Today is Day 150 for me of living without alcohol. It feels like a milestone so I wanted to post. I am 30 days away from accomplishing 180 Days with Belle. This will bring me to almost mid-November 2014, and should be good momentum going into the holidays.
As I gather time and build momentum, I gain confidence in my decision to give up alcohol. Some of the social events I have attended in the past (almost) 5 months without drinking any alcohol include:
-Memorial Weekend overnight with family friends;
-two Major League Baseball games;
-two family vacations this summer;
-Father’s Day weekend and dinner with family in town staying with us;
-a gathering of college friends;
-4th of July weekend away;
-a cousins get-together;
-our block party;
-a few dinners with friends;
-a festival-of-beer fundraiser with friends; (yes a festival of beer!). (This was with childhood friends and the fundraiser was dear to a friend’s heart so I definitely wanted to to go. Beer is not my drink of choice anyway. Still for this event, unlike any of the others, I emailed my girlfriends in advance that I was taking a “hiatus” from drinking. I did not provide any detail about why I decided to do this. They responded kindly without any questions at all. I have known these women since elementary school and we have been through so much together. I know they are there for me if I need to talk more, and they know I know this).
I am sure there are other events I am missing and sub-events during the vacations of course! Even a year ago, I would never have imagined going to any of the above events without having something to drink. It is just part of our culture and life in the Midwestern USA, and of course in many parts of the world. But something really clicked for me in February 2014 that drinking was not really benefitting me at all. Then I failed in my attempt to stop drinking for Lent. I was embarrassed and frustrated because I had shared that goal with my 10 year old (now 11 year old) son. He noticed I did not keep my Lenten promise.
In April, I found Unpickled, Belle, Mrs. D’s blogs, 6yearhangover, the BFB, and the Bubble Hour. I was mesmerized, inspired, truly blown away by this community, and that there were others like me. Still I had many false starts in April – lots of Day 1’s in that month. But my motivation and determination were building.
I wanted to “own my own power” again. I had heard this phrase from a speaker in November 2013 on an unrelated topic. My mind kept thinking of that phrase – I need to “own my own power” and “not let other people or things suck it way from me.” I set other goals too – centered around the main goal of being the best Mom and Wife and Person I could be. I still have a LOT of work to do in these areas. But I am trying.
How could I do this? The same speaker in November talked about as Moms we need to take care of ourselves so we can take care of others. She said we should go back to the five basics in life – water, food, exercise, sleep, and spirituality. I decided I was going to do this. I was going to stay hydrated, eat healthier, exercise regularly, sleep more, and explore my spirituality. Drinking wine was not helping in any of these categories!
I wanted to be more present in my life too. Drinking wine was definitely not helping with this! It was making me less present by the day.
From March 5 (Ash Wednesday) to May 12, I was reflecting and goal-setting so much (still am!). Joining the 100 Day Challenge was key for me. I pledged to Belle I would go alcohol free for 100 Days, and that May 12, 2014 was my last day I had a drink. It also helped that I set my screen name on my anonymous email accounts as via51214 – that gives me accountability too as I don’t want to change those. Without having Belle to email every day, I don’t think I would have gotten to Day 100. I pledged to do 180 Days after I completed the 100, and here I am at Day 150.
It has been easier between 100 and 150 Days. But it is still very hard sometimes. I take it day by day. I try not to think too far ahead. I try to stay here, stay in today. I am also part of a Gratitude Group where we post every day what we are grateful for that day.
I know my last post was a bit sad and mysterious and I know I worried some people. Life is going to continue happening around me whether I am drinking or not. A few days ago I really needed The Serenity Prayer but it had nothing to do with not drinking actually. There was something that happened in my extended family almost 2 years ago that I am struggling to accept. This event is also something that caused me to really start reflecting on my own life and where it is going.
Every day is a gift. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. I am almost 44 years old, and unfortunately, I have been reminded of this many times with deaths among family and friends already.
There is another phrase my kids like – “Yesterday is history; tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, and that is why they call it the present.”
And like I said in my first blog entry, I remind myself every day what my Dad used to say, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” It is a new start every day. Today is going pretty well so far.