41 Months and Still Learning

I just realized it’s been a long time since I posted. Life has been moving at breakneck speed. I just wanted to share some things I’ve been thinking about.

This weekend my husband and I are going out of town for a family Bar Mitzvah. I’ve got all kinds of treats packed for the hotel room: Kcups and a clever little portable coffee maker, special creamer, fun a/f beverages, snacks…..

Almost exactly three years ago, we traveled to the same town for a family Bat Mitzvah. It was my first sober getaway and I remember still feeling like everything was almost painfully strange and new. I packed a care kit for myself that included special scented hand cream, treats for the hotel room, and ear buds so I could use a sleep meditation on my phone without disturbing my husband. I remember being at the party, where craft beers and glasses of wine were offered. The glasses of wine were so small – I wondered, if I’d still been drinking, how many of them I would have felt comfortable drinking without anyone noticing. Ugh.

Now I still notice what/how much other people drink, but I’ve realized nobody really cares what’s in my glass. Events like these are no problem whatsoever.

But here’s the thing: as I began making mental lists of what to pack, I noticed that my husband’s bottle of bourbon was running low (he likes to pack some for the hotel room). I found myself getting a little anxious that he wouldn’t have enough booze for the trip. Because I remember all too well having to make sure that there was enough wine for me when we traveled together.

Just a friendly reminder from the Universe that, yes indeedy, I had a problem, and – nope, my brain is neither healed or fixed, even after all this sober time under my belt.

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Yet Another Message from the Universe…

About a month ago, I had the opportunity to join a private Facebook group comprised of people endeavoring to stay sober. It’s a great, supportive, funny, smart group of people who offer each other advice and support. The symbol of the group is a penguin. I wondered why but found out it’s because penguins huddle together for warmth and strength, and protect the weak and vulnerable members of the group.

Bearing that in mind, I have little story for you today.

So we just got back from a little vacation to Washington, D.C. This is my third sober trip and I was well-prepared with books loaded on my phone, my meditation app (Simply Being), and my earphones. My biggest concern while being away from home is not being able to either get to sleep or stay asleep. The meditation app has been a huge, huge help.

When we go to a big city, we love to go on a walking Food Tour on the first or second day, because it helps us get “the lay of the land,” and gives us some ideas of places we might want to return to for meals.

We were in a group of about 15 super-nice people, and as we stroll the streets together, we’re chatting and getting to know each other a little. We get settled in one of the restaurants, waiting for our delicious hand-made spinach tortelloni stuffed with butternut squash and cheese in sage butter (delicious!)…

The tour guide says that the pasta is going to take a little while, so feel free to order cocktails. Some of the people do and I’m sitting with my glass of ice water, watching them toast each other with champagne cocktails and Manhattans. And not feeling triggery, just a wee bit sorry for myself.

Anyway. I shake it off as soon as the food arrives, resisting the urge to lick the plate – it was that good! And we all pack up to head to another restaurant for a sample of some Moroccan food.

So we’re walking up the street and I’m right behind the tour guide. It’s a chilly, blustery day and she’s bare-legged, wearing a denim skirt with little anklets and flats. I’m thinking, “Jeez! She must be FREEZING!” When something catches my eye – there’s a design on her socks. Upon closer scrutiny, I realize that they’re PENGUINS. I shit you not.

Just another message, courtesy of the Universe, that I’m right where I need to be.

First Sober Vacation

Well, kids! My last big sober milestone has been reached. Last weekend, the Hubs and I went to a family event out of town. I was more than a little nervous and curious about this. Mostly because, in the past, our pattern had been to have some drinks and snacks in the hotel room in the afternoon, followed by a nap (for me).  Then it would be out for dinner and drinks, and then finally, back to the room in the evening for – you guessed it – more drinks, possibly more snacks, and then bed. To be completely honest, I usually drank more than my husband.  He would typically fall asleep first, while I would either read or watch TV with a glass of wine until I couldn’t keep my eyes open any more.  It was then and only then that I’d be able to fall asleep.

So I was really nervous about the possibility that I wouldn’t sleep well, what with the room/bed/pillows being different, the room not smelling like home, the light under the room door from the hallway, unusual noises, etc.

But – I’d done my research and armed myself with some great tools: my favorite scented hand cream, most comfortable jammies, and the very best thing of all – the meditation app I’d purchased for $1.99, called “Simply Being.” The first night we were away, I had a hard time staying asleep, even though I’d been up really early that morning, probably due to the EXTREMELY strong cup of coffee I’d ordered at the Italian restaurant we went to.  I swear, the spoon stood up by itself in the thing. I woke up at 4:30 the following morning. We’re talking WIDE AWAKE. So, I plugged my earbuds in, fired up a 30 minute meditation session, and – presto! It was 6:30, time to get up, and I was refreshed, well-rested, and ready to start my day.

Then, that evening, I had a hard time settling down.  It was 11:30 and I was still wide awake.  Used the meditation app again, and – like magic, didn’t wake up until 6:45.  I felt great.

Just a side note here – there was a family party the second night, and wine and bottled beer were offered.  There were also urns of ice water, lemonade, and iced tea.  I drank iced tea for the most part, and returned several times to refill my glass.  I had the thought that, if I were still drinking, I would have probably started with wine, but since the glasses were on the small side and the bartender’s pour was pretty skimpy, I’d have switched to bottled beer.  I would have been anxious about getting enough to drink to satisfy me without looking like I was visiting the bar too often.   Nobody else at the party seemed to be drinking very enthusiastically.

So glad to have that piano off my back.