Happy Valentine’s Day!

Hello!

I know Valentine’s Day is really cheesy and annoying in a lot of ways, but I still want to send warm wishes.

Valentine’s Day directly relates to sobriety, in my opinion, because when you decide to get sober, you HAVE to decide that you deserve more and that you’re worthy of a higher-class lifestyle. This is self-love.

The term self-love makes some people gag. I get it. I don’t really like the sound of it either, it has a corny and basic bitch ring to it. LOL. But the CONCEPT is truly crucial to not just happy sobriety, but living happily in general.

Self-awareness, self-image, and all the layers of SELF-CONFIDENCE aren’t things that a lot of us were taught. These are skills, not just things you either have, or don’t. We have to work on them REGULARLY. These are the keys to being happy (again, my opinion), so today as a suggestion, answer these questions and then go about your day with the intention to feel strong, hard-core, unique and sure of yourself.

  1. What are my 2 favourite personality qualities about myself?
  2. What are my 2 favourite physical qualities about myself?
  3. What is one thing I am really good at?
  4. What is one thing people ask me for help or advice with?
  5. What do I have in my life today that I wanted SO BADLY five or ten years ago?

Happy Valentine’s Day to YOU. Be positively selfish!

(old favourite REPOST) I quit drinking and discovered I’m an introvert.

(Originally posted February 2018)

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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I just imagined trying to make sourdough when I was a Lush

Yes, I am one of the 38596948 people who got into baking sourdough bread at some point over the course of this fking pandemic. I love it. The trial and error, trouble shooting, successes and also the process. I love it all!

This morning I had a thought. WHEN would I have done this if I was still obsessed with drinking? Between thinking about the next drinking opportunity, the act of acquiring the alcohol itself, partying to whatever degree, being hungover and then the other residual effects of booze like lack of focus, inefficiency and disorganization, laziness, etc…WHEN?

It’s been over five years but shit like this pops into my head all the time. It was so easy to just not do something, even though I wanted to do it. No energy. Not motivated. Too many things to do that I didn’t get done when I was hung. It’s fun to examine sober life and feel thankful for it, still.

Sobriety has taught me many lessons and not all of them have been easy. I have learned that even though a ton of my mental health concerns were highly amplified by alcohol, they are part of me even as a sober person and may very well always exist. I learned that even though I have more time and more peace, life can still get really fucking frustrating and overwhelming. Giving alcohol the boot doesn’t fix all your problems but it sure makes everything better than it was. More time, more patience, more self-awareness and acceptance…

Thank you to my boule of sourdough for bringing up this moment of reflection! LOL.

(Re-post of an old favourite) I don’t allow Alcohol to steal these 4 things from me anymore!

Coming up on FIVE HUNDRED days of booze-free living (or, as of today’s republishing date, OVER 5 YEARS), I’ve been thinking about the big picture. This is how it is now; this is my life. I no longer worry about what I’ll tell people who ask “why aren’t you drinking??” because I own it now. I’m comfortable and proud of my non-drinker status. I don’t wonder if a social event or adventure might be “lame” the way I used to, because I’ve learned that life is awesome because of what we do, who we are with and where, not because of alcohol! But, even though sober living is pretty much second nature now and no longer something I need to dedicate all my focus and discipline towards, I still reflect regularly on the things that are SO much better after kicking alcohol out of my life. The improvements are so apparent and I notice all the time.

It’s likely I’ll say something along these lines every time I write about sober stuff: I’m not a hater. I don’t judge other people for drinking alcohol, and I FULLY understand that for many people, a negative relationship with booze isn’t a thing. It is, however, definitely a thing for me (and many others) and posts like this one are simply observations of my personal experiences that I think someone out there may relate to.

Even though it’s getting close to a year and a half of sobriety, I need to tell you that not a day goes by where I don’t, at some point, appreciate the positive differences I experience from it. This shit does not get old haha. Booze can be a thief! Here are the four big things I no longer allow alcohol to steal from me.

Order!

Order. Structure. Plans. Time management. Harmony. Call it what you wanna call it (I know you’re singing Xzibit right now, LOL) but alcohol has a way of really screwing up the manageability of life. If I was drunk, I didn’t care about my to-do list. If I was hungover, I also didn’t care about my to-do list. Or, I did care but was too tired or sick (or both) to get anything done, and then felt guilty and overwhelmed from procrastinating. Once in a while, I’d do the thing where one powers through the hangover and tries to get on with life as usual, but my brain sounded like a bee hive and I felt like a space cadet. Even a couple of beers or glasses of wine, for me, could lead to things like not having a lunch for work, overspending if I was out, letting laundry get out of control and having no clean work clothes, just to name a few things. Maybe sleeping in a bit because I went to bed later than usual, therefore sacrificing a planned morning workout and then trying to squeeze it into the schedule later or another day, which never, ever happened. It all sounds petty but then it adds up and it’s like life-anarchy!

How likely is it that you’d complete any of these not-super-exciting, time consuming tasks when you’re buzzed, drunk, or anywhere from mildly tired and dehydrated to fully hungover? Be honest. Make a doctor’s appointment, bank, shave your legs or face, get groceries, wash the vehicle, meal-prep, return a purchase, vacuum, do the recycling, mow the lawn, clean the house, change the cat litter, scoop dog shit in the yard, mail a birthday card, do laundry, check emails, finish an assignment, deal with the weekend’s camping gear, walk your pet, study, drop off old clothes to the Sally, blah blah blah! Sorry, that was a long list! But yeah, not very likely!

I am very supportive of a YOLO mindset, don’t get me wrong, but no longer when it creates mayhem in daily life, or when it sacrifices relationships or health. Removing booze from my life has created so much order! Of course there are rushed mornings or evenings I eat dinner at 9pm, but generally everything feels managable because shit is always getting done and I’m pretty organized. Procrastination is at an all-time low! Now, I have soooooo much more time for what I want because I’m never drunk, half-drunk, thinking about getting drunk, passed out, tired and dehydrated with a foggy head, or spinning with nausea and anxiety wishing I hadn’t got drunk. In my experience, sober = efficient!!

Ambition!

Ambition. Noun. Strong desire for success, big or small.

Alcohol can steal ambition and it most definitely inhibited mine. It can totally destroy the will to achieve. I know that sounds kind of intense, but seriously. Booze blurs the lines of reality and that’s why it’s so easy to adopt the “f*ck it” attitude when drinking regularly. Ambition is necessary to do anything that takes effort over a period of time. It is also necessary to COMPLETE projects. To care about our health. To care about the success of our community and to be involved. To simply give a shit about more than just our obvious priorities. It can also diminish the initiative to create new habits, like waking up earlier or getting into a new activity. Even to make plans and stick to them. Lastly, it can make things like setting huge, life changing goals like starting a business or running a marathon seem “too hard” and not worth the required effort.

Drinking too often makes everything fuzzy and it’s kind of like this weird comfort zone where everything just feels okay or fine. Making changes or taking initiative can simply feel like too much effort. I’ve come to find that I don’t want okay. I want awesome! Not to just float through life, but to live it with intention. And not just regarding big, cool types of successes, I mean in daily life! Being stoked and motivated feels so much better to me than just feeling MEH and coasting along.

Time

Time! This ties directly into the first part regarding order. I can’t even begin to tell you how much time I have to do whatever I want with now that I don’t waste it all NOT DOING ANYTHING.

Please, do not get me wrong, I am not telling you that I quit drinking and became this dull robot who only does errands, chores, exercise, eats and sleeps. I love my times with my friends where we hang on the couch and laugh and do nothing but eat junk and be weird, or go out for epic meal time and then lay around being too full to do anything but go on Instagram. When I say I wasted time in my past “doing nothing” I am talking about things like wasted Sundays in bed dying and not seeing the light of day, or a not-even-special wing night gone wild, resulting in skipping all the things I was supposed to get done between dinner and bedtime AND my next morning’s run. Having a great time at softball, but leaving half-cut and not being able to do anything productive afterwards, including drive my own vehicle which is necessary for a lot of shit! That kind of thing.

Thinking about drinking, drinking and the big one: the aftermath of drinking, wastes a hell of a lot of time! Now I have lots of extra. It’s fucking glorious.

Sense of Peace

HAHA that sounds so corny. But for real. If you take away the feelings that alcohol has the ability to create, like anxiety, exhaustion, dehydration, guilt and the secondary results like feeling rushed, disorganized, on edge and simply like you CAN’T EVEN, then all that’s left, really, is feeling grounded with a clear head to deal with more important things.

The main things that come to mind when I think about what robs me of feeling peaceful are (in no particular order) an over-packed schedule, a surplus of dirty laundry, no groceries, lack of sleep, lack of physical activity and the inability to concentrate. Interesting that these things aren’t common in my life anymore now that alcohol has been given the boot.

I took away the source of all my complaints. Too busy. Too tired. Too lazy. “Trying to save money.” Life is challenging enough as it is, and now that I don’t lay chaos and overwhelm on top of it constantly, I feel much more at ease and satisfied on a regular basis.

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So, there you have it. Four hundred and ninety-seven days gone by and I’m not dying for a beer. I have zero use for alcohol anymore. If you feel like you’re letting booze F up your life in big ways, or in small ways that are snowballing, I am living proof that you can break up with it and not get back together! Aahahaha. Email me if you want!

@jammiekomadina

Whoa. Hey.

Hello!? Is anyone out there? LOL.

It’s been a really long time since I wrote anything on this site! SO many things have happened since I was last here…I finished school, started my new career and business, celebrated 5 years sober in December, and have been dealing daily with pandemic-related shit, big or small. Running has been off and on and I’m finding it really hard to stay motivated.

Recently I counted how many people have reached out to me for advice, support and with general comments about sober-living over the years and it was over TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY!! This includes other platforms, but still, that’s a lot for a nobody off-and-on blogger! Then I logged on here and saw that people are still reading the posts, and that the sober posts are still the most popular.

So I wanted to check in and see how things are going in these strange and sometimes shitty months of the pandemic. I feel like a lot of the reasons someone might turn to alcohol are on the rise – boredom, stress, wanting to numb the feelings – sucky situations and emotions are very apparent right now for many of us. I’ve been checking in with a lot of these things when people reach out to me and have found that the key beliefs to living happily sober still apply. Let me assume the role of Captain Obvious and provide a few reminders that are always good to hear!

Alcohol is still a money drain. Many people aren’t working as much, or have been forced to take breaks due to illness/potential exposure/caring for another person, etc. All the more reason to not waste your money on booze! Your money should be spent on things that make you feel happy – you want what I have recently learned about called a good “emotional return on investment” and booze does NOT provide that!

Alcohol is still a depressant, because, science. If you are feeling down about lack of routine, lack of social interaction, cancelled activities or difficulty setting goals with all the unknowns, booze isn’t going to help you feel better! Just like always, it makes everything feel worse and having hangxiety during a global pandemic, to me, sounds like about the worst thing ever. Ask yourself “why would I want to make myself feel MORE shitty?”…I hope your answer is “I WOULDN’T!”

Alcohol is still a whole bunch of empty calories. I hear people every single day talking about how they have gotten out of shape or put on unwanted weight during the last year. Alcohol will not help with this! It will make it even worse! In this case, booze is a negative with extra negatives on top.

Lastly, my favourite – alcohol doesn’t make things more fun. Remember, fun comes from what you’re doing, where you are, who you’re with, and how connected you are to yourself and the present moment. Do not forget. If you need to, recall some of your most favourite memories and write down WHY these experiences were fun, funny, joyful, etc. Alcohol doesn’t have the power to make a situation fun, it might seem like it for a bit, but when you dissect a fun alcohol-related situation I can guarantee you will realize that booze was not the fun-factor.

I hope you’re doing well and if this time feels like an emotional rollercoaster to you, you’re not alone. I have been thinking about creating a short “Break Up with Booze” course and/or possibly offering happily-sober coaching or email-pal services. If you think you or anyone you know could benefit from this sort of thing, will you let me know? Thanks!!

xo Jamie

the recurring falling off the wagon dream

There is this dream that I’ve been having over and over that started a few months into 2016 when I was newly sober. At first I would have the dream very often, sometimes a bunch of nights in a row or sometimes weekly. As time went on, the dream started to become significantly less common, but it still happens from time to time and I had it the other night! Almost four years later!

The dream is one of the blurry kind, where you can’t really remember where you were or who you were with and nothing really makes a lot of sense. But every time it involves me realizing that I have actually been casually drinking or even getting wasted from time to time but continuing to tell myself and others that I don’t drink. In the dream I am having internal dialog about a bunch of stuff.

First I wonder if it’s actually real? Have I actually been drinking alcohol without admitting it to anyone, including myself? WTF. Spreading my thoughts on the glory of being a non-drinker, but being a big liar!? How could I do this? Booze was the worst thing for me and I start having flashbacks of all the negative experiences I created for myself with the help of alcohol.

Then I admit to myself that, yes, I think I have been drinking (though still not positive if it’s real), and I’m hit by a tidal wave of guilt. I then start contemplating whether I can pretend this hasn’t happened and just pick up where I left off. There’s a huge fixation on how absolutely terrible it would be to start back at Day 1 (and in turn, restart my Sober Time app, LOL) and confess to anyone who cares that the chick who raves about the awesomeness of sober living has fallen off the wagon. Maybe it didn’t actually happen? I’ll just go with that…

I don’t know when or why I wake up, but when I do I have feelings of guilt and dread and I have to lay there for a while feeling shitty until I realize it was only a dream. Once I’m 100% sure that it was just a dream and everything is normal, I feel so fucking happy I just lay in my bed smiling in the dark ahahaha. What a relief!

What does it all mean? I’ve Googled it just out of curiosity and there are lots of ideas, from signs that a relapse is coming, to evidence of how much the dreamer values her new sober life. Personally, I relate to the latter. I have no idea why I randomly have this dream again and again. It makes me extremely uncomfortable even thinking about it and how I feel while inside the dream, but I also enjoy knowing that I do NOT want that to happen and that I won’t allow it to. Confirmation of the joy of not drinking and to not take it for granted is what I’ll use these weird reminders for.

Do you have recurring dreams??

Side Note:

I think I might know what planted the seed for the most recent dream! On Season 5 of Schitt’s Creek Alexis was accusing David of never trusting her because in the late 90’s he left her responsible for a bunch of Teen and Adult aged Tamagotchis and she let them all die.

I was reminded of how much it sucked when I had “raised” my Tamagotchi to an Adult (probably like 6 days old, LOL) and then accidentally dropped it off the dock into the lake at our cabin in 1997. Viscerally, I remembered how angry and disappointed I was that I had to start all over again with the 0-day old digital pet in its “Baby” status…

Re-starting the Sober Time app is a ten billion times worse version of a dead Tamagotchi…

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