Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sober January Sucked. But Actually It Didn’t.

I just wrapped up thirty days of sobriety. And then I celebrated with a beer. Quite a few beers to be truthful.
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First off, why in the world would I do this to myself? Thirty days without a drop to drink? I must have not been thinking clearly when I challenged myself to this. That’s what it was, a challenge. I knew that I was drinking more than I should on a daily basis. There is evidence of this woven all through my posts. There are odes to wine, days where I whined about drinking too much, posts written quite inebriated. I wanted to flex my willpower. My self-control that I couldn’t seem to find for a long while.

There was also the weight gain. After nearly three years of drinking Warren’s amazing homebrew and exercising less and less, I packed on close to thirty pounds. This month has taken a decent amount off me but I still have 10lbs to go before I am happy and 19lbs before I am back to the weight I was. But this post isn’t about weight or loving my body. This post is about drinking.

I began this after the total debauchery of Christmas. I started before the New Year and didn’t even drink on New Years Eve. I kept a daily journal. Looking back over it, I can see that the first week was a bit of a struggle. I kept forgetting that I wasn’t drinking. Once seven days were gone, I was  more at peace with it. It was like, “Oh, I have got this. This is easy.” Week two was smooth sailing. Midway through week three I started to lose it. Like seriously lose it. By the beginning of the fourth week I was mad. Just plain livid that I had set this stupid goal and I was too stubborn to not finish, but I wanted to drink so badly. My journal is inappropriate to even share here. The feelings that came up were not pretty. One day the only thing I wrote was “Fuck.” No explanation point. Just a period. Just period. I’m done. Stick a fork in me. But then, all the sudden there was an end in sight and my mood brightened. I was back to being fine with not drinking but awfully excited about the fact that I had X amount of days left before I could.

A few things that I realized while I wasn’t throwing back pints of beer and bottles of wine:
* I am highly productive when not drinking. I can keep up with the housework better, I get the dishes done after dinner and do a final sweep of the house instead of waking up to a mess.
* I read more actual books and spend less time on the internet and my phone.
* I don’t make as many mistakes when knitting.
* I got really really organized. Completely redid my homeschool binder and reworked our schedule.
* I got to bed earlier and woke up easier.
* I am a better teacher and more involved with the kids. My patience is greater, my voice kinder, my actions more deliberate.
* It was a huge relief to not be thinking about when I could drink every single day. I just knew I wasn’t so that thought completely left my mind. It used to torture me each day.
* I found that I could still be around friends and visit with Warren without having to have a drink in my hand as a security blanket.

Now what?

Now I know I can do this. I have been there, seen it, felt its benefits. After drinking heavily last night, then paying for it this morning, my mind is pretty set. Drinking on the weekends is how its going to have to be. There will be no weeknight drinking. I need to be my best, my most energetic, my authentic self. I need to be present for my life.

That’s the answer. Be present. Quit putting off your best self for later. Later isn’t always guaranteed. Why are you waiting to curb your addiction to your iphone in order to pay more attention to your family? Why are you waiting for a better time to quit smoking or take a break from drinking? The benefits don’t start until you decide to change. Life is now. Right now. You will never get back this second or minute or hour or day.

I feel like I have lost a lot of moments to drinking.
I don’t plan on turning into a teetotaler, but I do plan on being mindful of my alcohol intake.


  1. I too had noticed mention - by you - of your drinking too much. That seemed to be your thoughts... I had no way of knowing, but worried about it. I figured if you recognized it, maybe there would eventually come some change. You aren't the first to have walked that road, and surely won't be the last. 'Introverts' often use drink as a crutch in social situations to peel away the masks they hide behind. We can be the life of the party when our inhibitions are gone.
    There is nothing wrong with drinking, in moderation. But the older you get, the more you realize that losing those hours and nights in a haze of blankness aren't quite as much fun as they used to seem when you were in young. Drinking that point seems like an escape and makes me wonder why a person is living the life they are if they feel the need to escape it all the time? Not you - that's an in general type of question.
    At any rate, continued good luck, good health, and much happiness to you and yours!

  2. I, too, had to come to terms with the 'ole bottle. Mine was a vanity issue. After a glass of wine, I eat all the food in the house, and well, that wasn't sitting well with all the hard work I did losing 60lbs. I limit myself to once a week and it seems to be working out pretty well. You totally crack me up with the being stubborn and not giving up on a goal. I've already screwed up February, so maybe I can try your challenge for March (key word: MAYBE).

  3. I drank quite a good deal in college but now I'm just too busy. It's interesting to see how your habits have changed when going without for a month. I couldn't give it up entirely, especially considering it's part of my family's culture. Props to you!


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