed. with no kids, we even went to the gym but “somehow ended up justifying alcohol” as my notes say. We tried to start over but only made it about another week when I decided it was cold and dark and I really wanted to drink with my girlfriends. Totally regretted it.

December – decided to “cut back” to 1-2 times per week over the holidays, then start again in Jan. This month is full of “UGH” entries where I wasn’t going to drink, but did anyway, and regretted it. I remember being terribly hung over x-mas morning when the kids got all their santa presents and feeling guilty about it.

January – Made it 8 nights before caving due to some stress surrounding ex spouses. Then another week AF until we had a long annoying discussion about why are we doing this until we were so fed up talking about it we just decided to drink. Spiraled into drinking the rest of the month.

Feb. – 3rd attempt at doing an alcohol free month! I believe we made it at least 14 days, my notes stop on Valentine’s Day, but not much longer. I remember having a long discussion with hubs that a month wasn’t really long enough for this experiment and what’s the point if we’re going to drink in Mexico at the beginning of March?

March – went to Mexico the 5th – 8th. It was fabulous but I did regret how much we drank and returned that Monday feeling gross and drained. We’d been hearing more about Covid since the beginning of the month but were not too concerned. Until the stock market crashed right when we got home – by midweek people were stocking up on supplies, they cancelled all schools over that weekend, it all happened so fast.

March / April / May were full of fear and confusion, no attempts to stop drinking. At one point early on we thought they might close liquor stores and hubs went out and got a huge stash – including TWO 1.75 litre bottles of booze which I saw and thought “uh oh”. Because I have known for a long time it’s dangerous for me to have that amount in the house – I’d always limit myself to only a half pint. I drank it all probably by the end of May, along with plenty of beer. I remember being so hungover and regretful on Mother’s Day in mid May, sad that I couldn’t enjoy the day with my kids more.

Then in August I started this blog, so the rest is here. But to sum it up, I can’t even remember – we have “started over” like 4 times since then? Never making it past about 10 days.

We have a full week ahead with hubs b-day, Halloween, then the election…. but after that, I am more determined than ever to take a long break from alcohol.

This week’s “sobriety” recap.

Most of this week was very good. Trying my best to stay healthy and keep a good mindset while Covid cases are rising quickly, the weather has turned towards winter (it snowed on Friday!) – severely limiting our socialization opportunities … and…. the upcoming election of course. All us Dems are very tense (I don’t speak to any Trump supporters!)

Even on Wed., our typical kid free drinking night, when it was dark and blustery and hubs was stressed from all his work and I knew he wanted to drink – my Drinking Brain was very quiet. I avoided getting into a conversation with him about it. Instead we did a workout video (which is guaranteed to boost my mood!) and made some curry and had a boring but nice early to bed night.

Friday we caved and I wish we hadn’t. Combination of kids being overwhelming, us going to vote (celebration!) and socializing late out in the freezing cold with our neighbor who is getting divorced (really depressing!). She brought red wine and it was delicious but left me with a headache the next day. (I also had a couple strong beers).

Saturday I went to a friend’s bonfire and allowed myself 3 shots of bourbon (pre-purchased in shooters otherwise I’d surely drink more!) and a little beer over about 4 hours. It was really nice and I felt sober when I went to bed, but am still a tad foggy today. Not enough to make me regret it though.

This is not exactly where I want to be, but it is better than where I was. Right now I just want to get through the election and will continue drinking minimally, but then I want to do 30 days straight sober at least. With or without hubs. Baby steps.

Week #&$^*%!

This entry will be more about documenting for the sake of truth, rather than insights or reasons, or future plans….

Somehow we decided last Saturday to amend the PLAN to “only drinking on Saturdays”. Great, great plan. We can have what we want, and still be drinking way less than we were before!

Saturday night: Neighbor over, sitting outside, beers, fun, late night nachos and tv.

Sunday: Headache, regret, yet still very productive doing get out the vote volunteering. Half a strong beer still in the fridge. It’s not going to waste! Then another just because. It was a long day. Is a beer and a half really drinking anyway?

Monday & Tuesday: Health and normalcy, whew.

Wednesday: No kids, did our first zoom workout class together, it was fun! But now we are hungry and reallly bored of food options in the fridge and it is very possibly the last night we could ever sit outside at a restaurant to eat so let’s do that for the first time since MARCH! And let’s order some drinks too without even discussing the fact that we’re breaking ALL the deals and intentions because that is annoying and exhausting and no fun!

Thursday: Slight headache and ickiness. Go to regularly scheduled Mom’s workout in the park, it is fabulous, but some people decided to do happy hour after and I wasn’t going to drink but then was offered a hard kombucha and how could I not try that?! In an excellent mood when I get home and have some more beer with dinner.

Friday: So nice and summer like! This is for sure the last hot day I will get to hang with friends outside and someone is having a party! I bring kombucha with good intentions, but add a little wine to the top. And a little more. And a little gin. Stop drinking early, have tea and go to bed but….

Saturday: Nasty headache and feeling so gross. I hate feeling this way. But it is Saturday and that is the one day we’re “allowed” to drink right, HAHAHAAAA <insert maniacal self destructive laugh> so I have 3 shots of tequila and a little beer and feel much better.

Sunday: Luckily the hangover isn’t too severe, but it is still here as well as the awful feeling that I’m wasting my life and this precious kid free time and last bit of good weather. So I quickly dump all these thoughts on this blog for whatever good it may do, and now I will go outside and exercise and have some quality family time and be so relieved to give up drinking again for this week at least.

Week 2 Sober – Favorite Mocktail Recipe

I have long known about myself that I tend to write a lot more when I’m upset, so I guess it’s good I haven’t felt like updating.

What is there to say? For the most part I’m content with not drinking. Hubs has been busy with work, we haven’t talked about it too much, there is no alcohol in the house to tempt us. On evenings when the kids are here I’m ready for bed shortly after they are. Otherwise I organize the house, do my workouts, or read a little longer.

On Sunday we had a b-day celebration for my little boy, a bit depressing and chilly crammed into my mom’s garage (but still trying to keep our distance) while it drizzled outside. It started around 5 p.m., which is typically too early for me to drink anyway, but about half the adults were. A few light beers, barely noticeable. It seemed like they were pressuring us more than usual though now that they KNOW about our experiment and are having trouble wrapping their heads around it. Mildly annoying, but no big deal.

I’d brought my favorite mocktail which I’ve been loving for months: 1 can sparkling water (plain, lemon, lime, or grapefruit work well), a large splash / 2 fingers OJ, and a small splash raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar. The ACV gives such a great tang that makes you sip it almost like whiskey making your mouth pucker. Except it’s excellent for your health!

Anyone have some interesting mocktail recipes to share?

List of Improvements I Hope To See in Sobriety

Writing this as my baseline for measuring the benefits of sobriety, and as a reminder of what I do NOT want to go back to, in the optimistic event I do make it some long period of time with no alcohol and can look back on this to see the differences. In no particular order, here are the things I am hoping improve:

  1. My damn left eye. There is a spot on one side of my left eye that gets inexplicably irritated, it’s been happening for over a year, been to 3 eye doctors, they say nothing is wrong. I can feel it act up after even one beer. Maybe it’s a dehydration thing? But now after one week sober it’s worse than ever so…. who the hell knows.

2. Sleep. This is something almost every person says about quitting booze, you get amazing sleep. Luckily I already sleep great, drunk or sober, so putting this one on there for hubs, who at this point seems to sleep worse sober than drunk. But am I really sleeping great? That bring us to….

3. Energy Level. Even if I get 9 hours of sober sleep I struggle to wake up to my alarm and STILL feel like I need a quick lay down around 2 in the afternoon.

4. Heart Worries / Chest Tightness. Regularly over the past two years or so I’ve noticed when I drink too much the next day I will have tightness in my heart area. It’s usually only after drinking, but not always. I’ve had it checked out, they said it’s nothing, just stress, and immediately offered me anxiety meds (UGH). My otherwise very healthy Dad died at 59 from a sudden massive heart attack. So naturally I am very paranoid about this issue. But apparently not paranoid enough to quit drinking sooner (insert loads of shame and guilt thinking I may drink myself to an early death despite the warning signs….)

5. Armpit Lump / Cancer Worries. A few times after a heavier week of drinking I will notice a sore spot in my armpit that feels like a lump would be there, but there isn’t. Inflammation due to drinking? Have I given myself cancer?!! Add in the general anxiety and paranoia of a hangover and this line of thinking is no fun at all.

6. Sore Knees. Speaking of inflammation….around the beginning of this summer I’ve noticed my knees are sore after I do regular exercise (non-strenuous bike ride, squats). Alcohol related or am I just getting older?

7. Skin. UGH, my skin. My greasy, flaky, ruddy, red, rough, sensitive skin. How I wish I could be one of those people who can step out of the shower and be ok showing her face to the world, but I need at least a bit of concealer and powder to look normal. It’s noticeably worse after a few days of drinking hard alcohol, or as I say “Gin Skin”.

8. No more inner dialogue about whether or not to drink. This voice in my head drives me batty, many times it would start as SOON as I woke up, even about an event several days away. It is great to have a break from this thought circle as the answer for now is just “No”. (Well except for when it is “Maybe, should I quit this stupid experiment?” But for now, on Day ….12? It is “No.”)

What strange ailments did drinking cause for you? Did they go away, or did you see any unexpected improvements?

Week 1 Sober

Just over a week in to I’ve lost count what attempt at this sober experiment. The first week is always pretty easy. I was proud of myself for not caving when RBG died, I was so upset and just wanted to sit outside with neighbors and commiserate about the state of the world.

But I ended up having a wonderful sober weekend, hosting an all day drop in b-day party for my little boy, then hosting a get out the vote postcard writing party the next day.

And then like clockwork, it is Wed., our kid free night, Day 10, and my brain is screaming “I have been so responsible, I just want to HAVE SOME FUN!!!”. Hubs is extremely busy at work and I feel guilty he’s chained to his desk all day into late evening, with none of the outlets I get during the day (nap, park outings, interaction with friends, etc…)

He says he’s feeling the same way. I say most nights I am happy to not be drinking, why can’t we find a sweet spot of just a few days per month? He says no we agreed, this is what you want, we should stick to it. He is the strong one, really. I say why can’t we amend our contract, to include some cheat days? How about 7 cheat days until the end of January? That is only 7 out of 130 days! That is 5%! I’m going to start a new blog called 5% Naughty!!!! <— I actually yelled that to him as I was on my way to go get take out, hoping he’d cave and tell me to pick up some beer.

He didn’t. I guess I’m happy about it. We’ve made it one more day. The urge to drink lessened a lot now that it is later and I’ve had some food. I think my body is so used to calories from booze and rich food (late night nachos and snacks) that it feels extra deprived now, I’m often craving heavier/greasier/more flavorful food than I would normally.

Anyway, that is the Week 1 Recap, plus a few days.


All I want to do is drink, and cry, and watch the news. But I guess I will only do the latter two.

It feels like a breaking point, an awful blow to any cautious optimism about November 3rd.

But, “tonight we mourn, tomorrow we fight”. I sure hope so. If there is a silver lining, it’s that her death is a reason for people to fight harder.

Just thinking about her in contrast to Trump sparks one of those “how the hell did we get here?” moments. I don’t have enough words, but she was good, and he is vile.

Sobriety Contract

So we started over, again. We literally wrote down that we agree not to drink until the end of Jan. 2021, and agree to hold each other accountable, no discussions about whether or not to cheat are allowed.

I’m feeling good about it, I’m excited, and determined to view this as an opportunity for new things instead of deprivation.

My question for you all is, what do you do for FUN on former “drinking nights”? On regular nights I am perfectly content to read my depressing non fiction books with a cup of tea, but that’s not exactly bonding with hubs.

Usually in non-covid times we’d go to a dive bar and play some darts during cold weather. Or have some drinks at home and get silly and watch tv.

Problem is, I lose interest in most tv when sober. Drinking, I can enjoy ridiculous stuff or be totally entertained going down a YouTube hole watching 90’s music videos. Sober, I always prefer documentaries about third world countries or wars. Hubs does not. At all.

Ugh, Covid + Cold Weather + Sobriety = ???? for fun relaxing evening activities? Suggestions please!

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