“You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.”
– Jim Rohn
The first week of Dryuary can seem like a really bumpy flight to a place we’re not sure we even want to go, especially after the excesses of the holiday season. Hopefully, by now we’ve settled in and are able to stretch our necks out and take a look around.
Some of us are return visitors. Some of us return year after year. Welcome back, old friends! We may believe we know what to expect and are settling back into our Dryuary routines with familiar ease. If we do that, though, are we really changing direction, as referred to in the quote above, or are we just back in the same old place? Is Dryuary a ritual for us, or has it become a routine?
“Rituals are tools that give us the freedom to take responsibility for the direction and purpose of our lives. Our task is to seize and shape this freedom—consciously, deliberately, and joyfully.”
Abigail Brenner, MD; 11 Ways Rituals Help Us Celebrate Our Lives; Psychology Today
Some of us are new visitors and are surprised that anyone chooses to come to this place more than once, that people actually look forward to returning this place called Dryuary. For some of us, Dryuary is a form of penance for sins of the past months or the past year or the past years. And, in a way we’re right. Dryuary is a place to make amends to our body and to our soul for the excesses of our past.
But, Dryuary can be so much more…
Let’s imagine that we’ve gifted ourselves with the trip of a lifetime. Let’s take a good look around, what is there to see?
The past is behind us. Every day we take a one-way flight away from that place, never to return.
Let’s look ahead instead.
On the horizon are sunrises and endless stars. Promise-filled and regretless.
Under our feet is steady ground.
Around us are people on whose faces we can gaze without remorse.
Beside us, are our fellow travelers, who are here to link arms with us in a show of force against the doubts and temptations which hover like pesky mosquitoes on our dream vacation.
Inside us are fascinating mysteries waiting to be discovered. Places that alcohol keeps shrouded. Some are scary. Some are breathtaking. Many are both.
For many of us, Dryuary will set us off on a different direction that lasts our entire life.
How can we ensure that this happens?
By taking this month to break out of our daily rituals, not just the drinking rituals. If we try to maintain our normal life patterns and just take alcohol out of the equation, nothing else changes. However, if we use this month to create new daily rituals, rituals that encompass self-care and discovery, the value of these rituals will carry over past January 31st.
The two most important rituals to change are our morning ritual and our bedtime ritual. Both of these have such an influence over our well-being. How we start the day, sets the tone for the rest of the day. If we’re rushed, frazzled, or hungover, we spend our whole day trying to catch up and compensate. We deserve so much more than that. How we end our day, sets the tone for how well we will sleep and how well we will wake, which, then, sets the tone for how we start the next day. See a pattern here?
The morning ritual:
Being alcohol-free allows us to wake up with a clear head and conscience. Let’s take advantage of this by setting the alarm 30 minutes earlier than normal just to have some “me” time before the demands of family or job intrude. Let’s fix that big cup of coffee or tea, take a moment or two or three to think about how we’re feeling about ourselves, what we need for ourselves from the day ahead-not what the job needs or what the family needs, what we need and how to get it. Fulfilling our needs isn’t selfish, it is necessary for contentment. It is when we become discontent that we start looking for ways to escape from our life through alcohol.
The bed-time ritual:
Carve out another 30 minutes or an hour at bedtime to establish a bedtime routine. At a certain time each night, hang up the “closed for business” sign. No throwing in one last load of laundry or unloading the dishwasher or finishing a kid’s school project. Create a time-space of serenity and quiet. Take that long hot bath, slather on lotion, pick up that book, meditate…however relaxation looks to you.
Replace the phrase self-indulgent with self-care. Take a minute to imagine your life with these two rituals established in it. Self-care is a necessity!
In the article quoted above, Dr. Brennan goes on to say:
“Rituals help us access our authentic selves through their ability to carry us into deeper levels of consciousness. By engaging all of our senses through the use of ritual elements inherent in the ritual process, we are able to bypass the intellect in favor of our intuitive, instinctive knowing. Rituals help us balance the work of our outer and inner lives and allow for the full expression of our soul and spirit.”
Now, take another look around.
Which direction is Dryuary going to take you?
Post Submitted By: Mary Reid aka Kary May Hickey
Mary Reid is the Executive Director of Moderation Management and the author of Neighbor Kary May’s Handbook To Happily Drinking Less or Not Drinking At All, Quite Happily: With the help of online recovery community