Dry January Day 21

Alcohol-free for three weeks: check!

During intense and exciting football playoff game: check (even though there was a lot of buffalo chicken dip consumed)!

And through another weekend with relative ease: check!

I’ve got this.

And here’s what else I’ve got:

  • More energy
  • More patience
  • More space in my brain
  • A clearer brain
  • A more creative brain
  • Increased productivity
  • Clearer, brighter, more glowing, less congested skin (and I have always had problem skin)
  • Less belly bloat (inching – or at least millimetering – my way to #bikinigoals)
  • Deeper sleep

And a huge one for me that I am just now starting to believe:

  • Less anxiety.

This is not a comprehensive list. This is just off the top of my head on a tired (but happy!) Sunday night.

The anxiety piece is something I want to read more about. I have dealt with varying degrees of anxiety since I was a kid. I never thought about the impact alcohol had on my anxiety. Never thought to connect the two. But it occurred to me at some point this weekend that I have not felt anxious in, well, about three weeks. I am cautiously embracing the liberation I feel. Trying to stay present. And eager to explore this further in the coming days.

I weighed myself this morning (the day before tomorrow’s weigh-in) and I had gained a half-pound. Which was discouraging, considering how clean I ate this week and how great my exercise routine has been. In my discouragement, I ate too much junk today. I’ve stayed within my weekly points, but I’m expecting a perplexing gain tomorrow. Disappointing, BUT at least I have been sticking with Dry January like a boss. Tomorrow is a new day and a new week and I’m so proud for making it this far.

 

Dry January Day 20

Here’s my Saturday night, folks! Living my best life! Or at least my dog is.

Tonight I am feeling a little bit stuck. Stuck in between the old me and whoever this newly enlightened me is going to be. I find myself missing the ritual. Pouring a glass of cold Sauvignon Blanc and taking the first couple of sips that instantly make me feel relaxed. Wait. Let me repeat that: Pouring a glass of cold sweetened ethanol and taking the first couple poisonous sips that instantly deaden my senses, weaken my heart, inflame my liver, disrupt my immune system, and increase my risk of cancer. Sigh.

I believe both of those sentences. I am so much better informed now than I was three weeks ago, yet I still miss it. So, stuck. But resolute in my choice to stick with Dry January. And proud of myself for that.

And another day goes in the books.

Dry January Day 19

Here’s a screenshot of my Dry January app. Look at all those sweet little teacups! I feel very proud when I mark this calendar every day. Every little teacup is a huge victory for me.

Something that seemed impossible and torturous three weeks ago – to forgo alcohol for one entire month – is now my new normal. My routine. I still have at least 20 bottles of wine in my house and while I do still get nightly cravings, I am not even tempted to open a bottle. That would be cheating myself out of this life-changing gift I have chosen to give and to receive.

Now that we are more than halfway through the month, thoughts creep into my head about where I will go from here. Will I be able to moderate? Will I even want wine? Will I stay alcohol-free? Or will I fall right back down a boozy black hole?

When I think about what I will do on February 1, I get a little anxious. I’m afraid one glass will turn into two which will turn into three which will turn into a bottle. I’m afraid I will fall right back into old habits and I will be in the same place (with the same puffy face) on December 31, 2018 as I was on December 31, 2017.

Starting to get caught up in the anxiety, I remind myself to stay present. Yes, I am more than halfway through. Yes, I can now see the light of February 1 at the end of this sober – and sobering – tunnel. But what matters is today. Today’s tiny tea cup with a little umbrella in it. Today’s flavored seltzer on the rocks in a wine glass. Today’s blue dot. Or not! I have lots of weeklies waiting to be used.

Wherever this month is taking me, it’ll be a better place than the one in which I’ve spent too much of my adult life. I am only beginning to grasp where I was, now that the booze fog has lifted. I still have a lot of processing, reading, and pondering to do. And I just have to trust that I’ll never go back.

So, here’s to today. Not tomorrow, not next month, not next year, and not forever. Today is everything. Today is enough.

 

Dry January Day 18

My husband and I are going to the movies tonight!

Confession: before Dry January, when my husband I would go to the movies together, I would always pour some wine into a small glass bottle (full confession: it was a baby bottle leftover from when my kids were infants) to sneak into the theater. I thought it was a funny thing to do. A small little rebellion for someone who is normally a staunch rule follower. I’m beginning to see it differently. I’m beginning to see someone who was too reliant on alcohol to have a good time. I’m beginning to see someone who was more focused on seeing a movie buzzed than enjoying a date with my husband. That makes me sad. But at the same time I’m also so proud to be growing apart from that person.

Tonight’s timing couldn’t be better since I had such a tough day with my kids yesterday, so I will deeply appreciate every moment of this date night. And every kernel of movie theater popcorn for which I hoarded smart points today.

 

Dry January Day 17

Yes it’s empty.

But I am broken. I’m over the edge. My soul has been sucked. Snow day witching hour reared its ugly whiny attitude-y head in my house this evening and broke me.

Yes it’s empty.

But:

1) At least it’s not an empty bottle of wine; and

2) I am still getting a blue dot thanks to the delish 1-smart point turkey chili I made for dinner.

So at least there’s #snowdaygoals!

Beyond that, I have the two most amazing children in the world. Like, I actually believe that. As every parent does. I actually believe that my two kids are the greatest human beings to ever grace this planet.

But they can be real assholes.

And tonight they broke me.

I cried, they cried, and then after awhile we talked it out, we read some books. We returned to our regularly scheduled bedtime.

I tucked in my son who said, “I’m trying to be a better boy, Mama.” And I believe him.

I tucked in my daughter and we agreed, she and I, to be kinder to each other. To speak to each other with less attitude and more empathy. We both broke down tonight and now we are in cahoots. We will build each other back up again tomorrow with love and kindness. I hope.

I was broken. And I’m exhausted. But I shudder to think of what shape I would be in right now if this were 18 days ago. If my kids had behaved this way 18 days ago, with the whining and the attitude and the stubbornness. I would have started drinking before 5. I would have eaten anything and everything I could get my hands on that would give me a mere moment of comfort. I would have thought, well I blew it tonight so I might as well not track the rest of the week.

And I never could have ended this day with grace.

But I did. My kids and I, together, ended a witching hour for the ages with grace, and understanding, and love.

So yes, the pint is empty. I didn’t need to eat it all, but I did. And that’s ok. This evening held smaller and more significant triumphs.

And tomorrow is a new day.

 

Dry January Day 16

Day 16. What was notable about this day? The fact that it felt just fine, thank you. Normal. Steady. And even though my dog woke me up at 5am and I did a 6am Peloton spin class, I have not crashed all day.

I felt noticeably more patient with my kids, too. Before Dry January, I would need to have wine to get through the witching hour and then by story time I would be irritable and impatient, overwhelmed by how much I still had to do. Tonight, after we finished their stories, I sat with my kids and we just chatted. We snuggled, we took stock of the day. Together. No rush. And I still got them to bed on time and came downstairs to cook a delish dinner.

So tonight, I delight in normalcy. No, in NEW normalcy. A happier, more patient and energized, less anxious normal. And even though it feels normal it also feels miraculous.

Dry January Day 15

My 6-year-old daughter made her debut in the octagon tonight for a sparring session with her MMA coach. She just started “black belt training” and so she usually spends a few minutes after class sparring with her coach in the regular studio. Tonight, he let her use the octagon and sparred with her for a good 20 minutes. Because he sees what a hard worker she is. And he knows how much she loves the challenge of learning martial arts. Was she intimidated by going into a giant cage to spar, while I and all the adults who were filtering into the 6:30 class were watching? No. She just went for it. And she did great!

I have been in my own mental octagon for 15 days now, battling against a foe. Trying to learn to anticipate its next move and get ahead of it. I’ve stumbled a bit. But I haven’t been knocked down. I’m still standing, still sparring, hoping my gloves will start to feel lighter and lighter as the days wear on.

My daughter’s goal in life is to be a superhero. And a mommy. She is my “why” and she inspires me to no end.

And with 15 days of Dry January under my (admittedly, not black) belt, I feel like I am becoming the mommy I have always wanted to be.

 

Dry January Day 14

Two weeks without alcohol. Take a deep breath and let that sink in. I’m relieved, I’m proud, I’m grateful.

It has been a breakthrough weekend over here. And that is not a word I use lightly. My mom will leave early tomorrow morning. In the time that she’s been here, I have had no alcohol, I exercised, and I’ve stayed within my weekly points (weigh-in day tomorrow!). I used to use her visits as an excuse to overeat and overdrink. But not this time. And it’s so nice to not feel like crap!

Today, I painted our master bathroom. Wait, I’m sorry, what? Who is typing this? Oh wait it really is me. And this is a picture of our bathroom, which my husband has been painstakingly renovating for the last year in free time he does not have. Being able to help him, and painting a room for the first time in my life, was so empowering. And fun! And there is no way I could have done it – or even would have wanted to do it – if I had been hungover for the last two days. It was a ton of work, and I’m tired now. But I continue to be amazed at my increased energy and productivity sans booze.

As for my mom, it’s been a breakthrough weekend of a different sort for her. Because she knew we had house projects on our weekend agenda, she took our kids out by herself for the first time. They spent almost all day at the Natural History Museum today and had a blast.

Instead of tucking into our second bottle of wine and watching TV we won’t remember, my mom and I are going to spend the evening browsing light fixtures for her new apartment. This is the beginning of a new era for our family and it feels so good.

Dry January Day 13

 

“All you have to do is make the choice to let go of everything you’re so attached to that’s not serving you and manifest the reality that you want. Life is an illusion created by your perception, and it ca be changed the moment you choose to change it.” – Jen Sincero, You are a Badass

Easier said than done of course.

But I bossed up and let go of two biggies today, and now I’m taking a moment to kick self-judgement to the curb and fully absorb feeling proud of myself.

What were the two gnarly buggers I quashed?

“I can’t workout in the afternoon because I’m too tired.”

Buh-bye! Thanks to the Peloton ride with the #ww_warrior crew, I proved to myself that I can not only survive a 3:30pm workout, I can set a new PR (personal record) doing it! Being back on track (both with diet and exercise) really makes a difference and I experienced that first-hand today.

“I can’t be alcohol-free around my mom without white-knuckling it.”

See ya, white knuckles! Admittedly, last night (the first night of her visit) was tough. I felt tense and insecure. But I got through it, and made sure to prioritize my workout and having a blue dot day today. Achieving those things made me feel so damn good that there was not an ounce of FOMO as I poured my Fresca Zero tonight.

I am still a work in progress. We all are. And I can easily overwhelm myself with all the things I want to change. But right now I’m just so completely grateful to be able to celebrate these wee triumphs with a clear head, tired legs, and a full heart.

 

Dry January Day 12

Another Dry January day, another challenge ahead, another milestone to achieve.

My mom – who joined Weight Watchers with me last March and has lost 50 pounds! – is coming to visit us for the weekend. And we love drinking wine together (hence the personalized wine glasses). She is extremely supportive of my Dry January journey, but that doesn’t change the fact that tonight, one of these glasses will be filled with flavored seltzer on the rocks and the other will be filled with vodka and diet tonic on the rocks. (I did tell her not to bring any wine, so she’ll have vodka instead.)

I adore my mom and I must admit I adore our drinking routine. But I also recognize that I drink way too much when she is with us and so I am trying to remind myself how great I am going to feel all weekend. (I hope.)

I’m also curious how this weekend will play out. I am determined not to drink alcohol of course, and confident that I can stick to it. Hoping for some grand revelation about how much better my mom’s visits are when we don’t polish off two bottles of wine every night. Which I know must sound silly to those of you who have been alcohol-free for longer than 12 days. But it’s still not obvious to me. I’m still pining for it. Wish I weren’t. And I’ll settle for pining over white knuckling. But I wish I weren’t pining at all.

Bottom line: wish me luck, and fingers crossed for little to no FOMO and increased patience and love.

TGIF and TGIWFLCT (thank goodness I won’t feel like crap tomorrow)!