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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Facial Wipes, Drinking Buddies and Hallelujah

It’s been awhile!  Since I’ve posted.  No particular reason.  Still not drinking-on day six hundred and something.  I don’t really check that very often anymore.  And, I don’t think about drinking very often.  What I do think about is IF I was still drinking. For example, the other night before going to bed I was too lazy to wash my face.  So I reached under the sink for some of those facial cleansing wipes.  Instead, I picked up a package of glass cleaning wipes.  The first thing I thought was how if I had been still drinking, and drunk-because I was always drunk before going to bed, I wouldn’t have noticed that I had the wrong wipes and would have used them.  Which of course would have been followed by me having a hissy fit.  Huge drama.

So, I’m just “perking along” as a friend of mine would say.  Cruising.  Oftentimes I wonder how did I continue to  do everything I did while living and planning everything around my next glass of wine…I would say that right now, I’m steady.  I suppose that there are some changes in me-for instance, I think overall, I’m much calmer.  Although I’ll admit, I still have my moments.   After all, I just quit drinking- I didn’t have a lobotomy!  I don’t know if I look better or if I’ve changed my body shape.  Some days I have a lot of energy and some days not so much.  I still yell at the TV when watching the news and still have huge issues with the political situation here in the U.S.  I’m still a liberal.  I’m in a good relationship with my SO and I know that he loves me deeply and I him.  I’m blessed with a nice space to live in. Sometimes I feel like I’m running around too much and other times I’m bored.  Every once in a while I think, “OH!, So this is what living without alcohol is like!”  It’s good, although I can’t say that I have a heightened sense of awareness.

Has my life changed?  Well yes! Of course it has. One thing in particular has stood out to me recently.  As I’ve mentioned, we’ve moved. To a condo community.  And, while I can’t say that I love it yet, I like it.  Some things more than others.  But overall, it’s a nice space, the grounds are beautiful, I like the area and everyone seems nice.  Of course, having a dog, I go on several “walkie” a day-usually a long one in the morning in the adjacent neighborhood and then later in the day, around the property.  One of the things I don’t particularly like is the fact that while every unit has a really nice patio area with some yard space, it’s all exposed.  Fenced, but with a wrought iron fence. What this means is that I can’t go out in my pajamas and just hang out-I feel it necessary to be more covered up when sitting outside than I would be inside-expecially since it’s still in the high 90″s here. It also means that while I’m out there everyone that walks by sees into my area-which means at times I have to chit chat when I might not feel like it.  Of course it also means that I can see into other people’s space and say hi to them while walking by.  There’s one neighbor-probably mid 40’s who sits out a lot-she’s got a dog and a really nice backyard space.  We always (me and Bentley) stop and say hi.  I’ve noticed that once a week, she’s got another friend over and they usually have a bottle or two of wine on the table.  She stopped by the other day and mentioned that since it was Wednesday, her friend was coming over-Wine Down Wednesday for them.  How her friend had mentioned maybe they should only drink one bottle of wine.  Yeah right! And to be honest, I’ve noticed some booze bottles in her recycling. The other evening, I met another neighbor. There’s a little trail at the back of the property, which is wooded and nice.  Of course there’s also exposed yards there too.  And one is really, really nice. It’s obvious that whoever lives there puts a lot of time, effort and love into it.  So, we were walking on the street in the front of the condo and a woman about my age was out there kind of tending to a pot plant.  She had a cigarette and a glass of wine in her hand.  I stopped and chatted to her for about 10 minutes.  Liked her.  As I was leaving, she kind of waved her wine glass and said, “My patio’s always opened anytime you want to stop by”.  I thanked her and we went on our way.  Now here’s the thing, if I’d still been drinking, I would become instant friends with these 2 women. To be honest, I don’t even know if they know each other.  I also don’t know if I would even like them.  But that wouldn’t matter would it?  Because we could be drinking buddies.  Now I’m not saying that either one of them have a drinking problem. Who knows?  But how many times have you hooked up with someone that you would NEVER have been friends with had you not been drinking?  God!  I picked some real doozies! All to support my habit!  To give me some kind of warped sense of validation. Having endless drunken conversations about someone else’s drama. Never reaching any kind of finality.  Just on and on and on. One happy hour after another after another.  In this case, because they live here, I’d probably go visit, knock back a bottle of wine and come home and try- Try- to act as if I’d just been for a neighborly visit. when in reality, it would just be an excuse for me to drink more alcohol.  Of course when I’d get home, I’d open a bottle of wine as if it was my first glass of the day and go on from there.

HOW THE FUCK DID I LIVE THAT WAY FOR SO LONG?????

And so, that’s the change. The BIG change.  Hallelujah!

With love…