Progress – 2 Months Alcohol Free

“Nothing will work unless you do”.  – Maya Angelou

I made a list of all the things wrong with me on the day I stopped drinking wine which has now been 60 days.  Improvements are noted.

  • High Blood Pressure – 169/92 P=85 (116/66 P=66)
  • High Cholesterol – 325 total (not tested since change)
  • Obese – Weight 217# (now 196# – lost 21#)
  • 50” waistline – belly fat from sugar in wine and junk food (now 43” – down 7”)
  • Morning Nasal Congestion ( almost gone)
  • Feet Swelling and compression socks needed (now gone)
  • Arthritis in hands (no change)
  • Red Spots appearing after wine binge (no new spots)
  • Dry Skin (better)
  • Dry Eyes requiring morning eye drops (no longer needed)
  • Depressed – alcohol is a depressant (better – work in progress
  • Sweaty – can’t handle heat (progress)
  • Drank no water – always wine (now drinking lots more plain water and some coffee)

When I stopped the boozing, I became more focused on my health and trying to fix all the things I had damaged.  I was actually scared I would die soon.  When drinking, I did not care what I ate and wound up stopping for crappy food before coming home.  I knew that once I started drinking I would not be in any position to cook anything – healthy or not.  So I ate junk food and drank junk wine.  I am now exercising some – just walking and some weights. Nothing would have changed if I had continued to drink the wine.  It is a work in progress but I’m really proud of myself!

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Stopping the booze!

“Keep pushing every day!  DO NOT ever give up.”     —Anon—

I was going to cancel my blog recently and then received a notification from Word Press that my annual fee had been charged.  It was on “Auto Pay” which I forgot.  They had sent me notices but I was not paying attention to my email messages.  My fault!

So, here I am giving it another try.

I have an “alcohol substance abuse” issue.  Is this the new term for “alcoholic”? I have been drinking wine just about every day for the past 20 years.  There would be “moderation” at times but it didn’t stick.  I was a “social” drinker at the beginning and it morphed into full-blown drink a bottle (or more) of wine a night.  Every night!  The longest time I ever quit completely was 57 days but I started right back up at a bottle a night again.  I read all the quit books, “You Tube” posts, read blogs, blah, blah, blah……

On July 4, after a particularly heavy evening of “Chardonnay”, I said “enough” and have not had any since…not even a sip.  Somehow it feels different this time.  I feel fabulous for one thing.  I can’t remember how I felt the last time but it must not have been so terrific because I started it again.  The first few days were rough, it took about 9 days to get a solid 8 hour sleep but since then, no withdrawal symptoms and no cravings.  I realize this may be the “pink cloud” but I intend to never drink again!

It has now been 58 days which is the longest I’ve been without alcohol in 20 years.  It’s just the beginning and I know I will be tempted.  The only goal I had when I stopped was to be alcohol free!  It wasn’t about losing weight, exercise, eating right – nothing.  Just stop the booze!   My last blog post was December 31, 2018 and I wrote about being “healthy”.  Total bull since I was still sucking down and numbing myself with wine every night.  I realized my health depends on being free from alcohol.  If I had not stopped, I feared I would soon be dead.  The next milestone is 100 days.  I will be tested with some “boozy” social function and my reserve will be tested.  Staying strong!

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Reflections!

On this, the last day of 2018, it is time for reflections!  I am 73 years old now and the year was a blessed one since I stayed fairly healthy.  All my annual checks ups were good and no new issues developed.

I decided to sell my home in April.  I wanted to be debt free with no mortgage for the first time since our first home in 1978.  I also did not want the liability of maintaining it.  It sold quickly and I moved into a new apartment in the same area.  I moved into a place half the size so more downsizing had to happen.  It is amazing how little we truly need to be comfortable and happy.  I was a bit concerned with apartment living but it has turned out to be quite pleasant.  There are only about 70 units and the majority of my neighbors are young professionals, military and retirees like me.  It is a new building with all the amenities I need.

I also went back to work.  The person that replaced me at retirement decided to quit and walked out one day so I was asked to return to train another replacement. It was a blessing as I was getting really bored.  After the new person was trained, I was asked to stay on in another department while some system changes are happening.  I now work in the mornings, 5 days a week and am loving it.  It still gives me plenty of time to do other things and not enough time left to get bored.  It also gives me some extra income to help while the stock market is so crazy and my IRA account is unsettled.

Life is good!!

My goal for 2019 is to work on staying healthy.  I did go off my vegan diet and want to get back to it.  It is really a Whole Foods Plant Based diet.  I have signed up for a 30 day challenge in January to be WFPB with no added oils.  My doctor said oil was the worst thing for damaging endothelial cells in the lining of the arteries (my problem with the dissection) so want to try not using it.   I did gain a few pounds in 2018 so want to lose them plus some extra.  Cutting oil can’t hurt…stuff is calorie dense.

I have also set up a rather aggressive budget for 2019.  Panic set in when the stock market started the daily losses and ended up the worst year in 10 years.  I realized I had to become more minimalist and frugal.  I’ve done a good job so far by downsizing so much but there’s some more to be done.  I’m not perfect!

I truly wish for all reading this a very Happy New Year!!

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Apartment Living

I began moving into my new apartment on May 1 but the furniture did not get moved until May 12 because it took longer to get the state inspection of the elevator. After it was inspected, it stopped working for a while so the movers did not want to move furniture up to the second floor.

The house sale went through with no problems and it closed on May 23.  I thought I had done a good job of minimizing but there was still so much “stuff” to either sell or donate it took more time than I had thought.  I downsized from a 2,000 square foot house with a garage to a 1,000 square foot apartment.  After selling most of the furniture I no longer needed, I just donated everything else and it was still a truck load (small truck).  I just wanted it “gone”.

I am settling into the apartment. I had to buy a new sofa (the sectional in the house would not fit and new owners bought it) and a sofa bed for the guest room/office.  I moved too much stuff for the kitchen and when I unpacked, I had to donate more stuff.  I do like my new living arrangements.  My biggest fear was noise from neighbors.  The complex has 72 units but only 30 are occupied at present so I have no neighbors on either side but I do have a neighbor above me.  The only noise I hear is their little dog bark once in a while and them walking in the kitchen/dining area that has hardwood floors.  At night, it is perfectly quiet.  I am very cognizant of apartment living and keep my own noise down as much as possible.  For now, noise is not a problem.  It may change when I have neighbors beside me but hopefully it will be OK.

I am glad I decided to get a garage with the apartment.  I leased the first one which is closest to the complex and has extra storage space.  I do not intend to store much but it is handy for the golf clubs.  There is no way I can move them in and out of the apartment each time I play so now have plenty of space.

I picked up three bad habits in this move process.  I got tired and lazy.  I started eating crappy food, stopped going to the gym every day and began drinking way too much wine.  I stopped for either fast food or food from the local grocery food bar and normally a bottle of wine.  I drank the bottle of wine, ate the food late at night and then went to bed.  Therefore, I gained some weight back.  Now that I have moved completely and have a working kitchen, I am concentrating on getting rid of all three of these “bad habits”.  The one that bothers me the most is going back to drinking wine.  I love wine.  Chardonnay.  I love it too much.  Being a breast cancer survivor, I should not be drinking any alcohol.   So the first of these habits to break is stop with the wine again.  I suppose the stress of selling the house and moving was the trigger.  Now that I’m through all that, I will conquer the wine first.  Today is Day 1.

And…..the woman that replaced me when I retired, quit last week and left without notice.  They asked if I would return to help out until they found a replacement again and I said yes…..so I am back at work.  More on this in another post.

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8 Hour Listing – Sold!

The move in date for my new apartment was changed to May 1 due to some construction delays.  I listed my house with a realtor on April 2.  I thought it would be easier to move and wait for the house to sell.  This would give me plenty of time to sell, give away and move my belongings.

The listing was active about noon.  I had two showings that afternoon and got a call from my realtor at 8:00 p.m. and she said she was expecting an offer. The offer came in at full price with closing the end of May.  Fantastic!  Worries gone!!   Nothing like an 8 hour listing!!  The buyers were not the people that had the showing….they were out of the country and bought the house by looking at the pictures.  Evidently they had been looking for quite a while and had lost 3 houses by being too low with the offer or two slow and it got away.  So now I am worried.  What if they looked at it and hated it?

They came into town on the 14th and loved it.  They want to buy quite a bit of the furniture and want to close a week early.

The next month will be a busy one with packing and sorting.  I really don’t have much left as I’ve been minimizing for quite a while.  I expect I’ll be donating most of what’s left.  I had thought of hiring a firm to do a tag sale but I really don’t have enough left for anyone to be interested.

My minimizing helped to sell my house.  I made sure it was spotless, there was nothing on counters and I even took up all the scatter rugs.

So now…I start packing.

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Live with Less

“Live with less, to make room for more.” 

I have decided to sell my home of 12 years and move into a two-bedroom apartment.  This is my 8th house and I am just DONE!  I am done with the mortgage, taxes, insurance, maintenance, cleaning and the whole thing.  My house is 2,000 square feet and I’m moving into a 1,000 square feet apartment.  The apartment is under construction and I’ll be moving the first week of April if all continues to go well with construction.  It is located near my home so I have all my local “haunts” and businesses.

I have minimized quite a bit but now it gets serious.  As I make the move, I am going to go with “The Minimalists” recommendations to (1) identify the essentials and (2) let go of the rest and “live with less, to make room for more”.

A picture of the house is included.  I will update as the move progresses.

20170513_115717[1]

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Uncluttered

On September 6, 2012, I had an aortic dissection and came very close to dying.  Only 25% of the people with dissections survive.  I was lucky and truly blessed!

It took two years after surgery to become stable enough for my doctor to release me to resume most of my activities.  During these two years, I was petrified of having my aorta split (and we all know what happens then) and became very depressed.  I maintained my job, my home and my animals during this time but I did nothing else.  I basically went to work, came home, walked the dogs and sat on my butt…afraid to move!  I did not feel like cooking so became addicted to Kentucky Fried Chicken – 3 piece meal with extra biscuit – which I consumed daily.  I gained weight and became lethargic and unhealthy.

After my doctor telling me the 12” stent-like device he had inserted in my aorta from my heart to my kidneys was “almost perfect” and doing its job wonderfully, I should resume my life.  He continues to monitor my progress.

I took a few weeks to reassess my priorities – my possessions, ideas, relationships and activities.  I realized the physical things I owned were not the most important things in my life and I wanted to get rid of the excess stuff that did not bring value to my life.  I focused on what was really important and felt the physical possessions were hindering me from feeling free and “uncluttered”.  I did not “have” to get rid of anything and didn’t want to just because I could.  I knew if I did that I would just go out and buy it again.  I had done this twice in the past when I moved and wound up just replacing it all over again.  I was determined – NOT THIS TIME!

I started with the closets in the guest room and office.  Both were stuffed to the top with junk and most of it was from the original move in 2008.  These were easy and took about a week to pare down to mostly nothing.  The collectibles where harder to part with but once I got going, I didn’t stop.  There are previous posts on my methods.  I took more time because I wanted to sell as many as possible and some were valuable.  My church was having a silent auction… the perfect place to donate some really great items.  I had a major “tag sale” with the small items and did quite well. The remaining items were donated.  I spent the entire year with Phase I.  Phase II started in January, 2015 and was a little more complicated because it included some renovation projects.  I’ll cover these in my next post.

The minimalism motto is “less is more”.  There is not one way of being a minimalist. It can be monk-like, living in one white room with no pictures on the walls and sleeping on a cot.  That’s not me!   It is about being frugal and not spending on unnecessary things…sticking to the essentials.  Before I could get to this spot and feel free, I had to clear out the clutter!

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