Day 854

It’s been a LONG time since I posted here.  I am inspired today to say yes, I am still here, and yes, I am still deciding to live my life without alcohol.  It’s been 854 consecutive days and three consecutive Summers.  Summer always has its challenges – social events, vacations, block parties, where a chilled glass of white wine on a warm night or a warm glass of red wine on a chilly night sound so tempting.  But then I remind myself, I would not only want one, I would want more than one glass.  And I know if I tried to moderate, it would become a slippery slope.  Allowing myself wine on Saturday would probably become allowing myself wine on weekends (or trips), and then how does one define a weekend?  It could so easily become Thursday to Sunday!  So instead of negotiating rules with myself, I have stuck with the hard and fast rule that I no longer drink.  And through bouts of “pre-lapse” that have definitely been there in hindsight, thinking back on the past few months especially, I have made it through to here  – Day 854.

The best thing I did for myself last Spring is do a 6-week workout challenge.  It got me into the habit of eating more mindfully and exercising at a new facility regularly.  The workouts are 30 minutes each.  So while the workouts are very tough at times, 30 minutes is doable!  I try to do the 30 minute workouts 2-3 times a week and hot yoga 1-2 times a week and that was a good balance for me in the Spring.  Unfortunately, in the Summer, I fell out of this routine but hope to get back into it this Fall.

The absolute best thing I did for myself this Summer is order Belle’s book “Tired of Thinking About Drinking” as a treat for Day 800.  That was a great read and this book being available in my nightstand all Summer (between travels when I came back home from various trips and excursions) absolutely became my fallback tool this Summer when I let so many other tools slip away.  Thank you Belle!

With the kids back to school and Fall underway, and passing Day 850 and now shooting for Day 900, I decided I also need to get back to regularly using the basics of my sobriety tools. Today, I have emailed Belle and I have posted with my gratitude pen-pals.  I pre-ordered Elizabeth Vargas’ memoir to be released tomorrow “Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction” as a Day 850 treat for myself.  I plan to listen to some of the new Bubble Hour podcasts later today and this week. I am so grateful Jean (of Unpickled blog) has recorded several new episodes recently.   And I just read the latest entry in one of my favorite blogs  “Mrs. D is Going Without” which so resonated with me!   Bravo, Mrs. D; congrats on 5 years!  I totally agree with you that the messiness of daily life and living it without alcohol is so MUCH BETTER than trying to escape it with alcohol.

And so today I was also inspired to write here after a long hiatus.  There were many tough and challenging days since my last post on Day 613, but so many great days also. Mostly, there were so many memories made, good and bad, and NONE of them were lost to alcohol!   I don’t really have a good reason why I did not choose to write here in Spring and Summer.  And I hope I did not worry anyone.  I am sorry if I did.

Fall has such a “back to school” feel, and I feel inspired at this moment, so I decided to go with it and say hello.  I am still taking one day at a time. I am very happy that I have met the last 850-plus days uninfluenced by alcohol, and that all the emotions that go with the ups and downs of daily life, I have felt for real myself.  I am so happy with this choice. I am going to keep trying to live in the present, one day at a time.  Thanks for reading.


Day 613

I sat down for the first time this week to catch up on some blogs and I am so proud of my friends here! I’ve read so many great and inspirational updates and it really made me smile! And it motivated me to post today too.

Today is my Day 613.  I’ve been planning a wrap-up post on my 2015 word of the year (Growth) and on my new word of the year for 2016 (Health) and I will do so soon.  For now, this will be a short post as I head into the weekend.  This January has already been so much better than last January when I was trying to stay motivated to go for Day 300.

Tonight, I will be going to my 12-year-old’s basketball game and there is a team dinner afterward.  Tomorrow, I have a girls night out with friends.  Ironically, both restaurants are BYOB.  I will be proudly carrying in my bottles of sparkling water.  I am not nervous about what people will think. I am not nervous about them wondering whether I drink (new friends) or wondering why I am still not drinking (old friends).  It will just be what it is.  I will be present and enjoy the company and not obsess over what is in my glass and what people are thinking about what is in my glass.  And in the mornings I will feel rested and ready to tackle the new day.

Also, tomorrow in the daytime, I will be attending a new year all-day yoga retreat at a friend’s yoga studio!  I am so very proud of myself for registering for this in early January before the day was filled with kids’ commitments which it now is.  And I do not feel guilty about my husband being the one to take the kids around tomorrow to their games/activities without my help.  I know he can and will do fine.  Again, this is progress for me –  letting go a bit and  knowing my family can do fine for a busy Saturday without me!

This retreat is my Day 600 gift to myself.  Self-compassion and self-care will definitely play into my word of the year – Health.  More later again on this.  For now, I wanted to provide a quick update on my 2016 so far.  Namaste!

The Days Will Pass Whether I Drink Or Not. I Choose Not To Drink.

I haven’t made a blog entry in while.  While I love to read, writing is a process for me that can be draining and overwhelming.  So many times in the past months, I have told myself I need to make time to update my blog. Thanks for your patience.

I am still choosing not to drink and still counting days with the help of a counting app.  I don’t check it very often, but when I feel the need to know what day I am on, it is a click away.  I check more often when I am approaching a milestone. Today is Day 596. I am 4 days away from Day 600.

It is amazing to me that my numbers are in this higher range.  I love seeing Belle’s round-ups, and I always get excited when my time is close, and when I get to see Via51214 in her list!  Counting days has been a tool that has worked for me.  Also, simply taking one day at a time, has been an amazing tool.  In more detail, sitting with the reality that I do not know what necessarily will come with each day, but knowing I can still choose not to drink, has been a successful strategy for me.

I really liked Healthy Jen’s post of today thanking the internet blogging community.   I feel the same way.  The blogs are accessible at any hour of the day and night, and reading blogs has been my main tool, at my most difficult moments.  It really helps to know others are out there, who have made the decision to stop drinking, even if we had a high bottom or did not hit any kind of bottom, but we just decided drinking was not working for us any more (did it ever?).

I feel like I am in a great secret that so many others have not put together.  We don’t have to drink.  We don’t have to drink at a party to have fun.  We don’t have to raise a glass of alcohol to celebrate. If we want to join in to raise a glass, it can be a glass of sparkling water or coffee or cranberry juice with a lime.  We don’t have to drink to drown our sorrows.  Instead, we can let ourselves feel the grief.  Instead of trying to escape the gripping sadness over the loss of a beloved family member, we can let ourselves feel it and cry.

One day at a time, we can choose not to drink.  We might have a thought, for example, for me, an occasional temptation to take a sip of my husband’s wine when he leaves the room.  I think, “Nobody will know.  He won’t know.”  But I will know.  And I have realized that just because I had the thought, I don’t have to act on it.

I can choose to do something else.  I can choose to take a drink of my sparkling water or ginger beer.  I can choose to leave the room.  I can choose to just sit with the temptation, and then follow through with the thoughts about how I would feel afterward, if after all these days, I decided on a whim to sneak a drink of my husband’s wine.  I can simply go to bed if it gets too hard.

I have never woken up in the past 596 days thinking that I really wish I had a drink the day before!  It’s never happened 🙂  While there have been may times I have been tempted, I have pushed through the temptation and chosen not to drink.  The next day, I have never regretted making this choice.

Simply put, I feel at this stage in my life, altering my state of consciousness with alcohol is not a good idea.  Some days have been easier than others in the last 596 to make this choice.  Indeed, especially since Day 365, there have been many days when I did not even have to think about not drinking.  But the holidays (since mid-November until now) have again been tougher with alcohol so present. Many times in the last 40 days or so especially, I have had to make the conscious choice that I will not drink.  And with Thanksgiving and Christmas now past, I am happy I made the choice not to drink.  With my Day 600 approaching on January 2, this will motivate me through New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

So I am at a good place right now. I have some regrets from 2015 for sure, but none are related to embarrassing myself by drinking.  That is a great accomplishment for me!

This entry I will close with this realization.  The world will keep turning, the days on calendars will keep passing, the good news and the bad news will still show up on my Facebook newsfeed, whether I decide to drink alcohol or not.  Life will continue to deal its cards – some good, some bad, some incredibly wonderful, some tragically sad. Whatever happens, I can choose not to drink.  And whether or not I drink, the happenings will still happen.

I know I have handled so many happenings better in 2015 than I would have had I been drinking.  It has been a good choice so far.  I won’t let myself worry about forever – that is too overwhelming.  I will continue to worry about today.  Today, Day 596, I will choose not to drink.


Day 500 Plus A Few

On September 24, 2015, I reached Day 500.  I could barely enjoy it.  It’s been so busy!  But don’t worry – I have plans to do that spa-day (need to get it scheduled), and to get the new phone (still have an iphone 4 and was supposed to get a new iphone 5s for my birthday last year – which is at the end of October – and I’ll get an iphone 6s now – but need to do so soon – so it does not become this year’s gift)!

Like most Moms with 3 school-aged kids, there is a lot going in the Fall when school starts up and Fall sports and activities’ schedules kick in and every day is a juggle with adjustments after rainouts and games rescheduled and direct conflicts that resolve themselves with rainouts or sick kids or simply saying no.   Hey, how about that?  The beauty of saying no!

Suffice it to say September was a whirlwind.  And I have about 5 minutes here to post before I go pick up my daughter at Girl Scouts.  I wanted to attach the link to Belle’s post mentioning my Day 500.  I love these Friday round-ups, especially when I am mentioned!

I am amazed right now that the most consistent and predictable thing in my life right now is me not drinking alcohol!  That is pretty amazing.  Two Octobers ago, I was getting really scared.  Not this October.  I know I need to slow things down and treat myself a bit better.  And I will do that – it is my birthday month after all.

I am very grateful for Belle.  And I am very grateful to all of you who read here and boost me up.  And I am grateful for my Gratitude Group, and the Bubble Hour, and so many bloggers.  Goodbye September. Hello October!

Day 465: 100 Days plus 1 year

One year ago, on August 20, 2014, I reached my 100 Day milestone.  Outwardly to those very few (probably 3 people) who knew I was doing a 100 Day Challenge, I did not proclaim that I would keep going on this journey for another year.  Really, I did not know myself at that time.  What I did do is pledge to Belle to get to 180 Days.  That would take me to mid-November, past my birthday and a Disney trip I had been planning for my family.  180 Days would also give me momentum into the holidays I thought if I decided to continue.  While I felt fairly confident this time last year that I could make it to Day 180, I did not know at 100 Days whether I would pledge beyond 180 Days.  As 180 Days approached, I was still a bit undecided.  I remember asking Belle if I could then pledge to 300 Days.  She responded that the next pledge would be to Day 365.  I pondered and took the plunge.

I made it to Day 365 and it felt like a huge milestone for me. Well because it was!  I had not gone 1 year without drinking alcohol in a very long time!  I carefully planned and drafted 4 posts in honor of my one year mark.  Writing those was exhausting but so worth it.  I have looked back on those entries often this summer.

While this is my first post since then, I have continued to stay alcohol-free.  And while I don’t count the days in my head any longer, I periodically check my day counter app.  I planned to write a post on Day 400 but it did not happen.  (I did change the color scheme of my blog though around that time).  And then I planned for Day 450 but that did not happen.  I did not have the motivation as I reached those days.  But today, I have the motivation to write here.

Among countless other things I have learned in the past 465 Days, I have learned that blogging does not come easy to me.  I feel self-conscious about what I write.  I worry about revealing too much where somebody in my real life would figure out it was me if they discovered this blog. But would that be such a bad thing?  I honestly used to worry about if I died suddenly and my husband found this blog and discovered this secret identity of mine.  So as 1 year approached I made sure I told him about my viatoday blog, my gratitude group, my pledges with Belle, etc., my Via gmail, and yahoo accounts.

He was totally supportive.  He was proud of me for finding something that has really worked for me.  I don’t know if he’s ever come to read this blog but he knows it is here.  He knows that through a combination of online resources, I have been able to string together 465 days of sobriety – my original 100 Days plus an entire year!

And I know this too – I am doing it – I am still on my way every day!  Many of my fellow bloggers have said similar things.  Find something that works for you and leave the rest.  I have found that taking one day at a time as much as possible works.  I have found that being part of a small gratitude group where I can post something quick almost daily really works.  I have found that using this blog as a place where I can post on a less regular basis, but when I am really inspired to share with a larger audience, works.  And this blog has become a place I can come back to myself and re-read my own words and learn from my own journey.  I have found that reading others’ blogs really helps as well as memoirs and books I have previously mentioned.  And while I am not part of a program, I have found that reading the materials of AA and Smart Recovery really helps.  Listening to podcasts (The Bubble Hour and Tara Brach) while doing housework or when I am feeling lonely or vulnerable is extremely helpful.

And I started therapy, which has been such a gift to myself, as there have been some really tough moments in the past 465 Days.

In the past year, there were some unexpected deaths.  Earlier this month, my father-in-law died.  My family and I are still reeling from this.  Before him, in the past year, there were several acquaintances (five people I knew between the ages of 40 and 50) who died.  These individuals were not my best friends – but people I knew – and their deaths affected me because of the closeness in age to me, the young kids left behind, and the cumulative effect of their deaths from various causes – some sudden and some through long sicknesses.  Last September, a friend’s father committed suicide.

While I don’t want to go into detail here on these matters, what I do want to share here is that I am really relieved I did not use wine as a tool to cope.  I am following Tara Brach’s advice of letting the feelings come, riding the waves, feeling the hurt.  And I am following my own advice of taking one day at a time.

I happened to notice on my app day counter the other day that it was Day 461.  In doing the math, I realized that August 20 would be Day 465 and I started thinking fondly back to my Day 100 a year ago.  It has been a journey indeed – and not an easy journey all days – because really so much has happened.  But there were lots of happy moments for sure.  For example, we had a great Disney trip last November and an awesome ski trip in December/January.  My daughter made her First Holy Communion in May and her proud grandfather was by her side most of the day.

I am so glad that none of these moments over the past 465 Days (happy or sad) are forgotten or hazy because of alcohol.  And I am relieved to know that none of my conversations with people or emails to them over the past 465 Days were in any way influenced by alcohol, especially when some of these individuals were in the toughest moments of their lives after losing loved ones.

So this is where I am at Day 465. This is not the most upbeat of my posts I know but I felt inspired to check in to let people know I am still on my way today.  And while I cannot promise forever, and I know my posts here are farther apart too, I am still taking one day and a time alcohol-free and still striving for the many goals I set back in May 2014 and setting new ones.  I have gotten so much better at not procrastinating, although it is still one of my major issues. But in this year of great loss to so many people I know, the question, “Why put off until tomorrow what you can take care of today?” has really taken on greater meaning.   As much as I have wanted to curl up in a ball at times (and some days I did just sleep late because I needed to), and as much as I have wanted to say “F- it” and have a glass of wine other times, I am finding the inner strength to push through these times.  And I am still learning and expanding my horizons every day and attempting to stay true to my word of year 2015 – growth.   So I will try to check in again around Day 500, or sooner, if I feel so inspired.

Have a good day.  Remember every day is a gift.  And today is the first day of the rest of your life!

My Favorite Thoughts For Today! One Year, Part Four

And now for my favorite and most fun entry of my one-year posts.

I love thinking about today and all that it means and all the fun sayings there are about today.

My blog is named “Viatoday,” a word I made up, because Via to me means “on the way” and everyday, I feel like “Today, I am on my way.”   I have also come to really like my self-given nickname Via.

Some of my favorite quotes and phrases about today, all of which I think I have included somewhere in this blog:

“Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”  This was one of my Dad’s favorites!  It is so true!

He also liked to say, “Live every day like it is your last.”  And, “Live for today.  Tomorrow is not guaranteed.”

My kids love these fun head-scratchers: “Today is yesterday’s tomorrow.  And today is tomorrow’s yesterday.”

And finally, here’s my favorite:

“Yesterday is history.  Tomorrow is a mystery.  Today is a gift.  And that is why they call it ‘the present’!”

So on this fun note, I am going to keep taking it all one day at a time.  Happy Today everyone!