Day 14…How’s your liver?

So I have a lot of time on my hands being on vacation and snowed in at our lake house.  So I have been bombarding myself with information on the demises of alcohol.  Reinforcing why I should not drink!  Yikes!  This documentary scared me to never, ever think of drinking again!  Every time I think I want to go back to having wine I will watch this video.  I encourage everyone to carve out some time to view.

I love Belvoir drinks!!

If you are looking for a non-alcoholic drink, Belvoir lemonades are delicious.  I stumbled across this drink over the summer at a restaurant in the Hamptons,NY.  I was on the wagon and looking for something different…not sparkling water or ice tea.  I ordered this Belvoir Elderflower lemonade that was on the menu.  I figured it must be good if it’s in the “Hamptons” At the first sip I knew I found my wine replacement.  I don’t know if I wanted it to be like wine, but I swear it tasted similar to my crisp, fruity New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.  It wasn’t very sweet, not super lemony.  Just crisp and citrusy.  It was the perfect drink for me.  I then decided to try the Elderflower & Rose and that was just as good.  My new Rosé ( along with my Acaí Vitamin Water lol!)  They are also a great base for lots of mock-tail recipes. So if you are looking to try something new.  I give this a two👍👍 up.  It is not cheap, but cheaper than the wine I was buying.  I order it by the case.  The only place I can find it at a low cost with free shipping is at ~$58/12-750ml bottles.

Days 7, 8, 9….. Training Wheels

8_17_2017Merry Christmas Eve!!!  So no wine for 9 days now.  My recovery is going well.  But, I have to be honest.  It’s because I have “training wheels”.  Lots of addicts have training wheels.  Chantix for smokers, diet pills or the more extreme, gastric bypass, for the overweight, for example.  For me, a wine-aholic, its Antabuse. Now here is the disclaimer, I am not a doctor and not giving any medical advice.  You need a prescription for this medication.  Each of us have our own recovery journey.  You should not take Antabuse unless you are absolutely committed to stopping alcohol. You cannot drink while on it.  The side effects can be brutal…rapid heart rate, headache, flushing, vomiting, etc. And with a half life of 60-120 hours it will not be out of your body for at least a week.  Here is an article about  Antabuse featured in the Fix, this isn’t for everyone.  You and your physician have to make that educated decision.

Now, I have used anatabuse successfully back in July for a total of 82 days.  During that time I did go to a counselor for 3 visits and had visited AA a few times.  So AA was definitely not for me.  It was so cliquey and I couldn’t relate to the majority of stories being shared.  I did not have a rock bottom where I lost everything, never a DWI, never a violent moment. I know AA has worked for many, it was just not going to be me.  God is already an important part of my life and I don’t need AA to teach me about that topic. Although I am reading the Big Book, which is very informative.  Getting  together with the group I went to didn’t make me feel good about myself. It scared me enough to know I never wanted to get that bad.  So for that, I thank you AA.  The counselor,  she pointed out that yes I am an alcoholic.  I challenged that because I told her I only drink wine and in the evening.  She chuckled and said that is just your addiction of choice.  You don’t have to be chugging down vodka all day to be an alcoholic.  She said we come in all different “shapes and sizes”.  Ok I get it.  What I didn’t care for is finding deep family issues as to the reason I drink.  Demonizing my dad, who is a recovering alcoholic for over 35 years.  He stopped drinking when I was around fourteen.  He stopped because his family meant more to him than the booze.  He is a wonderful, caring father but not without his personality flaws….oh wait, he is normal.  Like the rest of us.  So I decided not to back to the counselor.  I am not interested in making up reasons and creating issues that aren’t there as to why I drink.  I drink because I love the taste of wine.  I enjoyed it.  But, unfortunately my genetics are the problem, not my life.

So I stopped my Antabuse before finishing my 90 day supply.  I thought I broke the “habit” and I could now drink like “normal” people.  WRONG!!  I did pretty good in the beginning but as genetics would have it, I would be up to a bottle a night (sometimes more)  So I am back on the sobriety journey, with my training wheels.  But I know that the training wheels will have to come off eventually. But in the meantime I am strengthening my resolve and living…. just sober.


Day 5..

Just for the record I really dislike the concept of these sober trackers.  Yet I am keeping one.  The reason I am not a fan of them because it’s not like I lived in a perpetual state of drunkenness.  I had many days of not drinking wine.  And when I did drink I was not drinking during the day.  Well, at least not when I first wake up.  That was what “real” problem drinkers do.  The “true” alcoholic. My wine consumption began in the evening.  While I was prepping and cooking dinner.  While I was watching a movie at night.  While hanging out with a friend (a non church friend, of course) or my sister. While in the hot tub with the hubby.

The sad reality is that I was and am a “true” alcoholic, a “real” problem drinker because once the bottle was open I could not just have one or two glasses.  I had to have the whole bottle.  Then open the second bottle, usually only drinking half.  Not because I had any self-control.  But because I feel asleep or passed out.  Whatever it was, I was out!  If I managed to stay “awake” I would finish bottle #2.  The frequency of not remembering things and blacking out had increased dramatically over the last few years…a sign of a problem??  But I kept telling myself the reason I would drink so much was because I loved the taste of wine.  I just wanted more and more.  It is so delicious.  And while yes it is delicious, I manage to consume a lot less of other delicious non-alcoholic drinks.  So there it is the evidence.  I can’t control my wine drinking because I am an alcoholic.  There is a saying I heard about alcoholics…”one drink is too many and a thousand isn’t enough.”  Sounds about right.   So as I wrap up day 5, I am thankful to have gotten through another day.  Tired but determined.  And living a life…just sober.🙂

Day 4…

Well, I am on vacation this week.  It’s Monday. I slept until 10 am.  I got up briefly @ 6:45 to make sure kids get off to school.  But I am tired.  When you give up alcohol, the abuse you have been subjecting your body to, and for me years of abuse, your body goes through withdrawal.  From all my reading and past experiences from stopping alcohol, the brain will have to  “reset”.  So I will not beat my self up as I recover.  I’ve beaten myself up enough with my alcohol abuse.  At some point I just need to be at peace with myself and pat myself on the back for giving it another go.  It is important to be patient with myself.  I didn’t get here overnight.  Healing is a process.  And recovery is about healing.  So I will enjoy being lazy today.  I will eat whatever because I know my body is going through all sorts of withdrawal.  I will not stress out and will be..just sober.

Later in the day…

As I lounged around today, I decided to revisit those surveys, “are you an alcoholic”? So I decided to take an “AUDIT” on my wine drinking habit.

ok I scored a 33 out of 40…dangerous drinking!!  I was actually shocked to score so high, which was bad.  A low score is good.  The reason I was shocked is because I am not a falling down drunk who has lost everything.  I do not drink first think in the morning.  I don’t stash alcohol in secret places. I certainly don’t drink those little airplane bottles of the hard stuff.  I drink (drank) wine out of a wine glass.  I would never drink and drive.  I would, for the most part take care of my responsibilities.  I am the proverbial functioning alcoholic.  Really,  its an oxymoron to me.  Functioning alcoholic?  Yes I function and I function well.  But, I am definitely functioning below my potential because of my wine consumption.  I mean lets face it, those hang over days or just days of alcohol fog do not add to my day.  Those are the days where I get nothing accomplished.  So how “functioning”  is that?  The bottom line is everyone’s functioning threshold is different.  I could definitely be “performing” at a more productive level without the booze.  For starters, if I was hung over I wouldn’t be writing this.  I think it is dangerous to add adjectives to alcoholism.  You either are one or your not.

The survey I took today tells me there are a whole lot of people drinking above the so called low-risk levels. Because, if you scored > 8 you are drinking above relatively healthy levels.  And I know plenty of friends and colleagues that would score outside this range.  but never see themselves as having issues with alcohol.  The bottom line is the world has glamourized drinking alcohol.  Making it an acceptable activity.  A necessary activity, actually.  But the reality is that too many  people’s worlds have been destroyed because of it…… I leave with this scripture as a reminder that God has something very serious to say about this topic.  Woe is very serious and it is a choice whether or not we want to bring it on ourselves.  God loves his children and he doesn’t put the woe on us. We do that to ourselves.  He knows the trouble that drinking too much can cause and  He wants us to not be overcome by its temptation and resulting destruction. (now if only I would remember and obey lol!)

Isaiah 5:22 (NIV)

22 Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine
    and champions at mixing drinks

Day 2..

Joy, Joy, Joy!  Waking up in the morning knowing I am not hung over.  Not having a wine binge night before. Relief when I open my eyes first thing.  So happy 🙂 My husband and I had a wonderful night last night.  We enjoyed dinner and conversation with some new friends.  No drinkers here. Why? Because,  I am a spirit-filled born again Christ believer.  And my friends are too.  And no one knows my struggle.  I hide it well.  At least I think I do or did.  How the heck then can I be a champion wine drinker.  For goodness sake, the two don’t go together.  God has a lot to say about drinking too much and drunkenness. So then why would I continue to struggle with this addiction, stronghold, character flaws….whatever you want to call it.  Well the taste of wine has been on my lips long before I “met” Jesus.  And while some things in my life changed, not my love for wine.  You see, I don’t drink to escape, I don’t drink because I hate my life, I don’t drinks cause I have a deep rooted issue.  I drink because I love wine….well I did drink I should say. Right, because I’m just sober.

I have discovered in reading the Big Book, AAs “Bible” to recovery, that there are different types of alcoholics.  But according to “The Doctor’s Opinion” there is one common denominator with all of them and it is this so called “allergy” to alcohol.  We cannot start drinking without developing the phenomenon of craving.  A craving allergy….hmmm.  Well whatever you want to call it.  I have it.  I have tried for years to keep my wine drinking in moderation.  There have been successes, especially in public, work events etc.  but it took an enormous amount of self control to achieve.  So today, day 2, I concede to the fact that I cannot have an alcoholic drink, ever.