“Today expect something good to happen to you no matter what occurred yesterday. Realize the past no longer holds you captive. It can only continue to hurt you if you hold on to it. Let the past go. A simply abundant world awaits. (January 11)”
― Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy
Greetings! This is a post I shared on the Moderation Management (MM )Forum after I completed my first month of abstinence in September of last year, in hopes it might be helpful to someone else:
I have to say at the outset that not drinking for a month was much easier than I anticipated. I felt awkward the first week or so, and had a few cravings to conquer, but overall it was not a struggle. I chose to do it willingly and almost looked forward to it, so no doubt my attitude going into it had a significant impact.
Positive results of taking a 30 day break from daily drinking:
- Immediate end to negative self-talk, feelings of shame and guilt.
- Increased confidence and improved self-esteem.
- I feel better! Overall more energy, positive outlook, happier, more outgoing and friendly with people.
- Waking up earlier, and feeling clear-headed instead of dragging through the mornings in a fog.
- Improved productivity at work.
- A complete end to the obsessive internal chatter regarding the supply on hand, getting to the store, disposing of empties, etc.
- Freedom to do other things: I signed up for a night class, and was available to run to the store at 10 PM if necessary, or pick up one of the kids if they needed a ride home.
- So much extra time!!
- Renewed interest in hobbies that had fallen by the wayside.
- Ability to read a lot, and remember the content.
- Inability to sleep well at times, which perhaps I just never noticed due to passing out.
- So basically, none.
Things that helped:
- Telling my family and one close friend about it.
- Communicating with other MM members who were also not drinking for the month of September (We call it doing a “30”). I was motivated by their success and buoyed by their support.
- Having NA beer on hand, especially at the beginning, and concocting “special drinks” like seltzer & cranberry, seltzer & flavored balsamic vinegar, spicy hot ginger ale, etc.
- Posting my Zero or Gold Dot on Abstar (MM’s chart where members record the # of drinks they have each day).
- Attending Abs Chat on Wednesday evenings.
- Reading A LOT — immersing myself in alcohol and recovery literature and memoirs.
- Reading the MM forum frequently (obsessively!) and poking around on the MM Website.
- Using a free mindfulness meditation app such as “Insight Timer” – initially for guided meditations to help with sleep, but then exploring other meditation styles, music, and talks.
- Reading sober blogs, which led to listening to podcasts (my current favorites are The Bubble Hour, Recovery Elevator, and The Shair Podcast.) There are many, many relevant blogs and podcasts to dabble in!
- Books, especially “Neighbor Kary May’s Handbook To Happily Drinking Less Or Not Drinking At All, Quite Happily: With The Help Of The Online Recovery Community” by Kary May Hickey, “Kick the Drink… Easily” by Jason Vale, “Alcohol Explained” by William Porter, and “This Naked Mind” by Annie Grace.
At first I imagined I’d go directly to drinking recommended moderate amounts after my 30 was completed. Mid-way through, it was suggested that I have only one drink in the first week and I thought, “Ha! No way!“
Then I began reading about the need to make an actual PLAN, and thinking about what “by the book” moderation entails, and if I could realistically achieve 3 or 4 abs days each week. While I’d certainly enjoy 2 or 3 drinks on the other days, could I do those abs days? Truthfully, I’m not sure. I think I’d return to daily drinking pretty quickly, with only an occasional abs day. Doing the 30 has served as a good break, but my habit is probably just patiently waiting for the opportunity to re-establish itself.*
* This proved to be an accurate prediction. Since then I’ve had successful periods of both moderation and abstinence, punctuated by occasional episodes of over-drinking. Doing the 30 brought about a new awareness of my drinking triggers, habits and patterns. This increased awareness has had an incredibly positive impact on my life, and I hope the same holds true for you!
Post Submitted By: Ruth Marie, MM Forum Member