My Alcohol Experiment: Day 16

Day 16 of The Alcohol Experiment: accentuate the positive!

I’m starting to feel like a broken record, but once again I read the next lesson from The Alcohol Experiment and I feel like Annie Grace has read my mind and written exactly what I needed to hear the moment I needed to hear it.

This evening, I embark on something miraculous: a night alone in my house. No kids, no husband, no visiting parents. Just me and my dogs. I only have to cook for and clean up after myself. I can watch whatever I want to watch on TV and go to bed when I want to go to bed. Ah-mazing.

And yet throughout the day today I have had thoughts like, “A whole night to myself and I don’t even get to drink!” And I have also felt a little anxious to be alone. A little lonely.

Cue Ms. Grace, who reminds us all that it’s critical to ditch our inner negative nellies if we are going to thrive on this journey. “The brain loves anything that gets you our of pain and into pleasure.” You can empower yourself with positive language. Turn that cranial frown upside-down! It helps. A lot. So, for me tonight, instead of “I don’t even get to drink” I am trying to pivot to “How lucky am I to be doing this experiment? I am going to have a great, productive and fun night and feel great when I wake up tomorrow!” I must admit pint of Enlightened sitting in my freezer is helping too.

Also: no labels! I think some people find comfort in labels, but I am not one of them. Instead of labeling myself as “sober” I prefer to see myself on a journey of self-care, which right now happens to include not drinking. I feel pressured by the idea of labeling myself one way or another, and I want to maintain an open mind and positive mindset. So I appreciate that Annie Grace advises us to steer clear of labels.

The video in this lesson – again, thank you Annie for reading my mind – is a deconstruction of the myth that alcohol helps with loneliness. I used to drink alone at every opportunity. If my husband was traveling or out late, I would see polishing off a bottle of wine as a “treat.” Now I realize that I believed that drinking myself to sleep would help assuage the anxiety and discomfort I felt being in my house alone, and help me feel less lonely. Of course we all know the punchline here: drinking did the opposite of what I hoped it would do. I felt more lonely, more anxious, and would inevitably have a crappy night of sleep and feel awful the next day. And I shudder to think about what would have happened if there had been an emergency with myself or my kids on any of those nights when I was drunk and the only adult in the house. Ugh. Terrifying.

Tonight, I am the only adult in the house and I am happy and relaxed and grateful. I have had a productive day and now I’m going to make a delicious dinner and enjoy my wine-free mama time. Cheers to that!

[The Alcohol Experiment is a free, interactive 30-day program designed by Annie Grace, author of This Naked Mind. For more information: www.alcoholexperiment.com.]

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