At the beginning of the year I made a commitment to myself no alcohol for the first 3 months of the year. I made it 72 days... 18 days shy of my goal. I had 2 IPA’s from my favorite brewery the other night… so how did I feel the next day?
A mixture of laziness, guilt, relief, disappointment, happiness, release etc. I’m grateful for all of that. The “streak” had become so much about the # of days and I was depriving myself instead of learning the lesson of balance. Like most nutritionist talk about… diets don’t work... 80/20… have cheat days, etc. that’s more healthy.
There’s a lot bad that can come from alcohol so I don’t want to be insensitive to issues of addiction and disease which are very real to me. Also I’m not bashing anyone for being a social drinker. The point I want to circle back to is about a relationship with anything that we use as a crutch. Like drinking coffee in the morning... otherwise you can’t start your day or having a cigarette in the night. I’m not a smoker or coffee drinker but I’m going to draw a conclusion that it’s similar… it’s chasing after a feeling that you can’t get on your own. Really that’s why hangovers are both physically and mentally rough. Because we are beating ourselves up over giving away our power to something else.
Why did I start this to begin with? My intention for not drinking wasn’t for reasons like losing weight or saving money or health concerns (those all were nice to haves) but really I felt the need to shift my relationship with alcohol. It was holding me back from being at my best by enabling me to think that I needed it to be my authentic and unapologetic self.
Coming out of these past 72 days, I’ve proven to myself over and over again that I don’t need it. I’ve discovered how fun I can be, how funny I can be, how I can feel deeply (both happy and sad), how charming I can be, how daring I can be, how I can take risks and enjoy them, etc. I have that strength already within… so I don’t need something to mask that up. I don’t need the validation of giving into peer pressure or acceptance by trying to fit in. And that’s been the best result I could have hoped for. So yeah I didn’t need 18 more days to help me realize that. Why wait for that discovery if it happened earlier?
Also posting about it and really talking about it with others after I completed my personal challenge has opened up the space to be vulnerable about it. People have shared their stories and family history and the good and bad. So I’m happy that we can demystify the topic and address that something like alcohol can be very destructive but it can also be OK in the right balance. Or if that can’t exist then being OK to be open to talk about it and not feel ashamed or pressured. It’s so common at events, mixers, in the workspace, even yoga w/ wine is a thing. So if it’s in our faces so much and we don’t talk about our relationship it gets ignored.
Will I drink going forward and how much and why? I will for the right reasons, never in excess and never to disconnect or because I can’t cope. That’s my intention. It gets to be for the reasons that serve me. Some might ask how can it serve you? For the joy of the taste and the bonding experience around that. That fun sometimes could be worth it to me and having one or two drinks.
I get to be in balance in my life and avoid the quick fixes of turning to things when I’m coming from an emotional state. Now I can solve those as they come up and I can move forward with intention and come from a state of “will this serve me?”. And it very well could be that I’m in a situation where I just want a drink and that’s OK. I’m grateful to be at that space with a tough subject matter. I’m also grateful for the fact that I can control that because I know some people can’t. So this isn’t pro-drinking or anti-alcohol post. It’s really about finding out how you can be your best self and truly ask do I need x, y or z to be that person.
Normal guy with comedic tendencies... introverted with extroverted tendencies... yogi with stressful tendencies... over 30 years old with under 30 year old tendencies