Triggers and Rewards

23 Feb

I haven’t had a drink since November.  It’s an accomplishment I’m proud of–and surpringly not difficult on a daily basis like I thought it would be.  Mostly, I don’t even think about it.  This is an old post, and one I hesitated to put up, but I was reminded because of concert tickets.  I told myself that if I didn’t drink, I would reward myself with a ticket to a 2nd show on Labor Dave Weekend.  We can usually only afford one of the 3 days.  But with money saved by not buying alcohol, we could get another show this year.  So it was saved money AND reward simultaneously.  Then, Brandi Carlile sweetened the deal by signing on for all 3 days of the show!  It’s a dream come true.  So since we just got those 4 tickets (Cool bought us each a tik for Friday, I bought Cool a good seat for Sunday, and my parents got ME a good seat Sunday as an early b-day gift) this Friday–here’s how much work went into getting here:

Easter 006

Temptation:

-surprisingly, having licquor in the house has not mattered one iota.  Nor has seeing it in grocery stores.

-seeing a new beer on tap.

-seeing taps at all.

-when Cool mentions drinking, or buying alcohol (except she also quit alcohol altogether as of February).

-seeing my fave restaurants post pics/specials on Facebook.

-Going to restaurants, visitng our old favorite restaurants, SEEING the cocktail menu.Walla Faces tasting

-when TV/movie characters are drinking or talking about it.

-visiting Aunt Linda.

-stressful work days (Forster Fridays especially).

-bitchy professors–snippy comments, rude e-mail responses.

-feeling overwhelmed by schoolwork/studying.

Halloween 2013 006-having unscheduled time with Cool (hardly happens due to opposing work schedules).  And now our expectations have been re-set so this isn’t an issue at ALL any more.

-post-tests or after receiving a good grade–for celebration.

-when there is time to kill or free-time (which again, rarely happens with work schedules and perpetual studying).

-concerts/parties/functions (virtually non-existent in my life, but applicable sometime I guess).

-reading a blog/book talking about alcohol in any way.

-drinking-centric holidays like Superbowl and St. Patty’s Day–though Thanksgiving and Christmas (holidays about something) weren’t difficult at ALL.

-thinking of missing out at Labor Dave tailgating, at Fandango Champagne brunch, or when we move to CO with all the craft breweries.

Reactions:

-irritability when a normal drinking time approaches/arrives and I’m NOT.

-Anxiety/worry/stress/frustration in anticipation of work or after a bad work day (or perceived negative interaction with someone at work)

-worry and stress about studies

-obsessing over exchanges with others where I felt misunderstood/frustrated.

-Desire when I see the restaurants (marketing drinks).

-guilt at ruining a good time because of abstinence.

Side Effects:

-I don’t think I had any physical symptoms.

-In the first week, especially, I experienced irritability when drinking times approached arrived and I knew I couldn’t participate.

-In week 3+ my sleep schedule got really messed up.  Mornings started feeling really early.  And I was very tired though-out work, and tired in class.  This may or may not be related to abstaining from drink.  I wasn’t very consistent in my sleep and wake times, which might have set this one off.

-I started having energy drinks to remain functional on 9-12 hour work days.  This bled over to school days.  Except, drinking them gave me headaches, and barely made me functional, hardly energetic.

-Day 20-ish, I do not know if it was situational or not, but I felt overwhelmingly stressed and anxious, to the point I seriously considered dropping one of my classes.  In this period I was (even more) hypersensitive, stressed, and worried.

-On day 23-ish feelings of day 20 combined with an extreme tiredness and fatigue.  I could not concentrate, couldn’t focus, and felt super-tired.  An example of the fatigue was that I got a hole in my right sock and took it off, but found it was far too much effort to remove the left sock, let along dig out a new pair.  So I slept in the one sock.

coffee teddy

Things I Did:

-I made my sleep schedule a priority

-I cut out caffeine (mostly)

-Cool and I have run a mile on the treadmill for 53 days in a row

-I drink 4-8 cups of water every day

-I take time for gratitude daily.

-I quit my job.  Did you read long enough to catch that?  My last day is tomorrow, but I didn’t want to mention it earlier because you never know who is reading.  More on THIS is an upcoming series.

Gorge Friday 8-30-13 crowd

So overall, I’m proud of me and the strides I’ve taken to align my actions with my goals.  Now that I don’t drink I live a healthier lifestyle in general, worry less, feel positive and more hopeful, and think clearly about where I want to go in my life.

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One Response to “Triggers and Rewards”

  1. sassoon18 February 23, 2014 at 11:52 AM #

    You hit the nail right on the head. No matter how you tried to avoid stress, you couldn’t succeed. Stress is mostly unavoidable, in spite of how you try to relax.

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