Tag Archives: health

Sober and feeling…”life”ly

1 Sep

8:15 pm

I could write a book here, but I won’t. Lately, I haven’t had much patience for media, in general; social media, in particular. That’s mainly because I do it all day long as a journalist–and when I’m not doing it, I’m thinking about how rejuvenating it would be to not have to check email and Facebook and my phone (and the news) ever again. BUT…as a writer, it’s a must, so I’ve learned to do it in moderation and put it away when it starts to make me want to hyperventilate. Too Much Information–time to Turn It Off.

So, I’ve been minimally blogging. Not that stuff hasn’t been going down: job interviews (’nuff said), and my interviews of people for stories that I’ve been working on, and in general, stressing about my income. What else is news? ๐Ÿ˜‰

There has also been lots of dog walks, and runs, and beach swims, and snorkels…and, sort of continuing work on changing my diet (I had help in revising my tastes when I was on my volun-tour vacation, but I digress). I like my new diet, and frankly, I like having lost almost 15 pounds of “sugar” weight. The hard part of keeping it off in the face of mood swings and stress is there, and always will be; but I learned one thing: get out of the sugar-as-treat mentality as soon as you can after getting sober.

I think I’ve managed to get out of my depression after six long weeks of it. Bizarre. I’ve worked and lived as usual, but…it’s been hard. Maybe it wasn’t exactly depression, maybe it was just post-vacation blues. Or, maybe it was realizing that now, I really have to Work. Like, move-and-find-a-real-job work. It may also be related to coming back to a place that simply does not serve some big parts of myself. Or, it could be linked to the chronic pain I still have from the mosquito-borne illness I got while abroad–I read some studies matching this chronic pain to depression. It has been a very weird up-and-down ride since getting home (and I’m used to depression). I’m hoping once I’m working full-time again, and settled into a new “thing”–getting past the hump of just pulling the trigger on one possibility–things will look up.

I’ve wanted to drink a LOT these past few weeks–more than ever, or at least more than I’ve wanted to drink in the past year. I just feel like I have no reward–especially after parsing so much information on a daily basis. I need a break. A real treat, you know? But, I don’t drink. I can’t. I can’t be sure that I won’t immediately again start associating wine with reward, or wine with fixing my state of mind; and I know how simply exhausting this is. So, status quo, just don’t drink, it’s all good.

On that note, apparently my Labor Day weekend is over–I have some reporting and writing to do now!

Hope everyone is plugging away–it is worth it, it so very much is. Sometimes, I can’t believe how far I’ve come. And how much less I think, in general, about things that don’t matter. More on that in another post!

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“Happily ever after”

23 Feb

12:46 pm

And, it’s been a week since I last posted–gah!

First, the good news: I am sober. And, we all know that that three-word sentence holds SO much good. Enough said.

Second, I have my life, and my working limbs, and no cavities, and relatively awesome health. I am calmer and happier than I’ve been in, like, ever. I am sitting at my part-time job right now, which is at the ferry terminal; and while others are too proud to beg, I sure ain’t. (I get paid $10/hour, but all I “have” to do, at this point, is exist and be friendly to strangers who come up and talk to me–done and done!)

All that being said, Jesus Fuck, I wanted to drink last night. I was agitated, and foggy-brained. Not sure which comes first, or if I can actually DO something to prevent this deadly state-of-mind. But, I got through it–thank God(dess). I wrote (pounded; I have no markings left on my “n” and “m” keys, which is curious because there aren’t many swear words that start with these letters) out all my bad feelings into my journal, and about an hour later, I was feeling better. And, this morning? SUPER-glad I didn’t drink. I would have gotten even more foggy-brained, and today, I would have been hungover and I would probably still be wondering who let Satan invent fermented grapes.

I do, however, see a 9-to-5 in my future. I mean, ultimately I can’t seem to grasp exactly how writers can keep up the freelance thing without a full-time (or at least, 3/4-time) job “on the side.” I don’t think many do, for practicality’s sake, but also, for sanity. Stay calm, I tell myself in the morning, and in the evening: you will somehow find the money for next month’s bills, you will somehow muster the energy for yet another pitch…for which story, if assigned, you will make a tenth of what you’re worth–but hey, who’s counting pennies? Yes, I’d be remiss not to admit that this makes my stomach boil, in a way. Two Ivy League degrees–one in the life sciences, no doubt–and I’m working a part-time job for $10 an hour so that I can be able to afford to do journalism? As one colleague of mine put it: journalism, the last “luxury” profession. It’s just…maddening…and, yes, it REALLY makes me want to drink. Like, every second of every day. It’s just another thing, I guess, that I fight against, along with the normal mood swings/cravings that come and go.

But, I can change things, and I have to remember that. And, all these things I’m worrying about, eh, they probably won’t add up to much anyway when the time comes to do the adding. Like, OK, I spent a year of my life not making that much money, living in the middle of the ocean. So? And? All this is to say, tomorrow–in the form of next week or next month or next year–will come, and I likely won’t even remember what I was worried about not having, or losing.

I’ve been feeling somewhat down lately, so forgive if this post screams dragging, or tired, or bothered. Or just UNDERPAID. I also haven’t been feeling well; and, it bothers me, like it would anyone. I mean, Google is the devil digital-incarnate when it comes to figuring out what’s wrong with you. I’ve determined I’m either dying of cervical cancer, or have lupus. Right. Dr. Drunky Drunk Girl and her assistant, Nurse Google. Maybe it’s nothing? The most frustrating thing is not knowing; a close second might be, not having any control either way–to the extent that you can take care of your health, you do, and beyond that, you don’t have that much say in the matter.

Yes, I really wanted to drink last night. I just felt…sad, or something. Sad about it all. Sad that I don’t feel well. Sad that I am pushing a boulder uphill. Like Sisyphus.

Which brings my wandering mind to my brother’s wedding in May. But, of course! You know how people get married and then, for some reason, expect their lives to be radically different somehow because they have a piece of paper that says “married?” Yeah, I never got it either. “Happily ever after”…what? It seems the same with sobriety: there is no happily ever after. You just keep doing life, albeit sober instead of drunk. YES, I handle things better–probably a lot better than I’m giving myself credit for today–but I still get agitated, I still ruminate, I still don’t want to socialize and then end up feeling alone. I still get stressed about work, and I still drag my feet when it comes to making decisions about pretty much everything important. I still feel depressed, or, slightly down a lot of the time. (Thinking of myself as Sisyphus is probably something I should stop doing if I want to not feel slightly down a lot of time, methinks.)

As my year approaches (in three weeks), I am definitely wondering about all this navel-gazing that Getting Sober brings (instead of simply quitting drinking, or cutting back). Do NOT get me wrong: I SO don’t miss being hung over, and doing and saying horrible things while drunk. Duh. However, I have to admit, I do miss the “fun” me; and, honestly, the sober me is well, sobering. And, she’s beginning to be quite a downer. I think back longingly to my late 20s-self–where is she? I miss that girl.

I know what I have now, though–who I am–is stronger, and more settled, and more emotionally adept at handling life. I know that I’m a much improved version of myself. Yet, I miss something…and I’m not sure if it’s related to me getting older, me getting sober, me not really feeling stimulated in my life down here, or what. Puzzles; it’s a good thing I have the patience for them.

Anyway, signing off for now. Chittering insects (my mind, reference to the closed captioning on ‘The Walking Dead,” anyone?). Hope everyone is doing OK. I, for one, have about 10 blog posts that I started and have yet to share. This week!

Oh, and thank you for letting me vent! I feel so much better. Smiling. You guys rock. And I don’t care who says what, even IF I don’t know what you look like and have never heard your voices (except for Belle), I can’t imagine having come this far without you. ๐Ÿ™‚

Tonight I won’t drink because…

28 Oct

8:49 pm

I don’t want to feel drunk, or sick to my stomach. Or dizzy. I don’t want to feel dizzy, like my head is coming unglued, my brain unzipped, my thoughts not forming or falling apart as they form.

I don’t want to feel hung over tomorrow and ruin the day. Or the next two days. Or the rest of the week. I could really do without feeling like death, having a panic attack, and being barely able to function mentally and emotionally for the next several days, yes. I don’t want to be hung over, ever, EVER again.

I don’t have the money, if I’m honest, to waste on wine.

I will piss out the wine almost as fast as I drink it, along with all my nutrients (because I am, actually, eating now). But not before the wine soaks every organ in my body, metabolizes into a carcinogenic chemical, and turns my urinary tract into an acidic hell. No, no. I don’t have much say over the miracle of my physiology, but at least I can put gas in gas, and oil in oil, and make sure to not mix the two. Yes, I get the magnitude of this simple choice now, this choice of GOOD fuel over, well, dirty oil.

I don’t want to cry, or weep. About old things. Sad things. Things I’ve done. Things that are not what I’ve got going on now, what I’m doing now, who I am now, what I’m working toward now.

I have work to do. And I will have work to do tomorrow. And, I actually want to work instead of avoiding it by drinking and making it impossible to even try.

I don’t want to call people, like an ex, or my brother who hasn’t forgiven me for freaking out on him two years ago, and say things that they don’t deserve to hear.

I don’t want to be emotional. I want to be cold, precise, and sharp. Empty, even.

I don’t want to yell at people, for no reason, or every reason. I don’t have the energy to waste, and even if I did, I wouldn’t want to spend it on this.

I want what I have now, which is a certain calm, a deep well that doesn’t move at night, that keeps me in its grasp–finally.

I want to be responsible, boring even. I don’t need the drama, the attention, the diversion; I have a goal, a purpose, which is, well, being sober and then, working on allowing everything else to happen.

I like wearing my “mom” jeans, OK?

Life is too sweet to be bitter

25 Jul

4:52 pm

I came across a story today that about Kris Carr, and it totally inspired me. Here’s her final quote of the piece:

I think that life is just too sweet to be bitter. Once I was able to change my focus, desperation led to inspiration. I made so many changes, and I thought: This is an awesome life. I mean, honestly, I donโ€™t think anyone has a better life than me. How can you live with the knowledge of cancer? I might not ever be able to get rid of it, but I canโ€™t let that ruin my life. . . . I think: Just go for it. Life is a terminal condition. Weโ€™re all going to die. Cancer patients just have more information, but we all, in some ways, wait for permission to live.

For many reasons, this struck me as relevant to sobriety. It strikes at the core of what we avoid as drinkers: we wait for permission to live, we live in fear, we don’t just Go For It. Once we change our focus, we can go from desperate to not drink to inspired to live life.

Today, I’m reconfirming my commitment to running more, embracing the challenge of developing balance in my life, and giving up (trying to) the Diet Coke. If there are small things I can do (juicing might come soon, why not?), then let’s DO THIS.

Just a note to say…17 weeks sober and rockin’ on

8 Feb

11:06 pm

17 weeks (119 days) yesterday. And counting… ๐Ÿ˜‰

And, which I’ll write about tomorrow, I don’t feel possessed anymore by the illusion that drinking will “make it better.” HOLY CRAP! Faith, is all I can say, is the only thing that got me to this point. I’m glad I didn’t drink the past few weeks, I sure wanted to. I’m glad I stuck it out because, you know what? I’m seeing subtle–yet hugely impacting–changes in my attitude toward work.

I feel motivated, and I have done nothing consciously to change–my healing brain is doing all the work, I think. The other day, my spinal analysis doctor told me (well, reminded me) that the body, and especially the spine, will heal and regulate its healing ON ITS OWN. Sure, it needs help when it’s overwhelmed (like, back problems and disease), but in essence, we don’t have to do anything but let it do what it was meant to do for us. That’s pretty miraculous, actually.

I feel like that’s what’s happening with me, now–FINALLY. I’ve been feeling so impossibly frustrated by my lack of ambition the past six months (well, since I got sober), but now, I see that with continuous, subtle enhancements to my mood, my stability of mind, and my focus (i.e., my head is not filled with regret about what I did while drunk OR cravings for wine around every turn)–anything is possible. Maybe even getting back to where I was: accomplished, energetic, confident.

I have a road race tomorrow–5-something miles. Oy. AND, I have to get up at about 5 am to make it to the starting line by 7. At least my fear of getting up that early SO trumps the small it’s-Friday-I-deserve-a-glass-of-wine voice in my head that there is no question about what to do next: go to bed.

Thanks for your support, sober friends. I could not have gotten here without you!

Binge drinking and brain damage

25 Jan

12:00 pm

This is really depressing, mainly because, theoretically speaking, I shouldn’t be able to form ANY long-term memories at this point (if this article is correct in saying that the damage occurs in the hippocampus, which is where short-term memories are converted to long-term memories elsewhere in the brain):

Effects of Binge Drinking Almost Immediate

It’s hard to ignore the FACT of the matter, which is, even IF you’ve gotten sober, you’ve still got brain damage and you’ve still got an increased risk of dementia in your later years. I almost feel like drinking over it–why not? The damage has been done.

ANYHOO, it’s sort of a rainy day down here and I’ve got work to do, and my biggest concern as of the moment is my lower back (burning pain today–ack!) and NOT my hippocampus. Alas, I’ve got some blog posts to dazzle you guys with:
1. Weird and Awkward
2. Drinking is a disorder, not a disease
3. The continuum of “alcoholism” is like the continuum of sexuality–we’re all on it, somewhere
4. ?

See you later!

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