Merry B Sober 101

101 Days … Uninterrupted Sobriety.  No cocktails.  No dulling drunk moments.

I am…

  1. Enjoying amazing sleep and waking up refreshed and eager to start my day.
  2. Feeling vibrant.
  3. Not interested in dulling my senses.
  4. Finding inspiration and creativity for many aspects of my life.

Love this post by Hannah Kingston…she mentions many things I am also finding beneficial to my alcohol free world.

I am ready to fly… (and literally pondering getting a pilot’s license).

Excited for new day, new month, new season….

Sex Ed

Sober Sex.

I’m not really “doing it” very well.

I have decided to get better “educated”.

I gathered some reading material.

And so it begins.

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I thought I knew “quite a bit” about the topic, but I was surprised to learn a lot of (what now seems very common sense) information about my own body, my brain’s role in all of this, and why I had lost interest in sex in my mid-50s (and it has absolutely NOTHING to do with being menopausal).

One takeaway from Dr. Emily Nagoski: We all have natural accelerators and brakes.

Unfortunately for me, just as I was dabbling in the personal journey of my growing sexuality, I was in the alcohol-rich environment of a “reputable party school” of higher academic learning.

Booze became my buddy to drop inhibitions, soothe rejection, mask awkwardness, heighten the fun factor.  Mr. Buzz, aka dopamine push, made anyone with me seem amazing and exciting.

It was artificial.  Like so many other parts of life that can get tweaked by booze.  Cocktails ramped up my natural accelerator…and probably, sadly, set some brakes that I may not have naturally been disposed to …for later in my sober life.

I blamed my change in sexual desire, over these past ten years, to menopause.  I thought I was aging and/or in need of fixing.   After Sex Ed class this week, stress is more likely the extinguisher of my sexual being.  (And I had the aha moment that the past ten years has been my journey in sobriety…not just menopause.)  My Sober Self wants MORE for myself as a Sexual Goddess than I allowed my drunk young self to ever experience.

Guess what else I used alcohol to manage… yep…. stress.   So I put myself on a terrible merry go round.  Drink to relieve stress… the dopamine fed my pleasure zone…husband seems more attractive to brain…inhibitions drop…I am more open to having sex (although it is dulled by the alcohol …but at least the partner is happy to be getting some… so the relationship can bob along).  But while this little roundabout was going on…my internal stress gets heightened by the effect of alcohol…and all the stressors are still there…and the biggest extinguisher of sexual desire is…. STRESS.

Shit Show Alert. I created a Sexual Stress Mess.

I need to reintroduce myself to a sexual self – a sober sexual being.

Lots of great information and ideas in this book.  New awareness.  New self-acceptance. Things I want to model and pass down to my kids.  Adventures to explore with my “significant other of almost three decades”.

If you want to see my notes click over to the Books I’ve Read page.

Violet

Since making the discovery that I am an Island Girl, I have participated in Relationship Development Quick Start Program and started this book, finished this one and started this one.

All of this put me down a path of better understanding of Masculine and Feminine energy and the role they play in our physical health and wellbeing.  (Cause…Just saying…I don’t feel in my core that we can have strong romantic relationships if we are not flourishing as individuals).

One important aha moment:  Alcohol dulls my Feminine “Spirit”.  Now that I am in search of my true self, I don’t want to shove her back in the dark shadow by drowning her with toxins.  As I reflect, I believe I allowed society to intimidate me to squelch my own passion development, because good girls don’t think or do “that”…

Alcohol eliminated inhibitions and gave an excuse to exercise those desires…but sadly took away the sensation and attentiveness to the moment.  I robbed myself.

No more.

Our Oracle has a job: Tend or light and fire.

Your Oracle steers by the light of the moon. Your Oracle has night vision and can see in the dark. Your Oracle always has your back. Your Oracle is on “team you.” Your Oracle’s guidance will at times be great news, sweet as honey. At other times, it will burn away all that no longer serves you, and all that is no longer you. Tirelessly, she will make sure you are walking your Feminine Genius path, no matter what you need to learn or how you need to grow as you go.

Using an exercise from Feminine Genius, (Oracle Practice #3: Calling Your Oracle), a quiet mind goes within and “attempts” to connect with the inner self.  I was encouraged to find meanings in research if a name floated into my consciousness.  Like a bling…it flashed… I’ve don’t know anyone by this name.  I have never considered it for a pet or child, so I took it to mean that this was my new friend.

Meet my Oracle… Violet.

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{The following may….or may not be of interest ….to anyone but merry….although if you read further you will discover that amethyst is otherwise known as the sobriety stone}

As a color…

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Violet is a spectral color, near Indigo (have always loved the concept of Indigo Children). It is at the end of the visible spectrum between blue and invisible ultraviolet.  As a spectral color, it has its own wavelength  (380-450 nanometers).  It is a dominant wavelength and violet objects actually reflect violet light.

Spiritual calming of emotions, it represents future, imagination, and dreams.  It can inspire and enhance psychic abilities and spiritual enlightenment while keeping us GROUNDED.

Color of reconciliation.

Violet is one of the first/oldest colors used in cave drawings.

As a flower…

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It has a long bloom from spring to frost and can bloom through winter in warmer climates. Good Luck Symbol for Women.

Love. Modesty. Virtue. Affection. Faithfulness.

Luxury. Royalty. Extravagance. Individuality.

{I’m having fun at this point in my research, seeing a connection to the relationship developments I want to build with others ….and the individual growth I want for myself}

As a crystal…

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  • Stimulates and soothes the mind and emotions
  • Fire, Passion, Creativity, and Spirituality
  • Logic, temperance, and sobriety…prevent drunkenness and overindulgence.
  • Control evil thoughts
  • Increase intelligence
  • Protection of travelers and soldiers
  • Assistance to hunters
  • Couple’s stone
  • Healer
  • Natural Tranquilizer
  • Boosts production of hormones
  • Stimulates sympathetic nervous system and endocrine glands
  • Oxygenates blood
  • Treats digestive tract, heart, stomach, skin
  • Strengthens immune system

Amethyst honors Artemis, Greek Goddess of the hunt and childbirth-love of mountains and forests, and, Diana, Roman Goddess of the Moon.

Violet is valued in Chinese culture as the harmony of the universe.  It is a combination of blue and red… a balance of yin and yang.  (Night/Day, Hot/Cold, RightBrain/LeftBrain)

In Hindu and Buddhaism violet is the CROWN CHAKRA.  As the petals unfold of the crown chakra, one finds wisdom. One assimilates knowledge and integrates it.  We know.  We understand.  We manifest destiny.

Cleansing and purifying, the color of magic, ritual purifying, connecting,  mystery, and mysticism. Rebirth and illumination.

Van Gogh, an avid student of color theory, used violet/purple often in his Iris and Starry Night paintings.

Purple has become a color of choice by politicians who want to portray a combination of the two parties.  Assertive and Confident (red) +  Peace and Cooperation (blue).

Physical level Gifts of Radiant Health

  • Healthy Nervous System
  • Sharp Mind
  • Excellent Cognitive Skills
  • Healthy reflexes
  • Connected Mind Body Spirit

Mental level Gifts

  • Imagination
  • Open Minded
  • Curious
  • Deep Thinker
  • Love of Learning, Studying, Reading
  • Find Connections and Patterns

Mental level Challenges

  • Materialistic
  • Greedy
  • Dominating
  • Rigid Mindset
  • Over-Intellectualizing

Emotional Level Gifts

  • Intuitive
  • Sensitive
  • Wisdom/Mastery
  • Aware
  • Emotionally Balanced
  • Peaceful Calm
  • Joyful
  • Connected to Heaven

Emotional Level Challenges

  • Overwhelm
  • Confusion Frustration
  • Apathy
  • Isolation
  • Depression
  • Lack of inspiration
  • Feeling Ungrounded

The Key to Chakra Healing is the VIOLET FLAME.  It burns with all the colors of violet from deep magenta to pale lilac through violet and purple with flickers of silver, gold, deep ruby and opalescent light.

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{and coming full circle to my discovery of male/female}… 

The Violet Flame of 3 merges the Divine Masculine and the Divine Feminine (Blue, Pink, Gold)

The Divine Feminine (Right Brain and heart) of crystalline pink brings love, nurture, compassion, adoration, and reverence for all life.

The Divine Masculine (Left Brain, throat, and heart) is a sapphire blue bringing desire, inner resolve, power, leadership over ourselves.

When these merge and balance our “Higher Centers” a gold ray of energy awakens.

Gold Flame embodies wisdom, discrimination, illumination.  Love balances power and wisdom blends with love.  The violet flame of forgiveness and transmutation activates within us.

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I’m on a journey to rediscover and embrace my whole being.  Remaining sober will allow for deeper progression while using numbing substances of any type would clearly halt and probably send my spirit running to hide again.

I’m confident that it won’t take much coaxing to allow myself to shine brightly.  I’m committed to being the most courageous version of myself to allow all of it to unfold and emerge.

Foolish

It’s April 1, 2019… some call it April Fools Day.

I’m grateful I am no longer fooled by the crap society has been feeding me about alcohol consumption.  “Wine is good for health”… A reread of this post reminds me that NO ALCOHOL at all… is the healthiest option.

Building off of Functioning Guzzler’s post, I recalled a pondering in our blog world regarding drinking and international economics.

Imagine Las Vegas, a town lubricated by alcohol 24/7.  Could the be fiscally sound if there was no alcohol to diminish inhibitions to gamble hard earned money away?

I cannot think of very many public events that do not have alcohol: sporting arenas, concert venues, even most movie theaters.  Golf Courses, Ski Lodges, Bowling Alleys,  and Pool Halls.  What about tours at Beer Gardens, and Vineyards.  Then there is vacation:  Cruise Ships, Resorts, Hotel Lobbies… what other jobs could those people do if they are not serving cocktails?  There is so much Fu**ing alcohol swirling around in our society.

I just spent a weekend in a new town with a large group.  As I sampled various Sparkling Waters, there was a lot of drinking.  Every meal had a drinking option.  As the weekend went on… everyone started complaining about how poorly they slept the night before…I was so happy to feel fresh and awake each day (even while nursing a cold).  But it all just reminded me of how much of an economic adjustment it would take if everyone realized that liquor is NOT a health enhancer.

What if everyone just stopped ordering alcohol?

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Merry B Sober 2 Months +

  • Finishing construction on a new home.
  • Traveling and leaving some of my teens behind. (Insert Mom Guilt) 4 out of 5 weekends in March.
  • Entertaining out of town houseguests between these travel weekends.
  • Reunion of my Father’s buddies for March Madness for the first time since his death.
  • Participating in Therapy for my relationships.
  • Not eating as well and being exposed to lots of restaurant/bar opportunities to accept a drink.
  • Looking ahead to graduation celebrations and other social gatherings.

These are just a few reasons why I could have justified drinking.

I choose to live AF.

As I pack for another trip, to a place with great food and wine pairings… I am reminding myself that THIS is my journey.  This is my choice.

I do not drink.

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I Do Not Drink Pinot

For a few moments I sorta forgot I wasn’t drinking anymore.  After a long day, we walked into a hotel room and the concierge left a bottle of Pinot Noir from Cambria to welcome our visit.

For a fleeting moment, I could imagine how great it was going to be to celebrate our weekend….WWWWHHHHHHAAAAAATTTTTTT… WTF… I don’t drink…..anymore.

So here I am…announcing to all of you…that I am not drinking today.

Off to dinner and a bottle of sparkling water with lemon.

Shallow

“Shallow”
(from “A Star Is Born” soundtrack)

[Bradley Cooper:]
Tell me somethin’ girl
Are you happy in this modern world?
Or do you need more?
Is there somethin’ else you’re searchin’ for?I’m falling
In all the good times I find myself longin’ for change
And in the bad times I fear myself

[Lady Gaga:]
Tell me something boy
Aren’t you tired tryin’ to fill that void?
Or do you need more?
Ain’t it hard keeping it so hardcore?

I’m falling
In all the good times I find myself longing for change
And in the bad times I fear myself

I’m off the deep end, watch as I dive in
I’ll never meet the ground
Crash through the surface, where they can’t hurt us
We’re far from the shallow now

[Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper:]
In the sha-ha-sha-ha-low
In the sha-ha-sha-la-la-la-low
In the sha-ha-sha-ha-ha-low
We’re far from the shallow now

[Lady Gaga:]
Wooaaaah
Woaaaaaaaaaaah

I’m off the deep end, watch as I dive in
I’ll never meet the ground
Crash through the surface, where they can’t hurt us
We’re far from the shallow now

[Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper:]
In the sha-ha-sha-ha-low
In the sha-ha-sha-la-la-la-low
In the sha-ha-sha-ha-ha-low
We’re far from the shallow now

 

 

…Just had to have this in my journal.

Merry B Sober …another 30 days

Yesterday sort of came and went with very little fanfare for myself (on being 30 days AF).  Maybe because I have achieved this before, it didn’t have fireworks of celebration…  But, I am pleased and I do not, by any means, belittle myself or anyone else this landmark moment.  Without judging, I know that others around me struggle with this feat.  But honestly, it felt easy and breezy for me this month.

I want to give a shout out to Annie Grace and her recently published book:

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I made a commitment to myself to participate in the book and journal….for 30 days.  Something different happened in this magical month.  I shifted.

I do not care to drink today.  I doubt very much that I will want to drink tomorrow.  I believe I have been rewired.

WOW.  What?  Huh?

Yep, I feel like a different human being.  It’s taken me a few rounds of sobriety, but today I feel like drinking alcohol just “simply does not make any sense” for me.

I’m not going to be brash or cocky about this.  I want to recognize that there are tools I have picked up and put down these past few years.  I have learned to use them as one uses to master other tools in their craft or trade.  With time and effort, I have learned to be comfortable being sober.

I want to call out two tools:

Community Involvement.  I made a commitment to connect with other AFers through blogs and online forums this past month.  (I’m still off social media…but I did reactivate my twitter account).

Accountability Time Frames. 30 days… 100 days… 6 months…1 year….another year…a decade. I read recently that it doesn’t matter how long…just set another time hurdle for yourself.  I’m setting my sites on the 100 Day marker = APRIL 30, 2019

On my last trip to the AF rodeo, I dropped these two tools.  I stopped connecting with my community in June 2017 (life got busy-summer) and I didn’t really even keep track of landmarks.  As a result, my brain tricked me into believing I could be a “moderate”.  I am NOT a moderate. I believe that if I had logged on that morning to check in with my blogging community, I would have had intention and focus on the positive imprints of AF living.  I slipped into old grooves in November.  Just weeks shy of one year… (at the time wasn’t even thinking about a 1 year of AF living anniversary date).  I just simply made a bad choice that evening.  I actually didn’t even have the entire glass of champagne (that night)…but the door had been opened.

I need really “Bright Lines”.  There is no wiggle room for this girl.  I’ve proven too many times that…

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Sobering Health Facts

Alcohol in the Brain

  • affects brain neurotransmitters
  • interrupts brain pathways
  • slows communication from senses and deadens responsiveness
  • hinders motor coordination
  • robs the ability to manage emotions
  • causes unhappiness and irritability
  • neurologically impossible to experience pleasure
  • interferes with the ability to behave, think, and interact socially
  • impeded memory, learning, and problem-solving
  • causes permanent alternations to nerve cells and reduces brain cells
  • toxins from liver pass into the brain during alcohol metabolism
  • affects sleep, mood, personality changes, anxiety, depression, attention span
  • can result in coma and death

Alcohol in the Heart

  • weakens the heart muscle
  • diminishes transportation of oxygen to organs and tissues
  • affects the electrical system of heartbeat regulation
  • rises the likelihood of a stroke by 39 percent
  • releases stress hormones that constrict blood vessels
  • elevates blood pressure and cause hypertension

Alcohol in the Liver

  • creates toxins which are more dangerous than the alcohol
  • damages liver cells by causing inflammation which can scar the liver
  • weakens the immune system
  • disrupts metabolism
  • causes fatty liver
  • contributes to liver cancer, type 2 diabetes
  • 25% of heavy drinkers will develop cirrhosis

Alcohol and Cancer

  • increases the chance of developing cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, rectum, liver, and esophagus
  • no matter the amount, it increases the chance of cancer
  • alcohol is a known carcinogen
  • damages DNA and stops our cells from repairing any damage
  • GOOD NEWS: reducing, or better yet, stopping will lower cancer risk

Alcohol and Death

  • Alcohol reduces life expectancy by 10 to 12 years
  • 2018 research states “there is no risk-free level of alcohol consumption”
  • 7th leading risk factor for death among all ages
  • #1 risk factor for DEATH for people aged 15-49

Sobering

 

All We Need is…

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Last week, I had my first meeting with a Life Coach.  About 15 minutes into our dialogue she asked me if I was familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  As a teacher, it is something considered every day when working with students.  If the basic needs are not met, learning cannot occur.

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I have extreme gratitude for my Physiological and Safety fulfillment.  Having these needs met allows me to explore the upper deck of the pyramid this year.

Starting with “Love and Belonging”, I have mentioned my relationships could use a bit of “buffing.” I doubt it was an accident that Annie Grace sent an email highlighting a program on Relationship Development by Stacey and Paul Martino.

Here’s Annie’s Podcast with Stacey Martino

After hearing the podcast,  I signed up and listened to Paul and Stacey’s webinar and had some amazing takeaways:

  • Demand Relationships v Relationship Development – (WOW! what an aHa)
  • Blame and Judgement = Damage
  • Support Systems are Key to Change
  • “Life is Happening FOR you … not TO you”

I committed to the 8-Week Quick Start Program and was introduced to Six-Core Human Needs by Tony Robbins.

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As anyone who has read my blog knows, I use this (at times) to take notes for myself on things that I have learned.  In honor of Stacey and Paul and the work they are doing, I’m not going to break down too much but to name the 2 new ideas for my toolbox.  They are extremely applicable to the AF journey.  (Which is why it is so easy to see why Annie Grace is a fan!)

The Spectrum of Change allows me to catch myself falling into old patterns of behavior so that triggers can be eliminated and I gradually move toward new brain rewiring.

The State-o-Meter identifies staying Above the 50% Line (aka Merry NOT going down the RABBIT HOLE).  For homework, I was challenged to come up with a 50 WAYS LIST to shift from below to above “the line”.  I got stuck and used google to help me with some new ideas–here’s a few:

  • Blow out a candle
  • Count Backwards from 100
  • Repeat a mantra or sigh or OM
  • Make a vision board
  • Give or get a hug
  • Blow on pinwheel
  • Name the emotion
  • Push against a wall
  • Roll a ball under your feet
  • Primal Yell
  • Focus on 5 Senses 5-4-3-2-1-Grounding Technique
  • Body Scan yourself…where am I tense?
  • Push palms together for 5 seconds
  • Chew Gum
  • Release Verbally
  • Arms to sky down to toes – Stretch
  • Watch animals
  • Scribble
  • Smell something citrus
  • Pectoral Door Stretch

Stacey and Paul Martino “Words of Wisdom” from Module 1:

“Magnificent friends are not found, they are developed.”

“To create something, you must know what you want.”

“Autopilot just gets us to an unknown destination.”