Monday, September 28, 2015

The Smiles are Real

Dear Readers,
Last week, we went to a play, a parody of the all the Housewives shows, which I love.
I was super excited to go and laugh!
We got there early and decided to go to a new restaurant and have a drink before going in. We ordered our AF drinks and had so much fun just talking.

Then the show!
Except...I couldn't understand any of the dialogue. None of it.
So we left at intermission, and went to dinner instead.

But, for once, I wasn't depressed. I wasn't sad that I couldn't hear. 
My lack of hearing affects me, but it doesn't control me.
Maybe I can't go to plays, but I can do many other things.

Being hearing impaired presents challenges to be sure, and I never know in what situation I will be able to hear much or not. But it doesn't mean I can't have a full and happy rest of my life! It's up to me. I can decide to look for the light or the dark.

Dinner was so fun.
Mr. Untipsy told me all about the play (well, the first half).
And we laughed.
Our smiles are real here. 
They show us being happy with just being thankful for good food and the delightful company of each other.

With Much Love,

On Day 389

Monday, September 21, 2015

A Guest Post by Mr. Untipsy

Dear Readers,
I asked my Loved One to write a guest post this week.
(I got this idea from Lucy at A Hangover Free Life.)
I didn't tell him what to write, and this is written from his heart.

Living the Dry Life 

"I am Mr. Untipsy. Untipsy Teacher has asked me to write a guest post this week.  I’m a little concerned that I will not be able to offer any insights and not being a writer, I’m a bit intimidated but I’ll give it a go.

I have been married to Untipsy for 39 years. We’ve had some wonderful, fun years together.
But also during this time, I watched my wife chase after relief from the stresses of her teaching career and various health concerns in her life.  She often chose alcohol to relieve that stress and anxiety. At first, we would toast the end of the week with a bottle of champagne on a Friday night.  Then out to dinner on Saturday with more drinks and a bottle of wine.  These “stress relief” nights began to expand to include one or two nights during the week. There always seemed to be a group of friends heading to a bar for Happy Hour.  Soon these gatherings grew to three or four times each week.  Untipsy Teacher would often have too many drinks resulting in tearful calls for a ride home or worse, no call at all nor contact for hours until I heard the car pull into our driveway.

I really had no idea of how to deal with the situation.  I felt powerless to help. I tried to reason with her, I yelled at her, I told her to find help, but what I mostly did was worry.  I worried about her health. I worried about her safety and the safety of others on the road.  I worried about our future together.  I worried about possible arrests and jail time for her or lawsuits against us from others.  The hardest part was not knowing what to say or do to help. Not knowing on the drive home from work if I would find her drunk at home or still out at some bar. The point is, a person’s drinking problem goes far beyond him or her. The drinking has a ripple effect touching everyone surrounding that person.  What I found was that nothing I said or did would work until she was ready to seek help and commit to the work required to quit.

A year ago she made that commitment to quit drinking and has worked incredibly hard to maintain her sobriety ever since.  I offered whatever help I could, as little as it was. I encouraged her to seek help wherever it was offered. I quit drinking right along with her, though I must admit it wasn’t hard for me.  I often preferred a coke to a beer anyway.  I tried to remind her that life goes on without drinking.  In fact, it goes on in a much better way.  We can still go out for dinner or dancing, although I hate dancing.  Now we challenge bartenders to come up with decent non-alcoholic drinks. I found that our dinner bills are much less expensive than they used to be since we’ve cut out $100 bottles of wine and $15 martinis.  Not drinking has improved our married life and cut down the number of senseless arguments we used to have. We still find bumps in the road but at least we aren’t making them craters.

Untipsy Teacher recently celebrated a year of sobriety. I am also celebrating her accomplishment this past year right alongside of her. Each day I marvel at how hard she is working at not drinking.  Each day I feel such pride and gratitude at her accomplishments and each day I’m so grateful that I have my wife back.  I want to thank all of you who have reached out with words of encouragement and offers of help. I wish the same for all of you."

With Love On Day 382

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Happy Year + 1 day to Me!!

Dear Readers,
Today I have been alcohol free for 366 days!
As I write this, I am sitting up on a deck by a beautiful lake in northern Minnesota, with my good friends, and of course my cute hubs.

The weather is absolutely perfect.
And I am good.

So what I have learned about not drinking?

1. Alcohol is not romantic. I had to really work on this. If anything, it made me too tired to have a nice night with my Loved One. Romantic is sharing conversation, holding hands, candles, smiles, and love. 

2. It took awhile. I had horrible urges when I first tried to quit, and I was not able to cope with them. I was very close to going on antabuse if the urges hadn't gotten better. But then, they did! 

3. No one cares if I drink or not. It's just my own perceptions that need changing.

4. I can choose to make myself miserable or happy about not drinking.

5. It is a change, and I need time to adapt to living a different way, learning to live life one day at a time. 

6. I couldn't do this alone. I needed and still need people to help me. Only people with an alcohol addiction really know what it's like. I love my on-line community, my AA community, my doctors, my yoga teachers and buddies, and family and friends.

7. I am learning to deal with depression and anxiety, again. I had them before my drinking got heavy. Then I started to try to drink all those feelings away. It surprised me that they didn't go away, and if anything are coming to forefront again. However, I no longer have the terrible  alcohol induced depression and anxiety. I am so thankful for that!

8. I love my yoga practice!

9. Giving up drinking does not solve all my problems. There are no easy fixes, except for these:
I no longer have the problems of drunk driving, falling down, sloppy speech, blacking out, hangovers, waking up in cold sweats, spending money, and hanging out in bars for hours. 
I am very happy not to make any more problems for myself, as I have enough normal ones!

10. Being scared is normal. I was very scared. I was scared of losing friends, coping without drinking, and going to meetings. But that went away with time.

In the future it is my hope and dream that I can keep letting go of the anxiety around not drinking. I have made great strides, but this is an area I still need to work on. The same goes for the "poor me, I can't drink" thoughts that can pop up at dinner parties, which are connected to some social anxiety.

I am working to grow spiritually as well as emotionally, because I know some of my problems are from lack of growth in these areas.

If you are still struggling, I want to encourage you to never give up. I know it takes work. It is one of the hardest things I have ever done. Keep searching for the best ways to help yourself. If one way isn't working try something else. I knew I need everything, so I did everything. 

The best gift from being sober is peace of mind.
To all of you dear readers, I not only thank you for your help and support, I wish you a wonderful, glorious day!

With Love on Day 366,