Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by Doofus, Jan 8, 2014.
Can I ask how much you're drinking per day? i.e. what's the quota you're allowing yourself?
Well, the short answer is too much, but the more precise answer is 900 ml of wine. It works out to between 5 and 6 drinks, I think.
Could you try restricting it to say two glasses per evening? That way, you still have something to take the edge off but haven't had enough to give you a hangover the following day. That's crucial, as when we're feeling lousy and nauseous were far likely to use that feeling as an excuse to act out. Saying "no" to that extra drink could be considered an act of self care/self compassion.
I'm not there yet. That's my goal, though.
First - and this is bad, actually - I'm not really hungover or nauseous at 900 ml. My tolerance is simply too high right now. PMO, though it and its consequences brought me here, is not really that hard for me to give up. Well that's not entirely true, it's hard, but, compared to booze, it's easy. And while they have the same root cause - depression and anxiety - doing one does not, I think, make the doing of the other more likely. In fact, I think it makes it less likely since doing one or the other alleviates that depression and anxiety which provokes the other.
Anyway, thank you @forlorn. In some general sense your suggestion is a really good one. I wish I was there. For now, though, I'm going to stick with my plan.
Stick to your plan. You will be ok. Sounds to me like you have really come along Doofus, thinking in all the right places !
I'm posting late because wife is home and we hung out cuddling on the couch and talking.
Yesterday was a mixed bag, but mostly good. Held to my PMO and booze goals, though, the booze was mixed. I got grades turned in, so that was good - really good. Yesterday morning I was in a shame spiral full-on anxiety melt-down over the fact that I still wasn't done and that it didn't look like I would finish before I had to go to the track meet. Which would have been catastrophic.
Track meet went well, for the most part. T ran really well. So did the other kids that I coach.
I only had 500 ml before I went to bed, so that was good. This was actually intentional. I wanted to see what would happen to my sleep if I drank less and didn't take zinc. N= 1, but, based on last night, I need the zinc - and, maybe, the extra wine for now. I had a hard time falling asleep - which might be attributable to being wound up from the meet, but also might be because of the wine, then woke at 1 at 3 and at 4. When I woke at 3 I poured a glass, but didn't drink it. I was able to get back to sleep pretty quickly. When I woke at 4, I drank it. And didn't get back to sleep. So, 700 ml yesterday, which is good, but drinking to get back to sleep, which is bad. Still I held to my pledge so I'm not entirely unhappy.
As far as PMO goes, I'm still good Though, when I was super stressed yesterday morning, I googled a couple of sex-related questions. I didn't follow the links that came up on the search, I didn't look at anything sexy, but, I was very tempted. Though PMO is easier for me to kick than booze is, it isn't easy. I still want to resort to it when I'm feeling especially anxious.
I wish I was better at just living with that anxiety. Just feeling it. Maybe I can get to that point, but, for now, when I'm feeling like that, I'll do almost anything to try to relieve it. Or at least battle the strong temptation to do so.
I'm entered in a race on Saturday, so right now I'm tapering for it. On Sunday, though, I'm going to crank up my training. Hopefully that will help. I think I've written elsewhere on here that my drinking really started to be a problem only when I couldn't run very much. It's an open question whether running as much as I used to is bad, but, what I'm certain of, is that it's better than drinking as much as I am. We'll see.....
Anyway, despite some stumbles, I'm counting yesterday in both columns: So, begins day 5 PMO and day 3 booze.
The way I view it is the old me is dead. Whatever I believed I no longer believe. However I behaved I no longer behave that way. The addict wants us to look back, always back, because then we stay stuck. When I was ten I didn't drink or look at P, so why not return to that time? The rear view mirror gives us only a partial view.
I don't know what it is about Thursdays, but my counters are both back at 1 today. I could point to different things as the cause, but, really, it was just weakness.
Time to do better.
Yes, I understand the point you're making. You're substituting one addiction for another and it's serving a purpose of managing your anxiety. I recognise the same behaviour in myself to an extent. But how long can we go on like this for? At some point we have to face up to our fears/anxieties. With regards to excessive consumption of alcohol if we think about it logically, there are hardly any advantages.
- weight gain
- risk of hangover leading to relapse
- risk of liver disease and other health problems over long term
- impaired judgement (more likely to argue with your wife)
- increasing dependency on booze
- masks your problems, doesn't resolve them
- makes us feel relaxed and reduces anxiety (temporarily)
This is a really good list @forlorn ! Thanks for it and for the implicit nudge.
At the beginning of 2018, our beloved dog, S, died. He led a full long (for his breed) life - we had him for almost all of his 17 years. S was an English Setter, bred to hunt, and, to run. In the aftermath of his death our family remembered him, reminding each other of S's antics, especially his willfulness. That dog was quite a character. Many of the episodes we talked about had to do with S's penchant for and ingenuity at escaping from the house or yard, whereupon he would basically sprint around the neighborhood for 1-3 hours, until, finally, he'd trot back onto the porch, defiant, unapologetic.
My wife had argued we should get a setter for many reasons, including that they love to run. She imagined that dog would run with me and get its exercise as I did. The problem with that was that, for whatever set of reasons, S was too exuberant to trot along side me on a run. The 'run' ended up consisting of him nearly yanking my arm out of its socket, then resisting as I tried to pull him away from a tree... running with S made my runs worse, not better. And so our runs together became somewhat rare, and, thus, S was not getting the exercise he needed to be healthy and happy. For a complex set of reasons not really germane to the point of this story, we weren't able to train him to be a better running companion. (Or, maybe, train me to be one....haha)
One day, back in 2004, I got a call at work from my wife: S had escaped again, but, this time, he had been struck by a car as he dashed across the street. The boys were completely distraught. S might die - his hip was broken and he may have sustained more serious injuries to his inner organs. As it turns out, he survived, and almost completely recovered. But in the aftermath of surgery, we talked about our problem with S with the vet. The vet said something that really struck me at the time, and, obviously, still does: "The reward that S gets for bolting from the house and then around the neighborhood is much greater than any punishment you're willing to inflict"
We like to believe that humans are more sophisticated, more conscious than our pets. Maybe. But regardless, we are driven, at least some of the time, at least in part, by that same sort of arithmetic of punishment and reward. As long as the reward of our habits outweighs the harm of them, they will continue to tempt.
I ran my long-anticipated race this morning. Spoiler: It didn't go particuarly well or, at least, I was pretty far from running the time I wanted to. In any case, I was nervous about running it. I woke at 12,1 and 2:30. The zinc, I think..., helped me get back to sleep the first two times, but on the third the cortisol won. I'll tell you: At about 4 (the race was at 9, I had to wake for it at 7) I was very very tempted to get a glass. I didn't. I decided that a lack of sleep, which would be deleterious, but not necessarily decisive, was better than being hungover and dehydrated. Once I decided that, I wasn't tempted. The reward of doing well in that race outweighed the powerful temptation of booze.
This is why I'm going to try again to hit my goal in a few weeks. I'll up the training, decrease the drinking... I hope. In any case, the moral of this parable is that I believe, and, hope to exploit this truth: It is easier to say no to something when you have a bigger yes inside. I have a few yesses. They've been overun by all the other mundane but large responsibilities of my life. I'm going to shift that arithmetic.
Almost to the end of day 2 of both.
I'm just going to write a little.
I peeked a little this morning. Started to get a bit aroused, and, almost immediately closed the browser. I really don't know why I did it. Other sins (perhaps related...): I woke at 4 with very solid MW. It even lasted until I made it to the bathroom, which is unusual for me. So that should have been reinforcing, but it wasn't. I had about 350 ml left of my allotment from last night. So I did well with that - yesterday anyway. Unfortunately, I had about 200 ml of that to try to get back to sleep at 4:30 Again, I don't know why. Yesterday was actually a pretty good day in many ways. Which is weird, too, because I basically sat in a chair the whole day icing my foot, which was really sore from the race. Obviuosly, I did drink some wine during the afternoon and evening, but only 550 ml, which, for me is pretty good. The really good thing, though, was that I didn't really want anymore than that. During the last week and change while I've been trying to ratchet down my intake, I've almost always experienced some anxiety relating to the amount I had left to drink still before hitting my limit. Why not yesterday?
I have a few guesses. Because I was chair bound most of the day (my legs were pretty beat up from the race, too) I decided to just work my GTD system, trying to get back on top of it. This largely consisted of trying to get my inbox to zero. I didn't quite make it, but I reduced my emails from 2500 to about 300. That work is usually sufficiently anxiety provoking for me that I end up taking frequent breaks to walk around the house or do dishes or mow the lawn or or ... I was too sore to really do any of those things. A second factor may have been that I took an epsom salt bath in the middle of the day (with lavender.....). I felt pretty good psychologically after that. I even dozed off for a bit in the afternoon after the bath. I meant to take one before bed. Maybe making it part of my night-time routine? ?The problem is that it will likely be difficult for me to do that while I'm up in Boston. Anyway, I'm going to experiment with this the next couple weeks before I go. The third reason is that I had a really great day with the wife on Saturday. She came with me to the race. And she was like this version of herself when we were dating. She wasn't late getting up or into the car as she almost always is. She was super supportive. She said some pretty good things to cushion my disappointment at not hitting my goal time. We had a normal conversation at breakfast afterward, as opposed to her usual 30 minute self-absorbed soliloquy during which I don't get to talk at all. We humped to O in the afternoon and that was really good. We actually sat at the table and ate dinner together. The whole day was great. Where has this woman been? I know we've both been stressed and overworked and isolated, but, why yesterday? The only thing I can think of is that she views my re-entry into competitive running (or, for now, 'competitive'.. and, really, 'running'..) as a possible way out of boozing for me. She's been worried about my drinking for a while.
Anyway, I'm thinking about my criteria for my counters. Or even if I should have them at all. At least for now, not peeking, while I'm spending so much time on the computer, largely by myself, largely doing things that make me anxious, is really hard. It's kind of the equivalent of going cold turkey with the booze, you know? I've written above about the importance of setting reachable goals. They should challenge me, improve my position in my battle, but frequently failing to meet the mark is very discouraging - kind of like the race. My time goal was simply out of reach. I kind of knew it after the workout I had done the previous Sunday. I ran 2.5 km at race pace. I managed it, but not as comfortably as I should have if I were going to be able to hold it for 4 times the distance 6 days later. It's similar too to having a goal of both reducing my consumption and not consuming when I wake up in the middle of the night. It's just too much for me right now.
I'll think about all this and write here some more soon.
So, I've thought about it, and I'm going to impose the tougher standard on myself. In the past peeking has led to PMO. I've got to bear down on the booze, too. I stayed under my quota but I was drinking at 2:30 last night and now I feel wretched. So, any way day 1 on both counters. I'm heading out for a run now - finally - in the hopes of feeling better.
That's 2 tough habits you're dealing with. I'd definitely take it one at the time, of which drinking seems most logical to start with to me. Anyway, hope you can find a way to free yourself from the grip of both. Enjoy the run!
Thank you, @Gilgamesh . You're right. It's going to be tough. Y'all are going to get to read a lot of my ramblings. Writing here really helps.
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