2 YEARS

Can you believe it? July 28, 2013 I had my last drink, make that my last bottle and 1/2 of wine. I didn’t plan on it being my last, it just happened. The middle of the night conversations were the same as always, the regret, the self-loathing, the shame. But that morning the feeling of desperation was still smothering me, such a weight to carry, I just knew I couldn’t bear it any longer. I found Jean (Unpickled) and Belle (Tired of Thinking about Not Drinking). Saved my life. Changed my life.

I had already played around with every type of moderation gimmick for years. So, I’ve never looked back, I’ve never slipped or relapsed. I can’t really say why, I certainly dealt with cravings and lots of temptation for sure. But I. Couldn’t. Face. Another. Day. 1. or 2 or 5 for that matter.  They were sooooo hard to get through. Husband #1 was out of the country, it would have been easy to cheat, but I couldn’t bear the thought of where I was headed. If I kept drinking I knew I would embarrass myself in front of my grandchildren, for God’s sake, my “grandchildren”. I wanted to be Sharon again. I had lost her in vats of Chardonnay somewhere in my 20-30 years of drinking. I didn’t drink because of a shitty childhood, though it was pretty shitty. I didn’t drink because of a lousy marriage or problem children. It just became a habit, like smoking, a nasty habit that grabbed me, drinking with dinner, then after, while watching  TV, trying to read (haha).  That turned into drinking alone at night when the house was dark and quiet. How fucking pathetic? Really, as often as my brain said you’re fucking pathetic, my arm put the glass to my lips. I’m sure there’s truth to the genetic theories, my mother had an additive personality and alcohol was among the list of things that ruled her life. But I can’t blame that or her, I chose to drink and now I’ve chosen to stop.

Ugh, what a horror ride through the tunnel of my drinking past. It’s necessary to relive it so you can remember why you’re here.

Maybe some of you thinking about stopping have that weight on your shoulders, I’m two years of proof it can be lifted and oh how light you will feel.

10 awesome things in 2 years

1. I like, love myself again and I am worthy of a whole lot of good shit! Rewards and bubble baths are still in my life.  I was always a good person (I think),  but I’m a better person now.

2. My relationships with family and friends are so much richer. I’m attentive instead of wanting to be alone with my poison. I actually listen to what people are saying.

3. I’m tons healthier.  I exercise regularly.  My blood pressure dropped significantly, all by itself.

4. My skin looks pretty good for an old broad and my gray hair is now an ashy blonde. Not something I learned, just an observation.

5. I find joy in places I had forgotten to look. How green spring is, how birds sing early, early in the morning. How much I love to walk, especially with friends. How fucking cold Chicago can get,. I think alcohol falsely insulates you, then you pass out in a snowdrift and die! Alcohol is evil. Sorry, I digress.

6. The witching hour is a thing of the past.  It’s rare that I feel the need for tonic and lime or NA wine between 5-7pm.  That was a surprise. I thought I’d always need a replacement in hand because so much of my drinking was ritual.

7. Sober blogs rock.  I’m still reading sober blogs, though I’ve gone from reading 15-20 a day to having just 3-4 in my email. Most of those I read are people that started along with or soon after I started my journey. I grieved when a few stopped writing. And I got pissed when some started drinking again. I had to learn that it’s their issue and doesn’t mean I’m going to succumb too.

8.Life is a gift, don’t fuck it up. Life is good, everyday with clear eyes and a clear head is a gift. Every morning I’m grateful to the Big Guy or Gal ( I’ve been leaning more toward a female God lately) for helping me. I fell on my knees the day I decided to stop and asked for all the help he/she could send me. She answered, sent me lots of lovely and handsome Internet Angels to guide me along. Sometimes the Internet can be a very good thing. You all held me up and kept me going. Still keep me going.

9. I also learned that swearing again like I did before kids made me feel frickin good.  Any sort of tension release is good. Husband #1 was and is happy about that. Wink,wink. You know you can take the girl out of the 70’s but you can’t take the 70’s out of the girl. Old Hippie here.

10. The most important tool I used against alcohol was Attitude with a capital A. Developing a kick ass attitude helped me through some rocky times. I am strong , I am invincible, I am… OMG I’m so old I’m quoting Helen Reddy! How bout Katie Perry and you’re gonna hear me roaaarr! Anyway, Sherry, the Queen of the Motherfucking Ninja Warriors, helped me along with that attitude and remains an inspiration today. I kicked that frickin wolf to the curb. He’s still lying out there, but he’s down and in the gutter. I’d like him to stay down for a very long time.

So.

I pledge to you all I will remain alcohol free for another 365 days ( I’d say forever and it will be but I do better with smaller goals.) I expect you to hold me accountable and get up in my face if I sound whimpy at some point. Deal?

Enough already, Sharon, long and borrrrring. Yawn.

😃 Onward to year 3.

* update, Husband #1 is at 119 days, that makes me happy, too. Don’t know when he’ll imbibe again, he says he will, but he’s done an awesome job so far. Wink, wink.

Oh, one more thing. 63 is the new 42, it’s true, it has to be.  I read it in an AARP magazine.

Sharon

Just Stopped By To Say Hello

Hey guys, hope all is well with everyone. I’m still here, A little over a month shy of 700 days. I’ve been really bad about self-care lately and I can tell.  I’m not craving alcohol but I just feel like, well shit. How the hell does anyone know what shit feels like?  We have the damnedest expressions, put these images in your head; a bird in the hand…, sick as a dog, don’t cry over spilled milk, go take a flying fuck…. Now there’s a picture.  Ok back to self-care. I’ve been sugar loading for a while now and it has got to stop. I’ve been watching baby grandson all month and it’s just time for me to stop. I feel so guilty saying that.  He starts daycare in June. I wish I could be comfortable keeping him longer but I just can’t. I’m totally burned out, I had Gracie everyday for almost a year and I just can’t keep it up. It’s time to spoil myself instead of my kids and grandkids. Sounds so SELFISH, but damn, that’s how it is.

I’ve been making lists of things I want to do starting in June. Walking everyday and taking Olive along a couple of those days and healthy eating, healthy eating, healthy eating. Since I quit drinking I’ve had 8lbs to lose.  It’s now 10. Shit. I’ve been sitting on the couch lately watching mindless TV and that has to change. If I don’t get moving I’ll slip into depression and that would suck the big one. Put that image in your head. I’m messing with your mind now! I’ve got boxes of photos I need to scan and slides I need to convert to digital, that particular item has been a favorite New Year’s resolution for the past oh, ten years. So, that’s what I’m up to. I need to get some new bubble bath and spend more mornings sipping coffee on my screened porch. If only the Chicago weather would make up it’s mind!!!

On to other things. I’ve got 22 tomato plants to get in the ground. Next weekend if the weather holds, you just never know around here.  We have a lovely back yard but it’s shady so we rent two garden plots from our park district. It’s Husband # 1’s stress relief and I enjoy it. Fresh veggies all summer and pumpkins for the little one thing in the fall. I really look forward to it. It’s something we share. He grew up on a farm, sort of, and has taught me and our children a lot about the earth, plants and the how-to’s.

The view

The view

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Speaking of…Husband #1 will be hitting 50 days soon. It’s been good, not as great as last time, but good. His overseas travel is messing with his health a little and his sleep patterns but he’s not quite ready to retire yet so we’re dealing the best we can.  He’s a couple years younger than me ( looks loads older, shhh, don’t let him hear.). I think he’ll probably start up again after 100 days, he’s just not as committed or as addicted as I am, however, God only knows if or when that could happen to him. Let’s hope not. We need to look forward to retirement and the last cycle, God that sounds awful. But, it is what it is.

I meant to thank you all.  A few posts back when he was drinking, I was lamenting what to do and you all gave me such great support and wisdom. Prim and Bye, Bye Beer especially. Insight is everything so thanks to you all. If he chooses to drink again I’ll may need to refer to all those comments.

So as to not cut off my nose to spite my face I’d best close for now.  Summer is the most difficult time for me when it comes to not drinking but I’ll hold. Two years is just a couple months away, can’t spoil it now. I’ll post a few pictures because today is a beautiful day. Remember the early bird gets the, what the fuck am I doing!!

Ciao.

At least Olive enjoys the new porch furniture.

At least Olive enjoys the new porch furniture.

The little ones got these for me for Mother's Day.  It's a frickin feeding frenzy at 5:00pm

The little ones got these for me for Mother’s Day. It’s a frickin feeding frenzy at 5:00pm

I Got Plenty of Nothin

WTF I’ve really had a string of song titles for blog posts lately, old songs. Must be my age and the fact that I no longer know who sings what and I don’t give a damn.

Anyway, all is well here in Chicagoland. The sun comes out occasionally which makes me very happy. I started a Pilates class, on the machines, which makes me very happy and I bet I’m an inch taller, which makes me look thinner, right? I’m going to watch my new grandson for the month of May so I can really get to know him, that makes me happy too.  And, best of all, Husband #1 is on day 7 and that makes me ecstatic, I know it’s early but already things have improved. Relationships are like roller coaster rides, ups, downs, curves, hills and valleys, strap in and hold tight.

No urges, no wolf, no desire to drink.  It’s funny how the need for an alternative drink has faded away, maybe it’s the cold weather and come summer I’ll need my tonic and lime or fake wine but for now, nothing works just fine.

My sweet little Olive the puppy is still a joy for me, my now 65 pound lap dog! I’m out walking her twice a day, even though we have a fenced yard. It helps me rack up steps on my Fitbit and does wonders for my frame of mind. I even bought some black rain boots with white polka dots to walk her in the rain. No reason to not be a stylin dog walkin Grammy. Oh, she snores like a sailor, I never slept with a sailor so I can’t say that’s really true. Slept with an Army guy for a while, don’t remember but I don’t think he snored, don’t think we slept much either. TMI.

Sorry for the disgustingly cheery blog post.  It’s like one of those fucking “my life is better than your life” letters people put in their Christmas cards.  Like anyone gives a rat’s ass that your Tommy made the honor role, saved a life at swim practice and discovered a cure for asshole parents. I’m sure some rain will fall. But right now “I got plenty of nothin, and nothin’s plenty for me.”

Well, I’m still having issues with sugar, how’s that! Shit happens.

Sharon

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I’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’

Sometimes I feel like that toward Husband #1.  I used to smoke, gave it up 33 years ago when I became pregnant with my first child.  I’m a nasty reformed smoker.  Can’t stand to be around smoke or smokers.  It turns my stomach.  Reformed smokers are the worst.  That feeling is creeping into my reformed drinking self.  Most of my friends have one, or none when it comes to wine so they’re not the issue.  It’s Husband #1. I don’t want to be around him or talk to him when he’s drinking. It’s not like he gets falling down drunk, but he gets tipsy.  He drinks from 4:30-6:30 then stops, but by then he’s put a good deal of alcohol down the hatch.  It disgusts me. The feeling is starting to creep into my days and not just relegated to the witching hour when he imbibes.  Not good. Not good at all. After 36 years of marriage and all the bullshit he put up with because of my drinking I need to be more understanding.  But I can’t feel something I don’t feel or act like it’s nothing when it bothers the shit out of me!  I’m shutting him out. Can’t help it.  He says he’s quitting again next Thursday.  Why that day you ask, he’s scheduled for a colonoscopy on Friday, couldn’t drink if he wanted to. Trying to think of a clever joke here but I don’t have the intestinal fortitude for one right now. We shall see what happens, if he can make it another 100 days, he wants to make me happy. It won’t work unless he wants it too.  Wife versus Wolf.  Stay tuned. How do you guys deal with that, the drinking, not the colon thingy?  Any suggestions?

On a lighter note, had a great time in warm, wonderful Florida! Rode around in golf carts, soaked in salt water pool and did absofuckinglutely NOTHING, no dishes, no cooking, nothing for 4 days.  It was heaven. I was pouring my friends glasses of wine one evening realizing I never thought I’d be able to do that without wanting some myself. But I don’t.  I really hope this lasts.  I wake up feeling great every day.  Sure at my age I have some occasional back aches, but no fuzzy head, no dry mouth, no shame or regrets. SWEET!  Had some issues flying home.  Had to be diverted to Nashville for an hour but finally got home. I’m not a great flyer. Not a fan of take off.  It takes every ounce of my strength to keep that plane in the air until we arrive safely.   So I’m back to the cold and snow. I’d never been to Nashville, now I can say I have! Check that off my bucket list.

I’ve been watching The Great British Baking Show on a local public broadcast channel.  Hey UK friends, that Paul piercing blue eyes Hollywood is one HOT baker.  I know he’s no goody, goody and he cheated, but I gotta say he can come into my kitchen and judge my cookies anytime.  Loved the show.  Hope they broadcast the next few seasons.  Our competitive shows here are awful, Cupcake wars and Donut Showdowns just aren’t as entertaining.  A clerk at the local Whole Foods store asked me today if I watched the British show ( I was buying white chocolate, which must have given her the idea to ask).  We then talked about the hot, sexy slightly pudgy judge, did I say hot and sexy in the pink and purple shirt. And such bedroom, Paul Newman eyes. YUMMY. How many cooking terms have sexual meanings, let’s see?  Hot, steamy, yummy, smoking, broil, lip-smacking, got to stop now or I could get kicked off wordpress for being some perverted old grandma. You get the idea.

March 20th will mark 600 days. Un fucking believable. 600 days. I never thought I’d get past day 1. If I can do it so can you. Anything’s possible. Any time. No matter what your age. It’s never too late.

Sharon

Leavin’ On A Jet Plane

Don’t know when I’ll be back again..I wish that were true but it’s not. I’m off to Florida again for 4 days with my book group buddies. This will be my third sober girs getaway. At this stage it’s a no brainier.

I was out with the dogs at 4 fucking 30 this morning, it was -4. If someone videos me and put me on you tube I’d get a gazillion hits. Fuzzy leggings, sleep socks, LLBean rubber boots, long down coat and the best part, a plaid bomber hat with fur.  Then there’s the scarf pulled up over my face, oh and don’t forget my glasses. They fog up outside from my breath so I have to slide them down my nose to see. It’s fucking frightening!! I guess it’s a good thing the dogs are early risers, if people actually saw me they’d call the cops! I need Florida.

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So, some of you wanted an update on the Whole 30 thing. Well, let’s just call it a Whole 9 or maybe 8. I couldn’t go without my Starbucks. And since you can’t blackout and fall down steps or say things you don’t remember from a mocha late I figured, what the hell! I have cut back on the sugar and bread though. Except for Valentine’s Day. I made salted caramel truffles with MY name on them. They have tiny little gremlins inside and every day around 3, they call me, I can’t wait until they leave but I can’t bring myself to throw them out. They are freakin amazing little critters. Want the recipe? (Insert maniacal laugh here).

Husband #1 is still beer and wining for a couple hours each evening so I’m whiny and bitchy. It really is hard when one partner abstains and the other doesn’t. I should start abstaining from sex until he stops drinking but … Nah forget that idea I’ll think of something else.

i can’t wait for warmth and sunshine! We ride around i golf carts and have a ball. there are three streets signs there I love, I’ll try to get a photo to post, DamnifIknow, DamnifIcare, shit I can’t remember the last Damnif…

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Talk soon.

Sharon

By the Numbers

#1. It’s a BOY!!! I now have a grandSON to add to the three little princesses running around dancing to Let It Go! Time for ninja turtles and trucks! My son won’t admit it but he’s thrilled, said now he’ll have someone to watch basketball with him.

imageI don’t look so good here but he’s gorgeous.

#2. On January 28th, Olive the Puppy will be 8 months old and I will be 18 months sober. Fuck Yes!! I’ve felt pretty good lately, not really many cravings. I’ve had a short fuse with husband #1 however, I really wish he’d give up the wine.  The beer I don’t mind cause I don’t like it,but white wine was my drink of choice. Olive, however, has come into her own and isn’t my perfect little puppy anymore so we’re starting a manners class on Saturday.

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#3. Starting this Whole 30 nonsense tomorrow.  Doing it with my daughter, she’s trying to lose some weight and has a hard time by herself. Going without sugar is really going to be hard for me.  How the hell can I give up my trips to Starbucks for mochas and replace them with coffee with coconut milk? Yuck!  But I’m gonna try.

Normally #1 and I go vegetarian for the month of January, this is the 4th year for that, but we’re stopping early.  Good thing because I was getting really bored this year.  And I spend so much time trying to find flavorful, different recipes it gets old fast. Now I can devote myself to more time sucking by finding different, flavorful recipes for Whole 30.

I’ve read online, (more time sucking) that you get N A S T Y after a few days without sugar. Should be interesting since I wear the crown of Queen Bitch now and going veggie doesn’t make me Miss Congeniality either. Hope I don’t kick the spouse (oh wait, maybe I do) so hope I don’t kick the dog or yell at the mail”person”. Though Ralph bit her several years ago so yelling shouldn’t phase her.

I have in my head that this Whole 30 thing will be like the first 30 days of not drinking and that just totally sucked the big one. (Just let out a major sigh).

So, I’m an addict, addicted to alcohol (formerly), addicted to Starbucks, addicted to sugar, a saltaholic. Have way too many pairs of Keen shoes and Bobbi Brown cosmetics. Oh and majorly hooked on J.D. Robb’s In Death series but only the audio versions, the narrator is outstanding. Should I go on…hell no! Seems I have a problem. Who knew?

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So in preparation for tomorrow’s deprivation, (rhymed haha) I’ve had 4 oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and two venti mochas (no whip of course), 2 lemon scones for breakfast and two pieces of Texas toast for dinner. Sugar and starch hangover tomorrow and then withdrawal. Shit, why, why, why? Because I love my daughter and myself.  I mean, what’s not to love??

I just read this before I pushed the publish button, I damn well didn’t fucking swear nearly enough. Must be the sugar!

A Little Holiday Cheer

Our friends in the UK seemed to have a lock on all the yummy mocktail cordials and drinks. After seeing Lou’s recap from last year(http://ahangoverfreelife.com/category/mocktails)I was very jealous and decided to search for some NA mulled punch. Not even Amazon had any, and then I found a little British food and beverage site in New Hampshire. Look at the early Christmas present that arrived today.

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I’m hoping Prim or Lou can give me some suggestions for the spiced berry cordial and the lime as well. So I’m now going to really enjoy the holidays.

Have to share this. I periodically check the Jimmy Fallon you tube videos, don’t know how I missed this one, I’m still laughing. Enjoy. Sorry I don’t know how to put the clip on the blog, just the link. Happy Holidays!

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=yFpdALrk3mo

Delicious

imageFor those who asked for the recipe this is what Prim sent me and it was really wonderful.

no-jito recipe:

go out to garden to look for mint. discover it’s all died back. oh, yeah. it’s winter, right?
buy a bunch of fresh mint from shop. wash if you’re feeling enthusiastic.
put equal quantities of water and white sugar in pan – say one mug full of each?
take three sprigs mint out of bunch and set aside. put rest of bunch into pan.
bring pan to boil. put it on side to cool down then strain into jug. you have made mint syrup! sniff it. good, yes?
put maybe three quarters of an inch of mint syrup into a tall glass.
add three sprigs of mint, the juice of half a lime, and some ice cubes.
cut rest of lime into two segments and add that too.
add either soda water or diet lemonade. I like the latter.
stir a bit to break up the fresh mint. taste to see if you need more syrup or more lemonade.
toast your sober friends around the world. but yourself most of all. this yummy stuff? you deserve it!

Toasting With A Friend on December 10

So cheers to me for 500 days and cheers to Prim at( http://takinganewpath.wordpress.com) for 400 days. We’re toasting with no-jitos. I’m following Prim’s recipe. Funny,every time I see the name Prim written, The Hunger Games Trilogy comes to mind. Prim, do you have a long braid down your back? Digressing… we’ll be toasting 6 hours apart across the pond. I’ll let you know how it tastes. It sounds yummy with mint simple syrup. I was never a cocktail drinker so I won’t miss the rum.

I wish at 500 days I didn’t still think about a glass of wine every now and then, wish that thinking about drinking would just fucking Go Away. But it won’t. And to be honest I don’t think it ever will. I know I can’t drink but that doesn’t mean I won’t want to be a normal drinker for whatever time I’m left on Earth. Just ain’t goin happen. Deal with it Sharon, deal with it.

So, I’m sitting here watching the 50th Anniversary showing of “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”. I used to watch it with my kids. Tonight I’m on my own and I still have it on. I’m such a sap. Olive’s at my feet and Ralph the Dog is snoring somewhere. Husband #1 is out of town for a couple days. I’m getting ready to make a cup of chamomile and lavender tea and eat a couple cookies. The tree is lit and it’s quite cozy. No frickin chestnuts on the fire though. I think that’s a European thing. I remember the old men and their stands in Florence and Rome. Ahhh.It’s a damn Hallmark movie! Which I watch at this time of the year too and they are soooooo bad!!! My thoughts are all over the place aren’t they! Too bad.

500 days, at one time I never thought I’d make it to 5 days.Un-fucking-believable! Autocorrect wants to make that un-funking so whatever floats your boat. I am proud of my journey and thanks to all of you for helping me along. Halfway to 1000. 500 down, 500 to go.

From the Island of Misfits, cheers!
Sharon