Day 61

Breakthrough, Samantha French


I’m starting to really dislike the smell of beer. Stale beer smell is horrible, but even non-stale beer ain’t great. Especially the smell on someone’s breath or seeping from their pores. Trying not to become the obnoxious person who quits something and then goes to the opposite extreme, but seriously, beer smells like shit.

Another crazy busy day on little sleep, handled with a little less grace than yesterday unfortunately – but still sober! 

In spite of the Crazy, I fit a short workout in this morning and yoga in tonight so am proud of myself for making room for healthy self-care. A lot of deeper stuff swirling around under the surface today but no time to really dive in and examine.

Tonight’s yoga practice was about self-acceptance. Interesting because I had already set that intention before heading to the class. It’s something I need to really work on and I’m grateful for Lori, the yoga instructor, for being today’s confirmation that the universe is listening.

Now, more self-care: sleep.

Saving this podcast for later.

Day 60!

Scattered Remnants, Tracie Cheng


So tired I can barely spell Wednesday. I planned to be in bed an hour ago, but no luck… just finished some work emails and that was my last task of the day, so it’s bed time.

Today’s commonsense epiphany brought to you by lack of sleep:

Last night was unrestful, like the few before that, between working late and boys up at all hours for no apparent, fixable reason. As I fell asleep at 2am, I felt myself going down the usual “poor me, I’m going to be a mess tomorrow, it’s going to suck so bad” mental pathway. And I got to the part where I was planning out how to bitch about it to my work friends and anyone who would listen to me throw a pity party, and I said STOP! I don’t want to be that way!

And I made a simple mental intention to have a good day instead. To power through, to conquer, to kick ass. I planned to make time for a solid breakfast for me and the boys, and be kind and pleasant with them regardless of their behavior. I decided I wouldn’t complain at work but instead would kick some major ass. And I did.

I negotiated, I delegated, I led. I got the work done and led client calls and internal meetings, and kept the tone quiet and calm in spite of the insanity going on around me. Hopefully, we moved some shit forward today.

What an incredible effect one decision can have.

I must say though, after today’s intensity, C’s beer looked extremely tempting tonight.

Chopin – Nocturne op.9 No.2

More Chopin Nocturnes (Brigitte Engerer)

Day 59


Does it still count as Tuesday if it’s 1:45am? Today was too full, but I stayed dead sober. Thought about smoking a little pot but decided it wasn’t a good idea, considering that I had an evening full of work to complete.

In any case, I’m headed to bed with hopefully less interruptions from the little ones tonight. 

Tomorrow is another day. May it be more restful.

Day 58

Melting Away, Pascal Campion


I made it through the day – an adrenalin-fueled race from beginning to end, and am two minutes away from a shower and crash into my pillow.

But first, what happened through my Facebook feed? Of course, a link to an article about how negative emotions are key to well-being. Bookmarking here to finish reading later – but the first few scrolls tied directly into my thinking from yesterday.

Amazing how life will serve you up lessons when you’re ready for them.

Day 56 & 57

Soul III, Hiroyuki Dog

Sat-Sun – The end of the holiday

Really down today.

And as I sat to type this, conversations from this weekend ringing in my head, I had a minor revelation. All this time, I’ve been telling myself and others that I’m learning how to own my happiness – finding ways to take better care of myself, investing in people, places, things that inspire and improve me, learning who I am and how to be gentler and kinder to that person.

The Revelation? Part of this process needs to be about owning my unhappiness as well.

I’m learning not to dwell there unhealthily, but the drinking (especially during the holidays) was such an escape from uncomfortable emotion that I haven’t learned how to really BE with awkward painful sadness. I need to learn how to notice it, accept it. Maybe try to figure out the real reasons why? And work to keep it contained to myself, not take it out on those around me.

As with my happiness, my unhappiness is all me. I can look for reasons – for people or situations to blame it on, but in the end, I am the only one who can do something about it. There is no point in assigning blame – it doesn’t get you anywhere. The best way forward is through. What’s the phrase? “When you’re going through hell, keep going?”

I think for years, I turned around and went backwards, or just stopped, when facing shitty emotions. And now, I need to work at facing them, embracing them, taking ownership and learning from them… then moving on.

There were a couple tough moments during this Thanksgiving, and through it all I stayed sober. But it felt very raw. I shed tears to a SIL, offended another by mistake, took offense at C’s treatment of me around his family, felt more out-of-place and awkward than usual. Just a big ball of emotions. I know there were a few contributing factors, but I’m guessing the lack of alcohol was a big one. 

An early run today helped, now – I’m headed to bed in hopes of getting a good night’s sleep before a busy week.


Day 55


Another great day with family today but for some reason it’s been really tough fighting the urges. We spent the afternoon and evening at C’s sisters with the whole crew, all of the adults enjoying multiple open bottles of good quality wine, some beer and bourbon mixed in too. 

And damn, the wine looked so so good. The deep ruby red, swirling in large wine glasses, leaving sexy legs behind. Cheese pairings, crackers and bread, my galette (as decadent as I’d hoped, pastry crust and all), and the perfect unseasonably warm fall day. 

I know I was romanticizing the moment and I know that if I drank, it wouldn’t really be like that, but DAMN, it was hard.

Now, I’m ducking out early with plans to put the boys down and chill on my own while the others stay here and play games, drink & “party” as much as a classy, restrained family of Germans can. 

Feeling a bit sad and lonely.

Day 54

Thanksgiving Thursday

I know I should be grateful right now, and I am. We’re at C’s brother’s house in DC with a host of extended family–all wonderful, drama-free, fun people. We’ve just finished stuffing ourselves with an incredible meal, everyone chipping in with the prep and cleanup, with little to no stress involved. A miracle, for sure!

I’ve only had to turn down two drink offers-one as wine was initially served over afternoon food prep, and the other as the post-dessert card games commenced and heavier drinks came on the menu. No one seemed to blink an eye, and that was nice. I mentioned that I’d quit to a close family member in private but no questions were asked.

Its been a bit tough though, realizing how alcohol was my buffer for the awkwardness I feel around his family, and now…I feel like I don’t exactly know how to be myself around them. I wanted to really connect on this trip, thanks to being sober, but so far, I just feel awkward.

The toughest part of it all has been sitting next to C as he got blurrier and blurrier, and his humorous “my wife is a bitch and my life sucks” comments to the room became more cutting and less funny.  Maybe when I was drinking along I would have laughed or countered, but being dead sober while he undercut our relationship in front of his family (couched in dark humor of course) was really painful and embarrassing.

Our son rescued me by needing Mommy for a sore tummy, so now I’m upstairs and headed to bed with that as my excuse.

I don’t know where to go with any of this but right now it just feels painful.



Day 53

Pomegranate, Pear, Pecan & Cheese Salad


It’s a madness of work, baking, food prep, and packing today! No time for error, no time for rumination, no time for alcohol. But somehow, every year prior, I managed to make room for that handicapping substance! It’s amazing how, in the worst possible times, alcohol seemed like the solution but was in fact a large part of the problem.

In years past, I would have headed into the busy-ness with glasses of wine to start, and as the evening began, stiff G&Ts and maybe a puff or two – to celebrate the beginning of the holiday, as a reward for all the work accomplished and a buffer for the work to come. I would have stayed up late late late to fit it all in, arriving at midnight or 1am with a massive buzz and then stumbling to bed with a glass of water and a few Advil, hoping against hope that the morning would be easy on me, as we headed into the frenzy of packing the van and trying to get on the road by an early hour.

Of course, the mornings were never easy. And waking up with a hangover to deal with two little ones and the craziness of packing for a trip was never fun. 

Did it help me have fun the night before? Maybe. Did it help me accomplish everything on my list? Not really. Many screwed up recipes, many forgotten ingredients, many “fuck-it” moments where a plan was scrapped, many “shit, I need an ingredient from the store but am probably not safe to drive” moments.

Although today will still be strenuous, it will be easier than in the past, thanks to the clear head and capable hands provided by my sobriety. And I’m baking and prepping more food (and more complex, delectable food) than I have in the past – I think because in a way I am replacing the pleasure of alcohol with super yummy food treats. I’m excited to share them with family and excited to be more present in the moment while we all enjoy them.

And I’m reminded around every corner to rise above the Work of it all, and enjoy the reason Why – family, gratitude, celebration, tradition.

I am so grateful.

Wishing all of us a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Day 52


I am finding myself filling my schedule to the gills lately – and even ramping it up with the holidays. Finding new recipes to cook, working out, pulling extra freelance jobs, amassing a long list of projects to take on, watching Netflix shows, reading multiple books, holiday shopping, etc etc etc.

I’m honestly not sure whether this is a good thing or not. Initially, it was to replace the evening drinking with something healthy that would distract. Now that I’m almost 2 months in (still super early sobriety), I’m wondering if I’m just using this Busy-ness to avoid processing the prickly painful stuff that sits in the back of my mind.

I know that my 1-hr commutes are great for processing, and yet I fill them with phone calls, podcasts and zoning out to music.

Evenings might be good as well, but I’m barely getting to bed before midnight and find myself busy right up until my head drops onto the pillow. Some processing tries to happen then, as my mind churns and stresses, but usually I’m trying hard to turn it off – not dig in to the problems.

In line with the latest desire to make space to meditate and to spend time practicing gratitude, I think I need to slow down. Take a few deep breaths once in awhile. Leave an evening or two open during the week. Turn down additional work.

Easy to say, much much harder to implement – especially now with the holiday madness bearing down. But hopefully intention counts for something!

Day 51

Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette


So I’m phoning it in tonight. 1) It’s 11:30 and I just wrote and lost a post into the ether due to a bad internet connection. 2) It’s been a long day and will probably be another interrupted night’s sleep tonight so I better try to fall asleep before the boys start waking up due to “night-marrers”

Today in summary – rough morning due to previously mentioned sleep-interrupters, long work day filled with schizophrenic projects all starting and stopping and changing throughout the day, then the race home to put boys down in time to meet my trainer at the gym – fingers crossed no one started throwing a fit when I left because C is sick of dealing without me. Dinner at 9:30, then a Stranger Things episode because I want to catch up with family about Season 2 over the holiday, and now I hear a little voice calling me from the other room… sigh.

In other news, I did find a yummy recipe I want to try for Thanksgiving!

Smitten Kitchen’s Butternut Squash and Carmelized Onion Galette