Day 298

Asbury Park, NJ


So my 15yo niece, Z, is visiting this week – which is pretty awesome. She and I have been close ever since she was little, and I’m psyched to be spending time with her. I’m still working so there is a bit of juggling happening during the days – today I worked from a beach-front restaurant in Asbury Park while she shopped the boardwalk. Tomorrow we head into Brooklyn to visit family and do the same.

Thanks to her presence in the evening, I’m curbing any pot smoking and going to bed early – so I can thank her for that.

As much as I framed my reaction to the aftermath of the party positively on Monday, there have been some enduring effects that have weighed on me since then – and I am trying to ward off the internal doldrums to be 100% present for Z.

Grateful for the sobriety to process this in the rare spaces I have around work & home life right now, and for an appointment with a new therapist tomorrow. Things with C and I have been good since the party – we always work well together when hosting, and it’s a bonding experience. The boys are their usual hilarious and strenuous selves, who I adore completely. Life is good.

PS. I may be a bit absent over the next few days due to Z’s visit – but guaranteed, staying sober is still on the agenda.

Day 296


Back to work after a full weekend. The party was a big success, in spite of the rain. Lots of friends and neighbors, hanging out eating good food and drinking – a LOT. Except for me and a handful of others who were less exuberant about downing the beer, cocktails, whiskey etc.

I found myself pulled in so many directions, happily spinning around the party and enjoying each conversation. In the back of my mind was a voice-over of what my responses *would* have been if I’d been drinking: more likely to try to make a joke out of what they were saying, less likely to actually hear them, always half a second away from moving on to the next conversation, spinning each person’s story into a similar one of my own, laughing too loud, and just generally a bit disconnected.

This time, though, I was 100% present. I talked a lot less and felt more secure about it. I was genuinely curious about the conversations, and as others became intoxicated, it was amusing to notice how that changed people’s way of communicating. 

Some people get overly loving, others dominate the conversation, some become more reserved or touchy about certain topics, and some share their most personal hopes and dreams. 

I remember heading into this party in the past, hoping that I wouldn’t divulge certain things I thought or felt while under the influence (and most likely disappointing myself in the end). 

The morning after, I was happy to know that there would be no snippets of regretted conversation floating around in my head, no concerns that I’d led someone on by being too effusive, no one I’d feel a need to apologize to the next time I saw them.

I wasn’t a bad drunk – just a typical one.

And this time, for so many reasons, it was nice to be SOBER.

Even in the aftermath review of the party – who flirted with who, who said something offensive, who pressed themselves on my husband, and who was obviously drunk – my reaction to all of it was more adult, more perceptive, less reactive than it would have been in the past.

Feeling grateful.

Day 293

Silence/Shapes, by Filippo Minelli


Feeling a bit pink-cloud-ish today, and enjoying it. 

Driving in to work, I found myself reviewing all the ways that my life has improved since quitting – spurred by a photo I took recently where I look thinner, happier and healthier. And it’s true, life IS better.

Sure, the usual ups and downs are still there. My marriage still needs a lot of work. The world is going to hell in a hand basket. My kids drive me nuts, and it drives me nuts that they drive me nuts.

But overall, it helps to take a look back and see how far I’ve come.

Scrolling through my phone looking for an old picture, I found a similar picture of myself from a year ago. At the time, I would not have said I was unhealthy, or fat, or unhappy for the most part. But seeing that picture in comparison with the one taken recently shows a striking difference.

Not only am I thinner, my skin healthier, my smile more centered and real – but my eyes are brighter. I’m more alert than I was a year ago.

Grateful for this reminder of how much has changed for the better – especially when I’ve been a bit down lately.

Tomorrow is the big party, so I’m equally excited and stressed out (weather is still predicting ~50% chance of rain)… but I’m looking forward to experiencing the hostess role completely sober. No worries about saying or doing the wrong thing under the influence!


Day 292

Spindrift blackberry spritzer


In spite of work & home distractions, I’m remaining focused on party prep (of course, the most important thing now that I’m finally excited about it!). And today’s post is a plug for the new sparkling drink I’ve discovered:


It’s sparkling water with fruit juice, no added sugar or color. And it’s amazing.

I’ve been drinking the La Croix like they’re going out of style, but my brother just turned me on to these… which if you’re looking for something bubbly & refreshing with a little flavor, and just the right amount of actual not-to-sweet natural fruit juice – this is it!

I’d been looking for a “dry” sparkling drink, and I finally found it. Blackberry Spindrift is perfect. The perfect balance of little sour, a little sweet, and a little sparkle.

I’m going to experiment tonight by adding this to the party cocktail taste-testing (C is helping out) – it may end up replacing ginger beer with this as the soda for one of the drinks. That is, of course, if I decide to share the 18-pack I just bought.

Now I’m off to invite the neighbors – given that we’re having live music, it’s the polite thing to do… plus, I’m excited!

Day 291


Looking forward to kickboxing my frustrations out tonight.

If I had to capture it all under one umbrella, it would be the frustration of being unable to control or affect certain parts of my life and the world around me that feel completely wrong or out of control right now.

I just finished having a conversation with a coworker feeling similar stress who blamed being Type A. Maybe that’s it, or maybe I just need to meditate more. 

Not everything needs to be under control. 

In the end, as long as I can feel good about my contributions to life in any given day or moment, that should be enough.

Easier said than done. ha!

Day 290


Feeling blah today and lately. A little testy, a little apathetic, and just plain tired.

Usually, I have a lot of energy for the various chores and responsibilities of the day as well as inspiration for upcoming projects and events, but I’m struggling at the moment – not sure why.

So I’m percolating along, trying to be my best self and am of course, staying off the booze.

The latest & greatest of this week is that we’re prepping for our big annual summer party (rescheduled from the Summer Solstice), which I’m trying to get excited about. 

Today’s chore? Plan the mixed drinks.

So I decided to create a drink or two that could stand on their own as a Mocktail, and I hope I’ve succeeded: Blackberry Bramble and a Summery Moscow Mule.

For non-drinkers like me, I’ve offered an alcohol substitute and expect these will both be rather yummy!

Day 289

Oysters, by Hennie Haworth


I came really close to having a glass of white wine on Saturday. Surprised and a little disconcerted by how nonchalant I felt about it at the moment.

C had the day to himself, with me taking the boys on a play date with two other moms & their kids from the PreK program. We had a great time, playground, beach, public market lunch, even ran into another friend from their class.

Boys were exhausted after the long morning and ended up taking a 3-hour nap in the afternoon, leaving C and I the luxury of relaxing and snacking on the first course of an extended dinner C had planned while we were away: oysters and shrimp.

And of course, he pulled out a crisp, chilled bottle of white to go with it.

It looked perfectly delicious. I knew it would pair well with the oysters, and with the strenuous morning behind me and the boys happily napping, it felt like the optimal time to enjoy a glass.

I found myself reaching for his glass, “just for a taste”. Then, wondering why not have a glass? I’d be able to stop at one, right? There’s nothing wrong with one glass, right?

But I stopped myself. Why? Because I know that for me, even if I’d be able to stop at one that time, the next time it would be harder, and the time after that even harder. 

Right now, it’s easy just to say No. Black & white. No blurred lines, no counting drinks per week, no feeling like shit the next morning when I realize I gave in to the urge and fell completely off the wagon.

So I enjoyed the oysters, and continued making dinner salad while sipping on sparkling water.

Day 286


Yesterday, I had the best intentions to get to bed early after a wakeful couple of nights… so decided to skip posting in favor of sleep. Of course, as I brushed my teeth, I got sucked into a new book on my Kindle and it was almost midnight before I ended up in bed.

Then I lay awake with thoughts circling around until around 2am when one of the boys woke crying. And now it’s Friday, the night I usually stay up and “party” which lately means reading as much as I want. Guess I blew that yesterday!

Right now, all I want to do is sleep.

More than likely though, I’ll put the boys down and end up smoking – which always keeps me awake later than I’d like. C is headed to a show tonight so I’m the solo parent. Not that big of a deal, in fact I really enjoy my time alone with them, but it does tend to leave me feeling like I’ve earned a reward.

Between the not-so-private walls of this journal, I’m beginning to wonder if pot is replacing alcohol, and if so, whether it’s time to rethink my habits with it.

Other internal projects are still percolating along, including an attempt to extend generosity toward C in spite of fluctuations in mood, but nothing major to report. 

Every day is an exercise, some more tiring than others.

Day 284


Well I’ve put my finger on another trigger. Not a surprising one, but for some reason it hadn’t really risen to the level of conscious thought until last night.

We attended our good friend’s surprise 60th, an enjoyable evening with a mix of friends and people we’d never met from his life. Overall, it wasn’t a stressful situation. Everyone around me was drinking (hey – open bar!), and I was surprised at the need to “come out” to a couple of our beach crew who didn’t know I’d quit. 

One of them seemed quite taken aback. “Really? Completely??” I just brushed it off, saying “Honestly, I don’t even miss it” as I headed to the bar for a Pepsi.

I was happy to drive us home, C’d had quite a few.

But when we arrived home, I was surprised to feel a strong urge to use a substance to decompress. In the end, I didn’t drink or smoke, but decided instead to read a book.

So people. Too many people in a social setting triggered that need.

Lesson learned! Next time, I’ll be more prepared.

Day 283


I should know by now – every time I put a good-willed intention out there, the Universe looks for ways to test it. 

Yesterday’s desire to carry grace forward into the day-to-day stresses of work and home life was almost immediately challenged by a sleepless night and the ongoing background strain between C and I. But I’ve been keeping my mouth shut unless I have something nice to say, and finding ways to reframe that help provide perspective. I may not be acing the marriage stuff right now, but at least I’m not actively damaging it.

In other news, today’s alcohol-free thought is brought to you by La Croix. 

As I went to the fridge to grab something to drink this afternoon and looked through the choices (multiple hoppy IPAs or cans of sparkling water), I was struck with the silly thought that I don’t have to wait to drink my favorite thirst-quencher! I can drink it whenever I want! And it felt great to say that. Why?

Well, because it’s freedom.

I’m not locked into the addiction cycle of wanting wanting wanting a drink, all day, all afternoon, looking longingly at the gin or beer or whatever and thinking “MUST. WAIT.” And then diving in as soon as it felt appropriate, to catch a buzz as soon as possible. Chasing that through the evening. Regretting the last drink or two but still feeling the compulsion to have them.

I’m free from that and I don’t miss it one iota.

Now, gotta run – I’ve a party to prepare for! A friend’s surprise 60th, and I can’t wait to enjoy it, sparkling water (or maybe something more caffeinated) in hand.