Read this…I’m serious

I read this blog from this brilliant woman who is funny as all hell and has a potty mouth that rivals mine.  She blogs mostly about parenting but she’s also a recovering alcoholic so, from time to time, she blogs about that too.

This is one of those times.

This is one of those posts.

And it’s fucking brilliant.

http://www.renegademothering.com/2014/02/07/we-dont-start-with-a-needle-in-our-arm/

Namaste

Another Freedom Realized

I have extremely eclectic tastes in music.  With very few exceptions, I love it all.  It doesn’t matter that the only thing I can play is the radio, music has the ability to change my emotions, lift my heart, and touch my soul.  I change the channel on the radio depending on my mood.  Music can bring me to tears and cheer me up and take me back to a certain place and time in a nano second.
 
So it’s very sad that I have been avoiding one of my favorite genres since I got sober.  Jazz, Rat Pack, Blues and Crooners is a genre that I love.  Having parents that grew up in the forties with a large collection of music, indoctrinated my sister and me into the world of the Andrews Sisters, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Sinatra and jazz.  I missed it.
 
But the reason I’d been avoiding it was more important than succumbing to a base need.  You see, listening to that type of music takes me back to a time when drinking was fun.  It takes me back to date nights spent in a restaurant in Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia where a combo played jazz every evening after dinner and you could sit and listen and canoodle with your honey and just be romantic.
 
It takes me back to gala’s in the 80’s where we danced to big bands playing a host of 40’s music.  The hubs and I could dance very well together in our younger days (fueled by alcohol of course).  He in his tuxedo and me in my formal or cocktail dress would take to the floor all night and “cut a rug” as they say.  Again, very romantic.
 
It takes me back to dark bars and late nights of sharing secrets and mental vomiting while listening to Harry Connick, Jr., Linda Ronstadt, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Etta James, Billie Holiday and the rest of all of those wonderful, soulful singers.
 
Unfortunately, for the last three years I have been avoiding those places in my mind because, well, I missed it so much.  And, in case you haven’t noticed by my use of italics, I also tend to romanticize things so that when my brain would goes there, I don’t actually see it how it was but how I wanted it to be and how I created it to be.  (Does that make ANY sense?)  I missed the romance, the candle light, the sharing.
 
Which means I’ve also been avoiding date night.  I mean, what would be the point?  Candlelight, jazz, good food and no wine?  Really?  Why intentionally bring on memories in my mind that would create cravings so intense that I would just sit there and be miserable all evening, making the hubs miserable and spending copious amounts of cash that we don’t have?  Nope…better to just stay home and pout.
 
Then yesterday I was walking the dogs, alone, which meant my phone was playing music in my ears just for me.  I have a playlist that is titled “Just Music” that avoids workouts and meditations and I just plunk all my music in there.  I set it to shuffle.  About 3/4 of the way through the walk I heard the familiar strains of a Harry song coming through my ears.  Uh-oh.
 
But a wonderful thing happened…it took me back but in a very different way.  Instead of bringing back romantic memories, it was like I was looking at a childhood memory.  One that was nice but to which I would never want to return.  Instead of remembering glances over a small table with a tiny candle while a four piece combo played in the background; I remembered spilled champagne after I had knocked over three glasses in a row.  I remembered tears and arguments fueled by too much wine.  I remembered passing out in the car only to wake up when we got home and being poured into bed.  I remembered hangovers.
 
See it was good in the beginning but it hadn’t been that way for many, many years.  I had conveniently forgotten that, in fact, it had gotten really, really “not fun” at the end.  And finally, blessedly, I remembered that little tid-bit.
 
And then, as with everything else about my recovery, I felt a freedom that I hadn’t even realized I needed.  I felt yet another set of bars in the prison roll open and I took another step into the sunshine of my life.
 
So, as soon as I hit “Publish”, I’m going to hook up the dogs and we’re going for our walk and my phone will be playing my Rat Pack playlist all the way. 
 
And maybe the hubs will ask me out on a date tonight.  One filled with candle light, good food, great conversation and…diet coke.
 
Namaste
 

It’s A "Wrong Side of the Bed" Day

Sometimes I just wake up on the wrong side of the bed.  Today is one of those days.  I’m grumpy and I don’t know why so I’m going to chalk it up to, “just one of those days”, and deal.

Quite a departure from what I used to do when I had one of these days.  Rather than dealing or trying to snap myself out of the grumpies, I would actually cultivate the mood.  If you cultivate a mood like this then you can create all manner of negativity which begets bad stuff and you’re left with a bad day.

Which is the perfect excuse, especially on a Friday, to get shit faced.

But, of course, that is NOT what will happen to me today.  Rather, I will whine for a while on this blog (feel free to sign off now if you’d like – I hate whining but sometimes its a necessary evil.), which will help me to process how I’m feeling.  Then I’ll feel silly and all “first world problems” and I’ll realize how blessed I am and I’ll fix my attitude and move on…cased closed.

Let the whining begin…

I have to go to NY next week.  It’s an unexpected trip.  I have nothing against NY – it’s a helluva town – but if you read my post from yesterday you know that these things not only drain me, they are hard for me to do.  It’s a new venue, with people I have never met.  Therefore I will stress about it until I get there and everything turns out fine.  Then I will relax and enjoy myself…except…

Except that it’s totally throwing off my Jenny Craig thing.  I know that Jenny makes food that I could take with me but not only does my room not have a microwave, who in the hell goes to NY and eats Jenny Cuisine?  Not this girl.  I won’t over indulge but I will take advantage of some delicious, healthy meals.  Then I’ll stress over whether or not I’ve gained any weight.  At least the hotel has a gym that I can use.

I hate my closet right now.  I’m between sizes and we’re between seasons so nothing fits and I’m either too hot or too cold all of the time.  On the bright side, it’s NY, I can wear black 24/7 and no one will even bat an eye.  So that is exactly what I’m going to do.

I’m also stressing about the fact that I should be going to see things I haven’t seen yet while I’m there (9/11 Memorial, Statue of Liberty, Stuart Weitzman’s Shop on Madison) but the reality is that I know I’ll be exhausted by the end of the day and just want to go back to my room.  This makes me feel old and worn out and not young and adventurous. 

Here’s a newsflash Sherry…you were never young and adventurous…read your blog from yesterday.

Oh…yeah…

The men of the house will be out tonight (including the hubs) at various activities which leaves me alone.  Why doesn’t this make me happy?  I like to be alone now.  Yes…but…only when I say.  (I said I’d be whining…not rational.)

The humidity is back.  Nuff said.

Now…on the bright side.

I’m staying at a beautiful, historic hotel in NY.  I love crap like that.  I will have a wonderful time AND I can get some serious workout time in.

I love wearing black and I have a closet full of it.

The Stuart Weitzman store is only a few blocks from my hotel…I’m thinking I can find the energy for that on at least one afternoon or evening.

I’m going to watch all my recorded TV shows that I don’t get to see while everyone is out tonight.  There is also a very long yoga session just waiting for me to get home this evening.

See?  All better now!

Namaste

“If you don’t like something; change it, change the way you think about it.”
~Mary Engelbreit

Regrets and a Drag Queen

I love Ru Paul.

I was driving to work this morning thinking about drag queens. (Now there’s a sentence you don’t hear everyday.)  Specifically, I was thinking about an old friend who was our bartender and, on the side, performed in a drag queen act.  I loved that guy.

Anyway, that brought me back to a time in my life when things were vastly different than they are now.  I was in my early twenties, the hubs and I were doing the mating dance that people do when they are young, and I was the most obnoxious person I knew.

Of course, I didn’t recognize it then.  I thought I was the shit.  You know?  All that and a bag of chips?  I was successful at a very young age and thought I could run with the big dogs.  I would spout my opinion like it was the most important thing in the world and, because I was so young, everyone would listen.

Little did I know they were secretly chuckling and shaking their heads.  “Isn’t she amusing?”  “Boy has she got a lot to learn!”  Ugh.  Every time I look back and think about it I cringe.  I wish I could go back and change it.  I regret acting that way.

But this morning I started thinking…why am I still holding on to crap that happened 30 years ago?  Why am I still letting it take up real estate in my head?  Why am I still beating myself up?

Why indeed?

In reality, I didn’t act any differently than these kids I see everyday at work.  At that age, a little success goes directly to your head and, since you have no life experience from which to draw, you can easily show your ass on a regular basis.  Sometimes you run into people who are amused or who will take you under their wing and give you some much needed grooming and advice.  Sometimes you don’t.  You run into people who get in your face and tell you exactly what they think of you and they are not kind about it.  I likely learned more from the latter than I did from the former, but I have also rented them space in my head for 30 years.

It’s time they were evicted.

I realized this morning that I need to let all of that go.  That even if I was more obnoxious than anyone else on the planet, 30 years is enough penance.  I can’t go back and change the events and I wouldn’t be who I am today if they had happened differently.  Let.  It.  Go.

I realize that there are those reading who are thinking, “Oh my God girl!  Are you STILL thinking about that old stuff?  You have to let it go?”  Those are also the people who can drink normally and have likely not been drunk since the 90’s (if ever).  They know that the past is the past and you can’t go back and change it so you might as well move the hell forward before it…oh…I don’t know…let’s your monster take control of your life? 

I am not one of those people.  Recovery has made me realize and learn and grow so this is all new.  I am trying very hard and mostly succeeding.  Revelations like this and posts like this are part of this process and I love it.

Let.  It.  Go.

Okay…I will.

Namaste

Mother…Daughter…Sister…Friend

My daughter and her kids are here for a long weekend.  They are part of the light and joy that make up my life.  I love it when they are around and I wish the universe would work to bring us closer to them geographically…we really can’t get much closer otherwise.

Last night she and I were having a conversation like we always do when she’s here…catching up, pouring out our guts, gossiping, child-rearing and it came to me how much I look forward to her visits because of these chats.  I am not a phone person so talking for hours on the phone just doesn’t work for me.  Email, text, blog…those work for me but phones…not so much.

She knows this and accepted it long ago…so much so she didn’t even call me on my birthday, she texted me.  I can’t explain how much that little bitty action meant to me.

L came into my life when she was 12 and I was 22.  For many years I was the only authority figure in her life and I didn’t have a clue what the hell I was doing.  Her mom was off trying to figure out her own life and the hubs was the “good time daddy” who always said yes.  I was the one that said, “No…you can’t wear that” or “No…you can’t drive there”.  Sometimes it was a little contentious but for the most part I think we worked it out.

Over the years we’ve grown up together.  Both of us had three kids and I got to actually watch two of hers come into the world.  She’s a wonderful big sister to her brothers.  I’m an okay grandma.  Not exactly the warm and fuzzy go everywhere with you grandma but if you need advice about shoes or tattoos, or you need someone to bake some monkey bread…I’m your girl.

Anyway, as we were talking last night I tried to tell her how I feel about her and I didn’t do a very good job.  I felt awkward and vulernable and, as she well knows, that’s not a place I like to be.  It’s a lot harder when you’re sober.  We used to talk long into the night about a whole host of stuff – she with a glass of wine and me with a couple of bottles.  But now I’m so afraid of sounding stupid or needy or goofy or just plain wrong, that the words just don’t tumble out the way they used to.  They stumble and trip coming out of my face so that I end up feeling stupid or needy or goofy or wrong so eventually I just give up and revert back to listener and advisor.  It’s sad because she is really one of the few people to whom I would actually spill my guts. 

But I’m a work in progress and she knows this and “gets me” which means I also do not have to worry and obssess about what I say and when.  It’s actually very liberating.

Anyway…I thought I’d take a moment this morning to write a post about how much she means to me ’cause I know she reads my blog.  Yes…it’s cheating.  No…I don’t give a shit.

I struggle with putting this into words because on one hand, I AM a mom figure to her and I love that role AND I am a firm believer in not being friends with your kids.  They have enough friends…they need parents.

But since we’re so close in age and I didn’t actually give birth to her, I think I’m safe when I say that she is one of my best and closest friends.  I can tell her anything and she’ll call bullshit on me in a minute (but she has a soft and easy way of doing it because she knows how deeply I feel things).  I feel like she knows me better than anyone except her father.  She’s always there.

And here’s the key to all of it – I know she always will be because more than anything I trust her.  I don’t trust many people the way I trust her.  Pretty much just my husband and my kids…yup…that it.  She fills the need I have to have a girl relationship with someone within my family.  The closest thing I can think of is that she’s like my little sister that, because of our home life I had to be a mom figure to but now that we’re all grown up with kids of our own, we can be best friends.

Yeah…that’s it…I think.  Doesn’t really matter…doesn’t really need a name…it is what it is and I’m glad that it is.

So to L I say…I love you honey.  Thanks for listening, loving me and being my friend.

Namaste’

An Exercise in Self-Care

You know, I’ve learned a lot about myself during this sober journey of mine.  But I think the most important thing I’ve learned is that self-care is not the same as self-ish.

I come from a very long line of selfish and self-absorbed people.  As a result, I tend to shy away from anything that says “me” and if I do occasionally indulge in some semblance of self-care (how’s THAT for an alliteration) then I feel guilty about it.  I remember how I felt when it was all about my mom or my dad and never about me.  I went a long way to making sure none of my children EVER felt that.

Maybe I went too far.

I know I went too far.

But now I realize that exercising a little self-care is not only a good thing, it’s essential for making me a whole and healthy human being.  It’s okay to say no sometimes and to take a little “me” time.  It doesn’t mean that I’m not available for my kids (or friends or whomever), but it does mean that they get to see me take care of myself and maybe, in turn, they will learn to take care of themselves as well.  They will learn to set healthy boundaries and turn out even happier and healthier than they are now.

At least I hope so.

It’s not easy though.  I still feel a tremendous amount of guilt when I do anything for myself.  For example, I’m working long and crazy hours right now.  Last night my family waited for me to eat dinner but when I got home I wasn’t hungry and I wanted an hour of yoga time (which is better on an empty stomach).  I didn’t say anything at first but after everyone got their dinner, I let them know that I was going upstairs and to go ahead and eat without me.

Oh the GUILT!  I felt awful (at first).  I am a HUGE proponent of the entire family eating together and since the kids are older that doesn’t happen very often anymore.  To have them all there…waiting for me…and then have me ditch them!  Oy.

Here’s the thing…they could have cared less.  They were just happy I was home at a decent hour AND that they didn’t have to wait any longer to eat.  Everyone kissed and hugged me and told me how glad they were to see me and to enjoy my yoga session.

Now I ask you, who is the fucked up one in this scenario…THIS GIRL!

But I’m learning.  I didn’t let the guilt stop me (because I REALLY NEEDED that time) and by the time I was done I felt 100% better.  I was more present than I would have been if I had ignored my needs and isn’t that what’s important?  Not just that I’m there, but that I’m actually present when I’m with them?

See…told you I was learning.

So this weekend I will repeat my behavior of last weekend.  I will do exactly what I need to do for me while still being there for my family.  I will put on my own oxygen mask before putting on theirs. 

Because we all know that the world will stop spinning on its axis if anything happens to me.

Okay…so I still have a little more work to do.

Nasmaste’

Coming to Terms with My Alcoholism

I was well into 18 months of sobriety before I could say “alcoholic” out loud when referring to “my problem”.  In fact, it wasn’t until I went into the AA rooms and said, “Hi, I’m Sherry and I’m an alcoholic” that I really came to terms with it.

Up until then I was a “problem drinker”.  I fully expected to get sober, figure out what my problem was (childhood trauma, empty nest syndrome, stress, whatever) and then I would be able to drink like a normal person…you know…the way I used to drink.

The only flaw in that logic was that I NEVER drank like a normie.  Here’s why…

  • Normal people don’t watch other people’s wine glasses and mentally comment on what is left in the glass.
  • Normal people don’t worry about getting “enough”.
  • Normal people don’t try and convince everyone to keep drinking when they want to go home.
  • Normal people don’t dread last call.
  • Normal people don’t plan their entire day or weekend around when and how they will drink.
  • Normal people aren’t devastated when an event is cancelled, not because they were really looking forward to the event, but because they were really looking forward to an excuse to drink.
  • Normal people don’t look for excuses to drink.  They either drink or they don’t…end of shory.
  • Normal people have no reason to lie about their drinking – especially to themselves.
  • Normal people don’t lie to their doctors about how much they drink – they don’t have to because it’s not a big deal.  (Okay..maybe some do but it doesn’t have an impact because they are normal.)
  • Normal people don’t blackout on a nightly basis or everytime they drink. 
  • Normal people don’t write notes to themselves in said blackout that say, “Normal people don’t drink like you do.”
  • Normal people don’t make their children cry because of their drinking.
  • Normal people don’t consistently Google, “Am I drinking too much?” and take the tests over and over again hoping for a different result. (That’s the definition of crazy you know.)
  • Normal people don’t hoard alcohol because they’re afraid that they’ll be a snowstorm, blackout, monsoon or apocalypse and they might run out (I am not even kidding about this).
  • Normal people don’t spend all day looking forward to that first drink in the evening like it’s Christmas.
  • Normal people don’t have tryglyceride levels of 580 (they should be lower than 150 – mine are now down to 118…woot!).

This is how I FINALLY admitted that I was a full blown drunk.  Didn’t matter how “high functioning” I was.  Didn’t matter that I went to work everyday, cared for my children, loved my husband, cleaned the house, cooked food…none of that mattered.  What mattered was that I was not one of the normal people.

And the feeling that I had once I made this admission?

Relief.

Namaste’.

A Letter to My Disease

Alcoholism –

I will not begin this letter with “Dear” because you are not dear to me…you never have been and you never will be.

You and I have had a long and interesting journey together.  I met you as a child – you and my father were well acquainted.  You lived in my home alongside me everyday of my young and vulnerable life.  While I was the first born, you were the most loved.  My father put you before me and cherished your relationship with him more than mine.  You almost killed him three times but not until the third time did he decide to end his love affair with you.

I hated you and because of that, for a time I hated my father.  I cared for him.  Stood by his side when no one else did except you.  I tried to save his life while you tried to kill him.  It wasn’t until you had almost succeeded that he turned to me.  By then he was old and you had exacted your toll.  He only had 13 years left for me.  13 out of 35…even I can do that math…you won.

Because of your relationship with my father, I avoided your company for many years.  I drank beer on occasion and tried wine from time to time.  Since my first husband had lived with you when he was a child as well, there was no alcohol in our home.  Because of you I invented rules to keep you at bay.

No drinking alone.
No drinking at home.
No drinking before 5:00 pm

But you were always below the surface because you had already taken up residence in my soul.  You slept…for a time…until my life changed and I stepped over the line and woke you.

Like the abuser that you are, you began by courting me.  You were warm and inviting after a hard day at work.  You gave an insecure and beaten young woman the confidence she desperately sought.  You made me witty.  You let me fit in to a world that I believed belonged only to the most successful.

But soon you began to show yourself…slowly…and I wasn’t paying attention.  Or I ignored you.  I suspect the latter to be true.

Because of you I was not capable of only one drink.  I was the one who always got drunk.  I was the life of the party.  I thought about alcohol all the time.  I became obsessed with when and how I would drink.  I organized my life around when I could drink.  And I rationlized and made excuses for you.  I lied for you (mostly to myself).

And then you woke completely and we came face to face.  And, after all you had done to me, after all the hurt and heartache you gave me, I embraced you!  It was like I had forgotten all of your ugliness.  I had forgotten all of the pain you brought to my life.  I think it was more like I dressed you in different clothes and called you by a different name in order to co-exist with you.  I could not deal with my father’s lover.  I had to figure out a way to live with you on my own terms.  I called you fun.  I called you coping.  I referred to you as temporary.

Until I didn’t.

When you were finally unmasked and I saw you for what you were I was ashamed.  I hid my face and pretended I was fine.  I negotiated with you to try and pretend you didn’t actually exist.  But you persisted.  The harder and louder I denied you, the stronger you became. 

And then one day I gathered my courage and brought you out of the shadows and into the light.  I exposed you for what you were.  Cunning, baffling and powerful.  I decided to fight you. 

I began fighting you alone but learned quickly that you would not go quietly into the night.  I needed help.  I didn’t want to need help because it meant I would have to admit I let you in and I was still ashamed.  It meant I would have to call you by name and that I would have to admit to myself that you lived within me…I had to say, “I am an alcoholic.”  I wasn’t ready for that.

As with any abusive relationship, people tend to look from the outside in, shake their heads and say, “How could she put up with that?  Why doesn’t she leave?”  I was still ashamed because those of us that live with abusers know…it’s just not that easy.

Finally I put aside my pride and stretched my hand out for help.

And there were hands!  Hands from AA that taught me not to be ashamed.  Hands from therapists who are trained to fight you. Hands from bloggers who have had the same experiences as mine and who taught me that I am not special. My relationship with you is not special.  I am just a drunk and you are just a disease and you CAN be defeated.  They had and continue to defeat you every day.

They also taught me that you never go away.  Like polio you are only sleeping.  Thanks to those helping hands I have learned to be hyper-viligant and to recognize my cravings for what they are, your attempt to come back into my life.  Keep sleeping – you are not welcome here.

Most importantly the hand of God was there.  By His grace I was able to put you in your place within my soul.  I gave you a tiny, tiny little piece of me because you will never go away.  You will always be waiting to reawaken our love affair and assert yourself as my abuser once again.  But God occupies the remainder of my soul and as long as I stay connected to Him…you can never hurt me again.

So remain in that small part of my soul, alcoholism.  I no longer hate you or what you did to my childhood, or my adulthood or the childhood of my children.  I do not hate you for what you did to my body and the work I must now do to regain my health.  I do not hate you because hate and love are strong emotions that sit side by side.

Rather I respect you.  I will never underestimate your power.  I will keep you close because that’s what you do with your enemies.  But I will not give you any more power.

Sleep you bastard of a disease…you can’t hurt me unless I allow it…and I no longer allow it.

My name is Sherry and I am an alcoholic.

“The real sin against life is to abuse and destroy beauty, even one’s own –even more, one’s own, for that has been put in our care and we are responsible for its well-being.”
~ Katherine Anne Porter

Dreams

I’ve never been much of a dreamer.  Not the sleeping kind of dreams because, in that way, I am a vivid, crazy dreamer.  No, the kind of dreamer that says, “One day…”

When I was selling Mary Kay, we used to have these rah-rah meetings that were meant to inspire and fire us up to sell more (of course).  Many, many times I was asked about my dreams.  What were my wildest dreams and how did I plan to get there?  We were supposed to make a “dream board” that had all of the things we dreamt about having with the idea that if we could see it and visualize it every day, we were more likely to make it happen.  It’s a very effective way of helping a person realize their dreams.

Unless you have no idea what yours are.

I used to struggle with this so much it would make me anxious.  Pop quiz kind of anxious.  New kid kind of anxious.  I mean…really?

Why don’t I have any dreams?  Instead, I have wants.  I have a sort of bucket list.  I want to go to Europe.  I want to take the kids to Hawaii.  I want to have a house by the beach.  I want to learn to speak a foreign language fluently.  I want to learn to play the piano.  I want to find peace.

But dreams?  I’m not even sure I know what that is?  What differentiates it from wants? 

dream

[dreem] adjective:  most desirable; ideal: a dream vacation.


want

[wont, wawnt] verb (used with object):  to feel a need or a desire for; wish for: to want one’s dinner; always wanting something new.
Hmmm…sounds an awful lot alike to me.

For me the difference is control.  I have no control over my dreams.  Dreams are things for which you wish.  They are made of spun cotton and air. They are ethereal.  Smoke and mirrors.  In that way they are like their counterpart that occurs during the night.  When you wake…they are gone. They are fantasy born of a desire.

Wants, on the other hand, I can make happen.

I believe that I struggle with this because when you’re hanging on by your fingernails as a child you don’t have time to “dream”.  You’re biggest dreams revolve around just wanting your family to be normal so that you can be a kid…and in your heart of hearts you know that will never happen so why bother.
So I learned that if I wanted something it was up to me to make it happen.  I wanted a home and a “normal” family and a career that would provide for them.  With the help of my husband (who is also my life partner, soul mate and best friend) I made it happen.  After 4 years of out of control drinking I wanted to be sober…I made it happen.  I want to find peace…I’m on the path to making that happen.
Of course your wants can also hurt you (to quote my mother-in-law).  I wanted to party.  I wanted to be able to enjoy a glass (bottle) of wine at home.  I wanted to try smoking.  I wanted to get married two weeks out of high school in order to get out of the house.  I have to learn to watch that part.

So for today what I want is to get back into shape.  (And I don’t want that shape to be round.)  Now here’s the difference for me between dreams and wants.  My dream is to get back into the shape I was at 35…however, since I am no longer 35, I want to get fit and in a reasonable shape for a 51 year old woman.  No amount of wishing will make my dream come true.
But I can make that want come true.

“Some people follow their dreams, others hunt them down and beat them mercilessly into submission.”  ~Neil Kendall

Exhaustion + Success = Craving?

I have had one of the toughest weeks I’ve had in a LONG time.  Not physically exhausting (although there was some of that) but mentally and emotionally exhausting.  And I am REALLY glad it’s over and that I’ll have two days to recover…because I have to do it all over again each week for the rest of the summer.  Welcome to my world.

It’s not all bad.  I really love being productive and seeing the results of my efforts.  In my case, it’s kind of immediate gratification since I run training programs and you know on a minute by minute basis how you’re doing.  In my case it’s been a great week.  We started a new program and it’s a hit!  That feels amazing.  Amazing and exhausting.

Last night as I sat in yet another cocktail reception, smiling, drinking Diet Coke and eating tidbits of steak, shrimp, scallops (or was it chicken fingers, chips and salsa and crudite – it all runs together after awhile) I felt the familiar feeling of, “Oh would it be good to have a glass of wine” and, as usual, it got me thinking.

It seems that exhaustion that is born of a good days work is a trigger for me.  Who knew?

I remember when I used to travel.  While I was on the road and we would finish a great day in the classroom and immediately head to the bar of the hotel.  There was nothing like that first sip of a cold Chardonnay after a hard day.  Then we would sit around and talk about the day and what we could do better or what went really well.  There was a feeling of camarderie and satisfaction that made the drink all the sweeter. 

When I would return home from a trip I would put the kids to bed and poor a large glass of wine (which usually turned into a bottle or two) and sit and tell my husband all about my trip.  Again, what went well, what drama occurred, who got angry and who did really well and how much I missed them.  It was a ritual and I looked forward to it almost (maybe more?) than I looked forward to coming home.

As I left work this evening I was really craving a glass of wine and it made me sad.  I’m sad because I can’t have a glass of wine and relax the way I used to.  I’m also sad because I haven’t figured out what to do instead.  What’s the replacement?  When I first quit drinking I was unemployed and selling Mary Kay so I wasn’t exactly exhausted at the end of the day.  Then I had a series of contracts that, even with the travel, didn’t give me that exhaustion plus success feeling.  This is the first time I’ve been in a role that mimics the feeling I used to have soooooo….trigger.

Now what?

I have no freaking idea.

I’ve got to figure out how to replace that glass of wine and that feeling of ahhhhhhhhh.  Until then I guess I’ll just sit in this chair, feel exhausted and get over my sad.  Not the first time…won’t be the last.