Day 1.1…

Alright, so much for my last “Day 1” here. I’ve given up on that round. In the past 61 days (May & June) I’ve had 9 day’s of sobriety. Ok, it broke all previous records in the last 15 years, so if we want to see things from an optimistic, pie in the sky, rose coloured glasses perspective, then I’ve made progress. Doesn’t really feel like it though. In between those 9 sober days I drank my face off. In A.A. they call being out drinking, “doing research”. Well, I’ve done so much cramming for finals lately and over the years, I should be getting a frigging PhD by now! Not one I’d hang on the wall! I’m not proud of myself. I suck at sobriety. I’ve flunked right out of sobriety school, big time.

Ok, so I flunked out the last couple of months. If I beat myself up over it too much I’ll want to have a drink. We all know where that leads us. Right to the bloody grave. So, I’m re-enrolling today. Starting another semester so to speak. Over the next couple of days I’m going to alcohol detox myself again–just a few ounces of wine as needed but only when I’m feeling overwhelmed or too weird. This works for me because I typically drink only in the evenings (albeit it a lot). I’ve never been a 24/7 drinker (Here is a good article about this method). And yes, I’m going to take in some A.A. meetings. Being alone in the evenings isn’t fun.

So here goes nothing. Back to square 1.1…I’ll let you know how it goes.

Ya’ll take care.

Nelson

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Day 8….advice from a toaster.

My toaster taught me something today. I have owned this toaster for about 7 years. Until a week ago, I could never figure out which button on it added or subtracted extra time on it, to cook the toast longer or less. THIS WEEK, however, I finally figured it out. Yes, this week, during my week long sobriety. I now know which button to push if I want to cook my toast longer or shorter!

Tonight I thought to myself…”Hmmmm…isn’t 7 years a LONG time to finally be able to figure out which button to push, out of two choices all this time….? ” Well, ya….DUH…it IS a long time to finally figure that out! So, tonight, I’m wondering why it’s taken so long… I KNOW why! The alcohol, of course. The damn booze has dumbed me down for so many years that I couldn’t even figure out how to work my bloody toaster!!! My toaster!!! 7 years!!! Is that not pathetic? Yes, it is. It’s also amazing how the drug, alcohol, works. How it has kept working all these years, behind the scenes, so to speak, keeping me stupid. Amazing. I know I’m not alone. This is scary shit.

Day 6…got sloshed last night.

Day 6 of my sobriety….

Yup, I got sloshed last night. And, yup, I’m still calling today my Day 6 because I see this as a process, not a competition. Unlike AA thinking, I don’t think I need to reset the clock and start from Day 1 again. I didn’t take a step back last night, I just temporarily wandered off the path–the clear path I started on 6 days ago, the one I’m back on today.

It was virtually impossible not drink last night actually. I spent the afternoon helping an elderly friend of mine. I took him to the hospital for his MRI, and then after that to get his blood work done. Last week he was diagnosed with ALS—Lou Gehrig’s disease. A neurodegenerative disease, it’s terminal. There is no cure and even no medication that’s effective at slowing it’s inevitable progression. Once diagnosed, the expected time till death is 2 to 5 years. My friend can barely walk now. Sadly, I don’t think he’ll even make it to 2 years. So, after the 4 hours it took for us to get his medical things done, I know he absolutely loves to go to the pub, so that’s where I took him, with pleasure, for him, not for me, so that I could get sloshed. He was very grateful. Of course I joined him drinking beers. I gave myself permission, so to speak. But I didn’t give myself permission to get sloshed. Well all alcoholics know, one beer so easily leads to more—often many more. I had many last night…

I slept like crap, waking up numerous times. This morning, I’m feeling quite hungover. I’ve been worse, but I already know that today is a write-off. I’ll not go for “hangover relief” today, however. I have no plan to drink anything at all. I’m back to Day 1. If I have to have a wee bit of wine at some point today to help with any withdrawal, I will, but I don’t think that will be necessary. I have successfully detoxed myself this week, for the most part. Yesterday I was feeling very spacey, not grounded so to speak, but still felt very well, as my blog post described. That spacey feeling isn’t there today, but that makes sense. My brain hasn’t been without alcohol for 5 days in a row, for YEARS. Like, 13 or 14 years, so of course my brain is going to take some time to adapt to being alcohol free. I can live with the spacey feeling. It is SO much better than how I feel today. Today I feel cloudy, ill, numbed.

I’ve been on “vacation” for the past few days. In fact, as I noted earlier, I planned these two weeks off expressly for the purpose of getting myself sober. Yesterday, until I started to drink around 5 pm, aside from feeling a bit spacey, I couldn’t believe how well I felt, how clearly I was thinking, how little anxiety I had, how positive I was feeling. Comparing today to yesterday, I can see more clearly than ever just how much the alcohol has dumbed me down, today, and for way too many years. For oh-so-too-many years. It’s a bloody, tragic, horrific loss. A loss of precious time in my life (I’m nearing 60) and a horrible loss of my potential. Reflecting on this now makes me want to drink! But I won’t. My health is good, I know I still have time to improve the quality of the rest of my life by getting, and staying sober, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. This is my heroes quest, my dragon to slay, with Gods help.

Thanks for being here with me on my treacherous journey to sobriety and sanity!

Nelson

Day 3…

Day 3 of my sobriety.

I slept like a baby last night, for the first 4 hours at least. I did not have any insomnia, trouble getting to sleep. But, I did have trouble going back to sleep after the 4 hours. In fact, it took about two hours, plus a little Xanax and a few ounces of wine to settle me down. I awakened a couple of hours after that. Well, that’s better than the night before! I’m calling that progress! I’m looking forward to see what happens tonight.

I’ve heard that one can have weeks or even months of sleeping problems after quitting the booze. The drug Campral (acamprosate) supposedly helps with that and other withdrawal issues, which I will look into if I need to. About half of people who stop drinking after prolonged periods of alcohol use suffer from “Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome”, which is a bit frightening. Wikipedia has a good article about that here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcohol_withdrawal_syndrome.

I’ve been feeling pretty good today, so I think I’m past the worst of the withdrawal effects for me. I’ve never drank 24/7. It’s always only in been in the evenings (including on weekends) of usually 4 to 6 pints, with the occasional binge of 7 or 8….but that’s been for 20 years! So, if I’m past the worst of the withdrawal effects, I’ll consider myself very lucky!

That said, if I really feel the need, I will drink a few ounces of wine to help with it. I’ve only had to do that twice since Saturday, so I think I’ve pretty well made it through the woods, I hope!

Like yesterday, I’m finding the writing here a bit difficult. Difficult to do and my interest seems to be lagging, but as I said yesterday, I’m thinking that that is another one of the withdrawal effects! Again…we shall see! Till tomorrow!

Nelson

Day 2…feeling grateful.

Day 2 of my sobriety.

Coincidentally, I had a hankering to watch the old TV show “Frasier”, to have a laugh, which I needed this afternoon. I haven’t been this sober in a long time. Anyway, I thought it might be neat to see if I could find the very first season of Frasier. I found it on the “Crave” TV station. which specializes in old shows and signed up for a trial month. I then watched the very first Frasier show…

At the beginning of the show, Frasier is on the air describing to his listeners how he recently moved from Boston to Seattle. With some embarrassment, he describes how his life was in a rut there in Boston and that his social life consisted of hanging around a bar (“Cheers”) night after night, and that he was clinging to a life that wasn’t working any more. So he had to do something, anything, to make a change… Bam! What an amazing coincidence, because that is exactly how I have felt and what I have just done with my local “Cheers”. Indeed it is time for a change, and here I am on the second day of my new life away from that.

Indeed, hearing Frasier say that was a marvellous synchronicity (meaningful coincidence). I’ve been looking, hoping for something significant to happen today to help me with my chosen quest. Chosen quest! Ha! The symbolic “Heroes Quest”, as described by the author Joseph Campbell in his marvellous book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces. I am out slaying my “dragon” right now…the booze…and let me tell you it’s taking a lot of courage, but I feel up to it — called in fact, and that’s a good thing, a wonderful and marvellous thing. This is not “willpower”. No, it’s me being courageous. Simply stepping out against all odd’s, with faith, walking on the path ahead. God can’t steer a ship that isn’t moving. We gotta “take the steps” — 1, 2 or 12. Whatever it takes.What’s happened today with this timely Frasier coincidence has reinforced my quest, and given me the gut’s today to stay the course. I feel so grateful.

Last night I had a can of 4.5% cider and one small glass of wine. That’s it. I had terrible insomnia and slept like crap, but kept myself busy today, including going to the gym to help with my energy level. Before going to the gym I was feeling very out of sort’s (aka weird) so I had a very small amount of wine hoping that that would take the edge off, and it did. Tonight, I’m planning no booze, but will have a little more wine if I really feel the need. They say alcohol withdrawal takes between 24 and 48 hours to fully work it’s way out (although can take longer depending on how addicted one has been) but I think by tomorrow morning I’ll be past the worst of it for me. I hope.

I didn’t feel at all like writing today. Thinking even, that perhaps when I’m sober I won’t feel the need or even have the desire to write, but I think it’s more the effect of the alcohol leaving my system — my brain to be exact, that has me feeling a bit down today. From what I have heard and read, this effect is the norm and to be expected. Well, let’s see what happens.

Nelson.

Day 1…oh ya.

Whoa, “Day 1” packs an emotional wallop for me. I can’t remember the number of times I started an entry in my written journal with it. ALL FAILED. Sometimes I made it to day 2, most not. Well, THIS “Day 1” is different. LOL…I ‘ve said just that a bunch of times too. I’m writing myself into further insanity. I should just give up, give in, quit my job, live on the streets and hope to get thrown into a government run rehab program. Ah….no thanks. This Day 1 IS different. How so? I just know it is. I don’t think I ever wrote that in my journal.

Yesterdays plans all went to shite. I still drank my face off at my “Cheers”. I don’t care. Today is another day. Well, and I had a good excuse. My friends knew yesterday was my last planned drinking day, so they helped me out with that. That’s what good friends do, right?

So today I’m going to start detoxing myself, using alcohol, but only if I’m feeling desperate and in withdrawal, which has rarely happened during my million past failed attempts to quit. Ok, it did happen the last time, about 6 months ago. I had a small glass of wine about 2 in the morning because I couldn’t get to sleep. It helped, it worked. So I’ll do that again if I have to. Only if I have to.

This Day 1 is also different because I am doing bunch of extra things to help me. For example, my therapist (a Jungian) urged me to add a spiritual element in the mix. She suggested I light a candle and just stare into the flame to have a few quiet moments before I meditate. Well, I did light a candle, but I didn’t meditate. Instead — hold on to your hat’s — I drew a card from my Tarot deck. Let’s not get into what kind of spirituality we all think that is. It doesn’t matter! What matters is if it add’s that spiritual element for me, regardless of how much I or anyone else “believes” in it. Ok, so before drawing the card, I prayerfully asked God, the Universe, the Infinite Intelligence and Donald Trump for wisdom and guidance. No, I didn’t really add Donald Trump into the mix! And so, what card did I draw???

Using just the 21 “Major Arcana” cards, all in the right side up position, I drew card VII, number seven. Coincidentally (?), 7 my favourite, my “lucky” number. Nice. In a nutshell, the Chariot card means “moving forward towards success; a conquerer”. Another nice. I’d call drawing that card a meaningful coincidence, a rosy Synchronicity. At the very least, a nice bonus and encouragment for the day, for this new and fresh Day 1, of many more days to come.

Nelson.

Enough’s enough….

Well, enough’s enough. Despite all sincerity of heart, mind and soul, it seems that my “Higher Power” doesn’t deem me worthy of attention — in the spiritual/psychological sense. I know a lot of AA’ers make AA their higher power if they are struggling with the spiritual aspect of it. Well, I have no problem whatsoever with the spiritual aspect. More than open to it, for years now. I have no doubt that God exists. But I admitted that I was “powerless” over alcohol a long time ago; I let go and let God and all of that countless times. Sorry, but admitting that I am powerless over alcohol and doing the rest of the AA “Step’s” just didn’t do it for me. I’ve been in and out of the AA doors for about 12 years now, so I’m more than familiar with “how it works”. Sorry, AA, you didn’t come through for me, sadly. As I say, enough’s enough.

So here’s what I’m going to do. Starting tonight, I’m going to do a two day detox. I’ll have 2 or 3 drinks tonight, 1 or 2 tomorrow night. I’m only an evening drinker, so I’m not worried about have a bad physical reaction to quitting. I’ve stopped many times before with little discomfort. It’s been a couple years since I’ve done that, but I think I’ll be ok. And then I’m going to stay sober. Like, forever, is my plan. I KNOW I’m powerless over alcohol, so I’m best to no touch the stuff. Heck, what a time to quit drinking! It’s Christmas! So what. I’m going to do it anyway. I need to take care of myself. The booze is slowly killing me. I can feel it. I have no doubt about it.

My friends aren’t going to like it. My drinking buddies I mean, if we can actually call them friends. I have one “best friend” drinking buddy. I told him today about my plan. He was a bit disappointed because tomorrow is the Grey Cup football game and he wanted me to join him to watch it on TV somewhere (a pub of course). But I told him no. He just said, “Ok, well if you change your mind give me a call”. I said ok. When I hung up I felt strangely empowered. It felt good to stake a stand for my own welfare, finally. He drinks as much or more than I do but the last thought to ever enter his mind is the thought of quitting. I doubt he ever will. Like me he’s a “Functional/Functioning” alcoholic. Can keep a job and do well in it, no problem. Alcohol interferes with few, if any, aspects of his life. He never gets hangovers! That may be why he’s never thought about quitting. I dunno.

Anyway, if you are interested, check back here in a day or two. I’m going to document the whole damn thing; the detox, the sobriety experience and experiences. Everything. Who knows, once my head clears up, I might even get a little creative. Writing is difficult for me these days. Most days I’m pretty cloudy. That’s why I’ve written so little here. Well, enough of that too! My hope is that what I share here might help someone else struggling with their alcoholism. That’s step 12 in AA!

I’d say “God help me”, but that prayer goes unanswered for me. Or perhaps God is helping me by ignoring me? Or helping me by keeping me healthy despite being a drunk all these years? Ok, I’ll buy that. More than willing to. Whatever. See you on the other side!

Nelson