Category Archives: Attitude

Cause and Effect

Apparently there’s a correlation, for me, between working too hard and being stressed, irritable, and generally in a horrible mood.  Huh.  This should not come as a surprise, should it?  For so long, though, my moods weren’t related to external events, not really.  They were related to how much I drank, primarily, and how the alcohol was affecting my brain chemistry.  I was actually surprised today when I realized that the last two times my emotional well-being dipped were the last two weeks that work was drowning me.

So, last week was awful.  This week, with another big project finished, is just lovely.  Today, I went to work around 10am for a quick meeting, took an hour lunch, and then left at 2pm.  I came home, took a nap, went to a yoga class, took Petunia to the park, and ate fish tacos outside, wearing a sundress, as the sun was setting.  (Why yes, I do live in LA.  How could you tell?)  It. Was. Glorious.  I plan to “work” just as much tomorrow, and then maybe I’ll get back to real life.  Or, better, some sort of balance between the two.

I’m fascinated to see how this bizarre thing I’ve noticed–that is, that things that are happening in my life have an effect on my mood–plays out.  Stay tuned.



Wherever You Go, There You Are

A week ago, I finished a huge project at work, one 4 months in the making.  For the month prior, I had been working weekends, 15-hour days, and all that fun stuff.  So once it was completed, my first thought was, “Where can I go?”  I schemed about renting a cabin in the mountains nearby, or heading to a desert spa for some sunbathing and relaxation.  I dreamt of hot tubs, and books, and fresh white hotel sheets.  And I almost booked the trip, too.  But then I stopped myself.  I stayed at home.  I hiked. I went to yoga class and the farmer’s market.  I cleaned the house, which was in desperate need.  I downloaded NPR’s Top 100 Songs from SXSW and listened to all of them.  It was pretty fucking glorious.

That’s new for me, though, that idea of staying put.  Of making the best of it where I am.  My flight instinct is strong.  In the sobriety world, I’ve heard it called the search for a geographical fix, and I’ve certainly been guilty of that.  I went to a great college and transferred after one year.  (I thought I hated the town; I later lived there again and fell in love with it.)  I moved every year or two for the entire first decade out of college, with the exception of the three years I spent in law school.  That’s me:  I leave.  I escape.  I’ve always fled cities and jobs and relationships.  Problem?  Quit.  That has always been my solution.

It’s so interesting that all the things I’m learning about simply sitting with myself instead of drinking seem to be translating to other parts of life, too.  So I’m able to sit with the situation instead of fleeing for some different place whenever possible.  It’s a novel idea, just dealing with life instead of trying to escape it.  Picking fight vs. flight, for really the very first time.  I’m excited to see what other changes will come about.

The (Little) Good Things

I breathed, I went to a yoga class, I took the dog for a hike, I logged some hours in the office.  I feel exponentially better.  Maybe a little gratitude will improve things even more.  Off the top of my head, here are some of the little things I’m enjoying:

1.  Hangover-free mornings.  Always, always, always, always, always.  Each one is a miracle.

2.  Not being insanely thirsty and dehydrated all the time.  I used to drink more than a liter of water just during the night. Now I fill a bottle, but I rarely take a sip.

3.  Driving (sober) at night.  It surprised me how odd this felt at first.  My mind almost played tricks on me and convinced me I was drunk; I was that unaccustomed to driving (sober) past the hour of 8pm.  (Ask me another time about those parentheticals.)

4.  Being able to make plane reservations without taking into consider whether a) the early morning flights would be a hungover nightmare or b) the late night flights would interfere with my drinking.

5.  Going to some of the restaurants in my neighborhood that were long-neglected because they didn’t have liquor licenses.

6.  Not being afraid to talk on the phone after 7pm.  I’ve been a bad friend and a bad daughter because I avoid the phone while drunk.  Nice to be able to talk now whenever.

7.  Not having to check my emails/texts/Facebook in the morning after a heavy night to see what kind of nonsense I’d been up to.  (Toward the end, I’d learned my lesson, but there was a rough little while there.  I cringe.)

8.  Saving cash.  I estimate that I spent about $18-20/day on wine on days I stayed in, and sometimes $40 or more on days I went out to eat or drink (maybe twice a week).  So, approximately $685/month.  That is an embarrassing, horrible amount of money to spend on booze–ugh, what a wine snob I was, and what an expensive way I chose to justify my drinking–but a seriously nice amount of money to save each month.

9.  Becoming aware of when I’m actually tired and actually hungry.

10.  Not having to double check before leaving the house in the morning to make sure my lips aren’t stained red.  Not having chapped lips all the time.

11.  Actually washing my face and brushing my teeth before going to bed.  Sometimes even showering!

12.  Being able to do errands after work instead of just rushing home to drink.  Having more time on the weekend as a result.  Okay, I’m just spending that extra time at the office lately, but it’s there!

13.  Spending more time with good old friends of mine who didn’t drink enough to make the cut toward the end.

And these are just the little things….



Grumpy as Hell

This past week was maybe my hardest yet.  I didn’t crave a drink, but I definitely craved an escape.  Work was (is) stressful, and I feel like I don’t have a release valve anymore.  I got a new secretary and was snippy with her when she didn’t read my mind/do things as well as my former secretary.  I was snippy with Andrew because he was working 16-hour days and Petunia, our dog, was all my responsibility.   I was just grumpy and pissy and wretched, in general.  Friday after work, I had to go to a happy hour, and while my tonic + grapefruit juice was tasty, I was annoyed that everyone else got to relieve the week’s pressure with delicious craft beer.  I’m on edge.  My neighbors have put their radio in the yard and are disturbing my quiet morning with their shitty taste in music.  I want to burn their house down.  My floor is dirty.  I have to work all weekend (again).  On and on and on.

Okay, deep breath.  I have to assume this all will pass.  Right?  Right.  I’m going to hit a yoga class today at some point (injured foot be damned), and maybe that will help.  Maybe just writing this will help.