Alcohol: just somebody that I used to know

Coming up on ONE THOUSAND days sober, I wanted to check in with my relationship with booze. Where are we at today?

It’s so crazy you guys. I fantasized about a time like now, way back when. So many of the times when I said “I’m never drinking again” I’d also imagine a future life that seemed unattainable. The life I was envisioning was one where I wasn’t letting alcohol make me feel, look and act shitty on the regular. There was none of the anxiety, depression, regret or guilt that stemmed from binge drinking and the behaviours that go hand-in-hand, during or after. I saw a vibrant, peaceful, fresh life where alcohol didn’t have a place. Out loud, I would test out what it felt like to say “I don’t drink“, but then I’d feel sad because I didn’t think it was possible to get to that place. But it is a place. It’s a thing. It’s awesome.

I don’t drink.

Guess what else? I don’t think about it much. That’s where me and Booze’s relationship is at. Like an ex who I’m truly over, or an old friend from the past who I’ve lost complete touch with. Or remember that cartoon Denver the Last Dinosaur? I think about drinking about as much as I think about Denver. That was random.

Never before has the name of the website tiredofthinkingaboutdrinking.com made so much sense. Even thinking about drinking was exhausting, and I can see that now that drinking isn’t a part of my life. Alcohol is not on my radar.

It took so much commitment, learning and change to get to this place, but it has happened. Just like a break-up with a human being, after I “dumped” booze, I had to make a ton of adjustments and reassess my time, what I did, who I spent time with, where I hung out, etc. Even after a year there were things I was still dealing with and working on. It wasn’t easy but now I find myself 965 days sober and the happiest I’ve ever been.

If you ever have the fantasy I used to have, about being able to say “I don’t drink” out loud and for it to be true, it can be and you can do it. Trust me. If I can, anyone can. I wish I had someone telling me that when I needed it, so I’m telling you in case you need to hear it!

#yodo

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August! Now What?

Hiiiii!!!

How’s it going? Since Jack and Jill I have been taking it a day at a time – doing whatever I want! Some swimming, short easy-effort runs, quite a bit of trail and elevation and yesterday a solid 10k with a slightly faster finish. Oh and a couple full rest days ahaha. Lifelong Endurance and I are still in close contact but we’ll officially pick back up with training in September.

This weekend some friends and I head to the Hah Nic Na’ Aah mountain half marathon in the Babine Mountain Range! This is basically my first non-road race aside from the Mount Hays Quickclimb and I’m stoked! The terrain and views look stunning, and since I’m not actually racing it, there will be time for lots of photos!

Next weekend husband and I take off on a wedding tour/moving me to the Okanagan. Exciting times! School starts September 4th, but first I’ll zip back up north for our annual Labour Day Weekend celebrations in the beautiful Bulkley Valley. Same hood as the race this weekend, as well as the Tyhee Tri. Lucky me!

Coach Andrew and I had a chat about training and have a loose plan. We will most likely attack the half marathon distance over the fall season (after the Okanagan Marathon) and into the winter. I hope to pick out a goal half to race in early 2019! Into the new year we will start to build on that fitness for a goal Spring marathon to continue chasing down the unicorn! 🤞 I look forward to running as many local 5 and 10k’s along the way.

Some of the marathons I’m considering (at this point) include the Eugene Marathon, Blooms to Brews, the Windermere Marathon and BMO Vancouver, though I’m pretty reluctant about Vancouver, it’s just nice and close. I’d prefer to be able to drive to said marathon, and I won’t run anywhere with more than an hour time difference. April is my preferred month, but I’m not against March or May! If you have any suggestions that I should add to the list of options, please let me know!

I hope you are having a really good summer!!! Recently I opened the sober app on my phone and it’s passed 950 days!!! I’ll be at 1000 days by the end of September, holy shit. The blog has obviously been very focused on running over the last few months but I hope to do some writing about sober stuff in the next little bit here.

Hope August has been fun and talk to you after the mountain half!!!

jamie

3rd Sober May Long Weekend – 10 Observations!

I had a really good weekend and I hope you did, too. This year was my third go at May long weekend as a sober person. I was surprised that it still felt a bit foreign, but I’m okay with that. Prior to quitting drinking, long weekends usually left me completely exhausted, anxious and depressed. I always had a blast, but the aftermath was no longer worth it. It would take me days to get back to normal and I’d claim to never want to feel that way again. Then the next occasion would roll around and I’d do it all again. Let me tell you, if the after-effects of a long weekend are getting the best of you, it’s possible to partake without the booze. Here are ten awesome things I took note of over the course of my sober long weekend.

The weekend began stress-free

Back in the day, the preparation alone for a long weekend had me feeling strung out. How much booze would I need? Running out was unthinkable! Did I have enough drunk snacks to survive? How would my friends and I get to the parties we wanted to go to? No one could drive a vehicle safely, let alone legally, and most sensible people don’t really want to boat around the lake once it’s dark and everyone’s pissed. I’d be all wound up before even leaving town, ESPECIALLY if I was leaving later than some of my friends. PEOPLE ARE GOING TO HAVE FUN WITHOUT ME!!!!

These days I feel no need to rush. As I’ve written about before, somehow booting alcohol out of my life eliminated FOMO. I hit the road after my morning run, when I was good and ready and didn’t even consider that I might “miss out on something” before I arrived. Oh, and I didn’t have to make that extra stop at the liquor store.

No self-inflicted malnutrition

Usually when I arrived at wherever we were celebrating Maylong, I’d start drinking beer immediately and that was more or less the only thing consumed for seventy-two hours, save for a couple smokies and maybe some Doritos. Now I care more about how I treat my body, plus there’s the simple fact that royally disrupting my general routine is a huge pain in the ass. No, I didn’t eat kale salads all weekend and take vitamins. But, I did make sure to eat some real food regularly amongst all the shitty snacks that I love more than anything.

Got up early

Not as early as at home in the regular routine, obviously, but early enough so that no part of the day is written off. In the past, my dried out eyeballs would open, I’d urgently search for anything non-alcoholic, chug it like nobody’s business, and then go back to “sleep”. By sleep, I mean roll around in a stinky, dehydrated state of discomfort, then finally emerge from the tent/trailer/cabin/lawn chair a while later, having wasted precious hours of my life. LOL.

Getting up early, whether it’s to go for a run, walk, swim, to resurrect the fire from the night before, or to just sit and enjoy a coffee, is awesome. Coffee. Yum. That leads me to the next one.

Enjoyed breakfast

This one I’ve talked about in many of my non-drinking posts. Drinking coffee and eating breakfast WITHOUT:

  • a screaming headache
  • symptoms of a peptic ulcer
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • dry mouth
  • diarrhea
  • shame from whatever (or whoever) you did the night before
  • sore teeth from sugary drinks

IS AMAZING.

No sore teeth!

Oh my God. Tooth decay, how I don’t miss you. I know I said I mostly drank beer, but on hot, sunny weekends everyone knows how easy the sugary coolers go down. When I think back to brushing my teeth the morning after drinking a case of Twisted Teas..I could cry.

loid

Never stranded

When not drinking you can drive wherever the fuck you wanna go whenever you want. No waiting (or begging) for a lift to the next party. No need to be annoying AF harassing other drunk people for unsafe, illegal rides in the dark in their vehicles or boats. Also, when FOMO isn’t a thing, sometimes there’s no need to go anywhere besides the fire you’re already sitting at. I loved that I could do what I wanted at any time because I was capable of driving my truck or anyone elses vehicle if necessary.

Didn’t skip any runs

Yeah, I know, I’m always training for something. But lots of other people also like to exercise on the regular, even if not prepping for some event or competition. When I was still partying I always had good intentions to do my planned runs when out of town for the weekend, but they rarely happened.

No, it’s not the end of the world to skip physical activity for a weekend. Duh. BUT, if you’re someone who gets home on the last day and feels extra shitty, physically and/or mentally because you didn’t sweat (on purpose) all weekend, then you will relate to this! For me, alcohol meant all accountability was out the window. Now, I get it done. Prioritizing a workout on a super fun day feels good and helps balance out all the chips and dip. I got in my Saturday, Sunday and Monday runs as planned, plus an extra-large sense of accomplishment.

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Ran on the beautiful path that I’d usually look at longingly on the way home, hungover as fuck.

I live at the end of the line, so when we go away for the weekend it’s always in the same direction, with the same drive home. There’s an awesome walking/biking path along the side of the highway as you head west out of Terrace called the Millennium Trail. I remember looking at it many times while on the way home from a party weekend and thinking, “I wish I didn’t feel like a bag of shit right now and was running on that path instead.” This year, I did. Fuck yeah. Drove home sweaty and stinky but who cares? Not me.

The night before going back to work didn’t suck

Soaking in hang-xiety and self-loathing all evening, looking in every cupboard for something salty to eat for a way-too-late “dinner”…that’s what the end of Maylong used to be like for me. Hahahaha. Sounds so funny but it’s true! Instead, I got a few groceries on the way home, did some laundry and went to bed at a legit time. And my sleep was good! Another thing I don’t miss: twitching all night in a cold sweat and waking up simply to power through the workday so I can go back to bed again.

Tuesday morning didn’t suck

See above. It’s already a short week, I don’t need it to be shorter because it’s taken two or three days to feel normal again. When I woke up this morning I was seriously grateful that I wasn’t starting the week ten steps behind. I hammered out my workout on the treadmill from Lifelong Endurance and went to work with a runner’s high instead of the old drinker’s low.

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I hope everyone’s weekend was safe and awesome. As I always say, there’s no judgement here towards anyone who got buck wild drunk all weekend! I think it’s good to celebrate life in any way that suits a person best! As they say these days, “you do you!” I’m just doing me, and sharing some observations about why not drinking works better for me now, just in case it’s helpful to anyone else! xo

Thanks for reading! If you like, please share 😉

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I quit drinking and discovered I’m an introvert.

My entire life I thought I was a straight-up social virtuoso. Fear of missing out plagued me any time I couldn’t attend a party, outing, get-together or weekend away. Any event that might involve alcohol I HAD to be part of.

Being someone who’s gone to school, plays sports, has had many jobs, including in the restaurant and bar industry, and who LOVED to drink, I know a shitload of people. Meeting people has always been easy for me and it still is, but keeping up with acquaintances and the social scene in general seems to have been mostly due to drinking.

Like it or not, alcohol is something that a majority of society has in common. It doesn’t matter if two people share the same hobbies, values or passions, it’s pretty easy to have a drink and small talk with almost anyone. I bet you can think of at least a few people you’ve shared an alcoholic beverage with who are SO random and you have zero things in common with, or maybe don’t even know anything about whatsoever. I can. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s funny and awesome and I am not judging it whatsoever. It’s just that when I eliminated alcohol, I eliminated that shared interest. The one thing I had in common with many people, places and situations changed and I had to re-evaluate how I enjoyed spending my time.

Introversion is not the same thing as being shy or having anxiety about social situations. I am still a friendly and outgoing person. I think I’m approachable. I love to talk about things (even feelings) with my close friends, family, husband and run buddies. Sometimes I’m a comedian. Public speaking and karaoke don’t scare me at ALL, and neither do group projects. I am not shy. Sometimes I go to running events that have thirty thousand participants and hang out with people I’ve never met before.

Introversion is a trait that can be described as more of a focus on internal thoughts and feelings than on external stimulation. This hits the nail on the head for where I’m at these days as a sober person. Being around lots of people in a loud or busy environment drains me and makes me feel agitated. I usually sneak away. Nowadays, I’d rather organize my compression socks by colour than go to most parties. Not pointing a finger at drinking parties, I’m talking about any moderately hectic social interaction that lasts more than two hours and doesn’t revolve around something personally fascinating. I’m not anti-social or a hermit, but unless it’s my super close friends getting together, or an activity I am passionate about, I’d just kinda rather do something alone or with my husband, who happens to be my best friend. Alcohol used to be my favourite reason to go out and do anything with a group, but not anymore.

Energized and recharged by solitude, that’s where I’m at. I never thought I’d say it until a couple years ago, but I LOVE being alone! Hiking, running, travelling, reading. When I was a big drinker, I didn’t know how to be alone. Maybe it was the hangover anxiety, or the fact that I didn’t know (or really like) myself at ALL and needed to be around others for distraction. It makes sense, since for a very long time I didn’t really have any specific hobbies besides partying, so when party time was over and I had to be by myself, I hated it. Now, when I go home after work on a Friday night, I am usually overjoyed to not go anywhere else hahaha. On my birthday I ran 33km by myself and then had an exercise party with twelve people and no liquor. If someone told me this in 2010 I’d be like WTF??

In my case, this transition to self-awareness and in turn, introversion, happened because I quit alcohol. Blaming booze isn’t something I’m into; personal responsibility is real and alcohol didn’t MAKE me do, or not do, anything. But I really did let it hold me back. Taking it away gave me the opportunity, finally, to get to know myself and learn what I’m actually like. Then it took some more time to get used to it, and to not judge myself for wanting to stay home on a Saturday night and read Descent into Madness: The Diary of a Killer in my bed, not even wondering what anyone else is up to. Can you guess what I did last night? LOL.

What I’ve gladly discovered is that as a sober person, I’m still outgoing, fun, brave and adventurous with a serious sense of humour. I’m still social too, but in different ways. On the other hand, though, I’ve also learned that I like having a handful of very close friends, versus that plus twenty groups of acquaintances. I’ve realized that I’m independent and self-aware. My preference is doing whatever the fuck I want, often alone, instead of trying to keep up with everyone else at all times. And as of recently, I’m totally okay with it 🙂

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Holiday Party Season – 101 opportunities to get wasted! (but you don’t have to if you don’t want to)

Christmas parties!!!!! Holy shit. Back in my (drunk) day, this was the time of year where I’d metaphorically roll up my sleeves and brace myself for a bender. To party. A verb that meant something different to me back then. I still really like going to celebrations over the holiday season, it’s so much fun and there is always the bonus of awesome snacks ahaha! Now that I have almost two years of sober experience, and one-and-a-half alcohol-free holiday seasons, I’m going to tell you a little bit about how and why I am still as pumped for December as I was when I still liked to “rage.” LOL.

These are my opinions, obviously, but I think you might agree with at least a couple things here.

What makes the holiday season parties extra special? Many of us consider this the best time of the year because it’s so festive! Out of town friends come to visit, people come home from University, family gatherings are happening left, right and centre, pond skating and fires with hot chocolate, etc, etc. There seems to be a social event every single day and night over the Christmas and New Year season. A few things immediately stand when I start to envision going to a holiday party or get together.

First, festive outfits! Particularly party dresses, or maybe a collared shirt with the possibility of a tie, if you’re not into dresses. One of the best parts about going to a staff Christmas party, an annual Boxing Day shaker, or even a pre NYE happy hour, is getting dolled up.  Possibly wearing something brand new that you’ve been saving, and putting in the effort to look extra special. I love buying a dress, or borrowing one from a friend that I’ve never been seen wearing, taking a brush to my hair (LOL) and taking my time doing my hair and makeup while listening to cheesy Christmas tunes and having a fancy drink as I get ready…which leads me to…

Holiday drinks! Rum and eggnog. Bailey’s and hot chocolate. Hot apple cider. Mulled wine. Party punch. Holiday mimosas. OR, for lots of people, their usual, just dumped into a Santa mug or a stemmed glass with a glittery snowflake on it. Guess what else can be dumped into a Christmas mug or wine glass with a dangly Christmas decoration? That’s right, whatever the fuck you want! Ahahaha! It’s the same process, regardless. Pick out what you feel like drinking, bring it with you to the party so you aren’t a huge freeloader (seriously, you can’t go there and drink ALL the soda water, others brought that for mixing with their vodka) and when you arrive, find a place to “stash” your shit, and proceed as usual. If you’re thinking, “I only drink beer, people will know and hustle me.” then grab some non-alcoholic Beck’s or Grolsch from the grocery store. Go ahead and dump it into a red solo cup if you must.

A third thing that I immediately think of when I think of Christmas parties – TAXIS. I don’t know why taxis don’t go hand in hand with all parties, maybe people are less organized during the rest of the year or more inclined to leave their vehicle overnight because they don’t have a ton of shit to do the next day. Who knows. Anyways, I don’t know where you live, but where I live, there aren’t usually enough cabs to go around during the holiday season. Also, let’s just say I wouldn’t want to sit in the back seat of some of these moth-eaten antiques in a new dress, or one I borrowed from a friend. Plus, they’re expensive. If you decide you don’t want to drink at a Christmas party, you’re able to drive yourself to said party, and home, or wherever else you want to go. Oh, and you get to brag when you go through road-blocks! “Have you had anything to drink tonight?” ahahah, why no, officer, I haven’t since I ruined Christmas in 2015!

Those are the main things that I can think of that really set going to a Christmas party vs. a regular party apart in my mind. Maybe a random elf hat or party game. Christmas parties have more food, which is AWESOME (and provides enough calories, without adding in alcohol) but yummy food has nothing to do with getting pissed. They often have beautiful Christmas trees, stockings, and maybe other festive home decor, but that also has nothing to do with drinking. The company is usually bang on, since it’s a time of year where it seems that even the people who don’t usually go out, do, and everyone seems to be in a warm, jolly mood, tossing out well-wishes in all directions. This has nothing to do with booze either. The season is fun because of good people and good vibes.

If the fast approaching holiday season has been giving you anxiety because you’re nervous about the possibility of losing your dignity and/or debilitating hangovers, take it from me, a retired professional. Going out at this time of year and skipping the alcohol CAN be done. I’m living proof. Drive yourself (and your very lucky friends) to the party. Drink something that tastes good from a festive glass. Look fresh vs. sloppy in photos! Look as polished (and stain-free) when you leave as you did upon arrival. Drive yourself to the next party. And the next. Drive yourself home. Wake up having washed your face and brushed your teeth, and not immediately turning to Google for tips on how to not look like shit at the next party, which is of course tonight, even if it’s a Sunday.

I’m pumped for the festivities to start! Not only that, I’m excited for daytime events like fires, freezing cold hikes and Christmas tree hunting while not feeling like a bag of shit. Good tidings to you! Email me if you want!

 @jammiekomadina

 

Positive Feedback just made my day!

An acquaintance just approached me to tell me how my sober-related blog posts have helped her nearly eliminate booze! She told me that what I write about is making a difference in her life, and others. My heart is like exploding! I share what I do because there was a time when I needed that so badly, but couldn’t find anything relatable for a long time! Nowadays there are way more people pumping up sobriety’s tires and it’s so cool!!

I remember when I felt extremely embarassed by my thoughts about knowing I had issues and needed to stop. It felt like I was a big freak who had all these uncommon problems that stemmed from drinking too much, too often or both. These days, sobriety is a movement. People are getting tired of feeling like shit and being told by media, society, etc. that alcohol is required for everything! As a sober person, I now notice constantly how obsessed society is with alsohol. If you take a second and pay attention, you’ll see too. It’s annoying! And ridiculous. Celebrations, fun times, dealing with stress, coping with loss, relaxing, rewards, crafting, dinner parties, cooking, surviving parenting, and the list is endless! And sorry but what the fuck is beer-yoga?

Alcohol does not cause problems for all people, but it does for way more than I ever thought. I know this because people talk to me about it now, because they know they can. I love that! Congrats to you, if you’ve recognized that it’s better for you, as an invidual to cut down or give booze the boot. Clear headed, bright and shiny for the win.