Today marks 30 days since I had another Day 1. I feel totally free right now. I feel like I can take whatever comes my way - good and bad. You see, I had learned to reach for a glass of wine no matter what my day threw at me.
- Had a shit day? Drink!
- Celebrating something good? Drink!
- Kids throwing a temper tantrum? You deserve that glass of wine!
- Going to a birthday party? Grab a beer!
- Are you reading a book, watching T.V., listening to music? DRINK!
- Taking a vacation? Relaxing with friends and family? Going to the grocery store? FOR GOD'S SAKE JUST DRINK ALREADY!
I have always been a drinker. A boozehound. A lush - but it was always kept in check. I never crossed the limits. I never wound up in a ditch (although one night many years ago, before children, I did run smack dab into a bush and busted my flip flop). I welcomed a glass of wine with gusto. Always. Never really turned it down.
I used to be sad when I would go to baby showers and there was no alcohol. I remember taking the kids to Gravitopia (an indoor trampoline park) one time and thinking, "I wish they served wine here."
But lately, with raising toddlers, juggling a small business and going through the regular stresses of the day (and let's be honest, these are all princess problems. I know it's stressful to be a working mom these days, but I'm not exactly living in a war torn country fearing for my life), I started to think about alcohol all the time. And I started picking up bottles of buttery yellow Chardonnay and sweet sparking rose for the everyday Wednesday.
I would have good intentions to just drink a glass. But alcohol is freaking addictive people! And I couldn't have just one. I would usually drink the whole bottle, leaving me irritable, tired, argumentative and just pissed. I would sleep like crap, get out of bed and then do it all again even though I said I didn't want to.
Last September (September 2017), I somehow stumbled on Annie Grace's The Alcohol Experiment (I think it was a FB ad) and it completely changed the way I viewed alcohol. Annie uncovered the lies I had always believed to be true:
- alcohol relaxes me
- alcohol allows me to handle my stress better
- alcohol makes me a sexy grown up
- alcohol is the center of all my sources of enjoyment
I made it about 8 days but continued trying to unlearn some of my behaviors. While I didn't stop right then, I did start to view my actions differently. I made it about 13 days through Sober October and several days in January 2018. I even went to a concert sober in January. But after about Day 13 or 14, I would always slip back and start at Day 1. Again and again and again.
Here are some things that I did that helped tremendously. My husband drinks and was not interested in quitting for even a challenge (totally cool and fine with me) and most of my friends drink so it's not like I have a lot of sober inspiration around me physically. So I turned to online support and courses. There are a lot of them that I used - it's almost been a year in the making to get to 30 days so I didn't do these all at once!
- I read books. And books and books and books! I really needed to immerse myself in learning about how other people viewed alcohol in a negative way - to change my behavior and thought patterns. I was also pleasantly surprised to see that I actually had the energy and interest in reading after the kids went to bed (before, I would be two or three glasses of wine in and just go to sleep). My favorite books are:
- The Sober Diaries by Clare Pooley - I am actually reading this for the fourth time. As a mother of little ones, she just so accurately describes some of the unique stressors that come with being a mom, raising small children and doing all of the little duties that sometimes become pretty mundane. She is funny. She is smart. She is compassionate and I just can't recommend this book enough.
- Mrs. D. Is Going Without by Lotta Dann
- Kick The Drink Easily by Jason Vales
- This Naked Mind by Annie Grace
- A Happier Hour by Bex Weller
- Alcohol Explained by William Porter
- I signed up for online courses
- I loved the Sexy Sobriety 90-day course. It was an investment but I looked at it as that, since I needed all the support I could get to break this ridiculous habit! Bex offers interviews with women who have gotten sober, recipes, elixirs and live coaching calls that are all really helpful.
- My favorite course, though, was James Swanwick's 30-day NAC. It's really affordable and each day he provides a video (typically 20-25 minute videos) addressing best practices from a slew of experts. He is interesting, relatable and offers a private Facebook group to be part of. I have watched the videos several times and it's nice to revisit.
- I stopped buying wine - I know this sounds so ridiculous but I would buy wine and then drink it. Because, of course I would. If ice cream is in the house, I'm going to eat it. Same thing with wine. It's just too easy to pour a glass if it's right there in my face.
- I started buying non alcohol drinks - This is definitely something that is up to someone's preference. I am in the middle of reading The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober by Catherine Gray (LOVE IT. I will add it to the "read" list when I am finished) and she explains drinking near beer is like being a car accident victim wanting to experience a car crash simulator - that is a paraphrase. It helped me and I find myself not leaning on it too much these days but I like Becks non alcoholic beer. I also started experimenting with different soda waters and teas. I love Sprout's sparking lemonade options.
- I started an Instagram account - This has helped me so much. Before, when I would declare to "never drink again!" to my husband, I would last a while but no one ever really held me accountable. To be fair, I never told my husband how much I really wanted to see it through. It sounded like a harmless declaration but I didn't ask him to hold my feet to the fire. There is so much sober inspiration and a genuinely supportive community - I feel like many of them are friends now. If you want to follow along, I'm on Instagram at 100 Days of Sober.
I would like to hit days 60 or 90 before going into all the physical and emotional benefits. But to touch on some quickly, I:
- Have clearer skin
- Am eating better - not perfect but better
- Enjoy working out so much more!
- Am sleeping better
So this story is not over. This isn't the top of the mountain - I'm just resting a bit to reflect and taking a peek down to see how far I've climbed.
What questions do you have? What advise do you have? Thanks for letting me share.