500 days

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Five hundred consecutive days without alcohol. Who does that?! Pretty cool.

No urges here. But somehow I do feel like I’m still in an adjustment phase. Trying to figure out how to smooth over some of the things that put me on edge, like invitations to parties, feelings of annoyance with those closest to me when they drink, worries about the future, etc.

But I’m gradually facing up to the fact that everything in life is impermanent, the good stuff and the bad. My kids are growing up. The husband and I are aging. And I no longer drink alcohol. Change is inevitable and to struggle against it is a waste of energy. There is no going back.

I read somewhere recently that a group of centenarians were asked to share which decade of their life they would go back to if they could, and across the board they replied their sixties. Because that was the time when they finally felt like they had everything figured out and could really enjoy life as it is, and their bodies still allowed them to be comfortably active. I found that both surprising and a little exciting to hear.

I guess that means the best is yet to come. ☺️

Hope you all are well…

jen

 

 

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Day 479: a few truths

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It looks like I finally have something to say. ☺️

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately listening to audiobooks, by Pema Chodron, Michael Singer, and Byron Katie. Most of the ideas below are my humble interpretation of their teachings.

1. Nobody is all one thing. People we strongly dislike have positive traits. People we admire have negative traits. Plus, how we see people is through a lens of how we see ourselves and the world, so likely a distortion of reality.

2. Thoughts are just things. They come and go. We can choose not to fixate on them. We can choose not to act on them. They are not nearly as important (or accurate) as we usually think they are.

3. Nothing is permanent. Good things end but so do bad things. Don’t let your mind trick you into believing otherwise.

4. Reality will be what it will be. We have almost no control over what happens next, especially regarding the actions of other people. Therefore, worrying is a futile and painful waste of energy.

5. Intense emotions are an opportunity. To recognize something, to learn something. I haven’t figured out what exactly, but I’m sure it’s something big. 😋

All of this to say that the sun is shining again in my part of the world, and I’m feeling cautiously optimistic about the future. Hope you are too.

Jen

 

 

Day 438: contradictions

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I’m afraid I’ve been making myself miserable.

This winter has been hard. I’ve often been very down, unhappy, depressed. Yet I look at the snowbanks and take pleasure in the size of them. I think I’m handling the dark and cold better than I usually do. But the negative thoughts and feelings clearly say that I’m not.

Although I’ve been feeling a bit better these last couple of days. Out of the blue, not sure why, but it’s good. Maybe that’s why I’m finally reaching out to all of you again. And I know it’s healthy for me to take this step, a step forward instead of the backward-facing thing I’ve been doing lately.

I’m happy to be coming up on 450 days, but I’m simultaneously sick to death of counting them. I’m happy to feel healthy and free of toxins, but I’m pissed off that I can’t go out for drinks or have wine in a restaurant. I’m happy to be a year sober but not wanting to keep going. And disappointed to be feeling low after all this time. And when I feel low, I blame sobriety. And I feel resentful about a lot of things, and then blame sobriety again.

I’ve been drifting from my supports for sure. No blogging. A lot less sober reading. Almost no exercise. And the result? Drinking dreams. Thoughts about drinking someday somehow. Mental torment. No wonder I’m cranky.

Faced with a night alone in the house, I contemplated a bottle of Pinot my mom left after her most recent visit. I figured I could drink the whole thing and no one would know. True. But then what? Surely I’d want to do it again. Wouldn’t I? But I wouldn’t want anyone to know. And it dawned on me – this is how people end up sneaking, hiding, feeling ashamed. A nasty snowball of actions, out of control. Wow. So I walked away from that idea.

I had such a positive outlook before, grand plans for a year of nurturing the seedlings of a healthy sober life. And instead I walked away from most of it. But thankfully it’s not too late.

Once again I’m practicing patience. Patience with a long winter, a low mood. Patience with myself. We change the clocks tonight. Spring will come. I am the sky. The clouds will blow by eventually.

Hoping you are well,

jen

 

 

 

 

Sober Romance

I think today is Day 383.

The husband and I just returned from a weekend away to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. We were “way up north” (unless you live in Ontario in which case we were “a bit down south.”) ☺️

This sort of alone time is hard to come by these days so it was a special treat for us. And along with the specialness naturally came some self-imposed pressure. After all, a 20th anniversary should be amazing and romantic and exciting and…  awesome. Shouldn’t it?

But to go away together and not drink wine? No wine with dinner? No wine in the hot tub? No wine by the fire?

Nope.

And it was fine. No, it was actually fantastic. I missed the wine the first evening at the start of dinner but not at all after that.

We relaxed, enjoyed each other’s company, and had fun. We still had the “good talks” I had thought required wine. And we had some of the other good stuff too. 😉

You’ll notice we weren’t completely alone (one tiny doggie was invited). And we went dogsledding too, something neither of us had ever done before. Super fun.

If you are worried that sobriety will take the fun out of alone time, don’t be. I think the key is to be patient about it, see how things go, and try not to have too many expectations.

I’m already planning our next getaway.

Happy sober day,

jen

p.s. look what I found in the gift shop! It’s little turtle!

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Nurture

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Last year I chose change as my word of the year, to guide and inspire me. I hoped there would be many changes, but thought if giving up wine were the only one, that would be enough.

In truth, giving up alcohol triggers many other changes, wanted or not.  Some are wonderful, some are hard, some to be expected, some a bit of a surprise.

This year I plan to nurture those changes, help them grow, coax them along, see what fruit they might bear.

 

I intend to nurture…

my new-found exercise routine, my endurance, my strength.

my creativity, my writing, my part in this sober community.

my relationships…

with my husband, my openness, my bravery.

with my son, my patience, my presence.

with my daughter in her budding adulthood, my letting go, my holding on.

my warmth, my love.

 

my sense of self.

my acceptance.

my joy.

 

Happy sober new year,

jen

 

 

 

 

Day 365: soberversary eve

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My 365th sober day ends in just a few hours.

It absolutely does not feel like I’ve been doing this for a full year.

Christmas morning without a hangover was a truly lovely experience. I can’t tell you the nasty Christmas hangovers I’ve had (and hid) over the years. It’s great to be done with all that.

And tomorrow we travel home, so my big day will be spent on an airplane, but that’s ok. I’m thrilled to be going home.

A very happy sober day to all of you,

jen