A few months ago I began assessing how I spend my time but from a 30,000 foot view. Based on that view, what appears to be my priorities or values? Clearly, work and running were a part of the picture but if I was being honest with myself time spent drinking or recovering from drinking surfaced too. That didn’t sit well with me. During a typical week I might have a glass of wine or a couple of beers on Thursday with my husband, Justin. Then Friday and Saturday we’d have many drinks with our lovely friends. Sunday’s may or may not involve a couple more drinks. Drinking was all about having fun with my friends and sometimes simply for relaxing- it’s the south Louisiana way!
Over the next few weeks there were a couple of instances where I found myself regretting the way I acted while I was drinking. Having to apologize to someone you deeply care about because of those moments is both humbling and eye-opening…why was I continuing this pattern? The answer: I was scared of failing and I was worried what others would think.
On July 5th I emailed an Austin based friend who is approaching two years without drinking for advice. This is just a snippet of what she shared, “Having confidence that I was making this decision for no one else but myself helped a lot. It can be hard at times, but if it’s what fits your life and it’s the choice you make for yourself then those around you will adjust.” Without forethought or plan I simply quit drinking on July 23rd.
When I finally took the first step I experienced an unexpected sense of relief. I hadn’t realized how meaningful it would be for me to stop drinking and this deeply seeded relief has grounded me in my efforts. There are lots of little tips I, or the Internet, can give to help you through a moment of craving but without the above it may be very hard to stay resolved. The second biggest catalyst for my success, thus far, is the fact that Justin also quit drinking at the same time. He had been having the same internal dialogue as me with his own drinking patterns. Thankfully, the universe aligned our journeys perfectly to support one another through this change. While I’m extending gratitude I would also like to thank Virgin bloody Marys and La Croix for their support along the way. 🙂
My understanding is that it takes many months for your body to fully detox and adjust to life without alcohol. Additionally, bodily changes aren’t often measured in such short time periods due to fluctuations with hormones or life stressors so I share my first months experiences with that in mind . The largest changes for me are an increase in energy levels and a decrease in mood swings. As one who has suffered from melancholy off and on my whole life this is huge. An additional benefit is the fact that I have more time for side projects than I did before. This certainly aligns better with my stated values and priorities!
The idea of never drinking again is bit overwhelming for me so instead my goal is to make it to my 100 mile race in December without drinking. This relieves a bit of pressure mentally and for friends as I transition to living a little differently. As for my concern about what others would think about me- I’ve been reminded that my friends love me for me and they are used to my “different” decisions in life (i.e. a 100 mile trail race or talking about death and dying regularly- topic for another blog post). These good people haven’t pressured me at all to have a drink but rather have supported me in my decision. Change always feels so big before we make it and it certainly isn’t always easy. Somehow, when you know the change is right for you it flows and it doesn’t feel as big as expected. For that, I’m grateful.