150 Days

Today is Day 150 for me of living without alcohol.  It feels like a milestone so I wanted to post.  I am 30 days away from accomplishing 180 Days with Belle.  This will bring me to almost mid-November 2014, and should be good momentum going into the holidays.

As I gather time and build momentum, I gain confidence in my decision to give up alcohol.  Some of the social events I have attended in the past (almost) 5 months without drinking any alcohol include:

-Memorial Weekend overnight with family friends;

-two Major League Baseball games;

-two family vacations this summer;

-Father’s Day weekend and dinner with family in town staying with us;

-a gathering of college friends;

-4th of July weekend away;

-a cousins get-together;

-our block party;

-a few dinners with friends;

-a festival-of-beer fundraiser with friends; (yes a festival of beer!).  (This was with childhood friends and the fundraiser was dear to a friend’s heart so I definitely wanted to to go.  Beer is not my drink of choice anyway.  Still for this event, unlike any of the others, I emailed my girlfriends in advance that I was taking a “hiatus” from drinking.   I did not provide any detail about why I decided to do this.  They responded kindly without any questions at all.  I have known these women since elementary school and we have been through so much together.  I know they are there for me if I need to talk more, and they know I know this).

I am sure there are other events I am missing and sub-events during the vacations of course!  Even a year ago, I would never have imagined going to any of the above events without having something to drink. It is just part of our culture and life in the Midwestern USA, and of course in many parts of the world. But something really clicked for me in February 2014 that drinking was not really benefitting me at all. Then I failed in my attempt to stop drinking for Lent.  I was embarrassed and frustrated because I had shared that goal with my 10 year old (now 11 year old) son.  He noticed I did not keep my Lenten promise.

In April, I found Unpickled, Belle, Mrs. D’s blogs, 6yearhangover, the BFB, and the Bubble Hour.  I was mesmerized, inspired, truly blown away by this community, and that there were others like me.  Still I had many false starts in April – lots of Day 1’s in that month.  But my motivation and determination were building.

I wanted to “own my own power” again.  I had heard this phrase from a speaker in November 2013 on an unrelated topic.   My mind kept thinking of that phrase – I need to “own my own power” and “not let other people or things suck it way from me.”  I set other goals too – centered around the main goal of being the best Mom and Wife and Person I could be.   I still have a LOT of work to do in these areas. But I am trying.

How could I do this?  The same speaker in November talked about as Moms we need to take care of ourselves so we can take care of others.  She said we should go back to the five basics in life – water, food, exercise, sleep, and spirituality.  I decided I was going to do this.  I was going to stay hydrated, eat healthier, exercise regularly, sleep more, and explore my spirituality.  Drinking wine was not helping in any of these categories!

I wanted to be more present in my life too.  Drinking wine was definitely not helping with this!  It was making me less present by the day.

From March 5 (Ash Wednesday) to May 12, I was reflecting and goal-setting so much (still am!). Joining the 100 Day Challenge was key for me.  I pledged to Belle I would go alcohol free for 100 Days, and that May 12, 2014 was my last day I had a drink.  It also helped that I set my screen name on my anonymous email accounts as via51214  – that gives me accountability too as I don’t want to change those.   Without having Belle to email every day, I don’t think I would have gotten to Day 100.   I pledged to do 180 Days after I completed the 100, and here I am at Day 150.

It has been easier between 100 and 150 Days.  But it is still very hard sometimes.  I take it day by day.  I try not to think too far ahead. I try to stay here, stay in today.   I am also part of a Gratitude Group where we post every day what we are grateful for that day.

I know my last post was a bit sad and mysterious and I know I worried some people. Life is going to continue happening around me whether I am drinking or not.  A few days ago I really needed The Serenity Prayer but it had nothing to do with not drinking actually.  There was something that happened in my extended family almost 2 years ago that I am struggling to accept.  This event is also something that caused me to really start reflecting on my own life and where it is going.

Every day is a gift.   Tomorrow is not guaranteed.  I am almost 44 years old, and unfortunately, I have been reminded of this many times with deaths among family and friends already.

There is another phrase my kids like –  “Yesterday is history; tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, and that is why they call it the present.”

And like I said in my first blog entry, I remind myself every day what my Dad used to say, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”  It is a new start every day.  Today is going pretty well so far.

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17 thoughts on “150 Days

  1. Congratulations on your 150 days! I really related to the bit where you said that moms need to take care of themselves to take care of other people … so true… we don’t do anyone any favours by trying to be martyrs. It was this realisation – that I needed to take better care of myself – that started me down this path, and discovering sober blogs that kept me going! It’s a good path and I’m happy I’m on it 🙂 xx

    • It seems like so many of us are Moms, and it took us a while to realize that, while we are taking care of everyone else, we need to take care of ourselves too! You are a great example for me – thanks!

  2. Hi
    I loved your Post today, and congratulations to you. I would be interested in joining the Gratitude Group, could you point me in the right direction?
    Lisa
    xx

    • Lisa, if you want to send me your email address, I will email you and tell you about it. It started with a blog post by 6yearhangover a while back where he talked about a gratitude group he was in. He offered to get another one going for some of his readers and he did. It has gotten pretty small but it is really helpful to me. Again, send me your email and I’ll tell you more and you can consider whether you would like to join us!

  3. congrats on 150 days, via!!! that’s amazing!!! you sound so secure in it and upbeat. very inspiring stuff!! your list of events you made it thru sober is really great too. I feel like I’ve been hiding out since I quit 50 days ago… it almost feels like I’m cheating bc of course it’s easier to stay sober if I’m home in bed by 8pm every night 😉 I’ve only had 3 occasions when I had to pass on drinking in front of friends. Seeing what you’ve survived gives me hope and inspiration!! I always enjoy your posts, so keep em coming!! 🙂

    • I avoided a lot of things definitely too, but the weekends away and vacations and more events came and I could not avoid all of them any more. I said a variety of things as indicated in other posts (“I’m driving,” – indeed, I tried to drive whenever I could; “I’m on antibiotics” – “I am doing a detox to lose 5 lbs.” – etc.). Or I did not say anything and simply brought my own Cranberry Juice and Lime and poured that into a Solo cup. Slowly but surely, the events piled up and I had the mental list in my head. When I hit 150 days, I realized I am really doing this and decided to write the list here in my blog. The last event, with my childhood girlfriends, who I am still good friends with now, I am glad I told with an email in advance that I am taking a hiatus from drinking. That felt really good.

  4. This is such an uplifting and inspiring post! I’m into 44 days and I worry about holidays coming up bc drinking was such a huge part of my life. Reading your post gives me courage for what lies ahead.

    Congratulations! Analie

    • You can do it! If I can get through the second half of spring, all of summer, and part of fall, you can get through the holidays and so can I! I would never have guessed I could do this but my pledge to Belle got me through in days of most temptations. And after getting a fair amount of events under my belt, I am have realized most people don’t care if I am drinking. Some are really curious as to why but I don’t give any details. This is my decision and my reasons why are mine. With people that do seem to mind I am not drinking, and there have only been a few, I am realizing that is more their problem than mine. The next morning I am always so happy, like today Saturday morning, when I did not have any wine at home watching TV on my couch last night – I feel great!

  5. This is wonderful! Good for you Viatoday. Your post has brought a smile to my face, so thank you. Here’s to being clear-headed, present and grateful – and you sound all three. Love and congratulations from the Sober Garden.

    • Thanks Sober Garden! Yes, here’s to being clear-headed, present, and grateful! I am all 3 (well trying very hard to be) and you sound like it too! Reaching 150 Days felt like a celebration to me for me for some reason so thanks for the kind words!

  6. 150 days is wonderful! I feel as though I have known about your journey from the beginning and I am grateful to be part of your life, even if it’s only online! You are a true inspiration to me. And even if I fail, I will never forget the way you found me and emailed me all those months ago. Annie x

    • Annie, you have absolutely been with me from the beginning and I SO APPRECIATE your kind words and encouragement over the last 150 Days. And now you are plus-40 Days again and doing so well too! I am so glad to have “met” you too. I know I always have a friend in you – and vice versa – I will always be here for you no matter what!

  7. Beautiful and inspiring post. Love “own my own power.” I’m going to remember that. Also, what your dad used to say…so true. Today IS the first day of the rest of our lives. And it’s filled with hope if we are not drinking. Xo

    • Yes, I really say these things so often to myself. The “own my own power” phrase is truly powerful! It is amazing when you think about how many people and things and situations can sap our energy away. And now when I feel like that is happening, I remind myself, “Hey, remember, you own your own power.” It really works! And in days where I have regrets, the other phrase reminds me to forgive myself the next day, and every days is a new start by saying, “Today is the first day of the rest of my life.” You have had some really inspiring posts as of late too! Thanks for visiting and the kind words!

  8. Wonderful blog, have just found you. So much in common. I’m Day 122 today and like you have been finding a path through early sobriety with these blogs and the gentle guidance of many sober bloggers, including the amazing Belle. Holding hands across the net with others attempting this AF life is so comforting. Thank you for sharing. I wish you strength & peace & health. Lara x

    • Thank you so much for commenting Lara. I hope things are still going well for you! I am at Day 185 and came back to read my Day 150 post because I sometimes I need a pep talk for myself from myself! And I saw your comment. I likewise wish you continued strength, peace, and health, especially at this time of year, as we approach the holidays. I think it is going to be tough but we can do it!

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