Dry July- Day 10~ Compounded Ball of Stress

Why in already stressful situations, do we compound our stress with intoxication?

Perhaps we lack the physiological understanding, and we take our biology for granted.  Perhaps we don’t care.

As science moves forward with studying the micro systems of our inner workings; there is no excuse for anything other than willful ignorance.

I am keeping it short today.

My challenge to you, is to research some science on one of your bad habits, or shameful indulgences.  Look into brain chemistry, behavior and effect on biology.  It’s all very interesting, and since the world is a big mixed batch of crazy; feel solace in the fact that you are not alone, and some one always has it worse off than you do.

I am keeping on, with Dry July.  I feeling somewhat anti-social today, and I have been procrastinating this post all day.

Here is to a productive and inspired tomorrow!

Follow along with the other Dry July posts at the link below.

Dry July

Dry July- Day 2- Eleven Facts

Dry July-Day Three- Epigenetics and Sleep

Dry July- Day Four- Independence Day

Dry July- Day Five~ Waiting

Dry July-Day 6~ Real Hydration

Dry July- Day 7~ One Week Summary

Dry July-Day Eight~ Truth or Fiction

Dry July-Day 9~BandAid

Dry July-Day 9~BandAid

Time to get real, and raw about something shameful.

I can’t remember the last time I have had sober intercourse.

Yep.  I am pretty sure the few times I have had “the sex” in the last decade, 97% of the time alcohol was involved.  Now it sounds gross to think about it or to say it out loud.

Listen, I am NOT talking, sloppy drunk.  No.  I am just saying, I hadn’t not been drinking before intimacy.

What does that say about me? I suppose in my twenties, it was cool to have an air of independence and mystery; to brush off the idea of serious relationships.  So, my relationships would be intense for a minute and then just dissipate because one of us would get “too serious” or too disinterested.  And, dudes would come and go, but I still had my bottle of Jameson, or some snobby beer to keep me company as I entertained myself.

It’s true, alcohol really does lower ones inhibitions; but it probably also lowers ones standards.

I am not sure how much of that sex I would have had, had I not been drinking.  My reserve to say ‘no’ would probably be a lot stronger, and in certain situations my insecurities would have been amplified (lending to my already existent frigidity), and in some cases, I probably would have better used my observational skills to know when someone is just saying sweet somethings, in order to get laid.

I’ve been a fool.

Admittedly I have followed in programming like many young women; buying into the belief that women exist for the enjoyment and pleasure of men and acting as such an object. All the time, pretending I had some magical power.  All the while secretly hoping on some wild Hollywood romantic notion, that one worthy man would fall madly in love with me, and that I would feel that way in equal reciprocity… Happily Ever After Style, Traveling the World, and Eating Delicious Food~~~HA!!!

See? How foolish!

Well, I think I had plenty of men fall for me, despite taking them through some psycho/spiritual wringer of litmus tests, all because trust seems to take time in most cases; and even when that trust is obviously established it becomes evident it is still not enough for me (for some reason.)

Is there a Sober Sapiophile Social Club?

Really, intelligence is the biggest turn on.  I am starting to wonder what it’s like to be turned on by a person without the influence of alcohol?

One of the first places the brain shuts down when drinking is the Frontal Lobe, which is in charge of judgement, behavior and emotion.  ” Alcohol may affect emotions, leading to crying, fighting, or a desire to be close to another person.” 

Holy crap, right?  This is the exact part of the brain that would help anyone find a good partner!

So all in all, nothing really lost, and everything gained.  I find the research interesting, and it’s fun treating ones self as a science experiment to a certain degree.  I mean, I have control over my purposeful experiments, and I appreciate that in others.  Ultimately it is about self awareness, and figuring out the lies we have told ourselves forever.  Still, it’s just one day at a time of facing my own truth, and that which I have been purposely avoiding for so long.  The journey is certainly a weird one.

If you appreciate this post, give  a like, share it with your friends, and leave a comment below!

Follow my Dry July series at the links below!

Dry July

Dry July- Day 2- Eleven Facts

Dry July-Day Three- Epigenetics and Sleep

Dry July- Day Four- Independence Day

Dry July- Day Five~ Waiting

Dry July-Day 6~ Real Hydration

Dry July- Day 7~ One Week Summary

Dry July-Day Eight~ Truth or Fiction

 

 

Dry July-Day Eight~ Truth or Fiction

Out of the numerous videos I have watched over the last week in regard to abstaining from alcohol; almost all of them reassert the same few observations, and one of those observations is, “Without Alcohol Productivity Soars!”

Now, I am going to be honest with you here, like I am in all my other posts… I really didn’t feel any more productive this first week with out alcohol.

My perception and feelings are very hypercritical, especially of myself;  this is when I need the numbers to set me straight and tell me Truth from Fiction.

For instance, I started working out again, two weeks ago, and I have continued to work out while going one week without drinking.

The first week working out, I worked out a total of seven days that week (strictly on treadmill with either 5 lb hand weights or a 50 lb ruck sack), for a total of 3.7 hours, and a total of 13 miles distance, losing a total of 4.25 inches on my body.

Week two of working out sans alcohol, I worked out a total of six days, for a total of 4.5 hours, with a total distance of 13 miles, but with an additional fourteen minutes a day (for four days) of HIIT style exercises bringing my measurements down a total of 9.5 inches on my body (from first day of measuring on June 20).

When we look at ourselves everyday, it can be hard to see our own progress.

In our heads, we imagine our ideals, and when we look in the mirror, we see how far away we are from those ideals.  We stare at ourselves in the mirror, as though we are examining ourselves under a microscope;

“Will he notice this scar?”

” Will some one comment on how flaky my skin is today?”

“Where did that bruise come from?”

“Do you think it will be noticeable?”

“Do you think any one can tell how many ingrown hairs are under my beard?”

“I’m never going to be able to wear a swim suit again.”

Humans are their own worst enemy, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Many of us had the struggle of endearing the process of bullying when we were children.  We were awkward looking, goofy, and vulnerable.  We wanted friends, just like everyone else.  We weren’t the ones the popular kids wanted to sit with.  Likely, we were a teachers pet at one point or another.  We were generally kind hearted kids, who wanted to fit in.  Fitting in sometimes meant, unattainable conformity.

We learned from an early age, that the world isn’t necessarily inclusive; and that’s okay, because we don’t necessarily want to be included in some things, especially if they are destructive or harmful to ourselves or others. 

It’s possible that many of us are still battling that awkward inner child.  The one that is willing to “go along to get along,”;  the one that beats the bullies to the punch through self deprecation. That inner crying voice, that demands you don’t leave the house unless you look your best, and since you never feel your best, you never feel you look your best; so then you become a shut in, afraid of that scary, mocking world outside the door.

This is a seed of depression, few want to talk about.

The seed of depression that is sewn in our impressionable youth, watered by ourselves and our peers, sprouting in those prepubescent years, going into some adolescent maturity,  where the stalks and roots are reinforced by rings of experience.  Causing us to build that thick outer shell, in order to protect our very fragile insides.

Because, like, everyone knows, it isn’t cool to be fragile or vulnerable.

So we physically take on attributes associated with that fragility, to protect ourselves from pain.  We build layers of fat onto our frames, to buffer our inner selves from the hostile outer world. We cultivate biting senses of humor, to lash like swords in uncomfortable situations.  The effect of both of these actions is in itself a double edged sword; for now we open ourselves up to a new scrutiny, and we compound that pain and discomfort into those soft layers of fat while we drench ourselves in our own poisonous rhetoric.

Anyone who has struggled in this way, will tell you, “If I could just lose the weight, it would be one less thing to worry about.  I would feel more confident.”

Anyone can lose weight; however, just losing weight isn’t going to immediately remedy all the compounded feelings and emotions which caused it to begin with.  Without working out the rhyme and reason, you still have a fat person in a skinny or fit body.  We have an obligation to our inner child to explain the difference between the Truth and Fiction.  We deserve to work these struggles out for ourselves with patience and compassion

The Truth reasserts that, regardless of body fat percentage, you are worthy of love!  Regardless of the pain you have suffered, you are good enough.  Despite all the horrible things you may have believed about yourself, you are unique and vital.

I have found that drinking, reinforces those inner childhood insecurities; and alcohols’ direct connection to empty calories and weight gain, certainly shows me that the correlation isn’t only mental.

Week two I am going to pay close attention to where my productivity soars.  I am going to make an effort to call it out and appreciate it, just like I would do for some one else.  I am going to pay attention to what other distractions cut into my productivity.

I am going to be easy with myself, and try and convince my inner child to calm down and assess before panicking and running away or becoming defensive.  I need to revisit some building blocks of safety, in order to convince that part of myself that “it’s okay to be proud of yourself, for small reasons.”

I am going to commit to expressing more gratitude to myself, for taking this challenge; and following the rabbit down this new and exciting hole.
If you have an interesting story to share about a challenge you faced head on, please leave a comment below, and share your experience.  If you enjoyed this post, please share it and leave a like!

If you just found this blog spot, and you would like to read about my other revelations through the first week of Dry July, click the links below!  Cheers!

Dry July

Dry July- Day 2- Eleven Facts

Dry July-Day Three- Epigenetics and Sleep

Dry July- Day Four- Independence Day

Dry July- Day Five~ Waiting

Dry July-Day 6~ Real Hydration

Dry July- Day 7~ One Week Summary

 

 

Dry July- Day 7~ One Week Summary

I need a new frickin’ hobby, y’all!

Not drinking, hasn’t been a big deal.  My life really didn’t have much going on anyway, so my routine has basically been exactly the way it was before, sans alcohol.

I think that working out daily, has definitely worn my body out physically, while at the same time see my endurance return.

Sleeping is still an issue, because I want to go to bed at 9:00-9:30, and if I don’t get to bed then I get another wind for about 3-4 hours.  My sleep tends to be consistently restless around 3-6:30 am, regardless of my state of mind or tiredness levels.

I get a lot of pride, sitting down and writing daily.

Writing one cohesive, long story, is kind of hard for me. So sitting down daily like this, is inspiring research and creativity.  Sometimes, life feels so mundane, it doesn’t feel worth writing about.  Dry July has given me a purpose to write, and a reason to look at things differently.  It is bringing my awareness around to what I would like to change, and what is in my capacity to change.

I think I need to start a alcohol free social arts club.

I need more to do during the day, to fill some of these hours that pass by filled by vapid FaceBook posts.  It’s an easy fall back when working from home.  I’d like to actually connect with people in a face to face creative way a few hours a week, just for something to look forward to, and something new to talk about with my grandma.  The conflict I find, is that many people work during the days, during the week… and this is often times when I crave social interaction the most.

I’ve lost 3.5 inches off my waist!!!

In the last week, I have probably saved my self from a weeks worth of empty calories from not drinking.  I have been sticking to water, and one and a half cups coffee, with a couple flavored seltzer waters in there.  This in and of itself feels like quite the accomplishment.

I am purposely trying to retrain my brain to look forward to exercise, by reinforcing pride in myself, when I accomplish it for the day.  I tell myself,

” I love it when my hair is soaked in sweat.”  

However my bunions haven’t been impressed with my up tick in physical activity, so hopefully they will adapt, because the pain is no bueno.

My small goal at the end of the month, is to be able to do a half modified push up.  My upper body strength has totally gone to shit, and my core, is weak sauce.

These are things I can control.

That seems to be the theme of Dry July.  Self Control.  Moderation.  Accountability to Self.  Honesty and clarity.  The hardest part so far, is facing how lonely and isolated I have become.  How my weight gain and self image have exacerbated my hermitage.  The truth that though I love being alone, I am still very much a social creature that craves new experiences.  I need to shake up my game a little in order to get some new experiences while still maintaining what needs to be done.

If you have some suggestions on how I might be able to do that, please leave it in the comments section!

Feel free to leave your likes, and share this post!  Read about my first week, day by day, in the links provided below!  Have a lovely weekend!

Dry July

Dry July- Day One

Dry July- Day 2- Eleven Facts

Dry July-Day Three- Epigenetics and Sleep

Dry July- Day Four- Independence Day

Dry July- Day Five~ Waiting

Dry July-Day 6~ Real Hydration

 

 

 

Dry July-Day 6~ Real Hydration

Well, it’s day six of drinking at least 96 ounces (.75 gallons) of water a day, and guess what?!?  I AM STILL DEHYDRATED!

According to science, our bodies are a lot like plants.  After long periods of not having our hydration needs met, our bodies adapt by triggering a water conservation sensor.  This is Chronic Cellular Dehydration and the bodies conservation has an effect on how much water is distributed on a intra and extracellular level.

This effect means, that just because you drink a gallon of water one day, doesn’t mean you will be fully hydrated after you drink that gallon.  It takes a long period for the body to adapt to decreased and increased water consumption. Those water conservation sensors will not relax until hydration become consistent enough to saturate the body day after day.

If you have been in a hydration deficit for years, it can take a while for the body to re-acclimate, slowly re-hydrating the body on a cellular level.  When we look at it this way, we can understand the primary underlying cause of aging, is the dehydration of the cells, organs, muscles and tissues.  Other health conditions arise from dehydration.  The blood thickens, the muscles lose their tone, and the kidneys have a harder time processing toxins out of the blood and removing them from the body.

“But I don’t like water.”

I hear that more often than I would like to admit from people.  They are the same people who live off of Mt.Dew and Dr. Pepper, or Diet Coke.   They are also the same people who complain about frequent headaches, bloating and joint inflammation. Many of them have dark circles around their eyes.

I understand that water isn’t as good in other cities, as it is here in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  I have experienced tap water other places, and it’s unbearable.  I am thankful for what I have, and I crave our water when I am away.  Still, I am in a hydration deficit.   Over the last six days, I have seen incremental change based on water alone.  I limit myself to one and a half cups coffee a day, and the rest is just, water.

It’s bland, yes, but my body wants and needs it so badly, that I am committed to getting those conservation sensors to relax, so the real healing in my cells can happen.

And if you want to drink more water, but you “don’t like it” , that is what you have to weigh for yourself.  Do you want to feel better in the long run, or do you want another 20 oz bottle of fluid sugar now, that is going to make things worse later?

At this point, it isn’t about “will power”, it’s about making responsible decisions that I am proud of.  It’s taking control over who I want to be.   “Will power” sounds so, “woo-woo”, like grasping at straws.  “Self Control” sounds like self ownership; like I have a fucking say in my Now and my Future.  You can lose your “will power” if you didn’t have much “Will” to begin with, but you are the only one who has control of you.  So if you “lose control” that is a conscious decision to rebel against yourself.

I am sick of rebelling against myself.  I know what I need.  You know what you need.  We don’t need anyone to tell us, but sometimes it is nice to have reminders.

GET HYDRATED!  GOOOOOOO H2O!

Give this post a nice little like, a share or a comment.  Pass it on to a friend and become hydration accountability partners.  Your skin will thank you for it!

Follow along on my Dry July Journey at the links below!  Cheers!

Dry July

Dry July- Day One

Dry July- Day 2- Eleven Facts

Dry July-Day Three- Epigenetics and Sleep

Dry July- Day Four- Independence Day

Dry July- Day Five~ Waiting

 

A Casual Conversation About Pain

“I am well acquainted with pain.”  She said dryly, as she ran her finger tips through the wet condensation that had gathered on her glass.  The beads of water pooling, and dripping down the slick surface, like tears or sweat drops down the curvature of a cheek.

She continues, “The pain has always overshadowed the excitement, or the gratitude.  It has more… longevity.  See, I can savor excitement for a moment, and only a moment, for excitement isn’t sustainable.  I can meditate on gratitude, and it will swell, and grow; but once I leave that meditation, gratitude dissipates into something subtle; like catching the smell of blossoms in the wind.  The pain is so strong and sturdy, it can weather any storm and become stronger because of the storm.  The companionship of pain, get’s me through the day.”

She appears to be caught in some reverie, contemplating her relationship with that one pervasive companion.  She wonders how she’s stuck around this long in such an abusive and imbalanced relationship.  She questions if this fate is written in her genetics, folded into the crevasse’s of her brain tissue, pulsing through her veins.  Is she, her own inescapable pain?  Is it a destiny?

A shadow comes over her eyes,  and she stares down into the shallow watery pool inside of her glass.

“It’s unavoidable, you know?  And you can’t prepare for it; you can’t just schedule it into your calendar.  You can co-exist with it, like co-existing with a bad roommate that you tend to avoid and ignore.  Pain is just trashing you on the inside, and you just don’t have the energy to deal with it; so you go somewhere else, and do something else with someone else… but the whole time, at the back of your mind, you are thinking ‘I eventually have to go home, and deal with all this bullshit.’  And it’s tedious, you know?  It’s like… it’s just hard enough to get by without unintentionally upsetting some one else… but Pain, Pain doesn’t care who it upsets.  Pain doesn’t care that they are ravaging your house.  Pain doesn’t give a shit about protecting your cherished memories, or putting things back nicely.  Pain, is kind of just a big home wrecker.”

She spins the water glass by it’s stem with one hand, and draws lines in the condensation with the other.  Spinning and spinning until their are continuous lines encircling the goblet.

“Pain is cyclical.  You can almost plan for it… almost.  But, it’s smart, and feisty.  Say you expect a visit on around the 20th… Pain shows up on the 15th.  Early, but somehow on time.  It’s like it KNOWS exactly when shit is going to hit the fan.  Pain loves to be at the center of a good solid shit show.  I mean, Pain is a god damn mess, who always expects some one else to do the clean up.  I have been cleaning up that bitches mess, for DECADES.  Some messes are bigger than others… Pain hasn’t made a huge mess in a while… and so I can’t help but think, the next big mess is just around the corner.  That it’s going to be a bigger mess than ever before; like it will be all the messes of ever, and then some… then what am I going to do?  I just don’t have it in me to keep going like this.” 

The bartender, silent until now, refills her glass of water.  The delicate dissolving ice cubes tickling the inside of the glass and melting into the greater volume of liquid.  They both stare at the way the ice dissipates, growing smaller and smaller into little slivers until they finally disappear.

The bartender finally speaks, “Maybe pain is the ice, and you are the water.  The colder you become, the longer you will hold onto that pain;  however, the warmer you become, the less pain you can sustain holding.  Your warmth will shrink the pain until it appears that it is gone.  You are water.  You can freeze; you can vary in temperature, you can heat up so hot, that you just float away into some bigger collective of moisture.  You can expand and contract.  Ice… Ice expands.  Ice is heavy, yet it floats. It’s dense like Pain.  Steam is also expansive, but it’s so light that it floats on air as a vapor. Steam is like the memory of pain.  A veil of our collective pain that we have warmed up to the point that it floats away.  It’s still there somewhere, but it isn’t holding us down, it isn’t freezing us.  It just exists in some different form, and our relationship with it changes.  We realize, we are all water, and the ice is water as much as the vapor is water.  It’s still a part of us.”

She sits back in her seat, both palms resting on the edge of the bar.  She contemplates this analogy; imagining herself trudging through the streets with her body covered in heavy bags of ice.  She thinks about how the walk would get easier on a hot day, and how on a freezing day, the walk would be unbearable.

“How do you control the weather?”  She asks.

The bartender pauses from wiping the pools of liquid that have accumulated on the bar.

“You can’t control the weather everywhere.  You can only control your mico-climate.  If you are sick of the cold, quit hanging around Polar bears or get a thicker sweater; either way, realize no matter where you go, there is always going to be water. And if that doesn’t suit you try living in the desert, where you will find that not having water in it’s many forms, will bring a different sort of pain and discomfort.   The desire to be quenched.  Right now you experience being drenched in Pain, but you aren’t drowning.”

“You are right.  I am not drowning… and I have no desire to be burnt to a crisp.  You’ve given me some things to contemplate.  And, thank you for the water.”

 

Dry July- Day Five~ Waiting

“Is it too early to drink?” – Novice Drinker

“It’s Five O’Clock somewhere!”- Intermediate Drinker

 “Today is a day-drinking kind of day.”- Advanced Drinker

“Is it Five O’Clock, yet?” – Employed Drinker

 “Liquor is like a good collection of shoes; if you know what you have in your closet,  you can find something to go with any occasion.” -Philosophical Drinker

“Write Drunk.  Edit Sober”  -Ernest Hemingway  (Productive Drinker who sets boundaries?)

Let’s face it.  With the chemical action of liquor, even some of the most mundane activities can seem extra fun.  I know I enjoy family gatherings a bit more with a beer in hand.

But what does one do, when they have spent every day, looking forward to that next beer or drink, and you take drinking out of the equation?

I am a full time, in home care taker for my grandma… I don’t have a bunch of wonderful things I look forward to on a daily basis. It’s like being a mom, but your kid isn’t growing more capable; and an eventual end is inevitable.  Alcohol has been my place holder for new experiences while I deal with the day to day, mundane tasks like laundry; dishes,vacuuming,dusting,picking up dog poop, cleaning up dog vomit, and making dinner .  

I tell myself; “With alcohol I can over-ride how much I dislike these unending tasks, and laugh at myself and my life decisions.  I can see the humor in the craziness of it all.”

I don’t know why I’ve led myself to believe that I need to be drinking in order to get to that place in my own mental attitude.  And this is where I realize where I have suppressed and stunted my own development.

I remember someone telling me; that the age a person first gets drunk, will be the mental attitude they return to every time they get drunk there after.  And through the years I have tried to test this theory out, by asking people how old they were the first time they got drunk, and then observing them when they do get drunk.  I would venture to say, the theory holds pretty strong.

I’ve met a lot of people who started partying when they were twelve and thirteen years old.  Those ages are hormonal/ emotional roller coasters.  Men that I have met, who started drinking that young, tend to be more destructive or mischievous when they get drunk.  Women, tend to get kind of high and giggly and/or highly emotional.  I think the influence of how vulnerable that age is, plays into the brain physiology long term.

“One aspect of brain functioning that is commonly studied in youths as well as older adults is neuropsychological performance,1 which includes memory function, attention, visuospatial skills, and executive functioning (e.g., planning, abstract reasoning, and goal-directed behavior). (1 The term “neuropsychological performance” refers to performance on standardized tests of thinking and memory skills.) Several studies have suggested that heavy alcohol use in young people appears to be associated with potentially long-term deleterious effects on neuropsychological functioning.”   -National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

I am wondering if cultural standards and norms regarding alcohol consumption, that differ in other countries, effect the epigenetics of their people; which in turn is going to relate to neuropsychological performance of those people on some level.

For instance, children are allowed to drink in many European countries.  Does the acceptance of that practice lead to better boundaries around alcohol?  Is the society more relaxed about alcohol, and therefore use it in a different manner (more or less respect)?  Do European countries have a higher addiction rate than the US, whose laws are different in regard to the age of consumption; or are American funded Studies, speaking for the whole world when they say to abstain from alcohol until (American) legal adulthood, (also known as “when the brain is fully developed)?

We’ve seen what can happen to society when alcohol is forcefully taken away.  Alcohol has existed in many forms for centuries.  It is ingrained in almost every nook and cranny of culture.  Creating alcohol, in it’s easiest form, can be unintentional.

I remember cleaning out my locker, my senior year.  And at the bottom of everything, there was a glass bottle of apple juice I had taken a couple of drinks out of, at the beginning of the school year, re-capped it, and put it in my locker.  Experimental and curious, I opened the bottle and as I did the liquid began to frantically fizz, and the whole hallway began to smell like hard cider… oops!

All it takes to make some alcohol, is sugar, yeast, water and time.

It might be time to look at alcohol in a completely new way.  I am not sure what that looks like yet.

I think this blog post has inspired some creativity for me… You will have to stay tuned to see how all that pans out.

If you learned something new from this post, give it a like, a comment and a share!

And if you just stumbled in for the first time, and want to read more about my Dry July experiences and revelations, click the links below!

Cheers, and have a lovely day!

Dry July

Dry July- Day One

Dry July- Day 2- Eleven Facts

Dry July-Day Three- Epigenetics and Sleep

Dry July- Day Four- Independence Day

 

 

Dry July- Day Four- Independence Day

I suppose for many people on July 4, in the United States,  it’s hard to say “no” to imbibing a cold alcoholic beverage (or two, or ten) during one of the myriad of barbecues and festive events happening during this auspicious holiday.

I mean, I am pretty sure this is the American Holiday that brought us “Drunk Watermelon” and garbage cans full of “Jungle Juice.” Why do I think that?  Because according to the police scanner these summer beverages pair best with explosives.

One might wonder if people NEED to get drunk, in order to appreciate the sounds and colors of  supposed Independence at the end of the night.

I didn’t have any Fourth of July plans.  My day was pretty much like every other day, with the exception of trying out a new Chicken Teriyaki recipe, and firing up the grill to make a beautiful meal that probably SHOULD have been photographed and put on Instagram.  I drank a nice Sparkling Lavender Water, and listened to sirens and fireworks.

And, let me tell you, the sirens and the fire works went all day, and well into the night. So, I just had to tune into the police scanner.

Would you like to scare yourself into never drinking again, and staying off the roads on a holiday?  Then listen to the scanner on a day like July 4th.  It is one call right after another of drunken, violent, idiotic, preventable, controllable nonsense.  Most of which is all fueled by intoxication.

I’ve never had so much compassion for our emergency response teams before.

As I listened to the dispatchers taking calls, patching in officers, and making instant decisions;  I couldn’t help but be surprised and amused.  I listen to the scanner every now and again, but I have never tuned in for hours at a time, where there are very few breaks in the feed.  Yesterday was one of those days.

Selfishly, I kept waiting for someone to call about fireworks being shot off near my house (illegal to do because I am in city limits.)  A few calls came in about the disturbance, but the officers were never able to make it to those calls, because more pressing issues would over ride their direction.

Drunk drivers.  Runaways.  Fights in parking lots.  A naked woman in the back of a cargo van with the doors open.  A man with no legs had fallen out of his wheelchair and was passed out on the side walk.  Grass fires all over town.  Domestic Violence disturbance.  Reports of gunshots.  A sixty year old man, on LSD had fallen down, hit his head and was unconscious…. 

The calls just kept coming.  All these people seem to be going to some weird mental extreme to express their “Independence.”  But how many of these people woke up today, July 5; only to realize they may have just lost what little Independence they may have had yesterday?

How many people ended their night with the vision of  red, white, and blue flashes of an emergency vehicle taking them to jail, or to the hospital.  Maybe even the flashes of light behind smoke as firefighters douse fires on property, like homes.

How many people will have their cars towed, and their licences revoked?  How many will have lost their pets in the chaos?  How many of them will be impressed with deep regret for their carelessness?  How long will the blotter brief be, after two days of full throttle parties?

I don’t know, I am just glad I wasn’t apart of any of that nonsense.

We choose where we go, and what we do.  We have a responsibility toward ourselves and our fellow humans, to be self responsible.  How many people were doing just that, only to have someone else encroach on their life with bad decision making?  It happens more often than we would like to admit, and a “holiday” is no excuse for that behavior.

And, this is what I was worried about; If I don’t drink, and I going to become an even more Judgey McJudgerson and the Judgeyville Judgers – type person, again?

No.  No. I don’t think I am being judge-y.  I am telling it like it is, based off of clear observation.  Yesterday and the day before, was a SHIT SHOW for emergency response teams, and I am guessing that 80% of those calls were preventable; that is, if people presented a modicum of self control.

Holiday’s and celebrations seem to trigger the thinking that everything is a “free for all”, and self control goes out the window.  It appears people believe the norms of function go on hiatus for 24-72 hours surrounding a celebration.  It isn’t healthy.  And, worst of all, it appears to be a self-feeding beast.  It is an energy that we, as Americans have been fermenting for quite some time now, and it feels like it might burst.

 

If you enjoy following these posts, feel free to like, share, or leave a comment.  I would love to hear about your July 4, 2017.   Did anything crazy happen?  Did you have any realizations about Independence?  For updates on new posts, press the FOLLOW button.

To read the first four parts of this saga, click the links below!  Cheers!

Dry July

Dry July- Day One

Dry July- Day 2- Eleven Facts

Dry July-Day Three- Epigenetics and Sleep

 

 

Dry July-Day Three- Epigenetics and Sleep

What does full throttle exhaustion feel like?  I don’t know for sure but I assume it feels a lot like I have felt for the last three years.  I’ve been constantly tired, that is until I would have a double shot of Jameson on the rocks.

My senses would perk up as I would hold the cold astringent liquid in my mouth for a whole minute before choosing to swallow; letting the taste of liquor bathe my tongue, the chemicals seeping into the porous flesh of my mouth.  Those sweet chemicals breaking blood brain barriers, causing synaptic sensations in my gray matter.

By the end of the glass, I would have an artificial second wind.

Maybe that second wind would lead to starting a new experimental project; maybe it would lead me to dancing in my dark back yard under moon light until I was breathless and sweaty, maybe it would lead me down some conspiratorial rabbit hole, maybe it would lead me to do some mundane domestic task that I had been putting off (like my own laundry.)

Either way I would chemically prop myself up, until I was tired again; falling into a sedated sleep, where I would lay still for hours.  To be exact, by “hours” I mean,  four hours.  Four hours for my body to metabolize the poison, and send signals to my brain and bladder to get up and get moving, urgent to purge the remnants of spent cells from my internal ecosystem.

I would wake up, quite easily,  but my brain and body both felt the neglect of real rest, so I would go to the bathroom, and crawl back into bed, where I would quickly fall asleep again, only it was a fraction of the quality restorative rest I needed and was chronically neglecting.  Maybe I could grab a nice three to four hour stretch, but when I got up the second time, my body and mind would both be dragging.

Every day I would have the same conversation with myself, ” If you just get up the first time, and get your day started, you could take a little nap later.”  

 ” Maybe if you didn’t go back to bed, you wouldn’t be tired all day.”

“But, I have a natural tendency to be tired at 6:30 am, I think it has something to do with the time of day I was born and my circadian rhythms.”

Interestingly enough, I might not have been wrong about my natural sleep cycles.

  February 6, 2016  livescience.com reported on this topic discussing genetics and it’s effect on our circadian rhythms.

“According to a new study by the genetics company 23andMe, the preference for being a “morning person” — someone who enjoys waking up early and going to bed early — rather than being an “evening person,” who tends to stay up late at night and desperately reaches for the snooze button when the alarm goes off in the morning, is at least partially written in your genes. Researchers at the company found 15 regions of the human genome that are linked to being a morning person, including seven regions associated with genes regulating circadian rhythm — the body’s internal clock. ”

Full article here.

When I was younger, in school, and very sober; I was on a schedule.  I had to be up early to catch the bus or be at school extra early for an event, or be at the pool by 5:00 am to open.  It was ingrained in me to never be late, in fact, ALWAYS BE EARLY!  And let me tell you, I was a pro.

When I was in High School, on Speech and Debate trips, sharing a room with three other girls; I would make sure I was up the earliest, in and out of the bathroom first and situated on the bus well before it was time to depart.  Mainly, I didn’t want anyone to get in my way, and I didn’t want to have to wait on people who were sluggish.  This is just one example of how I would adapt just enough to get by without conflict.

What no one knows though, is that I probably had the worst quality of sleep due to excitement for the next day, the fact I am a light sleeper and some random sleepy team mate is snoring next to me and stealing all the blankets.

When I went to Christian College for a semester, I didn’t have to be up early every day… so my schedule adapted to that.  I would stay up all night sometimes, trying to study; finally I would give up, go for a run around three or four in the morning and return just in time for the doughnut shop to open with fresh doughnuts.  Then, I would take that box of doughnuts back to the dorm and leave them for my suite mates.   (When everyone else was gaining weight, I was losing pounds like I never had before.)

Genetics testing companies are now capitalizing on areas of health, wellness, and fitness of individuals interested in making the most of their genes.  Companies like FitnessGenes®  and DNAFit are using genetic data to help people maximize the physical benefits of their unique genetic make up.  FitnessGenes® blog  assert that “Your Genes Are Not Your Destiny”    through a process called  “epigenetics”.

So though the DNA code is fixed, the epigenetics can be changed by outside influence.   For instance, a person with an active genetic marker to be a night owl, living in that schedule, will reap more benefit exercising later in the day than they will exercising right when they first get up.

These epigenetic markers can be influenced by what we eat; what our sleep cycles look like, the quality of our social interactions and frequency of exercise.  All of those activities send signals to our cells which effect the bodies rise and fall of hormones in the blood of the individual; so what may be good for the goose, might not be good for the gander.

I think it’s safe to say that alcohol consumption has an effect on our epigenetics.

 The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism   says  “Alcohol can influence gene expression, and specifically epigenetic regulatory processes that modify the activity of genes, through a variety of mechanisms. Some of these are related to the metabolism of alcohol in the cells, explains Dr. Samir Zakhari. In general, several metabolites, such as nicotinamide-adenine dinucleotide (NAD) in its oxidized and reduced forms, acetyl-coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA), and S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) serve as cofactors for numerous reactions in the cell, including reactions related to epigenetic DNA and histone modifications. Dr. Zakhari reviews some of the pathways through which alcohol metabolism alters the levels of these metabolites in the cells and how the changes in metabolite levels may impact epigenetic processes such as DNA methylation and histone acetylation. (pp. 6–16) ”

Well, shit.  What have I been doing to myself?  I have always considered myself smart, if not a bit rebellious.  I am starting to see very clearly that I have thrown my common sense to the wind in regard to this issue for far too long.

It’s is Independence Day, here is America… perhaps today is the day to gross myself out to the point of quitting cigarettes because I am sure it is negatively effecting my epigenetic expression, I think I might be ready to be the best I can be… I’ve gotten a taste of my own personal rock bottom and quite frankly I am over it.

 

Feel  free to leave your stories of how you notice outside influences effect your body and mind in the comments.  Give this post a like and feel free to share with your friends.

To read the other posts in this saga, click the links below. Cheers!

Dry July

Dry July- Day One

Dry July- Day 2- Eleven Facts

 

 

 

 

 

Dry July- Day 2- Eleven Facts

Let me tell you eleven facts about my drinking history.

1.) I drank (more than a taste) maybe a handful of times before I was legal to, starting at eighteen.

Once on New Years Eve, my senior year with my older boyfriend and his friends ( I believe they brought over wine coolers and beer.  I told my parents I wasn’t drinking but my face and attitude were all bubbly.)

Once at some airmen party my  Air Force boyfriend took me to, I drank a few Apple Pucker/vodka shots.

At, nineteen, I got my first “apartment”, (which was really just a room in a boarding house for women in Berkeley, California) My friend Seth and I christened the room by drinking a horrible bottle of Brass Monkey.

At the age of twenty; a couple of times I snuck into the Crown with some friends.  I would drink Bloody Light Beer and Frog Balls ( Tomato juice in BudLight and green olives) because that is what my friends drank.

Then there were probably a couple of house parties in there where I imbibed.  But never to excess.

2.) I have always enjoyed being in control of myself and my ability to leave; so I would never want to get “drunk.”

I would enjoy the feeling of social lubrication because I would get anxious in social situations with new people.

I enjoyed the way alcohol would lower my inhibitions, so that I felt I could easily talk to strangers, or new people.  I enjoyed the way it got me out of my own head, and into the present moment.

I liked how it “chilled me out”; being sober (to me) meant being hyper in many ways.  Hypercritical; hyper-mental, and hyper-insecure.   When I started drinking, I became less hypercritical of the behavior of others.  I was less inclined to be “judgy” about others drinking.

3.)  I didn’t go through the average path for drinking.

I started drinking later than most people and when I went to a private Christian College for one semester at nineteen;  I didn’t drink at all during that time.  So I never got on that whole “college binge drinking scene.”  I really believed that you shouldn’t do mind altering substances, until your brain had fully developed.

4.)  I have always drank for the taste.

  Every New Years Eve, my parents would give my brother and I maybe a quarter of a champagne flute of champagne, you know, so we could “participate.”  I loved the taste of the bubbly… my brother, not so much.  I would drink mine in one quick gulp, and then his.

When I was about 12 or 13 and my parent’s weren’t around, I would crawl up on the counter top, and visit the “little bottles of booze” in the cabinet above the refrigerator.  I would only take a sip.  The only one I liked was Malibu Rum.  I loved the smell, and sweetness (it reminded me of Mexico.)

I turned twenty-one in San Jose, California.  My boyfriend at the time and his friends, were dare I say it, “Alcohol Snobs.”  They enjoyed elaborate drinks, like flaming Dr. Peppers, and Oatmeal Cookies.  I don’t recall any of them drinking cheap beer.  My vice of choice when going out, would either be a Vodka Cran with Lime, or Long Island Ice Tea.  This is where drinking became a habit and a reward system.  “After a long hard day” my boyfriend and I, and sometimes his mother, would have a few drinks together on an almost nightly basis.

In San Jose, I  would use drinking as an emotional crutch, as I got the feeling his friends didn’t really like me that much, and I didn’t have that many friends of my own in this unfamiliar land.

At the age of twenty two, I started to really get into craft beer.  And, admittedly I became a “beer snob”, you know,  before it was really hip to do.

5.) My unconventional life path, catered to drinking.

Being the type that doesn’t want to get drunk or black out, I know how to pace my drinking.  I have had some very unconventional jobs, where drinking at work is actually encouraged and provided for, the employees.   As you can imagine, not everyone “stays in their body” in those situations.  I have always held pride in keeping my shit together.

My “style of  drinking” is slow, paced.  I can drink through out the day, and not get drunk.  By the time for bed, I would just be tired, and at times maybe irritable.

Some of the jobs I have had, where drinking was acceptable on the job were; working in a dive bar, working for a brewery/ hop farm; farming vegetables/ cannabis, working at a distillery, house sitting, dog sitting, and working as a promotional model.

I am a good worker, and I never let my consumption get in the way of my work performance.

6.)  I made money while drinking.

While I had jobs that paid me, while I was working and drinking; I have also used the social lubricant to help me sell art work.  I have sold more paintings out of pubs, than I have any where else.  I would bring my art supplies, and some finished canvass’, order a craft beer and a double Jameson on the rocks, or maybe a Bloody Mary and get to work on some art.   Eventually some one would come over to see what I was doing, and BAM, I just made an art sale.

People with money, who are drinking, are usually VERY GENEROUS.

7.) I started drinking alone near the beginning of my legal usage of alcohol.

I moved around quite a bit after I left home after High School.  When I moved to Summit County, Colorado at twenty two, I found myself in the closest thing I can relate to what may be the “college party” environment.

I like, many other young mountain residence, sought employment at the  Keystone Ski Resort; cheaply living in a dormitory.  The first few weeks I was there, it was downtime right before the summer season was set to get going.  There weren’t many people around, and I literally lived across the parking lot from a little liquor store.  I would go buy a bottle of Chardonnay, and dance alone while making art work in my room, and then I would go take a hike or maybe clean my room.  Either way, my brain was being triggered by the dopamine, and I was riding off the exhilaration of being able to purchase alcohol on my own, as an adult.  I didn’t have anyone judging me, or telling me “no”.  I was free to do as I pleased.

I have spent many hours and some times days where I am alone.  Drinking was just something I could do that accompanied any of my creative en-devours; be it writing, painting, or dressing up in characters.  It was also something that everyone else was doing socially… so I’ve never really been a binge drinker; just a consistent drinker.

8.)  I took pride in how well versed I became in my knowledge of different liquors and beers.

It’s people like me, who made craft beer the thriving industry it is today.  Every where I would go, I would be educating people on drinks.  I don’t know why this made me feel like I had some sort of upper hand, but it did.  Now I am a little ashamed that I was basically just being an enabler.

9.)  It’s only in the last couple of years that the effects of alcohol, have really started to gross me out.

Be it my own weight gain, or how I see alcohol effect people around me; I’ve gotten really disgusted.  The hardest part is watching the effect of alcohol really turn someone into a nasty little gollum, which is what I have experienced in the last couple of years, second-hand by watching a friend struggle with their addiction.

I don’t get mean when I drink.  I actually stay in a very kind head space.  Occasionally when I am under stress, or near my moon,  I slip and let my deep, hidden emotions out.

Many times in sobriety I have felt misunderstood, or that the people I care about, give no fucks about my internal state of being.  Drinking with people that I care for, has allowed me to purge some emotions that I keep locked inside.  I do have an unspoken expectation, that if they know how I feel, things can change; however, they rarely do.  It really isn’t their responsibility to fix anything in me; namely my own perceptions.

Drinking alone while writing, allowed me to feel the freedom to put those deep emotions down on paper, and many times I would surprise myself with how far I was willing to go down that personal rabbit hole.

10.)  I only recently started judging myself for my solo consumption.

I’ve had so much freedom; free time, and self authority as an adult, that I haven’t been very self critical of my consumption.   It’s just something I can do, because I want to. I still get my work done, and do it well.

I have found that it to be a medicine of sorts because in my youth I felt very structured and controlled.  That structure and control felt like jail.  And though I was thriving in jail, it was partially because I am a mutable personality, and I try and make the best of any situation by conforming just enough to get through with out drama or trouble.  Funny thing is, that DOES actually work in jail.  It’s like some places, it isn’t okay to swear at work, so you even though you may swear like a sailor all the time; but, you reign it in at work because you need to get paid.  It doesn’t mean you lose your sense of humor, or intellect.

Why am I judging myself now?  It all comes down to the lasting effects.  The slow suicide.  The fact that I know I could accomplish so much more without alcohol hanging around all the time.  The fact that, living in the situation I am in, is temporary; and I will be better equipped for the next stage, if I reevaluate my consumption.

11.)  I knew at some point, my mind would just change.

It’s been the case for people in my family.  My grandma use to drink Milwaukee Light, and crap beer like that, and smoke cigarettes all day long through my childhood.   Then one day, she just quit.  When I asked her why she quit, she simply said, “I didn’t like how it was making me feel, anymore.”  And that made sense as a very self aware decision.  Granted, my grandma has had some health conditions that definitely benefit from cutting out beer and cigarettes, but her will to change on a dime, is inspirational in a logical kind of way.

Dry July

Dry July- Day One