If you live near me you’re going to completely disagree with the title of my post because it’s been a pretty wet few weeks in the metro Atlanta area, but it’s been completely dry, as in no booze, in my life for the last six weeks. It’s been dry in terms of blog posting for much longer, but let’s not talk about that.
A couple of months ago I set out to drink less alcohol. I’ve had a hard time maintaining my weight loss and staying motivated after marriage, and some pounds have crept back on (notice I blame the pounds, not myself). I recognized that I was drinking too much, which of course we all know leads to poor food decisions. I initially set out to drink less with the goal of losing weight, but it became much bigger than that.
I decided that I
wanted needed to have a proper break from alcohol. Before this break, I’m guessing that the longest I refrained from having alcohol since I’ve been old enough to drink was 17 days (with the exception of boot camp when I was 22). I did a lot of self-reflection and realized that I wasn’t happy with my relationship with booze, and the realization that I wasn’t a “I can take it or leave it” kind of drinker was something I needed to address.
I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t easy…especially the first couple of weeks. Which is precisely why I needed a good break. Below are some observations based on my experiences over the last few weeks. I’m not preaching anything to anybody, but this whole break has been eye-opening and I’d strongly urge anyone who thinks they are drinking too much to give themselves a good and proper break.
- Moderation is too hard. Moderating takes more brain space than abstaining. When I try to moderate I have this countdown in my head of the next time I’m going to drink, thinking about it and impatiently waiting for the day I can indulge. And then when I cave (because I usually will) I have guilt about it and I bargain with myself thinking, “Well then I’m just going to drink one night next week instead of two since I screwed up this week,” blah blah blah. It’s exhausting. I was tired of waiting to drink. I had to get real with myself that it wasn’t healthy. So, I set my mind to six weeks of no alcohol so that I wouldn’t have the daily battle of will I or won’t I drink.
- I feel SOOOOOO much better. I haven’t stepped on a scale in a while but I’m wiling to bet I’ve lost maybe .5 pounds. Yes, you read that correctly….half a pound…maybe…hell I may have gained half a pound. The point is I didn’t lose any weight and yes that’s a little disappointing and so you’re probably thinking, “What’s the point?” Well the point is that through this experience I ended up realizing that alcohol had a bigger impact on me than just my weight and so losing weight was no longer a priority. This freed me up to not care about food, eat what I wanted, and focus on addressing the booze.
- Alcohol is addictive and TONS of people struggle with it. I’m not alone. Alcohol is addictive and it’s something that millions and millions of people struggle with. I’ve been doing a ton of reading and realize that so many people are like me…….we’re not out here hitting rock bottom, blacking out or guzzling bottles and bottles of booze each night, but we’re not happy with our drinking and deep deep down, way down in there, we realize that we might need to take a closer look.
- I’m not drinking again anytime soon. This is quite the statement from someone who LOVES beer, but I’m happier on the sober train. The more days that pass, the easier it gets, the less I want to drink and the better I feel. I’ve had six sober weeks and weekends and it’s been wonderful. It took a shift in my thinking, but I now look forward to social events without booze, and I’m not using booze to deal with stress. I don’t know what the future holds and it’s hard to imagine not drinking beer again, but I can honestly say from the bottom of my heart that alcohol has never given me anything that I can’t get without it, and I’ve felt better these past six weeks, physically, mentally and spiritually, than I have in a very long time.
So there you have it. Right now I’m a teetotaler and I’m planning on staying that way for the foreseeable future. Don’t let this dissuade you from inviting me out. I might actually be much funnier and more awesome without booze (as if that was even possible), plus I can be the designated driver!