You’ve worked too hard to give up now.

I have an app on my phone called Thoughtback. You record a thought and save it and the app randomly sends thoughts back to you. I love it. I use it mainly for motivational quotes. Every once in awhile I’ll get a really weird random thought, those are from when I was still drinking.

The thought I got sent today was “you’ve worked too hard to give up now”. This applies to two areas of my life: sobriety (of course) and weight loss.

Yesterday was my 11 month anniversary and I feel like I’m cruising right along. One year will be here before I know it. I don’t feel like I want to give up on my sobriety but I’m starting to feel like “isn’t this enough?”. I haven’t drank in a year isn’t that amazing? Can I just be done now? I confided in a coworker that I no longer drink and she couldn’t believe it. She said “even if you decided to start drinking again right now I’d still be so impressed with what you’ve done”. And I guess it’s true, what I’ve managed to do is impressive. But is it enough to be impressive? That’s not what I started out to do. Being impressive was not the end goal. The end goal was to live a healthy, happy, and balanced life without alcohol because I just couldn’t keep it around any more. I don’t want to give up but I want to know when it’s over. When is the learning and struggling and the meetings and the work over? I know the answer is never, it’s never over. Dwelling on that thought is overwhelming.

My weight loss journey has been going great, Omada is really working for me. But I’m getting back to the weight I was at around my 30th birthday which is great to be back down there but also a little terrifying. When I push past a certain number on the scale I will be entering unknown territory. I will also reach a point where I have no clothes in my closet that will fit me. Haven’t I lost enough (86 pounds) already? I’m no longer obese, I look good and I feel good, my friends are noticing and giving me compliments, can I just be done? I know the answer is no. My goal was to be at a healthy weight, being overweight was never my goal. If I continue to lose weight at the rate I have been, which is a 7% loss over 16 weeks, I will reach my goal by November 7th. Of this year! Nine months from now!

I better start saving money for new clothes or it’s going to be a cold winter.

338 days.

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Devils Canyon, south of Fruita, CO

Breezing Right Along

This past Saturday marked 10 months of sobriety for me. It feels like so much and nothing has happened since the last time I wrote. My most important accomplishment was going through the holiday season sober for the first time in a decade. Maybe I’ll share more about it at a later date. All I want to say for now is that I spent New Years Eve alone in my apartment and it was fine.

Here is what moved me to my keyboard and got me typing today: I want to become a yoga teacher and use my skills to help people in recovery. There it is, I have set my intention.

Now it’s time to get to work.

About last night, and today, and everything.

Last Night:

Last night was the first night of the Great American Beer Festival. I have either attended or volunteered at this festival every year since 2008. This has been a do not miss event for me every year. Two years ago I chose an expensive flight home for a wedding just so I could squeeze in two sessions. I used to base much of my identity on my knowledge of craft beer and the industry itself. I prided myself on who and how much I knew.

I could never have guessed where I would have been last night instead. When I decided to get sober seven months ago I would never have thought I’d be at an Y12SR meeting instead of GABF. But I was and I’m so grateful that I was able to be there and I was actually happy to be there.

I shared last night about how much life can change in just a short amount of time. Sometimes these seven months have felt like the longest stretch of time and then it can also feel like a blink of an eye. It was nice to look back and reflect on how far I’ve come. I started and still maintain a regular yoga practice, I’ve cultivated relationships with my home LifeRing group, I’ve lost weight, I experience less anxiety, I’m more active, I ended a relationship that wasn’t working, and I’ve saved up a significant amount of money which makes me feel more secure.

Sobriety is fabulous.

Today:

March 7th, 2016 was SEVEN months ago so happy anniversary to me! I will celebrate by going for a run, maybe yoga if I can get there in time, not drinking, planning tomorrow’s day hike, eating a healthy dinner, and getting to bed early.

Everything:

I’m been struggling with depression since breaking up with Dave. I was ok the first two weeks or so but now all of a sudden this week the loneliness and depression have hit my hard, seemingly out of nowhere. I don’t want to drink because I know it will only make the situation worse. I don’t want to drink because my sobriety is so important to me. But at the same time I am grasping for something to make the way I feel go away. I don’t want to sit with these feelings. At the same time I don’t want to talk about it either. I just want to be alone. I know that’s not going to make me feel better but it’s what I needed this week. I’m really glad I dragged myself to LifeRing Wednesday and went to Y12SR last night because I am feeling a little better today. I’m going to be ok, I know I won’t feel like this forever.

I’d like to end this post with a quote from Holly Whitaker:

“Dealing with the world straight up with no numbing is hardcore. Not the other way around.”

214 Days

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A happy moment on the trail.

Everything is the worst (and nothing feels good).

I broke up with Dave a week ago. I spend every unoccupied moment feeling depressed. I feel generally depressed, lonely, tired, bored, sad, anxious, and irritable.

That sounds terrible but honestly I don’t feel as bad as I thought I would. I put off breaking up with Dave because I was terrified of how bad I would feel. I was scared I would start drinking again to deal with it. I thought my friends wouldn’t be able to support me. But none of that has happened. I’ve been ok. I don’t think I could have done this much sooner though. I think the strength I’ve found in my sobriety enabled me to make this decision and handle what came from it. Like I said in my previous post, I am handling this break up just like early sobriety. Thankfully I’m eating less ice cream thus far.

This isn’t the worst I’ve ever felt. I’ve gone through periods of depression so deep and dark that I never thought I would get out. I felt worse this past winter before I got sober. I spent a lot of time in the relationship feeling unhappy. I’ve already mourned the loss of this relationship because it was over a long time ago for me.

Should I feel worse? Is it weird that I can get out of bed and go about my day? Last Thursday was tough but since then each day gets a little better and a little easier. I know the up coming holidays will be tough but Dave and I never spent them together because I was always home.

New Years Eve. That will be hard. Sober and single.

198 days.

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View of Longs Peak from the saddle between Chiquita and Ypsilon Mountains, RMNP.

 

 

Single

I broke up with my boyfriend last night. He wasn’t surprised. Neither of us had done anything terrible to the other person. We weren’t going to move forward. We both cried, me more than him. He admitted he would never have been strong enough to end it. We could have been together forever. I couldn’t fake it any longer.

I’m going to treat this break up just like sobriety.

  1. Self care
  2. Yoga
  3. Meditate
  4. Stay active by going to the gym and hiking
  5. Reach out to friends and family for support
  6. Find new activities to do without him
  7. Try my best not to eat my feelings but if I do that a little it’s ok
  8. Say nice things to myself

That’s really all I can write about it at the moment. The word single looks like it’s spelled incorrectly.

192 days

Six Months

Yesterday, September 7th 2016, was my six month sober anniversary. I celebrated by:

  1. Waking up without a hangover
  2. Having a productive day at work
  3. Drinking a mango smoothie
  4. Going to my weekly LifeRing meeting
  5. Eating sushi and gelato for dinner
  6. Bottling two batches of kombucha and starting two new batches
  7. Netflix and chill with my boyfriend

I spent Labor Day weekend here:

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Chicago Basin campsite view.

 

Then I hiked here:

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Twin Lakes

I am grateful, as always, for my sobriety.

185 Days

Once my boots hit the dirt

longs peal wp

I’m climbing Longs Peak on Saturday and Sunday. I’ve had a boulder field camping permit since March. I’ve wanted to do this hike since before I even got into hiking, before I even climbed my first 14er. I’ve wanted this mountain for so long, for years. Dave and Kara are coming with me. I almost wish I was going by myself.

I am freaking out.

Why am I so nervous? Ok here we go, I’m going to take a huge feelings dump:

Unpredictable weather, Kara and Dave will want to “sleep in” Sunday morning, we have to get the ranger station before noon on Saturday, no parking at the trailhead, bad weather in the boulder field, we’ll be stuck in our tents, there will be snow, one of us could get altitude sickness, Dave’s sleeping bag isn’t warm enough, Dave’s shoes aren’t good enough, this is Dave’s first 14er, Dave will not have fun.

I’m mostly worried about the weather because it’s out my control. Worrying about things out of your control accomplishes nothing. I need to stop.

Maybe I should worry about whether or not I’ll have fun. Backpacking is my jam, my thing, my favorite. I’m like a pig in shit when I have my pack on. I just need to hit the trail. Once my boots hit the dirt I will feel better.

170 days.

Backpacking is my Favorite

The Master Shift Quotes

I read this quote recently and it resonated with me. Since reading it I have tried my best to do as it says. It exemplifies radical self care. Everything you do should be an expression of self love. Take care of yourself like you love yourself.

In practice this is hard to do, well for me anyways. I have said and done some awful things to myself over the years. Since I’ve stopped drinking those awful things don’t surface in my head as much.

I realized this weekend that the only time I’m really able to achieve self love and self care is when I’m backpacking. It makes a lot of sense. You have everything you need on your back so you’re only going to bring the essentials. I think very hard about each item I put in my pack. How will it serve me? Do I really need it? How will this item make me feel? A non-negotiable for me are camp shoes, something to wear around camp after I take my boots off (which, by the way, is one of the best moments that occurs while backpacking). Camp shoes make me feel happy and comfortable.

Another non-negotiable is yummy, nourishing food. Cheese? You got it. Expensive beef jerky? Yes! Two Trader Joe’s breakfast burritos? Hell yeah. I don’t use backpacking as an excuse to overeat but I also don’t spend a single second feeling guilty about one morsel of food that passes by my lips. When you’re backpacking your body becomes a machine. Your muscles power you up hills, over boulders and across streams. Your brain makes important decisions about safety and direction. You need fuel and rest to keep going. You need to say encouraging things to yourself if you have any hope of completing your journey.

I am writing about this because a long time friend and hiking partner was on a backpacking trip with me this weekend. They said the same things they do just about every time we’re in the woods together. This friend will eat a light breakfast on purpose, follow it up with very few snacks, a light lunch and a light dinner. They talk about how they want to lose a pound over the weekend. They push themselves hard on the hike in. They obsess about what they have eaten and feel the need to share it openly. This makes me uncomfortable probably because I have my own food issues. But thankfully they fade away when I’m on the trail. I eat when I need to. The only concern I have about the number of calories is making sure there’s enough. I’m so grateful that these thoughts melt away and I wish my friend could find the same peace as I do.

On strenuous hikes I bust out my mantra. My left leg is strong and my right leg is able. I pat each quadriceps as I repeat “strong and able” over and over in my head until I believe it. I repeat it until I become it. I am strong and I am able. I can get up this mountain. I can stay sober. I can love myself.

162 days.

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View from our camp of Lone Eagle Peak, Indian Peaks Wilderness.

Why I can’t have just one

Recently, I told a friend that I have decided to stop drinking. Her response was very similar to the responses I’ve gotten in the past. I get surprised looks. They say they never thought I had a problem with alcohol. Everyone has been supportive. However, almost everyone has said something along the lines of “well can’t you just moderate? just have one? set a limit for the evening and stick to it?” These are great questions but they have one answer…

No.

I can’t. I have tried. I have been trying ever since I started drinking thirteen years ago. I have been struggling for years to keep alcohol in my life even though it’s been tearing it apart. I’ve tried to keep it in my life by controlling it but I can’t, it has always controlled me.

Here’s what would happen to me when I tried to moderate. I wouldn’t drink all week because I had work, went to the gym, was saving those calories for the weekend etc. Then Friday arrives and I have plans. Go out for drinks, dinner, a show at The Bluebird. I’s say to myself before leaving my apartment “You can have 4 drinks tonight, that’s enough to catch a buzz but not too many where you’ll end up blacking out”. Or I would decide on a dollar amount I could spend and then that’s it. Except there’s a huge problem with this. I was trying to control my consumption of a substance that when consumed impairs your judgment and self control. I would get to that fourth drink (usually a beer) and not want to stop. If four drinks makes me feel this good then eight will make me feel even better! Why would I want to stop drinking now after four drinks? I want this feeling to last the whole night.

Then that would be it. The four drink rule has been abandoned and I’m free to drink however much I please.

There’s so much inner struggle that went on in my head that I never shared with anyone. I would debate with myself constantly over whether or not I could get another drink. Is anyone noticing how fast I’m drinking? Is anyone else ready to get another? Do I have enough money? If I go big tonight I can cut back the rest of the weekend and take it easy the next. It was a constant stream of justifications and arguments with myself. I’m surprised I even socialized with anyone while I was out because I was so busy with myself in my own head.

So that is why I can’t have just one. It’s too hard for m to do. Even when I was able to do it I was miserable. For me the only option right now is to eliminate alcohol from my life completely.

I’m really happy about that decision.

147 days.