1000 Days

An alarm on my phone alerted me to an upcoming event for April 19th. 1000 days. I had to stop and ponder a bit. 1000 days? What on earth was I trying to tell myself? What was this?

1000 days. Oh. RIGHT. 1000 days!

I don’t count my sobriety days, nor do I go to meetings and haven’t in years. A year and a bit, anyway. It took me a couple of seconds to realize that at some point I had calculated when I would be 1000 days sober, and April 19th is the day. I am 1000 days sober today.

I have to say I was quietly pleased that I didn’t realize immediately what the alarm was for. I have long said I didn’t want alcohol to be the main focus of my life, drinking or not drinking. I have achieved this. I truly owe it to what I learned and integrated with Dialectical Behavior Therapy. That has stayed with me and guided my life in a deep and meaningful way and has allowed me to stay sober without meetings and constant reminders. For me, this is what I wanted to achieve. I am in no way saying this is the only way or the right way, but it is the way I wanted my sobriety to look like and I’m really happy about it.

DBT wasn’t the only tool to get me to where I am today. I needed SMART recovery in the early days and going to intense outpatient therapy was helpful to me in really facing where I had landed myself and where I didn’t want to be. One of the things I’d discovered was that I didn’t want to be reminded at all times that alcohol was the boogy man. I needed that in the very beginning, but I absolutely didn’t want that to be my life.

So far, there has been just one instance of me thinking about alcohol that hasn’t been intrinsicly linked to all the chaos and disaster that followed with it for me, and that was near the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic. I thought about drinking. I didn’t think about taking a drink personally, I just thought about drinking and realized that the fear around it was completely absent. That was an odd feeling and one that had me off balance for a moment wondering if I was actually contemplating trying to drink again, and I quickly realized that I was not. It simply was a thought and it was a thought that no longer produced fear. It also produced no desire. It was gone as quickly as it had come up. I was utterly indifferent.

This pandemic has unglued us as a whole. I have moments where panic and dread grab at me, but I am so grateful they are no longer a constant in my life and I can breathe through it. Radical acceptance of brilliant sanity is such a deep part of who I am now.

I am seeing an increase in the drinking of my friends and colleagues. I am not surprised, and it’s weird to observe. I am grateful I am not self medicating, hiding, and trying to figure out how to get more alcohol during a stay at home order. It was stressful enough when I could come and go from the store without thought and my family had schedules outside of the house. I cannot imagine the hell I would be in now had I not accepted that I wanted and needed something else.

I am walking like a fiend. I figure there are worse things for sure. I am slightly obsessed about it. The nice thing though is I can eat things and enjoy almost anything and I’m still keeping off the weight I lost. I’m in a 2-4 down from a size 16 a year and a half ago. The exercise is definitely helping with stress. I am still meditating every day as well. I am out of work, missing chunks of my family that I cannot get to during this time, and we are unable to get to a family member who is currently dying. There are times it swallows me, but I always find my breath.

Thanks for listening.

Heldy

Radical Sincerity

Name: Heldy
Drug of choice: alcohol
Clean date: 7/24/17
Days sober: 2 years, 5 months 3 days

I am feeling amused because I decided it had been too long since I wrote here, and I thought for fun I’d use my very old format. It so doesn’t fit anymore but it sure reminds me of how far I’ve come.

What I’m working on: This I could permanently answer as radical acceptance. That will be my life goal. Side quests? I’m working on figuring out when offering advice and help is beneficial to my kids and when I need to hold back. That is one delicate dance. I see my kids struggling, right now my son in particular, and I know this is his struggle. He hasn’t asked for advice. He’s got a great head on his shoulders and in almost every aspect, he is simply a brilliant young man. He’s in his first relationship and I have all kinds of opinions, and I’m doing my utmost to be there for him without inserting myself. Radical acceptance plays a HUGE role.

Meditated? YES! I’m pleased to say I’ve only missed 1 day this year of meditation, and it wasn’t because I wasn’t feeling it, but because I woke up in a panic about something I’d forgotten that needed to be done, and in that rush, I forgot to meditate. I’ve successfully anchored meditation to coffee. I don’t get coffee unless I’ve meditated. Headspace makes it easy with choices of 3-20 minute meditations. 3 minutes doesn’t sound like much, but it makes a difference. I usually do 3-5 minutes. 5 minutes I think is probably ideal for me, and I may focus on making that my habit in 2020.

Success? I’m loaded. My life feels so good right now. I’m personally doing really well. I walk 4-10 miles a day. I’ve kept off the 60 pounds I lost. I’m mindful about how I eat, what I watch (even if it’s mindless crap, I’m mindful of it!), who I spend time with, how I express myself, and I’ve set up systems and boundaries that keep me from being overwhelmed and truly reflect my values. My daughter is doing so much better with her mental and emotional health. My marriage feels like it’s better than it’s ever been, and I can say with complete sincerity that after all we went through, I didn’t know if it was possible to mend back together even stronger, but it was. I’d heard that was possible. It took a long time, but we’re there. My son is doing terrific in university. My business has been slower, but solid. I’m calm. I don’t want alcohol at all anymore, and I haven’t been a member of a support group for that in at least a year and a bit (whenever I last posted about it here. It’s been so long, I can’t remember). It’s just not a part of my life anymore. I’ve even come out of the closet about it a little bit. Not about the fact that I struggled with it, but this last year just saying “I don’t drink” has become totally natural. I don’t drink. 🙂

Challenge? The biggest challenge right now would be the situation with my boy. I wish I could tell him exactly how I feel, but I know it would be a mistake.

Have you felt triggered since group? N/A!

Do you intend to harm yourself or others? No

Homework: So, I’ve not done this in ages. Before starting to write, I decided to check to see if Cheryl Strayed (author of “Wild” and one of my favorite people who has triumphed over struggles, including substance abuse) had a TED talk. Low and behold, and check out the title! I totally smiled. I’ve not watched this yet.

Happy holidays y’all!

Love,

Heldy

I’m guessing you can relate.

I had a weird realization the other day that one of the reasons I fought so hard against having a problem with alcohol is that admitting that was admitting defeat to my father. I can’t explain the rationale for this, but once I realized that was true for me, I had to laugh.

On another note (or not so much) this song by Dodie really hits home.

Guiltless
There is a wall in my life built by you (mmm)
You opened a door that a kid shouldn’t walk through
Oh, but I’m not bitter, I’m just tired
No use getting angry at the way that you’re wired
Ignorant trauma in one afternoon
And I could never let you know (ooh you’d never get it)
And now I’m the one who can’t let go (ooh don’t say it’s genetic)
Is it real? You believe you’re guiltless
Oh, I can tell you believe you’re guiltless
But I don’t think I’d feel better if I opened your eyes
I’ll carry your burden ’til the day that you die
Is it real? You believe you’re guiltless
(Mmm)
I’ll never know why you favour that tone (mmm)
Not one shred of hope so I built up my own
Oh, but I’m not bitter, I’m just tired
No use getting angry at the way that you’re wired
A dark politician will end up alone
And I could never let you know (ooh you’d never get it)
And now I’m the one who can’t let go (ooh don’t say it’s genetic)
Is it real? You believe you’re guiltless
Oh, I can tell you believe you’re guiltless
But I don’t think I’d feel better if I opened your eyes
I’ll carry your burden ’til the day that you die
Is it real? You believe you’re guiltless
(Mmm)
I’m not bitter, I’m just tired
No use getting angry at the way that you’re wired
(I’m not bitter, I’m just tired)
I could never let you know (ooh)
(No use getting angry at the way that you’re wired)
Is it real? You believe you’re guiltless
(I’m not bitter, I’m just tired)
(No use getting angry at the way that you’re wired)
Ooh ooh
I could never let you know (ooh)
(No use getting angry at the way that you’re wired)
I’m not bitter, I’m just tired
No use getting angry at the way that you’re wired
(I’m not bitter, I’m just tired)
(No use getting angry at the way that you’re wired)
Is it real? You believe you’re guiltless
(I’m not bitter, I’m just tired)
(No use getting angry at the way that you’re wired)
Is it real? You believe you’re guiltless
(I’m not bitter, I’m just tired)
(No use getting angry at the way that you’re wired)
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Dorothy Clark
Guiltless lyrics © BMG Rights Management

2 years

Hi all (probably 3 of you reading this! 😀 ),

Here I am, 2 years later, still alcohol-free.

Some observations:

This time of year is harder on me than other times of the year, I think because I get flashes of what I was experiencing right before finally calling the rehab and giving up. My life was absolutely miserable and I was terrified all. the.time. That said, I can say most of the time I am just living my life without these flashes, and I’m not sure that would be possible if I were in a 12 step program being reminded of it day in and day out, and for that I am grateful. So grateful to just be living. I am SO grateful for the peace I feel today. It’s pretty remarkable I was living day to day in such terror, and that’s gone. I wake up, I meditate, I have my coffee, I work out, and I live.

Speaking of working out, I’m down 63 pounds since the last time I wrote here. I am a healthy weight, and I literally lost a third of my weight. I feel so much better. I feel like my body, mind, and spirit have aligned.

I’m happy to say my best friend as well as my sister, both who struggled with alcohol for a long time, are also alcohol-free and have been for a good long stretch. It’s really nice to be able to talk to them about anything and to know they truly get it.

I think struggle is the word that would best describe my life prior to giving up. I don’t struggle anymore.

I truly owe this to DBT and to the SMART meetings in the beginning (I haven’t attended a meeting in probably a year and a half). I needed those meetings in the beginning, and am so grateful they were available online so I could remain anonymous. DBT has changed my life forever. I still want to take time to take a course on being a DBT counselor. Even if I did nothing with it professionally, I know it would be valuable in cementing it into my being.

I don’t have any grand words of wisdom, but I am grateful for you all who have listened to me along the way.

I have achieved indifference about alcohol. I’m disinterested. I’m not afraid of it; I just simply have no use for it, nor would I bother with it. It’s not worth my time, even if I could drink normally again. It’s just not worth the risk, and I don’t care. What a glorious feeling.

Heldy

Everybody Knows: 10 Lessons from 10 Years of Sobriety Without AA | The Fix

This is a good read that my sister sent me this morning. Please to enjoy!

– Heldy (1 year, 10 months sober – also not attending meetings, but deadly serious about my sobriety)

In early sobriety, someone told me that since I’d gotten sober without AA, I wasn’t an alcoholic, and that since I didn’t go to meetings and ate the occasional mushroom, I wasn’t sober.

Source: Everybody Knows: 10 Lessons from 10 Years of Sobriety Without AA | The Fix

Talk therapy may not be for me.

So, since the last post, I’ve discovered a few things. First, as I mentioned about seeing booze everywhere, not wanting it but resenting that it wasn’t an option (resenting is a strong word. Annoyed.), I no longer feel that. I think the mere act of writing about it diffused any energy left there. Poof. I don’t resent it. It is what it is. I still see it, but it carries very little more energy than the bread on the table I can’t touch. The longer away from it, the easier it is, and the more I admit what I feel as I feel, whether in my head or here on this blog, the more the energy shifts away from that. I don’t drink and I’m really fucking okay with that.

I have discovered this doesn’t just apply to my relationship with alcohol. It applies to anything I am feeling. As I mentioned before, that documentary and post conversation about sexual abuse triggered me in a way that really surprised me. I had thought I had dealt with most of the stuff, but more came out and clearly, it made me emotional. Just writing about it here pretty much healed that for me, so when I went to the therapist I’d chosen, it was actually quite an unpleasant experience.

I spent an hour giving her my full, sorry, sad and cringeworthy background in regards to this issue.  I hate talking about these things. It made me cry, which I also hate. I find it embarrassing, especially in regards to these things. I feel such a sense of shame, as the pattern repeated itself over the years and in multiple ways with multiple people, and I’ve carried the weight of feeling responsible on some level for all of it. Logically, I know this is bullshit. If I were hearing about this from someone else about someone else, it would be clear to me that this wasn’t their fault. I KNOW this; I just wish I felt this. I would love to feel this. The fact is, I don’t dwell on it at all, but when it does come up, I feel shame. I have my entire life felt like damaged goods just faking it. I also feel like I’ve done a really good job of dealing with it for the most part.

That said, I left the session feeling worse than I did going in. She nodded at all the right times but didn’t explore anything with me. I felt exposed and silly, as I have worked on all of this before and made peace for the most part with it, so bringing it up again was just really unpleasant and embarrassing.

I get more out of this blog than that, and it’s clear to me that just acknowledging feelings goes a long way to diffusing the energy around it and moving forward.

I have lied to keep people close to me, and I don’t want to anymore. Certain things have happened to me that I have denied sparing others’ feelings about those involved, and I don’t want to do that anymore, AND I don’t want to dwell on it either, as it is over and I am at peace with that part of my past. Denying that it happened though to keep people close to me is damaging to others, and it’s not right or fair, and I am strong enough now to say that.

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I’m still around. I’m still sober.

I wanted to give a quick update. As the title says, I’m still sober. It was 18 months in January, which was the original goal for me. I made it.

Observations: I still think about alcohol on a daily basis. That doesn’t mean I think about how I wish I could drink. It just means that something about it will cross my mind daily, whether it’s just about me being sober, or seeing an ad, or what have you. Last night we went to dinner and I noticed which tables had wine. I felt annoyed that I still do that, and annoyed that I can’t have it, despite not wanting it. How’s that for a dialectic? I wish I could have it even though I don’t want it. I really don’t want it! I just am annoyed that I can’t have it. Now in truth, of COURSE, I could have it. I really, really don’t want what comes with having it. I don’t miss it. I just hate being told what to do, even if it’s me telling me that. 😛

I have been mentioning the need to lose weight and get healthy. Having a thyroid condition has made losing weight a very difficult task. Almost impossible, and couple that with having had a full hysterectomy, I have a lot of things going against that. I was delighted to find out that despite that, the HCG diet still works for me. I started it March 9th. As of today, I am down 33 pounds. I have another 30 or so to go, but I feel like I can do this now. I will start up the weight loss portion of the diet again after a 3-week stabilization phase beginning of next month and plan to be at my fighting weight in June.

In other news, I’ve reached out to a DBT counselor about starting regular sessions. I thought I’d pretty well dealt with some trauma in my life, but it’s seeping out again. “Leaving Neverland” and the Oprah special after it had me in a puddle. I clearly have some more to work out in that area. I feel ready. I’m a little afraid as I know it will impact some relationships that I’ve been willing to compromise myself for in order to have them in my life, and I don’t know what that will look like when I’m through this, but it’s simply time. By the way, if you haven’t seen the Oprah special on HBO about Leaving Neverland, it demonstrates perfectly the concept of DBT – how 2 things that seems so opposed can exist side by side with one another. This concept is what really freed me from my addiction. Once I quit fighting the notion that something couldn’t be true because this other thing was true, I could heal.  To that end, I’d like to update the Jung quote in the picture. I am what happened to me, AND I am what I choose to become.

Here is the homework. Be warned that if you are a survivor, this could be triggering and it could be healing.