I love the “Word of the Year” idea. My last post indicated I am not making any resolutions. I have been thinking about what my “Word of the Year” would be, however. Unlike specific resolutions, the idea of a “Word of the Year” seems a bit more broad, open-ended, adaptable to me. After all, we’re talking about 12 full months! I also liked when I read somewhere that you are allowed until January 31 to choose and change your word. So I took my time in choosing my word. I needed a word that would help me continue with what I started in 2014. Around mid-month, I starting thinking about “Growth.” A goal to keep growing in all the areas I am striving to improve might work, I thought! I shared the idea of “Growth” with a few people so far, and I’ve gotten positive feedback. I have joked with my kids, “It does not mean I want to get any bigger; I want to grow on the inside.” It means I want to grow in lots of areas: love, presence, awareness, gratitude, kindness, initiative, time management, self-care, and many other possible areas I am not thinking of at present. I figure with “Growth,” there is always room for this list to grow! So I am going with “Growth” in 2015. Today is also Day 260 of being alcohol-free. In 40 Days (essentially equal to another Lent), I will be at Day 300. That is part of how this alcohol-free journey started. Two years ago, I decided to give up wine for Lent – I made it about half way through. Last year, I also decided to give up wine for Lent. Again, I did not make it through, with lots of starts and stops throughout those 40 Days. Finally, on May 12, 2014, three weeks after Easter, I had built my resolve and decided to go fully alcohol-free for 100 Days. I joined Belle’s challenge and that worked! I joined the 180 day Challenge, and then signed up for Team 365 after that. And here I am at Day 260. My plan is to keep going, one day at a time. I know now from personal experience, in addition to hearing this great advice early on, when you take one day a time, the days add up. This year on Ash Wednesday (February 18), I could be at Day 282 (if I keep on going!). On Easter, (April 5), I could be at Day 328 (if I keep on going!). At that point, a year, 365 full days, would be in sight! But I am getting way ahead of myself. As I have also learned in the past 8 1/2 months, the days are going to pass whether I drink a glass of wine or not. The world does not revolve around me. And God is not going to grant me worry-free, stress-free days as a reward just because I stopped drinking. In fact, I am going to have to deal with the worries and stress in other more mindful ways, without the escape of alcohol. Also, the thoughts do come sometimes. “OK, after a year, you can stop this little exercise in will-power and go back to normal.” No, I respond to myself. Why is drinking so normal? Who decided this? And It seems like more than an exercise in will-power. I am learning so much. A gentler little voice sometimes tries to tell me, “After a year, it will be OK to have a glass of wine with friends every once in a while. You can just continue to be alcohol-free at home.” But so far, I have been able to push the voice away, and bring myself back to today. “I will not drink today. And, I will take one day a time.” Most times, when I don’t have these thoughts, I feel really good. More often than not these days, I feel a peace inside of me, a warmth; I feel love and hope. I also feel a motivation now to dig deeper and figure myself out more. I feel a need in 2015 to learn more about myself. So I will keep on going. I will keep on growing.