teetotal

Tomorrow Dry July Begins!

I’m ready. I’m looking forward to it. I’m planning in my head how to spend the day (though the first couple days are always easy), and making sure I have lots of sparkling water and treats on hand.

I plan to start the day sending light because it always makes me feel good to help others, and it puts me in a good frame of mind for the day, too.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

I have a TBR pile that’s pretty big, and it has quite a few cozy mysteries for the days when my brain isn’t up to intricate books. I’ll add thing to my sobriety toolbox as the month goes, on, and remove anything that isn’t really helping me deal with TBB.

One big change, that I’m not looking forward to, is that I start work on the 5th. No masks sends me over the freaking-out edge, and while I’ll do my best to be as careful as I can, I know that being the only one masked (even a good mask) isn’t enough protection. My stomach has really been tied to my emotions more than ever, and I already have lots of butterflies. I’ve tried to find a work-from-home, and to make my healing work my living, but neither has happened. I’m sad. Very sad.

Wish me luck! And if anyone else is doing Dry July….we can do it!!!

With hope and love,

Pip 🌻✨☕

©Pip Miller – June 2022

teetotal

Dry July preparation

There’s a quote that says something like, ‘don’t do harder, do different’, and I know from long experience that it’s really difficult for me to go cold turkey from drinking, not because I’m incapable, but because I give in too easily to outer influences these days. I’m not proud of it, but it’s true.

I decided to use create a mind map, and figure out what would really help me when TheBeerBitch (TBB for short) starts yelling in my head.

I wrote down 6 things, mixing goals and feelings. Then I narrowed it down to what was most important to me. I came up with sobriety, comforted, and financially secure. For sobriety, the offshoots are lots of tea and sparkling water, listening to sober podcasts, reading sober books/blogs, and making sure to blog my progress as a sort of accountability throughout the month.

©Camilla Pang – An Outsider’s Guide to Humans

Now while these are great to keep in mind, they don’t really help in the moment, ya know? In “An Outsider’s Guide to Humans“, Camille Pang describes and includes a picture of her ‘decision tree’*, which she uses to plan for a specific outcome by planning ahead for what will happen if, say in my case, 3 pm hits and TBB starts yelling in my head that it’s time for a beer. Option A is drink a sparkling water, and if that doesn’t work, then A1 is put on a sober podcast. If option A works, then we move on to making dinner. If temptation starts again, then option B is…

Each option has ‘if this, then that’ branches, and branches off of those branches until, no matter what happens (that I can foresee), I have a something to do to keep me from grabbing that beer. And the goal is always that one outcome, not to drink for July. BTW, the roots of the tree are things that are necessary no matter what (the water, a journal nearby, M&M’s, lavender lotion for calming when TBB is really screaming, etc).

I’m sure this idea has been around for ages, but I don’t remember coming across it before, and I just spent 2 hours trying to remember the name of book, finally heading to the library where the title was found by the librarian, because librarians are actually mythical creatures who know ALL, and then driving to another branch to pick up a copy. Because I knew that decision tree is going to be very important in July.

*Aside, the illustrations are the author’s own, and her handwriting is a bit difficult to decipher. There’s still one phrase in a particular picture that I can not make heads nor tails of, no matter what. It would have been really helpful if they’d copied the illustrations and made them legible. IJS.

My tree will definitely have energy healing (which means family and friends are going to be receiving “hey, just sent some light to you -or your pet-!” texts. lol)

Have any of you used something similar to the decision tree? If so, what for, and did it help?

With love and hope,

Pip 🌻✨🫖

©Pip Miller – June 2022

teetotal

Laters, Alcohol!

Oh, the number of times I’ve said that in the last couple decades. And each time, I mean them, totally and completely.

My addicted brain, on the other hand, has a different agenda.

I’ve written about stopping in the past, and then ended up making the posts private or deleting them when the addiction “won”. I was mortified that I’d “failed” again, when in reality, the alcohol was just doing it’s primary job; keeping me addicted. I know I shouldn’t be ashamed of drinking; the well-worn tracks leading from “And then something would happen. Or nothing would happen.”* to drinking are deep in an imbiber’s brain, and training myself to bypass that automatic journey and create new tracks isn’t easy. Ask any drinker who swears “never again” at 3 a.m., and then is downing the drink of choice by 5 or 6 p.m., if not earlier.

Alcohol rewires our brain, and it excels at doing so.

Very soon I’ll turn 58, and begin my 59th year of life. (Excuse me while I faint at the thought of that – I’m still a teenager in my head). Maybe by writing about it more often and making the journey a part of my online presence will help, who knows. I just know I’m so over the struggle.

A lot of people do a Dry January, and then there’s the big one that I believe started it all, Dry July. There are hashtags for other months, too, but those are the only ones I can think of at the moment – how about #MocktailMarch? After the month is over, some go back to drinking, using that dry month as a sort of detox and reset, and then there are the others who decide to stay sober for good.

I’ve wanted that for so, so long. I’d make it a varying number of days or weeks, read endless books and blogs, even tried AA (not my cup of tea), and then I’d end up watching Intervention and Celebrity Rehab with a beer in hand, crying….

I vehemently dislike the concept that have 15 years under your belt (or any amount of alcohol-free days) belt, drink one beer, and suddenly you’re supposed to go back to Day 1. Not cool. That negates all the hard work done to achieve those 15 years, and by dismissing them, it just makes the person want to keep drinking because why the hell not, right? I won’t be counting days as it has screwed me up too many times before. Hence the beer in hand, crying.

I’m teetotaling up, and if you want to come along for the ride,

here’s a few things that might interest you:

There’s a plethora of sober bloggers out there, and a large number of Quit Lit books that have resulted from those blogs. I admit it, some of those books make me want to grab a glass of wine (not my go-to drink) simply because they wax on about it so much. And then there’s the occasional “I’ve been sober 7 days, lost 15 lbs, my chronic acne is completely gone, I just ran my first 5K, and I’m cooking at a Michelin chef 5-star level, too!” Bullshit. Run from those. Think fake influencer. You definitely don’t need anything that is going to make you feel like you’re not succeeding, when any day you don’t drink is a roaring success in and of itself.

-Aside: I do wish there were more than the occasional blog from someone still living with an active daily drinker. It’s not an excuse, but it’s really hard to shut off my addicted brain when there is always a beer in view. Extremely hard. It makes it very easy for that voice to convince me that it really doesn’t matter if I drink or not, so why not drink if everyone else is, ok? Add in the alcohol industry’s bombardment through the media and nearly every tv show and movie, aimed at telling and showing us how wonderful it is to drink (until you get drunk or overdo it, then you’re somehow the problem) and it’s almost a lost cause from the get-go.

The book that first gave me the most information about alcohol and its addiction is Under the Influence. An older book, but still very valid and enlightening.

The first “how to stop” I read was The Small Book, which is about AVR, something that newer authors have built on and incorporated into their own guides.

One of my favorite quit lit books is The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober, and another is Between Drinks by a former professional drinker in Australia.

If you’re curious about AA, Russell Brand has a unique take on the program which he writes about in Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions. There’s also One Breathe at a Time and The 12-Step Buddhist for those with a view towards Eastern spirituality.

Belle has a 100-day challenge on her site, Tired of Thinking About Drinking, and Annie Grace has a book with a 30-day challenge, as well as other resources on her website, This Naked Mind.

I recently discovered that Twitter has a hashtag community, RecoveryPosse, filled with support and promoted books about sobriety authors. I know Instagram has a sobriety community, too.

Welcome aboard, and here’s to leaving alcohol behind!

Much love,

Pip 😎

PS: If you’ve followed me for a while and you’ve heard this all before, imagine how it feels to be in my shoes, or any other drinker struggling with this addiction. 🙏

PPS: For those wondering, no, I’ve never sent light while under the influence. That would be unethical as hell, and I respect (and am in awe of) what I do too much to mess with it like that.

PPPS: I almost didn’t post this today. I wrote it yesterday and in the middle of the night had a panic attack, wondering “what if I don’t succeed? I don’t want to be embarrassed again!”, and “Does anyone need to know this? Does anyone really care?” and took it off pre-scheduling. It won’t leave me alone, though, so here it is, for all the world to read. 😱

*Quote from 28 Days.

©Pip Miller – March 2021

divination · healing harmony · Journal · oasis of calm · teetotal

Oh, Dear May, Bite Me

This month has been about 5 months long already. Is it just me? We have a house guest for an unknown length of time, took care of a very, very sick dog who ended up having to be put to sleep (is there another way to say that? Put to sleep just sounds so…I don’t know, just wrong; he’s not sleeping). The weather has been insane, I’ve got about a billion tasks on my plate, and on top of all that, I was trying not to drink.

The dog just sent the wagon hurtling over the edge, and I’m really too damned tired and sad to care about whether I drink or not. He truly was a gentle giant and today would have been his third birthday. My heart hurts, and it wasn’t even our dog! He was the brother to one of ours, though.

Add in the never-ending train wreck that our government is, and I’m over this month.

Today the dark moon is in Taurus – yes, dark moon. Contrary to calendars, it is NOT the new moon when you can’t see the moon at night (check out Lady Althaea’s excellent post about the difference). This is a pause in the dance, one I’d love to take advantage of, but I’ve too much to do today.

BTW, the new moon is when you see the crescent, and that will be on Tuesday. Theresa Reed wrote a post about the new moon and what it means, including some card readings for each sign.

Be kind, be safe, and please, take care of yourself. If you can, take advantage of this pause and have a self-care day. If you can’t, well, be as gentle with yourself as you can.

Much love,

Pip 🙂

©Pip Miller – May 2018

PS: the other day I offered a few free 15-minute sessions on Twitter, and one of them was given to Christina Ng of Reconnects Reiki. It was a simple, short, general session, and this was her feedback:

“THANK YOU. That went deep. Took my Angels’ advice to go lie down in my treatment room to minimize dizziness. Between you, your guides, & mine, I was able to rearrange my shields to dump out garbage and pull back my own soul fragments… esp. around my brain & eyes.”

I tell you what…feedback never fails to amaze me! 🙂

healing harmony · Journal · oasis of calm · teetotal

What’s Your Oasis?

I was just sending healing light to someone, and sitting outside as usual, watching nature. I caught site of a ladybug frantically climbing up and down the weeds that we allow to grow around the birdbath. I thought she was an ant at first because of how she was moving. Then she climbed one stalk and paused in the fern-like thing at the top, but almost immediately turned back around and started her frantic pace again.

You can just see her hiding in there.

She climbed three or four other stalks, then ran back up that particular one that caused her to pause, and she’s been there ever since.

She found her oasis.

The light I was sending was for anxiety and panic attacks, and it just kept running through my mind: find your oasis, find your oasis.

So, I wonder, what’s yours?

©Pip Miller – May 2018

Journal · planners · teetotal

Bullet Journal Month 2

Last month, after attempting to use my Malden as a Bullet Journal, I pulled out an old notebook I had and created my first true BuJo.

©Pip Miller
©Pip Miller

I set it up in the traditional way that Ryder Carroll shows on his website, and went at it. I loved having everything together in one notebook, but as the month went on, I started to notice some aspects that I wasn’t happy with, such as the dailies being interspersed with collections and other things, and I didn’t like having to go to the Index to find them. I also found that I really need a visual calendar, and my Future Log wasn’t working, either.

So last night I set up July, but knew I wouldn’t be happy with it, so I played with different hacks I found online (the BuJo community across social media is just as, if not maybe larger now, than the Filofax one!), and then set it up. On the left is what is known as the “Alaister Method“, which I set up on two pages (or a spread, as Ryder calls it), and I’ve already filled one page! On the right is the traditional way.

©Pip Miller

The Alaister Method with my signifiers.

©Pip Miller
©Pip Miller

The key to my signifiers. I’ve borrowed ideas from other BuJo users, and came up with some that work best for me. Aside, I never refer to the date that someone died on as an “anniversary”, always a “memorial”.

©Pip Miller
©Pip Miller

I took this from my Filofax and taped it to the very first page. SO helpful for me!!

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©Pip Miller

I came up with more ways to utilize my personal BuJo better (for instance, I don’t use weekly spreads as many others do), and the index will, as a result, have less of a “collections” focus, and more of a “where info re: this particular thing” is.

©Pip Miller
©Pip Miller

I use the # symbol to show that an item is included in the index (for instance, keeping track of dr appts).

IMG_20160630_143657251
©Pip Miller

I’m very pleased with how I have it set up right now, and over the next month I will be paying attention to what works and what doesn’t. Once I finally nail down a system that I really like, I will purchase one of these gorgeous Leuchtturm1917 A5 hardcover notebooks from JB Welly. It will most likely be the purple one (swoon!) and with the Graph version instead of the dots; lines work best for me. 😉

Oh, the “sobriety” signifier…I added that because today begins the 100 Day (alcohol-free) Challenge. Woohooo! As a matter of fact, that upside down package in the picture of “BuJo-less” is the tea I’m drinking today. #makeminetea

©Pip Miller – July 2016

health · Journal · teetotal

Mission Accomplished

red-flower-pot-thank-you


Who’d a thunk it? Dry July was a success! When I began, I wasn’t sure it would be, but here I am, a month later, mission accomplished. Sweet!

Thanks for coming along for the ride, and now this blog will go back to the usual hodge-podge of this-and-that that I write about. 😉

©Pip Miller – July 2015

healing harmony · health · Journal · teetotal

Dry July For Breast Cancer Countdown

Almost there, kids! Friday is the end of the month, and I think I am SO over alcohol that this was the best thing ever for me. 🙂

A few of you donated to Tamara’s Avon 39 Walk, thank you for that. I’d hoped to raise more money for her, but every little bit counts, so I’m happy.

If you’re considering taking time off from drinking, a great book to read about it is “Between Drinks“, which I reviewed quite a while here. No one is saying you have to stop across the board, but sometimes taking time off helps you realize just how much, and in what ways, drinking, even casually, if affecting your life and your health. I have pains that have disappeared, and except for getting sick last Monday, overall, I feel pretty darned good!

Breast cancer, on the other hand, is something that will not go away by putting down the glass, but doing so can help prevent it in some cases. More research is needed to see what more they can do to get rid of this cancer once and for all, so please, even though you may have been reading along to see how sobriety is doing for me, remember why I did it in the first place, and even if you can’t donate now, keep it in mind and do so at another time if possible. BTW, does anyone remember that site that allows you to click on it each day and a donation is made to breast cancer, or for animals, or reading…there are 5 or 6 causes you can donate to (without any actual money) just by clicking. If you remember, please comment; I want to promote that site in a post. Thanks!

©Pip Miller – July 2015

health · Journal · random · teetotal

A Bit of This, Some of That

Bullet point blog. 😉

  • So….still feeling off but managed to go into work yesterday. As the day got busier, I became more tired, and as today is the busiest day of our month, I opted out. Eating only popsicles and crackers doesn’t lend one much energy, suffice it to say.
  • It’s the 26th; there is still time to donate to my friend’s Avon 39 Walk, and I’m still happily #dryjuly -ing my way through life. Yay! I had every intention of saving what I would have spent on booze this month and donating it, but I’ve ended up taking so much time out of work that it all went to bills instead. I still have time, so next month I will donate.
  • As I look at the bullet points, I’m reminded of this blog post, Dear Blogger, that totally cracked me up.
  • What are your thoughts on newsletters? I have mixed feelings: many want you to sign up and receive a free something for doing so, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you want to read more of their blog/newsletters in the future, right? There may just be something in that one particular post that caught your interest, right? I have a newsletter (though I haven’t written anything in it in a while) and I’m deciding whether to continue with it or not.
  • Recently, two well-known women’s Facebook accounts have been removed or frozen (I think there was a third, but I can’t remember who it is); Beth Owl’s Daughter, and Pixie Lighthorse. It all has to do with FB’s random “that’s not your real name” policy, and as we all know how I feel about FB, I chose to delete my account this morning, after posting that I would last night. I woke to this, and have been laughing ever since. I wasn’t that bad, but I’m sure I was close.;) It’s not the people; it’s the platform and their practices (such as were mentioned in Pixie’s blog). I’m not sure why this video isn’t showing up on its own, but check it out anyway!

©Pip Miller – July 2015

health · Journal · teetotal

Notes and a Plea

Hello, again.

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Sorry I’ve been MIA. First there was the back-to-work part, then there was an all of a sudden, out of the blue, holy crap, I’m sick part. That’s still going on.

Ended up going to the ER to see what’s up, but no definitive answer. Taking meds that make me woozy and set the tremors to “nuts”, and am hoping things resolve soon, cuz I really don’t want to go back. 5 hours is long time to be in a hospital gown. 😉

I haven’t even thought about drinking, and when I see someone doing so, it’s not in the slightest bit tempting. How cool is that?

Well, just a short note, cuz the meds gave me a nasty headache, too.

Forge on, #dryjuly4breastcancer !!!!

Now, to the important part: I ask any and every one to please, please send prayers, healing thoughts, healing energies, whatever you can to my neighbor’s darling little girl who has been fighting neuroblastoma, and has just had a relapse. She’s about to undergo all the crap needed to remove the newest tumor, and it’s sheer torture for her. She needs our help, and lots of it. So please, in whatever way you do what you do, ask for what you ask for…do so for her. Thank you.

©Pip Miller – July 2015