Friday, October 25, 2013

Day 10 - Perfect!

Hey! How are youuuu? Awesome I hope!!

It's Day 10 of the cleanse. Perfect 10 day! I always love hitting this milestone. Double digits. I'm more than a third of the way through the cleanse.

Things are totally peachy by this time. I have absolutely no cravings at all anymore. The first two or three days were the worst. They always are. But once you get in the swing of things, an alcohol cleanse no longer feels like a 28-day cleanse, but more like a 5-7 day cleanse. Because once you're accustomed to cleansing - and living without alcohol at least part of the time (during cleanses and on off-days during the week), it's only those first few days that are challenging. And this time around, I did have a few more cravings than usual. Nothing a few deep breaths couldn't handle, but still.

I think it was partly because I was wondering how I'd fare not blogging on a regular basis. I've blogged all of my cleanses for the last three years or so. It's (you've!) always been such a great release and connection for me, I was worried not doing it would make things harder. I miss you, absolutely! But I also relish the time to focus on my novel. I felt I was starting to waste time (yours and mine!) writing about every celebrity DUI or rehab stint - all the while procrastinating publishing The Cleanse System. 

I sincerely don't know what's wrong with me. Why I keep putting off releasing this book. My husband asked me a couple months ago - "Do you really want to publish this book?" And I immediately burst into tears. That's how confused I was.

I do want to publish this book. I do. And yet, I have resistance. It seems like an enormous responsibility - not to mention an arrogant one - trying to help fellow problem drinkers when I only have my own experience to go on. Maybe that's why I keep putting it off. Maybe ... but there could be a deeper reason.

** Strange confession alert** - which I will probably delete at some point out of embarrassment. But for you - my royal loyals!! - I will share.

I saw a psychic about twenty years ago - almost exactly twenty years ago actually, in April of 1993. I had never been "into" psychics or astrology (beyond occasionally checking my horoscope in the newspaper) but I had a friend - a boy-type-friend - who I was quite smitten with at the time. He was a writer living in New York and the brother of a good friend of mine.  We all went out for lunch one day and - despite the fact I was in a relationship at the time - I went into adolescent infatuation mode. He was smart, sophisticated, funny, articulate, from an influential family. And a writer to boot. Everything a f*cked-up AWIC (alcoholic writer in training) admired back then.

We never consummated the relationship. But we sent scads of hot and heavy love letters to each other (in the days just before email) and wracked up crazy long distance phone bills. Anyway, this fellow was "into" just about everything. Aura reading, psychics, astrology, reincarnation, eastern religions, etc.

At that point in my life, coming out of almost fifteen years of 'atheism,' I was suspicious of anything spiritual. (My atheist boss at my part-time high school job turned me onto the philosophy and like the AWIC I was, I fell hard. I thought atheism made me cool and intellectual.) Yet, after more than a decade of it, I was starting to crave a deeper spiritual connection. I had been very religious as a young girl (Christian) and I think I missed the idea of meaning beyond my own thoughts and the material world. At least, that was my interpretation of atheism back then, so the 'coolness' was wearing off.

(Incidentally, my husband has a running joke: he says I was never really an atheist. I was just mad at God. Ha!)

So I was beginning to feel more 'open' to things when this writer came into my life. My tutelage started with books like The Sun My Heart by Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Buddhist monk, and The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Buddhist lama Sogyal Rinpoche, eventually moving into sending him photos so he could have his aura specialists 'read' me. I'm a Warrior-King for what it's worth. ;)

Eventually, at his urging, I went to see his psychic. He consulted this woman about almost everything he did. He couldn't say enough about her 'gift' and he claimed many people were addicted to her for everything from relationship advice to lottery numbers. So, reluctantly, one cool spring day in 1993, I took the morning off work and went to see her.

It was a very strange, but important day in my life.

I'm a bit embarrassed to say that. I know what some people think of psychics. In fact, I know what I think of psychics, most of them anyway. I'm still a skeptic at heart, but ... this woman ... I don't know. It was a little difficult not to feel changed by my time with her. She knew things about me that were impossible for her to know. Certainly, our mutual friend didn't have access to the kinds of things she told me about myself, my past - even my future.

For instance, she said there would be a big change in my life in March of 1997 - almost four years away at the time. She claimed I would move into a period where I was "sheltered" from the world. It was only after it had happened that I realized she had the timing down to a T.

Because midway through 1996, I applied for a voluntary separation package from my job at the CBC to finish the novel I was working on at the time (Devil May Care was eventually published in 2003 by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster). Though I applied for the package in 1996, it actually came into effect in March of 1997. That's when I left my day job. The exact month she said this change would happen.

And ... ever since, I have basically been "sheltered" from the world. Working from home on my writing - mostly novels. But screenplays, poems, and recently for me, the blog and accompanying book I hope to publish about alcohol cleansing. Whether or not I'm making money or have a book deal, this is what I do. Here's hoping you have - or find! - a partner who's just as supportive as you need him or her to be about the things that are important to you.

Anyway, that's just one example of the uncanny timing she had. Was it a 'vision?' Or a coincidence? Who knows? But it's something I've never been able to forget. Because remember, she forecasted this change four years before it happened and the timing was random. It's not as if I had a 'choice' when to leave. It had something to do with the end of the fiscal. Which she couldn't possibly have known. Because I didn't know that was my future yet either!

At any rate, she had a whole theory of life that was fascinating. I'll leave her link below if you're interested. But one of the things she told me that morning was that the purpose of my soul was to be 'an inspirational leader.'


That's the way I felt when she said those words. Clunk. Not eureka or ah ha! but 'clunk.'

She must be kidding me, I thought. I was so fucked up back then. Don't even get me started. My burgeoning alcoholism was just the tip of the iceberg.

Anyway, whe also was baffled by all the paradoxes in my astrological chart.  Including the fact that I would "not feel ready." 

Not ready. Not ready. Not ready.

And that's the way I feel about the cleanse book. It's not ready. I'm not ready. Nothing's ready. But will it ever be? Is anyone really ready - for anything? Especially important things?

At some point, she let out a sigh of relief. "Okay, you'll feel ready then" she said, as if she 'saw' some milestone that I would hit that would free me from this feeling of ... of ... what? Not stagnation. Not simple procrastination. But this feeling of being 'incomplete.'

Of not being ready.

So as I work diligently on my next novel, I continue to 'sit' on the cleanse book.

It makes me wonder, during quiet times, uncertain times ... is part of my purpose to release this book? But I won't because I'm simply caught in that 'not ready' phase she talked about? Or am I just making things up, using pointless information someone told me twenty years ago to justify simple insecurity, fear or procrastination?

Strange, heavy - some might think insane! - stuff, I know. But there it is.

Anyway, for those of you interested in an intriguing spiritual person, regardless of how far-out it seems - her name is Taina Ketola. (She thought it a strange coincidence that we were both of Finnish heritage btw.)

I only ever saw her once - and spoke to her on the phone once a few months later. But that was it. So mentioning my  name won't get you a discount. ;) For believers, you're welcome. For skeptics, yes I know it's crazy.

btw - if you're wondering whatever happened to that sophisticated writer from New York ... well, I met my future husband that year, too. ;) Nuff said.

** End of strange confession alert **

And now! Normalcy returns!

I've actually made a couple videos this cleanse, but I'm having trouble transferring them to my computer. I got a new camera for my b-day that I haven't fired up yet so I'm hoping when I do that, it'll work out.

One of the vids I shot was about how important it is to have lots of yummy beverage alternatives on hand when you're cleansing. Especially in the fridge where you usually keep your white wine or brew. Or in the cupboard where your booze or red wine usually sits. Fill those areas up with yummy drinks! Don't let the empty space depress you! And the pickle jar doesn't count!

Try to choose healthy options, though. Stay away from too many drinks with lots of sugar or empty carbs and calories. You can enjoy those as treats, but go easy.

I always love Gus Grown-up Soda. It's lighter in calories than regular pop and not quite as sweet - yet, it's still fairly high in carbs and sugar, so don't overindulge. Hint essence waters aren't quite as tasty, but they're more interesting than plain water and they're calorie-free, so you can practically drown yourself in them during a cleanse. My Hint waters aren't pictured here, but FYI, they come in carbonated and still varieties, with lots of flavors.

The real news this cleanse is that I discovered Rise Kombucha. There are several flavors and the pretty bottles fit nicely into the place where I usually keep my vino bianco. ;) So no depressing empty spaces to just get filled up by pickle jars.

BEE-TEE-DOUBLE-YOU!!! I looked up Kombucha - a fermented Eastern drink. It has 0.5% alcohol by content! I only noticed this after I started drinking it. But the alcohol content is so low, it's not really an alcoholic beverage so it doesn't impact the cleanse.

However, that fermentation gives it a little 'bite' which is really rewarding for people accustomed to alcohol. I drank this bottle over the course of the first 2-3 days of the cleanse. Had it in a champagne flute. It looked gorgeous and tasted delicious! The natural fermentation is also good for your digestive system - and a base of black tea has tons of anti-oxidants. I found mine at Whole Foods, so if you're having trouble locating it, check a health food store. I'm looking forward to picking more up!

Note to the wise, if you have it in a champagne/wine/beer glass or something else you reserve for alcoholic beverages - just to make it seem special - don't leave the dirty glass hanging around on the counter when you're finished! Wash it or tuck it in the dishwasher right away. I just plopped mine on the counter and the next time I saw it - fingerprint marks, lipstick smudge, juicy dregs in the bottom - it reminded me of seeing the glass on a drinking day, ready for the next installment. In other words, it gave me a little craving jolt. Just an understandable force of habit. So get the evidence out of sight!

Of course, you should be drinking more water than anything else on a cleanse. Flush yourself out. Detox. Ease inflammation. Feed your entire body - with plain old water. But when you're sick of that, there really are a lot of fun and mostly healthy options out there to drink during a cleanse. So explore - and enjoy! Cheers!

18 days left to go!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Day 1 - Begin Again!

Hey. Okay, really. I mean what is my damage? Was I that looped out on my post-birthday crash during my last post that I remembered every single ounce of booze I drank that day right down to the last drop - but screwed up the start date of my cleanse? Yes. That's what happened.

So today - Wed Oct 16 - is actually the first day of my fall cleanse. Not the 15th as I so groggily reported last week.

I'm deep into the novel right now so I'm thinking instead of writing as much on the blog this cleanse, maybe I'll post some videos and things. Hints, pics, maybe even readings from the cleanse book. I think it'll be helpful - and it'll keep me in touch. I've gotten so used to blogging during my cleanses, I don't think I could go cold turkey without you. ;) So stay tuned!

In the meantime, when you're starting your cleanse ... check your calendar dates carefully before you announce it to the world. You know, so then people will think you know what you're talking about. Which is really helpful.

Another hint? Especially on the first morning of a cleanse (I've talked about this before - and I'll mention it many times, I'm sure), when you feel that first craving or regret or "Oh no! Man, I can't do this!" creep into your thoughts (or pound you over the head, as the case may be), take a deep breath. Just take a deep breath and smile to yourself and know a month is a very short period of time. So is six months, for that matter. So when you feel those fear and insecurities, breeeeeeeeeeeathe.  Because deep breathing feels almost as good as a slug of wine. ;)

Almost, anyway. But that's why we invented wine in the first place.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Binge Brigade

Hey! How are youuuu? I missed you!!

Had to check in to let you know the cleanse is going to start Wednesday, October 15. And ... I'm needing it! ;) Because not only am I into the two-week no-cleanse-day routine, but there have been a few special occasions recently. Anniversaries, birthdays, general debauchery. ;)

Okay, not debauchery exactly. But picture this ... a husband who was once terrified of his wife's alcoholism, actually has a cute half bottle of Moet & Chandon chilling in the fridge when she wakes up on said birthday. And it's not for dinner. It's for morning glories before we even leave the house for lunch! That's the way to start a b-day!

So here's how the rest of the day went, alcohol wise. Only for the experienced drinker btw. Not recommended for children, pregnant women or basically anyone who respects their liver.

A.M. Morning Glory (Moet and Tropicana)
Lunch - Proseco and Pinot Grigio
Pre-dinner getting ready - More Moet!
Art Gallery - Chardonnay
Dinner - Kir Royale and Chardonnay
After-dinner - Cabernet Sauvignon
Nightcap - Liqueur (Grand Marnier - liqueur is a real rarity for me btw!)

So that's nine (9!!) drinks in total for the day. If you're following your recommended daily allowance of safe alcohol consumption as prescribed by doctors worldwide ... I basically had a week's worth of booze in one day. Gulp.

Needless to say, I was feeling it the next morning. But since the abuse was spread out over the whole day, it wasn't ""official bingeing" - meaning I didn't have the shoot-me-now-before-I-die-anyway hangover I might've had if I'd drunk all that alcohol over a few hours in the evening - which wasn't unusual for me in the old days. And (sadly) isn't unusual for many young people who party on a regular basis today.

But ... even though I was slightly hungover the next morning, I did not wake up depressed. I did not black out or freak out at any point the day or night before. And I didn't feel (all that) guilty. ;) (After all, I'm a drinking role model, right? I should try to be more responsible!)

But here's another place cleansing kicks in. Back in the old days, my only cure for alcohol abuse one day, was even more alcohol abuse the next day.  I'm not kidding. The more hungover I was, the more I'd want to drink again. As much or more than I already did. I was completely stuck in the cycle of addiction. Alcohol was my lifeline and my grave marker. I had no control. Either consciously or unconsciously.

But instead of bingeing again, the following day I felt my system say: Enough! My body didn't want to party again. It wanted to recover.  It was a natural, healthy, welcome feeling. And it made me feel "safe." I know that's hard to understand, but I didn't really feel "safe" around alcohol before I started cleansing. Every time I drank it was basically like walking out over a rickety extension bridge and hoping all the ropes held. Because I could never be sure what would set me off or make me lose control. I'd be sitting there drinking one minute and then ...

I'd be waking up the next morning having no idea what happened.

Only that there was a fight involved (at least) and I was sick with regret and alcohol poisoning. Which is why I just reached for more booze as soon as I could to drown out the negativity. Drinking was not "safe" for me. It was like a dangerous adventure every time I picked up a bottle.

But on my b-day, regardless of the fact I overindulged, I was lucid, in control and very happy all day and night. Then the next morning, I had some ginger tea - and lots of water. Under normal circumstances, I probably would've taken the whole day as a cleanse day. But seeing as I'm in the ramp-up-to-cleanse-mode, I bit the bullet. That night, I had two glasses of wine - pretty small ones, too - without any desire for more. Drinking is not a scary suspension bridge anymore. Not only do I not lose control - even when I'm overdoing it - my body automatically knows how to recover.

Having said all of that, I'm really looking forward to the cleanse. I got some great books for my b-day and a new iPhone to play with. Plus I feel myself coming up to a cleanse. I'm drawn to it. I actually want it - and, in the end, I need it.

Of course ... there's six more days of partying until then. So ... gulp ... onward! Wish me luck! ;) Stay well! I'll check in again!

*Disclaimer: Ms. Functional is a wry and ironic person. Despite the fact she "bragged" about having nine drinks on her birthday, she does not encourage bingeing, alcohol abuse or the consumption of week-long-drinking limits in one day on a regular basis. In fact, she's (usually) very sensible. But she's also a big fan of the following Irish writer, in particular this quote:

Oscar Wilde

“Everything in moderation, including moderation.”

― Oscar Wilde