Day 463

Meret Oppenheim, Glove


So C is going bushy-tail this January. That’s his description of a month of sobriety. Back when we were dating and maybe the first year or two of our marriage, he would cut the booze for the month of January, but it’s been years.

We’d talk about it, and some years even attempt it, but after Week 1, or sometimes only after a few days without, we’d find excuses and slowly slip back into it. 

Before I quit, I started to noticing the trend – our inability to get through even a few weeks without alcohol, and it was one of the reasons I quit. I used to worry about both of us, but after quitting I’ve had to create a boundary. My journey is mine. His journey will be different. I’m not going to worry about, or be bothered by, his drinking.

But now, with only a week under his belt, the difference is hard to ignore.

He is more present, more patient, more focused. His eyes actually LOOK at me when they look at me. He seems to be really listening when I talk, not impatiently waiting for me to finish so he can say something or go back to watching TV. 

In the evenings, when the difference is most noticeable, his posture is better, his face more alert, his eyes clearer. His face is less puffy. He’s not passing out on the couch by 8:30pm. 

During the day, when you might imagine there wouldn’t be much difference, there HAS been. He is more clear-headed, more present. He notices me more. For example, he noticed when I was struggling with the boys this weekend, and patiently stepped in. Then later, he actually said that he “saw me struggling more when I was tired” which felt like an epiphany. Not the fact that I struggle more when I’m tired (duh), but the fact that he NOTICED it and then SAID SOMETHING TO ME about it. I don’t mean for that to sound facetious.

I’m trying to stay really quiet about it all, but if he brings it up I’m trying to be as supportive as I can be without wanting it too much, which could come across as pressure and trigger a negative reaction.

So far, he’s only brought it up a couple times, and both times he has primarily mentioned the negative effects he’s noticed (having a harder time falling asleep at night and waking up in the morning, still feeling really tired in the afternoon… has only felt truly “hangover-free” one of the mornings so far, etc).

It’s discouraging. 

I want to yell, “Its so worth it! Just wait, it will pay off in spades!” and selfishly, “you’re such a nicer person to be around!!! it’s so nice to actually be SEEN by you!” but I know that the more I extol the virtues, the more likely he is to dismiss the whole thing.

So I’m trying to stay quiet.

Fingers crossed.

Day 460


It’s been almost 2 months since I last posted. The holidays have come and gone, and the new year has begun, ready or not.

I’m in a strange uncomfortable place lately which is why I haven’t logged on, and also why I chose to log on today. To document it, because sobriety isn’t about having it all figured out in a neat and tidy package for a blog post.

It’s messy and uncomfortable and painful and un-fun sometimes.

Maybe I’m going through a midlife unraveling.

The Midlife Unraveling

But I’m still sober. 

Not even a week’s vacation with C’s extended family at a lodge in a West Virginia state park, sans AF beverage options and surrounded by drinkers, could change that.

In fact, during that week, any time I was the only 100% sober adult wandering around looking for something to drink and passing beer after beer after beer (and whiskey and wine and and and), none of it was tempting in the slightest. And the main reason was the taste. Absolutely zero temptation to give up all that I’ve gained for something that I knew wouldn’t taste that great.

So, while I may be falling apart in other ways, at least I’ve maintained my sobriety.

Due to a number of reasons – some more obvious to me than others, the turn of the year was a rough one for me this time. I’ve swam around in a sea of confusion for the last few days, struggling to sleep at night, biting my nails to the quick, short with myself, C and the boys… just feeling lost.

So I decided to buckle down and make some concrete plans to help me wade through it. A mix of New Years resolutions and goals for a better future:


  • Get back to therapy to help me sort through some of the internal tangle
  • Make a list of what fills my soul with happiness (not escapes as much as bucket-filling activities – true self-care as described in this article) and try to do more of them
  • Make a list of what makes me feel shitty physically and mentally, and try to do less
  • Start pushing TOWARD inner pain and discomfort to understand it better, instead of escaping
  • Take a long hard look at what I’m doing to damage my relationship with C, and try to start building instead of destroying even, and in spite of when he continues to avoid his own responsibility in the relationship
  • Work on a list of why to stay and why to go
  • Work harder at becoming complete on my own so that the emotional ups and downs of C and the boys don’t affect me so much
  • Find books to obsess about rather than online shopping, it’s okay if they’re novels and not parenting or self-improvement books.


  • More exercise, whatever/however I can make it happen (even if it means getting up at 4am and doing body-weight exercises at home)
  • Stay away from the green during the week, keeping it as a treat on the weekends, reminding myself that daily use makes me unhappy with myself and takes away from the overall pleasure of the experience, plus it muddies the clarity I’ve gained from quitting alcohol
  • Better sleep by cutting out the social media scrolling at the end of the day

Ending on a groove that I like – no deep meaning, just good blues.

Nov 19


That’s right. I’ve stopped counting.

I’m in a different place than I was a year ago, where every day felt like a major accomplishment and this blog was an outlet for the roller coaster of emotions and struggles happening on a regular basis.

Now? I’m in a better place overall, yes. Still quit. Still a work in progress. But not feeling the need for a daily accounting anymore.

I signed in today after reading this article about unconditional self-love.

It made me realize that the self-love I’ve been practicing is more often ego-centered and conditional. Lately I’ve been struggling with negativity toward myself, about my parenting, my lack of self-discipline with exercise and the wack-a-mole addictions that have replaced alcohol, as well as some discouraging minor physical issues that are related to aging and a lifetime of poor stress management.

In all honesty, I feel like shit about myself right now.

In the past year, I’ve corrected this by doing things I’m proud of – reading a parenting book, attending kickboxing and/or yoga regularly, growing my nails out instead of biting them, eating healthy meals. And it works!

But although those things are all good (and I need to get back into that routine), I’m realizing that if I’m only loving myself when I feel I “deserve” it, that is not true self-love. It’s conditional.

So, how does one love oneself unconditionally?

I don’t know. 

That’s why I’m here. Stumped, and bookmarking the article for a re-read later.

The ongoing work-in-progress continues.

Y2 Day 25


Realizing I’ve dropped off the blog for a bit, apologies to anyone reading. Still sober, and thankfully the lung issue was nothing to worry about – just some pulled intercostal muscles (still healing and quite annoying, but not life-threatening!).

Certain movements and deep breaths hurt a lot so I’ve been avoiding exercise which has had negative effects on my mood, patience and sleep. 

Not sure if it’s just this, or a deeper mental slump carried over from weeks ago but at times, I look back and remember all the energy I had for self-improvement at the beginning of last year’s commitment – and wonder where it went.

I’ve been slacking in more ways than one and can’t seem to motivate myself back out of it. But I’m not going to berate myself for it tonight. 

  • I’m sober.
  • I only yelled at my kids once today and it wasn’t that bad.
  • I got all my work done, which was a lot, and also managed to attend the boys’ halloween performances.
  • I’m chipping away at some long-overdue, long-procrastinated personal projects that I’d like to be done by the holidays, so that feels like progress.
  • Halloween costumes are pretty close to done.

Plans for the evening include a short list of chores followed by couch time with C before he goes to bed, then book-reading, long hot shower and hopefully an early bed for myself.

Must admit, I’m feeling overwhelmed in a lot of directions tonight but will power through. Maybe sleep will help, and hopefully exercise soon.

Guess today’s post is just to remind myself that this journey isn’t a straight path of constant improvement. There are ups and downs, steps forward and backward, slow periods and fast periods… just need to keep moving. And try to love myself through it all.

Y2 Day 17

kirk nilsen


Still no news from the doc, but I’m over the panic and assuming the results will be the most likely: negative. 

This week is slow at work but busy in other avenues – planning and packing for our weekend camping trip in the Poconos, figuring out the details of my arm tattoo, sorting through school stuff with the boys etc. 

And in the midst of it, this article captures how I feel without alcohol in my life – a sense of true freedom:

Y2 Day 15


In a funk lately, and having a hard time finding the energy and motivation for most of life’s usual demands. I’ve had a cold for the last month or so and finally went to the doc. Antibiotics are doing their thing, I think, but last week I managed to pull a muscle or otherwise injure my ribs while coughing. Doc called in an X-Ray and the latest news is that she sees a nodule and wants me to repeat the X-Ray to check.

“It’s probably nothing” she says. 

Of course I’m left in a panic which Dr. Google did nothing to help (obviously lung cancer), so I’ve moved on to more productive and encouraging ways of spending my energy. Including sharing this post that touched me:


Absolutely zero temptation to drink lately and even the smoke and online shopping has taken a break as I’ve been exhausted in the evenings and going to bed early hoping to heal this cold as quickly as possible.

More news on the X-Ray, hopefully tomorrow.

Y2 Day 9


Emotional bandwidth.

On a daily basis, there are things we do that subtract or add to emotional bandwidth. In a book we read the boys, the author uses the metaphor of a bucket being filled or emptied. The actions we take in life can empty or fill our own buckets or those around us, and the longer I stay sober the more aware I am of exactly how much those actions make a difference.

Sleep. Exercise. Meditation. Healthy eating. Gratitude.

Sometimes I’m on top of it, sometimes I’m not. I still consciously choose the unwise option all the time (like smoking last night).

But when I don’t take care of myself, the difference is apparent. I lose patience with others, life starts to feel impossible, my point of view becomes more constricted until it’s only able to see the tiny world immediately around me and I become unable to empathize with anyone else’s point of view.

It’s not just alcohol that makes us emotional unavailable to those we love, it’s the lack of self-care. And simply put, if we don’t show love to ourselves, we have nothing to extend to others.

But love is not a finite resource, although it may feel that way when we’re in self-preservation mode. The more we show loves to ourselves, the more we have to share – it multiplies. And all it takes is cracking that door open a little bit, giving ourselves the space to fill our own buckets, to get the ball rolling.

When I first started the “Love Myself” project back on Valentine’s Day 2017, I didn’t really know what that meant. All I knew was that I was sick and tired of NOT getting the love I wanted from those around me.

Now, almost two years later, I’m finally starting to understand what it means to really love oneself. And I’m feeling the emotional bandwidth extend beyond myself. Maybe I could start working on sharing it more with those I love, giving them the space to be human and faulty and unhappy.

Because I can handle it. 

Y2 Day 2

you are safe with me, hülya özdemir


I’m energized by the start of Year 2 and am already making goals for myself, surprise surprise. 

If I’m completely honest, part of why I haven’t been posting a lot in here lately comes from feeling disappointed in myself. Here I am, a year into sobriety and I’ve let myself down in almost all of the areas I’d hoped to improve over that year. 

Over the last month or so, I’ve stopped exercising regularly, my morning meditations are rushed and spotty, and the pot smoking and online shopping hasn’t improved in the slightest. In my defense, August and September were filled with 60-hr work weeks, vacation, and 2 weeks of illness, but I know deep down that’s not a real excuse.

For now, at least today, I’m not going to try to improve on all of it all at once. As far as exercise and meditation go, I’ll take it as it comes and do my best. Regarding the replacement addictions though, I think I’m ready to tackle those head-on.

I posted about it in a private sobriety group today and got a number of great responses. My favorite was this one:

You need to get to the root cause of the feelings that lead to a craving. for example, I get a craving for (insert alcohol netflix chocolate facebook scrolling etc) when I am actually feeling alone, I know that it goes way back. Before I had an addiction as such. I was adopted, and had difficulty feeling connected with others, and didn’t feel I belonged. If I am struggling with everyday stuff now, I can feel alone, and this triggers feelings that lead to an urge to drink etc. You can do this self discovery in therapy or you can journal freestyle such as I feel xxx because, and this makes me feel…. and this is valid / not valid because… that kind of stuff. I go for therapy myself as it worked for me.

She outlines a clear path and provides a very relatable personal example.

I’m not thrilled with my (very young, sweet, childless) therapist, who is the exact opposite of my previous one (older than I, cut-through-the-BS, say it like it is, gym every day kind of woman) so I’m going to start by looking for a new therapist as well as journaling here about the Why and When of these addictions.




While the official Day 365 was yesterday, I’m celebrating one year today. And celebrate I have! I posted about my project on Facebook (a first) and have been basking in the internet applause as much as I’d like to think I’m above it.

I’m drinking a fancy Seedlip mocktail and giving my sick body a break from working out tonight. The highlight? I plan to go to bed early. What a PAR-TAY!!!

Yesterday, I celebrated by attending a music festival, SeaHearNow, in Asbury Park. C had VIP passes that we took turns using so I was solo for my evening out. And stone cold sober. I parked about 1/2 mile away and as I walked to the festival, I picked up the smell of beer from about a 1/4 mile away. Nope, don’t miss that one goddam bit.

And ya know what, that’s probably one of the main takeaways for me after a year: I DON’T MISS IT. I honestly don’t.

I went back to my first few posts in reflection over the past couple days, and there was a lot of yearning, a lot of hedging my bets. Now? I don’t identify with that at all. 

Sure, the romantic idea of a good wine paired with a fine dinner experience is one that hasn’t completely left (specifically the notion of a Sonoma trip with C, tasting our way through California) But then I think back over the last year, and all of the wonderful romantic, wild, crazy, fun, adventurous times we’ve had – that I experienced fully, sans-alcohol. In fact, I might argue that I actually had a BETTER time without it.

I told myself One Year. But now, I’m not going back. I love the way this makes me feel, and I’ve appreciated the mental and emotional growth that has come as a result.

Speaking of which, I’d love to distill all my learnings into one “Top Ten” list for this post, but sorry to say, I haven’t. Maybe in the days to come I’ll take the time, but for now – I’ll share a few of the highlights. Here are some of the key things I’m learning:

The Ability to Absorb

Now that my brain isn’t soaking up alcohol, I find that it’s much more capable of absorbing the good stuff I had been trying to pour into it over the years. You know, all the self-care stuff, all the self-discipline needed to stick with healthy changes in routine, all the processing of difficult life shit, all (well, most) of the details of my friends’ and family’s lives that I used to forget in my self-centered haze.

And when I say absorb, I mean deeply. Not just on a superficial level.

I’ll give you an example.

Driving home from work today, I noticed that I was biting my nails and breathing shallowly. I took a few deep breaths and then found myself, in the most caring, loving way, saying “you’re going to be OK”.

The mother in me comforted the child in me, and it was such a profound, complete feeling of love that I started crying. 

Now, I know that we’re all supposed to love ourselves first and foremost. And that self-love is where it all starts. And although I’m not a mantra person, I can see how positive self-talk can help people. Today though, I truly absorbed the feeling of self-love in a way I’ve never experienced.

So so many penny drop experiences, sprinkled throughout the year. Like nothing I’d experienced when drinking. I’ve called them mini-epiphanies in this blog – and at the beginning, it was almost daily. 

The flip side of that coin is that you really do feel all the feels, with no buffer to ward off the pain. And through that, I’m learning about the power of:

True Body Awareness

When I was drinking, as much as I hate to admit it, a lot of my mental awareness of my body was connected to the alcohol. Headaches, dry mouth, upset stomach in the AM, the mental/physical pull in the PM, the relief of the first drink, the dissatisfied chasing of the buzz through the evening, then the dull immobilization at the end of the night. Of course I felt other things too, and I would never have thought that my physical experience of the world was dulled while I was still living in that haze.

But now? On the other side? O. M. G. It’s a completely different experience. Like someone took the bubblewrap off. Like I finally woke up.

While my body may not be literally FEELING more, I’m noticing it more. I’m more connected to my own body.

I notice the difference when I don’t [fill in the blank – exercise, eat healthy, sleep, meditate etc] and when I do. I notice my body’s reaction to stress, anger, sadness, and can (sometimes, not always) act appropriately instead of reacting unconsciously.

My posture has improved. With the time bought back in the evenings, I now have healthy options after a stressful day crouched over a computer. And I look forward to stretching my body like a cat, feeling the muscles expand and contract, feeling the strength and pushing them to improve. 

A hot shower at the end of a day can be almost as good as sex. There, I said it. Seriously though, now that I’m fully aware, I take long showers a few times a week and enjoy every damn minute.

Being truly IN my body, noticing the details I’d never paid attention to before, has time and again, taught lessons that have helped me grow.

And of course, while being in the body, one is also aware of the interior landscape of the mind.

Better Thought Control

The last highlight I’ll mention tonight, but a big one. This was one of the goals I wrote down at the beginning of 2018, and living sans alcohol has made it easier.

Before, everything felt like a drama. I wasn’t able to process the shit life handed me so I either overshared with others, blew steam off at C or the kids, and/or numbed it with alcohol/pot. It always felt like something was going wrong – and it was Life’s fault, not mine! 

I’m sure that when I shared my sorrows with others I came off as a constant victim of life circumstances, always looking for someone or something to blame.

My relationship with C was the biggest and most common place I pointed the ugly finger of blame. And it was all C’s fault.

Now, those thoughts still occur but I see them, I stand outside of them, and I chuckle a bit. That’s just a thought, Self. Just a thought. That’s not reality.

I’m not the best at this, but I’m getting better. Meditation is helping a lot.

And that brings me to my last point.

I’m not there yet.

And I’m realizing there is no There. Yeah yeah here comes the “life is a journey” inspirational poster line.

When it comes to me – a highly goal-oriented Type A personality – I need a There to strive for, but I’m learning to love and accept myself along the way, to cut myself a break for missing a night of exercise, or for biting my nails when I keep telling myself to stop goddammit, or for losing my shit with the boys again.

I’m a work in progress and I’m OK with that.

Can’t wait see what Year 2 brings!