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!

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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.

New Beginnings

This year is already starting out better than last year. Starting out better than many! I am not really sure if sobriety has much to do with it but I am looking forward to waking up without a hangover.

I have a new apartment! I signed the lease a few weeks ago and moved in tonight. It will still take another week to get all my stuff from storage. But it makes me feel stable.

I have a new job! I have been doing contracts on and off for the past 9 years. A few months ago, a permanent position became available and they offered it to me! The pay is good. I like most of my coworkers. And after a year, I will start to get tuition reimbursement.  I feel secure.

I have a new car! Brand new. Hybrid. All-wheel drive so I won’t have emotional meltdowns when it snows and I get stuck. (Hope not anyway.)  I love him even though it is the first time since the 1990s that I have a car payment. He is pretty and pearl white. He is my baby! And he doesn’t have dings and scratches and missing pieces from drunk driving incidents. With strength,  luck and sobriety, I will never have another drunk driving experience again. I feel hopeful.

I am going to start the New Year off with a new sober experience. I am going to Philadelphia for the Mummers parade. I have never done it before, even the times I lived in that city. I was also too drunk and/or hungover. I have been warned it is full of drunk people, falling over and puking/pissing in the streets. Good reminder of why I need to stay sober. I feel excited.

No new romantic relationships though. But I am okay with that. For years I have heard that I need to love myself before others can love me or I can love anyone else. For the first time in 39 years, I get it! And I do love myself. Finally. I am so proud and happy with how far I have come.

I have a bottle of sparkling lemonade for midnight.

Happy New Year everyone! Stay strong and sober! If you slip up tonight, tomorrow is a new sunrise and new day! Keep trying. It really is much better than a drunk life!

Sober Dating

I have gone out on a few dates the past few weeks.  Nothing too exciting. Nothing too serious. I have already made a promise to myself I do not want anything sexual until after I am sober a year.  Also,  I want to date a person for a few weeks or maybe even a few months before having sex. I want to find something meaningful. I want to do things correctly. I want a real relationship and not one based on the lies of alcohol.

I am being picky but think I deserve to be. It might be difficult to find a good, single partner at my age and even harder the older I get. But I am not settling. I would rather be single than with someone I only half-heartedly want. I would like to find someone who likes to travel as much as I do and that is tough to find. Yet I would rather marry my passport than someone who will restrict my adventure abilities.

My first date was nice. The guy was cute and had a great smile. I made him laugh a lot and we talked for hours. He had a few beers while I drank ice tea. He walked me to my car and we had a lovely kiss. I left with butterflies in my belly. I was thrilled! I was able to enjoy a date and be attracted to a guy without alcohol! Sober Dating is possible as long as I like the person. He texted me after I left with his house address and asked me to come over for coffee. I declined the invitation.  I know that coming over for coffee at 10pm is code for wanting to serve me coffee for breakfast instead. I was so glad I was not tipsy because I might have agreed and especially would have went if he offered wine.

I asked him if he wanted to join me for a play in the city the next week. He replied that sounds like a good idea. We made plans for Thursday. This was Monday. On Wednesday two days later, I text him that my job interview went well because we talked about it Monday night. (I will address the job stuff in another post.) He said congratulations. 

Then Sunday, I texted him asking if we were still on for that Thursday. He replied hours later apologizing for late answer but he was busy at work and yes, he would like to see me again Thursday but did not feel like going into the city. He knew 5 days in advance he did not want to go into the city? But I said that was okay, what else did he have in mind.

No response until Thursday at 5pm. He asked me if I wanted to see a movie. I was irritated.  I was supposed to keep my calendar empty just waiting for his reply? I replied honestly that I was up since 5am and would fall asleep during a film. I asked if we could get together another night. He said yes.

The next week, I texted to ask him if he was busy that evening. He said he was going out for a friend’s birthday, but he would call me later to meet up. A late night meet up after he is out drinking for a friend’s party? I told him to text me and we’ll see what to do. He never did. Now it is a few weeks later and I deleted him from my phone.

There have been a few other dates. One guy seemed like a liar that couldn’t keep a story straight. He also commented abstaining from alcohol is no big deal and he doesn’t understand why people get falling – down drunk. I thought he would not understand my addiction or he would harshly judge all my mistakes. Another guy was very nice but very young. I have a few dates planned next week.

Maybe I should just start going back to AA meetings and inquire about skipping to the 13th step.

Mistake: I was young and still experimenting with women. I met a woman online who was a lot older than me. I think she was 12 or 14 years older. She had a teenage daughter and I was 24. She was married to a man but looking for a female fun partner. I met her out for drinks. I was not attracted to her. I thought she looked like she spent too much time in a tanning bed and bleached her hair too much. But I wanted to test my bisexuals feelings. So I invited her back to my place after getting drunk. I continued to do shots to get drunk enough to kiss her. I don’t remember much of the experience. Blacking out is not the greatest way to test sexual orientation. I regretted it the next morning.  She kept paging me afterwards to meet up again. I either would call her back with excuses or ignore the pages.