Today marks the two month anniversary of me taking a break from alcohol. Not an easy feat living in wine country, but not as hard as I thought it would be either.
I've had an unbalanced relationship with alcohol ever since I reached legal drinking age back in 1991. Ever the rule follower, I waited until I was "of age" but had no parental modeling of moderate drinking, as my mom and dad never had alcohol in the house or drank socially while I was growing up. Their abstinence was not because of religious or moral reasons, they simply didn't drink. End of story.
I'm not blaming them for my imbalanced habits, but I didn't have a lot of information in this department during my formative years. I thought that drinking adult beverages is what "grown-ups" did and I very much wanted to be considered a "grown-up."
In 1999, I moved to Northern California, eventually got married and together we bought a wine bar. All three of these events would be wonderful, life-changing decisions, but the purchase of the wine bar seemed to seal my fate with overindulging in alcohol. I'm only now closely examining my relationship with it almost seven years after the sale of our business.
I want to be clear that I don't wake up craving wine or hide vodka bottles in the pantry. I just noticed that I was using alcohol as an escape and, I'm not proud to say, gave little thought to the amounts I drank. One drink always turned to two. Two made me feel good, so then I surely wanted another. Once I hit three drinks (my not-so-magic number), I was not the same person I was earlier in the evening. The switch had been flipped. I would have sleepless nights, brief spells of overwhelming anxiety and "slow mornings" that left me groggy and irritable.
I've decided to take a self-imposed break from alcohol so that I could experience life without this foggy lens. I want to see how the absence of alcohol shapes my decision-making and quality of time with friends and family.
It's clear to me that I'm much healthier two months into this no drinking gig, too. I wake up clear-headed and eager to make green juice for our family. Had you told me this six months ago that I'd be into juicing, I would have laughed really, really hard. Somehow, the act of making this vegetable concoction for our family is a kind of offering to them from me. I feel like it shows my love and intentions for the day. We start out with something good and hope for that goodness to snowball into a chain of good for the rest of the day. Sounds a little strange to type that, but it's how I've been feeling.
I've also been hiking and taking Zumba and Barre classes. I'm not sure if I've lost any weight, but that hasn't been my goal. I feel much healthier and content with my little spot on the planet.
I'm rewarding myself for this two month milestone with a facial at a local day spa later today. Last month I felt like keeping track of my non-drinking days was only helping me to focus on the deprivation I was experiencing and so I decided to keep track of the months and not the days. Willpower is not one of my strong suits, but it's been pretty great to see what I can accomplish when I set my mind to it. Treating myself to something that's good for me is a big shift. Moderation is the goal for me when it comes to drinking, but I know I need this time and space in between to figure out why it is I choose to overindulge.
Yesterday I met with a college counselor and mapped out an education plan for my future at the local junior college, with hopes to transfer to Sonoma State University in a few years. Classes start in few months. I declared Art as my major and walked out of the building beaming.
On my way home, I popped by our local art supply store and purchased a few new art supplies. I'm working on a series of drawings for a local juried art show called "Mostly Black & White." This is definitely out of my comfort zone, but I'm going for it.
I'm trying new things on for size and it feels freaking fantastic.
Happy Friday, friends.