Monday, June 18, 2007


"Honey, you look tired," Wanda told me after last night's A.A. speaker meeting.

"I am exhausted," I replied. "This whole not-drinking thing is kicking my ass."

"You need to practice H.A.L.T." Wanda then told me. "Never let yourself get too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired."

Those were wise words to live by. My insomnia seems to oscillate and I am in one of those periods where I get little sleep. I told Wanda about this.

"I know you are a diet coke addict," she said. "I see it all the time with certain newcomers. Don't drink cokes with caffeine."

I told her I would try and comply. I need my caffeine though and am stubborn about this. I get the most awful headaches coming off of it.

"Wanda, does it ever get easier?" I asked just before walking home.

"Yes, honey, it does," she replied. "Don't believe all those surly old timers. Just keep coming back, work the steps and you will find some peace."

I felt better after hearing that as I walked through the old mill village on my way home. As if it were some sign of better times, I heard my first katydid calling in a tree near the road. It brought me immeasurable joy. You know summer has arrived in the South when you hear that shrill nocturnal call of, "Katy did it!." It was a much needed distraction for my over serious and sensitive trains of thought I was experiencing yesterday evening.


ANITA said...

I know how you feel on some level, Andrew. Everyone in my home is sleeping soundly and here I am after midnight reading blogs when I should be joining them. I often do, but lay staring at the ceiling for hours before I finally crash.

For some reason I will pop awake hours before the alarm, get up, have my coffee, and do it over again. It can be really tough when all you get is three hours of sleep a night.

I know if I would stop drinking a pot of coffee a day it would help, but I too suffer the headaches when I try to cut back. If you figure out a remedy, let us know! :o)

CollegeGirl said...

Dear Andrew,

This is the 3rd time I have sat on watching the 'Blogs Updated' list, and yours has come across.

I have spent hours scanning through past entries, and I have to say... you are a fantastic writer.

You're inspiring, honest, and have a superb knack for detail. I have no way of knowing what you go through, but let it be said that I enjoy reading your blog each day.


P.S. I'm currently on a quest to give up soda myself, and I feel your pain. I get the WORST headaches as well.

CollegeGirl said...

One more note: I share your love of storms as well. (Love the pic btw) I love watching lightning streak the sky. I am mesmerized by dark clouds, and I especially laying in bed listening to claps of thunder and rain beating on the roof.

Eric said...

One of the things I love about living in the South (South Carolina here) is honeysuckle. I have been driving down the road, frustrated or sad and catch a whiff of that amazing fragrance and I have to smile.

Wannabe-a-Writer said...

I haven't heard any crickets here yet. They should doing their thing,it has been very warm out here in, California.

I found this googling.

"Can you tell the temperature by listening to
the chirping of a cricket?
The frequency of chirping varies according to temperature. To get a rough estimate of the temperature in degrees fahrenheit, count the number of chirps in 15 seconds and then add 37. The number you get will be an approximation of the outside temperature".

I think I will try that when I start hearing the crickets. I like to listen to them. They can put you to sleep, if you arn't annoyed by them.

Gin said...

I've never commented here, though I've read for months. I'm a 2-3 pot-a-day coffee drinker who got horrendous headaches when I couldn't have my caffeine. I found a way to cut back with absolutely no ill effects. Took about two weeks. At first, I mixed 1/4 decaf coffee grounds with 3/4 regular. Stayed on that five days, then switched to 1/2 decaf, 1/2 caffeinated for five days. Then went to 2/3 decaf and 1/3 caffeinated. I didn't want to cut out the caffeine totally, just cut it way back, so I've left it at that. During the entire time, I never had the horrible withdrawal headache, never even noticed the difference in the coffee. Bet you could do the same thing with Diet Coke by substituting a can of Diet Coke, then increasing the number of those as time passes.

justLacey said...

Gin is right. The way to do it is gradually. Caffeine at night never kept me awake when I was younger, but as I have gotten older I notice it does more and more. I usually drink decaf at night if at all and if I drink it somewhere and it isn't I know it. I actually prefer the taste of the caffeine free diet Coke. To me it tase more like regular Coke and not as sweet.
I would bet your insomnia is mostly caused by all that caffeine.

Jenn said...

I sympathise with the caffeine withdrawl. Those headaches are a killer. Cutting back slowly seems the best way to go. Good luck!

Barb said...

I absolutely love love to come here, drink my coffee, and read your post, feeling as though I am walking beside you when you pass the Old Mill Village, laughing with you as we walk.

Amazing cinematography you produce in your writings as your words dance accross my screen.

Wanda kicks ass I have to say, and if nothing else, she is a source of strength for me!

Melanie said...

in agreement with justlacey here - i get migraines if i stop caffeine suddenly but tapering off is another matter. if you just grab some decaf and start mixing it with the regular in increments, it's not such a big deal. and substituting some regular cokes for caffeine free, that sort of thing. i mean, it may well be that you don't have to give up caffeine entirely. when i was having my bad issues, my doc told me to just stop with the caffeine after about 2pm each day. no caffeinated coffee or whatever after that. this was enough for me. i can still start my day with a double espresso, as long as i don't have anything but decaf after 2pm.

i hope you get some relief. not sleeping can exacerbate so many other things.

mcsmec said...

You seem like an amazing man. I love reading your blogs. I can only hope that you continue to keep up the progress you have made. It gives me hope for the ones that I love. Best of luck, Andrew.

Josie Two Shoes said...

H.A.L.T. would be a good rule for everyone to live by, Andrew! I was addicted to caffiene for many years, but am hyper-sensitive to it, so rarely got decent,restful sleep...when I could sleep. Gina has it right, as do the others, the way to get off it is to withdraw gradually, no headaches and also you don't miss it as much as when trying to go cold turkey. The change will be worth it to you when you see how much better you sleep!

Rich said...

Keep coming you're worth it.

pattycakes said...

dear andrew , i have been following your blog for awhile now and i love it , the way yu describe everything i feel i am right along with you . you are doing so great , much better than most of us on our lives journey . i would guess many would envy you , because you are able to write it all down and do it so beautifully. keep up the good work , i know it is hard somedays but you are doing great :)

Joshua said...

Nice to have read all from the most real you.

wheatgerm said...

keep going on fourth

Cheryl said...

You get such nice comments. That must make you feel so good. It really is summer, huh? It reached the mid 90's today, and my skin is glistening with sweat. I don't look forward to sleeping in it, but it's just too expensive to have it nice and cool in here.

I remember when I quit smoking. I didn't believe it would get any easier. Ditto with insomnia. It really can get easier. I hope that happens for you, my friend.

pabletelngue said...

hi,i`am from argentina, n´i think that you habe an exellent blog men!!!! I will help you to increase your account, please help to increase mny account pliz,, sea ya!!!

Titania Starlight said...

I think you have come a long way and are very strong in spirit. I have been reading your posst and it sounds like you have come through so much. More then what most experience in one lifetime. Keep up the good work.


Calvin said...

I hate having insomnia. Benadryl.