Sobriety and Boredom

I found myself becoming bored the past few days, which made me struggle in my sobriety. I was trying to stick to the things I said I would do as part of my sober journey: read a blog a day from recovery blogs, try to write in my journal every day, look at Pinterest for daily inspiration, workout, and try to do things to keep me sober and busy. These are the things that originally had me excited and ready for sobriety; exploring and discovering new blogs, looking for daily inspiration, seeing and feeling changes in my health and body and the over all newness and challenge of it all.  However, just as a new toy becomes tiresome or boring, this routine currently has me bored and isn’t providing the same satisfaction it did in the beginning. Not that I am going to give these things up because they are important to myself and to my sober journey, but the initial excitement faded, and I found myself searching for the reasons I decided to become sober in the first place. It doesn’t help that I live in a small ski town which is now closed for the spring season as we are currently entering mud season for the next month or so (seriously rain and snow EVERY DAY and nothing to do with it!). Therefore, I don’t have many options when I am feeling bored at home. This has made me realize a few things about my drinking and has also helped me further understand what being sober really means.

When I first started to write this post a few days ago I was feeling pretty antsy. Thoughts of going out and having drinks with friends and going to the brewery started flooding my mind as I began to think how fun that would be to pass the time and do something to get out of the house.  I started internally bargaining with myself inside my own head, “Well you could just do one drink or two, you did fine last time,” “One or two beers won’t hurt and you love beer!” I even told my friend I would go have drinks with her on her birthday because it was something different and got me excited to think about (I didn’t btw!).

Sitting on my couch yesterday after work I was trying to figure out what to do with my time. The weather wasn’t great and I was trying to counter the thoughts in my head which were telling me I was allowed to have one or two drinks to instead remind me of how poorly I felt when I did, AND my boyfriend came home with a 6 pack of beer. It used to be a pretty normal routine for me to open a beer or pour a glass of wine when I got home after work and to keep drinking until bedtime for the longest time. This made being at home doing nothing FUN. This made watching the same old shows I watched FUN, this made anything I did more FUN (especially things at home) than it would normally be, because I was drunk. This in turn made me realize, one of the reasons I would drink, and I’m sure many can relate, was out of boredom. I actually don’t think I ever got bored doing the same things I am now because drinking was my hobby and when your drunk you’re not really bored. So yesterday as I pondered on the couch I started brainstorming things to do that I haven’t done or done in a while that I could do inside without having to go anywhere and spend any money. I decided I would do some after work yoga to help clear my head and pass some time until I figured out what to do for the remainder of the evening and I came across the 30 days of yoga challenge on YouTube. THIS is exactly what I need, I thought to myself and then another lesson from my sober journey became clear in my head. This is what being sober really is about. It’s not about being bored and not having fun, it’s about trying new things. Isn’t that what we are supposed to do in life? LIVE? Try new things? Go new places, try new hobbies, experience new things as much as possible. Life isn’t about drinking to make it fun or more fun, it’s about experience and trying new things and LIVING. I can’t really live when I am experiencing life drunk or under the influence of alcohol.  I am not living when I am sitting on my couch drinking, I am living when I am spending my time doing positive things for myself and those around me. I am not living when I am drunk, I am living when I am using my breath to breathe energy and light into my body, I am living when I stretch my limbs and feel my body thanking me.

I still haven’t had a drop of alcohol since that one sushi and sake night and although I have struggled, I have persevered and am learning to change my perspective. I want to live and I want to remember those moments and being drunk is no way to live. At least not for me. I am excited to tackle new things and for this 30 day yoga challenge and see the results. I am excited that I am getting back into a practice I used to love and long stopped doing because drinking became the priority. After I did the first video of the 30 day challenge I felt energized, I wasn’t craving a drink, and when I was done I wasn’t thinking about what to do to end my bored-ness. I was already thinking about how I would make this experience into a blog entry, I was writing in my journal and sobriety journal, and I felt re-inspired to be living a sober life, even if it is boring at times because I am excited to LIVE and there is nothing boring about that.

If you are interested in to joining the 30 day challenge, here is the link to the first video 🙂

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3 Things I have learned in the first two weeks of my sober journey

The firs two weeks are up and I’m feeling better than I have in months! Here are a few things I have learned so far…

1) Society’s view on alcohol makes it OK to drink excessively (as long as you don’t act like an asshole) despite the health risks

One thing that I have mentioned and will probably mention a lot is one of my go-to sober resources, http://www.hipsobriety.com. I love Holly’s writing and holistic way of living to help keep her sober. I also love her frequent use of the word “fuck”, love for traveling and accumulating collection of tattoos. Anyways, I recently read one of her older blog entries (Why Alcoholism Doesn’t Exist) and the very first reason really grabbed me: “It asserts that it’s normal to consume an addictive substance with ease, and abnormal to not be able to.” So basically if you can’t hang you have some issues (according to society). This got me thinking, when I did drink a lot, but I didn’t black out, or become an emotional and/or irate mess, I thought it was OK. I didn’t have a problem because I wasn’t acting out while drinking.  I thought it was OK to consume 3 to 4 beers a night, and maybe a few shots if I had liquor in the house, as long as I didn’t act irrational and made it to work the next day without feeling like (or) throwing up.  BUT I was still damaging my body, the only one I have in this life, the one I have the sole responsibility to take care of to make sure I live a long, healthy, happy life, and for some reason I thought this was acceptable as long as I kept myself (mostly) together on nights of drinking.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking alcohol increases your risk of developing certain cancers including, mouth, throat and breast cancer (link here).  I don’t smoke cigarettes because one I don’t like them and two they cause cancer, so why did I (and do we) continue to drink knowing it was not good for me and could result in the same detrimental health issues?

2) I WANT to be healthy

Literally the day I decided to go sober it became so much easier to make healthier food choices. When I drank I always craved carbs and greasy food. Whether it was during a night of drinking or after a night of drinking I made poor dietary choices because lets be honest, a salad doesn’t sound as appetizing as a burger (hello McDonalds!) especially when you are nursing a hangover or have had a few to drink.

Since my time is no longer consumed by drinking, being drunk or being hungover, I now have more time to do things that are good for me. The last two weeks I have made a tremendous effort in exercising and making healthy food choices (including meal prepping) and I am seeing and feeling the results from the inside out. I remember struggling these last few months before starting my sober journey and wanting to make healthy changes because I didn’t like how I felt/looked but not realizing it was so difficult because of my drinking habits and its effects on my motivation and energy.

This in turn has allowed me to save money, start cooking much more than I used to, which I really enjoy, and feel better physically and mentally. Believe me, there are still days where I just want some greasy bad food (like yesterday I had chicken tenders and french fries) but now it is in moderation and it isn’t on top of 500 empty beer calories so no guilt trip 🙂

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              One of my favorite healthy snacks (and breakfast meals) organic oatmeal with almond butter, organic dark chocolate, raspberries and cinnamon 🙂 Oh and a dash of honey!

3) I don’t enjoy being social as much as I thought

The other night I went out for going away drinks for friends (I had hot chocolate) and after about three hours when the clocks hit 11:00 PM I was ready to go home. Normally, I would have pre-gamed for this occasion, showing up already intoxicated, ready to drink and dance until the wee hours of the morning and usually until I blacked out or threw up. But three hours was enough for me and I found myself ready to crawl into bed well before the night was going to end (I was DD so I had to stick around). Not only did I find myself exhausted and ready for bed but I really didn’t feel like being around so many people that I didn’t know and making conversation. Getting to know these people seemed exhausting and not for any particular reason except I just wasn’t feeling as social as I usually would when I drank. When I drank, I was a huge social butterfly talking to everyone, sometimes buying rounds of drinks for people I had just met or having intense drunk conversations with people I had just met. This time, I didn’t really want socialize, don’t get me wrong I was excited to be out with my friends but I just didn’t have the same energy or desire to chat it up with so many new people. It’s not that I won’t ever be social again or talk or meet to new people, but its nice to know that sometimes I’m OK not being a social butterfly and that is OK too.
Continue reading “3 Things I have learned in the first two weeks of my sober journey”

10 days sober… and I had a drink

Yesterday marked 10 days sober for me. Double digits and the longest I have gone without drinking in probably the last two years, but I had a drink anyway. The past couple days have been hard with lots of temptation. My boyfriends family has been in town (side note they are the most kick ass family ever) and family in town always has meant having a good time with lots of drinking involved. I stayed strong through their arrival Friday, a night of cards Saturday (where I really started struggling), and Easter lunch on Sunday. Last night we had dinner reservations for their last night in town and when an order of Saki went in as well as a bottle of prosecco, I caved. I wanted to join in, I wanted to cheers with a glass of bubbly, and I wanted to drink with everyone else, so I did.  Before I go into how I felt last night and how I’m feeling today, I want to put it out there that I am not disappointed in myself. I am not angry with myself and I do not feel like a failure and I will tell you why at the end of this post.

I ended up having two glasses of prosecco and maybe two or three small shots (that I sipped) of hot sake. I felt OK when I was drinking, I didn’t drink any more than anyone else did, and I didn’t get extremely buzzed (we ordered A LOT of sushi). But I could tell that I wanted more. Had we stayed longer and others made it OK to me to keep drinking (because they were drinking) I would have kept drinking and that is why I cannot drink. Because I always want to keep going. Even though I was not a sloppy drunk mess and was able to recall the evening and all of its details, I know my struggles with alcohol did not disappear in 10 days and I could sense the desire and craving for more start creeping in with every sip.

I woke up this morning feeling nauseous and on the brink of puking. Whether it was from all the sushi, the bubbly and sake, or both I do not know. But I do know that my head is a bit clouded this morning, I feel nauseous and I’m tired. However, I also feel stronger in my decision to be sober. Some may not agree but I’m glad I drank last night. It reminded me that after 10 days of being sober I don’t prefer to be drunk, I don’t really enjoy drinking (especially since beginning to educate myself on all its damaging effects), and I really don’t like how it makes me feel. I also became more aware of my issues with drinking and saw my sobriety not as a consequence but as my choice. I know that I don’t want that glass of prosecco to cheers with (I’ll take a water with lemon thank you) and I don’t want to drink or be drunk. I was struggling hard, wanting to drink, wanting to catch a buzz like everyone else I was with, but when I did, I didn’t like it. And because I didn’t like the way it made me feel I don’t think (and we shall see in later blog posts) I will be as tempted to drink.  Some people may not be so lucky, they give into temptation and it creates an open door to get back into those same old destructive habits. But I feel like in my journey, this mishap (and they will happen) solidified my decision to get sober. I want to feel good and I want to enjoy activities and family time sober, even if I’m the only one (and that’s totally OK).

Speaking of enjoying activities sober, here is an an excerpt from an entry from my favorite sobriety blog (www.hipsobriety.com) written by probably the most influential person (even if I haven’t met her… yet) since my choice to get sober, Holly Whitaker:

“…drinking artificially activates the pleasure center of our brains at above-normal levels, and over time the brain compensates for this over-stimulation, trying to re-establish homeostasis by effectively dulling our ability to receive pleasure from normal things (or anything besides alcohol). So we literally aren’t motivated to do the things we normally receive joy from, and when we do them, we don’t get as big of a hit of pleasure.”

-http://www.hipsobriety.com/home/2015/11/1/what-i-do-for-sober-fun

There you have it people. Alcohol makes you think you can’t have fun without it. It makes you think that activities that we would normally enjoy are not enjoyable (at least without a drink) and I don’t want to go through life needing a drink to enjoy it.

All in all, I don’t feel like I am starting my journey over because I drank last night, I don’t feel like the last ten days are a waste and I don’t feel like I let myself down. If someone has been sober for 16 years and they have a drink, does that mean all their hard work and all the self discovery done has gone out the door and they are back at square one? No, it doesn’t. This is a journey and a journey is not defined by things going perfect all the time. It doesn’t mean mistakes won’t happen, it doesn’t mean I won’t fall down and it doesn’t mean that there won’t be moments of struggle. It does however mean that I will get back up, I will learn from my mistakes, and I won’t put myself down for not being a perfect human, because there is no such thing and there is no such thing as a perfect journey to sobriety.

The choice to grow (up)

Welcome to my blog! Pinterest told me that a fun sober activity to try is to start a blog, and so here I am (thank you Pinterest). I am starting my first (ever) blog about my sobriety and health journey, hence the name sober and since avocados are super good and healthy we get, the soberavocado blog.

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Today I am 8 days sober from alcohol. I never thought I would need to get sober, but I’ve also never been a great drinker (20% of the time I can have a drink or two and cut myself off, 80% of the time I go until I blackout or end up with my face in a toilet). The last time I went sober I was 22 and the 40 oz beers I was drinking nightly with my then boyfriend caught up and I quit drinking and became a health-nut literally overnight for almost two years. Then I met and made a friend who was the soulmate to my inner party girl and sobriety and health went out the window and we spent nights dancing and drinking away until a drunk driving accident (not caused by me) ultimately ended our friendship.

But that is neither here nor there because that was back then, and since then I have struggled. I don’t intend to blackout, typically when I do it’s because I am in an a situation where I am excited and happy and I don’t pace myself or pay attention to how much I have drank over the course of the night (or day). Then it all hits at once and the rest is history (that I don’t remember) and I act in a way I later regret when I hear from other people what I did while I was drunk. Lately the drinking has been affecting who I am, who I see myself as, and who other people see me as and it wasn’t good.

The choice to get sober has been a long time coming. With my 27th birthday approaching I have noticed (OK, I have been noticing for a while) that I’m still doing the same crap I did when I was in my younger 20’s. Getting schnockered on a work night which leads to throwing up in the bathroom at work the next morning, drinking beer til my pants don’t fit and wearing baggy shirts because that’s the only way I feel “pretty”, hating the way I look/felt because of drinking and the food I was eating as a result and living paycheck to paycheck (and at this point of my journey still am) because I would decide that going out was more important than saving. The list goes on but ultimately I didn’t like myself, I didn’t like the words people used to describe during those drunken nights, and I didn’t see it stopping anytime soon without a solid effort from myself.

Who I see myself as cannot be acquired with drinking, it just can’t . So welcome to my journey! I hope to inspire myself and others by being real with my struggles and triumphs. Here’s to discovering the real me, whoever she is.