I have been reading recovery blogs from wine drinkers like me. Some mention the “pink cloud” so I thought I would check it out. Here is what I found:
12 step recovery jargon referring to someone new who talks about how great life is now that they are sober. Usually meaning the person is out of touch with reality.
“The new guy has no job, no money, no family is feeling pretty good. Must be under a pink cloud.”
From what I read, it means that “early recovery is often referred to as a roller coaster because it involves great highs and lows. Emotions that have been anesthetized with alcohol suddenly awaken and feelings are intense. Over confidence can lead to relapse. The feelings are so good they fail to do things needed to stay on track.”
I really do feel better without drinking wine. I have had thoughts of having a glass of wine when things are going great but I stopped myself. Was that the “pink cloud”? Am I addicted to wine? Probably.
I will keep the “pink cloud” in mind as I continue with my journey.
I started this blog two years ago when I decided to document going minimalist in My Journey Begins. Between September and January of 2015, I managed to do quite nicely in downsizing. Then I stopped writing when the drinking got out of hand when I wrote I will not admit I am defeated…
I thought I would just delete this blog and start a new one but I’m tired of “starting over” so I will just have to catch up on the many things that have happened in a year and a half. Some of it was fun and I progressed quite nicely in downsizing….it also wound up to be some renovation to my home as well. Some of it was awful (breast cancer) but I managed to get through it with help from family and friends. I wonder sometimes why I did not document any of it. Now I will have to rely on memory. Since I have a few followers, I want to put it together so it is not too confusing. I think I will work on a “catching up” post this weekend – might take a few parts.
The good news is I am still not drinking wine (or any alcohol) and my health is stable. My drink was always Chardonnay. I never did drink anything else except a nice red wine sometime. Chardonnay was the drink I used when feeling good, sad, depressed, sick, lonely, tired, overwhelmed and every day no matter what I was feeling ….. I know today that if I drink one glass l be back to the bottle a night – or two. There were times soon after I quit when I wanted to stop and pick up some cool Chardonnay…but I pushed past it. It has not been as hard a I thought. Of course, this time I keep thinking that “if you have breast cancer and in remission, there is a 90% chance of it returning if you drink any alcohol”. Smack down…
These days…I just want good days. I can’t have them when drinking wine. So I won’t drink….
I had a check up with my cardiologist on Monday. He said the echogram showed my heart is fine. There was only a minor change and it would never bother me….the usual “due to my age”. My blood pressure was 96/58 so he cut one of the blood pressure meds in half (I think this good news is due to not drinking alcohol). The feet are still swelling somewhat but he doesn’t know why and I don’t want another round of doctors to “try” and find out why. I’m just going to do a little better with my diet and exercise. Loosing 25 pounds would definitely make it all go away….
Watching the Olympics! I love, love the Olympics!
I do not feel well….. I actually feel pretty crappy. I do not remember the last time I felt good but I am sure it was prior to the cancer diagnosis. Feeling “great” has left my vocabulary. The cancer surgery was trauma to my body and the fear of all of it took its toll I am sure. Then the 21 radiation treatments caused me to be really tired, as the doctors said it would. I would have thought by now the tiredness would be over…but then I thought it should be over after a week. The doctor said it could take three to six months…it has been seven months.
Then my feet and ankles started swelling and stayed that way. I could only wear one pair of shoes. The skin stretched which made it feel like elastic on my legs and not a nice feeling. I have had this before but it went away at night. This time it did not go away at all. So another round of doctors visits. My cardiologist did an echogram..heart is fine. He said some of the elasticity was gone but was “age” related. On a scale of 1-4 it was probably a 1..not much for my age. He put me on Lasix meds for fluid and my regular doctor took me off it just as quickly because it depleted the salt in my blood to a critical level. She also added a pill so I wouldn’t have to go to the bathroom so much at night. No wonder I don’t feel good. Then I had some kind of test to check for blood clots in my legs…again negative. The only suggestion was to loose weight (haven’t gained) and wear support hose. Ha!!
Then one day the swelling went down just as quickly as it started. I have no idea why but I am beginning to think it is a sensitivity to some sort of food…I have not been able to figure out what exactly. Now I am eliminating wheat to see if anything changes. I still get swelling but usually at the end of the day and it goes down at night or when I elevate my feet.
I also played golf one time – pulled a muscle in my lower back – and then proceeded to 12 sessions of physical therapy. Much better….but not totally!!
There were days I cried the “ugly” cry because I was just such a total wreck. Very depressing….but damn, I am not taking meds for depression.
I have been off my vegan diet. I did not feel like cooking so stopped somewhere and got food. It was usually a sandwich at night but definitely meat. Breakfast and lunch stayed pretty much vegan. Basically, I didn’t care about self-care and was only existing and not very well.
Now the good part…I have not had alcohol in 60 days. That’s a record. I just decided one day I had enough and have not had any since. I still go out and no one says anything. In fact Jean and Doug go periods without drinking as well. Nobody cares really. I felt a lot worse when drinking so thought I would feel wonderful not drinking. Not so much so being sober definitely is a plus. I don’t want to drink anymore. I’ve had enough. Reminded me of when I stopped smoking…I just stopped. No announcements – no planning – just stopped. For good this time! I’m done. Considering how much I had been drinking, I’m amazed there were so few withdrawal symptoms. The only thing was some insomnia but got through that OK. I’ve lost 12 pounds since – my face looks so much better – I don’t look like a “drunk” anymore with swollen face, bloodshot eyes and red nose. Why is it we don’t know what we look like as long as we are boozers?
This morning I decided to work on my health – not just lip service this time. I watched some videos by my favorite people, Dr. Pam Popper and Dr. Michael Greger (the “How Not To Die” guy). Dr. Popper talked about seniors being over-medicated with hypertension meds. I am taking two very strong one’s. My BP yesterday was 99/64 and today it is 115/68. She said one of the reasons seniors ha so many falls is low blood pressue from being over medicated. She also said there was a major study in Sweden done where patients in nursing homes improved greatly when blood pressure meds reduced. Maybe that could be a little bit of my problem. Today, I am going to reduce one in half – from 200 mg. to 100 mg. day. Then see what happens. I also stopped the “bathroom” pill (that’s what I call it). I only took it for a month and the only thing different was a dry mouth.
I am going back to my completely WFPB diet. I won’t give up the oil just yet but will when I get the WFPB part down. I have reduced salt but still use some. Getting rid of that may or may not come later. It depends on how my blood pressure acts.
Also, back to the gym tomorrow. Maybe some Yoga at home. One thing at a time!
I did not make it through the holidays without drinking wine. I guess it is a bad time to swear off something that is such a big part of my life and has been for years. I spent Christmas with a friend and there was much entertaining and guests and wine and fattening food. And, I had some (a lot) of it all. The wine was the easy part and I stopped when I began to feel the least little buzz. It continued during the whole month of January. The short days, cold, wet, gloomy days made it really easy to come home, plop in front of the TV, drink wine and eat late. Not wanting to cook, I just grabbed something from the store. I went totally off my plan for two months. I will not admit I am defeated….
So I continue on. Tomorrow I am headed to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods to stock up on items not available here in my small town. The refrigerator will be cleaned out and the pantry. I really want to stay on a whole foods plant based diet with no animal products at all and this time, I am going to do it without oil and sugar. I have never decided I could do it without oil but really like the plan otherwise. Of course, no wine. I am giving myself a 30 day challenge. Food will be simple and nothing processed. Food was not simple during the holidays.
Tonight is the Grand Opening of our new office building. There will be about 200 people there for cocktails and dinner. My plan is to not have any wine and just leave the meat (no vegan option). Probably just have the salad which is what I usually do at these functions.
This week begins the renovation of my home. I will write more about progress later. I guess the title of my blog is right on “Imperfect”…… I am not handling this journey right. I’ll get it together!! One day at a time!!
It has been about a month since I last posted. I had great plans to make my doctor visit a good one. I did not accomplish anything on my “list” so from here on out, no “lists”.
On November 14, my little dog “Prissy” died from congestive heart failure. She had been experiencing some difficulties and one day things just got to a point she could not breathe. It happened quickly. We made daily trips to the vet and finally I knew she was in pain, so I let her go. She had been with me for 15 years. I knew the day would come but it’s never easy to lose such a wonderful companion. I had a really rough couple of weeks and still have moments of sadness. I still have my little Pepe who is about 6 months older than Prissy. He has the beginning of the same thing so I know we are on borrowed time. This is the first time in 40 years I have had only one dog. It’s normally 2 or 3. I am astounded at how quiet it is with just the one. Pepe had panic attacks at first when I would leave him…..barking constantly, rapid breathing and just scared. He is getting better. He stays with me whenever I move but that’s OK. It’s just the two of us now!! It is really going to be quiet when I do not have any animals. I have decided not to get any more. I may foster but that’s to be considered down the road. I must say my dogs live and have lived a blessed life!
I then had “another” health scare. I went into our Sunday clinic because my heart rate was really high and would not go down (looking back – probably stress). The doctor sent me for lab work and then called later in the day and said there was a marker that I had a possible blood clot in my lung. He wanted to put me in the hospital but I said no. The next day I went in for a CT scan and was all normal. That’s enough to make you panic. I saw my regular doctor the same week and we’re going back to one of the original blood pressure medications (that is covered by my new drug plan). I asked what I needed to do to come off the one med and she said that it would never happen….Hummmm! I’m going to try to get off it.
I spent a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family in Virginia. Came home on Saturday and Sunday morning I became really ill and was told I had the “Stomach Flu”. I do not ever remember being so sick (except the time I had Salmonella poisoning). I just phoned the doctor and she said drink fluids, take Imodium and it will go away in a couple of days. It’s going around and is extremely contagious. Great!
So my “to do” list went to “hell in a hand basket” as the old saying goes. I did stay sober!! My next post will be more upbeat!! They say things happen in “three’s” … well, I’ve had mine. Moving on!!
I made it 23 days without having wine. Then I had a birthday…..and I had some wine with family. Not much, just one glass. One glass too many. I then had some wine later in the week and yesterday, I polished off a full bottle!! It took most of the day to do it so I was not drunk. Today, I am back to none and Day 1 again. I felt so much better not drinking and today I felt like crap again. Why in the hell can’t I just put it away for good? I didn’t grow up with it but along the way, learned to love it too, too much!!
It has to stop!! Enough said!!
Thursday night I went to my first social event since I stopped drinking wine. This is a group of golfing friends that meet once a month for dinner and to catch up on golfing events. Most in the group drink wine but I noticed more are now just having water or tea. I thought people would notice I was not drinking wine but none did…or at least if they did, they didn’t mention it!
Why did I think people would notice? I have been meeting with this group for 6 years and normally have my two glasses of wine. If the function is at someone’s home, it is BYOB and usually everyone brings wine. Is it because I feel so bad about the amount of my own drinking and I think others are reading my mind? Prior to stopping the booze, I would leave the dinner, stop by the wine store, get a bottle and finish the bottle before going to bed! Then the shame, guilt, and generally feeling like crap the next day would consume me.
It has now been 3 weeks (21 days) since my last drink! Everything is improving. The dark circles are gone from under my eyes, my skin is better, the morning sinus drainage is gone, I sleep so much better and my blood pressure is way down. I know I will have challenges to come with wanting to drink (maybe this is the “pink cloud” of sobriety I have been reading about) but my resolve is to stay strong and continue the quest to be a “non-drinker” – not just sober but a “non-drinker”.
As part of my minimalist journey, I am going through old photographs today and purging. I moved them here 8 years ago and have not looked at them since. My plan right now is to keep a few memorable one’s but to do something with the remainder….either have copied to discs, give away or toss. This task might just be the most emotional one I will have to tackle.
I am not sure I can remember the diffferent types of things I have “collected” during my life. I guess I enjoyed the fun of finding items during the collection period but honestly, I don’t remember so it could not have been that memorable. My list…..ugh!!
- Decorative bird houses – I had them sitting everywhere!! Why? Bird houses are for birds “outside” not collecting dust on the coffee table. I sold what I could, for hardly nothing, and donated the remaining to the Rescue Squad Garage Sale when I downsized from a large home to a townhouse. They were “decorative” meaning the birds would not build in them when I tried putting them outside plus, the weather ruined them in no time. Learn from the birds……simple!!
- Fenton glass bells – This was an expensive hobby and when I was collecting, they were pricey. I started when a friend, who was a collector of numerous items, invited me on one of her “hunts” and decided that I should collect “something”. We found a “Madeline” Fenton glass bell and this was the beginning. At one time, I had about 300 bells. Again, collecting dust!! I suppose it was fun at the time but, again, I don’t remember. What I remember is trying to get rid of the damn things! I sold about half when I moved to my current home and the remaining I sold at a yard sale for $2.00 each. One lady bought 10 and came back later for more. I gave her all that I had left and she was thrilled. I guess she was a “collector”. I have a few remaining but from the research on eBay they are not worth the time to list.
- Copper pots and pans and other copper things – My husband was a Chef and loved to cook in copper pans. The irony of this being he never cooked in “our” copper pots and pans. I don’t know if Chef’s still use copper pans but “back in the day” (the 70’s and 80’s) it was all the go so they were easily available to collect. When we built our mountain home in the 70’s, we had a wooden beam across the kitchen and the pans hung all across it. After my husband died, I moved to another house, and in redecorating, I had a beam placed on the top of two sides of the kitchen for…you guessed it – the copper collection! I must say it looked nice and was the topic of conversation for guests. I was still collecting by then and had many stuffed into a cabinet. Talk about a pain to clean!! I would take two days about every other month, clean and then polish to a shine. I look back now and think….why? When I left this house to move to a townhouse, I sold “everything” except personal items like clothes and my dogs. The copper pans went with the birdhouses. I only kept a few miniatures and really old items. I think they are still packed away in a box from my move 6 years ago.
- Longaberger Baskets – I had been invited to many Longaberger Basket parties and never went. I just don’t do parties and I thought they were too expensive anyway. I visited my sister and she and her boyfriend at the time were collecting them but buying at auctions which made it a lot cheaper. I had a “stupid moment” and went to an auction with them and bought a bunch – I can’t remember but it was probably 15 or so, maybe more. “Stupid moment” is right!!! I kept collecting. I found eBay!! I probably had over 100 of these baskets when I finally stopped. When I moved from the townhouse, I had a tag sale and sold many of them for a lot less than I paid. I brought about half with the last move and have since given away some, sold some at my last garage sale, and have a few more to list on eBay to try and sell. If they don’t sell, they will go to charity.
- Old Nesting Bowls – I call this a collection but I bought these for the sole purpose of putting on top of my kitchen cabinets. There is a space between the cabinet and ceiling that I thought “needed” something. Huh!!! For a while I really enjoyed them in my “country kitchen” but now I am ready to be rid of all the stuff that serves absolutely no purpose except to collect dirt and dead bugs!!
- Golf Visors – I am a golfer and I wear visors when playing – keeps the sweat and hair out of my eyes!! When I started playing golf, I collected a personalized visor from every golf course I played. Over the years, it was many! I have since gotten rid of about two-thirds of them. I do use them so will keep what I have left for my golfing days!!
- Antique Hat Pins – My sister-in-law showed me a few antique hat pins she had found at an auction house. I did not realize they existed. Years ago, in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, women’s bodies were totally covered. They wore dresses all the way up to their neck, long sleeves, and skirts long enough to touch the ground. They grew their hair long, put it up into a knot, and put a hat over their hair. There was no place on their body for “bling” like today with jewelry so they had long hat pins that would go through the hats and into the hair underneath to keep the hat secured. These were their “bling”. I was absolutely fascinated and completely “stupid” again. I began collecting. At my “I’m done” point, I had over 200. They are beautiful and I am still fascinated but not enough to keep hanging on to them. I listed all the remaining hat pins on eBay yesterday.
Like being addicted to alcohol, I believe I am “addicted to collecting”. When I stopped drinking wine, I stopped collecting!!
About 3 years ago, I decided to become a Vegan. My cholesterol was high and I cannot take Statins due to muscle pain. I was also horrified at how animals are treated and slaughtered at factory farms so this was my way of protesting the practices. At first I was a “junk food” Vegan meaning I substituted real meat and dairy for the fake stuff. I really did not know how many fake items are there. My little dog, Pepe, would not eat Tofurky and fake cheese and he will eat “anything”. After a few months, I decided this was not healthy either and I really didn’t know what was in the food with all the ingredients I could not pronounce. I settled into my new way of eating quite well and lost over 30 pounds. I was also exercising a lot. I was at the gym every day at 5:30 a.m. with the morning group for an hour of cardio and I worked out with a trainer twice a week. Our gym had introduced something called Cross Fit which consists of TRX, kettlebells, medicine balls, sled with heavy weights to push and ropes. I was also running (or run/walk) 5K and 10K races. My cholesterol came down from 305 to 245 within a couple of months and my blood pressure was really low. I felt good and looked good.
Then came September 6, 2012 and I had an aortic dissection!!
Only 25% of people with an aortic dissection live. I was in ICU for 11 days and when I was released, my doctor told me to do as little movement as possible. I came to a stop!! I was scared I was going to die and I was incredibly depressed so what the hell!! So, I went from Vegan to KFC and fast food every day. No movement right – I took him literally and didn’t even move to the kitchen to cook. I just didn’t care. Over the next three months, I gained back the 30 pounds plus some. I was also drinking wine every night and a lot of it. Of course, this just made me more depressed. Life was not good!!
Two years later and after having surgery to correct the dissection, my CT scans continue to show I am OK. I am finally beginning to believe I will live a while longer and can have a healthy, happy, long life if I just take care of myself. I am alcohol dependent – or wine dependent. I cannot drink in moderation. I’ve tried it and one glass leads to five. So this is it! I am now 8 days without wine but I feel really good about it. It reminds me of when I stopped smoking. My liver will fail before the dissection if I keep up with the daily bottle of wine. And so the wine drinking ends here.
I go back to work tomorrow. Today I cooked so I don’t have to cook much the rest of the week (hard cooking for one). The food was simple, nothing processed and really good. Here’s a sample:
And lunch is packed for tomorrow: