Cutting back on…sugar, and old habits

28 Jul

10:55 am

The past two days, I’ve tried to ix-nay sugar completely from my diet. Um, YEAH. Gotcha.

I’ve realized that cutting out sugar entirely, immediately–instead of weaning myself off–will lead to sugar withdrawal, which I guess I had a bit of yesterday: I was sad and lethargic, and felt like my brain was hovering around “off” for most of the day. Sigh. No more extremes. (And, with sugar, I don’t think it’s prudent to be so black-and-white about it.) So, I think I’m going to start by cutting BACK on Diet Coke–maybe one a day, if I need it, or two if I’m indulging. I’ve been drinking at least a liter a day regularly for about nine months?, several cans a day since I quit drinking, and at least a 20-ounce of regular Coke every day since about 2007. I’m sure I drank soda before then, but it was mainly coffee (in the day) and wine (at night).

I noticed I drink Diet Coke like I drink wine, fast and furious. However, there’s something more dangerous about drinking liquid sugar; you can drink and drink and drink, until you get sick, but you won’t black out or pass out. Which means, you can keep drinking more. PERFECT.

It was interesting to watch my mood swings yesterday, and me push through them. It was like I was on autopilot, and my sober mind had taken over. I DID have a craving to drink–a pretty big one. I haven’t really seriously thought of drinking for a while, and this was minor, but big enough to have to turn on the virtual “this is the shit that will go down if you drink tonight” movie in my mind. I counted the number of weeks I have left to get to 22, which was close to my last sober record of 158 days. But then, I took a magnifying glass to what, exactly, I wanted, and HOW, exactly, I was planning to effect that change. The “how” part was new: I’ve gotten myself to reflexively look at what is tripping my drinking switch, but never how to turn it off.

I could very clearly see that my sadness wasn’t necessarily brought on by a sugar low, though that was part of it. I was, and am, lonely. I don’t have many (any?) friends here. I don’t go out. EVER. I could admit to myself last night, on my run, that no, I still haven’t accepted let alone embraced socializing sober. It’s not as strong as it used to be, but I’m still convinced that “there is no point” to going out and not drinkin’. (By go out, I mean to bars and clubs.)

Then I thought, well, you have two neighbors who are free tonight, why not ask them to do something with you? Granted, I had planned to work yesterday, which means that Saturday night or no Saturday night, I am trolling the journals and (for a new project) slogging through complicated stories on the latest in cancer research and treatment–that’s just how I do. However, I didn’t ask, or invite. I think I might have felt better if I had forced myself to socialize instead of doing the usual, which is running alone on the beach and/or working on a Saturday night.

At one point in the run, I simply concluded that I am still living, in a way, like my “old drunk self,” simply without the booze. By that I mean, I still isolate (prefer to be alone), I just don’t do it with wine. It takes a LONG time to change our ingrained habits and defense mechanisms, doesn’t it?

It’s not easy for me to socialize, mainly because I FEEL like I don’t want to, but also because it’s just not in my nature (habit) to engage instead of isolate. “Make yourself available,” is what one of my old roommates used to tell me. That was over a decade ago. I was isolating then, I am isolating now. I guess maybe drinking gave me a way to isolate and not feel bad (or anything!) about it.

Sure, it’s nice to be alone sometimes, have a weekend by myself. What I do, though, hasn’t changed since I hung up my drinking shoes: NOT inviting people over, out, or IN to my life. I wanted to drink to avoid this realization, but that was pointless; there it was. I ran more. I wanted to drink to not feel slightly angry at myself, defeated, and sad. Within about a minute, or less, I had worked out that no, drinking would not fix any of this, and no, actually, I didn’t want a drink. What I wanted–needed–was real change. To feel better. And, how can I feel better? Change my habit of isolating.

The point is, the craving came and went, but I was able to see through it. What was making me want to drink, and what I could do–besides drink–to fix the problem. I was looking for solutions to the real problem, and not just a way to dodge the craving for wine. Wolfie has no clothes, as it were. I can see right through to your scrawny, starved frame, your salivating, dried-up tongue…FUCKING FUCK YOU, WOLFIE!

I am on Day…? 132. 19 weeks tomorrow. I suppose 22 weeks plus 4 days will be my immediate goal, but I’m truly curious to see what comes after six months. Will there be glitter? Balls of it? Will there be unicorns with sparkly teeth, smiling at me from a chorus line on the beach? Or, will it be more like a Broadway musical? Maybe a Broadway musical with glitter and a unicorn parade?

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12 Responses to “Cutting back on…sugar, and old habits”

  1. carrythemessage July 28, 2013 at 11:25 am #

    Sugar aside, it seems that isolation is what is really on your mind here. And I understand it. I think most drinkers isolated. Many of us did because we didn’t want anyone hassling us or commenting on our true drinking habits and amounts. I isolated because I was also retreating within, and really didn’t want anything to do with others. I felt the bottle was my true friend. I didn’t want anyone in the way of my true love there. And in my recovery, I have come to grips with the fact that I just enjoy being alone much of the time. I enjoy solo time. I always have and always will. I am an introvert and that’s me. I DO need folks though – it’s not one or the other. That’s why I enjoy the fellowship at meetings, and also online support and friends. I have men that I call to talk about what is going on, and keep in touch with lots others to keep that connection. Isolating for me is a very, very easy thing to get back into, and when I have done it in sobriety, I have suffered. Too much in my own head. But I have never been, nor will I ever really be, a social animal. My wife joked the other day that if it were up to me, the boys wouldn’t be in any camps, have any playdates or visit others. We both laughed because we know she’s right. My perfect day is staying at home all day, surfing, cleaning, maybe hitting a meeting, writing, napping, etc. Hers is going out with friends, chatting on the phone, watching reality TV and hanging out with others. The thing is that when I do go out, when I get outside my comfort zone, I am actually good with it. I actually enjoy myself more than I like to admit. It’s part of growth.

    What I am trying to say is that while it’s ok to not fight your true nature, it’s dangerous to fall into old habits. There is a difference between the two. I prefer my own company often, but my old habit is to isolate completely. When I see that I am pulling away, I put myself back out there…then I feel relief! This is your struggle right now. How you tell it, there is still the attachment of socializing with drinking. Perhaps finding some “safe” friends and going somewhere that is not a bar might help. I love going for coffee. Adore it. I can sit for hours at a coffee shop and shoot the shit. Never used to be like that. Ever. Couldn’t imagine doing it without booze. Now I can’t imagine doing it *with* booze. Bunch of dull drunkards, we are, repeating the same crap over and over, getting louder and duller.

    I know what you’re saying, DDG, and it does get better, but a little bit of a push sometimes helps to see that you’re not stuck in any way. You’re as stuck as you want to make yourself stuck 🙂

    Blessings,
    Paul

    • Drunky Drunk Girl July 31, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

      Hi, Paul,

      Thank you for this, and for your advice. I’m getting there, and a push is what I need sometimes, sure. But, I am also grappling with an entirely new way of life (country living versus city living) and a new way of employment (working from home versus working in an office). Both are very different in terms of the opportunities they “force” upon you to get out there and meet people. As in, I have three things working against my pushing (not drinking, not just bumping into people on the street, and not having coworkers to bond with)…so, that’s a bit hard.

      In any case, I am just going to be patient with myself. I know I should push now and then, and I will…

      Sugar? Oh, boy. As of now, I am off the Diet Coke, which is a relief more than anything.

      Hugs.

      -DDG

  2. runningfromthebooze July 28, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

    Yesterday I kept thinking about how I needed to be patient with this process. I’ve been anxious about throwing myself into sober situations/functions. I think I’m going to train with a group for a race. I figure it’s a group, it’s sober and it’s running (jogging, really). It’s a small step in the right direction. Maybe something like that would work for you too. *: ]

    • Drunky Drunk Girl July 31, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

      Thank you for stopping by! Yes, it takes time and patience. Why do we need to be so quick to get back into things? We’re operating in a whole new world now–give this fish some time to learn how to breathe on dry land, will ya? LOL

      Seriously, I think a running group is a FAB idea–healthy, a great way to meet people, and a very down-to-earth setting (I mean, we’re sweating together, can’t hide around that, right?).

      xx

  3. fivecoursegarden July 28, 2013 at 4:03 pm #

    Have you read “Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that won’t stop talking.”? by Susan Cain. If you want a taste of it, have a look at her TED talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts.html

    This really helped my understand what’s going on when we feel pressured to be “out there” when we really aren’t necessarily built for it!

    • Drunky Drunk Girl July 31, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

      Wow…thank you! I will check this out. I’ve read a few recent articles on introversion, but this should be great. Love TED talks.

      It’s taken me a long time (still working on it) to stop apologizing for being “too quiet” or “not loud enough.” That’s sad, isn’t it? There is such beauty in the opposite of what our brash society promotes, isn’t there? Why can’t I be “loud and proud” about my being a loner/shy/introverted? LOL

      Hugs.

  4. Madwomyn July 28, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

    Sugar/carbs are kicking my ass since I’ve put alcohol down 8 months ago. I have been bingeing on food & craving sugar constantly. The 15 pounds I have gained is really getting me down. DDG you are such a great researcher-any good blogs/sites with info and or support on this? I recently read that l-glutamine supplements can help.
    I’ve followed your journey & relate to so much of your story. Thanks so much.
    Sincerely,
    Sober & fat but not happy!

    • Drunky Drunk Girl July 31, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

      Hi, there,
      I’m not sure, really. I have never been one to gain weight, but I put on about 10 pounds the past year, mainly due to eating and drinking sugar as a substitute to wine. I don’t think 15 pounds is that unusual, actually, and most likely, the second you start to regulate your sugar intake, the better you’ll feel and the weight will start to come off. (Sugar not only converts to fat, but it deregulates your hunger meter, so to speak.)

      Let me do a little research and get back to you. I have found that substituting naturally sweet and/or tart beverages into my “drink brigade” helps: things like sorrel tea (tart), anything pomegranite/blackberry-related…

      Anyway, 8 months is awesome!?!? Congrats to you, thanks for reading, and let me see what I can find. You can also email me at: drunkydrunkgirl@gmail.com

      Hugs.

  5. Mrs D July 28, 2013 at 10:42 pm #

    Oh my god don’t you just love Paul and his epic comments? He rocks! But by jingos woman that’s a lot of money you’ve been paying to the makers of Coke! Sugar is a killer and I still have binges when I’m feeling low and go to bed with a bowl of muesli with 2 huge desert spoons of sugar on top. Bad bad bad. But hey, at least we’re sober eh! There are hundreds of people locked into a miserable drinking cycle of drink/regret/drink/regret/drink/regret.. at least we’ve left that madness behind. Go gently my friend and take good care. xxxxx

    • Drunky Drunk Girl July 31, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

      Yes, we LOVE Paul!

      And yes, I went from keeping a few vineyards in business to keeping Coca-Cola up and running! I’ve cut back, and I feel great. Fine. Never better. It wasn’t as bad as I thought, and I’m realizing the power of actually good-for-me drinks, like special iced teas (I love anything infused with ginger).

      And yes, no, it’s 100% awesome to be sober, no matter what else is happening. Really.

      Hugs to you, Mrs. D.!

  6. Lilly July 29, 2013 at 3:16 am #

    Oh yes, you need to get off that coke crack sweetie. That shit is no good for you either. In moderation sure, sure but not if you’re downing a litre a day. Weaning yourself off it and finding less damaging AF drinks is a great place to start. I’ve noticed I even drink soda water like I used to chug alcohol if I’m out. Don’t know if it’s nerves or habit or our compulsive natures or what but, yes, chug chug chug!

    I’ve also been wrestling with the isolating issue BIG TIME. I am finding myself doing that a lot and struggling to even want to socialise. I seem to require even more alone time than ever before right now and I’m really starting to question how healthy that is. Especially when I found myself out with friends the other day having a perfectly lovely time and yet somehow I was twitchy to be at home alone again. I really had no idea why as it wasn’t a challenging/stressful/tedious/taxing situation in any way. Just hanging out with lovely friends and yet part of me still wanted to just retreat. What the fuck is up with that??? I’ve always liked my me time but I feel like something strange is going on here and I can’t quite work it out.

    I wish I had more insight to offer but as you can see I’m kind of in the same boat. Keep sharing and nutting it out is all I can say. You’ll get there. xx

    • Drunky Drunk Girl July 31, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

      Coke crack–LOL. LOVE THAT. It so is crack, and I’m so getting off it! I’ve turned to making things like sorrel and ginger tea (surprisingly…”fix”-worthy). It’s helped a LOT to cut back on sugar in all forms–had no idea how ill it’s probably making me.

      I’ve been thinking a lot about this “isolating” thing, and at the end of the day, I think we should be patient and go easy on ourselves. Quitting drinking for me has been a complete change of lifestyle, including my ideas of HOW to live, how to be social, how to make and keep friends. It’s like, we’ve plopped ourselves down into this entirely new world–of course, we’re going to need some time to figure out how to live in it! I look back and think, Wow, I’ve become such a hermit this past year, and/or, Wow, who AM I now, I never go out?! But, really, I (we) am doing my best and that’s all I can offer. Who cares what anyone else thinks of our alone time? I don’t need to explain or defend myself right now… It’s OK to have made a few blunders, I was getting used to being sober. Plus, now? I just feel a lot more like myself, in terms of being able to be “fierce” when socializing…I don’t feel like that little kitten anymore who needs to be protected from the rain. I think you’ll start to feel this way, too, the longer you get to know your new world and how to operate in it…

      So, yes. Congrats on 90 days! So very proud of you, my friend. Enjoy your treats…! xx

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