Thinking about “Moderation”?

So, a few more days back on track. The sleep is coming easy as pie and I am feeling super. Plus, weight still stabilized and no hunger pains or feeling run down. I credit the bread intake and extra slumber.

Been putting some more thought into alcohol consumption as well. Pretty sure a lot of us out there do this off & on once we reach a certain point- maybe 6 months to a year. We occasionally question whether seeking that Holy Grail of the alcoholic ( moderation) will work for us. Lately, I’ve seen a few posts considering such a venture and my mind starts spinning tales as well. Never the less, after the one year was up and I had a few glasses of wine on my birthday, I STILL understand that no matter how often that demon comes around and begins to whisper in my ear, there was a reason( well , many) I quit in the first place. Beginning with the acknowledgement that once I started , I couldn’t stop.

Sure, I could go all week and never once think about it, knowing my night off would soon be here . Knowing that the night before I would head out and get my supplies , wake up the next day and after my bath and a few errands, I could settle in for my weekly binge night. Didn’t seem like anything terrible and most of those who knew me never really considered that a problem. But only a few close to me had really “witnessed” the problems that were becoming increasingly difficult to ignore.

Many times in the year leading up to actually quitting I would take a few weeks to “dry out” , and in my mind that proved that I wasn’t an alcoholic. I also didn’t touch liquor, and had given up the wine, sticking with beer. I didn’t drive or usually even go out of my house. I could do it alone or with friends, either way finding myself so amusing I never felt alone. I had facebook, after all, and I could chat with people, post hilarious pics & videos, paint up a storm and just pass out by morning. Still doesn’t sound so bad, right? Except that wasn’t the whole story.

 After I downed about 5 or 6, something would click in my mind. I wasn’t always aware of it though. I would become “someone else”. A lot of those times would lead to a black out. In those blackouts, I would say horrible things and often times injure myself. I would wake up ( barely) by the late evening the next day, discover my bruised body parts and spend all that night trying to recover for work the following night- dealing with the hangovers, anxiety, dread, depression and regret. Every week- wash , rinse, dry, repeat. Sound like fun? It wasn’t. I lost respect, friends, time, and my health. I missed out on time with my family, had no real purpose in life, and backed out of plans all the time. And that was just the regular stuff.

I won’t go into any of the truly horrific things that happened. But , as we all know, it comes with the package. I both remember and don’t remember things- neither of which is pleasant. The times when I attempted to quit or “moderate” were always short lived, with a return to the habit soon after, even worse than before.

Whenever I consider trying out that lifestyle again, all I have to do is spend several minutes walking myself through the process, and ultimately KNOW what my decision still has to be. It doesn’t mean I will never slip or relapse. It doesn’t mean I am not tempted. It doesn’t mean bad things will not happen to me any more ( that’s just part of life). But it does mean I have a solid foundation to pull from, and I would never have that if I hadn’t stayed the course. One year, 40 days sober 🙂

Namaste –and thank you to all my support buddies- We are now “Living the Dream”.

My Two( newly discovered) Secret Weight Loss Tips

Ok, after a few days of purging about my past and starting to get a grip on that facet of things, back to where I was with my Belly Fat Project.

After being pretty sick for about 2 weeks, I did lose a few pounds then gained a few back. I have remained stabilized around 123/124 lbs. Today ( Tuesday) I have gotten back to tracking my intake with the following adjustments with which I have been experimenting as I could between nauseas periods and sinus issues.

  1. I did up my calorie budget to 1440 per day which is intended to set me on course for losing a healthier ½ lb. per week. 
  2. I will still be tracking my Macro’s but have begun to let go of being so strict about the % ‘s. I was so overly focused on increasing protein and becoming obsessed with getting 50% protein  and stressing about it not causing such an unhealthy fat increase, I was losing focus of the long term goal-being healthier.
  3.  I have added bread back into my life. It has had the huge benefit of helping me feel much more satisfied with my daily intake AND ( drum roll) adding it has actually helped me feel fuller longer and I don’t wind up feeling deprived , resentful and ultimately stressed. Tip #1-Stress, my friend at this stage of the game is your #1 enemy – and it WILL hold the weight on you even if you eat almost nothing !! I would not have believed this if I hadn’t seen it myself…after 3 days of being nauseous and eating less than 300-600 calories a day..i had only lost a pound or 2 of water weight which came back immediately as soon as I started hydrating. Keep “destressing” as a main focus. It really makes a difference.
  4. I haven’t exercised at ALL for 2 weeks. I have had very little strength and for the first time in my life, I didn’t FIGHT my illness, but allowed myself as many days as I needed to just rest. It has been a God send. No guilt= no stress about not meeting every obligation. And as I said- stress is the enemy. In a few days I intend to walk again outdoors, but I certainly am not going back to stressing about how much, how far and how many hills I climb. Also want to find some other “fun” types of exercise to indulge in..
  5. I’ve learned something about my hormones and continue the research. While the form I was prescribed was indeed unhealthy for a post menopausal woman- it brought on a raging menstrual period- proving that I am NOT post menopausal ( just perimenopausal) . So , once this period cycle is complete, I will try another round and see what happens. If it can keep my cycles coming like this, I am all for it. I will never again wish for no cycle now that I know what will happen to me. 
  6.  In April, when I once again have insurance I will get blood work specific to hormones & thyroid issues and go from there as far as treatment. I intend to have the transdermal patch prescribed again because research proves this is a healthier route. And if I need thyroid meds, I will know. Healthy hormonal balance using good information is so much better than experimenting and hoping.

So-Tip #2. SLEEPING.

In the past week now I have given in to allowing myself to sleep anywhere from 10-12 hours a day. This, my friends, has been unheard of at any time in my life, except when I was so sick I couldn’t move. And even then, I fought to get back on track after only one day . I was so frightened that I wouldn’t be able to ever get back on track if I allowed myself any more extra sleep than absolutely necessary.

But, with this last period of illness, and in light of my deeper discoveries about other parts of my life, I have been allowing myself to do this every single day, as long as I do not have an appointment I really need to get to. Amazingly, even without watching every calorie, without exercising like a maniac, even with adding in as much bread as I desire- I have not gained a single pound back of the initial 10 lb loss. It could be that since I am sleeping, I have less time to eat ( makes sense) OR that the extra sleep reduces my stress levels immensely and I actually feel 90% throughout my night shifts than I have in decades.

Whatever the case, I’m rolling with it. No more trying to prove that I am superwoman , trying to survive on 4-5 hours a day and feeling like a dehydrated Gollum most of the time. If my body is letting me sleep and I have nothing else of absolute importance going on, I will choose to ride that wave until it becomes a shallow puddle on the shore. Because, I am worth it.

For my next trick, I will have to figure out how to lose those last 5 lbs. For now, I am content. My jeans aren’t tight and I feel healthy. Hopefully some of 1-6 will help, as well as finding exercise that I enjoy , but do not obsess over. So that’s a wrap.. Enjoy your week!


The Last Bit ( part 3)

So now for the final timeframe. After posting yesterday and having only one single comment I am hesitant to go on. Perhaps this is too “heavy” for most people and is probably why I haven’t ever shared before. Trust me when I say it was way “heavier” to live it, and stay silent for decades. It is terrifying to lay your life bare. But at the risk of more rejection, I persist. Because someone , somewhere out there needs to read it and possibly feel something resonate in their own life.. So, here goes and damn the torpedoes. 

I have, on that note, left a lot out. Perhaps some things are better left unsaid and maybe some day the rest will come out, but for now, i have watered the rest down for public consumption and will focus on only the details that lead to, in brief my conclusions about my choices regarding alcohol.

I have expressed that I eventually married a man , sometime around 2002, who was actually a fairly decent person. He came into my life after I had broken it off with someone the year before and was still in a deep grieving period over it. 

The man who became my husband had also been divorced a year prior. We were set up on a blind date by a mutual friend. He & I were engaged within a year and married the year after. He was a hard worker and made decent money. He worked and helped put me through nursing school and I finally began to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Once I graduated , we worked our butts off together, buying a better home, and me getting another degree. We were on track to the “American Dream” at least financially. For the first time , my life seemed somewhat stable and predictable. There were still many problems with my children and their fathers however and the ride wasn’t exactly easy street. My son had A.D.D. and the battles I had to field between him and my husband were often fierce. But eventually my son graduated , and a year later moved out. I thought it was finally “our” time to be together as a couple. But it was not to be.

 My husband was an absolute workaholic. And I admired that so much I just followed along. We worked so much in fact that the only time we ever saw each other was once every 3 weeks for church service and the 2 weeks in the summer for vacation. Once we were alone, it quickly became clear we had nothing in common except working to attain material things.

I tried in vain to get him to stop working so much, expressing that we had way more money and material things than we would ever need and just wanting us to connect in a more meaningful way. But it was not in his wiring.  After  a year or so, my growing loneliness and lack of any real connection with him began to eat away at me. There was no physical chemistry and due to work schedule conflicts, had even begun to sleep in separate rooms for the past few years. My kids were gone and the whole in my heart was huge. I began to paint on my nights off alone and with it, drinking wine.

It was , of course, innocent at first. A small bottle would last 2 nights. It relaxed me and helped my creative side flow. At the same time I also discovered and began to spend more time on social media. Some of the loneliness ebbed. But I still felt the longing for my husband’s presence and affection . Despite all of my efforts- I was rebuffed over & over. It wasn’t his fault, we simply grew apart.

I left him in November 2011 and I went through a few more years of bad relationship choices. Eventually, the alcohol became more of a habit than an escape and I soon found that I relied on it more and more with less and less benefits. Looking back, I just kept cycling through these patterns of needing so badly to be loved and approved of. I needed my partner to need me. And when I wasn’t getting that attention, feeling like a failure, I turned to the one thing that drowned out that need. Alcohol. 

It is crazy. So many times I sit and think of all the years I lost just trying to feel loved. It never occurred to me that I should learn to love myself. Or that I didn’t need a partner to “complete” me. In my mind, I was still that little girl whose father rejected her. And I needed to prove that I was loveable, no matter what it took. 

It was a never ending cycle of self-punishment for something I hadn’t even done. 

And this is the last of the “Rum Diaries”. My apologies if this has been depressing or too much. If you have stayed with me I am utterly grateful for your time. But, I’ve finally gotten it all out. I feel like I have purged it all and can move forward with more clarity. I can work towards making better choices FOR BETTER REASONS. And I feel like I am finally on the road to a “real” recovery.

I have pretty much been able to answer some of those brainstorming questions and have a few more to go, mainly  determining how to go about learning to value myself without  pleasing someone else. As simple as that sounds, I never would have known had I not faced my past. Self-love is such a cliché these days but I believe that is because many don’t take the time to first untangle how we started not doing it in the first place. 

We try to replace the insecurities with a substance. We try to block out and avoid deep rooted feelings . Then if we are lucky, there comes a day when we can no longer look away from the mirror. We are forced to start to take an honest look at ourselves, admit our shortcomings, and put down that bottle .  Coming to terms with our past, and really beginning to process it can be horrifying. No matter what the circumstances- because ,ultimately,  it was not and is not “someone else’s fault” that we chose hiding and blaming instead of having courage to be our own person and taking responsibility for our actions.

For me, this knowledge has extended into so many other areas. Like a flash of lightening, I have realized that I no longer need approval from a partner, from my family, from my community, and from the world at large. I have spent some time visualizing myself saying to each of them that I ,alone am enough, just as I am. And it has been a tremendous burden sliding off of my shoulders after so long.


The Saga Continues ( part 2)

I tried to make this second part a little more brief. But, I could not. It is about the second timeframe when I allowed alcohol into my life. This was about age 21, and as we know that’s when it becomes legal to drink here in the U.S.

It’s not that I DIDN’T drink at all after leaving home at 15, or that I was waiting to be of legal age. Several things occurred between the two events. # 1- I wound up getting pregnant at age 18 and forced into marrying an abusive man to “legitimize” my child. We were horribly poor- in addition to the abuse, my husband could not hold a job and continued to run around with his partying drug friends during our entire marriage. I alone had to hold down whatever job I could find, arrange child care & transportation ( even though I had no car or driver’s license yet) and keep a roof over our head. After about 2 ½ years and many other issues( including having the left half of my face broken and being in head cast for 3 months) I finally got the courage to leave. Over the next few years, I fought this man and his entire family in court battles and eventually lost custody because I could not afford the legal fees. 

It was after that, around age 20/21 that I started to hang out at the bars and, even though I had a boyfriend at home, i gave myself away to whoever would have me, feeling defeated and useless. I was struggling with the bills, paying child support and had zero family support. I had no job skills and no money for school. I even did some things i am not proud of for a while to help make ends meet. The alcohol ,again, helped me to forget my misery, insecurities, and problems. 

At about age 24, I met my second child’s father at a bar. He enticed me into trying cocaine and, while I never really got into the  drugs myself, I became enamored with his James Dean personality. The old boyfriend and I had split not long before due to his frequent DUI’s and over indulgence of pot. I didn’t want that around my daughter when she came to visit. Despite not being an angel myself, I have NEVER ( even to this day) allowed my children around these atrocities. They have very little knowledge of the things that went on behind the scenes.

Anyway- I again got pregnant. I was put on bed rest at 5 months due to complications and had to file bankruptcy ( not being able to pay any medical bills, car payments, etc. with the small unemployment wages I received).This stopped the drinking  and I stayed away from it again for about 15 years. But I can tell you that almost the exact same thing happened with my sons father. While he was not abusive, he could never hold a job . He often stole from me- my car, money, etc.- and would disappear for days on end .I learned many times that he went on cocaine binges. He would wind up in jail and myself or his mother would bail him out. I was almost always left alone with my son, struggling again to pay the bills and make ends meet. I desperately wanted things to work out. It is only the fact that my son was actually with me that kept me from drinking again. Alas, things kept getting worse and it took me 2 more years to finally leave  .

I floundered over the next decade. Trying to find a partner who would at least tolerate my children and the situation. It was a difficult one, as it always is with broken families. The visitations, custody battles, child support issues, etc. Money was tight, tension was high. When my son was about 9, I met and married a “good” man. He did not drink, smoke, cheat, beat or run around. He was a good provider. We stayed together for 10 years.  I had fixed everything I could and was living a stable life for a change. I had owned several homes, gotten a few degrees and was working full time in the nursing profession. But again, at age 42, things changed. And began my third , and WORST, battle with alcohol. That story will be next.

But what I wanted to impart here is that it continued the theme or patterns I had become accustomed to. Trying to please a partner even if it meant allowing harm to myself. I still so very much needed to believe I was worthwhile as a woman and made every effort to show that I could make things work. I simply could not comprehend that the problem was not fixable if I didn’t try hard enough. I felt that it was on ME , that I was responsible as a woman to make things better. It never occurred to me that the wife, the mother, the woman is not solely responsible for it all. I had no experience to the contrary.

It is bizarre, but I still retain letters and emails from my own mother that make me cringe to this day, and eventually forced me to distance myself from her. Most are written to the effect that I needed to “try harder”, that I “didn’t want to wind up alone” and that “ if a man stays with you and the children , it’s better than not having one at all”. It didn’t matter what kind of man he was. And when I failed I was told I needed to find a “wealthy” man and marry him regardless of any flaws because “at least you will be provided for”. My husband of 10 years was the result of finally listening to my mother on that score. But that story, as I said, will be next. Side note: My mother lived her life this way and stayed with that man who threw us out. She has had it rough with his volatile personality but never left. Now he has dementia and she is still caring for him and lives in fear most of the time. 

I cannot even blame her though. It is what she knows. It is also what she grew up with. And as they say, it becomes a generational pattern. We, as women, learn to tamper our own needs and feelings to accommodate our partners and children. And while things have changed immensely in the world, many of us still were brought up this way. I did rebel, and I did leave, and I believe in this way, my daughter has at least learned a semblance of strength. The complacency has become much more diluted through the generations. But I often question whether she learned lessons more about what she didn’t want to become, than anything I taught her to become.

What am I learning so far? That I need to learn my own worth. Not just as a woman, but as a person. I believe to the core of my soul that if I had not taken this past year to be completely without a partner and to give up alcohol , I would not have been able to see any of this. I would have simply continued to make bad choices and not understand why I was doing so. There are wonderful men in the world. I have met quite a few. I just never knew why I didn’t choose them and I believe it is some sort of self-sabotaging pattern. I am drawn to the ones  with a broken wing- the loners, the addicts, and those I assume “need” someone to fix them. And it all stems from this bizarre need to be needed, to be approved of, and to be the “good” woman, to prove myself. Now, and only now, am I realizing where it came from and can address the changes I need to make in myself before I can look for a partner who will share my life  and values equally.

There is one more part to this story. I know it long. But true life stories usually are. Trust me when I say much of this is condensed, but I have never told 90% of it to anyone,  even my own children, much less publicly. And our stories need to be told. I was afraid to for a very long time. But I am finally coming to terms with it all and hope that by sharing, others will do so as well.


“It All Comes Back to the Boys”( the Story)

(warning: this is a bit of an over share and it is VERY long )

First i wanted to include a bit about the time prior to answering my first question on my list, because it does indeed have everything to do with the first time i tried alcohol and why.

About drinking, the reasons why i started and why i quit. I haven’t sorted them all out yet. But it’s starting to boil down to the need i have felt all of my life to get the approval of men. Starting with the dismissal of me as a girl by my own father, and how i chose to react to that- consciously and subconsciously. Now, i KNOW that we cannot go around as adults blaming our parents for all their failings as parents and making all of our bad choices about that. We are adults for Petes sake. We have to take personal responsibility. But finding a few grains of wisdom about our childhood never hurts on the path to getting our shit together.

My father was not happy that his first born was a girl. My mother has told me the story a few times. It goes like this. “He wasn’t unhappy, but you should have seen how crazy happy he was when your brother was born. It was like i just pushed the golden goose egg out of my vagina. He was ecstatic and kept telling everyone he just had a son. He didn’t do anything at all like that when you were born. ” Later on, my fathers true colors began to be even more apparent to me, including the time he said about his then girlfriend “she needed to be slapped. Sometimes women need a man to show them who is boss” and once when something totally innocent happened ( out of my control) he said “you are just like your mom and every other woman- sluts, all of you”. I rest my case. Those things never ever leave you. Especially when it’s your own father saying them directly to you.

My father was violent with my mom. Not sure he ever hit her, but i remember many times when he went around destroying walls and such in rages of anger. I have seen photos of damage . He also kidnapped my brother and i several times. He kept me for 7 months. He kept my brother for 2 years.He kept both of us in hiding for a long time. I remember my mom and grandfather finally finding us and coming and my father shooting at the car and my grandfather hitting him in the foot. I remember them both barely escaping- without us. We were returned later, but along with a few other bad memories we are forced to live with.
The first stepfather drug us around by our hair and forced us to call him “sir”. The next stepfather used drugs, and at one point started watching me while i bathed. Eventually i learned i could indeed get “things” from him if i allow this unacceptable behavior, obviously because he was afraid i would tell some one.. The third and final man she chose was the real bastard though. When i was leaving my abusive husband with a 2 year old daughter i tried to move hime temporarily to get my life in order. Within 2 weeks he literally, in a fit of rage, threw all of my belongings as well as my daughters on their front lawn and locked us out. My mother did not stop him. Side note: it was at that point her sisters stopped talking to her. He did YEARS later, sincerely apologize, but one just doesn’t forget these things. So, this is my life in short. It has a shit load to do with how i have viewed men , how i have reacted, the patterns i repeated, and the “why” of so many bad choices. I have sought to rectify these wrongs in any way i could – through outright rebellion, treating some men badly, staying in abusive situations myself, and eventually drowning myself in alcohol. It’s stuff i have always known on some level. But never really dealt with. I guess it’s time. It’s time to understand how the fear of disapproval and the unintended results of getting approval led to using alcohol to cover up, block out and avoid the real issues.

So–Here it is, a story about my first experience with alcohol.

A lot of us might have a similar story. But I had to write mine out like this because I never gave it a second thought. I was never really around a lot of alcohol with my family because on my mom’s side, there wasn’t much of it ( dad’s side it runs rampant, but parents were divorced early on- so there were genetics there, but no environment). Prior to writing this, I just figured I was predisposed due to Irish/ Native American heritage and family genes, and that was a possible cause. But it never made much sense to me because I didn’t even know any of that until I was MUCH older. So, “light bulb”. Here goes.

Me, Age 13/14 and I’ll spare you the details of my dirt poor family upbringing, broken homes( many times over) which led to my eventual departure and emancipation at age 15. In my deep thinking as of late, I recall that I did NOT start drinking until the summer after graduating from 8thgrade. What happened? A girl moved into town from Mississippi. Over summer vacation we became fast friends . She was beautiful and what they call “fast”. I was in awe of her. And she drank like a fish already at age 13. I noted that she always had a boyfriend and seemed to be invited to every party. I wanted in. That’s when it started. I had always been the wall flower, never popular, extremely shy and quiet. The dream of being popular, to be included and part of something was HUGE. We became fast friends and led a fast life all summer long.

I became popular pretty quickly. I was soon known as Janice’s( not her real name) “side kick” . Where ever she went, I went. We dressed up for our nights out together, she helped me with my “style” and created a little monster in her image. I began wearing tight, tight pants, high heels, belly tops, jangly earrings and leather  or denim jackets, heavy make-up and tons of hairspray. Ok, it WAS the early 80’s, but we were wayyyyyy too young to be sporting that kind of get up. I began to drink beer every Friday night getting completely buzzed off of about 3 and totally losing all of my ugly duckling inhibitions. And,  I became “a slut”. 

Now, mind you…I still did not have actual “sex” until much later. But I did the kind of things with boys that the good girls would never do. Deep kissing, allowing myself to be “felt up” -basically up to second base.  I followed her lead ( even though she professed not to be a virgin) but was still too scared to go “all the way” . It didn’t matter. Boys flocked to me. I became enamored with “the power”. The alcohol made it easy. And at that age, everyone chalked it all up to rebellious youth stuff, and pretty much blew it off. I never got into any really trouble and to be honest, it was a lot of fun- for a while. 

Then things began to change. Boys expected more. Janice got pregnant and had an abortion. Then she moved back to her home state. I was left alone and defenseless. At age 15 I lost my virginity . Won’t go into that here. Shortly after another really good friend got pregnant and VD and I helped her get an abortion. Not proud of that, but it is what it is. Eventually it dawned on me that I was circling the drain- both at home, at school and in life. No one at home seemed to care that i was out all hours of the night or coming home drunk.I left. I didn’t drink much again for years. Not because I even thought about it, just because I had to work my ass off at 4 jobs and complete high school on my own. I didn’t have any down time. It was “shock & awe” time . I grew up FAST.

Thinking about all of this really hit a nerve for me. It begs the other questions on that list. Especially- “what kind of outcome did I expect from it at the time?” and “what was the actual outcome?”

And the epiphany of it all has been this: I CRAVED belonging. I craved attention, popularity and above all—-the approval from the opposite sex. Approval that i had been seeking from my father & stepfathers all my life but never got in any real or acceptable way. Alcohol, in the end- made it easy to block out the negative consequences of that type of approval. This theme has continued throughout my entire life.

 Isn’t that something? All that time, I thought I had the power, when in reality– i let the men in my life have the power over me , because i wanted their approval.

You know that feeling when the top of your head just opens up and a large KABOOM happens and you sit there stunned waiting for the dust to settle because you cannot even believe you never realized something before?

It’s a starting point, folks- and a big point at that. Realizing the absolute depth of my need for acceptance from the beginning and how far I was willing to go to get it. It’s a theme that I now realize had dogged me all my life. It has led me to allow so much to just “happen” to me without questioning it, or facing that truth. I mean, it’s one thing to “know” that broken families often create issues that extend into adulthood. It’s another one entirely to realize just how specifically those issues can wind up affecting our choices for subconsciously.

So, if you have made it this far, you can see where I am going with it all. I have a lot to sort out. But it’s starting to make sense. And with these realizations comes the real power- the power to change things and decide what will guide my future choices.


a river with overgrown banks, a lonely boat on a wide river, a winding river

The last one was deep. This one is wide.

So, I have cast my net. Sat down and brainstormed and asked myself a bunch of questions. Here is a brief list:

1. What were the main timeframes of alcohol consumption in my life

2.Why did I choose that first drink as a teenager? As a young adult? And again, after decades , in my 40’s?

3.Who was around each time/what type of person/what significance did they have to me?

4. What was the expected and actual result of each timeframe?

5. How different was my alcohol consumption each time( amount, drink of choice, when & where I drank?)

6.What do each of these time frames have in common, how are they different?

7.How do those choices resemble other choices/patterns I have been prone to most of my life? What do they all have to do with each other?

Not easy questions. In order to answer them I felt as though I had to make a grid of some sort. Starting with that first one, I have broken them down into:

  1. First drink time frame started around age 13/14
  2.  second was around age 21
  3.  third was approximately age 42/43

So that is the starting point for my exploration. Reconstructing each one, re living the moments and recording those memories in as much detail as I can muster. 

I assume here that anyone who follows my blog that is part of those in recovery will understand some of this. It is similar to ‘the steps’ and for those not using an AA style, perhaps you like therapy or counseling that may touch on your history in this way. If you aren’t doing either of those things may I suggest trying to at the very least do some free-lance exploring into it on your own. Anyone who has been successful( especially those 10 year plus people!) will tell you- it is absolutely necessary! At one year plus now, and it is still a slithering demon just waiting to strike!

What I have figured out so far is so absolutely mind blowing to me that I needed to share it . I tried really hard to shorten and edit and make it easily readable but a part of me feels that I something was lost in the translation by trying to contain it in this same post. So I have decided to do a separate one and post that tomorrow. Please stay tuned as I will do my best to both inspire and entertain you shortlyJ

Down with the Sickness

I am trying to alternate my posts on here between the life path progress and this Belly Fat one (  just in case anyone was wondering) This is the latter.

So, after my birthday last week this ‘plague’ finally erupted in my body and every time I have a day when I think it’s almost gone, it comes back for another round. The respiratory stuff seems to be gone but now with the G.I. stuff. Today was the worst day of nausea  so far. I have not felt this nauseous since my interferon treatments in 2011. But, being single with a new home, lots of new bills etc. I cannot take off work. I have even had to pick up extra shifts.Plus, haven’t had insurance since September and won’t again for another few months due to starting at this new agency. 

I generally get home around 8am and get into bed by 9am. I almost always lay there past 930/10 ish but the last few days have not slept well. Today, I was finally falling asleep around 11 and the internet suddenly went out- no white noise. UGH. Come to find out, the lines are shredded outside- possibly just old but we have also noted skunks going under the house so could be they have been chewing. Anyway, no internet at home for a while until Comcast can come out to replace the lines.

So, what progress have I made? Well, this virus will probably knock off a few pounds unintentionally since I can hardly stand to eat. But prior to this, I had started adding more calories in and including bread. I have decided it is the one thing that I have tried in vain to give up and just cannot. I crave it and just have to work it in. I have been maintaining at 123/124 lbs. and right now I just can’t do anything until I feel better. The other side of this is that I had started HRT and it was also making me very sick- so I have stopped that as well as the new probiotic both of which I feel have been adding to the nausea. 

Side note on the HRT– I had been researching and the form I was prescribed( because it is all I can afford out of pocket) actually will increase my risk for breast cancer and stroke, so, until I have insurance and can try the transdermal route- not taking them. Also, I really need blood work. Most of my symptoms are really trending towards thyroid issues( I have lost almost all of my eyelashes!) and it would only be smart to be sure first. But again, no insurance for now. 

So, pretty much just taking one day at a time, trying to rest as much as I can. No exercise, not focusing on food just trying to get some in, and waiting this out.



600-01276008 © Sarah Murray Model Release: Yes Property Release: No Model Release Woman Sitting on Rock, Overlooking Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA

Folks- this post is going to be a little deeper than most. I hesitated to share some of it because it has a little to do with one of my ‘past lives’ in this crazy world. I did go back and edit quite a few times for public consumption and to protect some fragile sensibilities of people who were directly or indirectly involved, so what is left here is fairly tame. But still- buckle your seat belts, or walk away, save it for another time or whatever your little heart desires.

In the past few days I strange evolution has been occurring for me and I have been trying to figure out how to express some of the epiphanies that the Universe has recently lavished on me. 

Back in the 80’s, I was just a young thing. A bewildered mother of 19, flailing in the wind just trying to survive an abusive marriage , poverty, and struggling daily with an infant I had NO idea how to raise. To make an extremely horrifying story short, one day I walked into employment under a man I will forever call my first Life Guru. This man left me with so many gems that I have found my way back to over & over again throughout life. Despite his eventual suicide, and the feelings many people had toward him, I personally gained a wealth of knowledge. Many of those lessons included the teachings of Gnosticism and the Khundalini. I rarely hear anything about these terms today but there is still some vague info out there.( happy googling:))

At any rate, one of the most effective things he taught me was how to look in the mirror. And I don’t mean it in the way some would understand that. It wasn’t about seeing “my own beautiful soul” or “learning to love myself” or any of that. ( worthy stuff but not the point). Let me explain.

He told me to practice seeing every single person in my life as a reflection of myself.When someone was saying something, ANYTHING to me, I should try to see it as me, saying it to myself. In other words, there is a “REASON” for what is being said. Good or bad. That was what I eventually understood, anyway. Over time, i learned to decipher him the way David Carradine did with Master Po & Master Kan in the series Kung Fu.( that’s correct, i am THAT old! haha!)

 What he actually said , in his Mad Hatter style of explaining, was something like “Think of it this way. Imagine you are being reincarnated. You will be coming back to give life another try on the Karmic wheel. You want to get to the next level. So, before you come back, you are allowed to give instructions to all the people who will be a part of your new life to help guide you. In other words YOU are telling them what to say to you to help you grow and learn in this next world. Not only that, you are given the opportunity to choose the experiences you will have that will most further you towards attaining a higher level.”

I mean, WOW. At the time I wasn’t sure if I should walk away and count my blessings that I realized what a nut job he was before anything worse happened or if I should stay and try to  understand it . I didn’t have a lot of support or friends in my life at the time so I stayed. A lot of people did not, and to this day have never been able to see past the crazy metaphors and language he used. But I am so glad I did.

To me, whenever life gets really uncomfortable, seems out of control, and I find myself asking “What is wrong with me? Why is this happening to me?” and especially when I am feeling like life just isn’t fair and that I don’t know what I did to deserve something -THIS  is what has kept me afloat.

I CHOSE THIS, and there was a damn good reason. I may not know why in this life, I may not understand or remember choosing it, but I did. And just knowing that makes me a bit more accepting.

And people, it doesn’t even matter if you believe in reincarnation or past lives or any particular path/spirituality, etc. The idea behind it still applies. 

YOU are in control. No matter how much you may believe otherwise at times. Every step , every breath you have taken has gotten you where you are and there is a REASON for it. Have faith in yourself. Believe. And stay strong. Better days are ahead.

All of THAT being said, one of the things I have had to take a deeper , more intense look at are the actual reasons I chose to drink heavily to begin with, and the REAL reasons I decided to quit. In fact, it all has caused me to go back and take another ‘look-see’ into the reasons i have made choices about a variety of things.And I have to state here that it has come to my attention that neither were what I had thought they were all this time. 

Mind Blown. And as I continue to explore this more , I will be writing a follow up post . It may be shocking to some. It may not surprise others. But either way, it has been testing me in ways I never expected.


The Rest of Last Week

tuesday: waking weight was slightly under the 125 lb mark- don’t want to get my hopes up yet.. but 124 will be my 10 lb. mark. Tonight I figured out that my app has been double adding a few items  which accounted for why i was so extremely hungry the last 2 days.( note: always double check to be sure – I went on only 636 calories one day!)Finally tried my protein powder in almond milk – not too bad.. and I am on day 3 of HRT. 3.79 mile outdoor walk, no yoga, 20 minutes of meditation effort ( but could not settle in) Think I am getting a cold( sore throat, coughing)

Wednesday: horrible sleep today d/t cold symptoms( less than 5 hrs). Getting ready for tomorrows event & my birthday. Realizing sadly that 1200 calories a day is not going to be sustainable for the long term, neither is forcing myself to walk every single day. I am at 124 lbs  today so the loss has slowed despite eating the same or less calories. No can do. At work tonight, I caved and ate 2 snickers mini PB bars which totaled 260 calories and totally outside my budget. Probably because I feel so deprived and really want to eat cake on my birthday. No exercise today d/t time constraints. Need to spend time figuring out a compromise.

Thursday: the event sucked and I wrote a post about it.

Friday: started getting even more sickly

Saturday: took off work, needed the rest, decided to make some adjustments to my recent choices so that I can cope better . I adjusted my current calorie budget to 1440 a day and will not give a hoot if I get 15-1600 per day. That is reasonable and still way less than what I was consuming. On the whole my intake has been much “healthier” ( not counting the past few days)

Just wanted to include here what my typical daily food intake was like. Since I work nights and my food App starts at midnight, my first meal is around 12 am( breakfast)at work  and my last meal is a few hours after I wake up at home in the evening- so usually between 630-8pm.

Breakfast 12a-1a: Chicken breast with peppers in a light sauce of some sort OR tuna from a can and a side veggie- like cooked spinach or carrots or lima beans ( with a little salt only)

Snacks: clementine oranges, blueberries, strawberries or ( rarely) a banana. I have had ¼ cup of nuts here & there but avoid them usually because of fat content.

Lunch-about 3a-4a: salad consisting of iceberg lettuce, onions and a whole cut up tomato ( I hate other fresh salad greens) and 2 tbsp cucumber ranch dressing. Sometimes I will add in a hard-boiled egg.

Snack: 2-4 oz turkey lunch meat and 3 slices swiss cheese

Snack before bed at around 8am:6 egg whites fried in coconut cooking spray with salt & pepper

Dinner at 7p-8 :30p: baked salmon and a hot veggie with a little salt.

This all had to fit into a 1200 calorie budget per day. I sleep 8-9 hours on average, and try to walk each day between 530-730 p in order to have a 12 hr fast each night between feed times.None of the food was exciting, fun or anything that i looked forward to.It was definitely not enough and I wound up crashing. Friday evening my scale read 120lbs. That is down from 134lbs on January 29th.Insane..

Sunday– after I had eaten a few decent meals I was back at around 123lbs. I am still in bed today however sick from being exposed to other sick people ( nurse here) and also pushing my body to the point of compromise. Back to work tonight .Taking some days off HRT because i am way too nauseous still.

That’s the update and I will be making a more solid plan this week that includes 1400-1600 calories per day , a few more foods i have been craving, and trying to figure out how to add a little fun back into my life again.I have not exercised , done yoga or even meditated since tuesday . I hope i feel better soon!


Going Off The Rails.

Ok – here it is- confession time. Thursday was my birthday. I was scheduled to be a featured speaker at our monthly open mic event for the first time ever in 3 years. The event featured 2 other established writers promoting their works. I was debuting my first book which I hope to have released within the next year or so. A lot of work, time and energy have gone into these events which serve our creative community. And the cost comes directly out of our own pockets at an average of $100 per month. (It was a lot more in the beginning to acquire things like chairs, tables, microphone, amp, etc. but we managed and now we just pay for food, wine and $25 for each featured guest.)

I am never nervous about speaking before a group. I have been doing this since I was a child and it comes very easily to me. BUT, I had been dealing with and suppressing a cold and some sinus issues most of the week, and praying it wouldn’t erupt until after the event.  When I woke Thursday, I still wasn’t feeling well but I knew the show must go on, so as usual I began getting myself together.

Almost immediately I find out a few family members were not coming. I won’t go into details but it made me feel really depressed. I understand things happen but in all these years, I have never asked any of them to come. This time I did and it was important to me . While one of them did wind up coming  it wasn’t because they wanted to, but out of guilt. So I didn’t feel much better about it because even though I have had events monthly since 2012 at one place or another, sometimes even more than that, my family has rarely ever attended. I can count the times on one hand.And i never complained .

This month, since I was speaking and debuting and it fell on my birthday , we even went the extra mile and got 3 dozen cupcakes, extra snacks , and two boxes of wine. All for nothing it seems as we had one of the lowest turn outs ever. Not even most of the community I have supported without asking anything in return for almost a decade came out to show their support. When I arrived the employee who works at the gallery we recently started using to host the event immediately  addressed me rudely and basically accused our guests last month of doing something that had never happened at any event we ever held. I tried to explain that but she made me feel like shit. 

I was extremely disappointed, depressed and deeply sad about the events of the evening and when we finally got home, I had had enough.

Folks- I caved. It has been over a year of hard work, constant sacrifice, rigid discipline and struggling . My life has lately become almost no “fun” at all. These past few months I have been dealing with so many huge issues and feeling almost no appreciation or concern from anyone except my roommate. I have not asked for any sympathy or help . I have been toughing it out and dealing with it all. Last night, I needed a reprieve, and I took one.

I had several glasses of wine (3-4 with lots of ice). I even took a few puffs off my roommates cigarettes. I ate a #$%^&* cupcake. And we relaxed and laughed and had fun for a change. 

And you know what? I do NOT feel bad about it. I did not get black out drunk . I did not go buy a pack of cigarettes or gum. It did not make me want more, or give up on my goals, or back down on my lifestyle changes. It was simply a night off. And today, I had that cheesesteak sub that  have been craving for months. So be it.

I tell everyone here because I am absolutely not a saint. Because i want to stay transparent and accountable. And I want people to understand that sometimes life does hit you really hard and you go off the rails just a little.You don’t “fall off the horse” but you get down off the saddle and sit by the fire for a little. I took that time. I am not perfect . I am human. And I do not regret it. I am NOT suggesting it  anyone do this just for the sake of doing it. I am simply saying it happens and you get back on track.

Here is some good news. I am at my goal weight right now. 120 lbs. on the scale today. That will likely not stay, as I am sure it was partly due to dehydration. But I’ll take it. The thing is , it means that I lost around 14 lbs. in just 2 weeks and I had no intention of it being that quick . It is not healthy and I was feeling very deprived during that time. I will be eating more sensibly for a while , I don’t care what that app says, I need more than 1200 calories a day. No one should lose weight that fast.

I hope this doesn’t deter anyone who has just begun to follow me. Or anyone who has been following and been inspired. Understand that we ALL fail at times to be exactly what we want. But we keep going.