Road Trip

This weekend was rough. I went to meet my BF’s friends and family in his hometown for the first time. It was a 12 hr day including the drive time, and about 8/9 hours of that was making one stop after another at various peoples homes throughout the day.

I didn’t get to meet his mom & sister as planned( they were not home when we got there) but we made about 4/5 other stops at friends places. Now, mind you everyone was nice and normally i probably would have had a glorious time if i was drinking the whole day ( until it would inevitable become a nightmare where i said the wrong things , etc). But I was determined to make a good impression .

The problem was #1- being nervous, #2 the long day and lots of sitting & #3 almost every place we stopped someone was drinking, offering drinks or getting high. Even the last stop when the couple treated us to a meal was at a bar /restaurant. I could hardly speak the whole time just trying to maintain my mental state. At one point, in a moment of weakness, i even suggested getting a 6 pack when we got home. Thank goodness i changed my mind, mostly because in addition to being tired & sore, we got home around 10p and i was exhausted.

It truly is so difficult to be social right now. I am trying desperately to get out, though, because of the severe depression. People ( other people) have a right to do as they wish with their lives and bodies, and some have no issues with alcohol or recreational drug use. They can ( or feel they can) control it and it’s not my business or place to interfere. But trying to stay in recovery and being around it for all those hours was pure hell. I cannot imagine going out and about to events and such right now. One thing i completely failed at yesterday was smoking. I had been doing “ok” weaning myself down again, went off the patch and had even started eliminating the gum use during work hours for the last week after relapsing with that. But with the inner turmoil i felt all day, i wound up smoking way more than i wanted to.Today i ran water over the pack i bought and threw the last half of my tobacco away . I still have little zip lock baggies of rolled cigs that i was using to ration myself down slowly- 5/4/3/2/1 style. All i can do is sigh and wonder how many “day 1” ‘s i will have with this.

BUT – i didn’t drink. I survived and was very grateful to wake up without a hangover or the guilt.

One day, one breath at a time.

63 days and counting. Namaste.

60 Days- again

So after mulling the situation over i have decided to continue with this blog.I will be taking longer breaks though at times in order that i might not get ahead of myself working through recovery(s). I have continued to read and comment on other blogs and still enjoy that as it feels like some kind of missing connection to the world these days.

Admission: I have failed in my efforts to quit smoking completely on March 17th after 16 days on the patch and gum, with only a few brief slips. I have not given up. Going to re-try as many times as i have to till it sticks. It is hard as hell…..

However, I have succeeded in my sobriety so far and have waited to post until i hit that 60 day mark today.I can honestly say that other circumstances have been taking such a toll that i have rarely even thought about drinking Health issues, depression and tobacco withdrawal have been a priority. However, i did have one particularly strong trigger last weekend and had other conditions been right, i may very well have caved.

I was at my BF’s place by the creek. It was the first time i had been there with him for a long while. He was happily enjoying the afternoon with his own “vice”( of which i never indulge in), while i was raw and sober and still trying not to smoke . I was a bit resentful . However- being outdoors in the beautiful weather, watching a bubbling creek, and having a small campfire while knowing my significant other was able to indulge hit me hard. i just wanted a few beers in the WORST WAY…. I could only maintain my restraint for about 3 hours and even though i adore the place, i knew i had to get outta there before i caved to my impulses.

One more thing before i close. I wanted to express that throughout the process of deciding whether or not to continue here i truly had to face myself and ask some uncomfortable questions. And it came down to this…

Q: Why was i feeling so depressed that i would consider leaving a community that had supported me so strongly for so long ?

A: The honest answer is this, folks. I was embarrassed that i had failed after 15 months of complete sobriety. I felt like a total loser, still do mostly…Many of you that i consider my core group are those who started their journey at the same time or AFTER my own and have been able to maintain your sobriety and are now even further along than i ultimately managed. When you start out as a success story and end up an example of relapsing , it hits you hard. When you start out giving advice and end up needing it plus some of your own, it hits you even harder. It humbles you to a degree you never imagined..Self examination is a bitch.

I am still dealing with deep depression issues.But i am working on it every day.Walking, yoga, meditation, deep breathing and even got to the gym once.I am forcing it right now and it brings me up a few levels when i spend at least 3-4 hours at it each day. I am praying some day the “feel goods” will stay put without so much effort

Thank you to everyone who responded and commented on my last post. It was the fuel i needed..You are all so wonderful..



Been thinking about wrapping up here on this blog for awhile.

When i started i was writing in 2019 to an audience of about 5-7 people i knew. I wrote to work through the current issues in my life. I was 6 months into sobriety and had just started a 6 month journey into staying off of social media. I feel like i had lots to say then, and wrote fairly well. After the 6 months i briefly went into a few weeks about weight loss. Ironically, now i have 294 followers and most of the ones recently are from those few weeks. I rarely even touch on anything related to diet anymore, as i have pretty much kept off the weight without doing anything special.

Mostly here i found support for my alcoholism, and things were going great with that for a long time. Then i relapsed and some of those people were still there , and supportive. But as time goes on i find that, not only have a good many stopped posting themselves, but some have just stopped commenting on my posts. It’s disconcerting. Especially because i had relied on that support in the past, and lately, more so. Even those who originally were reading have basically gone off and only very occasionally even read my stuff, much less take any time to like, or comment. It all seems rather pointless.

Part of me feels that those who have become successful in recovery are no longer wanting to interact with those who are not always perfect in their efforts.Another part of me feels that some go into slips and relapses themselves and are unwilling to post about it ( for whatever their reasons) so they just stop posting, at least until they have gotten back to some control. A few then admit it, but some may not be willing to talk about it. I really really relied on those posts because it’s such a human thing to fail. I understand how it feels and it was so helpful to know i was not alone.

Lately, it just feels a bit like Facebook as well. I check in each day or two and look for some interaction with the outside world to alleviate my loneliness. I look every now and again at my “stats” – views last year and this year and it is depressing. I feel i have tried to post on a variety of topics and be somewhat versatile, as well as extremely transparent, but perhaps it just is not very interesting. Recently i even went back and purged most of my “whiney, negative” posts, vowing to stay as positive and constructive as possible.Honestly though- i don’t know what to think. Perhaps it is just time to end things. This year has started off badly, and my posts/writing have not been what i would call up to par.

I am at least going to take a few days and mull this over. If i do, i intend to leave the blog up but do a complete over haul and keep only posts i feel were well received and of value to someone. Perhaps i will start another blog with a very different focus that isn’t so personal.Or , i may just do what some do and take a break. It’s touch and go at the moment with things, including my health. I don’t want to bore anyone or constantly complain. I am not the ‘unicorn in a bubble with all light and glitter streaming from my aura’. I will however, try to keep up with reading some of the blogs i have come to love, and comment on those.

Additionally, i am not feeling as strong as i did previously with my lifestyle choices, as i have very little support and fear that i will just fail again. At almost 60 days sober and only 16 days into quitting smoking, i am fragile and wont be of much help to anyone really.

I thank everyone who has read my blog, whether once, or many times. I thank those who viewed but did not comment or like the posts. At least i know someone saw them.

Hope everyone is well.


Debt Management /Tips for Saving Money

Phew….what a year! My last update /financial plan for 2021 was January 5th. Since then a whole lot of unexpected events – extra snow days off, the covid vaccine and covid testing days off and then the hospitalization.It hasn’t been easy regarding income, savings and paying off debt.

I did manage to keep $905 in savings ( i gave money to my son to help with a car payment in early February) and faithfully plodded along making $100-$200 payments on my credit card. I still managed to pay all my bills on time. But todays update was prompted by getting my IRS refund and stimulus check all in one week! Wow- i felt temporarily rich!

Now , i did treat myself to a few things but the total was less than $300. Most of the stuff had been sitting in my “cart” for 2 months waiting for an opportunity, and most of it was actual “needs”- work shoes, for instance.I have been selling my art fairly regularly so i needed to replenish packaging , border mats, etc…i even got 2 t-shirts i had been wanting for years:)And so ends the treats…

I waited a few days mulling it over. Should i put some in savings? Should i pay down a few smaller accounts?should i keep it liquid for a few weeks just in case something else drastic comes up?( it usually does). But thing biggest weight on my mind was the credit card.And since it is the only one that is charging interest, i had to go with it.

In January, the balance was $3,089. I made a few hundred in payments but as the vacation was added on( 2 large payments of 4) the balance as of this morning was still $3134. So i decided to just do it. I paid $3000.00 on it today.

Now, that being said i have the 2 other vacation payments coming and as i’ve stated before , a small few automatic payments come out each month for convenience.The card will never remain at a zero balance. But i was so relieved to pay it down today!

The one thing that is coming up for me is all the hospital and medical bills. And this is one of those things that we cannot predict or plan for. It was a complete surprise and an emergency situation. Had i not had ANY insurance ( even though they pay only 30-50%) it would be worse. I can arrange payments as i have done before , and they are interest free. Still, it’s aggravating.

So, if you are struggling with debt:

1. PAY DOWN THE STUFF THAT IS CHARGING INTEREST first if at all possible. Most of us are getting both the stimulus and a tax refund and this could make a huge gain in your progress.Sadly, i see most people either spending mostly on Walmart binges, eating out or big boy “toys”. I have seen some people say they put some in savings which is commendable but -not for anyone who has credit card debt, or an interest charging loan.

2. Did you know that if you pay more toward your principle, over time you will pay less interest, and that means less years of paying said mortgage? My nest goal is to send one extra principle payment each month starting in April. While you will have to keep paying the same regular payment every month for awhile, the years you will have to pay will be shortened.Alternatively, you can make 1/2 of the regular payment every 2 weeks instead of every month which adds up to 13 payments per year instead of 12. Just make sure you loan carrier allows this.If you should THIS option, be sure to ask how your payments will be credited. Specifically, you need to know whether the extra payment that results from making biweekly payments will automatically be applied to the principal. You also must make sure that your lender will immediately credit each half monthly payment upon receipt. If your lender waits until the second payment has been received before crediting your loan, you’ll never see the financial benefits of biweekly payments.Either way you can save many thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.

3. Even the most auto savvy challenged person can save money by doing many maintenance services themselves. For instance- replacing an air filter, a cabin filter, headlamp bulbs and even spark plugs ( on newer vehicles ) is usually super simple. Take advantage of youtube videos to see if this will benefit you, and then check online for the parts you need.Also , try smaller repair shops over dealers. Example: The cost at the dealer to replace my cabin filter was $86. I found the part online for $13 , watched a youtube video, and viola! in less than 15 minutes, saved myself $73.

4. If you don’t currently pack your own lunch for work- shame on you! This alone will save you more money per month than you think. Additionally, eating at home instead of out adds to savings. Most already know both of these things. But, did you know that writing out a simple to follow dinner menu ahead for the month, and making 1-2 meals a week a no frills deal ( let’s just say maybe oatmeal for breakfast, and a hearty homemade soup for a lunch to start) can save you even more. When i say simple, i mean it’s something even a die hard bachelor can do.Here is my “master” copy from a few years back. Just make copies and repeat every month.

Of course you could add or delete items- not everyone likes fish or frozen type meals.You could also plan 1-2 nights to eat out- IF you

Okay..that’s all i got for now..Hope it helps someone:)


The Boredom Stage

Today i hit that stage of recovery that is such a huge pitfall for many- the stage where you feel as though life, as you know it, is over and from now on you will simply exist. There will be no fun for you- ever, ever again. Just day after day of pacing and feeling like a proverbial bump on a log, getting old and fading into existence. So long to exciting parties, so long to being able to numb out the world for a bit and just relax, so long to meeting interesting people , etc etc etc.

Of course , many of us who have been down this road before with any success at all can tell you that this stage is your brain telling you an outright lie. But it also one of the leading causes of relapse. Why?

“The brain naturally releases neurotransmitters like dopamine as a way to reward a behavior and encourage you to repeat it. A person who eats a good meal, exercises or has sex will experience a release of dopamine and other neurotransmitters to reinforce the positive action.

Drugs, unlike the natural reinforcers in life, create a huge release of dopamine in the brain that promotes strong feelings of pleasure, happiness and satisfaction. Over time, the brain becomes accustomed to this artificially high dopamine level, and substance use must continue and escalate as a way to re-experience and maintain this desirable feeling. “

For me, adding in the ‘quit smoking’ factor- the effect is double. No cigarette to smoke when i am bored or lonely or frustrated. Considering that nicotine is more addictive than even heroin or cocaine, it isn’t surprising that i am feeling it’s grip so intensely. Not whining about it, it is what it is.Just saying.

That being said, knowing that at some point this will pass is the rope i hold onto. And that being said is why i am also glad i never got into other compulsive behaviors( marijuana, pornography, shopping, etc) that serve the above purpose. I would be leaning hard into one or more of those to compensate- possibly making things worse in the long run. Right now, i am at high risk for relapse , not having any other form of ‘dopamine enhancement’. Of course, there is still coffee….

The reason i bring this up now is mainly for those just beginning a journey into recovery. It’s one tough gig. Along with pink clouds and severe loneliness, you will likely experience boredom and the “fear of missing out”. It may seem like forever. But remember it is only a stage. Many relapses come from euphoric recall that tells us how much easier things would be if only we could do what we used to do. The brain is a master at remembering the good times and blocking out the bad. A trickster, a devil, and a powerful force to be reckoned with.

Right now, I am again looking through it and fighting with all i have to overcome it. I worry that others will find me boring . I worry that i will be the most uninteresting friend/girlfriend in the world. I worry that i don’t have enough value outside of being a drinking buddy to be important at all.I worry that i will basically cease to exist outside of my own home.

But these things will pass. For me, for you, for anyone willing to stay the course.

Eyes on the prize. Today, i did not drink.


Doctors Can Make You Crazy

Today was my follow up with an actual Cardiologist. While i did leave somewhat relieved, it isn’t lost on me how many senior citizens can feel lost , powerless and confused. After hearing the opinions from the hospital staff, then my PCP, and this specialist – i don’t know what to believe. All of them contradict.

But at least today i was assured that my event did not occur from the low magnesium and potassium. In fact, he says that was likely caused by the 6 doses of adenosine they used to try to chemically convert me before having to use the shock. So i was taken off the supplement. Thank God- the laxative effect and nausea was getting to be an issue.

At any rate , he believes that my usual PVC’s ( quite common) just picked up on an accessory pathway and went crazy for an unknown reason. He believes it to be stress related. However, i have no blockages, and the tests so far look good.

But now i have to wear a heart monitor for 7 days. It is a small device that sticks to my left chest area. I cannot bath and showers have to be brief and facing away from the water. It itches already and is uncomfortable to sleep with. Next i need an MRI of my heart done to look for scar tissue. He says thats rare given all my other test results but after these two things i should be in the clear and my new medication should keep things steady. Unless the monitor shows i am having regular extra beats. Then i would need an ablation procedure.So, we shall see.

In the meantime i can go about my normal life and activities with the exception of the gym until this thing comes off due to sweating making it become damp and falling off.

So over all good news. It definitely could have been worse…

I have walked 3 times outdoors this week and done yoga afterwards twice.I’m on day 11 of quitting the smokes and doing well.

P.S. today, i did not drink:)


In Recovery? A Head’s Up …

In a few days i will be seeing a cardio specialist. I am still in astonishment how quickly and unexpectedly my life has changed. I’ve been doing a lot of research since and, even as a nurse in the field for 2 decades, it’s amazing how much i didn’t know about this condition- hypo-magnesia.

Sure, i knew it was possible to have low magnesium, along with any other body salts. Mostly i had seen low calcium and potassium while working in the hospital . I don’t believe i ever hung a bag of magnesium for any patient though. Mag Sulfate ( MgS04) is used for uncontrollable seizures and in maternity for pre-eclampsia( both emergencies situations) . I worked in a Critical Care unit, which is mainly where people go after ICU/Emergency departments for further ongoing treatment.

I have wondered almost everyday since i was admitted WHY i never thought about it much , and why i never put all the signs together. Now i feel compelled to share some of the information, because it isn’t something even primary care providers generally deal with.

First of all it only happens in about 2% of the population. The causes are listed as follows:

Starvation( i am not dieting or purging/ binging), use of diuretics or laxatives causing increased urinary output( i do not ), certain antibiotics, proton pump inhibitors, and chemotherapy drugs( nope, nope and nope).Also acute diarrhea, and diseases that cause it such as Celiacs, Crones, Ulcerative Colitis , acute pancreatitis( not to my knowledge), diabetes ( all testing says no) and gastric bypass surgery( nope).I am constipated more often than not and rarely ever have diarrhea.You can also lose mag from drinking TOO much water because it causes excess urination, but i generally drink only 24 ounces or less a day.So, none of the usuals applied to to me . The doctors were just as stumped as i was and simply went on to test my heart and treat my symptoms. I am yet to find out if i suddenly have any of the listed diseases.


Additionally listed is( drum roll)-Excess urinary depletion from alcohol dependency which is why i chose to write a post about it here. Although, I , personally, have never been ‘dependent’ on it to function daily and did fine without it, it was a weekly habit – once a week binging to be precise, for a long time. At the time of the event i had been AF for over a month. My blood work has always been fine, even during the height of my heaviest drinking ( years ago). Despite all of that, it still could have contributed. Yes, even years into recovery, and i was totally unaware of this.

“A comprehensive and critical review of the evidence relating magnesium (Mg) deficiency to alcohol consumption reveals several important types of interactions. First, alcohol acts acutely as a Mg diuretic, causing a prompt, vigorous increase in the urinary excretion of this metal along with that of certain other electrolytes. Second, with chronic intake of alcohol and development of alcoholism, the body stores of Mg become depleted. During the late stages of alcoholism, the urinary excretion of Mg may become diminished as a physiological response to reduced intake and reduction of body stores. A number of aspects of the clinical syndrome of alcoholism contribute to and intensify that already existing reduction in body Mg stores. Third, a number of manifestations of alcoholism are believed due to effects of Mg deficiency, and some therapeutic benefit has been suggested from treatment of alcoholic patients with Mg. Finally, relatively little attention has been paid to the possible value of Mg administration as a preventive measure to forestall or minimize the deleterious effects of chronic use of alcohol or to prevent the development of cancer than can occur in this setting.”- National Library of Medicine

Read more about it here( very very good article):

Magnesium Deficiency In Alcoholics And Alcohol Abusers

— apparently i am not the only one who was unaware of a connection.

In hindsight, i could have recognized the warning signs had i been more aware. My right eyelid ( strangely) was twitching constantly to the point of frustration for several months.My eye doctor was unconcerned. I was fatigued almost every day, had severe insomnia, muscle pain, and often experienced nausea/reflux. My regular doctor treated these individually. My usual heart palpitations which had been controlled easily with a small dosage of Metoprolol for years had started becoming more frequent, even with the medication. And my personality was certainly changed as i was having chronic anxiety as well as depression. All of these are symptoms.

Mostly, I chalked all of it up to pandemic stress, menopause, and getting older.I assumed these were just temporary and a part of life. If you notice, most of these symptoms are quite common, and almost no one would put them all together as a single diagnosis . Even my regular doctor didn’t connect the dots. Worse yet, looking back through all of my paperwork , i was not once tested for magnesium levels in all the years i had been getting blood work done, learning that it is not included on the complete metabolic profile ( the most common yearly bloodwork panel).It is so uncommon in the normally healthy population, that it isn’t deemed necessary.

“A normal serum (blood) magnesium level is 1.8 to 2.2 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). Serum magnesium lower than 1.8 mg/dL is considered low. A magnesium level below 1.25 mg/dL is considered very severe hypomagnesemia. I was at 1.2 upon admission. Dangerously low levels of magnesium have the potential to cause fatal cardiac arrhythmias. Moreover, hypomagnesemia in patients with acute myocardial infarction puts them at higher risk of ventricular arrhythmias within the first 24 hours.”

But if it wasn’t related to alcoholism- how else could i have ended up with it?

According to another website( listing non medical reasons):

1.eating a typical American diet

2.regularly drinking caffeinated beverages, soda, or alcohol.

3.drinking soft water

4.taking calcium supplements

5.experiencing constant or chronic stress

Boom. I hit 4/5 (not taking calcium supplements). My diet had been horrible since the pandemic- eating mostly comfort foods and very little nutritious items. I drank coffee daily- about 3-4 cups.I found out my case family uses a water softener, and i do use their ice in my water. And my stress has been off the charts since May/June of 2020.

So given all of this my friends, sober or in recovery, i highly suggest considering getting tested. My event was as scary and sudden as they come.Until and if another cause is found it could happen again at any time.It was expensive. And could continue to be a problem for quite some time.I am still testing low despite supplements and eating more foods high in magnesium.

We tend to think of our liver in alcoholism.Or diabetes, or high blood pressure. But this is one thing we can get a handle on early in recovery if we know about it.



Altho i haven’t had any urges to drink-today the cravings were hitting hard for cigarettes. But i did my best to fight back and made it through..

First , although i REALLY didn’t feel like it as usual-i got my butt out the door to get some healthy groceries. Since the whole heart issue, i have still been testing low on magnesium even with the script. So i got some mag rich foods to supplement. Next i made a really delicious salad which included avocado and some micro-greens ( stuff i usually do not add). The cravings were still coming on full force so i decided i would get out for my first walk since last spring. I did 1.21 miles using my MapMyWalk app – not a lot but it’s a start and it was nice to get fresh air & sunshine whilst cleaning out my lungs.Soon i will be adding a few more apps to motivate me and keep track of my goals.

When i got home i did a half hour of yoga ( i felt pretty weak following one of my favorite ones, but i survived) Then spent an hour meditating. Next up i face timed with my grandsons for 45 minutes, and went in to take a np before work. I slept like a log for 3 hours and would have been late for work if it had not been for my BF stopping by last minute. I feel like things are improving slowly in every area since discovering the magnesium issue and taking steps to improve it- less body pain, no more muscle twitching, better sleep, and less GI stuff.

All-in-all. a very productive day.

As i always say- it’s baby steps. No journey can begin until we take action, and commit to it. It is never easy. But when i think back to how far along i would have been with so many things if i had not faultered when the pandemic began, i get more motivated to succeed.

Guys, no matter what your goals- keep going! Failure is nothing but an opportunity to change and improve.

Today i did not drink or smoke.


Cravings are Tough

“I am going to have to fight to the death. I take lots of deep breaths and tell myself “i can do this”. I remind myself that i deserve to be sober and i deserve to be a non – smoker. It’s not a punishment. It’s a reward. And the reward is living my BEST life, not just an ok one, or a good one.. MY BEST LIFE.”

This was what i wrote in November of 2019 in my journal.

I woke today and within an hour began to feel cravings for a cigarette. I took my bath and decided it would be helpful to re -read how i got through all of this before. Ironically, the process was about the same as what i am doing this time around except THIS time i went straight to cold turkey without ‘weaning’ myself and it was not as cold outside yet ( we had a pretty mild winter that year) so i was able to get outside and get myself walking as a healthy distraction.The above statement was made on the date i threw away my roller. I remained smoke free for 5 months and sober for 15 months. 2 months into the pandemic I started slipping on occasion with a beer or three every few weeks and eventually ( by November 2020) both habits had returned and so i have begun the process of healing once again.

Re reading my statement above hit me hard today- because that is at the heart of it. And probably what got me through more times during initial recovery of both smoking and alcohol.So i share it here with all of you- or anyone struggling with addiction of any sort.

We deserve to live our best life. Repeat, repeat, repeat-as often as you need to.

Stay strong and Namaste!

The Big Purge

I don’t know about you, but i feel super excited about purging, and so peaceful and clear headed afterwards. Anything from clothes, to basement boxes full of bric-a-brac, to toxic people. Today’s “big purge” was old posts on here that contained very little helpful information and a whole lot of whining. But that wasn’t all, i also did my weekly chore and cleaned the area we had been smoking in. My roommate has decided to again join me in quitting so NO MORE SMOKING in the house ! I am beyond relieved as being around it was one of my biggest obstacles. In addition, i went out and washed/ vacuumed out my car, and a bunch of other smaller tasking around the house-continuing to introduce sun and light into my world.

Yesterdays blood work results were not what i wanted to hear. My magnesium is still low, requiring another script change, and the pharmacy did not have it available.I moped around for a few hours doom scrolling the possibilities ( you know- seizures, cardiac arrest, sudden death, etc ) But then i realized – i will handle it. I always do.

No one is responsible for my life, and only i can live it. I am the Phoenix rising. I am the master of my fate. I will not allow setbacks to define me.Obstacles are only lessons to be learned.

“Impossible isn’t a fact, it’s an opinion”- Muhammed Ali