Merry B Sober …another 30 days

Yesterday sort of came and went with very little fanfare for myself (on being 30 days AF).  Maybe because I have achieved this before, it didn’t have fireworks of celebration…  But, I am pleased and I do not, by any means, belittle myself or anyone else this landmark moment.  Without judging, I know that others around me struggle with this feat.  But honestly, it felt easy and breezy for me this month.

I want to give a shout out to Annie Grace and her recently published book:


I made a commitment to myself to participate in the book and journal….for 30 days.  Something different happened in this magical month.  I shifted.

I do not care to drink today.  I doubt very much that I will want to drink tomorrow.  I believe I have been rewired.

WOW.  What?  Huh?

Yep, I feel like a different human being.  It’s taken me a few rounds of sobriety, but today I feel like drinking alcohol just “simply does not make any sense” for me.

I’m not going to be brash or cocky about this.  I want to recognize that there are tools I have picked up and put down these past few years.  I have learned to use them as one uses to master other tools in their craft or trade.  With time and effort, I have learned to be comfortable being sober.

I want to call out two tools:

Community Involvement.  I made a commitment to connect with other AFers through blogs and online forums this past month.  (I’m still off social media…but I did reactivate my twitter account).

Accountability Time Frames. 30 days… 100 days… 6 months…1 year….another year…a decade. I read recently that it doesn’t matter how long…just set another time hurdle for yourself.  I’m setting my sites on the 100 Day marker = APRIL 30, 2019

On my last trip to the AF rodeo, I dropped these two tools.  I stopped connecting with my community in June 2017 (life got busy-summer) and I didn’t really even keep track of landmarks.  As a result, my brain tricked me into believing I could be a “moderate”.  I am NOT a moderate. I believe that if I had logged on that morning to check in with my blogging community, I would have had intention and focus on the positive imprints of AF living.  I slipped into old grooves in November.  Just weeks shy of one year… (at the time wasn’t even thinking about a 1 year of AF living anniversary date).  I just simply made a bad choice that evening.  I actually didn’t even have the entire glass of champagne (that night)…but the door had been opened.

I need really “Bright Lines”.  There is no wiggle room for this girl.  I’ve proven too many times that…





Sobering Health Facts

Alcohol in the Brain

  • affects brain neurotransmitters
  • interrupts brain pathways
  • slows communication from senses and deadens responsiveness
  • hinders motor coordination
  • robs the ability to manage emotions
  • causes unhappiness and irritability
  • neurologically impossible to experience pleasure
  • interferes with the ability to behave, think, and interact socially
  • impeded memory, learning, and problem-solving
  • causes permanent alternations to nerve cells and reduces brain cells
  • toxins from liver pass into the brain during alcohol metabolism
  • affects sleep, mood, personality changes, anxiety, depression, attention span
  • can result in coma and death

Alcohol in the Heart

  • weakens the heart muscle
  • diminishes transportation of oxygen to organs and tissues
  • affects the electrical system of heartbeat regulation
  • rises the likelihood of a stroke by 39 percent
  • releases stress hormones that constrict blood vessels
  • elevates blood pressure and cause hypertension

Alcohol in the Liver

  • creates toxins which are more dangerous than the alcohol
  • damages liver cells by causing inflammation which can scar the liver
  • weakens the immune system
  • disrupts metabolism
  • causes fatty liver
  • contributes to liver cancer, type 2 diabetes
  • 25% of heavy drinkers will develop cirrhosis

Alcohol and Cancer

  • increases the chance of developing cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, rectum, liver, and esophagus
  • no matter the amount, it increases the chance of cancer
  • alcohol is a known carcinogen
  • damages DNA and stops our cells from repairing any damage
  • GOOD NEWS: reducing, or better yet, stopping will lower cancer risk

Alcohol and Death

  • Alcohol reduces life expectancy by 10 to 12 years
  • 2018 research states “there is no risk-free level of alcohol consumption”
  • 7th leading risk factor for death among all ages
  • #1 risk factor for DEATH for people aged 15-49



All We Need is…


Last week, I had my first meeting with a Life Coach.  About 15 minutes into our dialogue she asked me if I was familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  As a teacher, it is something considered every day when working with students.  If the basic needs are not met, learning cannot occur.

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I have extreme gratitude for my Physiological and Safety fulfillment.  Having these needs met allows me to explore the upper deck of the pyramid this year.

Starting with “Love and Belonging”, I have mentioned my relationships could use a bit of “buffing.” I doubt it was an accident that Annie Grace sent an email highlighting a program on Relationship Development by Stacey and Paul Martino.

Here’s Annie’s Podcast with Stacey Martino

After hearing the podcast,  I signed up and listened to Paul and Stacey’s webinar and had some amazing takeaways:

  • Demand Relationships v Relationship Development – (WOW! what an aHa)
  • Blame and Judgement = Damage
  • Support Systems are Key to Change
  • “Life is Happening FOR you … not TO you”

I committed to the 8-Week Quick Start Program and was introduced to Six-Core Human Needs by Tony Robbins.


As anyone who has read my blog knows, I use this (at times) to take notes for myself on things that I have learned.  In honor of Stacey and Paul and the work they are doing, I’m not going to break down too much but to name the 2 new ideas for my toolbox.  They are extremely applicable to the AF journey.  (Which is why it is so easy to see why Annie Grace is a fan!)

The Spectrum of Change allows me to catch myself falling into old patterns of behavior so that triggers can be eliminated and I gradually move toward new brain rewiring.

The State-o-Meter identifies staying Above the 50% Line (aka Merry NOT going down the RABBIT HOLE).  For homework, I was challenged to come up with a 50 WAYS LIST to shift from below to above “the line”.  I got stuck and used google to help me with some new ideas–here’s a few:

  • Blow out a candle
  • Count Backwards from 100
  • Repeat a mantra or sigh or OM
  • Make a vision board
  • Give or get a hug
  • Blow on pinwheel
  • Name the emotion
  • Push against a wall
  • Roll a ball under your feet
  • Primal Yell
  • Focus on 5 Senses 5-4-3-2-1-Grounding Technique
  • Body Scan yourself…where am I tense?
  • Push palms together for 5 seconds
  • Chew Gum
  • Release Verbally
  • Arms to sky down to toes – Stretch
  • Watch animals
  • Scribble
  • Smell something citrus
  • Pectoral Door Stretch

Stacey and Paul Martino “Words of Wisdom” from Module 1:

“Magnificent friends are not found, they are developed.”

“To create something, you must know what you want.”

“Autopilot just gets us to an unknown destination.” 







ACT #9 Alcohol is SAD


To change the mindset for “I drink when I’m sad.  It takes the edge off”, Annie Grace shares CLARITY for this AWARENESS.

Alcohol is a depressant.  It is biphasic, or two phases, when alcohol enters the body.  BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) rises and then falls.  When it falls, and unhappiness sets in, my go to response was DRINK MORE.  The artificial stimulation to the pleasure center corrects itself in the true nature of alcohol – depression in the form of anxious, sad, weepy, morose, or even sleepy.  That was my gig.  I’d have a drink, feel the buzz, start to get sleepy (and since I didn’t want the party to end), I’d learn another drink would wake me up.  But the body wants the correction from being up…so it sends the signals to go down.  I’ve been on that seesaw.

She talks of negative feeling at about .05 to .06.  Well… I never felt badly at that point…I’ve blown into meters where I am over .1. —  and I was still having fun.  Of course, I felt like shit the next day and probably forgot getting into bed.  But I understand the concept of UP and DOWN.

I believe I had some times of depression (infertility was a blue period of my life)… but it was less to make me feel better…but more to numb myself.  I can understand now why the depression during sobriety -had issues releasing itself – due to the aftermath of the alcohol consumption.

I really like this metaphor that Annie presents:

“Consider what a seed must do to become a tree?  Two things. First, it must cease to be a seed by changing and breaking out of it’s shell; all very intense things.

And second, it must go DOWN, grow roots before it grows UP and becomes a tree.  Sadness is natural and normal.  It is something we can learn from.  We tell ourselves it is wrong to feel sad… we compound the feeling of sadness with a feeling of something being wrong with us, of guilt.

It’s okay to feel all our emotions—nothing is wrong with us.” (p177)


“Depression lies to us, and alcohol makes those lies believable.”

Alcohol is SAD

Island Girl

I met a new Life Coach last week.

When she asked why I wanted to work with her, I listed the following:

  • I want help navigating the transition as I move toward an empty nest.
  • Why do I struggle to “naturally nurture’ my immediate family…especially my husband?  (I’m not one to naturally hug an adult who is in distress).
  • My libido is below ZERO – Can she guide me to discover why?
  • I want better communication skills.
  • Is this all tied up in the loss of my Dad?

She asked some great questions and then suggested I read this book for homework:



With all the learning I’ve done about how the brain is wired for alcohol, I was primed for more information about the brain and relationships.  As I’ve learned, the brain is an amazing machine and is capable of rewiring itself for a better life.

Stan Tatkin investigates the science behind relationships.  First and foremost the brain is predisposed to seek security.  He offers suggestions that will help “harness the power of your brain and your partner’s brain for love instead of war” (p5).

He presents ten key principles:

  1. Creating a couple bubble allows partners to keep each other safe and secure.
  2. Partners can make love and avoid war when the security-seeking parts of the brain are put at ease.
  3. Partners relate to one another primarily as anchors (securely attached), islands (insecurely avoidant), or waves (insecurely ambivalent).
  4. Partners who are experts on one another know how to please and soothe each other.
  5. Partners with busy lives should create and use bedtime and morning rituals, as well as reunion rituals to stay connected.
  6. Partners should serve as the primary go-to people for one another.
  7. Partners should prevent each other from being a third wheel when relating to outsiders.
  8. Partners who want to stay together must learn to fight well.
  9. Partners can rekindle their love at any time through eye contact.
  10. Partners can minimize each other’s stress and optimize each other’s health.

The book pointed out things that we have been doing well for decades, and some areas that I need some attention.

The Couple Bubble is “an agreement to put the relationship before anything and everything else.  It means putting your partner’s well being, self-esteem, and distress relief first.  And it means your partner does the same for you.  You both agree to do it for each other”.  It requires the motto:  “We Come First”.

Recommendations for supporting the bubble:

  • Know what matters to your partner and make him/her feel safe and secure.
  • Don’t pop the bubble.  Don’t have one foot in and one foot out of the bubble.
  • Mutually maintain the bubble.  Two-way streets on agreements.  One can’t be in agreement while the other breaks the principles.
  • Plan to use the bubble.  It’s a safe place. Plan ahead when going into social situations.  Stay connected.

Our bubble needs a tune-up. And it’s not tough to connect the dots that alcohol does not mix well with the couple bubble. 

Primitives and Ambassadors.  Our primitive brain is our survival mechanism.  The Ambassador part of the brain helps us be rational, social, and civilized.  Ambassadors can keep the peace.  Identifying primitives in action can help us hold them in check while our Ambassadors need recognition of when I keep my shit together.

Three Style of Relating. The big revelation in this book is that my attachment style identifies me as an Island. It looks like my DH is a Wave. The good news is that everyone has the ability to become an Anchor.

Strengths of people who relate in this style:

ANCHOR:  Secure individuals; willing to commit and fully share with another; generally happy people, adapt easily to the needs of the moment.

ISLAND:  Independent and self-reliant, take good care of themselves, productive and creative – especially when given space, low maintenance.

WAVE:  Generous and giving, focused on taking care of others, happiest when around other people, able to see both sides of an issue.

Looks like I’m also a Wild Island.  As noted, I have heightened primitives and wild ambassadors. I rely too much on talking to work out issues rather than using nonverbal touch and eye contact for resolution. This doesn’t bother me, because as an island, I like to be left alone.  Under stress, an island can be “overly terse, dismissive, and inflexible, or too silent or too still.”

During the conflict, an island can focus on the future and avoid present and past.  Words (or withholding them) can be used as weapons.  I sound like an ambassador, but I’m only interested in primal survival.

“A wild island often has little sense of what he or she is feeling and is poor at communicating feelings or picking up the feelings of his or her partner.”

And my guy is more of a Wild Wave, who needs lots of verbal assurances of love and security. (Not in my toolbox to give).  The reverse of an island, the Wild Wave may appear overly dramatic, emotional, irrational, angry and when under stress can be unforgiving, punishing, rejecting, or inflexible.

He pushes…I retreat to my island.  I like it there.  The more he crashes my shores the more I go to hide in my hut.  I feel intruded upon and trapped.  Islands have fear of intimacy and being blamed.  The Wave fears abandonment, and separation, and gets uncomfortable being left alone then feels like a burden for their needs.  Our styles are sort of in conflict when we are under a lot of stress…and we have had plenty of that this year.  {I’m thankful my body had Sessions of Sobriety or this could have really been a mess}

Now that I know all this (have awareness) I can understand his behaviors. The book does give some very good strategies for becoming an expert on each other’s attachment style and how to give to each other to get and give what we need.

This 177-page book is easy to read.  Gives good information (Principles 1-4) and then good suggestions (Principles 5-10).

Goal for this week:  Principle #9 – Eye Contact.  I don’t look deeply into my partner’s eyes.  I especially loved the reminder that the eyes never age.

{I actually took note a few months ago that I don’t make eye contact with many people at all – including my kids – I watch mouth movement when people are speaking to me- i don’t feel it is a shyness factor or inability to look people in the eye- it’s just harder for me to pay attention to what they are saying – another communication area I am exploring – how to be a better listener}.

Again, I can’t help but note that alcohol didn’t help in this area of life.

I drank through most all of my formative social interactions in high school and college.  I doubt I looked anyone in the eye… maybe I figured people would be able to read how drunk I was… interesting…something to ponder…

For now…maybe It’s time for Staring Contests in my household.  Lol.



An Alcohol “Evaporation” Story

Was there a defining moment to become sober *again* just 21 days ago?

It’s always a combination of things, but this time it was, in part, my awareness of my husband’s alcohol consumption.

When we met on a blind date, I was not stone cold sober-I had been sipping a drink in anticipation of his arrival to the barbeque.  When he walked through the door, there was an instant attraction. As we chatted, I felt a connection.  And then he suggested we go buy more beer.  I had no inhibitions and asked him to be my date at an upcoming wedding.  Then we had our first kiss, I wouldn’t define myself as drunk, but I definitely was NOT stone cold sober.  As we watched a movie with our friends, we were snuggled together.  At the time, I knew this was the start of something “different” than all the other guys I had met “socially buzzed”.  {We dated, with our 3rd wheel, liquor.}

After a few months, we committed to a future engagement, and I arrived one night, buzzed from a social event and he let me know, in no few words, that is was NOT OK to show up intoxicated.  It was “sobering”…and I actually attended an AA meeting the next day and declared myself a “Social Alcoholic”.  After the meeting, a girl approached me and said that she was mandated to attend for a DUI (I could very well understand that since this was not my first AA meeting… I had to attend years before for my own infraction).  She shared that until I told my story, she denied her struggles.  She let me know that I was a game changer for her.  Too bad I didn’t change the game for myself. I dried out for a bit….but then my fiancee welcomed me back with open arms– his drinking companion.

I was blissfully buzzed at my wedding.  I made love to my husband for the first time as a married couple…NOT SOBER… but I remember it. I didn’t black out (but there was that one night on our honeymoon that I can’t recall a few details).  We were newlyweds.  We were in love. I was happy.  I “overdrank” occasionally, but he was there to protect me from being too out of control.  He’d tap my leg under the table or offer me water.  (I didn’t really find that helpful or cute or loving for too long…and it pissed me off so much that when he tried to control me – I’d literally want another drink – I’d self sabotage).  Then the next day would be the apologies and shame.  Or I’d pull away trying to cover up that I may not remember snippets from the night before… I’d know that I physically had sex, but not remember much of it.

Then we decided to start a family.  I got pregnant quickly, but soon after I shared the happy news, things went wonky…and sadly miscarried.   I got drunk, because there was no reason to be sober for 9+ months.  That pattern continued.  I transitioned from being a “social alcoholic” to an “infertility alcoholic”.  I was willing to do anything to get and stay pregnant.  I met a homeopathic doctor that suggested I was “sensitive” to alcohol and that if I wanted to carry a child, I would need to give up booze, (and wheat, milk, corn, sugar, tomatoes…. )  I was sober for many months (didn’t really count), lost weight, felt better, but my mission was to become a mother. I wasn’t focused on how fabulous I was alcohol-free. A feeling I do remember is being slightly annoyed that my husband just kept on drinking when we were together alone… even when I was not.

It was a seven-year window of sober and not.  I’d give it up for the two weeks waiting for a pregnancy result.  I’d give it up for 6 weeks for Lent.  But…

After 8 miscarriages, a failed IVF, and 2 beautiful adoption experiences.  I found myself pregnant with my 3rd child.  Even though I was told he was not a viable pregnancy, I stayed sober on vacation.  Upon my return, At my pre-op appointment to tie my tubes and do a D&C, they found his heartbeat.  I had a “less than uneventful” but happy pregnancy, an incredible natural birth experience.  I had been nursing for 6 weeks (sober for almost a year) when I was offered a glass of wine.

I can still vividly remember the momentary pause when I pondered whether or not to continue a sober life…or dip back into yet another attempt at moderate drinking (surely I will be able to have just one drink like other people now that I have given birth – insert crazy face emoji).  I was able to refrain to a single glass (but wanted more) because I was nursing and had not properly prepared myself for “pump and dump”.  A little trick I got very good at in the months to come when I planned ahead to have some drinks.  Moderation was out the window…I mean if I”m doing to drink, and dump the milk I pumped, might as well get a good buzz and escape the Motherhood Monotony of 3 kids under the age of 4.  My husband had his drinking buddy back.

Hangovers with toddlers are NOT fun.  In hindsight, I was LESS THAN.  My husband was nurturing a business more than us, from stress/exhaustion/loneliness, I probably started nursing a drink while making dinner.  I did a good job of numbing without falling off the edge.  I only drank enough to go to the line in the sand between feeling ok and feeling hungover the next day.  I tucked an idea in the back of my mind, that NOT drinking is a better version of me….but didn’t want to address the need to stop.

I knew my relationship with alcohol continued to make me “less than my potential” as a human.  But it was what everyone in my world did.  My family, my friends, my colleagues.  There really wasn’t anyone who didn’t drink…unless they were pregnant…or dieting.

My husband is a big guy and can consume a lot.  I used to pride myself on being able to keep up with the guys.  I was starting to have fuzzier evenings… sneaking myself in without the babysitter seeing me drunk. There were some girl’s nights out when I didn’t check in by phone…and then had to have someone drive me home while I quietly folded myself into bed (like sneaking in after curfew as a teenager).  He knew.  Whether or not he’d address the problem was another story.  But it was becoming an issue.  I was clearly not acting like a grown up even though I was over 40 years old.

Then I started to have problems with perimenopause, obviously, I had hormone issue with all the miscarriages.  I gained a ton of weight.  I was anxious and miserable.  Drinking was not helping long term, even if temporary relief from self-medication gave a few moments of relief.  My relationship with alcohol was on again – off again.  I knew that the only moments in my life that I had regrets…were tied to alcohol.  Any mistake made while sober was easy to forgive of myself.  Not when I was drinking.

My daughter got diagnosed with celiac disease in October 2010.  I choose to become gluten free with her.  No more beer, whiskey, … I discover potato vodka, but I’ve cut back a lot.  I’m losing weight.  I’m feeling better.  My system is cleaned out and the holidays approach.  We had plans to go to dinner with friends, and I remember thinking that I was looking “way to forward” to drinks that night.  (RED FLAG).  All of our kids are being watched by the same sitter so we head to their house to pick ours up-I’m a happy drunk.  In the kitchen, I basically fall off my high heeled shoes – in front of all five kiddos aged 9-12.  It sort of woke me up to the fact that I was a model for adult behavior.  I was ashamed and embarrassed.

I spent the next 25 months living Alcohol-Free.  I just simply did it.  No AA.  No books.  I had many stressful life events and it was easy not to turn to a drink.  I had many celebrations that I enjoyed…and remembered.  Over 700 days of waking up and NOT being the slightest bit hungover. I chose to sample wine on a 50th birthday winery tour.  I can’t blame anyone else.  But my husband had a look of “glee”… a twinkle in his eye that “his girl” was back.  His drinking “life partner”.

From December 2016 – November 2017…another Sober Session.  Then another happy hug from husband when I drank some more.  2018 was a seesaw of sobriety and cocktails. The 100-day challenge that lasted only 40 days (now I’m not even keeping promises to myself).  I have strict guidelines for when and where I will drink the Summer of 2018 (only on trips -where all my kids are with me- and I won’t have to be called to go get them if needed).  I declare Labor Day another 100-day challenge.  And it is going great until my Father gets sick, and when it becomes clear he is probably going to die, I accept a martini offer.

We travel for a family wedding. It is centered on wine because the bride and groom are in the hospitality industry – that centers around alcohol.  I’m noticing my husband’s extreme consumption, paired with our relationship disconnection (that most likely accelerated with the death of my Dad)…and I know that we need to make some changes as a couple.  We talk in early January about being alcohol-free for 30 days.  It’s the first time that we will do this together.  He lasts 5 days.  I last 18, then he states he had a “challenging” day and deserves some wine.  We are going to a social event with a $200 bottle of wine.  I accept the glass…cause if you’re gonna drink…it might as well be the good stuff. I’m ticked off that I allowed him to derail me.

It becomes crystal clear to me – that I can NOT continue to accept my husband’s invitation to have drinks with him.  I had my last sip of alcohol on January 19, 2019.


I ordered Annie Grace’s book The Alcohol Experiment soon after.

The first weekend in February (last weekend) he asked if we were having drinks again. I said that I wasn’t and in our phone conversation he said,

“It will really bum me out if you never drink again”.

PAUSE – Universe on hold while we listen to a pin drop.

I will look back and remember this as a defining moment.  

I took a breath and calmly stated that I did not plan to drink again.  Ever.  

Later, in person, I asked him if he was going to be able to be in a relationship with me – if I chose never to drink again.  Let me make note that he’s an amazing guy, who has NOT done as much research that I have with:

…but he does love me and says he will support whatever I decide to do with my relationship with drinking.

I have to take a chance and share that I am concerned about HIS relationship with alcohol and that we will have to explore together how our relationship will move forward if he continues drinking when we are alone together.  I don’t give ultimatums or hard lines.  I just recognize that our old patterns are NOT working for me.  I do not plan to repeat them again, as I have over the years and most notable this last decade since 2010.

2019 = ALL ABOUT ME (everyone needs the Tshirt).  I’m encouraging my husband to do the same for himself.  I had my first meeting with a new Life Coach last Tuesday.  I like her.  I think we will do good work together.  It’s going to be a year of exploration.  I’m going to try new things in my relationships.  I’m searching out new communication skills.

My desire, interest, relationship…whatever you want to call it… with alcohol has DRIED UP. I’m simply NOT interested in it.  My brain has new paths.  I have new beliefs.  I love myself too much to poison myself.  I’m evolving and developing into the best person I can be.  I want to THRIVE.

The puddle that I used to love playing in… after a rainy day…even with the sun out too… it’s become smaller and smaller these past few years.

Now…It is evaporated.




Be Beautiful


A big turning point for me in December of 2016, was seeing drunk pictures (that I did not remember posing for until I saw them on my phone)…

{I actually look really good in those pictures with a shit eating grin…}

I also know an hour later I was told I looked like a sloppy pig, eating drunk, in the hotel restaurant.  Not pretty.

Day 21 of The Alcohol Experiment lays out some pants about the physical deterioration from alcohol.

Alcohol Makes You Fat.  The liver views booze as poison and takes care of it before the food ingested turning all of it into fat.  The liver cannot stabilize blood sugar when it is processing liquor which can create a feeling of hunger- leading to more calorie intake – on a brain that already is drunk and doesn’t make good decisions.

Alcohol Affects Your Sleep. Without sleep, I don’t look good or feel good, which I’m sure also has an affect on my exterior appearance.

Alcohol Makes You Look Older.  “Alcohol speeds up the aging process because of a premature loss of collagen and elasticity in the skin”. (p. 167) Booze can expand blood vessels which can make the face red and flushed…and over time those blood vessels can get bigger and bigger and lead to permanent blotchiness and broken blood vessels around the nose and cheeks.  Ever seen a man with a big bulb looking nose…I have…NOT pretty.  Alcohol dehydrates.  Which besides the skin (our biggest organ), it dries out our internal systems.  Alcohol creates a zinc deficiency too…which can affect hair and nails.  Bloating – Puffiness – Stained teeth – Bad Breath – Body Odor – Saggy Skin – Red Eyes –



I’ve seen the difference in myself…When I string a bunch of sober months together… I get younger looking.  A few nights of drinking… my skin looks different.  I look older….and feel it too.






I was a sucker to headlines (no doubt distributed by the alcohol industry).

I will confess that there were times that I knew drinking was NOT healthy for my soul, in body and mind, yet…a headline claiming statements like red wine contributes to heart health would click a switch in my brain to *justify* having a few drinks…. cause ya know…

It’s healthy.

Annie Grace shares some things in Day 20: Our Headline Culture and the Science of Sharing to help my brain rewire itself.

The Science of Sharing says that people share information that gives them social currency.  “That means we share things that we think will make us look good in other people’s eyes” (p.161). It has to fit our belief system and then put us in a positive light…that’s what Annie suggests *we* will share with others.  As a result, positive articles, jokes, slogans, cartoons…about it being hip and cool to drink are shared much more often than the truth about the negative effects on alcohol on our lives…the soul crushing aspects of booze.

Because it gets shared so often, over and over again, the headlines get ingrained and become an “alternate truth”.  We use those headlines to make us feel good about the decision to drink.  I was totally pulled into this until I educated myself with new perspectives and different mindsets.


Manny reflects on Day 20 of The Alcohol Experiment (p. 164) “Alcohol is the new cigarette. My parents both smoked and typically had high balls after a long day. It was the sophisticated, intelligent lifestyle.  both my parents died of lung cancer”….Now smoking is considered unwise…and people who smoke are viewed as having a problem.  Manny states: “Years from now, we may be saying the same things about alcohol….”

I *gave up* social media about a year ago.  It simply drained me.  The social currency was very unsettling for me and revealed things about my “supposed friends” that I found sad and to easy to judge.  In many ways, social media platforms feel manipulated and contrived – fake.  This chapter gave me some insight and awareness as to how the machine works behind the scenes….and how “fake” information gets repeated enough that it becomes culturally acceptable.




Alcohol tolerance is your body’s way of trying to regulate itself in the midst of confusing signals and chaos. (Annie, p.151)

Alcohol affects the brain.  Makes us less inhibited- but also impairs the decision making center.  Booze hits the brain and dopamine is released for pleasure.  But the body is trying to balance itself so it releases dynorphin to counteract the endorphins.

The more one drinks…the more adaptable the body becomes and sends MORE dynorphin so we fall back even lower.

Here’s an aha moment for me:

“… Your brain is smart. When drinking for fun becomes a habit, like hitting happy hour every day after work, it can predict exactly when and how much dynorphin it needs to release.  So it prereleases the stuff! It takes proactive measures to protect your life.” (p. 153)

Dynorphin will then protect your from everything that brings you pleasure…  {YIKES!} …and eventually the tolerance built for alcohol makes us unable to enjoy much of anything in our lives.

Now that’s a BUZZKILL.

Being Bored

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I think boredom (or what I thought might be a boring event) “drove me to drink” at times.  Too lazy to come up with something fun to do…it was easy to say “let’s meet for drinks”…or “Let’s open a bottle of wine tonight”.

Annie Grace addresses boredom on Day 17 of the Alcohol Experiment.  She points out that some people are uncomfortable with themselves – when alone with their thoughts.  “And over time, we learn to be ashamed of this state of boredom” (p. 146)

Drinking blurs everything.  It doesn’t make it more exciting or interesting.  If I’m drinking to make being with someone bearable… I shouldn’t be with that person anyways… throw away the notion: “They drove me to drink”.  Choose not to waste time with people who need to be blurred to be tolerated.

“Boredom has a purpose.” Allow the discomfort to get creative.  Look for color.  Hunt down other options.

I like some of her ideas to break the boredom…light up the brain. Annie likes things with goals that one can tick off as they get closer.

  • Try a GPS app to track daily miles…and pick a fun place you would want to visit (she gives the example of Rome)…and when you accomplish the distance…celeberate with an Italian dinner party.
  • Write a memoir or novel. Check off the chapters as they get completed.  (Maybe someday… I’ll blog for now)

Potential Boredom Busters

  • Ballroom Dancing
  • Archery
  • Cross Country Skiing
  • Grad School
  • Creative Writing
  • Art Class