I’m still here

I can’t believe that it has been more than six months since I’ve last posted. But then, it’s not too surprising considering this is meant to be a blog about drinking less and living more and I haven’t been doing that.

I just read my most recent post a few minutes ago, and I honestly don’t remember if I drank that night or not. I do know that I’ve had many many drinks since then. Some days I haven’t, some days I’ve stuck to one or two, and some days I’ve had too many to count.

I have so many things going on in my head, about my drinking, and I’m not sure where to begin. The holidays are finally over and I can’t help but think about how for the past four weeks, if not longer, I have been binge drinking daily, often starting at lunch. I’ve done some scary things, like come home from work in the middle of the day on a random Tuesday and have a couple of glasses with my lunch (I work at home in the afternoons, so I didn’t have to worry about going back to the office). I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in weeks. I’ve gained about five pounds, which is only upsetting because I’m already trying to lose 30. And I feel aged and unhealthy.

I know I’m not saying anything new, here. But even if I’m writing the same things over and over, it helps me comes to terms with what I am doing to myself.

Last night, I met up with a bunch of girls at a friend’s house. I love these women and respect them all. Some of us were drinking, some of us weren’t, but I got wasted. I woke up in the middle of the night panicking as usual about what I might have said or done, but mostly I felt embarrassed and ashamed. I remember mentioning at the party that one of my new year’s resolutions was to limit drinking to only three days a week. It only occurred to me when I was sober that people might find this horrifying, that three nights a week was excessive in itself. I also feel embarrassed because it feels lately every event, whether a casual outing with the girls or television on the couch with our neighbours, has become a “bottle of wine or more” event. I can’t blame the people I’m with, my environment, or the situation. The only common denominator is me: I am the one drinking at every opportunity and often I am drinking the most. I shudder to think what my friends must think of me, whether or not they’ve discussed if I have a problem, what comments might have been made.

In December I decided that beginning January 4, I was going to go on a detox. Normally I like to do a full cleanse: no sugar, processed food, red meat, alcohol, caffeine, dairy, or gluten for a full week if not longer. But I’ve decided that for the next two weeks, the only thing I want to give up is junk food, sweets, and alcohol. I don’t care if I eat a full brick of cheese if it means that I don’t drink. I want to make it through the two weeks, then think about what I want to do next.

I feel like an idiot saying I’m on day 1, especially because I’m not someone who, right now, is thinking about giving up alcohol for 100 days or even forever. But I am on day 1, and I think it’s going to be hard. I think tomorrow is going to be harder. I am nervous about the little voice in my head convincing me to crack a bottle and enjoy a night on the couch, that “no one will know.”

I told my husband that if I couldn’t make it through the two weeks I was going to go to rehab. That scared us both. But I have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol and if I don’t make a change it’s only going to get worse. And so, here I am, making lists of things to do over the next two weeks to distract me, bookmarking blogs, assembling my “sober tools” and hoping desperately that I will succeed.


Not today

It should come as no surprise to anyone that since my last post, I have resumed drinking. I believe I had been on day 2 of a goal of 10 days with no drinking. I was on a walk, listening to a Bubble Hour podcast and I felt an anxiety deep inside me. I felt the same anxiety when I came home from my walk and started reading The Sober Revolution: Women Calling Time on Wine O’Clock. Both had been intended to motivate and inspire me, but instead I felt sick and scared. And I was hungry and tired. (Who was it in the sober blogosphere that said not to get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired?) I was supposed to go to a friend’s house after dinner for tea with another friend, and while I ate dinner I poured and drank two very large glasses of wine. I did it defiantly, and I regretted it instantly.

When I left to meet my friends, it was humid out, with spontaneous outbursts of heavy rain; public transportation was a mess owing to street construction; and I felt heavy and thick-headed as I made my way there. My stomach burned painfully, I felt bloated and uncomfortable, and the whole evening (which should have been fun, which I had been looking forward to because of its sober nature) was miserable.

I have had a drink every day since then. Some days I’ve had a lot, and some days only a glass, but not a day has gone by where I haven’t had some form of alcohol (usually wine).

It is 3:20 am. I am unable to sleep. I woke up about an hour ago, a little sweaty and a lot scared. Again. This is not the first time I’ve woken up in the middle of the night with the feeling of dread in my pit of my stomach. I have vowed countless times, “I’m not going to drink tonight” or “I’m not going to drink for the week” or “I’m not going to drink for the next three days.” And I’ve never once made it to the end of the day.

I’ve been given some incredible professional opportunities lately. The kind that only come along once, and if you blow it, they don’t come along again. The work I do is mental, and requires sharp eyes, a refreshed brain, and loads of concentration. I need to sleep well. I need to maximize the hours in my day (i.e., make use of after-dinner hours, when normally I’m in a wine fog on the couch). I need to exercise daily and eat well to keep myself healthy, both of which take time (i.e., time I’d normally spend in a wine fog on the couch). I want to succeed. This is my chance to prove myself.

Yet I’m dangerously close to blowing it. I’m drinking wine daily. I’m putting off tasks because I’m tired or hangover. When I get anxious and stressed, as I inevitably do, I’m turning to my old pal cab sauv rather than exercising and clearing my mind in a healthy way. I’m wasting precious time thinking about drinking, drinking, and recovering from drinking. Even if it’s only two glasses with dinner, it still means I’m unproductive for the rest of the evening. It still means that I’m not doing laundry, prepping breakfast or lunch for the next day, going to the gym (or heck, even packing my gym bag). I personally believe that success in life, particularly in times of tight time management, requires advance planning and preparation; I’m more likely to dress nicely at work, complete my list of tasks, hit the gym, and eat well if I’ve done the legwork the day before. But even though that legwork only takes an hour or so, I’m still not doing it because I’m “relaxing” in a way that renders me useless.

And sleep. I know that drinking ruins my sleep pattern. I am desperate for a solid eight hours. I am desperate for deep, healing restorative sleep, the kind I haven’t experienced in weeks. I could weep for it.

I don’t want to commit to 100 days of not drinking, or 30 days, or 10 days. The only day I want to commit to is today. I would like to not drink today. This is my plea and my prayer.




I Survived Day 1



I am tucked in bed right now, feeling like I’ve been through battle.

After posting this morning, I went to work filled with steely resolve. I picked up a large coffee to combat my exhaustion. I sat at my desk, made a list, and starting taking care of tasks. At around 1:00 pm I left for lunch. It was a beautiful sunny day and as I wandered down the street, looking for something reasonably healthy to pick up to eat, I had a niggling thought: “Maybe I could have some wine tonight.”

After all, nobody would know. I could always lie on the blog or fail to mention it. My husband was out for the evening, which is normally my favourite time to drink (yes, I recognize the problems with that sentence), and anyways he doesn’t know about my 10-day plan. Neither does anyone else. I had a full bottle of red waiting on my wine rack. Why not? I kept pushing the thought out of my mind, but it kept creeping up on me.

After work, I contemplated what I was going to eat for dinner. When my husband is out I normally treat myself to takeout (and wine). I couldn’t imagine getting takeout and not drinking. I also couldn’t imagine eating some of my favourite foods, such as fresh pasta with rose sauce and chicken (another dinner option), without a glass of red or three. I literally associate eating with drinking. Eating food no longer seems appealing without wine. I don’t know when that happened or what that’s all about, but it’s interesting.

I decided to just figure out a meal based on what I had in the fridge. A special meal would require a special drink and I wanted to avoid it. I decided to make hot dogs, which I had in the freezer, and roast up some baby potatoes. Comfort food, yes, but stuff that I could easily have with a soda and not think twice.

The whole time the potatoes were roasting, I wanted to crack that bottle of red. And the whole time a small voice at the back of my head kept saying, “If not now … when?” I imagined another sleepless night. Another failed start.

So I grabbed a bottle of Pellegrino, a glass with ice, and my makeshift meal and settled down in front of the television. Once I ate, I was fine. I was happy I hadn’t had anything alcoholic to drink. And I no longer wanted the wine or anything else. I was safe. I have read other bloggers’ stories about needing to get over the “hump” between 5 and 7 when the desire to drink was at its peak. Maybe I am the same way.

What a joy it was to be sober after dinner. I had a long chat with my best friend. I called my dad. I read some blogs. I worked on my blanket. I cleaned the kitchen. I made a list. Small things that made me happy. And now I feel clean and happy and healthy, despite my sodium-riddled greens-free meal. It was so easy yet so hard.

Another thing that happened today, which probably helped with my resolve, was that a book I ordered from Amazon arrived in the mail: The Sober Revolution by Sarah Turner and Lucy Turner. While I was waiting to eat dinner, I read the first few chapters and certain phrases jumped out, wrapped themselves around my chest, and squeezed. I have never felt more short of breath and anxious than when I was reading that book, like I was standing on the edge of a precipice trying to prevent myself from falling. It was the oddest experience. I couldn’t bring myself to keep reading after dinner, but I do plan on finishing the book this week and I’ll write a review then.

Things I like so far about not drinking:

-I feel empowered
-It is nice to spend an evening doing things with a clear head

What I am looking forward to:

-A good night’s sleep
-Decreased puffiness in the face
-Better skin
-Brighter eyes
-More energy
-A flatter tummy (can this happen in 10 days?)


10 Days


After a few weeks of avoiding the topic, weeks filled with too much wine, bad sleep, middle-of-the-night fears, and morning-after regrets, I have decided to start (again) with 10 days of not drinking. Sadly 30 seems too overwhelming right now. I read this post on Saturday by the awesome Girl on the Learn, and more than anything in the entire world I want to feel the joy and effervescence of making it through a full week. I want to feel all the physical benefits that not drinking, even for a short period, can bring.

I don’t want to know what 30 days, or 60 days, or 100 days feels like. I can’t even contemplate forever. I don’t know how far I want to take this. But I am ready to do something

I am blogging before work because I don’t want to give myself time to change my mind. I’ve said it, it’s out there.

Bring on Day 1.

Stream of Consciousness


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I have many thoughts in my head. Here they are.

Do I worry that everyone is angry with me because I am angry at myself? Do I think people are disgusted with me and annoyed with me because I am disgusted and annoyed with myself?

Is how I feel about myself linked to how much I drink? Is it the physiological effects of drinking that bring me down, or the consequences of drinking: eating poorly, not exercising, not really doing anything worthwhile with my time?

I am starting to realize that discipline and follow-through are things I admire most in others, and these are two areas in which I am definitely lacking. Is this WHY I admire them so much in others? Or is this why I am filled with self-loathing?

I started this blog because I wanted to cut down on my drinking and start living, start doing things with my time. It was almost my birthday and I realized that another year had gone by and I hadn’t really accomplished anything. I wanted to feel as though I was a better person and in a better place than I was the year before and I didn’t. I did (and still do) blame this on drinking too much.

When I mentioned my feelings to my husband, he told me I was crazy. Over the past year I had done many things: finished my master’s degree, started my own business. And yes, those are huge. But I hadn’t done any of the smaller things that most people do as a matter of course, such as put pictures into frames and cleaned out my refrigerator. And I hadn’t done any of the personal growth stuff that matters so much to me. I don’t have an exercise routine, I bailed on all of the races I signed up for, I haven’t finished a craft or a project, and I haven’t figured out how to eat healthy (much less lose weight). Other than my career, everything felt stagnant.

And so I wanted to live a life less wasted. I wanted to finish knitting the scarf and organize my pantry and read the books on my shelf and decorate my home. These things seem so trivial and so unimportant, but to me they represent the things I could be doing in the evening and on the weekends instead of drinking wine or recovering from a hangover.

And so I started this blog. I had been reading a ton of “sober” blogs over the past few months and they all spoke to me in so many ways, but mostly the wonderful feelings of productivity and self-worth the bloggers experienced when they weren’t drinking.

I want to be more than someone who enjoys wine. The worst part is, I am not sure I actually enjoy anything other than drinking wine. I can list a thousand activities that I’d like to be doing with my time but when I get home after a stressful day only one thing speaks to me.

It has been more than a week since I have last posted. Yes I have kept drinking. Yes I am still anxious.

So now what?

In my last post, I mentioned needing to find a way to temper my anxiety, to assuage its intensity. After doing some research, I’ve decided that the first step I need to take is to exercise daily. DAILY. It has to be a priority. Enter the “mile a day” challenge. For 100 days I would like to swim, bike, run, or walk for one mile every single day. The only “rule” is that the mile has to be deliberate (that is, I can’t accumulate distance over the course of the day).

I feel like a mile isn’t too cumbersome or overwhelming. If I have a busy day, it will be easy to squeeze in a mile. If I have more time and I’m at the gym, maybe I’ll be motivated to do more. But I have to do at least a mile.

I’d also like to start a positivity journal (my take on the gratitude journal). It will include things I’m grateful for, but also positive things in my life. I’d like to end each day by writing in it. My only “rule” for this is that I have to include one positive thing about myself. It will be my form of emotional self-care. I hope it works.

As for drinking? I am back where I started. I would like to go for a period of not drinking. I would like to figure out what moderation means to me. But I am scared of starting and failing (again). I am afraid that I won’t be able to moderate. And I am deeply tempted to figure it out tomorrow.



Today I woke up and realized that I am sick to death of always being anxious. I am just so sick of it.

I have always suffered from anxiety, but lately in general, and this weekend in particular, it has been pretty bad. Every time I “resolve” a particular anxiety, I can feel my brain relentlessly seeking out new ones, searching for prey in the tiniest recesses of my mind. I have seen this pattern before: I will worry and worry and worry about anything and everything, one thing at a time, and when there is nothing left to worry about I will worry about death and then I have a panic attack. True story.

Sometimes I think that’s why I drink. It shuts off my brain, truly closes it down. The only other thing that distracts me as effectively is having a crush. I used to obsess over boys I liked when I was younger (completely unhealthy, of course); now I can’t really do that since I am married (happily) and after seven years in a healthy relationship I’m not exactly driven to distraction by the site of my adorable husband.

I thought of these things last night when I was out to dinner with my husband, his friend, and his friend’s brother. I had three drinks (a post for another day) and I did so deliberately (as in, I planned to drink, it didn’t happen by accident when I got there). I had been worried all day about a number of things, my aging parents being one of them, and I just couldn’t take it any more. I wanted to just stop. And while I was at dinner, I found that I had a tiny crush on my husband’s friend’s brother (this happens all the time, completely harmless) who is incredibly brilliant (a rocket scientist) and engaging. So I had two distractions and they worked wonderfully. I learned about space, I had some wine, I had a good time.

But now it is the next morning and my anxieties are back, full force, and they are accompanied by a nagging headache. And I have been thinking that I really need to find a healthy outlet for my anxiety. This is actually quite separate from my desire to stop (or cut down on) drinking; it’s more that I don’t want the two to go hand in hand. There are going to be times when I can’t drink or when I don’t want to drink, and moreover I need some kind of tool to temper my anxiety overall rather than a tool that alleviates anxiety once it hits. I need to prevent the fire rather than fight the blaze, as it were.

I don’t know where I am going with this post, but I needed to get these feelings off my chest.

Day 2


In the end I have decided to stick with my original plan of not drinking for 30 days. My husband’s opinions aside, I think I need a break. I feel relieved.

On Sunday night, I went out with a group of friends to celebrate my birthday. We went out for Mexican food and I had a glass of sangria, two 9 oz glasses of wine, some chips and guacamole, and one and a half fish tacos. Not nearly enough food for the amount I drank. Earlier that day, I’d had chicken fingers and fries at a pub, with two glasses of wine. 

I felt drunk that night; not overly so, but more drunk than I should have felt on a casual Sunday night. I remember seeing a new friend of mine across the table, a woman I deeply admire, enjoy one margarita before switching to water. She biked home afterward.

The next day, Monday (yesterday), was a beautiful day. Fresh and sunny, 18 degrees Celcius. It was a perfect day to go for a long walk, grab some gelato, enjoy life. Instead, I spent the day in bed with a splitting headache. It was so bad that I couldn’t read, watch TV, go online, or do anything other than curl up in a ball and feel miserable. I also threw up several times, until I finally took a Gravol. I hesitate to self diagnose, but I don’t necessarily think I was sick from drinking too much the night before. Rather, I think I was sick from weeks and weeks of drinking too much and eating poorly. My body was rebelling. I never in my entire life want to feel the way I did yesterday. And I told my husband that I was done. No drinking for a long time.

That was yesterday. Today is today. I am feeling good, my body happy after getting my first deep, real sleep in weeks. I had a productive day at work and came home, cooked a healthy vegan dinner, then cleaned the kitchen. Afterward I sat down and did some freelance work. It wasn’t an effort; it felt normal. This is what people do. 

I know today feels easy because the memory of yesterday’s misery is so fresh. I know I’m also genuinely sick of drinking, a feeling that will wane after a few days. But I am riding the high while I can. And I am focusing on the other things I want to do while I’m not drinking.

I never thought I’d write a blog about drinking too much. I never thought this would be me.

Eroding From the Inside Out



This morning I was reading some blogs (mostly sobriety blogs, of course) and I read the quote, “Without this sobriety I erode myself from the inside out.”

That really hit home for me. I have felt that way for some time now, not just with how much alcohol I drink but with the way I abuse my body with greasy, deep-fried, artificial, or overly sugary foods. I have constant pains in my stomach, my digestion is off, my skin is dull, my hair is greasy, and I know this has everything to do with what I’m putting in my body. I am becoming what I eat (and drink).

I have been reading some healthy living blogs recently, and one has particularly piqued my interest, not because I am a huge fan or the writing or can relate to the blogger (who is a good 10 years younger than me) but because of the pictures of food she’s posting: bright green vegetables, colourful fruits, whole grains, grass-fed organic meats. Everything looks so healthy and appetizing and healing, and I need more of this in my life. Sadly, although my financial situation isn’t the greatest (that’s a post for another day), I do have the time and money to purchase and prepare healthy foods. Access is not an issue for me, as it is for so many others. It is simply that I am too lazy. This makes me ashamed.

I referred to my weight gain in a previous post, and I have been wracking my brain trying to think of what I want to do about it. And I think rather than rushing to count calories or join Weight Watchers or restrict portion sizes, I simply want to focus on consuming the healthiest foods possible and make fruits and vegetables the highlight of my diet. I also want to exercise daily. I need to get out of the habit of treating my body like a garbage can.

And now I have to address the drinking.

In my last post I said that the day after my birthday I wanted to quit drinking for 30 days. Obviously this did not happen. If it had, I wouldn’t have avoided blogging. They day after my birthday, my husband came home super late after having drinks with colleagues and brought home ingredients for spaghetti and meatballs. Immediately I wanted to drink too. One because he had been drinking and I felt like that wasn’t fair, and two because I love the taste of red wine with pasta. I was also overly hungry (it was 9:00 by the time he got home, and we didn’t eat dinner until 10:00). When I am hungry I don’t make smart choices. We ate the pasta and I had about half the bottle of red.

Of course the next day (Wednesday) I finished the bottle, then had another glass while out with friends and a gin and tonic as a nightcap. And last night (Thursday) I killed an entire bottle of red.

So. Clearly this is not good. There is a huge discrepancy between how I want to be living (eating well, being more active, being sober 90% of the time, enjoying pursuits and interests, being more engaged with my job) any how I am living (eating garbage, being a couch potato, drinking 90% of the time, under performing at work, and feeling lost and restless). I don’t feel good about my choices, but to be honest I am not sure how to proceed.

On my birthday I spoke candidly to my husband about how I needed to drastically cut down on my drinking. He agreed, but didn’t seem to think going 30 days without was the right way to approach things. He seemed to think that I needed to learn the difference between drinking when I was supposed to (out for dinner with friends, at a wedding) and drinking when I really shouldn’t be (home alone on a Tuesday night). According to him the “30 days” approach is too “all or nothing” for me and I need to start smaller. I guess I agree with him, because his suggestion sounded much less daunting to me. My goal is to not drink four nights out of seven. And then I will go from there. Trust me, even this seems challenging.

I wonder what sober bloggers would think right now if they were to read this. Would they be shaking their heads, remembering a time when they thought this was the right approach to take? Is my only option to quit entirely and am I simply delaying the inevitable? Or can I truly get things under control?

Only time will tell.

Now What?



Yesterday I addressed my burgeoning drinking problem in writing. I put it out on the table. I acknowledged something needs to change.

I was reading some blogs yesterday, and in the comments section on one particular post someone mentioned how Sarah Silverman once said, “If you think everyone is judging you, you are an alcoholic.” When I read that, I felt frozen with fear.

This is exactly how I feel.

I have become incredibly sensitive to other people’s perceptions of my drinking, even bringing it up to other people: “Jessica made a joke that I’d never be able to give up wine during pregnancy and I’m quite offended!” and “Stacey posted a picture of us having drinks on Instagram, with the caption ‘Tipsy Tuesday’; why does everyone have to associate drinking with me?” A few weeks ago I was playing Settlers of Catan with my husband and two friends, and when I got another glass of wine I made a comment out loud about how my husband was silently judging me for it. Everyone immediately called me out on that statement, and told me I was “projecting.” I was pretty embarrassed after that.

So not only am I scared that people are judging my drinking, but now I’m also scared that they know I’m scared (and that they think it’s weird that I’m feeling judged, therefore something must be “up” with me and drinking).

After reading sobriety blogs for a few hours yesterday, I’ve started to identify with some common signs of “problematic behaviours.” For example, in a social situation I am acutely aware how much everyone else is drinking. Therefore I assume they are acutely aware how much I am drinking. Sometimes I will have a drink before I hang out with a group because I’m afraid I won’t have “enough” when I am out, or else I’m afraid I’ll drink my first one too quickly and will have to wait for everyone else to order a second. Last night, despite being hungover, I had two drinks. Today, at lunch, I had three glasses of wine. Alone. In my living room. Today’s wine was almost an act of desperation. LIke I know I’m going to be making a change soon and I wanted to get it out of my system. (For the record: neither last night’s nor today’s instance was worth it.)

This morning, I had the whole beautiful day stretched out before me. I woke up, got a coffee, and read my book for a few hours, basking in the sunshine streaming through my windows and my today house. And then I started to feel restless and overwhelmed. I didn’t want to drink anything, truly, but I couldn’t seem to figure out what to do to quiet my brain and the thought of doing all the little necessary things on my to-do list seemed exhausting. When I had the few drinks, I felt mellow. But it also prevented me from doing other things: going for a walk outside, doing some grocery shopping, making lunches for the week, putting in a few loads of laundry. I simply got buzzed, then lay on the bed for a few hours listening to music. It wasn’t the worst, but it wasn’t how I wanted to spend my day.

Now I feel fuzzy-brained and regretful. Also, oddly, I want to know what it would feel like to have my first drink of the day later on this evening but I’ve already ruined that. I am thirsty and my mouth feels thick. I am guzzling club soda to try to “clear’ everything, if that makes sense. In fact I’m so uncomfortable, I can’t even deal with myself; I kind of want to keep having more wine so I don’t have to feel this way.

Perhaps people are thinking that I definitely have a problem and that I need to quit, full stop, now. And that would be fair. But I do truly want to give moderation a go. I feel strongly that I’m in this position out of habit; that my mind has become lazy, and that I’ve lost interest in other areas of my life and therefore drinking is “filling the gap.” This could be incredibly naive. I know you (and I) could argue that it’s the drink that’s caused the lack of interest, the laziness, not the other way around. But I don’t feel ready to give up wine and champagne and cocktails forever. I do feel ready to reduce my consumption considerably.

While I figure out what moderation means to me (and truly, I don’t know if I’m even capable of moderation, but that’s a whole other story), I think a great first step is to quit drinking for 30 days. Thirty days may not seem like a long time, but I don’t think I’ve gone that long without drinking since I started university 14 years ago. I may not have been drinking as much back then, but I never have gone a full month without.

Tomorrow is my birthday. I am going to go out for dinner with my husband and have champagne and wine with my meal. And the next day I am starting the 30 days. I am scared shitless. I am depressed about it. I wish I didn’t have to. But I know deep down that there will never be a good time, and I’d rather give up wine for one month rather than have to give it up for all the months.

In the next 30 days I have my husband’s birthday, Easter with my in-laws, a plane trip (I am a nervous flyer), a baby shower, and a wedding. Plus a possible drinks night for my own birthday, a book club meeting, a dinner out with a girlfriend, and regular Friday and Saturday nights that are usually made better by a couple of glasses of wine. This is not going to be easy. But I know it is the only way. I think it will be quite rough, and I’m glad I have this blog to help me through.