Farewell, My Dear Cheese.

So uhh yeah, it’s definitely lactose intolerance.

Not that I was chugging gallons of milk a week, but it must have been the cream I put in my coffee each morning that was the culprit in causing my feeling “not well” pretty much 24/7. What really clinched it was on Sunday morning I had a bowl of cereal with a glass of milk, and within 20 minutes I was in complete agony. And I remained feeling pretty cruddy for the majority of the day. On the plus side, I’m very lucky to have figured out what was causing me such pain in a very short amount of time. The idea of spending months on a low FODMAP diet was pretty depressing. So, HURRAH! I can probably still eat processed meats! And onions! And garlic!
I also figured out my blood type (A+) and just reading up a bit on it, found that dairy is often a problem. The recommended diet for this blood type is plant-based and low-fatt, with little to no meat. Lucky for me, it’s pretty close to what I eat most of the time, but I do love chicken and chorizo and the occasional steak. It also states that A+ may have heightened cortisol levels (check) and therefore, harder to handle stress (CHECK). But regular exercise (check) is obviously a good way to control it.

Anyway, in just three days of zero dairy, I feel FANTASTIC. Holy shit, is this how people are supposed to feel most of the time? I’ve gotten so used to feeling “ok” at best over the past 15-ish years. And if this is only three days in, I am excited to see how I feel further down the line. YAS. What a great day.

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Liver.

So, back in February, at the end of my ‘drinking career’ I had a fatty liver, with elevated enzymes and all of that. I walked around almost 24/7 with a dull, sometimes warm, ache on my right side. My liver was piiiiissed.
I had a physical and blood drawn last Monday and a few days later got back my results. Guess who no longer has a fatty liver NOR even slightly-elevated enzymes?! Oh my lord, when I read the results I was grinning from ear to ear. Not only is my liver in check, my cholesterol, glucose, thyroid, everything is GOOD. I am HEALTHY. Both my doctor and two nurses commented and congratulated me on my sobriety. This is WORTH IT.

On the downside, the only problem I DO have is I apparently am now lactose intolerant. Or wheat intolerant. Or garlic/onions/x,y,z intolerant. We haven’t been able to pinpoint what it is just yet, but as of now I’m leaning toward lactose. I’ve had tummy issues since I was in my early 20s and while I’d have a flare up now and again, I’ve had a pissed off stomach for a few months now. If it indeed is lactose intolerance, I find that kind of unusual. I never had issues in the past and being that I’m in my late 30’s, it’s an odd time for that to all of a sudden kick in. But whatever. As long as I can still eat hard cheeses and drink Lactaid milk, I’m good to go.

BUT YES. MAH LIVER. MAH HEALTHY LIVER.

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Monday.

Another week + weekend of no drinking. YAY! These days weeks are no problem. But on the weekends, especially when J is at work, I start doing the “well, one drink won’t hurt me” dance. There was a brief flash on Saturday afternoon, and a little twinge on Sunday morning, but thankfully, I kept myself crazy-busy both days, so I forgot about booze pretty quick.

That said, according to my fitbit, I’ve lost 15 pounds in two months. 😮  I know I won’t be so lucky in the following two, being that I’m finally back at the lower end of “normal” weight. But Oooh, those little numbers have a hold on me. As much as I want to (and sometimes do), I don’t weigh myself each day, because blah blah water weight blah discouraging. So two-three days btwn. weigh-ins.

I’m reading this book, “Safety in Numbers: From 56 to 221 Pounds”. It’s a memoir of a young woman and her struggle with an eating disorder. Overall, it’s ok, and while I understand it’s her story, she really sounds like a piece of garbage while in the hospital in recovery. Just pages and pages of a grown-ass woman consistently throwing out food and trying to sneak things past the people who are there to help her get well. And when she gets caught she constantly throws tantrums. Zzzz. Giving off a real spoiled brat vibe. I’ll keep it up for a few more chapters but if the remaining 75% of the book is like this, then I’ll have wasted my time.

Anyway. Another work week. The weather is beautiful. I’m energized and excited and feelin’ good! As I was getting ready this morning I was once again thankful for my sobriety. Mondays used to be absolutely painful, with me doing my best to swallow my hungover nausea on the train into work. I’d often have to stop at 7am to grab a half-pint of vodka to stop the shakes, and then grab an egg McMuffin to indulge my craving for fat and calories. Gross, gross, gross. Booze = pointless.

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Today.

Today I can proudly say I’m still not drinking! That. Is. Awesome. I’m so grateful. While I’m not a religious person, each night before I go to sleep I say a prayer of thanks for the will power it took for me to get over that first mega-hump of alcoholism.

On the downside, as sort of expected, my focus moved from drinking back to bulimia. I’ve been in a very consistent routine of hitting the gym with running and weights on M-F, then walking for 1.5-2 hours on Saturday and Sunday. THAT is all fine and dandy. I love being strong and (relatively) healthy. My diet is cleaner than it’s ever been and I haven’t touched fast food in a couple months. BUT, I’ve quickly gotten into purging my lunch every day during the work week. It’s dumb, it’s bad, it’s gross, it’s a senseless thing to do, but just watching that number go down on the scale…man, what a rush.

That said, I have an appointment with my therapist next week. It’s to be a check up on the booze thing, but I may as well fess up to what’s happening. We’ve touched on this before, I recall, way back in February so it won’t come as a surprise to her by any means, but oh well…keeps her in business, I suppose. Regardless, best to nip this in the bud before I end up way back where I was ten or so years ago.

So other than THAT ugly-ass monkey on my back, everything ELSE in my life is going quite peachy. Amazing how not dumping toxic chemicals down the gullet and actually working out can help one’s mood (duh). I haven’t had a crying fit in weeks, nor have I gotten irrationally angry, nor do I have a cloud of constant doom-and-gloom hanging over my head, following me everywhere I go.

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Life.

1.5 months of ‘normalcy’. Well, almost. Interesting thing happened over Easter. I went up to my folks and had one beer with my dad in the afternoon and that was nice. With my living a state away for the past 15 years, they have noooo idea of my alcohol problem. After they went to bed I sat in my childhood bedroom thinking about the bourbon in their liquor cabinet. While I went back and forth in my head for a while, I allowed myself to defeat my better judgement and went for a glass. Then another. Then one more. And wouldn’t you know, I barely felt drunk even though I know I had to have been. Anyway, I went to sleep (of course, it was a poor night of sleep) then woke up on Easter Sunday with a raging hangover. No barfing but my head was pounding and I felt dizzy and hot and just…shitty. I got dressed and ready for church but then was like, “Nope. Can’t do it.” I have a history of stomach problems dating back to forever, so they didn’t question my feeling ill. I was pretty much worthless for the morning and then come lunch time, with guests and a gorgeous ham on the table, I had to excuse myself and went to take a nap. Woke up from the nap still feeling like hell, and extremely disappointed in myself for ruining what should have been a lovely day. Well, ruined it for me. Everyone else went on with their business (for which I’m glad). My mom came to check on me when I was lying down and even though I’m 38, she wiped my brow and told me I meant the world to her. Just thinking about it now makes the tears well up.
I felt so sad. My parents aren’t going to be around forever and I only see them a few times a year as it is.
So I left for home a few hours later. The four-hour drive kind of sucked, but I was feeling much better than earlier in the day.
At least it was extremely easy to get back on that wagon. I have no idea why I felt the need to drink that bourbon. It was a stupid mistake and I paid for it.
I did wonder why I didn’t feel drunk that night. But a few days later I was reading a few posts in a Lamictal group on Facebook and a few people made comments that the drug made them not feel drunk. I didn’t even think of that, but maybe that is what happened with me.

Aaaanyway, another bump in the road, but once again I’m back to cruising.

Overall, most days I have very few, if any cravings. I’m overjoyed that I’m not constantly thinking about alcohol. That makes it infinitely easier on me. Last Sunday was a beautiful and warm sunny day and THEN I felt a nagging for “just one cold beer” but I’m not one to go to a bar by myself, and I knew I wasn’t going to buy a six-pack. I could have walked to get an individual tall boy or something, but I knew I would have had to toss the can in the garbage out back before J got home from work, and the extra calories and my body thinking of it as sugar and blah blah blah. So I just kept myself busy and more or less forgot about it.
ALSO, I finally started watching “Shameless” on Netflix (OMG OMG OMG SOOOO GOOD) and obviously there’s a TON of drinking in that show. Every now and again I see them (the FAKE PEOPLE) drinking and I get a little “well, THAT looks fun!” feeling. But those feelings are quickly squashed when I see Frank always drunk and gross and just…icky. I really like the show for that reason. It doesn’t glorify drinking. It shows the reality of alcohol. A great show on so many levels. LOVE IT. I just finished season 3 last night and am practically giddy that 1) the show is still being made and 2) Netflix has ALL the seasons, so I have like, four more seasons to catch up on. YAY!

In other news, our stupid fridge died two days ago. First night the freezer, then the next day the fridge. (What is that called? You got the freezer, and then the place just to keep things cool, but the whole thing is called a fridge? I don’t get it. Whatever. ) That night we tried to eat as much of the food as we could from the freezer before it spoiled, so dinner was pizza, egg rolls, pizza rolls, and cinnamon rolls. Ughhh. Gut rot x10.
The new fridge should be here by the weekend *fingers crossed* and today poor J has the job of tossing out everything. I opened it up this morning to grab the creamer in hopes that it was still good (surprisingly, it was), but the fridge reeeeeked inside. I was hoping when they hauled it out when the new one arrived they could just keep it closed, but I guess they’ll have to take the doors off, regardless, to get it out of the house. Boo. Stank-a-roonie.

Onto another day. We’re supposed to get thunderstorms this afternoon/evening. I LOVE a good thunderstorm. Yay, Spring!

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Drinking Dreams.

I had a really upsetting, depressing Drinking Dream last night. In it I was at my parents’ and for whatever reason I NEEDED to get drunk, or I needed to continue to get drunk or something. I remember that deep, overwhelming fear that I MUST get as much booze into my system as possible. I ended up finding some old, half-empty bottle of chardonnay or some other piss-colored stank wine underneath a couch or bed or something. It was very old, very warm, and very spoiled and I chugged it while gagging. It was just horrible.

I felt shame as I woke up this morning and it wasn’t until I hopped in the shower a few minutes later that I realized it was just a dream. Then I had that overwhelming feeling of relief, but ugh…this one stuck with me. I’m still thinking how rank it was, and how I was gagging and swallowing vomit, while still fighting to get that bottle down. UGHHH.

In real life, I only have one such memory of doing something similar. It was only a couple years ago. I woke up one morning hungover as hell (of course) and it must have been a Sunday where the liquor stores don’t open until 11am. I still had maybe a glass of wine left in a bottle from the night prior and I remember standing over the kitchen sink and pounding that flat, warm, bleh, bitter wine. I don’t think I had to swallow vomit, but I was certainly gagging. In fact, just thinking about that is getting my gag reflex revved up.

Oh god, I hope and pray I never end up in a situation like that EVER again. This is exactly why I’m keeping this little journal. I need to read back periodically to continue to never forget where I was and where I want to be. Eesh.

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How I Managed to Finally Quit.

I actually have no idea. I resigned myself to the fact that I am an alcoholic maybe 10 years ago. TEN YEARS. So for 10 years it’s always been on my mind that I was slowly killing myself and I needed to quit. I can’t even begin to guess how many times I’ve tried to quit since then, other than “LOTS”. Why did it seem to ‘stick’ this time around? I’ll never know. They say you have to really want it, and oh boy, I’ve wanted it for quite a while. At least I thought I did. But just one day I was like “Ok, this is it. I’m done now.” (Mind you, I’m only at a month as of today, so I’m the furthest thing from an expert, and things could change, but here’s to hoping they won’t.) And for whatever reason, it’s been relatively easy-peasy since then. The first week or so totally sucked ass as my body went through withdraw. I altered between feeling sorry for myself and being a raging bitch. But after that it wasn’t too bad. I consider myself very, very, very lucky.

Back when I smoked (~age 18–26), when I started having breathing issues I knew it was time for me to end that ‘habit’. That also took me an extraordinary amount of attempts to finally quit. But the same thing happened as it did with alcohol. I woke up one day and was like, “Ok, I’m done with this.” and that was that. The withdraw from cigs took much longer. I felt like shit for a couple weeks. I used the patch which helped IMMENSELY, but oh man, I really missed the routines that went with smoking. Going out for smoke breaks at work, having that first cigarette in the morning with coffee, meeting fellow smokers when at bars and clubs, etc. I remember actually crying because I felt like I lost something very personal and dear to me.

Anyway, I’m eternally thankful to whatever helped me finally say “enough is enough”. While I believe in some sort of ‘God’, I don’t think of it as something that grants wishes or whatnot via praying. I figure it’s something bigger than that, and has no real influence on what happens in life. So I figure something just clicked in my brain, something on an unconscious level that helped me get to where I am today. Whatever it is, THANK YOU.

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