At the beginning of the year I declared my word for 2018 as ‘intention’. Rather than a set of milestones or achievements, I decided to live each day with intention. This meant aligning my daily actions to my values by taking smaller steps to working towards what I wanted to achieve in my life as a whole rather than ticking said items off a list. It is working for me so far, but this meant changing my ways to making:
- intentional choices about food which aligned with my tolerance for cruelty to animals,
- intentional choices about reducing my waste and not ignoring plastic on the street,
- doing something small to progress my Hotels With Cats Mission each day, and
- doing something each day for my health.
One of the things I had to tackle to achieve this last point was to drastically reduce alcohol intake. I decided to aim for six months off. At the end of last year, I was in an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Call it what you will, an addiction, a dependence or a habit might be a little extreme. But again it might not be. Here is the thing, I was drinking A LOT. A bottle or so with The Ginger Hunk a few times a week, add-on a few beers each session, then weekends would be spent being even more boozy at least two of the days. I can name about five occasions when a hangover hit me like a ton of bricks and I ended up super sick and wasting an entire day. I hated this. I freaking hated myself for it. I would never get that day of my life back again. (Coming back to the intention thing, is this what I intended for my life?)
Despite this feeling of regret I would again order a case/bottle/have-just-one and then it would be gone.
The same cycle.
The same regret.
Stopping for a while until the next hangover hit me or training missed.
I was feeling sluggish, overweight, tired and anxious.
But, wasn’t it extreme to give up all together?
Couldn’t I reduce my intake without giving up for six months?
Was I classified an alcoholic to need to give it up all together?
It is said that as a female more than two drinks in one setting can cause harm either through something that happens then or to increase the chance of future ill health. I was sure drinking more than what is recommended as ‘safe’.
Since embarking on the mission, I’ve been reading This Naked Mind, by Annie Grace, and I’m baffled at how alcohol, despite how addictive, and not good at all for us it is, is pushed onto us from a young age. We are told to get used to the taste, that taking this drug is to be a “normal” part of our adult life. When you tell your friends you are off it, they encourage you to have just one. “One won’t hurt.” Yet this isn’t done with any other drug. We don’t encourage others to smoke a joint, have a bump of coke or take a pill at every social gathering. Why is this that we do this with alcohol despite all the suffering it causes?
It’s pretty weird when you look in from the outside in.
I’m five weeks in and while I admit that the ride has been easier because I am having some health issues my mind is feeling so clear. I’m sleeping deep and dreaming big. I’m full of creative ideas and confidence. I’m getting out of bed straight away each morning. Sure, there have been occasions when I have craved a nice cold glass of bubbles. This has been not through a physical desire, but through old habits of how I would usually behave in social situations.
A trip to the pub.
A girls night at the theatre.
To celebrate my first sale for my business.
The end of a busy week.
I’ve succeeded through these occasions by ordering something sparkly instead so I can enjoy the ‘habit’ of having a drink without having alcohol. But what if I just enjoyed these moments, these occasions and milestones without the lather of booze on the mind?
Maybe I will enjoy and remember them more.
Mostly, I’ve reminded myself of how proud I will be on July 1 2018 when I have had six months alcohol free and how this experience will likely change my relationship with booze for ever.
Bring on the next five months!