Day 123


Just typed that word and took a long deep sigh – Wednesday was a long day.

And it’s amazing how hard it is to be mindful when stress hits. I’m reflecting back on a number of ways in which I could have done better – with the boys mainly. C was on a work ski trip today (lucky bastard) so I worked from home and had boys morning, afternoon and bedtime. 

Don’t get me wrong, they are wonderful imaginative funny adventuresome energetic little kids, and I love spending time with them. But damn, they wear me OUT.

By the end of the day, I was wishing for *something* to take the edge off – patience spread thin, dinner taking longer than I thought, boys and dogs driving me nuts (W peed all over the bathroom by mistake, Little C wanting a snack every two minutes, dogs underfoot as I cooked), and the thought of a glass of wine popped through my head a few times.

But I made it through.

All the way through to 8:30pm when I lit up. Ha! Not the norm for a week night, but ya know what, I didn’t drink. It’s on the Post-it for 2018, but not tonight.

Earlier today, driving the boys home from a nearby park, I was reflecting on their little personalities, how different they are. On our hike in the woods, C always needing to be 10 paces ahead (if not further), boundless energy – running running, ahead and back, excited, non-stop chatter. W always behind, by choice, going slowly, in his own world but wanting to be part of ours, he and I talking between ourselves. C, never cold – always with half the winter layers I think he should have but fine. W, the opposite. He was so cold on the way back, he asked to ride my back – tucking his cold hands into the neck of my coat.

How much I love watching them develop. Wondering how much of who they are now I would have been able to predict when they were 1 year old. And would I be able to predict now what they’ll be like as teenagers, adults? Seems presumptuous at this point but at the same time, part of me wants to record everything about them as evidence.

And then came the thoughts: I don’t remember specifically what they were like at 1 year old. Or 2, particularly. I knew I was erasing memories both good and bad back then, and I still drank. That’s depressing. Now I wish that I had at least written more down. Thank god for video and our omnipresent phones.

Hopefully, moving forward minus the addictive behaviors will improve my memory of the boys’ youth.

Day 122


Today, I had a rough morning with the boys, bringing me back to those mornings months ago where I’d be nursing a hangover while dealing with two potty-training, strong-willed, mischievous toddlers, on 5 hrs of interrupted sleep and buried in overwhelming work stress.

While this morning was tough, it was NOTHING like one of those mornings. Why? Well, the boys are older and fully potty trained for one. But one of the main reasons this morning went better than before has to do with my own change.

Before, I would have yelled. Cried. Gone outside and screamed so loud the neighbor would text “Everything okay over there?” (yes, this actually happened). I would have hurried the boys through the routine, physically forcing them to get dressed and into car seats, no patience for any interruption. And still ended up 15-30 minutes late.

Now? We’re still always running late, but in spite of the boys testing my every limit and pushing each others buttons continuously this morning, I did not completely lose it (came CLOSE! but held it together) and I managed to ride out a massive temper tantrum with Little C in a way that made me proud in the end.

Grateful for the changes that have made this possible. And also grateful for the clearheadedness to see how far I still need to go.

Schubert, Impromptu No 3 in G-flat major, D 899

Day 121


I had a cupcake at work today and almost threw up. It was whiskey-flavored. OMG who does that? Only at an advertising agency. I hope this doesn’t mean I fell off the wagon – ha!

Intending to fit in some freelance, then reading, then meditation and early bedtime again tonight. Not much else to report – just slogging through. The lovely pink cloud has floated by and left me feeling a bit empty and sad. Planning to get a couple workouts in this week, tomorrow and Thursday to help kick the doldrums to the curb.

Whiskey cupcake did NOT help.


Day 120

Jump, by Marcos Martinez


Been doing some reading and although I haven’t actually read a real “sobriety” book yet, I’m starting to see a theme. The willpower method of quitting only lasts so long. Willpower runs out (as we’ve all seen with dieting, exercise and other plans that last 3-6 months only to peter out pathetically).

For sobriety to stick-or anything else for that matter, one needs to unearth and deal with the issues that caused the problem to begin with.

I feel like I’ve had my fair share of pink cloud discoveries, and other bright inspiring moments in the almost 3 months of sobriety so far, but I can see how these little perks could end up not being enough. And I want to make sure this sticks. I haven’t done any true deep-dives into the Why yet.

Nothing to share on that theme tonight, just that it’s percolating along in the back of my head. Why did I drink? What was I looking to escape, erase, avoid? I can point to any one thing during different periods of my adult life, and of course my biggest “victim” card before quitting was my marriage… but I’ve been drinking heavily since I was in my 20’s. So – it’s hard to blame any of the specific situations I found myself in over the years.

In the weeks ahead, I hope to do more excavating on this topic and once my free time opens up a bit more, The Naked Mind is on the agenda.


Day 119


Today was a full day with the boys – lots of fun Momma-time doing things C doesn’t usually do like eat sweets for breakfast, go to Chic-fil-A, eat a “picnic” dinner in front of the TV. I know, I know… routine is important, but once in awhile, ya got to mix it up for fun.

While the day was too busy to do much reflecting, in the back of my mind I’ve been going over the dinner I had on Thursday with a good girlfriend of mine – the first dinner with her since I’d quit.

Usually, these Girls Night Out evenings with A would involve dinner, lots of wine (at least on my part) and at some point, a tearful exchange after complaining about my sad and lonely marriage. I knew, in the back of my head, that I was burdening her with my issues and that it was rather pathetic and needy. But I did it anyway.

This time, I’m in an entirely different place, and I looked forward to the opportunity to exercise that. I resolved to let her do most of the talking, and when I spoke, to talk only positively about my marriage and the kids.

The meal went well, and I succeeded both at being a good listener and at expressing only positivity, genuine – not manufactured. And throughout the evening, little thoughts would occur to me, as they have in the past:

-This is the point where I would have had a couple and been interrupting her to share my own related story, pulling the focus back to myself.

-This is where I would have been half in the bag and crying, playing the pity-card and hoping for her empathy.

-This is the point where I would be regretting sharing so much with her about our marriage, feeling like I’d crossed a line but not knowing how to stop myself.

But at each of those moments, I wasn’t. I was listening – really there, really connecting. For the most part, my mind was clear (aside from these little blinks here and there) and able to focus on her words without translating it instantly into my own experience.

These “firsts” with friends have been encouraging, as they reveal to me how much I’ve changed. Whether it’s the lack of alcohol, or the awareness that sobriety brings, or the willingness to work on myself, or all of it, I don’t know.

But I’m grateful.

Day 118


Still feeling pink – just really on top of it all this morning. Listening to an Audible book this morning, The Dance of Anger, a book I’ve read in paper format but wanted to re-read. No time for that, so commute-time has to work. It’s rewarding to feel it really sinking in.

C is traveling so the boys and I are on our own this weekend. I’ve been mentally prepping for the worst – but so far, it’s been nothing but fun. Got to leave work early to pick them up (screaming, waving Mommy mommy!!!), 40 mins of very cold playground time with lots of interactive adventures and a “picnic”, then home to warm up and put together new Lego sets before dinner. Very little TV, lots of play, all good times. 

Dinner went well too – a miracle! It’s been such a struggle lately, but I feel like we’re rounding a corner.

Well, maybe I’m rounding one too. I’m sure it’s all connected.

And about the pink cloud? I know it’s only temporary… and I feel those doldrums sneaking back in with too much screen-time and not enough exercise… but at least I’m more aware of how it all works.




Day 117

Membrane, drawing by Fred Hatt


Another unnaturally happy day today and I have no idea why, but I’m enjoying the pink-ness! Work is slower – meaning it’s actually manageable without the constant feeling of adrenalin-fueled panic, and I took the opportunity to get myself a Starbucks this morning – whawha? Never, ever happens.

In any case, now I’m hopped up and cranking through my work checklist.

In the back of my mind, as always, is the home checklist. In true procrastination-fashion, I am avoiding the more important items like writing Thank You cards for the boy’s recent birthday, and focusing on the least important ones like figuring out Valentine’s Day.

What if I were to give C the gift of really listening, without judgment. Is that cheesy? Unrealistic? Not really a gift but more something I should be doing anyway? I don’t know… but I’m tempted to try this, regardless of the holiday.

Having him KNOW that I’m trying might keep me more accountable, so maybe I’ll add this thought to a card, and include a gift certificate for a couple’s massage. 

Done! Checking that one off the list…

Now, back to cranking.


Day 116


I started today in a place of real positivity – not really sure why. Maybe because I got almost 8 hours of sleep last night? Because I meditated before bed? Because I took my therapist’s words to heart and headed into the day with the best intentions?

Not sure. But in any case, I drove to work on a pink cloud and am hoping it carries me through the evening. “All one can be is their best self, and being that version of oneself will create happiness, intrinsically” – I can almost hear my therapist talking.

From this invincible pink cloud, I found myself pondering the upcoming holiday – Valentine’s Day. While my relationship with C is still distant, I’m in a much better place than I was last year at this time. I remember thinking that I doubted either of us would do anything for the other for Valentines. I knew *I* only had the capacity to do the minimum, most superficial expression – a card and a bottle of something.

In all actuality, it didn’t go poorly. C got me some cute jewelry and I think we even went on a date. 

But it was at that point that I had my internal epiphany: I needed to do a better job of loving myself. If I wasn’t getting what I needed from the relationship, I would give it to myself, Damn It! And out of that place of sadness and negativity came the motivation for an entire year of growth and change.

Now, I’m grateful for the mental distress it took to get me to that moment.

So this year, it’s different. But I still find myself struggling to think of a gift. My default gift for him has always been booze. Fancy new bourbons to try. A 4-pack of some super hoppy IPA. A gift certificate to brew our own beer. Even our standard date-night experience is tied to alcohol – always starting the evening out with a couple fancy cocktails before digging into the meal.

Looking into experience gifts: a nice AirBnB a short drive away, a concert or play in the city, maybe another Cheese of the Month subscription.

It’s interesting though, when you go searching for gift ideas, how many websites seem to think that all men want is something related to beer, whiskey or bourbon. Beer jelly, anyone?




Day 115

Inside/Outside Tree, Sou Fujimoto


Today, I’m just going to regurgitate some of the things I’m hearing in therapy, week after week. Because obviously, although I’m understanding them in my brain, they are still taking time to make their way into my heart and way of living.

  • Own your happiness, act in ways that make you proud (be the bigger person, really listen, be a good mother, don’t lose your patience, get over yourself). Don’t expect anyone else to make you happy – it is no one else’s responsibility
  • Your partner doesn’t owe you anything – if you want something, go and get it. His unhappiness is not your responsibility, stop letting it affect you personally.
  • Stop playing the “poor me” narrative – try speaking more positivity into your life – feed the good, starve the bad. 
  • Don’t look for validation externally, find it internally. You have everything you need inside, looking for it outside yourself will only result in confusion and pain.

Day 114


A couple little random thoughts for today.

One is that I’ve noticed a difference in my mornings since quitting alcohol. My hands no longer shake. It had gotten so bad, especially on those really hungover mornings, that I had to hold my coffee cup with two hands if I didn’t want to splash it around. At the office, I was self-conscious any time I had to raise a bottle of water to my mouth, as I knew my hand was shaking noticeably.

I used to think it was just me – high-strung, stressed-out, nervous. I’ve even had people comment on it over the years, “You okay?” “No need to be worried” etc. And I would feel this twinge of embarrassment because I *wasn’t* worried, I was just shaky.

Granted, it would get worse with lack of sleep and stress, but now I’m realizing how much the alcohol had to do with it.

So that’s a nice perk.

The second thought is more of an reflection on some of the behaviors I had that caused me to realize I had a problem. Maybe they’re unique to me and I’m a weirdo, or maybe not. But in any case, I’m throwing them out here in this confessional space as a way of bringing all of it to light.

  • I used to “suck” on the first few sips of my heavy G&Ts. They would be so strong, I wouldn’t swallow the first sip down for a few moments. I’d wait and hold it in my mouth, swirling it around and letting it sink in. I used to wonder if it got into my bloodstream quicker that way. For some reason, this behavior made me feel like an alcoholic.
  • I used to turn my back to anyone in the room when pouring my G&Ts, ashamed of how much gin I was pouring in.
  • I’d be happy when C went to bed (always earlier than I), because that meant I could drink as much as I wanted in peace. Not that he’d have said anything, but I wanted it to be private.
  • I wouldn’t ever drink as much in public as I wanted to – I saved my “real drinking” for the times when I was home alone after everyone else was in bed. Which was pretty much every night. And if there was a night where I needed to stay sober for whatever reason, I would be stressed out about it, often staying up super late so that I could fit in enough late-night drinking to catch a buzz before bed. Many attempts at doing evening yoga or kickboxing classes would fall short because I couldn’t interrupt my drinking schedule. Nothing like trying to kickbox after a few glasses of wine…
  • I still can’t believe I would bring a glass of wine or a G&T upstairs to drink during the boy’s bedtime routine. I couldn’t even put the drink down for an hour to spend time with them. This behavior didn’t bother me much in the moment, but it leaves me feeling so ashamed now.

I’m sure there are more, but these are a few that have been on my mind lately.