Getting On with It

I quit drinking for a number of reasons.  For one thing I’d been drinking basically my whole adult life.  Health was another reason.  Occasionally, I’d experience pain on my right side.  I’d done research-secretly of course!- on liver deterioration and disease. Was horrified to learn that there can be absolutely NO signs of liver problems and then BAM you’re at the point of no return.  Of course even that knowledge didn’t deter me until…  Until the mother of a young woman that worked for me had that happen to her.  One day she turned jaundiced and she died a month later.  Now THAT was powerful for me.  I actually stopped that day, but then Christmas came a month later and we had a little neighborhood open house and a good bottle of Champagne that we’d been saving, so how could I pass that up?   I drank for a couple of weeks off and on-not really liking it and having some horrible hangovers, but being the personality I am, I doggedly kept on.  Then on January 2, 2015 I quit and haven’t had a drink since.

Of course I was sick and tired of all of the mental anguish that I was suffering.  All of the torment that comes with being addicted to something-not just the physical but the mental and the spiritual.  Not to mention all of the sleep I was being deprived of because of it.  You know, waking up between 1 and 3 a.m. and not being able to go back to sleep with your mind running rampant? In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), there is an organ clock that represents the time of the day when each organ is functioning optimally and has the most energy. You may find that you wake up between 1-3am if you have repressed anger or long standing resentment. Well yeah! And to my mind it was also that my body was working hard to process all of the toxins in it.  Here’s a link if you want to know more about this. Organ Times

Another reason is my SO.  YEARS ago- maybe 10-one night as I was pouring another glass of wine, he whispered to me that he was worried about me.  That I was so precious to him and he didn’t want to lose me.  Sweet, right?  Did I stop that night?  Hell no! Of course not-I just kept on pouring.   But, I love him and I don’t want him to have to suffer because I have some kind of alcohol induced illness or even early death.

There’s one more reason I quit.  If you’ve read my short bio on the side, you will have seen that when I started this blog, I said I was “an almost 60 year old woman”.  Well, I’ve changed it as I’m now 61.   I knew that I didn’t want to be that older drunk woman.  Now to be honest, I don’t know that I’m having a problem with my age-except that I have an awareness that I  less years in front of me at this point than behind me.  I’m healthy and overall, I’m happy.  My SO still finds my attractive-which I truely thank my lucky stars for!   I now feel complimented if someone thinks I’m in my 50!  Hard to believe that I would take that as a compliment, but times change.  Look,  I know I’m not 35.  I often have to remind myself that I’m not the same age as many people I interact with or come across-or musicians I love. Or atheletes I admire.  That when they look at me, they’re putting me in the catagory of mother or even grandmother!   When I read about an “older woman, aged 63”,  it gives me pause for a minute.  I mean at one time I did think that was old!  Fortunately, I’m not yearning for those past years in that sense.  And inside, I don’t particularly feel any age.  I’ve always preferred to work with younger people-to keep up culturally with things.  I’m also not the type that really focuses on the “would’ve, should’ve and could’ves” in life. That’s not to say I don’t have regrets. Of course I do! The thing is, I not only want to be the best I can be at all times, I want to go into this part of my life with grace-with dignity-with style and class.  When I was catering, I did a lot of events and fundraisers for groups like the Opera, the Symphony, Political groups- things like that. Lots of high end fundraisers. Many of the same people would be involved in these events-as donors and as guests.  There was one woman who was at all of these things.  She could have been in her 60’s or 70’s.  She always arrived drunk and left drunker.  At one event she caused quite a scene with one of my waitstaff. She was UGLY! And, I don’t mean just physically. I had to actually get in her face and talk to her as if she was a 3 year old having a tantrum. Loud, staggering around. At another event I actually saw her sitting at the bar in someone’s home drinking out of a wine bottle! I didn’t want to be that woman in any shape or form.

One of the main reasons I quit drinking was that I don’t want to be that aging/old drunk woman.  I don’t want my SO to have to guide me through a crowded room or restaurant trying to keep me upright.  I don’t want to be that older drunk woman that thinks she’s being so “cute and flirty” with much younger waitstaff.  I don’t want to have spills all over my clothes.  (well, that still happens) I don’t want to spill red wine on someone’s white silk chairs.  I don’t want to wake up in the morning and look in the mirror and see a hungover 60 something year old woman.  I got sick of kidding myself that having a wineglass in front of me made people-people that I don’t know and never will know-made people think I was “sophisticated”.  I didn’t want to end up as someone that had a “fall”-a drunken one that could have been avoided.

I  have a good friend- an ex in-law-she’s in her 80’s.  I love and adore her. She drinks.  Granted not as much as she used to, but she still drinks.  Recently, there was an event in her family and the woman hosting it mentioned that no one drank anymore.  Well, except…  I don’t want to be her!

If I’m going be in my 60’s or 70’s or 80’s or 90’s, I am going to be the best I can be-not an old drunken hag!  Not some woman that looks well past her “sell by date”! Not someone spending my “fewer days ahead” feeling guilt ridden and anguished over alcohol intake. Alcohol intake for God’s sake!  No, there’s no going back to my 30’s or 40’s or even 50’s-but there IS going forward.  Putting the worst of the past behind me-without guilt or shame.  Having a consciousness about my life and about myself.  It’s all part of my story. It’s all a part of what has shaped me to become who I am today and who I’ll be going forward.

I’ve decided to post a photo of myself.  This was taken in London this past April-2 months before my 61st birthday.  I’m not looking for any particular feedback.   I’m doing this more for myself.  Kind of a “baring” of myself.   It’s also about reaching another stage in my recovery.  Not only owning who I am but also no longer feeling the need to be ashamed or hide.

Namaste

Me in London May 2017

 

 

 

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Owning It

I surpried myself today.  It seems that we all go through a stage of when we are wondering just when,how and if we should declare that we are no longer drinking.  Even after the time I’ve not been drinking, I haven’t really made any declaration to people.  It’s just kind of come out at random times with a few people-most of whom don’t have a problem with alcohol.  I guess,even not consciously knowing it, I felt safe enough with these few to say something.  And to be honest, I haven’t received any kind of negative or judgemental reaction.  Maybe a “Why”? I say I just felt it was time and that’s been that.

Well, today!!  We live in a condo in a nice, diverse neighborhood.  As I walk a lot and walk my dog a lot, I know many neighbors-both in my condo and in the neighborhood itself.  I have one neighbor, that lives here in my condos.  She’s probably in her 60’s-nice. I think she drinks a lot.  I can’t say I’ve ever seen her drunk, but she’s always putting together Happy Hours, Wine Down Thursdays, things like that.  And, takes one to know one, right?

So, I see her today on my dog walk.  We chat a bit and I’m telling her about an upcoming trip that I’m taking (more later).  We start going our separate ways-in different directions.  And as she’s walking away, she says, “Have something with Lime in it” I reply, “I’ll have a lemonade.” She says, “Put some Gin in it!” I say in a pretty loud voice as we are getting farther away from each other, “I QUIT DRINKING!”  Well, that stopped her in her tracks!  Said, “Even wine?” Like wine doesn’t count!  Wouldn’t that be great! So I said,“Yes, even wine”. She asked how I felt.  I said GREAT! That I felt really, really good. And, she went on her way. After I walked away, I realized that we had pretty much been shouting to each other. I came to the conclusion that the Universe is ready for me to own it.  I will not however, be going around shouting out to the world that I no longer drink.  I think “owning it” in this case is more about the shift that has occurred and continues to occur in the core of my being.  It’s a good thing.

On another note, I had a great Birthday yesterday! My SO and I used to cook for and feed homeless people every Sunday for years.  No matter what.  Sometimes as many as 200 meals. (I’ll also add, that often, I was probably almost as hungover as some of the people that I was feeding!)  Anyway, because I gave up my commercial kitchen space, we had to stop. So, spontaneously and sporadically, I will make sack lunches and drive to areas where I know there are homeless people and hand them out.  I say sporadically, except on my Birthday.  It’s something that I like to do on my birthday.  So I did it yesterday. I don’t ask, I don’t judge.  If someone is too stoned for food, I make sure that they take the water-yesterday it was 102 here!

I watched Spain lose their game in the Euros (:  We went to an upscale sports bar and watched Argentina win 🙂  We sat at the bar for a couple of hours where I ate like a 13 year old and drank Cherry Lemonade, not once bothered by all the cocktails being shaken, or the pints being pulled or the wine being poured. We left at half time. Got home in time for the second half which I watched in my PJs eating my Sea Salt Caramel Truffle Gelato out of the carton.

It’s all good! Bowing to you all and wishing you Love.

Sack lunches