And the Oscar goes to…

I went to an Oscars party last night. Well, actually, only a gathering with two new friends watching the awards on television. I texted my friend to see what I should bring. She said she was headed to the store to get chips, hummus and wine. I decided I would bring something to contribute and counterbalance the wine. I brought some yerba mate ice teas, a large vegetable platter, and ginger hummus.

The host offered me a glass of wine after I took my coat off. She listed all the choices of reds and whites, and then added she also had beers. I said I will keep to the ice tea. But once my tea was finished, she was a great host and jumped to offer me wine . I declined and asked for water. Sparkling or plain filtered?

No questions until the other friend, who had a few too many glasses of wine, asked “Do you not drink?” I did not bother with jokes that I was drinking plenty, just all alcohol-free. I said no, I quit. They asked if it was a diet or something temporary. I explained that I quit two years ago, with a few slips starting last summer, but I have been completely sober almost 3 months. The host seemed impressed. But the drunk friend asked the questions I might have asked if I was the drunk girl. “Can’t you even have a little bit? Don’t you know how to stop when it gets too much? Are you gonna try again after sometime sober?”  She told me how she can’t drink too much and I thought her current state of inebriation was obvious. I do not know how many glasses she had before I arrived, but she was matching her glasses of wine with my glasses of filtered water. She even began adding sparkling water to her wine to make spritzers and slow down the buzz.

I explained to her my slips last summer proved I could not have a little bit, nor should I try to go back to drinking anytime. I can not moderate. I was fine sitting there with my water but I know if I had one glass of wine, I would want the rest of the bottle. I would use too much mental energy telling myself to sip rather than chug and it was a lot easier to just avoid the taste to my tongue. And when the awards ended and she passed out on the couch, I was very glad I quit drinking. The host and I chatted a little bit more about our lives and I was able to drive home.

When I first quit drinking, I don’t know if sitting there avoiding their offers of wine would have been so easy. But I feel I have learned a lot since January 2014 about myself and what alcohol does to my body. I felt I honestly did not want to drink alcohol last night. No acting. No need for award for me.

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Nutrition

I have been taking a nutrition class the past few weeks. I have been enjoying it and learning a lot. It really makes me think before I eat something now. I have started counting calories to try to drop a few pounds before the summer.

It has been irritating some coworkers who are criticizing my healthy habits I have developed. One coworker asked me how I have lost weight this past year. I told her “first I cut out alcohol, then soda, then added sugars.” Her response: “I could never cut out alcohol! I don’t care if that makes me sound like an alcoholic!”

I thought “yea. It does.”

There is a lot of mention in almost every chapter about alcohol. Each time I learn something negative about it, it reaffirms my sobriety. It might say alcohol is okay in moderation but that means 1 drink a day for women. One drink! I don’t know anyone who has one drink! Everyone I know who says “oh but wine is good for you” usually don’t realize that means a glass and not the whole bottle.

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When discussing energy and calories in nutrition, it says:

When consumed in excess of energy needs, alcohol, too, can be converted to body fat and stored. When alcohol contributes a substantial portion of the energy in a person’s diet, the harm it does far exceeds the problems of excess body fat.

Alcohol interferes with the growth, maintenance, and repair of the body. It yields 7 kilocalories of energy per gram in comparison to 4 kilocalories per gram for carbohydrates and protein. And to think all of the times I would avoid bread because of the carbs but drank beer like it was nothing! No wonder I got a beer belly. (And beer ass and thighs.) I had all my excuses such as “I don’t go out dancing as much anymore” and “my work schedule made me gain weight” or “I walked less when I lived in such-and-such place”. But the real reason I gained so much weight was because much of my diet was beer and alcohol. And the more I got tolerant of light beer, the more I had to drink stronger beer to get buzzed. And the stronger beers had more calories. Plus, I did not eat the healthiest when drunk. Pizza at 2am! Greasy burgers were great hangover food.

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Anyway, I do not want to sound like a health nut. Looking at the nutritional side of drinking really helps me put my problem in perspective.  And not just the wasted calories, but all the diseases alcohol puts a person at risk for like cardiac disease, malnutrition,  and cancer. Most of my coworkers now know that I quit drinking alcohol, but I think (hope) they believe I quit due to diet changes. I am just still worried about the judgements of others if they know the real reason.

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Stronger but not invincible

Tonight I went out to dinner alone. It was a nice Indian restaurant.  I ordered my food and continued reading my book Get Sober Stay Sober by Cynthia Perkins. The restaurant was pretty empty on this cold night. There were only two other tables occupied with a couple each. The table closest to me interrupted my reading. They wanted to know if I wanted to finish off their bottle of wine. It looked like a full glass-worth. For free. I told them no thank you. They assured me it was good. I told them I don’t drink alcohol. The man said “neither do I” and they both laughed.

It was very easy for me to turn down that bottle. I felt so proud. I thought of how much stronger I have gotten with saying no to alcohol over the past 10 months.

But I would be lying if I said I didn’t mourn my move. I think I will always wish I could drink. Just like a prisoner sentenced to life in jail wishes for freedom.

At least I have my freedom. And my life.

Family and Genetics and Addiction

Whether a person decides to use alcohol or drugs is a choice, influenced by their environment–peers, family, and availability.  But, once a person uses alcohol or drugs, the risk of developing alcoholism or drug dependence is largely influenced by genetics.  Alcoholism and drug dependence are not moral issues, are not a matter of choice or a lack of willpower.  Plain and simple, some people’s bodies respond to the effects of alcohol and drugs differently.

Family History and Genetics

Accidents still happen

I knew that my life would not be perfect in soberland. But I really did not expect to still have driving issues once I did not worry about drinking and driving anymore. Two months ago I had the unfortunate deer walk in front of my car. This past Friday, I rear-ended a car. This accident was totally my fault. I was paying too much attention to the highway sign and glancing at my GPS to see if that was my exit and I did not notice the lane of traffic stopping in front of me. I tried to break but I smashed my bumper and radiator again. The new headlamp is hanging off along with half of the front. I was an emotional mess. The other car had a small dent and, thankfully, the driver seemed okay. She got to drive away after the police came. I had to have my car towed.

The next morning, my back started to hurt. I was not sure if it was menstrual cramps or from the impact. I took some Aleve and melatonin and slept. Sunday morning, I could tell it was not menstrual cramps. I decided to go get checked by a doctor. But I had a thought that “normal” people must not experience: I was worried about getting prescribed anything that would cause an addiction.

He said he thinks it is muscle spasms. No bone damage on x-ray. He prescribed some stronger anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxers. I am so glad nothing with opioids. After finding out about my ex getting addicted to heroin, I am terrified of them. Heating pads and relaxation are in store the next few days. Maybe I can finally catch up on my blog and adding my mistakes.

It did feel very good when asked about my alcohol intake to honestly say “none!”rather than lying “oh maybe 5 or 6 beers on a weekend.”

The accident could have been worse. My insurance is gonna jump up after this I guess. Especially after two accidents in two months. But I am alive. And I am happy to be alive. Oh and I got the doctor to write me a prescription for another month of Prozac. I am too scared to go off that right now so close to my one year sober anniversary. It will give me time to find a therapist in this area.

10 months. Accidents still happen but I am happy to still be sober.

I can still cry on Prozac

One reason I hated Prozac when I was on it 13 years ago is because it numbed me so much, I couldn’t cry. I remember a coworker died and I did not feel sad. Now I think it is because I just did not like her. But today I can not stop crying. I found out my last boyfriend, who I am still in love with, has started a heroin addiction.

I feel helpless. I feel guilty. I feel useless. I want to do something. I wish I knew what I could do. Or that there was something I could do. I know it is not my fault and most likely I would not have been able to prevent this. But I still feel if he and I stayed together, he would not have picked up the needle. If I did not get so drunk and jealous last time we were together, maybe we would have kept talking. I am physically and now emotional distant from him. I can not help but worry now. His new girlfriend is the reason he started using. I hate this woman now and that has nothing to do with jealousy.

I did leave a card telling my feelings for him and how I want him to get cleaned. I want him to get help. I gave it to a mutual friend to pass on. I doubt he will call me. But I needed to get the message to him.

I am glad I am on Prozac now. Not sure what this news would do to me. I might have spiraled down into deep depression. I am also glad to be sober to deal with these feelings.
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Mistake 251- When I first met my friend that introduced me to this last boyfriend, we were drunk at a club. We danced and made out. I drove him home with me. I drove drunk 20 miles while he kissed and played with me. He said he was impressed I kept the car from swerving. I am impressed we survived the drive. He laughs about it now but I think about it and it makes me grateful to be sober.

Busy but Sober and Sober Readings

Once again I am sorry for my lack of updates. But I am still here and still sober. Actually I am almost 9 months sober! I once heard a man in a meeting saying 90 days and 9 months sobreity are some of the most “dangerous” times because we get too confident and let our defenses down. I guess he suggests we stop being vigilant against these disease. I have felt a surge of pride that I have come this far and I am keeping aware of any lows or bouts of temptation. Not sure how much thanks of this confidence goes to Prozac.

I finished listening to Ann book The Intimate Relationship between Women and Alcohol. It was a long “read” but I enjoyed it. It was very informational. She talked a lot about statistics,  society’s relationship with alcohol, the problems drinking causes, growing up with an alcoholic mom, and her struggles to stay sober. One word I learned from it that I loved is alcogenic.
I might try to find a cheap one online to order to keep as a reference.  There were a lot of quotes I liked in the book. Here is one:

Liquor soothes. It calms anxiety. It numbs depression. Ask any serious drinker. If you want to find your off button, alcohol can seem like an excellent choice .

Yes, alcohol was my off button switch. And sometimes it is a struggle to not want to flip that switch again, but I would rather deal with the struggle than deal with the consequences once that switch is turned back on.

I have been keeping busy. I still have not finished my book One Breath at a Time about Buddhism and the 12 steps. I have been working a lot (about 50 hours a week) and busy with my Substance Abuse Prevention class. I did go out with my mom one night and ordered her a beer at the bar. I did not crave it at all. And it was a beer I used to like!

I just received a book from Amazon that I am really liking and think I will learn from much. It is Get Sober, Stay Sober: The Truth about Alcoholism by Cynthia Perkin. The first chapter talks about AA and the pros and cons of it. I really like that she points out going to meetings is not enough. People need to work on their psychological issues behind their addiction. I have been saying that since I got sober. I have been working on my issues with reading and writing but I do think I should still seek a professional therapist. (At least to get a prescription for the Prozac so I do not have to fly to Mexico for more when I run out.) I might be settling in one place after December so that should help me stable and find a good counselor.

I was thinking about my “mistakes” the other day. A lot of people thank me for telling them. I am glad if they help others realize they have a problem and go sober. Also, I am glad I have the list to go back one day to remind me of how bad my drinking got. I still feel I am in the freshmen phase of sobriety but I hope I pass this school with honors.

Mistake 243: I spent the morning hungover. I met up with a friend for a very late brunch. I still felt slightly drunk that early afternoon but started drinking again. Mimosas were a necessity for brunch! 

I got a text message from a guy I had a crush on. He asked me to be his last minute date to a small wedding reception at a restaurant . I agreed. I was excited. I was just telling my friend how I thought this guy was cute and then I got the message. I drove home to get ready. (Already, I should not have been driving.)

I picked him up and we proceeded to the restaurant. It was a Middle Eastern themed place. It was a very nice evening full of lots of specialty drinks and wine. I was very drunk when we left. I basically started my day with drinks and did not stop. I do not remember if he was very drunk but he did not have a drivers license. He never said why but I suspected it was from a DUI. So I drove us back to his place. The next day, he told me how scary the drive was cause I swerved a lot. He said he did not realize how trashed I was. That seemed to be a common occurrence. I rarely realized how trashed I was.