One Year Alcohol Free

Last week, I celebrated 365 days since I quit drinking- one entire year of being alcohol free! Yay me! I also started my new job that same day of my first “soberthday” so very distracted with new yoga job, I made little fanfare the actual day of. Got a cake. Lit a candle. Applauded myself. Ate said cake. It was glorious.

It is important to note I did not eat the entire cake, I cut it into 4 pieces and delivered a slice to each family member. When I told them what the cake was for they responded, “Aw, that’s awesome! Good job!” and went right back to doing what their previously cake-less selves were doing. And all that was perfectly okay with me.

This one year of not drinking, in the grand scheme of things, is truly no big deal to anyone but me and that’s just the way I like it. I am happy that this date was just that, a date, and only important insofar that I crossed a calendar finish line that means… nothing. I did it and I will keep on doing it and that one year mark was a typical day-in-the-life, only made special with a slice of chocolate cake and not some random date on the calendar.

Just as it should be. My sobriety is now the norm and it feels fantastic.

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Little by Little

“Little by little,” an acorn said,
As it slowly sank in its mossy bed,
“I am improving every day,
Hidden deep in the earth away.”

Little by little, each day it grew;
Little by little, it sipped the dew;
Downward it sent out a thread-like root;
Up in the air sprung a tiny shoot.

Day after day, and year after year,
Little by little the leaves appear;
And the slender branches spread far and wide,
Till the mighty oak is the forest’s pride.

“Little by little,” said a thoughtful child,
“Moment by moment, I’ll well employ,
And still this rule in my mind shall dwell:
Whatever I do, I will do it well.
“Little by little, I’ll learn to know
The treasured wisdom of long ago;
And one of these days, perhaps, we’ll see
That the world will be the better for me”.

-Author Unknown

Funemployment: The End (and The Beginning)

Me with my Yoga Teacher Training fam; our guru, leader and goddess SC front and center.

I am elated to state: I FINALLY GOT A JOB!!! Not in the industry I spent the past 30 years in, but in the industry I began last April when I started the Yoga Teacher Training certification path. I am now the proud Studio Manager at a bustling, pedigreed, super awesome yoga studio here in Oakland AND I accepted a role teaching gentle yoga to seniors! Everything is coming up yoga!

Can you believe it?! I am so happy I could cry. Actually, I have cried a few times, this is such an incredible turn of events I cannot stop smiling, even through these joyful tears!

The past 6 months I have gone on umpteen interviews for food/beverage/hospitality senior management roles and along the way, was offered a handful of jobs- declined 5, accepted 3- but then something always happened right after I said yes to a role, never in my favor. Last month, I was offered a Catering Manager position at a location I absolutely loved, I accepted enthusiastically, my new boss said, “Welcome to the team!” and then I heard nothing back. Nothing. It’s been 5 weeks and there has still been zero return to my phone calls, zero response to my follow-up emails. I could relay more of my horror hiring stories but I won’t waste our time, on to better things…

And guess what? Now I am done with that industry! Shove it, Hospitality! I gave you three decades of dedication, had some fun along the way, produced so many amazing events, ate lots of incredible food, met some great people, and learned an unbelievable amount. I gave hours upon hours, worked myself to the bone, put up with a lot of challenging people and situations, and was treated horribly all to earn a pay check.

But now I am leading with my heart and it feels oh so good to finally be rewarded.

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Bloganuary: Why I Write

WordPress hosts a Bloganuary challenge wherein they email a daily prompt and you’re supposed to write, as the title implies, daily for the entirety of January. As you can see, it is January 11th and this is my first (last?) Bloganuary post.

I am not a fan of these one-month long challenges. I like the idea of them, but for me it’s too much pressure. I am not a once-a-day blogger nor do I aim to be. I also do not do yoga once a day every day or drink a green juice once a day every day nor any other of the other once a day every day challenges that are out there other than eat, sleep, breathe, and be. That alone is a daily challenge in and of itself.

Then why do I sign up for these things, you may be asking and that’s a legit question- I sign up because I enjoy the inspiration! I know myself well enough to know that I cannot commit to 31 days straight of writing/ yoga/ juicing yet I enjoy the daily prompts and the motivation to create they provide.

Of the eleven prompts WordPress has sent thus far, I have kept four. Some of the prompts just don’t do it for me, a couple I have already written enough about, and those few I found compelling enough to save because they get my mind churning even if I choose not to put those thoughts to paper.

My blog, my choice and today, I choose to write! And writing about writing is a topic I certainly enjoy…

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Today’s Reason: Relief

Today was the first morning in 63 long days I woke up without pain. Wow. I’ve been down this pain path many, many times before; I knew yesterday’s epidural would provide immediate relief but I had forgotten just how much constant pain altered my demeanor. I feel like myself again. I feel weightless. I feel free. (Cue the applause!)

Nevertheless, this is a condition I must continue to manage, a second spine surgery is likely. When faced with chronic pain, I will do anything for relief- I will take the slew of prescriptions that turn me into an extra from the Walking Dead, I will take a big ass needle shoved into my spinal column, and yes I will take another major surgery. Anything that promises even a sliver of relief from 24/7 pain, I’ll take- I think you would too.

Relief comes in many forms, just as many as there are types of pain. Aching, excruciating, shooting, stabbing, tortuous, heavy, harrowing, burning. Whatever the flavor, be it physical or emotional, finding relief therein has been the most challenging things I continue to combat all these 48 years of life. Currently, it is physical pain: the pain I can acknowledge with a simple, “It hurts here.” That emotional pain, however, isn’t nearly as easy to pinpoint.

It just occurred to me that being a Pain Expert isn’t something one aspires to be! What a bummer/ blessing that I can say with 100% certainty that when it comes to pain- physical as well as emotional- I am an authority on the topic. “Write what you know”, as the cliché goes… pain is unfortunately exactly what I know.

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Top News in Alcohol: 12.27.22

Alcohol and Running
Came across this article on RunnersWorld.com and as a former marathon runner who drank all through my running days, I was happy to see this story finally being told to such a large audience! I wrote about this in posts prior as the topic hits very close to home: the act of doing something healthy paired with alcohol was my go-to for many years and I am not alone in this! The virtuousness that is exercise “deserves” a drink and as runners, this is proven by the fact that most races offer a beer or glass of wine upon crossing the finish line. Most races also start very early in the morning. Most races, therefore, make it completely acceptable to drink before breakfast as well as send the message that only with alcohol can we celebrate our accomplishments.

Races besides, it is also the community running and drinking create. The largest running group in my city is called the East Bay Beer Runners, at over 6,000 members strong. They meet at a different local bar weekly, run, then drink and socialize. Another group, the Running Lushes, I was a member of and even though it’s a smaller group, most members are very well known in the Bay Area Running Influencer circles (because yes, that is totally a thing). Even I led a mommy running/drinking group for many years called the Cocktail Moms.

“… the benefits Americans attribute to alcohol—that it is good for the heart, helps you sleep, eases pain—are false… The truth is, there’s no safe amount of alcohol, not even one drink a day… blithely telling yourself beer is a recovery drink because it has carbs and your Tuesday night run ends at a bar? Not so much.”

Society tells us that alcoholics drink in the morning or on the weekdays. Society also tells us that “responsible drinking” does not include slamming pints after we exercise. Then, are runners who grab that congratulatory drink after a race at 8am irresponsible alcoholics?

Both lifestyles are enmeshed and this is the first, I hope of many, articles calling out the oxymoronic nature therein. I also hope that race companies will start to seek more NA partnerships thereby offering at least more than water NA options post-race. Money is the driver here as always but read on for another article that shows a distinct uptick in the consumption of NA beverages in 2022.

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I Finally Like Christmas

See?! Look at all these seasons’ greetings! I’m learning!

If you know me, you know I have always proudly said, “I hate Christmas.” Because of my horrible childhood, I had no positive memories to associate with the holidays so of course, I grew to dislike this time of year with a vehement passion. Finally, things are different- for the first Christmas in nearly 30 years, I am not drinking and that has changed everything.

I could recount all the reasons why I think thought (still getting used to this!) Christmas is stupid because this is my blog and I can write whatever the heck I want but in the spirit of Christmas and in the spirit of the title of this post, I won’t. I’ll just skim the holly boughed surface a bit…

Growing up Catholic, Christmas was more like a subpoena than an event to look forward to. Lots of baking and lots of church-going in crispy velvet outfits lined with musty smelling faux fur and white lace trimmed socks neatly folded at the ankle. As a child, I never got any gifts I actually wanted and had no idea why Santa only put underwear and socks under the tree when I had specifically asked for a Cabbage Patch Kid, Spirograph, and Peaches n’ Cream Barbie. Like, WTH Santa?!

Somewhere along the way of elementary school I began to put the clues together to understand why this “Santa” “person” was consistently not doing his job. No wonder all my presents sucked.

Yours truly, l980-ish, horrible Christmas outfit I was forced to wear complete with perm, MUFF, and matching headpiece. Ugh.
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Dear Laura: I’m Sorry

Dear Laura:
I owe you more apologies and even more applause for the things we’ve gone through over the bumpy course of these 48 years. We’ve done a lot and we’ve seen a lot and I have held you back at nearly every turn. Often I’ve ignored the truth and lied to you more times than I care to admit and for this, I confess my fault in it all.

I am sorry for allowing toxic relationships to abuse you and for destructive environments to punish you. You were always right from the start- every time you said things were too stressful and too dramatic and too threatening I didn’t listen, I only told you to take it all with a smile and go back for more the next day. When you recognized these harmful situations, I was wrong in telling you to accept things for what they are. You always knew better.

I am sorry for the mistreatment you suffered at the hands of your parents. You had nothing to do with their inability to love and show kindness, it was not your fault that they physically and mentally abused you, at least we can both agree about that. But all those times I said you deserved it, again I was wrong. You never deserved abuse. I am regretful for ever putting that on you. Look at how much you’ve accomplished despite that lack of unconditional parental love. I am sorry that continues to haunt you and I promise to remind you of how much you shine, how much love and comfort you provide for your own family even though you were never taught how- you always had it in you.

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Top News in Alcohol: 12.7.22

Alcohol and the World Cup
According to a recent article posted on CNN.com, “… no alcohol would be sold at the eight stadiums which will host the tournament’s 64 matches. Alcohol will only be served in designated fan parks and other licensed venues around Doha, FIFA said in a statement.” This is not a new rule as the same applies in France, Spain, Portugal, and Scotland, where no beer is allowed in stadiums at all- if those countries can survive without a drink for 3 whole hours while watching a match, why can’t the U.S.?

Reuters covered this same story in a different light, reporting that female fans feel safe at Qatar World Cup thanks to reduced alcohol consumption. As noted in the aforementioned article, intoxication due to the overserving of alcohol at sporting events and the link between public disturbances and violence has been of great concern and we already know that several studies (just a few here, here, and here) have linked major sporting events to an increase in reports of domestic violence, “It is well known that incidences of abuse and violence increase when teams lose, but there are also more reported incidences when they win.”

Then is stands to reason, why is masculinity and sports fueled by alcohol? Al Jazeera even posed that question with their recent article, “Beer, Sport, Men: Inside the ‘Holy Trinity’ of Alcohol Marketing” which states that the link between the 3 and the violence towards women that results is truly led by the desire of the markets and the money to be made therein. Thankfully, the urge toward decoupling the worlds of alcohol and sports is on the rise, with profit motives now leaning toward inclusivity and a shift away from the more “toxic” and violent elements of the culture.

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The Last Drink

December 18, 2021: hubby’s birthday party. I’m holding 2 Santa shots here, each a different type of bourbon. I do not drink bourbon but I drank both of these that night… along with much, much more…

Given the festivity pictured, you would think that that was my last drink. It was not. It was actually the fourth to last but the events that occurred the night of 12/18/21 certainly propelled my decision to quit.

I love a good theme and this Christmas explosion of a bar was a perfect backdrop to don our merriest apparel in celebration of hubby’s birthday. Once the drinking buddies arrived, our drunken antics began. The menu included an array of Xmas-crafted cocktails at $15 a pop. Not kidding. $15. Each. And when you’ve got an open tab plus “friends” who take advantage of said open tab plus you’re at this freaking place for 8 hours straight, that tab adds up. And add up this night it certainly did- in more ways than one…

Of course, my goal was to try them all!
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