Mementos from 2009

I have been unpacking more things today. Found a lot of mementos from my travels. Found a lot of notes about good wines I tried and wine tour tickets. Found a stack of coasters I took from bars around the world. Found menus from places I drank at or were from anniversary dinners with my ex-boyfriend.

I found the beer labels I used to collect from everywhere. I always said I wanted to use them to decorate a chair or table. But I am not sure now. Just looking at some made me think “that sounds like a good beer. I wonder what it tasted like?” I am worried using it to decorate something in my house would be a risky temptation.

I also found an old travel journal. I was happily surprised. I forgot about this one and it wasn’t in the box of other journals I found last winter. A lot of it is about the beginning of a relationship. But like most of my journals, a lot of it says I need to quit drinking. Or at least quit drinking beer. One page, I am complaining about drinking too much beer but then complaining on the next page I was having problems booking a winery tour. I am gonna read through this tonight. I think it will be better than renting a movie.

Here is an excerpt from April 2009 that shows my doubt of the relationship, myself,  and my drinking:

I am worried about things going wrong between Mr Thing and I. I am worried my drinking might screw it up. He already joked that I am an alcoholic because I wanted beers to watch movies our last nighy. I worry I will turn into a bitch at some point. I worry he is too innocent for me. He is so sweet and gives me the attention I need. I don’t know what he sees in me. I weigh 185 pounds. I’m fat and out of shape. I haven’t lost any weight. I really need to start doing sit ups daily and stop eating bread. Is this just a holiday fling? A passing infatuation? … Maybe he is just lonely.”

That relationship lasted a other 20 months but it was burdened by my drinking and because I never understood what he saw in me. It made me jealous of everyone. It did turn me into a bitch.

I hope I have better luck with future relationaships. I feel as long as I stay sober, I have more chance. I know it will not guarantee a perfect relationship, but it will help improve my self-esteem and dignity.

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No cure. No end.

So I made it to a year.
I feel I crossed the finish line.
Yeah.
I get a big, blue ribbon.
No more worries about alcohol.
All that sober training paid off.
I am officially a winner.

Not exactly.
I must not forget I am an alcoholic.  I always will be one. This struggle will never end. I will never be able to safely drink alcohol like a normal person. I am diseased forever. But as long as I do the one simple thing of avoiding alcohol, I can live a great life.

Ok, it is not that simple.

I admit there is a tiny part of me that looks at glasses of beer or bottles of wine and think “you have abstain for a year.  Just one drink will be okay.” I don’t think those thoughts will ever go away. Maybe each milestone will make me think that. Or each holiday or celebration. I need to keep up this life-long battle against booze. Maybe I need to go to a meeting.

Is it really a year?

This is a quick post.
Thanks everyone for the comments and likes the past year. Thanks for the emails (that I am horrible with checking) and the words of encouragement. Thanks for the cyber support. Thanks for reading. Thanks for sharing. I did not even notice I have made it to my first year of sobriety!

No balloons. No fireworks. But I did treat myself to an amazing vacation which could explain that I have not been noticing the dates. I do think there has been an error in my dates on my blog though: I have been using January 21 as my sobriety date but it is actually the 22nd. My last drink was on a Tuesday last year. Not sure if I drank still after midnight. But I woke up on the 22nd with a hangover, chugging water, and contemplating trying a life without alcohol.

And I am so glad I did!

When I get back from my trip (and WiFi at home), I will put my thoughts together and write what I learned in this year. I still feel odd when I tell people I do not drink alcohol but I am less worried about what they think. I feel I definitely think clearer and look better.

For all of you just starting, IT WORTH IT! There are bumps in the road and times you want to just give up, but find what you need to keep strong and use it! Whether it be an AA meeting, reading blogs, writing your own blog, finding a sponsor, praying, carrying sobriety coins around, or listing your drunk mistakes (almost) daily; develop a sobriety kit for yourself.

If you started sobriety and then had a drink, or few weeks of drinks, you are not alone! It took me 7 years after my last attempt of sobriety to try again. The difference this time is: I wanted it. I was serious. I decided the problems alcohol caused were not worth the high it gave me. I was scared of what my life would become without it but am now scared of what my life would become if I pick up even one drink. Even if I used all my strength to be a moderate drinker, I know that would eventually fail. And I have honestly started to view alcohol as poison.

Haha I guess so much for a quick post.

Stay strong everyone!

Six Americans Die From Alcohol Poisoning Daily: CDC Report

http://ncadd.org/in-the-news/1391-six-americans-die-from-alcohol-poisoning-daily-cdc-report

Six Americans die from alcohol poisoning each day, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The death rate from alcohol poisoning is highest among men ages 45 to 54.
“Most previous studies have looked at college kids and young people, but the problem is bigger than that,” Dr. Robert Brewer, who heads the alcohol program at the CDC, told The New York Times. “It was surprising that the number of deaths was so concentrated among middle-age adults.”
An average of 2,221 people died of alcohol poisoning each year between 2010 and 2012, the report found.
The CDC noted researchers changed how they track alcohol poisoning data in recent years, making it impossible to determine whether the death rate had risen.
Alcohol poisoning occurs when a person drinks large quantities of alcohol in a short period. “Very high levels of alcohol in the body can shut down critical areas of the brain that control breathing, heart rate, and body temperature, resulting in death,” the report noted.
Binge drinking (having four or more drinks for women or five or more drinks for men in a short period of time) can lead to death from alcohol poisoning. About 38 million adults say they binge drink an average of four times a month.

Wino’s Heaven

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I made a big box full of my drinking memorabilia.  When I have guests that are drinkers,  I will offer them a gift to take home from this box rather than a drink. That should make it up to them that I do not have booze in my house.

I kept debating keeping the pot holder/wash towel combo that says “wine a little, you’ll feel better.” It is funny. But I am worried one day I will think that wine will make me feel better.

I am unpacking and then packing again. I am off on a trip next week to celebrate my 1 year soberversary!  I am going with an friend, who is more of a friend of a friend, and he is stressing me out with the planning. He wants to spend everyday together and travel “comfortably” while I know I like days alone and I travel cheaply. I do not want to be with him on the 22nd. I want to enjoy some tea and reflect on my past year. I actually might use my soberversary as my excuse for alone time rather than he is annoying me.

I am not gonna make my goal os listing 365 mistakes by my 1 year date. I apologize to those that were waiting for them. But I do plan to come back and add to old entries mistakes related to the topic or add on inbetween. I think I have about 120 to come up with? I won’t be ending my year with stories about my “top 3 mistakes” like I thouht. That just gives me more time to write them out and maybe with more detail. I do not have internet in my new home yet. Once that is up and running, I will work on the mistake stories.

Oh and some good news: I have lost 25 pounds since I quit alcohol! Finally! The big push was to cut out sodas and then sugar. I have stopped adding sugar to my coffee and tea. It took a bit to get used to and made me cut down my coffee intake, but I am now liking the taste of sugar-free java. Getting on the scale everyday helps motivate my taste buds. I have limited my complex carbs and meat. I have been eating a LOT of veggies and fruits. When I return from my trip, I plan to add yoga and spinning. I want to drop 10-15 more before I turn 40. I feel great. Sobriety has been amazing. Much more so than I expected.

Old coins

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As I was unpacking my things and moving into my new place, I found a box of old mementos. Ticket stubs. Tour brochures.  Matchbooks. And I found these three tokens.

They were from my first time trying AA and sobriety 7 1/2 years ago after my second DUI. I have mentioned before in this blog how my journal entries at that time proved to me I wasn’t serious about sobriety. I wanted to still be able to drink without the negative outcomes. Getting serious about it has finally allowed me to come this far. I am 10 days away from a year of sobriety.

I also have blogged about my frustration with finding the milestone tokens. I never picked up a white chip because my first AA meeting, about 4 days after my drink, I was still not sure I wanted to go on this road. Then by 30 days, I almost broke down and had a drink because I was upset I couldn’t find a meeting to give me a red chip. I also said how I never got a 60 day chip and when I finally got my 90 chip, I considered lying to get a 60 day one at another meeting.

But now I have from this round of sobriety a 30 day, 90 day, 6 month, 9 months, and 1st Sober Burning Man token. I can add from my last round this 1 day, a second 30 day, and a 60 day chip. Maybe I will make jewelry.  Maybe I will make a wind chime. Whatever I do with them, I am so thankful to have made it this far on the sobriety journey.

Unpacking the old me

I am slowly unpacking things from my storage unit and into my new apartment.  I love going through my things I have not seen in about a year and a half. My things were packed up in August 2013 and been bouncing around from storage unit to storage unit.  I feel so accomplished by finally finding a place to settle for a bit.

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But the unpacking is like going into a drunken vault of my old life. My old flask. A beer glass I stole from a bar in India. My fancy wine cork opener. My fancy wine stoppers. My mixer. My cocktail recipe book. The little drink mixing tool set that I got at a thrift store and never really knew how to use. My shot glasses. My wine glasses. My beer mugs I used to keep in the freezer to stay frosty. A wine tasting guide I picked up in Napa. These magnets that I proudly displayed to show how much I loved alcohol.

I guess it feels like going through a loved ones belongings after they died. I mourn it but I know I must move on.

In the past, I would have found some friends to take each of these items. But I think I am going to destroy most of these. (I will keep the glasses cause they have other uses.) Maybe I will do it ceremoniously. Maybe I will do it when I get my one year coin.

I told my sister about the problems I had getting tokens in my area. She suggested I come to her city for my 1 year token. She collected hers a few months ago. I actually like that idea. It will be nice to have family or a friend there that day. Then maybe we could burn the things from my drunk vault in celebration.