What if…? asks Annie Grace

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I started “my” February book. This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol, Find Freedom, Discover Happiness, and Change Your Life by Annie Grace   (Book Notes in draft stage)

I am going to declare myself Annie’s number one fan…at least on February 13, 2017. I am gobbling up everything I can find about the background of this book.  It is fantastic!

I spent today listening to an amazing recording on Home Podcast – Episode 26: Annie Grace.  During the episode there is a brief mention of ….

RETURNING TO A STATE OF NON-DRINKER

After the podcast, I googled annie grace returning to a state of non-drinker and clicked open a great review of the book which reminded me that the first line of  Annie’s Introduction is:

What if, by reversing years of unconscious conditioning, you could return to the perspective of a non-drinker? (Grace, p18)

This all really got me thinking back to when I started drinking and what are things I remember in youth that did not have any alcohol involved?  Did I do anything in high school, college, or early adulthood that didn’t have liquor as part of the event? Was every developmental landmark of early adulthood pickled with juice??? (Folding laundry provides a lot of think time and I was at least pleased I could come up with some alcohol-free moments)

Since my brain usually does such an amazing job of remembering every embarrassing, humiliating, shameful, drunken mishap (that wasn’t wiped out in a blackout haze) – I’m going to remind myself of some more positive highlights before age 20.

{Why that age? I think that is really when the wheels started coming off the WAGON….Really says the 53 old mother of three to herself…Honestly…it was probably senior year of high school at age 17 that control was slipping…It has taken 35 years to figure this out}  Merry reflects on all of this with kindness and compassion to herself!

Good Sober Stuff

  • Swimming in the ocean for hours on end with feelings of relaxation and exhilaration
  • Competing in various athletic events and embracing the butterflies and nervous energy
  • High School dances AND proms (not all of them…but some of them sober from start to finish)
  • Summer Camp and all the adrenaline firsts of riding a motorcycle, repelling backward off a mountain edge, jet skiing, running a horse across a field
  • Sorority Rush (it was the Frat parties that “conditioned” my tolerance levels)
  • Bonding with Roommates (we weren’t always partying)
  • Work (it wasn’t until post college that drinking became a networking requirement)
  • Arts, Music, Crafts, Sewing…being creative
  • Reading for pleasure
  • Dating, First Kisses, Break Ups and Heartache (then there were the drunk episodes in this topic…Sober = No Regrets vs. Drunk = Many Regrets)
  • Movies – Double Features
  • Miniature Golf, Bowling, Go-Cart Racing, Chinese Fire Drills, Driving around Town
  • Slumber parties, High School Sports Games (at least until Senior Year of HS)

As I look back at this list, it is full of emotion.  The type of feelings that I used to use alcohol to dim and numb and squash.  Friendships were fierce and intense in junior high and early high school.  The horizon for independence and freedom was in sight…exciting, yet scary.

Was I bored? Scared? I truly don’t think I knew what was sneaking up on me...(but wondering all of those things is for another day.)

For now…

I’m actually experiencing a feeling of giddiness as I realize I can get back to having

….a perspective of a non-drinker!  

Thanks Annie!

 

 

 

Snow Moon

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I’ve been in the technology trenches today.  And since I can’t leave my computer “cave” to get some sunlight (it’s dark out already)…I will have to settle for full moon glow.  Plus tonight is that part of that special weekend with a lunar eclipse and comet.  Check it out at Space.com

But before I pop out for a late night star gazing…a few reflections:

For the past few months (um…maybe years) I have been a social media lurker.  I’d go on…then off…I think it was a self-esteem issue for me.  I got stuck in the NOT ENOUGH abyss.  And then there was our election…

A couple weeks ago, I shifted how I was going to use my personal social media.  Then today, I decided that Merry B Sober needed to become part of it all.

This post will be my experiment to see if it is all connected.  Wish me luck…I’m feeling like an astronaut… 3….2….1…..  Blast off.

Merry B Sober FACEBOOK PAGE

Merry B Sober PROFILE PAGE

@merryBsober TWITTER

Merry B Sober INSTAGRAM

 

Merry B Sober Two Months

…sixty-some days.  I don’t have a counter app on my phone… too lazy to pull out a calendar and do the count box by box.  I think I sort of like not focusing on the numbers.  (Which is really odd, since I am a Math Geek/Number kind of gal).

So TWO MONTHS… woohoo…  (feigned enthusiasm I’m afraid)…

I know it is a really big deal to be where I am… and I’m not taking it for granted… and I had that little voice whisper in my ear this weekend about Moderation.

Scene:  Touring college with my 18 year old daughter. See a cute little brew pub on a corner.

Crazy Voice in My Head: “What a fun place to have a beer”

Merry B Sober: “Nope…you can’t”

CViMH: “Of course you can become a Moderate Drinker by Fall of 2017”

Merry B Sober: “Nope…you can’t”

CViMH:  “You know how easy it will be…just 2 beers…no more…unless you don’t feel buzzed and then you can add more at your drunken discretion”

Merry B Sober “No more drink tickets”

CViMH: “Just one drink every hour…we can play that time monitoring game…”

…..and that is all the time I gave that nutty conversation.  I had a tiny grief moment…no drinking with my kids.  Then I had another aha moment.

Maybe some of my drinking habits had to do with the fact that I had “bonding moments” with both my Mom and Dad – drinking – while I was still underage or in my early 20s.  How sad that I got some of my self-worth from being a “really good drinker”.  My dad could boast about how I attended his college and could drink like he could….(Ok…no need for looking in the rear view mirror)…

But it does lend itself to recognizing that I can write new stories with my three teens as they get ready to head off to college.  Need to discuss with Mr. Merry (NOT B Sober…yet…).  We have to write some new scenes for our kids so that drinking doesn’t become as big of a family connector as it has for my siblings, parents, grandparents and me.

Cruising into month three.

 

Here I am again…

….and it’s Groundhog Day.  February 2, 2017

I know carbs and sugar are not good for me.  I’m feeling blessed and ecstatic that I’m not having the same craving for wine and vodka ….that I am for ice cream and chocolate chips.

But…I’m feeling like….Same game… similar rules… different vice.

I actually give myself a pat on the back for never taking up caffeine. (Always good to start change with a compliment for what I might actually be doing right …at this moment in time….)

Since it/caffeine makes me feel like I have bugs crawling in my hair and then I go and try to find a corner to crawl into and sleep (yes…my brain is probably a blinking ADD/ADHD light board…or should I say dim frontal lobe board)… it was easy to not take up that son of a bitch habit to break.

I was also lucky to not like cigarettes when sober.  But that didn’t stop me from loving them (and cloves) when I was drunk.  For all of you who have kicked caffeine and nicotine…you are super heros in my mind!!!

But sugar…and all the lovely carbs that turn into sugar (potato chips, rice, ….not even sweet things…but white starchy things that make my insulin surge and fall)… I don’t  like sweets…I like all the things that some would say “look” healthy…but don’t work for my tub of lub middle aged tum tum.

Let’s all sing together (can you hear the tune Jimmy Crack Corn and I Don’t Care)…that would be…

Sugar Crack Whore….And I Don’t Care….

Once I get it in my system…so hard to get it out.   No problem if this makes you stop reading… this can be too close to home on the cocktail struggles.  If I’m overdramatizing this…it’s to remind myself that nothing good comes for me when I get on a sugar binge.

Fresh Fruit before noon…is really all I should indulge in…

I just finished a one-month health challenge with about 25 other people in my village community.  4 points per day…

  • Hydration – 64oz.
  • Exercise 30 min
  • Eat 4 cups of fruit and veggies
  • Log and stay under calories on Fitness Pal

Although I technically maxed out points on the challenge…I gained …but no drinking and following all the rules…and gain a pound.  WTF.

My downfall…the damn calorie counting…as soon as I had a couple hundred calories to spare, I used them on junk food.  Carbs up….Weight Up….  Sleep got crappy the last few weeks… Month One of Sobriety came with lots of great energy and fantastic sleep…these last few weeks…roller coaster on slow down.

It’s the damn sugar.

I know this.

It’s Ground Hog Day.

I know what I need to do… I know the tools…I just stuck them in the back of the closet.

I Quit Sugar (dot) Com starts an 8 week program today.  It’s not too late to join Sarah’s fantastic program.  I’ve been following her work for awhile.  Good Stuff.

I’m going all in …. Sugar Free until April Fools Day….  I also know that keeping sugar and carbs out of my system makes it extremely easy for me to stay sober too.

Fruit Guidelines

Launching

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Finally February

I had extremely low energy yesterday.  I shuffled through the “always analyzing everything probably too much” card catalog in my head

  • Dairy?
  • IceCream (Dairy + Sugar) the night before?
  • Not enough sleep (why?…the ice cream? the dairy?)

Then it hit me…I am always READY FOR FEBRUARY.

I don’t know if it the post holiday reorganization or the old habits screaming to be let back out on the loose (those “intentions” only last so long …right?)

I didn’t start the sobriety on January 1…some probably would think I was nuts to give it up “going into he holiday season” on December 7th.  But, I had done the “Last Hurrah” enough times before…and I had had sober holiday season before.  It was easy to pick the later choice.

So here I am…

Felt good to pay bills and do some paperwork today (youngest is home sick…not sure if that is for real or Freshman-itus…so hard to tell the difference).

Ready for February.

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Changing Behavior

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I’m parenting teens…and a 13 month old Lab Dog (Puppy)…and sometimes it feels like I parent my husband and then of course there is my ….

INNER CHILD….  ME

I’ve learned along the way that others learn through modeling.

So I’m trying to work on me, and change the things in myself that I feel are important lessons for my kids.

With that said, it is not easy…

And on those kinds of harder-like days, I at least feel I’ve connected with gaining some empathy for how hard it is to be a teenager who is trying to figure out

  • who the hell they are…
  • how to manage self care…
  • how to look forward instead of backward…
  • how to live in the moment while still maintaining long term goals….
  • …how to make changes that are beneficial to self!

The topic of SHAME keeps popping up in my universe. (My youngest accused me of “shaming him” into brushing his teeth when he was a 6th grader…and that zinger has stuck with me over the years since…I don’t respond to shaming from others…I have done enough to myself.)

Brene Brown’s books have really got me looking into myself and how shame is so connected to the choices I made around drinking…I’m ready for Shame Resilience.  (Future Post)

Then this popped into my email box today:  How to Change Someone’s Bad Behavior.  I enjoy Vanessa Van Edward’s work.

Tactics that DO NOT work to change behavior:

  • Helpful
  • Threatening
  • Incentivizing
  • Pleading
  • Shaming

Steps that DO work:

  • Pride
  • Togetherness
  • Progress
  • Tools

I’m using this as platform to give myself a pat on the back this last day in January.

I’m proud for not drinking since early December.  I’ve done it together with a community of others who are living a sober life.  I’ve accomplished much more in the past 50 days because my energy is up and I’m not wasting any time on hangovers.  I’ve added tools to my SOS Toolbox.  I have to agree that these positive steps have been much more effective.

Yoga

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I’m not sure where I found this image.  It’s just been sitting on my desktop.  Google is amazing…hunted it down and want to give a shout out to this artist – Kudryashka.  I want to wear this image on a t-shirt or get it framed on a wall to remind myself that….

Yoga provides me with grounding roots–keeps me centered.  Tough to throw a tantrum in a yoga pose.

Like leaves on a tree, seasons change them, and growth takes place…happens to most every living thing…CHANGE.

Namaste.

 

 

Stormy

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I’ve been trying to surround myself with as much positive energy as possible.  I really enjoy @PowerofPositivity.  This Instagram post really hit home for me today.

It was a bumpy week with all three of my teenagers.  The media reports have been a shit storm too.  I’m really trying to ROOT myself so that I can find more humor in what I cannot control.  I beginning to understand that owning my core values will strengthen my foundation.  To own, I have to know.  Having numbed myself for awhile, I think I missed out on getting to know myself fully.

Time to get to work. Put on those boots.

I haven’t always felt super confident in my parenting skills and I’m constantly searching out parenting books.  Trying to gain knowledge and insight.  For some, parenting is just second nature (or so they pretend to display to the world).

I seem to second guess myself a lot.  I’m not happy with that.  I let outside forces (and my partner in all this) sometimes sway me from what my core tells me is best for MY kids.  Let’s face it……What’s good for one kid isn’t always best for all.  I DON’T look at education or parenting as a  “one size fits all”.  I feel we are all unique individuals.

Maybe I am just making all of this harder than it needs to be.  I’m trying to value my intuition more.  It is at times, so strong, that I try not to get caught up in impulsivity.

Maybe it’s because I am super sensitive…and reflective?

This is flying all over the place…but rather than over think it…and edit…I’m just going to keep typing…LOL…feel free to stop if your readers’ head starts spinning.

I take my role as a parent really seriously. We were “chosen”…literally by birthmothers to parent our first two kids (Girl, age 18 and Boy, age 16).  After 8 EIGHT miscarriages and 7 years of infertility, my youngest son, 14 (who I was told was miscarriage #9 and then a heartbeat was found a pre-op for D&C and tube typing) came into my life.  I went from 0 to 3 kids in less than 3.5 years.  Even the most sane would and could find themselves in overwhelm.

[5 hours later after a Yin Yoga Class and Guided Meditation]

Yoga is grounding.

My roots are growing…deeper…thicker… I will weather any upcoming storms with a lot more stability.

Namaste.

Book Notes: You Are Here

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Another great book that was “lingering” in my Kindle library.  I finished reading it last night.  When I “found” it last month, I put a few things into action.

I started mindfully breathing.  Paying attention to breathing in ..and breathing out.  The writing brought me awareness and recommends “talking to one’s self”… I am Breathing In…I am Breathing Out.  No control.  Just being mindfully aware.

The breath is like a bridge that links our body and mind (p.32)

The mindfulness is simply the breath.  Not the past, the future, pain, plans…you just breathe and attempt to unite the mind and body.

The author nudged me to try to strive to connect myself and be myself.  Recognize all are something and a positive factor to every community.

“Beginning anew” means being determined not to repeat the negative things we have done in the past. A new era begins when we commit ourselves to living in mindfulness. When we vow to ourselves, “I am determined not to behave as I did in the past,” transformation occurs immediately. (p. 49)

It’s as easy as:

“…We can all practice beginning anew.  We can always start over.”  (p. 51)

Embrace impermanence.  It is needed for transformation.  

“But everyone knows you cannot step into the same river twice.  A river is in a constant process of transformation, and so are we.” (p.104)

Don’t try to be what you are not.  It is a form of suffering.  

You are already what you are seeking to become.  When you have this insight, you can stop.  Stopping is peace.  Stopping is happiness.  (p. 109)

Embrace change.  Don’t fear it.  The author, Thich Nhat Hanh, uses the analogy of a kaleidoscope.  He reminds us that we don’t cry when an image in it disappears.  It’s just a new manifestation of a new work of art.  

And then this final challenge:

“…vow to learn to speak truthfully, with words that inspire selfconfidence, joy, and hope. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to criticize or condemn things of which I am not sure. I will refrain from uttering words that can cause division or discord, or words that can cause the family or the community to break. I will make all efforts to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.”  (p.132)

Mindfulness.  I’m practicing.

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