Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Problem solving on a Spiral

I worked out today.  I haven't been able to type that in about 3 weeks.  I have gone for runs in the past 3 weeks.  Some of them were even challenging, hilly trail runs, but I have not gone to my class and had my butt kicked in a workout in 3 weeks.  Today I did just that.  I started thinking about how over the last 3 weeks it got easier and easier to not go to class.  I fretted about missing the first one, the second one kind of bothered me, but after a while it really was easier not to go.  It was one less thing on my to-do list.  I mean I like to work out, but with my husband gone for the 8th week in a row I was just finding it easier to not go. I justified it by the fact that I was still running 1-3 times a week, but I know it isn't the same. 

I have two main points ideas I wanted to share today.  One of the ideas is the spiral effect I was feeling and the other is what happened when I stopped making an excuse for not going and started asking myself questions about it and evaluating the options (I actually really like working out, but I was just feeling exhausted and overwhelmed).

So first - the spiral effect.  I was thinking about my health and fitness and how I would plot it on a graph.  I decided I could not effectively plot on a traditional graph.  My mental image of my health and fitness commitment as it relates to my life right now is more of  a vertical spiral.  It is very easy for me to stop making good choices and slip back down the spiral.  The downward spin seems to pick up its own momentum and the thought of stopping the spin becomes overwhelming.  When I do finally decide to do something different it takes a lot of strength and teeth gritting.  I put the brakes on the spin and stop the momentum AND then I have to start the work of climbing back up the spiral. Health and fitness in my world have always been work.  It doesn't mean I don't enjoy them, but it is always on a slippery slope.  I don't feel like I have ever found a way to reduce the spin.

The more I thought about the spiral the more I found it applies to my sobriety as well.  If drinking starts the downward spin then again strength, white-knuckling, teeth gritting all help to stop the spin.  Stopping the spin is just the beginning though - I still have to plod my way back up the spiral. It takes work and vigilance.  Right now the spiral is very vertical.  If I mis-step I am likely sliding backwards.  I don't have the luxury of a rest right now.  I have to do the work everyday so that I do not slip.

My second epiphany (if you will) had to do with actually thinking about what the issue is when it came to my workouts and problem solving.  Here is what I know/knew: I like to workout.  I feel good when I workout.  Currently I am mentally tired from 2 months of solo parenting. I am physically tired from going in 8 directions. I have workout time options available - I do not always have to go at 5am. I feel like something is missing from my life (spiritually, physically, emotionally - I don't know - just some weird, nebulous missing thing). In the end I decided to switch to a 6am class for the next 5 weeks.  6am is much more do-able than 5am, but usually my morning routine doesn't allow for 6am. Kids and work dictate an earlier class. Well, this morning my kid was late to school and I was a little late to work today, but the world didn't end.  My husband will be home tomorrow so he can step in and help with the morning routines and I can honor this commitment to myself.  That was it - problem is solved for the next 5 weeks.  My classes will be on hiatus from 12/23 - 1/6 so really the next 7 weeks I don't have to worry.  As for January 7, well, I'll have to see where I am at that point, but right now, today, I am filling in a little bit of what is missing and I am feeling better.

My visual that I explained earlier about the spiral?  A vertical spiral is something that is always challenging. It means I must be moving forward all the time.  My goal is to flatten out my vertical spirals bit by bit.  I need to use tools (hammers? for flattening? surprise! a metaphor) so that the spiral is not so steep.  By doing this I make it easier for myself to succeed.  I can succeed on a steep spiral - but constantly working hard just to inch forward is not fun nor is it a good long term solution. 

Right now my goal is to start evaluating my spirals and figuring out what needs attention.  I am not ready to address everything right now, all at once, but I am ready to start having the conversations with myself.  Hope doesn't stop a spin - action does.

I think that is all I have today - my brain hurts from all this stretching.  Maybe none of this makes any sense to anyone else anyway, but it makes sense to me and that's the whole reason I'm here!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

In the middle

Oh, still here.  Still sober.  I'm on day...hold on... let me count 116 now.  November 8th will be 4 months.  That's pretty awesome.  I seem to have fallen in to a normal life routine that does not include booze.  I think about it occasionally and even think I might want some occasionally, but it is not an overwhelming thing.  By the time I get home and start getting through dinner, homework, cleaning and whatever else I need to do I have kind of forgottent that I was thinking about drinking.  This surprises me because it was so ingrained in me before.

I am still struggling with the sugar.  I feel like it is getting worse.  I am actually thinking about blogging about that instead of/in adddition to blogging about not drinking.  It seems like the not drinking thing has hit a bit of a lull.  No big exciting insights, no revelations just going along, living life, not drinking.  Whoopee.  Okay, I don't mean to sound so cavalier.  It is a big deal that I am not drinking, but the real life of it is that it is not all that exciting of a life.  I feel like I am in the in-between stage.  I have gotten through the first few months of craving and re-adjusting and now I am kind of waiting and looking for something that takes the place of the drinks.

So, I guess I am not acutally in the mood to write much today.  I just figured I should update and let the world know I am continuing on with this sober plan.  Next stop 180 days.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I'm pretty sure it won't be a shitstorm.

Do not fret.  I am still here and I am still sober. Let me check...day 73.  Pretty cool.  I am amazed at how close I am to finishing the 100 day challenge.  Does that mean I will drink again once I hit 100 days?  Probably not.  I'd like to think that I have "reset" things and that I can go back to drinking normally.  Maybe I could, but maybe I couldn't.  Am I that vain to think that all of the folks that have gone before me that have posted about how they tried to moderate and failed were different than me?  Am I so special?  I'd like to think I am.  Actually yes I am, but, if I am truly struggling with drinking, if I may in fact be an alcoholic, the disease isn't special or different just because I may have it.  It isn't different in me than in other people.  I don't have some special ability to moderate because I have a different strain of it.  No, it is the same disease with the same progression, pitfalls and eventual outcome.  So, what is it to be then? Risking the drinking and seeing what happens?  Or not drinking and knowing that whatever happens I am in control of my situation.  Right now I choose control.  I choose the sometimes painful, occasionally boring, razor sharp clarity of being sober. This has become my "known quantity".  If I really need to escape I can go to sleep, but currently I do not want to deal with the fallout of drinking.    If I don't drink a few things might suck, but I'm pretty sure it won't be a shitstorm.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A pretty unremarkable weekend.

I actually don't have much to report from my 3 day weekend.  It was a nice enough weekend.  Occasionally busy and occasionally quiet.  A good balance.  Nothing really to report though.  It was my first 3 day weekend sober.  I didn't even really think about that until today.  That's pretty cool.  Um, yep. Not really gonna drag things out here.  I will post soon when I actually have something to share. 

8 weeks + 2 days.  Wow.  I am really doing it!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Single speeding

Along with booze I have always struggled with weight (not severe weight, but anywhere from 5-25 pounds). I am active and fit generally. It is actually amazing the physical things I have been able to accomplish over the years while still drinking. 1/2 marathons, full marathons, an ultra, a couple of 8 hour endurance mountain bike races, 5am crossfit - all while drinking a fair (to high) amount. I feel like the extra weight is partly from drinking plus along with drinking comes the weird boozer high sugar intake and extra nightly snacking. Now that I am not boozing I really really want to move forward and do these things without the booze brain, without the extra weight (hitting maximum density with being 23 lbs over "my weight" right now), and without the tiredness that comes with it all. Impatient much? Nah, not me. I just want my life back right now! I see what I was doing and missing and I don't want that anymore.
So I tell myself that this is like training for an endurance event, slow and steady. If I train to hard too soon I will get hurt. I have to build up to going the distance; let my muscles get stronger slowly and over time. Oh I do love a metaphor! But now in addition to my boozie voice I have some other little voice that is in there, pushing pushing pushing to be better, be super fit, eat super clean, get strong, lean and do the things that I have been doing boozy and half-assed all these years. What is that voice all about??? Where is my voice that says take it easy on yourself - heal, trust the process, be nice to yourself? I hear it occasionally, but it is much quieter than the "more, bigger, better, go go go" voice.
Oh shit - interesting epiphany right now. I ride a single speed mountain bike. This means that I don't have those easy granny gears to shift in to when I hit a hill. When I have to climb I have to stand up, pedal hard and just fucking get to the top. It is all power. If it is rocky and technical I am powering and maneuvering and probably not even breathing! I love that it is harder. I don't have to think a lot about it. I either stand up and pedal or I don't make it to the top. It has made me a much faster rider and racer (ie it has worked for me). I'm wondering if this might be how I approach things/life. One speed. Get through it. Get to the top and then you rest and breathe. BUT, wait, what if there isn't a top? Staying sober does not have a top. Huh, I may be in trouble here I am probably going to have to figure out how to use some gears on this hill. (I know I am THE METAPHOR QUEEN!)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Halfway to 100 !!

I had some busy fun family plans, but I did not have a sugar/alcohol avoidance plan for the weekend. I had some drinking chatter going on in my brain on Friday afternoon/evening.  I didn't think I would drink, but there was some kind of weird "what ifs..." going on. I was concerned, but it passed and I was fine the rest of the weekend.   I got together with some friends on Saturday night, about 5 guy friends that I mountain bike with a lot. Once of the guys had moved and was in town for the weekend. These guys PUT AWAY serious amounts of booze. Namely tequila and some beer.  I love them dearly and I have had my fair share of tequila evenings with my guys, but this was not going to be one of them. I had to drive an hour with another friend of mine to meet up for a bbq. On the way there I mentioned to my friend that I wasn't drinking and he said he really wasn't either. So we get there and the tequilla is pouring and the beers are being passed. I decline and I tell them that I am taking a break. One of them says "oh yea, that's good. I do that every so often too." He then tells me he just went sober for 5 months from Jan to May. Huh? really? Interesting, I had no idea.  Up until a couple of weeks ago he lived in another state so I wouldn't have know.  He didn't mention it either (wheels of wonder are spinning in my head abou this). I told them I was going 100 days and about the 30 day no sugar deal. I had nothing but support from my friends, it was awesome.  As they drank they occasionally offered me tequila shots. No biggie, because if there is anything it is easy to say no to it is a shot of tequila (even the really good tequila they were drinking). I didn't mind being sober at all and it was nice to not be worried about the drive home. My friend who drove down there with me who "isn't drinking either" had  2 shots of tequilla and a beer. He can do that though, he doesn't have an issue, but for me that would have just sent me in to an alcohol binge when I got home.
It all worked out pretty well. I knew going in to the night that tequila would play a big role in the evening. It helped to know that and be mentally prepared. It was the first time too that I have really discussed my not drinking with any friends. I was so happy with the result.
One final note - geez, you are getting my life story here - I stopped in for a quick visit with my best friend on Sunday. As we sat talking she asked about the night before and if I had shots. And I said "no, I told you I'm not doing that right now". She was kind of surprised, which I found odd. She said she knew I had mentioned it, but she figured when my husband came home that we had drinks. I said nope, not doing it. In fact, I told her I was just about at 50 days (today is 51). She told me she was really proud of me. It felt good to talk to her a bit more about it. I told her I thought I drank too much and I need to do this for now.   I didn't go in to detail.  I am not sure when I will do that. I guess I need to figure things out first before I just go sharing my story - even with my closest friend. Anyway, then we talked more about sugar and the addictive qualities of that. She said she is going to go off sugar for the month of September. :)
That is all for now, cuz you know, maybe I had more to say...I mean I haven't told you what I had for dinner or anything :)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

I don't get AA (yet).

This has really been bugging me lately.  First, let me start with the fact that I have never been to an AA meeting so I am somewhat uninformed, maybe there are all kinds of answers there in the support system.  But anyway, here is the thing that really chaps my hide.  IF alcoholism is a disease then WHY do we have to treat it with the whole 12 step program?  I mean what other diseases are treated this way?  Why is someone who is an alcoholic automatically needing to "work the steps".  If it is a physical disease then why is this the cure?.  Arrgghh.  I am trying to say this so that it makes sense.  It makes sense in my brain.  Okay, other diseases, like lets say diabetes - this is a physical disesase that is related to the inability to process sugar.  In order to fight the disease you have to change your diet, eliminate sugar, make healthy choices and be educated.  If you do all these things you can live and not have any active signs of the disease.  So if you are an alcoholic why can't you just give up booze and make healthy choices?  Why does it have to be some big mental program of steps and sponsorship and reconciling and whatever else?  Why is there so much emotional crap involved??? I mean emotions are fine, but do I really need to dig deep to stay away from booze.  Is drinking always tied in to some deep seated emotional damage that must be disected in a group setting?  I don't get it. 

My Dad went to AA for a number of years, but then he stopped going.  He was sober for probably the last 30 years of his life.  He didn't seem to focus on it.  It just was what it was.  He just didn't drink.  No long story about it.  Booze screwed up his life, he couldn't handle it and he was better with out it.  I guess that is the solution I see.  I don't want to dwell on it and I don't want it to define me.  I just want to not drink and get on with doing all the other stuff that I do in life.