December 29th – “Old Habits Die Hard…”

eggnogWell I decided a week ago on the 22nd that I was going to take a short holiday break from “the wagon” and have spiked egg nog with my team at our Holiday Egg Nog Social. This event was an old tradition from my first spa and I wanted to revive it again this year. In part this was because one of my clients gifted me with a bottle of his famously potent homemade nog. However, I decided to selfishly keep that for myself and made my own spiked egg nog for the party.

It was no big deal really. I had a very small glass of my traditional egg nog (laced with Jim Beam bourbon instead of the rum that so many people use) at the party and another one at home. I enjoyed the warm, relaxed feeling I got from it and all the fond holiday memories that came back with each sip. It definitely eased some of the holiday tension that had been building up. And it was DELICIOUS!

The next night, Dave and I went to a dinner with two older friends and clients to celebrate our birthdays. A really nice Pinot Noir was ordered for the table, so I decided to have a thimble-sized serving and cautiously enjoyed every drop. Then we went to the annual “Christmas Eve Eve” party hosted by our friend, Jed, at a local bar where I had absolutely nothing to drink and was totally fine with it.


My in-laws, Sam & Beth, at our wedding in 2006

The actual holiday came and went with a bit more of the same. I had a total of about 2 glasses of wine on Christmas Eve and Day. Then we went to the mountains to spend the weekend with David’s parent’s on the 27th and 28th. Due to the pending stress of the weekend – and my father-in-laws past statement of enjoying drinking with me – I decided to just continue the trend by having wine with dinner the night we got there and spiked egg nog throughout the day the next day.

I enjoyed almost all of it – the flavors, the feelings, the warmth and relaxation. However, as each day passed, I felt more and more pain building up in my body, especially in my hip and knee joints. Seemingly, I’ve developed a very strong sensitivity to alcohol – that or the sugar in some of the desserts I ate over the week.

Regardless of how much I enjoyed this little respite during the holidays, these aches and pains are a true call back to reality – the reality that I have moved pretty firmly into the world of being a former drinker.

Sigh…and Happy Holidays.


Day 256 – Thankful for it all

pogo and dolly

Pogo and Dolly are great anti-depressants!

I made it through my first Thanksgiving in recent memory without drinking. To be honest, it was really tough. I felt myself slipping into a depression early in the day and really wanted to a) hide under the covers and not come out; b) gorge on chocolate c) drink a big old glass of wine; and d) snuggle up with my dogs (and no one else). I did none of these but instead worked a little bit before dragging myself up to make a dish to take to a friend’s house for dinner. I also took half a Xanax before we left.

Over the course of the evening I did taste a tiny sip of Dave’s beer (terrible), a mini sip of his Manhattan (better, but still not good) and a couple of micro sips of the wine that was automatically poured for me at dinner (red, but way too dry for my taste). Later Dave had a glass of something I really did like, but I knew that I really couldn’t – or shouldn’t – have any more of it than the little taste I got.


Its days like this when I have the little internal argument with myself that begins “Why can’t you just have half a glass? You can handle it!” before remembering that drinking even just a glass or too of wine was putting me in extreme pain in terms of my kidneys. It just isn’t worth it.

However, not drinking puts a mental strain on me at times – especially on a holiday and at a social gathering that I’m not really in the mood to attend today. It just seems unfair and is a large part of what my depression was about today.

panic attackJust the other day while perusing the juice aisle at Trader Joes, I had a little bit of a panic attack while considering the idea of whipping out a bottle of sparkling (though non-alcoholic) Chardonnay for tonight’s dinner or at another party we planned to attend later. I immediately had heart palpitations, felt dizzy and got the beginnings of a migraine. I got myself out of the store as fast as I could but still got a bottle of the fizzy fake stuff just to prove to myself I wasn’t a complete looney.

The truth is, sometimes it’s really hard to see and know that I just don’t fit in like I used to. And though I know I am doing the right thing for myself, I am a little worried about what the rest of the season is going to be like.

Despite the lack of drinking, I am also finding that I’m having at least what I perceive to be kidney pain more and more often. Sometimes I wake up with it but other days, I feel it after I eat something really salty – like a handful of salted almonds – or sweet, like a milkshake. Are these things I’m going to have to give up too? Am I going to lose all of my vices one by one until I am the most boring, restricted, regimented person on the planet?

I know I am being dramatic, but that is how I feel sometimes – that all the fun things are being taken away from me one by one and that soon I will be someone who just goes to work, comes home, eats the same food over and over again before going to bed and trying to get my 8.5 hours of sleep before starting all over again. True. I love what I do and am grateful for my life.

chocolate sauceBut at the moment, I am feeling more and more stifled by my body and want to run screaming down the halls; to dive into a vat of chocolate sauce and eat my way out; to recklessly go lay on the beach in the full sun, topless, while sipping top-shelf margaritas courtesy of a really cute cabana boy and…and….whatever else struck my fancy in the moment. Ohhh…to be 25 and completely clueless again – yet with the wisdom to know exactly how to enjoy that cluelessness!

Then again, after talking about “the old days” with my good friend tonight, and looking at tons of pictures from parties I know I went to, but can’t remember much of anything about, I wonder if I really do want to go back to that life and time? Perhaps instead all this angst is just about me having a deeper calling, and I’m actually feeling restless because the weight of the various issues I’m trying to drop out of my life isn’t coming off as fast as I think it should. Maybe I am simply wishing to be free to move on to whatever is supposed to happen next instead of still being tied to the past life where I can no longer live.

I’m not sure what else to do other than to pray for guidance – and to be thankful for all that I do have in my life, even if part of that is frustration, angst and depression. It is all serving a greater purpose and someday I will know what that is.

Namaste – and good night.