Thursday, January 23, 2014

DUI's and Dont's

Open letter to fellow Canadians Rob Ford and Justin Bieber:

(FYI: Mayor Ford has apparently fallen off the wagon in a very public way and Mr. Bieber is currently sobering up in a Miami Beach holding cell after drag racing and a DUI.

Dear Mayor Ford and Mr. Bieber, 

Guys ... we all know alcohol can be fun. But it can also cause a lot of problems - as I don't have to tell you two. 

I'm not going to pass judgment. But if you're suffering on the inside (cuz you seem fine with the situation on the outside), check out this blog about how I solved my own drinking problem - without quitting forever. It's a simple, natural system that really works for me. 

You may not get as much media attention ... but you'll probably live longer. 

Much love,
Ms. Functional

p.s. Justin ... drinking and driving's a no-no. Even if Mayor Ford has done it. And even if you're in a cool car. You're lucky your cute ass is still alive. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Control Yourself

One of the great things about cleansing is that it helps you learn to deal with life - no matter how much or little you're drinking.

Take last Friday. It was a cold day and I wasn't feeling overly ambitious for a trip to the liquor store. Yet a quick look around the place and I knew we had just enough wine on hand to squeak by on Friday night. Which meant absolutely nothing on Saturday afternoon - unless I wanted to traipse out first thing in the morning.  (And, yes, I usually do have a drink or two on Saturday afternoon. I love it. I've usually been up for hours by this time and I'm not cracking anything open before 1:30 or so. But a morning glory or a glass of white wine in the afternoon is awe-some to me.)

Anyway, I weighed the pro's and con's of a liquor store run and my decision was to stick it out.  I sipped (very) moderately on Friday night, read the paper with coffee and had orange juice with brunch on Saturday. (You know, like normal people.) I remember looking down at my glass at one point and feeling this contented rush wash over me. I know it's not a big deal to people who've never had a problem to drink O.J. with weekend brunch instead of wine. But it never amazes me how much control cleansing has given me. It's given me the ability to choose again.

Because in the old days, I didn't have that choice. My prime directive on any given day was to make sure there was enough wine in the house.  It didn't matter how hot, cold or miserable it was out there, when it came to my wine, I was like a U.S. postal worker:

"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."

And 'rounds' is apt in my case. Because it meant getting enough rounds to drink. ;) Which is why I was able to feel so happy staring down at a glass of orange juice over brunch. And you know what else? That feeling transfers to a general pride in yourself that lasts long after the O.J. is gone.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

"Thanks for Sharing"

(Holy crap I miss youuuuu! Hope you're well! Get your flu shot!)

So the Golden Globes fairly rocked the other night, huh? Actually ended up watching the whole thing with the hubs. While he made fun of people. And I swooned over gowns and hair and Matthew McConaughey winning for Dallas Buyers Club because (imho) he so deserved it.

But here's one flick that was not on anyone's Golden Globes list this year: Thanks For Sharing.

The movie garnered an unimpressive 49% on Rotten Tomatoes (man, can critics be tough), but it was one of the flicks I watched getting over the flu. That Gwyneth Paltrow stars in a movie is usually enough for me to watch it (I got this love/hate/love thing for Gwynnie that's absolutely irresistible), but the flick was actually about a 12-Step program, so it ended up higher on my 'Gotta Watch' list than most people's.

However, Thanks isn't about alcohol addiction or A.A. It's about a 12-step program for sex addicts.

Have to admit, that got my attention. ;)

Rounding out the cast were Mark Ruffalo, Tim RobbinsPink and a few others, all playing diagnosed sex addicts. I actually really liked the flick. I loved the voyeurism of seeing into the meetings. I've never been to an A.A. meeting (obvi) but I'm definitely curious about how and why they work so well for many people. So it felt as if I was getting some insight into what makes 12-Step meetings such an important part of recovery.

You know ... it really made me think. About this. About you. About addiction in general. Tim Robbins's character "Mike" actually says that the 'beverage program' (A.A.) was easy compared to giving up sex addiction. He likened it to 'trying to quit crack with the pipe still attached to you.' Pipe, get it? Cute. ;)

I also recognized myself in the movie. Mike's son is a drug addict (because addiction is the genetic gift that keeps on giving, right?), but he's gotten clean on his own. Despite his father's insistence that 'white knuckling' it isn't the way to kick an addiction, the son says he doesn't need to 'tell his problems' to other people to stay sober.

I guess I've thought that way many times myself. It made me ask myself, was I 'white-knuckling' it the way Mike's son was? It actually made me feel afraid of what might happen next. But then I realized ... no, I'm not white-knuckling. Because I haven't given up drinking completely. But I'm sure white-knuckling on your own would be hard if you had to abstain completely. Which is where the folks from A.A. come in.

For one thing, you really get the sense you're not alone in a 'program,' right? I guess I feel less 'alone' since I started blogging. And I honestly miss the hell out of it when I'm not doing it. But I kind of envied the friendships that were portrayed between all these addicts, how they helped each other, supported each other, understood each other. Grew to love each other. That must be a nice part of being in A.A. Knowing you're never alone. Your sponsor is just a phone call away. A whole group of people who 'get' you are only a few days (or hours) away. It gave me a real sense of why meetings work so well. They enhance your humanity - and your connection to it.

As Ms. Functional doing my own thing here - proud of it, believing in it, wanting to share it - I still think I get a little condescending about people who prefer 12-step programs. I shouldn't be. I never thought I'd say this, but I could really see how regular meetings would help people escape from so much of the misery of addiction. The isolation and the shame just to mention two biggies. So if you go to a meeting ... you won't get any judgment from me. ;) Explore all the different treatments there are out there. You'll find what works for you.

In the meantime, here's another great list of 12 Steps I want to share with you. They're from Dr. Wayne Dyer. I've mentioned him a few times before. One of the pioneers of the self-help movement, I used to read my mom's copies of his books back in the 70s. I guess that's where my own interest in self-help began. And how I learned that I had a flare for it (i.e. 'helping myself.')

Anyway, these twelve steps aren't about addiction at all. They're about de-cluttering your life. Not just your closets (though there is mention of donating things you don't use anymore). It's about de-cluttering your spirit. Twelve simple things you can do to help free yourself from what weighs you down and keeps you from living your happiest life.

Because in the end ... I'm all about the happy. Here they are, from Wayne's Weekly Wisdom.

And in case you're curious, here's the trailer for Thanks For Sharing. How clever making Gwyneth in black lingerie the freeze frame. Somebody's using their head. btw - you can't see it here, but she has a weird belly button.

Sooooo glad to know she's not absolutely perfect. ;)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New *!@#!

Awesome Christmas!!

Worst New Year's evurrr!!

Flu bug. H1N1 possibly? Felt like it. Both the hubs and I had the most romantic week-long quarantine here over the break. (Not.) All fingers point to our adorable niece who was sick over Christmas, but who we couldn't keep our hands off anyway. You know, the kind of super-duper daycare bug that just makes kids adorably sniffly but can bring a full-grown Navy Seal to his knees for a week? Yah, that kind.

And today is officially my first cleanse day since before Christmas. Should be fun. (Not.)

Actually, there wasn't a lot of drinking over the holiday in the first place. All the fun I was supposed to have ... all the bubbly ... all the laughter ... all the music ... the dancing ... the food!! All traded in for Kleenex boxes and body aches.

Oh well. What is it they say? That it's good luck to be sick for New Year's?

Actually, they don't say that. They don't say anything like that.

Hey ... hope you didn't come here to get cheered up today. ;) Unless of course it cheers you up to hear how other people aren't feeling very cheery. In which case, you're so welcome! ;)

I do have one fond memory from just before Christmas. ;) One. And it has to do with liquor stores. Go figure.

So I mentioned that the hubs and I made a nighttime trip to the liquor store about a week before Christmas to stock up. Just so that we could avoid the nasty lineups during the day. Well, on December 23rd, just two days before Christmas, I decided the hubs's gift list could be topped up with a bottle of Grand Marnier. That orange liqueur has just somehow become a Christmas tradition. We didn't have any in the house and I was pretty sure he wasn't getting any from anyone else, so with two days to go until Christmas, I thought I'd venture into a liquor store.

On my way there, I saw a nice elderly man standing in the mall right across from the store, ringing his handheld jingle bells next to a Salvation Army kettle. I had just heard that Sally Ann was low on donations this year, so I dug in my wallet for a five dollar bill and popped it into the old fellow's kettle. I guess I was feeling generous and in the giving spirit back then. Back then before someone gave me the flu.

Anyway. Back to the nice story.

So the man smiles at me. Big happy smile. "God Bless you, miss!" I smile and say, "You, too, good sir!" (or something Dickensian like that). "Merry Christmas to you!" he says. "And you too, good sir!" Etc. etc. I'm literally walking backwards toward the liquor store, waving to him, feeling all good about myself for forking over a fiver. I'd just had my hair done and although it's waaaay too light for me (approximating my colorist's too-blonde shade, surprise, surprise), I had to admit me and the old Salvation Army dude probably painted quite a happy little picture all "Merry Christmas-ing" and "God blessing" each other like that.

So, smile on my face and bounce in my step, I skip into the liquor store. It's pretty busy in there, but nothing I can't handle. I get to the liqueurs and - believe it or not - there is one (count 'em - ONE) bottle of Grand Marnier left on the quickly-emptying shelves. I nab it and tuck it under my arm, football style, ready to tackle any motherf#cker who comes within ten yards of it.

I find the lineup for the cash registers which is forming toward the back of the store. I get in line. Or 'on line' as they say south of the border. I stand there with my Grand Marnier hooked under my arm, shuffling forward, inch by inch. The wait is about ten or fifteen minutes. Not bad for two days before Christmas and totally do-able as far as I was concerned.

Still, it was frustrating enough that when a small, dark-haired woman in her forties stepped right in front of me when I was next in line for the cashier, I couldn't help but tattle on her. "Hey, she butted," I said, to the clerk standing beside me. I glared at her a bit and pointed to the end of the line, waaaaay over there at the back of the store. The clerk informed her that the line formed waaaaay over there at the back of the store, too. So she apologized and headed waaaaay over there to the back of the store.

Next in line, I sidled up happily to the cash register. A nice lady with curly hair punched me through. There was more "Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!" etc., as I got my wrapped bottle and headed to the exit.

I noticed the glass doors at the front of the store were pulled partially closed and a female security guard - tall and gangly - was standing in front of them. I squeezed past her and out into the mall. There was the guy with the Salvation Army kettle. Wave, wave, bless you, smile, etc. I don't know what made me turn around just then. Was it the security guard? The partially closed doors? I don't know, but I turned around - swinging my too-blonde hair - and what do I see? A looooooooooong line of people waiting OUTSIDE the liquor store to get in. Most of them were so tired of waiting, they were leaning against the wall. And you know what else? They were ALL f#cking glaring at me like they wanted to kill me. "There's the blonde who waltzed right in!" "Get her!" "Yah!! Jump her!!" And I'm sure they would have - if it didn't mean losing their place in line at the liquor store two days before Christmas.

Oops. Sorry.

The moral of the story? Always put a fiver in the Sally Ann kettle bell. Because I'm pretty sure that's why the security guard didn't stop me on my way in. Who's gonna stop someone getting blessed by the Salvation Army dude, right?

And 2) Never butt liquor store lines two days before Christmas. Why? Because you'll end up getting the goddamn flu. It's just karma.