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Day 29 – Rediscovering Life On A Break

lentil reflects on an earlier break from alcohol:

Fridays still rank as my hardest days. On this most recent Friday, I finally surrendered to temptation on the “no sugar” front and nabbed a bunch of cupcakes to take home at the end of the night. Later in the night, as I sat on the couch feeling sticky, it suddenly occurred to me that I hadn’t even thought about hitting up the liquor store on my way home. Progress!!

I’ve already passed my 30 day mark, and I think I’m going to extend my “green streak” for a bit. Turns out, I really like the way I feel and act when I’m not drinking. Moderation seems like a fine goal, but not something I need to rush headlong towards… I am going to take my time, and maybe work on exposing myself to a few more ‘trigger’ situations first. We do have a vacation coming up mid-March, and I haven’t made any plans as far as drinking. Getting drunk sounds like a waste of good vacation time, but I doubt I’ll turn my nose up at a beer on the beach, should the opportunity arise. Mostly, I just don’t feel worried about it, and am hoping to save my energy for making sure that when we get home again, I don’t fall straight into old habits. So I guess I’ll plan on a mostly green March, with a week of undecided (but ideally no binges) during vacation.

Things that were hard about my 30+:

  • The first 7-10 days, especially Fridays (especially the first two Fridays). Each day was hard in different ways, but overall, much more challenging.
  • Realizing that I need to develop some new coping mechanisms for bad days.
  • Filling all this extra time, especially when my SO is away or my friends are busy.
  • Wondering what comes next.
  • Worrying that I’ll fall back into old habits.

Things that were good-to-incredible about my 30+:

  • Despite plenty of bad days and regular life stress, I feel strong and good about my continued choice to stick to my plan.
  • Feeling ‘not drinking’ getting easier with every week that passed.
  • Long, quiet, low-key evenings. Remembering the beginnings, middle, and end to all those evenings.
  • Terrific mornings.
  • Lots of positive support from my significant other. We are both so ridiculously busy that we spent less time together than usual, but the time we did spend was of much higher quality.
  • Went “shopping” in the box under the bed, full of clothes that were (at some point) too tight, and found two “new” pairs of pants that fit great.
  • Learned how to make yogurt (hey, don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it!)
  • Suffered through a really bad head cold…and didn’t feel like I was to blame for making things worse by drinking.
  • Woke up early, feeling good, almost every day. Yes, in spite of the head cold from hell.
  • Sleeeeeeeeeeeeep. Not waking up at 3am feeling bad about myself. Being kinder to myself in general.
  • I got to watch and cheer for other people on a similar journey as I was this month. I got to watch and learn from people whose month was different, and learned a lot.
  • Felt more like myself than I have in a long, long time.

On balance, a great month for me. I’m hoping that if I do slip into old habits, then the next time that I want to make a change, I can look at my posts here and remember that taking a break is not as hard as it feels (and really, mostly only hard for the first week or two). I feel like I learned a lot, and also that my quality of life improved so dramatically over this past month that I hope I can keep building good habits for a long time.

This post was submitted by The Forum’s lentil