Sunday, 29 January 2017

253-1/365 Checking In

Day 253 and I am feeling quite blue to be honest. I have been postponing blogging for a few days in the hope my mood would improve, I know it will soon but I have decided to write today anyway to redirect my mind.

1. I am back at work after a significant time away, luckily everyone was very pleased to see me and it appears no one believes I was faking (huge worry of money) My workload on my return was ridiculous and I have been very clear with HR and all the managers that it was unacceptable that I returned to such a shambles especially given that my role is handling the details if the most vulnerable, dangerous or serious of our patients. I have also put my foot down in terms of the amount of work I do in relation to the amount of pay they give me. I think my absence has highlighted that for them.

2. I have turned somewhat evangelical [secondary definition] zealous in advocating or supporting a particular cause. about being sober and can genuinely say I hate the thought of alcohol now and how I wasted so much time wasting so much time and money. In a very similar vein to Jason Vale, I cannot get my head around why I drank and how much I never want to get like that again. I was at a friends house the other day and she was apologising that she wanted a drink and would I mind. I assured her that I had no interest whatsoever and it wouldn't bother me at all, which it didn't. I don't ever want to judge or criticise people who choose to drink and I am happy for people to drink around me. Whereas before I used to read about bloggers who's partners still drank and wonder how they managed to not guzzle all the booze when no one was looking. Now I understand totally and have lived with booze in my house since Thanksgiving when my friends from Chicago left behind their extra booze. It's just sitting in my porch along with about 10 bottles of Becks Blue. In fact I haven't had a Becks since Christmas or maybe New Year, nor have I thought about it. I hope that reads positively for anyone who wonders if the cravings will ever go away.
Truth be told I assumed I would be a dry drunk for the rest of my life, always mourning the day I had to stop drinking and wishing I could still have a drink. Nothing could be further from the truth and that is what most surprises me.

3. My high at returning to work, feeling motivated, rested and together has popped like a balloon and today and yesterday I have been flat, depressed and then angry that I am depressed. My vow to just sit with feelings and 'allow' them to move through me, today fills me with rage and yet more depression. I don't want to feel like this, I want to feel the way I did a week ago when everything was going well. I just want to not feel like this. Therein lies the crux of it all, I assumed that stopping drinking would solve ALL my problems and I would be transformed into everything I wasn't when I was drinking. Sadly I am still left with myself albeit a new and improved version, it's still the same me. I have no doubt that messing with my brain chemicals for years has broken the gauge that controls the balance and flow and I seem to be left with a feast or famine dose of optimism or pessimism. It's hard to cope with, acknowledge but most of all accept. Acceptance I know is pretty key here but I am still somewhat bitter and resentful I am not healed and reborn into the most dynamic version of myself I could imagine. Plus it's all SO fragile, I was doing brilliantly then a massive argument with my 18 year old daughter threw me back into my chasm of despair when she screamed all my biggest fears and worries back at me. Result being, I now assume all the things people say to placate me and ease my fears and worries are all lies and actually they do think the worst of me but are hiding it from me.
I can see how extreme that is but I am still in the digging my way out if rock bottom to put it in its true context. I will get there but just licking my wounds and trying to regain my strength again. Bloody fucking depression, I hate it and how I cave into it and let it rule my mind.

4. And now for some good news...... I am approx 29lbs down on the scale, approx because I remember weighing myself once when I was still drinking and being horrified so I didn't get on a scale for another six months so I think I had gone up before I came back down. This is part stopping drinking and the subsequent binges while drinking but also the next morning recovery hangover binge. Anne at ainsobriety often comments that weight loss doesn't happen for everyone and I am sure that is very true so don't panic if this isn't you. My friend who drank the same as I did never had the same bingeing tendencies I did when drinking so she lost about 3-4 lbs when she stopped only. For me I still have a great deal of weight to lose and I am very aware of how my mind is thinking alcoholically about food. Thankfully I am aware enough to be able to sit with these thoughts and realise that planting my face in a 3000 calorie binge of all my old favourites might be an attempt to change my state but I also have enough awareness and understanding to realise it is not going to work  for a second longer than when I am actually eating the food. I think this is the last ditch attempt of my addiction centre to try once again a known failed coping mechanism in the hope that this time it might work -it won't but oh boy is the desire strong to just zone out and enter oblivion.

5. It's all going to be ok. Hard as that is to write on a day like today when I feel like the pits, I know I have been here before and worse. I know that something is off in my equilibrium and it's sent me spiraling into the depths of despair but I also am aware that somehow I will come back out of it and any temporary panaceas like drinking, overeating, spending money are not going to change the core problem. I know none of these things can help and I understand their appeal is escapism and zoning out, avoiding the issue short term and accepting a bigger price and harsher consequences are the result. It's like living like a toddler when you cannot get yourself out if the cycle of destruction even though the longer you go on the worse things will get. Sometimes the only and last resort to to a tantrum is to step in and hug the child because they have gone too far to get themselves back, they need help. That is where I am right now, trying to be the adult to the little girl gabbing a tantrum and who is stuck and wanting to move forward but too overwhelmed by everything. So for today that is what I am doing, just trying to take care of myself and knowing that everything will be ok once again.

Sober is brilliant but it is not a silver bullet, there are things that we will all have to face and deal with that the absence of alcohol makes all too apparent. I can choose to look at this negatively or I can be an adult and see it as an opportunity for growth. today I choose the latter.

Ginger Groundhog

28 comments:

  1. I am so with you. Just remember taking actions on the stressors in your life help resolve them even if it is hard at the time. When drinking it seems nothing ever gets resolved. You may blow up at someone but it only makes things worse. Handling things in a thoughtful, calm way puts you on the path to a better life.

    I am struggling as well with some issues in my life but I am just putting one foot in front of the other, making the best decisions I can every step of the way and seeing it through. Next year at this time I hope to have this resolved or at least much better. No doubt I will have other things going on but I hope to be able to calmly deal with those things as well. Best wishes that you get a great sleep and feel good in the am.

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    1. Thank you for that and do you know, I did get a good night's sleep and had a much better day. My biggest problem I think is overwhelm and when that hits I lose all perspective. Like you I hope that this time next year I will be further along the path and more able to handle the everyday stresses better.
      I hope you don't struggle too much with your stressors but yes putting one foot in front of the other is the sure and steady way to go about it.
      Keep going 😊

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  2. Ginger - I'm so happy for you! Not because you are feeling blue, obviously, but because you know it will pass, and you are taking care of you. I love this post. xxxx

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    1. Thanks Jackie. I always tend to forget that 'this too shall pass' for a few days but then the memory kicks in and reminds me I have been here before and I will be ok. Self care is very high on the agenda. Hope all is well with you.

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  3. As you know I am a bit of an evangelist myself…just call me the Sobriety Billie Graham in pyjamas. Need to reign in my soap-boxing from time to time. Re: point number 3. This is also one of the things that used to rope me back into drinking. We build up this fantasy of this ‘perfect sober life’. When in actual fact it's still you in all your glory and imperfection and still your life. Now you are awake and can make the changes if you need to. It’s a slow and steady transformation. Glad you posted today I always enjoy reading your posts and you are right the slump will pass. xxx

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    1. Preach sister, preach! In my 20's I was convinced if I weighed less then everything would be magical and sparkly. Then in my 30's I thought if I had my green card I would be amazingly successful, lastly in my 40's I thought if only I could stop drinking then my life will be perfect. I seem to have a long history of this fantasy thinking.
      Change is slow and as we know from the hare and the tortoise, slow and steady often wins the race. Now I feel I am over my false starts I see the slow and steady is the best way forward.

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  4. Hi Ginger!
    1. I am so glad you spoke up for what you need at work!
    2. You are such a wonderful support to bloggers, new people who need support!
    I thank you for that!! I am with you all the way, in terms of being so happy I don't drink anymore!
    3. As a person who suffers from depression, I understand. When I was drinking, I used wine as a way to try to make it go away. Now, like you, I am still learning how to deal with it in self-care ways. One thing that helps me a little bit is walking outside.
    4. I only lost about 5 pounds when I stopped drinking, but I am so thankful I don't binge after drinking wine. It would be awful, then I'd have to diet just to undue the damage. Ugh.
    5. I often tell myself, "All will be well." It helps, because one way or another things work out.
    Sober does not solve all of our issues, but now we don't have to deal with all the extra nasty things that drinking brought us!
    BIG HUGS from Minnesota!!
    xo
    Wendy

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    1. I too have an affirmation borrowed from Louise Hay. "All is well, everything is working out for my highest good and I am safe." It helps to remember to actually say it more than once in a blue moon but it is calming.
      It's the depression that is kicking my ass at the moment, I am having such a hard time with it on the days it floors me. It's like I forget I'll ever be well again.
      Thank you for the big hugs, right back atcha.

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    2. I am so sorry, Ginger.
      I understand.
      It's impossible for people without depression to get it.
      xo
      Wendy

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  5. Hi GG
    Teenage daughters can be awful. She is probably going through something and had to release some stress so she took it out on you. she knows you will always love her regardless of what she says or does. Daughters are always hard on their mothers. She was saying things to hurt you as it will allow her to release some of what is bothering her. Don't take it as an accurate reflection of you. I cannot imagine people thinking badly of you. You are nothing but helpful and Kind. Many people struggling with staying off the sauce like me couldn't have done it without you! I know that all those emotions are awful to go through but now that you are dealing with them, they won't keep coming back as fiercely as they have been.
    Keep your head up GG and ask for a raise at work, you deserve it and are worthy of it!!!
    xoxox
    TWTIK

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    1. Such kind words TWTIK, thank you for sharing that.
      My daughter even admits to me she says things on purpose to hate me but she went all the way into my darkest fears about my mothering so of course now I am sure, convinced even that that is what she really does think. I feel like I have been exposed as the shabby fraud I think I am.
      As for the pay rise, I have asked, asked again and even stated outright that I am worthy and deserve it but still no dice. Work is hard to come by in this area of the country so I don't know how else to proceed. Thanks for all YOUR support, you have always been a great cheerleader of mine and you are doing so so well yourself.

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  6. It is a silver bullet.
    I know I never would have been able to deal with all those things when I was drinking!
    You are doing amazing!

    I'm sorry you are down. I know how hard it is. Just be gentle with yourself and know you are doing your best. It's ok to be sad, angry, frustrated...

    Hug
    Anne

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    1. Maybe you are right, maybe it is the silver bullet but just not at bullet speed. I see where you are coming from.
      I am doing an elimination diet, super strict on all allergens and had hoped I would have the marvellous results lots of people repot, especially mood related. I do feel better but again I hoped for the "cure" that would make me all better. Having to fight the urge to have a gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, nitrate mega binge ha ha cos that would solve everything, NOT!!!
      Just have to keep it slow and recognise I need to keep my attention on the moment.

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  7. Hey Ginger! Sorry you're down - I keep reading about the fact everyone is feeling low and flat at the moment, mostly us UK bloggers. I've come to the conclusion that it must be January - it's just a bloody toxic month in the UK. I defy anyone to feel bright and cheery in the face of all this grey. My theory is that by January, we're so far away from our last bit of summer that we've used up all our happiness reserves, and are so lacking in daylight, and we're not quite into the hope of spring yet. It's hideous. I shall be publishing this theory, obviously, probably in the next CBEEBIES magazine. Anyway, I'm sorry you're feeling pants - I'm very glad that the re-entry into work was ok and that you're standing up for yourself. As for the teenage daughter - I've no idea, these creatures terrify me. Hopefully soon she'll enter that lovely phase in her early 20's when she realises her mum is her best mate. And 29lbs!How lovely! Keep blogging, it's great to read your words. Red xx

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    1. I do struggle with S.A.D and have a light I use daily but yes everyone struggles at this time of year and our referrals for therapy go up 25% in Jan/Feb each year. I look forward to your peer reviewed article in the CBEEBIES magazine, I have no doubt it will be ground breaking.
      Not sure how many of your miniatures are female (1 I think) but you can never be prepared for your cutie pie turning into resentful monster, never. Your boys will be different altogether I believe. Yes I cannot wait for the 20's phase when she comes back to me (fingers crossed).
      Sorry you are blue as well, I often think it must be harder for people like you who always seem so upbeat the majority of the time. its people like you that chivvy us along back to happiness again so thanks. Hope your happy comes back soon.
      My daughter said we should change the month name to Meh!-uary

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    2. I do indeed have one little adorable madam of a 4 year old girl. She already gives me a medusa-like "look" on occasion which is a sign of the hell to come, methinks. I have seen a good friend go through years 14 to 25 with her daughter. The change from wild, run-away/tear-away with down right criminal behaviour to the relationship they now have is staggering, and should give anyone hope ;-). Sorry if I got a bit jokey about it being January that's the problem for us all - I tend to make light of everything and joke about, but I do understand it runs a hell of a lot deeper than that for lots of us. As for me, I like that you think I'm usually upbeat - given Im a miserable sod IRL, ha ha.. anyway I'll be chipper again soon, just got a bit miffed that my pink cloud seems to have buggered off. Getting to 100 days and falling face down into a box of Hotel Chocolat should do the trick nicely.. Red xx

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  8. Hi GG x
    It's ok to be angry, it's ok to be happy, it's ok to feel sad.
    Drinking masks all of this and dealing with emotions is raw - but as Mrs D says, it is part of the process.
    Now you don't have the self-medication going on we actually have to deal with stuff. Who would have thought? Mostly I love it, sometimes I hate it but at least I don't hate myself every day like I used to.
    Hope you are feeling better and if not, you will soon. Maybe when you wake up today :)
    Your job actually sound really fun!
    M xx

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    1. My job is fun it's just all the other assholes that ruin it ha ha.
      I know it's all part of the process but can't see that when I am in the midst of it. I am seeing it quicker and getting over it faster.
      Ha ha only 4 more years til I get the lovely helpful daughter, gosh I hope I can wait that long.

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  9. PS Teenage daughters turn into lovely helpful 22 year olds! I promise xx

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  10. I hope you are going to be feeling good again real soon. Going back to work is probably an adjustment after being sick and maybe once you are back in the swing of things you will feel better. Ok so I didn't want to focus on the weight part straight away...but that is SO good! You must be over the moon! I badly want to lose some weight and this brings me great hope. I know it's probably a but if a shallow thing to focus on, but for me it's important and i was just gaining so much weight while drinking, so it's frustrating when you stop and lose nothing. I'm do happy for you. I hope you and your daughter sort things out, remember ternagers can say awful things that they don't really mean. X

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    1. I pretty much ate what I wanted, literally, for 3-4 months. Then I reigned it in a little bit but not much and my craving appetite seemed to mellow out anyway. I carried on like this over Christmas thinking I wouldn't restrict but I felt an emptiness in just eating for the sake of it. Jan 2nd I went all out zero sugar and very low carbs and lost about 14 lbs in January. So a mix of just stopping, moderating and then trying very hard.
      I have settled back into work thanks and it's going well thankfully.

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  11. Brilliant post! It captures exactly what tends to trip me up time after time: I want all problems with life to go away with the alcohol. They don't. Although I am vastly better able to deal with them, reality is still there. I still get enraged in traffic. I still resent having to do things I don't want to. I am a grumpy traveler. I still can't seem to kick this x@## sugar habit. After taking time off, I find that I don't want to deal with situations that don't suit me anymore.

    What does this point to? Maybe we have been stuffing down the dissatisfaction with life for so long that it comes bubbling up all at once. One fantastic part of this process is that we can now change what we don't like! Before we were powerless. Now, you are an agent of change. You have made the most dramatic change possible in a life -- giving up your sole source of comfort. Once you have that under control, that great tide of energy turns on the rest of life, and is ready to take it by storm.

    I LOVE how you made your opinions known at work. Would you have done this in the past? This is the NEW Ginger, who might just look for another job if things remain not to her liking.

    And daughters -- they don't mean what they say. Mine turned into an angel after she left home. And that was after horrendous battles for years.

    I'm glad things are going well despite the doldrums. ; )
    xoxo
    Shawna

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    1. So true what you say. I gave said to several people that I feel like I did 10-12 years ago and it really dawned on me that that was when I didn't drink at all except for the odd glass at Chistmas or Thankgiving. I love "agent for change" that is so empowering. It is hard to keep all my priorities in focus and because for years I only dealt with them as the became imperative I think I am just struggling with the organisational skills to deal with life at the appropriate moment. A work in progress but I can see the dim light at the end of the tunnel.
      Daughter and I are back in track but I do take things personally and spend days in hurt feelings.

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  12. Groundhog- It's been a while since I read one of your check-ins. Wordpress and Blogger are like two families in a feud, it seems. I'm not sure how I can follow your posts more regularly. Do you have a suggestion?

    I relate a lot to the "shout it out loud" sobriety. I've had to temper my extreme promotion at times. It's hard when you find a new way of life and see other struggling in your old way of life. I've found it never hurts to mention my story to people. I never know how it might help.

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    1. Oh mark you are probably far more capable than me at the technology. I have the exact SAME issue. I keep adding people to 'my list' , 'blogs I follow' and even my sidebar list but somehow they don't stay!!
      I told a friend yesterday that I was Teetotal now after years just using wine to deal with my problems but was very careful to give the impression that I was no worse than anyone else. I think shame is still there for me around the whole thing and if all the people I think she would have been most understanding.
      It's lovely to see your name whenever you DO pop by 😊

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  13. Ginger, catchup up on blog posts here and hope you are okay. I find that you should never wait until you feel better to do a post. If you are feeling crappy, post about that! So pleased you got it all down as it does make us feel better and get out of our heads a bit. Depression is a Bitch but I can see that you are keeping things positive too. RE workload, weight loss, not drinking!! Keep going, it will pass. (P.S. kid's can be cutting but never truly mean it)

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    1. Going insular is a problem for me when I actually should be sending up a distress flare and S.O.S. but I am learning this now. Also I notice that I move through it quicker if I speak/write/blog about it. Depression is a bitch but I have to keep it on my radar so it doesn't consume me. I write about it here because I still can't properly admit to it IRL.
      I liken us ex-drinkers to caterpillar-chrysalis-butterfly, I know I am changing but my process is stuck a little in chrysalis stage. The butterfly is coming!

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