why I've stopped drinking
I've been on this health journey for awhile now. And during this time, I've cut out the things in my life that made me feel like crap. Namely, ice cream, animal products, most processed foods, junk food, sleeping in late and watching too much reality tv or too much tv in general. However, for some reason, I never cut out the one thing that made me feel more sick than the rest- alcohol.
I certainly have cut back. I mean, a few years ago I'd have two glasses of wine every night. For the last couple years, I averaged out at about one to three drinks per week. No matter how much or little I've had, there has always been one constant, I wake up in the morning feeling hungover and depressed. And, without fail, I tell myself I am not going to drink anymore because I hate the way it makes me feel. But then, a few days pass and a glass of rose looks pretty nice.
Two months ago, I woke up following a Cinco De Mayo Fiesta and felt like death for the next 48 hours. Waking up and replaying the night before in my head, I just sat and shook my head as I remembered drinking too many margaritas, being kind of obnoxious, saying "like" every other word, yelling at one of my friends, slurring my words and eating heaps of chips. 24 hours before, the morning before the fiesta, I had woken up feeling incredibly refreshed and vibrant. Fast forward just one day, and I was at the opposite end of the spectrum.
I sat in bed all morning eating pretzels, drinking several iced coffees and watching a television show that I had no interest in. I felt nauseous, had a headache, and even worse, I was disappointed in myself. It wasn't until later that evening, as I drank a glass of rose, as the last effort to ease my hangover (surprise, surprise, it worked) that I decided I didn't want to do this anymore.
Like I said, I've cut out all the other crap that makes me feel bad, why not this? I often put a lot of pressure on myself to always feel tremendously healthy, It's something I am trying to work on. So, to me, a hangover isn't just a hangover. I get down and depressed and, worse of all, I feel completely disconnected to who I truly am. I think, with drinking, it was a part of my life that I was still holding onto because I like how I feel when I am in the act. As I am naturally timid, I tend to be insecure and anxious in social settings- another thing I am currently working on. When I have a drink, I often feel more comfortable and confident. I am realizing though, I have been using alcohol as a mask and a way to avoid feeling uncomfortable feelings. Instead of getting to the root of why I feel awkward in social situations, I push it under the rug with a glass of wine.
So, I've committed to being sober for 1 year- after that, I may continue not drinking or I may want to celebrate with a cocktail, I have no idea. But, the point is that I am not going to have any mind altering substances for a long period of time, allowing myself to feel uncomfortable feelings and hopefully address them as I really focus on my health internally and externally.
I am just over two months in. So far I have noticed...
1. It's not hard for me. To me, It's really out of sight, out of mind.
2. I have been around people consuming alcohol and it hasn't bothered me. In fact, I felt grateful I hadn't been drinking when I went to bed that night and then when I woke up feeling refreshed the next morning.
3. I haven't lost any weight from cutting out alcohol.
4. People often find it odd when you choose not to drink and they question you.
5. Putting sparkling water in a white wine glass makes you feel like you're having a drink.
6. We have all these habits when it comes to drinking. A celebration, a defeat, happy, sad, bored, stressed, sunny day, rainy day, game day, time of day- whatever it is, we reach for a drink just out of habit. Another habit, is that as soon our cup is empty, we pour ourselves another, without thinking. When at a bar or party, we like to hold things in our hands and feel strange without a drink.
7. I was raised around social drinking. My parents would bring a cooler with them on the boat or to the beach, they drank socially with their friends and would have wine at dinner. So, as a kid and teenager, I viewed alcohol as something that was adult, social, fun, and cool. So, it was imprinted in my mind that alcohol was cool and therefore, drinking was cool. To go even further, I thought people who didn't drink were uncool/losers. I had my first drink at age 15 and from then on, I thought it was a normal part of being an adult and would add value to my life. I never asked myself the question, "Do I even like this?" Instead, I just went with it. I am finally asking myself that question and the answer is no, not really.
8. Friends think it's odd I am not going to drink at my wedding. The way I see it, I just want to be fully present. I'm going to be on such a natural high anyways, I don't need an ounce of anything else.
This is where I am at right now. I will check back in with more insights as the journey continues. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about this topic or are interested in doing a challenge like this as well.
the key to living a healthy life
is not willpower.
you've got to do the work to discover
what is the real reason behind your unhealthy habits.